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EXPOSITION ( JAN 101912 



Old and New Testament: 



WHEREIN 

EACH CHAPTER IS SUMMED UP" IN ITS CONTENTS ; THE SACRED TEXT INSERTED 
AT LARGE, IN DISTINCT PARAGRAPHS; EACH PARAGRAPH REDUCED 
, TO ITS PROPER HEADS ; THE SENSE GIVEN, 

AND LARGELY ILLUSTRATED 



PRACTICAL REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS: 



BY MATTHEW HENRY, 

LATE MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL. 



A NEW ESXTXON: * 

EDITED BT 

THE REV. GEORGE BURDER, AND THE REV. JOSEPH HUGHES, A. M. 

WITH THE 

LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

BT THE 
REV. SAMUEL PALMER, 



VOL. V. 



PHILADELPHIA : 

ED. BARRINGTON & (?E0. D. HASWELL, 

MARKET STREET. 



AN 



EXPOSITION, 



WITH 



PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, 



ON THK 



FOUR FIRST BOOKS 



OF THE 



IVEW TESTAMENT; 



NAMELY, 

ST. MATTHEW, B ST. LUKE, akb 

ST. MARK, |l ST. JOHN. 



THE 



PREFACE 



FOUR EVANGELISTS, 



AND THB 



ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



THE one half of our undertaking upon-the New Testament is now, by the assistance of Divine grace, 
finished, and presented to the reader, wlio, it is hoped, the Lord working witli it, may hereby b« 
somewhat helped in understanding and improving the sacred history of Christ and his apostles, and in 
making it, as it certainly is, the best exposition of our creed, in which these inspired writers are summed 
up ; which is intimated by that Evangelist, who calls his gospel, A Dedaration of those things which are 
most surely believed among us, Luke 1. 1. 

And as there is no part of scripture which it concerns us more to be well established in the belief of, so 
there is none which the generality of christians are more conversant with, or speak of more frequently. 
It is therefore our duty, by constant pains in meditation and prayer, to come to an intimate acquaintance 
with the true intent and meaning ot these nari-ativcs, what our concern is in them, and what we are to 
build upon them, and di-aw from them ; that we may not rest in such a knowledge of them as that which 
we had, when in our childhood we were taught to read English out of the translation, and Greek out of 
the originals, of these books. We ought to know them as the physician does his dispcnsatoiy, the lawyer 
his books of reports, and the sailor his chart and compass ; that is, to know how to make use of them' in 
that which we apply ourselves to as our business in this world, which is, to serve God here, and enjoy him 
hereafter, and both in Christ the Mediator. 

The great designs of the christian institutes, (which these books are the fountains and foundations of,) 
were, to reduce the children of men to the fear and love of God, as the commanding, acti\"e principle ot 
their obser\'ance of him, and obedience to him ; to show them the way of their reconciliation to him, and 
acceptance with him ; and to bring them under obligations to Jesus Christ as Mediator ; and thereby to 
engage them to all instances of devotion toward God, and justice and charity towards all men, in con- 
formity to the example of Christ, in obedience to his law, and in pursuance of his great intentions. What 
therefore I have endeavoured here, has been with this view, to make these writings seniceable to the 
faith, noliness, and comfort of good christians. 

Now tliat these writings, thus made use of to ser\-e these great and noble designs, may have their due 
influence upon us, it concerns us to be well established in our belief of their divine original. And here we 
have to do with two sorts of jieople. Some embrace the Old Testament, but set that up in opposition to 
the New, pleading that if that be right this is wrong ; and these are the Jews. Others, though they live 
in a christian nation, and by baptism wear the christian name, vet, under pretence of freedom of thought, 
despise Christianity, and, consequentlv, reject the New Testament, and therefore the Old, of course. 

I confess it is strange, that any now who receive the Old Testament should reject the New ; since, 
beside all the particular proofs of the di\ine authority of the New Testament, there is such an admirable 
harmony between it and the Old. It agrees Avith the Old, in all the main intentions of it, refers to it, 
builds upon it. shows the accomplishment of its t\pcs and prophecies, and thereby is the perfection and 
crown of it. Nay, if it be not tnic, the Old Testament must be false ; and all tlie glorious promises which 
shine so brightly in it, and the performance of which was limited within certain periods of time, must be 
a g^cat delusion ; which v.e are sure they are not ; and therefore must embrace the New Testament to 
support the reputation of the Old. 

That in tlic Old Testament which the New Testament lavs aside, is, the peculiarity of the Jewish 
nation, and the (>t)ser\'ances of the ceremonial law ; both which certainly were of divine appointment ; 
arid yet the New Testament does not at all clash with the Old ; for, 

1. They were always designed to be laid aside in the fulness of time. No other is to be expected than 
that the morning-star should disappear when the sun rises ; and the latter parts of the Old Testament 
often speak of the laying aside of those things, and of the calling in of the Gentiles. 

2. They were very honoiu-ablv laid aside, and i-ather exchanged for that which was more noble and 
excellent, more di\ine and I-.eavenh'. The Jewish church was swallowed up in the christian, the Mosaic 
ritual in evangelical institutions. So that the New Testament is no more the undoing of the Old, than the 
sending of a youth to the uni\ ersity is the undoing of his education in the grammar-school. 



vi PREFACE. 

3. Providence soon determined this controversy, (which is tl e only thing that seemed a controversy 
between the Old Testament and the New,) by the' destruction of Jerusalem, the desolations of the temple, 
the dissolution of the temple-service, and the total dispersion of aU the remains of the Jewish nation ; with 
a judicial defeat of all the attempts to incorporate it again, now for above 1600 years ; and this, according 
to the express predictions of Christ, a little before his death. And, as Clirist would not have the doctrine 
of his being the Messiah much insisted on, till the great conclusive proof of it was given by his resurrection 
from the dead ; so the repeal of the ceremonial law, as to the Jews, was not much insisted on, but their 
keeping up the observation of it was connived at, till tlie great conclusi\ e proof of its repeal was given, 
by the destruction of Jerasalem, which made the obsenation of it for ever impracticable. And the 
manifest tokens of divine wrath, which the Jews, considered as a people, even notwithstanding the pros- 
perity o( particular persons among them, continue under to this day, is a proof, not only of the truth of 
Christ's predictions concerning them, but that they lie under a greater guilt than that of idolatry, (for 
which they lay under a desolation of 70 years,) and that can be no other than crucifying Christ, and 
rejecting his gospel. 

Thus evident it is, that in our expounding of the New Testament, we are not undoing what we did in 
expounding the Old ; so far from it, that we may appeal to the law and the prophets for the confirmation 
of the great tnith which the gospels are ivritten to prove — That our Lord Jesus is the Messiah promised 
to the fechers, who should come, and we are to look for no other. For though his appearing did not 
answer the expectation of the carnal Jews, who looked for a Messiah in external pomp and power, yet it 
exactly answered all the tv'pes, prophecies, and promises of the Old Testament, which all had their 
accomplishment in him ; and even his ignominious sufferings, which are the greatest stumbling-block to 
the Jews, were foretold concerning the Messiah ; so that if he had not submitted to them, we had failed 
in our proof; so far it is from being weakened by them. Bishop Kidder's Demonstration of the Christian's 
Messiah, has abundantly made out this truth, and answered the cavils (for such they are, rather than 
arguments) of the Jews against it, abo^•e any in our language. 

But we live in an age when Christianity and the New Testament are more vii-ulently and daringly 
attacked by some within their ovm bowels, than by those upon their borders. Never were Moses and his 
writings so arraigned and ridiculed by any Jews, or Mahomet and his Alcoran by any Mussulmen, as Christ 
and his gospel by men that are baptized and called Christians ; and this, not under colour of any other 
divine revelation, but in contempt and defiance of all divine revelation ; and not by way of complaint, that 
they meet with that which shocks their faith, and which, through their own weakness, they cannot get 
over, and therefore desire to be insti-ucted in, and helped in the understanding of, and the reconciling of 
them to the tiiith which they have received ; but by way of resolute opposition, as if they looked upon it 
as their enemy, and were resolved by all means possible to be the ruin or it ; though they cannot say what 
evil it has done to the world, or to them. If the pretence of it has transported many in the church of 
Rome into such corruptions of worship and cruelties of government as are indeed the scandal of human 
nature, yet, instead of being thereby prejudiced against pure Christianity, they should the rather appear 
more vigorously in defence of it, when they see so excellent an institution as that is in itself, so basely 
abused and misrepresented. 

They pretend to a liberty of thought in their opposition to Christianity, and would be distinguished by 
the name of Freethinkers. I will not here go about to produce the arguments which, to all that are not 
wilfiilly ignorant and prejudiced against the truth, are sufficient to p^o^■e the divine original and authority 
of the doctrine of Christ. The learned find much satisfaction in reading the apologies of the ancients for 
the christian religion, when it was struggling with the polrtheism and idolatry of the Gentiles. Justin 
Martyr and TertuUian, Lactantius and Minuiius Felix, wrote admirably in defence of Christianity, when 
it was further sealed by the blood of the Martyrs. 

But its patrons and advocates in the present day have another sort of enemies to deal with. The antiquity 
of the pagan theology, its unixersal prevalence, the edicts of princes, and the traditions and usages of the 
country, are not now objected to chnstianity ; but I know not what imaginar)' freedom of thought, and an 
luiheard of privilege of human nature, are assumed, not to be bound by any divine revelation whatsoever. 

Now it is easy to make out, 

1. That those who would be thought thus to maintain a liberty of thinking, as one of the privileges of 
human nature, and in defence of which thev will take up arms' against God himself, do not themselves 
think freely, nor give others leave to do so. In some of them, a resolute indulgence of themselves in those 
vicious courses which they know the gospel, if they admit it, will make very uneasy to them, and a secret 
enmity to a holy, heavenly mind and life, forbid them all free thought ; for so strong a prejudice have their 
lusts and passions laid them under against the laws of Christ, that they find themselves under a necessity 
of opposing the truths of Christ, upon which these laws arc founded. Peril judicium, quando res transit 
in affectum — The judgment is overcome, when the decision is referred to the affections. Kight or wrong, 
Christ's bonds must be broken, and his cords cast from them ; and therefore, how evident soever the 
premises be, the conclusion must be denied, if it tend to fasten these bands and cords upon them ; and 
wnere is the freedom of thought then ? While they fir omise themselves liberty, they themselves are the ser- 
vants of corrufition ; for of nvhom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 

In others of tliem, a reigning pride and affectation of singularity, and a spirit of contradiction, those lusts 
of the mind, wliich are as impetuous and imperious as any cf the lusts of the flesh and of the world, forbid 
a fi'eedom of thinking, and enslave the soul in all its inquiries after religion. Those can no more think 
freely, who resolve they will think by themselves, than those can, who resolve to think with their neigh- 
bours. 

Nor will they give others liberty to think freelv ; for it is not by reason and argument that they go about 
to convince us, but by jest and banter, and exposing Christianity and its serious professors to contempt. 
Now, considering how natural it is to most men to be jealous for their reputation, this is as gi-eat an impo- 
sition as can possibly be ; and the unthinking are as much kept from freethinking by the fear of being 
ridiculed in the club of those who set up for oracles in reason, as by the fear of being cursed, excommu- 
nicated, and anathematized, by the counsel of those who set up for oracles in religion. And where is the 
freethinking then ? 

2. That those who will allow themselves a true liberty of thinking, and will think seriously, cannot but 
embrace all Christ's sayings as faithful, and well tuorthy of all accefitation. Let the corrupt ^ias of the 



PREFACE. vii 

camal heart toward the world, and the flesh, and self (the most presumptuous idol of the three) be taken 
away, and let the doctrine of Christ be proposed first in its true colours, as Christ :ind his apostles have 
given it us, and in its true liijht, with all its pi-ojjcr evidence, intrinsic and extrinsic ; and then let the 
capable soul freelv use its rational powers ai\d faculties, and by the operation of the Spirit of grace, who 
alone works faith in all that believe, even the high thought, wlicn once it becomes a free thought, freed 
from the bondage of sin and corruption, will, by a pleasmg and happv power, be captivated, and brought 
into obedience to Christ ; and when he thus makes it frer, it will l)e fnv indeed. 

Let any one who will give himself leave to tliiuk impartiallv, and be at the pains to think closely, read 
Mr. Baxter's Reasons for the Christian Ketii(ion ; and he will find, both that it goes to the bottom, and 
lays the foundation deep and firm, and also that it brings forth the top-stone in a believer's consent to ( jod 
in Christ, to the satisfaction of an\- that arc tnily concerned about their souls and another world. The 
proofs of the truths of the gospel have been excellently well methodized, and enforced likewise, by Bishop 
Stillingfleet, in his Origines Sacra ; by Grotius, in his book, Of the Truth of the Christian Kcligion ; by 
Dr. \Vhitby, in his General Preface to his Commentary on the -A'ciy Testament ; and of late by Mr. Ditton, 
very argurnentativelv, in his discourse concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ ; and many others 
have herein done worthily. And I will not believe any man who rejects the New Testament and the 
christian Religion, to have thought freely upon the subject, unless he has, with humility, seriousness, and 
prayer to God for direction, deiiberately read these or the like books, which, it is certain, were written 
botfi with liberty and clearness of thought 

For my own part, if my thoughts were worth anv one's notice, I do declare, I have thought of this great 
concern, with all the liberty that a reasonable soul can pretend to, or desire ; and that the result is, that 
the more I think, and the more freely I think, the more fully I am satisfied that the christian Religion is 
the true Religion, and that which, if I submit my soul sincerely to it, 1 may venture my soul confidently 
upon. 

For when I thijik freely, 

First, I cannot but thirik that the God who made man a reasonable creature by his power, has a right 
to rule him by his law, and to oblige him to keep his inferior faculties of appetite and passion, together 
■with the capacities of thought and speech, in due subjection to the superior powers of reason and con- 
science. And when I look into my own heart, I cannot but think that this was it which my Maker de- 
signed in the order and frame of my soul, and that herein he intended to sxipport his own dominion in me. 

Secondlu, I cannot but think that mv happiness is bound up in the favour of God, and that his favour 
will, or win not, be toward me, according as I do, or do not, comply with the laws and ends of mv crea- 
tion. That I am accountable to this God ; and that from him my judgment proceeds, not only for this 
world, but for my everlasting state. 

Thirdly, I cannot but think that my nature is ver\' unlike what the nature of man was, as it came out of 
the Creator's hands ; that it is degenerated from its primitive purity and rectitude. I find in myself a 
natural aversion to my duty, and to spii-itual and divine exercises, and a propensity to that which is evil ; 
such an inclination toward the world and the flesh, as amounts to a propensity to backslide from th« living 
God. 1- 1 . 

Fourthly, I cannot but think that I am therefore, bv nature, thrown out of the favour of God ; for though 
I think he is a gracious and merciful God, yet I think he is also a just and holy God, and that I am become, 
by sin, both odious to his holiness, and obnoxious to his justice. I should not think freely, but ven^ par- 
tially, if I should think otherwise. I think I am guilty before God, have sinned, and come short of glori- 
fying him, and of being glorified with him. 

Fifthly, I cannot but think that, without some special discovery- of God's will concerning me, and good 
will to me, I cannot possibly recover his favour, be reconciled to him, or be so far restored to my primi- 
tive rectitude, as to be capable of serving my Creator, and answering the ends of my creation, and becom- 
ing fit for another world. For the bounties of Providence to me, in common with the inferior creatures, 
cannot sen-e either as assurances that God is reconciled to me, or means to reconcile me to God. 

Sixthly, I cannot but think that the way of salvation, both from the guilt and from the power of sin, by 
Jesus Christ, and his mediation between God and man, as it is revealed by the New Testament, is admi- 
rably well fitted to all the exigencies of mv case, to restore me both to the fa^■our of God and to the 
govemment and enjoyment of myself. Here I see a proper method for the removing of the guilt of sin, 
(that I may not die by the sentence of the law,) by the all-sufficient merit and righteousness of the Son of 
God in our nature ; and, for the breaking of the power of sin, (that I may not die by my own disease,) by 
the all-sufficient influence and operation of the Spirit of God upon our nature. Every malady has herein 
its remedy, every grievance is hereby redressed, and in such a way as advances the honour of all the divine 
attributes, and is suited and accommodated to human nature. 

Seventhly, I cannot but think that what I find in myself of natural religion, does evidently bear testimony 
to the christian religion ; for all that truth which is discovered to me by the light of nature, is confirmed, 
and more clearly discovered, by the gospel ; the very same thing which the light of nature gives me a 
confused sight of, (like the sight of men as trees walking.) the New Testament gives me a clear and dis- 
tinct sight of. All that good which is pressed upon me by the law of nature, is more fully discovered tc 
me, and I find myself much more strongly bound to it, by the gospel of Christ, the engagements it lays 
upon me to my duty, and the encouragements and assistances it gives me in my duty. And this is furthei 
confirming to me, that thei-e, just there, where natural light leaves me at a loss, and unsatisfied — tells me 
that hitherto it can carry me, but no further — the gospel takes me up, helps me out, and gives me all the 
satisfaction I can desire, and that is especially in the great business of the satisfying of God's justice for 
the sin of man. I\Iv own conscience asks, Whercvith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before 
the most high God? Jllll he be fileased with thousands of rams ? But I am still at a loss; I cannot 
frame a righteousness from any thing I am, or have, in myself, or from any thing I can do for God or pi^e- 
sent to God, wherein I dare appear before him : but the gospel comes and tells me, that Jesus Christ has 
made his soul an offering for sin, and God has declared himself well pleased with all believers in him ; 
and this makes me easy. 

FAghthly, I cannot but think that the proofs by which God has attested the truth of the gospel, are the 
■nost proper that could be given in a case of this nature — That the power and autliority of the Redeemer 
n the kingdom of grace should be exemplified to the world, not by the highest degree of the pomp and 



viii PREFACE. 

authority of the kings of the earth, as the Jews expected, but by the evidences of his dcminion in the kiig- 
dom of nature ; which is a much greater dignity and autliority than any of the kings of the earth ever pre- 
tended to, and is no less than divine. And his miracles, being generally wrought upon men, not only upon 
their bodies, as they were mostly when Christ was here upon earth, but, which is more, upon their minds, 
as they were mostly after the pouring out of the Spirit in the gift of tongues and other supernatural endow- 
ments, were the most proper confirmations possible of the truth of the gospel, which was designed for the 
making of men holy and happy. 

A^inthhj, I cannot but thinli that the methods taken for the propagation of this gospel, and the wonder 
ful success of those methods, which are purely sijiritual and heavenly, and destitute of all secular advaii 
tages and supports, plainly show that it was of God, for God was with it, and it ; could never have spread 
as it did, in the face of so much opposition, if it had not been accompanied with a power from on high. 
And the preservation of Christianity in the world to this day, notwithstanding the difficulties it has stnjg 
gled with, is to me a standing miracle for the proof of it. 

Lastly, I cannot but think that the gospel of Christ has had some influence upon mv soul, has had such 
a command over me, and been such a comfort to me, as is a demonstration to myself, though it cannot be 
so to another, that it is of God. I have tasted in it, that, the Lord is gracious ; and the most subtle dis 
putant cannot convince one who has tasted honey, that it is not sweet. 

And now I appeal to Him who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, that in all this I think 
freely, (if it be possible for a man to know that he does so.) and not under the power of any bias. Whether 
we have reason to think that those who without any colour of reason, not only usuip, but monopolize, the 
character of Freethi/i/cers, do so, let those judge, who easily observe that they do not speak sincerely, but 
industriously dissemble their notions ; and one instance I cannot b\it notice, of their unfair dealing with 
their readers — th&t when, for the diminishing of the authority of the New Testament, they urge the 
various readings of the original, and quote an acknowledgment of Mr. Gregoiy of Christ Church, in his 
preface to his Works, That no profane author whatsoever, iJ'c. and yet suppress what immediately follows, 
as the sense of that learned man upon it. That this is an invincible reason for the scri/iturcs' /lart, Is'c. 

We then receive the books of the New Testament as our oracles ; for it is evident that that excellent 
notion of Dr. Hemy More's is tnie, that " they have a direct tendency to take us off from the animal life, 
and to being us to the divine life." 

But while we are thus maintaining the divine original and authority of the New Testament, as it has 
been received through all the ages of the church, we find our cause not only attacked by the enemies we 
speak of, but, in effect, betrayed by one who makes our New Testament almost double to what it really 
is, adding to it the Constitutions of the Jlfiostles, collected by Clement, together with the Jlp.ostolical Canons, 
and making those to be of equal authority with the writings of the Evangelists, and preferable to the 
Epistles. By enlarging the lines of defence thus, without either cause or precedent,* he gives great 
advantage to the invaders. 

Those Constitutions of the Ajiostlcs have many things in them veiy good, and may be of use, as other 
human compositions. But to pretend that they were composed, as they profess themselves to be, by the 
twelve apostles in concert at Jenasalem, I Peter, snyuig this, I Andrew, saying that, isfc. is the greates' 
imposition that can be practised upon tlie credulity of the simple. 

1. It is certain, there were a great many spurious writings which, in the early days of the church, went 
under the names of the apostles and apostolical men ; so that it has been always complained of as impos- 
sible to find out any thing but the canon of scripture, that could with any assurance be attributed to them. 
Baronius himself acknowledges it. Cum afiostolorum nomine tarn facta <juam dicta re/ierianlur esse sit/i 
posititia ; nee sic quid de illis a vciis sincerisque scrijitoribus narratum sit integrum et incorru/itum reman- 
serit, in desjierationem plane quandam animum dejiciunt posse unquam assequi quod verum certiimque 
subsistat — Since so many of the acts and sayings asc7-ibed to the a/iostles are found to be spurious, and even 
the narrations of faithful writers respecting them are jiot free from corruption, we Tiust despair of eva 
being able to arrive at any absolute certainty about them. Ad. An. Christ. 44. sect. 4 ?, Sec. There were 
Acts under the names of Andrew the apostle, Pliilij), Peter, Thomas ; a Gospel under the name of Thad- 
deus, another of Barnabas, another of Bartholomew ; a book concerning the infancy of our Saviour, 
another concerning his nati\'ity, and many the like, which were all rejected as forgeries. 

2. These Constitutioris and Canons, an^ong the rest, were condemned in the primiti\ c church as apocrj'- 
phal, and therefore justly rejected ; because, though otherwise good, they pretended to be what really 
they were not, dictated by the twelve apostles themselves, as received from Christ. If Jesus Christ gave 
them such instnictions, and they gave them in such a solemn manner to the church, as is pretended, it is 
unaccountable that there is not the least notice taken of any such tiling done or designed in the Gospels, 
the Acts, or any of the E/tistles. 

They who have judged the most favourably of those Canons and Constitutions, have concluded that they 
were compiled by some officious persons under the name of Clement, toward the end of the second cen- 
tury, above 150 years after Christ's ascension, out of the common practice of the churches ; that is, that 
which the compilers were most acquainted with, or had respect for ; when at the same time we have 
reason to think that the far greater number of christian churches which by that time were planted, had 
Constitutions of their own, which if they had had the happiness to be transmitted to posterity, would have 
recommended themselves as well as these, or better. But as the legislators of old put a reputation upor 
their laws, by pretending to have received them from some deity or other, so church-governors studied 
to gain reputation to their sees, by placing some apostolical man or other at the head of their catalogue of 
bishops, (^See Bishop Stillingjleet's Iroricum, fi. 302.) and reputation to their Canons and Constitutions, by 
fathering them upon the apostles. 

But how can it be imagined that the apostles should be all together at Jertisalem, to compose this book 
of Canons with so much solemnity, when we know that their commission was to go into all the world, and 
to preach the gospel to every creature. Accordinglv, Eusebius tells us that Thomas went into Parthia, 
Andrew into Scythia, John into the lesser Asia ; and we have reason to think that after their dispersion 
they never came together again, any more than the planters of the nations did after the Most High had 
separated the sons of Adam. 

• WhiMon.-Ed. 



PREFACE. IX 

I think that any one who will compare these Constitutioiia with the writings which we arc sine were 
given by ins])iration of God, will easily discern a vast difference in the style iuid spirit Uliat ia the chaff 

to the ivhcat ? 

* " Where are ministers, in the style of the true ajjostles, called priests, high i)i-icsts ? ^^^K•re do we 
" find in the apostoliciU age, that age of suffering, of the placing of the bishop in \\iBthroiic? Or of readers, 
" singers, and porters, in the church ?" 

I fear the collector and compiler of those Constitutions, under the name of Clement, was conscious to 
himself of dishonesty in it, in that he would not have them published before all, because of the mysteries 
contained in them ; nor were they known or published till the middle of the fourth century, wiien the 
forgery could not be so well dispro\cd. I c:uuiot sec any mysteries in them, that they should be concealed, 
if laev had been genuine ; but I am sure that Christ bias hfs apostles publish the mysteries of the kingdom 
of (Joel uiwn tlie house-tops. And St. Paul, though there arc mjsteries in his Epistles, much more sub- 
lime than iuiy of these Constitutions, charges that they should be read to all the holy brethren. Nay, these 
Constitutions are so wholly in a manner taken uj), either with moral ]jrecc])ts, or i-ulcs of practi<'C in the 

" pretend, t" 



though the .'Ijioculy/tse is so full of mysteries, vet a blessing is pi-onounced u])(in the readers and hearers 
of that prophecy. We must therefore conchulc that, whenever they were written, by declining the light 
they owned themselves to be apocryphal, that is, hidden or concealed ; that they durst not mingle '.hem- 



sehes with what was given by divine insiiiration ; to allude to what is said of the ministei's, (^^-Icts 5. 13.) 
Of the rest durst no man join himself to the apostles, _/br the /ico/ile ?nciq-nified them. 

So that e\en bv their own confession they were not deli\ cred to the churches with the other wintings, 
when the New-Testament Canon was solemnly sealed up with that dreadful sentence passed on those that 
add unto these things. 

And as we have thus had attempts made of late upon the purity and sufficiency of our New Testament, 
by additions to it, so we ha\e likewise had from another quarter a great contempt put u])on it by thepap^ 
power. The occasion was this : 

One Father Quesnel, a French papist, b\it a Jansenist, near thirty years ago, published the Am' Tes- 
tament in Frenc^i, in several small volumes, with Moral Ne/lections on c\'ery \erse, to render the reading 
of it more profitable, and meditation upon it more easy. It was much esteemed in France, for the sake 
of the jiicty and devotion which ajipeared in it, and it had several im])ressions. The Jesuits were much 
disgusted, and solicited the pope for the condemnation of it, though the author of it was a papist, and many 
tilings in it countenanced popish superstition. 

After much stniggling about it in the court of Rome, a bull was at length obtained, at the request of the 
French king, from the present pope, Clement XI., bearing date September 8, 1713, by which the said 
book, with what title or in what language soever it is printed, is prohibited and condemned ; both the 
New Testament itself, because in manv things varying from the vulgar Latin, ;md the Annotations, as 
containing divers propositions, (above aliundredarc enumerated,) scandalous and pernicious, injurious to 
the churcli and its customs, impious, blasphemous, savouring of heresy. And the jiropositions are such 
as these — "That the grace of our I^ord Jesus Christ is the effectual princijjle of all manner of good, is 
" necessary for every good action ; for without it nothing is done, nay, nothing can be done" — " That it 
"is a sovereign gi-ace, and is an operation of the Almighty hand of Ood" — "That when God accompa- 
" nies his word with the internal power of his gi-ace, it operates in the soul the obedience which it de- 
"mands" — " Th^t faith is the first grace, and the fountain of all others" — "That it is in vain for us to 
" call God our Father, if we do not cry to him with the spirit of lo\-e" — " That there is no God, nor re- 
" ligion, where there is no charity" — "That the catholic church comprehends the angels and all the 
' elect and just men of the earth, of all ages" — "That it has the \\'ord incarnate for its Head, and all 
'' the saints for its members" — " That it is jjrofitable and necessan' at all times, in all places, and for all 
"sorts of persons, to know the holv Scrmtures" — "That the holy obscurity of the word of God is no 
" re:ison for the lait>- not reading it" — " That the Lonl's day ought to be sanctified by reading books of 
" piety, especially the holv Scriptures" — And " that to forbid christians from reading the Scriptures, is 
" to prohiliit the use of lig-lit to the children of light." IMany such positions as these, which the spirit of 
every good christian cannot but i-elish as tnie and good, are condemned by the pope's bull as impious 
and blasphemous. And this bull, though strenuously opposed by a gi-eat number of the Bishops in France, 
who were well affected to the notions of Father Quesnel, was yet recei^•cd and confirmed by the French 
king's letters patent, bearing date at Versailles, Febi-uan- 14, 1714, which forbid all manner of persons, 
uijon pain of cxemjjlarv punishment, so much as to keep any of those books in their houses ; and adjudge 
any that should hereafter write in defence of the Propositions condemned by the pope, as disturbere ot 
the peace. 

It was registered the day following, Februaiy 15, by the Parliament of Paris, but with divers provisos 
and limitations. 

By this it a])pears that popeiy is still the same thing that ever it was, an enemy to the knowledge of the 
Scriptures, and to the honour of divine grace. \Miat reason have we to bless God, that we have liberty to 
read the Scriptures, and ha\e he\y>s to understand and improve them ; which we are concerned diligently 
to make a good use of, that we may not provoke God to give us up into the liands of those powers that 
would use us in like manner. 

I am willing to hope that those to whom the reading of the Exposition of the Old Testament ■was 
pleasant, will find this yet more pleasant ; for this is that part of pcripture, which does most plainly tes- 
tify of Christ, and in which that gosjiel-graee v-'hich afifiears unto all tncn, bringing salvation, shines most 
clear. This is the New-Testament milk for babes, the rest is strong meat for strong men. By these, 
therefore, let us be nourished and strengthened, that we may be pressing on toward perfection ; and that, 
ha\ing laid the foundation in the histoiy of our blessed Saviour's Life, Death, and Resun-ectinn, and the 
first preaching of his gospel, we may Iniild upon it by an acquaintance with the mysteries of godliness, 
III which we shall be further introduced in the Kpistles. 

I desire I may be read with a candid, and not a critical, eye. I pretend not to gratify the curious ; the 
lop of my ambition is, to assist thos? who are truly serious, in searching the Scriptures daily. I am sure- 

' •Edit. Joan. Clericl.p. 245, 

Vol. v.— B 



PREFACE. 



it is designed, and hope it is calculated, to promote piety toward God, and charity towards our brethren ; 
and tnat there is not only something in it which may edify, but nothing which may justly offend, any 
good christian. 

If any receive spiritual benefit by my poor endeavours, it will be a comfort to me ; but let God have all 
the glory, and that free grace of his which has employed one that is utterly unworthy of such an honour, 
and enabled one thus far to go on in it, who is utterly msufficient for such a service. 

Having obtained help of God, I continue hitherto in it, and humbly depend upon the same good hand 
of my God to carry me on in that which remains, to gird my loins with needful strength, and to make niy 
way perfect ; and for this I humbly desire the prayers of my friends. One volume more, I hope, will 
include what is yet to be done ; and I will both go about it, and go on wth it, as God shall enable me; 
with all convenient speed ; but it is that part of the Scripture, which, of all others, requires the most care 
and pains in expounding it. But I trust, that as the day, so shall the strength be. 

M. H 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



THAT which has been just offered to the reader, was the reverend author's Jirst draught of a Preface 
to this volume. He intended to revise it, if God had allowed him a return home from his late jour- 
ney. But though, by the afflicting stroke of his sudden death, it wants the advantage of his last hand, 
yet serious readers will be well pleased to have his first sentiments on those important heads which there 
come under his consideration ; especially since it contains his dying testimony to the Christian Religion 
the Canon of the New Testament, and the general usefiilness of the sacred scriptures, on occasion of 
those debates which have been lately started, and made the most considerable noise in the world. 

The Exfiosition itself, as far as the Acts of the Afiostles goes, was entirely committed to the press 
before he left the City. The reader will perceive his intentions for the rest of the Holy Bible. But the 
sovereign providence of God, in whose hands our times are, has called this faithful and diligent serv'ant 
to rest from his labours, and finish weU himself, before he could finish this, and several other great and 
pious designs he had for the service of God and his church. 

However, it may be acceptable to such as have often entertained themselves and their families with 
what is already extant, to let them know that we are not without hopes yet of seeing Mr. Henry's Expo- 
sition of the remainder ; though it cannot be expected to be altogether so copious and complete as that 
which he himself prepared for the public. He drew up, several years ago, an Exfiosition of the E.fiis- 
tle to the Romans, which he had designed to transcribe with little alteration, for the beginning of his 
next volume, and was earnestly solicited to print it by itself, before he had thoughts of writing upon thr 
whole Bible. For the rest, there are copies of his Expositions, both in public and private, taken from 
him by judicious writers ; wherein, though they may not be of equal length, yet Mr. Henry was used to 
express himself with like propriety, the same pious spirit, and uncommon skill in the Scriptures. There 
is encouragement to hope that the revising and preparing of these for the press will be undertaken (if 
God give life and health) by an intimate friend of^ the excellent Author, whose long acquaintance with his 
spirit and manner renders him the most proper person for that service ; and liis endeared affection will 
incline him to take the pains necessary for ushering them into the world. This course is apprehended to 
be much better than either to leave such a work unfinished, when it is already advanced so far, or to 
attempt the continuation of the design with a quite different set of thoughts, and another sort of style and 
method, that it may be as much Mr. Henry's as possible. But a reasonable time must be allowed before 
this can be expected. I pray God long to spare the valuable life of that dear friend of the Author, and 
every way furnish him for this good work, and all others he may undertake for the good of God's church. 

John Evans. 



AN 



EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, 

OF THE 

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO 

ST. MATTHEW. 



Wc have now before us, 
I. The X&w Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ; so this second part of tlie holy Bible is 
entitled: The nfro Covenant; so it might as well be rendered ; the word signifies both. But when it 
is (as here) spoken of as Christ's act and deed, it is most properly rendered a Testament, for he is the 
Testator, iuid it becomes of force by his death ; (Heb. 6. 16, \7.) nor is there, as in covenants, a previous 
treaty between the parties, but what is granted, though an estate upon condition, is owing to the will, 
the free-will, the good- will, of the Testator. Tliusall the grace contained in this book is owing to Jesus 
Christ as our Lord and Saviour ; and unless we consent to him as our Lord, we cannot expect any 
benefit by him as our Saviour. This is called a JVHu Testament, to distinguish it from that which was 
given by Moses, and was now imtiquated ; and to signify that it should be always new, and should never 
wax old, iuid grow out of date. These books contain, not only a full discovery of that grace which has 
a/i/ieared to alt men, hrinffinir sah'ation, hut aXegal instrument by which it is conveyed to, and settled 
upon, all believers. How carefully do we preserve, and with what attention and pleasure do we read, 
the last will and testament of a friend, who has therein left us a fair estate, and, with it, high expres- 
sions of his love to us ! How precious then should this Testament of our blessed Saviour be to us, which 
secures to us all his unsearchal)le riches ? It is his Testament ; for though, as is usual, it was written by 
others, (we have nothing upon record that was of Christ's own writing,) yet he dictated it ; and the 
night Ijefore he died, in th? institution of his supper, he signed, sealed, and published it, in the presence 
of twelve witnesses. For, though these books were not written for some years after, for the benefit of 

Jiosterity, in /icrfietuam rei memoriam, as a Jxerfietual memorial, yet the New Testament of our Lord 
csus was settled, confirmed, and declared, from the time of his death, as a nuncupative will, with 
which these records exactly agree. The things which St. Luke wrote, were things which were most 
surely beliex'ed, and therefore well known, before he wixjte them ; but when they were written, the oral 
tradition was superseded and set aside, and these writings were the repository of that New Testament. 
This is intimated by the title which is prefixed to many Greek Copies, Tiic xaijiic Ai«S-ii»»c " hirnirn — 
The whole of the A'em Testament, or All the things of it. In it is declared the whole counsel of God 
concerning our salvation. Acts 20. 27. As the law of the Lord is perfect, so is the gospel of Christ, and 
nothing is to be added to it. We have it all, and are to look for no more. 
n. We have before us The Four Gosfiels. Gos/iel &\^\fies good ?iews, ov glad tidings ; and this history 
of Christ's coming into the world to save sinners, is, without doubt, the best news that ever came from 
heaven to earth; the angel gave it this title, (Luke 2. 10.) Euifyyi\i^t,fixi Cfx'iv — / bring you good 
tidings ; I bring the gos/iel to you. And the prophet foretold it, Isa. 52. 7. — 61. 1. It is there foretold, 
that m the days of the Messiah good tidings should be preached. Gos/iel is an old Saxon word ; it is 
God's s/iell or word ; and God is so called because he is good, Deus optimus — God most excellent, and 
therefore it may be a good spell, or word. If we take spell in its more proper signification for a charm 
(carmen, ) and take that in a good sense, for what is moving and affectmg, which is apt lenire dolorem 
— to calm the spirits, or to raise them in admiration or love, as that which is \ei-y amiable we call char- 
ming, it is applicable to the gospel ; for in it the charmer charmeth wisely, though to deaf adders, Ps. 
58. 4, 5. Nor (one would think) can any charms be so powerful as those of the beauty and love of our 
Redeemer. The whole New Testament is the gospel. St. Paul calls it his gospel, because he was one 
of the preachers of it. Oh that we may each of us make it ours by our cordial acceptance of it, and 
subjection to it ! But the four books which contain the history of the Redeemer, we commonly call 
The Four Gospels, and the inspired penmen of them F.z'angelists, or Gospel-writers ; not, however, 
veiy properly, because that title belongs to a particular orcJer of ministers, that were assistants to 
the apostles; (Eph. 4. 11.) He gave some apostles and some e^myigelists. It was recjuisite that the 
doctrine of Christ should be interwoven with, and founded upon, the narrative of his birth, life, mii-a- 
cles, death, and resuiTection ; for then it appears in its clearest and strongest light. As in nature, so 
in grace, the most happv discovc,ries are those which take rise from the certain representations of mat- 
ters of fact Natural nistory is the best philosophv ; and so is the sacred histon', both of the Old and 
New Testament, the most proper and grateful vehicle of sacred truth. These four gospels were early 
and constantly received by the primitive church, and read in christian assemblies, as appears by the 
writings of Justin Martyr and Irenxus, who lived little more than a hundred vears after the ascension 
''f Christ ; they declared that neither more nor fewer than four were received by the church. A Har- 



n 



ST. MATTHEW. 



mom- of these four evangelists was compiled by Tatian about that time, which he called, To iia a urrafut 

The Gosfiel out of the four. In the third and fourth centuries there were gospels forged by divers 

sects, and published, one under the name of St. Peter, another of St. Thomas, another of St. Philip, 8cc. 
But they were never owned by the church, nor was any credit given to them ; as the learned Dr. 
Whitby shews. And he gives this good reason why he should adhere to these written records, because, 
whatever the pretences of tradition may be, it is not sufficient to preserve things with any certainty, as 
appears by experience. For, whereas Christ said and did many memorable things, which rjere 7101 
•written, (John 20. 30. — 21. 25.) tradition has not preserved any one of them to us, but all is lost except 
what was written ; that therefore is what we must abide by ; and blessed be God that we have it to 
abide by ; it is the sure word of history-. 
fll. We have before us the Gospel according to St. Mattheiv. The penman was, by birth, a Jew, by 
railing a publican, till Christ commanded his attendance, and then he left the receifit of cuntom, to fol- 
low him, and was one of those that accompanied him all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out, 
beginning from the baptism of John unto the day that he nvas taken up. Acts 1. 21, 22. He was there- 
fore a competent witness of what he has here recorded. He is said to have written this history about 
eight years after Christ's ascension. Many of the ancients say that he wrote it in the Hebrew, or 
Syriac, language ; but the tradition is sufficiently disproved by lir. Whitby. Doubtless, it was written 
in Greek,* as the other parts of the New Testament were ; not in that language which was peculiar to 
tlie Jews, whose church and state were near a period, but in tliat which was common to the world, and 
in which the knowledge of Christ would be most effectually transmitted to the nations of the earth ; 
yet it is probable that there might be an edition of it in Hebrew, published by St. Matthew himself, at 
the same time that he wrote it in Greek ; the former for the Jews, the latter for the Gentiles, when he 
left Judea, to preach among the Gentiles. Let us bless God that we have it, and have it in a language 
which we understand. 



ST. MATTHEW, I. 



CHAP. I. 

This evangelist begins with the account of Christ's parentage 
and birth, the anoestors from whom he descended, and tlie 
manner of his entry into the world, to make it appear tliat 
he was indeed the Messiah promised ; for it was foretold 
that he should be the son of David, and should be born of 
a virgin ; and that he was so, is here plainly shewn ; for 
here is, I. His pedio^ree from Abraham in fortj'-two f^ene- 
rations, three fourteens, v. I. .17. II. An account of the 
circumstances of bis birth, so far as was requisite to shew 
that he was born of a virgin, v. 18. . 25. Thus inetiiodi- 
cally is the life of our blessed Saviour written, as lives 
should be written, for the clearer proposing of the example 
of tliem. 

1 . f I '^HE book of the generation of Jesus 
JL Christ, the son of David, the son of 
Abraham. 2. Abraham begat Isaac ; and 
Isaac begat Jacob ; and Jacob begat Judas 
and his brethren ; 3. And Judas begat 
Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares 
begat Esrom ; and Esrom begat Aram ; 4. 
And Aram begat Aminadab ; and Amina- 
dab begat Naasson ; and Naasson begat 
Salmon ; 5. And Sahnon begat Booz of 
Rachab ; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth ; 
and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse 
begat David the king; and Da\id the king 
begat Solomon of her that had been the 
wife of Urias; 7. And Solomon begat 
Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and 
Abia begat Asa ; 8. And Asa begat Josa- 
phat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and 
Joram begat Ozias; 9. And Ozias begat 
Joatham ; and Joatham begat Achaz ; and 
Achaz begat Ezekias ; 10. And Ezekias 
begat Manasses; and Manasses begat 
Amon ; and Anion begat Josias ; 11. And 



Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, 
about the time they were carried away to 
Babylon : 1 2. And after they were brought 
to Babylon ; Jechonias begat Salathiel ; 
and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 1.3. And 
Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud be- 
gat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 

14. And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc 
begat Achim ; and Achim begat Eliud ; 

15. And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar 
begat Matthan ; and INIatthan begat Jacob : 

16. And Jacob begat Joseph the husband 
of Marj' of whom was born Jesus, who 
is called Christ. 17. So all the genera- 
tions from Abraham to David are fourteet! 
generations ; and from David until tiin 
carrying away into Babylon are fourteen 
generations ; and from the carrying away 
into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen 
generations. 

Concerning this genealogj' of our Saviour, obsen'e. 

I. The title of it. It is the book (or tlie account, 
as the Hebrew word se/ihcr — a book, sometimes sig- 
nifies,) of the generatio?! of Jesus Christ, of his an- 
cestors, according to tlic flesh ; or. It is the narra- 
tive of his birth. It is B/fxic rsvsVtai; — a book of 
Genesis. The Old Testament begins with tlie book 
of tlie generation of the world, and it is its glory 
that it does so ; but the glory of the New Testa- 
ment herein excels, that it begins with the book of 
the generation of him that made the world. As God, 
his outgoings nvere of old, from everlasting, (Mic. 
5. 2. ) and none can declare that generation ; but, 
as Man, he was sent forth in the fulness of time, of 
a woman, and it is that generation which is licre 
declared. 

II. The principal intention of it It is not as 



* See a \ii:d:cat:it!i of '.he opnosilc opinion in Dr. CampbeU*3 Preface to his Translation of this Gospel.— Ed. 



ST. MATTHEW, 1. 



13 



endless or needless genealogy ; it is not a vain-glori- 
ous one, as those of gi-cat men commonly are. 
Ulemmala, quia fac'unt — Of u'/iat avail are ancient 
/ledigrees? It is like a ncuigrec riven in evidence, 
to prove a title, and make out a claim ; the design 
is to prove that our Loixl Jesus is t/ie Son of David, 
and the Son of .ibraham, and therefore of that na- 
tion and family out of which the Messiah was to 
arise. Abi-.iham and Diivid were, in their day, the 
great tnistces of tlic pi-omise relating to the Mes- 
siah. The liTomise of the blessing- nvas made to 
.Abraham and his seed, of tlie dominion, to Dax'id 
and his seed ; and they who would have an interest 
in Christ, as the Son of .Ibraham, in '^hom all the 
families of the earth are to be blessed, must be faith- 
fiil, loyal subjects to him as the Son of David, bv 
whom all the families of the earth are to be ruled. 
It was promised to Abraham that Christ should de- 
scend from him, (Gen. 12. 3. — 22. 18.) and to Da- 
vid that lie should descend from him ; (2 Sam. 7. 12. 
Ps. 89. 3, &c. — 132. 11.) and therefore, unless it 
can be proved that Jesus is a Son of David and a 
•Son of ^ibraham, we cannot admit him to be the 
Messiah. Now this is here proved from the authen- 
tic records of the hci-alds' offices. The Jews were 
very exact in presening their pedigrees, and thci'e 
was a providence in it, for the clearing up of the 
descent of the Messiah from the fathers ; and since 
his coming, that nation is so dispersed and confound- 
ed, that it is a question whether any person in the 
■world can legally prove himself to be a son of 
Abraham ; however, it is certain that none can 
prove himself to be either a son of Aai'on, or a S07i 
of David, so that the priestly and kingly office must 
either be given up, as lost forever, or be lodged in 
the hands of our Lord Jesus. Christ is here first 
called the Son of Dax'id, because under that title 
he was commonly spoken of, and expected, among 
the Jews. Thev who o\vned him to be the Christ, 
called him the Son of David, ch. 15. 22.>— 20. 31.— 
21. 15. This, therefore, the Evangelist undertakes 
to make out, that he is not only a Son of David, but 
that Son of David on whose shoulders the govern- 
ment nvas to be ; not only a Son of Abraham, but 
that Son of Abraham, who was to be the Father of 
many nations. 

In calling Christ the Son of David, and the Son of 
Abraham, he shews th.it God is faithful to his pro- 
mise, and will make good every word that he has 
spoken ; and this, 1. Tliough the performance be 
long deferred, ^^'hen God proiiiised Aljraham a 
Son, who should be the great Blessing of the world, 
perhaps he expected it should be his immediate son ; 
out it proved to be one at the distance of forty-two 
generations, and about 2000 years. So long tiefore 
can God foretel what shall be done, and so long after, 
sometimes, does God fulfil what has been promised. 
Note, Delays of promised mercies, though they ex- 
ercise our patience, do not weaken God's promise. 
2. Though it begin to be despaired of. This Son 
of David, and Son of Abraham, who was to be the 
Glory of his Father's house, was bom then when 
the seed of Abraham was a despised people recently 
become tributary' to the Roman yoke, and when the 
house of David was buried in obscurit)' ; for Christ 
was to be a Root out of a dry ground. Note, God's 
time for the performance of Tiis promise, is, when 
it labours under the greatest improbabilities. 

III. The particular series of it, drawn in a direct 
line from Abraham downward, according to the ge- 
nealogies recorded in the beginning of the books of 
Chronicles, (as far as those go,) and which here we 
see the use of. 

Some particulars we may obsen'e in this gene- 
alog)-. 

1. Among the ancestors of Christ, who had bre- 
thren, generally, he descended from a younger 



brother ; such Abraliam nimself was, and Jacob, 
and Judali, and David, and Nathan, and Uhesa ; to 
shew that the pre-eminence of C'hrist came not, as 
that of earthly princes, from the primogeniture of 
his ancestors, but from the will of (iod, who, ac- 
cording to the method of his providence, exalts them, 
of torn degree, and puts more abundant honour ufion 
that jtart T^'hich lacked. 

2. Among the sons of Jacob, beside Judah, from 
whom Shiloli came, notice is here taken of his bre- 
thren ; Judas and his brethren. No mention is made 
of Ishmael, the son of .\l)raham, or of Rsau, the son 
of Isaac, because they were shut out of tlie church ; 
whereas all the children of Jacob were taken in, and 
though not fathers of Christ, were yet patriarchs of 
the church, (Acts 7. 8.) ancl therefore aro mention- 
ed in this genealog)-, for the cncoui-agement of the 
tvjelve tribes that ivere scattered abroad, intimating 
to them tliat they have an interest in Christ, and 
stand in relation to him as well as Judali. 

3. Pharcs and Zara, the twin-sons of Judah, are 
likewise both named, though Pharcs only was 
Christ's ancestor, for the same reason that the 
brethren of Judah are taken notice of : some think 
because the birth of Phares and Zara had something 
of allegoiT in it. Zara put out his hand first, as the 
fii-st-bonii but drawing it in, Pliaros got the birth- 
right. The Jewish church, like Zara, reached first 
at the birthright, but, through unbelief, withdraw- 
ing the hand, the Gentile church, like Phares, broke 
forth, and went away with the birthright ; and thus 
blindness is in fjart hafifiened unto Israel, till the ful- 
ness of the Gentiles be come in, and 'then Zara s"hall 
be bom — all Israel shall be saved, Rom. 11. 25, 26. 

4. There are four women, and but four, named in 
this genealog)- ; two of them were originally stran 
gers to the 'common':vea!th of Israel, Rahab a Ca- 
naanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth the Moab- 
itess ; for in Jesus Christ there is neither Greek nor 
Jew ; those that are strangers and foreigners arc 
welcome, in Christ, to the citizenshi/i of the saints. 
The other two were adultresses, Tamar and Bath- 
sheba ; which was a further mark of humiliation 
put upon our Lord Jesus, that not only he descended 
from such, but that his descent from them is parti- 
cularly remarked in his genealog)-, and no veil drawn 
over it. He took upon him the likeness of sinful 
flesh, (Rom. 8. 3.) and takes e\en great sinners, 
upon their repentance, into the nearest relations to 
himself. Note, we ought not to upbraid people with 
the scandals of their ancestors ; it is what they can- 
not help, and has been the lot of the best, even of 
our Master himself. David's begetting Solomon of 
her that had been the ivife of Urias, is taken notice 
of, (sa>'S Dr. WTiitby,) to shew that that crime of 
David, being repented of, was so far from hindering 
the promise made to him, that it pleased God by 
this very woman to fulfil it. 

5. Though divers kings are here named, yet none 
is expressly called a king, but David, (t. 6.) David 
the king ; because with him the covenant of royalty 
was made, and to him the promise of the kingdom 
of the Messiah was gi^"?"! ^^l^o 's therefore said to 
inherit the throne of his father David, Luke 1. 32. 

6. In the pedigree of the kings of Judah, between 
Joi-am and Ozias, (f. 8.) there are three left out, 
Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah ; and therefore when 
it is said, Joram begat Ozias, it is meant, according 
to the usage of the Hebrew tongue, that Ozias was 
lineally descended from him, as it is said to Heze- 
kiah, that the sons which he should beget should be 
carried to Babylon, whereas they were removed 
several generations from him. It was not through 
mistake or forgetfulness that these three were omit- 
ted, but, pixibably, they were omitted in the gene- 
alogical tables that the Evangelist consulted, which 
yet were admitted as authentic Some give this 



14 



ST. MATTHEW, I. 



reason for it. — It being Matthew's design, for the 
sake of memory, to reduce the number of Christ's 
ancestors to three fourteens, it was requisite that m 
this period three should be left out, and none more 
fit than they who were the immediate progeny of 
cursed Athaliah, who introduced the idolatry of 
Ahab into the house of David ; for which this brand 
is set upon the family, and the iniquity thus visited 
to the third and fourth generation. Two of these 
three were apostates ; and such God commonly sets 
a mark of his displeasure upon in this world ; they 
all three had their heads brought to the gi-ave with 
blood. 

7. Some observe what a mixture there was of 
good and bad, in the succession of these kings ; as 
for instance, (v. 7, 8.) wicked Roboam begat wick- 
ed .^bia ; wicked jlbia begat good jlsa ; good ^sa 
begat good Josafihat ; good Josafihat begat wicked 
Joram. Grace does not nin in the blood, nor does 
reigning sin. God's grace is his own, and he gives 
or withholds it as he pleases. 

8. The captivity in Babylon is mentioned as a re- 
markable period m this line, -v. 11, 12. AU things 
considered, it was a wonder that the Jews were not 
lost in that captivity, as other nations have been ; 
but this intimates the reason why the streams of 
that people were kept to run pure through that dead 
sea, because from them, as concerning the flesh, 
Christ was to come. Destroy it not, for a blessing 
is in it, even that Blessing of blessings, Christ him- 
self, Isa. 65. 8, 9. It was with an eye to him that 
they were restored, and the desolations of the sanc- 
tuary were looked upon with favour for the Lord's 
take, Dan. 9. 17. 

9. Josias is here said to beget Jechonias and his 
brethren; {v. 11.) by Jechonias is meant Jehoiakim, 
who was the first-bom of Josias ; but when it is said, 
{v. 12.) tti'iX Jechonias begat Salathiel, that Jecho- 
nias was the son of that Jehoiakim who was carried 
into _ Babylon, and there begat Salathiel, (as Dr. 
Whitby shews,) and when Jechonias is said to have 
been written f/«/rf/fss, (Jer. 22. 30.) it is explained 
thus ; A'b man of his seed shall firosper. Salathiel 
is here said to beget Zorobabel, whereas Salathiel 
begat Pedaiah, and he begat Zorobabel (1 Chron. 
3. 19. ) but, as before, the grandson is often called 
the son ; Pedaiah, it is likely, died in his father's 
life-time, and so his son Zorobabel was called the 
son of Salathiel. 

10. The line is brought do^vn not to Mary, the 
mother of our Lord, but to Josefih, the husband of 
Mary ; {v. 16.) for the Jews always reckoned their 
genealogies by the males : yet Mary was of the same 
tribe and family with Joseph, so that, both by the 
mother and by this supposed father, he was of the 
house of David ; yet his interest in that dignity is 
derived by Joseph, to whom really, according to the 
flesh, he had no relation, to shew that the kingdom 
of the Messiah is not founded in a natui-al descent 
from David. 

11. The centre in whom all these lines meet, is 
Jesus, luho 13 called Christ, v. 16. This is he that 
was so importunately desired, so impatiently ex- 
pected, and to whom the patriarchs had an eye 
when they were so desirous of children, that they 
might have the honour of coming into the sacred 
line. Blessed be God, we are not now in such a 
dark and cloudy state of expectation as they were 
then in, but see clearly what these prophets and 
kings saw as through a glass darkly. And we may 
have, if it be not our own fault, a greater honour 
than that of which they were so ambitious : for they 
who do the will of God, are in a more honourable 
relation to Christ, than those who were akin to him 
according to the flesh, ch. 12. 50. Jesus is called 
Christ, that is, the Anointed, the same with the 
Hebrew name Messiah. He is called Messiah the 



Prince, (Dan. 9. 25.) and often God's Anointed, (Ps. 
2. 2.) Under this character he was expected ; Art 
thou the CAris«— the Anointed one? David, the king, 
was anointed; (1 Sam. 16. 13.) so was Aaron, the 
priest, (Lev. 3. 12. ) and Elisha, the prophet, (1 Kings 
19. 16.) and Isaiah, the prophet, (Isa. 61. 1.) Christ, 
being appointed to, and qualified tor, all these offices, 
is therefore called the Anointed — anointed luith the 
oil of gladness above his fellows ; and from this name 
of his, which is as ointment poured forth, all his fol- 
lowers are called Christians, for they also have re- 
ceived the anointi?ig. 

Lastly. The general summary of all this gene- 
alogy we have, v. 17. where it is summed up in three 
fourteens, signalized by remarkable periods. In the 
first fourteen, we have the family of David rising, 
and looking forth as the morning ; in the second, we 
have it flourishing in its meridian lustre ; in the 
third, we have it declining and growing less and less, 
dwindled into the family of a poor carpenter, and 
then Christ shines forth out of it, the Glory of his 
peofile Israel, 

1 8. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was 
on this wise : When as liis motlier Mary 
was espoused to Joseph, before they came 
together, she was found with child of the 
Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her hus 
band, being a just man, and not willing to 
make her a public example, was minded 
to put her awayprivily. 20. But while he 
thought on these things, behold, the angel 
of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, 
saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not 
to take unto thee Mary thy wife : for that 
wliich is conceived in her is of the Holy 
Ghost. 21. And she shall bring forth a 
son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus : 
for he shall save his people from their sins. 
22. Now all this was done, that it might 
be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord 
by the prophet, saying, 23. Behold, a vir- 
gin shall be with child, and shall bring forth 
a son, and they shall call his name Em- 
manuel, which being interpreted, is, God 
with us. 24. Then Joseph, being raised 
from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord 
had bidden him, and took unto him his 
wife : 25. And knew her not till she had 
brought forth her first-born son : and he 
called his name Jesus. 

The mystery of Christ's incarnation is to be adoi^ed, 
not pryei into. If we know not the way of the S/ii- 
rit in the formation of common persons, nor how the 
bones are formed in the womb of any one that is with 
child, (Eccles. 11. 5.) much less do we know how 
the blessed Jesus was formed in the womb of the 
blessed Nirgin. When David admires how he hiir. • 
self was made in secret, and curiously wrought, 
(Ps. 139. 13 — 16.) perhaps he speaks, m spirit, of 
Christ's incarnation. Some circumstances attending 
the birth of Christ we find here, which are not in 
Luke, though it is more largely recorded there. 
Here we have, 

I. Mary's espousals to Joseph. Mary, the mother 
of our Lord, was espoused to Joseph, not completely 
married, but contracted ; a purpose of marriage 
solemnly declared in words defuturo — that regard- 
ed the future, and a promise of it made if God per 



ST. MATTtlEW, J. 



15 



mil. We read of a man who has betrothed a wife, 
and has not taken her, Dcut, 20. 7. Christ was 
bom of a virgin, but a contracted virgin, 1. To put 
respect upon tlie married state, and to rcconiniend 
it as honourable among all, against that doctrine of 
dc\ ils which /orA«/» to marry, and places perfection 
in the single state. \\'ho more liighU' favoured 
than Mary was in her espousals ? 2. To save the 
credit of the blessed virgin, which otherwise would 
have been exposed. It was fit that her conception 
should be protected by a mamagc, and so justified 
in tlie eye of the world. One of the ancients says, 
It was better it should be asked, Is not this the son 
of a car/ienter? than. Is not this the son of a harlot? 
3. Tliat the blessed virgin might have one to be the 
guide of her youth, the companion of her solitude 
and travels, a partner in her cares, and a help meet 
for her. Some think that Joseph was now a widower, 
and that those who are called the brethren of Christ, 
{ch. 13. 55.) were Joseph's children by a former 
wife. This is the conjecture of many of the ancients. 
Joseph was a just man, she a virtuous -woman. 
Those who are believers should not be unecjualli/ 
yoked with unbelievers ; but let those who are reli- 
gious choose to many with those who are so, as 
they e.xpect the comfort of the relation, and God's 
blessing upon them in it. We may also leam from 
this example, that it is good to enter hito the mar- 
ried state with deliberation, and not hastily ; to pre- 
face the nuptials with a contract It is better to 
take time to consider before, than to find time to 
repent after. 

II. Her pregnancy of the Promised Seed ; before 
they came together, she was found with child, which 
really was of the Holy Ghost. The man-iage was 
deferred so long after the contract, that she ap- 
peared to be with child, before the time came for 
the solemnizing of the marriage, though she was 
contracted before she conceived. Probably, it was 
after her return from her cousin Elisabeth, with 
whom she continued three mont/is, (Luke 1. 56.) 
that she was percei\ed by Joseph to be with child, 
and chd not herself deny it. Note, Those in whom 
Christ is formed, will shew it : it will he found to be 
a work of God, which he will own. Now we may 
well imagine, what a perplexity this might justly 
occasion to the blessed virgin. She herself knew 
the divine original of this conception ; but how could 
she prove it ? She would be dealt with as with a har- 
lot. Note, After great and high advancements, lest 
we shoidd be puffed up with them, we must expect 
something or other to humble us ; some reproach, 
as a thorn in the flesh, nay, as a sword in the bones. 
Never was any daughter of Eve so dignified as the 
Virgin Mary was, and yet in danger of falling under 
the imputation of one of the worst of crimes ; yet 
we do not find that she tormented herself about it ; 
being conscious of her own innocence, she kept her 
mind calm and easy, and committed her cause to him 
that judges righteously. Note, Those who take 
care to keep a good conscience, may cheerfully tnut 
Go<l with the keeping of their good names, and 
have reason to hope that he will clear up, not only 
their integrity, but theii- honour, as the sun at noon 
dav. 

III. Joseph's perplexity, and his care what to do 
in this case. W e may well imagine what a great 
trouble and disappointment it was to him, to find 
one he had such an opinion of, and value for, come 
under the suspicion ol such a heinous crime. Is this 
Mary ? He began to think ; " How may we be de- 
ceived in those we think best of ! How may we.be 
disappointed in what we expect the most from !" 
He is loth to believe so ill a thing of one whom he 
believed to be so good a woman ; and yet the mat- 
ter, as it is too bad to be excused, is also too plain 
to be denied. What a stiiiggle does this occasion. 



in his breast, between that jealousy which is the 
rage of man, and is cnicl as the grave, on the one 
liand, and that affection which he has for Mary, on 
the other. 

Obser\e, 1. The extremity which he studied to 
avoid. He was not willing to make her a fiublic 
cxam/ilc. He might have done it ; for, by the law, 
a betrothed virgin, if she play the harlot, was to be 
stoned to death, Deut. 22, 23', 24. But he was not 
willing io take the advantage of the law against her : 
if she be guilty, yet it is not known, nor slndl it be 
known from him. How different was the spirit which 
Joseph displayed from that of Judah, who in a simi- 
lar case hastily passed that severe sentence, Bring 
her forth and let her be burnt .' Gen. 38. 24. How 
good is it to think on thingn, as Joseph did here ! 
v\'ere there more of deliberation in our censures and 
judgments, there would be more of mercy and mo- 
deration in them. Bringing her to jjunishment, is 
here called making her a public examjile: which 
shews what is the end to be aimed at in ijunishments 
— giving warning to others : it is in terrorem — that 
all about may hear and fear. Smite the scorner, and 
the simple will beware. 

Some pereons of a rigorous temper would blame 
Joseph for his clemency, but it is here spoken of to 
his pi-aise ; because he was a just man, therefore he 
was not willing to expose her. He was a religious, 
good man ; iuul therefore inclined to be merciful as 
God is, and to forgix'e as one that v/asforgri'en. In 
the case of a betrothed damsel, if she were defiled 
in the field, the law charitably supposed that she 
cried out, (Deut. 22. 26.) and she was not to be 
punished. Some charitable construction or other 
Joseph will put upon this matter ; herein he is a ji^st 
man, tender of the good name of one who never be- 
fore had done any thing to blemish it. Note, It be- 
comes us, in many cases, to be gentle toward those 
that come under suspicion of having offended, to 
hope the best concerning. them, and make the best 
of that which at first appears bad, in hopes it may 
prove better. Summum jus summa injuria — Thi 
rigour of the law is (sometimes) the height of injus 
tice. Tiiat court of conscience which moderates the 
rigour of the law, we call a court of equity. Those 
who are found faulty were perhaps overtaken in the 
fault, and are therefore to be restoredwith thesfiirit 
of meek7iess. 

2. The expedient he found out for avoiding this 
extremity. He was minded to put her away prfvily, 
that is, to give a bill of di\orce into her hand before 
two witnesses, and so to hush up the matter among 
themselves. Being a just man, a strict obseirer of 
the law, he would not proceed to marry her, but 
resolved to put her away ; and yet, in tenderness 
for her, determined to do it as privately as possible. 
Note, the necessary censures of those who nave of- 
fended, ought to be managed without noise. The 
words of the wise are heard in quiet. Christ himself 
shall not strii'e nor cry. Christian love and christian 
prudence will hide a multitude of sins, and great 
ones, as far as may be done without having fellow- 
ship with them. 

IV. Joseph's discharge from this perplexity by an 
express sent from heaven ; {y. 20, 21.) Jf7iile he 
thought on these things, and knew not what to deter- 
mine, God graciously directed him what to do, and 
made hira easy. Note, Those who would have di- 
rection from God, must think on things themselves, 
and consult with themselves. It is the thoughtful, 
not the unthinking, whom God will guide. \Vnen 
he was at a loss, and had carried the matter as far 
as he could in his own thoughts, then God came in 
with advice. Note, God's time to come in with in- 
struction to his people, is when they are nonplussed, 
and at a stand. God's comforts most delight the 
soul, in the multitude of its perplexed thoughts. 



16 



ST. MATTHEW, I. 



The message was sent to Joseph by an angel of 
the Lord ; probably, the same angel that brought 
to Mary the tidings of the conception — the angel 
Gabriel. Now the intercourse with heaven, by 
angels, with which the patriarchs had been digni- 
fied, but which had been long disused, begins to be 
revived ; for when the First- Begotten is to he brought 
into the world, the angels are ordered to attend his 
motions. How far God may now, in an invisible 
way, make use of the ministration of angels, for ex- 
tricating his people out of their straits, we cannot 
say ; but this we are sure of, they are all ministering 
spirits for their good. This angel appeared to Joseph 
in a dream, when he was asleep, as God sometimes 
spake unto the fathers. When we are most quiet 
and composed, we aie in the best frame to receive 
the notices of the divine will. The Spirit moves on 
the calm waters. This dream, no doubt, carried 
its own evidence along with it, that it was of God, 
and not the production of a vain fancy. 

Now, 1. Joseph is here directed to proceed in his 
intended marriage. The angel calls him, Joseph, 
thou son of David : he puts him in mind of his re- 
lation to Dav'id, that he might be prepared to receive 
this surprising intelligence of his relation to the 
Messiah, who, every one knew, was to be a des- 
cendant from David. Sometimes, when great ho- 
nours devolve upon those who have small estates, 
they care not for accepting them, but are will- 
ing to drop them ; it was therefore requisite to 
put this poor caipenter in mind of his high birth ; 
" Value thyself. Joseph, thou art that son of David, 
through whom the line of the Messiah is to be 
drawn." We may thus say to eveiy true believer ; 
" Fear not, thou son of Abraham, thou child of God ; 
forget not the dignity of thy birth, tliy new birth." 
Fear not to take Mary for thy wife ; so it may be 
read. Joseph, suspecting she was with child by 
whoredom, was afraid of taking her, lest he should 
bring upon himself either guilt or reproach. No, 
saith God, Fear not ; the matter is not so. Perhaps 
Maiy had told him that she was with child bv the 
Holy Ghost, and he might have heard what Elisa- 
beth said to her, (Luke 1. 42.) wlien she called her 
the mother of her Lord; and if so, he was afraid of 
presumption in marrying one so much above him. 
But from whatever cause his fears arose, they were 
all silenced with this word. Fear not to take unto 
thee Mary thy wife. Note, It is a great mercy to 
be delivered from our fears, and to have our doubts 
resolved, so as to proceed in our affairs with satis- 
faction. 

2. He is here informed concerning that Ifoly 
Thing, with which his espoused wife was now preg- 
nant. That which is conceived in her, is of a'divine 
original. He is so far from being in danger of shar- 
ing in an impurity by marrying her, that he will 
thereby share in the highest 'dignity he is capable 
of. Two things he is told, 

(1.) That she had conceived by the power of the 
Holy Ghost ; not by the power of nature. The 
Holy Spirit, who produced the world, now produced 
the Saviour of the world, and prepared him a body, 
as was promised him, when he said, Lo, I come, 
Heb. 10. 5. Hence he is said to be made of a woman, 
(Gal. 4. 4.) and yet to be that second Mam, that 
is, the Lord from heaven, 1 Cor. 15. 47. He is the 
Son of God, and yet so far partakes of the substance 
of his mother, as to be called the Fruit of her womb, 
Luke 1. 42. It was requisite that his conception 
should be othenvise than by ordinary generation, 
that so, though he partook of the human nature, yet 
he might escape the corruption and pollution of it, 
and not be conceived and shapen in iniquity. His- 
tory tells us of some who vainly pretended to have 
conceived by a di\'ine power, as the mother of Alex- 
ander ; but none ever really did so, except the mother 



of our Lord. His name in this, as in other things, is, 
JVonderful. We do not read that the Virgin Mary 
did herself proclaim the honour done her ; but she 
hid it in her heart, and therefore God sent an angel 
to attest it. Those who seek not their own glory 
shall have the honour that comes from God ; it is 
reseiTed for the humble. 

(2. ) That she should bring forth the Saviour of the 
world; {v. 21.) She shall bring forth a Son; what 
he shjill be, is intimated, 

[1.] In the name that should be given to her Son ; 
Thou shall call his name Jesus, a Saviour. Jesus 
is the same name with Joshua, the termination only 
being changed, for the sake of confonning it to the 
Greek. Joshua is called Jesus, (Acts 7. 45. Heb. 
4. 8.) from the Seventy. There were two of that 
name under the Old Testament, who were both il- 
lustrious types of Christ ; Joshua, who was Israel's 
Captain at their first settlement in Canaan ; and 
Joshua, who was their High-Priest at their second 
settlement after the captivity, Zech. 6. 11, 12. 
Christ is our Joshua ; both the Captain of our sal- 
vation, and the High-Prie<<i of our profession ^ and, 
in both, our Saviour ; — a Joshua who comes m the 
stead of Moses, and does that for us, which the lam 
could not do, in that it was weak. Joshua had been 
called Hoshea, but Moses prefixed the first syllable 
of the name Jehovah, and so made it Jehoshua, 
(Numb. 13. 16.) to intimate that the Messiah, who 
was to bear that name, should be Jehovah ; he is 
therefore able to save to the uttermost, neither is 
there salvation in any other. 

[2.] In the reason of that name ; For he shall save 
his people from their sins ; not the nation of the Jews 
only, (he came to his own, and they received him 
not,) but all who were given him by the Father's 
choice, and all who have given themselves to him by 
their own. He is a King who protects his subjects, 
and, as the Judges of Israel of old, works salvation 
for them. Note, Those whom Christ saves, he saves "^ 
from their sins ; from the guilt of sin by the merit 
of his death, from the dominion of sin by the Spirit 
of his grace. In saving them from sin, he saves them 
from wrath and the curse, and all misery here and 
hereafter. Christ came to save his people, not in 
their sins, hut from their sins ; to purchase for them, 
not a liberty lo sin, but a liberty yVon! sitis, to redeem 
them from all iniquity ; (Tit. 2. 14.) and so to redeem 
them from among men, (Rev. 14. 4.) to himself, who 
is separate from sinners. So that those who leave 
their sins, and give up themselves to Christ as his 
people, are interested in the Saviour, and the great 
salvation which he has wrought out, Rom. 11. 26. 

V. The fulfilling of the scripture, in all this. This 
evangelist, writing among the Jews, more frequently 
observes this than any other of the evangelists. 
Hei-e, the Old-Testament prophecies had their ac- 
complishment in our Lord Jesus ; by which it ap- 
pears, that this was He that should come, and we 
are to look for no other ; for this was He lo whom all 
Ifie pro/ihets bear witness. Now the scripture that 
was fulfilled in the birth of Christ, was that promise 
of a sign which God gave to king Ahaz, (Isa. 7. 14.) 
Behold, a virgin shall conceive ; where the prophet, 
encouraging the people of God to hope for the pro- 
mised deliverance from Sennacherib's invasion, di- 
rects them to look forward to the Messiah, who was 
to come of the people of the Jews, and the house of 
David ; whence it was easy to infer, that though 
that people and that house were afflicted, yet neither 
the one nor the other could be abandoned to rtiin, 
so-long as God had such an honour, such a blessing, 
in reserve for them. The deliverances which God 
■wrought for the Old-Testament church, were types 
and figures of the great salvation by Christ ; and if 
God will do the greater, he will not fail to do the 
less. 



ST. MATTHEW, II. 



17 



The prophecy here quoted is justly ushered in 
with a Jii-ltold, whicii ccinmuiiuls both attention ;uid 
admiration ; for v.e liavc here the mystery of god- 
liness, which is, without controverey, great, that 
God iiHis mauiftstcd in fhejicah. 

1. The sign given us, that the Messiah shall be 
born of a virg-in. A virgin shall conceix-e, and, by 
h.er, he shall be manifested in lliejliah. The word 
jihnah signifies a virgin, in the stiictest sense, such 
as Mary professes herself to be, I^iikc 1. 34. I knoiv 
not a man ; nor had it been anv such wonderful siCTi 
as it was intended for, if it had been otherwise, it 
was intimated from the bcginninij that the Messiah 
should be born of a \ irgin, when it was said that he 
should be the Si-ed of the ivoman ; so the Seed of 
the woman, as not to be the seed of any man. Christ 
was born of a virgin, not only because his birth was 
to be su/iernatural, and altogether extraordinar\-, 
but because it was to be s/iotl<ss, and pure, and with- 
out any stain of sin. Clirist would be bom, not of 
an Em/iri'ss or Queen, for he a])peared not in outward 
pomp or splendour, but of a \irgin, to teach us spirit- 
ual purity, to die to all the delights of sense, and so to 
/cee/i ourselves ;^H.9/iO^'c(/ from the world and the flesh, 
that we may be presented chaste virgins to Christ. 

2. The tinith proved by this sign is, that he is the 
Son of (Jod, and the Mediator between God and man ; 
for they shall call his name Immanuet ; that is, he 
shall be Immanuel ; when it is said He shall be called, 
it is meant, he shall be, the Lord our Righteousness. 
/mOTc/MKc/ signifies God with us; a mysterious name, 
but verv precious ; God incarnate among us, and so 
God reconcilable to us, at peace with us, and takiiig us 
into covenant and comnumion with himself. The 
people of the Jews had God ivith them, in types and 
shadows, dwelling between the cheinibim ; but never 
so as when the Word was made flesh — that was the 
blessed Shechinah. \\"hat a happy step is hereby 
taken toward the settling of a peace and correspond- 
ence between God and man, that the two natures 
are thus bro\ight together in the person of the Me- 
diator ; by this he became an unexceptionable Re- 
feree, a Days-Man, fit to lay his hand ii/ion them 
both, since he partakes of the nature of both. Be- 
hold, in this, the deepest mystery, and the richest 

nercy, that ever was. By the light of nature, we 
see God as a God above us ; by the light of the law, 
we see him as a God against us ; but bv the light of 
the gospel, we sec him as Immanuel, God with us, 
I in our own nature, and (which is more) in our inte- 
rest Herein the Redeemer commended his love. 
With Christ's name Immanuel we mav compare the 
name gi\en to the gospel church. (Ezek. 48. 35.) 
Jehovah Shammah — The Lord is there; the Lord 
of hosts is with us. 

Nor is it improper to say tliattlie prophecy which 
foretold that he should be called Immanuel, was 
fulfilled in the design and intention of it, when he 
was called Jesus ; for if he had not been Immanuel 
— God with us, he could not have been Jesus — .4 
I Saviour; andhereinconsiststhesalvation he wrought 
' out, in the bringing of God and man to g ether ; this 
was what he designed, to bnng (;od to be with us, 
which is our great happiness, and to bring us to be 
•mith God, which is our great dut\-. 

VI. Joseph's obedience to the divine precept ; (v. 
24.) being raised from slee/i by the impression which 
the dream made'upon him, he did as the angel of the 
Lord had bidden him, though it was contrary- to his 
fomicr sentiments and intentions; he tool: unto htm 
bis nvife; he did it speedily, without delav, aiid 
r.heerhilly, without dispute ; he was not disobedient 
to the heavenly -lision. Extraordinary direction 
like this we are not now to expect ; but God has 
still ways of making known his mind in doubtful 
cases, by hints of providence, debates of conscience, 
and advice of faithful friends ; by each of these, an- 

VoL. v.— C 



plying the general rules of the written wci-d, we 
shoidd, therefore, in all the steps of our life, parti- 
cularly the great turns of if, such as this of Joseph's, 
take dii-cction from God, and we shall find it safe 
;uid comfortable to do as he bids us. 

VII. The accomplishment of the divine promise ; 
{w 25.) Hhe brought forth her Jirst-bom son. The 
circumstances of it are more largely related, Luke 
2. 1, &c. Note, That which is concerird of the 
Holy Ghost never proves abortixH; but will certainly 
be brought forth in its season. M'hat is of the will 
ofthejlesb, and of the will of man, often miscarries; 
but if Christ he formed in the soul, God himself has 
begun the good work which he will perform ; what 
is conceir~.'cd in grace, will, no doubt, be brought forth 
in glory. 

It is liere further observed, 1. That Joseph, though 
he solemnized the maniage with Marv, his espous- 
ed wife, kept at a distance from her while she was 
with ch'M of this holy thing ; he knew her not till 
she had broui;h! him forth. Much has Ijeen said 
concerning the peipetual virginity of the mother of 
our Lord ; Jerome was verv' angiy with Helvidius 
for denying it. It is certain that it cannot be proved 
from scripture. Dr. J/ 'A/Wy inclines to think, that 
when it is said, Joseph knew her not till she had 
brought forth herjirst-boni, it is intimated that, af- 
terward, the reason ceasing, he lived with her, ac- 
cording to the law, Exod. 21. 10. 2. That Christ 
was the First - Born ; and so he might be called, 
though his mother had not any other children after 
him, according to the language of scripture. Nor 
was it without a mysteiy that Christ is called her 
First-Born, for he is the First-born of every crea- 
ture, that is, the Heir of all things ; and he is the 
First-Born among many brethren, that in all things 
he may ha\e the pre-eminence. 3. That Joseph 
called his name Jesus, according to the direction 
given him. CJod having apfiohued him to be the 
Sa\ iour, which was intimated in his giving him the 
name Jesus, we must accept of him to be our Savi- 
our., and, in concurrence with that appointment, we 
must call him Jesus, our Saviour. 



CHAP. H. 

In this chapter, we have the history of our Saviour's infancy, 
where ive find liow early he betran to suffer, and that in 
him the word of righteousness was fullilled, before him- 
self began to fulfil all rinhleousness. Here is, I. The 
wise men's solicitous inquiry after Christ, v. I. . 8. II. 
Their devout attendance nn him, when they found out 
wliere he was, v. 9. . 12. III. Christ's flight into Egypt, 
to avoid the cruelty of Herod, v. 13. . 15. IV. The bar- 
barous murder of the infants of Bethlehem, v. 16. . 18. 
V. Christ's return out of Egvpt into the land of Israel 
again, v. 19. . 23. 

1 . I^TOW when Jesus was born in Betli- 
j3i Ichcm of Judea in the days of Herod 
the king, behold, llicre ramc wise men 
from the east to .Tertisah-m, 2. Saying 
Where is he tliat is born King of the Jews? 
For we have seen his star in the east, and 
are come to \\orsIiip him. 3. When He- 
rod the king had licard these things, he 
was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 
4. And when he had gathered all the chief 
priests and scribes of the people together, 
he demanded of them where Christ should 
be born. 5. And they said unto him, In 
Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written 
by the prophet. 6. And thou Bethlehem. 
in the land of Juda, ait not the least 
I among the princes of Juda : for out ol 



18 



ST. MATTHE\^r, H. 



thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule 
my people Israel. 7. Then Herod, when 
he had privily called the wise men, in- 
quired of them diligently what time the 
star appeared. 8. And he sent them to 
Bethlehem, and said, Go and search dili- 
gently for the young child; and when ye 
have found him, bring me word again, that 
I may come and worship him also. 

It was a mark of hmniliation put upon the Lord 
Jesus, that though he was the Desire of alt nations, 
yet his coming into the world was httle obsen'ed 
and taken notice of, his birth was obscure and unre- 
garded : herein he emptied himself, and made him- 
self of no reputation. If the son of God must be 
brought into the world, one might justly expect that 
he should be received with all the ceremony possi- 
ble ; that crowns and sceptres skould i.Timediately 
have been laid at his feet, ana that the high and 
mighty princes of the world should have been his 
humble servants ; such a Messiah as this the Jews 
expected, but we see none of all this ; he came into 
the •world, and the world knew him 7iot ; nay, he catne 
to his own, and his own received him not ; for having 
imdertaken to make satisfaction to his Father for 
the wrong done him in his honour by the sin of man, 
he did it by denying himself in, and despoiling him- 
self of, the honours undoubtedly due to an incarnate 
Deity ; yet, as afterward, so in his birth, some rays 
of glory darted forth in the midst of the greatest 
insta'nces of his abasement. Though t/iere was the 
hiding of his fiower, yet he had beams coming out 
of his hayid, (Hab. 3. 4.) enough to condemn the 
world, and the Jews especially, for their stupidity. 

The first who took notice of Christ ?''ter his birth, 
were the shepherds, (Luke 2. 15, fee.) who saw and 
heard glorious things conce:Tiing him, and made 
them known abroad, to thi> amazement of ;dl that 
heard them, v. 17, 18. After that, Simeon and Anna 
spake of him, by the Spirit, to all that were dispo- 
sed to heed what they said, Luke 2, 38. Now, one 
would think, these hints should have been taken by 
the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 
and they should with both arms have embraced tlie 
long-looked-for Messiah ; but, for aught that ap- 
pears, he continued nearly two years after at Beth- 
lehem, and no further notice was taken of him till 
these wise men came. Note, Nothing will awaken 
those that are resolved to be regardless. Oh the 
amazing stupidity of these Jews! And no less, that 
of many who are called christians ! Observe, 

I. 'V\Tien this enquiry was made concerning 
Christ ; it was in the days of Herod the King. This 
Herod was an Edomite, made king of judea by 
Augustus and Antonius, the then chief nilers of 

. the Roman state, a man made up of falsehood and 
cruelty ; yet he was complimented with the title of 
Herod the Great. Christ was bom in the 35th year 
of his reign, and notice is taken of this, to shew 
that the sce/itre was now departed from Judah, and 
the lawgiver from between his feet ; and therefore 
now was the time for Shiloh to come, and to him 

. shall the gathering of the /leofile be, witness the wise 
men, Gen. 49. 10. 

II. 'V^Tio and what these ivise men were ; they 
are here called Miym — Magicians. Some take it 
in a good sense ; the Magi among the Persians v/ere 
their philosophers, and their priests ; nor would 
they admit any one for their king who had not first 
been enrolled among the Magi ; others think they 
dealt in unlawful arts ; the word is used of Simon, 
the sorcerer, (Acts 8. 9, 11.) and of EhTuas, the 
sorcerer, (Acts 13. 6.) nor does the scripture use 
it in any other sense ; and then it was an early in- 



stance and presage of Christ's victory over the 
Devil, when those who had been so much his devo- 
tees, became the early adorers even of the infant 
Jesus ; so soon were trophies of his victoiy over the 
powers of darkness erected. Well, whatever sort 
of wise men they were before, now they began to 
be wise men indeed when they set themselves to 
to inquire after Christ. 

This we are sure of, 1. That they were Gentiles, 
and not belonging to the commonwealth of Israel. 
The Jews regarded not Christ, but these Gentiles 
inquired him out. Note, Many times those who 
are nearest to the means, are furthest from the end. 
See ch. 8. 11, 12. The respect paid to Christ by 
these Gentiles was a happy presage and specimen 
of what would follow, when those who were afar 
off should be made nigh by Christ. 2. That they 
were scholars, they dealt in arts, curious arts ; good 
scholars should be good christians, and then they 
complete their learning when they learn Christ. 
3. 1 hat they were men of the east, who were noted 
for their soothsaying, Isa. 2. 6. Arabia is called the 
land of the east, (Gen. 25. 6.) and the Arabians are 
called, Me7i of the east, Judg. 6. 3. The presents 
they brought were the products of that countiy ; the 
Arabians had done homage to David and Solomon 
as types of Christ. Jethro and Job were of that 
country. More than this we have not to say of 
them. The traditions of the Romish church are 
frivolous, that they were in number three, (though 
one of the ancients says that they were fourteen,) 
that they were kings, and that they lie buried in 
Colen, thence called the thire kings of Colcn; we 
covet not to be wise above what is written. 

III. What induced them to make this inquiry. 
They, in their countrj^, which was in the east, had 
seen an extraordinary star, such as they had not 
seen before ; which they took to be an indication of 
an extraordinarT,r person born in the land of Judea, 
over which land this star was seen to hover, in the 
nature of a comet, or a meteor rather, in the lower 
regions of the air ; this differed so much from any 
thing that was common, that they concluded it to 
signify something uncommon. Note, Extraordinaiy 
appearances of God in the creatures, should put us 
upon inquiring after his mind and will therein ; 
Christ foretold signs in the heavens. The birth of 
Christ was notified to the Jewish shepherds by an 
angel, to the Gentile philosophers by a star ; to 
whom God spake in their own language, and in the 
way they were best acquainted with. Some think 
that that veiy light which the shepherds saw shi- 
ning round about them tlie night after Christ was 
bom, was the veiy same which, to the wise men 
who lived at such a distance, appeared as a star ; 
which we cannot easily admit, because the star they 
had seen in the i°o«?, they 'saw a great while after, 
leading them to the house where Christ lay ; it was 
a candle set up on puipose to guide them to Christ. 
The idolaters worshipped the stars as the host of 
heaven, especially the eastern nations, whence the 
planets have the names of their idol-gods ; we 
read of a particular star they had in veneration, 
Amos 5. 26. Thus the stars that had been misused, 
came to be put to the right use, to lead men to 
Christ ; the gods of the heathen became his ser- 
vants. Some think this star put them in mind of 
Balaam's prophecy, that a star should come out of 
Jacob, pointing at a .sceptre that shall rise out of Is- 
rael; see Numb. 24. 17. Balaam came froin the 
mou7itains of the east, and was one of their wise 
men. Othei's impute their inquir)' to the genei-al 
expectation entertained at that time, in those eas- 
tern parts, of some great prince to appear ; Taci- 
tus, in his histon-, (Lib. v. J takes notice of it; 
Pluribus persuasio inerat, antic/uissacerdotum Uteris 
contineri, eo ipso tempore fore, ut valesceret Oriens, 



ST. MATTHEW, II. 



19 



firofectit/uti Judxd rcrum /lolircntur — ^ Jienuasion 
exintcd ill the niiiuls of many, that some aiicirrit tvri- 
tin^K of the Jiriests contained a firediction that about 
that time an eastern noiver would /irevai/, and that 
persons firoceeding from Judea ivoutd obtain domi- 
nion. Suetonius also, in the life of Vesfiasian, speaks 
of it ; so that this extraoitliiiary pheiiomeiKui was 
construed as pointing to ;/;a^ ^'i>'S; ami wc may su])- 

Eose adivine nnpression made upon their minds, ena- 
lins them to intci-])ret this star as a sigiial j;iven 
by Heaven of the birth of Christ. 

IV'. How they prosecuted this inquiry. They 
came from the east to Jerusalem, in fiulher quest of 
this ])rince. WHiither should they come to inquire 
for the king of the Jews, but to Jerusalem, the 
mother-citv, ii'hither the tribes go uji, the tribes of 
the Lord? Thev niis^ht have said, " If such a 
prince should be bom, we shall hear of him shortly 
m our own country, and it will be time enough then 
to pay our homage to him." But so impatient were 
they to be better acquainted with him, that thev 
took a long journey on purpose to inquire after him. 
Note, Those who tiid)' desire to know Christ, and 
find him, will not regard pains or perils in .seeking 
after him. Then shall lue know, if we follow on to 
know the Lord. 

Their question is, mere is he that is bom king of 
the Jews ? They do not ask, whether there was such 
a one born ; (they are sure of that, and speak of it 
with assurance, so .strongly was it set home upon 
their hearts ;) but. Where is he born? Note, Those 
who know something of Christ, cannot but covet to 
know more of him. They call Christ the King of 
the Jenvs, for so the Messiah was expected to be : 
and he is Protector and Ruler of all the spiritual 
Israel, he is bom a King. 

To this question they doubted not but to have a 
ready answer, and to find all Jei-usalem worshipping 
at the feet of this new King ; but thej' come from 
door to door with this question, and no man can gi\e 
them any infoi-mation. Note, There is more gross 
ignorance in the world, and in the chiuTh too, than 
we are aware of. Many that we think should di- 
rect us to Christ, are themselves strangers to him. 
They ask, as the spouse of the daughters of Jeru- 
salem, Saw ye him whom mu soul loveth ? But 
they are never the wiser. However, like the 
spouse, they pursue the inquii-v. Where is he that is 
born king of the Jews.' Are thev asked, "Whv 
do ye make this inquirj- ?" It is because thev have 
seen his star in the east. .\re they asked, "What 
business have ye with him .' \Miat ha\e the men 
of the east to do with the Kmg of the Jews?" 
They have their answer readv; Jt'e are come to 
ivorshifi him. They conclude he will, in process of 
time, be their King, and therefore they will betimes 
in^n'atiate themselves with him, and with those 
about him. Note, Those in whose hearts the day- 
star is risen, to give them any thing of the know- 
ledge of Christ, must make it their business to wor- 
ship him. Have we seen Christ's star? Let us 
study to give him honour. 

V. How. this inquiry was treated at Jerusalem. 
News of it at last came to court ; and when Herod 
heard it, he was troubled, v. 5. He could not be a 
stranger to the prophecies of the Old Testament, 
concerning the iVIessiah and his kingdom, and the 
times fixed for his appearing bv D.iniel's weeks ; 
but, having himself reigned so long and so success- 
fully, he began to hope that those promises would 
forever fail, and that his kingdom should be estab- 
lished and pei-petuatcd, in spite of them, '\^'hat a 
damp therefore must it needs be upon him, to hear 
talk of this King being bom, now, when the time 
fixed for his appearing was come ! Note, Carnal, 
wicked hearts, dread nothing so much as the fulfil- 
'ing of the scriptures. 



But though Herod, an Rdomite, was troubled, 
one would have thought Jei-usaltm should rejoice 
greatly to hear that her King comes ; yet, it seems, 
all Jerusalem, except the few there that wailed for 
the Consolation of Israel, were troubled with Herod, 
and were a])prehensive of I know not what ill con- 
sequences ot the birth of this new King; that it 
would involve them in war, or restrain tlieir lusts ; 
they, for their parts, desired no King but Herod ; 
the Messiah himself. Note, '1 he slaveiiv 



no, not 1 



of 



ey 



sin is foolishly preferred by many to the glorio 
liberty of the children of (iod, only because th 
apprehend some present difficulties attending that 
necessary revolution of the goveniment in the soul. 
Herod and Jerusalem were thus troubled, from a 
mistaken notion that the kingdom of the Messiah 
wovdd clasli and intertere witli the secular jjowers; 
whereas the star that proclaimed him King, plainly 
intimated that his kingdom was heavenly, and not 
of this lower world. Note, The reason why the 
kings of the earth, and the people, oppose the king- 
dom of Christ, is, because they do not know it, but 
err concerning it. 

\"I. ^^■llat assistance they met with in this in- 
quiry from the scribes and the priests, v. A — 6. 
Nobody can pretend to tell where the King of the 
Jews is, but Herod inquires where it was expected 
he should be born. The persons he consults are, 
the chief priests, who were now teachers by office ; 
and the scribes, who made it their business to study 
the law ; their li/is must keefi knowledge, but then 
the people must inquire the law at their mouth, 
Mai. 2. 7. It was generally known that Christ 
should be bom at Bethlehem; (John 7. 42.) but 
Herod would have counsel's opinion upon it, and 
therefore applies himself to the proper persons ; 
and, that he might be the better satisfied, he has 
them altogether, all the chief firiests, and all the 
scribes ; and demands of them what was the place, 
according to the scriptures of the Old Testament, 
where Christ should be born .' Many a good ques- 
tion is put with an iU design, so was this by Herod. 
The priests and scribes need not take any long 
time to gi\e an answer to tliis query ; nor do they 
differ in their opinion, but all agree that the Messiah 
must be bom in Bethlehem, the city of Dai'id, here 
called Bethlehem of Judea, to distinguish it from 
another city of the same name in the land of Zcbu- 
lun. Josh. 19. 15. Bethlehem signifies the hou.ie of 
bread ; the fittest place for him to be bom in, who 
is the true Manna, the bread which came down from 
heaven, which was given for the life of the world. 
The proof they jjroduce is taken from Mic. 5. 2. 
where it is foretold, that though Bethlehem be little 
among tlie thousands of Judah, (so it is in Micah,) 
no very populous place, yet it shall be found not the 
least among the firinces of Judah ; (so it is here ;) for 
Bethlehem's honour lay not, as that of other cities, 
in the multitude of the peojjle, but in the magnifi- 
cence of the princes it produced. Though, upon 
some accounts, Bethlehem w-as little, yet herein it 
had the pre-eminence above all the cities of Israel, 
that the Lord shall count, when hewrites u/i the jieo- 
file, that this Man, even the Alan ./esus Christ was 
born there, Ps. 87. 6. Out of thee shall come a 
Governor, the King of the .Ic.i-s. Note, Christ will 
be a Saviour to those only who are willing to take 
him for their Governor. Bethlehem was the city 
of David, and David the glory of Bethlehem ; 
t"liere, therefore, must Da\id's Son and Successor 
be born. There was "a famous well at Bethlehem, 
by the gate, which David longed to drink of; 
(2. Sam. 23. 15.) in Christ we have not onlv bread 
enough and to spare, but may come and take also of 
the water of life freely. Obsene here, how Jews 
and Gentiles compare notes about Jesns Christ. 
The Gentiles know the time of it by a star ; the 



20 



ST. MATTHEW, 11. 



Jews knew the place of it by the scriptures ; and so, 
they are capable of informing one another. Note, 
It would contribute much to the increase of know- 
ledge, if we did thus mutually communicate what we 
know. Men gi-ow rich by bartering and exchan- 
ging ; so, if we have knowledge to communicate to 
others, they will be ready to communicate to us; 
thus many shall discourse, shall run to and fro, 
and knowledge shall be increased. 

VII. The bloody project and design of Herod, 
occasioned by this inquiry, -v. 7, 8. Herod was now 
an old man ; had reigned thirty-five years ; this King 
was but newly born, and not likely to enterprise any 
thing considerable for many years ; yet Herod is 
jealous nf him. Crowned heads cannot endure to 
think of successors, much less of rivals ; and there- 
fore nothing less than the blood of this infant King 
will satisfy him ; and he will not give himself liberty 
to think that, if this new-born Child should be indeed 
the Messiah, in opposing him, or making any at- 
tempts upon him, he would be found ^fighting against 
God, than which nothing is more vain, nothing more 
dangerous. Passion has got the mastery pf reason 
and conscience. 

Now, 1. See how cunningly he laid the project ; 
{y. 7, 8.) He privily called the ivise men, to talk 
with them about this matter. He would not openly 
own his fears and jealousies ; it would be his disgrace 
to let the wise men know them, and dangerous to 
let the people know them. Sinners are often tor- 
mented with secret fears, which they keep to them- 
selves. Herod leams of the wise men the time when 
the star ap/ieared, that he might take his measures 
accordingly ; and then employs them to inquire fur- 
ther, and bids them bring him an account. All this 
might look suspicious, if he had not covered it with 
a shew of religion ; that I may come and worship 
him also. Note, The greatest wickedness often con- 
ceals itself under a mask of piety. Absalom cloaks 
his rebellious project with a vow. 

2. See how strangely he was befooled and infatu- 
ated in this, that he tnisted it with the wise men, 
and did not choose some other managers, that would 
have been true to his interests. It was but seven 
miles from Jei-usalem ; how easily might he have 
sent spies to watch the wise men, who might have 
been as soon there to destroy the Child as they to 
worship him. Note, God can hide from the eves 
of the church's enemies those methods by which 
they might easily destroy the church ; when he in- 
tends to lead princes away spoiled, his way is to 
make the judges fools. 

9. When they had heard the king, they 
departed, and, lo, the star which they saw 
in the east, went before tiiem, till it came 
and stood over where tlie j'oimg child was. 
10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced 
with exceeding great joy. 11. And when 
they were come into the house, they saw 
the young child with Mary his mother, and 
fell down, and worshipped him : and when 
they had opened their treasures, they pre- 
sented unto him gifts; gold, and frankin- 
cense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned 
of God in a dream that they should not re- 
turn to Herod, they departed into their own 
country another way. • 

We have here the wise men's humble attendance 
upon this new-bom King of the Jews, and the ho- 
nours they paid him. From Jenisalem they went 
to Bethlehem, resolving to seek till they find ; but it 
is very strange that they went alone ; that not one 



person of the court, church, or city, should accom- 
pany them, if not in conscience, yet in civility to 
them, or touched witn a. curiosity to see this young 
Prince. As the queen oj the south, so the wise men 
of the east, wUl rise up in judgment against the men 
of that generation, and of this too, and will condemn 
them ; for they came from afar country, to worship 
Christ; while the Jews, his kinsmen, would not stir 
a step, would not go to the next town to bid him 
welcome. It might have been a discouragement to 
these wise men, to find him whom they sought, thus 
neglected at home. Are we come so far, to honour 
the King of the Jews, and do the Jews themselves 
put such a slight upon him and us ? Yet they persist 
in their resolution. Note, We must continue our 
attendances upon Christ, though we be alone in 
them ; whatever others do, we must sen'C the Lord; 
if they will not go to heaven with us, yet we must 
not go to hell with them. Now, 

I. See how they found out Christ by the same 
star that they had seen in their own country, v. 9, 
10. Observe,!. How graciously God directed them. 
By the first appearance of the star they were given 
to understand where they might inquire for this 
King, and then it disappeared, and they were left 
to take the usual methods for such an enquir)'. 
Note, Extraordinary helps are not to be expected 
where ordinaiy means are to be had. Well, they 
had traced the matter as far as they could ; they 
were upon their journey to Bethlehem, but that is a 
populous town, where shall they find him when they 
come thither ? Here they were at a loss, at their 
wit's end, but not at their faith's end ; they believed 
that God, who had brought them thither by his 
word, would not leave them there ; nor did he ; for 
behold, the star which they saw in the east went be- 
fore them. Note, If we go on as far as we can in"i 
the way of our duty, God will direct and enable us J 
to do that which of ourselves we cannot do ; Up, 
and be doing, and the Lord will be with thee. Vigi- 
lantibus, 7ion dormientibus, succitrrit lex — TTie law 
affords its aid, not to the idle, but to the actri'e. The 
star had left them a great while, yet now returns. 
They who follow (iod in the dark shall find that 
light is sown, is resened, for them. Israel was led 
by a pillai- of fire to the promised land, the wise 
men bv a star to the promised Seed, who is himself 
the bright and Morning Star, Rev. 22. 16. God 
would rather create a nenv thinf, than leave these at 
a loss who diligently and faithfully sought him. 
This star was the token of God's presence with 
them ; for he is Light, and goes before his people as 
their Guide. Note, If we by faith eve God in ali\ 
our ways, we may see ourselves under his conduct ; ' 
he guides with his eye, (Ps. 32. 8. ) and saith to them, 
This is the way, walk in it : and there is a day-star i 
that arises in the hearts of those that inquire after ) 
Christ, 2 Pet. 1. 19. 2. Obsene how joyfully they J 
followed God's direction; (t. 10.) JI7ien Ihey saie 
the star, they rejoiced witli exceeding great joy. 
Now thev saw they were not deceived, and had not 
taken this long journey in vain. When the desire 
comes, it is a tree of life. Now they were sure that 
God was with them, and the tokens of his presence 
and favour cannot but fill with joy unspeakable the 
souls of those that know how to value them. Now 
they could laugh at the Jews in Jerusalem, who, 
probably, had laughed at them as coming on a fool's 
eiTand. The watchmen can give the spouse no 
tidings of her beloved ; yet it is but a little that she 
passes from them, and she finds him. Cant. 3. 3, 4. 
We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much 
from God. Wliat a transport of joy these wise men 
were in, upon this sight of the star, none know so 
well as those who, after a long and melancholy night 
of temptation and desertion, under the power of a 
spirit of bondage, at length receive the spirit ofadoft- 



in^ 
is) 



ST. MATTHEW, II 



21 



tk n, •mitncssinff with their sfiirits that they are the 
children of God ; this is liglit out of chu-kncss, it is 
life from the dead. Now they had reason to hope 
for a siglit of the Lord'n Christ speedily, of the Sun 
of righteousneiss, for the\- see the Alornitig Star. 
Note, We should be glad of every thing that will 
shew us the way to Christ. This star was sent to 
meet the wise men, and to conduct them into the 
presence-chamber of the King ; by this master of 
the ceremonies they were introduced, to liave their 
audience. Now Ciod fulfils his promise of meeting 
those that are disposed to rejoice, and work righ- 
tcousnens, (ls;u 04. 5.) and the\' fulfil his precept. 
/.(■; the hearts of those rejoice that seek the J.ord, 
Vs. 105. 3. Note, (iod is pleased sometimes to fa- 
vour young converts with such tokens of his love as 
are very encouraging to them, in reference to the 
difficulties the)- meet with at their setting out in the 
•ways of (jod. 

II. See how they made their address to him when 
they had found him, t. 11. We may well imagine 
then- expectations were raised to find this royal 
I'.abe, though slighted b\' the nation, yet honourablv 
attended at home ; and what a disappointment it 
was to them, when they found a cottage was his 
palace, and his own poor mother all the retinue he 
had ! Is this the Saviour of the world ? Is this the 
King of the Jews, nay, and tlie I'rince of the kings 
of the earth ? Yes, this is he, who, though he was 
rich, \ei, for our sokes, became thus floor. How- 
ever, these wise men were so wise as to see through 
this veil, and in this despised Babe to discern the 
glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father ; they 
did not think themsehes balked or bafllcd in their 
inquiiy ; but, as having found the King they sought, 
thev presented themselves first, and then their gifts, 
to him. 

1. They presented themsehes to him ; they fell 
down, and wor.<ihififled him. W'c do not read tnat 
they gave such honour to Herod, though he was in 
the' height of his roj'al grandeur ; but to this Babe 
thev gave this honour, not onl\- as to a King, (then 
thev would have done the same to Herod,) but as 
to a God. Note, -■VU that ha\e found Christ fall 
down before him ; they adore him, and submit them- 
selves to him. He is thy Lord, and worshiji thou 
him. It will be the wisdom of the wisest of men, 
and by this it will appear they know Christ, and 
undei'stand themselves and their ti-ue interests, if 
they be the humble, faithful worshippers of the Lord 
Jesus. 

2. They flresented their gifts to him. In the east- 
cm nations, when they did homage to their kings, 
they made them presents ; thus the subjection of the 
kings of Sheba to Christ is spoken of, (Ps. 72. 10.) 
They shall bring flresents, and offer gfts. See Isa. 
60. 6. Note, With ourselves, we must give up all 
that we have to Jesus Christ ; and iT we be sincere in 
the surrender of ourselves to him, we shall not be 
unwilling to part with what is dearest to us, and 
most valuable, to him and for him ; nor are our gifts 
accepted, unless we first present ourselves to him 
living sacrifices. God had resfiect to Jlbel, and then 
to his offering. The gifts they presented were, gold, 
frankincense, and myrrh, money, and money's- 
worth. Pro\'idence sent this for a seasonable relief 
to Joseph and Maiy in their present poor condition. 
These were the products of their own country ; what 
God favours us with, we must honour him with. 
Some think there was a significancy in their gifts ; 
thev offered him gold, as a King, paving him tribute ; 
to Cxsar, the things that are Ceesar^s ; frankincense, 
as God, for they honoured God with the smoke of 
incense ; and myrrh, as a Man that should die, for 
myrrh was used in embalming dead bodies. 

III. See how they left him when they had made 
their address to him, v. 12. Herod appointed them 



to bring him word what discoveries they had made, 
and, it is probable, they would have done so, if they 
had not been countermanded, not suspecting their 
being thus made his tools in a wicked design. I'hose 
that mean honestly and well themselves arc easily 
made to believe that others do so too, and cannot 
think the world is so bad as really it is; but the 
Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temjita- 
tion. ^^'c do not find that the wise men promised 
to come back to Herod, and, if they had, it must 
have been with the usual proviso. If God permit ; 
(iod did not permit them, and ])re\ ented the mis- 
chief Herod designed to the Child Jesus, and the 
trouble H would have been to the wise men to have 
been made involuntarily accessary to it. The)' were 
TJunicdofGod, ;^f»^»T(o-6i»T!t — oraculo vel resfloiuo 
accepto—bxi an oracular intimation. Some think that 
it intimates that they asked counsel of God, and 
that this was the answer. Note, Those that act 
cautiously, and are afraid of sin and snares, if they 
apply themselves to God for direction, may expect 
to be led in the right way. They were warned not 
to return to Herod, or to Jeiiisalem ; these were 
imworthv to have reports brought them conceming 
Christ, that might have seen with their own eyes, 
and would not. They departed into their own coun 
try another 'H'ay, to bring the tidings to their coun- 
tn'mcn ; but it is strange that we never hear any 
m'oi-e of them, and that they or theirs did not after- 
wards attend him in the temple, whom they had 
worshipped in the cradle. However, the direction 
they had from God in their return would be a fur- 
ther confirmation of their faith in this Child, as the 
Lord from heaven. 

1.3. And when tliey were departed, be- 
hold, the angel of the Lord appeared to 
Joseph in a dream, sa\ing. Arise, and take 
the young child and his mother, and flee 
into Eg>'pt, and be thou there until I bring 
thee word : for Herod will seek the young 
child to destroy him. 14. AVhen he arose, 
he took the young child and his mother by 
night, and departed into Egj^Dt ; 1 5. And 
was there until the death of Herod : that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken of the 
Lord by the prophet, saj^ing, Out of Egypt 
have I called my son. 

We have here Christ's flight into Egypt, to avoid 
the ci-ucltv of Herod, which was the effect of the 
wise men's inquiiy after him ; for, before that, the 
obscurity he lav in was his protection. It was but 
little respect (compared with what should have 
been) that was paid to Christ in his infancy ; yet 
even that, instead of honouring him among his peo- 
ple, did but expose him. 

Now here observe, 

I. The command given to Joseph conceming it, 
II. 13. Joseph knew neither the danger the Child 
was in, nor how to escape it ; but God, by an angel, 
tells him both in a dream, as before he dn-ected him 
in like manner what to do, ch. 1. 20. Joseph, be- 
fore his alliance to Christ, had not been wont to 
converse with angels as now. Note, Those that are 
spiritually related to Christ by faith, have that com- 
munion and con-espondence with Heaven, which 
before they were strangers to. 

1. Joseph is here .told what their danger was ; 
Herod will seek the young Child to destroy him. 
Note, God is acquainted with all the cniel projects 
and purposes of the enemies of his church. I know 
thy rage against me, saith God to Sennacherib, Isa. 
37. 28. How early was the blessed Jesus involved 
in trouble ! Usually, even those whose riper years 



ST. MATTHEW , II. 



are attended with toils and perils have a peaceable 
and quiet infancy ; but it was not so with the blessed 
Jesus : his life and sufFei-ings began together ; he 
was bom a Man striven -with, as Jeremiah was, 
(Jer. 15. 10.) who was sanctified from the womb, 
Jer. 1. 5. Both Christ the Head, ajid the church 
his body, agi-ee in saying. Many a time have they 
afflicted me, from my youth up. Pharaoh's ci-uelty 
fastens upon the Hebrews' children, and the great 
red dragon stands ready to devour the man-child as 
soon as it should be born. Rev. 12. 4. 

2. He is directed what to do, to escape the dan- 
ger; Take the young Child, and Jice into £gypt. 
Thus eariy must Christ give an example tp his own 
rule; {ch. 10. 23.) When they persecute you in one 
city, fee to another. He that came to die for us, 
when his hour was not yet come, fled for his own 
safety. Self-preservation, being a branch of the law 
of nature, is eminently a part of the law of God 
Flee; but why into Egvjit? Egj-pt was infamous 
for idolatry, tyranny, and enmity to the people of 
God ; It had been a house of bondage to Israel, and 
particularly cruel to the infants of Israel ; in Egvpt, 
as much as in Ramah, Rachel had been weeping for 
her children ; yet that is appointed to be a place of 
refuge to the holy Child Jesus. Note, God, when 
he pleases, can make the worst of places serve the 
best of purposes ; for the earth is the Lord's, he 
makes what use he pleases of it : sometimes the 
earth helps the woman, Rev. 12. 26. God, who 
made Moab a shelter to his outcasts, makes Egv'pt 
a refuge for his Son. This mav be considered, 

(1.) As a trial of the faith of Joseph and Mar\-. 
Thev might be tempted to think, " if this Child be 
the Son of God, as we are told he is, has he no other 
way to secure himself from a man that is a worm, 
tlian by such a mean and inglorious retreat as this ? 
Cannot he summon legions of angels to be his life- 
guard, or cherubims with flaming swords to keep 
this tree of life ? Cannot he strike Herod dead, or 
wither the hand that is stretched out against him, 
and so save us the trouble of this remo\-e >" Thev 
had been lately told that he should be the Glory of 
his people Israel ; and is the land of Israel so soon 
become too hot for him ? But we find not that thev 
made any such objections ; their faith, being tried, 
was found firm, and they believe this is the son of 
God, though they see no miracle wrought for his 
presen-ation ; but thev are put to the use of ordina- 
ry means. Joseph had gi-eat honour put upon him 
m being the husband of the blessed Virgin ; but that 
honour has trouble attending it, as all honours have 
m this world; Joseph must take the youne- Child 
and cany him into Egv/it ; and now it appeared 
how well God had provided iovthe youn^ Child and 
his mother, m appointing Joseph to'stani in so near 
a relation to them ; now the gold which the wise 
men brought would stand them in stead to bear their 
charges. God foresees his ])eopIe's distresses, and 
provides against them beforehand. God intimates 
the continuance of his care and guidance, when he 
said. Be thou there uyitil I bring thee word ; so that 
he must expect to hear from God again, and not 
stir without fresh orders. Thus God 'will keep his 
people still in a dependence upon him. 

(2.) As an instance of the humiliation of our Lord 
Jesus. As there was no room for him in the inn at 
Bethlehem, so there was no quiet room for him in 
the land of Judea. Thus was he banished from the 
earthlv Canaan, that we, who for sin were banished 
irom the heavenly Canaan, might not be for ever 
expelled. If we and our infants be at any time in 
straits, let us remember the straits Christ'in his in- 
/o\'*T^ °™"Sht into, and be reconciled to them. 
(3.) As a token of God's displeasure against the 
Jews, who took so little notice of him ; justlv does 
ne leave those who had slighted him. We see also 



here an earnest of his favour to the Gentiles, to 
whom the apostles were to bring the gospel when 
the Jews rejected it. If Eg^'pt entertain Christ 
when he is forced out of Judea, it will not be long 
ere it be said. Blessed be Egypt my people, Isa. 

II. Joseph's obedience to this command, v. 14, 
The journey would be inconvenient and perilous 
both to the young Child and to his mother ; they 
were but poorly provided for it, and were likelv to 
meet with cold entertainment in Egjpt : yet Joseph 
was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, made no 
objection, nor was dilatory in his obedience. As 
soon as he had received his orders, he immediately 
arose, and went away by night, the same night, as 
It should seem, that he received the orders. Note, 
Those that would make sure work of their obedi- 
ence, must make quick work of it. Now Joseph 
went out, as his father Abraham did, with an impli- 
cit dependence upon God, not knowing whither he 
went,^ Heb. 11. 8. Joseph and his wifchaving little, 
had little to take care ot in this remove. And abun- 
dance encumbers a necessary flight. If rich people 
have the advantage of the poor while thev possess 
what they have, the poor ha\e the advantage of the 
rich when they are called to part with it. 

Joseph took the young Child and his mother. 
Some obsen-e, that 'the young Child is put first, as 
the principal Person, and Mary is called, not the 
wife of Joseph, but, which was her greater dignity, 
the mother of the youn^^ Child. This was not the 
first Joseph that was driven from Canaan to Eg^Tit 
for a shelter from the anger of his brethren ; this 
Joseph ought to be welcome there for the sake of 
that. 

If we may credit tradition, at their entrance into 
Egypt happening to go into a temple, aU the ima- 
ges of their gods were overthrown by an invisible 
power, and fell, like Dagon before the ark, accor- 
ding to that prophecy. The Lord shall come into 
Egypt, and the idols of Egijpt shall be moved at his 
presence, Isa. 19. 1. They continued in Eg)-pt tiU 
the death of Herod, which, some think, was seven 
years, others think, not so many months. There 
they were at a distance from the temple and the 
ser\ice of it, and in the midst of idolaters ; but God 
sent them thither, and will have mercy, and not 
sacrifice. Though they were far from the temple 
of the Lord, they had with them the Lord of the 
temple. A forced absence from God's ordinances, 
and a forced presence with wicked people, may be 
the lot, are not the sin, yet cannot but be the grief, 
of good people. 

III. The fulfilling of the scripture in all this 

that scripture, (Hos. 11. 1.) Out of Egijpt have I 
called my son. Of all the evangelists; Matthew 
takes most notice of the fulfilling of the scripture 
in what concerned Christ, because his gospel was 
first published among the Jews, with whom that 
would add much strength and lustre to it. Now 
this word of the prophet undoubtedly referred to 
the delivei-ance of Israel out of Eg\^5t, in which 
God owned them for his son, his firs't-boi-n ; (Exod. 
4. 22.) but it is here applied, by way of analog^-, tc 
Christ, the Head of the church. Note, the scrip- 
ture has many accomplishments, so full and copious 
is it, and so well ordered in all things ! God is 
every day ftilfilling the scripture. Scripture is not 
of pnvate interpretation, we must give it its full 
latitude. " men Israel was a child, then I loved 
him ; and though I loved him, I suffered him to be 
a great while in Eg^'pt ; but because / loved him, 
in due time I called him out of Egvpt. They that 
read this, must, in their thoughts, not only look 
back, but look forivard ; that which has been shall 
be again; (Eccl. 1. 9.) and the manner of expres- 
sion mtimates this ; for it is not said, I called him 



ST. MATTHEW, II. 



23 



but, I called my son, out of Eg^^Jt. Note, It is no 
new thing for God's sons to be in Egypt, in a 
strange land, in a house of bondage ; but they 
shall be fetched out. They may be hid in Egypt, 
but they sh;Jl not be left there. All the elect of 
(Jod, being b\- nature cliildrcn of wi-ath, are bom 
in a s])iritual £g\pt, and in con\ crsion are effectu- 
ally c;dled out. It might be ol^ected against Christ, 
that he had been in Egypt. Must l/ie nun of Higlil- 
cousnrr.s arise out of that land of darkness? But 
this shews that to be no such strange thing : Israel 
was brought out of I'-gypt, to be advanced to the 
highest honours ; and tliis is but the doing the same 
tlung again. 

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he 
was mocked of the wise men, was excced- 
iii"; wroth, and sent Ibrtli, and slew all tlie 
children that were in ]5etiilehem, and in 
all the coasts tliereof, from two years old 
and under, according to the time which he i 
had diligently inquired of the wise men. 

17. Then was fulfilled that which was 
spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 

1 8. In Rama there was a voice heard, la- 
mentation, and weeping, and great mourn- 
ing, Rachel weeping for her children, and 
would not be comforted, because they are 
not. 

Here is, I. Herod's resentment of the departure I 
of the wise men. He waited long for their return ; 
he hopes though they be slow, they will be sure, j 
and he shall crush his Rival at his hi-st appearing ; 
but he hears, upon enquin", that they are gone off 
another way, which mcreases his jealousy, and 
makes him suspect they are in the interest of this 
new King, which made him exceeding ivroth ; and 
he is the more desperate and outrageous for his 
being disappointed. Note, Inveterate corruption 
swells the higher for the obstructions it meets with 
in a sinful pursuit 

II. His politic contrivance, notwithstanding this, 
to take off him that is born king- of the Jews. If he 
could not reach him by a particular execution, he 
doubted not but to involve him in a general stroke, 
which, like the sword of war, should dei'our one as 
well as another. This would be sure work ; and thus 
those that would destroy their ovjn iniquity, must 
be sure to destroy all their iniquities. Herod was 
an Edomite, enmity to Israel was bred in the bone 
with him. Doeg was an Edomite, who, for David's 
sake, sleiu all the priests of the Lord. It was 
strange that Herod could find an\- so inhuman as to 
be employed in such a bloody and barbarous piece 
of work ; but wicked hands never want wicked 
tools to work with. Little children have always 
iccn taken under the special protection, not only of 
numan laws, but of human nature ; yet these are 
sacrificed to the rage of this tyrant, under whom, 
as under Nero, innocence is the least security. 
Herod was, throughout his reign, a bloody maii ; [ 
it was not long before, that he destroyed the whole 
Sanhedrim, or bench of judges ; but blood to the 
blood-thirsty is like drink to those in a dropsy ; 
Quo plus sunt pota, plus sitiuntur aqu£ — The more 
they drink, the more thirsty they become. Herod 
was now about seventy years old, so that an infant, ' 
at this time under tnvo years old, was not likely ever 
to give him any disturbance. Nor was he a man 
over fond of his own children, or of their preferment, I 
having foi-merly slain two of his own sons, Alexan- 
der and .\ristqbulus, and his son .\ntipater after this, 
but five days before he himself died ; so that it wa.s [ 



purely to gratify bis own brutish lusts of pride and 
cruelty that he did this. All is fish that comes to 
his net. 

Obseixe what large measures he took, 1. As to 
time ; He slew all from tivo years old and under. 
It is probable that the blessed Jesus was at this time 
not a year old ; yet Herod took in all the infants 
under tii'o years old, that he might be sure not to 
miss of his prey. He cares not how many heads 
fall, whic'h he allows to be innocent, provided that 
escai)e not whuh he supposes to be guilty. 2. As 
to place ; He kills all tlie male children, not only m 
Bethlehetn, but in all the coasts thereof, in all the 
villages of that city. This was l)eing overmuch 
ivicked, (Eccl. 7. 17.) Note, An unbridled wrath, 
armed with an unlawful power, often transports 
men to the most absurd and unreusonalile instances 
of cruelty. It was no unrighteous thing with God 
to permit this ; every life is forfeited to his justice 
as soon as it commences; that sin which entered by 
one man's disobedience, introduced death with it'; 
and we are not to suppose any thing more than that 
common guilt, we are not to suppose 'hat these chil- 
dren ntx^e sinners above all that were m Israel, be- 
cause they suffered such things. God's judgments 
are a great deefi. The diseases and deaths of little 
children are proofs of original sin. But we must 
look upon this murder of the infants under another 
character : it was their martyrdom. How early did 
persecution commence against Christ and his king- 
dom ! Think ye that he came to send peace on the 
earth? No, but a sword, such a sword as this, ch. 
10. 34, 35. A passive testimony was hereby given 
to the Lord Jesus. As when he was in tlie womb, 
he was witnessed to by a child's leaping in the womb 
for joy at his approach, so now, at fn'O years old, he 
had contemporaiy witnesses to him of the same age. 
The\- shed their blood for him, who afterwards shed 
his for them. These were the infantry of the noble 
army of martyrs. If these infants were thus bap- 
tized with blood, though it were their own, into the 
church triumphant, it could not be said but that, 
with what thev got in heaven, they were abundant- 
ly recompensed for what they lost on earth. Out 
of the mouths of these babes and sucklings God did 
perfect praise ; otherwise, it is 7iot good to the yll- 
mighty that he should thus afflict. 

The tradition of the Greek church, (and we have 
it in the .'Ethiopic missal,) is, that the number of 
the children slain was 14,000; but that is very ab- 
surd. I believe, if the births of the male children 
in the weekh- bills were computed, there v\ould not 
be found so many under two years old, in one of the 
most populous cities in the world, much less in 
Bethlehem, a small town, that was not near a forti- 
eth part of it. But it is an instance of the vanity of 
tradition. It is strange that Josephus does not're 
late this storv ; but he wrote long alter St. Matthew, 
and it is probable that he therefore would not relate 
it, because he would not so far countenance the 
christian historv, for he was a zealous Jew ; but, to 
be sure, if it had not been true and well attested, he 
would have contested it. Macrobius, a heathen 
writer, tells us, that when Augustus Cxsar heard 
that Herod, among the children he ordered to be 
slain under two years old, slew his own son, he 
passed this jest upon him. That it was better to be 
Herod's swine than his son. The usage of the coun- 
ti-v forbade him to kill a swine, but nothing could 
restrain him from killing his son. Some think that 
he had a voung child at nurse in Bethlehem ; others 
think that, through mistake, two events are con 
founded — the murder of the infants, and the murder 
of his son Antipater. But for the church of Rome 
to put the Holy Innocents, as they call them, into 
their calendar, and obser\'e a day in memory of 
them, while they have so often, by their barbarous 



24 



ST. MATTHEW, II. 



massacres, justified, and even out-done Herod, ij 
but to do as their predecessors did, wlio built tVie 
tombs of tlie propliets, while they themselves filled 
up the same measure. 

Some obsen'e another design of Providence in the 
murder of the infants. By all the prophecies of the 
Old Testament it appears that Bethlehem was the 
place, and this the time, of the Messiah's nativity ; 
now all the children of Bethlehem, born at this 
time, being murdered, and Jesus only escaping, none 
but Jesus could pretend to be the Messiah. Herod 
now thought he had baffled all the Old-Testament 
prophecies, had defeated the indications of the star, 
and the devotions of the wise men, by ridding the 
country of this new King ; ha\ang burnt the hive, he 
concludes he had killed the master bee ; but God in 
heaven laughs at him, and has him m derision. 
Wliatevcr crafty cruel devices are in men's hearts, 
the counsel of the Lord shall stand. 

III. The fulfilling of the scripture in this ; iy. 17, 
18.) Then ivas fulfilled \.\\».t\->ro-p\\i:Q.y, (Jer. 31. 15.) 
A voice was heard in Bamah. See and adore the 
fulness of the scripture ! That prediction was ac- 
complished in Jeremiah's time, when Nebuzaradan, 
after he had destroyed Jenisalem, brought all his 
prisoners to Kamah, (Jer. 40. 1.) and there disposed 
of them as he pleased, for the sword, or for cap- 
tivity. Then was the cry in Kamah heard to Beth- 
lehem ; (for those two cities, the one in Judah's lot, 
and the other in Benjamin's, were not far asunder ;) 
but now the prophecy is again fulfilled in the great 
sorrow that was for the death of these infants. "The 
scripture was fulfilled, 

1. In the place of this mourning. The noise of it 
was heard from Bethlehem to Ramah ; for Herod's 
cruelty extended itself to all the coasts of Bethlehejn, 
"ven into the lot of Benjamin, among the children 
•if Rachel. Some think the country about Bethle- 
hem was called Rachel, because there she died, and 
'vas buried. Rachel's sepulchre was hard bv Beth- 
lehem, Gen. 35. 16, 19. Compare 1 Sam.' 10. 2. 
Rachel had her heart much set upon children ; the 
son she died in tra\ail of, she called Benoni — the 
son of her sorrow. These mothers were like Ra- 
chel, lived near Rachel's gi-ave, and manv of them 
descended from Rachel ; and therefore their lamen- 
tations are elegantly represented by Rachel's weefi- 
ing. 

2. In the degree of this mourning. It was lamen- 
tation and weeping, and great ?nourning; all little 
enough to express the sense they had of this aggi-a- 
vated calamity. There was a 'gi-eat cry in Eg>-pt 
when the first-bom were slain, and so there was 
here when the youngest was slain ; for whom we 
naturally have a'particular tenderness. Here was 
a representation of this world we li\-e in. ^^■e hear 
in it lamentation, and weeping, and mourning, and 
see the tears of the ofifircssed, some upon one ac- 
count, and some upon another. Our wav lies through 
a -vale of tears. This sorrow was so great, that the\' 
viould 'not be comforted. They hardened them- 
selves in it, and took a pleasure in their giief. Bless- 
ed be God, there is no occasion of gi-ief in this world, 
no, not that which is supplied bv sin itself, that will 
justify us in refusing to be comforted! They would 
not be comforted, because they are not, that' is, thev 
are not in the land of the living, are not as they 
were, in their mothers' embraces. If, indeed, theu 
were not, there might be some excuse for sorrow'- 
ing as though we had no hope ; but we know thev 
are not lost, but gone before ; if we forget that they 
are, we lose the best ground of our comfort, 1 Thess. 
4. \%. Some make this great grief of the Bethle- 
hemites to be a judgment upon them for their con- 
tempt of Christ. They that would not rejoice for 
the birth of the Son of God, are justly made to weep 
for the death of their o\vw sons ; for they only won- \ 



dered at the tidings the shepherds brought them, 
but did not welcome them. 

The quoting of this prophecy might serve to ob- 
viate an objection which some would make against 
Christ, upon this sad providence. " Can the Mes- 
siah, who is to be the Consolation of Israel, be in- 
troduced with all that lamentation f" '\'es, for so it 
was foretold, and the scripture must be accomplish- 
ed. And besides, if we look fuilher into this pro- 
phecy, we shall find that the bitter weeping in Ramah 
was but a prologue to the gi-eatest joy, for it follows. 
Thy work shall be rewarded, and there is hope in 
thy end. The worse things are, the sooner they 
wiU mend. Unto them a Child was bom, sufficient 
to repair their losses. 

1 9. But when Herod was dead, behold, 
"an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream 
to Joseph in Egypt, 20. Saying, Arise, 
and take the young child and his mother, 
and go into the land of Israel : for they are 
dead which sought the young child's life. 
21. And he arose, and took the young child 
and his mother, and came into the land of 
Israel. 22. But when he heard that Ar- 
chelaus did reign in Judea in the room of 
his father Herod, he was afraid to go thi- 
ther : notwithstanding, being warned of 
God in a dream, he turned aside into the 
parts of Galilee : 23. And he came and 
dwelt in a city called N^azareth ; that it 
might be fulfilled \\ hich was spoken by the 
prophets. He shall be called a Nazarene. 

We have here Christ's return out of Eg)pt into 
the land of Israel again. Egj'pt may serve to so- 
jouni in, or take shelter in, for a while, but not to 
abide in. Christ was seyit to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, and therefore to them he must re- 
tum. Obser\e, 

I. 'What it was that made way for his return — 
the death of Herod, which happened not long after 
the murder of the infants ; some think not above 
three months. Such quick, work did di\ine ven- 
geance make ! Note, Herods must die ; proud ty- 
rants, that were the teiTor of the mighty, and the 
oppressors of the godly, in the land of the Irinng, 
their day must come to fall, and down to the pit they 
must go. JVho art thou then, that thou shouldeat 
be afraid of a man that shall die ? (Isa. 51. 12, 13.) 
especially considering that at death, not only their 
envy and hatred are perished, (Eccl. 9. 6.) and they 
cease from troubling, (Job 3. 17.) but they are pun- 
ished. Of all sins, the guilt of innocent blood fills 
the measure soonest. It is a dreadful account which 
Josephus gives of the death of this same Herod, 
(Antiq. Jud. lib. xvi. cap. \ iii, ix, x. ) th.at he ivas 
seized with a disease which burned him inwardly 
with an inexpressible torture ; that he was insatia- 
bly greedy ot meat ; had the colic, and gout, and 
dropsy ; such an intolerable stench attended his dis- 
ease, that none could come near him ; and so pas- 
sionate and impatient was he, that he was a tomient 
to himself, and a terror to all that attended him : 
his innate craelty, being thus exasperated, made 
him more barbarous than ever ; havang ordered his 
o\vn son to be put to death, he imprisoned many of 
the nobility and gentry-, and ordered that as soon as 
he was dead they should be killed ; but that execu- 
tion was prevented. See what kind of men ha\e 
been the enemies and persecutors of Christ and his 
followers ! Few have opposed Christianity but such 



ST. MATTHEW, 111. 



25 



;u. have firet divested themselves of liumanity, as 
N .-TO and Domitiaii. 

II. The oidcrs given from Heaven concerning 
•lieir return, and Joseph'sobediencc to those orders, 
V. 19 — 21. CJod had sent Joseph into Egviit, and 
there he stayctl till the same that broui;fit him 
thitlier ordered him thence. Note, In all our re- 
moves, it is good to sec our way ])lain, and (lod 
going before us ; we should not move either one v/ay 
or the other without order. These ordeis were sent 
him by an angel. Note, Our intercourse with Ciod, 
if it be kept up on our part, shall be kejjt up on his, 
wherever we are. No place can exclude (iod's 

g'acious visits, .\ngels come to Joseph in Egypt, to 
zekiel in Hal)ylon, and to John in Patmos. Now, 
1. The angel informs him of the death of Hei'od and 
his accomplices ; T/iri/ are dead, iv/iic/i soufc/it the 
yoiDiv Child's life. 'I'liev' are dead, but the young 
(Child lives. Persecuted saints sometimes In e to 
tread upon the gi'a\es of their persecutors. Thus 
did the church's King weather the storm, and m.any 
a one has the church in like manner weathered. 
They arc dead, to wit, Hernd and his son Antipater, 
who, though there were mutual jealovisics between 
them, vet, i)r.)bubly, concurred in seeking the dc- 
stniction of this new King. If Herod first kill .-\n- 
tipater, and then die himself, the coasts are cleared, 
and the Lord i.i k-no'-im hy the judgments ivhich he 
ex-ectites, when one wicked insli-ument is the i-uin of 
another. 2. He directs hin> what to do. He must 
g-o and return to the land of Israel ; ;md he did so 
without delay ; not pleading the tolerably ijood set- 
tlement he had in Kgj'])t, or the inconveniences of 
the journey, especially if, as is supposed, it was in 
the l)egiuning of winter that Herod died. God's 
people follow his direction, whithersoever he leads 
them, wherever he lodges tliem. Did we but look 
upon the world as our Eey-j^t, tlie place of our bon- 
dage and banishment, luid heaven only as our Ca- 
naan, ovu" home, our rest, w-c should as readily arise, 
and depart thither, when we are called for, as Jo- 
seph did out of Egi'pt. 

III. The further direction he had from God, 
which way to steer, and where to fix in the land of 
Israel, i'. 22, 23. God could ha\e given him these 
instnictions with the former, but God rc\eals his 
mind to his people by degrees, to keej) them still 
waiting on him, and expecting to hear fiirther from 
him. These orders Josejih recci\ed in a dream, 
probably, as those before, by the ministration of an 
angel. God could have signified his will to Joseph 
by the Child Jesus, but we do not find that in those 
removes he cither takes notice, or gives notice, of 
any thing that occurred ; surely it was because in 
all things it behoved him to be made like his brethren ; 
being a Child, he s/ialce as a child, and did as o child, 
and drew a veil over his infinite knowledge and 
power ; as a child he increased in wisdom. 

Now the direction given this hol\', royal family, 
is, 1. That it might not settle in Judea, v. 22. Jo- 
seph might think that Jesus, being born in Bethle- j 
hem, must be brought up there ; yet he is pnidently I 
afraid for the young Child, because he heard that \ 
irchelaus reigns in Herod's stead, not over all the 
kingdom as his father did, but only over Judea, the 
other prox-inces being put into other hands. See 
what a succession of enemies there is to fight against 
Christ and his church ! If one drop off, another 
presently appears, to keep up the old enmity. But 
for this reason Joseph must not take the young Child 
into Judea. Note, God will not thrust his children 
into the mouth of danger, but when it is for his own 
glory and their trial ; for firecious in the sight of the 
Lord are the life and the death of his saints ; preci- 
ous is their blood to him. 

2. That it must settle in Galilee, v. 22. There 
Philip now ruled . who was a mild, quiet man. Note, 

Vol. v.— D 



The providence of God commonly so orders it, that 
his jjcople shall not want a [piiet retreat from tl.e 
storm and from the tempest ; when one climate be- 
comes hot iuid scorching, another shall be kept more 
cool and tem])erate. (Jalilee lay far north ; Sama- 
ria lay between it and Judea ; thither they were 
sent, to Nazareth, a city upon a hill, in the centre 
of the lot of Zebulun ; there the mother of our Lord 
lived, when she conceived that holy thing ; and, 
proliably, Joseph lived there too, Luke 1. 2(i, '27. 
Thither they were sent, -and there they were well 
known, and were among their relations; the most 
jiroper place for them to be in. There tlicy con- 
tinued, and from thence our Saviour was called Jesus 
ofjVazareth, which was to the Jnvs a stumbling- 
bloc/:, for, Ca?! any good thing come out of A'aza- 
rcth ? 

In this is said to be fulfilled what was sfiokeii by 
the prophets. He shall be called a .Vazarene ; which 
may be looked upon, (1.) As a name of honour and 
dignity, though ])rimarily it signifies, no more tha.. 
a mari of.A'azareth ; there is an allusirn, or mystery 
in it, sjieaking Christ to be, [l."] The Man, the 
Branch, 'prken of, Isaiah 11. 1. The word there is 
A'etzar, which signifies, either a branch, or the city 
.Vazareth ; in being denominated from that city, he 
is declared to be that Branch. [2.] It speaks him 
to be the great .Vazarite ; of whom the legal Naza- 
rites were a type and figure, (especially Samson, 
Judg-. 13. 5.) aiid Josejjh, who is called a .Vazarite 
among his brethren, (Gen. 49. 26.) and to whom 
that which was prescribed conccming the Nuza- 
rites, has reference. Numb. 6. 2, &c. Not that 
Christ was, stric'lu, a Xazarite, for he dr:'nk wini, 
and touched dead l)odies; but he was eminently so, 
both as he w-as singularly holy, and as he was by a 
solemn designation and dedication set apart to the 
honour of God in the work of our redemption, as 
Samson was to save Israel. And it is a name we 
liave all reason to rejoice in, and to know him by. 
Or, (2. ) As a name of reproach and contenij)t. To 
be called a .Yazarene, was to be called a des/iicable 
man. a man from \\ horn no good was to be expected, 
and to whom no respect was to be paid. The Devil 
first fastened this name upon Chnst, to render him 
mean, and jircjudicc people against him, and it stuck 
as a nick-name to him and liis followers. Now this 
was not particularlv foretold by any one ijrophct, 
but, in general, it was spoken by the firophets, that 
he should be des/iised and rejected of men, (Isa. .53. 
2, 3.) a Jt'ortn and no ma?!, (Ps. 22. 6, ".) that he 
should be an Jlien to his brethren, Ps. 69. 7, 8. Let 
no name of reproach for religion's sake seem hard 
to us, when our Master was himself called a .Vaza- 
rtmc. 

CHAP. III. 

At the slorv of this chn pier, concprnine; the bnplism of John, 
bcfiins the gospel ; (Mark, 1. 1.) what went before is but 
Preface or Introdiiotion ; this is "the hepiiinins of Ihc gos- 
pel of Jesus Christ." And Peter observes the same dale, 
Acl.s 1. 22. besinninsr from the baptism of Julm, for then 
Christ lieuan first to appear in liini, and then in appear to 
him, and bv liim to thd' world. Here is, I. The i;loriou: 
risinirorthnniorninsr-star — John the Baptist, v. I. I. The 
doctrine he preached, v. 2. 2. The fnlfillin? of the scrip- 
ture in him. v. 3. ♦S. His manner of life, v. 4. 4. The re- 
sort of multitudes to him, and their submission to his bap- 
tism, V. 5, (>. 5. His sermon that he preached to the Pha- 
risees and .Sadducees, wherein he endeavours to bring; them 
to repentance, fv. 7 — 10.) and so to brin<? them to Clirist, 
V. II, 12. Tl. The more glorious shininir forth of the sun 
of rii;hteou5ness, immediately after; where wc have, I. 
The honour done by him to the baptism of John. v. 13 — 15. 
2. The honour done to him hy the descent of thi- Spirit upon 
him, and a voice from heaven, v. 16, 17. 

l.TN those days came .Tolin tlie Baptist, 
I preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 



36 



ST. MATTHEW, 111. 



2. And saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand. 3. For this is he that 
was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, say- 
ing, The voice of one crying in the wilder- 
ness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make his patiis straight. 4. And the same 
John liad iiis raiment of caniePs hair, and 
a leathern girdle about his loins; and liis 
meat was locusts and wild honey. 5. 
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all 
Judea, and all the region round about Jor- 
dan, 6. And were baptized of him m Jor- 
dan, confessing their sins. 

^Ve have here an account of the preaching and 
baptism of Jolm, which were the dawning of tlie 
gospel-day. Observe, 

I. The time when he appeared, hi those days, 
{y. 1.) or, o/?fr those days, long after what was re- 
corded in the foregoing chapter, which left the 
Child Jesus in his mfancy. In those days, in the 
lime appointed of the Father for the beginning of 
the gospel, when the fulness of time was come, 
which was often thus spoken of in the Old Testa- 
ment, in those days. Now the last of Daniel's weeks 
began, or rather, the latter half of the last week, 
when the Messiah was to confirm tlie covenant ii'ith 
many, Dan. 9. 27. Christ's appearances are all in 
their season. Glorious things were spoken both of 
John and Jesus, at and before their births, which 
would have given occasion to expect some extraor- 
dinary appearances of a divine presence and power 
with them when thev were A'ery young ; hut it is 
quite otherwise. Except Christ's disputing with 
the doctors at twelve years old, nothing appears re- 
markable concerning either cf them, till they were 
about thirty years old. Nothing is recorded in their 
childhood and youth, but the greatest part of their 
life is temjtus iiinxct — ivrajit n/i in darkness and ob- 
scurity : these children differ little in outwai'd .ap- 
pearance from other children, as the heir, w^hile he 
is under age, differs nothing from a servant, though 
he be lord of all. And this was to shew, 1. That 
even then when God is acting as the God of Israel, 
the Saviour, verily he is a God that hideth himself, 
(Isa. 45. 15.) The Lord isin this filace, and I hionv 
it not. Gen. 28. 15. Our beloved stands behind the 
wall long, before he looks fMh at the it'indoivs. 
Cant. 2. 9. 2. That our faith must principally have 
an eye to Christ in his office and undertaking, for 
there is the dis/daii of his power ; but in his person 
is the hidin!^ of his power. All this while, Christ 
was God-man ; yet we are not told what he said or 
did, till he appeared as a Prophet ; and then. Hear 
ye him. 3. That young men, though well qualified, 
should not be forward to put forth themsehes in 
public service, but be humble, and modest, and self- 
diffident, swift to hear, and sloie to sfieak. 

Matthew says nothing of the conception and birth 
of John the Ba]5tist, which is lai-gely related by St. 
Luke, but finds him at full age, as if dropt from the 
clouds to preach in the wilderness. For abo\e three 
hundred years the church had fteen without pro- 
phets ; those lights had been long put out, that he 
might be the more desired, who was to be the great 
Prophet. After Malachi there was no prophet, nor 
any pretender to prophecy, till John the Baptist, to 
whom therefore the prophet Malachi points more 
directly, than any of the Old-Testament prophets 
had done; (Mai. 3. 1.) I send my messeng-er. 

II. The place where he appeared first. In the 
tvildemess of Judea. It was not an uninhabited 
desert, but a part of the country not so thickly peo- 
pled, nor so much inclosed into fields and ^^neyards, 



as other parts were ; it was such a wilderness as had 
six cities and their villages hi it, which are named, 
Josh. 15. 61, 62. In these cities and villages John 
preached, for thereabouts he had hitherto lived, 
being born hard by, in Hebron ; the scenes of his 
action began there, where he had long spent his 
time in contemplation ; and even when he shewed 
himself to Israel, he shewed how well he loved' re- 
tirement, as far as would consist with his business. 
The word of the Lord found John here in a ivilder- 
jiess. Note, No place is so remote as to shut us out 
from the visits of divine grace ; nay, commonly the 
sweetest intercourse the saints have with Heaven, 
is when they are withdrawn furthest from the noise 
of this world. It was in this wildey-ne.^s of Judea 
that David penned the 63d Psalm, which speaks so 
much of the sweet communion he then had with 
God, Hos. 2. 14. In a wilderness the law was given ; 
and as the Old Testament, so the A'eiv Testament, 
Israel was first found in a desert land, and there 
God led him about and instructed him, Deut. 32. 10. 
John Baptist was a priest of the order of Aaron, yet 
we find him preaching in a ivildemess, and ne\'er 
officiating in the tem/ile; but Christ, who was not a 
Son of Aaron, is yet often found in the temple, and 
sitting there as one having authority ; so it was foT'e- 
told, Mai. 3. 1. The Lord ii'hom ye seek shall sud- 
denly come to his temjile ; not the messenger that was 
to prepare his way. This intimated that the priest- 
hood of Christ was to thrust out that of Aaron, and 
drive it into a wilderness. 

The beginning of the gospel in a wilderness, speaks 
comfort to the deserts of the Gentile world. Now 
must the prophecies be fulfilled, / ii'ill filant in the 
wilderness the cedar, Isa. 41. 18, 19. The wilder- 
ness shall be a fruitful field, Isa. 32. 15. And the 
desert shall rejoice, Isa. 35. 1, 2. The Septuagint 
reads, the desert of Jordan, the very wilderness in 
w-hich John preached. In the Romish church there 
are those who call themsehes hermits, and pretend 
to follow John ; but when they say of Christ, Behold, 
he is m the desert, go not forth, ch. 24. 26. There 
was a seducer that led his followers into the wilder- 
ness. Acts 21. 38. 

III. His preaching. This he made his business. 
He came, not fighting, nor disputing, but prcachmg ; 
(v. 1.) for by the foolishness of preaching Christ's 
kingdom must be set up. 

1. The doctrine he preached was that of repent- 
ance ; (f. 2.) Repent ye. He preached this in J;;- 
dea, among those that w-ere called Jews, and made 
a profession of religion ; for e^en the)' need repent- 
ance. He preached it, not in Jenisalem, but in the 
wilderness of Judea, among the ]jlain countiy peo- 
ple ; for even those who think themselves most out 
of the way of temptation, and furthest from the 
vanities and vices of the town, cannot wash their 
hands in innocency, but npust do it in repentance. 
John Ba])tist's business was to call men to repent of 
their sins; }-\iTa.vr^titt — Bethink yourselves ; "Ad- 
mit a second thought, to correct the errors of the 
first — an after-thought. Consider your ways, change 
your minds ; you have thought amiss ; think aga'm, 
and think aright." Note, True penitents have other 
thoughts of God and Christ, and sin and holiness, 
and this world and the other, than they have had, 
and stand otherwise affected toward them. The 
change of the mind produces a change of the way. 
Those who are truly sorry for what they have done 
amiss, will be careful to do so no more. This re- 
pentance is a necessary duty, in obedience to the 
command of God ; (Acts 17. 30.) and a necessary 
preparative and qualification for the comforts of the 
gospel of Christ. If the heart of man had continued 
upright and unstained, di\ine consolations might 
have been received without this painful operation 
preceding ; but, being sinful, it must be first pained 



ST. MATTHEW, III. 



27 



before it can be laid at ease, must labour before it 1 
; can be at rest. The sore must be scarclicd, or it 
cannot be cured. / vjound and I heat. 

2. The arg\mient lie used to enforce this call, was, 
Y or the kini^dom of heaven is at hand. The pro- 
phets of the Old Testament called peojjle to re/ient, 
tor the obtaining and securing of tcnijjonil natioival 
mercies, and for the preventing and removing of 
temporal national judgnK-nts : Init now, though the 
duty pressed is the same, the reason is new, and 
purely evangelical. Men arc now considei-ed in 
theii personal capacity, and not so much as then in 
a social and politiciU one. Now rejjcnt for the k'mi;- 
dom of heaven ;s at hand; the go.spel-dis])ensation 
of tlif co\ enint of grace, the opening of the king- 
dom of licaven to all believers, by the death and re- 
surrection of Jesus Christ. It is a kingdom of which 
Chi-ist is the Sovereign, and \vc nnist be the willing, 
loval suljjects of it. It is a kingdom of heaven, not 
of' this world, a spiritual kingdom : its original from 
heaven, its tendency to heaven. John preached this 
as at hand ; then it was at tlie door ; to vis it is come, 
by the jjonring out of the Spirit, and the full exhibi- 
tion of the riclies of gospel-grace. Now, (1.) This 
is a great inducement to us to re/ient. Tlicre is 
nothing like the consideration of di\inc grace to 
break the heart, bothybr nin and fro7n s/h. That is 
evangelical repentance, that flov.s from a sight of 
Christ, from a sense of his love, and the hopes of 
pardon and forgiveness through him. Kindness in 
conquering ; al)used kindness, humbling and melt- 
ing. What a wretch was 1 to sin against such grace, 
against the law and love of sucli a kingdom ! (2.) 
It is a great encouragement to us to rc/ient ; " Re- 
pent, for your sins shall be paixloned u])on your re- 
pentance. Return to Cod in a way of duty, and he 
will, through Christ, return to you in a way of mer- 
cy." The proclamation of jiardon discovers, and 
fetches in, the malefactor who before fied and ab- 
sconded. Thus a.re we drawn to it v.ith the cords 
of a man and the bands of love. 

IV. The /irophecy that was fulfilled in him, x'. 3. 
This is he that was spoken of in the beginning of 
that part of the pro])hecy of Esaias, which is mostly 
evangelical, and which points at gospel-times and 
gospel-grace ; see Isa. 40. 3, 4. John is here spo- 
ken of, 

1. As the voice of one crying in the -vildemess. 
John owned it himself; (John 1. 23.) I am the voice, 
and that is all. Ciod is the Speaker, who makes 
known his mind by John, as a man does by his voice. 
The word of God must be received as. such ; (1 
Thess. 2. 13.) what also is Paul, and what is Apollos, 
but the voice ! John is called the voice, can) 0iZvI',! 
— the x'oice of one crt/ing aloud, which is startling 
and awakening. Clirist is called the Word, which, 
being distinct and articvdate, is more instructi\e. 
John, as the voice, roused men, and then Christ, as 
the Word, taught them ; as we find, Rc\'. 14. 2. 
The voice of many waters, and of a gi-eat thunder, 
made way for the melodious voice of har/iers and 
the nm> song, v. 3. Some observe that, as Sam- 
son's mother must drink no strong drink, vet he was 
designed to be a strong man ; so John Baptist's father 
was stnick dumb, and vet he was designed to be the 
voice of one crying. When the crier's voice is be- 
gotten of a dumb father, it shews the excellency of 
the fioiver to be of God, and not of man. 

2. As one whose business it was to prefiare the 
■way of the Lord, and to make his paths straii^ht ; 
so it was said of him before he was bom, that he 
should make readu a people prefiared for the Lord, 
(Luke 1. \7.) as Christ's harbinger and forenmner : 
he' was such a one as intimated the nature of Christ's 
kingdom, for he came not in the gaudy dress of a 
herald at arms, but in the homely one of a hermit. 
< Jfficers are sent before great men to clear the way ; 



so John prepares the way of the Lord. (1. . He 
himself (lid so among the men of that gcneianon. 
In the Jewish church and nation, at that time, all 
was out of course ; there was a great decay of \ni:Xy, 
the vitals of religion were corrupted and eaten out 
by the traditions and injunctions of the elders. The 
fivribes and Pharisees, that is, the greatest hypo- 
crites in the world, had the key of knowledge, and 
the kev of go\ eniment, at their girdle. The people 
were, generally, extremely proud of their jnivilcges, 
confident of justification l)y their own riglue( usncss, 
insensible of sin ; and tliongh now under the most 
humbling providences, being lately made a province 
of the Roman Kmpirc, yet they were unhumbled ; 
thev were much hi the same tem])er as they were in 
Malachi's time, insolent and haui^hty, and ready to 
contradict the word of God : now John was sent to 
level these mountains, to take down their high 
opinion of themselves, and to shew them their sins, 
that the doctrine of Christ might be tlie more ac- 
ceptable and effectuid. (2.) His doctrine of repent- 
ance and humiliation is still as necessary as it was 
then to ])re])are the way of the Lord. Js'ote, There 
is a great deal to lie done, to make way for Christ 
into a soul, to bow the heart for the receiition of the 
Son of David ; (2 Sam. 19. 14.) and nothing is more 
needful, in order to this, than the discovery of sin, 
and a conviction of the insufficiency of our own 
righteousness. That which lets will let, until it be 
taken out of the way ; jjrcjudices must l)e removed, 
high thoughts brought down, and captivated to the 
obedience of Christ. Gates of brass must be broken, 
and bars of iron cut asunder, ere the everlasting 
doors be opened for the King of glory to come in. 
The way ot sin and Satan is a crooked ivay ; to pre- 
pare a way for Christ, the paths must be made 
straight, Heb. 12. 13. 

V. Tlie garb in which he appeared, the figure ne 
made, and the manner of his life, t. 4. They who 
expected the Messiah as a temporal ])rince, would 
think that his forerunner must come in great poni]) 
and splendour, that his equipage should be very 
magnificent and gay ; but it jm-on es quite contrary ; 
he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, but mean 
in the e\'e of the world ; and, as Christ himself, 
having 7io form or comeliness ; to intimate betimes, 
that the g-lorv of Christ's kingdom was to be spiri- 
tual, and the subjects of it such as ordinarily were 
either found bv it, or made by it, poor and despised, 
who deri\ cd their honours, pleasures, and nches, 
from another world. 

1. His dress Tx^s plain. This same John had //;s 
raiment of earners hair, and a leathern girdle about 
his loins; he did not go in long clothmg, as the 
scribes, or soft clothing, as the courtiers, but in the 
clothing of a country -husbandman ; for he lived in 
a country-place, and suited his habit to his habita- 
tion. Note, It is good for us to accommodate our- 
selves to the place and condition which God, in his 
pro\idence, has put us in. John appeared in this 
dress, (1.) To shew that, like Jacob, he was a plain 
man, and mortified to this world, and the delights 
and gaieties of it. Behold an Israelite, indeed.' Those 
that are loinly in heart should shew it by a holy 
negligence and indifference in their attire ; and not 
make the putting on of apparel their adoming, nor 
value others by their attire. (2.) To shew that he 
was a prophet, for prophets wore rough garments, 
as mortified men ; (Zcch. 13. 4.) and, especially, to 
shew that he was the F.lias promised ; for particu- 
lar notice is taken of Elias, that he was a a hairy 
man, (which, some think, is meant of the hairy 
gai-mcnts he wore,) and that he mas girt nvith a gir- 
dle of leather about his loins, 2 Kings 1. 8. John 
Baptist ap])ears no way inferior to him in mortifica- 
tion ; this therefore is that Elias that ivas to come. 
(3.) To shew that he was a man of resolution ; his 



28 



ST. MATTHEW, III. 



rirrlle was not fine, such as were then commonly 
vvoni, but it was strong, it was a leutliern girdle; 
and blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when 
lie comes, finds with Im loins girt, Luke 12. 35. 
1 Pet. 1. 13. 

2. His diet was filain ; his meat was locusts and 
ivild honey ; not as if he never ate any thing else ; 
but these he frequently fed upon, and made many 
meals of them, when he retired into solitary places, 
and continued long thei'e for contemplation. Locusts 
were a sort of Hying insect, very good for food, and 
allowed as clean ; (Lev. 11. 22. ) they required little 
dressing, and were light, and easy of digestion, 
whence it is reckoned among the infirmities of old 
age, that the grasshopfier, or locust, is then a bur- 
then to the stomach, Eccl. 12. 5. IVild honey was 
that which Canaan flowed with, 1 Sam. 14. 26. 
Either it was gathered immediately, as it fell in the 
dew, or rather, as it was found in the hollows of 
trees and rocks, where bees built, that were not, 
like those in hives, under the care and inspection of 
men. This intimates that he ate sfiaringly, a little 
served his turn ; a man would be long ere lie filled 
his belly with locusts and wild honey : John Baptist 
Q;a.VL\e neither eating nor drinking, (ch. 11. IS.) — not 
with the curiosity, formality, and familiarity tliat 
other people do. He was so entirelv taken up with 
spiritual tilings, that he could seldom find time for 
a set meal. Now, (1.) This agreed with the doc- I 
trine he preached of refientance, and fruits meet for I 
re/ientance. Note, Those whose business it is to 
call others to mourn for sin, and to mortif\' it, ought 
themselves to live a serious life, a life of self-denial, 
mortification, and contempt of the world. John 
Baptist thus shewed the deep sense he had of the 
badness of the time and place he lived in, which 
made the preaching of repentance needful ; e\ery 
day was 2l fast-day with him. (2. ) This agreed with 
nis office as Christ's yorerz/n'jcr; by this practice 
he shewed that he knew what the kingdom of hea- 
ven was, and had experienced the powei's of it. 
Note, Those that are acquainted with divine and 
spiritual pleasures, cannot but look upon all the de- 
hghts and ornaments of sense with a holy indiffer- 
ence ; they know better things. Bv gi^'ing others 
this example he made way for Christ. Note, A 
conviction of the vanity of the world, and every thing 
in it, is the best preparative for the entertainment of 
the kingdom of heaven in the heart. Blessed are 
the poor in spirit. 

VI. The people who attended upon him, and 
flocked after him ; (■'.'. 5.) Then went out to him Je- 
rusalem, and all Judea. Great multitudes came to 
him from the city, and from all parts of the country ; 
some of all sorts, men and Avomen, young and old, 
rich and poor, Pharisees and Publicans ; they u<e7it 
out to him, as soon as they heard of his preaching 
the kingdom of heaven, that the}' might hear what 
they heard so much of. Now, 1. This was a gi-eat 
honour put upon John, that so many attended him, 
and with so much respect. Note, Frequently those 
have most real honour done them, who least court 
the shadow of it. Those who li^'e a mortified life, 
who are humble and self-denying, and dead to the 
world, command respect ; and men have a secret 
value and reverence for them, more than one would 
imagine. 2. This gave John a great opportunitv of 
doing good, and was an e\'idence that God was with 
him. Now people begin to crowd and press into the 
kingdom of heaven ; (Luke 16. 16.) and a blessed 
sight it was, to see the denv of the youth dro]iping 
from the ivomh of the gospel-morning, (Ps. 110. 3.) 
"to see the net cast where there were so manv fish. 
3. This was an evidertte, that it was now a time of 
great expectation ; it was generally thought that the 
kingdom of God would presently appear ; (Luke 
W. 11.) and therefore, when John shewed himself 



to Israel, lived and preached at this rate, so veiy 
different from the Scribes and Pharisees, they were 
ready to say of him, that he was the Christ ; (Luke 
3. 15.) and this occasioned such a continence of peo- 
ple about him. 4. Those who would have the bene- 
fit of John's ministry must go out to him in the wil- 
derness, sharing in his reproach. Note, They who 
traly desire the sincere milk of the word, if it be 
not brought to them, will seek out for it : and they 
who would leani the doctrine of repentance must 
go out from the huri-v of this work!, and be still. 
5. It appears by the issue, that of the many who 
came to John's baptism, there were but few that 
adhered to it ; witness the cold reception Christ 
had in Judea, and about Jenisalem. Note, There 
may be a multitude of forward hearers, where there 
are but a few ti-ue belie\"ers. Curiosity, and affec- 
tation of novelty and varietv mav brmg many to 
attend upon good preaching, and to be affected with 
it for a while, who vet are never subject to the power 
of it, Ezek. S3. 31,' 32. 

VII. The rite, or ceremony, by which he admitted 
disciples, v. 6. Those who received his doctrine, 
and submitted to his discipline, were baptized of him 
in Jordan, thereby professing their repentance, and 
their belief that the kingdom of the iSlessiah was 
at hand. 1. They testified their repentance by con- 
fessing their sins ; a general confession, it is proba- 
ble, they made to John that they were smncrs, that 
they were polluted by sin, and needed cleansing ; 
but to God they made a confession of particular 
sins, for he is the party offended. The Jews had 
been taught lo justify themsehes ; but John teaches 
them to accuse themselves, and not to rest, as they 
used to do, in the general confession of sin made for 
all Israel, once a year, upon the day of atonement , 
but to make a particular acknowledgment, e\ery 
one of the plague of his oum heart. Note, A peni- 
tent confession of sin is required in order to peace 
and pardon ; and those only are ready to receive 
Jesus Christ as their Righteousness, who ai'e brought 
with sorrow and shame to own their guilt, 1 John 1. 
8. 2. The benefits of the kingdom of heaven, now 
at hand, were thereupon scaled to the'm by liaptism. 
He washed them with water, in token of this — that 
from all their iniquities God would cleanse them. 
It was usual with the Jews to bajitize those whom 
they admitted Proselytes to their religion, especially 
those who were only Prosehites of the gate, and were 
not circumcised, as the Prosehites of righteousness 
were. Some think it was likewise a custom for per- 
sons of eminent religion, wlio set up for leaders, by 
baptism to admit pupils and disciples. Christ's ques- 
tion concerning John's baptism, \^'as itfrom heaven, 
or of men ? implied, that there were baptisms of 
men, who pretended not to a divine mission ; with 
this usage John complied, but his was from heaven, 
and was distinguished from all others with this cha- 
racter. It was the baptism of repentance. Acts 19. 4. 
All Israel were baptized unto Moses, 1 Cor. 10. 2. 
The ceremonial law consisted in divei's washings or 
baptisms ; (Heb. 9. 10.) but John's baptism refers 
to the remedial law, the law of repentance and faith. 
He is said to baptize them in Jordan, that river 
which was famous for Israel's passage through it, 
and Naaman's cure ; yet it is probable that John did 
not liaptize in that ri\er at first, but that afterward, 
when the people who came to his baptism were 
numerous, he removed to Jordan. By baptism he 
obliged them to live a holv life, according to the 
profession they took upon themselves. Note, Con.^ 
fession of sin must always be accompanied with holy j 
resolutions, in the strength of divine grace, not to) 
return to it again. 

7. But when he saw many of the Phari- 
sees and Sadducees come to his baptism, 



ST. MATTHEW, III. 



29 



he siiid unto them, O generation of vipers, 
who liiUh warned yon to lice I'roiu tlie 
\\ rath to come .' 0. liring lortli thcrefoif 
fruits m(!Ot for repentance: 9. And think 
not to say within yourselves, We have 
Abraham to our father: for- 1 say unto 
you, that Ciod is able of these stones to 
raise ui) children unto Abraiiam. 10. And 
now also the axe is laid unto the root of 
the trees : tiierefore every tree which bring- 
eth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and 
cast into llie fire. 11.1 indeed baptize you 
with water unto ri'peiitance : but he that 
Cometh after me is mightier than I, whose 
shoes I am not worthy to bear : he shall 
baptize you with tlie Holy G'.iost, and with 
fire : 12. Whose fan is in liis iiand, and lie 
will throughly purge his iloor, and gatlier 
his wheat into the garner; but he will burn 
up the chaff with unquenchable fire. 

The doctrine Jnlin preached was that of repen- 
tance, in consideration of the kingdom of/ifavcri be- 
ing at hand ; now lierc we ha\e the use of that doc- 
'rine. Application is tlie life of preaching, so it was 
,-f John's preaching. 

Observe, 1. To whom he applied it ; to the Pha- 
risees and Sadducees tliat came to his baptism, v. 
7. To others he thought it enough to say, Re/ient, 
for the kingdom of lieuven is at hand ; but when he 
saw these Pharisees and Sadducees come about him, 
he found it necessary to explain himself, and deal 
more closely. These were two of the three noted 
sects among the Jews at that time ; the third was 
that of the Essenes, whom we never read of in the 
Gospels, for they affected retirement, and declined 
busying themselves in public affairs. The Phari- 
sees were zealots for the ceremonies, for the power 
of the church, and the traditions of the elders ; the 
Sidducees ran into the other extreme, and were lit- 
tle better than deists, denying the existence of spi- 
rits and a future state. It was strange that they 
came to John's baptism, but their curiosity brought 
them to 1)C hearers ; and some of them, it is proba- 
ble, submitted to be Ijaptized, l)ut it is certain that 
the generality of them did not ; for Christ savs, 
(Luke 7. 29, 30.) that nvhi'n the fiuhlicans justified 
God, and mere hafitized of John, the Pharinees and 
lawyers rejected the counsel of God against them- 
selves, being not bajxtized of him. Note, Many 
came to ordinances, who come not under the power 
of thicm. Now to them John here addresses liim- 
self with all f.iithfulness ; and what he said to them, 
he said to the multitude, (Luke 3. 7.) forthev were 
all concenied in wiiat he said. 2. What the appli- 
cation w:ls. It is plain and home, and directed to 
their consciences ; he speaks as one that came not 
tn jjreach befire them, but to preach to the.m. 
Though his education was priv<ite, he was not b.ish- 
ful when he appeared in public, nor did he fear the 
face of man, f.ir he was full of the Holy Ghost, and 
of power. 

I. Here is a word of conviction and awakening. 
He begins harshly, calls them not Rabbi, gives them 
not the titles, much less the applauses, thev had 
been used to. :. The title he gives them, is, O 
generation of vi/iers. Christ gave them the same 
titles, ch. 12. 34. — 23. 33. They were as viflers ; 
though specious, vet venomous and poisonous, and 
full of malice and enmity to eyery thing that was 
good; they were a vifierous brood, the seed and 
offspi-ing of such as had been of the same spirit ; it 



was bred in the bone with them. They gloried iji 
it, th.it thev were the seed of Abraham ; but John 
shewed them that they were the serpent's seed ; 
(compare (jcn. 3. 15. )of their father the Devil, 
John H. 44. They were avi/ieroiis gang, they were 
all alike ; though enemies to one another, yet con- 
federate in mischief. Note, A wicked generation 
is a. generation of vi/iers, and thev ought to be told 
so; It becomes tlio ministers of Clirist to be bold in 
shewing sinners their true character. 2. The ulurm 
he gives them, is. Who has ivarned you to Jlee from 
the wrath to cojne? This intimates that tliey were 
in danger of the wrath to come ; and that their case 
was so nearly desperate, and their hearts so harden- 
ed in sin, (the Pharisees by their parade of religion, 
and the Sadducees by their arguments against leii- 
gion,) that it was next to a miracle to effect any 
thing hopeful among them. " What bi'ings you 
hither .•' Who thought of seeing you here .' What 
fright have you been put into, that you inquire nfter 
the kingdom of heaven?" Note, (1.) '1 here is a 
nvralh to come ; beside present wrath, the vials of 
wliich are poured out now, thei-e is futm'e wrath, 
the stores of which are treasured up for hereafter. 
(2.) It is the great concern of every one of us to Hce 
from that wrath. (3.) It is wonderful mercy that 
we ai'e fairly warned to flee from this wrath ; think 
— Who has warned us? G(jd has warned us, who 
delights not in our ruin ; he wanis by the written 
word, by ministers, by conscience. (4.) These 
wamings sometimes startle those who seemed to 
have been very much hardened in their seciu-ity and 
good opinion of themselves, 

II. Here is a word of exhortation and direction ; 
{v. 8.) " Bring forth therefore fruits meet for re- 
pentance. Therefore, because you are warned to 
flee from the wrath to come, let the teiTors of the 
Lord persuade you to a holy life." Or, " Therefore, 
because you profess repentance, and attend iijjon 
the doctrine and baptism of repentance, evidence 
that you are true penitents." Repentance is seated 
in the heart. There it is as a root ; but in vain do 
we pretend to ha\'e it there, if we do not bring fortn 
the fruits of it in a imiversal reformation, forsaking 
all sin, and cleaving to that which is good ; these 
are fniits, i^i'-i/c Tii; //»Tav-,/ac — worthy of repen- 
tance. Note, Those are not woithy the name of 
penitents, or their privileges, who say they are sor- 
ry for their sins, and yet persist in them. They 
that jjrofess repentance, as all that are baptized do, 
nuist be and act as becomes penitents, and ne\er do 
any thing unbecoming a penitent sinner. It be- 
comes penitents to be humble and low in their own 
eyes, to be thankful for the least mercv, jjatient un- 
der the gi-eatest affliction, to be watchfid against all 
appearances of sin, and approaches towards it, to 
abound in every duty, and to be charitable in judg- 
ing others. 

III. Here is a word of caution, not to tnist to their 
external privileges, so as with them to shift off these 
calls to repentance ; {v. 9.') Think not to say within 
yourselves. We have Abraham to our father. Note, 
There is a great deal which carnal hearts are apt to 
sav within themselves, to put bv the convincing, 
commanding jjower of the word of God, which min- 
isters shovild labi'ur to meet with and anticipate ; 
vain thoughts which lodge within those who are 
called to wash their hearts, Jer. 4. 14. M» i-lxTt — 
*' Pretend not, frresume not, to sav within your- 
selves ; be not of the o])inion that this will saxe vou ; 
harbour not such a conceit. Please not yourselves 
with saving this;" (so some read it;) "rock not 
voiu'selves asleep with this, nor flatter voursclves 
into a fool's paradise." Note, God takes notice of 
what we say within ourselves, v.hich we dare not 
speak out, and is acquainted with all the f;dse rests 
of the soul, and the fallacies with which it deludes 



30 



ST. MATTHEW, ITI. 



iLscU, but which it will not discover, lest it should ' 
he uiidcceixed. Many hide- the lie that i-uins them, 
in t/wij- right /land, and roll it tinder their tongue, 
because they are ashamed to own it ; they keep in 
the Devil's interest, bv keeping the Devil's counsel. 
Now John shews them, 

1. ^Vhat their pretence was; " IVe have Abraham 
to our father ; we are not sinners of the Gentiles ; 
it is fit indeed that they should be called to repent ; 
but we are Jews, a holy nation, a peculiar people, 
what is this to us ?" Note, The word docs us no 
good, when we will not take it as spoken to us, a.nd 
belonging to us. " Think not that liecause vou are 
the seed of Abraham, therefore," (1.) " You need 
not re/ient, you have nothing to repent of ; your re- 
lation to Abraham, and your interest in the covenant 
made with him, denominate you so hol\-, that there 
is no occasion for you to change your mind or way." 
(2.) "That therefore you shaVi fare n<ell enough, 
though you do not refient. Think not that this will 
bring you off in the judgment, and secure you from 
the wrath to come ; that God will connixc at your 
impenitence, because you are Abraham's seed." 
Note, It is vain presumption to think tliat our having 
good relations will save us, though we be not good 
ourselves. What though we be descended from 
pious ancestors ; have been blessed with a religious 
education ; have our lot cast in families where the 
fear of God is uppermost ; and have good friends 
that advise us, and pray for us ; vvliat will all this 
avail us, if we do not repent, and live a life of re- 
pentance ? We have Abraham to our father, and 
therefore are entitled to the privileges of the cove- 
nant made with him ; being liis seed, v/e ai'e sons of 
the church, the temple of the Lord, Jer. 7. 4. Note, 
Multitudes, by resting m the honours and advanta- 
ges of their visible church-membership, take up 
short of heaven. 

2. How foolish and groundless this pretence was ; 
they thought that being the seed of Abraham, they 
were tlie only people God had in the world, and 
therefore that, if they were cut off, he would be at 
a loss for a church ; but John shews them tlie folly 
of this conceit ; / say unto you, (whatever you say 
within yoiu-selves,) that God is ante of these stones 
to raise u/i children unto Abraham. He was now 
baptizing in Jordan at Kcthabara, (John 1. 28.) the 
house of passage, where the children of Israel passed 
over; and there were the twelve stones, one for 
each tribe, which Joshua set up for a mcmoi-ial. 
Josh. 4. 20. It is not unlikely that he pointed to 
those stones, which God should raise to be, more 
than in representation, the tv.rive tribes of Israel. 
Or perhaps he refers to Isa. 51. 1. where Abraham 
is called the rock- out of ■-.vhich theii Kvere hetvn. 
That God who raised Isaac out of such a rock, can, 
if there be occasion, do as much again, for with him 
nothing is imjiossible. Some think he pointed to 
those heathen soldiers that were present, telling the 
Jews that God would raise up a ch\irch for himself 
among the Gentiles, and entail the blessing of .-Vbra- 
ham upon them. Thus when our first parents fell, 
God could ha\'e left them to perish, and out of stones 
have raised up another Adam and another Eve. 
Or, take it thus ; " Stones themselves shall be own- 
ed as Abraham's seed, rather than such hard, dry, 
barren sinners as you are." Note, As it is lowering 
to the confidence of the sinners in Zicn, so it is en- 
toviraging to the fears of the sons of Zion, that, 
whatever comes of the present generation, God will 
never want a church in the world ; if the Jews fall 
off, the Gentiles shall be grafted in, ch. 21. 43. Rom. 
11. 12. 

rV. In 'Ae is a word of teiTor to the careless and 
secure Pharisees and Sadducees, and other Jews, 
that knew not the signs of the times, nor the day of 
their -N-isitation, T. 10. " Now look about you, now 



that the kingdom of God is at hand, and be made 
sensible," 

1. " How strict and short your trial is ; J^oiu the 
axe is carried before you, now it is laid to the root 
of the tree, now you arc upon yotir good behaviour, 
and are to be so but a ii'hile ; now vou are marked 
foi- niin, and cannot avoid it but by a speedy and 
sincere repentance. Now you miist expect that 
God will make quicker work with you by his judg- 
ments than he did formerly, and that they will be- 
gin at the house of God: where God allows more 
means, he allows less time." Behold, I come quick- 
ly. Now they were put upon their last trial ; now, 
or never. 

2. " How sore and severe your doom will be, if 
you do not improve this." It is now declared with 
the axe at the root, to shew that God is earnest in 
the declaration, that every tree, however high in 
gifts and honours, howc\'er green in external pro- 
fessions and performances, if it bring not forth good 
fruit, the fiiiits meet for repentance, is h'tti'n dotvn, 
disowned as a tree in God s \'ineyard, unworthy to 
have room there, .and is cast into the ^re of (iod's 
wrath — the fittest place for barren trees : what else 
are they good for ? If not fit for fruit, they are fit 
for fuel. Probably, this refers to the destruction of 
Jenisalem by the Romans, which w:is not, as other 
judgments had been, like the lopping off of the bran- 
ches, or cutting down of the body of the tree, leav- 
ing the root to bud again, but it would be the total, 
final, and in-ecoverable extii-pation of that pcrple, 
in which all those should pensh that continued im- 
penitent. Now God would make a full end, wrath 
was coming on them to the utmost. 

V. A word of instruction concerning Jesus Christ, 
in whom all John's preaching centred. Christ's 
ministers preach, not themselves, but him. Here is, 

1. The dignity and pre-eminence of Christ above 
John. See how meanly he speaks of himself, that 
he might magnify Christ ; {v. 11.) " I indeed bap- 
tize you ivith r^'ater, that is the utmost I can do." 
Note, Sacraments derive not their efficacy from 
those who administer them ; they can only ajiply 
the sign ; it is Christ's prerogative to give the thing 
signified, 1 Cor. 3. 6. 2 Kings 4. 31. But he that 
comes afer me, is mightier than I. Though John 
had much power, for he came in the spirit and 
po-.rer of Elias, Christ had more ; though John was 
tnily gi'eat, gi-eat in the sight of the Lord, (not a 
greater was bom of woman,) yet he thinks Iiimself 
unworthy to be in the meanest i)lace of attendance 
upon Christ; -whose shoes I am not w rthy to bear. 
He sees, (1.) How mighty Christ is, in comparison 
with him. Note, It is a great comfort to faithful 
ministers, to think that Jesus Christ is mightier than 
they, can do that /or them, and that by them, which 
they cannct do ; his strength is perfected in their 
weakness. (2.) How m.can he is, in comparison with 
Christ, not worthy to carry his shoes after him ! 
Note, Thrse whom God puts honom- upon, are 
thereby made very humble and low in their owr 
eyes ; willing to be abased, so that Christ may be 
magnified ; to be any thing, to be nothing, so that 
Christ may be all. 

2. The design and intentirn of Christ's appearing, 
which they were now speedily to expect. \\'hen it 
was ]2rophesied that John should be sent as Christ's 
forerunner, (Mai. 3. 1, 2.) it immediateh' follows. 
The Lord, nvhom ye seek, shall suddenly come, and 
shall sit as a refiner, v. 3. And, after the coming 
of Elijah, the day comes, that shall burn as an over, 
(Mai. 4. 1.) to which tlie Baptist seems here to re- 
fer. Chiist will come to make a distinction, 

(1.) By the powerfiil working of his grace; He 
shall baptize you, that is, some of you, ii'ith the Holy 
Ghost, and ivith fire. Note, [1.] It is Christ's pre- 
rogative to baptize ivith the Holu Ghost. This he 



ST. MATTHEW, 111. 



31 



Jid in the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit conferred 
upon tlie apostles, to which Christ liiniself apjjlies 
tliesc words of John, Acts 1. 5. This lie docs in the 
graces and comforts of tl>e Spirit g;ivei\ to them tliat 
ask him, Luke 11. 13. John 7. 38, 39. Sec Acts 
11. 16. [2.] Tl\cy who are l)aptized with the Holy 
(ihost are baptized ns'-.vit/tfire ; the seven spirits of 
(iod appear as stTCH liim/m rjffire, Kev. 4. 5. Isfire 
enUghtenins^ ? So tlie Sjiirit is a Sjiirit of ilhimina- 
lion. Is it warming ? And do not tlieir hearts l)nrn 
within them ? Is it consimiing ? .\nd docs not tlic 
S])iric of Judgment, as a ■S/iiril cfbiiniitig, cimsume 
the dross of their corruptions ? l)oes fire make all it 
seizes like itself? .\nd does it move upwards? So 
docs the Spirit make the soul holy like itself, and 
its tendency is heaven-ward. Christ says, / am 
come to xmd/irc, Luke 12. 49. 

(2. ) By the final determinations of his judgment ; 
(f. V2.) ll'/iosc fun is in /lis hand. His al)ility to 
distinguish, as the eternal wisdom of the Father, 
who sees all by a tnie light, and his authority to dis- 
tinguish, as the Person to whom all judgment is com- 
mitted, is Xhe fan that is in his hand, Jcr. 15. 7. Now 
he sits as a Uetiner. Obsene here, [1.] The visible 
church is Christ's floor ; O mil threshing, and the 
corn of mij floor, Is;u 21. 10. The temple, a type 
of the chvirch, was built upon a threshing-floor. 
[2.] In this floor there is a mixture of wheat and 
chaff. Tnic believers are as wheat, substantial, 
useful, and \ahiable ; hvpocrites are as chaff, light 
and empty, useless and worthless, and carried about 
with e\cry wind ; these are now mixed, good and 
bad, under the same external profession, and in the 
same visible communion. [3. J There is a dav com- 
ing when the floor shall be purged, and the wheat 
and chaflT shall be sejiarated. Something of this kind 
is often done in this world, when God calls his peo- 
ple out of Babylon, Rev. 18. 4. But it is the day of 
the last judgment tluit will be the great winnowing, 
distingiiishing day, which will infallibly determine 
concerning doctrines and works, (1 Cor. 3. 13.) and 
concerning persons, {ch. 25. 32, 33.) when saints and 
sinners shall be parted for ever. [4. ] Heaven is the 
garner into which Jesus Christ wdl shortly gather 
all his wheat, and not a grain of it shall be lost : he 
will gather them as the ripe fniits were gathered in. 
Death's scythe is made use of to gather them to 
their people. In hca\cn the saints arc brought to- 
gether, and no kmger scattered ; they arc safe, and 
no longer exposed ; separated from cornipt neigh- 
bours without, and cornipt affections within, and 
there is no chaff among them. Thev are not only 
gathered into the ham, {ch. 13. 30.) but into tlif 
garner, where they are throughly purified. [5.] 
Hell is the uncjuenchabte Jire, whicli will bum up 
the chaff, w-hich w-ill certainly be the portion and 
])unishment, and e\'erlasting destniction, of hv])o- 
crites and unbelievers. So that here are life and 
death, good and evil, set before us ; according as we 
now arc in the^ffW, we shall be then in the /?oor. 

1 3. Then Cometh Jesus from Galilee to 
Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 
14. But John forbade him, saying, I have 
need to be baptized of tiiee, and comest 
thou to me? 15. And Jesus answering, 
said unto him, Suffer // tn hr an now: for 
thus it lierometh us to fulfil all righteous- 
ness. Then he suffered him. ic. And 
Jesus, when he was baptized, went up 
straightway out of the water: and, lo, the 
heavens were opened unto him, and he saw 
the Spirit of God descending like a dove, 
and lighting upon him 17 And lo, a voice 



from heaven, saying. This is my beloved 
Son, in whom I am well pleased. 

Our Lonl Jesus, from his childhood till now, when 
he was almost thirtv years of age, had lain hid in 
Galilee, as it were, huried alive ; but now, after a 
long and dark night, behold, the Sun of righteous 
ness rises in glorj'. The fulness of time ivas come 
that Christ should enter upon his prophetical office ; 
and he chooses to do it, not at Jerusalem, (though it 
is ])robable that he went thither at the three yearly 
feasts, as others did,) but there tvhere John was 
bafilizing ; iov to him resorted those Vi\\a nvaited for 
the consolation of Israel, to whom alone he wouhl be 
welcome. John the Baptist was six months older 
than our Saviour, and it is supjjoscd that he began 
to ])reach and baptize about six months before Christ 
a])i)earcd ; so long he was employed in i)reparing his 
way, in the region round about Jordan ; and more 
was done towards it in these six months than liad 
been done in scvei'al ages before. Christ's coming 
from CJalilce to Jordan, to be ba/itized, teaches us 
not to shrink from pains and travail, tliat we may 
ha\e an ojjiiortunity of drawing nigh to (Jod in an 
ordinance. \\'e should be willing to go far, rather 
than come short of CDmmunion with God. They 
who will find must seek. 

Now in this story of Christ's baptism we may ob- 
serve, 

I. How hardly John was persuaded to admit of it, 
T. 14, 15. It was an instance of Christ's great hu- 
mility, that he would ofter himself lo be ba/itized of 
John ; that he tvho /cneii) no sin would submit to the 
baptism of repentance. Note, As soon as ever 
Christ began to preach, he preached humility, 
preached it by his example, preached it to all, es- 
pecially to young ministers. Christ was designed 
for the highest honours, yet in his first step he thus 
abases himself. Note, They who would rise high 
must begin low. Before honour is humility. It was 
a gi-eat piece of respect done to John, for Christ thxis 
to come to him ; and it was a return for the ser\'ice 
he did him, in giving notice of his approach. Note, 
Those that honour God he will lionour. Now here 
we have, 

1. The objection that John made against baptizing 
Jesus, 1'. 14. yo/i?;_/&)'Aaf/f ///;», as Peter did, when 
Christ went about to wash his feet, John 13. 6, 8. 
Note, Cl'irist's gracious condescensions are so sur- 
prising, as to appear at first incredible to the strong- 
est believers ; so deep and mysterious, that even 
they who know his mind well cannot soon find out 
the meaning of them, but, by reason of darkness, 
start objections against the will of Christ. John's 
modesty thinks this an honour too great for him to 
receive, and he expresses himself to Christ, just as 
his mother had done to Christ's mother; (Luke 1. 
43.) Ulience is this to me, that the ?nother of my Lord 
should come to 7ne ? John had now obtained a gi-cat 
name, and was imi\ersal!y rcsjiected : yet see how 
humble he is still ! Note, God has further honours 
in reserve for those whose spirits continue low when 
their I'cpiitation rises. 

(1.) John thinks it necessary that he should be 
baptized of Christ ; / have need to be bafitized of 
thee with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as of fire, 
for that was Christ's baptism, t. 11. [1.] Though 
John nvas filled ivith the Holy Ghos,t from the ivomb, 
(Luke 1. 15.) yet he acknowledges he had need to 
be baptized with that baptism. Note, They who 
have much of the Spirit of God, yet, while here, in 
this imperfect state, see that they have need of 
more, and need to apply themsehcs to Christ for 
more. [2.] John has need to be baptized, though he 
was \.\\e greatest that e-i'ernvas bom ofvjoman; yet, 
being born of a woman, he is polluted, as others of 
.Adam's seed are, and owns he has need of cleansing. 



32 



ST. MATTHEW, III. 



Note, the purest souls are most sensible of their own 
remaining impurity, and seek most earnestly for 
spiritual washmg. [3.] He has need to be baptized 
0/ Christ, who can do tliat for us, which no one else 
can, and which must be done for us, or we are im- 
done. Note, The best and holiest of men have need 
q/" Christ, and the better they are, the more they see 
of that need. [4.] This was said before the mul- 
titude, who had a great veneration for John, and 
were ready to embrace him for the Messiah ; yet he 
publicly owns that he had need to be ba/itized of 
Christ. Note, It is no disparagement to the great- 
est of men, to confess that they are undone without 
Christ and his grace. [5. ] John was Christ's fore- 
i-unner, kuid yet owns that he had need to be hajitized 
o/him. Note, Even they who were before Christ 
in time depended on him, received from him, and 
had an eye to him. [6.] While John was dealing 
with others about their souls, observe how fcelinglv 
he speaks of the case of his own soul, / have need to 
be ba/itized of thee. Note, Ministers, who preach 
to others, and bajitize others, are concerned to look 
to it that they preach to themselves,- :md be them- 
selves Ijaptized with the Holy Ghnst. Take heed 
to thyself first ; sax<e tinjself, 1 Tim. 4. 16. 

(2.) He therefore thinks it \"eTy preposterous and 
absurd, that Christ should be Ijaptized by him ; Co- 
mest thou to me? Docs the holy Jesus, that is sepa- 
rated from sinners, come to lie baptized by a sinner, 
as a simier, and among sinners ? How can this be ? 
Or what account can we give of it ? Note, Christ's 
coming to us mav well be wondered at. 

2. The over-ruling of this objection : {x\ 15. ) Jeans 
said, Suffer it to be so now. Christ accejited his 
humility, but not his refusal ; he will ha-ie the thing 
done ; and it is fit that Christ should take his own 
method, tliough we do not understaiid it, nor can 
give a reason for it See, 

(1.) How Christ insists upon it ; it must beso now. 
He does not deny that John had need to be bafitized 
q/"him, yet he will now be bafitized of John. " A<f sc 
afri — Let it be yet so ; Suffer it to he so now. Note, 
Every tiling is beautiful in its season. But why ;;oto .? 
Why yet ? [1.] Christ is now in a state of humilia- 
tion : he has emptied himself, and made himself of 
no refutation. He is not on]y found in fashion as a 
Jnan, but is made in the li!:eness of sinful flesh, and 
therefore now let him be bafitized of John ; as if he 
needed to be washed, though perfectly pure ; and 
thus he was )nade Sin for us, though he ^-new no si:i. 
[2.] John's baptism is now in reputation, it is tliat 
by which God is now doing his work ; tliat is the 

g resent dispensation, :uid therefore Jesus v,-ill now 
e baptized with water ; but his baptizing with the 
Holy Ghost is reserved for hereafter, 7nani/ dai/s 
hence. Acts 1. 5. John's baptism has izory its day, 
and therefore honour must noiv be put upon that, 
and tliev who attend upon it must be encouraged. 
Note, Tliey who are of greatest attainments in gifts 
and graces, should yet, in their i>lace, bear their 
testimony to instituted ordinances, bv a humble and 
diligent attendance on them, that they may give a 
good example to others. What we see God owns, 
and while we see he docs so, we must own. John 
was now increasinsr, and therefore it must lie thus 
yet ; shoitly he will dcci-ease, and then it will be 
otherwise, [o.] It must be so no-.v, because now is 
the time for Christ's ajipearing in public, and this 
vnVi be a fair opport\iuity for it. See John 1. 31 — 3- 
Thus he must be made manifest to Israel, and be sig- 
nalized by wondei-s from heaven, in that act of his 
own, which was most condescending and self-rabasing. 
(2.) The reason he gives for it ; Thus it becomes 
us to fulfil all righteousness. Note, [1.1 There was 
a propriety in ever\' thing that Christ did fir us ; it 
was aJl graceful ; (Heb 2. 10. — 7. 26.) and we m\ist 
study to do not onlv that which behoves us. '>"t that 



which becomes us ; not only that which is ind'spen 
sably necessary, but that which is lovely, and of good 
report. [2.] Our Lord Jesus looked upon 'it as a 
thing well becoming him, to fulfil all righteousness, 
that is, (as Dr. \\"hitby explains it,) to own every 
divine institution, and to shew his readiness to com- 
ply with all God's righteous precepts. Thus it be- 
comes him to justify God, and approve his wisdom, 
in sending John to prepare his way by the baptism 
of repentance. Thus it becomes us to countenance 
and encourage every thing that is good, bv pattern 
as well as precept Christ often mentioned John 
and his bajitism with honour, which, that he might 
do the better, he was himself baptized. Thus Jesus 
began ^fre/ to do, and then to teach ; ;.nd his minister? 
must take the same method. Thus Christ filled ufi 
the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which con 
sisted in divers washings ; thus he recommended 
the gospel-ordinance of baptism to his church, put 
honour u])nn it, and shewed what virtue he desigiied 
to put into it. It became Christ to submit to John's 
washing with water, because it was a diiine ajijioint- 
ment ; but it became him to oppose the Pharisees' 
washing with water, because it was a human in\en- 
tion and imposition ; and he justified his disciples in 
refusing to comply with it. 

With the will of Christ, and this reason for it, 
John was entirely satisfied, and theji he suffered him. 
'i"he same modesty which made him at first decline 
the honour Christ offered him, now made him do 
the senice Christ enjoined him. Note, No pretence 
of humility must make us decline rur dutv. 

II. How solemnlv Heaven was pleased to grace 
the baptism of Christ with a special disjjlav of glo- 
ITT ; {v. 16, 17.) Jesus '.ehen he was bafitized, went 
lifi straightway out of the water. Others that were 
baptized stayed to confess their sins; {v. 6.) but 
Christ, having no sins to confess, went ufi immedi- 
ately out of the water ; so we read it, but not i-ight : 
for it is i^'' tJ '•.iiT-.t—^from the water; from the brink 
of the river, to which he went down to be washed 
with water, that is, to have his head or face washed ; 
(John 13. 2.) for here is no mention of the putting 
off, or ])utting on, of his clrthes which circumstance 
would not have lieen omitted, if he had been baptized 
naked. Jfe leent ufi straightwau, as one that en- 
tered upon his work with the utmost cheerfulness 
and resolution ; he would lose no time. How was 
he straitened till it was accomfilished ! 

Now, when lie was coming iifi out of the water, 
and all the company had their e\c upon him, 

1. Jo ! the /leavens were ofiened unto him, so as 
to discover something above and beyond the starry 
firmament, at least, to him. This was, (l.)To en- 
courage him to go on in his trndertakinir, with the 
prospect of the glory ;md ;ow that were set befor'him. 
Heaven is opened to receive him, when he lia~ '-nish- 
ed the work he is now entering upon. (2. ) To en- 
courage us to receive him, and submit to him. Note, 
In and throu<;h Jesus Christ, the lieaiens are open- 
ed to the children of men. Sin shut up heaven, put 
a stop to all friendh' intcrccurse between Grd and 
man ; but now Christ has opened the kingdom of 
heaven to all beli:fers. Divine lieht and love are 
darted down upon the children of men, ?.nAwehave 
boldness to enter into the holiest. We have receipts 
of mercvfrom God, we make retums of duty to God, 
and a!! by Jesus Christ, who is the Ladder that has 
its foot on earth and its top in heaven, by whom 
alone it is that we ha\e any comfortable correspon- 
dence with God, or any hope of getting to heaven 
at last. T7ie heavens were ofiened when Christ was 
baptized, to teach us, that when we duly attend on 
God's ordinances, we mai' expect communion with 
him, and communications from him. 

2. He saw the Sfiirit of God descending litre a dovr , 
or as a dove, and comin^cr lighting^ipcn him. Christ 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



33 



saw it. (Mark 1. 10. ) and John saw it, (John 1. 33, 34. ) 
and it is probable that all the st;inders-by saw it ; for 
(his was nitc-ndcd to be his public inaugunition. Ob- 
serve, 

(1. ) The S/iiril of God descended, and lighted on 
him. In the bcginninc; of the old world, Hie Spirit 
\-)f(iod moved u/ion the fare of the ivaters, (Cicn. 1. 
'.2. J hovered as a bird upon tWu nest. So here, in the 
Ijeginning of this new world, Christ, as God, needed 
not to receive the Holy (ihost, but it was foretold 
that//<^ •S/tiril of the Lord sliould rest ufion him, (Isa. 
n. 2. — 61. 1.) and here he did so ; for, [1.] lie was 
to be a Prophet ; and ])ro])hcts always spake l)y the 
Spirit of (lod, who came upon them. C hrist was to 
execute the proijhetic office, not bv his div ine nature, 
(says Dr. ^^ hitby,) but by the afflatus of the Holy 
Spirit [2.] He was to be the Head of the church ; 
and the H/iirit descended u/ion Aim, by him to be de- 
rived to all lielicvers, in his gifts, graces, and comforts. 
The ointment on the head ran doirn to the skirts; 
Christ received gifts for men, that he might give 
gifts to men. 

(2. ) He descended on him like a dox<e ; whether it 
was a real, living dove, or, as was ustial in visions, 
the representation or similitude of a dove, is uncer- 
tain. If there must be a bodily shape, (Luke 3. 22.) 
it must not be th.at of a man, for the being seen ;>; 
fashion as a man was peculiar to the second person; 
none therefore was more fit than the shape of one 
of the fowls of heaven, (heaven being now opened,) 
and of all fowl none was so significant as the dove. 
[1.] The Spiiit of Christ is a dove-like spirit; not 
like a silly dove, '.without heart, (Hos. 7. 11. ; but like 
an innocent do\-e without gall. The Spirit descend- 
ed, not in the shape of an eagle, which is, though a 
royal bird, yet a bird of prey, but in the shape of a 
dox-e, than which no creature is more harmless and 
inoffensive. Such was the Spirit of Christ ; Ye shall 
7Wt strii'c, nor cry ; such must christians be, harm- 
less as doves. The dove is remarkable for hei' eyes; 
we find that both the eyes of Christ, (Cant. 5. 12.) 
and the eyes of the church, (Cant. 1. 15. — 4. 1.) arc 
compared to doves' eyes, for they have the same 
spirit. The dove mourns much, (Isa. 38. 14.) Christ 
wept oft ; and penitent souls are compared to doves 
f tlie valleys. [2.] The dove was the only fowl 
that was offered in sacrifice, (Lev. 1. 14.) and Christ 
by the Spirit, the eternal .Spirit, offered himself '.vith- 
out spot to (iod. [3.] The tidings of the decrease 
of Noah's flood were brought by a dove, with an 
olive-leaf hi her moiith; fitly therefore are the glad 
tidings of peace with God brought by the Spirit as 
a dove. It speaks God's good-'.vill toi'rard men ; that 
his thougiits towards us are ihozights of good, and 
not of evil. By the voice of the turtle heard in our 
land, (Cant. 2. 12.) the Chaldee paraphrase under- 
stands, the voice of the Holy Spirit. That God is in 
Christ reconciling the world unto himself, is a joyful 
message, which comes to us upon the wing, ' the 
-.vings of a dove. 

3. To explain and coijipletc this solemnity, there 
cam- a voice from hecrven, which, we have reason to 
think, was heard by all that were present. The 
Holy Spirit manifested himself in the likeness of a 
dove, but God the Father by a voice; for when the 
law was given they sa':i< no manner of similitude, only 
they heard a voice : (Dcut. 4. 12.) and so this gcspel 
came, and gospel indeed it is, the best news that 
ever came from heaven to earth; for it speaks plainly 
and fully Ciod's favour to Christ, and us in liim. 

(1.) See here how God owr,s our Lord Jesus ; JViis 
is my beloved Son. Observe, [1.1 The relation he 
stord ii to him ; He is my son. Jesus Christ is the 
Son of Ciod by eternal generation, as he was begotten 
of the Fa'her before alt iforlds, (Col. 1. 15. Hcb. ]. 
:'.> and by supernatural conception; he was therefore 
called the Son of God, because he v:as conceived bv 

\oj.. v.— E 



the po'.ver of the Holy Ghost; fLuke 1. o5.) yet this 
is not all ; he is the Son of (iod by special designation 
to the work and office of the world s Hcdccmer. He 
was sanctified and sealed, and sent upon that errand, 
brought up tvith the Father for it, (Prov. 8. 30.) 
appomted to it; I ivill make him mu J'irst-born, Ps. 
89. 27. [2.] The affection the Father had for him; 
He is my beloved Son; his dear Son, the Son of his 
love; (Col. 1. 13.) he had lain in his Imsoni fn m all 
eternity, (John 1. lH.)had hi-i^n aheays his dt light, 
(Prov. H. .30.) but i)ai-tir>darly as Mediator, and in 
vmdei-taking tlie w ork of num's salvation, he was his 
beloved Son. He is mine Jilect, in tvhom my sou. 
delights. See Isa. 42. 1. Because he ccnsentcd to 
the covenant of redemption, and delighted to do that 
ivill of God, then fore the Talher loved him. John 
10. 1". — 3. 35. Behold, then, behold, and Avcnder, 
ivhat manner of love the Father has bestoived upon 
us, that he should deliver u)) him that was the Son 
of his love, to suffer and die for those that were the 
generation of his wrath; nay, and that he therefore 
loved him, because he laid dovn his life for the theep! 
Now know we that he loved us, seeing he has not 
'■.-.'ithhrld his Son, his only Son, his Isaac tvhom he 
loved, but gave him to be a Sacrifice for our sin. 

(2. ) Sec here how ready he is to own us in him : 
He is mil beloved Son, not only nvith whom, but in 
whom, I am well-pleased. He is pleased with all 
that arc in him, and are imited to him h\- faith. 
Hitherto God had been displeased with the chil- 
dren of men, but now his anger is turned away, and 
he has made us accepted in the Beloved, Eph. 1. 6. 
Let all the world take notice, that this is the Peace- 
maker, the Days-man, who has laid his hand upon 
us both, and that there is no coming to God as a Fa- 
ther, but bii him as Mediator, John 14. 6. In him 
our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable, for he is the 
Altar that sanctifies ex-enj gift, 1 Pet. 2. 5. Out 
of Christ, God as a consuming Fire, but, in Christ, a 
reconciled Father. This is the sum of the whole 
gospel ; it is a faitlful saying, and tvorthy of all ac- 
ceptation, that Go'd has declared, by a voice from 
heaven, that Jesus Christ is his beloved Son, in ivhom 
he is well-pleased, with which we must bv faith 
cheei-fulh' concur, and say, that he is our beloved 
Saviour, in '.vhom nve arc ivcli-pleascd. 

CHAP. IV. 

John Baptist said concerning; Christ, He mi:st increase, but I 
t must decrease; ond so it proved. For, after John Iiac? 
baptized Ciiri?t, and borne his testimony to him, wc hear 
little more of liis ministry ; he had done wliat lie camoto 
do, and tlienceforward there is nsmueh talkof Jesusaserer 
there had been of John. As tlie rising .Snn advanees, the 
mnrnincr star disappears. Cuncerniiifr .lesns Christ we 
have in this chapter, I. The teniptation he underivtat, the 
triple assault the tempter made upon him. and the repulse 
he irave to each assault, v. I . . 1 1. M. The teothine work 
he undertook, the places he preaclied in, ^v. 12 . . 16.) and 
the subject he preached on, v. I". 111. HiscjIIinj of di.s- 
ciplcs, Peter and Andrew, James and John, v. 18 . . 22. 
IV. His curin:; diseases, fv. C;!, 24.) and the preat resort 
of people to him, both to be taught and le be healed. 

1 . npHEN was .1p«iis led up of tlic Spirit 
_n_ into the wildornc??, to ho tempted 
of the devil. 2. And when he l;ad fasted 
forlv davs and forty ni£;hls, he was after- 
ward fin hunn^-ed. .". And when the 
tomptor rame to him, lie .=;aid, If thou be 
the Son of God, command that these stones 
be made bread. 4. Vn\i he answered and 
said, It is written, Man shall not live by 
bread alone, but by every word that pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5. Then, 
the devil taketh him up into tbe holy city^ 



34 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



anct setteth him a', a pinnacle of the tem- 
ple, 6. And saith unto him, If thou be the 
Son of God, cast thyself down ; for it is 
written. He shall give his angels charge 
concerning thee, and in their hands they 
shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou 
dash thy foot against a stone. 7. Jesus 
said unto him. It is written again. Thou 
shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8. Again, 
the devil taketh him up into an exceeding 
high mountain, and slieweth him all the 
kingdoms of the world, and the glory of 
them : 9. And saith unto him. All these 
things will I give thee, if thou -wilt fall down 
and worship me. 1 0. Then saith Jesus unto 
him. Get thee hence, Satan : for it is writ- 
ten. Thou shalt worship the Lord tliy God, 
and him only shalt thou serve. 11. Then 
the devil leaveth liim, and, behold, angels 
came and ministered unto him. 

We have here the stoiy of a famous duel, fought 
hand to hand, between Michael and the dragon, the 
Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, nay, 
the serpent himself, in which the Seed of the woman 
suffers, being lem/tted, and so has his heel bniised ; 
but the serpent is quite baffled in his temptations, 
and so has his head broken ; and our Lord Jesus 
comes off a Conqueror, and so secures not only com- 
fort, but conquest at last, to all his faithful followers. 
Concerning Christ's temptation, observe, 

1. Tlie time when it happened : T/ien ; there is an 
emphasis laid upon that. Immediately after l/ie 
heavens 'mere opened to him, and the Spirit descend- 
ed on him, and he was declared to be the Son of 
God, and the Saviour of the world, the next news 
we hear of him is, he is tempted ; for then he is l)est 
able to gi-apple with the temptation. Note, 1. Great 
privileges, and special tokens of divine favour will 
not secure us from being tempted. Nav, 2. After 
gi-eat lionours put upon us, we must expect some- 
thing that is humbling ; as Paul had a messenger of 
Satan sent to buffet him, after he had been in the 
third heavens. 3. God usually prepares his people 
for temptation before he calls them to it ; he gives 
strength according to the day, and, before a sharp 
trial, gives more than ordinary comfort. 4. The 
assurance of our sonship is the best preparative for 
temptation. If the good Spirit witness to our adop- 
tion, tliat will fumisli us with an answer to all the 
suggestions of the evil spirit, designed either to de- 
bauch or disquiet us. 

Then, when he was newly come from a solemn 
ordinance, when he was baptized, then he was tempt- 
ed. Xote, After we have been admitted into com- 
muriioB with God, we must expect to be set upon by 
Satan. The enriclied soul must double its guard. 
men thou hast eaten and art full, then bevjare. 
Then, when he began to shew himself publicly to 
Israel, theit he was tempted, so as he never had been 
while he lived in privacy. Note, The Devil has a 
particular ^ite at useful persons, who are not onlv 
good, but gpven to do good, especially at their first 
■setting out. It is the advice of the Son of Sirach, 
(Ecclesiastic. 2. 1.) My son, if thou come to serve 
the Lord, prejiare thyself for temptation. Let young 
ministers know what to expect, and arm accord- 
ingly. 

TI. The place where it was ; in the wilderness ; 
probably in the great wilderness of Sinai, where 
jVloses and YX^ah fOfSted forty days, for no part of the 
wUdemesi- of Judca was so abandoned to wild beasts 



as this is said to have been, Mark 1. 13. When 
Christ was baptized he did not go to Jerusalem, 
there to publish the glories that had been put upoT- 
him, but retired into a wilderness. After commu- 
nion with God, it is good to be private a while, lest 
we lose what we have received, in the crowd and 
hurry of worldly business. Christ withdrew into 
the wilderness, 1. To gain advantage to himseli. 
Retirement gives an opportunity for meditation and 
communion with God ; even they who are called to 
the most active life must yet have their contennjla- 
tive hours, and must find time to be .alone with God. 
Those are not fit to speak of the things of God in 
public to others, who have not first conversed with 
those things in secret by themselves. Wlien Christ 
would appear as a Teacher come from God, it shall 
not be said of him, "He is newly come from travel- 
ling, he has been abroad, and has seen the world ;" 
but, " He is newly come out of a desert, he has been 
alone conversing with God and his own heart. " 2. 
To give advantage to the tempter, that he might 
have a readier access to him than he could have had 
in company. Note, Though solitude is a friend to 
a good heart, yet Satan knows how to improve it 
against us. Woe to him that is alone. Those who, 
under pretence of sanctity and devotion, retire into 
dens and deserts, find that they are not out of the 
reach of their spiritual enemies, and that there they 
Avant the benefit of the communion of saints. Christ 
retired, (1.) That Satan might have leave to do his 
worst To make his victorv the more illustrious, he 
gave the enemv sun and wind on his side, and yet 
IjafRed him. He might give the Devil advantage, 
for the prince of this world had nothing in him ; but 
he has in us, and therefore we must pray not to be 
led into temptation, and must keep out of harm's 
way. (2.) Tliat he might have opportunity to do 
his best himself, that he might be exalted in his own 
strength ; for so it was written, / have trod the wine- 
press alone, and of the people there was none willi 
me. Christ entered the lists without a second. 

III. The preparatives for it, which were two. 

1. He w^as directed to the combat ; he did not 
wilfuUv thrust himself upon it, but he was led up 
of the Spirit to be tempted of the Devil. Tlie Spirit 
that descended upon him like a dove made him meek, 
and yet made him bold. Note, Our care must be, 
not to enter into temptation ; but if God, by his pro- 
vidence, order us into circumstances of temptation 
for our trial, we must not think it strange, but double 
our guard. Be strong in the Lord, resist steadfabt in 
the faith, and all shall be well. If we presume upon 
our own strength, and tempt the Aey'A to tempt us, 
we provoke God to lea^•e us to ourselves ; but, whi- 
tliersoever God le.ads us, we may hope he will go 
along witli us, and bring us off more than conquerors. 

Christ was led, to be tempted of the Devil, and 
of him onlv. Others are tempted, lahen they are 
drawn aside of their own lust, and enticed ; (Jam. 1. 
14. ) the Devil takes hold of that handle, and ploughs 
with that heifer : but our Lord Jesus had no contipt 
nature, and therefore he was led securely, w ithout 
any fear or trembling, as a champion into' the field, 
to be temfited purely l^y the Devil. 

Now Christ's temptation is, (1.) An instance of his 
o^vn condescension and humiliation. Temptations 
wee fiery darts, thorns in the ^flesh, bujfetings, lift- 
ings, wrestlings, combats, all which denote hardship 
and suffering ; therefore Christ submitted to them, 
because he would humble himself, in all things to 
be made like unto his brethren ; thus he gax'e his 
back to the s?niters. (2.) An occasion of Satan's 
confusion. There is no conquest without a combat. 
Christ was tempted, that he might overcome the 
tempter. Satan tempted the first Adam, and tri- 
umphed over him ; but he shall not always triumph, 
the second Adam shall overcome him. and lead 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



35 



cafitiviti! cafilhtc (3.) Matter of comfort to all the 
saints. In the temptation of Clirist it apjjears, that 
our enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very danng in his 
temptations ; but it appcare withal, that he is not 
invincible. Though he is a strong man armed, yet 
the Captain of our salvation is stronger than he. It 
is some comfort to us to think that Christ suffered, 
being temfited; for thus it appeai-s that tem])tations, 
if not yielded to, are not sins, thcv arc afflictions 
only, aiid such as may be the lot of tliose with w hom [ 
Goil is well-pleased. ' And we ha^e a High-Priest 
who kuQws, by experience, what it is to be temfited, 
and who therefore is the more tenderly touched ivith 
the feeling of oitr injirmitiesm an ho\u- of temptation, 
Hcb. 2. 18. — !. 15. But it is much more a comfort 
to think that Christ conquered, being tem/ited, and 
conquered for us ; not only that the enemy we .grap- 
ple with is a conquered, baffled, disarmed enemy, but 
that we are interested in Christ's victory over him, 
and through him are more than conquerors. 

2. He was dieted for the combat, as wrestlers, 
who are tem/ierate in all things ; (1 Cor. 9. 25.) but 
Christ beyond any other, for he fasted forty dai/s 
and forty nights, m compliance witri the tj'pc and 
example of Moses the great law-giver, ;md of Elias 
the great reformer, of the Old Testament. John 
Baptist came as Elias, in those things that were 
mond, but not in such things as were miraculo\is ; 
(John 10. 41.) that honour was reserved for Christ. 
Christ needed not to fast for mortification ; (he had 
no cornipt desirestobe subdued ;) yet he fasted, (1.) 
That herein he might humble himself, and might 
seem as one abandoned, -.vhom no man seekelh after. 
(2. ) That he might give Satan both occasion and 
advantage against him ; and so make his victoiy 
over him the more illustrious. (3. ) That he might 
sanctify and recommend fasting to us, when God in 
his pro\-idencc calls to it, or when we are reduced 
to straits, and are destitute of daily food, or when it 
is requisite for the keeping under of the body or the 

?|uickening of praver, those excellent preparatives 
or temptation. If good people ai-e Ijrought low, if 
they want friends and succours, this ma)- comfort 
them, that their Master himself was in like manner 
exercised. A man may want bread, and yet be a 
favourite of heaven, and under the conduct of the 
Spirit. The reference which the Papists make of 
their lent-fast to this fasting of Christ forty days, is 
a piece of fopper\- and superstition w'liich the law 
of our land witnesses against, Stat. 5. Eliz. chap. v. 
sect. 39, 40. When he had fasted forty days, he ivas 
I never hungry ; con\erse with heaven was instead of 

}nieat and drink to him, but he iras aftemimrd an 
hiingred, to shew that he was really and tndy Man ; 
and he took upon him our natural infii-mities, that 
he might atone for us. Man fell by eating, and that 
way we often sin, and therefore Cfirist ivas an hun- 
gred. 

IV. The temptations themselves. That which 
Satan aimed at, in all his temptations, was, to bring 
him to sin against God, and so to render him for 
ever incapable of being a Sacrifice for the sin of 
others. Now, ^vhatever the colours were, that which 
he aimed at was, to bring him, 1. To despair of his 
Father's goodness. 2. To presume upon his Father's 
power. 3. To alienate his Father's honour, by giving 
it to Satan. In the two former, that which he tempt- 
ed him to, seemed innocent, and therein appeared 
the subtiltv of the tempter ; in the last, that which 
he tempted him r.<ith, seemed desirable. The two 
former arc artful temptations, which there was need 
of great wisdom to discern ; the last was a strong 
lem])tation, which there was need of great resolution 
t'. resist ; yet he was baffled in them all. 

1. He tempted him to despair of his Father's 
rooclness, nnd to distnist his Father's care concem- 
ng him. 



(1.) See how the temptation was managed ; (t. 3.) 
llie teni/iter came to him. Note, The Devil is Mc 
tempter, and therefore he is ^'utan—an adversary ; 
for those are our worst enemies, that entice us to 
sin, and are Satan's agents, are doing his work, and 
cariTing on his designs. He is called emphatically 
the tcmfUer, because he was so to cur first parents, 
:md still is so, and all other tempters are set on work 
by him. 'J'he tempter came to Christ in a visible 
appearance, not terrible and affrighting, as after- 
wanl in his agony in the garden ; no, if e\ er the 
Devil tranfformed himself into an angel of light, he 
did it now, and pretended to be a goocl genius, a 
guardian angel. 

Observe the subtilty of the temfttrr, in joining this 
first temptation with what went before, to make it 
the stronger. [1.] Christ began to be hungry, and 
therefore the motion seemed \cry proper, to tuni 
stones into bread for his necessai-y support. Note, 
It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advimtage of 
our outward condition, in that to plant the batteiy 
of his temptations. He is an adversary no less watch- 
ful than spiteful ; and the more ingenious he is to 
take advantage against us, the more inijustricus we 
must be to gi^e him none. When he began to be 
hungiT, and that in a ivildej-ncss, where there was 
nothing to be had, then the Devil assaulted him. 
Note, \\'^ant and poverty are a gi-eat temptation to 
discontent and unlielief, and the use of unlawful 
means for our relief, under pretence that necessity 
has no law ; and it is excused with this, that hunger 
will break through stone-walls, which yet is no ex- 
cuse, for the law of God ought to be stronger to us 
than stone-walls. Ag\ir prays against poverty, not 
because it is an affliction and reproach, but because 
it is a temptation ; lest I be poor, and steal. Those 
therefore who are reduced to straits, hav^ need to 
double their guard ; it is better to star\ e to death, 
than live and thri\-e by sin. [2.] Christ was lately 
declared to be the Son of God, and here the Devil 
tempts him to doubt of that ; Jf thou be the Son of 
God. Had not the Devil known that the Son of 
God was to come into the world, he would not have 
said this ; and had he not suspected that this was he, 
he w'ould not have said it to him, nor durst he have 
said it, if Christ had not now drawn a veil over his 
gloiT, and if the Devil had not now put on an impu- 
dent face. 

First, "Thou hast now an occasion to question 
whether thou be the Son of God or no ; for can it be, 
that the Son of God, who is fieir of all things, should 
be reduced to such straits } If God were th\- Father, 
he would not see thee stai-ve, for all the beasts of the 
forest are his, Ps, 50. 10, 12, It is true, there was 
a voice from heaven. This is my beloved Son, but 
surely it was delusion, and thou wast imposed upon 
by it ; for either God is not thy Father, or he is a 
yen- unkind one." Note, 1. The great thing Satan 
aim's at, in tempting good peoijle, is, to overthrow 
their i-elation to God as a Father, and so to cut off 
their dependence on him, their duty to him, and 
tlieir communion with him. The good Spirit, as the 
Comforter of the brethren, witnesses that they are 
the children of God ; the evil spirit, as the accuser 
' of the brethren, dees all he can to shake that testi- 
mony. 2. Outward afflictions, wants and burdens, 
arc the gixat arguments Satan uses to make the 
people of God question their sonship ; as if afflic- 
tions could not consist with, when really they pro- 
ceed from, God's fatherly love. They know how to 
answer this temptation, who can say, with holy Job, 
Though he Slav me, though he star\e me, yet tvitt I 
trust in him, and love him as a Friend, even when 
he seems to come forth against me as an Enemy. 
3. The Devil ayns to shake rur faith in the word 
of God, and bring us to ciuestinn the truth of that. 
Thus he began w ith our first parents ; Yea, has Ged 



S6 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



taid so and so ? Surely lie has not. So here, Has 
God said that thou art his betox'ed So7i ? Surely he 
did not say so ; or if he did, it is not ti-ue. We 
then gh'e place In the Dez'i/, wlien we question the 
truth of any word that God has spoken ; for his 
business, as the father of lies, is to oppose the tiiie 
saymgo or ood. 4. The Devil carries on his dcsii^s 
veiy much by possessing people with hard thoughts 
of God, as if he were unknid, or unfaithful, and had 
forsaken or foi'gotten those who ]\axe \ entured their 
all with him. He endeavoured to beget in our first, 
parents a notion that God forbade them the tree of 
knowledge, because he grudged them the benefit of 
it ; and so here he insinuates to our Saviour, that his 
Father had cast him off, and left him to shift for 
himself. But see how unreasonable this suggestion 
was, and how easily answered. If Christ seemed 
to be a mere Man now, because he was hungi-y, 
why was he not confessed to be more than a Man, 
even t/ie Son of God, when {or forty days he fasted, 
and was not hungiy ? 

Secondly, "Thou hast now an opportunity to 
shew that thou ait the Son of God. If thou art the 
Son of God, prove it by tKis, command that these 
stones" (a lieaj) of which, probably, lay now before 
him,) "be made bread, v. 3. John Baptist said but 
the other day, that God can, out of stones, raise iiji 
children to Abraham ; a divine power therefore can, 
110 doubt, out of stones, make bread for those chil- 
dren ; if therefore thou hast that power, exert it 
now in a time of need for thyself." He does not 
say. Pray to thy Father that he would turn them 
into bread, but cojnmand it to be done ; tliv Father 
hath forsaken thee, set up for thyself, and be not 
obliged to him. The Devil is for nothing that is 
humbling, but every thing that is assuming ; and 
gains his point, if he can but liring men off from 
their dependence upon God, and possess them with 
an opiniftn of their self-sufficiency. 

(2.) See how this temptation was resisted and 
overcome. 

[1.] Christ refused to comply with it. He would 
not command these stones to be made bread ; not be- 
cause he could not ; his power, which scon after 
this, turned water into wine, could have turned stones 
into bread ; but he would not. And whv would lie 
not ? At fir.st view, the thing appears justifiable 
enough, and the tnith is. The more plausible a 
tempt.ation is, and the greater appearance there is 
of good in it, the mnre dangerous it is. This matter 
would bear a dispute, but Christ was soon aware cf 
the snake in the grass, and would not do any thing, 
J-lrst, That looked like questioning the truth of the 
volce he heard from hea\'en, or putting that upon a 
new trial which was alreadv settled. Secondlii, That 
looked like distrusting his Father's care of him, or 
limiting him to one ]iarticular way cf providing for 
him. Thirdly, That looked like setting up for him- 
self, and 1)eing his own carver ; or, Fourihhi, That 
looked like gratifying Satan, bv doing a tiling at his 
motion. Some v/ould ha\-e said. To give the Devil 
his due, this was good counsel ; but for those who 
nvait nfton God, to consult him, is more than his due ; 
it is like inquiring of the god of Ekron, wheii there 
is a God in Israel. 

[2.] He was readv to reply to it ; {v. 4.) He 
ansTvered, and said, It is written. This is observa- 
ble, that Christ answered and baffled all the temp- 
tations of Satan with, // is written. He is himself 
the eternal Word, and could have prrduced the 
mmdof God without ha-v'ing recourse to the writings 
of Moses ; but he pat honour upon the scripture, 
and, to set us an example, he appealed to what was 
written in the law ; and he says this to Satan, taking 
it for granted that he knew well enough what was 
v/ritten. It is possible that these who are the Devil's 
*iij]di-cn may vet know v'cry well what is written in 



God's Iiook ; The dexuls believe, and tremble. This 
method we must take when at any time we are 
tempted to sin ; resist and repel the temptation with, 
It is written. The word of God is the sword of the 
S/iirit, the only offensive weapon in all the christiim 
armoury; (Eph. 6. IT.) and we may say of it as 
David of Goliath's sword, 7io?ie is like that in our spi- 
ritual conflicts. 

This answer, as all the rest, is taken out of the 
book of Deuteronomy, which signifies the second 
law, and in which there is very little ceremonial ; 
the Leiitical sacrifices and purifications could not 
drive away Satan, though of divine institution, much 
less holy water and the sign of the cross, which are 
of human invention ; but moral precepts and evan- 
gelical promises, mixed with faith, these are mighty, 
through God, for the vanquishing of Satan. This 
is here quoted from Deut. 8. 3. where the reason 
given why God fed the Israelites with manna, is, 
because he would teach them that man shall not 
live by bread alone. This Christ applies to his own 
case. Israel was God's son, whom he called out of 
Egijpt, (Hos. 11. 1.) so was Christ ; {ch. 2. \S \ 
Israel was then in a wilderness, Christ was so now ., 
perhaps the same wilderness. Now, First, Thi. 
Devil would have him question his sonship, because 
he was in straits ; no, says he, Israel was God's son, 
and a son he was very tender of, and wliose manners 
he bore ; (Acts 13. 18.) and yet he brought them 
into straits ; and it follows there, (Deut. S. 5.) jis a 
man chasleneth his son, so the Lord thy God chaster.- 
eth thee. Christ, being a Son, thus learns obedience. 
Secondly, The Devil would have him distnist his 
Father's love and care. "No," says he, "thai 
would be to do as Israel did, who, when they were 
in want, said, Is the lord among us 7 ar.d. Can he 
furnish a table in the wilderness ? Caii he give 
bread?" Thirdly, The Devil wculd have him, as 
soon as he began to be hungry, immediately look 
cut fcr supply ; whereas God, for wi;e .'.nd hc!y 
ends, suffered Israel to hunger before he fed them. ; 
to humble them, and prove them. God will have 
his children, when they want, net only to wait on 
him, but to wait for him. Fourthly, The Devil 
wfuld have him to supply himself with bread. 
" No," savs Christ, "what need is there of that.' 
It is a point long since settled, and inccntestably 
proved, that man mav live without bread, as Israel 
in the wilderness lived forty years upon manna." 
It is ti-uc, God, in his providence, ordin;irily main- 
tains men bv bread out of the earth ; (Jcb 28. 5.) 
but he can, if he jjleases, make use of other means 
^ to keep men alive ; atiy word proceeding out cf the 
j mouth of God, any thing that God shall n der and 
appoint for that end, will be as good a livelihood for 
man as bread, and will maintain him as well. As 
we mav have bread, and yet not be ncuritlied, if 
God deny his blessing, (Hal'-. 1. 6, 9. Mir. 6. 14. for 
tnc-ugh bread is the staff of life, it is God's blessing 
that is the staff of bread,) so we may "H'oyit bread, 
and let be nourished some ether way. Gcd sus- 
tained IMoses and Elias without bread, and Christ 
himself just now for forty days ; he sustained Israel 
with liread from heaven, angels' focd ; Elijah with 
bread sent miraculously by ravens, and aiicther time 
with the widow's meal miraculously multiplied ; 
therefore Christ need not turn stones into Ijread, ^"t 
trust God to keep liim alive seme other way no-- 
j that he is hungrv", as he had done forty days befcrt 
he hungered. Note, As in our greatest abundance 
we must not think to live withovt Gcd, so in out 
greatest straits we must learn to live j'/ion Gcd ; and 
when the ^fig-tree does not blossom, and the Jield 
yields no meat, when all ordinary means cf succour 
and support are cut off, yet then we must rejoice in 
the Lord ; then we must not think to command what 
we will, though contrary to his command, but must 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



37 



li'imbly pray for what he thinks fit to give us, and ' 
be thankfiil for the bread of our allowance, though 
it be a short allowance. Let us learn of Christ here 
to be at Ciod's finding, rather than at our own ; and 
not to take any irregular courees for our supply, 
when our wants arc ever so pressing. (Ps. 37. 3.^ 
Jchox'ah-jireh ; some wa\' or other the Lord will 
/irovide. It is better to live poorly ui)on the fruits 
of God's goodness, than live plehtiiuUy upon the 
products of our own sin. 

2. He tempted him to presume u]5on his Father's 
power and protection ! See what a restless unwea- 
ried adversaiy the Devil is ! If he tail in one assault, 
he tries another. 
Now in this second attempt we may observe, 
(1.) \\'hat the temptation was, and how it was 
managed. In general, finding Christ so confident 
of his Father's care of him, in point of nourishment, 
ht endeavours to draw him to ]5rcsume upon that 
care, in point of safet)-. Note, \\'c are in danger 
of missing our way, both on the right hand and on 
the left, and therefore must take heed, lest, when 
we avoid one extreme, we be brought by the arti- 
fices of Satan, to run into another ; lest, by over- 
coming oiu" prodigality, we fall into covetousncss. 
Nor are any extremes more dangerous tlum those 
of despair and presumption, es])ccially in the affairs 
of our souls. Some who have obtained a iiersuasion 
that Christ is able and willing to save them from 
their sins, are then tempted to presume that he will 
save them in their sins. Thus when peo])le begin 
to be zcaloiis in religion, Satan hurries them into 
bigotrv and intemperate heats. 
Now in his tcm])tation we may obsen'e, 
[1.] How he made way for it. He took Christ, 
not by force and against his will, but moved him to 
go, and went along with him, to Jei-usalem. \\"he- 
ther Christ went upon the ground, and so went up 
the stairs to the top of the temple, or whether he 
went in the aii-, is uncertain ; but so it was, that he 
was set u/ion a pinnacle, or spire ; vft07i the Jcme, 
(so some,) ujion the battlements, (so others.) upon 
the 'd'init, (so the word is,) of the temple. Now ob- 
serve. First, How submissive Christ was, in suffering 
himself to be hurried thus, that he misht let Satan 
do his worst, and yet conquer him. The patience 
of Christ here, as afterward in his suffcruigs and 
death, is more wonderful than the power of Satan 
or his instruments ; for neither he nor they could 
have any power against Christ but nvhat was g'iz'ej! 
them from above. How comfortable is it, that 
Christ, who let loose this power of Satan against 
himself, docs not in like manner let it loose against 
us, biit resti-ains it, for he /cnows our frame .' Se- 
condlv. How subtle the Devil was, in the choice of 
the place for his temptations. Intending to solicit 
Christ to an ostentation of his own power, and a 
vain-glorious presumption upon God's providence, 
he fixes him on apul)lic place in Jerusalem, a popu- 
lous city, and Ihejoii of the whole earth ; in the tem- 
ple, one of the wonders of the world, continuallv 
gazed upon with admir-ation by some one or other. 
There he might make himself remarkable, and be 
taken notice of by even' body, and prove himself 
the Son of God ; not, as he was urged in the former 
temptation, in the obscurities of a wilderness, but 
before multitudes, upon the most eminent stage of 
action. 

Obsen'e, 1. That Jerasalem is here called the 
holy city ; for so it was in name and profession, and 
there was in it a holy seed, that was the substance 
thereof Note, There is no city on earth so holv as 
to exempt and secure us from the Devil and his 
temptations. The first .idatn was tempted in the 
holy (garden, the second in the holy city. Let us 
not, therefore, in any place, be off our watch. Nav, 
"<c holy city is the place where he does, with the 



greatest advantage and success, tempt men to pride 
and presumption ; but, blessed be God, into the Je- 
nisalem above, that holv city, no unclean thing 
shall enter ; there we shall be for ever out of temp- 
tiition. 2. That he set him upon a pinnacle of the 
temple, which (as Joscphus describes it, Antiq. lib. 
XV. cap. M.) was so very high, that it would niiike 
a m;ui's head giddy to look down to the bottom. 
Note, Pinnacles of the tcm])le are places of temp- 
tation ; I mean, (I.) High ])laccs arc so ; they are 
slippery places ; advancement in the world makes 
a man a fair mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts 
at. God casts down, that he may raise up ; the 
Devil raises up, that lie may cast ilown : therefore 
they who wculd t;die heed of falling, must take heed 
of climbing. (2.) High places in the church are, in 
a special manner, dangertms. They who excel in 
gifts, who are in eminent stations, and have gained 
gi-eat reputation, have need to keep humble ; for 
Satan will be sure to aim at them, to puff them up 
with pride, that they may fall into the condemnation 
of the Divil. Those that stand high are concerned 
to standfast. 

[2.] How he moved it ; "If thou be the Son of 
God, now show thyself to the world, and prove thy- 
self to be so ; casi thyself down, and then," Jhirst, 
"Thou wilt be .admired, as under the special Jiro- 
tection of Hca-ven. ^^"hen they see thee receive no 
hurt 1)y a fall from such a precipice, they will say" 
(as the barbarous people did cf Paul) "that thou 
art a God." Tradition says, that Simon Magus by 
this very thing attempted to pro\e himself a %oA, 
but that his pretensions were disproved, for he fell 
down, and was miserably biniised. " Nay," Se- 
condly. " Thou wilt be received, as coming with a 
special cojtimission from Heaveti. All Jerusalem 
will see and acknowdedge, not only that thou art 
more than a man, but that thou art that Alessenger, 
that Angel of the covenant, that should suddenly 
come to the temple, (Mai. 3. 1.) and from thence de- 
scend into the streets of the holv city ; and thus the 
work of convincing the Jews will be cut short, and 
scon done. " 

Observe, The Devil said. Cast thyself down. 
The Devil could not cast him down, though a little 
thing would ha\e done it, from the top of a spire. 
Note, The power of Satan is a limited power ; hith- 
erto he shall come, and no further. Yet, if the Devil 
had cast him down, he had not gained his point ; that 
had been his suffering only, not his sin. Note, 
Whatever real mischief is done us, it is of our onvn 
doing ; the De\ il can but persuade, he cannot com- 
pel ; he can but say, Cast thyself down ; he cannot 
cast us down. Every man is tempted, when he is 
drawn away of his own lust, and not forced, but 
enticed. Therefore let us not hurt ourselves, and 
then, blessed be God, no one else can hurt us, Prov. 
9. 12. 

[3.] How he backed this motion with a scripture ; 
For it is written. He shall give his angels charge con- 
cerning thee. But is Saul also among the prophets ? 
Is Satan so well versed in scripture, as to be able to 
quote it so readily ? It seems, he is. Note, It is pos- 
sible for a man to have his head full of scripture- 
notions, and his mouth full of scripture-expressions, 
while his heart is full of reigning enmity to Ciod and 
all goodness. The knowledge which the devils have 
of the scripture, increases both their mischievous- 
ness and their torment. Never did the Devil speak 
with more vexation to himself, than when he said 
to Christ, / /enow thee who thou art. The Devil 
would persuade Christ to throw himself down, hop- 
ing that he would be his own murderer, and that 
there would be an end of him and his undertaking, 
which he looked upon with a jealous eye ; to en- 
courage him to do it, he tells him, that there was no 
danger, that the good angels would protect him, for 



38 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



so was the promise, (Ps. 91. 11.) He shall give his 
angels charge over thee. In this quotation, 

First, There was something right. It is true, 
there is such a promise of tlie ministration of the 
angels, for the protection of the saints. The Devil 
knows it by experience ; for he finds his attempts 
against them fruitless, and he frets and rages at it, 
as he did at the hedge about Job, which he speaks 
of so sensibly. Job 1. 10. He was also right m ap- 
plyuig it to Christ, for to him all the promises of the 
protection of the saints primarily and eminently be- 
long, and to them, in and through him. That pro- 
mise, that not a bone of theirs shall be brolcen, (Ps. 
34. 20.) was fulfilled in Christ, John 19. 36. The 
angels guard the saints for Christ's sake. 

Secondlij, There was a great deal ivrong in it ; 
and perhaps the Devil had a particular spite against 
this promise, and perverted it, because it often stood 
in his way, and baffled his mischievous desig-ns 
against the saints. See here, 1. How he misquoted 
it ; and that was bad. The promise is. They shall 
keefi thee ; but how .■' In all thy naays ; not other- 
\vise ; if we go out of our way, out of the way of 
our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves 
out of God's protection. Now this word made 
against the tempter, and therefore he industriously 
left it out. If Christ had cast himself do-.i'n, he had 
been out of his rjay, for he had no call so to expose 
himself. It is good for us upon all occasions to con- 
sult the scriptures themselves, and not to take things 
upon trvist, that we may not be imposed upon by 
those that maim and mangle the word of Clod ; we 
must do as the noble Bereans, who searched the 
scriptures daily. 2. How he misa/i/ilied it ; and that 
was nvorse. Scripture is abused when it is pressed 
to patronize sin ; and when men thus wrest it to 
their own temptation, thev do it to their own de- 
struction, 2 Pet. 3. 16. This promise is firm, and 
stands good ; but the Devil made an ill use of it, 
when lie used it as an encouragement to presume 
upon tlie divine care. Note, It is no new thing for 
the grace of God to be turned into wantonness ; and 
for men to take encouragement in sin from the dis- 
coveries of God's good will to sinners. But shall we 
continue in sin, that grace mai/ abound ; throw our- 
•selves down, that the angels may bear us up ? God 
forbid. 

(2. ) How Christ overcame this temptation ; he 
resisted and overcame it, as he did the former, with, 
It is written. The Devil's abusing of scripture did 
not prevent Christ from using it, but he presently 
urges, Deut. 6. 16. Thou sha'lt not tempt the Lord 
thy God. The meaning of this is not. Therefore 
thou must not tempt me ; but, Therefore I must 
not temfit my Father. In the place whence it is 
quoted, it is in the plural number. Ye shall not 
iemjit ; here it is singular. Thou shall not. Note, 
We are then likely to get good by the word of God, 
when we hear and receive general promises as 
speaking to us in particular. Satan said. It is writ- 
ten ; Christ says. It is written ; not that one scrip- 
ture contradicts another. God is one, and his word 
one, and he in one mind, but that is a promise, this 
is a precept, and therefore that is to be explained 
and applied by this ; for scripture is the best inter- 
preter of scripture ; and thev who prophesy, who 
expound scripture, must do it according to the pro- 
portion of faith, (Rom. 12. 6.) consistently with 
practical godliness. 

If Christ should cast himself down, it would be 
the tempting of God, [1.] As it would be requirins- 
a further confirmation of that which was so well 
confirmed. Christ was abundantly satisfied that 
God was already hii Father, and took care of him, 
.'■nd give his ange's a charge concerning him ; and 
the'-efore tr> put it upo i a new experiment, would be 
to tempt him, as the Pharisees tempted Christ ; 



when they had so many signs on earth, they de- 
manded a sign from heaven. This is limiting the 
Holy One of Israel. [2.] As it would be requiring a 
s/iecial preservation of him, in doing that which he 
had no call to. If we expect that because God has 
promised not to forsake us, therefore he should fol- 
low us out of the way of our duty ; that because he 
has promised to supply our wants, therefore he 
should humour us, and please our fancies ; that be- 
cause he has promised to keep us, we may wilfully 
thrust ourselves into danger, and may expect the 
desired end, without using the appointed means ; 
this is presumption, this is tempting God. And it 
is an aggravation of the sin, that he is the Lord our 
God ; it is an abuse of the privilege we enjoy, in 
having him for our God ; he has thereby encourag- 
ed us to tiiist him, but we are very ungrateful, if 
therefore we tempt him ; it is contrary to our duty 
to him as our God. This is to affront him whom 
we ought to honour. Note, ^^'e must never pro 
mise ourselves any more than God has promised us. 
3. He tempted him to the most black and horrid 
idolatry, with the proffer of the kingdoms of the 
world, and the glory of them. And here we may 
observe, 

(1. ) How the Devil made this push at our Saviour, 
T. 8, 9. The worst temptation was reserved for the 
last. Note, Sometimes the saints' last encounter is 
with the sons of Anak, and the parting blow is the 
sorest ; therefore, whatever temptation we have 
been assaulted by, still we must prepare for worse ; 
must be armed for all attacks, with the armour of 
righteousness on the right hand and on the left. 
In this temptation, we may observe, 
[1.] WTiat he showed him — all the kingdoms oj 
the world. In order to this, he took him to an ex- 
ceeding high jnountain ; in hopes of pre\'ailing, as 
Balak with Balaam, he changed his ground. The 
pinnacle of the temple is not high enough ; the 
prince of the power of the air must have him further 
up into his territories. Some think this high moun- 
tain was on the other side of Jordan, because there 
we find Christ next after the temptation, John 1. 
28, 29. Perhaps it was mount Pisgah, whence 
Moses, in communion with God, had all the king- 
doms of Canaan showed him. Hither the blessed 
Jesus was carried for the advantage of a prospect ; 
as if the Devil could show him more of the world 
than he knew already, who made and governed it. 
Thence he might discover some of the kingdoms 
situate about Jiidea, though not the glory of them ; 
but there was doubtless a juggle and a delusion of 
Satan's in it ; it is probable that that which he 
showed him, was but a landscape, an airy represen- 
tation in a cloud, such as that great deceiver could 
easily frame and put together ; setting forth, in 
proper and lively colours, the glories and splendid 
appearance of princes, and their robes and crowns, 
their retinue, equipage, and life-gnards ; the pomps 
of thrones, and courts, and stately palaces, the 
sumptuous buildings in cities, the gardens and fields 
about the country-seats, with the various instances 
of their wealth, pleasure, and gaiety ; so as might 
be most likely to strike the fancy, and excite the 
admiration and affection. Such was this show, and 
his taking of him up into a high mountain, was but 
to humour the thing, and to colour the delusion ; in 
which vet the blessed Jesus did not suffer himself 
to be imposed upon, but saw through the cheat, only 
he permitted Satan to take his own wa\-, that his 
victory over him might be the more ilUistrious. 
Hence obscr\-e, concerning Satan's temf.tn'iovs, 
that. First. Thev often come in at the ey. which 's 
blinded to the thines it should sec, and dp^zled with, 
the \anities it should be turned from. The first sin 
bepan in the eye. Gen. 3. 6. ^^'e therefore need to 
make a covenant with our eyes, and to pray th:il 



ST. MATTHKW, IV. 



39 



God \vo\\\(\ turn t/iem a-vay from beholding vanity. 
Sccondhi, That temptations conimonl v take rise fmm 
the woi'kl, and the things of it. 'I'he lust oflhcfltsh, 
and of the ei/e, with the pride of life, are the topics 
from which' the Devil fetches most'of liis ai-sviments. 
TInrdhj, That it is a great cheat which the Devil 
puts ui)on ])oor souls, in his temptations. He de- 
ceives, .-md so destroys ; he imposes upon men with 
shadows and false colours ; shows the world and the 
gloi-y of it, and hides from men's eyes the sin ar.d 
sorrow and death which stain the pride of all this 
glorv, the cares and calamities which attend ijreat 
possessions, and the thorns wliich crownsthemselves 
are lined with. Fourthly, That \.\\c glory of the ivorld 
is the most charming temptation to the unthinking 
and unwary, and that by which men are most im- 
posed upon. iMban^i sons grudge Jacob all his glo- 
ry ; the /iride of life is the most dangerous snare. 
' [2.] What he said to him; {v. 9.)jll these things 
will 1 give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worshi/t 
me. See, 

First, How x'ain the /iroinise WAS. .'Ill these things 
will I give thee. He seems to take it for granted, 
that in the foiTner temptations he had in jiart gain- 
ed his point, and jirovcd that Christ was not the 
Son of (iod, beca\ise he had not given him those 
evidences of it which he demanded ; so that here 
he looks upon him as a mere man. "Come," says 
he, "it seems that the Ciod, whose Son thou think- 
est thyself to be, deserts thee, and stanxs th.ce — a 
sign that he is not thy Father ; but if thou wilt be 
ruled l)v me, I will provide better for thee than so ; 
own me for thy father, and ask my blessing, and all 
this will I gix'e thee." Note, Satan makes an easy 
prev of men, when he can persuade them to think 
themselves abandoned of God. The fallacy of this 
promise lies in that, .-/// this will I give thee. And 
what was all that .? It was but a map, a picture, a 
mere phantasm, that had nothing in it real or solid, 
and this he would give him ; a goodly prize ! Yet 
such are Satan's proffers. Note, Multitudes lose 
the sight of that which is, by setting their eyes on 
that which is not. The Devil's baits are all a sham ; 
they are shows and shadows with which he decei\-es 
them, or rather they deceive themsches. The na- 
tions of the earth had been, long before, promised to 
the \Iessiah ; if he be the Son oj God, they belong 
to him ; Satan pretends now to be a good angel, 
probably one of those that were set over kingdoms, 
and to have received a commission to deliver pos- 
session to him according to promise. Note, \\'e 
must take heed of receiving even that which God 
had promised, c^it of the Devil's hand ; we do so 
\yhcn we precipitate the performance, by catching 
at it in a smfiil way. 

Secondly, How vile the condition was; If thou 
wilt fall down, and worshifi me. Note, The Devil 
is fond of being worshipped. All the worship which 
the heathen performed to their gods, was dii-ccted 
to the Devil, (Deut. 3i. IT.) who is therefore called 
the god oj this world, 2 Cor. 4. 4. 1 Cor. 10. 20. 
And fain would he draw Christ into his intei-ests, 
and persuade him, now that he set up for a teacher, 
to preach up the Gentile idolatry, and to introduce 
it again among the Jews, and then the nations of the 
eartli would soon flock in to him. 'What tempta- 
tion could be more hideous, more black ? Note, The 
best of s.iints may be tempted to the worst of sins, 
especially when they are under the power of melan- 
choly ; as, for instance, to atheism, blasphemy, 
murder, self-murder, and what not. It is their af- 
fliction, but while there is no consent to it, nor ap- 
probation of it, it is not their sin ; Christ was tempt- 
ed to worship Satan. 

(2.) See how Christ warded off the thrust, baffled 
the assault, and came off a Conqueror. He rejected 
the proposal, 



[1.] With abhorrence and detef.ation ! (iet thee 
hence, Satan .' The two former temptations had 
something of colour, which would admit of a con- 
sideration, but this was so gross as not to bear a par- 
ley ; it api)ears abominable at the first sight, and 
therefore is immediately rejected. If the best friend 
we have in the world sliould suggest such a thing as 
this to us. Go, icjTf other gods, he must not be 
heard with patience, Deut. 13. 6, 8. Some temp- 
tations have their wickedness written in their fore- 
head, thev are open before-hand ; thej- are not tc 
be disputed with, ))ut rejected ; " Get thee hence, 
Satan .' .Vway with it, I cannot bear the thought of 
it !" \\'hile Satan tempted Christ to do himself a 
mischief, by casting himself down, though he yield- 
ed not, vet 'he heard it ; but now that the tempta- 
tion flies in the face of (;od, he cann<,i bear it ; Get 
thee hence, Satan .' Note, It is a just indignation, 
which rises at the i)ro])osal of any thing that reflects 
on the honour cf God, and strikes at his crown. 
Nav, whatever is an abominable thing, which we 
are sure the Lord hates, we must thus abominate it; 
far be it from us that we should lune any thing to 
do with it. Note, It is good to be /lerem/itory in re 
sisting temptation, and to sto/i our cars to Satan's 
charms. 

[2.] ^^■ith an argument fetched frorn scripture. 
Note, In order to the strengthening of our resolu- 
tions against sin, it is good to see wliat a great deal 
of reason there is for those resolutions. The argu- 
ment is verv suitable, and exactly to the nui-pose, 
taken from Deut. 6. l". and 10. 20. 'J'hou shall wor- 
shifi the Loj-d thy God, and him only shall thou 
serve. Christ does not dispute whether he were an 
angel of light, as he pretended, or not ; but though 
he were, yet he must not be worshipped, because 
that is an honour due to God onl\'. Note, It is good 
to make our answers to temptation as full and as 
brief as may be, so as not to leave room for objec- 
tions. Our'Saviour has recourse to the fundamen- 
tid law in this case, which is indispensable, and uni- 
\ersally obligatory. Note, Religious worship is due 
to God' only, and must not be gi\cn to any creature ; 
it is a flower of the crown which cannot be alienated, 
a branch of God's glory which he will not give to 
another, and which he' would not give to his own 
Son, by obliging all men to honour the Son, even as 
then honour the Father, if he had not been God, 
eqt'tal to him, and one with him. Christ quotes this 
law concerning religious worshiji, ;md quotes it with 
application to" himself; First, To show that in his 
estate of humiliation he was himself made zinder 
this law: though, as God, he was worshipped, yet, 
as Man, he did worship fiod, both publicly and pri- 
vately. He obliges us to no more th;m what he was 
first pleased to oblige himself to. Thus it became 
liim to fulfil all righteousness. Secondly, To show 
that the law of religious worship is of etenial obli- 
gation : though he abrogated and altered many in- 
stitutions of worship, yet this fundamental law of 
nature — That God only is to be worshijipcd, he 
came to ratify, and ccnfimi, and enforce upon us. 

V. '\\"e have here the end and issue of this com- 
bat, V. 11. Though the children of God may be 
exercised with many and great temptations, yet Gcd 
will not suffer them 'to be tempted above the strength 
which either they have, or he will put into them, 
1 Cor. 10. 13. It is but for a season that they are in 
heaviness, through manifold temptations. 

Now the issue "was glorious; and much to Christ's 
honour ; for, 

1. The Devil was baffled, and quitted the field ; 
Then the JDex'il leaveth him, forced to do so by the 
power that went along ^vith that word of cC'inmand, 
Get thee hence, Satan. He made a sliameftil and 
inglorious retreat, and came off with disgiace ; and 
the more daring his attempts had been, the more 



to 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



moitifying was the foil that was given him. ATag7iis 
tamen excidit aiisis — The attemjxt, however, in which 
he failed, was daring. Then, when he had done his 
worst, had tempted him with all the kingdoms of 
the world, and the glorij of them, and found tliat he 
was not influenced by that bait, that he could not 
prevail with that temptation with which he had 
overthrown so many thousands of the children of 
men, then he leaves him ; then he gives him over 
as more than a man. Since this did not move him, 
he despairs of moving him, and begins to conclude, 
that he is the Son of God, and that it is in vain to 
tempt him any fuilher. Note, If we resist the Devil, 
he will flee fi-om us ; he will yield, if we keep our 
gi'ound ; as wlien jVaomi saw that Ruth was stead- 
fastly resolved, she left off speaking to her. \\'hen 
"the Devil left our Saviour, he owned himself fairly 
beaten ; his head was broken by the attempt he 
made to bruise Christ's heel. He left him because 
he had nothing in him, nothing to take hold of ; he 
saw it was to no puipose, and so gave over. Note, 
The Devil, though he is an enemy to all the saints, 
is a conquered enemy. The Captain of our salva- 
tion has defeated and disarmed him ; we have no- 
thing to do but X.0 pursue the victorij. 

2. I'he holy angels came and attended upon our 
victorious Redeemer ; Behold, angels came and mi- 
nistered unto him. They came in a visible appear- 
ance, as the Devil had done in the temptation. 
While the Devil was making his assaults upon our 
Saviour, the angels stood at a distance, and their 
immediate attendance and ministration were sus- 
pended, that it might ajjpear that he vanquished 
Satan in his own strength, and that his victory might 
be the more illustrious ; and that afterward, when 
Michael makes use of his angels in fighting with the 
dragon and his angels, it might appear, that it is not 
because he needs them, or could not do his work 
without them, but because he is pleased to honour 
them so far as to employ them. One angel might 
have served to bring him food, but here are manv 
attending him, to testify their respect to him, and 
their readiness to receive his commands. Behold 
this! It is worth taking notice of; (1.) That as 
there is a world of wicked, malicious sjjirits that 
fight against Christ and his church, and all particu- 
lar believers, so there is a world of holy, blessed 
spirits engaged and employed for them. In refer- 
ence to our war with devils, we may tiie abundance 
of comfort from our communion with angels. (2.) I 
That Christ's victories are the angels' triumphs. 
The angels came to congratulate Christ on his suc- 
cess, to rejoice with him, and to give him the glory 
due to his name ; for that was. sung with a loud voice 
in hea\'en, when the great dragon was cast out, (Rev. 
12. 9, 10.) A''ow is come salvation and strength. 
(3.) That the angels ministered to the Lord Jesus, 
not onlv food, but whatever else he wanted after this 
great fatigue. See how the instances of Christ's 
condescension and humiliation were balanced with 
tokens of his gloiy. As when he was crucified in 
weakness, yet he Ih'ed hij the power of God ; so 
when in weakness he was tempted, was hungrv and 
weary, yet Ijy his divine power he commanded the 
ministration of angels. Thus the Son of man did 
eat angels' food, and, like Elias, is fed by an angel 
in the wiklei-ness, 1 Kings 19. 4, 7. Note, Though 
God may suffer his people to be brought into wants 
and straits, yet he wijl take effectujd care for their 
supply, and will rather send angels to feed them, 
than see them perish. Trust in the Lord, and verily 
thou shall be fed, Ps. 37". 3. 

Christ was thus succoured after the temptation, 
[1.] For his encouragement to go on in his under- 
taking, that he might see the powers of heaven 
siding with him, when he saw the powers of hell 
set against him. [2.] For our encouragement to 



tnist in him ; for as he knew, by experience, w hal 
it was to suffer, being tempted, and how hard that 
was, so he knew what it was to be succoured, being 
tempted, and how comfortable that was ; and there- 
fore we may expect, not only that he will sympa- 
thize with his tempted people, but that he will come 
in with seasonable relief to them ; as our great Mel- 
chizedec, who met Abraham when he returned from 
the battle, and as the angels here ministered to him. 
Lastly, Christ, having been thus signalized and 
made great in the invisible world by the voice of the 
Father, the descent of the Spirit, his victoi-y over 
de\'ils, and his dominion over angels, was do\jbtless 
xjualified to appear m the visible world as the Medi- 
ator between God and man ; for consider how great 
this Man was .' 

12. Now when Jesus had heard that 
John \\'as cast into prison, he departed into 
Galilee: 13. And leaving Nazareth, he 
came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is 
upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabu- 
lon and Nephthalim: 14. That it might 
be fultilled which was spoken by Esaias 
the prophet, saying, 15. The land of Za- 
bulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the 
way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of 
the Gentiles; 16. The people \\hich sat 
in darkness saw great light : and to them 
which sat in the region and shadow of 
death light is sprung up. 17. P'rom that 
time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 
Repent : for the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand. 

We ha\e here an account of Christ's preaching 
in the synagogues of Galilee, for he came into the 
world to be a Preacher ; the great sahation which 
he wrought out, he himself began to publish, (Heb. 
2. 3. ) to shew how much his heart was upcn it, and 
ours should be. 

Several passages in the other gospels, especially 
in that of St. John, are supposed, in the order of the 
story of Christ's life, to intervene Ijetween his temp- 
tation and his preaching in Galilee. His first ap- 
pearance after his temptation, was when John Bap- 
tist pointed to him, saymg. Behold the Lumb of God, 
John 1. 29. After that, he went up to Jei usalem, to 
the passover, (John 2.) discoursed with Kiccdcmus, 
(John 3.) with the woman of Samaria, (J( hn 4.) and 
then returned into Galilee, and preached there. 
But Matthew, ha\-ing had his residence in Galilee, 
begins his story of Christ's public ministry, with his 
preaching there, which here we have an account of 
Obsene, 

I. The time ; when Jesvs had heard that John wa.t 
cast into firison, then he wetit into Galilee, v. 12, 
Note, The cry of the saints' suflferings ccmes up into 
the ears of the Lord Jesus. If Jcihn be cast into 
prison, Jesus hears it, takes cognizance r,f it, and 
steers his course accordingly ; he remembers the 
bonds and afflictions that abide his people. Obsen-e, 
1. Christ did not go into the countiy, till he heard of 
John's imprisonment ; for he must have time given 
him to firepare the way of the Lord, before the Lord 
himself appear. Providence wisely ordered it, that 
John should be eclipsed before Christ shotie forth ; 
otherwise the minds of people would have been 
distracted between the two ; one would have said, 
/ am of John, and another, / am of Jesvs. John 
must be Christ's harbinger, but not his rival. The 
moon and stars are lost when the sun rises. John 
had done I3s work by the baptism of repentance. 



ST. MATTHKW, IV. 



41 



aiiJ then he is laid aside. The witnesses were slain 
when thev had finished theiv testimony, and not be- 
fore, Kcv'. 11. 7. 2. He did go into the covmtn- as 
soon as he heard of Jolin's imprisonment ; not only 
to provide for his own safety, knowini; that the Pha- 
risees in Judea were a-s much enemies to him as 
lierod was to John, but to supply the want of John 
Baptist, and to build upon the good foundation he 
had laid. Note, Clod will not leave liiiiisclf without 
witness, nor his church without guides ; when he 
removes one useful instiimient, he can raise up ano- 
ther, for he has the residue of the Spirit, and he will 
do it, if he has work to do. J/oses my seri'aiit is 
dead, John is cast into prison ; now therefore, Joshua, 
arise ; Jesus, arise. 

II. The place where he preached ; in G;ililec, a 
remote ])ait of the counti-)-, that lay furthest from 
Jenisaltni, and was tliei'c looked upon with con- 
tempt, as rude and boorish. The inhabitants of that 
country were reckoned stout men, fit for soldiers, 
but not polite men, or fit for scholars. Thither 
Christ went, there he set up the standard of his gos- 
pel ; and in this, as in other things, he humbled 
himself. Observe, 

1. The particular city he chose for his residence ; 
not Xazaretli, where he had been bred up ; no, he 
left N;iz.ireth ; particular notice is taken of that, v. 
13. And with good reason did he leave Nazareth ; 
for the men of that city thrust him out from among 
them, l^uke 4. 29. He made them his first, and a 
very fair, oflfer of his scr\-ice, but they rejected him 
and his doctrine, and were filled with indignation at 
him and it ; and therefore he left Nazai-eth, and 
shook off the dust of his feet for a testimony against 
those there, who would not haxe him to teach them. 
Nazareth was the first place that refused Christ, 
and was therefore refused by him. Note, It is just 
with God, to take the gospel and the means of grace 
from those that slight them, and thnist them away. 
Christ will not stay long where he is not welcome. 
Unhappy Nazareth ! If thou hadst k/iown in this 
thy day the things that belong to thy peace, how 
well had it been for thee ! But novj they are hid 
from thine eyes. 

But he came and dcTj'j in Cafiernaum, which was 
a city of Galilee, but many miles distant from Naza- 
reth, a gi'eat city and of nmch resort. It is said 
here to be o;; the sea coast, not the ^^reat sea, but the 
sea of Tiberias, an inland water, called also the lake 
of Gennesaret. Close b\' the falling of Jordan into 
ttiis sea stood Capeniaum, in the tribe of Naphtali, 
but bordering upon Zebulun ; hither Christ came, 
and here he dwelt. Some think that his father Jo- 
seph had a habitation here, others that he took a 
house or lodgings at least ; and sonie think it more 
than probable, that he dwelt in the house of Simon 
Peter ; however, here he fixed, not constantly, for 
he went about doing good ; but this was for some 
time his head-quarters : what little rest he had, was 
here ; here he had a place, though not a place of his 
own, to lay his head on. And at Capernaum, it 
should seem, he was welcome, and met with better 
entertainment than he had at Nazareth. Note, If 
some reject Christ, vet others will receive him, and 
bid him welcome. Capernaum is glad of Nazareth's 
leavings. If Christ's own countrymen be not gather- 
ed, yet he will lie glorious. " And thou, Capernaum, 
hast now a day of it ; thou art now lifted up to hea- 
ven ; be wise for thyself, and know the time of thy 
visitation." 

2. The prophecy that was fulfilled in this, v. 
14 — 16. It is quoted, Isa. 9. 1, 2. but with some 
variation. The prophet in that place is foretelling 
a greater darkness of affliction to befall the con- 
temner of Immanuel, than befell the countries there 
mentioned, either in their first captivity under Ben- 
hadad, which was but light, (1 Kings 15. 20.) or in 

Vol. V. — F 



their secc nd captivity under the .\ss\ri;ui, which 
was much heavier, 2 Kings 15. 29. 'I'he punish- 
ment of the Jewish nation for rejecting the gospel, 
should be sorer than either ; (see Isa. «. 21, 22.) for 
those captiv.ated places had some re\ iving in tlieir 
bondage, and saw a great light again, ch. 9. 12. This 
is Isaiah's sense ; but the Scripture has many ful- 
fiUings ; and the Kvangelist here takes < nly the lat- 
ter clause, which speaks of the return of tlic light 
of liberty and jjrosperity to those countries that had 
been in the darkness of captivity, and applies it to 
the appearing of the gosjiel among them. 

The jjlaces are spoken of, v. 15. 'J'he land of 
Xehu/un is rightly said to be 6y the sea coast, for 
Zebulun was a haven of ships, and rejoiced in her 
e-o/n^- OK/, Gen. 49. l.". Dent. 33. IS. Of Naphtali, 
it had been said, that he should i^ri'e goodly words, 
(Gen. 49. 21.) and should be satisfied irith favour, 
(Dcut. 33. 23.) for from him began the gospel ; 
goodly words indeed, and .such as bring to a soul 
God's satisfying favour. The country beyond Jor- 
dan is mentioned likewise, for there we sometimes 
find Christ preaching, and Galilee of the (ientiles, 
the upper Galilee to which the Clentilcs resorted for 
traffic, and where thev were mingled with the Jews ; 
which intimates a kindness in rtscrx c tor the poor 
(Ientiles. When Christ came to Capeniaum, the 
gospel came to all those ])laces round about ; such 
dimisive influence did the Sun of righteousness cast. 

Now, concerning the inhabitants of these places, 
observe, (1.) The posture they were in before the 
gospel came among them ; (v. 16.) thev were in 
darkness. Note, 'I'hcse that are without Christ, are 
in the dark, nay, they are darkness itself ; as the 
darkness that was upon the face of the deeji. Nay, 
thev were in the region and shado'.v of death ; which 
denotes not only great darkness, as the gi'avc is a 
land of darkness, but great danger. A man that is 
desperately sick, and not likely to recov er, is in the 
valley of the shadow of death, though nut (juite 
dead ; so the poor people were in the boi-dei's of 
damnation, though not yet damned, dead in law. 
And, which is worst of all, they were sitting in this 
condition. Sitting is a continuing posture ; where 
we sit, we mean to stay ; they were in the dark, 
and likely to be so, despairing to find the way out. 
.\nd it is a contpnted posture ; they were in the 
dark, and they loved darkness, they chose it rather 
than light ; they were willingly ignorant. Their 
condition was sad ; it is still the condition of many- 
great and mightv nations, which are to be thought 
of, and prayed for, with pity. But their condition 
is more sad, avIio sit in darkness in the midst of 
gospel-light. He that is in the dark liecause it is 
night, may be sure that the sun will shortly arise ; 
but he that is in the dark because he is blind, will 
not so soon have his eyes opened. A\"e have the 
light, but what will that avail us, if we be not light 
in the Lord ? (2. ) The privilege they enjoyed, when 
Christ and his gospel came among them ; it was as 
gi-eat a re\ iving as e\er light was to a benighted 
traveller. Note, ^Mien the gospel comes, light 
comes ; when it comes to any place, when it comes 
to any soul, it makes day there, John 3. 19. Luke 1. 
78, "9. Light is discovering, it is directing ; so is the 
gospel. 

It is a great light ; denoting the clearness and evi- 
dence of gospel-revelations ; not like the light of a 
candle, but the light of the sun when he gees forth 
ill his strength. Great in comparison with the light 
of the law, the shadows of which were now done 
awav. It is a great light, for it discovers great things 
and of vast consequence ; it will last long, and spread 
far. And it is a growing light, intimated in that 
word, It is s/irung uft. It was but spring of day 
with them ; now the day dawned, which afterward 
shone more and more. The gospel-kingdom, like a 



42 



ST. MATTHEW, IV. 



grain of mustard-seed, or the moming-light, was 
small in its beginnings, gi-adual in its growth, but 
gi'eat in its perfection. 

Observe, The light sprayig uji to them ; they did 
not go to seek, i', but were prevented with the bles- 
sings of this goodness. It came upon them ere they 
were aware, at the time appointed, by the disposal 
of him who commandeth the morning, and causes the 
day-sjiring to know its place, that it may take hold of 
the ends of the earth. Job 38. 12, 13. 

The text he preached upon is mentioned, v. 17. 
JFrom that time, that is, from the time of his coming 
into Galilee, into the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, 
from that time, he began to preach. He had been 
preaching, before this, in Judea, and had made and 
baptized many disciples ; (John 4. 1. ) but his preach- 
ing was not so public and constant as now it began to 
be. The work of the ministry is so great and awful, 
that it is fit to be entered upon by steps and gradual 
advances. 

The subject which Christ dwelt upon now in his 
preaching, (and it was indeed the sum and substance 
of all his preaching,^ was the veiy same that John 
had preached upon ; {ch. 3. 2. ) Re/ient,for the king- 
dom of heaven is at hand ; for the gospel is the same 
for substance under various dispensations ; the com- 
mands the same, and the reasons to enforce them 
the same ; an angel from heaven dares not preach 
any other gospel, ((ial. 1. 8.) and will preach this, 
for it is the ei'erlasting gos/iel. Fear God, and, by 
repentance, give honour to him. Rev. 14. 6, 7. Christ 
put a great respect upon John's ministry, when he 
preached to the same puipoit that he had preached 
before him. By this he showed that John was his 
messenger and ambassador ; for when he brought tlie 
errand himself, it was the same that he had sent by 
him. Thus did God confirm the word of his mes- 
sengers, Isa. 44. 26. The Son came on the same 
errand that the servants came on, {ch. 21. 37.) to 
seek fruit, fruits meet for repentance. Christ had 
lain in the bosom of the Father, and could have 
preached sublime notions of di\ine and heavenly 
things, that should have alarmed and amused the 
learned world, but he pitches upon this old, plain 
text, Ke/ient, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 
[1.] This he preached Jfrsr upon; he began with 
this. Ministers must not be ambitious of broaching 
new opinions, framing new schemes, or coining new 
expressions, but must content themselves with plain,- 
practical things, with the word that is nigh us, even 
in our mouth, and in our heart. Wc need not go up 
to heaven, nor down to the deep, for matter or lan- 
guage in our preaching. As John prepared Christ's 
way, so Christ prepared his own, and made way for 
the further discoveries he designed, with the doc- 
trine of repentance. If any man will do this part of 
his laill, he shall know more of his doctrine, John 7. 
17. [2.] This he preached often xipon ; wherever 
he went, this was his subject, and neither he nor his 
followers ever reckoned it worn threadbare, as those 
would have done, that have itching ears, and are 
fond of novelty and variety more than that which is 
truly edifying.' Note, That which has been preach- 
ed and heard before, may yet very profitably be 
preached and heard again; but then it should be 
preached and heard better, and with new affections ; 
what Paul had said before, he said again, ivee/iing, 
Phih 3. 1, 18. [3.] This he preached as gospel; 
"Repent, re\-iew your ways, and retum to your- 
selves. " Note, The doctrine of repentance is right 
gospel-doctrine. Not only the austere Baptist, who 
was looked upon as a melancholy, morose man, but 
the sweet and gracious Jesus, whose lips dropped as 
a honev-comb, preached repentance ; for it is an 
uns])eakable privilege that room is left for repent- 
ance. [4.] The reason is still the same ; The king- 
dom of heaven is at hand ; for it was not reckoned to 



be fully come ; till the pouring out of the Spirit after 
Christ s ascension. John had preached the kingdom 
of heaven at hand above a year before this ; but now 
that it was so much nearer, the argument was so 
much the stronger; now is the salvation nearer, 
Rom. 13. 11. We should be so much the more 
quickened to our duty, as we see the day approach- 
ing, Heb. 10. 25. 

18. And Jesus, walking by the sea of 
Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called 
Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a 
net into the sea : for they were fishers 
19. And he saith unto them, Follow me, 
and I will make you fishers of men. 20. 
And they straightway left their nets, and 
followed him. 21. And going on from 
thence, he saw other two brethren, James 
the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, 
in a ship with Zebedee their father, mend- 
ing their nets : and he called them. 22. 
And they immediately left the ship and 
their father, and followed him. 

'^'V'hen Christ began to preach, he began to gather 
disci/iles, who should now be the hearers, and'^ here- 
after the preachers, of his doctrine, who should now 
be witnesses of his miracles, and hereafter concern- 
ing them. Now, in these verses, we have an ac- 
count of the first disciples that he called into fellow- 
ship with himself. 

And this was an instance, 1. Of effectual calling to 
Christ. In all his preaching he gave a common call 
to all the country, but in this he gave a special and 
particular call to those that were given him by the 
Father. Let us see and admire the power of Christ's 
grace, own his word to be the red of his strength, 
and wait upon him for those powerful influences 
which are necessary to the efficacy of the gospel- 
call — those distinguishing influences. . All tlie coun- 
try was called, but those were called out, were re- 
deemed froni among men. Christ was so manifested 
to them, as he was not manifested unto the world. 
2. It was an instance of ordination, and appointment 
to the work of the ministry. When Christ, as a 
Teacher, set up his great school, one of his first 
works was to appoint ushers, or under-masters, to 
be employed in the work of instruction. Now he 
began to give gifts unto men, to put the treasure into 
earthen vessels. It was an early instance of his care 
for his church. 

Now we may obsene here, 

1. llliere they were called — by the sea of Galilee, 
where Jesus was walking, Capeniaum being situated 
near that sea. Concerning this sea of Tiberias, the 
Jews have a saying. That of all the seven seas that 
God made, he made choice of none but this sea of 
Gennesaret; which is very applicable to Christ's 
choice of it, to honour it, as he often did, with his 
presence and miracles. Here, on the banks of the 
sea, Christ was walking for contemplation, as Isaac 
in the field ; hither he went to call disciples : not to 
Herod's court, (for few mighty or noble are called,) 
not to Jei-usalem, among the chief priests and the 
elders, but to the sea of Galilee ; surely Christ sees 
not as man sees. Not but that the same power 
which effectually called Peter and Andrew, would 
have wrought upon Annas and Caiaphas, for with 
God nothing is impossible ; but, as in other things, so 
in Ms converse and attendance, he would humble 
himself, and show that God has chosen the poor of 
this world. Galilee was a remote part of the nation, 
the inhabitants were less cultivated and refined, 
their very language was bi-oad and uncouth to the 



ST. MATTHEW IV. 



43 



luncius, tlieir s/ieec/i bewrayed them. They wlio 
were picked up at the sea of Galilee, Imd not tiie 
a(lv:uitages antl improvements, ni), not of the more 
polished Cialileans; yet thither Clirist wciit, to call 
his apostles thut were to be tlie prime ministers of 
state in his kingdom, for he r/joow* ike foolisA things 
ofthetvorld, to confound thcivise. 

11. /rVici they were, \^'c have an account of the 
call of two pair of brothers in tlicse verses — Peter 
and Andrew, James and Jolm; the two former, and, 
probably, the two latter also, liad had acquaintance 
with Christ before, (John 1. 'lO, -11.) but were not 
till now called into a close tind constant attendance 
upon him. Note, Christ brings jjoor souls by de- 
grees into fellowship with himself. They had been 
disciples of John, and sn were tlielietter disposed to 
follow Clirist. Note, Those who liave submitted to 
the discipline of repcntiuice, shall be welcome to the 
joys of faith, ^^"e may observe concerning them, 

1. That they were brothers. Note, It is a blesse<l 
thing, when tliey who are kinnmoi according to titc 
fiesli, (as the ai)r-stle speaks, Rom. y. 3. ) are brought 
together into a spiritual alliance to Jesus Christ. It 
is the honour and comfort of a house, when those 
that are of the same family, are of God's family. 

2. That they were ./f*/"'"*- Being fisliers, (1.) 
Thev wcvc /inor men: if they had had estates, or any 
considerable stock in trade, they would not have 
made it their trade, however they might have made 
it their recreation. Note, Christ does not despise 
the poor, and therefore we must not; the poor are 
evangelized, and the Fountain of honour sometimes 
gives more abundant honour to that part which most 
lacked. (2.) They were unlearned men, not bred 
up to books 01' literature as Moses was, who was 
conversant with all the leaining of the Egyptians. 
Note, Christ sometimes chooses to endow those with 
the gifts of grace who have least to show of the gifts 
of nature. Yet this will not justify the bold intrusion 
of ignorant and unqualified men into the work of the 
ministry; extraordinary gifts of knowledge and ut- 
terance are not now to be expected, but requisite 
abilities must be obtained in an ordinary way, and 
without a competent measure of these, none are to 
be admitted to that service. (3.) They were mc« 
of business, who had been bred up to labour. Note, 
Diligence in an honest calling is pleasing to Christ, 
and no hinderancc to a holy life. IMoses was called 
from keeping sheep, and David from following the 
ewes, to eminent employments. Idle people lie more 
open to the temptations of Satan than to the calls of 
God. (4. ) They were men that were accustomed 
to hardships and hazards; the fisher's trade, more 
than any other, is laborious and perilous; fishermen 
must be often wet and cold; the}- must watch, and 
wait, and toil, antl be ;>ften in fieri! by waters. Note, 
Those who lia\e learned to bear hardships, and to 
run hazards, arc best prepared for the fellowship 
and disfipleship of Jesus Christ. Good soldiers of 
Christ must endm-e hardness, 

III. What they -ivei-e doing. Peter and Andrew 
were then using their nets, they v>-ere fishing; and 
James and John were mending their nets, which was 
an instance of their industry and good husbandry. 
Thev did not goto their father for money to buy new 
nets, but took ])ains to mend their old ones. It is com- 
mendable to make what we have go as far, and last 
as long, as may be. James and John were ivith their 
father Zf if rfff", ready to assist him, and make his bu- 
siness easy to him. Note, It is a happi,- and hopeful 
presage, to see children careful of their parents, and 
dutiful to them. Observe, 1. They were all em- 
ployed, all very busy, and none idle.' Note, When 
Christ comes, it is good to be found doing. "Am I 
in Christ?" is a verv needful question for us to ask 
ourselves; and, next to that, "Am I in my calling?" 
2. They were differently employed; two of them 



wei-e fishing, and two of them mending their nets. 
Note, Ministers should be always employed, eitlier 
in teaching or .studying; they may always find them- 
selves something to do, if it Ijc not their own fault; 
and mending their nets is, in its season, as necessary 
work as fishing. 

IV. U'hiit the cull was; (^v. 19.) Follow me, and 
Twill make you fishers of men. They had followed 
Christ before, as ordinary disciples, (Jolm 1. 37.) 
but so they might follow Christ, and follow their 
calling too; therefore they were called to a more 
close and constant attendance, and nmst leave their 
calling. Note, Even they who ha\e been called to 
follow Christ, have need to be called to follow on, 
and to follow nearer, es])ecially when they are de- 
signed for the work cf the ministry. Obseive, 

1. What Christ intended them for; I ivitl make 
you fishers of men, this alludes to their former call- 
ing. Let them not be proud of the new honour de- 
signed (hem, they arc still but fishers; let them not 
be afraid of the new work cut out for them, for they 
have been used to fishing, and fishers they are still. 
It was usual v/ith Clirist to speak of spirituid and 
heavenly things under such allusions, and in such 
expressions, as took rise from common things that 
ofTered themselves to his view. David was called 
from feeding sheep to feed (jod's Israel; and when 
he is a king, is a sheplierd. Note, (1.) Ministers 
arc fishers of men, not to destroy them, but to save 
them, by bringing them into ;,r,nther element. They 
must fish, iKJt for wrath, wealth. In nour, Mid pre- 
ferment, to gain them to themselves, but for souls, 
to gain them to Christ. 'J'hey watch for your souls, 
(Heb. 13. 17.) and seek not yours, hut you, 2 Cor. 
12. 14, 16. (2. ) It is Jesus Christ that makes them 
so; / will make you fishers of me?i. It is he that 
qualifies men for this work, calls them to it, autho- 
rizes them in it, and gives them success in it, gives 
them commission to fish for souls, and wisdom to 
win them. Those ministers are likely to have com- 
fort in their work, who are thus made by Jesus 
Christ. 

2. What they must do in order to this; Follow me. 
They must separate themselves to a diligent attend- 
ance on him, and set themselves to a humble imita- 
tion of him; must follow him as their Leader. Note, 
(1.) Those whom Christ employs in any service for 
him, must first be fitted and qualified for it. (2.) 
Those who would preach Christ, must first learn 
Christ, and learn of him. How can v.e expect to 
bring others to the knowledge of Chiist, it we do 
not know him well ourselves? (3.) These who would 
get an acquaintance with Christ, must be diligent 
;md constant in their attendance on him. The apos- 
tles wercprcpared for their work, by accomfianying 
Christ all the time that he went in and out among 
them, Acts 1. 21. There is no learning comparable 
to that which is got by following Christ. Joshua, by 
ministering to Moses, is fitted to be his successor. 
(4. ) Those who are to fish for men, must therein 
follow Christ, and do it as he did, with diligence, 
faithfulness, and tenderness. Christ is the great 
Pattern for preachers, and they ought to be workers 
together with him. 

V. What was the success of this call. Peterand 
Andrew straightway lift their ?iets; {v. 20. ) and 
James and John immediately left the shi/i and their 
father; (v. 22.) and they all followed him. Note, 
Those who would follow Christ aright, must leave 
a// to follow him. Every christian must leave all 
in affection, sit loose to all, must hate father and 
mother, (Luke 14. 26.) must love them less than 
Christ, must be ready to part with his interest in 
them rather than with his interest in Jesus Christ; 
but those who are devoted to the work of the minis- 
try are, in a special manner, concerned to disentan- 
gle themselves from all the affairs of this life, thai 



44 



ST. MATTHEW, JV. 



they may give themselves wholly to that work which 
requires the whole man. Now, 

1. This instance of the power of the Lord Jesus 
gives us good encouragement to depend upon the 
sufficiency of his grace. How strong and effectual 
is his word ! He ulieaks, and it is done. The same 
power goes along with tliis word of Christ, FoUom 
me, that went along with that word, Lazarus, come 
forth; 3,\>oviev to make ivillijig, Ps. 110. 3. 

2. This instance of the plialileness of the disciples, 
gives us a good example of obedience to the com- 
mand of Clirist. Note, It is the good property of all 
Christ's faithful servants to come when they are 
called, and to follow their Master wherever he leads 
fhem. They objected not their present employ- 
ments, their engagements to their families, the dif- 
ficulties of tlie service they were called to, or their 
own unfitness for it; but, being called, they obeyed, 
and, like Abraham, ivent out 7iot knovjijig iv/iit/ier 
they ivent, but knowing very well whom they fol- 
lowed. James and John left their father, it is not 
said wliat became of him; their mother Salome was 
a constant follower of Christ; no doubt, their father 
Zebedee was a believer, but the call to follow Christ 
fastened on the young ones. Youth is the learning 
age, and the labouring age. The priests ministered 
in tlie prime of their time. 

23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, 
teaching in their synagogues, and preach- 
ing the gospel of the kingdom, and healing 
all manner of sickness and all manner of 
disease among the people. 24. And his 
fame went throughout all Syria : and they 
brought unto him all sick people that were 
taken with divers diseases and torments, 
and those which were possessed with de- 
vils, and those which were lunatic, and 
those that had the palsy; and he healed 
them. 25. And there followed him great 
multitudes of people from Galilee, and 
from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and 
from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. 

See here, 

1. What an industrious preacher Christ was ; He 
•uient about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, 
and fireaching the gosfiel of the kingdom. Observe, 
1. Jl7iat Chnst preached — the gosfiel of the king- 
dom. The kingdom of heaven, that is, of grace and 
glory, is emphatically the kingdom, the kitigdom that 
was now to come ; the kingdom which shall survive, 
as it doth surpass, all the kingdoms of the earth. 
Tfie gosfiel is the charter of that kingdom, contain- 
ing the King's coronation oath, by which he has gra- 
ciously obliged himself to pardon, protect, and save 
the subjects of that kingdom ; it contains also their 
oath of allegiance, by which they oblige themselves 
to observe his statutes and seek'his honour ; this is 
the gosfiel of the -cingdom ; this Christ was himself 
the Preacher of, that our faith m it might be con- 
firmed. 2. IJ7!crf he preached — in the synagogues ; 
not there only, but there chiefly, because those were 
the filaces of concourse, where wisdom was to lift 
ufi her voice; (Prov. 1. 21.) because they were 
filaces ofco7icourse for religious woi-ship, and there, 
it was to be hoped, the minds of the people would 
be prepared to receive the gosfiel ; and there the 
scriptures of the Old Testament were read, the ex- 
position of which would easily introduce the gosfiel 
of the kingdom. X IVhat fiains he took in preach- 
ing ; He ivent about ail Galilee, teaching. He might 
have issued out a proclamation to summon all to 
come to him ; but, to show his humility, and the 



condescensions of his gi-ace, he goes to them ; for 
he waits to be gracious, and comes to seek and save. 
Josephus says. There were above two hundred cities 
and towns in Galilee, and all, or most of them, 
Christ visited. He ivent about doing good. Never 
was there such an itinerant preacher, such an inde- 
fatigable one, as Christ was ; he went from town to 
town, to beseech poor simicrs to be reconciled to 
God. This is an example to ministers, to lay them- 
selves out to do good, and to be instant and constant, 
in season, and out of season, to preach the word. 

II. What a pow'erful Physician Christ was ; he 
went about, not only teaching, but healing, and both 
with his word, that he might magnify that above all 
his name. He sent his word, and healed the7n. Now 
observe, 

1. AVhat diseases he cured — all without excep- 
tion. He healed all inanner of sickness, and all man- 
7ier of disease. There are diseases which are called 
the rejiroach of fihysicians, being obstinate to all the 
methods they can prescribe ; but even those were 
the glo:y of this Phvsician, for he healed them all, 
however inveterate. His word was the true Jian- 
fiharmacon — all-heal. 

Three general words are here used to intimate 
this ; he healed every sickness, vlait, as blindness, 
lameness, fever, dropsy ; eveiy disease, or languish- 
ing, juuhuiiUv, as fluxes and consumptions ; and all 
torments, fixa-avju;, as gout, stone, convulsions, and 
such like torturing distempers ; whether the disease 
was acute or chronical ; whether it was a racking 
or a wasting disease ; none was too bad, none too 
hard, for Christ to heal with a word's speaking. 

Three particular diseases are specified ; the fialsy, 
which is the greatest weakness of the liody ; lunacy, 
which is the greatest malady of the mind ; and Jws- 
session of the Devil, which is the greatest misery 
and calamity of both ; yet Christ healed all : for he 
is the sovereign Phvsician lioth of soul and body, 
and has command of all diseases. 

2. What patients lie had. A physician who was 
so easy of access, so sure of success, who cured im- 
mediately, without either a painful suspense and 
expectation, or such painful remedies as are wurse 
than the disease ; who cured gratis, and took no 
fees, could not but have abundance of patients. See 
here what flocking there was to him froip all parts ; 
great multitudes of people came, net only from Ga- 
lilee and the country' about, but even from Jerusa- 
lem, and from Judea, which lay a great way off ; 
for his fame went throughout all Syria, not only 
among all the people of the Jews, but among the 
neighbouring nations, which, by the report that now 
spread far and near concerning him, would be pre- 
pared to receive his gospel, when afterwards it 
should be brought them. This is given as the rea- 
son why multitudes came to him. Note, ^^'hat we 
hear of Christ from others, sliould invite us to him. 
The queen of Sheba was induced, l)v the fame of 
Solomon, to pay him a visit. The voice of fame is, 
" Come, ajid see." Christ both taught and healed. 
Thev who came for cures, met with insti-uction con- 
cerning the things that bclo7iged to thtir ficace. It is 
well if any thing will bring people to Christ ; and 
they who come to him, will find more in him than 
they expected. These Syrians, like Naaman the 
Svrian, coming to be healed of their diseases, many 
of them became converts, 2 Kings 5. 15, IT. They 
sought health for the bod)-, and obtained the salva- 
tion of the sold ; like Saul, who sought the asses, 
and found the kingdom. Yet it appeared, by the 
issue, that many of those who rejoiced in Christ as a 
Healer, forgot him as a Teacher. 

Now concerning the cures which Christ wrought, 
let us, once for all, observe the juiracle, the me7cy, 
and the mystery of them. 

(1.) The miracle of them. They were wrought 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



45 



in such a manner, as plainly spake them to be the 
immediate products of a ili%ine and supernatural 
power ; and they were God's seal to his commis- 
sion. Nature could not do these things, it was the 
God of n;\ture ; the cui-es were m;uiy, of diseases 
incurable by the art of the pliysiciaii, of persons 
that were strangers, of all ages and conditions ; the 
cures were wrought openly, before many witnesses, 
in mixed compiuiics of persons that would h:\\e de- | 
nied the matter of fart, if they could have had any j 
colour for it. No cure ever failed, or was after- j 
ward called in question ; they were wrought spec- ; 
dily, and not (as cures by natviral causes) graduidlv ; , 
thev were i)crfcct cures, and wrought with a word's 
speaking : all which proves him a Teacher come ^ 
from God, for, otherwise, none could have done the ; 
works that he did, John 3. 2. He apjK-als to these 
as credentials, cli. 11. 4, 5. John 5. 36. It was 
expected that the Messiah should work miracles, 
(John". 31.) miracles of this nature ; (Isa. 35. 5, 6.) 
;uid we have this indisputalile proof of his being the 
Messiah ; never was there ;uiy man that did thus ; 
and therefore his healing and his preaching gene- 
rally went together, for the former confirmed the 
latter ; thus here he began to do attd to teach. Acts 
1. 1. j 

(2. ) The mercy of them. The miracles that | 
Moses wrouglit, to prove his mission, were mosc of 
them plagues and judgments, to intimate the terror 
of that dispensation, though from (iod ; but the mi- 
racles that Christ wrought, were most of them 
cures, and all of them (except the cursing of the 
barren fig-tree) blessings and favours ; for the gos- 
pel-dispensation is founded, and built up, in love, 
and grace, and sweetness ; and the management is 
such as tends not to affright but to idlure us to obe- ' 
dience. Christ designed by his cures to win upon 
people, and t;) ingratiate himself and his doctrine ! 
mto their minds, and so to draw them with the bands 
of love, Hos. 11. -1. The miracle of them proved 
his doctrine a faithful sailing, and convinced men's 
judgments ; the mercy of them proved it ivorthy of 
alt acce/ttalion, and wrought u])on their affections. 
Tliey were not only great works, but good ivorks, 
that he shonved them from his Father ; (John 10. 
32. ) and his goodness was intended to lead men to re- 
fientance, (Rom. 2. -1.) as also to show that kind- 
ness, and beneficence, and doing good to all, to the 
utmost of our power and opportunity, are essential 
branches of that holy religion which Chi-ist came 
into the world to establish. 

(3.) The mystery of them. Christ, by curing 
bodily diseases, intended to show that his gi-eat cr- 
ViUid into the world was to cure spiritual maladies. 
He is the Sun of Righteousness, tliat arises ivith this 
healing tinder his 'zvings. As the Converter of sin- 
ners, he is the Physician of souls, and has taught us 
to call him so, ch. 9, 12, 13. Sin is tlie sichiesi, disease, 
-.ind torment, oi the soul; Christ rnme /o take avjay 
lin, and so to heal these. And the particular stories 
of the cures Christ wrought, may not only be ap- 
plied spiritually, by way of allusion and illustration, 
out, I believe, are very much intended to re\eal to 
us spiritual things, and to set before us the way and 
method of Christ's dealing with souls, in their con- 
version and santification ; and those cures are re- 
corded, that were most significant and instiiictive 
this way ; and they are therefore so to be explained 
and improved, to the honour and praise of that glo- 
rious Redeemer, 'who forgweth all our iniquities, and 
J5 healeth all our diseases. 

CHAP. V. 

Di/s chapter, and the two that Wlonr it, are a sermon ; a Hi- 
nious sermon ; the sermon upon the mount. It is the 
loni^est and fullest continued discourse of our Saviourthat 
u-e have upon record in all the gospels. It is a practical 



discourse ; lliere is not mucli of the crcdcnda of Christi- 
anity in it— the things to be believed, but it is wholly talfen 
up with tlie agenda — tlie thinjis to be done ; these Christ 
beiran with in his prcachins; lor if any man will do his 
will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it he of God. 
The circumstances of the sermon beins accounted for, 
(v. 1,2.) the sermon itself follows, the scope of which is, 
not to fill our heads willi notions, but to guide and rcjrulatc 
our practice. I. lie proposes blessedness as the end, and 
gives us the character of those who are entitled to blessed- 
ness, {very different from the sentiments of a vain world,) 
in eight beatitudes, which may justly be called jiaradoses, 
T. 3..1'J. II. He prescribes duty as the wav, and gives us ^^k 
standing rules of that duty, lie directs his disciples, '•,<^|^^ 
To understand what they arc— the salt of the earth, and'^^» 
the lights of the world, v. 13. . 17. 2. To understand what 
they have to do — they are to be governed by the moral laiv. 
Here is, (I.) A general ratification of the law, and a re- 
commendation of it to us, as our rule, v. 17 . . 20. (2.) .\ 
particular rectification of divers mistakes; or, rather, a 
reformation of divers wilful, gross connptions, which the 
Scribes and Pharisees had introduced in their exposition 
of the law ; and an authentic explication of divers branches 
ivhich most needed to be explained and vindicated, v. 20. 
Particularly, here is an explication, [1.] Of the si\th com- 
mandment,' which forbids murder, t. 21 . . 26. |2.] Of the 
seventh commandment, against adultcrv, v. 27 . . 52. [3.] 
Of the tliird commandment, v. 33. . 36, [4.] Of the law 
of retaliation, V. SS . . 42. [5.] Of the law of brotherly 
love, V. 43 . . 48. And the scope of the whole is, to show 
that the law is spiritual. 

1 . A ND seeing the multitudes, he went 
jnL up into a mountain ; and when he 
was set, his disciples came unto him : 2. 
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, 
saying, 

We have here a general account of this sermon. 

I. The Preacher was our Lord Jesus, the Prince 
of preachers, the great Prophet of his church, who 
came into the 'd'oiid, to be the Light of the nvorU. 
The prophets and John had done virtuously in 
preaching, but Christ excelled them all. He is the 
eternal \\'isdom that lay m the bosom of the Father, 
before all nvorlds, and jierfectly knew ins will ; 
(John 1. 18.) and he is the eternal ^^■ord, by whom 
he has in these last days s/ioken to us. The many 
miraculous cures wrought by Christ in Galilee, 
which we read of in the close of the foregoing chap- 
ter, were intended to make way for this scmion, and 
to dispose people to recei\e insti-uctions from one in 
^v■hom there appeared so much of a divine power 
and goodness ; and, probalih', this sermon was the 
summar>-, or rehearsal, of what he had preached up 
and dow'n in the s\-nagogues of Galilee. His text 
was, Re/ient, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 
This is a sermon on the former part of that text, 
showing what it is to re/ient ; it is to reform, both m 
judgment ;md practice ; and he here tells us wOiere- 
in, in answer to that question, (Mai. 3. 7.) ll'herein 
shall ive return? He afterward preached upon the 
latter part of the text, when, in divers parables, he 
showed what the kingdom of heaven is like, ch. 13. 

n. The filace was a mountain in Galilee. As in 
other things, so in this, our Lord Jesus was but ill 
accommodated ; he had no convenient place to 
preach in, anv more than to lay his head on. \\ hile 
the Scribes aiid Pharisees had Moses' chair to sit m, 
with all possible case, honour, and state, and there 
cori-upted the law ; our Lord Jesus, the great 
Teacher of tnith, is driven out to the desert, and 
finds no better a pulpit than.n mountain can afford ; 
and not one of the hohi mountains neither, net one of 
the mountains ofZion, but a common tnountain ; bv 
which Christ \vould intimate that there is no such 
distinguishing holiness of jilaces now, under th.c gos- 
pel, as there was under the law ; but that it is the 
li-ill of God that men should pray and preach ei'cry 
ifhere, any where, provided it be decent and con 
venient. Christ preached this sermon, which was 



46 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



an exposition of the law, upon a mountain, because 
upon a 7nountain the law was given ; and this was 
also a solemn promulgation of the christian law. 
But observe the difference : when the lavj luas given, 
the Lord came do'iVn upon the 7nountain ; now tine 
Lord went u/i : then, he spake in thunder and light- 
ning ; now, in a still small voice ; then the people 
were ordered to keep their distance ; now thev are 
invited to draw near : a blessed change I If God's 
grace and goodness are (as certainly they are) his 
glory, then the glory of the gospel is the glory that 
excels, ior grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, 2 
Cor. 3. 7. Heb. 12. 18. &c. It was foretold of Ze- 
bulun and Issachar, two of the triljes of Galilee, 
(Deut. 33. 19.) that they shall call the fieople to the 
mountain ; to this mountain we are called, to learn 
.'1 offer the sacrifices of righteousness. Now was this 
the mountain of the Lord, where he taught us his 
ways, Isa. 2. 2, 3. Mic. 4. 1, 2. 

III. The auditors were his disciples, who came 
unto him ; came at his call, as appears bv compar- 
ing Mark 3. 13. Luke 6. 13. To them he directed 
his speecli, because they followed him for \o\e and 
learning, while others attended him only for cui'es. 
He taught them, because they were willing to be 
taught ; (the meek mill he teach his r.my ;J because 
they would understand what he taught, which to 
others was foolishness ; and because tliey were to 
teach others ; and it was therefore requisite that 
they should have a clear and distinct knowledge of 
these things themselves. The duties prescribed in 
this sermon were to be conscientiously performed 
by all those that would enter into that Icingdom of 
heaven which they were sent to set up, with hope 
to ha\'e the benefit of it. But though this discourse 
was directed to the disciples, it was in the hearing 
of the multitude ; for it is said, {ch. 7. 28. ) The peo- 
ple vjere astonished. No bounds were set about this 
mountain, to keep the people off, as were about 
mount Sinai; (Exod. 19. 12.) for, through Christ, 
we have access to Ciod, not only to speak to him, 
but to hear from him. Nay, he had an c\'e to the 
multitude, in preaching this scmion. When the 
fame of his miracles had brought a vast crowd to- 
gether, he took the opportunity of so great a con- 
fluence of people, to instruct them. Note, It is an 
encouragement to a faithful minister to cast the net 
of the gospel where there are a gi-eat many fishes, 
in hope that some will be caught. The sight of a 
multitude puts life into a preacher, which yet must 
arise from a desire of tlieir profit, not his own 
praise. 

IV. The solemnity of his sennon is intimated in 
that word, luhcn her^'as set. Christ preached many 
times occasionally, and by intcrlocuton' discourses ; 
but this was a set sermon, xaS-io-^ifTsc ctiri, when he 
had placed himself so as to be best heard. He sat 
down as a Judge or Lawgiver. It intimates with 
what sedateness and composure of mind the things 
of God should be spoken and heard. He sat, that 
the scriptures might be fulfilled, (Mai. 3. 5.) He shall 
sit as a refiner, to purge away the dross, the coiTupt 
doctrines of the sons of Levi. He sat as in the throne, 
judging right ; (Ps. 9. 4. ) for the word he s/iake shall 
judge us. That phrase. He opened his mouth, is 
only a Hebrew periphrasis of speaking, as Job 3. 1. 
Yet some think it mtimatcs the solemnity of this 
discourse ; the congi-egation being large, lie raised 
his voice, and spake louder than usual. He had 
spoken long by his servants the prophets, and opened 
their mouths; ('Ezek. 3. 27. — 24. 27. 33. 22.) but 
now ht opened his own, and spake with freedom, as 
one having authority. One of the ancients has this 
remark upon it ; Chri.st taught much without open- 
ing his mouth, that is, by his holy and exemplary 
life ; nay, he taught, when, being Ifd as a lamb to 
the slaughter, he opened not his mouth ; but now he 



aliened his mouth, and taught, that the scr/ptum 
might be fulfilled, Prov. 8. 1, 2, 6. Doth not Wis- 
dom cry — cry on the top of high places ? And the 
opening if her lips shall be right things. He taught 
them, according to the promise, (Isa. 54. 13.; ^11 
thy children shall be taught of the Lord; for this 
purpose he had the tongue of the learned, (Isa. 53. 4.) 
and the Spirit of the Lord, Isa. 61. 1. He taughl\ 
them, what was the evil they should abhor, andy 
what the good they should abide and abound in ; fo?\ 
Christianity is not a matter of specidation, but is de- 1 
signed to regulate the temper of our minds and the I 
tenour of our con\er6ations ; gospel-time is a time of y 
reformation; (Heb. 9. 10.) and by the gospel we 
must be reformed, must be made good, must be made 
better. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is the truth wh'rh ^ 
is according to godliness. Tit. 1. 1. 

3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Bless- 
ed arc the)' that mourn : for they shall be 
comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek : for 
they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed 
are they ^\•hich do hunger and thirst after 
righteousness : for they shall be filled. 7. 
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall 
obtain mercy. 8. Blessed are the pure hi 
heart: for they shall see God. 9. Blessed 
are the peacemakers : for they shall b<! 
called the children of God. 10. Blessed 
are they which are persecuted for righte- 
ousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom oi" 
hea\"en. 1 1 . Blessed are ye, when men 
shall revile you, and persecute yov, and 
shall say all manner of evil against you 
falsely for my sake. 12. Rejoice, and be 
exceeding glad: for great m your reward 
in heaven : for so persecuted they the pro- 
phets which were before you. 

Christ begins his sermon with lilessings, for he 
came into the world to bless lis, (Acts 3. 26.) as the 
great Iligh-Priest of our profession ; as the bl'ssed 
Melchizedec ; as He in whom all the families of tht 
earth should be blessed. Gen. 12. 3. He came not 
only to purchase blessings for us, but to pcurout and 
pronounce blessings on us ; and here he does it aa 
one having authority, as one that can comma?id the 
blessing, ex'cn life for eT.'ermore, and that is the bless- 
ing here agaiji and again promised to the good ; his 
pronouncing of them happy makes them so ; for 
those whom he blesses, are blessed indeed. The 
Old Testament ended with a curse, (Mai. 4. 6.) the 
gospel begins with a blessing ; for hereunto arc we 
called, that we should inherit the blessing. Each of 
the blessings Christ here pronounces has a double 
intention ; 1. To show who they are that are to be 
accounted truly happy, and what their character 
are. 2. \\'hat'that is-^wherein ti-ue happiness con- 
sists in the promises made to persons of ceitain cha- 
racters, the perfoiTnance of which will make them 
happv. Now, 

1. This is designed to rectify the ruinous mistakes 
of a blind and carnal world. Blessedness is the 
thing which men pretend to pursue ; JVho will make 
us to see goody Ps. 4. 6. But most mistake the end, 
and form a wrong notion of happiness ; and then no 
wonder that they miss the way ; they choose their 
own delusions, and court a shadow. The genei-al 
opinion is, Blessed and hapfiy are they that are rich, 
and great, and honourable in the world ; that spend 
their days in mirth, and their years in pleasure ; that 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



47 



ent the fat, and drink the sweet, and carry all before 
them with a high hiuul, and have every sheaf bow- 
ing to their sheaf ; /lapptj the Jieofile that ia in such a 
case ; and their designs, aims, and puiiioses arc ac- 
cordingly ; they bless the covetous, (Ps. 10. 3.) they 
'.vil/ be rich. Now our Lord Jesus comes to concct 
this t'lmdamental error, to advance a new hypothesis, 
and to give us quite another notion of blessedness anil 
blessed people, which, however paradoxical it mav 
appear to those who arc prejudiced, vet is in itself, 
and a])pears to be to all who ai-e savingly enlightened, 
a nile and doctrine of eternal truth and ceitaint)-, bv 
which wc must shoitlv be judircd. If this, there'foi-c, 
he the beginning of Christ's (loctrine, the Ijcginning 
of a christian's practice must be to take his measures 
of hapjjiness from those maxims, and to direct his 
pursuits ;>.ccoixlingly. 

2. h is designed to remove the discouragements of 
the weak and poor who receive the gospel, by as- 
suring them that his gospel did not make those only 
happ\- tliat were eminent in gifts, graces, comforts, 
and usefulness ; but that even the /east in the k-ingdom 
of heaven, whose heart was upright with God, was 
happy in the honours and privileges of that kingdom. 

3. it is designed to invite souls to Christ, and to 
make way for his law into their hearts. Christ's 
pronouncing these blessings, not at the end of his 
sermon, to dismiss the people, but at the beginning 
of it, to prepare them for what he had fuiiher to 
say to them, may remind us of mount Gerizim and 
mount Ebal, on which the blessings and cursings of 
the law were read, Deut. 27. 12, &c. There the 
curses ai-c cxjiressed, and the blessings only implied ; 
here the blessings arc expressed, and the curses im- 
plied : in both, life and death are set before us; but 
tlie law appearell more as a ministration of death, 
to deter us from sin ; the gospel as a dispensation of 
life, to allure us to Chiist, in wliom alone all good is 
to be had. And they who had seen the gracious 
cures wrought by his'hand, (ch. 4. 23, 24. ) and now 
heard theg-racious ivcrds /iroceeding out of his mouth, 
would say that he was all of a piece, made up of 
lo\e and sweetness. 

4. It is designed to settle and sum up the articles 
of agreement between God and man. The scope 
of the divine revelation is to let us know what (iod 
expects from us, and what we ma\- then expert from 
him ; and no where is this more 'fulh' set forth in a 
few words than here, nor with a more exact refer- 
ence to each other ; and this is that gospel which we 
are required to believe ; for what is faith but a con- 
fomiity to these characters, and a dependence upon 
these i)romises > The way to happiness is here open- 
ed, and made a highr.'ay ; (Isa. 35. 8. ) and this com- 
mg from the mouth of Jesus Christ, it is intimated 
that from him, and by him, we are to recei\e both 
the seed and the fruit, both the grace required, and 
the glory promised. Nothing passes between God 
and tallen man, but through his hand. Some of the 
wiser heathen had notions of Ijlessedness different 
from the rest of mankind, and looking toward this 
of cur SaWour. Seneca, undertaking to describe a 
blessed man, makes it out, that it is only an ho- 
nest, good man that is to be so called : De Jlld be- 
atd, cap. iv. Cui milium bonum mnhimqiiesit, nisi 
bonus malusque animus — Quemyiec exiollant fortui- 
ta, necfrangant— Cui vera volu/itcs erit volu'ptatum 
contemptio — Cui unum bonum honestas, vnum ma- 
lum turfiitudo.—In ni'hose estimation nothing is i;ood 
or evil, but a good or ex'il heart— Wwm no occur- 
rences elate or deject— Whose true pleasure consists 
m a contempt of pleasure— To tvhom the only good 
is virtue, and the only evil vice. 

Our Saviour here gives us eight characters of 
blessed people, which represent to us the principal 
praces of a christian. On each of them a present 
blessing is pronounced ; Blessed are they : and to 



each a future blessedness is promised, which is va- 
riously expressed, so as to suit the nature of the grace 
or duty reconmicnded. 

])o we ask then who are happy } It is answered, 
I. The poor in spirit are hapi)\-, v. 3. There is a 
poor spiritcdiiess that is so far from making mi-n 
blessed, that it is a sin and a snare — cowardice and 
base fear, and a willing subjection to the lusts of men. 
Hut this poverty of s])irit is a gracious disposition of 
soul, by which we arc emptied of self, in order t<) 
our being filled with Jesus Christ. To be poor ir\ 
spirit, is, 1. To lie contentedly poor, willing to bfi 
empty of worldly wealth, ifCi'od orders that to be 
our lot ; to bring our mind to our condition, when it 
is a low condition. Many are i)oor in the woi'ld, Ijut 
high in spirit, poor and proud, murnmring and com- 
plaining, and blaming their lot, but we must accom- 
modate oursches to our po\ erty, must hnoiv koiv to 
he abased, Phil. 4. 12. .Acknowledging the wisdom> 
of C;od in appointing us to jjoverty, we must be easy 
in it, patiently bear the inconveniences of ;t, be 
thankful for what wc ha\ e, and make the best of 
that which is. It is to sit loose to all w orldh' wealth, 
and not set ovir hearts upon it, but cheerfully to bear 
losses and disapjjointments, which may befall us in 
the most prosperous state. It is not, in pride or pre- 
tence, to make ourselves poor, by throwing awav 
what God has given us, especially as those in the 
church of Rome, who vow po\erty, and yet engross 
the wealth of nations ; but, if wc be rich iri the world, 
we must be poor in spirit, that is, we must conde- 
scend to the poor, and sympathize with them, as 
being touched with the feeling of their infirmities ; 
wc must expect and prepare for po\erty ; must not 
inordinately fear or shun it, but must bid it welcome, 
especially when it comes upon us for keeping a good 
conscience, Heb. 10. 34. Job was poor in s/iirit, 
when he blessed God in taking ar.-ay, as well as giv- 
ing. 2. It is to be humble and lowly in our own ej'cs. 
To be poor in s/iirit, is to think meanly of ourselves, 
of what wc are, and have, and do ; the poor are of- 
ten taken in the Old Testament for the humble and 
self-denying, as opposed to those that are at ease, 
and the proud ; it is to be as little children in cur 
opinion of ourselves, weak, foolish, and insignificant, 
ch. IS. 4. — 19. 14. 'Laod\cQ?i\v^s poor in spirituals, 
wretchedly and miserably poor, and yet rich in spi- 
rit, so well increased with goods, as to have need of 
nothing, Re\-. 3. 1" On the other hand, Paul was 
rich in spirituals, excelling most in gifts and graces, 
and yet poor in spirit, the least of the apostles, less 
than the least of all saints, and nothing in his own 
account. It is to look with a holy contempt u])on 
ourselves, to value others, and undervalue oursches 
in comparison of them. It is to be willing to make 
oui-selvcs cheap, and mean, and little, to do good ; 
to become ch things to all mm. It is to acknowledge 
that God is great, and we are mean ; that he is holy, 
and we are sinful ; that he is all, and wc are nothing, 
less than nothinsr, worse than nothing ; and to hum- 
ble ourselves before him, and under his mighty hand. 
3. It is to come off from all confidence in our own 
righteousness and strength, th.at we may depend only 
upon the merit of Christ for our justification, and 
the Spirit and gi-ace of Christ for our sanctificatirn. 
That broken and contrite spirit with which the pub- 
lican cried for mercy to a poor sinner, is this poverty 
of spirit. '\\'e must call ourselves poor, because al- 
ways in want of God's grace, always begging at God's 
door, ahvavs hanging on in his house. 

Now, (1.) This poverty in spirit isput first among 
the christian graces. The philosophers did not 
reckon humility among their moral virtues, but 
Christ puts it fii'-st. Self-denial is the first lesson to 
be learned in his school, and poverty of spirit enti- 
tled to the first beatiuide. The foundation of all 
other graces is laid in humility. Those who would 



48 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



build high, must begin low ; and it is an excellent 
preparative for the entrance of gospel-grace into the 
soul ; it fits the soil to receive the seed. Those nvho 
are rjeary and heavy laden, are the poor in spirit, 
and they shall find rest ^v-ith Christ. 

(2.) They are blessed. Now they are so, in this 
world. God looks graciously upon them. Tliey 
are his little ones, and have their angels. To them 
he gives more gi-ace ; they live the most comfortable 
lives, and are easy to themselves and all about them, 
and nothing comes amiss to them ; while high spirits 
are always uneasy. 

(3.) Theirs is the kingdom of heax'eti. The king- 
dom ol grace is composed of such ; they only are ht 
to be members of Christ's church, which is called 
the congregation of the floor ; (Ps. "4. 19.) the king- 
dom oi glory is prepared for them. Those who tluis 
humble themselves, and comply with God when he 
humbles them, shall be thus exalted. The great, 
high sj)iritsgo away with the glon- oi the kingdoms 
of the earth ; but the humble, mild, and j'ielding 
souls obtain the glory of the kingdom of heaven. We 
are ready to think concerning those w'ho are rich, 
and do good with their riches, that, no doubt, theirs 
is the kingdom of lieaven ; for they can thus lay up 
in store a good security for the time to come : but 
what shall the poor do, who have not wherewithal 
to do good ? Why, the same h.appiness is promised 
to those who are contentedly poor, as to those who 
are usefully rich. If I am not able to s/iend cheer- 
fully for his sake, if I can but won? clieerfvilly for 
his sake, even that shall be recompensed. And do 
not we serve a good Master then ? 

II. They that jnourn are happy ; (xi. 4.) Blessed 
are they that mourn. This is anotlier strange bless- 
ing, and fitly follows the former. The poor are ac- 
customed to mouni, the graciously poor mourn gi-.a- 
ciously. W'e are apt to think, Blessed arc the mer- 
ry ; but Christ, who was himself a gi-eat Mourner, 
says. Blessed are the mourners. There is a sinful 
mourning, wliich is an enemy to olesscdness — the 
korroiv of the world ; despairing melancholv upon a 
spiritual account, and disconsolate grief upon a tem- 
poral account. There is a natural mournmg, which 
may prove a friend to blessedness, by the grace of 
God working with it, and sanctifying the afflictions 
to us, for which we mourn. But there is a gracious 
mourning, which qualifies for blessedness, a hal)i- 
tual seriousness, the mind mortified to mirth, and an 
actual sorrow. 1. A penitential mourning for our 
own sins ; this is god/y sorroiv, a sorrow according 
to God ; sorrow for sin, with an eye to Christ, Zech. 
12. 10. Those are CJod's mourners, who live a life 
of repentance, who lament the corruption of their 
nature, and tlieir many actual transgi-essions, and 
God's witlidrawings from them ; and who, out of 
regard to God's honour, movu-n also for th.c sins of 
others, and sigh and cry for their abominations, 
Ezek. 9. 4. 2. A sympathizing moui-ning for the 
afflictions of others ; the moui-ning of those whoTCcc/i 
with them that iveefi, are sorro\\ ful for the sole?nn 
assemblies, for the desolations of Ziori, (Zcph. 3. IS. 
P.S. _13r. 1.) especially who look with compassion on 
perishing souls, and iveefi over them, as Christ over 
Jerusalem. 

Now these gracious mourners, (1.) .'Ire blessed. 
Asin vain and sinful laughter the heart is sorrowful, 
so in gracious mourning "the heart has a serious joy, 
a secret satisfaction, which a stranger does not in- 
termeddle with. They are blessed,"iQr they are like 
the Lord Jesus, who was a man of sorrows, and of 
Avhom we never read that he laughed, but often that 
hewept They are armed against the many temp- 
tations that attend vain mii'th, and are prepared for 
the comforts of a sealed pardon and a settled peace. 
(2. ) Theit shall be comforted. Though perhaps they 
are not immediateh- comforted, yet plentiful pro\i- 



sion is made for their comfort ; light is sovm for 
them ; and in heaven, it is certain, they shall be 
comforted, as Lazarus, Luke 16. 25. Note, The 
happiness of heaven consists in being perfectly and 
eternally comforted, and in the wiping away of all 
tears from their eyes. It is the joy oj' our Loid; 
a fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore ; which 
will be doubly sweet to those who have liecn pre- 
pared for them l)y this godly sorrow. Heaven will 
be heaven indeed to those who go mourning thither; 
it will be a harvest of joy, the return of a seed-time 
of tears; (Ps. 126. 5, 6.) a mountain of joy, to which 
our way lies througli a \ ale of tears. See Isa. 66. 10; 

III. The 7neek are happy ; {v. 5.) Blessed are thh\ 
meek. The meek are those who quietly submit \ 
themselves to Ciod, to his word and to his rod, who 7 
follow his directions, and comply with his designs, / 
and are getitle towards all men ; (Tit. 3. 2.) who' 
can bear provocation without being inflamed oy it ; 
are either silent, or return a soft answer ; and who 
can show their displeasure, when there is occasion 
for it, without being transported into an}' indecen- 
cies ; who can be cool when others are hot ; and m 
their patience keep possession of their own souls, 
when they can scarcely keep possession of any thing 
else, lliey are the meek, who are rarely and hard- 
ly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified ; and 
who would rather forgive twenty injuries than re- 
venge one, having the nde of their own spirits. ' 

These meek ones are here represented as happy, 
even in this world. 1. They are blessed, for they 
are like the blessed Jesus, in that wherein particu 
larly they are to learn of him, ch. 1 1. 29. They are 
like the blessed God himself, who is Lord of his am 
ger, and in whom fury is not. They are blessed, for 
they have the most comfortable, undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of themselves, their fiiends, their God ; they 
are fit for any relation, any condition, any company ; 
fit to live, aiid fit to die. 2. They shall inherit the 
earth; it is quoted ftom Ps. 37. 11. and it is aimcst 
the onl\- express temporal promise in all the New 
Testament. Not that they shall always ha^e much 
of the earth, much less that they shall be put cff 
with that onh' ; l)ut this branch of godliness has, in 
a special manner, the jiromise of the life that now is. 
Meekness, however ridiculed and run down, has a.^ 
real tendency to promote our health, wealth, com-,' 
fort, and safety, even in this world. The meek and 
quiet are observed to live tlic mrst easy lives, com-, 
pared with the frowai-d ::nd turbulent. Or, T/iey 
shall inherit the land, (so it may be read,) the land 
of Canaan, a type of heaven. So that all the bless-'i 
edness of hea-v-en above, and all the blessings of earth ; 
beneath, are the portion of the meek. 

I'V. They that hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness are happv, v. 6. Some understand this as a 
further instance of outward poverty, and a low con- 
dition in this world, which not only exposes men to 
injury and wrong, but makes it in vain for them to 
seek to have justice done them ; they hunger and 
thirst after it, but such is the power en the side cf 
their oppressors, that they cannot have it ; they de- 
sire only that which is just and equal, but it is de- 
nied them by those that neitha-fear God7iorregara 
man. This is a melancholy case ! Yet, blessed are 
then, if thev suffer these hardships for and with a 
good conscience ; let them hope in God, who will 
see justice done, right take place, and will deVncr 
the poor from their oppressors, Ps. 103. 6. Those 
who contentedly bear oppression, and quietly rcfe" 
themselves to God to plead their caiise. shall in due 
time be satisfied, abundantly satisfied, in xhe wis- 
dom and kindness which shall be manifested in Ids 
appearances for them. But it is certainly to be un- 
derstood spiritually, of such a desire as, being ter- 
minated en such an object, is er-acirus. and the work 
of God's grace in the soul, and qualifies fci- the gift> 



ST. MAT'l'HEW, V. 



40 



if the divine favour. 1. Righteousness is here put 
for all si)iritual blessings. See Ps. 24. S.—ch. 6. 33. 
They are purchased tor us by the rig/iteotimess of 
Christ ; conveyed and secured l)y the imi)utation of 
that rigliteousness to us ; and confirmed 1)V the 
faithfuhiess of (iod. To liave C'lirist made of God 
to us liisfhieoustirss, and to be made the righteous- 
ness of God in him ; to liave the whole man rene^v- 
id in righteousness, so as to become a neir mail, 
:ind to l)ear the image of God ; to have an interest 
in Christ and tlie iironiises — tliis is righteousness. 
2. These we must hunger and thirst after. We 
must tnily :md rcall)- desire them, as one who is 
liungry and thirstv desiivs meat and drink, wlio 
cannot be satisfied with any thing but meat and 
drink, and will be satisfied with them, though other 
things l)e wajiting. Our desires of siiiritual blessings 
must be earnest and importunate ; " Give ;;if these, 
or else I die; every thmg else is dross and chaff, 
unsatisfying ; give me these, and I have enough, 
though 1 had notliing else." Hunger and thirst are 
ap])etites tliat return frequently, and call for fresh 
satisfactions ; so these holy desires rest not in any 
thing attained, but are carried out to\vard renewed I 
pardons, and daily fresh supplies of gi-ace. The 
quickened soul calls for constant meals of righteous- 
ness, srace to do the work of even' day in its day, 
■as duly as the living body calls for food. Those who 
hunger and thirst will labour for supplies ; so we i 
must not only desire spiritual blessings, but take 
pains for them in the use of the appointed means. 
Dr. Hammond, in his Practical Catechism, distin- 
guishes between hunger and thirst. Hunger is a 
desire of food to sustain, such is sanctifv-ing righte- 
ousness. Thirst is the desire of drink to refresh, 
such is justifying righteousness, and the sense of our 
pardon. 1 

Those who thus hunger and thirst after spiritual 
blessings, are blessed in those desires, and shall he 
filled with those blessings. (I.) Thcv are blessed in ' 
those desires. Though all desires of grace are not 
grace, (feigned, faint desires are not,) \et such a de- 
sire as this, is ; it is an evidence of something good, 
and an earnest of something better. It is a desire of ' 
God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work 
)f his own hands. Something or other the soul will 
be hungering and thirsting after ; therefore theu are 
blessed who fasten upon the right object, which is 
satisfving, and not deceiving ; and do not /lant after 
the Just of the earth, Amos 2. 7. Isx 55. 2. (2. ) 
They shall be ^filled with those blessings. Ciod will 
give them what they desire to their complete satis- 
faction. It is God only who can fill a -loul, whose 
grace and favour are adequate to its just desires ; 
and he will fill those with grace for grace, who, in 
a sense of their own emptiness, have recourse to his 
fulness. Kc fills the hungry, (Luke 1. 53.) satiates 
tl'.em, Jer. 3i. 25. The happiness of heaven will 
certainly fill the soul ; their righteousness shall be 
complete, the favour of God and his image, both in 
their full perfection. 

V. 'I'he tnerciful are happy, i: 7. This, like the 
i-est, is a paradox ; for the merciful are not taken 
to be the wisest, nor are likely to be the richest ; 
yet Christ pronounces them blessed. Those are the 
merciful, who are piously and charitabh' inclined to 
j pity, help, and succour, persons in misen". A man 
I may be ti-uly merciful, who has not wherewithal to 
j be bountiful or liberal ; and then God accepts the 
\willing mind. \\'e must not only bear our own af- 
nictions patiently, but we must, by christian sym- 
pathy, parttike of the afflictions of our bretliren ; 
pity mvist be showed, (Job 6. 14.) and bon-els of 
mercy fiut on ; (Col. 3. 12.) and, being put on, thcv 
must put forth themselves in contributing all we can 
for the assistance of those who are any way in mise- 
■ rv'. We must have compassion on the souls of oth- 
Vol. v.— G 



ers, and help them ; pity the ignorant, and instruct 
them ; the careless, and wani tliem ; those who are 
in a state of sin, and snatch them as brands out of 
the burning. We nuist have com])assion on those 
who arc melancholy and in sonow, and comfort 
them ; (Job 16. 5.) on those whom we have advan- 
tage against, and not be rigorous and severe with 
them ; on those who are in want, and supply them ; 
which if we refuse to do, whatc\ er we jnetend, we 
shut ufi the hijivels of our com/iassion, James 2. 15, 
16. 1 John 3. 17, IK. Dram out thy soul \i\ deal- 
ing thy bread to tlic hvmgn-, Isa. 58. 7, 10. Nay, a 
good ma?i is merciful to his beast. 

Now, as to the merciful, 1. They are blessed ; so 
it was said in the Old Testament ; Blessed is he that 
considers the /ioor,Vs. 41. 1. Herein they resem- 
ble God, whose goodness is his gloiy ; in being tner- 
ciful as he is merciful, we are, in our measure, ficr- 
fect as he is fierfect. It is an evidence of love to ^ 
God ; it will be a satisfaction to ourselves, to Ije anv ) 
way instrumental for the benefit of others. One of ' 
the purest and most refined delights in this world, 
is that of doing good. In this word, Jilessed are the 
merciful, is included that saying of Chi-ist, which 
otherwise we find not in the gospels, It is more bless- 
ed to gri'e than to receri'e. Acts 20. 35. 2. They shall 
obtain mercy ; mercy nvilh meti, when they need it ; 
he that ii'aterelh, shall be ivatered also himself; we 
know not how soon we may stand in need of kind- 
ness, and therefore should be kind ; but especially 
mercy tvith God, ior leifh the merciful he noill shoiv 
himself merciful, Ps. 18. 25. The most merciful 
and charitable cannot pretend to merit, b\it must fly 
to merc\'. The merciful shall find with C;od spar- 
ing mercy, (cA. 6. 14.) su/ifilying mere}-, (Prov. 19. 
17.) sustaining mercy, (Ps. 41. 2.) mercy in that 
day; (2 Tim. 1. 18.) nay, they shall inherit the 
kingdom fire/iared for them ; {ch. 25. 34, 35.) where- 
as they shall ha^ve judgment '.i-ithout mercy, (whicn 
can be nothing short ai hcll-Jire,) who have shoived 
no mercy. 

VI. The fiure in heart are happy ; {v. 8.) Blessed 
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This 
is the most comprehensive of all the beatitudes ; 
here holiness and happiness are fully described and 
put together. 

1. Here is the most comprehensri'e character of 
the blessed ; they are the pure in heart. Note, 
True religion consists in heart-purity. Those who 

1 are inwardly pure, show themselves to be under the 
power of /nire and undejiled religion. Tiiie Chris- 
tianity lies in the heart, in the purity of the heart ; 
the -ieashing of that from •ii'ick-edness, Jer. 4. 14. 
We must lift up to God, not only clean hands, but a 
pure heart, Ps. 24. 4, 5. 1 Tim. 1. 5. The heart 
must be pure, in opposition to inijrlure — an honest 
heart that aims well ; and pure, in opposition to 
I pollution and defilemeirt ; as wine unmixed, as water 
I ttnmuddied. The heart must be kept pure from 
\ fleshly lusts, all unchaste thoughts and desires ; and 
from kvorldlu lusfs ; covetousncss is called ^filthy lu- 
cre ; from ail filthiness of flesh and spirit, all that 
which comes out of the heart, and defies the man. 
The heart must be purified by faitJi, and entire for 
Ciod ; must be presented and preserved a chaste 
virein to Christ. Create in me such a clean heart, 
'< God.' 

2. Here is the most comprehensh'e comfort of the 
blessed ; They shall see God. Note, (1.) It is the 
perfection of the soul's happiness to see God ; see- 
ing him, as we may by faith in our present state, is 

! a heave?i upon earth ; and seeing him as we shall in 
the future state, is the heaven of heaven. To see 
him as he is, face to face, and no longer through a 
glass darkly ; to see him as oui-s, and to see him 
and enjoy him : to see him and be like him, and be 
satisfied with that likeness ; (Ps. 17. 15.) and to see 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



him for ever, and ne\'er lose the sight of him ; this 
is heaven's happiness. (2.) The happiness of seeing 
God is promised to those, and those only, who are 
fiure in heart. None but the fiurc are capable of 
seeing God, nor would it be a felicity to the impure. 
What pleasure could an unsanctified soul take in the 
vision of a holy God ? As he cannot endure to look 
upon their iniquity, so they cannot endure to look 
upon his purity ; nor shall any unclean thing enter 
mto the new Jerusalem; but all that are liure in 
heart, all that ai'e ti-uly sanctified, have desires 
wrought in them, whiali nothing but the sight of 
God will satisfy ; and divine grace will not leave 
those desires unsatisfied. 

r VII. The peace-makers are happy, v. 9. The 
/ wisdom that is from above, is first pure, and then 
/ peaceable; the blessed ones are /2i«Y toward God, 
and peaceable toward men ; for with reference to 
both, conscience must be kept void of offence. The 
peace-makers are those who have, 1. A peaceable 
disposition : as, to make a tie, is to be given and ad- 
dicted to lying, so, to make peace, is to have a strong 
and hearty affection to peace. lam for peace, Ps. 
120. 7. It is to love, and desire, and delight in 
peace ; to be in it as in our element, and to study to 
be quiet. 2. A peaceable conversation ; industrious- 
ly, as far as we can, to preserve the peace, that it be 
not broken, and to recover it when it is broken ; to 
hearken to proposals of peace oursehes, and to be 
ready to make them to others; where distance is 
among brethren and neighbours, to do all we can to 
accommodate it, and to be repairers of the breaches. 
The making of peace is sometimes a thankless of- 
fice, and it is the lot of him who parts a fray, to 
have bloivs on both sides ; yet it is a good office, and 
we must be forward to it. Some think that this is 
intended especially as a lesson for ministers, who 
should do all they can to reconcile those who are at 
variance, and to promote christian love among those 
under their charge. 

Now, ( 1. ) Such persons are blessed ; for they have 
the satisfaction of enjoying themselves, by keeping 
the peace, and of being tmly serviceable to others, 
by dispoang them to peace. They are working to- 
gether with Christ, who came into the world to slay 
all enmities, and to jjroclaim peace on earth. (2.) 
They shall be called the children of God ; it will be 
an evidence -to themselves that they are so ; God 
will own them as such, and herein they will resem- 
ble him. He i-s the God of peace ; the Son of God 
is the Prince of peace ; the Spirit of adoption is a 
Spirit of peace. Since God has declared himself 
reconcileable to us ;dl, he will not own those for his 
children who are implacable in their enmity to one 
another ; for if the peace-makers arc blessed, woe 
. to the peace-ljreakcrs ! Now by this it appears, that 
Christ never intended to have his religion propagat- 
ed by fire and sword, or penal laws, or to ack now- 
ledge bigotiy, or intemperate zeal, as the marks of 
his disciples. The children of this world love to fish 
in troubled waters, but the children of God are t)ie 
peace-makers, the quiet in the land. 

VIII. Those who ^re persecuted for righteousness' 
sake, are happy. This is the greatest paradox of all, 
and peculiar to Christianity ; and therefore it is put 
last, and more largely insisted upon than any of the 
rest, V. 10 — 12. This beatitude, like Pharaoh's 
dream, is doubled, because hardly ci-edited, and yet 
the thing is certain ; and in the latter part there is a 
change of the person, " Blessed are ye — ye my dis- 
ciples, and immediate followers. This is that which 
you, who excel in virtue, are more immediately con- 
cerned in ; for you must reckon upon hardships and 
troubles more than other men." Observe here, 

1. The case of suffering saints described ; and it is 
a hard case, and a veiy piteous one. 
/L) They are persecuted, hunted, pursued, run 



down, as noxious beasts are, that are sought for tn 
be destroyed ; as if a christian did caput gererc lu- 
Jwium — bear a wolf's head, as an outlaw is said to 
do — any one that finds him may slav him ; they are 
abandoned as the offscouringofall things ; fined, im- 
prisoned, banishea, stripped of their estates, ex- 
cluded from all places of profit and tnist, scourged, 
racked, tortured, always delivered to death, and ac- 
counted as sheep for the slaughter. This has been 
the effect of the enmity of the serpent's seed against 
the holy seed, ever since the time of righteoits Abel. 
It was so in Old-Testament times, as we find, Heb. 
11. 35, &c. Christ has told us that it would much 
more be so with the christian church, and we are 
not to think it sti-ange, 1 John 3. 13. He has left us 
an example. 

(2. ) "1 hey are reviled, and have all manner of 
evil said against them falsely. Nick-names, and 
names of reproach, are fastened upcn them, upon 
particular persons, and upon the generation of the 
righteous in the gross, to i-ender them odious ; some- 
times to make them despicable, that they may be 
trampled upon ; sometimes to make them fomiida- 
ble, they are powcrfuUv assailed ; things are laid to 
their charge that thev knew not, Ps. 35. 10. Jer. 20. 
18. Acts 17. 6, 7. Those who have had no power 
in their hands to do them any other mischief, could 
yet do this ; and those who have had power to per- 
secute, have found it neccssaiT to do this too, to jus- 
tify themselves in their barbarous usage of them ; 
they could not have baited them, if thev had not 
dressed them in bear-skins ; nor have given them 
the worst of treatment, if thev had not first repre- 
sented them as the worst of men. They will rex'ile 
you, arul persecute you. Note, Rex'iling the saints 
is persecuting them, and will be found so shortly, 
when hard speeches must be accounted for, (Jude 
15.) and cruel ?nockings, Heb. II. 36. They wiU 
say all mantier of evil cfuou falsely ; sometimes be- 
fore the seat of judgment, as witnesses : srmctimcs 
in the seat of the scornful, with hypocritical mockers 
at feasts ; they are the .so??^ of the drunkards ; some- 
times to their faces, as Shimei cursed David ; some- 
times behind their backs, as the enemies of Jeremiah 
did. Note, There is no evil so black and horrid, 
which, at one time or other, has not been said , falsely, 
of Christ's disciples and followers. 

(3.) All this is for righteousness' sake, (v. 10.) 
for my sake, v. 11. If for righteousness' sake, then 
for Christ's sake, for he is nearly interested in the 
work of righteousness. Enemies tn righteousness 
are enemies to Christ. This precludes these from 
this blessedness who auKcrjustly, and are evil spoken 
of truly for their real crimes ; let such be ashamed 
and confounded, it is part of their punishment ; it is 
not the suffering, hut the cause, that makes the 
martyr. Those suffer for righteousness' sake, who 
suffer because they will not sin against their con- 
sciences, and who suffer for doing that which is good. 
'\\Tiatever pretence per^ccutcrs have, it is the power 
of godliness that thev have an enmity to ; it is really 
Christ and his righteousness that are malieiied, 
hated, and persecuted ; For thv sake I have borne 
reproach, Ps. 69. 9. Rom. 8. 36. 

1. The comforts of suffering saints laid down. 

(1.) The\' are blessed ; for they now, in their life- 
time, receive their evil things, (Liike 16. 25.) and 
receive them upon a good account. They are blessed, 
for it is an honour to them ; (Acts 5. 41.) it is an 
opportunity of glorifying Christ, of doing good, and 
of experiencing special comforts and visits of grace, 
and tokens of his presence, 2 Cor. 1. 5. Dan. 3. 25. 
Rom. 8. 29. 

(2.) Thev shall be recompmsed ; Theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven. They have at present a sure 
title to it, and sweet foretastes cf it ; and shall ere 
long be in possession of it. Though thci e be nothing 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



51 



in those sufTcrings that can, in strictness, merit of 
God, (for the sins of the hcst deserve tlie worst,^ 
yet this is here promised as a rcvarcl ; {x: I'-.J 
Gnat is your mi'urd in hfuvni ; so great, as far to 
transcend tlie service. It is in heaven, ftiture, and 
out of sight ; but well secured, out of the reach of 
chance, fraud, and violence. Note, Cod ^yill pro- 
vide that those who lose fur him, though it be life 
itself, shall not lose A;/ him in the end. Heaven, at 
last, will be an abui\(lant recompense for all the dif- 
ficulties we meet with in our way. This is that 
which has borne uj) the suffering saints in all ages — 
this^'oi/ sel before them. 

(3.)'"So jiemecuted they the jirofihets that -were 
before you, v. 12. Tliey were hefire you in excel- 
lency, above what you are yet arrived at ; they were 
before you in time, that they miu;ht be examples to 
*you ot'suffi-ring- affliction and of Juilience, James .5. 
10. They were" in like mannei- persecuted and 
abused; and can you expect to go to heaven in a 
way by yo\irseUcs ? \\'as not Isaiah mocke<l for his 
tine ujio'n tine? Elisha for hisAi/W head? Were not 
all the prophets thus treated ? Therefore mart'et 
not at it ;is ii strange thing, murmur not at it as a 
lianl thing ; it is a comfort to see the way of suffer- 
ing a beaten road, and an honour to toUow' such 
leaders. That grace which was sufficient for them, 
to carrv tlicm through their sufferings, sliall not be 
(teficienf to you. Those who are your enemies are 
the seed and successors of them who of old mocked 
the .messengers of the Lord," 2 Chron. 36. 16. ch. 
23. 25. Acts 7. 52. 

(4. ) Therefore rejoice and be exceeding glad, v. 
12. It is not enough to be patient and content under 
these sufferings as under common afflictions, and 
not to render railing for railing ; but we nnist re- 
joice, because the honour and dignity, the pleasure 
and advantage, of suffering for Christ, are much 
more considerable than the pain or shame of it Not 
that we must take a Jiride in our sufferings, (tliat 
sijoils all,) but we must take a pleasure in them, as 
Paul; (2 Cor. 12. 10.) as knowing that Christ is 
herein hefori-hand with us, and that he will not be 
behind-hand with us, 1 Pet. 4. 12, 13. 

1.3. Yo arc the salt of the cartli : but if 
the salt have lost his savour, wherewith 
shall it l)c salted ? It is thenceforth good 
for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be 
lrodd(Mi mider foot of men. 14. Ye are 
the light of the world. A city that is set 
on a hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do 
men jiglit a candle, and put it under a 
l)uslicl, but on a candlestick : and it giveth 
light unto all that are in the house. 1 6. Let 
your light so shine before men, that they 
may see your good works, and glorify your 
Father which is in heaven. 

Christ had lately called his disciples, and told 
ihcm that they should be fishers of men ; here he 
cells them further what he designed them to be — 
tlie salt of the earth, and lights of the tvorld, that 
they might be indeed what it was expected they 
should be. 

I. Ye are the salt of the earth. This would en- 
courage and support them under their sufferings, 
that, though they should be treated with contempt, 
yet they should really be blessings to the world, and 
tlie more so for their suffering thus. The prophets, 
V ho went before them, were the salt of the land of 
Canaan ; but the apostles were the salt of the whole 
'arth, for thev must go into alt the world to jireach 
t'ie gos/iel. It was a discouragement to them that 

/ 



they were so fe^v and so weak. Wh.at could they 
do in so large a province as the whole earth ? No- 
thing, if they were to work by force of arms and 
dint Of sword ; but, being to v. ork silently as s:dt, 
one handful of that s:dt would diffuse its savour far 
and wide ; would go a great way, and work insensi- 
bly iuid irresistibly as leaven, ch. 13. 33. The doc- 
trine of the gospel is as salt ; it is penetrating, tniick-, 
and jtowerfut ; (Heb. 4. 12.) it reaches the heart, 
.\cts 2. 37. It is cleansing, it is relishing, and prc- 
ser\ es from putrefaction. \\'e read of the .savour 
of the knowledge of Christ; (2 Cor. 2. 14.) for all 
other learning is insipid without that. An everlast- 
ing covenant is called a covenant of salt ; (Numb. 
18. 19.) and the gospel is an exerlastiiig gos])cl. 
Salt was required hi all the sacrifices, (Lev. 2. 13.) 
in Ezckiel's mystical temple, Kzek. 43. 24. Now 
Christ's disciples, having themselves learned the 
doctrine of the gospel, and being emi)loyed to teach 
it to others, were as salt Note, Christians, and 
especially ministers, are the salt of the earth. 

1. If they be such as they should l)e, they arc as 
good salt, white, and small,' and broken into many 
gi-ains, but very useful and necessary. Pliny says. 
Sine sale vita humana non potest degerc — ll'ithout 
salt, human life cannot be sustained. See in this, 
(1.) What they are to be in themselves — seasoned 
with the gospel', with the salt of grace ; thoughts and 
affections, words and actions, all seasoned with grace, 
Col. 4. 6. Have salt in yourselves, else you cannot 
diffuse it among others, Mark 9. 50. (2. ) N\'hat they 
are to be to others ; they must not only be good, but 
do good ; must insinuate themselves into the minds 
of people, not to serve any secular interest of their 
own, but that they may transfomi them into the 
taste and relish of the' gospel. (3.) ^^'llat great 
blessings they are to the world. Mankind, l>ing in 
ignorance an(l wickedness, were a vast heap, ready 
to putrefy ; but Christ sent forth his discijjles, by 
their lives and doctrines, to season it with know- 
ledge and grace, and so to render it accejjtaljle to 
CJotl, to the angels, and to all that relish divine 
things. (4.) How they must expect to be disposed 
of; not laid on a heap', they must not continue al- 
ways together at Jerusalem, but must be scattered 
as salt upon the meat, here a grain and there a 
gi-ain ; as the Levites were dispersed in Israel, that, 
wherever they live, they may communicate their 
savour. Some have observed, that whereas it is 
foolishly called an ill omen to liavc the salt fall to- 
wards lis, it is really an ill cmen to have this salt 
fidl from us. 

2. If they be not, they are as salt that has lost its 
savour. If you, who should season others, are your- 
selves unsavour)-, void of spiritual life, relish, and 
vigour ; if a christian be so, especially if a minister 
be so, his condition is very sad ; for, (l. ) He is irre- 
coverable ; If 'herewith shall it be salted? Salt is a 
remedy for unsavouni meat, but there is no lemcdy 
for unsavoury salt. Christianity will gixc a man a 
relish ; but if a man can take up and cr.ntipue the 
profession of it, and vet remain flat and foolish, and 
graceless and insipiil, no other doctrine, no other 
iiieans, can be ajiphed, to make him sa\oury. If 
Christianity do not do it, nothing will. (2.) He is 
unprofitable ; It is thenceforth good for nothing ; 
what use can it be put to, in wTiich it will not do 
more hurt than good? As a man without reason, so 
is a christian without grace. A wicked man is the 
worst of creatures ; a wicked chi-istian is the worst 
of men ; and a wicked minister is the worst of chris- 
tians. (3.) He is doomed to niin and rejection ; He 
shall be cast out — expelled the church and the com- 
munion of the faithful, to which he is a blot and a 
burden ; and he shall be trodden underfoot of men. 
Let God be glorified in the shame and 'rejection o*' 
those by whom he has been reproached, and wno 



52 



ST. MATTHEW, V 



have made themselves fit for nothing but to be tram- 
pled upon. 

n. Ye are the light of the world, v. 14. This also 
bespeaks their usefulness, as the former, f Sole el 
sate 7iihil utilius — A^olhing- more useful than the sun 
and salt,) but more glorious. All christians are 
light in the Lord, (Eph. 5. 8.) and must shine as 
lights, (Pliil. 2. 15.) but ministers in a special man- 
ner. Christ calls himself the Light of the world, 
(John S. 12.) and tliey arc workers together with 
him, and have some ot his honour put upon tliem. 
Tnily the light is sweet, it is welcome ; tlie light of 
the first day of the world v/as so, when it shone out 
of darkness ; so is the moniing liglit of e\ery day ; 
so was tlie gospel, and those tliat spread it, to all 
sensible people. The world sat in darkness, Christ 
raised up his disciples to shine in it ; and, that they 
may do so, from him they boiTow and derive their 
Ught. 

This similitude is here explamed m two things : 

1. As the lights of the world, they are illustrious 
and conspicuous, and liave many eyes upon them. 
A city that is set on a hill, cannot be hid. The dis- 
ciples of Christ, especially they who are forward 
and zealous in his service become remarkable, and 
are taken notice of as beacons. They are for signs, 
(Isa. 8. IS.) men wondered at ; (Zech. .3. 8.) all their 
neighbours have an eye upon them. Some admire 
them, commend them, rejoice in them, and study 
to imitate tliem ; others envy them, hate them, cen- 
sure them, and study to blast them. They are con- 
cerned therefore to walk circumsfiectly, because of 
their observers ; they are as spectacles to the world, 
and must take lieed of every thing that looks ill, 
because they arc so much looked at. The disciples 
of Christ were obscure men before he called them, 
but the character he put upon them dignified them, 
and as preachers of the gospel they made a figure ; 
and though they were reproached for it by some, 
they were respected for it by others, advanced to 
thrones, and made judges ; (Luke 22. 30.) for Christ 
will honour those that honour him. 

2. As the lights of the world, they are intended 
to illuminate and give light to others, {v. 15.) and 
therefore, ( 1. ) They shall be set uji as lights. Christ 
having lighted these candles, they shall not be put 
under a bushel, not confined always, as they are 
now, to the cities of Galilee, or the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, but they shall be sent into all the 
world. The chiu'ches are the candlesticks, tlie 
golden candlesticks, in which these lights are placed, 
that their light may be diffiiscd ; and the gospel is 
so strong a light, and carries with it so much of its 
own evidence, that, like a city on a hill, it cannot be 
hid, it cannot but appear to be from God, to all those 
who do not wilfully shut their eyes against it. It 
ivill gn<e light to all that are in tlie house, to all that 
■will draw near to it, and come v/here it is. Those 
to whom it does not give light, must thank them- 
selves ; they will not be in the house with it ; will 
not make a diligent and impartial inquiry into it, 
but are prejudiced against it. (2.) They must shine 
asliglits, [1.] Y>s \\\^w good jireaching. The know- 
ledge they have, they must communicate for the 
good of others ; not put it under a bushel, but spread 
it. The talent must not be buried in a napkin, but 
traded with. The disciples of Christ must not muf- 
fle themselves up in privacy and obscuritv, under 
pretence of contemplation, modesty, or self-preser- 
vation, but, as they have receb.K'd the gift, must 
minister the same, iLuke 12. 3. [2.] By their good 
Irving. They must be burning and shining liglits ; 
(John 5. 35.) must evidence, in tlicir whole conver- 
sation, that thev are indeed the followers of Christ, 
James 3. 13. They must be to others for insti-uc- 
tion, direction, quickening, and comfort. Job 2P. 11. 

See here. First, How our light must shine — ^by 



doing such good works as men may see, and may ap- 
prove of ; such works as are of good report among 
them that are witliout, and as will therefore give 
them cause to think well of Christianity. We must 
do good works that may be seen to the edification of 
others, but not that they may be seeji to our own os- 
tentation ; we are bid to pray in secret, arid what 
lies between God and our souls, must be kept to 
ourseh'es ; but that which is of itself open and ob- 
vious to the sight of men, we must study to make 
congruous to our profession, and praiseworthy, Phil. 
4. 8. Those about us must not only hear our good 
words, but see our good works ; that they may be 
convinced that religion is more than a bare name, 
and that we do not only make a profession of it, but 
abide under the power of it. 

Secondli/, For what e7id our light must shine — 
"That those who see your good works, may be 
brought, not to glorify you, (which was the thing the 
Pharisees aimed at, and it spoiled all their per- 
formances,) but to glorify your Lather which is in 
heaven." Note, The glory of God is the great tiling 
we must airri at in every thing we do in religion, 
1 Pet. 4. 11. In this centre the lines of all our ac- 
tions must meet. We must not only endeavour to* 
glorify God ourselves, but we must do all we can to 
bring others to glorify him. The siglit of our good 
works will do this, by fumishing them, 1. With 
matter for jiraise. "Let them see yoiir good works,\ 
that they may see the power of God's gi-ace in you, j 
and may thank him for it, and give him the glorj'/ 
of it, who has given such power unto men. " 2. With! 
motives to piety. "Let them see your good works,' 
that they may be convinced of the truth and excel- 
lency of' the chi'istian religion, may be provoked by 
a holy emulation to imitate vour good works, and so 
may glorify God." Note, I'he holy, regular, and 
exemplarv conversation of the saints, may do nmch 
toward tlie conversion of sinners ; those who are 
unacquainted with religion, may hereby be brought 
to know what it is. j Examples teach. And those 
who are prejudiced against it, may hereby be brought 
in love with it, and thus there is a winning virtue in 
a godly conversation. 

17. Think not that I am come to destroy 
the law or the pioi)hets: I am not come to 
destroy, but to fulfil. 1 8. For verily I say 
unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one 
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from 
the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whoso- 
ever therefore shall break one of these least 
commandments, and shall teach men so, 
he shall be called the least in the kingdom 
of heaven : but whosoever shall do and 
teach ilirm, the same shall be called great 
in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say 
unto you. That except your righteousness 
shall exceed the riglitcovfinr.ss of the Scribes 
and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter 
into the kingdom of heaven. 

Those to whom Christ preached, and for vvh(st 
use he gave these instructions to his disciples, were 
such as in their religion had an eye, 1. To the scrip- 
tu-^es of the Old Testa?nent as their rule, .and therein 
Christ here shows them tli .•v were in the riglit : 2. 
To the Scribes and Pharisees ..s their example, and 
therein Christ here shows them they were in the 
wronir; for, 

I. The iide which Christ came to establish, ex- 
actly agreed with the scriptures of the Old Testa- 
merit, here called the law and the prophets. The 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



53 



firo/ihets were commentutors upon Ihc law, and both 
together made up that rule of faith and priicticc 
wliicli Christ found upon the throne in the Jewish 
church, iuid here he keeps it on the throne. 

1. He protests against the thought of rancelling 
and weakening the Old Testament ; Think not that 
I am come to destroy the hnv and the /iro/ihets. ( 1. ) 
"Let not the pious Jews, who have an affection for 
Ute lawand the /iro/ihet>t, fear t\\M I come to destroy 
them." Let them not be prejudiced against Christ 
and Itis doctrine, from a jealousy that this kingdom 
lie came to set u]), would derogate from the honour 
of tlie scri|)tures, which they had embraced as com- 
ing from God, and of which they had experienced 
the power and purity ; no, let them be satisfied that 
Christ has no ill design upon the law luid the jiro- 
phets. (.,;.) "Let not the profane Jews, who have 
a disaffection to the law and the prophets, and are 
weary of that yoke, liope that I am come to destroy 
tliem." Let not carnal libertines imagine that the 
Messiah is come to discharge them from the obliga- 
tion of divine precepts, to secure to them divine pro- 
mises to make them happy, and yet to give them 
leave to live as they list. Christ commands nothing- 
new, which was forljidden either by the law of na- 
ture or the moral law, nor forbids any thing which 
those laws had enjoined ; it is a great mistake to 
think he does, and he here takes care to rectify the 
mistake; lam not come to destroy. The Sa\'iour 
of souls is the Destroyer of nothing but the works 
of the Devil, of nothing that comes from God, much 
less of those excellent dictates which we have from 
Moses and the propliets. No, he came to fulfil 
them. That is, [1.] To obey the commands of the 
law, for he was made under the law. Gal. 4. 4. 
He in all respects yielded obedience to the law, ho- 
noured his parents, sanctified the sabbath, prayed, 
gave alms, and did that which never any one else 
did, obeyed perfectly, and never broke the law in 
any thing. [:3.] To make good the promises of the 
law, and tlie predictions of the prophets, which did 
all Ijear witness to him. The co\enant of grace is, 
for substance, the same now that it was then, antl 
Christ the Mediator of it [3. ] To answer the types 
of the law; tlius, (as Bishop Tillotson expresses it,) 
he did not make void, but make good, the ceremo- 
nial law, and manifested himself to be the Substance 
of all those shadows. [4.] To fill up the defects of 
it, and so to complete and perfect it. Thus the 
word ta-wiflfTii properly signifies. If we consider 
the law as a vessel that had some water in it liefore, 
he did not come to pour out the water, but tn«fill the 
vessel up to the brim ; or, as a ])icture that is first 
rough-drawn, displays some outlines onlv of the 
piece intended, which are afterward filled up ; so 
Christ made an improvement of the law and the 
pro])hets Ijy his additions and explications. [5. ] To 
carry on the same design ; the christian institutes are 
so far from thwarting and contradicting that which 
was the maindesign of the Jewish religion, that thev 
promote it to the highest degree. The gospel is the 
time of reformation, (Heb. 9. 10.) not the repeal of 
the Uiw, but the amendment of it, and, consequent! v, 
its establishment 

2. He asserts the perpetuity of it ; that not only 
he designed not the abrogation of it, but that it never 
should be abrogated ; {xk 18. ) " Verily I say unto 
you, I, the Amen, the faithful Witness, sol'emnlv 
declare it, that till heaven and earth fiass, when time 
shall be no more, and the unchangeable state of re- 
compenses shall supersede all laws, one jot, or one 
tittle, the least and most minute circumstance, shall 
in no wise fiass fro?n the law till all be fulfilled ;" for 
what is it that God is doing in all the operations, 
both of providence and grace, but fidfiUing the scrip- 
ture ? Heaven and eaith shall come together, and all 
the fulness thereof be wrapt up in ruin and confusion. 



rather than iuiy word of God shall ftdl to the ground, 
or be in vain. The word of the Lord endures for 
ever, both that of the law, :uul that of the gospel. 
Observe, The care of (Jod concerning his law ex- 
tends itself even to those things that seem to be of 
least account in it, the iotas and the tittles ; for what- 
ever belongs to (iod, imd bears his stamp, be it ever 
so little, shall be presen-ed. The laws of men are 
conscious to themselves of so much imperfection, 
that they allow it for a maxim, J/iiccs Juris non sunt 
jura — The extreme ftoints of Jaw are not /nw, but 
God will stand b_v and niaint;un every iota and tittle 
of his law. 

3. He gives it in charge to his disciples, carefnilv 
to preserve the law, and shows them the danger of 
the neglect and contempt of it ; {v. 19.) li'hosocx'cr 
thenfore shall break one of the least commandrnenls 
of the law of Moses, much more any of the greater 
as the Pharisees did, who neglected the weightier 
matters of the law, and shall teach men so as thev 
did, who made \oid the commandment of God with 
their traditions, (ch. 15. 3.) he shall be called the least 
in the kingdom of heaven. Though the Pharisees 
be cried iip for such teachere as should be, they 
shall not be emjiloyed as teachers in Christ's king- 
dom ; but whosoever shall do and teach them, as 
Christ's disciples would, and thereby prove them • 
selves better friends to the Old Testament than the 
Pharisees were, they, though deB])iscd by men, shall 
be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Note, 
(1.) Among the commands of God there are some 
less than others ; none absolutely little, but compa- 
ratively so. The Jews reckon the least of the ccm- 
mandments of the law to be that of the bird's nest ; 
(Deut. 22. 6, ".) yet even that had a significance 
and an intention very gi-eat and considerable. (2. ) 
It is a dangerous thing, in doctrine or practice, to 
disannul the least of God's commands ; to break 
them, that is to go about either to contract the extent, 
or v.'eaken the obligation of them ; whoever does so, 
will find it is at his peril. Thus to vacate any of the 
ten commandments, is too bold a stroke for the 
jealous God to pass by. It is something more than 
transgressing the law, it is making void the law, Ps. 
119. 126. (3.) That the further such con-uptions 
as these spread, the worse they arc. It is impu- 
dence enough to break the command, but it is a 
greater degree of it to teach men so. This plainly 
refers to those who at this time sat in Moses' seat, 
and by their comments coniipted and perverted the 
text. Opinions that tend to the destmction of seri- 
ous godliness and the vitals of religion, by cori-upt 
glosses on the scripture, are bad when they are held, 
bvit worse when thev are propagated and taught as 
the word of God. He that docs so, shall be called 
least in the kingdom of heaven, in the kingdom of 
glorv; he shall never come thither, but be eternally 
excluded ; or, rather, in the kingdom of the gospel- 
church. He is so far from deserving the dignity of 
a teacher in it, that he shall not so much as be ac- 
counted a memljer of it The prophet that teaches 
these lies, shall be the tail in that kingdom ; (Isa. 9. 
15.) when tnith shall appear in its own evidence, 
such coiTupt teachers, though cried up as the Pha- 
risees, shall he of no account with the wise and good. 
Nothing makes ministers more contemptible and 
base than corrupting of the law, Mai. 2. 8, 11, 
Those who extenuate and encourage sin, and dis- 
countenance and put contempt upon strictness in 
religion and serious devotion, are the dregs of the 
church. But, on the other hand, [1.] Those are 
tnilv honourable, and of great account in the church 
of Christ, who lay out themsehes Ijy their life and 
doctrine to promote the purity and strictness of 
practical religion ; who both do and teach that 
which is good ; for those who do not as they teach, 
pull down with one hand what they build up with 



A 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



the other, and give themselves the lie, and tempt 
men to think that all religion is a delusion ; but those 
who speak from experience, who live up to what 
they preach, are truly great ; they honour God, and 
God will honour them, (1 Sam. 2. 10.) and here- 
after they shall shine as the utais in the kingdom of 
our Father. 

11. The righteousness which Christ came to es- 
tablish by this i-ule, must exceed that of the Scribes 
and Pharisees, v. 20. This was strange doctiine to 
those who looked upon the Scribes and Pharisees as 
having arrived at the highest pitch of religion. The 
Scribes were the most noted teachers of the law, and 
the Pharisees the most celebrated professors of it, 
and they both sat in Moses' chair, (ch. 23. 2.) and 
had sucn a reputation among the people, that they 
were looked upon as super-confoi-mable to the law, 
and people did not think themselves obliged to be as 
goocl as they ; it was therefore a great suiprise to 
them, to liear that they must be better than they, 
or they should not go to heaven ; and therefore 
Christ here avers it with solemnity ; J say unto you. 
It is so. The Scribes and Pharisees were enemies 
to Christ and his doctrine, and were gi-eat op- 
pressors ; and yet it must be owned, that there was 
something commendable in them. They were much 
in fasting, and prayer, and giving of alms ; they were 
punctual in observing the ceremonial appointments, 
and made it their business to teach others ; they had 
such an interest in the people, that they thought, if 
but two men went to heaven, one would be a Phari- 
see ; and yet our Lord Jesus here tells his disciples, 
that the religion he came to establish, did not only 
exclude the badness, but excel the goodness, of the 
Scribes and Pharisees. We must do more than they, 
and better than they, or we shall come short of hea- 
ven. They were fiartial in the la%v, and laid most 
stress upon the ritual part of it ; but we must be 
miiversal, and not think it enough to give the priest 
his tithe, but must gi\e God our hxiarts. They mind- 
ed only the outside, but we must make conscience of 
inside godliness. They aimed at the firaise and afi- 
plaitse of men, but we must aim at accefltance with 
God: they were firoud of what they did in religion, 
and trusted to it as a righteousness ; but wc, when 
we have done all, must deny ouiselves, and say, 
We are unfirojitable servants, and tnist only to the 
righteousness of Christ ; and thus we may go beyond 
the Scribes and Pharisees. 

21. Ye have heard that it was said by 
them of old time, Thou shalt not kill : and 
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger 
of the judgment: 22. But I say unto you, 
That whosoever is angry with his brother 
without a cause shall be in danger of the 
judgment : and whosoever shall say to his 
brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the 
council : but whosoever shall say. Thou 
fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23. 
Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, 
and there rememberest that thy brother 
hath ought agaijist thee ; 24. Leave there 
thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; 
first be reconciled to thy brother, and then 
come and ofi'er thy gift. 25. Agree with 
thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in 
til :> way with him ; lest at any time the ad- 
versary deliver thee to the judge, and the 
judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou 
be cast into prison. 26. Verily I say unto 



thee. Thou shalt by no means come out 
thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost 
farthing. 

Christ having laid do\vn these principles, that 
Moses and the prophets were stiU to be their rulers, ^ 
but that the Scribes and Pharisees were to be no 
longer their i-ulers, proceeds to expound the law in 
some particular instances, and to vindicate it from 
the coiTupt glosses which those expositors liad p\it 
upon it. He adds not any thing new, only limits 
and restrains some permissions which had been 
abused ; and as to the precepts, shows the breadth, 
strictness, and spiritual nature of them, adding such 
explanatory statutes as made them more clear, and 
tended much toward the perfecting of our obedience 
to them. In these verses, he explains the law of 
the sixth commandment, according to the true intent 
and full extent of it 

I. Here is the co)n?ncnf/ iCsf //"laid down; {v. 12.) 
IVe have heard it, and remember it ; he speaks to 
them %i'ho know the law, who had Moses read to 
them in their synagogues everj' sabbath-day ; ycu 
have heard that it was said by them, or rather as it 
is in the margin, to them of old time, to your fore- 
fathers the Jews, Thou shalt not kill. Note, The 
laws of God are not novel, upstart laws, but were de- 
livered to them of old time ; they are ancient laws, 
but of that nature as never to be antiqiiated nor grow 
obsolete. The moral law agrees with the law of 
nature, and the eternal niles and reasons of good and 
evil, that is, the rectitude of the eternal Mind. 
Killing is here forbidden, killing ourselves, killing 
any other, directly or indirectly, or being any way 
accessory to it. The law of God, the God of life, is 
a hedge of protection about our lives. It was one of 
the precepts of Noah, Gen. 9. 5, 6. 

II. The exposition of this command which the 
Jewish teachers contented themselves with ; their 
comment upon it was, Whosoever shall kill, shall be 
in danger of the judgment. This was all they had 
to say upon it, that wilful murderers vf ere liable to 
the sword of justice, and casual ones to the judgment 
of the city of refuge. The courts of judgment sat in 
the gate of their principal cities ; the judges, ordina- 
rily, were in number twenty-three ; these tried, con- 
demned, and executed murderers ; so that whoever 
killed, was in danger of their judgment. Now this 
gloss of theirs upon this commandment was faulty, 
for it intimated, 1, That the lav/ of the sixth com- 
mandment was only external, and forbade no more 
than tl»E act of murder, and laid no restraint upon 
the inward lusts, from which wars and fightings 
eome. This was indeed the crf^Tiv 4'"''" — '^'^ /"''- 
damental error of the Jewish teachers, that the di- 
vine law prohibited only the sinful act, not the sinful 
thought ; they were disposed hxrere in corlice — to 
rest in the letter of the law, and they never inquired 
into the spiritual meaning of it. Paul, while a Pha- 
risee, did not, till, by the key of the tenth command- 
ment, divine grace let him into the knowledge of the 
spiritual nature of all the rest, Rom. 7. 7, 14. 2. 
Another mistake of theirs was, that this law was 
merely /lolitical and municipal, given for them, and 
intended as a directory for their courts, and no more ; 
as if they only were the people, and the wisdom of 
the law must die with them. 

III. The exposition which Christ gave of this 
commandment ; and we are sure that according to 
his exposition of it we must be judged hereafter, and 
therefore ought to be iided now. The command- 
ment is exceeding broad, and not to be limited by the 
will of the flesh, or the will of men. 

1. Christ tells them that rash anger is heart-mur- 
der; {y. 22.) ]\^iosoex'er is aytgiy with his brother 
without a cause, breaks the sixth commandment. 
By our brother here, we are to understand any pei 



ST. MATTHEW, \'. 



45 



Son, though evei' io much our inferior, as a cliild, a 
, scnant, tor wc arc all made of one blood. Anger is 
] a natural jjassion ; there arc cases in which it is law- 

/ful and laudable ; hut it is then sinful, when we are 
anj;^y without cause. The word is lix', which sii|;ni- 
1 fies, sine cattsd, sine cffectu, et sine modt/ — ivit/iout 
ccune, '.uilliout any ifood effect, '.lilhout moderation ; 
so that the anger is then sinfid, (1.) When it is 
without any just provocation )vi\ en ; either for no 
cause, or no good cause, or no great and proportiona- 
ble cause ; when we are angrv at children or ser- 
vants for tluit which could not be hel])ed, which was 
only a piece of forijetfulness or mistake, that we 
ourselves might easily have been guilty of, and for 
which we should not ha\e been angry at ourselves ; 
when wc are angry upon groundless surmises, or for 
*\trivial affronts not worth s]jcaking of (2. ) When it is 
without any good end aimed at, merely to show our 
authority, to gratify a bnitish passion, to let people 
know our resentments, and excite ourselves to re- 
venge, then it is in \ain, it is to do hurt ; whereas if 
we are at any time angry, it should be to awaken 
the offender to repentance, and prevent his doing so 
again ; to clear ourselves, (2 Cor. 7. II.) and to give 
warnin.; to other.s. (3. ) \\'hen it exceeds due bounds ; 
when we are hardy and headstrong in our anger, 
violent and \ehement, outrageous and mischievous, 
;uid when we seek the hurt of those we are dis- 
pleased at. This is a breach of the sixth command- 
ment, for he that is thus angri,-, would kill if lie 
coukl anrl durst ; he has taken the first step towards 
it ; Cain's killing his brother began in anger ; he is 
a murderer in the account of God, who knows his 
heart, whence murdera proceed, c/i. 15. 19. 

2. He tells them, that giving opprobrious lan- 
guage to our brother is tongue-murder, calling him, 
Raca, and. Thou fool. When this is done w ith 
mildness and for a good end, to con\ ince others of j 
their vanity and folly, it is not sinful. Thus James j 
says, x'ain man ; and Paul, Ttiou fool ; and Christ I 
himself, O foots, and slow of heart. But when it' 
proceeds from anger and malice within, it is the 
smoke of that fire which is kindled fmm hell, and 
falls under the same character. (1.) Raca is a 
scornful word, and comes from pride, "Thou empty 
fellow ;" it is the language of that which Solomon 
calls /iroud 'ivrath, (Prov. 21. 24.) which tramples 
upon our brother— disdains to set him eren nvith the , 
dogs of our Jiock. This people ii'hich l:nou-s not the 
la'.v, is cursed, is such language, John 7. 49. (2.) 
Thou fool is a spiteful word, and comes from hatred ; 
looking upon him, not onlv as mean and not to be 
honoured, but as vile and not to be loved ; " Thou 
wicked man, thou reprobate." The former speaks 
a man without sense, this (in scripture-language) 
speaks a man without grace ; tlie more the rei^roach 
touches his spiritual condition, the worse it is ; the 
former is a haughtv taunting of our brother, this is 
a malicious censuring and condemning of him, as 
abandoned of (iod. Now this is a breach of the 
sixth commandment ; malicious slanders and cen- 
sures are poison under the tongue, that kills secret- 
ly and slowlv ; bitter vjords are as arroivs that wound 
suddenly, (Ps. 64. 3.) or as a sword in the bones. 

iThe good name of our neighbour, which is better 
Ithan life, is thereby stabbed and mui-dered ; and it 
is an evide:ice of such an ill-will to our neighbour as 
would stinke at his life, if it were in our power. 

3. He tells them, that how light soever they made 
of these sins, they will certainly be reckoned for ; 
he that is angrti with his brother shall be in danger 
of the judgment and anger of God ; he that calls 
liim Raca, shall be in danger of the council, of being 
punished by the Sanhedrim for reviling an Israelite ; 
but whosoever saith. Thou fool, thou profane per- 
son, thou child of hell, shall be in danger of hell-jire, i, 
to which he condemns his brother ; so the learaed il 



Dr. \Vhitby. Some think, in allusion to the penal 
ties used in the several courts of Judgment among 
the Jews, Christ shows that the sin of rash anger 
ex[)oses men to lower or higher punishments, ac 
cording to the deijites of its proceeding. The Jews 
had three capit;d punishments, each worse than the 
other ; beheading, which was inflicted by the judg- 
ment ; stoning, by the council or chief Sanhedrim ; 
iuid burning in the valley of the son of Ilhinoni, 
which was used only in extraordinaiy ciises : it sig- 
nifies, therefore, th.'it rash anger and rcprnacliful 
language are damning sins ; but some are more sin- 
ful than others, and accordin.u;ly there is a greater 
damnation, and a sorer punishment rcscned for 
them : Clirist would thus show which sin was most 
sinful, by showing which was it the punishment 
whereof was most dreadful. 

IV. From all this it is here infeiTcd, that wc ought 
carefully to preser\e christian line and jieacc with 
all our brethren, and that if at any time a breach 
ha])pens, we should labour for a reconciliation, by 
confessing our fault, humbling oursches to our bro- 
ther, begging his pardon, and making restitution, or 
offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed, 
according as the nature of the thing is ; iuid that we 
should do this quickly, for two reasons : 

1. Because, till this be done, we arc utterly unfit 
for communion with God in holy ordinances, -v. 23, 
24. The case supposed is, " That thy brother have 
somewhat against thee, that thou hast injured and 
offended him, either really, or in his apprehension : 
if thou art the party offended, there needs not this 
delay ; if thou have auglrt agairut thy brother, make 
short work of it ; no more is to be done but to for- 
give him, (Mark 11. 2o.) and forgive the injurj- ; 
but if the quarrel began on thy side, and the fault 
was either at first or afterward thine, so that thy 
brother has a controvcrs\- w ith thee, go and be recon- 
ciled to him before thou offer thy gift at the altar, 
before thou approach solemnly to Goci in the gospel- 
services of prayer and ]>raise, hearing the w ord or 
the sacraments. Note, (1.) \Vhen wc are address- 
ing ourselves to any religious exercises, it is good for 
us to take that occasion of serious reflection and self- 
examin.ation : there arc many things to be remem- 
bered when we bring our gift to the altar, and this 
among the rest, w^hcther'c;.';- brother hath aught 
against us ; then, if e\er, we are disposed to be 
serious, and therefore should then call ourselves to 
an account. (2.) Religious exercises are net ac- 
ceptable to God, if the\' are pcrfci-med when we are 
in w-rath : envy, malice, and uncharitablcncss, are 
sins so displeasing to God, that nothing pleases him 
which comes from a heart wherein they are predo- 
minant, 1 Tim. 2. S. Pravcrs made in wrath arc 
written in gall, Isa. 1. 15'.— 58. 4. (3.) Love or 
charity is so'much better tha7i all bumt-cfferitigs and 
sacrifice, that God will have rcccnciliatirn made with 
an offended brother l)efore the gift be offered ; he is 
content to stay forthegift_, rather than have it offer- 
ed while wc are under g-uilt and engaged in a quar- 
rel. (4.) Though we are unfitted for communion 
with Ciod, b)- a continual quaiTel with a brother, yet 
that can be no excuse for the omission or neglect of 
our duty : "Leave there thy gift before the altar, 
lest othenvise, when thou art gone away, thou be , 
tempted not to come again." Manv give this as a " 
reason whv they do not come to church or to the 
communion, because they are at variance with some 
neighbour ; and whose fault is that ? One sin \n\\ 
never excuse another, but will rather double the 
g\iilt Want of charity cannot justify the want of 
piety. The difficulty is easily got o\er ; those who 
have wronged us, we must forgive ; and those whom 
we have wronged, we must make satisfaction to, or 
at least make a tender of it, and desire a renew al of 
the friendship, so that if remciliat'on bp not made, 



56 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



it may not be our fault ; and then come, come and 
. welcome, come and offer thy gift, and it shall be 
accepted. Therefore we must not let the sun go 
down liflon our wrath any day, because we must go 
to prayer before we go to sleep ; much less let the 
sun rise ufion our -wrath on a sabbath-day, because 
it is a day of prayer. 

2. Because, till this be done, we lie exposed to 
much danger, v. 25, 26. It is at our peril if we do 
not labour after an agreement, and that quickly, 
upon two accounts : 

(1.) Upon a temporal account If the offence we 
have done to our brother, in his body, goods, or re- 
putation, be such as will bear an action, in which he 
may recover considerable damages, it is our wis- 
dom, and it is duty to our family, to prevent that by 
a humble submission and a just and peaceable satis- 
faction ; lest otherwise he recover it by law, and put 
u., to tlie extremity of a prison. In such a case it is 
better to compound and malce the best terms we 
^an, than to stand it out ; for it is in vain to contend 
with the law, and there is danger of our being 
orushed bv it. Manv iiiin their estates by an otjsti- 
nate persisting in the offences they have given, 
which would soon have been pacified by a little 
y ielding at first. Solomon's advice in case of sure- 
tyship is. Go, humble thyself, and so secure ajid 
delwer thyself, Prov. 6. 1 — 5. It is good to agi-ee, 
for the law is costlv. Though we must be merciful 
to those we have advantage against, yet we must be 
just to those that have advantage against us, as far as 
we are able, ".igree, and compound with thine ad- 
versaru quicklv, lest he b& exasperated by thy stub- 
bornness, and provoked to insist upon the utmost 
demand, and will not make thee the abatement 
which at fii-st he would have made. " A prison is an 
uncomfortable place to those who are brought to it 
by their own pride and prodigality, their own wilful- 
ness and folly. 

(2.) Upon a spiritual account. "Go, and be 
reconciled to thy brother, be just to him, be friendly 
with him, because while the quarrel continues, as 
thou art unfit to bri7ig thy gift to the altar, unfit to 
come to the table of the Lord, so thou art unfit to 
die : if tiiou persist in this sin, there is danger lest 
thou be suddenly snatched away by the wrath of 
God, whose judgment thou canst not escape nor ex- 
cept against ; and if that iniquity be laid to thy 
charge, thou art undone for ever." Hell is the pri- 
son for all that live and die in malice and uncharita- 
bleness, for all that are contentious, (Rom. 2. 8.) and 
out of tliat prison thei-e is no rescue, no redemption, 
no escape, to eternity. 

This is very applicable to the great business of our 
reconciliation to God through Christ ; ^gree with 
him quickly, whilst thou art in the way. Note, [1.] 
The great God:: is an adversary to all sinners, 
' AvTiJinot — A lanv-adversary ; he has a controverey 
with them, an action against them. [0.] It is our 
concern to agree with him, to acquaint ourselves with 
him, that we may be at peace. Job 22. 21. 2 Cor. 
5. 20. [3.] It is our wisdom to do this quickly, 
while we are in the way. ^\^lile we are alive, we 
are in the way ; after death, it will be too late to do 
it ; therefore gix'e not sleefi to thine eyes till it be 
done. [4.] They who continue in a state of enmity 
to God, are continually exposed to the arrests of his 
justice, and the most dreadful instances of his wrath. 
Christ is the Judge, to whom impenitent sinners will 
be delivered ; for all judgment is committed to the 
Son ; he that was rejected as a Saviour, cannot be 
escaped as a Judge, Rev. 6. 16, 17. It is a fearful 
thing to be thus turned over to the Lord Jesus, when 
the Lamb shall become a Lion. Angels are the offi- 
cers to whom Christ mil deliver them : (f A. 13. 41, 
42.) de\-ils are so too, having the fiower of death as 
executioners to all unbelievers, Heb. 2. 14. Hell is 



the prison into which those wiU be cast that continue 
in a state of enmity to God, 2 Pet. 2. 4. [5.] 
Damned sinners must remain in it to eternity ; they 
shall not depart till they have paid the uttermost 
farthing, and that will not be to the utmost ages of 
eternity : Divine justice will be for ever satisfying, 
but never satisfied. 

27. Ye have heard that it was said by 
them of old time, Thou shalt not commit 
adultery : 28. But I say unto you. That 
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust 
after her, hath committed adultery with 
her already in his heart. 29. And if thy 
right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast 
it fiom thee : for it is profitable for thee 
that one of thy members should perish, 
and not that thy whole body should be cast 
into hell. 30. And if thy right hand offeni^ 
thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee : for it 
is profitable for thee that one of thy mem- 
bers should perish, and not that thy whole 
body should be cast into hell. 31. It hath 
been said, Whosoever shall put away his 
wife, let him give her a writing of divorce- 
ment : 32. But I say unto you, Tiiat who- 
soever shall put away his wife, saving for 
the cause of fornication, causeth her to com- 
mit adultery: and whosoever shall n^arry 
her that is divorced, committeth adultery. 

\\'e ha\'e here an exposition of the seventh com- 
mandment, given us by the same hand that made 
the law, and therefore was fittest to be the inter- 
preter of it : it is the law against uncleanness, which 
fitly follows upon the foi-mer ; that laid a restraint 
upon sinful passions, this upon sinful appetites, both 
which ought always to be under the government of 
reason and conscience, and if indulged are equally 
pernicious. 

I. The command is here laid down, {xk 17.) Thou 
shalt not commit adulteni ; which includes a prohi- 
Ijition of all other acts of uncleanness, and the de- 
sire of them : but the Pharisees, in their expositions 
of this command, made it to extend no further than 
the act of adultery, suggesting, that if the iniquity 
was only regarded in the heart, and went no further, 
God coiild not hear it, %vould not regard it, (Ps. 66. 
18. ) and therefore they thought it enough to be able 
to say that they were 7io adulterers, Luke 18. 11. 

II. It is here explained in the strictness of it, in 
three things, which would seem new and strange to 
those who had been always governed by the tradi- 

I tion of the elders, and took all for oracular that they 
taught. 

1. We are here taught, that there is such a thing 
as heart-adultery, adulterous thoughts and disposi- 
tions, which never proceed to the act of adultery or 
fornication ; and perhaps the defilement which these 
give to the soul, that is here so clearly asserted, was 
not only included in the seventh commandment, but 
was signified and intended in many of those cere- 
monial pollutions under the law, for which they were 
to vjasti their clothes, and bathe their flesh in water. 
If^hosoci'er looketh on a woman, (not only another 
man's wife, as some would have it, but any woman,) 
to lust after her, has committed adultery with her in 
his heart, v. 28. This command forbids not only the 
acts of fornication or adultery, but, (1.) All appe- 
tites to them, all lusting after the forbidden object ; 
this is the beginning of the sin, lust conceh<ing : 
(Jam. 1. 15.) it is a bad step toward the sin; and 



ST. MATTHEW, V. 



Al 



where the lust is dwelt upon and apjirovcd, and the 
wanton desire is rolled under tlie tongue as a sweet 
morsel, it is the commission of the sin, as far as the 
heart can do it ; there wants nothinir hut a conve- 
nient o])orti!nity for the sin itself, .idultrra mens 
est — The mtini is (Ivbauchcd. Ovid. Lust is consci- 
ence baffled or biiissed ; biassed, if it say nothing 
against th.c sin ; bafHed, if it prevail not m wliat it 
says. (2.) All approaches toward tlieni ; feeding 
the eve with the siglit of the forbidden fniit ; not 
onlv l(M)king for that end, that I niav hist ; but look- 
ing till I do lust, or looking to gratify the lust, where 
further satisfaction cannot be olrtained. The eye is 
both the inlet and outlet of a great deal of wick- 
edness of this kind, witness Joseph's mistress, (Gen. 
.^9. r.) Samson, (Judg. 16. 1.) David, 2 Sam. U. 
2. \\'e read of eve* full of nduttery, that cannot 
ceasf from sin, 2 Pet 2. 14. What need ha\ c we, 
therefore, with holy Job, to malre a covenant ivit/i 
our eyes, to make this bargain with them, that they 
should have tlic pleasure of beholding the light of 
the sun and the works of fiod, prcnided tliey would 
never fasten or dwell upon any thing that might 
occasion impure imaginations or desires ; and under 
this ])enalty, that if thev did, they nuist smart for it 
in penitential tears ! Jol) 31. 1. \\'hat have we the 
covering of the eyes for, but to restrain cornipt 
glances, and to keep out their defiling imjiressions .' 
Tliis forbids also the using of any other ot our senses 
to stir U]) lust. If insnaring looks are forbidden fruit, 
much more unclean discourses, and wanton dalli- 
ances, the fuel and bellows of this hellish fire. These 
precepts are hedges about the law of lieart-pui'itv, 
V. 8. And if looking be lust, thev who dress aiid 
deck, and expose themselves, with design to be 
looked at and lusted after, (like Jezebel, that fiaint- 
ed her face and tired her head, and looked out of the 
ivindo'Li', ) are no less guilty. Men sin, but devils 
tempt to sin. 

2. That such looks and such dalliances are so ven' 
dangerous and destructive to the soul, that it is better 
to lose the eye and th.c hand that thus offend, than 
to ^ve way to the sin, and perish eteniallv in it. 
This lesson is here taught us, v. 29, 30. CoiTupt 
nature would soon oljject against the prohibition of 
heart-adultery, that it is impossible to be governed 
by it ; " It is a hard sai/ing; ivho can hear it ? Flesh 
and blood cannot but look with pleasure upon a 
beautiful woman ; and it is impossible to forbear 
lusting after and dallying with such an object." 
Such pretences as these will scarcely be overcome 
by reason, and therefore must be argued against 
with the terrors of the Lord, and so they arc here 
argued against. 

(1.) It isa severe operation that is here prescribed 
for the preventing of these fleshly lusts. Ifthxi rit^ht 
eye offend thee, or cause thee to offend, bv wanton 
glances, or wanton gazings, upon forbidden objects ; 
if thy rii;ht hand offend thee, or cause thee to offend, 
ov wanton dalliances ; and if it were indeed impos- 
sible, as is pretended, to govei-n the eve and the 
hand, and they have been so accustomed to these 
wicked practices, that thev will not be withheld from 
thern ; if there were no other wav to restrain them, 
(which, blessed be (iod, through his gi-ace, there 
is,) it were better for us to filuck out theei/e, and cut 
off the hand, though the right eve, and rit^ht hand, 
the more honourable and useful, than to indulge them 
in sin to the ruin of the soul. And if this must be 
submitted to, at the thought of which nature startles, 
much more must we resolve to kee/i under the body, 
and to bring it into subjection ; to live a life of mor- 
tification and self-denial ; to keep a constant watch 
over our own hearts, and to suppress the first rising 
of lust and corruption there ; to avoid the occasions 
of sin, to resist the beginnings of it, and to decline 
the company of those who will be a snare to us. 

Vol. v.— H 



though ever so pleasing; tokeepoiit of harm's way, 
and al)ri<igc ourselves in the use of lawful things, 
wlieu we find them temptations to us ; and to seek 
unto (iod for his grace, and de])end upon tliat grace 
diiily, and so to neutk in the Sfiirit, as that we may 
not fu//!l the lusts of the flesh ; and this will be as 
effectual as cutting- off a right hand or/tullmff out a 
right eye ; and perhaps as much against the grain to 
Hesh and blood ; it is the desti-uction of the old 
man. 

(1.) It is a startling argument that is m.ade use of 
to enforce this ])rescrii)tion, {v. 29.) and it is re])eat- 
ed in the same words, {v. 30.) because we are loth 
to hear such rough things ; Isa. 30. 10. // is firo- 
Jitablcfor thee that one of thy members should furish, 
though it be an eye or a hand, w liirli can be worst 
spared, and not that thy ivhole body should be cast 
into hell. Note, [1.] It is not unbeccming a minis- 
ter of the gos])cl to preach of hell and damnation ; 
nav, he must do it, for Christ himself did it ; and we 
are unfaithful to our tnist, if we give not warning of 
the ivrath to come.. [2.] There arc seme sins from 
which we need to be saved nvith fear, jjarticularly 
fleshhi lusts, which are such natural brute beasts as 
cannot be checked, but by being frightened ; cannot 
be kept from a forbidden tree, but by a cherubim 
•ith a flaming sivord. [3.] \\'lien we arc tempted 
to think it hard to deny ourselves, and to crucify 
fleshly lusts, wc ought to consider how nnich harder 
it will be to lie for ever in the lake that burns T.'ith 
Jire and brimstone : those do not know or do not be- 
lieve what hell is, that will rather venture their eter- 
nal niin in those flames, than deny themselves the 
gratification of a base and bititish lust. [4.] In hell 
there will be tomients for the body ; the nvhole body 
will be cast into hell, and there will be torment in 
exciT part of it ; so that if we ha\e any care of our 
own bodies, we shall fiossess them in sanctijlcation 
and honour, and not in the lusts ofuncleanness. [5.] 
Even those duties that are most unpleasant to flesh 
and blood, m'c firqfitable for lis ; and our Master re- 
quires nothing from us but what he knows to be for 
our advantage. 

3. That men's divorcing their wives upon dislike, 
or for any other cause except adultciy, however to- 
lerated and practised among the Jews, was a \iola- 
tion of the seventh commandment, as it opened a 
door to adultery, f. 31, 32. Here obsci-ve, 

(1.) How the matter now stood with reference to 
divorce. It hath been ."aid, (he docs not say, as be- 
fore. It hath been said by them of old time, because 
this was not a precept, as those were, though the 
Phaiisecs were willing so to understand it, (eh. 19. T.) 
but onlv a pei-mission,) " ll7iosoeTer shall fiut airay 
his ".vif; let him grve her a bill of dix'orce ; let him 
not tliink to do it bv word of mruth, w hen he is in a 
passion ; but let him do it delibei»tely, by a legal 
instrtiment in writing, attested by witnesses ; if he 
will dissoh e the matrimonial bend, let him do it so- 
lemnly." Thus the law had prevented rash and 
hast\' divorces ; and perhaps at first, when writing 
was not so common among the Jews, that made di- 
vorces rare things ; but in process of time they be- 
came very common, and this direction how to do it 
when there was just cause for it, was construed into 
a permission of it, for any cause, ch. 19. 3. 

(2. ) How this matter was rectified and amended by 
our Saviour. He reduced the ordinance of maiTiage 
to its primitive institution, Thnj tiro shall be one 
flesh, not to be easily separated, and therefore a di- 
vorce is not to be allowed, excejit in case of adultery, 
which breaks the marriage-covenant ; but he that 
puts awa\- his wife upon any other pretence, causeth 
her to commit adultery, and him also that shall marry 
her when she is thus divorced. Note, Those who 
lead others into temptation to sin, or leave them m 
it, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of 



58 



ST. MATTHEW, V, 



their sin, and will be accountable for it. This is one 
-vay of being partaker ivitli adulterers, Ps. 50. 18. 

33. Again, ye have heard that it hath 
been said by them of old time. Thou shalt 
not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto 
the Lord lliine oaths : 34. But I say unto 
you, Swear not at all ; neither by heaven ; 
for it is God's throne : 35. Nor by the earth, 
for it is his footstool : neither by Jerusalem ; 
for it is the city of the great King. 36. Nei- 
ther shalt thou swear by thy head, because 
thou canst not make one hair white or black : 
37. But let your communication be, Yea, 
yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than 
these, cometh of evil. 

We have here an exposition of the third command- 
ment, which we are the more concerned rightly to 
understand, because it is particularly said, that God 
will not hold him guiltless, however he may hold 
himself, who breaks this commandment, by taking 
the name uf the Lord God in vain. Kow as to this 
command, 

I. It is agreed on all hands that it forbids perjury, 
forswearing, and the violation of oaths and vows, v. 
33. This was said to them of old time, and is the 
trae intent and nieaningof the third commandment. 
Thou shalt not use, or take uji, the name of God {as 
we do by an oath) in vain, or itnto vanity, or a lie. 
He hath not lift ufi his soul untovanity, is expound- 
ed in the next words, 7ior sworn deceitfully, Ps. 24. 
4. Perjury is a sin condemned by the light of nature, 
as a complication of impiety toward God and injus- 
tice toward man, and as rendering a man highlv ob- 
noxious to the divine wrath, which was always judged 
to follow so infallibly upon that sin, that the forms 
of sweaj-ing were commonly turned into execi-ations 
or imprecations ; as that, God do so to me, and more 
also ; and with us. So hel/i me, God ; wishing I mav 
ne\-er liave any help from God, if I swear falselv. 
Thus, by the consent of nations, have men cursed 
themsehes, not doubting but that CJod would curse 
them, if they lied against the ti-uth then, when they 
solemnly called God to witness to it 

It is added, from some other scriptures, but shalt 
perform unto the Lord thine oaths ; (Numb. 30. 2.) 
which ma\' be meant, either, 1. Of those promises 
to which God is a party, \-ows made to God ; these 
must be punctually paid : (Eccl. 5. 4, 5.) or, 2. Of 
those promises made to our brethren, to which God 
was a Witness, he being appe;iled to concerning our 
sincerity ; these must be performed to the Lord, with 
an eye to him, and for his sake : for to him, by ra- 
tifying the projtise with an oath, we have made our- 
selves debtors ; and if we break a promise so rati- 
fied, we hax'e not lied unto men only, but unto God. 

II. It is here added, that the commandment does 
not only forbid false swearing, but all rash, unneces- 
sary swearing : Swear not at all, v. 34. Compare 
Jam. 5. 12. Not that all swearing is sinful, so far 
from that, if rightly done, it is a part of religious 
worship, and we in it give unto God the s^lorv due 
to his najne. See Deut. 6. 13. — 10. 20. Isa. 45. 23. 



Jer. 



We find Paul confirming what he said by 



such solemnities, (2 Cor. 1. 23.) when there was a 
necessity for it. In swearing, we pawn the tnith of 
something known, to confirm the truth of something 
doubtful or unknown ; we ap])eal to a greater know- 
ledge, to a higher court, and imprecate the ven- 
geance of a righteous Judge, if we swear deceitfully. 
Now the mind of Christ in this matter is, 
1. That we must yiot swear at all, but when we 
are duly called to it, and justice or charity to our 



brother, or respect to the commonwealth, makf it 
necessary for the end of strife, (Heb. 6. 16. ) of whi< h 
necessity the civil magistrate is ordinarily to be the 
judge. W'e may be sworn, but we must net swear , 
we may be adjured, and so obliged to it, but we 
must not thrust ourselves upon it for our own world- 
ly advantage. 

2. That we must not swear lightly and irreverent- 
ly in common discourse : it is a veiy gi-eat sin to 
make a ludicrous appeal to the glorious Majesty ot 
heaven, which, being a sacred thing, ought always 
to be very serious : it is a gross profanation cf God's 
holy name, and of one of the holy things which the 
children oj Israel sanctify to the Lord : it is a sin 
that has no cloak, no excuse for it, and therefore 
a sign of a graceless heart, in which enmity to God 
reigns ; Thine enemies take thy name in vain. 

3. That we must in a special manner avoid pro- 
missory oaths, of which Christ more particularly 
speaks here, for they are oaths that are to be per- 
formed. The influence of an afiirmative oath imme- 
diately ceases, when we have faithfully discovered 
the ti-uth, and the whole truth ; but a promissory 
oath binds so long, and may be so many ways broken, 
by the surprise as well as strength of a temptation, 
that it is not to be used but upon great necessity : the 
frequent requiring and using of oaths, is a reflection 
upon christians, who should be cf such acknowledged 
fidelity, as that their sober words should be as sacred 
as their solemn oaths. 

4. That we must not swear by any creature. It 
should seem there were some, who, in ci\ility(as 
they thought) to the name of God, would net make 
use of that in swearing, but would swear by heaven 
or earth, ijfc. This Christ forbids here, '{v. 34.) 
and shows that there is nothing we can swear by, 
but it is some way or other related to God, who is 
the Fountain of all beings, and therefore it is as dan- 
gerous to swear by them, as it is to swear by God 
himself : it is the verity of the creature that is laid 
at stake ; now that cannot be an instnament of tes- 
timonv, but as it has regard to Gcd, who is the S7im- 
mum verum — the chief Truth. As, for instance, 

(1.) Swear not by the heaven ; " As sure as there 
is a heaven, this is tnie ;" for it is God's throne, 
where he resides, and in a particular manner mani- 
fests his glory, as a Prince uprn his throne : this 
being the inseparable dignity of the upper world, 
you cannot swear by heaven, but you swear by God 
himself. 

(2. ) A'or by the earth, for it is his footstool. He 
go\eiTis the motions of this lower world ; as he rules 
in heaven, so he miles o\er the earth ; and though 
under his feet, vet it is also under his eye and care, 
and stands in relation to him as his, Ps. 24. 1. The 
earth is the Lord's ,- so that in swearing by it, you 
swear bv its Owner. 

(3.) A'either by Jerusalem, a place for which the 
Jews had such a veneration, that they cculd net 
speak of anv thing more sacred, to swear by ; 1)ut 
beside the common reference Jerusalem has to Gcd, 
as part of the earth, it is in special relation to him, 
for it is the city of the great King, (Ps. 4S. 2.) the city 
of God, (Ps. 46. 4.) he is therefore interested in it, 
and in e\e)y oath taken b}' it. 

(4. ) "M'ither shalt thou sieearby thy head ; though 
it be near thee, and an essential part of thee, vet it 
is more God's than thine ; for he made it, ;aid form- 
ed all the springs and powers of it ; whereas thcu 
thyself canst not, from any natural, intrinsic influ- 
ence, change the colour of one hair, so as to make 
it white or black ; so that thou canst not swear by 
thy head, but thou swearest by him who is the Life 
of thy head, and the Lifter up of it." Ps. 3. 3. 

5. That therefore in all our communication we 
must content ourselves with, Yea, yea, and, .Vay, 
nay, v. 3". In ordinar)' discourse, if we affirm a 



ST. MATTHKW, V. 



69 



thing, lot us only sav, Yea, it is so ; and, if need be, 
to cvidcMK-e our assurance of a tiling, we may double 
it, and sav. Yea, yea, indeed it is so : /Vn/i/, verily, 
w;us our tiiviour's tjea, i/ia. So if we deny a thing, 
let it suffice tn s:»v, No"; or, if it be requisite, to re- 
peat the denial, and sav, No, no ; and it our hdelity 
be known, tliat will suffice to gain us credit ; and it 
it lie questioned, to back what we say with swearing 
and cui-sing, is but to render it more suspicions. 
Tliev who can sirallo'H' a profane oath, will not it ram 
am 'lie. It isapitv, that this, which Christ puts 
in the mouths of all liis disciples, should be fastened, 
as a name of reproach, upon a sect faultv enough 
other wavs, when (as Dr. Hammond says) we are 
not only forbidden any more than yea and nay, but 
are in a manner directed to the use of that. 

Tlie reason is observable ; For ii'/iatxcever is more 
than these cometli ofex'il, though it do not amount to 
the iniquitv of an oath. It comes U t» Jii/Im ; so 
an ancient copy has it : it comes/;-o?» l/ie Devi!, the 
evil one ; it conies from the corruption of men's na- 
ture, from passion and vehemence ; from a rciijning 
vanity in the mind, and a coiitcnipt of sacred things : 
it comes from that deccitfulness wdiich is in men, 
ylll men are liars ; therefore men use these protes- 
Uitions, because thev are disti-ustful one of another, 
and think thev cannot be believed without them. 
Note, Christiaiis should, for the credit of their re- 
ligion, avoid not onlv that which is in itself evil, but 
t/iat ivhicli Cometh ofevil, and has the a/i/iearance of 
it That may be suspected as a bad thing, which 
comes from a'bad cause. An oath is physic, which 
supposes a disease. 

38. Ye have heard that it hath been 
said. An eye for an eye, and a tootli for a 
tooth: 39. But I say unto you, that ye 
resist not evil : hut whosoever shall smite 
thee on thy rijiht cheek, turn to him the 
other also. 40. And if any" man will sue 
thee at the law, and take away thy coat, 
let him have thy cloak also. 41. And who- 
soever sliail compel thee to go a mile, go 
with him tv.ain. 42. Give to him that ask- 
Dth thee, and from him that would boiTOw 
of thee turn not thou away. 

In these verses the law of retaliation is expound- 
ed, and in a manner repealed. Obsei-\e, 

I. ^\"hat the Old Testament /lermissiott was, in case 
of injurv ; and here the expression is only, Ye have 
heard that it has been said ; not, as before, concern- 
ing the commands of the decalogue, that it has been 
said by, or to, them of old time. It was not a com- 
mand, that eveiy one should of necessity require such 
satisfaction ; liut they might lawfully insist upon it, 
if thev pleased ; an eve for an et/e, and a tooth for a 
tooth.' This we find, "Exod. 21. 24. Lev. 24. 20. 
Dcut. 19. 21. in all wliicli places it is appointed to 
be done by the magistrate, who bears 7iot the sivord 
in x>ain, but is the minister of God, an avenp^er to ex- 
ecute ivrath, llom. 13. 4. It was a direction to the 
judges of the Jewish nation what punishments to in- 
flict in case of maims, for terror to such as would do 
mischief on the one hand, and for a restraint to such 
as have mischief done to them on the other hand, 
that thev mav not insist on a gi-eater punishment 
than is proper : it is not a life for an eye, nor a limb 
for a tooth, but obsene a proportion ; and it is inti- 
mated, (Numb. 35. 31.) that the forfeiture in this 
case might be redeemed with money ; for when it 
IS provided that no ransom shall be taken for the life 
of a murderer, it is supposed that for maims a pe- 
cuniary satisfaction was allowed. 



Rut some of the Jewish teachers, who were not 
the most compassionate men in the world, insisted 
upon it as neccssai-)', that such revenge should lie 
taken, even b\- pi-ivate persons themselves, and that 
there was no room left for remission, or the accept- 
ance of satisfaction. Even now, when they were un- 
der the go\ cnimcnt of the Komaii magistrates, and 
consequently the judicial law fell to the ground of 
course, yet they w ere still zealous for aii\- thing that 
looked harsh aiid severe. 

Now, so far this is in force with us, as a direction 
to magistrates, to use the sword of justice according 
to the good and wholesome laws of the land, for the 
terror of evil-doers, and the vindication of the op- 
pressed. That judge neither feared God, nor re- 
garded man, who would not rn'tvi^-c the poor widow 
of her adversani, Luke 18.. 2, 3. And it is in force 
as a rule to lawgivers, to provide accc;rdingly, and 
wisely to aiiportion punishments to ci-imes, for the 
restraint of rapine and violence, and the protection 
of innnccncv. 

11. WtiaixXvi .Netv-Testament fireceftt \i. As to 
the complainant himself, his duty is, to forifix-e the 
injury as done to himself, and no further to insist 
upon "the punishment of it than is necessaiy to the 
public good : and this precept is consonant to the 
meekness of Christ, and the gentleness of his yoke. 
Two things Christ teaches us here. 
1. We must not be revengeful ; (t. 39.) I say unto 
uou, that ye resist not ei'il ; — the evil jierson that is 
injurious to you. The resisting of any ill attempt 
upon us, is here as generally and cxpressh- forbidden, 
as the resisting' of the higher fio'-.uers is ; (Urm. 13. 2.) 
and yet this does not repeal the law of self-jji-cserva- 
tion,' and the care we are to take of our families : ive 
may avoid evil, and may resist it, so far as is neces- 
sary to our own security ; but we must not render cx'ii 
for ex'il, must not bear a giiid^e, nor a\cnge our- 
selves, nor stud\- to be even with those that have 
treated us uiikindlv, but we must go beyond them by 
forgiving them, Prov. 20. 22.-24. 29.-25. 21, 22. 
Rom. 12. 1". The law of retaliation must be made 
consistent with the law of love : nor, if any have in- 
jured us, is our recompense in our own hands, but in 
the hands of God, to whose wrath we must give 
place ; and sometimes in the hands of his vicegerents, 
where it is necessai-y for the presenation of the pub- 
lic peace : but it will not justify us in hulling our 
brother, to sav that he began, for it is the second 
blow that makes the quaiTel ; and when we were 
injured, we had an opportunity not to justify our in- 
juring him, but to show ourselves the tme disciples 
of Christ, bv forgi\-ing him. 

Three things our Saviour instances, to show that 
christians must patiently yield to those who bear 
hard upon them, rathe'r than contend; and these 
include others. 

(1.) A blow on the cheek, which is an injuiy to me 
in mv body ; " Whosoever shall smite thee on thy 
right eheei, which is not only a hurt, but an affront 
and indignity, (2 Cor. 11. 20.) if a man in anger or 
scorn thus abuse thee, turn to him the other check ;" 
that is, instead of avenging that injuiy, prejiare for 
another, and bear it patiently : give not the rade 
man as good as he brings ; do riot challenge him, nor 
enter an action against him ; if it be necessaiy to the 
public peace that he be bound to his good behaviour, 
leave that to the magistrate ; but for thy own part, 
it will ordinarily be the wisest course to pass it by, 
and take no further notice of it : there are no bones 
broken, no great harm done, forgive it, and forget it ; 
and if proud fools think the worse of thee, and laugh 
at thee for it, all wise men will value and honour 
thee for it, as a follower of the blessed Jesus, who, 
though he was the Judge of Israel, did not smite 
those who smote him on the cheek, Micah 5._ 1. 
1 Though this may perhaps, with some base spirits. 



60 



ST. MATTHEW. \. 



expose us to the like affront another time, and so it 
is, in elFect, to turn the other cheek, yet let not that 
disturb us, but let us trust God and his providence 
to protect us in the way of our duty. Perhaps, the 
forgiving of one injury may prevent another, when the 
avenging of it would but draw on another ; some will 
be overcome by submission, who by resistance would 
but be the more exasperated, Prov. 25. 22. How- 
ever, our recompense is in Christ's hands, who will 
reward us with eternal glory for the shame we thus 
patiently endure ; and though it be not directly in- 
flicted, if it be quietly bom for conscience sake, and 
in conformity to Christ's example, it shall be put 
upon the score of suffering for Christ. 

(2.) The loss of a coat, which is a wrong to me in 
my estate ; (v. 40.) If any man will sue thee at the 
law, and take away thy coat; It is a hard case. Note, 
It is common for legal processes to be made use of for 
the doing of the greatest injuries. Though Judges 
be just and circumspect, yet it is possible for bad 
men, who make no conscience of oaths and forgeries, 
by course of law to force off the coat from a man's 
back. Marvel not at the matter, (Eccl. 5. 8.) but, 
in such a case, rather than go to law by way of re- 
venge, rather than exhibit a cross bill, or stand out 
to the utmost, in defence of that which is thy undoubt- 
ed right, let him even take thy cloak also. If the 
matter be small, which we mav lose without anv 
considerable damage to our families, it is good to 
submit to it for peace sake. " It will not cost thee 
so much to buy another cloak, as it will cost thee by 
course of law to recover that; and therefore unless 
thou canst get it again by fair means, it is better to 
let him take it. " 

(3.) The going a mile by constraint, which is a 
wrong to me in my liberty ; (v. 41.) " JThosoever 
shall compel thee to go a mile, to run of an errand for 
him, or to wait upon him, grudge not at it, but go 
with him two miles rather than fall out with him : 
say not, " I would do it, if I were not compelled to 
it, but I hate to be forced ;" rather sav, " There- 
fore I will do it, for otherwise there will be a quar- 
rel ;" and it is better to serve him, than to serve 
thy own lusts of pride and revenge. Some give this 
sense of it : The Jews taught that the disciples of 
the wise, and the students of the law, were not to 
be pressed, as others might, by the king's officers, 
to travel upon the public service ; but Christ will not 
have his disciples to insist upon this privilege, but to 
comply rather than offend the government. The 
sum of all is, that christians must not be litigious ; 
small injuries must be submitted to, and no notice 
taken of them ; and if the injuiy be such as requires 
us to seek reparation, it must be for a good end, and 
without thought of revenge : though we must not in- 
vite injuries, yet we must meet them cheerfully in 
the way of duty, and make the best of them. If any 
say. Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, 
let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God. 

2. We must be charitable and beneficent ; {v. 42.) 
must not only do no hurt to our neighbours, but la- 
bour to do them all the good we can. (1.) \'\'e must 
be ready to give ; " Gix'e to him that asketh thee. If 
thou hast an ability, look upon the request of the 
poor, as gi\'ing thee an opportunity for the duty of 
almsgiving. " When a real object of charity presents 
itself, we should give at the first word : Give a fior- 
tion to se-ven, and also to eight ; yet the affairs of our 
charity ■mwsX he guided with discretion, (Ps. 112. 5.) 
lest we give that to the idle and unworthy, which 
should be given to those that are necessitous, and 
deserve well. What God says to us, we should be 
ready to say to our poor brethren, Jsk, and it shall 
be grven you. (2.) We must be ready to lend. This 
is sometimes as great a piece of charity as gi\-ing ; 
as it not only relieves the present exigence, but ob- 



liges the boiTower to providence, industry, and ho 
nesty ; and therefore, " From him that would borrow 
of thee something to live on, or something to trade on, 
turn not thou away: shun not those that thou know- 
est have such a request to make to thee, nor contrive 
excuses to shake them off. Be easy of access to him 
that would borrow: though he be bashful, and have 
not confidence to make known his case and beg the 
favour, yet thou knowest both his need and his desire, 
and therefore offer him the kindness." Exorabor 
antequam rogor ; honestis precibus occurram — I will 
be firei'ailed on before lam entreated ; I will antici- 
pate the becoming petition. Seneca, Z)e Vita beata. 
It becomes us to be thus forward in acts of kindness, 
for before we call, God hears us, and prevents -us 
with the blessings of his goodness. 

43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate 
thine enemy : 44. But I say unto j'ou. Love 
your enemies, bless them that curse you, 
do good to them that hate you, and pray 
for them which despitefully use you and 
persecute you : 45. That ye may be the 
children of 30ur Father which is in heaven : 
for he makelh liis sun to rise on the evil 
and on the good, and sendeth rain on the 
just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love 
them which love 3'ou, what re\^ard have 
ye ? Do not even the publicans the same ? 
47. And if ye salute your brethren only, 
what do ye more than others ? Do not 
even the publicans so ? 48. Be ye there- 
fore perfect, even as your Father which is 
in heaven is perfect. 

We have here, lastly, an ex'insition of that great 
fundamental law of the secontl tL.b'.e, Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour, which was the tulfiUing of the law. 

I. See here how this law was con-upted by the 
comments of the Jewish teachers, t. 43. God said, 
Tliou shalt love thy neighbour ; and by neighbour 
they understood those only of their own country, 
nation, and religion ; and those only that \\\ey_ were 
pleased to look upon as their friends ; yet this was 
not the worst ; from this command. Thou shalt love 
tliy neighbour, they were willing to infer what God 
never designed. Thou shalt hate thine enemy; and 
thev looked upon whom they pleased as their ene- 
mies, thus making void the gi-eat command of God 
by their traditions, though there were express laws 
to the contrar)', Exod. 23. 4, 5. Dcut 23. 7. Thou 
shalt not abhor an Edomite nor an Egy/itian, though 
these nations had been as much enemies to Israel as 
any whatsoever. It was true, God appointed them 
to destroy the seven devoted nations of Canaan, and 
not to make leagues with them ; but there was a par 
ticular reason for it — to make room for Israel, anc 
that they might not be snares to them ; but it was 
very ill-natured from hence to infer, that they must 
hate all their enemies ; yet the moral philosophy of 
the heathen allowed this. It is Cicero's nile, A'e- 
mini nocere nisi prius lacessitum injuria — To injure 
no one, unless previously injured. De Offic. See 
how willing corrupt passions are to fetch counte- 
nance from the word of God, and to take occasion by 
the commandment to justify themselves. 

II. See how it is cleared by the command of the 
Lord Jesus, who teaches us another lesson : " But 1 
say unto you, I, who come to be the great Peace- 
maker, the general Reconciler, who loved you when 
you were strangers and enemies, I say. Love your 
enemies," v. 44. Though men are ever so bad them- 



ST. MATTHEW. V. 



61 



selves, and carry it ever so basely towards us, yet 
that docs not discharg;c us from the gi-eat debt we 
owe them, of love to our kind, love to our kin. W'c 
cannot but find oiu'selvcs veiy prone to wisli tlie luirt, 
or at least \er)' coldly to desu-c the \:;('0(\, of those 
t/iat liatf us, and have been abusive to us ; but that 
which is at the bottom hereof, is a root of bitterness 
which must be plucked u]), and a remnant of rornipt 
nature which grace nnist conquer. Note, It is the 
j^eat duty of Christians to I'jvi- their enemies ; we | 
c;uinot ha\ c complacenc)- in one that is openly wick- 
ed and ijrofane, nor put a confidence in one that we 
know to be deceitful ; nor are we to lo\ c all alike ; [ 
but we must \r<\.y respect to the human nature, and 
so far honour all men : we nuist take notice, with 
pleasure, of that even in our enemies which is amia- 
ble and commendable ; ini^enuity, good temper, 
learning, moral virtue, kindness to others, profession 
of religion, &c. and love that, thovigh they are our 
enemies. W'c m\ist have a coni])assion for them, and 
a good will toward them. \\'e arc here told, I 

1. That we must sfieak well of them : Blef:s them 
that curse you. When we speak to them, we must 
answer their revilings ivith courteous and friendly 
words, and not render railing for railing ; behind 
their backs we must commend that in them which 
is commendable, and when we ha\c said all the good 
we can of them, not be forward to say any thing 
more. See 1 Pet. 3. 9. They, in whose tongues is 
the /«:;' of ).'iridness, c:m give good words to those 
who give bad words to them. 

2. That we must do well to them. " Do good to 
them that hate you, and that will be a better proof 
of love than good words. Be ready to do them all 
the real kindness that you can, and glad of an oppor- 
tunity to do it, in their bodies, estates, names, fami- 
lies ; and especially to do good to their souls." It was 
said of Archbishop Cranmer, that the way to make 
him a friend was to do him an ill turn ; so many did 
he serve who had disobliged him. 

3. We must /tray for them ; /irayfor them that I 
desfiilefully use you, and /lersecnte vou. Note, (1.) 
It is no new thing for the most excellent saints to be 
hated, and cursed, and persecuted, and despitefully 
used, by wicked people ; Christ himself was so treat- 
ed. (2. ) That when at any time we meet with such 
usage, we have an opportunity of showing our con- 
formity both to the precept aiid to the example of 
Christ, by prav-ing for them who thus abuse us. If 
we cannot otherwise testifv our love to them, yet 
this way we may without ostentation, and it is such 
a way as surely we durst not dissemble in. We must 
pray that God will forgive them, that they may ne- 
ver fare the worse for any thing thev have done 
against us, and that he would make tlieni to be at 
peace with us ; and this is one way of making them 
so. I'lutarch, in his Laconic A]ioi)hthcgrns, has 
this of Aristo ; when one commended Cleomencs's 
sapng, who, being asked r.'hat a good kmg should 
do, replied, Toii? fxii ^/xnr ('jtfyiriTt, Tiic Js e;^Sf»t 
xixJc V'.iih — Good turns to his friends, and evil to 
his enetnies ; he said, How much better is it -rutit /xh 

<fi\at t'jefyiTUi, Tii't Jii^ip«t ^ihat: -rutir — tO do gOOd 

to our friends, and make friends of our enemies. This 
is heaping coals of/ire on their head. 

Two reasons are here given to enforce this com- 
mand (which sounds so harsh) oi loving our enanies. 
Wn must do it, 

[1.] Thaiwemayhe lUe Godour father; "that 
ye may be, may approve yourselves to lie, the chil- 
dren of your Father '.vhich is in heaven." Can we 
■write after abetter copy ' It is a copy in which love 
tothe %vorst of enemies' is reconciled' to, and consis- 
tent with, infinite purity and holiness. God maketh 
his sun t-o rise, and sendeth rain, on the just and tm- 

{ust, V. 45. Note, J-'irst, Sunshine and rain are great 
ilessings to the world, and they come from God. It 



is his sun that shines, and the rain is sent by him. 
They do not come of course, or by chance, but from 
God. Secondly, Common mercies nmst be valued 
as instances and proofs of the goodness of (Jod, who 
in them shows Inmself a bountiful benefactor to the 
woild of mankind, who would be very miserable 
without these favours, and are utterl)- unworthy of 
the least of them. Thirdly, These gifts (jf common 
pro\ idence are dispensed indiflferently to good and 
ex'il,just and unjust ; so that we cannot know love 
3.nt\ hatred h\ what \^ before us, but by what Kivith- 
in us; not by the shining of the siu\ on our heads, but 
by the rising of the sun of righteousness in our hearts. 
J<'ourthli/, 'I'he worst of men partake of the comforts 
rtf this lite in conmion with others, though they abuse 
them, and fi.ght aijainstGod with his own weajjons; 
which is an amazmg instance of God's ijaticncc and 
bounty. It was but once that (jod forbade his sun 
to shine on the Egyptians, when the Israelites had 
light in their direllings ; Clod could make such a dis- 
tinction e\eiy da}-. Fifthly, The gifts of God's 
bounty to wicked 'n\cn that are in rebellion against 
him, teach us to do good to those that hate us ; espe- 
cially considering, that though there is in us a carnal 
mind which is enmity to God, yet we share in his 
bounty. Sixthly, Those only will be accepted as 
the children of God, who study to resemble him, 
particularly in his goodness. 

[2.] That we may herein do more than others, v. 
46, 47. First, Publicans love their friends. Nature 
inclines them to it ; interest directs them to it. To 
do good to them who do good to us, is a common 
piece of humanit)-, which even those whom the Jews 
hated and despised could give as good proofs of as 
the best of them. The Publicans were men of no 
good fame, yet thev were gi-ateful to such as had 
helped them to their places, and courteous to those 
they had a dependence u]5on ; and shall we be no 
better than they .' In doing this we sei-ve ourselves 
and consult our own advantage ; and what rew ard 
can we expect for that, unless a regard to Gcd, and 
a sense of duty, carry us further than cur natural in- 
clination and worldly interest ? Secondly, We must 
therefore lo\e cur enemies, that we may exceed 
them. If we must go beyond Scribes and Pharisees, 
much more beyond Publicans. Note, Christianity 
is something more than humanity. It is a serious 
question, and which we should freqviently put to 
ourselves, " Jl'hat do ii-e more than others? ll'hat 
excelling thing do we do ? We knoiv mere than oth- 
ers ; we talk more of the things of God than others ; 
we profess, and have promised, more than others ; 
God has done more for us, and therefore justly ex- 
pects more from us than from others ; the gloiy of 
God is more concei'ned in us than in others ; but 
r.'hat do ive more than others? ^^'herein do wc live 
above the rate of the children of this world ? ..ire 
ii<e not carnal, and do we not walk as men, belcw 
the character of christians ? In this especially we 
must do more than othei-s, that while every one will 
render ,!;'oorf for good, we must render .^'oorf for ri'//; 
and this will speak a nobler principle, and is conso- 
nant to a higher rule, than the most of men act by. 
Others salute their brethren, the>' embrace those of 
their own part\', and way, and opinion ; but we 
must not so confine our respect, but love our nie- 
mies, otherwise nvhat reivard have ive ? We cannot 
expect the reward of christians, if we rise no higher 
than the virtue of Publicans." Note, They who 
promise themselves a reward above others, must 
study to do more than others. 

I.asthi, Our Saviour concludes this subject with 
this exhortation, {v. 48.) Be ye therefore perfect, as 
vour Father irhich is in heave?! is perfect. W hich 
may be understood, 1. In gcnei-al, including all those 
things wherein we must he follou-ers of God as dear 
children. Note, It is the duty of christians to desire. 



62 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



and aim at, and press towards, a perfection in sp-ace 
and holiness, Phil. 3. 12 — 14. And therein we must 
study to conform ourselves to the example of our 
heavenly Father, 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. Or, 2. In this 
paiticular before mentioned, of doing good to our 
enemies ; see Liike 6. 3(5. It is God's perfection to 
forgive injuries and to entertain strangers, and to do 
good to the evil and unthankful, and it will be ours 
to be like him. VVe that owe so much, that owe our 
ail, to the divine bountv. might to copy it out as well 
js we can. r 

CHAP. VI. 

Christ having, in t!ie former chapter, armed his disciples 
against the corrupt doctrines and opinions of the Scribes 
and Pliarisees, especially in their expositions of the law, 
(that was called their leaven, ch. 16. 12.) comes in tliis 
chapter to warn them against tiieir corrupt practices ; 
against the two sins, which, though in their doctrine they 
did not justify, yet in tlieir conversation they were notori- 
ously guilty of, hypocrisy and worldly-niindedness ; sins 
which, of all others, the professors of religion need most to 
euard against, as sins that most easily beset those who 
have escaped the grosser pollutions that are in the world 
through lust, and which are therefore highly dangerous. 
We are here cautioned, I. Against hypocrisy ; we must not 
be as the hypocrites are, nor do as the hypocrites do. 1. 
In giving of alms, v. 1 .. 4. 2. In prayer, v. 5 . . 8. We are 
here taught wiiat to pray for, and how to pray ; (v. 9 . . 13.) 
and to forgive in prayer, v. 14, 15. 3. In fasting, y. 16 . . 18. 
II. Against worldly-mindedness. 1. In our choice, which 
is the destroying sin of hypocrites, V. 19 . . 24. 2. In our 
cares, wliich is the disquieting sin of many good chris- 
tians, v. 25 . . 34. 

I. y I \\KE heed that ye do not your 
JL ahns before men, to be seen of 
them: otherwise ye have no reward oi" 
your Father wliich is in lieaven. 2. There- 
fore when thou doest thine alms, do not 
sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypo- 
crites do in the synagogues and in the 
streets, that they may have gloiy of men. 
Verily I say unto you, they have their re- 
ward. 3. But when thou doest alms, let 
not thy left hand know what thy right 
hand doeth : 4. That thine alms may be 
in secret : and tliy father, which seeth in 
secret, himself shall reward thee openly. 

As we must do better than the Scribes and Phari- 
sees in avoiding heart-sins, heart-adultery and heart- 
murder, so likewise in maintaining and keeping up 
heait i-eligion, doing what we do from an inward, 
vital principle, that we may be approved of God, 
not that we may be applauded of men ; that is, we 
must watch against hypocrisy, which was the leaven 
of the Pharisees, as well as against their doctrine, 
Luke 12. 1. yllms-giving, firayer, and fasting, are 
three great christian duties — ^the three foundations 
of the law, say the .\rabians : by them we do hom- 
age and serv ce to God with our three principal in- 
terests ; by prayer with our souls, by fasting with 
our bodies, by alms-gii'ing with our estates. Thus 
we must riot only depart from evil, but do good, and 
do it wel', and so dwell for ei'ermore. 

Now in these verses we are cautioned against hy- 
pocrisy in giving alms. Talce heed of it Our being 
bid to take heed of it, intimates that it is a sin, 1. We 
are in great danger of; it is a subtle sin ; vain- 
glory insinuates itself into what we do ere we are 
aware. The disciples would be tempted to it by 
the power they had to do many wondrous works, 
and their living with some that admired them and 
others that despised them, both which are tempta- 
tions to covet to make a fair show in the flesh. 2. 
It is a sin we are in great danger by. Take heed of 



hypocrisy, for if it reign in you, it will ruin you. It 
is' the dead fly that spoils the whole box of precious 
ointment. 
Two things are here supposed. 

I. The grving of ahns is a great duty, and a duty 
which all the disciples of Christ, according to their 
abilit)-, must abound in. It is prescribed by the law 
of nature and of Moses, and gi-eat stress is laid upon 
it bv the prophets. Divers ancient copies here foi 
Ti'ii' lAsiiy.&fl'^'i'iJV — yoitr ahns, read tj> tT/jcaf&c-t-'vJiv— 
your righteousness, for alms are righteousness, Ps. 
112. 9. Prov. 10. 2. The Jews called the poor's 
box, the box of righteousness. That which is given 
to the poor is said to be their due, Prov. 3. 27. The 
duty is not the less necessary and excellent for its 
being abused by h^-pocrites to seiwe their pride. If 
superstitious Papists have placed a merit in works 
of charity, that will not be an excuse for covetous 
Protestants that are barren in such good works. It 
is true, our alms-deeds do not deseiwe heaven ; but 
it is as tnie that we cannot go to heaven without 
them. It IS pure religion, (Jam. 1. 27.) and will be 
the test at the great (Jay ; Christ here takes it for 
gi'anted that his disciples give alms, nor wiU he own 
those that do not. 

II. That it is such a duty as has a great reward 
attending it, which is lost it it be done in hypocrisy. 
It is sometimes rewarded in temporal things with 
plenty; (Prov. 11. 24, 25. — 19. 17.) security fro-m 
mint; (Prov. 28. 27. Ps. 37. 21, 25.) succour in dis- 
tress ; (Ps. 41. 1, 2.) honour and a good name, 
which follow those most that least covet them, Ps. 
112. 9. However, it shall be recompensed in the 
resurrection of the just, (Luke 14. 14. ) in eternal 
riches. 

Quas dederis, solas semper habebis, opes. 

The riches you impart form the only nvealth you 
tvill akvays retain. — Martial. 

This being supposed, obsen-e now, 

1. ^^'hat was the practice of the hypocrites about 
this duty. They did it indeed, but not from any 
principle of obedience to God, or love to man, but in 
pride and vain-glory ; not in compassion to the poor, 
but purely for ostentation, that they might be ex- 
tolled for good men, and so might gain an interest in 
the esteem of the people, with which they knew 
how to serve their own turn, and to get a great deal 
more than thev gave. Pursuant to this intention, 
thev chose to give their alms in the synagogues, and 
in the streets, where there was the greatest concourse 
of people to obser%e them, who applauded their libe- 
rality because they shared in it, but were so igno- 
rant as not to discern their abominable pride. Pro- 
bably thev had collections for the poor in the syna- 
gogues, and the common beggars haunted the streets 
: and highways, and iipon these public occasions they 
chose to give their alms. Not that it is unlawful to 
give alms Tc/jra men see tis ; we may do it, we must 
do it, but not that men ?nay see i/s ; we should rather 
choose those objects of charity that are less observed. 
The hypocrites, if they gave alms at their own 
houses, sounded a trumpet, under pretence of call- 
ing the poor together to be seiwed, but really to 
proclaim their charity, and to have that taken no- 
tice of and made the subject of discourse. 

Now the doom that Christ passes upon this is veiy 
observable ; Verily I say unto you, they have their 
reward. At first view this seems a promise — If 
they have their reward they have enough, but two 
words in it make it a threatening. 

(1.) It is a reward, but it is Mrir reward ; not the 
reward which God promises to them that do good, 
but the reward which they promise themselves, and 
a poor reward it is ; they did it to be seni of -men, 
and thev are seen of men ; they chose their own de- 
lusi07is with which they cheated themselves, and 
they shall have what they chose. Carnal professors 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



G3 



stipulate with God for prefcnncnt, honour, wealth, 
aiia they shall have their bellies filled with those 
things ; (Ps. 17. 14.) hut let them expect no nime ; 
these are their consolation, (Luke 6. 24. ) theii' good 
things, (Luke 16. 25.) and they shall be put offwith 
these. " Didnt not thou ai^rec ".villi me for a /icnny ? 
It is tlie bargain thou art likely to abide by." 

(2. ) It is a reward, but it is a /irrseiit g^im-di 
they /icrt'e it ; and tlicre is none reserved tor tlieni 
in the future state. Thcv now have all that they 
are likely to have from Ciml ; they have their re- 
ward here, and have none to hope for hereafter. 
'.Ktt'.j^'ti ti /ui(r6iv. It signifies a reai/it i>i full. 
^Vlult rewards the godly ha\e in this life are but in 
part of/myment; there is more behind, much more ; 
but hypocntes have their all in this world, so shall 
their doom be ; themselves have decided it. The 
world is but for firoxnuion to the saints, it is their 
spending money ; but it is fiaij to hypocrites, it is 
their portion. 

2. U'hat is thefirecfpt of our Lord Jesus about it. 
V. 3, 4. He that was himself such an example of 
humility, pressed it upon his disciples, as absolutely 
neccssaiT to the acceptance of their performances. 
" Let not tliii left hand knovj what thy right hand 
doeth when thou givest alms. " Perhaps it alludes to 
the placing of the Corban, the poor man's box, or 
the chest into which thev c;vst their free-will offer- 
ings, 071 the right hand of the passage into the tem- 
ple ; so that they put their gifts into it with the right 
hand. Or the giv ing of alms with the right hand, 
intimates readiness to it and resolution in it ; do it 
dexterouslv, not awkwardly, or with a sinister in- 
tention. 'I'he right hand may be used in helping 
the l^r, lifting them up, writing for them, dressing 
their sores, and other ways besides giving to them ; 
but " whatever kindness thv right hand doeth to the 
poor, let Jiot thy left hand know it : conceal it as 
much as possible ; industriously keep it private. 
Do it because it is a good work, not because it will 
get thee a good name." In omnibus factis, re, non 
teste, moTeamur — In all our actions, nve should be 
influenced by a regard to the object, not to the ob- 
scn'er. Cic. dc Fin. It is intimated, (1.) That we 
must not let others know what we do ; no, not those 
that stand at our left hand, that are very near us. 
Instead of acquainting them with it, keep it from 
them if possible ; however, appear so desirous to 
keep it from them, as that in civility they may seem 
not to take notice of it, and keep it to themselves, 
and let it go no further. (2. ) That we must not ob- 
serve it too much ourselves : the left h;md is a part 
of ourselves ; we must not within oursehes take no- 
tice too much of the good we do, must not applaud 
and admire ourselves. Self-conceit and self-com- 
placency, and an adoring of our own shadow, are 
branches of pride, as dangerous as vain-glory and 
ostentation before men. Vv'e find those had their 
good works remembered to their honour, who had 
themselves forgotten them : When saw we thee an 
hungred, or athirst ? 

3. A\'hat is the firomiie of those mho are thus sin- 
cere_ and humble in their alms-giving. Let thine 
alms be in secret, and then thy Father which sceth in 
secret will observe them. Note, ^^'hen we take 
least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes 
most notice of them. As God hears the wrongs done 
to us when we do not hear them, (Ps. 38. 14, 15.) so 
he sees the good done by us, when we do not see it. 
As it is a terror to liv^ccrites, so it is a comfoit to 
sincere christians, that God sees in secret. But this 
is not all ; not only the obscn-ation and praise, but 
the recomjjensc, is of God, himself shall re^vard thee 
ofienly. Tsote, They who in their alms-giving study 
to approve themselves to God, only turn themsehes 
over to him for their Paymaster. The hypocrite 
catches at the shadow, but the upright man makes 



sure of the substance. Obsci-ve how emphatically 
it is expressed ; himself shall reheard, he will him- 
self be the Kewarder, Heb. 11. 6. Let him alone 
to make it up in kind or kindness ; nay, he will him 
self be the Jieward, (^Gen. 15. 1.) thine exceeding 
great reward. He will reward thee as thy I'ather. 
not as a master who gives his servant just what he 
earns and no more, but as a father who gives abun- 
dantly more, and without stint, to his son that serves 
him. ' Kay, he shall reward thee o/ienly, if not in 
the present day, yet in the great day ; then shall 
ex'enf man have firaise of Cod, open praise, thou 
shalt be confessed Ai^brcmc/i. If the work be not 
open, the reward shall, and that is better. 

3. And wlion tliou'praycst, thou slialt 
not bo as tho liypociitcs arc : for they love 
to pray slandins in tlie synasopics and in 
the corners of the streets, tluit tliey maybe 
seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they 
have their reward. G. But thou, when thou 
praycst, enter into thy closet, and when 
tiiou hast simt thy door, pray to thy Fa- 
ther ^\■ilich is in secret ; and thy Father, 
which seeth in secret, shall reward tiiee 
openly. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain 
repetitions, as the heathen do : for they 
think that they shall be heard for tlicir 
much speaking. 8. Be not ye therefore 
like unto them: for your Father knoweth 
what things ye have need of, before ye ask 
him. 

In prayer we have more immediately to do with 
God than in giving ahns, and therefore are \'et more 
concerned to be .sincere, which is wliat we are here 
directed to. When thou firayc.ft ; (t. 5.) it is taken 
for granted that all the disciples of Christ firay. As 
soon as ever Paul was converted, behold, he prayeth. 
Vou may as soon find a living man that does not 
breathe, as a li\ ing christian that does not pray. 
For this shall ex'ery one that is godly pray. If pray- 
erless, then gi-aceless. " Now, when thou prayest, 
thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, nor do as they 
do." (y. 2.) Note, Those who would not do as the 
hypocrites do in their way and actions, must not be 
as the hypocrites are in their frame and temper. 
He names nobody, but it appears by ch. 23. 13. that 
bv the hypocrites here he means especially the 
Scribes and Pharisees. 

Kow there were two great fiuilts they were guilty 
' f in praver, against each of which we are here cau- 
tioned — vain-glorv ; {v. 5, 6.) and vain repetitions, 
T'. 7, 8. ■ 

I. ^^'e must not be proud and vain-glorious in 
prayer, nor aim at the praise of men. And here 
obsene, 

1. \\'hat was the ivcv and practice of the hypo- 
crites. In all their exercises of devotirn, it was plain 
the chief thing they aimed at was to be commended 
by their neighbours, and thereby to make an inter- 
est for themselves. \Mien they'secmcd to soar up- 
wards in praver, (and if it be right, it is the soul's 
ascent toward God,) yet even then their eye was 
downwards upon this as their prey. Observe, 

(1.) \\"hat the places were which they chose for 
their devotion ; they prayed in the synagogues, which 
were indeed proper places for public prayer, but not 
for personal. They pretended hereby to do honour 
to the place of their assemblies, but iiitended to do 
honour to themsehes. They prayed in the corners 
of the streets, the broad sti-eets, (so the word signi- 
fies,) which were most frequented. They ivithdrew 



64 



bT. MATTHEW, VI. 



thitl" er, as if tViey were under a pious impulse which 
would not admit dckiv, but really it was to make 
themselves to be taken notice ot. There, where 
two streets met, they were not only within view of 
both, but every passenger turning close upon them 
would observe them, and hear what they said. 

(2.) The jiosture they used in prayer ; they pray- 
ed stimding; this is a lawful and proper posture for 
prayer, (iVlark 11. 25. When ye stand jiraying,') 
but' kneeling being the more humble and re\erent 
gesture, Luke 22. '41. Acts 7. 60. Eph. 3. 14. their 
standing seemed to savour of pride and confidence 
in themselves, (Luke 18. 11.) The Pharisee stood 
and prayed. 

(3. ) 'I'heir firide in choosing those public places, 
which is expressed in two things : [1.] They /off 
to pray there. They did not love prayer for its own 
sake, but they loved it when it gave them an oppor- 
tunity of makmg themselves noticed. Circumstances 
may be such, that our good deeds must needs be 
done openly, so as to fall under the observation of 
others, and be commended by them ; but the sin and 
danger is when we love it, and are pleased with it, 
because it feeds the proud humour. [2.] It is that 
they may be seen of men ; not that God might accept 
them, but that men might admire and applaud 
them ; and that they might easily get the estates of 
widows and oi-phans into their hands ; (who would 
not trust such devout, praying men i") and that, when 
they had them, they might devour them without 
being suspected ; {ch. 23. 14.) and effectually cany 
on their public designs to enslave the people. 

(4. ) The firoduct of all this, they have their re- 
ivard ; they have all the recompense they must ever 
expect from God for their service, and a poor re- 
compense it is. What will it avail us to have the 
good word of our fellow-servants, if our Master do 
not say, IVell done. But if in so great a transaction 
as is between us and God, when we are at prayer, 
we can take in so poor a consideration as the praise 
of men is, it is just that tliat should be all our re- 
ward. They did it to be seen of men, and thev are 
so ; and much good may it do them. Note, Those 
that would approve themselves to God by their in- 
tegrity in their religion, must have no regard to the 
praise of men ; it is not to men that we pray, nor 
from them that we expect an answer ; they are not 
to be our judges, they are dust and ashes like our- 
selves, and therefore we must not have our eye to 
them : what passes between God and our own souls 
must be out of sight. In our synagogue-worship, we 
must avoid every thing that tends to make our per- 
sonal devotion remarkable, as they that caused tlieir 
■voice to be heard on high, Isa. 54. 8. Public places 
are not proper for private, solemn prayer. 

2. What is the nvill of Jesus Christ in opposition 
to this. Humility and sincerity are tlie two gTeat 
lessons that Christ teaches us ; Thou, tvhen thou 
pray est, do so and so ; (t'. 6.) thou in particular by 
thyself, and for thyself. Personal prayer is here 
supposed to be the duty and practice of all Christ's 
disciples. Observe, 

(1.) The directions here given about it. 

[1.] Instead of praying in the synagogues and in 
the corners of the streets, enter into thy closet, into 
some place of privacy and retirement. Isaac went 
into the field, (Gen. 24. 63.) Christ to a mountain, 
Peter to the house-top. No place amiss in point of 
ceremony, if it do but answer the end. Note, Se- 
cret prayer is to be performed in retirement, that 
we may be unobserved, and so may avoid ostenta- 
tion ; undisturbed, and so may avoid distraction ; 
unheard, and so may use the greater freedom ; yet 
if the circumstances be such that we cannot possibly 
avoid being taken notice of, we m\ist not therefore 
neglect the duty, lest the omission be a greater scan- 
dal than the observation of it. 



I [2. ] Instead of doing it to be seen of mem, firay to 
\thy Father which is in secret ; to me, ex'en to me, 
I Zech. 7. 5, 6. l"he Pharisees prayed rather to men 
; than to God ; whatever was the form of their prayer, 
the scope of it was to beg the applause of men,'and 
! court their favours. "Well, do thou i)ray to God, 
and let that be enough for thee. Pray to him as a Fa- 
ther,««i((f5j|y Father, ready to hear and answer, gra- 
ciously inclined to pity, help, and succour thee. 
Pray to thy Father 7:'/;/f/j is in secret." Note, In 
secret prayer we must have an eye to God, as pre- 
I sent in all places ; he is there in thy closet when ' 
no one else is there ; there especially nigh to thee in 
j what thou caltest ii/ion him for. ^y secret prayer 
j we give God the glory of his universal presence, 
; (Acts \7. 24.) and may take to ourselves the com- 
i tort of it. 

(2.) The encouragements here given us to it. 
[l.j Thy Father seeth in secret ; his eye is upon 
thee to accept thee, when the eye of no man is upon 
thee to applaud thee ; under the Jig-tree I satv thee, 
said Christ to Nathaniel, John 1. 48. He saw PaW 
at prayer in such a street, at such a house. Acts 9. 
11. There is not a secret, sudden breathing after 
God, but he obser\'es it. 

[2. ] He nvitl reward thee openly ; they, have their 
reward that do it openly, and thou shalt not lose 
thine for thy doing it in secret. It is called a reward, 
but it is of grace, not of debt ; what merit can there 
be in begging ? The reward will be open ; they shall 
not only have it, but have it honourably : the open 
reward is that which hypocrites are fond of, but 
they have not patience to stay for it ; it is that which 
the sincere are dead to, and they shall have it over 
and abo\'e. Sometimes secret prayers are rewarded 
openly in this world by signal answers to them, 
which manifest God's praying people in the con- 
sciences of their adversaries ; however, at the great 
day there will be an open reward, when all pi-aying 
people shall afi/iear in glory with the gi'cat Inter- 
cessor. The Pharisees had their reward before all 
the town, and it was a mere flash and shadow ; true 
christians shall have theirs before all the world, 
angels and men, and it shall be a weight of glory. 

II. We must not use vain repetitions in prayer. 
1'. 7, 8. Though the life of prayer lies in lifting vh 
the soul and /louring out the heart, yet there is some 
interest which words have in prayer, especially in 
joint prayer ; for in that, words are necessary, and 
it should seem that our Saviour speaks here eipc- 
cially of that; for before he said, when thou prayest, 
here, when ye firay ; and the Lord's prayer which 
follows is a joint prayer, and in that, he that is the 
mouth of others is most tempted to an ostentation of 
language and expression, against which we are here 
wanicd ; use not vain refietitions, either alone or 
with others ; the Pharisees affected this, t^cy made 
long firayer-s, (ch. 22. 14.) all their care was to make 
them long. Now observe, 

1. W'hat the fault is that is here reproved and 
condemned ; it is making a mere lip-labour of the 
duty of praver, the service of the tongue, when it is 
not the service of the soul. This is expressed here 
by two words, ;8aT7o\',j-/st, viwxtylj.. (1.) Vain re- 
petitions. Taiitolog^-, battoloRv, idle babbling over 
the same words again and again to no pui-pcse, like 
Battus, sub illis montibus erunt, erant sub vumtibus 
illis ; like that imitation of the wordiness of a fool, 
Eccl. 10. 14. ^ man cannot tell what shall be; 
and what shall be after him, who can tell ? A'V'hich 
is indecent and nauseous in any discourse, nuich 
more in speaking to God. It is not all repetition in 
praver that is here condemned, but vain repetitions. 
Christ himself prayed, saying the same words, (</;. 
26. 44,) out of a more than ordinarv fervour and 
zeal, Luke 22. 44. So Daniel, ch. 9. 18, 19. And 
there is a very elegant repetition of the same wo -"s, 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



65 



Ps. 136. It may be of use both to express our own 
iffections, and to excite the affertions of others. 
But the superstitions reliearsing of a talc of words, 
witliout rei^ard to the sense of tlicm, as tlie papists' 
savinj; h\' their beads so many Ave- Marys and I'a- 
tciiiostcrs ; or tlie lian-en and dry i;"'"S over of the 
same tilings attain and again, merely to drill out the 
jirayer to such a lenj^h, and to make a show of affec- 
tion when really there is none ; these are the vain 
i-epetitions here condemned. When we would fain 
sav much, but caimot say much to the ijui^jose ; this 
is displeasing to Ciod and all wise men. (_'.) Much 
Kfieakiu!;, and affectation of prolixity in j)ra\er, 
either out of pride, or superstition, or an ojjinion that 
(jod needs either to be informed or argued with b)' 
us, or out of mere folly and impertinence, because 
men lo\e to hear thenmch'cs talk. Not that all long 
pi'ayers are forbidden ; Christ ])rayed all night, 
Lute 6. 12. Solomon's was a long prayer. There 
is sometimes need of long prayers when our errands 
and our affections are extraordinary ; but mei-eh' to 
prolong the i)rayer, as if that woiild make it more 
pleasing or more ])re\'ailing with (Jod, is that which 
IS here condemned ; it is not much /iraying that is 
condemned ; no, we arc bid to /»■«!/ aki'aijs, but 
much s/if (iking- ; the danger of this error is when we 
only say our jirayers, not when we /n-ay them. This 
caution is ex])lained by that of Solomon, (F.ccl. 5. 2. ) 
Let thy '.vorda hefe^u, considerate and we'.l wciglied : 
take ivith you ivords ; (Hos. 14. 2.) choose outwards, 
(Job 9. 14.) and do not say every thing that comes 
uppermo.st. 
2. WHiat reasons are given against this. 
(1. ) This is the way of the heathen, as the heathen 
do ; and it ill becomes christians to worship their 
God as the (lentiles worship theirs. The heathen 
were taught by the light of nature to worship God ; ! 
but becoming vain in their imaginations concerning 
the object of their worship, no wonder they became 
so concerning the manner of it, and particularly in 
this instance ; thinking God altogether such a one as 
themselves, they thought he needed many words to 
make him underetand what was said to him, or to 
bring him to comply with their requests ; as if he 
were weak and ignorant, and hard to be entreated. 
Thus Baal's jiriests were hard at it from morning 
till almost night with their vain refietitions ; O Daul, 
hear us ; Baal, hear us; and vain repetitions thev 
were : but Elijah, in a grave, composed frame, with 
a very concise jirayer, prevailed for fire from heaven 
first, and then water, 1 Kings 18. 26, 36. IJIi-labour 
in prayer, though ever so well laboured, if that be 
all, is but tost labour. 

(2. ) " It need not be your way, for your leather in 
hea\en knoweth nrhat things ye have need of before 
you ask him, and therefore there is no occasion for 
such abund mce of words. It does not follow that 
therefore you need not pray ; for God requires vou bv 
prayer to own your need of him and dependence oil 
him, and to plead his promises ; but therefore vou 
are to open your case, and pour out your hearts be- 
fore him, and then leave it with him." Consider, 
[1.] The God we pray to is our Father by creation, 
bv covenant; and therefore our addresses to him 
should be eas\', natural, ar.d unaffected ; children do 
not use to make long si)eeches to their parents when 
they w.ant any thing ; it is enough to say, 7ny head, 
my head. Let us come to him with the disposition 
of children, with love, reverence, and dependence ; 
and then they need not say many words, that are 
taught by the Spirit of adoption to sav that one 
aright, Mba, Father. [2.] He is a Father that 
knows our case and knows our wants better than we 
do ourselves. He knorcs ii-hat things -.ve have need 
of; his eyes run to and fro through the earth to ob- 
siene the neces-sities of his people, (2 Chron. 16. 9.) 
and he ofion ^ves before we call, (Isa. 65. 24.) and 

Vol. v. — ^I 



more than top ask for, (F.i)h. 3. 20.) and if he do not 
give his people what they ask, it is because he knows 
they do not need it, and that it is not for their good ; 
and of that he is fitter to judge for us than we for 
ourselves. We need ijot be long, nor use many 
words in re])resenting our case ; (Jod knows it better 
than we can tell him, only lie will know \tfrom us ; 
(what ivill ye that I should do unto you ? ) and 
when we hax e told him what it is, we must refer 
ourselves to him. Lord, all my desire is hi fore rhre. 
Vs. 38. 9. So far is God from being wrought upon 
by the length or language of our ])ra\irs, tliat the 
most jjowerful intercessions arc those which are 
made with groanings that cannot be uttered, Kom. 
8. 26. We are not to/in sci'ibe, but *«/«cribe to 
CJod. 

9. After tills manner thcicfoio prayyc: 
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallow- 
ed be thy name: 10. Thy kingdom come: 
Thy will be done in earth, as il is in hea- 
ven : 11. Give iis this day bur daily bread : 
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive 
our debtors: 1.3. And lead us not into 
temptation, but deliver us from evil : for 
thine is the kingdom, and the power, and 
the glory, for ever. Amen. 14. For if ye 
forgive men their trespasses, your hea- 
venly Father will also forgive j^ou: 15. 
But if ye forgive not men their tresjjasses, 
neither will your Father forgive your tres- 
passes. 

When Christ had condemned what was amiss, he 
directs to do better ; for his are reproofs of instruc- 
tion. Because we know not wliat to ])ray for as we 
ought, he here helps our infinnities, Ijy putting 
words into our mouths ; after this manner therefore 
firay ye, v. 9. So many were the coniiptions that 
had crept into this duty of pra\'er among the Jews, 
that Christ saw it needful to gi\'e a new directory 
for prayer, to show his disciples what must ordinari- 
ly be the matter and method of their prayer, which he 
gives in words that may ver)' well be used as a forni ; 
as the sumniaiy or contents of the several particulars 
of our prayers. Not that we are tied up to the use 
of this form only, or of this always, as if this were 
necessaiy to the consecrating of our other prayei-s ; 
we are here bid to pray after this manner, with these 
words, or to this effect. That in Luke differs from 
this ; we do not find it used by the apostles ; we are not 
here taught to pray in that name of Christ, as we are 
afterv/.-.rd ; we ai-e here taught to pray that the king- 
dom might come which did come when the Spirit was 
poured out ; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use 
it as a form, and it is a pledge of the communion of 
saints, it having been used by the church in all ages, 
at least (says Dr. WTiitby) from the third century. 
It is our Lord's prayer, it is of his composing, of his 
appointing ; it is very compendious, yet veiy com- 
lirehensivc. The matter is choice and necessari,', 
the method instructi\e, and the expression ven' 
concise. It has much in a little, and it is requisite 
that we act]uaint ourselves with the sense and mean- 
ing of it, for it is used acceptably, no further than it is 
usid w ith understanding, and without vain repetition. 

The Lord's prayer (us indeed every prayer) is a 
letter sent from earth to heaven. Here is the in- 
scription of the letter, the pei-son to whom it is di- 
i-ected, our Lather; the place where, in heavcv ; 
the contents of it in several errands of request ; the 
close, /or thine is the kingdom ; the seal, Amen ; and 
if you will, the date too, this day. 

T'lainly thus : there are three parts of the prayer» 



66 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



I. The fireface. Our Father nvhich art in hecn<en. 
Before we come to our business, there must be a 
solemn address to him with whom our business lies; 
Our Father. Intimating, that we must pray, not 
only alone and for ourselves, but with and for others ; 
for we are members one of another, and are called 
into fellowship with each other. We are here 
taught to whom to pray, to God only, and not to 
saints and angels, for they are ignorant of us, are 
not to have the honours we give in prayer, nor can 
give the favours we e3a)ect. ^^'e are taught how to 
address ourselves to God, and what title to give 
him, that which speaks him rather beneficent than 
magnificent, for we are to come boldly to the throne 
of grace. 

1. We must address ourselves to him as our Fa- 
ther, and must call him so. He is a common Father 
to all mankind by creation, Mai. 2. 10. Acts 17. 28. 
He is in a special manner a Father to the saints, by 
adoption and regeneration ; (Eph. 1. 5. Gal. 4. 6.) 
and an unspeakable privilege it is. Thus we must 
eye him in prayer, keep up good thouijhts of him, 
such as are encouraging and not affrightmg ; nothing 
more pleasing to God, or pleasant to ourselves, than 
to call God Father. Chnst in prayer mostly called 
God Father. If he be our Father, he will' pity us 
under our weaknesses and infirmities, (Ps. 103. 13.) 
will spare us, (Mai. 3. 17. ) will make the best of our 
performances, though very defective, will deny us 
nothing that is good for us, Luke 11. 11 — 13. We 
have access with boldness to him, as to a father, and 
have an advocate ivith the Father, and the Spirit of 
adoption. When we come repenting of our sins, 
we must eye God as a Father, as the prodigal did ; 
(Luke 15. '18. Jer. 3. 19.) when we come begging 
for grace, and peace, and the inheritance and bless- 
ing of sons, it is an encouragement that we come to 
God, not as an unreconciled, avening Judge, but as 
a loving, gi-acious, reconciled Father in Christ, Jer. 
3. 4. 

2. As our Father in heaven : so in heaven as to 
be every where else, for the heaven cannot contain 
him ; yet so in heaven as there to manifest his glory, 
for it 'is his throne, (Ps. 103. 19.) and it is to be- 
lievers a throne of grace : thitherward we must di- 
rect our prayers, for Christ the Mediator is now in 
heaven, He6. 8. 1. Heaven is out of sight, and a 
world of spirits, therefore our converse with God in 
prayer must be spiritual ; it is on high, therefore in 
prayer we must be raised above the woi-ld, and lift 
up our hearts, Ps. 5. 1. Heaven is a place of per- 
fect purity, and we must therefore lift up pure 
hands, must study to sanctify his name, who is the 
Holy One, and dwells in that holy place. Lev. 10. 3. 
From heaven God beholds the children of men, Ps. 
33. 13, 14. And we mvist in prayer see his eye upon 
us : thence he has a full and clear view of all our 
wants and burdens and desires, and all our infirmi- 
ties. It is the firmament of his power likewise, as 
well as of his prospect, Ps. 150. 1. He is not onlv, 
as a father, willing to help us, but as a heavenlv 
Father, able to help us, able to do gi-eat things for 
us, more than we can ask or think ; he has where- 
with to supply our needs, for everv good gift is fi'om 
above. He is a Father, and therefore we may come 
to him with boldness, but a Father in heaven, and 
therefore we must come with reverence, Eccl. 5. 2. 
Thus all our prayers should correspond with that 
which is our great aim as christians, and that is, to 
be with God in heaven. God and heaven, the end 
of our whole conversation, must be particularly 
eyed in every prayer ; there is the centre to which 
we are all tending. By prayer we send before us 
thither, where we profess to be going. 

n. The petitions, and those are six ; the three 
first relating more immediately to God and his ho- 
nour, the three last to our own concerns, both tem- 



poral and spiritual ; as in the ten commandments, 
the four first teach us our duty toward God, and the 
six last our duty towards our neighbour. The me 
thod of this prayer teaches us to seek first the king 
dom of God and his righteousness, and then to hopp 
that other things shall be added. 

1. Hallowed be thy name. It is the same word 
that in other places is translated sanctified. But 
here the old word hallowed is retained, only because 
people were used to it in the Lord's prayer. In 
these words, (1.) We give glory to God ; it may be 
taken not as a petition, but as an adoration ; as that, 
the Lord be magnified, or glorified, for God's holi 
ness is the greatness and glory of all his perfections. 
We must begin our prayers with praising God, and 
it is ver)' fit he should be first served, and that we 
should give glory to God, before we expect to re- 
ceive mercy and grace from him. Let him have 
the praise of his perfections, and then let us have 
the benefit of them. (2.) We fix our end, and it is 
the right end to be aimed at, and ought to be aur 
chief and ultimate end in all our petitions, that God 
may be glorified ; all our other requests must be in 
subordination to this and in pursuance of it. " Fa- 
ther, glorify thyself in giving me my daily biead and 
pardoning my sins," &c. Since all is of him and 
through him, all must be to him and for him. In 
prayer our thoughts and affections should be canned 
out most to the glory of God. The Pharisees made 
their own name the chief end of their prayers, (y. 
5. to be seen of men,) in opposition to which we are 
directed to make the name of God our chief end ; 
let all our petitions centre in this and be reg^ilatcd 
by it. " Do so and so for me, for the glory of thy 
name, and as far as is for the glory of it." (3.) We 
desire and prav that the name of God, that is, Gcd 
himself, in all that whereby he has made himself 
known, may be sanctified and glorified both by us 
and others, and especially by himself " Father, 
let thy name be glorified as a Father, and a Father 
in hea\en ; glorify thy goodness and thy highness, 
thy majesty and mercy. Let thy name be sanctified, 
for it is a Koly name ; no matter what becomes of 
our polluted names, but. Lord, what wilt thou do to 
thy great name ?'" 'When we pray that God's name 
may be glorified, [1.] ^^'e make a virtue of neces- 
sity ; for God will sanctify his own name, whether 
we desire it or not ; / will be exalted among the 
heathen, Ps. 46. 10. [2.] We ask for that which 
we are sure shall be granted ; for when our Saviour 
prayed. Father, glorify thy name, it was immedi- 
ately answered, I have glorified it, and will glorify 
it again. 

2. Thii kingdom come. This petition has plainly 
a reference to the doctrine which Christ preached 
at this time, which John Baptist had preached be- 
fore, and which he afterwards sent his apostles out 
to preach — the kingdom of heaveri is at hand. The 
kingdom of vour Father which is in heaven, the 
kingdom of the Messiah, this is at hand, pray that 
it mav come. Note, We should turn the word v.-e 
hear into praver, our hearts should echo to it ; does 
Christ promise, surely I come quickly, our hearts 
should answer, ei'a: so, come. Ministers should 
pray over the word : when thev preach, the king- 
dom of God is at hand, they shoiild pray. Father, 
thy kingdom come. \M)at God has promised we 
must pray for ; for promises are given, not to super 
sede, but to quicken and encourage, prayer ; and 
when the accomplishment of a pi-omise is near and 
at the door, when the kingdom of hea^■en is at hand, 
we should then pray for it the more earnestly ; thy 
kingdom come ; as Daniel set his face to pray for the 
deliverance of Israel, when he understood that the 
time of it was at hand, Dan. 9. 2. See Luke 19. 11. 
It was the Jews' daily prayer to Gcd, Let him make 
his kingdom reign, let his redemption flourish, and 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



67 



let his Messiah come and delixier his peofxle. Dr. 
Whitby, ex Vitringa. "Let thy kingdom come, let 
the gospel be preached to all and cniLruced by all ; 
let all be brought to subscribe to the record (jihI has 
given in his word concerning his Son, and to cm- 
brace him as their Saviour and Sovereign. Let the 
bounds tif the gosijel-church l)c enlarged, the king- 
dom of the world be made Christ's kingdom, ;uid 
all men become subjects to it, and live as becomes 
their character. " 

3. Thy loill be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 
W'c pray that God's kingdom being come, we and 
others niay be brought into obedience to all the laws 
imd oixlinances of it. By this let it appear that 
Christ's kingdom is come, let God's luill be done ; 
and by this let it appear that it is come as a kingdom 
of heaven, let it mtroduce a heaven u/ion earth. 
We make Christ l)ut a titular Prince, if we call him 
King, and do not do his will : ha\ ing prayed that he 
may nile us, we i)i-ay that we may in ever)- thing be 
nded bv him. (ibservc, (1.) The thing prayed for, 
thi/ T.'ill he done ; " Lord, do what thou plcasest with 
me and mine ; 1 Sam. 3. 18. I refer myself to thee, 
and am well satisfied that all thv counsel concerning 
me should be performed." In this sense Christ 
prayed, not my will, but thine be done. " Enable 
me to do what is plea.sing to thee; give me that 
grace that is necessary to the right knowledge of 
thv will, and an acceptable obedience to it Let thy 
will be done conscientiously by me and others, not 
our own will, the will of the flesh, or the mind, not 
the will of men, (1 PeL 4. 2.) much less Satan's 
will, (Johns, a.) that we may neither displease 
God in any thing we do, (ut nihil nostrum dis/i/iceat 
Deo,) nor be displeased at anything God does," 
f ut nihil Dei din/iliceat nobis. J (2.) The pattern of 
it, that it may be done on earth, m this place of our 
trial and probation, (where our work must be done, 
or it never will be done,) as it is done in heaven, that 
place of rest and joy. \\'e pray that earth may be 
made more like to heaven by the oljservance of 
(iod's will, which, through the prevalency of Satan's 
will, is become so near akin to hell ; and that saints 
may be made more like to the holy angels in their 
devotion and oliedience. We are on earth, blessed 
be God, not yet under the earth ; we pray for the 
living only, not for the dead, that are gone down into 
silence. 

4. Give us this day our daily bread. Because our 
natural being is necessary to our spiritual well-being 
in this world, therefore, after the things of God's 
glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the necessan- 
supports and comforts of this present life, which 
are the gifts of God, and must be asked of him, T«v 
Sfroi iTi«Vi!y — Bread fir the day a/ifiroaching, for 
all the remainder of our lives. Bread fijr the time 
to come, or bread fi/r our being and subsistence, that 
which is agreeable to our condition in the world, 
(Prov. 30. 8.) fiod convenient for us and our fami- 
lies, accoixling to our rank and station. 

Eveiy word here has a lesson in it : (1.) \Vc ask 
for bread ; that teaches us sobriet)' and temperance ; 
we .isk for bread, not dainties, not superfluities ; that 
which is wholesome, though it be not nice. (2. ) We 
ask for our bread ; that teaches us honesty and in- 
dustry : we do not ask for the bread out'of other 
people's mouths, not the bread of deceit, (Prov. 20. 
13.) not the bread of idleness, (Prov. 31. 27.) but the 
bread honestly gotten. (3.) \\'e ask for our daily 
bread ; which teaches us not to talre thought for the 
morrow, {ch. 6. 34.) but constantlv to depend upon 
divine providence, as those that live from hand to 
mouth. (4.) \\'e beg of God to gii-e it us, not sell 
it us, nor lend it us, but ,gix>e it. The greatest of 
men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their 
daily bread. (5.) We pray, " Give it to us ; not to 
mp only, but to others m common with me." This 



teaches us charity, and a compassionate concern for 
the poor smd needy. It intimates also, that we 
ought to ])ray with our families ; we and our house- 
holds cat together, and therefore ought to pray to- 
gether. (6.) We pray that God would givo it xb 
this day ; which teaches us to renew the desire of 
our souls toward (Jod, as the wants of our bodies 
are renewed ; as duly as the day comes, we must 
pray to our heaxcnly leather, and reckon we should 
as well go a day without meat, as without ])raycr. 

5. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 
debtors. This is connected with the fomier : and 
forgive, intimating, that unless our sins be par- 
doned, we can have no comfort in life, or the sup- 
ports of it. Our daily bread does but feed us as 
lambs for the slaughter, if our sins be not pardoned. 
It intimates likewise, that we must prav for daily 
fiardon, as duly as we pray for daily bread. He 
that is washed, needeth to wash his feet. Here we 
have, 

f 1.) .\ petition ; Father in heaven, forgive us our 
debts, our debts to thee. Note, [1.] Our sins are 
our debts ; there is a debt of duty, which, as crea- 
tures, we owe to our Creator ; we do not pray to be 
discharged from that, but, upon the non-])ayment 
of that there arises a debt of punishment ; in defaiUt 
of obedience to the will of God, we became obnoxious 
to the wrath of God ; and for not observing the pre- 
cept of the law, we stand obliged to the penalty. 
A debtor is liable to process, so are we : a malefac- 
tor is a debtor to the law, so are we. [2.J Our 
heart's desire and prayer to our heavenly Father 
even,- day should be, that he would forgive us our 
debts; that the obligation to punishment may be 
cancelled and vacated, that we may not come into 
condemnation ; that we may be discharged, and have 
the comfort of it In suing out the pardon of our 
sins, the great plea we have to rely upon, is the 
satisfaction that was made to the justice of God for 
the sin of man, by the dying of the Lord Jesus our 
Surety, or rather Bail to the action, that undertook 
our discharge. 

(2.) .^n argument to enforce this petition ; as we 
forgive our debtors. This is not a plea of merit, 
but a plea of grace. Note, Tliose that come to God 
for the forgiveness of their sins against him, must 
make conscience of forgiving those who have of- 
fended them, else they curse themselves when they 
say the Lord's prayer. Our duty is to forgive our 
debtors ; as to debts of money, we must not be rigor- 
ous and severe in exacting them from those that 
cannot pay them without ruining themsehes and 
their families ; but this means debts of injuiT ; our 
debtors are those that tres/tass against us, that smite 
us, {ch. 5. 39, 40.) and, in strictness of law, might 
l)e prosecuted for it ; we must forbear, and forgive, 
and forget the affronts put upon us, and the wrongs 
done us ; and this is a moral qualification for pardon 
and peace ; it encourages to hope, that God will /br- 
gri'e Jis ; for if there be in us this gracious disposi- 
tion, it is wrought of God, and therefore is a perfec- 
tion eminently and ti-ansccndcntly in himself; it will 
be an evidence to us that he has forgiven us, having 
wrought in us the condition of forgiveness. 

6. ..ind lead us not into temptation, but deliver us 
from evil. This petition is expressed, 

(1.) Negatively : Lead us not into temptation. 
Having prayed that the guilt of sin may be removed, 
we pray, as is fit, that we may never return again 
to folly, that we may not be tempted to it. It is not 
as if God tempted any to sin ; but "Lord, do not let 
Satan loose upon us ; chain up that roaring lion, for 
he is subtle and spiteful ; I^ord, do not leave us to 
ourselves, (Ps. 19. 13.) for we are very weak ; Lord, 
do not lay stumbling-blocks and snares before us, nor 
put us into such circumstances as may be an occasion 
of falling. " Temptations are to be prayed against, 



68 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



both because of the discomfort and trouble of them, 
and because of the danger we are in of being over- 
come by them, and the guilt and grief that then 
follow. 

(2. ) Positively : But deliver us Jrom evil, o^o to 
Tranifi—from the evil one, the devil, the tempter ; 
"keep us, that either we may not be assaulted by 
him, or we may not be overcome by those assaults ;" 
Or from the evil thing, sin, the worst of evils ; an 
evd, an only evil ; that evil thing which God hates, 
and which Satan tempts men to and destroys them 
by. " Lord, deliver us from the evil of the world, 
the corruption that is in the world through lust ; 
from the evil of every condition in the world ; from 
the evil of death, from the sting of death which is 
sin : deliver us from ourselves, from our own e\"il 
hearts : deliver us from evil men, that they may not 
be a snare to us, nor we a prey to them." 

III. The conclusion : For thine is the kingdom, 
a7id the fioiver, and the glory, for ex'er. Jmen. 
Some refer this to David's doxology, 1 Chron. 29. 11. 
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness. It is, 

1. A form of plea to enforce the foregoing peti- 
tions. It is our duty to plead with God in prayer, 
to fill our mouth with arguments, (Job 23. 4.) not to 
move God, but to affect ourselves ; to encourage our 
faith, to excite our fervency, and to evidence both. 
Now the best pleas in prayer, arc those that are 
taken from God himself, and from that which he 
has made known of himself. We must wrestle with 
God in his own strength, both as to the matter of 
our pleas and the urging of them. Tlie plea here 
has special refei'ence to the three first petitions : 
"-Father in heaven, thy kiJigdom come, for thine is the 
kingdom ; thy will be done, for thine is the power ; 
hallowed be thy name, for thine is the glory." And 
as to our own particular errands, these are en- 
couraging : " Thine is the kingdom ; thou hast the 
government of the world, and the protection of the 
saints, tliy willing subjects in it :" God gives and 
saves like a king. " Thine is the fiower, to maintain 
and support that kingdom, and to make good all 
thine engagements to thy people." Thine is the 
glory, as the end of all that which is given to, and 
done for, the saints, in answer to their prayers ; for 
t\ie\r praise waiteth for him. This is matter of com- 
fort and holy confidence in prayer. 

2. It is a form of praise and thanksgiving. The 
best pleading with God is praising of him; it is the 
way to obtain further mercy, as it qualifies us to re- 
ceive it. In all our addresses to God, it is fit that 
praise should have a consideralile share, for firaise 
oecometh the saints; they are to be to our God for a 
name and for a /iraise. It is just and equal; we praise 
God, and give him glorv, not because he needs it — 
he is praised by a world of angels, but because he 
deserves it; and it is our duty to give him glorv, in 
compliance with his design in revealing himself to 
us. Praise is the work and happiness of heaven ; and 
all that would go to heaven hereafter, must begin 
their heaven now. Observe, how full this doxologv 
is. The kingdom, and the power, and the glory, it is 
all thine. Note, It becomes us to he copious in prais- 
ing God. A true saint never thinks he can speak 
honourablv enough of God : here there should be a 
gracious fluency, and this_/br ever. Ascribing glory 
ioGnd for ever, intimates an acknowledgment, that 
it is eternally due, and an earnest desire to be eter- 
nally doing it, with angels and saints above, Ps. 71. 
14. 

Lastly, To all this we are taught to affix our Amen, 
so be it. God's Amen is a grant; \a?, fiat is, it shall 
be so: our Amen is only a summary desire; o\iv fiat 
is, lot it be so : it is in token of our desire and assur- 
ance to be heard, that we say. Amen. Amen refers 
to every petition going before, and thus, in compas- 
sion to our infirmities, we are taught to knit up the 



whole in one word, and so to gather up, in the gene- 
ral, what we have lost and let slip in the particulars. 
It is good to conclude religious duties with some 
warmth and vigour, that we may go from them with 
a sweet savour upon our spirits. It was of old the 
practice of good people to say, Amen, audibly at the 
end of eveiy prayer, and it is a commendable prac- 
tice, provided it be done with understanding, as the 
apostle directs, (1 Cor. 14. 16.) and uprightly, with 
life and liveliness, and inward mipressions, answer- 
able to that outwai'd expression of desire and confi- 
dence. 

Mast of the petitions in the Lord's prayer had 
been commonly used by the Jews in their devotions, 
or words to the same efltct: but that clause in the 
fifth petition. As we forgii'e our debtors, was per- 
fectly nevi', and therefoi-e our Saviour here shows for 
wh;it reason he added it, not with anv jsersonal re- 
flection upon the peevishness, litigiousness, and ill 
nature of the men of that generation, though there 
was cause enough for it, but only from the necessity 
and importance of the thing itself. God, in forgiv 
ing us, has a peculiar respect to our forgi\ ing those 
that have injured us; and therefore, when we pray 
for pardon, we must mention our making conscience 
of that dut)-, not only to remind ourseh es of it, but 
to bind ourselves to it. See that parable, ch. 18. 23 
— 35. Selfish nature is loth to comply with this, and 
therefore it is here inculcated, v. 14, 15. 

1. In a promise. If ye forgive, your heavenly 
Father will also forgi-i<e. Not as if this were the 
only condition required ; there must be repentance 
and faith, and new obedience; but as where other 
gi-aces arc in tnith, there will be this, so this will be 
a good e\idence of the sincerity of our other graces. 
He that relents toward his brother, thereby shows 
that he repents toward his God. Those which in 
the praycrare caWeAdcbts, are here called trespasses, 
debts of injury, wrongs done us in our bodies, goods, 
or repvitation: trespasses; it is an extenuating term 
for offt'nces, irafa^-TwuiTa — stumbles, slips, falls. 
Note, It is a good evidence, and a good help of our 
forgi\ing others, to call the injuries done us by a mol- 
lifying, excusing name. Call them not treasons, but 
tres/iasses; not v/ilful injuries, but casu;d inadx'cr- 
tences; peradventure it was an oversight, (Gen. 43. 
12.) therefore make the best of it. V\'c must for 
give, as we hope to be forgi\-en; and therefore mu.st 
not onlv bear no malice, nor meditate re\engc, bui 
must not upl)raid our brother with the iniurics he 
has done us, nor rejoice in any hurt that befalls him, 
but must be ready to help him and do him good, and 
if he repent and desire to be friends again, we must 
be free and familiar with him, as before. 

2. In a threatening. "Hut if you forgwe not 
those that have injured vou, that is a Ijad sign you 
have not the other requisite conditions, but are al- 
together imqualified for pardon; and therefore tiour 
Father, whom you call Father, and who, as a father, 
offers \o\\ his grace upon reasonable terms, will ne- 
vertheless not forgix'e you. And if other graces be 
sincere, and yet you be defecti\'e greatly in fiirgiving, 
you cannot expect the comfort of your pardon, but 
to have your spirits brought down bv some affliction 
or other to comply with this duty. " Note, Those 
that would find mercy with God must show mercy 
to their brethren; nor can we expect that he should 
stretch out the hands of his favour to us, unless we 
lift up to him pure hands, without wrath, 1 Tim. 2. 
8. If we pray in anger, we have reason to fear God 
will answer in anger. It has been said, prayers made 
in wrath are written in gall. What reason is it that 
God should forgive us the talents we are indebted to 
him, if we forgive not our brethren the pence they 
are indebted to us .' Christ came into the world as the 
great Peace-Maker, not only to reconcile us to God, 
but one to another, and in this we must comply with 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



69 



liim. It is great presumption and of dangerous con- 
sC4Ucncc, for any to make a light niatur of that 
wl\.ch Christ here hiys sucli a stress upon. Men's 
passions sluill not frustrate God's word 

IG. Moreover, when ye fast, bo not, as 
the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for 
tliey disfiiiuie tlieir faces, that they may 
appear unto men to fast. Verily 1 say unto 
you, tiiey have their reward. 1 7. Hut thou, 
when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and 
wash thy face ; 18. Tliat thou appear not 
Linto n\iui to fast, hut unto thy Father which 
is in secret: and thy l''ather, wliich secth 
in secret, shall reward thee openly. 

We arc here cautioned against liiipocrisy in fast- 
ing, as before in almsgi\ ing, and in prayer. 

1. It is lierc supposed that religious f;isting is a 
dutv required of the disciples of Christ, when God, 
in 'ui providence, calls to it, and when the case of 
their own souls upon any account requires it; r^'hcn 
the bridcifroom is taken aircnj, then uliall titeij fast, 
ch. 9. 15. Fasting is here put last, because it is not 
so much a duty for its own sake, as a means to dis- 
pose us for other duties. Prayer comes in between 
almsgiving and fasting, as being the life and soul of 
both. Christ here speaks especially of private fasts, 
such as particular persons picscribc to thcmsehes, 
iis free-will offerings, commonly used among the 
pious Jews ; some fasted one day, some two, every 
week; others seldomer, as they saw cause. On those 
da\s thev did not eat till sun-set, and tlien very spar- 
ingly. It was not the Pharisee's fasting ftvice in the 
iveel; l)ut his boasting of it, that Christ condemned, 
Luke 18. 12. It is a laudable practice, and we ha\e 
reason to lament it, that it is so generally neglected 
among christians. Anna was much in fasting, Luke 
2. 57. Cornelius fasted and jjrayed. Acts 10. 30. 
The primitive christians were much in it, see Acts 
13. 3. — 14. 23. Private fasting is supposed, 1 Cor. 
7. 5. It is an act of self-denial, and mortihcation of 
the flesh, a holy revenge upon ourselves, and humi- 
li.ation under the hand of God. The most grown 
christians must hereby own, they are so far from 
having any thing to be proud of, that they are im- 
worthy of their dailv bread. It is a means to curb 
the flesh and the desires of it, and to make us more 
lively in religious exercises, as fulness of bread is apt 
to make us drowsy. Paul was in fastings often, and 
so he ftc/it under his body, and brought it into sub- 
iection. 

2. We are cautioned not to do this as the hypo- 
crites did it, lest we lose the reward of it ; and the 
more difficulty attends the duty, the gi-eater loss it 
is to lose the reward of it. 

Now, (1.) The hypocrites pretended fasting, when 
there was nothing of that contrition and humiliation 
of soul in them, which is the life and soul of the duty. 
Theirs were mock-fasts, the show and shadow with- 
out the substance; they took on them to be more 
humbled than really they were, and so endeavoured 
to put a cheat u])on God, than which they could not 
put a greater affront upon him. The fast that God 
has chosen, is a day to afflict the soul, not to hang 
doivn Ihehead like a bulrush, norforaman tosfiread 
lackcloth and ashes under him; we are quite mista- 
iien, if we call this a fast, Isa. 58. 5. Bodily exer- 
cise, if that be all, profits little, since that is not fast- 
ing to God, even to him. 

(2.) They proclaimed their fasting, and managed 
it so as that all who saw them might take notice that 
it was a fastine-day with them. Even on these davs 
they appeared in the streets, whereas they should 
have been in their closets; and they affected a down- 



cast look, a melancholy counten;uicc, a slow and 
solemn pace; and perfectly disfigured themselves, 
that men niiijht see how often they fasted, and might 
extol them tor devout, mortified men. Note, It is 
sad that men, who have, in some measure, master- 
ed their ])leasurc, which is sensual wicked'ies'-, 
should be ruined by their pride, which is spiritual 
wickedness, and no less dangerous. Mere also they 
hax'e their reu-urd, that praise and applause of men 
which the)- court and covet so mucli; t/iey have it, 
lUid it is their all. 

3. \\'e are directed how to manage a private fast; 
we must keep it private, t. 17, 18. He does not tell 
us how often we nuist fast; circumstiuices \ary, and 
wisdom is profitable therein to direct; the Spirit in 
the word has left that to the Spirit in the heart; but 
take this for a rule, wlienever you undertake this 
duty, study therein to appro\ e ) ourselves to God, 
and not to recommend 5 ourselves to the good opi- 
nions of men; humility must e\ermore attend upon 
our humiliation. Christ does n(jt direct to abate any 
thing of the reality of the fast; he does not say, "take 
a little meat, or a little drink, or a little cordial;" 
no, " let the body suffer, but lay aside the show and 
appearance of it'; ajjpear with thy oi'dinary counte- 
nance, guise, and dress; and while thou deiiiest thy- 
self thy bodil)- refreshments, do it so as that it may 
not be taken notice of, no, not by those that are near- 
est to thee ; look pleasant, anoint thine head, and 
wash thy face, as thou dost in ordinary days, on pur- 
i)0se to conceal thy de\ otion ; and thou shalt be no 
loser in the praise of it at last; for though it be not 
of men, it shall be of God." Fasting is the hum- 



bling of the soul, (Ps. 35. 13.) that is the inside of 
the duty; let that therefore be thy principal care, 
and as to the outside of it, covet not to let it be seen. 
If we be sincere in our solemn fasts, and humble, 
and tmst God's omniscience for our witness, and his 
goodness for our reward, we shall find, both that he 
did see in secret and will s-avurd openly. Religious 
fasts, if rightly kept, will shortly be recompensed 
with an e\erlasting feast. Our acceptance w ith God 
in our private fasts, should make us dead, both to 
the applause of men, (we must not do the duty in 
hopes of this,) and to the censures of men too : (we 
must not decline the duty for fear of them. ) David's 
fasting was turned to his reproach, Ps. 69. 10. and 
yet, X'. 13. .4s for tne, let them say what they will 
of me, my prayer is unto thee in an acceptable titne. 

19. Lay not up for yourselvts treasures 
upon earth, where moth and rust doth cor- 
rupt, and where thieves break through and 
steal : 20. But lay up for yourselves trea- 
sures in heaven, where neither moth nor 
rust doth corrupt, and \\here thieves do not 
breakthrough nor steal: 21. For where 
your treasine is, there will your heart be 
also. 22. The light of the body is the eye : 
if therefore thine eve be single, thy whole 
body shall be full of light : 23. But if thine 
eye be evil, thy whole body shall he full of 
darkness. If therefore the light that is in 
thee be darkness, how great is that dark- 
ness ! 24. No man can serve two masters : 
for either he will hate the one, and love the 
other; or else he \\i\\ hold to the one, and 
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God 
and Mammon. 

Worldly-mindedness is as common and as fatal a 
symptom <)f hypocrisy as any other, for by no sin 
can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soiil. 



70 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



under the c •^al f a visible and passable profession 
of religion, Ihaj \:y this ; and tlierefore Christ liav- 
ing warnea us against coveting the praise of men, 
proceeds next ta warn us against coveting the wealth 
of the world; in this also we must take heed, lest we 
be as the hvpocrites are, and do as they do: the fun- 
damental eiTor that they are guilty of is, that they 
choose the world for l/wir reward; we must there- 
fore take heed of hypocrisy and worldl5'-mindedness, 
in the choice we make of our treasure, our end, and 
our masters. 

I. In choosing the treasure we lay u{i. Some- 
thing or other every man has which he makes his 
treasure, his portion which his heart is upon, to 
which he carries all he can get, and which he de- 
pends upon for futui'ity. It is that good, tliat chief 
good, wliich Solomon speaks of with such an em- 
phasis, Eccl. 2. 3. Something the soul will have, 
which it looks upon as the best thing, which it has a 
complacency and confidence in above other things. 
Now Christ designs not to deprive us of our trea- 
sure, but to direct us in the choice of it ; and here we 
have, 

1. A good caution against making the things that 
are seen, that are temporal, our best things, and 
placing our happiness in them. Lay not up for 
yourselves treasures ujioyi eartli. Christ's disciples 
had left all to follow him, let tliem still keep in the 
same good mind. A treasure is an abundance of 
something that is in itself, at least in our opinion, 
precious and valuable, and likely to stand us in stead 
hereafter. Now we must not lay up our treasures 
on earth, that is, (1.) ^Ve must not count these things 
the best things, not the most valuable in themselves, 
nor the most serviceable to us: we must not call them 
glory, as Laban's sons did, but see and own that they 
have no glory in comparison with the glory that ej~- 
celleth. (2.) We must not covet an abundance of 
these things, nor Ije still gi-asping at more and more 
of them, and adding to them, as men do to that which 
is their treasure, as never knowing when we have 
enough. (3.) We must not confide in them for fu- 
turity, to be our security and supply in time to come; 
we must not say to the gold, Thou art my hope. (4. ) 
We must not content ourselves with them, as all we 
need or desire : we must be content with a little for 
our passage, but not with all for our portion. These 
things must not be made our consolation, (Luke 6. 
24.) our good things, Luke 16. 25. Let us consider 
we arc laying up,- not for onr posterity in this world, 
but for ourselves in the other world. We are put 
to our choice, and made in a manner our own car- 
vers; that is ours which we lay up for ourselves. It 
concerns thee to choose wisely, for thou art choosing 
for thyself, and shalt have as thou choosest. If we 
know and consider ourselves what we are, what we 
are made for, how large our capacities arc, and how 
long our continuance, and that our souls are our- 
selves, we shall see it a foolish thing to lay up our 
treasure on earth. 

Here is a good reason given wh}' we should not 
look upon any thing on earth as our treasure, because 
it is liable to loss and decay: [1.] From cori-uption 
within. That which is treasure upon earth moth and 
rust doth corrupt. If the treasure be laid up in fine 
clothes, the moth frets them, and thev are gone and 
spoiled inscnsiblv, when we thought them most se- 
curely laid up. \l it be in com or other eatables, as 
his was who had his bai-ns full, (Luke 12. 16, 17.) 
rust (so we read it) corru/its that : BfSo-i; — eating, 
eaten by men, for as goods are increased, they are 
mcreascd that eat them ; (Eccl. 5. 11.) eaten by "mice 
or other vermin ; manna itsdf bred woi-ms ; or if it 
erows mould)' and musty ; is sti-uck, or smutted, or 
blasted ; fruits soon rot. Or, if we understand it of 
silver and gold, they tarnish ai^ J canker ; they gi-ow 
Jr.is with using, and gi-ow woi-se with keeping ; (Jam. 



5. 2, 3.) the rust and the moth breed in the meta) 
itself and in the garment itself. Note, Worldly 
riches have in themseh es a principle of corruption 
and decay ; they wither of themselves and make 
themselves ivings. [2.] From violence without. 
Thieves break through and steal. Every hand of 
violence will be aiming at the house where the trea- ' 
sure is laid up ; nor can any thing be laid up so safe, 
but we may be spoiled of it. A'unijuam ego fortunei' 
credidi, etiam si videretur paceni agere ; omnia ilia 
c/ucB in me indulgentissime conferebat, pecuniam. 
honores, gloriam, eo loco posui, unde posset ea, sine 
metu meo, repetere — I never reposed confidence in 
fortune, eveyi if she seemed propitious : whatei'er 
luere thefavours which her bounty bestowed, whether 
wealth, honours, or glory, I so disposed of them that 
it was in her power to recall them without occasioning 
7ne any alarm. Seneca. Consol. ad Nelv. It is folly 
to make that our treasure which we may so easily 
be robbed of. 

Good counsel, to make the joys and glories of the 
other world, those things not seoi that are eternal, 
our best things, and to place our happiness in them. 
iMy up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Note, 
(1.) There are treasures in heaven, as sure as there 
are on this earth ; and those in heaven are the only 
tnie treasures, the riches and glories and pleasures 
that are at God's right hand, which those that are 
sanctified ti-uly arrive at, when they come to be sanc- 
tified ])erfecth'. (2.) It is our wisdom to lay up our 
treasure in those treasures ; to give all diligence to 
make sure our title to eternal life through Jesus 
Christ, and to depend upon that as our happiness, 
and look upon aU things here below with a holy con- 
tempt, as not worthy to be compared with it. We 
must firmly believe there is such a happiness, and re- 
solve to be content with that, and to l^e content with 
nothing short of it. If we thus make those treasures 
ours, they are laid up, and we may ti-ust God to keep 
them safe for us ; thither let us then refer all our 
designs, and extend all our desires ; thither let us 
send before our best effects and best affections. Let 
us not burden oursch'es with the cash of this world, 
which will but load and defile us, and be liable to 
sink us, but lay up in store good securities. The pro- 
mises are bUls of exchange, by which all true be- 
lievers return their treasure to heaven, payable in 
the future state : and thus we must m:ike that sure 
that will be made sure. (3.) It is a great encourage- 
ment to us to lay uji our treasure in heaven, that there 
it is safe ; it will not decay of itself, no moth nor rust 
will corrupt it ; nor can we be by force or fraud de 
prived of it ; thieves do 7iot break throzigh and steal. 
It is a happiness above and beyond the changes and 
chances of^time, an inheritance incorruptible. 

3. A good reason why we should thus choose, and 
an evidence that we have done so, (■;•. 21.) Where 
your treasure is, on earth or in heaven, there will 
your heart be. We are therefore concerned to be 
right and wise in the choice of our treasure, because 
the temper of our minds, and consequently the tenor 
of our li\'es, will be accordingly either carnal or spi- 
ritual, earthly or heavenly. The heart follows the 
treasure, as the needle follows the loadstone, or the 
sunflower the sun. TVJiere the treasure is, there the 
\alue and esteem is ; the7'e the love and affection is. 
Col. 3. 2. That way the desires and pursuits go, 
thitherward the aims and intents are levelled, and all 
is done with that in view. JlTiere the treasure is, 
there our cares and fears are, lest we come short of 
it ; about that we are more solicitous ; there ourYiope 
and tnist is ; (Prov. 18. 10, 11.) there our joys and de- 
lights will be ; (Ps. 119. 111.) a.T\Athere our thoughts 
will be ; there the inward thought will be, the _/irst 
thought, the free thought, the.^jrrf thought, the^rf- 
guent, the familiar thought. The heart is God's 
due, (Prov. 23. 26.) and, that he may have it, our 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



71 



m-aaun- itwiii oe laid up with him, and then our souls 
will l)c lifted up to him. 

This direction about lujing up our treasure, may 
very fitly be applied to the foregoing caution, of not 
<li)itig what we do in reliijion to be seen of men. Our 
treasure is our alms, prayere, and fastings, ;uid the 
reward of tliem ; if we have done these only to gain 
tlie ap])luuse of men, we have laid u/i t/iis treasure 
on earth, have lodged it in the hands of men, and 
must never expect to hear any further of it. Now 
it is foil)' to do tliis, for the firame of men we covet so 
much, is liable to corraption ; it will sixin l)c rusted, 
and moth-eaten, and tarnished ; a little foll\', like a 
dead fly, will sjjoil it all, Eccl. 10. 1. Slander and 
calumny are thieves that break through and steal it 
away, and so we lose all tlie treasure of our perform- 
ances ; we ha\ c iini in vain and laboured in vain, 
because we misplaced our intentions in doing of them. 
Hypocritical services lav up nothing in heaven ; 
(Isa. 5H. 3. ) the gain of tliem is gone, when the soul 
is called for, Job 27. 8. But if \vc ha\c prayed and 
fasted iuid given alms, in truth and upi'ightness, with 
an eye to God and to his accejjtance, and have ap- 
Jjroved om-selves to him therein, we have laid up that 
treasure in heaven ; a bvjk of remembrance is vjrilten 
there, (Mai. 3. 16.) and being there recorded, they 
shall be there rewarded, and we shall meet them 
again with comfort on the other side death and the 
gi'ave. Hy])ocrites are '.vritten in the earth, (Jcr. 17. 
13. ) but God's faithful ones have their names ivritten 
in heaven, Luke 10. 20. .\cccptance with God is 
treasure in heaven, which can neither be corrupted 
nor stolen. His we// done shall stand for e\'er ; and 
if we ha\e thus laid up our treasure with liim, with 
him our hearts will be ; and where can thev be bet- 
ter ? 

II. We must take heed of hiiTJocrisy and worldly- 
mindedness in choosing the encl ive look at. Our con- 
cern as to this is represented by two sorts of eves 
which men ha\e, a .linglc eye and an evil eife, v. 2", 
23. The expressions here arc somewhat dark I)e- 
causc concise ; wesh;Jl therefore take them in some 
variety of intcr])ret:ition. The li,g-ht of the body is 
the eye, that is plain ; the eye is discovering and di- 
recting ; the light of the tvorld would avail us little 
without this light of the body ; it is the tight of the eye 
that rejoieeth the heart, (Prov. 15. 30.) but what 'is 
that which is here compared to the eye in the bo-ly ? 

1. The eye, that is, the heart; (so some) if tha' 6f 
single — iTA«;— -/riraiid bountiful, (sothcwordisl're- 
quently rendered, as Koii. 12. 8. 2 Cor. 8. 2. — 9. 
11,13. Jam. 1. 5. .and we n adof a AoF/n^J/"«/p;/p, Prov. 
22. 9.) If tlie heart be liberally affected and stand 
inclined to goodness and charity, it will direct the 
man to christian actions, the whole conversation tvill 
befall oflis^hr, full of the evidences and instances of 
true Christianity, that fnire religion and undented be- 
fore God and the Father; {Jam. 1. 27.) full of light, 
of good works, which are our light shining before 
men ; but if the heart be evil, co\ etous, and hard, and 
envious, grinding, and grudging, (such a temper of 
mind is often expressed bv an evil eye, ch. 20. 15. 
Mark ~. 22. Prov. 23. 6, 7.) the bodij fjilt he full of 
darkness, the whole conversation will be he.athenisli 
and unchristian. The instruments of the churl are 
and always will be ex'il, but the liberal deviseth libera! 
things, Isa. 32. 5 — 8. If the light that is in us, those 
affections which should guide us to that which is 
good, be darkness, if these be corrupt and worldly, 
if there be not so much as good nature in a man, not 
so much as a kind disposition, horj great is the cor- 
ruption of the man, and the darkness in which he 
sits '. This sense seems to agree with the context : 
we must lay iifi treasure in heaven bv liberalit\' in 
giving alms, and that not gi-udginglv but with cheer- 
lulness, Luke 12. 33. 2 Cor. 9. 7. ' But these words 
in the parallel place do not oime in upon any such 



occasion, Luke 11. 34. and therefore the coherence 
here doesnot detemiinc that to be the sense of them. 

3. IVieeye, that is, the understanding; (so some ;) 
the practical judgment, the conscience, which is to 
the other faculties cf the soul, as the eye is to the 
body, to giiide and direct their motions ; now if the 
eye be single, if it make a tnie and right judgment, 
and discern things that diflTer, especially in the gi'cal 
concern of laying up the treasure so as to choose 
aright in that, it will rightly guide the aflTcctions and 
actions, which will all be full of the light of grace 
and comfort ; but if this be mil and cori-upt, and in- 
stead of leading tlie inferior ])owers, is led, and 
bribed, and biassed by them, if this be erroneous and 
misinformed, the heart and life must needs be full 
of darkness, and the whole coinersation cornipt 
'rliey that will not understand, are said to walk oji 
in darkness, Ps. 82. 5. It is sad when the spirit of 
a man, that should bc'the candle of the J.ora, is an 
ignis fatuus ; when the leaders of the /leo/ile, the 
leaders of the faculties, cause them to < rr, for then 
they that are led of them are destroyed, Isa. 9. 16. An 
error in the practical judgment is fatal, it is that 
which calls nil good and good evil ; (Isa. 5. 20.) 
tlierefore it conccms us to understand things aright, 
to get oui' eyes anointed with eye-sahe. 

3. The eye, that is, the linis and intentions ; by the 
ei/e we set our end before us, the mark we shoot at, 
the place we go to, we keep that in \icw, and direct 
our motion accordingly ; in every thing we do in re- 
ligion, there is something or other that we have ir 
our eye ; now if our eye he single, if we aim honestly, 
fix right ends, and mo\e rightlv towards them, if 
we aim purely and only at the glory of CJod, seek 
his honour and fa\ our, and direct all entirely to hira 
then the eye is single: Paul's was so when he said 
To me to live is Christ ; and if we be right here, the 
whole body will be full of light, all the actions will be 
regular and gi-acious, pleasing to God and comforta- 
ble to ourselves : but if this eiie he evil, if, instead of 
aiming only at the glory cf God, and our acceptance 
with him, we look aside at the applause of men, and 
while we profess to honour Ciod, contrive to honour 
ourselves, and seek our own things under colour of 
seeking the things of Christ, this spoils all, the whole 
convei-sation will be pcr\ersc and unsteady, and the 
foundations being thus out of course, there can be 
nothing but confusion and eveiy evil nvork in the su- 
perstructure. Draw the lines from the circumfer- 
ence to an\- other point but thp centre, and they will 
cross. If the light that is in thee be not onl)' dim, 
but darkness itself, it is a fundamental en-or, and de- 
structive to all that follows. The end specifies the 
action. It is of the last importance in religion, that, 
we be light in our aims, and make eternal things, 
not temporal, our scojie, 2 Cor. 4. IS. The hypo- 
crite is like the waterman, that looks one way and 
rows anotlier ; the tnie christian like the traveller, 
that has his journey's end in his eye. The hy])0- 
crite soars like the kite, with his eye upon the prey 
below, which he is ready to come down to when he 
has a fair oppoi-tunity ; the tnie christian soars like 
the lark, higher and higher, forgetting the things 
that are beneath. 

III. ^\■e must take heed of hypocrisy and worldly- 
mindcdness in choosing the master we serve, i'. 24. 
.\'o man can serine t',i'o masters. Scning tieo mas- 
ters is contraiy to the single eye ; for the eye will be 
to the master's hand, Ps. 123. 1,2. Our Lord Jesus 
here exposes the cheat which those put upon their 
own souls, who think to divide between God and the 
world, to have a treasure on earth and a treasure in 
heaven too ; please God and please men too. WTiy 
not ? savs the hvpocrite ; it is good to ha\e two string^ 
to one's bow. They hope to make their religion serve 
their secular interest, and so turn to account both 
ways. The pretending mother was for dividing the 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



child : the Samaritans will compound between God 
and idols. No, says Christ, this will not do ; it is 
but a supposition that gain is godliness, 1 Tim. 6. 5. 
Here is, 

1. A general maxim laid down ; it is likely it was 
a proverb among the Jews, ^Vb man can seme two 
masters, much less two gods ; for their commands 
will some time or other cross or contradict one ano- 
ther, and their occasions interfere. While two mas- 
ters go together, a servant may follow them both •, 
but when they part, you will see to which he be- 
longs ; he cai'inot love, and observe, and cleave to 
both as he should. If to the one, not to the other ; 
either this or that must be comparatively hated and 
despised. This truth is plain enough in common 
cases. 

2. The application of it to the business in hand. 
Ye cannot serve God and Aluminon. JManunon is a 
Syriac word, that signifies gain ; so that whatever in 
this world is, or is accounted by us to be, gain, (Phil. 
3. 7. ) is mammon. ' Whatever is in the ivorld, the hist 
of the Jlesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, 
is 7nammon. To some their belly is their mammon, 
and they serve that; (Phil. 3. 19.) to others their 

' ease, their sleep,, their sports and pastimes are their 
mammon; (Prov. 6. 9.) to others worldly riches; 
(James 4. 13. ) to others honours and preferments ; 
the praise and applause of men was the Pharisees' 
mammon ; in a word, self, the unity in which the 
world's trinity centres, sensual, secular self, is the 
mammon which cannot be served in conjunction with j 
God ; for if it be served, it is in competition with 
him and in contradiction to him. He does not say. 
We must not or we should not, but we cannot, serve 
God and Mammon ; we cannot love both ; (1 John 
2. 15. Jam. 4. 4. ) or hold to both, or hold by both in 
observance, obedience, attendance, trust, and depen- 
dence, for they are contrary, the one to the other. 
God savs, jMy son, gi^^'e me thy heart. JMammori 
says, " No, give it me." God says. Be content with 
such things as ye have. Mammon says, " Grasp at 
all that e\'er thou canst. liem, rem, ijuocunyue modo 
rem — Money, money; l)y fair means or by foul, mo- 
ney. " God says. Defraud not, nexer lie, be honest 
and just in all thy dealings. Manunon s-a.ys, "Cheat 
thy own father, if thou canst gain bv it. " God says. 
Be charitable. Mainmon says, " H'old thy own, this 
giving undoes us all." God says, Be careful for no- 
thinsf. J\[ammon says, "Be careful for everything." 
Goi says, Keejt holy the Sabbath-day. Mammon 
says, "Make use of that day as well as any other 
for the world. " Thus inconsistent are the commands 
of God and Mammon, so that we cannot serve both. 
Let us not then halt between God and Baal, but 
choose ye this day whom ye will serve, and abitle by 
your choice. 

25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no 
thought for your life, what yc shall eat, or 
what ye shall drink ; nor yet for yoiu- body, 
what ye shall put on. Is not the life more 
than meat, and the body than raiment ? 
26. Behold the fowls of the air : for they 
sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather 
into barns ; yet your heavenly Father feed- 
eth them. Are ye not much better than 
they ? 27. Which of you by taking thought 
can add one cubit unto his stature ? 28. 
And why take ye thought for raiment ! 
Consider the lilies of the field, how they 
grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : 
29. And yet I say unto you, that even 
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed 



like one of these. 30. Wherefore, if God 
so clothe the grass of the field, which to- 
day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. 
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of 
little faith l 31. Therefore take no thought 
saying. What shall we eat ? or, what shah 
we drink 1 or, wherewithal shall we be 
clothed ? 32. (For after all these things do 
the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Fa- 
ther knoweth that ye have need of all these 
things. 33. But seek ye first the kingdom 
of God, and his righteousness ; and all these 
things shall be added unto you. 34. Take 
therefore no thought for the morrow : foi 
the morrow shall take thought for the things 
of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the 
evil thereof. 

There is scarcely any one sin against which our 
Lord Jesus more largely and earnestly wams his dis- 
ciples, or against which he arms them with more 
variety of arguments, than the sin of disquietine, 
distracting, distiiistful cares about the things of this 
life, which are a bad sign that both the treasure and 
the heart are on the earth ; and therefore he thus 
largely insists upon it. Here is, 

I. The prohibition laid down. It is the counsel 
and command of the Lord Jesus, that we take no 
thought about the things of this world ; I say unto 
you. He says it as our Lawgiver, and theSove- 
i-eign of our hearts ; he says it as our Comforter, 
and the Helper of our joy. ■\\'hat is it that he says ? 
It is this, and he that has ears to hear, let him hear it 
Take no thought for your life, nor yet for your bo- 
dies ; (j'. 25.) Take no thought, saying, Jl'hat shall 
we eat? {v. 31.) and again, (x'. 34.) Take no thought, 
y.), ^£f<//»aTt — Be not in care. As against hypocrisy, 
so against worldly cares, the caution is thrice re- 
peated, and yet no vain repetition : jireccpt must be 
u]mn precejtt, and line ufion line, to the same pur- 
port, and all little enough ; it is a sin which doth so 
easily beset us. It intimates how pleasing it is to 
Christ, and of how much concern it is to ourselves, 
that we should Hve without carefulness. It is the 
repeated command of the Lord Jesus to his disci- 
ples, that thev should not divide and pull in pieces 
their own miiids with care about the world. There 
is a thought conceming the things of this life, which 
is not only lawful, but duty, such as is commended 
in the virtuous woman, Prov. 27. 23. The word is 
used concerning Paul's care of the churches, and 
Timothy's care for the state of souls, 2 Cor. 11. 28 
Phil. 2. 20. . . 

But the care here forbidden is, 1. A disquieting, 
tormenting care, which hun-ies the mind hither and 
thither, and hangs it in suspense ; which disturbK 
our joy in God, and is a damp upon our hope in him; 
which breaks the sleejj, and hinders our enjoyment 
of ourselves, of our friends, and of what God has 
given us. 2. A distnistful, unbelieving thought. 
God has promised to provide for those that areliis, 
all things needful for life as well as godliness, the 
life that now is, food and a covering ; not dainties, 
but necessaries. He never said, " They shall be 
feasted, but. Verily they shall be fed. " Now an in- 
ordinate care for time to come, and fear of wanting 
those supplies, spring from a disbelief of these pro- 
mises, and of the wisdom and goodness of Divine 
Providence ; and that is the evil of it. As to pre- 
sent sustenance, we may and must use lawful rneans 
to get it, else we tempt God ; we must be diligent 
in our callings, and pi-udent in proportioning our ex- 
penses to what ^e have, and we must pray for daily 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



73 



breu I ; aiitl if all other means fail, we may and must 
ask lelicf of those that are al)le to j;i\ e it. He was 
noiK- of the best of men that said, To. heif I am 
ashamtd ; (Luke 16. 3.) as he was, who (i'. 21.) 
dnin-d to he fed tvith the crumbs ; but for the future, 
we nuist cant our care ufion God, and take no 
thought, because it looks like a jealousy of God, wlio 
knows how to |;i\ e what we want when we know 
not how to i|,et it. Let our souls dwell at case in 
him ! This i;racious carelessness is the same with 
that sleep which (iod ijives to his beloved, in oppo- 
sition to the worldling's toil, Ps. \27. 2. Observe 
the cautions here, 

(1.) Take no thought for i/our life. Life is our 
greatest concern for this world ; ./// that a man han 
vjilt he fcive for hix Ife ; yet take no thought about 
it [1.] Not about the conlinuauce of it ; refer it to 
God to /enift/ien or .shorten it as he pleases ; mii 
einiis are in l/ii/ hand, and they are in a good hand. 
[2.] Not about the coinfortn of this life ; refer it to 
God to embitter or sweeten it as he pleases. We 
must not be solicitous, no not about the necessary 
support of this life, food and raiment ; these Ciod 
has promised, and therefore we may more confi- 
dently ex[)ect ; siiy not. What shall ive eat ■■' It is the 
lair^uai^c of one at a loss, and almost despaii-ing ; 
whcrea.s, though many good j)eo])le lia\e tlie pros- 
pect of little, yet there arc few but have present 
sujjport. 

(2.) 'Take no thous^ht for the morro'.v, for the time 
to come. Be not solicitous for the futuri-, how you 
shall live next year, or when you arc old, or \vhat 
you shall lea\e behind you. As wc must not boast 
of to-morrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, 
or the events of it. 

IL The reasons and arguments to enforce this 
prohibition. One would think the command of Christ 
was enough to restrain us from this foolish sin of dis- 

?|uieting, (listnistful care, indcpcndenth- of the com- 
ort of o>ir own souls, wliich is so nearly concerned ; 
but to show how much the heart of Christ is upon 
it, and what /ileasure he takes in those that ho/ie in 
his mcrci/, the command is backed with the most 
powerful arguments. If reason ma\' but rule us, 
surely we shall ease ourselves of these thonis. To 
free us from anxious thoughts, and to expel them, 
Christ here suggests to us comfortinsf thoughts, that 
■we may be filled with them. It will be worth while 
to take pains v/ith our own hearts, to argue them out 
of their disquieting cares, and to make ourselves 
ashamed of them. They may he weakened by right 
reason, but it is b\' an actix'e faith only that they can 
be overcome. Consider then, 

1. Is 7iot this life more than meat, and the body 
than raiment ? t. 25. Yes, no doubt it is ; so he 
says, who had reason to understand the tnie value 
of present things, for he made them, he supports 
titem, and supjjorts us by them ; and the thing 
speaks for itself. Note, (1.) Our life is a greater 
blessing than our livelihood. It is tnie, life cannot 
subsist without a livelihood ; but the meat and rai- 
ment which are here represented as inferior to the 
life and body, are such as are for oniament and de- 
light; for abr.ut such we are apttobe solicitous. Meat 
and raiment are in order to life, and the end is more 
noble and excellent than the ineans. The daintiest 
food and finest raiment are from the eart':, but life 
from the breath of God. Life is the lii^ht of mm, 
meat is but the oil that feeds that light ; so that the 
difference between rich and poor is very inconside- 
rable, since, in the greatest things, they stand on the 
same level, and differ only in the lesser. (2. ) This 
is an encouragement to us to trust God for food and 
raiment, and so to ease ourselves of all perplexing 
cares about them. God has given us life, and given 
us the body ; it was an act of power, it was an act 
cf favo'ir, it was done without our care : what can- 

Vol. v.— K 



not he do for us, who did that — what will r,c not > 
If we take cai-e about our souls and eternity, A^hich 
arc more than the body, and its life, wc may leave 
it to God to pr<n ide for us food and raiment, which 
are less. (Jod has maintained our lives hitherto ; 
if sometimes with pulse and water, that has an- 
swered the end ; he has jn'otected us and ke]it us 
alive. He tliat guards us against the e\ils we are 
exjjosed to, will s\ip])lv us with the i^ood thinifs wc 
are in need of. If he lad been ])leased to kdl us, 
to starve us, he would not so often ha\ e gix'cn his 
angels a charge concerning us to keep us. 

2. lichold the fonvls of the air, and consider the 
lilies of the ,field. Here is an argmnent taken from 
God's conii'non providence toward the inferior crea- 
tin-cs, and tlieir dependence, according to their ca- 
jjacities, upon that providence. .\ fine pass fallei\ 
man is come to, that he must be sent to school to 
the foivls of the air, and that the\- nuist teach him. 
Job '12. 7, 8. ' 

(1.) Look ujion the fw.i'ls, and learn to litist God 
for food, (_v. 26.) ami disquiet not yourselves with 
thoughts it'hat i/ou shall eat. 

[1.] Obsene the providence of (Jod conceniing 
them. Look upon them, and receive instniction. 
There are \ arious sorts of fowls ; they arc inmierous, 
some of them ravenous, but they are all fed, and fed 
with food convenient for them' ; it is rare that any 
of them iierish for want of food, e\ en in winter, and 
there goes no little to feed them all the year round 
The fowls, as thov are least servicea1)le to man, so 
they are least within his care ; men often feed upon 
them, but seldom feed them ; yet they are fed, we 
know not how, and some of them fed best in the 
hardest weather: and it is uour heavenly Father 'hat 
feeds them; he knows all the wild fowls of the 
mountains, Ijctter than you know the tame ones at 
vour own l)ani-door, Ps. 50. 11. Not a sparrow 
lights to the ground, to pick up a grain of com, but 
In* the providence of God, which extends itself to 
the meanest creatures. But that which is especially 
obser\ed here is, that they are fed without any care 
or ])roject of their own ; they sow not, neither do they 
rea/i, nor gather into bai-ns. The ant indeed does, 
antl the Ijce, and they are set before us as examples 
of prudence and industiy ; but the fowls of the air 
do not ; they make no pi-o\ision tor the future them- 
selves, and Vet even- day, as dul\- as the da)- comes, 
proxision is made for them, and their eyes nail on 
God, that great and good Housekeeper, who pro- 
vides food for all flesh. 

[2.] Improve this for your encouragement to tnist 
in God. Jre ye not much better than they ? Yes, 
certainly you are. Note, The heirs of heaven are 
much better than the fowls of hea\en ; nobler and 
more excellent beings, and, by faith, they soar high- 
er ; they are of a better nature and nurture, wiser 
than the fowls of heaven : (Job 35. 11.) though the 
children 'of this w-orld, that know not the judgment 
of the Lord, are not so wise as the stork, and the 
crane, and the swallow, (Jer. 8. 7.) you are dearer 
to God, and nearer, though they fly in the open fir- 
mament of heaven. He is their Maker and Lord, 
their Owner and Master ; but beside all this, he is 
your Father, and in his accoimt ye are of more va- 
lue than manu sparrows ; you arc his children, his 
first bom ; now he that feeds his birds surely will 
not star\'e his babes. They trtist your Father's 
pi-ovidence, and will not ynu trtist it .> In depen- 
dence upon that, they are careless for the mon-ow ; 
and being so, thev Ii\-e the merriest lives of all crea- 
tures, tTiey sing among the branches, (Ps. 104. 12.) 
and, to the best of their powei-, they praise their 
Creator. If we were, by faith, as unconcerned 
about the morrow as they are, we should sing as 
checrfidly as they do ; for it is worldly care that 



74 



ST. MATTHEW, VI. 



mars our mirth, and damps our joy, and silences our 
praise, as much as any thing. 

(2. ) Loolc upon the H/ics, and leam to trust God 
foi- raiment. I'hat is another part of our care, iv/iat 
ive .shall /ml on ; for decency, to cover us ; for de- 
fe.n'-.e, to keep us warm ; yea, and, with many, for 
dijiity and ornament to make tliem look gi-eat and 
fine ; and so much concemed are they for gaiety and 
variety in their clotliing, that this care returns almost 
as oftcfn as that for their daily bread. Now to ease 
us of this care, let us consider the lilies of the Jield ; 
not only hole ujion tliem, (every eye does that with 
pleasure,) but consider them. Note, Tliere is a great 
deal of good to be learned from what we see ever>' 
day, if we would but consider it, Prov. 6. 6. — 24. 32. 
[1.] Consider how yro;7 tlie lilies are; tliey are 
the erass of the field. Lilies, tliougli distingiuslied 
by their colours, are still but grass. Thus all flesh 
is g-rass, though some in the endowments of body 
and mind are as lilies, much admired, still they are 
grass ; the grass of the field in nature and constitu- 
tion : tliey stand upon the same level with others. 
Man's days, at best, are as grass, as the fionver of 
the grass, 1 Pet. 1. 24. This grass to-day is, and 
to-morrow is cast into the oven ; in a litvle while the 
place that knows us, will /enow us no more. The 
grave is the o\en into wliicli we sliall be cast, and 
in whicli we shall be consumed as grass in tlie fire, 
Ps. 49. 14. This intimates a reason why we should 
not take thought for tlie morrow, what we shall put 
on, because perhaps, by to-morrow, we may have 
occasion for our grave-clothes. 

[2. ] Consider how free from care the lilies are : 
they toil not as men do, to earn clotliing ; as ser- 
vants, to earn their liveries ; neither do they spin, as 
women do, to make clothing. It does not follow that 
we must, tlierefore, neglect, or do carelessly, the 
proper business of this life ; it is the praise of tlie 
virtuous woman, that she lays her hand to the sfiindle, 
makes fine linen, and sells it, Prov. 31. 19, 24. 
Idleness tem/its God, instead of trusting him ; but 
he tliat provides for the inferior creatures, witliout 
their labour, will much more provide for us, by 
blessing our labour, which he has made our duty. 
And if we should, through sickness, be unable to 
toil and s/iin, God can funiish us with what is neces- 
san' for us. 

f3.] Consider how fair, how ^«e the lilies are ; 
how they grow ; what they grow from. The root 
of tlie lily or tulip, as other bulbous roots, is, in the 
winter, lost and buried under ground, yet, when 
spring returns, it appears, and starts up in a little 
time ; hence it is promised to God's Israel, that they 
shall grow as the lily, Hos. 14. 5. Consider what 
they grow to. Out of that obscurity in a few weeks 
they come to be so xevy gay, that even Solomon, in 
all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. The 
array of Solomon was very splendid and magnifi- 
cent : he that had the peculiar treasure of kings and 
provinces, and so studiously affected pomji and gal- 
lantry, doubtless had the richest clothing, and the 
best made up, that could be got ; especially when he 
appeared in his glory on high days. And yet, let 
him dress himself as fine as he could, he comes far 
short of the beauty of the lilies, and a bed of tulips 
outshines him. I>et us, therefore, be more ambitious 
of the wi-idoKi of Solomon, in which he was outdone 
by none ; wisdom to do our duty in our places, ra- 
ther than the glory of Solomon, in which he was 
outdone by the lilies. Knowledge and grace are the 
perfection of man, not beauty, much less fine clothes. 
Now God is here said thus to clothe the grass of the 
afield. Note, All the excellences of the creature 
flow from God, the Fountain and Spring of them. It 
■W8 s he that ga\e the horse his strength, and the lily 
its beauty ; every creature is in itself, as wall as to 
us, what he makes it to be. 



[4.] Consider how instructive all t'*'is is to us. V 

30. 

First, As to fine clothing; this teaches us not trA 
care for it at all, not to covet it, nor to be proud ol ! 
it, not to make the putting on of apparel our adorn 
!?2g, for after all our care in this the lilies will far 
outdo us ; we cannot dress so fine as they do, why ' 
then should we attempt to vie with them .■' Theii [ 
adorning will soon perish, and so will ours ; they \ 
fade — are to-day, and to-morrow are cast, as other ] 
rubbish, into the oven; and the clothes we are proud ' 
of are wearing out, the gloss is soon gone, the coioui 
fades, the shape goes out of fashion, or in a while 
the gai-ment itself is worn out ; such is man in al! 
his pomp, (Isa. 40. 6, T.) especially inch men ; (Jam. 
1. 10.) they fade away in their ways. 

Secondly, As to necessary clothing ; this *:eaches 
us to cast the care of it upon God — Jehovah-jireh ; 
trust him that clothes the lilies, to piTA ide for you 
what you shall put on. If he give such fine clothes 
to the gi-ass, much more will he give fitting clothes 
to his own children ; clothes that shall be waiTU 
upon them, not only when he guietelh the earth with 
the south wind, but when he disquiets it with the 
jiorth wind. Job 37. 17. He shall much more clothe 
you ; for you are nobler creatures, of a more excel- 
lent being ; if so he clothe the short-lived grass, 
much more will he clothe you that are made for im- 
mortality. Even the children of Nineveh are pre- 
ferred before the gourd, (Jonah 4. 10, 11.) much 
more the sons of Zion, that are in covenant with 
God. Observe the title he gives them, (t. SC.) C 
ye of little faith. This may be taken, 1. As an en- 
couragement to true faith, though it be but weak ; 
it entitles us to the divine care and a promise oi 
suitable supjjly. Great faith shall be commended, 
and shall procure gi'eat things, but little faith shall 
not be rejected, even that shall procure food and rai- 
ment. Sound believers shall be provided for though 
they be not strong believers. The babes in the fa- 
mily are fed and clothed, as well as those that arc 
grown up, and with a F])ecial care and tenderness ; 
.say not I am but a child, but a dry tree, (Isa. 56. 3, 
5.) for though poor aiut needy, yet the Lord thinketh 
on thee. Or, 2. it is rather a rebuke to weak faith, 
though it be tiiie, ch. 14. 31. It intimates what is 
at the bottom of all our inordinate care and thought- 
fulness ; it is owing to the weakness of cur faith, 
and the remains of unbelief in us. If we had but 
more faith, we should ha\e less care. 

3. Uliich of you, the wisest, the strongest of you, 
by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature ? 
(i'. 27.) to his age, so some; but the measure of a 
cubit denotes it to be meant of the stature, and th< 
age at longest is but a span, Ps. 39. 5. Let us con- 
sider, (1.) We did not arrive at the stature we are 
of, by our own care and thought, but by the provi- 
dence of God. An infant of a span long is grown up 
to be a man of six feet, and how was one cubit after 
another added to his stature ? Not bv his own fore- 
cast or contrivance ; lie grew he knew not how, by 
the power and goodness of Grd. Now he that made 
our bodies and made them of such a size, surely will 
take care to provide for them. Note, Gcd is to be 
acknowledged in the increase of our bodily strength 
and stature, and to be tnistcd for all needful sup- 
plies, because he has made it to apiiear, that he is 
for the body. The growing age is the thoughtless, 
careless age, yet we grow ; and shall not he wh' 
reared us to this, provide for us now we are reared . 
(2.) We cannot alter the stature we are of, if we 
would : what a foolish and ridiculous thin? would it 
be, for a man of low stature to peiplex himself, to 
break his sleep, and beat his brains, about it, and to 
be continually taking thought how he niipht be a 
cubit higher ; when, after all, he knows he cannot 
effect it, and therefore he had better be content and 



ST. MATTHEW, Vi. 



75 



tiike it ;is it is ? We arc not all of a size, yet the dif- 1 
ferencc in stature between one and another is not 
material, nor of ;uiy great account ; a little man is 
really to wish he were as tall as such a one, but lie 
knows il is to no purpose, and thercfoiv does as well 
as he c;ui with it. Isow as we do in reference to our 
bodily stature, so we should do in reference to our 
worldly estate. [1.] We should not co\ et an abun- 
dance of the wealth of this world, any more than we 
would covet the addition of a cul)it to one's stature, 
which is a great deal in a man's lieii^ht ; it is enough 
to grow by inches ; such an addition would but make 
one unwieldy, and a burden to one's self. ['2.1 \\'c 
must reconcile ourselves to our state, as we do to 
our .stature ; we must set the conveniences against 
the inconveniences, and so make a virtue of necessi- 
ty : what cannot l)e remedied nuist be made the 
best of. We cannot alter the disi)osals of Provi- 
clence, and therefore nuist acquiesce in them, ac- 
commodate oui-selves to them, and reliev e ourselves, 
as well as we can, against inconx eniences, as Zac- 
cheus ag^nst the inconvenience of his stature, b_v 
climbing into the tree. 

4. .!/!<•>■ lilt llicsf //iing:i do the Gmtiles seek, v. 32. 
Thoughtfulness about the world is a lifalhatixh sin, 
and unbecoming c/irkfiun.t. The Clcnlilcs seek tlusc 
things, because they know not better things ; they 
are eager for this woi-ld, l)ecau.se they are strangers 
to a better ; they seek these things with care and 
anxiet)', because they arc •mithoitt God in the ni'orld, 
and understand not his i)ro\ idence. 'rhe\- fear and 
worship their idols, l)ut know not how to trust them 
for deliverance and supply, and, therefore, arc 
themselves full of care ; but it is a shame for chris- 
tians, who build upon nobler principles, and profess 
a religion which teaches them, not only that there 
is a Providence, but that tliere are promises made 
to the good of the life that now is, which teaches 
them a confidence in (iod and a contempt of the 
world, and gi\es such reasons for both ; it is a shame 
for them to walk as Clentiles walk, and to fill their 
heads and hearts with these things. 

5. Your heavenly Father knows ye have ?ieed of 
all these things ; these necessai-y things, food and 
raiment ; he knows our wants better than we do 
oui-selves ; though he be in heaven, and his children 
on earth, he observes what the least and poorest of 
them has occasion for, (Kev. 2. 9.) I knoiv thy /lo- 
verty. Vou think, if such a good friend did but 
know your wants and straits, you should soon have 
relief; your God knows them; and he is your 
Father that loves you and [jities you, and is ready 
to help you ; your hea\ enly Father, who has where- 
withal to sup])ly all your needs : awav, therefore, 
with all disquieting thoughts and care's ; go to thv 
Father; tell him, he knows thou hast need of such 
and such things ; he asks \-ou, Children, have you 
any meat ? John 21. 5. Tell him whether you have 
or not. Though he knows our wants, he will know 
them from us ; and when we ha\e opened them to 
him, let us cheerfuU)- refer ourselves to his wisdom, 
power, and .goodness, for our supplw Therefore, 
we should ease ourselves of the burden of care, by 
casting it upon God, because it is he that careth for 
us, (1 Pet. 5. 7.) and what needs all this ado ? If he 
care, why should we care ? 

6. Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righte- 
ousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, 
V. 33. Here is a double argument against the sin of 
thoughtfulness ; take no thought for your life, the 
life of the body ; for, ( 1. ) You have greater and bet- 
ter things to 'take thought abr.jt ; the life of your 
soul, vour eternal happiness ; that is the one thing 
needful, (Luke 10. 42.) about which you should em- 
ploy your thoughts, and which is commonly ne- 
l^lected, in those hearts v;herein worldly cares have 
the ascendant. If we were but more careful to 



please God, and to work out our own salvation, w 
should be less solicitous to please ourselves, and 
work out an estate in the world. 'l'houj;htfiilnesa 
for our souls, is the most effectual cure of thought- 
fulness for the world. (2.) Vou have a surer and 
easier, a safer and a more compendii us wa\' to ob- 
tain the necessaries of this life, than l)y barking, and 
caring, and fretting al)out them ; and that is, »y 
seeking first the kingdom of God, and making re- 
ligion your business ; say not that this is the way to 
starve, no, it is the way to be well provided for, even 
in this world. (Observe here, 

[1.] The great duty req\iired ; it is the smn and 
substance of om' whole dvity. " S'-ek first the king- 
dom of God ; mind religion as your great and prin- 
cijjal concern :" our duty is to seek ; to desire, ])ur 
sue, and aim at these things ; it is a word that haj 
in it much of the constitution of the new covenant in 
fa\our of us ; though we have not attained, but in 
many things fail, and come short, sincere seeking, a 
careful concern and earnest endca\our, are accept- 
ed. Kow obsene, First, The object of this seek- 
ing ; 7'he kingdom of God, and his righteousness ; 
we nuist mind heaven as our end, and holiness as 
our way. " Seek the comforts of the kingdom of 
grace and glory as ) our felicity ; aim at the king- 
dom of heax'en ; press towards it, give diligence to 
make it sure ; resoh e not to take up short of it ; 
seek for this glory, honour, artd immortality ; pre- 
fer hea\ en and heavenly blessings far before earth 
and earthly delights." We make nothing of our 
religion, if we do not make heaven of it. And with 
the ha/i/ii7u-ss of this kingdom, seek the righteous- 
ness of it ; God's righteousness, the righteousness 
which he requires to be wrought in us, and wrought 
by us, such as exceeds that of the Scribes and Plia- 
risees ; we must follow peace and holiness, Heb. 12. 
14. Secondly, The order oi n. Seek first the king- 
dom of God. Let your care for your souls and ano- 
ther world, take place of all other cares : and let 
all the concerns of this life be made subordinate to 
those of the life to come : we must seek the things 
of Christ more than our own things ; and if ever 
thcv come in competition, we must remember to 
which we are to gi\e the preference. " Seek these 
things ^rs/ ; first in thy days, let the moming of 
youth be dedicated to God. Wisdom must be 
sought early ; it is good beginning betimes to be re- 
ligious. Seek this first every day ; let waJiing 
thoughts be of God." Let this'be our principle, to 
do that first which is most needful, and let him tliat 
is the First, have the first. 

[2.] The gi-acicus ])romise annexed ; all these 
things, the necessary supports of life, shall be added 
unto you ; shall be gh'en over and above ; so it is 
in the margin. You shall have what \ou seek, the 
kingdojn of God and his righteousness, for never any 
sought in vain, that sought in earnest ; and besides 
that, you shall have food and raiment, by way of 
ovei-plus ; as he that buys goods has paper and 
I packthread given him into the bargain. Godliness 
has the promise of the life that now is, 1 Tim. 4. 8. 
Solomon asked wisdom, and had that and other 
things added to him, 2 Chron. 1. 11, 12. O what 
a blessed change would it make in our hearts and 
lives, did we but firmly believe this tnith, that the 
best way to be comfortably provided for in this 
world, is to be most intent upon another world ! ^^'e 
then begin at the right end of our work, when we 
begin with God. If we give diligence to make sure 
to ourselves the kingdom of God and the righteou,s- 
ness thereof, as to ail the things of this hfe, jehovah- 
jirch — the Lord will provide as much of them as he 
sees good for us, and more we would not wish for. 
Have we trusted him for the /lorlion of our inheri- 
tance at our end, and shall we not trost him for the 
ftortion of our cufi, in the way to it .' God's Israel 



76 



ST. MATTHEW, Vll. 



were not only brought to Canaan at last, but had 
their charges borne tlirouRh the wilderness. O 
that we were more thoughtful about the things that 
are not seen, that are eternal, and then the less 
thoughtful we should be, and the less thoughtful we 
should need to be, about the things that are seen, 
that are tempoi-al ! Also regard not your stuff. Gen. 
45. 20, 23. 

7. The Tnorrotv shall take thought for the things 
of itself; sufficient unto the day is the ei'il thereof, t. 
34. We must not perplex ourselves inordinately 
about future events, because every day brings along 
with it its own burden of cares and gi-ievances, as 
if we look about us, and suffer not our fears to be- 
tray the succours which grace and reason offer, it 
brings along with it its own strength and supply too. 
So that we are here told, 

(1.) That thoughtfulness for the morrow is need- 
less; let the morroiv take thought for the things of 
itself If wants and troubles be renewed with the 
day, there are aids and provisions renewed like- 
wise ; com/iassions, that are new ei'ery morning. 
Lam. 3. 22. The saints have a Friend that is their 
arm every morning, and gives out fresh supply 
daily, (Isa. 33. 2.) according us the business of ex'ejy 
day requires ; (Ezra 3. 4.) and so he keeps his peo- 
ple in a constant dependence upon him. Let us re- 
fer it therefore to the morrow s strength, to do the 
morrow's work, and bear the morrow's burden. 
To-morrow, and the things of it, will be provided 
for without us ; why need we thus anxiously care 
for that which is so wisely cared for already ? This 
does not forbid a prudent foresight, and preparation 
accordingly, biit a pei-plexing solicitude, and a pi-e- 
possession of difficulties and calamities, which may 

gerhaps never come, or if they do, may be easily 
ome, and the evil of them guarded against. The 
meaning is, let us mind present dutii, and then leave 
events to God; do the loork of the day in its day, 
and then let to-jnorroiv bring its work along with it. 
(2.) That thoughtfulness for the morrow is one of 
those fttolish and hurtful lusts, which they that will 
be rich fall into, and one of the many sorrows, 
wherewith they fiierce themselves through. Suffi- 
cient unto the day is the ez'il thereof. This present 
day has trouble enough attending it, we need not ac- 
cumulate burdens by antici/iating onr trouble, nor 
borrow perplexities from to-morrow's evils to add 
to those of this day. It is uncertain what to-mor- 
row's evils may be, but whatever they be, it is time 
enough to take thought about them when they come. 
What a folly is it to take that trouble upon ourselves 
this day by care and fear, wliich belongs to another 
day, and will be never the lighter when it comes ? 
Let us not pvill that upon ourselves all together at 
once, which Providence has wisely ordered to be 
borne by parcels. The conclusion of this whole 
matter then is, that it is the will and command of 
the Lord Jesus, that his disciples should not be their 
own tormentors, nor make their passage through 
this world more dark and unpleasant, by their ap- 
prehensions of troubles, than God has made it, by 

the troubles themselves. By our daily prayers we 
may procure strength to bear us up under our daily 

troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that 

attend them, and then let none of these things move 

us. 

CHAP. VII. 

This chapter continues and concludes Christ's sermon on the 
mount, which is purely practical, directing us to order our 
conversation ari2;ht, both toward God and man ; for the 
design of the christian reliffion is to make men good, every 
way good. We have, I. Some rules concerning censure 
and reproof, v. 1 . . 6. II. Encouragements given us to 
pray to God for what we need, v. 7. . 1 1. III. The neces- 
sity of strictness in conversation urued upon us, v. 13, 14. 
IV. A caution given us U> take heed of false prophets, v. 



15 . . 20. V. The conclusion of the whole sermon, showmg 
the necessity of universal obedience to Clnisl's commands, 
without which we cannot expect to be happy, v. i" . . 27. 
VI. The impression which Christ's doctrine made upon 
his hearers, v. 28, 29. 

1. XUDGE not, that ye be not judged. 
99 2. For with what jndgment ye 
judge, ye shall be judged: and with what 
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to 
you again. 3. And why bcholdest thou 
the mote that is in tliy brother's eye, but 
considerest not the beam that is in thine 
own eye ? 4. Or how wWi thou say to thy 
brother, Let me pull out the mote out of 
thine eye : and, behold, a beam is in thine 
own eye ? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast 
out the beam out of thine own eye -, and 
then shall thou see clearly to cast out the 
mote out of thy brother's eye. 6. Give not 
that which is holy unto the dogs, neither 
cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they 
trample them under their feet, and turn 
again and rend j'ou. 

Our Saviour is here directing us how to conduct 
ourselves in reference to the faults of others ; and 
his expressions seem intended as a reproof to the 
Scribes and Pharisees, who were ^■ery rigid and se- 
A'ere, very magisterial and supercilious, in condemn- 
ing all about them, as those commonly are, that are 
proud and conceited in justifying themselves. We 
have here, 

I. A caution against judging, v. 1, 2. There are 
those whose office it is to judge — magistrates and 
ministers. Christ, though he made jiot himself a 
Judge, yet came not to unmake thern, for by him 
firinces 'decree justice ; but this is directed to private 
persons, to his disciples, who shall hereafter sit on 
thrones judging, but not now. Now observe, 

1. The prohibition ; Judge not : We must judge 
ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but we must 
not judge our brother, not magisterially assume such 
an authoritv over others, as we allow not them over 
us ; since our rule is, to be subject to one another. 
Be not many masters, Jam. 3. 1. We must not sit 
in the judgment-seat, to make our word a law to 
every body. We must not judge our brother, that 
is, we must not s/ieak e^>il of him, so it is explained. 
Jam. 4. 11. We must not despise him, nor set him at 
naught, Rom. 14. 10. ^\'e must not judge rashly.V 
nor pass such a judgment upon our brother as has no\ 
gi-ound, but is onlv the product of our own jealousy [ 
and ill nature, ^^'e must not make the worst of i 
people, nor infer such invidious things from their 
words and actions as they will not bear. We must 
not judge uncharitably, unmercifully, nor with a 
spirit of revenge, and a desire to do mischief. We 
mtist not judge of a man's state by a single act, nor i 
of what he is in himself by what he is to us, because/ 
in our ovn\ cause we are ajjt to be partial. Wcl 
must not judge the hearts of others, nor their inten- 
tions, for it is God's prerogative to try the heart, ) 
and we must not step into his throne ; nor must we 
judge of their eternal state, nor call them hypocrites, 
reprobates, and castaways ; that is stretching beyond 
our line ; what have we to do, thus to judge another 
man's servant ? Counsel him, and help him, but do 
not judge him. 

2. The reason to enforce this prohibition ; that ye 
be not judged. This intimates, (1.) That if we preA 
sume to judge others, we may expect to be ourselves 
judged. He who usurps the bench, shall be called 
to the bar; he shall be judged of men; commonly 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



77 



none arc more censured, than those who are most 
censorious ; every one will hiivc a stone to throw at 
them ; he who, like Ishniael, has his hiuid, his 
tongue, against mH-ry man, sliall, like liini, ha\''; 
every man's hand iuid tongue against him ; (Gen. Iti. 
12.) and no mercy shall be shown to the reputation 
of those that show no mercy to the reputation cf 
others. Yet that is not the worst of it ; they shall he 
judged of God ; from him they shall recei\ e tlie 
greater condemnation, y,im. 3. 1. Both parties nuist 
appear before him, (Koni. 14. 10.) who, as he will 
relie\'e the /nimble sufferer, will also resist the 
haughty scorner, and give him enough of judging. 
(2.) That if we be nnxlest and charitable in our 
censures of others, and decline judging them, and 
judge ourseUes rather, ive shall not he judged of the 
Lord. As God will forgive those that forgive their 
brethren, so he will not judge those that will not 
judge their brethren ; tlie merciful shall find mercy. 
It is an evidence of humility, charity, and deference 
to God, and shall be owned and rewarded by him 
•iccordin^ly. See Rom. 14. 10. 

The judging of tliosc that judge others, is accord- 
ing to the la,w of retaliation ; With ivhal judgment 
ye judge, ye shall he judged, v. 2. The righteous 
God, in his judgments, often observes a rule of pro- 
portion, as in the case of Adonibezek, Judg. 1. 7. 
bee also Rev. 13. 10—18. 6. Thus will he be both 
justified and magnified in his judgments, and all flesh 
will be silenced before him. Jll/h vjhut measure ye 
mete, it shall he measured to you again ; ]icrhaps in 
this world, so that men may read their sin in their 
punishment. Let this deter us from all scxerity in 
dealing with o\ir brother. What then shall -ve do 
ivhen God rises u/i ? Jnl) 31. 14. WhaX would be- 
come of us, if God should be as exact and severe in 
judging U.S. as we arc in judging our brethren ; if he 
should weigh us in the same Ijalance ? We ma^' justly 
expect it, if we he extreme to mark what our bre- 
thren do amiss. In this, as in other things, the vio- 
lent dealings of men return ujjon their own heads. 
/ II. Scimc cautions ahont re/iroving. Because we 
(must not jud;e others, which is a gi-eat sin, it does 
I not therefore follow, that \vc must not reprove 
others, which is a great duty, and may be a means ! 
of saving a soul from death ;" however,' it will be a 
means of saving'our souls from sharing in their guilt 
Now observe here, 

I. It is not every one who is fit to reprove. Those 
who are themselves g-iiilty of the fa\ilts of which thev 
accuse others, or of worse, bring shame upon them- 
selves, and are not likelv to do good to those whom I 
they rejirove, v. " — 5. Here is, 

(1.) A just reproof to the censorious who quarrel 
with their brother for small faults, \vhile thev allow 
themselves in great ones ; who are quick-sighted to 
spy a mote in his eye, but are not sensible of a heam 
in their oii'n ; nay, and will be vcit officious to /;;;// 
out the mote out of his eye, when tlicy are as unfit to 
do it as if they w'ere thenisehcs quite blind. Note, 
[1.] There are degrees in sin : some sins are com- 
parati\'el V but as motes, while others are as beams ; some 
&sa.gna', otliers as a r«mp/.- not that there is any 
sin little, for there is no little God to sin against : if it 
be a more, (.ir s/ilinter. for so it might better be 
read,) it is in the eye; Xfagnat, it is in the throat ; 
both painful and perilous, and we cannot be easy or 
well till they ai-e got out [2.] Our own sins might 
to appear greater to us than the same sins in others : 
that which charity teaches us to call but a sfiim'er 
hi our brother's eye, tnie repentance and godlv 
sorrow will teach us to call a heam in our otvn ; for 
the sin of others must be extenuated, b\it our own 
aggravated. [3. ] There are many that have beams 
in their oivn eyes, and vet do not consider it They 
we under the guilt and dominion of \erv great sins, 
a'ld yet are not aware of it, but justify' themselves. 



as if they needed no repentance nor reformation ; it 
is as sti-,mgc that a man can be in such a sintul, 
miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that 
a num should have a beam in his eye, and not con- 
sider it ; but the god of this world so artfully blind.* 
their minds, that notwithstanding, with great assu- 
rance, tliey say, We see. [4.] It is common for 
those that are most sinful themselves, and least .sen 
sible of it, to be most forward and free in judging 
iuid censuring others : the Pharisees, w ho were mcst 
haughty in justifying themselves, were most scornful 
in condemning others. They were severe upon 
Christ's di.scijjles for eating r.i/h unieashcn hands, 
which was scarcely a mote, while they cnc(.uraged 
men in a contempt of their jjarents, which was a 
heam. Pride and uncharitableness are conmionly 
beams in the e\ es of those that jnetend to be critical 
and nice in their censures of others. Nay, many 
arc guilty of that in secret, which they have the face 
to punish in others when it is d'.sco\ ered. Cogita 
tecum, fortasse vitium de (juo guereris, si te diligen- 
tere.iTusseris, in sinu inTcnics ; i!iii/2ie publico irasce- 
ris crimini tuo — Ri fleet that per/ui/is the fault of 
ii'hich you complain, might, on a strict examination, 
be discovered in yourself; and that it nvonld he unjust 
publicly to express indignation against your ov.'n 
crime. Seneca, de Denejiciis. But, [5.] Nien's be- 
ing so severe upon the faults of others, while they 
arc indulgent ot their own, is a mark of hypoci'isy. 
Thou hypocrite, v. 5. Whatever such a one may 
])retcnd, it is certain that he is no enemy to sin, (if 
lie were, he would be an enemy to his own sin,) and 
therefore he is not worthy of praise ; nay, that it 
appears he is an enemy to his brother, and therefore 
worthy of blame. This spiritual charity nuist begin 
at home ; " J'or horn canst thou say, how canst thou 
for shame say, to thy brother. Let me help to reform 
thee, when thou takcst no care to reform thyself? 
Thy own heart will upbraid thee with the absurdity 
of it ; thou wilt do it with an ill grace, and thr.vi wilt 
expect every one to tell thee, that vice corrects sin: 
phusiciati, heal thiiself; " I prpe, sei/uar — G'o uou 
before, and I tvil'l follonv." See Rem. 2. 21. [6.] 
The considci'ation of what is amiss in ourselves, _ 
though it ought not to keep us from administering 
friendly reproof, o\ight to keep us from magisterial 
censuring, and to make us very candid and charita- 
ble in judging others. " Therefore restore reith the 
s/iirit of meekness, considering thi/self; (Gal. 6. 1.) 
w-liat thou hast been, what thou art, and what thou 
wouldst be, if God should leave thee to thyself." 

(2.) Here is a good rtde for reprovers, v. 5. Go 
in the right method, ./fr?? cast the beam out of thine 
own eye. Our own badness is so far from excusing 
us in not reproving, that our being by it rendered 
unfit to reprove, is an aggravation of our badness ; I 
must not say, "I have a beam in my oivn eye, and 
therefore I will not help my brother with the mote 
out of his." A man's offence will never be his de- 
fence : but I must first reform myself, that I may 
thereby help to reform ni\' lirother, and may qualify 
myself to reprove him. Note, These who blame 
others, ought to he blameless and harmless them- 
selves. Those who are reprovers in the gate, re- 
])rovers by office, magistrates and ministers, are 
concerned to nvalk circumspectly, and to be veiy 
regular in their cnn\ersation : an elder must have a 
good report, 1 Tim. 3. 2, 7. The snuffers of the 
sanctuary were to be of pure gold. 

2. It is not e\ en' one that is fit to be reproved ; 
Gix'e not that u'hich is holy unto dogs, v. 6. This 
may be considered, cither, (1.) As a nile to the dis- 
ciples in preaching the gospel ; not that they must 
not preach it to any who were wicked and profane, 
(Christ himself ])rcached to publicans and sinners,) 
but the reference is to such as they found obstinate 
after the gospel was preached to them, such as bias- 



78 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



phemed it, and persecuted the preachers of it : let 
them not spend much time among such, for it would 
be lost labour, but let them turn to others. Acts 13. 
41. So Dr. Whitby. Or, (2. ) As a rule to all in 
giving reproof. Our zeal against sin must be guided 
by discretion, and we must not go about to give in- 
structions, counsels, and rebukes, much less com- 
forts, to hardened scorners, to whom it will certainly 
do no good, but who will be exasperated and enraged 
at us. Throw a pearl to a swine, and lie will resent 
it, as if you tlirew a stone at him : re/iroofs will be 
called reproaches, as they were, (Luke 11. 45. Jer. 
6. 19. ) therefore give not to dogs and swine, (unclean 
creatures) holy things. Note, [1.] Good counsel 
and reproof are a holy thing, and a pearl : they are 
ordinances of God, they are precious ; as an ear-ring 
of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is the wise 
reprover, (Prov. 25. 12.) and a wise reproof is li/ce 
an excellent oil ; (Ps. 141. 5.) it is a tree of life, Prov. 
3. 18. [2.] Among the generation of the wicked, i 
there are some that are arrived at such a pitch of 
wickedness, that tliey are looked upon as dogs and 
swine ; they are impudently and notoriously vile ; 
they have so long nvalked in the trai/ of sinners, that 
they are sat down in the seat of the scornful ; they 
professedly hate and despise instruction, and set it at 
defiance, so that they are irrecnxerably and irre- 
claimably wicked ; they return with the dog to his 
vomit, aiid with the soiv to her •zvallonving in the mire. 
[3.] Reproofs of instruction are ill bestowed upon 
such, and expose the reprover to all the contempt 
and mischief that may be expected from dogs and 
swine. One can expect no other than that they 
will trample the reproofs under their feet, in scorn 
of them, and rage against them ; for they are impa- 
tient of control and contradiction ; and they will turn 
again and rend the reprovers ; rend their good names 
with their rcvilings, return them wounding words 
for their healing ones ; rend them with persecution ; 
Herod rent Jolm Baptist for his faithfidness. See 
here wliat is the evidence of men's being dogs and 
swine. Tlic)' are to be reckoned such, who hate 
refiroofi and rcpro\-crs, and fly in the face of tliose 
wlio, in kindness to their souls, show them their sin 
and danger. These sin against the remedy ; who 
shall heal and help those tha.t will not be healed and 
helped ? It isplain that God has determined to de- 
stroy such, 2 Chron. 25. 16. Tl\e rule here given is 
applicable to the distinguishing, sealing ordinances of 
the gospel ; which must not be prostituted to those 
who are openly wicked and profane, lest holy things 
be thereby rendered contemptible, and unholy per- 
sons be thereby hardened. It is 7iot meet to take the 
children's bread, and cast it to the dogs. Yet we must 
be very cautious whom we condemn as dogs and 
swine, and not do it till ;ifter trial, and upon fvdl 
evidence. Many a patient is lost, by being thought 
to be so, who, if means had lieen used, might have 
been saved. As we must take heed of calling the 
good, bad, by iudging all jjrofessors to be hypocrites ; 
so we must take heed of calling the bad, des/ierate, 
by judging all the wicked to be dogs and sivine. [4.] 
Our Lord Jesus is very tender of the safety of his 
people, and would not have them needlessly to ex- 
pose themselves to tlie fury of those that will turii 
again and rend them. Let them not be righteous 
over much, so a? to destroy themselves. Christ 
makes the law of self-preservation one of his own 
laws, and firecious is the blood of his subjects to 
him. 

7. Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, 
and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you : 8. For every one that 
asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh find- 
eth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be 



opened. 9. Or what man is there of you, 
whom if his son ask bread, will he give him 
a stone ? 1 0. Or if he ask a fish, will he give 
him a sci-pent 1 11. If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your 
children, how much more shall your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven give good things to 
them tiiat ask him ? 

Our Saviour, in the foregoing chapter, had spoken 
of prayer as a commanded duty, by which God is 
honoured, and which, if done aright, shall be re- 
warded ; here he speaks of it as the appointed means 
of obtaining what w'e need, especially grace to obey 
the precepts he had given, some of which are so 
displeasing to flesh and blood. ... 

1. Here is a precept in three words to the same 
purjjort, .isA; See/:, Knock- ; {v. 7.) that is, in one 
word, " Pray ; pray often, pray with sincerity and 
seriousness ; pray, and pray again ; make conscience 
of prayer, and be constant in it ; make a business of 
prayer, and be earnest in it. ^sk, as a-bcggar asks 
alms." They that would be rich in grace, must 
betake themsehes to the poor trade of begging, and 
they shall find it a thri\ing trade. " .isk ; represent 
your wants and burdens to God, and refer yourselves 
to him for support and suppl)-, according to his pro- 
mise. .^"Isk ; as a traAcUcr asks the way ; to pray is 
to inquire of God, Ezek. 36. 37. .S'fcA-, as for a thing j 
of value that we ha\ e lost ; or as the merchantman 
that seeks goodly fiearls. Seek bij prayer ; (Dan. 9. 
3.) Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house 
knocks at the door." \\'e would be admitted to 
con\-erse with God, would be taken into his love, 
and favour, and kingdom ; sin has shut and barred 
the door against us ; by prayer, we knock ; Lord, 
Lord, ofien to tis. Christ knocks at our door, (Rev. 
3. 20. Cant. 5. 2.) and allows us to knock at his, 
wliich is a favour we do not allow to common beg- 
gars. Seeking and knocking imply something more 
than asking aiid praying. 1. We must not cnly ask 
but seek; we must second our prayers with our en 
deavours ; we must in the use of the appointed means 
seek for that which we ask for, else we tempt God, 
When the dresser of the %ine\'ard asked for a year's 
respite for tlie barren fig-tree, he added, Inill dig 
about it, Luke 13. 7, 8. God gives knowledge and 
gi-ace to those that search the scriptures, and wait at 
\\'isdoni's gates ; and power against sin to those that 
avoid the occasions of it. 3. \\e must not only 0.9/-, 
but knock ; we must come to God's door, must ask 
importunately; not only pray, but plead and wrestle 
with God; we must seek diligently, w-e must con- 
tinue knocking; must persevere in prayer, and in 
the use of means ; must endure to the end in the 
duty. 

n. Here is a promise annexed : our labour in 
prayer, if indeed we do labour in it, shall not be in 
x'ain : where God finds a praying heart, he will be 
found a prayer-hearing God ; he shall gix'e thee an 
answer of peace. The precept is threefold, ask, 
seek, knock ; there is precept upon precept ; but the 
promise is sixfold, line upon line, for our encourage- 
ment ; because a firm belief of the promise would 
make us cheei-ful and constant in our obedi«'iice. 
Now here, 

1. The promise is made, and made so as exactly 
to answer the precept, v. 7. God will meef those 
that attend on him : Ask, and it shall be given you ; 
not lent vou, not sold you, but gwen you ; and what 
is more free than gift ? WTiatever you pray for, ac 
cording to the promise, whatever you ask, shall be 
given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would 
you have more ? It is but ask and have : ye have not, 
because ye ask not, or ask not aright :" what is not 



I 



ST. MATTHEW, Ml. 



79 



north asking, is not worth having, and then it is' 
wortli notliing. Sir/:, and ije shall Jirul, and then 
you do not lose your labour ; CJod is himself yo;/«(/ 
of those that seek him, and if we find liim we liavc ! 
cnougl\. " Knock, ami it shall be o/iencd ; the door 
of mercy and grace shall no longer be shut against 
vou as enemies and intruders, but opened to you as 
friends and children. It will be asked, leho is at the 
Joor? If you be able to say, a friend, and have the 
ticket of the promise ready to produce in the hand 
of faith, doubt not of admission. If the door be not 
o/inied at the fii-st knock, continue instant in jirayer ; 
it is an affront to a friend to knock at his door, and 
then go away ; though he tarry, yet wait." 

2. It is repeated, t. 8. It is to the same puiposc, 
vet with some addition. (1.) It is made to extend 
to all that ])ray aright ; " Not only you my discii)les 
shall receive what you pray for, but ex-ery one that 
asketh, receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or 
old, rich or poor, high or low, master or scr^■ant, 
learned or unlearned, they are all alike' welcome to 
the throne of g-i-iice, if they come in faith ; fir God 
is no Res/teeter of /icisons. (2.) It is made so ;is to 
amount to a grant, in words of the i)resent tense, 
which is more than a promise for the future. £,very 
one that asketh, not only shall receive, but receiveth ; 
by faith, ap])lying and appropriating the promise, 
' we are actually interested and invested in the good 
promised ; so sure and in\iolable are the pi-omises 
of God, that they do, in effect, give jiresent posses- 
sion ; an acti\e beliexer enters immediatch', and 
makes the blessings promised his own. \\niat wC 
have in hope, accordmg to the promise, is as sure, 
and should be as sweet, as what we have in hand. 
God hath sftoken in his holiness, and then (Ulead is 
mine, Manasseh is mine ; (Ps. 108. 7, 8. ) it is all mine 
own, if I can but make it so by belie\ing it so. 
Conditional grants become absolute upon the per- 
formance of the condition ; so here, he that asketh, 
receiveth. Christ hereby puts \\\% fiat to the jjetition ; 
and he having all power, that is enough. 

3. It is illustrated, by a similitude taken from 
earthly parents, and their innate readiness to give 
their childi-cn what they ask. Christ appeals to his 
hearers. What man is there of you. though ncxer so 
morose and ill-humoured, nvhom, if his son ask bread, 
tvill he give him a stone ? v. 9, 10. AN'hcnce he in- 
fers, {v. 11.) If ye then being ex'il, yet gi'ant your 
children's requests, much more tvill your heavenly 
Father give you the good things you ask. Now this 
is of use. 

(1.) To direct our prayers and expectations. 
[1.] \\'e must come to God, as children to a Father 
in heaven, with reverence and confidence. How 
naturally does the child in want or distress nm to 
the father with its complaints ; My head, mi/ head ; 
thus shovdd the new nature send us to CJod for sup- 
ports and supplies. [2.] ^\'e must come to him for 
good things, for these he gh'es to them that ask him ; 
which teaches us to refer ourselves to him : we 
know not what is good for ourselves, (Eccl. fi. 12.) 
but he knows what is good for us, we must therefore 
leave it with him ; Father, thy ivill be done. The 
child is here siipposcd to ask bread, that is neces- 
sary, and a fish, that is wholesome ; but if the child 
should foolishly ask for a stone, or a servient, for \m- 
ripe fruit to eat, or a sharp knife to plav with, the 
father, though kind, is so wise as to deny him. We 
often ask that of God which would do us hurt if we 
had it ; he knows it, and therefore does not give it 
us. Denials in love are better than grants in anger ; 
we had been imdone ere this, if we had had all yve 
desired ; this is admirablj- well expressed by a hea- 
then, Juvenal, Sat. 10. 

Permittes i/isis exfiendere nummibus, quid 
Conveniat nobis, rebusque sit utile noilris. 



.Yatn /irojucundis u/itissima quaeque dabunt dii, 
Curior est illis homo, qiiam sibi : 7ios animorum 
Im/iulsu, et card magndque cu/iidine ducti, 
Conjugium ftetimus,(Hirtumque uxoris ; at illis 
A'olum est, qui fiueri, qualisquefutura sit uxor. 

Intrust thy fortune to the pow'rs above. 
Leave them to manage for tliee, and to grant 
What their luierring wisdom sees thee want : 
In goodness, as in greatness, they excel ; 
Ah, that we lov'd ourselves but naif so well ! 
\\e, blindly by our headstrong passions led, 
Seek a companion, ;uid desire to wed ; 
Then wish tor heirs : but to the gods alone 
Our future offspring, and oiu- wix es, are known. 

(2.) To f?!<-owrai»-f our pi-ayers and expectations. 
We may hope that we shall not be denied and dis- 
appointed : we shall net have a stone for bread, to 
break our teeth, (though we ha\ e a hard crust to 
employ our teeth,) nor a ser/ienl for a Jish, to sting 
us ; we have reason indeed to fear it, because we 
deserve it, but (kid will be better to us than the de- 
sert of our sins. The yvorld often gives stones for 
bread, and ser/ients for Jish, but God ne\er does; 
nay, we shall be heard and answered, for children 
are by their parents. [1.^ God has put into the 
hearts of parents a compassionate inclination to suc- 
cour and supply their children, according to their 
need. Even they that have had little conscience of 
duty, yet have done it, as it were bv instinct. No 
law was e\ er thought necessaiy to obhge parents to 
maintain their legitimate children, nor, in Solomon's 
time, their illegitimate ones. [2.] He has assumed 
the relation of a Father to us, and owns us for his 
children ; that from the readiness we find in our- 
selves to relieve our children, we may be encouraged 
to apply oursehes to him for relief. What love and 
tenderness fathers hav e, are from him ; not from 
nature, but from the God of nature ; and therefore 
they must needs be infinitely greater in himself. 
He compares his concern for his people to that of a 
father for his children, (Ps. 103. 13.) nav, to that of 
a mother, which is usually more tender, Jsa. 66. ^ 
13. — 49. 14, 15. But here it is supposed, that his 
love, and tenderness, and goodness, far excel that 
of any earthly parent ; and therefore it is argued 
with a 7ni/ch more, and it is grrunded upon this un- 
doubted truth, that God is a better Father, infinitely 
better than any earthly parents are ; his thoughts 
are above theirs. Our earthly fathers have taken 
care of us ; we have taken care of our children ; 
much more will (iod take rare of his ; for they are 
evil, originally so ; the degenerate seed cf fallen 
.\dam ; they have lost much of the good nature thai 
Ijelonged to humanity, and among other corniptions, 
have that of crossness and unkindness in them ; yet 
they give good things to their children, and they 
kno'W ho'.v to gri'e, suitably and seasonably ; much 
?nore li'ill God, for he takes up when they forsake, 
Ps. 27. 10. And, First, God is more knowing ; pa- 
rents are often foolishly fond, but God is wise, infi- 
nitely so ; he knows what we need, what we desire, 
and what is fit for us. Secondlv, God is more kind. 
If all the com])assions of all the tender fathers in 
the world were crowded into the bowels of one, yet 
compared -.vith the tender mercies of our God, tliev 
would be but as a candle to the sim, or a drop to the 
ocean. God is more rich, and more ready, to his 
cliildren, than the fathers of our flesh can be ; for 
he is the Father of our spirits, an ever-loving, ever- 
living Father : the bowels of fathers yearn even to- 
wards undutifid children, towards profligals, as Da- 
vid's toward Absalom, and will not all this sei-ve to 
silence unbelief .'' 

12. Therefore all thiniss whatsoever ye 
would that men should do to you, do ye 



80 



hT. MATTHEW, VII. 



even so to them : for this is tlie law and 
the prophets. 13. Enter ye in at the strait 
gate : for wide is the gate, and broad is the 
way, that leadeth to destruction, and many 
there be which go in thereat : 1 4. Because 
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, 
which leadeth unto life ; and few there be 
that find it. 



Our Lord Jesus here presses upon us that righte- 
ousness toward men which is an essential branch of | 
true religion, and that religion toward God, which 
is an essential branch of universal righteousness. 

I. We must make righteousness our rule, and be 
ruled by it, v. 12. Therefore, lay this dow-n for 
your principle, to do as you would be done by ; 
therefore, that you may conform to the foregoing 
precepts, which are particular, that vou may not 
judge and censure others, go Ijy this nile in general ; 
you would not be censured, therefore do not censure. 
Or, that you may have the benefit of the foregoing 
promises, fitly is the law of justice suljjoined to the 
law of prayer, for unless we be honest in our con- 
versation, God will not liear our prayers, Isa. 1. 
15— 17.— 58. 6, 9. Zech. 7. 9, 13. We cannot ex- 
pect to receive good things from God, if we do not 
fair things, and that wliich is honest, and lovely, and 
of good refiort, among men. We must not only be 
devout, but honest, else our devotion is but hypo- 
crisy. Now here we have, 

1. The nile of justice laid down ; IMiatsoever ye 
•would that men should do to ijou, do ye ei-'en so to 
them. Christ came to teach us, not only what we 
are to know and believe, but what we are to do ; 
what we are to do, not only toward God, liut toward 
men ; not only towards our fellow-disciples, those 
of our ])aity and persuasion, iDut toward men in ge- 
neral, all with whom vie have to do. The golden 
rule of eo,uity is, to do to others, as we would they 
should do to us. Alexander Sevems, a heathen em- 
peror, was a great admirer of this rule, had it writ- 
ten upon the walls of his closet, often quoted it in 
giving judgment, honoured Clirist, and favoured 
c^iristians, for the sake of it. Quod tibi, hoc alteri — 
do to others as you would they 'should do to you. 
Take it negatively, f Quod tibi fieri non tw, tie al- 
teri feceris ;J or positively, it conies all to the same. 
We must not do to others the e\il they have done 
to us, nor the evil which they would do to us, if it 
were in their power ; nor may we do that which we 
think, if it were done to us, we could bear content- 
edly, but what we desire should be done to us. This 
is grounded upon that great commandment, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. As we must 
bear the same affection to our neighboiu', that we 
would ha\e borne to ourselves, so we nmst do the 
same good offices. The meaning of this rule lies in 
three things. (1.) We must do that to our neigh- 
bour which we oursehes acknowledge to be fit and 
reasonable ; the appeal is made to our own judg- 
ment, and the discovery of our judgment is referred 
to that which is our own will and expectation, when 
it is our ow-n case. (2.) ^^'e must put other people ! 
upon the level with oursehcs, and reckon we are as 
much obliged to them, as they to us. Wtt are as 
much bound to the duty of jvistice as they, and they 
as much entitled to the benefit of it as we. (3.) We 
must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves 
in the same particular case and circimistances with 
those we have to do with, and deal accordingly. If 
I were making such a one's bareain, labouring imder 
such a one's infirmity and affliction, how would I 
desire and expect to be treated ? And this is a just 
supposition, because we know not how scon their 
case may really be ours : indeed we may fear, lest 



God by his judgments should do tt us as we have 
done to otliers, if we have not done as we would be 
done by. 

2. A reason given to enforce this rule ; This is the 
Iwui and the projihets. It is the summary of that 
second great commandment, which is one ot the two, 
on ivhich hang all the law and the pro-jihets, ch. 22. 
40. We have not tliis in so many words, either in 
the law or th^rojihets, but it is the concurring lan- 
guage of the whole. All that is there said concern- 
ing our duty towards cur neighbour, (and that is no 
little,) may be reduced to this rule. Christ has here 
adopted it into this law ; so that both the Old Tes- 
tament, and the >Jew, agree in prescribing this to 
us, to do as we would be done by. By this nale the 
law of Christ is commended, but the li\es cf chris- 
tians are condemned by comparing them with it. 
.int hoc hen ei'angelium, aut hi ncn c-i'angelici — 
Either this is not the gospel, or these are not chris- 
tians. 

II. We must make religion cur business, and be 
intent upon it ; we mtist be strict and circumspect 
in our conversaticn, which is here represented to us 
as entering in at a strait gate, and walking on a nai'- 
row ii'ay, v. 13, 14. Observe here, 

1. The account that is given cf the bad way of > 
sin, and the good way of holiness. There are but' 
two ways, right and wrong, good and evil ; the way 
to heaven, and the way to hell ; in the one of which 
we arc all of us walking : no middle place hereafter, 
no middle way now : the distinction of the children i 
of men into saints and sinners, godly and ungcdlVi / 
will swallow up all to eternity. ly 

Here is, (1.) An account given us of the way of 
sin and sinners ; both what is the best, and what is 
the worst of it. 

[1.] That which allures multitudes into it, and 
kee])s them in it ; the gate is wide, and the way broad, 
and there arc many tra\ellers in that way. first, 
" Ycu will have abundance of liberty in that way ; 
the gate is v^-ide, and stands wide cpen to tempt thof c 
that go right on their way. Ycu may go in at this 
gate with all yoiu' lusts about you ; it gives no check 
to your appetites, to your passions : you may walir 
in the wau of your heart, and in the sight of your 
eyes ; that gives room enough." It is a bread way, 
for tliere is nothing to hedge in thcsie that walk in 
it, but they wander endlessly ; a broad way, for 
there arc many paths in it ; there is choice of sinful 
ways, contrary to each other, but all paths in this 
b)-oad wau. &condly, "Ycu will have abundance 
of company in that way ; many there be that go in 
at this gate, and walk in this way." If ■v.e f.lloiv 
the multitude, it will be to do nil: if we go with the 
crov/d, it will be the w'rcng way. It is natural for 
us to incline to go down the stream and do as the 
most do ; but it is too great a crmpliment to be wil- 
ling to be damned for company, and to go to hell 
with them, because they will not go to heaven with 
us : if many pci'ish, we shculd be the more cautious. 
[2.] That which should affnght us all from it is, 
that it leads to destructio7i. Death, eternal death, 
is at the end of it, (and the way of sin tends to 
it,) — everlasting destruction from the presence of 
the Lord. Whether it be the high way of open 
profancness, or the back way of close h\-pccrisy, 
if it be a way of sin, it will be our ruin, if we repent 
not. 

(2.) Here is an account given us cf the way of 
holiness. 

[1.] ^^^lat there is in it that frightens many from 
it ; let us know the worst of it, that we may sit down 
and count the ccst. Christ deals ftiithfully with us. 
and tells us. 

First, That the gate is strait. Conversion and re- 
generation are the gate, by which we enter into th's 
way, in which we begin a life cf faith and scricui 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



81 



lo 



godliness ; out of a state of sin into a state of grace, I 
we must pass, by the new birth, iahn 3. 3, 5. Tliis 
is a strait gate, haixl to find, and hard to get through ; 
like a jjassage between two rocks, 1 Sam. 1-1. 4. 
There must be a nnv heart, and a nciu sfiirit, and 
old tilings must /lass airatj. Tlie bent ot the soul 
must be cliaiigcd, con-upt habits and customs broken 
off; what we have been doing all our days, nuist be 
undone again. We must swnn against the stream ; 
mnch opposition must be stniggled with, and broken 
through, from witliout, and from within. It is easier 
to set a man against all the world than against him- 
self, and yet this must be in conxcrsion. It is a 
strait gale, for we nuist stoop, or we eauTint go in at 
it ; we must become as little children ; high thoughts 
must be brought down ; nay, we must strip, must 
denv ourselves, put off the world, put off the old 
man ; we must be willing to forsake all for our in- 
terest in Christ. The gate is strait to all, hut to some 
straitcr than to others ; as to the rich, to some that 
have been long prejudiced against religion. The 
rate is strait ; blessed be CJod, it is not shut up, nor 
ocked against us, nor ke])t with a flaming sword, as 
it will be shoi-tly, ch. 25. 10. 

Secondly, That the nvaij is jiarrow. \\'e are not 
in heaven as s(xin as we are got through the strait 
gate ; not in Canaan as soon as we arc got through 
the Red sea ; no, we nnist go through a wilderness, 
must travel a narroiv nvaij, liedgcd m by the divine 
law, which is exceeding broad, and that makes the 
ivait narrow ; self must be denied, the body kept 
under, corniptions mortified, that are as a right eye 
and a right hand ; daily temjitations must be resist- 
ed ; duties must be done that are against our incli- 
nation : we must endure hardness, must wrestle ;uid j 
be in an agonv ; must watch in all things, and walk 
with care and circumspection ; we must go through 
much trihulalion. It is :<f:c Tti^ijuy-itx, an afflicted 
way, a way hedged al)Gut with thorns ; blessed be 
God, it is not hedged up. The bodies we cany 
about with us, and the corniptions remaining in us, 
make the way of our duty difficult ; but as the un- 
deretanding and will grow more and more sound, it 
will open and enlarge, and gi'ow more and more 
Dleasant. 

Thirdly, The gate being so strait and the way so 
narrow, it is not strange that there are but few that 
find it and choose it. Many pass it bv, through 
"carelessness ; thev will not be at the jiains to find it ; 
thev ai-e well as they are, and see no need to change 
their way. Othei-s look upon it, but shun it ; they 
like not to be so limited and restrained. They that 
are going to heaven are l)ut few, compared to those 
that arc going to hell ; a remnant, a little flock, like 
the grape-gleanings of the vintage ; as the ei!:::ht that 
were saved in the ark, 1 Kings 20. 27. In x'ifia alter 
alteram tradimus ; Quomodo ad salutetn rerocari 
/latest quu!n nullus retrahit, et jiofiulus imjiellit — In 
the ways of vice men urge each other onward : how 
shall atiy one be restored to the p.ath of safety, when 
imficlled fonvards by the multitude, without any 
counteracting infliience? Seneca, Ejiist. 29. This 
discouraires many, thev are loth to be singular, to be 
solitan- ; but instead of stumbling at this, say i-ather 
if so few are going to heaven, there shall be one the 
more for me. 

[2.1 Let us 5ee what there is in this way, which, 
notwithstanding this, should invite us all to it ; it 
leads to life, to present comfort in the favour of God, 
which is the life of the soul ; to eternal bliss ; the 
hope of which at the end of our wav, should recon- 
cile us to all the difficulties and inconveniences of the 
read. T^ife and godliness are put together ; (2 Pet. 
1.5.) The gate is strait and the way narrow, and 
up hill, but one hour in heaven will make amends 
frrall. 
2. The great concern and duty of every one of us, 

Vol. v. — L 



in consideration of all this ; Unter ye in at the strait 

gate. The matter is fairly stated ; life and death, 
giKid and evil, are set before us, both the ways, and 
ijoth the ends: now let the matter be takcn'cntire, 
iuid considered impartiall\', and tlieii choose you this 
<lay which you will walk in ; nay, the matter deter- 
mines itselt, and will not admit of a debate. No 
man, in his wits, would choose to go to the gallows, 
because it is a smooth, pleasant way to it, nor refuse 
the iiffer of a palace and a throne, because it is a 
rough, dirty way to it ; yet such absurdities as these 
are men guilty of, in the concenis of tlieir souls. 
Delay not, therefore ; deliberate not any longer, but 
enter ye in at the strait gate; knock at it by sincere 
and constant pra\ers and endeavours, and it shall 
be ojiened ; nay, a wide door shall be ojiencd, and 
an effectual one. It is tnie, we can neither go in, 
nor go on, without the assistance of divine grace ; 
but it is as tnie, that grace is freel_\' offered, and shall 
not be wanting to those that seek it, and submit to 
it. Conversion is hard work, but it is needful, and, 
blessed be God, it is not impossible if we strive, Luke 
13. 24. 

15. Beware of false prophets, which 
come lo you in sheep's clothine;, Init in- 
wardly they are ravening w oh cs : 1 6. Ye 
shall know' tliem by their fruits. Do men 
gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? 
17. Even so e\ ery good tree bringeth forth 
good frnit ; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth 
evil frnit. 18. A good tree cannot bring 
forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree 
bring forth good fruit. 1 9. Every tree that 
bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn dowai, 
and cast into the fire. 20. Wherefore by 
tlieir fruits ye shall know them. 

W'c have here a caution a^amst false firofihets, to 
take heed that we be not decei\ ed and imposed upon 
bv them. Prophets are properly such as foretell 
things to come ; there are some mentioned in thp 
Old Test:unent, who pretended to that without war- 
rant, and the event disproved their pretensions, as 
V.edekiah, 1 Kings 52. 11. and another Zedekiah, 
jer. 29. 21. Butfiro/ihets did also leach the people 
their duty, so thaX false firojihets h-" e are false teach- 
ers. Ch'rist being a Prcphet anti a Teacher come 
from God, and designing to send abroad teachers 
under him, gi\es waniing to all to take heed of coun- 
terfeits, who, instead of healing souls with whole- 
some doctrine, as thev pretend, would poison them. 

They are false teachei-s and false prophets, 1. 
^^'llo produce false compiissions, who pretend to 
ha\c immediate wairant and direction from God to 
set up {oY prophets, and to be diAinel>- ins])ircd, when 
thev are not so. Though their doctrine may be tnie, 
we 'are to beware of them as false prophets. False 
apostles are those who say they are apostles, and are 
yiot ; (Rev. 2. 2.) such are false prophets. " Take 
heed of those who pretend to revelation, and admit 
them not without sufficient proof, lest that one ab- 
surditv being admitted, a thousand follow. " 2. \Mio 
preach false doctrine in those things that are essen- 
tial to religion ; who teach that which is contraiy to 
the truth as it is in .Tesus, to the truth which is accord- 
ing to godliness. The former seems to be the jiro- 
pcr notion, ofpseudcpropheta, a false or pretending 
prophet, but commonlv the latter falls in with it ; for 
who woidd hang out 'false colours, but with design, 
under pretence of them, the more successfully to 
attack the tnith. " WeW, beware of them, susnect 
them, trv them, and when vou have discovered their 
falsehoocl, avoid them, have nothing to do with thenu 



82 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



Stand upon your guard against tliistemptation, which 
commonly attends the days of reformation, and the 
breathings out of divine light in more than ordinary 
strength and splendour. " When God's work is re- 
vived, Satan and his agents are most busy. Here is, 
I. A good reason for this caution ; Bevjare q/'them, 
for they are luolves in sheefi's clothing, v. 15. 

1. We have need to be very cautious, because 
their pretences are very fair and plausible, and such 
as will deceive us, if we be not upon our guard. 
They come in sheeji's clothing, in the habit of pro- 
fihets, which was plain, and coarse, and unwrought ; 
they nvear a rough garment to deceix>e, Zeoh. 13. 4. 
Elijah's mantle the Septuagint calls I'l fxuKu-ri — a 
sheefi-skin mantle. We must take heed of being 
imposed upon by men's dress and garb, as by that of 
the Scribes, who desire to nvalk in long robes, Luke 
20. 46. Or it may be taken figuratively ; they pre- 
tend to be sheep, and outwardly appear so innocent, 
harmless; meek, useful, and all that is good, as to 
be excelled by none ; they feign themselves to be 
just men, and for the sake of their clothing are ad- 
mitted among the sheep, which gives them an op- 
portunity of doing them a mischief ere they are 
aware. They and their errors are gilded with the 
specious pretences of sanctity and devotion. Satan 
turns himself into an angel of light, 2 C^or. 11. 13, 
14. The enemy has horns like a lamb ; (Rev. 13. 
11.) faces of men. Rev. 9. T, 8. Seducers in lan- 
guage and carriage are soft as nvool, Rom. 16. 18. 
Isa. 30. 10. 

2. Because under these pretensions their designs 
are very malicious and mischievous ; iniuardly they 
are ravening nvohies. Every hyfiocrite is a goat in 
sheep's clothing, but a false firojihet is a wolf in 
sheep's clothing ; not only not a sheep, but the worst 
enemy the sheep has, that comes not but to tear and 
devour, to scatter the shee/i, (John 10. 12.) to drive 
them from God, and from one another, into crooked 
paths. They that would cheat us of any truth, and 
possess us with error, whatever they pretend, design 
mischief to our souls. Paul calls them grievous 
■wolves. Acts 20. 29. They raven for themselves, 
serve their own belly, (Rom. 16. 18.) make a prev 
of you, make a gain of you. Now since it is so easy 
a thing, and withal so dangerous, to be cheated. Be- 
ware of false prophets. 

II. Here is a good i-ule to go by in this caution ; 
we must prove all things ; (1 Thess. 5. 21.) try the 
spirits ; (1 John 4. 1.) and here we have a touch- 
stone ; ye shall kyioiv them by their fruits, v. 16 — 20. 
Observe, 

1. The illustration of this comparison, of the fruit's 
being the discovery of the tree. You cannot always 
distinguish them by their bark and leaves, nor 6y 
the spreading of their boughs, but by their fruits ye 
shall know them. The fniit is according to the tree. 
Men may, in their professions, put a force upon their 
nature, and contradict their inward principles, but 
the stream and bent of their practices will agree 
with them. Christ insists upon this, the agrceable- 
ness between the fruit and the tree, which is such, 
as that, (1.) If you know what the tree is, vou may 
know what fmit to expect Never look to gather 
grapes from thorns, nor Jigs from thistles ; it is not 
in their nature to pixxluce such fruits. An apple 
may be stuck, or a bunch of grapes may hang, upon 
a thorn ; so may a good truth, a good word or action, 
be found in an ill man, but you may be sure it never 
grew there. Note, [1.] Corrupt,' vicious, unsanc- 
tified hearts are like thorns and thistles, which came 
in with sin, are worthless, vexing, and for the fire 
at last [2. ] Good works are good fruit, like grapes 
and figs, pleasing to God and profitable to men. 
13.] This good fruit is never to be expected from 
bad men, any more than a clean thing out of an un- 
clean: they want an influencing, acceptable princi- 1 



pie : out of an evil treasure will be brought forth er>d 
things. (2.) On the other hand, if you know what 
the fruit is, you may, by that, perceive what the 
tree is. yl good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit ; 
nay, it cannot but bring forth good fruit ; and a cor- 
rupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit ; nay, it can- 
not but bring forth ei'il fruit ; but then that must be 
reckoned the fruit of tbe tree, which it brings forth 
naturally, and which is its genuine product, and 
which it brings forth plentifully and constantly, and 
is its usual product Men are known, not by partiA 
cular acts, but by the course and tenor of their con- 1 
versation, and by the more frequent acts, especially j 
those that appear to be free, and most their own, 1 
and least under the influence of external motives j 
and inducements. 

2. The application of this to the false prophets. 

(1.) By way of teiTOr and threatening; (y. 19.) 
every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn 
down. This very saying John the Baptist had used, 
ch. 3. 10. Christ could have spoken the same sense 
in other words ; could have altered it, or gi\en it a 
new turn ; but he thought it no disparagement to him 
to say the same that John had said before him : let 
not ministers be ambitious of coining new expres- 
sions, nor people's ears itch for novelties ; to write 
and speak the same things must not be giievous, for 
it is safe. Here is, [1. ] The description of barren 
trees; they are trees tliat do not bring forth good 
fruit: though there be fniit, if it be not good fruit, 
(though that be done, which for the matter ot it is 
good, if it be not done well, in a right manner, and 
for a right end,) the tree is accounted barren. [2.] 
The doom of barren trees ; they are, that is, certainly 
they shall be, hewn down, and cast into thejirc: God 
will deal with them as men use to deal with diy 
trees that cumber the ground : he will mark tliem 
by some signal tokens of his displeasure ; he will bark 
them by stripping them of their parts and gifts, will 
cut them down by death, and cast them into the fire 
of hell, a fire blown with the bellows of God's wrath, 
and fed with the wood of ban-en trees. Compare 
this with Ezek. 31. 12, 13. Dan. 4. 14. John 15. 6. 

(2.) By way of trial ; by their fruits ye shall know 
them. 

[1.] By the fruits of their persons, their words^ 
and actions, and the course of their conversation. It 
you would know whether they be right or not, ob- 
serve how they live ; their works will testify for them / 
or against them. The Scribes and Pharisees sat iiT 
Moses's chair, and taught the law, but they were 
proud, and covetous, and false, and oppressive, and 
therefore Christ warned his disciples to beware of 
them and of their leaven, Mark 12. 38. If men pre- 
tend to be pro])hets and are immoral, tliat dispixives 
their pretensions ; they are no tnie friends to the 
cross of Christ, whatever they profess, whose God 
is their belly, and who mind earthly things, Phil. 3. 
18, 19. Thev are not taught nor sent of the holy 
God, whose lives e\idence that they are led by the 
unclean spirit God puts the treasure into earthen 
\'essels, but not into such coiTupt vessels : they may 
declare God's statutes, but what have they to do to 
declare them } 

[2. ] By the fruits of their doctrine ; their fruits as 
prophets : not that this is the only way, but it is one 
way of tiying doctrines, whether they be of God or 
got WTiat do they tend to ? What affections and 
practices will they lead those into, that embrace 
them ? If the doctrine be of God, it will tend to pro- 
mote serious piety, humility, charity, holiness, and ' 
love, with other christian gi-aces ; but if, on the con- 
trary', the doctrines these prophets preach liave a 
manifest tendency to make people proud, worldly, 
and contentious, to make them loose and careless in 
their conversations, unjust or uncharitable, factious 
or disturbers of the public peace ; if it indulge carnal 



ST. MATTHEW, \ 11. 



83 



liberty, and take people off from governing them- 
selves and their families by the strict i-ules of the 
narrow r.'uy, we may conclude, that t/iis firrsiiasion 
comes not of Mm tliat calleth us. Gal. 5. 8. This 
wisdom is not from above, James 3. 15. Faith and 
a good conscience arc held together, 1 Tim. 1. 19. — 
3. 9. Note, Doctrines of doubtful dis/iutalion must 
be tried by graces and duties of confessed certainty : 
those opinions come not from God tliat le;id.to sin : 
but if we cannot k-now them by their fruits, we must 
have recourse to the great touchstone, to the law, 
and to the testimonj- : do they speak according to 
that rule .' 

21. Not everyone that saith unto nie, 
Lord, Lord, sliall enter into tlic kingdom 
of lieavcn ; l)ut lie tliat doetli the will of my 
Father uliieh is in heaven. 2'2. Many 
w ill say to me in that day. Lord, Lord, 
have we not prophesied in thy name I and 
in thy name have cast out devils .' and in 
tliy name done many wonderful works ? 
23. And then will I profess unto them, I 
nc\ er knew you : depart from me, ye that 
work iniquity. 24. Therefore whosoever 
heareth these sayings of mine, and -tloeth 
them, I will liken him unto a wise man, 
which built his house upon a rock : 25. 
And the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon 
that house ; and it fell not : for it was found- 
ed upon a rock : 26. And every one that 
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth 
them not, shall be likened unto a foolish 
man, which built his house upon the sand : 
27. And the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon 
that house ; and it fell : and great was the 
fall of it. 28. And it came to pass, when 
Jesus had ended these sayings, the people 
were astonished at his doctrine : 29. For 
he taught them as one having authority, and 
not as the Scribes. 

We have here the conclusion of this long and ex- 
cellent sermon, the scope of which is to show the 
indispensable necessity of obedience to the com- 
mands of Christ ; this is designed to clench the nail, 
that it might fix in a sure place : he speaks this to 
his disciples that sat at his feet, wherever he preach- 
ed, and followed him wherever he went. Had he 
sought his own praise among men, he would have 
said, that was enough ; but the religion he came to 
estaljlish, is in power, not in word only, (1 Cor. 4. 
20. ) and therefore something more is necessary. 

I. He shows, by a plain remonstrance, that an 
outward profession of religion, however remarkable, 
^^^ll not bring us to heaven, unless there be a corre- 
spondent conversation, w 21 — 23. All judgment is 
committed to our Loi-d Jesus ; the keys are put int« 
his hand ; he has power to prescribe new terms of 
life and death, and to judge men according to them : 
now this is a solemn declaration pursuant to that 
power. Observe here, 

1. Christ's law laid down, v. 21. .^'b; every one 
that sailh, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom 
of heaven, into the kingdom o/" grace and glory. It 
is an answer to that question, Psal. 15. 1. It'ho shall 
tojoum in thy tabernacle ? — the church militant, and 



who shall dwell in thy holy hill? — the church trium- 
jihant. Christ here shows, ' 

(1.) That it will not suffice to say. Lord, Lord; 
in woixl and tongue to own Christ for our Master, 
and to make addi-esses to him, aiid professions of 
him accordingly ; in prayer to God, in discourse 
with men, we must call Christ, Lord, Lord ; we 
siiu well, for so he is; (John 13. 13. ) l)iit can we ima- 
gine that this is enough to bring us to hea\ en, that 
sucli a piece of foi-mality as this should be so rccom- 

t)ensed, or that he who knows and requires the 
leart, should be so put off with shows for substance .■■ 
Comijliments among men are ])icccs of ci\ ility that 
are returned with compliments, but they are ne\ er 
paid as real ser\ ices ; and can they then be of any 
account with Christ ? There may be a seeming im- 
portunit\- in prayer, Lord, Lord: Ijut if inward 
impressions be not answerable to outward porpres- 
sions, we are but as sounding brass and a tinkling 
cymbal. This is not to take us off from saying, 
Lord, Lord ; from praying, and being earnest m 

Cra\er, from professing Christ's name, and being 
old in professing it, but from resting in tliese, in the 
form of godliness, without the /tower. 

(2. ) riiat it is necessary to our hapjiincss that wc 
do the will of Clirist, which is indeed the will of his 
Lather in heaven. The will of (iod, as Christ's Fa- 
ther, is his will in the gospel, for there he is made 
known, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ : and 
in him our Fatlier, Now this is his will, tliat wc 
believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live 
a holv life, that we love one another. This is his will, 
even our sanclijication. If wc comply not with the 
will of God, wc mock Christ in calling him Lord, 
as thev did, who put on him a gorgeous robe, and 
said, flail, King of the Jews.- Saying and doing are 
two things, often parted in the con\ersation of men: 
he that said, /.g-o, sir, stirred never a step ; (c /j. 21. 30. ) 
but these two things God has joined in his command, 
and let no man that /n;/« them asunder X\\in\iX.oenter 
into the kingdom of heaven. 

2. The hvprocite's plea against the strictness of 
this law, offering other things in lieu of obedience, 
V. 22. The plea is supposed to be in that day, that 
great day, when every m.in shall appear in his own 
colours ; when the secrets of all hearts shall be mani- 
fest, and among the rest, the secret pretences with 
which sinners now support their vain hopes. Christ 
knows the strength of their cause, and it is but 
weakness : what thev now harbour in their bosoms, 
thev will then produce in an-est of judgment to stay 
the' doom, but it will be in vain. They nut in their 
plea with great importunity. Lord, Lord ; and with 
great confidence, appealing to Christ concerning it ; 
Lord, dost not thou know, (1.) That we have firo- 
fihesied in thy name? Yes, it may be so, Balaam and 
Caiaphas were overruled to prophesy, and Saul was 
against his will among the firofihels, yet that did not 
sa%e them. These firo/ihesied in his name, but he 
did not send them ; thev oiilv made use of his name 
to sei-ve a turn. Note, A man may be a preacher, 
mav have gifts for the ministn", and an extemal call 
to it, and perhaps some success in it, and yet be a 
wicked man ; mav help others to heaven, 'and yet 
come short himself. (2.) Th.it in thy name we have 
cast out devils? That may be too ; Judas cast out 
dex'i/s, and yet a son of /lerdition. Origen says, that 
in his time so prevalent was the name of Christ to 
cast out dex'ils, that sometimes it availed when named 
bv wicked christians. A man might cast devils out 
of others, and \et have a de\il, nay, and be a devil 
himself. (3.) That in thy name we have done many 
wonderful works. There mav be a faith of miracles, 
where there is no justifying faith ; none of that faith 
which works bii love and obedience. Gifts of tongue? 
.and healing would recommend men to the world, 
but it is only real holiness and sanctification that i; ic • 



84 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



cepted of God. Grace and love are a nwre excellent 
ivay than removing- inountains, or speaking ivith the 
tongues of men and angels, 1 Cor. 13. 1, 2. Grace 
will bring a man to heaven without woi-king mira- 
cles, but working miracles will ne\-er bring a man to 
heaven without grace. Observe, That which their 
heart was upon, in doing these works, and which 
they confided in, was the wonderfulness of them. 
Simon Magus wondered at the miracles, (Acts 8. 
13.) and tlicrefore would give any money for power 
to do the like. Observe, They had not many good 
works to plead : they could not pretend to have 
done manv gi'acious works of piety and charity ; one 
sucli would have passed better in their account than 
many wonderful ivorks, which availed not at all, 
while they persisted in disobedience. Miracles have 
now ceased, and with tliem this plea ; but do not 
carnal hearts still encourage themsehes in their 
groundless hopes, with the like vain supports ? They 
think they shall go to heaven, because they have 
been of good repute among professors of religion, 
ha\'e kc])t fasts and given alms, and have been pre- 
ferred in the church ; as if this would atone for their 
reigning pride, worldliness and sensuality, and want 
of love to God and man. Bethel is their confidence, 
(Jer. 48. 13.) thev are haughty because of the holy 
mountain ; (Zeph. 3. 11.) and boast that they are 
the temple of the Lord, Jer. ". 4. Let us take heed 
of resting in external privileges and pcrfoi-mances, 
lest nve deceive ourselves, and perisii eternally as 
multitudes do, ivith a lie in our right hand. 

3. The rejection of tliis plea as frivolous. The 
same that is tlie Law-Maker, (t. 21.) is here the 
Judge according to that law, (xk 23.) and he will 
overi-ule the plea, will overi-ule it publicly ; he ii'ill 
firofess to them with all possil)le solemnity, as sen- 
tence is passed by the Judge, I?2ever knevj you, and 
therefore dejiart from me, ye that ivork iniquity. 
Obscn-e, (1.) Why, and upon what ground, he re- 
jects them and their plea — because they were rjork- 
ers of inicjuity. Note, It is possible for men to have 
a great name for piety, and yet to be it'orkers of ini- 
quity ; and those that are so will receive the greater 
damnation. Secret haunts of sin, kept up under the 
cloak of a visible profession, will be the ruin of hy- 
pocrites. Living ui known sin nullifies men's pre- 
tensions, be they ever so specious. (2.) How it is 
expressed, I ner<er knew you ; " I never owned you 
as my servants, no, not when yon /iro/ihesied in my 
name, when you were in the height of your profes- 
sion, and were most extolled." This intimates, that 
if he had ever known them, as the Lord knows them 
that are his, had ever owned them and loved them 
as his, he would have known tlicm, and owned them, 
and loved them, to the end : but he nex'er did know 
them, for he always knew them to be hypocrites, 
and i-ottcn at heart, as he did Judas, therefore, says 
he, defiarf from 7ne. Has Christ need of such 
guests ? \Vhen he came in the flesh, he called sin- 
ners to him, (cA. 9. 13.) butro/jen he shall come again 
in glory, he will drive sinners from him. They 
that would not come tohim to be saved, must defiart 
from him to be damned. To defiart from Christ is 
the very hell of hell ; it is the foundation of all the 
misei-y of the damned, to be cut off from all hope of 
benefit from Christ and his mediation, jl'hose that) 
/'go no further in Christ's service th.an a bare profes- 
! sion, he does not accept, nor will he own them in the 
\great day. See from what a height of hope men 
' may fall into the depth of miseiy ! How thev may 
go to hell, by the gates of heaven ! This should be 
an awakening word to all christians. If a preacher, 
one that cast out devils, and wrought miracles, be 
diso%vned of Christ for working iniquity ; what will 
become of us, if we be found such ? And if we be 
such, we shall certainly be found such. At God's 
bar, a profession of religion will not bear out any 



man in tlie practice and indulgence of sin : there 
fore let every one that ?iames the name of Christ, 
defiart from all inicjuiti). 

II. He shows, b \ a parable, that hearing these say- 
ings of Christ will not make us happy, it we do not 
make conscience of doing them ; but that if we hear 
them and do them, we are blessed in our deed, v. 
24— 2r. 

1. The hearers of Christ's word are here dhided 
into two sorts ; some that hear, and do what they 
hear ; others that hear, and do not. Christ preach- 
ed now to a mixed multitude, and he thus separates 
them one from the other, as he will at the gi-eat day, 
when all nations shall be gathered before him. Christ 
is still speaking from hea^■en by his word and Spirit, 
speaks by ministers, by providences, and of those 
that hear him there are two sorts. 

(1.) Some that hear his sayings and do them: 
blessed be God that there are any such, though com- 
paratively few. To hear Christ, is not barely to 
give him the hearing, but to obey him. Is'ote, It 
highly concerns us all to do what we hear of the say- 
i?igs of Christ. It is a mercy that we hear his say- 
ings: Blessed are those ears,'ch. 13. 16, 17. But "if 
we practise not what we hear we receri'e that grace 
in vain. To do Christ's sayings is conscientiously XXk 
abstain from the sins that he forbids, and to perform I 
the duties that he requires. Our thoughts and afFec- | 
tions, our words and actions, the temper of our J 
minds, and the tenor of our lives, must be conforma-j 
ble to the gospel of Christ ; that is the doing he re- 
quires. / All the sayings of Christ, not only the Iaws\ 
he has'enacted, but the tniths he has revealed, must 1 
be done by us. They are a light, not only to ou? I 
ci/fs, but to our feet, and are designed not only to I 
(Viform our judgments, but to rf form our hearts and I 
lives : nor cio v.e indeed believe them, if we do not I 
live up to them. | Obser\ e. It is not enough to hear J 
Christ's sayings, and understand them, hear them, / 
and remember them, hear th;m, and talk of them, 
repeat them, dispute for them ; but we must hear, 
and do them. This do and thou shalt live. Those/ 
only that hear, and do, are blessed, (Luke 11. 28> 
John 13. IT.) and are akin to Christ, ch. 12. 50. 

(2.) There are others who /jfc;- Christ's soym^g 
and do them not ; their religion rests in bare hear- 
ing, and goes no further ; like children that have 
the rickets, their heads swell with emptv notions, 
and indigested opinions, but their joints are weak, 
and they \\ea.y\ and listless ; they neither ran stir, 
nor care' to stir, in any good duty'-; thnj hear God's 
words, as if they desired to k?iow his'waifs, like a 
people that did righteousness, but then will not do 
them, Ezek. 33. 30, 31. Isa. 58. 2. " Thus thev 
deceive themselves, as Micah, who thought himself 
happy, because he had a Levite to be his priest, 
though he had not the Lord to be his God. The 
seed is sown, but it never comes up ; thev see their 
spots in the glass of the word, but wash them not • 
off. Jam. 1. 22, 24. Thus thev put a cheat upon their 
own snuls; for it is certain, if our hearing be not the 
means of our obedience, it will be the aggravation of 
our disobedience. Those who onlv hear Christ's 
sayings, and do them not, sit down in the midway to 
heaven, and that will never bring them to tlieir 
joumey's end. They are akin to Christ only bv the 
half-blood, and our law allows not such to iiiherit. 

2. These two sorts of heai-ers are here I'eprcsent- 
ed in their true characters, and the state of their 
case, under the comparison of two builders : one 
was Ti'Wf, and built upon a rock, and his building 
stood in a stoi-m ; the other foolish, and built upon 
the sand, and his building fell. 

Now, (1.) The genei-al scope of this parable 
teaches us that the onlv way to make sure work for 
our souls and eternity is, to hear and do the sayings 
of the Lord Jesus, these sayings of h\s'm this sermon 



V 



ST. MATTHEW, VII. 



85 



upon the mount, wliich is wholly practical ; some of 
them seem hanl sayings to flcsli and blood, but they 
must be done ; and thus we lay u/i in store a good 
foundation for the time to come; (1 Tim. 6. 19.) a 
^ood bond, so some read it ; a bond of (jod's mak- 
ing, which secures salvation upon gospel-terms, that 
is a good bond ; not one of our own devising, w hich 
brings salvation to our own fancies. They make 
sure the good fiart, who, like Mar\-, w hen they hear 
the word of Christ, nit at his fret in subjection to it : 
Sfieak, Lord, for thy serranC hears. 

(2. ) The particular parts of it teach us divers good 
le.ssons. 

[1.] That we have every one of us a house to 
build, and that house is our hope for heaven. It 
ought to be our chief and constant care, to make our 
calling and election sure, and so we make our SiU\ a- 
tjon sure ; to secure a title to heaven's hajjpiness, 
:uid then to get the comfortable evidence of it ; to 
make it sine, and sure to ourselves, that when ive 
fail, -ve shall be received into everlasting habitations. 
Manv ne^•er mind this, it is the furthest thing from 
their thoughts ; thev are building for this world, as 
if thev were to be here always, but take no care to 
build for another world. All who take upon them 
a profession of religion, profess to inquire, what they 
shall do to be sax'ed ; l\ow they may get to heaven 
at last, and may have a well-gi-ounded hope of it in 
•the mean time. 

[2. ] That there is a rock pro\ided for us to build 
this house upon, and that rock is Christ. He is laid 
for a Foundation, and other foundation can no man 
lay, Isa. 28. 16. 1 Cor. 3. 11. He is our ho/ie, 1 
Tim. 1. 1. Christ in us is so ; we must gi-oimd our 
hnpes of heaven ujjon the fulness of Chiist's merit, 
for the pardon of sin, the power of his Spirit, for 
the sanctification of our natm-e, and the prevalency 
of his intercession, for the con\eyance of all that 
good which he has purchased for us. Thei-e is that 
in him, as he is made knorcn, and made over, to us 
in the gospel, which is sufficient to redress all our 
grievances, and to answer all the necessities of our 
case, so that he is a Saviour to the utter-most. The 
church is built ufion this Rock, and so is every- be- 
liever. He is strong and immovable as a rock ; we 
may venture our all upon him, and shall not be made 
ashamed of our ho/ie. 

[3. ] That there is a remnant, who by hearing and 
domg the sayings of Christ, build their hopes v/ion 
this Mock ; and it is their wisdom. Christ is our 
only }\'ay to the Father, and the obedience of faith 
is our only ti'qw to Christ ; for to them that obey him, 
and to them only, he becomes the Author of eternal 
salvation. Those build u/ton Christ, who, having 
sincerely consented to him, as their Prince and Sa- 
viour, make it their constant care to confoi-m to all 
the niles of his holy religion, and therein depend 
entirely upon him for assistance from God, and ac- 
ceptance with him, and count eveiy thing but loss 
and dung that they may win Christ, and be found 
in him. Building u/ion a rock requires care and 
])ains : they that would make their calling and elec- 
tion sure, must give diligence. They are wise build- 
ers who begin to build so as they may be able to 
finish, (Luke 14. 30.) and therefore lay a firm foun- 
dation. 

[4.] That there are many who profess that they 
ho]5e to go to heaven, but despise this Rock, and 
build their hopes ufion the sand ; which is done ^vith- 
out much pams, but it is their folly. Eveiy thing 
besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon 
their worldly prosperity, as if that were a sure token 
of God's favour, Hos. 12. 8. Others upon their ex- 
ternal profession of religion, the privileges they 
enjov, and the perfoiTnances they go through, in 
that profession, and the reputation they have got by 
\it They are called christians, were baptized, go to 



church, hear Christ's word, say their prayers, and \ 
do nobod) anv harm, and, if thev perish, God help ' 
a great n'ian\'. This is the light of their own fire, 
which thev walk in ; this is that, ujion which, with 
a great deal of assurance, they \ enture ; but it is all 
Siuid, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of 
heaven. 

[5.] That there is a storm coming, that will try 
what oui- hojjes arc bottomed on ; will try e^ery 
man's work ; (1 Cor. 3. 13.) will discover the foun- 
dation, Hab. 3. 13. Rain, and ^floods, and wind, 
will beat n/ion the house ; the tnal is sometimes in 
this world ; when tribulation and fiersecution arise 
because of the word, then it will be seen, who only 
heard tlie word, and who heard and practised it ; 
then when we have occasion to use our hopes, it 
will be tried, whether they were right, and well 
grounded, or not. Howe\ er, when death and judg- 
ment come, then the storm comes, and it will un- 
doubtedlv come, how calm socvci- things nuiy be 
with us liow. Then evei-y thing else will fail us but 
these hopes, and then, it" ever, they will be turned 
into everlasting fiiiition. 

[6.] That those hopes which are built upon 
Christ, the Rock, will stand, and will stand the 
builder in stead when the storm comes ; they will 
be his preservation, both from desei-tion, and from 
prevaihng disquiet. His profession will not wither ; 
his comforts will not fail ; they will be his strength 
and song, as an anchor of the soul, sure and stead- 
fast. \\'\\en he comes to the last encounter, those 
hopes will take off the terror of death and the 
grave ; will cany him cheei-fiilly through that dark 
vallev ; will be approved by the Judge ; will staiid 
the test of the great dav ; and will be crowned with 
endless glon-, 2 Cor. 1.' 12. 2 Tim. 4. ", 8. Blessed 
is that seri'ant, whom his Lord, when he comes, 
finds so doing, so hoping. 

[".] That those hopes which foolish builders 
ground upon any thing but Christ, will certainly fail 
them in a storm'v dav ; will yield them no tiiie com- 
fort and satisfaction In trouble, in the hour of death, 
and in the dav of judgment ; will be no fence against 
temptations to apostacv, in a time of persecution. 
lliien God takes away the soul, where is the hope of 
the hyfiocrite? Job 27. S. It is as the s/iider's web, 
and as the gil'ing v/i of the ghost. He shall lean 
ufion his house, but it shall not stand. Job 8. 14, 15. 
It fell in the storm, when the builder had most need 
of it, and expected it wculd be a shelter to him. It 
fell when it was too late to build another : when a 
wicked man dies, his expectation perishes ; then, 
when he thought it would have been turned into fru- 
ition, it fell, and great was the fall of it. It was a 
great disappointment to the builder ; the shame and 
loss were great. The higher men's hopes have 
been raised, the lower the\- fall. It is the sorest 
niin of all that attends formal professors; witness 
C:ipemaum's doom. 

ni. In the two last vetoes, we are told what im- 
pressions Christ's discourse made upon the auditory. 
It was an excellent sermon ; and it is probable that 
he said more than is here recorded ; and doubdess 
the deliveiy of it from the mouth of him, into whose 
lips gi-ace was poured, did mightily set it off. >.'ow, 
1. They were astonished at his doctrine: it is to be 
feared "that few of them were brought to follow him ; 
but for the present, they were filled with wonder. 
Note, It is possible for people to admire good preach- 
ing, and yet to remain in ignorance and unbelief ; to 
be astonished, and yet not sanctified. 2. The rea- 
son was because he taught them as one having au- 
thority, and not as the Scribes. The Scribes pre 
tended to as much authority as any teachers what- 
soever, and were supported bv all the external ad- 
vantages that could be obtained, but their preaching 
was tiiean, and flat, and jejune : they spake as those 



86 



ST. MATTHEW, Vlll. 



that were not themselves masters of what they 
preached : the word did not come from them with 
any hfe or force ; they delivered it as a school-boy 
says his lesson ; but Christ delivered his discourse, 
as a judge gives his charge. He did indeed, domi- 
7iariin concionibus — deln<er his discourses ivith a tone 
of authority; his lessons were laws; his word a 
word of command. Christ, upon the mountain, 
showed more ti-ue authority, than the Scribes in 
Moses's seat. Thus when Christ teaches by his 
Spirit in the soul, he teaches with authority. He 
says. Let there be light, and there is light. 

CHAP. VIII. 

The evangehst having, in the foregoing chapters, given us a 
specimen of our Lord's preaching, proceeds now to give 
some instances of the miracles lie wrought, which prove 
him a teacher come from God, and the great Healer of a 
diseased world. In this chapter we have, I. Christ's clean- 
sing of a leper, v. 1 . . 4. II. His curing a palsy and lever, 
T. 5 . . 18. III. His communing with two that were dis- 
posed to follow him, v. 19 . . 22. IV. His controlling the 
tempest, v. 23 . . 27. V. His casting out devils, v. 28 . . 34. 

1. ^HTHEN he was come down from 
T T the mountain, great multitudes 
followed him. 2. And, beliold, there came 
a leper and worshipped him, saying. Lord, 
if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3. 
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched 
him, saying, I will ; be thou clean : And 
immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4. 
And Jesus saith unto him. See thou tell 
no man ; but go thy way, show thyself to 
the priest, and offer the gift that Moses 
commanded for a testimony unto them. 

The first verse refers tn tlie close of the foregoing 
sermon : the people that lie:ird him were astonished 
at his doctrine ; and the effect was, that nvhen he 
came down from the mountain, great Jnu/titudes fol- 
lowed him ; though he was so strict a Lawgiver, 
and so faithful a Keprovcr, they diligently attended 
him, and Avere loath to disperse, and go from him. 
Note, They to whom Christ has manifested him- 
self, cannot but desire to be better acquainted witlr 
him. They who know mucli of Christ should covet 
to know more ; and then shall we know, if we thus 
follow on to know the Lord. It is pleasing to see 
people so well affected to Christ, as to think they 
can never hear enough of liim ; so well affected to 
the best things, as thus to flock after good preach- 
ing, and to /b/ZoTO the Lamb whithersoever he goes. 
Now was .mcob's prophecy concerning the Messiah 
fulfilled, \.\\a.t unto him shall the gathering of the fieo- 
file be ; yet they who gathered to him did not cleave 
to him. They who foUgwed him closely and con- 
stantly were but few, compared with the multitudes 
that were but followers at large. 

In these verses we have an account of Christ's 
cleansing a lefier. It should seem by comparing 
Mark 1. 40. and Luke 5. 12. that this passage, though 
placed, by St. Matthew, after the sermon on the 
mount, because he would give account of his doc- 
trines first, and then of his miracles, happened some 
time before ; but that is not at all matenal. Tliis is 
fitly recorded with the first of Christ's miracles. 
1. Because the leprosy was looked upon, among the 
Jews, as a particular mark of God's displeasure : 
hence we find Miriam, Gehazi, and llzzian, smitten 
with leprosy for some one particular sin ; and there- 
fore Christ, to show that he came to turn away the 
■wrath of God, by taking away sin, began with the 
cure of a leper. 2. Because this disease, as it was 
supposed to come immediately from the hand of 



God, so also it was supposed to be removed im 
mediately by his hand, and therefore it was not at ' 
tempted to be cured by physicians, but was put 
under the inspection of the priests, the Lord's 
ministers, who waited to see what God would do 
And its being in a garment, or in the walls of a 
house, was altogether supernatural ; and it should ' 
seem to be a disease of a quite different nature from 
what we now call the leprosy. The king of Israel 
said, ^m I God, that I am sent to, to recover a man 
of a leprosy ? 2 Kings 5. 7. Christ proved himself 
God, by recovering many from the leprosy, and au- 
thorizing his disciples, in his name, to do so too, (c/i. 
10. 8.) and it is put among the proofs of his being 
the Messiah, ch. 11. 5. He also showed himself to 
be the Saviour of his people from their sins; for 
though every disease is both the fruit of sin, and a 
figure of it, as the disorder of the soul, yet the lepro- 
sy was in a special manner so ; for it contracted such 
a pollution, and obliged to such a separation from 
holy things, as no other disease did ; and therefore 
in the laws concerning it, (Lev. 13. and 14.) it is 
treated, not as a sickness, but as an uncleanness ; 
the priest was to pronounce the party clean or un- 
clean, according to the indications ; but the honour 
of making the lepers clean was reserved for Christ, 
who was to do it as the High-Priest of our /irofes- 
sion : he comes to do that which the laiv coulifnot 
do, in that it ".I'as weal: through the flesh, Rom. 8. 3. 
The law discovered sin, (for by the law is the know- 
ledge of sin,) and pronounced sinners unclean ; it 
shut them up, (Gal. 3. 23.) as the priest did the 
leper, but could go no finther ; it could not make 
the comers thereunto perfect. But Christ takes 
away sin, cleanses us from" it, and so perfecteth for 
ez'er them that are sanctified. Now here we have, 
I. The leper's address to Christ. If this happen- 
ed, as it is here placed, after the sermon on the 
mount, we may suppose that the leper,. though shut 
out bv his disease from the cities of Israel, yet got 
within hearing of Christ's sermon, and was encou- 
raged by it, to make his application to him ; for he 
that taught as one having authority, could heal so ; 
and therefore he came and worshipped him, as one 
clothed with a divine power. His address is. Lord, 
if thou wilt thoxi canst make me clean. The cleans- 
ing of him may he considered, 

1. As a tenipoi-al mercy ; a mercy to the body> 
delivering it from a disease, which, though it did 
not threaten life, imbittercd it. And so it directs 
us, not only to applv ourselves to Christ, who has 
jwwer over bodily diseases, for the cure of tliem, 
but it also teaches us in what manner to apply our- 
selves to him ; with an assurance of his power, be- 
lieving that he is as able to ctire diseases now, ashe 
was when on eartli, but with a submission to his will ; 
Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. As to temporal mer- 
cies, we cannot be so sure of God's «v7/ to bestow, 
them, as we may of his power, for his power in them ( 
is unlimited, Ijut his promise of them is limited by a i^ 
regard to his glory and our good : when we cannot 
be sure of his will, we may he sure of his wisdom 
and mercy, to which we may cheerfully refer our- 
selves ; Thy will be done ; and this malies the ex- 
pectation easy, and the event, when it comes, com- 
fortable. ' ' 

2. As a tii-pical mercy. Sin is the leprosy of the 
soul ; it shuts us out from communion with God ; to 
which that we may be restored, it is neccssaiy that 
we be cleansed from this leprosy, and this ought to 
be our great concern. Now obseiwe. It is our com-v 
fort when we apply ourselves to Christ, as the great I 
Physician, that if he will, he can make us clean ; \ 
and we should, with an humble, believing boldness, 
go to him and tell him so. That is, (1.) ^^'e must 

. rest ourselves upon his power ; we must be confi- 
I dent of this, that Christ can make us clean. No 



ST. MATTHFAV, VIII. 



37 



guilt is so gi-eat but that there is a sufficiency in his 
righteousness to atone for it ; no eori-uption so sti-oiij;, 
but there is a sufficiency in liis grace to subdue it. 
God would not appoint a physician to his hospital 
that is not /lar nei^olio — n-ery -svay (juahjied fur the 
undertaking. (2.) We must reconuiiend oui-sclvcs 
to his pity ; we c;uinot demand it as a debt, but wc 
mast humbly request it as a favour ; " Lord, if thou 
ivilt. I thniw myself at thy feet, and if I perish, I 
will ])erish there." 

II. Christ's answer to this address, which was 
very kind, v. 3. 

1. He /tut forth his hand and touched him. The 
lepro.sy was a noisome, loathsome disease, yet Christ 
touched him ; for he did not disdain to converse 
witli publicans and sinners, to do them good. There 
was a ceremonial pollution contracted by the touch 
of a leper; but Christ would show, that when he 
conversed with sinners, he was in no danger of being 
infected by them, for the prince of this world had 
nothing in him. If we touch pitch, we are defiled ; 
but Clirist was se/iarate from sinners, even when he 
lived among them. 

2. He said, I nvill, be thou clean. He did not say 
; as Elisha to Naaman, Go, iva.<ih in Jordan ; did not 

put him upon a tedious, troublesome, chargeable 
course of physic, but spake the word and healed 
him. (1.) Here is a word of kindness, Irjill. I am 
1 as willing to help thee, as thou art to be helped. 
' Note, They who by faith apply themselves to Christ 
, for mercy and grace, ma\- be sure that he is willing, 
I freely willing, to gi\-e them the mercy and grace 
thej- come to him for. Christ is a Physician, that 
does not need to be sought for, he is always in the 
way ; does not need to be urged, while wc are yet 
speaking he hears ; does not need to be feed, he 
heals fi-eely, not for price nor reward. He has given 
all possible demonstration, tliat he is as willing as 
he is able to save sinners. (2. ) A word of power, 
lie thou clean. Both a ])owcr of authority, and a 
power of energy, are exei1,ed in this word. Christ 
heals by a word of command to us ; Be thou clean ; 
" Be willing to be clean, and use the means ; cleanse 
th\self from all filthiuess :" Ijut there goes along 
with this a word of command concerning us, a word 
that does the work ; Iivillthat thou be clean. Such 
a word as this is necessary to the cure, and effec- 
tual for it ; and the almighty grace which speaks it, 
shall not be wanting to those that truly desii-c it. 

III. The happy change hereby wrought. Imme- 
diately his le/irosy rjas cleansed. Nature works 
gradually, but the (iod of nature works immedi- 
ately ; he speaks, it is done : and yet he works ef- 
fectually ; he commands, and it stands fast. One 
of the fii-st miracles Moses wrought, was cui-ing 
himself of a leprosy, (Exod. A. 7.) for the priests 
under the law offered sacrifice first for their own 
sin ; but one of Christ's first miracles was curing 
another of leprosy, for he had no sin of his own to 
atone for. 

W. The after-directions Christ gave him. It is 
fit that they who are cured by Christ should ever 
after be ruled by him. 

1. .Srf thou tell no man ; " Tell no man till thou 
hast showed thyself to the priest, and he has pro- 
nounced thee clean ; and so thou hast a legal proof, 
both that thou wast before a leper, and art now 
thoroughly cleansed." Christ would ha^•e his mira- 
cles to appear in their fiiU light and evidence, and 
not to be published till thev could appear so. Note, 
They that preach the truths of Christ should be 
able to prove them ; to defend what they preach, 
and convince ,^ainsayers. " Tell no mari, till thou 
hast sho'.ved thyself to the firiest, lest if he hear who 
cured tliee, he should out of spite denv to give thee 
a certificate of the cure, and so keep thee under 
confinement." Such were the priests in Christ's 



time, that they who had any thing to do with them 
had need to ha\e been :is wise as seqients. 

2. Go show thyself to the /iriest, according to tlic 
law. Lev. 14. 2. Christ Umk care to ha\ e the law 
observed, lest he should give oflence, and to show 
that he will have order kept uj), and good discipline 
and respect paid to those that aie in office. It may 
be of use to those that are cleansed of their spiritual 
lcpn)S\', to have recourse to Christ's ministers, and 
to open their case to them, that they may assist 
them in their inquiries into their sjjiritual state, and 
advise, and comfort, and pray for them. 

3. Offer tlie gift that Alose's commanded, in token 
of thankfulness to God, and recompense to the priest 
for his pains ; and this for a testimony unto them ; 
either, (1.) Which I^Ioscs commanded for a testimo- 
ny : the ceremonial laws were testimonies of God's 
aiithoritv over them, care of them, and of that grace 
which should afterwards be revealed. Or, (2.) 
" Do thou offer it for a testimony, and let the priest 
know who cleansed thee, and how ; and it shall be 
a testimony, that there is one among them, who 
does that w'hich the high-priest cannot do. Let it 
remain upon record as a witness of my power, and 
a testimony for me to them, if they will use it and 
improve it ; but against them, if they will not :" for 
so Christ's word and works are testimonies. 

5. And when Jesus was entered into 
Capernaum, there came unto liim a centu- 
rion, beseechinp; him, 6. And saving. Lord, 
my servant heth at home sick of the palsy, 
grievously tormented. 7. And .Tesus saith 
unto him, I will come and heal him. 8. 
The centvn-ion answered and said, Lord, 
I am not worthy that thou shouldest come 
under my roof: "but speak the word only, 
and my servant shall be healed. 9. For I 
am a man under authority, iiaving soldiers 
under me: and I say to this man, Go, and 
he goeth ; and to another. Come, and he 
Cometh ; and to mv servant, Uo this, and 
he doeth //. 10. When Jesus heard it, he 
marvelled, and said to them tiiat followed, 
Verilv I say imto you, I have not found so 
great faith, no, not in Israel. 11. And I 
say unto you, that many shall come from 
the east and west, and shall sit down with 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the 
kingdom of heaven: 12. But the children 
of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer 
darkness: there sliall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. 1 3. And Jesus said un- 
to the centurion. Go thy way; and as thou 
hast iDelieved, so be it done unto thee. And 
his servant was healed in the self-same 
hour. 

^^'e have here an account of Christ's curing the 
centurion's servant of a palsy. This was done at 
I CapeiTiaum, where Christ now dwelt, ch. 4. 13. 
Christ went about doing good, and came heme to 
do good too ; even' place he came to was the better 
for him. The persons Christ had now to do with 
were, 

1. A centurion; he was a supplicant, a Gentile, a 
Roman, an officer of the army ; probably comman- 
der in chief of that part of the Roman army which 
was quartered at Capernaum, and ke))t garrison 
there, (l.) Though he was a soldier, (and a little 



88 



ST. MATTHEW, Vlll. 



piety commonly goes a great way with men of that 
protession, ) yet lie was a godly man ; he was emi- 
nently so. Note, God has his remnant among all 
sorts of people. 'No man's calling or place in the 
■ world will be an excuse for his unbelief and impie- 
ty ; none shall say in the gi-eat day, I had been re- 
ligious, if I had not been a soldier ; for such there 
. are among the ransomed of the Lord. And some- 
times where grace conquers the imlikely, it is more 
than a conqueror ; this soldier that was good, was 
very good. (2.) Though he was a Roman soldier, 
and his very dwelling among the Jews was a badge 
of their subjection to the Roman yoke, yet Christ, 
who was King of the Jeivs, favoured him ; and 
therein has taught us to do good to our enemies, and 
not needlessly to interest ourselves in national enmi- 
ties. (3.) Though he was a Gentile, yet Christ 
countenanced him. It is true, he went not to any 
of the Gentile towns, (it was the land of Canaan that 
was Immanuel's land, Isii. 8. 8. ) yet he received ad- 
dresses from Gentiles ; now good old Simeon's word 
began to be fulfilled, that he should be a light to 
lighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of his /leo- 
ftte Israel. Matthew, in annexing this cure to that 
of the leper, who was a Jew, intimates this ; the 
leprous Jews Christ touched and cured, for he 
preached personally to them ; but the paralytic Gen- 
tiles he cured at a distance ; for to them he did not 
go in person, but sent his ivordand healed them ; yet 
in them he was more magnified. 

2. The centurion's servant ; he was the patient. 
In this also it appears, that there is no respect of per- 
sons with God ; for in Christ Jesus, as there is neither 
circumcision 7tor uncircumci.iion, so there is neither 
bond nor free. He is as ready to heal the poorest 
ser\'ant, as the richest master ; for himself took u/ion 
him the form of a servant, to show his regard to the 
meanest. 

Now in the storv of the cure of this servant, we 
may observe an intercourse or interchanging of 
graces, very remarkable between Christ and the 
centurion. See here, 

I. The grace of the centurion working towards 
Christ. Can any good thing come out of a Roman 
soldier ? any thing tolerable, much less any thing 
laudable ? Come and see, and you will find abun- 
dance of good coming out of this centurion that was 
eminent and exemplary. Observe, 

1. His affectionate address to Jesus Christ, which 
speaks, 

(1.) A pious regard to our great Master, as one 
able and willing to succour and relieve poor peti- 
tioners. He came to him beseeching him, not as 
Naaman the Syrian (a centurion too,) came to Eli- 
sha, demanding a cure, taking state and standing 
upon points of honour ; but with cap in hand as an 
humble suitor. By this it seems, that he saw more 
in Christ than appeared at first view ; saw that 
which commanded respect, though to those who 
looked no further, his \'isage was marred more than 
any man's. The officers of the army being comp- 
trollers of the town, no doubt made a great figure, 
yet he lays bv the thoughts of his post of honour, 
when he addresses himself to Christ, and comes 
beseeching him. Note, the greatest of men must turn 
beggars, when they have to do with Christ. He 
owns Christ's sovereignty, in calling him Lord, and 
referring the case to him, and to his will, and wis- 
dom, by a modest remonstrance, without anv formal 
and express petition. He knew he had to do with a 
wise and gracious physician, to whom the opening 
of the malady was equivalent to the most earnest re- 
/ quest. A humble confession of our spiritual wants 
and diseases shall not fail of an answer of peace. 
Pour out thy complaint, and mercy shall be poured 
out. 

(2. ) A charitable regard to his poor servant. We 



read of many that came to Christ for their children, 
but this is the only instance of one that came to him 
for a servant : Lord, my servant lies at home sick. 
Note, It is the duty of masters to concern themselves 
for their servants, when they are in affliction. — The 
palsy disabled the servant for his work, and made 
him as troublesome and tedious as any distemper 
could, yet he did not turn him away when he was 
sick, (as that Amalekite did his servant, 1 Sam. 30. 
13.) did not send him to his friends, nor let him lie 
by neglected, but sought out the best relief he could 
for him ; the servant could not have done more for 
the master, than the master did here for the servant. 
The centurion's servants were very dutiful to him, 
(f. 9. ) and here we see what made them so ; he was 
very kind to them, and that made them the more 
cheerfully obedient to him. As we must not des- 
pise the cause of our sen^ants, when they contend with 
us, (Job 31. 13, 15.) so we must not despise their 
case when God contends with them ; for we are 
made in the same mould, by the same h;uid, and 
stand upon the same level with them before God, 
and must not set them with the dogs of our Jiock. 
The centurion applies not to witches or wizards for 
his ser\'ant, but to Christ. The palsy is a disease 
in which the physician's skill commonly fails ; it was 
therefore a gi-eat ei'idence of his faith in the power 
of Christ, to come to him for a cure, which was 
above the power of natural means to effect. Ob- 
serve, how pathetically he represents his servant's 
case as very sad ; he is sick of the paky, a disease 
which commonly makes the pctient senseless of 
pain, but this person vms griez'ously tormented ; be- 
ing young, nature was strong to struggle with the 
stroke, which made it painful. (It was not paralysis 
simfilex, but scorbutica.) We should thus concern 
ourselves for the souls of our children, and servants, 
that are spiritually sick of the palsy, the dead-palsy, 
the dumb-palsy; senseless of spiritual evils, inactive 
in that which is spirituallv good ; and bring them to 
Christ by faith and prayer, bring them to the means . 
of healing and health. 

2. Observe his great humility and self-abasement. 
After Christ had intimated liis readiness to come 
and heal his servant, (t. ".) he expressed himself 
with the more humbleness of mind. Note, Humble 
souls are made more humble, by Christ's gracious 
condescensions to them. Observe what was the lan- 
guage of his humility ; Lord, lam not worthy that 
thou shouldst come vnder my roof ; (t. 8.) which 
speaks mean thoughts of himself, and high thoughts 
of our Lord Jesus. He does not say, " My senant 
is not worth^• that thou shouldst come into his cham- 
ber, because it is in the garret ;" but, I am not wor- 
thy that thou shouldst come into my house. The 
centurion was a gi'eat man, yet he owned his un- 
worthiness before God. Note, Humility vciy well 
becomes persons of quality. Christ now made but a 
mean figure in the world, yet the centurion, looking 
upon him as a prophet, yea, more than a profihet, 
paid him this respect. Note, ^^'e should have a value 
and veneration for what we see of God, even in those 
who, in outward condition, are every way our infe- 
riors. The centurion came to Christ with a peti 
tion, and therefore expressed himself thus humbly. 
Note, In all our approaches to Christ, and to God 
through Christ, it becomes us to abase ourselves, 
and to lie low in a sense of our own unworthiness, 
as mean creatures and as vile sinners, to do any thing 
for God, to receive any good from him, or to have 
any thing to do with him. 

5. Observe his great faith. The more humility, 
the more faith ; the more diffident we are of our- 
selves, the stronger will be our confidence in Jesus 
Christ. He had an assurance of faith not only that 
Christ could cure his servant, but, 

(1.) That he could cure him at adistance. There 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



89 



nctikil not any physical contact, as in natural opc- 
f.itions, nor any application to the part affccttd ; but 
tlic cure, he believed, miirht be wrought, without 
bi mgini; the pliysician and patient together. \\'e 
read afierwards of those, who brouglit the iiiuii sici: 
of the /lalsy to Christ, through luucli difticult\', and 
set him before him, and Christ commended their 
faith for a VJorkint; faitl\. This centurion dill not 
bring liis man nick ufthc juikij, and Christ commend- 
ed his faith for a truxlingiMih : tnie faitli is accept- 
ed of C.lirist, though variously appearing : C'lirist 
puts tile best construction upon tlie difi'erent me- 
thods of religion that pi'ople take, and thereby has 
taught us to do so too. Tliis centurion believed, and 
it is undoubted!}' true, that tlie power of Christ 
knows no limits, and therefore nearness and dist;uice 
arc alils.e to him. ])istiu\ce of place cannot obstiTJCt 
either the knowing, or woi'king, of him i\vAi Jilts all ' 
filaccs. .-im la (rod at hand, says the Lord, and\ 
not a God afar off? Jer. 123. 23. | 

(2.) That lie coidd cure him «-ith a word, not send j 
him a medicine, much less a charm ; but s/icak the ^ 
•word only, and I do not question l)ut my smnuil sliall , 
be healed. Herein he owns him to lia\ e a di\ ine ; 
powei', cm authority to cohimand all the creatures 
and powers of nature, which enaljles him to do 
whatsoever he pleases in the kingdom of nature ; as 
at first he raised tliat kingdom by an almighty word, 
when he siiid. Let there he light. \\'itli men, say- 
ing and doing are two things ; but not so witli Christ, ! 
who is therefore the .irm of the Lord, because he 
is the eternal Word. His saying. Be ye warmed, 
and filled, (Jam. 2. 16.) and healed, warms, and fills, 
and heals. 

The centurion's faith in the power of Christ he 
here illustrates by the dominion he had, as a centu- 
rion, o\er liis soldiers, as a master oxev his servants ; 
he says to one. Go, and he goes, ijfc. Thev were all 
at his beck and command, so as that he could by 
them execute things at a tlistance ; his word was a 
'aw to them — dictum factum ; well disciplined sol- 
liers know that the commands of their officers are 
not to be disputed, but obeyed. Thus could Chi-ist 
speak, and it is done ; such a power had he over all 
bodily diseases. The centurion had this command 
over his soldiers, though lie was himself a rnan un- 
der authority; not a commander in chief, but a sub- 
altern officer ; mucli more had Christ this power, 
who is tlie supreme and sovereign Lord of all. The 
centurion's scr\ants were very obsequious, would 
go and come at every the leas't intimation of their 
master's mind. Now, [1.] Such servants we all 
should be to fJod : we must go and come at his bid- 
ding, according to the directions of his word, and the 
disposals of his providence ; iim where he sends us, 
return when he remands us, and do what he ap- 
points, mat saith my Lord unto his sen<ant ? 
vVlien his will crosses oiir own, his must take place, 
and our own be set aside. [2. ] Such servants bodily 
diseases arc to Christ Thev seize us when he sends 
them, they leave us when he calls them back ; thev 
have that effect upon us, upon our bodies, upon our 
souls, that he orders. It is a matter of comfort to 
all that belong to Christ, for whose good his power 
Is exerted and engaged, that everv disease has his 
commission, executes his command.'is under his con- 
trol, and is made to serve the intentions of his grace. 
They need not fear sickness, nor what it can do, 
,who sec it in the hand of so good a Friend. 
■ II. Here is the gi-ace of Christ appearing toward 
this centurion ; for to the gracious he will show him- 
self gi-acious. 

1. He complies with his address at the first woi-d. 
He did but tell him his servant's case, and was go- 
ing on to beg a cure, when Christ prevented him, 
with this good word, and comfortable word, / will 
come and heal him ; {v. 7.) not, I will come and see 

Vol. v.— M 



/liin — that liad evinced him a kind Saviour ; l)iit, / 
will come and heal him — that sliows liim a niiglity, 
an almighty Sa\ iour ; it was a great word, but no 
more than he could make good ; for lie has heating 
under his wings ; liis coming is healing. Tliey who 
wrought miracles by a derived Jiower, chd not speak 
tlius ])ositively, as C'hrist did, wlio wrought them by 
his own ])0wer, as one that had authority. W lien a 
minister is sent for to a sick friend, he can liut say, 
I Witt come and /iray for him ; but Clirist says, J 
will come and heat liiin : it is well that Christ can do 
more for us tlian our ministers c:ui. The centurion 
desired he would heal his servant ; he says, / will 
come and heat him; thus ex])ressing more favour 
tlian he did eitlier ask or think of. Note, Clirist 
often outdoes the expectations of poor sui)])lic;mts. 
See an instance of Clirist's humilitv, that he would 
iiKike a visit to a poor soldier. He would not go 
down to see a nobleman's sick child, who insisted 
upon his coming down, (Jolin 4. 4" — 19.) but he 
proflTers to go down to sec a sick servant ; thus docs 
he regard Me low citatc of his pcojile, and gi\ e ?nore 
abundant honour to that /lart which lucked. Christ's 
humility, in being willing to come, gave an example 
to him, and occasioned his humility, in owning him- 
self unworthy to have him con ic. IS ote, Christ's gra- 
cious condescensions to us, should make us the more 
hunilile and self-aliasing liefore him. 

2. He commends his faith, and takes occasion from 
it to speak a kind word of the poor Gentiles, v. 10 
— 12. See what gi-eat things a strong but self-deny- 
ing faith can obtain from Jesus Christ, even of gene- 
ral and pulilic concern. 

(1.) As tQ tlie centurion himself; he not only ap- 
proved him and accepted him, (that honour have 
all tnie believers,) but he admired him and aj)])laud- 
ed him : that honour great believers ha\e, as Job ; 
there is none like him in the earth. 

[1.] Christ admired him, not for his greatness, 
but for his gi'aces. ll'hrn Jesus heard it, he mar- 
velled ; not as if it were to him new and suiprising, 
he knew the centurion's faith, for he wi-ought it ; but 
it was great and excellent, rare and uncommon, and 
Christ spoke of it as wondertul, to teach us what to 
admire ; not worldly jiomp and decorations, but the 
beauty of holiness, and the ornaments wliich are in 
the sight of God of great price. Note, the wonders 
of grace should affect us more than the wonders of 
nature or providence, and sjiiritual attainments more 
than any achievements in this world. Of thoj|e that 
are rich in faith, not of those that are rich in gold 
and silver, we should say that they have gotten all 
this glory. Gen. 31. 1. But whatever there is ad- 
mirable ill the faith of any, it must redound to the 
glory of Christ, who will shortly be himself admired 
in alt them that believe, as having done in and for 
them man'ettous things. 

[2.] He a/i/ilaudedWm in what he said to them 
that followed. All believers shall be, in the other 
world, but some believers are, in this world, confess- 
ed and acknowledged by Christ before men, in his 
eminent appearances for them and with them. Fe- 
rity, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 
Now this speaks, Llrst, Honour to the centurion ; 
who, though not a son of Abraham's loins, was an 
heir of Abraham's faith, and Christ found it so. 
Note, The thing that Christ seeks is faith, and, 
wherever it is, he finds it, though but as a ^errain of \ 
mustard-seed. He had not found so great faith, all 
tilings considered, and in propoition to the means ; 
as the poor widow is said to cast in more than they 
ait, Luke 21. 3. Though the centurion was a Gen- 
tile, yet he was thus commended. Note, we must 
be so far from grudging, that we must be forward, 
to give those their due praise, that are not within 
our denomination or pale. Secondly, It speaks shame 
to Israel, to whom pertained the adoption, the glory, 



90 



SI'. MATTHEW, VIII. 



thu covenants, and all the assistances and encourage- 
ments of faith. Note, When the Son of I\Iati comes, 
heji/uls \\lt\e faith, and, therefore, he finds so little 
fruit. Note, The attainments of some, who have 
had but little helps for their souls, will aggravate 
the sin and ruin of many, that have had great plenty 
of the means of grace, and have not made a good 
improvement of them. Christ said this to those that 
followed him, if by any means he might provoke 
them to a holy emulation, as Paul speaks, Rom. 1 1. 
14 They were Abraham's seed ; in jealousy for 
that honour, let them not suifer themselves to be 
outstripped by a Gentile, especially in that grace for 
which Abraham was "minent. 

(2.) As to others. Christ takes occasion from 
hence, to make a comparison between Jews and Gen- 
tiles, and tells them two things, which could not but 
be verv surprising to them wlio had been taught 
that salvation was of the Jews. 

[I.] That a great mam/ of the Gentiles should be 
saved, v. 11. The faith of th-p centurion was but a 
specimen of the conversion oi *he Gentiles, and a 
preface to their adoption into th^ church. This was 
a topic our Lord Jesus touched often upon ; he 
speaks it with assurance ; I say unto xjou, "I that 
know all men ;" and he could not say iiny thing more 
pleasing to himself, or more displeasing to the Jews ; 
an intimation of this kind enraged the Nazarenes 
against liini, Luke 4. 27. Christ gives us here an 
idea. First, Of the /ieraoHX that shall be sai'crf; many 
from the east and the west : he had said, {ch. 7. 14.) 
Few there be that find the way to life ; and \et here 
many shall come. Few at one time, and in one 
place ; vet, when thev come all together, they will 
be a gi'eat manv. We now see but here and there 
one brouglit to grace ; but we sliall shortly see the 
Captain of our salvation bringing many sons to glonj. 
Heb. 2. 10. He will come with/pn thousands of his 
saints ; (Jude 14.) with such a company as 7io man 
can nu?nber ; (Kev. 7. 9.) with 7iations of them that 
are saved. Rev. 21. 24. They shall come /"row the 
east, and /rom the west ; places far distant from each 
other ; yet they shall all meet at the right hand of 
Christ, the centre of their unity. Note, God has his 
remnant in all places ; from the rising of the sun, to 
the going down of the same, Mai. 1. 11. The elect 
will be gatliered from the four winds, ch. 24. 31. 
They are sown in the earth, some scattered in every 
corner of the field. The Gentile world lay fro?n east 
to west, and they are especially meant here ; thougli 
they wevQ strauge7-s to the covenant of/iromise now, 
and had been long, yet who knows what hidden 
ones God had among them then ? As in Elijah's 
time in Israel, (1 Kings 19. 14.) soon after which 
they flocked into the church in great multitudes, Isa. 
60. 3, 4. Note, \\'hen we come to heaven, as we 
shall miss a great many there, that we thought had 
been going thither, so we shall meet a great many 
there, that we did not expect. Secondly, Christ 
gives us an idea of tlie salvation itself. They shall 
come, sliall come together, shall come together to 
Christ, 2 Thcss. 2. 1. 1. They shall be admitted into 
the kingdom of grace nn earth, into the covenant of 
grace made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; tliey 
shall be blessed with faithful ^4braham, whose bless- 
ing comes upon the Gentiles, Gal. 3. 14. This makes 
Zaccheus a son of Abraham, Luke 19. 9. 2. They 
shall beadniittedintotheX-;Ǥ-rfoOT ofgloryinhearcen. 
They shall come cheerfully, flying as doves to their 
windows ; they shall sit down to rest from their la- 
bours, as having done their day's work ; sitting de- 
notes continuance ; while we stand, we are going, 
where we sit, we mean to stay ; heaven is a remain- 
ing rest, it is a continuing city ; they shall sit down, 
as upon a dirone ; (Rev. 3. 21.) as at a table ; that 
is the metaphor here ; they shall sit down to be 
feasted ; which denotes botH /u/ness oi communica- 



tion, and freedom and familiarity of communion, 
Luke 22. 30. They shall sit down with Abraham. 
They who in tliis world were ever so far distant 
from each other in time, place, or outward condi- 
tion, shall all meet together in heaven ; ancients and 
moderns, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor. The 
rich man in liell sees Abraham, but Lazarus sits 
down with him, leaning on his breast. Note, Holy 
society is a part of the felicity of heaven ; and they 
on whom the ends of the world are come, and who 
are most obscure, sliall share in gloiy with the re- 
nowneclpatriarchs. 

[2.] That a great many of the Jews should perish, 
V. 12. Observe, 

First, A strange sentence passed ; The children of 
the kingdom shall be cast out ; the Jews that persist ■ 
in unbelief, though they were h\ birth children oj 
the kingdom, yet shall be cut off from being mem- 
bers of the visible church : the kingdom of God, ol 
whicli they boasted that the\ were the children, 
shall be taken from tlicm, and they shall become 
not a /leople, not obtaining mercy, Horn. 11. 20. — 
9. 31. In the great day it will not avail men to have 
been children of the kingdom, either as Jews or 
Christians ; for men will then be judged, not by what 
they were called, but by what they were. If chil 
dren indeed, then heirs ; but many are children m 
profession, in the family, but not of it, that will come 
short of the inheritance. Being boni of professing 
parents denominates us children of the kingdom ; 
but if we rest in that, and ha\e nothing else to shew 
for heaven but that, we shall be cast out. 

Secondly, A str;mge punishment for the workers 
of iniquity described ; They shall be cast into outer 
darkness, the darkness of those that are without, of 
the Gentiles that were out of the church ; into that 
the Jews were cast, and into worse : they were 
blinded, and hardened, and filled with tenors, as 
the apostle shews, Rom. 11. S — -10. A people so 
unchurched, and given up to spiritual judgments, 
are in utter darkiiess already : but it looks further, 
to the state of damned sinners in hell, to which the 
other is a dismal preface. They shall be cast out 
from God, and all ti-ue comfort, and cast into dark- 
ness. In hell there is fire, but no lisht ; it is utter 
darkness ; darkness in extremity ; the highest de- 
gree of darkness, without any remainder, or mix- 
ture, or hope, of light ; nor the least gleam ni- glimpse 
of it : it is darkness that results from their being 
shut out of hea%en, the land of light ; they who are 
without, are in the regions of darkness ; yet this is 
not the worst cf it, there shall he wer/iing and gnash 
ing of teeth. 1. In hell there will lie great griet 
floods of tears shed to no pui-pcse : anguish of spin 
preving eternally upon the vitals, in the sense ot the 
wrath of God, is the torment of the damned. 2. 
Great indignation : damned sinners will gnash their 
teeth for spite and vexation, full of the fury of the 
Lord ; seeing with envy the hajipmess of others, 
and reflecting with liorror upon the frrmer possi- 
bility of their own being happ\', which is now past. 
3. He cures his servant. He net only crmniends 
his application to him, but giants him tliat for which 
he applied, which was a real answer, v. 13. Ob- 
serve, 

(1.) What Christ said to him : he said that which 
made the cure as great a favoxn- to him iis it was to 
his senant, and much greater ; As thou hast belitv- 
ed, so be it done to thee. The sei-vant ect a cure of 
his disease, but the master got the confinnation and 
approbation of his faith. Note, Chinst cften gives 
encouraging answers to his praving people, when 
they are interceding for others. It is kindness to us, 
to be heard for others. God turned the captivity 
of Job, when he prayed for his friends. Job 42. 10. 
It was a great honour which Christ put upon (his 
centurion, when he gave him a blank, as it weie ; 



ST. MATTHEW, Vlll. 



91 



hr It done as thou bclin<est. What could he have 
more ? Yet what was said to him is said to us all, 
Brlin'e, and ye shall recrh'e ; only belin't: See 

' hei-e tlic power of Clirist, and the power of faith. 

I At Christ can do what he will, so an acti\e belie\ er 
may hax'e what he will from Christ ; tlie oil of 
grace multiplies, iuid stajs not till the vessels of 
faith fail. 

(2. ) \\'hat was the effect of this saying : the prayer 
of faith was a pre\ ailing ])i-ayer, it ever was so, and 
ever will be so ; it appears, by the suddenness of the 
cure, that it was miraculous : and I)y its coincidence 
with Christ's s;iying, that the niimde was his ; he 
tjiake, and it nvas done ; and this was a proof of his 
omnipotence, that he has a long arm. It is tlie ob- 
servation of a leanietl physician, that the diseases 
Christ cured were chiefly such as were the most 
diflicult to be cured by any natural means, and ])ar- , 
ticularly the palsy. Omnis /uirulysis, prn'sertim 
vetusta, aut incurabilis est, aut difficilis curatu, etium ' 
fiueris : atyue soleo ego dicere, iiiorhos omnes (jui \ 
Christo curandi fuerunt jirojiositi dijficillimos sua j 
nalurd curatu esse — Every kind of jiulsy, csfieciatty 
of long continuance, is either incurable, or is found 
to yield, iiith the utmost difficulty, to medical skUt, 
men in young subjects; so that I have frec/uently 
femurfced, that all the diseases -.ehich were referred 
to Christ for cure, a/i/u-ar to have been of the ?nost 
obstinate and ho/ieless kind. Mercurialis de morbis 
pueixinmi, lib. 2. ca/i. 5. 

1-1. And when Jesus was come into Pe- 
.'.er's lioiise, \}e saw his wife's mother laid, 
and si(k of a fever. 15. And he touciicd 
her hand, and the fever left her-: and she 
arose, and ministered unto them. 1 6. ^Yllen 
the even was come, they hrou^ht unto him 
many that were possessed with devils : and 
he cast out the spirits with his word, and 
healed all that were sick: 17. That it 
nii£;ht be fidlilled which was spoken by 
Esaias the prophet, sa}nng, Himself took 
our inlinnities, and bare our sicknesses. 

They who pretend to be critical in the Harmonv 
of the evangelists, place this passage, and all that 
follows to the end ot ch. 9. before the sermon on the 
mount, according to the order which Mark and Luke 
observe in placing it. Dr. Lightfoot places onl\- this 
passage before the sermon on the mount, and v. 18, 
kc after. Here we have, 

I. A particular account of the cure of Peter's 
Tvife's mother, who was ill of a fex'er ; in which ob- ' 
sene, i 

1. The case, which was nothing extraordinai-v ; 
fevers are the most common distempers ; but, the 
patient being a near relation of Peter's, it is rccoi-d- i 
ed as an instance of Christ's peculiar care of, and 
kindness to, the families of his disciples. Here we 
find (1.) That Peter had a rjife, and yet nvas called 
to be an afioslle of Christ ; and Christ countenanced 
the man-iagc state, by being thus kind to his luife's 
relations. The church of Rome, therefore, which 
forbids ministers to mam', goes contran' to that 
apostle from whom they pretend to deiive' an infal- 
libility. (2. ) That Peter had a house, though Christ 
haxl not, v. 20. Thus was the disciple better pro- 
vided for than his Loixl. (3.) That he had a house 
at Capernaum, though he was originally of Qeth- 
saida ; it is probable, he removed to Capernaum, 
when Christ removed thither, and made that his 
principal residence. Note, It is worth while to 
change our quartei-s, that we may be near to Christ, 
and ha\e opportunities of converse with him. Allien 



the ark removes, Israel must remove, and go after 
it. (-1.) That he had his 7i'{/f's m&Mrr with him in 
his fannly, which is an example to yoke-fellows to 
be kind to one another's relations as their own. 
Pix)l)ably, this good woman was old, and yet was 
respected and taken care of, as old pe<)l)le ought to 
be, with all jjossible tenderness. (5.) That she lay 
ill of a fever. Keither the strength of youth, nor 
the weakness and coldness of age, will be a fence 
against diseases of this kind. The palsy w as a chro- 
nical disease, the fc\ er an acute disease, but both 
were brought to Christ. 

2. The cure, v. 15. (1.) How it was effected , 
He touched her hand ; not to know the disease, as 
the physicians do, by the ])ulse, but to heal it. This 
was an intimation of his kindness and tenderness ; 
he is himself touched '.vilh the feeling of our infirmi- 
ties : it likewise shews the way of spiritual healinij, 
bv the exerting of the jjower of Christ with his 
w't)rd, and the ap])licatitin of Christ to ourselves. 
'Die scripture s/ieaks the word, the Spirit gives the 
touch, touches the heart, touches the hand. (2.) 
How it was evidenced : this shewed that the fei'er 
left her, she arose, and ministered to them. By this 
it appears, [1.] That the mercy was perfected. 
Tliey that reco\ er from fevers b\' the power of na- 
ture,' are commonly weak and feeble, and unfit for 
business, a great while after ; to shew therefore that 
this cure was above the power of nature, she was 
immediately so well as to go abrut the business of 
the house. ' [2.] That the mercv was sanctified; 
and the mercies that are so are indeed perfected. 
Though she was thus dignified l)y a jjeculiar favour, 
yet she does not assume importance, but is as ready 
to wait at table, if there be occasion, ;is any servant. 
Thev must be humble whom Christ has honoured ; 
being thus delivered, she studies what she shall 
render. It is \ ei-v fit that tliey vvhom Christ hath 
healed should minister unto him, as his humble scr- 
\ ants, all their days. 

II. Here is a genci-al account of the many cures 
that Christ wrought. This cure ' f Peter's mother- 
in-law brought him abundance cf patients. " He 
healed such a one ; why not me ? Such a one's friend, 
why not mine ?" Now we arc here told, 

l'. ^^'hat he did, T. 16. (I.) He cast oaf dei'ils ; 
cast out the evil sfiirits v.'ith his word. There may 
be much of Satan's agenc>-, by the di\ ine pel-mis- 
sion, in those diseases of which natural causes may 
be assigned, as in Job's boils, cs])ccially in the dis- 
eases of the mind ; but, about the time of Christ's 
Ijeing in the world, there seems to have been more 
than an ordinan' letting loose of the devil, to possess 
and vex the bodies of people ; he came, having 
great wrath, for he knew that his time was short ; 
and f Jod wisel"\' ordered it so, that Christ might have 
the fairer and more frequent opportunities cf shew- 
ing his power o\ei- Satan, and tlie puipose and de- 
sign of his coming into the world, which was to dis- 
arm and dispossess S-atan, to break his power, and 
to destroy his works ; and his success was as glorious 
as his design was gi-acious. (2.) He healed all that 
were sick ; all without exception, though the patient 
was e\er so mean, and the case ever so bad. 

2. Hov>' the scripture was herein fulfilled, v. 17. 
The accomplishment of the Old-Testament pro- 
phecies was the gi-eat thing Christ had in his eye, 
and the great proof of his being the Messiah : among 
other things, it was written of him, (Isa. 53. 4.) 
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our 
sorrows: it is refen-ed to, 1 "Pet. 2. 24. and there it 
is consti-ued, he hath borne our sins: here it is re- 
ferred to, and is construed, he hath borne our sick- 
7iesses : our sins make our sicknesses, our gnefs : 
Christ bore away sin by the merit of his death, and 
bore awav sickness by the miracles of his life ; nay, 
though those miracles are ceased, we may say, that 



92 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



he bore our sicknesses then, when he bore our sins in 
his own body ufion the tree ; for sin is both the cause 
and the sting of sickness. Many are the diseases 
and calamities to wliich we are hable in the body ; 
and tliere is more, in this one line of the gospels, to 
support and comfort us under them, than in all the 
writings of the philosophers — that Jesus Christ bore 
our sicknesses, and carried our sorrows ; he bore 
them before us ; though he was ne\er sick, yet he 
was hungry, and thirst)', and weary, and troubled 
in spirit, sorrowful and very heavy : he bore them 
for us in his jiassion, and bears them with us in com- 
passion, being touched with the feeliiig of our iiifir- 
; muies : and thus he bears them off from us, and 
Vmakes them sit light, if it be not our o%vn fault. 
T)bserve how emphatically it is expressed here : 
Himself took our itifirmities, and bare our sicknesses ; 
he was both able and willing to interpose in that 
matter, and concerned to deal with our in/irmities 
and sicknesses, as our Physician ; that part of the 
calamity of the human nature was his particular 
care, which he evidenced by his gi-eat readiness to 
cure diseases ; and he is no less powerful, no less 
tender now, for we are sure that never were any the 
worse for going to heaven. 

18. Now when Jesus saw great multi- 
tudes about him, he gave commandment 
to depart unto the other side. 1 9. And a 
certain Scribe came, and said unto him, 
Master, I will follow thee whithersoever 
thou goest. 20. And Jesus saith unto him, 
The foxes have holes, and the birds of tlie 
air have nests ; but the Son of man hath 
not where to lay his head. 21. And ano- 
ther of his disciples said unto him, Lord, 
suffer me first to go and bury my father. 
22. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me ; 
and let the dead bury their dead. 

Here is, 

I. Christ's removing to the other side of the sea of 
Tiberias, and his ordering his disciples, whose boats 
attended him, to get their transport-vessels ready, 
in order to it, v. 18. The influences of this Sun of 
righteousness were not to be confined to one place, 
but diffiised all the country over ; he must go about 
to do good ; the necessities of souls called to him, 
Come over, and helji us; (Acts 16. 9.) he removed 
•when he saw great multitudes about him. Though 
by this it appeared that they were desirous to have 
him there, he knew there were others as desirous 
to have him with them, and they must have their 
share of him : his being acceptable and useful in 
one place, was no objection agamst, but a reason for, 
his going to another. Thus he would trj' the mul- 
titudes that were about hi?n, whether their zeal 
would carry them to follow him, and attend on him, 
when his preaching was removed to some distance. 
Many would be glad of such helps, if they could 
have them at next door, who will not be at the pains 
to follow them to the other side ; and thus Christ 
shook off those who were less zealous, and the per- 
fect were made manifest. 

II. Christ's communication with two, who, upon 
his remove to the other side, were loth to stay be- 
hind, and had a mmd to follow him, not as others, 
who were his followers at large, but to come into 
close discipleship, which the most were shy of ; for 
it carried such a face of strictness as they could not 
like, nor be well reconciled to ; but here is an ac- 
count of two who seemed desirous to come into com- 
mimion, and yet were not right ; which is here given, 
as a specimen of the hindrances by which many are 



kept from closing with Christ, and cleaving to him ; 
and a warning to us, to set out in following Christ, 
so as that we may not come short ; to lay such a 
foundation, as that our building may stand. 

We have here Christ's managing of two different 
tempers, one quick and eager, the other dull and 
heavy ; and his instructions are adapted to each of 
them, and designed for om' use. 

1. Here is one that was too hasty in promising ; 
and he was a certain scribe, {y. 19.) a scholar, a 
learned man, one of those that studied and expound- 
ed the law ; generally we find them in the gospels to 
be men of no good character; usuaUy cou])led with 
the Pharisees, as enemies to Christ and his doctrine. 
Where is the scribe? 1 Cor. 1. 20. He is veiy sel- 
dom following Christ ; yet here was one that bid 
pretty fair for discipleship, a Saul among the pru 
phets. Now observe, 

(1.) How he expressed his forwardness ; Master, 
J will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. I know 
not how any man could have spoken better. His 
self-dedication to Christ, is, [1.] 



^. 



of 



rofession 

i'ery ready, and seems to be ex mero motu — froTr. 
his unbiassed incliriation ; he is not called to it by 
Christ, nor urged by any of the disciples, but, ci 
his own accord, he proffers himself to be a close 
follower of Christ ; he is not a pressed man, but a 
volunteer. [2.] Very resolute ; he seems to be at a 
point in this matter; he does not say, "I have a 
mind to follow thee," but "I am determined, I will 
doit." [3.] It was unlimited and without reterve ; 
" I will follow thee whithersoex^er thou goest ; not 
only to the other side of the countn,-, but if it were to 
the utmost regions of the world." Now we should 
think ourselves sure of such a man as this ; and yet it 
appears, by Christ's answer, that his resolution was 
rash, his ends low and carnal : either he did not con- 
sider at all, or not that which was to be considered : 
he saw the miracles Christ wrought, and hoped he 
would set up a temporal kingdom, and he wished to 
apply betimes for a share in it. Note, There are 
many resolutions for religion, produced by some 
sudden pangs of conviction, and taken up without 
due consideration, that prove abortive, and come to 
nothing : soon ripe, soon rotten. 

(2.) How Christ tried his forwardness, whether it 
were sincere or not, x'. 20. He let him know that 
this Son of man, whom he is so eager to follow, has 
not where to lay his head, v. 20. Now from this 
account of Christ's deep poverty, we observe, 

[1.] That it is strange in itself, that the Son of 
God, when he came into the world, should put him- 
self into such a veiy low condition, as to want the 
convenience of a certain resting-place, which the 
meanest of the creatures have. If he would take our 
nature upon him, one would think, he should have 
taken it in its best estate and circumstances : no, he 
takes it in its worst. See here. First, How well pro- 
vided for the inferior creatures are : The foxes have 
holes ; though thev arc not only not useful, but hurt- 
ful, to man, yet 'God provides holes for them, in 
which they are earthed : man endeavours to destroy 
them, but thus they are sheltered; their holes are 
their castles. The birds of the air, though they take 
no care for themselves, yet are taken cai-e of, and 
have nests ; (Ps. 104. 17.) nests in the field ; some of 
them iiests in the house ; in God's courts, Ps. 84. 3. 
Secondly, How poorly the Lord Jesus was provided 
for. It may encourage us to trust God for necessa- 
ries, that the beasts and birds have such good pro- 
vision ; and may comfort us, if we want necessaries, 
that our Master did so before us. Note, Our Lord 
Jesus, when he was here in the world, submitted to 
the disgraces and distresses of extreme po^•crty ifor 
our sakes he became poor, ver>' poor. He had not a 
settlement, had not a place of repose, not a house 
of his own, to put his head in, not ? pillow of his 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



93 



( ■><m, to lay his head on. He ami his disciples lived 
\ipon the charity of wcU-dispuscd people, that minis- 
lend to liim of their substtnicc, Ijuke 8. 2. Christ 
submitted to this, not oiil)- that he might in all re- 
spects humble himself, and fulfil the scriptures, 
which spake of hin\ as /loor and needy, but tliat he 
viiij;ht shew us the vanity of worldly wealth, and 
teach us to look upon it w ith a holy contempt ; that 
he might purchase better things tor us, and so make 
us rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9. 

[2.] It is strange that such a declaration should 
be made on this occasion. When a Scribe offered 
10 follow Chi-ist, one woidd think he would have 
encouniged him, and said. Come, and I nvill take 
care of thee ; one Scribe might be capable of doing 
him inore credit and scr\ice than twelve fisher- 
men : but Christ saw his heart, and answered to the 
thoughts of that, and therein teaches us all how to 
come to Christ. First, The Scribe's resolve seems 
to have been sudden ; and Christ would have us, 
when we take upon us a profession of religion, to sit 
down, arid count the cost, (Luke 14. 28.) to doit 
intelligently, and with consideration, and choose the 
way of go<lliness, not because we know no other, but 
because we know no better. It is no advantage to 
religion, to take men by suipi-ise, ere they are aware. 
Thev that take up a profession ;/( a pang, will throw 
it off again in a fret ; let them, therefore, take time, 
and they will have done the sooner : let him that 
will follow Christ know the worst of it, and expect 
to lie hard, and fare hard. Secondly, His resolve 
seems to have been from a worldly, covetous prin- 
cijjle. He saw what abundance ' of cures Cnrist 
wrought, and concluded that he had large fees, and 
would get an estate quickly, and therefore, he 
would follow him in hopes of growing rich with 
him ; but Christ rectifies his mistake, and tells him, 
he was so far from gi-owing rich, that he had not a 
place to lay his head on ; and that if he follow him, 
he cannot expect to fare better than he fared. 
Note, Christ will accept none for his followers that 
aim at worldly advantages in following him, or de- 
sign to make any thing bvit hea\en of their religion. 
\\ e have reason to think that this Scribe, herevipon, 
iveiit aii-ay sorrowful, being disappointed in a bar- 
gain which he thought would turn to account ; he is 
not for following Christ, unless he can get by him. 

1. Here is another that was too slow in perform' 
ing. Delay in execution is as bad on the one'hand, 
as precipitancy in resolution is on the other hand ; 
when w-e have taken time to consider, and then ha\e 
determined, let it never be said, we left that to be 
done to-morrow, which we could do to-day. This 
candidate for the ministry was one of Christ's disci- 
ples alreadv, {v. 21.) a 'follower of him at large. 
Clemens .\'lexandnnus tells us, from an ancient tra- 
dition, that this was Philip ; he seems to be better 
fiualified and disjjosed than the former, because not 
so confident and presunii)tuous : a Ijold, eager, over- 
forward temper is not the most promising in reli- 
gion ; sometimes the last are first, and the first last. 
Now obser\e here, 

( 1. ) The excuse that this disciple made, to defer an 
immediate attendance on Christ ; (t. 21.) "Lord, 
suffer me first to go and bury mil filher. Before I 
come to be a close and constant follower of thee, let 
me be allowed to j)crfonvi this last office of respect 
to my father ; and in the mean time, let it suffice to 
be a hearer of thee now and then, when I can spare 
time." His fiither (some think) was now sick, or 
dying, or dead ; others think, he was only aged, and 
not likely in a course of nature to continue long ; and 
he desired leave to attend upon him in his sickness, 
at his death, and to his gi-ave, and then he would be 
at Christ's service. This seemed a reasonable re- 
luest, and yet it was not right. He had not the 
zeal he should have had for the work, and therefoi-e 



pleaded this, because it seemed a plausible plea. 
Note, An unwilling mind nc\er wants an excuse. 
The meaning of A'ow vacut, is, jYon placet — 'J'/ie 
want of leisure is the watit of inclination. A\'e will 
supjiose it to come from a true filial affection and 
respect for his father, vet still the preference should 
ha\ e been given to Christ. Note, M;uiy are hin- 
dercd/;-o/H and in the way of serious godliness, by 
an over-concern fcjr their families and relations ; 
these lawful thuigs undo us iill, and our dutj- to (jod 
is neglected and postponed, under colour of dis- 
charging our deljts to the world ; here therefore we 
have need to double our giuii'd. 

(2.) Chi-ist's disallowing of this excuse; {v. 22.) 
Jesus said unto him. Follow me; and, no doubt, 
power accompanied this word to him, as to others, 
and he did Jollow Christ, and clea\ ed to him, as 
Uuth to Naomi, when the Scribe, in the verses be- 
fore, like Oipah, took leave of him. That said, / 
will follow thee; to this Christ said, Follolv me; 
compai-ing them together, it is intimated that we 
are brought to Christ by the force of his call to us, 
not of our promise to him ; it is not of him that wil- 
Icth, 7ior oj him that runneth, but ofGodtliat shew- 
eth mercy ; he calls whom he will, Rom. 9. 16. 
And further. Note, Thovigh chosen vessels may"~\ 
make excuses, ;md delay their compliance with di- 
vine calls a gi-eat while, yet Christ will at length 
answer their excuses, conquer their unwillingness, 
and bi'ing them to his feet ; when Christ calls. It" 
v/Ul o\ercomc, and make the call effectual, 1 Sani. 
3. 10. His excuse is laid aside as insufficient ; Let 
the dead bury their dead. It is a jjroverbial expres- 
sion; "Let one dead man bury another : rather let 
them lie uiibuiied, than that the senice of Christ 
should be neglected. Let the dead spiritually bury 
the dead corporally ; let worldly offices be left to 
worldly peojjte ; do' not thou encumber thyself with 
them. Bur)'ing the dead, and especiallv a dead 
father, is a good work, but it is not thy work at this 
time ; it may be done as well by others, that are not 
called and qualified, as tliou art, to be employed for 
Christ ; thou hast something else to do, and must 
not defer that." Note, Piety to CJod must be pre- 
ferred before piety to parents, though that is a great 
and needful part of our religion. The Nazarites, 
under the law, were not to mouni for their own pa- 
rents, because they were hoUt to the Lord ; (Numb. 
6. 6^8.) nor was the High-Priest to defile himself 
for the dead, no, not {or his own father, Lev. 21. 11, 
12. .Vnd Christ requires of those who would follow 
him, that ihcy hate father and mother; (Luke 14. 
26.) love them less "than God; we must comixira- 
tively neglect and disesteem our nearest relations, 
when they come in competition with Christ, and 
either our doing for him, or our suffering for him. 

23. And when he was entered into a 
ship, his disciples followed him. 24. And, 
behold, there arose a great tempest in the 
sea, insomuch that the ship was covered 
witli the waves : but he was asleep. 2.5. 
And his disciples came to him, and awoke 
him, saying, Lord, save us : we perish. 26. 
And he saitii unto them, Why arc ye fear- 
ful, O ye of little faith ? Then he arose, and 
rebuked the winds and the sea; and there 
was a great calm. 27. But the men mar- 
velled, saying. What manner of man is 
this, that even the winds and the sea obey 
him 1 

Christ had gi\en sailing orders to his disciples, 
(r. 18.) that they should depart to the other aids o 



94 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



the sea of Tiberias, into tne country of Gadai-a, in 
the tribe of Gad, which lay east of Jordan ; thither 
he would go to rescue a poor creature that was pos- 
sessed with a leifion oj devi/s, though he foresaw 
how he should be aflronted there. Now, 1. He 
chose to go by water. It had not been much about, 
if he had gone by land ; but he chose to cross the 
lake, that he might have occasion to manifest him- 
self the God of the sea as well as of the dry land, and 
to show that all fion-er is his, both in heai'en and in 
earth. It is a comfort to those 'H'ho go down to the 
sea in shi/is, and are often in perils there, to reflect 
that they have a Saviour to trust in, and pray to, 
who knows what it is to be at sea, and to be in storms 
there. But observe, when he went to sea, l\e had 
no yacht or pleasure-boat to attend him, but made 
use of his disciples' fishing-boats ; so poorly was he 
accommodated in all respects. 2. His disci/iles fol- 
lowed him; the twelve kept close to him, when 
otliers stayed behind upon the terra Jirma, where 
there was sure footing. Note, They, and they only, 
will be found the true disciples of Christ, that are 
willing to go to sea with him, to follow him into dan- 
gers and difficulties. Many would be content to go 
the land-way to heaven, that will rather stand still, 
or go back, than venture upon a dangerous sea ; but 
those that would rest with Christ hereafter must 
follow him now wherever he leads them, into a ship 
or into a prison, as well as into a palace. Now ob- 
serve here, 

1. The peril and perplexity of the disciples in this 
voyage ; and in this appeared the tnith of what Christ 
had just now said, that those who follow him must 
count upon difficulties, zk 20. 

1. There arose a very great storm, w 24. Christ 
could ha\e prevented this storm, and have ordered 
them a pleasant passage, but that would not have 
been so much for his gloiy and the confirmation of 
their faith as their deliverance was : this storm was 
for their sakes, as John 11. 4. One would ha\-e ex- 
pected, that having Christ with them, they should 
have had a very favourable gale, but it is quite other- 
wise ; for Clirist would shew that they who were 
passing with him over the ocean of this world to the 
other side, must expect storms by the way. The 
church is tossed with tempests ; (Isa. 54. 11.) it is 
only the upper region that enjoys a pei-petual calm, 
this lower one is ever and anon disturbed and dis- 
turbing. 

2. Jesus Christ k'qs asleep in this storm. We never 
read of Christ's sleeping, but at this time ; he was in 
watchings often, and continued all night in prayer to 
God : this was a sleep, not of security, like Jonah's 
in a storm, but of holy serenity, and dependence upon 
his Father : he slept, to shew that he was reallv and 
truly man, and subject to the sinless infirmities of 
our nature : his work made him weary and sleepy, 
and he had no guilt, no fear within, to disturb his re- 
pose. Those that can lay their heads upon the pil- 
low of a clear conscience, may sleep quietly and 
sweetly in a storm, (Ps. 4. 8.) as Peter, .\cts 12. 6. 
He slept at this time, to try the faith of his disciples, 
whether they could tmst him when he seemed to 
slight them. He slept not so much with a desire to 
be refreshed, as with a design to be awaked. 

3. The poor disciples, though used to the sea, 
were in a great fright, and in their fear came to their 
Master, v. 25. Whither else should they go ? It 
was well thev had him so near them. They awoke 
him with their prayers ; Lord, save us, we perish. 
Note, They who would learn to pray must go to sea. 
Imminent and sensible dangers will drive people to 
him who alone can help in time of need. Their 
prayer has life in it, Lord, save us, we perish. (I.) 
Their petition is. Lord, save us. They believed he 
could save them ; they begged he would. Christ's 
errand into the world was to save, but those only 



shall be saxied, that call on the name of the Lord, 
Acts 2. 21. They who by faith are interested in the 
eternal salvation wrought out by Christ, may with 
a humble confidence apply themselves to him foi 
temporal deliverances. Observe, They call him. 
Lord, and then pray. Save us. Note,' Christ will 
save none but those that are willing to take him for 
their Lord ; for he is a Prince and a Saviour. (2. ) 
Their plea is, We perish ; which was, [1.] The lan- 
guage of their fear : they looked upon their case as 
desperate, and gave up all for lost ; they had receiv- 
ed a sentence ot death within themselves, and this 
they plead, " Tie perish, if thou dost not save us; 
look upon us therefore with pity." [2.] It was the 
language of their fervency ; they pray as men in 
earnest, that beg for their i!\es ; it becomes us thus 
to strive and wrestle in prayer ; therefore Christ 
slept, that he might draw out this iniportunitj'. 

II. The pov.er and grace of Jesus Christ put forth 
for their succour ; then the Lord Jesus awaked, as 
one refreshed, Ps. 78. 65. Christ may sleep when 
his church is in a storm, but he will not out-sleep 
himself : the time, the set time to favour his dis- 
tressed church, will come, Ps. 102. 13. 

). He rebuked the disciples; (t. 26.) Why are ye 
fearful, ye of little faith? He does not chide them 
for disturbing him %\ith their prayers, but for dis- 
turbing themselves with their fears. Christ reprov- 
ed them first, and then delivered them ; this is his 
method, to prepare us for a mercy, and then to give 
it us. Observe, (1.) His dislike of their fears; 
" Why are ye fearful? Ye, my disciples? Let the 
sinners in Zionbe afraid, let heathen mariners trem- 
ble in a storm, but you shall not be so. Inquire into 
the reasons of your fear, and weigh them." (2.) 
His discoveiy ot the cause and spring of their fears; 
O ye of little faith. Many that have true faith are 
weak in it, and it does but little. Note, [l.J Christ's 
disciples are apt to be disquieted with fears in a 
stormy day, to torment themsehes with jealousies 
that things are bad with them, and dismal conclu- 
sions that they will be worse. [2.] The prevalence 
of our inordinate fears in a stormy dav is owing to 
the weakness of our faith, which would be as an an- 
chor to the soul, and would plv the oar of prayer. 
Byjaith we might see through the storm to the quiet 
shore, and encourage ourselves with hope that we 
shall weather our point. [3.] The feartiilness of 
Christ's disciples in a storm, and their unbelief, the 
cause of it, are very displeasing to the Lord Jesus, 
for they reflect dishonour upon liim, and ci"eate dis- 
turbance to themselves. 

2. He rebukes the wind; the former he did as the 
God of grace, and the Sovereign of the heart, who 
can do what he pleases in us ; this he did as the God 
of nature, the Sovereign of the world, who can do 
what he pleases for us. It is the same power that 
stills the noise of the sea, and the tumult of fear, Ps. 
65. 7. See, (1.) How ea.vly this was done, with a 
word's speaking. Moses commanded the waters 
with a rod ; Joshua, with the ark of the covenant ; 
Elisha, with the prophet's mantle ; but Christ with 
a word. See his absolute dominion over all the crea- 
tures, which bespeaks both his honour, and the hap- 
piness of those that have him on their side. (2.) 
How effectually it was done ; There was a great calm, 
all of a sudden. Ordinarily, after a storm, there is 
such a fret of the waters, that it is a good while ere 
they can settle ; but if Christ speak the word, not 
only the storm ceases, but all the effects of it, all the 
rernains of it. Great storms of doubt and fear of the 
soul, under the power of the spirit of bondage, some- 
times end in a wonderful calm, created and spoken 
by the Spirit of adoption. 

3. This excited their astonishment ;(•!'. 27.) 77;? 
men marvelled. They had been long acquainted 
with the sea, and never saw a storm so immediately 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



95 



tiimed into a perfect calm, in all their lives. It has 
all the marks and signatures of a miracle upon it ; it 
in the Lord's doing, and is marvcl/ou-s in t/irir furs. 
Observe, (1.) Their adminition of Christ; ll/iat 
manner of man is this! Note, Christ is a Nonsuch ; 
every thing in him is admiraljle : none so wise, so 
mighty, so amiable, as he. (2.) The reason of it; 
Even ' tlie winds and the sea obey him. Upon this 
account, Clirist is to be admired, that he has a com- 
manding power even over winds and seas. Others 
pretendccl to cure diseases, but he only underttwk to 
command the winds. We know nut the way of the 
wind, (Jolin 3. 8.) nnich less can we control it; but 
he that 6ringeth forth the wind out of his treasury, 
(Ps. 135. 7.) when it is out, gathers it into his fists, 
Prov. 30. 4. He that can (lo this, can do imy thing, 
can do enough to cncounige our confidence and com- 
fort in him, m the most stormy day, within or with- 
out, Isa. 26. 4. The Lord sits upon the floods, and 
is mightier than the noise of many waters. Christ, 
bv commanding the seas, showed himself to be the 
same that made Che world, ivhen, at his rebuke, the 
waters fled, (Ps. 104. 7, 8.) as now, at his rebuke, 
they fe\l. 

28. And wiuni he was romo to the other 
side, into the country of the Gergesenes, 
tliere met him two possessed n\ itii devils, 
coming out of tlie tombs, exceeding fierce, 
so that no man might pass by tiiat way. 
29. And, behold, they cried out, saying, 
Wliat have wc to do with thee, Jesus, thou 
Son of God ? Art thou come iiither to tor- 
ment us before the time ? 30. And there 
was a good way off from them an herd of 
many swine feeding. 31. So the devils 
besought him, saving, If thou cast us out, 
suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 
32. And he said unto them. Go. And 



wlien they were come out, they went into 
the iierd of swine : and, behold, the whole 
herd of swine ran violently down a steep 
place into the sea, and perished in the wa- 
ters : 33. And they that kept them fled, 
and went their ways into tlie city, and told 
every thing, and wliat was befallen to the 
possessed of t!ie devils. 34. And, behold, 
the wliolc city came out to meet .Tcsus : 
and wiien they saw him, they besought him 
that he would depart out of their coasts. 

We have here the story of Christ's casting the 
devils out of two men that were possessed. The 
scope of this chapter is to show the divine power of 
Christ, by the instances of his dominion over bodih- 
diseases, which to us are irresistilile ; o\er winds and 
waves, which to us are yet more uncontrollable ; and 
lastly, over devils, which to us are most formidable 
of all. Christ has not onlv all fiower in heaven and 
earth .and all deep places', but has the keys of hell 
too. Principalities and powers were made subject to 
him, even while he was in his estate of humiliation, 
as an eaniest of what should be at his entrance into 
his glory ; (Eph. 1. 21.) he spoiled them, Col. 2. 15. 
It was observed in general, (v. 16.) that Christ cast 
out the spirits with his word ; here we have a parti- 
cular instance of it, which had some circumstances 
more remarkable than the rest. This miracle was 
wrought in the country- of the Gergesenes ; some 
think, they were the rernains of the old Girgashites, 
fleut r. 1. Though Christ was sent chiefly lo the 



lost sheep of the house of Israel, yet some sallies he 
made among the borderers, as here, to gain this vic- 
tory over Satan, which was a specimen of the con- 
quest of his legions in the Gentile world. 

Now, beside the general instance which this gi\ es 
us of Christ's power over Satan, and his d( signs 
against liim to disarm and dispossess him, we have 
here especially discovered to us the wa\- and manner 
of evil spirits in their enmity to man. Obsen e, con- 
cerning tills legion of devils, A\'hat work they made 
where they iivrc, and where they irrnt. 

I. \Miat work they made wliere they were ; which 
appears in the miserable condition of tliese two that 
were possessed bv them ; and some think, these two 
were man and wife, because the other Evangelists 
speak but of one. 

1. The\- dwelt among the tombs; thence they 
came when they met Christ. The Devil having 
the fiowcr of death, not as judge, but as executifiner, 
he delighte'th to converse among the tropliies of his 
\ ictorv, the dead Ijodies of men ; but there, where 

I he thought himself in his greatest triumph and ele- 
vation, as afterwards in Golgotha, the place of a 

I skull, did Christ conquer and subdue him. Con- 
versing among the graves increased the melancholy • 

i and frenz)' of the poor possessed creatures, and so 

1 strengthened the hold he had of them by their Iio- 
dily distemper, and also made them more formidable 
to other ijeople, who generally startle at any thing 
that stirs among the tombs. 

2. Thev were exceeding fierce ; not only ungovern- 
able themselves, l)ut mischievous to others, fright- 
ening main-, having hurt some ; so that no man durst 
pass that way. Note, The De\ il bears malice to 
mankind, and shows it, by making men s])iteful and 
malicious one to another. Mutual enmities, where 
there should be mutual endearments and assistances, 
are effects and evidences of Satan's enmity to the 
whole race : he makes one man a wolf, a bear, a 
de\il, to anoth.er — Homo homini lupus. \N'here 
Satan niles in a man spirituallj-, by those lusts that 
war in the members, pride, en\y,' malice, rexengc, 
thev make him as unfit for hurhan society, as un- 
worthy of it, and as much an enemy to the comfort 
of it, as these jjoor possessed creatures were. 

3. They bid defiance to Jesus Christ, and disclaim- 
ed all interest in him, v. 29. It is an instance of the 
power of God over the devils, that, notwithstanding 
the mischief they studied to do by and to these poor 
creatures, vet they could not keep them from meet- 
ing Jesus Christ, who ordered tlic matter so as to 
meet them. It was his overpowering hand that 
dragged these unclean spirits into his presence, which 
thev dreaded more than any thing else : his chains 
could liold them, when the chains men made for 
them could not. But, being brought bef< re him, 
they protested against his jurisdiction, and broke oul 
into a rage, Jl'hat hni'e we to do with thee, Jesus, 
thou Son of God? Here is, 

(1.) One word the Devil spoke like a. saint; he 

addressed himself to Christ as Jesus the Son of God ; 

a. good w-ord, and at this time, when it was" a truth 

but in the proving, it was a great word too, what 

flesh and blood did not reveal to Peter, ch. 16. 16. 

Even the devils know and believe, and confess Christ 

to be the Son of God, .and yet they arc devils still, 

which makes their enmity to Christ so much the 

more wicked, and indeed a perfect tomient to them- 

! selves; for how can it be otherwise, to rijpose one 

\ they know, to be the Son of God? Note, It is not 

: knciwdedge, but love, that distinguishes saints from 

devils. Heisthefirst-bornof hell, that knows Christ, 

and vet hates him, and will not be subject to him 

and his law. ^^'c may remember that not long since 

the Devil made a doubt whether Christ were the 



Son of God or not, and would have pei-suaded him 
to question it, (c/;. 4. 5.^ but now he readily owns it. 



96 



ST. MATTHEW, VIII. 



Note, Though God's children ma)- be much disqui- 
eted in an liour of temptation, l)y hat;m's questioning 
their relation to God as a Fattier, yet the Spirit of 
adoption sliall at lengtli clear it up to them so much 
to their satisfaction, as to set it even above the De- 
vil's contradiction. 

(2. ) Two woi-ds that he said like a devil, like him- 
self. 

[1.] A word of deiiance ; ]Vlmt have ive to do nvith 
thee? Now, I'irst, It is true, that tlie devils have 
nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour, for he took 
not on him the nature of the angels that tell, nor did 
he lay hold on them ; (Heb. 2. 16.) they are in no 
relation to him, they neither have, nor hope for, any 
benefit by liim. O the depth of this ni}"stery of di- 
vine lo\e, that fallen nuui liath so mucli to do nvith 
Christ, when fallen angels ha\'e nothing to do nvith 
him I Surely here was torment enough before the 
time, to be forced to own the excellency that is in 
Christ, and yet that he has no interest in him. Note, 
It is possible for men to call Jesus the Son of God, 
and yet ha\e nothing to do with him. Secondly, It 
is as tnie, that the dexils desire not to have any thing 
to do nvith C/irist as a Ruler; they hate him, they 
are filled with enmity against him, the)' stand in op- 
position to him, and are in open rebellion against his 
crown and dignity. See whose language they speak, 
that will have nothing to do nvith the gospel of Christ, 
with his laws and ordinances, that thi'ow off his )'oke, 
that break his bands in sunder, and nvill not have him 
to reign over them ; that say to the .ilinig!ity Jesus, 
Depart from us: they are of their father the Devil, 
they do his lusts, and speak his language. Thirdly, 
But it is not true, that the de\"ils ha\c nothing to do 
nvith Christ as a Judge, for they have, and they know- 
it Tliese de\'ils could not say, Jl'hat hast thou to 
do nvith us ? could not deny that the Son of God is 
the Judge of devils ; to his judgment they are bound 
over in chains of darkness, which they would fain 
shake ofl", and shake off the thought of^ 

[2. ] A word of dread and deprecation ; " ^irt thou 
co?ne hither, tt> torment us — ^to cast us out from these 
men, and to restrain us from doing the hurt we would 
do.'"' Note, To be turned out, imd tied up, from 
doing mischief, is a torment to the Devil, all whose 
comfort ;uid satisfaction are man's misery and de- 
struction. Should not we then count it our heaxen 
to be doing well, and reckon that our toiTnent, whe- 
ther within or without, that hinders us from well- 
doing ? Now must we l)e tormented by tliee before 
the time? Note, First, There is a time in which 
devils will be more tormented than they are, and 
they know it. The gi-cat assize at the last day is the 
time fl.xed for their complete torture, in that Tophet 
which is ordained oio\A, forthe king, for the firince 
of the dextils, and his angels ; (Isa. 30. 33. Matt 25. 
4:1.) for the judgment of that day they are reserx^ed, 
2 Pet ii. 4. Tliose m;dignant spirits that are, by 
the di\ine peitnission, prisoners at large, walking to 
and fro through the earth, (Job 1. 7.) are even now 
in a chain ; hitherto shall their power reach, and no 
further ; they will then be made close prisoners ; they 
ha\'e now some ease ; they will then be in torment 
without ease. This they here take for gi-anted, and 
ask not never to be tonnented, (despair of relief is 
the misery of their case, ) but they beg that they may 
not be tormented before t lie time ; for though they 
knew not when the day of judgment should be, they 
knew it should not be yet Secondly, The devil's 
have a certain fearful looking for of that judgment 
and fiery indignation, upon even,- approach of Christ, 
and every check that is given to their power and 
rage. The very sight of Christ, and his word of 
command to come out of the man, made them thus 
apprehensive of their torment. Thus the devils be- 
lieve, and tremble, Jam. 2. 19. It is their own en- 
nvtv to God and man that puts them upon the rack, 



and torments them before the time. The most dcs 
perate sinners, whose damnation is sealed, yet can 
not quite harden their hearts against the sin-jjrise of 
fearfulr.ess, nvhen they see the day a/ifroaching. 

II. Let us now see what work they made where 
they nvent, when they were turned out of the men 
possessed, and that was into a herd of snvine, which ■ 
nvas a good nvay off, v. 30. These Gcrgesenes, 
though li\ing on the other side Jordan, were Jews. 
^\'hat had they to do with snvi7ie, which by the law 
were unclean, and not to be eaten noi' touched i 
Probably, lying in the outskirts of the land, there 
were man)' Gentiles among them, to whom this /lerd 
of swine Ijelonged : or they kept them to he sold, oi 
bartered, to the Uomans, with whom they had no-w 
great dealings, and who were admirers of snvine's 
flesh. Now obsene, 

1. How the devils seized the snvine. Though they 
were a good nvay off, and, one would think, out of 
danger, vet the devils had ;m e)-e upon them, to do 
them a miscliief : for they g-o iiji and down, seeking 
to dei'our, seeking an opportunity, and they seek 
not long but they find. Now here, 

(1.) They asked leave to enter into the snvine ; {v. 
31.) they besought him, with all earnestness. If thou 
cast us out, suffer us to go anvay into the herd of 
snvine. Hereb)-, [1.] They discover their own in- 
clination to do mischief, and what a pleasure it is to 
them : those, therefore, are their children, and re- 
semble them, nvhose slec/i dejiarteth from them, ex- 
cept they cause some to fall, Pro\-. 4. 16. " Let us 
go into the herd of snvine, any where rather than into 
the place of torment, any where to do mischief." 
If they might not be suffered to hurt men in their 
bodies, they would hurt them in their goods, and in 
that too they intend hurt to their souls, b)" making 
Christ a l5urthen to them : such malicious de\ices 
hath that old subtle sei-pent ! [2. ] They own Christ's 
power oxer them ; that, without his suffci'ance and 
permission, the)- could not so much as hurt a snvine. 
This is comfortable to all the Lord's people, that, 
though the Devil's power be very great, yet it is 
limited, and not equ;d to his malice ; (what woidd 
become of us, if it were .-') especially that it is under 
the control of our Lord Jesus, our most faithful, 
powerful Friend and Saxiour ; that Satan and his hi- 
sti-uments can go no further tlian he is pleased to 
peiTnit ; Iiere shall their Jiroud nvaves be stayed. 

(2. ) The)- had leave. Christ said unto them. Go, {v. 
32.) as God did to Satan, when he desired leaxe to 
afHict Job. Note, God does often, for v.'isc and holy 
ends, permit the efforts of Satan's rage, and suffer 
him to do the mischief he would, and cxen by it 
serve his own puii^oses. The devils are not only 
Christ's captives, but his vassals; his dominion over 
them appears in the harm they do, as well as in the 
hindrance of them from doing more. Thus even their 
wrath is made to praise Christ, and the remain- 
der of it he does and will restrain. Christ permitted 
this, [1.] For the ccm-iction cf the Sadducees that 
were then among the Jews, who denied the exist- 
ence of spirits, and would not own that there wei-c 
such beings, because they could not see them. Now 
Christ would, by this, bring it as near as might be 
to an ocular demonstration of the being, multitude, 
power, and malice, of ex il spirits, that, if the)" xvere 
not hereby convinced, they might be left inexcusa- 
ble in their infidelity. \\'e see not the xvind, but it 
would be absurd to denx' it, when we see trees and 
houses bloxvn doxvn by it. [2.] For the punish- 
ment of the Gadarenes, who ]jerhaps, though Jexvs, 
took a liberty to eat swine's flesh, contri'.ry to the 
law : hoxvev'er, their keeping snvine bordered upon^ ] 
ex'il ; and Christ would also shexv what a hellish j 
crew they were delivered from, which, if he had -| 
permitted it, would soon have choked them, as they | 
did their snvine. The devils, in obedience to Chiirt's 



ST. MATTHEW. IX. 



97 



command, came nut of the men, and, having ];cr- 
niission, rjhen l/iiy wire come out, immediately they 
ivent into the herd oj mi'ine. See what an indus- 
trious enemy Satan is, and Iiow expeditious ; he will 
lose MO time in doint;miscliiet'. Observe, 

2. Whither they hurried them, when they had 
seized ihcm. They were not bid to save their tri'es, 
and, therefore, iney were made to run violently 
down a stee/i /ilace into the sea, where they all jje- 
rished, to the number of about two thoumn'd, Mark 
5. 13. Note, The possession wliich the Devil gets 
is for destruction. Tluis the De\ilhurries ])eople 
to sin, hurries them to that wliich thcv liave resolv- 
ed aijainst, and whicli they know will'be shame and 
griet to tliem : with wluit a force doth the e\ il sjji- 
rit iforj: in the children of disobedience, when by so 
many foolish and liuitful lusts tliev are brousht to' act 
in direct contradiction, not onlv'to reliijion, l)ut to 
ri\;ht reason, and their interest In this world ! 'I'luis, 
likewise, liehuriies them to niiii, for he is Apollyon 
anil Abaddon, the great dcsti-oycr. B\ Ins liists 
which men do, they are drowned' in destruction and 
fierdition. This is Satan's will, to s-ii-alloni' ufi and 
to devour ; miseral>lc then is the condition of those 
that are led cafitive hy him at his will. Thev arc 
liun-ied into a worse lake th;m this, a lake that bums 
with fire and brimstone. Observe, 

3. Ultal effect had this u/ion the owners. The 
report of it was soon brought them In- the swine- 
nerds, who seemed to be more concerned for the li ss 
of the swine than any thing else, for they went not 
ro lell what was befallen to the /lossessed of the dex'ih, 
'ill the swine were lost, v. 33. Christ went not into 
Ih e city, but the news of his being there did, by which 
he was willing to feel how their pulse beat, and what 
inHuenre it had upon them, and then act accordingly. 

Now, (_1.) Their curiosity brought them out to see 
Jesus. 1 he whole city came out to meet him, that 
they might be able to sav, the\- had seen a man who 
did s.ich wonderful works. Thus manv go out, in' 
profession, to meet Chi'ist for companv, 'that ha\ c no 
real affection for him, nor desire to know liim. 

f2.) Their covetousness made them willing to be 
rid of him. Instead of inviting him into their citv, or 
bringing their sick to him to be healed, thev desired 
him to de/iart out their coasts, as if they had lior- 
rowed tlie words of the de\ils, ll'liat have we to do 
with thee, Je.iu.i thou Son of God? And now the 
devils had what thcv aimed at in drowning the 
swine ; they did it, and then made the people be- 
lieve that Christ had done it, and so prejudiced 
them against him. He seduced our first parents, bv 
possessing them with liard thoughts of CJod, and 
kept the Gadarencs fi-oni Christ, bv suggesting that 
he came into their conntrv to destroy their cattle, 
and that he would do more huit than good ; for 
though he had cured two men, vet he had drowned 
two thousand swine. Thus the' De\ il sows tares in 
God's field, does mischief in the christian church 
and then lays the blame upon Christianity, and in- 
censes men against that. They besought him that 
he would depart, lest, like Moses in Egypt, he 
should proceed to some other plague. Notei There 
are a great many who prefer their swine before thcii- 
Saviour, and so come short of Christ, and sahation 
by Itim. riie\- desire Christ to depart out of their 
hearts, and will not suffer his word to have a place 
m them, because he and hisAvord will be the de- 
struction of their brutish lusts— those swine which 
they give uj) themselves to feed. And justly will 
Chnst forsake those that thus are weary of him 
and say to them hereafter, Defiart, ve cursed, who 
now say to the Almighty, De/iart from us. 

CHAP. IX. 

",!l,^*n^ '"r^t i''^Pi%''' '•ema'-'-aWe instances of the power 
and pit) of the Lord Jesus.sufficienl lo convince us thithe 
V OL. V. — N 



is both able to save to the uttermost all th.il come to fiod 
by him, »iiil a^ wiliiti^' as he is able. His pouir and piiv 
ap|if:ir hiTc in Ihe 'jood olhces he did, I. To llie bodies of 
people, in rorilr,' Ihi' pah\ ; (v. 2. . 8. ) raisin" lo life the 
ruler's dau'jhtir, and healiii'/ the bloodv issue ; (\. 18.. 
26.) "ivin;; sitrhi lo li\o blind nun ; (v. 'i? . . 31.) casting 
the Devil out of one possessed ; (v. 3'- . . 34. ) iind healing 
all manner of sicline^s, v. 35. II. To the souls <,r people ; 
in fori;iving sins : (v. 2.) callinii Matthew, and convei>ini; 
freelv with puhlieans and sinners; (v. 9. . 13.) ronsider- 
inirtherrnme of his disciples, willi reference In Iheduiv of 
fasting; (v. 14. . 17.) preachiu'j the gospel, and, in coni- 
pa.s.Moii to the inultilu.le, pK.vidino- pre:ieliii- .or them ; 
(i. 35.. 3S.) 'I'lius liid he |irove himself to be, as un- 
dnulitedly he is, the skilful, l:iiilifnl Physician, l,i,ih of sou! 
lirul body, who lias suHleient remedies for a!) the maladies 
of both ; for uhich we must, therifoie, appiv ourselves to 
him, and irlorify him botli with our bodies.'and witli oui 
spirits, which arc his, in return toliim for bis kindness lo 
both. 

I. 4 ND he entered into a ship, and pas- 
-i*- sed over, and ramc into his own 
city. 2. And hcliohl, IIkt bioiiglit to him 
a man sirk of the palsy,' lying on a bed : 
and Jesus, seeing their laith, said iiiilo the 
sirk of the palsy, Son, be of good clieer ; 
thy sins be forgiven thee. 3. And, behold, 
certain of the Scrilies said within them- 
selves, This i/ian blas])hemeth. 4. And 
.Tesns, knowing tiieir thoughts, said,^^'here- 
fore think ye fvil in your hearts .' 5. For 
whether is easier to say, T/ii/ sins be for- 
given thee ! Or to say," Arise, and walk ? 
0. ])Ut that ye may know that tiie Son of 
man hath power on earth to forgive sins, 
(then saith he to the sick of tlie palsy,) 
Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine 
house. 7. And he arose, and departed to 
his house. S. But when the multitude saw 
it, they marvelled, and g]ci\\(\ei\ God, ic/iich 
had given such power unto men. 

The first words of this chapter oblige us to look 
back to the close of that which precedes it, where 
we find the (Tadarenes so resenting the Ic ss of their 
sw ine, that they were disgusted with Christ's com- 
pany, and besought himtode/iart out of their coasts. 
Now here it follows. He entered into a ship, and 
passed over. They bid him begone, and he took 
thetn at their word, and we never read that he came 
into their coasts again. Now here observe, 1. His 
justice— that he left them. Note, .Christ will not 
tan-y long where he is not welcome. In righteous 
judgment, lie forsakes those places and jjerstmsthat 
are weary of him, but abides with those that covet 
and court his stay. If the unbeliever nvi/l depart 
from Chr'j&t, let him depart ; it is at his peril, I Cor. 
7. 15. 2. His patience — that he did not leave seme 
destroying judgment behind him, to punish them, 
as they deserved, for their contempt and crntumacy. 
How easily, how justly, might he have sent thehi 
after their swine, who were already so much under 
the Devil's power. The provocation, indeed, was 
yen- great ; but he put it up, and passed it by, and 
without any angry resentments or upbraiding?, he 
entered into a ship, and passed over. This was the 
day of liis patience ; he came not to destrov men's 
Iwes, but to sa\e them ; not to kill, but to cure. 
Spiritual judgments agree more with the constitu- 
tion of gospel-times ; yet some observ e, that in those 
bloody wars which the Romans made upon the Jews, 
which began not many years after this, thev first 
besieged the town of Gadara, where these Gada- 
renes dwelt. Note, Those that drive Cr rist from 



j8 



ST. .MATl'HEW, IX. 



them, draw all misci'ies up(m them. Wo unto us, 
if God depart from us. 

He came into his oivn city, Cafirmaum, the prin- 
cipal phice of his residence at present, (.Nlark 2. 1.) 
and therefore called hix own city. He had himself 
testified, that a prophet is least honoured in his own 
country swAcily, yet thither lie came ; for he soui^ht 
not his own honour ; but, being in a state of humi- 
liation, lie was content to be desjjised of the people. 
At Capernaum all the circumstances recorded in this 
chapter happened, and are, therefoi-e, put together 
here, thou,^■h, in the harmony of the evangelists, 
other events intervened. When the Gadarenes de- 
sired Clirisl to depart, they of Capernaum received 
him. If Christ be affronted by some, there are 
others in whom he will be glorious ; if one will not, 
another will. 

Now tlie first occurrence, after Christ's return to 
Capernaum, as recorded in these verses, was the 
cure of the man sick of the palsy. In which we 
may observe, 

I. The faith of his friends in bringing him to 
Christ. His distemper was such, that he could not 
come to Cltrist liimself, but as he was carried. Note, 
Even the halt and the lame may be brought to 
Christ, and they shall not be rejected bv him. If we 
do as well as we can, he will accept of us. Christ 
had an eye to their faith. Little children cannot go 
to Christ themselves, but he will have an eye to the 
faith of those tliat bring them, and it sh.dl not be in 
vain. Jesus saw thfir failh, the faitli of the para- ' 
lytic himself, as well as of them tRat brought him ; 
Jesus saw the habit of faith, though liis distemper, 
perhaps, impaired his intellect, and oljstructed the 
actings of it. Now their faith was, 1. A strong faith ; 
they firmlv believed that Jesus Christ both could 
and would heal him ; else they \vo\ild not have 
brought the sick man to him so pulilickly, and 
through so much difficulty. 2. A humble faith ; 
though the sick man was unable to stir a step, they 
would not ask Christ to make him a visit, but brought 
him to attend on Christ. It is fitter that we should f 
wait on Christ, than he on us. 3. An active faith ; I 
in the belief of Christ's power and goodness, they 
brought tlie sick man to him, /yins^ on a bed, which j 
could not be done without a deal of pains. Note, 
A strong faith regards no obstacles in pressing after 
Christ. ■ _ ! 

II. The favour of Christ, in what he said to him ; j 
Son, be of good cheer, thy sins he forgiven th'c. This 
was a sovereign cordial to a sick man, and was i 
enough to make all his bed in his sickness ; and to ! 
make it easy to him. W^e read not of any thing said 
to Christ ; probably the poor sick man could not 
speak for himself, and they that brought him chose 
rather to speak by actions than words ;,they set him 
before Christ ; that was enough. Note, It is not in 
vain to present ourselves and our friends to ('hrist, 
as the objects of his pity. Miserv cries as wf'1 as 
sin, and mercy is no less quick of hearing than ius- 
tice. Here is in what Christ said, 1. A Icind c^m- 
pellation ; Son. Note, Exhortations and consola- 
tions to the afflicted speak to them as to sons, for 
afflictions are fatherlv discipline, Heb. 12.5. 2. A 
gracious encouragement ; "Be of good cheer. Have 
a good heart on it ; cheer up thV spirits." Probably 
the poor man, when let down among them all in his 
bed, was put out of countenance, was afraid of a re- 
buke for being brought in so rndelv: but Christ does 
not stand upon ceremony ; he bids him be of good 
cheer; all would be well, he should not be laid' before 
Christ in vain. Christ bids him be of good cheer; and 
then cures him. He would have tlinse to whom he 
deals his gifts, to be cheei'ful in seeking him, and in 
trusting to him ; to be of good courage. 3. A good rea- 
son for tliat encouragement ; Thy sins are forgiven 
thee. Now this may be considered, (1.) As an intro- 



duction to the cure of hisbodily distemper ; " I h y 
sins are juirdoned, and therefore thou shall bel.e.il- 
ed. " Note, .\s sin is the cause of sickness, so the 
remission of sin is llie comfort of recover)' from sick- 
ness ; n'lt lint that sin may be pardoned, and yet the 
sickness not remo\ed ; not but that the sickness may 
be removed, and yet the sin not pardoned : but if we 
have the comfort of our reconciliation to God, with 
the comfort of our recovery from sickness, this makes 
it a mercy indeed to us, as to Hezekiah, Isa. 38. 17.. 
Or, (2. ) As a reason of the command to be of good 
cheer, whether he were cured of his disease or not ; 
" Though I should not heal thee, wilt thou not say, 
thou hast not sought in vain, if I assure thee that tiry 
sins are /tardoned ; and wilt thou not look ujjon that 
as a sufficient ground of comfort, though thou 
shouldest continue sick of the palsy ?" Note, Theyl 
who, througli grace, have some evidence of the for-\ 
giveness of their sins, have reason to be of good 1 
cheer, whate\er outward troubles or afflictions theyj 
are under; see Isa. 33. 24. 

III. The cavil of the Scribes at that which Chirs) 
! said ; (t. 3.) T\\cv said within themselves, in theii 

i hearts, among themselves, in their secret whisper- 
ings, This man blas/ihemeth. See how the greatest 

! instance of heaven's power and grace is tjranded 
with the blackest note of hell's enmity ; Christ's 
pardoning sin is termed blasphemy ; nor had it been 
less, if he had not had commission from God for it. 
They, therefore, are guiltv of blasphemy, that ha^-e 
no such commission, and vet pretend to pardon sin. 

IV. The conviction which Christ gave them of 
the unreasonableness of this cavil, before he pro- 
ceeded. 

1. He charged them with it. Though they did but 
say it within themselves, he knew their thoughts. 
Note, Our Lord Jesus has the perfect knowledge of 
all that we sav within ourselves. Thoughts are se- 
cret and sudden, yet naked and open before Christ, 
the etemal \\'ord, (Heb. 4. 12, 13.) and he under- 
stands them afar off, Ps. 139. 2. He could say to 
them, (which no mere man could,) Wherefore think . 
ye evil in your hearts ? Note, there is a great deal 
of evil in sinful thoughts, which is very offensive to 
the Lord Jesus. He being the So\ereign of the 
heart, sinful thoughts invade his right, and disturb 
his possession ; therefore he takes notice of them, 
.and is much displeased with them. In them lies the 
root of bitterness. Gen. 6. 5. The sins that begin 
and end m the heart, and go no further, are as dan- 
gerous as any other. 

2. He argued them out of it, v. 5, 6. Where 
observe, " ■ 

(1.) How he asserts his authority in the kingdom 
of grace. He undertakes to make out, that the Son 
of man, the Mediator, has power on earth to for- 
give sins ; for therefore the Father has committed 
all /ttdgmenl to the Son, and has given him this au- 
tliority, because he is the Son of man, John 5. 22, 27. 
If he has flower to gwe etemal life, as he certainly 
has, (John 17. 2.) he must have power to for^ve 
sin ; for guilt is a bar that must be removed, or we 
can never get to heaven. What an encouragement 
is this to poor sinners to repent, that the power of 
pardoning sin is put into the hands of the Son of 
man, who is Bone of our bone ! And if he had this 
power on earth, much more now that he is exalted 
to the Father's right hand, to give repentance and 
remission of sins, and so to be both a Prince and a 
Sax'iour, Acts 5. 31. 

(2.) How he proves it, by his power in the king 
dom of nature ; his power to cure diseases. Is it 
not as easy to sav, Thti sins are forgiven thee, as to 
say, .4ri.ieand walk ? He that can cure the disease, 
whether declarativelu as a Prophet, or authorita- 
tively as God, can, in like manner, forgi\e the sin. 
Now, [1.] This is a general argument to prove th.at 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



09 



(Jhiist had a divine mission. His niiracks, cspcci- 
aWy liis iiuraculoub cures, contii'm what he said ot 
hiii\sclf, tliat hi- was tlic Son of God; the /wwi r 
that apiJCMivd ill liis cuix-s provi-d liim nciilofdod; 
and the /((Cr/ tliat apiJi-arcd iii tin-in piovc-d luiiisi-nt 
of (r(Kl, l(j heat unit save. Tlic (Jod ni tnitli would 
not set his seal to a lie. [2. ] It had a ])articiilai- 
cogencv in tliis case. The [lalsy was but a syiiii)- 
tom ft' the disease of sin ; now he made it to ap- 
pear, that he could effectually euro the orii^inid dis- 
c:ise, t>y the iiiiiiiediate removal of that sv niptoin ; 
so close a coiinexion w.is there Ix'tweeii the sin and 
the sickness. He that had power to remove thepu- 
nishmeat, no doulit, had power to remit sin. '1 he 
Scribes stood iniirh upon a lei;al righteousness, and 
placed their confidence in that, and made no f;reat 
matter if tlie furgivcrifsg of niiix, the doctrine ujjon 
which Christ hereby desijjncd to jiut honour, and to 
show that liis great errand to the world was, to save 
/lis /iro/itf frrjm t/irir sins. 

V. The imniediatc cure of the sick man. Christ 
turned from disjiuting with them, and sjiake healinj; 
to him. Tl\e most ncce.ssary arj^uinj^s must not di- 
\crt us fi-oni doin.; the good that our /land finds to 
do. He s.iith to r/ir sict of tlic palsy, .'/rise, tal:e ii/i 
t/iy bed, and ^o to t/iine /lou-ie ; and a healing, quick- 
ening, strengthening power accompanied this word; 
(v. 7.) /le arose and delmrted to /lis /louse. Now, 1. 
Christ bid him lak-e u/i /lis tied, to show that he was 
perfectly cured, and that not only he had no more 
occa.si<m to be carried upon his bed, but that he had 
strength to carry it. 2. He sent him to /lis /loiise, to 
be a blessing to his famil)-, where he had been so 
long a burden ; and did not take him along with him 
for a show, which those would do in such a case, 
who seek tlic honour tliat comes from men. 

VI. The impression which this made upon the 
multitude, (r. S. ) they inaii'elled und fflorlfied God. 
Note, All our wonder should help to enlarge our 
hearts in glorifying God, who alone docs marvellous 
things. They glorified God for what he had done 
for this poor man. Note, Others' mercies should be 
our pi-.iises, and we should give him thanks for them, 
for we are members one of another. Though few 
of this multitude were so convinced, as to be brought 
to believe in Christ, and to follow him, vet thev ad- 
mirc'.l him, not as Ciod, or the Son of Ciod, but as a 
7nan to wh mi God /lad gi-een suc/i fiower. Note, 
God must be glorified in all the power that \^ given 
to nvn to d 1 good. For all power is originally his ; 
it is in him, as the Fountain, in men, as the cisterns. 

9. And as.lcsus passod forth from tlipiice, 
ho saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at 
tlio rcrcipt of cnstoni : and he saith inito 
liim, Follow nio. And he arose, and fol- 
lowed him. 10. And it rame to pass, as 
Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, 
many pulilirans and sinners rame and sat 
down witli iiim and his disciples. 1 1. And 
when the Pharisees saw ;Y, tliey said unto 
his disciples, \Miy eateth your .N laster with 
publicans and sinners ! 12. But when .Te- 
stis, heard that, he said unto them. They 
that be whole need not a phj'sician, but 
they that are sick. 1.1. But go ye and 
learn what that meaneth, I will have mer- 
cy, and not sacrifice : for I am not come 
to call the righteous, but sinners to repent- 
ance. 

In these verses w-e have an account of the grace 
and favour of Christ to poor publicans, particularly 



to Matthew. What he did to the bodies of ])eoplo 
w as to make way for a kind design he had upon their 
souls. Now observe here, 

1. The call of Matthew, the ])enman of this gos- 
pel. Mark and Luke c;dl him Levi ; it was ordinary 
for the same ]iersons to have two names : ]ierha])S 
Matthew was the name he was most known by as a 
iniblican, and, tlierefore, in his liumility, he calkd 
himself by that name, rather than by the more ho 
niiurable name of Le\ i. Some think Christ gavi 
him the name of Matthew when he called him to 
be an ,\postle ; as Simon, he suniamcd Peter. Mat- 
thew signifies, t/ie gift of Cod. Ministers are ( lod's 
gifts to the church ; their niinisti) , and their ability 
/or it, are (lod's gifts to them. Now observe, 

1. The iiosture that Christ's call found Matthew 
in. He was sitting at ttie recei/it of custom, for he 
was a ])ublican, Luke 5. 2". He was a custom-house 
officer at the port of C.ajiernaum, or an exciseman, 
or collector ot the land-tax. Now, (1.) He was in 
his calling, as the rest of them whom Christ called, 
c/i. 4. IK. Note, ."Vs Satan chooses to come, with his 
temptations, to those that are idle, so Christ chooses 
to come, with his calls, to those that are employed. 
But, (2.) It was a calling of ill fame among serious 
peojile ; because it was attended with so much cor- 
ruption and tem])tation, and there were so few in 
that business that were honest men. Matthew him- 
self owns wliat he was before his conversion, as does 
St. Paul, (1 Tim. 1. 13.) that the grace of Christ in 
calling him might be the more magnified, and to 
show, that Ciod has his remnant among all sorts ot 
peo])le. None can justify themselves in their unbe- 
lief, bv their calling in the world ; for there is no 
.vm/;// calling, but some have been saved o!^; of it, 
and no laiiful calling, but some have been saved in 
it. 

2. The jjreventing power of this call. W'e find 
not that Alatthew looked after Christ, or had any in- 
clination to follow him, though some of his kindred 
were already disciples of Christ, but Christ jjrevent- 
ed him with the blessings of his goodness. He is found 
of those that seek him not. Christ s/iolre Jirst ; we 
have not chosen him, but he hath chosen us. He said, 
Follow me ; and the same divine, almighty power 
accompanied this word to convert Matthew, which 
attended that word, (i'. 6. ) y/rise and ifal/,-, to cure 
the man sick of the palsy. Note, A saving ch.inge 
is wrouglit in the soul by Christ as the ^ut/ior, and 
hi,s word as the means. His gospel is the power of 
God unto salvation, Rom. 1. Ifi. The call was cf- 
fectu.al, for he came at the call ; /le arose, and fol- 
lowed him immediately; neilher denied, nor deferred 
his obedience. The power of divine grace soon an- 
swers and overcomes all objections. Neither his 
commission for his place, nor his gains by it, could 
detain him, when Christ called him. He conferred 
not wit/i fies/i and blood. Gal. 1. 15, 16. He quitted 
his post, and his hopes of preferment in that way ; 
and though we find the disciples that were fishers 
occasionally fishing again afterwards, we never find 
Matthew at the receipt of custom again. 

n. Christ's converse with publicans and sinners 
ujion this occasion ; Christ called Matthew, to in- 
troduce himself into an acquaintance with the peo- 
ple of that profession. Jesns.sat at meat in l/ie /louse, 
V. 10. The other evangelists tell us, that Matthew 
made a. great feast, which the poor fishermen, when 
they were called, were not able to do. But when he 
comes to speak of this himself, he neither tells us 
that it was his own house, nor that it was a feast, but 
only that he sat at meat in t/ie /louse ; presen'ing the 
remembrance of Christ's favour to the publicans, 
rather than of the respect he had paid to Christ. 
Note, It well becomes us to speak sparingly of our 
own good deeds. 

Now observe, 1. WTien Matthew invited Christ, 



100 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



he invited his disciples to come along ivith /lim. 
Note, They that welcome Christ, must welcome all 
that are his, for his sake, and let them have a room 
in their hearts. 2. He invited many puljlicans and 
sinners to meet him. This was the chief thing Mat- 
thew aimed at in this treat, that he might have an op- 
portunity of bringing his old associates acquainted 
with Christ. He knew b)' experience, what tlieir 
temptations were, and pitied tliem ; knew by expe- 
rience what the grace of C'hrist could do, and would 
not despair concerning them. Note, They who are 
; effectually brought to Christ themselves, cannot but 
be desirous, that others also may be brought to him, 
and ambitious.of contributing something towards it. 
Tiiie grace will not contentedly eat its morsels alone, 
but will invite others. When by the conversion of 
Matthew the fraternity was broken, presently his 
house was filled with publicans, and surely some of 
them will follow him, as he folloived Christ. Thus 
did Andrew and Philip, John 1. 41, 45. — i. ^9. See 
Judges 14. 9. 

HI. The displeasure of the Pharisees at this, xk 
11. They cavilled at it; why eateth your Master 
with fiublicans and sinners ? Here observe, 1. That 
Christ was quarrelled with. It was not the least of 
his sufferings, that he endured the contradiction of 
sinne-rs a'^ainst himself. None was more quarrelled 
witli by men, than he that came to take up the great 
quarrel between God and man. Thus he denied 
himself the honour due to an incarnate Deity, which 
was to be justified in what he spake, and to have all 
he said readily subscribed to ; for though he never 
spoke or did any thing amiss, eveiT thing he said 
and did was found fault with. Thus he taught us to 
expect and prepare for reproach, and so bear it pa- 
tieiitly. 2. They that quarrelled with hini were the 
I'h.irisees ; a proud generation of men, conceited of 
themselves, and censorious of others ; of the same 
temper with those in the prophet's time, who said. 
Stand by thyself, come not near me ; J am holier than 
thou: they were veiy strict in avoiding s^uipr*, but 
not in avoiding sin ; none gi-eatcr zealots than they, 
for the form of godliness, nor greater enemies to 
the power of it They wei'e for keeping up the tra- 
ditions of the elders to a nicety, and so pi opagating 
the same spirit that they were themselves go\enied 
by. 3. They brought their cavil, not to Christ him- 
self ; they had not the courage to face him with it, 
but to his disciples. The disciples were in the same 
companv, but the quaiTel is with the master ; for 
they would not ha\e done it, if he had not ; and they 
thought it worse in him wlio was a prophet, than in 
them ; his dignity, they thought, should set him at a 
greater distance from such company than others. 
Being offended at the master, they quarrel with the 
disciples. Note, It concerns christians to be able to 
vindicate and justify Christ, and his doctrines and 
laws, and to be ready ahvays to give an answer to 
those that asl: them a reason of the ho/ie that is in 
them, 1 Pet. 3. 15. While he is an advocate for us 
in heaven, let us be advocates for him on earth, and 
make his reproach our own. 4. The complaint was 
•his eating with publicans and sinners : to be intimate 
with wicked people is against the law of God ; (Ps. 
119. 115. — 1. 1.) and perhaps by accusing Christ of 
this to his disciples, they hoped to tempt them from 
him, to put them out of conceit with him, and so to 
bring them over to themselves to be their disciples, 
who kept better company ; for they com/tassed sea 
and land to make firoselytes. To be intimate with 
publicans, was against the tradition of the elders, and, 
therefore, they looked upon it as a heinous thing. 
They were angry with Christ for this, (1.) Because 
they wished ill to him, and sought occasion to misre- 
present him. Note, It is an easy and very common 
thing to put the worst constructions upon the best 
words and act-ons. (2.) Because they wished no 



good to publicans and sinners, but envied Christ's 
favour to them, and were grie\ ed to see them brought 
to repentance. Note, It may justly be suspected, 
that they have not the grace of God themselves, who 
grudge others a share in that grace, who are not 
pleased with it. 

IV. The defence that Christ made for himself 
and his disciples, in justification ( f tlieir converse 
with publicans and sinners. The disciijles, it should 
seem, being yet weak, were to seek for an answerto 
the Pharisees' cavil, and, therefore, bring it to 
Christ, and he heard it. {v. 12.) or perhaps over- 
heard them whispering it to his disci])les. Let him 
alone to vindicate himself and to ple;'.d his own 
cause, to answer for himself and for us too. Two 
things he urges in his defence. 

1. I'he necessity and exigence of the case of the 
publicans, which called aloud for his help, and there- 
fore justified him in conversing with them for their 
good. It was the extreme necessity of poor, lost 
sinners, that brought Christ from the pure regions 
above, to these impure ones ; and the same was it, 
that brought him into this company which was 
thought impure. Now, 

(1.) He jn-oxes the necessity of the case of the 
publicans : they that be whole need 7iot a physician, 
put they that are sick. The publicans are sick, and 
they need one to help and heal them, which the 
Pharisees think they do not. Note, 

[1.] Sin is the sickness of the soul; sinners are 
spiritually sick. Original corruptii ns are the dis- 
eases of the soul, actual transgressions are its wounds, 
or the eruptions of the disease. It is deforming, 
weakening, disquieting, wasting, killing, but, blessed 
be God, not incurable. [2.] Jesus Christ is the great 
Physician of souls His curing of bodily diseases 
signified this, that he arose with healing binder his 
wings. He is a skilful, faithful, com])assionate Phy- 
sician, and it is his office and Ijusiness to heal the 
sick. Wise and good men should be as physicians 
to all about them ; Christ was so. Hunc affectum, 
versus onmes habet sa/uens, quern versus xgros stios 
medicus — A wise man cherishes towards all around 
him, the feelings of a physician for his patient. Se- 
neca de Const. [3.] Sin-sick souls have need of this 
Physician, for their disease is dangerous ; nature will 
not help itself ; no man can help us ; such need have 
we of Christ, that we are undone, etenially undone, 
without him. Sensible sinners see their need, and 
apply themselves to him accordingly. [4.] There 
are multitudes \iho fancy themselves to be sound 
and whole, who think they have no need of Christ, 
but that they can shift for themselves well enough 
without him, as Laodicea, Rev. 3. 17. Thus the 
Pharisees desired not the knowledge of Christ's 
word and ways, not because the\' had no need of 
him, but because they thought they had none. See 
John 9. 40, 41. 

(2.) He proves, that their necessity did sufficiently 
justify his conduct, in conversing familiarly with 
them, and that he ought not to he blamed for it ; for 
that necessity made it an act of charity, which ought 
alwavs to be preferred before the formalities of a 
religious profession, in which heveficenze and muni- 
ficence are far better than magni^cence, as much as 
substance is, than shows or shadows. Those duties, 
which are of moral and natural obligation, are to 
take place even of those di\ine laws, which are po- 
sitive and ritual, much more of those impositions of 
men, and traditions of the elders, which make God's 
law stricter than he has made it. This he proves, 
(t. 3. ) by a passage quoted out of Hos. 6. 6. / nvill 
have mercy and not sacrifice. That morose separa- 
tion from the society of publicans, which the Pha- 
risees enjoined, was less than sacrifice ; but Christ's 
conversing with them was more than an act of com- 
mon mercy, and therefore to be prefen'ed before it 



ST. MATTHEW , IX. 



101 



II to Jo well ourselves is better tli;m siiciifice, as 
Samvicl slunvs, (1 Sum. 15. 22, 23.) much m< ire to do 
• good to others. Christ's conversiui; with sinners is 
here Cidled mercv : to promote the conversion (if 
souls is the greatest act of mercv imaginable ; it is 
suviiis^a m id from drcil/i, Jam. 5. 20. Oljserve how 
Christ cjuotes this, do i/e uml learn '.i'/uil Ihi^t mrati- 
Ifl/i. Note, It is not enough to be acciuaintcd with 
ithe letter of scripture, l)ut we must learn to under- 
I stand the meaning of it. .\nd they hive best learned 
the meaning of the scrii)tures, that have learned how 
I to applv tliem as a reproof to their own faults, and 
a rule for their own practice. This scripture which 
Clirist qu.ited, served not only to vindicate him, 1)ut, 
[1.] 'I'o sliow wherein true religion consists ; not in 
external observances; not in mears and drinlrx nm] 
shows of sanctity ; not in little particular ojiinions and 
doubtful disputations, but in doing all tlie good we 
can to tlie bodies and souls of others; in rigliteousness 
and peace ; in vi.v/in^ Ihefatlicrlean and iridowfi. [2. ] 
To condemn the PharisaR-al liypocrisy of tliose who 
place religion in rituals, more than in morals, c/i. 23. 
23. They espouse those forms of godliness which 
may lie made consistent with,and perhaps subservient 
to, their pride, covctousness, ambition, and malice, 
while thev hate that power of it which is mortify- 
ing to those lusts. 

2. Ho urges the nature and end of his own com- 
mission. He must keep to his orders, and prosecute 
that for wliich he was appointed to be the great 
Teacher ; now, says he, "I am not come to cat! the 
righteous, but sinners to refientance, and therefore 
niust convci-se with publicans." Observe, (1.) What 
his errand was ; it was to call to re/tentance. This 
was his first text, {eh. 4. 17.) and it was the tenden- 
cy of all his sermons. Note, The gospel-call is a 
call to repentance ; a call to us to change our mind 
and to cliangeour wav. (2.) With whom his errand 
lav ; not witli the righteous, but with sinners. That 
is, [1.] If the children of men had not been sinners, 
there had been no occasion for Christ's coming 
\mong them. He is the Saviour, not of man as mo?;, 
but of man as fallen. Had the first Adam continued 
in his onginai riichteotisnesn, we had not needed a 
second .\dam. [2.] Therefore h\s greatest business 
Hes with tlie greatest sinners ; the more dangerous 
the sick m ui'scase is, tlie more occasion there is for 
the physician's help. Christ came into the world 
lo save sinners, hilt e&pec'mWy the chief ; (iTim. 1. 
15.) to call not those so much, who, though sinnei-s, 
are comparatively righteous, but the worst of sin- 
ners. [3.] The more sensible any sinners are of 
their sinfulness, the more welcome will Christ and 
his gospel be to them ; and every one chooses to go 
where his company is desired, not to those who 
would rather have his room. Christ came not with 
an expectation of succeeding among the righteous, 
those who conceit themselves so, and therefore will 
sooner be sick of their Sanour, than sick of their 
sin.s, but among the convinced, humble sinners; to 
them Christ will come, for to them he will be wel- 
come. 

H. Then rame to him the disciples of 
Jolin, sayiiiK, Why do we and tiie Phari- 
sees fast often, but thy disciples fast not ? 
15. And .Tosns said unto them. Can the 
children of the iMide-chaniber monrn, as 
long as f!ie hride2:room is witli them ? Btit 
the days w ill come, when the hride»room 
shall he taken from them, and then shall 
ihey fast. 16. Xo man piitteth a piece of 
new cloth imto an old garment : for that 
which is put in to fill it np, taketh from the 



ymiu'nl, and the rent is made worse. 17. 
.Siilhcr do men put new u iue into old hot- 
tics; else I he hollies hieak, and tiiewine 
nnmetli out, and the iiolllis perish: Init 
they put new wine into new bottles, and 
botli are preserved. 

The objections which were made agiiinst Christ 
and his disciples, ga\ e occasion to some of the most 
profitable ot his discourses ; thus are the interests 
of truth often served, e\ en by the opposition it uieets 
with from gainsa\crs, and thus the wisdom ot Christ 
brings good out of evil. This is the third instance 
of it in this chapter ; his discourse of his power to 
forgive sin, and his readiness to receive sinners, was 
occasioned by the cavils of Scrilies and Pharisees ; 
so here, froni a reflection upon the coiuluct of his 
family, arose a discourse concerning a tendemess 
for it.' Observe, 

I. The objection which the disciples of John made 
against Christ's disciples, for not fasting so often as 
they did; which they are charged with, as another 
instance of the looseness of their profession, besides 
that of eating with jniblicans and sinners ; ;uid it is 
therefore suggested to them, that they should 
change that ])rofession for another more strict It 
appears by the other evangelists, (Mark 2. 18. and 
Luke 5. '33.) that the disciples of the Pharisees 
joined with them, and we have reason to suspect 
that they instigated them, making use of John's dis- 
cijiles as their spokesmen, because they, being more 
in favour with Christ and his disci])lcs, could do it 
more plausibly. Note, It is no new thing for bad 
men to set good men together by the ears : if the 
people of Cod differ in their sentiments, designing 
men will take that occasion to sow discord, and to 
incense them one against another, and alienate them 
[ one from another, and so make an easy prey of them. 
! If the disciples of John and of Jesus clash, we have 
reason to suspect the Pharisees ha\e been at work 
underhand blowing the coals. Now the complaint 
is. Why do ire and the Pharisees fust often, hut thy 
disci/de's fast not ? It is pity the'duties of religion, 
which ought to be the confirmations of holy love, 
i should be made the occasion of strife and conten- 
I tion ; but they often are so, as here ; where we may 
I observe, 

I 1.. How they boasted of their own fasting. We 
and the Pharisees fast often. Fasting has in all ages 
of the church been consecrated, upon special occa- 
I sions, to the service of religion ; the Pharisees were 
' much in it ; many of them kept two fast-days in a 
week, and yet the generalit\' of them were hypo- 
crites and bad men. Note, "False and formal i)ro- 
fessors often excel others in outward acts of devo- 
tion, and even of mortification. The disciples of 
. John fasted ofteii, partly in compliance with their 
i master's practice, for he came 7ieither eating nor 
drinking; {ch. 11. 18.) and peo])le are ajit to 
imitate their leaders, though not ahvavs fnmi the 
same inward principle ; partly in compliance with 
their master's doctrine of repentance. Note, The 
severer part of religion is often most minded by 
those that are yet under the discipline of the spirit, 
as a s/iirit of bondage, whereas though these are 
good in their place, we must pass through them to 
that life of delight in God and dependence on him, 
to which these should lead. Now they come to 
Christ to tell him that they fasted often, at least they 
thought it often. Note, Most men irill proclaim 
erery one his own goodness, Prov. 20. 6. There is 
a proneness in professors to brag of their own per- 
formances in religion, especially if there be any thing 
extraordinary in them ; nay, and not onlv to boast 
of them before men, but to plead them before God, 
and confide in them as a righteousness. 



102 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



2. How they blamed Christ's disciples for not 
fasting so often as they did. Thy discijilcs fust not. 
They could not but know, that Christ liad insti-ucted 
his disciples to keep their fasts private, and to man- 
age themselves so as tliat they might not afifiear 
unto men to fast ; and, therefore, it was very un- 
charitable in them to conclude they did not fast, be- 
cause tliev did not proclaim their fasts. Note, W'c 
must not judge of people's religion, Ijy that which 
falls under the eye and observation of the world. 
But suppose it was so, that Christ's disciples did not 
fast so often or so long as- they did, why truly they 
"would therefore have it thought, that they had more 
religion in them than Christ's disciples had. Note, 
It is common for vain professors to make themselves 
a standard in religion, by whicli to try and measure 
persons and things, as if all who differed from them 
were so far in the wrong ; as if all that did less than 
they, did too little, and all that did more than they, 
did too much ; which is a plain evidence of their 
want of humility and charity. 

3. How they lirought .this complaint to Christ. 
Note, If Christ's disciples, either by omission orcom- 
mission, give offence, Christ himself will be sure to 
hear of it, and be reflected upon for it. O Jesus, are 
these t III) chriitiuns ? Therefore, as we tender the 
honour of Christ, we are concerned to conduct our- 
selves well. Observe, The quarrel with Christ was ( 
brought to the disciples, {v. 11.^ the quarrel with 
the disciples was brought to Chnst ; {v. 14.) this is 
the way of sowing discoi'd and killing love, to set 
people against ministers, ministers against people, 
and one friend against another. 

II. The apology which Christ made for his disci- 

?iles in this matter. Christ might have upbraided 
ohn's discijjles with the former part of their ques- 
tion, Jl'/iu do t/e fast often ? "Nay, you know best 
why vou do it ; but the tnith is, many abound in ex- 
ternal instances of devotion, that scarcely do them- 
selves know why and wlierefore." But he only vin- 
dicates the practice of his disciples ; when they had 
nothing to say for themselves, he had something 
ready to say for them. Note, As it is wisdom's 
honour to be justified of all her children, so it is her 
children's happiness to be all justified of wisdom. 
What we do according to the precept and pattern 
of Christ, he will be sure to bear us out in, and we 
may with confidence leave it to him to clear up our 
integritv. 
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. Herbert. 
Two things Christ pleads in defence of their not 
fastine. 

1. 'I hat it was not a season proper for that dutv : 
(t>. 15.) Can the children of the bride-chamber 
mourn, as lonff as the bridegroom is with them? 
Observe, Christ's answer is so framed, as that it 
might sutliciently justify the practice of his own dis- 
ciples, and vet not condemn the institution of John, 
or the practice of his disciples. \Vhen the Phari- 
sees fomented this dispute, they hoped Christ would 
cast blame, either on his own disciples, or on John's, 
but he did neither. Note, When at any time we 
are unjustly censured, our care nmst Ije onlv to 
clear ourselves, not to recriminate, or throw dirt 
upon others ; and such a variety may there be of 
circumstances, as may justify us in our practice, 
without condemning those that practise otherwise. 

Now his argument is taken from the common 
usage of joy and rejoicing during the continuance of 
marriage solemnities ; when all instances of melan- 
choly and sorrow are looked upon as improper and 
absurd, as it was at Samson's weddiner. Judges 14. 
1". Now, (1.) The disciples of Christ were the 
children of the bride-chamber, invited to the wed- 
ding-feast, and welcome there ; the disciples of the 
Pharisees were not so, but children of the bond-ivo- 
v'.an, (Gal. 4. 25, :31.) contmuing under a dispensa- 



tion of darkness and terror. Note, The faithful 
followers of Christ, who have the Spirit of adoption, 
have a continual feast, while they who have the 
spirit of bondage and fear, cannot rejoice for joy, a? 
other people, Hos. 9. 1. (2.) The disciples of Christ 
had the bridegroom with them, which the disciples 
of John had not ; their master was now cast mto 
prison, and lay there in continual danger of his life, 
and therefore it was seasonable for them to fast 
often. Such a day would come upon the disciples 
of Christ, when the bridegroom should be taken 
from them, when they should be deprived of his i 
bodily presence, and then should they fast. The 
thoughts of parting grie\ ed them when he was go- 
ing, John 16. 6. Tribulation and affliction befell 
them when he was gone, and gave them occasion of 
mourning and /iraying, that is, of religious fasting. 
Note, [1.] Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom of his 
Church, and his disciples are the children of the 
bride-chamber. Christ sjieaks of himself to John's 
disciples under this similitude, because that John 
had used it, when he called himself a friend of the 
bridegroom, John 3. 29. And if they would by this 
hint call to mind what their master then said, they 
would answer themselves. [2.] The condition of 
those who are the children of the bride-chamber is 
liable to many changes and alterations in this world ; 
they sing of mercy and judgment. [3.] It is merry 
or melancholy with the children of the bride-cham- 
ber, according as they ha\"e more or less of the 
bridegroom's presence. When he is with them, 
the candle of God shines upon their head, and all is 
well ; but when he is withdrawn, though but for a 
small moment, they are troubled, and walk heavily ; 
the presence and nearness of the sun makes day and 
summer, his absence and distance, night and winter. 
Christ is all in all to the church's joy. [4.] Every 
duty is to be done in its proper season. See Eccles. 
7. 14. Jam. 5. 13. There is a time to mourn and a 
time to laugh, to each of which we should accom- 
modate ourselves, and bring forth fniit in due sea- 
son. In fasts, regard is to be had to tlie methods of 
God's grace towards us ; when he moiirns to us, we 
must lament ; and also to the dispensations of his 
providence concerning us ; there are times when the 
Lord God calls to ni'eeping and mourning ; regard 
is likewise to he had to any special work before us, 
ch. 1". 21. Acts 13. 2. 

2. That they had not strength sufficient for that 
duty. This is set forth in two similitudes, one, ot 
])utting new cloth into an old garment, which does 
but pull the old to pieces ; (t. 16.) the other of put- 
ting new wine into old bottles, which does but burst 
the liottles, v. 17. Christ's disciples were not able 
to bear these severe exercises so well as those of 
John and of the Pharisees, which the learned Dr. 
W'hitby gives this reason for : There were among 
the Jews not only sects of the Pharisees and F.ssenes, 
who led an austere life, but also schools of the /iro- 
/ihets, who frequently li\ed in mountains and de- 
serts, and were many of them Nazarites; they had 
also jjrivate academies to train men up in a strict 
discipline ; and possiblv from these manv of John's 
disciples might come, and many of the Pharisees ; 
whereas Christ's disciples, being taken immediately 
from their callings, had not been used to such reli- 
gious austerities, and were unfit for them, and would 
bv them be rather unfitted for their other work. 
Note, (1.) Some duties of religion are harder and 
more difficult than others, like new cloth, and new 
wine, which requii-e most intcnseness of mind, and 
are most displeasing to flesh and blood ; such are 
religious fasting and the duties that attend it. (2., 
The best of Christ's disciples pass through a state 
of infancy ; all the trees :n Christ's garden are net 
of a grovvth, nor all his scholars in the same form ; 
there are babes in Christ and grown men. (3. ) In 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



10? 



the cnjoinint; ol religious exercises, the weakness and 

intini\iu nt' yiuiiin' cliri>.ti;ins mii;lit to be ciiiisidercd : 
as the foiid provided tor them must be such as is pro- 
per tor their ase, (1 Cor. j. 2. lieb. 5. 12.) so nuist 
the work be tliat is cut out tor tiieni. Christ would 
not speak to his discijiles tliat which tliey could not 
tlien bear, John l(i. 12. Vounj; beginners in relij;ion 
must not lie \)ut u])on the hardest duties at first, lest 
thev be discouraj;;ed. Such as w;i,s (iod's care ot 
his Israel, when he Ijrought tlieni out of K!;>pU ""t 
to lead lliem bv the way of the Pliilistines, (F.xod. 
13. 17, 1«. ) and such as was Jacob's care of his chil- 
dren and cattle, not to overdrive them ; ((Jen. 33. 
13.) such is Christ's care of the little ones of his 
famih', and the laml)s of his flock, he i^ently leads 
them : for want of this care, many times, the hrjtllcn 
break, and the rjiiwiss/ii/lrd ; the profession of main- 
miscarries and comes to nothinj;, through indiscre- 
tion at first. Note, There may Ijc OT'C/'-doini;; even 
in «r//-doini;, a being righteoun ovfr->iiiic/i ; and 
such an oi'cr-doingas may prove ;m »ridoini; through 
the subtility of Satim. 

10. W'liilc lie spake these tilings iiuto 
tluni, bcliold, there came a certain ruler 
and \viirshij)|)e(i him, sayine;, My daughter 
is even now dead : but come and lay thy 
hand upon lier, and she shall live. 19. And 
Jesiis arose and followed him, and so did 
his disciples. 20. (And, behold, a woman, 
which was diseased with an issue of blood 
twelve years, came behind him, and touch- 
ed the hem of his garment: 21. For she 
SJiid w itiiin herself, U I may but touch his 
garment, I shall be whole. 22. But Jesus 
turned him aiiout ; and when he saw her, 
he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; 
thy faith hath made thee whole. And the 
woman was made whole from that hour.) 
2.3. And when Jesus came into the ruler's 
, house, and saw the minstrels and the peo- 
ple making a noise. 24. He said unto 
them. Give place ; for the maid is not dead, 
but sleepeth. And they laughed him to 
scorn. 2.). But when the people were put 
forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, 
and the maid arose. 2G. And the fame 
hereof went abroad into all that land. 

We lia\e here two passages of story jjut together ; 
that of the raising of Jairus's daughter to lite, aiul 
that of the curing of the woman that had llif hhrjdy 
issiir, as he was going to Jainis's house, which is iii- 
ti'odnced in a ])arcnthesis, in the midst of the other; 
for Christ's miracles were thick sown, and inter- 
woven ; t/ie work of him that sent him was his daily 
work. He was called to do these good works from 
sjK' iking the things foregoing, in answer to the ca- 
vils of tlie Pharisees, v. 18. fVhile he sfiake these 
thiiifcs ; and we may suppose it a ])lcasing inter- 
ruption gi\en to that unpleasant work of disputa- 
tion, which, though sometimes needful, a good man 
will gladly lea\e, to go about a work of devotion or 
cliaritv. Here is, 

1. The niler's address to Christ, v. 18. yl certain 
ruler, a niler of the synagogue, came and tvorshi/i- 
fifd him. Hare any of the rulers belitTcd on him ? 
S'es, here was one, a church-ruler, whose faith con- 
demned the unbelief of the rest of the nilei-s. This 
mler had a little daughter, of twehc years old, just 
dead, and this breach made upon I's family com- 



forts was the occasion of his coming to Christ. Note, 
In troul)le we should visit (iod : the death of our 
relations sh( uld drive lis to Christ, who is <iur life ; 
it is well if any thing will do it. \\ hen affliction is 
in our families', we must not sit down astonished, 
l)ut, as Jol), _/<;// do'.i;i\ and ii'orshifi. Now ol)serve, 

1. His hiiniilitv in this address to Christ. He 
came with his errand to Christ himself, and did not 
send a servant. Note, It is no disparagement to the 
greatest rulers, jjcrsonally to attend on the Lord Je- 
sus. He ivorshi/i/ied hiin, l)(jwed the knee to liini, 
and gave him all imaginalile respect. Note, They 
that would receive mercy from Christ must give 
honour to Christ. 

2. His faith in this address ; " jl/i/ clani^hler is 
CTi?! now dead, and though anv other pliysician 
would now come too late, (nothing more absurd 
than /"■'"t "lortem medicina — medicine after death,) 
yet Christ comes not too late ; he is a ])hysician after 
death, for he is tlie resurrcctjon and the hfe ; O come 
then, and tail thij hand upon her, and she shall lire." 
'I'his was quite al)0\ e the power of nature, (o /irhu- 
tionead habitum Jion datur reg-ressiis — life once lost 
cannot be restored,) vet within the power of Clhrist, 
who has life in himself, and i/uickeneth wliom he will. 
Now Christ works in an ordinary way, by nature 
and not at(ainsl it, and, therefore, we cannot in faith 
bring hini such a request as this; while there is life 
there is hope, and room for prayer ; but when our 
friends are dead, the case is determined ; we shall 
go to them, but they shall not return to us. But 
while Christ was here upon earth working miracles, 
such a confidence as this was not only allowable but 
very commendable. 

II. The readiness of Christ to comply with his 
address, v. 19. Jesus immediately arose, left his 
c,omi)anv, and followed him; he was not onl> wil- 
ling to grant him what he desired, in raising his 
daughlei- to life, but to gratify him so far as to come 
to his house to do it. Surely he nti'er said to the 
seed of .Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. He denied to go 
along' with the nobleman, who said, .S/r, come down, 
ere mu child die, (John -I. 48, 49, 50.) yet he went 
along'with the ruler of the synagogue, who said, Sr^ 
come down, and my child shall Iti-e. The variety ^ 
of methods which Christ took in working his mira- 
cles, is perhaps to lie attributed to the difl'erent frame 
and temjjer of mind, which they were in who appli- 
ed to him, which he who searcheth the heart, per- ■ 
fectly knew, and accommodated himself to. He 
knows what is in man, and what course to take with 
him. And observe, when Jesus followed hitn, so did 
his disci/lies, whom he had chosen for his constant 
companions ; it was not for state, or that he might 
come with oljservation, that he took his attendants 
with him, but that they might be the witnesses of 
his miracles, who were hereafter to be the ])reach- 
ers of his doctrine. 

III. The healing of the poor woman's bloody issue. 
I call her a poor woman, not only because her case 
was piteous, but because, though she had something 
in the world, she had sfient it all upon physicians, 
for the cure of her distemper, and was ne\ er the 
better ; which was a double aggravation of the mi 
sery of her condition, that she had been full, but 
was now empty ; and that she had impoverished 
herself for the i-ccoveiT of her health, and yet had 
not her health neither. This woman was diseased 
with a constant i.wue of blood twelve years ; {v. 20.) 
a disease, which was not only weakening and wast- 
ing, and under which the body must needs languish ; 
but which also rendered her ceremonially unclean, 
■and shut her out from the courts of the Lord's house ; 
but it did not cut her off" from approaching to Christ. 
She applied herself to Christ, and received mercy 
from him, bv the way, as he followed the mler, 
whose daughter was dead, to whom it would be .-i 



104 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



ijreat encouragement, and a help to keep up his faith 
in tlie uower of v^'hrist. So giMcicusly does Christ 
conside.' the frame, and consult the case, of weak 
believers. Obser\ e, 

1. The woman's great faith in Christ, and in his 
power. Her disease was of such a nature, that her 
modesty would not suffer her to seek openly to Christ 
for a cure, as others did, but, by a ])eculiar impulse 
of the Spirit of faith, she belie\ed him to ha\'e such 
an ovcrrtowing fulness of healing virtue, that the 
very touch of/iisg-armerit would be her cure. This, 
perhaps, had something of fancy mixed with faith ; 
tor she had no precedent for this way of application 
to Christ, unless, as some think, she had an eye to 
the raisinjj of the dead man bj- the touch of Elisha's 
bones, 2 kings 13. 21. But what urahiess of un- 
derstanding there was in it, Christ was pleased to 
o\erlQok, and to accept the sincerity and strength of 
her faith ; for he ealeth the honey-comb with the 
honey, Cknl. 4. 11. Sl\c belie\cd she should be 
healed if she did but touch the verv hem of his gar- 
ment, the extremity of it. Note, There is virtue in 
every thing that belongs to Christ. The holy oil 
with which the high-priest was anointed, ran down 
to the skirts of his garments, Ps. 133. 2. Such a 
fulness of grace is there in Christ, that fr07)i it we 
may all receive, Jolin 1. 16. 

2. Christ's great favour to this woman. He did 
not suspend (as he might have done) his healing 
influences, l)ut suffered this bashful patient to steal a 
cure unknown to any one else, though she could not 
think to do it unknown to him. And now she was 
well content to be gone, for she !iad what she came 
for, but Christ was not willing to let her go ; he will 
not only ha\e his power magnified in her cure, but 
his grace magnified in her comfort and commenda- 
tion : the triumphs of her faith must be to her praise 
and honour. He turned about to see for her, {xk 22.) 
and soon discovered her. Note, It is great encou- 
ragement to humble Christians, that thev who hide 
themsehes from men, are known to Christ, who 
sees in secret their ap|)lications to heaven when 
most private. Now here, 

(1.) He /luts gladness into her heart, bvthat word 
Daughter, be of good comfort. She feared being 
chidileu for coming clandestineh', but she is encou- 
raged. [1.] He calls her f/a;<^j-/jri'7-, for he spoke to 
her with the tenderness of a fatlier, as he did to the 
man sici- of the /la/sy, (v. 2.) whom he called sc;«. 
Note, Christ has comforts rearlv for the daughters 
ofZion, that arc of a sori-owful si)irit, as Hannah 
was, 1 Sam. 1. 15. Believing women are Christ's 
f/a.'io-/;/;;-.9, and he will own them as such. [2.] He 
bids her be of good comfort : she has reason to be so, 
if Christ own her for a daughter. Note, the saints' 
consolation is founded in their ado])tion. His bidding 
her be comforted, brought comfort with it, as his 
saying be ye v.'liole, brought healtb with it. Note, 
It is the will of Clirist tliat his peo])le should he com- 
forted, and it is his prerogative to command comfort 
to troubled sj^irits. He creates the fruit of his lifts, 
peace, Isa. 57. 19. 

(2. ) He puts honour upon her faith. That grace 
of all others gives most honour to Christ, and there- 
fore he puts most honour upon it ; Thy faith has 
made thee mhole. Thus, bu faith she obtained a good 
re/tort. And as of all graces Christ puts the greatest 
honour u])on faith, so of all believers he puts the 
greatest honour upon those that are most humble ; 
as here on this woman, who had more f lith than she 
thought she had. She has reason to be of good com- 
fort, not onlv because she was made whole, !)ut be- 
cause hf^r faith had made her whole ; that is, [1.] She 
was spii'itually healed ; that cure was wrought in her 
which is the ])roi)er fruit and effect of faith, the par- 
don of sin and the work of grace. Note, We niav 
then be abundantly comforted in our temporal mer- 



cies when they are accompanied with those spiritual 
blessings that resemble them : our food and raiment 
will be comfortable, when by faith we are fed with 
the bread of life, and clothed with tJie righteousness of 
Jesus Christ : our rest and sleep will be condortablc, 
when, by faith, we rejjose in Gcd, and dwell at ease 
in him : our health and prosperity will be comforta- 
ble, when, bv faith, our souls prosper and are in 
health. See Isa. 38. 16, 17. [2.] Her bodily cure 
was the fi-uit of faith, of her faith, and that made it 
a happy, comfortable cure indeed. I'hcy out of 
whom the devils were cast, were helped by Christ's 
soverei^i power ; some by the faith of others ; (as v. 
2.) hat \t IS thy faith that has made thee whole. Note, 
Temporal mercies are then comforts indeed to us, \ 
when they are received by faith. If, when in pursuit 
of mercy, we pi-ay for it in faith, with an eye to the 
promise, and in dependence ujjon that, if we desired 
It for the sake of God's glory, and with a resignation 
to God's will, and have our hearts enlarged by it in 
faith, love, and obedience, we may then say, it was 
received by faith. — -^ 

IV. The posture in which he found the ruler's 
house, T'. 13. He saw the peo/ile and the minstrels, 
or musicians, making a noise. The house was in a 
hurry; such work does death make, when it ccmes 
into a family ; and, perhaps, the necessary cares 
that arise at such a time, when our dead is to be de- 
cently buried out of our sight, give some useful di- 
version to that grief which is apt to prev ail and plav 
the tvrant. I'lie people in the neighbourhood came 
together to condole on account of the loss, to comfort 
the parents, to prepare for, and attend on, the fune- 
ral, which the Jews were not wont to defer long. 
The musicians were among them, according to the 
custom of the Gentiles, with their doleful, melal^ 
choly tunes, to increase the grief, and stir up the 
lamentations of those that attended on this occasion ; 
as (they sav) is usual among the Irish, with their 
Ahone, Ahone. Thus they indulged a passion that 
is a])t enough of itself to grow mtemperate, and 
affected to sorrow as those that had no hojie. See 
how religion provides cordials, where iiTeligion ad- 
ministers corrosiv es. Heathenism aggravates that 
grief w hich Christianity studies to assuage. Or per- 
haps these musicians endeavoured on the other hand 
to divert the grief and exhilirate the family ; but as 
vinegar ufion nitre, so is he that sings songs to a heavy 
heart. Obsen-e, The parents, who were immedi- 
diately touched with the affliction, were silent, while 
the /leo/ile and minstrels, whose lamentations were 
forced, made such a noise. Note, The loudest grief 
is not always the greatest ; rivers are most noisy 
where they rtin shallow. Ille dolet vere, qui sine 
teste dolet — Tliat griifis most sincere, which shuns 
observation. But notice is taken of this to show that 
the girl was really dead, in the undoubted apprehen- 
sion of all about her. 

V. The rebuke that Christ gave to this huny and 
noise, •!'. 24. He said, fJn'c //tore. Note, Sometimes, 
when the sorrow of the world prevails, it is difficult 
for Christ and his comforts to enter. They that 
harden themselves in sorrow, and, like Rachel, re- 
fuse to be comforted, should think they hear Christ 
saving to their disquieting thoughts, Gix-e place: 
"Make room for him who is the ^'onsolation of Is- 
rael, and brings with him strong ctnsolations, strong 
enough to overcome the confusion and tyi-anny of 
these worldh' giiefs, if he may but be admitted into 
the soul." He gives a good reason why thc\' should 
not thus disquiet themselves and one another; The 
maid is not dead but slee/ieth. ]. This was eminently 
tnic of this maid, that was immediately to be raisetl 
to life ; she was reallv dead, but not so to Chris*:, who 
knew within himself what he would do, and could 
do, and who had determined to make her death but 
as a sleep. There is little more difference between 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



10.^ 



«leep and death, but in continuance ; whate\ er other 
djflcivncc there is, it is but a driani. This ileatli 
must be but <if short continuance, and thercl'iire is 
but a sleej), like one ui;;hl's rest. He tiiatiiuickens 
the dead, ni.iy well call tlie things wliich be not as 
thou-h they were, Koni. 4. 17. J. It is in a sense 
true of all that die, chiefly ot' them that die in llit- 
J.orJ. Note, (1.) Death' is a skej). All nations 
and languai/es, i. r the softening of tliat which is so 
drcidfal, and withal so iniavoidable, and the recon- 
ciling vif tlieniseh es to it, ha\ e agreed to call it so. 
It is said, even of the wicked kings, tint they si</it 
with t/uir Jlithcrs ; and of tliose that sliall arise to 
everlasting contempt, th.it l/icy sln/i in the diif!, 
Dan. 12. 2. It is not the slecj) of the soul ; its ac- 
tivity ceases n<it ; but tlie sleep if the bc:dy, which 
lies down in the grave, still and silent, regardless 
and disregarded, wrapt up in darkness aiul obscurit) . 
Sleep is a short death, and death a long sleep. But 
t/ie hath of the righteous is in a special manner to 
be looked upon as a slee]), Isa. 57. 2. They sleep in 
Jesus ; (1 'I hess. 4. 14.) they not only rest from the 
toils and Uiljours of the da\ , but rest in hojie of a joy- 
ful waking again in the morning of the resurrection, 
when they shall wake refreshed, wake to a new life, 
wake to be richiv dressed and crowned, and nvuke to 
slee/i m more. (2.) The consideiation of this should 
moderate our giief at the death of our dear relations : 
"say not, they ure lost ; no, they are but t'OJiC before: 
say not, tliej- are siai?i ; no, they are h\x\. fallen asleeft ; 
and the apostle speaks of it as an absurd thing to 
imagine tliat they that are fallen aslee/i in Christ are 
fierished ; (I Cor. 15. 19.) give /dace, therefore, to 
those comfoi-ts which the co\ enant of grace minis- 
ters, fetched from the future state, and the glory to 
^ repealed." 

Now could it be thought that such a comfortable 
word as this, from the mouth of our Lord Jesus, 
should be ridiculed as it was ? They laughed him 
to acorn. These people lived in Capernaum, knew 
Christ's charactei', that he never spake a i-ash or 
foolish word ; tliey knew how manv might)' woiks 
he had d me ; so that if they did not understand what 
he meant by t'.iis, they miijht at least ha\ e been si- 
lent in expectation ot' the issue. Note, I'he woi-ds 
and works of Chiist wliich cannot be understood, 
yet are not therefore to be despised. We must adore 
the mystery of divine sayings, even when they seem 
to contradict what we think ourselves most confident 
of. Yet e\ en this tended to the confirmation of the 
miracle : for it seems she was so apparently dead, 
that it was thought a very ridiculous thing to say ; 
otherwise. 

\'I. The raising of the damsel to life by the power ' 
of Christ, i'. 25. The /leo/ile luere /lut forth. Note,' 
Scorncrs that laugh at what they see and hear that 
is above their capacit)-, are not proper witnesses of 
the wonderful works'of Christ, the glorv of which 
lies not in i)omp, but in power. The widow's son at 
Naiii, and La/, irus, were raised from the dead open- 
ly, but this damsel privately ; for Capernaum, that 
had slighted the lesser miracles of restoring health, 
was unworthy 1 1 see the greater, of restoring life ; 
these /learln '.vere not to be cast before those that 
would tram/ile them under their feet. 

Christ went in and took- her by the hand, as it were 
'o awake her, and to help her up, prosecuting his 
•nvn met i])hor of her being iisleep. 1 he high-priest, 
I hat typified Christ, was not to come near the dead, 
I Lev.' 21. 10, ll.)hmC\\rht touched the deail. The 
Levitical pi'iesthoo<I lca\es the dead in their un- 
clcanness, and therefore keeps at a distance from 
them, because it cannot remedy them ; but Chiist, 
having power to raise the dead,' is above the infec- 
tion, and therefore is not shy of touching them. He 
look her by the hand, and the maid arose. So easily, 
so effectually was the miracle wrought; not by pray- , 

Vol.. V. — O 



er, as Klijah did, (1 Kings 17. 21.) and Elisna, (2 
Kings 4. oj.) but by a touch. 'I'hey did it as ser- 
vanib, he as a hon, as a (Ji.d, to ivhom belonir the 
i.ssuts from death. Note, Jesus Christ i.s the Lord 
oi souls, he connnands them forth, and roniinands 
them back, when and as he ])leases. iJiad stlUs 
are not r.i.sed to spiritual life, unless C hrist fukc i 
them by the hund : it is done in thet/ui/ of his]io'.Vir. • 
He helps us up, or we lie still. 

Vll. The general notice that was taken of this 
miracle, thi;Uj,h it w as wix)ught i)ri\ alelv ; v. 2f . the 
fume thereof ivent abroad into all that land: it was 
the common subject of disc(aii-se. Note, Chii.st's 
works are more talked of than considered and im- 
prtned. .\iid doubtless, they that heard only the 
report (if Christ's miracles, were accountable fi i 
that as w cU as they that w ere eye-witnesses (if them. 
Though we at this distance have not seen Christ's 
miracles, yet having an authentic history (,f them, 
we are bound, up( n the credit of that, to i ecei\ e his 
doctrine ; and blessed are they that have not seen, 
and yet have beliex'ed, John 20. 29. 

27. And whon .Tesus departed tlieiue, 
two blind men followed him, rryiiig, and 
saying, Tliou Son of Ua\id, liave meicy 
on us. 28. And when he was come into 
tiie house, the blind men came to him : 
and Jesus saith unto tlum, Belie\ i' ye tliat 
I am able to do this ] They said uhto liini, 
Vca, Lord. 29. Then touehed lie llieir 
eyes, saying. According to your lailli be it 
unto you. 30. And their eyes w eie oj-en- 
ed : and Jesus straitly charged them saying, 
See that no man know it. 31. l^tTt they, 
when they were departed, spread abioad 
his fame in all that country. 32. As they 
went out, behold, they brought to him a 
dumb man possessed with a de\il. 33. 
And when the devil was cast out, the 
dumb spake : and the multitude marvelled, 
saying. It was never so seen in Israel. 
34. But the Pharisees said. He casteth out 
devils through the prince of the devils. 

In these \ erses we have an account of two mere 
miracles wrought together by our Saviour. 

1. The giviiig of sight to two blind men, x\ 27 — 31. 
Christ is the Fountain of light as well as life ; and 
as, by raising the dead, he showed himself to be the 
same that at first breathed into ma/i the breath of 
life, so, by giving sight to the Ijlind, he show cd him- 
self to be the same that at first commanded the light 
to shine out of darkness. Obsene, 

1. The importunate address of the blind men to 
Christ. He was returning from the luler's house 
to his own lodgings, and these blind men fotl'.ni-id 
him, as beggars do, with their incessant cries, t. 17. 
He that cured diseases so easily, so efiectually, 
and, withal, at so chea]) a rate, shall ha\ e ])atieiits 
enough. As for other things, so Jje is famed for an 
Oculist. Obsene, 

(1.) The title which these blind men gave to 
Chiist ; Thou Son of David, have mercy on vs. 
The pi-omise made to David, that of his loins the 
Messiah should come, was well known, and the 
Messiah was therefore commonly called the Kon of 
David. At this time there was a tencral exjiectH- 
tion of his appearing ; these blind men know, an. I 
own, and proclaim it in the streets of Ca) ernanm, 
that he is come, and that this is he ; wh'ch aiitra- 
vates the folly and sin of the chief priests and Pha- 



106 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



risees who denied and opposed him. They could 
not see him and his mir;iclcs, but fait/i comes by 
hearing. Note, They wlio, by tlie providence of 
(jod, ure deprived of bodily siglit, may yet, by the 
(jrace of God, have the eyes of their imderstanding^ 
so en/ii(htened, as to discern those great things of 
Ciod, which are hid from the ivise and /irudent. 

(2.) Tlteir petition. Have mercy on us. It was 
foretold that tlie Son of Dai'id should be merciful, 
(Ps. 72. 12, 13.) and in liim shines the tender mercy 
of our God, Lulce 1. 78. Note, Wliatever our ne- 



cessities and Ijurdens are, we need no more tor sup' 
ply and support, than a share in the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus. \\'"hether he heal us or no, if he have 
mercy on us, we have enough ; as to the particular 
instances and nietliods of mercy, we may safely and 
wisely refer ourselves to the wisdom of Christ. 
Tliey did not each of them say for liimself, Have 
mercy on me, but both for one anotlier, Have mercy 
on u.i. Note, It becomes tliose that are imder the 
same affliction, to concur in the same prayers for 
relief. Fellow-sufferers should be joint-petitioners. 
In Christ tliere is enouglt for all. 

(3.) Their importunity in tliis request ; ^\\e\ fol- 
lowed him, crying. It seems, he did not take notice 
of them at first, for he would try tlieir faith, which 
he knew to be strong ; would quicken thpir pi-ayers, 
and make liis cures tlie more \alucd, when they did 
not alw.iys come at the first word ; ani'. would teach 
us to continue instant in firayer, always to /tray, and 
not to faint ; and, though the answer do not come 
presently, yet to wait for it, and to follow pro\ i- 
Sence, even in those steps and outgoings of it which 
seem to neglect or contradict our prayers. Christ 
would not ileal tliem puljlicly in the streets, for this 
was a cure he would have ke])t private, (t. 30.) but 
when lif came into the hoii.sc, tlio\' followed him 
tliitlier, and came to him. Note, Clirist's doors are 
alwavs o])en to believing and im]jortunate petition- 
ers ; it seemed nide in them to rush into the house 
after him, when lie desired to retire ; but, such is 
the tenderness of our Lord Jesus, tliat they were not 
more bold than welcome. 

2. The confession of faith, which Christ drew 
from them upon this occasion. \\'hen they came to 
him for mercy, lie asked them. Believe ye that I am 
able to do this ? Note, Faith is the great condition 
of Christ's favours. Thev who would recci\e the 
nifrcy of Christ, must firmly believe tlie power oi 
Christ. What we would ha\e him do for us, we 
must be fully assured that he is able to do. They 
followed Christ, and followed him crying, but the 
gi-eat question is. Do ye beliex-e ? Nature may woi-k 
fervency, but it is only grace that can work faith : 
spiritual blessings are obtained only by faith. They 
hid intimated tlieir faith in the office of Christ as 
Son of David, and in his mcrcv ; but Christ de- 
mands likev/ise a profession of faith in his power. 
Believe ue that lam able? Note, Christ will have 
the glnrv of his power ascribed to him, Ijy all those 
who h"pe to have the benefit of it. Beliei'e ye that 
I am able to do this ; to bestow this fa\'Our ; to give 
sight to the blind, as well as to cure the palsy and 
raise the dead .•' Note, It is good to be jiarticular 
in the exercise of faith, to apply the general as- 
surances of CrOcVs power and good will, and the 
general promises, to our particular exigences. .-?// 
shall work for good, and if all, then this. " Believe 
ye that I am able, not oulv to pre\ail with (iod for 
It, as a prophet, but that I am able to do it by my 
own power ?" This will amount to their belief of his 
being not onlv the Son of David, but the Son of God ; 
for it is God's prerogative to o/ien the eyes of the 
blind ; (Ps. 116. 8.) he makes the seeing eye, F.xod. 
4. 11. }ob was eyes to the blind ; (Job 29. 15.) was 
to them instead of eyes, but he could not give eyes 
to the blind. Still it is put to us, Believe toe that 



Christ is able to do for us, by the prwer of his mtrit 
and intercession in heaven, o! his Spirit and grace 
in the heart, and of his providence ;ind dominion in 
the world ? To believe the powi.r o'. Christ, is not 
only to assure ourselves of it, but to c jpirrn' aurs<^lves 
to it, and encourage ourseh e'- in it. 

To this question the)' gi\e an immediaie answtr, 
without hesitation : they said. Yea, J^ord. Though 
he had kept them in suspense a while, ar.d had not 
helped them at first, tliey honestly imputid that to 
his wisdom, not to his weakness, and weiv still con- 
fident of his ability. Note, The treasure j of mercy 
that are laid up in the jiower of Clirist, r.re laid out 
and wrought fjr those that trust in hiin, I's. 31. 19. 

3. The cure that Christ wrought on them ; he 
touched their 'yes, v. 29. This he did to encourage 
their faith, which, by liis delay, he had tried, and 
to show that he gi\es sight to blind .souls b)' the ope- 
rations of his grace accompanying the woi-d, anoint 
ing the eyes with eye-sah'e : and he ])ut the cure u])on 
their faith, According to your faith be it unto you. 
When they begged for a cure, he inquired into their 
faith, {v. 28.) Beliei'e ye that I am able? He did 
not inquire into their wealth, whether they were 
able to pay him for a cure ; nor into tlieir reputa- 
tion, should he get credit by curing them ; but into 
tlieir faith ; and now they had ]irofcssed tlieir faith 
he referred the matter to that ; " I know \ou do 
believe, and the power )ou believe in sliall be ex- 
erted for \ou ; jiccording to your faith be it unto 
you." This speaks, (1.') His knowledge of the sin- 
cerity of their faith, and his acce];tance and ap])ro- 
bation of it. Note, It is a great comfoit to tiiie be- 
lievers, that Jesus Christ knows tlieir faith, and is 
well pleased with it. Thcngh it be weak, thou A 
others do not discern it, thongli they themseh es are 
ready to question it, it is known to him. (2.) His 
insisting upon their faith as necessary ; " If you be- 
lieve, take what you come for." Note, They wTTo 
apply themselves to Jesus Christ, shall be dealt with 
according to their faith ; not according to their fan- 
cies, not according to theh' /irofe.'.sion, but, according 
to their faith ; that is, unbelievers cannot ex])ect to 
find any favour with God, but true belie\ers may 
be sure to find all that favour which is offered in the 
gospel ; and our comforts ebb or flow, according as 
our faith is stronger or weaker ; we are not strait- 
ened in Clirist, let us not then be straitened in our- 
selves. 

4. The charge he gave them to keep it private, 
(t. 30.) See that no man know it. He ga\e them 
I this charge, (1.) To set us an example of that hu- 
mility and lowliness of mind, which he would have 
us to learn of him. Note, In the good we do, we 
must not seek our own pi-aise, but only tlie glory of 
God : It must be more our care and endeavour to be 
useful, than to be known and obsened to be so, 
Prov. 20. 6. — 25. 27. Thus Christ seconded the 
nile he had gi\en, Let not thy left hand know what 
thif right hand doth. (2.) Some think that Christ, 
in keeping it prix'ate, showed his disjileasure against 
the ijeopie of Caijernaum, who liad seen so many 
miracles, and yet believed not. Note, The silencing 
of tliose who should proclaim the works of Christ, 
is a judgment to any place or people : and it is just 
with Christ, to deny the means of conviction to those 
that are obstinate in tlieir infidelity ; and to slirond 
the light from those' that shut their eyes against it. 
(3.) He did it in discretion for bis own presenation ; 
because the more he was proclaimed, tlie more 
jealous would the rulers of the Jews be rf his crow- 
ing interest among the people. (4.) Dr. Whitin' 
gives another reason, which is ven- crnsidcrable, 
why Christ sometimes concealed his miracles, and 
afterwards forbid the imblishiri; of h's tr:uispinu-a- 
tion ; because he would not in(l"K'e *hat )>i"'niri'^us 
conceit which obtained among llie Jew s, that tlieir 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



107 



Messiah shnuU'i be a temporal prinro, and so give 
occasicin to llie lK-oi)le to attempt tlie setting up ot" 
his kin;j,(loni, by tunuilts and seilitions, as they of- 
fered ti> do, John ti. 15. But wlien, after his resur- 
rection, (whidi was tlie full proof of his mission,) 
his spintual kini^doni was set u|), thvn tliat danger 
was o\er, and they nuist l<e i)ul>lished to all nations. 
And lie oliserves, tliat the miracles which Christ 
wrought among the (ientiles and the (ladarenes, 
were oidered to he puhlished, because with them 
tlierc was not that danger. 

But honour is like the shadow, which, as it flees 
fiiim those that follow it, so it follows those that flee 
from it; (t. 31.) Tlicy s/trcacl abroad A in fame. 
This was more an act of zeal, than of prudence ; 
and though it may be excused as honestly meant for 
the honour of Clii-ist, yet it cannot l)e justified, l)eing 
done against a particular cliarge. \\lienever we 
profess to direct our attention to the glory of (iod,' 
we must sec to it that the action be according to the 
will of ( Iod. j 

II. The healing of a dumb man, that was pos- 
senscd '.villi a drvil. .\nd liere observe, I 

1. His case, which was \ ery sad. He was under 
the power of the de\ il in this particular instance, 
that he was disabled from speaking, v. 32. ^-ce the 
calamitous state of _ this world, and how \arious the 
afflictions of the afHictcd are ! ANe have no sooner 
dismissed livu hlind mm, but we meet with a dumb 
man. How thankful should we be to (iod foi- our 
sight and sijeech ! See the malice of Satan against 
mankind, and how many ways he shows it I This, 
man's duml)ness was the effect of his being /(o.sw s.srrf 
•ivith a d'vil ; but it was bettr he should be unable 
to say an\- thing, than be forced to say, as those de- 
moniacs did, (ch. 8. 29.) Ji' hat have ive to da ii'itli 
thee? Of the two, bettera dumb devil than a blas- 
])heming one. When the de\ il gets possession of a 
soul, it is made silent as to any thing that is good ; 
dumb in ]iravers and praises, which the de\ il is a 
sworn enemv to. This poor creature they brought 
to Christ, who entertained not only those that came 
of themselves in their own faith, but those that were 
brought to him by their friends in the faith of other.s. 
Though theju.ll shall lii'e eternally by his faith, yet 
tempfind mercies may be bestowed on us with an 
eve to their faith who are intercessors on our behalf. 
Thev brought liim in just as the blind man -vent out. 
See how unwearied Christ was in doing good ; how 
closelv one good wor.k followed another ! Treasures 
of mercy, wondrous mercy, are hid in him ; which 
may be continually communicated, but can never 
be exhausted. 

2. His cure, which was very sudden, (t. 33.) 
]\'hen the dn'il tvas cast out, the dumb sjiake. Note, 
Christ's cures strike at the root, and remove the ef- 
fect by taking away the cause ; they open the lips, 
by breaking Satan's power in the soul. In sanctifi- 
cation he l\eals the waters by casting salt into the 
spring. When Christ, by his grace, ca.its the dn'il 
'jitt of a soul, ])resenth- the dumb s/ieaks. \\ hen 
Paul was converted, behold, he prays ; then the 
iiimh s/iake, 

3. The consequences of this cure. 

(1.) 'J'he multitudes marvelled ; and well they 
might ; though few beliei'ed, many ivondered. The 
admiration of the common people is sooner raised 
titan an\' other affection. It was foi-ctold, that the 
new song, the New-Testament song, should be simg 
lor marvellous ivorki, Ps. 98. 1. They said. It ivas 
lever so seen in Israel, and therefore ne\ei- so seen 
mv where ; for no peo))le experienced such wonders 
.if mercv as Israel did. There had been those in 
Israel that were famous for working miracles, but 
Christ excelled them all. The miracles Moses 
wroui^ht, had reference to Israel as a people, but 
IMtrist's were "^mught home to particular persons. 



(2.) The Pharisees blasphemed, v. "4. \\hen 
they could not gainsay the convincing evidence of 
these miracles, they faihercd them upon the de\il, 
as if they had been wrought by compact and collu- 
sion : he cusleth out dcvil.i (say they) by the /iriuce 
of the devils — a suggestion horrid beyond expres- 
sion ; we shall hear more of it afterwards, and 
Chiist's answer to it ; (cA. 12. 25.) only oliserve 
here, how tri/ men and seducers ira.v worse and 
worse, (2 Tim. 3. 13.) and it is both their sin and 
their punishment. '1 heir quarrels with Christ for 
taking upon him to forgive sm, {v. 3.) {or convrrsing 
with /luolicans and sinners, (x'. 11.) for not fasting, 
{v. 14.) though spiteful enough, yet had sonu- rol( ur 
of piety, purity, and devotion in them ; Init this 
(which they are left to, to jHinish them for those,) 
l)reathcs nothing hut malice and falsehood, and hell- 
isli enmity in the highest degree ; it is diabolism all 
over, and was therefore justly pronounced uniiar- 
donable. Because the people mar\ elled, they must 
say something to diminish tlic miracle, and this was 
all they could say. 

35. And Jesus went about all the cities 
and villages, teaching in their synagogues, 
and preaching the gospel of tlie kingdom 
and healing every sickness and every dis- 
ease among the people. .30. l^)Ut \\ hen lie 
saw the multitudes, he was mo\ed N\ith 
compassion on them, because they lainttxl, 
and were scattered abroad, as slieep hav- 
ing no shepherd. 37. Then saith he unto 
his disciples. The haiTCst truly is plenteous, 
but the labourers arc few : 38. Pray ve 
therefore the Lord of the harvest, that, lie 
will send forth labourers into the harvest. 

Here is, 

I. A conclusion of the foregoing account o'' Chn^t's 
preaching and miracles ; (7'. 35.) He went liout aL 
the cities leaching and healing. I'his is the same we 
had before, ch. 4. 23. There it ushers in the more 
particular record of Christ's preaching, {ch. 5. 6. 
and 7.) and of his cures, {ch. 8. and 9.) and here it 
is elegantly repeated in the close of these instances, 
as the (/uod erat demonstrandum — the fioint to be 
prox'ed ; as if the ev angelist should .say , " Now I 
hope I have made it out, by an induction of parti- 
culars, that Christ preached and healed ; for you 
have had the heads of his sermons, and some few 
instances of his cures, which were wrought to con- 
firm his doctrine ; and these were written that you 
might belin'e." Some think that this w'as a second 
perambulation in Galilee, like the former ; he visit- 
ed again those whom he had before preached to. 
Though the Pharisees cavilled at him and o])])osed 
him, he went on with his work ; he Jireached the 
gosfiel of the kingdom. He told them (jf a kingdom 
of grace and glory, now to be set up luiiler the go- 
vernment of a Mediator : this was gospel indeed, 
good neivs, glad tidings of great joy. 

Observe how Christ in his preaching had respect, 

1. To the private towns. He visited not only the 
great and wealthy cities, but the ])oor, obscure vil- 
lages ; there he preached, there he healtd. The 
souls of those that are meanest in the world are as 
precious to Christ, and should be to us, as the souls 
of those that make the greatest figure. Fich and 
/loor meet together in him, citizens and brors : his 
righteous acts toward the inhabitants cf h s village! 
must be rehearsed, Judg. 5. 1 1. 

2. To the p'liljlic worship. He taueh : in then 
sunagogues, (1.) Thr.t he mi^ht berr a testinu iiy t( 
solemn assemblies, even then when there were cor 



108 



ST. MATTHEW, IX. 



mptions in them. We must not fjraukc llit asaein- 
bting ofour^i'tvas together, us the inunner of some is. 
(2.) That lie aiiglit ha\e an opponuiiity of pi-e;iich- 
ing there, where people were gathered togetlier, 
with an expectation to hear. Thus, even where the 
gospel-church was founded, and christian meetings 
erected, the apostles often Jireached in the syna- 
gogues of the Jews. It is the wisdom of the prudent, 
to make the best of that which is. 

11. A preface, or introduction, to the account in 
the following chapter, of his sending forth his apos- 
tles. He took notice of the multitude; (ti. 36.) not 
only of the crowds tlvdi fol/oTved him, but of the vast 
numbers of people with whom (as he passed along) 
he observed the country to be replenished ; he no- 
ticed what nests of souls the towns and cities were, 
and how thick of inhabitants ; what abundance of 
people there were in every synagogue, and what 
places of concourse the openings of the gates were : 
so very populous was that nation now grown ; and it 
was the effect of God's blessing on Al)raham. See- 
ing this, 

1. He pitied them, and was concerned for them ; 
(v. 36.) He ivas moved ivith compassion on them ; 
not upon a temporal account, as he pitied the blind, 
and lame, and sick ; but upon a spiritual account ; 
he was concerjied to see them ignorant and careless, 
and ready to perish for lack of vision. Note, Jesus 
Christ is a \ery compassionate Friend to precious 
souls ; here his bowels do in a s])ecial manner yearn. 
It was pity to souls that brought him from heaven 
to earth, and there to the cross. Miserv is the ob- 
ject of merc>- ; and the miseries of sinful, self-de- 
stro\ing souls, are the greatest miseries : Christ pi- 
ties those most that pity themselves least ; so should 
we. The most christian compassion is compassion 
to souls; it is most Christ-like. 

Sec what nr)ved this pitv. (1.) They fainted ; 
they were destitute, vexed, wearied. Thi y strayed, 
so some ; were loosed one from another ; The staff of 
bands ivas Aro/cen, Xech. 11. 14. They wanted nelj) 
for their sml'^, and had none at hand that was good 
for any thin^. The Scribes and Pharisees filled 
them with vani notions, burdened them with the tra- 
ditions of the ctners, deluded t..cm into manv mis- 
takes, while they were not instructed in their duty, 
nor acquainted with the extent and spiritual nature 
">f the di\ine law ; therefore they fainted ; for what 
spiritual health, and life, and vigour can there be in 
those souls, that are fed with husks and ashes, in- 
stead of the bread of life ? Precious souls fuint when 
duty is to be done, temptations to be resisted, afflic- 
tions to be borne, being not nourished up with the 
word of truth. (2. ) They irere scattered abroad, as 
"heefi having no she/iherd. That expression is bor- 
rowed from 1 Kings 22. 17. and it sets forth the sad 
condition of those that are destitute of faithful guides 
to go before them in the things of God. No crea- 
ture is more apt to go astray than a sheep, and when 
gone astray, more helpless, shiftless, and exposed, 
or more unapt V^ find the wav home again : sinful 
souls are as lost shee/i ; they need the care of shep- 
herds to bring tlicm back. The teachers the Jews 
then had, pretended to be shepherds, yet Christ says 
they had no shepherds, for they were woi-se than 
none ; idol-shepherds that led them away, instead of 
leading them b ick, and fleeced the flock, instead of 
feeding it : such shepherds as were described, Jer. 
23. 1, &c. Ezek. 24. 3, &c. Note, The case of those 
people is verv pitiable, who either have no ministers 
.tt all, or those that are as bad as none ; that seek 
their own things, not the things of Christ and souls. 

2. He excited his disciples to prav for them. His 
pitv put him upon devising means for the good of 
these people. It appears, (Luke 6. 12, 13.) that upon 
this occasion, before he sent out his apostles, he did 
himself spend a great deal of time in prayer. Note, 



Thi.se v/e pity we should pray for. Having spoken 
to Gud f^r iheiii, he turns to his disciples, luid tells 
them, 

(1.) How the case stood; (v. 37.) Tlie han<est 
truly IS jileiiteous, but the labourers are few. People 
desired good preaching, but there were few good 
preachers, 'i here was a great deal of work to be 
done, and a great deal of good likely to be done, but 
there wanted hands to do it, [1.] It was an en- 
couragement, that the hai-vest was so plenteous. It 
was nut strange, that there were multitudes that 
needed instruction, but it was what does not often 
happen, that they who needed it, desired it, and 
were forward to receive it. They that were ill 
taught were desirous to be better taught; jjeople's 
expectations were raised, and there was such a mov- 
ing of affections as promised well. Note, It is a 
blessed thing, to see people in love with good preach- 
ing. The valleys are then covered over with com, 
and there are hopes it may be well gathered in. 
That is a gale of oppoitunity, that calls for a double 
care and diligence in the improvement of; a harvest- 
day should be a busy day. [2.] It was pit\' when 
it was so, that the labourers should be so few ; that 
the corn should shed and spoil, and rot upon the 
ground for want of reapers : loiterers many, but la- 
bourers vei-y few. Note, It is ill with the church, 
when ^ood work stands still, or goes slowl)' on, for 
want ot good workmen ; when it is so, the labourers 
that there are, have need to be ver)' busy. 

(2.) What was their duty in this case, {v. 38.) 
Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest. Note, 
The melancholy aspect of the times, and the deplo- 
rable state of precious souls, should much excite and 
quicken prayer. \\'hen things look discouraging, 
we should pray more, and then we should complain 
and fear less. ' And we should adapt our pray ers to 
the present exigences of the chui-ch ; such an under- 
standing we ought to have of the times, as to know, 
not only what Israel ought to do, but what Israel 
ought to pray for. Note, [1.] God is the Lord of 
the harx'est ; my Father is the husbandman, John 
15. 1. It is the vineyard of the Lord of hosts, Isa. 
5. 7. It is for him, and to him, and to his service 
and honour, that the harvest is gathered in. Ye are 
God's husbandry ; (1 Cor. 3. 9.) his threshing, arid 
the corn of his Jioor, Isa. 21. 10. He order:- very 
thing concerning the harx'est as he pleases ; vi hen 
and where the labourers shall woi'k, and how long; 
and it is very comfortable to those who wish well to 
the harvest-work, that God himself presides in it, 
who will be sure to order all for the best. [2.] Mi- 
nisters are, and should be, labourers in God's har- 
x'est ; the ministry is a work, and must be attended 
to accordingly ; his harx'est-worfc, which is needful 
work ; work that requires e\ erv thing to be done in 
its season, and diligence to do !t thoroughly ; but it 
is pleasant work ; they reap in joy, and the Joy of 
the preachers of the gospel is likened to the joy of 
harvest ; (Isa. 9. 2, 3.) and he that rea/ieth, nciri'eth 
xvages ; the hire of the labourers that reap down Cicd's 
field, shall not be ke/it back-, as theirs was. Jam. 5. 
4. [3.] It is God's work to send forth labourers; 
Christ makes ministers; (Eph. 4. 11.) the office is 
of his ap])ointing, the qualifications of his wirking, 
the call of his giving. They will not be owned nor 
paid as labourers, that run without their errand, un- 
qualified, uncalled. How shall they preach except 
they be sent? [4.] All that love Christ and sruls, 
should show it by their earnest prayers to God, es- 
peciallv when the harvest is plenteous, that he xi'oiild 
send forth more skilful, faithful, wise, and indus- 
trious labourers into his harx'est ; that he would raise 
up such as he will own in the conversion of sinners 
and the edification of saints ; would give them a spi- 
rit for the work, call them to it, and succeed them 
in it ; that he would gi\e them wisdom to win souls. 



ST. maithew, X. 



109 



tfial fie would t/iru.it forth labourers, so some ; iii- 
timatin,; unwilliiiKKt'ss in them to go forth, hecausc 
ot' llieii' own weakness and the people's baihicss, and 
opposition from men that endeavour to thrust them 
out of the liarx'i-sl ; but we shcmld pray that all con- 
tnidiction from within, and from without, nr.iy be 
concjuered and Rot over. Christ puts liis friend^ 
Ujjon pravini; this, just before lie sends apostles forth 
to labour'in the Imn'cut. Note, It is a good sign Ciod 
is al)ou. to bestow some sjiecial mercy ui5on a ])eoi)lc, 
when he stirs up those that ha\e an interest at the 
throne of grace, to pi-ay for it, Ps. 10. 17. Turther 
observe, that Christ said this to his discijtles, who 
were tn he employed as labourers. They m\ist jjray, 
First, Tliat ViciiXn-ould send them forth. Here urn 

I, send me, Isa. 6. 8. Note, Commissions, i;iven in 
answ er to prayer, are most likely to be successful ; 
Paul is a chosen vessel, for helwld he /irai/s, .Xcts 9. 

II, 15. Secondlv, That he would send others forth. 
Note, Not the people onlv, but those who are theTii- 
selvcs ministers, should pray for the increase of mi- 
nisters. Tlioui;li self-interest makes those that seek 
their own thin '^s desirous to be placed alone, (the 
fewer ministers the more preferments,) yet those 
that«cc<- the thint;s of Christ, desire more workmen, 
that more work mw be done, though they be eclips- 
■^d bv it. 

CHAP. X. 

This chapter is an ordination sprmnn, wltich our T.ord Jesus 
preached, when he advanced Ijis tuclve disciples to the 
decree and dii^nily nfapn.-tles. In tin- clo^e of l!;e forc^o- 
injf cha|)ler, he had stirred np them and others to prav that 
God would send forth lahourers, and here u-e have an im- 
mediate answqir to tliat praver ; uliile Ihey are yet speaking; 
he Iiears and pcrfiinns. What we pra\ for, according to 
Christ's direction, shall be eiven. Now here we have, I. 
Tlie general eominission that was piven liiein, v. 1. M. 
The names of the persons to wtiom ttiis commission was 
given, V. -2 . . 'I. III. The instructions that were iriventheni, 
whicll are very full and particular; I. Concernintr the ser- 
vices they were to do; their preaching; tlieir \vorkinp; mi- 
racles; to wlioin they must iipply tliemselvrs ; liow thev 
must behave themselves; and in what nicthoii tttcv must 
proceed, v. 5 . . 15. 2. Coneerninij the suflerinsjs thev were 
to undergo. They are told what they should sufl'er, and 
from u-hom ; counsels are <iiven them what course to take 
when persecuted, and encourairenients to bear up cheer- 
fully under their sntTerings, v. 16.. 4-2. Tliese thinjrs, 
thougli primarily intended for direction to the apostles, are 
of use to all Christ's ministers, with whom, hv his word, 
Christ is, and will be always In the end of the world. 

1. A ND when he had called xmio him 
-l\. his twelve disriplps, he 2;ave them 
power agriinst vinrlean sjiirits, to east tiieiii 
out, and to heal all manner of sickness and 
all maimer of disease. 2. Now the names 
of the twelve apostles are these : The first, 
Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew 
his hrother : James the son of Zehedee, and 
.Tohn his hrother ; .3. Philip, and Bartho- 
lomew ; Thomas, and .Matthew the puiili- 
can; .Tames l/ir son of Alphens; and Lel)- 
beiis, whose smname was Tiiaddens ; 4. 
Simon the C'anaanite, and Judas Iscariot, 
who also betrayed him. 

Here we are told, 

I. \\'ho they were that Christ ordained to be his 
apostles or ambassadors ; thev were his disci])les, v. 
1. He had called them some time before to be dis- 
ciples, his immediate followers and constant atten- 
dants, and he then told them that they should be 
made fishers of men, which promise he now per- 
formed. Note, Christ commonly confers honours 
aiid graces by degrees; the light of both, like that 



1 of the morning, shines more and more. All tliis 
while Christ had kejit these twelve, 1. In a st:itc of 
])rob:ition. Tlii>\ii;h he knows what is in m:ui, though 
he knew from the first what was in them, (Ji.hn 6. 
7(1.) yet he took this method to give ;in example to 
his church. Note, 'fhe ministry being a great trust, 
it is fit th;it men sliMild be tritd fi.r a time, before 
they ;ire intnisted with it. Let them _//;»/ he firov- 
j! ed, \ 'I'ini. 3. 10. Therefore h;inds must not be laid 
sr.ddeiily en any man, but let him first be observed 
I'S a c:uidid;ite atid ] robationer, a ])repnsant, (that is 
the term the French churches use,) because seme 
men's sins gri hefrj-e, ethers follow, 1 Tim. 5. C?. -. 
! In a state rf preparati<'n. .\11 this while he had 
j been fittinir them f>rthis great work. Note, Those 
j '.vhnm Christ intends f"r, ;unl calls to, any work, he 
f rst iM-e])ares and qualifies, in some mci;surc, for it. 
j He prepared them, (1.) Hy ta/chiff them to he ivith 
him. N'te, The best prei>arati\e f f r the work of 
the ministn', is "n ac(]uamtance an^l cc mmmiii'n with 
.Icsns Chris*. T!ie\' that would ser^'e Christ, must 
first he tvirh him, (.Irhn 1?. C6.) I'aul had Christ 
revelled, not i>nlv /'■ /)/"', Init in him, l>efore he went 
to preirh him an\rng the fientiles, (lal. 1. 16. Hy 
the livelv acts of fiiith, and the frequent exercise of 
l)raver and meditation, that fellowship with Christ 
must bo m\int;iined and kept up, which is a remii- 
site qtialification for the work of^the ministry. (2.) 
IW teachinq' thein ; thev were with him assch'lais 
or pooils, and he t;\u.<rht them piivately, besides the 
benefit thev (lerivcd from his public preaching : he 
opened the scriptures to them, and opened their un- 
derstandings to understand the scriptures : to them 
it was gi\en to Icnov.' tlie mysteries of the i:inffdom oj 
heaven, and to them they were made /i/nin. Note, 
Thev that design to be teachers mnst first hele;'.rn- 
crs; thev must receive, that they may pi\e; they 
must he'ahle to teach ethers, 2 Tim. ?. ?. C;o;-pel- 
truths must be first committed to them, before they 
be commissioned to be gospel-ministers. To give 
men authoritu to teach others, that have not an ahi- 
litii, is hut a mockerv to God and the church ; it is 
sendintc " message hii the hand of a fool, Prov. ?6. 6. 
Christ tautrht his disciples before he sent them forth, 
{ch. 5. 2.) and afterwards, when he enlarged their 
commission, l^e''ga\e them more ample institictions. 
Acts 1. ". 
II. ^^'hat the commission was that he ga\r them. 

1. He called them to him, v. 1. He had callerl 
them to come after him before, now he c.ills them 
to come to him, admits them to a gi-eater familiarity, 
and will not have them to keep at such a distance 
as they had hitherto obscri'ed. They tnat hnmhle 
themseh'es shall thns be exalted. The pnests tiinler 
the law were said to dra'.r near and afproarh unto 
Ood, nearer than the people ; the same may be said 
•^f o-ospel-ministers ; thev are called to draw near to 
Christ, which, as it is an honour, so shoidd strike 
an awe upon them, remembering that Christ wi'l 
be sanctified in those that come ni^h ur,to him. It 
is observable, that when the disciples were to be 
instructed, thev came unto him of their own accord, 
ch. .5. 1. But now thev were to be ordained, he 
called them. Note, It well becomes the disciples of 
Christ to be more forward t'o learn than to teach. 
In the sense of our own ignorance, we must seek op- 
portunities to be tanght ; and in the same sense we 
must wait for a call, a clear call, ere we take upon 
us to teach others ; for no man ought to tafre this ho 
nonr to himself 

2. He gave them fioiver, Vt«»-i'ai', authority in his 
name, to command men to obedience, and for the 
confirmation of that atithority, to command devils 
too into a subiection. Note, All rightfiil authority 
is derived from .Testis Christ. All power is given to 
him w-ithout limitation, and the subordinate powers 
that be, are ordained of h'.m. Tome of his honour 



110 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



lie jjvit on his ministers, as Moses put some of his on 
Johhua. Note, It is an undeniable proof of the ful- 
ness of power which Christ used as Mediator, that 
he could impart his power to those he employed, 
and en;il)le them to work the same miracles that he 
■wrought in his name. He gave them power oi'er 
unclean s/iirils and over all manner of sickness. 
Note, The design of the gospel was to co7ii/uer the 
devil and to cure the ivorld. These preachers were 
sent out destitute of all external advantages to re- 
commend them ; they had no wealth, nor learning, 
nor titles of honour, and thev made a very mean 
figure ; it was therefore requisite that they should 
h i\'e some extraordinary power to advance them 
above the ScribtA. 

(1.) He gave them power ag'ainst unclean s/iirits, 
to cast them out. Note, The power that is commit- 
ted to the ministers of Christ, is directly levelled 
against the devil and his kingdom. The devil, as 
an unclean s/iirit, is working both in doctrinal errors, 
(Rev. 16. 13.) and in practical debauchery ; (2 Pet. 
2. 10.) and in both these, ministers have a charge 
against him. Christ gave them power to cast him 
out of the bodies of people ; but that was to signify 
the destruction of his s/iiritual kingdom, and all the 
works of the devil ; for which puqiose the Son of 
God was manifested. 

(2.) He gave them power to heal all manner of 
sickness. He authorized them to work miracles for 
the confirmation of their doctrine, to prove that it 
■was of God ; and thev were to work useful miracles 
for the illustration of it, to prove that' it is not only 
faithful, but well ivorthy ofalj accefitation ; that the 
design of the gosjiel is to heal and save. Moses's 
miracles were many of them for destruction ; those 
Mahomet pretended to, were for ostentation ; but 
the miracles Christ wrought, and appointed his 
apostles to work, were all for edification, and e\ince 
him to be, not onlv the great 'I'eacher and Ruler, 
but the great Redeemer, of the world. Observe 
wh'At an emphasis is laid upon the extent of their 
power to all manner of sickness, and all manner of 
disease, without the exceiJtion c\en of those that are 
reckoned incurable, and the rcpi'oach of physicians. 
Note, In the grace of the gospel there is a salve for 
every sore, a remedy for every malady. There is 
no spiritual disease so malignant, so inveterate, but 
there is a sufficiency of power in Christ for the cure 
of it. Let none therefore sav there is no hope, or 
that the breach is wide as the sea that cannot be 
liealed. 

III. The number and names of those that were 
commissioned ; they are made apostles, that is, 
messengers. An angel, and an apostle, both signify 
the same thing — one smt on an errand, an ambassa- 
dor. .\11 faithful ministers are sent of Christ, but 
they that were first, and immediatelv, sent bv liim, 
are eminently called a/iosfles, the prime ministers of 
state in his kingdom. Yet this was bvit the infancy 
of their office ; it was when Christ ascended on high 
that he g-aT<e some afwstles, Eph. 4. 11. Christ him- 
self is called an Apostle, (Heb. 3. 1.) for he was 
sent by the father, and so sent them, John 20. 21. 
The iirophets were called God's messengers. 

1. Their mniiber was twelve, referring to the 
number of the tribes of Israel, and the sons of Jacob 
that were the patriarchs of those triljcs. The gos- 
pel church must be the Israel of CJod ; the Jews 
must be first invited into it ; the apostles must be 
spiritual fathers, to beget a seed to Christ. Israel 
after the flesh is to be rejected for their infidelity, 
these twelve, therefore, are appointed to be the 
fathers of anodier Israel. These twelve, by their 
doctrine, were to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, 
Luke 22. 30. These were the twelve stars that 
made up the church's crown ; (Rev. 12. 1.) the 
twelve foundations of the new Jerusalem, (Rev. 21. 



12, l-I.) typified by the twelve precious stones in 
Aaron's breast-plate, the tweh e loa\ es on the table 
of shew-bread, the twche wells of water at Elim. 
This was tha^ famous jur^' (:ind to make it a granc' 
jury, Paul was added to it) that was im])annelled to 
mqiiire Ijetween the King of kings, and the body of 
mankind ; and, in this chapter, they lia\ e their 
charge gi\en them, by him to whom all judgment 
was committed. 

2. Their names are here left upon record, and it 
is their honour ; yet in this they had more reason to 
rejoice, that their names were written, in heaven, 
(Luke 10. 20.) while the high and mighty names of 
the great ones of the earth are buried in the dust. 
Obsene, 

(1.) There are some of these twelve apostles, of 
whom we know no more, from the scripture, than 
their names ; as Bartholomew, and Simon the Ca- 
naanite ; and yet they were faithful servants to 
Christ and his church'. Note, All the good minis- 
ters of Christ are not alike famous, nor their actions 
alike celebrated. 

(2.) They are named by couples ; for at first they 
were sent forth two and two, because two are better 
than one ; they would be ser\'iceable to each other, 
and the more ser\ iceablc jointly to Christ and souls ; 
what one forgot the other would remember, and out 
of the mouth of two witnesses every word wotild be 
established. Three couple of them were brethren ; 
Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the other 
James and Lel)l5eus. Note, Friendship and fellow- 
ship ought to be kept up among relations, and to be ' 
made serviceable to religion. It is an excellent 
thing, when brethren by nature are brethren by 
grace, and those two bonds strengthen each other. 

(3.) Peter is named first, because he was first 
called ; or because he was the most forwaid man 
among them, and upon all occasions made himself 
the mouth of the rest, and because he was to be the 
apostle of the circumcision ; but that gave him no 
power over the rest of the apostles, nor is there the 
least mark of any supremacx' that was gixen to him, 
or ever claimed by him, in this sacred college. 

(4.) Matthew, the penman of this gosjjel, is here 
joined with Thomas, (■[■. 3.) but in two things there 
is a ■(•ariation from the accounts of Mark and Luke, 
Mark 3. 18. Luke 6. 15. There, Matthew is put 
first ; in that order it ajjpears he was ordained be- 
fore Thomas ; but here, in his own catalogue, Tho- 
mas is put first. Note, It well becomes the disci- 
ples of Christ, in honour to prefer one another. 
There, he is only called Matthew, here Matthew 
I the publican, the toll-gatherer or collector of the 
I customs, w-ho was called from that infamous ' ni- 
ployment to be an apostle. Note, it is good for those 
1 who are ad\ anced to honour -ivith Chi'ist, to look 

■ ttyito the rock whetice then were hewn ; often to re- 
member w hat they were before Christ called them, 
that thereby they may be kept humble, and divine 
grace may be the more glorified. Matthew the 
apostle was Matthew the publican. 

(5.) Simon is called the Canaanite, or rather the 
Canite, from Cana of Galilee, where probably he 
was born ; or Simon the Zealot, which some make 
to be the signification of KamHTuf. 
. (6.) Judas Iscariot is always named last, and ■with 
that black brand upon his name, nvho also betraitea 
him ; which intimates, that from the first, Christ 
knew ivhat a wretch he was, that he had a devil, 
and would pro\'e a traitor ; vet Christ took him 
among the apostles, that it might not be a sm-prisc 

■ and discouragement to his church, if, at any time, 
the vilest scandals should break rut in the best soci- 
eties. Such s])ots there have been in our feasts of 
charity ; tares among the wheat, wolves among the 
sheep ; btit there is a day of discoveiy and scpara- 

I tion coming, when hypocrites shall be unmasked 



ST. MATTI1EN\ , X. 



Itt 



and discarded Neither the ajiostlcshii), nor the 
rest of the ajiostles, were e\ei- the worse for Judas's 
beiiiu one ot the twelve, while his wickedness was 
concealed and did not break out. 

b. Those twelve Jesus sent forth, ami 
cominmuieil tlicm, sayinp:, Go not into tlie 
way of the (ieiitiles, and into ani/ city of 
the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. Hut j;(i 
rather to tlie lost sheep of tlie house of 
Israel. 7. And, as ye go, preach, saying. 
The kingdom of heaven is at liand. 8. 
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the 
dead, cast out devils : freely ye have re- 
ceived, freely give. d. Provide neitlier gold, 
nor silver, nor brass, in your piirses : 10. 
Nor scrip for i/ottr journey, neither two 
coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for 
the workman is worthy of his meat. 1 1 . 
And into wiiatsoever city or town ye shall 
enter, inquire who in it is worthy ; and 
there abide till ye go thence. 1'2. And 
when ye come into an hoii'ie, salute it. 13. 
And if the house be worthy, let your peace 
come upon it : but if it be not worthy, let 
your peace return to you. 14. And who- 
soever shall not receive you, nor hear your 
words, when ye depart out of that house, 
or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15. 
Verily I say unto you, ft shall be more 
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Go- 
morrah in the day of judgment, than for 
that city. 

We have herp the instructions that Christ gave 
to his disciples, wlici. h-- gave them their commis- 
sion. \\'hcther this charge was given them in a 
continued discourse, or the several articles of it 
hinted to them at several times, is not material : in 
this he commanded tlirm. Jacob's blessing his sons, 
. is called his cminiLinding them, and with these com- 
mands Christ commanded a blessing. Observe, 

I. The people to whom he sent them. These am- 
bassadors are directed wliat places to go to. 

1. Not to the Cientiles nor the Samaritans. They 
must not go into ih- wcu/ of the Gentiles, nor into any 
road out of the land of Israel, whatever temptations 
thev might have. The Gentiles must not have the 
gospel brought them, till the Jews have first refused 
it .\sto the Samaritans, who were the posterity of 
that mongrel people th:it the king of Assyria plant- 
ed about Samaria, their country lay between Judca 
and Galilee, so that they could not avoid going into 
the '.vay of the Samaritans, but they must not enter 
mto any of their cities. Christ had declined mani- 
festing ■himself to the (ientilcs or Samaritans, and 
therefore the apostles must not preach to them. If 
the gospel be hid fi-om, any place, Christ thereby 
hides himself from that place. The restraint was 
upon them only in their first mission, afterwards 
tliey were appointed to go into all the nuorld, and 
te.ach all nations. 

2. But to the lost sheefi of the house of Israel. To 
them Christ appropriated his own ministry, {ch. 15. 
24. ) for he was a Minister of the circumcision ; (Rom. 
15. 8.) and, therefore, to them the .apostles, who 
were but his attendants and agents, must be confin- 
ed. The first offer of s dvation must be made to the 
Jews, .\cts 3. 26. Note, Christ had a particular 
and very tender concern for the house of Israel ; 



they were behved for the fathers' sokes, Rom. 11. 
2H. He looked with C"m])assion upon them as lout 
sh-c/i, whom he, as a shel)herd, was to gather out 
of the b\-p:itlis of sin and error, into which they 
were Roiie ;istr.iv, and in w hich, if not brought back, 
thev w' Ti!d waii(ler endU-sslv : see Jer. 1. fi. The 
(ieiitiles :ilsi had been as liist shee]), 1 I'et. 2. 25. 
Christ gives this description of those to whom they 
were sent, to (lu'akcn them to diligence in their 
work ; lliey were sent to the house of Israel, (of 
which number they themselves lately were,) whom 
thev conltl not Imt jiity, and be desirous to help. 

II. The pleaching work whichhe ajipointed tiicm. 
He did not send them forth without an erraiul ; no, 
.is ye go, //reach, v. 7. They were to l)e itinerant 
preachers : wherever they come they must jjroclaim 
the heginning of the gospel, saving. The kingdom of 
heaven is ai hand. Not that they must say nothing 
else, but this mu-st be their text ; on this subject 
thev must enlarge : let people know that the king- 
dom of the Messiah, who is the Lord from heaven, 
is now to be set up according to the scriptures ; from 
whence it follows, that men must re/ient of their 
sins and forsake them, that they might be admitted 
to the jji-ivileges of that kingdom. It is said, (Mark 
6. 12.) thev went out and preached that men should 
re/i'-nt ; which was the proper use and application 
of this doctrine, concerning the approach of the 
kingdom of heaven. They must, therefore, expect 
to tiear more of this long looked for Messiah shortly, 
and must be readv to receive his doctrine, to believe 
in him, and to submit to his voke. The preaching 
of this was like the morning light, to give notice of 
the approach of the rising sun. How unlike was 
this to the preaching of Jonah, which proclaimed 
niin at hand ! Jonah .3. 4. This proclaims salvation 
at hand, nigh them that fear God ; mercy and truth 
meet together, (Ps. 85. 9, 10.) that is, the kingdom 
of heaven at hand : not so much the personal pre- 
sence of the king ; that must not be doated upon ; 
I/ut a spiritual kingdom which is to be set up, when 
his l)odily presence is removed, in the hearts of 
men. 

Now this was the s.ame that John the Baptist and 
Christ had preached before. Note, Pco])lc need to 
have good tniths pressed again and again upon them, 
and if thev be preached and heard with new attec- 
tions, they are as if they were fresh to us. Christ, 
in the pos'pel, is the same yesterday, to-day, and for 
ever, Heb. 13. 8. Aftenvards, indeed, when the 
Spirit was poured out, and the christian church was 
formed, this kingdom of heax'en came, which was 
now spoken of as at hand ; but the kingdom of hea- 
ven must still be the subject of our preachmg : now 
it is come, we must tell people it is come to them, 
and must lay before them the precepts and privi- 
leges of it ; and there is a kingdom of glory vet to 
come, which we must speak of as at hand, and 
quicken people to diligence from the consideration 
of that. 

III. The power he gave them to work miracles 
for the confirmation of their doctrine, f. S. A\'hen 
he sent them to preach the same doctrine that he 
had preached, he empowered them to confirm it, 
by the same divine seals, which could never be set 

I to a lie. This is not necessary now the kingdom of 
' God is come ; to call for mii-acles now, is to lav 
aarain the foundation when the building is reared. 
The point being settled, and the doctrine of Christ 
sufficientlv attested, by the miracles which Christ 
.and his apostles wrought, it is tempting God to ask 
for more signs. They are directed here, 

1. To use their power in doing good ; not, "Go 
and remove mountains," or "fetch fire from hea- 
ven." but heal the sick, cleanse the lefiers. They are 
sent abroad as public blessing's, to intimate to the 
I world, tliat love rod goodness were the spirit and 



112 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



genius of that gospel which they came to preach, 
and of that kingdom \vhicl\ they were employed to 
set up. By tliis it would appear, that they were the 
servants of that God who is good and does good, and 
whose mercy is ox<er all his works ; and that tlie in- 
tention of the doctrine they preached, was to heal 
sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin ; 
and therefore, pcrhajis, that of raising the dead is 
mentioned ; for though we read not ot their raising 
any to life Ijcfore tlie resurrection of Christ, yet they 
were instrumental to r:ltse many to s/iiritnal life. 

2. In doing' good freely ; freely ye have received, 
freely give. Those that had power to heal all dis- 
eases, had an opjjortunity to enrich themselves ; 
who would not purchase such easy, certain cures at 
any rate ? Therefore they are cautioned not to make 
a gain of the power they had to work miracles : 
they must cure gratis, further to exemplifv the na- 
ture and complexion of the gnspel-kingdom, which 
is made up, not onlv of grace, but of free grace. 
Gratia gratis data, (Rom. 3. 24.) freely by his grace. 
Buy medicines tuithout money and without /irice, 
Isa. 53. 1. And the reason is, because freely you 
have 7-eceived. Their power to heal the sick cost 
them nothing, and, therefore, they must not make 
any secular ad\antage to themselves of it. Simon 
Magiis would not have given money for the gifts of 
the Holy Ghost, if he fiad not hoped to get monev 
by them ; Acts 8. 18. Note, The consideration of 
Christ's frecness in doing good to us, should make 
us free in doing good to others. 

IV. The provision that must be made for them in 
this expedition ; it is a thing to be considered in 
sending an ambassador, who must bear the charge 
of the embassy. As to that, 

1. They must make no provision for it them- 
selves, T'. 9, 10. Provide neither gold nor silver. 
As, on the one hand, they shall not raise estates by 
their work, so, on the other hand, they shall not 
spend what little thev have of their own u]jon it. 
This was confined to the present mission, and Christ 
would teach them, (1.) 1 o act under the conduct of 
human jirudence. They were now to make but a 
short excursion, and were soon to return to their 
Master, and to their head-quarters again, and, 
therefore, why should they burden themselves with 
that which they would have no occasion for ? (2.) 
To act in d-fiendence upon Divine Providence. 
They must be taught to live, without taking thought 
for life, ch. 6. 25, &c. Note, They who go upon 
Christ's errand, have, of all people, most reason to 
tnist him for food convenient. Doubtless he will 
not be wanting to those that are working for him. 
Those wHom he employs, as thev are taken under 
special protection, so they are entitled to special 
provisions. Christ's hired servants shall have bread 
enough and to spare: while we abide faithful to (Jod 
and our duty, and are in care to do our work well, 
we may cast all our other care upon God ; Jehovah- 
jireh, let the Lord provide for us and ours as he 
thinks fit. 

2. The)' might expect that those to whom the\' 
were sent, would provide for them what was neces- 
sary, V. 10. The workman is worthy of his meat. 
They must not expect to be fed by miracles, as Eli- 
jah was : lint they might depend ' upon God to in- 
cline the hearts of those thev went among, to be 
kind to them, and provide for them. Though thev 
who sen-e at the altar may not expect to grow rich 
by the altar, vet they maV expect to live, and to 
live comfortably upon it, 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. It is fit 
they should have their maintenance from their 
work. Ministers are, and must be, workmen, la- 
bourers, and they that are so are worthy of their 
meat, so as not to be forced to anv other labour for 
the eaming of it. Christ would have disciples, as 
not to distmst their God, so net to distrust their 



countrymen, so far as to doubt of a comfortable suo- 
sistence among them. If you preach to them, and 
endeavour to do good among them, surely they will 
give you meat and di-ink enough for yoxir necessi- 
ties ; and if they do, never desire dainties ; God will 
pay you your wages hereafter, and it will be runninj; 
on in the mean time. 

V. I'he proceedings they were to observe in 
dealing with any place, v. 11 — 15. They went 
abroad they knew not whither, uninvited, unexpect- 
ed, knowing none, and knov, n of none ; the land of 
their nativity was to them a strange land ; what rule 
must they go l)y ; what course must they take.' 
Christ would not send them out without full instruc- 
tions, aral here they are. 

1. They are directed how to conduct themselves 
toward those ihsA were strangers to thetn : How to 

(I.) In strange towns and cities; when you come 
to a town, inrjuire who in it is worthy. [1.] It is sup- 
])osed that there were some such in ever}' place, as 
were better disposed than others to receive the gos- 
pel, and the preachers of it ; though it was a time 
of general cornjption and apostacy. Note, In the 
worst of times and places, we may charitably hope, 
that there are some who tlistinguish themseU es, and 
are better than their neighbours ; some who swim 
against the stream, and are as wheat among the 
chaff. I'here were saints in Nero's household. In- 
quire who is worth\', who there are that have some 
fear of God Ijefore their eyes, and have made a 
good improvement of the light and knowledge they 
ha\'e ; the best are far from meriting the favour of 
a gospel-offer ; but some would be more likely than 
others to give the apostles and their message a fa- 
vourable entertainment, and would not trample 
these pearls under their feet. Note, Previous dis- 
positions to tha.t which is good, are both directions 
and encouragements to ministers, in dealing with 
]-ieo]jle. There is most hope of the word being pro- 
fitable to those who are already so well inclined, as 
that it is acceptable to them ; and there is here and 
there one such. [2.] They must inquire out such ; 
not inquire for the best inns ; public houses were no 
projjer places for them that neither took mrncv with 
them, (v. 9.) nor expected to receive any ; (t. 8.) 
but they must look out for accommodations in pri- 
vate houses, with those that would entertain them . 
well, and expect no other recompense for it but a 
prophet's reward, an apostle's reward, their praying 
and preaching. Note, They that entertain the gos- 
pel, must neither gnidge the expense of it, norpro- 
mise themselves to get by it in this world. They 
must inquire, not who is rich, but who is worthy : 
not who is the best gentleman, but who is the best 
man. Note, Christ's disciples, wherever they come, 
should ask for the good people of the place, and be 
acquainted with them : when we took God for our 
God, we took his people for our people, and like will 
rejoice in its like. Paul in all his tra\ els found out the 
brethren, if there were any, .\cts 28. 14. It is im- 
plied, that if thev did inouire who was worthy, they 
might discover them. They that were better than 
their neighbours would be taken notice of, and any 
one could tell them, there. lives an honest, sober, 
good man ; for this is a character which, like the 
ointment of the right hand, betrays itself, and fills 
the house with its odours. F.\cry body knew where 
the seer's house was, 1 Sam. 9. 18. 3. In the house 
of those thev found worthy, they must pontinue ; 
which intimates that they were to make so short a 
stay at each town, that they needed not change their 
lodging, but whatever house proxidence brought 
them to at fir.st, there they must continue till they 
left that town. They are justly suspected, as liavine 
no good design, that are often changing their quar- 
ters. Note, It becomes the disciples (f Chnst tn 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



113 



make the best of tliat which is, to abide by it, and 
not be for shifting upon every dislike or inconve- 
nience. 

(2. ) In strange houses. When they had foiuid the 
house of one tlicy thought woitliy, they nnist at 
their entrance salute it. " In those conniion civili- | 
ties, Ije beforehand witli people, in token of your | 
humility. Think it not a disijaragenient, to invite 
voui-selves into a house, nor st;ui(l upon the /luuclilio 
of bein*; invited. Salute the fan\ilv,, [1.] To draw 
on furt^ier discourse, and so introduce )Oiu' mes- 
sage." (Krom matters of common conversation, 
wc may insensibly pass into that comnuuiication 
which IS good to the use of edifying.) [J.] "To 
tiT whether you are welcome or not ; you will take 
notice whether the sahitation be received with shy- 
ness and coldness, or with a readv return. He that 
will not receive your salutation kindly, will not re- 
ceive j-our message kindly ; for he that is unskilful 
and unfaithful in a little, will also be in much, Luke 
16. 10. [;■>.] To insinuate yourselves into their good 
opinion. Snluli- the family, that they may see that 
thoui;h you arc serious, you are not morose." Note, 
Kcli'.;ion teaches us to be courteous and civil, and 
obliging to all with whom we have to do. Though 
the apostles went out backed with the authority of 
the Son of (iod himself, yet their instructions were, 
when they came into a house, not to command it, 
but to nalule it ; for love's sake rather to beseech, is ' 
the evangelical way, Philemon 8. 9. Sotds are first 
drawn to Christ witli the cords of a man, and kept 
to him by the hands of love, Hos. 11. 4. When 
Peter made the first offer of the gospel to Cornelius 
a Gentile, Peter was first saluted ; see Acts 10. 25. 
• for the Gentiles courted that which the Jews were 
courted to. 

\Vhcn they had saluted the family after a godly 
sort, they must, by the return, judge concerning the 
family, and jirnceed accordingly. Note, The eye 
of God is upon us, to observe what entertainment 
we give to good people and good ministers ; if the 
house be worthy, let your peace come and rest u/ion 
it ; if not, let it return to you, v. 13. It seems then 
that after they had inquired for the most worthy, (t'. 
11.) it was possible they might light upon those that 
were imworthy. Note, Though it is wisdom to 
hearken to, yet it is folly to rely upon, common re- 
port and ojiinion ; wc ought to use a judgment of dis- 
cretion, and to see with our own eyes. The wisdom 
of the prudent is himself to understand his own way. 
Now this rule is intended, 

Fii-st, For satisfaction to the apostles. The com- 
mon salutation was, peace be unto you ; this, as thev 
used it, was turned into gospel ; it was the peace of 
God, the peace of the kingdom of heaven that they 
wished. Now lest they should make a scruple of 
pronouncing this blessing upon all promiscuously, 
Ijecause many w-ere utterly unworthy of it, this is to 
cle.ir them of that scru])le ; Christ tells them that 
this gosi)el-praver (for so it was now become) should 
be ])ut up for all, as the gospel-proffer was made to 
all mdcfinitely, and that they should leave it to God 
who knows the heart and every man's true charac- 
ter, to determine the issue of it. If the house be 
worthy, it will reap the benefit of your blessing ; if 
not, lliere is no harm done, you will not lose the be- 
nefit of it ; it shall return to you, as David's prayers 
for his ungratefid enemies did, Ps. 35. 13. Note, It 
becomes us to judge charitably of all, to pray hear- 
tily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to 
all, for that is our part, and then to leave it with 
God to determine what effect it shall have upon 
them, for that is his part. 

Secondly, For direction to them. " If, upon your 
salutation, it appear that they are indeed worthy, 
let them have more of your company, and so let 
your peace covte upon them; preach the gospel to 

Vol. v.— P 



them, peace by Jesus Christ ; but if otherwise, i; 
they cany it nidely to you, and shut their doors 
against you, lit your fuace, as much as in you lies, 
return to vou. Retract what you have said, and 
tuni your backs upon them ; by slighting this, they 
ha\ c niade themselves unworthy of the rest of your 
favours, and cut themselves short of them." Note, 
(Jrcat blessings are often lost by aneglect seemingly 
small and inconsiderable, when men arc in their 
probation and upon their behaviour. Thus Esau 
lost his l)irthright, (Gen. 25. 34.) and Saul his king- 
dom, 1 Sam. 13. 13, 14. 

2. Thev are here directed how to carry it toward 
those that were refusers of iheui. Tlie case is put, 
{v. 14.) of those XhM. would not receive thein, nor 
'lear their words. The ajjostles might think that 
now they had such a doctrine to [jreach, and such a 
power to work miracles for the confinnation of it, 
no doubt but they should be universally entertained 
and made welcome : they are, therefore, told be- 
foi-e, that there woidd be those that would slight 
them, and ])ut contempt on them and their message. 
Note, The best and most jjowerful preachers of the 
gospel must expect to meet with some, that will not 
so much as give them the hearing, nor show them 
any token of respect. Many tuni a deaf ear, even 
to the jouful sound, and will not hearken to the voice 
of the charmers, charm they nei'er so wisely. Ob- 
serve, " They will not recerve you, and they will not 
hear y.our words." Note, Contempt of the gospel, 
and contempt of gospel-ministers, commonly go 
together, and they will either of them be construed 
into a contempt of Christ, and will be reckoned for 
accordingly. 
Now in this case we have here, 
(1.) The directions given to the apostles what to 
do. They must depart out of that house or city. 
Note, The gospel will not tany long with those that 
put it away from them. At their departure they 
must shake' off the dust of their feet, [1.] In detes- 
tation of their wickedness ; it was so abominable, 
that it did even pollute the gi-ound they went upon, 
which must therefore be shaken o^as a filthy thing. 
The apostles must have no fellowship nor commu 
nion with them ; must not so much as caiTy away 
the dust of their city with them. The work of them 
that turn aside shall not cleave to me, Ps. 101. 3. 
The prophet was not to eat or drink in Bethel, 1 
Kings 13. 9. [2.] As a denunciation of wrath against 
them. It was to signify, that they were base and 
vile as dust, and that God would shake them off. The 
dust of the apostles' feet, which they left behind 
them, would witness against them, and be brought 
in as evidence, that the gospel had been preached 
.to them, Mark 6. 11. Compare Jam. 5. 3. See this 
practised, .\cts 13. 51. — 18. 6. Note, They who 
despite Clod and his gospel shall be liirhtly esteemed. 
(2.) The doom passed upon such wilful recusants, 
V. 15. It shall be ?nore tolerable, in the day oj Judg- 
ment, for the land of Sodom, as wicked a place as it 
was.. Note, [1.] There is a day of judgment com- 
ing, when ail those that refused the gospel will cer- 
tainly be called to account for it ; howeverthey now 
make a jest of it. They that would not hear the 
doctrine that would save them, shall be made to 
hear the sentence that will ruin theiri. Their judg- 
ment is respited till Mar rfav. [2.] There are dif- 
ferent degrees of pimishment in that day. All the 
pains of hell v/ill be intolerable, but some will be 
more so than others. Some sinners sink deeper into 
hell than others, and are beaten with more stripes. 
[3.] The condemnation of those that reject the gos- 
pel, will in that day be severer and heavier tnan 
that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom is said to 
suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude 7. But that 
vengeance will come with an aggravation upon thost. 
that despise the great salvation. Sodom and Go 



114 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



morrah were exceedingly wicked, (Gen. 13. 13.) 
and that which filled up the measure of their iniquity 
was, that they received not the angels that were sent 
to them, but abused them, (Gen. 19. 4, 5. ) and heark- 
ened not to their words, ver. 14. And yet it will be 
more tolerable for them, than for those who receive 
not Christ's ministers, and hearken not to their words. 
God's wrath against them will be more flaming, and 
their own reflections upon themselves more cutting. 
Son, remember, will sound most dreadfully in the 
ears of such as had a fair offer made them of eternal 
life, and chose death rather. The iniquity of Israel, 
when God sent them his servants the prophets, is 
represented, as upon that account, more heinous than 
the iniquity of Sodom, (Ezek. 16. 48, 49.) much 
more now he sent them his Son the great prophet. 

16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in 
the midst of wolves : be ye therefore wise 
as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17. 
But beware of men : for they will deliver 
you up to the councils, and they will 
scourge you in their synagogues ; 18. And 
ye shall be brought before governors and 
kings for my sake, for a testimony against 
them and the Gentiles. 1 9. But when they 
deliver you up, take no thought how or 
what ye shall speak ; for it shall be given 
you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 

20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spi- 
rit 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. 

22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my 
name's sake ; but he that endureth to the 
end shall be saved. 23. But when they 
persecute you in this city, flee ye into ano- 
ther : for verily I say unto you. Ye shall 
not have gone over the cities of Israel till 
the Son of man be come. 24. The disci- 
ple is not above his master, nor the servant 
above his Lord. 25. It is enough for the 
disciple that he be as his master, 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 house- 
hold ? 26. Fear them not therefore : for 
there is nothing covered, tliat shall not be 
revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 
27. What I tell you in darkness, ;/;a< speak 
ye in light : and what ye hear in the ear, 
that preach ye upon the house-tops. 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. 29. Are not two sparrows 
sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall 
not fall on the ground without your Father. 
30. But the very hairs of your head are all 
numbered. 31. Fear ye not therefore; ye 
are of more value than many sparrows, 
32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me 



before men, him will I confess also before 
my Father which is in heaven. 33 But 
whosoever shall deny me before men, him 
will I also deny before my Father which 
is in heaven. 34. Think not that I am 
come to send peace on earth : I came not 
to send peace, but a sword. 35. For I am 
come to set a man at variance against his 
father, and the daughter against her mo- 
ther, and the daughter-in-law against her 
mother-in-law. 36. And a man's foes shall 
be they of his own household. 37. He that 
loveth father or mother more than me is 
not worthy of me ; and he that loveth son 
or daughter more than me is not worthy of 
me. 38. And lie that taketh not his cross, 
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 
39. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and 
he that loseth his life for my sake shall find 
it. 40. He that receiveth you, receiveth 
me', and he that receiveth me, receiveth 
him that sent me. 41. He that receiveth 
a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall 
receive a prophet's reward ; and he that 
receiveth a righteous man, in the name of 
a righteous man, shall receive a righteous 
man's reward. 42. And whosoever shall 
give to drink unto one of these little ones 
a cup of cold water only in the name of a 
disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in 
no wise lose his reward. 

All these verses relate to the sufferings of Christ'^ 
ministers in their work, which they are here taught 
to expect, and ])repare for ; they are directed also 
how to bear them, and how to go on with their work 
in the midst of them. This pai-t of the sermon looks 
further than to their present mission : for we find 
not that they met with any great hardships or per- 
secutions while Christ was with them, nor were they 
well able to bear them ; but they arc here fore- 
warned of the troubles they should meet witli, when, 
after Christ's resun-ection, their commission should 
be enlarged, and the kingdom of heaven, which was 
now at hand, should be actually set up ; they dream- 
ed of nothing then, but outward pomp and power ; 
but Christ tells them, they must expect greater suf- 
ferings than they were yet called to ; that they should 
then be made prisoners, when they expected to be 
made princes. It is good to be told what troubles 
we may hereafter meet with, that we may provide 
accordingly, and may not boast, as if we had put off 
the harness, when we are yet but gii'ding it on. 

We have here intermixed, I. Predictions of trou- 
ble : and, II. Prescriptions of counsel and comfort, 
with reference to it. 

I. We have here predictions of trouble, which 
the disciples should meet with in their work ; Christ 
foresaw their sufferings as well as his own, and yet 
will have them go on, as he went on himself ; and 
he foretold them, not only that the troubles might 
not be a surprise to them, and so a shock to their 
faith, but that, being the accomplishment of a pre- 
diction, they might be a confirmation to their faith. 

He tells them what they should suffer, and from 
whom. 

1. IVhat they should suffer: hard things to be 
sure ; for, Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the 
midst of ivolves, v. 16. And what may a flock ot 



ST, MATTHEW, X. 



115 



poor, liclplcss, ung\iai'(lc(l ihccp expect, in the midst 
of a lienf of ni\ emnis wolves, Ijiit to Ijc worried and 
toni. Note, Wicked men are like wohes, in wliose 
nature it is to devour and destroy. God's jjeoplc, 
and especially liis ministers, are like sheep amonc 
them, of a contrary nature and disposition, exposed 
to them, and conunonlv an easy prey to them. It 
looked unkind in Christ to exixise them to so nuicli 
danger, wlio liad left all to follow l\im ; but he knew 
that the ijlory reserved for his sheej), when in the 
great day they .shall he set on his rii^ht hand, woiild 
be a recompense sufficient for sufferini^s as well as 
services. 1 hc)' are as nhfc/i anions^ wcjliu's ,- that is 
frightful ; but Christ sends them forth, that is com- 
fortable ; for he that sends them forth, will protect 
them, and bear tlicm out. But that tliey mii^ht know 
the worst, he tells them particularly what they must 
expect. 

^1.) They must expect to be hated, v. 22. Ye 
shall 6e hated f(jr ini/ !w?iie's sake : that is the root 
of all the rest, and a bitter root it is. Note, Those 
whom C'lirist loves, the world hates ; as whom 
the coiu't blesses the country curses. If the world 
hated Christ without aiuxr, (John 15. 25.) no mar- 
vel if it hated those that boi-e his imac;e and sened 
his interests. W'c hate what is nauseous, and they 
are counted a.<i the offscouring of all things, 1 Cor. 
4. l.". We hate what is noxious, and they are 
counted the troithlers of the land, (1 Kings 18. 17.) 
and the tormentors of tlieir neighbours, Rev. 11. 10. 
It is grievous to be hated, and to be the object of so 
much ill-will, but it is for thy name's sake ; which, 
as it speaks tlie true reason of the hatred, whatever 
is pretended, so it speaks comfort to them who are 
thus hated ; it is for a good cause, and they have a 
good friend that shares with them in it, and takes it 
to himself 

(2.) The)- must expect to be apprehended and 
arraigned as malefactors. Their restless malice is 
resistless malice, and thev will not only attempt, 
but will ]5re\'ail, to deliver you u/i to the councils, 
(v. 17, 18.) to the bench of aldermen or justices, 
that take care of the public peace. Note, A deal 
of mischief is often done to good men, under colour 
of law and justice. In the place of judgment there 
IS wickedness, pcreecuting wickeclnv.-ss, Eccl. 3. 16. 
They must look for trouble, not onlv from inferior 
magistrates in the councils, but from governors and 
kings, the sujjreme magistrates. To be brought : 
before them, under such black representations as i 
were commonly made of Christ's disciples, was 
dreadful and dangerous ; for the wrath of a king is 
as the roaring of a lion. ^Ve find tliis often fulfilled 
in the acts of the a/iostles. 

(.">.) They must expect to be put to death ; (_v. 
21.) Theu shall delreer them to death, to death in 
state, with |)omp and solemnity, when it shows itself 
most as the king of terrors. The malice of the ene- 
mies rages so high as to inflict this ; it is the blood 
of the saints that they thirst after : the faith and 
patience of the saints stand so firm as to expect this ; 
^''either count I my life dear to myself: the wisdom 
of Christ permits it, knowing how" to make the blood 
of the martyrs the seal of the truth, and the seed of 
the church. By this noble army's not lox'ing their 
lii'es to the death, Satan has been \anqviished, and 
the kingdom of Christ and its interests gi-eatlv ad- 
vanced, Rev. 11. 11. They were put to death as 
criminals, so the enemies 'meant it, but really as 
pcrifices, (Phil. 2. 17. 2 Tim. 4. 6.) as bunit-o'ffcr- 
ings, sacrifices of ackjiowledgment to the honour of 
God, and in his truth and cause. 

(4.) They must expect, in the midst of these suf- 
ferings, to be bi-anded with the most odious and 
ignominious names and character that could be. 
Pei-secutors would be ashamed in this world, if they 
did not fii-st dress up those in bear-skins whom they 



thus bait, and represent them in such colours as may 
ser\ e to justify such cnieltics. 'l"he \)lackest of aU 
the ill cliaractera they gi\ e them is here stated ; 
they call them Beelzebub, the name of the prince 
of the devils, v. 25. 'I"hey represent them as ring- 
leaders of the interest of the kingdom of darkness, 
and since every one thinks he hates the devil, thus 
they endeavour to make them odious to all mankind. 
See, and be amazed to see, how this world is im- 
posed >i])on : p.] Satan's sworn enemies are reiire- 
sented as his friends : the ajjostles, who pulled down 
tlie de\ il's kingdom, were called devils. Thus ?ne7i 
laid to their charge, not onh' things which they knenu 
not, Init things which they al)hoiTed, and were di- 
rectly contrar)- to, and the reverse of [2.] Siitan's 
swoi-n servants woidd be tliought to lie his enemies, 
and they never more effectually do his work, than 
when they pretend to be fighting against him. Many 
times they who themselves arc nearest akin to the 
devil, are most ajjt to father others upon him ; and 
those that paint him on others' clothes, have him 
reigning in their own hearts. It is well tliere is a 
day coming, when (as it follows here, v. 26.) that 
which is hid will be brought to light. 

(5. ) These suflferings are here represented by a 
sword and division, x\ 34, 35. Think not that I 
am come to send jieace, temporal peace and out- 
ward prosjieritv ; they thought Christ came to give 
all his followers wealth and power in the world ; 
"no," says Christ, "I did not come with a view 
to give them fieace ; peace in heaven they may 
be sure of, but not peace on earth." Christ came 
to give us Jieace with God, peace in our con- 
sciences, peace with our brethren, but in the world 
ye shall hove tribulation. Note, They mistake the 
design of the gospel, who think their' profession of 
it will secure them from, for it will certainly expose 
them to, trouble in this world. If all the workl 
would receive Christ, th'ere would then follow a 
universal peace, but while there are and will be so 
many that reject him, (and those not onh' the chil- 
dren of this world, but the seed of the serpent,) the 
children of God, that are called out of the world, 
must expect to feel the fraits of their enmity. 

[1.] Look not for peace, but a sword. Christ 
came to give the .sword of the word, with which his 
disciples fight against the world, and conquering 
work this -.vord has made, (Rev. 6. 4. — 19. 21.) 
and the sword of persecution, with which the world 
fights against the disciples, being cut to the heart 
with the sword of the word, (Acts 7. 54.) and tor- 
mented liy the testimony of Christ's witnesses, (Rev. 
11. 10.) and rr!;f/ work this sword made. Christ 
sent that gos])el, which gives occasion for the draw- 
ing of this sword, and so may be said to send this 
swoixl ; he orders his church into a suffering state 
for the trial and praise of his people's graces, and 
the filling ufi of the measure of their enemies' sins. 

[2.] Look not for /;rarf, but division, {v. 35.) / 
am come to set men at variance. This effect of^ the 
preaching of the gospel, is not the fault of the gos- 
pel, but of those who do not receive it. ^^"hen 
some believe the things that are spoken, and others 
believe them not, the faitli of those that belie\e con- 
demns those that believe not, and, therefore, thev 
have an enmity against them that believe. Note, 
The most violent and implacable feuds have ever 
been those that have arisen from difference in reli- 
gion ; no enmity like that of the ])ersecutors, no re- 
solution like that of the persecuted. Thus Christ 
tells his disciples what they should suffer, and these 
were hard sayings ; if they could bear these, they 
could bear any thing. Note, Christ has dealt fairly 
and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can 
meet with in his service ; and he would have us 
deal so witli oureelves, in sitting down and counting 
the cost. 



116 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



2. They are here told from whom, and by whom, 
they should suffer these hard things. Surely hell 
itself must be let loose, and devils, those desperate 
and despairing spirits, that have no part nor lot in 
the great salvation, must become incarnate, ere such 
spiteful enemies could be found to a doctrine, the 
substance of which was good rjill totvard men, and 
the reconciling of the nvorld to God ; no, would you 
think it ? All this mischief arises to the preachers 
of the gospel, from those to whom they came to 
preach salvation. Thus the blood-thirsty hate the 
ufiright, but the just seek his soul, (ProV. 29. 10.) 
and therefore heaven is so much opposed on earth, 
because earth is so much under the power of hell, 
Eph. 2. 2. 
These hard things Christ's disciples must suffer, 
(1.) From men, {v. 17.) " Betvare of men ; you 
will have need to stand upon your g-uard, even agamst 
those wlio are of the same nature with you" — such 
is the depravity and degeneracy of that nature, 
(homo homini lu/ius — man is a ivolfto man, J crafty 
and politic as men, but cruel and barbarous as beasts, 
and wholly di\ ested of the thing called humanity. 
Note, Persecuting I'age and enmity turn men into 
brutes, into devils ; Paul at Ephesus fought with 
beasts in the shape of men, 1 Cor. 15. 32. It is a 
sad pass tliat tlie world is come to, when the best 
friends it has, have need to beware of men. It ag- 
gravates the troubles of Christ's suffering sen-ants, 
that they arise from those who are bone of their 
bone, made of the same blood. Persecutors are, in 
this respect, worse than beasts, that thev prey upon 
those of their own kind ; Sxvis inter se convenit ur- 
sis — Exien savage bears agree among themselves. It 
is very grievous to have men rise u/i against us, (Ps. 
124.) from whom we might expect protection and 
sympathy ; men, and no more : mere men ; men, 
and not saints ; Jiatural men, (1 Cor. 2. 14.) men of 
this world. Vs. IT. 14. Saints are more than men, 
and are redeemed from among men, and therefore 
ai-e hated by them. The nature of man, if it be not 
sanctified, is the worst nature in the world next to 
that of devils. They are men, and therefore subor- 
dinate, dependent, dying creatures ; they are men, 
hnt they are but ?nen, (Ps. 9. 20.) and who art thou, 
that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die? 
Isa. 51. 12. Beware of the men. So Dr. Hammond ; 
those you are acquainted with, the men of the Jewish 
sanhedrim, which disallowed Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 4. 

(2.) From professing men, men that have a form 
of godliness, and make a show of religion. They 
will scourge you in their synagogues, their places of 
meeting for the worship of God, and for the exer- 
• cise of their church-discipline : so that thev looked 
upon the scourging of Christ's ministers 'to be a 
branch of their religion. Paul wasjive times scourg- 
ed in the synagogues, 2 Cor. 11. 24. The Jews, under 
colour of zeal for Moses, were the most bitter per- 
secutors of Christ and Christianity, and placed those 
outrages to the score of their religion. Note, Christ's 
disciples have suffered much from conscientious per- 
secutors, that scourge them in their synagogues, cast 
them out and kill them, and think- they do God good 
service, (John 16. 2. ) and say. Let the Lord be glo- 
rified, Isa. 66. 5. Zech. 11. 4, 5. But the synagogue 
will be so far from consecrating the persecvition, that 
the persecution, doubtless, profanes and desecrates 
the synagogue. 

(3.) From great men, and men in authority. The 
Jews did not only scourge them, which was the ut- 
most their remaining power extended to, but when 
they could go no further themselves, thev delivered 
them up to the Roman powers, as they 'did Christ, 
John 18. 30. Ye shall be brought before gox<ernors 
and kings, {v. 18.) who, having more power, are in 
a capacity of doing the more mischief Governors 
wid kings receive their power from Christ, (Pixiv. 



8. 15. ) and should be his servants, and his church s 
protectors and nursing-fathers, but they often use 
their power against him, and are rebels to Christ, 
and oppressors of his church. The kings of the 
earth set themselves against his kingdom, Ps. 2. 1,2. 
Acts 4. 25, 26. Note, It has often been the lot of 
good men to have gi-eat men for their enemies. 

(4.) From all men, {v. 22.) Ye shall be hated of 
all men, of all wicked men, and these are the gene- 
rality of men, yor the whole world lies in wickedness. 
So few are there that love, and own, and countenance 
Christ's righteous cause, that we may say, the friends 
of it are hated of all men ; they are all gone astray, 
and, therefore, eat u/i my peojile, Ps. 14. 3. As far 
as the apostacy from God goes, so far the enmity 
against the saints goes ; sometimes it appears more 
general than at other times, but there is something 
of this poison lurking in the hearts of all the children 
of disobedience. The world hates you, for it wonders 
after the beast. Rev. 13. 3. Every man is a liar, 
and thei-efore a hater of tnith. 

(5.) From those of their own kindred. The bro- 
ther shall delrx'er u/i the brother to death, t. 21. yl 
man shall be, upon this account, at variance with his 
own father ; nay, and those of the weaker and ten- 
derer sex too shall become persecutors and perse- 
cuted ; the fiersecuting daughter will be against the 
believing mother, where natural affection and filial 
duty, one would think, should prevent or soon 
extinguish the quan-el ; and then, no marvel if 
the daughter-in-law be against the mother-in-law ; 
where, too often, the coldness of love seeks occasion 
of contention, v. 35. In general, {v. 36.) Jl man's 
foes shall be they of his own household. They who 
should be his friends, will be incensed against him 
for embracing Christianity, and especially for adher- 
ing to it when it comes to be persecuted, and will 
join with his persecutors against him. Note, The 
strongest bonds of relative love and duty have often 
been Ijroken through, by an enmity against Christ 
and his doctrine. Such has been the power of pre- 
judice against the tnie religion, and zeal for a false 
one, that all other regards, the most natural and 
sacred, the most engaging and endearing, have been 
sacrificed to these Molochs. They who rage against 
the Lord, and his anointed ones, break even these 
bands in sunder, and cast away even these cords 
from them, Ps. 2. 2, 3. Christ's spouse suffers hard 
things from the anger of her own mother's children. 
Cant. 1. 6. Sufferings from such are more grievous ; 
nothing cuts more than this, It was thou, a man, 
?ninc equal ; (Ps. 55. 12, 13.) and the enmity of such 
is commonly most implacable ; a brother offended is 
harder to be won than a strong city, Prov. 18. 19. 
The martyrologics, both ancient and modem, are 
full of instances of this. Upon the whole matter, it 
appears, that all that will Ih'e godly in Christ Jesus, 
must suffer fiersecution ; and through many tribu- 
lations we must expect to e>iter into the kingdom of 
God. 

II. W'ith these predictions of trouble, we have 
here prescriptions of counsels and comforts for a time 
of trial. He sends them out exposed to danger in 
deed, and expecting it, but well armed with instruc- 
tions and encouragements, sufficient to bear them 
up, and bear them, out, in all these trials. Let us 
gather up what he says, 

1. By way of counsel and direction in several 
things. 

(1.) Be ye wise as serfients, V. 16. "You ma)- be 
so ;" (so some take it, only as a peiTnission ;) •' you 
may be as wary as vou please, provided you be 
harmless as doves." But it is rather to be taken as a 
precept, recommending to us that wisdom of the pru 
dent, which is to understand his way, as useful at all 
times, but especially in suffering times. " Tlierefore, 
because you are exposed, as sheep among wolv es ; 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



117 



be ye ivue as serf tents ; not wise us foxes, whose cun- 
ning is to deceive others, but as ser/ienis ; whose po- 
licy is only to defend themselves, iind to shift tor 
their own safety." The discii)les of Christ are hated 
and persecuted as ser/ienls, and tlicir ruin is sought, 
and, therefore, they need the ser/irnt's wisdom. 
Note, It is the wiU'of Christ that his people and 
ministers, bcini; so nuicl\ exposed to troubles in this 
world, as they usually are, sliould not ncedlcssl)' ex- 
pose tliemselvcs, l)ut use all fair and lawful means 
for their own ])rcservation. Christ gave us an e.x- 
ample of tliis wisdom, c/i. 21. 24, 25.-22. 17, 18, 19. 
Jolui 8. 6, T. besides the manv escapes he made out 
of the hands ftf his enemies, till his hoiu" was come. 
See an instance of St. Paul's wisdom, .Xcts 23. 6, 7. 
In the cause of C'hrist we nuist sit loose to life and 
all its comforts, but must not be prodigal of them. 
It is the wisdom of the ser/init, to secure his head, 
that that may not be broken, to sto/i /lis ear to tlie 
voice of the charmer, (I's. 58. 4, 5.) and to take shel- 
ter in the clefts of the rocks; and herein we may be 
wise as ser/ients. We must be wise, not to pull trou- 
ble vipon our own heads ; ivise to keep silence in an 
evil tmie, and not to give offence, if we can help it. 

(2.) lie i/f harmless as dox<cs. "Be mild, and 
meek, and dispassionate ; not only do nobody any 
hurt, but bear noliorly any ill-will ; be without gall, 
as doves -Are; tliis nuist always go along with the 
former. " They are sent forth among wolves, there- 
fore must be as wise as serpents, but they are sent 
forth as sheefi, therefore must be harmless as doves. 
We must be wise, not to wrong ourselves, but rather 
so than wrong any one else ; must use the harmless- 
ness of the dove to bear twenty injuries, rather than 
the subtlety of the serpent to offer or to return one. 
Note, It must be the continual care of all Christ's 
disciples, to be innocent and inoffensive in word and 
deed, especially in consideration of the enemies they 
are in the midst of. We have need of a dove-like 
spirit, when we are beset with birds of prey, that 
we may neither provoke them, nor be provoked by 
them : David coveted the wings of a dove, on which 
to fly away and be at rest, rather than the wings of a 
hawk. The Spirit descended on Christ as a dove, 
and all believers partake of the Spirit of Christ, a 
dove-like spirit, made for love, not for war. 

(3.) Beware of men, v. 17. "Be always upon 
vour guard, and a\oid dangerous company ; take 
heed what you say and do, and presume not too far 
upon any man's fidelity ; be jealous of the most plau- 
sible pretensions ; trust not in a friend, no, not in the 
wife of thy bosom," Micah 7. 5. Note, It becomes 
those who are gracious to be cautious, for we are 
taught to cease from man. Such a wretched world 
do we live in, that we know not whom to trust. E^•er 
since our Master was betrayed with a kiss, bv one 
of his own disciples, we ha\'e need to benvare of men, 
of false brethren. 

(4.) Take no thought, how or what ye shall speak, 
v. 19. " When ye are brought before magistrates, 
conduct youreelves decently, but afflict not your- 
selves with care how you shall come oft A prudent 
thought there must be, Ijut not an anxious, pei-plex- 
ing, disquieting thought ; let this care be cast upon 
God, as well as that — what you shall eat and what 
you shall drink. Do not study to make fine speeches, 
ad ca/ilaridam benei'olentiam — to ingratiate your- 
selves ; affect not quaint expressions, flourishes of 
wit, and laboured periods, which only serve to gild 
a bad cause, the gold of a good one needs it not. It 
argues a diffidence of your cause, to be solicitous in 
this matter, as if it were not sufficient to speak for 
itself. You know upon what grounds you go, and 
then verbaque prxvisam rem non invita sequentur 
— suitable expressions wilt readily occur." Never 
any spoke better before governors and kings than 
those three champions, who took no thought before, 



what they should sfieak : O JVebuchadnezzar, we 
are not careful to answer thee in this matter, Dan. 3. 
16. See I's. 119. 46. Note, The disciples ot Cnnst 
must be more thoughtful, how to do well, than how to 
speak well ; how to keep their integrity, than how to 
vindicate it. Aon magna loquimur, sed vivi7nus — 
Our lives, not boasting woi'ds, form the best apology. 
(5.) When then persecute you in this city, Jlee to 
another, v. 23. '" Thus reject them who rcjedt you 
and your doctrine, and try whether others will not 
recei\ e you and it. Thus'shift for your own safety. " 
Note, In case of imminent peril, the disciples of 
Christ may and must secure themselves by flight, 
when God, in his providence, opens to them a door 
of escape. He that flies may fight again. It is no 
inglorious thing for Christ's soldiers to quit their 
ground, provided they do not (juit their colours : 
I'hey niav go out of the wa)- of danger, though they 
must not go out of the way of duly. t)bserve Christ s 
care of his disciples, in i)ro\ idiiig places of retreat 
and shelter for them ; ordering it so, that ijersecu- 
tion rages not in all places at the same time ; but 
when one city is made too hot for them, another is 
reserved for" a cooler shade, and a little sanctuary; 
a favour to be used and not to be slighted ; yet always 
with tliis ])ro\iso, that no sinful, unlawful means be 
used to make the escape ; for then it is not a door of 
God's o])ening. \\'e have manj- examples to this 
rule in the history both of Christ ;uid his apostles, 
in the application of all which to particular cases, 
wisdom and integrity are pro/itable to direct. 

(6.) Fear them nit, (t-. 26.) because they can but 
kill the body, v. 28. Note, It is the duty and interest 
of Christ's disciples, not to fear the greatest of their 
athersaries. 1 hey who tnily fear God, need not 
fear man ; and they who are afraid of the least sin, 
need not be afraid of the greatest trouble. The fear 
of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that dis- 
turbs our peace ; an entangling snare, by which we 
are drawn into sin ; and, therefore, it must be care- 
fully watched, and striven, and prayed against. Be 
the times never so difficult, enemies never so out- 
rageous, and events never so threatening, yet need 
we not fear, yet will we not fear, though the earth be 
removed, while we have so good a God, so good a 
cause, and so good a hope through grace. 

Yes, this is soon said, but when it comes to the 
trial, racks and tortures, dungeons and gallies, axes 
and gibbets, fire and faggot, are terrible things, 
enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble, and 
to start back, especially when it is plain, that they 
may be avoided by a few declining steps, and, there- 
fore, to fortify us 'against this temptation, we have 
here, 

[1.] A good reason against this fear, taken from 
the limited power of the enemies ; they kill the body, 
that is the utmost their rage can extend to ; hitherto 
they can go, if God permit them, but no further; 
they are not able to kill the soul, nor to do it any hurt, 
and the soul is the man. By this it appears, that the 
soul does not (as some dream) fall asleep at death, 
nor is deprived of thought and perception ; for then 
the killing of the bodv would be the killing of the 
soul too. The soul is killed when it is separated 
from God and his love, which is its life, and is made 
a vessel of his wrath ; now this is out of the reach of 
their power. Tribulation, distress, and persecution 
may separate us from all the world, but cannot part 
between us and God, cannot make us either not to 
love him, or not to be loved by him, Rom. 8. 35, 37. 
If, therefore, we were more concerned about our 
souls, as our jewels, we should be less afraid of men, 
whose power cannot rob us of them : thev can but 
kill the body, which would quickly die of itself, not 
the soul, which will enjoy itself and its God in spite 
of them. They can but crush the cabinet : a heathen 
set the tyrant at defiance with this, Tunde ca/>tam 



118 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



Anaxarchi, Anaxarchum non Isedis — you may abuse 
the case of Anaxarchus, you cannot injure Anaxar- 
chus himself. The pearl of price is untouched. Se- 
neca undertakes to make it out, that you cannot hurt 
a wise and good man, because death itself is no real 
evil to him. Si maximum ilhtd ultra quod nihil 
habent iratx leges, aul ssevissimi domini 7ninantur, in 
' guo imfieriu7n suum fortuna consumit, letjua placi- 
dog'ue animo accifiimus, etscimus morte7n malum non 
esse ob hoc ne injuriam quidem — If with cuhnness 
and com/iosure we meet that last extre?nity, beyond 
which injured laws and merciless tyrants have no- 
thing to inflict, and in which fortune terminates her 
dominion, we know that death is not an evil, because 
it does not occasion the slightest injury. Seneca de 
Constantia. 

[2.] A good remedy aga'mst it, and that is, to fear 
God. Fear him who 'is able to destroy both soul and 
body in hell. Note, First, Hell is the destruction 
both oisoul and body ; not of the being of either, but 
the well being of both ; it is the ruin of the whole 
man ; if the soul be lost, the body is lost too. They 
simied together ; the body was the soul's tempter to 
sin, and its tool in sin, and they must eternally suffer 
together. Secondly, This destraction comes from 
the power of God : he is able to destroy ; it is a de- 
struction from h\s glorious /wwer ; (2. Thess. 1. 9.) 
he will in it jnake his power knowti ; not only his 
authority to sentence, but his ability to execute the 
sentence, Rom. 9. 22. Thirdly, God is therefore to 
be feared, even by the best saints in this world. 
Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men 
to stand in awe of him. If, according to liisfear, so 
ts his wrath, then according to his wrath so should 
hisfearhe, especially, because none knows the /lower 
of his anger, Vs. 90. 11. \\'hen Adam, in innocency, 
was awed by a threatenhig, let none of Christ's disci- 
ples think that they need not the restraint of a holy 
fear. Ha/ipi/ is the 7nan that feais always. The 
God ofAbi-a'ha7n, who was then dead, is called the 
Fear of Isaac, who was yet ali\e. Gen. 31. 42, 53. 
Foui-thly, The fear of God and of his power reign- 
ing in the soul, will be a sovereign antidote against 
the fear of man. It is better to fall under the frowns 
of all the world, than under God's frowns, and there- 
fore, as it is most right in itself, so it is most safe for 
us, /o obey God rather tha7i inen, Acts 4. 19. They 
Avho are af/-aid of a 7nan that shall die, forget the 
Lord theiT^ Maker, Isa. 51. 12, 13. Neh. 4. 14. 

(7.) What I tell you in darkness, that s/teak ye in 
light: {v. 27.) "whatever hazards you run, goon 
with your work, publishing and proclaiming the 
everlasting gospel to all the world ; that is your bu- 
siness, mmd that. The design of the enemies is not 
merely to destroy you, but to suppress that, and, 
therefore, whatever be the consequence, publish 
that." M'hat I tell you, that speak ye. Note, That 
which the apostles have delivered to us, is the same 
that they receh'cd f7-om Jesus Christ, Heb. 2. 3. 
They spake what he told them — that, all that, and 
nothing but that. Those ambassadors received their 
instructions in private, in darkness, in the ear, in 
comers, in parables. Ma7iy things Christ spake 
ope77ly, and nothing in secret varying from what he 
preached in public, John 18. 20. 'But the particular 
instnictions which he gaxe his disciples after his re- 
surrection, concerning the things pertaining to the 
kingdom of God, were whispered in the car, (Acts 
1. 3.) for then he never showed himself openly. But 
they must deliver their embassy publicly, in the light, 
and upon the house-tops; for the doctrine of the gos- 
pel is what all are concerned in, (Prov. 1. 20, 21. — 
8. 2, 3.) therefore he that hath ears to hear, let him 
hear. The first indication of the reception of the 
Gentiles into the church, was upon a house- to/i. Acts 
10. 9. Note, There is no part of Christ's gospel that 
needs, upon any accoimt, to be concealed ; the whole 



counsel of God Tnust be revealed. Acts 20. 27. In 
never so mixed a multitude let it be plainly and fully 
deli\ered. 

2. By way of comfort and encouragement. Here 
is very much said to that pui-pose, and all little 
enough, considering the many hardships they were 
to grapple with, throughout the course of their mi- ^ 
nistry, and. their present weakness, which was such, 
as that, without some poweri'ul support, they could 
scarcely bear even the prospect of such usage ; Christ 
therefore shows them why they should be of good 
cheer. 

(1.) Here is one word pecidiar to their present 
mis-sion, v. 23. Ye shall not have gone over the cities 
of Israel, till the So7i of 7nan be conie. They were 
to preach that the kmgdo7n of the Son of 7na7i, the 
Messiah, v/asat hand ; they were to pray. Thy kivg- 
do/n come : now they should not have gone over all 
the cities of Jsi-ael, thus praying and thus preaching, 
before that kingdom should come, in the exaltation 
of Christ, and the pouring out of the Sjjirit. It was 
a comfort, [1.] That what they said should be made 
good ; they said the Son of 7ncni is coming, and be- 
Itold, he co7nes. Christ will confirm the word of his 
77iessengers, Isa. 44. 26. [2.] That it shoulcl be 
made good quickly. Note, It is matter of comfort 
to Christ's labourers, that their working time will 
be short, and soon oxer ; the hireling has his day ; 
the vi-ork and wartare will in a little time be accom- 
plished. [3.] That then they should be advanced to 
a higher station. When the So7t of7na7i comes, they 
shall be endued with greater power fro7n on high ; 
now they were sent forth as agents and envoys, but 
in a little time their commission should be enlarged, 
and the}' should be sent forth as plciiipotentiaries 
into all the world. 

(2.) Here are many words that relate to their 
work in general, and the troubles they were to meet 
with in it ; and they are good words, and co7iforlable 
words. 

[1.] That their sufferings were /or a testiTnony 
agai/ist the7n and the Gentiles, v. 'l8. \\'hen the 
Jewish consistories transfer you to the Roman go- 
vernors, that they may have you put to death, your 
being hurried thus from one judgment-seat to ano- 
ther, will help to make your testimony the more 
puljlic, and will give yoa an opportunity of bringing 
the gospel to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jijws ; 
nay, you will testify to them, and against them, by 
the \'eiy troubles you undergo. Note, God's people, 
and especially God's ministers, are his witnesses, 
(Isa. 43. 10.) not only in their rfo;';:^'- work, but in 
their suffering work. Hence they are called Mar- 
t\rs — wit7iesses for Christ, that his ti-uths are of un- 
doubted certainty and value ; and being witnesses for 
him, they are witnesses against those who oppose 
him and his gospel. The sufferings of the martyi-s, 
as they witness to the tiiith of the gospel they pro- 
fess, so they are testimonies of the enmity of their 
persecutors, and both ways they ai-e a testimony 
against them, and will be produced in evidence in 
the gi'eat day, when the saints shall judge theworld ; 
and the reason of the sentence will be, Inasmuch as 
ye did it 7mto these, ye did it unto me. Now if their 
sufferings be a testimon)', how cheerfully should 
they be borne ; for the testimony is not finished till 
those come. Rev. 11. 7. If they be Christ's wit- 
nesses, they shall be sure to ha\e their charges borne. 

[2.] That, upon all occasions, they should have 
God's special presence with them, and the imme- 
diate assistance of his Holy Spirit, particularly when 
they should be called out to bear their testimony 
before gove7-nors a7id kings ; it shall be given you 
(said Christ) in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
Christ's disciples were chosen /rojn among the fool- 
ish of the world, unlearned and ignoi'ant men, antl, 
therefore, might justly distrust their own abilitjt';, 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



tl9 



especially when they were called befcire great men. I 
Wlien Moses was sent to Pharaoli lie coniiilaiiicd, 
/ am not eloquent, Kxod. 4. 10. When Jeremiah 
was set over the kingdoms, he objected, / am hut a 
child, Jcr. 1. 6, 10. Now, in answer to this sugges- 
tion. First, tliey are licre promised, tliat // nhould he 
g'wen them, not some time before, liiit in that same 
liour, what they should s/u-ak. 'rhc\- sliall speak ex- 
temfiore, and yet sliall speak as much to the ]>ur- 
pose, as if it had been never so well studied. Note, 
vVhen (lod calls us out to speak for liim, we may 
depend \\\m\\ him to teach us what to sav; even then, 
when we labour under the greatest disadvantages 
and discouragements. Secondly, 'l"he\' are here as- 
sured, that tiie blessed S])irit should draw up their 
plea for them. It w 7iot ye that s/iral:, hut the H/iirit 
ofynuf Father, ii'hich s/ieaketh in you, v. 20. 'I'hey j 
were not left to themselves upon such an occasion, 
but God undertook for them ; his Spirit of wisdom 
spoke j;( tl\em, as sometimes liis pro\ idencc wonder- ! 
fully spoke /yrthem, and Ijy both together the)- were 
manifested in the consciences even of their persecu- 
tors, (iod gave them an ability, not only to speak 
to the puqjosc, but what they did say, to say it with 
holy zeal. The same Sjiiiit that assisti.'d them in 
the' pulpit, assisted them at the bar. They cannot 
l)ut come off well, who ha^•e such an advocate ; to 
whom (Iod says, as he did to Moses, (Kxod. 4. 12.) 
(tO, and I '.'Jill he ivith thy mouth, and '.vilh thy heart. 
[;>. ] That he that endures to the end shall he saved, 
I'. 22. Here it is very comfortable to consider, Fii-st, ' 
that there will be an end of these trnuljles; they may 
last long, but will not last always. Christ comforted 
himself with this, and so may his followers ; 'JVie 
things concerning me have an end, Luke 22. 37. 
Dabit Deus hi.f f/uoijueJ!nem — These also will God 
hring to a termination. Note, A believing prospect 
of the period of our troubles, will be of great use to 
su])i)ort us under them. IVie ii'eary ivill he at rest, 
'.I'he" Ihc wicked cease from troubling. Job 3. 17. God 
w"", give an expected (■/«/, Jer. 29. 11. The tron- 
l)les may seem tedious, like the days of a hireling, 
but blessed be God, they are not everlasting. Se- 
condh', that while they continue; the\' may be eri- 
dured ; as they are not eternal, so the)- are not m- 
tolerahle ; they may be borne, and borne to the end, 
because the sufferers shall be borne u]) under them, 
in everlasting arms : The strength shall be according 
to the day, 1 Cor. 10. 13. Thirdly, Salvation will l)e 
the eternal recompense of all thnse tliat endure to 
the end. The weather stoi-my, and the way foul, 
but the pleasure of h^me will make amends for all. 
A believing regard to the crown of glory has been 
in all ages the cordial and sujjjjort of suffering saints, 
2 Cor. 'i. Ifi, 17, 18. Heb. 10. 34. This is not only 
an encoiu'aiTement to us to endure, but an engage- 
ment to endure to the e?id. Thev who endure hut a 
while, and in time of temptation fall anvay, have nni 
in vain, and lose all that the}- ha\c attained ; but 
they who perscxcre, ai-e sure of the jii'ize, and tljj'y 
only. Be faithful unto death, and then thou shalt 
lw\'e the croivn of life. 

[4.] That whatever hard usage the disciples of 
Christ meet with, it is no more than what their Mas- 
ter met with before, (t. 24, 25.) The disci/ile is not 
above his master, ^^'e find this given them as a rea- 
son, wh)' they should not hesitate to perform the 
meanest duties, no, not washing one another's feet, 
John 13. 16. Here it is given as a reason why they 
should not stumble at the hardest sufferings. They 
are reminded of this saving, John 15. 20. It is a 
proverbial expression. The senmnt is not belter than 
his master, and, therefore, let him not expect to fare 
better. Note, First, Jesus Christ is our Master, our 
teaching Master, and we are his disciples, to learn 
of him ; our ruling ^Taster, and we are his sen'ants 
to obey him: He is il/as^fr of the house, oixc<fi3-!roT»t, 



has a despotic power in the church, which is his 
family. Secondly, Jesus Christ our Lord and Mas- 
ter, met w ith \ er) hard usage from the world ; they 
called him Hiel/.ebul), the god of flies, the name of 
the chief of the devils, with whom they said he was 
in leagiie. It is hard to say, which is here more to 
be wondered at, the wickedness of men who tlius 
abused Chiist, or the jjatience of Christ, who suffer- 
ed himself to Ix- thus abused ; that lie who was the 
Ciod of glory sliould be stigmatized as the god of 
lies ; the King of Israel, as the ijod of F.kron ; the 
Prince of light and life, as the prince of the powers 
of death and darkness ; that Satmi's gi-eatest Enemy 
and Destrojer, should be nin down as his confede- 
rate, and yet endure such contradiction of sinners. 
Thirdl)-, The consideration of tlie ill treatment 
which CMirist met with in the world, should engage 
us to expect and prepare for the like, and to bear it 
patiently. Let us not think it strange, if they who 
hated him, hate his followers, for his sake ; nor think 
it hard if they who are shortly to be made like him 
in gloru, be now made [ike him in suj^enngs. Christ 
began in the bitter cup, let us be willing to pledge 
him ; his bearing the cross made it easy for us. 

[5.] That, thei-e is nothing covered that shall not 
be rei'ealed, v. 26. We understand this, First, Of 
the revealing of the gospel to all the world. " Do 
you publish it, (■!■. 27. ) for it shall lie published. The 
tnitlis which are now, as mysteries, liid from the 
children of men, shall all lie made known, to all na- 
tions, in their own language," Acts 2. 11. The ends 
of the earth must see his salvation. Note, It is a great 
encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, 
that it is a work which shall certainly be done. It 
is a plough which God will .speed. Or, Secondly, 
Of the clearing up of the innocency of Christ's suf- 
fering senants, that are called Beelzebub; their tnie 
character is now invidiously disguised with false co- 
lours, but however their innocciic)- and excellency 
are now covered, they shall be revealed : sometimes 
it is in a great measure done in this world, when the 
righteousness of the saints is made, by subsequent 
e\ents, to shine forth as the light : however, it wil' 
be done at the great day, when their glory shall be 
manifested to all the world, angels and men, to whom 
they are now made sfiectaclcs, 1 Cor. 4. 9. All their 
reproach shall be rolled away, and their gii.ces and 
services, that are now covered, shall be revealed, 1 
Cor. 4. 5. Note, It is a matter of comfort to the 
people of God, under all the calumnies and censures 
of men, that there will be a resuiTection of na7ne« 
as well as of bodies, at the last dav, when the righte- 
ous shall shine forth as the sun. Let Christ's minis- 
ters faithfully reveal his tniths, and then leave it to 
him, in due time, to reveal their integrity. 

[6.] That the providence of (iod is in a special 
manner con\ersant about the saints, in their suffer- 
ings, V. 29 — 31. It is gocd to have recourse to cur 
first ])rinciples, and particularly to the doctrine o) 
God's unitersal providence, extending itself to all 
the creatures, and all their actions, even the smallest 
and most minute. The li,glit of nature teaches us 
this, and it is comfortable to all men, but especially 
to all good men, who can in faith call this God their 
Father, and for whom he has a tender concern. See 
here. 

First, the general extent of providence to all the 
creatures, even the least, and least considerable, to 
the sparrows, v. 29. These little animals are of so 
small account, that one of them is not valued ; there 
must go two to be worth a farthing, (nay, you shall 
have five for a halfpenny, Luke 12. 6.) and yet they 
are not shut out of the divine care ; One of them shall 
not fall to the ground without your Father : That 
is, i. They do not light on the ground for food, to 
pick up a grain of com, but your hea\enly Father, 
by his providence, laid it ready for them. In tie 



.20 



ST. MATTHEW, X. 



parallel place, Luke 12. 6. it is thus expressed, ■N'ot 
ane of them is forgotten before God, forgotten to be 
provided for ; he feedeth them, ch. 6. 26. Now he 
that feeds the sparrows, will not starve the saints. 
2. They do not fall to the ground by death, either a 
natural or a violent death, without the notice of God : 
though they are so small a part of the creation, yet 
even their death comes within the notice of the di- 
vine providence, much more does the death of his 
disciples. Observe, The birds that soar above, 
when they d\e,fall to the ground ; death brings the 
highest to the earth. Some thinlc that Christ here 
alludes to the tivo sfiarrfws that were used in cleans- 
ing the Leper; (Lev. 14. 4, 5, 6.) the two birds, in 
the margin, are called sfiarroivs ; of these one was 
killed, and so fell to the ground, the other was let 
go. Now it seemed a casual thing, which of the 
two was killed ; the persons employed, took which 
they pleased, but God's providence designed, and 
determined which. Now this God, who has such 
an eyfe to the span-ows, because they are his crea- 
tures, much more will have an eye to you who are 
his children.' If a sparrow die not without your 
Father, surely a man does not, — a christian, — a mi- 
nister, — my friend, — my child. A bird falls not into 
the fowler's net, nor by the fowler's shot, and so 
comes not to be sold in the market, but according to 
the direction of providence ; your enemies, like sub- 
; tie fowlers, lay snares for you, and privily shoot at 
I you, but they cannot take you, thev cannot hit you, 
1 unless God 'give them lea\'e. Therefore be not 
' afraid of death, for your enemies ha\e no power 
against you, but what is gizien them from above. 
God can break their bows and snares, (Ps. 37. 14, 
15. — 64. 4, 7.) and make our souls to esca/ie as a 
bird ; (Ps. 124. 7.) Fear ye not, therefore, v. 31. 
Note, There is enough in the doctrine of God's pro- 
vidence, to silence all the fears of God's people : 
Ye are of more value than many sfiarrows. All men 
are so, for the other creatures were made for man, 
smAfiut under his feet; (Ps. 8. 4, 5, 8.) much more 
the disciples of Jesus Christ, who are the excellent 
ones of the earth, however contemned, as if not 
worth one sparrow. 

Secondly, the particular cognizance which provi- 
dence takes of the disciples of Christ, especiallv in 
their sufferings, {v. 30.) But the very hairs of your 
head are all n umbered. This is a proverbial expres- 
sion, denoting the account which God takes and 
keeps, of all the concernments of his people, even 
of those that are most minute, and least regarded. 
This is not to be made a matter of curious enquiry, 
but of encouragement to live in a continual depen- 
dence upon God's providential care, which extends 
itself to all occurrences, yet without disparagement 
to the infinite glory, or disturbance to the infinite 
rest, of the Etenial Mind. If God numbers their 
hairs, much more does he number their heads, and 
take care of their lives, their comforts, their souls. 
It intimates, that God takes more care of them, than 
they dn of themselves. They who are solicitous to 
number their jnoney, and goods, and cattle, yet were 
never careful to number their hairs, which'fall and 
are lost, and thev never miss them : but God num- 
bers the hairs of his people, and not a hair of their 
head shall fierish ; (Luke 21. 18.) not the least hurt 
shall be done them, but upon a valuable considera- 
tion : so precious to God are his saints, and their 
lives and deaths ! 

[7.] That he will shortly, in the day of triumph, 
own those who now own him, in the day of trial, 
when those who deny him shall be for ever disowned 
and rejected by him, t'. 32, 33. Note, First, It is 
our duty, and if v/e do it, it will hereafter be our 
unspeakable honour and happiness, to confess Christ 
before men. 1. It is our duty, not only to believe in 
Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him. 



when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. 
We must never be ashamed of our relation to Christ 
our attendance on him, and our expectations from 
him : hereby the sincerity of our faith is evidenced, 
his name glorified, and others edified. 2. However i 
this may expose us to reproach and trouble now, we | 
shall be abundantly recompensed for that, i?i the re- 
surrection of the just, when it will be our unspeaka- 
ble honour and happiness to hear Christ say ; (what 
would we more.') "Him ivill I confess, though a 
poor worthless worm of the earth ; this is one of 
mine, one of my friends and favourites, who loved 
me, and was beloved by me ; the purchase of my 
blood, the workmanship of my Spirit ; I will confess 
him before my Father, when it will do him the most 
service ; I will speak a good word for him, when he 
appears before my Father to receive his doom ; I 
will present him, will represent him to my Father." 
Tliose who honour Christ he will thus honour. They 
honour him before men ; that is a poor thing ; he will 
honour them before his Father, that is a great thing. 
Secondl V, It is a dangerous thing for any to deny and 
disown Christ before 7nen ; for they who do so, will 
be disowned by him in the great day, when they 
have most need of him : he will not own them for 
his servants, who would not own him for their Mas- 
ter : I tell you, I know you not, ch. 7. 23. In the 
first ages of Christianity, when for a man to confess 
Christ, was to venture all that was dear to him in 
this world, it was more a trial of sincerity, than it 
was afterwards, when it had secular advantages at- 
tending it 

[8.] That the foundation of their discipleship was 
laid in such a temper and disposition, as would make 
sufferings veiy light and easy to them ; and it was 
upon the condition of a preparedness for suffering, 
that Christ took them to be his followers, v. 37 — 39. 
He told them at first, that they were 7iot worthy of 
him, if they were not willing to part with all for 
him. Men' hesitate not at those difficulties which 
necessarily attend their profession, and which they 
counted upon, when they undertook that profession ; 
and they will either cheerfully submit to those fa- 
tigues and troubles, or disclaim the privileges and 
advantages of their profession. Now, in the chris- 
tian profession, thev are reckoned unworthy the dig- 
nitv and felicity of it, that put not such a value upon 
their interest in Christ, as to prefer that before any 
other interests. They cannot expect the gains of a 
bargain, who will not come up to the terms of it. 
Now thus the terms are settled ; if religion be worth 
ajiy thing, it is worth er^ery thing ; and, therefore, 
all who believe the truth of it, will soon come up to 
the price of it ; and they who make it their business 
and bliss, will make e\ery thing else to \ield to it. 
They who like not Christ on these terms, may leave J 
him 'at their peril. Note, It is veiy encouraging to \ 
think, that whatever we leave, or lose, or suffer, for 
Christ, we do not make a hard bargain for ourselves. 
\yhatever we part with for this pearl of price, we 
niay comfort oui-selves with this persuasion, that it 
is well worth what we gi\e for it. The tenns arc, 
that we must prefer Christ, 

First, Before our nearest and dearest relations ; 
father or mother, son or daughter. Between these 
'relations, because there is little room left for envy, 
there is commonly more room for love, and, there- 
fore, these are instanced in, as relations which are 
most likely to affect. Children must love their pa- 
rents, and 'parents must lo^e their children ; but if 
they love them better than Christ, they are unwor- 
thy of him. As we must not be deterred from Christ 
by the hatred of our relations which he spoke of, 
(ii. 21. 35, 36.) so we must not be drawn from him, 
by their love. Christians must be as Levi, who said 
to his father, I have not seen him, Deut 35. 9. 

Secondly, Before our ease and safety. We must 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



121 



Hike ufi our cross and fotloto him, else we are noi 
worl/ty of him. Here observe, 1. They who woiikl 
follo-.u Christ, must expect thtir cross and fuke it u/i. 
2. In taking ii/i the crons we mufit fol/oiu Chrinl's ex- 
ample, and bear it as he cUd. 3. It is a great en- 
couragement to us, when we meet with crosses, tliat 
in bearing tlicm we follow Chrim, wlio has showed 
as the way ; and that if we follow him faithfully, he 
will lead us through sufferings like him, to glory 
with him. 

Thirdly, Before life itself, v. 39. He thatjindeth 
his life shall lose it ; he that thinks he has found it, 
when he has saved it, and kept it, l)y dcn\ing Christ, 
shall lose it in an eternal death ; b>it he that loselh his 
■ife for Christ's sa/ce, that will part with it, ratlui- 
thaii deny Christ, «//«// _^Hrf it, to his unspeakable 
advantage, in an eternal life. They are best pre- 
pared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this 
present life. 

[9.] That Christ himself would so heartily es- 
pouse their cause, as to show himself a friend to all 
tlieir friends, and to re])ay all tlie kindnesses that 
should at any time be bestowed upon tliem, v. 40 — 
42. Hi' thai receiveth you, receiveth nic. 

First, It is here implied, that though the genci-al- 
itv wouUl reject them, yet that they should meet 
with some, who would recei\ e and entertain them, 
would bid the message welcome to their hearts, and 
the messengers to their houses, for the sake of it. 
Whv was the gospel-market made, but that if some 
will not, others wdl. In the worst of times there is 
a remnant according to the election of gi-ace. 
Christ's ministers sh;dl not labour in Tain. 

Secondh', Jesus Christ takes what is done to his 
faithful niinistei-s, whether in kindness or in nn- 
kindncss, as done to himself, and reckons himself 
treated as they are treated. He that receiveth xjou, 
receiveth me. Both lionom's and contempt put upon 
an ambassador, reflect honom- or contemjjt upon the 
prince that sends him, an<l ministers arc ambassa- 
dors for Christ. See how Christ may still be enter- 
tained by those who would testify their respects to 
him ; his people and ministers we have alwa\s with 
us ; and he is iL'ith them always, even to the end of 
the world. Nay, the honour rises liigher. He that 
receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. Not onlv 
Christ takes it as done to himself, but through 
Christ (iod docs so too. By entertaining Christ's i 
minist.-rs, they entertain not angels uno-rares, but 
Christ, nav, and (iod himself, and unawaj-es too, as 
apoe.ars, ch. 25. 3". When saw we thee an hungered P 

Thirdly, That though the kindness done to 
Christ's disciples be nexer so small, yet that if there 
be occ;ision for it, and ability to do no more, it sh:dl 
be accepted, though it be but a cufi of cold water 
gii'en to one of these little ones, v. 42. Thev are lit- 
tle ones, ])oor and weak, and often stand in need of 
refreshment, and glad of the least. The extremit\- 
may be such, that a cu/i of cold water ma\- be a 
great favour. Note, Kindnesses shown to Christ's 
disciples are valued in Christ's books, not according 
to the cost of the ^ift, but according to the love and 
affection of the giver. On that score the widow's 
mite not only passed current, but was stamped high, 
Luke 21. 3, 4. Thus they who are trul\- rich in 
graces may be rich in good works, thougl'i poor in 
the world. 

Fourthly, That kindness to Christ's disciples 
which he will accept, must be done with an eye to 
Christ, and for his sake. A prophet must be re- 
ceived in the name of a firofihet, and a righteous 
man in the name of a righteous man, and one of 
those little ones in the name of a disci/de ; not be- 
cause they are leamed, or witty, nor because they 
are our relations or neighbours, but because they 
are righteous, and so bear Christ's image ; because 
they are prophets and disciples, and so are sent on 

Vol v.— Q 



Christ's cri-and. It is a believing regard to Christ 
that puts an accejitable value ujion tlic kindnesses 
done to his ministers. Christ docs not interest him- 
self in the matter, unless we first interest him in it. 
Ut tibi deheam alii/uid firo eo (luod /ir.rstas, debes 
non tantum milii /irtestare, scd tani/uuni mihi — If 
you wish me to feel an obligation to you for any set 
vice you render, you mu.it not only perfofm the ser- 
vice, but you must convince me that you do it for my 
sah: Seneca. 

Fifthh", That kindnesses shown to Christ's people 
and mimsters, shall not onlv be accepted, but rictily 
and suitably rewarded. There is a great deal to l)e 
gotten, by doing good offices to Christ's discii)les. 
If it be done to the Lord, he will repay them again 
with interest ; for he is not unrighteous to forget 
any labour of love, Hel). 6. 10. 1. Thev shiill re- 
cei-i'e a reward, and in no wise lose it. He does not 
sa\-, that they desen'e a reward ; we cannot merit 
any thing as wages, from the hand of (Iod ; l)ut they 
shidl receive a'reward from the free gift of (Jml : 
and the\- shall in no wise lose it, as good services 
often do'among men : because they wlio should re- 
ward them are either false or forgetful. The re- 
ward may lie deferred, the full reward will be de- 
ferred, till tlic resurrection of the just ; but it shall 
in no wise be lout, nor shall they be any losers by 
the delay. 2. This is a firojihet's reward, and a 
righteous man's. That is, cither, (1.) The reward 
that CJod gives to prnjihets and righteo\is men ; the 
blessings conferred upon them shall distil upon their 
friends. Or, (2. ) The reward he giv cs by prn])hets 
and righteous men ; in answer to their jn-ayers ; 
(Gen. i20. 7.) He isa /irofihet, and he shall firau for 
thee, that is a prophet's reward : and by their minis- 
try ; when he gives the instructions and comforts of 
the word, to those who are kind to the ])reachcrs of 
the word, then he sends a /iro/ihet's reward. Pro- 
phets' rewards are spiritual blessings in heavenly 
things, and if we know how to value them, we shall 
reckon them good payment. 

CHAP. XI. 

In this chaplcr we liave, I. The eonst.int nnd unwearied dili- 
gence of onr Lnid .Jesus in liis jrreat work rfrpicailiini the 
gospel, V. 1. II. His discourse with tlic di«ciplrs of John 
conccriiini his beinir the Messiah, v. 2 . . fi. The honoura- 
ble testimony that Christ bore to .John Baptist, v. 7 . . 15. 
IV. The sad account lie gives of that (rencration in ireneral, 
and of some particular places, with rcfirencc to the success, 
both of John'sministrv, and of his own, V. 16. . 24. V. His 
thanks;ivinn to his Father for the wise and c;rncioiis me- 
thod he had taken in revealinfr the frreat mysteries of the 
gospel, V.23, 26. VI. His gracious call and invitation to 
poor sinners to come to him, and to be ruled, and tauffht, 
and saved bv him, v. 27 . . 30. No where have we more of 
the terror of ?ospel-woes for warninp to us, or of the sweet 
ness of pospel-grace for encourajjemeni to us, than in this 
chapter, which sets before us life and death, the blessing 
and the curse. 

1. A I^D it came to pass, when Jesus had 
J\l. made an end of commanding liis 
twelve disciples, he departed thence, to 
teach and to preac'h in their cities. 2. Now 
when John had lieard in the prison the 
works of Christ, he sent two of his disci- 
ples, 3. And said unto him, Art thou he 
that should come, or do we look for ano- 
ther ? 4. .Tesus answered and said unto 
them. Go and shew John ai2;ain tliose 
things w'hich ye do hear and see : 5. The 
blind receive their sight, and the lame 
walk, the lepers are cleansed, and tlie deaf 
hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor 
have the gospel preached to them. 6. And 



122 



ST. MATTHEW, XL 



blessea is he, whosoever shall not be of- 
fended in me. 

The first verse of this chapter some join to the 
foregoing chapter, and make it (not unfitly) the close 
of that. 

1. The ordination sermon which Christ preached 
to his disciples in the foregomg chapter, is here 
called his commanding them. Note, Christ's com- 
missions imply commands. Their preaching of the 
gospel was not only permitted them, but it was en- 
joined them. It was not a thing respecting which they 
were left at their liberty, but necessili/ was laid ii/wn 
them, 1 Cor. 9. 16. The promises he made them 
are included in these commands, for the covenant 
of grace is a word which he hath commanded, Ps. 
105. 8. He made an end of C07n7nanding, 'niKuriv 
SinTaa-o-uiv. Note, The insti-uctions Christ gives are 
full instnictions. He goes through with his work. 

2. When Christ had said what he had to say to his 
disciples, he defiarted thence. It should seem they 
were veiyloth to leave their master, till he defiarted 
and separated himself from them ; as the nurse 
withdraws the hand, that the child may learn to go 
by itself. Christ would now teach them how to live, 
and how to work, without his bodily presence. It 
was exjiedient for them, that Christ should thus go 
away for a w\iile, that they might be prepared for 
his long departure, and that by the help of the 
Sjjirit, their own hands might be sufficient for them, 
(Deut. 33. 7.) and they might not be always chil- 
dren. ^^^e have little account of what they did now 
pursuant to their commission. They went abroad, 
no doubt ; probably into Judea, (for in Galilee tlie 
gospel had been mostly preached hitherto,) pub- 
lishing the doctrine of Christ, and working miracles 
in his name ; but still in a more immediate depen- 
dence vipon him, and not 1)cing long from him ; and 
thus they were trained up, by degi-ees, for their 
great work. 

3. Christ departed to teach and fireach in the cities 
whither lie sent his disciples before him to work 
miracles, (ch. 10. 1, 8.) and so to raise people's ex- 
pectations, and to make way for his entertainment. 
Thus was the wai/ of the Lord /ire/iared ; John pre- 
pared it by Ijringing people to reflentance, but he 
did no miracles. The disciples go further, they work 
miracles for the confirmation. Note, Repentance 
and faith prepare people for the blessings of the 
kingdom of heaven, wliich Christ gives. Oliserve, 
When Christ emjjowered them to work miracles, he 
employed himself in teaching and /ireaching, as if 
that were the more honourable of the two. That 
was but in order to do this. Healing the sick was 
the .saving of bodies, but preaching the gospel was 
to the saving of souls. Christ had directed his dis- 
ciples to preacli, {ch. 10. 7. ) yet he did not leave off 
preaching himself. He set them to work, not for 
his own ease, but for the ease of the country, and 
was not the less busy for employing them. How 
unlike are they to Christ, who yoke others only that 
they may thcmsel\es be idle. Note, The increase 
and multitude of labourers in the Lord's work 
should be made not an excuse for our negligence, 
but an encouragement to our diligence. The more 
busy others are, the more busy we should be, and 
all little enough, so much work is there to be done. 
Observe, He went to preach in their cities, which 
were populous places; he cast the net of the gospel 
where there were most fish to be inclosed. \\'isdom 
cries in the cities, (Prov. 1. 21.) at the entry of the 
city, (Prov. 8. 3. ) in the cities of the Jews, even of 
them who made light of him, who notwithstanding 
had the first oflFer. 

What he preached we are not told, but it was pro- 
bably to the same purpose with his sermon on the 
mount But here is next recorded a message which 



John Baptist sent to Christ, and his return to it, T'. 
2 — 6. We heard before that Jesus heard of John's 
sufferings, ch. 4. 12. Now we are told that John, 
in prison, hears of Christ's doings. He heafd in the 
prison the works of Christ ; and no doubt he was 
glad to hear of them, for he was a true friend of tht 
Bridegroom, John 3. 29. Note, When one ilsefn. 
instrument is laid aside, God knows how to raise uj 
many others in the stead of it. The work went on, 
though John was in prison, and it added no afflic- 
tion, but a great deal of consolation to his bonds. 
Nothing more comfortable to God's people in dis- 
tress, than to hear of the works of Chj-ist ; especially 
to experience them in their own souls. This turns 
a prison into a palace. Some way or other Christ 
will convey the notices of his love to those that are 
in trouble for conscience sake. John could not see 
the works of Christ, but he heard of them with' 

gleasure. And blessed are they who have not seen, 
ut only heard, and yet have believed. 
Now John Baptist, hearing of Christ's works, sent 
two of his disciples to him ; and what passed be- 
tween them and him we have here an account of. 
Here is, 

I. The question they had to propose to him : Art 
thou he that should come, or do we look for another ? 
This was a serious and important question ; jlrt 
thou the Messiah promised, or not ? Art thou the 
Christ ? Tell us. 1. It is taken for granted that the 
Messiah should come. It was one of the names by 
which he was known to the Old-Testament saints, 
he that cometh or shall come, Ps. 118. 26. He is 
now come, but there is another coming of his which 
we still expect. 2. They intimate, that if this be 
not he, they would look for another. Note, We 
must not be weaiy of looking for him that is <•" <■<"!;.• . 
nor e\'er say, we will no more expect him till we 
come to enjoy him. Though he tarry, wait for him, 
for he that shall come will come, though not in our 
time. 3. They intimate likewise, that if they be 
convinced that this is he, they will not be sceptics, 
they wiU be satisfied, and will look ybr no other. 4. 
They therefore ask, art thou he? John had said for 
his part, 7am not the Christ, John 1. 20. Now, (1.) 
Some think that John sent this question for his own 
satisfaction. It is true he had borne a noble testi- 
mony to Christ ; he had declared him to be the Son 
of God, (John 1. 34.) the Lamb of God, (t. 29.) 
and he that should ia/itize you with the Holy Ghost, 
(v. 33.) and sent of God, (John 3. 34.) which were 
gi-eat things. But he desired to be further and more 
fully assured, that he wastheMessiah that had been 
so long promised and expected. Note, In matters 
relating to Christ and our salvation by him, it is good 
to be sure. Christ appeared not in that external 
pomp and power in which it was expected he should 
appear ; his own disciples stumbled at this, and 
perhaps John did so ; Christ saw something of this 
at the bottom of this inquiry, when he said, blessed 
is he, who shall not be offended in jne. Note, It is 
hard, even for good men, to bear up against vulgar 
errors, (2.) Jolin's doubt might arise from his ov/n 
present circumstances. He was a prisoner, and 
might be tempted to think, if Jesus be indeed the 
Messiah, whence is it that I, his friend and fore- 
nmner, am brought into this trouble, and am left to 
be so long in it, and he never looks after me, never 
visits me, nor sends to me, inquires not after me, 
does nothing either to sweeten my imprisonment or 
hasten my enlargement ? Doubtless there was a 
good reason why our Lord Jesus did not go to John 
in prison, lest there should seem to have been a com- 
pact between them : but John constnied it into a 
neglect, and it was perhaps a shock to his faith in 
Christ. Note, [1.] \Miere there is true faith, yet 
there may be a mixture of unbelief. The best are 
not always alike strong. [2. ] Troubles for Christ, 



ST. MATTI1[':W, XI. 



123 



especially when they continue loni; unreheved, are 
such trials of faith as sometimes ]>n>w too hard to 
be l)onie up against. [3.] 'l"hc remaining unlielief 
of good men may sometimes, in an hour of teni])ta- 
tioii, strike at the root, and call in (juestion the most 
fundamental tniths which were thought to be well 
settled. Il'ill r/ic Lord cast 'jff fonvcr '/ Hut we 
w ill hope that John's f;uth did not fail in this matter, 
only he desired to ha\ e it strengthened and confirm- 
ed. Note, The best saints ha\ e need of the best 
helps they can get fur the strengthening of their 
faith, and the arming of themselves against tempta- 
tions to infidelity. Aliraham believed, and yet de- 
sired a sign, ((ien. 15. ti, 8.) so did (iicleon, Judg. 6. 
36, 37. Hut, (.3.) Others think, that Jolui sent his 
disciples to Christ with this question, not so nuich 
for his own satisfaction as for theirs. Observe, 
'I'hougli he was a prisoner they adhered to him, at- 
tende(l on him, and were ready to receive instruc- 
tions from him ; they loved him, and would not 
leave him. Now, [1.] They were weak in know- 
ledge, and wavering in their faith, and needed in- 
struction and confirmation ; and in this matter they 
were somewhat ])rejudiced ; being jealous for their 
master, the\- were jealous of our pilaster ; the\- were 
loth to acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, be- 
cause he eclii)sed John, :md aie loth to believe their 
own master when they think he speaks against him- 
self and them. (Jood men are apt to have their 
judgments biassed by tl'.eir interest. Now John 
would have their mist.ikes rectified, and wished 
tliem to be as well satisfied as he himself was. Note, 
The strong ought to consider the infirmities of the 
weak, and to do what the\' can to help them : and 
such as we c;uinot help ourselv es we should send to 
those that can. When thou ar! converted, strength- 
en thy brethren. [2.] John was all along industrious 
to tuni over his disciples to Christ, as from the 
grammar-school to the academy. Perhaps he fore- 
saw his death approaching, and therefore would ' 
bring his disciples to be better acquainted with 
Christ, under whose guardianship he must leave 
them. Note, Ministers' business is to direct every i 
body to Christ. And those who would know the 
certaintv' of the doctrine of Christ, must apph' 
themselves to him, who is come to give an under- 
standing. They who would gi-ow in grace must be 
inquisitive. 

11. Here is Christ's answer to this question, x>. 4 
— 6. It was not so direct and express, as when he 
said, I that s/ieak tinto thee am he ; but it was a real 
answer, an answer in fact. Christ will have us to 
spell out the convincing evidences of gospel-ti-uths, 
and to take jjains in digging for knowledge. 

1. He points them to what they heard and saw, 
which they must tell John, that he might from thence 
Uike occasion, the more fully to instruct and convince 
them out of their own mouths. Go and tell him 
ivhat you hear and see. Note, Our senses may and 
ought to be appealed to in those things that are their 
pro])er objects. Therefore the popish doctrine of 
the real presence agrees not with the ti-uth as it is 
ill Jesus ; for Christ refers us to the things we hear 
and see. Go and tell John, 

(1.) JThat you see of the poni'er of Christ's mira- 
cles ; you see how, by the word of Jesus, the blind 
receri'e their sight, the lameivalk, &c. Christ's mi- 
racles were done openly, and in the view of all ; for 
they feared not the strongest and most impartial 
scrutiny. Veritas non guaerit angulos — Truth seeks 
not concealment. They are to be considered, [].] 



p.] 
God 



As the acts of a dwine fio'^ver. None but the God 
of nature could thus oveiTule and outdo the power 
of nature. It is particularly spoken of as God's pre- 
rogative to ofien the eyes of the blind, Psal. 146. 8. 
Miracles are therefore the broad seal of heaven, and 
tlie doctrine they are afiixed to must be of God, for 



his power will never contradict his tnitli ; nor can it 
be imagined that he should set liis seal to a lie ; how- 
ever lying ivonders may be vouched for, in jiroof of 
false doctrines, true miracles evince a divine com- 
mission ; such Christ's were, and they leav e no room 
to doubt that he was sent of G< d, and that his doc- 
trine was his that sent him. [L'.] As the accom- 
jilishment of a dix'ine /irediction. It was toietcld, 
(Isa. 35. 5, 6.) that our (iod should come, and that 
then the eyes of the blind should be o/iencd. Now if 
the works of Christ agree with the words of the pro- 
phet, as it is plain they do, then no d(/ubt but this is 
our (!od whom we have waited for, who shall come 
•with a reconi/unse ; this is he who is so much wanted. 
(2.) Tell him what you hear of the /ireuching of 
his gosjiel, which accompanies his miracles. Faith, 
though ronfimicd by seemg, comes h\ hearing. Tell 
him, [1.1 That the {loor jirt uch the gospel ; so some 
read it. It proves Christ's divine mission, that those 
whom he employed in founding his kingdom were 
IHioi- men, destitute of all secular adv antages, who, 
therefore, could never have caiTied their point, if 
thev had not been carried on b)- a div ine power. 
[2.] 'V\\a.\. the floor have tlie gospel preached to them. 
C'hrist's auditory is made up of such as the Scribes 
and Pharisees desi)iscd, and looked ujion with con- 
tempt, and the rabbits would not instruct, because 
they were not able to ])ay them. The Old-Testa- 
ment nrophets were sent mostly to kings ;uid princes, 
but Christ preached to the con gr< gat ions of the poor. 
It was foretold that the/j&or ofthejlock sliould wait 
upon him, Zech. 11. 11. Note, Christ's gracious 
condescensions and ccmpatsions to the poor, are an 
evidence that it was he that should bring to the world 
the tender mercies of our Gcd. It was foretold that 
the .%?( of David should be the poor man's King, 
Ps. 72. 2, 4, 12, 13. Or we may understand it, not 
so much of the poor oftlie world, as the /loor in spi- 
rit, and so that scripture is fulfilled, Isa. 61. 1. He 
hath anointed me to preach glad tidings to the meek. 
Note, It is a jiroof of Christ s divine mission that his 
doctrine is gospel indeed ; good new s to those who 
are truly humbled in sorrow for their sins, and traly 
humble in the denial of self; to them it is acccmmo- 
dated, for whom God always declared he had mercy 
in store. [3.] That the /)oor)rfm'("//jp_§'(}4/;e/, and 
are wrought upon by it, they arc evangelized, they 
receive and entertain the gospel, are leavened bv it, 
and delivered into it as into a mould. Note, The 
wonderful efficacv" of the gospel is a proof of its di- 
vine original. The poor are wrought upon by it. 
The prophets complained of the poor, that they 
knew not the way of the Lord, Jer. 5. 4. They 
could do no good upon them ; but the gospel of Christ 
made its way into their untutored minds. 

2. He pronounces a blessing on those that were not 
offended in him, v. 6. So clear are these evidences 
of Christ's mission, that they who are not vvilftiUy 
prejudiced against him, and scandalized in him, (so 
the word is,) cannot but receive his doctrine, and so 
be blessed in him. Note, (1.) There are many things 
in Christ which they who are ignorant and unthink- 
ing are apt to be offended at some circumstances, 
for the sake of which they reject the substance of 
his gospel. The meanness of his appearance, his 
education at Nazareth, the poverty of his life, the 
despicableness of his followers, the slights which the 
great men put upon him, the strictness of his doc- 
trine, the conti-adiction it gives to flesh and blood, 
and the sufTerings that attend the profession of his 
name ; these are things that keep mar\v- from him, 
who otherwise cannot but see much of God in him. 
Thus he is set for the fall of many, even in Israel, 
(Luke 2. 34.) a Rock of offence, i Pet. 2. 8. (2.) 
They are happv' who get over these offences. Bless- 
ed are they. The expression intimates, that it is a 
difficult thing to conquer these prejudices, and a dan- 



124 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



gerous thing not to conquer them ; but as to those, 
who, notwithstanding this opposition, do believe in 
Christ, their faith will be found so much the more 
to praise, and honour, atid glory. 

7. And, as they departed, Jesus began 
to say unto tlie multitudes roncerning John, 
What went ye out into the wilderness to 
see 1 A reed shaken with the wind ? 8. 
But what went ye out for to see ? A man 
clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they that 
wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9. 
But what went ye out for to see 1 A pro- 
phet 1 yea, I say unto you, and more than 
a prophet. 10. For this is he of whom it 
is written. Behold, I send my messenger 
before tiiy face, which shall prepare thy 
way before thee. 1 1 . Verily I say unto 
you, among them that are born of women j 
there hath not risen a greater than John i 
the Baptist : notwithstanding, he that is 
least in the kingdom of heaven is greater j 
than he. 1 2. And from the days of John 
the Baptist until now the kingdom of hea- 
ven suffereth violence, and the violent take 
it by force. 1 3. For all the prophets and 
the law prophesied until John. 14. And 
if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which 
was for to come. 1 5. He that hath ears 
to hear, let him hear. 

We have here the high encomium which our Lord 
Jesus gave of John the Baptist ; not only to revive 
his honour, but to re\ i\e his work. Some of Christ's 
disciples might perha])s take occasion from the ques- 
tion John sent to reflect upon him, as weak and wa- 
vering, and inconsistent with himself, to prevent 
which Christ gives him this character. Note, It is 
our duty to consult the reputation of our brethren, 
and not only to remove, but to ob\'iate and prevent, 
jealousies and ill thoughts of them ; and we must 
take all occasions, especially such as discover any 
thing of infirmity, to speak well of those who are 
praise-woithy, and to gi\e them that fruit of their 
hands. John the Baptist, when he was upon the 
stage, and Christ in privacy and retirement, bore 
testimony to Christ ; and now that Christ appeared 
publicly, and John was under a cloud, he bore tes- 
timony to John. Note, They who have a confirmed 
interest themselves should improve it for the help- 
ing of the credit and reputation of others, whose cha- 
racter claims it, but whose temper or present cir- 
cumstances put them out of the way of it. This is 
giving honour to whom honour is due. John had 
abased himself to honour Christ, (John 3. 29, 30. ch. 
3. 11.) had made himself nothing, that Christ might 
be All, and now Christ dignifies him with this cha- 
racter. Note, They who humble themselves ^hall 
be exalted, and those that honour Christ he will 
honour ; those that confess him before men, he will 
confess, and sometimes before men too, even in this 
world. John had now finished his testimony, and 
now Christ commends him. Note, Christ resen^es 
honour for his servants when they have done their 
work, John 12. 26. 

Now concerning this commendation of John, ob- 
serve, 

T. That Christ spoke thus honourably of John, not 
in the hearing of John's disciples, but as they defiart- 
fd, just after they were gone, Luke 7. 24. He would 
iitt so much as seem to flatter John, nor have these 



praises of him reported to him. Note, Thougli we 
must be forward to give to all their due praise for 
their encouragement, yet we must avoid every thiiig 
that looks like flattery, or may be in danger of puff- 
ing them up. Tliey who in other things are mor- 
tified to the woi-ld, yet cannot well bear tlieir own 
praise. Pride is a con-upt humour, which we must 
not feed either in others or in ourselves. 

II. That what Christ said concerning John, was 
intended not only for his praise, but for tlie people's 
profit, to revive the remembrance of John's ministi-y 
which had been ^vell attended, but which was now 
(as other such things used to be) strangely forgotten : 
they did for a season, and h\\\.Jor a season, rejoice in 
his light, John 5. 35. "Now, consider, what ivent 
ye out into the wilderness to see? Put this question 
to yourselves." 1. John preached in the wilderness, 
and thither people flocked in crowds to him, though 
in a remote place, and an incom'c7iie7it one. If teach- 
ers be removed into corners, it is bettei- to go after 
them than to be without them. Now if his preach- 
ing was worth taking so much pains to hear it, surely 
it was worth taking some care to recollect it. The 
greater the difficuUies we ha\e broken through to 
liear the word, the more we are concerned to profit 
by it. 2. They went out to him to see him ; rather 
to feed their eyes with the unusual appearance of 
his person, than to feed their souls with his whole- 
some instiiictions ; rather for curiosity than for con- 
science. Note, Many that attend on the word come 
rather to see and be seen, than to leani and be taught, 
to have something to talk of, than to be made wise 
to salvation. Christ puts it to them, what went ye 
out to see.^ Note, Tliey who attend on the word will 
be called to an account, what their intentions and 
what their improvements were. We think when 
the seiTuon is done, the care is over ; no, then the 
gi-eatest of the care begins. It will shortly be asked, 
" ^^'hat business had you such a time at such an or- 
dinance ? Jiliat brought you thither? \\"as it cus- 
tom or company, or was it a desire to honour God 
and get good? mat have you brought thence? 
'\^'hat knowledge, and gi'ace, and comfort? Xl'hat 
went you to see?" Note, When we go to read and 
hear the word, we should see that we aim right in 
what we do. 

III. Let us see what the commendation of John 
was. They knew not what answer to make to 
Christ's question ; w ell, says Christ, " I will tell you 
what a man John the Baptist was." 

1. " He was a firm, resolute man, and not a reed 
shaken with the wind ; you ha^e been so in your 
thoughts of him, but he was not so. He was not 
wavering in his principles, nor uneven in his conver- 
sation ; but was remarkable for his steadiness and 
constant consistency with himself" They who are 
weak as reeds will be shaken as reeds ; but John was 
strong in spirit, Eph. 4. 14. \\'hen the wind of po- 
pular applause on the one hand blew fresh and fair, 
when the stoi-m of Herod's rage on the other hand 
grew fierce and blustering, John was still the same, 
the same in all weathers. The testimony he had 
borne to Christ was not the testimony of a reed, of a 
man who was of one mind to-day, and of another to 
morrow ; it was not a weather-cock testimony ; no, 
his constancy in it is intimated ; (John 1. 20.) he con- 
fessed, and denied not, but confessed, and stood to it 
afterwards, John 3. 28. And therefore this question 
sent by his disciples was not to be constnied into any ' 
suspicion of the ti-uth of what he had formerly said : 
therefore the people flocked to him, because he was 
not as a reed. Note, There is nothing lost in the 
long run by an unshaken resolution to go on with our 
work, neither courting the smiles, nor fearing the 
frowns of men. 

2. He was a self-denying man, and mortified to 
this world. " Was he a man clothed in soft raiment? 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



125 



If so, you would not have gone into the wilderness 
to see him, biit to the court. Vou went to sec one 
that li;u\ /;w raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern 
girdle about his loitia ; his mien and lialjit showed 
that he was dead to all the pomjjs of the world and 
the pleasures of sense ; his ilothnii^ agreed with the 
nvildernens he lived in, and the doctrine he preached 
there, that of repentance. Now you cannot think 
that he who was sucli a stranger t() the pleasures of 
a court, should l)e brought to cliange his mind by the 
terrors of a prison, ;md now to question whether 
Jesus be the Messiah or not !" Note, they who have 
lived a life of mortification, are least likely to be 
driven ofT from their religion by persecution. He 
was not a man clothed in soft raiment ; such there 
are, but they are in kins^s' houses. Note, It becomes 
people in all tlieir appearances to be consistent with 
then- character, and theii- situation. They who arc 
preachers must not affect to look like covirticrs ; nor 
must they whose lot is cast in common dwellings, be 
ambitious of the soft clothing which they wear who 
are in kings' houses. I'nidcnce teaches us to be of 
a /liece. John appeared rough and unpleasant, yet 
they flocked after him. Note, The remembrance 
of our former zeal in attending on the word of God, 
should quicken us to, and in, our present work : let 
it not be said that we ha\ e done and suffered so man)' 
things in z'uin, have run in vain, and laboured in 
vain. 

3. His greatest commendation of all was his office 
and ministry, which was more his honour than any 
personal endowments or qualifications could be ; and 
therefore this is most enlarged ujjon in a full enco- 
mium. 

(1.) He was a /iro/ihet, yea, and more than a /iro- 
fihel ; {v. 9.) so he said of him who was the great 
Prophet, to whom all the projjhets bare witness. 
John said of himself, he was not that projihet, that 
gi-eat ])rophet, the Messiah himseif ; and now Christ 
(a very competent Judge) says '^f him, that he was 
more than a /iro/thcl. He owned himself inferior to 
Christ, and Christ owned him superior to all other 
Ijrophets. ()bser\'C, The fnreruimer of Christ was 
not a king, but a pi-ophet, lest it should seem that 
the kingdom of the Messiidi had been laid in earthly 
power, hut his immediate forenmner was as such, 
a. transcendent prophet, more .han an Old-Testa- 
ment /iro/ihet ; they all did virtuou.ily, but John ex- 
celled them all ; the\' saiv Chri.it's day at a distance, 
and their \ision was yet for a great while to come ; 
hut John saw the dav dawn, he saw the sun rise, and 
told the ])eople of the Messi;>.h, as one that stood 
among them. They spake of Christ, but he pointed 
to him : thc\- said, „y virifin shall conceive, he said. 
Behold the Lamb of God I 

(2.) He was the same that was predicted to be 
Christ's forerunner, (t. 10.) This is he of whom it 
is vjritten. He was pro])hesied of by the other pro- 
phets, and therefore was greatei- than they. Mala- 
chi prophesied concerning John, Beliold, I send my 
7nessentcer before thy face. Herein some of Christ's 
honour was 'put upon him, that the Old-Testament 
prophets spake and wrote of him ; and this honoui- 
have all the saints, that their names are written in 
the Lamb's hook of life. It was gi-eat preferment 
to John abo\e all the prophets, that he was Christ's 
harbinger. He was a mcssent^er sent on a gi-eat er- 
rand ; a messenger, one amon!( a thousand, deriving 
his honour fi-om him whose messenger he was ; he 
IS my mes-tenffer, sent of God, and sent before the 
Son of God. His l)\isiness was to firc/iare Christ's 
way, to disjiose ijeojjle to receive the SaA'iour, bv 
discoxering to them their sin and miser\-, and theii- 
need of a Saviour. Tliis he had said of himself, 
fJohn 1. 23.) and now Christ said it of him ; intend- 
ing hereby not only to put an honour upon John's 
ministiy, but to revive people's regard to it, as mak- 



ing wav for the Messiah. Note, Much of the beauty 
of (Jod's disiiensations lies in their mutual connex- 
ion and coherence, and the reference they have one 
to another. That which advanced John above the 
Old-Testament prophets was, that he went imme- 
diately before Christ. Note, 'l"he nearer any are 
to Christ, the more tndy honourable they arc. 

(3.) There mis not a ip-eafer born oj women than 
John the Hajjtist, v. 11. Christ knew how to value 
persons according to the degrees of their worth, and 
he prefers John before all that went before hun, be- 
fore all that were born of women by ordinaiy gene- 
ration. Of all that CJod" had raised up and called to 
any service in his church, John is the most eminent, 
even beyond Moses himself ; for he began to jjreach 
the gospel-doctrine of remission of sin to those who 
are tnily penitent ; and he had more signal revela- 
tions from hea\cn th;m anv of them had ; for he 
sa-71' heaven o/iened, and the Holy Ghost descend. 
He also had great success in his ministry ; almost 
the whole nation flocked to him : none rose on so 
gi-eat a design, or came on so noble an errand, as 
John did, or had such claims to a welcome recep- 
tion. Man\- had been born of women that made a 
great figin-c in the world, but Christ prefers John 
befoi-e them. Note, Greatness is not to be mea- 
sured by appearances and outward splendour, but 
they are the gi-eatest men who are the greatest 
saints, and the gi-eatest blessings, who are, as John 
was, q-reat in the sight of the Lord, Luke 1. 15. _ 

Yet this high encomium of John has a surprismg 
limitation, notwithstanding, he that is least in the 
kingdom of heaven is greater than he. [1.] In the 
kingdom of glory. John was a great and good man, 
but he was yet in a state cf infiraiity and imperfec- 
tion, and therefore came short of glorified saints, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect. Note, 
First, There are degi'ees of gloiT in heaven, some 
that are less than others there ; though every vessel 
is alike full, all arc not alike large and capacious. 
Secondly, The least saint in heaven is greater, and 
knows more, and loves more, and does more m 
praising God, and receives more from him, than the 
gi-eatcst in this worid. The saints on earth are ex- 
cellent ones, (Ps. 16. 3.) but those in heaven are 
much more excellent : the best in this world are 
lower than the angels, (Ps. 8. 5.) the least there are 
e(iual with the angels, which should make us long 
for that blessed state, where the weak shall be as 
David, Zech. 12. 8. [2.] By the kingdom of hea- 
ven here, is rather to be understood the kingdom of 
grace, the gospel-dispensation in the perfection of 
its power rind purity ; and o fiixfirffo; — he that is 
less in that is irrealer than John. Some understand 
it of Christ himself, who was yovmgcr than John, 
and, in the oijinion of srme, less than John, who al- 
ways spoke diminishinglv of himself ; I am a worm, 
and no man, yet greater than John ; so it agrees 
with what John the Baptist said, (John 1. 15.) He 
that Cometh after me is preferred before me. But it 
is rather to be understood of the apostles and minis- 
ters of the .Yew-Testament, the evangelical pro- 
phets; and the comparison between them :md John, 
is not with respect to their personal sanctity, but to 
their office ; John preached Christ coming, but they 
preached Christ not only come, but crucified and 
tflori/ted. John came to the dawning of the gospel- 
day," and therein excelled the foregoing prophets, 
but he was taken off before the noon of that day, 
before the rending of the veil, before Christ's death 
and resurrection, and the pouring out of the Spirit ; 
so that the least of the apostles and evangelists, 
having gi-eater discoveries made to them, and being 
emplo\-cd in a gi-eater embassy, is greater than 
John. ' John did no miracles, the apostles wrought 
many. The ground of tl-.is preference is laid in tiie 
preference of the .A'fTO-Testament dispensat on lc 



126 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



that of tlie Old Testament. Ministers of the New 
Testament therefore excel, because their adminis- 
tration does so, 2 Cor. 3. 6, &c. John was a i?msci- 
mum (juod sic — t/w greatest of /lis order ; he went to 
the utmost that tlie dispensation he was under would 
allow ; but 7ninimum maxrimi est majus majcimo 
mmimi — the least of the highest order is superior to 
the first of the loivest : a dwarf upon a mountain 
sees further than a giant in the valley. Note, All 
the tnie greatness of men is derived from, and de- 
nominated Ijy, the gracious manifestation of Christ 
to them. I'iie best men are no Inciter than he is 
pleased to make them. What reason ha\e we to 
be thankful that our lot is cast in the days of the 
kingdom of heaven, under such advantages of light 
and love ? And the greater the advantages, the 
greater will the account be, if we receive the grace 
of God in vain. 

(4.) The great commendation of John the Baptist 
was, that God owned his ministry, and made it won- 
derfully successful for the breaking of the ice, and 
the preparing of people for the kingdom of heaven. 
From the days of the first appealing qi John the 
Balitist,'\\a\.\\ now, (which was not much above two 
years,) a great deal of good was done ; so quick was 
the motion when it came near to Christ the Centre : 
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence — fiid^iTui 
— vim fiatitiir, like the violence of an army taking 
a city by storm, or of a crowd bursting into a house, 
so the violent take it by force. The meaning of this 
we have in the parallel place, Luke 16. 16. Since 
that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every 
man presseth into it. Multitudes are wrought upon 
by the ministry of John, and become his disciples. 
And it is, 

[1.] .\n improbable multitude. Those strove for 
a place in this kingdom, that one would think had 
no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intmders, 
and to make a tortious entry, as our law calls it, a 
wrongful and forcibk one. When the children of 
the kingdom are excluded out rf it, and many come 
into it from the east and the ivcst, then it suffers vio- 
lence. Compare this with ch. 21. 31, 32. The pub- 
licans and harlots believed John, whom the Scribes 
and Pharisees rejected, and so went into the king- 
dom of God before them, took it over their heads, 
while they trifled. Note, It is no breach of good 
manners to go to heaven before our betters : and it 
is a great commendation of the gospel from the days 
of its infancy, that it has brouglit many to holiness 
that were very unlikclv. 

[2.] An importunate multitude. This violence 
denotes a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of 
desire and endeavour, in those who followed John's 
ministry, else they would not have come so far to 
attend upon it. It shows us also, what fervency and 
2.eal are required of all those who design to make 
heaven of their religion. Note, They who would 
; enter into the kingdom of heaven, must strive to en- 
ter ; that kingdom suffers a holy \-iolence ; self must 
be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, 
of the mind must be altered ; there are hard ser- 
vices to be done, and hard sufferings to be under- 
gone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature ; we 
must i-un, and wrestle, and fight, and be m a7i agony, 
and all little enough to win such a prize, and to get 
over such opposition from without and from within. 
The violent take it by force. They who will have 
in interest in the great salvation, are carried out 
-owards it with a strong desire, will have it upon 
anu terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their 
h'.ld without a blessing, Gen. 32. 26. They who 
will make their calling and election sure must give 
diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never in- 
ti^nded to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the 
lest of them that labour. It is a blessed sight ; Oh 
Mist we could see a greater number, not with an 



angry contention, thrusting others out of the king- 
dom of heaven, but with a holy contention, thrusting 
themselves into it ! 

(5.) The ministry of John was the beginning of 
the gospel, as it is reckoned, Mark 1. 1. Acts 1. 22. 
This is shown here in two things : 

[1.] In John tlie Old-Testament dispensation be- 
gan to die, V. 13. So long that ministration con- 
tinued in full force and virtue, but then it began to 
decline. Though the obligation of the law of Moses 
was not renioNcd till Christ's death, yet the discove- 
ries of the Old Testament began to be superseded 
bv the more clear manifestation of the kingdom of 
heaven as at hand. Because the light of the gospel 
(as that of nature) was to precede and make way 
for its laiv, therefore the prophecies of the Old Tes- 
tament came to an end (finis perficiens, not interfi- 
ciens — an end of completion, not oj duration,) before 
the precepts of it ; so that when Christ says, all the 
jirophets and the laiv profihesied until John, he 
shows us, First, How the light of the Old Testament 
was set up ; it was set up in the law and the pro- 
phets, who spoke, though darkly, of Christ and his 
kingdom. Observe, The lam is said to prophesy as 
well as the prophets, concerning him that was to 
come. Chri'i^. began at Aloses ; (Luke 24. 2".) Christ 
was foretold bv tlie dumb signs of the Mosaic work, 
as well as by the more articulate voices of the pro- 
phets, and was exhibited, not only in the verbal 
predictions, but in the personal and real types. 
Blessed be God that we have both the New-Testa- 
ment doctrine to explain the Old-Testament pro- 
])hecies, and the Old-Testament prophecies to con- 
firm and illustrate the New-Testament doctrine : 
(Heb. 1. 1.) like the two chenibim, they look at 
each other. The law was given by Moses long ago, 
and there had been no prophets for three hundred 
years before John, and yetthev are both said \.o pro- 
phesy untd John, Ijecause the law was still observed, 
and Moses and the prophets still read. Note, The 
script\ire is teaching to this day, though the penmen 
of it are gone. Moses and the prophets are dead ; 
the apostles and e\angelists are dead, (Zcch. 1. 5.) 
but the word of the Lord endures forever ; (1 Pet. 
1. 25.) the scripture is speaking expressly, though 
the writers are silent in the dust. Secondly, How 
this light was laid aside ; when he says, they /jro- 
fihesied until .John, he intimates, that their glory 
was eclipsed by the gloiT which excelled : their 
predictions superseded by John's testimony. Behold 
the Lamb of God I Even before the sun rises, the 
moming light makes candles to shine dim. Their 
prophecies of a Christ to come became cut of date, 
when John said. He is come. 

[2.] In him the New-Testament day began to 
dawn; for, {v. 14.) This is F.lias, that was for to 
come. John was as the loop that coupled the two 
Testaments; as Noah was /"/Aj^/a utriusque mundi 
— the link connecting both worlds, so was he utri- 
usque Testament! — the link connecting both Testa- 
ments. The concluding prophecy of the Old Tes- 
tament was. Behold, I will send you Elijah, Mai. 4, 
5, 6. Those words prophesied until John, and then 
being turned into a histoi-y, they ceased to prophesy. 
First, Christ speaks of it as a great tnith, that John 
the Baptist is the Elias of the New Testament ; not 
Elias in propria persona — in his own person, as the 
carnal Jews expected ; he denied that ; (John 1. 21.) 
but one that should come in the spirit and power of 
Elias, (Luke 1. 17.) like him in temper and conver- 
sation, that should press repentance with terrors, 
and especially as it is in the prophecy, that should 
turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Se- 
condly, He speaks of it as a trath, which would not 
be easily apprehended by those whose expectations 
fastened upon the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, 
and introductions to it agreeable. Christ suspec!"! 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



27 



the welcome of it, if ye will receive it. Not but that 
t was true, whether tlicy would receive it or not, 
but lie ui)ljraids them with their prejudices, that 
they were backwi.rd to receive the greatest tniths 
that were opposed to their sentiments, though never 
so favounible to their interests. Or, "U.yoti ivill 
reccri'e Aim, or if you will receive the ministry of 
John as that of the promised Elias, he will be an 
Elias to you, to turn you and prepare* you for the 
Lord." Note, (;i),s])el-tniths are, as they are re- 
ceived, a savour of life or death. Clirist is a Saviour, 
and Jolm an h'.lias, to those who will receive the truth 
conceniing them. 

Lastly, (.)ur Lord Jesus closes this discouree with 
a soleum demand of attention, (z'. 15.) He that 
hath earn to hear, let him hear : which intimates, 
that those things were dark and hard to be under- 
stood, and thewfore needed attention, but of great 
concern luid conse(iuence, and therefore well de- 
ser\ed it. " Let all people take notice of this, if 
John be the Klias prophesied of, then certainly here 
IS a great revolution on foot, the Messiah's kingdom 
is iit tlie door, and the world will shortly be surjirised 
into a hapijy change. These are things which vc- 
(juirc your serious consideration, and tliercfore you 
are all concerned to hearken to what I say." Note, 
The things of (iod arc of great and common concern, 
cvi'ry one that has ears to hear any thing, is con- 
cerned to hear this. It intimates, that (Iod requires 
no more from us but the right use and improvement 
of the faculties he has alreail)' given us. He rcciuircs 
those to hear that have cars, those to use their rea- 
son that have reason. Therefore people are igno- 
rant, not because they want power, but because they 
want will ; tliereforc they do not hear, because, like 
the deaf adder, they stoji their ears. 

16. But wlicrouiito shall I liken this ge- 
neration ? It is like unto children sitting in 
the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 

17. And saying, ^^^e have piped luito you, 
and ye have not danced ; we have mourn- 
nd unto j^ou, and ye have not lamented. 

18. For .Tohn came neither eating nor 
drinking; and they sa}-. He hath a devil. 

19. The Son of man came eating and 
drinking ; and they say, Behold a man 
gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of 
publicans and sinners. But Wisdom is 
justified of her children. 20. Then began 
lie to upiiraid the cities wherein most of 
his mighty works were done, because they 
repented not. 21. Woe unto thee, Clio- 
razin 1 woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! for if 
the mighty works which were done in you 
iiad lieen done in Tyre and Sidon, they 
would have repented long ago in sackcloth 
and ashes. 22. But I say unto you, It 
shall be more tolerable for I'yre and Sidon 
at tiie day of judgment, than for you. 23. 
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted 
unto heaven, slialt be brought down to 
hell : for if the mighty works which have 
been done in thee had been done in Sodom, 
it would have remained until this day. 
24. But I say unto you. That it shall be 
more tolerable for the land of Sodom in 
the day of judgment, than for thee. 



Christ was going on in the praise of John tne Bap- 
tist and his ministry, but here stops on a sudden, 
and timis that to the reproach of those who enjoyed 
both that, and the ministry of Christ, and bis ajjos- 
tles too, in vain. .\s to that generation, we may 
observe to whom he com/tarea them, \v. 16 — 19.) 
and as to the ])articular jjlaces he instances in, we 
may observe with whom he comjiarcH them, v. 
20—24. 

I. As to that generation, the body of the Jewisli 
people at that time. There were many indued that 
ju'essed into the kingdom of heaven ; but the gene- 
rality continued in unbelief and obstinacy. John was 
a great and good man, but the generation into which 
his lot was cast was as barren and unprofitaljle as 
could be, and unworthj' of him. Note, The badness 
of the places where good ministers live serves for a 
foil to their beauty. It was Noah's praise that he 
was righteous in his generation. Ma\ing conmicnded 
John, lie condemns tliosc who had him among them, 
and did not profit by his ministry. Note, The more 
praise-wortliy the minister is, the more blame-wor- 
thy the pco])ie are, if they slight him, and so it will 
be found in tlic d.av of account. 

This our Lord Jesus here sets forth in a parable, 
i,et speaks as if he were at a loss to find out a simili- 
tude proper to represent this, U'hercunto shall I 
liken this generation ? Note, There is not a greater 
absurdity than that which they are guilty of who 
have good preaching among them, and are never 
the better for it. It is hard to say what they are 
like. The similitude is taken from some common 
custom among the Jewish children at their play, 
who, as is usual with children, imitated the fashions 
of grown people at their marriages and funerals, re- 
joicing and lamenting ; but being all a jest, it made 
no impression ; no more did the ministry either of 
John the Baptist or of Christ u])on that generation. 
He especially reflects on the Scribes and Pharisees, 
w'lio had a proud conceit of themselves, therefore to 
humble them he compares tlicm to children, and 
their behaviom- to children's play. 

The parable will be best explained by opening it 
and the illustration of it together in these five obser- 
vations. 

Note, 1. The God of heaven uses a variety of pro- 
per means and methods for the conversion and salva- 
tion of poor souls ; he would have all ?nen to be saved, 
and therefore leaves no stone unturned in order to it. 
The gj'eat thing he aims at, is the melting of our 
nvitls into a compliance with the will of God, and in 
order to this, the affecting of us with the discoveries 
he has made of himself Having various affections 
to be wrought upon, he uses \arious ways of working 
upon them, which, though differing one from ano- 
ther, all tend to the same thing, and God is in them 
all carrying on the same design. In the parable, 
this is called his /lifting to us, and his mourning to 
us ; he hath ftified to us in the precious promises of 
the gospel, proper to work upon hope, and mourned 
to us in the dreadful threatcnings of the law, proper 
to work upon fear, that he might frighten us out of 
our sins and allure us to himself. He has fii/ied to 
■js\n gracious and merciful providences, mourned to 
us in calamitous, afflicting providences, and has set 
the one o\'er against the other. He has taught his 
ministers to change their voice: (Gal. 4. 20.) some- 
times to speak in thunder from mount Sinai, some- 
times in a still small voice from mount Sion. 

In the explanation of the parable is set forth the 
different temper of John's ministn- and of Christ's, 
who were the two great lights of that generation. 

(1.) On the one hand, John came mourning to 
them, neither eating nor drinking; not conversing 
familiarly with people, nor ordinarily eating in com- 
pany, but alone, in his cell in the wilderness, where 
his meal was locusts and wild honey. Now this, one 



128 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



would think, should work upon them ; for such an 
austere, mortified life as this, was very agi'eeable to 
the doctrine he jjreached ; and that minister is most 
likely to do good, whose convereation is according to 
nis doctiine ; and yet the preaching even of such a 
Tiinister is not always effectual. 

(2.) On the other hand, the Son of man came eat- 
ing and drinking, and so he pified unto them. Christ 
conversed familiarly with all sorts of people, not 
difecting any peculiar strictness or austerity ; he was 
affable and easy of access, not shy of any company, 
was often at feasts, both with Pharisees' and Publi- 
rans, to try if this would win upon those who were 
not wrought upon by John's reservedness : these who 
were not awed by John's frowns, would be allured 
by Christ's smiles ; from whom St. Paul learned to 
become all things to all men, 1 Cor. 9. 22. Now 
our Lord Jesus, by this freedom, did not at all con- 
demn John, any more than John did condemn him, 
though their deportment was so \ciy different. 
Note, Though we are never so clear in the goodness 
of our own practice, yet we must not judge of others 
by it. There may be a great dix'crsity of ofierations, 
where it is the same God that ivork-eih all in all, (1 
Cor. 12. 6.) and this various manifestation of the 
Sfiirie is given to ererii 7nan to profit wilhal,'v. 7. 
Observe especially, that God's ministers are vari- 
ously gifted : the ability and genius of some lies one 
way, of others, another wav : some are Boanergescs 
— sons of thunder ; others, Bamabases — sons of con- 
solation ; yet all these worketh that one and the self- 
same Spirit, (1 Cor. 12. 11.) and therefore we ought 
not to condemn either, but to praise both, and praise 
God for both, who thus tries various ways of dealing 
with persons of various tempers, that sinners may ^ 
oe either made pUable or left inexcusable, so that | 
whatever the issue is, God will be glorified. 

Note, 2. The various methods which God takes 
for the conversion of sinners, are with many fruitless 
and ineffectual ; " Ye have not danced, ye have not 
lamented ; you have not been suitably affected either 
with the one or with the other." Particular means 
have, as in medicine, their particular intentions, 
which must be answered, particular impressions, 
whicli must be submitted to, in order to the success 
of the gi'eat and general design ; now if people will 
be neither bound by laws, nor in\ited by promises, 
nor frightened by threatenings, will neitlier be awa- 
kened by the greatest things, nor allured by the 
sweetest things, nor startled by the most terrible 
things, nor be made sensible by the plainest things ; 
if they will hearken to the voice neitlier of scripture, 
nor reason, nor experience, nor providence, nor con- 
science, nor interest, what more can be done ? The 
bettoivs are burned, the lead is consumed, the founder 
melteth in vain ; rejirobate sih'cr shall w.en call them , 
Jer. 6. 29. Ministers' labour is bestowed in vain, 
(Isa. 49. 4.) and, which is a much greater loss, the 
grace of God received in vain, 2 Cor. 6. 1. Note, 
It is some comfort to faithful ministers, when they 
see little success of their laboui-s, tliat it is no new- 
thing for the best preacliers and best preaching in 
the world to come short of the desired end. JPio 
has bcliex'ed our report? If from the blood of the 
slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of those 
great commanders, Christ and John, returned so 
often empty, (2 Sam. 1. 22. ) no marvel if ours do so, 
and we prophesy to so little purpose upon dry bones. 
Note, 3. That commonly those persons who do 
not profit by the means of gi-ace, are perverse, and 
reflect upon the ministers oy whom they enjoy those 
means ; and because they do not get good themselves, 
they do all the hurt they can to others, by raising 
and propagating prejudices against the word, and 
the faithful preacliers of it. Those who will not 
comply with God, and walk after him, confront him, 
and walk contrary to him. So this generation did ; 



because they were resolved not to believe Christ 
and John, and to own them as they ought to have 
done for the best of men, they set themselves to 
aliuse them, and to represent them as the worst. 
(1.) As for John the Baptist, they sav. He has a de- 
vil. They imputed liis strictness and reservedness 
to melancholy, and some kind or degree of a posses- 
sion of Satan. " Why should we heed him ■' lie is a 
poor hypochondriacal man, full of fancies, and under 
the power of a crazed imagination." (2.) As for 
Jesus Christ, they imputed his free and obliging con- 
versation to the more vicious habit of luxuiy and 
flesh-pleasing ; Behold a gluttonous man and a wine- 
bibber. No reflection could be more foul and invi- 
dious ; it is the charge against the rebellious son, 
(Deut. 21. 20.) He is a glutton and a drunkard ; 
yet none could be more false and unjust ; for Christ 
pleased not himself, (Rom. 15. 3.) nor did ever any 
man live such a life of self-denial, mortification, and 
contempt of the world, as Christ lived : he that was 
undented, and separate fro7n sinners, is here repre- 
sented as in league witli them, and polluted by them. 
Note, The most uspotted innocency, and the most 
unpariilleled excellency, will not always be a fence 
against the reju'oach of tongues: nay, a man's best 
gifts and best actions, which are both well intended 
and well calculated for edification, may be made the 
matter of his reproach. The best of our actions may 
become the worst of our accusations, as David s 
fasting, Ps. 69. 10. It was true in some sense, that 
Christ was a Friend to publicans ayjd sinners, the 
best Friend they ever had, for he came into the world 
to save sinners, great sinners, even the chief ; so he 
said veiT feelingly, who had been himself not a. pub- 
lican and sinner, but a Pharisee and sinner ; but this 
is, and will be to eternity, Christ's praise, and they 
forfeited the benefit of it who thus turned it to his 
reproach. 

Note, 4. That the cause of this great unfruitful- 
ness and perverseness of people under the means of 
gi'ace, is because thev are like children sitting in the 
markets; they are foolish as children, froward as 
children, mindless and playful as children ; would 
they but show themselves men in understanding, there 
would be some hopes of them. The market-place 
they sit in, is to some a place of idleness ; {ch. 20. 3.) 
to others a place of worldly business ; (James 4. 13. ) 
to all a place of noise or diversion ; so that if you 
ask the reason why people get so little good by the 
means of grace, you will find it is, because they are 
slothful and trifling, and do not love to take pains ; 
or liecause their heads, and hands, and hearts are 
full of the world, the cares of which choke the word, 
and choke their souls at last, (Ezek. 33. 31. Amos 
8. 5.) and thev study to divert their own thoughts 
from eveiy thing that is serious. Thus in the mar- 
kets they are, and there they .lit ; in these things 
their hearts rest, and by them they resolve to abide. 
Note, 5. Though the means of grace be thus 
slighted and abused by manv, bv the most, yet there 
is a remnant that, through grace, do improve them, 
and answer the designs of them, to the glon* of God, 
and the good of their own souls. But wisdom is jus- 
tified of her children. Christ is ll'isdom ; in him are 
hid treasures of wisdom ; the saints are the children 
God has gix'en him, Heb. 2. 13. The gospel is wis- 
dom, it is the wisdom from above : tiiie believers are 
begotten again by it, and bom from above too : they 
are wise children, wise for themselves, and their true 
interests ; not like the foolish children that sat in the 
markets. These children of wisdom just fy wisdom ; 
they comply with the designs of Christ's grace, an- 
swer the intentions of it, and are suitably affected 
with, and impressed by, the various methods it 
takes, and so evidence the wisdom of Christ in taking 
these methods. This is explained, Luke ". 29. The 
publicans justified God, being baptizcd.ivith the bap- 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



121 



lifiii of John, and afterwards embracing the jjospel 
of t'lirist. Note, The success of the means of );race 
justifies the wistloni of (iod, in the elioice of these 
means, against those who cliari^e him with folly 
tlierein. 1 he cure of every patient, that observes 
tlie physician's orders, justifies the wisdom of the 
physician : and tlierefore I'aul is not aahamcd of t!ir 
i^oi/trl of Christ, liecause whatever it is to others, 
to ihi-m ihal bctifvr it ii the jioivcr of (iod unto *«/- 
valton, ;< im. 1. 16. When the cross of Christ, wliich 
to otliei-s is foolishness and a stum(itin:^-block, is /o 
them that are culled the r.'isdom of (iod, and the /lower 
of (iod, (1 Cor. 1. 2:), 2-1.) so that tliey make the 
knowled!J;e of tliat, the summit of their amliition, (1 
Cor. 2. 2.) and tlie efficacy of that, tlie crown of 
their gloryinj;, ((ial. 6. 14.1 here is wisdom jus- 
tified of her children. Wisdom's children are wis- 
dom's witnesses in the world, (Isa. 43. 10.) and shall 
be produced as witnesses in that dav, wlicn wisdom, 
that is navf justified h)- the saints, shall be iflorified 
in the saints, aiul admired in all them that brliri'e, 2 
Thess. . 1. 10. If the unbelief of some reproach 
Christ, by giving him the lie ; the faith of others 
shall honour liim, by setting to its seal that he is tnie, 
and that he also is wise, 1 Cor. 1. 25. Whether we 
do it or not, it will be done; not only (jod's equity, 
but his wisdom, tvUl be justified when he sfieaks, when 
he judges. 

Weil, this is the account Christ gives of that gene- 
ration, and that generation is not fiassed away, but 
remains in a succession of the like ; for as it was 
then, it nas been since and is still ; some beliere the 
things which are sjioken, and some believe not, Acts 
28. 24. 

II. As to the particular filaces in which Christ 
■was most conversant. Wliat he said in general of 
that generation, he applied in particular to those 
filaces, to affect them. Then began he to ufibraid 
them, V. 20. He began to preach to them long be- 
fore, (ch. 4. 1". ) but he did not begin to ufibraid till 
now. Note, Rough and unpleasing methods must 
not be taken, till gentler means ha\e first been used. 
Christ is not apt to ufibraid ; lie gives liberally, and 
u/ibraideth not, till sinners by their oljstinacv extort 
it from him. If'isdom first invites, but when her 
mvitatioiis arc sliglitcd, then she ufibraids, Prov. 1. 
20, 24. Those do not go in Christ's method, who 
y^oegin with upbraidings. Now observe, 

1. The sin charged upon them ; not any against 
the moral law, then an appeal woiild have lain to the 
gospel, which would ha\ e i-elicved, but a sin against 
the gospel, the remedial la>v, and that is impeniten- 
cy : this was it he upbraided them with, or reproach- 
ed them for, as the most shameful, ungi-ateful thing 
that could be, that they refiented not. Note, ^^'ilful 
impcnitency is the great damning sin of multitudes 
that enjoy the gospel, and which (more than any 
other) sinners will be upbraided with to etemitx'. 
The great doctrine that Ijoth John the Baptist, aiid 
Christ, and the apostles preached, was repentance ; 
the great thing designed, both in the fiifiing and in 
l\\e. mourning, was to prevail with people to change 
their minds and ways, to leave their sins and turn to 
God ; and this they would not lie brought to. He 
does not sa\-, because thev belin'ed not ; for some 
kind of faith many of them had, that Christ was a 
Teacher come from God ; but, because they refiented 
tnot: their faith did not prevail to the transforming 
of their hearts, and the reforming of their lives. 
Christ reproved them for their other sins, that he 
might lead tliem to repentance; but when tliey re- 
fiented not. He ufibraided them with that, as their 
refusal to be liealed: He ufibraided them with it, 
that they might upbraid themselves, and might at 
lengtlt see the folly of it, as that which alone makes 
, the sad case a desperate one, and the wound in- 
I curable. 

I Vol. V — R 



2. The aggravation of the sm ; they were thecitica 
in which most of his mighty works '.vire done; for 
thereabouts his priiuiijal residence had been for 
some time. Note, Some ])laces enjoy the means of 
gr.ice in greater plenty, power, and jHirity, than 
other places, (iod is a'free .\geiit, and acts so in all 
his dis])osals, both as the (Jod of nature, and as the 
(Iod (.f grace, common and distinguishing grace. 
U\- Clirist's might!/ works, they should have been 
prevailed with,"n<-t onh to recene his doctrine, but 
to obey his law ; the curing of bodily diseases should 
ha\ e been the healing <■>( t'lfi'' soul's, but it liad not 
that effect. Note, The stronger inducements we 
have to reiient, the mf)re heinous is the inipeniteu- 
l cv, and the severer will the reckoning be; forClirist 
i keeps account of the mighty works done among lis, 
and of the gracious works done for us too, by which 
also we should lie led to refientance, Rom. 2. 4. 

(1.) Chorazin and Bethsaida are here instanced, 
{v. 21, 22.) they have each of them their woe : Woe 
unto thee, Cliorazm, woe unlot'iee, Hethsaida. Christ 
came into the world to bless us, but if that blessing 
be slighted, he has woes in reserve, and his woes are 
of all'other the most ten-ible. These two cities were 
situate upon the sea of (ialilee, the foniier on the 
cast side, and the latter on the west, rich and po]iu- 
lous places ; Bethsaida was lately aihanced to a city 
bv I'hilip the tetrarch ; out of it Christ took at least 
three of his apostles : thus highly were these places 
fa\oured ! Yet because they knew not the clay of 
their visitation, thev fell under these woes, which 
stuck so close to them, that soon after this, they de- 
cayed, and dwindled into mean, obscure villages. So 
fatally does sin ruin cities, and so certainly does the 
word'of Christ take ])lace ! 

Now Chorazin and Bethsaida arc here compared 
with Tvre and Sidoii, two maritime cities we read 
much of in the Old Testament, that had been brought 
to niin, but began to flourish again ; these cities bor- 
dered upon Galilee, liut were in a \Qr\ ill name 
among the Jews for idolatry and other wickedness. 
Christ sometimes went into the coasts of Tyre and 
Sidon, {ch. 15. 21.) but never thither; the Jews 
would have taken it very heinously if he had ; there- 
fore Christ, to convince and humble them, here 
shows, 

[1.1 That Tyre and Sidon would not have been 
so bad as Chorazin and Bethsaida. If they had had 
the same word preached, and the same miracles 
wrought among them, they would have repented, and 
that jonif atrrj, as Nineveh did, in sackcloth and 
ashes. Christ, who knows the hearts of all, knew 
that if he had gone and li\ed among them, and 
preached among them, he should have done more 
good there, than where he was ; yet he continued 
where he was for some time, to encourage his mi- 
nisters to do so, though thev sCe not the success they 
desire. Note, among the children of disobedience, 
some are more easily wrought upon than others ; 
and it is a great aegravation of the impenitency of 
those who plentifuliv enjov the means of grace, not 
onlv that there are' many who sit under the same 
means that are wrought upon, Init that there are 
many more that would ha\e been wrought upon, it 
they' had enjoyed the same means. See Ezek. 3. 6, 
7. ' Our repentance is slow and delayed, but theirs 
would have been speedy; they would have repented 
long ago. Ours has been slight and superficial, 
theirs would have been deep and serious, in sack- 
cloth and ashes. Yet we must obsene, with an aw- 
ful adoration of the divine sovereignty, that the Tv- 
rians and Sidonians will justly perish in their sin, 
though, if they had had the means of gi-ace, they 
would ha\-e repented; for God is a debtor to no man. 
[2.] That therefore Tyre and Sidon shall not be 
so miserable as Chorazin and Bethsaida, but it shall 
be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment. 



130 



ST. .MATTHEW, XI. 



V. 2'j. Note, First, At the dcaj of judgment the 
everi^sning suae ot" tlie rliiUlren of nitn will, by an 
uiieiTirij; and iinalteriible diou!, be dtteiniined ; 
happiness or misery, and the several degrees of 
eacli. Therefore it is called the eternal judgment, 
(Heb. 6. 2.) because decisive of the eternal state. 
wCcondly, In that judgment, all the means of grace 
^Itiat were iCnjoyed in the state of probation will cef- 
f tainly come into the account, and it will be inquired, 
not only how bad we were, but how much better we 
might ha\'e been, had il not been our own fault, Isa. 
5. 3, 4. Thirdh', Though the damnation of all that 
perish will be intolerable, yet the damnation of those 
who had the fullest and clearest discoveries made 
them of the power and grace of Christ, and yet re- 
pented not, will be of all other the most intolerable. 
The gospel-light and sound open the faculties, and 
enlarge the capacities of all that see and hear it, 
either to receive the riches of divine grace, or (if 
that grace be slighted) to take in the more plentiful 
effusions of dri'ine wrath. If self-i-eproach be the 
torture of hell, it must needs be hell indeed to those 
who had such a fair opportunity of getting to heaven. 
Son, remember that. 

(2.) Capernaum is here condemned with an em- 
phasis, {v. 23.) " y{nd thou, Ca/irruaum, hold up 
thy hand, and hear thy doom." Caijcmaum, above 
all the cities of Israel, was dignified witli Christ's 
most usual residence ; it was like Shiloh of old, the 
l)lace which he chose to put his name there, and it 
fared with it as with Shiloh, Jer. 7. 12, 11. Christ's 
miracles here were duihj bread, and therefore, as the 
manna of old, were despised, and called light bread. 
Many a sweet and comfortable lecture of grace Christ 
had read them to little purpose, and therefore here 
he reads them a dreadful lecture! of wrath: those 
who will not hear the former, shall be made to feci 
the latter. 

We have here Capernaum's doom, 

[1.] Put absolutely: Thou nvhich art exalted to 
heaven, -ihall be brought down to hell. Note, First, 
Those who enjoy the gospel in power and puritv, 
are thereby e.ralted to heaven ; thex' have therein a 
great Inno'ur for the present, and a great advantage 
for eternity ; they are lifted up toward heaven ; but 
if, notwithstanding, they still cleave to the earth, thev 
may thank themsehes that they are not lifted up into 
heaven. Secondly, Gospel-advantages and advance- 
ments abused, will sink sinners so m\ich tlie lower 
into hell. Our external privileges will be so far from 
saving us, that if our hearts and lives be not agreea- 
ble to them, they will but inflame the reckoning : 
the higher the precipice is, the more fatal is the fall 
from it: Let us not therefore be high-minded, but 
fear; not slothful, but diligent. See Job 20. 6, 7. 

[2.] We have it here put in comparison witli the 
doom of Sodom — a place more remarkable, both for 
sin and ruin, than perhaps any other; and yet Christ 
here tells us. 

First, That Capernaum's means would have saved 
Sodom. If these miracles had been done among the 
Sodomites, as bad as they were, thev would have re- 
pented, and their city would have remained unto this 
day a monument of sparing mercv, as now it is of 
destroving justice, Judc 7. Note, Upon true repen- 
tance thiTOigh Christ, even the greatest sin shall be 
pai-doncd and the greatest ruin prevented, that of 
Sodom not excepted. Angels were sent to Sodom, 
and yet it remained not ; but if Christ had been sent 
thither, it would have remained: how well is it for 
us, then that the world to come Ufiut in subjection 
to Christ, and not to angels ! Heb. 2. 5. Lot would 
not have sremed as one that mocked if he had wrought 
miracles. 

Secondly, That Sodom's rain will therefore be less 
\t the great day than Capemaum's. Sodom will 
nave many sins to answer for, but not the sin of ne- 



glecting Christ, as Capeniaum will. If the gospel', 
prove a i,avour (,f dculli, ;i killing savour, it is uoubly / 
so ; it IS of death unto dculh, so great a death ; {2 I. or. 
2. 16.) C brist had said the same of all (jtlier places 
that receive not liis ministers nor bid his gospel wel 
come; {ch. 10. 15.) It Uiall be more totiruble fo' 
the land of Hodom than for that city. W'e that havt 
now the written word in our hands, the gosgel 
preached, and the gospel-ordinances administered 
to us, and live under the dispensation of the Spirit, 
have advantages not inferior to those of Chorazin, 
and Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and the account in 
the gre.it day will be accordingly. It has therefore 
been justly said, that the professors of this age, whe- 
ther they go to heaven or hell, will be the greatest 
debtors m either (jf these places ; if to heaven, the 
greatest debtors to divine mercy, for those rich 
means that brought them thither ; if to hell, the 
greatest debtors to divine justice, for those rich 
means that would have kept them from thence. _, 

25. At tliat time Jesus answered and 
said, I thank thee, O Fatlier, Lord of hea- 
ven and earth, because thou hast hid lliese 
things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes : 26. Even so, 
Fallier: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 
27. All things arc delivered unto me of my 
Father : and no man knoweth the Son but 
the Father; neither knoweth any man the 
Father, save the Son, and he to whomso- 
ever the Son will reveal hiin. 28. Coine 
unto me all 7jc that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take 
my yoke npon you, and learn of me ; for ] 
am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall 
find rest unto your souls : 30. For my yoke 
is easy, and my Inirdcn is light. 

In these verses wc have Christ looking up to hea- 
ven, with thanksgi\ ing to his Father for the so\e- 
reignty and security of the covenant of redemjjtion ; 
and looking around him upon this earth, with an of- 
fer to all the children of men, to whom thcscprescnts 
shall come, of the privileges and benefits of the co- 
\cnant of grace. 

I. Christ here returns thanks to God for his favour 
to those babes, who had the mysteries of the gospel 
revealed to them, {v. 25, 26.) Jesus answered and 
said. It is called an answer, though no other words 
are before recorded but his own, because it is so 
comfortable a reply to the melancholy considerations 
preceding, and is aptly set in the balance against 
them. The sin and ruin of those woeful cities, no 
doubt, was a grief to the Lord Jesus ; he could not 
but weeft ot'drthcm, as he did overJerwwletn; (Luke 
19. 41.) with this thought therefore he refreshes 
himself^; and to make it the moi-e refreshing, he puts 
it into a thanksgiving ; that for all this, there is a 
remnant, though but babes, to whom the things of 
the gospel are rexiealed: though Israel be not gather- 
ed, yet shall he be glorious. Note, we mav take great 
encouragement in looking upward to God, when 
round about us we see nothing but what is discourag-* 
ing. It is sad to see how regardless most men are 
of their own happiness, but it is comfortable to think 
that the wise and faithful (iod will, however, effec- 
tually secure the interests of his own glory. Jesus 
answered and .^aid, I thank thee. Note, Thanks- 
giving is a proper answer to dark and disquieting 
thoughts, and may be an effectual means to silence 
them. Songs of praise are sovereign cordials tu 
drooping souls, and will help to cure melancholy. 



ST. MAT'l'IlEW, XI. 



131 



When we have no other answer ready lo the sug- 
gestions of grief and four, \vc may have recourse to 
this, / r/iatii- l/irr, /■'al/irr ; let' us bless <;od that 
it is not worse with us than it is. 

Now in this thanksgiving^ of Christ, we may ob- 
serve, 

1. 'I'he titles he gives to (lod; Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth. Note, (1.) In all our a|)proar.1ies 
to G(k1, by ^jraise as well as by jjraver, it is good f<ir 
us to eye huii as a Father, and to fasten on that re- 
lation, not onlv when we ask fur the tneriies we want, 
but when we give thanks for the mercies we ha-.c 
received. Mercies are tlien dou1)ly sweet, and jiow- 
erful to enlarge the heart in praise, wlu-n they are 
received as tokens of a Father's love and gifts of a 
Fatlicr's hand: (Uviritr thuiik-x to llie Father ; Vo\. 
1. 12. It becomes children to be grateful, and to 
say, Thank you, father, as readily as, Fran, father. 
(2. ) W'lien wc come to CJod as a Father, we must 
withal remember, that he is Lord of heaven and 
earth ; which obliges us to come to hi'm with rever- 
ence, as to the sovereign Lord of all, and yet with 
confidence, as one able to do for us whatc\er we 
need or can desire ; to defend us fioni all e\ il and to 
supply us with all good. Christ, in Melchizedec, 
had long since hh-sned (iodna the Possessor, or Lord 
of heaven and earth ; and in all our thanksgivings for 
mercies in the stream, we must give him the glorv 
ot the all-siifliciencv that is in the fountain. 

2. The thing he gives thanks for : Becarise thou 
hast hid thesr things from the '.vise and prudent, and 
yet revealed them to babes. These thint(s ; he docs 
not say what things, but means the great things of 
the gosjjel, the things that belong to our fieace, Luke 
19. 42. He s])eaks thus emphatically of them, these 
things, because tliev were things that filled him and 
should fill us : all other things are as nothing to these 
t/iimrs. 

Note, (1.) The great things of the everlasting gos- 
pel hwe Iieen and are hid from many that were irise 
and /iruden/, that were eminent for learning and 
v/orldly policy; some of the greatest scholars and 
the greatest statesmen have !)een the greatest stran- 
gers to grspel mysteries: The ivorld bi/ r.'isdom kiie'zt' 
?iot God, 1 Cor. 1. 21. Nav, there is an oppositirn 
giv en to the gospel, b\- a seience fa/sehi so called, 1 
Tim. 6. 20. Those who ;ire m"st expert in things 
, sensible and secular, are commonh* least exjierienced 
in spiritu:d things. Men may dive deep into the 
mvstcries < f n:itiire, and the mvsteries of state, and 
yet be ignorant of, and mistake about, the mysteries 
of the Icingdom of heaven, {or v.a.nl of an experience 
of the power of them. 

(2.) \\"hile the leise and /irudent men ri{ t\\e \vorU\ 
are in the dark about gospel mvsteries, even the 
babes in Chri.-it have the sanctifying, sa\ing know- 
ledge of them : Thou hast rei<ealed them jinto 
babes : such the discijiles of Christ were : men of 
mean birth and education ; no scholars, no artists, 
no politicians, unlearned and ignorant men, Acts A. 
\". Thus are the secrets of wisdom which are dou- 
ble to that which is, (John 11. 6.) made known to 
babes and sucklings, that out of their tnouth strength 
might be ordained, (Ps. 8. 2. ) and God's /i raise there- 
by /lerfected. The learned men of the world were 
not mado-choice of to be the preachers of the gospel, 
but the foolish things of the tvorld, 1 Cor. 2. 6, 8, 10. 

(3.) This diflTcrence between the ftrudent and the 
Atzoc? is of (Jrel's own making. [1.] It is he that 
has hid these things from the Tvise and firudent ; he 
gave them parts, and Icaniing, and much of human 
understanding abi\'e others, and they were proud 
of that, and rested in it, and looked no further; and 
therefore Ood justly denies them the Spirit of wis- 
dom and revelation, and then, though thevh^ar the 
sound of the gospel-tidings, they are to them as a 
strange thing. God is not the Author of their igno- 



' ranee and erroi-, but he leaves them to themselves, 
I :ind their sin liecomos their ijunishment, and the 
,; Lord is rightecus in it. See Jolm 12. 39, 40. Kom 
11. 7, K. .\cts 2K. 26, 2r. H;id they honoured (iod 
with the wisdom and prudence they h;id, he would 
have given them t)ie knowledge of these bettci 
thnigs; but because they served their lusts with them, 
he h;is hid their hearts from this understanding. [2. ] 
It is he tlv.it has m'euled them unto babes. i'hmgs 
revealed bel.ing lo our childien, (Dent. 29. 29.) and 
to them \\v gix'es an understanding to receive these 
things, and the inipressif ns 'f them, 'i'hus he resists 
the /iroud, and gives grace to the humble. Jam. 4. 6. 

(4.) This dispens;ition must lie resolved into the 
divine sovereignty ; C'hrist himself referred it to 
that ; F.ven so. Father, for so it seemed t(ood in thy 
sight. Christ here subscribes to the wift of his Fa- 
ther in this matter ; F.ven so. Let Clod take what 
way he [deases to glorify himself, ;ind make use of 
what instruments he pleases for the earning on of 
his own work ; his grace is his own, ;uicl he mav 
give or withhold it as he jileases. We c;m give no 
reason why I'etei-, a fisherman, shoidd be made an 
I apostle, and not Nicodcmus, a Pharisee and a ruler 
of the Jews, though he also believed in Christ ; but 
so it seemed good m God's sight. Christ said this in 
the hearing of his disciples, to show them that it w-as 
I not for any merit of their own, that they were thus 
dignified and distinguished, but purely from God's 
I good pleasure : he made them to differ. 

(5.) This way of dispensing divine grace is to be 
acknowledged by us, as it was by our Lord Jesus, 
I with all thankfulness. \\'e must thank God, [1.] 
That these things are rex'ealed ; the mystery hid 
from ages and generations is manifested ; that'thev 
arc j-ei'ealed, not to a few, but to be published to all 
the world. [2.] That they are revealed to babes, 
that the meek and humble arc beautified with this 
salvation ; and this honour put upon those whom 
the world pours contempt upon. [3.] It magnifies 
the mercy to them, that these things are hid from 
the wise and firudent: distinguishmg favours are 
most obliging. As Job adored the name of the L.ord 
in taking aivay as well as in greing, so "mav we in 
hiding these things fro7n the ifise and firudent, as well 
as in tyvealing them unto babes ; not as it is their 
misery, but as it is a method by w hich self is abased, 
])roud thoughts brought down, all flesh silenced, 
and di\)ne power and wisdom made to shine the 
more bright. See 1 Cor. 1. 27, 31. 

II. Christ here makes a gracious offer of the bene 
fits of the gospel to all, and these are the thing* 
which are revealed to babes, v. 27, (Sfc. Observi: 
here, 

1. The solemn preface which ushers in this call 
or invitation, both to command our attenti< n to it, 
and to encourage our compliance with it. That we 
might have strong coTuolation, in fl\ing f r refuge 
to this hofie set before vs, Christ prefixes his autho- 
rity, produces his credentials ; we shall see he is 
empowered to make this offer. 

Two things he here lays before us, v. 27. 

(1.) His commission from the Father : Jill things 
are delivered unto me of my Father. Christ, as 
God, is equal in power and glory with the Father ; 
but as Mediator, he receives his power and glory 
from the Father ; has all judgment committed to 
him. He is authorized to settle a new covenant be- 
tween God and man, and to offer peace and happi 
ness to the apostate woi-ld, upon such terms as he 
should think fit : he was sanctified and scaled to be 
the sole Plenipotentiarv, to concert and establish 
this great affair. In order to this, he has all ficzeer 
both in heaven and in earth; {ch. 28. 18.) power 
over all flesh; (John 17. 2.) authority to execute 
judgment, John 5. 22, 27. This encourages us to 
come to Chri.st, that he is commissioned to receive 



132 



ST. MATTHEW, XI. 



us, and to give us what we come for, and has all 
things delivered to him for t^iat puipose, by him who 
is Lord of all. All powers, all treasures are in his 
hand. Observe, The father has delivered his all 
mto the hands of the Lord Jesus ; let us but deliver 
our all into his hand, and the work is done ; God 
has made him the great Referee, the blessed Days- 
man, to lay his hand upon us both : that which we 
have to do is to agree to the reference, to submit to 
the arbitration of the Lord Jesus, for the taking up 
of this unhappy controversy, and to enter into bonds 
to stand to his awaixl. 

(2.) His intimacy with the Father: A'o man 
/cnonvet/i the Son but the Father, neither knoiveth 
any man the Father save the Son. This gives us a 
further satisfaction, and an abundant one. .\m- 
bassadoi-s use to have not only their commissions, 
which they produce, but their instructions, which 
they reserve to themselves, to be made use of as 
there is occasion in their negotiations : i.ur Lord Je- 
sus had both, not only authority, but ability, for his 
imdertaking. In transacting the great business of 
our redemption, the Father and the Son are the 
parties principally concerned ; the counsel of/ieace is 
between them, Zech. 6. 13. It must therefore be a 
great encouragement to us to be asstn-ed, that they 
understood one another very well in this affair ; that 
'he Father knew the Son, and the Son knew the 
.""ather, and both perfectly, (a mutual consciousness 
we may call it, between the Father and the Son,) 
so that there could be no mistake in the settling of 
this matter ; as often there is among men to the 
overthrow of contracts, and the breaking of the 
measures taken, through their misunderstanding 
one another. The Son had lain in the bosom of the 
Father from eternity, he was a secretiorihus — of the 
cabinet-council, John 1. 18. He was bi/ him, as one 
brought u/i with him, (Prov. 8. 30.) so that none 
knows the Father save the Son, he adds, and he to 
whom the Son will reval him. Note, [1.] The 
happiness of men lies in an acquaintance with God ; 
it is life eternal, it is the perfection of rational beings. 
[2.] Those who would have an acquaintance with 
God, must ap])ly themselves to Jesus Christ ; for 
the light of the knowledge of the glorv of God shines 
in the face of Christ, 2 Cor. 4. 6. We are obliged 
to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the 
Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned ; 
there is no comfortable intercourse between a holv 
God and sinful man, but in and bv a Mediator, John 
14 6. 

2. Here is the offer itself that is made to us, and an 
invitation to accept of it. .\ftcr so solemn a preface, 
we may well ex])ect something yerv great ; and it is 
so, a faithful saying, and well worthy of all accefita- 
tion ; words whereby we may be .mved. We are 
here invited to Christ as our Priest, Prince, and 
Prophet, to be sa\ed, and, in order to that, to be 
ruled and taught, by him. 

(1.) We must come to Jesus Christ as our Rest, 
and repose ourselves in him, (t. 2S.) Come unto me, 
allye that labour. Observe, [].] The character of 
the persons invited ; all that labour, and are heavy 
laden. This is a word m season to him that is wea- 
ry, Isa. 50. 4. Those who complain of the burden 
of the ceremonial law, which was an intolerable 
yoke, and was made much more so bv the tradition 
of the elders, (Luke 11. 46.) let them come to 
Christ, and they shall be ninde easv ; he came to 
free his church from this yoke, to cancel the impo- 
sition of those carnal ordinances, and to introduce a 
purer and more spiritual way of worship : but it is 
rather to be understood of the burden of sin, both 
the guilt and the power of it. Note, All those, and 
those only are invited to rest in Christ, that are sen- 
'■.ible of sin as a burden, and groan under it, that are 
n ■■'. only convinced of the evil of sin, of their own 



sin, but are contrite in soul for it ; that are really 
sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world 
and of the flesh ; that see their state sad and danger- 
ous by reason of sin, and are in pain and fear about 
it, as Ephraim, (Jer. 31. 18 — 20.) the prodigal, 
(Luke 15. 17.) the publican, (Luke 18. 13.) Peter's 
hearers, (Acts 2. 37.) Paul, (Acts 9. 4, 6, 9.) the 
jailor, Acts 16. 29, 30. This is a necessary prepa- 
rative for pardon and peace. The Comforter must 
first convince ; (John 16. 8.) I have tom, and then 
will heal. 

[2.] The invitation itself : Come unto me. That 
glorious display of Christ's greatness which we had, 
(x'. 27.) as Lord of all, might frighten us from him, 
but see here how he holds out the golden scefttre, 
that we may touch the top of it and may live. Note, 
It is the duty and interest of weai-y and heavy laden 
sinners to come to Jesus Christ'. Renouncing all 
those things which stand in opposition to him, or in 
competition with him, we must accept of him, as 
our Physician and Advocate, and give up ourselves 
to his conduct and government ; freclv willing to be 
Siaved by him, in his own way, and upon his own 
terms. Come and cast that burden ufion him, under 
which thou art heavy laden. This is the gospel- 
call. The Spirit sailh, Come ; and the bride saith. 
Come; Let him that is athirst come: JVhoex'er will, 
let him come. 

[3. ] The blessing promised to those that do come : 
/ will g'rve you rest. Christ is our Noah, whose name 
signifies rest, for this same shall give us rest. Gen. 
5. 29. — 8. 9. Truly rest is good, (Gen. 49. 15.) es- 
pecially to those that labour, and are heavy laden, 
Eccl. 5. 12. Note, Jesus Chn'st will give assured 
rest to those weary souls, that bv a lively faith come 
to him for it ; rest from the terror of sin, in a well- 
grounded peace of conscience ; rest from the power 
of sin, in a regular order of the soul, and its due go- 
vernment of itself : a rest in God, and a complacen- 
cy of soul in his love, Ps. 11. 6, 7. This is that rest 
which remains for the /leop.le of God, (Heb. 4. 9.) 
begun in grace, and perfected in irloiT. 

(2.) We must come to Jesus Christ as our niler, 
and submit ourselves to him, {v. 29.) Take my yoke 
ufion you. This must go along with the former, for 
Christ is exalted to be both a Prince and Saviour, 
a Priest upon his throne. The rest he promises is a 
release from th-? drudgery of sin, not fi-om the ser- 
vice of God, but an obligation to the duty we owe to 
him. Note, Christ has a yoke for our necks, as 
well as a crown for our heads, and this yoke he ex- 
pects we should take ufion us and draw in. To call 
those who are wearv and heavy laden, to take a 
yoke upon them, looks like adding affliction to the 
afflicted ; but the pertinency of it lies in the word 
my: "You are under a yoke which makes vou 
weary, shake that off and tr\- mine, which will make 
vou easy." Servants are said to be under the yoke, 
(1 Tim.' 6. 1.) and subjects, 1 Kings 12. 10. To' take 
Christ's yoke upon us, is to put ourselves into the 
relation of servants and subjects to him, and then to 
conduct ourselves accordingly, in a conscientious . 
obedience to all his commands, and a cheerful sub- j 
m'ssion to all his disposals : it is to obey the gospel ' 
of Christ, toyield ourselves ?o/Af/.orf/; it is Christ's 
yoke; the yoke he has appointed; a yoke he has 
himself dra .vn in before us, for he learned obedience, 
and which he does bv his Spirit draw in with us, for 
he helpeth our infirmilies, Rnm. 8. 26. A yoke 
speaks some hardship, but if the beast must draw, 
the i/oX-f helps hipj. Christ's commands are all in 
our favour : we must take this yoke nfxon us to draw 
in it. We are yoked to work, and therefore must 
be diligent ; we are voked to submit, and therefore 
must be humble and patient : we are yoked toge- 
ther with our fellow-servants, and therefore must 
keep up the communion of saints : and the words 



ST. MATTHEW, XII. 



133 



of the ivitc are as goads, to those who arc thus 
yoked. 

Now this is the h;in\cst part of our lesson, aiul 
therefore it is qualified, (t'. ;>0.) Mu ijoke is may 
and :iy burden is light ; you need not be afraid of it. 

[1.] The yoke of Christ's commands is an easy 
\yoke ; it is ;k/i»s-t'c, not only easy, but gracious, so 
! the word sii^nifies ; it is sweet and jjleasant ; there 
is nothing in it to gall the yielding neck, nothing to 
hurt us, but on the contrarv, nuicli to refresh us. It 
is a yokr tliat is lined witli love. Such is the nat\n'c 
of all Christ's commands, so reasonable in them- 
selves, so profitable to us, and all summed up in one 
word, and that a sweet word, love. So powerful 
are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the en- 
couragements, and so strong the consolations that are 
to be found in the way of duty, that we may tnily 
say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. It is easy to the 
new nature, \ ery easy to him that undrrstandeth, 
Prov. 14. (i. It may be a little hard at first, but it is 
easy afterwards ; the love of God and the hope of 
heaven will make it easii. 

[2.] The burden of Christ's cross is a light bur- 
den, very light: afflictions from Christ, which be- 
fall us as men ; afflictions for Chiist, which befall 
us as christians ; the latter are especially meant. 
This burden in itself is not jovous, but griex'ous ; 
yet as it is Christ's, it is light. Vaul knew as much 
( f it as any man, and he calls it a light affliction, 2 
Cor. -t. \7. God's presence, (Isx 43. 2.) Christ's 
svmpathy, (Is;i. 63. 9. Dan. 3. 25.) and especially 
tlie Sjjirit's aids and comforts, (2 Cor. 1. 5J make 
sufTermg for Christ light and easy. As afflictions 
abound, and are prolonged, consolations abound, and 
are prolonged too. Let this therefore reconcile us 
to the difficulties, and help us over the discourage- 
ments, we may meet with, both in doing work and 
suffering work ; though we may lose _/br Christ, we 
shall not lose by him. 

(3.) We must come to Jesus Christ as ourTeach- 
'cr, and set ourselves to leam of him, v. 29. Christ 
has erected a great school, and has invited us to be 
his scholars. \\'e must enter ourselves, associate 
with his scholars, and daily attend the instractions 
he gives l)y his word and Spirit ^^'e must converse 
much with what he s.iid, ajid have it ready to use 
upon all occasions ; we must conform to what he 
did, and follow his steps, 1 Pet. 2. 21. Some make 
the following words, for I am meek and lo-vly in 
heart, to be the particular lesson we are required to 
learn from the example of Christ. We must learn 
of him to be meek and lowlu, and must mortifv our 



e must so learn of Christ as to learn Christ, (Eph. 
he is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide 



pi ule and passion, which render us so unlike to him. 

We must ; ' 

4. 20.) for 

and \Vay, and .\11 in All 
Two rea.sons are given why we must leam of 

Christ. 
[1.] / am meek and tonvly in heart, and therefore 

tit to teach you. 
First, He is meek, and can have com/iassion on the 

Ignorant, whom others would be in a passion with. 

.Many able teachers are hot and hasty, which is a 

'treat discoin-agement to those who are dull and 

vow ; but Christ knows how to bear with such, and 

to open their understandings. His carriage toward 
Jiis tv^elve disci^iles was a specimen of this ; he was 
mild and gentle with them, and made the best of 
them ; though they were heedless and forgetful, he 

jvvas not extreme to mark their follies. Secondly, 
\He is lowly in heart. He condescends to teach poor 
Scholars, to teach novices ; he chose disciples, not 
from the court, nor the schools, but from the sea- 
side. He teaches the first principles, such things as 
are milk for babes ; he stoops to the meanest capa- 
cities ; he taught Ephi-aim to go, Hos. 11.3. ^\ ho 
'caches like him .' It is an encouragement to us to 



])ut ourselves to schorl to such a Teacher. This 
lumiility and meekness, as it (|Ualifies him to b ■ a 
Te.icher, so it will be tiic best qualification of th se 
who are to be taught by him ; for the meek Viill he 
guide mjudgmeul, Ps. 25. 9. 

[2. ] 1 c/U shall jfind rest to your souls. This pi-o- 
mise is borrowed from Jer. 6. 16. for Christ delight- 
ed to express hunself in the language of the pro- 
pliets, to show the liarnionv between the two Testa- 
ments. Note, First, Rest for the soul is the most 
desirable rest ; to ha\ e the soul to ilii'ctl ut ease. 
Secondly, The only way, and a sure wa)' to find rest 
for our souls is, to sit at Christ's feet and hear liis 
word. 'l"he way of duty is the way of rest. The 
understanding finds rest in ^h^.^ knowledge of Cod. 
and Jesus Christ, and is there abundantly satisfied, 
finding that wisdom in the gospel which has been 
sought for in vain throughout the whole creation, 
Job 28. 12. The truths Christ teaches are such as 
: we may \ enturc our souls upon. The affections find 
' rest in the love of (Jod and Jesus Christ, and meet 
with that in them which gives them an abumlant 
satisfaction; quietness and assui-ancc for ever. And 
those satisfactions will be perfected and perpetuated 
in heav en, where we shall see and enjoy (Jod imme- 
; diately, .shall sec him as he is, and enjoy him as he 
is ours. This rest is to be had with Clirist for all 
those who leam of him. 

Well, this is the sum and substance of the gospel- 
call and offer: we are here told, in a few words, 
what the Lord Jesus rctjuircs of us, and it agrees 
with what Clod said of him once and again. I'his 
is my beloved Son, in whom' I am well fileased ; hear 
ye him. 

CHAP. XII. 

!n this chapter, we have, I. Christ's clearing of the law of 
tlie fourth comniandmerit coiict-rning the Sabhatli-daj'", and 
viiidicatino; it from some superstitious notions advanced 
by tlie Jewish teachers; showing tiiat works of m-cessity 
and mercy are to be done on that day, v. 1 . . !3. [1. The 
prudiiicc, humility, and self-denial of our Lord .lesus in 
xvorlcing his miracles, v. 14. . 21. III. Christ's answer to 
the blaspliemous cavils and calumnies of tlie Scribes and 
Pliarisees, who imputed liis casting out devils to a compact 
with the Devil, v. 22 . . 37. IV. Christ's reply to a tempt- 
ing demand of the Scribes and Pharisees, challenging him 
to show them a sign from heaven, v. 38. . 45. V. Christ's 
judgment about his kindred and relations, v. 46 . . 50. 

K ,4 T that time Jesus went on the Sab- 
^' V bath-day through the corn ; and his 
disciples were an hungred, and began to 
phick the ears of corn, and to eat. 2. But 
when the Pharisees saw if, they said unto 
him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is 
not lawful to do upon the Sabbath-day. 
3. But he said unto them, Have ye not 
read what David did when he was an hun- 
gred, and they that were with him ; 4. 
How he entered into the house of God, 
and did eat the shew-bread, which was not 
lawful for hiin to eat, neither for them 
which were with him, but only for the 
priests ? 5. Or have ye not read in the 
law, how that on the Sabbath-days the 
priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, 
and are blameless ? 6. But I say unto 
you, that in tliis place is one greater tlian 
the temple. 7. But if ye had known what 
t/iis meaneth, I will have mercy, and not 
sacrifice, ye would not have condemned 



134 



ST. MATTHEW, Xll. 



ihe guiltless. 8. For the Son of man is 
Lord even of the Sabbath-day. 9. And 
when he was departed thence, lie went 
into their synagogue: 10. And, beliold, 
there was a man which had his hand 
withered. And they asked him, saying, Is 
it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-days ? 
that they might accuse him. 1 1 . And he 
said unto them. What man shall there be 
among you that shall have one sheep, and 
if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will 
he not lay hold on it, and lift it out 1 12. 
How much then is a man better than a 
sheep ? Wherefore it is lawful to do well 
on the Sabbath-days. 13. Then saith he 
to the man. Stretch forth thine hand. And 
he stretched it forth ; and it was restored 
whole, like as the other. 

The Jewish teachers had coriupted many of the 
commandments, by intcipreting them moi-e loosely 
than they were intended ; a mistake which Chi-ist 
discovered and rectified, {c/i. 5.) in his sermon on 
the mount: but concerning tlie fourth command- 
ment, they had erred in the other extreme, and in- 
terpreted it too strictl)'. Mote, It is common for 
men of corrupt minds, by their zeal in rituals, and 
the external services of religion, to think to atone 
for the looseness of their morals. But they are 
cursed who add to, as well as thev who tatce from, 
the words of this book. Rev. 22. 16, 19. Prov.'SO. 6. 

Now that which our Lord Jesus here lays down 
is, that the works of necessity and merr^• are lawful 
on the Sabbath-da;-, which the Jews in many in- 
stances were taught to make a scrujjle of. Christ's 
industrious explanation of the fourth commandment, 
intimates its perpetual obligation to the religious ob- 
servation of one day in seven, as a /loly sabbath. He 
would not expound a law that was immediately to 
expire, but doubtless intended hereby to settle a 
I)omt whicli would be of use to his church in all 
ages ; and so it is to teach us, that our christian sab- 
bath, though under the direction of the fourth com- 
mandment, is not under the injunctions of the Jew Ish 
elders. 

It is usual to settle the meaning of a law by judg- 
ments given upon cases that happen in fact,' and in 
like manner is the meaning of this law settled. Here 
are two passages of story put together for this pur- 
pose, happenmg at some distance of time from each 
other, and of a different natin-e, but both answering 
this intention. 

1. Christ, by justifying his disciples in plucking 
the ears of corn on the sal)bath-dav, shows that 
•works of necessity are taivfui on that day. Now 
here obser\e, 

1. What it was that the disciples did. They were 
following their Master one sabbath-day through a 
corn-field ; it is likely they were going to the syna- 
gogue, (v. 9. for it becomes not Christ's disciples to 
take id/e vjalks on that day,) and they -irre hiing-ry : 
letitbe no disparagement to our Master's hous"e- 
keeping. ' But we will suppose thev were so intent 
upon the sabbath-work, that they forgot to eat 
bread; had spent so much time in their morning 
worship, that they had no time for their moniing 
meal, but came out fasting, liecause the\- would not 
nme late to the svnagogue. Providence ordered it 
that they went through the corn, and there they 
were supplied. Note, Gnd has manv wa\s of bring- 
ing suitable jirovision to liis people when the\- need 

t, and will take particular care of them when thev 



are going to the synagogue, as of old foi th.m that 
went up to Jenisalem to worship, (Ps. 84. 6, 7.) for 
whose use the rain filled the pools : while we are in 
tlie wav of duty, Jehovah-jireh, let God alone to 
l)rovide for us. Being in the corn-fields, they began 
to filuck the ears of corn ; the law of God allowed 
this, (Deut. 23. 25.) to teach people to be neigh- 
bourly, and not to insist upon property in a small 
matter, whereby another may be benefited. This 
was but slender provision for Christ and his disci- 
ples, but it was the best they had, and they were 
content with it. The famous Mr. Ball, of \\'hit- 
more, used to say he had two dishes of meat to his 
sabbath-dinner, a dish of hot milk, and a dish of 
cold, and he had enough and enough. 

2. What was the offence that tlie Pharisees took 
at this. It was but a dry breakfast, yet the Phari- 
sees would not let them eat that in quietness. They 
did not quarrel with them for taking another man's 
com, (they were no great zealots for justice,) but 
for doing it on the sabbath-day ; for plucking and 
rubbing the ears of com on that day, was expressly 
forbidden bv the tradition of the elders, for this rea- 
son, because it was a kind of reafiing. Note, It is 
no new thing for the most Harmless and innocent 
actions of Christ's disci])les to be evil spoken of and 
reflected upon as unlawful, especially by these who 
are zealous for their own in\entii nsand imprsitions. 
The Pharisees complained of them to their Master 
for doing that which it was not lawful to do. Note, 
Those are no friends to Chiist and his disciples, 
who make that to be unlawful which CJod has not 
made to be so. 

3. What was Christ's answer to this cavil of the 
Pharisees. The disciples could say little for them- 
selves, especially because those who quarrelled with 
them seemed to have the strictness of the sabbath- 
sanctification on their side ; and it is safest to err on 
that hand : but Christ came to free his followers, 
not only from the cormptions of the Pharisees, but 
from their unscriptui-al impositions, and therefore 
has something to say for them, and justifies what 
thev did, tliough it was a transgression of the canon. 

(1.) He justifies them by precedents, which were 
allowed to be good by the Pharisees themseh es. 

[1.] He urges an ancient instance of David, who 
in a case of necessity did that which others i:e he 
ought not to have done; {v. 3, 4.) "Have ye not 
rrarf the ston- (1 Sam. 21.- 6.) of David's eating the 
shew-bread, which bv the law was ap])ropnaied to 
the priest? (Lev. 24. 5 — 9.) It is tnost holy to .iaron 
and his sons; and (Kxod. 29. 33.) a strar^er shall 
not eat of it ; }et the priest gave it to Da\i<I and his 
men ;" for though the exception of a c''se cf nec<->- 
sity was not expressed, yet it was implied in tl.ut 
and all other ritual institutions. That which here 
out David in eating the shew-bread was not his dig- 
nity, (Uzziah, that invaded the priest's rffice in the 
pride of his heart, though a king, was stn\ck w ith 
a lejjrosy for it, 2 Chron. 26. 16, &c. ) but his hunger. 
The greatest shall not have their lusts indulged, 
but the meanest shall have their wants considered. 
Hunger is a natural desire which cannot be moiti- 
fied, but must be gratified, and cannot be jiut off 
with any thing: but meat ; therefoi-e we say, It will 
break tlirough stone walls. Now the Lord is for 
the body, and allowed his own appointment to be 
dispensed with in a case of distress ; much more 
might the tradition of the elders be dispensed with. 
Note, That may be done in a case of necessity, 
which mav not be done at another time ; there are 
laws which neressitv has not, but it is a law to itself. 
Men do not despise, but pit\-, a thief that steals *o 
satisfii his soul when he is hungry, Prov. 6. 30. 

[2.] He urees a daily instance of the priests, 
which they likewise read in the lai:', and according 
to which was the constant usage, x: 5. The Ju-ns-t 



ST. MA'J'TMEW, XU. 



135 



m ihe limftle did a great deal of servile work on the 
snbl);ali-diy ; killini;, fl;iyini;, biiniini; the sacrificed 
beasts, which in a conimmi rase wciuld hax'c been 
firofanin^ the sabbath ; and yet it was never reckon- 
ed any transgression of the fourth cnninianchTient, 
because tl>e temple-service re(]iiired and justified it. 
This intimates, that those labuurs are lawful on the 
sabb:ilh-da\- which are necessary, not only to the 
aufifwrt of life, but to the service of (he ciaij ; as 
tolbng a bell to call the congregation togethei-, tra- 
velling to cluirch, and the like. Sabbath-rest is to 
promote, not to hinder, sabbith-worshi]). 

(2. ) He justifies them by arguments, three cogent 
ones. 

[1.] In this ftlace is one greater than the tem/i/e, 
V. 6. If the tcm])lc-scr\ice would justify what the 
priests did in their ministration, the service of Christ 
would much more justify tl\e disciples in what they 
did in their attendance upon him. The Jews had 
an extreme veneration for the temple, it sanctified 
the gold ; Stephen was accused ior blasflheming- that 
holy filace ; (.\cts 6. 13.) but Christ, in a coni-field, 
was greater than the lem/ile, for in him dwelt not 
the /iresence of God symbolicallv, but all the fulness 
of the Godhead h'jdilii. Note, Tf, whatever we do, 
we do it in the name of Christ, .ind as unto him, it 
shall be graciously accepted of God, however it may 
be censured and cavilled at by men. 

[2. ] God -fill have mercu, and not sacrifice, v. 7. 
Ceremonial chities must give wav to moral, and the 
natural, royal law of love and self-preservation must 
take place of ritual observances. This is quoted 
from Hos. 6. 6. It was used before, ch. 9. 13. in 
vindication of mercy to the souls of men ; here, of 
mercy to their bodies. The rest of the s,ibbath was 
oi-dained for man's good, in favour of the bo<ly, Deut. 
5. 14. Now no law must be constnied so as to con- 
tradict its own end. If you had kno'i'n v.'hat this 
means, had known what it is to be of a merciful dis- 
po.sition, you would have been sorry that thev were 
forced to do this to satisfy their hnns;er, and would 
7iot hive condemned the guiltless. Note, First, Ig- 
norance is the cause of our rash ;uid uncharitable 
censures of ovu' brethren. Secondly, It is not enough 
for us to know the scriptures, but we must labour to 
tno'H' the meaning of them. I^t him that readeth 
understand. Thirdly, Ignorance of the meaning of 
the scripture is especially shameful in those who 
take upon them to teacV) others. 

[3.] The .Son of man is lord even of the sabbath- 
day, V. 8. That law, as all the rest, is put into the 
hand of Chi'ist, to be altered, enforced, or dispensed 
with, as he sees good. It was bv the Son that God 
made the world, and by him he instituted the sab- 
bath in innocency ; by him he ,ga\ e the ten com- 
mandments at mount Sinai, and as Mediator he is 
intrusted with the institution of ordinances, and to 
make what c.h:uines he thought fit ; and particularlv, 
as being hord of the sabbath, he was authorized to 
mike such an alteration of that dav, as that it should 
become the Lord's dav, the Lord Christ's dav. .\nd 
if Christ be the Lord of the sabbath, it is fit the dav 
and all the work of it siiould be dedicated to him. 
Bv virtue of this power, Christ here enacts, that 
works of necessity, if they be really such, and not 
a pretended and self-created necossitv, are lawfid 
on tho s ibbath-day : and this explication of the law 
plainlv shows that it was to be perj^etual. F.Tcefuio 
firmat regutam — The erce/ition confirms the rule. 

Christ hiving thus silenced the Pharisees, and 
got cle.ar of them, {v. 9.) defiarted, and '.vent into 
their .<tunagogue, the svnagogue of these Pharisees, 
in which they presided, and toward which he was 
goins, when they picked this quarrel with him. 
Note, First, We must take heed lest anv thing that 
occurs in our way to holy ordinances unfit >is for, or 
, divert us from, our due attendances on them. I..et 



us proceed in the way of our duty, notwithstanding 
the ai-lifices if Satan, who endeavours, by the /icr- 
verse disfiulings of men of con u fit minds, and many 
other ways, to rutlle and discompose us. Secondly, 
We must not, f<>r the sake of private feuds and 
personal ])ir|ues, dr.iw back from public worship. 
Though ttie Pharisees had thus maliciously cavilled 
at Christ, yet he lernt into their synagogue. Satan 
gains his point, if, bv sowing discord among brethren, 
he prevail to drive them, or any of them, from the 
synagogue, and the comnumiiMi'of the faithful. 

II. Christ, by healing Ihe nuin that had ihi v.'ither- 
ed hand on the subhalh-day, shows that works of 
mercy ai-e lawful and pro])er to be done on that day. 
The work of necessity was done by the (tiscijiles, 
and justified by him ; the work of merrv was done 
by himself; the works of mercy were his works of 
necessitv ; it was his jneat and itrinh to do good. I 
must fireach, says he, Luke 4. 43. This cui-e is i^e- 
corded for the sake of the time when it was wrought, 
on the sabbath. 

Here is, 1. The affliction that this poor man was ■ 
in ; his hand was withered so that he was utterly 
disabled to get his living by working with his hands. 
St. Jerome savs, that tlie gospel of Matthew in He- 
brew, used l)v the Nazarenes and F.bii nites, adds 
this circumstance to this story of the man with the 
withered hand, that he was Cfmrntarius — a brick- 
layer, and a])plied himself to Christ thus ; " Lord, 
I am a bricklavcr, and have got my living by my 
labour; Cmanibus victum (juterilars ;) I beseech 
tiice, O Jesus, restore nie the use of my hand, that 
I mail not be obliged to beg my bread," Cne turfiiter 
mendicein cibos.J Hieron. in lor. This poor man 
was in the svnagogue. Note, Those who can do 
but little, or have but little to do for the world, must 
do so much the more for their souls ; as the rich, 
the aged, and the infirm. 

2. A spiteful question which the Pharisees put to 
Christ upon the sight of this ni.an. They asked him, 
sailing. Is it latrful to heal ? We read not hereof 
anv address this ]>oor man made to Christ for a cure, 
but thev observed Christ began to take notice of 
him, and knew it was usual for him to be found of 
those that .'sought him not, and therefore with their 
badness thev anticipated his goodness, and started 
this case as a stumbling-block in the wav of doing 
good ; Is it la'iful to heal on the sabbath-dav ? 
Whether it was lawful inr fihusicians to heal on that 
dav or not, whicli was the thing disputed in their 
books, one would think it past dispute, that it is law- 
ful for firo/thets to heal, for him to heal who disco- 
vered a divine ])ower and eooilness in all he did of 
this kind, and manifested himself to be sent of God. 
Did ever anv ask, whether it is lawful fir God to 
heal, to send his word and heal .■' It is tnie, Christ 
was now made under the laii', b\- a voluntary sub- 
mission to It, but he was never made under the pre- 
cepts of the elders. Is it lav.ful to heal ? To inquire 
into the lawfidness and unlawfidncss of actions is 
ven' good, and we cannot apjilv ourselves to any 
with such inquiries more fitly than to Christ ; but 
thev asked here, not that thev might be instnicted 
bv him, but that thev might accuse him. If he 
should sav that it was lawful to heal on the sabbath- 
dav, they would accuse him of a contradiction to the 
fourth commandment ; to so great a degree of su- 
perstition had the Pharisees brought the sabbath- 
rest, that, unless in peril of life, thev allowed not 
anv medicincd operations on the sabbath-dav. If 
he should say that it was not lawful, thev would ac- 
cuse him of partiality, havine lately justified his dis- 
ciples in plucking the ears of com on that day. 

3. Christ's answer to this question, bv way of ap- 
peal to themselves, and their own opinion and prac- 
tice, r. 1], 12. In case a sheep (thouirh but ore, of 
which the loss would not be ven- gi-eat) should fall 



136 



ST. MATTHEW, XII. 



into a pit on the sabbatli-day, would they not lift it 
out? No doubt they might do it, the fourtli com- 
mandment allows it ; they must do it, for a merciful 
man reffardet/i the life of his beast, and for their 
parts they would do it, rather than lose a sheep ; 
does Christ take care for sheep ? Yes, he does ; he 
preserves and provides for both man and beast. 
But here he says it for our sakes, (1 Cor. 9. 9, 10.) 
and hence argues. How much then is a man better 
than a shee/i z' Sheep are not only harmless l)ut use- 
ful creatures, and are prized and tended accordingly ; 
yet a man is here preferred far before them. Note, 
Man, in respect of his being, is a great deal better, 
and more valuable, than the best of the bmte crea- 
tures : man is a reasonable creature, capable of 
knowing, lo\'ing, and glorifying Ciod, and therefore 
is better than a sheep. '1 he sacrifice of a sheep 
could therefore not atone for the sin of a soul. They 
do not consider this, who are more solicitous for the 
education, preservation, and sup])ly of their horses 
and dogs than of God's poor, or perhaps their own 
■t household. 

Hence Christ infers a truth, which, even at first 
sight, appears very reasonable and good-natured ; 
that it is lawful to do well on the sabbath-days ; they 
had asked, h it lawful to heal? Christ proves it is 
lawful to do well, and let any one judge whether 
healing, as Christ healed, was not doinff well. Note, 
There are more Ways of doing well ui)on sabbath- 
days, than by the duties of God's immediate wor- 
ship ; attending the sick, relieving the poor, lielping 
those who are fallen into sudden distress and call for 
speedy relief; this \s doing- good : and this must be 
done from a principle of loie and charity, with hu- 
mility and self-denial, and a heavenly frame of spirit, 
and this is doing well, and it shall be acce/ited, Gen. 
i. 7. 

4. Christ's curing of the man, notwithstanding the 
offence which he foresaw the Pharisees would take 
at it, T. 13. Though they could not answer Christ's 
arguments, they were resolved to ])ersist in their 
prejudice and enmity ; but Christ went on with his 
work notwithstanding. Note, Duty is not to be left 
'undone, nor opportunities of doing good neglected, 
for fear of giving offence. Now the manner of the 
cure is observable ; he said to the man, " Stretch 
forth thy hand, exert thyself as well as thou canst ;" 
and he did so, and it ivas restored whole. This, as 
other cures Christ wrought, had a spiritual signifi- 
cancy. (1.) By nature our hands are withered, we 
are utterly unable of ourseUes to do any thing that 
is good. (2.) It is Christ only, by the power of his 
grace, that cures up ; he heals the withered hand bv 
putting life into the dead soul, works in us both to 
will and to do. (3.) In order to our cure, he com- 
mands us to stretch forth' our hands, to improve our 
natural powers, and do as well as we can ; to stretch 
them out in prayer to God, to stretch them out to 
lay hold on Christ by faith, to stretch them out in 
holy endeavours. Now this man could not stretch 
forth his withered hand of himself, any more than 
the impotent man could arise and carry his bed, or 
Lazanis come forth out of his gra\e ; yet Christ bid 
him do it. God's commands to us to do the duty 
which of oursehes we are not able to do, are no 
more absur