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Finally, How depraved is human nature, how degraded, since even a good man may fall so low, and commit so many errors as Lot did! Let us deeply realize this, and seek for grace to correct our corruption, and lead us in the path of duty. Instead of proudly censuring Lot, let each tremble for himself, and feeling his own weakness, confide in Him on whom help is laid, and who is able to save all who come to him. AMEN.
THE EXAMPLE OF THE BEREANS
ACTS XVII. 10–12. And the brethren immediately sent away
Paul and Silas by night unto Berea : who, coming thither, went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were 80. Therefore many of them believed ; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
THERE is no fact recorded in the pages of history which is calculated to excite more surprise in the minds of reflecting persons, than this, that the Jews, the chosen people of God, to whom were given the oracles of God, and of whom, according to the flesh, Christ was born, did reject him when“ he “ came to his own,” and oppose as well as persecute his followers. And yet, Brethren, it is a matter of equal surprise, that in the visible Church of the Redeemer, the same conduct is displayed towards him, by men calling themselves Christians : nay, by the very men who are astonished at the infatuation of the Jews. The fact is, human nature is now exactly the same that it has ever been from the time of the fall. The spirit of revolt against God, which was there engendered, still governs the children of men when left to act as their inclination prompts. The compliment which our pride and vanity influence us to pass upon ourselves, as if we were naturally better than those of old, when brought to the test of facts, and of facts as they daily transpire, ought to make us blush at the violation of truth, with which that compliment is justly chargeable. The only difference which there exists between man and man, is produced by the providence and
grace of God, counteracting or sanctifying the corruption of human nature.
Of such counteraction and sanctification we have many instances upon record, which relieve the painful feelings produced by the multiplied and aggravated cases of disobedience to the truth and rejection of the Saviour. The contrast thus existing between the natural effects of sin and the triumphs of God's common, but particularly his special grace, is like that which exists between the darkness of night, and the resplendent and vivifying light of day. Such a contrast the sacred historian furnishes, in the conduct of the Jews of Thessalonica and those of Berea.
Since “ that which hath been is now; and ~ that which is to be hath already been®,"such contrasts attract our attention in the present day, and will attract the attention of generations yet unborn. The province of sound wisdom, unquestionably, is to examine them with care, that we may ascertain the sources of the degradation of the one and the excellence of the other, so that each for himself may choose that which is right, and avoid that which is wrong.
a Eccles. iii. 15. VOL. II.
To aid you, my hearers, in this important matter, the subject of our present discourse has been selected. It presents to our view, the following topics:
- I. The conduct of the Bereans, which the Spirit of God has eulogized; · II. The causes of the conduct of the Thessalonians :
III. The important consequences springing from the conduct of the former, which illustrates the fatal mistake of the latter.
IV. The practical lessons for regulating Christian conduct, which the commendation of the Bereans suggests.
I. We are to examine the conduct of the Bereans, which the Spirit of God has eulogized. “ These were more noble,” says Luke, “ than those in Thessalonica, in that “ they received the word with all readiness “ of mind, and searched the Scriptures dai“ ly, whether these things were so.” - In order to understand fully the conduct of these Bereans, let it be remembered that, they were Jews, as well as those of Thessalonica ; and that the word which the apostles preached to them, was professedly drawn from the Jewish Scriptures. To