Matthew 11:19
John's peculiarity was no oddity; it was the power arranged for him in the Divine wisdom. The peculiarity of Jesus was no eccentricity; it was the expression of that Divine Spirit of wisdom which dwelt in him. Men may criticize the methods of John and Jesus; the story of the ages fully justifies the wisdom of those methods.

I. WISDOM USES VARIOUS AGENCIES. "The spiritual unfoldings of wisdom in the religions world are manifold." John moves you by his fear and terror; Jesus moves you by his quiet goodness. John's wisdom thunders; the wisdom of Jesus flows out in mild words. Men "wonder at the gracious words which proceed from his mouth." Through the intellect God appeals to you in one way; and through sympathy in quite another way. How sweetly gentle is electricity in the growth of lilies, and in the generation of birds, bees, butterflies! But in certain conditions it gathers itself up, and flashes in lightning, accompanied with terrible artillery. "Wisdom in John Baptist was ascetic and sincere; in Jesus it was freer, gentler, and sweetly social" (Pulsford). We can never fairly judge an agency until we see how it stands in its relation - what it does, what it is calculated to do. Then what seems insignificant and even unsuitable is plainly seen to be an inspiration of wisdom.

II. WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED IN THE ADAPTATION OF ITS AGENCIES. Estimate fairly what John had to do, and his austerity and severity are fully justified. Estimate fairly what Jesus has to do, and his friendliness and readiness to enter into the common spheres of life are fully justified. Wisdom is justified in all her methods and changes.

III. WISDOM ONLY FALLS TO JUSTIFY ITSELF TO A RIVAL WISDOM. "The children of pride and self-will justify Wisdom in no form. They puff up their own conceit by complaining of every mode in which she presents herself. John comes to them grave enough, earnest as life and death, smiting at the roots of their hereditary nature; but they say, ' What a gloomy fellow!' Jesus comes, bland and winning, ready to sit at table with every class of men; but they say, ' He is fond of a good dinner and his wine.' So that neither can John break them from their old habits, nor Jesus attract them to the Divine-human life." - R.T.







The Son of man came eating.
I. We have here a strong PROOF OF THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST. "The Son of man." His oneness with men; not exempt from the necessities of our nature; He was subject to the laws under which we live. No manna fell from heaven for Him.

II. Christ ate and drank WITH MEN. Not only as others, but with others. He was no recluse. Jesus represents the new order, which is a life of liberty, because a life of love. Religion must be able to endure the strain of life.

III. Here Christ SANCTIFIED THE COMMON DUTIES OF EVERY DAY. Nothing is so common as eating and drinking; it is commonplace. The temptation is to make the hours for meals mere feeding times, or to become an epicure. Christ's example guards against this. He taught the dignity of our bodies. He who recognizes the body as God's gift will never dishonour its appetites. The daily meals may be family sacraments cheered by Christian intercourse. Christ came to fit men for this world as well as for the next.

(W. S. Jerome.)

I. THE DIFFERENT COURSES OF LIFE WHEREIN JOHN AND JESUS APPEARED.

1. That God sendeth forth His servants with divers dispositions.

2. That men are qualified according to the dispensation wherein God useth them. John, a preacher of repentance, was austere; Christ, as a giver of pardon, mild.

3. That men are apt to complain.

1. Except against what is done by God, and whatsoever methods are used to reduce them to a sense of pardon. The censures of the two things disliked in Christ were not just.

1. His diet. All our food should be sanctified.

2. His company.

II. THE REASONS WHY HE CHOSE THIS SORT OF LIFE.

1. Because He would not place religion in outward austerities and observances.

2. Christ would live a strict, but sociable and charitable life; and did not observe the laws of proud pharisaical separation, but spent His time in doing good.

3. Christ came to set us an example, and would take up that course of life most imitable by all sorts of persons.

4. It was fit His form of life should suit with the nature of the kingdom.

5. Because Christ would not gratify human wisdom, as He would not gratify sense, by choosing a pompous life, so He would net gratify wisdom by choosing an austere life.

6. To show us the true nature of mortification, which consists not in abstinence and retreat from temptations, but in a spirit fortified against them.

III. THE OBSERVANCES WHICH WE MAY BUILD THEREON.

1. We may observe the humanity, goodness, and kindness of that religion which we profess, both with respect to ourselves and others.

2. That external holiness which consisteth in an outside strictness without love usually puffeth up men.

3. That a free life, guided by a holy wisdom, is the most sanctified life.

(T. Manton.)

A friend of publicans and sinners.
I. OUR LORD PROVED HIMSELF IN HIS OWN TIME TO BE THE FRIEND OF SINNERS.

1. He came among them.

2. He sought their good by His ministry.

3. He showed His patience toward them by the contradiction He endured from them.

II. WHAT CHRIST IS DOING NOW FOR SINNERS.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. CHRIST A FRIEND. In a friend we anticipate finding sincere attachment, affectionate concern to promote our welfare, freedom in fellowship and communication, unflinching fidelity.

II. THE DUTY WE OWE TO HIM. Friendliness, gratitude, fellowship, integrity, constancy,

III. THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM THE PERFORMANCE OF IT. The friendship of Christ affords rich consolation, exhaustless supplies, requisite instruction, eternal inheritance. Address the enemies of Christ, the undecided, and His friends.

(Rev. Treffy.)

But wisdom is justified of her children.
I. How WISDOM BECOMES JUSTIFIED TO HER CHILDREN. Notice those respects in which the scheme of Christianity is considered foolishness by the world.

1. A strong natural dislike of Christianity is founded on the meanhess of the Saviour's life and the ignominy of His death. The Christian's great struggle is with earthly attachments, and he acknowledges with thankfulness the wisdom of any arrangement whose direct tendency is to help him in the struggle.

2. They often allege the disproportion of the means to the end. Reason cannot decide how much the pardon of a sin must cost. The converted man sees the heinousness of sin. He sees that only an infinite sacrifice could put it away.

3. It is regarded as unsuited to the ends which it proposes to effect, and no heavier charge could be brought against its wisdom. The idea of substitution is said to encourage men in sin; hut where can we find higher morality and truer friendship than amongst men who are trusting in Christ?

II. WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED THROUGH HER CHILDREN TO OTHERS. This wisdom is so manifest in the effects of Christianity on the lives of its disciples, that enemies are inexcusable in charging it with foolishness. The children of God must vindicate the wisdom of religion,

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. WHAT IS THE WISDOM TO WHICH REFERENCE IS HERE MADE. Some suppose our Lord to have meant Himself; in Proverbs it is declared that by "Wisdom" God created the heavens. The term wisdom is also applied to the doctrine of the true God. "The fear of the Lord that is wisdom."

II. To SHOW HOW IT HAS BEEN IN ALL AGES EXPOSED TO THE INDIFFERENCE, CONTEMPT, OR THE MISAPPREHENSION OF MANKIND.

1. Deny her doctrines.

2. Forget her commands.

III. How IT HAS BEEN NEVERTHELESS JUSTIFIED IN ITS CHILDREN.

1. In the life of every saint who has arrived in heaven. "A cloud of witnesses " prove wisdom is justified of her children.

2. Wisdom is justified in all the social relationships of life. Is he a husband? wisdom will have given him a new affection.

(T. Jackson, M. A.)

Studies.
I. Evangelical religion is CHARACTERIZED, AS WISDOM. As it rightly applies the sublimest knowledge; as it diligently studies the most approved rule; as it zealously prosecutes the most enduring interest.

II. Evangelical religion HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH FOLLY. Its principles, its feelings, its practices, have been accounted foolishness.

III. Evangelical religion is JUSTIFIED BY THE EXPERIENCE ON ITS POSSESSORS. They receive her doctrines, avow her service, obey her precepts.

(Studies.)

I. WHAT IS THE WISDOM OF GOD IN THE WAY OF SALVATION PRESENTED BY THE GOSPEL? The end of the means.

II. THAT THIS WISDOM IS DESPISED AND CONTRADICTED BY THE CARNAL WORLD.

III. HOW AND WHY IT MUST BE JUSTIFIED BY THE SINCERE PROFESSORS OF THE GOSPEL.

1. It must be approved and received by themselves.

2. It must be professed and owned when it is in contempt in the world.

3. This profession must be honoured and recommended to others by a holy conversation.Why?

1. Because of the charge that is put upon us to testify for God, and justify His ways.

2. Wisdom deserveth to be justified by us.

3. Those who condemn wisdom by their tongues, justify it in some measure by their consciences.

4. If we do not justify religion, we justify the world.

5. Christ will one day justify all His sincere followers.

6. Because of the necessity of justifying wisdom in the times we live in.

(T. Manton.)

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