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His large and comprehensive mind could take the compass of this sad
Our thoughts cannot reach far, yet we can consider Jerusalem as the city of the great King, where were the palace and throne of the Majesty of heaven, vouchsafing to “ dwell with man on earth.” Here the Divine light and glory had long shone: here was the sacred Shechinah, the dwelling place of the Most High, the symbols of his presence, the seat of his worship, the mercy seat, the place of receiving addresses, and of dispensing favours ; “ The house of prayer for all nations.” To his own people this was the city of their solemnities, “ whither the tribes were wont to go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.” He that was so great a lover of the souls of men, how grateful and dear to his heart had the place been where, through the succession of many by-past ages, the great God did use to unfold his kind propensions towards sinners, to hold solemn treaties with them, to make himself known, to draw and allure souls into his own holy worship and acquaintance !
The opportunity of prevention was quite lost. Had Israel received him, O how joyful a place Jerusalem would have been ! How glorious had the triumphs of the love of God been there, had they repented, believed, obeyed! These were the things that belonged to their peace:” this was their opportunity, their “day of visitation !"
* If thou hadst known !” O that thou hadst known ! I wish thou hadst. His sorrow must have been proportionable to his love. They that were anciently so over-officious as to rase those words, “ and wept over it,” out of the canon, as thinking it unworthy so divine a person to shed tears, did greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, which elsewhere speak of our Lord's weeping, nor the power of Divine love, now become incarnate, nor indeed the true perfections and properties of human nature: otherwise they had never taken upon them to reform the gospel, and reduce not only Christianity, but Christ himself, to the measures and square of their stoical philosophy
Whatever of tender compassions might be expected from the most perfect humanity and benignity, could not be wanting in him, upon the foresight of such a calamity as was coming upon that place and people. But yet, what was the sacking of a city, the destroying of pompous buildings that were all of a perishable material, the mangling of human flesh, over which the worm was otherwise shortly to have dominion, to the alienation of men's minds from God, their disaffection to the only means of their recovery and reconciliation to him, and their subjection to his wrath and curse for ever!
Shall not the Redeemer's tears move thee ? Consider what these tears import. They drop from an intellectual and most comprehensive eye, that sees far, and pierces deep into things. The Son of God did not weep vain and causeless tears : he knows the value of souls, the weight of guilt, and how low it will press and sink them; the severity of God's justice, and the power of his anger. They signify the sincerity of his love and pity, the truth and tenderness of his compassion. And remember that he who shed
tears, did, from the same fountain of love and mercy, shed blood too ! Thou makest thyself some very considerable thing, indeed, if thou thinkest the Son of God counted it worth his while to weep, and bleed, and die, to deceive thee into a false esteem of him and his love. But if his tears were sincere and inartificial, the natural genuine expressions of undissembled benignity and pity, consider that if thou perishest through sinning, it is under such guilt as the devils themselves are not liable to, who never had a Redeemer bleeding for them, nor weeping over them!
Rev. John HowE.
“ And a superscription also was writtten over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE Jews.'”
Consider the character or description of Christ contained in that writing. He is described by his kingly dignity, “ This is the King of the Jews.”
The very office, which but a little before they had reproached and derided, bowing the knee to him in mockery, saying, “ Hail, King of the Jews !" the providence of God so orders it, that therein he shall be vindicated and honoured. “ This is the King of the Jews ;" or, as the other evangelists complete it, “ This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Moreover it was a predicting and presaging title, evidently foreshowing the propagation of Christ's kingdom, and the spreading of his name and glory among all kindreds, nations, tongues, and languages; and that Greeks, Hebrews, and Latins should be called to the knowledge of him. Nor is it a wonder that this should be predicted by wicked Pilate, when Caiaphas himself, a man every way as wicked as he, had prophesied to the same purpose; for, “ being high-priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. John xi. 51-52.
The Jews endeavoured, but could not persuade Pilate to alter it. To all their importunities he returns this resolute answer, “ What I have written, I have written;" as if he should say, “ Urge me no more; I have written his title ; I cannot, I will not alter a letter thereof.” Surely the constancy of Pilate at this time can be attributed to nothing but Divine special Providence. Most wonderful! that he, who before was as inconstant as a reed shaken by the wind, is now as fixed as a pillar of brass. And yet more wonderful, that he should write down that very particular in the title of Christ, “ This is the King of the Jews,” which was the very thing that so scared him but a little before, and was the very consideration that moved him to give sentence. What was now become of the fear of Cæsar ? that Pilate dares to be Christ's herald, and publicly to proclaim him, “ The King of the Jews.” Pilate was far enough from designing that which the wisdom of Providence aimed at in this matter. He was a wicked man, and had no love to Christ : but it overruled his pen thus to write a fair and public testimony of the kingly office of the Son of God!
Rev. J. FLAVEL.
And in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.—Gen. xxii. 18.
until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. —
Gen. xlix. 10. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; that
the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.Gal. ii. 13-14.
AND there were certain Greeks among them, that came up to worship at the feast: the same came to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again, Andrew and Philip told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life, shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore that stood by and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this