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every power within awake to celebrate that
giveth all thine iniquities." Amen.
EVERY THING RECEIVED FROM GOD.
John answered and said, A Man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven.
JOHN III. 27.
ROM the fhort account which the evangelical history giveth us concerning John the Baptift, we learn that the fanctity of his character, and the feverity of his manners, attracting general notice, obtained great reputation; and that his miniftry was very fuccessful. This holy preacher was followed by crowds of liftening hearers from all parts; and multitudes, by his ministry, professed their repentance. Jerufalem, and all Judea, and "all the region round about Jordan, went out "to be baptifed of him."
Matthew iii. 5, 6.
But he did not to the end maintain his
popularity. This " burning and fhining light" was eclipfed or overpowered by the brighter beams and opening glory of the Sun of righteoufnefs. As JESUS increased in fame, John, his forerunner, decreased. Before his imprisonment, out of preference to the baptifm and preaching of CHRIST, the Baptift himself began to be neglected, and his miniftry forfaken.
This gave much concern to the more affectionate and zealous of John's disciples, who did not entirely understand the nature and defign of his miflion. Therefore folicitous for the honour of their mafter, they came unto him, and faid, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold the fame baptifeth, and all men "come to him." To this, John, with equal humility and piety, replied in the words of the text, "A man can receive nothing, except "it be given him from heaven:" i. e. no greater dignity, authority, or fuccefs can belong to a man, than what GoD affords him. I have executed the commiffion affigned to me: if
u Verfe before the text.
CHRIST now rifeth into reputation, and is attended by more difciples, from God hath he received his power as a prophet; to God's pleasure and providence muft his fuccefs be afcribed.
The words may be justly confidered as an important aphorifm; as offering an obvious general truth, particularly applicable to the cafe on which they were fpoken, but always useful and instructive. "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from "heaven." We are what God hath pleased to make us; and muft ftand in that rank which his infinite wisdom hath feen fit to affign to us. I will,
I. Briefly illustrate this remark of John the Baptist.
II. Point out the practical uses, to which it may be applied.
First, I would briefly illustrate this remark of John the Baptist: "a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven." GoD affigneth to us our rank and station in life, furnisheth us with our powers and talents, and is the fource of all the refpect, influence, and fuccefs which may attend us.
These thoughts, I apprehend, are included in this general truth, and deserve our serious notice.
"GOD affigneth to us our rank and station "in life." To whom are to be afcribed the circumstances of our existence, but to that powerful and benevolent Being, from whom we have received our existence itself? To his will and influence must be imputed the time when, the place where, and the connections among whom, we are born. Can He, by whom we are fearfully and wonderfully made, who formed our bodies in fecret, and who breathed into us the breath of life, be ignorant of the circumstances, under which we came into being? If they cannot be concealed from his knowledge, into what is it to be refolved, but into his will and pleasure, that any one hath received his being at one time rather than another, and under some circumftances rather than others? GOD numbereth the hairs of our head, and without Him not a fparrow falleth to the ground. He fixeth, therefore, the bounds of our habitation, and choofeth our inheritance for us.
* Matthew x. 29, 30.