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glorying unduly in their gifts. This power even a Judas might share. Privileges may for a time be the property even of traitors. Let them therefore give diligence to make their calling and election sure. Let this be the ground of their rejoicing—that their names were written in Heaven,' instead of, as in the case of those that depart from the Lord, only in the earth. Our Lord alludes to the custom of writing the names of the citizens of any place in a book, from which however those who proved unworthy were blotted out, and so lost their privilege of citizenship.3
MYSTERIES HIDDEN AND REVEALED.
St. Luke x. 21, 22.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even so, Father ; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father : and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
That was an hour of rejoicing; not to the Seventy only, but even to their incarnate Lord. He had bidden them rejoice in their high privilege, and He rejoiced Himself in their docility. It “filled His human soul with mysterious joy." Joy is conveyed (how it speaks His humanity!) to the heart of Jesus. He joyed and rejoiced with them all. Had this commission been entrusted to clever and scheming men of this world, to mere politicians,—they would have
| That no immutable predestina- 2 Jer. xvii. 13. tion is here asserted is plain, as Alford 3 Dan. xii. 1; Phil. iii. 20; iv. 3 ; points out, from the very first place in Rev. iii. 5. which the phrase (one of frequent 4 V. 17. occurrence) is found. Ex. xxxii. 32,
5 V. 20. 33.
• A Plain Commentary.
gone a different way to work. They would have seen in it merely a means to magnify themselves and their nation. They would have taken Him by force to make Him king. But these, simple as babes,' were as ready to be directed. “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” 2 The world was converted, and the Gospel propagated, by unlikeliest instruments. So was it ordained in the wisdom and by the will of Him who ordereth all things both in heaven and earth. And for this, even in the hour of His humiliation, the Son, who can have no will apart from the Father, breaks forth into this rapture of acknowledgment. He is affected in the same manner as on a former occasion, and His feelings find vent in the same words. Again He proclaims His commission, the mystery of His being—which cannot be fathomed by man, and is known only unto God—and that truth on which He was ever dwelling to those who boasted that God was their Father, that no man cometh unto the Father but by Him."
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. Luke x. 23, 24.
And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those
, things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Very interesting is the action of our Lord and Saviour in this place. First He addresses Himself to His Heavenly i St. Matt. xviii. 1-4.
I find in them a most instructive ? 1 Cor. i. 26-29; 2 Cor. iv. 7. instance of the way in which such
3 St. Matt. xi. 25-27. “From no central sayings were repented by love of harmonizing or cscaping diffi- Him.”-Alford. culties ... I am convinced that our 4 St. John viii, 41. Lord did utter, on the two separate 5 St. John xiv. 6-11, 20. occasions, these weighty words; and
Father and ours in words of praise, and then He turns Him to His Disciples and pronounces these words of blessing. Every gesture and touch like this is valuable which helps to set Him before our eyes. Not to no purpose was it recorded that He turned Him unto His Disciples and said these things. And He said them, it is noticed, privately. He repeats what He had said to them on another occasion. Parables indeed are addressed to all, but the meaning and interpretation of them is revealed to those only who will be at the pains to come humbly and inquire afterwards. They are admitted, as it were, behind the scenes. They are, as it were, taken into counsel. The Lord would have them realize their amazing privilege. To these simple souls, from the shores of that Galilæan sea, from their nets and from their fishingboats, is vouchsafed the revelation of those high things which wise and mighty men of old desired in vain. Let this thought enhance to them the value of what was even then passing before their eyes, and sounding in their ears. Let them not hold cheap what these held so dear. “Your Father Abraham,” said Christ, “ rejoiced to see my day:"-—there was a Prophet. And “David," so St. Peter tells us,3 “speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face:”- there was a King. And these were samples of others who "waited for the kingdom of God,” and “looked for redemption in Israel.” But their vision at the best was dim, and the prospect imperfect. What twilight is to sunlight, or shadow to substance, was all that these enjoyed. To the Disciples, and to us after them, was reserved the full blessing, the perfect day. Facts for figures, realities for resemblances, harvest for seed-time, ripe fruit for merest blossom, the Gospel of Christ for the Law of Moses. To apply the subject to ourselves—we may not indeed see all that those early Christians saw, but in one sense we may see even more. We see that harvest of which they sowed the seed. We see that miracle of the Church's progress. We see a grain of mustard seed become a tree, and sending forth branches into all lands. In any case we
1 St. Matt. xiii. 10-17.
3 See also 1 St. Pet, i. 11, 12.
Augustine (Ser. ccxlii. 12) has a
may hear His words now as then; as truly reported in the Gospels as uttered by Christ in their ears. A message may be conveyed by letter as really as by word of mouth. We have in our hands the very words of Christ. We may know what our Lord said and did no less certainly than the Disciples themselves. A little child in a Sunday School may know what was withheld from Prophets and Kings. Many indeed see and hear these things Sunday after Sunday in our Churches, and they go their way, and never bestow a thought upon their tremendous meaning. They are like children, playing with precious jewels, unconscious of the value of what they are spurning with their feet. So thoughtless are many who hold in their hand, only to cast away, this "pearl of great price.” They are worse than children; even as the swine, trampling these treasures under foot. Such is the swinish conduct of some to whom the Saviour of the world is preached.
THE LAWYER'S QUESTION.
St. Luke x. 25-28.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law ? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right : this do, and thou shalt live.
The Lawyers among the Jews were a body of men who made the Law of Moses their special study, and professed to
explain it, though too often they explained it away. Our Lord had continually to correct their misinterpretations of the Law, as His Ministers after Him have now to correct too many misapplications even of the Gospel. This man rose up and tempted Jesus. He put to Him a cunning question, in a crafty manner. Not in the spirit of the Ruler mentioned further on in this same Gospel,' but rather to display his own fancied superiority.? Eternal life is an inheritance, a possession, the gift of God, the purchase of His Son. The Jews, it is evident, looked for something beyond “transitory promises." 4 They looked for “ the life of the world to
But this they expected to inherit or obtain in return for some act. This explains the Lawyer's question here. The Lord answers His question by another. He makes the Lawyer answer for himself. He refers him to that Law of which he was the professed expounder. What readest thou there? Thus He extracts from His questioner that golden sentence which contains the sum and substance of the Law, love to God and to our neighbour. True it is indeed that no man ever yet succeeded in doing this so perfectly as to claim the reward as a matter of right; and only by the help of God can we succeed in doing it at all. Ву the light of Christ's Gospel we discover One who has done this indeed for us, and who supplies those motives and that strength by which also we may hope in some good measure to do it ourselves.
| Alford points out that unless St. Luke bad related also another inquiry of the same kind (ch. xviii. 18 seq.) “the critics would be sure to have maintained that this incident was another report of Matt. six. 16." He adds that “questions addressed to our Lord, and answers from Him, were, as
a matter of fact, repeated.”
2 V. 29 below.
6 The original may be rendered, “Having done what, shall I inherit, &c.?”