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Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick ; cleanse the lepers; raise the dead; cast out evil spirits: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey ; neither two coats, nor shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat.”

“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide, until ye go thence. And when ye come into a house, salute the family. And if the family be worthy, let your peace come upon them ; but if they be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house, or city,

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shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

“ Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves ; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. And fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul ; but rather fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also 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.”

Our Lord here tells us, that “ the very hairs of our heads are all numbered by our heavenly Father.” He made us what we are; he knows all the circumstances of our lives, and he is continually watching over us, to guard us from evil, and to do us good. He suffers some troubles to befal us; but the blessings which he bestows are many more than our pains; and even these pains will be found at last to have been to our advantage. Let us then place our whole trust and confidence in God. Let us not murmur at what he appoints, but submit cheerfully to his will, knowing that he is merciful and gracious, and that “he is making all things work together for good to those who love him.”

THE DISCOURSE CONCERNING JOHN

THE BAPTIST.

(Matt. xi. 2-11.) Now when John had heard in prison of the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, " Art thou he that is to come, or are we to look for another?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “ Go and shew to John those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have glad-tidings proclaimed to them. And blessed is he who shall not be offended in me."*

And as they were going away, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, “ What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment ? · Behold they that wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. What then went ye out to see? A prophet; yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, · Behold I

* That is, who shall not be prevented from believing in me on account of my low condition.

send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, among those that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

By this our Lord meant to say, “ John is truly a great prophet; yet the least among you who fully believe in me, and who have been well instructed respecting my kingdom, has more knowledge, and better hope of the favour of God, than he has.”

Though John was the forerunner of Christ, and had pointed him out to the Jews as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, yet when he himself was cast into prison, and he saw that our Saviour did not openly assume the office of the Messiah, he began to doubt, and he sent two of his disciples to ask him whether he was really the

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