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Redemption was carried on from the beginning; being gradually unfolded from the fall of Adam to that “ fulness of time,” when the Son of God himself came forth, to accomplish all that had been prefigured or foretold. We learn too from that zeal and fortitude, that holiness and humility, which marked the character of this great luminary of the Gospel, the duties that are most imperative upon us as disciples of Christ; that we should“ keep
ourselves unspotted from the world,” endeavour to stem the torrent of impiety and immorality even in the worst of times, and “ let our light so shine before men, that they
may see our good works, and glorify our “ Father which is in heaven."
These are lessons of general importance. More special instruction might hence also be given to those who are called to the sacred office of the Christian Ministry. The Baptist, at our Lord's first coming, was sent to prepare
before him,” by preaching repentance and faith. The “ministers and “ stewards of his mysteries" are now commissioned “so to prepare and make ready his The Divine Founder of our religion
way, by turning the hearts of the disobe“ dient to the wisdom of the just, that at his “ second coming to judge the world, they may “ be found an acceptable people in his sight.”
gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the Ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christo." Upon this foundation the Apostles were commissioned to erect an universal Church; and for its perpetual continuance our Lord himself hath promised to “ be with it,” in spirit and in power,
even unto the end of the “ world.” The great purpose of this Divine institution is, “ that ye
henceforth be no more 6 children, tossed to and fro, and carried “ about with every wind of doctrine," but that “ speaking the truth in love, ye may
grow up into Him in all things, which is “ the Head, even Christ'."
May He, then, who alone can bless all our endeavours to any effectual purpose, grant us a right judgment in all things,” and “
prosper the work of our hands upon us.” May He enable us diligently to preach His holy “ Word, and the people obediently to follow “ the same, that they may receive the crown “ of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ephes. iv. 11, 12 f Ephes. iv. 15.
MATTHEW xiii. 16, 17. But blessed are your eyes, for they see : and your
ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
OUR Blessed Saviour addressed these words to his disciples shortly after he had delivered the parable of the Sower. In that parable he described the effect which the preaching of the Gospel would produce upon persons of different characters and dispositions. Some, from total indifference to its heavenly truths, would hear, but not understand. Others would listen to it with a degree of satisfaction and even with an intention to profit by it, but would in time of temptation fall away.
Others would 6 bring no fruit to perfection,” being “ choked with the cares and “ riches and pleasures of this world.” A better class of hearers, receiving it with “ an
“ honest and good heart,” would not only hear and understand it, but treasure up its truths, and practise its injunctions ; “ bring“ ing forth fruit some an hundred-fold, some
sixty, some thirty;" according to their respective abilities, and the opportunities afforded them of “ adorning the doctrine of “ God their Saviour in all things.”
Such was the purport of this parable, as explained by our Lord himself. His disciples had previously inquired of him, why he addressed the multitude in discourses of this kind; clothing his instructions in a figurative dress, rather than in terms of plain and literal signification ; “ Why speakest thou unto “ them in Parables a q” In reply to this question, our Lord intimates, that those disciples who constantly attended on his Ministry, and gave proofs of their disposition to receive his doctrine with humility, were better qualified than others to be taught its truths in plain and simple language : but that upon the perverse or inconsiderate, whom neither his miracles nor his discourses could persuade to acknowledge him as a Teacher sent from God, such a direct and explicit mode of teaching would produce no effect. “Seeing, they would not see, or perceive; hearing, they would
a Matt. xüïi. 10–15.