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nesses : of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Godo ?
Ignorance of their natural blindness, and unconsciousness of their want of a spiritual teacher, were the principal causes which led to the rejection of our Lord's prophetical office on the part of the Jews. It is our duty to watch against the prevalence of a similar spirit. The avenues of the heart must be kept open to conviction, that the entrance of the good seed, as it falls from the hand of the sower, be not obstructed, and that its effect, when actually received, be not neutralized, by a mixture of earthly passions which corrupt, or of cares which choke it. Above all, there must be much prayer for the Holy Spirit to enlighten and invigorate the understanding, and to overcome that dulness which seems to be inseparable from man, when left to the poverty and weakness of his own unassisted
9 Heb. ii. 13.
x. 28, 29,
nature. And it has always been mercifully provided, that wherever there exists that fervent desire to learn in Christ's school, which wrought so powerfully in the heart of the Æthiopian Eunuch, there will never be wanting some Philip to guide the inquiring spirit, and to improve the day of small things into a season of abundant light and grace.
Much of course will depend on the choice of our objects of study, and on our manner of studying them. Some are satisfied with any thing which exercises the intellectual powers, and some allow the empty and undigested ideas to pass over the mind, like objects over a mirror, without leaving on its surface any trace of permanent impression. This is to spend time, but not to improve it. It was while the Eunuch was reading the Scriptures, that the apostle was directed to join himself to his chariot. It was for searching the same Scriptures diligently, that the Beræans were distinguished by the title of “noble.' The heart of Lydia was opened, not only to become a hearer of the words of eternal life, but that she attended? unto the things which were
spoken of Paul. We are thus indirectly guided to the proper end of study, and to the mode by which that study may be rendered profitable to
And God, assuredly, will not withhold his blessing from those who are searching for the truth in the book of Christ, and are pondering in their hearts all the knowledge they acquire, with a view to a progressive growth in heavenly wisdom.
4. We are especially called upon to attend to the contrast between the ministerial character of our Saviour, and that of all other teachers, -or, in the words of Scripture, to consider the apostle of our profession, Christ Jesus '.
If we look at the Jewish teachers, we shall find them represented in the Bible either as dumb dogs, or as blind guides - either as slumbering on their posts, and betraying their charge through indolence, or as corrupting the faith committed to them, and making it void through their traditions-either as teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, or as occupied in å vain and laborious trifling, which tended to withdraw the mind from any spiritual religion. The remarkable contrast between the teaching of the Scribes and that of our Lord, is very forcibly intimated by the frequency with which the Evangelists bring them into comparison ?. Or if we look into the heathen nations, we shall find, as might be expected, among the best of the philosophers of the Pagan world, the temper and spirit of their religion but too faithfully pourtrayed in the character of its teachers. And even when we turn away from these corrupt sources of knowledge, and revert to the disciples of Christianity for examples of good and faithful servants in the office of teacher, we shall too often have reason to lament their departure from the perfect model exhibited by him from whom they derive their authority. There was something reprehensible found in five out of the seven ministers ad
1 Heb. iii. 1.
dressed by the Spirit in the Revelation? There was in Peter himself something to be blamed, even in the judgement of Paul ;--and so sharp a contention arose between Paul and Barnabas, that they were obliged to renounce the comfort of mutual co-operation, and departed to labour separately in different parts of the same vineyard.
At the same time the providence of God. has so ordered it, that since the original appointment of an order of men set apart for the work of the ministry, there have never been wanting in the profession bright examples of zeal and diligence which have shone like lights in the visible church. An examination of the characters of the several apostles, would show in a very instructive manner how divine grace can call into action the different tempers and abilities of men of every cast. The indolence of Mark, the violence of Peter, and the fiery zeal of Paul, were all overruled by the penetrating
* Rev. ii. iii.