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affections, in mutual forbearance and forgive- for so it seemed good in thy sight. Let me ness, in the balm of sympathy, whether we be the subject of thy miraculous grace, and sorrow or rejoice; in a word, according to convey thou the healing power throngh whatthe apostolic injunction, in being of the same soever channel thou wilt. mind one towards another.
The service of the synagogue, in the mornThe religion of the Gospel wears an aspecting of the sabbath, had been disturbed by a peculiarly favourable to families. The in- wretched demoniac, who “cried out with a fancy and childhood of Jesus Christ were loud voice, saying, let us alone: what have passed in the bosom of his family. His first we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth! public miracle was performed in putting art thou come to destroy us? I know thee honour upon a family party, at Cana of Gali- who thou art: the holy one of God.” Jeses lee. He made one in the family of Simon, by a word, dispossessed the impure spirit, at Capernaum. The house of Lazarus and and restored the unhappy man to himself, in his sisters at Bethany, he made his home, the presence of the whole assembly, wbo and there he cultivated all the endearing were justly filled with astonishment at such charities of exalted friendship. To find a a display of power and goodness. It is afhome for his mother was his last earthly fecting to think that this dreadful species of care; and, as the head of his own family, he malady was far from being uncommon at presided at the Paschal solemnity, and insti- that period; for we find the fame of the tuted the memorial of his dying love. Thus morning's miracle spread abroad, and it atare domestic relations strengthened, sweet- tracts to the place where Jesus was, in the ened, sanctified, ennobled. A Christian king- evening, many persons in the same deploradom or state never existed. But a family of ble condition. One of the depths of Satan. Christians, all of one heart and of one soul, in these cases, was to pay affected bomage we trust, is not a rarity. And to christianize to Jesus of Nazareth, in the view of infusing families is the direct road to the christian- a suspicion that there might be a secret ecoizing of nations. In the contracted sphere bination and collusion between him and them, of a family, however numerous, every one and of thereby diminishing his dignity and knows every one; every one cares for every authority in the eyes of the people. To be one. The master's influence is felt and ac- praised by the wicked, is offensive and disknowledged by all. A common interest, honourable to the good : and the adversary both temporal and eternal, unites the indivi- is never more dangerous than when he is duals to each other, and heaven descends to transformed into an angel of light." Bat dwell with men upon earth. So propitious when the prince of this world came, he is Christianity to the dearest and best inte- found nothing in Christ; no weak part to rests of civil society.
attack, no foundation whereon to erect his The scene which we have been reviewing engines; but wisdom ever prepared to meet passed on the evening of the sabbath. Nor cunning, purity to resist every evil suggescould the sanctity of the day be profaned by tion, and authority to silence the templer a work of mercy, or by the pious and friendly whenever his encroachment became too daintercourse of kindred spirits, whose religion ring. He disdained the testimony of a demon was seated in the heart, not chilled into life-in his favour, and rejected the insidious praise less forms. But the superstitious observance of an enemy. “ And he rebuking them, su of the sabbath operated powerfully on the fered them not to speak: for they knew that multitude. Though prompted by natural af- he was Christ :" that is, he permitted them fection to apply for relief to their afflicted not to declare, though they spake the truth, friends, they defer it till the going down of that they knew him to be the Christ. the sun, that is till the sabbath was over; for Having thus fulfilled the public duties of they had yet to learn "what this meaneth, I the sanctuary, and the more private offices will have mercy and not sacrifice;" and of friendship; having employed the greater “ the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath- part of the night in receiving and relieving day;" and " the sabbath was made for man, the numerous objects who came, or who were and not man for the sabbath." “ Now when brought to him, he withdrew, toward the the sun was setting, all they that had any dawning of the day, into a still closer retiresick with divers diseases brought them unto ment; and, for å season, shut the world him.” A sense of the weakness of those entirely out. “And when it was day he degood people is lost in respect for their hu- parted, and went into a desert place." Samanity. They are not chidden away from cred were those hours of solitude to heavenly Peter's door as unseasonable intruders ; they meditation, to devotional intercourse with are not referred to another day. It is the Him that sent Him, whose glory he ever cry of misery entering into the ear of mercy, sought, and whose will it was his delight to and it cries not in vain : “and he laid his execute. “ Ye shall leave me alone;" says hands on every one of them, and healed he to his disciples, “and yet,” adds be, them.” Here the mode of cure is the im- am not alone, because the Father is with position of hands. Even so, blessed Jesus, me.” When some great arrangement is to
be made toward the establishment and exten- | the kingdom.” Such was the glorious subsion of his kingdom, preparation for it passes ject of Christ's preaching: a subject, comin solemn abstraction from all sublunary pared to which the pursuits of avarice, of things. Thus his own public ministry was ambition, and the pride of kings are less than preceded by a “forty days retreat into the nothing and vanity : a subject that interests wilderness.” “ And it came to pass in those not Nazareth, and Capernaum, and the cities days,” when he was about to consecrate the of Galilee only, where it was first proclaimed, twelve to the office of apostleship, “ that he but the men, the cities, the nations of all went up into a mountain to pray, and con- ages and generations. On such a narrow tinued all night in prayer to God," thus also and seemingly slender foundation, what a was the glorious scene of his transfiguration fabric has arisen? “ This is the Lord's doing, introduced; and thus he exemplified the it is marvellous in our eyes.” Let the great practice which he so powerfully recommends object of Christ's mission direct and control to his disciples : " But thou, when thou our pursuit of every object. He was sent to prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou bring men under the dominion of the kinghast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which dom of God; and he has taught us when we is in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in pray to say: “Thy kingdom come.” If we secret, shall reward thee openly."
enter into the spirit of that petition, it will be The admiring and delighted multitude our concern that the empire of sin and Satan trace him into his place of retirement, and, in our own hearts be completely subverted; sersible of the value of such a visit, they " that peace on earth, and good-will among entreat him to prolong it. Various motives men be promoted; that the kingdoms of this might suggest this request. In some, it world, become the kingdoms of our Lord and might be the attraction of novelty, in others of his Christ, and that he may reign for ever the love of the truth: here the sense of gra- and ever.”—Let us review this portion of our titude for benefits received, there the princi- blessed Lord's history, and thus reflect: ple of curiosity gaping after a farther display 1. The duties of religion, then, and those of wonders. In one it might be the full con- of ordinary life are intimately united and viction of an honest and enlightened mind, interwoven; they are perfectly consistent, and in another a malignant disposition to dis- and yield mutual support. The service of cover a blemish. We know from the sequel the sanctuary must not be unnecessarily that the success of our Lord's miracles and protracted, to the wearying of the flesh, and preaching at Capernaum, was wofully simi- to become an encroachment on the just, prufar to what it had been at Nazareth, for this dent, or necessary concerns of the family, is the dismal account which he himself gives and no domestic regards must preclude works of it, “ And thou, Capernaum, which art ex- of charity and mercy, even to strangers. On alted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to the other hand, no attention to civil and dohell: for if the inighty works which have mestic affairs, except in cases of urgent nebeen done in thee had been done in Sodom, cessity, and no works of mercy must plead a it would have remained until this day. But dispensation for the non-observance of the I say unto you, that it shall be more tolera- ordinance of God. Under the governance of ble for the land of Sodom in the day of judg- a well regulated spirit, daily lawful employment than for thee." Whatever were their ments become not only a reasonable but a motives for wishing his longer continuance religious service, and the functions necesamong them, they are for the present resist- sary to the support of mere animal life, may ed, and a reason is assigned. “I must preach be performed to the glory of God. And the kingdom of God to other cities also, for neither the public offices of the temple, nor therefore am I sent.” Every word here is family order and devotion must be alleged significant and powerful. “I must preach.” as an exemption from the obligations of priWhat imposed the necessity? The commis- vate and personal religion. Indeed all must sion which he had undertaken to execute; begin here. For families are composed of his own sovereign will and pleasure ; his individuals, and the churches of Christ of faown unerring understanding; his own un- milies. To the perfect health of the natural bounded benevolence; the extensive demands body, the soundness of every member is esof perishing humanity. “I must preach ihe sential: a perfection, however, rarely to be kingdom of God:” its descent to earth; its found, and seldom of long continuance. But adaptation to the nature and condition of ig- the present feebleness, imperfection, and disnorant and guilty men; its divine object, to order of the particular members of that body raise fallen man from earth, from hell, to whereof Christ is the head, are relieved by heaven; its present operation and effect, the prospect of“ the perfecting of the saints, " righteousness, and peace, and joy in the of the edifying of the body of Christ,” when Holy Ghost ;” its stability, “ a kingdom that " we all come in the unity of the faith, and cannot be moved;" the sovereign grace of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto which confers it, “ fear not little flock: for it a perfect man, unto the measure of the stais your Father's good pleasure to give you ture of the fulness of Christ.”
2. Can the father of lies speak truth?-| liverance? The distress came from an upYes, when it promises to answer his pur- seen hand, and so did the relief. The agent, pose; and truth itself partakes of the nature the instrument was human, was sensible. of a lie, when it is employed for the purpose It was the skill of the physician, it was the of deception. Do devils believe? Yes, to power of medicine, it was the sympathy of their sorrow; " they believe and tremble." friendship. But who taught the physician to Does Satan give a just testimony to the Son comprehend my molady, and to reach it! of God? Yes, in hope of bringing it into Who gave virtue to the prescribed medicine ! discredit. Let no one, then, value himself Who excited compassion in the bosom of my on the mere truth and soundness of his prin- friend? He who rebuked the fever, and it ciples, on the exact orthodoxy of his faith. fled; he who laid his hands on the sick, A principle, however excellent, that remains and they were made whole; he who took inactive, is of no value, like a mathematical the dead daughter of the ruler of the synaproposition, demonstrably certain, but applied gogue by the hand, and said, “ Damsel, arise;" to no use; or a wholesome stream frozen up and “ straightway she arose and walked." and stagnating at the very source. “ Not Whether, therefore, health remain unimevery one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, paired, or be restored, by natural or extraor. shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but dinary means; whether deliverance come he that doeth the will of my Father which immediately from God, or be wrought through is in heaven." “ This is the victory that the instrumentality of second causes, the overcometh the world even our faith. Who hand of Deity is equally to be acknowis he that overcometh the world, but he that ledged; and prolonged life and renewed believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.” strength are to be devoted to Him who
3. Who has not known disease, and dan- "giveth to all life and breath, and all things, ger, and manifold affliction ? And who has for in Him we live, and move, and have our not experienced frequent and merciful de- being.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
And the Jews' passover was at hand ; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that
sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money, sitting: 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 be changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things bence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered thal it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.—JOHN ii. 13—17.
Besides the usual, universal, and fixed | those more distinguished periods. They are measurements of time, all men have a par- remembered and referred to because they ticular and personal standard of calculation are rare. Were every day to exhibit a state and reference, namely, certain incidents of trial, hardly any, except the parties and their their own lives, to themselves inexpressibly connexions, would care to attend it, or think momentous, however uninteresting to the rest of setting a mark upon it. of mankind. Thus a mother, with much ac There is one life, however, of which every curacy and distinctness, refers every other hour is an epoch, of which every act is deci event, of whatever magnitude and import- sive, of which every event is highly and uniance, to the respective dates of the birth of versally interesting, and of which every her children. The expiration of his time, as period is a “fulness of time.” Of this life it is called, that is of his clerkship, or appren- each instant, each incident, every progressive ticeship, forms an important epoch in the ex- step furnishes a theme for the tongues, for istence of a young man; and the fate of the pens of thousands of thousands of men princes, and the revolutions of empire acquire, and angels, and, when their stores are exin his eyes, a peculiar consequence from hausted, it presents a subject as new, as imtheir relation, in point of time, to that grand portant, as unbounded as it was at the begin revolution in his own little state. The con- ning. The beloved disciple, having thrown secration of prelates and the inauguration of his mite of information into the public tres. kings are, at once, public and private mea- sury, concludes his gospel with declaring his sures of duration. Every act of the state is belief, his deliberate conviction that the hisdated by the year of the sovereign's reign. tory of the life and actions of his divine But human life admits not of a repetition of Master was a subject infinite and inexhausti
ble. " There are also many other things | attendance on the service of the temple. We which Jesus did, the which, if they should be are not called to wait upon God with rams written every one, I suppose that even the and calves of a year old. Our husbandmen, world itself could not contain the books that manufacturers, and merchants are not sumshould be written;" meaning undoubtedly, moned, under severe penalties, several times that the things which Jesus said and did in the year, to join in the worship of the mewere so many, so extraordinary, so significant, tropolitan church, at a great expense of time so efficient, as infinitely to exceed human and substance. Is therefore the service of comprehension and belief. But wherefore the Christian sanctuary worthless and conshould the expression of the evangelist be temptible? Do we therefore requite the considered as hyperbolical, when we are told Lord of the sabbath with neglect and ingratithat these are the things which the angels tude? Do we therefore snuff at his blooddesire to look into;" and when we reflect on less sacrifices, and say, “Behold, what a the burden of the eternal song of the re-weariness is it? and bring that which is tom, deemed in heaven, “I heard,” says John the and the lame, and the sick for an offering ?" voice of many angels round about the throne, Dare Christian parents set the example to and the living creatures, and the elders: and their children and dependants of irreligion the number of them was ten thousand times and profanity, and, because they are set free ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: from a costly ceremonial, and a superstitious saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb observance of the sabbath, will they claim that was slain to receive power, and riches, and assume an exemption from the offices and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and and the spirit of piety, devotion, and gratiglory, and blessing. And every creature tude ? Liberated from an intolerable yoke which is in heaven, and on the earth, and of iron, disdain they to wear the honourable, under the earth, and such as are in the sea, the golden chains of love? and all that are in them, heard I saying, The Jewish ritual was at this period vilely Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, profaned, and was rapidly hastening to disbe unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and solution. But so long as it is in force, our unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
blessed Lord condescends to be the pattern From the marriage in Cana of Galilee, of attention and respect to it. And yet, what Jesus again“ went down to Capernaum, he, a scene did the house of God then present! and his mother, and his brethren, and his The forms of religion remained, but the disciples: and they continued there not many power and glory had departed. The letter days.” How those days were employed we of the law was still held in affected venehave seen in the preceding Lecture: in con- ration, but the spirit was completely evapoducting the service of the synagogue, in rated. The sacrifices of the living and trne cultivating the charities of private life, in God were shamefully prostituted to gratify secret devotion, in healing the sick, in casting the most sordid of human passions, godliness out devils, in preaching the kingdom of God. was perverted into a mere instrument of Having made a progress of teaching and filthy lucre, and the house of prayer was depreaching over the cities and synagogues of graded into a den of thieves. And such is Galilee, He now, for the first time since he the fearful progress of moral corruption. assumed a public character, went up to Je- Fervour gradually subsides into lukewarmrusalem to celebrate the feast of passover. ness, and lukewarmness into cold. IndifferPreserving the order of events as accurately ence soon becomes mete formality, and foras an attentive comparison of evangelist with mality is but a step from total neglect. evangelist enables us, we are now to con- Neglect degenerates into hatred and aversion, template an incident in our Lord's history and an unhallowed zeal at length attempts marked with very peculiar features, and pre- to destroy what a zeal according to godliness senting a new and instructive opening into once endeavoured to build up. What can be his character, namely his purgation of the more opposite and unlike than devout wortemple from the impurities with which it was shippers engaged in a holy contention of profaned by an impious and infamous traffic. gratitude, praise, and love, striving who
From his earliest years the commanded should present the most acceptable sacrifice solemnities of that sacred place were punc- to the Father of Spirits; and carnal, worldly tually observed. Whatever the law enjoined minded formalists trying to overreach one was to his infant state duly performed. another; the one eager to purchase the oxor While under parental authority, particularly the sheep for his offering at as cheap a rate when it led to the house and worship of God, as possible, and the other to sell it at the He respectfully submitted to it. In the ma- highest price. And the very court of the turity of age, voluntary and cheerful obedi-temple is made the open theatre of this aboence to the ordinances of heaven distin- minable commerce. guished the great exemplar of decency and Before thou liftest up thy hand, O man, to order. Through the goodness of God, we scourge out those impious, sordid, profane are delivered from all burdensome and costly Jews, pause, and look into thine own heart.
Is no unholy traffic going on there? Know-| lities have a boundary. There are occasions est thou not that thine own body is the tem- where the exercise of them would cease to ple of the living God? Whose altar, then, be virtue, and where a man would do well is reared up in that sacred edifice of God's to be angry.” Wanton, deliberate profanaown building; and what incense smokes tion of the name, the day, the house of the upon it? Say, is the name of Mammon in- Lord, is one of those occasions which justiscribed there? Does sensuality there cele- fy severity. A commanding dignity, an irrebrate no nocturnal revels! What, shall the sistible glory must have occasionally beamed palace of the great King be transformed into from the person of our Lord, which overawed “a cage of every unclean and hatefal bird." and intimidated the beholder. How is it Or, with the superstitious Athenian, art thou possible otherwise to account for the quiet ignorantly bowing down before an unknown submission of those men to corporal chasi ise. God ?" Thou regularly observest the hour, ment. They were many in number; they and frequentest the house of prayer; but is had a common interest to bind them to each there no table of the money-changer" lurk-other; they were in hitherto unquestioned ing in some obscure corner? Didst thou possession of the ground; their property was leave the world at the door on coming in? concerned; they had the connivance at least, Why wander these eyes abroad over thy if not the permission of the higher powers. neighbour's garb and appearance? They He was alone, unknown, unconnecied, unought to be fixed on “thy Father who is in supported. But they cannot stand the lightsecret,” and who “ seeth in secret.” Dost ning of his eye, his voice strikes horror into thou too "offer the sacrifice of fools ?”— their guilty consciences. They presume not Darest thou approach the altar of God, con- to reason or to resist, but tamely give up scious that thou art not yet reconciled to thy their painful traffic abashed and confounded. brother? The gift in thy hand is polluted; | Thus the multitude that came with Judas to presume not to offer it. " Leave it before take Jesus, though furnished * with lanterns the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled and torches, and weapons," were so overto thy brother, and then come and offer thy whelmed by the majesty of his appearance, gifi.
that “as soon as he had said unto them, lo It was the court of the Gentiles which he, they went backward and fell to the this scandalous trade thus shamefully pro- ground." And if such were the glory with faned, by the buying and selling of sheep, which he sometimes invested himself, in his and oxen, and doves; and by the exchange state of humiliation, what must be the glory of foreign for current coin, and of money of of his second coming “with clouds," when a higher for that of a lower denomination. "every eye shall see him, and they also And thus not only was the worship of the which pierced him?" great Jehovah debased and perverted, but the What a severe reproof was this action of minds of decent and devout strangers, who our Lord, of the carelessness and indifference " had come to Jerusalem for to worship,” must of the high-priest, and of the other ministers have been grievously shocked and scandal- of religion? To them it belonged to guard ized, to the utter extinction of every serious the sanctity of the temple and of its worship and devotional impression. This it was which The dignity of their own station and characexcited a holy and just indignation in the ter suffered, when the house of God was vioSon of God; in beholding the temple violated, lated. Is it doing them injustice to suspect the sacrifices of God defiled, and a stumbling that they partook of the profits of this illicit block laid in the way of proselytes, by men trade? If this suspicion be well founded, invcsted with a sacred character.
the grossest enormity is immediately ac“And when he had made a scourge of counted for. When the love of money has small cords, he drove them all out of the once taken possession of the heart, no tie of temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and religion or morality is binding. Conscience, poured out the changers' money, and over- sense of honour, sense of decency, sense of threw the tables; and said unto them that duty, all, all is sacrificed at the shrine of sold doves, Take these things hence; make this insatiate demon, which never says " it not my Father's house a house of merchan- is enough.” At those seasons the demand dise." This discloses a new and singular for cattle to be offered in sacrifice must have exhibition of our blessed Lord's spirit and been very great. Josephus, in his Wars of temper. No personal injury or insult could the Jews, informs us, that no less than two provoke one expression of resentment. He hundred and fifty-six thousand and five hun"gave his back to the siniters, and his cheeks dred victims were presented at one passover, to them that plucked off the hair: he hid not A small share of the gains upon such an eshis face from shame and spitting:" you have tensive consumption, must therefore have heard of the meekness of Moses, and of the amounted to a very large sum. What ! patience of Job. But what are they to confederacy, then, had the zeal and intrepidithe patience, meekness, and gentleness of ty of Christ to encounter! a whole bust of Christ? Nevertheless these gracious qua-l inhuman, unfeeling dealers in fesh, actuated