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fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and nets: and he called them. 'I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and their father, and followed him. followed him.

* John 1. 42.- Luke 5. 10, 11.- Mark 10. 28. Luke 18. 28.

is much human learning; and a man may be well taught in the things of God, and be able to teach others, who has not had the advantages of a liberal education.

Men-made ministers have almost ruined the heritage of God. To prevent this, our Church requires that a man be inwardly moved to take upon himself this ministry, before he can be ordained to it. And he who cannot say, that he trusts (has rational and scriptural conviction) that he is moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon himself this office, is an intruder into the heritage of God, and his ordination ipso facto, vitiated and of none effect. See the truly apostolic Ordination Service of the Church of England.

John to be his disciples.

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21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their

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Fishers.] Persons employed in a lawful and profitable avocation, and faithfully discharging their duty in it. It was a tradition of the Elders, that one of Joshua's ten precepts was, that all men should have an equal right to spread their nets and fish in the sea of Tiberias, or Galilee. The persons mentioned here, were doubtless men of pure morals; for the minister of God should have a good report from them that are without.

Verse 19. Follow me] Come after me, SEUTE OTION μol. Receive my doctrine, imitate me in my conduct-in every respect be my disciples. We may observe that, most of the calls of God to man are expressed in a few solemn words, which alarm the conscience, and deeply impress the heart.

I will make you fishers of men.] Ezek. chap. xlvii. 8-10. casts much light on this place; and to this Prophet, our Lord probably alludes. To follow Christ, and be admitted into a partnership of his ministry, is a great honour; but those only who are by himself fitted for it, God calls. Miserable are those who do not wait for this call-who presume to take the name of fishers of men, and know not how to cast the net of the divine word, because not brought to an acquaintance with the saving power of the God who bought them. Such persons having only their secular interest in view, study not to catch men, but to catch money: and though, for charity's sake, it may be said of a pastor of this spirit, he does not enter the sheepfold as a thief, yet he certainly lives as a hireling. See Quesnel. Following a person, in the Jewish phrase, signifies being his disciple or scholar. See a similar mode of speech, 2 Kings vi. 19.

22 And they immediately left the ship and

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teach

4 Mark 1. 19, 20. Luke 5. 10. ch. 9. 35. Mark 1. 21, 39. Luke 4. 15, 44.

Verse 20. They straightway left their nets] A change, as far as it respected secular things, every way to their disadvantage. The proud and the profane may exult and say, "Such preachers as these cannot be much injured by their sacrifices of secular property-they have nothing but nets, &c. to leave." Let such carpers at the institution of Christ know, that he who has nothing but a net, and leaves that for the sake of doing good to the souls of men, leaves his ALL: besides, he lived comfortably by his net before; but, in becoming the servant of all for Christ's sake, he often exposes himself to the want of even a morsel of bread, chap. xix. 27.

See on

Verse 22. Left the ship and their father] By the ship, TO TROLOV, we are to understand the mere fishing-boat, used for extending their nets in the water, and bringing the hawser or rope of the farther end to shore, by which the net was pulled to land. But why should these be called to leave their employment and their father, probably now aged? To this I answer, that to be obedient to, provide for, and comfort our parents, is the highest duty we owe or can discharge, except that to God. But when God calls to the work of the ministry, father and mother and all must be left. Were we necessary to their comfort and support before? Then God, if he call us into another work or state, will take care to supply to them, our lack of service some other way; and if this be not done, it is a proof we have inistaken our call. Again, were our parents necessary to us, and in leaving them for the sake of the Gospel, or in obedience to a divine command, do we deprive ourselves of the comforts of life? No matter-we should prefer the honour of serving the Most High, even in poverty and humility, to all the comforts of a father's house. But what an honour was the vocation of James and John, to old Zebedee their father! His sons are called to be heralds of the God of heaven! Allowing him to have been a pious man, this must have given him unutterable delight.

Verse 23. Teaching in their synagogues] Synagogue, ovxyayın, from ovv, together, and ayw, I bring, a public assembly of persons, or the place where such persons publicly as embled. Synagogues, among the Jews, were not probably older than the return from the Babylonish captivity. They were erected

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not only in cities and towns, but in the country, and especially by rivers, that they might have water for the convenience of their frequent washings.

Not less than ten persons of respectability, composed a synagogue, as the Rabbins supposed that this number of persons, of independant property, and well skilled in the law, were necessary to conduct the affairs of the place, and keep up the divine worship. See Lightfoot. Therefore, where this number could not be found, no synagogue was built; but there might be many synagogues in one city or town, provided it were populous. Jerusalem is said to have contained 480. This need not be wondered at, when it is considered that every Jew was obliged to worship God in public, either in a synagogue or in the temple.

works many miracles.

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24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases, and torments, and those which were

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The chief things belonging to a synagogue were:

1st. The ark or chest, made after the mode of the ark of the covenant, containing the Pentateuch.

2dly. The pulpit and desk, in the middle of the synagogue, on which he stood, who read or expounded the law.

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effects of sin, and that their hatred to iniquity should in-
crease in proportion to the evils they endure through it.
And that nothing but the power of God can save them from
sin and its consequences.

Mark 1. 34.

For glad tidings, or gospel, see chap. i. title. Proclaiming,. see chap. iii. 1, and end; and for the meaning of kingdom, see chap. iii. 2.

6

All manner of sickness, and all manner of disease] There is a difference between vos, translated here sickness, and μaxaxız, translated disease. The first is thus defined: voos, την χρονιαν κακοπαθειαν, a disease of somne standing, a chronic disorder.

3dly. The seats or pews for the men below, and the gal-joint. leries for the women above.

Infirmity, μαλακια, την πρόσκαιρον ανωμαλιαν του σώματος, 3 temporary disorder of the body. Theophylact. This is a proper distinction, and is necessary to be observed.

Verse 24. Sick people] Tous naxws exorras, those who felt ill— were afflicted with any species of malady.

And torments] Bacavos, from Bacanw, to examine by torture, such as cholics, gouts and rheumatisms, which racked every

5thly. Apartments for the utensils and alms-chests.

The synagogue was governed by a council or assembly,modated over whom was a president, called in the Gospels, the ruler of the synagogue. These are sometimes called chiefs of the Jews, the rulers, the priests or elders, the governors, the overcers, the fathers of the synagogue. Service was performed in them three times a day-morning, afternoon, and night. Synagogue, among the Jews, had often the same meaning as congregation among us, or place of judicature, see Jam. ii. 2. Preaching the gospel of the kingdom] Or, proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom. See the preceding notes. hold here the perfect pattern of an evangelical preacher: 1. He goes about seeking sinners on every side, that he may shew them the way to heaven. 2. He proclaims the glad tidings of the kingdom, with a freedom worthy of the King whom he serves. 3. He makes his reputation and the confidence of the people subservient not to his own interest, but to the salvation of souls. 4. To his preaching he joins, as far as he hasability, all works of mercy, and temporal assistance to the bodies of men. 5. He takes care to inform men that diseases, and all kinds of temporal evils, are the

Possessed with devils] Dæmoniacs. Persons possessed by 4thly. The lamps to give light in the evening service, and evil spirits. This is certainly the plain obvious meaning of at the feast of the dedication. And dæmoniac in the Gospels.

Many eminent men think, that the sacred writers accomthemselves to the unfounded prejudices of the common people, in attributing certain diseases to the influence of evil spirits, which were merely the effects of natural causes: but that this explanation can never comport with the accounts given of these persons, shall be proved as the places occur.

Our common version, which renders the word, those possessed by devils, is not strictly correct; as the word devil, diabolos, is not found in the plural in any part of the Sacred Be-Writings, when speaking of evil spirits: for though there are multitudes of damons, Mark v. 9. yet it appears there is but one DEVIL, who seems to be supreme, or head, over all the rest. Aiabolos signifies an accuser, or slanderer, 1 Tim. iii. 11. 2 Tim. iii. 3. Tit. ii. 3. Perhaps Satan was called so, 1st. because he accused or slandered God in Paradise, as averse from the increase of Man's knowledge and happiness, Gen. iii. 5. John viii. 44. and 2dly. because he is the accuser of men, Rev. xii. 9, 10. See also Job i. 2. The word comes from dia, through, and Caλλ, to cast, or shoot, because of the influence of his evil suggestions; compared, Eph. vi. 16.

Casts out demons, and is

CHAP. IV.

followed by great multitudes. A. M.40. possessed with devils, and those which | titudes of people from Galilee, and A.M.101. A. Olymp. were lunatic, and those that had the from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, An. Olymp. palsy; and he healed them. and from Judea, and from beyond

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CCI. 3.

CCI. S.

2

25 And there followed him great mul- Jordan.

a Mark 3. 7. & 7. 31. Luke 5. 15.

Decapolis] A small country, situated between Syria and Galilee of the Nations. It was called Decapolis, AxaToλiç from 8ɛxx, ten, and is, a city, because it contained only ten cities; the metropolis, and most ancient of which, was Damascus.

b

to fiery darts :- and thus it is nearly of the same meaning with || Manasseh; for the country of Decapolis lay on both sides of ⚫g, he who pierces through. See on ver. 3. the river Jordan. See Numb. xxxii. 5, 33.

Lunatic] Persons afflicted with epileptic or other disorders, which are always known to have a singular increase The account of our Lord's temptation, as given by the at the change and full of the moon. This undoubtedly pro- Evang list, is acknowledged on all hands to be extremely ceeds from the superadded attractive influence of the sun difficult. Two modes of interpretation have been generally and moon upon the earth's atmosphere, as in the periods resorted to, in order to make the whole plain and intelmentioned above, these two luminaries are both in con-ligible: viz. the literal and allegorical. In all cases, where junction; and their united attractive power being exerted on it can possibly apply, I prefer the first: the latter should the earth at the same time, not only causes the flux and re- never be used, unless obviously indicated in the text itself; flur of the ocean, but occasions a variety of important or so imperiously necessary, that no other mode of interprechanges in the bodies of infirm persons, of animals in gene- tation can possibly apply. In the preceding observations, I ral, but more particularly in those who are more sensible of have taken up the subject in å literal point of view; and it these variations. And is this any wonder, when it is well is hoped that most of the difficulties in the relation have known, that a very slight alteration in the atmosphere causes been removed, or obviated, by this plan. An ingenious the most uncomfortable sensations to a number of invalids? correspondent has favoured me with some observations on the But sometimes even these diseases were caused by dæmons. subject, which have much more than the merit of novelty to reSee on chap. viii. 16, 34. and xvii. 15. commend them. I shall give an abstract of some of the most strik

Palsy] Palsy is defined, a sudden loss of tone and vital powering; and leave the whole to the reader's further consideration. in a certain part of the human body. This may affect a limb, the whole side, the tongue, or the whole body. This disorder is in general incurable, except by the miraculous power of God, unless in its slighter stages.

The thoughts in this communication proceed on this ground: "These temptations were addressed to Christ as a public person, and respected his conduct in the execution of his ministry; and are reported to his Church as a forcible

He healed them.] Either with a word or a touch; and thus and practical instruction, concerning the proper method. proved, that all nature was under his controul. of promoting the kingdom of God upon earth. They are

Verse 25. This verse is immediately connected with the warnings against those Satanic illusions, by which the servth chapter, and should not be separated from it. vants of Christ are liable to be hindered in their great work, and even stopped in the prosecution of it.

Great multitudes] This, even according to the Jews, was one proof of the days of the Messiah: for they acknow- "As our Lord had, at his baptism, been declared to be ledged, that in his time there should be a great famine of the Son of God, i. e. the promised Messiah, this was prothe word of God; and thus they understood Amos viii. 11.bably well known to Satan, who did not mean to insinuate Behold, the days come—that I will send a famine in the land, any thing to the contrary, when he endeavoured to engage not a famine of bread—but of hearing the words of the Lord.him to put forth an act of that power which he possessed as And as the Messiah was to dispense this word, the bread of the Messiah. The mysterious union of the divine with the life; hence they believed that vast multitudes from all parts human nature, in our Lord's state of humiliation, Satan should be gathered together to him. See Schoetgenius on might think possible to be broken; and therefore endea-. this place. voured, in the first temptation, Command these stones to be made bread, to induce our Lord to put forth a separate independant act of power; which our Lord repelled, by shewing his intimate union with the Divine Will, which he was come to fulfil-Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Thus shewing, as he did on another occasion, that it was his meat and drink to do the will of his Father.

||

"2. The ground of the temptation was then changed;

From beyond Jordan.] Or, from the side of Jordan. Probably this was the country which was occupied anciently by the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of

b Num. 32. 33. Luke 6. 17. Mark 5. 20.

Observations upon

ST. MATTHEW.

the temptation of Christ.

and the fulfilment of the Divine Will, in the completion of a fluence and power for the promotion of his king-lom, even prophetic promise, was made the ostensible object of the though, in so doing, an apparent communion of Christ and next attack. Cust thyself down for it is WRITTEN, He Belial is the result: for it will be found, that neither worldly will give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands || riches, nor power, can be employed in the service of Christ, shall they bear thee up, &c. This our Lord repelled with- || till, like the spoils taken in war, Deut. xxxi. 21-23. they Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God-as Satan had de- have passed through the fire and water, as, without a divine signed to induce him to seck this public miraculous con- || purification, they are not fit to be employed in the service firination of God's peculiar care over him, as the promised of God and his Church. Messiah; of his being which, according to the hypothesis above, Satan had no doubt. Moses being appointed to a great and important work, needed miraculous signs to strengthen his faith; but the sacred humanity of our blessed Lord needed them not; nor did his wisdom judge, that such a sign from heaven, was essential to the instruction of the people.

"Hence we may conclude, that the first temptation had for its professed object, 1st. our Lord's personal relief and comfort, through the inducement of performing a separate and independant act of power. The second temptation professed to have in view his public acknowledgment by the people, as the MESSIAH: for should they see him work such a miracle as throwing himself down from the pinnacle of the temple without receiving any hurt, they would be led instantly to acknowledge his divine mission; and the evil of this temptation may be explained, as seeking to secure the success of his mission by other means than those, which, as the Messiah, he had received from the Father. Compare John xiv. 31. The third temptation was a subtle attempt to induce Christ to acknowledge Satan as an Ally, in the establishment of his kingdom."-E. M. B.

*

"3. The last temptation was the most subtle and the most powerful-All these will I give unto thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. To inherit all nations, had been repeatedly declared to be the birth-right of the Messiah. His right to universal empire could not be controverted; nor could Satan presume to make the investiture. What, then, was his purpose? Satan had hitherto opposed, and that with considerable success, the kingdom of God upon earth; and what he appears to propose here, were, terms of peace, and The above is the substance of the ingenious theory of my an honourable retreut. The worship which he exacted was correspondent, which may be considered as a third mode of an act of homage, in return for his cession of that ascendancy interpretation, partaking equally of the allegoric and literal. which, through the sin of man, he had obtained in the still, however, think, that the nearer we keep to the letter world. Having long established his rule among men, it was in all such difficult cases, the more tenable is our ground, not at first to be expected, that he would resign it without especially where the subject itself does not obviously rea combat: but the purpose of this last temptation appears to quire the allegorical inode of interpretation. Among nany be an offer to decline any farther contest; and yet more, things worthy of remark in the preceding theory, the fol if his terms were accepted, apparently to engage his in lowing deserves most attention: That Satan is ever ready to fluence to promote the kingdom of the Messiah. And as tempt the governors and ministers of the Christian Church the condition of this proposed alliance, he required, not to suppose, that worldly means, human policy, secular interest divine worship, but such an act of homage as implied amity and influence, are all essentially necessary for the support and obligation; and if this construction be allowed, he may and extension of that kingdom which is not of this world! be supposed to have enforced the necessity of the measure, Such persons can never long preserve hallowed hands—they by every suggestion of the consequences of a refusal. The bring the world into the Church; endeavour to sanctify the sufferings which would inevitably result from a provoked op- bad means they use, by the good end they aim at; and often, position, which would render the victory, though certain to in the prosecution of their object, by means which are not Christ himself, dearly bought; added to which, the conflict of God's devising, are driven into straits and difficulties, he was prepared to carry on through succeeding ages, in and to extricate themselves, tell lies for God's sake. This which all his subtlety and powers should be employed to human policy is from beneath-God will neither sanction hinder the progress of Christ's cause in the earth, and that nor bless it. It has been the bane of true religion in all ages with a considerable degree of anticipated success. Here the of the world; and in every country where the cause of Devil seems to propose to make over to Christ the power and Christianity has been established, such schemers and plotters influence he possessed in this world, on condition that he in the Church of God, are as dangerous to its interests, as a would enter into terms of peace with him; and the induce plague is to the health of society. The governors and ment offered was, that thereby our Lord should escape those ininisters of the Christian Church should keep themselves sufferings, both in his own person, and in that of his adhe- pure, and ever do God's work in his own way. If the slothrents, which a provoked contest would ensure. And we ful servant should be cast out of the vineyard, he that cormay suppose, that a similar temptation lies hid in the de- rupts the good seed of the divine field, or sows tares among sires excited even in some of the servants of Christ, who the wheat, should be considered as an enemy to righteous. gay feel themselves often induced to employ worldly in-ness, and be expelled from the sacred pale as one who closes

Our Lord commences his

CHAP. V.

sermon on the mount.

in with the temptation-" All these things (the kingdoms || the Church may be to the State; and the State to the Church, of the world, and the glory of them) will I give unto THEE, if thou wilt fall down and worship ME." However necessary

yet the latter is never in so much danger, as when the former smiles upon it.

CHAPTER V.

Christ begins his sermon on the mount, 1, 2. The beatitudes, 3-12. The disciples the salt of the earth, and light of the world, 13-16. Christ is not come to destroy, but confirm and fulfil the Law and the Prophets, 17-19. Of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, 20: Interpretation of the precepts relative to murder, anger, and injurious speaking, 21, 22. Of reconciliation, 23-26. Of impure acts and propensities, and the necessity of mortification, 27-30. Of divorce, 31, 32. Of oaths and profane swearing, 33-37. Of bearing injuries and persecution, 38–41. Of borrowing and lending, 42. Of love and hatred, 43-46. Of civil respect, 47. Christ's disciples must resemble their heavenly Father, 48. ND seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came

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unto him:

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Mark 3. 13, 20.

NOTES ON CHAP. V.

Verse 1. And seeing the multitudes] Tous oxovs, these multitudes, viz. those mentioned in the preceding verse, which should make the first verse of this chapter.

He went up into a mountain] That he might have the greater advantage of speaking, so as to be heard by that great concourse of people which followed him.

And when he was set] The usual posture of public ers among the Jews, and among many other people. Hence sitting was a synonymous term for teaching among the Rab

bins.

"Be ye witnesses before the immortal gods, and before mortal men." From this definition we may learn, that the person whom Christ terms happy, is one who is not under the influence of fute or chance, but is governed by an all-wise providence, having every step directed to the attainment of immortal glory, being transformed by the power into the likeness of the ever-blessed God. Though some of the persons, teach-whose states are mentioned in these verses, cannot be said to be as yet blessed or happy, in being made partakers of the Divine nature; yet they are termed happy by our Lord, because they are on the straight way to this blessedness.

Taken in this light, the meaning is similar to that expressed by the poet, when describing a happy man.

His disciples] The word uanrns signifies literally a scholar. Those who originally followed Christ, considered him in the light of a divine teacher, and conscious of their ignorance, and the importance of his teaching, they put themselves under his tuition, that they might be instructed in heavenly things. Having been taught the mysteries of the kingdom of God, they became closely attached to their Divine master, Amitating his life and manners; and recommending his salvation to all the circle of their acquaintance. This is still the characteristic of a genuine disciple of Christ.

Verse 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, &c.] Or, happy, μa

, from μz or μn, not, and xnę, fate or death: intimating, that such persons were endued with immortality, and consequently were not liable to the caprices of fate. Homer, Iliad. i. 339. calls the supreme Gods, tv μaxazwv, the ever happy and IMMORTAL Gods, and opposes them to v avgwrwy, mortal men.

Τω δ' αυτώ μαρτυροι εστων
Προς τι Θίων μακάρων, προς τε θνητών ανθρώπων.

2 And he opened his mouth, and A. M. 4051. taught them, saying,

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3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven..

Luke 6. 20. See Ps. 51. 17. Prov. 16. 19. & 29. 23. Isai. 57. 15. & 66. 2.

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FELIX, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas:
Atque metus omnes & inexorabile FATUM
Subjecit pedibus; strepitumque Acherontis avuri!
Virg. Geor. ii. v. 490,

Which may be thus paraphrased.

Happy is he who gains the knowledge of the first cause of all things! who can trample on every fear, and the doctrine of inexorable FATE; and who is not terrified by death, nor by the threatened torments of the invisible world.”

Poor in spirit] One who is deeply sensible of his spiritual poverty and wretchedness. IIrxos, a poor man, comes from

woow, to tremble, or shrink with fear. Being destitute of the true riches, he is tremblingly alive to the necessities of his soul, shrinking with fear lest he should perish without the salvation of God. Such, Christ pronounces happy, because there is but a step between them and that kingdom which is

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