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" And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes." — Luke xix. 41, 42. Thus the man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, yields to emotions it was impossible for him to suppress. He was habitually and profoundly affected by " thoughts too deep for tears." But here a scene opened to his view, which, like the rod of Moses, smote upon his heart, and the waters gushed forth. He wept, and gave audible expression to his woe, in an exclamation which, for solemn pathos, has no parallel, except in that which he uttered on a similar occasion, when the amplification shows how entirely Jerusalem occupied his mind, interested his feelings, and awakened his solicitude even to agony. " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ! which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee ! how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth
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gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not ! " In discoursing from this passage in our Lord's affecting history, we shall I. Trace the sources of his tears as indicated by the pathetic lamentation with which they were accompanied: and, II. Deduce from both, those
doctrinal and practical lessons, which they seem intended to suggest. We proceed to I. Trace the sources of the Saviour's tears. Tears spring from various sources : they sometimes indicate weakness and want of self-control : they are frequently expressions of a transient, superficial sorrow: they are for the most part selfish, and are excited by the personal sufferings of the individuals by whom they are shed. But the tears of Jesus were those of a superior nature ; they were free from every selfish alloy; and indicated a grief more profound and agonizing than ever preyed upon a human heart before or since. Jesus beheld the city, " and wept over it." 1. His tears were those of a refined and exalted humanity, whose every sensibility was touched by the scene of human desolation with which Divine prescience surrounded him. The noblest natures are always the most susceptible: but their grief corresponds with the occasion, and is justified by it. Here was a whole city of human beings, doomed to temporal destruction — to be the prey of famine, rapine, anarchy, and murder. His was not the lament of heartless taste : it was
OVER JERUSALEM. 215 not the grief which the son of Vespasian betrayed, when he is represented by the poet, on a fine summer's evening, just before his victorious arms levelled the city in ruins, exclaiming to his companions as he beheld it, " It moves me, Romans ! it confounds The counsels of my firm philosophy, That Ruin's merciless ploughshare must pass o'er, And barren salt be sown on yon proud city. How boldly doth it front us ! how majestically ! Like a luxurious vineyard, the hill side
Is hung with marble fabrics, line o'er line, Terrace o'er terrace, nearer still, and nearer To the blue heavens. Here bright and sumptuous palaces, With cool and verdant gardens interspers'd ; Here towers of war that frown in massy strength ; While over all hangs the rich purple eve, As conscious of its being her last farewell Of light and glory to that fated city. .... Behold the Temple ! In undisturb'd and lone serenity, Finding itself a solemn sanctuary In the profound of heaven ! It stands before us A mount of snow, fretted with golden pinnacles I The very sun, as though he worshipp'd there, Lingers upon the gilded cedar roofs ; And down the long and branching porticoes, On every flowery sculptured capital, Glitters the homage of his parting beams." This is finely conceived. But what are tears shed over the violations of taste, and the ruins of art ? More than once, our Redeemer referred with the utmost calmness to the conflagration of the temple, and predicted, with apparent indifference, that one stone should not be left upon another;
216 CHRIST WEEPI G but when he realized the misery which awaited the guilty population, he wept. 2. He wept over it. They icere the tears of patriotism shed over the expiring glories of the country which gave him birth. 3. They were generous tears, wept over the miseries of those that hated and persecuted him, discovering the sublimest magnanimity, and the greatest tenderness. 4. His tears flowed from a devout sympathy with all the great and good, the long succession of holy martyrs that had preceded him on the errand of compassion and mercy.
5. They were the tears of the Son of God, wept over the dishonour which, by the obstinacy and rebellion of this unhappy people, had been cast upon the moral character and government of his adorable Father, 6. They were the tears of the Saviour of men. 7. These tears of the Redeemer were, lastly, excited by a clear perception of the certainty and extent of the ruin which unexampled guilt would bring upon such an immense multitude of souls. The guilt of the past, which this generation had made all its own ; the guilt of the present, which no generation of men had ever been able to accumulate ; the guilt of rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory; the guilt of obstinate and determined impenitence, amidst the greatest wonders of redeeming mercy, and the most stupendous terrors of temporal judgments. This grief, this tender anguish, accompanied him to Calvary.
OVER JERUSALEM. 217 " Ere the cross was rais'd, He look'd around hiin, even in that last anguish, With such a majesty of calm compassion, Such solemn adjuration to their souls ; But yet 'twas not reproachful, only sad, As though their guilt had been the bitterest pang Of suffering ." II. The doctrinal and practical lessons WHICH THIS I TERESTI G SUBJECT SUGGESTS, FORM THE SECO D PART OF OUR DISCOURSE. 1. The truths of the Gospel, faith and salvation, are the things ivhich belong to our peace. 2. That the guilt of those who possess the Gospel, but deny its power, is proportioned to the light and mercy which they neglect or despise. 3. That great privileges, unregarded and misim-
proved, are avenged by a termination of our day — a day of grace. 4. That the fearful evidence of this termination, is growing indifference or hostility to the things which belong to our peace. 5. Tliat the greatest calamity that can befall unconverted sinners, is the end of their day of grace: either removing from them the means of salvation, or visiting them with judicial blindness and hardness of heart. 6. That the blessed Redeemer is desirous that we should not, by our criminal neglect of the present season of grace, bring upon ourselves this dreadful calamity.
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