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fore God, that his service is so defective, and that he so often denies his Lord, by heedless lapses, or by suffering temptation to have such power over him. When the Lord looked on Peter, and thereby brought to his remembrance the warnings which he had given him, his confidence in himself, and then his fall, he went out and wept bitterly.
Every Christian bath a measure of this spirit, and is grieved at his heart, when he calls to mind his Chameful denials of his Lord. If any, who think themselves his disciples are blind to their faults, or little affected with them-ready to excuse or extenuate them, especially if hidden from the world; or feel reluctant to take shame to themselves, when they have fallen, it nearly concerns them to examine the grounds of their hope toward God; there is reason to fear that they “ hold a lie in their right hands." Those who are Christ's discern their faults ; confess and forfake them. Their falls are made the occasion of greater watchfulness, and care to keep themselves from every wicked thing, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. May he grant this to be our temper, for his mercy's fake in Chrift. Amen.
In this rejoice not, that the Spirits are subject unto you; but
rather rejoice, because your Names are written in Heaven. ABUNDANT notice of Christ's coming preceded that interesting event. "To him gave all the prophets witness."
Neither was his entrance here unattested. Ic was announced by an angelic choir ; by a mirac. ulous ftar ; and by a band of eastern magi. The manger which contained him, was particularly pointed out to the shepherds, and his person delignated by inspired Simon and Anna. Again,
When entering on his ministry, witness wa's given for him, both from heaven, and on earth; from heaven by the visible descent of the holy Ghost, which rested on him, and by a voice testifying that he was the Son of God; on earth by John, and foon after by the seventy : For these were sent to prepare his way, and introduce him to his work.
John was sent before, “ to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”—“ Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The seventy, to declare him then entering on his ministry—“ The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”— John did no miracles ; but the seventy witnessed Christ's truth, and their own by wonders wrought in his naine.
In the orders given to them at their mission, we find them only directed to heal the fick, as an evidence of Christ's arrival, and their being sent of him ; but by the report made at their return they appeared to have been empowered to call out devils. They probably did all the mighty works done by the twelve, and by their Lord. Thus they prepared his way.
Doing miracles in Christ's name would raise in those who witnessed it, a desire to see him of whom they spake, and whose power they displayed : And “they were sent two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself would come.
Had they only proclaimed his arrival, some might have listened ; but few would have believed their report." Greater evidence than their word would have been demanded; as was afterwards of Chrift--" What sign shewest thou, that we may believe thee ?" Neither would the demand have been unreasonable. Special messages require special evidence ; and it is always given to those who are sent of God.
EVERY deceiver may pretend to a divine mission; but we are forbidden to " believe every spirit, and
commanded to try the spirits." The church at Ephesus is commended for having obeyed this command" Thou haft tried them which say that they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."
Our Savior speaking of the Jews' rejection of him, aggravates their guilt, by a consideration of the plentitude of the evidence which had been given them of his truth. “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin—but now they have no cloak for their fin-they have both seen and hated both me and my
Father."* At the return of the seventy they appear to have been elated with the exercise of the miraculous pow. ers which had been delegated to them---" And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
They had witnessed Christ's miracles, but seem not to have wrought miracles themselves till now; and when they found themselves able to do the mighty works which they had admired in their Lord they were filled with joy.
Having made their report, Christ enlarged their powers and promised them protection ---- Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” But to prevent them from setting an undue value on these distinctions, the caution in the text is fubjoined" Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not that
John xv. 22.-24.
the spirits are fubje&t unto you ; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
In discussing the subject, we will, first confider the caution or prohibition—In this rejoice not that the fpirits are fubje&t unto you ; then the command—But rather rejoice because your names are written in hea. ven.
1. We are to consider the caution, or prohibition--in this rejoice not, &c.
But why not ? Was it not matter of joy that spirits, evil spirits were fubject to them? That they were able to dislodge them from the bodies of-men, by commanding them in Christ's name? Certainly. This enabled them to answer the ends of their mission, which had been but very partial. ly answered without it. Wherefore then the prohibition ?
It is rather the excess of their joy, than the joy itself which is here forbidden. They seem to have placed an undue value on this power ; to have exalted it above its place, particularly as it concerned themselves. This was the first thing they mentioned at their return; nothing beside seems to have made so deep an imprellion upon them, or to have given them equal self importance.
To them there were other things more interesting and important; that they were accepted of God, and numbered among the faithful, and that their names were written in heaven, were to them occasions of nruch greater joy.
The gift of miracles proved their mission, and drew the attention of those who witnessed their