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Mat. xvi. 1-4.

Luk. x. 25


the pavements. And "when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down and marked the ground. And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." But though our Lord did not invade the province of the magistrate by condemning the adulteress to death, he explicitly condemned her crime as a moral instructor; "Go, and sin no more."

When the Pharisees and Sadducees, tempting him, desired that he would show them a sign from heaven, he answered, "When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky: but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and a sign shall not be given unto it," such as they ask at this time; "but the sign of the prophet Jonas" shall be hereafter given. He advises them to use their reason, refers them to a future illustrious proof of his divine mission, and reproves their vices; but he displays not his boundless power to the unworthy, though all nature was at his command.

When "a certain teacher of the law stood up and tempted him," or proved his wisdom, "saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" a reply was expected derogating from the excellence of the law, and exposing our Lord to censure and danger on that

says, τῷ κλήματι γυρὸν περὶ αὐτὸν
TEрiéуpaye. Apophthegms. Caius

s I reject μὴ προσποιούμενος as a gloss.


But Jesus referred him to the Jewish lawgiver, approved of his answer, and assured him that, if he loved God and his neighbour, he should live: and being further asked who was his neighbour, he showed, by an elegant and affecting parable, that every one to whom he could perform a good office was comprehended in that description.


"The feast of the dedication was holden at Jeru- Jo. x. 22. salem; and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou keep us in suspenset? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I have told you heretofore, and yet ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." Thus did he indirectly declare his Messiahship, by appealing to his miracles, and by calling God his Father. Truth was tempered by wisdom: however, prejudice so blinded his enemies, that nothing but a miracle could preserve him from their rage.

Great multitudes followed Jesus as he went up to celebrate his last passover at Jerusalem. "And the Mat. xix. 3. Pharisees came to him, tempting him," or trying to set him at variance with Moses, "and saying to him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"

It is probable that they knew his decision of that point, Mat. v. 32. and designed to take advantage of it. Jesus in his reply asked them Moses's determination, declared that their forefathers were not capable of a more perfect law, and showed them from the history written by Moses, that so strict and sacred an union as marriage ought not to be lightly dissolved. Thus did he silence them by that very authority which they expected him to oppose.

t See the marginal rendering. H. Steph. Test. Græc. 1576, 12o., has suspensam tenes.

Mat. xxi.


As Jesus was in the temple, the Jewish rulers asked him by what authority he acted. Jesus in return put a question to them, whether the baptism of John was from heaven or of men. "And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not." Thus did he confound the device of his adversaries, which probably was to apprehend him, and accuse him of blasphemy, if he had See Mar. acknowledged himself to be the Messiah, and yet sufficiently intimate that he was commissioned from above, as one who was universally esteemed a prophet had reMat. iii. 14. peatedly borne him testimony.

xi. 18.

Jo. i. 2629, 36. iii.


When he was asked in the most flattering and artful terms about the lawfulness of paying tribute, we must observe that to deny this was sedition, and to affirm it was disclaiming his Messiahship in the opinion of the Jews, and betraying the rights of that people. But how superior does Jesus rise to this formidable alternaMat. xxii. tive? "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a denarius. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things which are God's. When they heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."

16-22. and p.p.

The Sadducees also put to him a great difficulty in their apprehension of things-whose wife at the resurVer. 23-30. rection a woman should be whom seven brethren had

and p.p.

successively taken. Jesus answered, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

The answer is most clear and determinate, most instructive and rational. No wonder that the multitude who heard it were astonished at his doctrine.

34-40. and

p. p.

Again: when the Pharisees heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they made trial of his wisdom by asking him which was the great commandment of the law. Jesus replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord Mat. xxii. thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it," namely, this; "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. thyself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." This answer was so just, that it was applauded even by one of the scribes who had combined in asking it insidiously. And the triumph of Jesus's wisdom was so complete, that no man "durst from that time forth ask him any more questions"."

I shall end the remarks under this head with the words of a most eminent author; though I think that, through haste of writing, too weak an expression has escaped him:

“There is scarce any thing which proves both wisdom and rightness of mind more fully, than proper behaviour on sudden occasions, and proper answers to unforeseen questions: for what a man shows himself to be at such times, we have in general great cause to believe he really is. Now to this trial our Saviour, living a public life, in the midst of persons taking all advantages to ensnare him, was perpetually exposed; and his character never suffered by it." It was indeed exalted by every such occasion of showing his wisdom and sedateness: insomuch that his enemies were Luk xiii.17. ashamed, amazed, and silenced; nay, even paid him the unwilling tribute of public approbation.

u pas is the true reading, Matt. xxii. 46.

x Secker's Sermons, vol. iv. p. 206, Engl. ed.

Mat. xxii.

22, 46.


SECT. IX. That incidents, sometimes very slight, and questions, particularly some of a curious nature, were turned by our Lord to an instructive and practical purpose.

WHEN Our Lord's "disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat," he took occasion to inculcate that the true feast to a good mind was to be employed in the Jo. iv. 34. service of God and man: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

Luk. xi. 27,


Mat. xii. 47




When "a certain woman lifted up her voice and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked," he replied, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."

*When “one said to him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee....he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

When he was thus addressed," Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me," he embraced that opportunity of cautioning his hearers against the vice which seems to have dictated the request made to him: "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life," or true happiness, “consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Nor was he content with delivering a general precept; but went on to enforce what he adLuk. xii. 16 vanced by a beautiful parable, the moral of which he distinctly pointed out: "so is he that layeth up trea


Ver. 21.

y Luke xii. 15. Wetstein's note on this verse is, Cohærent hæc cum præcedentibus, ut doceamur veram litis inter fratres causam fuisse utriusque deside

rium plura habendi. Servius ad Georg. ii. 496, "et infidos agitans discordia fratres," infidos autem ait, quod avaritiæ causa dissentiunt.

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