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did not receive him; yet, though justly offended, he renews the offer. He offers to wash you from your sins in his blood—to clothe you with his righteousness to deliver you sins—to purify your hearts--to give you peace with God, and your own conscience, and hereafter an immortal crown. He asks not that you buy these blessings at the price of your works, or with any price, but to receive them as already purchased, and bestowed freely on the chief of sinners. Therefore to-day, while it is called to-day, harden not your hearts, for your to-morrow may never come.
Trifle not with God; make not light of his invitation: but lest you never hear it again, receive it while you hear it---before you die to hear it no more! Receive Christ without delay, and receive him as he offers himself, as a Savior from sin as well as a Savior from punishment. Think not that you can receive his commands and yet neglect his atonement; or on the other hand, that you can be delivered from punishment and yet disobey him. Therefore be contented to part with every thing, that you may find him the complete Savior, and be prepared to receive, along with him, contempt, persecution, and sorrow. Let the world go; give
it every form it assumes. Whether the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life, forsake its vanities, its covetousness, its vain and ungodly company; do any thing, and lose every thing if necessary, if you may
but receive the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Let us, who trust that we have received him and are walking in him, be reminded by what we have heard of the necessity of making this more a point of duty, or rather to make all duties a part of this, and take shame to our selves that we have neglected it so much in time past; and in future, measure our growth in grace by our knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As a further encouragement let us assure ourselves that if we thus keep him in view, his attention to us will be reciprocal. He that in his love and pity redeemed us, will bear us and carry us all the way through the wilderness, as the kind shepherd carries the lambs in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young. He will bring us all on our way in such a manner that we shall finally reach the fold above. There we shall have no more need to walk in Christ by faith and love, but by love only: for they that walk in him here, shall walk with him hereafter; and he that led them through the wilderness, will lead them to the joys in heaven. The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall guide them, and lead them to living fountains of waters. The tabernacle of God shall be with men, and he shall dwell amongst them, God himself shall be in the midst of them and be their God.
Acts xxiv, 25. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance,
and judgment to come, Felix trembled; and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee.
THE occasion of St. Paul's being brought before Felix, was, the impossibility of obtaining justice for him from the Jews. It is remarkable, that wherever he travelled he always found his worst enemies among them; and the kind treatment which he had often experienced from heathen strangers, he would in vain expect from his countrymen. Whence arises ihis propensity in men, that when there are many things in which they agree, they should hate for the things in which they differ more than they do when they have nothing in common? Perhaps it is because in the latter case there is no collision; or if there be, better temper and consciousness of superiority (for all secretly claim superiority to all till there be a trial of strength) make us placid. The Jews
would have heard with unconcern of the conversion of the heathen nations to christianity; but when Paul, once a distinguished ornament of their religion, became opposed to them, they foresaw all that was to be dreaded from his talents, and hated because they feared. On St. Paul's arrival at Jerusalem, where once he had been caressed, he soon found that which every man must expect to find from his former friends on becoming a christian. St. Paul had not been long there before he was discovered, and immediately the whole city was in an uproar. They dragged him out of the temple, and intended to kill him, when Lysias, the Roman officer commanding at Jerusalem, came with a large detachment and rescued him, bound him with two chains, and ordered him into the fort. When he arrived at the top of the steps leading to the castle, St. Paul asked permission to address the people, which was granted: he then gave them the narrative of his marvellous conversion, and told them how the Lord himself had commanded him to go and preach to the Gentiles. They heard him patiently to this word, and then raised a clamor again, and threw dust in the air! Upon this, the officer who brought him in unable to comprehend from St. Paul's speech what crime he was accused of, for there was no aim at exculpation, evidently suspected that the Apostle intended to divert the attention of the people to other subjects: for he was proceeding to examine him himself by torture,
till informed that he was a Roman citizen. The next day he convened the council of the Jews, and sent Paul down to them; but as soon as he began to speak there was such an uproar that Lysias was again obliged to send his troops to bring him away. The Jews, irritated probably that they had suffered him to escape twice, bound themselves, to the number of forty and more, under a great oath, that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed him. Informed of their intention, Lysias sent him away that night with a strong military escort to Cesarea, a town on the sea coast, the usual residence of the
governor. Thus it came to pass, in the determination of God, that one Roman chief after another heard the gospel. The governor at that time was Felix, who, having ordered the accusers to attend, and heard what both sides had to say, declined deciding between them till he saw Ly. sias. Here the matter was dropped for some time. Paul continued a prisoner at Cesarea, and the cause was not brought forward again for two years. It was while his affairs were in this state of uncertainty that Paul and Felix had that meeting in private, the result of which, as described in the text, suggests so many solemn reflections.
Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come;
and Felix trembled. Such is the superiority which poverty, with integrity, possesses over guilty grandeur. The judge trembles before his own prisoner! St.