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will, and take the chance of being ungratefully or even despitefully treated for it. None but the mean-spirited, or the ambitious, or the insipid, or the hypocritical, are spoken well of by all men; and popular applause is the grand object of a vain or knavish disposition. Therefore the Christian is wisely admonished, to seek that praise which cometh only from God; which is never bestowed upon false merit, and will never be wanting to the true.
2. From the example of the Jews, who were only irritated by St. Stephen's arguments, when they ought to have been converted; we see what a dreadful thing it is to have our reasons for hating and rejecting the truth. It is of infinite consequence that we should enquire what that meaneth--they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. What can be plainer than truth? And what is more amiable ? And if it saves us, what in all the world is half so valuable? Yet that saving truth is the only truth men cannot of themselves understand : and if they do not understand it, what fearful commotions are raised by it! It is a powerful drug, which will either embitter and inflame the mind *, or restore it to reason. The bigotted Jew, the ancient heathen, the modern infidel, the man of levity and pleasure,
* Stullos facit insanos. TER.
are all upon a level, all equally adverse to the Christian plan of salvation; all equally testo less and impatient when the proofs of it are laid before them. Even Paul himself (who from the part he took when the blood of the martyr Stephen was shed, must have been present at the trial) could hear the martyr's apology without being persuaded by it: that very man, who afterwards struck into the same way of 'interpretation, and delighted to apply the figures of the law as a testimony to Jesus Christ. There was a time when he was not only deaf, but inveterate, and as he'said, exceedingly mad against the Christians and all their arguments. Stephen might look like an angel,and reason like an angel: nothing could touch him. He had an opinion, that the Christians were wrong, and deserved to be persecuted: but opinion is that judgment which a man forms of the things of God without the grace of God. When Stephen had reasoned with his hearers, he prayed for them; and perhaps the conversion of that glorious instrument of God, the blessed apostle St. Paul, might be granted in consequence of
3. We are lastly to learn from the deliverance of the Hebrews under Moses, which God was pleased to accomplish by his hand, after all the contempt and opposition he had met with ; that, however the church, in bad times, may be corrupted and oppressed, and even averse to its own deliverance; yet the counsel of God is sure ; and He who hath promised to be with it to the end of the world, will never forsake its interests. Kings, with their statesmen and politicians, may be jealous of its rights, and invade them without fear or shame : nay, the time may come, when the very idea of a divine authority, either in priests or kings, shall be as hateful among Christians, as Moses and Aaron were to Pharaoh and the magicians of Egypt: and there are too many amongst us already, who cannot speak of it with patience. But the powers of the world can proceed no farther than God shall permit; and when things are at the worst, and seemingly past remedy, then will the time of the promise draw nigh; God shall interpose in what form and manner he sees best; and the church shall be conducted to glory and liberty, as the afflicted Hebrews were led forth to the possession of the land of Canaan.
ON MIRACLES ; PARTICULARLY, THE MIRA
CLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, AS THEY
OF THE SCRIPTURE.
We are prepared to consider the miracles of the gospel, as descriptive of something beyond themselves : because we have already seen how the miracles of Moses, for the saving of the Israelites, are applied in the New Testament, as figures of the saving of all mankind by Jesus Christ.
Our Saviour applied the -- lifting up of the serpent by Moses in the wilderness, to the lifting up of himself upon the cross, to draw all men unto him for the cure of their souls. The apostle tells us, that the rock which Moses smote, to give drink to the people, was Christ; that is, a figure of Christ, smitten
LECT.x. On the Figurative Language, &c. 211, for our sins, and giving to a thirsty world, the waters of life. Moses fed the people with manna ; but that manna was a figure of the true bread from heaven which giveth life unto the world. These things were our examples: the miracles wrought for them were signs of the miracles to be wrought for us. And as it was under the law, so it is under the gospel : the miracles of Christ are not of any private interpretation ; but, like the miracles of Moses, with a miraculous effect carry a miraculous signification.
And now, for the right understanding of this whole matter, we are to consider, that the name of Jesus was given, because he who bore it was to save his people from their sins. Sin is the great distemper of man, and salvation from sin is the great deliverance. The want of grace is the greatest want of man, and therefore grace is the greatest gift of God. To save us from sin, and restore us to grace, was the great work which Jesus Christ descended from heaven to accomplish. Every word and every action of his life tended either to effect this, or to give us a right understanding of it: therefore, when we see him working miraculous cures upon men's bodies, we are still to consider him as the Saviour of men's souls ; and that