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trial before Pontius Pilate. As the Jews were under the government of the Romans, they could not themselves condemn a criminal to death. The reason why Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus, though he believed him innocent, was this :-It was common for a governor, when he left his province, to be accused to the emperor of bad administration, who was always ready to listen, to such accusations, as they brought money into his treasury. Pilate therefore fearing this, was willing to gain the favour of the Jews, though at the expence of an innocent person. · When Jesus was crucified, it was faid, the thieves who were crucified with him reviled him. But from St. Luke's account it appears, that only one of the thieves reviled him, for the other was penitent. But the writers of the New Testament, where no doctrine is concerned, in which no doubt they were guided by the fpirit of truth, were not very exact in matters of less consequence. And indeed nothing more shews their truth than this ; for if they had agreed in every minute particular, people would be apt to fay, they wrote their several gospels by agreement together, Y 3
The vail of the temple, which rent at our Saviour's death, was a curtain which was hung up before a part of the temple, where nobody but the high priest was allowed to enter. Its being now rent, was a sign that all mankind, as well as the Jews, were now called to the blessings of the gospel. This whole awful transaction concludes with an account of our Saviour's resurrection, in the relation of which there is no difficulty,
I have now, my brethren, gone over, in feveral discourses, the principal parts of the gospel of St. Matthew; and have endeavoured to make as plain to you as I possibly could, such difficulties in it as have chiefly occurred.—What remains from the whole, 'is, that each of us should con. fider the holy life, and holy precepts, of our bleffed Redeemer, as our furest guides to everlaking happiness. As to difficulties, they are of less importance. Many mysterious truths there are in fcripture, which are above our reason to comprehend : fuch are the nature of the blessed Trinity--the manner in which the death of Christ atones for the sins of the world the nature of
a future future state of rewards and punishments; and some others. These we must take on the authority of scripture, just as we there receive them. We meddle not farther with them. Such difficulties, however, as are more obvious, and tend to explain scripture, such as in the foregoing difcourses I have brought before you, may properly be the objects of our attention. Still, however;" the grand points in which we are most interested, Thould beếa holy life, derived from faith ; the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, to be obtained by prayer ; and the hope of pardon, through the merits of a Saviour. On these great points we should particularly dwell; and thank God for the information he has given us of them in the scriptures,
JOHN, vi. 68.
WHITHER SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST THE
WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.
OUR blessed Saviour had been discoursing upon some of the sublime truths of the gospel; which his ordinary hearers, blinded with the prejudices of the world, could not comprehend. They were hard sayings, they said, who could hear them? And their remark was just; for the prejudices of the world, and the truths of religion, never agree together. In the end, these cool disciples left their Master; and listened no longer to one whom they thought fo severe an instructor. Jesus observing this, turned to the twelve, and said, will ye also go away? The text is the zealous answer of St. Peter: Lord, whither foall we go? Thou hast the words of
eternal life. Whatever pretences the world may
Having thus opened the general meaning of the text, let me now examine it more at large. It contains a question and an answer. The question is, Whither shall we go?-what guides fhall we follow ?—what steps shall we take, to secure our happiness? The answer refers us to the words of eternal life.
Let us first examine the question, Whither Shall we'go?
It is certainly, of all questions that can be put to man, one of the most important; as happiness is the grand point we are all in quest of. In answering it, let us first examine the various pretences which the world sets up as guides to happiness. Nothing indeed can promise fairer : its pleasures--its riches--its ambitious schemes, and worldly wisdom, are all displayed before the eye, and furnish various temptations, suited to every age, and every disposition. When the wandering mind therefore afks, Whither shall we go in search of happiness? what can be more