תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also ? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.

How joyful an assurance must this be to a soul thus bowed down and humbled in the very dust under a sense of sin ! How light did the reproaches of men sit upon her when she heard these reviving words from the mouth of the great Saviour, who alone had authority to pronounce them!

Our hearts surely upbraid us with many and aggravated sins; but we hear the tidings of pardon : let us gladly embrace it; and acknowledging that not five hundred pence, nor even ten thousand talents, are sufficient to express the greatness of our debt ; let us retain the remembrance of it, even when we hope that God has forgiven it; and let us labour that the tenderness of our love, the warmth of our zeal, and the steadiness of our obedience, may in some measure be proportionable to it: and, blessed Jesus, how distinguished must they then be!

Let us with humble pleasure approach this compassionate Friend of sinners; who, though in one sense separate from them, yet thus freely and graciously encouraged the chief of them to apply to him, though he well knew that condescension would expose him to the censure of the self-conceited Pharisees. May God preserve us from that arrogant confidence in our own righteousness, which, while it leads us to despise some, perhaps much dearer to him than ourselves, would proportionably sink our value for the Saviour, and our love to him !

As for what remains, let the candour with which Christ accepted this invitation, and the gentleness and prudence with which he behaved at this ensnaring entertainment, teach us to mingle the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence and sweetness of the dove ; and neither absolutely to refuse all favours, nor severely to resent all neglects from those, whose friendship might at best be very dubious, and their intimacy by no means safe.

To conclude; let us avoid that very ill temper which this Pharisee shewed in upbraiding this poor humble penitent with the scandals of her former life. Where we have reason to believe that sin has been lamented and forsaken, and consequently that God has forgiven it, let us cheerfully receive those whom our holy Master has not rejected; and if the remembrance of former irregularities cannot be entirely lost, let it only engage us to magnify the riches of Divine grace toward such persons, and to rejoice with them in the display

SECTION XVI.
Matthew XII. 22–32. MARK III. 20, 21.

LUKE VIII. 143. And it came to pass afterward, that Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said he is beside himself. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

Matthew xii. 24–34.–MARK III. 22–30. But the Pharisees, when they heard it, and the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem, said, This fellow hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth be out devils. But Jesus knew their thoughts, and called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan rise up against and cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand ? He cannot stand, but hath an end. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingAnd they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also ? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.

How joyful an assurance must this be to a soul thus bowed down and humbled in the very dust under a sense of sin! How light did the reproaches of men sit upon her when she heard these reviving words from the mouth of the great Saviour, who alone had authority to pronounce them!

Our hearts surely upbraid us with many and aggravated sins; but we hear the tidings of pardon : let us gladly embrace it; and acknowledging that not five hundred pence, nor even ten thousand talents, are sufficient to express the greatness of our debt; let us retain the remembrance of it, even when we hope that God has forgiven it; and let us labour that the tenderness of our love, the warmth of our zeal, and the steadiness of our obedience, may in some measure be proportionable to it: and, blessed Jesus, how distinguished must they then be!

Let us with humble pleasure approach this compassionate Friend of sinners; who, though in one sense separate from them, yet thus freely and graciously encouraged the chief of them to apply to him, though he well knew that condescension would expose him to the censure of the self-conceited Pharisees. May God preserve us from that arrogant confidence in our own righteousness, which, while it leads us to despise some, perhaps much dearer to him than ourselves, would proportionably sink our value for the Saviour, and our love to him !

As for what remains, let the candour with which Christ accepted this invitation, and the gentleness and prudence with which he behaved at this ensnaring entertainment, teach us to mingle the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence and sweetness of the dove; and neither absolutely to refuse all favours, nor severely to resent all neglects from those, whose friendship might at best be very dubious, and their intimacy by no means safe.

To conclude; let us avoid that very ill temper which this Pharisee shewed in upbraiding this poor humble penitent with the scandals of her former life. Where we have reason to believe that sin has been lamented and forsaken, and consequently that God has forgiven it, let us cheerfully receive those whom our holy Master has not rejected ; and if the remembrance of former irregularities cannot be entirely lost, let it only engage us to magnify the riches of Divine grace toward such persons, and to rejoice with them in the display

SECTION XVI.
Matthew xii. 22–32. MARK III. 20, 21.

LUKE VIII. 143. And it came to pass afterward, that Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said he is beside himself. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David ?

MATTHEW XII. 24–34.–MARK III. 22—30. But the Pharisees, when they heard it, and the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem, said, This fellow hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. But Jesus knew their thoughts, and called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan rise up against and cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand ? He cannot stand, but hath an end. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me ; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore, verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men: And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come; but he is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

How condescending was the conduct of the blessed Jesus while he dwelt among us! Though he was Lord of all, he not only waved the pompous manner of subsisting by continued miracles, but likewise declined to dwell with the rich and the great, with whom he could easily have secured to himself a constant abode. He chose a laborious itinerant course, and subsisted chiefly on the bounty of a few pious women, whose company and friendship he did not despise. That subsistence was most pleasing to him which was the greatest testimony of the respect and affection of his hearers, and at the same time gave the greatest opportunity to testify his own humility and self-denial, and to pursue his schemes for public usefulness. So may his followers, and especially his ministers, always judge! And may all the great things they seek for themselves be such as lie on the other side of the grave, and are to be enjoyed in the presence of our glorified Master.

We have seen another triumph of Christ over the evil spirit, another of those glorious and delightful instances, in which the great Captain of our salvation, with superior strength, bound the strong man, and spoiled his goods. May the victory still be carried on to perfection ! May his merciful alarms break that dangerous and fatal peace in which the slaves of Satan are for a while detained, that he may with greater advantage, and greater terror, plunge them into final and eternal ruin! And, in such a contest, may we abhor neutrality. With pleasure and zeal let us list ourselves under the Redeemer's banners, that we may share his trophies ! And,

« הקודםהמשך »