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those performed upon the dumb; for it must only who were desirous of instruction, could, be remembered that he not only conferred therefore, be expected to follow the blessed on those the faculty of hearing, and pro- Jesus into these retired parts; and ơn those, nouncing articulate sounds, but conveyed doubtless, bis doctrine distilled like dew, at once into their minds the whole language and like the small rain upon the tender herb. of their country; they were instantly ac- Happy mortals, who thus exchanged the quainted with all the words it contained, sballow and frothy streains of folly, for the their significations, their forms, their pow- deep and salutary rivers of eternal wisdom: ers, and their ines; at the same time they who left the noise and bustle of covetous enjoyed the habit of speaking it both fluent- bigotted people, for tbe calm instructions ly and copiously. This was surely enough of the Son of God; and exchanged the peto demonstrate to the most stupid, that rishing bread of this world for ilie“ bread such works could have been effected by no- of life, the bread that came down from thing less than infinite power.
"The mul- heaven!” titude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the
After feeding the multitude miraculously, lame to walk, and the blind to see; and
Jesus retired into a district, called Dalmathey glorified the God of Israel.” Matt. nutha, a part of the territory of Magdala.
Here he was visited by the pharisees, who XV, 31.
having heard that he had a second time fed The various works performed by the the multitude miraculously, were fearful, blessed Redeemer detained the multitude
that the common people would acknowledge in the desart with him three days, during him for the Messiah : and therefore deterwhich time they consumed all the provisions mined openly and publicly to confute bis they had brought into this solitary place. pretensions to that character. But Jesus would not send them away fasting, lest any who had followed him so far In order to do this, they boldly demanded from their habitation should faint in their of him a sign from heaven; for it must be return. Accordingly be again exerted his remembered, that the Jews expected the heavenly power to feed the multitude a se- Messiah would make his first public appearcond time in the wilderness.
ance in the clouds of beaven, and in a glori
ous manner establish a temporal kingdom. It is highly worthy of our notice, the
This opinion was founded on the following great wisdom of our blessed Saviour, in
prophecy of Dauiel, which they understood choosing to spend so great a part of the time
literally; “I saw in the night visions, and, he executed his public ministry in the wilder
behold, one like the Son of man came with ness, and solitary places. He did not seek
the clouds of heaven, and came to the An, the applauses of inen, but the eternal salva
cient of Days, and they brought bim near tion of their souls; and therefore often deli
before him. And there was given him dovered his doctrines in the silent retreats
minion, and glory, and a kingdom, that thereof: in consequence of which he was fol. lowed by such only as had dispositions adapt
all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting ted for profiting by his instructions. It could
dominion, which shall not pass away; and not be supposed that many of different dis
his kingdom that which shall not be destroypositions would accompany him into soli
ed.” Daniel vii. 13, 14. tudes, where they were to sustain the inconveniences of hunger for several days succes- It is therefore evident, that the pharisees sively, and be at the same time exposed to by desiring Jesus to show them a sign from all the inclemencies of the weather. Those heaven, meant that he should demonstrate No. 7.
himself to be the Messiah, by coming in a tended to caution them against procuring visible and miraculous manner from bea it from the heathens or Samaritans. They ven, and wresting with great pomp the were so stupid as not to know that their sceptre of David from the hand of the Master who had fed above ten thousand Romans.
people with five loaves, was also capaple of
providing for them in their necessities, If the minds of the pbarisees had been open to conviction, the proofs which Jesus On his landing at Bethsaida, they brought was daily giving them, would bave been unto him a blind man, desiring that he more than sufficient to establish the truth would heal bim: Jesus accordingly took of his mission, and demonstrate that he was the man by the hand and led hiin out of the the long-expected Messiah.
city, and having spit upon his eyes, and
put his hands upon him, asked him if he But they were not desirous of being con saw aught? To which the man answered, vinced ; and to that alone, and not to want “I see men as trees walking." of evidence, or of capacity in themselves, poor expression to convey an idea of the it was owing, that they refused to acknow indistinctness of his vision. Jesus then put ledge our Saviour to be the person foretold his hands again upon him, and he was reby the prophets. Their disposition was ab stored to sight, “and saw every man clearsolutely incorrigible ; so that Jesus sighed ly.” It should be remembered that the peoin his spirit, and declared that the sign they ple of Bethsaida bad, by their ingratitude, sought should never be given them; and impenitence, and infidelity, greatly disthat the only sign they were to expect was pleased the Saviour of the world ; and this, that of the prophet Jonas, on the miracle of perhaps, was the reason why Jesus would his own resurrection : a sign, indeed, much not perform the cure in the city, but led greater than any shewn by the ancient pro the man out into the adjacent plain. The pbet ; and consequently a sign which de- | people bad also, for a long time, been solimonstrated that Jesus was far superior to citous that he would take upon himself the them all. “A wicked and adulterous ge character of Messiah ; and therefore he chose neration seeketh after a sign, and there to perform this miracle without the city, to shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign prevent their farther importunity, so inof the prophet Jonas.” Matt. xvi. 4. compatible with the modesty and lowliness
of our dear Lord and Master.. Having thus removed the impertinent curiosity of the pharisees, he departed with bis disciples and entered into a ship; and as they sailed, he cautioned them to beware of the doctrine of the pharisees and saddu
CHAP. XVI. cees, which he termed leaven, from its pernicious influence in filling the minds of men
The blessed Jesus delegates a special with pride, and other irregular passions :
Power to Peter, one of his Disciples. these hypocrites chiefly insisted on the ob
Pronounces the final Judgment of the servation of the frivolous traditions, but
World, and is afterwards transfigurneglected the true principles of piety, and ed upon the Mount. hence filled the minds of their disciples with an high opinion of their own sanctity.
ESUS having displayed his power and
goodness in restoring the man to sight, But the disciples having forgotten to take departed from Bethsaida, and retired into bread with them, understood that he in the territory of Cesarea Philippi, where,
And I will give unto thee the keys of the
being desirous of proving in some measure could not fail of giving his followers great
disadvantages. The people in general mistook the cha The foregoing discourses had doubtless racter of our Saviour, because he did not filled the apostles' minds with lofty imaginaassume that outward pomp and grandeur tions, and therefore our Saviour thought with which they supposed the Messiah proper to acquaint them with his sufferings, would be adorned. Jesus was therefore in order to check any fond expectations of desi rous of knowing what idea his disciples temporal power. Peter, however, was : formed of his character, as they had long greatly displeased to hear his Master talk of enjoyed the benefit of his doctrines and dying at Jerusalem, when he had just before miracles ; and accordingly asked them, accepted the title of Messiah. Accordingly, What they themselves understood him to he rebuked him for the expression, which be ? To this question Simon Peter replied, he was so bold as to think unguarded. But “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living Jesus turning himself about, said unto Peter, God.”
“ Get thee behind me, Satan : thou art an
offence unto me ; for thou savourest not the Our Saviour acknowledged the title ; things that be of God, but those that be telling Peter, that God alone had revealed of men.” Matt. xvi. 23. the secret to him. And in alluding to his surname, Peter, which signifies Rock, our Peter's conduct in this respect, arising Sa viour promised that he should have a prin from an immoderate attachment to sensual cipal hand in establishing his kingdom ; ' objects, our Saviour thought proper to deand that the Christian Church should be clare publicly, that all who intended to erected on his labours, as on a solid founda share with him in the glory of the heavenly
never to be destroyed. “And I say Canaan, must deny themselves; that is, also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and they must be always ready to renounce eveupon bis rock I will build my church : and ry worldly pleasure, and even life itself, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. when the cause of religion required it;
he also told them that in this life they must expect to meet with troubles and disappointments; and that whoever intended to be
his disciple, must " take up bis cross daily, earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. and follow hiin."
Thus did the blessed Jesus fully explain Having delegated this power to Peter; to his disciples
to his disciples the true nature of his kingour Saviour strictly forbade bis disciples to dom ; and at the same time intimated, that tell any man that he was the Messiah ; be though they had already undergone many cause it had been decreed in the courts of afflictions, yet they must still expect more,
heaven, that he should be rejected by the and greater, which they must sustain with to
rulers of Israel as a false Christ, and suffer equal fortitude, following their Master, in the pains of death. Circumstances which the footsteps of his afflictions. This duty,
xvi, 18, 19.
however hard, was absolutely necessary ; manner, the great Judge, attended by the because, by losing their temporal life, they whole celestial host, will “descend from would gain that which was eternal; heaven with a shout, with the voice of the “ For whosoever will save his life, shall | archangel, and with the trump of God,"'. lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for (1 Thes. iv. 16,) making heaven, earth, and my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke iv. hell to resound. The dead of all countries, 24. “ for what is a man profited, if he shall and all times, will hear the tremendous call. gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Fiark! the living, filled with joy, exult at or what shall a man give in exchange for the approach of Onnipotence; or seized his soul ?” Matt. ix. 26.
with inexpressible horror, send up the most
piercing cries, and are all chavged in a moTo add to the weight of this argument, ment in the twinkling of an eye! The dead and enforce the necessity of self-denial, our press forth from their graves, and follow Saviour particularly declared, that a day each other in close procession ! Behold was fixed for distributing rewards and pu- -but, ah ! nothing can behold, nothing nishments to all the human race; and that can bear his presence! The heaveus depart he himself was appointed by the Father as like a scroll rolling itself together! Every Universal Judge; so that his enemies could mountain and every island is moved ! The not flatter themselves with the bope of escap-'| bond, the free, the rich the great, captains ing the punishments they deserved, nor his and kings, to avoid the face of him that sitteth friends be afraid of losing their eternal re- on the throne, the presence of the Lamb, ward. “ Whosoever, therefore, shall be rush beneath trembling mountains, and ashamed of me, and of my words, in this plunge into flaming rivers ! But neither adulterous and sinful generation ; of him mountains nor flaming rivers will desour also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when them, for they are raised immortal. Behold be cometh in the glory of my Father, with him then, for all must behold bim !even his the holy angels." Mark viií. 38.
eye, whose unthinking hand drove his nails
at Calvary, nor heaven, nor earth exist; To fortify the minds of his disciples, hein- stars and sun are vanished, lest they should formed them that he would not appear to darken the procession ! once the crucifixion judye the world in his low and despised con- of Jesus, and now bis glory extinguishes the dition, but magnificently arrayed in both sun! Lo ! bell, with what reluctance come. his own and his father's glory; not attend forth to sentence! Lo! two worlds to be ed by twelve weak disciples, but surrounded judged, and the third an assistant spectator ! by myriads of celestial spirits, with num- Behold ! with what beauty, with what boldberless hosts of mighty angels ; nor should ness, with what joy, some spring forward his rewards be the great officer, and large 1. towards the judgment seat. See, on the possessions of a temporal kingdom, but the other hand, how amazed, how terrified the joys of immortality.
wicked appear, with what vehemence they
wish the extinction of their being ! fain Let us, now ruminate on the glory
the glory of would they fly, but cannot; impelled by the Judge, and the solemnity of the final a force, by strong necessity, they hasten to judgment. He shall come in the majestic the place of judgment : as they advance,the splendour of his glorified body, pompously sight of the tribunal from afar strikes them arrayed with the inaccessible light wherein with new terror. They approach in the deepJehovah resides, and which dạrting through est silence, and gather round the throne by and enlightening the infinite regiousof space, thousands and thousands. In the mean time with its ineffable brightness, shall make even the angels having gathered together the elect the sun to disappear. Dressed in this awful
Dressed in this awful from the uttermost parts of the earth, fly
around the numberless multitude, chanting the unspeakable torment of an awakened melodious songs, and rejoicing that the day conscience! Now they seek for death, but of general retribution is come, when vice find it not; would gladly be righteous, but shall be thrown from its high post of usurpa- it is too late ! tion, and virtue exalted to the pionacle of honour ; when the intricacies of Providence The happy land of promise, formed by shall be unravelled, the perfections of the the hand of the Almighty, large, beautiful, Almighty vindicated, the Church of Christ and pleasant, a proper habitation for his purchased by his blood, cleared from her people, and long expected by them as their iniquitous members, and every thing which country, now appears. Here all the righoffendeth, banished for ever.
teous are assembled, forming one vast, one Behold! the books are opened, silence of God. Here Omnipotence manifests him
happy society, even the kingdom, the city proclaimed, and every individual filled with
self in a peculiar manner to his servants, awful consciousness, that he, in particular, . wipes away all tears from off their faces, is observed by the Almighty; so that not and adorns them with the beauties of imone single person can be concealed by the mortality. immensity of the crowd. The Judge, who can be biassed by no bribes, softened by no
Here they drink a plenitude of joys from subtile insinuations, imposed upon by no the chrystal river, proceeding out of the feigned excuses, needs no evidence, but
throne of God, and of the Lamb, and eat of distinguishes with an unerring certainty.
unerring certainty. the fruit of the tree of life. They separate ! They feel their judgment in them, and hasten to their proper places; the
Hére there shall be no death, nor sorrow, righteous on one hand of the throne, and nor crying; neither shall there be any more the wicked on the other. Behold! how pain. beautiful, with the brightness of virtue, do the righteous stand at God's tribunal!' their Happy day! happy place ! and happy looks serene, and expressive of hopes full of people! Imagination faints with the fatiguo immortality!
of stretching itself to coniprefiend the past,
the unmeasurable tlought! On the other hand, the wicked, confound ed at the remembrance of their past lives, And this doctrine of Christ being apterrified with the bitter apprehensions of pointed, the Universal Judge might appear what is to come, hang down their dejected incredible at that time, on account of his heads, and wish to hide themselves in the humiliation, he told them, that some who fathomless abyss, but all in vain ; there is heard him speak should not taste of death, no escaping nor appealing from this tribu- till they saw him coming in his kingdom. 'nal!
Verily, I say onto you, there be some
standing here, whiclrshall not taste of death, Behold! with 'mercy shining in his coun- till they see the Son of man coming in his tenance, the King invites the righteous to kingdom:" • Matt. xvi. 28. take possession of the kingdow prepared for them from the beginning of the world, but There are some here present that shall frowns of anger drives the wicked to not die, till they see a faint representation punishment which shall have no end, no of the glory in which I shall come at the alleviation, no 'remission ! Woat horror! last day, and an eminent example of my what despair must seize these wretched somils, power intricted on the 'men of this sinful when they see' destruction at hand, and feel / generation. No. 7.