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ger? Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord (k). Let us be wife, while there is yet time for wisdom. Let us rend our hearts and turn unto the Lord: let us fear and serve him insincerity and truth. Let us defer not to fay our vows unto the Mq/l High. Let us join ourselves unto the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten (/).
(i) Philipp. iv. 13. Isaiah, ii. 5. (/) Joel, ii. 13. Joshua, xxiv. 14. Eccl. v. 4. Jerem. 1. 5.
On the Nature and the Consequences of Excuses for not giving up the Heart to Religion.
Luke, xiv. 18.
And they all with one Consent began to make Excuse.
INSTRUCTION possesses peculiar force, when derived from incidents which interest the mind. Facts seize upon the memory more powerfully than precepts. The recollection of the former recalls the remembrance of the latter. The precept, thus recalled, presents itself under characters of animation and propriety, which confer additional energy on its native importance.
It was the usual practice of our Saviour, when favourable opportunities arose, to take advantage of circumstances immediately passing before the eyes of his followers for the
purpose of impressing religious truth* When he spoke the words Which have been recited, he was fitting at rrteat at the table of a Wealthy Pharisee. From the antecedent part of the chapter it appears that he had already taken occasion twice, from incidents which. occurred at this entertainment) to deliver an important lesson to those who were present. First; in reproving the pride which impelled them eagerly to contend for the places accounted the most honourable; he taught the excellence of humility in the fight of men as well as of God. And afterwards, he admonished them not to be anxious, when they prepared a dinner or a supper, to assemble their opulent relations and neighbours*, in order that they might be themselves invited to feasts in return: but rather to call to their table the poor, the blind, and the distressed, from whom they could look for no retribution, that God, the friend of the wretched* might bless them, and recompence them at the resurrection of the just. A person of the company was forcibly struck with these discourses; and exclaimed, Blejsed is he that jhall eat bread in the kingdom of God: blessed is he who shall be received as an associate of the promised Redeemer; and after having beea admitted as a member of His kingdom O 2 upon upon earth, shall sinally become a partaker of the glories and happiness of heaven. Whether this man believed Jesus Christ to be the promised Redeemer is very doubtful. Our Lord however replied to the observation by a parable: in which he predicted that numbers, who professed a zealous desire to hear and obey the gospel, would disregard and reject it when preached to them; and would prefer the pursuits of the present world to the salvation of their souls. A certain man, said he, made a great supper, and bade many. God has prepared a glorious kingdom for those who shall embrace and stedfastly obey the gospel of his- Son; and has invited all the human race to participate. in its blessings. And he sent his servant at supper time, to say to them that were bidden, Come: for all things are now ready. At the period ordained from eternity Jesus Christ appeared upon earth, and preached the gospel to the Jews. After ,his ascension he preached it by his disciples \o many other nations. At this day he preaches it by his ministers to you, and to millions in various parts of the wprld. He now invites you, as in former ages he invited the Jews and the Gentiles, to come unto Him for salvation; and encourages yjau wjth the assurance tlvat you .can.no^ be m-oire solicitous to ask than he is to \bestow. How did the Jews, to whom the offer was first made, receive it? They all with one consent began td make excuse. The frst said, I hdve bought a piece of ground, and 1 must needs go and fee it* I pray thee have me excused. And another said', I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them. I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wfe: and therefore lean - . not come. The nature of these excuses will be examined'hereafter. At present it is sufficient to observe that all the rest who were invited had their pretences ready, some of one kind, some of another, for not going to the feast. All began to make excuse, So that servant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: Goyout quickly into the freels and lanes tfthe city; and bring in hither the poor and the maimed, and the halt and the blind. The jews refused to receive Jesus Christ; and completed their guilt by crucifying him. The anger of God was kindled. He cast them off from being his people. He com. manded the ministers of his word to go forth, and to preach the gospel to the Gentiles: to Hie nations whom the Jews abhorred as outcasts from the divine mercy; whom they beheld with an eyeof superiority not less contempO3 tuous