Wright - BT300 W8 1788

70 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED molt eminent of the ancient prophets, It toas, faid they, never fo feen in Ifrael. The Pharifees, whofe hearts were full of infernal rancour, 'and whole pride and prejudice prevented their receiving inflrufion from the difcourfes, or convic- tion from the miracles of our great Re- deemer, beheld the miracle now per- formed with a fcornful fneer, and put the molt invidious confiruaion upon it that could poffibly enter into the heart of man: 'He eg/teth out devils, faid they, through the prince of the devils. The bleffed JESUS, feems, at this time, to have taken no notice of this calumny : but, leaving the haughty, felf-conceited dofors, under the dominion of their blindnefs and pre- judice, he proceeded in the profecution of the duties of his million, and exerted himfelf more and more in the great work of promoting the caufe of truth, and en- lightening and inftrufling mankind. Ac- cordingly, leaving Capernaum, he took a tour through' the adjacent country,,bring- ing happinefs and peace to the forts of mifery and diftrefs, vRing all the cities and villages, teaching in theirfynagogues, and preaching the gofpel of the kingdom, and healing every fackne/i, and every difeafe among/t thepeople. At his return to Galilee, he was furrounded by vafl multitudes of people, who expreffed an earneft delire to hear his inftruétions, and learn the way of truth and happinefs from his lips. This traEtable difpofition of mind engaged the attention of the great Redeemer of fin- ners, and filled his heart with companion for them, in their prefent deplorable fiatè of blindnefs and ignorance, and ex- cited him to exert his divine power for their relief. Indeed, the fiate of the Jewifh nation at this time was worthy of companon; for, with refpea to fpiritual things, the common people might juftly be compared to Iheep without a Ihep- herd. The Scribes, Pharifees, and law- yers, who ought to have initrured them, were blind, lazy guides, and their teaching tended rather to lead them afide from the paths of truth and righteoufnefs, than to afford them any real advantage : their teaching tended rather to magnify and exalt themfelves, than "promote the knowledge or worthip of their Maker ; and to encourage a fcrupulous exaEtnefs in external ceremonial performances, rather than promote the caufe of truth, purity, and virtue., In this dark and forlorn condition, our Lord had companion on the multitude, and, in his divine wifdom and benevolence, proceeded to take pro- per meafures for their relief. He always regarded the feed of Ifrael with peculiar affeaion ; and as they were wandering on the dark mountains of error and fuper- ttition, without any to reftrain their wan- derings, or teach their fteps to find the way of peace, he recommended their cafe to his difciples, and commanded them to approach the throne of God, with earneft prayers on their behalf: The harve/l, faid he, truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the' Lord of the harve/t, that he will fend forth la- bourers into his harve/l. Nor didour great Redeemer recommend this affefing cafe to his difciples, without employing his own moi powerful inter- ceffion with his heavenly. Father; for he afcended a mountain; and continued all night in prayer to God. Having fpent the night in earneft fupplication, the morn- ing no fooner returned, thanhe fet about the important talk of divine inftrurion. To this end, he chofe twelve out of the number of his difciples, and named them apoftles, to be always with him, and that he might fend them forth topreach. Thefewere Simon Peter, andAndrew, his brother; James, the fonof Zebedee, and John, his brother ; Philip, and BartholomeW ; Thomas, and Matthew; James, the fon of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whole furname was Thaddeus ; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Ifcariot. Thefe