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ation of business, old age and sickness, death, the grave, and the fear of the “ damnation of hell,” these are black and gloomy things, and a perpetual attention to these, through all which I have to travel in the night without a guide, would drive me to distraction. Monster that I should be, if I could find in my heart to reject Jesus Christ as my guide! Not think of him! I will think of nothing else; he shall be to me instead of every other subject, the food and fire of my soul. If I will become my advocate too. If I repent, he will forgive me. When I wander, he will restore me. When i tremble at the dreary path through " the valley of the shadow of death,” he will say to me, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, for I am with thee; when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the tame kindle upon thee." Not think of Christ! • If I forget thee," O Saviour of my soal! right hand forget her cunning! If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth !" May God inspire us all with such sentiments! To him be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
66 let my
THE MERIT OF JESUS CHRIST DISTINGUISHES HIM FROM ALL
MARK vii. 24.
And Jesus entered into an house, and would have no man:
know it : but he could not be hid.
THERE are two sorts of persons who cannot be hid; the first are men of remarkable qualities, and the other are mes in public offices. It is impossible to both these classes to escape the public eye, and, whoever enjoys the pleasure of privacy, they must not expect it. It is a wise management of Providence, a perpetual restraint upon sin, and a constant motive to virtue.
Men of remarkable qualities of vice are necessarily exposed to contempt, and the higher the rank, the more horrible their crimes appear. Belshazzar was a king of this sort; Caiaphas was a priest, Pilate a judge, and Judas a friend of this class, whose unworthy names are so well known as to stand for the foul and filthy crimes, for which they rendered themselves remarkable. Such may well desire to retreat from the eyes of men, and, if it were possible, from the censure of Almighty God. Thus the prophet Micaiah reproached Zedekiah, a false, and cruel prophet of Ahab, "Behold, thou shalt go from chamber to chamber to hide thyself.” Thus also, the apostle John represents the wicked at the last day as
saying to mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide
us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne." I call this shame a restraint upon vice; and low as this passion is, even this shadow of virtue is necessary to the good of society; for the monstrous crimes now committed by great men are nothing to what they have an inclination to commit, durst they, when they had done, look either God or man in the face. No, singular abilities for the commission of sin cannot be exercised in secret, the owners of them want room; they are not, like some little insects, hardly known to be in the world; but they resemble the “lion coming up from his thicket," his " voice publishing affliction," and his fellowcreatures crying, “ Destruction upon destruction, woe unto us, for we are spoiled.” Happy for us, mighty powers for mischief can neither be concealed nor approved!
Men of remarkable good qualities of either body or mind cannot be hid. “ Saul was the desire of all Israel, for he was a choice young man, and there was not a goodlier person than he; from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.” His size showed itself. It is the same with remarkable genius, and endowments of mind; for skill will break out, and show itself; it “ cannot be hid.” It was the art of David in " playing on an harp," that first recommended him to king Saul; and it was the singular sweetness of his manner, as well as the “comeliness of his person,” that obtained him the friendship of Jonathan, who loved him as his own soul ;" and it was his remarkable courage and address, that gained him the esteem of “ all Israel and Judah,” as well as the dread of Saul, who envied and feared his abilities. It was skill “ to work in gold and silver and brass, to cut stones, and to carve timber," that distinguished Bezaleel and Aholiab from the rest of their brethren in the wilderness; as genius for all works of art hath always distinguished one man from another in all countries. God himself hath been pleased to point out to us the remarkable faith of Abraham, the eminent meekness of Moses, and the singular patience of Job, admirable qualities which “cannot be hid !"
As qualities distinguish men, so do public offices.
Thus Daniel was distinguished in the court of Darius, and thus Joseph was noted in that of Pharaoh ; for public offices are instituted for the convenience of many, and they who hold them are bound to execute them faithfully; and envy as well as respect keeps a watchful eye on the conduct of such men. You may see what passes in the whole world by the tranactions of a little parish. The integrity and humanity of a good man in a parish-office may expose him to the censure of a few; but it will always secure him the esteem of all such as know how to value uprightness and sympathy. Happy the man who always acts with a view to examination and account, who, in private, places himself before both the judgment of his fellow-creatures, and the tribunal of a righteous God!
Where a man holds a public office of great importance, when he hath all the great abilities and virtues necessary to the discharge of the trust, and when he actually so discharges it as to render remarkable services to society, all the reasons for being every where known will unite in this one man, and he “ cannot be hid.” He is a man, and fatigue of business will make nourishment and refreshment necessary; but on pressing occasions such a man will deny himself for the public good, and, to use a scriptural expression, he will remember, the saying that is written, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."
Such was the condition of Jesus Christ, when he went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, “ and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.” I think, I see three principal reasons, beside that just now mentioned, for the conduct of our Saviour. "He would have no man know it." Why? Because he would fulfil prophecy ... explain his own character ... and leave us an example of virtue. Once,
when great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all, he charged them that they should not make him known; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold, my servant shall not cause his voice to be heard in the streets;" that is, he shall not affect popularity, nor stoop to use any arti
fice to make proselytes. Most likely this was one reason of our Lord's desiring to be concealed on the occasion mentioned in the text. Probably, he intended also to explain his own character to the family where he was. Jesus was a person of singular modesty, and a high degree
of every virtue, that can adorn a man, was a character of the promised Messiah. It was necessary to give frequent proofs by his actions of the frame and temper of his heart, and he discovered the tenderness of a friend to the family where he was, and to his disciples, who were along with him, just as he had done before, when there were so many coming and going, that they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Then, 56 he said unto his apostles, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately." Further, in the case before us we have a fine example of the conduct
proper for men exalted above their fellows. They ought not to make a public show of themselves, nor to display their abilities in vain ostentation. All their abilities should scent of piety and the fear of God. The apostle Paul reproved the Corinthians for abusing extraordinary gifts to make the people think them prophets and spiritual persons, while they ought to have applied them to the edifying of the church.” “God," adds this apostle,“ is not the author of confusion; but of peace.” For such reasons, we suppose, our blessed Saviour desired concealment in this house ; and so much right had he to rest after a journey, to refresh himself with food and sleep, to retire from the malice of his enemies, and to enjoy all the uninterrupted sweets of privacy, that had not his presence been indispensably necessary to the relief and happiness of mankind, one would have wished to have hushed every breath, and to have banished every foot, lest he should have been disturbed : 66 but he could not be hid. His fame had gone abroad into all the land, and throughout all Syria ;»9 and his wisdom exceeded his fame,“ the one half of the greatness of it was not told.” Enough, however, had been said to engage a woman in distress for a young daughter, to come and solicit relief. A woman in like