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Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the Prophets, from morning till evening."
He did this, we cannot doubt it, gladly, earnestly, and impressively. He did it, because it was his bounden duty to preach Christ through evil report, and through good report. Because, to use his own language," a necessity was laid upon him to preach the gospel." He did it, because he had his Master's words yet ringing in his ears, wherewith the Lord had comforted him at the beginning of his affliction in Jerusalem; "Be of good cheer, Paul, for as thou hast testified of me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness of me at Rome." did it, because in spite of all that he had suffered at the hands of the Jews, he yet yearned for the salvation of his bigoted countrymen. His heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel was, that they might be partakers with himself of the hopes and consolations of Christianity. And so he continued from morning till evening " preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ."
And what, my brethren, was the result? What was the fruit of his discourse, thus prolonged as it was, during the whole day? The text supplies the answer, "Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not."
It happened at this time,-as it had happened on
many other occasions; as it had happened at Iconium, at Thessalonica, at Ephesus, in all which places Paul had been speaking boldly in the Lordthat his hearers were divided. While some there were, upon whom his words took such effect, that they were not able to resist them, but were convinced and converted; there were others who kept firm to their prejudices, and remained faithless, and unbelieving.
And here let us stop for a moment, to contemplate the difference between these two classes of St. Paul's audience; those who believed the things which were spoken, and those who continued in unbelief. For the former-those who believed-what blessedness was in store! What joy, and peace, what comfort, and support in the knowledge which they had just received, the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, as the way, the truth, and the life! We remember the exclamation of Andrew, and the other disciple to St. Peter, in the first chapter of St. John's Gospel"We have found the Messias." How much it was intended to convey! And by this we may judge of the happiness of these believing Jews. They had found Him of whom Moses, and the prophets in those Scriptures which they so dearly valued, had written; whom they had long been looking for under a false impression of His character. They had found, that Jesus of Nazareth, whom their
countrymen had crucified, was Lord, and Christ; the Anointed of God; the promised Saviour of the world. They had apprehended; taken hold of Him, and of His salvation by faith; they had but to continue in that faith; rooted and grounded; to hold it firm unto the end; framing their lives, and ruling their conduct according to its injunctions: and then there remained for them, a crown of life and glory, which Christ hath purchased for, and promised to all, who in very truth are His disciples.
But for that other class-those who believed not -those, who with the same opportunities as their brethren for learning the way of God in truth; the same opportunities for acquiring a right knowledge of the plan provided by the Almighty, for man's redemption, and an interest in the great Person by whom it had been accomplished, yet held back from receiving that knowledge-would not open their hearts to the message of the Apostle would not allow themselves to believe that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that no other Saviour was to be expected ;-what, I ask, awaited them? Why, one of these two things-they must either at some other time have, through the Divine mercy, and grace, been led to a better mind-or they must have lived on, and at length died, in unbelief; and if in unbelief, then at enmity to, and in estrangement from, God, and objects of His severest punish
ment; objects of that punishment which in the Revelation is described as the second death: rather, we might call it "life in death," that state of misery in the world to come, wherein the souls and bodies of the lost, shall be tormented in the lake of fire, and which the same Holy Scripture tells us "is prepared," not only for the murderer-not only for the adulterer -not only for the idolater, and liar-but for "the fearful, and unbelieving" as well.
Think of these things, my brethren, and you will agree with me in regarding the words in my text, as words full of meaning, and instruction. Looking only to the parties about whom they were originally spoken, they have an interest for us, and for all who read the pages of the New Testament, greater than might at first appear. We cannot but feel concerned to know, that while amongst that company of Jewish leaders, collected together in the small lodging of St. Paul to hear from his lips the doctrines of the Christian faith, some believed the things which were spoken, to the salvation of their souls," others "believed not;" and while they remained in unbelief, remained shut out from the mercies of Redemption. Shut out through no indisposition of the Almighty to receive them, but through the hardness, and obstinacy of their hearts. Shut out, because they disallowed the work of God, -because they stumbled at that "chief corner
stone elect, precious," which He
Sion, and of which it had been "Whosoever believeth on Him
had laid in
shall not be
But there is a closer interest than this to be derived from the remark of St. Luke. It is capable of application, direct personal application to ourselves; an application obvious, and easy, and one of which you will at once, I think, admit the justice, "Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not." Are not these words equally true now as when they were originally written? Is it not true that in this, and in every other congregation; every company of men gathered together (as we now are) in Christ's holy Name, and in His church, to hear His Gospel preached; there is a vast difference in the effect which that preaching has upon their minds? Like as it happened then, does it not happen still? The multitude are divided. And while part receive the word with gladness, and thankfully embrace the tidings of the Gospel, and submit themselves with all readiness to the obligation which it lays upon them, receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts by a lively faith as their Saviour, their Mediator, their Master, their Example, and Guide-and, so believing, are benefited by what they hear-go away out of the assembly of His people encouraged, instructed, ani