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The withered hand)

CHAP. XII. [cured on the sabbath. man shall there be among you, that 16 And charged them that they shall have one sheep, and if it fall should not make him known: into a pit on the sabbath day, will he 17 That it might be fulfilled which not lay hold on it, and lift it out? was spoken by Esaias the prophet, say

12 How much then is a man better ing, than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful 18 Behold my servant, whom I to do well on the sabbath days.

have chosen; my beloved, in whom 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch my soul is well pleased : I will put my forth thine hand. And he stretched spirit upon him, and he shall shew it forth; and it was restored whole, judgment to the Gentiles. like as the other.

19 He shall not strive, nor cry; 14 Then the Pharisees went out, neither shall any man hear his voice and held a council against him, how in the streets. they might destroy him.

20 A bruised reed shall he not break; 15 But when Jesus knew it, he and smoking flax shall he not quench, withdrew himself from thence: and till he send forth judgment unto victory. great multitudes followed him, and 21 And in his name shall the Genhe healed them all;

tiles trust. (Y)

EXPOSITION.
CHAP.XII.

temple; so his disciples, being an hungred, (Y) Ver. 1-21. Jesus and his disciples were no less justified in plucking the ears being charged with breaking the sabbath, he of corn upon the sabbath, especially as justifies both himself and them. This chap- they were employed in the service of one ter affords an instance of the strictness and greater than the temple." malevolence with which the Pharisees soon after this, they formed a similar watched Jesus and his disciples; even charge against Jesus' himself. A man passing in their way from place to place, with a withered band applying to him for they were not exempt from the watchful relief, they presume to ask him, " Is it eyes of these insidious enemies. It is pro- lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" that bable, that the corn here referred to was they might ensnare him ; but he answered barley, which, in tbat country, was gene- that question by another. Supposing either rally ripe at, or before, the Passover, a sheaf of them to have a sheep fallen into a pit on of dew barley being always offered on the that day, whether they would not release close of this festival.

it? Not being able to return an answer At this time, walking through the ripe that would not condemn themselves, they but unreaped fields, the disciples, being remained silent, and Jesus performed the hungry, plucked some of the ears, and cure; while they, alike aggravated and rubbing them in their hands, ate the embarrassed, weut out, and held a council grain. Seeing the disciples do this, the against him, to destroy bim. Pharisees ran directly to their master, The most important inquiry now before Jesus, and informed against them as sab- us, relates to the doctrine of the sabbath, bath-breakers; but he, knowing their hy- on which our Lord lays it down as a first pocrisy, reproved them, and justified his principle, that “it is lawsul to do good disciples, upon the principle of necessity, upon the sabbath day;" which has been as in the instance of David, who, in case well explained by our old divines to mean, of urgent hunger, ate the shew-bread : and that works of mercy and necessity are at as to the pretence of its being a breach of all times lawful. The first instance in il. the sabbath to pluck and bruise the ears of lustration of this doctrine we have already corn, he reminds them, that the priests given in the case of the disciples, who, on themselves far more profaned the sabbath the sabbath, plucked and ate the ears of every week, by the services which they coru. On this we may remark, 1. That performed in the temple; but which were this was not done wantonly, but in a case justified by the circumstance, that they of hunger, and for a supply of their daily Were thus engaged in the service of the bread. 2. The disciples took their food in

NOTES Ver. 14. Held a council-Marg. “ Took counsel.” Ver. 20. Smiting flax-" or lamp-wick.” Till Ver. 18. Behold uy servant. See Isa. xlii. 1, 2. he send forth 'dyment unto victory. - Isaiah says,

Judgment to the Gentiles- that is, the Gospel; * unto truth; "that is, " till he make the cause ** the great law for ale) of religion, righteousness, of righteousness and truth completely victorious,' and truth." Dodari

Doddr.

[dumb healed.

The blind and]

S. MATTHEW. 22 4 Then was brought unto him one it, they said, This fellow doth not cast possessed with a devil, blind, and out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince dumb: and he healed him, insomuch of the devils. that the blind and dumb both spake 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts,

and said unto them, Every kingdom 23 And all the people were amazed, divided against itself is brought to deand said, Is not this the son of Da- solation ; and every city or house die vid ?

vided against itself shall not stand: 24 But when the Pharisees heard 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he

and saw.

EXPOSITION-Chap. XII. Continued. the simplest manner, and without any from place to place, wbich would be othercostly preparation. This, therefore, will wise inconsistent with the morality of the not sanction the luxurious meals in which fourth commandment. But this will no many professors indulge on that sacred farther justify such travelling than as it day, whereby they not only neglect its may be necessary to the performance of sacred duties themselves; but, in many their ministerial duties, in preaching the cases, wholly prevent their servants from gospel, in visiting the sick, or in teaching attending public worship, and even from the poor. The Son of man, who is Lord of reading the word of God at home.

the sabbath, sanctions every work necesThe second instance is a case of mercy; sary to the fulfilment of our Christian Jesus healed on the sabbath day a man duties, but nothing inconsistent with them. with a withered hand, an object, doubtless, Many of these observations will equally of great commiseration; and his example apply to the case of those very useful and will justify the practice of the bealing benevolent classes of Christians, Sundayart on this day in all cases of import- school teachers, and visitors of the sick ance; but it will not justify medical men poor, who seem to bear the same relation in wholly abstaining from public worship; to ministers of the gospel, as did the Lenor, 2ndly, the idle excuse of those who vites to the Jewish priests. The duties absent themselves from the house of God of the former are, indeed, commonly conon every trifling indisposition; nor, 3dly, fined to this day, and, in great measure, those that make this their constant time the latter ; since their labours are grafor taking medicine, that they may not be tuitous, and they are generally engaged in hindered by it on the other days of the week. secular occupations throughout the week.

Thirdly, 'Our Lord's allusion to the case Prolix as this section of our Exposition of the priests under the law, who on this may be thought, we cannot conclude it day offered sacrifices, and performed other without an observation on the fine passage laborious duties which Moses had enjoined quoted by St. Matthew from Esaias (or upon thcm, shows that a general command Isaiah), chap. xlii. 1-4. The judgment may admit of exceptions, enjoined by the Messiah was to " send forth” to the nasame authority: the general command is, tions (or Gentiles), is very properly exto abstain from labour on God's boly day; plained by Bp. Lowth of "the institution the exception was, the performance of cer- of the gospel;" but we would particularly tain services in the tabernacle, or temple, notice the intimations of Messiah's tenderwhich himself had commanded. A parallel ness and gentleness, in not breaking " the case exists under the Christian dispensa- bruised reed," the frailest of all objects ; tion. The Lord's day takes place of the nor extinguishing the smoking flax," when Christiau sabbath; and the duties of the ready to expire : that is, he will cherish the Christian minister, like those of the Jewish smallest spark of piety : he will preserve priest, relate to the public worship of the the humblest confidence in his naine unAlmighty; and, so far as his service re- broken. quires it, they are justified in travelling

NOTES-Chap. XII. Con. Ver. 22. With a devil-Greek, " Demon.” So the them, were supposed to be possessed of the same plurals in the following verses should be rendered talents or virtues; but the word is never used in * demons."

this sense in the New Testameat; but only for the Ver. 24, 27. Beelzebub - (Greek, " Beelzebul.") Angels or agents of Satan; hence for Satan to cast See 2 Kings i. 2, 3; Expos, and Notes og ver. 1. out demons, would be, as our Lord argues, to fight

Ver. 26. Satan-undoubtedly the same as Beelze- agair:st himself. bab, the prince of demons, ver. 24. Comp. Rev. xii. 9; We have stated, in page 20 of this volume, our XX. 2. The demons here referred to are evidently full persuasion that the same agency of demons still "the angels of Satan," spoken of latt. xxv. 41; takes place in many cases of lunacy, and other disRev. xii. 9, just quoted." It is admitted, that by eases; since writing which, the Editor has had the demons the heathens understood, the spirits of de satisfaction to and, that the same opinion was adopted ceased heroes, &c., and hence those possessed by by the very learned Jos, Mede, as appears by the

The blasphemy against] CHAP. XII.

[the Holy Ghost. is divided against himself; how shall against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be then his kingdom stand ?

forgiven him, neither in this world, 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out neither in the world to come. devils, by whom do your children cast 33 Either make the tree good, and them out? therefore they shall be your his fruit good; or else make the tree judges.

corrupt, and his fruit corrupt : for the 28 But if I cast out devils by the tree is known by his fruit. Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God 34 O generation of vipers, how can is come unto you.

ye, being evil, speak good things ? for 29 Or else how can one enter into out of the abundance of the heart the a strong man's house, and spoil his mouth speaketh. goods, except he first bind the strong 35 A good man out of the good man? and then he will spoil his house. treasure of the heart bringeth forth

30 He that is not with me is against good things: and an evil man out of me; and he that gathereth not with the evil treasure bringeth forth eyil me scattereth abroad.

things. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All 36 But I say unto you, That every manner of sin and blasphemy shall be idle word that men shall speak, they forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy shall give account thereof in the day of against the Holy Ghost shall not be judgment. forgiven unto men.

37 For by thy words thou shalt be 32 And whosoever speaketh a word justified, and by thy words thou shalt against the Son of man, it shall be for- be condemned. (Z) given him : but whosoever speaketh 38 ( Then certain of the scribes and

EXPOSITION. (Z) Ver. 22–37. Jesus justifies himself Son of David ; that is, the Messiah. The from the accusation of the Pharisees, and Scribes and Pharisees, however, being precharges them with blasphemy.It is well determined to receive none but a temporal known that the Jews expected their Mes- Messiah, would neither listen to his docsiah to work miracles, as had been pre trine, nor regard his miracles. As to his dicted by the propliets; when, therefore, casting out demons, they could not, indeed, they saw the miracles of Jesus, they very deny the facts; but they were so perverse naturally concluded that he must be “the as to attribute them to a diabolical power,

NOTES. following extract from the late Mr. Granville Sbarp. and Mr. Toplady! The latter, at least, adopted the "It is plain (says Mr. S.) that Mr. Mede did not be- same bypothesis. hieve the demoniacs to be mere madmen, according Ver. 27. By whom do your children cast them out ? to our modern ideas of madness; and his discourse -That some Jews practised exorcism, and pretended plaiuly tends to a very different purpose; viz. to (at least) to cast out demons, appears from Mark ix. show that some madmed, even at this day, are really 38; Luke ix. 49; Acts xix. 13. See our Note on tho dexoniaes, actuated by evil spirits, as much as those last cited text. mentioned in Scripture! How far this opinion may Ver. 29. Spoil-Hamm. and Poddr. “ Plunder." be true, with respect to some modern madmen (adds Ver. 30. He that guthereth not with ine, in the Mr.S.), I am not able to determine : but that the Gospel harvest, may be considered as an enemy, who demoniacs mentioned in Scripture were really pos- scatters abroad the grain; or, without metaphor, Sessed by etil spirits,.... I cannot possibly doubt, he that is not my friend, is my enemy. notwitbstanding the Gentile opinion of demons may Ver. 31. Shall be forgiven that is, are pardonable. hare been very different." Gran. Sharpe's case of Ver. 32. Neither in this world, neither (nor) in the Saul, &c. Note. D. 75, 76. The late Mr. Andrew world to come -- that is, shall never be forgiven. Baxter, in his Essay on Dreaming, (vol. ii. of his Mark iii. 29. Dr. Wbitby remarks, that there are "19quiry into the Nature of the Human Soul”), several passages in the Rabbins which show this to Evidently adopted the same hypothesis ; for, speak. have been a proverbial expression, implying no for10g of impressions made upon the brain in sleep, giveness. There is, therefore, no ground to inser be adds ( xxxix.), "If the same vibrations are more from hence the purgatory of the church of Rome. Powerfully excited in the optic nerves, while the See Lect. on the Rom. Cath. Rel., by the Rev. Jos. Eyes are open, than those excited by external objects Fletcher, M.A. (8vo. 1817), p. 244.

en acting, the man pursuing with the drawn sword Ver. 33. Either make the tree good, &c.-Grotius las in a supposed dream) will appear, even though understands this, as if our Lord had said, “Since the eyes be open. And thus .... we see that dream you cannot but allow that my life, and the tendency lag may degenerate into possession, and that the of my doctrine are (morally) good, be not so inconcause and nature of both are the same, ditrering only sistent as to suppose I am a confederate with Beel. in degree." This writer who must be distinguished zebub!” So Boothroyd. carefully from the pious puritan, R. Baxter) was Ver. 37. And by-Doddr, and others, " Or by thy equally admired and eulogized' by Bp. Warburton words," &c.

[graphic]

The sign of ]

S. MATTHEW.

[the prophet Jonas. of the Pharisees answered, saying, tion seeketh after a sign; and there Master, we would see a sign from thee. shall no sign be given to it, but the

39 But he answered and said unto sign of the prophet Jonas : them, An evil and adulterous genera- 40 For as Jonas was three days and

EXPOSITION-Chap. XII. Continued. and to pretend that he cast out demons by of aggrandizement and worldly power, being himself in league with Beelzebub, 2. To prevent any serious and distressed the prince of demons.

mind from applying this terrible sentence In reply to this, Jesus appeals to them- against themselves, we remark, it is eviselves on two points. 1. “Every kingdom dent that this dreadful sin could never be divided against itself, cannot stand.” Now committed by any person alarmed for fear if I (said he) by Beelzebub cast out de- of having once committed it. Great and mons, who are the subjects of Satan, then awful was the sin of crucifying the Son of is Satan (or Beelzebub) divided against God; but the multitude were ignorant, and himself, and labouring to overthrow his actuated by these blaspheming Pharisees. own power : a conduct highly inconsistent Jesus therefore prayed for them, and many, with the allowed cunning of the old serpent. doubtless, were forgiven on the day of Pen. 2. Our Lord justifies himself by an ap- tecost, and enrolled among the first conpeal to the Pharisees on the conduct of their verts of the Jewish church. Terrible was own children, who frequently pretended the crime of persecuting Stephen, and the to cast out devils. We need not here in other disciples of Jesus; but one of the quire into the truth of their pretensions, bitterest of their persecutors, the chief of to which we may advert hereafter : it is these sinners, was not only converted and certain that they made such pretensions, forgiven, but became himself equal to "the and it became them, in this instance, to chiefest of the Apostles.” (See 2 Cor. xi. 5.) prove that they acted by a superior power, No man's sins are unpardonable, who rebefore they brought this charge against pents and is penitent on their account. him; but they discovered, in both these re- Another passage, whicb has much disspects, the grossest inconsistency.

tressed many persons, occurs in the close But this was the smallest part of their of this section : For every IDLE word crime: they are also charged with “ blas- that men shall speak, they shall give ac. phemy against the Holy Ghost,” in at- count thereof in the day of judgment." We tributing to Satan works so evidently are far from wishing to lower the standard wrought by that Holy Spirit, as were the of Christian morals; we have, however, no benevoleut miracles of our Saviour : and hesitation in saying, that “ he plainly tells them, that although all word,” does not here mean every unneces. their abuse and blasphemy against himself sary word; for it requires a high degree of was pardonable upon their repeutance; yet literary skill and practice to avoid these, could he give them no encouragement to even in writing : nor, secondly, every ebulexpect forgiveness for an offence so gross lition of cheerfulness or pleasantry; for at this, arising from the malignity of their “ pleasant words are as the honeycomb, hearts, and committed against the evidence sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” both of their reason and their senses. (Proverbs xvi. 24.) But it does include,

The brevity we are obliged to study, will 1. False, or lying words, which, in confornot allow us to go fully into the several mity to the Hebrew idiom, may be called passages where this sin is treated of: more idle, or vain, as having no foundation in may be added hereafter; at present we shall truth. 2. Profane, abusive, and injurious only remark, 1. That this sin is charged words, though idly, thoughtlessly, or even only upon the Scribes and Pharisees, the sportively applied. 3. Fuolish and indemost enlightened classes of the Jews, many corous jesting; and, in fact, all sinful of whom, we have reason to believe, were words are liable to be called in to judgment; in their own minds satisfied of the truth but it should be remembered, that of these of Christ's miracles, and of the purity of words it is not said, that they never shall his moral character ; but their pride and be forgiven; for though blasphemous, and malice would not allow them to acknow spoken even against Christ bimself, when ledge a Saviour in form and appearance so

every idle

not marked with the black character of huinble and unpretending; aud wlio, in- the sin against the Holy Ghost, they are dced, was firmly opposed to all their plans not excluded from the divine mercy.

NOTES-Chap. XI. Con. Ver. 38. A sign from thee - that is, a miracle,

or a day of 24 bours. “It is of great importance Exod. iv. 8.

to observe (says Doddr.) that the Easterns reckoned Ver. 40. Three days and three nights-answering any part of a day of 24 hours for a whole day, and to the Greek term nuchthemeron, a night and day, say a thing was done after three or seven days, &c. father, my mother, and my brother. Viad, lib. vi. 429, Yes. His æolher and his brethren. It is cer,

The return of an]

CHAP. XII.

(unclean spirit three nights in the whale's belly: so than himself, and they enter in and shall the Son of man be three days and dwell there : and the last state of that three nights in the heart of the earth. man is worse than the first. Even so

41 The men of Nineveh shall rise shall it be also unto this wicked genein judgment with this generation, and ration. shall condemn it: because they re- 46 While he yet talked to the peopented at the preaching of Jonas; and, ple, behold, his mother and his brebehold, a greater than Jonas is here. thren stood without, desiring to speak

42 The queen of the south shall with him. rise up in the judgment with this gene- 47 Then one said unto him, Beration, and shall condemn it: for she hold, thy mother and thy brethren came from the uttermost parts of the stand without, desiring to speak with earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; thee. and, behold, a greater than Solomon 48 But he answered and said unto is here.

him that told him, Who is my mother? 43 When the unclean spirit is gone and who are my brethren? out of a man, he walketh through dry 49 And he stretched forth his hand places, seeking rest, and findeth none. toward his disciples, and said, Behold

44 Then he saith, I will return into my mother and my brethren! my bouse from whence I came out; 50 For whosoever shall do the will and when he is come, he findeth it of my Father wbich is in heaven, the empty, stept, and garnished. same is my brother, and sister, and

45 Tlien goeth he, and taketh with mother. (A) himself seven other spirits more wicked

EXPOSITION. (A) Ver. 38–50. The Scribes and Pha- a generation (or brood) of vipers,” as riseer demand a sign from heaven, but are in ver.34. refused and reproved.-In-demanding “ A sign, however, they shall have, ana. sigu," or miracle, which in another evan- logous to that of the prophet Jonas ; for, as geist is called " a sign from heaven,” these he was in the whale's belly three days, or men had probably in their recollection the rather part of “ three days and nights," şişe given to John Baptist on the bank of which was a phrase used by the Hebrews, Jonlaa, to which he bare witness on a for- as analogous to our day of 24 hours (see zer occasion, (John i. 31 – 34), and of Expos. Jonah ch. i.), so should the Son of sich tbey now seem to require a repeti- man remain for the like period in the tion. Considering that, previously to this, bowels of the earth; his resurrection from they bad witnessed many miracles wrought which would be a sign more decisive in by Jesus, on the sick, the lame, the blind, its nature, and more influential in its conand those possessed by demons, this ap; sequences, than any sign which heaven pears a most unreasonable request, and had hitherto displayed. 1, therefore, very properly refused; and What follows, relative to unclean spirits, they are called, in the language of Isaiah connects immediately with our Lord's pre{ck. lvii. 3.), '“ an evil and adulterous ceding discourse, in answer to the charge ateration;" that is, as Doddridge explains of his casting out demons by a diabolical

, a spurious brood,” grossly“ degene- power; and it appears to us to relate parrated from the piety of their ancestors ;” ticularly to the exorcisms of the Jews themand from “ a chosen generation,” become selves, in which the unclean spirit might

NOTES. if it was done on the third or seventh day from that tain that the Jews used the term brethren with great last untioned. (Comp. 1 Kings xx. 29; 2 Chron. latitude, to include all their relatives; see Levit. 1. $, 12; and Lake ii. 21.)..

So that, to say a

X. 4. There is, however, an ancient tradition, that #bappened after three days and three nights, Joseph, the reputed father of Jesus, had four sons was the same as to say, it bappened " after three

and two daughters by a former wife, which may be toys," or on the third day. (Comp. Esth. iv. 16 with intended here, and in chap. xiii

. 55, 56; or probably 1.1. Gen. vii, 12; Exod. xxiv. 18, and xxxiv. 28.) his cousins, the sons of Mary the wife of Cleophas (or latte réales belly.See Note on Jonah i. 17. Alpheus), and sister to the blessed virgin.

Ver. The guet of the south-that is, of Sheba. Stackhouse's Hist. of the Bible, vol. v, p. 417, Note. Ste 1 kg x. 'I, &c.

Ver. 50. My brother, and sister, and mother. So 2.9. Empty that is, uninhabited: Swept in Homer, Andromache says to Hector, Thou art my od seruhed 67 « adorned," as Doddridge.

See

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