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to sit in Moses's chair, [Mat. xxiii. 3.] and to determine what doctrines are contained in scripture (Mat. xii. 35.] Hence, also, an able minists of the New Testament is called a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. But as the Jews were divided into several religious sects, it is natural to imagine that each sect gave such interpretations of scripture as best agreed with their peculiar tenets. Wherefore, it cannot be doubted, that the doctors studied and expounded the sacred writings yrith a view to authorize the opinions of the party they espoused. Accordingly: [Acts xxii. 9.] inention is made of the scribes that were of the sect of the Pharisees, which plainly iinplies that some of the scribes were of the other sects. It is true, the scribes are distinguished from the Pharisees in the woes which our Lord now provounced, and in several other passages, particularly Mat. v. 20, xxiii. 2. But from the latter of these passages Dr. Macknight thinks it is evident, that by the scribes and Pharisees is commonly meant the Pharisaic scribes, according to the idiom of the Hebrew language : for, as the name Pharisees denoted a sect, and not an office, it could by no means be said of the whole sect, that they sat in Moses's chair. A character of this sort was applicable only to the doctors or scribes of the sect In other itistances, where the scribes are distinguished from the Pharisees, the Sadducean doctors may be inte ded. The badge of a Pharisee was his placing the tradition of the elders on an equality with scripture : whereas, the Sadducees rejected all the pretended oral traditions, and adhered so close to the text, that they acknowledged nothing as a matter of faith which was not expressly contained in the sacred books. And in this they were followed by the Karaités, or Scripturists, a sect that subsists among the Jews to this day. It is generally supposed, indeed, that the Sadducees acknowledged the authority of none of the sacred books, except the writings of Moses. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that they received all these books ; 'for bad they denied the authority of any of them, our Lord, who so sharply reproved their other corruptions, would, probably, not have let this escape uncensured. Nay, Josephus himself, who was no friend to the Sadducees, does nor, in the whole com pass of his writings, charge them with rejecting any of the sacred books. He says, they rejected the traditions of the elders, so much cried up by the Pharisees, affirming that nothing ought to be held as an institution or rule but what was written. Perhaps, of the sacred writings, the Sadducees preferred the books of Moses. All the Jews did so, and do su still : but whether, in this point, the Sadducees outstripped the rest of the sects, it is hard to say. In the mean time, considering the veneration which the Jews had for the books of the law, it is reasonable to suppose that some of the doctors of each 8-ct would api-ly themselves more especially to the study of these books in private, ar. !o the explication of them in public ; and that such as did so might obtain the appellation of la vyers. Accordingly, he is called by Matthew a Pharisee, and a lawyer, [xxii, 3.).] whox: Mark cails a scribe.
Farther, it is votinprobable, that the Pharisean lawyers, fond of their own particular study, migiu exalt the law, not only above the rest of the sacred writings, but above the tradition of the elders, in which respect they were distinguished froni the rest of their sect, paying only a secondary sort of regard to these traditions: It was on this account that one of them was now so displeased, when he heard Jesus join the whole body of scribes indiscriminately; and consequently the lawyers with the Pharisees, in the woes which he vow denounced against them for the hypocritical shews of piety which they made by their zeal in giving tythes of mint, anise, and cummin, according to the precepts of the elders, whilst they omitted judgment and the love of God, enjoined expressly by the divine law. It seems, he thought the rebuke undeserved on the part of the lawyers, even of the Pharisean sect, becau.o
they did not pay that superlative regard to tradition which the rest were remarkable for
We shall now continue the conversation in the words of Dr. Campbell.
“ Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hvpocrries, because ye are like concealed graves, over which people walk without knowing it.
Here one of the lawyers interposing, said, by speaking thus, Rabbi, thou reproachest us also. He answered, woe unto you, la vyers, also, because ve lade nien with intolerable burdens, which ye yourselves will not so much as touch with one of your fingers.
Woe unto you, because ye build the monuments of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Surely ye are both vouchers and accessaries to the deeds of your fathers ; for they killed them, ad ye build their monuments.
Wherefore, thus saith the wisdom of God, “I will send them prophets and a postles; some of them they will kill, others they will banish ; iusomuch that the biood of all the prophets which has been shed since the foundation of the world shall be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariali, who fell between the altar and the house of God.” Yes, I assure you, all shall be required of this generation."
The scribes and Pharisees, finding themselves thus severely reproved, urged him with great vehemence, from the hope that he might say something prejudicial to his cause, that they might bring an accusation against him, either before the Romans or the Jews,
A vast inultitude of people having collected, about this tine, to hear the instructions of the Son oi God, he thought proper to repeat, before this vast assembly, the same njunctions as he had before given them in private. There would thus be many witnesses, that the troubles hich were to fall upon his followers were not uskrown to himn ard hat he did not entice them to continue in his service by any flattering prospot of worldly advantage. He began by exhorting them, as he had do:e on a voyage cross the sea of Tiberias, to beware of the liaven of the Pharisees, which he explained to be hypocrisy. To enforce this adimonition, he reminded them of the
. omiuiscience of God, who knew every seeret thought, and of the approach of that awful day, when every thing should be made publicly manifest The body, he said, being mortal, might suffer many things from the hands of their enemies : but there was a great and terrible God, who was able to destroy both body and sol in hell. And he, said Jesus, is the proper object of your fear. But let not this tremendous thought fill your minds with melancholy ; for there is as much safety in his protection as there is danger in being exposed to his wrath. He watches over every part of his creation, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without fulfilling, by its deaili, some part of his plan of providence. You need not, therefore, fear; for all the bairs of your head are numbered, and ye, both as men and as my disciples, are of more value than many sparrows. If you constautly and steadily persevere in my ways, unmoved by the allurements and afilictions of this world, the Son of man will acknowledge you for his favourites and friends, before his heavenly Father, and all the angels of light ; while he, on the contrary, who shall desert my cause, shall be cast out as evil; and th ugh he may have gained the world, shall have eternal reason to repent of bis choice, biuce he shall incur the destruction of bis soul. And let all men beware how they oppose your mission ; for unto him that blasphemeth aguinst the Holy Ghost, it shall flever be forgiven. Nor need you be afraid to appear before kings or rulers; for, though you are illiterate men, the Holy Spirit shall surnish you, without your previous meditation, with the most suitable defesaces to make against your enemies.
Wbile Jesus was thus exhorting his disciples, a certain person in the crowd begged
that he would persuade his brother to divide their inheritance, and give him bis share. But because judging in civil matters was the province of the magistrate, and foreign to the end of our Lord's coming, he rofused to interfere in their dispute; but knowing that quarrels of this kind arise from covetousness in one or both of the parties, he cautioned them to beware of that vice ; for neither the happiness nor the security of a man's life consisteth in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
To shew them that the love of this world was foolish and dangerous, even when it did not lead to any unlawful acquisition of wealih, he related the following parable : The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and thus enabled him, without oppression, rapidly to accumulate wealth. He therefore determined to provide barns of sufficient magnitude to contain bis goods ; and as he was not one of those mean wretches who would continually board and never enjoy, he said to his soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thinc case, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thie, then whose shall those thinys be which thou hast provided ? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, by living for this present world, and has not, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, become rich towards God. He may obtain a little short lived gratification, but will, at length, find that the end of these things is death.
Christ then proceeded to exhort his disciples that they should take no anxio:18 thought for the things of this life ; but, setting their affections upon a better world, commit the keeping of all their concerns into the hands of a faithful and merciful Creator. Fear not little flock, though you may be 'here despised and persecuted, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. He now added a precept particularly calculated for those times, and for the peculiar circumstances of the apostles : sell that ye have, and give almis: provide yourselves with bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief ripproacheth, nor moth corrupttth ; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Having thus recommended disengagement of affection fron; the things of this world, e ordered them to be in constant readiness for the discharge of their duty In the Eastern countries, great entertainments were usually made in the evening ; so that the guests were seldom dismissed till the night was far spent.
On such occasions, servants shewed their fidelity by watching and keeping their lamps burning, and their loins girded, that they might be ready to open the door to the master on the first knock. Heexhorted his disciples to imitate these servants, and assured them, that if they pursued a similar line of conduct, their Master would not only eceive them to his company, but gird himself and come forth and serve them.
Peter enquiring to know whether this parable was addressed to the disciples or the muliitude, the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their meat in due season. Blessed is the strvant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing, he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But lest this watchfulness should be remitted, he instructed him further by the case of a servant, who, presuming upon his master's favour, neglected his dutv, and oppressed his fellow-servants. Such an one was to be cut in sunder, and have his portion with unbelievers, who had made no pretensions to the faith and practice of religion. Nav, his doom should be still more heavy ; for, in proportiosi to. he knowledge which tl.e disobedient servant should possess of his Master's wili, should be the stripes with which he should be chastised. Then, reassunting
, his prophetic character, he looked forward iuto futurity, and announced the persecutions which should fall upon his followers. I am come to sine fire on the earth, and what will I if it were already kindled. This passage is. variously translated ; but inust be understood to convey a wish that his sulierings might speedily commencz. i have a dreadful baptism of blood to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished. Instead of peace, which shall be ultimately the consequence of my mission, there shall be a spirit of violent dissension and animosity extensively diffused on the earth ; for, on account of the introduction of the Christian religion, there shall be five in one house divided, three against tull, and two against three. The father shut be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughler against the mother; the inother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'.
The land of Judea, as has been already observed, was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean sea, and on the south by the deserts of Arabia : when, therefore, the west wind blew, it indicated rain; while the blasts from the south were accompanied with extreme heat. Our Lord reproved the multitude because they could understand the succession of these natural phenomena, but could not discern the important events which were taking place, or which should speedily happen. Ye cannot discern this time : ye are so blinded by superstition, prejudice, and pride, that ye are unable to discover that the kingdom of God is approaching, that the true Messiah is now upon earth, and that you and your countrumen, by rejecting him, are filling up the measure of vour iniquities, and bringing about the ruin of your nation. You ought, in this instance, to act with the same prudence as you would exercise towards a powerful and justly incensed adversarv, who had commenced a prosecution against you, with whom you would agree quickly, lest he swuld hale you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer cast you into prison.
Some that were present at this time informed Christ of the murder of certain Galileans, of whose histors we are ignorant, but whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, secretly insinuating that these people must have been more than usually wicked, or else they wouid not have incurred such severe judgments. Christ, however, opposed this sentiment ; assuring them, that unless they repented, they must all likewise perish. He also made a similar observation upon the death of eighteen persons ou whom the tower of Siloam, which was, probably, one of the porticos of Bethesda, had fallen. Moreover, to rouse them still more to a sense of approaching calamities, He spake the parable of the barren fig-tree, which was ordered to be cut down, and ou'v spared for one year from the intercession of the gardener, and in the expectation that it might, the next season, bring forth fruit. This was, undoubtedly, intended to represent the Jewish nation, the advantages they had enjoyed, the sins they had committed, the long-suffering mercy of God, which was vouchsafed towards them through the mediation of the Son, and the ruin which would certainly fall upon their heads, both as individuals and a community, unless prevented by their repentance : but it also speaks loudly to the consciences of such as are living in impenitence and unbelief, though continually surrouoded with divine benefits.
Jesus happning to preach in one of the synagogues of Perea on a sabbath-day, cast his eyes upon a woman in the congregation who had not been able to stand-upright during 'the space of eighteen years ; wherefore, pitying her afliction, he restored her bods to its natural soundness This benevolent miracle excited the gratitude of the poor woman to God, but produced a very different effect on the ruler of the synagogue.
He was filled ith great indignation, and said unto the people, there are six days in which men ought to work, in thein, therefore, come and be healed, and not on the subballi-day. The Lord then answered him and said, thou hypocrite, these eighteen years, be lovsed from this bond on ile sabbath-day? And when he said these thing's all his adversaries were ashamed, and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
srhballı dith not each of you, on the Sabbath, loose his or or his ass from the stall, und itaa him away to watering? And ought not this woman, whom Satan hath bound, lc,
After the Lord had thus silenced the ruler of the synagogue, and whilst he observed the rejoicings of the people, he reflected with pleasure on the reason and truth which so effectually supported his kingdom : for he spake a second time the parables of the grain of mustard-seed and of the leaven, to shew the efficacious operation of the gospel upon the minds of men, and its speedy propagation through the world in spite of all opposition.
While our Lord was passing through the cities and villages in his journey towards Jerusalem, he met withi ove who expressed a desire to be made acquainted with the number of the saved. Christ, not judging this a profitable question, instead of returning a slirect answer, exhorted his hearers not to trust to their privileges as Jews, but to strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for that many, deferring this consideration, should strive to enter in and should not be able. When the elect of God are gathered in, and the door of heaven is shut, they shall in vain request admission, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us ; for he shall answer and say unto them, I know not whence you are, you are perfect strangers to me, and therefore shall not he admitted into my company. In vain shall they then allege, we have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets ; we have not merely been Jews, and, as such, have had the advantages of the peculiar prople of God, but we have also had the advantage of thine acquaintance when upon earth ; for they should be dismissed into outer darkness, as the workers of iniquity ; while many should come from the farthest parts of the earth, and sit down to the everlasting enjoyment of the kingdom of God.
The same day, some of the Pharisees intimated to Christ, that if he was desirous of seeking his safety, he ought to depart out of that country, for that Herod sought to slay him. But Christ, knowing that he had his appointed work to perform, and that no one could cut him off till his hour of suffering was come, answered, go ye and tell that fox, referring to the cruelty and craft of Herod, behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following ; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. Our Lord here, probably, referred both to the general wickedness of that city, which was notorious for its opposition to the prophets of God, and also to the malice which he well knew that the priests and rulers had conceived against him. Our Lord then took up the pathetic lamentation, 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a lien doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house, the temple in which you trust, is left unto you desolate ; and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see me until the time come, when ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. This last expression probably refers to the general ingathering of the Jews, with the fulness of the Gentiles, which shall take place before the dissolution of all things.
About this time, a distinguished person among the Pharisees, with an insidious intention, invited our Lord to dine at liis house. This was on the salbath-day; and a man who was afficted with the dropsy was present, being probably ilitroduced for the purpose of seeing whether Christ would cure him. Not having received an answer to the question, whether it were lawful to heal on the sabbath-day, he laid his hand on the diseased man, and he immediately healed him and sent him away. Determining still furiber to press his adversaries with unanswerable questions, he asked them whether they would not, on the sabbath, rescue an ox or an ass froja-the