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necessity of being patient, will also give us e comfort under tribulation." It tells us, that suffering is intended for our good. This is the language which it speaks : " My son, 66
despise not the chastening of the LORD, " nor faint when thou art rebuked of him “ for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, " and "scourgeth every son whom he re" ceiveth.” It tells us, that suffering is intended for improvement.
“No chastise“ment for the present seemeth to be joyous, “ but grievous; nevertheless, afterwards it
yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteous
ness to them who are exercised thereby." It tells us, that suffering is intended for our glorification. “I reckon that the sufferings “ of this present time are not worthy to be “ compared with the glory that shall be reos vealed in us.'
“For our light affliction “ which is but for a moment, worketh for us " a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 66 glory.
But the Holy Scriptures will, .in the third place, fill us with hope.
“ If in this life only “ we had hope," the case of good christians would be sad indeed; for, although the practice of God's commandments will always make men happy in their own minds, and generally respected and esteemed by others; yet still they are so much exposed to the
laughter of fools," and the ill offices of the wicked ; and they are obliged, for “con:
science sake," to give up so many of what a corrupt world calls pleasures and advan. tages; that if they had not something better to look to beyond the grave, it would, perhaps, have been better for them had they never been born. 6. But now is CHRIST “ risen from the dead; become the first-fruits “ of them that slept; opened to us the “ gate of life ; gone to prepare a place for « them that love him ;" given us the lively hope, and shewn us, by faith, the glorious prospect of a happy immortality. Looking down from his thronė, at the right hand of God Most High, he says to every one of his sincere followers, “Be thou faithful unto “ death, and I will give thee the crown of life." 66 Though briars and thorns be with thee, 6 and though thou dwell among scorpions, « be not thou dismayed." 66 Can a woman “ forget her sucking child, that she should.
not have compassion on the son of her 6 womb? Yea, they may forget ; yet will 6 not I forget thee." * These things have “. I spoken to you, that in me ye might have
patience, comfort, and hope ; in the world
ye shall have tribulation, but be of good 6. cheer, I have overcome the world.' On these Holy Scriptures, therefore, producing
such a harvest of happiness to the soul of man, let us fix our chief attention. Let us search them with diligence ; hear them read with reverence;
to God for light to understand and digest them : and, above all, let us seek for grace to enable us to follow the good examples which they shew forth, to avoid the wickedness they forbid, and to practise the virtues which they command; always remembering, that "all scripture is “ given by inspiration of God; and is prow fitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor. •66 rection ; for instruction in righteousness : " that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all GOOD WORKS.
(For the Third Sunday in Advent.]
MATTHEW xi. 10.
For this is he of whom it is written, Behold,
I send my messenger before thy face, to prepare thy way before thee.
HE words which our blessed LORD
makes use of in the text are taken froin the book of the prophet Malachi; who, being inspired by that God to whom all things, past, present, and to come, are fully known, delivered this prophecy of the appearance and office of John the Baptist, four hundred years before the time of his being born into the world. The passage alludes to that practice which was customary in former times, in the eastern nations of the world, (and is sometimes observed there, on great occasions, at the present day,) where, when any prince or great man travelled, persons were sent before him to “prepare his way;' in other words, to clear away those obstacles to his travelling, which he would otherwise meet with in countries through which there are no regular roads; " to make" (in the language of Isaiah) "a highway in the “ desert ;" to fill up (in some degree) “ the " valleys;" to lower " the hills ; ' " to make “ the crooked straight, and the rough places “plain.” According to this similitude was the preparation made by the wisdom of God for the preaching and ininistry of Jesus CHRIST. John the Baptist was sent before him, (according to the prophecy of Isaiah,) " in the spirit and power of Elias ;" that is, with great dignity of character, and with great weight and authority of preaching, to rouse his countrymen to a sense of their sins; to call their attention to the coming of that Messiah, who was now fully expected among thein; and to convince them of the necessity of holiness and virtue in the cha. racter of the believer : in other words, to preach and to excite among the Jews repentance, faith, and good works.