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went their way, as persons ashamed, and made an inglorious retreat. The stratagem being defeated, they quitted the field. There is nothing got by contending with Christ. 23 q 'The same day came to him the Sadducees, " which say that there is no
resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, "Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the || seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, °not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, Pbut are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, "they were astonished at his doctrine.
I Mark xii. 18; Luke xx. 27. m Acts xxiii. 8. n Deut. XXV. 5. | Gr. seren.
9 Exod. iii. 6, 16; Mark xii. 26; Luke xx. 37; Acts vii. 32; Heb. xi. 16.
o John xx. 9. p 1 John iii. 2.
r Chap. vii. 28.
We have here Christ's dispute with the Sadducees concerning the resurrection. the same day on which he was attacked by the Pharisees about paying tribute. Satan was now more busy than ever to ruffle and disturb him : it was an hour of temptation. The truth as it is in Jesus will still meet with contradiction, in some branch or other of it. Ohserve, here, the opposition which the Sadducees made to a very great truth of religion. They say, There is no resurrection, as there are some fools who say, “ There is no God.” The Sadducees lie under heavy censures among the writers of their own nation, as men of base and debauched conversations—which their principles led them to. They were the fewest in number of all the sects among the Jews ; but generally persons of some rank. As the Pharisees and Essenes seemed to follow Plato and Pythagoras, so the Sadducees were much of the genius of the Epicureans. They denied the resurrection; they said, There is no future state-no life after this; that when the body dies, the soul is annihilated, and dies with it; that there is no state of rewards or punishments in the other world; no judgment to come in heaven or hell
. They maintained, that, except God, there is no spirit (Acts xxiji. 8)-nothing but matter and motion. They would not own the divine inspiration of the
prophets, nor any revelation from heaven, but what God himself spoke upon mount Sinai. Now, the doctrine of Christ carried that great truth of the resurrection and a future state much farther than it had yet been revealed, and therefore the Sadducees in a particular manner set themselves against it. The Pharisees and Sadducees were contrary to each other, and yet confederates against Christ. Christ's gospel hath always suffered, between supepstitious, ceremonious hypocrites and bigots on the one hand, and profane Deists and infidels on the other. The former abusing, the latter despising, the form of godliness; but both denying the power of it.
There is next the objection they made against the truth ; which was taken from a supposed case of a woman that had seven husbands successively. Now, they take it for granted, that, if there be a resurrection, it must be a return to such a state as this we are now in, and to the same circumstances : and if so, it is an invincible absurdity for this woman in the future state to have seven husbands; or else an insuperable difficulty which of them should have her-he whom she had first, or he whom she had last, or he whom she loved best, or he whom she lived longest with. They propose a doubt upon this case (ver. 28)—“ In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? You cannot tell whose ; and therefore we must conclude there is no resurrection."
In answer to this objection, our Lord, by reproving their ignorance and rectifying their mistake, shows the objection to be fallacious.
He first reproves their ignorance (ver. 29)— Ye do err. Those do greatly err, in the judgment of Christ, who deny the resurrection and a future state. Here Christ reproves with the meekness of wisdom, and is not so sharp upon them (whatever was the reason) as sometimes he was upon the chief priests and elders. 1 Ye do err, not knowing. Ignorance is the cause of error ; those that are in the dark, miss their way. The patrons of error do therefore resist the light, and do what they can to take away the key of knowledge. Ignorance is the cause of error about the resurrection and the future state. What it is in particular instances, the wisest and best know not. It doth not yet appear what we shall be ; it is a glory that is to be revealed. When we speak of the state of separate souls, the resurrection of the body, and of eternal happiness and misery, we are soon at a loss—we cannot order our speech, by reason of darkness; but that it is, is a thing about which we are not left in the dark. Blessed be God, we are not ! and those who deny it are guilty of a willing and affected ignorance.
Having reproved their ignorance, our Lord rectifies their mistake, and (ver. 30) corrects those gross ideas which they had of the resurrection and a future state, and fixes these doctrines upon a true and lasting basis
. Concerning that state, observe, it is not like the state we are now in upon earth; They neither marry nor are given in marriage. In our present state, marriage is necessary; it was instituted in innocency; whatever intermission or neglect there has been of other institutions, this has never been laid aside, nor will be till the end of time. But in the resurrection, there is no occasion for marriage. The joys of the future state are pure and spiritual, and arise from the marriage of all of them to the Lamb, not of any of them to one another. It is like the state angels are now in, in heaven; They are as the angels of God in heaven; they are so, that is, undoubtedly they shall be so. They are so already in Christ their Head, who has made them sit with him in heavenly places, Eph. ii. 6. The spirits of just men already made perfect are of the same corporation with the innumerable company of angels, Heb. xii. 22, 23. Man in his creation was made a little lower than the angels (Psal. viii. 5); but in his complete redemption and renovation will be as the angels, pure and spiritual as the angels, knowing and loving as those blessed seraphim, ever praising God like them and with them. The bodies of the saints shall be raised incorruptible and glorious, like the uncompounded vehicles of those pure and holy spirits (1 Cor. xv. 42, &c.), swift and strong, like them.
The next thing to be observed is, Christ's argument to confirm this great truth of the resurrection and a future state. He fetched his argument from the Scripture ; that is the great magazine or armoury whence we may be furnished with spiritual weapons, offensive and defensive. What the Scripture speaks God speaks. What was spoken to Moses was spoken to us; it was spoken and written for our learning. It concerns us to read and hear what God hath spoken, because it is spoken to us. The argument is fetched from the books of Moses, because the Sadducees received them only, as some think, or at least, them chiefly, for canonical Scriptures. His argument was (ver. 32), I am the God of Abraham. This was not an express proof, in so many words; and yet it was really a conclusive argument. Consequences from Scripture, if rightly deduced, must be received as Scripture; for it was written for those that have the use of reason.
The drift of the argument is to prove, that there is a future state, another life after this, in which the righteous shall be truly and constantly happy. This is proved from what God said, I am the God of Abraham. For God to be any man's God supposes some very extraordinary privilege and hap, piness; unless we know fully what God is, we could not comprehend the riches of that word, I will be to thee a God, that is, a Benefactor like myself. The God of Israel is a God to Israel (1 Chron. xvii. 24), a spiritual Benefactor; for he is the father of spirits, and blesseth with spiritual blessings; it is to be an all-sufficient Benefactor, a God that is enough, a complete Good, and an eternal Benefactor; for he is himself an everlasting God, and will be to those that are in covenant with him, an everlasting Good. This great word God had often said to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is manifest that these good men had no such extraordinary happiness, in this life, as might look any thing like the accomplishment of so great a word as that. They were strangers in the land of promise; they had not a foot of ground of their own, but a burying-place, which directed them to look for something beyond this life. In present enjoyments they came far short of their neighbours that were strangers to this covenant. Therefore there must certainly be a future state, in which, as God will ever live to be eternally rewarding, so Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will ever live to be eternally rewarded. That of the apostle (Heb. xi. 16), is a key to this argument, where, when he had been speaking of the faith and obedience of the patriarchs in the land of their pilgrimage, he adds, Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has provided for them a city, a heavenly city; implying, that if he had not provided so well for them in the other world, considering how they sped in this, he would have been ashamed to have called himself their God; but now he is not, having done that for them which answers it in its true intent and full extent. The soul is immortal, and the body shall rise again, to be united; if the former point be gained, these will follow; but they are likewise proved by considering the time when God spoke this; it was to Moses at the bush, long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were dead and buried; and yes
God saith not, “I was,” or “ have been,” but, I am the God of Abraham. Now God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He is a living God, and communicates vital influences to those to whom he is a God. If when Abraham died, there had been an end of him, there had been an end likewise of God's relation to him as his God; but at that time, when God spoke to Moses, he was the God of Abraham, and therefore Abraham must be then alive ; which proves the immortality of the soul in a state of bliss. And, besides, the Lord is for the body, it is an essential part of the man; there is a covenant with the dust, which will be remembered. The charge which the dying patriarchs gave concerning their bones, and that in faith, was an evidence that they had some expectation of the resurrection of their bodies. But this doctrine was reserved for a more full revelation after the resurrection of Christ, who was the first-fruits of them that slept. 34 q 'But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to
silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was 'a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law ? 37 Jesus said unto him, u Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, *Thou shalt love thy neighbour as tlıyself. 40'On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
. Lev. xix. 18; Chap. xix. 19; Mark xii. 31 ;
s Mark xii. 28.
t Luke x. 25. u Deut. vi. 5, X. 12, xxx. 6; Luke x. 27.
Luke x. 27; Rom. xiii. 9; Gal. v. 14; James ii. 8. y Chap. vi. 12:1 Tim. 4. 5.
Here is a discourse which Christ had with a Pharisee-lawyer, about the great commandment of the law. Observe,
The combination of the Pharisees against Christ, ver. 34. They heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, had stopped their mouths, though their understandings were not opened ; and they were gathered together, not to return him the thanks of their party, as they ought to have done, for his effectually asserting and confirming of the truth against the Sadducees, the common enemies of their religion, but to tempt him, in hopes to get the reputation of puzzling him who had puzzled the Sadducees. They were more vexed that Christ was honoured, than pleased that the Sadducees. were silenced ; being more concerned for their own tyranny and traditions, which Christ opposed, than for the doctrine of the resurrection and a future state, which the Sadducees opposed.
The lawyer's question which he put to Christ was, Master, which is the greatest commandment of the law? A necdless question, when all the things of God's law are great things (Hos. viii. 12). It was put with the design of trying or tempting him ; to try, not so much his knowledge as his judgment. It was a question disputed among the critics in the law. Some would have the law of circumcision to be the great commandment, others the law of the Sabbath, others the law of sacrifices, according as they severally stood affected, and spent their zeal ; now they would try what Christ said to this question, hoping to incense the people against him, if he should not answer according to the vulgar opinion; and if he should magnify one commandment, they would reflect on him as vilifying the rest. In his answer, Christ recommends to us those as the great commandments, not which are so exclusive of others, but which are therefore great, because inclusive of others. The love of God is the first and great commandment of all, and the summary of all the commands of the first table. Now here we are directed to love God as ours; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God as thine. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other God; which implies that we must have him for our God, and that will engage our love to him. To love God as ours is to love him because he is ours, our Creator, Owner, and Ruler, and to conduct ourselves to him as ours, with obedience to him, and dependence on him. We must love God as reconciled to us, and made ours by covenant.
We are to love him with all our heart, and soul, and mind. Some make these to signify one and the same thing, to love him with all our powers; others distinguish them; the heart, soul, and mind, are the will, affections, and understanding; or the vital, sensitive, and intellectual, faculties. love of God must be a sincere love, and not in word and tongue only, as theirs is who say they love him, but their hearts are not with him. It must be a strong love, we must love him in the most intense degree ; as we must praise him, so we must love him, with all that is within us, Psal. ciii. 1. It must be a singular and uperlative love, we must love him more than any thing else ; this way the stream of our affections must entirely run. The heart must be united to love God, in opposition to a divided heart. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, and therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. This is the first and great commandment ; for obedience to this is the spring of obedience to all the rest; which is then only acceptable, when it flows from love.
To love our neighbour as ourselves is the second great commandment (ver. 39), It is like unto that first ; it is inclusive of all the precepts of the second table, as that is of the first. It is like it, for it is founded upon it, and flows from it; and a right love to our brother, whom we have seen, is both an instance and evidence of our love to God, whom we have not seen, 1 John iv. 20.
Observe what the weight and greatness of these commandments is (ver. 40); On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets ; that is, This is the sum and substance of all those precepts relating to practical religion, which were written in men's hearts by nature, revived by Moses, and backed and enforced by the preaching and writing of the prophets. All hang upon the law of love; take away this, and all falls to the ground, and comes to nothing. Rituals and ceremonials must give way to these, as must all spiritual gifts, for love is the more excellent way. This is the spirit of the law, which animates it, the cement of the law, which joins it; it is the root and spring of all other duties, the compendium of the whole Bible, not only of the law and the prophets, but of the gospel too, only supposing this love to be the fruit of faith, and that we love God in Christ, and our neighbour for his sake. All hangs on these two commandments, as the effect doth both on its efficient and on its final cause ; for the fulfilling of the law is love (Rom. xiii. 10), and the end of the law is love, 1 Tim. i. 5. The law of love is the nail
, is the nail in the sure place, fastened by the masters of assemblies (Eccl. xii. 11), on which is hung all the glory of the law and the prophets (Isa. xxii. 24), a nail that shall never be drawn ; for on this nail all the glory of the new Jerusalem shall eternally hang. Love never faileth. Into these two great commandments therefore, let our hearts be delivered as into a mould; in the defence and evidence of these let us spend our zeal, and not in notions, names, and strife of words, as if those were the mighty things on which the law and the prophets hung, and to them the love of God and our neighbour must be sacrificed; but to the commanding power of these let every thing else be made to bow. 41 | ’While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 «The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 “And no man was able to answer him a word, 'neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
z Mark xii. 35; Luke xx. 41.
a Psal. cx. l; Acts. ii. 34; 1 Cor. xv. 25;
Luke xx. 40.
Heb. i. 13, X. 12, 13.
6 Luke xiv. 6.
c Mark xii. 34;
Many questions the Pharisees had asked Christ, but now let him ask them a question ; and he will do it when they are gathered together, ver. 41. He did not take some one of them apart from the rest; but to shame them the more, he took them all together, when they were in confederacy and consulting against him, and yet puzzled them.
What think ye of Christ? They had put questions to him, one after another, out of the law ; but he comes and puts a question to them upon the promise. Many are so full of the law, that they forget Christ; as if their duties would save them without his merit and grace. It concerns each of us seriously to ask ourselves, What think we of Christ? Some think not of him at all he is not in all, not in any, of their thoughts; some think meanly, and some think hardly, of him ; but to them that believe he is precious,—and how precious then are the thoughts of him! While the daughters of Jerusalem think no more of Christ than of another beloved, the spouse who thinks of him as the chief of ten thousands.
Our Lord starts a difficulty upon their answer, which they could not so easily solve, ver. 43–45 ; If Christ be David's son, how then doth David, in spirit, call him Lord ? He did not hereby design to ensnare them, as they did him, but to instruct them in a truth they were loath to believe, —that the expected Messiah is God. It is easy to see that David calls Christ Lord, and this in spirit being divinely inspired, and actuated therein by a spirit of prophecy. David was one of those holy men that spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, especially in calling Christ Lord ; for it was then, as it is still (1 Cor. xii. 3), that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now, to prove that David, in spirit, called Christ Lord, he quotes Psal. cx. 1, which psalm the scribes themselves understood of Christ; of him, it is certain, the prophet there speaks of him, and of no other man; and it is a prophetical summary of the doctrine of Christ, it describes him executing the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King, both in his humiliation and also in his exaltation.
The success of this gentle trial which Christ made of the Pharisees' knowledge, appears in two things, First, It puzzled them (ver. 46), No man was able to answer him a word. Either it was their ignorance that they did not know, or their impiety that they would not own, the Messiah to be God; which truth was the only key to unlock this difficulty. What those Rabbies could not then answer, blessed be God, the plainest Christian that is led into the understanding of the gospel of Christ, can now account for ; that Christ, as God, was David's Lord ; and Christ, as Man, was David's son.
This he did not now himself explain, but reserved it till the proof of it was completed by his resurrection ; but we have it fully explained by him in his glory (Rev. xxii, 16); I am the root and the offspring of David. Christ, as God, was David's Root ; Christ
, as Man, was David's Offspring. If we hold not fast this truth, that Jesus Christ is over all God blessed for ever, we run ourselves into inextricable difficulties. And well might David, his remote ancestor, call him Lord, when Mary, his immediate mother, called him Lord and God, her Saviour, Luke i. 46, 47. Second, It silenced them, and all others that sought occasion against him : Neither durst any man, from that day forth, ask him any more such captious, tempting, ensnaring questions. God will glorify himself in the silencing of many whom he will not glorify himself in the salvation of. Many are convinced, that are not converted, by the word. Had these been converted, they would have asked him more questions, especially that great question, What must we do to be saved ? But since they could not gain their point, they would have no more to do with him. But thus all that strive with their Master shall be convinced, as these Pharisees and lawyers here were, of the inequality of the match.
i Christ admonisheth the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples, of the scribes
and Pharisees. 5 His disciples must beware of their ambition. 13 He denounceth eight
2 Saying, a The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for "they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But dall their works they do for to be seen of men : ©they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 'And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, eren Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: "for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master even Christ. 11 But 'he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
a Neb. viii. 4, 8; Mal. ii. 7; Mark xii. 38; Luke xx. 43.
b Rom. ii. 19.
c Luke xi. 46; Acts xv. 10; Gal. vi. 13. d Chap. vi. 1, 2, 5, 16. e Num. xv. 38: Deut. vi. %, xxii. 12; Prov, iii, 3. s Mark xii. 38, 39; Luke xi. 43, XX. 46; 3 John 9. & James iii. 1; 2 Cor. i. 24; 1 Pet. v. 3.
h Mal. i. 6. i Chap. xx. 6, 27. k Job xxii. 29; Prov. xv. 33, xxix. 23; Luke xiv. 11, xviii. 14; James iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5.
We find not Christ, in all his preaching, so severe upon any sort of people as upon these scribes and Pharisees; for the truth is, nothing is more directly opposite to the spirit of the gospel than the temper and practice of that generation of men, who were made up of pride, worldliness, and tyranny, under a cloak and pretence of religion; yet these were the idols and darlings of the people, who thought, if but two men went to heaven, one would be a Pharisee. Now Christ directs his discourse here to the multitude, and to his disciples (ver. 1), to rectify their mistakes concerning these scribes and Pharisees, by painting them out in their true colours, and so to take off the prejudice