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46But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
46 Verse 46. They sought to lay hands on him, they feared the

multitude] Restraining and preventing grace is an excellent

blessing, particularly where it leads to repentance and salvation;

but he who abstains from certain evils, only through fear of

scandal or punishment, has already committed them in his heart,

and is guilty before God. The intrepidity of our Lord is worthy

of admiration and imitation; in the very face of his most

inveterate enemies, he bears a noble testimony to the truth,

reproves their iniquities, denounces the Divine judgments, and, in

the very teeth of destruction, braves danger and death! A true

minister of Christ fears nothing but God, when his glory is

concerned: a hireling fears every thing, except Him whom he ought

to fear.

This last journey of our Lord to Jerusalem is a subject of great

importance; it is mentioned by all the four evangelists, and has

been a subject of criticism and cavil to some unsanctified minds.

He has been accused of "attempting, by this method, to feel how

far the populace were disposed to favour his pretensions in

establishing himself as a king in the land; or, at least, by his

conduct in this business, he gave much cause for popular

seditions." Every circumstance in the case refutes this calumny.

1. His whole conduct had proved that his kingdom was not of this

world, and that he sought not the honour that cometh from man.

2. He had in a very explicit manner foretold his own premature

death, and particularly at this time.

3. It is evident, from what he had said to his disciples, that he

went up to Jerusalem at this time for the express purpose of being

sacrificed, and not of erecting a secular kingdom.

4. What he did at this time was to fulfil a declaration of God

delivered by two prophets, upwards of 700 years before, relative

to his lowliness, poverty, and total deadness to all secular rule

and pomp. See ; .

5. All the time he spent now in Jerusalem, which was about five

days, he spent in teaching, precisely in the same way he had done

for three years past; nor do we find that he uttered one maxim

dissimilar to what he formerly taught, or said a word calculated

to produce any sensation on the hearts of the populace, but that

of piety towards God; and in the parable of the man and his two

sons, the husbandmen and the vineyard, he spoke in such a way to

the rulers of the people as to show that he knew they were

plotting his destruction; and that, far from fleeing from the

face of danger, or strengthening his party against his enemies, he

was come to wait at the foot of the altar till his blood should be

poured out for the sin of the world!

6. Had he affected any thing of a secular kind, he had now the

fairest opportunity to accomplish his designs. The people had

already received him as Jesus the prophet; now they acknowledge

him as the Christ or MESSIAH, and sing the hosannah to him, as

immediately appointed by Heaven to be their deliverer.

7. Though, with the character of the Messiah, the Jews had

connected that of secular royalty, and they now, by spreading

their clothes in the way, strewing branches, &c., treat him as a

royal person, and one appointed to govern the kingdom; yet of this

he appears to take no notice, farther than to show that an

important prophecy was thus fulfilled: he went as usual into the

temple, taught the people pure and spiritual truths, withdrew at

night from the city, lodged in private at Mount Olivet; and thus

most studiously and unequivocally showed that his sole aim was to

call the people back to purity and holiness, and prepare them for

that kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,

which he was about, by his passion, death, resurrection,

ascension, and the mission of the Holy Spirit, to set up in the


8. Could a person who worked such miracles as he was in the daily

habit of working-miracles which proved he possessed unlimited

power and unerring wisdom, need subterfuges, or a colouring

for any design he wished to accomplish? He had only to put forth

that power essentially resident in himself, and all resistance to

his will must be annihilated. In short, every circumstance of the

case shows at once the calumny and absurdity of the charge. But,

instead of lessening, or tendering suspicious this or any other

part of our Lord's conduct, it shows the whole in a more luminous

and glorious point of view; and thus the wrath of man praises him.

9. That he was a king, that he was born of a woman and came into

the world for this very purpose, he took every occasion to

declare; but all these declarations showed that his kingdom was

spiritual: he would not even interfere with the duty of the civil

magistrate to induce an avaricious brother to do justice to the

rest of the family, , when probably a few words from such

an authority would have been sufficient to have settled the

business; yet to prevent all suspicion, and to remove every cause

for offence, he absolutely refused to interfere, and took occasion

from the very circumstance to declaim against secular views,

covetousness, and worldly ambition! O how groundless does every

part of his conduct prove this charge of secular ambition to be!

Such was the spirit of the Master: such must be the spirit of

the disciple. He that will reign with Christ, must be humbled and

suffer with him. This is the royal road. The love of the world,

in its power and honours, is as inconsistent with the spirit of

the Gospel as the love of the grossest vice. If any man love the

world, the love of the Father is not in him. Reader, take

occasion from this refuted calumny, to imitate thy Lord in the

spirituality of his life, to pass through things temporal so as

not to lose those that are eternal, that thou mayest reign with

him in the glory of his kingdom. Amen.