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The Claims of the City.

The Claims of the City.

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LUKE 19:41`

* And when he was come near, he beheld the dty, and wept over it*

LUKE 19:41`

* And when he was come near, he beheld the dty, and wept over it*

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE CLAIMS OF THE CITY.BY JOSEPH PARKER LUKE 19:41`* And when he was come near, he beheld the dty, and wept over it*THE dty was Jerusalem ; the beholder who looked at itthrough his tears was Jesus Christ Our difficulty is thatmen will not come near the city. They live in it^ and do not seeit ; they have their little accustomed macadamised roads, hardenedby the feet of business, but as for what lies behind, just ten feetfrom their own turnpike, they know nothing. o man knowsLondon. The people who live in it mayhap know less than thosewho only visit it now and then. The familiar way, the dailyswing, the repeated routine : that is not London ; that is not thecity. It is but so much custom, so much paved road ; what wasdone yesterday, done again to-day, and to be repeated to-morrow,and so on to the end of life's little day. London is behind all that,and below it, and immeasurably beyond it ; a city of sorrow,, acity of death, a city of health. London is not at church to-day ;London is never at church. Respectable London is there ; customis observed, old superstitions are repeated, or ancient reverencesare observed with gracious concern and gratitude; but million-headed London is not at church ; does not want to go to church ;finds nothing at church, but mockery, disappointment, things hungso high up in the air that hunger cannot seize them with theclutch of its eager hand, or the tooth gnaws it like a cruel beast.It was when Jesus Christ came near the city that he wept over itwith a heart that could not hold all its sorrow. There are menwho dare not go off their own beaten way in the great city ; inthe smallest number of minutes they might make themselvesstrangers in their own metropolis: they would not know thefftes — faces out of which God has been expunged ; they wouldnot know the voices — voices that might once have been madetuneful, musical, but are now instruments of harshness, clamour,391393 THE PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Luke 30x41.vulgar noise and tumult. Some of us are bound to know a little
about the city. We would rather live in a garden; it wouldbe quieter, sweeter, altogether more in accordance with cultivatedtaste. Some of us would rather live in an art gallery ; it wouldbe serener ; it would be more favourable to oblivion as regardsall things unpleasant. But because we belong to the Cross webelong not to the respectability of society, only to the part of it thatis already half-condemned.The Cross has nothing to do with respectability ; it loathes itIf the Cross is not this day and every day going down the city'sdarkest roads, then the men who professedly bear that Cross havebroken every oath that makes life sacred. Go to the poor andsee them pay their rent. When will the counting cease ? Theshillings are but a little handful, and there is one, two, three,four — what for, poor woman ? What for ? For a floor to sleepon, for space to toil in. Climb high and find in the unfurnishedroom the sufferer who has no friends — silent, solitary, cursingthis world and defying every other, and determined if ever heshould see a God to face him as tyrants should be faced, forcalling men into such existence that is all pain and no joy. Thepoor, irrational sufferer no doubt will be spoken about as eccentric,and wild, and lacking in self-control : but a sufferer nevertheless,in every pore of his skin, in every nerve of his curiouslycomplicated body — a body as well made as if it had been the bodyof a prince, with exactly the same capacities of enjoyment, butcapacities that are sealed with the black seal of death. Thestatistician knows nothing about the city; the politician knowsnothing about it, unless he be more than a merely political student.The sick-visitor knows a little about the city ; the city missionarygoes where many philanthropists would prefer not to go, butwould be willing to throw the missionary a guinea that he — ^he — might work it out, whilst the philanthropist drank his wine andsaid his unheard prayer. A real sight of the city would convertany man to Christianity — to Christianity as exemplified in theperson and ministry of Christ himself. When we speak of Christianity it b not of Christianity as professed by preacher oThearer, but as embodied in the Son of God. When you answerChristianity, please to answer Christ. As for answering us, youLukexix.4i.] THE CLAIMS OP THE CITY. 393could grind us to powder. We cannot stand before you if ye berighteous men, pressing the claims of morality and honour andtruth and benevolence and sincerity; if you pelt us with ourinconsistencies we are stoned to death. When you would plead
against Christianity make your assault upon the Son of Godhimself.How beautiful is this text in every aspect ! Take it as a picture :Is there anything finer in art ? Take it as a sentiment : is thereanything deeper in human pathos ? Take it as a revelation of God, and surely to the weeping God even a little child might go.God should be so pictured that little children would run to him.Call him invisible, eternal, immutable, omnipotent, and no onewants to see him : point him out crying over the city, and a childmight want to go and catch some of that sacred rain. It is to thisSaviour, and to none other, that we are committed. , As forspeculation about him, away with it; as to this man's theoryabout him, and that man's contradictory theory concerning him,and some other man's elaborate philosophy about the Son of God,they have injured, hindered, degraded the Cross. The onlyChrist to whom I have given my poor soul, my little frail, dyinglife, is yonder Christ, blind with his own tears. Take it as arevelation, a sentiment, a picture ; and what can go so far towardsinflaming with celestial life and fire the imagination of mankind ?There is some grim encouragement about the spectacle — " Andwhen he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."Then even he had his disappointments in life. The ministry wasnot a " success," even in the hands of Christ How easy to blamethe minister because he does not make all the city good I Thatmiracle, being moral and spiritual, and not of a nature that comeswithin the limits even of almightiness, the Son of God himself could not accomplish. The youngest child can double its fistagainst God. Every heart can shut the door in the face of JesusChrist Let us accept the circumstance as an encouragementmarked by many limitations. Let us first be quite sure that wehave done for the city, in our degree, what Christ did for Jerusalembefore we plead that where Christ failed it is impossible for us tosucceed. This is not an encouragement to indifierence; this is394 ^^^ PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Lukexix.41.not a sanction to careless work ; this is not a plea that should barthe soul against the claim and agony of sacrifice. When JesusChrist wept over the city he realised this fact, that even he coulddo nothing more. Is omnipotence exhausted ? There is noomnipotence in moral suasion. Omnipotence has to do only withvulgar things. The almightiness of God is but a pagan attribute — ^almighty in moulding star bubbles, almighty in keeping the

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