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cither because he chose not to inflame their jealousy, or because he had sufficiently declared to them his sacred character. This remote province he chose for the scene of his more solemn and public preaching, accompanied with a series of astonishing miracles. Having called five of those whom he afterwards named Apostles to attend him statedly, he resorted to the second passover at Jerusalem. Having there exposed his life to danger by calling God his Father, and by healing on the sabbath, he returned to Gali lee : where, designing to absent himself from Jerusalem during eighteen months, he taught largely and extensively; wrought the most signal miracles, such as raising persons from the dead, and the most public ones, such as repeatedly feeding many thousands with a few loaves and fishes ; not only appointed twelve apostles to attend him, but sent them forth to proclaim the approach of God's kingdom, and to work miracles; and, towards the feast of tabernacles about six months before his death, commissioned no less than seventy for the same great purposes. Having attended the feast of tabernacles, he revisited Galilee for the last time before his crucifixion : for, after keeping the feast of dedication about three months before he suffered, he remained in the confines of Judea, and raised Lazarus from the dead in the very neighbourhood of Jerusalem ; as a kind of last effort to work conviction in the minds of the Jews.
It is very observable that, though he himself performed many wonderful works in Jerusalem, and taught and reasoned publicly with the Jewish rulers, he delegated not this arduous part to any of his disciples till after the full effusion of the Spirit.
Matt. iv. 18, 21. ix 9.
• John v.
wib. vii. 2.
* Luke x. O
His conduct during the last paschal week, when he was ready to be offered, was marked by a peculiar freedom and fortitude, He entered Jerusalem in a kind of public triumph: at the first passover he had cleansed the temple, as one way of proclaiming his exalted character, while the Jews were yet in suspense whether he was their expected temporal Prince or not; he omitted this pious office during the intermediate festivals which he attended, because of the declared malignity of the Jews against him ; but now, when his time was fulfilled, we find him resuming this extraordinary act of authority : and, when he took his final leave of the temple and of publicly instruct. ing the people, he pronounced a copious and keen reprehension of the Scribes and Pharisees in the audi. ence of his disciples and of the multitude.
I am persuaded that his mighty works were frequently timed with a peculiar fitness. To give aninstance. After he had sat at meat in Matthew's house with many publicans and sinners, he immediately healed a woman with an issue of blood, raised from the dead Jairus's daughter, gave sight to two blind men, and cast out a dumb spirit: as if to justify Matthew in the sight of his former companions and friends for leaving all to follow such a' Master.
The two distinguishing rites of his religion derived additional weight from the time of their institution.
2 Sce another instance, Mark vi. 51, 2
y Matt. ix. 18, &c. and p. p. part i. c. iii. sect. 2, p. 307.
The perpetual commemoration of his death was an appointment which had the nature of a dying injunction : and the mode of admission into his church was not commanded till he had been vested with the highest degree of authority by his resurrection from the dead.
He himself observes that he did not disclose many things to his disciples, because they were not able to a bear them. I have been often struck with admiration at his conduct with respect to some particular points.
The excision of his countrymen was a topic of great delicacy : and therefore in the course of his ministry he foretold it to the unbelieving Jews by parables ; or, if he employed direct terms, they were very concise and general. Even as he was led out be crucified, he used the same generality of expression on this subject. An explicit and full prophecy of this event to the ruling Jews, like what hed delivered to his disciples, would have exasperated them beyond measure as a most flagrant instance of blasphemy and impiety: they could not have borne a perdiction that they should fall by the hands of the heathen, instead of having dominion over them.
Another point, to be treated with much nicety, was the abolition of the Mosaic ritual. Accordingly our Lord says that the great moral maxim, of acting
• John xvi. 12. b Luke xii. 35. Matt, xxiii. 38. cib. xxiii. 28—31. It may well be supposed that the words, Luke xix. 42–4. were spoken in the hearing of Jesus's disciples only. dib. xvii. 22. and Matt. xxiv. 4, &c. and p. p. • Acts yi. 13, 14.
towards others as we desire that they should act towards us, was the sum and substance, the scope and completion, of “the ' law and the prophets :” he lays great stress on the words of Hosea, & I will have mercy and not sacrifice: he places judgment, mercy, and fidelity among the h weightier matters of the law : he teaches that on the two commandments which enjoined the love of God and of our neighbour all the law and the prophets i depended, as leading principles. This was indirectly abating the reverence of the Jews for the ceremonial part of their law : which our Lord may further be supposed to have intended, by healing on the sabbath, by vindicating his disciples for plucking ears of corn on the sabbath, by commanding the infirm man to take up his bed on that day, and by absenting himself from many of the legal feasts. It would have been mat. ter of great offence to the Jews if he had not been born under the law, and if he had not conformed to it in general. In many places he mentions the observance of it as a duty. “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee ; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” His words to one whom he had healed of a leprosy were, “ Go thy' way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer
f Matt. vii. 12. Bib. ix. 13. xii. 7. hib. xxiii. 23. ic, xxii. 40. Γνώθι σαυτόν και το, Μηδέν άγαν" εκ τέλων γας ήg7%αι τα λοιπά παλε. Know thyself: and, do nothing to excess : for on these every thing else depends. Plut. quoted by Wetstein in loc. k Matt. v. 23, 4. c. viii. 4.
the gift that Moses commanded.” And this was his general exhortation to the people : “ Whatsoever the Scribes and Pharisees command you to observe, that observe and do." There are also many occasions on which he speaks honourably of the law. “Think
not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” I am not come to abrogate it prematurely and unnaturally; but to accomplish its typical and prophetical declarations, and to supersede it by a law of grace and truth. “ It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
" What is written in the law ? how readest thou ?” However, he plainly intimates the superior excellence of the gospel covenant. Among 9 those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist : but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
When he observes that all *the prophets and the law prophesied until John," he asserts their subserviency to the gospel covenant. And when he says to the Pharisees in another place, “ The s law and the prophets were until John ;” there is a very remarkable implication that the ceremonial law subsisted no longer to the members of the kingdom of heaven. This was one of the truths which his disciples could not bear. Stephen was 'arraigned before the Jewish council for being supposed to advance it. But after Christ's death the Spirit clearly revealed that the Mosaical law was not