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hand, and was about to form his kingdom of all who would believe and obey him. He baptized such people as came to bim: telling them that he baptized with water to repentance, but that Jesus Christ would baptize with the Holy Ghost—that is, would send on all, whom he baptized, the Holy Ghost, to give them good thoughts and desires, and help them in the way to Heaven. This John, the Baptist, lived a life most holy: he mixed not with the world, passed his days at a distance from it, and gave himself up to prayer, and praise, to all that was virtuous, and to all that was good. Herod, the Tetrarch, or chief ruler of a part of Galilee, was certainly in one respect a very bad man. He took to him as his wife, the wife of his brother Philip. John could not know this, without reproving Herod forit. God's holy ministers are bound in duty to notice the sins and wickednesses even of the greatest people: and when they do notice them, and suffer for doing so, they suffer in a good cause, and will be rewarded by God for it. This conduct of John's exceedingly rexed both Herod and Herodias, which was the name of the woman. And Herod would have gone so far as to kill John for it, but he feared lest the people should rise up against him for it, because they loved John, and thought him a great prophet, a messenger sent by God himself. However, Herodias, a base and cunning woman, watched her opportunity: and as soon as one happened, made use of it for the ruin of the righteous man. For it seems Herod had him in prison, and was willing, as soon as he had the power, to put him out of the way. And an opportunity soon happened, for God is pleased sometimes to let the wicked gain their ends, because he can reward the good for suffering, and punish the wicked, when they have filled up the measure of their sins, and made themselves ripe for punishment. Herod kept his birthday, and made on the occasion a great dance, at which all, the principal people were present. Herod's daughter danced amongst the party, and so pleased Herod by her manner and her skill, that in the joy of his heart, he foolishly and rashly promised her with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask, even to the half of his kingdom. She must, it seems, have been instructed by her mother, to set herself off to the greatest advantage, and so to please the king, as to get this promise from him: for no sooner had he made it, than she wickedly cried out, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. Unhappy young woman! little perhaps dost thou know how great a crime thou wast doing--a crime which would send thy whole family to perdition. And what an abominable mother she must have had who could bave instructed her to ask so wicked a favour. But what is not the human heart capable of devising, when it goes after evil things, and departs from the law of its God. Oh! keep your hearts with all diligence, guard them with all

your care, for their imaginations are bent on evil. Herod still respected, still feared John, and therefore, we are told, was sorry to have such a request made of him: but because he had sworn, he thonght himself obliged to do it. He was mistaken in this, for he had better have forsworn himself, than committed murder. God would have pardoned him for not doing as he promised, because he could never have intended that his promise could have been used for so infernal a purpose: a man had better repent of his rash promises, than break God's laws in order to perform them. So it was, the king, glad perhaps of the excuse, sent, and had John's head cut off, and gave it to the damsel, who, with a heart worthy of the wicked mother, carried it to the base and abominable wretch.

We learn some good lessons from this history.

It teaches us how necessary it is to guard against all sin and all temptations to sin. You may be good in some respects : but if you are bad in one instance, it may lead

you to be so in many more besides. when Herod was committing adultery with Herodias, he did not think that adultery would lead him on to murder. But you see that it did so. And one sin will frequently lead to other sins. I would therefore advise you to strive, with all your might, against every sin. And since all that you can do of yourselves is nothing, you must constantly beg God to give you his Holy Spirit his blessed and ready help to keep yourselves from the dominion and power of sin. Some think a bad temper no harm, if they do nothing else that is bad. Little do they know, to what sins a bad temper may lead them.

Adultery is thought nothing of: and yet adultery you see may lead to murder. Drunkenness may lead you into crimes : stealing will bring on lying and other shameful practices. Your

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