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THE EVANGELICAL MINISTRY EXEMPLIFIED IN THE
ACTS XX. 17--27.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders
of the church. And when they were come to him, he
said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came
into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at
all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind,
and with many tears and temptations, which befell me
by the lying in wait of the Jews; and how I kept back
nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed
SALVATION BY GRACE.
EPHESIANS I. 8.
For by grace are ye saved, through faith : and that not of
yourselves : it is the gift of God.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE POOR.
LUKE VII. 22.
To the Poor the Gospel is preached.
The Old Testament closes with a remarkable prediction concerning Messiah and his forerunner. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord : and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Accordingly, at the appointed time, came John the Baptist, in the spirit and power of Elias, saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In his great work of preparing the way of the Lord, he challenged sin without respect of persons. The attempt was hazardous; but, feeling the majesty of his cha
racter, he was not to be moved by considera tions which divert or intimidate the ordinary
Name, sect, station, were alike to him. Not even the imperial purple, when it harbored a crime, afforded protection from his rebuke. His fidelity in this point cost him his life. For having reproved Herod, for Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, he was thrown into prison, and at length sacrificed to the most implacable of all resentments, the resentment of an abandoned woman.
It was in the interval between his arrest and execution, that he sent to Jesus the message on which my text is grounded. · As his office gave him no security against the workings of unbelief in the hour of temptation, it is not strange, if, in a dungeon and in chains, his mind was invaded by an occasional doubt. The question by two of his disciples, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another ? has all the air of an inquiry for personal satisfaction; and so his Lord's reply seems to treat it. Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. The answer is clear and convincing. It enumerates the very signs by which the church was to know her God, for whom she had waited; and they were enough to