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immediately restored. This led all the people, who stood amazed at the miracle, to cry out, “Is not this the Son of David ?” The Son of David was the predicted Saviour of mankind, who was to issue from the loins of David. The people who said this, connected at one view, the wonderful deliverance of the afflicted man, with the character of him who was to open the eyes of the blind, and to unstop the ears of the deaf. But the Pharisees, who beheld the rising fame of Jesus with alarm, and felt for the reverence of their own pretended sanctity and importance, gave a new turn to the opinion of the people by asserting, that he cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils; that is, they insinuated that he was a patron of witchcraft and sorcery, and that he derived his miraculous power from the aid of the Devil, and not from the operating influence of the Holy Ghost.
Now, no set of men would have dared to make such a charge against a person of birth and education, of family descent or family importance, because the very notion of demoniacal agency is always coupled with ignorance, fraud, and superstition. They meant, by this charge, to intimate, that Jesus, being a man of low extraction and very moderate attainments, could not have acquired his authority over unclean spirits but by the sanction and support of the prince of those spirits; that as an instrument of the devil his conduct was readily accounted for, but as a man of reputation and character, what pretensions had he?
Our blessed Lord, in rebuking their rashness, neither magnifies his power, nor investigates his pretensions, but simply replies to the charge, that the thing was utterly absurd. “ If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand ?” Would Beelzebub be so infatuated as to delegate that power to me, by which I subdue his strength and baffle his influence ?
“ Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt.” Do not make a bad man perform good actions, and charge it as an offence against him, that his actions are a proof of his badness.— It is very remarkable that the Pharisees, those great pretenders to piety and virtue, seem to have had no way of combating our Lord's miraculous power but this. They frequently repeat the charge, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil ?” When they could not deny a fact, they have recourse to calumny. They substitute slander and invective for argument and proof. And when they were obliged to confess that his power was plainly beyond all human art or ability, they attributed it to causes which might weaken its influence, and rob it of its popularity and respect. From what our Saviour said to his disciples, we learn, that he was accused, not merely of being an agent of Satan, but the Devil himself. " says he, “they have called the master of the house Beelzebub,” which implies that that name had been given him. - How violent was the prejudice, and how shocking the malignity, of those, who could
thus exhibit the Lord of Life, as the Prince of the power of darkness.
Thus, you see, the prejudices against Jesus were mainly owing to the supposed obscurity of his origin, to the manifest poverty of his parents, and to the infatuation of the Jewish people, who would not admit any proofs of divinity which did not consist with their conceptions of the character of Messiah.
Let us be instructed by this example. How often, in the course of our lives, do we disregard the warnings of Heaven, because they do not seem to approach us with palpable signs and personal evidences. How often do we shut our eyes against the light when it reproves us, merely because our deeds are evil, and we hate whatever makes manifest the counsels of God against us, and hinders us from our favourite sins. The hand of God is stretched out for our preservation and support in the midst of danger, but we refuse to be guided by it. His voice is heard in the admonitions of conscience, as that inward monitor applies his remonstrance to us, but, like the deaf adder, we stop our ears, and though it speaks aloud, we will not hear. His judgments are abroad and his punishments light upon many around us, yet because they come in the ordinary ways of calamity and death, we are neither terrified nor abashed. We demand, like the Jews of old, a sign,—some more unequivocal proof of the divine interposition, whilst we dwell in the midst of wonders and tokens, which any eye could see, that was not perversely blind.
O let us shake off this strange delusion. “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Let us hear his voice betimes whilst it is called to-day, lest we outstay the day of grace, and there be none to deliver. “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith : but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But,” surely, “we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
THE REASONS WHY OUR SAVIOUR WAS BORN A JEW.
1 PETER i. 18, 19.
FORASMUCH AS YE KNOW THAT YE WERE NOT REDEEMED WITH
CORRUPTIBLE THINGS, AS SILVER AND GOLD, FROM YOUR VAIN CON VERSATION RECEIVED BY TRADITION FROM YOUR FATHERS;
BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST,
AS OF А LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT.”
THE eventful life of Jesus Christ presents, to the enquiring mind, a body of facts, which would have rendered him an object of particular notice, in any age of the world, and under any circumstances. Had he been born of Gentile parents, and in the most polished states of Greece or Rome, his holy life and harmless manners would have gained him the respect of every rank. The lives of great and learned men, and the schools of philosophy and profound research, had exhibited nothing like his extraordinary character, nor any thing to be compared with his sublime discourses. His conduct was distinguished by a rare combination of every perfection which lies scattered in the human race; and his doctrine, on which his character was formed, inculcated the purest morals in the plainest language, the