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The Times of Visitation.

The Times of Visitation.

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St. Luke xix. 44.
'^ Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.'*

St. Luke xix. 44.
'^ Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.'*

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE TIMES OF VISITATIO.BY GEORGE MOBERLY, D.C.L.St. Luke xix. 44.'^ Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.'*These well-known words are the conclusion of the awful denunciation of judgment and ruinwhich our Lord uttered on His last coming intoJerusalem. By that time the unhappy city andpeople were beyond all hope of repentance orpardon. It was then only left for them to fillup the measure of their fathers, by shedding thesacred blood, out of which life and restoration of the world should spring. These sad words weresaid with sadder tears; when the Lord, whooften, in past days of sin and rebuke, would havegathered the children of Sion together, even asa hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,and they would not, now beheld the city, and158 THE TIMES OF VISITATIO. [SERM.wept over it, saying, "If thou hadst known,EVE THOU, at least in this thy day, the thingswhich belong unto thy peace : but now they arehid from thine eyes l"^Well-known, ji^owever, as these words are,there is in them something, when we think of it, unexpected ; something different, apparently,from what we should have looked for. The con-demnation of the people seems to be put upona cause somewhat unlike what we might havethought. The Lord does not say, it is because
ye are about to crucify the Lord of Glory ; or,because ye have been a sinful and stiff-neckedpeople ; or, because by your traditions ye havemade the word of God of none effect ; or, be-cause ye are hypocrites, or impenitent : thoughall these things, and many more, were not onlytrue against the people, but had often beenalleged by Himself to their condemnation. Hedoes not, I say, allege any of these broad, overt,intelligible sins in this, the last most solemn,irreversible denunciation of their judgment : butHe says, " Because thou knewest not the timeof thy visitation !" God had visited His people,and they knew it not ! He had come unto Hisown, and His own had known Him not. Hedoes not even say, that they had pretended notto know Him; but, literally and plainly, thatX.] THE TIMES OF VISITATIO. 159they knew Him not. They might have knownHim ; they ought to have known Him : but Hecame, and they knew Him not. And that wedo not over-interpret our Lord'^s words in sospeaking, is clear from the language of St. Peterto the people immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost ; *'Andnow, brethren, I wot that through ignorance yedid it, as did also your rulers ^ :^' and of St.Paul ; " Which none of the rulers of this worldknew : for if they had known it, they would nothave crucified the Lord of glory '."Let us learn, then, at once, as the first prac-tical conclusion from this subject, that men mayreally be quite ignorant of what they are doing,and yet very guilty. They may know nothingat all either of the nature or greatness of their
deed, and yet they may be involved in theheaviest condemnation for doing it. or is thisonly on the ground, that they would equallyhave done the deed if they had known it : forour Lord and His Apostles seem to say ex-pressly, that if they had known what they weredoing, they would not have done it : nor, indeed,is it conceivable for a moment that they shouldhave done so.1 Acts iii. 17; xiii. 27. * 1 Cor. ii. 8.p2160 THE TIMES OF VISITATIO. [SERM.They were, then, guilty for their ignorance ;but their ignorance was real.But, again, are we to suppose that they didnot choose to know : that they might, then andthere, by a stronger exercise of will, by somemore forcible or candid purpose, have knownwhat they thus wilfully were ignorant of!It is possible that they might ; but it is byno means certain: that is^ it is by no meanscertain that much disobedience, much inatten-tion to the constant indications of God^s vnllvouchsafed to them, much neglect of opportu-nities, had not set them so much out of the wayof forming right judgments on such things, asto make it morally impossible, or, at least, inthe highest degree unlikely, that they shouldcome to a right knowledge of the nature of ourLord and the sacredness of His mission.

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