« PoprzedniaDalej »
heads. Oh! then, let us renounce the hopes of a Christian, if malice or revenge is cherished in our hearts.
2. The apostles enjoin the same great duty, and every where cry to us, “ Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the
, Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.” 6 Be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” “ He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.” These injunctions are supported by the examples of the saints in every age. Thus Joseph pardoned his cruel brethren; thus Moses interceded for those who rebelled against him; thus David spared his persecutor; thus Stephen, with his expiring breath, prayed for his enemies; thus Paul declares of himself and his fellow-apostles, “ Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat.” Can we hope to dwell with them in felicity, if we do not imitate their conduct, and imbibe their temper here below?
3. And let us remember, my brethren, that our most furious foes cannot injure us, if God is our friend. They cannot erase our name from the book of life; they cannot suspend the influences of heaven; they cannot exclude the comforts of the Spirit; they cannot deprive us of the hopes of glory; they cannot wrest from us our faith and our love. They will indeed succeed in injuring us, if they can inspire us. with revenge, and thus cause us to offend God and violate his commandments. But if we can indeed forgive, their darts are harmless, and they only claim our pity, our compassion, and our prayers.
Let us, then, Christians, cultivate this temper. We are all of the number of those enemies for whom Jesus died, for whom he prayed, and whom he reconciled to God. Often place yourselves, in imagination, between your Saviour on the one side, and your enemies on the other. Listen to this Saviour on the cross; view him on his awful tribunal, before which you must solicit pardon. Hark! while from this tribunal he declares that the unforgiving shall sink into endless despair; that your Judge shall entertain those sentiments for
have for your enemies; then turn to these enemies, and, constrained by the charity and terrors of the Lord, forgive and love them.
Go to the foot of the cross, where the bleeding Saviour pronounces the remission of your offences, and there pardon your offending brothers; there embrace your most mortal enemies, and disarm them by your tears and love. The same blood, which implores pardon for you, demands of you pardon for them; and if it blots out the offences which render you criminal before God, it should efface all those offences which they have committed against you. Injurers and injured, together look to Calvary; there mingle the tears of forgiveness and clemency with those of repentance; and, united by a same love to your common Redeemer, become common imitators of his charity.
LIFE OF CHRIST.
JESUS COMMITTING MARY TO JOHN,
JOHN xix. 25-27.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
The last words of dying persons have always appeared worthy of regard. If there ever be a season calculated to produce in our souls great, noble, elevated sentiments, it is then when about to lose the objects of earth from our sight, we fully discover all their nothingness, and fix our meditations on the scenes of eternity. But if the last words of ordinary men thus engage our attention, how should we fasten our mind on those uttered by the expiring Saviour? Many memorable expressions proceeded from the. lips of Jesus during his final sufferings, but none
more affecting than those related in the text. We admire the divine charity with which he intercedes for his murderers; but we are melted at the tenderness which breathes in this address to Mary and to John; we recognise in it that High Priest, that Son of man as well as Son of God, who has been tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Let us then fix our view upon this interesting picture, and examine all its traits.
The circumstances related in the text occurred during this period. Jesus was now nailed to the instrument of torture, and consummating the mystery of redemption. At the foot of the cross, he beholds one little group, which alone, in the vast assembly, does not riot in his griefs, but “is afflicted in all his afflictions.” It consisted of Mary, his mother according to the flesh; of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, who, with her sons James and Joses, had embraced his doctrine, and acknowledged him as her Lord; of Magdalene, concerning whom it is recorded that “ she loved much, because much had been forgiven her;" and of John, whose amiable disposition had excited a peculiar love in the breast of his Master, and whose constancy at this period, when the other disciples had fled, proved that he was not . undeserving of this preference. Whilst rage sparkled in the eyes of the Jews, astonishment was painted on the face of these friends of the Redeemer, and grief preyed upon their heart. As they sorrowfully contemplated the agonies of Jesus, he turned
upon them his eyes, which already began to be weighed down by the hand of death. He beholds his mother about to lose in him her consolation, her hope, her support. Forgetting his own sufferings, he is solicitous only for her welfare, and appoints his beloved VOL. U.
disciple to dry her tears and supply her necessities. 6 He saith unto his mother, Woman,” dearest and most beloved of women, “ behold thy son;" regard this my disciple with the tenderness of a parent. And thou, faithful John, “behold thy mother;" revere, comfort, and support her, as though thou wert her child. The apostle joyously receives this cious pledge of his Saviour's love, “and from that hour took her to his own home."
This history affords us a variety of useful instructions, the principal of which will be presented to you while we illustrate the following ideas:
1. The conduct of these disciples sets before us a model of Christian fortitude and zeal.
II. The contemplation of the sufferings of Mary, and of the manner in which she endured them, admonishes those who are murmuring at far lighter sorrows.
III. The words and actions of Jesus afford us an example of filial affection, and a proof of his tender solicitude for his friends.
IV. And the ready compliance of John with the injunction of his Master, teaches us some of the characteristics of sincere obedience, and forms a powerful argument for the divinity of the religion of Christ.
I do not ask you, my brethren, to favour me with your attention: it is surely secured by such interesting events. But I ask, I beseech thee, merciful Jesus, who art no longer upon thy cross, but on thy throne, to animate us with one favourable look, so that the meditation of this subject may tend to our holiness and comfort.
1. In the conduct of these disciples we have a model of Christian fortitude and zeal. Transport yourselves for