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with the edifying nature of his discourses. They wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and said, from whence hath this man these things, and what wisdom is this which is given unto him. They contrasted, greatly to the disadvantage of their own privileged instructors, the serious and heavenly tendency of his doctrine, with the vain and wretched trifling which distinguished the conversation of the doctors of the law. people were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes.' On one occasion our Lord declares the cause of this difference in a very pointed manner, and shews that by a kind of moral impossibility, they could not speak good and holy things to which their hearts were strangers. 'O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh? A good man out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things ?.'
7 Matt. xii. 34, 35.
But on the part of our Lord, whether discoursing with his disciples, or with the people, or with the Pharisees, his topics were always chosen with a reference to the object of his ministry. The disciples were enlightened by more intimate communication of the secret purposes which he was sent to fulfil—the people were exhorted to repent and receive the Messiah -the Pharisees were warned to flee from the wrath to come. Instead of settling trivial disputes, or deciding subtle questions, or gratifying speculative curiosity, he taught the nature of universal righteousness towards God and man, -the true principles of holiness, --- the connexion between the doctrines of the new covenant and the practice of believers,--the method of reconciliation between God and man,—the obligations of the redeemed to have their conversation in heaven, from whence also they looked for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ
Now to appreciate the excellence of the teaching of Christ, these sublime and spiritual topics should be compared with the defective philosophy of the heathens, or with the absurdities and immoralities of the Koran, or even with the preparatory dispensation revealed to the Israelites, and committed to their keeping:
8 Phil. iii. 20.
The excellence of the Jewish law was indeed justly extolled by Moses. This is your wisdom and
your understanding in the sight of the nations which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is á wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this land which I set before you this day"? Yet we know that the higher mysteries of Christ's kingdom were shrouded from their view, like the face of their lawgiver himself, under a veil of figures and metaphors. The sight which Moses obtained of God was purposely rendered dark and indistinct-- he saw as it were only his back parts'.' And yet the knowledge of the divine mysteries enjoyed by him and by the prophets, was much more explicit than that which was vouchsafed to the Jewish nation at large; so that the religious knowledge of the people was far from being on a level with the views entertained by the inspired writers themselves. The Jews, as a people, knew little of the nature of God, of the plan of acceptance with him, of a future state of rewards and punishments.
9 Deut. iv. 6; 7.
· 1 Kings. iv. 33.
But since the inanifestation of the true light, • God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' Now hath Christ obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house?
3 2.Cor. iv. 6. Heb. viii. 6. iii. 3.
In truth, throughout the whole of the things recorded by the Evangelists respecting Jesus, whether we find him sitting down in the midst of assembled multitudes collected to hear his doctrine, or retiring apart with his disciples to explain what he had spoken to others in parables; whether amongst friends or enemies, at the last supper, or before Pilate; in prayer to his heavenly Father, or questioning the doctors in the temple, new and convincing illustrations are afforded in each situation of the truth of that saying-My meat is to do the will of Him that - sent me, and to finish his work.
Nor should it be forgotten, that the spirituality of our Lord was manifested in his practice, as well as in precept.
Before he entered on his public ministry, Satan was permitted to make trial of the nature of his self-devotion. All the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.