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Fear not them that kill the body, &c.
This text teaches us, that Almighty GoD should be the supreme object of our fear; and that we should not suffer our dread either of the power, censure, or ridicule of the world, to lead us into any sin.
The very hairs of your head are all numbered, and ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Sincere Christians are under the constant and peculiar protection of God, so that no one can possibly injure them without his knowledge and consent. His providence is extended even to the animal creation; his servants, therefore, may safely rely on it.
Whoever shall confess me before men, &c.
It is not only our duty to believe in CHRIST, but publicly to profess our belief, by an observance of all his divine ordinances, and to endeavour to imitate the example of his virtues. Those who thus honour their SAVIOUR, will be peculiarly honoured in the presence of GoD, and in the sight of Angels, 471 Abis
Those who deny me, &C..
In times of persecution there are many temptations to deny CHRIST: Hor is this age of impiety, and infidelity without danger. In every gay company, where religion accidentally becomes a topic of conversation, some will be found to turn it into ridicule. Whenever, therefore, we are engaged in such a party, let not the fear of being thought illiberal and precise, lead us to counte nance their impious mirth; but let us recall to our minds the words of our SAVIOUR, and not be afraid or ashamed to own ourselves CHRISTIANS,
Whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones, &c. The smallest favour done to the meanest Christian for the sake of CHRIST, will be accepted by our benevolent SAVIOUR as if done to himself, and rewarded both with
with present and future blessings. And it is the same in respect to honouring God's faithful ministers, or esteeming any other person, on account of his Chris tian profession.
He that taketh not up his cross and followeth me, is not worthy of me.
This relates principally to the times of persecution; but it may be universally applied, since there is no Christian exempt from trials and afflictions.
THE DISCOURSE CONCERNING JOHN THE BAPTIST. THE UPBRAIDING OF BETHSAIda, &c.
From Matthew, Chap. xi.-Luke, vii.
AND it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of CHRIST, he sent two of his disciples,
And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
JESUS answered and said unto them, Go, and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me.
And in that same hour he cured many of their infir. mities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind, he gave sight.
And as they departed, JESUS began to say unto the
multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ?
But what went ye out for to see ? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in king's houses.
But what went ye out for to see ? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. : For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way
before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist : notwithstanding he that is least in the king dom of heaven, is greater than he.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it hy force.
For all the prophets, and the law, prophesied unto John.
And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And all the people that heard him, and the publia cans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the council of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
And the LORD said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and what are they like?
'They are like unto children sitting in the markets place and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced : we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread, nor drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a devil, :K6
The Son of Man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine.bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.
But wisdom is justified of all her children.
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.
Wo unto thee, Chorazin; wo unto thee, Bethsaida : for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented' long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in "Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee.
At that time Jesus answered; and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them 'unto babes.
Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight, All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest-únto your souls,
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
While the Baptist was shut up in prison, he was prevented from bearing public testimony to Jesus as the MESSIAH; but it appears, that some of his disciples, instead of following JESUS, as John had directed them to do, still resorted to him; and that the jealousy they had formerly entertained for the honour of their Master, was increased by the great success of our SAVIOUR'S ministry. They represented to John the wonderful things which were related concerning our LORD's ministry; and, it is probable, debated among themselves, whether he was the CHRIST, or Elias, whom the Jews in general expected to appear on earth before the coming of the MESSIAH. By thus obstinately adhering to their Master, these disciples frustrated the great end of his mission; instead, therefore, of repeating his testimonies, which had made no impression on them, John referred them to JESUS himself; and they accordingly came with the same kind of question they had proposed to the Baptist, enquiring, as if in their Master's name, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Instead of making a direct answer, our LORD in their presence performed many miracles, and appealed to these, as proofs of his Messiahship; and then commanded John's disciples to return to their Master, who would undoubtedly confirm their belief in CHRIST, by shewing that the Prophets, had foretold such things of the MESSIAH. OUR LORD also admonished them to lay aside the prejudices which had hitherto obstructed their faith, that they might be partakers of the blessings which he came to dispense.....
When the disciples were gone, our SAVIOUR delivered an illustrious testimony to the Baptist's character; ob.