« AnteriorContinua »
the multitudes who surrounded him at the time referred to in the text, were penetrated with the liveliest joy-And is there not now as much cause for joy as on either of those occasions?
-Are not the great ends of his advent better understood now than at his incarnation? and the nature of his kingdom more clearly seen than at the time of his triumphant entry into Jerusalem? Surely then our joy should far surpass all that could be experienced at those seasons-How should poor captives now rejoice to hear that there is one proclaiming liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound! -If an earthly king were coming not only to redress all the grievances of his people, but to relieve all their wants, and enrich them with all that their hearts could desire, would not all exult and leap for joy?-Would not every one be impatient to see him, and to receive his benefits?-Why then should not all rejoice in the advent of him, who is come to bind up the broken-hearted, and to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?-]
But the "daughters of Zion" in particular should rejoice at this event
[The daughters of Zion are the true members of the church, who have been begotten by the Word and Spirit of God-These are addressed by the prophet, and are bidden to exult, and "shout" for joy-Well does the prophet select them as the persons to whom he should direct his exhortation
"Let them give thanks whom the Lord hath redeemed??--They know the glorious character of their prince-They have found both his laws and government to be "holy and just and good"-They have experienced his power to save, "to save to the uttermost those that call upon him"-They have continual proofs of his lowliness, being admitted daily to the most intimate fellowship with him-Should not they then rejoice? "Surely the very stones would cry out against them if they held their peace"-" Behold" then, believers, your king, even he whom you have chosen to reign over you, is come-He now waits for you" Arise, lo! he calleth you" Go, enter into his presence-chamber, and receive the blessings which he is come to bestow-] APPLICATION
[Are there any who feel no disposition to rejoice in this event? Alas! too many, like Herod and the Pharisees, cannot join in the general chorus-Let them not, however, imagine themselves related to the church of God-They are daughters of the world, but not daughters of Zion-Nor need they have any other evidence of their alienation from God, than their want of joy in the Lord-How base is their ingratitude! that
the Lord of glory should come down from heaven for them, and they have no hearts to welcome his arrival-That they should be gratified with the company of an earthly friend, and have no delight in communion with Jesus-Surely if they were to have all the curses of God's law inflicted on them, who served not the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart on account of the temporal benefits bestowed upon them, they must have a far heavier condemnation, who so despise the condescension and love of our incarnate God-Mark then the alternative to which ye are reduced; ye must begin now that joy in the Lord which ye shall possess for ever, or, by continuing insensible of his mercy, continue destitute of any interest in it to all eternity-Choose ye now whether ye will have life' or death-Remember, however necessary it may be at other times to weep for your sins, it is to joy that we now invite you; not to carnal joy, but to that which is spiritual and heavenly~~ We unite with the apostle in saying, "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say, rejoice"-Methinks such an exhortation should not be slighted, especially when your present joy is to be a certain prelude to eternal happiness-But if ye will still despise the mercies of your God, behold this king cometh shortly to judge the world-Behold he cometh riding upon the heavens with myriads of the heavenly host-Know too that he is just and powerful; but his justice will condemn, and his power punish you-Go to him then in this day of salvation, welcome him in this the accepted time-So shall you at his second coming behold his face with joy-and join the choir of heaven in everlasting hallelujahs-]
Deut. xxviii. 45, 47.
CLXXXI. THE CHILDREN VINDICATED.
Matt. xxi. 16. Have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
The wisdom of our Lord was very conspicuous in the answers he returned to cavillers
He was thoroughly conversant with every part of the sacred writings
From them he took as well his offensive as defensive.
In his conflicts with satan he invariably had recourse to them❜
Matt. iv. 4, 7, 10.
Nor, when assaulted by men, would he fight with any weapon which was not brought from that divine arsenal'
But every passage which he adduced was as an arrow from a well-directed bow
This is well exemplified in the words before us-We shall consider
I. The occasion of them
Our Lord had just driven the traders and moneychangers out of the temple
And had healed multitudes of persons,, who flocked around him for a cure
The children that were there, surrounded him with acclamations and hosannas
[They were struck with wonder at the authority and benevolence of Jesus
And, doubtless, were both taught and actuated by the Spirit of God
They therefore, when the adult persons manifested no disposition to glorify him, burst forth into shouts of praise
They welcomed him as the Messiah that had been promised to that nation
And expressed their ardent desire for the establishment of his kingdom
What a glorious sight was this, to behold children thus Occupied!
How should it have stirred up others to an holy emulation!
But on the proud and envious Pharisees it produced a far different effect-]
The Chief Priests and Scribes, filled with indignation, remonstrated with our Lord for suffering them to act in this manner
[They could not endure to hear these honours given to our Lord
Nor was all their authority able to silence the triumphant choir
They therefore, with sarcastic virulence, reproached our Lord himselfc
b Compare Matt. xxvi. 51, 52, with John v. 39.
They could not mean to ask simply, "Whether our Lord heard what they said?" for he could not but hear. They insinuated that it was a disgrace to him to be pleased with the acclamations of weak
Alas! what enmity is there in the heart against God! What will not afford a plea for prejudice to vent its spleen?
The Priests and Scribes should have been the foremost to encourage early piety
Yet they were the first to repress what their "zeal should rather have been provoked" to imitate-]
Our Lord repelled their objection with an unanswerable appeal to scripture
II. The words themselves
The sense, rather than the exact meaning of the words, was quoted by our Lord"—
They were understood by the Jews themselves as having a reference to the Messiah
Nor did the priests attempt to invalidate the application of the prophecy
The words, as quoted on this occasion, lead us to observe that
1. An appeal to scripture is the best way of answering all objections
[Many difficulties may be proposed, to which reason cannot furnish a sufficient answer
But the scripture declares plainly whatever is to be believed or done
If men will cavil at that, they contend, not with us, but with God
There is doubtless much in a Christian's faith and practice, which natural men will account foolishnesse
But he need not regard ridicule, if he have the word of God on his side
"The word is, that sword of the Spirit," which will enable him to combat all the prejudices of an ignorant and malignant world
Nor can it ever be wielded in a more efficacious manner than it was by our Lord on this occasion
Let every follower of Christ then adopt the rule prescribed by the prophet
silly children. If, by waidas, we understand servants and followers (as perhaps we ought) they were objected to as an ignorant mob.
d David says, Ps. viii. 2. “Thou hast ordained strength." But our Lord quoted his words, as the apostles after him frequently did, according to the Septuagint. The meaning is the same in both: God manifests his strength, and glorifies his name, in using weak instruments to effect his purposes.
e 1 Cor. ii. 14.
f Isai. viii. 20.
Thus will he, like our Lord himself, both disappoint and confound his adversaries-]
2. The exercise of devotion, however condemned by men, is pleasing to God
[The hosannas of the children were most probably regarded as the effusions of weak and uninformed minds
Nor is the conduct of those, who now endeavour to exalt their Saviour, ascribed to any better cause than enthusiasm
But our Lord approved and vindicated the pious efforts of the children
In so doing he may be justly said to have "stilled the enemy and avenger❞—
And sooner or later he will do the same for all his faithful peopleh
There is not any thing wherein he is more glorified than in their praises
Nor is there any sacrifice that they can offer, which is more acceptable to Godk
Even the desire to praise him shall be acknowledged in the last day!
Nor shall so much as a word spoken to his honour, pass unrewarded-]
3. The weaker the instruments that advance his glory, the more is he glorified in them
[We should have been ready to think that the praises of the chief priests would have been more to his honour
And we are now apt to suppose that the services of the rich and learned would glorify him more than those of the poor and ignorant
But the very reverse of this is more consistent with truthIf the wise and noble were most forward to honour the Saviour, we should impute their conduct to natural principles→ We should conclude that reason and education were the means of their conversion
But when we see babes and sucklings well instructed in the things that are hid from the wise and prudent, we are constrained to ascribe the effect to grace"→→
Let none therefore say, I am incapable of glorifying GodOr think that he despiseth the day of small things
The prayer of the publican, and the mite of the widow, were more acceptable to him than many longer prayers and richer offerings
g See the close of Ps. viii. 2. Heb. xiii. 15, 16.
Matt. xi. 25, 26.
Isai, liv. 17.
1 1 Kin. viii. 18.
i Ps. 1. 23.
m Mal. iii. 16.