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a blow, which at once enlightened and convinced them, and scattered them abroad also, like sheep without a shepherd. This is one scene.
And now let us behold another, which immediately succeeds it. Not a great many days elapse, when we find these very men, disheartened, disappointed, terrified, and dispersed as they had been, all gathered together again with one accord, fully recovered from all their depression, and with a settled resolution stamped on all their demeanour, which never marked them before, even while their Master was with them, to lead, combine, and encourage them. The catalogue of their names is full, with one vacancy only, which they immediately supply. They begin to preach the doctrines of a crucified Saviour, and we hear no more of their earthly notions of his kingdom. Their crude ideas and temporal hopes have, in a few days, vanished away. They preach Christianity, simply and purely. They gather to themselves thousands of converts. They are persecuted, imprisoned, threatened ; they behold one of their number soon cut off with the sword; they are surrounded by enemies and temptations; and yet they never hesitate nor falter; no, not the weakest of them; there is not a single defection from their reunited brotherhood. They go through country after country, and toil after toil, laying down their lives, one after another, for the holy truth, and they leave disciples behind them every where, to teach, and dare, and suffer, and do, and die, as they did.
Now what is the cause of all this, and how is it to be accounted for? Unbelievers may have many explanations to give, and they may be ingenious ones. I have but one, and it is a simple
It is, that their crucified Master rose from the dead, as they have told us he did; that he instructed them, as they have told us he did; and that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, was sent from the Father, according to his promise, to enlighten and sustain them. In short, I consider the conduct of the apostles, at, and after the death of Jesus, as perhaps the strongest proof of the reality of his glorious resurrection. If he rose from the dead, and appeared to them, and instructed and confirmed them, I can account for the sudden change in their characters, and for their subsequent knowledge and perseverance, and boldness, and success. If he rose not from the dead, I cannot account for those things; and the whole subject remains to me a deep historical mystery.
Simple, honest, excellent men! raised up by Providence for wonderful ends by wonderful means ! Your lives, unadorned as they are, and comprehended in a few plain words, are yet alone among the lives of men; alone, in the varieties and contrasts of their fortunes ; alone, in the multitude and importance of their consequences. We should be senseless, if we did not perceive the influence which you have exerted on the character and opinions of mankind. We should be thankless, if we did not acknowledge the benefits of that influence, and bless God that we live to know and feel them. And we humbly pray to God, the universal Father, the Source of all excellence and truth, that our fidelity to our common Master may be like yours; that our perseverance in executing his commands may be like yours; and that like yours may be our courage and constancy, if we should ever be called on to sacrifice comfort, worldly consideration, or life itself, to duty, conscience, and faith.
COLLECTS AND HYMNS.
SAINT ANDREW'S DAY.
COLLECT. Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Who leads the glorious company,
The Apostles' sainted band?
The holy ANDREW stand.