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31 But rather seek ye the king. flock, in opposition to the huge herds and dom of God ; and all these things droves of the men of the world. 4. That shall be added unto you.

God the Father has a kingdom in store for

his little flock, his church and children. As if Christ had said, Let your first and 5. That the good will and gracious pleachief care be to promote the kingdom of sure of God is the original spring, and grace in this world, and to secure the king. fontal cause, from whence all divine favours dom of glory in the next, and then fear do proceed and flow: It is your Father's not the want of these outward comforts; good pleasure to give you the kingdom. they shall be added in measure, though not in excess; to satisfy, though not to satiate; 33 Sell that ye have, and give for health, though not for surfeit. Learn, alms; provide yourselves bags 1. That christians ought not to be so soli- which wax not old, a treasure in the citous about the necessaries and conveni- heavens that faileth not, where no ences of this life, as about the happiness of thief approacheth, neither moth corthe next: Rather seek ye the kingdom of

your trea. God. 2. That heaven or the kingdom of rupteth. 34 For where God, must be sought in the first place; sure is, there will your heart be also. that is, with our principal care and chief

The next duty which our Saviour exhorts endeavours. 3. That heaven being once his disciples to, is the duty of alms-giving; secured by us, all earthly things shall be that they should be so far from distrusting superadded to us as God sees needful and God's provision for themselves, that they convenient for us. But few men like our should be always forward to a ready distribuSaviour's method; they would seek the tion towards others; yea, in cases of necessity, things of this world in the first place, and to be willing to sell their goods to relieve get to heaven at last; they would be con- others : ient to seek the world, and to have heaven if it concerned all persons, at all times, and

: yet this precept is not to be taken as thrown in without their seeking: but this in all places; but respects only cases of ex. will not be granted ; if we make religion, treme necessity; or if it concerns all, it is and the salvation of our souls, our first and only as to the readiness and preparation of chief care, all other things shall be added the mind; that when necessity calls for it, unto us, so far as the wisdom of God sees

we be found willing to part with any thing them fit and convenient for us.

we have for the relief of Christ in his 32 Fear not, little flock; for it members. Observe also, The argument is your Father's good pleasure to used to excite to this duty of alms-giving: give you the kingdom.

hereby we lay up our treasure in a safe

hand, even in God's, who will reward us That is, fear not the want of any of these openly. The bellies of the poor are bags comforts, and be not over solicitous for that wax not old; what is lodged there is them; for your Father, which has provided laid up securely out of the reach of danger. a kingdom for you hereafter, will not suffer We imitate the wise merchant in transmityou to want such things as are needful for ting our estates into another world, by bills you bere. Learn, 1. That the disciples of of exchange, where we are sure to receive Christ are very subject to disquieting and our own with usury. perplexing fears, but must by no means cherish, but oppose them: a fear of present 35 Let your loins be girded about, wants, a fear of future sufferings, a fear of and your lights burning ; 36 And death approaching, a fear that they shall ye yourselves like unto men that not find acceptance with God, a fear lest wait for their lord, when he will rethey should fall foully or finally from God ; turn from the wedding ; that when the fear of all these evils doth oftentimes he cometh and knocketh, they may disturb them and discompose them. Learn, 2. That Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd open unto him immediately. of bis church: the love and care, the com- The next duty Christ exhorts his discipassion and tenderness, the prudence and ples to, is that of watchfulness with referprovidence, the guidance and vigilance, of ence to his second coming : Let your loins a good shepherd, are found with him. 3. be girded, and your lights burning. The As Christ is the church's Shepherd, so the words may be understood two ways, spoken church is Christ's flock, though a little either in a martial phrase, as to soldiers;

or in a domestic, as to servants ; if as to serve them. The second argument to exsoldiers, then let your loins be girded, and cite to watchfulness is drawn from the your lights burning, in as much as that we benefit which we have received by watching should be always ready for a march, having in this life; that let the Lord come when our armour on, and our match lighted, rea- he will, whether in the second or third dy to give fire at the alarm of temptation. watch, they shall be found ready, and in a If the words are spoken as to servants, then blessed condition, who are found diligent our Master bids us carefully expect his se- in his service, and waiting for his appearcond coming, like a lord's returning from a ance. Note here, 1. The Son of man will wedding-supper, (which used to be cele- certainly come at one hour or other. 2. brated in the night,) that they should not At what hour the Son of man will come, put off their clothes, nor put out their lights, cannot certainly be known. 3. That there but stand ready to open, though he comes is no hour wherein we can promise ourat midnight. When Christ comes, that selves that the Son of man will not come. soul only shall have his blessing whom he 4. Very joyful will the coming of the Son finds watching

of man be, if we be found upon our watch,

and ready for his coming : Be ye therefore 37 Blessed are those servants ready also; for the Son of man cometh whom the lord, when he cometh, at an hour when ye think not. shall find watching: verily I say

41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, unto you, That he shall gird him- speakest thou this parable unto us, self, and make them to sit down to

or even to all ? 42 And the Lord meat, and will come forth and serve said, who then is that faithful and them. 38 And if he shall come in wise steward, whom his lord shall the second watch, or come in the make ruler over his household, to third watch, and find them so, bless. give them their portion of meat in ed are those servants. 39 And this due season ?

43 Blessed is that know, that if the good man of the servant, whom his Lord, when he house had known what hour the cometh, shall find so doing. 44 Of thief would come, he would have

a truth I say unto you, That he will watched, and not have suffered his make him ruler over all that he house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when These words may be applied these two ye think not.

ways : First, to all the faithful servants of

God in general ; and then the note is this, Here our Saviour makes use of several That for a christian to spend and end his arguments to enforce the duty of watch- days in the service of Christ, and doing his fulness upon his disciples ; the first is will, gives good assurance of a happy and dra from the transcendent reward which blessed condition : Blessed is that servant. Christ will bestow upon his watchful ser- Secondly, These words may be applied to vants : He will gird himself, make them the ministers of the gospel in special; and sit down to meat, and will come forth and then observe, 1. The character and duty of serve them; a very high metaphorical a gospel minister ; he is the steward of expression; as if a master should be so Christ's household, to give them their meat transported with the diligence and faithful. in due season. 2. A double qualification ness of his servant, as to vouchsafe not requisite in such stewards: namely, pruonly to let him sit down to meat in his dence and faithfulness. Who then is that presence, but to take the napkin upon his faithful and wise steward? Observe, 3. arm, and wait upon him himself at his ta. The reward insured to such stewards, with ble. Lord, how poor and how inconsi- whom are found these qualifications: Bless. derable is that service, which the best of us ed is that servant. Learn hence, ). That do for thee! and yet thou speakest of it as the ministers of the gospel are in a spiritual if thou wert beholden to us for it. Thou sense stewards of Christ's household. 2. dost not only administer to us a supper, That faithfulness and prudence are the inbut thou ministerest and waitest upon us dispensable qualifications of Christ's stew at supper : He will gird himself, and ards. 3. That wherd these qualifications

40 hath.

are found, Christ will graciously and abun- lence of his hand. 3. He is farther describdantly reward them. Our faithfulness ed by his associating with the wicked, and must respect God, ourselves, and our flock; strengthening their hands by his ill examand includes integrity of heart, purity of ple : He eateth and drinketh with the intention, industry of endeavour, and im- drunken ; that is, as their associate and partiality in all our administrations. Our fellow-companion. Thus the negligent prudence must appear in the choice of steward and unfaithful minister is described. suitable subjects, in the choice of fit lan. Next his sentence is declared. I, Christ guage, in exciting our own affections in will surprise him in his sin and security, by order to the moving of our people's. Mi- coming at an hour when he looketh not nisterial prudence also must teach us, by the for him. 2. He will execute temporal strictness and gravity of our deportinent, to vengeance upon him ; he will cut him in maintain our authority, and keep up our pieces, as the Jews did their sacrifices, diesteem in the consciences of our people: viding them into two parts. Hence some it will also assist us to bear reproach, and observe, That God seldom suffers slothful, direct us to give reproof: he that is silent sensual ministers to live out half their days. cannot be innocent: reprove we must, or 3. Christ will punish them with eternal we cannot be faithful ; but prudently, or destruction also : Appoint them their porwe cannot be successful.

tion with unbelievers. Teaching us, That 45 But and if that servant say in such.ministers as neglect the service of God,

and the souls of their people, as they are his heart, My lord delayeth his com

ranked amongst the worst sort of sinners ing ; and shall begin to beat the in this life, so shall they be punished with men-servants and maidens, and to them in the severest manner' in the next. eat and drink, and to be drunken: When Satan destroys the souls of men, he 46 The Lord of that servant will shall answer for it as a murderer only, not come in a day when he looketh not

as an officer that was intrusted with the for him, and at an hour when he is provide, if the shepherd doth not feed, if

care of souls. But if the steward doth not not aware, and will cut him in sun

the watchman doth not warn, they shall der, and will appoint him his por- answer, not only for the souls that have tion with the unbelievers. 47 And miscarried, but for an office neglected, for that servant, which knew his Lord's a talent hidden, and for a stewardship unwill, and prepared not himself, nei- faithfully managed. Woe unto us, if at ther did according to his will, shall the great day we hear distressed souls roarbe beaten with many stripes. 48 ing out their complaints, and howling out

that doleful accusation against us, saying, Bat he that knew not, and did com

“ Lord, our stewards have defrauded us, mit things worthy of stripes, shall our watchmen have betrayed us, our guides be beaten with few stripes. For have misled us," ver. 48.- For unto whomunto whomsoever much is given, of soever much is given, of him shall be much him shall be much required : and to required; and to whom men have comwhom men bave committed much, of mitted much, of him they will ask the him they will ask the more.

Hence we learn, 1. That whatever

we receive from God, is both a gift and a Our Lord in these verses describes a neg- talent. 2. That every one has some gift ligent and unfaithful steward of his house- or talent from God to be improved for God. hold, and then declares that dreadful sen- 3. That God's gifts or talents are not given tence of wrath which hangs over him. The to all in the same measure. 4. That wheunfaithful steward, or negligent minister of ther we receive little or much, all is in order the gospel, is described; 1. By his infidelity: to an account. 5. That answerable to our he believeth not Christ's coming to judg- present talents will be our future accounts. ment, though he preaches it to others; He The greater opportunities a man has of saith in his heart, My Lord delayeth his knowing his duty, and the greater abilities coming. 2. He is described by his hatred, he has for doing good, if he do it not, the envy, and malignity, against his fellow ser- greater will be his condemnation, because vants, that were more faithful than himself : the neglect of his duty in this case cannot He begins to smite them, at least with the be without a great deal of wilfulness and virulence of his tongue, if not with the vio contempt, which is an heinous aggravation.

more.

If thy gifts be mean, the less thou hast to ings; he styles them a baptism: I have account for; if greater than others, God a baptism to be baptized with. There is expects thou shouldest do more good than a threefold baptism spoken of: a baptism others, for where much is given, much will with water, a baptism of the Spirit; both be required.

these Christ had been baptized with: but

the third was the baptism of blood; he was 49 I am to send fire on the earth; soon to be drenched and washed in his own and what will I if it be already kin- blood, in the garden, and on the cross ; dled ? 50 But I have a baptism and he was straitened or pained with desire, to be baptized with ; and how am I like a woman in travail, till his sufferings straitened till it be accomplished ! were accomplished. 51 Suppose ye that I am come to

54 And he said also to the peogive peace on earth ? I tell you, ple, When ye see a cloud rise out of Nay ; but rather division : 52 For the west, straightway ye say, There from henceforth there shall be five cometh a shower : and so it is. 55 in one house divided, three against And when ye see the south wind two, and two against three. 53 blow, ye say, There will be heat : The father shall be divided against and it cometh to pass.

54 Ye hythe son, and the son against the pocrites ! ye can discern the face of father ; the mother against the the sky and of the earth; but how daughter, and the daughter against is it that ye do not discern this the mother : the mother-in-law time? 57 Yea, and why even of against her daughter-in-law, and yourselves judge ye not what is the daughter-in-law against her mo- right? ther-in-law.

Our Saviour in these words doth at once Our Saviour in these verses declares upbraid the stupid ignorance of the Jews in what will be the accidental event and effect, general, and the obstinate infidelity of the but not the natural tendency, of his reli- Pharisees in particular, in that they could gion; so that we must distinguish between make a judgment of the weather by the ihe intentional aim of Christ's coming, and sight of the sky, by the appearance of the the accidental event of it. Christ's inten- heavens, and the motion of the winds, but tional aim, was 10 plant, propagate, and could not discern this time of the Messias, promote, peace in the world; but through though they had so many miraculous signs the lusts and corruptions of men's natures, and evidences of it; and for this he upthe issue and event of his coming is war braids them with hypocrisy: Ye hypoand division ; not that these are the genuine crites ! ye can discern the face of the and natural fruits of the gospel, but occa- sky, but you do not discern this time. sional and accidental only. Hence learn, Learn thence, That to pretend either more That the preaching of the gospel, and set- ignorance, or greater uncertainty, in disting up the kingdom of Christ, though it cerning the signs of gospel-times (the time be not the genuine and natural cause, yet of our gracious visitation) than the signs it is the accidental occasion of all that war

of the weather, is great hypocrisy : Yc and tumult, of all that dissension and divi hypocrites ! can ye not discern this time? sion, of all that distraction and confusion Observe farther, s'hat Christ does not here which the world abounds with: I am condemn the study of nature, or making come to send fire on the earth. He is said observations of the state of the weather by to send the fire of dissension, because he fore the face of the sky; for Almighty God, by saw this would be the certain consequence,

natural signs, gives us warning of a change though not the proper and natural effect, in natural things, and in like manner, by of the preaching of the gospel. There was

his providential dispensations, he gives us another fire of Christ's sending, the Holy warning of a change in civil things; He Spirit; this was a fire to warm, not to burn, that is wise will observe both, and by or if so, not men's persons, but corruptions; their observation will come to understand but that seems not to be intended in this the pleasure of the Lord. place. Observe farther, The metaphor

58 When thou goest with thine by which Christ sets forth his own suffer- adversary to the magistrate, as thout

art in the way give diligence that raised rebellion against the Roman power. thou mayest be delivered from him; Pilate takes the opportunity when these Galest he hale thee to the judge, and lileans were come up at the passover, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, sacrificing in the temple

, to fall upon them and the officer cast thee into prison. their own blood with the blood of the sa

with his soldiers, and barbarously mingled 59 I tell thee, Thou shalt not depart crifices which they offered; neither the thence, till thou hast paid the very holiness of the place (the temple) nor the last mite.

sacredness of the action (sacrificing) could In these words our Saviour advises per- Our Saviour, understanding that some of

divert Pilate from his barbarous impiety. sons to use the same prudence in divine his hearers then present concluded these matters, which they use in worldly affairs, and the same endeavours to seek reconci. persons to be the greatest sinners, because liation with God, which they put forth in they were the greatest sufferers, he corrects

their errors in this matter, and assures them, order to their being reconciled unto men; for in such a case, when they see an action that the same or like judgments did hang

over all other sinners, as well as these, if bringing against them, wherein they are to seek to reconcile their adversary, and sudden death is no argument of God's dissure to be cast, their best way is presently timely and sincere repentance prevented

Learn hence, 1. That a violent and make their peace with him, that so they favour. 2. That notwithstanding persons may escape the threatening danger : in like manner should they do here, lay hold upon and an uncharitable judgment upon such

are exceeding prone to pass rash censures the present opportunity of mercy now offered to them; because it is a fearful

as die suddenly, especially if they die viothing to die without reconciliation with lently. 3. That none justly can conclude God. Note here, 1. That God and man

such persons to have been the greatest sin

ners who have been in this world the most were once friends. 2. That God and man are now adversaries. 3. That man, and signal sufferers. 4. That the best use we

can make of such instances and examples not God, is averse to reconciliation and agreement. 4. That it is the wisdom, the of God's severity, is to examine our own duty, and interest, of fallen man, speedily vent our own perdition : I tell you, Nay,

lives, and by a speedy repentance to preto accept of terms of peace and reconcilia

&c. fion with God. 5. That an eternal prison will be their portion, who die in their 4 Or those eighteen upon whom enmity against God.

the tower in Siloam fell, and slew CHAP. XIII.

them, think ye that they were sin

ners above all men that dwelt in JeTHERE were present at that sea- rusalem ? 5 I tell you, Nay: but

son some that told him of the except ye repent, ye shall all likeGalileans, whose blood Pilate had wise perish. mingled with their sacrifices. 2

Another instance our Saviour gives of And Jesus answering said unto persons that fell by a sudden death, even them, Suppose ye that these Gali- eighteen that were slain by the fall of a tow. leans were sinners above all the er in Jerusalem. He takes occasion from Galileans, because they suffered thence to caution the Jews, that they did such things ? 3 I tell you, Nay: not rigidly censure the sufferers, or conclude but except ye repent, ye shall all that those have wrought the most sin, who

are brought to most shame. Oh! bow likewise perish.

ready are we to judge of men's eternal conThere were two eminent sects among the dition, by their present visitation; and to Jews in our Saviour's time, namely, the conclude them the greatest offenders, upon Herodians and Galileans; the former stood wbom God inflicts the most visible punishstiffly for having tribute paid to the Roman ments! Our Saviour forbids this, and ademperor, whose subjects the Jews now vises every one to look at home, telling the were; but the Galileans (so called pro- whole body of the Jews, that if they did bably from Judas of Galilee, mentioned not repent, they should all likewise perish, Acts'y. 37.) opposed this tribute, and often and that two ways: 1. Certitudine pæna,

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