Page images

the days of Jesus, who, indignant at the sight, would not suffer it to pass unreproved. Having made a scourge of small cords, he went into the temple, and drove before him, not only, the herds of cattle, but the buyers and sellers themselves; and even overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and poured out their money. One would imagine the Man who was able to drive so numerous an assemblage of persons from their long accustomed (and to many of them lucrative) seat of trade, must have been supported by the weight of the civil and military authorities of the state; but it was quite the contrary: yea, even the Priests who ought to have been most anxious to preserve the sanctity of the place, were the first to oppose this cleansing of the temple. Surely it must be matter of wonder, how this Man of Nazareth could, unaided by human power, so easily accomplish a change fraught with danger and difficulty: but such was the fact, and there appears but one way to account for the prompt submission of those buyers and sellers; which is, that, Jesus being both God and Man in one person, his Deity was not on this occasion so much concealed beneath the manhood, but shone forth with such majestic dignity, that none dared to resist or dispute his authority. All were awed into

quiet submission to the command of the God-man Christ Jesus; when he said, " take these things hence, and make not my Father's house, an house of merchandise;" it is written, "my house, shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." Not only his acts, but his words, proclaim his Deity. Jesus can with propriety call God, Father, for he is his first begotten, well beloved Son, and, as such, he has rule over his Father's house.* The disciples who were observers of the event, struck at the display of his Godhead, applied to him the words of the psalmist; "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me." If we except the miracle recorded by John, of the armed men falling to the ground on the reply of Jesus, this certainly is one of the greatest miracles he performed in the days of his flesh.


Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest still the enemy and avenger.-Psalm viii. 2.

THE manner in which this prophecy was fulfilled is

John v. 22, 23.

very interesting. When Jesus drave out the buyers and sellers from the temple, we are told the children shouted hosannas to the Son of David. The Chief Priests and Scribes were filled with indignation to hear even children confess a truth they wished buried in eternal silence; and, coming to Jesus, they said, dost thou not hear what these say? But he mildly answered, "Yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" It is more than probable that amongst the persons he had just expelled from the temple, were the parents of some of these children; it would not therefore have excited our astonishment so much, to have found them mocking and reviling the man of Nazareth, as it does to hear them shouting hosannas to the Son of David. There were none of those distinctions in the person of Jesus, which so usually please and delight children; all was as to outward appearance mean and unattractive; yet their youthful hearts were filled with love and admiration for the person of the Man, so generally treated with contempt; and they as with one voice shout the praises of this Son of David. Ought it not for ever to have put to silence the Priests and Scribes, and all those bitter enemies of Jesus, when he gave such clear proofs of his being the Messiah, that



even these Jewish children, could discover him to be the very person their parents, from the first dawn of reason, had taught them to expect, as the long promised deliverer of Israel, who should spring from David's royal line.


I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.-Psalm xl. 9.

It is said, to the immortal honour of Noah, that he was a preacher of righteousness to the Old World:* but as the glory of the latter dispensation far exceeds that of the former, † so is its founder greatly distinguished from all the prophets and teachers under the Jewish economy. We find Jesus actively engaged in preaching his own gospel, whenever opportunity offered, free from the trammels of form, and the circumscribed rules of human order. We see him in the temple, and the field; in the synagogue, and on a mountain; in the crowded street, and the wilderness;

[blocks in formation]

in the house, and by the sea shore: at one time to the crowded throng, and then to the little troop of disciples; now to learned rabbies and rulers, and then to a few fishermen of Galilee; but in every place and company he was a preacher of righteousness. He did not refrain his lips from fear of man He did not hesitate to publish doctrines necessary to be known, because they were of a kind likely to be ungraciously received. He shunned not to proclaim the whole truth; whether men would hear, or whether they would forbear. Again, look at him as a preacher of righteousness. All he taught was pure and undefiled as the light of heaven. He did not flatter one vice, or countenance one folly. He described sin as hateful to God, whether in the priest or people, the ruler or the ruled. He taught the Jews, who rested in the mere letter of the law, that it is of a spiritual nature, "extending not only to the outward actions," but to the "thoughts and intents of the heart." He inculcated obedience, not on the narrow principle of self love, or to gain the praise of man; but he insisted, that it can only be acceptable to God when springing from a principle of love to God and man. He did not instruct

his hearers to keep a fair exterior only, but he went at once to the seat of iniquity, the human heart; and

« PreviousContinue »