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34 passion on thee ? And his lord being incensed, delivered him to
the tormentors to fetter and scourge him* till he should pay all that 35 was due to him. Thus also will my heavenly Father deal with
you, if you do not every one of you from your hearts forgive his brother his trespasses.
REFLECTIONS. How unreasonable and how odious does a severe and uncharitable temper appear, when we view it in the light of this parable ! Yet what light can be more just than this? We are indebted to God more than ten thousand talents ; from our infancy we begin to contract the debt, and are daily increasing it in our ripening years : justiy, therefore, might he cast us into the prison of hell till we paid the uttermost farthing. And were we to fall at his feet, with a promise of paying him all on his patient forbearance, it must be the language of gross ignorance, or of presumptuous folly, when addressed to a Being who knows our poverty, and knows that, in consequence of it, we are utterly incapable of making him any amends. But he.magnifies his grace in the kind offers of a free forgiveness; and shall we who receive it, and hold our lives and all our hope by it, take our brethren by the throat, because they owe us a few pence? or shall we carry along with us deep, continued resentment, glowing like a hidden fire in our bosoms? God forbid ! For surely if we do so, out of our own mouth shall we be condemned, while we acknowledge the justice of the sentence here passed against this cruel servant.
Christ himself has made the application : so shall my heavenly father deal with you, if you do not forgive your brethren ; and he has instructed us elsewhere to ask forgiveness only as we grant it; (Matt. vi. 14, 15.) Let us then from this moment discharge our hearts of every sentiment of rancour and revenge, nor ever allow a word, or even a wish, that savours of it. And as ever we hope our addresses to the throne of divine mercy should meet with a favourable audience, let us lift up holy hands, without wrath, as well as without doubting.
Christ reproves John for prohibiting one who cast cut demons in his name,
because he was not of their company. Mark ix. 38—41. LUKE ix. 49, 50.
38 TN the midst of the preceding discourse, the apostle John interrup
1 ted our Lordt, when urging a readiness to receive one of the least of his servants in his name, and answered him, Master, we
* In the eastern part of the world imprisonment is in many cases attended with severe corporal punishment. See § 32.
† Mark ix. 37. 593. Perhaps John thius interrupted our Lord, being desirous of diverting him from a subject on which he was conscious of having deserved blame, or thinking it might receive some further illustration by his remarks.
saw one casting out demons in thy name*, who does not follow us,
and we forbade him to do it any more, because he does not follow 39 among us, and never had any commission from thee. But Jesus
said unto him, Do not forbid or hinder him ; for there is no man who shall work a miracle in my name that can quickly, or on any
slight occasion, speak evil of me. Be his regard to my name ever 40 90 imperfect, I would not now discourage one who acts thus ; for 41 whosoever is not against us is for ust. For whosoever shall pre
sent you with a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, He shall not lose his reward.
REFLECTIONS. . It is sad that the spirit which remains in so many Christians, and in this instance appeared even in the beloved Saint John, should (as the apostle James expresses it) lust unto envy : How ill does that spirit become a disciple, and much more à minister, of the benevolent Jesus! The apostle Paul had learnt, and taught, a better temper, when he rejoiced that Christ was preached, even by those who were his personal enemies. To seek our own glory, is not glory ; and to confine religion to them that follow us, is a narrowness of spirit which we should avoid and abhor. Christ here gives us a lovely example of candour and moderation : he was willing to put the best construction on dubious cases, and to treat those as friends who were not avowed and declared enemies. Perhaps in this instance it might be a means of overcoming a remainder of prejudice, and perfecting what was wanting in the faith and obedience of the persons in question : at least it suited the present state of things, in which men are to be judged of by their professions and actions, as their hearts cannot immediately and certainly be known.
But let us judge ourselves with greater severity, remembering there is an approaching day, in which the secrets of all hearts will be made manifest ; in which those, who have indeed been neuters in the war between Christ and Satan, will be treated as enemies ; and those other words will be fulfilled, He that is not with me is against me ; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. In that day, may the sincerity of our hearts be discovered, and then we may rejoice in this repeated assurance, that the least of our services shall be kindly remeinbered, and abundantly rewarded according to the riches of divine bounty and grace.
* Probably this was a case resembling that of the three sons of Sceva, Acts xix. 13. God might now grant thać efficacy to their adjurations which he denied after the descent of the Spirit. Dr. Clarke supposes this man to have been a disciple of Jolin the Baptist.
+ Our Lord had formerly said, “ He that is not with me is against me :" by which he meant, that he admitted of no neutrality, and that they who were indifferent to him would be finally treated as enemies, S 61. Here he very consistently uses a seemingly opposite proverb), directing his disciples to judge of other men's characters in the most candid manner, and charitably to hope that they who did not oppose his cause, wished well to it.
Our Lord sends out the seventy disciples with large instructions, like
those he had before given to the twelve apostles. LUKE X. 1_16.
1 A FTER these things, the Lord fixed upon seventy others of
A his disciples also, and sent them before him; two and two togeth. er, into every city, and more private place, into which he himself in
tended shortly to come ; instructing them as he had done the apostles. 2 He said therefore to them, The harvest is indeed great, but the
labourers are few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, 3 that he would thrust forth more labourers into his harvest. Go
your ways: behold I send you forth as lambs in the midst of 4 wolves. Carry not with you any purse, nor scrip for your provia
sions, nor shoes but what you have on, nor stay to salute any man 5 by the way. And into whatever house you come, first say, Peace 6 be unto this house. And if any son of peace (any good man wor.
thy such blessings) be there, your peace shall rest upon it ; your
frayer shall be answered : büt if not, it shall return upon you. 7 And continue in the same house, eating and drinking what you
find with them ; for the labourer is worthy of his reward. Do not
go from one house to another in hope of better accommodations. 8 And into whatever city you come, and they entertain you, eat 9 such things as are set before you without any difficulty. And heal
the sick that are in it, and say to them, The kingdom of God is
come near unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city you come, and they do not entertain Il you, go out into the streets of it and say, We wipe off against you
even the very dust of your city which cleaves to us; nevertheless,
know this assuredly, that the kingdom of God is come near unto 12 you. And I say unto you, That in that day it shall be more tole13 rable for Sodom itself than for that city. Wo unto thee O Chora
zin! Wo unto thee O Bethsaida! for if the wonders which have
been wrought in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would 14 have repented long since, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it
shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than 15 for you. And thou o Capernaum, who hast been lifted up to
heaven, shalt be brought down to hell. Then turning to the seven16 ty, he said, He that heareth you, heareth me ; and he that reject
eth you, rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me, rejecteth him that sent me.
REFLECTIONS. So unwilling was the blessed Jesus to give over his kind attempts for men's salvation ! He projected another circuit through the country, and sends forth other messengers, more numerous than the former company. He renews his invitations to perishing sinners, and his lamentations over those who had hitherto rejected the counsel of God against themselves. Thus let us love the souls of men; thus let us use repeated endeavours to deliver them ; endeavours which would
probably be much more successful than they are, if these wise and gracious directions of Christ to his ministers were more attentively observed by those who are honoured with that important office.
Let all such cast their care upon God; let them go forth cheerfully in a dependence on his protection and favour ; let them carry about with them hearts full of affection for the whole human race, seeking and praying for the peace of all around them; cheerfully contenting themselves with such things as they have ; and neither pursuing the grandeurs nor the delicacies of life with any eager attachment.
Send forth, O Lord, such labourers into thine harvest, and animate them to a becoming zeal in their work, by a deep sense of that dreadful condemnation which those will incur who, despising them, pour contempt on their divine Master, and his heavenly Father, in whose name he was sent ! May God preserve our country from that guilt and ruin! The kingdom of God is come nigh unto us, and we are lifted up to heaven by our privileges : may we not after all, be cast down to hell for the abuse of them ! but may divine grace make such a way for the gospel into our hearts, that we may cordially receive all who faithfully proclaim it, and bid them welcome in the name of the Lord !
Christ discourses with his brethren about his going up to the feast of tab
ernacles. John vii. 1.-13.
1 A FTER these things, Jesus for some time walked in Galilee ;
1 for he would not then walk in Judea because the Jews sought , 2 to slay him. And a feast of the Jews was then near, called the 3 feast of the tabernacles. Therefore his brethren said unto him,
Remove from hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also who 4. are there may see the works which thou performest. For no man
will act any thing in secret, that is himself desirous to be publicly known. If thou really performest these things which we see at
home by a divine commission, go up to Jerusalem and manifest thy5 self to the world : for neither did his brethren believe in him.6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come : but your 7'time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but me it hates,
because I bear my testimony concerning it, that its deeds are 8 evil. Do you therefore go up to this feast, without waiting for me :
I do not go up to the feast yet* ; for my time is not yet fully
come. 9 Now when he had said these things unto them, he continued 10 still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then he
also himself after a few days went up to the feast ; not publicly, 11 as he had often done, but as it were in secret. The Jews therefore
* It is doubtful whether this word was in the oldest copies, as Porphyry charges Christ here with falsehood. [It is here transposed as it reads better last.]
sought for him at the beginning of the feast, and not seeing him as 12 usual, said, Where is he? And there was a great murmuring
among the people concerning him ; for some said, Surely he is a good man; but others said, Nay, but he seduces the populace. Howbeit, no one that thought favourably of him spoke his mind with freedom concerning him, for fear of the Jews.
REFLECTIONS. We see how little the greatest external advantages can do without the divine blessing, when some of the nearest relations of Christ himself, by whom he had been most intimately known, were not prevailed upon to believe in him. Who then can wonder if some remain incorrigible in the most regular and pious families ? How much more valuable is the union to him, which is founded on a cordial and obedient faith, than that which arose from the bands of nature ? and how cautiously should we watch against those carnal prejudices by which even the brethren of Christ were alienated from him?
Our Lord, we see, used a prudent care to avoid persecution and danger till his time was fully come ; and it is our duty to endeavour, by all wise and upright precautions, to secure and preserve ourselves, that we may have opportunities for further service. In the course of such service we must expect (especially if we appear under a public character) to meet with a variety of censures ; but let us remember that Jesus himself went through evil report and good report ; by some applauded as a good man, but by others, and those the greater part of his countrymen, condemned as deceiving the people. Let us learn of Christ patiently to endure such injurious treatment : and endeavour to behave ourselves so, that we may have a testimony in the consciences of men, and in the presence of God, that, after the example of our great Master, in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have our conversation in the world. Then will our names be had in remembrance, and the honour and reward of our faithful obedience continue when the memories of those that reviled us are perished with them.
. SECTION XCIX.
Christ, at the feast of tabernacles, vindicates his conduct, and fur
ther urges the proofs of his divine mission. John vii. 14–24.
14 NTOW in the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the tem15 IV pie and taught. And the Jews who heard him were amazed,
saying, How does this man understand letters, having never lear16 ned ? Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine 17 own, but his that sent me. If any one be determined to do his will
he shall understand whether my doctrine be of God, or whe18 ther I speak of myself*. He that speaks of himself, is seeking
* This passage seems an express declaration that every upright man, to whom the gospel is proposed, will see and own the evidence of its divine authority.