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Nothing to be refused, when the Lord bath need.
A Communion Sermon.
MARK xi. 3.
And if any man fay unto you, Why do ye this ? Say ye that the Lord bathe
need of him; and straitway he will send him hither.
OUR Lord, at the time of the Jewish paflover, had determined to make his public entry into Jerusalem, in the manner predicted by the prophet Zechariah ; “ Tell ye the daughter of Zion, behold, thy king cometh unto thee meek, and fitting upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an afs."
_6. When therefore he was come nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he fent two of his disciples, faying, “Go ye into the village over against you; and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man fat; loose him and bring him to me. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this ? Ye shall say, The Lord hath need of him, And straitway he will send him.” They went and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met ; a place of public resort. “And as they were loofing the colt, the owner,” who was standing by, “ asked them, “why loofe ye the colt? And they anfwered, The Lord hath need of him.” The reason was fufficient : the owner let him go,
It may seem, perhaps, that our Lord, on this occafion, affumed, over people's property, a power, which he was not wont to exercise. He commanded his two difciples to “ loose the colt and bring him." But it should be considered, that at this time, Jesus was about to make his public appearance as king of Zion ; that in this character he was already received by the body of the people, and foon after recognized by the train which attended him, and by the citizens of Jerusalem. In this character he was obeyed by the owner of the beast, with whom the reason affigned by the disciples, The Lord hath need of him, carried an authority, which he felt no disposition to dispute, and pretended no right to oppofe. As Jefus now exhibited himfelf in the character of Zion's king, all who owned him as fuch were bound to yield him every afsiftance, which the occasion required.
Besides ; it is evident from the story, that the disciples were to take the colt only with the own. er's confent. As Jefus knew the place where the beast was tied, fo he knew that the owner would be present, would demand the reason of the difciples' loosing him, would be fatisfied with their answer, and would allow them to take him. Christ's telling them, that the owner of the beast would let him go, plainly imported, that the owner's consent was their warrant to bring him.
What deferves our particular notice in this ftory, is the readiness with which the man resigned his beast, as soon he knew, the Lord had need of him. This was the only reason which Christ faw
fit to give, and with this the owner was perfectly satisfied.
Hence then we learn, that whatever we claim as ours, we should commit it to our Lord's difpofal ; and whenever we know he has need of it, we should resign it to his service.
Jesus Christ came into the world to erect a kingdom, and then return to his father.
His kingdom is not of this world, but from heaven. It consists not in temporal honour, wealth and dominion ; but in the advancement of truth, righteousness and happiness--in the recovery of sinners from ignorance and error, wickedness and guiltin the spread and influence of his doctrines—in the increase of real converts to his religion, and in the salvation of our fallen race.
This work he began personally, when he was on earth, and has been still pursuing ever since his return to heaven. But in this work he choofes not to be alone ; he requires the concurrence and assistance of his servants. And whatever they can do in fubfervience to his cause, in that he has need of them. In regard to himself personally he needs nothing ; but in regard to the great and benevolent design which he is carrying on in the world, he has need of us. And in that, wherein he has need of us, we must be workers together with him.
Christ often has need of our property ;-and with this we are to honour him.
He has instituted a church on earth, and appointed ordinances for its edification and comfort. These ordinances are to be maintained and contin. ued, not by miraculous, but by human means. The first introduction and establishment of his gospel was in an extraordinary way ; but its continuance, in some measure, depends on the support given it by those who profess to be its friends. It will not be preserved, as it was first introduced, by the power of miracles.
of miracles. It is now brought to us, and laid before us with evidences of its truth, and declarations of its importance; and if we will not receive it, when it is brought ; or will not retain it, after we have received it, then it leaves us of course ; for we put it from us, and judge ourselves unworthy of it. Even in the time of our faviour and his apostles, the continuance of the gospel among the people of any par. ticular place, was suspended on the condition of their making fome decent provision for it.
When Chrift fent forth his apostles to preach the kingdom of God, he furnished them with supernatural powers, which he commanded them to employ in healing the sick, raising the dead, and cafting out devils, that thus the divinity of their mission, and the truth of their doctrines might be demonftrated. But it is observable, they never were instructed to supply their own wants to procure food and raiment, by miracles, and thus to excuse their hearers from the trouble and expense of maintaining them. To have made the gospel fo cheap, would have been to make it too contemptible. On the contrary, they were to go forth on their mifsion without purse or scrip, without gold or silver, or even change of apparel, because, as labourers in the service of mankind, they were worthy of, and entitled to their hire. Though some of them, if not all, possessed confiderable property of their own, they were not to carry it with them, or to depend upon it for support in their mission, but to require their maintenance wholly from those, on whom their la. bours were bestowed. If in any place, whither they were sent, they were not received with the Vol. y.
attention, and entertained with the hospitality due to their facred character, they were to retire with this folemn admonition and awful token of their master's displeasure ; “ The dust of your city, which cleaveth to us, we wipe off against you. But be ye fure of this; the kingdom of God hath come nigh to you.”.
It is an established law of Christ's kingdom, that “ they who preach his gospel, shall live by his gospel.”.
Whatever, therefore, is requisite to the maintenance of his preached gospel, to the accommodation of his inftituted worship, and to the continuance of his appointed ordinances, that he hath need of, and that we are bound to render to him out of the goods which he has committed to us. Whatever we poffefs, it is the gift of providence. We receive it in trust from our Lord. And we are to apply it to such purposes as his general instructions warrant, and his particular occasions demand. Thus when our Itewardship shall cease, we may give an account of it to his approbation and acceptance.
Our Lord has need of our property, not only for the maintenance of his worship, but also for the relief and comfort of his helpless friends.
Providence places men under different circumftances, for this, doubtless, among other reasons, that occasion and opportunity may be given for the various focial virtues. While men are mutually dependent on, and reciprocally indebted to one another, the virtues of justice, fidelity, friendfhip, benevolence and gratitude are called into exercise, and thus the social affections and pleafures are improved and exalted.
The poor we have always with us. These, act. ing under the influence of religion, may be as use. ful in society as the rich. The latter may do good