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14 Wo unto you,

And exhorts his disciples to humility.

219 scribes and Pharisees, whom he had hitherto been speaking, addressed SECT.

shut himself boldly to those crafty enemies who stood up the kingdom of heaven against men: around him, waiting for nothing but an oppor- N 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 io.

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 goin your..
selves, nor permit them that are awakened to a
desire of entering, to go in; and thus you make
yourselves in some digree 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.)

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 ; h
therefore ve shall re. 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. LOKE 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
iminoralities, tbat 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 Pbarisees, crites as you are! for with indefatigable industry,
compass sea and land you do, as it were, compass the sea and the land,

make one prose- to make one proselyte to your own particular sect
lyte, and when he is
made, ye make him and party; and when ne is become [SO]; you,
two-fold more the child ten make him even doubly more a child of hell
of 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

1 Hypocrites.) Dr. More with great pro- natural custom of the ancients, acted a priety observes, that the word hypocrites part under a mask. More's Theolog. Works, (soupless) in its most exact application, p. 293. siguifies players, who according to the unVOL. VII. Ee

m Who

er is

220

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

say, Whosoever shall Mat. t easy in their sins, and subservient to your secu- su

le temple XXIII. Iar interests! who say, for instance, Whosoever it is nothing; but who16 shall szear only by the temple, it is nothing m; $ temple it is nothing m. soever shall swear by

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

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

[creatures], is not the stupid sopbistry of this blind :
distinction apparent to the weakest understand- ihe temple that sanc.

greater, the gold, OT ing? for which of these is greater, the gold, or the tifieth the gold ? temple that sanctifies the gold, which without its

relation to the temple would have 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 far, it is nothing: but

shall swear by the al• piety as before, IV'hosoever shall swear only by whosoever sweareth by

the altar of God, it is nothing ; but whoever the gist that is upon shall swear by the gift which is upon it, he is ob- ,

biche unos bish it, he is guilty. 19 liged to the performance of his oath. le foolish 19 Ye fools, and and blind roretches), what an idle and senseless blind : for whether is

greater the gitt, or the distinction is this? for which can you suppose altar that sanctifieth 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 of the ordinary purposes of buman life? The

The 20 Whoso therefore

"O shall swear by the al. truth of the case is therefore plain and obvious: tar sweareth 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 21 him whose altar it is : And he that swears by the and he that cospars buthe

21

21 And whoso sball

swear by the temple, temple, swears by it, and by him also that dwells swearetń 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 srecars bu 22 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 reho sits upon it, and that sitteth 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 imp.icit 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 noleh 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 sect. reprover upon an obedient ear (Prov. xxv. 12). Christ was indeed civil. a wise and faithful Reprover ; but the ears of these Pharisees were Mat. disobedient and uncircumcised. Let us, however, who are his xxiii. 1, disciples, attend to these instructions of our heavenly Master, and 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 from 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 1.6 others by such idle distinctions in matters of conscience, as these which 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.

E e 2

SECT.

222

The Pharisees reproved for their hypocrisy.

SECT. CLVIII.

Christ continues his discourse with the Pharisees, reproving them for

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

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Mat. XXIII. 23.

MAT. XXIII. 23.
O UR Lord farther proceeded in his discourse. W unto you scribes

e, " and Pharisees, hy. • V and said, Wo unto you, ye scribes and Pha- pocrites ! for ye pay Mat. risees, hypocrites ! you may justly expect the se- tithe of mint, and

Bulle'tibomist anise, and cummiu, 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

" 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 pructised, 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. - 2442, sect. cx.) Ye blind guides of blind and 24 Ye blind guides,

which strain at a gnat, wretched followers, who do (as it is proverbially apd swallow a camel. said) carefully strain out a gnat from the liquor you are going to drink, and yet can swallow 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, hypcu 25 Wo unto you,

escribes and Pharisees, crites ! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of hi the dish, and are mighty exact in the observance make clean the outof external rites and washings of the body ; side of the cup, and but are regardless of the inner paris, and uncon

of the platter, but

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. (8.) Thou blind and senseless Pharisee 26 Thou blind Phafirst begin with the heart, and thereby, as it were, risee, cleanse first that

crites !

for ve

which cleanse

a Fidelity. The word WIFI bas un- gnats were apt to fall into wine, if it were doubtedly this signification in many places not carefully covered ; and passing the ti(compare Tit. ii. 10; Gal. v. 22; and quor through a strainer, that no gnal, or part Rom. iii. 3). 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 mrto observe this. See Col. i, 4; and 1 Pet. Mnaov signifies a large insect, I should with i. 21.

great pleasure follow the translation of h Strain out a gnat, and swallow down 1727, in rendering the latter clause, sxala camel.] In those hot countries, as Ser. low a beetle. rarius well observes. (Tiha res. p. 51),

c Wkried e Hos

lviii.

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cleanness.

They are compared to whited sepulchres.

223 skich is within the cup cleanse the inside of the cup and of the dist, that sect. and platter, that the thus the outside of them may be clean also, for the outside of them may be clean also.

life will of course be reformed when the heart is v

purified. 27 Wo unto you, Wo unto you, ye scribes and Pharisees, hypo-27

S: crites ! for ye resemble whited sepulchres, which hypocrites! for ye are like unto wbited se- indeed appear fair and beautiful without', but pulchres, which indeed within are full of the bones of the dead, and of all appear beautiful out the

Hul out thal uncleanness which arises from their putre. ward, but are within full of dead men's fying bodies. Even so you also do indeed out- 28 bones, and of all un- wardly appear righteous unto men, who view no

thing more than the external part of your cha-
28 Even so ye al.
so outwardly appear racter; but in the sight of an heart-searching
righteous unto men, God, who has a clear and perfect view of all
but within ye are full that lies within, you are full of that hypocrisy and
of bypocrisy and ini.
quity.

iniquity which is infinitely more loathsome to
him than the most disagreeable objects can be to

the human eye. 29 Wo unto you, Io unto you, ye scribes and Pharisees, hypo-29 scribes and Pharisees, crites ! for, under a pretence of your regard and hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the veneration for their cuaracters, you su prophets, and garnish build up the sepulchres of the ancient prophets, the sepulchres of the and adorn the monuments of the other righteous righteous,

men of former generations, as desirous to pre50 And say, if we serve and honour their memories": And ye 30 had been in the days of our fathers, we say, I

days say, If we had been living in the days of our fa. would not have been thers, we would not have been partakers with partakers with them in them in the blood of the holy prophets which they

e pro- shed, but would have treated them in another 31 Wherefore be ye manner than our fathers did. So that you 31 witnesses unto your- really bear witness to yourselves, that you are the

selves

the blood of t phets.

SONS

c Whited sepulchres, which indeed appear &c.] I can by no means think, with Marbeautiful without.] Though the first inten- kius (Exercit. p. 229), many of whose tion of whitening sepulchres might be only criticisms are very low and fanciful, that to mark them out, that they might be avoid. Christ here blames the building the sepulchres ed; and so (as some Jewish writers, and of those holy men; which, as Elsner (Vol. particularly Maimonides, have observed a I. p. 160) and Raphelius (Annot. ex. Xen. heap of lime laid upon the grave might an. p. 48) shew', was a piece of respect which swer the end; it is evident they were some most nations have paid to persons of distinTimes adorned (ver. 29), probably not only guished merit, especially to those that fell with plaistering and white-zoashing, but with in a good cause. What Vitringa de Symarble and other stone monuments: and not. mag. p. 221) tells us of the extraordinary withstanding all the applause which Vitringa honours paid to the sepulchre of Mordecai,

Obseru. Sacr. lib. i. p. 201) gives to the is an agreeable illustration of these words. interpretation which Dr. Lichtfoot (Hor. Josephus also, from Nicolaus Damascenus, Heb. in loc.) and Dr. Pocock (Port.' Mos. mentions Herod's repairing in a very splencap. 8. p. 73) bave advanced, I conclude did manner the sepulchre of David. (Joseph. that such ornaments were here referred to; Antiq. lib. xvi. cap. 7 (al. 11), $ 1.) Comfor I cannot think Christ would have call- pare Acts ii. 29.--Grotius is certainly ed these sepulchres beautiful if they had right in saying that the four verses in this been nothing but heaps of earth covered paragraph are to be considered as one senwith grass. Compare note e, on Luke xi. tence; of which perhaps ver. 31 may be a 44. sect. cx.

parenthesis. d You build the sepulchres of the prophets,

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