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He speaks rather of their persons as men, than of their office as teachers; though that, too, was upon the point of expiring. Let it be our great inquiry whether we be of God's planting, or not. We are only so, when we are implanted into Christ ; believing in him for life, and manifesting it by our works.
14. Let them alone :
Have nothing to do with them; leave them to themselves; follow them not.
14. They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
If our leader should be blind, we need not, so long as we have the Bible. Let us take it for our guide, hear Christ speaking in it, never take it into our hands without a prayer to have it opened to us, and set home upon our hearts, and, if all the world should be blind about us, it is impossible we should ever fall into the ditch, either of ignorance here, or perdition hereafter.
15. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
And will he leave us in darkness, if we make the same re
quest to him?
16. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding.
Verse 11 is very plain ; and well might he say this. Nevertheless, Peter's dulness of apprehension, and St. Matthew's own, is not concealed. For Christ answers Peter as if he spoke in the name of them all. Who would have written this of himself, and his associates in a divine mission, if God had not guided his finger? But now observe the rebuke for yourselves. All is told, all is explained to us; and, if we do not understand, to what can it be owing but a heedless, graceless spirit, and great unconcern for ourselves?
17. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught ?
18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies :
The meaning is not so much that these things, wherever they appear, are first in the heart; but that they are the natural issue of a heart naturally corrupt, and more in every man's heart than he imagines. The commands would be as grateful to us, as food is to the appetite, if the inward sense was not depraved. And it is farther observable, that a resistance and aversion from them still continues, notwithstanding a settled judgment and conviction of their excellence. Let the blind assertors of man's dignity, and the natural integrity of the human heart, hear this.
20. These are the things which defile a man : but to eat with unwashen hands defiletb not a man.
Now, therefore, let us hear and understand. These, these are the things which defile 'us, render 'us loathsome in the eyes of God, and destroy our peace, make us a burden to ourselves, and a plague to others ! This is the misery from which Christ came to save us; and, if the ground which produces these fruits, the evil heart, is not seen and lamented, and given up to the grace and power of God in Christ, it will be our defilement and curse for
21. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon,
22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away : for she crieth after us.
24. But he answered and said, I ain not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27. And she said, Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.
O poor sinner, art thou one out of God's covenant ? Hast thou alienated thyself from him since thy baptism? And dost thou begin to feel thy sin, and find thyself in an evil case, helpless and undone ? Cry, “ Have mercy upon me, O Lord, thou son of David.” Does he give no answer ? Still cry after him. Does he give a seeming denial ? Draw still nearer to him, and worship him. Does he speak roughly ? Own it to be just; but still plead for the leavings of his bounty. Resolve to take no denial ; he wants to have thee at this point with him; and will no more reject thee, than thou couldst bear to see the tears running down the cheeks of thy own child, and leave it to perish with hunger.
28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith :
What was her faith? She wanted help for her daughter, and believed in Jesus for it. This is always faith; and, if Jesus is always the same, will always have its relief from him. But then let none think they have faith in him, when they have no workings toward it, nor ground for it in themselves; no heartfelt sense of their sinful state, and want of remission of sin ; no real desire to do the will of God as he shall teach them, nor of his power in them to subdue their corruptions. For this, and nothing but this,
is his office in us, and our redemption by him; and all that do not believe in him, and come to him for this end, their faith is vain, they are yet in their sins.
28. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
If you knew you might have your wish, what would you ask of God? Let me beg of you to consider whether you ever thought of this. If not, you are in the darkness of nature still, without knowledge, or desire, of the one thing needful, and never prayed yet according to the will of God. For, if you were truly awakened, you would say at once, give me Christ; give me the Spirit to guide me into all saving truth; give me an obedient will, and heavenly affections. This you may have; this prayer will be heard; this hunger will be satisfied. On the contrary, if you choose to be empty, and do not desire that Christ should take possession of your souls, so you remain ; your own will must take place. 28. And her daughter was made whole from that
hour. Let us ask ourselves, one by one, Is this for me, and may I take comfort from it? Will Christ make ine whole, cleanse me from my sin, and turn my heart to God ?Blessed God! what learning, what comfort is there in thy holy Scriptures ! and what sweetness may we draw from them, if we thus read them!
29. And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee: and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.
30. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them :
You are the lame, till he sets your feet at liberty to run the way of God's commandments; you are blind, if you do not see your sin ; you are dumb, if you have no heart or tongue to pray, and praise God with; you are maimed as to any help in yourselves.
Now, therefore, cast yourselves down at the feet of Jesus,
that he may work the spiritual cure, and remove from you the plague of an evil heart, and an evil conscience.
31. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
Christ does not want stupid, unfeeling admiration from us; but to excite in us a belief of his power and goodness, that we may desire to experience them in ourselves, and glorify the God of Israel by our conversion.
32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
They seem to have been insensible of their own hunger, out of desire to be with him; but he was not unmindful of any of their wants.
33. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude ?
Who could be slower of belief than the disciples were ? They had just faith enough not to desert Christ, and that was all. After the day of Pentecost all their doubts were at an end; and it is very remarkable, that they were more steady from a faith of the Spirit's operation than from their own eye-sight.
34. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? and they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37. And they did all eat, and were filled : and they took up
of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.
38. And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children.
39. And be sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.