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and judicious observation of the late Dr. Ogden, " That it is not the '
mere sound of a word that we can rely upon, for “the knowledge of what the Scripture teacheth, in any case. « The nature of the subject--the light afforded from other “ parts of Scripture-and from 'reason also, deserve all to be
attended to: So that the interpretation of a passage is sometimes very
different from that which may be first sug“ gested to an 'hasty, heedless Reader.” * And, perhaps, there is not, in the Annals of Scripture Criticism; a more remarkable instance of the importance of this observatiòn than that which has now been the subject of examination. . In the view which has been taken of the 10th chapter of this Evangelist ; it was observed that the conduct of Jesus, upon the occasion of his giving them a Commission to announce the approach of the Messiah's Kingdom, was, at önce, an unequivocal and exemplary proof, of the strict integrity of his own Character, and of his affectionate sensibility to the peculiar delicacy of the situation of the Disciples, in consequence of the strong prejudices which they had imbibed concerning the nature of the Messiah's Kingdom. "And, the same remark may be made, upon the present occasion. He shun'd not tell them the fate to which he was devoted, in consequence of the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, though he well knew, how ungrateful such intelligence would be to them, and he again repeats to them, how necessary it was for them, 'faithfully, to adhere to him, whatever might be the consequence :--but that they might not be overwhelmed, by so gloomy a prospect, he informs them, for their encouragement, that there were some then present, who should not taste of death till they saw the Son of Man—the Messiah coming in his Kingdom.
But it must here be particularly remarked, that the benevo'lence and humanity of the Character of Jesus and the superior wisdom 'which directed his conduct, are particularly distinguished and exemplary, in this very important respect that the painful discoveries which he found it necessary to make to his Disciples, were gradual and as he found they were able to bear them. When he gave them their Commis. sion to preach the glad tidings of the Kingdom of Heaven-or of the Messiah he told them they must expect to meet with much ill treatment and run great hazards, in the execution of the duties of their office he even went so far as to tell them that they should be hated by all men for his name's sake, and that he himself should not be exempted, from the like sufferings and a similar degree of hatred and contempt. But, it was not till they had been witnesses of the superior excellence of his instructions—till they had seen him perform the most numerous and astonishing miracles, which had ever been exhibited to the eyes of mankind till they had formed a personal acquaintance with him, sufficient to engage their affections—tilī, in short, they.were so fully satisfied of the perfect integrity of his Character, as 'even, to extort, from them, an explicit acknowledgment that they believed him to be the Messiah--the Son of the living God it was not till then, that he ventured to give them any explicit and direct information that he was to be the victim of Jewish malice, and that, by their hands, he was to die upon a cross, as a notorious Malefactor and Impostor. How highly necessary this prudent and guarded conduct of Jesus was, is abundantly evident, from the extreme astonishment which they, even then, ex, pressed, and from their utter inability to comprehend what he could possibly, mean, by such a prediction. It may reasonably be presumed, therefore, that if it had been made sooner, it would have totally overwhelmed them with despair, and have induced them entirely to have forsaken him.
V. Il. p. 124
the appearance of trifling to predict with solemnity, that some of " the party then present should continue in existence, till they had seen an " event which was to happen in eight days.” See the Theol. Repos.
* Dr. Ogden's Sermons not being at hand—the Reader will excuse the not being able to refer to the particular place where this passage is to be
But, if this cautious and prudent conduct, was so necessary, upon these occasions how much more so must it have been, in the discoveries which he had yet to make to them? Had he, at an early period, unfolded to them, the tremendous calamities which were approaching--the ruin of their Temple --the entire destruction of their capital City--the subsequent dispersion and long captivity of their whole Nation--their minds must have been too severely affected, by so premature a discovery, and it would have been difficult to imagine, how they could, in such circumstances, have received the unwelcome intelligence without, immediately, deserting him as an Impostor. Our Lord, therefore, well knowing, how extremely
ungrateful, at grateful, these awful predictions, could not but have beert to them ; seems to have been induced, in the earlier part of his ministry, to have communicated them, by distant hints and obscare insinuations, and chiefly, by the aid of parable : and, it is highly probable, that he post-poned, a more full and explicit prediction, of these awful calamities, till towards the close of his life, that his Disciples might, by their own observations, be enabled, more accurately, to appreciate the Teal Character of their Countrymen, and particularly of their Ruters, and that thus, they might be, the more easily recon. ciled, to events ; which were so entirely, contradictory to all their most sanguine 'expectations, and their most deep-rooted prejudices.
It seems to have been, with a particular view to prepare the minds of the Disciples, for these awful denuntiations, that our Lord, in the xxijid. Chapter of St. Matthew, de. scribes, at considerable length the flagitious Characters of the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees, in which the spiritual Ty. ranny-she injustice and the hyparisy of their conduct are delineated, with an unusual energy and boldness of language. Having, in the former part of this Chapter, in several striking instances, charged them, with the grossest depravity, he, in the 32d verse, føretells, that they would fill up the measure of the Iniquities of their. Fathers, and thereby, render them. selves ripe for destruction, and he particularly terms them, Ser. pents and a generation of Vipers, who would not escape the Hamination of Hello Wherefore, he adds v. 34. Behold 1 send unto you Prophets and wise Men, and Scribes, and some of them ye shalt kill and crucify, and some of them, shall ye scourge in your Synagogues and persecute from City to City, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the Earths from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, 'son of Barachias whom ye slew between the Temple and the Attar, V. 36. Verity I say unto you. All these ikings shall come upon this generation.
It was observed, in the early part of this work, that our Lord had manifested, an high regard for the Jewish Nation that to excite then to improve the advantages which by the favor of providence, their situation afforded them, he had represented them, as the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World, and had pointed out to them, in very expressive language, the dangerous consequences of neglecting to im. prove those advantages, by telling them that if the salt kad lost it savor-or its saltness, it would become of no use--but fit only to be trodden under foot of Men. And here, having seen that all his labors had been thrown away upon them, and that they had treated all his kind attention to their Interests, with neglect and contempt he appears to have been, unusuallys affected, and breaks out, in the most pathetic language, on the view of their approaching fate. O. Jerusalem, Ferusalemthou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee---How often would I have gathered thy Children together, as an Hen gathereth her Chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate! *
There is, in the verse immediately following, a considerable degree of difficulty, which it seems, not easy, to solvembut it, perhaps, alludes to the anxiety with which, when calamity was coming upon them, they would, as Josephus says they actually did, express their most earnest wishes for the appearance of their Messiah, as their deliverer. They would then see that he who now claimed the character of the Messiah; had truly foretold their approaching ruin, instead of the appearance of a Messiah, who would effect their temporal deliverance. +
Having; * It should appear that our Lord had his eye upon the beautiful language of the Apocryphal Esdras, in the whole of his discription, from the 34th verse : selecting what was most to his purpose, 2 Esdras i. 28. Thus saith the Almighty Lord Have I not prayed you, as a father his Sonsommes a Mother her Daughters, and a Nurse her young Babes, that ye would be my people and ! should be Godthat ye
would be my Children and should be your father I gathered you together as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her wings: But now what shall I do unto you, &c. your house is desolate.
+ Dr. Doddridge has observed that “ if we might be allowed, with " Grotius, to translate the Greek words, till ye would be glad to say, or wish
you had said-Blessed is he that cometh, &c. this would give a very plain " and easy sense, nearly parralel to Matt. xxvi. 64. where the words here" after is perhaps used in the same sense. And thus the words might be $. explained, as if our Lord had said " From the time of my present appear" ance, at this Passover, you shall not see me any more, till that awful “ hour of Judgment, in which I shall appear in such pomp and power, " that the proudest of you all shall have reason to wish you had cordially "joined in those Hosannahs which you lately rebuked. This Interpre* tation," says the Dr.' could the Version be justified. I should vastly “ prefer to any other.”
The learned 'Mr. Dillinger the translator of a very humble attempt to illustrate various passages of Scripture in some notes which he has subjoined says, “ ghat these words are taken from Psalm cxviii. 26. aud are nearly to the
Having, in the manner above described, delineated the Character of the chief Rulers of the Jewish nation, and de nounced the severest woes upon them, for their unparalleled atrocities-cour Lord, in the following chapter, embraced the opportunity, which the occasion of his visiting the Temple, with his Disciples, afforded him, of renewing the awful subject, and of describing, more particularly, the calamities which were coming upon them. The Disciples, having drawn his attention, to the extraordinary magnificence of this celebrated building, which, for art and beauty, was esteemed the wonder of the world; he immediately told them, that the building which they so much, and so justly admired, would be so completely destroyed, that there would not be one stone left upon another, which should not be thrown down. *
with the preceeding verse — O Lord help Hosanna--“ Lord send us good speed. Praised be he who cometh in the name of the " Lord. Who remembereth not here, the acclamation with which Jesus ” was followed by the people and even by the Children, at his entrance into
Jerusalem ? The words must have been very well known to the Jews; “ for they were, with great solemnity sung as a part of the great Hallel, every
year, viz. at the feast of the Passover, of Pentecost and of the Tabernacle, “ and in the same manner, at the feast of the Temple. Now says Jesus, who * well knew that he should be put to death, in a few days, and should not “ openly appear after his Resurrection--- Ye shall see me no more until ye
she say-Praised be he who cometh in the name of the Lord! Must
they, not then have thought of their feasts, on which they were accustomed (i to use these words? And was it not a hint that he would manifest him. " self to them on one of their Feasts? The sad consequences have taught
us that thereby--the Feast of the Passover was meant.”. See Wetstein Rev. Test. Matt. xxiii. 37-39.
*". On the days immediately preceding the Crucifixion,” says Mr. Richards, in his admirable Sermons, at Bampton's Lectures, " our blessed “ Lord disclosed, with clearness and accuracy, which nearly resemble the (i detail of the Historian, many of the most memorable circumstances, “ with which the siege of Jerusalem would attended. The astonishing foresight, which he manifested by describing the signs—the manner and " the exact time of the destruction of the holy Cicy must, if maturely consi. “ dered, overpower the mind of the Christian, with wonder and conviction. “ But the circumstance, which perhaps most effectually raises this prediction
above all supiscion of its being the result of human sagacity, is the entire “ destruction which it represents, as awaiting the vast edifice of the Temple. “ Before this generation pass away, said the holy founder of Christianity, ." when he beheld the magnificent Pile, not one stone shall be left upon
" another. Even, if we suppose, what must only be supposed for argument's ." sake, that the conquest of Jerusalení could be conjectured, from the pre." vailing spirit and circumstances of the times; yet the total destruction of " the Temple, was not the necessary, or even the probable consequence of