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has sustained us; and by enjoying the cheerful society of our friends, who on these days love to present us tokens of their affection; but we had better never know when our birthday returns, than keep it as the wicked Herod's was kept.
THE DISPLEASURE OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS.
14. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
15. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David! they were sore displeased.
THE passage above does not present our Saviour on a desolate mountain, with a multitude gathered around him; nor sitting on a vessel's deck, with his hearers listening on the shore; but in the temple at Jerusalem, a most splendid building in the midst of a fine city. But still he is the same benevolent Saviour, seeking the happiness of all around him. The blind had felt their way into the temple, and drew near to ask his healing power; the lame had crept slowly over the spacious court, and climbed the lofty steps, to present their diseased limbs before him. Neither of them returned with disappointed hopes. Jesus healed them.
The assembly that now surrounded our Saviour was not all of such people as desired that he should
bless them, or those who wished to receive instruction from him. There were some who felt the need of his miraculous power, and these came to seek his favor; there were some who knew that he was the Son of God, and these came to worship and praise him as they ought. You will learn from the second of the verses above, that among those who offered praise to the Saviour, were children who cried in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David." Hosanna is an expression of praise, honor, and worship, here addressed to Jesus, whom they called the Son of David. O, how suitable that the arches of this lofty temple, built for the worship of God, should resound with the sweet, voices of these infant worshippers; praising him who so loved them as to take them in his arms and bless them, who so loved them as to die to save them. Happy children! thus employed in early life. Whether they died in childhood, or lived to mature years, we have reason to hope that they were blessings to the world, and partakers of the joys of heaven. But there was still another class of hearers in the temple. The chief priests and scribes. These were both teachers of the Jews' religion.
The Jews were once the people whom God highly favored. He gave them his law and taught them by his spirit, so that they were the wisest and best people in the world; but after many years the Jewish nation departed from the law of God, and became a very wicked people-more wicked because they had enjoyed so many privileges, and chose to neglect and misimprove them all. At the time that Jesus came on earth even their
ministers were vile persons, and yet they professed to be very righteous, and appeared to think none so good as themselves.
As I was reading the New Testament through with one of my little friends, as we came to the last part of one of the gospels, he exclaimed in astonishment, "The chief priests and scribes do not like anything that Jesus does." This was very These Jewish teachers seemed to be constantly watching for some occasion to condemn the Saviour. Although they studied the ancient scriptures, which foretell the coming of Christ, and describe him meek and lowly, as he was; coming into the world to do good, and die for lost men; yet it appears that they did not understand what they read. They expected the Saviour to come to reign on earth with great worldly power, as a mighty king; and therefore, though they even saw the astonishing miracles which Jesus wrought, they would not believe that he was the true Saviour, because he was so humble in his appearance. But if they did not believe that he was the Saviour of the world, they could not help seeing that great multitudes followed him, and no doubt they felt afraid he would have more influence over them than they could have. This they could not bear, because they loved authority, and they were used to having the common people obey them. When they saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children praising Jesus in the temple, 'they were sore displeased." The feeling which was in their hearts was not like that which the disciples felt when they rebuked those who brought little children to Jesus. Neither was it a slight
displeasure which would soon be forgotten. It was a malicious enmity towards the Saviour which led them to be planning how they could destroy the friend of sinners; the friend of all the sick and needy; the friend of little children. What wicked hearts they must have had! O give me the spirit which would lead me to join the children in crying Hosanna to the Son of David; but let me not partake of such a spirit as led the haughty scribes and priests to despise, reject, and condemn the Son of God.
OUR SAVIOUR'S LAMENTATION OVER JERUSALEM. MATT. xxiii. 37-39.
27. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.
38. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
JESUS had been preaching in the country of Judea, and gathering disciples from among the common people. His fame had spread far around, and many, very many, had found him to be a mighty Saviour, who could not only heal the diseases of the body, but give joy and peace to the mind. Now he had been working miracles, and proclaiming the gospel of peace in the city of Je
rusalem. This was the capital of Judea, the city where the Jews went three times a year from all parts of the country to worship God after their manner. Here stood the vast and beautiful temple, one of the most noble buildings ever erected in any country. This temple was at first built by Solomon, the Son of David, and dedicated to the worship of God by solemn prayer and peaceofferings, which continued for seven days. Here too were many priests and scribes, who should have been devoted to the service of God, and ready to welcome his Son, Jesus Christ, whom they had taught the people to expect. But Jerusalem, with its thousands of inhabitants, was now a wicked city. Jesus had found in the house of God merchants who had brought goods there to sell, and were making, as he said, his "Father's house a house of merchandise." The priests, instead of believing in Jesus, and rejoicing that he had come on earth, were "sore displeased" at his miracles, and at the praise and worship offered him by the children. And Jesus says in the first of the verses above, that the people of Jerusalem killed the prophets, and stoned those that were sent unto them. For this great wickedness he lamented over them in the most pathetic language.
While the inhabitants of this splendid city were despising the merciful Saviour, and indulging in all their sinful pleasures, he could look forward a few years, and see the fearful destruction that would fall upon them. We learn from history that about forty years after Jesus uttered this lamentation, the city was destroyed in a most awful manner. To punish them for their sins God suf