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while others are throwing away their time, their labour and their souls, may we, by gathering with him, secure to ourselves everlasting riches !
We must surely be astonished to hear of that perverse and malignant interpretation which these wretches put on such convincing miracles; and it must move our indignation to see the Son of God maliciously charged as an associate with Satan. If they have thus called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more those of his household ? (Matt. x. 25.) Let us learn to imitate that meekness of wisdom, with which the blessed Jesus pursues his vindication. Oh that his followers had ever traced it! Yea, I had almost said, Oh that they had learned, even from the union of confederate enemies, the danger of that house or kingdom which is unnaturally divided against itself ! · It is matter of great thankfulness thus expressly to hear that every other sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven ; but awful to think that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is excepted. Let those, who, while they cannot deny the facts of Christianity, despise and oppose its doctrines, tremble to think how near they approach to the boundaries of this sin, which is perhaps more obscurely described that we may more cautiously avoid all such approaches. But let not the humble soul, that trembles at God's word, meditate terror to itself from such a passage; which, when viewed in its due connection, cannot, with any shadow of reason, be thought to belong to any, who do not obstinately reject the gospel and maliciously oppose it, when made known to them with its fullest evidence.
Matthew XII. 33–45. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good: or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things ? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees tempting him answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from heaven from thee. But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign ; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly ; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn them; for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Let us especially attend to those instructions we have here received, and judge of ourselves by our fruits ; never flattering ourselves that our hearts are good, if our lives are abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. (Titus i. 16.) And in particular let us remember, that not our actions only, but the fruits of our lips, are to be brought into the solemn account which we must give to the great Judge of all the earth; and that the day is coming, when all our idle and unprofitable talk, which has proceeded from the evil treasure of a depraved heart, will undergo a strict examination, and we must answer not for our actions only, but shall be justified or condemned by our words.
And, if foolish and wicked speeches are to be accounted for in the day of judgment, let us set a watch on the door of our lips to prevent them: and labour daily to use our tongue so, that it may indeed be, as it is in scripture called, our glory. (Psalm xvi. 9, xxx. 12.)
For that purpose, let it be our great care to lay up a good treasure of Christian knowledge and experience in our hearts ; that while too many are poisoning those that are round about them with erroneous principles and vicious discourses, the opening of our lips may be of righteous things; and we may still be ready, upon all proper occasions, with freedom, variety, and spirit, to bring forth good and profitable things from the good treasure of our hearts; which may be edifying unto those that hear us, and may go from one heart to another. So will the Lord himself hearken with pleasure unto what we speak, and exactly record it in the book of remembrance that is written before him ; and producing it at last to our public honour, will own us for his, in the day when he makes ир
his jewels. (Mal. iii. 16, 17.)
Let us, to whom the revelation of the gospel is so clearly made, fear, lest these dreadful things should come upon us, and the abuse of our advantages should render us an easy prey to Satan, and a fit habitation for the powers of darkness. Let those particularly fear it, who, having been brought to some serious impressions and some external reformation, are tempted to relapse into former vices, which would render their latter end far worse than their beginning, (2 Peter ii. 20 ;) God has permitted some such awful instances to occur ; and unhappy wretches, perhaps, some of them the children of religious parents too, who were once not far from the kingdom of God, have so abandoned every principle of religion, and every sentiment of wisdom and virtue, that it seems as if seven devils had possessed them, and were driving them headlong to destruction.
May we, instead of demanding further evidence of Christianity than the wisdom of God has seen fit to give us, make it our care to hear and obey and diligently improve the light we have received! May we be brought to a sincere and lasting repentance by the preaching of Christ and his apostles, lest the Ninevites rise up in judgment against us and condemn us ! May we own the superior wisdom of this Divine Teacher, this better Solomon; and say, as the queen of Sheba to the Jewish prince, (1 Kings x. 8.) Happy are these thy servants, who stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom ! for thou speakest as never man spake, (John vii. 46 ;) and in thee all the trea. sures of wisdom and knowledge are hid, (Col, ii. 3.) But oh, how many are curious to know what little concerns them, and are fond of improving their own wit, and trying that of others by hard questions, while the far more obvious and important points of wisdom are neglected as beneath their regard; as if every thing were more necessary than being wise to salvation! We need not travel to distant climates to learn this heavenly philosophy; no, it is nigh us, even in our mouth ; and we are, on that account, so much the more inexcusable, if it be not also in our heart. (Rom. X. 8.)
SECTION XVIII. MATTHEW XII. 46–50. MARK III. 31–35. While he yet talked to the people, behold, there came then his mother and his brethren, and standing without, sent unto him, calling him, desiring to speak with him. And the multitude sat about him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
So may it be our care to do the will of God, that we may be thus dear to our Redeemer, who ought by so many tender bonds to be dear to us; and who, by such gracious and indulgent declarations, as these which we have now been reading, is drawing us as wịth the cords of a man, and with the bands of love!
Still does the light of his Divine instructions shine with the brightest lustre, and diffuse itself around us !
Let us open the eyes of our mind with singleness and simplicity to receive it; and make it our care to act according to it. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, (Hosea vi. 3,) and thus with cheerfulness shall we reap the fruit of a well informed mind and a well regulated life!
May we be delivered from all those false maxims which would darken our hearts amidst all this meridian lustre, and turn our boasted light into darkness! Would to God there were not renewed instances of this kind continually occurring among us; and that we did not daily meet with persons whose pretended wisdom teaches them to forget or despise the gospel, and so serves only to amuse their eyes, while it leads their feet to the chambers of death!
LUKE VIII. 4-8. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side, and began again to teach. And great multitudes were gathered together again, and were come to him out of every city, so that he went into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
And he spake unto them, and taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; behold, a sower went out to sow his seed. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air came, and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth ; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth.
But as soon as it sprang up, when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no root, and lacked moisture, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. But other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and increased; and brought forth fruit, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred-fold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but unto them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables : because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And