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necessity, and that all others should give place to it. On this ground he commended the conduct of Mary, who appeared to be more “ spiritually minded," as improving the opportunity for her own greatest advantage. He declared, therefore, that Mary had acted wisely in preferring "the good part,” because it is excellent in itself, and infinitely more valuable than all earthly pofleffions, as being secure and inviolable.
The example as well as the observations of Jesus upon this occasion will furnish solid instruction. We should learn from him to thew the influence of our religion, as well in our common intercourse with each other, as in the temple and clofet. In every house, where he was admitted, he delivered his heayenly doctrines, “his mouth speaking wifdom, and his tongue talking of judgment *.” And shall we be unwilling or ashamed to introduce any mention of our spiritual concerns, wherever we may be? How do we appear to have the mind of Jesus, if divine things engage no part of our private conversation? Do not some plead the cares of a family, the hurry of business, and an attention to company, as if these were of the first consequence, or as if God were to be regarded, and the interests of the foul consulted, only in the second place? What, then, has Jesus taught you? He declares, “ One thing is needful:" bu: how many things are so in your estimation! Thay which he enjoins you, as important above all others, is either totally forgotten, or thrust aside, that you may be more at leisure to pursue that, which is of little worth, and cannot long be fecured to you. Even some pious persons are much obftructed in their fpiritual progress through an excessive anxiety about their fecular affairs. They do not, therefore, as they ought, glorify God by bringing forth fruit abundantly nor do they enjoy the comforts of religion in them
* Pfal. xxxvii. 300
felves. But the greater part of mankind feem entirely carnal; for they propose'no higher object to themselves, than to gratify their animal nature; as if « the one thing needful” were to make the most of the present life, to eat, drink, and be merry, А zealous regard to religion is condemned and derided, as extreme folly, though it be the truest wisdom. The servant of Jesus, who is observed to
co fit at his feet and hear his word,” is complained of as deserting his post. But his divine Mafter will plead his caufe to the confusion of his opponents; and, when they fhall be for ever feparated from all that was dear to them, he will possess a treasure and a happiness in the heavens, “ which shall not be taken away from hini."
On another occasion, and in a different place, where Jesus had retired, he was requested by one of his disciples, at the conclusion of his devotions, to teach them to pray, as John also had taught his follow
ers *. It cannot be supposed, that they had conspicatur tinued so long with him in ignorance or neglect of fafil this duty: for they must have learned the neceflity of
it both from his example and his exhortations. But if God they now desired some particular instructions in it,
perhaps fome form of prayer to be delivered to them; Rēz , ba ! and it is supposed, that the most eminent Jewish mal
ters, as well as John the Baptist, :,ave their respective fcholars and adherents a short model for their worship.
In compliance with their wishes, then, he repeated, mult sit with certain trifling alterations, that brief but comprece that hensive address to God, with which he had furnished
them before, as a directory to them in their devotions; and now he appointed it to be used as a staied form +
It has been already observed, that it might be adaptche fruit ied to the peculiar lituation of the disciples, and in* Luke xi. I-13:
+ See Sect.
, there in
tended only for that time; but that, as the expreffions are suitable for Christians in all ages and circumftances, it may still be retained with great propriety, both in public and private worship; though it could not be meant to exclude other petitions. The composition is wonderful and excellent, beyond any commendation which we can offer. We call upon those
, who desire to serve God acceptably, to study the full sense of all its parts distinctly, and endeavour to enter into the true spirit of it. Consider, how you pray. You are here taught to approach to God with affection and confidence as to your Father, yet with profound reverence as to him, who“ hath prepared bis throne in the heavens." His name should be dear to you; and you should implore grace for others, that it may be known and fanctified in every place, requesting also, that he would establish his kingdom in righteousness by the everlasting Gospel, and that all the in. habitants of the earth may unitę with those of heaven, in yielding him a cheerful and perfect obedience. Looking up in faith, you must ask your daily support from him. You must confess to him your numerous and aggravated offences, humbly seeking his forgiveness, and declaring your readiness to pardon every injury, received from your fellow-creatures. Yet
, as you will be constantly exposed to fresh temptations, entreat him to strengthen and preserve you by the power of his Spirit, and to rescue you out of the hands of your enemy;.
Such are the fupplications, which you are taught to offer; but you should pray, as persons in earnest
, who are unwilling to take a denial. For our Lord assures us, that, as one man prevails upon another, if not by argument or through the influence of friendhip, yet by his incessant solicitation, you also, by the fervour and importunity of your requests, may havé able. No instance can be produced, of any one coninuing to wait upon God with unwearied diligence ind ardent devotion, who was finally rejected. You ire encouraged to expect a favourable answer, from God's parental disposition. If you feel the affection of a father, what would you not grant to your beoved offspring, who earnestly entreat your aslistance? You, indeed, who are “ evil,” may easily be warped rom your duty, under the influence of corrupt palions; yet you cannot refuse to relieve your children. And shall God with-hold any thing really good, from hose who send up their unceasing petitions to him? Vo: he will give them his Holy Spirit, which will · fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness.” Ah! low cold, how lifeless are your prayers, if the duty se at all attempted! Shall you complain, or wonder, hat you succeed no better? Will you not be roused o greater fervour? But, if you “restrain prayer beore God," and call not upon his name, your guilt s extreme; and his tender mercies, in waiting to be sracious, will render you the more inexcufable.
op with God, and obtain' his blessing. The proof Jesus for your fuccess are absolute and invio
It may be difficult, nor is it of any real importince, to ascertain the exact connection of the folowing narrative. But at another time, when Jeus was delivering his instructions to the people, he eceived an invitation to dinner from a Pharifee, which he immediately accepted with his usual affabiity * It should seem from the sequel, and from the nanner of our Lord's address, that a scheme was ormed to ensnare him, and that for this purpose a arge company of these captious adverfaries was colccted together. But their malicious project was affed; and they met with a most severe reprehenion for their odious hypocrisy, and the nuincrous inconfiftencies of their conduct.
· Jesus sat down to eat without observing the ceremony of washing his hands: when the makes the house, who narrowly watched him, fecrets demned him for the neglect. Our Lord waste of the objection, though it was not avons therefore he took the opportunity, not fo mm vindicating himself, as of exposing the folly anii mulation of the Pharisees in general. Man then before him, and yet with remarkable pler and courage he reproved them, while he detecteit avarice and oppression, their pride and maligna heart. He pointed out their absurdity, in pa fuch scrupulous attention to external purificare while their minds were filled with schemes of a and various kinds of wickedness. He exhorted to therefore, to consider, that the God, who made would not be satisfied with any outward observas and that their great object should be to approve te felves to him. He urged them, also, to reces their covetoufness and cruel exactions, and to be and liberal to the poor; in which way their ti would be much more effectually fanctified to than merely by the cleansing of their hands.
Their danger was not to be concealed; and the fote, that they might no longer flatter themselves : addressed them in language the most authoritativer majestic, and denounced against them one trem: dous wo upon another, for their neglect of real and i ward holiness while they boasted of their formalite for their ostentation and ambition, and for their egs gious hypocrisy, by which so many were deceived their utter ruin.
Jesus having included the Scribes also in one of reproofs, a peifon then present, belonging to this profession, expreffed some degree of warmth, that the body should be fo severely cenfured. But, neither fearing their anger nor courting their favour, he proceeded to condemn them for enjoining so many bur
fer reg of the thei hyp: ed, ing sequ to the decla fhort mot of his found ers ral ig specio of die ceivin of the rested
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ministe ftrenuc respect on the occafio