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Rabbi Eleasar said, "The man whose knowledge exceeds his works, to whom is he like? He is like a tree which had many branches, and only a few roots; and when the stormy winds came, it was plucked up and eradicated. But he whose good works are greater than his knowledge, to what is he like? He is like a tree which had few branches, and many roots; so that all the winds of heaven could not move it from its place." Pirke Aboth.
ing brick upon them; and though many waters come against it, they cannot move it from its place. But the man who studies much in the law, and does not maintain good works, is like to a man who, in building his house, put brick at the foundation, and laid stones upon them, so that even gentle waters shall overthrow that house." Aboth Rab. Nath.
Probably our Lord had this or some parable in his eye: but how amazingly improved in passing through his hands! In our Lord's parable there is dignity, majesty, and point, which we seek for in vain in the Jewish archetype.
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had . ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Elisha, the son of Abuja, said, "The man who studies much in the law, and maintains good works, is like to a man who built a house, laying stones at the foundation, and build-only stands in, but profits by them.
I will liken him unto a wise man] To a prudent man-ardę Egonus, to a prudent man, man of sense and understanding, who, foreseeing the evil, hideth himself, who proposes to himself the best end, and makes use of the proper means to accomplish it. True wisdom consists in getting the building of our salvation completed: to this end, we must build on the Rock, CHRIST JESUS, and make the building firm, by keeping close to the maxims of his Gospel, and having our tempers and lives conformed to its word and spirit; and when, in order to this, we lean on nothing but the grace of Christ, we then build upon a solid Rock.
Verse 25. And the rain descended-floods came-winds blew] In Judea, and in all countries in the neighbourhood of the tropics, the rain sometimes falls in great torrents, producing rivers, which sweep away the soil from the rocky hills; and the houses, which are builded of brick only dried in the sun, of which there are whole villages in the East, literally melt away before those rains, and the land-floods occasioned by
John 7. 46.
that on the sand.
them. There are three general kinds of trials to which the followers of God are exposed; and to which, some think, our Lord alludes here: first, Those of temporal afflictions, coming in the course of divine providence: these may be likened to the torrents of rain. Secondly, those which come from the passions of men, and which may be likened to the impetuous rivers. Thirdly, those which come from Satan and his angels, and which, like tempestuous whirlwinds, threaten to carry every thing before them. He alone, whose soul is built on the Rock of Ages, stands all these shocks; and not
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Verse 26. And every one that heareth-and doeth them not] Was there ever a stricter system of morality delivered by God to man, than in this sermon? He who reads or hears it, and does not look to God to conform his soul and life to it, and notwithstanding is hoping to enter into the kingdom of heaven, is like the fool who built his house on the sand.— When the rain, the rivers and the winds come, his building must fall, and his soul be crushed into the nethermost pit by its ruins. Talking about Christ, his righteousness, merits and atonement, while the person is not conformed to his word and spirit, is no other than solemn self-deception.
Let it be observed, that it is not the man who hears or believes these sayings of Christ, whose building shall stand when the earth and its works are burnt up; but the man who DOES them.
Many suppose that the law of Moses is abolished, merely because it is too strict, and impossible to be observed; and that the gospel was brought in to liberate us from its obligations; but let all such know, that in the whole of the old covenant nothing can be found so exceedingly strict and holy as this sermon, which Christ lays down as the rule by which we are to walk. "Then, the fulfilling of these precepts is the purchase of glory." No, it is the way only to that glory which has already been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. To him that believes, all things are possible.
Verse 28. The people were astonished] Ooxh, them ultitudes; for vast crowds attended the ministry of this most popular and faithful of all preachers. They were astonished
A leper applies to Christ
at his doctrine. They heard the law defined in such a manner as they had never thought of before; and this sacred system of morality urged home on their consciences with such clearness and authority, as they had never felt under the teaching of their Scribes and Pharisees. Here is the grand difference between the teaching of Scribes and Pharisees, the self-created or Men-made ministers, and those whom GOD sends. The first may preach what is called very good and very sound doctrine; but it comes with no authority from God to the souls of the people: therefore, the unholy is unholy still: because preaching can only be effectual to the conversion of men, when the unction of the Holy Spirit is in it; and as these are not sent by the Lord, therefore they shall not profit the people at all. Jer. xxiii. 32.
Verse 29. Having authority] They felt a commanding power and authority in his word, his doctrine. His statements were perspicuous; his exhortations persuasive, his
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Great multitudes follow Christ, 1. He heals a leper, 2-4. Heals the Centurion's servant, 5-13. Heals Peter's wife's mother, 14, 15. and several other diseased persons, 16, 17. Departs from that place, 18. Two persons offer to be his disciples, 19-22. He and his disciples are overtaken with a tempest, which he miraculously stills, 23-27. He cures Damoniacs, and the Damons which were cast out enter into a herd of swine, which, rushing into the sea, perish, 28-32. The swine-herds announce the miracle to the Gergesenes, who request Christ to depart from their country, 33, 34.
HEN he was come down from
a Chap. 5. 1. Luke 7. 1.
to be healed.
doctrine sound and rational, and his arguments irresistible. These they never felt in the trifling teachings of their most celebrated doctors, who consumed their own time and that of their disciples and hearers, with frivolous cases of conscience, ridiculous distinctions, and puerile splittings of controversial hairs-questions not calculated to minister grace
to the hearers.
Several excellent MSS. and almost all the ancient versions read, xxı o Pagioxins, and the Pharisees. He taught them as one having authority, like the most eminent and distinguished teacher, and not as the Scribes-and Pharisees, who had no part of that unction, which he in its plenitude possessed. Thus ends a serinon, the most strict, pure, holy, profound and subline, ever delivered to man; and yet so amazingly simple is the whole, that almost a child may apprehend it! Lord! write all these thy sayings upon our hearts, we beseech thee! Amen.
Great multitudes followed him.] Having been deeply impressed with the glorious doctrines which they had just heard. Verse 2. And, behold, there came a leper] The leprosy Aga, from As a scale, was an inveterate cutaneous disease, appearing in dry, thin, white scurfy scales or scabs, either on the whole body, or on some part of it, usually attended with violent itching, and often with great pain. The eastern leprosy was a distemper of the most lothsome kind, highly contagious, so as to infect garments, (Lev. xiii. 47, &c.) and houses, (Lev. xiv. 34, &c.) and was deemed incurable by any human means. Among the Jews, Gon alone was applied to for its removal; and the cure was ever attributed to his sovereign power.
NOTES ON CHAP. VIII.
was a striking emblem of sin, may be seen in Lev. xiii. and Verse 1. From the mountain] That mountain on which he xiv. where also may be read the legal ordinances concerning had delivered the preceding imitable sermon. it; which, as on the one hand, they set forth how odious sin is to God, so on the other, they represent the cleansing of our pollutions by the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, by the sprinkling and application of his blood, and by the sanctifying and healing influences of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek name λg, seems to have been given to this distemper, on account of the thin, white SCALES (λemide;), with which the bodies of the leprous were sometimes so covered, as to give them the appearance of snow, Exod. iv. 6. Num. xii. 10. 2 Kings v. 27.
Herodotus, lib. 1. mentions this disorder as existing, in his time, among the Persians. He calls it Aux, the white scab; and says, that those who were affected with it, were prohibited from mingling with the other citizens; and so
The various symptoms of this dreadful disorder, which dreadful was this malady esteemed among them, that they
considered it a punishment on the person, from their great, god the Sun, for some evil committed against him. Dr. Mead mentions a remarkable case of this kind which came under his own observation. "A country man whose whole body was so miserably seized with it that his skin was shining us covered with flakes of snow; and as the furfuraceous or bran like scales were daily rubbed off, the flesh appeared quick or raw underneath." See the Doctor's Medica Sacra, chap. ii. It was probably on account of its tendency to produce this disorder in that warm climate, that God forbad the use of swine's flesh to the Jews. The use of this bad aliment, in union with ardent spirits, is in all likelihood, the grand cause of the scurvy, which is so common in the British nations, and which would probably assume the form and virulence of a leprosy, were our climate as hot as that of Judea. See the notes on Exod. iv. 6. and on Levit. xiii. and xiv.
ness to make his creatures happy, should be deeply considered by all those who approach him in prayer. The leper had no doubt of the former, but he was far from being equally satisfied in respect of the latter.
Verse 3. Jesus put forth his hand-I will; be thou clean.] The most sovereign authority is assumed in this speech of our blessed Lord—I WILL, there is here no supplication of any power superior to his own: and the event proved to the fullest conviction, and by the clearest demonstration, that his authority was absolute, and his power unlimited. Be thou cleansed, xabago; a single word is enough.
And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.] What an astonishing sight! A man whose whole body was covered over
and offer the gift that Moses com-
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home
reith a touch.
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Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.] As this leper may be considered as a fit emblem of the corruption of man by sin; so may his cure, of the redemption of the soul by Christ. A sinner truly penitent, seeks God with a respectful faith; approaches him in the spirit of adoration, humbles himself under his mighty hand, acknowledging the great ness of his fall, and the vileness of his sin; his prayer like, that of the leper, should be humble, plain, and full of confidence in that God who can do all things, and of dependance upon his will or mercy from which all good must be derived. It is peculiar to God that he need only will what he intends to perform. His power is his will. The ability of God to do what is necessary to be done, and his willing-way, to give full proof to the priesthood, that Jesus was the true Messiah. The Jewish Rabbins allowed, that curing the lepers should be a characteristic of the Messiah; (see Bishop Chandler's Vindication) therefore the obstinacy of the priests, &c. in rejecting Christ, was utterly inexcusable. Verse 5. Capernaum] See chap. iv. 13.
A centurion] Exaтorragxos. A Roman military officer who had the command of one hundred men.
Verse 6. Lord] Rather Sir, for so the word vUPD should always be translated when a Roman is the speaker.
Lieth at home] BBnTas, lieth all along; intimating that the disease had reduced him to a state of the utmost impotence, through the grievous torments with which it was accompanied,
with the most lothsome disease, cleansed from it in a moment of time! Was it possible for any soul to resist the evidence of this fact? This action of Christ is a representation of that invisible hand, which makes itself felt by the most insensible heart of that internal word which makes itself heard by the most deaf; and of that supreme will which works every thing according to its own counsel,
Verse 4. Jesus saith-See thou tell no man] Had our Lord at this early period, fully manifested himself as the Messiah, the people in all likelihood, would have proclaimed him King; this, however refused by him, must have excited the hatred of the Jewish rulers, and the jealousy of the Roman government; and speaking after the manner of men, his farther preachings and miracles must have been impeded. This alone seems to be the reason why he said to the leper; see thou tell no man.
Shew thyself to the priest] This was, to conform to the law instituted in this case, Lev. xiv. 1, &c.
Offer the gift] This gift was two living, clean birds, some cedar wood, with scarlet, and hyssop, Lev. xiv. 4. which were to be brought for his cleansing; and when clean, two he lambs, one ewe lamb, three tenth deals of flour, and one log of oil, ver. 10. but if the person was poor, then he was to bring one lamb, one tenth deal of flour, one log of oil, and two turtle doves, or young pigeons, ver. 21, 22. See the notes on Lev. xiv.
Now all this was to be done for a testimony to them; to prove that this leper, who was doubtless well known in the land, had been throughly cleansed; and thus, in this private
to heal his servant.
A centurion applies to Christ
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7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will be healed. come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, 2 I am not worthy that thou shouldest
Luke 15. 19, 21.
Sick of the palsy] Or paralytic. See chap. iv. 24. This centurion did not act as many masters do when their servants are afflicted, have them immediately removed to an infirmary, often to a work-house; or sent home to friends or relatives, who probably either care nothing for them, or are unable to afford them any of the comforts of life. In case of a contagious disorder, it may be necessary to remove an infected person to such places as are best calculated to cure the distemper, and prevent the spread of the contagion. But in all common cases, the servant should be considered || as a child, and receive the same friendly attention. If by a hasty, unkind, and unnecessary removal, the servant die, are not the master and mistress murderers before God?
Verse 7. I will come and heal him.] Eyw showv Gegaπwow avI am coming, and will heal him. This saying is worthy of observation. Jesus did not positively say, I will come and heal him; this could not have been strictly true, because our || Lord healed him without going to the house, and the issue shews that the words ought to be taken in the most literal sense: thus understood, they contained a promise which it seems none of them distinctly comprehended. Foreseeing the exercise of the centurion's faith, he promises that while he is coming, ere he arrives at the house, he will heal him, and this was literally done, verse 13. There is much beauty in this passage.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come,
Ps. 107. 20.
manipuli or companies; and every manipulus made two centuries or companies of one hundred men. Every manipulus had two centurions, but these were very far from being equal in rank and honour, though possessing the very same office. The Triarii and Principes were esteemed the most honourable, and had their centurions elected first; and these first clected centurions, took precedency of the centurions of the Hastati who were elected last. The centurion in the text was probably one of this last order, he was under the authority of either the Principes or Triarii, and had none under him but the hundred men whom he commanded, and who appear to have been in a state of the most loving subjection to him. The argument of the centurion seems to run thus. If I who am a person subject to the controul of others, yet have some so completely subject to myself, that I can say to one, Come, and he cometh, to another, Go, and he goeth, and to my slave (TMw Sovñw pov) do this, and he doeth it; how much more then canst thou accom plish whatsoever thou willest, being under no controul, and having all things under thy command. He makes a proper use of his authority, who by it, raises his mind to the contemplation of the sovereign power of God, taking occasion from it to humble himself before him who has all power in heaven and earth; and to expect all good from him.
There are two beautiful passages in Arrian that tend much to illustrate this speech of the centurion. Καταταγείς Αγαμέμνων, λέγει μοι, πορεύου προς τον Αχιλλέα, και αποσπασον την Βρισηίδα, πορευομαι. Ερχου, έρχομαι. "He who personates Agameranon, says to me, Go to Achilles, and bring hither Briseis: I go. He says, Come hither; I come." Dissert. l. i. c. 25. p. 97.
Verse 9. But speak the word only] Or instead of ειπε λόγον, read, hoy, Speak by word or command. This reading is supported by the most extensive evidence from MSS. versions and fathers. See here the pattern of that living faith and genuine humility which ought always to accompany the prayer of a sinner: Jesus can will away the palsy, and speak away the most grievous torments. The first degree of humility is to acknowledge the necessity of God's mercy, and our own manity to help ourselves: the second, to confess the freeness of his grace, and our own utter unworthiness. Ignorance, unbelief, and presumption will ever retard our spiritual cure. Verse 9. For I am a man under authority] That is, under the authority of others. This verse has given considerable embarrassment to commentators and critics. I believe the paraphrase given above to be the true meaning of the evangelist. To make this matter more plain, let it be observed, that the Roman foot was divided into three grand parts, Hastati, Principes, and Tri. || arii. Each of these grand divisions was composed of thirty
Όταν ο Θεος είπη τοις φυτοις αίθειν, αίθει. Όταν είπῃ βλαςάνειν, βλαςανει. Όταν εκλέξειν τον καρπον, εκφέρει. Όταν πεπαίνειν, πεπαίνει, Οταν παλιν αποβάλλειν, και φυλλορροείν, και αυτα εις αυτα συνειλούμενα nouxias μEVELY, xai avaaviotai, μevel nas avataustai. God commands the plants to blossom, they bear blossoms. When he commands them to bear secd, they bear seed. When he commands them to bring forth fruit, they put forth their fruits. When he commands them to ripen, they grow ripe. When he commands them to fade, and shed their leaves, and to remain inactive, involved in themselves, they thus remain, and are inactive." Cap. 14. p. 62. See Raphelius.
This mode of speech fully marks supreme and uncontrouled power, and that power put forth by a sovereign will to effect any purpose of justice or mercy. And God
said, Let there be light, and there was light, is a similar expression.
Verse 10. I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.] That is, I have not found so great an instance of confidence and faith in my power, even among the Jews, as this Roman, a Gentile, has shewn himself to possess.
dades, haprades, Auxva, Cavol, Torches, lamps, candles and lanthorns, by Athenæus and Plutarch: so they who were admitted to the banquet, had the benefit of the light; but they who were shut out, were in darkness, called here outer darkness, i, e. the darkness on the outside of the house, in which the guests were; which must appear more abundantly gloomy, when com
From Luke vii. 5. where it is said of this centurion, "hepared with the profusion of light within the guest-chamber. loved our nation, and has built us a synagogue;" we may infer, And because they who were shut out, were not only exposed that this man was like the centurion mentioned Acts x. 1. A to shame, but also to hunger and cold; therefore it is added, devout Gentile, a proselyte of the gate, one who believed in the there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. As these feasts God of Israel, without conforming to the Jewish ritual, or re- are often alluded to by the Evangelists, I would observe once for ceiving circumcision. Though the military life is one of the all that they who were invited to them, entered by a gate demost improper nurses for the christian religion, yet in all na-signed to receive them; whence Christ, by whom we enter into tions there have been found several instances of genuine hu- the marriage feast, compares himself to a gate, John x. 1, 2, mility, and faith in God, even in soldiers; and perhaps never 7, 9. This gate at the time the guests were to come, was made more in the British military, than at the present. A. D. 1812. narrow, the wicket only being left open, and the porter standing Verse 11. Many shall come from the east and west] Men there, that they who were not bidden to the marriage might of every description, of all countries, and of all professions; not rush into it. Hence Christ exhorts the Jews to enter in at and shall sit down, that is, to meat, for this is the proper mean- the strait gate, ch. vii. 13, &c. When all that were invited were ing of axaxhiŷncosta, intimating the recumbent posture used by once come, the door was presently shut, and was not to be the Easterns at their meals. The Rabbins represent the opened to any who came too late, and stood knocking without: blessedness of the kingdom of God under the notion of a ban- so after the wise virgins had entered with the bridegroom, the quet. See several proofs of this in Schoetgenius. This was gate was shut, and was not opened to the foolish virgins, who spoken to soften the unreasonable prejudices of the Jews, stood knocking without, chap. xxv. 11. And in this sense we which they entertained against the Gentiles, and to prepare are to understand the words of Christ, Luke xiii. 24, 25. Many them to receive their brethren of mankind into religious fel- shall seek to enter in, but shall not be able. Why? because the lowship with themselves, under the Christian dispensation. master of the house hath risen up and shut to the door, they would not come unto him when they might, and now the day of probation is ended, and they must be judged according to the deeds done in the body. See Whitby on the place. How many of those who are called christians, suffer the kingdom, the graces, and the salvation which they had in their hands, to be lost; while West-India negroes, American Indians, Hindoo Poly-. theists, and atheistic Hottentots obtain salvation! An eternity. of darkness, fears and pains, for comparatively a moment of sensual gratification, how terrible the thought! What outer darkness, or, to σXOTOS TO Eśwτigov, that darkness, that which is the outermost, may refer to, in eternal damnation, is hard to say: what it alludes to I have already mentioned: but as the words Bguypos twv coortwy, gnashing or CHATTERING of teeth, convey the idea, not only of extreme anguish, but of extreme cold; some have imagined that the punishment of the damned consisted in.
With Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob] In the closest communion with the most eminent followers of God. But if we desire to inherit the promises, we must be followers of them who through faith and patience enjoy them. Let us therefore imitate Abraham in his faith, Isaac in his obedience unto death, and Jacob in his hope and expectation of good things to come, amidst all the evils of this life, if we desire to reign with them. Verse 12. Shall be cast out into outer darkness] As the enjoyment of that salvation which Jesus Christ calls the kingdom of heaven, is here represented under the notion of a nuptial festival, at which the guests sat down in a reclining posture, with the master of the feast; so the state of those who were excluded from the banquet is represented as deep darkness; be- || cause the nuptial solemnities took place at night. Hence at those suppers, the house of reception was filled with lights called