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throne of grace. We learn, from our blessed Lord, that “ she loveth much, to whom much hath been forgiven;" and who does not know, that love is the very soul of all true devotion ? But if ever the prayers of such a penitent ascend with special warmth, it is when she addresses God, in behalf of her benefactors; to whom she is indebted for more than life; through whose bounty it is that she has been snatched from perdition; through whose benignity she has free access to the Father of spirits. And who is there among us, that has not need of mercy? Who is there among us, that would not rejoice, to have his name associated in such prayers, with the good, and gracious, and bountiful of the earth? Who is there, whose heart would not bound within him, if he were given to hear the last aspirations of a soul, everlastingly rescued, by the intervention of his beneficence, — of a mortal, ready to be clothed by immortality, -- offered up in his favour to that God, before whom she is about to stand, and in whom she will have her perfect consummation and bliss, throughout eternal ages? My brethren, this is what you are called to this day. May the Inspirer of every merciful disposition, and the Perfecter of every good work, so influence your minds, so rule in your hearts, so animate you with his own blessed Spirit, that sinners may be reclaimed from the error of their way; that there may be joy in the presence of the angels of God; that your names may be written in the book of God's remembrance; and, in that day, when He shall make up his jewels, that you may be the acknowledged children of the Lord of Hosts! Amen.
SAINT LUKE xix. 10.
FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK, AND TO SAVE THAT
WHICH WAS LOST.
THESE words have a special claim on our attention, at this most holy season . They were pronounced by our gracious Redeemer, in his last journey to Jerusalem, a very few days before his death upon the cross. In common with every recorded utterance of his feeling at that most interesting period, they bear the impress of one great master sentiment; that He was about to die, and, by dying, to redeem that world, which He made. But his heart, though centrally occupied with this great concern, was alive to all the claims of humanity. His tenderness, his condescension, his affability, were then, if possible, more benignantly operative than at any former period of
1 Preached for the Magdalen Asylum, Dublin, 1811. ? Lent.
his life. If he foretold, or alluded to, his own impending sorrow, it was, invariably, for the instruction, consolation, or improvement of his apostles. If he met the unfortunate, he pitied them; the ignorant, he taught them; the blind, he gave them sight. He received every mark of affectionate attention, with the most touching sensibility. The very alacrity of his movement, as he walked toward Jerusalem, incidentally noticed by one evangelist, indicated the calm, collected, firmness of his soul; and the occurrence which gave rise to the words of our text, is peculiarly deserving of a more detailed examination.
As our Lord was on his progress through the city of Jericho, great multitudes followed; attracted, both, by the splendour of his miracles, and by the delusive hope, that the meek and lowly Jesus, would triumphantly appear, at the approaching passover, as their victorious, temporal Messiah. One inhabitant, in particular, a rich man, a chief officer of the customs, long devoted to the acquisition of wealth, and not always exactly scrupulous in the means of acquisition, very naturally partook in the prevailing spirit of curiosity: “ He sought to see Jesus, who he was.” Impeded by the crowd, for he was little of stature, his ingenuity devised the means of safely gratifying his wishes; he ran
before the procession, climbed into a sycamoretree, and there awaited the arrival of the great Prophet. But a strange and wonderful revolution was at hand. For “ when Jesus came to the place, he looked up.” The majesty of our Lord's person, the more than human expression of his countenance, but, especially, the ineffable, and healing virtue of his look, doubtless affected the astonished publican, with an emotion, such as he had never felt before ; and, in one moment, effaced the accumulated iniquity of years. “ And Jesus saw him :" He saw the reality of his conversion, the sincerity of his repentance, the integrity of his altered purpose. “And said unto him, Zaccheus, make laste and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house:” thus, manifesting his acquaintance, both with the name, and spirit, of his distinguished convert; and thus, too, indicating the value of a modest, inobtrusive disposition; for, it has been well observed, that our Lord never came an uninvited guest, except to him whose modesty forbad an invitation. The feelings of Zaccheus are rather to be imagined, than expressed. And that imagination must be cold, and those affections must be spiritless, which would demand more powerful excitement, than the few and simple words of the sacred historian; who tells us, that