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The transfiguration

CHAPTER XVII.

obey his VOICE, (I. e. the woRD of God, the true character of Christ, even before the creation ;) 'provoke him not,' (or rather, murmur not, against him) for he will not pardon your transgressions, for MY NAME 18 IN HIM,') not placed upon him, as the outward tokens of mere temporary authority are given, be exhibited like the insignia of nobility, or roles of mag-strates, but realy 'in him,' apa within him,' i, e. thoroughly included in his personal existence) 'But if thou shalt indred obey His VOICE,' (i. e. 'the word of God,' the true fignrative character of the Son of God) and shalt do all that I SPEAR,' (for it is Jchorah, the Lord God, that speaketh in Christ) then I will be an enemy to thine enemies,' &c. It is therefore unquestionably evident, from the examination of all these tests, that Christ, whom St. Paul has declared to be the rock that followed the Israelites, was also the Lord, or Jeho rah, (as he is expressly called in the first text here cited, Exod. Kui 21.) that went before' the Israelites by day' in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar offre,' &c. as expressly declared in the first text cited in this note: and therefore, an attempt to set up any mere mortal man, as the rock, or foundation, of the true catholic church, must be attributed either to extreme ignorance of the Holy ser ptures, or to extreme wickedness; but certainly, also, to the delusions of spiritual enemies."

That the power of the keys, or of binding and loosing belonged equally to all the apostles, the author goes on to prov

But there is a testimony of high authority, which renders it noquestionable that this declaration of our Lord, respecting the power of binding and loosing,' related to them,' (the hr disciples) as well as to him. Even another declaraton, made by our Lord himself, to his disciples,' respecting The same identical power, which our Lord attributed equally to all the discip'es then present.

The particular discourse of our Lord, to which I now refer, seems to have been made at Capernaum, after the miracle of De fish, (bearing the tribute money in his outh) which Peter was sent to catch: as related in the 17th chapter of St. Matthew. And in the beginning of the very next chapter (the 1st we are informed as follows-At the SAME TIME came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the king. dom of heaven ?' Our Lord's answer to this question, (wherein wurzes the necessity of a humiliation like that of little chil dren, as the proper disposition to qualify mankind for the king. dom of heaven) is continued from the 2d verse to the 14th verse of this chapter; which shows that the disciples, in general, were still present, as they would certainly wait for the desired answer to their own question: and then our Lord im ediately afterward proceeded to instruct them (from the 15th to the 17th verse) in the general duty of behaviour towards a brother that has trespassed against us. After which our Lord added (in the 18th verse) Verily I say unto you,' (buv, a plural pronoun, which must refer unto all the disciples that were then assembled) 'Whatsoever YE SHALL BIND on earth,' teams, a verb in the second person plural, plainly including the disciples that were then present) shall be bound in hearn, and whatsoever YE SHALL LOOSE on earth,' (Avonre, another plural verb) shall be loosed in heaven.'

This is exactly the power of the keys, which the Church of Rae has, most absurdly, attributed to St. Peter alone, in or wer to invest the Bishops of Rome (on the vain pretence of their being St. Peter's successors) with an exclusive claim to all thead ecclesiastical privileges of binding and loosing, which I

of Christ. our Lord manifestly, in this parallel text, attributed to all his faithful apostles, without any partial distinction. "But the importance of examining, not only parallel texts, but also more particularly the context of any difficult sentence in Holy Scripture, for a more easy comprehension of the true meaning, is clearly exemplified in the examination of the first text in question, viz. Matt. xvi. 18, 19. for we are informed in the very next verse, the 20th, that our Lord, 'THEN charged his disciples,' (TOTE, then, that is, immediately after his dis course about the rock and keys) that they should tell no men that he was Jesus the Christ manifestly referring to the first circumstance of the context, concerning himself, viz. the declaration of Peter, Thou art the Christ,' &c. (Matt. xvi. 16.) in answer to his own question to all the disciples Whom say ye that I am?'

That this question was not addressed to Peter alone, is manifest by the plural pronoun and verb (vusis XeYETE) Whom say YE that I am? And therefore, St. Peter's answer must be considered as intended not merely for himself, but also for his brethren, the other faithful witnesses of Christ's miracles and doctrines: so that the substance of this answer, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God'-must ne cessarily be understood as the true foundation or rock, of the catholic church, revealed to Peter by our heavenly Father, as stated in the 17th and 18th verses.

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"This declaration, therefore, that he was the Christ, was manifestly the subject of our Lord's charge to the disciples, that they should tell no man; that is, not until after the time of his sufferings and death, which were the next topics in the continuation of his discourse. The declaration of Peter, therefore, demonstrated the true foundation, or rock, of the church, which (as Christ himself testified,) our heavenly Fa ther had revealed to Peter. And it is also remarkable, that the very next discourse of our Lord to his disciples, recorded in the context (v. 21.) should produce that severe censure against Peter, which still further demonstrated that Peter could not be the rock on which Christ's church was to be built. (Matt. xvi. 21.) From that time forth,' (ano Torε) 'began Jesus to show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Je rusalem and SUFFER many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and BE KILLED, (all the predicated consequences of his being the CHRIST, the character which Peter himself had declared,) and,' (that he should) 'be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him,' (v. 22.) and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord,' (or rather, according to the Greek original, as rendered in the margin'Pity thyself, Lord') this shall not be unto thee. But he' (Christ, v. 23.) 'turned and said unto Peter,' [T RETpe, the same appellative (signifying a stone, or a small part of a rock,) which was given to Peter by our Lord, in the 18th verse]'Get thee behind me, Satan,' (said our Lord,) thou art an of fence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God; but those that be of men.'

"Thus a fair examination and comparison of the whole contert, completely sets aside the vain supposition of the Romish church, that Peter was the rock of Christ's church! And I sincerely hope that a similar attention to this whole contert, may prevent any future attempts, that might otherwise be prompted, by the prejudices of Roman Catholics, to bring forward again this long disputed question, on which they have vainly set up the pretended supremacy of the Romish church, above all other episcopal churches; and that it may be silenced, and set at rest, for ever hereafter."

CHAPTER XVII.

The transfiguration of Christ, 1-8. Christ's discourse with his disciples on the subject, 9-13. He heals a lunatic, 14-18. His discourse with his disciples on this subject also, 19-21. He foretells his own sufferings and death, 22, 23. He is required to pay tribute at Capernaum, 24-26; and provides the money by a miracle, 27. [A. M. 4032. A. D. 28. An, Olymp. CCI. 4.] 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

AND after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John

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his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain,

2 And was transfigured before them: band his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Mark 9.2 Luke 9. -b Rev. 1. 16. Dan. 10. 6.

NOTES-Verse 1. After six days] Mark ix. 2. has the me number; but Luke says, ix. 28. after eight days: the reason of this difference seems to be the following; Matthew and Mark reckon the days from that mentioned in the preceding chapter, to that mentioned in this. Luke includes thdays, as well as the six intermediate; hence, the one make eight, the other sir, without any contradiction.

Peter, James, and John] He chose those, that they might be witnesses of his transfiguration two or three witnesses being required by the Scripture to substantiate any fact. Eminent communications of the Divine favour prepare for, and eafitie to, great services and great conflicts. The same three were made witnesses of his agony in the garden, chap. xxvi. 37. A high mountain] This was one of the mountains of Galiles, but whether mount Tabor or not, is uncertain. Some Cunk it was mount Hermon. St. Luke says, Christ and his descaples went up into the mountain to pray, chap. ix. 28.

2 Was transfigured] That fulness of the Godhead, which welt bodily in Christ, now shone forth through the human rature, and manifested to his disciples not only that Divinity which Peter had before confessed, chap. xvi. 16. but also the

4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; done for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. c Luke 9. 30. Rev. 11. 3-d Luke 9. 33.

glorious resurrection body, in which they should exist in the presence of God to eternity.

White as the light] But the Cod. Beza, some of the ancient Versions, and several of the Fathers, read ws xiwv, as snow; and this is the reading in Mark ix. 3.

3. Moses and Elias] Elijah came from heaven in the same body which he had upon earth, for he was translated, and did not see death, 2 Kings ii. 11. And the body of Moses was probably raised again, as a pledge of the resurrection; and as Christ is to come to judge the quick and the dead, for we shall not all die, but all shall be changed, 1 Cor. xv. 51. he probably gave the full representation of this in the person of Moses, who died, and was thus raised to life, (or appeared now as he shall appear when raised from the dead in the last day ;) and in the person of Elijah, who never tasted death. Both their bodies exhibit the same appearance, to show that the bo dies of glorified saints are the same, whether the person had been translated, or whether he had died. It was a constant and prevalent tradition among the Jews, that both Moses and Elijah should appear in the times of the Messiah, and to this very tradition the disciples refer, ver. 10.

The voice

ST. MATTHEW.

5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, b This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; & hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

7 And Jesus came, and f touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus char ged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

a 2 Pet. 1. 17-b Ch. 3. 17. Mark 1. 11. Luke 3, 32- Isa. 42. 1.-d Deu. 19. 18, 19. Acts 3 22, 3-2 Pet. 1. 18.-f Dan. 9. 18. & 9, 21. & 10, 10, 18., Ch. 16. 10. Mark 8, 30. & 9.9.

from heaven.
10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the
scribes that Elias must first come?
11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall
first come, and i restore all things;

12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they
knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they list
ed: likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them
of John the Baptist.

14 And when they were come to the multitude, there
came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and say.
ing,

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Chap. 11. 14. Mark 9. 11- Mal, 4, 6. Luke 1, 16, 17. Acts 3. 01 –
Mark 9. 12, 13. – 1 Chap. 14. 8, 10.—m Chap. 16. 21.~n Ch. II. 14.—
Luxe 9 37.

to show forth the final abolition of the whole ceremonial law;
it was necessary that a matter which could not fail to irritate
the Jewish rulers and people, should be kept secret, till Jesus
had accomplished vision and prophecy by his death and re-

We may conceive that the law in the person of Moses, the great Jewish legislator; and the prophets, in the person of Elijah the chief of the prophets, came now to do homage to Jesus Christ, and to render up their authority into his hands; | as he was the END of the law, and the grand subject of the pre-surrection. dictions of the prophets. This appears more partienfurly from what St. Luke says, chap. ix. 31. that Moses and Elijah conversed with our Lord on his death, which he was about to accomplish (Anpovy, to fulfil,) because in it all the rites, cere. monies, and sacrifices of the law, as well as the predictions of the prophets, were fulfilled.

4. Peter said let us make, &c.] That is, when he saw Mo-phets relative to the person, nature, sufferings, death, and ses and Elijah ready to depart from the mount, Luke ix. 33. he wished to detain them, that he might always enjoy their company with that of his Lord and Muster, still supposing that Christ would set up a temporal kingdom upon earth.

Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?] As the disciples saw that Elijah returned to heaven, knowing the tradition of the elders, and the prophecy on which the tradition was founded, Mal. iv. 5, 6. Behold I send you Eli. jah the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come; and he shall turn the hearts, &c. it was natural enough for them to inquire what the meaning of the tradition, and the intention of the prophecy were.

The whole of this emblematic transaction appears to me to be intended to prove, Ist. The reality of the world of spirits, and the immortality of the soul. 2dly. The resurrection of the body, and the doctrine of future rewards and punish ments, see chap. xvi. 27. 3dly. The abolition of the Mosaic institutions, and the fulfilment of the predictions of the proresurrection of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 4thly. The establishment of the mild, light-bringing, and life-gi ring Gospel of the Son of God. And 5thly. That as the Old Jewish Covenant and Mediatorship had ended, Jesus was now 5. A bright cloud overshadowed them] Or as six MSS. and to be considered as the sole Teacher, the only availing offer Ephraim read it, a cloud of light, vegan piros; which reading for sin, and the grand Mediator between God and inan. ing GRIESBACH has admitted into the text. As a bright cloud, 10. His disciples] Instead of HIS disciples, some MSS. with or a cloud of light, could not overshadow, or cast any kind of the Coptic, Armenian, Vulgate, all the Itala except two, and shade, the word EcoktαTEV, should be translated surrounded Origen, read simply, ot pantai, THE disciples, i. e. those only them. A cloud was frequently the symbol of the Divine pre-who had be with him on the mount, Peter, James, and sence; but such a cloud had always something very remarka. John. ble in its appearance. Ezekiel, chap. i. 4. represents it as a great cloud, and a fire unfolding itself, and a brightness about it, and out of the inidst thereof, as the colour of amber out of the midst of the fire; and in ver. 28. he tells us, that this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. See also Exod. xvi. 10. xl. 33, &c. Ezek. xliii. 2. and 1 Chron. v. | 14. But it was generally in a thick, dark cloud, that God manifested himself under the law; see Exod. xix. 9. and xx. 21. This might be designed as emblematical of the Old Covenant, which was but the shadow of the good things which were to come, Heb. x. 1. and the cloud of light mentioned here, the emblem of that glorious display of God in his gospel, by which life and immortality were brought to light, 2 Tiin. i. 10. This is my beloved Son] Όστος εσιν ο υιός μου ο αγαπητος, Ey w endinga, This is my Son, the beloved one, in whom I have delighted, or, been well pleased. God adds his testimony of approbation to what was spoken of the sufferings of Christ by Moses and Elijah; thus showing that the sacrificial economy of the Old Covenant was in itself of no worth, but as it referred to the grand atonement which Jesus was about to make; therefore he says, In him HAVE I de lighted, (todoxnoa) intimating that it was in him alone, as typi-Matt. iii. 1-7. and especially Luke iii. 3-15. where we find fied by those sacrifices, that he HAD delighted through the whole course of the legal administration; and that it was only in reference to the death of his Son, that he accepted the offerings and oblations made to him under the Old Covenant. Hear HIM. The disciples wished to detain Moses and Elijah, that they might hear them; but God shows that the law, which had been in force, and the prophets which had prophesied until now, must all give place to Jesus, and he alone inst now be attended to as the Way, the Truth, and the Life; for no man could now come unto the Father but through him, This voice seems also to refer to that prediction in Deut. xviii. 15. The Lord shall raise up a prophet like unto me, HIM SHALL YE HEAR. Go no more to the law, nor to the prophets, to seek for a coming Messiah; for behold he is come! hear and obey him, and him only.

This transfiguration must have greatly confirmed the dis eipies in the belief of a future state, and in the doctrine of the resurrection; they saw Moses and Elijah still EXISTING, though the former had been gathered to his fathers upwards of 1400 years; and the latter had been translated near 900. 6. Fell on their face] Dismayed by the voice, and dazzled by the glory of the cloud. So Daniel, chap. viii. 17. and Saul of Tarsus, Acts ix. 4.

7. Jesus came and touched them] Exactly parallel to this account is Dan. viii. 18. I was in a deep sleep, i. e. (a trance) on my face inwards the ground; but he TOUCHED me, and set me upright. From Jesus alone are we to expect divine communications, and by his power only are we able to bear and improve them. It is very likely that this transfiguration took place in the night, which was a more proper season to show forth its glory, than the day time, in which a part of the splendour must necessarily be lost by the presence of the solar light. Besides, St. Luke, chap. ix. 37. expressly says, that it was on the next day after the transfiguration, that our Lord came down from the mount.

9. Tell the vision to no man] See the note on chap. xvi. 20. and further observe, that as this transfiguration was intended

11. Elias-shall first come and restore all things.] Or, will reform, ankaraσrnat; this word our Lord quotes from the Septuagint; who render the Hebrew a by mar ab a rehesheh leb aboth 51 banim, he will cause the heart of the fa thers to turn to the children, by os aяokaтaσTησεl kapčiav πατρος προς υιον, who will concert or restore the heart of the father to the son. We are not therefore to understand the version of the Septuagint quoted by our Lord, in any other sense than the Hebrew will allow. No fanciful restoration of all men, devils, and damned spirits, is spoken of as either being done, or begun by the ministry of John; but merely that he should preach a doctrine, tending to universal refor mation of manners, and should be greatly successful: See

that a general reformation had taken place. 1. Among the common people; 2. Among the tax-gatherers; and, 3. Among the soldiers. And as John announced the coming Christ, who was to baptize with the Holy Ghost, i. e. to enlighten, change, and purify the heart, that the reform might be com plete, both outward and inward, he may be said, In the strictest sense of the word, to have fulfilled the prophecy and that he was the Elijah mentioned by Maluchi, the words of Gabriel to the Virgin Mary prove; Luke i. 17. And he (John) shall go before him (Christ) in the spirit and power of Eli jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, &c. and that his mi nistry was powerfully effectual for this purpose, we have already seen."

12. Knew him not] Or, ovx εmɩуywaаv avтov. They have not acknowledged him. That is, the Jewish rulers have not acknowledged him, did not receive him as the forerunner of the Messiah. But it appears that all the rest acknowledged him as such; and some from the power and demonstration of his preaching, were inclined to think he was more, even the Messiah himself: see Luke iii. 15.

13. Then the disciples understood] When he spoke of the sufferings of this prophetic Elijah, and also of his own, which had been the subject of the conversation on the mount, during the transfiguration; they clearly apprehended that he spoke of John the Baptist.

14. When they were come to the multitude] It appears that a congregation had been collected during our Lord's stay on the mount; how great must have been the desire of these peo ple to hear the words of Christ! The assembly is self-collected, and no delay on the preacher's side discourages them-they continue to wait for him: in the present day how rare is this zeal! how few, by the most pathetic invitation can be brought together, even at the most convenient times, to hear the saine doctrines, and to get their souls healed by the same wonder. working Christ!

Kneeling down to him] Or falling at his knees, youUKET WV,

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17 Then Jesus answered and said, bO faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you bring him hither to me.

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out!

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustardseed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impos

sible unto you.

21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

CA 4 Acts 10 H-b Mark 9. 19.- Ch 21. 21. Mark 11. 2). Luke 17. 6. C13 13, 2-4 Ch. 16 21. 29. 17. Mark 4, 31, & 9, 30, 31. & 10.32 Lk. $2,44 & 13 31. & 24. 6, 7. - Mark 9. 33.- Called in the original, didrachnia, The ancients consecrated the EAR to Memory; the FOREHEAD to Genius; the RIGHT HAND to Faith, and the KNEES to Mercy; hence those who entreated favour, fell at and touched the kness of the person whose kindness they supplicated.-See Wakefield's Commentary, and see the note on Exod. ix. 29. where the subject is largely explained.

15. My son is lunatic) LeAnviagerat. One who was most affected with his disorder at the change and full of the moon. See on chap. iv. 24. But this lunacy was occasioned by a demon, see ver. 18. and Mark ix. 17. Luke ix. 35. In this case, the devil intended to hide himself under the appearance of a natural disorder, that no supernatural means might be resorted to for his expulsion.-See a remarkable account on Luke ix. 39.

He foretells his death.

22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute 1

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon ? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

i

being in value fifteen pence. See Exod. 30. 13. & 39. 26 −g Exod. 30. 13. Gal. 4. 4. Heb. 15. Neh. 10. 32-h Rom. 14. 19. 1 Thess. 5. 22. 1 Cor. 8. 13.-i Or, a stater. it is half an ounce of silver, in value 2s. 6d. after the ounce.

gree of faith, is attributed here by our Lord, to that faith which is as a grain of mustard seed. However this may be there can be no doubt that our Lord, means, as BISHOP PEARCE well remarks, a thriving and increasing faith: which like the grain of mustard-seed, from being the least of seeds, becomes the greatest of all herbs, even a tree in whose branches the fowls of the air take shelter-See WAKEFIELD'S Comment, and the note on chap. xiii. 32.

Falleth ofttimes into the fire, and oft into the water.] The paroxysins of his disorder frequently recurred, and among his numerous falls, some were into the fire and some into the water: so that on this account, his life was in conopic, Syriac hieros., and in one copy of the Itala; but all the Unoal danger. Those who are under the influence of the devil, are often driven to extremes in every thing. Such are often driven into the fire of presumption, or the waters of de epair Satan takes advantage of our natural temper, state of health, and outward circumstances, to plague and ruin our

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16. Thy disciples-could not cure him] No wonder, when the cure must be effected by supernatural agency, and they had not faith enough to interest the power of God in their behalf, ver. 20. A spiritual disorder must have a spiritual remely: natural means, in such cases, signify just-nothing. 17. O faithless and perverse generation! These and the following words may be considered as spoken, 1. To the disciples, because of their unbelief, ver. 20. 2. To the father of the possessed, who should have brought his son to Christ. 3. To the whole multitude, who were slow of heart to believe in him as the Messiah, notwithstanding the miracles which he Wrought-See KYPKB.

Perverse, duorpаuuevn, signifies, 1. Such as are influenced by perverse opinions, which hinder them from receiving the truth: and, 2 Such as are profligate in their manners.-KYPAR This last expression could not have been addressed to the disciples, who were certainly saved from the corruption of the world; and whose minds had been lately divinely illuminated by what passed at and after the transfiguration: but at all times the expression was applicable to the Jewish people. 18 Jesus rebuked the devil Deprived him of all power to Lorient the child: and obliged him to abandon his present usurped habitation.

There are some souls whose cure God reserves to himself alone, and to whom all the applications of his ministers appear to be utterly ineffectual. He sometimes does all without them, that they may know they can never do any good without him. QUESNEL

19. Why could not we cast him out!] They were confound. ed at their want of success-but not at their want of faith, which was the cause of their miscarriage! When the minis. ters of the Gospel find their endeavours, with respect to some places or persons, ineffectual; they should come by private prayer to Christ, humble themselves before him, and beg to be informed whether some evil in themselves have not been the cause of the unfruitfulness of their labours.

2 Because of your unbelief] Are we preachers of the Ospel? Do the things of God rest upon our minds with a dep and steady conviction? Can we expect that a doctrine which we do not, from conviction, credit ourselves, can be instrumental in our hands of begetting faith in others So we preached, and so ye believed. The word preached, generally begets in the people the same spirit which the preacher Instead of anisiuv, unbelief; the famous Vatican M and Cod. Cyprivs, six others, Coptic, Ethiopic, Arinean, and Arabic, Origen and Chrysostom, read oliyonisiar, hiteness of faith. The disciples had some faith, but not enough-they believed, but not fully.

As a grain of mustard seed] Soine eminent critics think thes a proverbial expression, intimating a GREAT DEGREE Of faith, because removing mountains, which St Paul, 1 Cor. Ain. 2. attributes to AL FAITH, i. e. the greatest possible de

21. This kind goeth not out but by prayer, &c.] TOUTO TO yevus, this kind, some apply to the faith which should be exercised on the occasion, which goeth not out, doth not exert itself, but by prayer and fasting; but this interpretation is, in my opinion, far from solid. However, there is great difficulty in the text. The whole verse is wanting in the famous Va. tican MS. one of the most ancient and most authentic perhaps in the world; and in another one of Colbert's, written in the 11th or 12th century. It is wanting also in the Coptic, Ethi MSS. acknowledge it in the parallel place, Mark ix. 29. only the Vatican MS. leaves out via, fasting. I strongly suspect it to be an interpolation; but if it be, it is very ancient, as Origen, Chrysostom, and others of the primitive Fathers, ac knowledge it. But while candour obliges me to acknowledge that I cannot account for the fact here alleged, that a certain class or genus of demons cannot be expelled but by prayer and fasting, while others may be ejected without them; I can give a sense to the passage, which all my readers will easily understand, viz. that there are certain evil propensities in some persons, which, pampering the flesh, tends to nourish and strengthen; and that self-denial and fasting, accompanied by prayer to God, are the most likely means not only to mortify such propensities, but also to destroy them. For other remark able circumstances relative to this case, see the notes on Mark ix. 17, &c.

22. They abode in Galilee) Lower Galilee, where the city of Capernaum was.

The son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of menMeλAce-napadidoobai εis xeipas-The Son of man is about to be delivered into the hands, &c. I am fully of the mind of two eminent critics, Grotius and Wakefield, that rapadidooba should be here translated, delivered, or delivered up, not be trayed: and that the agency in this case, should be referred to God, not to Judas. Jesus was delivered up, by the counsel of God, to be an atonement for the sin of the world. See Acts iv. 27 and 28. Against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, to do what thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. Herod and Pontius Pilate-were gathered together.

23. They were exceeding sorry.] Since the conversation on the mount with Moses and Elijah, Peter, James, and John, could have no doubt that their Lord and Master must suffer and that it was for this end he came into the world: but while they submitted to the counsel of God, their affection for him caused them to feel exquisite distress.

24. They that received tribute] This was not a tax to be paid to the Roman government; but a tax for the support of the temple. The law, Exod. xxx. 13. obliged every male among the Jews to pay half a shekel yearly, for the support of the temple; and this was continued by them wherever dispersed, till after the time of Vespasian, see Josephus, WAR, book vii. c. 6. who ordered it afterwards to be paid into the Roman treasury. The word in the text, which is generally translated tribute-ra didpayna, signifies the didrachma, or two drachms. This piece of money was about the value of two Attic drachms, each equal to fifteen pence of our money. The, didrachina of the Septuagint, mentioned Exod. xxx. 13 was twice as heavy as the Attic, for it was equal to a whole shekel, this being the value of that piece of money at Alexandria, and the place where the Septuagint translation was made; for the half-shekel mentioned in the above passage, they render nulov toy did paxum, the half of a didrachma.

25. He saith, Yes.] From this reply of Peter, it is evident that our Lord customarily paid all taxes, tributes, &c. which were common among the people wherever he came. The children of God are subject to all civil laws in the places where they live-and should pay the taxes levied on them by

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public authority: and though any of these should be found unjust, THEY rebel not, as their business is not to reform the politics of nations, but the morals of the world.

the kingdom of heaven.

told it to our Lord and his brother disciples, lest the Jews might take occasion of jealousy from it, he was desired to tell the vision to no man." This is the substance of that strange explanation given by those learned men, to this extraordinary transaction; a mode of interpretation only calculated to sup port that system, which makes it an important point to deny and decry all supernatural and miraculous influence, and te explain away all the spirituality of the New Testament. Whatever ingenuity may be in this pretended elucidation, every unprejudiced person must see that it can never be brought to accord with the letter, and concomitant circumstan ces of this most remarkable case.

25. Then are the children free.] As this money is levied for the support of that temple, of which I ain Lord, then I am not obliged to pay the tax; and my disciples, like the priests that minister, should be exempted from the necessity of paying. 27. Lest we offend them] Be a stumbling-block to the priests, or rulers of the Jews, I will pay the tribute,go thou to the sea-cast a hook, and take the first fish-thou shalt find a piece of money, orarnpa, a stater. This piece of money was equal, in value to four drachms, or two shekels, (five shillings of our money) and consequently was sufficient to pay the tribute for 2. The cure of the deaf and dumb matic, has been treated, our Lord and Peter, which amounted to about half-a-crown by the same critics, in nearly the same way, and for the same each. If the stater was in the mouth or belly of the fish be- obvious desigu, namely, to exclude from the world all superfore, who can help admiring the wisdom of Christ that disco- natural agency; and could they succeed in this, of what ralue, vered it there? If it was not before in the month of the fish, or indeed, utility, could the whole New Testament be to manwho can help admiring the power of Christ, that impelled the kind? We might be well agonished to find such a history, fish to go where the stater had been lost in the bottom of the with such a great variety of curious, and apparently interest. sea, take it up, come towards the shore where Peter was fishing circumstances:-a wondrous person, fabouring, preaching, and, with the stater in its mouth or stomach, catch holding, sudering, dying, &c. &c. without having scarcely any of the hook that was to draw it out of the water? But suppose thing in view, but a sort of merely moral reformation of the there was no stater there, which is as likely as otherwis, outward man! Truly, this then Jesus created it for the purpose, and here his Omnipo tence was shown; for to make a thing exist that did not exist before, is an act of unlimited power, however small the thing itself may be.

The account of the transfiguration, the peculiar case of the iunatic, with his cure, and the miracle wrought to pay the tribute money, render this one of the most interesting and instructive chapters in the New Testament.

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"Is like an ocean into tempest toss'd,

To waft a feather, or to drown a fly" But the truth of God's miraculous interpositions, the miracles of the New Testament, demoniacal possessions and influence, the atonement, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the regene ration of the corrupted human heart, &c. &c. must not be gi to please a certain description of persons, who have no commerce with God themselves, and cannot bear that others should either have or pretend to it.

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3. The miracle wrought for the paying of the temple-tribute money, is exceedingly remarkable.

2. To show forth his own unlimited power and knowledge, that they might be fully convinced that he knew all things, even to the most minute, and could do whatsoever he pleased, and that both his wisdom and power were continually inte rested in behalf of his true disciples.

1. To what has already been said on the subject of the trans. figuration, nothing need be added: I have given that sense to it which the circumstances of the case, the construction of the words, and the analogy of faith, warrant. That others have i The note ou ver. 27. brings this particularly to view. To understood the whole transaction differently, is readily grant- what is there said, it may be added, that our Lord seems to have ed Some of the foreign critics who are also called Divines, wrought this miracle for the following purposes: 1. More for. have stripped it, by their mode of interpretation, of all its cibly to impress the minds of his disciples, and his followers strength, use, and meaning. With them it is thus to be un-in general, with the necessity and propriety of being subject derstood:-"Jesus, with his disciples Peter, James, and John, to all the laws of the different states, kingdoms, &c. wheresowent by night into a mountain, for the purpose of prayer and ever the providence of God might cast their lot. meditation; while thus engaged, the animal spirits of the dis ciples were overcome by watching and fatigue, and they fell asleep-in this sleep they dreamed, or Peter only dreamed, that he saw his Master encompassed with a glorious light, and that Moses and Elijah were conversing with him. That early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, there happened some electric or thunder-like explosions, (a thing not unfrequent near some mountains) by which the disciples were suddenly awoke; that Peter, whose mind was strongly impressed with his dream, seeing the rising sun shine gloriously upon his Master, and his strongly impressed senses calling to remembrance his late vision, he for a moment imagined he saw, not only the glory of which he had dreamed, but the persons also-Moses and Elijah-still standing on the mount with Christ: that not being as yet sufficiently awake, finding the images impressed on his imagination fleeting away with his returning exercise of reason, he cried out before he was aware, Lord! it is good for us to be here, let us make three tabernacles, &c. but in a short time, having recovered the regular use of his senses, he perceived that it was a dream; and having

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3. To teach all believers a firm trust and reliance on Divine Providence, the sources of which can never be exhausted; and which, directed by infinite wisdom and love, will make every provision essentially requisite for the comfort and support of life. How many of the poor followers of Christ have been enabled to discern his kind hand even in the means fur. nished them to discharge the taxes laid on them by the state! The profane and the unprincipled may deride, and mock on, but the people of God know it to be their duty and their interest to be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; and while his grace and providence render this obedi ence, in things both spiritual and secular, possible, his love, which their hearts feel, renders their duty their delight. The accomplishment of such ends as these, is worthy both of the wisdom and benevolence of Christ.

CHAPTER XVIII.

The disciples inquiring who should be greatest in Christ's kingdom, 1. He takes occasion to recommend humility, simplicity, and disinterestedness, 2-6. Warns them against offences, 7. Recommends mortification and self denial, 8, 9. Charges them to avoid giving offence, 10, 11. Parable of him icho has lost one sheep out of his flock consisting of one hundred,12-14. How to deal with an offending brother, 15-18. A gracious promise to social prayer, 19, 20. How often an offending brother who expresses sorrow, and promises amendment, is to be forgiven, 21, 22. The parable of the king, who calls his ser pants to account, and finds one who owed him ten thousand talents, who, being unable to pay, and imploring mercy, is forgiven, 23-27. Of the same person, who treated his fellow servant unmercifully, who owed him but a small sum, 28-30 Of the punishment inflicted on this unmerciful servant, 31–35. [A. M. 4032. A. D. 28. An. Olymp. CCI. 4.] Tthe same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

A

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

a Mark 9.33 Luke 9. 46. & 22. 4.-b Chap 24. 45. Ch. 2. 20, &c. Mark 10. 37. Acts 1. 6.

NOTES.-Verse 1. At the same time] Or hour; but wpa is frequently used to signify some particular time: however, in stead of wo, three MSS. all the Itala but four, and Origen, read nuepa, day. Origen says both readings were extant in MSS. in his time.

Who is the greatest! Could these disciples have viewed the kingdom of Christ in any other light than that of a temporal one? Hence they wished to know whom he would make his prime minister,-whom his general-whom his chief chancelfor-whom supreme judge, &c. &c. Is it he who first became thy disciple, or he who is thy nearest relative, or he who has most frequently entertained thee, or he who is the oldest, merely as to years? Could this inquiry have proceeded from any but the nine disciples, who had not witnessed our Lord's transfiguration? Peter, James, and John, were surely more spiritual in their views! And yet how soon did even these forget that his kingdom was not of this world! See Mark x. 35, &c. John xrili. 10, &c. The disciples having lately seen

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the king. don of heaven.

4 d Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this litc Psa. 131. 2. Ch. 19. 14. Mark 10. 14. Luke 18. 1 1 Cor. 14. 20. 1 Pet. 2. 2d Ch.20. 27. & 23. 11.

the keys delivered to Peter, and found that he, with James and John, had been privileged with being present at the transfiguration, it is no wonder if a measure of jealousy and sus picion begun to work in their minds. From this inquiry we may also learn that the disciples had no notion of Peter's supremacy; nor did they understand, as the Roman Catholics will have it, that Christ had constituted him their head, either by the conversation mentioned chap. xvi. 18, 19. or by the art mentioned in the conclusion of the preceding chapter. Had they thought that any such superiority had been designed, their present question must have been extremely impertinent. Let this be observed.

2. A little child] But this child could walk, for he called him to him. Nicephorus says, this was Ignatius, who was after wards bishop of Antioch, and suffered inartyrdom under, and by command of, the Roman emperor Trajan, in the 107th year of our Lord. But this good father is not much to be de pended on, being both weak and credulous

Necessity of self-denial.

CHAPTER XVIII.

the child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the

sea.

7 Wo unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but wo to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

Luke 17. 1, 2- Luke 17.1. 1 Ch 2 Luke 9. 4-6 Mark 9 42 1119-754-ech, 29, 4 Mar 9, 43, 45.

1 Cor.

3. Except ye he converted] Unless ye be saved from those prejudices which are at present so baneful to your nation, (seeking a temporal and not a spiritual kingdom) unless ye be clothed with the spirit of humility ye cannot enter into the spirit, design, and privileges of my spiritual and eternal kingdom. The name of this kingdom shall put you in mind of its nature.-1. The KING is heavenly; 2. His SUBJECTS are heuTenly-minded; 3. Their coUNTRY is heavenly, for they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth; 4. The GOVERNMENT of this kingdom is wholly spiritual and divine. See on eh. iii. 2. And become as little children] i. e. Be as truly without worldly ambition, and the lust of power, as little children are, who act among themselves as if all were equal.

4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself] So grent is the disparity between the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of this world, that there is no way of rising to honours in the former, but by humility of mind, and continual self-abase

inent.

The lost sheep.

9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from
thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, ra-
ther than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones;
for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always
behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11 h For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? If a man have a 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}
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto yon, He re
went not astray.
joiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which

[ Psa. 31. 7. Zeeb. 13. 7. Heb. 1. 14.- Eeth. 1. 14. Luke 1. 19.-h Luke 9. 56. & 19. 10. John 3. 17. & 12. 47.-i Luke 15. 4.

Always behold the face] Hence, among the Jews, the angels were styled DD malakey panim, angels of the face, and Michael is said to be ensar ha panim, the prince of the face. This is an allusion to the privilege granted by eastern monarchs to their chief favourites; a privilege which others were never permitted to enjoy. The seven princes of Media and Persia, who were the chief favourites and privy counsel. lors of Ahasuerus, are said to see the king's face. Esth. i. 14. see also 2 Kings xxv. 19. and Jerem. li. 25. Our Lord's words give us to understand, that humble-hearted, childlike disci. ples, are objects of his peculiar care, and constant attention. The clause ev ovpavos, in the heavens, is wanting in several MSS., Versions, and Fathers.

11. For the son of man, &c.] This is added, as a second reason, why no injury should be done to his followers. The Son of man has so loved them, as to come into the world to lay down his life for them."

That which was lost] Aroλwλos. In Rev. ix. 11. Satan is The same is greatest] Thus our Lord shows them, that called AroλAvov, Apollon, the destroyer, or, him who lays they were all equal, and that there could be no superiority waste. This naine bears a near relation to that state in which among them, but what must come from the deepest humility: our Lord tells us he finds all mankind,-lost, desolated, ruined. But the Son he intimates also, that wherever this principle should be-So it appears that Satan and men have the nearest affinity found, it would save its possessor from seeking worldly ho- to each other-as, the destroyer and the destroyed,-the deso nours of earthly profits, and from seeking to be a ruler over later and the desolated,-the loser and the lost. of man came to save the lost. Glorious news! may every lost his brethren, or a lord in God's heritage. soul feel it! This verse is omitted by five MSS., two Versions, and three of the Fathers; but of its authenticity there can be no doubt, as it is found in the parallel place, Luke xix. 10. on which verse there is not a single various reading found in any of the MSS. that have ever been discovered, nor in any of the

5. One such little child) As our Lord in the preceding verses considers a little child an emblem of a genuine disciple, so by the term in this verse, he means a disciple only. "Whosoever will receive, i. e. show unto such a childlike, unambitious disciple of mine, any act of kindness for my sake, I will consider it as done to myself."

6. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones] But on the contrary, whosoever shall cause one of the least of those who believe in me to be stumbled--to go into the spirit of the world, or give way to sin,-such an one shall meet with the nost exemplary punishinent.

Let those who act the part of the devil, in tempting others to sin, bear this declaration of our Lord, and tremble.

A millstone Medes oviros, an ass's millstone, because in ancient times, before the invention of wind and water mills, the stones were turned soinetimes by slaves, but commonly by asser or mules.

ancient Versions.

12. Doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains] So our common translation reads the verse; others, Doth he not leave the ninety and nine UPON THE MOUNTAINS, and go, &c. This latter reading appears to me to be the best; because in Luke xv. 4. it is said, he leaveth the ninety and nine IN THE DESERT. The allusion, therefore, is to a shepherd feeding his sheep on the mountains, in the desert; not seeking the lost one on the mountains.

Leaving the ninety and nine, and seeking the ONE strayed sheep:-This was a very common form of speech among the Jews, and includes no mystery, though there are some who imagine that our Lord refers to the angels who kept not their first estate, and that they are in number to men as NINETYNINE are to ONE. But it is likely that our Lord in this place only alludes to his constant solicitude to instruct, heal, and save those simple people of the sea-coasts, country villages, &c. who were scattered abroad, as sheep without a shepherd, (ch. ix. 36.) the scribes and Pharisees paying no attention to their present or eternal well-being. This may be also considered as a lesson of instruction and comfort to backsliders.

Drowned in the depth of the sea] It is supposed that in Zyria, as well as in Greece, this mode of punishing criminals was practised; especially in cases of parricide, and when a person was devoted to destruction for the public safety, as In cases of plague, famine, &c. That this was the custom in Greece, we learn from the Scholiast on the Equites of Aris. sophanes. Όταν γαρ κατεποντούν τινας, βάρος από των τραχήλων εκμέμων. When a person was drowned, they hung a weight, CompBOXOR MOV, Suidas) a vast stone about his neck. See the ancient Scholia upon the Equites, lin. 1360. and Suidas, in-How hardly does Christ give them up! υπερβολον λίθον. We find also that it was a positive institute of the ancient Hindoo law. "If a woman," says the precept, "cause any person to take poison, sets fire to any per son's house, or murders a man, then the magistrate, having Sound a stone to her neck, shall drown her."-Halhead's Code of Gentoo laws, 4to edition, page 306. It is the opinion of some eminent 7. Woor, alas! ovai. critics, that this word is ever used by our Lord to express wympathy and concern.

Because of offences] Scandals; stumbling blocks, persecutions, &c.

For it must needs be that offences come] Avaуkп yap 851 After Ta oxavdada, for the coming of offences is unavoidable. Such is the wickedness of men, such their obstinacy, that they will not come unto Christ that they may have life, but desperately continue deceiving and being deceived. In such a state of things, offences, stumbling-blocks, persecutions, &c. are unavoidable.

Wo to that man] He who gives the offence, and he who receives it, are both exposed to ruin.

8 and 9. If thy hand, &c.] See the notes on chap. v. 29, 30. 10. One of these title ones] One of my simple, loving, humble disciples.

Their angels-always behold] Our Lord here not only alIndes to, but in my opinion establishes the notion received by almost all nations, viz. That every person has a guardian angel, and that these have always access to God, to receive orders relative to the management of their charge. See Psal. xxxiv. 8. Heb. i. 14.

13. He rejoiceth more] It is justly observed by one on this verse, that it is natural for a person to express unusual joy at the fortunate accomplishment of an unexpected event.

14. It is not the will of your Father] If any soul be finally lost, it is not because God's will or counsel was against its salvation, or that a proper provision had not been made for it; but that though light came into the world, it preferred darkness to light, because of its attachment to its evil deeds.

15. If thy brother] Any who is a member of the same religious society, sin against thee. 1. Go and reprove him alone -it may be in person; if that cannot be so well done, by thy messenger: or in writing (which in many cases is likely to be the most effectual.) Observe, our Lord gives no liberty to omit this, or to exchange it for either of the following steps. If this do not succeed,

16. 2. Take with thee one or two more] Men whom he es teems, who may then confirm and enforce what thou sayest; and afterward, if need require, bear witness of what was spoken. If even this do not succeed, then, and not before,

17. 3. Tell it unto the church] Lay the whole matter before a congregation of Christian believers, in that place of which he is a member, or, before the minister and elders, as the re presentatives of the church or assembly; if all this avail not, then,

Let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican] To whom thou art, as a Christian, to owe earnest and persever. ing good will, and acts of kindness; but have no religious communion with him, till, if he have been convicted, he ucknowledge his fault. Whosoever follows this threefold rule,

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