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Then was brought unto him one poffessed with a devil, blind and dumb : and he healed him, info

much that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and faid (g), Is 24 not this the son of David ? But when the Pharisees

heard it, they faid, This fellow doth not cast out

devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them,

Every kingdom divided against itself, is brought to

desolation : and every city or house, divided against 26 itself, shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan,

he is divided against himfelf: how then shall his 27 kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out

devils, by whom do your children cast them out? 28 therefore they shall be your judges (h). But if I cast

out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom 29 of God is come unto you. Or else (i), how can one

enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods,

except he first bind the strong man, and then he 30 will spoil his house ? He that is not with me (k), is

againit me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of fin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blala

phemy against the holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto (g) Is not this the Christ whom we are expecting ? See Chap:

(h) Your own disciples take upon them to cast out devils, and in their case you willingly ascribe this power to God; why then not in mine ? for my works tend evidently to promote the honour of God, and to destroy the power of Satan.

(i) Take the matter in a familiar and common light.

(k) How can you so perversely suppose me to be doing the Devil's work, when you see me overthrowing it? If the case were otherwise, if I were not against him, then indeed you might justly account me his friend; according to your own proverb, He that isa not with &c. See Mark ix. 40. Luke ix. 50. xi. 23.

31

ix. 27.

me,

32 men.

32 men.

And whosoever (1) speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the holy Ghost, it shall not

be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the 33 world to come. Either make the tree good, and his

fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his

fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil,

speak good things ? for out of the abundance of the 35 heart the mouth speaketh (m). A good man, out of

the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good

things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, 36 bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that

every (n) idle word that men shall speak, they shall 37 give account thereof in the day of judgment. For

by thy (0) words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from

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(?) Contemptuous and reproachful language against the person of Christ, as in Chap. xi. 19. xiii. 55. might be occasioned by prejudice and mistake, and shall be forgiven when the error is discovered and acknowledged: but blafphemy against the holy Spirit of God, which they were guilty of who saw Chrill's miracles, and ascribed them to the

power of the devil, was such an obftinate resistance against convi&tion, as cut off all hope or means of repentance, and was therefore unpardonable. This, however, is not applicable to Christians; for they who believe in Christ, and own him to be their Lord and Saviour, may always have access through him to the mercy of God, and find pardon for all their fins upon their true repentance.

(m) Do not pretend that your hearts can be good, while your language is thus wicked and perverse. As the tree is known by it's fruits, so is the heart of a man by his words.

(n) By Idle is to be understood, not inhgnificant, or trifling; but wicked, 'malicious, profane, words : for, fuch was the language of the Pharisees, which our Lord is here condemning.

(0) Words and speeches proceed from the heart no less than actions, an we are therefore no less accountable for them.

39. thee.

39 thee (p). But he answered and said to them, Anevil

and adulterous generation seekech after a sign, and

there shall no sign be given to it, but the fign of the 40 prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was (g) three days

and three nights in the whale's belly; fo shall the

Son of man be three days and three nights in the 41 heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise

in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn

it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas, 42 and behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The

queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermoft parts of the earth to hear the wif

dom of Solomon, and behold, a greater than Solomon 43 is here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a.

man, he walketh through dry places, seeking 44 reft, but findeth none. Then he faith, I will return into

my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and gar45 nished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself

seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and, they enter in and dwell there : and the last state of that man is worse than the first (r). Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

46 While

(0) Notwithstanding the many miracles Christ had wrought, they molt unreasonably ask for a sign from heaven; as if he were obliged to fatisfy them in any way they should choose: but instead of grati-fying them in their perverseness, he refers them for conviction to a future time, to his death and resurrection.

79) By three days and three nights the Jews did not always mean three entire days and nights ; but reckoned any part of a day for the whole. If a child was born the last hour of a day, it was taken for. a whole day in reckoning the time of his circumcision: in like. manner, in computing, the time of Christ's resurrection, a very small

part of Sunday is very properly taken for a day. (r) The Jews were so entirely under the power of fuperftition and perverseness, that they might well be said to be, as it were, possessed by those evil dispositions : from this lamentable state the gracious

offers

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While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren (s) ftood without, desiring 47 to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Be

hold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, 48 defiring to speak with thee. But he answered and

said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? 49 and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth

his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my 50 mother, and my brethren. For whosoever shall do

the will of my Father which is in heaven, the faine is my brother, and fifter, and mother.

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THE

HE fame day went Jesus out of the house, and

sat by the sea-side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a

fhip, and fat, and the whole multitude stood on the 3 fore. And he spake many things unto them in pa

rables, saying, Behold, a lower went forth to low. 4 And when he fowed, fome seeds fell by the way-fide, offers of the gospel, had they not been rejected, would have relieve ed them; whereas they did but serve them for a pretence to continue. in their obftinacy, and to persecute the Redeemer of the world, with all the cruelty that their own disappointed pride, and the craft and malice of Satan, could suggest ; and thus the laft fate of those men was worse than the first.

Taking this parable in a more general sense, and bringing it home to ourselves, it may be considered as an awakening admonition, nem ver to flacken our diligence and care in the performance of our duty never to imagine that we have already attained, or are already perfect. Whenever we presumptuously flatter ourselves that our house is swept and garnished, and needs no further preparation for the holy Spirit, the wicked one will enter in and dwell there. And thus by false security and spiritual pride, our last fate becomes worse than the firft.

(s) Observe on one hand, how our Saviour guards against the religious worship since paid to his mother. Observe on the other hand, that every one is secure of his favour, in proportion as he doth the will of God, and leads a good life. See Luke xi. 27.

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5 and the fowls came and devoured them up, Some

fell upon stony places, where they had not much

earth: and forth with they sprung up, because they 6 had no deepness of earth : And when the sun was

up, they were scorched, and because they had not 7 root, they withered away. And fome fell among

thorns : and the thorns sprung up, and choked them. 8 But others fell into good ground, and brought forth

fruit, fome an hundred-fold, fome fixty-fold, fome 9 thirty-fold. Who (a) hath ears to hear, let him 10 hear. And the disciples came and said unto him,

Why speakelt thou unto them in parables ? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given

unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of 12 heaven, but to them it is not given. For (b) who

foever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have

more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from 13 him shall be taken away, even that he hath. There

fore speak I to them in parables : because they fee

ing, fee not: and hearing, they hear not, neither 14 do they understand (c). And in them is fulfilled the

prophecy of Efaias, which faith (d), By hiearing

ye ihall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing, 15 ye shall fee, and shall not perceive. For this peo

ple's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull

(a) See Chap. xi. 15.
6) See Luke xiii. 16.

(c) The multitude, who came to me only to gratify their curiosity, apd neglect to make proper reflections on what they hear, would receive no benefit by the plaineit discourses : however, if there be any well disposed persons among them, such easy comparisons as these are most apt to engage their attention.

(d) Though they hear, yet they will not understand. Their not improving by what they heard was not owing to any decree of God, but to their own inattention and perverseness. They closed their eyes, that they might not fee, and be converted, and sét right. It is through men's own obstinacy, that they continue in error and fin: for God is ever ready to extend his compassion and gracious assisl. ance to the pious and humble.

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