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the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? 12 if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, 13 verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so, it is not the will of 14 your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should
behold the face of my Father. Heb. perience and feelings. He would i. 14. Their angels are high in the illustrate the compassion of God Divine favor. It was customary for the lost, and his joy at their rein eastern countries for kings to covery, by the feelings of the live secluded from common no- shepherd for his flock. The genetice. To behold their face there- ral subject of the preceding verses fore, or to enjoy their presence and is here continued.-Ninety and society, was a mark of the highest nine. The use of round numbers favor. In representing his lowly of this kind was common then as followers as under the care of guar- now.-Into the mountains. These dian angels, as a reason why they words are connected in the best should be held in honor, he refers authorities with ninety and nine, to a prevalent opinion among the thus: Doth he not leave the ninety Jews and other nations, and by this and nine in the mountains, and go, lively figure depicts the tender, &c. Luke, xv. 4, has it, “in the wilminute care of God over his crea- derness,” or uninhabited region. tures. Jesus always used popular 13. He rejoiceth more of that language and imagery as the most sheep. In his remarks upon human forcible instrument of conveying nature and its manifestations, our his truth.
Lord ever shows that he knew 11. Another reason is assigned, what was in inaň. “The nature of why, the humble-minded should joy is to enlarge itself less upon not be despised. The Son of Man ordinary occasions, than upon excame to save them and all who traordinary and accidental ones.” would obey him. The greatest Be- A small, unexpected favor produces ing came to save the lowest.—That more joy, because more surprise, which was lost. Those who like than a large blessing long possheep had wandered and strayed sessed. from the true fold. Jesus came 14. It is not the will of your Fanot “to call the righteous, but sin- ther, &c. This is the doctrine of ners, to repentance,” to cure the sick, which the foregoing parable is an not the well, to restore the endan- illustration. As if he had said: A gered and the lost, not the strong faithful shepherd is not more conand safe. Therefore be of good cerned for the smallest of his flock, cheer, ye who are heavy-laden with than is your Father that not the sin and sorrow, bewildered and least of his rational offspring should wandering. For it was for persons be lost. of just your condition, that Jesus 15. Thus far Jesus had admonlived and died.
ished the offending. He now gives 12. How think ye? As if he advice to the offended, and shows would appeal to their personal ex- · how they were to treat those who
15 perish. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go
and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. If he shall 16 hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; but if he will not hear thee,
then take with thee one or two more; that in the mouth of two or 17 three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neg
lect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the
church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.18 Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be
injured them.-Thy brother, i. e. A Hebrew idiom for by the testithy Christian brother, or thy broth- mony. er man.-Go and tell him. Ley. 17. Tell it unto the church. Tynxix. 17, Luke xvii. 3. Wait not till dale's rendering is better, congregahe comes to you, but be willing to tion, for such is its meaning in the go to him, and expostulate and argue original. The particular religious with him kindly, and, if possible, community or body to which you convince him of his fault. Obtain both belong. This was in conformnredress in private, if it is in your ity to the usages of the Jews, who power, rather than blazon the mat- admonished offenders in their synater abroad. Many difficulties arise, gogues.As an heathen man and a simply from a misunderstanding, publican. Mat. v. 47. Language which a private interview would derived from the conduct of the correct. Angry passions would be Jews towards the Gentiles and taxless likely to be excited where there gatherers. He is to be cut off from were no witnesses to a man's fault your communion and friendship as and disgrace. The best opportuni-. a Christian brother, and is to be rety would thus be afforded for repara- garded by you as one of the world tion, if wrong had been done.- at large. Still the common offices Thou hast gained thy brother. Hast of humanity are not to be denied recovered him to the Christian him. Only rebuke, not revenge or brotherhood, or regained his confi- malice, is permitted. Rom. xvi. 17. dence and friendship, and brought 2 Thess. iii. 14. him back to penitence and virtue. 18. Bind-loose, i. e. forbid and 1 Cor. ix. 19.
permit. See note on Mat. xvi. 19, 16. But if this step fails, resort Here is a repetition of the promise to a second.—Take with thee one made to Peter, and now extended or two more, &c. If inclined to to all the Apostles, probably with deny his fault and resist your re more particular application to the monstrance, the presence and ad case of discipline mentioned in the vice of other persons of confidence last verse. John xx. 23. This verse and weight would control his pas- utterly annihilates the Roman Cathsions; testimony might thus also olic pretensions to authority and be borne to the injury, and to the infallibility, so far as grounded on unsuccessful attempt at reconcilia our Saviour's commendation of Pe. tion on the side of the injured par- ter, in Mat. xvi. 18, 19. Some think ty. Allusion is made to the Mosaic an answer is here given to the queslaw. Deut. xix. 15.- In the mouth. tion proposed in the first verse ;
loosed in heaven. Again, I say unto you, that if two of you shall 19 agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or 20 three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Then came Peter to him, and said: Lord, how oft shall my brother 21 sin against me, and I forgive bim? till seven times ? Jesus saith unto 22
“Who is the greatesı in the kingdom conclusion has been drawn from of heaven ?” Jesus says: I confer this text, that Jesus was the omnino peculiar authority on Peter, but present God, else his promise would grant you all an equal power in the have no significance. But even if administration of my religion. he were personally present in every
19. If two of you shall agree on Christian assembly in the world, it earth, &c. A strong motive for would be far from proving his inunion is here presented, that what finite presence in all worlds and they in common asked in the Chris- all space. But if he were God, and tian cause, in which they were en known to be God by his disciples, gaged, would be granted. Any it would have been superfluous for thing. Should be every thing, i. e. bim to have said that he should be whatever related to the promulga- present with them under certain tion of the Gospel. General ex circumstances; for they would have pressions are, to be limited by the known that he would necessarily connection in which they stand. be ever and every where present. This promise, like the foregoing in It may be remarked here that Jesus verse 18, and the subsequent one in is an Intercessor with the Father verse 20, is from the nature of for his disciples on earth. 1 John the case, restricted to the Apostles. ij. 1. Acts i. 14–26, xv. 1-29.
21. How oft shall my brother sin, 20. Gathered together in my name, &c. Peter may have been prompti. e. as my disciples, or with my ed to this inquiry, by the remarks authority, for the sake of my reli- upon treating one who had injured gion. There am I in the midst of us, in verses 15–17, or perhaps by them. This figurative language is some indignity which he himself illustrated by the Rabbinical wri- may have suffered in tbe disputé ters, who say: “If two men sit down between the Apostles, verse 1. The with the law between them, the expression, brother, is to be underShechinah or Divine Presence is stood as meaning one of a common with them.” Wherever you are faith, or one of the common human gathered together as my Apostles, brotherhood.-Till
times ? though' it be but two or three, i. e. Seven was called the full or coma small number, yet it shall be as plete number. Peter might have though I were personally pres- been led to specify the particular ent and praying with you, and number, because that was a matter blessed your devotions and ineet in discussion among the Jews, who, ing. My truth, my authority, my according to Lightfoot, pardoned spirit shall be with you. 1 Cor. v. the third, but not the fourth offence. 3, 4. The wholly unwarranted So that Peter had doubled the num
him: I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until.seventy times seve
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, 24 which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun
to reckon, one was brought unto him which owed him ten thousand 25 talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him
to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment 26 to be made. The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, 27 saying: Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then
the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, 28 and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found
one of bis fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence; and
he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying: Pay me 29 that thou owest. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and be
sought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
ber, as if to go to the greatest length hence a large round number is used of mercy.
to express it. 22. But Jesus would inculcate a 25. Commanded him to be sold, &c. far nobler spirit than that of the This was in accordance with the Jewish schools.-I.
I say not unto thee, Jewish practices, if not law. The until seven times, but until seventy servitude thus produced could, howtimes seven. Forgive as long and ever, last but six years. Lev. xxv. as often as there is need or oppor- 39–46, 2 Kings iv. 1, Amos viii. 6. tunity of doing it, and the offender The same custom also prevailed sincerely repents. There is no limit among the Greeks and Romans, to the exercise of a merciful dispo- and debtors were often subject to sition; for so the number seventy great cruelties by whippings and times seven indicates. Luke xvii. 4. imprisonments from their creditors.
23. To produce a deeper impres- And payment to be made. So far sion of the duty of forgiveness, he as practicable out of the proceeds relates a striking parable, or mor of the sale. al fiction.-Therefore. For.--The 26. Worshipped him. Did him kingdom of heaven. The adminis- obeisance.-Have patience with me. tration of heaven. God deals with Tyndale translates, “ Give me remen as a certain king dealt with spite.” his servants. — Likened. Like. 27. Forgave him the debt, i. e. Would take account. Would settle granted his request, and remitted accounts, or reckon with.-His ser the debt for the present. vants. Not slaves, but officers, or 28. An hundred pence.
The ministers, who managed the royal Roman denarius or penny was estates or revenues.
worth about fourteen cents. The 24. Ten thousand talents. The sum then was fourteen dollars, an sum here stated, if the silver talent insignificant amount when conwas meant, would be about fifteen trasted with his own vast debt.inillions of dollars, but if the gold Took him by the throat. Or, throttalent, about fifteen times as much. tled him. His own violence apThe sense is, an immense sum, and pears the more odious, as it is set by
And he would nor; but went and cast him into prison, till he should 30 pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they 31 were very sorry; and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him: 0 thou 32 wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me; shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-ser- 33 vant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and de- 34 livered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye 35 from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
the side of the lenient treatment he sition draws upon itself a dreadful received from his infinitely larger punishment, not by any arbitrary creditor.
enactment, but by the natural ar30. Cast him into prison. This rangement of things. It fills the custom prevailed among the Ro- heart with bitterness and ashes.mans, and, barbarous and absurd We learn from this parable, lst, as it is, has existed in most Chris- That forgiveness of our sins by tian lands to this day. But the God, great though they be, depends stain upon civilization and religion upon the condition that we forgive is beginning to be wiped out. others, though their offences are
31. They were very sorry.. More comparatively small; according to than that; they were very indignant; the petition of the Lord's prayer. they were grieved and provoked. Penitence is another condition,
34. Tormentors. Raiher, jailers, though not stated here, as the ohor prison-keepers, who used torture ject of this parable did not require only when occasion required. Im- it. 2d, That God forgives freely. prisonment, in the east, is a great There was no interposition on the punishment; since offenders, par- part of any person to stand surety, ticularly state criminals, are scanti or make payment for the debtor; ly fed, treated with great severity, but, upon his earnest entreaty," the loaded with clogs and chains, and Lord of that servant was moved subjected to scourgings and rack- with compassion, and loosed him, ings, which speedily end their and forgave him the debt." Yet we lives. The Great Teacher would are told that the administration of thus graphically paint the miserable heaven is likened unto this king; consequences of a hard and unfor verse 23. God deals with us as giving temper.
the king dealt with his servant. 35. From your hearts. Sincerely How totally inconsistent this is with and honestly. Their. His. This the popular doctrine of the Atoneverse expresses the moral or appli- ment, which represents God as parcation of the parable : “He shall doning no transgression, until a full have judgment without mercy, who satisfaction is made by the death of hath showed no mercy.” Revenge Christ ! Can this with any prois the part of a beast, but forgive- priety be called forgiveness? Is it ness is the part of a man, the part not, rather, stern justice, unrelenting of God. God will treat his chil- severity ? Where is there any pardren as they treat one another; such don, if the debt must all be paid, is his law. An unforgiving dispo- if not by the offender, at least by