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Sect.V. people. Thefe also were importunatė w with St. Yobn, saying, “ And what shall

“ we do? And he said unto them, « Exact no more than that which is « appointed you.” The reflections of the writer above-cited, upon this cafe of the publicans, and the following one of the foldiers, are fo extremely senfible, judicious, and pertinent, that the reader will have an obligation to me, for presenting him with them, nearly as I find them. “ A wise preacher, like St. John, should distinguish the abuses of any state or condition of life from the condition itself; he should be so far from disturbing either the peace of private consciences, or the public repose, by condemning neceffary employments, that he ought carefully to promote both, by contenting himself with only retrenching the disorders and injustice of those who exercise them. To be exact in not permitting any abufes in employments of this nature, is to serve the state : and thofe loofe cafuists, who allow and authorize them, are pernicious to governments, by rendering these employments odious to the people, by favouring their murmurings, by en- Sect.V. couraging acts of injustice, and thereby giving occasion to rebellion and revolt. :

“ And the soldiers demanded of him, « faying, And what shall we do? And " he said unto them, Do violence to no “ man, neither accuse any falsely, and “ be content with your wages.” St. John here, in the last place, regulates the duties of military persons, and shews, that no condition is excluded from salvation, The business of war is not in itself at all opposite thereto; since there have been not only christian soldiers, but even great faints and generous martyrs of that profession. If all war was contrary to the gospel, St. John would not have allowed those who presented themselves before him to continue in that ftate. However it is certainly full of obstacles to salvation, which very few furmount. A state, which is generally embraced either out of passion, or lia bertinism, or through a blind destination of birth, the exercises whereof are fo violent and tumultuous, agrees but little with the exercises of chriftianity, or the spirit of the gospel, which is all


Sect.V. peace, charity, and meekness. It is

notwithstanding just and necessary, that there should be men to defend the state; but it is still more just and necessary, that this should not be done at the expence of salvation. The grace of God can do every thing: this is what ought to comfort those who intend to serve bim in serving their king and country.”

One cannot but observe the general agreement and harmony which seem to have prevailed, at this time among men otherwise of tempers and dispositions very different from, and opposite to each other. Jews and Gentiles, Pharisees and Publicans, Sadducees and Soldiers, all confess their fins, and participate of the same baptism, all struck with apprehensions of some impending evil, all flying from the wrath to come, forgetting their mutual hostilities and antipathies, and, like the creatures in the days of Noah, taking refuge together in the ark. As if the prophecy of Isaiah had now begun to receive it's accomplishment, the publicans, who, before the preaching of John, were ravenous. as evening “ wolves,” became as in


nocent as the ca lamb.” The foldiers, Sect.V. who had been, formerly fierce and cruel as the “ lion," became tame and tractable as the "ax," and submitted their Hecks to the yoke of the gospel. Such of the Pharisees likewife, who, before their baptism, had been venomous as the 66 afp," or " cockatrice," did, by the worthy receiving of this baptism, and the grace which God gave them, become mild: and gentle: as the " fucking « infant,” or “ weaneda child a.”

The concord thus produced: in fudea by the fermons of St. Yohn, and the tranquillity' which the whole earth then enjayed, sitting quiet as it were in expectation of her Lord, betokened the manifestation of the Prince of peace. «s. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to “. Jordan to John, to be baptized of « him .” After thirty years past in re tirement at: Nazareth; the blessed Jesus was: now to break forth, like the sun from a. cloud, or a stream from the bowels of the earth, to enlighten. man, • See the Works of Dr. Thomas. Jackson, ii. 522. * Matt; iii. 13, &c:

N . kind

Sect.v. kind by his doctrine, and refresh them

with the influences of his grace. The mighty concourse of all ranks and degrees of people attending St. John at the river Jordan, rendered that the fittest place where he might first shew himself to the world. He who knew no sin, but was to take away the sins of all other men, presented himself in the erowd of finners, as one of them, and folicited “the baptism of repentance," not that water might sanctify him, but that he might “ sanctify water to the “ mystical washing away of fin.”

CONFOUNDED at the thought of the Master being baptized by the servant, St. John at first “ forbad him, saying, I “ have need to be baptized of thee, and “ comest thou to me? And Jesus an“ swering said unto him, Suffer it to be « so now, for thus it becometh us. 'to “ fulfil all righteousness. Then he suf“ fered him.” Jesus Christ, as condescending to stand charged with our lins, and, to that end, being “ made "6 under the law ," was to fulfil the “ righteousness” of the law, as it cona Gal. iv. 4.

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