« הקודםהמשך »
cuses for neglecting to assist him, and send our compassionate Saviour away empty. Is this the temper of a Christian? Is this the temper in which we should wish to be found at the judgment-day? :
But we know not Christ in this disguise. Neither did these unhap. py creatures on the left hand know him : they are surprised to be told of such a thing; and yet are represented as perishing for it. Away therefore with all those religious hopes (vainly so called) which leave the heart hardened, and the hand contracted from good works! If we shut up the bowels of compassion from our brethren, how dwelleth the love of God in ur? Or to what doth the love of Christ constrain us, if it be not to the exercise of gratitude to him, and the offices of cheerful and active friendship to those whom he now owns as his brethren, and whom he will not be ashamed to call so in the midst of his highest triumph? Blessed Jesus, how munificent art thou! And what a fund of charity didst thou lay up in the very words which are now before us! In all ages since they were spoken, how many hungry hast thou fed, how many naked hast thou clothed, how many calamitous creatures hast thou relieved by them! May they be written deep in our hearts, that the joy with which we shall finally meet thee may be increased by the happy effect of this day's meditation,
The Jewish rulers consult how they might take Christ, and Judas agrecs
to deliver him into their hands. MATT. xxvi, 1-5, 1416. MAKK xiv, 1, 2, 10, 11, LUKE xxi. 37, &c. xxii. 1-6.
THUS our Lord ended his discourses on the third day of the week in
I which he suffered ; and he was constantly teaching by day in the temple, and at night he went out of the city, and lodged at the mount called the mount of olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, that they might hear himn. Now the feast of unleavened bread, which was called the passover, drew near, and was within two days after.* And it came to pass that when Jesus had finished all these discourses, he said to his disciples, Ye know that after two days the passover cometh; and the Son of man is then to be betrayed to be crucified,
Then the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people, assembled together, at the palace of the high-priest, who was caļled Caiaphas, And they consulted how they might take Jesus by artifice, and put him to death as soon as possible. But some of them were rather for delaying it, and they said, Not at the feast, lest there should be a tumult among the people ; for they feared the people; but others frusha ed the matter on with greater forwardness and zeal,
* I apprehend that the preceding discourses (from $ cli.) were delivered on the Tuesday; and he probably uttered the following words that evening, which was just two days before the paschal lamb was eaten. I do not find that any of the transactions of the Wednesday are recorded, besides the general account given above.
Then Satan entered into Judas, who was also called Iscariot, and was one of the number of the twelve apostles. And he went away and con, tersed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And he said, What are you willing to give me and I will deliver him to you. And when they heard it, they were glad of such an offer ; and readily promised to give him money as a reward; and et last they agreed with him for thirty pieces of silver, * which was the price to be paid for a slave who had been slain. And he promised to
fulfil his engagement ;] and accordingly from that time, sought oppor, tunity to betray him unto them, in the absence of the multitude.
REFLECTIONS We see with what unremitting vigour the great Author and Finisher. of our faith, pressed forward towards the mark, and how he quickened his pace, as he saw the day approaching; spending in devotion the greatest part of the night, which succeeded to his most laborious days, and reşuning his work early in the morning! How much happier were his disciples in these early lectures than the slumbers of the morning could have made them on their beds! Let us not scruple to deny ourselves the indulgence of unnecessary sleep, that we may come morning after morning to place ourselves at his feet, and lose no opportunity of receiving the instructions of his word, and seeking those of his Spirit.
But while his gracious heart was thus intent on doing good, the chief priests and rulers of the people were no less intent on mischiefand mur. der. They took counsel together how they might put him to death : They set upon his head the price of a slave, and find an apostle base enough to accept it. Blush, 0 ye heavens, to have been witness to this ; and be ashamed, O earth, to have supported so infamous a creature Yet this was the man who but a few days before was the foremost to ap: pear as an advocate for the poor, and to censure the pious zeal of Ma. ry, which our Lord vindicated and applauded. Let the fatal proofs of his covetous disposition, instigated by Satan, be marked with abhor, rence and terror; and if we see this base principle harboured in the breasts of those who call themselves the disciples and ministers of Christ, let us pot wonder if hy God's righteous judgment they are given up to those excesses of it which bring upon them lasting infą. my and endless perdition.
* About 31. 158. See Exod. xxi. 32. As they proposed it to express their contempt of Jesus, so God permitted Judas, covetous as he was, to acquiesce in that mean and trifling sum (though he might easily have raised it higher) that thus the prophecy might be fulfilled. Zech. xi. 12, 13. A goodly price that he was prized at of them.
Christ, having directed his disciples where to prepare the passover, comes
to Jerusalem and celebrates it with them. MATT. xxvi. 17-20, MARK xiv. 12-17. LUKE xxii. 7--18. John xiii. 1.
N OW the first day of unleavened bread came, in which the pass
over (or the paschal lamb) must be killed. And he sent two of his disciples, Peter and John, to Jerusalem, and said, Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it together. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou have us go, and prepare for thy eating the passover? And he said unto them, Go into the city to such a one as I will point out to you: Behold as soon as you are entered into the city, a man will meet you, carrying a pitcher of water ; follow him into the house where he enters, * and say to the master of the family, The Teacher says to thee, My time is near, I will celebrate the passover at thy house :t where is the dining-room, where I may eat the passover with my disciples? And he will shew you a large upper room, furnished and prepared : there make ready for us. And his two disciples went out, and came into the city, and found the man, as he had said to them; and they did as Jesus had appointed thein, and made the passover ready. And in the evening, when the hour was come, he came and sat down with the twelve apostles.
Now before he began to eat the feast of the passover, as Jesus knew that his hour was come, when he should depart from this world to the Father, he ordered every circumstance of his last interview with his disci. ples, so as to manifest, that having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them to the end. And he said to them, I have most earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, That I will not eat of it any more, till it be fulfilled in the king. dom of God; or till the institucions of the gospel shall have perfected those of the law.–And having received the cup (with which it was usual 10 begin the feast) he gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I say unto you, That I will not drink any more of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God come ; and that spiritugl redemption, which is typified by this ordinance, shall be fulfilled.
REFLECTIONS. We may well assure ourselves, that the same divine penetration and prophetic discernment which enabled the blessed Jesus thus circumstantially to forețell to his disciples those most contingent occurrences which were to determine the place where they should prepare the passover, would also open to him a prospect of all that was to follow. All the scenes that were to be passed through on this fatal night, and the succeeding black and bloody day, were, no doubt, attentively viewed: the agony of the garden, the traiterous kiss of Judas, the cowardly
* MARK, “Wheresoever he goes in you shall say."
+ The owner of this house might be a person who was, in his heart at least, a disciple of Christ.
flight of all the other apostles, the insults of his seemingly victorious and successful enemies, the clamorous accusations, the insolent buffetings, the scourges, the thorns, the nails, the cross, and all that he was to endure upon it from the hand of God and men. Yet behold, with all these in his view, he goes on with a holy alacrity, and this sun of righteousness rejoiceth as a champion to run his face. Yea, when he is sitting down to the paschal supper (though therein was exhibited, in a most lively emblem, the bitterness of his own sufferings) he utters these gracious and emphatical words, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer,
So justly might it be said of him, as we see it is, that having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them to the end. O blessed Jesus, may the ardour, the courage, and the permanency of our love to thee, bear at least some little proportion to that wherewith thou hast condescended to love us! May we long, from time to time, to celebrate with thee that Christian passover which thou hast ordained to succeed the Jewish, as the memorial of thy sacrifice! Yea, may we long for. the last solemnity of this kind, which will ere long come, after which we shall no more drink with thee of the fruit of the vine, till it be fulfilled. in the kingdom of God! In the mean time may we be cheered with thy love, which is indeed far better than wine ; and, thus supported with those reviving cordials which thy gospel administers, may we keep ourselves in the love of God, and in the patient expectation of thy final glorious, and welcome appearance !
Christ rebukes the ambition of his disciples, by washing their feet, and
adds several adınonitions to humility. John xii. 2-17.
2 N OW supper being come*, and the antepast or introduction to
I it being over ; in the interval between that and the serving up the paschal lamb, there was a contention among them, which of 3 them should be accounted the greatest. And upon this, though
Jesus knew that the father had given all things into his hands, and that as he came forth from God, he was returning to God; he
was willing to give his disciples an example of humility before his my passion. With this design he riseth from supper; and lays aside 5 his upper-garments, and taking a towel, tied it round him; And
then pouring water into an ewer, he began to wash the feet of his
disciples, and to wipe them with the linen cloth with which he was 6 girded. Then when he comes to Simon Peter, to do the like for ng him, Peter says to him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus an
swered and said to him, Thou knowest not now the design of what
* In this sense the word is used, John xxi. 4. Acts xii. 18, &c. The rest of this verse (which is a parenthesis) is transposed. And the words following, are introduced here from Luke xxii. 24. respecting the contention between the disciples, which certainly must have taken place previous to Christ's lesson on humility. [The author, in a long note, gives sufficient reasons for such a transposition.]
I am doing, but thou shalt know hereafter ; as I shall presently 8 explain this action, and many other things. Peter said to him,
Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not 9 wash thee, thou hast no portion with me. Simon Peter, struck
with so awful an admonition, says to him, Lord, not my feet only, 10 but also my hands and my head. Jesus says further to him, He
that has just been bathing, needs only to wash his feet, and is en11 tirely clean ; and, in this sense, you are clean ; but not all. For - he knew who would betray him; therefore he said, You are not 12 all clean. When therefore he had washed their feet, and had ta
ken his upper garments, he sat down at the table again, and said to them, Do you know the design of what I have been doing to you?-He then proceeded to explain this action, and to apply the
reproof intended by it.]. 25* And he said to them, as formerly: The kings of the Gentiles
lord it over them; and they that exercise authority upon them 26 have the title of benefactors. But you shall not do thus : but let
him who is eldest among you be as the youngest, and he that pre37 sides, let him be as a servant. For which is greater, he that sits
at the table, or he that waits ? Is not he that sits at the table ? But ✓ I am among you as one that waits. 13 You call me Teacher and Lord ; and you say well; for so I am. 14 If therefore I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you 15 also ought to wash one another's feett. For I have given you an
example, that as I have done to you, you also should do to one an16 other. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater .. than his Lord, nor the messenger greater than he that sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are happy if you practise them.
.. REFLECTIONS. What a mournful reflection is it that corrupt nature should still prevail so far, even in the hearts of such pious men as the apostles in the main were, that after so long a converse with Christ, they should still be so unlike him, and bring their eager contentions about superiority, in a state of temporal grandeur they were never to see, into the last hours they spent with their Master, and even to one of the most holy and solemn ordinances of religion ! Such are the rain dreams of ambition, and with such empty shadows does it amuse the deluded mind. But let us turn our eyes to him whom we justly call our Teacher and our Lord ; for surely, if any thing can effect a cure, it must be actions and words like these. The great Hiir of all things, invested with universal dominion, and just returning to his headerły Father to undertake the administration of it; in what a habit, in what an attitude, do we see him! Whom would a stranger have taken for the lowest of the company, but him who was high over all created nature? Blessed Jesus, it was not so much any personal attachment to these thy servants, as a regard to the edification of thy whole church, which engaged thee to this astonishing action ; that all thy ministers,
* This and the two following verses are from Luke xxii. t This was used proverbially for performing the lowest vifices. 1 Sam. xxv.4L