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derived from ints with thosefutation of the, perhaps,
his infueuce to a power derived from the prince of infernal spirits; and Christ defended himself by a train of similar arguments with those which we have repeated upon a former occasion. While Jesus thus reasoned in confutation of the Pharisees, a woman of the company, ravished with his wisdom and eloquence, and, perhaps, believing him to be their long expected Messiab, expressed her admiration of his character in a manner suitable to her sex. She broke forth in an exclamation upon the happiness of the woman who had the honour of giving him birth. But Jesus, not at all moved with her praise, gave her an angwer which, at the same time that it shewed his humility, did the greatest honour to virtue. The blessedness, said he, which you prize so much, and which could be enjoyed by one woman only, however great, is far inferior to a blessedness which is in every one's power, namely, that which arises from the knowledge and practice of the will of God. . But he said, yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.
The multitude having gathered round, probably in the expectation of seeing a sign from heaven, our Lord again assured them that they should receive no other than that of the prophet Jonas, which was to be exemplified in his own death and resurrection ; and again admonished them of the importance of making a proper use of that religious knowledge which had been communicated to them, and to take heed that the light which was in them was not darkness.
When he had made an end of speaking upon these subjects, one of the Pharisees invited him to his house, probably with an insidious intention of ensnaring him in his words. However this might be, Christ accepted the invitation, accompanied the Pharisee, and sat down at table, but without washing, as all the other guests had done. When the Pharisee who invited him observed this, he was greatly surprised to see so great contempt cast upon their traditions. [Luke ix. 39.] And the Lord said unto him, now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, paying the strictest regard to whatever might defile the body, but the soul,- your inward part, is full of ravening and wickedness. Did not that God who made the body make also the soul ? be, therefore, merciful, as he is merciful, and give alms of such things as ye have. But woe unto you Pharisees; for ye tithe nint and rue, and all manner f; herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God, those most essential parts of true religion. These should have claimed the first share in your regard, while you ought not to have omitted the less important matters of the law. He then denounced a judgment against the pride of the Pharisees, which was so excessive, that it displayed itself in their carriage while walking in the streets, and attending at the synagogues. As in the third woe he joined the scribes with the Pharisees, it will not be here improper to give a brief summary of their character.
The scribes were called, in the Hebrew language, sopheriin, writers; and are often mentioned, in the sacred history, as persons of great authority in the Jewish commonwealth. They were originally secretaries, being employed in the church, the state, the army, the revenue, &c.; to which offices those were entitled who could write, because, antiently, that art was practised by rew. When Ezra made the reformation i religion which has rendered him so famous among the Jewish doctors, he was assisted by the scribes in revising the canon of scripture, and ordered matters so, that from thenceforth a sufficient number of them should always be employed in multiplying the copies of it. This class of men, therefore, being much conversant in the sacred writings, acquired a singular knowledge of them; and, in process of time, expounded them to the common people (Mat. vii. 39.] with such reputation, that, at length, they obtained the title of doctors, or teachers, [Luke ii. 46.] and were conanited upon all difficult points of faith. (Mat. ii. 4.] Hence they are said, by our Lords.
mentioned They were original . Which offices thoseWhen Ezra made, lors, he was asa
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 minister 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 with a view to authorize the opinions of the party they espoused. Accordingly, [Acts xxii. 9.] mention is made of the scribes that were of the sect of the Pharisees, which plainly implies 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 pronounced, 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 instances, where the scribes are distinguished from the Pharisees, the Sadduccan doctors may be intended. 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 Karaitcs, 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 had they denied the authority of any of them, our Lord, who so sharply reproved their other corruptions, would, probably, not have let this cscape uncensured. Nay, Josephus himself, who was no friend to the Sadducees, does not, in the whole compass 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 so 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 sect would apply themselves more especially to the study of these books in private, and to the explicativn of thein in public ; and that such as did so might obtain the appellation of lawyers. Accordingly, he is called by Matthew a Pharisee, and a lawyer, [xxii, 35.] whom Mark calls a scribe.
Farther, it is not improbable, that the Pharisean lawyers, fond of their own particular study, might 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 from 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 now denounced against them for the hypocritical shews of plety 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, because
rest of their content of the elders, in which pove the rest of the sacred with parthey 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, hypocrites, 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, lawyers, also, because ye lade men 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, and ye build their monuments.
Wherefore, thus saith the wisdom of God, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill, others they will banish ; insomuch that the blood 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 Zechariah, 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 reproyed, 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 multitude of people having mollected, about this time, to hear the instructions of the Son of God, he thought proper to repeat, before this vast assembly, the same injunctions as he had before given them in private. There would thus be many witnesses, that the troubles which were to fall upon his followers were not unknown to him, and that he did not entice them to continue in his service by any flattering prospect of worldly advantage. He began by exhorting them, as he had done on a voyage cross the sea of Tiberias, to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which he explained to be hypocrisy. To enforce this admonition, he reminded them of the omniscience of God, who kpew every secret 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 soul 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 death, some part of his plan of providence. You need not, therefore, fear ; for all the hairs of your head are numbered, and ye, both as men and as my disciples, are of more value than many sparrows. If you constantly and steadily persevere in my ways, unmoved by the allurements and af/ictions 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 though he may have gained the world, shall have cternal reason to repent of his choice, since he shall incur the destruction of his soul. And let all men beware how they oppose your mission ; for unto hin that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven. Nor need you be afraid to appear before kings or rulers ; for, though you are illiterate men, the Holy Spirit shall furnish you, without your previous meditation, with the most suitable defences to make against your enemies.
While 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 his sbare. 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 wealth, 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 his goods ; and as he was not one of those mean wretches who would continually hoard and never enjoy, he said to his soul, thou hast mich goods laid up for many ycars, take thinc case, eat, drink, and be merry. But Gud said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things 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 bis disciples that they should take no anxious thought for the thiogs 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 approacheth, nor moth corrnpt: th ; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. .
Having thus recommended disengagement of affection from the things of this world, le 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 vight was far spent On such oecasions, 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 receive them to his company, but gird himself and come forth and serve them. · Peter enquiring to kuow whether this parable was addressed to the disciples or the multitude, the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall makc ruler over his household, to give thein their meat in due season. Blessed is the servant, 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 duty, and oppressed his fellow-servants. Such an one was to be cut int sunder, and hare his portion with unbelievers, who had made no pretensions to the faith and practice of religion. Nay, his doom should be still more beavy ; for, in propora tion to the knowledge which the disobedient servant should possess of his Master's will, should be the stripes with which he should be chastised. Then, reassuming his prophetic character, he looked forward into futurity, and announced the persecutions which should fall upon his followers. I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I if it were already kindled. This passage is Yariously translated but
have, and that fails, there is of affects the dischade in the such ing
must be understood to convey a wish that his sufferings might speedily commence, I have a dreadful baptism of blood to be baptized withi, and how am I straitener till it. be accomplisherb. 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 two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the inother against the daughter, and the daughlei' against the another; the mother-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 cvents. 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 countrymen, by rejecting him, are filling up the measure of your 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 adversary, who had commenced a prosecution against you, with whom you would agree quickly, lest he should 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 Galia leans, of whose history 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 would 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 on 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 only 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 surrounded with divine benefits.
Jesus happening 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 affliction, he restored her body 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 with great indignation, and said unto the people, “there are six days in which men ought to work, in them, therefore, come and be healed, and not on the sabbath-day. The Lord then answered himn and said, thou hypocrite, doth not each of you, on the sabbath, loose his or or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, whom Satan hath bound, lo,