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fore God, that his fervice is fo defective, and that he fo often denies his Lord, by heedlefs lapfes, or by fuffering temptation to have fuch power over him. When the Lord looked on Peter, and thereby brought to his remembrance the warnings which he had given him, his confidence in himself, and then his fall, he went out and wept bitterly.
EVERY Chriftian hath a measure of this fpirit, and is grieved at his heart, when he calls to mind his shameful denials of his Lord. If any, who think themselves his difciples are blind to their faults, or little affected with them-ready to excufe or extenuate them, especially if hidden from the world; or feel reluctant to take shame to themselves, when they have fallen, it nearly concerns them to examine the grounds of their hope toward God; there is reafon to fear that they "hold a lie in their right hands." Those who are Chrift's difcern their faults; confefs and forfake them. Their falls are made the occafion of greater watchfulness, and care to keep themselves from every wicked thing, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. May he grant this to be our temper, for his mercy's fake in Chrift. Amen.
LUKE X. 20.
In this rejoice not, that the Spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your Names are written in Heaven. ABUNDANT notice of Chrift's coming preceded that interesting event. "To him gave all the prophets witnefs."
NEITHER was his entrance here unattefted. It was announced by an angelic choir; by a mirac ulous ftar; and by a band of eaftern magi. The manger which contained him, was particularly pointed out to the fhepherds, and his perfon defignated by infpired Simon and Anna. Again,
WHEN entering on his miniftry, witness was given for him, both from heaven, and on earth; from heaven by the vifible defcent of the holy Ghoft, which refted on him, and by a voice testifying that he was the Son of God; on earth by John, and foon after by the feventy: For thefe were fent to prepare his way, and introduce him
to his work.
JOHN was fent before, "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord"-" Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The seventy, to declare him then entering on his miniftry-" The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."John did no miracles; but the feventy witneffed Christ's truth, and their own by wonders wrought in his name. In the orders given to them at their miffion, we find them only directed to heal the fick, as an evidence of Chrift's arrival, and their being sent of him; but by the report made at their return they appeared to have been empowered to call out devils. They probably did all the mighty works done by the twelve, and by their Lord. Thus they prepared his way.
DOING miracles in Christ's name would raise in those who witneffed it, a desire to fee him of whom they spake, and whofe power they displayed: And "they were fent two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himfelf would
HAD they only proclaimed his arrival, fome might have liftened; but few would have "believed their report." Greater evidence than their word would have been demanded; as was afterwards of Chrift-" What fign fheweft thou, that we may believe thee?" Neither would the demand have been unreasonable. Special meffages require fpecial evidence; and it is always given to those who are fent of God.
EVERY deceiver may pretend to a divine mission; but we are forbidden to "believe every fpirit, and
commanded to try the fpirits." The church at Ephesus is commended for having obeyed this command-" Thou haft tried them, which fay that they are apoftles, and are not, and haft found them liars."
OUR Savior speaking of the Jews' rejection of him, aggravates their guilt, by a confideration of the plentitude of the evidence which had been given them of his truth. "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had fin-but now they have no cloak for their fin-they have both feen and hated both me and my Father."*
Ar the return of the feventy they appear to have been elated with the exercife of the miraculous pow. ers which had been delegated to them-" And the seventy returned again with joy, faying, Lord, even the devils are fubject unto us through thy name."
THEY had witneffed Chrift's miracles, but feem not to have wrought miracles themselves till now; and when they found themselves able to do the mighty works which they had admired in their Lord they were filled with joy..
HAVING made their report, Chrift enlarged their powers and promised them protection--" Behold I give you power to tread on ferpents and fcorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing fhall by any means hurt you." But to prevent them from fetting an undue value on thefe diftinctions, the caution in the text is fubjoined" Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not that
*John xv. 22-24.
the fpirits are fubje&t unto you; but rather rejoice becaufe your names are written in heaven.
In difcuffing the fubject, we will, first confider the caution or prohibition—In this rejoice not that the fpirits are fubject unto you; then the command-But rather rejoice because your names are written in hea.
I. WE are to confider the caution, or prohibition-In this rejoice not, &c.
BUT why not? Was it not matter of joy that fpirits, evil fpirits were fubject to them? That they were able to dislodge them from the bodies of-men, by commanding them in Chrift's name? Certainly. This enabled thern to answer the ends of their mission, which had been but very partially answered without it. Wherefore then the prohibition?
It is rather the excess of their joy, than the joy itself which is here forbidden. They feem to have placed an undue value on this power; to have exalted it above its place, particularly as it concerned themselves. This was the first thing they mentioned at their return; nothing befide seems to have made fo deep an impreffion upon them, or to have given them equal felf importance.
To them there were other things more interesting and important; that they were accepted of God, and numbered among the faithful, and that their names were written in heaven, were to them occafions of much greater joy.
THE gift of miracles proved their mission, and drew the attention of thofe who witnessed their