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by it: in short, if their design is bad, then we are
never to spare them; we are never to be tender to
malice ; for that is the same as to be cruel to all true
men : therefore, there are cases, when the difference
between good and evil must be expressed without
reserve. Our power upon such occasions can be
shewn only in words ; but the words of the apostle
were confirmed by a miracle ; and that so remarkable
that there is nothing more so. Consider, that truth is
light; and that this man resisted the light of truth :
therefore the apostle for a season consigned him to a
state of darkness, in order that he himself and all pre-
sent might know what he had done. Christ is the Sun
of righteousness; and he who will not own his light is
not fit to see the light-of heaven. The punishment is
exactly apposite to the crime : all who will not see the
Gospel, deserve no other. All are not struck blind;
for that is not necessary, nor would it be expedient:
but one is here struck blind for a warning to the rest.
This Bar-Jesus, or Elymas, was probably one of those
who called themselves the illuminated : perhaps he
would not have refused the Gospel, had he not in
opinion had a better light of his own. Woe be unto
them, therefore, who think they see: 10 men are in a
worse state than they: you see their fate in this man :
his bodily blindness is a pattern of their spiritual blind-
ness; and there is nothing more terrible in this

What a remarkable judgment is here upon unbelief!
You may argue upon it, and say, surely it must have
changed his opinion. When he perceived, that for
resisting the Gospel he lost his eyesight, that must im-
mediately have convinced him of his mistake, and he
must have been converted to the truth ; but this was
not the case : we do not find, that it wrought any

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difference in him. He makes no confession of his sin; he utters neither prayer nor cry for mercy; but goes about seeking for some to lead him by the hand. He can direct his feet no longer ; that seems to be his concern: he wants somebody to lead him, that he may find his way home: as for finding the way to truth, he is as far from it as ever ; he had an hatred towards it, and had purposely withstood and prevented it; and therefore did this evil come upon him. Where wickedness is in the manners of a sinner, his mind inay be rectified, and that will mend his manners : but when the wickedness is in the mind, there is little hope: it is not a departure from God and goodness through the prevailing lusts of the flesh ; but it is a hatred of them; and then there is no remedy. St. Paul calls him by his true name, " thou child of the Devil ;” and for this reason the miracle has no effect upon him; he that is a devil, will continue to be a devil. This is a fearful consideration; and it is a doctrine which it highly behoves us to understand.

The character of this wretch is very instructive : it shews us what sort of people there are in the world ; men whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded : whose minds are actually incapable of receiving the light of truth. This man was by profession a Jew; but with it, was a Sorcerer, and a false prophet; and have not we as strange characters annongst us? Put together another composition of the same 'kind; instead of the Jew, and the false prophet, and the sorá cerer ; say, a Christian, and a Socinian, and a philosopher : how often do these meet together ? and when they do meet, they form as strange a character as that of Elymas : a Christian, but no more of a Christian than Elymas was of a Jew; a Sorcerer, big with con, çeit about the mysteries of nature ; a false prophet,


denying as false what the Scripture reveals to be true : and teaching that the Lord of Glory is a mere man like ourselves ; that the writers to whom the Holy Ghost dictated were not inspired; that man neither hath nor wants any redemption in Jesus Christ : with other things of the same kind ; so hurtful to man, and so contrary to truth, that no Jew, no sorcerer, no false prophet, could teach worse.

If St. Paul had met with one of these, he would certainly have addressed him as he did Elymas; he would have accused him of subtlety and mischief, and called him a child of the devil, whatever his companions might have wished to call him: they, perhaps, would have extolled and magnified him, as a great, a learned, an ingenious man, wonderful in wisdom and knowledge: and so, very probably, was this man reputed by people at the island of Cyprus; if he had not been eminent in his way, he would scarcely have been encouraged by Sergius Paulus, the chief person of the place: and with this man, prudent as he was, the sorcerer might have succeeded, and turned him away from the faith, if it had not been for the miracle which was wrought in his sight. For no sooner was Elymas made blind, than the deputy, seeing what was done, believed what he had heard, being astonished at the word of the Lord : he was astonished at the miracle, and he believed what was so confirmed. The power that made one man blind, opened the eyes of another; and this was the way in which it pleased God to bring men to the Gospel. When the wisdom of man thinks about the right way of bringing us to truth, it thinks a different way from this. Man. tells us, we must be reasoned with ; we must have it proved to us, that a doctrine is reasonable before we believe it; and that if it does not appear reasonable, we ought not to receive it at all. This is absurd and impossible: the Gospel could never have been propagated in that manner: there was no time for it. Sergius Paulus, to whom our apostle addressed himself, was an heathen; and to convert him by reasoning, he must have proceeded methodically, and have brought him first to an understanding of the Old Testament; of the religion of the law, and the writings of the prophets : he must have made a Jew of him first; then he must have argued from the agreement of the events of the Gospel, with what had been foreshewed, and foretold in the scriptures before, and this course of instruction would have required a long time: and, what is worst of all, it might not have succeeded at last; for man is not in a condition to be taught this way: till God works

upon him by his grace, he can be nothing more than a natural man; and we are told the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him : they seem to be all wrong: it is contrary to man's pride, and lust, and covetousness, to receive and follow a crucified Saviour. Nature and reason can never be brought to this, without being conquered by some power which the senses cannot resist; and when the word of God comes forward in this manner, then it is received. The proconsul was astonished when he saw what was done by the hand of the Lord; and then he believed what was said by his minister, and became a christian.

This is God's way of converting the world to the truth; but man would have it all done by reasoning. When a man has received it, he may see that it is all reasonable, and be in love with the wisdom of it, and even give up his life for the truth of it; but for all this, he is not indebted to his own reason or nature, but to the power of God, by which his reason is taken

captive. Upon the evidence of miracles, the world at first received the Gospel; and when parents have it and understand it, they will teach it diligently to their children, who receive it before they can reason upon it. Let them be neglected and left in ignorance till they are grown up, and then see whether their reason will ever take to it. I fear it will not; for the children of bad parents are generally bad themselyes: not always; because the goodnesss of God can find other ways of bringing them to the truth, and putting them into the way of salvation : but the ordinary way, after the first establishment of the Gospel by miracles, is by education and instruction ; and woe to parents that neglect it! they will suffer in a twofold sense ; in their own persons, and in the persons of their impenitent children.

We have now gone through the particulars of this wonderful narrative. We have seen how the power of the word of God wrouglit by his apostle. We have seen a wise man (for such without doubt the sorcerer thought himself) made blind ; and a prudent man brought over to the Gospel, which he wanted to know, from what he had heard. Before we leave the subject, I would point out some few things which are most worthy to be laid

up in our minds. 1. The Apostle of the Gentiles makes a great appearance upon this occasion, and acts in that honourable character, under which he ought always to be remembered. We are told how God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; and that wrought upon the sorcerer was a special miracle, great in itself, and instructive to those who consider it. The progress of the apostle through the isle of Cyprus shews us with what power the Gospel made its way in the world. This island was an accursed place; it was one of the

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