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we sit in our house and when we walk by the way
—and when we lie down—and when we rise up we must bind it as a sign upon our hand_and wear it as a frontlet between our eyes and write it upon the posts of our door and upon our gates. “Let him KNOW, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
Feb. 24.-" They shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land." Zech. ix. 16. Here we see the dignity of the Lord's people. They are “stones," precious stones, set in the “crown" of the King of kings. For such is the infinite goodness of God, that he not only spares, but pardons and justifies. In his righteousness they are exalted. They are not only saved, but ennobled. With kings are they upon the throne. They are naturally in a low estate, and are viler than the earth; but he raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill. And though the world knoweth them not, and they are little and low in their own eyes, and it doth not yet appear what they shall be; yet now are they the sons of God; and since they have been precious in his sight, they have been honourable, and he has loved them, and calls them his jewels, and a peculiar treasure unto him. And all those who in his light see light, view them in the same way. They remember the time when they began to honour them that fear the Lord; when they took hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew; and prayed to see the good of his chosen. Then they seemed to regard them as more than human beings; and while, above all things, they desired communion with them, they felt unworthy of their
presence and notice. And though, since then, they · have found that they are not already perfect, yet
they know they are the excellent of the earth, and that they are more excellent than their neighbours. There is often more real virtue in their failings, than in the very devotions of others: and “the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim is better than the vintage of Abiezer.”
Here is also their exhibition—these stones of a crown are “lifted up.” They are not to be concealed. Our Saviour compares them to a city set, not in a valley, but on a hill, which cannot be hid; and to a candle, placed, not under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. And when he calls them by his grace, he says to the “prisoners, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves: they shall feed in the ways, and their pasture shall be on all high places.” Christians need not be concealed every thing in their religion will bear examination, and challenges the eyes of all, whether infidels, or philosophers, or politicians, or moralists. They ought not to be concealed-every thing in their religion is adapted to do good; but for this purpose it must be known. They cannot be concealed—their principles must operate; the sun cannot shine without shewing itself.
Here is also their utility—these stones of a crown are to be lifted up “as an ensign upon his land.” An oriflamme suspended over the royal tent; and designed to attract and aggregate followers to the cause in which he is engaged. Thus the Saviour himself is spoken of: “In that day there shall be a root in Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” But what Christ is, Christians are-subordinately, indeed, yet really. Hence their calling, to hold forth the word of life. They are placed and displayed, to reprove, and convince,
and excite and encourage others, to seek and serve God. They are witnesses for him. They are trophies of the power, and greatness, and riches of his grace. They proclaim what he is able and willing to do: and, saved by him, they are all employed for him. “Instead of the thorn, shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier, shall come up the myrtle-tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off.”
· FEB. 25.—“Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them."
Rom. xvi. 15.
ADMITTING that the Bible be the word of God, we might have inferred, from his wisdom and goodness, that no part of it can be useless : but we are expressly assured, that “All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Therefore this long postcript, this catalogue of particular salutations, has its uses. It certainly shews us the principle that actuated the first Christians—all men were to know that they were the disciples of Christ, by, their loving one another.-It shews, also, how mistaken they are who think the New Testament does not sanction private friendship.-It also proves how impossible it was to forge this Epistle; abounding as it does with so many specific allusions : for these not only render detection possible, but easy. Hence Paley much avails himself of this chapter in his Horæ Paulina
a work of uncommon excellence; and which deals only in the argument derivable from incidental evidence.
– Neither is it improper to observe from it, the error of Popery. Papists say that Peter was the bishop of Rome, but had he been there, is it credible
“ in tiet not, thsefulnesse most et
for a moment that he would have been overlooked by our Apostle? The probability indeed is, that he never was there. There is no evidence of it in the Scripture: and we know for what purposes of delusion it has been pretended--the Roman succession of bishops from him...
But who can help observing how many females are mentioned here? Phebe. Priscilla. Mary. Junia. Tryphena. Tryphosa. · Persis. The mother of Rufus. Julia. The sister of Nereus.-All these, with the exception of two, are not only mentioned, but commended : and these two would not have been saluted by name, unless they had been persons of religious excellence; for Paul valued no other qualities compared with this. But all the rest of these worthies have ascribed to them some attainment or service, “ in the Lord."
Let not, therefore, females suppose that they are cut off from usefulness, and usefulness- even in the cause of Christ. The most eminent servants of God have acknowledged their obligations to them ; and ascribed no little of their success to their care and kindness. The public ministry is not indeed open to them-neither is the army or navy, or the senate : and good sense will acquiesce in the distinctions and determinations of Heaven, especially when it is seen, that they are not founded on any principle of degradation, but in the obvious proprieties of life. If they have not authority, they have influence, which is far better, and more deeply effective. Servants have blessed God for pious mistresses. Children have been prepared for the preaching of the Word, and the devotion of the Sanctuary, by the earlier, but important efforts of a mother. How much does even the religious public owe to a Mrs. Newton, a Mrs. Cecil: and a thousand more ; from whom the churches have derived such able ministers! To Hannah we owe a Samuel : and to Lois and Eunice, his mother and grandmother, we owe a Timothy.
They are at home in almsdeeds, like Dorcas, who made garments for the poor: and are peculiarly adapted to visit the sick and the afflicted. The wife may win the irreligious husband without the word : and fan his devotion, and give speed to his zeal, when he is in the way everlasting. Who would keep them from those public meetings where feelings are to be excited, which they will be sure to carry away, and improve at home? In a word, women have the finest heads, and hearts, and tongues, and hands, for usefulness, in the world. Who does not wish to see them always under a religious principle? Who would not have them appropriately more encouraged and employed as workers together with the servants of Christ ? “ Help," therefore, says the Apostle, “ those women that laboured with me in the Gospel, whose names are in the book of life.”
Feb. 26.-“When he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."
Luke xix. 41.
An ordinary mind would have been engrossed and elated, by the actions and acclamations of the multitude, who cut down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way; and spread their garments on the ground for him to ride upon; and filled the air with Hosannas, crying, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord! But he wept-wept at the sight of Jerusalem, whose visitation was now closing, and whose judgment was hastening onsaying, “O that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace ; but now are they hid from thine eyes.”
Surely these tears teach us, that there is nothing degrading in sensibility. Indeed, all true greatness is tender and sympathetic. Jonathan and David,