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bitious request of the sons of Zebedee, that they might have the privilege to sit, the one at his right hand, and the other at his left, in his kingdom. (Matt. xx. 20.)

In all these instances, we perceive in the aposiles a prevailing misconception of the nature of Christ's kingdom, and of the duty and office to which they were called. And, in addition to this, many remarkable proofs of the common infirmities of man have been pointed out in their character: such as the spirit of revenge, which would have called down fire from heaven, to consume their adversaries that weakness and timidity which compelled them all to forsake their Lord and fly, when he was taken by the Jews—that panic, which induced Peter to deny his master, with oaths and execrationsthat despondency, which they all betrayed upon

his death, and their unbelief of his resurrection, notwithstanding Christ himself had, by his express and repeated instructions, prepared them for these events.

We must, then, admit: from all this it appears, that the apostles were, naturally, subject to the common infirmities of our lives, and that they laboured under some prejudices, which were peculiar to their own age 'and country. And, if it be true that they carried these disqualifications into their ministerial office, we must also allow that their records and doctrine ought to submit to the selection and modification of human judgment; and, consequently, that our faith stands not in the power of God, but in the wisdom of men. It is, therefore, of moment to enquire, whether these infirmities were not so overruled, that we shall be compelled to acknowledge the divine power and direction in the work of their ministry.

And here, we must recollect, in the first place, that the apostles did not enter upon their sacred charge by mere accident. They were not undisciplined mechanics, who took upon themselves the office of the ministry, as their constitutional zeal prompted them, and exercised that office under the influence of a heated imagination, or private ambition. They had studied for

under the most competent of teachers; and to his school they were not rashly or indiscriminately admitted. Our Lord declares, that they were ministers chosen of the Father, and given to the Son,

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for the execution of a charge, to which they were divinely and expressly appointed. Hence he saysI have manifested thy name, unto the men which thou gavest me, out of the world. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me ; and they have kept thy word. (John, xvii. 6.) And being thus preordained by the Father, they are nominated and appointed by the Son, with the most sacred solemnity. Jesus went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God : and when it was day, he called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles. (Luke, vi. 12.) Which term, apostles, implies persons who are duly authorised to bear the mandates of their superior. In this appointment, we perceive the care of the divine providence, that the Gospel should not be exposed to the danger of misrepresentation, in the hands of accidental and unqualified teachers. Its publication was, exclusively, committed to those who had been chosen before of God-whom the Son of God received of his Father, and set apart, as his authorised missionaries—as his confidential stewards, under whose direction

his universal church was to be established. To this trust they were solemnly and publicly ordained, upon the prayer of Christ, to his Almighty Father : and his prayer was not in vain.

Let us, in the next place, observe the course of discipline and instruction by which these chosen missionaries were prepared for their office by their divine Master.

As the Jewish people, in addition to their errors and prejudices, manifested a spirit of the most determined perverseness and inveterate obstinacy, and thus rejected the counsel of God against themselves, our Lord, whose maxim it was, not to give that which is holy unto dogs, or to cast pearls before swine, did not explain to these persecutors and scoffers the mysteries of his religion. He taught them only in parables, that, Seeing, they might see, and not perceive ; and hearing, they might hear, and not understand : thus guarding against the promulgation of his doctrine by men of perverse and prejudiced minds. But with the apostles it was not so. After they had been nominated to their office, we are told, that Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with him. (Luke, viii. 1.) Nor were they taught in parables like the multitude; for, When Jesus was alone with them, he expounded all things to them, declaring, that unto them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. xiji. 11.) Well, then, might he add, upon this occasion--Blessed are your eyes, for they see ; and your ears, for they hear!

From this school of wisdom, they were sent forth to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand ; to prepare the Jews for the candid examination of that evidence which was offered to them in the works of Christ, and which proved the certainty of his mission from God. The apostles were not, as yet, fully commissioned to preach the Gospel. They had not received authority to proclaim that Jesus was the Christ, But this, their limited charge, was impressed and ratified with a seal from heaven; They

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