every power within awake to celebrate that glorious name, “ The Lord, the LORD God, “ merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abunu dant in goodness and truth, forgiving ini

quity, transgression, and sin.” Let each for himself say, with the lively emotions of humble wonder and grateful hope,

" Bless the LORD, “O my soul, and all that is within me bless “ his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, “ and forget not all his benefits; who for

giveth all thine iniquities.” Amen.




John answered and said, A Man can receive nothing,

except it be given him from Heaven.


ROM the short account which the evan

gelical history giveth us concerning John the Baptist, we learn that the sanctity of his character, and the severity of his manners, attracting general notice, obtained great reputation; and that his ministry was very successful. This holy preacher was followed by crowds of listening hearers from all parts; and multitudes, by his ministry, professed their repentance. Jerusalem, and all Judea, and “ all the region round about Jordan, went out " to be baptised of him.”

Matthew iii. 5, 6.


But he did not to the end maintain his popularity. This « burning and shining

light” was eclipsed or overpowered by the brighter beams and opening glory of the Sun of righteousnefs. As Jesus increased in fame, John, his forerunner, decreased. Before his imprisonment, out of preference to the baptism and preaching of Christ, the Baptist himself began to be neglected, and his ministry forsaken.

This gave much concern to the more affectionate and zealous of John's disciples, who did not entirely understand the nature and design of his million. Therefore solicitous for the honour of their master, they came unto him, and said, “Rabbi, he that was with thee

beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest wit

ness, behold the same baptiseth, 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.c. no greater dignity, authority, or success can belong to a man, than what God affords him. I have executed the commission assigned to me: if Christ now riseth into reputation, and is attended by more disciples, from God hath he received his power as a prophet; to God's pleasure and providence must his success be ascribed.

u Verse before ihe text.

The words may be justly considered as an important aphorism; as offering an obvious general truth, particularly applicable to the case on which they were spoken, 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 must stand in that rank which his infinite wisdom hath feen fit to assign 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 no

thing 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 respect, influence, and success which may attend us. These thoughts, I apprehend, are included in this general truth, and deserve our serious notice.

“God assigneth to us our rank and station " in life.” To whom are to be ascribed 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 secret, 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 resolved, but into his will and pleasure, that any one hath received his being at one time rather than another, and under some circumstances rather than others? God numbereth the hairs of our head, and without Him not a sparrow falleth to the ground. He fixeth, therefore, the bounds of our habitation, and chooseth our inheritance for us.

x Matthew x, 29, 30.

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