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So that, instead of repining at his growing glories, you should rather be solicitoux to secure an interest in his favour : for this is the substance, and this the end of my whole testimony, that he who believeth on the Son hath a sure title to eternal life, and hath already the beginnings of it wrought in his soul ; but he that is disobedient to the Son, and obstinately persists in his unbelief and impenitence, shall not see and enjoy that life; but, on the contrary, is so far from it, that the wrath of God, and unpardoned aggravated guilt of all his sins, abideth even now upon him, and will quickly sink him into final condemnation and ruin.

Thus did that holy man, John the Baptist, conclude these testimonies to Christ, which are recorded in the gospel; and was, quickly after, imprisoned by Herod the tetrarch, as we shall now proceed to relate in the words of the compilers of the Unaversal History. Herod, whose first wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, was since fallen in love with that of his brother Philip, whom he had seen at his castle, where he had stopped some days in his journey to Rome. Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, and grand-daughter of Herod the Great. Herod made no difficulty to discover his passion, and propose marrying her, to which she consented, upon condition that he divorced his first wife. This last, having received some information of her husband's design, wisely concealed her resentment; and, having obtained his permission to retire for some time to the castle of Machaeron, which was then in her father's hands, she, instead of going thither, made all the haste shc could to the Arabian court, where, being at length arrived, she acquainted the king with the whole intrigue.

This caused a rupture between Herod and Aretas, which ended in a war that lasted till the death of Tiberius, four years after their falling out. Herod, thus rid of his wife without a divorce, made no scruple to marry his sister-in-law, though she had children by his brother Philip, which was contrary to the Mosaic law. John the Baptist was not the only person who condemned that marriage as incestuous, the whole nation ventured to cry out against it; but as his character gave him a free access to the court, he had the courage to reprove both the king and his paramour in the severest terms. Herodias, being, at length, stung to the quick wiih his frequent reproaches of incest, and of her infidelity to Philip, resolved to ruin him, and casily persuaded Herod Antipas to cast him into prison. His pretence for it, according to Josephus, was his drawing such multitudes after him to be baptized ; but the true reason was that given by the evangelists above quoted, namely, his and Herodias's resentment. For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just. man, and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when he would have him put to death, he feared the multitude, because they revered him as a prophct.

We cannot dismiss this subject without a few reflections. We see here, 1. What a long train of evils result from the neglect of controlling our passions. Herod, in this instance, to ensure the gratification of his desire, not only commits an act of the greatest injustice to his brother and father-in-law, but persecutes one of the most excellent men that ever existed. John well deserved the veneration and esteem of flerod, when he thus took the freedom to perform this dangerous office of friendship, and to manifest a fidelity so seldom to be found in courts, and, indeed, so often wanting elsewhere. A wise prince would have courted his friendship, and sought his advice; but he is, at length, rewarded with imprisonment. 2. We cannot doubt but John was more happy in his prison than Herod in his palace ; for the former bad the codsolation of innocence, and the veneration even of wicked men; while the latter reddored himself despicable and detestable to all, while his own mind was agitated by

such a conflict between the conviction of truth and the love of sin, as could not fail to render him miserable.

Here, also, we learn from the fear of Herod to take away the life of John, how God governs the world, and protects his church, by often making it the interest even of the worst of men to forbear those injuries and cruelties which the malignity of their natures might otherwise dictate. Let us courageously commit the keeping of our souls to him in well-doing, as firmly believing, that whatever hazards we may be expused to the wrath of man, shall, on the vihole, be found to vraise hin, and the rate mainder of that wrath shall he restrain.

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CHAPTER V.

OUR LORD's MINISTRY, FRON THE IMPRISONMENT OF JOHN THE BAPTIST TO THE

SERMON ON THE MOUNT.

Our Lord makes many converts, who are baptusea by nis disciples--Christ passes ihrough

Samaria---origin of the Samaritan schism---their religious principles---their history--causes of the hatred between them and the Jews--- Jacob's well---Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria---Christ returns to Galilee---the second miracle of Cana--the sermon at Nazareth---Christ, expelled from that city, removes to Capernaum-makes the tour of Galilee---preaches the sermon or, the mount.

WHILE John the Baptist was labouring and suffering in the cause of God in Galilee, our Lord was carrying on a similar work in Judea. For he continued there till the fame of his doctrine, disciples, and miracles, reaching Jerusalem, gave umbrage to the Pharisees. These men, vain and conceited, claiming it as the privilege of their sect to direct the consciences of the people, were enraged to find numbers of them acknowledging as Messiah, one whose birth and fortune so little suited the notions which they had taught concerning the great deliverer of the nation. Wherefore, to shun the effects of their malice, Jesus, who knew all that passed, retired with his disciples into Galilee, where his presence was become necessary, as the ministry of his forerunner in that country was now brought to a period. When, therefore, the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. Various reasons have been assigned by commentators, why Christ did not himself administer the ordinance of baptism. They suppose that it was not proper for him to baptize in his own name, as that would have afforded his enemies an opportimity of alledging that he was engaged in Itis own cause, and not in that of the Father. He referred the office of baptizing to his apostles, thus intimating that it was of more importance to preach than to baptize, and, consequently, that a true and sincere belief of the gospel was more essential to the salvation of Christians than the subraission to an outward ordinance, though it were even of divine appointment: besides, it has been observed, that those who were baptized by Christ might have taken occasion to value themselves above others, as happened in the church of Corinth, where the brethren valued themselves upon the character of the persons wlio bad baptized them. To conclude, the baptism, properly his, was that of the Holy Ghost.

lu his way to Galilee, Christ must necessarily, unless he took a circuitous route, pass thrvugli Samaria, a country which was inhabited hy a race of men almost equally distinguished from the Gentiles and the Jews. Tn judge properly of their character We must recal to our recollection, that the revolt of the ten tribes under Jeroboam was accompanied with a scbism in religion. For that crafty prince soon became sensible, that if his subjects went regularly to Jerusalem to worship and offer sacrifice, as formerly, the majesty of the services of religion performed there, the address of the priests, the flatteries or threatenings of the prince, and the discourses of the people who remained loyal to the family of David, would soon induce them to return to their rightful sovereign. He therefore set up calves at Dan, the northern, and Bethel, the southern extremities of his kingdom, giving out that these images were emblenis of the divine presence ; for though, in our translation, they are called calves, they were like the cherubirns in the sanctuary. Moreover, he instituted priests to attend these idols, and to offer sacrifice there, requiring all his subjects to worship there, and to abstain from the worship at Jerusalem.

Jeroboam's schism in religion was directly contrary to the law; yet God did not altogether cast off this part of the nation, for he raised up many prophets among them, particularly Elijah and Elisha, who, during the persecutions of Ahab and Jezebel, wrought many miracles in support of the true religion. At length, the ten schismatic tribes having filled up the measure of their iniquity, God sent Shalmaneser, who took Samaria, their capital, transplanted their tribes into the plains of Chaldea, and re-peopled the country with different nations, particularly the Cutheans. This mixed colony brought their idols into the land of Israel, and set up their worship there. But, to punish them, God brought up wild beasts, which destroyed numbers of them. This great calamity was, by these strangers, imputed to their having neglected to worship the God of the country. Wherefore, at their request, the king of Assyria sent them one of the Jewish priests whom he had carried away captive, to teach them the religion and sacrifices of Moscs. This priest settled at Bethel, and told the idolatrous nations how they should fear the Lord... Howbeit, every nation made gods of their own. [2 King's xvii, 28.) From this time forth there was a confused mixture of religions in the land ; for the heathens who came from Chaldea joined the worship of their different idols to the worship of the true God, which, ro doubt, they performed after the manner of the schismatic tribes. The remnant of the tribes behaved as their fathers had done, and served God after the manner of the schism. Others walked in the statutes of the heathens, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. [2 Kings xvii. 8.]

The greatest part of the Sunaritans being thus idolaters and strangers, it is evident that they intruded themselves into the covenant privileges of the Israelites. Such of them as were not strangers were schismatics, who set up a different worship for the true worship established at Jerusalem, by David and Solomon, princes whose persons and writings they, for that reason, abhorred. With respect to the prophets whom God raised up in the two tribes after the separation, the Samaritans were obliged to deny their authority, otherwise they could not have persisted in the schism. Nay, they do not seem to have acknowledged the authority of the prophets raised up, by God, in the ten tribes ; for they rejected the writings of the two who have left their prophecies in writing, viz. Hosea and Amos. Probably, this might be owing to the imperfect manner in which the Samaritans had been instructed by the priest whom the king of Assyria sent to them, or to their settling in the country after the prophets were dead ; so that having never prophesied unto them, they were unacquainted with their character. Whatever was the reason, it is certain that the Samaritans, even in ater times, acknowledged the authority of none of the Jewish scriptures, but the

R

five books of Moses, which they preserved still in their own character, affrming it to be the true genuine copy of the law Their buast, however, is without foundation : for the Samaritan pentateuch having all the additions found in the Jewish copy, it is plain that they received it from the Jews, probably, before the canon was settled by Ezra. For, in his days, and ever after, the raocour which subsisted between the two nations was so great, that neither can be supposed to have received any thing relative to religion from the other. Perhaps the copies of the law were spread among the Samaritans, more especially when they came up to Josiah's passover [2 Chron. xxv. 18. ] ; for it was one of the exercises of that pious prince's zeal, to spread copies of the law among the people

Considering the original of the Samaritan schism, and the subsequent corruption of their religion by the coming in of the idolatrous nations from Chaldca, the Samaritans could not avoid being very odious to the Jews. The latter, to express their contempt of the Samaritans, affected, on all occasions, to cail the whole nation Cuiheans, thereby upbraiding them with their idolatrous extraction. [2 Kings xvii. 24.) The hatred which the Jews bare towards the Samaritans was greatly heightened by the manner in which they behaved after the Jews returned from the captivity Under the pretence of friendship they did the Jews all the mischief they could. [Neh. in 10. Ezra iv. 1.] They perceived that the rebuilding of Jerusalem wouid perpetuate the reproach of their original, by preserving the two tribes distinct from them, in respect both of religion and government. Wheretore, pretending friendship, they assured the Jews that they worshipped the same Ged with them, and offered to assist thein in the work, probably, with a design to ruin it. [Ezra v. 2.) But the Jews. unwilling to receive them into their commonwealth, refused the offer ; upon which, the Samaritans throwing off the mask, accused them, to Artaxerxes, of rebellion, (Ezra iv. 11.] obtained an order to stop the work, and, when it was afterwards renewed, con spired to come and fight against the builders. [Neh. iv. 8.]

The breach between the Jews and the Samaritans became still wider in the reign of Alexander the Great. Manasseh, brother to Jaddus, the Jewish bigh-prest, having married the daughter of Sauballet, the governor of Samaria, was required, by the Jewish elders, to put her away because she was an alien. This Manasseh refused to do, being encouraged by his father-in-law, who promised to build a temple upon the hill above Samaria, equal to that at Jerusalemi, and to make him high- riest thereof. Accordingly, Manasseh retained his wife, and was, for that transgression of the law, banished both from the temple and altar of the Jews. He retired, there. tore, to Samaria, and dwelt with his father-in-law, who soon after obtained leave of Alexander the Great to build a temple for him. This was the famous temple of the Samaritans on Gerizim, which so long rivalled the temple at Jerusalem. Of this temple Sanballet made Manasseh the high-priest : and to him resorted every one that was in debt, or disappointed, or in distress, or who fled from the rigour of the law, or was in any way uneasy, at Jerusalem. This new temple, the Samaritans pretended, was more holy and acceptable to God than that which was at Jerusalem. Nay, they affirmed that it was erected on the very spot which God himself chose for his worship. Thus the preference wäich they have to their temple, and the numbers who apostatized to them, reudered the batred between the two nations more implacable than

ever.

But that which most exasperated the Jews against the Samaritans was, the letter which they wrote to Antiochus Epiphanes, whilst he was persecuting the Jews in the most barbarous manner, on account of their religion. This letter the Samaritans began with the basest flattery, for they had the impudence to call Antiochus a god

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