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Christ will never be hid. Their light will shine before men, and God will be glorified. They will be known, as the primitive Christians were, not merely by doing well, but by suffering patiently for conscience sake. They will obey all that have the rule over them. They will bear in mind the amazing wisdom and prudence of their Saviour in his advice to his disciples, and to the multitude: (Matt. xxiii. 1, 2 :) "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works for they say, and do not." Thus the ill conduct of the ruler is no reason why we should disobey the laws. We are not to walk in the follies and wickedness even of those who may sit in Moses' seat, but we are to obey for conscience sake. Such appears on every occasion to be the doctrine of our gracious God. The precepts of the Gospel, if closely practised, will raise many opponents: these we regard not. But we do more, if our good be evil spoken of. Let no man suffer as an evil doer; but if we are blamed because we will not run into the same excess of riot as the thoughtless
worldling, we rejoice in such contempt as this. If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
The improvement which we would make of this subject will arise from a sense both of our duty and of our happiness. First of our duty. Let the question be simply asked and honestly answered, what is the duty of the Christian in times of public difficulty? The answer is plainly this. To bear his portion of every burden with cheerfulness. When he thinks that many things might be better managed, let him ask whether he contributes his share of influence to make them better. He sees the wickedness of the world; does he try to lessen it, by precept and by example? He knows that society is often bad, and much corrupted; does he labour to make it
In every project of reform, every
man is bound, if he be a man of conscience, to reform himself. He would persuade men to follow peace, good will, and mutual forbearance. But the happiness of the good subject and the good Christian is quite equal to his duty. Happiness flows from a sense of duty performed. And though all obedience in our present fallen state will be imperfect, yet there ever will be a heavenly composure and a divine serenity upon that mind which labours to do the will of God. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same." And though the Christian seeks not honour from men, but the honour which cometh from God only, yet infinite wisdom has placed the power of conscience within him, to tell him when he is obedient to the laws of God and man. But above all, if Jesus Christ hath left us an example on these points, he has likewise made himself a sacrifice for our sins. A broken law condemns the transgressor. Christ died, and rose again to make intercession for the transgressors. The penitent thief upon the cross had even committed
murder in an insurrection, but he became a
THE COMFORT OF KNOWING GOD.
PSALM 1xxxix. 15.
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
IN the Prayer-book version we find the same sentiment (v. 16) thus expressed: "Blessed is the people, O Lord, that can rejoice in thee; they shall walk in the light of thy countenance.' The joyful sound, therefore, must be the sound of the name of Jehovah, which was well known to David and to the Jewish nation. It is possible there may be an allusion to the sound of the trumpet, which ushered in the Jewish festivals; when the name of Jehovah was magnified. Bishop Horsley translates the