« ZurückWeiter »
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
As if Christ had said, Let your first and chief care be to promote the kingdom of grace in this world, and to secure the kingdom of glory in the next, and then fear not the want of these outward comforts; they shall be added in measure, though not in excess; to satisfy, though not to satiate; for health, though not for surfeit. Learn, 1. That christians ought not to be so solicitous about the necessaries and conveniences of this life, as about the happiness of the next: Rather seek ye the kingdom of
God. 2. That heaven or the kingdom of God, must be sought in the first place; that is, with our principal care and chief endeavours. 3. That heaven being once secured by us, all earthly things shall be superadded to us as God sees needful and convenient for us. But few men like our Saviour's method; they would seek the things of this world in the first place, and get to heaven at last; they would be content to seek the world, and to have heaven thrown in without their seeking: but this will not be granted; if we make religion, and the salvation of our souls, our first and chief care, all other things shall be added unto us, so far as the wisdom of God sees them fit and convenient for us.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
That is, fear not the want of any of these comforts, and be not over solicitous for them; for your Father, which has provided a kingdom for you hereafter, will not suffer you to want such things as are needful for you here. Learn, 1. That the disciples of Christ are very subject to disquieting and perplexing fears, but must by no means cherish, but oppose them: a fear of present wants, a fear of future sufferings, a fear of death approaching, a fear that they shall not find acceptance with God, a fear lest they should fall foully or finally from God; the fear of all these evils doth oftentimes disturb them and discompose them. Learn, 2. That Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd of his church: the love and care, the compassion and tenderness, the prudence and providence, the guidance and vigilance, of a good shepherd, are found with him. 3. As Christ is the church's Shepherd, so the church is Christ's flock, though a little
flock, in opposition to the huge herds and droves of the men of the world. 4. That God the Father has a kingdom in store for his little flock, his church and children. 5. That the good will and gracious pleasure of God is the original spring, and fontal cause, from whence all divine favours do proceed and flow: It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms ; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The next duty which our Saviour exhorts his disciples to, is the duty of alms-giving; that they should be so far from distrusting God's provision for themselves, that they tion towards others; yea, in cases of necessity, should be always forward to a ready distributo be willing to sell their goods to relieve others yet this precept is not to be taken as in all places; but respects only cases of exif it concerned all persons, at all times, and treme necessity; or if it concerns all, it is only as to the readiness and preparation of the mind; that when necessity calls for it, we be found willing to part with any thing we have for the relief of Christ in his
members. Observe also, The argument used to excite to this duty of alms-giving: hereby we lay up our treasure in a safe hand, even in God's, who will reward us openly. The bellies of the poor are bags that wax not old; what is lodged there is laid up securely out of the reach of danger. We imitate the wise merchant in transmitting our estates into another world, by bills of exchange, where we are sure to receive our own with usury.
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
The next duty Christ exhorts his disciples to, is that of watchfulness with reference to his second coming: Let your loins be girded, and your lights burning. The words may be understood two ways, spoken either in a martial phrase, as to soldiers;
or in a domestic, as to servants; if as to soldiers, then let your loins be girded, and your lights burning, in as much as that we should be always ready for a march, having our armour on, and our match lighted, ready to give fire at the alarm of temptation. If the words are spoken as to servants, then our Master bids us carefully expect his second coming, like a lord's returning from a wedding-supper, (which used to be celebrated in the night,) that they should not put off their clothes, nor put out their lights, but stand ready to open, though he comes at midnight. When Christ comes, that soul only shall have his blessing whom he finds watching.
37 Blessed are those servants whom the lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: verily I say unto you, That he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Here our Saviour makes use of several arguments to enforce the duty of watchfulness upon his disciples; the first is drawn from the transcendent reward which Christ will bestow upon his watchful servants: He will gird himself, make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them; a very high metaphorical expression; as if a master should be so transported with the diligence and faithfulness of his servant, as to vouchsafe not only to let him sit down to meat in his presence, but to take the napkin upon his arm, and wait upon him himself at his table. Lord, how poor and how inconsiderable is that service, which the best of us do for thee! and yet thou speakest of it as if thou wert beholden to us for it. Thou dost not only administer to us a supper, but thou ministerest and waitest upon us at supper: He will gird himself, and
serve them. The second argument to excite to watchfulness is drawn from the benefit which we have received by watching in this life; that let the Lord come when he will, whether in the second or third watch, they shall be found ready, and in a blessed condition, who are found diligent in his service, and waiting for his appearance. Note here, 1. The Son of man will certainly come at one hour or other. 2. At what hour the Son of man will come, cannot certainly be known. 3. That there is no hour wherein we can promise ourselves that the Son of man will not come. 4. Very joyful will the coming of the Son of man be, if we be found upon our watch, and ready for his coming: Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when think not.
41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, That he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
These words may be applied these two ways: First, to all the faithful servants of God in general; and then the note is this, That for a christian to spend and end his days in the service of Christ, and doing his will, gives good assurance of a happy and blessed condition: Blessed is that servant. Secondly, These words may be applied to the ministers of the gospel in special; and then observe, 1. The character and duty of a gospel minister; he is the steward of Christ's household, to give them their meat in due season. 2. A double qualification requisite in such stewards: namely, prudence and faithfulness. Who then is that faithful and wise steward? Observe, 3. The reward insured to such stewards, with whom are found these qualifications: Blessed is that servant. Learn hence, 1. That the ministers of the gospel are in a spiritual sense stewards of Christ's household. 2. That faithfulness and prudence are the indispensable qualifications of Christ's stewards. 3. That where these qualifications
are found, Christ will graciously and abundantly reward them. Our faithfulness must respect God, ourselves, and our flock; and includes integrity of heart, purity of intention, industry of endeavour, and impartiality in all our administrations. Our prudence must appear in the choice of suitable subjects, in the choice of fit language, in exciting our own affections in order to the moving of our people's. Ministerial prudence also must teach us, by the strictness and gravity of our deportinent, to maintain our authority, and keep up our esteem in the consciences of our people: it will also assist us to bear reproach, and direct us to give reproof: he that is silent cannot be innocent: reprove we must, or we cannot be faithful; but prudently, or we cannot be successful.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the men-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Our Lord in these verses describes a negligent and unfaithful steward of his household, and then declares that dreadful sentence of wrath which hangs over him. The unfaithful steward, or negligent minister of the gospel, is described; I. By his infidelity: he believeth not Christ's coming to judgment, though he preaches it to others; He saith in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming. 2. He is described by his hatred, envy, and malignity, against his fellow servants, that were more faithful than himself: He begins to smite them, at least with the virulence of his tongue, if not with the vio
lence of his hand. 3. He is farther described by his associating with the wicked, and strengthening their hands by his ill example: He eateth and drinketh with the drunken; that is, as their associate and fellow-companion. Thus the negligent steward and unfaithful minister is described. Next his sentence is declared. 1. Christ will surprise him in his sin and security, by coming at an hour when he looketh not for him. 2. He will execute temporal vengeance upon him; he will cut him in pieces, as the Jews did their sacrifices, dividing them into two parts. Hence some observe, That God seldom suffers slothful, sensual ministers to live out half their days. 3. Christ will punish them with eternal destruction also: Appoint them their portion with unbelievers. Teaching us, That and the souls of their people, as they are such ministers as neglect the service of God, ranked amongst the worst sort of sinners in this life, so shall they be punished with them in the severest manner in the next. When Satan destroys the souls of men, he shall answer for it as a murderer only, not as an officer that was intrusted with the care of souls. But if the steward doth not
provide, if the shepherd doth not feed, if
the watchman doth not warn, they shall answer, not only for the souls that have miscarried, but for an office neglected, for a talent hidden, and for a stewardship unWoe unto us, if at faithfully managed. the great day we hear distressed souls roaring out their complaints, and howling out that doleful accusation against us, saying, "Lord, our stewards have defrauded us, our watchmen have betrayed us, our guides have misled us," ver. 48.-For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Hence we learn, 1. That whatever we receive from God, is both a gift and a talent. 2. That every one has some gift or talent from God to be improved for God. 3. That God's gifts or talents are not given to all in the same measure. 4. That whether we receive little or much, all is in order to an account. 5. That answerable to our present talents will be our future accounts. The greater opportunities a man has of knowing his duty, and the greater abilities he has for doing good, if he do it not, the greater will be his condemnation, because the neglect of his duty in this case cannot be without a great deal of wilfulness and contempt, which is an heinous aggravation.
If thy gifts be mean, the less thou hast to account for; if greater than others, God expects thou shouldest do more good than others, for where much is given, much will be required.
49 I am to send fire on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled? 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Our Saviour in these verses declares what will be the accidental event and effect, but not the natural tendency, of his religion; so that we must distinguish between the intentional aim of Christ's coming, and the accidental event of it. Christ's intentional aim, was to plant, propagate, and promote, peace in the world; but through the lusts and corruptions of men's natures, the issue and event of his coming is war and division; not that these are the genuine and natural fruits of the gospel, but occasional and accidental only. Hence learn, That the preaching of the gospel, and setting up the kingdom of Christ, though it be not the genuine and natural cause, yet it is the accidental occasion of all that war and tumult, of all that dissension and division, of all that distraction and confusion which the world abounds with: I am come to send fire on the earth. He is said to send the fire of dissension, because he foresaw this would be the certain consequence, though not the proper and natural effect, of the preaching of the gospel. There was another fire of Christ's sending, the Holy Spirit; this was a fire to warm, not to burn, or if so, not men's persons, but corruptions; but that seems not to be intended in this place. Observe farther, The metaphor by which Christ sets forth his own suffer
ings; he styles them a baptism: I have a baptism to be baptized with. There is a threefold baptism spoken of: a baptism with water, a baptism of the Spirit; both these Christ had been baptized with: but the third was the baptism of blood; he was soon to be drenched and washed in his own blood, in the garden, and on the cross; and he was straitened or pained with desire, like a woman in travail, till his sufferings were accomplished.
54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower: and so it is. 55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat: 54 Ye hyand it cometh to pass. pocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? 57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Our Saviour in these words doth at once upbraid the stupid ignorance of the Jews in general, and the obstinate infidelity of the Pharisees in particular, in that they could make a judgment of the weather by the sight of the sky, by the appearance of the heavens, and the motion of the winds, but could not discern this time of the Messias, though they had so many miraculous signs and evidences of it; and for this he upbraids them with hypocrisy: Ye hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky, but you do not discern this time. Learn thence, That to pretend either more ignorance, or greater uncertainty, in discerning the signs of gospel-times (the time of our gracious visitation) than the signs of the weather, is great hypocrisy: Ye hypocrites! can ye not discern this time? Observe farther, That Christ does not here condemn the study of nature, or making observations of the state of the weather by the face of the sky; for Almighty God, by natural signs, gives us warning of a change in natural things; and in like manner, by his providential dispensations, he gives us warning of a change in civil things: He that is wise will observe both, and by their observation will come to understand the pleasure of the Lord.
58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou
art in the way give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison. 59 1 tell thee, Thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
In these words our Saviour advises persons to use the same prudence in divine matters, which they use in worldly affairs, and the same endeavours to seek reconciliation with God, which they put forth in order to their being reconciled unto men; for in such a case, when they see an action bringing against them, wherein they are sure to be cast, their best way is presently to seek to reconcile their adversary, and make their peace with him, that so they may escape the threatening danger: in like manner should they do here, lay hold upon the present opportunity of mercy now offered to them; because it is a fearful thing to die without reconciliation with God. Note here, 1. That God and man were once friends. 2. That God and man
are now adversaries. 3. That man, and not God, is averse to reconciliation and agreement. 4. That it is the wisdom, the duty, and interest, of fallen man, speedily to accept of terms of peace and reconciliafion with God. 5. That an eternal prison will be their portion, who die in their enmity against God.
THERE were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
There were two eminent sects among the Jews in our Saviour's time, namely, the Herodians and Galileans; the former stood stiffly for having tribute paid to the Roman emperor, whose subjects the Jews now were; but the Galileans (so called probably from Judas of Galilee, mentioned Acts v. 37.) opposed this tribute, and often
raised rebellion against the Roman power. Pilate takes the opportunity when these Galileans were come up at the passover, and with his soldiers, and barbarously mingled sacrificing in the temple, to fall upon them their own blood with the blood of the sacrifices which they offered; neither the holiness of the place (the temple) nor the sacredness of the action (sacrificing) could Our Saviour, understanding that some of divert Pilate from his barbarous impiety. his hearers then present concluded these persons to be the greatest sinners, because they were the greatest sufferers, he corrects that the same or like judgments did hang their errors in this matter, and assures them, over all other sinners, as well as these, if not. Learn hence, 1. That a violent and timely and sincere repentance prevented sudden death is no argument of God's disfavour. 2. That notwithstanding persons and an uncharitable judgment upon such are exceeding prone to pass rash censures as die suddenly, especially if they die violently. 3. That none justly can conclude such persons to have been the greatest sinners who have been in this world the most
signal sufferers. 4. That the best use we can make of such instances and examples lives, and by a speedy repentance to preof God's severity, is to examine our own vent our own perdition: I tell you, Nay, &c.
4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Another instance our Saviour gives of persons that fell by a sudden death, even eighteen that were slain by the fall of a tower in Jerusalem. He takes occasion from thence to caution the Jews, that they did not rigidly censure the sufferers, or conclude that those have wrought the most sin, who are brought to most shame. Oh! how ready are we to judge of men's eternal condition, by their present visitation; and to conclude them the greatest offenders, upon whom God inflicts the most visible punishments! Our Saviour forbids this, and advises every one to look at home, telling the whole body of the Jews, that if they did not repent, they should all likewise perish, and that two ways: 1. Certitudine pœnæ,,