In the previous chapter, we followed the rejoicing multitudes along "the olive-bordered way"--until they had attained the ridge of the Mount overlooking the valley of Jehoshaphat--which disclosed in all its glory and magnificence the towers and palaces of Zion. First the walls and fortresses, and then the Temple on its rock, set as a magnificent jewel in this casing, burst upon their view. These multitudes were occupied with their shouts of welcome; but other thoughts--other sounds were engrossing the central figure in that procession, when He beheld 'the elect metropolis of God.' There was a solemn pause. He had reined in, for a moment, the docile animal on which He rode. His eyes, "homes of silent prayer," dissolve in tears. "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it."
Strange and startling emotion! It requires some vast--some peculiar cause--to make a great man weep. A child, or one of feeble mind, is easily melted into tears, when danger or trouble is impending. But a heroic spirit, superior to the ordinary frailties and weaknesses of humanity--much more, in the present case, the Son of God and Lord of Life--He who had recently stormed and conquered Death itself in his own stronghold--how vast--how stupendous must have been the cause which opened the sluices of His heart--the floodgates of such grief! He had wept, indeed, only a few days before. But there is a remarkable contrast between the two occasions. The one was a crowd of sorrow. His tears at Bethany were in harmony with the scene--at a time of bereavement we look for tears. There, moreover, He wept not alone--they were, in part at least, tears evoked by the grief of the surrounding mourners; for as He saw Mary and Martha weeping--and the Jews also weeping which came with them--He could not forbid the tribute of a Godlike sympathy, and we read, "Jesus wept!"
Here, however, it was different. Olivet, as we have seen, was, at the moment, a scene not of weeping and sorrow, but of universal gladness. Palm-branches were waving, and a mighty choir of voices from all parts of Palestine were waking, with strains of jubilee, the echoes of the Mount. One of that dense multitude refused to participate in the joy. When the others rejoiced, "Jesus wept."
Why this solitary cloud amid the bright sunshine? Why this one strange inharmonious note in that burst of melody? When we see joyous faces and joyous smiles, and hear kindly words and greetings, the heaviest heart can scarce refuse to take off its sackcloth and share in the general gladness. Surely, then, it must have been no ordinary reason, when every face spoke of brightness, and every buoyant step of triumph--that the Object of the loyal acclaim was Himself the only exception--that He maintained, not only a seemingly passive indifference to all that was transacting around Him--but burst into a strange agony of tears.
Yes--an agony of tears; for it is worthy of note also, that the word in the original Greek used to describe the tears of Jesus at the grave of Lazarus, is an altogether different one from that employed, on this occasion, of His weeping over Jerusalem. In the one case, the word for ordinary grief is selected. He wept, as one bereft friend weeps in the chamber of death over the memories of a cherished friendship. But the sorrow over Jerusalem was of an intenser kind. Tears, intensely bitter, welled up from the lowest depths of His heart--tears accompanied with a wail of passionate exclamation--the sob of irrepressible anguish which one may have heard, not over the holy memory of buried love, but over other and darker woes too deep for utterance--transcending tears!
What paroxysm of grief, then, can this be? Are these tears forced from His eyes at the dread anticipation of His own sufferings? As He now comes in sight of Gethsemane--the Kedron murmuring at His feet--and the place of crucifixion looming in the distance, does the thought of His own severe anguish unman His soul? No--more unselfish far is the heart of that Divine Philanthropist. His tears are not for Himself, but for the doomed thousands in the devoted city nearby. He is the hero of the hour. A burst of acclaim, such as never before greeted Him, rises from the surging multitudes, "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord--Hosanna in the highest."
Can these remarkable sounds of gladness fail to revive His drooping spirit? Can He who was more sadly familiar with ridicule, and taunt, and scorn, remain unmoved and ungladdened amid these paeans of Victory? Yes! what was outward pomp and glory--what the capricious breath of popular applause--the fitful cry of the fickle multitude--what the glittering crown they were prepared to place on His brow, in comparison with souls over whom hung the doom of so terrible a retribution? He has no ears for the hollow shout of loyalty--no eyes for the dense throng and their waving branches of evanescent triumph--"He beheld the CITY, and wept over IT!"
But let us advert, more particularly, to one or two of the CAUSES OF THE TEARS OF JESUS on the heights of the Mount.
1. The first of these, we may mention, was the abuse of past privileges. The record of a thousand years of privilege and blessing, enjoyed by the Jewish nation, was now unfolded to His omniscient eye. God had made Zion His holy habitation--"Beautiful for situation--the joy of the whole earth--the city of the great King!" There, prophets had unsealed their rolls and uttered their warnings. There, Psalmists had sung their hymns of praise. There, Priests had waved their censers, and daily shed the typical blood which pointed to the Great coming Sacrifice. There, Jehovah Himself had dwelt, in visible glory, in the Shekinah of the mercy-seat. Jerusalem had been the Mahanaim--or rather, the Bethel, of a later age, where rested the base of the mystic ladder between earth and heaven, traversed by angels, and conducting into the true Holiest of all.
Well might God say, "What more could I have done for my vineyard?" He had planted the 'wild vine' from Egypt with His right hand--He had nurtured and fenced it--often and again had He prevented the boar out of the woods from ravaging it, and the wild beast of the field from devouring it. Amid rebellion, forgetfulness, and backsliding, He had dealt with Israel as a loving and forgiving father deals with a wayward son--saying, with the tender anguish of a parent's soul, "How can I give you up?" And yet Prophets had warned, and Psalmists had sung, and sacrificial blood had been shed in vain. They were centuries filled with mournful recollections of grace resisted, privileges abused, opportunities slighted.
Jesus, at that moment, scanned these ages of foul ingratitude--hollow formalism--hypocritical insincerity--Pharisaic pride--national apostasy--His prophets slain--His servants beaten--His vineyard trodden under foot, or become a barren wilderness. That thousand years had been loading the cloud of vengeance--and now, as He saw it about to burst, the tears streamed from His eyes. If the loss even of one soul is represented as a catastrophe, in comparison with which the gain of a world sinks into insignificance, what must have been at this juncture, to the eye of Christ, the guilt and doom of a whole city, a whole nation? We know some of the holiest and bravest hearts among Israel, wept hot tears of lamentation over the apostasy of their countrymen. JEREMIAH wished that his "head were waters" and his eyes were "a fountain of tears," that he might "weep day and night." "My soul," said he, "shall weep in secret places for your pride, and my eye shall severely weep and run down with tears." PAUL had "great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart" for his brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh. What, then, must have been the bitterness of those tears which took in at a glance, not years, but ages and centuries? Oh need we wonder, that, at that eventful moment, when Incarnate Love beheld the outstretched wings of a destroying angel hovering over the old metropolis of patriarchs and prophets-- need we wonder that at the thought--the sight--He could not control His Divine-human emotion; and that tears bedewed the very palm-branches of triumph that were lying unheeded at His feet!
But these tears of Jesus embraced all time. The earthly Jerusalem which then met His eye, was a type--a miniature picture--of mankind at large; yes, and of many among ourselves who cannot, if they would, refuse to own the truth of the parallel! Has He not loaded each one of us with benefits--filled our cup with unmerited blessings--proclaimed in our ears the great salvation--sent messenger after messenger of rebuke and entreaty--remonstrance and warning? Have His counsels been despised? Have the soul's temple-courts been converted into desecrated shrines--places of unholy traffic, unrighteous barter, the haunts of hollow hypocrisy and base formalism, selfishness and mammon, malice and envy, pride and passion?
As He comes, day by day, to make inquisition--as He sees hundreds living on, in guilty unconsciousness of their sin and danger, despising His warnings, treating His ambassadors with scorn, and His words as idle tales--or, perhaps, as He sees, what we cannot, the final doom impending--the messenger of death at the door, and a long life of guilt and sin beyond the reach of penitence--may we not realize, in symbol, this exalted Son of God looking down from the enthroned heights of the Heavenly Olivet; and as He beholds the metropolis of the human heart despoiled of its glories--a pillaged city, with ramparts broken and temples defiled--by a bold figure of speech as applied to a glorified Being in a tearless world, may it not be said, "And when He came near, He beheld the city, and wept over it"?
2. Another cause of the tears of Jesus over Jerusalem was, her rejection of present mercies and warnings. When other attempts and remonstrances had failed, God had sent His best gift, saying, "Surely they will reverence my Son." For three years, that Divine Messenger had been knocking at the gates of the impenitent city. He came to His vineyard "seeking fruit." He dug about the vine; He pruned it and dressed it. How unwearied the means employed to arrest the ears of the impenitent! How tender, loving, considerate His dealings with all! He invited the sin-stricken to crouch at His feet. Disease touched the hem of His garment, and was healed. Sorrow had the tears of bereavement dried. He had walked in the midst of their streets; and gathering the weak and weary, the helpless and wretched and desponding around Him, He had uttered the gladdening invitation, irrespective of age or character, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Himself homeless and houseless--subject to every privation, He had traversed the length and breadth of the land, scattering blessings in His path, and pleading for admittance to obdurate hearts. Despite of all indifference, undeterred by ridicule, He had pursued His ministry of kindness. No frown in His countenance spurned the suppliant from His presence. There was no wearying of His patience--no repressing His consuming zeal. The waves of mercy, beaten back by these rocky hearts, only returned afresh in a refluent tide of untiring, unresting love. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," He says, in an oration of touching pathos, "how often would I have gathered you!" He stood by her gates, as He is represented standing in the imagery of the Canticles, saying, "Open unto me, my love, my dove, my undefiled--for my head is wet with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night."
But it had been all to no effect. "For my love," (in return for my love,) "they are my adversaries," (Ps. 109:4.) The hour of grace and reprieve is fast passing--the cup of long-deferred wrath is fast filling. Jesus reaches the brow of the hill, and sees, in dread perspective, the consummating act of guilt in His own crucifixion and death--(Oh, if they had looked into the depths of that loving, merciful, unselfish heart, they could not "have crucified the Lord of Glory.")
As He stands on the ridge, the sheep-gate is before Him, leading into the Temple, through which, for hundreds of years, animals had been conducted for sacrifice. It was soon to open for the great Antitype, taken "by wicked hands," "as a Lamb to the slaughter." As it has been beautifully said, "The Sun of Righteousness lingers a moment on Mount Olivet, as if to respite the doom," before He sets in darkness and blood behind these devoted towers. He seems to say, O city of David! is it yet too late? Mercy, that has long hovered like a guardian angel around you, is now pluming her wings for farewell flight. But still she lingers, as if loath to leave. Still it is "your day," (the day of merciful visitation.) Yes! THIS your day. The day is nearing its close--the cold twilight shadows are falling--the sun is fast setting. Can it be, that you will yet know in this waning day "the things that belong to your peace"? Or, is the curtain to fall, and the knell of irrevocable judgment to be tolled, "but now they are hidden from your eyes!"
Is there any such rejection of present mercies and monitory voices among ourselves? I speak not of the past, with its array of privileges and providential warnings and blessings. That may be a solemn retrospect too; but I speak of present unbelief--present hardness and impenitence of heart. The most solemn period of responsibility to the Jewish people, was when Jesus was in their midst. It was "that generation"--the generation who had rejected Him--who were most guiltily culpable. He could well arraign the whole nation, in the words addressed on another occasion to Philip--'It is not servants, delegates, prophets to whom you have refused to listen; but "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me?"' (John 14:9.)
How many, in our own day, may well have against them a similar indictment! Jesus speaking, sometimes by mercies, these mercies unacknowledged; sometimes by judgment and solemn warning, these warnings rejected. By blessings bestowed and blessings removed--by gourds given and gourds withered--and yet, this pleading, importuning Savior, has in their case, also, to utter the reproach of unrequited love, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me?" I have exhausted every arrow of my quiver--I have spoken by the volleyed lightning, and the heaving earthquake, and "the still small voice"--"but you would have none of my counsel, you despised all my reproof!" 'Sinner,' He seems to say, 'if you are destroyed, it is yourself who are alone responsible. "You will not come unto me that you might have life."'
A third cause of the tears which Jesus wept on the ridge of Olivet, was, the thought of the future temporal retribution that would fall on the Jewish nation.
The details of this we shall reserve for a future chapter. Meanwhile, be it enough to observe, that, as He looked down from these heights on tower and Temple beneath, His omniscient glance discerned, too truly, the eagles of Rome hastening to the scene of ruin; His ear listened to the tread of the hosts mustering for battle; He saw the flames bursting from the gates of the Temple, the Holy and beautiful House laid level with the ground-heap of smouldering ashes! More than this, He beheld the Jewish nation scattered and destroyed. After the Roman ploughshare was driven up the steeps of Zion, and her streets given over to the alien and the stranger, He saw thousands on thousands of the unhappy race scattered in every land like wrecks on a desert shore.
Yes! we may imagine the eye of the Great Redeemer, at that moment, carried down succeeding ages, far beyond Olivet and the Kedron--beholding the Jew--the inhabitant of all lands, the chartered citizen of none--seated by the banks of every stream, hanging his broken harp on the willows; traversing all climates with weary feet and saddened countenance--'a nation without a home, often without a grave.' Nothing, indeed, in that moment of elation and triumph, seemed to forecast so terrible a destiny. The Holy city was then in the zenith of her glory. Herod, in the pride of his magnificence, had lavished Roman wealth and the proceeds of oppressive Jewish taxation, on the embellishment of his capital. Tower upon tower girdled with strength his own royal Palace. The great fort or arsenal of Antonia rose by the side of the Temple, as if the pledge and guardian of inviolable safety. Moreover, who could have predicted, from the loyal shouts of welcome, that the hailed Messiah of today was to be the betrayed of to-morrow, and that these green palm-branches were so soon to lie withered at the foot of an ignominious cross? But He penetrated through the hollow, painted pageantry of the hour. He saw underneath the verdant turf of Olivet, a smothered volcano of fiery passions. Floating up the vista of ages, He listened to a wail of anguish--the plaint of retributive vengeance--from children's children, immured in dungeons, or hunted in forests, or tortured in flames. Terrible to that Heart of doating love must have been the anticipation! We know the agony of the mother who sees the child of her idol affections cut down in a moment by plague or pestilence, or, it may be, plucked too late from the waves, and laid a withered, faded flower at her feet. Sadder still, that of the parent who gazes on worse than death--the child, too fondly loved, that has brought dishonor and disgrace on a virtuous name, and dragged gray hairs prematurely to the grave. What parent ever loved his child as Jesus did that nation? From their infancy in Egypt, on to this the time of their regenerate manhood, did He not bear them, "as a man bears his own son that serves him"? If it be mournful to mark the desolating track of invading armies; or to witness the bleeding wounds--the death-throes of freedom, --liberty expiring under tyrant hands--dynasties with a proud record of historic deeds falling "unwept without a crime"--what must have been the deep emotion of Jesus for a country that had sealed its own doom--forged its own fetter--loaded its own cloud of wrath? His exclamation was not, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you, and you could not--it was some iron hand of despotism that crushed you--another Pharaoh or Sennacherib that frustrated my designs, and dragged you an unwilling captive to foreign climates and chains;'--but '"you would not." Often did I seek to avert this now inevitable hour. Your past defiant ingratitude and resistance of my pleadings, again and again demanded prompt and instantaneous retribution. The bolts of vengeance were impatient for their volleyed mission; but I stayed them, to see if, peradventure, you would yet repent, and return and live. But it is all in vain. You have exhausted Mercy's time of respite. With reluctant step she now descends the golden steps of her throne, and Justice is preparing to take her place. The arm "strong to save," and willing to be so, must now show itself "strong to smite."'
A remark may be here interposed. In all this dealing of Jesus, let us acknowledge at least, if we cannot fully comprehend, the compatibility of God's sovereign purpose with man's free agency. We believe both. If asked to reconcile them, it is impossible. Christ foresaw, with all the certainty and foreknowledge of a divine decree, that Jerusalem would despise the day of her visitation, and remain obdurate and impenitent; and yet the guilt and responsibility of rejected mercy lay with herself. We never can dare speak of that touching scene in this passage as an occasion of mimic grief--that Christ wept for what He knew was the stern result of an absolute decree, which no tears of His, or no penitence of theirs, could alter or prevent. Theological systems, in their dogmatism, may well learn a lesson of humility--to submit to revealed truths and believe them, though they may often be difficult to weld together. Christ doubtless said what He meant, and meant what He said, when on that memorable day He gazed down from the Mount of Olives on a doomed and guilty city, and, through tears of no sembled sorrow, exclaimed, "If you, even you, had known in this your day, the things which belong to your peace." "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me!"
Another cause of these tears of Jesus was, the thought of the final and eternal retribution that would be visited on all the adversaries of God.
Temporal retribution on one kingdom and people, could hardly fail to suggest a more saddening train of reflection still. The Jew and his city, were here also--as already observed, and as we find in other sayings and parables of Christ--the type and representatives of the world and of mankind. Our blessed Lord saw a cloud as of a man's hand rising over the earthly Jerusalem; but He saw darker and denser clouds hovering over the horizon of a limitless future. He saw the gates of the earthly city burst open on the assault of the victorious legions of Titus, its walls succumbing before the torch and the catapult; but He saw the gates of a more terrible destruction unfolding--fiercer flames bursting forth on the condemners of His mercy. He saw the earthly Temple, with its Holy of Holies--the consecrated audience-chamber of His own earthly Palace--sacked and pillaged; but what was that to the destruction of a Temple more hallowed still--the Temple of the human soul--that Temple wrecked for eternity--suffering the vengeance of eternal fire? All earthly, finite comparisons, are vain to shadow forth a grief infinite like this.
We have heard of a great sculptor weeping like a child, as he looked on the fragments of his breathing marble--the toil of a lifetime--which the blow of a crude hand had scattered on the ground; we have read of the Alexandrian sages gazing in tears on the smouldering ashes of their colossal Library; the treasures of ages, in a few hapless hours, lost to the world. Here we have, with reverence be it spoken, the Divine Artist mourning over the ruin and destruction of that which was fashioned after the image of God--archives given over to the flames, wherein are cloistered volumes, whose pages burn and glow with immortality. Yes, the Redeemer, that hour on Olivet, had, suggested to Him the fate of millions on millions unborn who, in every century and climate, would despise alike warning and mercy. His eye, in that lightning glance, may have rested on our age--(who knows but on some guilty sinner among ourselves)--whose persistent rejection of His pleadings may have given a new intensity to the words--"If you, even you, had known, in this your day, the things which belong to your peace!"
There is often the most thrilling eloquence in broken, half-finished sentences. The greatest orator of antiquity, in addressing his Athenian auditors, was often so enthralled and spellbound by emotions he had himself roused, that utterance failed him. He communicated the intensity of his own feelings to others, by constrained, impressive silence. In this respect, there is no more touching portion of Scripture, than the account of this passage--the 'stifled utterance' from the lips of Incarnate Truth.
Observe, the sentence is incomplete. It is abruptly broken in the middle. There is an ellipsis--words which He leaves those who heard Him to supply--as if His tears and profound emotion prevented supplying them Himself. He got the length of saying, "If you had known, even you, in this your day, the things which belong unto your peace…" Here He stops. We can almost picture to ourselves the visions which, during that momentary pause, rose before the eye of the weeping Savior! Perhaps that is another reason of the ellipsis--He hurries through His sentence, as if to suppress fond hopes that were to know no fruition. If it be lawful to paraphrase the words--to fill up that significant blank which He has left to our imagination to complete--it might be thus--'If you,' He seems to say--'if you had known the things which belong to your peace, then what a bright future would have been yours!--if you had, in the day of your visitation, hearkened to Me and to My prophets, how glorious the things which that future would have spoken of you, O city of God! I could think of you, now, as I gaze down upon your walls, as the metropolis of earth; an eternal excellency, the joy of many generations; the focus of the world; the Citadel of truth; the Ark of mercy--whence the dove would issue forth among the nations carrying the olive-branch of peace. But--vain is the picture. My words falter in the description of these visions of forfeited bliss--for now they are hidden from your eyes!'
Were there no other visions of vanished hopes and ruined glory, which rose at that moment, before the eye of Omniscience? From Olivet He overlooked the world. And do not the words come with an dreadful personality--a solemn individual application, "YOU, even, YOU?" Yes, think of Him at this moment, stooping from His throne--yearning with tenderness and pity over those who have no pity on themselves. It is with Heaven now, as with Olivet of old--the palm-branches and Hosannahs with which He is familiar in the midst of "the multitude which no man can number," do not exclude from His heart, thoughts for the ruined and lost--deep and tender concern for those who are still despising His counsel and rejecting His grace.
Do we not hear Him as if thus addressing some such scorner of mercy? 'If you--even you--had known in this your day, the things that belong to your peace. Guilty one! if you had listened to sacred parental counsels--if you had carried into the world the principles instilled in your Christian home--if you had been faithful to your Bible and your bended knees--if you had evaded that haunt of temptation, scorned the impious bribe which tempted you to dishonor, or plunged you into sin--if you had listened to the voices of Providence, or to the faithful teachings of the sanctuary, when the messenger of Heaven reasoned to you of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come--then how blissful your present, how safe, how peaceful, how joyous your future! But you have been a traitor to your holy trust. You have resisted grace--abused privilege--smothered conviction--despised warning. Your heart is settling down to the fatal hardness of a confirmed impenitence; and if death overtakes you as you are, what else can I say regarding the things which belong to your peace but this--Now they are hidden from your eyes?'
Let none deceive themselves. It is a possible thing to do outward homage to the Savior--to be Christian in profession--to attend His sanctuary--to meet Him on the Mount of ordinances and to join in the Hallel and Hosanna--and yet the heart, whose loyalty alone He prizes, may be estranged. There may be but the name to live, while the true vital energies of the soul have succumbed to spiritual death. He therefore tells us of a crowd, like that on Olivet, who are in future to confront Him on His throne, and who are to plead that once they sang His praise and waved their palm branches and owned Him as King--"Many will say to me at that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you--depart from me, you that work iniquity," (Matt. 7:22, 23.)
"If you--even you had known--in this your day." What day? Each one of us has "A DAY"--"a day of visitation." "This your day" is the PRESENT. It is this hour that is passing over our head--not, "a more convenient season"--not "Tomorrow." It is not– Let me balance these accounts first--Let me close my business first--Let me educate my family first--Let me finish this engrossing work in hand first--but, "Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." And observe, it is but "a day." It is not 'these your days'--but "this your day." The Spirit of God, willing to plead with you today, may be withdrawn tomorrow. The arrow that may pierce today may be powerless tomorrow.
"This day"--it is this day of TIME. Time's day is brief--and it is but one. Let its swift hours pass, and the day is ended. There is no second chance--no 'Try again.' "He that is unjust" must be "unjust still," and, "he that is filthy" must be "filthy still."
And it is YOUR day--weal or woe, for eternity is in your hand. The day is your own, and the guilt will be your own, if you allow that day to close without accepting offered mercy. The journey to which your God calls you may be easily completed in "the day." Woe upon you, if you loiter and linger until the Sun of Righteousness sets, and you are left belated in the blackness of eternal darkness!
These are solemn considerations. But, before we close, be it ours to remember that the Savior's tears are TEARS OF MERCY and encouragement, as well as of warning and judgment. These tears shed on the earthly mountain, are a pledge, that seated on His Eternal Throne in Heaven, He pities the sinner. "He came near to the city." Reader, in various ways at this moment He may be coming "near" to you--by His word, by afflictions, by solemn providential dispensations. Yes! we ask you to accompany us once more in thought, up these slopes, and if the threatenings of the law fail to move you--if warning, and rebuke, and chastisement make their appeal in vain--yes, will the tears of Jesus--these drops of living fire not melt the icy heart?
And, oh, His tears were the least He gave. He did not come to Olivet, weep over Jerusalem, and then leave the world to its fate; He shed, not His tears only, but His blood! We have seen how His lamentation closes--the emphatic ellipsis, the solemn pause; and then the irrevocable words, "But now they are hidden from your eyes:" With reference to any one of us He has not reached that part of the sentence yet. No; the fact that we are still spared, is a proof that the things which belong to our peace are not hidden from our eyes. He is lengthening out our day of mercy--the sunbeams of grace are still lingering. He is pausing, as He did on the ridge over against Jerusalem, and seems to say, 'If this day, in simple faith, you will receive Me; then, peace is yours--pardon is yours--Heaven is yours.' It is your peace--"the things which belong to your peace." Peace! money cannot purchase it. Intellect cannot reach it. Wisdom cannot bribe it. But He is willing to give it. It is yours and mine, this day, if we only reach forth our hands to take it as 'the gift of God.'
Blessed be His name, the recording angel still stays his
flight. The chimes of mercy still float from the Sabbath-bells of Heaven.
"Now is the day of salvation." "Turn! turn! why will you die?" Melted by
these tears of Olivet, be it ours to take up the palm-branch and the
Hosanna, throwing open the long-closed Temple-gates of our alien hearts to
Zion's King, saying, "blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord!" In
the quaint but beautiful and appropriate lines of Jeremy Taylor, let us thus
paraphrase the welcome–