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21 When a strong man armed ing of his filthy and impure nature ; yea, keepeth his palace, his goods are in he is a perfect enemy to purity and hopeace : 22 But when a stronger liness; maligning all that love it, and than he shall come upon him, and would promote it
. 2. That Satan is a overcome him, he taketh from him of heaven, he can rest no where : when
restless and unquiet spirit; being cast out all his armour wherein he trusted, he is either gone out of a man by policy, and divideth his spoils. 23 He or cast out by power, he has no content or that is not with me is against me : satisfaction, till he returns into a filthy and he that gathereth not with me, heart, where he delights to be, as the swine scattereth. 24 When the unclean in miry places. 3. That wicked and pro. spirit is gone out of a man, he fane sinners have this unclean spirit dwellwalketh through dry places, seeking and habitation, and the lusts of pride and
ing in them : their hearts are Satan's house rest; and finding none, he saith, unbelief, malice and revenge, envy and I will return unto my house whence hypocrisy, these are the garnishings and I came out. 25 And when he furniture of Satan's house. Man's heart cometh, he findeth it swept and was God's house by creation, 'tis now Sagarnished. 26 Then goeth he, and tan's by usurpation and judiciary tradition. taketh to him seven other spirits more
4. That Satan, by the preaching of the goswicked than bimself; and they enter they become sober and civilized; yet
pel, may seem to go out of persons, and in, and dwell there: and the last state may be return again to his old habitation, of that man is worse than the first. and the latter end of that man be worse than
Our Saviour having sufficiently shown the beginning. that he did not work his miracles by the power of the devil, he next informs the
27 And it came to pass, as he Pharisees from whence he had that power, spake these things, a certain woeven from God himself ; accordingly he man of the company lifted up her compares Satan to a strong man armed voice, and said unto him, Blessed with weapons to defend his house; and is the womb that bare thee, and the himself clothed with divine power, he com- paps which thou hast sucked. 28 pares to one that is stronger than the strong But he said, Yea, rather blessed arc man. So that the argument runs thus : the devil is very strong and powerful, and they that hear the word of God, and there is no power but only God's that is keep it. stronger than his : if, then, says Christ, I Observe here, 1. How ready we are to were not assisted with a divine power, I admire persons for their external privileges, could never cast out this strong man, who and the favours of divine Providence, and reigns in the bodies and souls of men, as to pronounce such blessed : Blessed is the in his house; for it must be a stronger womb that bare thee. 2. That Christ than the strong man that shall bind Satan; makes another judgment of persons, and and wbo is he but the God of strength pronounces them more blessed, that bear Learn thence, That only Christ's divine him in their hearts by faith, than his own power is superior to Satan's strength : he mother, who bare him in her womb by only can vanquish and overrule him at sense. The blessedness of being an obedihis pleasure, and drive him out of that pos- ent believer, is far greater than that of besession, which he holds either in the bodies ing the mother of our blessed Saviour. or souls of men : The strong man armed Blessed be God, this great and gracious keeps the house, till a stronger than he privilege is not denied unto us now. Al comes upon him, and overcomes him. though we cannot see Christ, yet love When the unclean spirit goeth out of a him we may; his bodily presence canman, he walketh through dry places, seek- not be enjoyed by us, but his spirituing rest, and findeth none. Note here, 1. al gracious presence is not denied us. That Satan is an unclean spirit, he hath Though Christ be not ours in house, in Jost his original purity, his holy nature in arms, by affinity, by consanguinity ; yet which he was created, and is by sin be- in heart, in faith, in love, in service, he is come universally sinful and impure; no or may be ours : verily spiritual regenerameans being allowed by God, for the purg- tion, and an obediential doing of God's
will, bringeth men into a more honourable fore when thine eye is single, thy relation to Christ, than natural generation whole body also is full of light; ever did : Yea, rather blessed are they but when thine eye is evil, thy body that hear the word of God, and keep it. also is full of darkness. 35 Take
29 And when the people were ga- heed therefore that the light which thered thick together, he began to is in thee be not darkness. 36 If say, This is an evil generation : they thy whole body therefore be full of seek a sign; and there shall no sign light, having no part dark, the be given it but the sign of Jonas whole shall be full of light, as when the prophet. 30 For as Jonas was the bright shining of a candle doth a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall give thee light. also the Son of man be to this ge- Our Saviour in these words does these neration. 31 The queen of the two things : 1. He declares, that although south shall rise up in the judgment his ministry had no effect upon the proud with the men of this generation, and and obstinate Pharisees, yet he would not condemn them : for she came from hide the light which he came into the the utmost parts of the earth to hear doctrine which his Father had committed
world to bring, nor conceal that heavenly the wisdom of Solomon; and, be- to him to communicate to the children of hold, a greater than Solomon is men ; teaching us, That such as are enhere. 32 The men of Nineveh shall lightened by God with the knowledge of his rise up in the judgment with this word and will, ought not to conceal and generation, and shall condemn it: hide this knowledge within themselves, but for they repented at the preaching for the good and benefit of others : No
communicate it to others, and improve it of Jonas ; and, behold, a greater
man that lighteth a candle putteth it unthan Jonas is here.
der a bushel. 2. Our Saviour here disco. The sign which the Pharisees here de- vers the reason why the Pharisees contisired of our Saviour, was a miracle wrought nued blind under so clear a light as that of by him. Now our Saviour, though he his ministry ; namely, because the eye of was very ready to work miracles to en- their understanding was darkened, pot so courage and confirm his hearers' faith, yet much with ignorance as with prejudice, not to satisfy the unbelieving Pharisees' cu- whereby they opposed Christ and his holy riosity: and accordingly he tells them, they doctrine : for if the mind be clearly enshould have no other sign than that of his lightened by the word and Spirit of God, resurrection, which Jonas was a type of that light will diffuse and spread itself in Next he threatens them for their obsti- the soul, as the bright shining of a candle nacy and infidelity, which he aggravates doth in the house, enlightening all the infrom the example of the queen of the south, ward faculties, and directing all the outand the men of Nineveh. From thence ward actions, and communicating its light learn, That the sins of infidelity and im- also to the enlightening of others. penitency are exceedingly heightened, and their guilt aggravated, from the means Pharisee besought him to dine with
37 And as he spake, a certain afforded by God to bring men to faith and him : and he went in, and sat down obedience. The sin of the Pharisees was infinitely greater in rejecting the evidence to meat. 38 And when the Phariof Christ's miracles, than the sin of the see saw it, he marvelled that he had Ninevites would have been in refusing to not first washed before dinner. 39 hearken to Jonas's ministry; therefore the And the Lord said unto him, Now Ninevites shall condemn the Pharisees.
do Pharisees make clean the out33 No man when he hath light side of the cup and the platter : ed a candle, putteth it in a secret but your inward part is full of raplace, neither under a bushel, but vening and wickedness. 40 Ye on a candlestick, that they which fools ! did not he that made that come in may see the light. 34 The which is without make that which light of the body is the eye: there is within also ?
Observe here, 1. The free conversation that is, unlawful to be used by you, ti!! of our blessed Saviour, how readily he you have sanctified them by some act of complies with the Pharisees' invitation to charity, which will procure a blessing upon dine with him. I do not find that, when your substance. Christ was invited to any table, that ever
42 But woe unto you, Pharisees ! he refused to go; if a Pharisee, if a pub- for ye tithe mint and rue and all lican invited him, he constantly went, not so much for the pleasure of eating, as
manner of herbs, and
pass for the opportunity of conversing and doing judgment and the love of God : good. Christ feasts us when we feed him: these ought ye to have done, and he says of himself, that he caine eating not to leave the other undone. and drinking, that is, allowing himself a
Our Saviour here denounces a woe against free, though innocent, conversation with the Pharisees for their strict and scrupulous all sorts of persons, that he might gain observing the lesser things of the law, as some. Observe, 2. The exception which tithing mint and rue, whilst they were rethe Pharisee takes at our Saviour's not gardless of the principal and substantial duwashing his hands before dinner. This
ties which they owed both to God and man. they made (but without any warrant for Learn hence, That although some duties it) a religious act ; abounding in external washings, but neglecting the inward pur- others, yet a good man will omit none, but
are of greater moment and importance than gation of their hearts and consciences from make conscience of all, both great and sin and unclea nness. Thus Pharisaical small, in obedience to the command of hypocrisy puts God off with outward clean- God. There is no duty so little as to be sing instead of inward purity; regarding neglected, no command 'so small as to be more the outward cleanness of the hand, disobeyed; but yet there is a difference in than the inward purity of the heart. Ob- duties, and our first regard ought to be to the serve, 3. Our blessed Saviour does not greater, then to the less. Christ doth not condemn any external decency and clean. condeinn them for tithing mint and rue, liness in conversation, but his design is but for passing over judgment and the. to show the vanity of outward purity with love of God. out inward sanctity, and to convince them of the necessity of cleansing the heart, in 43 Woe unto you, Pharisees ! for order to the purifying and reforming the ye love the uppermost seats in the life. The Pharisee washed his hands clean, synagogues, and greetings in the but left his soul full of uncleanness; not markets. considering that he that made the soul as well as the body, requires that both
The next woe denounced against the should be kept pure, all the impiety of Pharisees is for their ambition, pride, and men's lives proceeding from the impurity of popularity, affecting the upperinost seats their bearts and natures.
in the synagogues, and salutations in the 41 But rather give alms of such markets; where their fault was, not in
taking, but in affecting these uppermost things as ye have ; and, behold, all places. God is the God of order; there things are clean unto you.
may and ought to be a precedency amongst As if Christ had said, The way to purify persons. Honour is to be given to whom your meats, and drinks, and estates, from honour is due, and that by God's command. all pollution cleaving to them, and to have But pride and ambition are detestable them sanctified blessings to you, is (in vices, especially in such as are preachers, conjunction with other graces) by doing and ought to be patterns of humility. works of mercy, and by liberal alms-giving 44 Woe unto you, scribes and according to your ability. Learn, That Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye are as charity and alms-giving according to our ability and opportunity, is a special mean
graves which appear not, and the
men that walk over them are not lo sanctify our estates to us, and to cause us holily and comfortably to enjoy whatever
aware of them. we do possess : Give alms of such things Another woe is here denounced against as ye have; and behold, all things are the Pharisees, for cheating and deceiving clean unto you. As if Christ had said, the people with an outward show and apYour temporal enjoyments are unclean, pearance of piety and religion. They
were like graves and sepulchres grown over wherein they were faulty as well as the with grass, which though they held dead Pharisees, and accordingly pronounces a men's bones, yet the putrefaction not out- woe unto them also, for a threefold crime : wardly appearing, men walked unawares 1. For their laying heavy burdens upon over them, and so were polluted by them, others' shoulders, which they would not intimating, that the inward rottenness and touch with one of their fingers. These filthy corruptions of the Pharisees not ap- burdens in general were a exaction pearing unto men, the people were easily of obedience in the whole ceremonial law, deceived by outward shows of Pharisaical and in particular the burden of traditions, sanctity, and so fell into a dangerous imi- certain austerities and severities, which tation of them. Learn thence, That the they imposed upon the people, but would great design of hypocrites is to cheat the not undergo any part of them themselves. world with an empty show of piety: the In vain do we hope to oblige our hearers hypocrite's ambition is to be thought good, to follow those rules of life, which we not to be so. Learn, 2. That nothing is refuse or neglect to put in practice ourselves. more fatally dangerous to the souls of men, 47 Woe unto you! for ye build and draws persons to an admiration and im- the sepulchres of the prophets, and outward shows of sanctity, and their extraor- your fathers killed them. '48 Truly dinary appearances of devotion and piety. ye bear witness that ye allow the This it was that gained the Pharisees such deeds of your fathers : for they ina veneration and esteem among the people, deed killed them, and ye build their that it became a proverb among them. sepulchres. 49 Therefore also said “ If but two men went to heaven, the one the wisdom of God, I will send must be a Pharisee :” but their counterfeit them prophets and apostles, and piety being double iniquity, they did receive
some of them they shalt slay and for it double damnation.
persecute ; 50 That the blood of 45 Then answered one of the law- all the prophets, which was shed yers, and said unto him, Master, from the foundation of the world, thus saying, thou reproachest us may be required of this generation ; also. 46 And he said, Woe unto 51 From the blood of Abel, unto you also ye lawyers ! for ye lade the blood of Zacharias, which pemen with burdens grievous to be rished between the altar and the borne, and ye yourselves touch not temple : verily I say unto you, It the burdens with one of your fingers. shall be required of this generation.
The former woes were denounced by our The second crime which Christ reproves Saviour against the Pharisees, who had their in these men, is their grand hypocrisy, in names from an Hebrew word, which signi- pretending great honour to the saints defies to separate, because they were persons parted, building their tombs, and garnishseparated and set apart for studying the law ing their sepulchres, declaiming against of God, and teaching it to others. The next their fathers' impiety, that had they lived woe is here denounced against the lawyers, in their days, they would not have been that is, the scribes of the law, of which there partakers with them in their sins. Now were two sorts, the civil scribe and the their hypocrisy appeared in three particuecclesiastical scribe. The civil scribe was lars. 1. In that they continued in their own a public notary, or a register of the syna- wickedness, and yet commended the saints gogue, employed in writing bills of divorce, departed; they magnify the saints, but and sentences in the phylacteries. The multiply their sins, and instead of imitatecclesiastical scribe was an expounder of the ing their virtuos, they content themselves scripture, an interpreter of the law; men of with garnishing their sepulchres. 2. In great learning and knowledge, whose de professing great respect to the dead saints, crees and interpretations the Pharisees and at the same time persecuting the living. strictly observed. This lawyer here inso- Palpable hypocrisy! and yet, as gross as lently calls our Saviour's reproof a reproach: it is, prevails to this day. The church of however, our Saviour, who never feared the Rome, which magnifies martyrs, canonizes face or regarded the person of any man, gives saints departed, have added to their numthem their portion, and lets them know ber, by 'shedding of their blood. 3. In taking false measures of their love to the selves, and them that were entering saints departed, from their building their in ye hindered. tombs, and garnishing their sepulchres. Whereas the best evidence of our love to
The last woe pronounced by our Savithem, is the imitating their virtues, and
our against the scribes and Pharisees, is for cherishing their followers. "Tis gross hy- perverting the holy scriptures, and keeping pocrisy to pay respect to the relics of the true sense and knowledge of them saints, and veneration to their images, and from the people: this St. Luke here calls, at the same time to persecute and hate their
the taking away the key of knowledge followers. From the whole, note, 1. That from men, alluding to a custom among tise world has all along loved dead saints the Jews, in admission of their doctors; better than living ones, Mortui non mor.
those that had authority given them to dent: The dead saint's example, how interpret the law and the prophets, were bright soever, is not scorching and trou- solemnly admitted into that office, by blesome at a distance, and he himself delivering to them a key and a table-book: stands no longer in other men's light; the interpretation and understanding of the
so that by the key of knowledge is meant whereas the living saint's example is a cutting reproof to sin and vice. Note, 2. scriptures; and by taking away that key is That there is a certain civility in human signified, 1. That they arrogated to themnature, which leads men to a just com
selves the sole power of understanding and mendation of the dead, and to a due es
interpreting the holy scriptures. 2. That timation of their worth. The Pharisees they kept the true knowledge of the scriphere, though they persecuted the prophets tures from the people, especially the prowhilst alive, yet did they pretend to a
phecies which concern the kingdom and mighty veneration for their piety and virtue coming of the Messias ; and so they hinafter they were dead, and thought no hon- doctrine
who were otherwise well enough
dered men from embracing our Saviour's our too great to be done unto them. Note, 3. That it is the greatest hypocrisy ima- disposed for it. Learn, 1. That the written ginable to pretend to love goodness, and at
word is the key whereby an entrance into
2. That the ihe same time to hate and persecute good
heaven is opened unto men. men. These Pharisees and lawyers pre- word of God, is absolutely and indispensa
use of this key, or the knowledge of the fended high to piety and religion, and at the same time killed the prophets. Note, That great is the guilt, and inexcusable
bly necessary in order to salvation. 3 4. That the highest honour we can pay to the saints departed, is not by raising monu
the fault, of those who deny the people ments, and building tombs to their me
the use of this key, and deprive them of the mory, but by a careful imitation of their knowledge of the holy scriptures, which piety and virtue, following the holiness of 4. That such as do so, shut the kingdom
alone can make them wise unto salvation. their lives, and their patience and constancy of heaven against men, endeavouring what at their death. Lastly learn, That it is a righteous thing with "God to punish chil- in them lies to hinder their salvation. Men dren for the inpiety of their parents, when may miscarry with their knowledge, but they walk in their ungodly parents' foot- they are sure to perish for lack of knowsteps : Upon you shall come the blood of
ledge. all the prophets, from the blood of Abel 53 And as he said these things unto the blood of Zacharias: yet must this to them, the scribes and the Pharisees be understood of temporal evils, not of began to urge him vehemently, and eteraal punishments ; no man for his fa- to provoke him to speak of many burnings: as our fathers' faith will not things; 54 Laying wait for him, let us into heaven, so neither will their and seeking to catch something out impiety shut us into hell. At the day of of his mouth, that they might accuse jedgenent every man shall be separately him. considered according to his own deeds. Observe here, 1. How our blessed Savi.
our's plain and faithful dealing with these 52 Woe unto you, lawyers ! for them ; they are filled with anger and in
men, doth enrage instead of reforming ye have taken away the key of dignation. 2. Their wrath sets their wits knowledge : ye entered not in your- on work to ensnare him. Lord! when