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And the angel of the Lord spake unto Phi
lip, saying, Arise and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went : and behold a man of Ethiopia, an Eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot, read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ràn thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man
should guide me ? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture : which he read was this, He was led as , a sheep to the slaughter : and like a
lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth : In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation ? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water. And the eunuch said, See, here is water : what doth hinder me to be baptized ? And Philip, said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch ; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out VOL. II.
of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
Ever since the fall of man, there has been a constant warfare between the Church and the World, according to God's prediction. “ I will put enmity,” said he to the Serpent, “ between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seedo.” The seed of the serpent are those who are in their sins, strangers to God and aliens from his family. The seed of the woman is the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, together with all who are the subjects of his grace, redeemed by his blood out of every kindred, nation and tongue. Together they constitute one mystical body, of which he is the Head, and they are the members. They have nothing but the word and faithfulness of God to support and encourage them; whilst their opponents, the seed of the serpent, can call in to their aid the wisdom, the power, the allurements, the riches, the frowns of the world. The latter see their resources; the
a Gen. iii. 15.
former exercise faith in theirs, though unseen. - In this conflict between faith and sense ; between the children of this world and the ransomed of Messiah the prince, the latter are always ultimately victorious. They may for a season be depressed; they may be called to encounter persecution for the sake of their Master, but all these sufferings inflicted by their adversaries, only tend to promote the increase of their graces and of their numbers. The serpent, according to God's prediction, has the power of bruising the heel of the seed of the woman. He assailed, and for a season apparently triumphed over, the human nature of Christ, when on the cross he yielded up the ghost. And thus he is permitted to vex and harass the mortal part of Messiah's people, and at times to produce disquietude in their souls. But Messiah, in his resurrection and ascension, bruised the head of the serpent, broke the power of Satan, and destroyed his reign.
In the victory of their Prince, believers partake. Weeping on their part may endure for a night in which the prince of dark
ness, and his adherents, prevail; but joy cometh to them in the morning, when their Master appears in their behalf. Looking in the morning watch, as he did when the Egyptians pursued Israel, through the pillar of fire, and of the cloud, upon his enemies and theirs, he troubles the host of them, and they are dismayed. Their devices he confounds, and glorifies himself in the salvation of his chosen.
The history of the Church, which is the history. of the seed of the woman and his ransomed people, is replete with facts confirmatory of the triumphs of faith over sense ; of the company of believers over the world. The subject of our present lecture furnishes us with one such fact, striking and encouraging. By recurring to the commencement of this chapter, you will perceive that the death of holy Stephen, and the consequent persecution of the disciples of Messiah in Jerusalem, scattered them abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. In this persecution we see the serpent bruising the heel of the seed of the woman, wounding him in his weakest part. But mark the issue! The scattered disciples took the