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practice) when ten leprous person, who came out of the neighborhood of that place, whose inhabitants had behaved to him with such disrespect, presented themselves with loud cries to him for help, his compassion was as ready to relieve, as their necessity was to ask; for, while they were going to shew themselves to the priest at Jerusalem (as he had directed) they all found themselves cured. But, see the great ingratitude of human nature! Of the ten who received this miraculous blessing, only one returned to give their benefactor thanks-and he was a Samaritan.
Our Blessed Lord having thus returned good for evil, and the greatest kindness for the most palpable affront, proceeded on his journey, and came to another place, the inhabitants of which being not of so inhospitable a disposition as those of the former place, they readily gave accommodation to Jesus and his disciples, who continued with them during the course of that night. Early the next morning they resumed their journey, which they prosecuted without meeting with any inconvenience or interruption from the people of the respective places through which they passed, all of whom treated them with the greatest civility and respect. Before our Lord arrived at Jerusalem he sent out seventy of his disciples two by two together (in the same manner as he had before sent out his twelve apostles) into those parts which he himself intended, in a short time to visit, and gavę them instructions much of the same import with those which, upon the like occasion, he had given to his twelve apostles.
For some time after our Lord's arrival at Jerusalem, he did not appear in public, nor even till after the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles had commenced. This occasioned great disputes among the Jews concerning his character. Some affirmed that he was a true prophet, and that his absenting himself from the feast could be owing only to accident; while others as confidently asserted, that he was an impostor, who practised a variety of artifices to delude and deceive the people.
At length, about the middle of the time of celebrating the feast, our Blessed Lord appeared openly in the
temple, and preached to the people, delivering his doctrines with such strength of reason, and fluency of expression, that the generality of his hearers were astonished, particularly when they had recollected that he had never received the advantage of a learned education. And the Jews marvelled, saying, how knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
In answer to this the great Redeemer told them, that his doctrine was not produced by human wisdom: that the sages of the world were not his instructors: that he received his knowledge from heaven; and that it was the doctrine of the Almighty, whose messenger he was. My doctrine (said he, that is, the doctrine I preach) is not mine, but his that sent me. Nor can he who is desirous of practising the doctrine I-deliver, if he will lay aside his prejudices, and sincerely desire to be taught of God, be at a loss to know from whom my doctrines are derived; because he will easily discern whether they are conformable to the will of man or of God. It is no difficult matter to discover an impostor, because all his precepts will tend to the advancement of his own interest, and the gratification of his pride: whereas all the doctrines delivered by a true prophet have no other end than that of the glory of God. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, the same is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
But notwithstanding the strength of his argument, several of our Lord's most inveterate enemies asked, with sarcastical surprize, if the boldness of Jesus, and the silence of the rulers, proceeded from their being convinced that he was the Messiah; and at the same time, to deride his pretensions to that high character, said, that they were acquainted both with his parents and relations: but that no man, when Christ appeared, would be able to tell from whence he came, founding their opinion on these words of the prophet Isaiah, Who shall declare his generation? Isaiah liii. 8.
In answer to this our Blessed Lord told them, that their knowing his parents and relations was no reason against his having the prophetic character of the Messiah.
That he was not come of himself, but was sent from heaven by his Father, who had uttered nothing by his servants the prophets concerning the Messiah, but what was true, and would be amply fulfilled in him; but that they were totally ignorant of his gracious perfections and counsels, and had no inclination to obey his just commands. That they were really ignorant of what the prophets had delivered concerning the Messiah; for, had they understood their predictions, they would have known that one of his principal characters was, to understand the perfections and will of God more fully, and explain them to the sons of men more clearly, than any other messenger ever before sent from the Most High. And that would they attentively consider the doctrines he delivered, they would soon perceive that character remarkably fulfilled in him, and be convinced that he was the true and long promised Messiah.
Notwithstanding the power and solidity of these arguments, yet they were far from removing the malice and prejudice of our Lord's enemies. Many of the people, however, convinced by the many powerful miracles he had wrought, and the unanswerable reasons he had advanced in support of his character, believed in him, and affirmed publicly in the temple, that he was the Messiah. The Scribes and Pharisees were highly provoked at this attachment of the common people to Jesus; and, therefore, on the last and great day of the feast, they met in council, and resolved to send proper officers to apprehend him, and bring him before them, resolving, if possible, to find some accusation against him, whereby they might be empowered to put him to death.
While the heads of the Jewish nation were concerting these measures against our Lord, he was employed in preaching the doctrine of the Gospel to the people in the temple, the subject of which was the short time he had to remain on earth. He told them, that his ministry was drawing to a period, and therefore they should, during the short time it was to last, be very careful to improve every opportunity of hearing his word: that they should listen, with the greatest attention, to every discourse, in order that their minds might be stored with the truths of
the Almighty, before he returned to his Father; for that, after his departure, they should earnestly wish for the same opportunities of seeing him, and hearing his instructions, but that they should never obtain them. Yet a little while (said he) am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
The Jews, who did not understand that our Blessed Saviour alluded to his own death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high (whither their sins would not permit them to follow him) were struck with amazement at this part of his doctrine, and imagined, that he intended to leave Judea, and preach to their brethren dispersed among the Gentiles. But this supposition was not sufficient; because if he did go and preach among the Gentiles, they thought it was not impossible for them to follow him thither. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
Just at the time the Jews were in this state of surprize and confusion at our Lord's mysterious expression, the water from Siloam was brought into the temple, according to the appointment of the prophets Haggai and Zachariah. One part of this water they drank with loud acclamations, in commemoration of the mercy shewed to their ancestors, who were relieved by a stream which miraculously flowed from a rock, and refreshed a whole nation, then ready to perish with thirst in a dry and sandy desert. The other part of the water they poured out as a drink offering to God, accompanying it with their prayers, for the former or latter rain to fall in its season, the whole congregation singing the following passage: With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Isaiah xii. 3.
It was the custom of our Blessed Lord to deliver moral instructions in allusion to any occurrences that happened in the course of his peregrinations. Accordingly he took this opportunity of inviting, in the most affectionate man
ner, all who were desirous of knowledge and happiness, to come to him and drink, alluding to the ceremony they were then performing. And to encourage all such as were desirous of believing in him, he promised them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which he represented under the similitude of a river flowing out of their belly. If (said he) any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John vii. 37, 38.
While our Lord was thus preaching to the people in the temple, the officers from the council came to apprehend him; but finding that the topic of his discourse was of a very singular nature, and that he appeared to deliver himself with remarkable fervor, their curiosity induced them to listen to him with the most serious attention. The consequence of this was, that the rage with which they had come was melted away: the sweetness of his pronunciation, and the plainness and perspicuity of his discourse, elucidated the beauties of truth, and caused them to shine forth with the most distinguished lustre. His very enemies, therefore, who were come from the council on purpose to apprehend him, were astonished: the greatness of the subject, made, as it were, visible by the Divine speaker, filled their understandings: the warmth and tenderness with which he delivered himself, penetrated their hearts; they felt new and uncommon emotions, and being overwhelmed with the greatness of their admiration, were fixed in silence and astonishment: they condemned themselves for having undertaken the business on which they were sent, and returned without performing it.
As soon as the officers returned to the council, they were asked why they had not brought with them Jesus of Nazareth? They told them they could not execute their office, because, said they, never man spake like this man.* This reply enraged the council, who reviled them
*In this answer there are two things worthy of particular notice. 1st. The power of Christ's preaching to change the temper of men's minds; for these men went with hearts alienated from Christ, and with intent to apprehend and carry him before the council, but they