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had on a former occasion discussed, and to prevent their supposing that their own righteousness would save them, he told the woman, that her faith had saved her;" intimating to these Pharisees the Wecessity of FAITH, and assuring the woman of the efficacy of it.
From our LORD's parable, and this application of it, we learn, that all SIN is a debt, which as sinners cannot pay, they stand in need of forgiveness: and that GOD, in his infinite goodness, will pardon those that have a true faith in his mercy through CHRIST: that those who are thus pardoned, are bound to adore and love their Go and SAVIOUR, and consequently to shew their faith by forsaking their sins, and living for the future according to the divine law, as far, as human frailty will permit; in which case their minds will be restored to peace and serenity. Let us, then, as we are all sinners, endeavour by sincere repentance and faith in CHRIST, to obtain GoD's pardon; and be thankful for the hope of salvation; and let us charitably refrain from censuring others.
HEROD'S OPINION CONCERNING JESUS.
Matthew, Chap. xiv.-Mark, xi.
Ar that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, for his name was spread abroad..
And he was perplexed, and said unto his servants, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things?
And some said, It is Elias. And others said, that it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets...
See Sect. xxxix.
But Herod said, It is John the Baptist whom I be headed; he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
And he desired to see him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
In the account here given of Herod, we have a lively instance of the power of CONSCIENCE, that inward monitor, which the Almighty hath implanted in the human breast to incite us to virtue, and restrain us from vice, and to serve occasionally as our comforter or tormentor.
Conscience is, by a sacred writer, called The Candle of the LORD, which serves not only to discover to us, by its light, what our duty consists in, but revives also and cheers us with its bright beams when we do well; and when we do ill, is as a burning flame to search and consume us. It is therefore the interest of every one to obey its dictates: for whoever wilfully acts in defiance of them, will most certainly feel in the end bitter an guish and remorse.
When Herod was solicited to put the Baptist to death, his conscience informed him, that it would be a very barbarous, ungrateful, and unjust action; but rather than give offence to an infamous woman, and expose himself to the censures of a set of corrupt courtiers, he gave orders for his execution.
From this time we hear no more of Herod, till we are told of his alarm at the report of our SAVIOUR's miracles; but from this circumstance we may infer, that he suffered, as other sinners do, from the reproaches of conscience; and that, however he might strive to banish painful reflections, they were awakened by the slightest accident. Had his mind been calm and serene, he VOL. V. would
would have easily discovered, that our LORD was not John returned from the dead, but that HOLY ONE for whose reception the Baptist had endeavoured to prepare the Jews. But the king's fears suggested, that the righteous man he had murdered was come from the grave to take vengeance for his iniquities and his own wrongs he therefore, forgetful of his high state and character, expressed his apprehensions to his very servants: for they operated so strongly on his mind, that he could not conceal them.
Since the reproaches of conscience are so powerful, let us endeavour to secure its applauses; and, in order to do so, we must avoid committing any actions that we know to be sinful, and perform, to the best of our abilities, every thing that the natural light of our own mind shews us is right. The highest worldly pleasure cannot counterbalance the pangs of guilt, which are alway's proportioned to our crimes. Let then no temptation, no interest, no influence whatsoever, sway us to do any thing contrary to the suggestions of conscience. Let us no more dare to do in private what that tells us ought not to be done, than if the eyes of the whole creation were upon us; for if we escape the observation of men, the watchful witness within will record our faults, and will one day certainly reprove us and set our misdeeds before us; and, according to its report, shall we be condemned or acquitted by our righteous judge *.
There is an excellent Sermon on this subject by Bishop Atterbury, from whence the above reflections are chiefly extracted.
AFTER these things, JESUS went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberius.
And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
And the Apostles gathered themselves together unto JESUS, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
And they departed into a desert place by ship privately, belonging to the city of Bethsaida.
And JESUS went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
And JESUS, when he saw much people, was moved with compassion, and healed them that had need of healing, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd and he began to teach them many things.
And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
And he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
(And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do) Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many
And JESUS said, Make them sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
And they sat down in ranks by hundreds, and by fifties. And JESUS took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
And they did all eat, and were filled. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should co.ne into the world.