Abbildungen der Seite

John xix. 10, 11.

2. Look, next, at an instance of personal behaviour.

Pilate said unto our Saviour, Speakest thou not unto me ? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above : therefore he that delivered me unto thee

hath the greater sin. After which, hear. St. Acts xxy. Paul, before Festus; If I be an offender, or have

committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die : but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cæsar. There is, perhaps, no more fear of death in one of these cases, than in the other; but there is a very different consciousness of power implied in the respective answers d.


guage, in 2 Cor. v. 10, 11; or with St. Peter's, (2 Epist. iii.) or with St. Jude, (which is, perhaps, the most peremptory in its character, of any apostolic writing in the Canon ;), there will be perceivable, I think, an air of “ authority” in the original declaration, very different from the features of those arguments, which rest but upon its sanction.

d Or, again, compare John xi. 8, 9. with St. Paul's manner of speaking in 1 Thess. ii. 18. The language of Philippians i. 25. may seem to militate against the inference here intended; and therefore deserves to be referred to. But I think, when considered attentively, it will be found to be of no dissimilar character ; either the confidence which the Apostle there feels of abiding with his Philippian flock is, in fact, conditional, though peremptorily expressed ; in which case it seems built on the persuasion of its being advan


3. Let another exemplification or two of our Lord's peculiar character be taken, without any comparison ; as it is incidentally pourtrayed only, not with any seeming design.' · And first, as to his absolute and perfect intuition: look at his interview with Nathanael. When Nathanael (convinced by what had passed John i. 49, between them before) had made confession : Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel; Jesus answered and said unto him; Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou ? thou shalt see greater things than these. He speaks of that knowledge, which impressed his hearer with so much astonishment, as a merely familiar e and natural possession of his own : nor only that; but as an inferior and ordinary part of his abundant store. :

Observe a like evidence of the natural fulness of all power in our Saviour, as it appears through the cure of the man sick of the palsy, as related in the ninth chapter of St. Matthew's

tageous to them that he should so abide, mixed up with a general interpretation of the will of God ;) or that conjecture must be just, which attributes it to a particular revelation. See Doddridge on the place.

e Pascal, Thoughts, xiv. “ Jesus Christ speaks of the sub“ limest subjects in a manner as simple as if he had never con“ sidered them; but nevertheless his expressions are so exact, " as to show that he had thoroughly weighed them. Such “ accuracy, with such simplicity, is admirable.” (Cette " clarté jointe à cette naiveté est admirable.")

ii. 5—13. Luke v. 18-25.

Gospel. Our Lord had chosen to convey his Cf. Mark cure in the words, Son, be of good cheer ; thy

sins be forgiven thee. But when certain of the Scribes began to say within themselves, This man blasphemeth ; Jesus knowing their thoughts said; Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts ? for whether is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk ? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then saith he to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go' unto thine house. I think it is impossible not to be struck with this narrative. He not only shows his power here, but he shows an unrivalled, an infinite ease in the exertion of it. For he lets his enemies themselves, as it were, choose the way in which it should be manifested ; signifying, that with him this made no difference.

To a somewhat different operation of the same inward confidence, (still discovering itself naturally;) why should we not attribute that singular action, related in the chapter from whence the text is taken ? I mean, the driving out the buyers and sellers from the temple f. Our Saviour's sense of right and proprietorship in the

f This action of our Saviour has been much and irreverently calumniated. As to its probable motive, I do not see why the explanation of it implied in the Homily, “ On “ the right use of the Church,” should not be cheerfully acquiesced in; especially as it is justified by the quotation,


temple may be inferred from the incident of the Matt. xvii. tribute money, as it befel at Capernaum. Consider the transaction now before us in the light proposed; and it is, at least, an instructive (and consolatory) instance of worldly strength abashed and confounded before the simple might of spiritual authority, not blindly exceeding its commission, but estimating rightly its own resources, and knowing what is in man 8.

Such, we think, is the scriptural delineation (in part) of our Saviour's character, as the Founder and Lord of the Gospel dispensation. Let it not be forgotten, because (as will appear) it is of inseparable importance in measuring the propriety of his whole character, that he is nevertheless represented, all the while, in the form and likeness of perfect man.

I. 3. We come, thirdly, to the characteristics of the “ Apostles," as they are to be collected from the New Testament.

The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. May it not at once illustrate, and stand illustrated by St. Paul's precept to the Ephesians (iv. 26.) Be ye angry, and sin not?

& Perhaps we may refer to this same head (for a still further elucidation, over and above all of other kinds that have been advanced for their correct development) those miracles of our blessed Lord, “ the destruction of the herd of “ swine,” and “ the cursing of the barren fig tree;" by considering them as acts of plenary power, exercised absolutely, but not wantonly, by one, who felt all nature to be at his command; and knew what diversities of proof man needed, to his full conviction, for his greatest and eternal good.

And what is it we meet with here? Taking our view from simple apprehension and general impression, I think it must be answered; “ Some“ thing quite distinct from either precedent, in “ the form of their appeal to us; though in exact “ unison as to the aim-of bringing us to be holy, “ and just, and good.” There is neither the denunciatory tone of the Prophets, nor yet the peculiar, unequivocal authority of their divine Master. They speak, in greater degree than either, as teachers, giving reasons for what they recommend : not like men holding out immediate terrors, or looking for instant and palpable effects ; but as the stewards of a milder dispensation might be expected to speak ; more under the influence of a general hope, and with more variety of manner ; vehemently or patiently, earnestly or sorrowfully, as the occasion may require: not temporizing h, (as we use the word, in a bad sense, or betraying fear, or compromising their commission; no: strong and confident of truth, in the spirit, as strength and confidence can be; but still, like persons presuming that they spoke to hearers possessed of a spiritual discernment also. I do not mean, in such manner or degree, as to justify an inference, that,

...h The various reading of Romans xii. 11. xcięw (for Kugía) de neúortes, will hardly be objected here. Even supposing it to be the true reading, it has evidently another force.

« ZurückWeiter »