« PreviousContinue »
posed He would appear. They say unto Him, The son of David. They expected Him to appear as the son of David, the descendant of that King, in whom they gloried as having been the most renowned and successful of their monarchs. But this was only a part of the character of the Messiah. He was to be a partaker of the Divine, as well as of human nature. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit, or by the Holy Ghost, 28 call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? This question, how they reconciled the two statements that the Messiah was David's Lord, as well as David's son, was one which they could not or would not solve. Our blessed Lord here intimated to them His own Divine character. They doubtless understood His meaning, but were unwilling to own the force of His argument. Thus they were put to silence as the Sadducees had been. And no man was able to answer Him a word; neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions for the purpose of ensnaring Him; because He showed Himself to be so vastly superior to them in knowledge and argument, that they were unable to confound Him before the people. Their controversies with Him all tended to raise His credit, and to diminish their own.
28 Mark xxii. 36.
The doctrine taught by our Lord Jesus Christ in the text is the most important doctrine that can be set before us. This is what we are to understand by the expressions, the great commandment in the law, the
first and great commandment. It declares what is required in the first place and above all things of every rational being to whom God has promulgated His holy law. Supreme love and unreserved obedience are due from the creature to the Creator. “Our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,” are gifts bestowed upon us which demand our love to the bounteous Giver of all good, from whom they proceed. Let us consider
First, Who is here spoken of as the object of supreme affection.
Secondly, The manner in which our love to Him is to be manifested. And
Thirdly, Its subordinate effect.
May the Spirit of God apply the subject to our minds and consciences, that we may feel its importance, and seek grace from Him to enable us to comply with what He has commanded us for our good.
First, Who is the proper object of the supreme affection of mankind ? It is said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. The answer of our blessed Saviour to the Pharisees is taken from the
sixth chapter of Deuteronomy; where we find Moses saying, Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.29 The Lord here spoken of is JEHOVAH, the self-existent Being, the only selfexistent Being in the universe, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. When we consider the Divine Being in this point of view, as the God of supreme glory and majesty, we cannot but contemplate His greatness with a dread of His almighty power.
When the Israelites beheld His glory on mount Sinai, displayed in the thunderings and the lightnings, the fire and smoke and earthquake, they trembledo and were greatly afraid. The contemplation of the purity and perfection of the Deity is calculated to fill the mind of sinful man with a dread of His displeasure. We tremble in His presence as the Avenger of sin, because we are transgressors of His holy law. We shrink from His infinite purity, as dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see.31 In order to remove the painful but just apprehensions which arise in our minds from the consideration of the holiness and the power of the Lord Jehovah, He is revealed to us not only in this exalted character; but when His people are called on to regard
29 Deuter. vi. 4,5. 30 Exodus xix. 16, xx, 18. 31 1 Timothy vi. 16.
Him with affection He is styled, the Lord thy God, or Jehovah thy Alehim. In which last word is intimated the plurality of Persons in the one Jehovah, and the covenant engagements
of the ever-blessed Trinity for the redemption of lost sinners.
On this subject we are taught in the holy Scriptures, that the Father of heaven gave His only-begotten Son to be the Redeemer of mankind: For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life :3 that Christ, the Son of God, undertook and accomplished the redemption of our ruined race. For it is said, Christ also hath loved us, and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, wherein He hath abounded toward us :33—and that the Holy Spirit applies to the hearts of the children of men the testimony of the word of God concerning this great salvation, and sanctifies all the elect people of God. For thus our Saviour instructed His disciples :34 The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Futher will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto
32 John ii. 16.
33 Ephesians v. 2, i. 7,8. 34 John xiv. 26.
you : and when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth: He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall show or declare it unto you. 35 It is through the Spirit that believers in Christ mortify the deeds of the body. 36 And the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth.37
For the great and unspeakable blessings, both spiritual and temporal, which are conferred upon mankind by the Three ever-blessed Persons in One God, the Triune Jehovah, He is to be supremely loved and adored by all His intelligent creatures. Nothing created is to be put in competition with Him, as the object on which our affections are to be placed. No likeness of any created thing is to be regarded as a representation of Him, and as such honoured with religious worship. His awful Name is to be reverenced and hallowed, and not to be made use of in a light and profane manner. Every seventh day is to be devoted to His service, and kept holy, as a mark of our obligations to Him: it is to be a sign between Him and His people of the relationship that subsists between them and their God, a token that they acknowledge Him to be their God, and themselves to be His people. These are the duties pointed out by the first table of the moral law; from which we learn in what respects we are to
35 John xvi. 13, 14. 36 Rom. viii. 13. 37 Eph. v. 9. 38 Exod. xxxi.13.