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men;" leaving it with you to “judge what I say;" but, where your everlasting interests are at stake, “let me," at least,“ speak freely."
If there be here one disciple of vanity, one votary of pleasure, still lingering in this state of dangerous indecision,—hesitating between light and darkness,-between good and evil; if there be here one“ babe in Christ,” who as yet does not know his Saviour and his GOD,-one unstable soul, yet unresolved “whom he shall serve;" let him postpone his inquiry, let him delay his choice, let him defer his amendment, not a day! - no, not an hour! Can he control the morrow ? Can he say to time, keep back; and to the hours, go not forth? Can he quench the fiery darts of pestilence, and arrest the outstretched arm of death? Can he be sure that hereafter,—on the bed of pain,-in the decay of age,—at the near approach of the last enemy, closing all his prospects, shutting him in on every side, excluding all succour from without, and enervating all his powers within,-can he be sure, that then, at the last hour, he shall have the means of reformation, the grace to seek, the wish to “be reconciled to God ?” There is a season, when He, who hath repeatedly called, by His Son, by His Holy Spirit, by His apostles, by His ministers, and, as repeatedly, called in vain, will permit the haters of truth “to believe a lie,” and abandon the sons of licentiousness and the daughters of pleasure “to their own devices.” Nay, the fearful decree hath already gone forth, “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Then halt no longer between two opinions. If sin be your master, expect his wages
-death: if the Lord be your God, anticipate His gift,--His glorious gift-eternal life. If this world be your place of rest, then “ be conformed to this world;" “ live after the flesh, and die:" if heaven be your “hope and crown of rejoicing," —“ mortify the deeds of the body, and ye shall DISCOURSE V..
“CHRIST_THE WISDOM OF GOD, AND THE
POWER OF GOD.”
MARK, CHAP. VI. Ver. 2.
“ From whence hath this man these things ?"
We have here, as in many other parts of the sacred history, an instance, and, what appears at first view, a very extraordinary instance, of the incredulity and obstinacy of the human mind, when strongly fortified against truth by preconceived opinions, long indulged and fondly cherished.
Our Lord, having restored to life the daughter of Jairus, and wrought many miracles in Capernaum, returned to his own country, accompanied by his disciples, and on the sabbath publicly exercised his ministry in the synagogue. His manner of addressing his hearers, so superior to that of the Scribes, their accustomed teachers, as well as the wonders he had performed, excited their admiration and surprise ; and they could not forbear exclaiming, “ Whence hath this man these things, and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands ?” They heard his simple, but masterly eloquence; they confessed his controlling and supernatural power; and yet it failed to make that impression on their hearts, which might justly and reasonably have been expected. Whence, then, sprang this strange obduracy in those, who acknowledged the excellency of his speech, and the efficacy of his word? It was the rooted and universal prejudice, which had taken such absolute possession of the whole Jewish nation, rich and poor, learned and untaught, the grave doctors of the Sanhedrim, and the giddy rabble of the suburbs. Their longexpected and long-desired Messias (so they vainly dreamed) was to be a warrior,—a conqueror,a monarch; he was to free them from the yoke of the Gentiles, and bring the princes and potentates of the earth under subjection to the throne of David. All nations were to be the vassals of Israel : if not converts to their faith, they were, at least, to become subject to their dominion. And was this to be accomplished by a low-born and ignorant peasant, whom they had seen labouring at the trade of an ordinary mechanic,—whose brethren and sisters were familiarly known to them, and associated with the meanest inhabitants of an obscure village ? “ Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and of Juda and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us ?and they were offended at Him."
We, at this distance of time, and placed in such different circumstances, are apt to consider this stubborn unbelief of the Jews with some degree of astonishment; and yet it is very consistent with what may be observed in all times, and under all circumstances. Scarcely any evidence, short of absolute demonstration, can completely subdue inveterate prejudice; especially if it be lodged in an evil heart. If truth opposes the long-established notions of a whole people, and not only disappoints their hopes and wishes, but calls them to new, unexpected, and most unwelcome obligations, it will be long before it gains credit; and, if received at all, will find its way very slowly to the understanding. But if evil