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to quit the well-fought field for the palace of the great King; to refresh himself after the dust, and toil, and heat of the day, by bathing in the fountain of life and immortality ; to exchange his blood-stained armour for a robe of glory, and to have his temporary labours rewarded with eternal rest; to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God; and, as the friend of the Bridegroom, to enter into the joy of his Lord. From the darkness and confinement of a prison he passed to the liberty and light of heaven; and while
malice was gratified with a sight of his head, * and his body was carried by a few friends in
silence to the grave, his immortal spirit repaired to a court, where no Herod desires to have his brother's wife where no Herodias thirsts after the blood of a prophet; where he who hath laboured with sincerity and diligence in the work of reformation, is sure to be well received; where holiness, zeal, and constancy rare “ crowned, and receive palms from the Son of “ God whom they confessed in the world.” (2 Esdr. ii. 45-47.)
O how bright the example of “constantly “ speaking truth, boldly rebuking vice, and “ patiently suffering for the truth's sake,” is that which the history of the Baptist exhibits ! May the reader's heart be fired with a desire of imitating the pattern proposed to his ambition; and conscious of inability to copy it in the least degree by his own unassisted powers, may he earnestly solicit a portion of that Divine grace by which the Baptist was what he was. The fountain of grace is open to all believers; and though neither the writer nor reader of this VOL. III.
essay may ever be called, as St. John was, to testify the truth at the risk of life; yet both are placed in situations, where they are called to appear on the Lord's side in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; both if faith. ful to God will be exposed to persecution for the truth's sake, which they can neither boldly face nor patiently suffer without Divine help.
The duty of constantly speaking truth, and of boldly reproving vice, is undoubted and of universal obligation.
« Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: thou shalt in any “ wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin “ upon him :” or (marg. reading) " that thou
" "s bear not sin for him." (Lev. xix. 17.) If we prove the means of provoking or soliciting others to sin, if we comply with the sins of others, or even if we suffer others to sin unreproved, or without imposing those restraints which it may be in our power to impose,—verily we discover a want of concern both for the glory of God and for the souls of our fellow creatures, we incur a share of the guilt which is contracted, we make ourselves “partakers of other “men's sins.” (1 Tim. v. 22.) It is admitted that great wisdom, as well as great courage, is often required to a due discharge of this duty. But he who gives the latter, can also confer the former. And, while the treasury
is open to us, a want of qualification will be no excuse for a neglect of our bounden duty. To disguise, conceal, or deny the truth, either by silence, word, or action, when the glory of God and the salvation of a fellow sinner is at stake, this is to manifest a spirit directly oppo
site to that of our holy religion, in which the fear of God, and charity to human souls, are paramount considerations.
In the congregations of professing Christians, how few imitators of the noble Baptist are to be found! Where is the constant speaker of truth, the bold rebuker of vice, the patient sufferer for the truth's sake? Let us not form an excuse for our pusillanimity by saying that this duty was peculiar to the Baptist, or confined to authorized messengers from heaven. Every man is the authorized messenger of God to “ speak " the truth, and rebuke vice;" or our church has furnished us with a prayer which it is absurd to use.
Would it be any apology for a man: who had been guilty of misprision of treason, to alledge that he had no commission from the king? No, the law of England justly condemns every man, who “knowing of any trea“ son, though no party or consenter to it, yet “ conceals it and doth not reveal it in proper « time.” It condemns him to “ imprisonment
during life, to a forfeiture of all his goods for “ ever, and the profits of his lands during life."* And is not every overt act of sin treason against God?
If the obligation of the duty stated in our collect were more closely and generally considered, and were its petition for grace more fervently adopted, Christians would, it is admitted, incur more persecution for righteousness sake, but they would also give more glory to God, be the means of plucking many brands from the fire, and obtain more decisive evidence than they now
* Burn's Justice, art. Treason,
possess, of their relation to the holy army of martyrs and confessors. Let us, then, set the example of the Baptist before our eyes for our imitation; and let us earnestly implore grace that we may be conformed to it, “ through Jesus " Christ our Lord."*
* The limits of this Essay are unusually extended. The author, having taken into his hand Dr. Horne's “Consider“ ations on the Life and Death of John the Baptist,” from which he has extracted the historical part of this section of his work, found himself on enchanted ground. He is not aware, however, that its length needs any apology, believe ing that his reader will concur with him in opinion respecting the admirable source from which has been principally drawn what is here presented to view.
ST. PETER'S DAY.
O Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ, didst give to thine Apostle St. Peter many ercellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock ; Make, we beseech thee, all bishops and pastors diligently to preach thy holy word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
IT. Peter was born in the Upper Galilee, called
Galilee of the Gentiles. The name which was given to him at his circumcision, was Simon or Simeon, a name common among the Jews, To this our Lord added the title of Cephas; which in Syriac, the vulgar language of the Jews at that time, signifies a stone or rock, which is interpreted, in Greek, or is equivalent to Ilarpos Peter. By the imposition of this new name our Lord seems to refer to that constancy in the faith, and that vigorous activity, for which He foresaw that this Apostle would be eminent, in building up the church as a spiritual house on the true rock“ the living and corner stone, chosen of God and
precious," as St. Peter himself expresses it. The father of our Apostle was Jonah or Jonas, a fisherman of Bethsaida ; and St. Andrew, as we have already observed in his life, was St. Peter's brother. They were both brought up to their father's business, and continued in it till they were called to become the fishers of men. The Divinity of the gospel is strongly deducible from