صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

and Galilee, by the name of "Christ Jesus," or "the anointed Saviour" of the world.

As such, we find that the chief and most powerful men among the children of Israel, rejected him. They long had expected a Messiah, and in their minds had adorned him with vast external pomp and worldly authority. They would not, therefore, as such receive the meek and humble man, who came to them in the shape of a mere peasant of Galilee. They heard, indeed, much of his miracles, and were eye-witnesses to many of them, nor could they deny that they were wrought; but in despite of this, they clung perseveringly to their old prejudices, and endeavoured to explain away the wonders worked by him, as if they were effected by the agency of evil spirits.

But others there were, who did not hesitate to accept him as their Saviour and their King. They were not, indeed, men of much power, nor had they, in general, any great pretensions to learning; most of them were in the same situation

of life with himself, and obtained their bread by their daily labour. But yet they, willingly, left their employments to follow him; they hung with breathless attention upon his lips, they were witnesses, both of his public and of his private life, they saw all the wonders which he wrought, and they believed, implicitly, in him.

And we have, in our text, the words of one of those, who, from their more particular intimacy, had the best opportunity of knowing him, declaring that, amidst all his poverty, all his earthly deprivations, they were able to perceive evident tokens of his true character, and

of his real pretensions. "We," says St. John, "beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

It will, perhaps, a little assist us in ascertaining what was the cause of this difference between these two ranks of people, if we consider what were the expectations which each had previously formed of the Messiah. The learned and the rich, among the Jews, had in him

expected a worldly Saviour. They did not feel the burthen of their sins nor their want of another deliverer. Their kingdom was of this world, and that kingdom had long been trampled on by the neighbouring nations; and they had anxiously looked forward to the time when they themselves, in turn, were to flourish. When, therefore, they saw a poor and humble individual claiming to be this Saviour, it was such an overthrow of all their hopes and wishes that they could not bear it.

The others, it is probable, had scarcely thought at all on the subject. What notions they had, hitherto, formed, were taken from the opinions of the more learned; yet were they not altogether bigoted to them. Unaccustomed to any earthly splendour, they knew not what it was; and though it was a long time before they could, entirely, get rid of their worldly prejudices, which clung to them, in some degree, even till after their Lord's ascension, and the consequent effusion of the Holy Spirit, yet were

they willing to repose themselves on their Divine Master, and to yield obedience to his will.

Which of them was right it needs not, now, to state. God was pleased “to hide his counsels from the wise and prudent, and to reveal them unto babes 1;" and thus, while the self-called learned looked for a Messiah accompanied with petty worldly grandeur, the simple and single-hearted could, not only with better feeling, but, also, with nicer discrimination, see his greatness in his goodness; "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Looking, as we now can, by the blessing of revelation, to the whole of the grand scheme of human redemption, seeing, as we now do, how the atonement was made for the sins of lost mankind, by the gracious sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we, by the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, are enabled to have a judgment as to these

1 Matt. xi. 25.

things, superior to that which could then, by any one, be entertained. But let us not exult, too much, in this superiority; for if our privileges are great, so much greater is our responsibility; and sin, and doubt, and error are so much the more dangerous to us, by how much the more numerous have been the advantages afforded us.

But, still, we are at liberty to pause and to reflect. And we may, I trust, without impropriety, ask ourselves, what we should now think, if we could look back and see the Messiah appearing as an earthly king, compared with his coming under the form of a meek and humble man, yet shewing himself, in holiness and in power, to be really divine. Would not the first have had a glare of tinsel and of nothingness about it, which, of itself, would have raised doubt and suspicion? And does not our faith rather receive confirmation, even to our earthly feelings, from the simplicity and mildness of his real appearance? Which is most truly, in our calm judgments, indicative

« السابقةمتابعة »