תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

before the time? You see, they knew our Saviour to be the Son of God (for even the devils we are told, believe and tremble) and they knew also, that one work of his on earth was to drive them out of the bodies of men here, and to punish them hereafter. It so happened, that there was, at some distance from them, a herd of many swine or hogs feeding. They therefore begged Jesus to suffer them to go into the herd of swine; and Jesus complying with this request, for sufficient reasons, as the sequel shews, suffered them to go. The swine then, being possessed by these evil spirits, ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters. They that kept these hogs or swine, frightened at what they saw, ran into the city and told what had happened, and the people of the city being conscious of their great wickedness, knowing themselves to be a bad set of people, and thinking that Jesus would de stroy them, as they deserved, came out and begged him to depart out of their coasts.

I shall give you a little advice from this piece of history, and conclude. I believe that you are, most of you, better informed and knowing than to believe any thing in obeah and witchcraft. I am glad that you are so. You see that the devil has no power, but as Jesus gives him leave. · If, therefore, you are Christians, and try so to live depend on it, the devil 'can bave no power over you, and they, who pretend to hurt you, can have no power over you. The only way in which the devil can hurt you now, is by tempting you to wickedness : but if you pray to God not to lead you into temptation, nor suffer you to be led into it, and try to resist temptation, you will, with the grace of God, be able to conquer all the wiles and arts of the devil.

You see too, how the people, because they were wicked, begged our Saviour not to come among them. I suppose they could have told him as the devils did, what have we to do with thee, Jesus? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Jesus preaches by us his ministers to the world : we preach to men to repent and believe the gospel. And although many a wicked man may be ready to say to us, what have we to do with you? depart from our coasts; good people will love and hear us for our work's sake, for our Master's sake. I trust and hope that you will be amongst such good people, will seek instruction, will profit by it, and will not act, as if you thought or said, that you had nothing to do either with me, or with Jesus whom I preach.

And now to God, &c.

LECTURE XXI.

St. MATTHEW ix. 1, 2. And he entered into a ship, and passed

over, and came into his own city; And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed : and Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy : Son, be of good cheer : thy sins be forgiven thee.

AFTER our blessed Saviour had driven the devils out of two poor creatures, who were possessed of them, the people of the country were so frightened, and knowing themselves to be wicked, were so much afraid that he would inflict soine dreadful punishment on them, that they prayed him to depart out of their coasts. He saw that his instructions and his preaching would have no effect on them, and he left them, went into the ship, and departed into his own city. Little did those poor, ignorant, sinful creatures know that they were wishing to get rid of their best friend, of one who would bave shewn them the way to Heaven, taught them and helped them to get thither. But so it is, and has been always. People are so taken up with this world, so much in love with this life, as if it were to last for ever, that they seem to think and care little about their souls. Were we to preach to them, and to tell them, that by hearing us, and by praying, they would get heaps of money, get all the good things of this life, wallow in pleasure and in lust, they would hear us gladly. But when we tell them, that they must be in a manner dead to the things of this world, and alive to those of the next, and that they must conquer their strongest passions, and put away from them every favourite lust, every wicked thing in which

« הקודםהמשך »