Page images

they who have zeal and love like Mary's, may still find occasion of exercising it in a manner agreeable to the Lord?


Nothing in scripture is clearer than the promise, that they who seek first the kingdom of God," shall not be suffered to want "other things" also. "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" Yet we know that such are the reverses of life, that many must need assistance. The industry, the prudence, the self-denial of Christ's disciples, undoubtedly secure them against many evils, which those experience who are not guided by a like principle. But still there must be poverty to be assisted, widows to be comforted, orphans to be educated, sickness to be relieved. The poor always ye have with you. These then are the objects to which a disposition like that of Mary will direct its care. That love which the Christian bears towards the Saviour, he will show towards all those to whom the Saviour is dear. His faith, his love, his zeal will spontaneously take that course. "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" If he has really the love of God in him, he will love those whom God loves, the disciples of Christ Jesus: and if he loves them, he will show his love by assisting them in 3 Matt. vi. 26. See the whole passage.

their difficulties and comforting them in their


This was seen in the earliest history of the church, when a famine raged throughout a great part of the Roman empire. The Christians at Antioch heard this, by the report of those who had come from Jerusalem to Antioch. (Acts xi. 29.) "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea." Was there, then, any connexion between the people of Antioch and the inhabitants of Judea? None;-except their attachment to the same Saviour. But as they loved him, though not having seen him; so the brethren also, not having seen, they loved, and supported with that assistance which their present necessities required.

Thus the love and gratitude which all who understand the value of their redemption must feel towards their Redeemer, has a constant object. We have not him with us in the world; but the poor of his flock are always with us: and if he is uppermost in our hearts, we shall seek to do them good, for his sake to whom they are endeared and united by the covenant of faith. So sure is this result, that St. John universally proposes it, in his epistle, as the test of our state before God. " We know," he says, "that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."



JOHN Xii. 9-19.

9. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

10. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

11. Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

12. On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,1

13. Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

14. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

15. Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

These words make part of a psalm,3 which contains also many other prophecies, bearing reference to the Saviour. Hosanna. "Save now,

1 Mat. xxi. 1-13. Mark xi. 1-10. Luke xix. 29-38. 2 Zech. ix. 9.

3 Ps. cxviii. 25.

I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord." And these ought


to have been the sentiments of the whole Hebrew nation at that day. The nation ought to have known, from the prediction of Daniel, that the time was now at hand when the covenant made with Adam and with Abraham should be fulfilled the time "determined on, (Dan. ix. 24) to finish the transgression, and make reconciliation for iniquity:" the time when "Messiah the prince” should appear. Some individuals did discover this, and were "looking for the consolation of Israel. Such ought to have been the case with the whole nation they ought to have been generally found united in prayer that "the commandment should go forth;" that God should "remember his holy covenant," and their eyes might see his salvation." The word " Hosanna, save, Lord, I beseech thee," should not have ascended from the lips of Simeon alone, and Elizabeth, and Anna, and Zacharias, but from the whole people. And then, when the King had appeared, not indeed in the pomp of earthly grandeur, but clothed in robes of meekness and wisdom, and speaking the language of grace and truth, and manifesting forth his glory by deeds of goodness and mercy; he should have been greeted by the adoration of that favoured country, that " peculiar people" which God had chosen for his own. It should not have been left to a few of his followers, or to a multi

4 See Dan. ix. 23.

[ocr errors]

tude casually assembled, as now, that were come to the feast; it should not have been left for these to take branches of palm trees, or "strew their garments in the way," and go forth to meet him. It should have been the cry of the whole city and the whole land, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed is he that cometh as the messenger of God, to announce to us his mercy how he hath cast our transgressions behind his back, and forgiven our iniquity, and hath sent to us his offer of peace and reconciliation.

So it would have been, if Jerusalem had "known the time of her visitation." But now it was "hid from her eyes. Even the disciples who heard the prophecy applied to him, who saw him fulfilling in the most exact and unexpected manner the words of Zechariah, failed to interpret them. They needed that effusion of the Spirit which should "bring all things to their remembrance, and guide them into all truth." For,

16. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

17. The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

18. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

19. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

« PreviousContinue »