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which was deservedly called an Iouse of Prayer, a Den of Thieves.
After our Blessed Lord had drove this venal clan out of the temple, there were brought unto him many persons that were blind, lame, and otherwise afflicted; all of whom he instantly relieved of their respective complaints. The multitude were filled with admiration at the sight of these wonderful acts; but the chief priests and Scribes, when they saw the miracles which he wrought, and heard the acclamations of the people (more especially of the children, who cried out, Hosanna to the Son of David!) they were greatly enraged, and discovered their anger by asking our Lord, If he had heard what they said? But he silenced their question by shewing them, that, what was so displeasing to them, did really fulfil the scriptures, particularly that passage in the Psalmist, where it is said, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength. Psal. viii. 2. This answer, however, did but enrage them the more, and put them upon seeking all occasions to destroy him, though their dread of the people (who were exceeding numerous, and heard him with the greatest eagerness and attention) prevented them, for some time, from carrying their base designs into execution.
During the time our Blessed Lord continued in the temple, certain proselyted Greeks, who came up to
Christ, addressed themselves to Philip, one of the apostles, who, by the assistance of Andrew, introduced them into the temple. At this time our Lord was dis. coursing to his disciples on many things relative to his Passion, and, particularly, of the efficacy of his death, and what a powerful means it would prove to convert the people of the world to his religion; more powerful, indeed, than his life could possibly be, even as corn, though it dies in the ground when sown, rises again with great abundance. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John xii. 24. He farther told them, that since it was absolutely necessary for bim to suffer the pains of death before he ascended the throne of his glory; so they, as his followers, must also
thith a crown of their desire of containing from himpeally
expect to be persecuted and spitefully used for his name sake; but if they persevered, and even resolved to lose their lives in his service, he would reward their constancy with a crown of glory. He likewise intimated to the strangers, that if their desire of conversing with him proceeded from any expectations of obtaining from him temporal preferments, they would find themselves greatly disappointed. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. Jobn xii. 26.
While our Blessed Lord was thus discoursing on his death, he seemed, on a sudden, to be seized with a natural agitation on its approaching hour, and even went so far as to request of God a reprieve from it. Now, (said he). is my soul troubled ; and ichat shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But, recollecting that it was for this purpose be came into the world, he changed his petition, and, with a resolved acquiescence in God's good pleasure, begged of him to demonstrate his own heavenly glory to the people: Father, (said he) glorify thy name. Scarce had he uttered these words, when he was answered, by an audible voice from heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The miracles thou hast already performed have glorified my name; and I will still farther glorify it by other miracles to be wrought before the sons of men.
This voice (which in loudness resembled thunder, and was sufficiently articulate to be understood by all present) our Lord told his hearers was not so much for his own information of the will of heaven, as it was, to convince them of his Divine mission. This voice, (said he) came not because of me, but for your sakes. It came to confirm what I have told you relating to my sufferings, death, resurrection, and the conversion of the whole Gentile world to the Christian religion.
Having said this, our Lord told his disciples that the time was at hand, when the kingdom of Satan should be destroyed, and that of the Messiah exalted. Now (said he) is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. The people, not under
theved of high told them. id not make the
standing the force of this affirmation, replied, We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? But to this objection our Lord did not make them any absolute reply. He only told them, that they should soon be deprived of his presence and miracles, and that, therefore, they would do well to listen attentively to his precepts, firmly believe the doctrines he delivered, and wisely improve them to their eternal advantage; otherwise they would be rendered incapable of inheriting the promises of the Gospel. That while they had the opportunity of enjoying the benefit of his preacbing and miracles, which sufficiently proved the truth of his mission from the Most High, they should make the best use of it by believing on bim; as, by those means alone, they could become the children of God. Yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for, he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. John xii. 35, &c.
After having said this, our Lord departed from the temple, in order to refresh himself from the fatigues he had undergone in so long preaching to the people. He clearly perceived that neither Divine discourses, nor mi. raculous cures, would gain the faith, or general approbation of any, except the populace; for, though some of their rulers might believe in him, yet such was their timidity that they durst not declare it openly, in the first place, for fear of being excommunicated, and, in the second place, because they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God.
Towards the evening our Blessed Lord went again into the temple, and exhorted the people to believe in him, as a messenger sent from God to offer salvation to mankind. He that believeth on me believeth on him that sent me. He that acknowledges the divinity of my mission, ac
knowledges the power and grace of God, on whose • special errand I am thus sent. He that sees the miracles
I perform, seeth the operations of that Omnipotent power by which I act. I am the Sun of righteousness, whose beams dispel the darkness of ignorance in which the sons
VOL. iii. 3 P
of men are involved, and am come to deliver all who believe on me out of that gloomy darkness. You must not, however, expect, that I will at present execute my judgment upon those who refuse to embrace the doctrines of the Gospel; for I am not come to condemn and panish, but to save the world, and consequently to try every gentle and winning method to reclaim the wicked from the error of their ways, and turn their feet into the paths of life and salvation. They shall not, however, escape unpunished, who neglect the instructions and offers of salvation now made to them; for the doctrine I have preached shall bear witness against them at the awful tribunal of the last day; and as their negligence has aggravated their sin, so it shall then beighten their punishment. · Our Blessed Lord having discoursed to the people in words to this effect, left the temple, and taking his apostles with him, retired to Bethany, where his benevolent miracle, in raising Lazarus from the dead, had procured him many friends, among whom he was always in safety. Here he continued all night, and early the next morning returned to Jerusalem. As he pursued his journey, he saw, at a distance, a tig-tree, which, from its fulness of leaves, promised abundance of fruit. As he was in want of some refreshment, he approached the tree in expectation of finding some fruit on it; but, upon his
which, looking at the tree, he said, in the hearing of all the apostles, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. Matt. xxi. 19.
After being thus disappointed in finding fruit on the fig-tree, our Blessed Lord pursued his journey to Jerusalem, whither he had no sooner arrived than he proceeded to the temple, and there continued the whole day, teaching and instructing the people. While he was doing this, the chief priests, Scribes and rulers of the people, knowing that he had no commission from the Sanhedrim, went and demanded of him by what authority he proceeded in that manner? Whether he was a prophet, priest or king, as no other person had a right to make any alterations either in church or state? And, if he did lay claim to either of those characters, from whom he received it?
Instead of giving a direct answer to these impertinent questions of the chief priests and Pharisees, our Lord asked them another; promising, if they resolved his question, he would also answer theirs. I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men. Matthew xxi. 21, &c. This question greatly puzzled the priests. They considered, on the one hand, that if they acknowledged that it was from God, it would oblige them to admit the authority of Jesus, John having, more than once, publicly declared him to be the Messiah; and on the other, if they peremptorily denied the authority of John, they would be in danger of being stoned by the people, who, in general, considered him as a propbet. They, therefore, thought it the best way to answer, that they could not tell from whence John's baptism was. Well, therefore, might the Blessed Jesus say, Neither tell I you by what authority
I do these things. You have no right to ask, since you · have confessed you are unable to judge; and, therefore, I shall not satisfy your impertinent enquiries.
As these haughty rulers had acknowledged that they knew not from whence the Baptism of John was, our Blessed Lord sharply rebuked them both for their ignorance and obstinacy. He conveyed his reproof in the parable of the two sons commanded to work in their father's vineyard, and asking their opinion of the two, obliged them, by their answer, to condemn themselves. A certain man (said he had two sons, and he came to the first and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. But this ungracious youth very roughly answered, I will not. However, after reflecting on the impropriety and indecency of such behavior to his kind and indulgent father, he repented of what he had done, and went to work in the vineyard. The father, having met with so sharp a reply from the former son, had recourse to the other, and, in the sanie manner, ordered him to go and work that day in the vineyard. This son was very different from the former, and, in a very dutiful manner, said I go, Sir. But notwithstanding this seeming obedience, he delayed