Luke Chapter 19

J.C. Ryle

 

Section 111. The Conversion of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at your house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

These verses describe the conversion of a soul. Like the stories of Nicodemus, and the Samaritan woman the story of Zacchaeus should be frequently studied by Christians. The Lord Jesus never changes. What He did for the man before us He is able and willing to do for any one of ourselves.

We learn, firstly, from these verses that no one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ's grace. We are told of a wealthy tax-collector becoming a disciple of Christ. A more unlikely event, we cannot well imagine! We see the "camel passing through the eye of a needle," and the "rich man entering the kingdom of God." We behold a plain proof that "all things are possible with God." We see a covetous tax-collector, transformed into a charitable Christian!

The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners, is very wide open! Let us leave it as open as we find it Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it. We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is "able to save to the uttermost" and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven, if they will only come to Him. We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, "There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins are like scarlet I will make them as white as snow! Though they are red like crimson I will make them as white as wool! (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to be foolishness and a license to sin, to worldly people. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho! Hospitals discharge many severe cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel! Any sinner may be healed if he will only come to Christ.

We learn, secondly, from these verses how little and insignificant are the things on which a soul's salvation often turns. We are told that Zacchaeus "wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd." Curiosity, and nothing but curiosity appears to have been the motive of his mind. That curiosity once roused, Zacchaeus was determined to gratify it. Rather than not see Jesus he ran on before along the road, and "climbed up into a sycamore tree." Upon that little action, so far as man's eyes can see there hinged the salvation of his soul. Our Lord stopped under the tree, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." From that very moment ,Zacchaeus was an altered man. That very night he lay down a Christian.

We must never "despise the day of small things." (Zechariah 4:10.) We must never reckon anything little, which concerns the soul. The ways by which the Holy Spirit leads men and women to Christ, are astonishing and mysterious. He is often beginning in a heart, a work which shall stand to eternity when an onlooker observes nothing remarkable.

In every work there must be a beginning, and in spiritual work that beginning is often very small. Do we see a careless person beginning to use means of grace, which in time past he neglected? Do we see him coming to Church and listening to the Gospel, after a long course of Sabbath-breaking? When we see such things, then let us remember Zacchaeus and be hopeful. Let us not look coldly on him, simply because his motives at present are very poor and questionable. Let us believe that it is far better to hear the Gospel out of mere curiosity than not to hear it at all. Our friend is with Zacchaeus in the tree! For anything we know he may go further. Who can tell, but that he may one day receive Christ joyfully?

We learn, thirdly, from these verses Christ's free compassion towards sinners, and Christ's power to change hearts. It is impossible to conceive a more striking instance than that before us. Unasked, our Lord stops and speaks to Zacchaeus. Unasked, He offers Himself to be a guest in the house of a sinner. Unasked, He sends into the heart of a tax-collector the renewing grace of the Spirit, and puts him that very day among the children of God! (Jeremiah 3:19.)

It is impossible, with such a passage as this before us to exalt the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ too highly. We cannot maintain too strongly, that there is in Him an infinite readiness to receive sinners and an infinite ability to save sinners. Above all, we cannot hold too firmly that salvation is not of works, but of grace. If ever there was a soul sought and saved, without having done anything to deserve it that soul was the soul of Zacchaeus.

Let us grasp these doctrines firmly, and never let them go. Their price is above rubies. Grace, free sovereign grace is the only thought which gives men peace in a dying hour. Let us proclaim these doctrines confidently to every one to whom we speak about spiritual things. Let us bid them come to Jesus Christ, just as they are and not wait in the vain hope that they can make themselves fit and worthy to come. Not least, let us tell them that Jesus Christ would come and dwell in their poor sinful hearts if they would only receive Him. "Behold," He says, "I stand at the door and knock; if any man hears my voice and opens the door I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20.)

We learn, lastly, from these verses that converted sinners will always give evidence of their conversion. We are told that Zacchaeus replied, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will restore four times as much."

There was reality in that speech. There was unmistakable proof that Zacchaeus was a new creature. When a wealthy Christian begins to distribute his riches, and an extortioner begins to make restitution then we may well believe that old things have passed away, and all things become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

There was decision in that speech. "I will give," says Zacchaeus "I will restore." He does not speak of future intentions. Freely pardoned, and raised from death to life Zacchaeus felt that he could not begin too soon to show whose he was, and whom he served.

He who desires to give proof that he is a believer, should walk in the steps of Zacchaeus. Like Zacchaeus let him thoroughly renounce the sins which have formerly most easily entangled him. Like Zacchaeus let him follow the Christian graces which he has formerly most habitually neglected. In any case, a believer should so live that all may know that he is a believer.

A faith that does not purify the heart and life is not saving faith at all. Grace that cannot be seen like light; and tasted like salt is not saving grace, but hypocrisy. The man who professes to know Christ and trust Him, while he cleaves to sin and the world is going down to Hell with a lie in his right hand! The heart that has really tasted the grace of Christ will instinctively hate sin.

Let us turn from the whole passage with the last verse ringing in our ears, "The Son of man came to seek and save those who are lost." It is as a Savior, more than as a Judge that Christ desires to be known. Let us see that we know Him as such. Let us take heed that our souls are saved. Once saved and converted, we shall say, "What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits?" (Psalm 116:12.) Once saved, we shall not complain that self-denial, like that of Zacchaeus, is a grievous requirement.

 

Section 112. Parable of the Ten Minas, Luke 19:11-27

And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy until I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be you also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared you, because you are an austere man: you take up that you laid not down, and reap that you did not sow. And he says unto him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gave not you my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that has ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he has ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which has shall be given; and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

The occasion of our Lord speaking the parable before us, is clear and plain. It was intended to correct the false expectations of the disciples on the subject of Christ's kingdom. It was a prophetic sketch of things present and things to come which ought to raise solemn thoughts in the minds of all professing Christians.

We see, for one thing, in this parable the present position of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is compared to "a certain nobleman, who went into a far country, to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return."

When the Lord Jesus left the world, He ascended up into Heaven as a conqueror, leading captivity captive. He is there sitting at the right hand of God, doing the work of a High Priest for His believing people, and ever making intercession for them. But He will not sit there always. He will come forth from the holy of holies to bless His people. He will come again with power and glory to put down every enemy under His feet, and to set up His universal kingdom on earth.

At present "we do not see all things subjected to Him." The devil is the "prince of this world." (Hebrews 2:8; John 14:30.) But the present state of things shall be changed one day. When Christ returns the kingdoms of the world shall become His!

Let these things sink down into our minds. In all our thoughts about Christ let us never forget His second coming. It is well to know that He lived for us, and died for us, and rose again for us, and intercedes for us. But it is also well to know that He is soon coming again for us!

We see, for another thing, in this parable the present position of all professing Christians. Our Lord compares them to servants who have been left in charge of money by an absent master, with strict directions to use that money well. They are to "Put this money to work, until I come back."

The countless privileges which Christians enjoy, compared to the heathen, are "pounds" given to them by Christ, for which they must one day give account. We shall not stand side by side in the judgment day with the African and Chinese who never heard of the Bible, the Trinity, and the crucifixion. The most of us, it may be feared, have little idea of the extent of our responsibility. To whoever much is given of them, much will be required.

Are we living like men who know to whom they are indebted, and to whom they must one day give account? This is the only life which is worthy of a reasonable being. The best answer we can give to those who invite us to plunge into worldliness and frivolity is the Master's commandment which is before us. Let us tell them that we cannot consent, because we are looking for the coming of the Lord. We desire to be found working when He comes.

We see, for another thing, in this parable the certain reckoning which awaits all professing Christians. We are told that when the master returned, he "sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it."

There is a day coming when the Lord Jesus Christ shall judge His people, and give to every one according to His works. The course of this world shall not always go on as it does now. Disorder, confusion, false profession, and unpunished sin shall not always cover the face of the earth. The great white throne shall be set up. The Judge of all shall sit upon it. The dead shall be raised from their graves. The living shall all be summoned to the judgment bar. The books shall be opened. High and low, rich and poor, gentle and simple all shall at length give account to God, and shall all receive an eternal sentence.

Let the thought of this coming judgment exercise an influence on our hearts and lives. Let us wait patiently when we see wickedness triumphing in the earth. The time is short. There is one who sees and notes down all that the ungodly are doing!

Above all, let us live under an abiding sense, that we shall stand one day at the judgment seat of Christ. Let us "judge ourselves" that we be not condemned by the Lord. It is a weighty saying, "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books!" (Revelation 20:12.)

We see, for another thing, in this parable the certain reward of all true Christians. Our Lord tells us that those who are found to have been faithful servants, shall receive honor and dignity. Each shall receive a reward proportioned to his diligence. One shall be placed "over ten cities," and another "over five."

The people of God receive little apparent recompense in this present time. Their names are often cast out as evil. They enter the kingdom of God through much tribulation. Their good things are not in this world. The gain of godliness does not consist in earthly rewards but in inward peace, and hope, and joy in believing. But they shall have an abundant recompense one day. They shall receive wages far exceeding anything they have done for Christ. They shall find, to their amazement that for everything they have done and borne for their Master, their Master will pay them a hundred-fold!

Let us often look forward to the good things which are yet to come. The "sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed." (Romans 8:18.) Let the thought of that glory cheer us in every time of need, and sustain us in every dark hour. Many, no doubt, are "the afflictions of the righteous." One great remedy for bearing afflictions patiently is to look forward, like Moses, to the reward. (Psalm 34:19. Hebrews 11:26.)

We see, lastly, in this parable the certain exposure of all unfaithful professing Christians at the last day. We are told of one servant who had done nothing with his master's money, but had laid it away in a piece of cloth. We are told of his useless arguments in his own defense, and of his final ruin for not using the knowledge which he confessedly possessed. There can be no mistake as to the people whom he represents. He represents the whole company of the ungodly; and his ruin represents their miserable end in the judgment day.

Let us never forget the final end to which all ungodly people are coming. Sooner or later, the unbeliever and the impenitent will be put to shame before the whole world, stripped of the means of grace and hope of glory and forever cast down to Hell! There will be no escape at the last day. False profession and formal religion will fail to abide the fire of God's judgment. Grace, and grace alone shall stand. Men will discover at last, that there is such a thing as "the wrath of the Lamb!"

The excuses with which so many content their consciences now, shall prove unavailing at the judgment bar of Christ. The most ignorant shall find that they had knowledge enough to be their condemnation. The possessors of buried talents and misused privileges will discover at last that it would have been better for them to have never been born.

These are solemn things. Who shall stand in the great day when the Master requires an account of "His pounds?" The words of Peter will form a fitting conclusion to the whole parable, "Seeing that you look for such things be diligent that you may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless." (2 Peter 3:14.)

 

Section 113. The Triumphal Entry, Luke 19:28-40

And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go you into the village over against you; in the which at your entering you shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do you loose him? thus shall you say unto him, Because the Lord has need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose you the colt? And they said, The Lord has need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come near, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Let us mark, for one thing, in these verses the perfect knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see Him sending two of His disciples to the entrance of a village, and telling them that they would find "a colt tied, which no one has ever ridden." We see Him describing what they would see and hear, with as much confidence as if the whole transaction had been previously arranged. In short, He speaks like one to whom nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight everything is uncovered and laid bare before His eyes. He speaks like one whose eyes were in every place like one who knew things unseen, as well as things seen.

An attentive reader will observe the same thing in other parts of the Gospel. We are told in one place that "He knew the thoughts" of His enemies. We are told in another chapter, that "He knew what was in man." We are told in another place, that "Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe, and who would betray him." (Luke 6:8; John 2:25; John 6:64.)

Knowledge like this is a particular attribute of God. Passages like these are meant to remind us, that "the man Christ Jesus" is not only man. He is also "God blessed forever." (Romans 9:5.)

The thought of Christ's perfect knowledge should alarm sinners and awaken them to repentance. The great and righteous Judge knows them, and all their doings. The Judge of all sees them continually, and marks down all their ways. There is "no darkness where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves." (Job 34:22.) If they go into the secret chamber the eyes of Christ are there. If they privately scheme villainy and plot wickedness Christ knows it and observes it. If they speak secretly against the righteous Christ hears. They may deceive men all their life long but they cannot deceive Christ. A day is coming when God "will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel." (Romans 2:16.)

The thought of Christ's perfect knowledge should comfort all true-hearted Christians, and quicken them to increased diligence in good works. The Master's eye is always upon them. He knows where they dwell, and what are their daily trials, and who are their companions. There is not a word in their mouths, or a thought in their hearts but Jesus knows it altogether. Let them take courage when they are slandered, misunderstood, and misrepresented by the world. It matters nothing, so long as they can say, "You, Lord, who know all things! You know that I love you." (John 21:17.)

Let them walk on steadily in the narrow way, and not turn aside to the right hand or the left. When sinners entice them, and weak brethren say, "Spare yourself," let them reply, "My Master is looking at me. I desire to live and move as in the sight of Christ."

Let us mark, for another thing, in this passage the public visibility of our Lord's last entry into Jerusalem. We are told of His riding in on an donkey, like a king visiting his capital, or a conqueror returning in triumph to his native land. We read of a "multitude of disciples" surrounding Him as He rode into the city, "rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice."

The whole history is strikingly unlike the general tenor of our Lord's life. On other occasions we see Him withdrawing from public observation, retiring into the wilderness, charging those whom He healed to tell no one what was done.

On the present occasion, all is changed. Reserve is completely thrown aside. He seems to court public notice. He appears desirous that all should see Him, and should mark, note, and observe what He did.

The reasons of our Lord's conduct at this crisis of His ministry, at first sight, may appear hard to discover. But on calm reflection, they are clear and plain. He knew that the time had come when He was to die for sinners on the cross. His work as the great Prophet, so far as His earthly ministry was concerned was almost finished and completed.

His work as the sacrifice for sin and substitute for sinners remained to be accomplished. Before giving Himself up as a sacrifice, He desired to draw the attention of the whole Jewish nation to Himself. The Lamb of God was about to be slain! The great sin-offering was about to be killed! It was fit that the eyes of all Israel should be fixed upon Him. This great work of redemption was not to be done in a corner.

Forever let us bless God that the death of our Lord Jesus Christ was so widely known and so public an event. Had He been suddenly stoned in some common tumult, or privately beheaded like John the Baptist in prison there never would have been lacking unbelievers who would have denied that the Son of God had died at all.

The wisdom of God so ordered events, that such a denial was rendered impossible. Whatever men may think of the doctrine of Christ's atoning death they can never deny the fact that Christ died. Publicly He rode into Jerusalem a few days before His death. Publicly He was seen and heard in the city until the day that He was betrayed. Publicly He was brought before the High Priests and Pilate, and condemned. Publicly He was led forth to Calvary, and nailed to the cross.

The corner-stone and crowning-event in our Lord's ministry was His death for sinners. Of all the events of His ministry that death was the one most public, and the one witnessed by the greatest number of Jews. And that death, was the "life of the world." (John 6:51.)

Let us leave the whole passage with the cheering reflection, that the joy of Christ's disciples at His entry into Jerusalem, when He came to be crucified will be as nothing compared to the joy of His people when He comes again to reign!

That first joy was soon broken off and exchanged for sorrow and bitter tears. The second joy shall be a joy for evermore! That first joy was often interrupted by the bitter sneers of enemies, who were plotting mischief. The second joy shall be liable to no such crude interruptions. Not a word shall be said against the King, when He comes to Jerusalem the second time. Before Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all!

 

Section 114. Jesus Weeping over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41-48

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong unto your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation. And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

We learn, firstly, from these verses how great is the tenderness and compassion of Christ towards sinners. We are told that when He came near Jerusalem for the last time, "He beheld the city, and wept over it." He well knew the character of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Their cruelty, their self-righteousness, their stubbornness, their obstinate prejudice against the truth, their pride of heart were not hidden from Him. He well knew what they were going to do to Him within a very few days His unjust judgment, His delivery to the Romans, His sufferings, His crucifixion were all spread out distinctly before His mind's eye! And yet knowing all this, our Lord pitied Jerusalem! "He beheld the city, and wept over it."

We err greatly if we suppose that Christ cares for none but His own believing people. He cares for all. His heart is wide enough to take an interest in all mankind. His compassion extends to every man, woman, and child on earth. He has a love of 'general pity' for the man who is going on still in wickedness as well as a love of 'special affection' for the sheep who hear His voice and follow Him. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Hardened sinners are fond of making excuses for their conduct. But they will never be able to say that Christ was not merciful, and was not ready to save.

We know but little of true Christianity, if we do not feel a deep concern about the souls of unconverted people. A lazy indifference about the spiritual state of others may doubtless save us much trouble. To have no concern whether our neighbors are going to Heaven or Hell is no doubt the way of the world. But a man of this spirit is very unlike David, who said, "Rivers of waters run down my eyes because men do not obey your law." He is very unlike Paul, who said, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart for my brethren." (Psalm 119:136; Romans 9:2.) Above all, he is very unlike the Lord Jesus Christ. If Christ felt tenderly about wicked people then the disciples of Christ ought to feel likewise.

We learn, secondly, from these verses that there is a willful ignorance which is sinful and blameworthy. We read that our Lord denounced judgments on Jerusalem, because they did not know the time of their visitation. She might have known that the times of Messiah had fully come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. But she would not know. Her rulers were willfully ignorant. They would not calmly examine evidences, and impartially consider great plain facts. Her people would not see "the signs of the times." Therefore judgment was soon to come upon Jerusalem to the uttermost! Her willful ignorance left her without excuse.

The principle laid down by our Lord in this place is deeply important. It contradicts an opinion which is very common in the world. This principle teaches distinctly, that all ignorance is not excusable, and that when men might know truth, but refuse to know it their guilt is very great in the sight of God. There is a degree of knowledge for which all are responsible, and if from indolence or prejudice, they do not attain that knowledge the lack of it will ruin their souls.

Let us impress this great principle deeply on our own hearts. Let us urge it diligently on others, when we speak to them about saving religion. Let us not flatter ourselves that ignorance will excuse everyone who dies in ignorance, and that he will be pardoned because he knew no better! Did he live up to the light he had? Did he use every means for attaining knowledge? Did he honestly employ every help within his reach, and search industriously after wisdom?

These are grave questions. If a man cannot answer them, he will certainly be condemned in the judgment day. A willful ignorance will never be allowed as a plea in a man's favor. On the contrary, it will rather add to his guilt!

We learn, thirdly, from these verses that God is sometimes pleased to give men special opportunities and invitations. We are told by our Lord, that Jerusalem "did not know the day of her visitation." Jerusalem had a special season of mercy and privilege. The Son of God Himself visited her. The mightiest miracles that man had ever seen, were wrought in her midst. The most wonderful preaching that ever was heard, was preached within her walls. The days of our Lord's ministry were days of the clearest calls to repentance and faith, that any city has ever received. They were calls so marked, peculiar, and unlike any previous calls Jerusalem had received that it seemed impossible that they should be disregarded. But they were disregarded! And our Lord declares that this disregard was one of Jerusalem's principal sins!

The subject before us is a deep and mysterious one. It requires careful stating and delicate handling lest we should make one scripture contradict another. There seems no doubt that churches, nations, and even individuals are sometimes visited with special manifestations of God's presence and that their neglect of such manifestations is the turning point in their spiritual ruin. Why this should take place in some cases, but not in others we cannot tell. Facts, plain facts in history and biography appear to prove that it is so.

The last day will probably show the world, that there were seasons in the lives of many who died in sin, when God drew very near to them, when conscience was peculiarly alive, when there seemed but a step between them and salvation. Those seasons will probably prove to have been what our Lord calls their "day of visitation." The neglect of such seasons will probably be at last one of the heaviest charges against their souls.

As deep as the subject is, it should teach men one practical lesson. That lesson is the immense importance of not stifling convictions, and not quenching the workings of conscience. He who resists the voice of conscience may be throwing away his last opportunity of salvation. That warning voice may be God's "day of visitation." The neglect of it may fill up the measure of a man's iniquity and provoke God to let him alone forever!

We learn, lastly, from these verses how much Christ disapproves of the profanation of holy things. We read that He cast the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and told them that they had made God's house into "a den of thieves." He knew how formal and ignorant the ministers of the temple were. He knew how soon the temple and its services were to be destroyed, the veil to be rent, and the priesthood to be ended. But He would have us to know, that a reverence is due to every place where God is worshiped. The reverence He claimed for the temple was not for the temple as the house of sacrifice, but as "the house of prayer."

Let us remember this conduct and language of our Lord, whenever we go to a place of public worship. Christian churches no doubt are not like the Jewish temples. They have neither altars, priesthood, sacrifices, nor symbolical furniture. But they are places where God's Word is read, where Christ is present, and where the Holy Spirit works on souls. These facts ought to make us grave, reverent, and solemn whenever we enter them. The man who behaves as carelessly in a church as he would in an inn, or a private dwelling has yet much to learn. He has not the "mind of Christ."