Page images

The great commandment.


32 which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the 33 dead, but of the living." And when the multitudes heard this, they were amazed at his doctrine.


But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were ga35 thered about him. Then one of them, who was

a teacher of the law, asked him a question, 36 tempting him, and saying, "Teacher, which is 37 the great commandment in the law?" Jesus

said to him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 38 and with all thy mind.' This is the first and 39 great commandment. And the second is like to it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy40 self.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."


REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXII. 1. We are reminded of the rich provisions of the gospel, and of our unworthiness to partake of them. This is a feast of fat things; a feast becoming the bounty and majesty of the king of heaven, and the peculiar occasion on which it was made. How free is the grace which calls us poor outcast gentile sinners, to be guests of this feast! While the proud and self-righteous rejected the invitations, and thus showed that they were not worthy to partake of these blessings, the poor beggars were invited and introduced! The king will have his house filled with guests.

2. We learn that in order to enjoy the blessings of this feast, we must not only come when invited, but comply with the will of the king who has made it, by putting on the wedding-garment. This is provided; and to receive it and not put it on, shows great contempt; and whosoever thus acts, when the king comes in to see the guests, will be cast out into the outer darkness. This teaches us, that it is not every one who professes to accept the invitation, nor who talks of gospel blessings, who shall enjoy them. We must by faith receive the robe of a Saviour's righteousness, and be adorned with a humble, meek and holy temper, or we shall never be permitted to sit at the marriage. feast of the lamb, nor share in its pleasures and joys.

32. I am the God of, &c See Exod. iii. 6, 16.God is not the God, &c. The argument is, that they must have been existing in some sense, at the time when this was spoken; otherwise God could not be then 'the God of Abraham, &c. this expression implying a relation subsisting between God and them; but there can be no relation between God and those who do not in any way exist. The Patriarchs were dead as to this life; the inference is, their souls exist in another. Or his being the God of any person, implies that he neither has, nor will suffer any such, finally to perish; and hence we may infer that their spiríts exist, and that their bodies shall be raised.

35. Teacher of the law. He is called a Scribe, Markai. 8; but Lake zi. 44-46, they are distinguished, Some think the former wore teachers of the law in the synagogues, and the latter private instructors,


Christ David's Lord.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, 41 Jesus asked them, Saying, "What think ye 42 of the Christ? whose son is he?" They say to him, "The son of David." He saith to them, 43 "How then doth David by the spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit 44 thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?' If David then call him 45 Lord, how is he his son?" And no man was 46 able to answer him a word, nor durst any man from that day ask him any more questions.



A. D. 33. Our Lord commends the doctrine, but condemns the evil conduct of the Scribes and Pharisees; he foretels the destruction of Jerusalem. THEN spoke Jesus to the multitudes, and to 1 his disciples, his disciples, Saying, "The Scribes and the 2 Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses: All things 3 therefore whatsoever they command you to ob

3. We are also taught from our Lord's answer to the Pharisees, that it is our duty to render to all their due. The kingdom of Christ is not of this world, and it does not interfere with, or vacate the just claims of the civil magistrate. While we enjoy the benefits of civil government, we are bound to contribute our part towards its necessary expence. But let not civil magistrates interfere with the rights of God. For we are bound by the strongest ties to render to him the things which he demands, and we must not disobey him to please men. He, and He only, is the Lord of conscience, and when that is invaded, it is easy to judge whether man or God ought to be obeyed.

4. From our Lord's reply to the Sadducees, and to the teacher of the law, we learn the doctrines of a separate state, and of the resurrection, and in what the real principle of religion consists. When men die, their spirits still live, and when good men die, their spirits live with and unto God. They partake of the felicity and glory which he has promised; and God's relation to them as 'their God,' secures the resurrection of their bodies. How glorious will they be made, they will be made like the glorious body of Christ. They will become in their whole persons, equal to the angels.' How ought we then to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, for assuring us of such a state.


36. Great commandment, &c. From this question it is evident that the teachers of the law divided the precepts into greater and less, and that it was a matter of dispute among them, to which class certain belonged. Some thought that those regarding sacrifice were the greatest; while others more justly considered that which respected the object of worship, and the love of him as entitled to pre-eminence. Comp, Mark xii. 28–34.

42-46, What think ye of the Christ? Or the Messiah. Whose son is he? They readily answer that he was the son of David; but when our Lord quotes the first verse of Ps. cx, and reasons upon it, they could make no reply. I conceive that by the question, If David by the spirit call him Lord, how is he his son? Jesus intimated strongly his claim to a higher character than that of son of David,

Conduct of the Pharisees.

serve, observe and do; but do not ye according 4 to their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind up heavy burdens and hard to be borne, and lay them on the shoulders of men; but they themselves will not move them with 5 their own finger. And all their works they do in order to be seen by men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of 6 their garments, And love the chief place at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And salutations in the markets, and to be 8 led by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called 9 Rabbi; for one is your teacher. ° And call no man upon earth your father; for one is your Father who is in heaven; and all ye are 10 brethren." Nor be ye called leaders; for one It is your Leader, even the Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.

CHAP. XXIII. 8. ° even Christ. Griesbach.


They are faithfully reproved.

for ye neither enter in yourselves, nor suffer those who are entering to enter." Alas for you, 15 Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becometh such, ye make him two-fold more the child of hell than yourselves. Alas 16 for you, ye blind guides, who say, Whosoever strall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath!' Ye fools and 17 cal-blind! for which is greater; the gold, or the temple which sanctifieth the gold? And, 18 'Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is bound by his oath.' Ye fools 19 and blind! for which is greater; the gift, or the altar which sanctifieth the gift? He therefore 20 who sweareth by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And he who sweareth 21 by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him who dwelleth therein. And he who sweareth by 22 heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him who sitteth thereon. Alas for you, Scribes 23 and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and dill and cummin, and omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faithfulness: now these ought ye to have done,

14 "Alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypoerites! for ye devour widows' houses, and make long prayers for a disguise: therefore ye shall 13 receive the greater punishment. But alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men ;

CHAP. XXIII. 2. Sit in the seat of Moses. The Jewish teachers always taught, sitting. The seat is called 'the seat of Moses,' because it was that from which the books of Moses were read and explained for the instruction of the people.

3. All things whatsoever, &c. That is, all that they require, from the books of Moses, or the law of God; for our Lord frequently condemns the doctrines, which the Scribes and Pharisees taught, as well as their unholy and unjust deeds.

4. Bind up heavy burdens, &c. Their traditions added to the law, and which they most rigorously imposed. They would not diminish ought of this kind, though they could without scruple, neglect the weightier matters of the law.

5. Phylacteries, &c. Pieces of parchment on which were written sentences of the law, and which were worn on their foreheads and arms, Deut. vi. 8, and Note. They were thus called, either because they reminded them to keep the law, or else because they supposed, they were a kind of amulet to keep them from harm. The Pharisees wore them of a great breadth.Borders of their, &c. See Introd. Pt. 2. Chap. x. Sect. 7.

6-8. Chief place, &c. To be first seated, to be honoured in public by receiving the title of Rabbi, were the objeets of their ambition. -One is your teacher. Some manuscripts read Master. Our Lord unquestionably meant himself. The last clause, with Campbell, on the authority of many manuscript copies, I have transposed to the end of next verse.

12. Whosoever shall, &c. This shows the design of the preceding re

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

marks; our Lord intending to repress the pride of men, states, that among his disiples the humblest shall be esteemed the greatest.

13. Shut up the kingdom, &c. They did this by their own example, refusing to submit to the doctrine which our Lord taught, John vii. 48, and by their open and avowed opposition to our Lord's claims. They prejudiced the people as much as possible against both the person and doctrine of the Saviour; and at last agreed to excommunicate from the synagogue, any who should believe and confess him to be the Christ.

14. Ye devour widows', &c. I follow Griesbach in this transposition, as it rests on the best authorities. Newcome omits the verse, supposing it interpolated from Mark xii. 40. and some manuscripts omit it. Avarice was the ruling passion of these men, and making long prayers a disguise for it.

15. To make one proselyte, &c. They were eager to persuade men of the truth of their doctrines, and to induce them to become their partizans. They were not less so to induce the heathens to submit to circumcision; and when they did so to inspire them with the greatest hatred against our Lord and his disciples. Thus instead of leading them to repentance, they made them more wicked, and more deserving of punishment.

17. Ye fools and blind. Our Lord had divine knowledge to discern the wickedness of their hearts, and divine authority to reprove it.

18-22. Swear by the altar, &c. These casuists considered that though these were oaths in appearance, yet that they were not in reality so Our Lord justly calls them 'blind guides.'

23. Dill. This, and not anise, is certainly meant by the original term

Hypocrisy of the Pharisees,

24 and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, who strain off a gnat, and swallow a 25 camel. Alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within they are full of 26 extortion and injustice. Thou blind. Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and dish, 27 that their outside may be clean also. Alas for Alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful, but are within full of 28 dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Alas for you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and 30 adorn the sepulchres of the righteous, And

say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in 31 the blood of the prophets.' Wherefore ye bear witness to yourselves, that ye are the sons of 32 those who killed the prophets. Fill ye up then

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXIII. J. Ministers and preachers of righteousness are taught how much they disgrace their holy office, when they impose heavy burdens on others, and spend all their zeal and ardour, in external services, and especially when they do this to be seen of men. Nothing can more incontestibly prove hy

and so all the latin versions have rendered. Undone. As far as the law of Moses required it; for they were bound only to do what this enjoined.

24. Strain off a gnat, &c. That is, to strain off their liquor, lest they should swallow a gnat. The expression is clearly proverbial, and denotes, that while they were scrupulous about trifles, they without scruple practised the greatest sins.

[ocr errors]


26. Make clean the inside, &c. If the inside were clean, if the heart were upright and pure, the outside, the life and conduct would be so too. In the former verse, our Lord states that their cup and dish were filled with rapine, &c.; that is, their repasts were furnished by means of rapine and injustice.

27. Whited sepulchres. They appear to have whited the sepulchres, lest they should touch them aud thereby be defiled.

29-33. Ye build the tombs, &c. Grotius considered these as one sentence; and Doddridge, with Bishop Pearce, regards the 31st as parenthetic. It is usual for the Mahometans to ornament the tombs of their saints; and if they have none, to build them. Such was the custom of the Jews; and Josephus informs us, that Herod repaired in a splendid manner the sepulchre of David.

31. Are the sons of, &c. Ye acknowledge those murderers to be your fathers; and imitate therefore their wickedness, or rather exceed it in destroying me and the prophets whom I shall send! This is the language of great indignation.

35. So that upon you, &c. The national punishment of all the blood

[ocr errors]

Ruin of Jerusalem lamented,

the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye 33 offspring of vipers, how can ye escape the punishment of hell?


Wherefore, behold, I send to you prophets, 34 and wise men, and Scribes; and some of them ye will kill and crucify; and some of them ye .. will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: So that upon you shall 35 come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, [son of Berachiah,] whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily 36 I say to you, that" all these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 37 that killest the prophets, and stonest them who are sent to thee, how often would I have gather-: ed thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings; but ye would not! Behold, your house shall be left by you 38 desolate. For I say to you; Ye shall not see 39 me henceforth, till Blessed be he shall ye say, that cometh in the name of the Lord."


36. Griesbach.

pocrisy, maliciousness, and a heart alienated from God. Such men labour not to be approved of God, but to be approved of men, that by their good opinion they may strengthen their party, and thus be more able to persecute and oppress others. If they make proselytes, it is only for this purpose, that they may instil their own false and perni

shed in the land, because ye take pleasure in the works of your fathers, and imitate them. The words included in brackets are omitted Luke xi. 51, and have probably been interpolated. Who this Zechariah was, is not absolutely certain. Most refer to him whom Joash put to death: 2 Chron, xxiv. 20; others to the Prophet Zech. i. 1; and others to Zechariah the father of the Baptist. I refer it to the first, and consider son of Berachiah,' added by some early Scribe. With Doddridge, I regard it as a proverb, to mean the blood of all the Martyrs from Abel, who was the first, down to Zechariah, who is the last expressly mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures.

37. As a hen gathereth, &c. This beautiful similitude is found, 2 Esdras i. 30. I gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings; but now what shall I do with you? I will cast you out from my face,' Our Lord expresses the design of his repeatedly visiting Jerusalem, and of his instructions given to the people.

38. Your house, &c. That is, the temple in which our Lord was teaching, and Jerusalem, the city in which they dwelt. Campbell renders, ‹ habitation,' and Wakefield, ‘temple.' Our Lord made use of a term which might be applied either to the temple or the city.


39. Till ye shall, &c. These words, from their connexion, clearly refer to the destruction of Jerusalem; and appear to signify, that they who had so lately heard with indignation, the children crying, Hosanna, &c,' should soon be in those circumstances, that they would be glad of a deliverer, to whom they might thus speak, or that many having seen his predictions accomplished, should be converted to him, and adopt the language of the chil

Destruction of the temple,


A. D. 33. The destruction of the temple particularly foretold; the signs of Christ's coming to judgment, and the duty of ull to prepare for it. ./


1 AND Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came near to him to 2 show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "See ye not all these things? verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."



[ocr errors]

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came near to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? and what will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of this state?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many will come assuming my name, each saying, I am the Christ,' and will deceive 6 many. And ye will hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is 7 not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

dren, saying, 'Blessed be he that cometh, &c.' Pearce would render the participle in the past time, Blessed is he who came. Eusebius informs us, that many Jews became christians after the destruction of Jerusalem.

and calamities of the people,

kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in All, these are the beginning 8 many places. of sorrows.

CHAP. XXIV. 2. One stone left upon, &c. This may only refer to the general destruction, without implying that every stone should be actually subverted at one time; yet I think the words contain a prediction that the very foundations of the temple would one day be razed.


3. On the mount of Olives. The foot of this mount extended near to Jerusalem; and on it were the villages of Bethpage and Bethany. The brook Cedron ran in the valley between it and Jerusalem. An eye witness informs us, that from the mount of Olives all Jerusalem may be distinctly seen, especially mount Moriah, the temple and its spacious area;' so that the scene was adapted to the discourse. -This state. Comp. Chap. xii. 32. and Note. 5. Assuming my name. To come in the name of another, most naturally signifies to come by his authority or order. Thus Christ came in the name of the Father, and the Apostles in his name. This cannot be the sense of the words here, but that which I, after Campbell and others, have given.

6. The end is nol yet. That is, of the Jewish state and polity.



"Then will men deliver you up to "affliction," 9 and will kill you; and ye will be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then will many 10 fall off, and will betray one, another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets 11 will arise, and will deceive. many. And be- 12 cause iniquity will abound, the love of many



will become cold. But whosoever endureth to 13 the end, he shall be saved. And these glad 14 tidings of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations; and then will the end come.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

9. Griesbach.

same time to indulge it; how contrary to all sense of propriety! Surelý a day of righteous retribution must come upon all such. Long had God borne with Jerusalem, with her defilements, her cruelty and injustice, but at length the measure of her iniquities was filled up by her unbelief, and persecution of the Saviour! She was destined to become a heap of ruins. Every pretender to religion, will find in the day of trial, that he has deceived himself to his own destruction; his hypocrisy will be exposed, and himself finally condemned.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

14. Glad tidings of, &c. It is most certain that before the destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel had been preached, not only in the Roman Empire, but among remote and distant nations. Comp. Rom. x. 18. Col. i. 6-23.

15. Desolating abomination, &c., Dan. ix. 27., The Roman armies are meaut. They were an abomination to the Jews, because they bore images on their standards.Let him who readeth, &c. Our Lord, or the Evangelist, warns the reader to attend to what Daniel had said, as being a remarkable circumstance. ཤརྩ་ལྷུན་

17. © House top, go down, &c. They had stairs from the roofs of their

False Christs will come.



19 clothes. And alas for them that are with child, 20 and for them that give suck in those days! But

Certainly of these events. the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the 30 Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land mourn; when they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his 31 angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, 21 nor on the sabbath. For then will be great affliction, such as hath not been since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever will 22 be. And unless those days should be shortened no flesh could be preserved; but for the elect's 23 sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man say to you, Lo, here is the Chirst, or he 21 is there;' believe it not. For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and will propose great signs and wonders; so as to deceive, 25 if it were possible, the very elect. Behold, I 26 have foretold you this." Wherefore if men say to you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: or, Behold, he is in the secret cham-rily I say to you, This generation will not pass



"Now learn a parable of the fig-tree: When 32 its branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So likewise, 33 when ye shall see all these things, know that the Son of man is near, even at the doors. Ve- 31


27 bers,' believe them not. For as the lightning away until all these things be accomplished. cometh out of the east, and shineth to the west;|| Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my 35 so will the coming of the Son of man also be. words shall not pass away.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

"But that day and hour none maketh 36 known; no, not the angels of heaven; but the

Immediately after the affliction of those days Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so 37


[ocr errors]

houses, which led into the court, or into the street, without going into the house. See Note on Mark ii. 4. Each is to flee as for his life.

! 20. On the subbath. Women with child, or that gave suck, would be unable to flee, and if this event should occur in winter, in cold or stormy weather, it would retard them; or if on the sabbath, as the Jews did not think it lawful to go more than about seven furlongs on that day: Acts i. 12. 21. Such as hath, &c. These expressions denote the greatness of the calamities which would befal them, and appear to be proverbial, Comp. Exod. -x. 14, Joel ii. 2. Josephus speaks in nearly the san language. All the calamities which ever befel any people, are not comparable to those which befel the Jews.' Newcome limits what is said to the Jews.

22. Those days shortened, &c. If such times were to continue, no flesh or no man of that people or nation could be saved or preserved; but for the elect's sake, those who had believed, and those who should believe hereafter, from among that people, those days were shortened, so that some of the seed of Abraham were preserved to be witnesses of the truth of the gospel, and to be called at last to enjoy its saving blessings, Comp. Rom. xi. 26. Campbell considers the words, 'Unless these days were shortened,' as idiomatical, and renders, if those days should be prolonged.' This is most certainly the sense.

24. False Christs. It is implied in what our Lord said, ver. 5. that he was the Christ or Messiah promised to the Jews; and the same is implied here. Some of those who assumed his name, were apostate christians: 1 John ii. 18, 19,--False prophets, Or teachers. They would pretend to show or do great signs, as Josephus informs us many actually did.—If possible. The words n duyarov, have this sense, Chap xxvi. 39. Rom. xii. 18. Gal. iv. 15. They do not denote a natural, but a moral impossibility, a thing which God would not permit to happen.


27. The coming of the son, &c. This coming respects his executing judgments on the unbelieving Jews; and not his final personal appearance to judge the world. This would be sudden and extensive as the lightning.

28. Carcase is the eagles, &c. As the eagle scents his prey, so will the

Romans, the instruments of his vengeance, overtake the devoted Jews. We have here a proverbial expression applied in allusion to the eagles of the Roman standards. Comp. Job xxxix, 30.

29. Sun shall be darkened, &c. This is the language of prophecy, to denote that the Jewish rulers, their priests and leaders and state would be destroyed. Comp. Isa. xiii. 9—13., where the destruction of Babylon is expressed in similar terms. See also Isa. xxiv. 23; xxxiv. 4; lx. 20. Jer. iv. 23. xv. 9, &c.

30. Sign of the Son of man, &c. The last clause of this verse supports the sense of one manuscript, which refers in heaven to the person of our Lord and not to the sign. The Son of man shall then have ascended to heaven; and by the sign is meant manifest tokens of his coming to execute his word. -Coming in the clouds, &c. Sudden and irresistible destruction is often denoted by God's coming on the clouds of heaven: Ps. xviii. 1-9. xevii. 2, 3; civ. 3. Isa. xix. 1; xxvi. 22; Ixvi. 15. In this view the latter is only exegetical of the former.

31. His angels, &c. The instruments of his providence. Pearce observes, that strong as the language is, it signifies only, that our Lord would gather the believers together for their preservation, wheresoever they might be-From the four winds only denotes from every quarter; and even the stronger expression, from one end of the heavens to the other, in prophetic language must be taken in a limited sense. Comp. Jer. xlix. 36. Ezek. v. 12. Mark xii. 27. Mr. Lightfoot, whom Whitby follows, considers, that by angels here are meant the preachers of the gospel, who should collect together by their labours, a people from among the most distant nations, to be the church of Christ. This is undoubtedly a truth, but I cannot think it to be here taught.

32-35. Heaven and earth, &c. Pearce explains, "That heaven and earth shall sooner pass away and come to nothing, than my words shall;' and Wakefield renders to this purpose. But as it is probable that some great change will be made in the material system, I have adhered to the ambiguity of the text. That generation was not to die off before what our Lord had said

« PreviousContinue »