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The Ninerites, &c.

CHAPTER XII.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees an-
swered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and badul-
terous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no
sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the
whale's belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three
nights in the heart of the earth.

41 4The inen of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this
Ch 161. Mark S. 11. Luke 11. 16, 29. John 2. 18. 1 Cor. 1. 22-b Isa. 57, 3.
Ch. 64. Mark 8. 38. John 4, 45.- Jonah 1. 17.-d Luke 11. 22.
mitire fathers.

more teachable than the Jews.
generation, and shall condemn it: f because they repented
at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas
is here.
42The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with
this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the
uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

43h When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walk
eth through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none:
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence
I came ont; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept,
and garnished.

45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spi.
e Sce Jer. 3. 11. Ezek. 16, 51, 52. Rom. 2. 27.-f Jonah 3. 5-g 1 Kings 19. 1. 2
Chr. 9. 1. Luke 11. 31.-h Luke 11. 21.- Job 1. 7. 1 et. 5. 8.

"II. If you number the hours that passed from our SaIt seems to have been added here by some copyist, merely to explain. The good heart is the good treasury, viour's giving up the ghost upon the cross to his resurrection, and the treasure that is in it is the love of God, and of all man- you shall find almost the same number of hours; and yet kind. The bad heart is the bad treasury, and its treasure is the that space is called by him three days and three nights, whereas two nights only care between, and only one com. carna! mind, which is enmity against God, and ill will to man. 35. Every idle word) Pnua apyov, a word that does nothing,plete day. Nevertheless, while he speaks these words, he is that neither ministers grace, nor instruction to them who not without the consent both of the Jewish schools and their hear it. The word appor, corresponds to the Hebrew computation. Weigh well that which is disputed in the tract share, which signifles not only vain or empty, but also wick-Scabbath, concerning the separation of a woman for three ed and injurious, such as a false testimony against a days; where inany things are discussed by the Gemarists Add to this that concerning the computation of this space of three days. neighbour, compare Deut. v. 11. and 20. Symmachus translates piggul, polluted, Lev. xix. 7. by Among other things these words occur: R. Ismael saith, Sometimes it contains four, onoth, sometimes five, the very Greek word in the text. It was to explain this ambiguous meaning of the word, that ten MSS. have changed sometimes six. But how much is the space of an onah? anyov, into rovnpov, evil. Our Lord must be understood here R. Jochanan saith, Either a day or a night. And so also as condemning all false and injurious words: the scope of the Jerusalem Talmud: 'R. Akibah fixed a DAY for an onah, and a NIGHT for an onah' But the tradition is, that R. Elia. the place necessarily requires this meaning. zar ben Azariah said, A day and a night make an onah, And a little after, and a PART of an onah is as the wROLE. R. Ismael computed a part of the onah for the whole." Thus, then, three days and three nights, according to this Jewish method of reckoning, included any part of the first day; the whole of the following night; the next day and its night; and any part of the succeeding or third day.

37. By thy words thou shalt be justified] That is, the whole tenor of thy conversation will be an evidence for or against thee, in the great day. How many are there who count teords for nothing, and yet eternity often depends on them. Lord, put a watch before the door of my lips! is a prayer proper for all men.

33. We would see a sign from thee.] That is, we wish now to see thee work a miracle. Pride, vain curiosity, and incredulity, have never proof sufficient of the truth: for they will not be satisfied.

39. An evil and adulterous generation] Or, race of people; for so yevɛa should be translated here, and in most other places in the Gospels; for our Lord, in general, uses it to point out the Jewish people. This translation is a key to unlock some very obscure passages in the evangelists.

In the whale's belly] That a fish of the shark kind, and not a whale, is here meant, Bochart has abundantly prove t, vol. iii. col. 742, &c. edit. Leyd. 1692. It is well known, that the throat of a whale is capable of admitting little more than the arm of an ordinary man; but many of the shark species can swallow a man whole; and men have been found whole in the stomachs of several. Every natural history abounds with facts of this kind. Besides, the shark is a native of the Me Seeketh after a sign] Or, seeketh another sign, (Eπignre)diterranean Sea, in which Jonah was sailing, when swalso I think this word should be translated. Our Lord had allowed by what the Hebrew terms 7, dag gadol, a great ready given the Jews several signs; and here they desire sign upon sign. Under the Our Lord terms the Jews an adulterous race. Old Covenant, the Jewish nation was represented as in a marriage contract with the Lord of hosts; as believers, in the New Covenant, are represented as the spouse of Christall unfaithfulness and disobedience was considered as a breach of this marriage contract: hence the persons who were thus guilty, are denominated adulterers and adulte Tesses. But independently of this, there is the utmost proof fron. their own writings, that in the time of our Lord they were most literally an adulterous race of people: for, at this very time, R. Jochanan ben Zacchai abrogated the trial by the bitter waters of jealousy, because so many were found to be thus criminal. See on John viii. 3.

40. Three days and three nights] Our Lord rose from the grave on the day but one after his crucifixion; so that in the computation in this verse, the part of the day on which he was crucified, and the part of that on which he rose again, are severally estimated as an entire day; and this, no doubt, exactly corresponded to the time in which Jonah was in the belly of the fish. Our Lord says, As Jonah was, so shall the Son of man be, &c. Evening and morning, or night and day, is the Hebrew phrase for a natural day, which the Greeks termed vvxonepov, nuchthemeron. The very same quantity of time which is here termed three days and three nights, and which in reality was only one whole day, a part of two others, and two whole nights, is termed three days and three nights, in the book of Esther: Go; neither eat nor drink THREE DAYS, NIGHT or DAY, and so I will go in unto the king: chap. iv. 16. Afterward it follows, chap. v. 1. On the THIRD DAY, Esther stood in the inner court of the king's house. Many examples might be produced from both the sacred and profane writers, in vindication of the propriety of the expression in the text. For further satisfaction, the reader, if he please, may consult Whitby and Wakefield, and take the following from Lightfoot.

"I. The Jewish writers extend that memorable station of (the unmoving sun at Joshua's prayer, to six and thirty hours; According to more exact for so Kimchi upon that place. interpretation, the sun and moon stood still for six and thirty hours: for when the fight was on the eve of the Sabbath, Joshua feared lest the Israelites might break the Sabbath, therefore he spread abroad his hands, that the sun might stand still on the sixth day, according to the measure of the day of the Sabbath, and the moon according to the measure of the night of the Sabbath, and of the going out of the Sab bath, which amounts to six and thirty hours.'

fish; but every body knows that whales are no produce of the Mediterranean Sea, though some have been by accident found there, as in most other parts of the maritime world; but let them be found where they may, there is none of them capable of swallowing a man. Instead of either whale or shark, some have translated 27, dag gado!, Jonah i. 17. by a fishing cove, or something of this nature; but this is merely to get rid of the miracle: for, according to some, the whole of Divine revelation is a forgery-or it is a system of me. taphor or allegory, that has no miraculous interferences in it. But independently of all this, the criticism is contemptible, Others say that the great fish means a vessel so called, into which Jonah went, and into the hold of which he was thrown, where he continued three days and three nights. In short, it must be any thing but a real miracle, the existence of which, the wise men, so called, of the present day cannot adinit. Perhaps these very men are not aware, that they have 41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment] The scarcely any belief even in the existence of God himself! voice of God, threatening temporal judgments, caused a whole people to repent, who had neither Moses nor Christ, neither the law nor the prophets; and who perhaps never had but this one preacher among them. What judginent may not we expect, if we continue impenitent, after all that God has bestowed upon us?

A greater than Jonas is here.] Iεtov, for T TλELOV, someThe evidence offered by Jonah sufficed to conthing more. vince and lead the Ninevites to repentance; but here was more evidence, and a greater person; and yet so obstinate are the Jews, that all is ineffectual. 1. Christ, who preached to the Jews, was infinitely greater than Jonah in his nature, person, and mission. 2. Jonah preached repentance in Nineveh only forty days, and Christ preached among the Jews for several years. 3. Jonah wrought no miracles to authorize his preaching; but Christ wrought miracles every day, in every place, and of every kind. And 4. Notwithstanding all this, the people of Judea did not repent, though the people of Nineveh did.

42. The queen of the south] In 1 Kings x. 1. this queen is said to be of Saba, which was a city and province of Arabia Felix, to the south, or southeast, of Judea."

Uttermost parts of the earth] Пeparov тns yns-a form of speech which merely signifies, a great distance. See Deut. xxviii. 49.

43. When the unclean spirit] If there had been no reality in demoniacal possessions, our Lord would have scarcely ap pealed to a case of this kind here, to point out the real state of the Jewish people, and the desolation which was coming

63

Of the unclean spiríl.

ST. MATTHEW. rits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

a Hebrews 6. 4. & W. 26. 2 Peter 2. 20, 21, 22-b Mark 3. 31. Luke 9. 19, 20, 21.

Who are our Lord's kindred.

48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who
is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and
said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

50 Ford whosoever shall do the will of my Father which
is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mo.

ther.

e Ch. 13, 6, Mark 6. 3. John 2. 12. & 7. 3, 5. Acts 1. 14. 1 Cor. 9. 5. Gal. L 19. see John 15. 14. Gal, 5, 6, and 6. 13. Col. 3. 11. Heb. 2. 11.

So shall it be also unto this wicked generation.] And so it was: for they grew worse and worse, as if totally abandoned to diabolic infence: till at last the besom of destruction swept them and their privileges, national and religious, ntterly away. What a terrible description of a stats of apostacy is contained in these verses! May he who readeth understand !

upon them. Had this been only a vulgar error, of the non-under its heavenly influences, becomes more capable of resense of which the learned scribes and the wise Pharisees finement in iniquity, as its powers are more capacious than must have been convinced, the case not being one in point, formerly. Evil habits are formed and strengthened by rebecause not true, must have been treated by that very peo-lapses; and relapses are multiplied and become more incuple with contempt, for whose conviction it was alone designed. rable through new habits. He walketh through dry places] Al' avuopov TOTOV. There seems to be a reference here to the Orphic demonology, in which evil spirits were divided into various classes, according to the different regions of their abode, or places in which they delighted. These classes were fice: 1. Adipoves ovpavtot, Celestial demons. 2. Autpoves nepto, Aerial. 3. Autoves ενυδριοι, Aquatic. 4. Δαιμονες χθόνιοι, Terrestrial. 5. Και danoves voxovio, And subterranean demons. See Orph. ad Mus. ap. Schott. The Platonists, the followers of Zoroaster, and the primitive Jews, made nearly the same distinctions. Seeking rest] Or refreshment. Strange! a fallen corrupt spirit can have no rest but in the polluted human heart: the corruption of the one is suited to the pollution of the other, and thus like cleaves to like.

44. Into my house] The soul of that person from whom he had been expelled by the power of Christ, and out of which he was to have been kept by continual prayer, faith, and

watchfulness.

He findeth it empty] Unoccupied, oxoλagovra, empty of the former inhabitant, and ready to receive a new one: denoting a soul that has lost the life and power of godliness, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

Swept, and garnished] As oxodagw signifies to be ille, or unemployed, it may refer here to the person, as well as to his state. His affections and desires are no longer busied with the things of God, but gad about like an idle person, among the vanities of a perishing world. Swept, froin love, meckness, and all the fruits of the Spirit; and garnished, or adorned, κεкoσμnuevov, decorated. with the vain showy trifles of folly and fashion. This may comprise also smart speeches, cunning repartees, &c. for which, many who have lost the life of God are very remarkable.

46. His mother and his brethren] These are supposed to have been the cousins of our Lord, as the word brother is frequently used among the Hebrews in this sense. But there are others who believe Mary had other children besides our Lord, and that these were literally his brothers, who are spoken of here. And although it be possible, that these were the sons of Mary, the wife of Cleopas or Alphens, his mother's sister, called his relations, Mark iii. 21. yet it is as likely, that they were the children of Joseph and Mary, and brethren of our Lord, in the strictest sense of the word. See on chap. xiii. 55.

48. Who is my mother? and who are my brethren ?] The reason of this seeming disregard of his relatives was this: they came to seize upon him, for they thought he was distract. ed. See Mark iii. 21.

50. Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, &c.] Those are the best acknowledged relatives of Christ, who are united to him by spiritual ties, and who are become one with him, by the indwelling of his Spirit. We generally suppose that Christ's relatives must have shared much of his affectionate attention; and doubtless they did: but here we find that whosoever does the will of God is equally esteemed by Christ, as his brother, sister, or even his virgin mother. What an encouragement for fervent attachment to God!

to do man good: to improve his understanding, to soften and change his nature, that he may love his neighbour as himself. That religion that does not inculcate and produce humanity, never caine from heaven.

1. From various facts related in this chapter, we see the 45. Seven other spirits more wicked] Seven was a favourite nature and design of the revelation of God, and of all the or number with the Jews, implying frequently with them, some-dinances and precepts contained in it-they are all calculated thing perfect, completed, filled up, for such is the proper im. port of the Hebrew word y sheva or shevang: nearly allied in sound to our seven. And perhaps this meaning of it refers to the serenth day, when God rested from his work, having filled up, or completed the whole of his creative design. Se ven demons-as many as could occupy his soul, harassing it with pride, anger, self-will, lust, &c. and torturing the body with disease.

The last state of that man is worse than the first] His soul before, influenced by the Spirit of God, dilated and expanded

2. We have already seen what the sin against the Holy Ghost is: no soul that fears God can commit it: perhaps it would be impossible for any but Jews to be guilty of it, and they only in the circumstances mentioned in the text; and in such circumstances, it is impossible that any person should now be found.

CHAPTER XIII.

Christ teaches the multitudes out of a ship, they standing on the shore, 1, 2.

The parable of the sower, 3-9. He gives his reasons for speaking in parables, 10-17. Explains the parable of the sower, 18-23. Parable of the tares and the wheat, 21-30. Of the grain of mustard seed, 31, 32. Of the leaven, 33. The prophecy fulfilled by this mode of teaching, 34, 35. He explains the parable of the tares and the wheat, 36-43. Parable of the treasure hid in a field, 44. Of the pearl-mer chant, 45, 46. Of the drag-net, 47-50. His application of the whole, 51, 52. He teaches in his own country, and his neighhours take offence, 53-56. Our Lord's observations on this, 57. He works no miracle among them, because of their unbe lief, 58. [A. M. 4031. A. D. 27. An. Olymp. CCL 3.]

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TIE same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by

the sea

2b And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

a Mark 4. 1.-b Luke 31. 4.

NOTES.-Verse 1. The same day] Our Lord scarcely ever appears to take any rest-he is incessant in his labours; and instant in season and out of season: and in this he has left

all his successors in the ministry an example, that they should follow his steps: for he who wishes to save souls, will find few opportunities to rest. As Satan is going about as a roar ing lion seeking whom he may devour, the messenger of God should imitate his diligence, that he may counteract his work. Went Jesus out of the house] This was the house of Peter. See chap. xvii. 24.

Sat by the sea-side] The sea of Galilee, on the borders of which the city of Capernaum was situated.

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, d Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came, and devoured them up.

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much

e Luke 5, 3.- Luke 8. 5.

These being more exposed to violent tossings and storms, are, as it were, in a ship, while those continue at ease on the shore. 3. He spake many things unto them in parables] Parable, from Tapa, near, and Balo, I cast, or put. A comparison or similitude, in which one thing is compared with another, especially spiritual things with natural, by which means these spiritual things are better understood, and make a deeper impression on an attentive mind. Or, a parable is a representation of any matter, accommodated, in the way of similitude, to the real subject, in order to delineate it with the greater force and perspicuity. See more on this subject at the conclusion of this chapter. No scheme, says Dr. Lightfoot, of Jewish rhetoric was more familiarly used, than that of parables: which, perhaps, creeping in from thence among the heathens, ended in fables.

2. Into a ship] To λov, THE ressel or boat. Mr. Wake field supposes, (which is very likely,) that a particular vessel is uniformly specified, which seems to have been kept on the ake for the use of Christ and his apostles; it probably be. It is said in the tract Sotah, chap. ix. "From the time that longed to some of the fishermen: (see chap. iv. 22.) who, he Rabbi Meri died. those that spake in parables ceased." Not thinks, occasionally at least, followed their former occupation. that this figure of rhetoric perished in the nation from that See John xxi. 3. The thought of pions Quesnel on this verse time; but because he surpassed all others in these flowers, as should not be neglected. We see here a representation of the the gloss there from the tract sanhedrim speaks. “A third church, which consists of the people united to their pastors. | part of his discourses was tradition; a third part allegory,

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earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth.

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched: and because they had no root, they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them:

But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

and its explanation.

ing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they un derstand.

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14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lést at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be con

10 And the disciples caine, and said unto him, Why speak-verted, and I should heal them. est thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given uato you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

124 For whosoever lath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seea Cesena 26. 12-6 Chapter 11. 15. Mark 4. 9.- Chapter 11. 25. & 16 17 Mark 4. 11. 1 Corinthians 2 10. 1 John 2. 27.—d ch. 24. 2. Mark 1. 2. Luke 855.25.

and a third part parable." The Jewish books every where abound with these figures, the nation inclining by a kind of natural genius to this kind of rhetoric. Their very religion might be called parabolical, folded up within the coverings of ceremonies; and their oratory in their sermons was like tit. But is it not indeed a wonder that they who were so much given to, and delighted in parables, and so dexterous in unfolding them, should stick in the outward shell of cereinonies, and should not have brought out the parabolical and spiritual sense of them? Our Saviour, who always spoke with the common people, uses the same kind of speech, and very often, the same preface which they used, To what is it kened 7 See Lightfoot in loco. Though we find the basis of many of our Lord's parables in the Jewish writings, yet not one of them comes through his hands, without being astonishingly unproved. In this respect also, Surely never man spake like this man. Under the parable of the sower, our Lord intimates, 1. That of all the multitudes then at tending his ministry, few would bring forth fruit to perfection. And, 2 That this would be a general case in preaching the Gospel among men.

4. Some seeds fell by the way-side] The hard beaten path where no plough had broken up the ground.

5. Stony places] Where there was a thin surface of earth,

and a rock at the bottom.

7. Among thorns] Where the earth was ploughed up, the brambles and weeds had not been cleared away.

Good ground] Where the earth was deep, the field well ploughed, and the brambles and weeds all reinoved. See tore on verse 18, &c. and see on Luke viii. 15. 9. Who hath ears to hear, &c.] Let every person who feels the necessity of being instructed in the things which concern his soul's welfare, pay attention to what is spoken, and he

#ad become wise unto salvation.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, h That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and un

els. 6.9. Ex. 12 2. Mk. 4. 12. Lk. 8. 10. J. 19. 40, Aers N. 9, 27. Re11. 8. 2 Cor. 3. 14. 15. Heb. 5, 11-g Ch. 16.17. Lk. 10. 23. 24. John -h Heb. 11. 13. 1 Pet. I. 10, 11.-4 Mark 4. 14. Luke S. 11.-k Ch. 4. 23.

Now what was this NOTHING which the poet said Codrus
had and lost? The five preceding lines tell you.
Lectus erat Codro Proculi minor, urceoli sex,
Ornamentum abaci; necnon et parvulus infra
Cantharus, et recubans sub eodem marmore Chiron;
Jamque retus Græcos servabat cista libellos,
Et divina Opici rodebant carmina mures,

He had one small bed, six little pitchers, the ornament of a sideboard; a small jug or tankard, the image of a centaur, and an old chest with some Greek books in it, on which the mice had already begun to make depredations. And all this he lost: probably by continuing, in spite of his destiny, to be a poet. So those who devote not the light and power which God has given them, to the purposes for which he has granted these gifts, from them shall be taken away these unemployed or prostituted blessings. This seems to have been a prover bial mode of speech, which our Lord here uses to inform his disciples, that he who does not improve the first operations of grace, howsoever small, is in danger of losing not only all the possible product, but even the principal; for God delights to heap benefits on those who properly improve them. See the note on Luke viii. 18.

13. Therefore speak I to them in parables] On this account, viz. to lead then into a proper knowledge of God, I speak to them in parables, natural representations of spiri buttal truths, that they may be allured to inquire, and to find out the spirit, which is hidden under the letter: because seeing the miracles which I have wrought, they see not, i. e. the end for which I have wrought them: and hearing my doctrines, they hear not, so as to profit by what is spoken; neither do they understand, ovos avviour, they do not lay their hearts to it. Is not this obviously our Lord's meaning? Who can suppose that he would employ his time in speaking enigmati cally to them, on purpose that they might not understand what was spoken? Could the God of truth and sincerity act thus? time and labour, and not spoken at all, which would have answered the same end, viz. to leave them in gross ignorance. 14. In them is fulfilled] Avarλnpovrat, Is AGAIN fulfilled: this proper meaning of the Greek word has been generally overlooked. The evangelist means, that as these words were fulfilled in the Jews in the time of the prophet Isaiah, so they are now again fulfilled in these their posterity, who exactly copy their fathers' example. These awful words may be again fulfilled in us, if we take not warning by the things which these disobedient people have suffered.

11. Its giren unto you to know the mysteries, &c.] By mysteries, here, we may understand not only things concern-If he had designed to act otherwise, he might have saved his ng the scheme of salvation, which had not yet been revealed: but also the prophetic declarations concerning the future state of the Christian church, expressed in the ensuing parabis It is not given to them to know the purport and design of these things-they are gross of heart, earthly and sensual, and do not improve the light they have received; but to you 4 given, because I have appointed you not only to be the first preachers of my Gospel to sinners, but also the persons who shall transinit accounts of all these things to posterity. The knowledge of these mysteries, in the first instance, can be given only to a few; but when these faithfully write and publish what they have heard and seen, unto the world, then the science of salvation is revealed and addressed to all. From ver. 17. we learn, that many prophets and righteous men had desired to see and hear these things, but had not that privilege to them it was not given; not because God designed to exclude them from salvation, but because He who knew all things, knew, either that they were not proper pereans, or that that was not the proper time: for the choice of the PERSONS by whom, and the choice of the TIME in which it is most proper to reveal divine things, must ever rest with the ad Wise God.

12 Whoseerer hath, to him shall be given) This is an allusion ta common custom in all countries: he who possesses much, er is rich, to such a person, presents are ordinarily given. Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.] That is, the poor man: he that has little may he easily made a prey of, and so lose his little. This is a proper sense of the word exeu, in sacred and profane writers. la (Cor. xi. 22 тovs un exovтas, those who have not, means ply the Poor: and Aristophanes uses rovs exovras, those thal kare, for the RICH or OPULENT. See a variety of pertinent examples in Kypke on Luke viii. 18. There is one example in Jutenal, Sat. ii. 1. 208, 209. that expresses the whole of our Lord's meaning, and is a beautiful illustration of this ap parently difficult passage.

NIL habuit, Codrus : quis enim negat ? et tamen illud
Perdidit infelis TOTUM NIL

Tis true poor Codrus NOTHING had to boast,

And yet poor Codrus ALL that NOTHING lost."-Dryden.

By hearing ye shall hear] Jesus Christ shall be sent to you, his miracles ye shall fully see, and his doctrines ye shall distinctly hear, but God will not force you to receive the salvation which is offered.

15. Heart is waxed gross] Eraxvvon, is become fas-inattentive, stupid, insensible. They hear heavily with their ears-are half asleep while the salvation of God is preached unto them.

Their eyes they have closed] Totally and obstinately resisted the truth of God, and shut their eyes against the light.

Lest-they should see, &c.] Lest they should see their lost estate, and be obliged to turn unto God, and seek his salvation. His state is truly deplorable who is sick unto death, and yet is afraid of being cured. The fault is here totally in the people, and not at all in that God, whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love.

16. But blessed are your eyes] Ye improve the light which God has given you; and you receive an increase of heavenly wisdom by every miracle and by every sermon.

17. Many prophets and righteous men] These lived by, and died in the faith of the promised Messiah: the fulness of the time was not then come for his manifestation in the flesh. See also on ver. 11.

19. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom) viz. the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.

And understandeth it not) My σvviEvros, perhaps more properly, regardeth it not, does not lay his heart to it.

The wicked one] O rovnpos, from ovos, labour, toil, he who distresses and torments the soul. Mark, chap. iv. 15. calls him & Earavas, the adversary or opposer, because he resists

Parable of the

ST. MATTHEW.

wheat and the lares. derstandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth 23 But he that received seed into the good ground, is he that away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which re-heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth erred seed by the way-side. fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same Is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by bhe is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceit. fulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

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a isa. 2. Ezek. 331, 32. John 5.36.-5 Ch. 11. 6. 2 Tim. 1. 15.-e Ch. 19. Mark 10. 23. Luke 18 91. 1 Tim. 6. 9. 2 Tim. 4. 10.

men in all their purposes of amendment, and to the utmost of his power opposes, in order to frustrate the influences of divine grace upon the heart. In the parallel place in Luke chap. viii. 12. he is called o diaẞodos, the devil, from diaẞadλetv, to shoot, or dart through. In allusion to this meaning of the name, St. Paul, Ephes. vi. 16. speaks of the fiery DARTS of the wicked one. It is worthy of remark, that the three evangelists should use each a different appellative of this mortal enemy of mankind; probably to show, that the devil, with all his powers and properties, opposes every thing that tends to the

salvation of the soul.

Catcheth away] Makes the utmost haste to pick up the good seed, lest it should take root in the heart.

A careless inattentive hearer is compared to the way-side -his heart is an open road, where evil affections, and foolish and hurtful desires continually pass and repass, without either notice or restraint. “A heart where Satan has," (as one terms it) "ingress, egress, regress, and progress: in a word, the devil's thoroughfare."

20. But he that receives the seed into stony places-is he] | That is, is a fit emblem of that man, who hearing the Gospel, is affected with its beauty and excellency, and immediately receiveth it with joy-is glad to hear what God has done to make man happy.

21. Yet hath he not root in himself] His soul is not deeply convinced of its guilt and depravity; the fallow ground is not properly ploughed up, nor the rock broken. When per secution, &c. ariseth, which he did not expect, he is soon stumbled-seeks some pretext to abandon both the doctrine and followers of Christ. Having not felt his own sore, and the plague of his heart, he has not properly discovered that this salvation is the only remedy for his soul-thus he has no motive in his heart, strong enough to counteract the outward scandal of the cross-so he endureth only for the time in which there is no difficulty to encounter, no cross to bear.

22. He also that received seed among the thorns] In land ploughed, but not properly cleared and weeded. Is he-re presents that person who heareth the word, but the cares, rather the anxiety, ʼn peptuva, the whole system of anxious carking cares. Lexicographers derive the word uɛntura, from PEPIČELY TOP VOvv, dividing, or distracting the mind. Thus a poet, Tot me impediunt curæ, quæ meum animum divors? trahunt. "So many cares hinder me, which draw my mind different ways."

Terence.

The deceitfulness of riches] Which promise peace and pleasure, but can never give them.

Choke the word] Or, together choke the word, ompaviysi, meaning, either that these grow up together, with the word, overtop, and choke it; or that these united together, viz. carking worldly cares, with the delusive hopes and promises of riches, cause the man to abandon the great concerns of his soul, and seek in their place, what he shall eat, drink, and wherewithall he shall be clothed. Dreadful stupidity of man, thus to barter spiritual for temporal good-a heavenly inheritance for an earthly portion! The seed of the kingdom can never produce much fruit in any heart, till the thorns and thistles of vicious affections and impure desires be plucked up by the roots and burned. The Persic translator renders it I sat wol agle kalmè-ra khub? kund, chokes the root of the word: for it appears the seed had taken root, and that these cares, &c. choked it in the root, before even the blade could show itself.

23. Good ground] That which had depth of mould, was well ploughed, and well weeded.

Is he that heareth] Who diligently attends the ministry of

the word.

And understandeth it] Lays the subject to heart, deeply weighing its nature, design, and importance.

Which also beareth fruit] His fruitfulness being an almost necessary consequence of his thus laying the divine message to heart. Let it be observed, that to hear, to understand, and to bring forth fruit, are the three grand evidences of a genu ine believer. He who does not hear the word of wisdom, cannot understand what makes for his peace: and he who does not understand what the Gospel requires him to be and to perform, cannot bring forth fruit; and he who is not fruitful, very fruitful, cannot be a disciple of Christ: see John xv. 8. and he who is not Christ's disciple, cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

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24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

d Jer.4 3.-e Gen 2 12. John 15. 4, 5, 8. Gal. 5, 22-f Mark 4. 25.-g Deu. 2. 9. Jan. 6, 9, 10. Wind. 2. 24. 1 Tim. 4. 2.

such extensive opportunities of receiving and doing good; and partly, lack of mental capacity--for every mind is not equally improvable. Let it be further observed, that the un fruitfulness of the different lands was not owing to bad seed, or an unskilful sower-the same sover sows the same seed in all, and with the same gracious design-but it is unfruitful in many, because they are careless, inattentive, and worldly. minded. But is not the ground naturally bad in every heart? Undoubtedly. And can any but God make it good? None. But it is your business, when you hear of the justice and mercy of God, to implore himn to work in you that which is pleasing in his sight. No man shall be condemned because he did not change his own heart, but because he did not cry to God to change it; who gave him his Holy Spirit for this very purpose: and which he, by his worldly mindedness and impiety, quenched. Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear; and may the Lord save the reader from an impenitent and unfruitful heart!

24. The kingdom of heaven] God's method of managing the affairs of the world, and the concerns of his church. Is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field] In general, the world may be termed the field of God; and in particular, those who profess to believe in God through Christ, are his field or farm; among whom God sows nothing but the pure unadulterated word of his truth.

25. But while men slept] When the professors were lukewarm, and the pastors indolent; his enemy came and sorced tares, degenerale, or bastard wheat. The righteous and the wicked are often mingled in the visible church. Every Christian society, how pure soever its principles may be, has its bastard wheat-those who bear a resemblance to the good, but whose hearts are not right with God. He who sows this bastard wheat among God's people, is here styled God's enemy; and he may be considered also as a sower of them, who permits them to be sown and to spring up through his negligence Wo to the indolent pastors, who permit the souls under their care to be corrupted by error or sin!

The word (garia, zizania, which is here translated tares, should rather be translated bastard, or degenerate wheat. The word is certainly not pure Greek; nor can it be traced to any respectable Greek origin: but it may be found in the Tecnovica, or Greek writers, De Re Rustica: see the edition by Niclas, Vol. I. lib. ii. cap. 43. where To avtov is said to be the same which the Greeks call aipa, darnel. And Florentinus the writer, says, To čigaviov, to Xɛyouevov aipa Deipet τον σίτον άρτοις δε μίγνυμένη, σκοποί τους εσθίοντας. "Zizanion, which is called aira, (darnel,) injures the wheat; and, mixed in the bread, occasions dimness of sight to those who eat of it." The author might have added rertigo, or giddiness of the head also, which is a constant effect produced by eating this noxious grain. Sotion, one of these writers, says, that Zizania plucked up from the roots, when it has gained a considerable degree of maturity, and planted round the stem of a fruit-bearing tree, assists in perfecting the fruit, and prevents windfalls." Ibid. Vol. III. lib. x. cap. 87. This is cer tainly not the vegetable to which our Lord refers. It is a Chaldee word, and its meaning must be sought in the rabbinical writers. In a treatise in the Mishna called Kelayim, which treats expressly on different kinds of seeds, the word zunim, or o zunin, is used for bastard or degenerate wheat: that which was wholly a right seed in the beginning, but afterward became degenerate-the ear not being so large, nor the grains in such quantity as formerly, nor the corn so good in quality. In Psal. exliv. 13. the words 1 Sepp mizan al zan, are translated, all manner of store; but they properly signify, from species to species: might not the Chaldee word

zunin, and the Greek word avia, zizania, come from the Psalmist's zanzan, which might have signified a mixture of grain of any kind, and be here used to point out the mixing bastard or degenerate wheat, among good seed wheat? The Persic translator renders it telkh daneh, bitter grain, but it seems to signify merely degenerate wheat. This interpretation throws much light on the scope and design of the whole passage. Christ seems to refer first to the origin of evil-God sowed good seed in his field; made man in his own image and likeness :-but the enemy, the devil, (ver. 39.) corrupted this good seed, and caused it to degenerate. Secondly, he seems to refer to the state of the Jewish people; God had sowed them at first, wholly a right seed, but now From the different portions of fruit produced by the good they were become utterly degenerate, and about to be plucked ground, a hundred, sixty, and thirty, we may learn that all up and destroyed by the Roman armies, which were the angels sound believers are not equally fruitful—all hear, understand, or messengers of God's justice, whom he had commissioned and bring forth fruit, but not in the same degrees-occasioned, to sweep these rebellious people from the face of the land. partly, by their situation and circumstances not allowing them | Thirdly, he seems to refer also to the state in which the world

Parable of the

CHAPTER XIII.

leaven, &c.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto | so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from thereof. whence then hath it tares?

b

29 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up!

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather he wheat into my barn.

31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying. The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field:

32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree,

Father 7.6 -b Lake R. M. 1 Pet 1.23 Ch. 3. 12-d Isa, 2. 2, 3, Mic. 4. 1. Maria Luke 13, 15, 19.- Luke 13. 90 f The word in the Greek is a measure cam xining about a peck and a half, wanting a little more than a pint

shall be found, when he comes to judge it. The righteous and the wicked shall be permitted to grow together, till God comes to take a full and final separation.

26. When the blade was sprung up-then appeared the tares also) Fatan has a shoot of iniquity for every shoot of grace; and when God revives His work, Satan revives his also. No marvel, therefore, if we find scandals arising suddenly to discredit a work of grace, where God has begun to pour out his Spirit.

27. So the servants-said unto him, Sir, didst not thou so) A faithful and vigilant minister of Christ fails not to discover the evil, to lament it, and to address himself to God by prayer, in order to find out the cause of it, and to receive from him proper information how to behave on this occasion. 29. An enemy hath done this. It is the interest of Satan to introduce hypocrites and wicked persons into religious societies, in order to discredit the work of God, and to favour his own designs.

Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?] A zeal which is rash and precipitate, is as much to be feared as the total lack of strict discipline.

29. But he said, Nay.] God judges quite otherwise than men of this mixture of good and evil in the world: he knows the good which he intends to produce from it; and how far his patience towards the wicked should extend, in order to their conversion, or the further sanctification of the righteous. Men often persecute a true Christian, while they intend only to prosecute an impious person. "A zeal for the extirpation of heretics and wicked men," said a pious papist, "not regu lated by these words of our blessed Saviour, allows no time for the one to grow strong in goodness, or to the other to for ake their evil courses. They are of a spirit very opposite to his, who care not if they root up the wheat, provided they can but gather up the tares." The zeal which leads persons to percute others for religious opinions, is not less a seed of the devil than a bad opinion itself is.

3. Let both grow together] Though every minister of God should separate froin the church of Christ every incorrigible sioner, yet he should proceed no further-the man is not to be persecuted in his body or goods, because he is not sound in the faith-God tolerates him; so should men. False doctries are against God-he alone is the judge and punisher of them-man has no right to interfere in this matter. They who burnt Vanini for atheism, usurped the seat of judgment, and thus proved themselves to be not less a diabolic seed, than the person they thus, without God's leave, hurried into eternity. MARY, of execrable memory, and the inquisitorial tormentors she employed, were all of this diabolic sowing. See more on this parable at ver. 37, &c.

31. The kingdom of hearen is like to a grain of mustard seed] This parable is a representation of the progress of the Gospel in the world; and of the growth of grace in the soul. That grace which leads the soul to the fulness of glory, may begin, and often does, in a single good desire-a wish to escape hell, or a desire to enjoy God in heaven.

Which indeed is the least of all seeds] That is, of all those seeds which produce plants, whose stems and branches, according to the saying of the botanists, are apt devopičev, arborescere, to grow into a ligneous or woody substance. Becometh a tree] That is, it is not only the largest of plants which are produced from such small seeds, but partakes, in its substance, the close woody texture, especially in warm climates, where we are informed it grows to an almost incredi ble size. The Jerusalem Talmud, tract Peah. fol. 20. says, "There was a stock of mustard in Sichin, from which sprang out three boughs; one of which being broken off, served to cover the tent of a potter, and produced three cabes of mustard-seed. Rabbi Simeon ben Chalapha said, A stalk of mustard-seed was in my field, into which I was wont to climb, as men are wont to climb into a tig-tree." See Lightfoot and Schoettgen. This may appear to be extravagant; and it is probable, that in the case of the three cabes of seed, there is considerable exaggeration: but if it had not been usual for this plant to grow to a very large size, such relations as these would not have appeared even in the Talmud; and the parable of our Lord sufficiently attests the fact. Some soils being more luxuriant than others, and the climate much

33 Another parable spake he unto theia. The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in pa rables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will ut ter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples caine unto him, saying, Declare unt us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of Mark 4. 33, 34--h Psalm 78. 2-1 Romans 16, 25, 25. 1 Corinthian 4 2. 7. Eph. Col. 1. 96k Chap. 29. 14. s 29 19. Mark 165, 20. Luke 24. 47. Rowane 10. 13. Col. 1. 6.

3

warmer, raise the same plant to a size and perfection far beyond what a poorer soil, or a colder climate, can possibly do. Herodotus says, he has seen wheat and barley in the country about Babylon, which carried a blade full four fingers breadth: and that the millet and sesamum grew to an incredi ble size. I have myself seen a field of coinmon cabbages in one of the Norman isles, each of which was from seven to nine feet in height; and one in the garden of a friend, which grew beside an apple-tree, though the latitude of the place is only about 48°. 13. north, was fifteen feet high, the stem of which is yet remaining, (September, 1798.) These facts, and several others which might be added, confirm fully the possibility of what our Lord says of the mustard tree, however incredible such things may appear to those who are acquainted only with the productions of northern regions and cold climates.

33. The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaver] On the na ture and effects of leuren, see the note on Exod. xii. 8. As the property of leaven is to change or assimilate to its own nature, the meal or dough with which it is mixed: so the property of the grace of Christ is to change the whole soul into its own likeness: and God interds that this principle should continue in the soul till all is leavened, till the whole bear the image of the heavenly, as it before bore the image of the earthly. Both these parables are prophetic, and were intended to show, principally, how, from very small beginnings, the Gospel of Christ should pervade all the nations of the world, and fill them with righteousness and true holiness. 34. All these things spake Jesus in purables] Christ de scends from divine mysteries to parables, in order to excite us to raise our minds, froin and through natural things, to the great God, and the operations of his grace and Spirit. Di vine things cannot be taught to man but through the medium of earthly things. If God should speak to us in that language which is peculiar to heaven, clothing those ideas which angelic minds form, how little should we comprehend of the things thus described? How great is our privilege in being thus taught! Heavenly things, in the parables of Christ, as sume to themselves a body, and thus render themselves palpable.

35. By the prophet) As the quotation is taken from Psal. Ixxviii. 2. which is attributed to Asaph, he must be the prophet who is meant in the text; and, indeed, he is expressly called a prophet, 1 Chron. xxv. 2. Several MSS. have Heaton, Isaiah; but this is a manifest error. Jerome supposes that Asaph was first in the text, and that some ignorant transcri ber, not knowing who this Asaph was, inserted the word Isaiah; and thus, by attempting to remove an imaginary error, made a real one.

36. Jesus-went into the house; and his disciples came] Circumstances of this kind should not pass unnoticed: they are instructive and important. Those who attend only to the public preaching of the Gospel of God, are not likely to understand fully the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. To understand clearly the purport of the divine message, a man must come to God by frequent, fervent, secret prayer. It is thus that the word of God sinks into the heart, is watered and brings forth much fruit.

Declare unto us (pparov, explain,) to us the parable of the tares of the field.] To what has already been spoken on this parable, the following general exposition may be deemed a necessary appendage:

I. What is the cause of EVIL in the world? 1. We must allow, that God, who is infinite in holiness, purity, and goodness, could not have done it. Nothing can produce what is not in itself. This is a maxim which every man subscribes to; God then could not have produced sin, forasmuch as his nature is infinite goodness and holiness. He made man at first in his own image, a transcript of his own purity and since sin entered into the world, He has done every thing consistent with his own perfections, and the freedom of the human mind, to drive it out: and to make and keep man holy. 2. After a thousand volumes are written on the origin of evil, we shall just know as much of it as Christ has told us hereAn enemy hath done it, and this enemy is the devil, verse 39. 1. This enemy is represented as a deceitful enemy: a friend in appearance, soliciting to sin, by pleasure, honour, riches, &c.

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