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assumed the character of a stern he- commanding in representation, if there rald of wrath. And I know not that could be transferred to the canvass the there is any where to be found such a vivid delineations of thought, than the specimen of lofty and withering elo- scene thus enacted in the temple. We quence.; You cannot read it without figure the Redeemer undaunted by the emotions of awe, and almost of fear. menacing looks and half-suppressed Confronted I by those who, he knew, murmurs of the fierce throng by which thirsted for his blood, Christ intrepidly he was surrounded. He becomes more charged them with their crimes, and and more impassioned in his eloquence, predicted their punishment. Had he rising from one bold rebuke to another, been invested with all human authority, and throwing into his language a great. in place of standing as a defenceless er and greater measure of reproachfuland despised individual, he could not ness and defiance. And when he has have uttered a sterner and more heart. compelled his hearers to shrink before searching invective. The marvel is, the rush of his invective, he assumes that his enemies should have allowed the prophetic office, and, as though him to pour forth his tremendous ora- armed with all the thunders of divine tory, that they did not fall upon him, wrath, announces authoritatively the without regard to the sacredness of approach of unparalleled desolation. the place, and take a fierce and sum- This is the moment we would seize for mary revenge. "Wo unto you, scribes delineation-though what pencil can and pharisees, hypocrites !" is the bur- think to portray the lofty bearing, the den of his address: he reiterates the pre-eminent dignity, the awful glance, wo, till the temple walls must have the terribleness, yet magnificence, of rung with the ominous syllables. And gesture, which must have characterized then he bids the nation fill up the mea- the Mediator, when, wrought up into sure of their fathers. Their fathers had all the ardency of superhuman zeal, he slain the prophets, and made great ad- brake into the overwhelming malevances towards that ripeness of iniqui- diction, "Verily I say nnto you, all ty which was to mark the land out as these things shall come upon this geready for vengeance. But the national neration ??? guilt was not yet complete. There was But if the scene of this moment deà crime by which the children were to fy the painter's art, what shall we say outdo, and, at the same time, consum- of that of the succeeding? No sooner mate the sinfulness of their fathers. had Christ reached that height of inAnd Christ calls them to the perpetra. trepid vehemence at which we have tion of this crime. They were bent on just beheld him, ihan he gave way to a accomplishing his death-let them nail burst of tenderness, and changed the him to the cross, and then would their language of invective for that of laguiltiness reach its height, and the ac- mentation. At one moment he is deal. cumulated vengeance descend with a ing out the arrows of a stern and lawild and overwhelming might." That cerating oratory, and the next, he is upon you may come all the righteous melted into tears, and can find no blood shed upon the earth, from the words but those of anguish and regret. blood of righteous Abel unto the blood Indeed it is a transition more exquiof Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye sitely beautiful than can be found in slew between the temple and the altar. the most admired specimens of human Verily I say unto you, all these things eloquence; and we feel that there must shall come upon this generation.” have passed a change over the counte.
And here the Savior might be said to nance, and the whole bearing of the Sahave exhausted threatening; for what vior, which imagination cannot catch, denunciation could be more tremen- and which, if it could, the painter could dous, or more comprehensive? We not fix. There must have risen before may picture him to ourselves, launch- him the imagery of a wrath and a ing this terrible sentence, a more than wretchedness, such as had never yet human fire in his eye, and a voice more overtaken any nation of the earth. And deep-toned and thrilling than ever is the people that should be thus signalsued from mortal lips. I know of no- led out were his countrymen, his kinsthing that would be more sublime and I men after the flesh, over whom his
heart yearned, and whom he had affec- these statements under three divisions. tionately labored to convince of dan. Under the first, we shall have to conger, and conduct to safety. He felt sider what had been done for Jerusatherefore, we may believe, a sudden lem; under the second, the consequenand excruciating sorrow, so that the ces to the Jews of their rejecting the judgments which he foretold pressed Christ; and, under the third, the future on his own spirit, and caused him great conversion of this unbelieving people. agony. He was too pure a being, and he Now you must be quite prepared for loved with too abiding and disinterest- our regarding the Jews as a typical ed a love, to harbor any feeling allied nation, so that, in God's dealings with with revenge; and, therefore, though them, we may read, as in a glass, his it was for rejecting himself that those dealings with his church, whether colwhom he addressed were about to be lectively or individually. You must be punished, he could not contemplate aware that the history of the Israelites the punishment but with bitterness and is full of symbolic occurrence; and anguish.
that, without drawing any forced paAnd hence the rapid and thrilling rallel, the narrative may be transferchange from the preacher of wrath to red in various of its parts, to our own the mourner over suffering. Hence the day and generation, and be used as desudden laying aside of all his awful ve- scriptive of what occurs among chrishemence, and the breaking into pathet- tians. You will not, therefore, be suric and heart-touching expressions. Oh, prised, if we consider Christ's remonyou feel that the Redeemer must have strance with Jerusalem as every way been subdued, as it were, and master applicable to the impenitent of later ed, by the view of the misery which he times, and as affirming nothing in resaw coming on Judea, and by the re- gard of the Jews which may not be membrance of all he had done to avert affirmed, with equal truth, of many it from the land, ere he could have amongst ourselves. There had been passed thus instantaneously from indig. much done for Jerusalem ; and it is in nant rebuke to exquisite tenderness. exquisitely moving terms that Christ And it cannot, we think, be without states his own willingness to have shelmingled emotions of awe and delight, tered that city. But herein, we are asthat you mark the transition from the sured, Jerusalem was but the representherald of vengeance to the sympa- ative of individual transgressors, so that thizer with the wretched. Just as you the very same words might be addressed are shrinking from the fierce and wi. to any amongst us who have obstinately thering denunciations, almost scathed withstood the motions of God's Spirit by the fiery eloquence which glares and the invitations of his Gospel. We and flashes with the anger of the Lord cannot indeed be said to have killed
- just as you are expecting a new the prophets, and stoned them that burst of threatening, a further and were sent unto us. But if we have rewilder malediction from the voice sisted the engines, whatever they may which seems to shake the magnificent have been through which God has cartemple-there is heard the sound as of ried on the moral attack; if we have one who is struggling with sorrow; turned a deaf ear to the prophet and the and in a tone of rich plaintiveness, in messenger, and thus done our part toaccents musical in their sadness, and wards frustrating their mission; then betraying the agony of a stricken spir- we are virtually in the same position it, there fall upon you these touching as Jerusalem, and may regard ourand penetrating words, "O Jerusalem, selves as addressed in the language of Jerusalem, how often would I have ga- our text. thered thy children together, even as And when the verse is thus witha hen gathereth her chickens under drawn from its merely national appliher wings, and ye would not."
cation, and we consider it as capable But there is so much of important of being exemplified in the history of matter in this and the following verses, our own lives, it presents such an ac. that it) is time that we confine our count of God's dealings with the imselves to considering the statements penitent, as yields to none in importhere made by Christ. We may arrange ance and interest. We observe first,
that however unable we may be to re-, upon man, obliges him not to one course concile the certainty of a foreknown rather than to another, but leaves him destruction with the possibility of as free to choose between life and death, avoiding it, we are bound to believe, as though the choice must be made on the testimony of our text, that no before it could be conjectured. The man's doom is so fixed that it may not clouds of vengeance were just ready be averted by repentance. It may ap- to burst upon Jerusalem; but the only pear to us, that, all along, the destruc- reason why her children were tion of Jerusalem had been a settled sheltered, was that "they would not.” thing in the purposes of the Almighty; Thus with ourselves-God may be as and that God's plans were so arranged certain of our going down finally into on the supposition of the final infidelity the pit, as though we had already been of the Jews, that they could not have thrown to destruction; but the single allowed a final belief in the Christ. Yet reason, given at the last, why we have Christ declares of Jerusalem, that he not escaped, will be our own rejection would often have gathered her children of a proffered deliverance. There is no together, as a hen gathereth her chick- mystery in this, nothing inscrutable. ens under her wings; and that only There is no room for pleading that a their own wilful infidelity had prevent- divine decree was against us, and that, ed his sheltering them from every out therefore, salvation, if nominally offerbreak of wrath. We cannot, therefore, ed, was virtually out of reach. It was doubt that it was quite within the power not out of the reach of Jerusalem, of the Jews to have repented; and that, though her grasping it would have aphad they hearkened to the voice of the parently deranged the whole scheme Savior, they would have escaped all of redemption. And it is not out of the that punishment which appears so pre- reach of any one of us, however the determined, that, to suppose it remit- final impenitence of this or that indivited, is to suppose God's plans thwart- dual may be fully ascertained by the ed. We finally admit that the Savior foreknowledge of God. It is nothing must have known that those whom he to say that it is impossible for me to called would not obey. But there is all do what God knows I shall not do. It the difference between saying that they is not God's foreknowledge, it is only could not obey, and that they would my own wilfulness, which makes the not obey. In saying that they could impossibility. I am not hampered, I am not obey, we make them the subjects not shackled by God's foreknowledge : of some hidden decree, which placed I am every jot as free as though there an impassable barrier between them were no foreknowledge. And thus, selves and repentance, and which there without searching into secret things fore rendered nugatory, yea, reduced which belong only to God, and yet into mere mockery, the warnings and maintaining in all their integrity the invitations with which they were plied. divine attributes, we can apply to every But in saying that they would not obey, one who goes on in impenitence, the we charge the whole blame on the per- touching remonstrance of Christ in our verseness of the human will, and sup- text. If such a man reach that mopose a clear space left, notwithstand- ment, which had been reached by Je. ing the foreknown infidelity, for those rusalem, the moment when the day of remonstrances and persuasions which grace terminates, and the overtures of are wholly out of place where there is mercy are brought to a close, the Sano power of hearkening to the call. vior may say to him, "How often would
And what we thus hold in regard of I have gathered thee under my wings, Jerusalem, must be equally held in re- and thou wouldest not!" gard of every individual amongst our- How often! Who is there amongst selves. We cannot doubt that there is us unto whom have not been vouchsanot one in this assembly whose eternal fed repeated opportunities of knowing condition is not as well known to the the things which belong unto peace? Almighty as though it were fixed by Who, that has not been frequently movan absolute decree. But then it shoulded, by the expostulations of conscience be carefully observed, that this fore- and the suggestions of God's Spirit, knowledge of God puts no restraint ( to flee the wrath to come ? Who, upon
whom the means of grace have not under review, the consequences to been accumulated, so that, time after the Jews of their rejecting the Christ. time, he has been threatened, and warn. These consequences are, the desolaed, and reasoned with, and besought? tion of their national condition, "BeHow often! I would have gathered hold, your house is left unto you desothee in thy prosperity, when thou wast late," and the judicial blindness which spoken to in mercies, and bidden to would settle upon them, so that, until a remember the hand whence they came. certain period had elapsed, they should I would have gathered thee in thine not see, and acknowledge, the Savior. adversity, when sorrow had softened This latter consequence is stated in thine heart, and thou didst look on the the concluding verse of the text, " ye right hand, and on the left, for a com- shall not see me henceforth, till ye
shall forter. How often! By every sermon say, Blessed is he that cometh in the which thou hast heard, by every death name of the Lord,”-that is, I shall in thy neighborhood, by every misgiv. withdraw myself altogether from you, ing of soul, by every joy that cheered till a time arrive at which you shall be thee, and by every grief that saddened prepared to welcome me as Messiah, thee, I have spoken, but thou wouldest Thus we have a double prophecy of not hear, I have called, but thou would- what should befall the Jews, a propheest not answer. We may be thoroughly cy of their misery, and a prophecy of assured that there is not one of us who their infidelity. And along with this shall be able to plead at the last, that prophecy there is an evident intimation he was not sufficiently invited. There of what has been the chief character. is not one of us, who shall be able to istic of the Jews, their complete sepacharge his perdition on any thing but ration, through all their dispersions, his own choice. "How often,'
," "how from every other people. We derive often,” will ring in the ear of every this intimation from the terms in which man who remains unconverted beneath their misery is foretold, " Behold, your the ministry of the Gospel; the re- house is left unto you desolate. It membrance of abused mercies, and seems as though it had been said that slighted means, and neglected oppor- they were still to have a house, but tunities, being as the knell of his un- that house would be desolate ; Judea alterable doom. And, oh, as the wicked would be theirs, but themselves exiles behold the righteous sheltered beneath from its provinces. And if the house the Mediator's protection, from all the were to remain appropriated to the fury which gathers and hurries over a Jews, the Jews must remain distinpolluted creation, we can believe, that, guished from other people; so that of all racking thoughts, the most fear- what predicts their punishment, preful will be, that they too might have dicts also, though in more obscure been covered by the same mighty wing, terms, their being kept apart from the and that, had they not chosen exposure rest of humankind, that they may at to the iron sleet of God's wrath, they length be reinstated in the possession too might have rested in peace, whilst of their fathers. the strange work of destruction went But we confine ourselves at present forward. Therefore will their own con- to the prediction of their state, as afsciences either pass or ratify their fected by their rejection of Christ. sentence. They will shrink down to They were to be desolate, but distinct their fire and their shame, not more from other people; and an obstinate compelled by a ministry of vengeance, unbelief was to characterize them than torn by a consciousness that they, through the whole period of " the times like the children of Jerusalem, might of the Gentiles.” And we need hardly have often taken shelter under the sure tell you of the accuracy with which tyship of a Redeemer, and that they, such prophecy has been all along fullike the children of Jerusalem, are filled. The predictions which bear renaked and defenceless, only because ference to the Jews, have this advanthey would not be covered with his tage over all other, that their accomfeathers.
plishment may be said to force itself But we go on to the second topic on the notice of the least observant, which is presented to us by the words and not to require, in order to its de monstration, the labor of a learned re- common; and if I would prevail on search. Of all surprising phenomena, them to receive as true what I bring, I there is perhaps none as wonderful as must prevail on them to renounce as that of the Jews' preserving, through false what they believe. But the case long centuries, their distinguishing fea. seems widely different when my attack tures. It would have been comparative is on the Jew. We have a vast deal of ly nothing, had the Jews remained in common ground. We believe in the Judea, that they should have continued same God; we receive the same Scripmarked off from every other people. tures; we look for the same Messiah. But that they should have been dis- There is but one point of debate bepersed into all nations, and yet have tween us; and that is, whether Jesus amalgamated with none; that they of Nazareth were the Christ. And thus should be every were found, and yet the field of argument is surprisingly be every where the same; that they narrowed; in place of having to fight should submit themselves to all forms our way painfully from one principle of government, and adopt all varieties to another, and of settling all the points of customs, and yet be unable, after of natural religion, as preliminary to any lapse of time, to extirpate their the introduction of the mysteries of national marks; we may pronounce revealed, we can go at once to the sinthis unparalleled in the history of man- gle truth at issue between us, and dis. kind, and inexplicable but as the fulfil- cuss, from writings which we equally ment of prophecy. If the Jews, though receive as inspired, the claims of Jeremoved from their own land, had been sus to the being Messiah. Surely ic confined to one other, we might have might have been expected, that the infound causes of a protracted distinc fidelity of the Jew would have been far tion, in national antipathies or legisla. more easily overcome than that of the tive enactments. But when the disper- heathen; and that, in settling ourselves sion has been so universal, that, where to win converts to christianity, there soever man treads, the Jew has made would have been a better prospect of his dwelling, and yet the distinction is gaining credence for the New Testaso abiding that you may always recog. ment where the Old was acknowledgnize the Jew for yourself, there is no ed, than of making way for the whole place left for the explanations which Bible, where there was nothing but might be given, were the marvel lim- idolatry. ited to a district or age; and we have You are to add to this, that, whatebefore us a miracle, which would not ver the likelihood that the Jew would be exceeded, nay, not by the thousandth reject christianity on its first publicapart equalled, were we privileged to tion, it was a likelihood which dimibehold the mightiest suspension of the nished with every year that rolled known laws of nature.
away; inasmuch as every year which Neither is it only in the preservation brought no other Messiah, swelled the of their distinguishing characteristics demonstration that Jesus was the Christ. that the Jews are wonderful, and give It is not to be explained, on any of the evidence that Christ prophesied through principles to which we ordinarily recur a more than human foresight. The con- in accounting for infidelity, why the tinued infidelity of the Jews is every Jews persisted in rejecting Jesus, when jot as surprising as their continued the time had long passed which them. separation. We are quite at a loss, on selves fixed for Messiah's appearing. any natural principles, to account for Their prophecies had clearly determin. their infidelity. It is easy to explain ed that Christ would come whilst the the little way which the Gospel makes second temple was standing, and at the amongst the heathen, but not the far close of seventy weeks from the terless which it makes amongst the Jews. mination of the Babylonish captivity. I may well expect to be met by a most But when the second temple had been vigorous opposition on the part of the long even with the ground, and the seheathen; for I go to them with a reli- venty weeks, on every possible compugious system which demands the un- tation, had long ago terminated, the qualified rejection of their own; we Jews, we might have thought, would have scarcely an inch of ground in have been compelled to admit, either