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children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
Our translators, by connecting the word regeneration with the preceding words, ye which have followed me in the
regeneration,” evidently supposed that word to relate to the first preaching of the Gospel, when those who heard and received it were to be regenerated, or made new creatures.
But most of the ancient fathers, as well as the best modern commentators, refer that expression to the words that follow it, w in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory;". by which is meant the day of judgment and of recompence, when all mankind shall be as it were regenerated or born again, by rising from their graves; and when, as St. Matthew tells us in the 27th chapter (making use of the very same phrase that he does here) the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory. :. At that solemn hour Jesus tells his apostles K 4
that they shall also sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is an allusion to the custom of princes having their great men ranged around them as assessors and advisers when they sit in council or in judgment; or more probably to the Jewish sanhedrim, in which the high priest sat surrounded by the principal rulers, chief priests, and doctors of the law;; and it was meant only to express, in these figurative terms, that the apostles should in the kingdom of heaven have a distinguished pre-eminence of glory and reward, and a place of honour assigned them near the person of our Lord himself.
Jesus then goes on to say, 6 every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” It is plain, both from the construction of this verse, and from the express words of St. Mark in the parallel passage, that the reward here
promised to the apostles, whatever it might be, was to be bestowed in the present world; besides which they were to inherit everlasting life. i What then, it may be asked, is this recompence, which was to take place in the present life, and was to be a hundred fold? It certainly cannot be a hundred fold of those worldly advantages which are supposed to be relinquished for the sake of Christ and his religion; for a multiplication of several of these things, instead of a' reward, would have been an incumbrance. And we know in fact the apostles never did abound in worldly possessions, but were for the most part destitúte and poor. The recompence then here promised must have been of a very different nature; it is that internal content and satisfaction of mind, that peace of God which passeth all understanding, those delights of a pure conscience and an upright hearl, that affectionate support of all good men, those consolations of the Holy Spirit, that trust and confidence in God, that consciousness
of the divine favour and approbation, those reviving hopes of everlasting glory, which every good man and sincere Christian never fails to experience in the discharge of his duty. These are the things which will cheer his heart and sustain his spirits, amidst all the discouragements he meets with, under the pressure of want, of poverty, affliction, of calumny, of ridicule, of persecution, and even under the terrors of death itself, which will recompense him a hundred fold for all the sacrifices he has made to Christ and his religion, and impart to him a degree of comfort, and tranquillity, and happiness, far beyond any thing that all the wealth and splendour of this world can bestow. That this is not a mere ideal representation, we may see in the example of those very persons to whom this discourse of our Saviour was addressed. We may see a picture of the felicity hete described, drawn by the masterly hand of St. Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “ We are, says he, (speaking of himself and his
fellow-labourers in the Gospel) we are approving ourselves in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in túmults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." We have here a portrait, not merely of patience and fortitude, but of cheerfulness and joy under the acutest sufferings, which is no where to be met with in the writings of the most celebrated heathen philosophers. The útmost that they pretended to was a contempt of pain, a determination not to be