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teaching, were in the rude Galilee, far away from Jerusalem ; as it would seem, lest too much light should be poured in upon them, before they were ready to receive it: and that the fame of Him might dispose them rather to listen to and believe Him. On other occasions He hid HIMSELF, and miraculously delivered HIMSELF out of their hands, that they might not lay violent hands on Him as they purposed. He kept back the knowledge that He was the Christ of God, and left them in doubt, that so what words or deeds soever they should say or do against Him should be against the Son of Man, and not the sin against the Holy Ghost, which hath never forgiveness. And when at length “ HE set His face to go up to Jerusalem, knowing all” that would then shortly be accomplished, still, according to all methods, which human wisdom and forbearance would approve, did He deal with them in such sort as might fan into a flame any spark of good. Still He gave merciful words of instruction and of warning. Still it was, “ Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life"." The rejecting was on their part, the offer and invitation still from Him. How truly do the Prophet's words describe His loving and gracious appeals to them: “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me?.” To the last, after all, and so much, had been done for the taking away of their stony heart of pride and unbelief, how great was His compassion for the apostate city—the city that would not receive her King, that was even now plotting against Him, which cast Him forth from her streets, and chose in His place one who “for sedition and murder had been cast into prison.'
Three very remarkable occasions there were in particular, on which our Blessed Lord showed His pity for the devoted city, during these His last days in the flesh. The first of them was, when on His way from Bethany to the city, as on this day, HE came to the brow of the hill, which before had hid the city from His sight.
“ And when He was come near, He beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace: but now they are hid from thine eyes4.' Even the treacherous, faithless, cruel city He could not behold without weeping, not for HIMSELF, but for the punishment which the sin of the people would afterwards bring upon the place and nation. And as on approaching the city He burst forth into such tender expressions of grief for the woes, that were to come upon it, though those woes were but the just return for the ills about to be wrought there against HIMSELF; so neither did He quit the city as on Tuesday evening, after concluding all His teaching in the Temple, though to so little effect that His enemies had been only the more maliciously set against Him, without a similar pouring out of compassionate regret. “O Jerusalem! Jerusalem ! thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” HE “ would have gathered them, but they would not :” often HE sought to do so, but as often they stood aloof from His sheltering protection. Their own royal Psalmist had taught them how great the security under this fostering care. « HE shall defend thee under His wings ; and thou shalt be safe under His feathers.” But they would none of it.
1 John v. 40.
2 Micah vi. 3.
3 Luke xxiii. 19.
4 Luke xix. 41, 42.
One other very touching instance there is of our Lord's thoughtfulness about the miseries to come upon the city and its inhabitants, under circumstances still more affecting. For as He passed along the way of sorrows to the place where He was to be crucified, exhausted by the sufferings of mind and body which He had endured, and fainting beneath the burden of the Cross, which His savage executioners were now forced to find another to bear, and close in sight of yet more fearful agonies, we read, “there followed Him a great company of people and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him. But JESUS, turning unto them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” that is, if an innocent person must suffer such extremities as they
6 Matt. xxiii. 37.
6 Ps. xci. 4.
7 Luke xxiii. 27--31.
saw Him suffer, what will be the sufferings of the wicked when Gou shall arise to judgment? Thus did our Lord yearn over His own people, loving them to the end. He thought upon the wicked city, and mourned for it, because of the days of affliction which were coming on them, that were so mercilessly afflicting Him.
And may we not see, in our Blessed Lord's considerateness towards the city and nation of His own people, in His holding back the offer of HIMSELF to them, which was to be their great trial ; in His patience and forbearance, keeping from them knowledge which might set them more against Him, and increase their guilt of rejecting Him; in His readiness at all times to do them good, to be found of them that sought Him, and to care and provide for those who thought not of Him; in His doing so much to soften their prejudices, and to draw their sympathies towards Him; and in His enduring love and mercy; -in all these, may we not see types and instances of Hi ALMIGHTY FATHER's mercy and loving-kindness towards the earth and the inhabiters of it? HE “ looketh down from hea. ven, and beholds all the children of men; from the habitation of His dwelling He considereth all them that dwell on the earth 8.” He sees how many are gone out of the way, and are become altogether abominableo”—that it is full of unclean things; and yet He continues His mercies towards it. Still summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, cease not; still “ HE visiteth the earth and blesses it: He maketh it very plenteous. . . . He prepareth the corn, for so He provideth for the earth. He watereth her furrows, He sendeth rain into the little valleys thereof: He maketh it soft with the drops of rain, and blesses the increase of it. He crowneth the year with His goodness, and the clouds drop fatness".” Still the air we breathe is pleasant to us, and the ever-varying changes of the season are refreshing to the eye; still, in more ways than we know, He is near to us, watching opportunities to do us good; still, in matters of His daily Providence, " His compassions fail not; they are new every morning : and it is of His mercies that we are not consumed?." Still HE holdeth back evil: still He delayeth the due reward of our blind.
8 Ps. xxxiii. 13.
9 lb. liii. 4.
IIb. lxv. 9-12.
2 Lam. iii. 22, 23.
ness and unbelief. Again and again He gives tokens of His nearness, and they are disregarded. He showeth Himself and His ways, but the inhabiters of the earth turn away and do not welcome Him. Still He punishes not as yet for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. Still He loveth, and showeth lovingkindness toward the children of men. And how must they be described for the most part—they who are His own by creation, by redemption, by name, and solemn engagement—the Christian world ? Is it not careless and unbelieving? Now and then it may be listening to the words of Christ, acknowledging Him to be their King, yet breaking off the bands of His holy laws, and casting them from it; awhile giving praise “to the Son of David,” but ever for the most part taking part with His worst enemies against Him, and carried away to evil by the tumult and passion of its own wilful inclinations ?
Lastly, for ourselves, do we not read these two lessons in all our Lord's merciful tenderness towards the wicked city, even when most cruelly set against HIM? First, that when others behave ill to us, there is more reason to feel sorrow than anger; for surely they harm themselves more than they harm us; the mischief which they intended for others will fall back more heavily upon their own heads.
We should pray for them still; be gentle, meek, compassionate, considerate for their very feelings of enmity against us; still desire to do them good. For, secondly, we see, in our Lord's words to the women who wept for Him, His exceeding carefulness in watching for occasions to do good. They wept for Him; He bids them rather to do so for themselves and their children. And so, when we feel our sorrows moved by hearing or reading of our Blessed MASTER's sufferings, “we are to think that He turns to us, and tells us to think of ourselves and of our own sins that occasioned those sufferings; that when we venture to approach and gaze on Him, by these contemplations we forget not ourselves also.” For “it is for ourselves we are to weep, both in His and our own sorrows?.”
3 Williams on Passion, p. 280, 1. From this or the volume on the Holy Week, almost all the frequent quotations in these Sermons have been taken. They have been, besides, otherwise largely used and consulted.
SER MON CCIX.
OUR LORD'S FORBEARANCE TOWARDS HIS APOSTLES.
PREACHED ON MONDAY IN PASSION-WEEK.
JOHN xiii. 1.
“ Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was
come, that He should depart out of this world unto the FATHER, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
YESTERDAY we considered our Lord's tenderness and pity manifested towards Jerusalem, the rebellious city, and its inhabitants : how long before He came to them for the last time, He had been thoughtful for her and her people; had borne with their waywardness, and sought to win them to Him, that they might have life. By miracle and parable, by words of wisdom and works of power, by the Law and the Prophets, by reproof and exhortation, by warning and invitation, by showing HIMSELF among them, and by again, for a while, withdrawing: by these and other methods did He, like the good Physician, vary His treatment towards them, if so be the inveterate evil of their hearts might give way and be healed. “Having loved them, He loved them unto the end.”
And if He showed HIMSELF thus long-suffering and compassionate towards those who would not receive Him, how much more of this overflowing goodness should we expect to trace, when we come to observe His conduct with those, to whom we may suppose the words of the text apply in a more special sense! to His own faithful, beloved, and loving disciples—those of whom He said, Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations?:” “ye are My friends? :" "ye have not chosen 1 Luke xxii. 28.
2 John xv. 14.