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mechanic, from one of the most obscure parts of the country, to appear amongst us. Let him be the very picture of penury and want,-his countenance marred more than any man’s. Let him go through the length and breadth of the land, denouncing in no measured terms the religious leaders of the age, and sapping the foundation of their influence. Let him go into our Temples, and call them his own, and by violence cast out all the money changers that are found within their precincts, and turn the heart of the people against their priests. Let him deal as severely with our magistrates, mayors, senators, and ecclesiastics, as Christ did with the various members of the old Sanhedrim. Let him denounce wealth, pleasure, and military glory, and in fact, all the idols of the people. Let him take a firm stand against the flowing tide of popular sentiment, and strike every hour without mercy at the tenderest prejudices, and the dearest objects of the people's devotion. Let him talk about destroying his enemies and setting up a kingdom himself, that shall extend over the world and grind into powder all other dynasties. How long think ye would such a man be tolerated in England ? Three years? I trow not. Many months would not elapse before all London, all England, would echo with the cry, “away with him.” Do you say the case is not parallel, inasmuch as Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God ? True. But the Jewish people did not know it; “for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” The parallel therefore is complete so far as the feelings of the people are concerned. I confess that I do not discover a single passion or impulse, in any of the actions in the tremendous tragedy of our Lord's crucifixion, that I see not pulsating in the bosoms of men around me. In this respect as well as in others, “that which hath been is now.” That which raged in hellish riot on Calvary's brow eighteen centuries ago, is here in England now, speaking essentially the same thing, though in a different language, and working out the same master aims, though by different instruments and methods.
The germs of that harvest of appalling crime, which shocked creation's nerves, and made the sun put on his mourning veil, are lying thickly in the heart of our age, under the gilded roof of a conventional Christianity.
The subject teaches us :
First : The propriety of a trembling modesty in denouncing the great criminals of history. Do you denounce the Chief Priests, Judas, Pilate, the populace, the soldiers? I know you do, nor can I blame you, On the world's black roll of crime their iniquities appear in aspects that thrill my nature with a quivering horror. But in condemning them let us take care that we do not foredoom ourselves. The portrait of that criminal which Nathan the prophet held up to the eye of David, woke in the heart of the king the most indignant denunciations. Looking at the demon-figure, he exclaimed, “ As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die.” But David, “thou art the man” that hast perpetrated that moral enormity, and in thy severe sentence thou hast foredoomed thyself. In like manner, the picture of the "Husbandmen”—who first killed the servants of the “ Householder” and last of all killed his son- —which the Heavenly artist drew, and held up to the Chief Priests and Pharisees, roused their indignation. They declared that such “ wicked men ” should be “miserably” destroyed. But they themselves were those wicked men, and they did not know it. Let us therefore be modest in our denunciations of others.
The subject teaches us :
Secondly: The necessity of a heart-renovation for the real improvement of humanity. Nothing will effectually serve us but a change of heart. “Marvel not,” says the world's Reformer, “ye must be born again.” Embedded in the depraved heart are the seeds of all wickedness, and so thickly cluster those seeds amidst the central fibres of the heart, that the heart itself must be taken
before they can be removed. There is no hope for the world but in a new “ heart of flesh,” a heart of tender moral sensibilities, and
warm truthful sympathies, in which the “incorruptible seed” of truth and virtue will germinate and grow.
Secular philanthropist ! I give thee credit for purest motives, and I yield to none in my admiration of thy ingenuity in con. structing measures for the world's improvement, and of thy zeal in seeking to work them out; but I have no faith in any of thy efforts to make man as man one whit the better. Thou art only patching the rotten garment; thou art only seeking to purify the streams whilst the fountain is filthy in its springs ; thou art only lopping off a few branches from the upas—and thereby strengthening the roots, and striking them deeper in the soil; thou art only anointing with thy salves the few eruptions on the outside of the body, whilst the whole current of blood is poisoned in the vital veins. Thy work is a quackery, under which I fear our poor humanity is getting worse. “ Marvel not that I say unto thee, ye must be born again.” The world wants moral renovation ;nothing less. The subject teaches us
Thirdly : The inestimable value of the gospel to mankind. The philosophy of our nature shows, that there is no other instrumentality on earth that is at all suited to effect this moral renovation, and all history demonstrates that nothing else has ever done it. The cross of Christ is the soul-renewing force. Herein is a marvellousness of divine plan. The cross which required all the depravity of the world to erect, has in it a power to destroy all the depravity of the world. That in which all evil found its climax is that in which all evil shall find its death. That which the principalities and
powers of darkness in the human heart built up, shall one day “triumph over them all and make a show of them openly.” The blow which the hellish spirit inflicted in the Crucifixion rebounds, and will bruise the very head of the world's serpent. The cross on which Christ was crucified is to crucify the world unto itself.
“ Hail ! Son of the most High, heir of both worlds,
The Genius of the Gospel.
ABLE expositions of the Gospel, describing the manners, customs, and localities alluded to by the inspired writers; also interpreting their words, and harmonizing their formal discrepancies, are, happily, not wanting amongst us. But the eduction of its WIDEST truths and highest suggestions is still a felt desideratum. To some attempt at the work we devote these pages. We gratefully avail ourselves of all exegetical helps within our reach; but to occupy our limited space with any length, ened archæological, geographic, or philological, remarks, would be to miss our aim ;which is not to make bare the mechanical process of scriptural study, but to reveal its spiritual results.
SECTION SIXTY-SIXTH :-Matt. xix. 23—26.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible ; but with God all things are possible.”
SUBJECT :--The sad Condition of Wealth-loving Men.
Some time ago we endeavored to expound in the “Homilist”* the narrative which gave rise to this exciting and solemn conversation between Christ and His disciples. Our space on the present occasion will scarcely allow us to do more than bring out with prominence the three solemn facts which are contained in these words. They teach :
IN THE WAY OF A WEALTH
We say a
I. THAT THE DIFFICULTIES LOVING MAN'S SALVATION wealth-loving man, for to such the Heavenly Teacher refers, and not to the man who merely possesses riches. In Mark's gospel indeed it so stated.
It is the man who trusts in riches,"—the man who sets his heart upon them, and holds them as the chief good. He who has wealth, and holds it in subordination, will find it rather facilitate than hinder his salvation. His wealth will purchase for him books, leisure, and all the necessary provisions of spiritual culture and development. It is not wealth per se that is the obstruction, it is the love of it. The difficulty, which the man who trusts in his riches will find in the way of salvation, Christ represents in this passage in a strong and startling way: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” than for such a wealth-loving man to enter into the kingdom of God. Some expositors have very gratuitously substituted in their translation of this passage the word cable for “camel,” in order to avoid what they considered the unwarrantable extravagance of the language as it stands in our version.
* Vol. vi. p. 333.
But the expression is manifestly proverbial as Dr. Kitto has shown.* Now the difficulties in the way
* “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,' &c. Lightfoot and others have shewn, that to speak of a camel or other large animal—as an elephant, as going through the eye of a needle, was a proverbial expression, much used in the schools, to denote a thing very unusual or very difficult. Thus, in a discourse about dreams, to intimate that they do not exhibit things of which the mind had no previous conception, it is said, “They do not shew a golden palm-tree, or an elephant passing through the eye of a needle.' Again, to one who had delivered something which was thought very absurd, or scarcely credible, it was said, "Perhaps thou art one of the Pombeditha (a Jewish School at Babylon) who can make an elephant go through the eye of a needle.' Thus also, the authors of an edition of the book of Zohar express the arduous nature of their undertaking by saying, 'in the name of our God, we have seen fit to bring an elephant through the eye of a needle.'
“A similar form of expression, or indeed the same, may be traced very extensively in the East. In the Koran, · Until the camel shall enter the needle's eye' (ear in Arabic), occurs in the same sense. * Narrower than the eye (ear) of a needle,' is still applied to business of a difficult nature ; and even in India, .an elephant going through a little door," or through the eye of a needle,' are proverbial expressions of the same import. Some of these illustrations are important to fix the true force and meaning of the expression ; and all shew the error of several Greek transcribers (followed by some trans