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Oh, may our hearts catch the sacred flame! May we exclaim, in the words of the prophet, Lo, this is the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!"

"Thanks," eternal thanks, "be unto God for his unspeakable Gift." Amen.

SERMON II.

ON THE

EXCELLENCE

OF OUR

SAVIOUR'S TEACHING.

Never man spake like this man.

THESE Words were spoken by the officers or soldiers sent by the chief priests and pharisees to apprehend Christ. If we suppose these persons really to have been officers, in our present acceptation of the term, they must doubtless have been men of education, and, consequently, good judges of our Saviour's discourses; if they were common soldiers, the praise they bestowed is no less to be valued; they were men who had made a world to tremble, who had laid that world at the feet of Cæsar, whose courage stood

C

JOHN vii. 46.

unrivalled: great, therefore, must have been the teacher, wonderful the eloquence, which could thus strike and awe a soldier of Rome. This well-known eulogium may be supposed, not merely to refer to the clearness and authority of our Lord's discourses, but to a certain expressiveness in his manner which no historian can describe.

Our thoughts are to be directed to "the various and successive methods of our Saviour's teaching." And here permit me to remark, that the word here rendered teaching, may with great propriety include the idea of example, as well as instruction. When we view our Lord at the marriage in Cana, or behold him at the grave of his friend Lazarus, we are taught by his example, rather than his precepts, to " rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with them that weep." When we see him going about doing good, we learn the duty of active benevolence. When we find him patiently submitting to the will of his Father, under a sense of the most complicated sufferings, we are taught resignation; and when we view him suffering a painful and ignominious death, we feel the duty of sacrificing even life itself for the sake of consci

ence.

In this discourse, however, we shall consider the expression in its more limited appli

cation, and display the varied and successive methods of his teaching, merely as they respect the instruction he diffused. Such a variety of matter has pressed upon my mind, as illustrative of this subject, that, far from finding any difficulty in collecting materials, my difficulty has arisen from a contrary source; I have been at the utmost pains to select and to arrange.

I shall first consider the various methods adopted by our Saviour; and, secondly, the successive stages of his instruction.

I. Let us inquire into the varied methods of our Lord's teaching. I shall consider our Saviour's discourses.

1. As they were public or private.
2. As they were plain or figurative.
3. As they were incidental or designed.

4. As they were colloquial or systematic. 5. As they were or were not accompanied with outward tokens or symbols.

In the first place; let us view our Saviour's discourses as they were public or private. Most of our Lord's discourses were delivered in public, and in these addresses, great was the dignity and the solemnity of his manner. When he entered the synagogue at Nazareth,

with what majesty did he open the sacred volume! with what dignified authority did he read the prophecy of Isaiah! and with what solemnity did he declare, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears!" His Sermon on the Mount, and many others which might be mentioned, come under this class; but our Lord did not confine his instruction to public addresses; he set the example, which St. Paul afterwards followed, as we learn from his appeal to the Ephesians, concerning his labours among them; "I have taught you publicly, and from house to house." Our Lord frequently conversed with his apostles in private, and explained those discourses, which, in public, had been veiled in the obscurity of parable; nor were the apostles the only persons whom he thus honoured with familiar intercourse. How interesting his conversation with Nicodemus, (a Rabbi in Israel!) How instructive his discourse with the woman of Samaria! How comprehensive his reproof to Martha !

2. Let us view his discourses as they were plain or figurative.

Whether it be any beauty in Homer, that there is not one simile in the first book, either of the Iliad or the Odyssey, I leave to

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