« PreviousContinue »
eagerness, and, at the same time, with all the prejudices of the rest of their countrymen. Whatever difficulties, therefore, they might have to account for events, so foreign to their expectations, as Jesus had been telling them, would certainly take place, and however they might be perplexed to solve those difficulties; yet they could not, and it is abundantly evident, from the whole tenor of the Gospel History, that they, in fact, did not, notwithstanding these predi&tions, renounce their hopes of his coming in that character. They had, as hath been seen, in this very discourse, declared that Jesus was THE MESSIAH-the Son of the living God, and he had, in his turn, in the most unequivocal terms, expressed his entire approbation of that declaration. Troubles and difficulties, in the accomplishment of the great purposes of his coming, as the Messiah were, most certainly, as hath been observed, not incompatible, even upon their own principles, with that character ; though they certainly had not, till he had told them, any idea of such, as would terminate in his death. Yet still, amidst such grating predictions ; it was absolutely necessary to support their expectations of his coming, and to interweave, with them, the most unequivocal assurances, that these expectations would, finally, be realized. Such an assurance, he had already given them, when he gave them their commission, as his Apostles ; telling them that that they should not have gone over the cities of Israel ere, the Son of Man came and no one, it
presumed, will dispute that, a similar assurance,
was not, equally necessary, upon the present occasion. Accordingly, he sums up the whole, by the assurance of his coming--Tot as the Judge of the World--but as the Messiah, distinguishing it, from the former coming, by pointing out, the particular time when he should come. And this he does, in terms of the greatest solemnity and strength of language.Ver. 28. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man--the Messiah, coming in his Kingdom.
No one who considers the subject with the attention which it deserves, can possibly doubt that the coming, mentioned in the 27th verse, is closely connected with our Saviour's reasoning, from the 23d verse ; for the losing of their life, and finding it again, could not have had any other reference than to a future state. And the evidence that the coming, mentioned in the 28th verse, was connected with the conversation, which gave rise
to the subscquent discourse; appears to be no less cleat; for, as has been observed, it was, at least, as essentially necessary to the confirmation of that faith, which they had, so nobly avowed, viz. that Jesus was THE MESSIAH, the Son of the living God.
Such appears to be the connection of the two Advents, arid nothing, it may fairly be presumed, could possibly have prevented the perceiving this connection, but an inattention to the double ohjeet which Jesus had in view, in this address to his Disciples,-first, to inform them that the primary object of his mission, as the Messiah, had a reference to a future state, and that it was necessary to subnit to such sufferings, as the faithful discharge of their mission, might bring upon them: and, secondly, to give them the satisfaction, which his predic. tion of his sufferings and death, had rendered absolutely necessary, that the time was near approaching when the kingdom of God should no longer be at hand-but actually comé. In a word--a close and impartial attention to the whole of the reasoning of our Lord, and to all the circumstances of the case, cannot fail to satisfy the unprejudiced and impartial enquirer, that the last verse has, an immediate and direct reference--not to the verse immediately preceding-but to that subject and to that only, which was the occasion of the whole discourse, to wit-o the Messiahship of Jesus ; the belief of which, they had explicitly avowed, and which they were in constant expectation of seeing realized. *
In the chapters which are parallel to this under consideration, there seems to be nothing which is particularly worthy of attention, but what tends, in the strongest manner, io confirm the sense, which has now been given, of the nature of the two aduents:-- In the 27th and 28th verses St. Matthew says, There are some standing here who shall not taste of death, till thry shall see the Son of Man, the Messiah coming in his Kingdom. In St. Mark, our Lord's reasoning, and the occasion which gave rise to it, are precisely of the
* Bishop Pearce says, “ the 27th verse is meant of his coming to visit and punish the Jews, as in v. 25. See ch. xxiv. 30. xxvi. 64. and Daniel, vii. 13. and Rev. i. 7.
." It is for the judicious Reader to determine whether the sense here offered to his attention is not to be preferred. The learned University Preacher seems very properly to have observed that, “ it confirms or “ gives a reason for a discourse, and contains an expression which can be " applied only to the general Judgment.” See Dr. Edwards's Sermon on the Predictions of the Apostles. p. 15.
same import; though the verse, which concludes the subject is, by a strange inattentionor misconception of the Transi dators, made to begin a :new. Chapter; which has, a natural and direct tendency, to mislead an ordinary Reader. Mark viii. 34. Whosoever will come after meg let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me : ver. 35. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it---but whosoever will lose his life, for my sake and the Gospel's, i. e. for the sake of the good news of the COMING OF THE MESSIAH'S KINGDOM-the same ishall save it. Ver. 36. For what shall it proft a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words ; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh, in the glory of his Father, with the holy Angels. Chap. ix. 1. And he said unto them-Verily I say unto you there be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they have seen the Kingdom of Godmor, of the Messiah, come with power. , St. Luke's account is as follows, Ch. ix. 23. &c. And he said unto them all.-If any man come after, ine, let him deny himself and take up his cross
, and follow me : for whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; for what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself, and, be cast away ? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words ; of
. him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he shall come, in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy Angels. But-or nevertheless I tell you, of a truth, there be some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see the Kingdom of God.
Here the judicious and attentive Reader is requested, particularly, to observe, that in all the three Evangelists, our Lord's meaning is, in substance, the same, and the occasion which gave rise to it, is so notoriously so, that there is no occasion to trouble him with a repetition of it. And, the very variations of the concluding verse; in each of the Evangelists, very strongly, confirm the sense, which has here been contended for. St. Matthew says, That they should see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom. St. Mark, That they should see the Kingdom of God come with power. And St. Luke says, simply, that they should see the Kingdom of God.
If this language of Jesus be understood of the coming of the Messiah, -or of the Kingdom, which he had announced to be at hand, and which it was the great object of his Mission,
and of the whole of the Gospel History, to proveu-which the whole Jewish nation, the Disciples of Jesus themselves not excepted, were ardently 'expecting ; " which of course, it is hardly to be imagined the question of the Disciples being considered, they could understand, in any other sense, ali will be found to be perfectly natural and easy; and the singular propriety, and even the absolute necessity of it, will be immediately discerned and acknowledged. But if, a second coming, after the Ascension of Jesus, to judge all Mankind, and that, while some of those who heard him make use of this language, were still living, was intended, as the Historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the learned University Preacher, have supposed, how was it possible for the Disciples to understand him or, how could they reconcile the two Advents, with each other?
It may, indeed, be said, that the Disciples did not always understand the meaning of Jesus, and it is very true, that, even in the case under consideration, they did not understand him. But their misunderstanding his meaning, in this case, is easily to be accounted for. They had no idea of a suffering, or at least, of a crucified Messiah, and therefore St. Peter, upon our Lord's prediction, that such a fate awaited him, very naturally expressed his disbelief of such a prediction, by immediately exclaiming Be it far from thee Lord this shall mot be unto thee. But, the great question here is, whether, with the sentiments which the Disciples, confessedly and beyond all possibility of doubt, at this period entertained, they could possibly have imagined that the great purposes of the Messiah's first' coming, were fully answered, before that coming had been acknowledged, by themselves, to have taken place ? Could the Disciples of Jesus have understood him, as predi&ting the end of the world, in that generation, in the *striệt sense of that expression there cannot exist, a shadow of a doubt, that they must have forsaken him, as an Impostor, as not answering, in the most essential and the most important respects, the true charakteristics of the Messiahship; not only, according to their ideas of the nature of the Messiah's character
-but according to every idea which can be formed of it. I the coming, mentioned in these passages of the several Evangelists, meant his coming to judge the world, at the tast day-how, even in the estimation, and upon the principles of the
Disciples themselves, were the prophecies of the establishment of the Messiah's Kingdom over all the Kingdoms of the earth; which, it is not easy to imagine they should have overlooked, to be accomplished? Or, even if this can be supposed how is the subsequent conduct of the Apostles to be accounted for, if they understood him in this sense, and particularly, their anxiety to know when he would restore the Kingdom tó Israel, and their requiring from him a sign of his coming, where he predi&ted the approaching destruction of Jerusalem
In every view, therefore, in which this subje&t can, fairly, be placed, especially if the Gospels be considered as Histories and particularly as Histories of the coming of the Messiah, and of Jesus's sustaining that character, the supposition that this was our Lord's genuine meaning, in these passages, is most preposterous and absurd, and is countenanced, by no one circumstance of probability or just reasoning; but is, on the contrary, contradicted by them all; for the connection and occasion of the discourse the declaration of St. Peter, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God; and Jesus's decided approbation of that declaration, followed by his predictions of his own sufferings and death, at which St. Peter was 80 much offended, naturally and necessarily led him to give them an assurance that, notwithstanding these events, so contrary to all their preconceived expectations--their hopes of his coming in the character of the Messiah, should not be disappointed, but that, on the contrary, some of those persons who were then present should not taste of death till they saw the Son of Man the Messiah, coming in his Kingdom. In one word; it may confidently be affirmed that, if the Historiam of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, or his learned Advocate, the University Preacher, had considered these passages, in their connection, and in that historical point of view, in which they have now been presented to the Reader, and in which they, unquestionably, ought to be considered, they must have been so far from producing them, as obje&ions to the truth of Christianity, that they would have appeared, as they really are, as most genuine and unequivocal evidences, in its favor, It is a most excellent
and * Some Cómřeñitatots havé immagined that the s'ßth verse is connected with the transfiguration in the sabsequent chapter Due to this opinion the learned University Preacher has observed, “ it may be replied that it would