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ing to win the soul. No. He comes as the meek and lowly Jesus. His claims and his promises alike are spiritual. The substance of his argument is the cross on which he died; the substance of his promise is the heaven in which he dwells. His kingdom is not of this world. His law is the law of love; and his reward is the happiness of sanctified affections, and the manifestation of the favour and approbation of God. He shows us his lowly birth and his humble life, he points to his bleeding cross and to his open tomb,and he sets at nought the pomp of ceremonial and the parade of rhetoric and the ingenuity of argument, while yet he addresses us in a voice more powerful than all others, and reveals to us a spectacle more imposing and more edifying than all besides, proclaiming that God is love, and saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!" And, in like manner, passing by human arguments and motives to godliness and virtue, he challenges attention to the value and destiny of the immortal soul, and calls for a heavenly mind and holy conversation. Pomp and ceremony, and the boast of antiquity, and the pride of reason, and the show of worldly wisdom, and the supposed merit or efficacy of selfinflicted pain and needless austerities, these things he leaves in the hands of craft, superstition, idolatry, And he founds upon his own great work of suffering that powerful appeal, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole
world and lose his own soul?"-and
"Tell ye the daughter of Sion,
or of his people's godly conversation; or, as his most awful method of approach, he comes to it in the bare announcement of a judgment which has not yet been set, and of those terrors of his wrath which have not yet begun to be revealed. Still, then, he comes to us in great humility and meekness. And herein we may continue to find a declaration of peace, and a message of love, and a demonstration of the spiritual nature of the claim which is made upon our hearts.
And who is it that thus meekly approaches us, in the gospel, as the messenger of peace, and the herald of love, and the bearer of unearthly, spiritual, claims? It is the lawful sovereign of our souls. "Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee!" He demands the cheerful submission of our minds and hearts, and requires us to do him homage by the obedience of our lives. And his reward is with him. He comes, not to impoverish the soul, but to enrich it; not to make it wretched, but to fill it with peace and joy ;-not to enslave it, but to make it free,-to break off the iron yoke of spiritual bondage, and to lay on it that easy yoke and that light burden which may be to it a token of emancipation, a badge of the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The Lord Jesus Christ appears before the soul in peace, with his heart full of love, and his hand rich with blessings. He demands admission into our hearts, and claims the exercise of his rightful sovereignty, not only
that his Father may be glorified, and that he may himself rejoice in us, but also that our joy may be full,-that we may become partakers of that blessedness which no other inmate and occupant of the soul is able to bestow.
Our happiness, as Christians, consists in a dutiful reception, and a willing entertainment, of this our heavenly King. Let us welcome his gracious approach with humility, faith, and love. So shall we be able to declare, with thankfulness and joy, in the words of the beloved disciple, "Of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace." And, having thus yielded to the authority of our Lord and Saviour during this mortal life, in which he came to visit us in great humility, it will be our unspeakable happiness to awake up hereafter and behold his face with joy, when he shall come again, in his glorious majesty, to judge the living and the dead.
My Saviour and my King,
Now make thy glory known,
Gird on thy mighty sword, And ride in majesty to spread The conquests of thy word.
O Lord, subdue thy foes,
Or melt their hearts t' obey; While justice, meekness, grace, and truth Attend thy glorious way.
Thy laws, O God, are right;
Thy throne shall ever stand; And thy victorious Gospel proves A sceptre in thy hand.
CHAP. XXI. 12-22.
Christ driveth the buyers and sellers out of the temple; and curseth the fruitless leafy tree.
12 'And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the " money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, "My house shall be called the house of prayer; 'but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, "If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.
-Mark xi. 11. Luke xix. 45. John ii. 15.-m Deut. xiv. 25.-n Isaiah Ivi. 7.-0 Jer. vii. 11. Mark xi. 17. Luke xix. 46.-p Psalm viii. 2.-q Mark xi. 11. John xi. 18.-r Mark xi. 12.-s Mark xi. 13. + Gr. one fig tree. Mark 20.-u ch, xvii. 20. Luke xvii. 6.- James Mark xi. 24. Luke
xi. 9. James v. 16. I John iii. 22; & v. 14.
16 And said unto him, Hear-1.6-y 1 Cor. xili. 2.-3 ch. vii. 7. est thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
17 ¶ And he left them, and went out of the city into 'Bethany; and he lodged there.
Reader. The temple, probably in the outer court or court of the Gentiles, had been grievously profaned
by having been made a place of traffic, by men of a worldly mind. The money-changers were probably those who exchanged the Roman coin, then in general use, for the
Jewish half shekel which was demanded by the law as an annual tribute from every man above twenty years of age. This may have been, to a certain extent, merely a matter of convenience; but the exchange was also perhaps made a matter of extortion and unjust gain. The doves were required for offerings. And the fault of these trafficers trafficers may perhaps rightly be regarded as two-fold; first, that of carrying on a trade, lawful in itself, under improper circumstances, and without due regard to the sanctity of the place in which they stationed themselves; and, secondly, that of taking undue advantage of the ignorance or necessity of those with whom they dealt, and of practising fraud and extortion.
The fig tree, which our Lord sentenced to destruction, was standing not only in the way, but as the words may rather be rendered, "on the road side," where its fruit was public property, and could lawfully be taken by any passenger. It disappointed the expectations which may have been formed respecting its produce at the time of our Lord's visit, because, as one Evangelist remarks," the time of figs was not yet," i. e. the time of gathering figs, the harvest of that fruit, had not yet arrived.
READER. Jesus went into the temple of God. How speedily he made it appear that "he must be
about his Father's business" and that it was his "meat and drink to do his Father's will." How regular was his attendance, at proper seasons, in the places of appointed worship, the synagogue and the temple. -Very remarkable also is this history as a fulfilment of Mal. iii. 1—4, and Haggai ii. 6—9.
In casting the buyers and sellers out of the temple our Lord appears to have exercised his Divine power; for we can hardly suppose that a number of men would have submitted in this instance to one who did not manifest some signs of authority, or exert some act of power, beyond that of an indignant, although just, rebuke. We have here a striking and edifying example of the Divine hatred of impiety and all iniquity, and of that majestic power by which all that is unholy will be finally overthrown and destroyed. Hence, too, let us learn how grievous in the sight of heaven is that one particular offence, too often committed, alas, in all ages of the world, a profanation of sacred things. The desecration of holy seasons, and holy places, and sacred services, is a sad demonstration of a heart not right with God. Whether it be wilful and insolent, or merely arising from want of consideration and thought, it reveals, at the very least, a want of reverence for the Divine presence, and the absence of a tender conscience and of an humble mind. No false or superstitious respect for things sacred is demanded, or even permitted, by the spirit of the Gospel; but the right
and reverent use of such things, as distinguished from impious abuse or profane neglect, is entirely in accordance with Christian obligation and temper. While we hallow God's sabbaths, let us also reverence his sanctuary. Let us partake in the feelings of the pious patriarch at Bethel, when he exclaimed, "How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Nor let us despise or forget that exhortation of the wise man which is directed against vanities in Divine service, "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil.”
The reference made by our blessed Lord to the words of Isaiah is remarkably appropriate and instructive. It teaches us how to respect the place of Divine worship, whether we regard its services in the light of a duty, or view them as one of our most valuable privileges. And this becomes more apparent if we consider the words of Isaiah in their original connection, forming, as they do, part of a prophecy which includes a reference to gospel times, and the services of spiritual worshippers under the gospel dispensation. "Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make
them joyful in my house of praver their burnt offerings and their si fices shall be accepted upon my altar; for mine house shall be cal led an house of prayer, for all poople." Isaiah lvi. 6, 7.—Surely thon a due reverence for God's holy C, and for the courts of holy wors is no merely Jewish or legal insti tution,—nothing intended mc: pły for the followers of Moses, and fo those who were in bondage under the elements of the law;-but it is something demanded by Christ h self, the spiritual lawgiver, of tr and acceptable worshippers in al ages of the church.
Ye have made it a den of this Men may invent smooth names for the profanation of sacred things. the Christian church, but in v If ecclesiastical extortion, and ava rice, and mercenary motives, fraudulent practices, and a me regard to filthy lucre prevail with. the borders of any church, then. matters not by what style or me such church may be called,-whe!. it be ancient or modern, Romis Protestant, established or noren. formist, episcopal, presbyteria, o independent, but whatever by is name or its pretensions among men, it is, in the sight of Chris far as relates to the partake that worldly spirit and those transactions, a den of thieves. there no buyers and sellers in de temple at the present day? Ly the love of mammon and of the wages of unrighteousness be cast i of their hearts, before it be too and they themselves be rejected for