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beware of the Scribes and Pharisees; insi-y highly complimented their understandings, nuating thereby who the enemies were and gave them great authority with their whose destruction he had mentioned. “ The disciples. Scribes and the Pharisees, (said he) sit in Moses' seat. All, therefore, whatsoever
Bat the followers of the blessed Jesus they bid you observe, that observe and do :) were to decline this title; because the thing but do not ye after their works : for they signified by it belonged solely to their
1. Master, in whom are hid all the treasures say, and do not." Matt. xxiii. 2, 3.
of wisdom and knowledge, and because While they teach the doctrines before
they owed no part of their knowledge to delivered by Moses, observe all they say ; 1 themselves, but derived it entirely from him but by no means imitate their practices : who came down from heaven. But be not for they impose many precepts on their ye called Rabbi ; for one is your Master, disciples, which they never performed them- even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And selyes. “For they bind heavy burdens, | call no man your fatber upon the earth; for and grievous to be borne, and lay them on one is your father which is in heaven." men's shoulders, but they themselves will
Matt. xxiii. 8, 9. Life, with all its blessings, not move them with one of their fingers.
| comes from God, and men wholly depend But all their works they do for to be seen of upon him; all praise and thankfulness, men.” Matt. xxiii, 4, 5.
therefore, should ultimately be referred to
him ; so that if any one teacheth rightly, The difficult precepts they impose on
not the teacher, but the wisdom of the Al. others are never regarded by these hypo
mighty, is to be praised, which exerts and crites, and any good action they may hap
communicates itself by him. pen to perform is vitiated by the principle from whence it proceeds. They do it only Nor were the disciples of our blessed Saviwith a view to gain popular applause, and our to accept of the title of master or leader, not from a regard to God, far less from a which the Jewish doctors also courted, love of goodness. They are proud and because in point of commission and inspiraarrogant to excess, as is plain from their tion, they were all equal, neither had they affected gravity in their clothes ; from the any title to rule the consciences of men, anxiety they discover lest they should not except by virtue of the inspiration, which obtain the principal seats in the public as they had received from the Master, to semblies, and from their affecting to be sa. whom alone the prerogative of infallibility luted in the street with the sounding titles belonged. “ Neither be ye called masters; of Rabbi, and father. “ They make broad for one is your Master, even Christ,” Matt. their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders xxiii. 10. of their garments. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the
1 The divine Teacher, however, did not synagogues, and greetings in the markets, / intend by this to intimate, that it was sinful and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi." to call men by the stations that they held in Matt. xxiii. 5, 6, 7.
the world: he only intended to reprore the
simplicity of the common people, who loaded The word Rabbi signifies, properly, their teachers with praises, and forgot to great, and was given to those men who had ascribe any thing to God; and to root out. rendered themselves remarkable for the of the minds of his apostles the Pharasaical extent of their learning ; it is therefore no vanity, wbich decked itself with honour. wonder that the proud and supercilious belonging solely to the Creator of the Unia Pharisees were so fond of a title, which so / verse. Accordingly, that he might insti- . into their hearts humility to dispose them to yourselves, neither suffer ye them that were do good offices to one another, as occasion entering to go in. Woe unto you, Scribes offered, he assured them it was the only and Pharisees, hypocrites ; for ye devour road to true greatness ; for by assuming widows' houses, and for a pretence make what did not properly belong to them, they long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the should be despised both by God and men. greater damnation. Woe unto you, Scribes Whereas those who did not disdain to per and Pharisees, hypocrites ; for ye compass form the meanest offices of love to their bre sea and land to make one proselyte, and, thren, should enjoy a high degree of the di when he is made, ye make him two-fold yine favour.
more the child of hell than yourselves.''
Matt. xviii. 13, &c. The above discourses greatly incensed the Scribes and Pharisees, as they were pro
| The punishment you shall suffer will be nounced in the hearing of many of that or
terribly severe, because you have given a der; it is therefore no wonder that they
wrong interpretation of the ancient pro
phecies concerning the Messiah, and done watched every opportunity to destroy bim, but this was not a time to put their bloody
all that is in your power to hinder the peo
ple from repenting of their sins, and believdesigns in execution ; the people set too
ing the gospel : because you have combigh a value on his doctrine, to suffer any
mitted the grossest iniquities, and under the violence to be offered to his person; and as
cloak of religion have devoured the subthis was the last sermon he was ever to
stance of widows and orphans, hoping to preach in public, it was necessary, that he
hide your villainies by: long prayers; beshould use some severity, as all bis mild
cause ye have expressed the greatest zeal. persuasions proved ineffectual.
imaginable in making proselytes, not with a He therefore denounced, in the most so
view to render the Gentilesmore wise and vir
tuous, but to acquire their riches, and a comlenın manner, dreadful woes against them,
mand over their consciences; and instead of not on account of the personal injuries he
teaching them the precepts of virtue and the had received from them, but on account of
moral duties of religion, you confine their their excessive wickedness.
duties to superstitious and ceremonial in
stitutions: and hence they often relapse into They were public teachers of religion :
their old state of Heathenism, and become and therefore should have used every method
more wicked than before their conversion, in their power to recommend its precepts
and consequently liable to a more severe : to the people, and to have been themselves
sentence. shining examples of every duty it enjoined ; but, on the contrary, they abused every mark He also exposed their doctrine concerning : and character of goodness for all the pur oaths : and declared in opposition to their poses of villainy, and, under the cloak of a abominable tenets, that every oath, if the severe and sanctified aspect, they were 'matter of it be lawful, is obligatory: because malicious, implacable, lewd, covetous, and when men swear by any part of the crea- . rapacious. In a word, instead of being re. tion, it is an appeal to the Creator himself ; . formers, they were the corrupters of man for in any other light an oath of this kind is kind, and consequently their wickedness absolutely ridiculous, the object having neideserved the greatest reproof that could be ther knowledge of the fact, nor power to pugiven by the great Redeemer of mankind. nish the perjury. "Woe unto you, ye blind ! To Woe into you, Scribes and Pharisees, guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear hypocrites; for ye shut up the kingdom of by the temple it is nothing ; but whosoever heaven against men ; for ye neither go in shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is
. a debtor, Ye fools, and blind : for whether. Moreover he animadverted upon the suc. is greater, the gold, or the temple that sancti- cess of their bypocrisy. They deceived the fieth the gold? and whosoever shall swear simple and unthinking part of mankind with by the altar it is nothing, but whosoever their pretended sanctity, appearing like sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is whited sepulchres, beautiful on the outside, guilty. Ye fools, and blind : for whether is while their internal parts were full of ungreater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth cleanness. Woe unto you, Scribes and the gift? Whoso, therefore, shall swear Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye are like unto by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things | wbited sepulchres, which indeed appear thereon. And whoso shall swear by the beautiful outward, but are within full of temple sweareth by it, and by him that dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and by him that sitteth thereon.” Matt. 1 and iniquity. Matt. xxiii, 27, 28. xxiii. 16, &c.
He also reproved the pains they bad taken
in adorning the sepulchres of ihe prophets ; He likewise reprehended their super
because they pretended a great veneration stitious practices, in observing the minutest
for their memories, and even condemned their parts of the ceremonial precepts of the law,
fathers, who killed them, saying, that if and at the same time uiterly neglecting the
they had lived in the days of their fathers, eternal and indispensible rules of righteous
they would have opposed such monstrous ness. "Woe unto you, Scribes and Phari
wickedness, while, at the same time, all their sees, hypocrites; for ye pay tythe of mint,
actions abundantly proved that they still and anise and cummin, and have omitted
cherished the same spirit they condemned in the weightier matters of the law, judgment,
their fathers, persecuting the messengers of mercy and faith; these ought ye to have
the Most High, particularly his only-begotdone, and not to leave the other under."
ten Son, whom they were determined to Matt. xxiii. 23, &c.
destroy. “Woe unto you, Scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites; because you build the Their hypocrisy did not escape the cen
tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sure of the Son of God; they spared no
sepulcbres of the righteous, and say, If we pain's to appear virtuous in the eyes of the
had been in the days of our fathers, we world, and maintain an external conduct
would not have been partakers with them in that should acquire the praises of men, but
the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye at the same time neglected to adorn their
be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are souls with the robe of righteousness, which
the children of them which killed the prois the only ornament that can render them
phets." Matt. xxiii. 29, &c. dear in the sight of their Maker. « Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; He added, that the divine Being was for ye make clean the outside of the cup desirous of trying every method for their and the platter, but within they are full conversion, though all these instances of of extortion and excess. Thou blind mercy were slighted, and that they must Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within expect such terrible vengeance, as should the cup and the platter, that the outside of be a standing monument of the divine them may be clean also.” Matt. xxiii. 25, displeasure against all the murders 'com26. Cleanse first the mind, thy inward | mitted by the sons of men, from the founman, from evil dispositions and affections, dation of the world. and the outward behaviour will of course be virtuous and praise-worthy.
1. Having thus laid before them their heje
nous guilt and dreadful punishment, he was, totally deserted by me; nor shall you see at the thought of the calamities which were me any more till ye shall acknowledge the soon to fall upon them, exceedingly moved, dignity of my charaoter, and the importance and his breast filled with sensations of pity, of my mission, and say with the whole to such a degree, that, unable to contain earth, “ Blessed is he that cometh in the himself, he brake forth into tears, bewailing name of the Lord.” the hard lot of the city of Jerusalem ; for as its inhabitauts had more deeply imbrued their Thus did the blessed Jesus strip the hands in the blood of the prophets, they Scribes and Pharisees of their hypocritical were to drink more deeply of the punish mask. He treated them with severity bement due to such crimes. " O Jerusalem, cause their crimes were of the blackest dye: Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and hence we should learn to be really good, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, and not flatter ourselves that we can cover how often would I have gathered thy chil our crimes with the cloak of hypocrisy, dren together, even as a hen gathereth her from that piercing eye, from which nothing chickens under her wings, and ye would is concealed. not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matt. xxiii. 37, &c. .
The people could not fail of being asto
nished at these discourses, as they had . This benevolent, as well as pathetic ex- 1
always considered their teachers as the most clamation of our blessed Lord, cannot fail
righteous amongst the sons of men. Nay, to excite in the pious mind the warmest
the persons themselves against whom they emotions of love, to the gracious Saviour of
were levelled, were confounded, because mankind, as well as pity for that once chosen
their own consciences convicted them of but since degenerate race. How often bad
the truth of every particular laid to their the Almighty called upou them to return
charge. They, therefore, knew uot what froin their evil way, before he sent bis only
course to pursue ; and in the midst of their begotten Son into the world ? How often,
hesitation, they let Jesus depart without how emphatically did the compassionate
making any attempt to seize him, or inflict Jesus intreat them to embrace the merciful
on him any kind of punishment.. terms now offered them by the Almighty ; and with what unconquerable obstinacy did they refuse the benevolent offers, and resist
CHAP. XXXI. the most winning expressions of the divine love! By the word house, our blessed Sa Our Saviour commends even the smallest viour meant the temple, which was from Act, because it proceeded from a truly that time to be left unto them desolate; the benevolent Motive. Predicts the Deglory of the Lord, which Haggai had pro molition of the magnificent Temple of phesied should fill the second house, was Jerusalem, and delivers several innow. departing from it. Adding, “ I say structive Parables. unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh ESUS, the infallible preacher of righte. in the name of the Lord.” Matt. xxiii. 39. ousness, having thus exposed the secret As if he had said, as ye have killed the practices of the Scribes and Pharisees, reprophets, and persecuted me, whom the paired with his disciples into the court of Father bath sent from the courts of heaven, the women called the treasury, from several and will shortly put me who am the Lord chests being fixed to the pillars of the of the temple, to death, your holy house portico surrounding the court, for receiving shall be left desolate, and your nation the offerings of those who came to worship
nerate ranou them to
only- | hesitation, therempt to se
in the temple. While he continued in this! The diseiples now remembered that their court, olie beheld how the people cast Master, at the conclusion of his pathetic money into the treasury: and many that lamentation over Jerusalem, had declared were rich cast in much. And there came that the temple should not any more be a certain poor widow, and she threw in favoured with his presence, till they should two mites, which make a farthing. And say, " Blessed is be that cometh in the he called unto him his disciples, and saith name of the Lord.” unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they A resolution of this kind could not fail which bave cast into the treasury. For all of greatly surprising his disciples; and, they did cast in of their abundance, but therefore, as he was departing from that she of her want did cast in all she had, sacred structure, they desired bim to observe even all her living.” Mark xii. 41, &c. the beauty of the building; insinuating, that
they thought it strange he should intimate Though the offering given by this poor an intention of leaving it desolate ; that so widow was in itself very small, yet in pro glorious a fabric, celebrated in every corner portion to the goods of life she enjoyed, of the earth, was not to be deserted rashly: it was remarkably large; for it was all she and that they should think themselves subad, even all her living. In order, there premely happy, when he, as the Messiah fore, to encourage charity, and to shew and descendant of David, should take posthem that it is the disposition of the mind, session of it, and erect his throne in the not the magnificence of the offering, that midst of Jerusalem. And as they went out attached the regard of the Almighty, the of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto Son of God applauded this poor widow, as him, “ Master, see what manner of stones, having given more in proportion, than any and what buildings are here." of the rich. Their offerings, though great in respect of her's, were but a small part of The eastern wall of the temple, which their estates, whereas her offering was her fronted the mount of Olives, whither the whole stock. And from this passage of the disciples, with their Master were then gospel we should learn, that the poor, who retiring, was built from the bottom of the in appearance are denied the means of doing valley to a prodigious height, with stones of charitable offices, are encouraged to do all an incredible bulk, firmly compacted tothey can. For how small soever the gift gether, and therefore made a very grand may be, the Almighty, who beholds the appearance, at a distance. The eastern heart, values it, not according to what it is wall is supposed to have been the only in itself, but according to the disposition remains of Solomon's temple, and had eswith which it is given.
caped when the Chaldeans burnt it. But
.this building, however costly or strong it On the other band, we should learn from appeared, our Saviour told them, should be hence, that it is not enough for the rich, totally destroyed, “ Seest thou (said he) that they exceed the poor in the gifts of these great buildings ? there shall not be charity ; they should bestow in proportion left one stone upon another that shall not be to their fortune; and they would do well to thrown down." Mark xiii. 2. remember, that a little given, where a little only is left, appears a much nobler offering, That noble edifice raised with much in the sight of the Almighty, and discovers labour, and at a vast expence, shall be razed a more benevolent and humane temper of to the very foundation. The disciples, mind, than sums much larger bestowed out therefore, when they heard their Master of a plentiful abundance.
affirm, that not so much as one of these