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some suppose, to the seats of honour in the Sanhedrim.

Our translators have not been happy in their rendering of part of the 23rd verse. Indeed, the words which they have inserted in italics, without authority or any good reason, appear to give even a false complexion to the sense; as though our Saviour were here asserting that it is not his office to distribute rewards and honours in his kingdom! The simple translation of the Greek is this;-"To sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, except to them for whom it is prepared of my father," or we may retain the word but in this sense, "is not mine to give but, &c." Our blessed Lord merely affirms that he will not make any arbitrary or capricious choice of favourites ;-and that, in dispensing his blessings and rewards, he will act, as in all other cases, in accordance with the will and ordinance of the Father who sent him. As God, his will is one with the Father; as man, it is in complete subordination and submission. Therefore as Mediator, God and man, Christ will give rewards only according to the wise and holy purpose of the Father; and we know that it is his purpose to give them, not to persons who may possess certain privileges, or stand in a certain visible connection with the Redeemer or his church, but to those who shall be fitted to receive them,-to those who shall be (so to speak) entitled to them, according to the covenant of grace.

READER.Our blessed Lord's prophetic declaration of his sufferings and death is here repeated for the third time, (see chap. xvi. 21; xvii. 22, 23). It sounds like a knell ringing at solemn intervals in the Gospel, preparatory to the closing scene of our Saviour's deep humiliation.-Our minds may well be affected with a sense of the voluntary character of our great sacrifice, from the deliberate manner in which Jesus faced and met his sufferings. Let the eye of our faith contemplate the picture which these few verses exhibit ;-the man of sorrows, not only accompanying his disciples, but heading them, leading the way, in this most eventful journey towards Jerusalem.—St. Mark, in the parallel passage, (chap. x. 3234,) sets this circumstance in a striking point of view. He says, "They were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them; and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him."-May we bear upon our hearts a devout and affectionate remembrance of this mournful journey! As disciples of the blessed Saviour, may we see him going before us in our journey, through life and death, to the heavenly Jerusalem!

Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children, &c.-There are many points in this narrative from which we may derive instruction.

Here we perceive undue solicitude on the part of a parent, and its failure. Doubtless it is one part of a parent's happy duty to offer up prayers on be

half of their children. They should, as it were, go with them to Jesus. But they should remember that their prayers for their children, as well as for themselves, ought to be "according to the will of God." And they may learn, from this history, not to be supremely anxious for their obtaining earthly dignity or power.

Here also we fear that we discover a worldly spirit and an ambitious turn of mind, on the part of James and John. Alas! they do not appear to have rightly understood the nature of our Saviour's kingdom, and they were disposed to mix up with it their favourite ideas of earthly pomp and power, even after having witnessed on the mount of transfiguration that exhibition of our Saviour's glory which might well have cast all worldly splendour for ever into the shade! How fondly man's heart cleaves to things present and temporal! How earnestly should we pray that God would continually make us to love that which he promises, as well as enable us to perform that which he commands. But here we have, more particularly, a specimen and type of ambition, ecclesiastical ambition, -a love of preeminence and power in the church. Sad, pestilential spirit-which, although solemnly denounced by Christ, has existed, to the present day, with lamentable consequences, among Christian


These Apostles were ignorant of the true nature of their request (ye know not what ye ask), and of their own weakness and inability to

do and suffer all that the grant of it would involve (We are able).—When we read of the life and sufferings of our holy and blessed Lord, let us think of him as addressing to ourselves that inquiry-Are ye able to drink of my cup? And then let us remember, for our comfort and direction, that although we are not able to do this of ourselves, yet we can do all things through Christ, by his Spirit, strengthening us. The Lord Jesus gave strength to these weak disciples to do and suffer much for his sake. St. James was put to death by Herod, Acts xii. 2; and St. John was banished to Patmos, Rev. i. 9.

The extravagant and ambitious views of these disciples gave occasion to great discontent and jealousy among their brethren. When the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. They ought, perhaps, to have pitied them ;-but one evil often leads to another. And not a few of the animosities, heart burnings, and divisions which have arisen in Christian churches, may be traced to some aspiring and ambitious pretensions on the part of spiritual rulers,-to some acts of aggression or usurpation, which have aroused the indignation of men, and excited them to acts of severe and uncharitable recrimination. How plain and pointed is our Saviour's rebuke of this ambitious and domineering spirit! How solemnly does he assure us that this worldly desire of rule, distinction, and preeminence is totally inconsistent with

the spirit of his heavenly religion! A ransom for many! A ransom

Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. These are words which ought to be carefully considered in framing, or remodelling, the constitution of a church. And they ought to be habitually and practically regarded by the ministers of every church, without exception.

Our Lord took occasion, in the course of his reply, to declare the justice and equity of God's dealings under the gospel dispensation. He assures us that it is not possible even for him, as the head of the church, to distribute rewards and honours upon any other principles than those of eternal truth and rectitude. He neither desires, nor is able, to give seats in his kingdom to any "but to those for whom it is prepared by his father." Perhaps the best practical comment that can be given upon these very important words is a reference to the twenty-fifth chapter of this gospel: see especially verses 21, 33, 34.

How strikingly do the mildness and gentleness of our Saviour's character appear in the whole of the discourse before us! How bright is the force of that example to which, at last, he so pointedly refers! See Phil. ii. 5-11. And how clear and simple is that declaration of the great cardinal doctrine of the gospel, with which the passage closes: The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for (instead of) many.

is that which is given or paid as an equivalent for captives to be liberated or returned. Sinners were captives under the power of the law, and the death of Christ is the price of their freedom; his voluntary and perfect obedience, his life yielded up upon the cross, are accepted in the place of their everlasting punishment, if by a living, obedient, devoted faith, they are one with him, and he with them.-Let us learn, more and more, to value aright this inestimable ransom; and let us continually seek for this appropriating faith. "Ye know that ye are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Pet. i. 18, 19.


Father, I sing thy wondrous grace;
I bless my Saviour's name,
He bought salvation for the poor
And bore the sinner's shame.

His deep distress has rais'd us high;
His duty and his zeal
Fulfill'd the law which mortals broke,
And finish'd all thy will.

This shall his humble followers see
And set their hearts at rest;
They by his death draw near to thee
And live for ever blest.

Let heav'n, and all that dwell on high,
To God their voices raise,
While lands and seas assist the sky

And join to advance the praise.


§ LXV.

CHAP. XX. 29-34.

Christ giveth two blind men their sight.

29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed them.


30 And, behold, two ¶ blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace; but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son

of David.

32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

tends to commend the credibility of the writers as independent, yet concurrent, narrators of facts. St. Mark and St. Luke speak of only one blind man upon whom this miracle was wrought; namely, Bartimæus, the son of Timæus. He was probably the one whose case had attracted the greatest notice; and it is evident that the Evanhis cure, do not deny the fact of a gelists, in referring exclusively to similar miracle having been wrought in favour of another at the same time.-St. Luke says, that the cure

was effected as our Saviour drew nigh to Jericho; whereas St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of it as having been performed as our Lord and his disciples departed from that place. This may, perhaps, be rightly regarded as an actual discrepancy in the statements; precisely such as continually takes place where several independent witnesses, between whom there is no collusion or secret understanding, are called upon to bear testimony in their statement on minor points; to a fact. Such persons often differ and yet their evidence, as a whole, re-establishes the occurrence of the fact, beyond all reasonable doubt. -We may safely assert that if the Evangelists had been artful men, attempting to impose upon us by untrue and fictitious narratives, they would not have suffered such a discrepancy as this to exist upon their pages.

34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes ceived sight, and they followed him.

a Mark x. 46. Luke xviii. 35.-6 ch. ix. 27.

Reader. This miracle is recorded also by St. Mark (x. 46-52) and St. Luke (xviii. 35-43). The narratives of the three Evangelists are substantially the same, with that slight variation in minor circumstances and matters of detail, which

READER. Two blind men sitting by the way side.-Bartimæus, says St. Mark, sat by the highway side, begging. Such also we may suppose to have been the occupation of his companion. And we may remark, that these two men, in their infirmity and their poverty, present to us a very lively picture of the spiritual condition of all mankind, as partakers in the loss and misery consequent upon the fall of our first parents. We are, by nature, spiritually blind and poor. -Until our minds are enlightened by the word and the Spirit of God, we do not discover the things which belong to our everlasting peace. We are blind to the evil and malig nity of sin,—the corruption and deceitfulness of our own hearts, the dangers by which we are surrounded, the holiness of God,-the beauty of holiness and its necessity in our own hearts and practice, and the happiness of that heaven, where holiness is found without alloy and in infinite perfection. It is common indeed, with respect to all these things, for men to say We see; but it is certain that, until Christ gives them light, they remain in darkness. And as men are, by nature, spiritually blind, so they are also spiritually poor. Nay, they are involved in a large and insuperable debt; for they have committed that breach of God's holy and perfect law for which they are utterly unable to make amends. And while sin has made them debtors to divine justice, it has robbed them of all that excellency and goodness

which the Creator originally imparted to their nature. Man, since the fall, is, of himself, destitute of that holiness which forms his best, and highest, and most indispensable goodness. He is born into the world with a corrupt and darkened heart; he grows up to still greater corruption and still further debasement, and he dies with an immortal spirit void of holiness, happiness, or hope.-Hence then the condition of Bartimeus and his companion, as blind men and as the subjects of distressing poverty, is a pattern of the miserable state of all mankind by nature, if destitute of the gifts of the grace of God.


When they heard that Jesus passed by.-St. Luke makes mention of a circumstance which may be worthy of remark. He says concerning Bartimæus, that "hearing the mul titude pass by, he asked what it meant." He made use of those faculties which God had mercifully left at his command. And it is our duty to do the same, with regard to spiritual things. "He that hath,"

he that makes a good and honest use of what he does possess,—“ to him shall be given." Let us remember this, and consider whether or not we have paid due attention to those striking objects of religious belief and practice which have been, as it were, continually thrust upon our notice from our earliest days. Have we seriously and earnestly asked, What do these these things mean? Surely it would seem, so to speak, natural, for persons who grow up in a Christian country, to

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