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the Scriptures been false; and it was then, that they would have confessed that the report was an idle tale ;—but

no,
the

greater the punishment, the greater the cruelty, which these men endured, the stronger the truth of the fulfilment of prophecy. And be it remembered, that the deaths which these men endured were not sudden, but that the slowest process was adopted, for the

purpose of wrenching from them a confession of fraud, and a denial of these sacred records. But every cruelty, as we have observed, only tended to increase their faith; and the Christian religion grew and waxed mighty by opposition, and burst through the coercion of persecution, as some stupendous torrent through dams and obstacles intended to impede its course.

These are facts, my Brethren, which strengthen the former arguments, which we have brought Scriptures contain the word of God'; and the inquiry in our text is,—whether we believe the word of God ? It is not a mere tacit acknowledgment, that is required—it is not a lip service, that is sufficient. By believing in God is not meant solely a simple assent of the mind, but an exertion on our part to fulfil all those commandments, which He has given us. By believing in Jesus Christ is meant not only a consciousness, that He was the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, but also a practical line of conduct demonstrating our love to God, and that faith in his Son, which produces obedience. This is our

But as it cannot be necessary for us to introduce any more to your notice, it only remains to inquire, “who hath believed our report ?” The at the opprobrious term à Deol, which was applied to them, and which they considered a stigma on their religion.

before you.

“ who hath believed our report?” The Jews threw out of sight all these considerations; their disappointments prevailed over their reason; and although truth upon truth rose before them, and although

report. And

1

Report is not a word, which fully discloses to us the meaning of the original; it signifies, what the Prophet had heard, what had been revealed to him. The Greek renders it akoờ, the passage is so quoted in Rom. x. 16; and the 17th verse justifies our interpretation (See Gal. iii. 2; 1 Thess. ii. 13).

fact upon fact, miracle upon miracle, they refused to believe the Divine Messenger ; and nothing but the strongest prejudice, could have resisted those strong convictions, which Jesus was daily building up before the faces of these people. But the report, although disbelieved, could not be thrown aside; although the Jews did every thing in their power to smother the living coal, its fire continued to blaze ; it threw out its heat and spread along the earth with a vigour which no human power could stay. The power which was set in motion, like the sun, dispersed the gloom about it. The truth rose, notwithstanding their earnestness to tear it down. And the Gospel of Jesus Christ was established.

The poor Gentiles gladly embraced these life-giving tenets; but the Jews still remained hardened, crucifying afresh their Lord and Master, and thus sealing their own destruction. But what are the Jews to us? They are examples—the record of whose lives has been handed down to us, that we may take warning and avoid their unhappy fate. But let us pass onwards

from all these considerations, to ourselves ; let us see, whether we have followed the steps of these Jews, or whether we have received the report—the message from heaven. Who hath believed our report ?” Who? Oh! my brethren, were an angel from on high to descend, and come amongst us, and to go from seat to seat, and to inquire of the occupier, whether he hath believed the report, we should almost tremble for the result. We should fear, lest an unsatisfactory answer would be given. Some might make answer, that the report had been accepted; others that they had only received it in part; while others would be found to have indignantly refused to listen to it. To us likewise would the question be propounded, whether it had been delivered faithfully and fearlessly. We, too, as heralds of these grand mysteries, would have also to rest much

upon

the
mercy

of the Judge. But the question would still be carried out; whether what had been delivered had been received. Were these inquiries to be instituted at this moment, we fear that a trembling would run amongst us; we fear, that in the place of that cold

indifference, which now sits upon us, the cheek whitened by a startling conscience would be the only answer, that could be given to this angel's inquiries. And why should it be so? Why should we be unable to give an account of our stewardship at a moment's call ? simply, because we are unconcerned about these grand truths; because our attention is too much occupied with our worldly concerns to receive the report, which is proclaimed to us by God's ministers. But why should we not throw off this lukewarmness, and turn our care and attention to those things, which belong unto our peace ? Oh! my brethren, we would, that we could instil that life into the soul, which would cause the shaking among the dry bones. We would that we could rivet the attention to the service in God's holy temple, that it would cause a newness of life to spring up amongst us,—that our minds from being carnal would become spiritual; yea, we would that it should have that effect upon the mind, that our lives should be regulated by it, during the week. And if ever, during the ordinary days of business, Satan should be about our path, tempting

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