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Christianity Not Seditious.

Christianity Not Seditious.

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Published by glennpease

Luke xxiii. 5, He stirreth up the people.

Luke xxiii. 5, He stirreth up the people.

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Published by: glennpease on Dec 17, 2012
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Christianity not Seditious.REV JAMES SAURIN Luke xxiii. 5, He stirreth up the people.NEVER was a charge more unjustly brought, nev-er was a charge more fully and nobly retorted, thanthat of Ahab against Elijah. Elijah was raised upto resist the torrent of coiTuption and idolatry whichoverflowed the kingdom of Israel. God, who hadappointed him to an office so painful and important,had richly imparted to him the gifts necessary to dis-charge it : so that when the scriptures would give usa just notion of the herajd of the Messiah, it saithjHe shall go in the spirit and power of JElias, Luke i»1 7. Sublimity in his ideas, energy in his expressions,grandeur in his sentiments, glory in his mkacles, allcontributed to elevate this prophet to the highestrank among them who have managed the sword of the spirit with reputation and success. This extraor-dinary man appears before Ahab, who insults himwith this insolent language. Art thou he that troub-leth Israel? 1 Kings xviii. 17. Was ever a chargemore unjustly brought? Elijah is not terrified withthis language. Neither the majesty nor the madnessof Aliab, neither the rage of Jezebel, nor tlie remem*190 Christianity not seditious,brance of so many prophets of the true God sacrifi-ced to false godg, nothing terrifies him, nothing af-fects him. / have not troubled Isiael, replies he ;" but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have" forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou" hast followed Baalim," ver 18. Was ever a charge;retorted with more magnanimity and courage ?My brethren, I invite you to-day to contemplate,men more unjust than Ahab, and I invite you to con-template one more magnanimous than Elijah. JesusChrist undertook a work, that all the prophets — whatam I saying? he undertook a work which all the an-gels of heaven united would have undertaken in vain.He came to reconcile heaven and earth. God, whogent him into the world in this grand business ; com-mvmicated " the Spirit without measure to him,'*John iii. -34. Jesus Christ dedicated himself entirelyto the office. He made the will of the Father, whohad charged mm with the salvation of mankind, hismeat and drinks rh. iv. 34. By meditation, by re-tkement, by a holiness formed on the plan of the ho-liness of God, of whose glory he is the brightness, of whose person he is the express image^ Heb. i. 3. heprepared himself for that grand sacrifice, which was
designed to extinguish the flames of divine justice,burning to avenge the wickedness of mankind. Al-ter a life so truly amiable, he was dragged before judges, and accused Ijefore human tribunals of beinga firebrand of sedition, who came to set society in aflame. Jesus Christ was not moved with this accusa-tion. Neither the inveteracy of his accusers, nor thepailiality of his judge, neither the prospect of death.Christianity not seditious, 191nor the idea of the cross, on which he knew he vvasto expire, nothing could make him act unworthy of his character. Always ready to communicate to en-quirers the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, of w^hich he was the depositary, ar.d to reveal himself tothem, as the true light which lighteth every man thatcometh into the world, John i. 9. On this occasion,he justly discovered his superiority over his accusers,and over his judges, by refusing to gratify the vaindesire of Herod, who wished to see him work a mir-acle, and by leaving, without any other apology,his doctrine to apologise for itself.These are the grand objects which are proposed toyour meditation in the text, and in the seven follow-ing verses that are connected with it. The whole pe-riod is perhaps the most barren part of the history of the passion : but the most barren parts of this mirac-ulous history are so fruitful in instruction, that Imust needs omit many articles, and confine myself to the examination of the first words, which are mytext, he stirreth up the people. It will be necessary,however, briefly to explain the following verses, and,after a short explication of them, we will return to thetext, the principal matter of this discourse. We willexamine the charge of troubling society, which hathalways been laid against Jesus Christ, and his gospel.O, you ! who so often blame religious discoursesfor troubling that false peace, which you taste in thearms of security, blush to-day to see what unv*orthymodels you imitate ! And w-e, ministers of the livingGod, so often intimidated at this odious charge, letus learn to-day courageously to follow the steps of 192 Christianity not seditious.that Jesus who bore so great a contradiction of sin-ners against himself! Heb. xii. 3. May God assistus in this work! Amen.Jesus Christ had been interrogated by Pilate, andhad answered two calumnies, tliat had been object-
ed against him. The conduct of Jesus Christ hadalways been remarkable for submission to magistra-cy, and for contempt of human grandeurs. How-ever, he had been accused before Pilate of havingforbidden to pay tribute to Caesar, and of havingaffected royalty. Pilate had examined him on thesetwo articles, and on both, Jesus Christ had justifiedhis innocence, confounded his accusers, and satisfi-ed his judge.An upright judge would have acquitted this illus-trious prisoner after he had acknowledged his in-nocence. Pilate took another method. Whether itwere cowardice, or folly, or policy, or all these dis-positions together, he seized the first opportunity thatoffered, to remove a cause into another court, which,he thought he could not determine without dangerto himself. My brethren, I have know n many ma-gistrates of consummate knowledge ; I have seenmany of incorruptible principles, whose equity wasincapable of diversion by those bribes which thescripture saith blind the eyes of the wise, Exod. xxiii. 8.But how rare are they who have resolution enough,not only to judge with rectitude, but also to supportwith an undaunted heroism, those ufirages whichare the dictates of equity and truth ! Pilate, insteadof discharging Jesus Christ from his persecutors andexecutioners, in some sort assisted their cruelty.Christianity not seditious. 193Neither able sufficiently to stifle the dictates of hisown conscience to condemn him, nor obedientenough to them to acquit him, he endeavoured tofind a judge, either more courageous, \vho mightdeliver him, or less scrupulous, who might condemnhim to death.The countrymen of Jesus Christ furnished Pilatew ith a pretence. They were the morejiercey saith ourEvangelist, saying. He stirreth up the people fromGalilee to this place. Who were they who broughtthis accusation against Jesus Christ ? Were they on-ly the Roman soldiery and the Jewish populace ?No : they were divines and ecclesiastics ! ... letlis turn from these horrors. When Pilate heard ojGalilee, adds St. Luke, he asked whether the man jvere a Galilean 1 Christ was born in Bethlehem, atown in Judea, according to this prophecy of Mi-cah : " And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of .Tudah>" art not the least among the princes of Judah ;" for out of thee shall come a governor, that shall" rule my people Israel," Matt. ii. 6. ; but his motherw^as of Nazareth, in Galilee, from whence she cameto Jerusalem with Joseph, on account of a commandof Augustus, w4iich it is needless to enlarge on here.

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