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implore preserving and sanctifying grace, that his spiritual enemies may not have any advantage over him; but that obtaining help of God, he may fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life, whereunto he is called. 56
And he who is sensible that he is indebted to Divine mercy and grace for his own pardon and salvation, will show mercy to his fellowcreatures, when they need it at his hands. He will forgive them that trespass against him; because he himself has received forgiveness from God; and because he hopes still to receive it for his daily offences. He will be compassionate to the poor and needy. If he has much, he will give plenteously. If he has little, he will gladly give of that little. He will do good unto all men, as he may have opportunity, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.57 He will above all things be anxious for the salvation of the souls of those who are around him. He will have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way,så desiring and endeavouring that they may be converted from the error of their way.59 The tenderest compassion is that which regards the soul. To the salvation of the souls of men the Christian's mercy will be particularly directed.
Such are the fruits which true Christianity produces. The contemplation of the mercy of our heavenly Father is calculated to lead His children to imitate Him; and thus to convince mankind that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.6 May we be enabled by our life and conduct to recommend the religion which we profess, that God may be glorified, and we may be blessed, both in this life, and in that which is to come.
56 1 Tim. vi. 12. 57 Galatians vi. 10. 58 Heb. v.2. 59 James v. 20.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Three Persons in one God, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honour, glory, praise, and dominion, for evermore. Amen.
60 Romans i. 16.
AND WHEN THEY HAD BROUGHT THEIR SHIPS
TO LAND, THEY FORSOOK ALL, AND FOL-
In the appointment of the fishermen of Galilee to be His first disciples and apostles, our Lord Jesus Christ acted very differently from the plan which would naturally have been adopted by the wise and prudent of this world. They would have looked out for the noble, the rich, the learned, the men of talent, as the most proper instruments to promote their cause. But these were not the qualifications of the persons whom our Saviour selected to publish the glad tidings of salvation to a lost world. Such
Such persons, He k
knew, had whereof to glory according to the flesh; and would therefore value themselves on these distinctions, and so mar the work in which they were engaged. And the success which might attend their efforts would be ascribed by others to their condition in life, or to the advantages which they possessed or had acquired : these adventitious circumstances being highly appreciated among men. As it was necessary to show to the world that the gospel of Christ was not to be indebted for its diffusion to an arm of flesh, but to Divine power; which could make use of instruments for effecting its purposes, that would be rejected by man as totally unfit to acaccomplish the designed end ; it pleased our blessed Lord to choose the foolish, the weak, the base, the despised things of this world to perform the work which He purposed to carry on, that no flesh should glory in His presence; but that according as it is written, he that glorieth, might glory in the Lord 61 alone.
In the Gospel for this day, we have a relation of the circumstances which attended the calling of Simon Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, to be the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us
First, Review the interesting narrative of this event; and
61 1 Corinthians i, 27–31.
Secondly, Consider what is related of these persons in the text, as affording an example which it becomes us to follow. And
may the Holy Spirit be pleased to make His word effectual for the accomplishment of the purposes of His
grace towards our own souls, that we may receive the edification, and admonition, and consolation which it is designed to convey to us.
The Evangelist relates, that, it came to pass, that the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God. He had shortly before declared Himself in the synagogue of Nazareth to be the Messiah; and though all the people who were there, wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth, yet they were quickly filled with wrath,62 and attempted to put Him to death; so that He left Nazareth, and went to live afterwards at Capernaum. From thence He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people; so that great multitudes followed Him. The object which they had in view at this time was, to hear the word of God. He appeared among them as a very extraordinary Teacher, who taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes, 64 the common expounders of the law of God; and they were
62 Luke iv. 22, 28. 63 Matthew iv. 23, 25.
64 Matthew vii. 29.