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16 ing wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather 17 grapes
of thorns, or figs of thistles ? 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 19 bring forth good fruit. Every tree, that bringeth not forth good 20 fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their 21 fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me: Lord,
to express a cruel hypo 17. Mat. xii. 33. Luke vi. 43crite. The teachers here described 45. James iji. 12.-Good tree. A made fair pretensions, were pure tree of a good kind produces fruits and innocent outwardly, but in- like itself.—Corrupt tree-evil fruit. wardly were ready to prey upon But a tree of a bad kind produces their victims. Jesus referred per- fruits of the same sort. The Sahaps to the Jewish teachers in this viour draws an analogy between description, who made long prayers, the natural and the spiritual worlds, but devoured widows' houses ; in- showing that in each like produces nocent, pure, and harmless as sheep like, good, good, and evil, evil. to all appearance, but in reality full 18. So it is morally impossible of extortion and excess, rapacious for a bad man to yield the fruits of as wolves. 1 Tim. vi. 5.
virtue, or a good man to produce 16. Know them by their fruits. wickedness. Human conduct is Though so deceptive in their ap- deterinined by the state of the pearance, there was one way by heart, as fruits are by the nature of which their hypocrisy would be the tree upon which they grow. unmasked ; their lives would belie 19. John xv. 6. This verse bears their professions. Their fruits, so much the character of an intrutheir works, would betray them. der and interrupter of the sense, It has been said: A man's works that many have deemed it an interare the tongue of his heart, and tell polation from Mat. iii. 10. But honestly whether he is inwardly there is no other evidence against corrupt, or pure. The Saviour its genuineness. It may be regardtakes an illustration from nature. ed as a parenthetical sentence. Do men from the poorest plants, as 20. By their fruits ye shall know thorns and thistles, obtain the rich- them. This is the summing up of est fruits, as grapes and figs? So the illustrations drawn from the from these counterfeit teachers, natural world. These false teachmeagre souls, wretched hypocrites, ers would be known by their conthe encumbering thorns and this: duct. By that criterion Jesus pertles of the moral world, we are not mits us to judge of their sincerity. to look for those rich, nutritious 21. Not every one, i. e. no man.lessons of wisdom which proceed Lord, Lord. Or, Master, Master. from one who speaks from the Luke vi. 46. James i. 22.-Saith abundance of a deep, good heart. and doeth are emphatic. Mere proEspecially from the tree of barren fession is worthless. Earnest callhypocrisy we cannot expect any ing upon Jesus, and feigning a fruits of good works, but only the dependence and allegiance, not leaves and flowers of good profes- acknowledged in the heart, or exsions and specious pretensions. pressed in the life, is hypocrisy of
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me 22 in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you ; 23 depart from me, ye that work iniquity. -Therefore whosoever hear- 24 eth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a
the most shallow kind.--Kingdom We learn from the New Testament of heaven often stands for the that some were hypocritical in their Gospel itself.
Persons described profession of Christianity from the above are not Christians, however beginning, and that miraculous loud they may be in their pretended powers were claimed by some who devotedness to Jesus. No doubt were not worthy of the trust. many came to him, after seeing his Goodness is the only key to unlock wonderful works, professing for the gate of heaven. 1 Cor. xiii. him the greatest interest, and readi- 1–3. Gal. vi. 15. ness to follow him, John vi. 15, 23. Will I profess unto them. who were influenced by hopes of Plainly and publicly declare to worldly honor and wealth. They them. To give greater vivacity said Master, Master, to secure a and force to the truth, Jesus throws higher place in his court, not out of it into the form of a dialogue besubmission to his spiritual laws, tween himself and these false claimwhich alone would entitle them to ants.— I never knew you, i. e. never membership in his kingdom. approved and recognized you as
22. Luke xiii. 25–27.- In that my disciples; for such is the meanday. An emphatic phrase. Then, ing of know in some cases. Ps. i. when my kingdom shall be estab- 6. 1 Cor. viii. 3.—Depart from me, lished.- Prophesied in thy name. &c. Ps. vi. 8. The dramatic sernNot necessarily predicted future blance is continued.-Work iniquievents, but preached in thy name, ty. The sense of the original is preached the Gospel.--- In thy name. stronger than to do iniquitously ; it By thy power and authority. The is, to make a trade and business of Apostles appealed to the authority iniquity, as these false teachers did, of Christ, when they performed who converted the holy office of miracles. Acts xvi. 18.-Cast out preaching the Gospel into an indevils. See note upon Mat. iv. 24. strument of selfish aggrandizemnent. It was a common superstition at The great end of Christianity, that time that the spirits of deceas- whether in teacher, or taught, is a ed wicked persons dwelt in some good life. Nothing short of this, men. They were called, however, be it faith, or zeal, or profession, or demons, and not devils, in the pres even martyrdom, can meet the purent popular meaning of that word. poses of Heaven, or the wants of This sort of miracles is specified, the soul. because it was more difficult of 24. We come now to the epiperformance. Mat. xvii. 21.-Won- logue and peroration of the Sermon derful works. Miracles, so called on the Mount, and it harinonizes, because they created wonder and in its sustained beauty and energy, awe in those who beheld them with the preceding part, and con
25 wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended,
and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; 26 and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one
that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be
likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand ; 27 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that bouse; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.
cludes all in a manner worthy of dried in the sun, and reeds, and one who was a teacher from the rushes, which would render their Father of Lights. Similar figures overthrow still more probable, in were used by the Jewish teachers, the heavy rains and hurricanes inbut inferior in power and elegance. cident to that climate, unless they The following is one: “ The man were very securely built upon a who studies much in the law, and solid foundation. Jesus accordingmaintains good works, is like to a ly spoke to his hearers of what was man who built a house, laying stones familiar to them, drawing illustraat the foundation, and building tions from their own observation brick upon them; and though ma and experience.-Fell not; for it ny waters come against it, they was founded upon a rock. Tbus cannot move it from its place. But one who has obeyed the instructhe man who studies much in the tions of Christ, and built his hopes law, and does not maintain good upon him as the corner stone, will works, is like a man who, in build- be able to stand, and having done ing his house, put bricks at the all, and suffered all, still to stand, foundation, and laid stones upon unshaken by the storms of adversithem, so that even gentle waters ty, calm in death, erect before the shall overflow that house."-Wise throne of God. man. Prudent, considerate man. 26. Heareth, and doeth them not.
25. The beauty of the compari- A large class. Many now hear the son is enhanced by knowing the Gospel, participate in the security, reference which is here made to comfort, and outward privileges, the soil and climate of Judea. The which its presence in the world land is hilly and rocky, and the partially communicates to all, have heavy rains which fall at periodical a speculative belief; but yet not seasons wash away the earth. The practising the precepts of religion, torrents pour down the hills with not bringing their own hearts and irresistible violence, carrying away lives under its influences, they rest whatever would withstand heir fu- their hopes upon a sandy foundary, sweeping before them buildings tion. The storms of this life, and that were founded upon a sandy the trial of the next, will demonand treacherous basis. - The winds strate their folly. also, as is common in warm coun 27. Great was the fall of it. The tries, blow with terrible force ; still overthrow of the spiritual hopes more endangering what was ex and prospects of the soul, the fall posed to the rolling floods. The of man from virtue, is great indeed. houses too of the poorer classes The traveller is touched with sadwere of frail construction, being ness, as he surveys the ruins of built of mud walls, or bricks splendid temples and palaces, the
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the peo- 28 . ple were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one 29 having authority, and not as the scribes.
relics of ancient grandeur; but what their Rabbins and Scribes; for are the desolations of earthly fab- they trifled, wasting their time and rics, and splendid cities, compared strength upon puerile ceremonies with man, the temple of the Deity, and vain controversies. But Jesus broken down and in ruins ?
was grave, and dwelt upon themes 28. Ended these sayings. Refer- that came home to the business and ring to the whole discourse.-As- bosom of every man. The Scribes tonished at his doctrine. At bis referred for authority to the anteaching, both in matter and man cients. Jesus spoke from an inter
The original expresses more nal authority, and consciousness of than astonishment. The truths he the truth of what he said, and of enforced, the simplicity, directness, an inspiration and commission from and spiritual power with which he the Deity, that must have clothed delivered them, seized hold of their his words with -a 'truly celestial hearts, so as to strike them with power. The wickedness and hyawe. They felt, to their own won- pocrisy of many of the Scribes of der, a power within them rising up course undermined all their moral and paying respect to the power force as teachers of religion. The of Jesus. Deep responded unto pure and benevolent spirit of Jesus, deep.
his uniınpeachable goodness, added 29. As having authority, and not a thousand persuasives to his docas the scribes. Mention is repeated- trine; and overflowing, as it must ly made of the surprise and ad- naturally have done, in tone, and miration of the people at his teach- gesture, and feature, it impressed ing. Mat. xxii. 33. Mark i. 22. the people altogether differently xi. 18. Luke iv. 32. Nor can we from the cant and coldness of the wonder at it, when we consider, on Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus one side, the capacities and wants was humble, accessible, and noble. of bunnan nature, and on the other, They were proud, reserved, and the qualifications of Jesus to speak mean. Jesus preached the truth of to it. Men have more in them than God. They preached themselves. they know of. A soul of unlimited It is not strange that the people powers hungers and thirsts within were astonished. No such teacher them. They love to be caught up had ever yet appeared, or was ever into the light and glory of great again to appear. He spoke to the truths and heavenly principles. reason, the conscience, and the Such times are memorable. And heart. He was profound, yet plain; notwithstanding the degeneracy of powerful, but gentle. The precepts the Jews, the formality and petri. he gave for human conduct; the faction into which religion had motives he addressed to the heart'; grown, the hypocrisy of the priests, the connection he pointed out be human nature was stronger than tween the character and the life; Jewish babits. The common peo- the authority with which he urged ple heard Jesus gladly. For he his doctrines; the fearlessness with spoke to them as divine brother. which he condemned the hypocritiThey perceived that he was unlike cal Scribes and Pharisees; the
Miracles of Jesus.
followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worship
beautiful light in which he pre sons often live for a great many sented God as a Father, and man years who are afflicted with it, caras a brother; the views he opened rying about with them a “body of of the purposes of the Creator, and death.” It is almost incurable by the destiny of man; and the fine human means, and the Jews are illustrations with which he clothed said to have reckoned the power of his truths—all bore the fullest evi- healing it among the gifts of their dence to his unrivalled excellence Messiah. It has prevailed chiefly as a spiritual teacher and guide. in the hot oriental countries, but What further proof can we reason was common in Guadaloupe, in the ably demand of his divine mission, West Indies, in the 18th century. or of our personal obligation to obey Some have supposed that swine's and follow him as our Master ? flesh was prohibited to the Jews, as
tending to produce or aggravate CHAP. VIII.
this complaint. Mention of the 1. Was come down. Whilst he leprosy is frequently made in the was coming down.--The mountain. Bible, and specific directions were The mountain which he had as- given by Moses to distinguish it, to cended, Mat. v. i., and upon which banish its victims from the society he had delivered the foregoing dis- of others, or to receive them back
after a cure, and to cleanse houses 2–4. Parallel to Mark i. 40–45, and clothes, that they might not and Luke v. 12-16.
communicate the dreadful conta2. Leper. The leprosy is per- gion. Lev. xiii., xiv. In the counhaps the most dreadful disease tries of the east, lepers, to this day, known in the world. There are live apart from the rest of the peoseveral different kinds of it, chiefly ple, and in some towns have a distinguished by the different ap- quarter of their own, where they pearances it presents. The skin is dwell and intermarry. They wear the principal seat of the disorder, a peculiar badge, to warn others though it extends finally to every not to approach them. The un. part of the system, and even de- happy leper in question was severestroys the bones, and causes the ly afflicted, Luke v. 12, and was limbs to drop off. The first symp- probably living in solitude in the tom is a small red spot, but in the vicinity of the mountain, when Jeprogress of the disease it covers sus and the multitude passed by, the body with white scales, and re Luke
“ in a city,” which may duces the patient to an offensive mean in the suburbs or territory of and incurable mass of corruption, a city. The man may have caught almost without the form and vis- at a distance the words of the Mesage of man. Some kinds of it are siah ; and encouraged by his kindhighly infectious, aud also heredita- ness and power, and inclined to rery. In general it is not accompa- gard him as at least a prophet, if nied with great pain, but with not the Promised One, on account numbness, or violent itchings. Per- of his fame and the crowds about