Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

question, though ill propounded, to Moses, | Saviour of men, that wouldst yet reton " Who made thee a judge, or a ruler ?" | thither where thou wert so palpably disWe must all imitate the zeal of our Savi- | regarded. If they gave thee not thy supour; we may not imitate his correction. If | per, thou givest them their breakfast: i we strike uncalled, we are justly stricken thou mayest not spend the night with them, for our arrogance, for our presumption. A thou wilt with them spend the day. O love tumultuary remedy may prove a medicine to unthankful souls, not discourageable by worse than the disease.

the most bateful indignities, by the bases But what shall I say of so sharp and repulses? What burden canst thou shrok imperious an act from so meek an agent? | under, who canst bear the weight of ingta Why did not the priests and Levites, whose titude? this gain partly was, abet these money. Thou that givest food to all things lirida, changers, and make head against Christ? art thyself hungry. Martha, Mary, and Lazzwhy did not those multitudes of men stand rus, kept not so poor a house, but that to upon their defence, and wrest that whip mightst have eaten something at Bethany, out of the hand of a seemingly weak and Whether thy haste outran thine appetize, unarmed prophet, but instead thereof run or whether on purpose thou forbarest in away like sheep from before him, not daring | past, to give opportunity to thine ensuing to abide his presence, though his band had miracle, I neither ask nor resolve. Tas been still? Surely, had these men been so | was not the first time that thou wast hungry. many armies, yea, so many legions of devils, As thou wouldst be a man, so thou woulost when God will astonish and chase them, suffer those infirmities that belong to hethey cannot have the power to stand and manity. Thou camest to be our high-priest; resist. How easy is it for him that made it was thy act and intention, not only to idthe heart, to put either terror or courage tercede for thy people, but to transfer unto into it at pleasure! O Saviour, it was none thyself, as their sins, so their weaknesses of thy least miracles, that thou didst thus and complaints. Thou knowest to pitt drive out a world of able offenders, in spite what thou hast felt. Are we pinched with of their gain and stomachful resolutions ! want? we endure but what thou didst, we their very profit had no power to stay them have reason to be patient. thou endureds against thy frowns. " Who hath resisted what we do, we have reason to be thankful thy will?" Men's hearts are not their own: But what shall we say to this thine ear. they are, they must be such as their Maker hunger? The morning, as it is privileged will have them.

from excess, so from need; the stomach is not wont to rise with the body. Surely, is

thine occasions were, no season was er. CONTEMPLATION XXVI. — THE FIG-TREE

empted from thy want: thou hadst spent the day before in the holy labour of the

reformation; after a supperless departure, When in this state, our Saviour had rode thou spentest the night in prayer; no meal through the streets of Jerusalem, that refreshed thy toil. What! do we thick evening he lodged not there. Whether he much to forbear a morsel, or to break : would not, that, after so public an accla- sleep for thee, who didst thus neglect thymation of the people, he might avoid all self for us? suspicion of plots or popularity (even unjust As if meat were no part of thy care, asi jealousies must be sbunned ; neither is there anything would serve to stop the mouth less wisdom in the prevention, than in the of hunger, thy breakfast is expected from remedy of evils), or whether he could not, the next tree. A fig-tree grew by the war. for want of an invitation. Hosanna was side, full-grown, well-spread, thick-leavede better cheap than an entertainment; and and such as might promise enough to a reperhaps the envy of so stomached a refor-mote eye: thither thou camest to seek that mation discouraged his hosts. However, which thou foundest not; and, not finding he goes that evening supperless out of what thou soughtest, as displeased with tbt Jerusalem. O unthankful citizens ! do ye disappointment, cursedst that plant which thus part with your no less meek than deluded thy hopes. Thy breath instantly glorious King? His title was no more pro- blasted that deceitful tree; it did (no otber claimed in your streets than your own in- | ways than the whole world must needs do) gratitude. If he hath purged the temple, wither and die with thy curse. yet your hearts are foul. There is no O Saviour, I had rather wonder at thize wonder in men's unworthiness ; there is actions than discuss them. If I should say, more than wonder in thy mercy, O thou that as a man thou either knewest not, or

CURSED,

in consideredst not of this fruitlessness, it could of thine I see both an emblem, and a pro. pn no way prejudice thy divine omniscience; phecy. How didst thou herein mean to

this infirmity were no worse than thy weari. teach thy disciples how much thou hatest

ness or hunger: it was no more disparage an unfruitful profession, and what judg- ment to thee to grow in knowledge than in ments thou meantst to bring upon that s stature; neither was it any more disgrace to barren generation! Once before hadst thou

thy perfect humanity, that thou, as man, compared the Jewish nation to a fig-tree in knewest not all things at once, than that the midst of thy vineyard, which, after three thou wert not in thy childhood at thy full years' expectation and culture, yielding no growth. But herein I doubt not to say, it fruit, was by thee, the Owner, doomed to is more likely thou camest purposely to this a speedy excision; now thou actest what tree, knowing the barrenness of it answer thou then saidst. No tree abounds more able to the season, and fore-resolving the with leaf and shade, no nation abounded event, that thou mightst hence ground the more with ceremonial observations and occasion of so instructive a miracle; likeas semblances of piety. Outward profession, thou knewest Lazarus was dying, was dead, where there is want of inward truth and yet wouldst not seem to take notice of his real practice, doth but help to draw on dissolution, that thou mightst the more glo. | and aggravate judgment. Had this fig-tree rify thy power in his resuscitation. It was been utterly bare and leafless, it had per. thy willing and determined disappointment, haps escaped the curse. Hear this, ye vain for a greater purpose.

hypocrites, that care only to show well ; But why didst thou curse a poor tree for never caring for the sincere truth of a conthe want of that fruit which the season scionable obedience; your fair outside shall yielded not? If it pleased thee to call for be sure to help you to a curse. that which it could not give, the plant was That which was the fault of this tree, is innocent; and if innocent, why cursed ? the punishment of it, fruitlessness : « Let

O Saviour, it is fitter for us to adore than no fruit grow on thee henceforward for EL to examine. We may be saucy in inquiring ever." Had the boughs been appointed to

after thee, and fond in answering for thee. be torn down, and the body split in pieces, 57 If that season were not for a ripe fruit, | the doom had been more easy, and that 6: yet for some fruit it was. Who knows not juicy plant might yet have recovered, and

the nature of the fig-tree to be always bear. have lived to recompense this deficiency; hot ing? That plant, if not altogether barren, now it shall be what it was, fruitless. Woe

yields a continual succession of increase : be to that church or soul that is punished hot while one fig is ripe, another is green; the with her own sin. Outward plagues are

same bough can content both our taste and but favour, in comparison of spiritual judg. hope. This tree was defective in both, | ments. yielding nothing but an empty shade to the That curse might well have stood with mis-hoping traveller.

a long continuance; the tree might have Besides that, I have learned that thou, lived long, though fruitless : but no sooner O Saviour, wert wont not to speak only, | is the word passed, than the leaves flag and

but to work parables; and what was this turn yellow, the branches wrinkle and phone other than a real parable of thine? All this shrink, the bark discolours, the root dries,

while hadst thou been in the world; thou the plant withers. hadst given many proofs of thy mercy (the O God, what creature is able to abide

earth was full of thy goodness), none of the blasting of the breath of thy displeaishonthy judgments; now, immediately before sure? even the most great and glorious an13thy passion, thou thoughtest fit to give this gels of heaven could not stand one moment ni double demonstration of thy just austerity. before thine anger, but perished under thy

How else should the world have seen, thou wrato everlastingly. How irresistible is thy * canst be severe as well as meek and merci. power! how dreadful are thy judgments | fati ful? and why mightst not thou, who madest | Lord! chastise my fruitlessness, but punish

all things, take liberty to destroy a plant for it not; at least, punish it, but curse it not, post thine own glory? Wherefore serve thy best lest I wither and be consumed! so creatures, but for the praise of thy mercy

and justice? What great matter was it, if 1thou, who once saidst,“ Let the earth bring CONTEMPLATION XXVII.CHRIST BETRAYED. Dessa forth the herb yielding seed, and the tree

yielding the fruit of its own kind,” shouldst "Such an eye-sore was Christ that raised Till now say, “Let this fruitless tree wither?” | Lazarus, and Lazarus whom Christ raised,

All this yet was done in figure : in this act to the envious priests, scribes, elders of the Jews, that they consult to murder both : | they, miserable men, to pay for such a po while either of them lives, neither can the chase? The time was, when he that set the glory of that miracle die, nor the shame of on work, could say, “ All the kingdoos of the oppugners.

the earth, and the glory of them, are vite. Those malicious heads are laid together and I give them to whom I please; al in the parlour of Caiaphas. Happy had it these will I give thee." Had he nos made been for them if they had spent but half that offer to thee in this woful bargain, it those thoughts upon their own salvation, might have carried some colour of a ten which they mis-employed upon the destruc- tation : and even thus it had been a maich tion of the innocent. At last this results, ill made ; but for thee to tender a trade d that force is not their way; subtility and so invaluable a commodity to these pelting treachery must do that which should be petty chapmen, for thirty poor silverlings, i vainly attempted by power.

was no less base than wicked! Who is so fit to work this feat against How unequal is this rate! Thou that Christ as one of his own? There can be valuedst Mary's ointment, which she beno treason, where is not some trust. Who stowed upon the feet of Christ, at three so fit among the domestics as he that bare hundred pieces of silver, sellest thy Masta, the bag, and over-loved that which he bare? | on whom that precious odour was spent, # That heart, which hath once enslaved it. | thirty Worldly hearts are penny-wise, and self to red and white earth, may be made pound-foolish : they know how to set hich anything. Who can trust to the power of prices upon the worthless trash of its good means, when Judas, who heard Christ world; but for heavenly things, or the God daily, whom others heard to preach Christ that owns them, these they shamefully updaily, who daily saw Christ's miracles, and dervalue. daily wrought miracles in Christ's name, is, “And I will deliver him unto you." at his best, a thief, and ere long a traitor ? | False and presumptuous Judas! it was more That crafty and malignant spirit, which pre- than thou couldst do; thy price was not sided in that bloody council, hath easily more too low than the undertaking was to found out a fit instrument for this hellish high. Had all the powers of hell combined plot. As God knows, so Satan guesses, who with thee, they could not have delivered are his, and will be sure to make use of his thy Master into the hands of men. The act own. If Judas were Christ's domestic, yet was none but his own; all that he did, al he was Mammon's servant: he could not that he suffered, was perfectly voluntary. but hate that Master whom he formally pro. Had he pleased to resist, how easily ban fessed to serve, while he really served that he, with one breath, blown thee and the Master which Christ professed to hate. He accomplices down into their hell! It is so is but in his trade, while he is bartering | thank to thee that he would be delivered. even for his Master : “ What will ye give | O Saviour, all our safety, all our comfort, me, and I will deliver him unto you ?" | depends not so much upon thine act as upan Saidst thou not well, O Saviour, “ I have thy will : in vain should we have hoped for chosen you twelve, and one of you is a the benefit of a forced redemption." devil ?" Thou, that knewest to distinguish | The bargain is driven, the price paid. betwixt men and spirits, callest Judas by Judas returns, and looks no less smoothly his right name. Lo, he is become a tempter upon his Master and fellows, than as if be to the worst of evils.

had done no disservice. What cares he? Wretched Judas! whether shall I more his heart tells him he is rich, though it tel's abhor thy treachery, or wonder at thy folly? | him he is false. He was not now first a What will they, what can they, give thee | hypocrite. The passover is at hand; Do valuable to that head which thou profferest | man is so busy to prepare for it, or more to sale? Were they able to pay, or thou devoutly forward :o receive it, than Judas. capable to receive, all those precious metals Othe sottishness and obdurateness of that are laid up in the secret cabins of the this son of perdition! How many proofs whole earth, how were this price equivalent had he formerly of his Master's omniscience! to the worth of him that made them! Had | There was no day wherein he saw not, that they been able to fetch down those rich thoughts and things absent came familiar and glittering spangles of heaven, and to under his cognizance, yet this miscreant have put them into thy fist, what had this dares plot a secret villany against his per. been to weigh with a God? How basely | son, and face it: if he cannot be honest, therefore dost thou speak of chaffering for yet he will be close. That he may be do him whose the world was? “ What will ye toriously impudent, he shall know he is give me?" Alas, what were they? what had descried : while he thinks fit to conceal

treachery, our Saviour thinks not fit to con. | well for the present, I shall shift well enough ceal the knowledge of that treacherous con- for the future. Thus secretly he claps up spiracy: “ Verily I say unto you, that one another bargain ; he makes a covenant with of you shall betray me.” Who would not death, and with hell an agreement. 0 Judas, think but that discovered wickedness should didst thou ever hear aught but truth fall be ashamed of itself? Did not Judas (think from the mouth of that thy divine Master?

we) blush, and grow pale again, and cast canst thou distrust the certainty of that - down his guilty eyes, and turn away his dreadful menace of vengeance ? how then

troubled countenance at so galling an inti. | durst thou persist in the purpose of so flagi. mation? Custom of sin steels the brow, tious and damnable a villany? Resolved and makes it incapable of any relenting im- sinners run on desperately in their wicked pressions. Could the other disciples have courses, and have so bent their eyes upon discerned any change in any one of their the profit or pleasure of their mischievous faces, they had not been so sorrowfully projects, that they will not see hell lie open affected with the charge. Methinks I see before them in the way. how intentively they bent their eyes upon As if that shameless man meant to out

each other, as if they would have looked brave all accusations, and to outface his * through those windows down into their own heart, he dares asks it too, “ Master,

bosom; with what self-confidence, with is it I ?" No disciple shall more zealously

what mutual jealousy, they perused each abominate that crime than he that fosters e others' foreheads; and now, as rather think. it in his bosom. Whatever the Searcher 2 ing fit to distrust their own innocence than of hearts knows, by him is locked up in his

their Master's assertion, each trembles to own breast; to be perfidious is nothing, so say, “ Lord, is it I?” It is possible, there | he may be secret : his Master knows him

may lurk secret wickedness in some blind for a traitor; it is not long that he shall live in corner of the heart, which we know not to complain : his fellows think him honest;

* of: it is possible that time and temptation, | all is well while he is well esteemed. ReI working upon our corruption, may at last putation is the only care of false hearts, not "draw us into some such sin as we could not truth of being, not conscience of merit ; so in fore-believe. Whither may we not fall, if they may seem fair to men, they care not

we be left to our own strength ? It is both how foul they are to God. so wise and holy to misdoubt the worst : Had our Saviour only had this know. E “ Lord, is it I?"

ledge at the second-hand, this boldness had 1 In the meantime, how fair hath Judas, been enough to make him suspect the credit

all this while, carried with his fellows! Had of the best intelligence: who could imagine past his former life bewrayed any falsehood or that a guilty man dared thus browbeat a just be misdemeanour, they had soon found where accusation ? Now he, whose piercing and

to pitch their just suspicion : now Judas unfailing eyes see things as they are, not as goes for so honest a man, that every disci. they seem, can peremptorily convince the ple is rather ready to suspect himself than impudence of this hollow questionist, with

him. It is true he was a thief; but who a direct affirmation : “ Thou hast said." I knows that besides his Maker? The out. Foolish traitor! couldst thou think that

sides of men are no less deceitful than their those blear eyes of thine would endure the hearts. It is not more unsafe to judge by beams of the sun, or that counterfeit slip,

outward appearances, than it is unchari. the fire ? was it not sufficient for thee to be 5 table not to judge so.

secretly vicious, but thou must presume to O the headstrong resolutions of wicked.contest with an omniscient accuser ? Hast 'ness, not to be checked by any opposition ! | thou yet enough? Thou supposedst thy

Who would not but have thought, if the no crime unknown: to men it was so; had

tice of an intended evil could not have pre. thy Master been no more, it had been so e vented it, yet that the threats of judgment to him; now his knowledge argues him

should have affrighted the boldest offender? divine. How dost thou yet resolve to lift Judas can sit by, and hear his Master say, up thy hand against him, who knows thine “ Wue be to the man by whom the Son of offence, and can either prevent or revenge Man is betrayed! it had been better for that it ? As yet the charge was private, either man never to have been born," and is no not heard, or not observed by thy fellows: more blanked than very innocence; but it shall be at first whispered to one, and at thinks, what care I? I have the money; I last known to all. Bashful and penitent shall escape the shame : the fact shall be sinners are fit to be concealed; shame is close, the match gainful: it will be long ere meet for those that have none. I shall get so much by my service; if I fare: Curiosity of knowledge is an old disease

[ocr errors]

of human nature; besides, Peter's zeal deep in thy books, and would have con. would not set him dwell under the danger strued this act as they did thy tears for Laof so doubtful a crimination; he cannot but zarus : “ See how he loves him." To carve sit on thorns, till he know the man. His a man out of thine own dish, what could signs ask what his voice dare not. What it seem to argue but a singularity of respect? law requires all followers to be equally be. yet, lo, there is but one whom thou hatest, loved ? why may not our favours be freely one only traitor at thy board; and thou dispensed where we like best, without envy, givest him a sop. The outward gifts of God without prejudice ? None of Christ's train are not always the proofs of his love; yea, could complain of neglect. John is highest sometimes are bestowed in displeasure. Had in grace: blood, affection, zeal, diligence not he been a wise disciple that should have have endeared him above his fellows. He, envied the great favour done to Judas, and that is dearest in respect, is next in place: have stomached his own preterition ? So in that form of side-sitting at the table, he foolish are they, who, measuring God's leaned on the bosom of Jesus. Where is affection by temporal benefits, are ready more love, there may be more boldness. to applaud prospering wickedness, and to This secrecy and entireness privilege Jolin grudge outward blessings to them which are to ask that safely, which Peter inight not incapable of any better. without much inconvenience and peril of a “ After the sop, Satan entered into Ju. check. The beloved disciple well under-das." Better had it been for that treachestands this silent language, and dares put rous disciple to have wanted that morsel: Peter's thought into words. Love shutteth not that there was any malignity in the out fear. O Saviour, the confidence of thy bread, or that the sop had any power to goodness emboldens us not to shrink at any convey Satan into the receiver, or that, by suit. Thy love, shed abroad in our hearts, a necessary concomitance, that evil spirit bids us ask that which in a stranger were was in or with it. Favours ill used make no better than presumption. Once, when the heart more capable of farther evil. That Peter asked thee a question concerning wicked spirit commonly takes occasion, by John, “ What shall this man do?" he re- any of God's gifts, to assault us the more ceived a short answer, “ What is that to eagerly. After our sacramental morsel, if thee?” Now, when John asks thee a ques. we be not the better, we are sure the worse. tion, no less seemingly curious, at Peter's | I dare not say, yet I dare think, that Judas, instance, “ Who is it that betrays thee?" comparing his Master's words, and John's however thou mightst have returned him whisperings, with the tender of this sop, the same answer, since neither of their per- and finding himself thus denoted, was now sons was any more concerned, yet thou con so much the more irritated to perform what descendest to a mild and full, though secret, lie had wickedly purposed. Thus Satan satisfaction. There was not so much dif. took advantage by the sop of a farther pos. ference in the men, as in the matter of the session. Twice before had that evil spirit demand. No occasion was given to Peter made a palpable entry into that lewd heart. of moving that question concerning John: First, in his covetousness and theft ; those the indefinite assertion of treason amongst sinful habits could not be without that authe disciples was a most just occasion of thor of ill; then in his damnable resolution moving John's question for Peter and him and plot of so heinous a conspiracy against self. That which therefore was timorously Christ. Yet now, as if it were new to be. demanded, is answered graciously : “He it gin, “ After the sop, Satan entered." As is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have in every gross sin which we entertain, we dipped it : and he gave the sop to Judas.” give harbour so that evil spirit; so, in every How loath was our Saviour to name him degree of growth in wickedness, new hold whom he was not unwilling to design! All is taken by him of the heart. No sooner is here expressed by dumb signs; the hand is the foot over the threshold, than we en. speaks what the tongue would not. In the ter into the house ; when we pass thence same language wherein Peter asked the ques. into the inner rooms, we make still but a tion of John, doth our Saviour shape an perfect entrance. At first, Satan entered answer to John: what a beck demanded, is to make the house of Judas's heart his own, answered by a sop.

now he enters into it as his own. The first O Saviour, I do not hear thee say, Look | purpose of sin opens the gates to Satan, on whomsoever I frown, or to whomsoever consent admits hiin into the entry, full reI do a public affront, that is the man; but solution of sin gives up the keys to his to whomsoever I shall give a sop.” Surely hands, and puts him into absolute posses. a by-stander would have thought this man sion. What a plain difference there is be.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »