Page images
PDF
EPUB

20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

21 * And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

k Luke xxi. 16.

judices, but subtle objections. They upon the promise of his Master, both to might naturally therefore be anxious, lest, aid his Thoughts, and influence his in such circumstances, through fear, they spirit and manner; and let ministers also might lose their self-possession, and have the same holy confidence in divine through hurry of spirit injure both the help in their great though regular employtruth and themselves. The promise of ment of Preaching the gospel. Nor did our Lord was therefore designed to remove it follow from this promise, that the aposall anxiety in this respect. It assured tles were not previously to study their rethem of special assistance, both as to ligion, or to revolve in their minds the What and how they should speak, which points on which they might be interrotwo particulars comprehend everything in gated : they were not to be careless as to a suitable and truly eloquent discourse. the matter, but simply not anxious and The matter and the manner both were to distracted; for that is the import of un be under divine suggestion ; but the regluvnorte, the words used. This also is latter is not to be understood of the applicable to the ordinary exercise of the graces of delivery, but of “ the spirit and ministry. After all the previous thought powerof their addresses. Such is the which may have been employed, the de. import of the promise made to the apos- pendence, as to the statement of truth in tles ; but it contains no more than all a proper and influential manner, is to be true Christians in all ages may expect, placed upon Christ; and if prayer for when called upon in any way to bear their divine aid means anything, that aid must testimony to the truth; for new revela- be similar to the assistance here promised tions are not at all intended in the text, to the apostles when they had to give and in fact do not appear to have been a reason of the hope within thein” before ever made to the first preachers in such governors and kings.

Like then, too, circumstances. What is promised is the all true ministers of Christ are authorized power to give a clear, convincing, ener- to dismiss distracting anxiety, as to what getic statement of what had been already or how they shall speak, and to make revealed; an assistance which was their preaching “ a work of faith,” as well suggest the fittest topics, and the most a labour of love." Those who choose appropriate manner of stating them. Why to write their sermons at full length, then should we be told, that other Chris- and read or repeat them from memory, tians have no authority to look up to of course, give up all claim in this proChrist their Master with the same con- mise. fidence? Those who have descanted on Verse 20. For it is not you that speak, the fanaticism of looking for new revela- 8:0.—You alone do not speak; or, you tions on the authority of this text, do not speak not without special and direct asthemselves understand its meaning, which sistance; but the Spirit of your Father implies, not the revelation of new truth, speaketh in you, by ordering your thoughts, but the power of stating effectually that

and giving you

utterance." And He which had been communicated. Let the who “ made man's mouth” to be his private Christian, then, when placed in instrument, is still “ with the mouth” difficult circumstances, and yet is called of his faithful servants to this day. upon to speak concerning his religion, rely Verse 21. Children shall rise up. That

to

as

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: 'but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

1 Mark xiii. 13.

is, if the term be taken forensically, as doomed. “Be thou faithful unto death, witnesses in the courts in which their be- and I will give thee a crown of life,” may lieving parents shall be prosecuted; but be taken as our Lord's own comment upon it need not be so restricted. The words these words, in his message to one of the intimate that religious hatred should sever persecuted churches of Asia Minor The the tenderest bonds of natural affection, practice of many commentators to refer so and overcome and pervert the strongest many of the allusions in the discourses of instincts of human nature. This declara- John the Baptist, and those of our Lord, tion is to be regarded in the light of a to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the prediction which, in many subsequent deliverance of the Christians, has deages, has been most fully accomplished; stroyed the force of many of the most and who but He that “ knew what was in impressive passages in both. This misman,” and whose omniscient eye could application, in many instances, is absurd ; search the depths of the future, could in others it corrupts the sense of scriphave so accurately traced this repulsive ture, and destroys its spirituality. In the feature in the dark history of religious present instance, the promise, that he that persecutions ? The experience of past endureth to the end shall be saved, can have ages afforded little aid to conjecture here. no important meaning when considered That persecution“ for righteousness' as a part of a discourse which contains cake,” in which the highest degree of solemn directions to the apostles, as to truth and holiness uniformly provoked the exercise of their ministry to the end the most diabolical enmity, arising from of their life, and through them to all an unmixed hatred of truth and holiness ministers. What appositeness to this themselves, which, since Christianity was great design would there have been in first introduced into our world, has been saying, “ He that continues a Christian practised in almost every age and place, until Jerusalem is besieged by the Roboth by Jews, Pagans, and hypocritical mans, shall escape being shut up within Christians, had no parallel in the ancient its walls ?” a danger to which not more world. To foresee this extraordinary than one or two, if any, of the apostles moral phenomenon, and to foretel it, were exposed, they being for the most was, in the proper sense, to utter a part absent from Judea ; but, if otherprophecy, every

part of which has wise, has no correspondence with the been exactly and a thousand times exem- labours, sufferings, and rewards of the plified.

faithful, enduring minister of Christ, as Verse 22. Endureth to the end, &c.- set forth in other passages, which connect Some have explained the end, to mean the them all with the interests of the soul, time of the destruction of Jerusalem; and and the solemnities and glories of the salration here promised to the endur- eternity. These remarks are made to ing, to be deliverance from the calamities guard the reader against those false and which should befal the Jews; but this is generally debasing interpretations of scriptoo limited and secular an interpretation. ture, which often occur even among The end is the termination of the sufferings learned commentators, both domestic and and trials of each individual, which would foreign, who, not being spiritual men not, however, in all its forms cease but themselves, or prone largely to sacrifice with the life of the faithful disciple; and the the sense of particular passages to some salvation is deliverance from eternal wrath, favourite theory or principle of interpreto which cvery one who should be ashamed tation, greatly mislead the inattentive and of confessing Christ would be inevitably incautious.

23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

24 m The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, * Or, end, or, finish.

m Luke vi. 40; John xiii. 16.

Verse 23. Ye shall not have gone over work until the resurrection of Christ, exthe cities, &c.—Ou un TEACONTE Tas noders, cept only for a very short time, after ye shall not end or finish the cities, says the which they returned and remained with margin, that is, by visiting them. The Christ. If, therefore, the work assigned meaning is, “ Ye shall not have accom- them, of visiting all the cities of Israel, plished your mission to the cities of was subsequent to the resurrection and Israel, till the Son of Man be come ;” or, ascension, then the coming of “the Son Ye shall scarcely have conveyed to all of Man" must be subsequent to that those cities the tidings of salvation before event also, and can only be referred to the Son of Man come.” The coming of his coming to judge and destroy the nathe Son of Man signifies his awful mani- tion. Some render tenev, to instruct; festation as the Judge of the Jewish but this is far-fetched; and there is no nation, by the ever-memorable and fatal necessity for departing from the common invasion of the Romans, and the entire rendering : for the objection, that, as consequent subversion of their polity; many years elapsed before the destrucwhich invisible coming of his he several tion of Jerusalem, there could be no such times refers to in his prophecies, as the scarcity of time to go over the cities of type of his final advent as the Judge of Israel as seems to be intimated; that the world. This is another proof that the would be true, if nothing more had been address here made to the apostles referred ireant than paying a hasty visit to each; also to their future ministry after his re- but our Lord refers to the serious and surrection, and that of his other com- laborious efforts of his apostles and other missioned servants; and the object of disciples to bring the Jews to embrace the it was to quicken them to a zealous gospel, in order that they might escape itinerancy through all the cities of Israel, the threatened judgments of God; and by intiinating that the judgment of that forty years was but a short time for them wretched people could not long be de- to pursue such labours amidst prejudice, layed. They had a great work to do, and calumny, and persecution, so as to disbut little space to do it in. Judgment charge their consciences as to erery city, was at the door in its most awful forms, and town, and village of Judea, to render and the ministers of salvation were there- all inexcusable, and to train up, out of so fore to employ every effort in plucking as corrupt a mass, those numerous though many out of the fire as possible. There small Hebrew churches, which by their was no time to be lost in disputing with instrumentality were in fact raised up. the incorrigibly obstinate ; “ when, there- Verse 24. The disciple is not abore his fore, they persecute you in one city, flee to master, &c.—The consideration of the huanother,” and compass the length and miliations, persecutions, and reproaches breadth of a devoted land in order to save of our blessed Lord, will always greatly

To refer this coming of the Son of tend to sustain the patience of the suffer. Man to his resurrection or ascension, has no ing disciples. We can only successfully warrant from any similar use of the phrase, run the race of difficulty, as the race of and, in fact, wholly obscures the passage; duty, by “looking unto Jesus.” for the apostles were not employed in this Verse 25. Beelzebub.Our translators

some.

and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household ?

26 Fear them not therefore : " for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed ; and hid, that shall not be known.

n Mark iv. 22; Luke viii. 17 ; xii. 2.

this was

a

رو

have followed the Vulgate in writing this the name of you bya, Baal Shemin, name Beelzebub, instead of Beelzebul, Lord of the heavens. Besides this, the which is undoubtedly the true reading. name of Beelzebub or Beelzebul was not Baalzebub was an Ekronite or Philistine given to our Lord with reference to these idol 2721 5y), mentioned 2 Kings, i. 2, idols at all, but to Satan himself. It was and this in Greek is written Beerselova, not, therefore, so much a name of jeering Beelzebul, the B being changed into 1, be- contempt as of deep malignant blasphecause no word in Greek in found to end my. They called him, in fact, a devil, in B. The same idol is meant by a chief devil, or, as when speaking out each appellation; and as

fully on another occasion, “ Thou hast a chief deity among the pagan nations DEVIL, and art mad.” which surrounded the Jews, and as the Verse 26. There is nothing corered, &c.— latter believed all the false deities of the As our Lord had been just referring to the heathens to be evil spirits, the name was gross and malicious slanders with which transferred to Satan, and commonly used his disciples should be assailed, and as he as a name for “the prince of devils.” Baal- here fortifies their minds against the fear of zebub signifies the Lord of flies, this deity calumniators, it is most natural to refer being probably the object of special trust these words to that ultimate justification for deliverance from hornets, locusts, and of their characters and motives which diother winged insects, the scourge of those vine Providence would bring about; so countries; but with the Jews of our that these words also have a prophetic Lord's time it was merely employed as character. For a time obloquy “covered” one of the names of Satan. The notion and “hid” the faith, the charity, and of Lightfoot that Baalzebub was altered the purity of the first preachers of the by the Jews into Beelzebul, from 5127 gospel ; and in place of these virtues the Zebul, DUNG, in order to express their worst motives were attributed to them. contempt of this and other idols invented They were regarded “as the filth and offby them, and that it was in this con- scouring of all things, and not fit to live,” temptuous sense that it was applied to men that turned the world upside our Lord by the Pharisees, appears to be down,' pestilent fellows, and movers no better than an ingenious conjecture; of sedition ; but what was thus covered for the Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic ver- and hid has been revealed.

How truly sions agree with the Vulgate, which indi- has “ the righteousness” of these men, cates that the oriental name was Beelze- who laid character as well as life upon bub. If Beelzebul be the same as Beel- the altar of sacrifice,“ been brought forth zebub, the change in the final letter when as brightness, and their judgment as the expressed in Greek, is sufficiently account- noon-day!” What honours, true and ed for above ; and if Beelzebul were a grateful honours, have been for ages different deity from Beelzebub, the word rendered to the apostles, evangelists, and may mean the Lord of heaven, or the ce- prophets of primitive Christianity, whilst lestial habitation, 3121, Zebul having that the names of their revilers have perished signification : and this was probably the in the dust, or been preserved only on same deity whom the Phenicians, neigh- the records of infamy! And the hallowed bours of the Ekronites, worshipped under fame of these heroic men still extends ;

ور

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. .

28 ° And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

o Luke xii. 4.

common

new nations every year learn their history, continued to be read in that language; read their writings, derive life and salva- but that its sense might be conveyed to tion from the truth for which they suffered the people, an interpreter, called Targuand died; and pronounce, and to the end mista, was attached to every synagogue, of time shall pronounce, with admiration, into whose ear the doctor in a soft voice affection, and the joyful hope of seeing read the Hebrew text, and the interpreter them in person, these names once cast pronounced it aloud in the out as evil, and which were joyfully sur- dialect. The Jewish doctors too emrendered to be a “proverb and a bye- ployed interpreters, from notions of word” for the sake of Christ, and for dignity, into whose ear they whispered the salvation of the world. Thus also their instructions in the Hebrew tongue ; has constancy in suffering in a righteous and they declared them to the multitude in cause been often since their day rewarded; their own dialect. But our Lord gives and those great imitators of apostolic stronger emphasis to the open and earnest zeal and patience, by whose efforts fallen publication of the truths he should pritruth has so often been raised up in the vately teach his disciples, by enjoining that church, and the kingdom of darkness they should preach them upon the house tops. successfully assailed, and who long were The Jewish houses had flat roofs, and so objects of popular abuse, or the hatred of also had their public buildings, from proud persecutors, have either outlived which proclamations were made to the every calumny, or left a name, the repu- people. The publication of the gospel is tation of which God himself has so cared therefore to be a PUBLIC OFFICIAL PROfor, as to cause it to be embalmed in the

CLAMATION to all ranks of people. This grateful homage of succeeding genera- custom appears to explain the words of tions.

Christ better than that of sounding a Verse 27. What I tell you in darkness. trumpet from the roof by the minister of – This duty is urged by the preceding the synagogue to announce the approach consideration : if God will take care of of the sabbath. the interest and reputation of those who Verse 28. Are not able to kill the soul.suffer reproach for the sake of Christ, let T'hus our Lord at once declares the soul's this animate you to the great duty of immortality, and shows how limited is the openly and fearlessly proclaiming the power of tyrannous persecutors : their gospel. Darkness here means privacy; for malignant arm reaches not the soul; it can to his disciples alone, partially before, neither destroy its peace here, nor its and especially after, his resurrection, our happy existence hereafter. This text also Lord opened the full and perfect system furnishes a decisive argument in favour of his religion; but not for themselves of the conscious existence of the soul in a only, for they were thus made “stewards,” separate state. For, not to urge that we dispensers, “ of the mysteries of God.” cannot conceive of the existence of the

What ye hear in the ear, 8-c.—This al- soul at all without consciousness; yet, if lusion is to a practice in the Jewish syna- by the death of the body it were deprived gogues. After the return from the cap- of perception and thought, of activity and tivity the pure Hebrew was no longer the enjoyment, though all these should be vernacular tongue of the Jews, yet the law restored at the last day, it would be as

« PreviousContinue »