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Israel, Lament of the Daughters of 202
are treated kindly by the . 263
Jael and Sisera
Lamb, offering the
the Death of
Prison, Jeremiah released from 291
Sea, Jonah cast into the
Serpent, the Brazen
Shunammite, the, and her son 239
Stocks, Jeremiah brought from the 290
Water of Babylon, the Children of
fall before the
Widow's Son, Elijah raising the
Zion's, (Mount) Deliverance 302
Our Lord and Saviour
OUR LORD DEPARTS FROM HIS RETIREMENT-DECLARES THE ONLY
WAY OF SALVATION-SHOWS THE DUTY OF IMPROVING THE MEANS OF GRACE, BY THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD-PREDICTION OF HIS SUFFERING, AND CONTENTION OF THE DISCIPLES ABOUT PRECEDENCE IN HIS KINGDOM.
TIE period of our blessed Saviour's passion now approaching, be departed from Ephraim, and repaired by the way of Jericho towards Jerusalem : but before he arrived at Jericho, a ruler of the synagogue came running to him, and kneeling down before him, asked him, “Good Master, what good things shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”—Matt. xix. 16.
This young magistrate or ruler pretended to pay great honour to our dear Redeemer, yet the whole was no more than a piece of raillery. For though he styled him good, yet he did not believe that he was sent from God, as sufficiently appears from his refusing to observe the counsel given him by Jesus: nor could his artful insinuations
escape the piercing eye of the great Saviour of the world. He well knew his secret intentions, and
beheld the inmost recesses of his soul: and accordingly rebuked him for his hypocritical address, before he answered his question. "Why callest thou me good ? There is none good but one, that is God.”—Matt. xix. 17.
But as he had desired the advice of our blessed Jesus, who never refused it to any of the sons of men, he readily answered his question, by telling him that he must observe all the moral precepts of the law; especially those of the second table, which can only be done by keeping those of the first : "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder; Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Honour thy father and thy mother : and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”—Matt. xix. 17, &c.
These commandments perhaps he had obeyed in the vague sense put upon them by the doctors and interpreters of the law, and therefore the character he gave of himself might be very just. For though he was far from being a person who feared God from his heart, he might have appeared, in the sight of men, as a person of a very fair character.
And having maintained that character, notwithstanding his great riches, he certainly deserved commendation ; and therefore might be noticed by that benevolent person who left the bosom of his father to redeem lost mankind. But he was, at the same time, very faulty, with regard to his love of sensual pleasures; a sin which might have escaped even his own observation, though it could not escape the all-sceing eye of the Son of God.
Our blessed Saviour, therefore, willing to make him
sensible of his secret desire of possessing the riches of this world, told him, that if he aimed at perfection he should distribute his possessions among the poor and indigent, and become his disciple. “ If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.”—Matt. xix. 21.
His heart being set upon his possessions, he ha no inclination to a religion that enjoins self-denial and parting with our darling sins. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.—Matt. xix. 22.
This melancholy instance of the pernicious influence of riches over the minds of the children of men, induced our blessed Saviour to caution his disciples against fixing their minds on things of such frightful tendency, by showing how very difficult it was for a rich man to procure an habitation in the regions of eternal happiness. “Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible ; but with God all things are possible.”Matt. xix. 23, &c.
If man be not assisted by the grace of God, it will be impossible for him to obtain the happy rewards of the kingdom of heaven: but, by the assistance of grace, which the Almighty never refuses to those who seek it with their whole heart, it is very possible.
This answer of the blessed Jesus was however far from satisfying his disciples, who had, doubtless, often reflected with pleasure on the high posts they were to enjoy
in their Master's kingdom. Peter seems particularly to have been disappointed; and therefore addressed his Master in the name of the rest, begging him to remember that his apostles had actually done what the young man had refused. They bad abandoned their relations, their friends, their possessions, and their employments, on his account, and therefore desired to know what reward they were to expect for these instances of their obedience.' To which Jesus replied, that they should not fail of a reward, even in this life; for immediately after his resurrection, when he ascended to his Father, and entered on his mediatorial office, they should be advanced to the honour of judging the twelve tribes of Israel; that is, of ruling the church of Christ, which they were to plant in different parts of the earth; and, after this life, to a proportionate degree of glory in heaven. “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matt. xix. 28.
Having given this answer to Peter, he next mentioned the rewards his other disciples should receive, both in this world and that which is to come. They, said he, who have forsaken all for my sake, shall be no losers in the end: their benevolent Father, who intends to give them possessions in the heavenly Canaan, will not fail to support them during their long and painful journey to that happy country ; and raise them up friends who shall assist them with those necessaries they might have expected from their relations had they not left them for my sake. Divine Providence will take care that they have everything valuable that could be given them by their relations, or they could desire from large possessions. They shall, indeed, be fed with the bread of sorrow; but this shall produce joys, to which all