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« sorrowful yet alway rejoicing, as poor
yet making many rich, as having no
thing and yet possessing all things :” so it has proceeded, my brethren, and so it will continue to go on, nor “ shall the “ gates of hell ever prevail against it."
When we contemplate the progress which the Gospel has already made, and the increasing prospect of its universal prevalence, can any thing be more interesting, than to look back upon the slight and apparently insignificant incident in which all this magnificent train of events seemed to originate,_" As he walked by “ the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon, and 6 Andrew his brother, casting a net into “ the sea ;"—if it is not, perhaps, still more interesting to confine our attention to the easy and unaffected intercourse between our Lord and these his lowly friends, so unlike every thing else that we meet with in this busy and ambitious
world? In this simple society, we see him throwing aside entirely all the unapproachable majesty of a superior nature. Yet, while he was thus gentle and unpretending, he never for a moment intermitted the work which his Father had given him to do, but, with the zeal which became his mission, went, we are told, throughout Galilee, preaching in the synagogues
“ the Gospel of the kingdom of God:” and the people, it is added, “ were astonished at his doc* trine, for he taught them as one that had “ authority,and not as the Seribes.” What were the particulars of this holy doctrine, will appear more fully as we proceed in these inquiries--in the meantime, the character of authority with which it was delivered, is a circumstance of no slight in, terest even to us, who live in this distant age. The words of the Divine Instructor are still before us, and in the midst of their simplicity, and the unconnected form in which they are often presented to us they come upon every attentive mind, with a weight and an impression which no other form of doctrine can in any respect equal, however harmonious and adorned,
“ Come unto me, all ye that labour, “ and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you,. and learn of me, for I am meek and
lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest “ unto your souls for
easy, “ and my burden is light.” Here is one, among many instances of the authoritative language of the Son of God. Can we, my břethren, in these hours, resist its influence, and do we not, when he is once more coming to us, as in the first dawn of his Gospel, feel ourselves called upon to come unto him, to throw every þurden of worldly delusion aside, and to
my yoke is
upon us the
easy yoke of a holy and well-regulated spirit ?
-Yes! blessed Lord! thou yet vouchsafest to meet thy people on that auspicious day, which renews the remembrance of thy birth, and amid the symbols of thy body and blood; and in the words of anxious love, in which of old thou didst address thy disciples, thou now askest us, “ if we also .“ will go away?”—Shall not we, too, reply with the affectionate ardour of Peter, “ Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast 66 the words of eternal life. And we be“ lieve, and are sure, that thou art that “ Christ, the Son of the living God :"66 The beloved Son," whom the voice of our hearts, in unison with the “ voice “ from heaven," pronounces to be, Him 66 in whom” alone " the Father is well “ pleased.”
MARK, i. 27.
“ And they were all amazed, insomuch that
“ they questioned among themselves, say“ ing, What thing is this? What new “ doctrine is this? For with authority 6 commandeth he even the unclean spirits, " and they do obey him.”
In the conclusion of
I took notice of that character of authority, which distinguished our Saviour's instructions, and which immediately struck the people as quite dissimilar