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The heathen, who have never heard the Gospel-sound, might say it;? but as for us, we were called into Christ's Church, hired into His service, at our Baptism, and He has been calling us continually ever since. Now it is with us, it may
, be, the third, or the sixth, or the ninth, or (who can tell ?) even the eleventh hour. How have we been living all this time? What sort of work have we been doing in the Lord's vineyard ? Another lesson also we may draw against envy and murmuring. What a hateful exhibition of it we have here! That base spirit of magnifying oneself and detracting from another; which, instead of rejoicing in another's good, is envious and jealous if another have more than ourselves; which leads us to make so much of ourselves, our services and sufferings, and ends by murmuring and rebellion even against God. This spirit is of the devil. He envied God Himself, and so fell from his first estate. He envied our first parents, and procured their fall. And after Adam's fall we see it coming out in the morose and sullen countenance of Cain, in the miserable murder of Abel.3
HE FORETELLETH HIS PASSION.
St. Mark x. 32-34.
And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem ; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed ; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes ; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles : and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him : and the third day he shall rise again. "1
1 “Our ears have heard th'Almighty's day after Trinity. call,
3 Gen. iv. 5, 6. We cannot be as they."— The
3 See St. James iii. 14-16; iv. 5; Christian Year, Eighteenth Sun
They were “amazed” at His manner, which filled them with a strange, mysterious fear. The Jews of late had sought to stone Him at Jerusalem, yet went He thither again;? went again to that place from which before He had withdrawn himself. He went before them, as some intrepid Captain goes at the head of his company to certain danger; as the Good Shepherd goes before His sheep. They followed Him, though they had their fears for Him and for themselves. This is the third time that He plainly predicts His passion. It is, He is careful to tell them, the fulfilment of prophecy. “All things that are written concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished ;”? all things which in His human nature for our sakes He should undergo. It was the chief priests and scribes of the Jews who condemned Him, for they procured His condemnation. They delivered Him to the Romans, "and though there was no cause of death in Him, yet required they Pilate that He should be slain.”
It was passing strange. Had He been secretly assassinated, or slain in some popular tumult, or stoned by connivance of the Sanhedrim, it had not been so surprising. But the unlikely manner of his death, crucifixion preceded by scourging,' a Roman not a Jewish punishment, the mocking sport of the soldiery, the shame and spitting, are all foretold with a minuteness which reads more like a history
1 " Though very little is said in voluntarily to accomplish their object the Gospels concerning our Lord's ex- by the means which ancient prophecy ternal appearance and deportment, yet had darkly hinted, and His Son now there are frequent indications of its plainly declared ... His declaration, effect on others.”—Bp. Wordsworth. that all that was to happen to Him See St. Mark ix. 15; St. John xviii, 6. had been foretold, ought to have 2 St. John xi. 7, 8.
strengthened their faith, especially as 3 St. John viii. 59; x. 39, 40. His suffering was to end in His * St. John X. 4.
triumph . . . But they understood 3 St. John xi. 16.
Him not, though He had spoken 6 St. Matt. xvi. 21; xvii, 22, 23. without disguise, because, like the i St. Luke xviii. 31.
rest of his countrymen, they mistook 8 « Such indeed we know was their His second Advent for the first."intention ; but it was overruled by Macbride. God, who in His providence led them » St. Matt. xx. 19.
of the past than a prediction of the future. Yet the humiliation of His death is redeemed by that which at the samo time He foretells, the glory of His resurrection. “And they understood none of these things.'
The words were plain enough; but so unprepared were they, notwithstanding all He had said, for the idea of a suffering Messiah, that “this saying was hid from them.”? By the force of prejudice its
1 meaning was obscured; “neither knew they the things that
; were spoken.”? They knew not what to make of what He said. They knew not how to reconcile it with their notion of a Messiah. They hoped it might be but an allegory.”
St. Matthew xx, 20-23.
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou ? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with : but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of
The sons of Zebedee procure their mother to be their mouthpiece, remembering, it might be, a former reproof.3 She states respectfully that she has a petition to present, and He graciously bids her recite its prayer. We must ever entertain petitions courteously, nor dismiss them unheard,
i St. Luke xviii. 34.
? St. John xvi. 25, 29.
a St. Mark ix. 34.
even when we know their requests beforehand to be unreasonable, but calmly point out why we cannot comply. The two brethren had evidently been meditating upon their Master's recent promise, but that does not seem to have satisfied their ambition; and, still ignorant of the nature of His Kingdom, they desire the highest places, the posts of honour therein. The Lord addresses His answer directly to them, knowing that their mother's request was in reality theirs. As before they knew not what manner of spirit they were of, so here they knew not what they asked; knew not that they were asking for suffering and a cross, which was the destined way to reigning 3 and a crown. In ancient times the Ruler of a Feast was wont to mingle cups and distribute them to his guests. Hence to drink of another's cup became a phrase to signify sharing his portion of sorrow. So likewise Baptism signified immersion as it were in a sea of trouble, to be overwhelmed with misery. This he tells them, in a figure, was what they were in effect asking for. For this is what He was about to endure. Were they strong enough for this? Their answer shows their ignorance in asking. They knew not their own impotence. When the time of trial came they forsook Him and fled.” 6 Others than they imagined were on His right hand and on His left. When their Mother and they saw the two thus crucified with Him, they might remember their ambitious prayer. Yet what they then ignorantly professed, the Lord predicted should come to pass. For into “the fellowship of His sufferings” we are admitted even at our Baptism, and to this we pledge ourselves as often as we partake of that cup of blessing which is the communion of the Blood of Christ. But what they sought was not His to give in the sense in which despotic monarchs give places to unworthy favourites. The Father, whose will he came to do, had ordained how it should be given. It was not His to give, for it was, in a sense, already given. It is destined to be given to the most worthy,
1 St. Matt. xix. 28.
Ps. lxix. 2.
THE SAME SUBJECT- continued.
St. Matthew xx, 24–28.
And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you : but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant : even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The rest of the Apostles who, it seems, were not present at this interview, were indignant at the ambition of two of their number. The old dispute seemed revived. So easy is it to find fault with another for a failing which exists also in oneself. The Master, who knew what was passing in their minds, calls the Disciples to Him, and takes the opportunity of repeating a former lesson,' which they seemed to have forgotten. They, like the Jews of old, seem to have emulated the Gentiles. The chosen people of God took pattern by the heathen around. Greatness with these consisted in dominion. In the Kingdom of Christ it consists in servitude. Does any desire to be really great ? Let him become, as it were, a servant 3 to the people of Christ. Is any ambitious of being promoted to the chiefest place ? Let him become, as it were, their slave. This is the rule of
* preferment in the Kingdom of Christ. “Before honour is humility.” “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” 5 The Lord, employing that title which marked His own humiliation, bids them do even as He. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.
i St. Mark ix. 35.
* So in the original.