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and their main support, without whose nourishment they cannot live in health. I will give one other instance. Christ says, that in Hell the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; and again, that to him that overcometh, he will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Now we do not suppose that there is really a worm in Hell to gnaw men's flesh, nor that there is really a tree in Heaven from which the good will gather fruit to eat. But if not a worm, there is a suffering of body and soul, which indeed shall never end; if there is not a tree of life in the midst of Heaven; yet we know that he is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto him ; that in his sence is the fulness of joy, and at his right hand there is pleasure for evermore.

Some, I believe, have been inclined to lower the meaning of such expressions as those in the text, because they think that they may encourage extravagance and fanaticism.

But we should all bear in mind that man, it is true, is apt to abuse even the best things; but there are two ways of abusing them ; one by over-using them, and the other by not using them enough. Many persons, it is likely, have attached some fanciful notion to the words eating the flesh of


Christ and drinking his blood; and have let their thoughts and their tongues run wild, without bringing their hearts and lives to a sober and faithful obedience. But many, and perhaps more, by forgetting the force and peculiar meaning of the command to make Christ our food, and by putting always in the place of such lively expressions, the mere injunction to obey Christ's law, have in fact grown cold in their feelings towards him, have lost the sense of their close relationship to him, have not held fast to him as their head, nor have sought of him daily their spiritual nourishment and strength. They have not then eaten the flesh of the Son of man, nor drunk his blood : they have lived much in the world without him ; and their life, therefore, has not been that life of faith in the Son of God, which it ought to be. It is unwise in us now to use the same sort of figurative language in religious subjects, unless we merely borrow and quote Christ's own words; because it is not natural to our national character or habits, and therefore appears to be affectation, even if it really is not so. must not lose our relish for it when we meet with it in the Scriptures : there it is in its place, natural and proper; and more powerful and edifying than any thing which we can put

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in its room. In fact, the more fondly we love the words of Christ, so much the better hope is there that we shall practise them : there was an especial promise given, that the Holy Ghost should bring them faithfully to the remembrance of his Apostles, in order that they might record them without the possibility of corrupting them; and the more we study and feed upon them, the more reason shall we see to bless the goodness of God for preserving them to us so surely. And, it is a further blessing, that they are their own best interpreter; so that he who has the Scriptures only, and reads them humbly, sincerely, and with the exercise of his thought and understanding, will find for the most part that they are clear enough for any practical improvement, and become clearer and more effective for that purpose every time they are read with an honest heart, and an humble spirit.



ACTS xiv. 22.

We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom

of God.

It needs but a very little knowledge of the history of the first Christians to perceive the truth of these words, at the time when they were spoken and written. Undoubtedly, the Christians of those days were exposed to abundant tribulations, from the Jews, from the Heathens, from the mere violence of the common people, and more constantly than all these, from the separation in families, and the tearing away old friendships and connexions, which followed their conversion to their new faith. I do not know that this last trouble has been so much noticed in after ages as it deserves, although our Lord himself had foretold it as one of the severest trials which his Disciples should meet with. - A man's foes shall be


they of his own household.” “I am come, said he,“ to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother.”

From henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three." The pain which Christians were obliged to give to those whom they best loved, and who in many respects most deserved their love; the disappointing their hopes, the shocking their feelings and opinions, must have been more grievous to bear than the pains of martyrdom, and often must they have found it needful to strengthen their resolutions, by recurring to Christ's own warning; He who loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me."

Of the peculiar tribulations which beset the first Christians, many, as we know, are no longer felt by us.

We have nothing to fear from the enmity of Jewish or Heathen governments, or from the violence of the populace, if we follow Christ both in name and in deed. Nor does the profession of the Gospel in ordinary cases breed quarrels amongst the members of the same family. All call themselves Christians, and, therefore, no one individual is likely to give pain or offence by doing so.

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