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God visited again his people, the Shechinah was lighted in the new temple of Christ's body; enveloped him at the Transfiguration; and lastly descended to fill his new body the Church, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and the present earthly tabernacle of God.
Ver. 12, 13. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts: and the angels ministered unto him.
The account of the Temptation is given in detail by St. Matthew and St. Luke. The consideration of the circumstances comprised in this account is not called for, in the view suggested by St. Mark, whose Gospel we are at present taking as our main guide. Still it is requisite to point out that this event, whether considered briefly or in detail, claims our attention under two different aspects. I. As it was a real and mysterious trial which Christ underwent in connection with his office and ministry. II. As it was an example, perhaps a symbol, of our own exposure to temptation, both as a Church and as
individuals; and also of our power of resistance through bim.
Of these two views the last only is immediately practical ; the other only so, as it is connected with it. Throughout our Lord's ministry indeed, his character and conduct may be considered in this twofold aspect; and it is important that the two views should not be confounded. Of Christ's individual intercourse with the Father; of the mode in which the agency of Satan was directed against him, and was counteracted by him; of the support he derived, or the pangs he suffered; of all in short that relates to his absolute nature and condition, we are told scarcely any thing explicit. The notices are only such, as are called forth from the occasional contact, into which the practical view of our Lord is brought with these matters. It is what he has done for us; what he has done which we are to imitate, or otherwise practically apply, that is the theme of Gospel history; and this is very plain in the account of the Temptation, as in all the rest of the history. It is only a mystery, in the same sense in which the whole of Christ's life and conduct is a mystery ; that is,
contemplated in a point of view that only accidentally meets us, and is not intended as a part of “ the way and the truth.”
THE CALL OF SIMON, ANDREW, JAMES, AND JOHN.
Ver. 16-20. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
In conformity with the view given of the probable design and character of St. Mark's Gospel, he naturally relates as the first act of our Lord's ministry the call of apostles--the appointment of those who “ from the beginning were eyewitnesses” of his Gospel.
It will be observed, that these agents of Christ, although designed for a mission which was in time to embrace various Gentile nations, even all the world, and not only Judæa or the Jews; were, without any exceptioti, all Jews. This may appear at first strange, and somewhat at variance with that nice choice of means adapted to every end, which is discoverable in the redemption, not less than in the creation of the world. But on reflection, it cannot but be allowed, that there was a peculiar propriety and fitness in this arrangement. It was among the first duties of an apostle, to point out the intimate and various connection which subsists between the old and the new dispensation; to shew, in what way, the former was a preparatory measure to the latter, the blossom that made way for the fruit. Now it is clear, that, in the then state of the world, this could be done naturally, by none but persons educated in the habits of the Law; and miraculous means seem never to have been unnecessarily resorted to.
We shall observe too, that, like those whose appointment is here mentioned, all the apostles, except St. Paul, were from the lower ranks of society, and without more education than their creed as Jews required. The expediency of this, in removing all possible suspicion, that the propagation of Christianity was owing to human wis
dom, is obvious. Accordingly St. Paul, who is the only exception, continually alludes to those circumstances about his conversion and ministry, which shew that his case does not affect the argument. He was the last of the apostles, and therefore could not have contributed his learning and talents to set the scheme on foot ; nay, they were employed to oppose it. His conversion was not the gradual result of reasoning and deliberate study, but of an awful, sudden, and conspicuous act of divine interposition. He retained his natural powers of eloquence and learning after his conversion ; but appeals, in common with the others, to the proper credentials of an apostle the miracles which he wrought. Hence the recurrence of such passages as these in his writingswhich are doubtless not the barren display of humility, but a needful caution. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins