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duct of their Lord and Master. They did not understand it. They perhaps thought that He was now in reality going to restore the kingdom to Israel,10 and to announce Himself to be the Great Deliverer whom the Jewish nation had so long expected to free them from the Roman yoke, and to make them the chief of the nations of the earth. They were not aware that this little display of worldly triumph, which the Lord Jesus condescended to make, was to be the forerunner of His sufferings and death; or that the malice of His enemies would be excited by it to hasten His end. But before the week closed, the multitude of the same city cried out, Away with Him, crucify Him; and impiously desired that the guilt of His blood might rest upon themselves and upon their children.12 How short is the link which connects the highest degree of human elevation and popular applause, with the lowest state of degradation and contempt.
The procession now went strait to the temple, where the Messiah was to manifest Himself. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the
10 Acts i. 6 11 Luke xxiii. 18, 21. 12 Matthew xxvii. 25.
house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. Thus He showed His zeal for the house of God. He had done the same thing at His entrance upon His public ministry, as St. John records :13 and now He did it at the close of His earthly career. The convenience of those who had to offer sacrifices, was the pretence which these people had for bringing the oxen, and sheep, and doves into the house of God. But that was no excuse for their conduct, their own gain was in reality all that they desired; and it seems they did not always seek this honestly. They polluted the house of God, which He had said should be called a house of prayer for all people,1 They made it a house of merchandise, a den of thieves. We cannot abuse the house of God in the same way as these persons did; but how often is it made a house of merchandise by the thoughts being occupied in matters connected with the worldly callings in which people are properly engaged on other days in the week. How often does worldly business usurp the place of prayer to God. Yea, is it not to be feared that the house of God is made in some sort a den of thieves, by schemes of dishonest gain being formed in it, and by impurity of mind being indulged, even when we profess ourselves to be in His awful presence who cannot be
13 John ii. 13-17. 14 Isaiah lvi. 7.
ceived by outward appearances, and will not be mocked with impunity.
Let us ask ourselves then, What does the Searcher of hearts see in us when we come to worship Him? What thoughts fill our minds in the house of God? We have need to watch over our hearts in our approaches before the Majesty of heaven. The royal preacher advises us, Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God.15 A becoming reverence should mark our conduct when we present ourselves in His house, to worship the great King, the Lord of Hosts. When Moses drew near to God, the Lord said to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground.16 If we duly examined ourselves, is there not reason to fear that vain, worldly, impious thoughts, would be found too frequently to possess our minds in the house of God, when we seem to be very differently employed? We have need to implore pardon for the iniquity of our holy things; for if the Searcher of hearts were to mark what we do amiss, as it respects the wanderings and distractions of our minds in His house, while we profess to be engaged in His worship, who could abide it? Well may we pray according to one of the sentences at the beginning of our service, Enter not into judgment
15 Ecclesiastes v. 1.
16 Acts vii. 33.
with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified." He who began and ended His public ministry by purging the temple of God of them that defiled it, will hereafter ac-. knowledge none as His servants, but those who have worshipped Him in spirit and in truth;18 and whose hearts have been purified by faith in His
The narrative contained in the Gospel for this day goes no further than the relation of these circumstances. The Evangelist, however, observes afterwards, that while Jesus was in the temple, the acclamation of the multitudes in the text was taken up by the children, who also cried there, Hosanna to the Son of David. And when the Pharisees were sore displeased and found fault with it; Jesus justified the conduct of these little ones, by asking them, Have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise? How accordant was this with His kind language, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.19 Let us consider
Secondly, The import of the acclamation made by the multitude: Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. It has been observed that the word Hosanna is rendered in the hun
17 Psalm cxliii. 2.
18 John iv. 24 19 Matthew xix. 14.
dred and eighteenth Psalm, Save now, I beseech Thee. The multitudes who addressed this language to our Lord Jesus Christ expected Him to show Himself to be the Saviour or Deliverer, whose coming had been foretold from the beginning of Divine revelation, under the character of the Seed of the woman who should bruise the head of the old serpent, the devil.20 They sang Hosanna to Him as the Son of David; of whom the Psalmist had declared, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." And they seem to have expected Him at once to assume regal power; for St. Mark adds, that they said also, Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord." But the kingdom of the meek and lowly Jesus was not a kingdom of this world. He did not come to dethrone earthly potentates; but to set up a spiritual kingdom, which would not interfere with their dominion, further than as they should oppose themselves to its progress. It was a dominion to which they, as well as their subjects, were required to submit themselves, in order that they might partake of its blessings, both in this life and in that which is to come. Blessed, eternally blessed are all they, and they alone, who partake of the salvation of Christ.
20 Genesis iii. 15. 21 Psalm cx. 1. 22 Mark xi. 10.