Page images

[of Peter.

Christ's enquiry]

S. MATTHEW. of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his dis- Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of ciples, saying, Whom do men say the prophets. that I, the Son of man,


15 He saith unto them, But whom 14 And they said, Some say that say ye that I am ? thou art John the Baptist : some 16 And Simon Peter answered and

EXPOSITION-Chap. XVI. Continued. the same time, for their want of discern- rewards and punishments, from which ment and of candour, in not appreciating some of his disciples inferred, that none the evidences of his mission, with which were to be expected; and hence the sect they were surrounded. Upon this, our Sa- degenerated into infidelity, and denied, not viour left them, without any farther reply, only the resurrection of the body, but also and again entering a small vessel, departed the being of angels, or spirits, and conseto the other side of the lake. When they quently a future state. (Acts xxiii. 8.).... arrived, he began to caution his disciples It has been said, that they rejected all the to “ beware of the leaven of the Pharisees sacred writings but those of Moses; and it and of the Sadducees.” Upon this, they is probable that some did so, but this was were at first confounded, taking our Lord's not universally the case. It is certain that words literally, as if he had spoken of they rejected the traditions of the elders, bread; whereas our Lord had before used and paid little attention to any religious the term in respect of doctrine, in speaking forms." But they were, however, very of his new dispensation (chap. xiii. 33). strict in the administration of justice. In Jesus, therefore, reproved the dulness of their philosophy they were Epicureans, or their apprehension, and gave them to un- inaterialists, but by no means Necessarians. derstand that he referred to the doctrines There was another sect, called Essenes, of these Jewish sects, on which this seems mentioned by Josephus, but not in the New the proper place to offer a few remarks.- Testament. This may be accounted for,

The Pharisees were esteemed the most from their living in a kind of monkish orthodox sect among the Jews, and held in community, and never attending the Jewish the highest respect. Their name, (from festivities, or the temple service. They the Hebrew Pharosh) implies separation ; believed in the immortality of the soul, not that they separated from communion but not in the resurrection of the body with the Sadducees, or other sects, but They were moral, abstemious, and recluse they professed an extraordinary degree of and in their interpretations of the Scrip moral and ritual purity, and the highest tures they were highly mystical and alle veneration for the traditions of the elders. gorical. They disapproved of oaths and They also avowed their belief in the doc- war, and wholly rejected the traditions o trines of a future state, and the resurrec- the elders. (For farther accounts, the tion. (See Acts xxiii. 3; xxiv. 15.) " It writer takes the liberty to refer to hi is somewhat doubtful, however, what the “ Dictionary of all Religions," 3d Ed., ant Pharisees meant by the last doctrine. Ac- the authorities there named.) cording to Josephus, it was no more than a There is no difficulty in ascertainin Pythagorean resurrection; that is, a re- which of these doctrines were here intende surrection of the soul, by its transmigra- as their leaven. The leaven of the Phari tion into another body, and being born sees was their hypocrisy and superstition anew with it. From this resurrection, he the leaven of the Sadducees, licentiousnes says, they excluded all who were notori- and infidelity: but what was the leaven a ously wicked, being of opinion, that the Herod, (which the evangelist Mark add souls of such persons were transmitted into ch. iii. 6) is not so clear. The Herodianı a state of everlasting woe. As to inferior however, appear to have been rather a pa crimes, they held, that they were punished litical party, wbich supported Herod' in the bodies wbich the souls of those who family, and was willing to fatter hinn i committed them were next sent into." all bis measures, than a religious sec (Allusions to these principles inay be found Sycophancy and flattery, therefore, seei in Jobo ix. 2; Matt. xvi. 6, 14; and in the to be the leaven of the Herodians; an Apocrypha, Wisd. viji. 20.)

such are the vices agaiust which our Lor 'The Sadducees, another Jewish sect, are here cautions his disciples. And the unic said to have originated with one Sadoc, in of these discordant sects against Chris the third century before Christ. This man shows that their enmity against him w « inculcated a pure and disinterested priu. greater than their enmity against eat ciple of obedience to God, independent of


NOTES-Chap. XVI, Con. another Cæsarea (Acts viii, 40) had been thus named Ver. 16. The Son, &c. - In a preceding chapt in honour of Augustos. Doddr.

when Jesus had walked upon the sea, and quiel

Peter's noble]

[confession. said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of 19 And I will give unto thee the the living God.

keys of the kingdom of heaven : and 17 And Jesus answered and said whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon shall be bound in heaven : and whatBar-jona : for flesh and blood hath not soever thou shalt loose on earth shall revealed it unto thee, but my Father be loosed in heaven. which is in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples 18 And I say also unto thee, That that they should tell no man that he thou art Peter, and upon this rock I was Jesus the Christ. (K) will build my church ; and the gates of 214 From that time forth began hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how

EXPOSITION. (K) Ver. 13-20. Simon Peter's confes- ples, and now puts to us: “ Whom say ye sion, and our Lord's inference therefrom.- that I am ?" Peter answered for the rest Our Lord elicits the opinion of Peter and May he answer for us also ? Do we believe his fellow disciples, by first enquiring the that Christ the Son of man is also the Son opinion of others : “ Wbom do men say of the living God? It is true that this that I, the Son of man, am?" The answer name is sometimes used as synonymous seems to refer to the Pythagorean notion, with the Son of man (comp. ver. 13 and 16); mentioned in the preceding section, that But it is also true that it implies something the soul of Jobp the Baptist, or one of the more: it implies a participation of the diprophets, was returned to animate the body vine nature; and hence, when Jesus himof our Saviour. “But whom say ye that self answered to that designation, “ Then lanı?" is the pointed and interesting ques- the high priest rent bis garments, saying, tion, which he then put to his own disci. He hath blasphemed :" (ch. xxvi. 63-65.)

NOTES. the tempest, the wbole ship's crew adored him, as against the church shall be rendered abortive, and the Son of God. (cbap. xiv. 33.) But the critics remarks, that it was considered in the same light by have remarked, that in that case the emphatic arti. Chrysostom, the most eloquent of the Greek fathers. cle is wanting in the Greek original; and even But, Dr. Campbell, who follows Grotius, here and Campbell himself translates it, « Thou art A Son of always explains it in reference to the state of the God;" or " the Son of A God: ' but this has the em dead in general, considering death as the gate to the phatic article-The Son of the living God!

invisible world; and he regards the expression as Yer. 17. Simon Bar-jong-or the Son of Jonas. equivalent to saying, the church shall never die, or

Ver. 18, Thou art Peter.-The Catholics, as men become extinct. On the word Hades, see Note on tioned in our Exposition, explain the name PETER Ps. xvi. 10. (Gr. Pelros) to mean a rock, but a learned Lexico Ver. 19. I will give unto thee the keys, &c.-Keys grapber of the 17th century (Edw. Leigh, Esq.) were the emblems of office, and in some cases were says, "Petros (i. e, Peter always signities a stone,

so large as to be carried on the shoulder. Isa. ix. 6; Dever a rock" which is confirmed by another learned xxii. 20. And according to the nature of the key, apban, Granrille Sharp, Esq., who appeals to the was the authority. The key of the house (or palace) Lexicons of Scapula, Schrevelius, Dawson, Park of David, implied great influence and authority, as nur, &c. to which might be added, many others of we see in the passage just quoted, 10e highest literary authority. The Syro-Chaldaic bid. The keys of the kingdom - The doctrine of Term Crpkas, also 'simply means a stone. See John the Church of Rome on this subject, is too gross

1,"Remarks on an important Passage,” &c. and absurd to be admitted into our Exposition, or Ibid. Upon this rock-It must be acknowledged to require an answer; but we shall give a short that Cyril, Hilary, Basil, and other Fathers in com specimen from the Rhemish expositors, already remunion with the church of Rome, did sometimes ferred to. The keys; that is, (say they) "The

though not uniformly explain this rock of Peter ; authority, or chair of doctrine, knowledge, judgbat it is also true that Hilary, Theophylact, and ment, and discretion between true and false docCarysostora (a much greater man), explain the trine, the height of government, the power of making ods of Peter's confession. So the latter (Chrysos- lans," &c. &c. Whatsoever thou shalt bind. E), "On this rock, not upon Peter, for he did not All kind of discipline and punishment of offenders,

a nis church upon the man, but upon his faith ;" either spiritual or corporal. .... is comprised under , as he elsewhere expresses it,“ his confession." the word BIND; of wbich sort be excommunications, See a most able defence of the Protestant Religion, anathemas, suspensions, degradations, and other a course of Lectures by the Rev. Jos. Fletcher, censures and penances enjoined, either in the sacra. A.N., of Stepney, 8vo. Lect. iii.

ment of penance, or in the exterior courts of the It has been remarked, that this passage contains a church, for punishment of other crimes, and specially eronomasia, or play of words, such as is not unfre- of heresy, and rebellion against the church, and the quent in the Hebrew language: "Thou art Pet

chief pastors thereof." (Gr. Petros), a stone; and upon this rock (Petra) Here is the true source of all papal persecution ! !! I buildiny church," &c. See Note on Micabi.Jl. Here are the claws of the Apocryphal beast! Rev. xiii. bid. The gates of hell-Gr. Hades. This phrase Ver. 20. Jesus-wanting in many MSS, and some herently explained. Schleusner, who, in his ancient versions, and the sense seems clearer with, Lexicon, represents hades as sometimes meaning out it.

the place of punisbment, here understands Ver. 21. From that time forth-that is, at differ, thereby, the violence and power of the devil, and of ent times after this, as opportunity permitted. all the fierce adversaries of Christ, whose efforts

Jesus foretells]

(his sufferings. that he must go unto Jerusalem, and killed, and be raised again the third suffer many things of the elders and day. chief priests and scribes, and be 22 Then Peter took him, and began

[ocr errors]

EXPOSITION-Chap. XVI. Continued. and hence our Lord concluded that this 69—72), the church must have fallen with was not revealed to Peter by any of his fel. him. low disciples, nor even by his own natural But our Lord also gave " the keys ol powers, but by the Father only: for Peter the kingdom of heaven" to Peter; by seems to have been the first disciple that which we understand, that it was his properly understood the true character of special privilege to open the new dispensa his Master ; though perhaps he did not yet tion, by first preaching the gospel to the fully understand the “ good confession" Gentiles, as we have already remarked he that he had now made.

did. He opened the kingdom of heaver The following words “ Thou art Peter, to all nations, and freely invited them to and upon this Rock will I build my church," enter : he also opened the sacred mysterie are of peculiar importance in our contro- of the types and prophecies, and showe versywith the church of Rome, which his hearers somewhat of the glory of hi founds thereon the primacy of St. Peter, Master in all the institutions of Moses ; who is the foundation of their church, all the buds and blossoms of Aaron's rod though not of ours. Thus the Rhemish Thus, as an able minister of the New Tes translators explain the words, " Christ tament, did he open and explain the gos foretold and appointed (John i. 42) that pel. But he bound also; and as his open this man, named Simon, should afterwarding was expository, so was his binding de be called Cephas, or Petrus, that is to say, clarative. This was io perfect accordanc a rock; not then uttering the cause, but with the language of the prophets, wb now expressing the same, viz. (as St. Cyril were said to set up," or “ pull down writeth) for that upon him (Peter), as states and kingdoms, when they were di upon a firm rock, his church should be rected prophetically to announce the de huilded.'” It is also the avowed doctrine crees of God respecting them. (Jer. i. 10. of the Catholic church to this day, “ that This explanation of binding and loosing, 9 our Lord did make St. Peter the chief pastor declarative and expository, is also, accord of the church, giving him a name that im- ing to Dr. Lighifoot, quite in harmor plied no less than being a rock, or founda- with the language of the ancient Rabbin tion stone, declaring that upon this rock he who used them in the sense of teachiiu would build his church." (Bp. Chaloner's what was right, and prohibiting what wi Grounds of the Old Religion, sect. ii.) Now wrong. Connecting this passage with th in answer to this, 1. Protestants deny that preceding, Mr. Prebendary Townsend th Peter signifies“ a rock," and say it signi- judiciously parapbrases them, in consis fies a stone only; or, at most, a fragment ency with this idea. “ I am about to buil of a rock. 2. They contend Peter bimself a Gentile church," saith Christ, " and was not the foundation rock here spoken thee, O Peter, do I give the keys of t| of, but only one of the chosen stones laid kingdom of heaven, that then thou maye on that rock, on which the church was first open the door of faith to them: but built. (Ephes. ii. 20; Rev. xxi. 14.) 3. They thou askest by what rule that church is believe that Peter's noble confession (ver. be governed, when the Mosaic rule ma 16), or rather, Christ himself, the subject seem so improper for it, thou shalt be! of that confession, is the Rock both of the guided by the Holy Spirit, that wbatsoev church and of every individual believer of the law of Moses thou shalt forbid ther (1 Cor. iii. 11); and that the title (Rock) is shall be forbidden; whatsoever thou gran indeed an evidence of our Lord's divinity; est them shall be granted, and that und for “ Who is a rock, save our God ?" Je a sanction made in heaven." Mr. T. he hovah was the Rock of Israel (Deut. xxxii, instances, in the opening the gate of t 30, 31); and the Apostle Paul explains gospel to the Gentiles, and in the permi that rock to signify (not Peter, but) Christ sion of food previously forbidden as u himself. (1 Cor. x. 4.) Lastly, they add, clean. (New Test. Arr. vol. i. p. 285, 286 that if Peter had been that rock, when he As to St. Peter's and the Pope's supi fell, by denying his Master (chap. xxvi. macy, it is so far from being founded

NOTES-Chap. XVI. Con. Ver. 22. To rebuke him—this implies great pre- Lord!" The use of this expression in the LXX, : sumption in Peter, and our Lord's answer shows swers to “ God forbid!” and is so translated i Sa that it was so considered by his Moster. ----Be it xiv. 45; 1 Chron. xi. 19; also 1 Mac. ii. 21. S far from theel-Marg. " Pity thyself;" but others Campbell. render it, still more literally, “Mercy on thee,


Christians must]

[bear the cross. to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from 24 Then said Jesus unto his discithee, Lord: this shall not be unto ples, If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself, and take up his 23 But he turned, and said unto cross, and follow me. Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: 25 For whosoever will save his thon art an offence unto me: for thou life shall lose it: and whosoever will savourest not the things that be of lose his life for my sake shall find it. God, but those that be of men.

26 For what is a man profited, if he


EXPOSITION. the Seriptures, that it is in direct contra- sion, the great Apostle applied the key, diction to the whole tenor of our Lord's pushed back the bolt of the lock, and threw doctrine, who forbade any of his disciples the gates of the city open for the admission to assume pre-eminence above the rest. of the whole Gentile world, in the instance (Matt. xviii. 1-4; xxiii. 6-10; Mark ix. of Cornelius and his family. To this, and 33–35.)

to this only, our Lord prophetically alludes, When our Lord said, “ Upon this rock when he promises to St. Peter the custody (pointing, probably, to himself, as in an- of the keys. No authority over the rest of other instance, John ij. 19–22), will I the apostles was given to St. Peter, by the build my church,” he subjoined, “- and the promise made to him in either, or in both gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” its branches ; nor was any right conveyed Now, whether this be understood of death to him, which could descend from him itself, or of the powers and policy of hell, to his successors in any see. The proin both senses it is equally true. Death inise was simply a prediction that he cannot destroy the hope of a Christian, nor would be selected to be the first instrucan Satan, with all bis angels, either in the ment in a great work of providence, which way of beresy or infidelity, prevail against was of such a nature as to be done once the church, so as to overturn it: this is for all; and being done, it cannot be readmitted both by Protestants and Roman peated. The great apostle fulfilled his

commission in his life-tiine. He applied We now proceed to the much contro his key; he turned back the lock, he loosed verted passage which immediately follows, and he bound. The gates of the kingrelative to what is called “ the power of dom of heaven are thrown open ; the cerethe keys," which we shall introduce to our monial law is abrogated; the moral is conreaders in the eloquent and impressive firmed, and the successor of St. Peter can lauguage of Bp. Horsley: “ The kingdom give neither furtherance, nor obstruction of heaven is the church of God. Formerly, to the business.” (Horsley's Serm, vol. i., the Jewish church was that kingdom: it pp. 286-289.) is now, the Christian church. The true *This opinion of priority in service, not church is represented in this,

supremacy in power, being conferred upon as in many passages of holy writ, under

M . Dolomon this occasion, is mainthe image of a walled city, to be entered tained by several of the Christian Fathers, only at the gates. Under the Mosaic eco- particularly by Tertullian, who says, “ He, nomy, these gates were shut, and particular in the administration of Christian bappersons only could gain admittance; Israel- tism, did first unlock the entrance into the ites by birth, or by legal incorporation. The kingdom of heaven;" that is, unto the locks of these gates were the rites of the Gentiles. (Quoted Fletcher's Léct. p. 114.) Mosaic law, which obstructed the entrance And we think it not improbable, that by of aliens. But after our Lord's ascension, connecting Peter's name thus hooourably and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the with his own, our Lord might intimate to keys of the city were given to St. Peter, by Peter the favour he intended to confer on that vision which taught him, and autho. him, in laying the first stone of the Aposrized him to teach others, that all distinc tolic church upon Christ, the Rock of our tious of one nation from another were at salvation. (See Acts iv. 10-12;x.34; xv.7.) an end. By virtue of this special commis

NOTES. Per. 23. Satan,-The word signifies an adversary; stumbling block; that is, by this temptation, Peter see Notes on Job i. 6; Zech, iii. 1. Our Lord means put a stumbling block in the way of his Lord's duty. to say, that Peter did not speak like a friend, but Ver. 24. Come after me:-it is the part of a dis

ke an enemy; in fact, be pursued the same conduct ciple to follow bis master, both in his instructions Obat Satan

af Satan bimself did, when he tempted our Lord and example. — Take up his cross.-See Note on wo give up big coorse of suffering, by offering him chap. x. 38. all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of

Ver. 26. And lose his own soul.-The word herr

rendered lose, is different from that in the verse Tud, Thou art an offence-Greek, Scandal, or ceding : and Campbell says forfeit is the term


ther." Matt. iv. 8-10.

The value]

(of man's soul. shall gain the whole world and lose his every man according to his works. own soul ? or, what shall a man give 28 Verily I say unto you, There be in exchange for his soul?

some standing here which shall not 27 For the Son of man shall come taste of death, till they see the Son of in the glory of his father with his man coming in his kingdom. (L) angels : and then he shall reward

EXPOSITION—Chapter XVI. Continued. (L) Ver. 21–28. Jesus gradually pre- It is, however, chiefly in the sense of pares his disciples for the painful scene of suffering persecution, that the expression his sufferings, and inculcates upon them the is here used; in order to understand which, importance of their own preparation for it is necessary for the mere English reader death and judgment.--As they had deeply to be informed, that the Scriptures (both imbibed the common prejudice of their Hebrew and Greek) use the same word countrymen in favour of Messiah's tem- both for the animal life, and for the imporal reign, it required no small address mortal soul. " Wboever, therefore (says to reconcile them (as well as others) to the our Lord) will save his life," by apostacy, doctrine of Messiah's sufferings and death to avoid persecution for my sake," shall on the cross, as we may see by the inci- lose it;" that is, shall lose his soul; "and dent now before us. "That be far from (or but) whosoever will lose his life for my thee, Lord!” said Peter; or, as the Greek sake, shall find it;" that is, he shall find literally reads, “Mercy on thee, Lord! this eternal life. “ For what is a man profited, shall not be unto thee." Peter, in his own if he gain the whole world, and lose his apprehension, was probably willing him- own (life, or his) soul; or what shall a man self rather to suffer and to die, than that give in exchange for either? It is only, his Master should : but he neither knew

we apprehend, by combining the two-fold his own weakness, nor the folly of his sense of the original term, that we can suggestion. He had presumed to rebuke fully comprehend this argument of our his Master, but in return he receives a divine teacher. A man, by using improper most severe rebuke,“ Get thee behind me, means to save his life, may lose his soul; Satan;" as if Jesus had said,“ Thou art my or, on the other hand, he inay save bis adversary, and not my friend, to oppose soul by the surrender of his life in Christ's me in the fulfilment of my engagements ; and in attempting to set aside God's plan In the concluding verses of this chapter, of salvation. Thou art an offence, a our Lord makes an estimate of the value scandal unto me.” Thus it is that many, of the human soul; and in order to this, in every age, would set aside the doctrine he places before our view the awful scenes of the Cross, by the merit of their own of an eternal judgment, the glories of his righteousness. They wish to be saved (if mediatorial kingdom, and the splendours salvation it may be called) in a way more of the burning throne; and he weighs the congenial to their own notions of propriety. worth of the soul against the worthlessBut what saith our Lord ? If any man

ness of the world. Or, as that great will come after me," that is, be my dis- master of reasoning, Mr. Locke, expresses ciple, “ let him take up his cross and fol- it, Jesus Christ “ puts infinite' happiness low me." A follower of Christ without a into one scale, and infinite misery into the Cross, is like a soldier without his uniform, other;" and as Mr. L. adds, “ If the worst or a servant out of livery, who does no that comes to the pious man, if he be mishonour to his Master; for the Cross is the taken (namely, annihilation) be the best badge of all true Christians. Now the im- that the wicked man can attain unto if he port of this Cross is, to deny ourselves in be in the right, who can, without madness, every thing inconsistent with the will of

run the venture ?" We shall conclude Christ, and to renounce ourselves in every this very important topic with a few intething that interferes with his glory; that is, resting hints from good Mr. Henry. 1. Man in short, tu say with St. Paul, “ God forbid has a soul of infipite value. 2. That soul that I should' glory, save in the cross of is in danger of being lost. 3. If lost, it our Lord Jesus Christ !" (Gal. vi. 14.) must be the singer's own fault; he must


NOTES--Chap. XVI. Con. comes nearest to the original, and is therefore adopted Christ's kingdom among the Gentiles. 3. Some reby Boothroyd. - Inexchange, Doddr.“ Asa ransom.' fer it to the glorious scene of the transfiguration.

Ver. 28. Shall not taste of death.-To taste, or to 4. As this refers unquestionably to St. John, who is see death, is a common Hebraisin for dying. Camp. the only apostle believed to bave survived the de.

-The Son of man coming in his kingdom. This struction of Jerusalem, we feel more inclined to refer phrase is capable of different interpretations : -1. it to the views which he had of the kingdom and Some apply it to the destruction of Jerusalem, see glory of Christ in the Isle of Patmos. ch. xxiv. 29-34. Others, 2. to the establishment of

« PreviousContinue »