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On the Encouragemen to Active Duty.

On the Encouragemen to Active Duty.

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Published by glennpease

St. Mark viii. 9.

" And they that had eaten were about four thousand : and he sent
them away."

St. Mark viii. 9.

" And they that had eaten were about four thousand : and he sent
them away."

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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O THE ECOURAGEME TO ACTIVE DUTY.BY ARCHIBALD ALISO, LL. B.St. Mark viii. 9." And they that had eaten were about four thousand : and he sentthem away."These words are the conclusion of the accountof the first miracle which our Saviour performedin feeding a multitude in the desert ; and, simpleas they seem, they yet contain much valuableinstruction.There is a curiosity natural to every christianmind, to retrace the events of the life of theirMaster ; — to go back, as it were, to the age inwhich he appeared ; — to see his humble origin,and his melancholy progress ; — and, amid thosescenes of beneficence and of sorrow through whichhe passed, to listen to the accents of his voice,and to the lessons of his wisdom. It is this natu-ral and becoming curiosity which the books of theGospel so singularly indulge. In these artlessnarrations, the mind of the serious reader is satis-ECOURAGEMET TO ACTIVE DUTY, &c. 87fied in sl manner that it is not very easy to express.We see almost now the scenes that have so longbeen passed ; — we are made the spectators of ourSaviour's birth, and the companions of his jour-ney ; — we follow into every house where he con-versed with men, and to every solitude where heheld communion with God ; — and, from theseearly narratives of his humble and unlearned dis-
ciples, we derive a more intimate conception^ bothof his peculiar character, and of the character of thereligion which he taught, than from all the labour-ed expositions of learned skill, or of ambitiouseloquence.The words of the text seem to me to convey tous some instructions of this interesting kind.They represent, in the first place, one singular fea-ture in the character of our Lord, — his superiorityto all the selfish passions of our nature. Theworld, (as ye know, my brethren,) has seen manyfalse religions ; and many prophets have comeunto them ^^ in the name of Heaven." Whatevermay have been the usefulness to barbarous ages of these religious impositions, — whatever even mayhave been the sublimity of some of the doctrinesthey contained, they are yet all marked by onedecisive feature ; — their combination with somepersonal interest, or some selfish passion of theMan. They have been mingled, either with thatlove of glory which aims at the subjugation of theminds of mankind; and w hich perpetuates its mem-88 ECOURAGEMET TO ACTIVE DUTYory in the temples it erects to Heaven ; with thatlove of power, which, under the mask of piety, aimsat supremacy and dominion ; or with that dark enthusiasm, which unsheathes the sword to propa-gate its own feverish and frantick imaginations.In the character of our Saviour, on the contrary,there is always something above the world : — asuperiority alike to all that is great and all that isweak in man ; — a forgetfulness of himself, whichresults rather from nature than from effort, andwhich assimilates him, in our opinion, to somehigher and purer order of existence. o love of 
glory or of power ever betray themselves in hisconduct ; and, instead of awakening the enthusi-asm of men by revelations, sublime only from theirobscurity, his object is ever to veil, as it were, themajesty of the truths he reveals : — to speak to theheart, rather than to the imagination of those whoheard him ; and to make them rather the childrenof God, than the temporal followers of himself.Of this distinguishing feature in our Saviour'scharacter, we have a remarkable proof in thewords of the text. The miracle which he hadperformed, " that of feeding four thousand men in^^ the desert," you will observe, was of a naturevery different from those which he usually perform-ed. Tt was one, which demonstrated his powerover nature itself : which taught those who wit-nessed it, that, if his kingdom were of this world,he possessed the power to maintain it ; and whichAFFORDED BY THE GOSPEL. 89mii^lit lead them to wisli to assemble under aleader, whose commands nature obeyed, andwhom, tiierefore, no mortal opposition could with-stftnd. It is accord ini^ly in this singular moment,when his divine commission was most fully mani-fested, and when we may suppose all the vulgarpassions of hope and ambition were working in theminds of the multitude, " that he sends them'' away ;" to shew them that his kingdom was a^^ spiritual kingdom ;" — -that there were greaterinterests which he came to serve, than those of time ; — and that the reign of his power was tocommence in a sublimer being, when the shadowsof mortality were passed, and when time itself wasno more.S. If the words of the text have this instruction

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