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pity. “He that committeth sin is of the devil." }, Christ bids none depart from His presence who have not already departed from His spirit. These so far from being clothed with humility, conscious of the imperfection of their best deeds, venture to justify themselves. They never saw Him thus. Had they known it has been their Prince in disguise, doubtless they would have relieved Him; as who indeed would not ?? But not to one of the least of the Lord's brethren have these selfish ones ministered. Nor if their
. time of probation had been indefinitely postponed would they have done so. Now it is over. These incorrigible ones go away into what is spoken of as everlasting punishment. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.' But the righteous of all nations * shall enter into everlasting life; 5 "the life of the world to come.' In His favour is life. In His presence is the fulness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
11 St. John iii. 8, 10, 14, 15; St. Matt. xiii. 38; St. John viii. 44.
2 St. Matt. v. 47. 3 2 Thess. i. 7-9. * V. 32 above.
5 It is the same word in the original, diversely rendered in the E. V.“everlasting” and “eternal.” On this awful subject we dare not dogmatize. Whether, though there be an everlasting punishment,- -as in that Valley of Hinnom was a perpetual flame,the condemned be not for ever in it; or whether they be suddenly consumed and come to a fearful end (2 Thess. ii. 8; Heb. x. 27; xii. 29; 2 St. Pet. iii. 7, 10;) who can tell ? Enough that we are told that there is a retribution, for those who will not turn, described as everlasting punishment. But in. deed time is after all a thing which belongs but to this world. In that world which is to come, time shall be no longer. See the Preface to Dean Goulburn's Four Sermons on Subjects of the Day, pp. ix.-xi. The idea in his note seems to have been antici
pated by South (Post Ser. xl.), “A man walking in a path sees not that part of the way that is behind him, neither that which is any great distance before him, but successively comes to see it, as by degrees he arrives to and co-exists with it: but now he, that is upon a high mountain or tower, by one single cast of his eye takes a view of the whole path, and at once sees the man, and what is behind him, and what so remote before him, Just so man, who exists in some part of time, neither properly knows those things that were before he was, nor those things that are future, but as he gains a successive co-existence with them. But God being (as I may say) exalted upon His own essence, does from thence, as from a high and lofty place, by one single act of His understanding, take a survey of us that are in the world, and those things that are past and behind us, together with those that are before us, and yet to come.”
6 Nicene Creed.
THE RULERS CONSPIRE AGAINST CHRIST.
St. Luke xxi, 37, 38. St. Matthew xxvi, 1-5.
St. Luke xxi.-And in the day time he was teaching in the temple ; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
St. Matt. xxvi. —And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
First we have a summary of the way in which our Saviour spent His time that Holy Week up to the eve of His crucifixion. His days' were passed in the Temple, His nights' in Olivet; first praying in Gethsemane, then resting at Bethany. The days in teaching, the nights in prayer and needful repose. And morning after morning the people came
. together; all sorts of people; some, it might be, impressed by His teaching; more moved by curiosity; a certain number in the hope of witnessing His discomfiture. He was expected early in the Temple : early He was there. And when He finally departed from the Temple, on the Wednesday as it would seem before He suffered, He reminds His Disciples not only of the approaching Passover, but of what He had already told them, His betrayal and crucifixion. “He joins the two Passovers together, the figurative and the true.”+ | Plural in the original.
having instructed the Jews by His ? St. John xviii. 1, 2.
discourses, edified them by His * St. Mark and St. Luke in view of example, convinced them by His Gentiie readers, give also its other miracles, and loaded them with His name, the Feast of unleavened bread. benefits, prepares Himself now to re
• Quesnel, who says also, “Christ deem them with His blood."
He speaks of it more plainly as the time draws nigh. How calmly He views the Cross now close at hand! “Let us learn from hence to look on the crosses which are prepared for us, with the serenity and meekness of our Head."1 The Sanhedrim, or Council of the Jews, consisting of the various kinds of members here mentioned, now meet together, conspiring against the Christ. Thus they fulfil the prophecy of the Psalm, “The rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed.” The Evangelist mentions the High Priest in whose presidency this was done. Could he have done so if it had not been true? Had this not been history, how easily could it have been refuted! They must, it appears, go to work quietly and craftily because of His popularity. Those who fear not God, sometimes fear the people.
St. Matthew xxvi. 6. St. John xii. 2.
St. Matt. xxvi.—Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
St. John xii.-There they made him a supper; and Martha served : but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Very life-like is the picture the Evangelist here sets before
We can almost see the scene. Jesus reclining at the Quesnel.
in the night, and crucified early in the ? “It seems probable that their morning, before the multitude of the design was not to apprehend Jesus people should come together." —Bp. till the eight days of the Paschal Pearce, in D'Oyly and Mant. Here Feast were concluded, and when the we see the overruling hand of God, multitude of the people, who came to making the anti-type thus coincide Jerusalem for that occasion, should be with the type, notwithstanding their diminished; but Judas having come intention. They are free agents. to the Chief Priests soon after, and They are working out their own made an offer of betraying them in wicked wills, and gratifying their the night, they changed their design, own passions; but they contribute, and seized upon Him in the evening unwittingly, to His glory. “Surely of the first of these eight days, intend- the wrath of inan shall praise Thee." ing to have Him tried and condemned
table in the cool of the evening; Lazarus and the Twelve among the guests; Martha busy, after her manner, waiting upon them with a most friendly zeal; Mary manifesting her deep love to the Lord, anointing His feet with the precious fragrant ointment, and wiping them with her flowing hair; some of the Jews, it might be, thronging the entrance, and looking in upon the assembled friends. St. John gives us an outline of the picture. Two other of the sacred historians fill in some further details. From these we learn that this evening meal took place in the house of one Simon, who was also a dweller in Bethany. He is called “the leper," in remembrance of that dire disease of which the Lord, we may suppose, had healed him; and he was, we may conclude, a relative or friend of Martha and her sister and Lazarus ; the elder sister in fact ministering to his guests as her own, superintending the entertainment, doing the honours. Of her we heard on a former occasion, when she was “cumbered about much serving,” and the Lord gently reproved her.3 Here we may see the use she made of His reproof. “She did not, therefore, leave off serving, as some who, when they are reproved for one extreme, peevishly run into another. No, still she served; not as then at a distance, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words.”4 This notice of Lazarus as partaking in the meal may serve to show the character of the miracle of his raising. He was no phantom, not a mere spirit, but a body with flesh and bones,” still needing earthly
1 The incident is inserted only in cessors, or else is to be regarded as accordance with St. John's plan, as contradicting them! Whereas, on the forming another link in the chain of contrary, his practice of not repeating events which led to the consumma- all that they had related, and in tion, “ Lazarus is mentioned through- dwelling on some particular circumout the incident, as forming an element stances (e.g. the anointing of the feet in the unfolding of the hatred of the here) not mentioned by them, ought Jews which issued in the Lord's rather to be regarded as evidence of death."-Alford.
his agreement with them." His silence 2 St. Matt. xxvi. 6-13; St. Mark gives consent, and is the confirmation xiv. 3-9. As to the allegation of of their account. discrepancy, this, as Bp. Wordsworth 3 St. Luke x. 38-42. remarks, like many others of the same kind, is founded on the hypo- • Compare St. Mark v. 43; St. Luke thesis, that St. John, in relating any xxiv. 39, 41-43; St. John xxi. 13; given event, ought to record all the Acts x. 41. circumstances specified by his predeVOL. II.
nourishment. Now Martha no longer objects that her sister has left her to serve alone. She leaves her to show her love in another and not less lavish way. God may be honoured by various minds in various manners.
All is lawful so long as it proceeds from love. We may be disposed to envy these who thus entertained their Lord; yet we too may entertain Him within. It is more to have Christ in the heart than even in the house."
THE SAME SUBJECT —continued.
St. John xii. 3-6.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair : and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor ; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
In that country it was the custom to recline on a couch at meals, and to pour oil or ointment on the head and feet. Such treatment, in such a climate, would be most grateful and refreshing to the weary and way-worn guest, walking barefoot, or at best only shod with sandals. The arrangement of their tables and couches admitted of such hospitable attentions, which sometimes were shown by a servant of the house, sometimes, where it was desired to pay especial honour, by the friend or host. So Mary magnified the Lord. She had often heard the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; He had sat before at their board in Bethany, and she loved to sit at Jesus' feet and hear His word; He had raised
i See this thought exquisitely ex- Sun. after Epiphany), “ Love on the pressed in The Christian Year (Third Saviour's dying head," &c.
? Aug. Ser. cxxxii. 7.