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dily resisted all the temptations, the devil leaveth him. Luke expresses it, "He departed from him for a season;" doubtless referring to the future treachery of Judas. And they close their account by declaring, that "angels came and ministered unto him." Various have been the opinions of commentators respecting this event; some have resolved it into a mere vision, or allegory ; others have supposed it a literal account of a fact which really happened; while many, taking a middle course, have imagined it partly to contain a real narrative, and partly to record a figurative transaction.

Time will not admit of our entering into an investigation of these opposite opinions. I will only enter my protest (with the learned Dr. Taylor of Norwich) against the idea of its being merely a vision. Why was our Lord led out into the wilderness? A vision might have been like that of Mahomet, in his chamber. Why was he miraculously supported forty days, for nothing but a miracle could have supported him? Those who would exalt the arch-fiend into an omniscient, an omnipresent, an omnipotent being, I leave to their own folly. Many are the texts which prove his subordinate agency; "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you; and our Lord says of Peter, "Satan has desired to have thee:"

desired; he could not demand it. Doubtless he never acts but by the divine permission and appointment; but, with these limitations, I am firmly of opinion, that our Lord was exposed to his attacks. As, therefore, he suffered, being tempted, we may rejoice in the thought, that he is able to succour them that are tempted. And let us never forget how he repelled the adversary; namely, by an impartial reference to the Holy Scriptures: he quoted them feelingly, and he quoted them justly.

Thus may we conquer all the temptations which assault us! Let us imitate the conduct of the great Captain of our salvation, and like him, learn to overcome the world by the sword of the Spirit: let us resolutely repel the solicitations of all, whose specious pretexts would endanger the sacrifice of our conscience, and the displeasure of our God.








And being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. ACTS i. 4.

It is pleasant, and it is useful, to trace the origin of sciences, or to develop the causes of events. For this purpose, many writers have devoted whole volumes to the history of those men, who have led to the discovery of some particular art, some branch of manufacture, and some improvement in commerce. If then it is thus pleasant and useful to pursue our inquiries into the earliest accounts of agriculture, of astronomy, of architecture, or

of painting, how much more profitable is it to examine the commencement of the various dispensations, granted in different ages to mankind, and especially to trace the progress of the last and brightest display of Heaven's favour to man.

With this view, I have studied the first eleven chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, considering them as containing the history of the first planting of Christianity.

I propose to comprise my remarks in four discourses, and I trust, that the young especially (to whom these sermons are most affectionately devoted) will become better acquainted with this early period of the Christian Church, and be led to consider the Book of Acts, not merely as a set of good things, totally detached, but (as it is in truth) a continuation of the account of our Lord, forming so many additional links in the beautiful chain of gospel history.

The Book of Acts is universally acknowledged to have been written by Luke the Evangelist. It has been largely commented upon by the learned Benson, and by the late Lord Barrington, (father to the present Bishop of Durham.) Both these writers have adopted the same method of division, and have arranged the history under three distinct periods; the first of which takes up ten chap

ters, so that I cannot follow either of these commentators, my plan only comprising (in the whole) the first eleven chapters. I shall divide the portion I have selected into four periods.

The first lecture will take in the time, from the resurrection of our Lord, to the feast of Pentecost, and will occupy the two first chapters.

The second will comprise the various miracles wrought by the Apostles at Jerusalem, (whether benevolent or awful,) their preaching and defence before the Jewish Sanhedrim, with their imprisonment and liberation. This will take up the third, fourth, and fifth chapters.

The third will exhibit the persecution of the disciples at Jerusalem, and the consequent spread of the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria, with the spirited defence, condemnation, and death, of Stephen; this will occupy the sixth and seventh chapters, with twenty-five verses of the eighth.

The fourth and last will relate to the spread of Christianity among the Gentiles, together with the conversion of St. Paul, as an express instrument to effect their salvation; this will occupy the remainder of the eighth, with the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters.

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