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God," saith the Scripture, and one "Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." No, says popery, you must have a mediatrix between you and that mediator; nay, one armed with authority to control and command him. The mind turns away with horror from the blasphemous suggestion. The rights of parents have a boundary, both as to extent and duration, the authority of God knows no limit, and never can expire. When his voice is heard, that of nature must be suppressed. The duties of the public character must absorb the feelings of the private individual. We may warrantably lay before our compassionate Redeemer, our most secret thoughts, and pour out our hearts before him in prayer and supplication, in perfect submission to his will; but we must not presume either to prescribe to his providence, or to arraign his conduct. He doeth all things wisely and well.
3. Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for "it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Whether therefore God supplies the good things of life in the ordinary course of nature, or by a special interposition of his almighty power, they are liberally bestowed, they are the bounty of a Father, to be used, to be enjoyed. When God placed our grand progenitor in the terrestrial paradise, the parental grant was large: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat;" but with one single reservation; "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." We are still on the same footing, in a world which has indeed ceased to be a paradise, but which, nevertheless, is still abundantly stored with every thing necessary, convenient, and comfortable for man. The grant is still as liberal: "The good of the land is before you :" take, thou mayest freely eat, freely drink. But, mark the reservation, still indispensible as ever, eat, drink, in moderation, to the support and refreshment of the body,
not its depression and derangement. To a certain bound this is cordial, salutary, nutritive: beyond its nature changes, it becomes a deadly poison. Satisfy thyself with knowing its good, and venture not to make trial of its evil. Did Jesus convert wa er into wine that he might minister fuel to excess? The thought is impious. As well might a bountiful providence be charged with the gluttony, the drunkenness and all the other sensual lusts in which men indulge themselves, because it "gives us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." The miracle of Cana of Galilee, as all those which our Lord wrought, was a miracle of goodness; it provided a supply of a necessary of life, to a family in moderate circumstances, and which lasted them, I doubt not, for many days: it was the repayment of a debt of friendship and hospitality in a manner peculiar to himself; and it was a manifestation of his glory in the eyes of his disciples, who had far other thoughts than that of abasing their master's bounty; "they believed on him."
4. We have said that this and all our Saviour's other miracles were miracles of goodness: We now add, They were all disinterested. Here he gave proof of sovereignty uncontroulable. It was exercised to supply the temporal wants of a few, and to minister to the everlasting consolation of myriads. But "Christ pleased not himself." What might not his power have commanded, of all that is exquisite on the earth, in the air, through the paths of the sea? But though a hungred, he will not command stones to be made bread for his own use; if he miraculously multiply a few loaves and fishes, it is to feed a starving fainting multitude. If he makes the sea tributary, it is at one time to compensate the painful labour of poor men, who had " toiled all night and taken nothing," at another, to prevent offence by paying his tribute money. Fish broiled on a fire of coals, and a morsel of bread, are the simple fare on which he and his disciples dine, even "after that he was risen from the
dead." "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." 66 They that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses;" His clothing was not worth dividing among a few of the basest of mankind: His raiment, his lodging, his fare were all of a piece. And is the servant greater than his Lord? To the poor the gospel is preached, and to the poor the example is set, the example of contentment with a low condition, of meek submission to hardship, of superiority to the vanities and luxuries of this world, of self-government and self-denial. His modern disciples have been accused of love of ease and indulgence, of fondness for daintics and delicacies, of aiming at power and pre-eminence. If the imputation be just, it is to be lamented and christians of every rank and denomination are concerned, as far as in them lies, to do it away. If it be ill-founded, it must be borne, as part of the reproach of Christ and his disciple must bear in mind that he is bound by the law and by the practice of his divine master, not only to abstain from all evil, but from all appearance of evil.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
And he rose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house: and Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her. And immediately she arose, and ministered unto them. Now, when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, thou art Christ, the Son of God. And he rebuking them, suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day he departed, and went into a desert place; and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.LUKE iv. 38-44.
THE religion of the gospel is adapted to every pos
sible condition of life, for it is adapted to the nature of man, who, with the variation of a few circumstances, is the same universally, and in every age. There is the difference of colour and speech, the difference of climate and soil, the difference of high and low, of rich and poor; but still it is man, with all his excellencies and imperfections, with all his capability of degradation and
of improvement, with all his propensities to evil and to good. Christianity takes him up as he is, and undertakes to make him what he ought to be. "Can the Ethiopian change his colour, or the leopard his spots ?" No, replies nature, I give that colour, I painted those spots; but I cannot undo my own work. He that is black must, for me, continue black still, that which is spotted must be spotted still. But the grace of the gospel unfolds a mystery which it is beyond the reach of nature to solve. It transforms that which was as scarlet into the whiteness of snow, what was red like crimson into the colour of wool. "Can these dry bones live?" Yes, at the word, and by the spirit of the Lord. Miracles like these the Spirit of Christ is exhibiting every day. Do we not see: O that the spectacle were more common! Do we not see loftiness of station united to lowliness of mind; a hard lot to a contented spirit; the fulness of this world to the exceeding riches of the grace of God?
When the Son of God came for the salvation of a lost world," verily he took not on him the nature of angels." But more wonderful still! he united the divine nature to the human, and thereby became at once an object of supreme adoration, and a familiar instructor. What he said and did as the Lord, "wise in heart and mighty in strength," we must ever contemplate at an awful distance, admiring, venerating what we cannot find out unto perfection, and which we are still more incapable of imitating. But in what he said and did as a man, we behold a pattern most amiably simple. most powerfully impressive, most consummately perfect. In vain do we look any where else for that steadiness and uniformity of character which alone can merit the distinction of being proposed as an example. Whom else can we with safety follow in every thing? In the most perfect of mere nien, while there is much to respect and to commend, there is ever a something to blame and to