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of his people was he stricken . And all this was accomplished in the history of his pasfion. After leading a life of poverty and forrow, after submitting to scorn and slander during the whole of his ministry for the fake of righteousness, he was at length arraigned before an iniquitous tribunal ; he was buffeted; he was scourged; he was nailed to the cross. The fury of his persecutors was wreaked upon him; and the cup which was given him to drink was the bittereft, which ingenious malice could devise to mingle.
From this great pattern of refignation to suffering in so good a cause, the Apostle exhorts his Disciples to submit with patience to griefs and persecutions, even if wrongfully inflicted, for conscience toward God: for to this, he asserts, were they called on taking upon them the Christian name; and it was expedient that they should submit to these things; “ because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps : who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who bore our
8 Ifa. liii. 3, &c.
. . 373 fins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should live to righteousness : by whose stripes we are healed h.”.
On this precept and example was formed the glorious company of the Apostles, who in obedience to the parting injunction of their Lord went forth to preach his gospel to all nations, and to establish the sceptre of his righteousness over all the kingdoms of the world. However feeble their minds, however timid their characters had been at the time, when their Lord was delivered into the hands of men, yet as soon as they were instructed in the real purpose of his death, as foon as they comprehended the true nature and constitution of his Kingdom, they did not hesitate to undergo every toil, to confront every danger, and to encounter every fiery trial, in accomplishing that work for which they were called: they gloried in tribulation, and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus i. What the Apostle Paul has asserted of his own feelings and sentiments on the certain prospect or the actual endurance of persecution, may be applied indifferently to all the Apostles : “ Behold, I go bound in the Spirit
i Acts v. 41.
h 1 Pet. ii, 21–24.
B b 3
unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there: fave that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself ; so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of Godk.” In his Second Epistle to the Corinthians he glories in the trials, to which he was exposed as a Minister of Christ: 6 In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft:- In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness!.” And in his Epistle to the Romans he endeavours in these folemn strains to impress upon their hearts the divine Love of their blessed Redeemer: “ Who shall separate us from the love of Chrift? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither the fear of death, nor the desire of life; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers ; nor things prefent, nor things to come ; nor height of prosperity, nor depth of calamity, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jefus our Lord m.”
* Aets xx. 22, 23, 24.
12 Cor. xi. 23—27.
By the same precept and example was alsa formed that noble army of Martyrs, who during the several persecutions under the Heathen Emperors submitted patiently to every kind of evil ; who encountered death in every form of terror ; who sung in the midst of flames, and gloried in suffering for the name of Christ and in the cause of the Gospel. All those come literally under the description of our Lord, of them that are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
In the present age of the world, when the Faith of Christ is diffused far and wide among the nations, and is adopted and established for the religion of the State, this character of the Christian Soldier cannot literally be put to
the proof. Yet without the test of martyrdom the true Followers of Christ will find an ample field for the exercise of their religious fortitude. For though they are not exposed to persecution for the sake of righteousness, yet they are exposed to temptations of yarious kinds in their common intercourse with the world. They encounter them in the pleasures and in the pains, in the riches and in the penury, in the honours and in the dishonours of human life. By temporal goods they are tempted to forget their God and their religion ; and by temporal evils they are also tempted to fretfulness and impatience, and sometimes even to dishonest means of repairing their unhappy lot. The true Followers of Christ are not moved with any of these things. In every condition and in every vicissitude of life they hold fast their integrity unshaken, and they continue faithfully to maintain their ground against the several forms and species of temptation. Unfubdued by those trials to which so many yield, they are determined with the Apostle, that nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ. Neither discomposed by the soft seductions of prosperous fortune, nor the rude attacks of adverse, they continue true to the cause of Christ, and under