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“ thee, “Friend, go up higher:".
The Epistle. 2 Cor. iv. I.
in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully ; but by
manifestation of the truth comSaint Matthew the Apostle.
mending ourselves to every man's The Collect.
conscience in the sight of God. O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy But if(a) our Gospel be hid, it 3. blessed Son didst call Matthew is hid to them that are lost : in 4. from the receipt of custom, to be
whom the God of this world hath an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant blinded the minds of them which us grace to forsake all covetous believe not, lest the light of the desires and inordinate love of glorious Gospel of Christ, who is riches, and to follow the same the image of God, should shine thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth unto them. For we preach not 5. and reigneth with thee and the ourselves (6), but Christ Jesus the Holy Ghost, one God, world Lord; and ourselves your servants without end. Amen.
for Jesus' sake. For God, who 6.
(1) " Humbleth,” &c. Humility is one of the passive virtues strongly recommended both in the Old and New Testa
pel dispensation : he calls it, in the pre-
" the ministration of condemnation.”
i.e. perhaps, in return for the great mercy
ledgment for it.
are a decisive proof of his conviction and
doubts his sincerity. Lord Lyttelton considers St. Paul's conduct alone as suf. ficient to prove the truth of the Christian religion. See Lord Lyttelton on the conversion of St. Paul ; a work well worth reading!
(z) « Renounced,” &c. i.e. perhaps, v.2. abstaining from all sin, using no deceit to advance Christianity, and having no object in view but man's happiness and God's glory. It is a strong argument of the sincere conviction of the apostles, that they could have had no object of their own in preaching the gospel. It led to no temporal rewards, and exposed them to great dangers and persecutions.
(a) “ If,” &c. Sin is elsewhere no- v.3. ticed as the great obstacle to belief. Not that the evidence is not abundantly sufficient, but that sin either obstructs examination, or perverts the judgment. St. John says, John iii
. 19. “ Light is come into " the world, and men loved darkness « rather than light, because their deeds
were evil. For every one that doeth
reproved.” Post, John xv. 21.
commanded the light (c) to shine unto them, “ They that 1 out of darkness, hath shined in “ whole (b) need not a physicia our hearts, to give the light of " but they that are sick. B the knowledge of the glory of God go ye and learn what th in the face (d) of Jesus Christ. “ meaneth, “ I will have merc
“ and not sacrifice(i):" for I a The Gospel. Matt. ix. 9. “ not come to call the righteou And as Jesus passed forth from
6 but sinners to repentance." thence, he saw a man, named Matthew (e), sitting at the receipt (f) of custom: and he saith Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity. unto him, “ Follow me.” And
The Collect. 10. he arose, and followed him, And
LORD, we beseech thee, gras it came to pass, as Jesus sat at
thy people grace to withstand th meat in the house (8), behold, temptations of the world, th many publicans and sinners came
flesh, and the devil; and wit and sat down with him and his
pure hearts and minds to follo II. disciples. And when the Pharisees
thee the only God, through Jesu saw it, they said unto his disciples, Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ Why eateth your master with 12. “ publicans and sinners ?” But The Epistle. Cor. i. 4.
when Jesus heard that, he said I THANK my God always of
views of our own.
Not seeking glory, or honour, or power, or profit, or any
thing for ourselves. 0.6. (c) “ The light,"' &c. referring to
his command at the creation, “ Let
“ there be light.” Gen. i. 3.
posed to allude to what is mentioned of
(c) “ Matthew," i.e. St. Matthew the
was what they called a publican, that is
(8) “ The house," j.e. Matthew's According to Luke v. 29. he made a great “ feast in his own house, and there
was a great company of publicans and “ of others that sat down with him."
(b) “ They that be whole," &c. So my object is to assist where my assistance is most wanted : to relieve those who most require relief. I associate with them, not because their practices and principles are acceptable to me, but that I may cor. rect those practices and principles.
(i) “ Mercy and not sacrifice," from Hos. vi. 6. “ Mercy rather than sacri
. “ fice,” that love of God which is shewn in acts of benevolence, &c. to man, rather than that which is shewn in ceremonial acts of worship to God: that mercy which will reform sinners, rather than that outward ceremonial attention to God's commands, which would keep us
The substance, rather than the appearance. The im. portant part of bringing a sinner to God, rather than the external shew of respect to God. Our Saviour referred to this same passage, when the Pharisees cen. sured his
disciples for plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath-day to satisfy their hunger. Matt. xii. 7.
from their company.
your behalf, for the grace of which was a lawyer, asked him a
God (k) which is given you by question, teinpting him, and say5. Jesus Christ; that in every thing ing, “ Master, which is the great 36.
ye are enriched by him, in all commandment in the law ?”
utterance, and in all knowledge; Jesus said unto him, “ Thou 37. 6. even as the testimony of Christ “shalt love (c) the Lord thy God 7. was confirmed in you: so that ye “ with all thy heart, and with all
come behind in no gift (1); wait- “ thy soul, and with all thy mind.
ing for the coming (m) of our “ This is the first and great com- 38. 8. Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also mandment. And the second is 39.
confirm you unto the end, that “ like unto it, Thou shalt love thy
two commandments hang (P)
“ all the law and the prophets." The Gospel. Matt. xxii. 34. While the Pharisees were gathered 41. When the Pharisees had heard together, Jesus asked them, say, that Jesus had put the Sadduceesing,
ing, “ What think ye of Christ? 42. to silence (n), they were gathered - whose son (9) is he?” They 35. together. Then one of them,
Then one of them, say unto him,“The son of David.”
(k) “ Grace of God.” The gifts of the Spirit, with which they were endowed (as explained in verse 5.) “ in all utter
“ ance and knowledge," &c. 8.7
(1) " In no gift." How continually do we meet with passages which have a tendency to shew that Christianity had the testimony of God? In this epistle, 1 Cor. xii. 9; 10. St. Paul enumerates amongst the gifts of the Spirit, that of healing, of working miracles, of divers kind of tongues, of interpreting tongues, &c. Here he tells them that “ they “ come behind in no gift." Could he have said this if they had not had these gifts ? and how would they have treated him and his epistle had the assertion been false? But if they had these gifts, they were the attestation of God that the Christian cause had his sanction, that its
pretensions were just. V. 7.
(m) “The coming," i.e. the period so often referred to as the “ coming," or “ day of the Lord.” The time when signal vengeance was to be taken upon the great opposers of Christianity, the unbelieving Jews. See ante 25. note on
Rom. xiii. 11. .34
(n) “ To silence,” by establishing that important truth, “the resurrection of the " dead.”
(6) “ Thou shalt love,” &c. The first 39. passage is a quotation from Deut. vi. 5. the
second from Levit. xix. 18. See ante 194.
The lawyer who put the question to our
swering said, Thou shalt love the Lord
(0) “ Hang,” &c. It is to one or the v.40. other of these two great points, the love of God or the love of the man, that whatever is contained in the writings of Moses and the Prophets mainly tends. The advancement of one or the other of these great duties is their chief object; and it raises a strong presumption in favour of Chrisianity, that these are its leading views. If there were no external evidence to prove that the religion came from God, its character, in aiming principally, if not altogether, at these ob. jects affords strong internal evidence of its divine original, that it proceeded from God, not from man. Ante 197. note on Gal. v. 22. and ante 179.
(9) “ Whose son," i. e. of what line. v. 43.
43. He saith unto them, “ How then derful order; Mercifully grant
“ doth David in spirit(r) call him that as thy holy Angels alway do 44. “ Lord? saying, “ The Lord (s) thee service in heaven; so by thy
“ said unto my Lord, Sit thou on appointment they may succoui my right hand, till í make thine
and defend us on earth, through 45. enemies thy footstool.” If Da- Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
6 vid then call him Lord, how is 46. " he his son ?” And no man
For the Epistle. Rev. xii. 7. (*) was able to answer him a word;
There was war in heaven (u) neither durst any man, from that
Michael and his angels(x) fough day forth, ask him any more
against the dragon; and the dra. questions.
gon fought and his angels (y) and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in
heaven. And the great dragon (z) Saint Michael and all Angels.
was cast out, that old serpent, The Collect.
called the Devil, and Satan, which O EVERLASTING God, who hast deceiveth the whole world : he ordained and constituted the ser- was cast out into the earth (a), vices of Angels and men in a won- and his angels were cast out with
v. 43. (r) “ In spirit,” i. e. when under the
influence of inspiration.
() “ The Lord," &c. This is the first verse of Psalm cx.
(t) This passage is by some writers considered as figurative or allegorical, representing the struggle the primitive Christians had in overcoming the temptations of sin and the allurements of the world; others think it historical, alluding to the downfall of one of the first great opposers of Christianity, Simon Magus, who perished about twenty years before the Book of the Revelations was written; a third supposition is, that it is prophetical, alluding to the strong contests which would occur between the Chris. tians and the Heathen powers, and
the ultimate triumphs of Christianity. The latter seems best to correspond with the character of the Book of Revelations. From the part of the Revelations in which it occurs, it seems to refer to the times of Constantine, about A.D. 311, when, after severe persecutions against the Christians, and strong contests for the throne of Rome, Constantine publicly professed Christianity, and became Em. peror of Rome. The Christians were repeatedly persecuted by the Roman Emperors, and in those persecutions many thousands of them lost their lives. At length Constantine the Great pub
licly professed Christianity, and having, with a large army, chiefly of Christians
, defeated Maxentius, who was a stedfast supporter of Paganism, he issued edias to ease the Christians from all their grierances, and for admitting them into places of trust and authority. This was such a change in their favour, as might well be the subject of previous prophecy, and fully warranted the lofty strains of the prophetic song, verse 10.“Now," &c. It is said that Constantine, on his march towards Rome against Maxentius, saw the figure of a cross in the heavens, with an inscrip tion that by that sign he should overcome, “ in hoc signo vinces,” and that after his victory he caused it to be inscribed upon his statues, that it was under the influence of the cross that he succeeded.
(u) “ In heaven," i. e. (perhaps) in those parts where the Christians principally lived ; within the Roman empire.
(a) “ Michael and his angels” j. e. the Christians and their leaders.
(y) “ The dragon and his angels," i. e. the opposers of Christianity.
(z) “ The great dragon," i. e. the devil, the great enemy of Christianity, the great patron of those who opposed it.
(a) “ Cast out into the earth.” Is perhaps nothing but a figurative expres. sion to express great degradation; as
10. him. And I heard a loud voice “ Except ye be converted, (f),
saying in heaven (6), “ Now is 66 and become as little child. “'come salvation, and strength, ren(8), ye shall not enter (b) “ and the kingdom of our God, “ into the kingdom of heaven. " and the power of his Christ :
« Whosoever therefore shall 4. 6 for the accuser of our brethren « humble himself as this little " is cast down, which accused “ child, the same is greatest (i)
" them before our God day and “ in the kingdom of heaven. 11. " night. And they overcame
66 And whoso shall receive one 5. “ him by the blood of the
“ such little child in my name(k), “ Lamb (c), and by the word of
66 receiveth me. But whoso shall 6. " their testimony: and they loved
< offend (1) one of these little “ not their lives unto the death(d).
ones which believe in me, it 12. “ Therefore rejoice, ye heavens,
" were better for him that a mill-
unto the world because of of-
66 that offences come; but woe " short time.”
to that man by whom the of
fence cometh! Wherefore, if 8. The Gospel. Matt. xviii. 1.
“ thy hand or thy foot offend (m) At the same time came the dis- " thee, cut them off, and cast ciples unto Jesus, saying, "Who(e) c them from thee: it is better “’is the greatest in the kingdom " for thee to enter into life halt " of heaven?” And Jesus called " or maimed, rather than having
a little child unto him, and set two hands, or two feet, to be 3
him in the midst of them, and “ cast into everlasting fire. And 9. said, “ Verily I say unto you, “ if thine eye offend thee, pluck
A. D. 311.
one would be greatly degraded who
bably in the times of Constantine. 0.11. (c) « The blood of the lamb,” i. e.
their firm attachment to Christianity. D.II. (d) “ Loved not their lives unto the
“ death,” i. e, disregarded their lives;
hazarded or laid down their lives.
ix. 34. and Luke ix. 36. they had been
( “ Converted,” i. e. “ undergo a
from worldly notions of pre-eminence,
(8) “ As little children," i.e. in inno- v. 3. cence, humility, &c.
(b) “ Not enter.” So far from being v.3. greatest in it, you shall not even have admittance.
(1) “ Is greatest.” The road to ad- v.4. yancement and pre-eminence there is by humility, thinking lowly of one's self, &c. The kingdom of heaven is not like the kingdoms of this world ; the way to attain a high situation there is to be meek, humble, lowly, &c.
(k) “ In my name,” i. e. from respect v.5. and deference to me.
(1) “ Offend,” i. e. discourage, drive v.6. from my religion, or despise.
(m) “ Offend,” i. e. draw thee off from v.8. religion.