Imágenes de páginas

cometh unto thee, meek and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

Blasting the ' fig tree, which bare leaves only, was a symbolical action, typifying both the rejection of the Jewish nation for their unfruitfulness under such abundant means of grace, and the curse which all the disciples of Christ would be subject to, unless they brought forth fruit meet for repentance. This was agreeable to the moral of a parable before delivered ; in which a " fig tree, that bare not fruit for three years, was to be cut down, if it continued barren. The next day, the disciples saw the fig tree“ dried up from the roots,” turned our Lord's attention to the object, and wondered at the suddenness of the event. Our Lord left the instruction immediately arising from the miracle to their present and future reflections ; and, speaking only to the circumstance of their astonishment, observed that they should be enabled to work greater miracles than what now raised their admiration, if they had a due degree of faith, obtainable by such prayer as was accompanied with proper moral qualifications in the petitioner.

On the night immediately preceding his crucifixion, the paschal supper being brought but not partaken of, Jesus at the close of his life continued to shew that affection to his disciples which he had uniformly evidenced throughout the whole course of it ; and therefore took occasion to enforce some most important lessons of instruction. Though conscious of his high and unspeakable dignity, he condescended to perform a low and servile office, for the sake of deeply impressing its moral uses. “He" riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was gird. ed.” Peter reverently declining his part, our Lord taught him and all this great truth : “If I wash thee not, [if I cleanse thee not from all sin by my example and death, by my doctrine, and by the Spirit, ] thou hast no part with me [in my kingdom of glory.] Having resumed his place, he instructed his followers that they should readily perform to each other that very office, or any equally humble : I have given you an example applicable to a variety of cases; that you may act with a general conformity to what you have seen in me your superior. The easterns were shod with p sandals : and the performance of the special action, related by the evangelists, depended on climate and mode 9 of dress. It could not there. fore be meant as an universal and perpetual rite in the Christian church.

| Matt. xxi. 18-22. and p.p.

m Luke xii, 6-9.

“As ' often as we eat bread and drink the cup [at the celebration of the Lord's supper,] we shew his death, [by easy and natural signs,] till he come.” The bread is the "outward and visible sign” of his

[ocr errors]

John xiii. 4, 5. ib. 15, 16. P Mark vi. 9. Acts xü. 8. 9 To wash the saints' feet, 1 Tim. v. 10. is to use hospitality towards them.

11 Cor. xi. 26. • The transubstantialists of the Greek and Latin church would do well to consider the following passage in the famous Fenelon, one of the greatest ornaments to the church of Rome. “ It would be easy to shew in detail, with the books in our

[ocr errors]

body. Breaking the bread, an act mentioned by three of the evangelists and by St. Paul, is a representation of his body broken on the cross, of his • disjointed bones, and of his being pierced by the nail and the spear. The wine represents the blood of Christ, shed for many for the remission of sins. God, who knows our frame has graciously assisted our meditations on the subject of Christ's death by thus addressing our senses.

And those who admin. ister this rite with an unbroken wafer, and also withhold the cup from the bulk of Christian worshippers, greatly enervate its significance and expressiveness.

When Jesus appeared to the Eleven on the evening of his resurrection, “ " he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” This was a partial communication of that Spirit, the full

effusion of which was received on the day of Pentecost. The sign attending our Lord's words intimated by whose energy the gift was imparted ; and also the nature of it, as an * invisible but active and vivifying principle. Our Lord' breathed, as it were, into their nostrils the breath of the spiritual life.

And, to conclude this enumeration, which I have pursued, like some of the former ones, in the order of time; when our Lord, after his resurrection, had signified to Peter that he should die on the cross, he

[ocr errors]

bands, that we have no preacher of our age who has been so figurative in his most studied discourses, as Jesus Christ was in his popular preaching. Sur l'eloquence, p. 94. • Ps. xxii. 14. • John xx. 22. w Acts ü. 4. * Jolin iii. 8. Acts ii. 2. y Gen. Ü. 7. See Grot. in loc. and Macknight's Harmony, p. 313.


repeated this intimation by adding, “- Follow me:” meaning to declare, in giving occasion to this action, that, as Peter then literally followed him, so should this apostle figuratively follow him by dying the same kind of death.

And it has been observed that the beloved disci. ple, intent on our Lord's words and actions, a followed him uncalled : as if he meant most affectionately to shew, by the same action, a like readiness to lay down his life for the truth.

See Doddridge's excel

* John xxi 19, 22. Comp. c. xiii. 36. lent paraphrase and note on John xxi. 20.




[blocks in formation]

EUSEBIUS, having quoted the prophecy, “ Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates

of hell shall not prevail against it,” adds these words: “ And having collected in a separate treatise numberless other particulars said and foretold by our Saviour, and subjoined the events of things agreeable to his inspired foreknowledge, we demonstrate the undoubted truth of what we are persuaded concerning him.” This book is lost; and though some have enumerated the most eminent of our Lord's prophecies yet I have not seen any writer who has professedly made a complete collection of them. I shall lay before the reader such as at present occur to me on a diligent attention to the subject. Those already accomplished shall be ranged with a general view to the time of their completion : and those shall be

• Præp. evang. I. i. c. iii. referred to in Jortin's discourses on the Christian Religion, p. 194.

Kidder's Boyle's Lectures, fol. i. 96, &c. Whitby's general preface to his Commentary, 5 xii. Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the prophecies, V. ii. p. 222, &c. Tillotsona V.ji. Serm. clxxxiii. &c. fol.

« AnteriorContinuar »