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that to thee? follow thou me. Peter had earnestly professed his readiness to die with Christ; yet when put to the trial, he shamefully failed him. But our Lord next assured him that he would at length be called on, and enabled to perform that engagement. In his youth he had been used to gird himself, and to walk at liberty as he pleased. But in his old age, he would be required to stretch out his hands, that others might bind him and carry him to endure those sufferings at which nature would be reluctant. This signified the death by which he would glorify God, as a martyr for the truth. Jesus next called upon
. him to signify his readiness to adhere to his cause, even unto death, by rising up and following him; with which Peter complied without hesitation. But turning about, he saw John also, without any command, showing the same willingness to suffer death for the sake, and after the example of his beloved Lord. This led Peter to inquire, What he was to do; Was he also to be a martyr? To this our Lord replied, That if it were his will he should abide on earth till his coming, that was no concern of Peter's, who ought not to indulge a vain curiosity, but to follow him. This would be a token and evidence of his readiness to adhere to his instructions, to obey his commandments, to copy his example, and to suffer for his sake.
This illustration of the inquiry of Peter, and the answer of the Saviour, may lead us to see, that mankind are apt to inquire into those things in which they are not immediately concerned, rather than into those in which they are most deeply interested. Some particular subjects of inquiry of this kind, will be noticed and illustrated.
Ist. As it respects the common affairs of life, some discover a fondness and inquisitiveness to become acquainted with the concerns of others, to which they are neither called by duty nor interest. Mankind may with propriety inquire into the situation of
their neighbours, as it respects either their prosperity or adversity. But they should be careful to possess a right spirit and intention, when such inquiries are made. Would they learn the welfare of others to rejoice with them, and not for envy, they do well. Would they inquire into their distresses and misfortunes, in order to sympathize with them and afford relief, instead of rejoicing in their calamities, their conluct would be truly becoming and commendable. Objects of distress and charity are to be sought out, that the balm of consolation may be administered to their minds, and the hand of plenty reached forth to supply their wants. Inquiries of such a nature are truly laudable, and have the approbation and blessing of heaven. In the varied pursuits and transactions of life, would any wish to know the concerns or state of others in order to benefit them, the direction of the Saviour, Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others, secures from censure, and commends. But when any would pry into the affairs and concerns of others, and would indulge a vain curiosity to become more acquainted with their circumstances than their own, the words of the text should be applied: What is that to thee? follow thou me.
Rather let such, more carefully mind their own business, and meddle less by their inquisitiveness into the prospects of others. Happy would it indeed be, if none merited a more severe rebuke. Some discover a restlessness to pry into the secrets, and learn the disappointments of others, in order to spread them abroad and do an injury. Hence, not only a propensity for curiosity, but a malignant disposition is manifest. Some are ever ready to hear of the failings of others, not to weep for their sins in secret, but to make them publick. This is frequently done by persons who themselves can derive no benefit, nor be serviceable to community. And we are even taught in the sacred oracles, that some are forward to pull out a mote from
their brother's eye, when they have a beam in their own eye. But such persons do well to bear in mind the reply, Physician, heal thyself. Charity should begin at home, as it respects secular concerns, in ordering the common affairs of life. Let individuals: thoroughly understand and regulate their varied temporal pursuits, and the concerns of community will be well. Let them discharge the various duties which they owe to themselves and others, rather than to be over anxious to know the particulars or peculiarities of their fellow men.
Let each one feel interested to attend to his own calling as it respects the pursuits of common life, and this will serve to check a fondness and inquisitiveness to become acquainted minutely with the concerns of others, to which we can neither be called from duty nor from interest.
2d. Some persons discover a vain curiosity in discoursing on the entrance of sin into the world. Such an inquiry may be properly made; as it is a subject of vast importance, and in which we are interested, But divine revelation must be taken for our light, and circumscribe our inquiries. Now the sacred oracles inform us, that through the temptation of the serpent, our first parents violated the positive command of God, fell from their holy state, into a state of sin and condemnation; and that in consequence of their transgression, all their posterity become sinners. And without the Bible for our guide, when and how sin entered the world, we could not certainly know. But the curious minded, press the inquiry farther. Did the Lord bring about the fall of man himself? Or did he only give permission ? Or why, that is, what are the reasons that sin was permitted to enter, if he could have prevented it by his power? What
? is that to thee, vain man? If neither reason nor revelation can answer our inquiries, shall we seek to be wise above what is written? The things which are revealed on this subject belong to us, and should
bound our inquiries; for secret things belong to God. Because the Lord has not revealed all the reasons, or given all the information which he might have done concerning the entrance of sin into the world, must his infinite wisdom be arraigned before the tribunal of human wisdom? As it is a solemn and alarming fact, that we are sinners against a holy and just God, rather let us seek to be delivered from the dominion and wages of sin. The inquisitive and vain search, for the manner of the entrance of sin, little concerns us; but how we shall be delivered from its pollution as a deadly leprosy of the soul, is an inquiry of the utmost importance.
Take an example for illustration. Suppose a man to be roused from his midnight slumbers by the noise of a thief, plundering his house. He hears him pillaging his coffers of his only treasure, which, if carried off, must render him bankrupt, and reduce his family to poverty
But he searches his house with the utmost diligence from top to bottom, to find the place of the thief's entrance, instead of securing him; and meanwhile he makes his escape. man! for his folly he is ruined. Had he acted with wisdom, he would first have secured his treasure. Then may we not indulge a vain curiosity respecting the entrance of sin into the world; or be anxious to
. know those reasons, which are hid in the divine mind; for we are apt to inquire into those things, in which we are not immediately concerned, rather than into those, in which we are most deeply interested.
3d. Some persons entertain singular ideas, and make curious inquiries concerning Melchisedek. They have a right to be informed concerning him; but they should be content, when they have all the instruction which can be given. The sacred historians give no account of his parentage or pedigree, as in the case of the priests appointed by the law, and who were all required to prove their descent
Alas! poor from Aaron. Hence he is represented to be Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life ; but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. Melchisedek is introduced into the sacred history, as a priest of the most high God, without father, mother, or genealogy, that he might the more exactly typify that high priest, who, as the Son of man, had no earthly father; and as the Son of God, was without mother, and who was appointed to the priesthood, without deducing his pedigree from Aaron. Nothing is said of Melchisedek respecting the beginning of his life, or the end of his days and priesthood, that he might be a type of the Son of God, whose existence is from eternity to eternity, and who had no predecessor or successor in his meritorious and perpetual priesthood. In all these respects, the silence of the scriptures doubtless is intentional; and refers from the type to the great Antitype, who once offered himself a sacrifice for sin, and ever liveth to make intercession for the saints. Now if any person has not all the information their curiosity would demand concerning Melchisedek, they may reflect for their comfort, that they are not very deeply interested in the subject. Their serious and devout inquiry should be to form clear and exalted views of the person and offices of Christ, and to follow him. His character and priesthood are abundantly and clearly made known. He is the foundation of the gospel, and of all our hopes of future bliss. He is the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. To believe in him, is life; but, to deny him, is death. In his divinity and humanity, his life and death, we are immediately concerned. His holy life should be kept in our minds as the perfect pattern of imitation. How conspicuous are his zeal and perseverance in doing his Father's will; and with what lustre do his patience and meekness shine. Let it be our inquiry then to form exalted and adoring views