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The necessity of leaving all for Christ.
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them to come in, that my house may that behold it begin to mock him, An. Olymp. be filled. 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden, shall taste of my supper.
25¶ And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Matt. 21. 45. & 22. 8. Acts 13. 46.
Rom. 9. 13.
Deut. 15. 6. & 33. 9. Matt. 10.57. d Rev. 12. 11.
e Matt. 16. 24. Mark 8. 34. ch. 9. 23. 2 Tim. 3. 12.- Prov. 24. 27. Matt. 5. 13. Mark 9. 50.
disciples to get into the vessel, nothing but his commanding or persuading them to do it, can be reasonably understood. The Latins use cogo, and compello, in exactly the same sense, i. e. to prevail on by prayers, counsels, entreaties, &c. See several examples in Bishop PEARCE, and in KYPKE. No other kind of constraint is ever recommended in the gospel of Christ; every other kind of compulsion is antichristian, can only be submitted to by cowards and knaves, and can produce nothing but hypocrites. See at the end of the chapter.
Verse 26. And hate not] Matthew, chap. x. 37. expresses the true meaning of this word, when he says, he who loveth his father and mother MORE than me. In chap. vi. 24. he uses the word hate in the same sense. When we read Rom. ix. 13. Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated, the meaning is simply, I have loved Jacob-the Israelites; more than Esau— the Edomites and that this is no arbitrary interpretation of the word hate, but one agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, appears from what is said on Gen. xxix. 30, 31. where Leah's being hated is explained by Rachel's being loved more than Leah. See also Deut. xxi. 15-17. and Bishop Pearce on this place. See also the notes on Matt. x. 37.
air on, and to serve for refuge from, and defence against an enemy. It was also used for prayer and meditation.
This parable represents the absurdity of those who undertook to be disciples of Christ, without considering what difficulties they were to meet with, and what strength they had to "enable them to go through with the undertaking. He that will be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, shall require no less than the mighty power of God to support him; as both hell and earth will unite to destroy him.
Verse 33. Whosoever he be of you] This seems to be addressed particularly to those who were then, and who were to be preachers of his gospel; and who were to travel over all countries, publishing salvation to a lost world.
Verse 34. Salt is good] See on Matt. v. 13. and Mark ix. 51.
On the subject referred to this place from ver. 23. Compel them to come in, which has been adduced to favour religious persecution; I find the following sensible and just observations in Dr. Dodd's notes.
"Ist. Persecution for conscience sake, that is, inflicting penalty upon men merely for their religious principles or worVerse 27. Doth not bear his cross] See on Matt. x. 38. xvi. ship, is plainly founded on a supposition that one man has a
right to judge for another in matters of religion, which is manifestly absurd, and has been fully proved to be so by many. excellent writers of our church.
"2nd. Persecution is most evidently inconsistent with that
The absurdity and wickedness
of religious persecution, proved.
it must often be by upright and conscientious men, who have
fundamental principle of morality; that we should do to others as we could reasonably wish they should do to us; a rule which carries its own demonstration with it, and was intended to take off that bias of self-love, which would divert us from the straight line of equity, and render us partial judges betwixt our neighbours and ourselves. I would ask the advocate of wholesome severities, how he would relish his own arguments if turned upon himself? What if he were to go abroad into the world among papists, if he be a protestant; among Mahometans if he be a Christian? Supposing he was to behave like an honest man, a good neighbour, a peaceable subject, avoid-be ing every injury, and taking all opportunities to serve and oblige those about him; would he think that merely because he refused to follow his neighbours to their altars or their mosques, he should be seized and imprisoned, his goods confiscated, his person condemned to tortures or death? Un-would ever adınit Christian preachers into his dominions, if doubtedly he would complain of this as a very great hardship, and soon see the absurdity and injustice of such a treatment when it fell upon him, and when such measure as he would mete to others, was measured to him again.
he knew it was a principle of their religion, that as soon as the majority of the people were converted by arguments, the rest, and himself with them, if he continued obstinate, must be proselyted or extirpated by fire and sword? If it be as the advocates for persecution have generally supposed, a dictate of the law of nature to propagate the true religion by the sword; then certainly a Mahometan or an idolater, with the saine notions, supposing him to have truth on his side, must think himself obliged in conscience to arm his powers for the extirpation of Christianity; and thus a holy war must cover the face of the whole earth, in which nothing but a miracle could render Christians successful against so vast a disproportion in per-numbers. Now it seems hard to believe that to be a truth which would naturally lead to the extirpation of truth in the world; or that a divine religion should carry in its own bowels the principle of its own destruction.
“3d. Persecution is absurd, as being by no means calculated to answer the end which its patrons profess to intend by it; namely, the glory of God, and the salvation of men. Now if it does any good to men at all, it must be by making them truly religious; but religion is not a mere name or a ceremony. True religion imports an entire change of the heart, and it must be founded in the inward conviction of the mind; or it is impossible it should be what yet it must be, a reasonable service. Let it only be considered; what violence and secution can do towards producing such an inward conviction. A man might as reasonably expect to bind an immaterial spirit with a cord, or to beat down a wall with an argument, as to convince the understanding by threats and tortures. Persccution is much more likely to make men hypocrites, than sincere converts. They may perhaps, if they have not a firm and heroic courage, change their profession while they retain their sentiments; and supposing them before to be unwarily in the wrong, they may learn to add falsehood and villainy to error. How glorious is a prize! especially when une considers at what an expence it is gained. But,
" 4th. Persecution tends to produce much mischief and confusion in the world. It is mischievous to those on whom it falls; and in its consequences so mischievous to others, that one would wonder any wise princes should ever have admitted it into their dominions, or that they should not have immediately banished it thence, for even where it succeeds so far as to produce a change in men's forms of worship, it generally makes them no more than hypocritical professors of what they do not believe, which must undoubtedly debauch their characters ; so that having been villains in one respect, it is very probable that they will be so in another; and having brought deceit and falsehood into their religion, that they will easily bring it into their conversation and commerce. This will be the effect of persecution where it is yielded to, and where it is opposed (as
"But, 6th. This point is clearly determined by the lip of truth itself; and persecution is so far from being encouraged by the gospel, that it is most directly contrary to many of its precepts, and indeed to the whole genius of it. It is condemued by the example of Christ, who went about doing good; who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them; who waved the exercise of his miraculous power against his enemies, even when they most unjustly and cruelly assaulted him, and never exerted it to the corporal punishment, even of those who had most justly deserved it. And his doctrine also, as well as his examples, has taught us to be harmless as doves; to love our enemies; to do good to them that hate us; and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us.”
From all this we may learn, that the church which tolerates, encourages and practises persecution, under the pretence of concern for the purity of the faith, and zeal for God's glory; is not the church of Christ and that no man can be of such a church, without endangering his salvation. Let it ever be the glory of the protestant church, and especially of the church of England, that it discountenances and abhors all persecution on a religious account; and that it has diffused the same benign temper through that STATE, with which it is associated.
Publicans and sinners hear Christ.
Parable of the lost sheep.
Publicans and sinners draw near to hear our Lord, at which the Pharisees are offended, 1, 2. Christ vindicates his conduct in receiving them by the parable of the lost sheep, 3-7. The parable of the lost piece of money, 8—10. and the affecting parable of the prodigal son, 11-32. HEN drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
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2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured,
that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
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6 And when he cometh home, he calleth to
saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eat-gether his friends and neighbours, saying unto eth with them.
them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my
And he spake this parable unto them, sheep which was lost.
4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, * more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Matt. 9. 10.- Acts 11. 3. Gal. 2. 12. Matt. 18. 12.
NOTES ON CHAP. XV.
Verse 1. Publicans and sinners] _Texwvas xai apagɣwho, taxgatherers and heathens; persons who neither believed in Christ nor in Moses. See the note on chap. vii. 36. Concerning the tax-gatherers, see the note on Matt. v. 46.
Verse 2. Receiveth sinners] Пgordexeral. He receives them cordially, affectionately-takes them to his bosom; for so the word implies. What mercy! Jesus receives sinners in the most loving, affectionate manner, and saves them unto eternal life! Reader, give glory to God for ever!
Verse 4. What man of you] Our Lord spoke this and the following parable to justify his conduct in receiving and conversing with sinners, or heathens.
A hundred sheep] Parables similar to this, are frequent among the Jewish writers. The whole flock of mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, belongs unto this divine shepherd; and it is but reasonable to expect, that the gracious proprietor will look after those who have gone astray, and bring them back to the flock. The lost sheep is an emblem of a heedless, thoughtless sinner: one who follows the corrupt dictates of his own heart, without ever reflecting upon his conduct, or considering what will be the issue of his unholy course of life. No creature strays more easily than a sheep; none is more heedless; and none so incapable of finding its way back to the flock, when once gone astray; it will bleat for the flock, and still run on in an opposite direction to the place where the flock is this I have often noticed. No creature is more defenceless than a sheep, and more exposed to be devoured by dogs and wild beasts. Even the fowls of the air seek
di Pet. 2. 10, 25. ch. 5. 32.
their destruction. I have known ravens often attempt to destroy lambs by picking out their eyes, in which, when they have succeeded, as the creature does not see whither it is going, it soon falls an easy prey to its destroyer. Satan is ever going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour: in order to succeed, he blinds the understanding of sinners, and then finds it an easy matter to tumble them into the pit of perdition. Who but a Pharisee or a devil would find fault with the shepherd who endeavours to rescue his sheep from so much danger and ruin!
Verse 7. Just persons, which need no repentance.] Who do not require such a change of mind and purpose as these dowho are not so profligate, and cannot repent of sins they have never committed. Distinctions of this kind frequently occur in the Jewish writings. There are many persons who have been brought up in a sober and regular course of life, attending the ordinances of God, and being true and just in all their dealings; these most materially differ from the heathens mentioned ver. 1. because they believe in God, and attend the means of grace: they differ also essentially from the tax-gatherers, mentioned in the same place, because they wrong no man, and are upright in their dealings. Therefore they cannot repent of the sins of a heathen, which they have not practised; nor of the rapine of a tax-gatherer, of which they have never been guilty. As therefore these just persons are put in opposition to the tax-gatherers and heathens, we may at once see the scope and design of our Lord's words: these needed no repentance in comparison of the others, as not being guilty of their crimes. And as these belonged, by
outward profession at least, to the flock of God, and were
Verse 8. Ten pieces of silver] Agaxμas Sına, ten drachmas.
Parable of the prodigal son.
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10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is A.M.40. joy in the presence of the angels of An Olymp. God over one sinner that repenteth.
11 And he said, a certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, " give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them
Matt. 18. 28. Deut. 21. 16. Psal. 17. 14. Prov. 19. 13, 14.-
coins, and to state their value in English money. Every Reader will naturally wish to know by what names such and such coins were called in the countries in which they were current. The Grecian drachma was worth about seven pence three farthings of our money; being about the same value as the Rom an denarius.
The drachma that was lost, is also a very expressive emblem of a sinner who is estranged from God, and enslaved to habits of iniquity. The longer a piece of money is lost, the less probability is there of its being again found; as it may not only lose its colour, and not be easily observed, but will continue to be more and more covered with dust and dirt: or its value may be vastly lessened by being so trampled on, that a part of the substance, together with the image and superscription, may be worn off. So the sinner sinks deeper and deeper into the impurities of sin, loses even his character among men, and gets the image' and superscription of his Maker defaced from his heart. He who wishes to find the image of God which he has lost by sin; must attend to that word which will be a lantern to his steps, and receive that spirit which is a light to the soul, to convince of sin, righte ousness, and judgment. He must sweep the house-put away the evil of his doings; and seek diligently-use every mean of grace, and cry incessantly to God till he restore to him the light of his countenance. Though parables of this kind must not be obliged to go on all fours as it is termed; yet they afford many useful hints to preachers of the gospel, by which they may edify their hearers. Only let all such take care not to force meanings on the words of Christ, which are contrary to their gravity and majesty.
Verse 12. Give me the portion of goods] It may seem strange that such a demand should be made, and that the parent should have acceded to it, when he knew, that it was to minister to his debauches, that his profligate son made the demand here specified. But the matter will appear plain, when it is considered, that it has been an immemorial custom in the East, for sons to demand and receive their portion of the inheritance during their father's lifetime: and the parent, however aware of the dissipated inclinations of the child, could not legally refuse to comply with the application.
Parable of the prodigal son;
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13 And not many days after the An Olymp. younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far, country, and there wasted, his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
he returns to his father.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and 17 And when he came to himself, he said, am no more worthy to be called thy son.
2 Psal. 73. 27. Prov. 29. 3. 1 Pet. 4. 3.
Acts 2. 39. Ephes. 2. 13, 17. Ps. 51. 4.
appears indeed, that the spirit of this law was to provide for the very dregs of the people, have any matrimonial connectthe child, in case of ill treatment by the father: yet the de-ions with them. HEROD. lib. ii. cap. 47. mand must first be acceded to, before the matter could be legally inquired into; and then "if it was found that the father was irreproachable in his character, and had given no just cause for the son to separate from him; in that case, the civil magistrate fined the son in two hundred puns of cowries.". See Code of Gentoo laws, pr. disc. p. 56. see also do. chap. ii. sec. 9. p. 81, 82. xxi. sec. 10. p. 301.
Verse 13. Not many days after] He probably hastened his departure for fear of the fine which he must have paid, and the reproach to which he must have been subjected, had the matter come before the civil magistrate. See above.
Riotous living.] Zwv nowws; in a course of life that led him to spend all: from a not, and oww I save. And this we are informed, ver. 30. was among harlots; the readiest way in the world, to exhaust the body, debase the mind, ruin the soul, and destroy the substance.
Verse 14. A mighty famine in that land] As he was of a profligate turn of mind himself, it is likely he sought out a place where riot and excess were the ruling characteristics of the inhabitants; and as poverty is the sure consequence of prodigality, it is no wonder that famine preyed on the whole country.
Verse 15. To feed swine.] The basest and vilest of all employments; and to a Jew, peculiarly degrading. Shame, contempt and distress are wedded to sin, and can never be divorced. No character could be meaner in the sight of a Jew than that of a swine-herd: and Herodotus informs us, that in Egypt, they were not permitted to mingle with civil society; nor to appear in the worship of the gods, nor would
Verse 16. With the husks] Kegariwy. Bochart, I think, has proved that xgaria does not mean husks: to signify which the Greek botanical writers use the word ß; several examples of which he gives from Theophrastus. He shews also, that the original word means the fruit of the ceratonia or charub tree, which grows plentifully in Syria. This kind of pulse, Columella observes, was made use of to feed swine. See BoCHART, Hieroz. lib. ii. cap. lvi. col. 707—10.
Verse 17. When he came to himself] A state of sin is represented in the Sacred Writings, as a course of folly and madness; and repentance is represented as a restoration to sound sense. See this fully explained on Matt. iii. 2.
I perish with hunger !] Or, I perish HERE. de here, is added by BDL. Syriac, all the Arabic and Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Gothic, Saxon, Vulgate, all the Itala, and several of the Fathers.
Verse 18. Against heaven] Es Toy Ougava; that is, against God. The Jews often make use of this periphrasis in order to avoid mentioning the name of God, which they have ever treated with the utmost reverence. But some contend that it should be translated, even unto heaven; a Hebraism for, I have sinned exceedingly-beyond all description.
Verse 20. And kissed him.] Or, Kissed him again and again; the proper import of xarenσey autov. The father thus shewed his great tenderness towards him, and his great affection for him.
Verse 21. Make me as one of thy hired servants, is added here by several MSS. and Versions; but it is evident this has been added, merely to make his conduct agree with his reso