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Whea the disciples came to Bethphage, they found the ass with its colt as Jesus had said, and immediately set about loosing them ; but the owner, happening to be present, reproved them : wherefore, they returned the answer which their Master had put into their moutlıs, and were suffered to lead both away. The event thus corresponding to the words of Jesus, must have convinced the disciples that be knew every thing, and could influence the wills of men as often as he pleased to exert bis power for that purpose.
Jesus had no sooner mounted the colt, than the animal became manageable, thus affording a proof, that not only the elements of nature, the minds of men, and the spirits of the deep, were subject to the commands of the Son of God, but that also his influence extended to the most untractable of the brute creation that are pressed into the service of man. When the multitude saw him mounted, they immediately bethought themselves of shewing him the honours which kings and conquerors obtained in their triumphal entries. For as they all firmly believed that he would take the reins of government into his own hands at this passover, they had a mind to make his entry into Jerusalem have the air of triumph. Accordingly, some spread their garments in the way, others cut down branches off the trees and strewed them in the way, carrying the larger sort on high in procession before Messiah as denionstrations of their joy.
The news of our Lord's approach having reached the city, great numbers of the people, who were come from the country to attend the feast, and who had a favourable opinion of his character, went forth with palm-branches in their hands to welcome Messiah to the capital. When the van of the procession that attended Jesus came to the descent of the mount of Olives, where the royal city first shewed itself, they were met by the multitude from Jerusalem coming up the hill with palmbranches, the symbols of peace, in their hands. At meeting, the latter first saluted their brethren, and cried, Hosanna, blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. When the disciples looked on the royal city, and heard such a multitude of their countrymen proclaiming their Master Messiah, they feit high transports of joy, and answered by returning the salutation, saying, blesser be ihe King that cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
Thus Jesus rode amidst the acclamations and shoutings of the admiring crowd : but we must not imagine that these honours were paid to him by any solicitation of his. The disciples and the inultitude did all of their own accord; indeed, for the reasons mentioned, Jesus was passive in the matter, and would neither refuse the title of Messiah, nor reprove the people who offered it, though required to do both by the Pharisees, who had come with the multitude froin the town, and were greatly displeased with the homage that was offered to him. ŞLuke xix. 39.) And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude sail unto him, Master, rebuke thiy discipies. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you, that if these should hvid their peace, thia stones would immediately cry out. This latter clause may signify, either that God would by miracle raise up others to glorify his name, rather than silence should be kept on this occasion, as Dr. Clarke explains it ; or that it was à tnicy altogether. impossible to make the multitude hold their peace. But though Jesus did not resuse the honours that were now paid him, he was far from assuming the dignity of an earthly prince, or any state pageantry whatsoeyer. On the contrary, he humbled himself exceedingly ; his riding on an ass being an instance of great meekness and humility, according to what was prophesied of him, Zech. ix. 9. [John xii. 14.] Aidil Jesus, when he had found a young ass, called by the other evangelists a cult, silt thereon , as it is written, fear not, daughter of Sion ; lekoit thy king comcil, sitting
on an ass's colt. We shall easily see the propriety of applying Zechariah's prophecy to this transaction, if we remember that, in the East, riding on horses was antiently reckoned the greatest ostentation of magnificence. It was, therefore, becoming the meekness of the lowly Jesus, that, in his most public entry into the capital city, Lie chose to ride on an ass. At the same time, there was nothing mean or ridiculous in it, asses being the beasts which the Easterns commonly made use of in riding. It seems, the disciples did not at that time form a just notion of what their Master designed by this entry, or by any of the circumstances of it. Probably, they considered it as the first step of his exaltation to the throne. However, after his ascension, recollecting the prophecies concerning Messiah, they remembered huw exactly they had been fulfilled in him, and found their faith greatly strengthened thereby. These things understood not his disciples at first : but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. But because the forwardness which the multitude now shewed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah was altogether extraordinary, the evangelist assigns the cause thereof. The witnesses of the resurrection of Lazarus zealously bestirred themselves on this occasion; they had published the miracle far and near, they were many in number, and persons of reputation. Hence their report gained universal belief, and drew out an innumerable multitude to meet Jesus ; à circumstance which, as the historian observes, gave great credit to the miracle, as it proved what sense the people of the age and country where it was performed had of it. [John xii. 17.] The people, therefore, that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised hiin from the dead, bare record. The inhabitants of Bethany and Jerusalem, who were so happy as to be present at Lazarus's resurrection, by attending on Jesus at this time, and joining with the multitude in their acclamations, bare record to the truth of that astonishing miracle. For this cause the people also met him; for that they heard that he had done this miracle. In the mean time, the Pharisees and great men were exceedingly enraged, because every measure they had taken to binder the people from following Jesus had proved ineffectual. The l'harisees, therefore, said among themselves, perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold the world is gone after him. · As Jesus drew nigh he looked on the city ; and notwithstanding he had already met with much ill usage from its irhabitants, and was at this very juncture to be put to death by thein, yet, with a divine generosity and benevolence which nothing can equal, he wept over it in the view of the surrounding multitude, lifting up his voice, and lamenting aloud the calamities which he foresaw were coming upon it, because its inhabitants were ignorant of the time of their visitation. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hidl from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon ther, that thine enemies shall custa trench ahout thee, and compass the round, and keep thee in on cvery side. Here Jesus foretold particularly the principal circumstances of the siege of Jerusalem ; and to his prophecy the event corresponded most exactly. For when Titus attacked the city, the Jews defended themselves so obstinately, that he found there was no way to gain his purpose but to compass the city round with a trench and mound. By this: means, he kept the besieged in on every side, cut them off from all hope of safety in Alight, and consumed them by famine. The work which he undertook was indeed a miatter of extreme difficulty, for the wall measured thirty-nine furlongs, or almost five miles, and the towers were thirteen in number, every one of them ten furlongs iu compass. Nevertheless, the whole was finished in three days; for, to use the expres
sion of Josephus, the soldiers, in performing this work, were animated by a divine impetus. [Luke xix. 44.] And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within ther, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another. This circumstance is taken notice of in the larger prophecy.concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, [Mark xiii. 1.] Our Lord mentioned it likewise in one of his prophetic parables,
Mat. xxii. 7.7 The description which Josephus has given of the taking of Jerusalem hy Titus, may be considered as a comment upon these prophecies. · [Bell. vii. 18.] « Thus was Jerusalem taken in the second year of Vespasian's reign, on the eighth day of September ; and having been already five times surprised, it was again finally destroyed. Such was the end of the besieging 'of Jerusalem, when there was none left to kill, nor any thing remaining for the soldiers to get. Cæsar commanded them to destroy the city and temple, only leaving certain towers standing that were more beautiful than the rest, viz. Phaselus, Hippicos, and Mariampe, and the wall that was on the west side, meaning there to keep a garrison ; and that they should be a monument of the prowess of the Romans, who had taken a city so well fortified, as by them it appeared to have been.. All the rest of the city they so levelled,” answering to our Lord's phrase, lay thee even with the ground, "that they who had not seen it before would not believe that ever it had been inhabited.” And, in thc preces ding chapter, he says, “ they destroyed the wall, and burned the outward part of the city.” Our Lord, upon this occasion, assigns the true cause why the Jews were given up by divine providence, to experience such dreadful-sufferings, namely, because they knew not the time of their visitation, and therefore rejected the only Messiah of God. That Christ should weep the destruction of his enemics while thus surrounded with the acclamations of his friends, affords a most delightful instance of the benignity of his disposition.
Having entered the city, he immediately proceeded to the temple ; and having looked round upon all things which it contained, retired that same cvening to Bethany, no doubt to the great mortification of his followers, who expected that he should now restore the kingdom to Israel.
ve that ever ine wall; • true causeings, 1a
TAE DISCOURSES AND TRANSACTIONS OF OUR LORN, FROM HIS PUBLIC ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM TILL JUDAS COVENANTED WITH THE CHIEF PRIESTS TO BETRAY HIN.
Christ curses the fig-tree, and purges the temple---the power of faith---certain Greeks
desire to see Jesus---he refuses to explain the nature of his authority---the parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen---the marriage supper---the lawfulness and daty of paying tribute---the objection of the Sadducues to the resurrection confuted---which is the greatest commandment---how David called the Messiah Lord, though he was to be of his posterity---woes denounced against the Pharisees---the widow and her two · mites---Christ foreteis the destruction of Jerusalem---the parable of the ten virgins and of the talent so--the last judgment described---Christ again foretels his own sufferings---he is anointed the third time---Judas agrees to betray his Nlaster.
JESUS and his disciples having lodged all night in Bethany, departed next morning for Jerusalem. By the way, they happened to see a fig-tree that looked green, was full of leaves, and, at a distance, promised abundance of fruit. To this tree Jesus went, in expectation of finding figs therern, for he was hungry, and the season of gathering them was not yet come. But finding that, notwithstanding these promising appearances, it had no fruit, addressing himself to this fig-tree, he said, les no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever, and it immediately began to wither away. This, like some other of our Lord's actions, was evidently emblematical, and its meaning the same as that of the parable of the barren fig-tree recited in a former chapter, each of them being intended to point out the approaching ruin of the Jewish nation.
It appears, that the Jews in our Lord's time carried their disdain of the Gentiles so far, that they accounted the outer court of the temple, which was allotted for the accommodation of the proselytes as a place of no great sanctity, and therefore kept there a daily market of such things as were necessary for the offering of sacrifices. But as these abuses occasioned great disturbance to the proselytes, Jesus, on the same day that he had struck the fig-tree with barrenness, reformed them a second tiine, telling the people that were standing by, that the Gentiles worshipped there by divine appointment as well as the Jews, the temple being ordained of God as a house of prayer for all nations, and that such as had trafficked there, by their covetous practices, had turned it into a den of thieves. The offenders, it is likely, were either supernaturally awed by a secret energy of Christ's omnipotence, or induced to retire from the number of those who liad declared themselves his friends and supporters.
It seems, the opinion that Jesus was Messiah prevailed generally now; for while he was in the temple, the blind, and the lame, and other diseased persons, were brought to him in great numbers, from all quarters, to be healed ; and the very children, when they saw the cures which he performed, proclaimed him the Son of David, so wonderfully were they struck with his miracles. Indced, the chief priests and doctors, finding him thus universally acknowledged, were highly displeased; yet they durst not do any thing to put a stop to it, standing in awe of the multitude. They only asked him if he heard what the children said ; insinuating that it was his duty to stop their mouths, by refusing the praises which they offered without understanding what they said. Jesus answered them out of the eighth Psalm, whore David observes, that though all should be silent, God has no need of other heralds to proclaim his praise than infants who hang at their mother's breasts ; because, notwithstanding they be dumb, the admirable providence of God, conspicuous in their preservation, is equal to the loudest and sublimest eloquence. By applying the Psalmist's words to the case in hand, Jesus signified that the meanest of God's works are so formed as to deelare the greatness of his perfections ; and that as the Father does not refuse the praise wbich arises from the least of his creatures, so the Son did not disdain the praise that was offered him by children. In the present instance, their praise was peculiarly acceptable, because it implied that his miracles were exceedingly illustrious, inasmuch as they led minds, wherein there was nothing but the dawning's of reason, to acknowledge his mission. The Messiah's praise, therefore, might, with remarkable propriety, be said, on this occasion, to have been perfected out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. [Mark xi. 18.] And the scribes and Pharisees heard it : they heard the rebuke which he had given them for allowing the temple to he profar:ed: they heaid likewise the application which he had made of the eighth Psalm to the case of the children in the temple, wishing him all manner of prosperity ; And sought how they might destroy him; for they feared him, because all the people were astonishid at his doctrine. The authority which Jesus now assumed, and the honours which were paid to him, galled the scribes and Pharisees ; for they began to be afraid of him, suspecting that be might raise some popular commotion, and the rather that all the common people
were wonderfully struck with his doctrine. They durst not, however, attempt any , thing against bim openly; they only consulted among themselves how they might
destroy him with as little noise as possible. When the evening was come, Jesus left the city, and went to Bethany, the resurrection of Lazarus having procured him many friends in that village, among whom he was always in safcty.
Next morning, as they were returning to Jerusalem, Peter, with the rest of the disciples, could not help expressing their astonishment when they observed how completely the fig-tree, which their Master had cursed, was withered away. Christ assured them, in reply, that if they exercised faith in God, they might not only perform as great miracles as that which had taken place in the fig-tree, but even command the mount of Olives to be removed, and cast into the sea, and it should obey them. He exhorted them to cultivate the duty of prayer for the increase of their faith ; and to recollect, that unless they freely forgave every one that trespassed against them, the Lord would not condescend to receive their supplications. "
Certain Grecian proselytes, or Jews, residing in heathen countries, having come rip to worship at this passover, made an application to Philip, with whom they had probably had some correspondence in Galilee, and intreated him that he would introduce them into the company of Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, perhaps from some difficulty which he perceived in the case, and again Andrew and Philir told Jesus. . And Jesus answered them saying, the hour is come that the Son of man should