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them, "How many loaves have "ye?" And they said, "Seven." 6. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.
Eighth Sunday after Trinity.
O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both
This miracle, like that of the five loaves was peculiarly well timed: the people had been with our Saviour three days, and had nothing to eat; and they were in the wilderness, where nothing was likely to be procured. It was also a miracle of compassion and mercy, and it was typical, implying a like power in our Saviour to supply their spiritual wants. In John vi. 35. our Saviour suggests this application: "I am the bread of life; he that cometh "to me shall never hunger; and he that "belicveth on me shall never thirst." Our Saviour had been healing their lame and blind, their dumb and maimed, during the three days the multitude had been with him, so that even without this miracle they would have had the fullest assurance of his power.
ia) v. 12. " Are debtors," i. e. " have a uty upon us."
(b) v. 1S. " After the flesh," i. e. "in sin, "in the unrestrained indulgence of carnal •' propensities."
(c) •« Through the Spirit," i. e. '• for the "sake of Christianity, from a sense of duty."
(d) "Mortify," i. e. "overcome, resist "the gratification of."
(O " The deeds of the body," i. c. "carnal propensities."
in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us, through Jesus Christ*our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. viii. 12.
Brethren, we are debtors (a), not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13. For if ye live after the flesh (6), ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit (c) do mortify (rf) the deeds of the body (e\ ye shall live. 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God (g-), they are the sons of God. 15. For ye have not (h) received the spirit of bondage again («), to fear (&); but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby (/) we cry, « (m) Abba, Father." 16. The Spirit (n) itself beareth witness with our (n) spirit, that we are the
(g) v. 14. "Led by the Spirit of God," i. e. "influenced by a sense of duty to "God, to live righteously. CI. Attrib. 89." See post, —. Gal. v. 24.
(/*) v. 15. " Have not received, See." i. e. "are not put in the situation of bond"men, to act from fear, but of sons, to "act from higher motives.''
(i) "Again," i. e. "as was the case "under the Mosaic law, which was a law "of bondage."
(k) "To fear," So 2 Tim. i. 7. «« God "hath not given us the spirit of fear, but "of power, and of love, and of a sound "mind." And St. John says, 1 John It. 18. "Perfect love casteth out fear." S«e ante, 176. note (c).
(I) "Whereby, &c." i. e. "whereby "we are entitled to call God our Father, "and are in the character of sons to "him."
(m) "Abba, Father." St. Paul uses the same form of expression, Gal. iv. 6. "Be"cause ye are sons, God hath sent forth "the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, "crying, Abba, Father."
(n) v. 16. "The Spirit itself," i. e. « the "Holy Spirit." "Our Spirit," i. e. "our "mind, or understanding."
children (o) of God: 17. and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer (p) with him, that we may be also glorified together (y).
The Gospel. Matt. vii. 15. (r)
"Beware of false prophets, "which come to you in sheep's "clothing (s), but inwardly they "are ravening wolves: 16. ye
shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit 18. A good tree cannot (/) bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down (w), and cast into the fire.
(o) - Children of God." Christians are repeatedly called "the children or sons of "God." Thus (1 John xi. 12.) "He," (L e. " the Word," our Saviour) "came "unto his own, but his own received him "not: but as many as received him, to "them gave he power to become the sons "of God, even to them that believe on his "name." So (1 John iii. 1.) "Behold, "what manner of love the Father hath "bestowed on us, that we should be called "the sons of God." And again (1 John v. 1.) «' Whosoever believeth that Jesus "is the Christ, is born of God." And our Saviour, in his sermon on the Mount, Matt. v. 44. presses his hearers to "love "their enemies, and practise other vir"tues," with this view, "that ye may be "the children of your Father which is in "heaven."
(») v. 17. "If so be that we suffer." Suffering is a test of sincerity: St. Paul, therefore, after noticing the high character to which Christianity would exalt them, that of being "heirs of God, and joint "heirs with Christ,'' reminds them, that to acquire a full title to that character, they must not only "mortify the deeds of the u body," by abstaining from actual sin, but must bear manfully and without wavering whatever distresses the profession of Christianity should bring. This was a common topic both with him, and the other apostles; and their frequent recurrence to it implies strongly that the then professors of Christianity were exposed, on account of their profession, to many hardships. Our Saviour holds out a powerful motive to a courageous avowal of his religion, (Matt. x. 32.) "Whosoever shall "confess me before men, him will I con"fess also before my Father which is in
"heaven." In 2 Tim. ii. 12. St. Paul says, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with "him." And St. Peter, (1 Pet. iv. 12, 13.) says, " Beloved, think it not strange con"cerning the fiery trial, which is to try "you, as though some strange thing hap"pened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch "as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, "that when his glory shall be revealed, "ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." Should not the courage and constancy with which the apostles and first converts adhered to their profession, animate us also? Is it not our duty to shew boldly by our lives and conduct that we also profess Christianity, that we shrink from nothing to increase its influence and promote its success?
(?) "Glorified together." See 1 Pet.l. 11. 13. and 1 Pet. iv. 5.13.
(r) Part of " the Sermon on the Mount." See ante, 192. note on Matthew v.
(s) v.15. "In sheep's clothing." "With "specious appearances and professions."
(t) v. 18. "Cannot, &c." Not that it cannot change from good to bad, or from bad to good, but that so long as it remains good, it cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor so long as it remains corrupt, can it bring forth good fruit.
(«) v. 19. "Hewn down, &c." The Baptist held the same language whilst he was preaching in the wilderness, before our Saviour publicly professed himself to be the Messiah. Matt. iii. 10. "Every "tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, "is hewn down, and cast into the fire;" and so did our Saviour, in his discourse at the last supper, (John xv. 2.) "Every "branch in me that beareth not fruit, he" (viz. God) "taketh away." See ante, 151. note on John xv. 2.
"20. Wherefore by their fruits ye "shall know them. 21. Not every "one that saith (x) unto me, "Lord, Lord, shall enter into the "kingdom of heaven; but he that "doeth the will of my Father "which is in heaven."
Ninth Sunday after Trinity.
Ctrant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful;
(x) v. 21. "Saith," i.e. "I require not "professions, but acts'' The antithesis is between " saith," and "doeth."
iy) St. Paul's object seems to be, to convince the Corinthian converts that no interpositions of God's protection, however great, no pledges of adoption however strong, would be a security to them against future visitations of God's wrath, if they deserved it: Unless they acted up to their duty, and placed the fullest confidence in him from whom they had received so much, they might still be objects of his vengeance: and with this view he reminds them, that though God had displayed the most signal instances of his power in delivering their forefathers from the Egyptians, yet when they were disobedient, he visited them with signal punishments. His favours, however mighty, are no pledge for continuing blessings, unless man does his part to deserve them; on the contrary, the man on whom such blessings are bestowed ought to have the fullest conviction of God's power, the firmest reliance on his protection, the highest gratitude for what he has vouchsafed: and if he on whom God has the strongest claims is found wanting, it is to be expected that on him the punishment will be most exemplary; for "to whom much is given, of him also "will much be required." St. Paul had just been stating what he, who had been so highly favoured, thought himself bound to do, lest he should be a cast-away, and this naturally led him to press upon the converts, that they also, notwithstanding what they had received, might be castaways likewise, if they relapsed into sin, distrusted God's protection, or in any respect shrunk back from their duty. The same argument occurs, Jude 5. post, —. "«I will therefore put you in remembrance,
that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. 1 Cor. x. 1. (y)
Brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all (s) our fathers were under (a) the cloud, and all passed (£) through the sea; 2. and were all (c) baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea j 3. and did all eat the
"though ye once knew this, how that the "Lord, having saved the people out of the "landof Egypt, afterwards destroyed them "that believed not: and the angels which "kept not their first estate, but left their "own habitation, he hath reserved in "everlasting chains under darkness, unto "the judgment of the great day." See Jones's Lect. 160. See also Heb. vi.4.6. Heb. x. 26. 2 Pet. ii. 20.
(2) v. I. " All." This term, which occurs five times in this and the three following verses, was probably used, to shew that the very persons who were afterwards so signally destroyed were amongst those upon whom these singular instances of protection were conferred.
(n)" Under the cloud," i.e. "partakersof "God's extraordinary interposition on the "departure from Egypt;'' when (according to Exod. xiii. 21.) he "went before "them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to "lead them the way, and by night in a "pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by "day and night:" or he might refer to what is mentioned, Numb. ix. 15. &c. that in the subsequent journeyings through the wilderness there was a cloud which rested upon the tabernacle when they were to stop, and which was taken up from the tabernacle and went before them, when they were to move.
(A) " Passed through the sea,'' i. e. "in the well-known instance, when God "divided the waters of the Red Sea, to "open a passage for the Israelites, when "the Egyptians pursued them." See Exod. xiv. 21.
(c) v.2. "Baptized unto Moses," i.e. "ranged under him, put under his ban"ners, in a degree identified with him, so "as to have on that account an additional "prospect of God's favour.''
same spiritual (d) meat; 4. and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that (e) spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was (g) Christ. J. But (A) with many (i) of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown (k) in the wilderness. 6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil
(d)v.S. "Spiritual meat," i.e. "The "quails and manna, Exod. xvi. 11., &c." oiled spiritual, (perhaps,) from the miraculous manner in which they were produced, and from their tendency on that account to inspire the people with gratitude and confidence towards God.
(e) v. 4. "Spiritual rock." This refers to the miraculous supply of water to the Israelites whilst they were wandering in the wilderness; they had no water, and murmured greatly for want thereof, and God commanded Moses to take his rod and smite the rock in Horeb, and told him that water should come out of it so that the people might drink ; and Moses struck the rock and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. Exod. xvii. 1 to 6. Numb. xx. 1 to 12.
(g) "Was Christ," i. e. (probably) "a "type or resemblance of Christ;'' for as it give them a constant supply of natural »ater, so Christ constantly supplies his proselytes with spiritual water; with what, spiritually, prevents future thirst. As our Saviour says, (John iv. 14.) "Whosoever "drinketh of the water that I shall give "him, shall never thirst, but the water "that I shall give him, shall be in him a "well of water springing up into everlast"ing life;" and (Join vi. 35.) "he that "cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he * that believeth on me, shall never thirst.''
(A) v. 5. " But, &c." i. e. " Notwithstand"ing these signal marks of favour gene"rally to all, he took vengeance upon "inch of them as offended."
(i) "Many," in opposition to "all" in the four preceding verses.
(i) "Overthrown, &c." God had promised the Israelites the land of Canaan; but because they were terrified at the gigantic appearance of the inhabitants, he kept them in the wilderness forty years,
things, as they also lusted (/).
7. Neither be ye idolators (ni), as were some of them; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat "and drink, and rose up to play."
8. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and («) fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted (o), and were de
until all the people that were men of war when they came out of Egypt were consumed. See ante, 3. note on Ps. xcv. 8.
(1) v. 6.." Lusted." This probably alludes to their lusting for flesh, notwithstanding the supply of manna. According to Numb. xi. 4. the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting; and the children of Israel wept, and said, who shall give us flesh to eat? and God gave them a supply of quails, but before they had finished eating them, he smote them with a very great plague; and he called the name of the place Kibroth Hattaavah, because they buried there the people that lusted. Numb. xi. 32 to 34.; and see Ps. cvi. 14.
'(m) v. 7. "Idolators, &c." Alluding to their worshipping the golden calf: when the calf was made, they said, "These be "thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee "up out of the land of Egypt;" and after Aaron had built an altar before it, and proclaimed a feast on the morrow to the Lord, " they rose up early on the morrow, "and offered burnt-offerings, and brought "peace-offerings, and the people sat down "to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. "Exod. xxxii. 4 to 6."
(n) v. 8. "Fell, &c." i. e. "by the "plague which visited them for their inter"course with the daughters of Moab." See Numb. xxv. 1 to 9.
(o) v. 9. "Tempted, &c." i. e. "dis"trusted." This occurred also in the wilderness. The people spake against God, and against Moses, saying, "Wherefore "have ye brought us up out of Egypt to "die in the wdderness? for there is no "bread, neither is there any water, and "our soul loatheth this light bread, (viz. "the manna)," "and the Lord sent fiery "serpents among the people, and they bit "the people, and much people of Israel "died. Numb. xxi. 5,6.
stroyed of serpents. 10. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also (jf) murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the (y) ends of the world are come. 12. Wherefore (r) let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13. There hath no (5) temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The Gospel. Luke xvi. 1. (t)
Jesus said unto his disciples, "There was a certain rich man which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3. Then the steward said within himself, "What shall I do, for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they («) may receive me into their houses." 5. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6. And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. 8. And the lord (x) commended the unjust steward (y), because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their (2) generation wiser than the children of light 9. And I say unto you, Make (a) to yourselves friends of the mam
(p) v. 10. "Murmured, &c." In the instance of the men who were sent to look at the land of Canaan, and who made an ill report of it, who "died by the plague "before the Lord. Numb. xiv. 37."
(q) v. 11. "The ends of the world." The time when the Jewish establishment was drawing towards its close. One of the periods often referred to under the expression of " the day of the Lord," called (1 John ii. 18.) " the last time." See ante, 28. note on Rom. xiii. 11.
(r) v. 12. "Wherefore, &c." Let none assume from what has been conferred upon him that he is beyond the chance of falling; let each take heed.
(s) v. 13. "Temptation," i.e. "trial," ireipao-f«!S-, the same word as is used, 1 Pet. iv. "the fiery trial, which is to try you."
(t) The object of this parable seems to be, by drawing into notice the foresight
worldly men display to advance their temporal interests, to inculcate it as a duty upon Christians to use as much prudence, wisdom, and exertion to promote their future spiritual welfare. See 2 Tillot. 481. Clarke's 18 Sermons, p. 341.
(u)c.4. "They, &c." i.e. impersonally^ "you may be received into men's houses.
(x) v. 8. " Commended." Not that he approved of his dishonesty, but admired his foresight.
(y) " Because," i. e. "in as far as.'' It was hisprudence only that was applauded.
(z) "In their generation," i. e. "in the "concerns of this life; with a view to their "temporal interests."
(a) v. 9. " Make, &c." i. e. "so use "your riches, as to make him your friend, "who, when you are put out of your "earthly stewardship, will receive you "into heaven."