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observe and do ; but do not after their works; for they say, and do not. Our LORD then proceeded to enumerate the vices for which they were remarkable, and with holy freedom, and authority no less than Divine, denounced against them several woes, as contained at large in the 23rd chapter of St. Matthew, not at all inconsistent with the sweetness of his disposition, nor with the respect due to persons of their rank: which, were it necessary, and time would permit, we might easily show*.
* The freedom which Jesus used in " rebuk. ing the Scribes and Pharisees," and the vehemence with which he denounced woes against them more than once, are thought inconsistent with the sweet. ness of his disposition, and with the respect due to persons of their rank. Nevertheless, if we con. sider the matter in its just light, we shall soon be sensible that the severity wherewith Jesus treated this order of men, was by no means inconsistent with his general character, but was the necessary result of his wisdom, and of his love to the rest of mankind. The Scribes and Pharisees were persons remarkable for avarice, sensuality, pride, obstis nacy, and contempt of real religion. Their cora ruption of heart exceeded all bounds. Gentle means would have made no impression upon them. They needed the severest remedies.----Besides, without regarding their reformation at all, which, perhaps was not to be accomplished by any me. thods ; considering the show of worth which they assumed, and by which mankind were chcated into
Here then is an awakening lesson both for the ministers of religion and for the people. Let the ministers be careful to preach sound doctrine, and to be themselves the first to walk in the way which leads to heaven, thereby making others by their example to walk in the same path: and let the people, although the ministers should preach sound doctrine and yet lead wicked lives, be careful not
an high admiration of them, it was necessary, for the sake of the people, to pull off the mask of hypocrisy under which they had so long concealed their wickedness, and led the world astray. St. Luke xvi. 15. 66 Ye are they which justify your. selves before men, but God knoweth your hearts : for that which is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God.” Nor was there any other method to prevent the pernicions intuence of their example and doctrine. This was the reason JESUS rebuked them so openly, and denounced woes against them with such vehemence. By so doing, he, whose judgment was by his mi. racles proved to be the judgment of a prophet, showed his hearers every where what opinion he had of those hypocrites, and cautioned them in the most affecting manner, to beware both of them and of their doctrine. And though on these occa. sions he expressed himself with more than ordinary vehemence, it must be owned that he preserved an entire command of himself. For he uttered no sentiment or expression, but such as the otiences fully warranted, and the regard which he had for virtue absolutely demanded.----Sce Bishop Wat.' son's Theological Tracts, vol. 5. page 181.
to follow their example; but to walk in that truth which is preached unto them." The woe denounced by our Saviour will be executed not only against those who speak, but also against those who hear the truth, and do not obey it. God grant that none of us may be of that number.
The blessed Jesus having uttered several woes against the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, concluded his address to them in a most pathetic prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, and with the most tender compassion for the calamities which were afterwards, and, at no great distance of time, to befall it. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chicken under her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. That is, You who have now with so much indignation heard the children and people saluting me thus, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the LORD, after a while shall lie under so great calamities for the punishment of your infidelity, that
you would be glad of a deliverer, to whom you might say these words*. Froin this great tenderness with which our Saviour deplores the ruin of the Jews the inference is easily drawi), That God does all he can consistently with his own attributes and with the free agency of men, to effect their salvation; and that, if any of us perish, the fault will not be God's, but our own. • Jesus having ended his discourse to the scribes and Pharisees, and seeing a certain poor widow casting two mites into the treasury-chest, which contained the contributions of the people for the service of the temple, took the opportunity of commending her liberality in preference to the offerings of the rich, who cast in of their abundance, while she of her penury cast in all she had, even all her living : thereby intimating to us, that the smallest services of the poor, when perforined with a pious intention, are more acceptable to God than large and costly donations of the rich, when offered with ostentatious views; for an action is recommended by the principle and circumstances, not by the outward appearance of itt:
* Whitby.. + Trimmer.
Thus did the blessed JESUS take occasion from every circumstance to recomInend to his disciples the practice of one duty or other, and instruct them how to derive benefit from every occurrence, or to draw some useful inference from every observation. · He had, not long since, pathetically lamented the destruction, which he foresaw threatened the city of Jerusalem : an observation of his disciples presently after on the magnificence of the temple, led him to inform them in plain terms, that its destruction was near at hand; that not the least remains of its beauty, not so much as one stone upon another, should be preserved in the demolition of it.
Awful as this prophecy was, and improbable at the time of its delivery as was the event, yet we have very sufficient evidence to prove, that it was, not long after, exactly accomplished; and the splendid and magnificent temple, together with the whole city of Jerusalem, became an heap of ruins.
Here then was strongly marked the prophetic character of our Lord, and a powerful evidence of the Divinity of his
The curiosity of the disciples was raised