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opposed them, teaching that nothing that entered into a man defiled him, but that which came out of his heart. Our Lord clung to the divine and spiritual, and threw far from Him traditions of elders and Jewish inventions. The temple itself had become to Him a “house of merchandise"
den of thieves.” Thus He lived apart from the human religion of His day, and outside it all He died !
No wonder, then, that there was the mocking and the jeer of priest and hireling at the cross. And mark the form it took. “ Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it again in three days, save thyself.” Such was “His reproach,” endured outside the gate of Jerusalem, " without the camp,” that camp of Israel in which, at the first and so soon, the golden calf was set up for worship.
Now is it not just in these two characteristics of Christ's reproach that we find it so difficult to follow Him? Naturally we shun poverty, and love carnal, popular religion. The order of the two things is also important. It is only as saints love their Master's holy poverty, and avoid using the extras of their purse for themselves, that they really in spirit go forth “unto Him without the camp." In other words, we cannot be truly “outside on Sundays except as we have been correspondingly
outside " in self-denying poverty through the week. We may have worked “with the hands, the thing that is good,” in our earthly callings, but if part of the week's wages or business gains, not needed by us, has not been used to "give to him that needeth," no wonder we have not the Master's reproach of poverty. Our fellowship may consist much in outward church details, but if there is not the grace of fellowship in temporals, we shall know little of spiritual enrichment. Loving, lowly obedience to every “jot and tittle” of God's truth cannot be dispensed with by us. But there are the weighty things of the law,
"judgment and the love of God,” as well as the less weighty matters, the tithing of “mint, rue, and all manner of herbs." The latter we have to do, and not to leave the other undone.
When we have been humbly following our Lord through the week, how increasingly sweet will be our Lord's day, as we go forth “unto Him without the camp” of guilty Christendom's outward religion.
May God give us grace to understand Christ's twofold reproach, and to bear it to the end.
A SCENE IN THE TEMPLE.
NOTES FROM AN ADDRESS on John viii. 1-11, by MR. T. NEWBERRY. “ EVERY man went to his own house : Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” Such is the contrast given in the last verse of John vii. and the first verse of John viii.
A wondrous attraction that Mount of Olives must have had to our Lord. At its base was the garden of Gethsemane, with its shadow of Calvary. From its summit He was soon to ascend to His Father and our Father, and when He again descends from heaven His feet will stand on that mount, and it shall cleave in the midst. (Zech. xiv. 4.) Both His sufferings and His glories are thus connected with Olivet.
The feast of tabernacles had just been celebrated, and the Lord well knew the ignorance of the people. There was the temple in its grandeur and beauty, the priests in their sacred robes, the altar, with its sacrifice; but all was as a sealed book to them. Now He comes with His heavenly teaching, fresh, as it were, from God, having spent the night in communion with Him on the mount, and He takes His seat in the treasury; for He never entered the inner temple. The feast being over, the
people were at liberty to come and hear the Great, Teacher, and they kept flocking in (read “were coming' in verse 2 instead of " came”), until perhaps thousands
“ were assembled. Doubtless He took a position where all could see and hear, and He taught them.
While thus occupied the Pharisees bring before Him a guilty woman. “Now we shall entrap Him," they thought; “He can't with false charity say she may be innocent." "Teacher .... Moses in the law commanded
' that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?” His teaching they could not gainsay, but here was a case that would be beyond His wisdom. Their intention was to place two criminals at the bar, instead of one; for their object was “to accuse Him.” If He condemned the poor woman, where was the
which He preached ? On the other hand, if He excused her, He would be setting at nought the law. But they knew not
wiser than Solomon” was there. Christ is “ the wisdom of God” as well as “ the
of God.” But where do they bring this criminal ? To the holy city, to the temple, into the presence of a sin-hating God, before the altar whose fire never goes out, and on which is sprinkled the blood that speaks better things than that of Abel. " And they brought her to Jesus.”
When we come to God as convicted sinners, we find in Jesus one who is “able to save to the uttermost." These acts of Jesus, narrated in the Gospels, may bring to our remembrance the bells and pomegranates around the high priest's robe: every motion makes a sound of divine significance.
Think of that scene, with its thousands of eager, expectant faces, with Jesus sitting in the midst, and before Him the poor, law-condemned, conscience-stricken
, woman, surrounded by her accusers. He answers not
their question, but stoops down. The very act brings before us Phil. ii. 6-8: “ He humbled Himself.”
The judgment is set, the books are opened; the assembled multitudes look on; angels gaze in amazement; law condemns to death. But He who stoops down now writes in the dust. He is reminded of the work He came to do : “ Thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” (Psalm xxii. 15.) In that death the love, holiness, and majesty of God would all be manifested.
In the case of the jealousy offering in Numbers v., to which the Lord's thoughts must have turned, the “dust” is especially mentioned. The woman was to be set “before the Lord,” as the scribes and Pharisees did with this
“Holy water” was to be put in an “earthen vessel ;" prefiguring the incarnation of the Son of God. The priest had to take of "the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle," and to put it into the holy water. The woman had then to drink of this “bitter water;" and if she were guilty the curse entered into her. But Christ
“ made a curse for us.” He blotted out the handwriting that was against us, as the curses were blotted out by the bitter water.
As the scribes and Pharisees continued asking the Lord, He “lifted up Himself.” In contrast with the stooping down, this may remind us of His resurrection power.
Of His own life He said, "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” They brought witnesses into court to condemn Him, but He could say “ Which of you convinceth Me of sin ?" And He summoned other and greater witnesses, even their own guilty consciences.
See Jesus now standing, the woman crouching at His feet, and her proud accusers round about her. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at
her.” As consciences begin to work, their faces turn pale. An aged Rabbi turns to leave, then another, and another, until the multitude, convinced of sin, like so many Cains, “went out from the presence of the Lord,” and from the altar of sacrifice. The self-righteous ones are convicted, and only the humble sinner is left. The court is cleared, every tongue has been silenced; the poor soul for whom His work in the dust has to be performed, in order to cleanse her from her sins, is left alone with Jesus. On this sinner, whom He came to save, He fixes His gaze, and we can imagine His staying the Hallelujahs of saints and angels, and saying, “ Hush! a sinner needs My help; a beggar has to be raised from the dunghill ; a captive must be freed from the dungeon.” In keeping with this, it was to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils, that His first words were spoken after His resurrection.
Where are those thine accusers ? Hath no man demned thee?" When we have
with all our sins to Jesus, no man can condemn us. It is Christ who justifieth and He will not condemn. He delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. iv. 25.)
She said, No man, Lord.” Every tongue shall yet confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. She is taught thus to address Him; and with authority He replies, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Through His stooping and being brought unto the dust of death we have pardon ; His lifting up Himself tells of resurrection; and His last message of grace to this woman teaches us sanctification. Let us always connect these truths. “Go "--pardoned,
“ justified, accepted—“ and sin no more.”