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crime. The way in which he extricated himself from giving any opinion on the subject of the tribute paid by the Jews to the Romans; and, perhaps, above all, the sublime manner in which he declared that to be the first and great commandment, which was the origin and foundation of them all. There are, besides these, many other similar occurrences in the Gospels; and to raise the more our wonder at'them, we must remember that he, to whom they relate, was, as far as was known to men, perfectly unlearned. “ How,” said the Jews, “ knoweth this man letters, having never learned??" and yet this was he who, to the astonishment of the multitude, put the Scribes and Pharisees to silence, and who drew from the very men, who were employed to seize him, the exclamation, “ Never man spake like this man ?." How surely, then, may we, with confidence and faith, affirm,“ truly this was the Son of God.”
It needs not now to dwell on the pro
1 John vii. 15.
2 John vii. 46.
phecies which he spake, and which were fulfilled ; on the various discourses which he held in private, with his disciples, breathing at once holiness and affection ; or on many other collateral proofs of his divinity ; we will, finally, draw your attention to his last hour, in which was fully shewn, the evident spirit which he was of. Although yielding, in his mortal nature, to the fear of those torments which awaited him, yet did he refrain from exercising that power which he possessed,
, and by which he could have delivered himself from the hands of his enemies. “ The work which his Father had given him to do, that he was resolved to perform ?," and, therefore, he did not pray to God, although it was in his power so to have done, to send him legions of angels to his assistance. But he had come down to save men, and he knew that, unless he persevered unto the end, fallen man could never be restored to his former brightness. He, therefore, willingly gave himself up for their good who despised him, and for their advantage who rejected him. His disciples, whom he had chosen for his friends and companions, forsook him and fled. The Jews, the very people, “ the lost sheep of the house of Israel 1,” to whom he was sent, were themselves putting him to a cruel and ignominious death; yet neither did this provoke him to change his resolves, or to punish his persecutors. He submitted to death, even the death of the cross, with meekness and resignation. For his disciples he implored the grace of God, to give them firmness and a new constancy, that “of the sheep which had been given him he might lose none?;" and for his enemies he offered up his last prayer, “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do 3." Truly this was the Son of God."
1 John xvii. 4.
And last of all, having once died " it was not possible that he should long be holden of death * ;" but on the third day he wrought his last and greatest miracle, by raising himself up, and bursting the bonds of the sepulchre. From this time he assumed that fulness of power, and that dignity of deportment, which so truly belonged to him. Although for the space of forty days, he still occasionally conversed with his disciples, and instructed them in a knowledge of himself, yet was there a degree of awfulness and mystery about him, which they had not observed before, and at length, in the sight of them, was he taken up into heaven, and carried in glory to the mansions of his Almighty Father.
1 Matt. x. 6. xv. 24. 3 Luke xxiii. 34.
2 John xvii. 12. xviii. 9. 4 Acts ii. 24.
And even after that he had ascended into the heavens, did our Lord give his followers a farther proof of his being the Son of God. While he was with them, he had promised them that, although he himself went away, yet that, after his departure, he would send unto them another Comforter. For the fulfilment of this promise they were commanded to tarry in Jerusalem; and after the expiration of ten days from the time of their Lord's ascension, was his word accomplished. Openly and visibly did the Holy Ghost descend upon the Apostles; and great and obvious was his influence both on their hearts, and on their understandings. And by his aid and support were men, originally ignorant, enabled to go and preach the Gospel to all the world, and to declare to every nation, each in its own language, that their Master, whose name and whose doctrines they were so diligent in promulgating,
truly the Son of God.” Such is a brief outline of the history of our Blessed Saviour.
And let us remember, as we dwell upon the several parts of his eventful life, the great and stupendous purpose for which the Son of the Most High God was pleased so to humble himself, as to put on our nature. “ God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life ". And
1 John iii. 16.