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LUKE xix. 41, 42.
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 UNTO THY PEACE! BUT NOW THEY ARE HID FROM THINE EYES.
That Jesus should weep at the sight of Jerusalem doubtless did appear to many in the crowds surrounding Him most strange and unaccountable: that as soon as the magnificent city and her temple broke upon his view, He should burst into tears, must have seemed a mystery indeed.
All Jews were wont to triumph in the sight. Jerusalem ! the joy of the whole earth! the city of God! it was their pride and their delight. Yet when Jesus beheld it, He wept ! But not long did He leave those who observed this to question the cause. His heart was full, and out of the abundance of the heart his mouth must speak.
His heart was full of grief. The throngs of people attending his steps all were shouting their
hosannas : "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord :" and loud were the voices “rejoicing and praising God.”
Still the settled melancholy on the Saviour's brow shewed no sympathy in these exultings : and the tears which quickly followed told that his holy soul was far from joy.
No, that soul was burdened with a heavy load of woe.
The thought of Jerusalem's then condition, and of her impending trouble, weighed down his spirit: and as He wept He poured forth this lament, explaining in affecting terms the mystery of his distress, "O that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace : but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
Brethren, let us bear in mind that these things have a relation to ourselves. Jerusalem, her sins, and her sufferings, are beacons held forth in the word of God, a warning to us. we this day fix our thoughts upon them.
The words of the text will be found to yield three important matters for our consideration.
I. A GRIEVOUS SIN OF WHICH JERUSALEM WAS GUILTY.
II. A FEARFUL JUDGMENT WHEREWITH GOD VISITED THAT SIN. III. AN
AFFECTING DISCOVERY OF THE SAVIOUR'S FEELINGS IN REFERENCE TO BOTH.
I. In the text we note the SiN OF WHICH JERUSALEM WAS GUILTY. It is expressed in the words, “ if,” or would that, “thou hadst
known the things that belong unto thy peace. Here was her crime: she did not know, she wilfully neglected and refused the things in which her peace, her happiness, and safety were involved.
And what things were they? They were the things of God's truth and will: the things which in olden times Moses had taught, and the Prophets had spoken, and in later days the Baptist had preached, and above all Jesus Himself, in his own person and ministry had set before them.
Had the Jews as a nation listened to the things which in these various ways Almighty God had revealed, then their peace should have been secured to them.
But, alas ! Israel had all along been miserably blind to their own interests. In Isaiah's day we hear the Almighty's expostulation with them : “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel ; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O, that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments, then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.
And so it was still. God had now spoken unto them even by his Son. The Lord of glory, clothed in human form, had come with messages of grace, to guide the feet of sinners to the way of peace and bliss. But the Jews rejected him. “ His own received him not.” The multitude did indeed at times, excited for a moment by the wonders which He wrought, begin their hallelujahs to his name. And some few there were
who did in truth believe his word, and love him as their Lord.
But the nation at large would have none of his counsel. The things which He taught, and which, had they received them would have led them to all blessedness, they heeded not. Jerusalem had not known, and would not know, the things belonging to her peace : and this was her sin.
Brethren, the same sin may perhaps be lying this day on some of you. Do not hastily put the thought from you, and say it can never be. Think awhile.
Are none of you giving more heed to the things of this life, than you do to the things of the life which is to come ? You rise early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness, but as to the making your salvation sure, has it cost you any real anxiety, any heartfelt concern? Are none of you following the vanities of earth, and the pleasures of sense, and the indulgence of wilful sin, while as you well know, Jesus and his love have been unheeded and undesired.
Now consider, I beseech you, what is your situation. Are you better than Jerusalem ? Ye who give all your care to the business of this life, the gains of commerce, the joys of the world, the indulgence of your lusts; ye who have never felt your sins, have never turned to God, have never with seriousness and earnestness of spirit craved pardon through the blood of Jesus, nor sought the renewal of your hearts by the