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of their chief privileges : but however that reasons, and greatly tends to promote the be, Jesus was far from fearing the popular welfare of society. resentment, and accordingly declared the third time against arbitrary divorces. The Our Saviour having, is the course of his Pharisees then asked him, why they were ministry, performed innumerable cures, in commanded by Moses to give a writing of different parts of the country, several perdivoreement, and to put her away ? insinua- sonsthinking, perhaps, that his power would ting that Moses was so tender of their hap- be as great in preventing, as in removing, piness, that he gave them liberty of putting distempers, brought their children to him, away their wives, when they saw occasion. | desiring that he would put his bands upon To which Jesus answered, Because of the them and bless them. The disciples, how.. hardness of your hearts, Moses suffered you ever, mistaking the intention, 'were angry to put away your wives ; but from the begin with the persons, and rebuked them for enning it was not so. As unlimited divorces deavouring to give this. trouble to their were not permitted in the state of innocence, Master. But Jesus no sooner saw it, than so neither shall they be under the gospel he was greatly displeased with his disciples, dispensation. “And I say unto you, Who and ordered them not to hinder parents from soever shall put away his wife, except it be bringing their children to bim. " Suffer for fornication, and shall marry another, little children to come unto me, and forbid committeth adultery. And whoso marrieth them not ; for of such is the kingdom of her which is put away, doth commit adultery." | God.” Luke xviii. 10. . Matt. xix. 9.
Such are those, in a spiritual light, who The disciples were greatly surprised at are brought to a sense of their sins, and humia, their Master's decision ; and though they | bled for them in the sight of God. held their peace, while the Pharisees were present, yet they did not fail to ask him the reason on which he founded his determination, when they were returned home. “And
CHAP. XXVII. in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them,
Our Lord departs from his Retirement.. whosoever shall put away his wife, and mare
Declares the only Way of Salvation. ry another, committeth adultery against her.
Shers the Duty of improving the Means And if a woman shall put away her hus
of Grace by the Parables of the Vineband, and be married to another, she com
yard. Prediction of his Suffering, and mitieth adultery." Mark x. 10. ,
Contention of the Disciples about PreThe praetice of unlimited divorces, which
cedence in his Kingdom. prevailed among the Jews, gave great encouragement to family quarrels, were very
M HE period of our blessed Saviour's destructive of happiness, and hindered the passion now approaching, he departed education of their common offspring. Be
| from Ephraim, and repaired by the way of sides, it greatly tended to make their children
Jericho, towards Jerusalem : but before he lose that reverence for them which is due to
arrived at Jericho, a ruler of the synagogue parents, as it was hardly possible for the came ruining to him, and kneeling down children to avoid engaging in the quarrel.
before him, asked him, “ Good Master,
what good thing shall I do, that I may have Our Lord's probibition, therefore, of eternal life ?». Matt. xix. 16. these divorces, is founded on the strongest
that is the
aimed at perfe world, told n possessing the
id becom among'; he should
Though this young ruler pretended to and therefore might be noticed by that pay great honour to our dear Redeemer, benevolent Person, who left the bosom of yet the whole was no more than a piece of his Father, to redeem lost mankind. But raillery. For though he stiled him good, yet he was at the same time, very faulty, with he did not believe that he was sent from regard to his love of sensual pleasures ; a God, as sufficiently appears from his refus. sin, which might have escaped even his own ing to observe the counsel given him byl observation, though it could not escape the Jesus ; nor could his , artful insinuations all-seeing eye of the Son of God. Our blessed escape the piercing eye of the great Saviour Saviour, therefore, willing to make him
of the world. He well knew bis secret sensible of his secret desire of possessing the - intentions, and beheld the ipinost recesses riches of this world, told him, that if he
of his soul; and accordingly rebuked him aimed at perfection, he should distribute his for his hypocritical address, before he an- possessions among the poor and indigent, swered his question. .66 Why callest thou and become his disciple. “ If thou wilt nie good.? there is none.good but one, that be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and is God.” Matt. xix. 17. But as he had give to the poor, and thou shalt have desired the advice of our blessed Jesus, who treasure in heaven : and come and follow never refused it to any of the sons of me.” men, he readily answered his question ; by telling him, that he must observe His heart being set upon his possessions, all the moral precepts of the law ; there he had no inclination to a religion that being a necessary connexion between the | enjoined self-denial, and parting with our duties of piety towards the Almighty, and
darling sin. " But wben the young man of justice and temperance towards men,
towards men. I heard that saying, he went away sorrowthe latter of which were much more difficult
e much more difficult 1 ful: for he had great possessions.” Matt. to counterfeit than the former. 16. If thou xix. 22. wiltenter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which ? Jesus said, This melancholy instance of the pernici. Thou shalt do no murder; Thou shalt not ous influence of riches over the minds of commit adultery ; Thou shalt not steal; the children of men, induced our blessed Thou shalt not bear false witness ; Honour Saviour to caution his disciples against fixthy father and thy mother'; And thou shalt ing their minds on things of such frightful love thy neighbour as thyself. The young tendency, by shewing how very difficult it man saith unto him, All these things have I was for a rich man to procure an habitation kept from my youth up. What lack I yet ?” in the regions of eternal happiness. “ Verily, Matt. xix. 17, &c.
I say unto you, that a rich man shall liardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Aud.
again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel These commandments, perliaps, he had (i. e. a cable or a large rope) to go through obeyed, in the vague sense put upon them the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to by the doctors and interpreters of the law : enter into the kingdom of God. When his and, therefore, the character he here gave disciples heard it, they were exceedingly
of himself might be very just. For though amazed, saying, who then can be saved ? - he was far from being a person who feared But Jesus beheld them, and said unto God from his heart, he might have appeared
them, With men this is impossible, but in the sight of men, as a person of a very
with God all things are possible.” Matt. fair character. And having maintained xix. 23, &c. that character, notwithstanding his great riches, he certainly deserved commendation ; If man be not assisted by the grace of
I say unto the kind, It is e
God, it will be impossible for him to ob pected from their relations, had they not tain the happy rewards of the kingdom of left them for my sake. Divine Providence heaven: but by the assistance of grace, will take care they have every thing valuable which the Almighty never refuses to those that can be given them by their relations, who seek it with their whole heart, it is very or they could desire from large possessions. possible.
They shall, indeed, he fed with the bread
of sorrow; but this shall produce joys, to This answer of the blessed Jesus was,
which all the earthly pleasures bear no pro. however, far from satisfying his disciples,
portion ; and in the end obtain everlasting who liad, doubtless, often reflected with Jife. They shall leave this vale of tears, pleasure on the high posts they were to en with all its pains and sorrows, behind joy in their Master's kingdom. Peter seems them, and fly to the bosom of their Almighparticularly to have been disappointed ; and | ty Father, the fountain of life and joy, therefore addressed his Master in the name
where they shall be infinitely rewarded for of the rest, begging him to remember, that
all the sufferings they have undergone in his apostles had actually done what the
this world. young man had refused. They had abandoned their relations, their friends, their
Things shall then be reversed, and those. possessions, and their employments, on his
who have been reviled and contein ned on account: and therefore desired to know earth, for the sake of the gospel, shall be what reward they were to expect for these
exalted to honour, glory, and immorinstances of their obedience. To which
tality; while the others shall be consigned Jesus replied, That they should not fail of
to eternal infamy. " But many that are a reward, even in this life ; for immediately
first shall be last, and the last shall be first." after his resurrection, when he ascended to Matt. xix. 30. . his Father, and entered on his mediatorial office, they should be advanced to the ho
These words seem also to have been nour of judging the twelve tribes of Israel ; that is, of ruling the church of Christ,
spoken to keep the disciples humble ; for in
all probability they at first understood the which they were to plant in different parts of the earth. " Verily I say unto you, that
promise of their sitting on twelve thrones, ve which have followed me in the regenera-
in a natural sense ; as they were ready to tion, when the Son of man shall sit in the
construe every expression to a temporad throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon
kingdom, which they still expected their twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Master would erect upon earth." Israel.” Matt. xix. 28.
Our blessed Saviour, therefore, to reHaving given this answer to Peter, he move all thoughts they might entertain of next mentioned the rewards his other dis- this kind, told them, that though he had ciples should receive, both in this world, described the rewards they were to expect and in that which is to come. They, said for the ready obedience they had shewn to he, who have forsaken all for my sake, shall his commands, and the pains they were to be no losers in the end ; their benevolent take in propagating the gospel among the Father, who intends to give them posses- children of men ; yet those rewards were sions in the heavenly Canaan, will not fail | spiritual, and not confined to the Jews alone, to support them, during tlieir long and but extend also to the Gentiles, who, in painful journey to that happy country; and point of time, should excel the Jews, and raise them up friends who shall assist them universally embrace the gospel, before that with those necessaries they might have ex nation was converted.
the laborated to obey the lawhe true church,
" Which the labourers when
To excite their ardent pressing forward as delivered by our Saviour: and, from the in faith and good works, our Lord relates applications he has made of it, it will not the 'parable of the householder, who, at be difficult to interpret it. The dispensadifferent lours of the day, bired labourers tion of religion, which God gave to manto work in his vineyard. “ The kingdom kind, in different parts of the world, are of heaven," says our blessed Saviour," is represented by the vineyard.—The Jews, Jike unto a man that is an housel:older, who who were early members of the true church, went out early in the morning to hire la- and obliged to obey the law of Moses, are bourers into his vineyard. And when tbe labourers which the householder hired he had agreed with the labourers for | early in the morning. The Gentiles, who a penny a day, he sent them into his were converted at several times, by the vineyard. And he went out, about the various interpositions of Providence, to the third hour, and saw others standing idle in knowledge and worsbip of the true God, the market-place, and said unto them, go are the labourers hired at the third, sixth, ye also into my vineyard, and whatsoever is and ninth bours. And the invitation given right I will give you. And they went their at the eleventh hour, implies the calling of way. And he went out, about the sixth persons in the eve of life, to the knowledge And ninth hour, and did likewise. And of the gospel. The law of Moses was a about the eleventh hour he went out, and heavy yoke ; and therefore the obedience of finding others standing idle, said unto them, its precepts was very elegantly represented, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They | by bearing the heat and burden of the whole say unto him, because no inan hath hired day. But the proselyted Gentiles paid us. He saith unto them, Go ye also inte obedience only to some particular precepts the vineyard, and whatsoever is right that of the law; bore but part of its weight; sball ye receive. So, when even was come, and were therefore represented by those the lord of the vineyard saith unto his stew. who were hired at the third, sixth, and ard, call the labourers, and give them their ninth hours : while those heathens, who hire, beginning from the last unto the first. regulated their conduct by the law of naAnd when they came that were hired about ture only, and esteemed the works of justice, the eleventh hour, they received every man piety, temperance, and charity, as their a penny. But when the first came, they whole duty, are beautifully represented as supposed tbat they should have received | labouring only one hour, in the cool of the more : and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of When the evening was come, and eacb the house, saying, these last have wrought | labourer was to receive his wages, they were but one hour, and thou hast made them all placed on an equal footing; these reequal unto us, wliich have borne the burden | wards being the privileges and advantages and heat of the day. But he answered one of the Gospel. The Jews who had borne of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no the grievous yoke of the mosaic ceremonies, wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a murmured when they found the Gentiles penny? take that thine is, and go thy way: were admitted to its privileges, without I will give unto this last even as unto thee. being subject to their ceremonial worship. Is it not lawful for me to do wliat I will with But we must not urge the circumstance of mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am the reward, so far as to fancy that either good? So the last shall be first, and the first Jews or Gentiles merited the blessings of the last: for many be called, but few chosen." | gospel, by their having laboured faithfully Matt. xx. 1, 2, 3, &c.
in the vineyard, or having behaved well Such is the parable of the householder, I under their several dispensations...
Is it not ja
Is thine eye he first, and their
The glorious gospel, with all its blessings, The sons of Zebedee were so ignorant Was bestowed entirely by the free grace of that they thought their Master, by his telling God, and without any thing in men to them that he would rise again froin the dead, . merit it ; besides, it was offered promiscu meant that he would then erect bis empire, ously to all, whether good or bad, and em and accordingly begged that he would confer braced by persons of all characters. The on them the chief posts in his kingdom ; conclusion of the parable deserves our utmost which they expressed, by desiring to be attention; we should often meditate upon it, seated, the one “ on his right hand, and the and take care to make our calling and elec- ! other on his left," in allusion to his placing tion sure.
the twelve apostles upon twelve thrones,
judging the tribes of Israel. After Jesus had finished these discourses, he continued his journey towarıls Jerusalem, This race, ever since our Saviour's transwhere the chief priests and elders, soon figuration), had conceived very high notions. after the resurrection of Lazarus, issued a of his kingdom, and possibly of their own proclamation, promising a reward to any merit also, because they had been admitted one who should apprehend him. In all proba to behold that miracle. But Jesus told them, bility, this was the reason why the disciples they were ignorant of the nature of the howere astonished at the alacrity of our Lord, nour they requested ; and since they desired during this journey, while they themselves to share with him in glory, asked them, If followed him trembling. Jesus, therefore, they were willing to share with him also in thought proper to repeat the propheeies con- bis sufferings ; “ Ye know not what ye ask, cerning his sufferings, in order to shew his are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall disciples that they were entirely voluntary ; ! drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism adding, that though the Jews should put him that I am baptized with ?". Matt. xx. 22.. to death, yet instead of weakening, it should increase their faith, especially as he would The two disciples, ravished with the rise again, the third day, from the dead. | prospect of the dignity they were aspiring Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all after, replied, without hesitation, that they things that are writtep by the prophets, cona 1 were both able and willing to share any cerning the Son of man, shall be accom hardship their Master might meet with, in plished ; “ For he shall be delivered unto the the way to the kingdom. To which he Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully answered, that they should certainly share, entreated, and spitied on : and they shall with him his troubles and afflictions ; but scourge him, and put him to death ; and that they had asked a favour which was not the third day he shall rise again. Luke his to give. “Ye shall drink indeed, of my xviji. 32, 33.
cup, and be baptized with the baptism that
I am baptized with ; but to sit on my right As this prediction manifestły tended to hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, the confirmation of the ancient prophecies, but it shall be given unto them for whom it it must have given the greatest encourage | is prepared of my Father.” Matt. xx. 23. 'ment to his disciples, had they understood and applied it in a proper manner; but they This ambitious request of the two brothers. were so ignorant in the scriptures, that they raised the indignation of the rest of the had no idea of what he meant'; “ And they disciples, who thinking themselves equally understood none of these things ; and this deserving the principal postsin the Messiah's. saying was hid from them ; neither knew kingdom, were highly offended at the arrothey the things which were spoken.".
gance of the sons of Zebedee. Jesus, there
fore, in order to restore harmony among his No. 11.
e their faith of weakeshould po