« AnteriorContinuar »
ST. MATTHEW xxi. 28-31.
What think ye? A certain man had two sons: and he came to the first and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterwards he repented and went. And he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, Sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
THE Pharisees were very troublesome enemies to our blessed Lord. They tried all in their power to disturb, vex, and oppose him. His behaviour towards them was meek, gentle, wise and proper. They had just seen him enter into their great city like a prophet, and what is more, like
the very prophet foretold: they had seen him drive out of the temple the buyers and sellers, who were profaning it by their vile trafficking in it. They therefore went to him and asked him "by what authority he did these things," and who gave him authority and power so great. Now, our blessed Lord was always very prudent. He spoke when he ought to speak. He was silent, when it was his duty to be silent. He made no rude and unmannerly replies. Indeed, the behaviour of our Lord is worthy of our copying on all occasions: and I am sure, did you all try to act and to speak like him, no one would ever accuse you of what a good Christian slave should never be guilty of-impudence, insolence and rude language. Now, had he told these Pharisees, that he was their Redeemer come from God, they would have stoned him at once. But he came to die upon the cross, as God had determined that he should. Had he said that he had no authority for doing so,
he would have told an untruth; and falsehood, my friends, was never found in Him. He therefore answered their question by another question. "I also, says he, will ask you one thing, which, if you tell me, I, in like manner, will tell you by what authority I do these things." And then he asked them, whether God or man appointed John to baptize the people.
In the beginning of these Lectures I had occasion to say much to you concerning John the Baptist. He was born just before Jesus Christ, and was appointed by God to be his forerunner or prophet going before him. He baptized the Jews unto repentance, telling them that they must believe in Him who was to come after him, Jesus Christ. And many were baptized of him, repenting of all their sins. Some, however, and the Pharisees were of the number, would have nothing to do with him or his baptism. And after a
time this good and holy man was thrown into a prison by a wicked tyrant, and afterwards put to death.
When our Saviour therefore put the question to the Pharisees concerning John, he puzzled them very much. For if they had said, that God appointed him to baptize, Jesus would have asked them, why they did not believe him, and of course why they did not believe the greater one of whom he spoke and if they said, that men had appointed him, the people would perhaps have stoned them, for the common people thought very highly of John, and loved him much, and respected him as a prophet. They therefore very coolly answered, that they could not tell. Then, said Jesus, "Neither tell I you, by what authority I do these things." The Pharisees met with the treatment they deserved: and when persons will sin against their own minds and judgments, will contradict and oppose and
speak evil of things and of men, which they cannot but approve in their hearts, they deserve not our notice. And what is worse, God who sees their hearts, and sees all their mean and unbecoming ways, will despise them also.
And now our blessed Lord and Master, anxious to do these wicked men good, speaks to them in a way, which ought to have been of great use to them, and which must be profitable to us and to all sinners: who, knowing how much we need a Sa viour to reconcile us to God, come with all our hearts to Jesus Christ in order to be saved by him. What think ye, says our Lord? "A certain man had two sons: and he came to the first and said: Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterwards repented and went. And he came to the second son, and said the same thing: Go, work in my vineyard. And this son answered: I go, Sir; and went not. Which