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They make great ostentation of the outward signs of holiness ; enlarging those parchment-guards, which they wear about them, as containing the parcels and monuments of God's law; that they may be noted for great professors of sanctity.
XXIII. 8 But be not yje called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ ; and all ye are brethren. But do not ye arrogate to yourselves any such power or title, as may derogate from the absolute authority of him who is the Word of the Father : do not ye take upon you to deliver any doctrine, as of your own head, but only that which ye shall receive from your Heavenly Master : Christ is your Father and Master, to teach and command ; ye are brethren, to join together in observance and obedience. So also verses 9 and 10.
XXIII. 13 But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men : for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for, whereas, by your office and profession, ye should by the key of knowledge open the kingdom of heaven unto men; ye do, contrarily, defraud the people of the true understanding of God's law; and, by that means, do, as it were, shut the gates of heaven against both them and yourselves : your false glosses and vicious practices exclude you ; and, by the impossibility of observing your many vain traditions, ye do, in your judgment, exclude others: and, as for matter of faith, ye do neither believe in me, the true Saviour, yourselves; neither suffer others, that would gladly embrace the truth of my Gospel, to cleave unto me.
XXIII. 15 For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Ye leave no means unattempted, ye spare no pains nor cost, to win a Gentile, to your Jewish religion; and, when ye have drawn hiin to you, ye do so foully corrupt him, that he is a much worse Jew than he was a Gentile; and ye do more damn bim, by a sacrilegious pretence of religion, than he did before damn himself, by a heathenish civility.
XXIII. 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing ; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which lead God's people into gross and foul errors, by your false and absurd expositions; while ye teach, that the gold of the temple is more holy than the temple itself: and, therefore, that if a man swear by the temple, the oath binds not ; but if he swear by the gold of the temple, now he is bound to perform it! So verse 18.
XXIII. 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. Whatsoever the forms of your swearing be, it is God only, that is and must be sworn by; and the crcatures are only mentioned, as in relation to their Maker ; whoso therefore shall swear by the
altar, swears by that, which is sacrificed upon it; and by that God, to whom that altar, and that sacrifice, is consecrated and of fered. So also verses 21, 22..
XXIII. 23 Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tythe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith : these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye are curious and scrupulous in performing small and trifling matters; but are careless and unconscionable, in the main points of God's Law: if it be for the tythe of a few worthless herbs or seeds, ye will rather overrun the precept of God; but the great duties of justice in your decisions of mercy to the helpless, of fidelity and uprightness of carriage towards men, these are slightly passed over by you : those petty observations, being that they are prescribed, do challenge their due place; but so, that the greater and more important duties ought first and chiefly to be regarded. · XXIII. 25 For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Ye are all for the outside ; only caring to appear fair and glorious, without all regard to inward sincerity : as if a man should be curious in washing the outside of his cup or platter; never caring whether it be clean within : thus do ye, being externally holy, but inwardly full of extortion and excess. · XXIII. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.. Thou blind and hypocritical Pharisee; do thou by thyself, as any wise and cleanly man would do by his cup or platter: care first and chiefly, that the inside be clean and bright; that so, if thou wilt, it may be scoured on both sides: thy own safety calls thee to the respect of the inside ; in the care of the outside, thou shalt only regard the eyes of others.
XXIII. 29 Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye profess much honour to the memory of the holy prophets, and can be content to beautify their tombs, as if ye were conscionable observers of that, which they spake and wrote in the name of the Lord.
XXIII. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. In that ye are so busy in garnishing the tombs of the prophets, slain by your progenitors, ye proclaim yourselves to be the children of murderous parents ; so as ye have no reason at all to boast of your pedig ree. · XXIII. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. But herein ye do too well approve yourselves the sons of those wicked parents, in that ye imitate them in their bloody practices; persecuting and killing the righteous and innocent, now, as they
did in their times before you; so as, what they wanted of cruelty, is fully made up by you.
XXIII. 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. That, since ye succeed in the bloody cruelty of your predecessors, ye may also inherit their judgments; and may make yourselves liable to the punishment of all the innocent blood, that hath been shed by them, even from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Johaiada or.Barachias, whom your progenitors cruelly slew in the court of the temple, betwixt the entering in thereof and the altar.
XXIII. 37 How often would I have gathered thy children toge. ther, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! How oft, and how earnestly, have I offered unto thee the means of thy salvation, and tendered unto thee my gracious protection, if thou wouldest have approved thyself capable thereof! and thou hast wilfully cast off and disregarded all my merciful proffers made unto thee.
XXIII. 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Behold, your temple, your city, your country, shall be, by reason of your sins, given over to utter spoil and desolation.
XXIII. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. For I say unto you, hitherto I have lovingly and familiarly conversed amongst you, as a Gracious Redeemer, inviting you to your conversion : but now, since ye have despised my mercy, I will depart from you ; and ye shall no more see me, till you shall be forced to magnify me in the terror of my judgment, and in the glory of my majestical appearance.
XXIV. 3 Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Tell us these two secrets: when the time shall be of this miserable destruction of the temple, which thou foreshewest as; and what signs shall go before thy coming to judgment, and the end of the world.
XXIV. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Both before the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and before my Second Coming, which ye ignorantly imagine shall be together and at once, there shall arise many impostors, who shall give out themselves for the Messiah, and shall deceive many.
XXIV. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. This Gospel, whereby the Kingdom of Christ is both gathered and erected and governed, shall, before my Last Coming and the End of the World, be preached to all the nations of the habitable world; so as they shall have no excuse from their ignorance, but shall be fully convinced of the truth thereof.
XXIV. 15, 16 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stund in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains. When ye shall see the abominable pollution of the temple, which is the just cause of the utter desolation thereof; yea, when ye shall see the heathenish armies, consisting of idolatrous Pagans, according to the prophecy of Daniel, which I would have you diligently to peruse and consider, taking possession of the holy temple: Then, it is time for every one in Judea, to shift for himself; and to betake himself into the deserts and mountains, for safety.
XXIV. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days ! Their case shall be very miserable and desperate, whose necessary burdens forceth their stay, or hindereth their speed of escape; namely, those, that are with child, or those, who, giving suck to their little infants, must needs carry their dear charge in their arms.
XXIV. 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day. But pray ye, that this flight of yours, for your own preservation, be not cast upon such a time and season, as may be to the disadvantage, either of your life or your conscience; that it fall not out in the deep of winter, when, through the foulness of the way or extremity of weather, ye cannot pass, to save yourselves; or upon the Sabbath day, when, as men are informed and affected, the scruples of enthralled consciences forbid them to take laborious journeys for their escape.
XXIV. 23 and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved : but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Except it should please God so to contrive it, that this siege and misery of Jerusalem should receive a quick dispatch, it would make an end of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; so as not so much as a remnant of them should escape: but God shall so order it, for his elect's sake who are therein, that this their extremity, though very grievous, yet shall be short.
XXIV. 24 And shall shew great signs and wonders ; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. The delusions of their signs and wonders shall be so strong, that the world shall be utterly carried away therewith ; and, if it were possible that the very elect of God could be miscarried by them, they should also be deceived : were it not more of the grace and mercy of that powerful God who sustaineth them, and that infalli. ble decree whereby they are ordained unto life, than of any power or wisdom of their own, they could not stand against these strong deceptions.
XXIV. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth : Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. Wherefore, if the disciples of these vain impostors shall say, Behold, the Messiah is now come, and he is in the desert, gathering of troops for the restoring of his kingdom; or, He is in this or that secret room, plotting his affairs; believe it not.
XXIV. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west ; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For the return of the Son of Man shall be without observation, so as no man can fore-appoint or fore-expect the day ; but sball be sudden and unlooked for: even as the lightning gives no warning when it comes, but suddenly flashes from the east to the west ; so shall also the Second Coming of the Son of Man be.
XXIV. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Wheresoever the Son of Man shall please to present himself, thither will he call unto him all men to be judged by him ; so as all mankind shall flock unto his Judgment Seat, even as the eagles resort to the place and subject of their repast.
XXIV. 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, &c. When as my Church shall have endured that full proportion of affliction, which I have set forth for it, immediately thereupon shall my Last Coming be, in glory, and majesty, and dreadfulness; for then the sun shall be darkened, &c.
XXIV. 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. Then shall appear those glorious and bright beams of light and heavenly splendour, which shall shine forth upon the very act of the appearances of the Son of Man, as it were the opening of Heaven for his descent.
XXIV. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. And he, by his almighty power, shall send his holy angels; who, with a mighty sound, shall summon together bis elect, whose bodies have been vanished into all the elements, and they shall, from all the coasts of the earth, be assembled together before him.
XXIV, 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree : When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. Take and learn this similitude of the fig tree : look, as when ye see the branches of it to put forth leaves, ye know that summer is coming on, and that the winter which kept in that juice and sap is now past; so likewise, when ye see the signs accomplished, which I have now premonished you of, know ye that the kingdom of God is near to the full accomplishment thereof.
XXIV. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.