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SERMON XXVI.

THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE.

To the Candidates for the Baccalaureate in 1811.

MATTHEW x. 5.

These twelve Jesus sent forth.

The twelve here spoken of, were the twelve Apostles of Christ, who were now sent out by their Master upon an extraordinary mission.

This mission was obviously the commencement of their ministry. It was an extraordinary commencement of an extraordinary business; a business in many respects singular, in all wonderful, and demanding from mankind the strongest approbation and the most intense gratitude. Such a subject cannot fail to claim the attention of every man who feels an interest in Christianity, nor of being a profitable theme of our present meditation. In examining it I shall consider briefly the person by whom, and the errand on which, the Apostles were sent; their circumstances, their character, and the issue of their agency, as it respected both themselves and their fellow-men. They

were sent on this mission by the Saviour of mankind. This glorious person, whose name, with singular propriety and emphasis, is called Wonderful, appeared in this world in the humble character of a Jewish peasant. Yet in this character he uttered, from the stores of his own mind, wisdom which no genius, learning, or science, has enabled any child of Adam to rival ; exhibited virtue, compared with which the highest human excellence is a rush-light to the sun ; and possessed powers which disease and pain, life and death, the world and its elements instantaneously obeyed.

Nor did he merely possess these powers himself, but was able to communicate them to others at his pleasure. On this very occasion he commissioned his Apostles to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. In the progress of their ministry they performed all these wonderful works. Demons, diseases, and death actually fled at their approach, and the soul, at their command, was arrested in its flight, and returning back from the world of spirits, animated again the lifeless form to which it had bidden a final farewell. At the same time he endued them with an exact and comprehensive knowledge of the pleasure and providence of God, a knowledge with which they were able, without error or defect, to teach mankind their duty, and place their feet in the path to immortal life. Views which before were limited to their cottages and their nets, he expanded over the divine kingdom. Thoughts, which before crept upon the ground, he raised to heaven. To these endowments he added virtue, in every form and degree, in which it was necessary to enable them to fulfil the duties of their ministry ; virtue, superior to the fear and the flattery of men, to the trials and the allurements of the world, to toil and discouragement, to danger and death.

By these communications he evinced, in a particular manner, his own superiority to all the Prophets who had preceded him, and showed that his powers were of a nature widely different from theirs. The messages which they received they faithfully delivered, the powers with which they were endued, they exerted with the same fidelity in accomplishing the specific purposes for which they were given. But he, while he executed the pleasure and disclosed the will of his Father, performed also his own will, and uttered his own pleasure, as he has taught us in this authoritative phraseology, “ I will ; be thou clean.”

Verily, verily, I say unto you." But his peculiar character is still more forcibly exhibited in his communication of inspira

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tion, miraculous powers, and moral excellence, to others. The prophets, who preceded him communicated nothing. He not only conveyed all these stupendous attributes as he pleased, while he continued in the world, but imparted them also in the same voluntary manner after he had ascended to heaven.

This singular authority is, in the most impressive and 80lemn manner announced to us in the instructions with which he regulated this mission of the Apostles. After directing them to preach, to heal, and to perform other duties of their ministry, he proceeds, “Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear

your words, verily, I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable “ for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judg“ment than for that city.” And again, “ Whosoever shall “ confess me before men, him will I confess before

my

Father “ who is in heaven : But whosoever shall deny me before men, “ him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven." And again, “ Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these - little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple,

verily, I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Who is this, that in this peremptory manner opens and shuts both heaven and hell, and disposes of immortal life and eternal death in his own name, and according to his own pleasure ? He certainly, and He only, who has all these things in his power. He who has the keys of death, and of hell, and of heaven, who openeth and no one shutteth, and who shutteth and no one openeth ; who is Alpha and Omega, 'the first and

the last.

The errand on which the Apostles were sent was, primarily, to preach the Gospel. Incidental to it, as means of evidencing their divine mission, and proving its benevolent tendency to mankind, was the performance of several miraculous works which have been already mentioned. These were the means of exalted beneficence to mankind in their earthly concerns ; that was the instrument of a more glorious beneficence to their immortal interests. These rescued them from pain, sickness, and sorrow, and raised them to hope and comfort in the present life ; that was the great means of delivering them from endless sorrow, and raising them to endless glory, in the

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is furnished in the subsequent parts of the sacred volume. The blessings innumerable and invaluable which were bestowed upon him; the protection which he received in this solitary and dangerous journey; the prosperity which attended his labours; his preservation from enemies, famine, and death; and the glorious things done for his posterity, particularly in their sanctification and salvation, and peculiarly the immensely glorious things which are promised, and which will be performed for them after their restoration in the latter days—are illustrious proofs that the benefits of these resolutions may transcend the life and interests of him by whom they are

flow down the streams of time to the remotest generations, and may enter with them the regions of eternity. On Jacob himself and his everlasting welfare, the efficacy of these resolutions is wonderfully exhibited in the remarkable facts that the Messiah sprang from his loins; that God was pleased to style him his servant, his chosen Israel, a prince with God, and to style himself the God of Jacob, the Mighty One of Jacob, and the Holy One of Israel; and that to sit down in the kingdom of God with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, is appropriate language, used by Christ to denote the immortal blessings of Heaven. The effects of these resolutions were, therefore, immeasurable and eternal.

Confidently follow, then, this glorious example. Open. your eyes in all your wants, your weaknesses, your exposures, temptations, and sins. Feel that life and death, endless enjoyment and absolute ruin are now offered to your choice. Feel that he who was not ashamed to be called the God of Jacob will be pleased to be your God; that he loves those who love him; that those who honour him he will honour; and that those who seek him early will find him. Remember that all good is in his hands; that he is the fountain whence every stream of enjoyment, tasted by the intelligent creation, has flowed from the beginning, and will flow for ever. Remember that he is the Sun of righteousness, which alone has illumined and quickened the moral universe throughout all its immeasurable regions--that in his light you will see light, and peace, and joyand that, when he shines not, all is darkness and solitude, misery and despair.

SERMON XXVI.

THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE.

To the Candidates for the Baccalaureate in 1811.

MATTHEW x. 5.

" These twelve Jesus sent forth.

THE twelve here spoken of, were the twelve Apostles of Christ, who were now sent out by their Master upon an extraordinary mission.

This mission was obviously the commencement of their ministry. It was an extraordinary commencement of an extraordinary business; a business in many respects singular, in all wonderful, and demanding from mankind the strongest approbation and the most intense gratitude. Such a subject cannot fail to claim the attention of every man who feels an interest in Christianity, nor of being a profitable theme of our present meditation. In examining it I shall consider briefly the person by whom, and the errand on which, the Apostles were sent; their circumstances, their character, and the issue of their agency, as it respected both themselves and their fellow-men.

They were sent on this mission by the Saviour of mankind. This glorious person, whose name, with singular propriety and emphasis, is called Wonderful, appeared in this world in the humble character of a Jewish peasant. Yet in this character he uttered, from the stores of his own mind, wisdom which no

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