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that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Let him hear and understand, that the Mosaical dispensation is drawing towards a conclusion, and that a new dispensation is about to begin, into which persons of all nations and characters shall be received upon their faith and repentance, equally with the Jews. In the next place, Jesus reproved the Pharisees for their resisting the evidence of the Baptist's mission. Luke' vii. 30. But the Phariseesi and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. , By calling the gospel the counsel of God, the grandest idea of it possible is given. It is nothing less than the result of the deep consideration and deliberation of God; for which reason, the crime of mens rejecting it is very atrocious. But to shew the Pharisees more plainly the perverseness of their disposition, he told them they were like children at play, who never do what their companions desire them, being peevish and displeased with every thing. Matt. xi, 16. But whereunto shall I liken this
generation ? (Luke,' The Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation, and to what are they like ?) It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17. And saying, * We have piped unto you, and ye have not dance ed, we have mourned into you, and ye have not lamented. The application of this proverb to the Pharisees, our Lord justified by observing, that the divine wisdom had tried every method proper for converting them, but in vain. For, first of all, the Baptist was sent unto them in the stern dignity of their ancient prophets, so that it was natural to think they would have reverenced him. Nevertheless, they rejected him altogether. Such, it seems, was the pride and malice of the Pharisees, that when they found their own ostentatious and hypocritical mortifications utterly eclipsed by the real austerities of this holy man's life, they impudently affirmed, that his living in deserts, his shunning the company of men, the coarseness of his clothing, the abstemiousness of his diet, with the other severities which he practised, were all the effects of madness or religious melancholy. Matt. xi. 18. For
John * Ver. 17. We have piped unto you.] In Judea it was usual at feasts to have music of an airy kind, accompanied with dancing, Luke xv. 25. and at funerals melancholy airs, to which were joined the lamentations of persons hired for the purpose. The children therefore in that country, imitating these things in their diversions, while one band of them performed the musical part, if the other happening to be froward would not answer them by dancing or lamenting, as the game directedl, it naturally gave occasion to the complaint, We have piped unto you, and ye bave not danced, &c. which at length was turned into a proverb. he mourning airs in this proverb, fitly represent the severity of the Baptist's manners, and the dis-, agreeableness of the doctrine of repentance, which he preached, On the other hand, the cheerful airs beautifully represent our Lord's sweet disposition, affalle conversation, and engaging method of giving instruction; so that every thing was tried that could possibly have influence to bring the Jews to repent.
John came neither eating nor drinking, (Luke, neither eating bread nor drinking wine) and they say, He hath a devil. This method of converting the Pharisees proving unsuccessful, God sent his own Son in a more familiar manner. Jesus did not practise those mertifications which rendered the Baptist remarkable. He fared like other men, and went into mixed companies, not avoiding the society even of publicans and sinners. But neither would they hear him; for notwithstanding he maintained the strictest temperance himself, and never encouraged the vices of others, either by dissimulation or example, they attributed that free way of living to a certain looseness of disposition. 19. The Son of mar came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners; * but wisdom is justified of (Luke, all) her children.
After reproving the Pharisees Jesus denounced heavy judgments against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, cities which he had often blessed with his presence. For though they had heard him preach many awakening sermons, and seen him perform many astonishing miracles, such as would have converted Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, heathen cities infamous for their impiety, contempt of religion, pride, luxury and debauchery; (see Isa. xxiii. Ezek. xxvi. xxvii. and xxviii. chapters) yet so great was their obstinacy, that they persisted in their wickedness in spite of all he had done to reclaim them. Mat. xi. 20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. 21. Wo unto thee, + Chorazin, wo unto thee, Bethsaida; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes : would have exercised the deepest reVOL. II.
pentance Ver. 19. But wisdon is justified of her children.] Elsner thinks this clause was spoken by the Pharisees, so would have it translated, the doctrine is condemned by its disciples. But though ropuc may signify a doctrine, and desiw. being one of those words that have opposite senses, may be translated is condemned, as well as is justified ; yet it is more natural to take the sentence as our Lord's reflection on the conduct of the Pharisees. Wisdom is justified of her children: all the methods of the divine providence, however offensive they may be to wicked men, do fully approve themselves as wise to those who have any love of truth and goodness, procuring from them a cheerful submission, than which a more complete vindication of the divine dispensations cannot be wished for from man. Fensius, in Ferculo Literaris, gives the words a different turn. By the children of wisdom he understands the fruits, effects, and operations of wisdom, which in all cases do most undoubtedly justify it. But this sense of the word children, though it may occur in poetical compositions, from whence alone Jensius draws his proofs, is quite foreign to the sacred writings.
+ Matt. ver. 21. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.] Chorazin was a city of Galilee nigh to the lake. · Jerome, in his book of Hebrew places, says it was about two miles distant from Capernaum. By geographers it is con monly placed between Capernaum and Bethsaida For the situation of Bethsaida, see on Matt. xiy. 22. $ 61. For the situation of Capernaum, see $ 25.
pentance on account of their sins. For sackcloth and ashes were used by the Jews in token of the bitterest grief. See Isa. Iviii. 5. Jer. vi. 26. Lam. ii. 10. Nor were those expressions of grief and humiliation peculiar to the Jews. They were used by the Gentiles also, Jonah iii. 5, 6, 8. See on Matt. vi. 16. 926.-Matt. xi. 22. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Ture and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you, 23. And thon Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be * brought down to hell; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. He mentions Capernaum separately by itself, and last of all, because being the place of his ordinary residence, it had been blessed with more of his sermons and mirachs than any other town. Nevertheless, it abounded with wickedness of all kinds, and therefore he compared it to that city which on account of the greatness of its crimes, had been the most terrible example of the divine displeasure that ever the world had beheld. 24. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. From this passage we learn two important particulars. First, that the punishments to be inflicted upon wicked men in the lise to come, shall not be all equal, but in exact proportion to the demerit of the sins of each. Secondly, that great and signal punishments befalling sinners in this life, will not skreen them from the wrath of God in the life to come. For Jesus Christ the judge, here declares that Sodom, though burnt up by fire and brimstone from heaven, shall suffer such dreadful things, that in speaking of the pains of the damned, he mentions this city as an example of very great punishment.
Thus Jesus reproved his countrymen who would not believe on him. It seems they were but a few, and those generally the lower sort of people, who embraced his doctrine, and assisted him in erecting his kingdom ; nor was his religion soon to meet with a better reception in the other countries where it was to be preached ; circumstances which in the eyes of common wisdom were melancholy and mortifying. But our Lord foresaw, that by the direction of God these very circumstances would become the noblest demonstrations of his personal dignity, the clearest
proofs * Ver. 23. Brought down to hell, &c.] This is not to be taken literally ; for as the exaltation of Capernaum into heaven was not a local, but a metaphorical exaltation, denoting the greatness of the privileges with which it was blessed, so its being thrust down into hell, (aóns) signifies the great. ness of the judgments which were to fall upon it. Our lord denounced woes against the three cities a second time, when he was going to exercise his ministry in Judea, on which occasion the woes were fitly repeated, lecause they intimated that it was the incorrigible obstinacy of the inhabitants of those cities which had prevented their profiting by his instructions, and which had made him resolve to leave their country.
proofs of the excellency of his religion, and the most stupendous instances of his power, who, by such weak instruments, established his religion in every part of the habitable world, against the policy, the power, and the malice of devils and men combined to oppose it. Besides, had the great rulers and learned scribes, the nobles, the wits and geniuses been converted, it must have been prejudicial to the gospel in several respects, as such converts and teachers might probably have made the Gentiles look upon it as a trick of state; perhaps also, they would have mixed it with things foreign to its naturę. Our Lord, therefore, wisely made the rejection of the gospel by the great men of the nation, and the reception of it by persons in lower stations, the matter of especial thanksgiving, both now and afterwards in Judea, Luke x. 21. Matth. xi. 25. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things, the doctrine of the gospel, which he had called the counsel of God, Luke vii. 30. from the wise and prudent, the chief priests, scribes, and rulers, and hast revealed them unto * babes. Matth, xi. 26. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Having given such an eminent 'proof of his divine wisdom, he reflected on the treasures thereof which lodged within himself, and rejoiced in the consciousness of his possessing them. 27. All things are delivered unto me of my Fasher: every thing relating to the salvation of the world is committed to my care by God: and no man kniweth the Son (Luke X. 22. who the Son is) but the Father: no man knoweth his character and dignity; no man knoweth what he hath done, and what he is yet to do for the salvation of the world: neither know
any man the Father, (Luke x. 22. who the Father is) save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him: vone but the Son and his disciples fully know the perfections and counsels of the Father. Then, warmed with the most ardent love to men, he graciously invited all that were weary of the slavery of sin, and desired to be in a state of reconciliation with God, to come to him, or believe on him; not because he expected any advantage from them, but because he both knew how to give them relief, and was willing to do it, upon no other motive however, but merely to satisfy the immense desire he had to do
them Ver. 22. Babes.] (Nam) Babes, in Scripture language, are persons whose faculties are not improved by learning, but who, to that sagacity and understanding which is purely natural, join the best dispositions of heart, such as meekness, modesty, innocence, honesty, humility, docility, and all the other engaging qualities that are to be found in children. This is plain from Matt xviii. 3. Except ye be converted, and become as little chil. dren, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Babes theretore stand in op position, not to men of sound judgment and reason, but to proud politicians and men of learning, who are so full of themselves that they disdain to receive instruction from others, and who make all their abilities subservient to their advancement in this world.
them good. 28. * Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden; believe on me, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: I impose nothing upon men but what I myself practise, so that you may learn all my precepts by observing my life and conversation,--particularly you may learn of me to be patient and humble, and ready to forgive injuries. For I am '
meck and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. In my judgment I condemn the pride of your teachers, who will not vouchsafe to instruct either the poor or the profane : and in my practice I recommend both meekness and humility, meekness by bearing all kinds of injuries, and humility by condescending to do the meanest good offices to the meanest men. Besides, 30. My yoke is
Besides, 30. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. My doctrine and precepts (for so the word yoke is used even by the philosophers, as Elsner has shewed) are few, necessary, and pleasant, in which respect they are distinguished from the Mosaical ceremonies, Acts xv. 8, 9, and also from the traditionary precepts of your doctors, who bind up heavy loads of duty, and lay them on mens shoulders. That Christ's yoke is easy, and his burden light, must be acknowledged, because all his affirmative precepts are as necessary to the souls of men, as food is to their bodies, and for his negative injunctions, abstinence from drink is, not more expedient to persons swelled with the dropsy, than they are to all who would preserve the health and vigour of their souls. The obedience, therefore, which he requires, is such a reasonable obedience as every well informed mind must rejoice in, and the pleasures which he promises are the pleasures of goodness, the most extensive, satisfying, and durable of all pleasures, being to the mind a delicious and continual
§ XLIII. Ver. 28. Come unto me.] In this invitation our Lord seems to have had his eye on Isaiah l. 4. where the Messiah is introduced, saying, The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. For his having all things delivered to him of the Father, is parallel to the Lord's giving him the tongue of the learned; and his inviting all who labour and are heavy laden, is the end mentioned by the prophet for which the tongue of the learned was given him-That I should know how 10 speak, &c. This I suppose is the reason, that many critics by the rest offered in this invitation, understand that freedom from the burdensome services of the law, which Christ has granted to men through the promulgation of the gospel, termed, in the prophecy, a speaking a word in season to him that is wrary. And it must be owned, that this interpretation is favoured by the subsequent clause, in which men are invited to take on them Christ's yoke, from the considera. tion that it is easy in comparison of Moses's yoke, and his burden, from the consideration that it is light in comparison of the ceremonial precepts of the law. There is no reason, however, for confining the rest of the soul here offered, to that particular privilege of the Christian religion. It is more natural to think, that it comprehends therewith all the blessings of the gospel whatsoever.