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that disposition towards God, by which, or as the inevitable consequence of which, the love of God would be so perfected in him as to provide him with every thing necessary to his immortal happiness hereafter. And herein, as I before hinted, is to be perceived the divine source from which the gospel has emanated. There is no inconsistency or discrepancy between the feeling which applies to our happiness as members of the human family, and that which directs itself to the homage and adoration of God. How different is this from those institutions of mere human appointment, in which the homage paid to the Deity, or perhaps to a number of deities, is productive of human suffering, as well as from those institutions of an opposite character, in which the interests of mankind are provided for exclusively to the worship of God. In the Christian dispensation, the two duties are equally enjoined, and such harmony and consistency is there between them, that one cannot exist without the other. Reflect, then, on the instructive parable which has been submitted to your consideration l; and, having done this, I have only to exhort each individual, in the language of our text, “Go and do thou likewise.”
CASUALTIES AND MISFORTUNES NO PROOF
OF NOTORIOUS SIN.
LUKE, xiii. 145.
I tell you,
“ There were present at thut season some. that told
him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
The foregoing words, if duly and discreetly considered, will be found to contain matter of the most serious and awful import. They may not improperly be divided into two parts; the first of which would have reference to the information which certain persons not named conveyed to our Saviour, respecting some inhabitants of Galilee who had been slaughtered, by order of the governor Pilate, when in the act of offering sacrifices; the second part would refer to the answer which was given by our Saviour in reply to the information here implied.
Let us, brethren, in the first place, consider the information which St. Luke relates to have been conveyed to our Saviour: “ There were present at that season,” says the Evangelist, “ some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”
You are aware that, during the ministry of our Saviour, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, the southern of the three divisions of the Holy Land, on the west side of the river Jordan, formerly allotted to the residence of the twelve tribes of Israel, which, at the time in question, was a province of the Roman Empire. To the north of Judea lay Samaria, which was likewise subject to the government of Pilate; and northward of Samaria was the division or district of Galilee, which was governed by Herod Antipas.
The Galileans, therefore, mentioned in the former portion of our text, were natives of this last mentioned district, and in all probability were Jews, both by religion and hereditary descent. According to the custom of their religion, a custom which, indeed, prevailed not among Jews only, but over the entire world, they were engaged in offering sacrifices; in presenting to heaven the blood of slaughtered animals, according to the injunctions of the Mosaic ritual.
When, therefore, the Evangelist tells us, that Pilate had mingled the blood of these men with their sacrifices, we may reasonably understand that the Roman governor took them by surprise on such an occasion, and caused them to be put to death for some offence or disturbance of a public or political character. And, by referring to the fifth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we may reasonably infer that the party here alluded to consisted of the followers of some pretender, together with their leader himself, who probably represented himself as the expected Christ or Messiah. Such a character, according to the false notions of the Jews respecting the temporal power of the Messiah,—one under whom, as they supposed, they were to conquer their enemies, and obtain their independence, would have had little difficulty in deluding many, and inducing them to take up arms against the Roman government. That there were pretenders of this description will appear evident if we refer to the
passage before mentioned, which contains a portion of the speech addressed to the Jewish people by “Gamaliel, a doctor of the law." “ Before these days,” said this authority, “ rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain ; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up
Judas of Galilee, in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.”
The Galileans, therefore, who were surprised and slain by Pilate, when engaged in the celebration of one of the rites of their religion, were clearly a party who, under the directions of Theudas, or Judas of Galilee, or some political pretender of similar character, had risen up in arms against the lawful authorities, for the purpose of shaking off the Roman yoke, and obtaining the independence which their forefathers had lost. As we have just seen, Judas of Galilee selected the “ days of the taxing” as a suitable opportunity for carrying his purposes into effect, knowing full well that his countrymen would be more easily excited at a moment when the act of paying taxes or tribute into a foreign treasury must have made them peculiarly sensitive under the Roman yoke, which, even on ordinary occasions, they regarded with abomination and disgust. As governor or viceroy, however, of a remote province, under the emperor who resided at Rome, it was the duty of Pontius Pilate to be at all times in readiness to meet any such act of disturbance or sedition, even if it occurred beyond the limits of his own peculiar jurisdiction. But though the party concerned in the revolt in question were Galileans, it does not follow that the scene of their seditious acts was confined to the limits of Galilee. It may reasonably be supposed, indeed, that these persons had passed beyond the limits of Galilee into