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for them to enter into the kingdom of heaven. They arc tfnjoined to place their trust in The Living God. They are to be rich in a sar brighter treasure than gold and silver, in saith and in good works; and if they are, they will "lay a good foundation against the time to come, and will lay hold on eternal lise." This 'entirely does away all the terror, all the dismay, which our Lord's denunciation might tend to produce in the minds of the wealthy and the great: it proves that the way to heaven is as open to them, as to all other ranks and conditions of men, and it points out to them the very means by which they may arrive there. These means are, trust in the living God, dedication of themselves to his service and his glory, zeal vn. ew ry goad work, and more particularly the appropriation of a large part of that very wealth, which constitutes thendanger, to the purpofes of piety, charity, and benesicence. These are the steps by which they must, through the merits of their Redeemer, ascend to heaven. Thofe riches which are their natural enemies, must be converted into allies and friends. They must, as the scripture expresses it, make to themselves " friends of the mammon of unrighteousness*;" they must be rich towards God; they must turn that wealth, which is too often the cause of their perdition, into an instrument of salvation, into an instrument by which they may lay hold, as the apolde expresses it, on eternal lise. ••«••*. ?<i *aii . - iwc
Before I quit this interesting passage, it may be of use to observe, that while it surnishes a lesson of great caution, vigilance, and circumspection to the rich, it affords also no small degree of consolation to the poor. If they are less bountisully provided than the rich, with the materials of happiness for the present lise, let them however be thankful to Providence that they have sewer dissiculties to contend with, sewer temptations to combat, and sewer obstacles to surmount, in their way to the lise which is to come. They have fortunately no means of indulging themselves in that luxury and dissipation, thofe extravagances and excesses which sometimes disgrace the wealthy and the great; and they are preserved from many follies, imprudences, and sins, equally injurious to present comfort and suture happiness.
* Lulte, xvi. 9.
If they are destitute of all the elegancies and many of the conveniences and accommodations of lise, they are also exempt from those cares and anxieties which frequently corrode the heart, and perhaps more than balance the enjoyments of their superiors. The inseriority of their condition secures them from all the dangers and all the torments of ambition and pride; it produces in them generally that meekness and lowliness of mind, which is the chief constituent of a true evangelical temper, and one of the most essential qualisications for the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus having made these observations on the conduct of the young ruler, who resused to part with his wealth and follow him, Peter thought this a sair opportunity of asking our Lord what reward should be given to him, and the other apostles, who had actually dpne what the young ruler had not the courage and the virtue to do. Then answered Peter and said unto him, "Lo! tvc have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore 2" It is true the apostles had no wealth to relinquish, but what little they had they cheersully parted with; they gave up their all, they took up their crofs and followed Christ. Surely after such a sacrisice they might well be allowed to ask what recompence they might expect, and nothing can be more natural and affecting than their appeal to their divine Master: "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" Our Lord selt the force and the justice of this appeal, and immediately gave them this most gracious and consolatory answer: "Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel: and every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wise, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting lise."
Our translators, by connecting the word regeneration with the preceding words, "ye which have followed me in the regeneration," evidently suppofed that word to relate to the sirst preaching of the Gofpel, -when .fhofe who heard and received it were to be regenerated or made new creatures.
But most of the ancient sathers, as well as the best modern commentators, reser that expression to the words that follow it, "in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory;" by which is meant the day of judgment and of recompence, when all mankind shall be as it were regenerated or born again, by rising from their graves; and when, as St. Matthew terrs us in the 2"th chapter (making use of the very same phrase that he does here) the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory. At that solemn hour Jesus tells his apostles that they shall also sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is an allusion to the custom of princes having their great men ranged around them as assessors and advisers, when they sit in council or in judgment: or more probably to the Jewish sanhedrim, in which the high priest sat surrounded by the principal rulers, chief priests, and doctors of the law; and it was meant only to express, in these sigurative terms, that the apostles should in the kingdom of heaven have a distinguished pre-eminence of glory and reward, and a place of honor assigned them near the person of our Lord himself.
Jesus then goes on to say, "everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or sather, or mother, or wise, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting lise." It is plain, both from the construction of this verse, and from the express words of St. Mark in the parallel passage, that the reward here promised to the apostles, whatever it might be, was to be bestowed in the prefent -world; besides which they were to inherit everlasting lise.
What then, it may be asked, is this recompence, which was to take place in the present lise, and was to be a hundred fold? It certainly cannot be a hundred fold of thofe worldly advantages which are suppofed to be relinquished for the sake of Christ and his religion; for a multiplication of several of these things, instead of a Beward, would have been an incumbrance. And we Snow in sact the apostles never did abound in worldly possessions, but were for the most part destitute and poor. The recompence then here promised must have been of a very different nature; it is that internal content and satissaction of mind, that peace of God which passeth all understanding, thofe delights of a pure conscience and an upright heart, that affectionate support of all good men, those consolations of. the Holy Spirit, that trust and considence in God, that consciousness of the divine savor and approbation, thofe reviving hopes of everlasting glory,. which every good man and sincere Christian never sails to experience in the discharge of his duty. These are the things which will cheer his heart and sustain his spirits, amidst all the discouragements he meets with, under the pressure of want, of poverty, of affliction, of calumny, of ridicule, of persecution, and even under the terrors of death itself, which will recompence him a hundred fold for all the sacrisices he has made to Christ and his religion, and impart to him a degree of comfort and tranquillity and happiness, sar beyond any thing that all the wealth and splendour of this world can bestow. That this is not a mere ideal representation, we may see in the example of thofe very persons to whom this discourse of our Saviour was addressed. We may see a- picture of the selicity here described, drawn by the masterly hand of St. Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians. "We are, says he (speaking of himself and his sellow-labourers in the Gospel) we are approving ourselves in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, m imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in sastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unseigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report ; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowsul, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." We have here a portrait, not merely of patience and fortitude, but of cheerfulnefs and joy under the accutest sufferings, which is no where to be met with in the writings of the tnoffe celebrated heathen philofophers. The utmost that they pretended to was a contempt of pain, a determination not to be subdued by it, and not even to acknowledge that it was an evil. But we never hear them erpreffing that cheersulness and joy under suffering, which we here see in the appostles and sirst disciples of Christ. Indeed it -was impossible that they should rise to these extraordinary exertions of the human mind, since they wanted all those supports which bore up the appostles under the severest calamities, and raised them above all the common weaknesses and insirmities of their nature; namely, the consciousness of being embarked in the greatest and noblest undertaking that ever engaged the mind of man, as unbounded trust and considence m the protection of heaven, a large participation of the divine influences and consolations of the Holy Spirit, and a sirm and well grounded hope of an eternal reward in another lise, which would insinitely overpay all their labors and their sorrows in this. These were the sources of that content and cheersulness, that vigour and vivacity of mind, under the severest afflictions, which nothing could depress, and which nothing but Christian philosophy could produce.
Here then we have a sull explanation of our Lord's promise in the passage before us, that every one who had forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or sather, or mother, or wise, or children, or lands, for his name's sake, should receive a hundred sold, should receive abundant recompence in the comfort of their own minds, as described in the corresponding passage of St. Paul, just cited -, which may be considered not only as an admirable comment on our Lord's declaration, but as an exact sulsilment of the prediction contained in it. For that declaration is plainly prophetic; it foretels the persecution his disciples would meet with in the discharge of their duty; and foretels also, that in the midst of these persecutions they would be undaunted and joysul. And there cannot be a more persect completion of any prophecy, than that which St. Paul's description sets before us with respect to this.
But we must not consine this promise of our Saviour's to his own immediate followers and disciples; it extends