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clvii.

9 And call no man

213

He openly reproves them for their pride. SECT. honour which they are fond of having repeated bi, rabbi. (MARK XII.

-58. LUKE XX.in every sentence, and almost at every word.

46.-) Mat. But as for you, my disciples, be not you called 8 But be not ye XXIII.8 Rabbi, nor value yourselves on the name, if it called Rabbi: for one

should ever happen to be given you; for one is Christ, and all ye are
your Niaster, (even] Christ; and ye are all bre- brethren.
threns, and as such should treat each other with
ga loving freedom and familiarity. And call

not (any one) on earth your father", nor be fond your father upon the
of receiving this title from men, who may be Father which is in
ready to speak of themselves as but children in heaven.
comparison of you, and implicitly to follow all
your dictates; for one is your Father, and that
of the whole family, [eren] he who dwells in
the highest heaven, and before whom all the
most distinguished honours of the children of

men disappear, as less than nothing and vanity.
10 Neither be ye called masters and guides; for one is 10 Neither be ye
your great Master and Instructor, [even] Christ', is your Master, even

called masters : for one whose dictates you are ever to receive, and in Christ.

whose name and authority alone you are to teach
11 others. But, on the contrary, he that is, and 11 But he that is

would appear in the eyes of God to be, the greatest Steatest among you,
among you, shall be most eminent for conde-
scension and humility, and will be ready to wait
on the rest, and to behave bimself on all occa-

sions as your scrvant. (Compare Mat. xx. 26,
1227. p. 135 ) And what I have often told you 12 And whosoever

willassuredly be found to be a certain truth, That sha:lexalt himself, shall whosoever shall attempt in an ambitious way to

be abased ; and he that

shall humble himself, exalt himself, shall sooner or later, by one method shall be exalted. or another, be abased; and whosoever, on the other hand, shall humble himself, shall be exalted

to the highest honourk. 13 Then Jesus, turning from his disciples, to 13 But wo unto you

whom

scribes

shall be

your servant.

p. 135.

& Ve are all brethren.] It is observable, the very same words (here, and in ver. that not one word is said of Peter's authority 8.) Our Lord knew bow requisite it over the rest, either here, or on the appli- would be to attend to it, and how ready cation made by Zebedee's children; though even his ministers would be to forget it. had such an authority been intended, no k Whosoever shall exalt himself, &c.] thing could have been more natural, or ne Christ seems by the frequent repetition cessary, than to have mentioned and ad of this man in to intimate that he intended justed it. Compare noleg on Mat. xx. 26. it, not only for those who were to be leachers

of others, but for all his disciples without h Call not [any onc] on earth your fac exception. And it is well worthy of our ther.] The Pharisees, no doubt, had this observation that no one sentence of our title given them; and Bishop Wilkins ob- Lord's is so frequently repeated as this; scrves, that it is a title which assum which occurs at least ten times in the evan. ing priests of all religions have greatly af. gelists. Compare Mat. xvii. 4. xx. 26, fected.

27. xxiii. 10, 11. Mark ix. 35. X. 43, 44. i One is your Masler, [even] Christ.] It Luke xiv. 11. xviii. 14. xxii. 26. and Jolin is remarkable that this occurs twice in xiii. 14.

1 Hypocrites.)

And exhorts his disciples to humility.

219 scribes and Pharisees, whom he had hitherto been speaking, addressed SECT. hypocrites ! for ye shut himself boldly to those crafty enemies who stood_clvii. heaven against men: around him, waiting for nothing but an oppor. Mat. for ye neither go in tunity of mischief, and said, Wo unto you, ye XXIII, yourselves, neither suf. scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!! for by the 13 fer ye them that are entering to go in.

prejudices you are so zealous to propagate
among the people, you shut up the kingdom of
heaven against men, and do all you can to pre-
vent their regarding it; for you neither go in your.
selves, nor permit them that are awakened to a
desire of entering, to go in; and thus you make
yourselves in some degree chargeable with their
destruction as well as with your own, by the
false notions you instil into their minds, and the
prejudices you raise against me and my doc-

trine. (Compare Luke xi. 52, sect. cx.)
14 Wo unto you, Wo unto you, ye scribes and Pharisees, hypo-14
scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites ! for ye de crites, that impose upon men by specious forms
vour widows houses, of devotion! but these forms cannot impose upon
and for a preten e God, nor prevent his vengeance from falling
make long, prayers; heavy upon you : for, by your cruel extortions
ceive the greater dam- you devour the houses of widows and orphans,
nation. (MARK XII. whose helpless circumstances, if you had any re-
40. LUKE XX. 47.]

mains of humanity and generosity, might rather
engage you to protect and vindicate them; and
it is only for a pretence to cover these crying
immoralities, that you make such long and seem-
ingly earnest prayers, hoping thereby to engage
the esteem and confidence of others, that you
may have the greater opportunity to injure and
defraud them: but this complicated wickedness
shall cost you dear; for therefore shall you receive
greater and more dreadful damnation, than if
you had never prayed at all, nor made any pre-

tences to religion. 15 Wo unto you,

Wo unto you, ye scribes and Pharisees, hypo-15 scribes and Pharisees, crites as you are! for with indefatigable industry, hypocrites ! for compass sea and land you do, as it were, compass the sea and the land

one prose to make one proselyte to your own particular sect
lyte, and when he is
made, ye make him and party; and when he is become (so), you of-
two-fold more the child ten make him even doubly more a child of hell
pt hell than yourselves. than you yourselves are ; while, in order to ap-

prove the sincerity of his conversion to you, he
is obliged to vie with you in all the excesses of
your superstition and bigotry.

Wo

ye

to make

? Hypocrites.] Dr. More with great pro- natural custom of the ancients, octed a priety observes, that the word hypocrites part under a mask. More's Theolog. Works, (vzoxpoleon] in its most exact application, p. 293. siguifies players, who according to the unVol. VII. Еe

m Who

SECT. clvii,

Mat.

220

Their folly is discovered with respect to oaths. IVo unto you, ye blind guides, who have in 16 Wo unto you, vented so many

nice distinctions, to make men ye blind guides! which easy in their sins, and subservient to your secu- swear by the temple,

say, Whosoever shall XXIII. Iar interests ! who say, for instance, Whosoever it is nothing; but who16 shall szcar only by the temple, it is nothing" ;

soever shall swear by

the gold of the temple, but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the tem- he is a debtor. ple, whether by that with which a part of it is

overlaid, or by that which is laid up in its trea17 sures, he is obliged by it. Ye foolish and blind 17 Ye fools, and

(creatures), is not the stupid sopbistry of this blind : for whether is distinction apparent to the weakest understand Steater, the gold, or ing: for which of these is greater, the gold, or the ti fieth the gold ? temple that sanctifies the gold, which without its

relation to the temple would h. ve nothing in it 18 more sacred than any common metal? And ve

18 And whosoever also say, just with the same degree of sense and tar, it is nothing: but

shall swear by the al. piety as before, Whosoever shall swear only by whosoever sweareth by the altar of God, it is nothing ; but whoever the gift that is upon

shall swear by ihe gift which is upon it, he is ob- it, he is guilty. 19 liged to the performance of his oath. Ye foolish 19 Ye fools, and

and blind (wretches], what an idle and senseless blind : for whether is distinction is this? for which can you suppose altar that sanctifieth

greater the gitt, or the is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the the gift? gift, which, before it was brought thither, was only a common thing, and might be used to any

20 Whoso thercfore 20 of the ordinary purposes of human life? The

shall swear by the altruth of the case is therefore plain and obvious :

tar su careth by it and he that swears by the altar, swears in effect by it, by all things thereon.

and by all the things that are offered upon it to 81 him whose altar it is : And he that swears by the

21 And whoso shall

swear by the temple, temple, swears by it, and by him also that dwells sweareth by it, and in it, even the eternal and ever-blessed Jehovah, by him that dwelleth

who honours it in a special manner with the therein. 22 tokens of his presence: And he that swears by

29 And he that heaven, which some of you are foolish enough to sweareth by the throne

shall swear by heaven think a little oath, swears by the throne of the of God, and by him most high God, and by him who sits upon it, and that siteeth thereon. fills all the train of attendant angels with the humblest reverence and prostration of mind. Now did you and your disciples consider this, that every oath by a creature is an implicit appeal to God, you could not surely talk of such expressions in so light and dangerous a manner as you commonly do.

IMPROVE.

m Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is plain that, without any regard to it is nothing.) It seems the Pharisees taught, common sense or decency, they were inthat oaths by the creatures might be used fluenced merely by a view to their own on trifling occasions, and violated without interest; and therefore represented these any great guilt (see note h on Mat. v. 34, to the people as things of more eminent Vol. VI. p. 213. But they excepted ooths sanctity than even the temple or altar by the corban, and by sacrifices; in which itself,

Reflections on the pride, &c. of the scribes and Pharisees.

221

IMPROVEMENT.

As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise sıct. reprover upon an obedient ear (Prov. xxv. 12). Christ was indeed clvii. a wise and faithful Reprover ; but the ears of these Pharisees were Mat. disobedient and uncircumcised. Let us, however, who are his sxiii. 1, disciples, attend to these instructions of our heavenly Master, and 5 seq. avoid every thing which has the remotest tendency to what he here condemns with so just a severity.

Let not our zeal spend itself upon the externals of religion. 5 Let us not impose heavy burdens upon each other ; nor lay down 4 rules for the conduct of others, by which we do not in like circumstances think fit to govern ourselves. Let us not impose our own decisions in a magisterial manner on our fellow Christians, nor affect to be called fathers, masters, and teachers; remembering 8-10 that Christ alone is our Master, and God our Father, and that it is a dangerous presumption and folly to set ourselves in the place of either. Let us be upon our guard against that vain ostentation 6, 7 that would lead us to place any part of our happiness in precedence, and to value ourselves upon our rank, or upon any airy titles of 7 honour, by which, perhaps rather by accident than merit, we are distinguished froin others; and which to a truly wise man, and especially to a humble follower of Jesus, will appear to be a very little matter. Let us desire that honour which arises from con-11, 12 descending to others, and serving them in love; that honour which springs from the Divine approbation, which it will be impossible to secure without unaffected piety. (John v. 44.)

God forbid that our devotions should ever be intended as a 14 cloak of maliciousness, or as the instrument of serving any mean and vile purpose ! Such prayers would return in curses on our own heads, and draw down on them aggravated damnation. God 15 forbid that we should spend that time, and that ardency of spirit, in making proselytes to our own peculiar notions and party, which ought to be laid out in making them the servants of God through Christ! God forbid that we should delude ourselves or 16 others by such idle distinctions in matters of conscience, as these wbich our blessed Redeemer has with so much reason and spirit exposed !

Let us retain the greatest reverence for an oath, and not accus-17--22 tom ourselves to trifle with any thing 'which looks like it. Let us consider heaven as the throne of God, and often think of the majesty and glory of that illustrious Being that sits thereon ; for a sense of his continual presence will form us to a better temper, and engage us with a righteousness far exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees, to walk before him in all his commandments and ordinances blameless.

Ee 2

SEC.

222

The Pharisees reproved for their hypocrisy.

SECT. CLVIII.

1

Christ continues his discourse with the Pharisees, reproving them

for their hypocrisy, and threatening them with approaching judgments. Mat. XXIII. 23, to the end.

SECT.

Mat,

and

faith :

MAT. XXIII. 23.

MAT. XXIII. 23. clviii.

UR Lord farther proceeded in his discourse, wo unto you scribes
OUR

and said, IVo unto you, ye scribes and Pha- pocrites ! for ye pay

risees, hypocrites ! you may justly expect the se- tithe of mini, and XXIII. verest vengeance ; for ye are carefulto tithe mint, and have omitted the 23 and anise, and cummin, and every other com- weightier matters of

mon herb which grows in your gardens; and set the law, judgment,
have wholly neglected the weightier matters of the mercy,

these ought ye to have
law, justice, and mercy, and fidelity a : these done, and not to leave
should chiefly have been regarded by you as the other undone.
what ye ought more especially to have practised,
and indeed not to have omitted the other, as a
reverent observance is due even to the least of
God's commandments. (Compare Luke xi.

24 Ye blind guides, 24 42, sect. cx.) Ye blind guides of blind and

which strain at a gnat,
wretched followers, who do (as it is proverbially and swallow a camel.
said) carefully strain out a gnat from the li-
quor you are going to drink, and yet can swal-
low down a camelb; you affect to scruple little
things, and disregard those of the greatest mo-

ment.
25 Wo unto you, ye scribes and Pharisees, hypo- 25 Wo unto you,

scribes and Pharisees,
crites ! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of

hypocrites !
the dish, and are mighty exact in the observance make clean the out-
of external rites and wasbings of the body ; side of the cup, and
but are regardless of the inner parts, and uncon- within they are full of
cerned about your hearts and consciences, which extortion and excess.
are full of uncleanness, and of all kinds of ra-

pine and intemperance. (Compare Luke xi. 33,
26 sect. cx.) Thou blind and senseless Pharisee 26 Thou blind Pha.
first begin with the heart, and thereby, as it were, rifee, cleanse tirst that

cleanse

for

ye

which

a Fidelity.) The word w1595 bas un. guats were apt to fall into wine, if it were
doubtedly this signification in many places pot carefully covered ; and passing the sia
(compare Tit. ii. 10; Gal. v. 22; and quor through a strainer, that no gnat, or part
Rom. iij. 5). But there are many more of one, might remain, grew into a 'proverb
in which it signifies the confidence reposed for exactness about little matters. - Could
in another ; and it is of great importance any authority be produced in which you-
to observe this. See Col. i. 4; and 1 Pet. pendav signifies a large insect, I should willa
i. 21.

great pleasure follow the translation of
b Strain ont a gnat, and swallow down 1727, in rendering the latter clause, steat-
e camel.] lo those hot countries, as Sere low a beetle.
rerius well observes. (Trikpres. p. 51),

c Whiled

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