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these Scriptures, containing the books from Genesis to Malachi, as you find them in our Bibles, they constantly referred as their authority. They quoted Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other prophets, again and again, specifying the places in the manner of their quotations, so that their hearers could not be mistaken. They insisted upon this great truth, that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified in Jerusalem, was the Messiah, promised to their fathers, who was to deliver and save Israel. They shewed from the Scriptures, that he was to be a suffering Saviour, and that by his death and obedience, he was' to bring in everlasting righteousness. They declared that he was risen from the dead, and ascended up on high to the right hand of God, where he reigns and governs, all things. They contended that his kingdom was to be spiritual, and would include Gentile as well as Jew. They illustrated and enforced the nature and necessity of faith in him as “ the Christ,” the only name given under heaven whereby we can be saved. They confessed that the miracles which they wrought, in confirmation of their doctrines, were by his power. Their salvation, they, with one accord, ascribed to his grace. On all these points, they stoutly, and at the risk of their lives, maintained that they taught nothing but what had been taught concerning the Messiah, among their fathers, and believed to be the word of God by them. They preached the word “ from the Scriptures,” and challenged a full, free, close, and rigid examination of that word by the Scriptures. The word thus preached to the Bereans, we are told,

First, That “ they received with all rea66 diness of mind."

They attended to the word with promptness and alacrity, as deserving their notice. It addressed itself to their hopes and fears, as involving in it their eternal peace. It claimed for itself a divine authority, and therefore it claimed from intelligent crea

biditauto. This cannot mean that they assented to the word, or believed it, or embraced it, or approved of it, as Schleusner and others suppose ; for then the sacred historian is guilty of a tautology in the subsequent verse, where he says, Many believed” the word. To a speculative, but especially a saving faith, all the meanings given to the word by Schleusner, &c. consequently beloog.

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tures a candid and dispassionate hearing. Such a hearing the Bereans gave it, divesting themselves of prejudice, bigotry, and pride.

Methinks I see the apostles, but especially Paul, standing in the midst of them, declaring unto them the testimony of God; unfolding Christ and him crucified, the power of God and the wisdom of God. His speech and his preaching are“ not with “ enticing words of man's wisdom, but in “ demonstration of the Spirit and of power; " that their faith should not stand in the wis“ dom of men, but in the power of God.” The hearers listen with profound reverence. They may have heard before the eloquence of Greece and Rome, but now they hear the eloquence of truth, powerful in argument, astonishing in the exhibitions of human character, irresistibly persuasive in its appeal to the feelings of the heart. Alternately, the paleness and affright of dismay, or the mild smile of hope, and the deepened flush of pleasure, mark their countenances. Oh, who can tell, but they who have felt them, what effects the orator of God, who com

c I Cor. ii. 4, 5.

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mends himself to each man's conscience in the sight of his Sovereign, produces, when he speaks the truth in the love of it! The thunders of Sinai which he pronounces make sinful men to quake through fear lest judgment overtake them; whilst the melodies of Zion which he pours forth, lull to quiet their alarms, and allure them to the indulgence of the delightful anticipations of hope, that it shall yet be well with them. Such were the topics upon which the

apostle of the Gentiles dwelt, to those audiences who gave him their hearing, and such the feelings which his addresses excited in their hearts. The lighting up of his eye, under the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, like the electric fluid, communicated commotion from hearer to hearer; and the strains of his eloquence, poured forth, sometimes in terrible majesty, and sometimes in soothing and attractive tenderness, made them to feel that he was no common person, and that his message required their deliberate and strict scrutiny. Hence we find,

Secondly, That “ they searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were


As they disclaimed connexion with those who rejected without examination whatever is proposed to them, so also they are far removed from that poor, contemptible, degraded race of persons, who receive without evidence, any thing which they hear, for truth. The former are hardened bigots, the latter credulous simpletons. Both act contrary to good sense, and the word of God. Both sin against their own souls, and their God.

The Bereans, whilst they attended to the words of the apostle with candour and promptness, brought his preaching to the standard to which he had referred them. As he professed to expound their Scriptures, and apply them to Christ, they took him at his word, and searched these Scriptures to ascertain the truth or falsehood of his

appeal. The manner of expression used denotes diligence and perseverance, as well as honesty, on their part. Convinced that, if the apostles were correct, their salvation was at stake, they commenced and

prosecuted the work of examination with fidelity. Unlike many in the present day, who take up the word of God to see what it teaches,

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