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62.

When another disciple and occasional follower was called to a strict personal attendance, he answered, I Luk. ix. 61, will, follow thee, Lord; but suffer me first to employ some space of time in bidding farewell to those of my house. Jesus answered, No man who has engaged in the ministry, as thou hast, and again desires to pursue his secular concerns, is a fit instrument for propagating my gospel. The present season requires that my followers should detach themselves from worldly and domestic objects, if they aim at perfection. Whoever among them casts a longing eye on these, is like one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back i, neglecting the work on which he should be intent.

When our Lord commissioned the twelve to preach, he foretold that his doctrine would create divisions, and that these divisions would subsist even among the nearest relations. Upon which he added, "He that Mat. x. 37. loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." He mentions these as naturally entitled to our affection in the highest degree; and observes that even these must yield to love of him, to zeal for his gospel, and to the hope of the heavenly reward which was set before his disciples.

The same sentiment is more strongly expressed by him in another place. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children,

See Hesiod, Opera et Dies, ii. 61-63, who says that a good ploughman is one

Ος κ' ἔργου μελετῶν ἰθείαν αὔλακ ̓ ἐλαύνοι,

Μηκέτι παπταίνων μεθ ̓ ὁμήλικας, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ ἔργῳ

Θυμὸν ἔχων.

Who, careful of his work, draws a straight furrow;

Nor looks around among his friends, but keeps

His mind upon his work.

See Bos, Elsner, Le Clerc.

and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also; he cannot be my disciple k." If any man hazard not the loss of these, postpone not the consideration of them, love them not in a less degree than the favour of God and the interests of my religion; let him not be one of Luk.xiv.34. my followers, who are the salt of the earth, who must

benefit others by their instruction and example, and who, if they are offended in the approaching time of trial, will fall away to perdition. In this passage life alone is supposed to be dearer than the closest human relations.

Though our Lord was a prophet mighty in word and deed, he was not ashamed of his mean kinsfolk at Nazareth: and though his fellow-citizens rejected him, and even compelled him to preserve his life by miraLuk. iv. 16, cle, yet he a second time attempted their conversion : xiii. 54, &c. such attention did he show not only to the great object of his ministry in general, but to the ties of consanguinity in particular.

&c.; Mat.

Jo. vii. 2

IO.

When Jesus declined attending the feast of tabernacles in company with his brethren, no part of the transaction shows want of mutual love. Though his kinsmen withheld their belief from him, they acknowledged his miraculous power, and exhorted him to display it still more publicly at Jerusalem. But in the work of his ministry, he disregarded their suggestion, acted as prudence required, and mildly assigned the reasons of his conduct.

The last act of natural affection in Jesus's life is the most striking. While he hung on the cross, his mother, in company with some other women, stood near it, and Luk. ii. 35. fulfilled Simeon's prophecy that a sword should pierce through her soul. At this time, when his injunction would be most deeply impressed, he showed true filial k Luke xiv. 26. See part I. ch. i. sect. ix. p. 32, 33.

piety by saying to the disciple whom he loved for his peculiar sweetness and benignity of disposition, "Be- Jo. xix. 27. hold thy mother;" one whom thou art to treat with the same honour and tenderness as if she really stood in that relation to thee.

SECT. XI. Of our Lord's friendships.

In such a disposition as our Lord possessed, we may naturally expect to find a readiness to approve and love the amiable and excellent qualities of others. A heart in which there was so much sensibility and affection could not but be susceptible of friendship.

"If Mat. v. 46,

ye?

47.

Every man is more or less inclined to this pleasing and generous attachment, which many moralists have placed in the number of virtuous habits. And it is very observable throughout our Lord's discourses, that he always supposes human nature to be what we actually find it. In the following words a love of preference is mentioned as common among mankind. you love them who love you, what reward have do not even the publicans the same? And if you salute your friends only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" "Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves: for a friend of mine on a journey is come unto me, and I have nothing to set before him "?" In another place the order of enumeration is remarkable: "Call not thy Luk.xiv. 12. friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen °, nor thy

1 φιλία ἠθική τις ἕξις δοκεῖ εἶναι. Arist. Eudem. viii. 1. p. 268. Du Val.

m pious, which explains ver. 46, is the true reading, and not adeλpoùs, which seems a correction from the Vulgate. Cod. Brix. in Blanchini has amicos.

n Luke xi. 5, 6. See also ch. xv. 6, 9, 29.

• Μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου is wanting in Beza's MS. and Codd. Lat. See also Cod. Vercell. in Blanchini. It seems a gloss on the foregoing clause. But see

Luke xxi. 16.

rich neighbours." It is likewise mentioned by Christ

as a very aggravating circumstance, that, in the season Luk.xxi. 16. of persecution, his disciples should be betrayed both by Jo. XV. 13. relations and friends. Again: his remark is, “Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friends." It must be allowed that in these passages the existence of friendship, and the disposition of men towards it, are plainly supposed.

42.

32.

But it is expressly mentioned that friendship had a place in our Lord's breast, where every thing resided that was truly laudable and good. Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, lived at Bethany near Jerusalem. The circumstances concerning them, related in the Gospels, are worthy of our attention. On Luk. x. 38- one occasion, Martha was commendably intent on a hospitable reception of our Lord; but Mary was still more commendably employed in sitting at Jesus's feet and hearing his words. After Lazarus's death, we read that many of the Jews affectionately visited these sisJo. xi. 19 ters to comfort them for the loss of their brother. On Jesus's approach to Bethany, Martha respectfully went forth to meet him; and, a fit occasion offering, expressed a firm belief in his divine power, and explicitly acknowledged his high character as the Messiah. Mary seems to have been more overwhelmed with grief; but when Jesus called for her, she also showed him honour by rising hastily and coming to him. Her words showed a like persuasion of our Lord's supernatural power; and yet that he would restore one to life who had lain in the grave during four days, and had seen corruption, was too great and stupendous a miracle to enter their Jo. xii. 2-8. imaginations. We also read that, when Simon the leper received Jesus at Bethany, Lazarus sat at meat, Martha served, and Mary anointed our Lord with very precious ointment, and even wiped his feet with her

and p. p.

hair which act of respect, and of gratitude for raising her brother from the dead, our Lord not only graciously received, but extolled, and expressed a lively sense of it. The evangelist St. John informs us that towards these three disciples Jesus had conceived a Jo. xi. 3, 5. friendship; which was founded, no doubt, on their eminently good qualities. His regard for Lazarus appears to have been well known: for, when he wept as he was going to Lazarus's tomb, the Jews mistook the cause of his tears, and said, "Behold how he loved Ver. 36. him."

Our Lord's benevolent disciple St. John, whose writings breathe so remarkable a spirit of love, has five times mentioned himself under the description of "the Jo. xiii. 23; disciple whom Jesus loved;" and has thrice recorded xx. 2; xxi. the circumstance that he reclined on the bosom of Je- 7, 20.

xix. 26;

Jɔ. xiii. 23,

sus at the last supper. Such was his sense of this 25; xxi. 20. eminent distinction; such was his gratitude for it; and with such tenderness did he recollect every circumstance by which it was expressed. And we may observe that, when our Lord's mother was committed to his care, duty and friendship seem to have jointly operated on his mind: for "from that hour," in the day Jo. xix. 27. of his Lord's abasement, and before the triumph of his resurrection, this "disciple," as he humbly styles himself, "took her to his own home."

Worthiness of character always struck and engaged

22.

our Lord. When a person, whom St. Matthew twice Mat.xix.20, calls a youth, declared that he had kept the commandments from his earliest years, we read that Jesus be- Mar. x. 21. held and loved him.

Our Lord acted towards all his immediate followers

as his friends: "I say unto you my friends, Be not Luk. xii. 4. afraid of them that kill the body." And particularly

his language of comfort and support at leaving them

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