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service to our offending brother. Learn hence, 1. That to fall often into the same offence against our brother is a great aggravation of our offences: If thy brother trespass against thee seven times in a day; that is, very often. 2. That as the multiplication of offences is a great aggravation of orjences, so the multiplying of forgiveness is a great demonstration of a God-like temper in us: he that multiplieth sin, doth, like Satan, sin abundantly; and he that multiplieth pardon, doth, like God, pardon abundaully.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Observe here, 1. The supplicants, the apostles. 2. The person supplicated, the Lord. 3. The supplication itself, Increase our faith. 4. The occasion of this supplication, our Saviour urging the duty of torgiving injuries. Learn, 1. That as all graces in general, so the grace of faith in particular, is weak and imperfect in the best of saints. 2. That the most eminent saints (apostles not excepted) are very sensible of the imperfection of their faith, and very importunate with God daily for the increase of it: Lord, increase our faith. 3. That faith strengthened enables the soul to the most difficult duties of obedience, and particularly helps to the practice of that hard duty of forgiving injuries. When our Saviour had preached the doctrine and duty of forgiveness, the apostles instantly pray, Lord, increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye might say unto this sycamine-tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Here our Saviour tells his disciples, that if they have the smallest degree of true faith, lively, operative faith, it will enable them to perform this difficult duty of forgiving injuries, and all other duties, with as much facility and ease as a miraculous faith would enable them to remove mountains and transplant trees. Learn, That there is nothing which may tend to the glory of God, or to our own good and comfort, but may be obtained of God by a firm exercise of faith in him: All things are possible to him that belicreth.
7 But which of you, having a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle,
will say unto him by and by, he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? 1 trow not. 10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.
The design and scope of this parable is to show, that Almighty God neither is nor can be a Debtor to any of his creatures for the best service which they were able to perform unto him; and that they are so far from meriting a reward of justice, that they do not deserve a return of thanks. Three arguments our Saviour makes use of to evidence and prove this: 1. In respect to God, who is our absolute Lord and Master; and the argument lies thus, "If earthly masters do not owe so much as thanks to their servants for doing that which is commanded them, how much less can God owe the reward of eternal life to his servants, when they arc never able to do all that is commanded them, in a perfect and sinless manner?" 2. In respect to ourselves, who are his bond-servants, his ransomed slaves, and consequently we are not our own men, but his who hath redeemed us: and accordingly do owe him all that service, yea, more than all that we are able to perform unto him: and therefore whatever reward is either promised or given, it is wholly to be ascribed to the Master's bounty, and not to the servants' merit. 3. To merit any thing by our good works is impossible, in regard of the works themselves, because all that we can do, although we did do all that is commanded us, is but our duty. The argument runs thus: '* To bounden duty belongs no reward of justice; but all the service we do perform, yea, more than we can perform to God, is bounden duty; therefore there is due unto us no reward of justice but of free mercy." From the whole note, 1. That we are wholly the Lord's, both by a right of creation, and redemption also. 2. That as lis we are, so him we ought to serve, by domg
all those things which he hath commanded us. 3. That when we have done all, we are to look for our reward, not of debt, but of grace. 4. That were our service and obedience absolutely perfect, yet it could not merit any thing at the hand of justice: When ye have done all, say, Sec.
11 And it came to pass, as be went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
Observe here, 1. Though the Samaritans were hitter enemies to the Jews, and had been guilty of great incivility towards our Saviour, yet our Saviour in his journey to Jerusalem balks them not, but bestows the favour of a miracle upon them. Civil courtesy and respect may and ought to be paid to those that are the professed enemies of us, and our holy religion. Observe, 2. Though the leper by the law of God was to be separated from all other society, (God thereby signifying to his people, that the society of those that are spiritually contagious ought to be avoided,) yet the law of God did not restrain them from conversing with one another: accordingly these ten lepers get together, and are company for themselves. Fellowship is that we all naturally affect, though even in leprosy; lepers will flock together; where shall we find one spiritual leper alone? Drunkards and profane persons will be sure to consort with one another. Why should not God's children delight in an holy communion, when the wicked join hand in hand > Observe, 3. Though Jews and Samaritans could not ahide one another, yet here in leprosy they accord; here was one Samaritan ieper with the Jewish: common sufferings had made them friends, whom religion had disjoined. O what virtue is there in affliction to unite the most alienated and estranged hearts! Observe, 4. These lepers apply themselves to Christ the great Physician ; they cry unto him for mercy, with respect to their afflictions j they jointly cry, they all lifted tip their voice with fervent importunity. Teaching us our duty, to join our spiritual forces together, and set upon God by troops. O holy and happy violence that is thus offered to heaven! How
can we want blessings, when so many cords draw them down upon our heads?
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
Observe here, 1. The preventing grace and mercy of Christ; their disease is cured ere it can be complained of: Go, show yourselves unto the priests, says Christ, and in their going they were cleansed, they were healed before they could come at the priests, that as the power that healed them was wholly Christ's, so might the praise be also. Observe, 2. A two-fold reason why Christ commanded them to go to the priests. 1. In compliance with the ceremonial law, which required the leper to be brought to them, to judge whether healed or not; and if so, to receive the offering prescribed in token of thankfulness. 2. For the trial of their obedience: had they stood upon terms with Christ, and said, Alas! to what purpose is it to show ourselves to the priests; what good can their eyes do us? We should be glad to see ourselves cured; but why should we go to them to see ourselves loathed? Had they thus expostulated, they had not been healed: what command soever we receive from Christ, we must rather consider the authority of the commander, than the weight of the thing commanded, for God delights to try our obedience by small precepts; happy for these lepers, that, in obedience to Christ, they went to the priests, for «ti they -went they -were healed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that lie was healed, turned hack, and with a loud voice glorified God: 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan.
Observe here, 1. All were healed, but only one was thankful; the cure is wrought upon the bodies of all, thankfulness is found but in the heart of one: the will makes the difference in men, but he makes the difference in wills, who at first made the will. All these lepers were cured, all saw themselves cured; their sense was alike, their hearts were not alike. Observe, 2. The person that made this return of thankfulness to Christ, He was a Samaritan ; that is, none of the Jewish nation, but one that
was a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel: neither place nor parentage can block up the way, or stop the current, of God's free mercy, which reaches the unworthy and the ill-deserving. Observe, 3. How singly he returns his thanks; he gets away from his fellows to make his acknowledgment: there are cases wherein singularity is not only lawful, but laudable; instead of subjecting ourselves to others' examples, it is sometimes our duty to resolve to set an example to others; tor it is much better to go the right way alone, than to err with company. Observe, 4. How speedily he returns his thanks: no sooner doth he see his cure, but he hastes to acknowledge it; a noble pattern of thankfulness. What speed of retribution is here! late payments of our thankfulness savour of ingratitude: it were happy for us christians, did we learn our duty of this Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said; Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. ID And he said unto hhn, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
In the face of these ten lepers we may, as in a glass, behold the face and complexion of all mankind. How few are there, O Lord! scarce more than one in ten, who after signal mercies return suitable thanks. Men howl to God upon their beds, but run away from God as soon as they are raised up by him. Observe farther, What an exact account Christ keeps of his own dispensed favours: Were there not ten eteansed? He forgets our sins, but records his own mercies. It is one of his glorious titles, A God forgiving and forgetting iniquity; but his mercies are over all his works, and deserve everlasting remembrance. God keeps a register of his mercies towards us. 0 shall we not record the favours received from him, at once declare his bounty towards us, and our thank lulness towards him! Observe lastly, The thankful leper was a Samaritan, but the nine that were unthankful were Israelites. Learn thence; That the more we are bound to God, the more shameful is our ingratitude towards him; where God may justly oxpeet the greatest returns of praise and *ervice, he sometimes receiveth least. God has more rent, and belter paid him, from a wuoky cottage, than he has from some stately palaces.
20 And when he
of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God corncth not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
The generality of the Jews, and particularly the Pharisees, expected that the promised Messias should be a temporal prince, and deliver them from the Koman yoke, under which they groaned. Accordingly the Pharisees here demanded of our Saviour, When the kingdom of God, of which he had so often spoken, should come .* Christ answers them, That his kingdom cometh not -with observation; that is, with pomp and splendour, which men may observe and gaze upon; but he tells them, the kingdom of God was now among them, by the ministry of John Baptist and himself; and was already set up in the hearts of his people, by the secret operations of his Holy Spirit. Learn hence, That the false notion which the Jews had of the Messiah, and his kingdom, (that he himself was to be a temporal prince, and his kingdom a secular kingdom, to be set up with a great deal of noise, pomp, and splendour,) did hinder the generality of them from beliering in him. Secondly, That the kingdom which Christ designed to set up in the world, was altogether spiritual, not obvious to human senses, but managed in the hearts of his people by the sceptre of his Spirit. My kingdom cometh not alh observation, but is within you.
22 A nd he said unto the disciples. The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 Forasthe lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto llie other part under heaven ; soshall also the Son of man be in his day.
25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
In the remaining part of this chapter, wr Saviour acquaints his disciples with what days of tribulation and distress were cera
ing on ihe Jewish nation in general, and on Jerusalem in particular. "Days of sufferings (as if our Saviour had said) are not far off, when you will wish for my bodily presence again among you, to support and comfort you; and when many seducers will rise up, pretending to be deliverers, but go not you after them; for aller this generation have rejected and crucified me, my coming (says Christ) to execute vengeance upon my enemies and murderers at Jerusalem by the Roman soldiers, will be sudden, and like the lightning that shines in an instant from one part of the heavens to the other." From this coming of Christ to judge Jerusalem, which was an emblem of the final judgment, we may gather this instruction, That the coming and appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the judging of wicked and impenitent sinners, will he a very certain, sudden, and unexpected appearance.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did cat, they drank, they married w ives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
In these verses our Saviour declares, That Jerusalem's destruction, and the world's final desolation at the great day, would be like the destruction of the old world in the days of Noah, and like the destruction of Sodom in the days of Lot, and that both in regard of unexpectedness, and in regard of sensuality and security, as they before the flood were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; that is, wholly given up to sensuality and debauchery; and did not know, that is, did not consider, the floods coming, till it swept them away ; thus was it before the destruction of Jerusalem, and will be before the end of the world. Hence we learn, That as the old world perished by infidelity, security, and sensuality,
so will the same sins be prevailing before the destruction of this present world. As it was in the days o f Noah, so shall it he in the days of the Son of man.
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the house-top, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot's wife.
Here our Saviour advises them, that when they shall see the judgments of God breaking out upon Jerusalem, that they make all possible speed lo get out of it, as Lot and liis family did out of Sodom: and to take heed of imitating Lot's wife, who looking back became a pillar of salt, Gen. xix. Where observe, 1. Her offence, She looked back. 2. The punishment of her offence, She became a pillar of salt. Her oifence in looking behind her was manifest disobedience to the divine command, which said, Look not behind thee; and proceeded either from carelessness or from covetouslies', or from curiosity, or from compassion to those that she left behind her, and was undoubtedly the effect of great infidelity, she not believing the truth of what the angel had declared, as touching the certainty and suddenness of Sodom's destruction. The punishment of her offence was exemplary, She became a pillar o f salt : that is, a perpetual monument of divine severity for her infidelity and disobedience. Where note, 1. The suddenness of her punishment: the justice of God surprises her in the very act of sin, with a present revenge. 2. The seeming disproportion betwixt the punishment and the offence: her offence was a forhidden look. From whence carnal reason may plead, " Was it not sufficient for her to lose her eyes, but must she lose her life?" but the easiness and reasonableness of the command aggravated her disobedience; and though her punishment may seem severe, it was not unjust. Now, says our Saviour, Remember loot's wife: that is, let her example caution all of you against unbelief, disobedience, worldlyinindedness, contempt of God's threatenings, and lingerings after the forhidden society of lewd and wicked persons.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, In that night there shall be two men in one bed ; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field ; the one shall be takeu, and the other left.
In this hour, when judgment is come upon Jerusalem, Christ declares, that whosoever shall take any unchristian course to preserve his life, by denying him and his holy religion, he shall lose eternal life; but he that for Christ's sake shall lose his natural life, instead of a mortal, shall enjoy an immortal life in bliss and glory. Here we learn, 1. That the love of temporal life is a great temptation to men, to deny Christ and his holy religion, in a day of trial. 2. That the surest way to attain eternal life, is cheerfully to lay down our temporal life, when the glory of Christ, and the honour of religion, requires it of us. Christ farther adds, that in this terrible night of Jerusalem's calamity, when destruction comes upon her, the providence of God will remarkably distinguish between one person and another: true believers, and constant professors, shall be delivered, and none else; such shall escape the danger, others shall fall by it.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
The disciples hearing our Saviour speak of such tremendous calamities, enquire, Where these judgments should fall > He answers them figuratively, and by a proverhial speech, That uhere the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together: signifying, that Jerusalem, and the obdurate nation of the Jews, was the carcass which the Roman armies, whose ensign was the eagle, would quickly find out and feed upon; and that Judea in general, and Jerusalem in particular, would be the theatre and stage of those tragical calamities. Learn thence, That the appointed messengers of God's wrath, and the instruments of his vengeance, will suddenly gather together, certainly find out, and severely punish, an impenitent people devoted to destruction. Where tjte carcass is, (that is, the body of the Jewish nation,)
there -mill the eaglet, that is, the Roman soldiers, be gathered together.
A ND he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint: 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet, because this widow troubletli me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjustjudge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
There is no duty in christianity, the practice of which our Saviour presseth upon us more frequently than this duty of prayer. To encourage his disciples, (and us in them,) to fervency, importunity, and perseverance in this duty, he propounds here the parable of an unjust judge, who was overcome by an importunate widow, to do her justice contrary to his own inclination; from whence our Saviour argues, That if importunity will prevail with a sinful man, to grant petitions offered to him; how much more prevalent will such importunity be with the infinitely good God, to relieve the necessities of such as devoutly implore his help? And the force of the argument lies thus: " The judge in the parable was an inferior and subordinate judge, was an unrighteous and unjust judge, was a merciless and hard-hearted judge; and yet, upon her importunity, lie avenged her: how much more will the sovereign and supreme Judge, the holy and righteous, the merciful and compassionate Judge of all the earth, hear and help his praying people, and be the just Avenger of those that tear him?" From the whole note, l. That