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ness *;” they must be rich towards God; they must turn that wealth, which is too often the cause of their perdition, into an instrument of salvation, into an instrument by which they may lay hold, as the apostle expresses it, on eternal life. Before I quit this interesting passage, it may be of use to observe, that while it furnishes a lesson of great caution, vigilance, and circumspection to the rich, it affords also no small degree of consolation to the poor. If they are less bountifully provided than the rich, with the materials of happiness for the present life, let them however be thankful to Providence that they have fewer difficulties to contend with, fewer temptations to combat, and fewer obstacles to surmount, in their way to the life which is to come. They have fortunately no means of indulging themselves in that luxury and dissipation, those extravagancies and excesses, which sometimes disgrace the wealthy and the great; and they are preserved preserved from many follies, imprudencies, and sins, equally injurious to present comfort and future happiness. If they are destitute of all the elegancies, and many of the conveniencies and accommodations of life, they are also exempt from those cares and anxieties which frequently corrode the heart, and perhaps more than balance the enjoyments of their superiors. The inferiority of their condition secures them from all the dangers and all the torments of ambition and pride; it produces in them generally that meekness and lowliness of mind, which is the chief constituent of a true evangelical temper, and one of the most essential qualifications for the kingdom of heaven. Jesus having made these observations on the conduct of the young ruler, who refused to part with his wealth and follow him, Peter thought this a fair opportunity of asking our Lord what reward should be given to him and the other apostles, who had actually done what the young
* Luke, xvi. 9.
ruler had not the courage and the virtue - - - - K 3 to to do. Then answered Peter and said unto him, “Lo we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore ?” It is true the apostles had no wealth to relinquish, but what little they had they cheerfully parted with ; they gave up their all, they took up their cross and followed Christ. Surely after such a sacrifice they might well be allowed to ask what recompence they might expect, and nothing can be more natural and affecting than their appeal to their divine Master: “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore ?” Our Lord felt the force and the justice of this appeal, and immediately gave them this most gracious and consolatory answer: “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel: and every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or
children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Our translators, by connecting the word regeneration with the preceding words, “ye which have followed me in the regeneration,” evidently supposed that word to relate to the first preaching of the Gospel, when those who heard and received it were to be regenerated, or made new Creatures. But most of the ancient fathers, as well as the best modern commentators, refer that expression to the words that follow it, “in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory;” by which is meant the day of judgment and of recompence, when all mankind shall be as it were regenerated or born again, by rising from their graves; and when, as St. Matthew tells us in the 27th chapter (making use of the very same phrase that he does here) the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory. At that solemn hour Jesus tells his apostles . K 4 that that they shall also sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is an allusion to the custom of princes having their great men ranged around them as assessors and advisers when they sit in council or in judgment; or more probably to the Jewish sanhedrim, in which the high priest sat surrounded by the principal rulers, chief priests, and doctors of the law ; and it was meant only to express, in these figurative terms, that the apostles should in the kingdom of heaven have a distinguished pre-eminence of glory and reward, and a place of honour assigned them near the person of our Lord himself. Jesus then goes on to say, “every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” It is plain, both from the construction of this verse, and from the express words of St. Mark in the parallel passage, that the reward here promised