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of living he put himself perfectly on a level SERMON with them. Some of them he honoured with greater intimacy than others; but like a prudent father in his family, he allowed none of them to affect superiority over the rest, and checked all that tended to rivalry among them. He never flattered them in their failings. He never soothed them with vain hopes. He never concealed the disagreeable consequences that would follow from adherence to his cause. Again and again he inculcated what they were backward and unwilling to believe concerning himself; and though the questions they put often discovered a degree of gross ignorance, he answered them all without passion or impatience, training them up by degrees to the events that were to happen after his decease, and to the high part they were destined then to act in the world.
How happy would it be for mankind, if more attention were given to this noble pattern of fidelity and complacency which ought to prevail among friends, and of the indulgence due to the failings of those who are, in their general character, worthy and estimable persons! This amiable indulgence
SERMON he carried so far, that in one of the most
critical seasons of his life, during his agony in the garden, when he had left his disciples for a short time, with a strict charge to watch till he should
his returning found them asleep, all the reproof which their negligence at so important a juncture drew from him, was no more than this, What, could ye not watch with me for one bour *? Of the tenderness of our Lord's affections, and the constancy of his friendship, we have a very memorable instance, in that mixture of friendship and filial piety which he discovered during the cruelty of his last sufferings. It is recorded, that when he hung upon the cross, beholding John his beloved disciple, and Mary his mother, standing as spectators below, he said to John, Behold thy mother ; and to Mary, Behold thy son ; thus committing his forlorn mother to the charge of his friend John, as the most sacred and honourable pledge he could leave him of their antient friendship. The heart of his friend melted ; and, from that hour, we are told, he took ber bome with him to his own house.
. Matth. xxvi. 40.
It is John himself who has recorded to us SERMON this honourable testimony of his master's friendship *.
IV. The example of Christ holds forth for our imitation his steady command of temper amidst the highest provocations, and his ready forgiveness of injuries. Though he had revenge always in his power, he constantly declined it. On one occasion, when his disciples wished him to call down fire from heaven to punish the inhospitality of the Samaritans, be turned and rebuked them, saying, ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of ; for the Son of Man is not come to destroy. men's lives, but to save them t. When he was reviled, be reviled not again ; : when he suffered, be threatened not. The insults, which he often received from a brutal multitude, had no power to alter the meekness and generosity of his disposition: he continued to beseech and intreat them, when they sought to chase him away from amongst them. When they accused him of being in confederacy with evil spirits, he answered their injurious * John, xix. 26, 27, + Lukę, ix. 55.
SERMON defamation only with mild and calm rea
soning, that if he by means of Satan did cast out Satan, his kingdom must be divided against itself, and could not stand. At his trial before the High Priest, when he was most injuriously treated, and contrary to all law was, in face of the court, struck by one of the High Priest's officers, what could be spoken more meekly and reasonably than his return to this usage, at a time when all circumstances concurred to exasperate the spirit of an innocent man; if I bave spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me * ?_When his enemies were completing the last scene of their cruelty in putting him to death,
all their barbarous usage and scurrilous : taunts on that occasion, provoked not one
revengeful thought in his breast, nor drew from his lips one misbecoming expression ; but on the contrary, the last accents of his expiring breath went forth in that affectionate prayer for their forgiveness ; Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do !--Shall we, my friends, who have before our eyes such an example of generous * John, xviii. 27.
magnanimity, of continued self-command SERMON amidst the most trying situations, not be ashamed of giving vent to passion on every trifling provocation, and fiercely demanding reparation for the smallest injury; we, who, from the remembrance of our own failings, have so many motives for mutual forbearance and forgiveness; while He, on the other hand, had done no wrong, had never given offence to any, but had the justest title to expect friendship from every human being ?
V. Let us attend to the sympathy and compassion which our Lord discovered for the sufferings of mankind. It was not with a cold unfeeling disposition that he performed the office of relieving the distressed. His manner of bestowing relief clearly showed with what sensibility he entered into the sorrows of others. How affecting, for instance, is the account of his restoring to life the son of the widow of Nain, as it is related in the beautiful simplicity of the evangelical historian ? When he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his