« AnteriorContinuar »
for one sentiment of piety, or one counsel of religious comfort. Foolish talk and political details too often occupy the place which should be devoted to the words of eternal life. Let us do every thing in our power to correct such flagrant improprieties, and labour to supe port the weak, and to comfort the wounded mind. How soothing to the sufferer is the language and the manner which
says, “ I cannot remove your pains, but I will make them as easy as I can by the ministrations of love. I cannot bring back the friends you have lost, but I will be a friend in their place.” Were the spirit of sympathy prevalent in a church, it would resemble the sensitive plant, every twig of which vibrates if a leaf is touched; or the natural body, where all the members suffer if one is injured. Sympathy with others will prevent your brooding too painfully over your own troubles ; and to you it must be the most powerful of all motives to this duty, that he who hath taught you contentment by his privations, zeal by his labours, and devotion by his prayers, hath called you to weep
with the mourner by his tears.
What a happy day to your Lord will that of the resurrection be! Then the friends whom he gave up to death with a sigh will rise to die no more, and those with whom he wept will be more happy than ever they were sad. Then the bodies of good men will appear more comely than our nature did even in the period of innocence, and the crown of life shall be placed on the head which once lay so low in the dust. They shall be engaged in the noblest services, and called to the best enjoyments.
How delightful to Jesus will be the astonishment and rapture with which pious friends will meet each other, and the pleasure with which they will listen to his assurance from his throne, that their union' sliall be eternal! In the very spot where friends parted they shall meet again in joy more sweet than the sorrow was bitter, and the place of weeping shall be the scene of exultation. Let your decaying hopes feel the reviving influ. ence of your Lord's promise ; and while nature mourns over the disorder and the desolation which are spread over the fairest of her works, rejoice in hope of the new heavens and the new earth, where righteousness, hare mony, and love, shall flourish for ever,
LUKE XIX. 41, 42.
*6 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 to thy peace, but now are they hid from thine eyes.”
MANY are the bright examples of patriotism which are exhibited in the history of nations. The warrior who has secured the liberty, or extended the power of his country by his skill and valour; the legislator, who has established its rights, and promoted its prosperity, by his wise regulations; and the beneficent, who have founded institutions for the relief of the helpless and the wretched among its inhabitants, are rememe bered with lively gratitude from age to age. That they lived, not to themselves, but to their country, is the tribute paid to their name when they die, and it is preserved with care as a sacred memorial of national gratitude, and as an animating motive to uthers to de.
vote their talents and labours to the general good. Some have made great exertions for the public welfare amidst ungrateful and injurious treatment from their country, and on this account are extolled with loftier praise.
But how much superior was the display of patriotism made by our Lord when he wept over Jerusalem, and uttered, in the most pathetic language, the bitter regret of his compassionate heart. The services which he had rendered to the Jews, were far beyond all ever derived from mortals; his motives in these were of the purest and noblest description, and they were performed in circumstances which would have roused the meekest to anger, and hurried on the most forgiving to revenge ; yet did he mourn over the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who had rejected all the offers of
The heart loves to meditate on those scenes in our Lord's life in which he appears in the tenderness of his mercy. Had we merely seen him scattering the treasures of wisdom, or exercising a controul over the elements, we should have regarded him with admiration ; but we would have wished for some direct indicae tions of the compassion of his heart. While power may astonish, and majesty may awe, it is goodness which encourages, and generosity that wins.
To a creature conscious of guilt, and oppressed with sorrow, the mercy of Jesus is the most interesting of all his excellencies; and it is to the tenderness of his heart that we look in all the sad and trying incidents in our lot. Men may err as to the objects, the expression, and the degree of their compassion, but the pity of Jesus was guided by perfect wisdom; and while it sheds the sweetest grace over his own character, it most powerfully calls forth all those forms of charity
in every age, which are so lovely and so useful amidst the evils of this mortal state.
The scene you are now contemplating presents the second instance which is recorded of our Lord's weeping, and it gives us a higher view of his character than the first. To weep for the sorrows of an enemy is a superior degree of generosity to that which weeps over those of a friend. To mourn in sympathy is so common, that he who refuses to mingle his tears with sora rowing connections is thought of with surprise and aversion ; but to weep for the calamity of a foe is so rare, that when we behold Jesus thus affected, we are constrained to say,
« Is this the manner of men, O Lord God!"
How interesting is the spot to which pious medita. tion is now leading you! On it every Christian tra veller has paused, and indulged the tender reflections which it awakens. Writers of taste and genius have referred to this scene as a most beautiful example of moral greatness in character, and genuine pathos in description ; often have the ministers of religion point. ed to it to give effect to their calls to repentance and
ercy, and many have blessed the hour when their views were led to it, and have marked it as the time when they first felt the grace of Jesus. It is my earnest. wish that while your attention is fixed on it, you may be powerfully impressed with the generosity of our Lord's character, that you may experience the kindness of his love, that you may put on, as “ the elect of God, bowels of mereies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and long-suffering,” and in your final salvation and perfect likeness to himself, may Jesus for ever triumph.
The heart of Jesus was at this time melted by the prospect of the impending ruin of Jerusalem, and there
are various circumstances which render this compassion in a peculiar degree wonderful. He was now riding in triumph into Jerusalem, and was surrounded by the multitude, shouting for joy. In the scene of triumph, the man whom the people delight to honour, testifies by his looks the gratification which he feels, and it is evident that he considers it as the proudest day of his life; but in this joyous procession Jesus weeps. In the brightest seasons of his life he still appears as the Man of Sorrows. He knew that these transports of the people would soon be succeeded by very opposite feelings, and he would have preferred the pious homage of one devout heart to all the acclamations of the world, and to all the glory of its kingdoms.
The Jews had been frequently and solemnly warned of the misery which was coming upon them, but they despised every admonition; they killed the prophets, and stoned those who were sent to them. 'In such circumstances, others would have said that they were about to receive the due reward of their deeds, and that they deserved no pity, for they hardened their necks, and refused to return; but Jesus mourns over the fatal delusion which made them refuse his counsel ; “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries !” Their contempt of his warnings was afflicting to the Saviour, as defeating his generous efforts, and as an aggravation of their guilt and doom.
Our Lord was soon to suffer, and had before his eyes all the horrors of his agony, and all the anguish of his crucifixion, and yet he sheds no tear for himself. Many are so engrossed by their own woes that they cannot bestow thought upon the sorrows of others, and in the prospect of any severe calamity, they can