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where the Sanhedrim (it, who are to pass judgment upon me. Dr. Whitby.
34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that comcth in the name of the Lord.
Our Lord concludes this chapter with a compassionale lamentation over Jerusalem, the place where he was to sutler. His ingemination, or doubling of the word, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, shows the vehemency of his affection towards them, and the sincerity of his desires for their salvation. Observe, 1. The kindness and compassion of Christ to the Jews in general, and Jerusalem in particular, set tbrth by a lively metaphor and similitude, namely, that of a hen gathering her chickens under her wings. As the hen doth tenderly cherish, and carefully hide and cover her young from the eye of the destroyer; so would Christ have shrouded and sheltered this people from all those hirds of prey, and particularly from the Roman eagle, by whose talons they were at last destroyed. Again, as the hen continueth her call to her young ones from morning to night, and holds out her wings for shelter to them all the day long, so did Christ wait for this people's repentance and conversion; for it was more than forty years after they had killed his prophets, and murdered himself, before they met with a final overthrow. Observe, 2. The amazing obstinacy und wilfulness of this people in rejecting the grace and favour, the kindness and condescension, of the Lord Jesus Christ: I -woufd have gathered you, but ye -would not. Observe, .'i. The fatal issue of this obstinacy: Behold your house is left unto you desolate; is left, that is, certainly and suddenly will be left desolate (the present tense being put for the paulo post iuturum) which denotes the certainty and proximity of this people's ruin. Learn, 1. That the ruin and destruction of sinners is wholly chargeable upon themselves, that is, on their own wilfulness and impenitency, «u their own obstinacy and obduracy. I
would have gathered you, says Christ, but ye would not. Learn, 2. How deplorably and inexcusably they will perish, who perish by their own wilfulness and obduracy under the gospel. 3. That there is no desire like unto God's desire of a people's repentance, no longing like unto God's longing for a people's salvation: O Jerusalem, how oft would 1 have gathered thee! When shall it once be * Jer. xviii. 27,
CHAP. XIV. A ND it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sab' bath-day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering, spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on tbe sabbath-day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5'And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath-day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things.
Several particulars are here worthy of our observation and imitation. Note, I. The freedom of our Lord's conversation with men: he delighted in human society, and was of a sociable temper; we do not find, that whenever he was invited to a dinner, he disdained to go, not so much for the pleasure of eating, as for the opportunity of conversing and doing good. Note, 2. The house he goes into, and is * entertained in, one of the chief Pharisees', who were some of his chiefest enemies; a great instance of our Lord's humanity, humility, and self-denial, in that he refused not the conversation of those whom he knew did not affect him; teaching us to love our enemies, and not to shun conversing with them, that thereby we may gain an opportunity of being reconciled to them. Note, 3. The day when our Saviour dined publicly at the Pharisee's house, among the lawyers and Pharisees; it was on the sabbath-day. Learn hence, That it is not simply unlawful for us to entertain our friends and neighbours with a plentiful meal on the Lord's day; it must
be acknowledged, that feasting upon any day is one of those lawful things which is difficultly managed without sin, but more especially upon that day, that it does not unfit us for the duties of the sabbath. However, our Lord's example in going to a public dinner amongst lawyers and Pharisees evidently shows the lawfulness of feasting on that day, provided we use the same moderation in eating and drinking that he did, and improve the opportunity as a season for doing good, as he has taught us by his example. Note, 4. How, contrary to all the laws of behaviour, the decency of conversation, and the rules of hospitality, the Pharisees watched him, making their table a snare to catch him, hoping they might hear something from him, or see something in him: for which they might accuse him: He entered into the house of the Pharisee to eat bread, and they -watched him. Note, 5. Our Saviour chose the sabbath-Jay as the fittest season to work his miraculous cures in; in the Pharisee's house he heals a man who bad the dropsy, on the sabbath-day. Christ would not forbear doing good, nor omit any opportunity of helping and healing the distressed though he knew his enemies the Pharisees would carp and cavil at it, calumniate and reproach him for it; it being the constant guise of hypocrites, to prefer ceremonial and ritual observations, before necessary and moral duties. Note, 6. How our Saviour .defends the lawfulness of his act in healing the diseased man, from their own act in helping a beast out of the pit on the sabbath-day: as if Christ had said, " Is it lawful for you on the sabbath-day to help a beast? and is it sinful for me to heal a man >" Note, lastly, How the reason and force of our Saviour's argument silenced the Pharisees; convincing them, no doubt, but we read nothing of their conversion: the obstinate and malicious are much harder to be wrought upon than the ignorant and scandalous; it is easier to silence such men than to satisfy them; to stop their mouths than to remove their prejudices; for obstinacy will hold the conclusion, though reason cannot maintain the premises: They could not answer him again to those things.
7 And he put forth a parable to those which were hidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art hidden of any man
to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be hidden of him; 9 And he that bade tliee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art hidden, go and sit down in the lowest room ; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then slialt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that bumbleth himself shall be exalted.
It was observed before, That our blessed Saviour dined publicly on the sabbath-day with several Pharisees and lawyers: that which is here worthy of our notice is lbs; How holy and suitable our Lord's discourse was to the solemnity of that day; may it be the matter of our imitation! It is not unlawful for friends to dine together on the Lord's day, provided their discourse be suitable to the day, such as our Lord's here; for observing how the company then at the table did affect precedency, and taking place one of another; be that before their eyes had cured a man of a bodily dropsy, attempts to cure the person that dined with him of the tympany of pride. Where note, That it is not the taking, but the affecting of the highest places and uppermost rooms, that our Saviour condemns. There may and ought to be a precedency amongst persons; it is according to the will of God, that honour be given to whom honour is due: and that the most honourable persons should sit in the most honourable places: for grace gives a man no exterior preference: it makes a man glorious indeed, but it is glorious within. Note farther, The way and course, the method and means, which our Saviour directs persons to, in order to their attaining real honour, both from God and men, namely, by being little in our own eyes, and in lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than ourselves; as God will abase, and men will despise, the proud and haughty, so God will exalt, and men will honour, the humble person: Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that hnmbleth himself shall be eialteJ.
12 Then said he also to him that hade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also hid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. .13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Observe here, that this is not an absolute denial of calling brethren and kinsfolk, and rich neighbours: but Christ forhids the bidding of them alone, and requires that the poor be refreshed at or from our table: for when the rich feast one another, and let the poor fast and pine; this is very sinful. Accordingly our Saviour, observing bow the Pharisee that bade him to dinner invited only the rich, overlooking and neglecting the poor, he exhorts him and the company, that whenever they make entertainments for the time to come, they should not only invite their rich neighbours, and friends, who can and will invite them again; but remember the poor. Here note, 1. That civil courtesies, and hospitable entertainments of kindred and friends, for maintaining and preserving love and concord, is not only lawful, but an expedient and Decessary duty; Use hospitality one to another (says St. Peter) without grudging. 2. That though it be not unlawful to invite and feast the rich, yet it is most acceptable to God when we feed and refresh the poor: When thou makest afeast call rather the poor, and thou shalt be blessed. We must prefer the duties of christian charity before the acts of common civility: blessed are those feast-makers, who make the bowels of the hungry to bless them. 3. That God oft-times rewards our liberality to the poor very signally in this life; but if it be deferred, we shall not fail to receive it at the resurrection of the just: The poor cannot recompense thee, but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 10 Then said he unto him, A
certain man made a great supper, and bade many : 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were hidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, 1 have bought five yoke of oxen, and 1 goto prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were hidden shall taste of my supper.
One of them that sat at meat with our Saviour in the Pharisee's house, hearing Christ speak of being recompensed at the resurrection of the just, repeated that known saying among the Rabhins, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God: that is, who shall be partaker of the joys of heaven. Hereupon Christ utters the parable of the marriage-supper, recorded here by St. Luke, with small variation from what was delivered by St. Matthew, chap. xxii. The first intention of our Saviour in that parable seems to be this , to set forth that gracious offer of mercy and salvation which was made by the preaching of the gospel unto the Jews, and to declare God's purpose of receiving the Gentiles into the fold of Christ, upon the Jews despising and rejecting that inestimable favour. But besides this, it has an aspect upon us christians, who have embraced the doctrine of the gospel. Here note, 1. That the gospel, for its freeuess and fulness, for its varieties and delicacies, is like a marriage supper: for, 1. It does create the same religion between Christ and believers, that marriage doth between husband and wife. 2. It entitles to the same privileges that a conjugal relation doth; to the same endearing love and tenderness, to the same care, protection, to the same honour, to the same happiness. 3. It obliges to the like duties, namely, unspoiled love and fidelity, cheerful obedience to his commands, reverence to his person, submission to his authority. 4. It produceth the same effects; as the effect of marriage is increase of children, so the fruit of the gospel is bringing many sons to God. Note, 2. That gospel invitations are mightily disesteemed; they made light of the invitation, and offered frivolous excuses for their refusal of it. Note, 3. That the preference which the world has in men's esteem, is a great cause of the gospel contempt; one had purchased a piece of ground, another had bought five yoke of osen. Note, 4. The deplorable sadness of their condition who refuse, upon any pretence whatever, to comply with the gospel-tender of reconciliation and mercy: The king -was wroth, pronounced thein unworthy of his favour, and resolved they should not taste of his supper; but sends forth his servants to invite others to his supper. Note, 5. The notion under which the Gentiles are set forth unto us, such as were in lanes, streets, and highways; that is, a rude, rustic, and barbarous people, whom the Jews despised, yea, whom they held accursed; yet even these are called and accepted, whilst the Jews, the first-intended guests, are excluded by means of their own contempt . Note, lastly, The means used to bring in the Gentiles to the gospel-supper: Go and compel them to come in; not by violence, but persuasion; by argumentation, not compulsion: the plain and persuasive, the powerful and efficacious preaching of the word, with the motions and influences of the Holy Spirit, arc the compulsions here intended; not external force, not temporal punishment, nor outward violence. Non religionis est cogcre religionem, says Tertullian ;' No man ought by force and vio
• lence to be compelled to the profession
* of the true faith.' Observe here, How vainly these words are brought to prove, that men may be compelled by the secular arm to embrace the christian faith. This appears, 1. From the nature of a banquet, to which none are compelled by force, but
by persuasion only. 2. From the scope of the parable, which respects the calling of the Gentiles, who believed by the great power of God.
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Our Saviour by these expressions doth not condemn natural love and affection, either to our relations, or our own lives, but only regulates and directs it; showing, That our first and chief love ought to be bestowed upon himself; we may have, and ought to cherish, tender and relenting afiections towards our near and dear relations, but then the consideration of Christ's truth and religion must take place of these; yea, of life itself; and when they stand in competition with these, we are to regard them no more than if they were objects of our hatred. Learn hence, 1. That no man can be a sincere disciple of Christ, who gives any relation, or outward enjoyment, a preference to Christ in his heart and affections. Christ must be loved above all, or we love him not at all; less love he accounts and calls hatred. That which we can leave for Christ, we hate in comparison of that love which we bear to Christ. It is both impious and impossible to hate father and mother, and, ourselves, absolutely: it must then be understood comparatively only; what we love less, we are comparatively said to hate. Learn, 2. That all the disciples of Christ must be ready and willing, whenever called to it, to quit all their temporal interests and enjoyments, even life itself, and submit to any temporal inconveniences, even death itself, all this willingly and cheerfully, rather than disown their relation to Christ, and quit the profession of his holy religion; upon easier terms than these can none of us be the disciples of Jesus.
20 For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether be have sufficient to finish U? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saving, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another kins, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand. 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Our blessed Saviour, by these two parables, advises all his followers to sit down and consider, to weigh well, and cast up beforehand, what it is like to cost them to go through with their profession of religion: this, be tells us, common prudence will direct men to do in other cases; particularly when they either go to build or fight; as a man that intends to build, will consult whether he is able to defray the charges; and a king that goeth forth to war, will consider what strength he has to make opposition: in like manner should persons engage in religion: not rashly, but advisedly, with consideration and judgment. It is good to remember the issues of action, before we act; before we engage in the spiritual combat, to consider the difficulty of the battle; what proud leviathans wc have to conBict with, what mighty giants to contend and strive against, even the world, the flesh, and the devil. Cut then we roust take great care that our deliberation and consideration of difficulties and dangers may not deter us from, but work in us, a steady resolution for the combat, looking up to Christ for his auxiliary aid and strength to render us victorious, who though of ourselves we can do nothing, yet may do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Learn from hence, That such as take up a profession of christianity, without considering the dangers and difficulties, the trials and troubles, the afflictions and temptations, which may accompany it, will never hold out in the spiritual warfare, but either fall in it, or run from it.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt liave lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit
for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath cars to hear, let him hear.
Our Saviour here compares his disciples to salt, tliereby denoting their usefulness, salt being one of the most useful things in nature; and pointing out also their duty, which is to season themselves and others with sound doctrine. But hypocritical professors are like unsavoury suit ; they are neither savoury in themselves nor serviceable to otheis. Our Saviour compares such christians who have no savour of piety and gooduess upon their spirits, to salt, that, having lost its goodness, is neither fit tor the land, nor yet for the dunghill: that is, being of a brackish nature, it is wholly unfit to manure the ground, and will rather occasion barrenness than any fruitfulness or increase. Learn hence, That sincere and serious christians arc and will be as the salt of the earth; that is, good and savoury in themselves, and endeavouring by exhortation and good example to season others; but hypocritical professors and apostatizing christians will be cast out, and trampled upon as unsavoury salt.
This chapter consists of three parables; the design and scope of them all is this. to represent the great tenderness and compassion of God Almighty towards the vilest and worst of sinners upon tlieir sincere repentance, and how highly pleasing it is to liod when they do so. This is expressed by three parables. l. Of a man seeking diligently H sheep that he had lost, and having found it rcjo'iced greatly, and invited his neighbours to [wruke of oil joy. 2. Of a womau having lutit a piece of silver, and seeking carefully till she had found it, and then in like manner rejoicing with her friends for In r good success. 3. Of a prodigal son, who, having spent his time and consumed his estate in riot and excels, at length returns to his father's house, and is joyfully received.
'T^HENdrew near unto him all the publicans and sinners, for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
The publicans and sinners, as they had done several times before, came to hear our Saviour's instructions; he treated them very kiudly, and conversed familiarly with them; at this the Pharisees were displeased and murmured, censured our Saviour for loo much familiarity with those men, whom they looked upon as scandalous to converse with j not considering that he conversed with them as their physician, not as their