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the streets and multitudes of a mighty population, without turning my mind instinctively to the words and warnings of St. Paul.' “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed, lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness : otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. For because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not therefore high-minded, but fear.” Trust not in the sophisms of human reason, the weakness of human strength, or the frailty of human
but fear-fear to offend the Maker, the Redeemer, the Judge of all. Fear to forfeit the gentle and enlightening influences of the Sancti: fier. Fear to tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. But above all, fear the loss of your own immortal souls; and fear to depend, for their salvation, upon any thing but the sacrifice of the Cross, and the merits, and the mediation, and the power of Jesus Christ; “for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.'* Remember also, lastly, that the vices of Jerusalem were the very cause of its ruin, the source from which its misfortunes sprung, and by which its evils were aggravated and enlarged. Her
Rom. xi, 21, 22, & 20. * Rom. xi, 36.
perversions of Scripture; her pollution of the fountain of truth; her reliance upon man and herself; her pride, her worldliness, her wicked. ness; her false, her carnal, her ambitious views of the Messiah's character, were the origin of all that fatal obstinacy in error, and of all that incurable blindness to better and holier things which brought upon her a load of such merited wretchedness, as neither the warnings of her Saviour, nor the wishes and labours, even of her enemies, were able to avert.
“ His blood be upon us, and upon our children,” was the fearful imprecation of these lost ones upon themselves; and the vengance they called for, it came. These are memorials for every generation of man to muse upon, and speak to us in a language, which if we will bụt think, we cannot but understand; a caution to watch with a godly sincerity over our waywardness, to beware of the corruptions of human reasoning, to subdue the thoughts into an early obedience to the doctrines of Scripture, to hold fast to the naked simplicity of the Gospel, and to guard the genuine truth of God with uninterrupted care and diligence, lest, after having often desired to gather us under his wings, and we would not, he should at last cast us away utterly from his presence, and our house, like that of Jerusalem, should be left unto us desolate.
Rev. XIX. 10.
“ The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
II. I come now to the second of those predictions of our Saviour to which I alluded, as bearing testimony through every succeeding generation, that he was indeed endued with the spirit of prophecy, and as affording to the sceptic an experimental solution of those doubts, which he professes to entertain with regard to the probability of real miracles.
It is not always, though it is most generally, the case, that scenes of suffering and distress are presented to the view of the prophet in his visions. The world is a state of mingled happiness and misery; its history a series of mingled disappointment and success. Whilst our Saviour, therefore, with one glance of his foreboding eye beheld the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of her people, because they had rejected his
person and despised his claims; another and a more consolatory view presented to his mind the picture reversed; and he looked with the triumph of a spiritual conqueror upon the gradual rise and progress of his religion, and the perpetuity of its existence upon the earth under every trial, and against all opposition. He looked upon the victory of the Gospel over the prejudices of the Jew, the contempt of philosophy, the persecution of power, and the offences of weak or perverted brethren; and rejoicing in spirit at the glory of the prospect, broke forth into the language of holy gladness and divine assurance. " Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Here we have a prediction which comprehends the entire history of the Christian Church, from its first foundation to its final triumph, and which has been fulfilled in its former and is still fulfilling in its latter part, with a clearness which leaves no room for hesitation as to its having proceeded from one who could look into the ages which hereafter should be, and, contemplating the future, as an historian
• Matt. xvi. 17, 18.
does the past, could speak of the things which were not yet, as though they had already been.
To the former part of this prediction, which speaks of the foundation of the Christian Church, nó less than three several interpretations have been assigned by different commentators, in every one of which it has pleased the goodness of God that, for our satisfaction, it should be fulfilled. Some have conceived that when our Saviour spoke of the rock upon which the Christian Church should be built, hé pointed and referred to himself, as the only true and spiritual rock of believers in every age; and this exposition may be fully justified by the language of St. Paul, who solemnly warns the Corinthians against laying or building on “any other foundation than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Unusual also as may appear the manner in which our Lord is thus supposed to allude to himself, it is completely sanetioned by his ex. pressions in another and very memorable prophecy. Destroy this temple," said Jesus to the Jews, “and in three days I will raise it up." Now this they understood of the temple of Jerusalem; but this " he spake of the temple of his ·body," says the Évangelist, which they did destroy, and which he did raise up again from the
bi Cor. iii. 11. ¢ John ii. 19-21.