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Exhortation to bear persecution with meekness.
16 All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 3 Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
4« If when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently: this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called ; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. Who when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously, 5«I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate
you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.' Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. "If it be possible, as
much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all
8“If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.—Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing as unto a faithful Creator."
12 Tim. iii, 12. 2 2 Tim. ii, 3. 3 Gal. vi, 9, 10. 41 Pet. ii, 20, 21, 23. 5 Matt. v, 44, 45. 6 Rom. xii, 19-21.
7 Rom. xii, 18. 8 1 Pet. iíi, 14, 15, 17. 91 Pet. iv, 16, 19.
ILLUSTRATION. Martyrdom of Stephen. 1" Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue disputing with him. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, who said, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. And Stephen said, Ye stiff-necked and uncircum
cised in heart and ears, ye do alway resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted ? and they have slain them who shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.'
6. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.' Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him ; Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.'-And when he had said this he fell asleep."
1 Acts vi, 5, 8, 9-13, 15. 2 Acts vii, 2, 51, 52, 54-60.
The reward of suffering for Christ. 16 Jesus said :— Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for their's 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
3“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.' have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also. *If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up daily, and follow me.
50 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” 1 Luke vi, 20. 2 Matt. v, 10-12. 3 John xv, 18-20. 4 Luke ix, 23.
5 Luke vi, 22, 23. Rev. iii, 5.
THE CHRISTIAN POOR.
The vanity of earthly riches. 1“ WEALTH maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour. ?Nevertheless, a little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked; 3 and better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways though he be rich.
4" How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for
camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 5 Therefore better little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith.— The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low and lifteth up. He raiseth
poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill ; to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Prov.xix, 4. * Ps. xxxvii, 16. 3 Prov. xxviii, 6. 4 Luke xviii, 24, 25.
5 Proy. xv, 16. 6 1 Sam. ii, 7, 8. ILLUSTRATION. The rich man and Lazarus. 16. There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a cer