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be condemned in the lump: if it expofe to peculiar temptations to act amiss, he who refifts the temptation and overcomes himfelf is the more estimable. Over the place of his birth'a man had no more power than over the height of his stature, or the colour of his skin. It is an object of neither praise nor blame. The apostle Peter received a severe and just rebuke on this head, by a vision from heaven. He was prepared, and he needed to be prepared, for the exercise of his ministry at Cesarea, and to the family and friends of the excellent Roman cen. 'turion already mentioned, and whom his Jewish pride had 'taught him to hold in contempt, by a thrice repeated mandate which he dared not to disobey : “ What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." Let us consider it as addressed to ourselves. “Why dost thou judge thy brother ? or why doft thou set at nought thy brother ? for we shall all ftand before
the judgment-seat of Christ.” . 2. The fearful door denounced against unbelieving Jews · ought to operate as a warning to fill more highly privileged
Christians, left any man" fall after the same example of unbe. Tief.” “For it the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” We sometimes express contempt for the pagan world, sometimes affect to pity the blinded nations, and without hesitation pre. sume to pass a sentence of final condemnation upon them. The unhappy tribes of Africa, in particular, Christian Europe calmly reduces to the condition of beafts of burthen in this world, with hardly an effort to ameliorate it in the next. And yet they are men, they possess many virtues which ought to put their tyrants to the blush, and which will one day rise up in judgment against them. We despise the miserable Jews, and Stigmatize them as infidels, as it all those who bear the name of Chrift aétually believed in him. “Boast not against the brok: en-off branches ;” - thou wilt say: The "branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief, they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear : for if God spared not the natural branches, Yake heed left he also spare not thee." I conclude with the solemn denunciation of Christ himself, respecting the men of his generation, and which is still in equal force. ." The men of Nineveh fhall rife in judgment with this generation, and Deall 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 it: for she came from the uttermoft parts of the earth to hear the wildom of Solomon; and, behold, a great. er chan Solomon is here.”.
After the fe things Jefus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the
Sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they law his miracles which he did on them that were disealed. And Jefus went up into a mountain, and there he fat with his difciples. And the paffover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he faith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat ? (and this he said to prove kim: for he himself knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, faith unto him, there is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two fmall fishes, but what are they among so many? And Jesús faid, make the men fit down. Now ikere was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves ; and when he had given thanks he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down.; and likewise of the fifhes as much as they would. "When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, gather up.the fragmenas that remain, that nothing be loft. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unio them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
THE course of nature is a standing miracle. To be an a.
1 theift is to cease from being a man. To think of arguing with such a one is to undertake a labour as fruitless as attempt. ing to reason the lunatic into a sound mind. A case like this ought to excite no emotion but compassion, mixed with grati. Cude to God that he has not reduced us to a condition so de.
plorable. plorable. Refinement in reasoning is, in general, both un. profitable and inconclusive. The man of plain common sense. may advantageoully observe and devoutly, acknowledge the wisdom and goodness of the Great Supreme in the regular eb. bing and flowing of the tide, though he cannot trace the pro.. cess of the Sun's action on the waters of the ocean ; or of the wind, in conveying the fluid to the mountain's top ; or of gravity, lending it down to water the plains beneath ; or the Supposed influence of the moon, or of the melting of the polar ices, producing an alternate and regular flux and reflux on our Thores, or in our rivers. Ot what importance is the theory of vegetation, compared to the simple but valuable labour and experience of the gardener and husbandman ?: The fame obfere vation applies to the religion of the Gospel. Here the learned have no advantage whatever over the illiterate. It confifts ot a tew plain, unadorned facts, authenticated by the teftimo.. ny of a cloud of unsuspected witnesses ; of a few'simple, prac. tical truths, level to the most ordinary capacity ; and of a few. precepts of self-evident importance, which it highly concerns every man to oblerve. Should it be alleged that there are blended with things hard to be understood, it is admitted, And. here again the wise and prudent have no superiority over the vulgar, but both meet the God of grace as well as the God of, nature exercising his divine prerogative, in ministring to the. necessities, while he checks the pride and prefumption of man.
The miracles of our blessed Lord which have hitherto paff. ed in review, had a more limited object. Their design was to, relieve individual, or domestic distress ; they were an appeal, public indeed, to the understanding and senses of all who wit. nessed them, but slightly telt, imperfectly understood, and lit. tle improved, except by the parties more immediately intereft. ed in them. They were granted to importunity, and as a re, ward to the prayer of faith. That which is the subject of the passage now read, embraces a much wider range, than any of thefe, and is the spontaneous effufion of his own divine beneyolence and compassion. Ten thousand persons, at a moderate. calculation, were at once the witnesses and the subjects of the miracle, and in a case wherein it was impossible they should be mistaken, for they had every fenle, every faculty exercised in ascertaining the truth. And here he waits not, as in other cases, till the cry of misery reaches his ear, but advances to meet it, to prevent it; he outruns expectation, and has a lupply in readinels, before the pressure of want is felt,
The duration of Christ's public ministry, from his baptifm,
to his passion, has been calculated from the number of passo. vers which he frequented. This, as may be supposed, has oc. casioned considerable variety-of opinion. The attentive read. er will probably adopt that of our illustrious countryman, Sir Isaac Newton, who reckons five of these annual festivals with in the period. The first, that recorded in the 2d chapter of St. John's Gospel, at which he purged the temple, predi&ted his awn death and relurrection, and performed fundry miracles. The second, according to that great chronologist, took place a few months after our Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria, which he founds on that text, Jonn iv. 35. “Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then comeih harvest f be. hold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harveit,” The third, a fe:v days. prior to the Sabbaih on which the disciples walked out into the fields, and plucked the ears of corn, when he cured the impo. tent man at the pool ot Bethesda. The fourth, that which was. now approaching at the era of this miracle ; and the fifth, that at which he suffered. The peaple were now therefore flock. ing from all parts of Galilee, on their way to Jerulalem to keep the passover : and this accounts for the very extraordinayy number who at this time attended his preaching and mirs acles.
“After these things," says John. The other three Evangel, ifts connect this scene, in respect of time, with a moft memo. rable event in the history of Chriftianity, the decapitation of John Baprift in the prison. When these melancholy tidings were told to Jesus, Matthew informs us, that "he departed thence by ship into a desert place a part : and when the people had heard thereof they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their Gick ;** and then immediately follows the miracle of feeding the mul. titude, recorded with exactly the same circumstances in all the four Evangelifts, Mark affixes an additional date. It was at the time when the disciples returned trom the execution of their first commission, with an account of their success : “And the apoftles gathered themselves together unio Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught." On this Jesus proposed a temporary retirement from the pub. Jic eye; for the conveniency of private conversation, of repole, and of the necessary refreshment of the body : “ And he said unto them, come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while : for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure fo much as to eat. And they departed into a