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to the attempts which are made to change Iris opinion but when invited to examinë the character and pretensions of Christ himself, readily complies with the invi: tation, and comes to Jesus for that purpose. Had he done otherwise, he would not have deserved that high character here given of him by Christ, as an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no fault. Let us endeavour to follow so excellent an example, if we hope to have any claim to the same character. However improbable opinions may be, or from whatever quarter they may proceed, let us at least give them a candid hearing; this is no more than is due to a consciousness of our own fallibility, and to the experience of mankind, who have often discovered truth where they least expected to find it. To be entirely free from error, is a degree of perfection which human creatures cannot expect; and which perhaps belongs only to God. But if we act in the manner just recoinmended, our mistakes will be much fewer than at present; and what remain, although they cannot fail to be pernicious, will, however, cease to be criminal.
; 3. In regard to the miracle of converting water into wine, I shall quote the words of Dr. Doddridge. “ It was performed,” says he, “ to grace a nuptial som lemnity; and who does not see that it was, in effect, a testimony borne to the honour and purity of that happy state, on which so much of the comfort of the present generation, and the existence of the future, regularly depends? How easily could he who thus turned water into wine, have transformed every entertainment of a common table into the greatest delicacies, and have regaled himself daily with royal dainties ! But, far superior to such animal gratifications, he chose the severities of a much plainer life. Blessed Jesus! Who can say whether thou art greater in what thou didst, or in what thou didst not do! May none of us, thy followers, be too intent on indulging our taste, or any of our other senses, but, pursuing those intellectual and devotional pleasures which were thy meat and thy drink on earth, may we wait for that good wine which thou reservest for thy people to the last, and for those richer dainties with which thou wilt feast those who shall drink it with thee in thy Father's kingdom!"
John ii. 12—25. 12. After this, he went down to Capernaum, he and his mother and his brethren and his disciples.
The reason of his mother and brethren following him to Capernaum, was probably to take their leave of him now, when he was about to commence his great undertaking; for their residence was at Nazareth.
And they continued there not many days.
13. And, or, " for," the Jews' passa over was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, “ pigeons," and the changers of money sitting.
As the Jews who resided in foreign countries attended the feast of the passover, and brought with them the coins of their respective countries, it was necessary to convert them into the current coin of Judæa, before they could make use of them. This service the money-changers in the temple performed for them. The oxen, the sheep and the pigeons were provided for those who had occasion to make offerings of these creatures, and were sold to them. Doves or pigeons were allowed, by the Levitical ritual, to those who could not afford more expensive sacrifices; but to apVol. 2.)
ply any part of the temple to this traffic, and more especially to bring these animals into it, was so contrary to every idea of sacredness, justly attributed by religious Jews to that building, as very properly to excite the indignation of Jesus, and to induce him to have recourse to the extraordinary methods of rectifying this sacrilege, mentioned in the next verse.
15. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables ;
16. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence : make not my Father's house a house of merchandise.
As Christ was the son of God, in consequence of being the son or descendent of David, and the true Messiah, God was in a peculiar sense his father; and therefore the temple, which was the chosen residence of God, and appropriated to his service, was his Father's house. In the other evangelists, the language of Jesus upon this occasion is related somewhat differently; “ It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” , 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
That is, when they saw the strong indignation which Christ manifested towards these people, who had polluted the temple, they recollected the language of Dava id, when speaking of himself, and applied it to Christ. As David's zeal glowed like a flame of fire in his breast, ready to consume him, when he saw God dishonoured, so did that of Christ.
18. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, rather, “ hereupon the Jews said unto him," What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things ?'
That is, what proof dost thou give of the authority which thou has assumed upon the present occasion, in turning men with thine own hand out of the temple, where the priests alone preside, and in calling that building thy Father's house?
19. Jesus answered, and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. :
Although these words bear the form of a command, yet they were not intended to convey any, but only to show what the effect would be, if a command were given for this purpose. In the last clause of the verse Christ seems to speak of the rebuilding of the temple, or the restoration of life, as his own act: I will raise it up; and hence some have inferred, that Christ actwally raised himself from the dead; and because the resurrection of Jesus, in other parts of the New Testament, is attributed to God, they have also inferred that he must be the eternal God. But we shall find Jesus using similar language, where no one can attribute to his words the meaning given to them here. Thus he says, Matt. x. 39, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Mark viii. 35, “ Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Luke xvii. 33, “ Whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” In the last passage the word translated shall preserve, signifies, shall produce a living creature. Now, as, in these instances, the man who gives up life is said to find it again, and to produce a living being, although a dead body be capable of no such acts, but they are performed for him by God; so Christ may say, that when the temple is destroyed he will raise it again, when he only means that it will be
his words the meaning that loseth his life for a
raised for him again by God. The reason of adopting this language is the same in both cases; a desire of preserving a striking contrast, or opposition in the words; the same act which destroys life, restores it. In order to produce this effect, some degree of impropriety of expression is admitted. It should be remembered also, that as Christ was delivering a prediction, he designedly expressed himself with obscurity, lest it might be said that the prophecy accomplished itself.
20. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, rather, “ hath it been in building :" for it was not then finished, and wilt thou rear it up, “raise it up,” in three days?
Herod, we are told, began to build this temple in the eighteenth year of his reign, and finished the body of the building in nine years and a half; but additional buildings and ornaments continued to be made during eighty years from the foundation, so that it was completed only a short time before its' destruction by the Romans. Of the destruction and rebuilding of this temple the Jews understood Jesus to speak.
21. But he spake of the temple of his body.
As the divine power and wisdom were manifested in a miraculous manner in the temple, so they were also in Christ; and therefore he might speak of himself, in a figurative sense, as the temple of God. In the same manner Paul says of the Corinthians, that they were the temple of the Holy Ghost, because they were furnished with miraculous powers. At the time Jesus pronounced the words, Destroy this temple, he might, perhaps, point to himself; yet, although the Jews understood not his meaning at this time, it is plain that, either from this or some other declaration, they considered him as having predicted his resurrection: for, in consequence of it, they applied to Pilate for a guard of soldiers over his tomb.