Sivut kuvina

"God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him." Both he and his disciples would remember of whom it had been declared by the same prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach glad tidings to the meek"." If, then, such were the ministry of Jesus, they had another circumstance to corroborate that inference, which they might draw from his miracles, in favour of his Messiahship. But the same prophet had also uttered other predictions, which would equally be fulfilled in their season; though blessed were they only to whom the darker portions of them did not apply. "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation stone a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste b," or stumble at that stone. Again, Isaiah says in another place, "He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken."

Blessed is he, said Jesus in conclusion, and alluding to these predictions, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." Too many of the men of that generation were, however,

a Isai. lxi. 1.

b Ibid. xxviii, 16.

c Ibid. viii. 14, 15.

offended in him; for he came not in that pomp, and with those offers of temporal ease, and riches, and pre-eminence, which alone were congenial to their carnal and groveling desires. He that should come, was "meek, lowly, and having salvation ;" but a salvation from sin and condemnation, and which led to pardon, and holiness, and immortality. "They would not come to him, that they might have life." Miracles of vengeance, therefore, overtook them, because miracles of mercy failed to convince.

We shall hereafter have occasion to advert to the motives and objections, which made the cross of Christ, and his character, and doctrines, to become, even before his crucifixion, a stumblingblock to the Jews. But we may surely observe at this period of our course, that the miracles which he wrought proved that "the Father had sent him;" and that the correspondency of these miracles, as well as of his doctrine, and of the whole of his ministry, to prophetic description, proved him to be the Messiah. And, before I conclude, I would notice some other prophecies respecting the Messiah, and compare them with another appeal to his miracles in proof of his Messiahship, which our Lord made upon another occasion, and in a different connexion.

We quoted above, from the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, the words in which the prophet speaks of

the "Lord God coming with a strong hand, having his reward with him, and his work before him." He thus proceeds in the following verse. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Compare with the whole of that passage another in the prophecy of Ezekiel. "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will both search out my sheep, and seek them out. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong; and I will feed them with judgment.-And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it."-Now compare, with these passages, our Lord's beautiful and well known discourse concerning himself as the good Shepherd, delivered immediately after he had wrought one of the miracles mentioned in our text, the healing of the man born blind. That


a Ezek. xxxiv. 11-24.

discourse, the previous instructions, and the recent miracles of Jesus, caused a division among the Jews; and they therefore came round about him in Solomon's porch, and said unto him, "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, referring, as it should seem, to his discourse before the Sanhedrim after the miracle at Bethesda, "I told you, and ye believed not, 'the works that I do in my Father's name they bear witness of me.' But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." He then spoke of his power to save, of his unity with the Father, and of the sanction given by his miracles to his claim of the title "Son of God," as being "he whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world."—It would be easy to shew, from a comparison of the whole of these statements with prophecy, that he here appealed to his works in proof of his Messiahship; and also that he endeavoured to lead them to acknowledge, that his claim to divinity, his doctrines, and the professed object of his mission, all corresponded to the prophetic descripti of the Messiah.

The preaching of a lowly, spiritual, and crucified Messiah, ever was to the Jews a stumblingblock; and to the Greeks it appeared foolishness.

a John x. 24, &c.

The offence of the cross has not even yet ceased. Some there are, even at this day, who cavil at the evidences of the Gospel. Some are ashamed of the peculiar doctrines of the cross of Christ, in which they should rather glory. And others value not the offer of pardon, aspire not after the holiness to which they are called, and are averse from the practice of self-denial, and the cultivation of humility. But still," blessed are they whosoever are not offended in Jesus!" And should any one of you ask, who they are that attain this blessedness, and what are the rewards promised for your encouragement, I would answer in the divine words of my Master and your's "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God"."

We have seen that Jesus, in proof of his authority, gave sight to the blind. From this miracle he also borrowed an illustration to teach us the nature of his mission, and our responsibility and danger in consequence of it. "For judg

b Matt. v. 1—8.


« EdellinenJatka »