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the concluding verse of this chapter. After our Lord had prescribed to his disciples the form of words to be used in baptism, he adds, "teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you." As this is the parting direction, the farewell injunction, which Jesus left with his disciples just before he ascended into heaven, it shows what peculiar stress he laid upon it. It shows, that by making it the conclusion, the winding up as it were of his Gospel, he meant to express, in the strongest manner, the indispensable necessity of a holy life resulting from a vital faith. He meant to intimate to his own disciples, and to the ministers of his Gospel in every future age, that it was to be one principal object of their instructions and exhortations to inculcate all the virtues of a Christian life, and an unreserved obedience to all the precepts of their Divine Master. And whoever neglects this branch of his duty, is guilty of manifesting a marked contempt of the very last command that fell from the lips of his departing Lord.

The few words that follow this command, and which conclude the Gospel of St. Matthew, contain a promise full of consolation, not only to the apostles themselves, but to all the ministers of the Gospel in every succeeding age. "And, lo," says our blessed Lord," I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." That is, although I am now about to leave you and ascend into heaven, and can no longer be personally present with you, yet the Holy Spirit, whom I have repeatedly promised to send unto you, shall certainly come to supply my place, shall constantly abide with you, and shall enlighten, guide, assist, support, and comfort you to the end of the world.

Here ends the Gospel of St. Matthew. But it must be observed, that in this last part of our Saviour's history he has been much more concise than the other evange lists, and has passed over several circumstances which they have recorded, and of which it may be proper to take some notice here, before we close this Lecture. It appears from the other evangelists, and from the Acts of the Apostles, that Jesus continued among his disciples for forty days after his resurrection, giving them repeated and infallible proofs of his being actually raised from the dead, and "speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God *."

* Luke xxiv, 44; Acts i, 3.

In one of these discourses he took occasion to advert more particularly to those things that were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning him. He showed how exactly and minutely all the predictions respecting him, contained in those sacred books, were accomplished in his birth, his life, his doctrines, his sufferings, his death, and his resurrection.

This stamps at once a divine authority on those books, and gives a sanction to the interpretation of the passages alluded to, and the application of them to our blessed Lord, by our best and most learned expositors.

It is added, that on this occasion he opened their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name amongst all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

He entered, we see, at large into the great evangelical doctrines of the atonement, of the redemption of mankind by his death, of the resurrection, of repentance, and the remission of sins through faith in his name. These are most important topics, and his illustration of them to his disciples must have opened to them an invaluable treasure of divine knowledge. And as these doctrines are but briefly touched upon in the Gospels, and more fully unfolded and explained in the Acts and the Epistles, it is highly probable, that a very considerable part, if not the whole of what passed in these discourses of our Lord to his disciples after his resurrection, is faithfully preserved and detailed in those inspired writings. This places in a very strong light the high importance of those writings, and the high rank they ought to hold in our estimation, as forming an essential part of the Christian system, and completing the code of doctrines and of duties contained in that divine revelation.

It is remarkable, also, that St. Matthew has made no mention of the concluding act of our Lord's life on earth, his ascension into heaven. The reason of this omission is not, perhaps, very easy to assign, nor is it necessary. We know, that in several other instances various circumstances are omitted by one evangelist, which are supplied by the rest, and others passed over by those which are noticed by the former; a plain proof, by the way, that they did not write in concert with each other, but each

related his own story, and selected such facts and events as appeared to him most deserving of notice.

In the present case it is sufficient for our satisfaction, that the ascension is related by two of the evangelists, St. Mark and St. Luke. The latter of these tells us in his Gospel, and in the Acts, that "Jesus led out his apostles (and the disciples that were with them) to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came

to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly towards heaven, as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God*."

The last observation I have to make is, that neither St. Matthew, nor any other of the evangelists, have given us a full and complete history of every thing that our Saviour did during the whole course of his ministry; but have only recorded the most important and the most remarkable of his transactions and his miracles. Beside, therefore, the many irresistible proofs we already possess of his divine wisdom and almighty power, there are many others still remaining behind, which might have been produced, but which the evangelists did not think it necessary to specify; for St. John, in the twentieth chapter of his Gospel, makes this remarkable declaration: "Many other signs truly," says he, "did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, ye might have life through his name.' God grant that this effect may be produced on all who now hear me; otherwise my labours, and their attendance, will have been in vain!

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I have now brought these Lectures to a conclusion, and must here take my final leave of you. It was my original intention and my wish to have proceeded next

* Luke xxiv, 50-51; Acts i, 9—11.

to the Acts of the Apostles, which contain the history of the first propagation of the Christian religion, and the astonishing progress it made through a large part of the world, by the preaching of the apostles and their coadjutors, after our Lord's departure into heaven; but I must not now venture into so large a field. Circumstanced as I am, it would be presumption in me to expect, either that God would grant me time to accomplish so arduous a work, or that you would have perseverance to bear with me to the conclusion. I must here, therefore, close my labours, at least in this place; and must for the last time, implore you to think and to meditate, again and again, on the important and interesting truths which have been unfolded to you in the course of these Lectures, and to form them into principles of action, and rules of conduct, for the regulation and direction of the remaining part of your lives.


In the history of our Lord, as given by St. Matthew, of which I have detailed the most essential parts, such a scene has been presented to your observation as cannot but have excited sensations of a very serious and very awful nature in your minds. You cannot but have seen, that the Divine Author of our religion is, beyond comparison, the most extraordinary and most important personage that ever appeared on this habitable globe. His birth, his life, his doctrines, his precepts, his miracles, his sufferings, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, are all without a parallel in the history of mankind. He called himself the Son of God, the Messiah predicted in the prophets, the great Redeemer and Deliverer of mankind, promised in the sacred writings, through successive ages, almost from the foundation of the world. He supported these great characters with uniformity, with consistence, and with dignity, throughout the whole course of his ministry. The work he undertook was the greatest and most astonishing that can be conceived, and such as before never entered into the imagination of man. It was nothing less than the conversion of a whole world from the grossest ignorance, the most abandoned wickedness, and the most sottish idolatry, to the knowledge of the true God, to a pure and holy religion, and to faith in him, who was THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. He proved himself to have a commission from Heaven, for those great purposes, by such demonstrations of divine wisdom, power, and goodness, as it is mpossible for any fair, and ingenuous, and unprejudiced

mind to resist. Of all this you have seen abundant instances in the course of these Lectures; and when all these circumstances are collected into one point of view, they present such a body of evidence as must overpower, by its weight, all the trivial difficulties and objections that the wit of man can raise against the divine authority of the Gospel.

Consider, in the first place, the transcendent excellence of our Lord's character, so infinitely beyond that of every other moral teacher; the gentleness, the calmness, the composure, the dignity, the integrity, the spotless sanctity of his manners, so utterly inconsistent with every idea of enthusiasm or imposture; the compassion, the kindness, the tenderness he expressed for the whole human race, even for the worst of sinners, and the bitterest of his enemies; the perfect command he had over his own passions; the temper he preserved under the severest provocations; the patience, the meekness with which he endured the cruellest insults, and the grossest indignities; the fortitude he displayed under the most excruciating torments; the sublimity and importance of his doctrines; the consummate wisdom and purity of his moral precepts, far exceeding the natural powers of a man born in the humblest situation, and in a remote and obscure corner of the world, without learning, education, languages, or books. Consider, farther, the minute description of all the most material circumstances of his birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection, given by the ancient prophets many hundred years before he was born, and exactly fulfilled in him, and him only; the many astonishing miracles wrought by him in the open face of day, before thousands of spectators, the reality of which is proved by multitudes of the most unexceptionable witnesses, who sealed their testimony with their blood, and was even acknowledged by the earliest and most inveterate enemies of the Gospel. Above all, consider those two most remarkable occurrences in the history of our Lord, which have been particularly enlarged upon in these Lectures, and are alone sufficient to establish the divinity of his person and of his religion; I mean his wonderful prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, with every minute circumstance attending it; and that astonishing and well-authenticated miracle of his resurrection from the grave, which was in the last Lecture set before you; and when

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