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had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, be cause he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the ininister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son ? and he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land: but unto none of them a Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Aaanan the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, ihat they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and laught them on the sabbath-day And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power.-LUKE iv. 13_32.
When the Son of God came for the salva-, the finger he pointed him out as the lamb tion of a lost world," verily he took not on of God which taketh away the sin of the him the nature of angels; but he took on world.” His sudden disappearance after his him the seed of Abraham;" he assumed not baptism, and after the testimony then borne royal state, but, “the form of a servant;" to him from above, must have been an occahis progress was marked, not by the blood of 'sion of some wonder, and a subject of much those who opposed themselves, but by the conversation, for on his return, at the end of benefits which he conferred on the evil and the forty days, we find his fame already unthankful. Subject himself to the sinless in- spread abroad, and a general disposition to firmities of human nature, he was experimen- receive and to hear him manifested. And tally taught to sympathize with the weak; “ in where does he begin his career, and what that he himself hath suffered being tempted, character does he assume, and what arms he is able to succour them that are tempt- does he employ? At Rome, the seat of exed."
pire, in the triumphant state of a conqueror, The wilderness exhibited a wonderful dis- with his sword died in the blood of his eneplay of the divine nature united to humanity, mies? No, in Galilee, the proverbially reof the humiliation of the “man of sorrows proachful residence of almost his whole life, and acquainted with grief,” and of the ma- in the humble character of a teacher of relijesty of the mighty God, who has all crea- gion, and employing only the sword of the tures at his disposal, and under his control. Spirit which is the word of God. In this we The man was an hungered," and exposed behold him teaching us a generous superiorito temptation, and arbitrarily disposed of by ty to the little invidious distinctions of country an insolent foe: He was humbled to the and kindred, a noble contempt of the glory hearing of blasphemous suggestions, and the of this world, an ardent zeal for the glory of bearing of cruel and unmerited insults.- God, a benevolent concern for the happiness
The Divinity miraculously sustained the in- of men, and a just discernment of the means firmity of nature, quenched the fiery darts of best adapted to the attainment of these the devil, put Satan to flight, received the ends. homage and service of angels. In all he What a silen instructer had his childhood presented an object of admiration and love, and youth been of subjection to parental au; and in every display of human excellence thority, of contentment with a poor and he exhibited a pattern for imitation. mean condition, of holiness in all manner of
Jesus had now attained his thirtieth year. conversation? What an interesting object The Spirit of God and of glory rested on him; was presented to the eye in a form so fair, and a voice from heaven had declared his animated by a mind so pure and exalted! generation. In the solemnity and solitude with what delight must the ear have hung of a forty days' retirement from all human upon those lips which wisdom inspired
, and converse, the order of his future procedure into which grace was poured! How contoh is settled, according to the plan of the eter- manding, how attractive that goodness which nal mind. Behold him then in the power of was incessantly aiming at. communicating the Spirit, in the greatness of his strength, good to others! Is it any wonder that when in the travail of his soul, returning from the He became the public and active instructer desert into Galilee, to enter on his arduous of his countrymen, he should be “ glorified and important undertaking. The public at- of all?" It was probably about this period, tention was fixed, and expectation excited by that “ the beginning of his miracles” he post the singular circumstances attending his formed at Cana of Galilee, “ and manifested birth and baptism. The discerning eye of forth his glory,” by turning water into wine
, the Baptist saw in him “ The great Prophet at the marriage solemnity of one of his team who should come into the world," and
with lations or friends. By this he approved him
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST. self the affectionate, condescending brother, to particular ideas; and gives vivacity and of mankind, and, at the same time, the great effect to our meditations, by bringing them Lord of nature, to whom all elements are to one point of time, of place, and of expressubject; and whereby he reproves the un- sion. Behold him then at Nazareth, where bending pride of affected wisdom, the un- he had been brought up, in the synagogue, complying preciseness which refuses to par- on the sabbath-day, according to his usual take of the harmless intercourse and enjoy- custom, standing up to read, unfolding the ments of human life, and the coldness and prophecy, the prophecy of Isaias, a remarkaindifference with which selfishness endea- ble prediction, and himself the subject of it; vours to stifle the voice of blood, of friend- then closing the book, delivering it again to ship, and of natural affection. How greatly the minister, sitting down to explain and apmust his public ministrations have been en- ply what he had read; and how pleasant it is hanced and endeared by the meekness and to mark the emotion which every word, gentleness of his private deportment? What every action produced in an astonished and force must divine truth, delivered in the sy- delighted audience! Every one of these nagogue, have derived from the utterance of circumstances seems to merit a few moments' that tongue which in domestic and social meditation. communication was governed by “the law He came to Nazareth. Having visited of kindness."
other parts of Galilee, and taught in their In the mere human teacher, the profes- synagogues, and received the cheerful homage sional appearance must frequently be at va- which heartfelt gratitude pays to real worth; riance with the personal; a heart torn with having performed the duties of a benevolent a thousand anxieties, must try to conceal its neighbour and kind relation at Cana, rejoicbitterness under a serene forehead, and calm-ing with them that rejoiced, and putting resness of speech; and the unhappy man may pect on the ordinance of God, the idea of be administering to others that consolation home suggests itself, the kind affections beto which he hiinself is a stranger, or, what come concentrated, the calls of nature are is infinitely worse, may be called by public felt and obeyed. At Nazareth his mother duty to declare that truth which is his secret dwelt; he was well aware of her maternal reproach and condemnation. But O how de- tenderness and solicitude: his forty days ablightful the entertainment, when the hand sence about his “ Father's business" must which dispenses to others can with holy con- have filled her with pain inexpressible; her fidence take its own appropriated share! soul was about to be pierced through with How dignified is the character which, in the many a sword, whose keen point could not be closet, in the parlour, in the market place, in averted; but filial affection will not suffer the synagogue, in the pulpit, presents but her to feel the stroke before the time; and one and the same person, the servant of God, what moments of ecstacy to a mother those the friend of man; the respectable and amia- must have been which passed at Nazareth in ble member of society, the kind relation, the the house and in the synagogue, during this agreeable neighbour, the gentle master, the blessed interval! And what delight must it patriotic citizen, the faithful pastor! What have been to that Son to minister to the cona model, in all these respects, is presented solation of his mother! to the Christian minister, in the person, the He came to Nazareth, where he had been character, and the conduct of his divine brought up. The scenes in which early Master! What must have been the ineffa- life was passed, are painted in lively colours ble charm of that divine eloquence which on the imagination. Memory frequently captivated every ear, every heart; which recalls, and the heart fondly cherishes them. commanded universal admiration and ap- They are blended with the ideas of gaiety, plause; and which, alas, such is the enmity and want of care and innocence. I think of the carnal mind, so soon roused the vilest with rapture on the tree from which my and worst of human passions in the breast of childish hand plucked the golden fruit; on his neighbours and acquaintance, envy, and the cooling stream which refreshed the jealousy, and malice, and hatred! O how tongue, parched with juvenile exercise; on pleasant it is to accompany, in thought, the the flower-enamelled turf whereon I cast my blessed Jesus from house to house; from de- weary limbs; on the ascent to the house of votional retirement, to useful and necessary God along which my yet unconfirmed footemployment; from honourable employment steps accompanied my venerable grandsire to social endearment: from the pure and in- at the hour of prayer; the note of the sumnocent delights of virtuous friendship, to the moning bell is even now in mine ears. The solemn and sublime exercises of public wor- feeling is natural, it is harmless, perhaps it ship; and to observe in all the changing may be virtuous. And is it a degradation of scenes, the same lovely simplicity, the same our subject to say that we see in the history unassuming dignity, the same unvarying before us, the ingenuous, generous Nazarene, charity and good-will!
thinking with complacency on the particular But the evangelist leads us from general spots consecrated by the recollections of
early piety, of friendship, and of enjoyment; ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the thinking with affection, such as only the wheat with them." They must “ both grow Son of God could feel, on the associates of together until the harvest." The holy de tender years; on the relations which the sus derived no faint from a disorderly synehand of nature, on those which the wisdom gogue and a profaned temple; but he re of Providence had formed; striving in the stored the order of the synagogue, and the maturity of thirty, to communicate to grown sanctity of the temple. He could contract men that wisdom and happiness, which the no impurity by sitting down to meat with unsuspecting, unenvious generosity of twelve publicans and sinners; and learn no hypodelights to convey to its equal. The Saviour crisy by communication with Pharisees; but of the world is here held up in the honour- by the wisdom and purity of his conversation able, engaging, and attractive character of publicans and sinners were reproved, ina liberal and generous townsman; rejoicing structed and refórmed, and hypocrisy stood in the exertion of his ripened talents, his detected. There is a mean, dishonourable, improved powers, his enlarged abilities, for and criminal “ becoming all things to all the information, improvement, and comfort men," for the sordid purposes of self-interest, of the friends of his youth.
or the gratification of a vainglorious spirit; Attend to the place which he chose for but there is likewise an honourable, manly
, this purpose--the place of public assembly, and praiseworthy accommodation to the devoted to the service of God, to the con- wants and wishes of our fellow-creatures, veyance of useful knowledge, and to the de- which disinterestedly aims at their good. vout association of kindred spirits, the syna- This lesson “ Paul, the servant of Jesus gogue. There is indeed no real difference Christ,” and the most independent in spirit of place, in respect of sanctity. Wherever of all mankind, had been taught in the sehool God is worshipped “ in spirit and in truth," of his divine Master. “ For though,” says there is holy ground. But man, swallowed he, “ I be free from all men, yet have I made up as he is of sense, must have the devout myself servant to all, that I might gain the affections raised by an appeal to the lower more. And unto the Jews I became as a faculties of his nature: and the form and si- Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them tuation of the spot where he worships, must that are under the law, as under the law, be called in to assist the mind, to promote that I might gain them that are under the the love of his fellow-worshippers, to give law; to them that are without law, as withenergy to kind affections, and to elevate the out law (being not without law to God, but soul to the Creator, on the wings of love to under the law to Christ) that I might gain the creature whom he has formed after his them that are without law. To the weak own image. To thee, blessed Jesus! the became I as weak, that I might gain the city and the wilderness, the mountain and weak: I am made all things to all men
, that the seashore, the temple and the upper cham- I might by all means save some. And this ber were one and the same thing; but it I do for the Gospet's sake, that I might be pleased thee to be a pattern of " decency and partaker thereof with you." order," tò exemplify submission to the ordi- Time permits not at present to proceed or nance of God, to walk before thy kindred the consideration of the other particular cir
. and acquaintance in “ things which are love-cumstances attending this sacred Lecture of ly and of good report."
the great Teacher; such as the time when The service of the synagogue was not at it was delivered—the Sabbath-day; the that time perfectly pure; many corruptions uniformity and constancy of the practice
, both in doctrine and practice had been in- as his custom was; the attitude and exertroduced, but still God was worshipped there, cise, he stood up for to read; the subject, & and Scripture still flowed pure and uncon- prediction concerning himself from the book taminated; and he will not seem to pour of the prophet Esaias ; his commentary uport contempt on what savoured of human im- it, this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your perfection, lest that which was genuine and ears; and finally, the effect produced on his divine should fall into disrepute. A virtuous audience, the eyes of all them that were ir state of society, and a pure Church are the synagogue were fastened on him; and highly desirable; but in order to enjoy such an bare him witness, and wondered at the a happy order of things, a man“ must needs gracious words which proceeded ord of his go out of the world. All that wisdom and mouth. These particolars, therefore, will piety united can achieve, is gradually and constitute the subjeet of our next exercise temperately to ameliorate the public morals, of this kind. We conclude the present with and to rectify disorders which may have crept a few practical reflections. into the Church. No vigilance nor sagacity
1. Meditate on the venerability of the can prevent the enemy from sowing tares sabbath, the day of sacred rest. It is the among the wheat; but though they may be ordinance of God himself, who is represented ever so distinguishable, they are not rudely in Scripture, not only as the Author of the and prematurely to be rooted up, “ lest, while I institution, but as setting the example of its
devout observance. “ On the seventh day | God.” The lips of the wise and good may God ended his work which he had made; be devoted to the diffusion of useful knowand he rested on the seventh day from all ledge, and the ear of the willing and obehis work which he had made.” He made it dient may drink in the doctrines of truth, a season of solemn contemplation: “God and the obligations of duty. This mutual saw every thing that he had made, and be- interchange of kind offices will produce an hold it was very good.” He pronounced a interchange of kind affections. Good-will benediction upon it, and set it apart to holy among men will be preserved and promoted. purposes : “ And God blessed the seventh The bands of Nature will be strengthened day and sanctified it: because that in it he by those of religion. To worship in one had rested from all his work which God temple will become a bond of union among created and made." It is one of the natural brethren, and will extinguish the coal of measurements of time, though modern infi- animosity; and thus “ godliness will be delity has made an attempt to efface it. It found profitable unto all things," and will wears a benevolent and merciful aspect to- exert a happy influence over " the life which ward man and beast. It is intimately and now is,” while it embraces “ the promise indissolubly connected with religion. The of that which is to come.” violation of the sabbath was considered, un- 3. Conformity in things of inferior or of der the Mosaic dispensation, as a flagrant no moment, is a duty which we owe both to contempt of the divine authority, and sub- ourselves and to others; to ourselves, because jected the offender to the punishment of it is the mark of a gracious and condescenddeath. To the regular and spiritual observ- ing character; to others, because every man ance of it, on the other hand, were annexed has a title to deference and respect, in matmany and gracious promises. I quote only ters where another man's conscience is not the following: “ If thou turn away thy foot concerned. Sourness and incompliance are from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on no part of the Spirit of Christ. Neverthemy holy day: and call the sabbath a delight, less, many who bear that name discover a the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt tenaciousness of trifles, a bigotry of selfhonour him, not doing thine own ways, nor opinion, inconsistent not only with the Chrisfinding thine own pleasure, nor speaking tían temper, but with good sense and good thine own words: then shalt thou delight manners. This moroseness of disposition thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to levels all distinctions, and affixes the same ride upon the high places of the earth, and idea of criminality to an enormous offence feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy fa- and adherence to a harmless form of ceremother: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken ny. With a man of this description, " He it." The substitution the first, in place that killeth an ox, is as if he slew a man: he of the seventh day of the week, under the that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's evangelical dispensation, binds more closely, neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he not relaxes the obligation; and the honour offered swine's blood; he that burneth inwhich God has been pleased to put upon it cense, as if he blessed an idol.” Difference is a sufficient recommendation, independent of opinion among men is part of the plan of of the authority of human laws. As, on the a wise Providence. It affords exercise to contrary, the character of the persons who human faculties; it expands a field for the live in the open and habitual neglect or pro- display of mutual forbearance; it is a strikfanation of it, is the reverse of a recommend- ing manifestation of the variety of the ation to every man of sense, decency, and works of God. He who will yield no point, virtue. But,
however insignificant, has no reason to ex2. Take care not to sink the spirit in the pect that his punctilio should be regarded. letter of the ordinance. It is a day of rest, Were the whole world of this ungainly, anbut idleness and rest are very different things. tractable, uncomplying nature, society would The mental composure and repose of the present a perpetual and universal strife of man infinitely transcend the listless inaction contradictory feelings, humours and interests. of the brute. The body of the man indeed The rule of the Gospel is in this case, as in rests from the painful toil of the week, and every other, absolute: “All things whatsohis mind from its perplexing cares. But this | ever ye would that men should do to you, do is perfectly consistent with vigorous bodily ye even so to them: for this is the law and exertion, and with intenseness of mental ap- the prophets.” Indeed the great prophet carplication. The feet, the hands, the eye, the ries the spirit of his religien much farther: tongue, may all be actively employed in " I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but rendering unto God a “ reasonable service." whosoever shall smite thee on thy right The superior powers of the soul may be in cheek, turn to him the other also. "And if an ascending motion, up to “ the Father of any man will sue thee at the law, and take lights;" and in a progressive motion, toward away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. the “ rest which remaineth to the people of | And whosoever shall compel thee to go a
mile, go with him twain. Give to him that " A word spoken in due season, how good is asketh thee; and from him that would bor- it!" "A word fitly spoken is like apples of row of thee turn not thou
gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of 4. Watch and seize every promising op- gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise portunity of doing good; and such occur every reprover upon an obedient ear.” Finally, day that we live. Have we not the poor al- 5. Bring forth “ things new and old," from ways with us? Might not the crumbs which the inexhaustible stores of Scripture. From fall from that table be given to feed many this sacred repository our blessed Lord de starving mouths? Do we not live in contact rived arguments to silence and confound the with ignorance and vice, with misery and adversary, and a subject of instruction for disease? And is it in our power to grant no the men of Nazareth. From the same prerelief, not so much as “a cup of cold water?"cious treasury, from those “ wells of salvaIt is truly humbling to reflect how means tion,” the faithful of every age have drawn and occasions of being useful to the bodies the waters of consolation, to support and reand to the souls of men, and of promoting fresh them under every pressure of distress, our own highest interests, have been care- to counteract the bitterness of death, and to lessly neglected, or deliberately abused. enjoy a foretaste of the “pure river of water Judgment to come, however, sets the mat- of life, proceeding out of the throne of God, ter in a very serious light: “I was an hun- and of the Lamb." "Jesusanswered and said," gered, and ye gave me no meat: I was to the woman of Samaria, at Jacob's well
, thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a * Whosoever drinketh of this water shall stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and thirst again : but whosoever drinketh of ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and the water that I shall give him shall never ye visited me not.” “ Verily, I say unto you, thirst; but the water that I shall give him inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least shall be in him a well of water springing of these, ye did it not to me."
up into everlasting life;" and "all Scrip But this direction too must be accompani- ture is given by inspiration of God, and is ed with a caution. “Let not your good be profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for corevil spoken of.” “Give not that which is rection, for instruction in righteousness; holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls that the man of God may be perfect tho before swine, lest they trample them under roughly furnished unto all good works." their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Therefore, "search the Scriptures ;" as There is an officiousness of perhaps well- | Christ hath commanded, " for in then se meaning goodness, which sometimes disdains think ye have eternal life: and they are to weigh the circumstances of times, places, they which testify of me.” Ye “ bave Meas and persons; which will introduce certain and the prophets;" ye have Christ and his topics out of, as well as in season, to the grief apostles; hear them. If men reject their of the more prudently serious, the disgust of testimony,“ neither will they be persuaded, the lukewarm, and the mirth of the profane. I though one rose from the dead."
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
LECTURE CXIX. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the sind:
gogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias : and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Sparis of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty them that are bruised ; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the syn. gogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.-LUKE iv. 16–22.
We read, in the history of the patriarchal characters, a third, less splendid indeed, but ages, of an illustrious personage who ex- not less important that of a teacher and in ercised at once the functions of a priest and structer of mankind; and thus He became all of a sovereign; Melchizedec, “ King of Sa- that a guilty, enslaved, ignorant world stond lem, and priest of the Most High God.” He, need of. In the blessed Jesus, O wretched whom this venerable person thus early re- man, thou beholdest the great High Priest presented to the world, united to these two of thy profession, who hath, by