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be disposed to hear what I shall tell him of things eternal. Let him cease to love the world, and he will cease to have any objection to the Gospel. Let but his heart be open to conviction, and when the evidence hath been once fairly laid before him, he will never again ask the question, * Art thou he that should come, or “ do we look for another?”
Considerations on the circumstances of
St. John's Death.
E have now accompanied St.
John through the several stages of his life. We have rejoiced with his parents and kinsfolk at his birth, and spent fome time in contemplation with him in the desarts; we have stood by him, as a preacher and a baptist, at the river Jordan, and have been made acquainted with the repeated teftimonies born by him, at different times, to the Meffiahship of Jesus; we have heard him, like another Elijah, reproving another
Ahab, and have visited him in prisori, where the glory of his great Master, and the salvation of those committed to his care, still continued to be the objects of his attention. It remains only, that we behold him paying that debt to nature, from which the greatest of them that are born of women are not exempted. And here our acquaintance with him must end, till we meet him in the king. dom of God. Thus do scenes of real life pass swiftly away, and, when looked back upon, appear like those which are described within the compass of a small volume like this. In the course of a few years, the child, at whose birth we made merry, is becomea man; he fickens, and dies, and we mourn at his funeral. Some
gleams of fuccefs and prosperity, perhaps, brighten and adorn certain parts of his life, as the sun gilds the edges of a dark cloud, or imprints upon it the still more beautiful colours of the rainbow. But while we gaze, the sun sets, the colours fade, the bow vanishes, and “ the place " thereof knoweth it no more."
Of prophets, as well as of kings, it may be observed, that there is generally but a short interval between their imprisonment and their death; the enmity which occasioned one, feldom leaving them till it have accomplished the other. And “more "bitter even than death itself is the $ woman whose heart is fuares and nets, and her hands bands *" He* Eccief. vii, 26.
rod had thrown John into prison; but this would not satisfy Herodias. Even there she heard him still preach- .. ing upon the old text, and reproaching her with her crimes. 66 She had " a quarrel against him; svayev autw, "She fastened upon him, and would " have killed him, but," for some time, the “could not*.” For though Herod had not religion enough to produce in hin the fear of God, he had policy enough to produce the fear of the Jews, among whom John's seputation, as a prophet, ran very high. Herodias, however, in her heart, had determined to effect her purpose by procuring, sooner or later, the execution of him whom she falsely deemed her enemy. As if sin could * Mark vi. 19, &c.