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Sure, the Circumstances of their Condition must be very fad and dreadful, when our Saviour could not see the City without weeping: but that which most of all increas'd his Sorrow, was their stupid Senseleffness of their Condie tion, that they would not so much as consider, or know the things belonging to their Peace, insomuch that they were nom hidden from their eyes. Their Doom was irreversible, and therefore he pity'd them the nore, because they had no Pity for themselves. Now here,
ift, From our Saviour's weeping over Jerusalem, we may observe his tender Sense and Concern for the Miferies and Calamities of other Men, and that may teach us to fhew Pity, and Compassion upon_the like occasions. Christ was mightily affected with the Evils that befel any; he wept at the Grave of Lazarus, and here we find him weeping for the City of Jerusalem. From his Example we may learn the same Sympathy and Fellow-feeling of others Sufferings, True Religion makes the Heart tender, and apt to commiserate; it makes the Bowels yearn towards the Miferable, and to bear a share in the Calamities of others. 'Tis the hard-hearted and narrow-spirited that cast off all Care or Concern for others Happiness or Misery, and there are but too many such, who is they fare well themselves, care not what becomes of others : but they who shew no mer. cy, feldom or never find any. Again,
2dly, From our Saviour's passionate Wifh, that they had laid hold of those happy Opportunities, which were offer'd to them for their own Safety, we learn his Backwardness to punish, ard his Willingness to pardon. He doth not delight in the Death of a Sinner, nor willingly grieve the Children of Men; he is troubled and concernd for their Folly, when he is driven to it, and, bespeaks them as God did Ephraim, How fhall I give thee up, ( Ephrain ? In like manner our Saviour was deeply affected at the light of Ferufalem, his Bowels were turn'd within him, and could not but break into Tears for a City that had made it felf ripe for Destruction. Jerufalem, Jerusalem, (faith he in another place) how often would I have gather'dibee as a Hen gathereth her Chicken under ber iring and thou would not. And here, Othat thou had known the things, which belong unto thy Peace! which he doubles and trebles with Earneitness and Affection, Even thou, in this thy day. Even then, who haft had so many Admonitions, fo grert Obligations, and fach plain Directions to prevent thefe Evils: Even thou,
of whom so great care hath been taken, and, to whom so much Mercy hath been shewn, O that thou hadst hearkend to these things, and suffer'd them so far to have prevail'd upon thee, as to avert thine utter Ruin! Once more, Even thou, in this thy day; that is, tho thou hadft neglected many a Call, and let lip many Opportunities, yet 'twas to be wilh'd thou hadst at least minded the main Season, or not suffer'd the last and critical time of thy Welfare or Destruction to pass away unobserv'd. All which shews the merciful and gracious Temper of our Bleffed Saviour, and likewise how opposite thereunto those unrelenting Spirits are, who delight in giving trouble, and doing hard things to those of their own kind.
3dly, From Christ's wishing in the behalf of Jerusalem, that they had known, in this their day, the things that belong'd to their peace, we learn that all Men, both in their publick and private Capacity, have a Day of Grace, or particular Season of making their peace with God, and preventing their future Ruin. This is here manifestly imply'd, and signifies, that if we have the Wisdom to know, and the Foresight to improve this opportunity to the best advantage, we may obtain the Favour of God, and secure our everlasting Welfare : for the having this their day for that purpose, was not a Favour peculiar only to Jerusalem, but is a Mercy extended to all Persons and Places ; to whom God Almighty is pleas'd to allot a particòlar Time
a or Season of reconciling themselves to him, and promoting thereby their own Salvation.
Some have observ'd, that even in the Course of worldly Affairs, all Men have some critical Time or Opportunity of making or mending their Fortunes here in this Life ; which if neglected or let slip, is not easily regain'd. Efau that sold his Birthright for å Mess of Pottage, could not afterward obtain it, tho be sought it carefully with Tears, And we have known many, who have complaind of the loss of fome Seasons and Opportunities of bettering their Conditions, which they could never after recover.
But this is more plainly reveald of our future and final State in the World io cone; for the Holy Scriptures often mind us of a Day of Grace, or Season of Salvation, in which we are calld upon to mind the Business of our Souls, and to provide for Eternity. Of this day our Şa. viour here minds the Inhabitants of Jerufalem ; and the Apostle puts all Christians in mind, that whilft it is calid.
to-day, they should hearken to the Voice of God, left their Heart's be harden'd thro the Deceitfulness of Sin. Now this Day of Grace and Salvation may be understood either of the whole Space of our Life, which for the Shortness of it, is in Scripture often calld and compar'd to a Day ; or elfe "more particularly, for the present tine or instant part of it, which is all that we can call our own, or fafely depend upon : So the Apostle, Now is the appointed time, now is the Day of Salvation; 2 Cor. 6. 2. Hereafter may be nothing to us, because we are not sure of living to it: the present tine is our Opportunity, for we are not certain of any more ; or if our Days be prolong'd, we are not sure that the Means of Grace may be fo too, for the Spirit of God will not always strive with us. Now is God's time and ours too, which we are therefore to lay hold of and improve, for we know not how long it may continue : the Day of Grace may be over, before the Days of our Life may be ended, not for want of Mercy and Favour in God, but for want of a Will or Heart to repent, to make us capable of it. The Heart may be harden'd by a Custom in sinning, and many by long contracted Habits have outliv'd the possibility of Repentance; the Conscience may be so fear'd, as with an hot Iron, that nothing can awaken or make any Impresion upon it: And therefore, Now whilf 'tis called to-day, we are calld upon to repent, and to accept of Mercy and Salvation ; and this is our Day, in which we are to know and consider the things that belong unto our Peace.
4thly, From these Words of our Saviour, But now they are hid from our eyes; we learn the Danger of deferring Repentance, or putting off the Day of Grace; which if let slip, will not be had any more. This was the wretched and remediless State of Jerusalem, which made our Savionr lament and weep over it: and he who afterwards shed his Blood for their Sålvation, here shed his Tears for their Folly in neglecting it. They had their Day of knowing and ma. king their peace with God; but letting slip the Season, they were left for ever to repent without any Hopes of repairing it. And 'twill fare no better with us ; if we neglect our time, and let go the Season of finding Mercy, we may never look for it again, but must remain for ever in a hopeless and helpless Condition. Opportunities that were once before us will soon slip away, and perhaps look back to deride our Folly in not making better use of them : the
things of our Peace, that are now plainly in our fight, will e'er long be bid from our eyes, and then 'twill be too late to aniend what we shall for ever lanient. This we may easily fee here in the case of Jerusalem, of whom we read in the next words,
The Days Mall come upon thee, that thine Enemies shall caft a Trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and mall lay thee even with the Ground, and thy Children within thee ; and they Mall not leave in thee one Stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy Visitation. This was a Prophecy of the Romans speedy coming to besiege and destroy the City, and all that were in it, which soon after came to pass in all the Particulars of the Prophecy : for Titus the Roman General coming with an Army to besiege Ferusalem, first caft a Trench about it, to cut off all Communication, and intercept Provisions; then he compass'd it round with a Wall thirty nine Furlongs long, containing within it thirteen Castles or Forts, in compass ten Furlongs, all which (as Josephus tells us ) was finish'd in three Days; de Bell. Fud. lib. 6. cap. 8. By this the People were kept in on every side, there being no possibility of their coming out, which reduc'd them to the greatest Distress, even to the eating Dung and Dirt, Hay and Mens Flesh; yea, and (as Josephus relates it) Women feeding on their own sucking Children. After which, the City was Laid even with the Ground, and the Children within it, there being not one Stone left upon another.
But what was the reason of all this Misery and Delolation? Why, that is added in the following words, Because thou knewest not the time of thy Visitation. They would not know or improve the Time of God's visiting them in Mercy and Loving-kindness; nor would they consider or prevent the Time of his visiting them with Vengeance and Destruction, and therefore did all this Distrefs come upon them. Obftinate and incorrigible Wickedness exposes Men to the Wrath of God, and the forest of all his Judgments. The old World for not hearkning to Noah a Preacher of Righteousness, but going on still in their Wickedness, were swept away with a Deluge, and irrecoverably drown'd in Misery and Perdition. Sodom and Gomorrah, for not amending upon the Admonitions and Example of righteous Lot, were consum'd by a Fire from Heaven; and burning in their Lofts one to another, were niade to fuffer the Vengeance of eternal Fire. In like manner,
'twas the Obstinacy and Impenitence of the Jews, their wilful Refusal of the Means of Salvation, that occafion'd the Sacking and Destruction of their City : They had many repeated Warnings to avoid the Danger, many loud Calls and passionate Invitations to Repentance, to prevent their Ruin ; but they turn'd the deaf Ear to them all, and nothing could prevail with them to accept their own Happiness. Instead of hearkning to, they kill'd the Prophets, and stond them that were sent to them, and the Judgment that follow'd it was, Behold your House is left unto you defolate, Mat. 23. 37, 38. Therefore is Desolation come upon you, your City, Temple, and whole Nation are irreversibly destroy'd; your City for the Oppression and Injustice practis'd in it, your Temple for not hearkning to the InItructions deliver'd in it, and your whole Nation for abusing the Mercies and Blefiings conferr'd on it. Thus they who wilfully refus'd the Offers of Mercy, became the Objects of Vengeance, and are set forth as Mongments of Divine Justice to all succeeding Generations, to let us know, that if we follow their Steps, we maft expect the fame Fate ; and except we repent, we must alt likewise perish.
This is the first part of the Gospel for this Day, which is design'd for å Warning to all wilful and impenitent Sinners. There is yet a second part of it, which relates to the Reverence due to the Temple, or the publick Places of God's Worship, held forth in the following words; And he went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that fold therein, and them that bought, saying, My House is the House of Prayer, but ye have made it a Den of Thieves. Where we shall oblerve,
ist, That publick Places were fet apart for Divine Worfhip both under the Old, and New Testament, and that not only by the Divine Liking and Approbation, but by Divine Appointment and Designation. This is evident in the Old Teltanient, by the Tabernacle firit, and afterward by the Temple ; the former being stild the. Tent which God had pitch'd among Men, Pfal. 78. 60. the latter, the Sanctuary, the high and holy Place, and the Place which he had chosen to fet his Name there: with many other Expressions to the like purpose in the New Testament
'tis plain from those words of the Apostle, Have ye not Houses to eat and drinkin, but despise ye the Church of God?