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The Gospel. Matt. xii. 24.

11 « to burn them: but gather the The (r) kingdom of heaven is

Il “wheat into my barn." likened unto a man which sowed E good seed in his field : but while

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany. men slept, his enemy came and

The Collect. sowed tares among the wheat, O God, whose blessed-Son was and went his way. But when

manifested that he might destroy the blade was sprung up, and

the works of the devil, and make brought forth fruit, then ap us the sons of God, and heirs peared the tares also. So the

of eternal life; Grant us, we beservants of the householder came seech thee, that having this hope, and said unto him, “ Sir, didst not wė may purify ourselves, even " thou sow good seed in thy field? as he is pure; that when he shall " from whence then hath it tares?” appear again with power and He said unto them, “ An enemy great glory, we may be made like “ hath done this.” The servants unto him in his eternal and glorisaid unto him, " Wilt thou then ous kingdom; where with thee, " that we goand gather them up?" O Father, and thee, O Holy 1. But he said, “ Nay; lest, while ye

Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, “ gather up the tares, ye root up ever one God, world without end. o " also the wheat with them. Let

Amen. " both grow together until the The Epistle. John ii. 1. " harvest : and in the time of BEHOLD, what (s) manner of "harvest I will say to the reapers, love the Father hath bestowed "Gather ye together first the || upon us, that we should be called " tares, and bind them in bundles the (t) sons of God! therefore the

14. (7) “ The kingdom of heaven," i. e. 1 « sun, in the kingdom of their Father.”

"God's dispensation under the gospel." Matt. xii. 37 to 43. Because God's judgIn the conclusion of this chapter, our ment against an evil work is not executed Saviour thus explains this parable to

speedily, it is not to be concluded that it his disciples : « He that soweth the will never come. One object of God's " good seed, is the Son of Man : the

forbearance and long-suffering is to lead " field is the world : the good seed are men to repentance, Rom. ii. 4, and where " the children of the kingdom" (i.e.

men do not repent, indignation and wrath, the true believers), « but the tares

tribulation and anguish, will sooner or " are the children of the wicked one : later be rendered to every soul of man " the enemy that sowed them is the

that doeth evil. Rom. ii. 6. 8. 9. "devil : the harvest is the end of the

(s) ~ What manner,” &c. i.e. how v.r. "world; and the reapers are the angels: “ As therefore the tares are gathered,

great has his love been, to treat us as "and burnt in the fire, so shall it be in

sons. " the end of this world: The Son of

(t) - The sons of God." So St. Paul v. I. " Man shall send forth his angels, and

assures the Roman converts, Rom. viii. 15. " they shall gather out of his kingdom

" Ye have received the spirit of adop. " all things that offend, and them which

“ tion, whereby we cry Abba, Father;" "do iniquity: and shall cast them into

and Gal. iv. 4, 5. he tells the Galatians "a furnace of fire-there shall be wail.

that “ God sent forth his Son, &c. that "ing and gnashing of teeth. Then

" we might receive the adoption of sons." “ shall the righteous shine forth as the

See ante 46. note on Gal, iv. 6.

world (u) knoweth us not, (x) be- || law. And ye know that he s. 2. cause it knew him not. Beloved, I was manifested to (d). take away

now are we the sons of God; our sins; and in him is no and it doth not yet appear what sin. Whosoever (e) abideth in 6. we () shall be: but we know him (f) sinneth not : whosoever that, when (z) he shall appear, we sinneth, hath not (g) seen him,

shall be like (a) him ; for we shall neither known him. Little chil. 7. 3. see (6) him as he isAnd every dren, let no man deceive you:

man that hath this hope in him, he that doeth righteousness, is

purifieth (c) himself even as he righteous even as he is (b) righte4. is pure. Whosoever committeth ous. He that committeth sin, is 8.

sin transgresseth also the law : | of the devil ; for the devil sinneth for sin is the transgression of the from the beginning. For this

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(u)“ Knoweth,” i.e. countenanceth, “ with a shout, with the voice of the arch. favoureth, sheweth no attachment to. “ angel and with the trump of God : and The word is used in nearly the same sense " the dead in Christ shall rise first : then Ps. i. 7. “ The Lord knoweth the way of “ we which are alive and remain, shall “ the righteous," i. e. favours it, makes “ be caught up together with them in it secure.

“ the clouds, to meet the Lord in the (x) “ Because," &c. So John xv. 19. « air : and so shall we ever be with the our Saviour says to his disciples, “ If ve “ Lord.” So Philipp. iii. 20, 21. be " were of the world, the world would says, “ Our conversation is in heaven, “ love his own : but because ye are not || « from whence also we look for the "! of the world, but I have chosen you “ Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “ out of the world, therefore the world “ shall change our vile body, that it may « hateth you."

“ be fashioned like unto his glorious (y) “ Shall be," i.e. what further pri “ body.” Again, Col. ii. 4. he says, vileges we shall have.

“ when Christ, who is our life, shall () “ When he shall appear," pro. | “ appear, then shall ye also appear bably alluding to his ex.pected appear. “ with him in glory." See also 2 Pet. ance at that great periodi so often men. iii. 10.-Rom. viii. 18. post, and see tioned as “ the coming, “ “ the appear ante 30, note on Luke xxxii. I find Dr. “ ance,” “ the day of the Lord." See Benson 'supposes the apostles might ante 25, note on Rom. xiii. 11.

think the destruction of the world and (a) “ Like him.” It is very possible the end of the world would come to St. John and the other disciples might so || pass at or near the same period. Beefar have formed a wrong notion of the son's Introduct. xxix. nature of Christ's approaching appear (6) “ See,” &c. i. e, perhaps, have as 5.2. ance, as to expect that his faithful fol perfect knowledge as sight ordinarily lowers would at that time be singularly gives. See note on 1 Cor. xiii. 12. post, glorified, and perhaps, taken up into hea. (c) “Purifieth," &c. i. e, endeavours 9.3 ven : and a mistake in this respect, so to purify—“ as he," i e. God, far from impeaching the epistles, seems (d) “ Take away," i.e. to remove o.s. to furnish a strong argument as to the || the penal consequences of the past, and time when they wers: written, viz. before to restrain us from sinning in future. the destruction of Jerusalem : after that (e) “Abideth in," i. e. adheres sted. v.6. event their expe&tation would be cor. | fastly to rected, and they "ould no longer be un. ll (0) “ Sinneth not." Takes care to 0.6 der this mistaké. Thus, i Thess. iv. commit no sin. 15, &c. St. Paul says, “ We which are (8) “ Not seen him," &c. i. e. not to n.6. " alive and rema in" (as if he expected it any purpose. whilst some of tl sem rer ained alive before (6) • Is rightcous," &c. i.e. endea- . that generation should have passed away) vours to be perfect in righteousness; no “ unto the con ring of the Lord, shall not one can be considered as “ doing righte. “ prevent ther n which are asleep : for the || ~ ousness" who does not aim at this “ Lord himself shall descend from heaven ll perfection.

purpose the Son of God was maa ii elect (c). Behold, I have told you 25. nifested, that he might (i) de- || before. Wherefore if they shall 26. stroy the works of the devil. say unto you, Behold, he is in

the desert; go not forth : Behold, The Gospel. Matt. xxiv. 23.

he is in the secret chambers; be

lieve it not. For as the light- 27. Tan (k) if any man shall say ning (o) cometh out of the east, unto you,“ Lo, here is Christ," and shineth even unto the west; or “ there;" believe it not. For so shall also the coming of the there shall arise false (1) Christs, Son of man be. For (9) wherefo- 28. and false prophets, and shall shew ever the carcase is, there will the great signs (m) and wonders ; in eagles be gathered together. Im- 29. somuch (n) that, if it were pos mediately after the tribulation sible, they shall deceive the very of those days shall the (r) sun be

20 “ To destroy," &c. i.e. to reform mankind; according to Tit. ii. 14.

* to purify to himself a peculiar people, * zealous of good works.”

(1) “ Then,” &c. This is part of our Saviour's noted prophecy in answer to the question " when the temple ** should be destroyed, and what should

*be the sign of his coming." $ 0 “ False Christs,” Many impos. tors, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, did accordingly appear before the destruction of Jerusalem, before the izge and during it. Their appearing at tlus time, and having followers, is an argusent that there was then a general expectation of the Messiah's coming. This refers to those who appeared during the sage of Jerusalem; he had noticed the

sypurance of others before it in v. 5. - ()"Great signs." A miracle is not

necessarily a proof that the doer has God's approbation. God may sanction a miracle from an impostor, to try men's faith, Thus, Deutr. xiii. 1, 2, 3. Moses ays, “ if there arise among you a pro. " phet, and he giveth thee a sign or a " wonder, and the sign or the wonder "cometh to pass, whereof he spake " unto thee, saying, let us go after “other gods, thou shalt not hearken “ unto the words of that prophet, for " the Lord your God proveth you, to " know whether you love the Lord * your God with all your heart.” Something may depend upon the character of the miracle, and the doctrine, &c. it is brought forward to sanction.

(n)“ Insomuch that,” &c. The rendering may be, “ in order to de- | “ceive,” and then it only implies what

was the object of the signs, &c. without importing that they were to be so extraordinary as to be likely to accomplish the object.

(o) “ The very elect," i. e. the most v. 24. faithful Christians, those who had most manfully withstood all temptation, opposition, and persecution.

(o) As the lightning," &c. i. e, as v. 27. the lightning is not confined to place, not stationary, not waiting that any one may come to look at it, but extends in a moment from one end of heaven to the other, so the Son of man's coming shall not be confined to place, &c. he shall not be the object of sight, he shall be seen only by his effects, and those ef. fects shall occur wherever his adversaries are.

(9) Wheresoever,” &c. i.e. as cer. U. 28. tainly as the eagle or vulture will find out a dead carcase, so certainly will the instruments of the Messiah's vengeance find out his enemies. Job gires this character of the eagle, “ where the slain “ are, there is she.” Job xxxix. 30. It is observable too, that the Roman armies were in this instance the instruments of God's vengeance, and their en. sign was an eagle.

(r) “ The sun shall be darkened." 0.29. In prophetic language great commotions, &c. on earth are represented by commotions, &c. in heaven, and the overthrow, &c. of earthly potentates by defects, &c. in the lights of heaven. In antient hieroglyphics the sun, moon, and stars stood for states, potentates, kings, &c. When God was foretelling by Isaiah the destruction of Babylon, Isaiah xiii. 9. he says, “Behold the day of the Lord

darkened, and the moon shall not
give her light, and the stars shall SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, or the
fall from heaven, and the powers

Third Sunday before Lent.
of the heavens shall be shaken:

The Collect. 30. and then shall appear the sign (s)

of the Son of man in heaven: O LORD, we beseech thee faand then shall all the tribes (t) of vourably to hear the prayers of the earth mourn, and they shall thy people; that we, who are see the Son of man coming (u) in justly punished for our offences,

the clouds of heaven with power may be mercifully delivered by 31. and great glory. And he shall || thy goodness, for the glory of

send (x) his angels with a great thy Name, through Jesus Christ sound of a trumpet ; and they our Saviour, who liveth and shall gather together his elect reigneth with thee and the Holy from the four winds, from one Ghost, ever one God, world end of heaven to the other. without end. Amen.

4 cometh, cruel both with wrath and was perhaps never applied but to God, or
“ fierce anger, to lay the land desolate, to signify divine power. In Ps. xvij. 10.
" and he shall destroy the sinners thereof it is said that God “ rode upon the che
“s out of it. For the stars of heaven and “ rubims, and did fly; he came flying
the constellations thereof shall not give “ upon the wings of the wind;" and
their light, the sun shall be darkened in Ps. civ. 3. that he maketh “ the clouds
« his going forth, and the moon shall not “ his chariot, and walketh upon the
cause her light to shine," &c, So Joel Il “ wings of the wind."
ii. 31. speaking prophetically of the de (x) “ Shall send," &c. not, perhaps, e zi.
struction of Jerusalem, says, “ the sun literally, but he shall as effectually provide
or shall be turned into darkness, and the for their preservation, as if he did. It
kr moon into blood, before the great and is supposed that not a single Christian
“ the terrible day of the Lord come.” perished in these times. Our Saviour
See also Ezek. xxxii. 7, 8.—Dan. viii. had cautioned them, Matt. xxiv. 15. to

flee as soon as they should see the abomiv. 30. (s) “ The sign," &c. The vengeance nation of desolation (i. e. the Roman

will prove that he was the Messiah. ensigns) standing in (or about) the holy .0 30. (1) “ The tribes of the earth," i. e. place; or, as St. Luke expresses it,

the adversaries of Christ's religion; the Luke xxvi. 20. when they should see

unbelievers, the men of this world. Jerusalem compassed with armies. Jeru. v. 30, (u) “ Coming in the clouds of hea. salem was first besieged by Gallus; but

ven :" not literally, but figuratively : || he raised the siege, and the Christians all with as strong marks of his power as if took the opportunity, and Aed; so that he came visibly riding in the clouds. when it was afterwards besieged by Daniel, speaking prophetically of the Titus, there was not one Christian res Messiah, Dan, vii. 13. says, "one like the maining in it. 1,100,000 Jews perished “ Son of Man came with the clouds of in Jerusalem, 97,000 were taken pri. heaven :" and, with reference to this soners, and 247,490 perished elsewhere. prophecy, one of the names by which the

The preservation of the Christians had Messiah was spoken of before the time been foretold, Joel ii. 32. “ And it shall of our Saviour was Anani, which signifies “ come to pass, that whosoever shall call the clouds; and, when in answer to the “ on the name of the Lord shall be de. question, whether he were the Christ the “ livered: for in Mount Zion, and in Son of God? our Saviour told the high “ Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, as the priest that he was ; he added, that they “ Lord hath said, and in the remnant should « see the Son of Man sitting at “ whom the Lord shall call." See a “ the right band of Power, and coming very able reading on this prophecy, in the clouds of beaun" Matt, xxvi. 63 4 2 Poi teus's Le&ures, 166, 199, Lec, to 66. Mark xiv. 62. Coming in the clouds II tures 19 and 20.

The Epistle. Cor. ix. 24. (y) ll that (a) beateth the air : but I 27. Know ye not that they which | keep under my body, and bring run in a race run all, but one re- it into subjection ; lest that by ceiveth the prize ? So run, that any means, when I have preached ye may obtain. And every man to others, I myself should be a that striveth for the mastery is cast-away. temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible

The Gospel. Matt. xx. I. crown; but we an incorruptible. | The (6) kingdom of heaven is 16. I therefore so run, not as uncer. || like c) unto a man that is an

tainly (2); so fight I, not as one || householder, which went out

6) St. Paul presses upon the Corin. thian converts exertion and self-denial, by reminding them how much they underwent to endeavour to succeed in their games, where however one only could be suceessful, and where the crown or prize, when obtained, was nothing to what would ultimately be conferred upon the faithful servants of Christ. The Isthmian games were celebrated near Corinth; so

that the Corinthians would peculiarly feel | the force of this species of argument. 26 (z) “ Uncertainly." To a Christian,

who strives to the utmost, success is certain : in a race, as one only can succeed, many who strive to the utmost must

Ef (a) “ One that beateth the air," whose

blow fails, is evaded by the opponent. In the Christian warfare no exertion can

be thrown away. .1. (6) « The kingdom of heaven," j. e.

God's dispensation under the gospel. 5.2. (9)" Like,” &c. The objects of this

parable seem to have been, to check Peter for having asked, Matt. xix. 27. "what they should have for having for. "saken all and followed our Saviour,” to prevent extraordinary expectations in the first converts, and to let them know that God alone was to apportion to each man bis reward, that the lowest he would give would be to the utmost as much as any one could claim, and that he was not to be questioned if one appeared to have a greater proportion of reward than another. Our Saviour had indeed told him, that when he “ should sit in the throne of “his glory, they should sit upon twelve " thrones, judging the twelve tribes " of Israel," &c. See ante 60. Matt. tik. 28. But he added, that many " that were first should be last, and the " last should be first." And then he

spake this parable, which he concludes,
" so the last shall be first,” &c. as if
that were the position he was meaning to
establish. He might mean, that in after
times, the exertions, sufferings, &c. of
others, in the cause of Christianity,
might be such as to entitle them to as
great rewards as the first apostles, or
that persons who became converts at an
advanced period of their lives, and had
not had an earlier opportunity, if they
then exerted themselves to the utmost,
might be entitled to the same rewards as
persons converted younger; but the chief
point seems to have been to convince
them, that God was to apportion the
reward, and not man, and that it was
man's duty to be thankful for what was
given to him, without looking jealously
upon what was given to others. This is
one proof of our Saviour's sincerity. An
impostor would rather raise the expecta-
tions of his followers than depress them.
Another object of the parable might be,
to let the Gentiles know, that if they
embraced Christianity, and endured with
firmness the dangers and difficulties it
might bring upon them, they, who had
been so long in a state of spiritual idle-
ness, because they had not received the
benefits of revelation, and were there-
fore in an unhired state, might receive
the same advantages from it as the Jews,
who had been so long God's people and
servants, and that the Jews would have
no right to complain, or to be envious,
if God did allow the Gentiles those ad-
vantages. According to Rom. ix. 15.
God is entitled to have mercy on whom
“ he will have mercy, and to have com-
« passion on whom he will have com-
“ passion." If God gives to every man
to the full as much as he has a right to,
(and he gives - much more), no one is

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