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and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Observe here, 1. Christ's compassion towards this young man. He loved him with a love of pity and compassion, with a love of courtesy and respect. There may be some very amiable and lovely qualities in natural and unregenerate men; and goodness, in what kind or degree soever it is, doth attract and draw forth Christ's love towards a person. If Christ did love civility, what respect has he for sincere sanctity! Observe, 2. Our Lord's admonition: One thing thou lackest, which was, true selfdenial, in renouncing the sin of covetousness, and the inordinate love of worldly wealth. We ought, upon God's call, to maintain such a readiness of mind, as to be willing to part with all for God's sake which is dear unto us in this world. Observe, 3. Our Loid's injunction: Sell-what thou hast, and give to the poor. This was not a common but a special precept, belonging particularly to this young man. It was a commandment of trial given to him, like that given to Abraham, Gen. xxii. to convince him of his corrupt confidence in his riches: yet it is thus far of general use to us all, to teach us to contemn worldly possessions, as to be willing to part with them when they hinder our happiness and salvation. It follows, And take up thy cross; an allusion to the Roman custom, when the malefactor was to be crucified, he bore his cross upon his shoulder, and carried it to the place of execution. It is not the taking, but the patient bearing, of the cross, which is our duty. Learn That all Christ's followers should prepare their shoulders for Christ's cross. To bear the cross, implies faithfulness and integrity without shifting, patience and submission without murmuring, joy and cheerfulness without fainting. Observe, 4. The effect which our Saviour's admonition had upon this young person: He was sad and grieved at that saying. Thence note, That carnal men are sad and exceeding sorrowful, when they cannot win heaven in their own way. 2. That such as are wedded to the world, will renounce Christ rather than the world, when the world and Christ stand in competition.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches
enter into the kingdom of God! 21 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answeretlt again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
From this discourse of our holy Lord's concerning the danger of riches, and the difficulty that attends rich men in their way to heaven, we may collect and gather, first, That rich men do certainly meet with more difficulties in their way to heaven than olher men. It is difficult to withdraw their affections from riches, to place their supreme love upon God in the midst of their abundance. It is difficult to depend entirely upon God in a rich condition ; for the rich man's wealth is his strong tower. Secondly, That yet the fault lies not in riches, but in rich men: who by placing their trust, and reposing their confidence in riches, do render themselves incapable of the kingdom of God. Observe, 3. The proverhial speech which our Saviour makes use of to set forth the difficulty of a rich man's salvation: It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye. This was a proverb among the Jews, signifying a thing of great difficulty, next to an impossihility; and it implies thus much, that it is not only a very great difficulty, but an utter impossihility, for such as abound in worldly wealth, and place their confidence therein, to be saved, without an extraordinary grace and assistance from God. It is hard for God to make a rich man happy, because he thinks himself happy without God. Observe, 4. The disciples are affected with wonder and admiration at this doctrine of our Saviour's, and cry out, Who then can be saved? 'Learn thence, That such are the special and peculiar difficulties which lie in the rich man's way to salvation, that their getting to heaven is matter of wonder nnd admiration to the disciples of Christ. Observe,
5. How our Saviour resolves this doubt, by telling his disciples, that what was impossible with men, was possible with God; implying, that it is impossible for any man, rich or poor, by his own natural strength to get to heaven. And, 2. That when we are discouraged with the sense of our own impotency, we should consider the power of God, and fix our faith upon it: With God all things are possible.
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
The apostles having heard our Saviour's command to sell all and give to the poor, St. Peter, in the name of the rest, tells Christ, that they had left all to follow him. Where note, How Peter magnifies lhat little which he had left for Christ, and ushers it in with a note of admiration: Lo! -we have left all. Learn hence, That though it be very little that we suffer for Christ, and have to forsake upon his account, yet are we apt to magnify and extol it, as if it were some great matter: Behold, wd have left all and followed thee. Observe next, Our Lord's kind and gracious answer: that those that leave all to follow him shall be no losers by him. We may be losers for Christ, we shall never be losers by him; for whatever we part with in this world for the sake of Christ, houses or lands, brethren or sisters, we shall receive an hundred-fold now in this life. But how so? Non formaliter, sed eminenter; non in specie, sed in valore: "Not in kind, but in equivalency:" not an hundred brethren, sisters, or lands, in kind, but he shall enjoy that in God, which all creatures would be to him if they were multiplied an hundred times; and the gifts and graces, the comforts and consolations, of the Holy Spirit shall be an hundred tirres better por
tion than any thing we can part with for the sake of Christ. For the sense of those words, The first shall be last, &c. see the note on Matth. xx. 19.
32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him; and the third day he shall rise again.
This is at least the third time that Christ had acquainted his disciples with his approaching sufferings. The first time he told his disciples of his death in general; the second time he declares the means, by treason; now he tells them the manner by crucifying him: all this he did to prevent their dejection at his sufferings. Learn hence, That it is highly necessary that the doctrine of the cross be often preached to us, that so being armed with expectations of sufferings before they come, we may be the less dismayed and disheartened when they come. Our Lord's forewarning his disciples so frequently of his death ana sufferings, was to fore-arm them with expectations of his sufferings, and with preparation for their own. Observe farther, Who were the persons that were the instrumental causes of our Saviour's death: they were both Jews and Gentiles: The Son of man shall be delivered to the chief priests, and they shall deliver him to the Gentiles. As both Jews and Gentiles had a hand in the death and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, so are they by faith capable of an interest in the merit of his death, and in the virtue and efficacy of his sufferings. Christ offered up his blood to God on behalf of them that shed it.
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall de
sire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for \ou? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on tliv left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left band is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with Jaines and John.
Observe here, 1. The amhitious suit and request of the two apostles, James and John, for dignity and superiority , Grant that we may sit, one Oh thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory or in thy kingdom. AVhere observe, That by Christ's kingdom and glory, they understood an earthly, temporal kingdom: for of that sort the Jews did expect the kingdom of the Messiah should be, and the disciples themselves were tainted with the common errors. Learn hence, That amhition and inordinate desire of worldly wealth and dignity, is a sin very natural and incident to the best of men. Who can wonder to see some sparks of amhition in the holiest of God's ministers, when Christ's own apostles were not free from aspiring thoughts, even when they lay in tlie bosom of our Saviour? Observe, 2. Both the unseasonableness and unreasonableness of this request made by James and John: Christ speaks of his sufferings to them, and they sue for dignity and great places from him: In optimis non nihil est pessimi. The holiest, the wisest, and the best of men, are not wholly free from passionate infirmities. Who could have thought, that when our Saviour had been preaching the doctrine of the cross to his disciples., that they should at the same time be seeking and suing to him for secular dignity and honour, pre
eminence and power! But the best of men are but men; none are in a state of perfection on this side heaven. Observe, 3. Our Saviour's answer to his disciples' amhitious request, and the course which he takes, to cool their amhition; he tells them, they must expect here, not crowns on their heads, but a cross on their backs; they must first taste of his sufferings, before they partake of his glory; and they that suffer most for Christ, shall partake of the highest dignity and glory from him. Observe, 4. The presumptuous confidence which the apostles had of their own strength and ahility for sufferings: Are ye able, says Christ, to drink of wy cup We are able, say the disciples. Alas, poor men, when it came to the trial, they all cowardly forsook him and tied. Those that are least acquainted with suffering are usually the most confident undertakers. See note on Matt. xx. 22, 23.
4"2 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
To the end that our blessed Saviour might effectually quench those unhappy sparks of amhition which were kindled in his apostles' minds, he tells them, that supremacy and dominion belong to secular princes, not to gospel-ministers, who ought to carry themselves with humility and condescension one towards another. Not that Christ directs to a parity and equality amongst his ministers, but only condemns the affectation of superiority, and the love of pre-eminency. Learn hence, 1. That the ministers of Christ ought to be so far from affecting a domination and superiority over their brethren, that in imitation of their Lord and Master, they ought to account themselves fellow servants: The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Observe, 2. That
such ministers as do love and affect preeminence and superiority are most unfit for it; and they deserve it best who seek it least. 3. That the dignity and honour which the ministers of Christ should chiefly, yea only affect, is in another world; and the way to be greatest and highest there, is to be low and humble, mean in our own eyes, and little in our own esteem. See note on Matt. xx. 28.
46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus, the son of Tiineus, sat by the highway side, begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him. Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
This chapter concludes with the recital of a famous miracle wrought by our blessed Saviour upon blind Bartimeus, in the sight of a great multitude which followed hun. Where note, 1. The blind man's faith, in acknowledging Jesus to be the Messiah; for so much the title of the son of David signified. 2. His fervency, in crying so earnestly to Christ for mercy and healing: Hare mercy upon me, thou son of David. A true sense of want will make the soul cry unto Christ with earnestness and importunity. Observe, 3. The great compassion and condescension of Christ towards this poor blind man: he stood still, he called him, and enlightened his eyes. A mighty instance of Christ's divine power! He that can open blind eyes with a touch of his fin
ger, and that by his own power, is really God: his touch is an omnipotent touch. Observe, 4. Although Christ well knew the condition of this blind man, yet, before he will restore his sight, he must sensibly complain of the want of sight, and cry unto him for help and healing. Christ knows all his creatures' wants, but takes no notice of them till they make them known to him by prayer. Observe, 5. The way and course which the blind man takes to express his thankfulness to Christ for recovered sight: He rose, and followed Jesus. Mercy from Christ is then well improved, when it engages us to follow Christ This should be the effect of all salvations wrought for us. He praiseth God best that serveth him most: the life of thankfulness consists in the thankfulness of the life.
CHAP. XI. AND when they came nigh to "^ Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded : and they let them go.
The former part of this chapter acquaints us with our Saviour's solemn and triumphant riding into the city of Jerusalem: be who in all his journies travelled like a poor man on foot, without noise, and without train; now he goes up to Jerusalem to die for sinners, he rides, to show his great forwardness to lay down his life for us: the beast he rides on is an ass, as the manner of kings and great persons anciently was, and to fulfil that prophecy, Zech. ix. 9. Tell uc the daughter of Zion, Behold thy king cometh riding upon an ass. It was also an ass upon which never man sat before; signifying thereby, that the most unruly and untamed creatures become obsequious to Christ. Grotius observes, that such animals as bad not been employed in the use of man, were wont to be chosen for sacred uses. Even heathens adjudged those things most proper for the service of the gods, which had never been put to profane uses. Thus in 1 Sam. vi. 7. we read that the Philistines returned the ark in a new cart, drawn by heifers never before put into the yoke; they thinking them polluted by being put to profane work. Our Saviour here chooses an ass which had never been backed before; and that the colt should so patiently suffer Chrst to ride upon him, was miraculous. And this was a borrowed ass, whereby our Saviour's right to all the creatures was manifested ; and accordingly he bids his disciples tell the owner lhat the Lord hath need of him. Not your Lord or our Lord, but the Lord: that is, he that is Lord of all, whose are the cattle on a thousand hills. Observe farther, That notwithstanding Christ's supreme right to the colt, he will not have it taken without the owner's knowledge and consent: Tell him that the Lord hath need of him. Observe lastly, What a clear and full demonstration Christ gave of his divine nature; of his omnisciency in foreseeing and foretelling the event; of his omoipoteocy, in inclining the heart, and overruling the will, of the owner to let the colt go; and of his sovereignty, as he was Lord of the creatures, to command and call for their service when he needed them.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way; and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way- 9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that. cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Observe here, The obedience of his disciple*. First, They did as Jesus had commanded, they do not dispute their Lord's commands, nor raise objections, nor are afraid of dangers: when our call is clear, oar obedience must be speedy; what
Christ commands we are not to dispute, but to obey. Observe, 2. The actions of the multitude in acknowledging Christ to be their King; they cast their garments on the ground for him to ride upon, according to the custom of princes when they ride in state; and do not only disrobe their backs, but expend their breath in joyful acclamations, and loud hosannas, wishing all manner of prosperity to their meek but mighty King. In this princely, yet poor and despicable pomp, doth our Saviour enter the famous city of Jerusalem. O how far was our holy Lord from affecting worldly greatness and grandeur! He despised that glory which worldly hearts fondly admire; yet because he was a King, he would be proclaimed such, and have his kingdom confessed, applauded, and blessed. But that it might appear that his kingdom was not of this world, he abandons all worldly magnificence. O glorious, yet homely pomp! O meek, but mighty Prince!
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. 12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13 And seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
Some move the question here, how Christ came to curse a tree for want of that fruit which the season afforded not? It is answered, that naturalists observe, that the fig-tree puts forth her fruit as soon as her leaf; that tree is always bearing; and while one fig is ripe, another is green. And whereas it is said, that the time of figs was not yet; the meaning is, "That the time of in-gathering of figs was not yet," but the tree having leaves, showing it might have fruit: accordingly Christ goes in expectation of it having fruit; but finding none, either ripe or green, he curses the tree for totally disappointing his expectation. Besides, Christ was wont not