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in him. But at present, their language is only that of suspicion and jealousy.
" For Jesus himself testified that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.” As a general remark, we can easily understand this. Prophets are men, and have the weaknesses of men. Their errors are most clearly seen by those amongst whom they live : and the force of the message is often lessened by the imperfections of the messenger. This is not reasonable ; but it belongs to human nature. Jesus, however, had not the weakness of a man. But a similar feeling made his brethren the last to believe in one who had been brought up and lived among themselves.
Nor can we be surprised at their saying as they did : If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. They were ignorant of the settled plan of his ministry, and the determinate counsel which governed it all.
6. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
7. The world cannot hate you ; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
8. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
The great cause of enmity against Jesus is here declared. He brought the men of that time to a test which they could not stand : he showed to the world, to the great mass of the people, that their principles and their practice laid them under condemnation : and they, instead of reforming themselves, assailed their teacher. The world cannot hate you ; has no reason of enmity against you, for ye are its friends ; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Had he favoured the pride and haughtiness of the chief priests or Pharisees, had he allowed the spirit of the law to remain neglected, and its precepts to be glossed over till they became of no avail, he might have taught in safety ; he might have been followed and applauded. But one who pronounced his blessing upon the meek and humble, could not be approved by the proud and self-righteous; one who required purity, must be disliked by the sensual; one who condemned hypocrisy, must be dreaded by the hypocrite. It was impossible that those who had all their affections set on things below, should delight in him who taught them to lay up treasure in heaven.
2 « These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
3 See chap. iv. 44.
This both explains and confirms the truth which our Lord declared in a former conversation. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Unless the Spirit direct the heart towards things above; unless that which naturally loves and desires present things, be converted towards heaven; unless that which is opposed to a pure and holy law be drawn towards God and his will; the gospel of Christ will be hated and avoided. That which is after the flesh will detest that which is after the Spirit. The preacher of
righteousness, and temperance, and judgment to come,” will have the same treatment as Micaiah ; of whom Ahab confessed, “I hate him, because he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil."
Let all ask themselves, whether they have never experienced any thing of the like kind; whether they have never found their hearts rising against a doctrine or a precept which struck close home to themselves, not because the doctrine or the precept were otherwise than scriptural, but because it opposed their habits and inclinations.
The case is altered at once as soon as the heart is awakened to that great truth : “ What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" Then it desires, not what is agreeable, but what is true ; not what flatters, but what profits; what can be rested on for eternity. St. Paul asks the Galatians, “ Am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth ?"*° If they were steadily looking to maintain peace
with God, and to secure eternal life, he would have appeared their greatest friend, when he endeavoured to turn them away from error, that “ the labour” which he had bestowed upon them“ might not be in vain.” Let a man be once in earnest, and anxious to secure his life, rather than to be spared a present pain or privation; and then he will be the favourite physician, who is the truest ; not he who gives the softest answer, but he who prescribes the surest rules. Then too, when the heart is under the influence of the Spirit, meekness and gentle
4 Gal. iv. 16.
ness will prevail : a man will have too strong a sense of his infirmity and corruption, to be surprised at reproof or offended by censure.
Whom then does our Lord intend and describe, when he says to his brethren, The world cannot hate you? He means the same world of which he speaks afterwards as being distinguished and separated from his disciples, saying, that they “ are not of it, or the world would love its own :" and that it cannot receive the Holy Spirit, because " it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." He
“ the children of this generation ;” those who “ have their portion in this world ;” who have not been “ renewed in the spirit of their minds,” so as to “ seek first the kingdom of God.” A marked distinction is made in scripture between these and the faithful followers of Christ: but the proportion which each class bears to the other, will vary
in different times and situations. In all times and in all places it will be true of them, that they will be adversaries of the gospel, more or less openly, and in a greater or less degree: and for the same reason, that it testifies concerning them that their deeds are evil.
The duty, then, of every faithful teacher and every faithful disciple of the gospel, is, not to seek “ the friendship of the world :” remembering how it is written, “whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God :"5_but to labour,“ in season and out of season, to make the world their friends : to bring over to the ser
5 James iv. 4.
vice of God those who are now engaged in the service of Mammon. The apostle has left the rule : “ The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth ; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”6
JESUS GOING UP TO JERUSALEM, REASONS WITH
John vii. 9--18,
9. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
10. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
11. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
12. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
13. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
6 2 Tim. ii. 24-26.