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standard of modern prejudices, they see, or tioned to the force and ability of their think they see, something quite inconsistent leaders. But with the Jews, who, from with the gravity and dignity of the person, slaves in Egypt, became a powerful people, pretending to be king of the Jews, when the case was very different. The best Christ is represented entering in triumph and greatest of their kings, and he who carinto Jerusalem, sitting on an ass. But ried their empire to its greatest height, has however contemptible an ass, or a man left us another account of their affairs : riding on that creature may be at present, " The people (says he) got not the land in it was not so froin the beginning. In many possession by their own sword, neither did countries, and particularly in Judea, per their own arm save them ; but thy right sons of the highest distinction usually rode hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy upon asses. The governors of Israel are countenance, because thou hast a favour described in the song of Deborah, as “ rid | unto them.” Psalm xliv. 3, &c. ing on white asses.” "Judges v. 10. And the thirty sons of Jair, who was judge avid prince
1. When we read these and other similar over Israel twenty-two years, are said to ride
passages, we are apt to 'ascribe them to on thirty ass-colts. Judges x. 4. And another
the piety and devotion of the Psalmist, to Judge is recorded to have had forty sons, and
consider them 'only as acknowledgments of thirty nephews, that rode on seventy ass
God's general providence in the affairs of the colts. Judges xii. 14.
world, and hence are apt to overlook, or
not sufficiently consider, the historical truth It may, however, be asked, supposing it they contain. was an usual thing to ride upon an ass, why should this practice be mentioned in relation
It is true, indeed, that all success in the to the Messiab as a mark of distinction ? | strictest sense, should be ascribed to God; Might not the prophet, upon this supposi
that it is be who giveth victory unto kings: tion, as well have said, he shall come walk
but hegenerally makes use of natural means, ing on foot ? and would he not have been
and it is no offence to his providence, that as well known by one character as by the
kings list their thousands of horse and foot, other ? Besides, if we turn to the book
to secure themselves and their dominions." of Zachariab, where, this prophecy is to
But with the Jews it was very different ; be found, we shall see the person, there de
they were never so weak' as when they made scribed to be a King, a just King, and one
themselves strong ; never so certainly ruinhaving salvation : and what is there in this
ed, as when their force was great enough character of riding on the back of an ass that
to create a confidence in themselves. For is peculiar to a King, to a just King, and to
God had taken the defence of Israel upon one who was to bring salvation and deliver
himself; and whenever the people took it auce to his people ?.
out of his hands, to place it in their own, .
they were sure to be undoné. .. ! These questions, however difficult they may at first sight appear, are easily answer.
Nay, so tender was God of his honour,'in ed, not by considering the state and condition this respect, and so concerned to justify his of kings in general, but that peculiar to a
promise to protect Israel, in the eyes of the King of Israel, on which the propriety of
world, that he would not always permit natuthis character is founded.
ral causes to interfere in their deliverance,
lest the people should grow doubtful to whom If we look into the history of the rise and they ought to ascribe their victories; and for fall of nations, we shall generally find, that the same reason it was, that he commanded their prosperity and success were propor the people to have neither horses nor chariots No. 11.
of war for their defence. Not because they 1 nounce the assistance of chariots and horses, were thought, useless in war, for it is well and depend upon God for success in the day known they were the strength of the ancient of battle. kingdons, but because God himself had undertaken their defence, and he wanted nei.
Having thus considered this law, and ther horse nor foot to fight their battles.
the consequence that resulted from the
breach of it, let us now look back to the · This law, as is evident from the Jewish
prophecy relating to the Messiah. “ Rejoice history, was observed for near four hundred greatly, o daughter of Zion, shout,O daughyears, namely, tilt about the middle of So.
ter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh lomou's reign. And while David swayed
unto thee; he is just, and having salvation, the sceptre of Israel, when the kingdom was
lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon carried to its utmost height, he himself rode
a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off upon a mule, and provided no better equi
the chariot, from Ephraim, and the horse page for his son, on the day of bis coronation.
| from Jerusalem.” Zach. ix. 9, &c. “ Cause Solomon, iny Son, (said David) to ride upon my own mule, and bring him Such is the King who was to save the de. down to Gihon. And let Zadock the priest, scendants of Jacob; and what sort of a king and Nathan the prophet, anoint bin there could be expected ? Is it possible to ima. King over Israel," i Kings i. 33, 34. And gine that God would send a king to save when that pious Prince looked back, and them who would be like the kings which had contemplated this state of things, he might | undone them ? Is it not more reasonable to well say, “ Some trust in chariots, and some think, that he would resemble those who in horses; but we will remember the name had been deliverers of their country? Kings of the Lord our God.” Psal. xx. 7.
who feared God, and therefore feared no In the reign of Solomon things quickly
enemy; who, though mounted on asses,
and colis the foals of asses, were able to put changed their aspect. He married the
to flight the thousands and ten thousands daughter of the king of Egypt, and opened
of chariots and horses that came against a commerce between that country and bis
them. own, by which means he soon acquired an immense numberof horses and chariots; and f The King, foretold by the prophet, was all his successors, when they had it in also to be just, meek and towly but how their power, followed bis example : But could he have deserved that character had what did the kingdom gain by this change ?
he appeared in the pride and pomp of war, They were before, a rich and flourishing people; but after breaking this law of the
rect opposition to the law of God? or, as he Most High, their wealth and power gradu
was to bring salvation to the people, could ally decayed, till at last their habitations
he make use of those means which God were laid waste, their temples and cities never bad prospered, and which he declared burnt with fire, and they themselves carried be never would ? captives into a strange land.
It appears then, that it was essential to It may perhaps he asked, wherein the the character of a King of Israel, who was guilt of having a country full of horses con- | to be just and lowly, and to bring salvation, sisted ? There is certainly no moral crime in with him, that he should come riding on an purchasing and keeping these creatures ; | ass, and a colt the foal of an ass; but if but the kings of Israel were exalted to the any doubt can yet remain, let the prophet throne, on condition that they should re- } hiinself explain it, who immediately after the
what power, followed
Jain by this change? | he appaded with horses and God ? or, as he
description of the promised King, adds, I saw were coming upon it, because its inha$6 and I will cut off the chariot from Epbraim, bitants were ignorant of the time of their and the horse from Jerusalem :" plainly in
Jerusalem: plainly ina visitation. “If (said he thou badst knowo, timating, that the character given of the even thou, at least in this thy day, the Messiah, that he should ride on an ass, was things which belong unto thy peace ! but in opposition to the pride of their warlike now they are bid from thine eyes. For the kings, who, by their great strength, in day shall come upon thee, that thine ene. chariots and horses, had ruined themselves mies shall cast a trench about thee, and comand their people.
pass thee round, and keep thee in on every
side. Aud shall lay thee eyen with the ground, Thus have we undeniably shewn the in
and thy children within thee; and they shall tention of the prophet, when he foretold,
not leave in thee one stone upon another, that the Messiah should ride on an ass ; and because thou knowest not the time of thy from hence it appears, that the enemies of
visitation.” Luke xix. 42, &c. revelation have not the least reason for turning this transaction into ridicule. Was
Behold bere, ye wandering mortals, beit any reproach to Christ to ride ioto Jeru,
hold an example and generosity infinitely salem on the foal of an ass, when Dayid, the
superior to any furnished by the heathen greatest of his ancestors, and Solomon, the
world! An example highly worthy for them wisest, as long as he was wise, rode in
to imitate and admire ! the same manner ? Can the Jews object to
When Jesus, surrounded by the multithis eircumstance, and yet talk of the glories
tude, entered Jerusalem, the whole city was of David, and the magnificence of Solomon,
moved on account of the prodigious conwho, in the midst of all that glory and mag,
course of people that accompanied bim, and nifieence, did the very same thing ? Or their continual acclamations. Jesus rode can they stuu.ble at this character of the
immediately to the temple; but it being Messiah, without forgetting by what print
evening, he soon left the city, to the great ces their ancestors were sa ved, and by wliat
discouragement of the people, who expectundone ?
ed he was immediately to have taken into
his hands the reins of government. “ And · But to leave this digression. The proli,
Jesus entered into. Jerusalem, and into the gious multitude that 10w accompanied
temple ; and when he had looked round Jesus, filled the Pharisees and great men
about upon all things, and now the even: with malice and envy, because every me
tide was come, he went out unto Bethany thod they bąd taken to hinder the people
with the twelve." Mark xi. 11. from following Jesus had proved ineffectual.
The Pharisees, therefore, said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after
CHAP. XXIX. him." Johu xi. 19.
But wben, our blessed Saviour drew near Jesus pronounces a Curse upon the Fig. ibe city of Jerusalem, surrounded by the Tree. Expels the Profaners of the rejoicing multitude, not withstanding the Temple Asserts his Divine Authority, many affronts he had there received, he be and delivers two Parables. held the city, and with a divine generusity and benevolence, wbich nothing can equal, AT the earliest dawn our blessed Saviour wept over it, and in ihe most pathetic man | Al Jeft Bethany to visit again the capital ner, lapented the calamities which he fore- of Judea. And as he pursued bis journey,
he'saw at a distance a fig-tree, which from 1 from the Jewish rulers; without any' arms its fulness of leaves promised abundance either to terrify the multitude, or defend of fruit. This inviting object induced him himself-that-hie should cast out the whole to approach it, in expectation of finding tribe of mercenary traffickers, Wrest from figs, for he was hungry, and the season for | those worshippers of wealth their darling gathering them was not yet arrived ; but idol; and trampling under foot their great on his coming to the tree, he found it to be Diana-And all this without tumult or really barren ; upon which the blessed Jesus opposition ; not one of the sacrilegious rab, said to it, “ Let no fruit grow on thee hence ble daring to move the hand, or open the forward for ever.” Matt. xxi. 19.
mouth. This action which was purely emblema
Whosoever, I say, reflects on the fierce tical, and prefigured the speedy ruin of the
and ungovernable nature of an enraged poJewish nation, on account of its upfruitful.
pulace, or considers the outrageous zeal of ness, under all the advantages it then en
Demetrius, and the craftmen, on a less joyed, has by the enemies of revelation,
irritating occasion, may possibly find bine been represented as an action unbecoming
self almost, if not altogether, of the Latin the Redeemer of mankind. But if they
father's upinion. had fully considered its intention, they would have been convinced, that, like the : There is a tradition, that a certain bright * rest of his miracles, it was done with a gra and dazzling lustre flamed from bis eyes, cious intention ; to weaken his countrynen which they were unable to bear, as the from their lethargy, and, by repentance, people could not bebold the face of Moses, prevent the total ruin of their church and for the glory ibat surrounded him. But as nation.
the scriptures take no notice of this tran,
scendant Justre, we must only adore the Being disappointed in not finding fruit on greatness of the fact, and, at the same time, the fig-tree, our blessed Saviour pursued bis Ro improve this miracle to our spiritual journey to Jerusalem ; and, on his arrival, ) advantage, as to secure, by accepting his went straightway to the temple, the outer grace and power of tbis mighty Reformer on court of which he found full of merchandize. our sides, that when he shall come in glory, A sight like this vexed his meek and righ we may be safe under the shadow of his Alteous soul, so that he drove them all out of mighty wings, while he takes fearful vengethe temple, overturned the tables of the ance on thosé, who prostitute the most money changers, and the seats of them | sacred places to mercenary purposes. " that sold doves, and would not suffer any vessel to be carried through the temple, Having dispersed this venal tribe, the saying unto them, “ It is written, My house people brought unto bim the blind, the shall be called the house of prayer, but ye lame, and the diseased, who were all healhave made it a den of thieves.” Matt. xxii. ed by the Son of God; so that the very 13.
children, when they saw.the many miracu.
lous cures be performed, proclaimed bim St. Jerome considers this as one of the to be the great Son of David, the long-exgreatest of all our Saviour's miracles. And pected Messiah.
"", .. , must be owned that the circumstances are very extraordinary: that one man should Such behaviour not, a little incensed the undertake so bold, and execute so hazardous Pharisees; but they feared' tlie people, and a task.- -One man without a commis- therefore only asked hini, if he heard what sion from Cæsar ; without any countenance the children said ? 'insinuating, that he ought to rebuke them, and not suffer | which is in heaven may forgive you your them thus to load him with the highest trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither praises. But Jesus, instead of giving a will your Father which is in heaven forgive direct answer to their question, repeated a your trespasses.” Mark xi. 20, 26. passage out of the eighth Psalm ; “ Have ye never read (said the blessed Jesus) out of During the time the blessed Jesus rethe mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou mained in the temple, certain proselyted ordained strength ? Giving them to under-Greeks, who came up to worship at Jerusastand, that the meanest of God's works lem, desired to see him, having long cherishhave been made instrumental in spreading ed expectations of beholding the promised bis praise."
Messiah. Accordingly they applied to Philip,
a native of Bethsaida, who mentioned it to The evening being now come, Jesus with Andrew, and he told it to Jesus. Upon his disciples, left the city, and retired to Be- which our blessed Saviour told his disciples, thany, where bis benevolent miracle in rais. | that he should soon be honoured with the _ing Lazarus from the dead, had procured conversion of the Gentiles : “ The hour is him many friends, among whom he was al. come (said he) that the Son of man should ways in safety. The next morning, as they | be glorified.” But declared, that before were returning to Jerusalem, the disciples this glorious event happened, he must suffer were astonished at beholding the fig-tree that death; illustrating the necessity there was of had been, but the morning before, declared his dying, by the similitude of casting grain barren, “ dried up from the roots ;" they into the earth. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, had in all probability, forgotten wbat our Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, Saviour had said to this fig tree, till its dry and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it and withered aspect brought it again to their bringeth forth much fruit." John xii. 24. memory. Peter, 'on seeing this astonishing Adding, that since it was absolutely necessary phænomenon, said unto Jesus, “ Master, for him, Their Lord and Master, to suffer behold the fig-tree which thou cursedst is the pains of death before he ascended the withered away ?" To which Jesus answered, | throne of his glory; so they, as his followthat whoever had faith in the Almighty, or ers, must also expect to be persecuted and thoroughly believed in his miracles, should spitefully used for his name sake; but if they be able to do much greater things than the persevered, and even resolved to lose their withering of the fig tree. “And Jesus an lives in his service, he would reward their conswering, saith unto them, have faith in God, stancy with a crown of glory. At the same For verily I say unto you, that whosoever time he intimated that the strangers, if their sball say unto this mountain, be thou re | desire of conversing with him proceeded moved ; and be thou cast into the sea, and | from a hope of obtaining from him temporal shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe preferments, would find thmselves sadly that those things which he saith shall come 1 disappointed. “ If any man serve me, let to pass, he shall have whatsoever be saith." him follow me : and where I am, there Mark xi. 22, 23.
shall also my servant be ; if any man serve me,
him will my Father bonour.” John xii. 26. Our Lord added, that whatsoever they 1 should ask by faith, they should receive ; ! This mournful scene so greatly moved him, and concluded by giving them directions that he uttered, in a very pathetic manner, concerning prayer, which was necessary to his grief, and addressed his heavenly Father increase the faith he mentioned. " And for succour in his distress. “Now is my when ye stand, praying, forgive, if ye have soul troubled ; and what shall I say i Fae ought against any : that your Father also l ther, save me from this hour. But for this