Изображения страниц

no man, for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth,” yet he discovered their hypocrisy ; and who but must admire the Godlike wisdom that sparkles in his bold reply? We next behold the Pharisees approach with cautious step and flattering tongue, to ask his opinion of the laws enacted by Moses for divorcement. On the other side, the Sadducees appear to present their queries touching the resurrection of the dead. However artfully their plans were laid, they could not surprise or deceive Infinite Wisdom. Their next scheme is to present before him a woman guilty of adultery, hoping, from the known kindpess of his character, that he would pronounce her pardon, and then they could accuse him as a violator of the commands of their great lawgiver, Moses, who ordered all persons guilty of such offences to be stoned to death ; but he, who knew what was in man, could foil his adversaries, whilst he pardoned the trembling penitent. “Let him that is without sin, first cast a stone at her,” sent home to their conscience, proved the wisdom and Almighty power of him with whom they were contending. Yet still his enemies spake against him, and they that laid wait for his soul, took counsel together.


For I have heard the slander of many; fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.-Psalm xxxi. 13.

It is not infrequent that the envious and the profligate are found speaking in terms of reproach of characters whose public and domestic conduct 'are a beautiful portrait of all that is honourable, amiable, and truly worthy of commendation. Yet persons will never be wanting who can truly appreciate and highly esteem the fair edifice of moral excellence, and bestow the just tribute of respect it deserves. It is possible for men to be so far deceived by personal prejudice, or swayed by the false opinions of others, that they not only view with indifference, but even treat with contempt and scorn, persons, to whom the Searcher of hearts will one day say, « Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Examples of these facts are not wanting, but we no where behold so striking an illustration of this truth as in the reception the Holy Jesus met with from the men amongst whom he tabernacled. It must be confessed, that in the most perfect of the human race there are defects and blemishes, to which even the

[ocr errors]

eye of friendship cannot be blind, yet in Jesus there was a freedom from all evil either in principle or practice. He could be weighed " in the balance of the sanctuary,” and not found wanting either to God

His actions, when measured by the just standard of God's law, are pronounced perfect. Yet he, who was purity itself, was not exempt from slander, but was called a gluttonous man, and a wine bibber; a friend of publicans and sinners, an hypocrite, a man of sedition and strife, a Sabbath breaker, and a violator of all the laws of Moses.

In scorn, they say, this fellow, and that deceiver, thou art a Samaritan; a race of men held by the Jews in the most sovereign contempt and hatred. By some, he is accused of disloyal and traitorous conduct toward the rulers of Jewry; others pronounced him guilty of blasphemy; and, to crown the whole, they declare him to be a devil; yea, Belzebub, the chief of devils. Blessed Jesus, thou didst, indeed, hear the slander of many. Every action was viewed through a false medium. Thy acts of mercy became an occasion of offence, and called forth the hatred of these selfdeceived men, and thy whole conduct was vilified and spoken of in the harshest terms of disapprobation and scorn. Yet those ancient slanderers and perse

cutors of Jesus, were not without their fears. At one time, lest, from his growing popularity, the Romans should take away their place and nation ; at another time, the purity of his doctrine becomes the source of disquietude. They all secretly dreaded his power. Fear was on every side, while they took counsel and devised to take away the life of Jesus. Pilate's wife could not forbear expressing her fears ; and Pilate himself illy concealed the perturbation of his troubled conscience. How insufficient was water to cleanse the polluted hands of that wretched governor, so deeply stained with the blood of an innocent victim, sacrificed to his tame compliance; and, to seal his awful doom, he soon after impiously dared imbrue his hands in his own blood, and rush uncalled into the presence of his offended Judge. How tremendous the situation of Pilate when standing before the Judge of all the earth, even that Jesus, he had unjustly condemned and crucified. How different the scene from that when Jesus appeared as the despised Nazarene in Pilate's hall. The mind shudders at contemplating the awful fate of those who dare to lift their puny arms in rebellion against Zion's King, and the language of whose hearts till death is, will not have this man to reign over us.”



Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by ? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the days of his fierce anger.-Lamentation i. 12.

These words are in some degree applicable to the mournful prophet Jeremiah, but it will do no violence to consider them as referring to Jesus, and to him they apply with tenfold force. Let us not pass him by unnoticed, but let us“ behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow,” who, by way of distinction, is called “the Man of Sorrows." We see Jesus, attended by three of his disciples, enter the garden of Gethsemane; we behold him withdraw from them about a stone's-throw, and, kneeling down, pour out his soul in prayer to God. Let us draw nigh to witness the scene, but let us approach with awe and reverence, for methinks we are about to tread on hallowed ground. Let the frame of our minds be solemn and attentive, whilst we view a scene so mysterious and sublime. We observe Jesus on his knees, begin to be sore amazed and very heavy: yea, his soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death ; and in the bitterness of his spirit, we hear him cry out, “Fa

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »