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VIII.

to signify by what death he himself Thould disc. die, and withal to intimate, that, besides the manifold persecutions his apostles were to undergo for his fake, some of them should even literally be conformed to him in the manner of their leaving the world; which accordingly came to pass. It seems impossible to reflect upon this wonderful and characteristic circumstance respecting the ever blessed Founder of our religion, as Grotius has well observed, without supporing that Plato must have been under a degree of divine impulse, when he closed the account of his righteous man who should appear, at some future day, upon the earth, by predicting, that, “after having “ suffered all other ills, he should, at

length, be fixed to a cross.

To understand the phrase of taking up and bearing the cross, it must be recollected, that, upon the infliction of this punishment, the criminal was obliged to take up the cross, and bear it, on his shoulders, to the place of execution.

Our

DISC.
VIII.

Our Lord's declaration shall be confidered, in the following discourse, as general, and made to all his disciples. We shall ftate the grounds on which the duty is founded; and point out the manner in which it may best be performed.

It may appear difficult, at first sight; to comprehend the goodness of God in afflicting us, or commanding us to afflict ourselves. Could not he render us holy, without rendering us miserable, by way of preparative? Doubtless he could have done it; and he could have produced all men, as he created the first man, at their full growth ; but his wisdom has seen it fit, that we should pass through the pains and hazards of infancy and youth, in the latter instance, and, in the former, that through tribulation and affliction we should enter into his heavenly kingdom. It is his will ; and therefore, though no reasons could be affigned, filence and submission would beft become us. But there are many.

For

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For it is obvious to remark, in the first Ô FŠĆ. place, that Christianity did not bring afflic. VHI. tions into the world with it; it found them already there. The world is full of them.

The misery of man is a theme on which philosophers and historians, orators and poets, have expatiated, from age to age ; nor is it yet by any means exhausted. The wealthy and the great, the men of business and the men of pleasure, have discovered no method of exemption. In every profeffion, every station, nay, in

every individual, there is a fomething, which, at times, damps all enjoyments, and embitters the cup of life. Men are disquieted either by the tempers of others, or their own ; by their fins, or by their follies; by fickness of body, ort' sorrow of heart. Many, instead of becoming better by their sufferings, are made worse'; they murmur, they rebel, they ráge, they despair; and the torments of time lead on to those of eternity. Such is the state of things in the world. Let us reflect,

7

Secondly, how it came to be so, and we

Shall

VOL. III.

M

VIII.

DISC. shall find still less cause of complaint. The

misery of man proceeded not originally from God; he brought it upon himself. “ God formed him upright;" and, while upright, happy; but he “ fought out “ inventions,” he followed his own imaginations, and became miserable. What the wise man fays of death, is equally true of affliction ; “ God made it not, neither “ hath he pleasure in the destruction," or the suffering, of the living. For he “ created all things, that they might have “ their being ; and the generations of the “ world were healthful, and there was no

poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth : for

righteousness is immortal -- But ungodly o men, with their works and words, called “ it to them." You see how exactly this harmonizes with the doctrine of the Apostle; “ death”-and, in like manner, trouble" came upon all men, for that all had “ finned.” Whatever, therefore, our sufferings may be, we suffer no more than we deserve ; we must bow down under the

VIII.

mighty hand of God; we must kiss the disc.
rod, exclaiming, in the words of Nehemiah,
Thou art juft, O Lord, in all that is

brought upon us; for thou hast done
“ right, but we have done wickedly.."

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The Scriptures inform us, that by one man's transgression moral evil entered into the world; death, and every other kind of natural evil, entered with it. To find our way through all the mazes of that labyrinth of disputation which the subject has occafioned, may be difficult; to explain clearly and unexceptionably every particular in that concise history given us by Moses, may not be easy : but the fact is sufficient, related in the Old Testament, acknowleged and built

upon

in the New. And it is the only clue that can unravel, the only key that can open every thing. Grasp it firmly, and suffer no man, either by fraud or force, to wrest it from you. Without it, all is dark and inexplicable. You will be driven,

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