Abbildungen der Seite

confidently expect that the blessing of God will rest upon its future, as it has upon its past, and that the peace which He is now so speedily bringing us will be as lasting as the memory of His gracious dealings with us in the past are pleasant and glorious.


Thanks for thy gifts, mighty God of the living !
Thanks where'er breathes life, or sin’s forgivn;
For all the graces which glad thanksgiving,
As incense prayer for bliss of Heaven!
0, fresh keep poesy's evergreen palm,
Fresh music, the soul's glee, soothing balm!
Boon hath followed boon, in thy fond training,
This world to the faith that brooks smiles, soothes tears;
And rebukes not my wish, that though waning
Be th’ scope of my voice through wasting years,
My hymns might still toward thy altars stream,
Still blithe as the early dew-drop's gleam!
Wait we a bard, unwonted pow'r bearing,
For lauding thy works, thy love and name
Some new psalmist's soul, world-wide endearing,
In world-wide symphony note for fame,
Thy bounties in group, crested with the grace,
That contrived the ransom of our race?

Thy minstrel of the harp his sway's prolonging,
Widest his sweep, in blest realms supreme;
He pales not as ages the past are thronging,
O! that he'd had the full Christian theme!
To him was giv'n but a shadowy ken
Of thy gift, deigned since, to earth-born men!
Since-out Thy bosom Thy love impelling,-.
Summonest not Thou Thy quick’ning word !
And chiefest, bravest angels excelling,
Bearer of Thy olive-branch and sword,
Came He not death to discrown and seize th' grave,
The arch-fiend lay low, his victims save?
Surely; and gladly, our being ent’ring,
Ours made one with His own divine life;
Gladly Thy nature and our's concentring,
Enforced the purposed, decisive strife,
And lo, lo His heel on th’serpent's bruis'd head,
Lo, frustrate this demon of the dead !

Since, He was slain, Judah Shiloh slaying;
The priesthood there too fallen to know
That, despite wrathful mocking, gainsaying,

In Him dwelt our weal, outside Him wo-
Since then He rose, and ascending to Thee,
From the prince of the air set us free!
Thus Thou, earlier mercies transcending,
Madst th' Word our life too as erst Thy breath,
And dying here, to the tomb descending,
The triumph of thy children o’er death-
Who die now as died this, this Thy Lamb slain,
To rise again, like Him live again.
Oh, since, by Thy incarnate Word's healing,
Whole's our life that was sin-struck and curst;
And should not for this all sense, all feeling,
In fuller strains exult than at first ?
Yes, exult thus forever the living,
In high-toned ecstatic thanksgiving !




The public entrance of Christ into the City of Jerusalem riding on a colt, is an extraordinary event in this life. On no former occasion had He been willing to make so open and formal a demonstration. Hitherto He had travelled with His disciples on foot, from city to city, preaching and doing good. When crowds gathered around him, attracted by some great miracle wrought upon the sick or diseased, or by the wisdom and power of His teaching, He withdrew himself from public attention, and went to some more secluded place, or retired into a mountain to pray. The lame, the blind, or those possessed with devils, when delivered from their maladies, were commanded to tell no one who had healed them. When the multitude, excited by his wonderful works, attempted to enthrone Him as king, He escaped

out of their hands, and defeated their purpose. Thus, for three years, "He had preached the gospel, performed miracles, and observed all the rites and ceremonies of the law in poverty, refusing the honors of the people, and enduring all manner of persecution in silence.

But now, five days before the day of His crucifixion, He suddenly, without any previous intimation, appears before the multitude in the character of a king, and permits their tumultuous acclamations without a word of reproof, but with manifest favor. The prophet Zechariah had said concerning the Messiah (Ch.ix: 9): "Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.” This prophecy Christ illustrated and fulfilled. lected the Passover-week, the most public occasion in the entire year,

when the Jews, by thousands, were assembled in Jerusalem from all parts of the civilized world. He was on the east side of the Mount of Olives, in the

He se

vicinity of Bethany. So soon as the people saw Him seated on the foal of ass, never ridden before, they seemed to have an instinctive apprehension of the significance of the event. “A very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way” (Matt. xxi: 8).' The news spread, and reached the city. Immediately another vast concourse went forth to meet Him; and the entire mass of people that went forth and followed after, shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” Some of the Pharisees wished to restrain the enthusiasm of the multitude, but He replied: "I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke xix: 40). Descending the western declivity of the Mount of Olives, the beautiful city lay before His eyes in all its magnificence and splendor. Fully aware of its approaching terrible doom, the blessed Saviour wept over it, saying: “If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” The Saviour weeps;

He weeps, whilst receiving the loudest and most enthusiastic acclamations of the vast multitudes! On the grand procession moves, down the mount, and across the valley of the Kedron. He enters Jerusalem, and the whole city was moved with excitement; many who had never seen him, and did not know Him, inquiring, “Who is this?” Still He moves forward unimpeded, and enters the temple. There He casts out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrows the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves.

The grand festal procession, the shouts of the multitudes rising on the air like the sound of many waters, taken in connection with the expulsion from the temple court of cattle dealers, hucksters, and brokers, constitutes a demonstration in remarkable contrast with the Saviour's previous ministry. It was a fulfilment of prophecy—a manifestation of his office as King, of His authority and power as the true King of the Jews, and at the same time a pre-figuration of His future triumphs and glory.

Christ was the true King of the Jews. He was the lineal descendant of the royal house of David—the true heir of the Jewish throne. The Jews looked for a political King, for one who would deliver their country from the dominion and oppression of the Emperor of Rome, make them a free, independent, and prosperous people, and restore the external glory of the days of Solomon. Such, in one sense, He really was; and such He acknowledged Himself to be when arraigned before Puntius Pilate. But He did not assume the external character of earthly kings; He did not draw the sword; He did not raise armies, and make war upon the

oppressors of the Jewish people;. and as the great body of the Jews had no other conception of their King, than that which was displayed in the splendor and power of David and Solomon, they proudly rejected the claims of Christ. Nevertheless, he was the one who had ruled them in time past, and was ruling then. It was He that constituted Abraham the head of the nation; that promised to them the fertile land of Palestine as their everlasting possession; that led them forth victoriously from Egyptian bondage; that divided the waters of the Red Sea, and caused them to walk through it on dry ground; that led them for forty years in the deserts of Arabia, giving them bread from heaven, quenching their thirst with living water from the solid rock, and vanquishing their enemies in battle; that

[ocr errors]

finally opened the waters of the Jordan, and led Israel through with songs of rejoicing; and that broke down the walls of Jericho, captured city after city, subdued tribe after tribe of the Canaanites, and finally divided the whole land among His people according to their tribes and families. It was He that preserved Moses among the bulrushes of the Nile, that caused him to be brought up in the house of Pharoah, and in due time endowed him with extraordinary wisdom, and invested him with power to effect the destruction of Pharoah, and the deliverance of the suffering Hebrews. It was He that gave them the moral and ceremonial law, that organized the Jewish Church, that established and maintained their civil government, that rewarded their obedience, that punished their disobedience, and governed them in all their relations, and at every epoch in their entire history. It was He that had given them law-givers, and leaders, and judges, and prophets, and priests, and kings. Moses, and Joshua, and David were His vicegerents. Elijah, Isaiah, and Daniel were His ministers, and received the words of wisdom from His lips. Their fathers had heard His voice in the thunder of Sinai. They had seen His presence in the mysterious shekinah that dwelt amid the cherubim in the Holy of Holies.

Now the same glorious One, the Ancient of days, the Angel of the covenant, the Prince of Peace, enters the city of Jerusalem as the true King of the Jews, riding on the foal of an ass. He reveals His royal character before their

eyes. The people could not mistake the fulfilment of prophecy, nor did they. As the Lord of the temple He enters the sacred court, and with holy indignation at the daily desecration tolerated by corrupt priests, He thrusts out the vile intruders. The proud Pharisees and hostile priests look on with astonishment and rage, but, by a power unseen, He holds their passions in check. His work accomplished, He retires from the temple and from the city, in the majesty of a royal personage, no one daring to molest or to touch Him.

For a moment the multitudes catch the solemn significance of the transaction, and their feelings of joy burst forth in loud and reiterated hosannas. But soon they fall back again under the power of their gross earthly notions, incapable, as it seems, of rising to a true perception of His royal character. A few days later, the same multitudes, fickle as the wind, shout, “Crucify Him!

This grand entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, and the purging of the temple court, prefigures the subsequent progress of His kingdom among men. The same mighty Power that smote the Egyptians and crushed Pharoah, that routed the Amalekites, Midianites, Philistines and other hostile nations, that handed over the ten tribes of Israel to the dominion of Assyria, that surrendered the kingdom of Judah to Babylonish captivity, and in turn raised up Cyrus to prostrate Babylon and restore the Jews to their ancient inheritance—that same power swayed the hearts of the shouting multitudes, governed the instincts of an unbroken colt, compelled a company of impious cattle-dealers, hucksters and brokers to submit to violent ejection from the temple, and held in complete subjection the hatred and rage of self-righteous Pharisees and a degenerate priesthood. This same Power, forty years later, used the Roman army, under Titus, as a means to overthrow the kingdom of Judah and utterly destroy the walls, the city and the magnificent temple of Jerusalem, and scattered a stiff-necked and unbelieving people, reeking with the blood of their King, to the four corners of the earth, to become a by-word and a reproach, according to the specific predictions of the prophets of God, among all the nations, Christian and Pagan, of the world. Afterwards, though Pagan Rome persecuted the loyal subjects of the enthroned Saviour, imprisoning and slaughtering them by thousands, and employed every means which civil and military power could devise to crush out utterly His apparently helpless Church, Christ caused His authority to triumph in the downfall of scoffing Paganism itself. Pagan Rome became Christian Rome, in the year 311, by the accession of Constantine the Great to the throne of the Cæsars. But when, in the course of time, the Roman empire, enfeebled by luxury and faction, reached the maturity of misrule and corruption, the King of of kings, controlling the nations by His almighty Providence, broke this magnificent earthly power into shivers. Dissolved into fragments, the empire passed away, and is now numbered among the things that were.

So is every evil power that exalts itself against truth and lay, against right and freedom, sooner or later cut down. The struggle may be long and arduous, and at times, to human appearance, the result


be doubtful, but in the end, as the Lord reigns on earth no less than in heaven, sin and wickedness, though organized and powerful, must succumb. This is illustrated in the history of the deep-rooted and extensive rebellion which, during the last four years, has waged a cruel and bloody war against the mild and generous government of our favored land. We have been severely punished by the judgments of God for our great national sins, but He has mercifully regarded our supplications and prayers, and is now rejoicing our hearts with the cheering prospect of returning order, peace and unity, for which let us acknowledge, in profoundest gratitude, the gracious interposition and favor of the great King, Christ Jesus our Lord.

This view of the kingly power of Christ, pertains, however, in the main only to its negative side-to the manner in which He deals with the enemies of His kingdom. There is also a positive side---a work which He does in the kingdom and Church of God itself.

The public entry of Christ into Jerusalem, prefigures the silent exercise of Almighty power in the inward development and outward growth of His Church. The Church is His mystical body, which unfolds itself from within, according to the law of the spirit of life. Faith and knowledge grow by degrees. Fundamental doctrines, worship and the form of government, pass through a process of change, by which the life of Christ in His chosen people is carried forward from one stage to another, from comparative weakness to comparative strength, from comparative imperfection to comparative perfection, ever seeking to eliminate the evil and the false, and to possess and appropriate in larger measure the good and the true. Thus the Church goes forward, adding to faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (2 Pet. i. 5-7). This inward process is sustained and governed by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in His mystical body. It involves continual conflict with sin and error, sometimes violent and convulsive; but each successive epoch is an advance upon that degree of perfection in knowledge or faith, in worship or practical life, which has gone before.

In the degree in which the kingdom of Christ developes the vigor and purity of her divine life, does it enlarge its boundaries. *Christ moves onward in His kingdom, subduing nation after nation, overthrowing idols and. thrones, and extending His dominion from continent to continent; and

« ZurückWeiter »