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tised inortification in the fchool of retirement, will, at their appearance in the world, afiord it the brightest examples of everything that is “honest, just, pure, lovely, and of “good report.”
We may, therefore, conclude, that lie who desires to undertake the office of guiding others in the ways of wif dom and holiness, will befi qualify himself for that purpose by first pafsing some time in a state of sequestration from the world; where anxious cares and delusive pleasures may not break in upon him, to difsipate his attention; where no fceptical or sectarian fpirit may blind his understanding, and nothing may obstruct the illumination from above; where every vicious inclination may
be mortified through grace, by a prudent application of the proper means; and every freth bud of virtue, Theltered from noxious blasts, may be gradually reared up into strength, beauty, and fragrance; where, in a word, “he may grow " and wax strong in spirit, until the
day of his fhewing unto Ifrael.”
Confiderations on the Prophecies res
lative to St. John in the Old Testament.
DEFORE we proceed to view the
D Baptist in the exercise of his ministry, it will be proper to look back to the predictions in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, concerna ing his office and character. We shall begin with that remarkable one, “ Behold, I will send you Elijah the “prophet, before the coming of the « great and dreadful day of the “ Lord. And he shall turn the heart " of the fathers to the children, and
" the heart of the children to their “ fathers, lest I come and fmite the “ earth with a curse*.”.
As there was amongst the Jews a general expectation of Messiah's appearance, at the time when he did appear, so an opinion likewise prevailed, that the world should be first prepared for his reception, in fome extraordinary manner. But wrong ideas of his appearance and kingdom introduced mistakes with regard to the person who should precede and proclaim him. According to the notions then current, occasioned by applying to his first advent the prophecies which belonged to his second, Messiah was to come in power and majesty, to confer on the fons of • Mal. iv. 5,6.
Jacob dominion over the Gentiles, and make Jerusalem the metropolis of the world. And by niisunderstanding this prediction of Malachi, they had imagined, that Elijah the Titbite fhould return from heaven, as his precurfor. For this reason it was, that when the favhedrim fent a message to St. John, defiring to know, whether he were Elias? he anfwered, “I am not:" not the Elias by them intended and expected. But that St. John was the person foretold by Malachi under the name of Elias, we have the declarations of our Lord liimself to his own disciples, “ Elias is indeed come*;" and to the Jews, “ If ye will receive it, this 's is Elias which was for to come. * Mark ix. 13. '