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If worldly wealth be the portion of any among us, the text informs them how it may be laid out to the best advantage. If it be employed in making the children of God our friends, and procuring their prayers for us, it will turn to a better account than by any other mode of expenditure, that can be adopted. If the people of God are led to praise Him for raising them up friends in the time of their need; and to pray that spiritual blessings may be vouchsafed to those who have been the instruments of supplying their necessities; we may presume that their prayer will not merely return into their own bosoms, but will be answered for the spiritual good of their benefactors ; however unworthy of so great a blessing any act of temporal benevolence may be. And in that case, those who have shown kindness to the children of God, being themselves made partakers of the riches of His grace, will, when they die, bę received into the everlasting habitations of the blessed ; to praise and magnify His holy name throughout eternity; where they will thankfully say, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake. They will acknowledge that it is His mercy and lovingkindness, and not their merit, which has been the cause of their salvation ; His truth and faithfulness, and not any thing in them which deserved His notice and favour.
But in order to bring home the subject to our own consciences individually, let us in conclusion ask ourselves, What is our state before God? Do we serve God or mammon? Which are we the most anxious to obtain, the favour of God, or the favour of the world, and the things of this life? Let us not deceive ourselves by imagining that we can serve both God and mammon; since our Saviour says we cannot.14 Let us not imagine that we can be the true servants of God, and at the same time walk according to the course of this world,15 having our affections set on the things which are earthly, sensual, and devilish.16 The word of God declares, His servants ye are to whom ye obey; and according to the service will be the result. The servants of sin, or of mammon, will receive its wages; the wages of sin is death. And the servants of God will receive the gift which He bestows freely, through Christ, upon His believing people; the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.17 May we by His grace be made truly the servants of God; that serving Him in our day and generation, when we are called out of this sinful dying world, we may be received into the everlasting habitations of the blessed, to see His face, and sing His praises for evermore.
14 Luke xvi. 13. 15 Ephes. .2. 16 James iii.15. 17 Rom. vi. 16,23,
AND WHEN HE WAS COME NEAR, HE BEHELD THE CITY, AND WEPT OVER IT, SAYING,
IF THOU HADST KNOWN, EVEN THOU, AT LEAST IN THIS THY DAY, THE THINGS WHICH BELONG UNTO THY PEACE; BUT NOW THEY ARE HID FROM THINE EYES.
The compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ for the people among whom He had condescended to take up His abode on earth, is forcibly displayed in these words. His tender heart melted with pity, which affected His eyes to tears, when He reflected on the misery which would overtake them in consequence of their rejection of
Him and of His gospel. He had wept not long before at the grave of His friend Lazarus, while sympathising with Martha and Mary in their deep affliction for the loss of their brother ;18 and He had afterwards turned their sorrow into joy, by the exercise of His almighty power in raising Lazarus from the dead. But here He wept not in sympathy with others, but from His own foreknowledge of the calamities in which the nation would be involved before that generation had passed away. The occasion of His weeping was a view of the city of Jerusalem, lying before Him as He descended the mount of Olives to enter into it the last time before His own sufferings.
In consequence of the wonderful miracle which He had wrought in raising Lazarus from the dead, a multitude of people had assembled to hail His entrance into the city, and to salute Him with the acclamations which were appropriate to the Messiah : Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.19 In the midst of the rejoicing of the multitude around Him, our blessed Saviour began to weep at the sight of the city, foreknowing the ruin that would speedily overwhelm it. And although there was not at that time the least likelihood that any thing of the kind would take place, He proceeded to describe its awful doom. 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, 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. There was then no human probability that so great a reverse would befal the nation, as the entire subversion of the city and temple of Jerusalem ; but within forty years all was accomplished which the Lord Jesus Christ had declared should come
18 John xi 35.
19 Luke xix. 38.
The reason of this destruction overtaking them is here mentioned: Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation; or because when the Messiah appeared among them and visited them in
mercy, they rejected Him. For notwithstanding the multitude appeared to hail Him with acclamations of rejoicing, He knew that before the week was passed over, they would change their note entirely, and instead of acclamations of Hosanna, would exclaim, Crucify Him, crucify Him ;20 and even imprecate upon themselves and their posterity the guilt of His innocent blood. 21 He had visited them in mercy ;
20 Luke xxiii. 21.
21 Matthew xxvii. 25.