« AnteriorContinuar »
.' be offended in me.' Mark says nothing of this chapter Vprfr question. Luke relates it in Matthew's manner. John does not mention it; nor was it at all likely he should, for in his 3d chapter he introduces John the Baptist, previous to his imprisonment, giving ample testimony of Jesus and his mission. After the departure of John's messengers; Jesus questioned his audience relative to their opinion of him; and then gives his own—Verily I fay x;f ,, unto you, among them that are born of woman, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. This is followed up with two assertions, neither of which do I understand—And 12 from the days of John the Baptist, until now, the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence; and the violent take it by force. For all the pro- 13 phets and the law prophesied until John. And 14. if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come. What can we understand by the kingdom of Heaven suffering violence? or how are we to conceive the violent take it by storm? The introduction seems to imply that this had been so but. a very short time; even if it means from the birth of John, which preceded his own but a few months. Or are we to suppose an antecedent state of John's. Pre-existence was held by many in those days: they hoped, and fully expected that the soul of Elias, clothed in some other body, would again visit this world. And here we are told—* this is Elias, which was for
xi. 15 1 to come.' With this addition—' He that
* hath ears to hear, let him ear,.' But it is plain, by the zjth verse, that all who had ears could not hear; or rather as it is meant understand. Jesus fays, the Father, and he thanks him for it, had hidden those things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. What makes the contents of this 25th verse still more mysterious, is, that it doth not stand in the order here placed, but is preceded by a denunciation of woe to those cities in which his- mighty works had been performed without effecting their repentance. If this were so; they had indeed eyes and saw not, ears and heard not, &c. (But more of this when we examine the 13th chapter). Jesus
?7 proceeds—' All things are delivered unto me of
* my father: and no man knoweth the Son but 'the Father: neither knoweth any man the Fa-.
* ther, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the
* Son will reveal him.' As we find no answer made to this last assertion, we may suppose none of the Scribes or Pharisees were present. He concludes, with an invitation to all that are distressed, promising to give them rest, St. Mat-r thew in the next chapter informs us, that Jesus upon the sabhath-day, going with his disciples through the corn, they, being hungry, gathered and eat. The Pharisees, seeing this, upbraided Jesus for permitting them to do so unlawful an act. To justify them; hd in reply, quotes th^ action of David and his men eating the sliew-chaPter Vers* bread which was lawful to the priests only. This extenuation (if it be one) applies, in my opinion, only as a cafe of necessity"*. The 5th, 6th, and 7th verses, are to me obscure; he says to the Pharisees—' Have ye not read in the law how xii. 5
* that on the sabbath-days, the priests in the 1 temple prophane the sabbath, and are blame
1 less? But 1 fay unto you, that in this place is 6
* one greater than the temple, but if ye had 7 'known what this meaneth, I will have mercy,
1 and not sacrisice, ye would not have condemn
* ed the guiltless. Adding, For the Son of Man * 'is Lord even of the sabbath-day.' He then entered their synagogue, where he found a man
whose hand was withered. The Pharisees asking him—' Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath-days?' He replied that it was lawful to do good upon the. sabbath-days: asked which of them, having a sheep fallen into a pit, would not, upon a sabbath-day, pull it out; and if a man was not of more worth than a sheep? It does not appear that they made any reply: but upon his healing the man, they went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him, Nor can we be surprised at their so doing, when we fecqllect: the declaration he had made previous r,o
• David obtained this sliew- bread by an imposition, and for which the priests of Nob were destroyed by Saul.
chapter verse this, (Matth. ch. v. v. 17, 18, 19.) That ha came not to destroy, but to fulfil the law: that it should endure to the end of the world: and whoever broke one of the commandments, or taught men to do it, should be called, the least in the kingdom of Heaven*. Yet it now apT pears to the Pharisees, that he not only broke one of them himself, but taught others that they also might do so with impunity. If they misapprehended him, or were in an error: he, knowing their thoughts, ought rather to have appeased their resentment by an explanation, than to have fled from it, as we find he did. Soon after this, j'ii. 16 we are told, he healed multitudes who followed him, and charged them that they sliould not make him known. Here St. Matthew, with his usual ill-luck, applies another prophecy; and then goes on to inform us, that Jesus healed a man possessed of a devil, blind and dumb: so that he both saw and spake. The spectators
23 amazed at this miracle, exclaimed—Is not this the son of David. (Alluding, I apprehend, to. the power of casting out devils possessed by Solomon). But when the Pharisees beard of it, (from this, and the 38th verse, it is plain they
28 were not present) they said—this fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. This accusation had been brought
* Vide page 28.
against against him by the Pharisees upon a former occa- chapter verse sion. (Vide Matth. ch. ix. v. 34.) he then made no reply; but here he urges a very sensible confutation, shewing the inconsistency of Satan's being divided against himself. The Jews had, or pretended to have, a power of casting out devils, he therefore asked the Pharisees—by whom do xii. 37 your children cast them out? and appears to offer the decision of this question to them. This subject; produces, a severe and reiterated *denuncia« lion against those who finned against the Holy Ghost. What was this sin against the Holy Ghost? This unpardonable crime? has been a question often asked by the ignorant, and frequently disputed by the learned. Jesus, in this place, apparently the most proper for it, has not explained what he meant by Holy Ghost. It appears only that his auditors the Pharisees, were perverse enough to assign a bad motive for a good action: or that, as he derived the power of doing good, from an evil principal; his doing good actions was only with a view to deceive. But this could not be sinning against the Holy Ghost, which was never to be forgiven, because he tells them at the fame time—' Whosoever j«