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ch. xix. 14.
d ch. x. 42.
set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be 9 converted, and become as little b Ps.cuixi. 2. children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 c Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little c ch. 11. 27. child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And d whoso shall receive one such little child in
my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of r offences ! for it e must needs be that r offences e 1 Cor. xi. 10. come;
woe to that man by whom the roffence fch. xxvi. 24. cometh ! 8 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot 8 offend 5 ch. v. 20, 80. thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into t life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye s offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into t life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these
4 literally, turned. I literally, scandals, or stumbling-blocks. 8 literally, scandalize.
render, the life [to come]. placed the child in the midst, and then ever goes on no further with the discourse : took it in His arms: possibly drawing a St. Mark inserts also our ch. x. 42. The lesson for His disciples from its ready punishment here mentioned, drowning, submission and trustfulness.
3. may have been practised in the sea of turned] The word also conveys the idea Galilee : see Jerome cited in my Gr. Test. of turning back from the course pre- De Wette however denies this, saying that viously begun, viz. that of ambitious it was not a Jewish punishment; but it rivalry. Without this they should not certainly was a Roman, for Suetonius menonly not be pre-eminent in, but not tions it as practised by Augustus on the even admitted into, the Christian state- rapacious attendants of Čaius Cæsar: and on the Kingdom of Heaven.
a certain Macedonian also : see as above. “as this little child humbleth itself :" the
millstone] the word implies a stone child was naturally humble : and such as belonging to a mill turned by an ass, and the child was by nature, we are to be by therefore larger than the stones of a handchoice. 5.] Having shewn the child mill. 7.] See 1 Cor. xi. 19. Stier as the pattern of humility, the Lord pro- suggests that Judas, who took offence at ceeds to shew the hononr in which children the anointing in Bethany, may have been are held in His heavenly kingdom; and on other occasions the man by whom the not only actual, but spiritual children- offence came, and so this may have been for both are understood in the expression said with special reference to him. Still one such little child. The receiving in its general import is undeniable and plain. my name is the serving (Mark ix. 35) with See also Acts ii. 23. 8.] The connexion Christian love, and as belonging to Christ is-Wilt thou avoid being the man on (see also ch. xxv. 40). 6.) Here St. whom this woe is pronounced ?-then cut Mark and St. Luke insert the saying of off all occasion of offence in thyself first.' John respecting one casting out dæmons in The cautions following are used in a wider Jesus' name, who followed not with the sense than in ch. v. 29, 30. In Mark, the Apostles : which it appears gave rise to foot' is expanded into a separate iteration the remark in this verse. St. Luke how- of the command. everlasting fire
h Esth. 1.14.
Luke i. 19. 1 [Luke ix.
56): xix. 10. John iii. 17:
xii. 47 k Luke xv. 4.
little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always " behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. [lli a For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.] 12 k How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave
v the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and a this verse is omitted in several of the oldest authorities.
V render, the ninety and nine on the mountains, and goeth and seeketh.
(literally the fire which is eternal), which variably, or under what circumstances of here first occurs, is more fully expressed in minor detail, we are not informed) certain Mark, vv. 43, 44 . 10.] Hitherto our angels are allotted as their especial attentext has been parallel with that of Mark dants and guardians. We know elsewhere ix.; from this, Matthew stands alone. from the Scriptures, both of the Old and The warning against contempt of these little New Testament (Ps. xxxiv. 7; xci. 11: ones must not be taken as only implying Heb. i. 14 al.), that the angels do minister that special care must be taken not to about the children of God: and what scandalize them, nor indeed as relating should forbid that in this service, a preexclusively, or even principally, to children. scribed order and appointed duty should We must remember with what the dis- regulate their ministrations ?
Nay, is it course began--a contention who should be not certain by analogy that such would greatest among them: and the little ones be the case? But this saying of our Lord are those who are the furthest from these assures us that such is the case, and that 'greatest,' the humble and new-born babes those angels whose honour is high before of the spiritual kingdom. And despise God are entrusted with the charge of the must be understood of that kind of con- humble and meek,—the children in age tempt which ambition for superiority and the children in grace. The phrase would induce for those who are by weak- I say unto you, as in Luke xv. 7, 10, is ness or humility incapacitated for such a an introduction to a revelation of some strife. There is no doubt that children previously unknown fact in the spiritual are included in the word little ones, as they world. Stier has some very beautiful are always classed with the humble and remarks on the guardian angels, and on simple-minded, and their character held the present general neglect of the doctrine up for our imitation. The little children of angelic tutelage, which has been doubtin the outward state of the Church are less a reaction from the idolatrous angelin fact the only disciples who are sure to worship of the Church of Rome (see Acts be that in reality, which their Baptism xii. 15: Daniel xii. 1: in the former case has put upon them, and so exactly answer we have an individual, in the latter a to the wider meaning here conveyed by national guardianship); behold the the term ; and those who would in after face, &c. i. e. are in high honour before life enter into the kingdom must turn God; not perhaps especially so, but the back, and become as these little children - meaning may be, ‘for they have angelic as they were when they had just received guardians, who always,' &c. See Tobit the new life in Baptism. The whole dis. xii. 15. 11.] The angels are the ser. course is in deep and constant reference to vants and messengers of the Son of Man ; the covenant with infants, which was to and they therefore (for &c.) are appointed be made and ratified by an ordinance, in to wait on these little ones whom He the Kingdom of Heaven, just as then. came to save; and who, in their utter On the reason assigned in the latter part of helplessness, are especially examples of that
there have been many opinions; which was lost. Here,' remarks Stier, some of which (e. g. that given by Webster'is Jacob's ladder planted before our eyes : and Wilkinson, “angels, their spirits after beneath are the little ones;- then their death: a meaning which the word never angels ;—then the Son of Man in heaven, bore, and one respecting which our Lord in whom alone man is exalted above the would not have spoken in the present angels, Who, as the Great Angel of the tense, with always) have been broached Covenant, cometh from the Presence and merely to evade the plain sense of the words, Bosom of the Father ;—and above Him which is—that to individuals (whether in again (ver. 14) the Father Himself, and
1 Pet. iii. l.
n Deut. xvii. 8:
John viii. 17.
o Rom. xvi. 17
1 Cor. v. 9. 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14. 2 John 10.
seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto yon, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will w of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
15 Moreover 'if thy brother shall trespass (* against thee), 1 LONAT. 17; go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone : if he shall hear thee, m thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But m James v. 20. if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every sir. 15. word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to leor wijs: 1. hear them, tell it unto the y church : but if he neglect to hear the y church, let him be unto thee as an o heathen
w literally, in the presence of your Father.
y literally, the congregation or assembly. His good pleasure.' 12, 13.] See planation, and that by going to his injurer, notes on Îuke xv. 4-6, where the same not waitinig till he comes to apologize. parable is more expanded. Compare also hast gained, in the higher sense, reclaimed, Ezek. xxxiv, 6, 11, 12.
14.] This gained for God, see refl. : and for thyself verse sets forth to us the work of the Son too: "for before, thou hadst lost him, as accomplishing the will of the Father; having been broken off from thy society by - for it is unquestionably the Son who is the offence,” Euthymius.
16.] The the Good Shepherd, searching for the lost, first attempt of otherly love is to heal the ver. 11. For similar declarations see Ezek. wound, to remove the offence, in secrecy; xviii. 23; xxxiii. 11: 2 Pet. iii. 9. The to cover the sin : but if this cannot be inference from this verse is---'then whoever done, the next step is, to take two or despises or scandalizes one of these little three, still, in case of an adjustment, preones, acts in opposition to the will of your venting publicity; but in the other event, Father in Heaven.' Observe, when the providing sufficient legal witness. See dignity of the little ones was asserted, it reff. and John viii. 17. Compare St. was my Father ; now that a motive directly Paul's apparent reference to these words acting on the conscience of the Christian of our Lord, 2 Cor. xiii. 1. 17. neglect is urged, it is your Father.
to hear] The original verb is a stronger 15—20.] OF THE METHOD OF PROCEED- word than this, implying something of ING WITH AN OFFENDING BROTHER: AND obduracy: refuse to hear. the church
THE CHRISTIAN AS- (literally assembly), by what follows, cer.
15.] The tainly not the Jewish synagogue’ (for connexion of this with the preceding is : how could vv. 18—20 be said in any sense Our Lord has been speaking of offences of it?), but the congregation of Christians ; (stumbling-blocks), which subject is the i. e. in early times, such as in Acts iv. 32, ground-tone of the whole discourse. One the one congregation,-in after times, that kind is, when thou sinnest against another, congregation of which thou and he are vv. 7-14. A second kind, when thy bro. members. That it cannot mean the Church ther sins against thee. The remedy for the as represented by her rulers, appears by former must be, in each individual being vv. 19, 20,-where any collection of becautious in his own person,—that of the lievers is gifted with the power of deciding latter, in the exercise of brotherly love, in such cases. Nothing could be further and if that fail, the authority of the con- from the spirit of our Lord's command gregation, vv. 15-17. Then follows an than proceedings in what are oddly enough exposition of what that authority is, vv. called 'ecclesiastical' courts. 18-20. On this verse see Levit. xix. let him be, &c.] let him no longer be 17, 18. This direction is only in case of accounted as a brother, but as one of those personal offence against ourselves, and then without,' as the Jews accounted Gentiles the injured person is to seek private ex- and Publicans. Yet even then, not with VOL. I.
OF THE POWER OF
p ch. xvi. 19.
John xx. 23. 1 Cor. v. 4.
sch. vi. 14.
Col. iii, 13.
man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, p Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 z Again I say unto you, That if two of you
shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall 91 John ii. 22. ask, ? it shall be done for them of my Father which is in
heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall 1 Luke xvii. 4. my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? ' till seven
times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times : but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto & a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
some of the oldest MSS. read, Again verily I say.
& literally, a man (which was) a king. hatred, see 1 Cor. v. 11, and compare 2 individual : that Peter wished to follow the Cor. ii. 6, 7, and 2 Thess. iii. 14, 15. rules just laid down, but felt a difficulty as 18.] This verse re-asserts in a wider and to the limit of his exercise of forgiveness. more general sense the grant made to The Rabbinical rule was, to forgive Peter in ch. xvi. 19. It is here not only three times and no more; this they justified to him as the first stone, but to the whole by Amos i. 3, &c., Job xxxiii. 29, 30 LXX, building. See note there, and on John xx. and marg. E. V. The expression seven 23, between which and our ch. xvi. 19 this times a day' is found Prov. xxiv. 16, in conis a middle point. This refers to that nexion with sinning and being restored : see entire accordance of hearty faith, which also Levit. xxvi. 18-28. In our Lord's an. could hardly have place except also in swer we have most likely a reference to Gen. accordance with the divine will. It was iv. 24. 22.] On seventy times seven, apparently misunderstood by the Apostles Chrysostom remarks, that our Lord does James and John ;—see St. Mark's account, not here lay down a number, but prescribes ch. x, 35, in which they nearly repeat these that which is infinite and continuous and words. Notice again the (verily] I say everlasting. 23. Therefore] because unto you: see on ch. xvi. 28. 20.] A this is so,' because unlimited forgiveness is generalization of the term church (assem- the law of the Kingdom of Heaven. The bly), and the powers conferred on it, which servants here are not slaves, but ministers renders it independent of particular forms or stewards. By the commanding to be of government or ceremonies, and esta- sold of ver. 25 they could not be slaves in blishes at once a canon against pseudo the literal sense. But in Oriental lancatholicism in all its forms: compare 1 Cor. guage all the subjects of the king, even the i. 2. there am I must be understood great ininisters of state, are called slaves. of the presence of the Spirit and Power The individual example is one in high trust, of Christ, see chap. xxviii. 20.
or his debt could never have reached the 21-35.) REPLY TO PETER'S QUESTION enormous sum mentioned. See lsa. i. 18. RESPECTING THE LIMIT OF FORGIVENESS;
24.] Whether these are talents of AND BY OCCASION, THE PARABLE OF THE silver or of gold, the debt represented is
enormous, and far beyond any private See Luke xvii. 3, 4. It is possible that man's power to discharge. 10,000 talents Peter may have asked this question in of silver is the sum at which Haman virtue of the power of the keys before (ch. reckons the revenue derivable from the dexvi. 19) entrusted to him, to direct himn in struction of the whole Jewish people, Esth. the use of them: but it seems more likely, iii. 9. Trench remarks (Parables, p. 124) that it was asked as in the person of any that we can best appreciate the sum by
FORGIVEN BUT UNFORGIVING SERVANT.
forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him t to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, * Kings iv. 1. and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, [b Lord,] have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred
pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay [me] that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down [e at his feet], and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee [call]. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt, 31 So when his fellow
omitted in some of the oldest authorities.
c omitted by the oldest MSS. comparing it with other sums mentioned begun, as some do :-the sequel shews how in Scripture. In the construction of the completely he had 'gone out' from the tabernacle, twenty-nine talents of gold presence of his Lord. At all events the were used (Exod. xxxviii. 24): David pre- word corresponds to the time when the pared for the temple 3000 talents of gold, trial of our principle takes place: when and the princes 5000 (1 Chron. xxix. 4–7: we 'go out’ from the presence of God in the Queen of Sheba presented to Solomon prayer and spiritual exercises, into the 120 talents (1 Kings x. 10): the King world. We may observe, that forgiveof Assyria laid on Hezekiah thirty talents ness of sin does not imply a change of of gold (2 Kings xviii. 14): and in the heart or principle in the sinner. The extreme impoverishment to which the fellow-servant is probably not in the same land was brought at last, one talent of station as himself, but none the less a gold was laid on it, after the death of fellow-servant. The insignificance of the Josiah, by the King of Egypt (2 Chron. sum is to shew us how trifling any offence xxxvi. 3). 25.] See Exod. xxii. 3 : against one another is in comparison to Levit. xxv. 39, 47: 2 Kings iv. l. The the vastness of our sin against God. similitude is however rather from Oriental Chrysostom finely remarks : “He paid no despotism : for the selling was under the regard even to the words by which le Mosaic law softened by the liberation at owed his own deliverance,--the petition the year of jubilee. The imprisonment which won for him the forgiveness of those also, and the tormentors, vv. 30, 34, favour ten thousand talents: he recognized not this view, forming no part of the Jewish the harbour where he escaped his impend. law. 26.] Luther explains this as the ing shipwreck: the posture of the supvoice of mistaken self-righteousness, which pliant did not remind him of his lord's when bitten by sense of sin and terrified kindness : but rejecting all such considerawith the idea of punishment, runs hither tions in his avarice and his cruelty and his and thither, seeking help, and imagines it unforgiveness, he was more cruel than can build up a righteousness before God any wild beast seizing and throttling his without having yet any idea that God fellow-servant. What doest thou, O man? Himself will help the sinner. Trench Seest thou not that thou art exacting from remarks, " It seems simpler to see in the thyself? drawing the sword against thy. words nothing more than exclamations self, retorting upon thyself the denial, and characteristic of the extreme fear and an- refusing for thyself the free forgiveness ? ' guish of the moment, which made him
that thou owest must be understood ready to promise impossible things, even as a haughty expression of one ashamed to mountains of gold,” p. 127. 28.] Per. meet the mention of the paltry sum really haps we must not lay stress on went out, as owing, and by this very expression geneindicating any wrong frame of mind already ralizing his unforgiving treatment to all