John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.…
Such plainness of dealing may appear, at first thought, harsh and repulsive. But before this judgment is given, it is well to inquire whether plainness and fidelity on the part of the preacher are any proof of unkindness. Is the keeper of a weather-signal station unkind, who hoists the storm signal, that the shipping may stay in the harbour, or fly to its shelter, when word comes to him from his chief that a storm is at hand? Let him fail once to do his duty. Instead of a plain and truthful signal, let him put out an ambiguous or an unmeaning one, and let the ships, which fill the harbour or cover the adjacent sea, sail forth and go on in entire security, until the tempest comes and catches them in its irresistible grip and scatters their wrecks along the shore. Then see the widows wring their hands and wail, and their fatherless children cry over the lifeless dead, which lie stark and cold on the sand, and say whether it was kind and good to keep back the warning that might have prevented such ill. A child may complain of the robin whose boding note prognosticates the rain which interferes with its play, but a man, able to understand that God sends the rain, will thank the bird for the warning.
(A. H. Currier.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.