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And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the 23 hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the

third day he shall be raised again : and they were

exceeding sorry. 24

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute-money, came to Peter, and said, 25 Doth not your master pay tribute (i)? He faith, Yes.

And when he was come into the house, Jesus pre-
vented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of

whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tri26 bute ? of their own children, or of strangers ? Peter

faith unto him, Of strangers. Jefus faith unto him, 27 Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, left

we should offend them (k), go thou to the sea, and
cast an book, and take up the fish that first cometh up:
and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt
find a piece of money: that take, and give it unto
them for me and thee,

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7

XXI, 21.

A

T the same time came the disciples unto Jesus,

saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of 2 heaven (a)? And Jesus called a little child unto him,

3 and set him in the midst of them, And faid, Verily government, and mortification of all carnal appetites. See Chap.

(i) The tribuute here mentioned was the yearly offering for the service of the temple. As earthly kings exact' no tribute from their own children, but from Arangers only, so neither, faith our Lord, should tribute be exacted from the son of him to whose ho.. bour the temple was erected.

() From this instance we may learn, that it is the duty of a good fubject to pay the taxes imposed by lawful authority, even tho' te lbould see a reafon why thofe taxes ought not to have been im.. posed.

(a) Who will be greatest when the state of chriftianity shall be etablished? See Chap.ij. 2.

I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become

as little children, ye shall not enter (b) into the 4 kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall

humble himself as this little child (c), the same is 5 greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall

receive one such little child in my name, receiveth 6. me. But whoso shall offend (d) one of thele little

ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a milftone were hanged about his neck, and

that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Wo unto the world because of offences : for it

must needs he that offences come (e) : but wo to th.it 8 man by whom the offence cometh. Wherefore (f)

if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two

hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eyes offend thee, pluck it out, and caft

it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life

with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast 10 into hell-fire. Take heed that ye despise not one

of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in hea

ven their angels do always behold the face of my 11 Father which is in heaven (8). For the Son of man

12 is

(6) Ye cannot be my disciples, or profess my religion.

(c) Innocency and humility are the greatest honour and, perfeâion, in the character of a Christian.

(d) To offend signifies to obstruct the salvation of any one by leading him

into error or sin. And thus likewise the word is to be understood, in the following verses, for whatever is an hindrance or impediment to us in our christian course. Luke xvii. 1.

(e) In the present state of the world it cannot be expected, but that virtue and religion will meet with much opposition : But wretched is that man, and dreadful will be his punilhiment, who is any way the occasion of it, either by persuasion, enticement, or bad example,

(f) See Chap. v. 29.

(5) God's providence perpetually watcheth over the least and the mçanet of the children of men; the holy angels who land before

12 is come (b) to save that which was loft. How think

ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety

and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh 13. that which is gone astray (i) ? And if so be that he

find it, Verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that

Sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not 14 astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father

which is in heaven, that one of these little ones

should perish 15 Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against

thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him

alone (k): if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy 16 brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take

with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two

or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the

Ours.

the face of God, that is, who continually enjoy his glorious prefence, being miniftering spirits to execute the divine commands for their protection and benefit. If little children then be thus the care of heaven, we furely ought to think no condescension too great whereby we can do them any good, whether by religious education, or profitable example. But let us observe further on this passage, that the angels being the meffengers of God, and employed by him for the service- of mortałs, are not the objects of our worship; which is to be paid to God alone, who is both their Lord and (h) Not only are the angels thus employed, but

was the very purpose for which even the Son of God came into the world, to feek. and bring back them who had ftrayed away.

() See Luke xv. 3:

(k) Harbour not in your minds the fpirit of revenge, or resentment; but endeavour to make any one who has offended you sensi. ble of his fault by every means of prudence and christian charity: first privately between yourselves; or if a reconciliation cannot be brought about by private admonition, then defire one or two more, by whose advice the party oifending may probably be governed; and if that fails, but not otherwise, you may apply. to the publick. for redress.

church:

church (1): but if he neglect to hear the church,

let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a pub18 lican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall

bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven (m): and

whatfoever ye shall loofe on earth, shall be loosed in 19 heaven. · Again I say unto you, that if two of you

shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they

shall ask, it shall be done for them (n) of my Father 20 which is in heaven. For where two or three are

gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Then came Peter to him, and faid, Lord, how oft fhall my brother fin againft me, and I forgive 22 him? till seven times? Jefus faith unto him, I say

not unto thee, Until feven times: but, until seventy

times seven(). 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto

a certain king, which would take account of his

21

(?) To the church, or society of your, Christian brethren, And any person, who refufeth to conform, in the great duties of morality, to the general sense of his fellow Christians, is no longer worily to be accounted a member of their body ; but ought to be put out from it, and his company to be avoided, 'as the Jews avoid that of a hea. then, and Roman tax-gatherer. See Chap. v. 46.

(m) Whatsoever fhall be thus wisely and folemnly determined, the sentence, whether of forgiveness on the one hand, or of punishment on the other, will be approved and ratified in heaven. Oba serve, that the same power of binding and loosing which was granted to St. Peter, Chap. xvi. 19. is here vested in the body of the church assembled together to enforce order and discipline, and to decide disputes in worldly matters among Christians, according to St. Paul's injunction, 1 Cor. vi. 1, 4. whilst the civil magistrates were enemics to christianity. (n) For God is always ready to grant

the
prayers very

small number of his servants : how much more then in a case of this importance ?

(o) Our forgiveness of each other-must be unlimited, both as to the number and the nature of the injuries done; and the mercy which we desire at the hands of God, is the rule and example we we must follow,

of a

24. servants.

24. servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one

was brought unto him which owed him ten thousand 25 talents (D). But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his

lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and

children (2), and all that he had, and payment to be 26 made. The servant therefore fell down, and worship

-ped him, saying, Lord have patience with me, and I 27 will pay

thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed hiin, and forgave 28 him the debt. But the same servant went out, and

found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence(r): and he laid hands on him, and took

him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.. 29 And his fellow-fervant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I pay

thee all. And he would not : but went and 31 cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So

when his fellow-fervants faw what was done, they

were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord 32 all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had

called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I

forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredft me : 33 Shouldeft not thou also have had compassion on thy 34 fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thce? And his

lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormen

30 will

() The value of a talent is about 1871. 1os. English money. Our Lord states the servant's debt at this valt fum, lo shew the insi. nite mercy of God, who is ready to forgive the greatest offences upon true repentance.

(9) Among the Jews the creditor liad this power over an insola vent debtor. See 2 Kings iv. 1.

(*) The Roman penny was about 7{d. English; and by the sum here mentioned, which is but the seven hundred thousandth part of the former debt, we may learn how infinitely less our offences against each other are, than those which we commit againd God: yet he is. gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and of great goodness; for hiş compassions fail not: whereas, we are on the contrary easily pro voked, full of resentment, and revenging to the utmost the slightest offences committed by our fellow-creatures.

tors,

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