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Nothing to be refused, when the Lord hath need.
MARK xi. 3.
And if any man fay unto you, Why do ye this? Say ye that the Lord hath need of him: and straitway he will send him hither.
OUR Lord, at the time of the Jewish paff
over, had determined to make his public entry into Jerufalem, 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 afs, and upon a colt the foal of an afs."" When therefore he was come nigh to Jerufalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he fent two of his difciples, faying, "Go ye into the village over against you; and as foon as ye be entered into it, ye fhall find a colt tied, whereon never man fat; loofe him and bring him to me. And if any man fay unto you, Why do ye this? Ye fhall fay, The Lord hath need of him, And ftraitway he will fend him." They went and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met;
a place of public refort. "And as they were loofing the colt, the owner," who was standing by, "afked them, "why loofe ye the colt? And they anfwered, The Lord hath need of him.” The reafon was fufficient: the owner let him go,
It may feem, perhaps, that our Lord, on this occafion, affumed, over people's property, a power, which he was not wont to exercife. He commanded his two difciples to "loose the colt and bring him." But it should be confidered, that at this time, Jefus 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 Jerufalem. In this character he was obeyed by the owner of the beast, with whom the reafon affigned by the difciples, The Lord hath need of him, carried an authority, which he felt no difpofition to dispute, and pretended no right to oppose. As Jefus now exhibited himself in the character of Zion's king, all who owned him as fuch were bound to yield him every affiftance, which the occafion required.
Befides; it is evident from the ftory, that the disciples were to take the colt only with the owner's confent. As Jefus knew the place where the beaft was tied, fo he knew that the owner would be prefent, would demand the reason of the dif ciples' loofing him, would be fatisfied with their anfwer, 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 confent was their warrant to bring him.
What deferves our particular notice in this ftory, is the readiness with which the man refigned his beaft, as foon he knew, the Lord had need of him. This was the only reason which Chrift faw
fit to give, and with this the owner was perfectly fatisfied.
Hence then we learn, that whatever we claim as ours, we fhould commit it to our Lord's dif pofal; and whenever we know he has need of it, we should refign it to his service.
Jefus Chrift 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 confifts not in temporal honour, wealth and dominion; but in the advancement of truth, righteousness and happiness-in the recovery of finners from ignorance and error, wickedness and guiltin the fpread and influence of his doctrines-in the increase of real converts to his religion, and in the falvation of our fallen race.
This work he began perfonally, when he was on earth, and has been still pursuing ever fince his return to heaven. But in this work he choofes not to be alone; he requires the concurrence and affiftance of his fervants. And whatever they can do in fubfervience to his caufe, in that he has need of them. In regard to himself perfonally 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 inftituted 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 gofpel was in an extraordinary way; but its continuance, in fome measure, depends on the support
given it by thofe who profefs to be its friends. It will not be preserved, as it was first introduced, by the power 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 apoftles, the continuance of the gofpel among the people of any particular place, was fufpended on the condition of their making fome decent provision for it.
When Chrift fent forth his apoftles to preach the kingdom of God, he furnished them with fupernatural powers, which he commanded them to employ in healing the fick, raising the dead, and cafting out devils, that thus the divinity of their miffion, and the truth of their doctrines might be demonftrated. But it is obfervable, they never were inftructed to fupply their own wants-to procure food and raiment, by miracles, and thus to excufe 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 miffion without purfe or fcrip, without gold or filver, or even change of apparel, because, as labourers in the service of mankind, they were worthy of, and entitled to their hire. Though fome of them, if not all, poffeffed confiderable property of their own, they were not to carry it with them, or to depend upon it for fupport in their miffion, but to require their maintenance wholly from thofe, on whom their la bours were beftowed. If in any place, whither they were fent, they were not received with the
attention, and entertained with the hofpitality due to their facred character, they were to retire with this folemn admonition and awful token of their master's difpleafure; "The duft of your city, which cleaveth to us, we wipe off againft you. But be ye fure of this; the kingdom of God hath come nigh to you."
It is an established law of Chrift's kingdom, that they who preach his gofpel, fhall live by his gofpel." Whatever, therefore, is requifite to the maintenance of his preached gofpel, 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 fuch purposes as his general inftructions warrant, and his particular occafions demand. Thus when our ftewardship fhall ceafe, 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 occafion 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 focial affections and pleafures are improved and exalted.
The poor we have always with us. Thefe, acting under the influence of religion, may be as ufeful in fociety as the rich. The latter may do good