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An account of the passover is next given, and of the institution of the last supper. There is some difficulty in our Saviour's saying, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new with
my Father's kingdom. The best interpretation which I know of these words is this :-Wine was used among the Jews in the celebration of the paffover, to which Jesus's words seem to refer. As if he had faid, wine shall not be drunk by me--that is, by my disciples-on the occasion of a Jewish festival any more, but shall be changed into a new inftitution in my Father's kingdom—that is, in the kingdom of Christ, which God had established.
After this follows the zealous profeffion of St. Peter, and our Saviour's warning to him. Jesus's agony in the garden fuceeds, where he was seized by the officers of the chief priests. There is some difficulty in the expression, that all they who take the sword shall perish by the sword. It is commonly interpreted, that all they who relift lawful authority shall lay themselves open to the penalty which the fword inflicts.
Jesus's trial is next related. The words guilty of death mean, is so guilty as to deserve death. Peter's denial is next related, and our Saviour's
trial before Pontius Pilate. As the Jews were under the goverment of the Romans, they could not themselves comdemn a criminal to death. The reason why Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus, though he believed him innocent, was this:- It was common for a governor, when he left his province, to be accused to the emperor of bad administration, who was always ready to listen to such accusations, as they brought money into his treasury Pilate therefore fearing this, was willing to gain the favour of the Jews, though at the expence of an innocent person.
When Jesus was crucified, it was said, the thieves who were crucified with him reviled him. But from St Luke's account it
that only one of the thieves reviled him, for the other was penitent. But the writers of the New Testament, where no doctrine is concerned, in which no doubt they were guided by the spirit of truth, were not very exact in matters of less consequence. And indeed nothing more shews their truth than this; for if they had agreed in every minute particular, people would be apt to fay, they wrote their several gospels by agreement together. 13
The vail of the temple, which rent at our Saviour's death; was a curtain which was hung up before a part of the temple, where nobody but the high priest was allowed to enter. Its being now rent, was a sign that all mankind, as well as the Jews, were now called to the blessings of the gospel. This whole awful transaction concludes with an account of our Saviour's resurrection, in the relation of which there is no difficulty.
I HAVE now, my brethren, gone over, in several discourses, the principal parts of the gospel of St. Matthew ; and have endeavoured to make as plain to you as I possibly could, such difficulties in it as have chiefly occurred.—What remains from the whole, is, that each of us should consider the holy life, and holy precepts, of our blessed Redeemer, as our surest guides to everlasting happiness. As to difficulties, they are of less importance. Many mysterious truths there are in fcripture, which are above our reason to comprehend: such are the nature of the blessed Trinity—the manner in which the death of Christ atqnes for the sins of the world - the nature of 20
a future a future state of rewards and punishments, and some others. These we must take on the authority of scripture, just as we there receive them. We meddle not farther with them. Such difficulties, however, as are more obvious, and tend to explain scripture, such as in the foregoing difcourses I have brought before you, may properly be the objects of our attention. Still, however, the grand points in which we are most interested, should be—a holy life, derived from faith; the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, to be obtained by prayer; and the hope of pardon, through the merits of a Saviour. On these great points we should particularly dwell; and thank God for the information he has given us of them in the scriptures.
JOHN, vi. 68.
WHITHER SHALL WE GO?. THOU HAST THE
WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.
UR blessed Saviour had been discoursing upon some of the sublime truths of the gospel ; which his ordinary hearers, blinded with the prejudices of the world, could not comprehend. They were hard sayings, they said, who could hear them? And their remark was just; for the prejudices of the world, and the truths of religion, never agree together. In the end, these cool disciples left their Master; and listened no longer to one whom they thought so severe an instructor. Jesus observing this, turned to the twelve, and said, will ye
go away? The text is the zealous answer of St. Peter: Lord, whither shall we go? Thou haft the words of