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count of his amiable disposition, showed himself inferior to this tax-gatherer: for when required to sell what he had, and give to the poor, he went away sorrowful. What this young man would not do, at the command of Christ, Zaccheus does voluntarily, and of his own accord. Hence let us learn to judge of men from their conduct as individuals, and not from the general character of those of the same rank or station with themselves.
4. From the sentence pronounced upon those who opposed the authority of Christ, Bring them hither, and slay them before my face, we may learn the danger of not suffering him to reign over us. Great were
the calamities inflicted upon the Jewish nation, for refusing to receive their Messiah; and although other nations, who are not under the same particular Providence, may or may not suffer in the same manner, for a like behaviour, yet individuals must. If, from pride or the love of vice, they refuse to submit to the laws of Christ, the day is coming when they will feel the dreadful effects of his power. Let them beware, therefore, how they expose themselves to his vengeance. "Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his anger is kindled but a little."
Luke xix. 29-38. corresponds with Matt. xxi. 1—9.
Luke xix. 41-44. xxi. 1-4. 20-24.
41. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it;
The circumstances in which Jesus manifested this strong emotion of mind deserve our observation. It was at the time when the multitude, delighted with the many extraordinary miracles which he had performed, were paying him the respect usually reserved for princes, and those who had distinguished them
selves by great exploits; placing him upon an ass; throwing their garments and branches of trees by the road side, and walking before him with acclamations of praise, saying, Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in Heaven and glory in the highest. In this situation, an ordinary mind would have dwelt with rapture upon the praises of the multitude, and have been wholly occupied with the present scene; but the comprehensive and feeling mind of Jesus, from the midst of this triumph, looks forward to the dreadful calamities which he sees to be approaching, and which, although now distant, affect him as strongly as if they were before his eyes. He cannot refrain from bursting into tears, and from breaking forth into expressions of sorrow, at the prospect of what is coming. The pleasure which he begins to feel at the respect paid to himself is quite lost, in a deep concern for what his countrymen are to
42. Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, rather, "O that thou hadst but known," at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thy eyes.
The word Jerusalem is derived from two Hebrew words, which signify they shall see peace, or prosperity. To this origin of the name Jesus seems to allude, when he wishes that the inhabitants had known the things which belonged to their peace, or prosperity; intimating hereby, that their prosperity would have been secured, if they had received him as the Messiah: but their minds were so blinded with the notion of a temporal deliverer, that it was not possible for them to do this. He regrets their want of attention to their own interests, on the present occasion, more especially, as it would be attended with more fatal consequences than any of their former errors.
44. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
These words plainly foretel the siege of Jerusalem; an event which took place under Vespasian, the Roman emperor, about forty years from this time. It has been supposed also that Jesus points out in these words the particular manner in which the siege should be conducted, by making a trench round the city; a prophecy which some think to have been fulfilled, when the Roman commander, after several defeats in attempting to take the city, determined to encompass it with a wall, which he completed in three days, with towers at proper distances, in which to place soldiers as garrisons. Others Others suppose that the words of Jesus were accomplished by the mounds of earth, which the Roman soldiers raised in different places round the city, the construction of which must necessarily occasion trenches. But the words may refer to nothing more than the siege, and were accomplished when the city was encompassed by an army, which encamped round it to besiege the place,
44. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
The best comment upon this verse are the words of the Jewish historian, Josephus, who, in his account of the siege, says: "And now, when no more were left to be slain, nor any more plunder remained for the soldiers, Cæsar gave orders that they should demolish to the foundation the whole city and the temple; leaving only three towers and a small portion of the wall; but as for all the rest of the circumference of the city, it was so thoroughly laid even with the
ground, by those who dug it up to the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those who came thither to believe it had ever been inhabited *." It appears also, from the same author, that the soldiers, who were left in garrison near the ruins, must have been the means of digging them to the foundation, from the hope of finding treasures of gold and silver under ground.
This calamity, Christ says, would come upon Jerusalem, because she knew not the time of her visitation; that is, because she knew not the time when the mercy of God visited her in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus.
In the next verses of this chapter, and throughout the whole of the twentieth, we have an account of things said and done by Jesus during his last visit to Jerusalem, which are related by Luke in nearly the same words as by Matthew. I pass on, therefore, to the beginning of the twenty-first chapter.
Luke xix. 45-. corresponds with Matt. xxi. 12, 13.
Luke xxi. 1-4.
And he looked up, and saw the
rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
This treasury was a chest, placed in some of the rooms of the temple, for receiving donations from the people for the repairs of that building; for defraying the expences of its offerings, and other services. The custom seems to have been first introduced by Jehoiada, the high-priest, 2 Kings, xii. 19. and to have been continued from that time.
Bell. Jud. vii. 1.
2. And he saw also a certain poor widow, casting in thither two mites.
These, according to Mark, make a farthing; but this farthing was no more than a quarter of our coin of that name: by this it appears that the sum she had put in was very small.
And he said, Of a truth, I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4. For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God; but she, of her penury, hath cast in all the living that she had.
A charitable disposition is manifested not so much by the sum which men give, as by the proportion which it bears to their ability. Our Lord, therefore, justly observed, that this poor widow, who put into the chest no more than two mites, but all the money which she had, performed a greater act of charity in itself, and one more acceptable to the Divine Being, than those who gave more largely, but what was a smaller proportion of their substance.
Luke xxi. 5-20, corresponds with Matt. xxiv. 1-14. x. 18-22.
From some observations which were made to Jesus about the beauty of the temple and the richness of its gifts, he takes occasion to foretel the destruction of the temple and of the city; and in answer to the question which his disciples put to him respecting the time, he declares in the twentieth verse;
20. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.