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and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbathday. 3 But he said unto them, have ye not read "what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shew-bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbathdays the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is 'one greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath-day.

e Num. xxviii. 9: John vii. 22.

61 Sam. xxi. 6. c Exod. xxv. 30; Lev. xxiv. 5. d Exod. xxix. 32, 33; Lev. viii. 31, xxiv. 9.

/ 2 Chron. vi. 18; Mal, iii. 1. g Hos, vi, 6; Mic. vì. 6-8; Chap. ix. 13.



Ver. 1-8.—“ Our Lord Jesus here teaches, that works of necessity and mercy are lawful on the Sabbath-day, at which the Jews in many instances were taught to scruple. Christ's explanation of the fourth commandment intimates its perpetual obligation to the religious observation of one day in seven as a holy Sabbath. He would not expound a law that was immediatedly to expire, but doubtless intended hereby to settle a point which would be of use to his Church in all

ages; so it is to teach us, that our Christian Sabbath, though under the direction of the fourth commandment, is not under the injunctions of the Jewish elders.

“ Christ, by justifying his disciples in plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath-day, shows that works of necessity are lawful on that day. Being in the corn fields, they began to pluck the ears of corn : the law of God allowed this. Deut. xxiii. 25. The Pharisees did not quarrel with them for taking another man's corn, but for doing it on the Sabbath-day. Plucking and rubbing the ears of corn on that day was forbidden by the tradition of the elders, because it was a kind of reaping. The disciples could say little for themselves; but Christ came to free his followers, not only from the corruptions of the Pharisees, but from their unscriptural impositions, and therefore justified what they did. He urged an ancient instance of David, who, in a case of necessity, did that which otherwise he ought not to have done. 1 Sam. xxi. 6. Christ also urges a daily instance of the priests in the temple, who did servile work on the Sabbath-day-killing the sacrificed beasts, which, in a common case, would have been profaning the Sabbath ; and yet it never was reckoned

so, the temple service required it. Those labours are lawful on the Sabbath-day which are necessary, not only to the support of life, but to the service of the day. Sabbath rest is to promote, not to hinder, Sabbath worship. Needful provision for our health and food is to be made; but when servants are kept at home, and families rendered a scene of hurry and confusion on the Lord's Day, to furnish a feast for visitants, or for social indulgence, the case is very different. Such things as these, and

many others common among professors, are to be censured. “ Christ justifies the disciples by several arguments :--1. In this place is one greater than the temple. Ver. 6. If the temple service would justify what the priests did in their ministration, the service of Christ would much more justify the disciples in what they did in attendance upon him, If whatever we do, we do it in the name of Christ, and as unto him, it shall be graciously accepted of God, however it may be censured and cavilled. at by men. 2. God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Ver. 7. Ceremonial duties must give way to moral; the natural, royal law of love and self-preservation, must take place of ritual observances. The rest of the Sabbath was ordained for man's good. Deut. v. 14. No law must be construed so as to contradict its own end. 3. The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath-day. Ver. 8. It was by the Son that God made the world

, and by him he instituted the Sabbath in innocency. By him he gave the commandments at mount Sinai, and as Mediator he is intrusted with the institution of ordinances—and particularly, Lord of the Sabbath. If Christ be the Lord of the

Sabbath, it is fit the day and the work of it should be dedicated to him. 9 "And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10 And,

behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, 'Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath-days ? that they might

as being

h Mark iii. 1; Luke vi. 6.

i Luke xiii. 14, xiv. 3; John ix. 16.

accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and kif it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out ? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days. 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth ; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

k See Exod. xxiii. 4, 5; Deut. xxii. 4.

9-13. See also Mark iii. 1-5 ; and Luke vi. 6-10. I A man which had his hand withered. This was probably one form of the palsy. See Note, Matt. iv. 24. Mark and Luke have mentioned some circumstances omitted by Matthew. They inform us that Jesus addressed the man, and told him to stand forth in the midst. He then addressed the people. Ile asked them if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day. This was admitted by all their teachers, and it could not be denied. They were therefore silent. He then appealed to them, and drew an argument from their own conduct. A man that had a sheep that should fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day would exercise the common offices of humanity, and draw it out. If a man would save the life of a sheep, was it not proper to save the life of a man? By a reference to their own conduct he silenced them. Mark adds, that he looked on them with anger ; that is, with strong disapprobation of their conduct. Their envy and malignity excited feelings of holy indignation. A man better than a sheep. Of more consequence, or value. If you would show an act of kindness to a brute beast on the Sabbath, how much more important is it to evince similar kindness to one made in the image of God !-one for whom the Saviour came to die, and who may be raised up to everlasting life. q It is lauful to do well. This was universally allowed by the Jews, in the abstract; and Jesus only showed them that the principle on which they acted in other things applied with more force to the case before him, and that the act which he was about to perform was, by their own confession, lawful. I And he said, Stretch forth thine hand. This was a remarkable commandment. The man might have said, that he had no strength—that it was a thing which he could not do; yet, being commanded, it was his duty to obey. He did so, and was healed. So the sinner. It is his duty to obey whatever God commands. He will give strength to those who attempt to do his will. It is not right to plead, when God commands us to do a thing, that we have no strength; God will give us strength, if there is a disposition to obey. It was restored whole. Christ had before claimed divine authority and power (ver. 6-9), he now showed that he possessed it. By his own power he healed him; thus evincing by a miracle that his claim of being Lord of the Sabbath was well-founded.

These two cases determine what may be done on the Sabbath. The one was a case of necessity; the other, of mercy. The example of the Saviour, and his explanations, show that these are a part of the proper duties of that holy day. Beyond an honest and conscientious discharge of these two duties, men may not devote the Sabbath to any secular purpose. If they do, they do it at their peril. Men may as well trample down any other law of the Bible, as that respecting the Sabbath. 14 | Then 'the Pharisees went out, and || held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

1 Chap. xxvii. 1; Mark iii. 6; Luke vi. Il; John v. 18, x. 39, xi. 53. 14. The Phariseesheld a council, &c. The attempt against him now was the effect of envy. They were enraged that he had foiled them in argument. 15 But when Jesus knew it, "he withdrew himself from thence: "and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

m See Chap. X. 23; Mark iii. 7. 15. Jesuswithdrew himself, &c. He knew the design against his life. He knew that his hour was not yet come; and he therefore retired. Mark adds, that he withdrew to the sea ; that is, to the sea of Galilee, or Tiberias. He names also the places from which the multitudes came ; an important circumstance, as it throws light on the passage quoted by Matthew (ver. 21), “ In his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Pressed by the crowd (Mark iii. 9), he went aboard a small vessel, or boat, called by Mark a ship. This he did for the convenience of being separated from them, and more easily addressing them. We are to suppose the lake still and calm; the multitude, many of whom were sick and diseased, standing on the shore, and pressing to the water's edge; and Jesus

1 Or, took counsel.

n Chap. xix, 2.

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1 Gr. Beelzchul: and so ver. 27.

* Isa, xlix. 24; Luke xi. 21-23.

spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David ? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by || Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus 'knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come

29 *Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. s Chap. ix. 34; Mark iii. 22; Luke xi. 15.

t Chap. ix. 4; John ii. 25; Rev. ii. 23. u Dan. ii. 44, vii. 14; Luke i. 33, xi. 20, xvii. 20, 21. 22-30. One possessed with a devil. See Note, Matt. iv. 24. The same account, substantially, is found in Mark iii. 22-27, and Luke xi. 14-26. 1 Is not this the Son of David ? That is, Is not this the promised descendant of David, the Messiah? They were acquainted with the prophecy in Isa. xxxv. 5, “ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped ;” and they inferred, that he must be the promised Messiah who should be able to do this. This inference was drawn by the common people, and not by the proud and haughty Pharisees. It is not uncommon, that men of plain common sense, though unlearned, see the true beauty and meaning of the Bible, while those who are filled with pride and science, falsely so called, are blinded. q But when the Pharisees heard it, &c. It was necessary for the Pharisees, who had determined to reject Jesus of Nazareth, to account, in some way, for the miracles he had wrought. Here was an undeniable miracle. The common people were fast drawing the proper inferences from it, and coming into the belief that this was the Messiah. The authority and power of the Pharisees were declining, and about to become extinct. Unless, therefore, some way should be devised of accounting for these facts, their influence would be at an end. Whatever way of accounting for them was adopted, it was necessary that they should acknowledge that there was superhuman power. The people were fully persuaded of this; and no man could deny it. They therefore ascribed it to the prince of the devils—to Beelzebub. In this they had two objects. 1. To concede to the people that here was a miracle, or a work above mere human power. 2. To throw all possible contempt on Jesus. 9 And Jesus knew their thoughts, &c. To know the thoughts of the heart belongs only to God. Psal. cxxxix. 2; Jer. xvii. 10. 9 Every kingdom, &c. Their subtile and cunning device was completely foiled, and Jesus made their argument recoil on their own heads. A kingdom or a family can prosper only by living in harmony. The different parts and members must unite in promoting the same objects. If divided—if one part undoes what the other does—it must fall. So with the kingdom of Satan. It is your doctrine, that Satan has possessed these whom I have cured ; it is also your doctrine, that he has helped me to cure them. If so, then he has helped me to undo what he had done. He has aided me to cast himself out; that is, to oppose and discomfit himself ! 1 By whom do your children, &c. Christ was not satisfied by showing them the intrinsic absurdity of their argument; he showed them that it might as well be applied to them as to him. Your disciples, taught by you, and encouraged by you, pretend to cast out devils. If your argument be true, that a man who casts out devils must be in league with the devil, then your disciples have made a covenant with him also. You must therefore either give up this argument, or admit that the working of miracles is proof of divine power. The words of Christ here do not teach that they had actually the power of casting out devils, but only that they claimed it, and practised magic arts. See Acts xix. 13. 1 Your children. Your disciples, or followers. They shall be your judges. They shall condemn you and your argument. They are conclusive witnesses against the force of your reasoning. 1 But if I, by the Spirit of God, &c. The Spirit of God here means the power of God—in Luke, by the finger of God. Compare Exod. viii. 19; Psal. viii. 3. If this work is not of Satan, then it is of God. Then his kingdom, or reign, is come. Matt. iii. 2. The reign of Satan over men, and the reign of God, are in opposition. If God expels Satan from his dominion over men, then his reign has come. 1 Or else, &c. He takes a new illustration to confute the Pharisees,

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drawn from breaking into a house. A man could not break into the house of a strong man, and
take his property, unless he had rendered the man himself helpless. If he had taken his goods, it
would therefore be sufficient proof that he had bound the man. So I, says our Saviour, have
takea this property, this possessed person, from the dominion of Satan. It is clear proof tbat I
have subdued Satan himself, the strong one that had him in possession. Spoil his goods. The
word smil commonly means now to corrupt, injure, or destror; here it means to plunder, to
take with violence, as it commonly does in the Bible. See Col. i. 8, 15; Esod. ii. 22. гне
that is not with me, &c. In addition to his other arguments, our Saviour urges this general prin-
ciple, that there are but two parties in the universe. If any one did not act with him, he was
against him. lie that did not gather with him, or aid him, scattered abroad, or opposed bim.
The application of this is -As I have not united with Satan, but opposed him, there can be no
lague between us. The charge, therefore, is a false one.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be

forgiven unto men: 'but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not
be forgiven unto men. 3. And whosoerer speaketh a word against
the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this
world, neither in the storld to come.
Vart zi. 28: Late vi. 19; Heb. ri. 4. I. 95%: 1 Joba v. 16. : Acts rä. 31. Chap. XL. 13, Liii. 55; John vü. 12, 32.

BIT.1. i. 13.
31. 32. In this place, and Mark iii. 28-30, Jesus states the awful nature of the sin of which they
had been guis. Thar sin was the sin against the Holy Ghest. It consisted in charging Jesus with
being in league with the devil, or accusing him of working his miracles, not by the spirit or power
of 6 x?, but by the aid of the prince of the devils. It was therefore a direct insult, abuse, or evil
speaking, against the Holy Ghost-the Spirit by which Jesus worked his miracles. That this was
what he intended by this sin, at that time is clear from Mark in. 30.—" BecaTSE they said he hath
an uacican spirit." lil other sins—all speaking against the Saviour himself-mighi be remitted ;
but this sin was clearly against the Holy One; it was alleging that the highest displays of God's
meny and power were the work of the devil; and it argued, therefore, the highest depravity of
mind. di manner of sin—via?? be forgiren. That is, if men repent and believe. Mark svi

. 16; Rom. Ü. 6-0. Basphemy. Injurious or evil speaking of God.' «d mord against the Son

The Jews werë oxended at the humble life and appearance of the saviour. They reproached him as being a Nazarene-sprung from Nazareth, a place from which no good was espected to prowad; with being a Galilean-from Gabee, a place from which no prophet came. Joba rii. 52. Redereas ea his porerty, his hum'le birth, and the lowliness of his human nature, mit be forgiven. Sabeth against the H. Gh. He that speaks against me as a man of Nazareth, téat speaks contemptuously of my lumile tirth, &e, mar be pardoned: but he that repcakes my divire character, changing it as being in leave with Satan, ard blaspheming the power of God, martesis displayed by wie, can never obrana forgiveness. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good: or else make the tree cerruri, and his fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit.

• Chag vi. 17; Late ri 13. th 3. Elier nede, &e. The fact aserted in this verse is that a tree is krowa, pos by its leares, er bars, erish, but by is fruit. Toe application to the argument is this:-If my doctrines and works de presentine Fers of Satan, then I am corrupt; if not, then your cargë is blasphem”. so ea tie octer land, noswithstarding our professions yeur works are the works of the devil

, ard your deetrines de such as he would teach, it propres respeitisg roe, that which you charge on me. Ia tis in line but powerful manner, be advaners to the charge against them, which be urns in tảe wieg terses 34 Oyneration of vigers, how can re being eril, speak good things ? 'for out of the aburdance of the heart the mouth speakech. 35 A good man

cibe goed treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man ett er the eril treasure bringeth forth evil things

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Christ. should adulter

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sented a be girer

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