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added with great dignity, “For this end was I born, and for this end came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth: every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Again : when Herod
questioned him in many words, he answered him nothing;” he entered not into a historyof his conduct, or a defence against his enemies, like one intent on obtaining a powerful interposition in his favour; much less did he gratify Herod's expectation by working a miracle before him: but he appeared at his tribunal with the majesty of a judge, and not with the abjectness of a blasphemer and mover of sedition.
We are next to observe what our Lord's conduct was towards his country.
His miracles and instructions, during the course of a laborious ministry, were almost all of them dispensed to the Jews. Considering the great number of his useful lessons and mighty works, the exceptions are very few. As he passed through Samaria in his way to Galilee, he 'instructed and converted many of the Samaritans. He wrought miracles on the servant of a Roman Centurion, on a “Samaritan leper, and on the daughter of a ° Syrophenician woman. However, when he commissioned the twelve, he
gave them this injunction, “p Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not : but go ye rather to the lost 1 sheep of the house of Israel.” This was the affectionate language of the good Shepherd, who cared
k Luke xxiii. 8-11. in Matt. viii. 5. and p.p. n Luke xvii. 16. * Matt.
9 See also Matt. xv. .24.
John iv. 21-26, 41, 2. • Matt. av. 22. and p.p.
John x. 11, 13.
for the sheep, and laid down his life for them. Jesus conducted himself as “a minister of the circumcision, to confirm the promises made to the fathers:” he preached first and chiefly to the 'heirs of the Abrahamic covenant : but as it was originally designed that the gospel should also be preached to the Gentiles, he incidentally afforded them a specimen of his future benevolence.
Our Lord repeatedly forewarned his disciples of their impending danger from the Romans, and
taught the serious and attentive among them in what manner to avoid destruction. But there was w nothing covered, that was not to be revealed ; nor hidden, that was not to be known. What Jesus said to them in darkness, they were to speak in the light; and what they heard in the ear, that were they to preach on the house tops.” He likewise prophesied of the same event to the Jews, both by parable and in direct terms.
He twice addressed the following affectionate and pathetic words to the Jews; “ ( y Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings : and ye would not !” And when from the surrounding hills he beheld that once holy and favoured city, and in spirit foresaw her desolation, he lamented and wept over her with great emotion ;
s Rom. xv. 8.
Acts iii. 25. u Luke xvii. 31. Matt. xxiv. 16, 17, 18. and p. p. w Matt. x. 26, 27. The parallelism, like that in the Hebrew poetry, should here be observed. * See part i. c. iii. sect. i. p. 200.
y Luke xiii. 34. Matt. xxiii. 37.
and the abrupt manner in which he expressed himself was an indication of genuine sorrow in his heart: “ If ? even thou hadst known, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! But now they are hidden from thine eyes.”
Christ's love for his country most eminently appeared in his dying for it. He died for the Jewish e nation ; and not for that nation only, but for all the true sons of God wherever dispersed throughout the world.
OF OUR LORD'S PRUDENCE.
THE great and singular assemblage of virtues in our Lord's character was ever guided by consummate prudence ; which presided over his conduct, and gave a peculiar aptness and force to his words and actions. · In his discourses there are express and implied precepts on the subject of this virtue. His disciples were not to ‘lavish and hazard instruction and reproof on the obstinate and incorrigible. When he sent forth the twelve, he recommended to them the bwisdom of the serpent. He taught his hearers to resemble the wise man who built his house on a rock.
z Luke xix. 42. See p. 49.
· Even thou who hast so often offended, and abused such means of knowledge and reformation. 6 At length, however, in this thy awful and final day of trial. See on this passage part ii.c. i. sect. 3, p. 373.
John xi. 51, 52. * Matt. vii. 6.
bib. X. 16. cib. vii. 24.
He proposed to his disciples the example of faithful and a wise stewards and servants. He instructed them to be as provident in their spiritual affairs as bad men were in their secular. He inculcated a watchful expectation of his coming by the parable of the i wise virgins, who took oil in their vessels when they went forth to meet the bridegroom.
But let us observe the prudence of his own conduct. We have seen with what wisdom, and discrimination of circumstances, he concealed or declared his high office of % Messiah ; and enjoined silence on his miracles, or permitted them to be published. It has been shewn how i superior he was to every difficult situation, and to every snare which the subtle malice of his enemies spread for him. It has also been observed with what remarkable fitness he sometimes prophesied under the veil of "parables ; and that he predicted events to his disciples in proper and perspicuous terms, and to his enemies in figurative and obscure ones. I have further enumerated instances where he declined a proud display of his boundless knowledge.
Many other similar examples of prudence will suggest themselves to such as attentively consider his conduct.
He did not tempt God by exposing himself to needless danger at any time. He absented himself from many of the national feasts at Jerusalem ; partly that he might prolong his ministry to its due period
fMatt. xxv. 4.
« Luke xii. 42. Matt. xxiv. 45. . p. 321.
Luke xvi. 8, 9.
* p. 137,8.
without being constantly compelled to preserve his life by miracle.
The general course of his ministry is a strong illustration of the most perfect prudence. After his baptism and the heavenly testimony which he received at it, he retired into the desert to prayer and fasting. He then departed to Bethabara where John was baptizing, received illustrious attestations from the Bap. tist, called Philip to follow him into Galilee, converted Nathanael by shewing a knowledge of his most secret actions, and made other disciples in a manner not related : but he wrought no miracle till he came to Cana in Galilee, and there a single miracle, performed at the request of his mother, sufficed him ; so distant was his manner from a forward and unseasonable display of his miraculous power. At the first passover, which he attended soon afterwards, he exercised an act of high prophetie o authority, indirectly called himself the Son of God, and converted many by public miracles : all which may be deemed a promulgation, as it were, of the evangelical law to the whole Jewish people. After this he P tarried for some time in Judea, and used another method of raising attention to himself as a prophet, by 9 baptizing great numbers: a circumstance which, from the ' prevailing ideas of the Jews, could not fail to attract their notice. When he knew 3 that the Pharisees were acquainted with this part of his conduct, and had heard that he made and baptized more disciples than John; he retired again into Galilee,
Pib. iii. 22
ib. . 26
• John ii. 2. * See c. i. 25.
o ib. ii. 15, 16, 23. • John iv. 1.