תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

tions necessary to form good warriors. Here, “ many were called,” but “few” were ultimately “ chosen;" and those few were the bravest and the worthiest. So it is in the “ kingdom of heaven," in the Gospel Dispensation. Not only many, but all are called, invited to embrace the Gospel; it is offered to all. But when men do embrace it, and when the time at length arrives, in the great day of reckoning, that a selection must be made of such professing Christians as are, at that moment, fit for eternal joy, only those shall be taken who possess the necessary qualifications, who have led a life of piety, benevolence, and purity. Hence the truth of that saying, “ many are called, but few chosen." We are all “called,” we have all obeyed the call, for we profess to be followers of the Anointed; it depends entirely on ourselves whether or not we shall eventually be “ chosen” to partake of everlasting happiness.

Verses 20, 21: “ Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children, with her sons, worshipping him [or making him obeisance. See on ch. viii. 2.] and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”

Salome, the wife of Zebedee, imagining that the reign of the Messias was to be that of an earthly monarch, seeks for situations of honour and emolument for her sons, James and John. She had probably heard of the promise of the Master to his twelve Apostles, that they should sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; but not content that her children should be simply equal in dignity with their companions, she seeks for them the two places of chief dignity, to sit on the right and left of the reigning monarch. Perhaps there is an allusion here to the practice of the Sanhedrin, or great council of the Jewish nation. The Prince of the Sanhedrin sat in the midst of two rows of elders or senators; on his right hand sat the person named the Father of the Sanhedrin, and on his left, the person named the Son. These persons transacted all business in the absence of the president. If there be a reference to this custom, Salome entreats for James and John, offices only inferior in power and honour to that occupied by Jesus himself. It would appear, that the two Apostles joined in the request of their ambitious mother, for in the parallel passage in Mark, we read, “ And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldst do for us whatsoever we desire." Hence it is that Jesus directs his answer chiefly, if not exclusively to them, and not to their mother, “ Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye

able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of; and to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with? They say unto him, We are able.” The participation either in joy or sorrow, is represented in Scripture by drinking of a cup. Thus, to express the enjoyment of either temporal or spiritual good, we read of the “cup of consolation,” the “cup of blessing,” the “cup of salvation;" and, on the other hand, to express suffering, either bodily or mental, either imposed by man or Deity, the Hebrew metaphor is, to partake of the

cup of trembling," the “cup of the fury of Jebovah.” Hence Jesus prays in the garden, that “the cup might pass from him;" that if it were consistent with God's will and the purposes of his mission, he might be spared the pangs which he foresaw. When, therefore, Jesus asks James and John, “ Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?” he means, Are ye able to undergo the sufferings which I shall undergo? 'Nearly similar are the meanings of the words “ baptise” and “baptism,” in this passage. To be baptised, literally signifies to be immersed under water. Hence, it easily came, by a very simple metaphor, to denote being exposed to suffering, to be baptised, immersed, or plunged in "a sea of troubles," in a flood of afflictions. The same figure of speech is to be found in most languages. We have it in our own; and scruple not to speak of being “steeped in” sorrow, of being “overwhelmed by” calamity; metaphors evidently drawn from immersion in water, being covered by the waves, or prostrated by a torrent. Accordingly, when Jesus inquires of the sons of Zebedee, “ Are ye able to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?” his meaning is as before, Are ye able to endure the sufferings to which I shall be exposed ?

Having given this exposition of the question concerning

are,

in all pro

the “ baptism," it may be prudent to state, that the words, "and to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with,” in the 22d verse, and the repetition of the same words in the 23d verse, are not to be found in the most ancient manuscript versions and Fathers—have consequently been omitted by Griesbach-and bability, spurious. The sense is, indeed, complete without them; for all that they can be supposed to signify, has been already conveyed by the previous question, “ Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?” That cup was one of suffering and of violent death, the result of persecution: he prophesies that such would be the fates of these two Apostles. Were the predictions fulfilled? James was executed by Herod; for it is written in Acts, xii. 1, 2, “Now, about that time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.” John, indeed, died a natural death, at the advanced age of a hundred years; yet his life also was one of suffering and privation; he spent the greater part of it in exile in the Isle of Patmos, whither he had been banished by the emperor

of heathen Rome. This we learn from his own declaration in Rev. i.9: “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Thus, James and John, both in persecution, and one in early death, did partake of that cup of suffering whereof the Master drank so deeply.

The Anointed at length tells Salome and her children, that the honours which they seek are not at bis disposal, verse, 23:4" To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of ту

FATHER.” Jesus had frequently declared, during the period of his public ministry, that he possessed no power in his own right, or which originally and necessarily belonged to himself; but that he had received all from God. 66 The Son can do nothing of himself." 6. I can of mine own self do nothing." “ I do nothing of myself.“ All power which I now possess on earth, or may hereafter possess in heaven, is given unto me." These declarations are confirmed by his emphatic disclaimer in the text, of any privilege to interfere with God in the allotment of positions of honour and reward in the life that is to come.

AUTUMN MUSINGS.

« A flower by the wayside." By the hedge-side would it often grow, that lonely flower! yet ever loving some obscure, unfrequented corner, perhaps some heap of drifted sand, or some barren spot in the deep woods, where a scathed and ruined oak imparted a portion of the sterility of its branches to the soil around it.

A weakling of its tribe it seemed, drooping for very want, trembling before every breath of air; yet, with a mild and gentle beauty, winning the very heart for its loneliness, and almost waking tears, that it was a thing so frail and unprotected.

There was something in its lowly beauty, that spoke home to the heart of the thousand gentle yet humble beings, that seem born unto this world's neglect, who, yet awhile, full of gratitude and love, look up to heaven for sunshine or sweet night-dews, and finding them not, fade away and die. Yes, fade away and die! Though outwardly calm that dying be, as though they feared to trouble the busy and hardened travellers of life's thronged thoroughfare with one tear or sigh of their sorrow, how deep are the emotions of their hearts, full once of all glorious hopes, giving way one by one, and snapping like the strings of a barp too over-wrought!

Oh! how many gentle beings one kind word or so might have fostered! how many tearful and heart-broken souls, which the sweet night-dews of pity might have cherished unto excellence and joy!

How deep and inexhaustible is human nature! Amid its darkest shades how many glorious lights there are that play between! And what a sad story is daily recorded, not only of powers misapplied, of hearts wronged by neglect, and hardened into crime, but of the utter perversion of energies and feelings adapted to increase the happiness and well-being of society! The world--the universe is rife with powers and intelligences. Most lamentable is the utter waste of human intellect, and the non-developement of beautiful feelings, and holy emotions, and glorious thoughts, and resolves, springing up like flowers in a desert place, blooming unseen in many silent and solitary hearts, then dying away without fruit, and leaving not so much as a withered leaf as a memorial ! And all this, because man is insensible to his glorious destiny, and society is neglectful of its duty to the individuals who constitute it.

J. BRENT. BANKS OF THE STOUR, Sept. 1810.

REVIEW. Matins and Vespers: with Hymns and Occasional Devo

tional Pieces." By John Bowring: 3d Edition, altered and enlarged. pp. 278. London: J. Green. Edinburgh: W. Tait.

We rejoice that another edition of this valuable work has been called for by the public. It is a sign that other minds and hearts have experienced the enjoyment which gratified our own on its perusal; it is a pledge that enlightened and benevolent aspirations meet with glad response in the common human heart. The volume contains a poem for every morning and evening for four weeks, as well as upwards of sixty hymns and other devotional pieces, fraught with the spirit of enlightened piety, of pure Christian love. The volume presents an admirable aid to family worship, and cannot fail of making wiser and better all who so employ it. The first edition was dedicated to Dr. Carpenter, under whose ministry it was the privilege of Dr. Bowring to be trained; the second edition was inscribed to Mrs. Barbauld, a name hallowed in many a mind her genius has inspired with a love of excellence; and this edition is as appropriately dedicated to the children of the Author. Extracting, as we must, these three effusions, we heartily commend the work to the attention of every friend of piety and good

ness.

To Dr. Lant Carpenter.
Within

my

infant breast parental care
The living seed of young devotion planted,
And watch'd and water'd it—and pray’d and panted,
That it might spring and bud and blossom there.

« הקודםהמשך »