GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE.
Verses 1, 2. This short, weighty, artless, candid dedication,
belongs to the Acts, as well as the Gospel of St. Luke.
Many have undertaken-He does not mean St. Matthew or Mark; and
St. John did not write so early. For these were eye witnesses
themselves and ministers of the word.
2. See note ... "Lu 1:1"
3. To write in order-St. Luke describes in order of time; first,
The Acts of Christ; his conception, birth, childhood, baptism,
miracles, preaching, passion, resurrection, ascension: then,
The Acts of the Apostles. But in many smaller circumstances he
does not observe the order of time. Most excellent Theophilus
-This was the appellation usually given to Roman governors.
Theophilus (as the ancients inform us) was a person of eminent
quality at Alexandria. In # Acts 1:1, St. Luke does not give
him that title. He was then probably a private man.
After the preface St. Luke gives us the history of Christ, from
his coming into the world to his ascension into heaven.
HEREIN WE MAY OBSERVE,
I. The beginning: and therein.
1. The conception of John............................. Chap. i, 5-25
2. The conception of Christ................................... 26-56
3. The birth and circumcision of John; the hymn of Zacharias;
the youth of John......................................... 57-80
4. Christ's birth.......................................... ii, 1-20
Christ's circumcision and name................................ 21
Presentation in the temple................................ 22-38
Country and growth........................................ 39,40
II. The middle, when he was twelve years old and upward........... 41-52
III. The course of the history.
A. The introduction, wherein are described John the Baptist;
Christ's baptism, and temptation.................. iii, iv, 1-13
B. The acceptable year in Galilee,
d. Proposed at Nazareth..................................... 14-30
b. Actually exhibited,
I. At Capernaum and near it; here we may observe,
1. Actions not censured, while Jesus
1. Teaches with authority................................... 31,32
2. Casts out a devil........................................ 33-37
3. Heals many sick.......................................... 38-41
4. Teaches every where...................................... 42-44
5. Calls Peter; then James and John................. Chap. v, 1-11
6. Cleanses the leper....................................... 12-16
2. Actions censured, more and more severally, here occur,
1. The healing the paralytic................................ 17-26
2. The calling of Levi; eating with publicans and sinners... 27-32
3. The question concerning fasting.......................... 33-39
4. The plucking the ears of corn.......................... vi, 1-5
5. The withered hand restored; snares laid................... 6-11
3. Actions having various effects on various persons,
1. Upon the apostles........................................ 12-16
2. Upon other hearers....................................... 17-40
3. Upon the centurion................................... vii, 1-10
4. Upon the disciples of John,
The occasion: the young man raised....................... 11-17
The message and answer................................... 18-23
The reproof of them that believed not John............... 24-35
5. Upon Simon and the penitent sinner....................... 36-50
6. Upon the woman who ministered to him................. viii, 1-3
7. Upon the people........................................... 4-18
Upon his mother and brethren............................. 19-21
II. On the sea, and............................................... 22-26
Beyond it.................................................... 27-39
III. On this side again.
1. Jairus and the flux of blood............................. 40-55
2. The apostles sent...................................... ix, 1-6
3. Herod's doubting........................................... 7-9
4. The relation of the apostles................................ 10
5. The earnestness of the people; our Lord's benignity;
five thousand fed........................................ 11-17
C. The preparation for his passion,
a. A recapitulation of the doctrine concerning his person:
his passion foretold..................................... 18-27
b. His transfiguration; the lunatic healed; his passion
again foretold; humility enjoined........................ 28-50
c. His last journey to Jerusalem, which we may divide
into eighteen intervals,
1. The inhospitable Samaritans borne with.................... 51-57
2. In the way, improper followers repelled,
Proper ones pressed forward............................... 58-62
3. Afterward the seventy sent; and received again.......... x, 1-24
And the scribe taught to love his neighbour, by the
example of the good Samaritan............................ 25-37
4. In Bethany, Mary preferred before Martha.................. 38-42
5. In a certain place the disciples taught to pray........ xi, 1-13
A devil cast out, and the action defended................. 14-26
The acclamation of the woman corrected.................... 27,28
Those who desire a sign reproved.......................... 29-36
6. In a certain house, the scribes and Pharisees censured.... 37-54
7. Our Lord's discourse to his disciples................. xii, 1-12
To one that interrupts him............................. 13-21
To his disciples again................................. 22-40
To Peter............................................... 41-53
To the people.......................................... 54-59
8. The necessity of repentance shown..................... xiii, 1-9
A woman healed on the Sabbath............................. 10-21
9. The fewness of them that are saved........................ 22-30
10. Herod termed a fox: Jerusalem reproved.................... 31-35
11. In the Pharisee's house, he cures the dropsy on the
Sabbath; and.......................................... xiv, 1-6
Teaches humility........................................... 7-11
The nature of the great supper......................... 15-24
The necessity of self denial........................... 25-35
12. Joy over repenting sinners defended, and......... Chap. xv, 1-10
Illustrated by the story of the prodigal son.............. 11-32
The unjust steward, wise in his generation............ xvi, 1-13
The Pharisees reproved; and warned by the story of........ 14-18
the rich man and Lazarus................................. 19-31
Cautions against scandals............................. xvii, 1-4
The faith of the apostles increased........................ 5-10
13. In the confines of Samaria and Galilee he heals ten lepers.11-19
14. Answers the question concerning the time when the kingdom
of God should come....................................... 20-37
Commends constant prayer............................. xviii, 1-8
Recommends humility by the story of the Pharisee and
15. Blesses little children................................... 15-17
Answers the rich young man................................ 18-27
And Peter, asking what he should have..................... 28-30
16. Foretells his passion a third time........................ 31-34
17. Near Jericho, cures a blind man........................... 35-42
18. In Jericho, brings salvation to Zaccheus.............. xix, 1-10
Answers touching the sudden appearance of his kingdom..... 11-28
D. Transactions at Jerusalem,
a. The four first days of the great week,
1. His royal entry......................................... 29-44
2. The abuse of the temple corrected....................... 45,46
Its use restored, and.................................. 47,48
Vindicated........................................... xx, 1-8
3. His discourses in the temple,
1. The parable of the husbandmen.......................... 9-19
2. The answer concerning paying tribute.................. 20-26
And the resurrection.................................. 27-40
3. The question concerning the Son of David.............. 41-44
4. The disciples admonished.............................. 45-47
5. The poor widow's offering commended................ xxi, 1-4
4. His prediction of the end of the temple, the city,
and the world.......................................... 5-38
5. Judas's agreement with the chief priests............ xxii, 1-6
1. Peter and John prepare the passover...................... 7-13
2. The Lord's Supper: discourse after it................... 14-23
3. The dispute, which of them was greatest................. 24-30
4. Peter, and the other apostles warned.................... 31-38
5. On the mount of Olives,
1. Jesus prays; is in an agony; strengthened by an angel;
wakes his disciples.................................. 39-46
2. Is betrayed; unseasonably defended.................... 47-53
3. Carried to the high priest's house....................... 54
Denied by Peter....................................... 55-62
1. His passion and death: transactions,
1. In the council........................................ 66-71
2. With Pilate...................................... xxiii, 1-5
3. With Herod............................................. 6-12
4. With Pilate again..................................... 13-25
5. In the way............................................ 26-32
6. At Golgotha, where,
The crucifixion itself, and Jesus's prayer........... 33,34
His garments parted..................................... 34
Scoffs: the inscription on the cross................. 35-39
The penitent thief................................... 40-43
The prodigies, and the death of Jesus................ 44-46
The beholders of it.................................. 47-49
2. His burial.............................................. 50-53
d. Friday evening and Saturday............................... 54-56
e. His resurrection made known,
1. To the women................................. Chap. xxiv, 1-12
2. To the two going into the country, and to Peter......... 13-35
3. To the other apostles................................... 36-45
f. The instructions given his apostles: his ascension........ 46-53
5. The course of Abia-The priests were divided into twenty-four
courses, of which that of Abia was the eighth, # 1Ch 24:10.
Each course ministered in its turn, for seven days, from Sabbath
to Sabbath. And each priest of the course or set in waiting, had
his part in the temple service assigned him by lot.
6. Walking in all the moral commandments, and ceremonial
ordinances, blameless-How admirable a character! May our
behaviour be thus unblamable, and our obedience thus sincere
10. The people were praying without, at the time of the incense
-So the pious Jews constantly did. And this was the foundation
of that elegant figure, by which prayer is in Scripture so often
compared to incense. Perhaps one reason of ordaining incense
might be, to intimate the acceptableness of the prayer that
accompanied it; as well as to remind the worshippers of that
sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, which was once to be offered
to God for them, and of that incense, which is continually offered
with the prayers of the saints, upon the golden altar that is
before the throne,
# Rev 8:3,4.
12. Zacharias was troubled-Although he was accustomed to converse
with God, yet we see he was thrown into a great consternation, at
the appearance of his angelical messenger, nature not being able
to sustain the sight. Is it not then an instance of the goodness
is well as of the wisdom of God, that the services, which these
heavenly spirits render us, are generally invisible?
13. Thy prayer is heard-Let us observe with pleasure, that the
prayers of pious worshippers come up with acceptance before God;
to whom no costly perfume is so sweet, as the fragrancy of an
upright heart. An answer of peace was here returned, when the
case seemed to be most helpless. Let us wait patiently for the
Lord, and leave to his own wisdom the time and manner wherein he
will appear for us. Thou shalt call his name John-John signifies
the grace or favour of Jehovah. A name well suiting the person,
who was afterward so highly in favour with God, and endued with
abundance of grace; and who opened a way to the most glorious
dispensation of grace in the Messiah's kingdom. And so
Zacharias's former prayers for a child, and the prayer which he,
as the representative of the people, was probably offering at
this very time, for the appearing of the Messiah, were remarkably
answered in the birth of his forerunner.
15. He shall be great before the Lord-God the Father: of the Holy
Ghost and the Son of God mention is made immediately after. And
shall drink neither wine nor strong drink-Shall be exemplary for
abstemiousness and self-denial; and so much the more filled with
the Holy Ghost.
16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn-None
therefore need be ashamed of "preaching like John the Baptist."
To the Lord their God-To Christ.
17. He shall go before him, Christ, in the power and spirit of
Elijah-With the same integrity, courage, austerity, and fervour,
and the same power attending his word: to turn the hearts of the
fathers to the children-To reconcile those that are at variance,
to put an end to the most bitter quarrels, such as are very
frequently those between the nearest relations: and the hearts
of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just-And the most
obstinate sinners to true wisdom, which is only found among them
that are righteous before God.
18. Zacharias said, Whereby shall I know this?-In how different
a spirit did he blessed virgin say, How shall this be? Zacharias
disbelieved the fact: Mary had no doubt of the thing; but only
inquired concerning the manner of it.
19. I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God-Seven angels
thus stand before God, # Rev 7:2; who seem the highest of all.
There seems to be a remarkable gradation in the words, enhancing
the guilt of Zacharias's unbelief. As if he had said, I am Gabriel,
a holy angel of God: yea, one of the highest order. Not only so,
but am now peculiarly sent from God; and that with a message to
thee in particular. Nay, and to show thee glad tidings, such as
ought to be received with the greatest joy and readiness.
20. Thou shalt be dumb-The Greek word signifies deaf, as well as
dumb: and it seems plain, that he was as unable to hear, as he
was to speak; for his friends were obliged to make signs to him,
that he might understand them, # Lu 1:62.
21. The people were waiting-For him to come and dismiss them
(as usual) with the blessing.
24. Hid herself-She retired from company, that she might have the
more leisure to rejoice and bless God for his wonderful mercy.
25. He looked upon me to take away my reproach-Barrenness was a
great reproach among the Jews. Because fruitfulness was promised
to the righteous.
26. In the sixth month-After Elisabeth had conceived.
27. Espoused-It was customary among the Jews, for persons that
married to contract before witnesses some time before. And as
Christ was to be born of a pure virgin, so the wisdom of God
ordered it to be of one espoused, that to prevent reproach he
might have a reputed father, according to the flesh.
28. Hail, thou highly favoured; the Lord is with thee; blessed
art thou among women-Hail is the salutation used by our Lord to
the women after his resurrection: thou art highly favoured, or
hast found favour with God,
# Lu 1:30, is no more than was said of Noah, Moses, and David.
The Lord is with thee,
was said to Gideon, # Jud 6:12;
and blessed shall she be above women,
of Jael, # Jud 5:24.
This salutation gives no room for any pretence of paying adoration
to the virgin; as having no appearance of a prayer, or of worship
offered to her.
32. He shall be called the Son of the Highest-In this respect
also: and that in a more eminent sense than any, either man or
angel, can be called so. The Lord shall give him the throne of
his father David-That is, the spiritual kingdom, of which
David's was a type.
33. He shall reign over the house of Jacob-In which all true
believers are included.
35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the
Highest shall overshadow thee-The power of God was put forth by
the Holy Ghost, as the immediate Divine agent in this work: and
so he exerted the power of the Highest as his own power, who
together with the Father and the Son is the most high God.
Therefore also-Not only as he is God from eternity, but on this
account likewise he shall be called the Son of God.
36. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth-Though Elisabeth was of
the house of Aaron, and Mary of the house of David, by the
fathers side, they might be related by their mothers. For
the law only forbad heiresses marrying into another tribe.
And so other persons continually intermarried; particularly
the families of David and of Levi.
38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord-It is not
improbable, that this time of the virgin's humble faith, consent,
and expectation, might be the very time of her conceiving.
39. A city of Judah-Probably Hebron, which was situated in the
hill country of Judea, and belonged to the house of Aaron.
41. When Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary-The discourse
with which she saluted her, giving an account of what the angel
had said, the joy of her soul so affected her body, that the
very child in her womb was moved in an uncommon manner, as if
it leaped for joy.
45. Happy is she that believed-Probably she had in her mind the
unbelief of Zacharias.
46. And Mary said-Under a prophetic impulse, several things,
which perhaps she herself did not then fully understand.
47. My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour-She seems to turn
her thoughts here to Christ himself, who was to be born of her,
as the angel had told her, he should be the Son of the Highest,
whose name should be Jesus, the Saviour. And she rejoiced in hope
of salvation through faith in him, which is a blessing common to
all true believers, more than in being his mother after the flesh,
which was an honour peculiar to her. And certainly she had the
same reason to rejoice in God her Saviour hat we have: because he
had regarded the low estate of his handmaid, in like manner as he
regarded our low estate; and vouchsafed to come and save her and
us, when we were reduced to the lowest estate of sin and misery.
51. He hath wrought strength with his arm-That is, he hath shown
the exceeding greatness of his power. She speaks prophetically
of those things as already done, which God was about to do by the
Messiah. He hath scattered the proud-Visible and invisible.
52. He hath put down the mighty-Both angels and men.
54. He hath helped his servant Israel-By sending the Messiah.
55. To his seed-His spiritual seed: all true believers.
56. Mary returned to her own house-And thence soon after to
60. His mother said-Doubtless by revelation, or a particular
impulse from God.
66. The hand of the Lord-The peculiar power and blessing of God.
67. And Zacharias prophesied-Of things immediately to follow.
But it is observable, he speaks of Christ chiefly; of John only,
as it were, incidentally.
69. A horn-Signifies honour, plenty, and strength. A horn of
salvation-That is, a glorious and mighty Saviour.
70. His prophets, who have been since the world began-For there
were prophets from the very beginning.
74. To serve him without fear-Without any slavish fear. Here is
the substance of the great promise. That we shall be always
holy, always happy: that being delivered from Satan and sin,
from every uneasy and unholy temper, we shall joyfully love and
serve God, in every thought, word, and work.
76. And thou, child-He now speaks to John; yet not as a parent,
but as a prophet.
77. To give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins-The
knowledge of the remission of our sins being the grand instrument
of present and eternal salvation, # Heb 8:11,12. But the
immediate sense of the words seems to be, to preach to them the
Gospel doctrine of salvation by the remission of their sins.
78. The day spring-Or the rising sun; that is, Christ.
II. 1. That all the world should be enrolled-That all the
inhabitants, male and female, of every town in the Roman empire,
with their families and estates, should be registered.
2. When Cyrenius was governor of Syria-When Publius Sulpicius
Quirinus governed the province of Syria, in which Judea was
6. And while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she
should be delivered-Mary seems not to have known that the child
must have been born in Bethlehem, agreeably to the prophecy.
But the providence of God took care for it.
7. She laid him in the manger-Perhaps it might rather be
translated in the stall. They were lodged in the ox stall,
fitted up on occasion of the great concourse, for poor guests.
There was no room for them in the inn-Now also, there is seldom
room for Christ in an inn. # Mt 1:25
11. To you-Shepherds; Israel; mankind.
14. Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will
toward men-The shouts of the multitude are generally broken into
short sentences. This rejoicing acclamation strongly represents
the piety and benevolence of these heavenly spirits: as if they
had said, Glory be to God in the highest heavens: let all the
angelic legions resound his praises. For with the Redeemer's
birth, peace, and all kind of happiness, come down to dwell on
earth: yea, the overflowings of Divine good will and favour are
now exercised toward men.
20. For all the things that they had heard-From Mary; as it was
told them-By the angels.
21. To circumcise the child-That he might visibly be made under
the law by a sacred rite, which obliged him to keep the whole
law; as also that he might be owned to be the seed of Abraham,
and might put an honour on the solemn dedication of children to God.
22. The days-The forty days prescribed,
# Lev 12:2,4.
23. # Exo 13:2.
24. A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons-This offering
sufficed for the poor. # Lev 12:8.
25. The consolation of Israel-A common phrase for the Messiah,
who was to be the everlasting consolation of the Israel of God.
The Holy Ghost was upon him-That is, he was a prophet.
27. By the Spirit-By a particular revelation or impulse from him.
30. Thy salvation-Thy Christ, thy Saviour.
32. And the glory of thy people Israel-For after the Gentiles
are enlightened, all Israel shall be saved.
33. Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were
spoken-For they did not thoroughly understand them.
34. Simeon blessed them-Joseph and Mary. This child is set for
the fall and rising again of many-That is, he will be a savour
of death to some, to unbelievers: a savour of life to others, to
believers: and for a sign which shall be spoken against-A sign
from God, yet rejected of men: but the time for declaring this
at large was not yet come: that the thoughts of many hearts may
be revealed-The event will be, that by means of that contradiction,
the inmost thoughts of many, whether good or bad, will be made
35. A sword shall pierce through thy own soul-So it did, when
he suffered: particularly at his crucifixion.
37. Fourscore and four years-These were the years of her life,
not her widowhood only. Who departed not from the temple-Who
attended there at all the stated hours of prayer. But served
God with fastings and prayers-Even at that age. Night and day
-That is, spending therein a considerable part of the night, as
well as of the day.
38. To all that were waiting for redemption-The sceptre flow
appeared to he departing from Judah, though it was not actually
gone: Daniel's weeks were plainly near their period. And the
revival of the spirit of prophecy, together with the memorable
occurrences relating to the birth of John the Baptist, and of
Jesus, could not but encourage and quicken the expectation of
pious persons at this time.
Let the example of these aged saints animate those, whose hoary
heads, like theirs, are a crown of glory, being found in the way
of righteousness. Let those venerable lips, so soon to be silent
in the grave, be now employed in the praises of their Redeemer.
Let them labour to leave those behind, to whom Christ will be as
precious as he has been to them; and who will be waiting for God's
salvation, when they are gone to enjoy it.
40. And the child grew-In bodily strength and stature; and waxed
strong in spirit-The powers of his human mind daily improved;
filled with wisdom-By the light of the indwelling Spirit, which
gradually opened itself in his soul; and the grace of God was
upon him-That is, the peculiar favour of God rested upon him,
even as man.
43. The child Jesus-St. Luke describes in order Jesus
the fruit of the womb,
# Lu 1:42;
# Lu 2:12;
a little child,
# Lu 2:40;
here, and afterward
So our Lord passed through and sanctified every stage of human
life. Old age only did not become him.
44. Supposing him to have been in the company-As the men and
women usually travelled in distinct companies.
46. After three days-The first day was spent in their journey,
the second, in their return to Jerusalem: and the third, in
searching for him there: they found him in the temple-In an
apartment of it: sitting in the midst of the doctors-Not one
word is said of his disputing with them, but only of his asking
and answering questions, which was a very usual thing in these
assemblies, and indeed the very end of them. And if he was,
with others, at the feet of these teachers (where learners
generally sat) he might be said to be in the midst of them, as
they sat on benches of a semicircular form, raised above their
hearers and disciples.
49. Why sought ye me?-He does not blame them for losing, but for
thinking it needful to seek him: and intimates, that he could not
be lost, nor found any where, but doing the will of a higher parent.
50. It is observable that Joseph is not mentioned after this
time; whence it is probable, he did not live long after.
52. Jesus increased in wisdom-As to his human nature, and in
favour with God-In proportion to that increase. It plainly
follows, that though a man were pure, even as Christ was pure,
still he would have room to increase in holiness, and in
consequence thereof to increase in the favour, as well as in
the love of God.
III. 1. The fifteenth year of Tiberius-Reckoning from the time
when Angustus made him his colleague in the empire. Herod being
tetrarch of Galilee-The dominions of Herod the Great were, after
his death, divided into four parts or tetrarchies. This Herod
his son was tetrarch of Galilee, reigning over that fourth part
of his dominions. His brother reigned over two other fourth
parts, the region of Iturea, and that of Trachonitis (that tract
of land on the other side Jordan, which had formerly belonged to
the tribe of Manasseh.) And Lysanias (probably descended from a
prince of that name, who was some years before governor of that
country) was tetrarch of the remaining part of Abilene, which was
a large city of Syria, whose territories reached to Lebanon and
Damascus, and contained great numbers of Jews.
# Mt 3:1; Mr 1:1.
2. Annas being high priest, and Caiaphas-There could be but one
high priest, strictly speaking, at once. Annas was the high
priest at that time, and Caiaphas his sagan or deputy.
4. # Isa 40:3.
5. Every valley shall be filled, &c.-That is, every hinderance
shall be removed.
6. The salvation of God-The Saviour, the Messiah.
8. Say not within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father-That
is, trust not in your being members of the visible Church, or in
any external privileges whatsoever: for God now requires a change
of heart; and that without delay.
10. He answereth-It is not properly John, but the Holy Ghost,
who teaches us in the following answers, how to come ourselves,
and how to instruct other penitent sinners to come to Christ,
that he may give them rest. The sum of all this is, Cease to do
evil, learn to do well. These are the fruits worthy of repentance.
20. He shut up John-This circumstance, though it happened after,
is here mentioned before our Lord's baptism, that his history (that
of John being concluded) may then follow without any interruption.
21. Jesus praying, the heaven was opened-It is observable, that
the three voices from heaven, see # Lu 9:29,35; John 12:28;
by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced
either while he was praying, or quickly after it.
# Mt 3:13; Mr 1:9.
23. And Jesus was-John's beginning was computed by the years of
princes: our Saviour's by the years of his own life, as a more
august era. About thirty years of age-He did not now enter upon
his thirtieth year (as the common translation would induce one
to think) but he now entered on his public ministry: being of
such an age as the Mosaic law required. Our great Master
attained not, as it seems, to the conclusion of his thirty-fourth
year. Yet what glorious achievements did he accomplish within
those narrow limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any
proportionable zeal, despatches the great business of life; and
so much the more happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the
space that is taken from the labours of time, shall be added to
the rewards of eternity. The son of Heli-That is, the son-in-law:
for Heli was the father of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the
genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke
that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy
of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the
Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.
38. Adam the son of God-That is, whatever the sons of Adam
receive from their human parents, Adam received immediately
from God, except sin and misery.
IV. 1. The wilderness-Supposed by some to have been in Judea; by
others to have been that great desert of Horeb or Sinai, where
the children of Israel were tried for forty years, and Moses and
Elijah fasted forty days.
# Mt 4:1; Mr 1:12.
4. # De 8:3.
6. I give it to whomsoever I will-Not so, Satan. It is God, not
thou, that putteth down one, and setteth up another: although
sometimes Satan, by God's permission, may occasion great
revolutions in the world.
8. # De 6:13.
10. # Psa 91:11.
12. # De 6:16.
13. A convenient season-In the garden of Gethsemane,
# Lu 22:53.
14. Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit-Being more
abundantly strengthened after his conflict.
15. Being glorified of all-So God usually gives strong cordials
after strong temptations. But neither their approbation
continued long, nor the outward calm which he now enjoyed.
16. He stood up-Showing thereby that he had a desire to read the
Scripture to the congregation: on which the book was given to him.
It was the Jewish custom to read standing, but to preach sitting.
# Mt 13:54; Mr 6:1.
17. He found-It seems, opening upon it, by the particular
providence of God.
18. He hath anointed me-With the Spirit. He hath by the power of
his Spirit which dwelleth in me, set me apart for these offices.
To preach the Gospel to the poor-Literally and spiritually.
How is the doctrine of the ever-blessed trinity interwoven, even
in those scriptures where one would least expect it? How clear
a declaration of the great Three-One is there in those very
words, The Spirit-of the Lord is upon me! To proclaim deliverance
to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty them that are bruised-Here is a beautiful gradation, in
comparing the spiritual state of men to the miserable state of
those captives, who are not only cast into prison, but, like
Zedekiah, had their eyes put out, and were laden and bruised
with chains of iron. # Isa 61:1.
19. The acceptable year-Plainly alluding to the year of jubilee,
when all, both debtors and servants, were set free.
21. To-day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears-By what you
hear me speak.
22. The gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth-A person
of spiritual discernment may find in all the discourses of our
Lord a peculiar sweetness, gravity, and becomingness, such as is
not to be found in the same degree, not even in those of the apostles.
23. Ye will surely say-That is, your approbation now outweighs
your prejudices. But it will not be so long. You will soon
ask, why my love does not begin at home? Why I do not work
miracles here, rather than at Capernaum? It is because of your
unbelief. Nor is it any new thing for me to be despised in my
own country. So were both Elijah and Elisha, and thereby driven
to work miracles among heathens, rather than in Israel.
24. No prophet is acceptable in his own country-That is, in his
own neighbourhood. It generally holds, that a teacher sent from
God is not so acceptable to his neighbours as he is to strangers.
The meanness of his family, or lowness of his circumstances,
bring his office into contempt: nor can they suffer that he, who
was before equal with, or below themselves, should now bear a
25. When the heaven was shut up three years and six months-Such
a proof had they that God had sent him. In # 1Kings 18:1, it
is said, The word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year:
namely, reckoning not from the beginning of the drought, but from
the time when he began to sojourn with the widow of Sarepta.
A year of drought had preceded this, while he dwelt at the brook
Cherith. So that the whole time of the drought was (as St. James
likewise observes) three years and six months.
# 1Ki 17:19; 18:44.
27. # 2Ki 5:14.
28. And all in the synagogue were filled with fury-Perceiving the
purport of his discourse, namely, that the blessing which they
despised, would be offered to, and accepted by, the Gentiles.
So changeable are the hearts of wicked men! So little are their
starts of love to be depended on! So unable are they to bear the
close application, even of a discourse which they most admire!
30. Passing through the midst of them-Perhaps invisibly; or
perhaps they were overawed; so that though they saw, they could
not touch him.
31. He came down to Capernaum-And dwelt there, entirely quitting
his abode at Nazareth. # Mr 1:21.
34. What have we to do with thee-Thy present business is with
men, not with devils. I know thee who thou art-But surely he did
not know a little before, that he was God over all, blessed for
ever; or he would not have dared to tell him, All this power is
delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I will. The Holy
One of God-Either this confession was extorted from him by terror,
(for the devils believe and tremble,) or he made it with a design
to render the character of Christ suspected. Possibly it was
from hence the Pharisees took occasion to say, He casteth out
devils by the prince of the devils.
38. # Mt 8:14; Mr 1:29.
40. When the sun was set-And consequently the Sabbath ended,
which they reckoned from sunset to sunset.
# Mt 8:16; Mr 1:32.
42. # Mr 1:35.
V. 1. # Mt 4:18; Mr 1:16.
6. Their net brake-Began to tear.
8. Depart from me, for I am a sinful man-And therefore not
worthy to be in thy presence.
11. They forsook all and followed him-They had followed him
before, # John 1:43, but not so as to forsake all. Till now,
they wrought at their ordinary calling.
12. # Mt 8:2; Mr 1:40.
14. # Lev 14:2.
16. He withdrew-The expression in the original implies, that he
did so frequently.
17. Sitting by-As being more honourable than the bulk of the
congregation, who stood. And the power of the Lord was present
to heal them-To heal the sickness of their souls, as well as all
18. # Mt 9:2; Mr 2:3.
19. Not being able to bring him in through the multitude, they
went round about by a back passage, and going up the stairs on
the outside, they came upon the flat-roofed house, and let
him down through the trap door, such as was on the top of most of
the Jewish houses: doubtless, with such circumspection as the
circumstances plainly required.
26. We have seen strange things to. day-Sins forgiven, miracles
27. # Mt 9:9; Mr 2:14.
28. Leaving all-His business and gain.
29. And Levi made him a great entertainment-It was necessarily
great, because of the great number of guests.
33. Make prayers-Long and solemn.
# Mt 9:14; Mr 2:18.
34. Can ye make-That is, is it proper to make men fast and
mourn, during a festival solemnity?
36. He spake also a parable-Taken from clothes and wine;
therefore peculiarly proper at a feast.
39. And no man having drunk old wine-And beside, men are not
wont to be immediately freed from old prejudices.
VI. 1. The first Sabbath-So the Jews reckoned their Sabbaths,
from the passover to pentecost; the first, second, third, and
so on, till the seventh Sabbath (after the second day.) This
immediately preceded pentecost, which was the fiftieth day after
the second day of unleavened bread.
# Mt 12:1; Mr 2:23.
2. Why do ye-St. Matthew and Mark represent the Pharisees as
proposing the question to our Lord himself. It was afterward,
probably, they proposed it to his disciples.
4. # 1Sa 21:6.
6. # Mt 12:9; Mr 3:1.
9. To save life or to kill-He just then probably saw the design
to kill him rising in their hearts.
12. In the prayer of God-The phrase is singular and emphatical,
to imply an extraordinary and sublime devotion.
# Mr 3:13.
13. # Mt 10:2; Mr 3:14; Ac 1:13.
15. Simon called Zelotes-Full of zeal; otherwise called Simon
17. On a plain-At the foot of the mountain.
20. In the following verses our Lord, in the audience of his
newly-chosen disciples, and of the multitude, repeats, standing
on the plain, many remarkable passages of the sermon he had
before delivered, sitting on the mount.
He here again pronounces the poor and the hungry, the
mourners, and the persecuted, happy; and represents as miserable
those who are rich, and full, and joyous, and applauded:
because generally prosperity is a sweet poison, and affliction
a healing, though bitter medicine. Let the thought reconcile
us to adversity, and awaken our caution when the world smiles
upon us; when a plentiful table is spread before us, and our
cup is running over; when our spirits are gay; and we hear
(what nature loves) our own praise from men.
Happy are ye poor-The word seems here to be taken literally:
ye who have left al] for me.
# Mt 5:3.
24. Miserable are ye rich-If ye have received or sought your
consolation or happiness therein.
25. Full-Of meat and drink, and worldly goods.
That laugh-That are of a light trifling spirit.
26. Wo to you when all men shall speak well of you-But who
will believe this?
27. But I say to you that hear-Hitherto our Lord had spoken
only to particular sorts of persons: now he begins speaking
to all in general. # Mt 5:44.
29. To him that smiteth thee on the cheek-Taketh away thy cloak
-These seem to be proverbial expressions, to signify an invasion
of the tenderest points of honour and property. Offer the other
-Forbid not thy coat-That is, rather yield to his repeating the
affront or injury, than gratify resentment in righting your self;
in any method not becoming Christian love.
# Mt 5:39.
30. Give to every one-Friend or enemy, what thou canst spare,
and he really wants: and of him that taketh away thy goods-By
borrowing, if he be insolvent, ask them not again.
# Mt 5:42.
31. # Mt 7:12.
32. It is greatly observable, our Lord has so little regard for
one of the highest instances of natural virtue, namely, the
returning love for love, that he does not account it even to
deserve thanks. For even sinners, saith he, do the same: men
who do not regard God at all. Therefore he may do this, who
has not taken one step in Christianity.
37. # Mt 7:1.
38. Into your bosom-Alluding to the mantles the Jews wore, into
which a large quantity of corn might be received. With the same
measure that ye mete with, it shall be measured to you again
-Amazing goodness! So we are permitted even to carve for
ourselves! We ourselves are, as it were, to tell God how much
mercy he shall show us! And can we be content with less than
the very largest measure? Give then to man, what thou designest
to receive of God.
39. He spake a parable-Our Lord sometimes used parables when he
knew plain and open declarations would too much inflame the
passions of his hearers. It is for this reason he uses this
parable, Can the blind lead the blind?-Can the scribes teach
this way, which they know not themselves? Will not they and
their scholars perish together? Can they make their disciples
any better than themselves? But as for those who will be my
disciples, they shall be all taught of God; who will enable them
to come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of their
Master. Be not ye like their disciples, censuring others, and
not amending yourselves.
# Mt 15:14.
40. # Mt 10:24; John 15:20.
41. # Mt 7:3.
46. And why call ye me Lord, Lord-What will fair professions
avail, without a life answerable thereto?
# Mt 7:21.
47. # Mt 7:24.
VII. 1. # Mt 8:5.
3. Hearing of Jesus-Of his miracles, and of his arrival at Capernaum.
18. # Mt 11:2.
22. To the poor the Gospel is preached-Which is the greatest
mercy, and the greatest miracle of all.
24. When the messengers were departed-He did not speak the
following things in the hearing of John's disciples, lest he
should seem to flatter John, or to compliment him into an
adherence to his former testimony. To avoid all suspicion of
this kind, he deferred his commendation of him, till the
messengers were gone; and then delivered it to the people, to
prevent all imaginations, as if John were wavering in his
judgment, and had sent the two disciples for his own, rather
than their satisfaction.
27. # Mal 3:1.
28. There is not a greater prophet than John-A greater teacher.
But he that is least in the kingdom of God-The least teacher
whom I send forth.
29. And all the people-Our Lord continues his discourse:
justified God-Owned his wisdom and mercy in thus calling them
to repentance, and preparing them for Him that was to come.
30. But the Pharisees and scribes-The good, learned, honourable
men: made void the counsel, the gracious design, of God toward
them-They disappointed all these methods of his love, and would
receive no benefit from them.
32. They are like children sitting in the market place-So froward
and perverse, that no contrivance can be found to please them.
It is plain our Lord means, that they were like the children
complained of, not like those that made the complaint.
34. But wisdom is justified by all her children-The children of
wisdom are those who are truly wise unto salvation. The wisdom
of God in all these dispensations, these various methods of
calling sinners to repentance, is owned and heartily approved
by all these.
36. And one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him-Let the
candour with which our Lord accepted this invitation, and his
gentleness and prudence at this ensnaring entertainment, teach
us to mingle the wisdom of the serpent, with the innocence and
sweetness of the dove. Let us neither absolutely refuse all
favours, nor resent all neglects, from those whose friendship
is at best very doubtful, and their intimacy by no means safe.
37. A woman-Not the same with Mary of Bethany, who anointed him
six days before his last passover.
40. And Jesus said, Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee-So
tender and courteous am address does our Lord use even to a
proud, censorious Pharisee!
43. Which of them will love him most?-Neither of them will love
him at all, before he has forgiven them. An insolvent debtor,
till he is forgiven, does not love, but fly his creditor.
44. Thou gavest me no water-It was customary with the Jews to
show respect and kindness to their welcome guests, by saluting
them with a kiss, by washing their feet, and anointing their
heads with oil, or some fine ointment.
47. Those many sins of hers are forgiven; therefore she loveth
much-The fruit of her having had much forgiven. It should
carefully be observed here, that her love is mentioned as the
effect and evidence, not the cause of her pardon. She knew
that much had been forgiven her, and therefore she loved much.
50. Thy faith hath saved thee-Not thy love. Love is salvation.
VIII. 2. Mary Magdalene-Or Mary of Magdala, a town in Galilee:
probably the person mentioned in the last chapter.
4. # Mt 13:1; Mr 4:1.
15. Who-keep it-Not like the highway side: And bring forth
fruit-Not like the thorny ground: With perseverance-Not like
16. No man having lighted a candle-As if ho had said, And let
your good fruit appear openly.
# Mt 5:15; Mr 4:21; Lu 11:33.
17. For nothing is hid -Strive not to conceal it at all; for
you can conceal nothing long.
# Mt 10:26; Mr 4:22; Lu 12:2.
18. The word commonly translated seemeth, wherever it occurs,
does not weaken, but greatly strengthens the sense.
# Mt 13:12; Mr 4:25; Lu 19:26.
19. # Mt 12:46; Mr 3:31.
22. # Mt 8:23; Mr 4:35.
26. # Mt 8:28; Mr 5:1.
29. For many times it had caught him-Therefore our compassionate
Lord made the more haste to cast him out.
31. The abyss-That is, the bottomless pit.
32. To enter into the swine-Not that they were any easier in the
swine than out of them. Had it been so, they would not so soon
have dislodged themselves, by destroying the herd.
37. # Mt 9:1; Mr 5:18.
40. # Mr 5:21.
52. She is not dead but sleepeth-Her soul is not separated
finally from the body; and this short separation is rather to be
called sleep than death.
IX. 1. # Mt 10:1; Mr 6:7.
4. There abide and thence depart-That is, stay in that house
till ye leave the city.
7. It was said by some-And soon after by Herod himself.
# Mt 14:1; Mr 6:14.
8. That Elijah had appeared-He could not rise again, because
he did not die.
10. # Mr 6:30.
12. # Mt 14:15; Mr 6:35; Joh 6:3.
18. Apart-From the multitude. And he asked them-When he had
done praying, during which they probably stayed at a distance.
# Mt 14:13; Mr 8:27.
22. Saying-Ye must prepare for a scene far different from this.
23. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross-The necessity
of this duty has been shown in many places: the extent of it
is specified here, daily-Therefore that day is lost wherein
no cross is taken up.
24. # Mt 16:25; Mr 8:35; Joh 12:25.
28. # Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2.
31. In glory-Like Christ with whom they talked.
32. They saw his glory-The very same expression in which it is
described by St. John, # John 1:14; and by St. Peter, # 2Pet 1:16.
34. A cloud came and overshadowed them all. And they, the
apostles, feared, while they (Moses and Elijah) entered into
the cloud, which took them away.
37. # Mt 17:14; Mr 9:14.
44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears-That is, consider
them deeply. In joy remember the cross. So wisely does our Lord
balance praise with sufferings.
# Mt 17:22; Mr 9:31.
46. And there arose a reasoning among them-This kind of reasoning
always arose at the most improper times that could be imagined.
47. # Mt 18:2; Mr 9:37.
48. And said to them-If ye would be truly great, humble
yourselves to the meanest offices. He that is least in
his own eyes shall be great indeed.
49. # Mr 9:38.
51. The days are fulfilled that he should be received up-That
is, the time of his passion was now at hand. St. Luke looks
through this, to the glory which was to follow. He steadfastly
set his face-Without fear of his enemies, or shame of the cross,
# Heb 12:2.
52. He sent messengers to make ready-A lodging and needful
entertainment for him and those with him.
53. His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem-It plainly
appeared, he was going to worship at the temple, and thereby,
in effect, to condemn the Samaritan worship at Mount Gerizim.
54. As Elisha did-At or near this very place, which might put it
into the minds of the apostles to make the motion now, rather
than at any other time or place, where Christ had received the
55. Ye know not what manner of spirit-The spirit of Christianity
is. It is not a spirit of wrath and vengeance, but of peace,
and gentleness, and love.
57. # Mt 8:19.
58. But Jesus said to him-First understand the terms: consider
on what conditions thou art to follow me.
61. Suffer me first to bid them farewell that are in my house
-As Elisha did after Elijah had called him from the plough,
# 1Kings 19:19; to which our Lord's answer seems to allude.
62. Is fit for the kingdom of God-Either to propagate or
to receive it.
X. 2. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would thrust
forth labourers-For God alone can do this: he alone can qualify
and commission men for this work.
# Mt 9:37.
3. # Mt 10:16.
4. Salute no man by the way-The salutations usual among the Jews
took up much time. But these had so much work to do in so short
a space, that they had not a moment to spare.
6. A son of peace-That is, one worthy of it.
7. # Mt 10:11.
11. The kingdom of God is at hand-Though ye will not receive it.
13. Wo to thee, Chorazin-The same declaration Christ had made
some time before. By repeating it now, he warns the seventy
not to lose time by going to those cities.
# Mt 11:21.
16. # Mt 10:40; John 13:20.
18. I beheld Satan-That is, when ye went forth, I saw the
kingdom of Satan, which was highly exalted, swiftly and
suddenly cast down.
19. I give you power-That is, I continue it to you: and nothing
shall hurt you-Neither the power, nor the subtilty of Satan.
20. Rejoice not so much that the devils are subject to you, as
that your names are written in heaven-Reader, so is thine, if
thou art a true, believer. God grant it may never be blotted out!
21. Lord of heaven and earth-In both of which thy kingdom stands,
and that of Satan is destroyed. That thou hast hid these things
-He rejoiced not in the destruction of the wise and prudent, but
in the display of the riches of God's grace to others, in such a
manner as reserves to Him the entire glory of our salvation, and
hides pride from man. # Mt 11:25.
22. Who the Son is-Essentially one with the Father: who the
Father is-How great, how wise, how good!
23. # Mt 13:16.
25. # Mt 22:35; Mr 12:28.
27. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God-That is, thou shalt unite
all the faculties of thy soul to render him the most intelligent
and sincere, the most affectionate and resolute service. We may
safely rest in this general sense of these important words, if
we are not able to fix the particular meaning of every single
word. If we desire to do this, perhaps the heart, which is a
general expression, may be explained by the three following,
With all thy soul, with the warmest affection, with all thy
strength, the most vigorous efforts of thy will, and with all
thy mind or understanding, in the most wise and reasonable
manner thou canst; thy understanding guiding thy will and
# De 6:5; Lev 19:18.
28. Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live-Here
is no irony, but a deep and weighty truth. He, and he alone,
shall live for ever, who thus loves God and his neighbour in
the present life.
29. To justify himself-That is, to show he had done this.
# Lev 18:5.
30. From Jerusalem to Jericho-The road from Jerusalem to Jericho
(about eighteen miles from it) lay through desert and rocky
places: so many robberies and murders were committed therein,
that it was called the bloody way. Jericho was situated in the
valley: hence the phrase of going down to it. About twelve
thousand priests and Levites dwelt there, who all attended the
service of the temple.
31. The common translation is, by chance-Which is full of gross
improprieties. For if we speak strictly, there is no such thing
in the universe as either chance or fortune. A certain priest
came down that way, and passed by on the other side-And both he
and the Levite no doubt could find an excuse for passing over on
the other side, and might perhaps gravely thank God for their own
deliverance, while they left their brother bleeding to death. Is
it not an emblem of many living characters, perhaps of some who
bear the sacred office? O house of Levi and of Aaron, is not the
day coming, when the virtues of heathens and Samaritans will rise
up in judgment against you?
33. But a certain Samaritan came where he was-It was admirably
well judged to represent the distress on the side of the Jew,
and the mercy on that of the Samaritan. For the case being thus
proposed, self interest would make the very scribe sensible, how
amiable such a conduct was, and would lay him open to our Lord's
inference. Had it been put the other way, prejudice might more
easily have interposed, before the heart could have been affected.
34. Pouring in oil and wine-Which when well beaten together are
one of the best balsams that can be applied to a fresh wound.
36. Which of these was the neighbour to him that fell among the
robbers-Which acted the part of a neighbour?
37. And he said, He that showed mercy on him-He could not for
shame say otherwise, though he thereby condemned himself and
overthrew his own false notion of the neighbour to whom our love
is due. Go and do thou in like manner-Let us go and do likewise,
regarding every man as our neighbour who needs our assistance.
Let us renounce that bigotry and party zeal which would contract
our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race, but a
small number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own,
that our love to them is but self love reflected. With an honest
openness of mind let us always remember that kindred between
man and man, and cultivate that happy instinct whereby, in the
original constitution of our nature, God has strongly bound us
to each other.
40. Martha was encumbered-The Greek word properly signifies to be
drawn different ways at the same time, and admirably expresses the
situation of a mind, surrounded (as Martha's then was) with so many
objects of care, that it hardly knows which to attend to first.
41. Martha, Martha-There is a peculiar spirit and tenderness
in the repetition of the word: thou art careful, inwardly, and
42. Mary hath chosen the good part-To save her soul.
Reader, hast thou?
XI. 1. Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples
-The Jewish masters used to give their followers some short form
of prayer, as a peculiar badge of their relation to them. This
it is probable John the Baptist had done. And in this sense it
seems to be that the disciples now asked Jesus, to teach them to
pray. Accordingly he here repeats that form, which he had before
given them in his sermon on the mount, and likewise enlarges on
the same head, though still speaking the same things in substance.
And this prayer uttered from the heart, and in its true and full
meaning, is indeed the badge of a real Christian: for is not he
such whose first and most ardent desire is the glory of God, and
the happiness of man by the coming of his kingdom? Who asks for
no more of this world than his daily bread, longing meantime for
the bread that came down from heaven? And whose only desires for
himself are forgiveness of sins, (as he heartily forgives others,)
2. When ye pray, say-And what he said to them is undoubtedly said
to us also. We are therefore here directed, not only to imitate
this in all our prayers, but to use this very form of prayer.
# Mt 6:9.
4. Forgive us; for we forgive them-Not once, but continually.
This does not denote the meritorious cause of our pardon; but
the removal of that hinderance which otherwise would render
5. At midnight-The most unseasonable time: but no time is
unseasonable with God, either for hearing or answering prayer.
9. # Mt 7:7.
13. How much more shall your heavenly Father-How beautiful is
the gradation! A friend: a father: God! Give the Holy Spirit-The
best of gifts, and that which includes every good gift.
14. It was dumb-That is, it made the man so.
# Mt 12:22.
15. But some said, He casteth out devils by Beelzebub-These he
answers, # Lu 11:17. Others, to try whether it were so or no,
sought a sign from heaven. These he reproves in # Lu 11:29 and
following verses. Beelzebub signifies the lord of flies, a
title which the heathens gave to Jupiter, whom they accounted
the chief of their gods, and yet supposed him to be employed in
driving away flies from their temple and sacrifices. The
Philistines worshipped a deity under this name, as the god of
Ekron: from hence the Jews took the name, and applied it to the
chief of the devils. # Mr 3:22.
16. # Mt 12:38.
17. A house-That is, a family.
20. If I cast out devils by the finger of God-That is, by a power
manifestly Divine. Perhaps the expression intimates farther,
that it was done without any labour: then the kingdom of God is
come upon you-Unawares, unexpected: so the Greek word implies.
21. The strong one armed-The devil, strong in himself, and armed
with the pride, obstinacy, and security of him in whom he dwells.
26. The last state of that man becometh worse than the first
-Whoever reads the sad account Josephus gives of the temple and
conduct of the Jews, after the ascension of Christ and before
their final destruction by the Romans, must acknowledge that no
emblem could have been more proper to describe them. Their
characters were the vilest that can be conceived, and they pressed
on to their own ruin, as if they had been possessed by legions of
devils, and wrought up to the last degree of madness. But this
also is fulfilled in all who totally and finally apostatize from
27. Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou
hast sucked!-How natural was the thought for a woman! And how
gently does our Lord reprove her!
28. Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and
keep it-For if even she that bare him had not done this, she
would have forfeited all her blessedness.
29. It seeketh-The original word implies seeking more, or over
and above what one has already.
32. They repented at the preaching of Jonah-But it was only for
a season. Afterward they relapsed into wickedness, till (after
about forty years) they were destroyed. It is remarkable, that
in this also the comparison held. God reprieved the Jews for
about forty years; but they still advanced in wickedness, till
having filled up their measure, they were destroyed with an
33. The meaning is, God gives you this Gospel light, that you
may repent. Let your eye be singly fixed on him, aim only at
pleasing God; and while you do this, your whole soul will be
full of wisdom, holiness, and happiness.
# Mt 5:15; Mr 4:21; Lu 8:16.
34. But when thine eye is evil-When thou aimest at any thing
else, thou wilt be full of folly, sin, and misery. On the contrary,
# Mt 6:22.
36. If thy whole body be full of light-If thou art filled with
holy wisdom, having no part dark, giving way to no sin or folly,
then that heavenly principle will, like the clear flame of a
lamp in a room that was dark before, shed its light into all thy
powers and faculties.
39. Now ye Pharisees-Probably many of them were present at the
# Mt 23:25.
41. Give what is in them-The vessels which ye clean, in alms,
and all things are clean to you. As if he had said, By acts
directly contrary to rapine and wickedness, show that your
hearts are cleansed, and these outward washings are needless.
42. Wo to you-That is, miserable are you. In the same manner is
the phrase to be understood throughout the chapter.
44. For ye are as graves which appear not-Probably in speaking
this our Lord fixed his eyes on the scribes. As graves which
appear not, being overgrown with grass, so that men are not
aware, till they stumble upon them, and either hurt themselves,
or at least are defiled by touching them. On another occasion
Christ compared them to whited sepulchres, fair without, but
foul within; # Mt 23:27.
45. One of the lawyers-That is scribes; expounders of the law.
48. Whom they killed, ye build their sepulchres-Just like them
pretending great reverence for the ancient prophets, while ye
destroy those whom God sends to yourselves. Ye therefore bear
witness by this deep hypocrisy that ye are of the very same
spirit with them.
49. The wisdom of God, agreeably to this, hath said-In many
places of Scripture, though not in these very words, I will
send them prophets-Chiefly under the Old Testament: and
apostles-Under the New.
# Mt 23:34.
50. The blood of all shall be required of this generation-That
is, shall be visibly and terribly punished upon it.
51. And so it was within forty years, in a most astonishing
manner, by the dreadful destruction of the temple, the city,
and the whole nation. Between the temple and the altar-In
the court of the temple.
52. Ye have taken away the key of knowledge-Ye have obscured and
destroyed the knowledge of the Messiah, which is the key of both
the present and the future kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of
grace and glory. Ye have not entered in-Into the present kingdom
XII. 1. He said to his disciples first-But afterward
# Lu 12:54 to all the people.
# Mt 16:6.
3. # Mt 10:27.
4. But I say to you, Fear not-Let not the fear of man make you
act the hypocrite, or conceal any thing which I have commissioned
you to publish.
5. Fear him who hath power to cast into hell-Even to his
peculiar friends, Christ gives this direction. Therefore the
fearing of God as having power to cast into hell, is to be
pressed even on true believers.
6. Are not five sparrows-But trust as well as fear him.
7. # Mt 10:30.
8. And I say to you-If you avoid all hypocrisy, and openly avow
my Gospel: The Son of man shall confess you-before the angels-At
the last day. # Mr 8:38; Lu 9:26.
10. And whosoever-As if he had said, Yet the denying me in some
degree, may, upon true repentance, be forgiven; but if it rise
so high as that of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it
shall never be forgiven, neither is there place for repentance.
# Mt 12:31; Mr 3:28.
11. Take no thought-Be not solicitous about the matter or manner
of your defence; nor how to express yourselves.
# Mt 10:19; Lu 21:12.
14. Who made me a judge?-In worldly things. His kingdom is not
of this world.
15. He said to them-Perhaps to the two brothers, and through
them to the people. A man's life-That is, the comfort or
happiness of it.
17. What shall I do?-The very language of want! Do? Why, lay
up treasure in heaven.
20. Thou fool-To think of satisfying thy soul with earthly goods!
To depend on living many years! Yea, one day! They-The messengers
of death, commissioned by God, require thy soul of thee!
21. Rich toward God-Namely, in faith, and love, and good works.
22. # Mt 6:25.
25. Which of you can add the least measure-It seems, to add one
cubit to a thing (which is the phrase in the original) was a kind
of proverbial expression for making the least addition to it.
28. The grass-The Greek word means all sorts of herbs and flowers.
29. Neither be ye of a doubtful mind-The word in the original
signifies, any speculations or musings in which the mind
fluctuates, or is suspended (like meteors in the air) in an
32. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom
-How much more food and raiment? And since ye have such an
inheritance, regard not your earthly possessions.
33. Sell what ye have-This is a direction, not given to all the
multitude: (much less is it a standing rule for all Christians:)
neither to the apostles; for they had nothing to sell, having
left all before: but to his other disciples, (mentioned
# Lu 12:22, and # Acts 1:15,) especially to the seventy, that
they might be free from all worldly entanglements.
# Mt 6:19.
35. Let your loins be girt-An allusion to the long garments,
worn by the eastern nations, which they girded or tucked up
about their loins, when they journeyed or were employed in
any labour: as also to the lights that servants used to carry
at weddings, which were generally in the night.
37. He will come and serve them-The meaning is, he will show
them his love, in the most condescending and tender manner.
38. The Jews frequently divided the night into three watches,
to which our Lord seems here to allude.
41. Speakest thou this parable to us-Apostles and disciples:
Or to all-The people? Does it concern us alone? Or all men?
42. Who is that faithful and wise steward-Our Lord's answer
manifestly implies, that he had spoken this parable primarily
(though not wholly) to the ministers of his word: Whom his lord
shall make ruler over his household-For his wisdom and faithfulness.
43. Happy is that servant-God himself pronounces him wise,
faithful, happy! Yet we see, he might fall from all, and
perish for ever.
46. The Lord will appoint him his portion-His everlasting
portion, with the unfaithful-As faithful as he was once, God
himself being the Judge!
47. And that servant who knew his Lord's will shall be beaten
with many stripes-And his having much knowledge will increase,
not lessen, his punishment.
49. I am come to send fire-To spread the fire of heavenly love
over all the earth.
50. But I have a baptism to be baptized with-I must suffer first,
before I can set up my kingdom. And how I long to fight my way
51. Suppose ye that I am come to send peace upon earth-That
universal peace will be the immediate effect of my coming?
Not so, but quite the contrary.
# Mt 10:34.
52. There shall be five in one house, three against two, and two
against three-There being an irreconcilable enmity between the
Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the world.
53. The father against the son-For those who reject me will be
implacable toward their very nearest relations who receive me.
At this day also is this scripture fulfilled. Now likewise
there is no concord between Christ and Belial.
54. And he said to the people also-In the preceding verses he
speaks only to his disciples. From the west-In Judea, the west
wind, blowing from the sea, usually brought rain: the south
wind, blowing from the deserts of Arabia, occasioned sultry heat.
# Mt 16:2.
56. How do ye not discern this season-Of the Messiah's coming,
distinguishable by so many surer signs.
57. Why even of yourselves, without any external sign, judge ye
not what is right?-Why do ye not discern and acknowledge the
intrinsic excellence of my doctrine?
58. When thou art going-As if he had said, And ye have not a
moment to lose. For the executioners of God's vengeance are at
hand. And when he hath once delivered you over to them, ye
are undone for ever.
# Mt 5:25.
59. A mite-was about the third part of a farthing sterling.
XIII. 1. The Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their
sacrifices-Some of the followers of Judas Gaulonites. They
absolutely refused to own the Roman authority. Pilate surrounded
and slew them, while they were worshipping in the temple, at a
3. Ye shall all likewise perish-All ye of Galilee and of
Jerusalem shall perish in the very same manner. So the Greek
word implies. And so they did. There was a remarkable
resemblance between the fate of these Galileans and of the
main body of the Jewish nation; the flower of which was slain at
Jerusalem by the Roman sword, while they were assembled at one
of their great festivals. And many thousands of them perished
in the temple itself, and were literally buried under its ruins.
6. A man had a fig tree-Either we may understand God the Father
by him that had the vineyard , and Christ by him that kept it: or
Christ himself is he that hath it, and his ministers they that
keep it. # Psa 80:8. &c.
7. Three years-Christ was then in the third year of his ministry.
But it may mean only several years; a certain number being put
for an uncertain. Why doth it also cumber the ground?-That is,
not only bear no fruit itself, but take up the ground of another
tree that would.
11. She was bowed together, and utterly unable to lift up herself
-The evil spirit which possessed her afflicted her in this manner.
To many doubtless it appeared a natural distemper. Would not a
modern physician have termed it a nervous case?
15. Thou hypocrite-For the real motive of his speaking was envy,
not (as he pretended) pure zeal for the glory of God.
16. And ought not this woman?-Ought not any human creature, which
is so far better than an ox or an ass? Much more, this daughter
of Abraham-probably in a spiritual as well as natural sense, to
18. # Mt 13:31; Mr 4:30.
20. # Mt 13:33.
21. Covered up-So that, for a time, nothing of it appeared.
24. Strive to enter in-Agonize. Strive as in an agony. So the
word signifies Otherwise none shall enter in. Barely seeking
will not avail. # Mt 7:13.
25. And even agonizing will not avail, after the door is shut.
Agonize, therefore, now by faith, prayer, holiness, patience.
And ye begin to stand without-Till then they had not thought of it!
O how new will that sense of their misery be? How late?
How lasting? I know not whence ye are-I know not, that is,
I approve not of your ways.
27. # Mt 7:23.
28. # Mt 8:11.
29. They shall sit down in the kingdom of God-Both the kingdom
of grace and of glory.
30. But there are last-Many of the Gentiles who were latest
called, shall be most highly rewarded; and many of the Jews
who were first called, shall have no reward at all.
# Mt 19:30.
31. Herod is minded to kill thee-Possibly they gave him the
caution out of good will.
32. And he said, Go and tell that fox-With great propriety so
called, for his subtilty and cowardice. The meaning of our
Lord's answer is, Notwithstanding all that he can do, I shall
for the short time I have left, do the works of him that sent me.
When that time is fulfilled, I shall be offered up. Yet not
here, but in the bloody city. Behold, I cast out devils-With
what majesty does he speak to his enemies! With what tenderness
to his friends! The third day I am perfected-On the third day
he left Galilee, and set out for Jerusalem, to die there.
But let us carefully distinguish between those things wherein
Christ is our pattern, and those which were peculiar to his office.
His extraordinary office justified him in using that severity of
language, when speaking of wicked princes, and corrupt teachers,
to which we have no call; and by which we should only bring scandal
on religion, and ruin on ourselves, while we irritated rather than
convinced or reformed those whom we so indecently rebuked.
33. It cannot be, that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem-Which
claims prescription for murdering the messengers of God. Such
cruelty and malice cannot be found elsewhere.
34. How often would I have gathered thy children together-Three
solemn visits he had made to Jerusalem since his baptism for
this very purpose. # Mt 23:37.
35. Your house is left to you desolate-Is now irrecoverably
consigned to desolation and destruction: And verily I say to
you, after a very short space, ye shall not see me till the time
come, when taught by your calamities, ye shall be ready and
disposed to say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
Lord. It does not imply, that they should then see Jesus at
all; but only that they would earnestly wish for the Messiah,
and in their extremity be ready to entertain any who should
assume that character.
XIV. 2. There was a certain man before him-It does not appear
that he was come thither with any insidious design. Probably
he came, hoping for a cure, or perhaps was one of the family.
3. And Jesus answering, spake-Answering the thoughts which he
saw rising in their hearts.
7. He spake a parable-The ensuing discourse is so termed,
because several parts are not to be understood literally.
The general scope of it is, Not only at a marriage feast, but
on every occasion, he that exalteth himself shall be abased,
and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.
11. # Mt 23:12.
12. Call not thy friends-That is, I do not bid thee call thy
friends or thy neighbours. Our Lord leaves these offices of
humanity and courtesy as they were, and teaches a higher duty.
But is it not implied herein, that we should be sparing in
entertaining those that need it not, in order to assist those
that do need, with all that is saved from those needless
entertainments? Lest a recompense be made-This fear is as much
unknown to the world, as even the fear of riches.
14. One of them that sat at table hearing these things-And being
touched therewith, said, Happy is he that shall eat bread in the
kingdom of God-Alluding to what had just been spoken. It means,
he that shall have a part in the resurrection of the just.
16. Then said he-Continuing the allusion. A certain man made a
great supper-As if he had said, All men are not sensible of this
happiness. Many might have a part in it, and will not.
18. They all began to make excuse-One of them pleads only his
own will, I go: another, a pretended necessity, I must needs go:
the third, impossibility, I cannot come: all of them want the
holy hatred mentioned # Lu 14:26. All of them perish by things
in themselves lawful. I must needs go-The most urgent worldly
affairs frequently fall out just at the time when God makes the
freest offers of salvation.
21. The servant came and showed his lord these things-So
ministers ought to lay before the Lord in prayer the obedience
or disobedience of their hearers.
23. Compel them to come in-With all the violence of love, and
the force of God's word. Such compulsion, and such only, in
matters of religion, was used by Christ and his apostles.
24. For refers to Go out,
# Lu 14:23.
26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father-Comparatively
to Christ: yea, so as actually to renounce his field, oxen, wife,
all things, and act as if he hated them, when they stand in
competition with him. # Mt 10:37.
28. And which of you intending to build a tower-That is, and
whoever of you intends to follow me, let him first seriously
weigh these things.
31. Another king-Does this mean, the prince of this world?
Certainly he has greater numbers on his side. How numerous
are his children and servants!
33. So-Like this man, who, being afraid to face his enemy, sends to
make peace with him, every one who forsaketh not all that he hath-
1. By withdrawing his affections from all the creatures;
2. By enjoying them only in and for God, only in such a measure
and manner as leads to him;
3. By hating them all, in the sense above mentioned, cannot be
my disciple-But will surely desist from building that tower,
neither can he persevere in fighting the good fight of faith.
34. Salt-Every Christian, but more eminently every minister.
# Mt 5:13; Mr 9:50.
XV. 1. All the publicans-That is, all who were in that place.
It seems our Lord was in some town of Galilee of the Gentiles,
from whence he afterward went to Jerusalem, # Lu 17:11.
3. He spake-Three parables of the same import: for the sheep,
the piece of silver, and the lost son, all declare (in direct
contrariety to the Pharisees and scribes) in what manner God
4. Leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness-Where they used
to feed: all uncultivated ground, like our commons, was by the
Jews termed wilderness or desert. And go after-In recovering a
lost soul, God as it were labours. May we not learn hence, that
to let them alone who are in sin, is both unchristian and inhuman!
# Mt 18:12.
7. Joy shall be-Solemn and festal joy, in heaven-First, in our
blessed Lord himself, and then among the angels and spirits of
just men, perhaps informed thereof by God himself, or by the
angels who ministered to them. Over one sinner-One gross, open,
notorious sinner, that repenteth-That is, thoroughly changed in
heart and life; more than over ninety and nine just persons
-Comparatively just, outwardly blameless: that need not such a
repentance-For they need not, cannot repent of the sins which
they never committed.
The sum is, as a father peculiarly rejoices when an extravagant
child, supposed to be utterly lost, comes to a thorough sense of
his duty; or as any other person who has recovered what he had
given up for gone, has a more sensible satisfaction in it, than
in several other things equally valuable, but not in such danger:
so do the angels in heaven peculiarly rejoice in the conversion
of the most abandoned sinners. Yea, and God himself so readily
forgives and receives them, that he may be represented as having
part in the joy.
12. Give me the part of goods that falleth to me-See the root of
all sin! A desire of disposing of ourselves; of independency on God!
13. He took a journey into a far country-Far from God: God was
not in all his thoughts: And squandered away his substance-All
the grace he had received.
14. He began to be in want-All his worldly pleasures failing, he
grew conscious of his want of real good.
15. And he joined himself to a citizen of that country-Either
the devil or one of his children, the genuine citizens of that
country which is far from God. He sent him to feed swine-He
employed him in the base drudgery of sin.
16. He would fain have filled his belly with the husks-He would
fain have satisfied himself with worldly comforts.
Vain, fruitless endeavour!
17. And coming to himself-For till then he was beside himself,
as all men are, so long as they are without God in the world.
18. I will arise and go to my father-How accurately are
the first steps of true repentance here pointed out!
Against Heaven-Against God.
20. And he arose and came to his father-The moment he had
resolved, he began to execute his resolution. While he was yet
a great way off, his father saw him-Returning, starved, naked.
22. But the father said-Interrupting him before he had finished
what he intended to say. So does God frequently cut an earnest
confession short by a display of his pardoning love.
23. Let us be merry-Both here, and wherever else this word
occurs, whether in the Old or New Testament, it implies nothing
of levity, but a solid, serious, religious, heartfelt joy:
indeed this was the ordinary meaning of the word two hundred
years ago, when our translation was made.
25. The elder son seems to represent the Pharisees and scribes,
mentioned # Lu 15:2.
27. Thy father hath killed the fatted calf-Perhaps he mentions
this rather than the robe or ring, as having a nearer connection
with the music and dancing.
28. He was angry, and would not go in-How natural to us is this
kind of resentment!
29. Lo, so many years do I serve thee-So he was one of the
instances mentioned # Lu 15:7. How admirably therefore does this
parable confirm that assertion! Yet thou never gavest me a kid,
that I might make merry with my friends-Perhaps God does not
usually give much joy to those who never felt the sorrows of
31. Thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine-This
suggests a strong reason against murmuring at the indulgence
shown to the greatest of sinners. As the father's receiving
the younger son did not cause him to disinherit the elder; so
God's receiving notorious sinners will be no loss to those who
have always served him; neither will he raise these to a state
of glory equal to that of those who have always served him, if
they have, upon the whole, made a greater progress in inward as
well as outward holiness.
32. This thy brother was dead, and is alive-A thousand of these
delicate touches in the inspired writings escape an inattentive
reader. In # Lu 15:30, the elder son had unkindly and indecently
said, This thy son. The father in his reply mildly reproves
him, and tenderly says, This thy brother-Amazing intimation,
that the best of men ought to account the worst sinners their
brethren still; and should especially remember this relation,
when they show any inclination to return.
Our Lord in this whole parable shows, not only that the Jews
had no cause to murmur at the reception of the Gentiles,
(a point which did not at that time so directly fall under
consideration,) but that if the Pharisees were indeed as good
as they fancied themselves to be, still they had no reason to
murmur at the kind treatment of any sincere penitent. Thus does
he condemn them, even on their own principles, and so leaves
them without excuse.
We have in this parable a lively emblem of the condition and
behaviour of sinners in their natural state. Thus, when
enriched by the bounty of the great common Father, do they
ungratefully run from him, # Lu 15:12. Sensual pleasures are
eagerly pursued, till they have squandered away all the grace
of God, # Lu 15:13. And while these continue, not a serious
thought of God can find a place in their minds. And even when
afflictions come upon them, # Lu 15:14, still they will make hard
shifts before they will let the grace of God, concurring with
his providence, persuade them to think of a return, # Lu 15:15,16.
When they see themselves naked, indigent, and undone, then they
recover the exercise of their reason, # Lu 15:17. Then they
remember the blessings they have thrown away, and attend to the
misery they have incurred. And hereupon they resolve to return
to their father, and put the resolution immediately in practice,
# Lu 15:18,19.
Behold with wonder and pleasure the gracious reception they
find from Divine, injured goodness! When such a prodigal comes
to his father, he sees him afar off, # Lu 15:20. He pities,
meets, embraces him, and interrupts his acknowledgments with the
tokens of his returning favour, # Lu 15:21. He arrays him with
the robe of a Redeemer's righteousness, with inward and outward
holiness; adorns him with all his sanctifying graces, and honours
him with the tokens of adopting love, # Lu 15:22. And all this
he does with unutterable delight, in that he who was lost is now
found, # Lu 15:23,24.
Let no elder brother murmur at this indulgence, but rather
welcome the prodigal back into the family. And let those
who have been thus received, wander no more, but emulate the
strictest piety of those who for many years have served their
heavenly Father, and not transgressed his commandments.
XVI. And he said also to his disciples-Not only to the scribes
and Pharisees to whom he had hitherto been speaking, but to all
the younger as well as the elder brethren: to the returning
prodigals who were now his disciples. A certain rich man had a
steward-Christ here teaches all that are now in favour with God,
particularly pardoned penitents, to behave wisely in what is
committed to them.
3. To beg I am ashamed-But not ashamed to cheat! This was
likewise a sense of honour! "By men called honour, but by
4. I know-That is, I am resolved, what to do.
8. And the lord commended the unjust steward-Namely, in this
respect, because he had used timely precaution: so that though
the dishonesty of such a servant be detestable, yet his
foresight, care, and contrivance, about the interests of this
life, deserve our imitation, with regard to the more important
affairs of another. The children of this world-Those who seek
no other portion than this world: Are wiser-Not absolutely,
for they are, one and all, egregious fools; but they are more
consistent with themselves; they are truer to their principles;
they more steadily pursue their end; they are wiser in their
generation-That is, in their own way, than the children of light
-The children of God, whose light shines on their hearts.
9. And I say to you-Be good stewards even of the lowest talents
wherewith God hath intrusted you. Mammon means riches or money.
It is termed the mammon of unrighteousness, because of the manner
wherein it is commonly either procured or employed. Make
yourselves friends of this, by doing all possible good,
particularly to the children of God: that when ye fail, when
your flesh and your heart faileth, when this earthly tabernacle
is dissolved, those of them who have gone before may receive,
may welcome you into the everlasting habitations.
10. And whether ye have more or less, see that ye be faithful as
well as wise stewards. He that is faithful in what is meanest of
all, worldly substance, is also faithful in things of a higher
nature; and he that uses these lowest gifts unfaithfully, is
likewise unfaithful in spiritual things.
11. Who will intrust you with the true riches?-How should God
intrust you with spiritual and eternal, which alone are true riches?
12. If ye have not been faithful in that which was another's-None
of these temporal things are yours: you are only stewards of them,
not proprietors: God is the proprietor of all; he lodges them in
your hands for a season: but still they are his property. Rich
men, understand and consider this. If your steward uses any part
of your estate (so called in the language of men) any farther
or any otherwise than you direct, he is a knave: he has neither
conscience nor honour. Neither have you either one or the other,
if you use any part of that estate, which is in truth God's, not
yours, any otherwise than he directs. That which is your own
-Heaven, which when you have it, will be your own for ever.
13. And you cannot be faithful to God, if you trim between God
and the world, if you do not serve him alone.
# Mt 6:24.
15. And he said to them, Ye are they who justify yourselves
before men-The sense of the whole passage is, that pride,
wherewith you justify yourselves, feeds covetousness, derides
the Gospel, # Lu 16:14, and destroys the law, # Lu 16:18. All
which is illustrated by a terrible example. Ye justify yourselves
before men-Ye think yourselves righteous, and persuade others
to think you so.
16. The law and the prophets were in force until John: from that
time the Gospel takes place; and humble upright men receive it
with inexpressible earnestness.
# Mt 11:13.
17. Not that the Gospel at all destroys the law.
# Mt 5:18.
18. But ye do; particularly in this notorious instance.
# Mt 5:31; 19:7.
19. There was a certain rich man-Very probably a Pharisee, and
one that justified himself before men; a very honest, as well
as honourable gentleman: though it was not proper to mention his
name on this occasion: who was clothed in purple and fine linen
-and doubtless esteemed on this account, (perhaps not only by
those who sold it, but by most that knew him,) as encouraging
trade, and acting according to his quality: And feasted splendidly
every day-And consequently was esteemed yet more, for his
generosity and hospitality in keeping so good a table.
20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, (according to
the Greek pronunciation) or Eleazer. By his name it may be
conjectured, he was of no mean family, though it was thus reduced.
There was no reason for our Lord to conceal his name, which
probably was then well known. Theophylact observes, from the
tradition of the Hebrews, that he lived at Jerusalem. Yea, the
dogs also came and licked his sores-It seems this circumstance
is recorded to show that all his ulcers lay bare, and were not
closed or bound up.
22. And the beggar-Worn out with hunger, and pain, and want of
all things, died: and was carried by angels (amazing change of
the scene!) into Abraham's bosom-So the Jews styled paradise;
the place where the souls of good men remain from death to the
resurrection. The rich man also died, and was buried-Doubtless
with pomp enough, though we do not read of his lying in state;
that stupid, senseless pageantry, that shocking insult on a
poor, putrefying carcass, was reserved for our enlightened age!
23. He seeth Abraham afar off-And yet knew him at that distance:
and shall not Abraham's children, when they are together in
paradise, know each other!
24. Father Abraham, have mercy on me-It cannot be denied, but
here is one precedent in Scripture of praying to departed saints:
but who is it that prays, and with what success? Will any, who
considers this, be fond of copying after him?
25. But Abraham said, Son-According to the flesh. Is it not
worthy of observation, that Abraham will not revile even a damned
soul? and shall living men revile one another? Thou in thy
lifetime receivedst thy good things-Thou didst choose and accept
of worldly things as thy good, thy happiness. And can any be at
a loss to know why he was in torments? This damnable idolatry,
had there been nothing more, was enough to sink him to the
26. Beside this there is a great gulf fixed-Reader, to which
side of it wilt thou go?
28. Lest they also come into this place-He might justly fear
lest their reproaches should add to his own torment.
31. Neither will they be persuaded-Truly to repent: for this
implies an entire change of heart: but a thousand apparitions
cannot, effect this. God only can, applying his word.
XVII. 1. It is impossible but offences will come-And they ever
did and do come chiefly by Pharisees, that is, men who trust in
themselves that they are righteous, and despise others.
# Mt 18:6; Mr 9:42.
2. Little ones-Weak believers.
3. Take heed to yourselves-That ye neither offend others,
nor be offended by others.
# Mt 18:15.
4. If he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times
in a day return, saying, I repent-That is, if he give sufficient
proof that he does really repent, after having sinned ever so
often, receive him just as if he had never sinned against thee.
But this forgiveness is due only to real penitents. In a lower
sense we are to forgive all, penitent or impenitent; (so as to
bear them the sincerest good will, and to do them all the good
we can;) and that not seven times only, but seventy times seven.
5. Lord, increase our faith-That we may thus forgive, and may
neither offend nor be offended.
# Mt 17:20.
6. And he said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed-If ye
had the least measure of true faith, no instance of duty would
be too hard for you. Ye would say to this sycamine tree-This
seems to have been a kind of proverbial expression.
7. But which of you-But is it not meet that you should first
obey, and then triumph? Though still with a deep sense of your
9. Doth he thank that servant-Does he account himself obliged
10. When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants-For
a man cannot profit God. Happy is he who judges himself an
unprofitable servant: miserable is he whom God pronounces such.
But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not
unprofitable to us. For he is pleased to give by his grace a
value to our good works, which in consequence of his promise
entitles us to an eternal reward.
20. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation-With such
outward pomp as draws the observation of every one.
21. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there-This shall not
be the language of those who are, or shall be sent by me, to
declare the coming of my kingdom. For behold the kingdom of God
is within or among you-Look not for it in distant times or remote
places: it is now in the midst of you: it is come: it is present
in the soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an
internal principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.
22. Ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man-One
day of mercy. or one day wherein you might converse with me, as
you do now.
23. They shall say, See, Christ is here, or there-Limiting his
presence to this or that place.
# Mt 24:23.
24. So shall also the Son of man be-So swift, so wide, shall his
appearing be: In his day-The last day.
26. The days of the Son of man-Those which immediately follow
that which is eminently styled his day.
# Mt 24:37.
31. In that day-(Which will be the grand type of the last day)
when ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies.
32. Remember Lot's wife-And escape with all speed, without ever
looking behind you.
# Luke 9:24; John 12:25.
33. The sense of this and the following verses is, Yet as great
as the danger will be, do not seek to save your life by violating
your conscience: if you do, you will surely lose it: whereas if
you should lose it for my sake, you shall be paid with life
everlasting. But the most probable way of preserving it now, is
to be always ready to give it up: a peculiar Providence shall
then watch over you, and put a difference between you and other men.
37. # Mt 24:28.
XVIII. 1. He spake a parable to them-This and the following
parable warn us against two fatal extremes, with regard to
prayer: the former against faintness and weariness, the latter
against self confidence.
7. And shall not God-The most just Judge, vindicate his own elect
-Preserve the Christians from all their adversaries, and in
particular save them out of the general destruction, and avenge
them of the Jews? Though he bear long with them-Though he does
not immediately put an end, either to the wrongs of the wicked,
or the sufferings of good men.
8. Yet when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith upon earth
-Yet notwithstanding all the instances both of his long suffering
and of his justice, whenever he shall remarkably appear, against
their enemies in this age or in after ages, how few true believers
will be found upon earth!
9. He spake this parable-Not to hypocrites; the Pharisee here
mentioned was no hypocrite, no more than an outward adulterer:
but he sincerely trusted in himself that he was righteous, and
accordingly told God so, in the prayer which none but God heard.
12. I fast twice in the week-So did all the strict Pharisees:
every Monday and Thursday. I give tithes of all that I possess
-Many of them gave one full tenth of their income in tithes, and
another tenth in alms. the sum of this plea is, I do no harm:
I use all the means of grace: I do all the good I can.
13. The publican standing afar off-From the holy of holies, would
not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven-Touched with shame,
which is more ingenuous than fear.
14. This man went down-From the hill on which the temple stood,
justified rather than the other-That is, and not the other.
15. # Mt 19:13; Mr 10:13.
16. Calling them-Those that brought the children: of such is the
kingdom of God-Such are subjects of the Messiah's kingdom. And
such as these it properly belongs to.
18. # Mt 19:16; Mr 10:17.
20. # Exo 20:12, &c.
22. Yet lackest thou one thing-Namely, to love God more than
mammon. Our Saviour knew his heart, and presently put him
upon a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to
cure his love of the world, which could not in him be cured
otherwise, Christ commanded him to sell all that he had. But he
does not command us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.
31. # Mt 20:17; Mr 10:32.
34. They understood none of these things-The literal meaning
they could not but understand. But as they could not reconcile
this to their preconceived opinion of the Messiah, they were
utterly at a loss in what parabolical or figurative sense to
take what he said concerning his sufferings; having their
thoughts still taken up with the temporal kingdom.
35. # Mt 20:29; Mr 10:46.
XIX. 1. He passed through Jericho-So that Zaccheus must have
lived near the end of the town: the tree was in the town itself.
And he was rich-These words seem to refer to the discourse in
the last chapter, # Lu 18:24-27, particularly to # Lu 18:27.
Zaccheus is a proof, that it is possible by the power of God for
even a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
2. The chief of the publicans-What we would term, commissioner
of the customs. A very honourable as well as profitable place.
4. And running before-With great earnestness. He climbed up
-Notwithstanding his quality: desire conquering honour and shame.
5. Jesus said, Zaccheus, make haste and come down-What a strange
mixture of passions must Zaccheus have now felt, hearing one
speak, as knowing both his name and his heart!
7. They all murmured-All who were near: though most of them
rather out of surprise than indignation.
8. And Zaccheus stood-Showing by his posture, his deliberate,
purpose and ready mind, and said, Behold, Lord, I give-I
determine to do it immediately.
9. He also is a son of Abraham-A Jew born, and as such has a
right to the first offer of salvation.
10. # Mt 18:11.
11. They thought the kingdom of God-A glorious temporal kingdom,
would immediately appear.
12. He went into a far country to receive a kingdom-Christ went
to heaven, to receive his sovereign power as wan, even all
authority in heaven and earth.
# Mt 25:14; Mr 13:34.
13. Trade till I come-To visit the nation, to destroy Jerusalem,
to judge the world: or, in a more particular sense, to require
thy soul of thee.
14. But his citizens-Such were those of Jerusalem, hated him,
and sent an embassy after him-The word seems to imply, their
sending ambassadors to a superior court, to enter their protest
against his being admitted to the regal power. In such a solemn
manner did the Jews protest, as it were, before God, that Christ
should not reign over them: this man-So they call him in contempt.
15. When he was returned-In his glory.
23. With interest-Which does not appear to be contrary to any law
of God or man. But this is no plea for usury, that is, the taking
such interest as implies any degree of oppression or extortion.
25. They said-With admiration, not envy.
26. # Mt 25:29; Lu 8:18.
27. He went before-The foremost of the company, showing his
readiness to suffer.
29. He drew nigh to the place where the borders of Bethphage
and Bethany met, which was at the foot of the mount of Olives.
# Mt 21:1; Mr 11:1.
37. The whole multitude began to praise God-Speaking at once,
as it seems, from a Divine impulse, words which most of them
did not understand.
38. Peace in heaven-God being reconciled to man.
39. Rebuke thy disciples-Paying thee this immoderate honour.
40. If these should hold their peace, the stones, which lie
before you, would cry out-That is, God would raise up some
still more unlikely instruments to declare his praise.
For the power of God will not return empty.
42. O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day-After thou
hast neglected so many. Thy day-The day wherein God still offers
thee his blessings.
43. Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee
around-All this was exactly performed by Titus, the Roman general.
44. And thy children within thee-All the Jews were at that time
gathered together, it being the time of the passover. They
shall not leave in thee one stone upon another-Only three towers
were left standing for a time, to show the former strength and
magnificence of the place. But these likewise were afterward
levelled with the ground.
45. # Mt 21:12; Mr 11:11.
46. # Isa 56:7.
XX. 1. # Mt 21:23; Mr 11:27.
9. A long time-It was a long time from the entrance of the
Israelites into Canaan to the birth of Christ.
# Mt 21:33; Mr 12:1.
16. He will destroy these husbandmen-Probably he
pointed to the scribes, chief priests, and elders: who
allowed, he will miserably destroy those wicked men,
# Mt 21:41; but could not bear that this should be
applied to themselves. They might also mean, God forbid
that we should be guilty of such a crime as your parable
seems to charge us with, namely, rejecting and killing
the heir. Our Saviour answers, But yet will ye do it,
as is prophesied of you.
17. He looked on them-To sharpen their attention.
# Psa 118:22.
18. # Mt 21:45.
20. Just men-Men of a tender conscience. To take hold of his
discourse-If he answered as they hoped he would.
# Mt 22:16; Mr 12:12.
21. Thou speakest-In private, and teachest-In public.
24. Show me a penny-A Roman penny, which was the money that was
usually paid on that occasion.
26. They could not take hold of his words before the people-As
they did afterward before the sanhedrim, in the absence of the
people, # Lu 22:67, &c.
27. # Mt 22:23; Mr 12:18.
28. # Deut 25:5.
34. The children of this world-The inhabitants of earth, marry
and are given in marriage-As being all subject to the law of
mortality; so that the species is in need of being continually
35. But they who obtain that world-Which they enter into, before
the resurrection of the dead.
36. They are the children of God-In a more eminent sense when
they rise again.
37. That the dead are raised, even Moses, as well as the other
prophets showed, when he calleth-That is, when he recites the
words which God spoke of himself, I am the God of Abraham, #c.
It cannot properly be said, that God is the God of any who are
# Exod 3:6.
38. He is not a God of the dead, or, there is no God of the dead
-That is, tho term God implies such a relation, as cannot possibly
subsist between him and the dead; who in the Sadducees' sense are
extinguished spirits; who could neither worship him, nor receive
good from him. So that all live to him-All who have him for their
God, live to and enjoy him. This sentence is not an argument for
what went before; but the proposition which was to be proved. And
the consequence is apparently just. For as all the faithful are
the children of Abraham, and the Divine promise of being a God to
him and his seed is entailed upon them, it implies their continued
existence and happiness in a future state as much as Abraham's.
And as the body is an essential part of man, it implies both his
resurrection and theirs; and so overthrows the entire scheme of
the Sadducean doctrine.
40. They durst not ask him any question-The Sadducees durst not.
One of the scribes did, presently after.
41. # Mt 22:41; Mr 12:35.
42. # Psa 110:1.
46. # Mt 23:5.
47. # Mt 23:14.
XXI. 1. He looked up-From those on whom his eyes were fixed before.
# Mr 12:41.
5. Goodly stones-Such as no engines now in use could have brought,
or even set upon each other. Some of them (as an eye witness who
lately measured them writes) were forty-five cubits long, five
high, and six broad; yet brought thither from another country.
And gifts-Which persons delivered from imminent dangers had, in
accomplishment of their vows, hung on the walls and pillars.
The marble of the temple was so white, that it appeared like a
mountain of snow at a distance. And the gilding of many parts
made it, especially when the sun shone, a most splendid and
# Mt 24:1; Mr 13:1.
8. I am the Christ; and the time is near-When I will deliver you
from all your enemies. They are the words of the seducers.
9. Commotions-Intestine broils; civil wars.
11. Fearful sights and signs from heaven-Of which Josephus gives
a circumstantial account.
12. # Mr 13:9.
13. It shall turn to you for a testimony-Of your having delivered
your own souls, and of their being without excuse.
16. # Mt 10:21.
17. # Mt 24:13; Mr 13:13.
18. Not a hair of your head-A proverbial expression, shall perish
-Without the special providence of God. And then, not before the
time, nor without A full reward.
19. In your patience possess ye your souls-Be calm and serene,
masters of yourselves, and superior to all irrational and
disquieting passions. By keeping the government of your
spirits, you will both avoid much misery, and guard the better
against all dangers.
21. Let them that are in the midst of it-Where Jerusalem stands
(that is, they that are in Jerusalem) depart out of it, before
their retreat is cut off by the uniting of the forces near the
city, and let not them that are in the adjacent countries by any
means enter into it.
22. And things which are written-Particularly in Daniel.
24. They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be
led away captive-Eleven hundred thousand perished in the siege
of Jerusalem, and above ninety thousand were sold for slaves.
So terribly was this prophecy fulfilled! And Jerusalem shall be
trodden by the Gentiles-That is, inhabited. So it was indeed.
The land was sold, and no Jew suffered even to come within sight
of Jerusalem. The very foundations of the city were ploughed up,
and a heathen temple built where the temple of God had stood.
The times of the Gentiles-That is, the times limited for their
treading the city; which shall terminate in the full conversion
of the Gentiles.
25. And there shall be-Before the great day, which was typified
by the destruction of Jerusalem: signs-Different from those
mentioned # Lu 21:11, &c.
# Mt 24:29; Mr 13:24.
28. Now when these things
-Mentioned # Lu 21:8,10, &c,
begin to come to pass, look up with firm faith, and lift up
your heads with joy: for your redemption out of many troubles
draweth nigh, by God's destroying your implacable enemies.
29. Behold the fig tree and all the trees-Christ spake this in
the spring, just before the passover; when all the trees were
budding on the mount of Olives, where they then were.
30. Ye know of yourselves-Though none teach you.
31. The kingdom of God is nigh-The destruction of the Jewish
city, temple, and religion, to make way for the advancement
of my kingdom.
32. Till all things be effected-All that has been spoken of the
destruction of Jerusalem, to which the question, # Lu 21:7,
relates: and which is treated of from # Lu 21:8-24.
34. Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overloaded with
gluttony and drunkenness-And was there need to warn the apostles
themselves against such sins as these? Then surely there is
reason to warn even strong Christians against the very grossest
sins. Neither are we wise, if we think ourselves out of the
reach of any sin: and so that day-Of judgment or of death, come
upon you, even you that are not of this world-Unawares.
# Mt 24:42; Mr 13:33; Lu 12:35.
35. That sit-Careless and at ease.
36. Watch ye therefore-This is the general conclusion of all
that precedes. That ye may be counted worthy-This word sometimes
signifies an honour conferred on a person, as when the apostles
are said to be counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ,
# Acts 5:41.
Sometimes meet or becoming: as when John the Baptist
exhorts, to bring fruits worthy of repentance,
# Lu 3:8.
And so to be counted worthy to escape, is to have the honour of
it, and to be fitted or prepared for it. To stand-With joy and
triumph: not to fall before him as his enemies.
37. Now by day-In the day time, he was teaching in the temple
-This shows how our Lord employed his time after coming to
Jerusalem: but it is not said, he was this day in the temple,
and next morning the people came. It does not therefore by any
means imply, that he came any more after this into the temple.
38. And all the people came early in the morning to hear him-How
much happier were his disciples in these early lectures, than
the slumbers of the morning could have made them on their beds!
Let us not scruple to deny ourselves the indulgence of unnecessary
sleep, that we may morning after morning place ourselves at his
feet, receiving the instructions of his word, and seeking those
of his Spirit.
XXII. 1. # Mt 26:1; Mr 14:1.
3. Then entered Satan-Who is never wanting to assist those whose
heart is bent upon mischief.
4. Captains-Called captains of the temple,
# Lu 22:52.
They were Jewish officers, who presided over the guards
which kept watch every night in the temple.
7. # Mt 26:17; Mr 14:12.
14. # Mt 26:20; Mr 14:17.
15. With desire have I desired-That is, I have earnestly desired
it. He desired it, both for the sake of his disciples, to whom
he desired to manifest himself farther, at this solemn parting:
and for the sake of his whole Church, that he might institute the
grand memorial of his death.
16. For I will not eat thereof any more-That is, it will be the
last I shall eat with you before I die. The kingdom of God did
not properly commence till his resurrection. Then was fulfilled
what was typified by the passover.
17. And he took the cup-That cup which used to be brought at
the beginning of the paschal solemnity, and said, Take this and
divide it among yourselves; for I will not drink-As if he had
said, Do not expect me to drink of it: I will drink no more
before I die.
19. And he took bread-Namely, some time after, when supper was
ended, wherein they had eaten the paschal lamb. This is my
body-As he had just now celebrated the paschal supper, which
was called the passover, so in like figurative language, he
calls this bread his body. And this circumstance of itself was
sufficient to prevent any mistake, as if this bread was his real
body, any more than the paschal lamb was really the passover.
20. This cup is the New Testament-Here is an undeniable figure,
whereby the cup is put for the wine in the cup. And this is
called, The New Testament in Christ's blood, which could not
possibly mean, that it was the New Testament itself, but only
the seal of it, and the sign of that blood which was shed to
21. The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table-It
is evident Christ spake these words before he instituted the Lord's
Supper: for all the other evangelists mention the sop, immediately
after receiving which he went out:
# John 13:30. Nor did he return any more, till he came into the
garden to betray his Master. Now this could not be dipped or
given, but while the meat was on the table. But this was all
removed before that bread and cup were brought.
24. There was also a contention among them-It is highly probable,
this was the same dispute which is mentioned by St. Matthew and
St. Mark: and consequently, though it is related here, it happened
some time before.
25. They that exercise the most arbitrary authority over them,
have from their flatterers the vain title of benefactors.
26. But ye are to be benefactors to mankind, not by governing,
but by serving.
27. For-This he proves by his own example. I am in the midst of
you-Just now: see with your eyes. I take no state upon me, but
sit in the midst, on a level with the lowest of you.
28. Ye have continued with me in my temptations-And all his life
was nothing else, particularly from his entering on his public
29. And I-Will preserve you in all your temptations, till ye
enter into the kingdom of glory: appoint to you-By these very
words. Not a primacy to one, but a kingdom to every one: on
the same terms: as my Father hath appointed to me-Who have
fought and conquered.
30. That ye may eat and drink at my table-That is, that ye may
enjoy the highest happiness, as guests, not as servants. These
expressions seem to be primarily applicable to the twelve apostles,
and secondarily, to all Christ's servants and disciples, whose
spiritual powers, honours, and delights, are here represented in
figurative terms, with respect to their advancement both in the
kingdom of grace and of glory.
31. Satan hath desired to have you-My apostles, that he might
sift you as wheat-Try you to the uttermost.
32. But I have prayed for thee-Who wilt be in the greatest danger
of all: that thy faith fail not-Altogether: and when thou art
returned-From thy flight, strengthen thy brethren-All that are
weak in faith; perhaps scandalized at thy fall.
34. It shall not be the time of cock crowing this day-The common
time of cock crowing (which is usually about three in the morning)
probably did not come till after the cock which Peter heard had
crowed twice, if not oftener.
35. When I sent you-lacked ye any thing-Were ye not borne above
all want and danger?
36. But now-You will be quite in another situation. You will
want every thing. He that hath no sword, let him sell his
garment and buy one-It is plain, this is not to be taken
literally. It only means, This will be a time of extreme danger.
37. The things which are written concerning me have an end-Are
now drawing to a period; are upon the point of being accomplished.
# Isa 53:12.
38. Here are two swords-Many of Galilee carried them when they
travelled, to defend themselves against robbers and assassins,
who much infested their roads. But did the apostles need to seek
such defence? And he said; It is enough-I did not mean
literally, that every one of you must have a sword.
39. # Mt 26:30.
40. The place-The garden of Gethsemane.
43. Strengthening him-Lest his body should sink and die
before the time.
44. And being in an agony-Probably just now grappling with the
powers of darkness: feeling the weight of the wrath of God, and
at the same time surrounded with a mighty host of devils, who
exercised all their force and malice to persecute and distract
his wounded spirit. He prayed more earnestly-Even with stronger
cries and tars: and his sweat-As cold as the weather was, was as
it were great drops of blood-Which, by the vehement distress of
his soul, were forced out of the pores, in so great a quantity
as afterward united in large, thick, grumous drops, and even fell
to the ground.
48. Betrayest thou the Son of man-He whom thou knowest to be the
Son of man, the Christ?
49. Seeing what would follow-That they were just going to seize him.
# Mt 26:51; Mr 14:47.
51. Suffer me at least to have my hands at liberty thus far,
while I do one more act of mercy.
52. Jesus said to the chief priests, and captains, and the
elders who were come-And all these came of their own accord:
the soldiers and servants were sent.
53. This is your hour-Before which ye could not take me: and
the power of darkness-The time when Satan has power.
54. # Mt 26:57; Mr 14:53; Joh 18:12.
58. Another man saw him and said-Observe here, in order to
reconcile the four evangelists, that divers persons concurred
in charging Peter with belonging to Christ.
1. The maid that led him in, afterward seeing him at the fire,
first put the question to him, and then positively affirmed,
that he was with Christ.
2. Another maid accused him to the standers by, and gave
occasion to the man here mentioned, to renew the charge
against him, which caused the second denial.
3. Others of the company took notice of his being a Galilean, and
were seconded by the kinsman of Malchus, who affirmed he had
seen him in the garden. And this drew on the third denial.
59. And about one hour after-So he did not recollect himself
in all that time.
63. # Mt 26:67; Mr 14:65.
64. And having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face-This
is placed by St. Matthew and Mark, after the council's condemning
him. Probably he was abused in the same manner, both before and
after his condemnation.
65. Many other things blasphemously spake they against him-The
expression is remarkable. They charged him with blasphemy,
because he said he was the Son of God: but the evangelist fixes
that charge on them, because he really was so.
66. # Mt 26:63; Mr 14:61.
70. They all said, Art thou then the Son of God?-Both these, the
Son of God, and the Son of man, were known titles of the Messiah;
the one taken from his Divine, and the other from his human nature.
XXIII. 1. # Mt 27:1; Mr 15:1; John 18:28.
4. Then said Pilate-After having heard his defence-I find no
fault in this man-I do not find that he either asserts or
attempts any thing seditious or injurious to Cesar.
5. He stirreth up the people, beginning from Galilee-Probably
they mentioned Galilee to alarm Pilate, because the Galileans
were notorious for sedition and rebellion.
7. He sent him to Herod-As his proper judge.
8. He had been long desirous to see him-Out of mere curiosity.
9. He questioned him-Probably concerning the miracles which were
reported to have been wrought by him.
11. Herod set him at nought-Probably judging him to be a fool,
because he answered nothing. In a splendid robe-In royal apparel;
intimating that he feared nothing from this king.
15. He hath done nothing worthy of death-According to the
judgment of Herod also.
16. I will therefore chastise him-Here Pilate began to give
ground, which only encouraged them to press on.
# Mt 27:15; Mr 15:6; Joh 18:39.
22. He said to them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done?
-As Peter, a disciple of Christ, dishonoured him by denying him
thrice, so Pilate, a heathen, honoured Christ, by thrice owning
him to be innocent.
26. # Mt 27:31; Mr 15:21; Joh 19:16.
30. # Hos 10:8.
31. If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be
done in the dry?-Our Lord makes use of a proverbial expression,
frequent among the Jews, who compare a good man to a green tree,
and a bad man to a dead one: as if he had said, If an innocent
person suffer thus, what will become of the wicked? Of those
who are as ready for destruction as dry wood for the fire?
34. Then said Jesus-Our Lord passed most of the time on the
cross in silence: yet seven sentences which he spoke thereon
are recorded by the four evangelists, though no one evangelist
has recorded them all. Hence it appears that the four Gospels
are, as it were, four parts, which, joined together, make one
symphony. Sometimes one of these only, sometimes two or three,
sometimes all sound together. Father-So he speaks both in the
beginning and at the end of his sufferings on the cross: Forgive
them-How striking is this passage! While they are actually
nailing him to the cross, he seems to feel the injury they did to
their own souls more than the wounds they gave him; and as it were
to forget his own anguish out of a concern for their own salvation.
And how eminently was his prayer heard! It procured forgiveness
for all that were penitent, and a suspension of vengeance even for
35. If thou be the Christ;
# Lu 23:37.
If thou be the king-The priests deride the name of Messiah:
the soldiers the name of king.
38. # Mt 27:37; Mr 15:26; Joh 19:19.
39. And one of the malefactors reviled him-St. Matthew says, the
robbers: St. Mark, they that were crucified with him, reviled him.
Either therefore St. Matthew and Mark put the plural for the
singular (as the best authors sometimes do) or both reviled him
at the first, till one of them felt "the overwhelming power of
40. The other rebuked him-What a surprising degree was here of
repentance, faith, and other graces! And what abundance of good
works, in his public confession of his sin, reproof of his fellow
criminal, his honourable testimony to Christ, and profession of
faith in him, while he was in so disgraceful circumstances as
were stumbling even to his disciples! This shows the power of
Divine grace. But it encourages none to put off their repentance
to the last hour; since, as far as appears, this was the first
time this criminal had an opportunity of knowing any thing of
Christ, and his conversion was designed to put a peculiar glory
on our Saviour in his lowest state, while his enemies derided
him, and his own disciples either denied or forsook him.
42. Remember me when thou comest-From heaven, in thy kingdom-He
acknowledges him a king, and such a king, as after he is dead,
can profit the dead. The apostles themselves had not then so
clear conceptions of the kingdom of Christ.
43. In paradise-The place where the souls of the righteous
remain from death till the resurrection. As if he had said,
I will not only remember thee then, but this very day.
44. There was darkness over all the earth-The noon-tide darkness,
covering the sun, obscured all the upper hemisphere. And the
lower was equally darkened, the moon being in opposition to the
sun, and so receiving no light from it.
# Mt 27:45.
45. # Mr 15:38.
46. Father, into thy hands-The Father receives the Spirit of
Jesus: Jesus himself the spirits of the faithful.
47. Certainly this was a righteous man-Which implies an
approbation of all he had done and taught.
48. All the people-Who had not been actors therein, returned
smiting their breasts-In testimony of sorrow.
50. # Mt 27:57; Mr 15:43; Joh 19:38.
XXIV. 1. Certain others with them-Who had not come from Galilee.
# Mt 28:1; Mr 16:1; Joh 20:1.
4. Behold two-Angels in the form of men. Mary had seen them a
little before. They had disappeared on these women's coming to
the sepulchre, but now appeared again. St. Matthew and Mark
mention only one of them, appearing like a young man.
6. Remember how he spake to you, saying, The Son of man must be
delivered-This is only a repetition of the words which our Lord
had spoken to them before his passion But it is observable, he
never styles himself the Son of man after his resurrection.
13. # Mr 16:12.
21. To-day is the third day-The day he should have risen again,
if at all.
25. O foolish-Not understanding the designs and works of God:
And slow of heart-Unready to believe what the prophets have so
26. Ought not Christ-If he would redeem man, and fulfil the
prophecies concerning him, to have suffered these things?-These
very sufferings which occasion your doubts, are the proofs of
his being the Messiah. And to enter into his glory-Which could
be done no other way.
28. He made as though he would go farther-Walking forward, as
if he was going on; and he would have done it, had they not
pressed him to stay.
29. They constrained him-By their importunate entreaties.
30. He took the bread, and blessed, and brake-Just in the same
manner as when ho instituted his last supper.
31. Their eyes were opened-That is, the supernatural cloud was
removed: And he vanished-Went away insensibly.
32. Did not our heart burn within us-Did not we feel an unusual
warmth of love! Was not our heart burning, &c.
33. The same hour-Late as it was.
34. The Lord hath appeared to Simon-Before he was seen of
the twelve apostles, # 1Cor 15:5.
He had, in his wonderful condescension and grace, taken an
opportunity on the former part of that day (though where, or in
what manner, is not recorded) to show himself to Peter, that
he might early relieve his distresses and fears, on account of
having so shamefully denied his Master.
35. In the breaking of bread-The Lord's Supper.
36. Jesus stood in the midst of them-It was just as easy to his
Divine power to open a door undiscernibly, as it was to come in
at a door opened by some other hand.
# Mr 16:14,19; Joh 20:19.
40. He showed them his hands and his feet-That they might either
see or feel the prints of the nails.
41. While they believed not for joy-They did in some sense
believe: otherwise they would not have rejoiced. But their
excess of joy prevented a clear, rational belief.
43. He took it and ate before them-Not that he had any need of
food; but to give them still farther evidence.
44. And he said-On the day of his ascension. In the law, and
the prophets, and the psalms-The prophecies as well as types,
relating to the Messiah, are contained either in the books of
Moses (usually called the law) in the Psalms, or in the writings
of the prophets; little being said directly concerning him in
the historical books.
45. Then opened he their understanding, to understand the
Scriptures-He had explained them before to the two as they went
to Emmaus. But still they Understood them not, till he took off
the veil from their hearts, by the illumination of his Spirit.
47. Beginning at Jerusalem-This was appointed most graciously
and wisely: graciously, as it encouraged the, greatest sinners
to repent, when they saw that even the murderers of Christ were
not excepted from mercy: and wisely, as hereby Christianity was
more abundantly attested; the facts being published first on the
very spot where they happened.
49. Behold I send the promise-Emphatically so called;
the Holy Ghost.
50. He led them out as far as Bethany-Not the town, but the
district: to the mount of Olives, # Acts 1:12, which stood
within the boundaries of Bethany.
51. And while he was blessing them, he was parted from them-It
was much more proper that our Lord should ascend into heaven,
than that he should rise from the dead, in the sight of the
apostles. For his resurrection was proved when they saw him
alive after his passion: but they could not see him in heaven
while they continued on earth.
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©1997 William H. Lawson, Jr.
Updated: Friday, June 27, 1997