« PreviousContinue »
prove a mean of his exaltation; and that, in process of time all nations should be converted to his doctrine. This agreed with Daniel's prediction, that, all people, nations, and languages, should serve the Messiah ; and also with those of David, who had foretold that he should be a Priest for ever, and a King for ever ; that he should have length of days for ever, and his years as many generations. Isaiah declared that of the in. crease of his government there should be no end. Daniel likewise predicted, that the kingdom of the MESSIAI should break in pieces all other kingdoms; that his dominion should not pass away, and his kingo dom not be destroyed.
Some of the people who heard our LORD talk of being difted up, which was understood by them to mean being put to death, could not reconcile this with the conceptions they had formed of the Messian from the above predictions: for they did not recollect, that the circum. stance of his death was also foretold. Daniel predicted, that MESSIAH should be cut off, but not for himself; Isaiah, that he should pour out his soul unto death ; and the royal Psalmist, that his hands and feet should be pierced. Our SAVIOUR did not think proper to point out these latter prophecies at present, but left them to be applied by the Apostles afterwards; and admonish: ed his disciples to embrace the present opportunity of knowing the truth, instead of spending time in raising objections to what he asserted. He then, or shortly after, informed them of his union with the FATHER; assuring them, that he was the visible image of God, who revealed himself to the world through the MesSIAH. That he was expressly sent to teach them Di. vine truths, which by human reason alone they could never have discovered ; that he was not come to con. demn the world, but to offer salvation to it ; which,
if they rejected, they would be judged for it at the last day; and the words which he now spake would be sufficient evidence to justify their condemnation, as it was entirely the effect of their own obstinacy, in refusing Divine grace when it was offered to them. To enforce their belief, our LORD assured them, that he did not address them as a common teacher, but professed to speak the very words of God; and that his own mind was perfectly convinced, those words had a reference to the everlasting state of mankind, and were designed to promote their eternal life and happiness.
We may suppose that our Lord withdrew himself to avoid the rage of his persecutors, and to shew his displeasure against those who disregarded him.
The disbelief of the people verified Isaiah's prophecy *
It is shocking to read, that men of learning, as the members of the Sanhedrim must have been, should re. sist the conviction of their own consciences, and prefer the vain breath of popular applause to the favour of Gow! How much more honour would they have ob tained, had they paid homage to their Saviour, and been received as members of his heavenly kingdom !
The gracious promise which our LORD, in the be. ginning of this Section, addressed to the Greeks who desired to see him, “ If any man serve me," &c. comprehends Christians of all nations in every age of the church. Who would not endure all dangers and difficulties to follow his SAVIOUR to heaven, and to be ho. noured in the sight of God?
We see that our LORD, though he was troubled at the view of his sufferings, stedfastly determined to submit
* See preceding Section.
to them for the glory of God the FATHER. Such a de. termination should every Christian make ; for he may rest assured, that the SUPREME Being will at length glorify his own name, by promoting the eternal happiness of every faithful servant. We must not expect indeed to be encouraged in the hour of affliction, as the Son of God was, by a voice from heaven, nor do we stand in need of it; for the words of consolation which were spoke by the MESSIAH, were designed for the whole race of mankind, and recorded by the Evangelist for the comfort of all who will seek them; and the HOLY Spirit also will, by a secret influence, support every good resolution.
Since it was with a view to draw all men to him, that JESUS was ordained to be lifted up on the cross, we should endeavour to awaken in our minds that lively and ardent affection which is due to him who suffered so much for our sakes.
As God has graciously vouchsafed us the light of the Gospel, let us, whilst the day of life lasts, improve the happy opportunity of practising every Christian duty : and that we may clearly understand every article of faith, let us study the Scriptures with impartiality, not selecling texts, as those who cavilled at our Saviour did, to confirm any particular prejudice, but comparing one part with another; and then shall we be ready to believe the report of the prophets, that Jesus was the Arm of the LORD, as well as the Son of David, though he had nothing in his outward appearance to distinguish him from other men.
OUR LORD'S DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE BAPTISM OF
JOHN THE PARABLE OF THE MAN WHO HAD TWO
From Luke, Chap. XX. And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and scribes came upon him, with the elders,
And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what autho rity doest thou these things ? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: the baptism of Jolin, was it from heaven, or of men?
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, if we shall say, From heaven, he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
But and if we say, of men, all the people will stone us : for they be persuaded that Jolin was a prophet. And they answered, That they could not tell whence it was.
And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
And he began to speak unto them in parables, saying, But what think ye? A certain man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.
He answered and said, I will not, and afterwards he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and
said Mkewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir ; and went not.
Whether of them twain did the will of his father ? They say unto him, the first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots
go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him. And ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what wiil he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other