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THE TWO MALEFACTORS.
Luke, xxiii. 33—43.—John, xix. 18. THE salvation of a solitary individual was not all that was designed and expressed, at the stupendous "finished" work at Calvary! The life of Jesus spoke volumes; but his great eventful death by crucifixion, for "he set it in Majesty," exceeded all other of his most wonderful works, and manifestations of love and mercy, to his last, sinful, faithless, Truth-denying people.
We learn by Isaiah, "That the forces of the Gentiles should come unto our Lord, and kings to the brightness of his rising." The Jews have no king; the reference is therefore to the gentile kings.
These two malefactors represent Jew and Gentile ; the two thieves; and two greater thieves can nowhere be found. "They rob God daily." The Lord, speaking by Malachi, says, "Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." The Jew rejected Jesus; the Gentle, accepting the atonement, confessing his sins, trusting in grace, enters paradise with his LORD!!!
THE PARABLE OF THE ASS.
Luke, xix. 33.
John, xii. 14, 15.
EACH of the four Evangelists mention this parable : and it will, with a little attention, be evident that the
"Ass and a Colt, the foal of the Ass," typify the Jew and the Gentile with force, beauty, and propriety. Under this figure the Lord has had a secret regard to his people interspersed throughout the Scriptures. What has the Lord need of but his people?
Isai. i. 3." The Ass knoweth his master's crib, but my people doth not consider." Job, xi. 12. " Vain man would be wise though man be born like a wild ass's colt." Gen. xlix. 14. "Issachar is a strong Ass couching down between two burdens." Isa. xxx. 24. "The young asses that ear the ground, shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan." The margin says, "savoury or leavened,” which carries its own explanation that it does not mean the common food of an Ass, for no man winnows food for this beast, it eating the refuse of most other beasts. Paul said, "We are made as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things unto this day." It is plain it refers to the sincere, young convert, who shall eat the bread of life, purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, winnowed from all impurities by his sufferings. Isa. xxxii. 20. "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass." This passage does not allude to the brute creation; but ox to ministers, and ass to people. "Cast thy bread upon the waters." "Speak my words." "Declare my name;" even though to human eye it may avail nothing. "Cease from thy own wisdom."
Of all unclean beasts, the Ass only is mentioned to be redeemed, and that with-a Lamb-mark the fulness of God's love in that redemption—also his future, fearful wrath-" if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck!" This is the unbeliever's doom: like Josiah's son, though himself a chosen vessel, his offspring's funeral rites were " Thus saith the Lord, he shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." Gen. xlix. 11. "Binding his foal unto the Vine and his ass's colt unto the choice Vine." This is a beautiful illustration of the figure: The Lord being the true Vine to which are bound the foolish, sinful people; and the choice Vine from whence flows the precious blood opened "for sin and uncleanness." Job, xxxix. 5. Who hath sent out the wild ass free? Who hath loosed the bonds of the wild ass?" If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Zec. ix. 9. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughters of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." "For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches."
Christ has removed every barrier, uniting Jew and Gentile in his glorious Salvation: and truly the very great multitude of believers have need to spread their garments in the way-their own unrighteousness-and
to take branches of palm and strew them in the wayas tokens of victory over sin, by faith in their Saviour: and they that went before, (the Jews,) and they that followed, (the Gentiles,) and all the children of the HOLY ONE, have need to cry-"Hosanna to the Son of David's LORD! Hosanna in the Highest!"
ROMANS, XII. 20.
"THEREFORE if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."
The enemies of the Truth, take occasion from this verse, to say, "That the children of God have pleasure in destroying his fellow-man."
As there is the burning coals of God's wrath, so there is the live coals from off the altar; holy fire, burning with the pure flame of holy love—these are the burning coals to heap upon his head ;-or as one has sweetly illustrated the passage, "Your good deeds soften and melt his heart, as fire softens iron."
THE TREE OF LIFE.
Rev. ii. 7.
"HE that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
The first blessing promised to the Churches is "The Tree of Life" in paradise-Jesus:—and him that overcometh will inherit the seven blessings in Jesus, for we "are complete in Him."
What tenderness in our Father, to restore our first blessing in our first loss: and yet how could it be otherwise, when our first loss was our LORD Himself!
THE EIGHT BEATITUDES.
Mat. v. 3-10.
THE eight beatitudes, is one blessing; it begins and ends with "The kingdom of Heaven"-each is the portion of the "called, chosen, and precious."
ESTHER, V. 3.
"Then said the King unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom."
The half of the kingdom offered to Esther, was the whole; she being the Gentile type;-the other half is the Jews, and they are united. Eph. ii. 14, 15, 16.
MAT. X. 41.
"HE that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward."