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Reflections on CHRIST's weeping over Jerusalem, &c.

IMPROVEMEN T.

Sect. 147.

N

Ver. 42.

EXT to the Sight of a bleeding and dying Redeemer, there can

surely be none in the whole World Luke xix. 41.

more affecting than this, which is here represented ; even the Son of GOD weeping over perishing Sinners, yea, over the Sinners of Jerusalem. We might, perhaps, have been ready to think, that foreseeing so circumstantially, as we know he did, all the ungrateful and inhumane Treatment he was to meet with in this Nest of Murtherers, with the Scene of his Sufferings, and the very House of Caiaphas in his full View (k), he should rather have taken up a Proverb against it, and haye anticipated the Triumphs of that awful Day, when God would plead his Cause with irresistible Terror, and avenge the Quarrel of his Sacred Blood. But behold, he seems to forget himself, and all his Wrongs, great and cruel as they were ; and in the midst of a Procesion intended for his Honour, he melts into Tears, as if it were for the Calamity of a Friend, or a Brother; and says in the most genuine Language of undissembled Grief, Oh that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy' Day, the Things that belong to thy Peace !

Behold, oh our Souls, with Wonder, and with Awe, at once the GoodVer, 43, 44. ness, and Severity of GOD: (Rom. xi. 22.) The Sinners of Jerusalem

wept over, and yet abandoned to Ruin. We have our Part in all this : The Tidings of the Gospel are the Things which belong to our Peace, the Things on which our everlasting Happiness depends. Let us remember, that, the Time will come, in which, if we do not attend to them, they will be hid from our Eyes. There is a limited Day of Mercy and Grace ; and therefore To-day, while it is called To-day, let us bear bis Voice, and not harden our Hearts ; (Heb. iii. 15.) lest slighted Mercy at length retire, and Vengeance take its Turn; a Vengeance which will fall the heavier, and pierce the deeper, in Proportion to all the Long-suffering, and Goodness, which have been exercised towards us in vain. Let all, and especially the Ministers of Christ, learn Compassion to Souls by such an Example ; and when the strongest Efforts of Love prove ineffectual for their Recovery, let us at least be mourning for them before the Lord, and

weeping over the Ruin which we cannot prevent. Mat.xxi.12. Tho' Christ had cleared the Temple from the Prophanations of these Traders at the Beginning of his Ministry, he found the fame Pollutions

returned

Ver. 42.

(k) House of Caiaphas in his full View.) If we may credit the best Accounts of Jerusalem which remain, this was exactly the Case. I cannot forbear referring my Reader to Mr. Howe's excellent Treatise, entitled, The Redeemer's' Tears wept over lof Souls ; in which, as in most of his practical Works, there are fuch sublime and pathetic Strokes of true; manly, and Christian Eloquence, as do a great Honour to the Language and Age in which they were written.

1

Some Greeks desire to see Jesus.

303 returned at the Clofe of it. And, alas, how often do we find it thus, Sect. 147. with respect to our Hearts ! How soon do those Weeds spring up again, which we had been endeavouring with a resolute Hand to root up; and how often are Efforts for Reformation forgotten, even when the Attempt appeared at first to be most necessary! Let us learn of Christ, not to be weary of well-doing, but with continued Zeal renew our Endeavours again and again.

The Scribes and Pharisees envied Christ; but the Children surround Ver. 15. him with their Hosannahs ; and he graciously accepts their feeble Accents of Praise, as ordained by God out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings. Ver. 16. Nor will he now despise the Day of small Things. Oh that we might have the Pleasure to see little Children pronouncing the Name of Christ with Reverence and Love! And surely we who are Parents must add, with a peculiar Accent, Oh that our own may join in the Choir ! May they learn the Song from our Lips ; and may our whole Lives be one continued, visible Proof of the Devotion and Affection, with which we present it ! Amen.

SE C T. CXLVIII.
Some Greeks, that came to celebrate the Passover at Jerusa-

lem, are introduced to CHRIST, who enters on an excel
lent Discourse particularly suited to their Circumstances ;
and retires in the Evening to Bethany. John XII.
20,---36. Mat. XXI. 17. Mark XI. -11.

20.

John XII. 20.

John XII. 20. AN ND there were certain ND among those that came up to Jerusalem Sect. 148..

; Greeks, among them from different countries to worship at the that came up to worship at the Feast :

Feast, there were some Greeks, or Persons who John XII.
were descended from Grecian Parents, and used
that Language, but had forsaken the Idolatry of

their Ancestors, and devoted themselves to the
21 The same came there. God of Israel (a). These therefore came to 21.
fore

Philip, (a) Some Greeks, - who had devoted themselves to the God of Israel.]. It is strange, that such learned Criticks, as Ijaac Voffius and Salmafius, should imagine these Worshippers to have been Idolatrous Gentiles. Dr. IV hitby and leveral other conliderable Writers have indeed thought, that they were such as are commonly called Profelytes of the Gate, that is, (as most Readers well know,) Persons who having renounced Idolatry, and being Worrippers of the GUD of Israci, might, according to the Law of Mofes, be permitted to dwell in Judea, and to converse among the Jews, tho' not with entire Freedom.. And it has like

21.

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sus.

304

The Hour is come that the Son of Man soould be glorified. Sect. 148. Phsilip, who was of Bethsaida, a City of Gali- fore to Philip, which was of

lee (b), and ofked it as a Favour of him to intro- fired him, faying, 'Sir, we John XII.

duce them to bis Master, saying in a very respectwould see Jelus.
ful Manner, Sir, we earnestly desire to see and
hear this Jefus of Nazareth, of whom we have
been told such great Things, and who has now
been received into the City with such unusual
Regard.

Upon this Philip comes, and tells what their 22 Philip cometh and tell-
Request was to Andrew, who likewise was of eth Andrew : and again,

Andrew and Philip told JeBethsaida, and had been first acquainted with Christ ; (John i. 40, 44. Sect. 21, 22.) and then Andrew and Philip, having agreed upon it, went and told Jesus, that some Greeks who were come to the Feast desired Admittance to him.

And Jefus immediately ordered them to be 23 And Jesus answered brought to him ;, and as they were approaching them, faying, The Hour is him, he answered them, saying (c), At length the should be glorified. Hour is come, and the appointed Time is just at hand, that the Son of Man must be glorified; and I would have you look on the Approach of these

Greeks, as an Earnest of the flowing in of all the 24 Gentiles to me.

But wonder not, if

my

Death 24 Verily, verily I say is to precede it ; for verily, verily I say unto you, Wheat fall into the Ground,

unto you, Except a Corn of and assure you of it as a most folemn and impor- and die, it abideth alone : tant Truth, that unless a Grain of Wheat fall to

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but the Ground, and die and waste away there, it remains single and alone ; but if it seem to die and

wither

wise been thought, that the Regard which Jesus Chewed to such, in vindicating the Court of the Gentiles, (where they allembled for Religious Worship,) from the contemptuous Prophanations of the Jews, (Mat. xxi. 12, 13. pag. 299.) might dispose these pious Persons to address themselves to him. But their attending at the Pallover leads me rather to imagine, (with Arndius, Misiel. Sacr. pag. 6.) that they were what the Rabbi's now call Proselytes of Righteousness, that is, such as by Circumcifion obliged themselves to observe the whole Law: (Compare Aas ii. 5. viii. 27. x. 2.) Yet I will not venture confidently to affirm it.

(b) Bethsaida of Galilee.] This Town lay on the Borders of Syrophænicia, from whence (as Grotius thinks,) thefe Greeks might come; fo that they might, perhaps, be acquainted with Philip as a Neighbour ; or otherwise we cannot say, why this Circumstance relating to him is here mentioned. The learned Reland argues, that there were Two Bethsaida's, of which this lay most to the North. See Reland. Palestin. pag. 653.

(4) Jesus answered them, saying.) The Phrase here intimates the Suitableness of the following Discourse to this particular Occasion, by attending to which many of the Beauties of it will be discovered. Our Lord might, perhaps, enlarge on some of these Hints; and if bis Hearers took a due Notice of them, and made a proper Report on their Return Home, it might prepare the way for the Apostles, when they came by their Preaching more fully 10 unfold and illuftrate these important Doctrines.

forth much Fruit.

Life eternal.

Sufferings and Death would be the Way to Glory. 305 but if it die, it bringeth wither after it is sown, such is the Principle of Sect. 148.

Vegetation which it contains, that a new Pro-ų
duction of the like Kind arises, and it brings forth

John Xu,

24. much Fruit. And so it is, that I myself shall fall, and a new Scene be opened, in which my Kingdom shall seem to be utterly lost and gone ; yet, like the Spring Corn, it shall revive, and appear

beautiful and fruitful. 25 He that loveth his

But in the mean Time, such Difficulties are 25
Life, shall lose it and he also to be expected by my faithful Servants, that
World, hall keep it unto it is but fit I should inform these Strangers of

what I have once and again told You ; that be
who loves his own Life too well to part with it
for my Sake, Mall lose it, and expose himself to
Death in the worst and most dreadful Sense of the
Word; but be that acts, as if he hates his Life in
this World, by exposing it to the greatest Dan-
gers in the Cause of my Gospel, shall preserve it
even to everlasting Life, and secure a State of
immortal Glory and Happiness

. (Compare Mat.
x. 39. Sect. 76. Mark viii. 35. Sect. 89. and
26 If any Man serve me, Luke xvii. 33. Sect. 128.)
let bim follow me; and therefore would engage to serve me as one of

If any Man 26 where I am, there shall also

my my Servant be: if any Man loyal People, let him resolve to follow me whitherserve me, him will my Father foever I shall lead him, and whatever Dangers honour,

and Difficulties may lie in the Way; and let him
know for his Encouragement, that where I am,
or where I shortly am to take up mine Abode,
there shall also my faithful Servant be ; for I will
aflign him an Inheritance in that blessed World,
where I am for ever to rest and reign, after all
the Hardships and Sufferings I have endured here :
And I assure you, that among all that follow me,
if any Man, whatever his Nation be, or what-
ever his religious Profession may before have been,
will faithfully serve me here (d), (my] Father will
also confer distinguished Honour, as well as rich
Rewards, upon him, and make him for ever both
great and happy.

Having

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(d) If any Man serve me.] Our Lord by this indefinite Expression strongly intimates, that bis Kingdom was to be of a very extensive Nature; and that not only the Profelytes of Righteousness, but those of the Gate, and indeed even the Idolatrous Gentiles themselves, might on their believing the Gospel be admitted into it. Vol. II,

Qa

(e) What

306 A Voice from Heaven declares, God would be glorified by him. Sect. 148. Having said this, our Lord paused for a while, 27 Now is my Soul trouand entered on a deep Contemplation of the very father, fave me from this

bled : and what shall I say? John XII.

different Views of Things which lay before him. Hour : but for this Causa 27.

And then he added aloud, Now is my very Soul came I unto this Hour..
distressed and troubled, in an affecting View of
my approaching Sufferings ; and what shall I say?
What Petition shall I offer to God on this Oc-
casion ? Shall I say, Father, Save me from this
dreadful Hour, and from all the Agonies which
I am to endure in the gloomy Season before
me (e)? Nay, but for this Cause was I born into
the World, and for this End I came even to this
present Hour, that I might bear the Sufferings on

which I am entering, and might redeem my
28 People by them. And far be it from me to 28 Father, glorify thy

draw back from such Engagements and Under- Name.--
takings : I will therefore much rather say, Father,
glorify thine own Name, and dispose of me, and
all my Concerns, in such a Way as may most
effectually answer that great End!

Then at that very Instant while he was speak- Then came there a
ing, there came a Voice from Heaven, (which said,] I have both glorified il and
I have both already glorified [it] by the whole of thy will glorify it again.
Ministry thus far ; and I will glorify [it] yet again,
in a more signal Manner, by what farther re-

mains before thee. 29 The Multitude therefore which food by and heard 29 The People therefore {it, ] tho' not all in a Manner equally distinct, that stood by, and heard it,

said that it thundered : others, were perfectly astonished at the awful Sound

said, and some among them said, that it thundered (f);

while

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(e) What Mall I say? Father, save me from this Hour ?] I suppose few need be told, that the Pointing of the New Testament is far less antient than the Text. It is agreeable to observe, how many Difficulties may be removed by varying it, and departing from the common Punctuation ; of which I take this to be one of the most remarkable Instances. For as the Text does not oblige us to it, it does not seem natural to suppose, that. our Lord actually offered this Petition, and then immediately retracted it again.

(f) Said that it thundered.]. Thunder often attended a Voice from Heaven : (See Exod. xix. 16, 19. Rev. iv. 5. vi. 1. x. 3:) In Allufion to which, perhaps, the Voice itself was called by the antient Jews, Bath kol, or the Daughter of the Voice, being ushered in with Thunder, and as it were produced from it. Einer has thewn, that the Heathens reckoned, that sudden Thunder was a Sign, that a Prayer then offered met with the most favourable Regard. (See Elfn. Observ. Vol. i. pag. 334, 335.) - Dr. Lightfoot observes here, (Hor. Hebr. in loc.) that Christ had thrice the Testimony of a Voice from Heaven; first, when he entered on his publick Ministry, as the High-Priest of our Profession, at his Baptilm; (Mat. iii. 17.) and then a second Time, when a Command was given to hear him,

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