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him, that heareth, say— Come!'-! and let him,

that is athirst, come! and, whosoever will, let him

take the water of life freely!

p. 305.

SERMON I.

1 Peter iii. 15.

Be ready always to give an answer to every man, that asketh you a reason of the hope, that is in

you,

with meekness and fear !

SAINT Peter addressed the command in the text to Christians, who were under a state of persecution. Hence it is introduced with this extraordinary congratulation - If

ye

suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye.'

Happy indeed must the first Christians have been, if this sentiment be correct : for what did they not suffer for the sake of righteousness? Contempt, reproach, loss, affliction in various forms, torture, and even death itself, these were the common portion of men, who confessed the name of their Saviour. We count ourselves happy in escaping these miseries. But the

B

apostles counted them happy, which endured them; for they were thereby brought more immediately into a state of entire dependence upon their Redeemer; and the chastening itself under his blessing, however grievous, reded the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them, which were exercised thereby.

Nerertheless, though this was the appointed tarpiness of all, who really suffered, and suffered wingly, for righteousness' sake, it was necessary in order to their partaking of that happiness eventually, that they should always be in a state of preparation for the suffering, by which it was to be preceded. Some men are bold at a distanco, but shrink, when the trial comes. Saint Peter himself had said- Lord. I am ready 'to go with thee both into prison and unto

death -; and yet on that same night he thrice denied his master. He is therefore well qualified to teach others the means of avoiding * sin, into which he was himself betrayed.

What then is his exhortation to those Christians, who were ever subject to persecution, and who thereforr might on aru dar be called to sulle for the manir al choir Saviour? What

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was the habitual temper, in which they were to live, that so the fiery trial, when it came, might not find them unprepared ?

The answer to this question is given in the words, which immediately follow the congratulation

you have heard ; and they enclose the text, as a part of them. Be not afraid of their 'terror,'-says the experienced apostle-nei*ther be troubled ! But sanctify the lord, God, ' in your hearts, and be ready always to give ' an answer to every man, that asketh you a reason of the hope, that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed, that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ!'

These words of the apostle are an expanded commentary on his Lord's declaration—Be ye

also ready! For in such an hour as ye think 'not, the son of man cometh. Let your loins 'be girded about, and your lights burning, and 'ye yourselves like unto men, that wait for their • Lord !' It is incumbent on those, who would be ready to meet the Lord, when he cometh, or to meet his messengers, when they summon

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apostles counted them happy, which endured them; for they were thereby brought more immediately into a state of entire dependence upon their Redeemer ;

and the chastening itself under his blessing, however grievous, yielded the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them, which were exercised thereby.

Nevertheless, though this was the appointed happiness of all, who really suffered, and suffered willingly, for righteousness' sake, it was necessary in order to their partaking of that happiness eventually, that they should always be in a state of preparation for the suffering, by which it was to be preceded. Some men are bold at a distance, but shrink, when the trial comes. Saint Peter himself had said—'Lord, I am ready 'to go with thee both into prison and unto · death '~: and yet on that same night he thrice denied his master. He is therefore well qualified to teach others the means of avoiding a sin, into which he was himself betrayed.

What then is his exhortation to those Christians, who were ever subject to persecution, and who therefore might on any day be called to suffer for the name of their Saviour? What

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