Page images
PDF
EPUB

34 But the Pharisees said, “He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they * fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

h Matt. xii. 24; Mark iii. 22; Luke xi. 15. i Mark vi. 6; Luke xiii. 22. j Mark vi. 34. • Or, were tired and lay down.

k Num. xxvii. 17.

k

tion ; for when had such a number of future times. The very objection so often miracles, so great and so affectingly bene- repeated, and by the Pharisees generally ficent, been performed in a few hours ? — urged, admitted the facts of the miracles. the curing of the profluvious woman, the It followed also from the very view of the raising the daughter of Jairus to life, the case they so perversely took, that the restoration of sight to two blind men, and conduct of Christ in performing his mighty the ejection of an evil spirit, in the course works, and the nature of the works them. of one. afternoon! To which Jesus im- selves, were subjected to the severest mediately added many more; for it is scrutiny of his fiercest enemies, who yet added, he went about all their cities were obliged to admit a supernatural teaching, 8-c., and healing every sickness cause, though they wickedly brought in and every disease among the people.the agency of Satan. Unmoved by these

Verse 34. He casteth out devils through reproaches, this base ingratitude of rethe prince of the devils.-. This was said turning evil for good, our blessed Lord upon the cure of the dumb demoniac just makes his second tour of Galilee, preaching mentioned, from which it would appear 'the gospel of the kingdom, and heal. that the Pharisees of Capernaum first in- ing every manner of sickness ;” thus, says vented this hypothesis, to excuse their Bishop Horne, “ leaving behind him, unbelief, and pervert the people ; or, ac- wherever he went, the warmth of a fervent cording to others, the whole case may charity, the light of evangelical truth, and have been deliberated upon by the Pha- the fragrance of a good report of something risees of Jerusalem, and the sect every done for the benefit of man and the glory where have been instructed to apply this of God.” solution to those instances of clear and un- Verse 36. He was moved with compassion equivocal miracles, the occurrence of on them.—This is perhaps better than which could not be denied. It will be Campbell's translation, which is simply seen in the sequel how our Lord refuted " he had compassion on them,” though this blasphemy against the Spirit of God. there is great truth in his remark, “that Here it is sufficient to remark, that those critics often hunt after imaginary emphawho were bent upon rejecting Christ and sis, through the obscure mazes of etymohis doctrine were obliged either to give logy.” The word comes from otlayxor, up their opposition, or to take refuge in used in the New Testament only in the sone theory, however absurd, to account plural, ta otlayxva, which signifies the for the miraculous evidences of it. This chief intestines, the heart, liver, &c.; and is the constant resort of unyielding pride as the heart was considered the seat of and determined infidelity to this day. Yet the kind affections, so the word is used even this was overruled for the benefit of for compassion, love, mercy. It is, how.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, 'The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

1 Luke x. 2.

ever, employed when no particular em- the labourers are few; pray ye therefore, 8:c. phasis is intended; so that we are to col. The numerous ears of corn standing thick lect the degree of the emotion rather in the fields represent the multitudes desfrom the circumstances of the case or in titute of instruction, yet ripe for it; and some adjunct, than from etymology. Here the labourers, epyalai, the reapers, are diliit is evident that our Lord was influenced gent ministers who gather in the harby a strong emotion of compassion, as vest into the garner of the church : the the whole passage shows. He viewed Lord of the harvest is God himself, who the multitudes that followed him as sheep alone has the power to send forth such neglected by their shepherds, the false labourers; to displace them when remiss and rain and worldly Jewish teachers, and to send others; and without whose and therefore eracluueroi, or as Griesbach authority and commission every man is reads, coKUAJEVOI, exhausted by fruitless wan- but a busy and mischievous intruder : derings in search of food, and eppijuevol, and the sending forth the labourers indiscattered, and therefore exposed to every cates the constraining “necessity” which danger. In these figurative expressions he is laid upon them to urge them to their manifestly refers to the spiritual condition task ; for though the word is sometimes of these eager multitudes, not to their being used, as John x. 4, with no idea of cofaint and dispersed through the fatigue of action, yet it has usually a strong sense, following him, an interpretation which and may justify some of our earlier verdestroys all the force of the context. The sions, which render it that he will body of the people had been kept in THRUST forth labourers into his harvest ;" ignorance, or had only been taught great that is, by his powerful influence upon errors ; yet they had hung upon his lips, them, awakening their zeal and inflaming heard with interest and astonishment his their charity. Authority and efficacy are heavenly doctrine, and glorified God on thus implied on the part of the master; a account of his miraculous works, instead deep sense of the importance of the work of ascribing them like the Pharisees to and of their unworthiness and unfitness Satanic agency. Here then was a hopeful for it, on the part of the servants. It is prospect among a population utterly neg- under such moving views that we are lected by their pretended shepherds, faint- taught still to regard the destitute poring for want of true spiritual food, and tions of mankind; and for the increase of exposed to danger because “ no man cared true labourers we ought always to be difor their souls." These were the consi. recting our prayers to the “Lord of the derations which awoke the strong and harvest,” recognising his authority, but melting compassions of the Son of God; also appealing to his merciful purposes as and he turns therefore to his disciples, and to our race at large. Very strikingly conin equally beautiful and impressive figura- nected are this exhortation of our blessed tive language, drawn from another source, Lord, and his own proceeding, in the addresses them, and engages their prayers in solemn appointment of his apostles, as their behalf: the harvest truly is plenteous, but recorded in the next chapter.

CHAPTER X. i Christ sendeth out his twelve apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles,

5 giveth them their charge, teacheth them, 16 comforteth them against persecutions : 40 and promiseth a blessing to those that receive them.

1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he

power * against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

gave them

[blocks in formation]

were

CHAPTER X. Verse 1. Twelve dis- of such speculations is to teach us the ciples.—They had before followed him necessity of interpreting scripture with under the character of disciples; but sobriety ; for the whole charm of such

now expressly made APOSTLES. discoveries of mysteries in the number The word signifies a messenger, any one twelve is dissipated when we recollect sent by another for any purpose whatever. that in fact, after St. Paul was called, the In Herodotus it signifies a herald ; and in number of the apostles of equal rank and a still higher sense it is used, like the He- dignity, by whom the foundations of the brew 7715w, for a legate or ambassador. It Christian Church was laid was not tuelre, is a word of dignity, but only according to but thirteen. If any reason at all can be the character of the sender, the message, assigned for the number of twelve being and the person sent. In the highest sense first fixed upon, it appears to have been it is applied to Christ himself, who is the with reference to their being first sent only “ Apostle and High Priest of our profes- to “ the lost sheep of the house of Israci,'' sion ;” in the next degree it is given to to prepare a spiritual Israel for Christ, the twelve apostles of Christ, to whom before the formal calling of the Gentiles. St. Paul was afterwards added; then, in Their number was therefore that of the 2 Cor. viii. 23, Titus and other brethren twelve tribes, who were mingled in one are called “apostles of the churches,” population after the return from the capwhere it is rendered “messengers ” in tivity, the genealogies of Levi and Judah our

translation. “The apostles of only being preserved with much care with Christ,” and “the apostles of the Lamb,” reference to the priesthood and the Mes. are phrases which seem not to have been siah. But when the Gentiles were to be used but with reference to“ THE TWELVE” called, one was added to the number, not and St. Paul. Some, indeed, think to exclude the rest from ministering to that the title was, in its higher sense, the Gentiles, but to give a strong sanction applied also to Barnabas and other dis- to the doctrine of the equality of believing tinguished founders of the Christian Gentiles and believing Jews, with which

but this does not so clearly appear. St. Paul was specially charged. Many fancies have been built upon the He gave

power, &c.—This is the number of apostles being limited to grand distinction between the miraculous twelve, and allusions have been found in powers of Christ and those of his apos. the circumstance to the twelve patriarchs, tles. The one was inherent in himself, the twelve spies, the twelve stones in the other was expressly communicated by Aaron's breast-plate, the twelve foun- him, and was never employed but as kis tains found by the Israelites in the wilder- power, not as theirs who exercised it. The ness, the twelve oxen which supported distinction, before noticed, will bere again Solomon's molten laver, &c. &c., for all be remarked between “CASTING OUT UBof which plausible or absurd reasons have clean spirits, and healing all manner of been given; but the best use to be made sickness ;” so that possession is excluded

them

faith;

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican ; James the son of Alphæus, and Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus ;

4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

expressly from the class of sicknesses and Verse 3. James the son of Alphæus.—To diseases.

distinguish him from James the brother Verse 2. Now the names of the twelve of John, both the sons of Zebedce. Alapostles.—The order in which some of pheus is from Yo3n, which is pronounced these became disciples may be thus col. Alpha, or Cleophi ; hence this Alpheus is lected from the different Gospels. An- called Cleopas, Luke xxiv. 18. drew, Peter's brother, and John, having Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus. been disciples of the Baptist, first joined -Judas, or Jude, was called Lebbeus, themselves to Christ; then Andrew from Lebba, a town in Galilee, to distinfetched his brother Peter, and spent the guish him from Judas Iscariot. Judas, rest of the day with our Lord. The next in Syriac, is Thaddai. day Philip was called, and Nathanael, ge- Verse 4. Simon the Canaanite.- From nerally supposed to be Bartholomew. the Hebrew wyp, zeal, whence St. Luke But these returned to their occupations, calls him, by interpretation, “Simon and when the call was given which im. Zelotes ;" a name given to him, as some plied that they were to give up themselves thought, for his zeal and piety, but wholly to be trained to the ministration others, from his having belonged to a of his doctrine, Peter was first called, (see sect called Zealots, because of their zeal Lukev.3—10,) then James and John, and for the law, and their instant execution probably Andrew at the same time. The of it, without waiting for authority. This call of Matthew is also distinctly related; was called “the judgment of zeal.” But but of the special calling of the others we it is doubtful whether this sect appeared have no account, save that the whole

so long before the siege of Jerusalem by twelve are here enumerated together. The the Romans, when their fanatical zeal is catalogues are not formed with reference specially recorded by Josephus.

Certo rank and dignity, but to order only; tainly he was not a Canaanite, in the for if rank had been implied, the catalogues sense of being a descendant of Canaan. would have exactly agreed in the Gospels Judas Iscariot.-The town of Carioth, and the Acts; yet Peter is in them all in Judah, is the most probable derivation named first, and Judas Iscariot last ; of the cognomen of the traitor. Peter as having been, in fact, first called Men more influential for their rank, to the office of the ministry, as noticed and more eminent for learning, our Lord above, whilst Judas is very naturally put might have called. Centurions and rulers last as the traitor, unless indeed he was of synagogues had believed on him, and the last called.

Nicodemus, a Jewish doctor, at an early Peter.–To Simon the name of Peter period, became his disciple ; but the was given, in Syriac Cephos, in Greek [el- whole work was to be manifestly of God, pos, from welpa a stone, the first main stone and it was to be demonstrated as much laid upon the foundation corner-stone, above the reach of human wisdom to which is Christ himself, who is also the plan, as

human influence to promote. top corner-stone, or "head of the corner.” “ Plain integrity,” says one very justly,

5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not :

success.

“and honest simplicity, were the qualifi- not their fancied superiority, were implied cations which Christ sought ; and he in it. Christ, indeed, was sent first and found them more easily in the fishing principally to the Jews, and so were his vessels of the Sea of Galilee, than in the apostles; and the reason was obvious. banqueting -rooms or splendid houses on Christianity was to be built upon the the shore.” In fact, all that was in the foundation of the Old Testament, as the first instance wanted was men of charac- same dispensation perfected. No other ter, to state facts; men of simplicity, to re- people had been placed in such a course port the doctrines they had been taught, of training to receive it ; and either the and as they had been delivered to them; Jews, who held the prophecies of this and men of holy courage, willing to suf- new dispensation, and certain principles fer and to die for the truth. When lan- common both to the new and to the old, guages were wanted, they received them must be convinced of the truth of Christ's by special gift; and when they were call- claims and doctrines, or be reasonably ed to dispute, “a mouth and wisdom” silenced by appeals to what they held were given to them for the occasion. Thus sacred, before Christianity could be prothey were kept immediately dependent posed to any distant nation with hope of upon their Master, even after he had as

The kind affection of our Lord cended to heaven, unbiassed by the spe- to his country-for among his other ilculative taste which all the learning of lustrious human virtues he has shown us that day tended to form ; and they were what a pure and ardent patriotism really thereby the fitter channels through which is—would impel him to seek first the to convey the water of life in the same salvation of his own people ; but the depurity with which it had issued from the sign was higher than this. The gospel FOUNTAIN itself. One, indeed, and but system had been yet but imperfectly anone, proved false ; but, happily for the nounced, and indeed was incomplete, as world, he betrayed his Master before he wanting the facts of the great sacrifice, could betray his cause, to the establish- the resurrection, the ascension, and the ment of which his treachery was made priesthood of its Founder, by all which, signally subservient.

many important prophecies were yet to Verse 5. Way of the Gentiles, &c.— be accomplished; and the time, there. That the apostles on this mission were fore, was not come for its being proforbidden to go to Gentile nations or pounded to Gentile nations, who did not among the Samaritans, in deference to admit the preliminary and preparatory the prejudices of the Jews, or in the dispensation of the Old Testament. Yet least degree to give sanction to their no- before Christianity received its perfect tions of superiority over the heathens or form, and was stamped by the hand of semi-heathens with whom they were sur- its divine Author with its final seal, an rounded, is a very unfounded notion, opportunity for effecting great good preand is wholly inconsistent with that spi- sented itself among the Jews. John the rit of charity and kindness to the whole Baptist had, by his preaching, produced world which so often breaks forth in the a great impression upon the people, and discourses of our Lord himself. This led them to expect the immediate appearmission of the twelve, as appears by the ance of Messiah : now, the office of the foregoing chapter, proceeded from Christ's apostles, to be sent forth in different dideeply excited compassion for the neglected rections, was to declare that Jesus was and perishing condition of the Jewish peo- that Messiah ; to work miracles in his ple; so that their degradation and misery, name, in order to prove it; to relate his

« PreviousContinue »