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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.
25. At that time Jesus auswered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
26. Even so, Father : for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Persons of the greatest natural acuteness, or improved abilities, generally wise in their own conceits, and too proud to learn even of God himself, are not the fittest to receive the Gospel, which makes all stoop to it but those who have the simplicity of children. This affirmation seems to be the thing here intended; and it is delivered by Christ in the form of a thanksgiving ; for God will be glorified in them that believe not, as well as in those who do. But observe farther : can babes, the unlearned poor, attain to the knowledge of the truth ? Nay, are they better fitted for it, and, in Christ's judgment, more likely to embrace it than others ?. Why then will you plead your want of learning and station in life, and be always catching at this pretence for not being wise unto salvation ? Let your hearts bring you to Christ, and you know all; put yourselves unfeignedly into God's hands, and you do all. See what comfort there is for you in the next words, and how desirous Christ was to settle this point with you.
27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father :
To deliver to all who will receive them.
27. And no man knoweth the Son, but the Father;
Therefore the knowledge of him, what he is in himself, and what he is to us, must necessarily be by divine teaching
27. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son,
Man's wisdom, or learning, is here quite out of the question. The knowledge of him in Christ, which is the knowledge of him we are concerned in, and the way in which he offers himself to be known to us, can only be by Christ.
27. And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Both by outward and inward teaching. The former in this book ; the latter will be granted to your desire. One is in order to the other; and one without the other will do you no good. It is a capital truth of Scripture, that revealed things are unrevealed, in effect, without divine illumination.
28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Laden with the burden of sin, and a sinful nature. “ And I will give you rest,” which neither any one else can, nor can we give it to ourselves.
29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and
“ Take my yoke upon you :” not that of the Pharisees, laying upon you the heavy load of their traditions, and especially of the law as a covenant of life. And, that you may do it, and be prepared for the rest I have to give you, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart;"—be little in your own eyes, give up the pride of your hearts, give up all pretensions to a justifying righteousness, or power to attain it by any will or wisdom of your own.
shall find rest unto your souls;” in the remission of your sins, peace with God, and the gift of a perfect righteousness. We say, therefore, Christ's rest is not principally meekness and lowliness, or any degree of holiness; but rest to the conscience, from the guilt of sin, and fear of condemnation, accompanied with a will of obedience which makes duty pleasant to the soul.
30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
So understood, in the whole and every part of it, in its grace and commands, as a covenant and a rule, as refreshing the conscience, and binding the heart.
Happy, O Lord, are they, who take thy yoke upon them, and learn of thee. For thou art the rest of our souls
i thou speakest peace to them by thy forgiveness, and confirmest it to them in holiness. Thou art He that should come to preach the kingdom of heaven, and hast opened it to all believers. Reveal it to us, we beseech thee, in the power of thy Spirit, and give us vehement desires after it; that, knowing thee by faith, and God by thee, we may justify thy wisdom, glorify thy mercy, and evermore rejoice in thy holy comfort.
Chap. xii. ver. 1-13.
CHRIST REPROVES THE PHARISEES.
1. At that time Jesus went on the sabbath-day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
2. But when the Pharisees saw it, 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 hungred, and they that were with him ;
4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
What the disciples did, the Pharisees had determined to be unlawful. Christ does not argue that point with them, but takes a more effectual method to put them to silence, by reminding them of two examples in the case which they could not dispute.
5. Or bave ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
By doing that on the sabbath, in the execution of their office, which would be a profanation of it in others.
6. But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
It is worthy of remark, that Christ urged this saying more than once to the Pharisees, who were scrupulous observers of outward things; not to discredit the use of them, but to commend what was more substantial, and show the vanity of substituting them in the room of it.
8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Christ, by a divine right, is its Lord to dispense with it; and does actually dispense with it to every man in his need, according to the examples here alleged. It would be a great abuse of this indulgence, to make a necessity where there is none.
9. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue.
10. And, behold, there was a man which had bis hand withered And tbey asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days ? that they might accuse him.
It was miserable blindness in them to interpret the rest of the sabbath as if it were a rest from doing good, and then to make his healing on that day a ground of accusation against him. Here was want of mercy indeed !
11. 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?
How clear is this! He appeals to their own sense and practice; and yet you will find they were not convinced. They were prejudiced against him, and would not hear reason from him. It is our own case, whenever a preconceived notion, a stubborn will, or a powerful lust, stands in the way of his instructions.
12. How much then is a man better than a sheep ? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
So he thinks us better than sheep; but if we have no better prospects, or higher enjoyments, than the beasts of the earth, what better do we make ourselves ?
“ Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days:” both by taking and seeking occasions; and good actions need not be deferred on account of the sabbath, any more than this was.
13. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine band.
This he could not do but by the power of Jesus. Stretch forth thine to him in faith and prayer; and know who gives thee the will to do it.
13. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Our restoration is as much Christ's work; and if we think we can do it ourselves, we know not what it is. All he wants is the turning of the will; and the will of man never turns to him but under a conviction of guilt and weakness. I would gladly persuade you to consider our Lord's miracles in this view, and how to make a benefit of them to yourselves. You cannot be mistaken in thinking yourselves as helpless as any that received their cure from him; and he will certainly help you, if you put yourselves into his hands.