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Much babbling in prayer is one thing; the spirit of cons tinual praying is another.
The first is that which Christ condemns, namely, vain repetitions, affected words, but not well-affected hearts. nifies not how short our prayers be, so that our desires be lasting. And this was Paul's way of praying for Timothy, without ceasing, night and day. He was, like Christ, all night in prayer. “When I wake up,” says David, “I am still with thee.” This was Paul's injunction to Christians, Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. v. 17); that is, take all opportunities, pray upon all occasions. Let every thing thou dost put thee in mind of this ; for the life of a true Christian is a continued prayer, in spirit, though not in word.
MAT. vi. 25.
2 Cor, vii, 11. Take no thought.
Lo, what care! Distrustful care about earthly provision is one thing; provident care, both spiritual and civil, is another.
The former Christ forbids, the latter Paul commands as the most excellent fruit of repentance. Among other graces,
O what care a true penitent has that he fall not again into transgression! MAT. vii. 1.
1 Cor. vi. 2. Judge not.
The saints shall judge. Rash and censorious judging is one thing; spiritual convincing judgment is another.
Christ forbids the former. The latter is that which the saints shall do in judging the world, not by pronouncing sentence, but by convincing the conscience when they shall rise in judgment against them.
MAT. ix. 30.
MARK, v. 19. See that no man know it.
Go and tell what great things
God hath done for thee. Why are Christ's patients enjoined these contrary commands? Sometimes they must speak of their cures, at other times not. It is one thing to speak of Christ's cures to his prejudice, another to speak of them to his praise.
Two several occasions may very well bear two several commands, without contradicting themselves. The charge he gave the two blind men, in the first place, not to speak, was to convince them that he affected not applause in the world, which they understanding spread his fame the more. Ver. 31. Again, the charge he gave the possessed man in Mark was to show that it is the duty of all to give God the glory for all the good we enjoy.
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are not to understand war, but division : for it was the office of the sword to divide and separate, as well as to kill. Accordingly, in the parallel passage in Luke, it is, " Suppose ye that I am come to send peace on earth ? I tell you nay; but rather division.” It is obvious to remark, that by sending a sword we are not to understand the design of Christ, all whose counsels and wishes tend to peace and concord, but rather the event.
Christ brought divisions no otherwise than Paul himself did, when he preached the resurrection; the congregation were divided upon it, being half Pharisees and half Sadducees. Acts, xxiii. 7. The Gospel is the Gospel of peace, and such are to be marked that come purposely to sow strife and contention in the Church of Christ.
MAT. xi. 14.
John, i. 21. This is Elias, which was for to I am not Elias, come.
John speaks naturally and literally in declaring that he was not Elias ; Christ speaks metaphorically in calling him Elias. Christ very properly compared John to Elias. They were both preachers in the wilderness; they were habited alike; and they both prepared the way of the Lord, or the way for the true worship of the Lord.
Mat. xii. 35.
Mat. xix. 17. A good man out of the good None good but God. treasure of his heart, &c.
None essentially good but God, and all goodness in creatures proceeds from him.
MARK, vii. 26. Behold, a woman of Canaan, &c. The woman
a Greek, a
Syrophenician by nation. Her nation is one thing, her condition another. The former Matthew describes, and Mark the latter. She was a Canaanite ; but of what quality, or in what part of Canaan brought up, we knew not, before this evangelist named her a Syrophenician ; that is, in the place where Syria and Phenicia meet, upon
the very border between them, yet within the confines of the land of Canaan ; for, where Syria and Phenicia joined together, the people that dwelt there took their name from it, and were called Syrophenicians.
Also whereas the Evangelist St. Mark says she was a Greek, he does not mean by nation a Greek, but Greek by condition of life, being no Jewess : for they used to call all the world Greeks, if they were not Jews. '1 Cor. i. 24.
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Apostle Paul named Christ to be the author of these words, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive," which were doubtless Christ's own words, though not penned by any of the evangelists.
Mat. xxvii. 44.
Luke, xxiii. 39. The thieves also, which were And one of the malefactors which crucified with him, cast the same were hanged railed on him, &c. in his teeth.
Addition to a story is one thing ; contradiction is another.
The most authentic writers, in giving an account of the same transaction, vary from each other in minute particulars, while they agree in the main circumstances.
MARK, xv. 25.
LUKE, xxiii. 44. And it was the third hour, and It was the sixth hour, and darkthey crucified bim.
ness till the ninth hour. Reckoning of the hours according to the custom of the Jews is one thing; according to the custom of Christians another.
The Jews had a double disposing of the artificial day, which is from morning to night, by dividing it into hours. First, into twelve, beginning their one at our six in the morning, and then is our six at night their twelfth and last hour. Also they had another account, which was but four hours for the whole day, placing three hours in one; wherefore the evangelists, to avoid all doubt, set down both these measurings of the Jews, St. Mark the latter, Luke and John the former, agreeing thus : Mark's third hour must be that space of time as is between six and nine of the other account, which the Christian calls twelve and three. That was the height of the day in which the darkness took place, and the Son of God suffered. Some writers reckon the whole space of Christ's suffering six hours, beginning at nine in the morning, when sentence was passed, continuing until three in the afternoon, when he gave up the ghost. This in the Jews' reckoning is called the third horr, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour. Mark names the hour when his sufferings began, John names the hour when his sufferings were at the height, and Luke names the hour when they finished. Thus they all agree, and speak the same thing.
MARK, xvi. 2.
Joøn, XX, 1. They came unto the sepulchre Cometh Mary Magdalene to the at the rising of the sun.
sepulchre while it was yet dark. The early setting forward in a journey, and that by one par. ticular woman, is one thing; the time of the arrival of all the women together at the sepulchre is another.