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IN the sixteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we have an account of the introduction of the gospel into Europe, a quarter of the world where it has delighted to dwell, and where it has produced the most important results. Philippi was the first city in Europe which was visited by the day-spring from on high, and Lydia and her family were its first fruits to Christ. If the time and the place of the introduction of any useful invention, or any important discovery in science into a country, is noted with care by all who take an interest in the welfare and the improvement of their species, it would ill become us to consider with indifference the time in which the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, first appeared in this division of the globe, or the place from which it has spread over all its borders. Worldly men may deem this the proudest boast of Europe, that it has been the favourite seat of science and of civilization-but the Christian will regard this as its glory, that the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ have had in it their most extensive spread, and their brightest influence.

The propagation of Christianity, in the primi tive times, was committed to persons deeply interested in its progress, and we see in their history that they shrank from no toil and no suffering required in the work of the gospel. The zeal of the apostles led them to seek out every opportunity of usefulness. Deeply impressed with the danger of sinners, the compassion and grace of the Saviour, and the obligations of the office with which they had been invested, they preached the word at all seasons, and in all places where any assembling of people presented to them an opportunity of addressing them on the best interests of their souls. It was by this holy and benevolent zeal that Paul was led into the Jewish synagogues, and into the schools of philosophy, to exhibit to the Jews Jesus Christ as the end of the law for righteousness, and to the Greeks the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are hid in him; and it was by it that he was impelled to go into the place of prayer at Philippi, and to deliver to the suppliants there the message of salvation with which he had been intrusted. He would set before them the mediation of him by whom we have access to the Father; that blood of Jesus, by which we have boldness to enter into the holiest of all; and those offices of interces

sion and sympathy which Christ performs for us in Heaven, which are so soothing in sorrow, and so animating in duty. His doctrine was blessed for the conversion of Lydia, and the narrative of it, though short, is highly interesting. The sacred historian tells us, "that a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."

The account given of Lydia's circumstances and character, previous to her conversion, is well worthy of attention. She had come from her native city to Philippi, and, as it is probable that she was now a widow, she sold either purple cloth, or purple dye, for the support of her family. Providence had smiled on her virtuous industry, for she was able to show hospitality to the apostles. Few sights are so gratifying as the successful efforts of a person in such circumstances, to rise above poverty and dependence, and to supply to children the want of a father's toils. The widow whom Paul recommends to

the respect and the care of churches, is one who has brought up children, who has lodged strangers, who has washed the saints' feet, who has relieved the afflicted, and has diligently followed every good work. Such characters are at once

the ornaments of Christianity and of domestic life.

There are many powerful considerations, which call upon all, in such a condition as Lydia, to go and do likewise. Thus will they exhibit the most striking evidence of affection to the departed, bind the hearts of their children to them by the strongest ties, and manifest a greatness and strength of mind which will secure them universal respect. Indolence and morbid sensibility shrink from exertion, and imagine that from them it can neither be expected nor required; but such folly will be punished in the penury of their family, and in the misery of their own hearts. On the other hand, diligence not only maketh rich, but cheerfulness will assuredly attend it; and the widow's toils will preserve her health of body, and lighten her heart of its most oppressive cares. It is seldom that envy or rivalship thwart her plans, or obstruct her success. The good delight to aid her efforts, and the bad are ashamed to oppose them.

But Lydia is also described by the religious profession which she maintained. She was either a Jewess, or a proselyte to that religion. In a heathen city she worshipped the living and true God, and by her exact performance of religious rites, and her eager desire after religious knowledge, she was not far from the kingdom of God.

It is a most erroneous supposition, that the greatest proportion of converts are gained from among the licentious and the profligate. We know that Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief, and that the most atrocious transgressors have been sanctified by his grace; but it is certain that his Spirit most commonly operates on those who wait daily at wisdom's gates, and who have enjoyed the inestimable benefits of a pious education. Some, by a most shocking perversion of the gospel, have imagined that the farther they went in wickedness, they made themselves more fit for the work of the Saviour; and ideas of this kind have received too much countenance, in the injudicious manner in which the conversions of some malefactors have been detailed, and in their being exhibited as leaving the world with the most rapturous expression of religious hope. But that no great confidence should be placed in such impressions, is evident in the contempt of all

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