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OUR SAVIO U R.
Having yet therefore one Son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my Son. MARK Xii. 6.
WITHOUT a parable, we are told, Jesus spake not unto the people; and the wisdom of this mode of addressing them, is evident from many considerations. Not to mention the peculiar force and impressiveness of this method, the interest it excited, and the effects it was calculated to produce; the state of the Jewish nation, at the time of our Saviour's appearance, alone furnished a sufficient reason for adopting it. Their prejudices were rooted, their pride unbounded, their obstinacy con
firmed; the plain and simple truths of Christianity were little calculated to arrest their attention, or to influence their conduct; the prediction of a crucified Redeemer would have crushed at once all their hopes, and pride and prejudice would have united to oppose their belief in such a religion. Our Lord, therefore, who closely studied the characters of his hearers, judiciously veiled his predictions under the form of an allegory, and in a most interesting and instructive story exhibited in the most striking manner their subsequent ingratitude. They knew it was spoken against them; they were sensible it was intended to reprobate their conduct; but still it was so guarded, and so concealed beneath the figure, that they could not attack him on account of it.
Waving at this time all illustration of the parable, I shall confine myself to the words of the text, and inquire,
I. Why we should reverence the Son of God? And,
II. How we may show our reverence to him?
1. Why are we called to reverence the Son of God?
This may be shown under six particulars.
1. On account of the title and authority he bears.
2. The spotless example he set forth. 3. The discoveries he taught, and the precepts he delivered.
4. He alone is the Lamb of God, appointed to take away the sins of the world.
5. He is constituted Head over all things to his church.
6. He will be our final Judge.
1. The title and authority he bears demand
In one sense, we are all the children of God, but to be specifically and appropriately his Son, his only begotten, as it is elsewhere rendered, belongs only to him, who is expressly styled Emmanuel, God with us; who dwelt in the bosom of the Father before the world was; who was rich, but for our sakes became poor; who quitted the celestial mansions, to sojourn upon the earth, and to become the Instructor, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier of guilty man. St. Paul assures us, that he is the brightness of his Father's countenance, the express image of his person." Well then might the Lord of the vineyard declare, They will reverence my Son."
2. Consider the spotless example he set forth.
Never was there a more perfect pattern of holiness, than we find exemplified in the life and character of our Saviour. "He did no sin, neither was guile found on his lips." He was the only person who never, in any one instance, deviated from the path of rectitude; who never spake unadvisedly with his lips; who never was overcome by the temptations of appetite, or the allurements of pleasure; who never, in the slightest degree, departed from truth; who never failed in a single duty, whether of devotion or of morality. The character of our Divine Master is the only character upon record, which may be imitated throughout with perfect safety; which exhibits the full and bright assemblage of every virtue and of every grace. Christians! look to your Saviour, and admire the glorious comment which his example furnishes!
3. Think of the discoveries he taught, and the precepts he delivered.
If we take a brief survey of the discoveries made known by former dispensations, and compare them with those of Christ, how infinitely superior do they appear! He was a son, while Moses, with all his learning, was
but a servant. They had only the twilight, the faint dawn of the Sun of Righteousness, of which we enjoy the meridian day. The doctrines of the Divine Unity, of his attributes and perfections; of the nature of man, of his guilt and apostasy, of the designs of the Almighty respecting him, of the resurrection of the body, and of a future state of happiness or misery ;-these important and interesting discoveries are indeed faintly sketched in the Old Testament; but it was reserved for Christianity to brighten and complete the picture.
Again, if we view the miracles of the Old Testament, and compare them with those of our Lord, how much do they lose by the comparison! And let us remember that those which are there recorded, were the combined efforts of three thousand years, while those related in the New Testament, were all performed within a very short space of time.
Once more, view the prophecies which preceded, and those which were delivered by our Lord, and you will perceive a difference still more striking. The predictions recorded in the Old Testament are chiefly local; if we except those which expressly refer to Christianity, they in general allude to particular nations, and even to individuals. They chiefly foretel temporal prosperity or calamity, and