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SERM. open to the same reproof, and incur
the same 'sentence, which our Lord applied to the Jews: though we see, we shall not perceive; and though we hear, we shall not understand. Thus we shall not be converted to the faith that is in righteousness, neither shall we be healed of those maladies of the soul, of which our Saviour came to heal us.
But if we bring industrious and welldisposed minds to receive whatever God has revealed, whether pleasing or unwelcome to us, if in spite of every carnal and worldly prejudice we embrace in our belief all the doctrines hehas taught, and comprehend in our practice all the duties he requires, we have every assurance of hope, that the Spirit of God will assist and facilitate our research; we shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; we shall abound more and more in spiritual gifts; our understandings will be enlightened, and our hearts will be improved: thus shall we partake in the benediction given to the first Disciples, Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
And while we are anxious to know the will of God, it is also incumbent on
us that we apply all our diligence to do SERM. it. For vain is our profession of the II. gospel, and vain are our inquiries into the mysteries of heaven, unless we add to our faith virtue, and improve our knowledge into practice. For as faith incites us to virtue, as knowledge disposes us to practice, so again the cultivation of virtue tends to enliven and invigorate our faith, and the practice of our duty contributes to enlarge and rectify our knowledge. The Grace of God is imparted in abundant measure to those, and those only who are assiduous to improve it. For this we should always bear in mind as an immutable principleof divine justice, Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shali be taken even that which he hath. To the Disciples it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, not because they were more versed than other men in sacred knowledge, but because they sought to practise all the laws of godliness, which those mysteries conveyed. And we may trust in the divine grace, that if we diligently explore the scriptures with a desire and purpose, not only to know, but also to
SERM. do the divine will, we shall be guided
in exploring the terms of our acceptance, we shall be guarded from falling into any dangerous error.
If thus during the present state of , discipline and trial we diligently cultivate the rudiments of heavenly knowledge, we shall train and prepare ourselves for the full maturity of our natures in another world, when the film of mortal doubt shall be removed from our eyes, when he, that is the Word of God, shall manifest his glory to us, and for ever dwell among us full of grace and truthm.
im John i. 14.
THE APPLICATION OF PARABLE.
LUKE XII. 41.
Then Peter said unto him, Lord speukest
thou this Parable unto us, or even unto
IN this portion of the Gospel our Lord SERM.
is very copiously speaking of the III. duty of Christian vigilance; to which he exhorts his Disciples from the pattern of diligent and faithful servants, who are always in a state of preparation for the coming of their Lord. Hereupon Peter, who appears to have been more inquisitive in every branch of knowledge than the rest of the Apostles, inquires in these words, whether the parable was designed for the Disciples only, or for all other people. If the sequel of our Saviour's discourse, as recorded in this Evangelist, do not yield us an explicit answer to his Apostle's
SERM. inquiry, we shall find it expressly given II. in the corresponding passage of another
Evangelist; wherein, having treated of the same duty of vigilance in the same vein of parable, he closes his admonitions with these impressive words; And what I say unto you,
say unto all, Ilatch.
Now the same improvement is to be made of all his parables. While addressed to the Disciples, they have a reference to all the Jews: while spoken immediately to his cotemporaries and countrymen the Jews, they extend an application to all mankind in every country and through every age.
The first revelation of the divine will in the Patriarchal age was confined to one Family. The next under the Mosaic Economy was restricted to one People. The last under Jesus Christ was laid open to all the World. He came not to limit his instruction to his followers, or even to his countrymen ; for he came for the benefit of all people, nations, and languages under heaven. Yet it must not pass unnoticed, that during bis abode on earth the whole of liis discourse, and the parables in particular,
* Mark xiii. 37.