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of sin. Sin unpurged, must have punishment, not only in
this life, but in the next. Consider, how plain this is from
Christ's sufferings for it. If the justice of God could have
been satisfied with the punishment of it in this life, the
sinner might have suffered for himself. But the desert of
sin is eternal torment ; and from that nothing but the
death of Christ could deliver us. Believe this steadfastly,
and that Christ, the Son of God, with his own pains and
sufferings, has ransomed you from the eternal pains of hell.

144 ST. MARK. [chap. XVI.

and then your hearts will be with him. You will see the
greatness of your clanger, and the magnitude of your deli-
verance, in the riches of his love; and think it your duty
and safety to live to him that died for you. This is the
right knowledge and improvement of the death of Christ.
And whatever you do, think only of your sins; and that
Christ died for them, as much as if there had never been
another sinner in the world. You lose all by not bringing
the matter home to yourselves. Christ can do nothing for
you, till you know assuredly, by conviction from the Holy
Spirit, that your own sins crucified him.


Chap. xvi. ver. 1 — 8.


1. And when tlie sabbadi was passed, Mary Magdalene, and
Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices,
that they might come and anoint him.

This they did to show their love and respect to Christ.
These were good hearts. Never talk of your's, till Ciirist
is in them. Do you love him so well, as to be at any
cost for him ? A small offering for his sake, and from
faith in the heart, will be precious in his sight.

2. And very early in the morning the first day of the week,
they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of tlie sun.

The first day of the week is now the Christian sab-
bath ; the day being changed from Saturday, the Jewish
sabbath, to Sunday, because the latter was the day of
Christ's resurrection, and therefore, ever since, called the
Lord's day. Do you ever think of this on the Sunday,
and aBk whether you are risen with Christ, so as to set

VER. 1—8.] ST. AIAHK. 145

your affections on things above ; knowing assuredly, that
if you are not thus risen with him, you cannot be raised
by him to everlasting life.

3. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away
the stone from tlie door of the sepulchre ?

They thought it would be impossible for them : so we
think there are difficulties in the way of our salvation,
never to be overcome. But the next verse hath both re-
proof and comfort for us.

4. And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled
away : for it was very great.

It was moved by an unseen power. What cannot the
same power do for us ? There is a stubborn will, which
must be overcome. Lord, help here. All the hindrance
is on our part. It is a blessed time, when we see the great
stone of unbelief, a worldly heart, and strong corruptions,
rolled away, and know of a truth, that God has helped,
and is helping with us.

5. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sit-
ting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment ; and they
were afTrighted.

6. And Ik; saith unto them. Be not affrighted : yc seek Jesus
of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here : be-
hold the place where they laid him.

What is this conduct of the women to us ? Can we say
one by one, that we seek the crucified Jesus, as our life,
hope, and whole salvation ; and that we desire to find him,
as risen to us, and for us, in our own resurrection to a new
life of faith and obedience ?

7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth
before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him, as he said unto


All is told us in the scripture, and hearing is the founda-
tion of our faith, as seeing was of tlie faith of these wo-
men. Christ says, " Blessed arc they that have not seen,


146 ST. MARK. [chap. XVI.

and yet have believed." — John xx. 29. Make this blessing
your own, and then you will see Christ in his glory.

8. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre;
for they trembled and were amazed : neither said they anything
to any man ; for they were afraid.

Who were they that followed Christ to his death when
the apostles forsook him ? Who were they that were first
at the sepulchre ? Women, as unlearned as any Christians
now. But they had love to Christ in their hearts ; and
that is of more worth than all the learning; in the world;
that is, God's learning, the effect of his teaching and in-
fluence; what he can teach one as well as another ; and if
a poor man, or woman, comes short of it, it is because that
person despises it. Cannot a poor person read the Bible ?
Or if not, cannot he pray ? Cannot he attend constantly
on the word preached ? And what can any do without
prayer ? Try what it will do for you. Give up your vain
excuses. You may seek after Christ, and find him to your
comfort, and if you please, have your hearts filled with
his love.


Chap. xvi. ver. 9 — 18.


9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom lie had cas
seven devils.

Christ's first appearance was to one who had been a great
sinner. This is not mentioned without a good reason.
What encouragement is here to repentance !

VER. 9 — 18.] ST. MARK. 147

10. And she went and told tlieni tliat had boon witli him, as
they mourned and wept.

11. And they, vvlien they had lieavd that ho was alive, and had
been seen of" her, believed not.

The incredulity of the disciples affords a proof that
tlie resurrection of Christ was not received on slight evi-
dence. — Edit,

12. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them,
as they walked, and went into the country.

13. And they went and told it to the residue : neither believed
they them.

Unbelief was not the solitary sin of Thomas, it is the
common sin of our fallen nature. — Edit.

14. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat,
and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, be-
cause they believed not them which had seen him after he was

Though their slowness of belief was a fault in them, it
has resulted in a benefit to us. We learn also from hence,
that they were not willing, and easy to be imposed upon, in
the matter of Christ's resurrection.

15. And he said unto them. Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature.

Preach the gospel, to the Jews first, and then to the rest
of the world. Do you know what the gospel is? And are
you ready to give an ansvver to every man who asketh you
a reason of the hope that is in you ? The gospel is remis-
sion of sins, peace with God, and a riglit to eternal life,
not for the sake of anything we are, or can do, but only
for Christ's sake ; and through this faitli, a will and power
to please God in all holy obedience. O that this blessed
gospel was in all our hearts !

16. He that belicveth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he
that belioveth not shall be damned.

God's mercy in Christ, the necessity of repentance to

I. 2

148 ST. MARK. [chap. XVI.

bring him to it, and of holiness to secure it to him. Be-
lieving, is believing all these, and not only one or two of
them. Whoever makes an open profession of religion,
and of his faith, by being baptized into it, and lives
worthily of it, shall be saved. He shall be a happy man, in
the favour of God here, and shall have the eternal enjoy-
ment of him, hereafter. How plainly do they contradict
scripture, and what a desperate hazard do they run. who
refuse to be baptized ! The man who believes not the ne-
cessity of repentance, and of faith in Christ, for pardon,
newness of life, and salvation, shall be damned. Consider
who says this ! What kind of hearts are those which are
fast shut up in unbelief, against these terrible threaten-
ings ?

17. And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In my name
shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues ;

18. They shall take up serpents ; and if they drink any deadly
thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover.

These signs followed the apostles, and many others, till
the gospel was planted in the world. We do not need
these signs. All is laid before us in the scriptures, for our
conviction and belief, and God thinks this evidence suffi-
cient. The command now given to us is. Let them hear
Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles : if they
hear not them, neither will they be persuaded, though one
rose from the dead.


Chap. xvi. ver. 19—20.
Christ's ascensiox.

19. So then after the Lord had spoken imto diem, he was re-
ceived uj) into heaven, and sat on th.e riglit hand of God.

VER. 19—20.] ST. MARK. 149

All power was given liim, to govern, bless, and preserve
all true believers, and take them to himself in heaven ; and
also to destroy his enemies.

20. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord
working with them, and confirming the word with signs follow-
ing. Amen.

St. Paul, it is probable, preached in England ; others
followed him into our country : and the Bible has always
preached to us. We have our choice, whether we will re-
ceive the preaching of the apostles, or perish, by rejecting
it. Though the apostles are not present in person, their
words are with us. and the Lord Jesus Christ, in the
power of the Holy Spirit, to work with them, and to make
them effectual to our salvation. God grant that this may
be our prayer, and then he will confirm the word to us, by
that great miracle of our conversion to him. Amen.

St. Mark concludes his gospel as the other Evangelists
do, with the account of our Lord''s resurrection, and some
proofs of it. Our faith is built on the miracles of Christ;
the greatest of which is, his resurrection from the dead.
By his resurrection, he was chiefly declared to be the Son
of God with power ; and the principal thing in the office
of the apostles, in proof of the divine mission of Christ,
was to bear witness of it. Now to what end were the
gospels written, and Christ's miracles recorded ? St. John
tells us plainly, — " That we might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might have
life through his name." — John xx. 31. Has our reading
and hearing the Holy Scriptures brought us to this know-
ledge and desire ? Are we come to this point, that without
Christ there is no life in us .'' Do we know that we are
dead in trespasses and sins, and that we can have life from
him only by believing.'' Are we indeed believers.'^ Do we
believe that Christ died for our sins, and conquered death
for us by rising from the dead.'* Do we live in this ho|)e,
and make it our great business in the world to |)repare tor

150 ST. MARK. [chap. XVI.

his coming ? Do we believe that as he died and rose again,
so we should die unto sin and rise again unto righteous-
ness? Do we find that we have any such faith, as purifies
our hearts, and turns them from the world unto God ?
This, and nothing but this, is our life from Christ. You
then belong to him, and have your lot with him, when you
believe in him for the remission of your sins, and your ac-
ceptance with God, and in the virtue of this faith live to
him that died for you.

These questions are asked to inform ourselves what we
should be. Let us deal fairly with ourselves, and not
think we are, what we are not ; for then we shall never be-
lieve. If we believe, we must give way to the knowledge
of ourselves ; and perhaps, with some of us, that is all to
begin. Let us think, before another day passes over our
heads, whether we ever were searched by the Word of
God, and what it is to live and die without Christ.

We have now finished our reading on the gospel of Saint
Mark: with what effect, God knows; and you will know
at the day of judgment. O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us. Amen. — a. d. 1T57.



Chap. i. ver. 1 — 4.


1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order
a declaration of those things wliich are most surely believed
among us,

2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which, from the begin-
ning, were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word ;

3. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding
of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most
excellent Thcophilus,

What sort of Christians are those who know little or no-
thing of what they are to believe ? And why do they not,
but because they will not.-* Can those who plead ignorance
say that they iiave taken all proper pains to instruct them-
selves in christian knowledge .'' Will they say this at the
day of judgment ? No; they cannot. It is evident, there-
fore, that the cause of men's ignorance is unconcern for
their souls. They feel no want of Christ, and therefore
slight the account of his birth, life, and death, and never
ask themselves how they are to be better for him. If St.
Mattliew, Mark, Luke, and John, had agreed in showing
an infallible way in which men shouhl be able to thrive in
the world, men would not suffer a word of that which they
had taught to escape them. Do we not know in our con-
sciences that this is the truth P

152 ST. LUKE. [chap. I.

4. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein
thou hast been instructed.

This is written not only for Theophilus, but for all
others. This is our call to hear and be instructed. Let us
think what enemies we are to ourselves, and whether it is
possible we should have any concern for our souls, when we
can suffer days and weeks to pass without looking into our
Bibles. The end of all scripture is to bring us to the know-
ledge of Christ, as the only Saviour of sinners ; to the out-
ward knowledge of him first, that by means of it we may
attain to the inward, and hear him speaking to us in
his word, that we may hear him speaking to us in our
hearts. Take especial notice, therefore, that the outward,
historical knowledge of Christ, though necessary in order
to the inward, will do us no good without it. Let us bring
our hearts to the reading and hearing the word of the
gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray God to open it to our
hearts, that they may burn within us, and be atliirst for
Christ ! Have we, indeed, come to him ? Let us think
what our condition is this day and hour, if we have not.
For the love of God, let us take knowledge of it ; and let
St. Luke be the physician of our souls ; let him bring us
to the great physician Jesus Christ, that he may be formed
in us the hope of glory.

Chap. i. ver. 5 — 23.


5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain
jniest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was
of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

VEIL 0—23.] ST. LUKE. 153

(). And tliey were both rigliteoiis before God, walking in all ibc
commandments of the Lord blameless.

This is that which St. Paul also tells us he did, Phil. iii.
6; but neither he nor they were therefore righteous for
heaven. They must have a son born to prepare them and
all others for Christ, by whom only we are justified. But
let their practice shame us, who, with our knowledge of
Christ, are so much less exact in observing the connnand-
ments and ordinances of tlie Lord, respecting his worship,
and our whole walk.

7. And they had no child; because that Elisabeth was barren,
and they both were now well stricken in years.

8. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's olfice
before God in the order of his course,

9. According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to
burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying with-
out at the time of incense.

11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord stand-
ing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell
upon him.

13. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias : for thy
prayer is heard ; and tliy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and
thou shalt call his name John.

The former prayers of Zacharias were heard, for he had
doubtless left off praying for a cliild. It was so much out
of the course of nature, and beyond his expectation, that
when the angel told him he should have a son, he did not
believe it. Observe how our prayers are upon record, and
that God will infallibly answer them in iiis own time and
way. The name of this son who was to be born, was
John — God's mercy ; not so much a blessing to Ills father,
in his old age, as the forerunner of Christ, who is God's
mercy to us all.

14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness: and many shall re-
joice al his birlli.

154 ST. LUKE. [chat. I.

We shall rejoice at the birth of John, if he brings us to
Christ, as the preacher of true repentance ; and there is no
other way of being brought to the Saviour.

15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall
drink neither wine nor strong drink ; and he shall be filled with the
Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the
Lord their God.

John shall turn them to Christ, who is evidently here
called God ; as appears by the next words, " he shall go
before him."

1 7. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias,
to tm-n the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobe-
dient to the wisdom of the just ; to make ready a people prepared
for the Lord.

The aged and the young, the good and the bad, all ages
and conditions, must be turned and prepared for Christ :
the bad by an entire change of their lives; the better sort,
by seeing themselves lost without him. And, take notice,
the turn is in the heart. It avails nothing what else is
changed if the heart is not turned.

18. And Zacliarias said unto the angel. Whereby shall I know
this ? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

In verse the 34th, the Virgin Mary says, " How shall
this be ?" and both their words seem to imply a doubting
mind. But God saw a difference in their hearts, belief in
Mary, and unbelief in Zacharias.

19. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that
stand in the presence of God ; and am sent to speak unto thee,
and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak,
until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou
believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Let us never question the promises of God, but endea-
vour to bring ourselves up to a full belief of them. It is
harder for a convinced sinner to tiiink that he can be for-

VER. 24—38.] ST. LUKE. 155

given, than it was for Zacharias to think that he should
have a son. Let us set the word of God against all our

21. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that lie
tarried so long in the temple.

22. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them : and
they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple : tor he
heckoncd unto them, and remained speechless.

23. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his minis-
tration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

The Lord will not allow his servants to doubt of his
faithfulness in fulfilling the promises which he has made,
without resenting the affront which it offers to his attri-
butes of power and faithfulness. May the Lord ever keep
us mindful of his word, wherein he hath caused us to hope.

Chap, i, ver. 24—38.


24. And after those days his wife Elisaheth conceived, and hid
herself five months, saying,

25. Thus hath the Lord deaU with me in the days wherein he
looked on me, to take away iny reproach among men.

That she might be at leisure to think of the mercy which
had been vouchsafed unto her, improve it, and praise God
for it, as appears by the next verse. Have we ever betaken
ourselves to solitude, to consider what God has done for
us, and what we are doing in the world P

2(). And in (lie sixth iiioiilli the angel Gahriel was .sent from
(Jt)d unlo a city of (Jalilee, named Nazareth,

27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was .hoipli,
of the house of I'^aNid; and the virgin's name was Mary.

156 ST. LUKE. [chap. I.

28. And tlie angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, tliou that
art highly I'avourecl, the Lord is with thee : blessed art thou among

Mary was highly-favoured indeed to be the mother of
God ! But carrying him in her womb was not her salva-
tion. He must be born in her heart. He will in our's; all
was written to bring us to this birth.

29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and
cast in her mind what manner of salutation this sliould be.

30. And the angel said unto her. Fear not, Mary : lor thou hast
found favour with God.

31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring
forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

This name Jesus is a sweet name ! Fear not, repenting
sinner : thy Jesus ; thy Saviour ; whenever thou comest
unto God by him.

32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the
Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his
father David :

Christ shall have the temporal throne, before the end of
the world ; and a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men,

33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever : and of
his kingdom there shall be no end.

All belong to the house of Jacob, who take Chiist for
their Lord and king to rule over them.

34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing
I know not a man ?

She believed it would be, only she did not know the
manner in which it would be accomplished. It is however
the property of faith to trust Christ in the dark.

35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over-
shadow thee : therefore also that holy thing which shall be born
of thee, shall be callid the Sun of God.

VER. 24 — 38.] ST. LUKE. 157

As being in his birth pure from all spot of sin. What
is it then wliich makes any the children of God, but free-
dom from sin ? He accounts none to be such, while he has
sin to lay to their charge. And we can only be freed from
this charge by Christ, as washed in his blood, sanctified by
his Spirit, and accepted in his perfect righteousness.

3(5. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, slie bath also conceived
a son in her old age ; and this is tbe sixth month with ber, who
was called barren.

This was said to encourage Mary in believing. Zacha-
rias did not believe, and therefore was struck dumb :
Mary believed, and had her faith strengthened still more
by a fresh instance of God's power.

37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And all things are also possible to him that believeth.
Mark ix. 23. Think of this, awakened sinner, when thy
fears would hide Christ from thee. But till we are awakened,
let us never talk of believing.

38. And Mary said. Behold the handmaid of tbe Lord ; be it
unto me according to thy word. And tbe angel departed from

We do not readily think how great an act of faith and
resignation this was in Mary. Her reputation was at stake
with the man to whom she was espoused, and with all the
world, and yet she gave vip all to God. We may depend
upon it that faith can never be without its trials. The
world will put us hardly to it in some respect or other ; but
if we commit ourselves to God, we may defy it. May he
enable us to say. Behold thy servant, be it unto me even as
thou wilt.

158 ST. LUKE. [chap. I.


C^hap. i. ver. 39—55.

MxVRY's visit to ELISABETH.

39. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill
country with haste, into a city of Juda :

Mary had probably heard of Elisabeth's miraculous con-
ception, and she hasted also to tell her what had happened
to herself. This was true spiritual love and friendship.

40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted

This was a joyful meeting of two pious women, who de-
sired to communicate what God had done for them.

41. And it came to pass, that, when Elisaheth heard the saluta-

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