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Messiah or not. Our Lord replied by desiring those who came, to tell John what miracles they had seen wrought by Jesus, for none could perform those miracles but a prophet of God.

DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.

(Mark vi. 14-29.) And king Herod heard of Jesus, for his name was spread abroad; and he said, “ John the Baptist is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works are wrought by him." Others said, “ It is Elijah ;” and others said, “ It is a prophet, one of the old prophets." But when Herod heard of him, he said, “ It is John, whom I beheaded; he is risen from the dead."

For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold on John, and bound him in prison, on account of Herodias, his bro

ther Philip's wife, whom he had married; for John had said unto him, “ It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife." Therefore Herodias bore malice against him, and would have killed him, but she could not; for Herod respected John, knowing that he was a righteous and a holy man; and he watched over his safety, and when he heard him, he did many things recommended by him, and he heard him gladly.

At length a convenient opportunity offered for the destruction of John, when Herod, on his birth-day, made an entertainment for his lords and high captains, and the great men of Galilee. Then the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those that sat with him; and the king said unto the damsel, “ Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee." And he sware unto her, “ Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went out, and said unto her mother, “ What shall I ask?” She said, “ The head of John the Baptist." And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked him, saying, “ I will that thou give me forth with the head of John the Baptist."

Then the king was exceedingly sorry ; yet for his oath's sake, and for the sake of them that sat at his table, he would not refuse her. And immediately the king sent one of his body guards, and commanded him to bring John's head; and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish, and gave it to the damsel, and she gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came, and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

“ Blessed,” says our Saviour,“ are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake.” In this world they endure trouble; they are reproached, and in

sulted, and put in prison; but they have the satisfaction of thinking that their conduct is well-pleasing to God; and when death is past, they will enter into that happy state, where there will be no more pain, neither sorrow, nor weeping, where

“ the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary will be at rest.”

THE FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND. (Matt. xiv. 13-21; Mark vi. 30–44; Luke ix.

10-17; John vi. 1-14.) Then the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, “ Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile;" for there were so many coming and going, that they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed privately in a vessel, and went into a desert place belonging to

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the city of Bethsaida. But many who. saw them depart, and knew whither they were sailing, ran together out of all the cities, and got thither by land before them. * And when Jesus landed, he saw a great multitude, and he was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd; and he taught them many things.

And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, “ This is a desert place, and it is now late; send the people away, that they may go into the neighbouring villages and towns, and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” He answered and said unto them, “Give ye them to eat.” They replied, “Shall we

* Jesus appears to have gone on board a vessel on the Western side of the sea or lake of Galilee, probably not far to the South of Capernaum ; and Bethsaida, near which he landed, was at the North-east corner, so that the people ran round the Northern end.

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