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Stom  f^e  feifircvrg  of 

Q0cqueaf  ^eb  6g  ^im  to 
f^e  &t6rar^  of 

(Princeton  S^eofogtcaf  ^eminarg 







KEVISED    BY    THE    REV.    HENRY    A.    BOARDMAN,  D.D. 



P  A  H  R  Y    &    M  m  I  L  L  A  N, 



Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1855,  by 

PARRY  &  McMillan, 

the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  Eastern 
District  of  Pennsylvania. 

Printed  by  T.  K  &  P.  G.  Collins. 






1.  Now  when  he  had  ended  all  his  sayings  in  the  audience  of  the  peo- 
ple, he  entered  into  Capernaum. 

A  good  pastor,  of  whom  Christ  is  the  model,  proceeds  con- 
tinually from  instruction  to  action,  and  from  action  to  in- 
struction. Words  speak  only  to  the  understanding,  works 
speak  to  the  heart. 

2.  And  a  certain  centurion's  servant,  who  was  dear  unto  him,  was  sick, 
and  ready  to  die. 

In  sickness  and  necessity  masters  ought  to  act  like  fathers 
toward  their  servants.  That  which  heathens  can  do  upon 
mere  human  motives  of  compassion,  honour,  interest,  or 
friendship,  a  Christian  master  ought  to  perform  upon  Chris- 
tian motives,  having  respect  to  Christ  in  the  person  of  his 
servant.  Death  may  perhaps  in  a  very  little  time  make  the 
master  and  the  servant  equal ;  and  God  may  place  the  ser- 
vant above  the  master.  We  must  by  charity  anticipate  this 
equality ;  and  honour  beforehand  this  superiority  by  the  spirit 
of  humility. 

3.  And  when  he  heard  of  Jesus,  he  sent  unto  him  the  elders  of  the 
Jews,  beseeching  him  that  he  would  come  and  heal  his  servant. 

It  is  a  good  presage,  and  a  favourable  omen  that  a  man 

will  obtain  the  favour  which  he  asks,  when  he  does  not  think 

1*  6 

6  LUKE. 

himself  worthy  to  obtain  it  by  himself.  He  has  already  ob- 
tained something  better  than  what  he  desires,  in  having  re- 
ceived sufficient  light  to  know  himself,  and  humility  not  to 
think  of  himself  more  highly  than  he  ought  to  think. 

4.  And  when  they  came  to  Jesus,  they  besought  him  instantly,  say- 
ing. That  he  was  worthy  for  whom  he  should  do  this :  5.  For  he  loveth 
our  nation,  and  he  hath  built  us  a  synagogue. 

The  centurion  is  praised  by  men  upon  the  account  only  of 
his  external  works,  which  interest  caused  them  chiefly  to  con- 
sider. Christ  reserves  to  himself  the  commending  of  his 
heart,  and  the  discovering  to  us  the  riches  of  it. 

6.  Then  Jesus  went  with  them.  And  when  he  was  now  not  far  from 
the  house,  the  centurion  sent  friends  to  him,  saying  unto  him.  Lord, 
trouble  not  thyself;  for  I  am  not  worthy  that  thou  shouldest  enter  under 
my  roof: 

It  is  unprofitable  for  a  man  to  receive  the  sacramental 
representation  of  Christ,  if  he  does  not  receive  him  into  his 
heart  as  the  centurion  did.  Let  us,  after  his  example,  en- 
deavour earnestly  to  attract  him  into  ours  by  a  prayer  full 
of  faith,  humility,  simplicity,  and  confidence.  It  is  this  which 
draws  Christ  into  the  house  of  this  pious  Gentile,  while  he 
seems  to  go  thither  as  following  the  Jews,  and  only  upon  their 
recommendation.  Thus  it  very  often  happens,  that  the  bless- 
ing which  God  sheds  upon  a  family,  a  parish,  a  community,  or 
a  church,  is  occasioned  by  some  devout  soul  whose  heart  is 
known  only  to  God,  though  men  may  attribute  it  all  to  others. 

7.  Wherefore  neither  thought  I  myself  worthy  to  come  unto  thee :  but 
say  in  a  word,  and  my  servant  shall  be  healed. 

We  can  no  way  render  ourselves  worthy  of  Jesus  Christ 

and  his  grace,  but  by  acknowledging  ourselves  unworthy  of 

them.     The  just  idea  which  the  centurion  has  of  the  almighty 

power  of  God,  and  of  Christ,  in  healing  bodies  by  the  sole 

motion  of  his  will,  is  the  pattern  of  that  which  we  ought  to 

frame  concerning  the  almighty  power  of  his  grace,  in  healing 

souls  of  concupiscence.     He  does  what  he  pleases  with  the 

heart,  as  Avell  as  with  the  body ;  being  equally  the  creator  of 

both.      It  is  Christ  himself  who,  in  the  cure  of  the  paralytic, 

teaches  us  to  judge  thus  of  the  one  by  the  other. 

8.  For  I  also  am  a  man  set  under  authority,  having  under  me  soldiers, 


and  I  say  unto  one,  Go,  and  he  goeth ;  and  to  another,  Come,  and  he 
Cometh  ;  and  to  my  servant,  Do  this,  and  he  doeth  it. 

The  pride  of  the  synagogue,  which  attributed  all  to  the 
merit  and  virtue  of  the  works  of  the  law,  is  figured  by  the 
Jews,  the  friends  of  the  centurion :  the  faith  of  the  church, 
which  ascribes  all  to  the  pure  mercy  of  God,  and  to  the 
almighty  operation  of  his  will  upon  ours,  is  represented  by 
the  faith  of  the  centurion,  who  is  the  first-fruits  of  the  Gen- 
tiles. He  shall  rise  up  in  judgment  at  the  last  day  against 
those  who,  after  the  experience  of  so  many  ages,  and  the  in- 
structions of  so  many  saints  and  doctors,  dare  yet  dispute 
with  God  his  omnipotent  power  over  the  heart  of  man. 

9.  When  Jesus  heard  these  things,  he  marvelled  at  him,  and  turned 
him  about,  and  said  unto  the  people  that  followed  him,  I  say  unto  you, 
I  have  not  found  so  great  faith,  no,  not  in  Israel. 

Christ  praises  the  virtue  of  men  boldly  and  plainly,  because 
he  praises  his  own  gifts  in  them,  and  gives  them  the  grace 
not  to  grow  vain  upon  them.  The  preference  of  the  Gentiles 
before  the  Jews  is  here  lightly  intimated  by  Christ,  as  founded 
upon  the  too  mean  idea  which  the  Jews  had  of  his  grace.  Our 
blessed  Lord's  sincerity  is  equal,  both  when  he  praises  and 
when  he  blames :  but  he  blames  the  Jews  when  they  are  pre- 
sent, and  praises  the  centurion  only  in  his  absence ;  because 
he  does  not  praise  him  for  his  own  sake,  but  for  the  benefit 
and  advantage  of  others. 

10.  And  they  that  were  sent,  returning  to  the  house,  found  the  ser- 
vant whole  that  had  been  sick. 

This  cure  is  the  reward  and  efi"ect  of  faith,  prayer,  and  hu- 
mility :  the  goodness  of  God  toward  men  being  so  great,  that 
he  is  pleased  that  the  very  virtues  and  graces  which  he  con- 
fers upon  them  should  be  counted  unto  them  instead  of  merit. 
It  is  God  himself  who,  by  the  gifts  of  his  mercy,  disposes  and 
prepares  the  sinner  for  his  cure ;  and  nothing  can  contribute 
to  the  reception  of  his  grace  but  what  is  the  effect  of  his 
grace  itself. 


SECT.    II. — THE   WIDOW   OF   NAIN. 

11.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass  the  day  after,  that  he  went  into  a  city  called 
Nain  ;  and  many  of  hia  disciples  went  with  him,  and  much  people.  12. 
Now  when  he  came  nigh  to  the  gate  of  the  city,  behold,  there  was  a 
dead  man  carried  out,  the  only  son  of  his  mother,  and  she  was  a  widow : 
and  much  people  of  the  city  was  with  her. 

This  dead  man  of  Nain  is  the  emblem  of  a  sinner  dead  in  sin. 
Happy  the  sinner  when  mercy  comes  to  meet  him,  at  least 
before  he  is  buried  in  his  evil  habits,  and  has  filled  up  the 
measure  of  his  sins ;  after  which  he  is,  as  it  were,  buried  in 
oblivion  before  God !  Let  us  admire  this  meeting  of  Christ 
and  the  sinner,  of  life  and  death, — a  meeting  accidental  in  ap- 
pearance, but  appointed  in  the  eternal  order  of  the  divine 
predestination.  The  church,  whom  Christ  at  his  ascension 
left  a  widow,  bewails  the  spiritual  death  of  every  one  of  her 
children  as  that  of  an  only  son ;  since  the  whole  body  may 
be  considered  as  comprised  in  some  manner  under  every  one 
of  its  members.  It  is  almost  the  whole  employment  of  this 
widow  to  follow  sinners,  and  in  this  life  to  lament  their  death, 
until  they  have  all  either  found  Jesus  Christ,  or,  by  being 
buried,  have  lost  all  hopes  of  finding  him.  Let  us  bear  her 
company,  by  joining  our  tears  and  prayers  to  hers  in  behalf 
of  sinners. 

13.  And  when  the  Lord  saw  her,  he  had  compassion  on  her,  and  said 
unto  her,  Weep  not. 

Christ  is  moved  only  by  the  tears  of  his  church ;  that  is,  by 
the  repentance  which  is  performed  in  her  bosom  by  his  Spirit. 
He  hearkens  only  to  her  charity,  which  is  continually  intent 
on  the  salvation  of  her  children,  whom  she  every  day  brings 
forth  anew  to  life.  He  regards  only  her  prayers  for  the  con- 
version of  those  sinners  for  whom  she  prays,  while  they  do 
not  pray  at  all  for  themselves.  Happy  is  that  person  who  is 
in  the  bosom  of  this  mother,  and  for  whom  she  prays  con- 
tinually !  Happy  will  this  mother,  at  present  disconsolate,  be, 
when  her  Lord  going  forth  to  meet  her,  and  she  him,  he  shall 
say  to  her,  "  Weep  not," — because  there  will  then  be  no  longer 
any  occasion  to  weep,  after  the  sanctification  of  all  the  elect. 
Nothing  comforts  her  in  her  widowhood  but  the  conversion 

CHAPTER   Vir.  9 

of  sinners,  and  the  hopes  of  seeing  all  tears  one  day  wiped 
from  her  eyes. 

14.  And  he  came  and  touched  the  bier :  and  they  that  bare  him  stood 
still.     And  he  said,  Young  man,  I  say  unto  thee.  Arise. 

It  is  a  very  great  mercy  that  God  does  not  abandon  us 
Tinder  the  death  of  sin,  but  vouchsafes  to  come  to  meet  us. 
Whenever  he  strikes  a  sinner's  body  with  some  disease,  his 
senses  with  some  objects,  and  his  ears  with  some  words,  which, 
by  the  means  of  his  grace,  prove  instrumental  to  his  conver- 
sion, he  may  then  be  said  to  touch  the  living  coffin  of  a  dead 
soul.  Men  are  not  sensible  that  these  strokes  proceed  from 
a  hand  of  grace  and  mercy  while  they  are  yet  under  the  death 
of  sin ;  and  they  very  frequently  never  reflect  upon  them, 
even  when  they  are  risen  again.  What  acknowledgment  is 
not  due  to  God  from  a  young  man  who  is  carried  out  by  his 
passions  to  the  grave  of  a  sinful  habit,  wherein  he  would  be 
buried  forever ;  but  grace  stops  them  betimes,  raises  him 
again,  and  gives  him  a  new  life  ! 

15.  And  he  that  was  dead  sat  up,  and  began  to  speak.  And  he  de- 
livered him  to  his  mother. 

He  whom  God  teaches  effectually,  (1.)  Rises  or  sits  up,  by 
forsaking  his  sins ;  (2.)  Begins  to  speak,  in  confessing  them ; 
(3.)  Puts  himself  into  the  hands  of  his  mother,  in  submitting 
himself  to  the  power  and  discipline  of  the  church,  resigning 
himself  up  to  the  conduct  of  her  ministers,  and  living  by  her 
spirit.  When  Christ  delivers  us  into  the  hands  of  our  mother 
he  does  not  thereby  leave  us,  because  she  herself  is  in  the 
hands  of  her  Lord.  Since  the  sinner  is  restored  to  the  church, 
it  is  plain  that  he  had  been  torn  from  her,  that  he  was  no 
longer  a  living  member  of  this  body  of  Christ,  and  that  he 
was  joined  to  it  only  by  a  dead  faith.  Happy  the  sinner 
who  is  restored  to  it  forever,  to  live  to  all  eternity  in  this  im- 
mortal body  of  the  only  Son  of  God  ! 

16.  And  there  came  a  fear  on  all:  and  they  glorified  God,  saying, 
That  a  great  prophet  is  risen  up  among  us  ;  and.  That  God  hath  visited 
his  people. 

The  conversion  of  sinners  is  an  undoubted  proof  of  the 

incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God,  which  is  the  great  visit  he 

10  LUKE. 

has  made  to  his  people.  Were  but  the  eyes  of  our  faith  quick 
and  clear-sighted,  what  effects  would  not  those  wonderful  con- 
versions produce  in  us,  which  are  frequently  the  subject  of 
the  world's  raillery  ?  So  great  is  the  blindness  under  which 
it  lies,  that  a  sinner  is  often  frightened  at  such  conversions, 
and  is  really  afraid  lest  the  grace  and  mercy  of  God  should 
come  and  snatch  him  away  from  his  pleasures  and  the  other 
objects  of  his  passions.  We  glorify  thee,  0  Lord,  for  all  thy 
mercies  toward  sinners,  and  we  desire  and  implore  them  for 
ourselves.  The  common  people  readily  acknowledge  that 
miracles  are  the  necessary  proof  of  an  extraordinary  mission 
in  the  church ;  and  learned  men,  puffed  up  with  pride,  refuse 
to  acknowlege  the  necessity  thereof,  and  choose  rather  to  de- 
liver themselves  up  to  seducers. 

17.  And  this  rumour  of  him  went  forth  throughout  all  Judea,  and 
throughout  all  the  region  round  about. 

God  changes   offence    or  scandal   into   edification   by  the 

conversion  of  sinners.     Even  an  outward  change  of  life  is  a 

thing  scarce  ever  heard  of  out  of  the  true  church.     She  alone 

has  this  privilege,  because  she  only  has  the  Holy  Ghost,  who 

alone  can  change  the  heart.     Let  us  inviolably  adhere  to  this 

house  of  mercy. 


18.  And  the  disciples  of  John  shewed  him  all  these  things. 
John's  humility  and  charity,  by  a  holy  kind  of  address, 

turn  that  to  the  advantage  of  his  Master  which,  perhaps,  the 
emulation  of  these  disciples  caused  them  to  look  upon  with 
an  evil  eye.  He  who  is  ambitious  of  having  the  pre-eminence, 
knows  how  to  set  his  own  advantages  in  the  best  light,  and 
to  expose  the  infirmities  of  others.  John  takes  the  time 
when  Christ  appears  with  the  greatest  lustre,  and  he  himself 
is  under  the  lowest  state  of  humiliation,  to  undeceive  his  dis- 
ciples. Curiosity,  perhaps,  as  well  as  jealousy,  causes  these 
disciples  to  talk  of  the  news  of  what  passes  in  the  world  : 
John  takes  from  hence  an  occasion  to  instruct  them.  It  is 
thus  that  wc  may  make  a  good  use  of  worldly  news,  when  we 


are  either  in  such  circumstances  that  we  cannot  well  be 
acquainted  with  it,  or  have  not  virtue  enough  to  live  with- 
out it. 

19.  f  And  John  calling  unto  him  two  of  his  disciples  sent  (hem  to 
Jesus,  saying,  Art  thou  he  that  should  come  ?  or  look  we  for  another  ? 

He  who  is  only  to  conduct  souls  to  Christ  ought  to  send 
all  his  disciples  to  Him,  and  not  retain  them  in  attendance 
upon  himself.  That  man  does  enough  for  the  souls  under  his 
care  who  puts  them  in  the  way  of  addressing  themselves  to 
God  and  Christ  as  they  ought,  and  of  being  attentive  to  his 
word  and  inspirations,  to  the  voice  of  faith  and  to  his  mira- 
cles, and  to  the  instructions,  mysteries,  and  conduct  of  his 
life.  John  shows  us  that  all  the  science  taught  in  his  school 
consisted  only  in  disposing  men  to  expect  the  deliverer. 
Lord,  we  expect  and  look  for  no  other;  but  we  expect  thee 
in  another  state  and  condition.  They  expected  thee  as  the 
Author  of  faith  and  righteousness  ;  but  we  expect  thee  as  He 
who  is  to  be  the  Finisher  and  Crown  thereof. 

20.  When  the  men  were  come  unto  him,  they  said,  John  the  Baptist 
hath  sent  us  unto  thee,  saying.  Art  thou  he  that  should  come  ?  or  look 
we  for  another  ? 

How  commendable  is  this  simplicity  and  fidelity  of  these 

disciples,  in  doing  and  saying  nothing  but  what  was  prescribed 

to  them  !      It  is  by  the  way  of  the  obedience  of  faith  that  we 

must  go  to  Christ,  that  we  must  speak  to  him,  hear  him,  and 

contemplate  his  wonders.     They  ask  but  one  thing,  because 

that  comprehends  all.     It  is  sufficient  to  be  once  assured  that 

it  is  Christ  who  speaks  to  us,  that  it  is  our   Redeemer  who 

promises  us  his  grace,  and  draws  us  after  him. 

21.  And  in  that  same  hour  he  cured  many  of  tJieir  infirmities  and 
plagues,  and  of  evil  spirits  ;  and  unto  many  that  we7-e  blind  he  gave  sight. 

The  language  of  a  Christian  is,  to  do  the  works  of  a  sick 
man  healed,  and  of  a  slave  set  at  liberty;  as  that  of  Jesus 
Christ  is,  to  perform  those  of  a  sovereign  physician,  and  of 
an  almighty  deliverer.  Lord,  we  know  thee  by  this  language. 
It  is  thou  who  must  cure  our  infirmities  and  diseases,  and 
close  the  wounds  of  our  hearts.  It  is  thou  who  comest  to  de- 
liver us  from  our  darkness  and  blindness,  and  from  all  the 

12  LUKE. 

remains  of  the  evil  spirit's  dominion  within  us.  Perform  thy 
work  in  us,  0  Jesus;  for  nothing  can  hinder  thee  from  accom- 
plishing thy  will,  and  working  our  salvation. 

22.  Then  Jesus  answering  said  unto  them,  Go  your  way,  and  tell 
John  what  things  ye  have  seen  and  heard ;  how  that  the  blind  see,  the 
lame  walk,  the  lepers  are  cleansed,  the  deaf  hear,  the  dead  are  raised, 
to  the  poor  the  gospel  is  preached. 

The  mission  of  Jesus  Christ  is  extraordinary,  and  therefore 
he  proves  it  hy  his  miracles.  He  works  them  upon  the  soul 
as  well  as  the  hody,  (1.)  Enlightening  the  understanding. 
(2.)  Rectifying  the  will.  (3.)  Blotting  out  sins.  (4.)  Mak- 
ing himself  heard  by  the  ears  of  the  heart.  (5.)  Converting 
even  the  most  hardened  sinners,  and  restoring  to  them  the  life 
of  the  soul.  And,  (6.)  Teaching  his  ways  to  the  humble. 
We  must  be  of  the  number  of  these  poor,  if  we  desire  to  have 
any  part  in  the  riches  of  faith  and  of  the  true  knowledge  of 
the  gospel.  Grant  us.  Lord,  this  poverty  of  spirit,  which 
gives  a  sight  to  the  treasure  of  the  divine  truths.  Disperse 
the  false  glimmerings  of  human  wisdom,  to  make  way  for  the 
light  of  thy  Holy  Spirit ! 

23.  And  blessed  is  he,  whosoever  shall  not  be  offended  in  me. 

How  corrupt  is  man,  since  he  takes  occasion  of  scandal  or 
offence  from  the  best  things,  and  even  from  Christ  himself ! 
The  sinner  would  willingly  have  such  a  Saviour  as  should 
comply  with  human  passions ;  and  would  fain  go  to  God  by 
ways  conformable  to  those  of  the  woidd :  he  finds  the  directly 
contrary  in  Christ  and  his  gospel,  and  this  is  what  offends 
and  keeps  him  at  a  distance  from  them.  Religion  is  contrived 
after  such  a  manner  that  every  thing  therein  tends  to  make 
God  known  to  the  children  of  faith,  to  edify  them,  and  unite 
them  to  Jesus  Christ ;  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  offend,  dis- 
courage, and  keep  off  the  wise  and  the  lovers  of  the  world, 
and  to  hide  the  truth,  and  even  God  himself,  from  such  as 
have  no  other  eyes  but  those  of  flesh  and  human  reason.  A 
God  concealed  and  hid  in  the  flesh,  in  infancy,  humiliations, 
sufferings,  etc., — this  is  what  exercises  and  nourishes  the  faith, 
and  inflames  the  charity  of  the  former,  but  increases  the  in- 
fidelity, and  disgusts  the  pride  of  the  latter. 


24.  1[  And  when  the  messengers  of  John  were  departed,  he  began  to 
epeak  unto  the  people  concerning  John,  What  went  ye  out  into  the  wil- 
derness for  to  see  ?     A  reed  shaken  with  the  wind  ? 

The  humility  of  John  renders  him  unmovable.     Whoever 

has  not  this  virtue,  is  a  reed  shaken  with  the  wind. 

25.  But  what  went  ye  out  for  to  see?  A  man  clothed  in  soft  raiment? 
Behold,  they  which  are  gorgeously  apparelled,  and  live  delicately,  are  in 
kings'  courts. 

The  world  is  the  seat  of  excess,  sensual  delights,  and  im- 
penitence, and  of  all  things  which  are  opposite  to  Christianity. 
Happy  is  he  who  lives  at  a  distance  from  it !  It  is  not  abso- 
lutely impossible  to  be  saved  therein,  because  with  God  all 
things  are  possible;  but  it  is  extremely  dangerous  and  very 
toilsome  to  have  the  work  of  our  salvation  to  do  in  a  place 
where  every  thing  is  contrary  thereto.  Solitude  and  the 
court  are  set  in  opposition  the  one  to  the  other  by  Jesus 
Christ.  In  the  former  piety  and  repentance  take  refuge,  to  be 
secure  from  the  wickedness  of  this  world ;  to  the  latter  resort 
luxury  and  pleasure,  in  order  to  reign  there  without  control. 

26.  But  what  went  ye  out  for  to  see  ?  A  prophet  ?  Yea,  I  say  unto 
you,  and  much  more  than  a  prophet.  27.  This  is  7ie  of  whom  it  is  written. 
Behold,  I  send  my  messenger*  before  thy  face,  which  shall  prepare  thy 
way  before  thee.     [*  Fr.  Angel.] 

It  is  a  very  great  sight,  and  most  worthy  of  the  holy  curi- 
osity of  a  Christian,  to  see  a  religious  man  disengaged  from 
all  earthly  things,  and  devoted  entirely  to  God  and  Christ. 
In  this  short  description  which  Christ  here  gives  of  John,  he 
draws  the  character  of  a  holy  pastor  and  of  a  perfect  director 
of  souls.  (1.)  He  must,  like  a  prophet,  be  illuminated  of 
God,  replenished  with  his  word,  and  instructed  in  his  ways, 
and  in  the  methods  of  his  conduct.  (2.)  He  must  be  more 
than  a  prophet,  and  have  somewhat  more  than  light  and 
knowledge  in  his  mind.  He  ought  to  have  so  lively  a  faith, 
as  not  to  see  Jesus  Christ  only  at  a  distance,  but,  as  it  were, 
even  to  touch  him,  to  breathe  nothing  but  him,  to  be  an  image 
of  him  in  his  whole  life,  and,  like  John,  to  represent  him  in 
all  his  actions.  (3.)  He  must  have  all  the  qualities  which 
the  Scripture  requires  in  a  pastor,  insomuch  that  it  may  seem 
to  have  spoken  of  him.  (4.)  He  must  be  sent  by  a  lawful 
call  and  mission.     (5.)  He  must  be  as  it  were  an  angel,  having 

Vol.  II.— 2 

no  interest  on  earth  but  that  of  tlie  church,  stooping  even 
down  to  the  earth  by  his  humility  and  zeal  in  the  service  of 
souls,  and  ascending  up  to  heaven  by  his  prayers  and  his  love 
of  heavenly  things.  (6.)  He  ought  to  have  no  other  business 
than  to  prepare  the  way  for  Jesus  Christ  in  souls,  and  to 
count  all  things  else  as  nothing.  (7.)  He  must  learn,  even 
from  his  function  itself,  that  souls  are  to  be  conducted  to 
Christ  by  degrees,  and  that  this  is  not  the  business  of  a  mo- 
ment ;  that  he  is  to  instruct  them  by  the  word,  to  cleanse 
them  by  repentance,  and  to  keep  them  in  the  way,  before  he 
admits  them  to  the  enjoyment  of  Christ  in  the  communion, 
which  is  only  for  those  who  are  well  prepared. 

28.  For  I  say  unto  you,  Among  those  who  are  born  of  women  there  is 
not  a  greater  prophet  than  John  the  Baptist :  but  he  that  is  least  in  the 
kingdom  of  God  is  greater  than  he. 

There  is  a  very  great  difference  between  the  saints  of  this 

life  and  those  of  the  other :  a  greater  still  between  such  as 

have  only  gifts  profitable  to  others,  namely,  gifts  of  prophecy, 

of  preaching,  or  of  directing  souls  ;  and  those  who  are  united 

to  God  by  his  love,  in  whom  his  grace  reigns,  and  who  are 

rich  in   Christian  virtues.     True  greatness  consists  in  God's 

living  and  reigning  in  us,  and  in   our  being  obedient  to  his 

will,  and  our  relying  upon  his  Spirit.     That  which  proceeds 

from  external  gifts,  and  such  as  do  not  sanctify  of  themselves, 

is  dangerous,  and  to  desire  them  is  pride  and  presumption. 

29.  And  all  the  people  that  heard  him,  and  the  publicans,  justified 
God,  being  baptized  with  the  baptism  of  John. 

How  happy  is  a  man  when  he  knows  how  to  value  as  he 

ought  the  grace  of  repentance,  and  to  improve  the  time  of 

mercy  !     It  is  by  repentance  that  the  designs  of  God  are 

accomplished,  and  that  he  is  most  glorified;  because  nothing 

more  fully  displays  his  goodness  in  giving  up  his  own  interests, 

his  wisdom  in  bringing  good  out  of  sin  itself,  which  is  the 

greatest  evil,  and  his  almighty  power  in  changing  the  heart  at 

his  pleasure,  and  causing  men  to  love  and  embrace  that  which 

is  most  contrary  to  his  inclinations.     It  is  by  the  works  of  a 

true  conversion,  and  not  by  bare  words,  that  men  express  a 

sincere  acknowledgment  for  the  gift  of  repentance. 


30.  But  the  Pharisees  and  lawyers  rejected  the  counsel  of  God  against 
themselves,  being  not  baptized  of  him. 

The  illiterate  people  and  great  sinners  profit  more  by  the 
word  of  God,  than  the  doctors  of  the  law  and  the  great  pre- 
tenders to  devotion.  Men  frequently,  through  a  false  great- 
ness of  soul  and  a  wicked  elevation  of  mind,  despise  small 
things,  and  thereby  deprive  themselves  of  great  ones  which 
are  annexed  to  them ;  as  the  grace  of  receiving  Christ  was  to 
the  reception  of  John's  baptism,  which  was  designed  to  pre- 
pare them  for  the  other.  Religion  is  full  of  these  dependencies 
and  connections  between  the  least  and  the  greatest  things. 
The  humble  submit  to  them  and  are  saved ;  the  proud  reject 
them  and  are  lost.  God  can  easily  make  himself  amends  in 
the  way  of  justice,  and  repair  whatever  loss  his  glory  has 
sustained,  by  the  refusal  of  his  mercy ;  but  nothing  can  repair 
that  person's  loss  who  rejects  repentance. 


31.  1[  And  the  Lord  said,  Whereunto  then  shall  I  liken  the  men  of 
this  generation?  and  to  what  are  they  like?  32.  They  are  like  unto 
children  sitting  in  the  marketplace,  and  calling  one  to  another,  and  say- 
ing. We  have  piped  unto  you,  and  ye  have  not  danced  ;  we  have  mourned 
to  you,  and  ye  have  not  wept.  33.  For  John  the  Baptist  came  neither 
eating  bread  nor  drinking  wine ;  and  ye  say,  He  hath  a  devil. 

The  more  God  displays  his  goodness  in  opening  to  men 
several  ways  which  lead  to  himself,  the  more  he  discovers  the 
depth  of  those  wounds  which  sin  has  made  in  their  hearts. 
Charity  alone  can  heal  them :  and  these  external  means,  by 
their  being  ineffectual,  show  plainly  the  necessity  there  is  of 
a  remedy  which  may  reach  the  heart,  and  work  powerfully 
therein.  Obstinacy,  and  the  spirit  of  contradiction,  are  the 
effect  of  envy  and  covetousness.  Both  Jesus  Christ  and  John 
were  calumniated ;  and  who  then  will  complain  of  being  so  ? 
Let  us  not  pretend  to  satisfy  the  world,  since  they  could  not 
do  it.  The  outward  austerity  of  John  is  the  pattern  of  a  re- 
tired life. 

34.  The  Son  of  man  is  come  eating  and  drinking ;  and  ye  say,  Behold 
a  gluttonous  man,  and  a  winebibber,  a  friend  of  publicans  and  sinners ! 

The  life  of  Jesus  Christ,  common  in  appearance,  is  an  em- 
blem of  that  of  priests.     Though  we  consult  the  fancy  of  the 

18  LUKE. 

world  never  so  much,  unless  we  approve  of  its  conduct,  it  will 
never  approve  of  ours.  The  part  we  have  to  take  is  to  fol- 
low, without  any  human  respect  whatever,  that  course  of  life 
which  God  requires  of  us,  and  to  perform  the  duties  of  our 
state  and  calling,  without  being  at  all  solicitous  concerning 
the  judgment  of  men.  It  is  the  property  of  a  Pharisee  to 
take  offence  at  a  physician's  visiting  the  sick,  or  a  pastor's 
seeking  sinners  in  order  to  lead  them  to  Christ :  but  there 
are  measures  to  be  observed  to  avoid  danger,  and  to  give  our 
neighbour  no  just  occasion  of  offence.  A  clergyman,  who 
either  industriously  hunts  after  plentiful  tables,  or  frequents 
them  too  often,  cannot  fail  of  giving  it. 

35.  But  wisdom  is  justified  of  all  her  children. 

The  different  ways  of  holy  men  justify  the  wisdom  of  God. 
It  is  neither  austerity  of  life,  nor  liberty  in  the  use  of  all 
things,  nor  poverty,  nor  abundance,  which  really  distinguish 
the  children  of  God  from  those  of  the  world,  but  charity  and 
concupiscence.  The  former  leads  to  God  by  all  manner  of 
ways ;  the  latter  never  finds  him  in  any,  because  it  corrupts 
all  by  its  malignity. 


36.  ^  And  one  of  the  Pharisees  desired  him  that  he  would  eat  with 
him.  And  he  went  into  the  Pharisee's  house,  and  sat  down  to  meat. 
37.  And,  behold,  a  woman  in  the  city,  which  was  a  sinner,  when  she 
knew  that  Jesus  sat  at  meat  in  the  Pharisee's  house,  brought  an  alabaster 
box  of  ointment, 

We  see  in  this  woman  the  emblem  of  a  true  conversion. 
Grace  attracts  the  most  desperate  sinners,  for  the  encourage- 
ment of  such  souls  as  are  most  abandoned  to  sin,  and  to 
teach  them  not  to  despair  of  salvation.  The  first  grace  is, 
to  know  that  there  is  a  Saviour  who  waits  for  our  repentance, 
and  came  for  the  sake  of  sinners.  The  second  is,  to  seek 
him ;  which  is  done  by  prayer  and  by  the  desires,  which  are, 
as  it  were,  the  feet  and  wings  of  the  heart.  The  third  is,  not 
to  delay  seeking  him  one  moment.  The  fourth,  to  find  him 
by  faith.  The  fifth,  to  speak  to  God  and  Christ  at  first,  no 
other  way  but  by  the  motions  of  the  heart.     And  the  sixth, 

CHAPTER    VII.  ir 

to  have  an  inward  shame  and  confusion,  which  may  make  us 
despise  all  that  to  which  we  may  be  exposed  in  the  sight  of 

38.  And  stood  at  his  feet  behind  Idm  weeping,  and  began  to  wash  his 
feet  with  tears,  and  wipe  them  with  the  hairs  of  her  head,  and  kissed  his 
feet,  and  anointed  them  with  the  ointment. 

The  seventh  grace  is,  to  learn  of  this  patient  that  the  feet 
of  Christ  are  the  happy  portion  of  a  truly  converted  sinner. 
The  eighth,  not  to  be  ashamed,  in  any  place  or  on  any  occa- 
sion, to  have  recourse  to  the  mercy  of  God,  and  to  weep  for 
our  sins.  The  ninth  is,  to  be  convinced,  that  as  we  have 
spared  nothing  in  the  commission  of  sin,  so  we  ought  to 
spare  nothing  in  making  satisfaction  to  God.  The  tenth  is, 
to  be  moved  with  compassion  toward  the  poor,  who  are  the 
feet  of  Christ,  and  to  let  them  partake  of  the  good  things  we 
have  received  from  God.  To  kiss  Christ's  feet,  is  to  serve 
and  relieve  the  poor  with  respect  and  love,  and  with  such  a 
faith  as  causes  us  to  discover  and  honour  Jesus  Christ  in 
them.  The  eleventh  grace  is,  to  submit  ourselves  to  his  mi- 
nisters, who  are  likewise  his  feet  in  another  sense,  because 
they  bring  peace  and  the  grace  of  reconciliation  to  true  peni- 
tents. The  twelfth  and  last  grace  is,  to  make  that  useful  and 
serviceable  to  charity  which  before  served  only  to  concu- 

39.  Now  when  the  Pharisee  which  had  bidden  him  saw  it,  he  spake 
within  himself,  saying,  This  man,  if  he  were  a  prophet,  would  have 
known  who  and  what  manner  of  woman  this  is  that  toucheth  him ;  for 
she  is  a  sinner. 

It  is  one  sign  of  pride  to  despise  sinners,  and  to  be  unable 

to  endure  the  goodness  of  God  toward  those  whom  he  draws 

to  himself.     The  proud  person  is  at  the  same  time  cruel  and 

unmerciful  toward  sinners,  and  irreligious  toward  God :  he 

accuses  him  of  not  knowing  sinners;  and  it  is  he  himself  who 

knows  not  his  God,  and  removes  still  farther  from  him.     I 

know  thee,  0  Jesus,  by  thy  love  to  sinners.     Thou  knowest 

them   better  than  they  know  themselves.      It   is  thou  who 

drawest  them  to  thyself,  who  inspirest  them  with   confidence 

to  approach  thee,  and  who  givest  them  a  faith  full  of  love, 

whereby  they  touch  thee,  and  are  reconciled  to  thee. 

18  LUKE. 

40.  And  Jesus  answering  said  unto  him,  Simon,  I  have  somewhat  to 
say  unto  thee.     And  he  saith,  iNIaster,  say  on. 

How  lovely  is  this  gentleness  of  Christ !  How  fine  a  pat- 
tern is  it  to  imitate,  when  we  would  reclaim  or  instruct  any 
one.  Courteousness  is  so  far  from  being  contrary  to  holi- 
ness, that  it  is  an  effect  of  it.  We  do  not  become  barbarians 
in  becoming  Christians.  We  must  learn  to  reconcile  fidelity, 
in  the  performance  of  our  duty,  with  that  civility  and  oblig- 
ing carriage  which  we  owe  our  neighbour.  We  cannot  pos- 
sibly better  requite  hospitality,  nor  acknowledge  our  obliga- 
tion to  our  neighbour  in  a  better  manner,  than  by  giving  him 
the  wholesome  advice  whereof  he  stands  in  need,  and  assist- 
ing him  in  the  attainment  of  salvation. 

41.  There  was  a  certain  creditor  which  had  two  debtors  :  the  one  owed 
five  hundred  pence,  and  the  other  fifty.  42.  And  when  they  had  nothing 
to  pay,  he  frankly  forgave  them  both.  Tell  me  therefore,  which  of  them 
will  love  him  most. 

Miserable  is  he  who  loves  not  God,  after  having  received 
from  him  many  benefits,  and  the  pardon  of  many  sins  !  How 
much  more  does  a  Jew  owe  to  God,  who  has  wrought  so  many 
wonders  for  him,  than  a  heathen,  who  has  received  nothing 
but  the  gifts  of  nature  ?  But  how  much  more,  without  com- 
parison, does  a  Christian  owe  than  a  Jew,  an  orthodox  person 
than  a  heretic,  and  a  man  particularly  called  to  the  service 
of  God,  than  one  abandoned  to  the  torrent  of  the  world  ?  We 
always  owe  a  vast  debt  to  God,  whether  he  shows  his  mercy 
either  in  pardoning  our  sins  or  in  preventing  them. 

43.  Simon  answered  and  said,  I  suppose  that  he,  to  whom  he  forgave 
most.     And  he  said  unto  him.  Thou  hast  rightly  judged. 

The  greatness  of  God's  mercy  toward  us  is  the  measure  of 

our  love  toward  him ;  but  what  possible  return  can  we  make 

for  a  mercy  which  is  infinite,  with  a  heart  so  small  and  narrow 

as  our  own?     Our  ignorance  of  what  God  has  foi-given  us, 

either  in  pardoning  or  preventing,  and  the  knowledge  we  have 

of  the  corruption  of  our  heart,  are  sufficient  to  convince  us 

that  we  are  those  to  whom  he  has  forgiven  most.     There  are 

tAVO  graces  which  are  necessary  above  all  others  to  a  penitent: 

the  first,  to  have  a  sight  and  sense  of  what  he  owes  to  God ; 

the  second,  to  judge  rightly  of  it.     Grant  us,  Lord,  a  third, 

CHAPTER  Vir.  19 

in  enlarging  our  hearts  by  a  most  grateful  love,  and  such  as 
may  be,  in  some  measure,  worthy  of  thy  mercies. 

44.  And  he  turned  to  the  woman,  and  said  unto  Simon,  Seest  thou 
this  woman?  I  entered  into  thine  hou^e,  thou  gavest  me  no  water  for 
my  feet :  but  she  hath  washed  my  feet  with  tears,  and  wiped  them  with 
the  hairs  of  her  head. 

Let  us  be  so  far  from  making  within  ourselves  proud  com- 
parisons, in  order  to  exalt  ourselves  above  great  sinners,  as 
rather  to  make  such  as  may  serve  to  humble  us,  by  comparing 
our  own  infidelities  with  the  good  which  we  see  in  others.  God 
alone  knows  the  worth  of  a  soul  in  his  own  sight,  and  at  what 
rate  it  ought  to  be  valued.  Men  lose  all  by  vanity,  they  re- 
gain all  by  humility ;  and  even  the  very  sins  of  penitents  may 
be  of  use  to  this  purpose,  by  the  grace  of  Christ.  It  is  at  his 
feet  that  this  miracle  is  wrought ;  it  is  there  that  we  must  sub- 
mit and  humble  whatever  seems  best  and  loftiest  in  ourselves. 

45.  Thou  gavest  me  no  kiss:  but  this  woman,  since  the  time  I  came 
in,  hath  not  ceased  to  kiss  my  feet. 

A  penitent  should  never  cease  to  kiss  the  feet  of  Christ  by 

a  lively  faith,  and  to  make  some  return  for  his  charity,  by 

loving  him  in  the  poor,  and  in  the  lowest  members  of  his 

mystical  body. 

46.  My  head  with  oil  thou  didst  not  anoint:  but  this  woman  hath 
anointed  my  feet  with  ointment. 

God  speaks  in  behalf  of  that  person  who  silently  suffers  the 
envy  and  contradiction  of  the  Avorld,  which  are  one  part  of 
mortification.  A  deficiency  in  works  is  a  certain  proof  of  a 
defect  in  love.  Let  us  pour  on  Jesus  the  oil  of  works  of 
mercy  in  serving  his  members,  if  we  desire  his  mercy  to  be 
poured  upon  ourselves.  Spiritual  works  of  mercy,  in  order 
to  the  salvation  of  the  soul,  which  is  the  main  business,  pene- 
trate like  oil,  and  reach  the  heart ;  those  which  relate  to  the 
body  are  like  a  perfume  or  fragrant  ointment,  which  diffuses 
its  sweet  odour  in  the  church  by  edification  and  good  example. 

47.  Wherefore  I  say  unto  thee,  Her  sins,  which  are  many,  are  for- 
given ;  for  she  loved  much :  but  to  whom  little  is  forgiven,  ilie  same 
loveth  little. 

There  is  no  saving  mercy  Avhere  there  is  no  love  of  God; 

but  great  is  the  mercy  where  men  love  much.     Nothing  more 

20  LUKE. 

inflames  the  heart  of  a  penitent  toward  God,  than  the  con- 
sideration of  those  sins  from  which  he  has  washed  him  in  the 
blood  of  his  Son,  and  of  those  from  which  he  has  preserved 
him  in  changing  his  heart  by  his  grace.  He  who  thinks  that 
less  love  is  due  from  him,  because  he  has  sinned  less,  little 
understands  the  nature  of  sin,  or  of  that  mercy  which  pre- 
serves us  from  it,  or  the  wickedness  of  which,  without  that 
mercy,  man  is  capable  by  reason  of  his  corruption. 

48.  And  he  said  unto  her,  Thy  sins  are  forgiven. 

Happy  that  person  to  whom  God  speaks  these  words,  so  as 
to  reach  the  bottom  of  his  heart;  for  God  at  the  same  time 
performs  what  he  says !  These  dispositions,  Lord,  are  not 
less  thy  work,  than  the  forgiveness  of  sin  itself.  Do  thou 
therefore  work  them  in  our  hearts.  Do  thou  thyself  dispose 
and  prepare  us  for  this  by  thy  other  gifts. 

49.  And  they  that  sat  at  meat  with  him  began  to  say  within  them- 
selves, Who  is  "this  that  forgiveth  sins  also  ? 

It  is  Christ  in  the  church,  and  she  by  him,  who  absolves, 
as  well  as  baptizes.  He  who  believes  the  latter,  ought  like- 
wise to  believe  the  former;  since  it  is  the  same  person  who 
has  declared  both.  Let  us  often  exercise  our  faith  upon  this 
comfortable  truth.  Let  us  take  care  not  to  say  within  our- 
selves that  which  heretics  speak  aloud.  Though  men  sit  with 
Christ  at  the  table  of  the  church,  they  ma}^,  notwithstanding, 
sometimes  have  suggestions  of  infidelity:  they  must  resist 
them  by  faith. 

50.  And  he  said  to  the  woman,  Thy  faith  hath  saved  thee ;  go  in  peace. 
Faith  produces  righteousness,  and  righteousness  gives  peace. 

Faith  is  never  alone  in  a  heart;  and  it  is  very  lively  there 
when  it  causes  a  man  to  seek  Christ,  to  adhere  to  him,  and 
humble  himself  at  his  feet,  drawing  from  his  eyes  tears  of  re- 
pentance, and  disposing  him  to  give  all  to  God,  and  to  his 
neighbour  for  God's  sake.  How  solid  and  substantial  is 
peace,  when  it  is  the  fruit  of  such  a  repentance !  A  good 
pastor  ought  to  nourish  this  peace  in  those  who  are  once 
thoroughly  converted.  Confidence  is  always  good  when  it  is 
regulated  by  faith. 




1.  And  it  came  to  pass  afterward,  that  he  went  throughout  every  city 
and  village,  preaching  and  shewing  the  glad  tidings  of  the  kingdom  of 
God :  and  the  twelve  were  with  him, 

The  zeal,  vigilance,  and  charity  of  Christ  are  the  pattern 
of  a  bishop  in  the  visitation  of  his  diocese,  accompanied 
with  his  evangelical  labourers,  and  teaching  his  people  in  per- 
son. If  he  cannot  exactly  imitate  so  great  a  simplicity, 
poverty,  and  toil,  yet  he  ought  at  least  to  come  as  near  them 
as  possible,  and  to  cut  oflF  all  excess,  pomp,  and  ostentation, 
and  to  spare  others  all  superfluous  and  needless  expense. 
Let  us  take  great  care  to  avoid,  as  mjich  as  possible,  worldly 
equipage  and  retinue,  while  we  are  labouring  to  advance  the 
kingdom  of  God :  to  do  otherwise  is  to  establish  that  which 
we  would  destroy,  and  to  destroy  that  which  we  would  es- 

2.  And  certain  women,  which  had  been  healed  of  evil  spirits  and 
infirmities,  Mary  called  Magdalene,  out  of  whom  went  seven  devils, 
3.  And  Joanna  the  wife  of  Chuza,  Herod's  steward,  and  Susanna,  and 
many  others,  which  ministered  unto  him  of  their  substance. 

Jesus  receives  these  assistances  and  ministrations,  (1.)  To 
honour  poverty,  by  subjecting  himself  thereto.  (2.)  To 
humble  himself,  in  receiving  from  his  creatures.  (3.)  That 
he  may  depend  upon  the  providence  of  his  Father.  (4.)  To 
make  way  for  the  gratitude  and  charity  of  those  he  had 
healed.  And,  (5.)  That  he  may  not  be  burdensome  to  those 
to  whom  he  goes  to  preach.  It  has,  in  all  ages,  been  the 
proper  lot  of  pious  ladies  to  labour  in  establishing  the  king- 
dom of  God,  by  the  exercise  of  charity  toward  the  ministers 
of  Christ  and  toward  the  poor.  These  women  carry  about 
with  them  living  proofs  of  the  mission  and  charity  of  Christ, 
having  been  miraculously  healed  by  him.  In  this  travelling 
church  he  gives  us  a  representation  of  his  church  on  earth, 
wherein  the  ministry  of  the  truth  and  that  of  charity  ought 
to  be  inseparable. 

22  LUKE. 

4.  f  And  when  much  people  were  gathered  together,  and  were  come 
to  him  out  of  every  city,  he  spake  by  a  parable : 

Men  run  to  Christ  as  to  a  new  spectacle;  and  lie  makes 

use  of  their  curiosity  to  draw  to  him  his  elect.     He  chooses 

out  a  little  good  ground,  made  such  by  his  grace,  from  amid 

a  large  quantity  full  of  stones  and  thorns,  exposed  to  birds 

who  prey  upon  it,  and  to  men  who  trample  it  under  their  feet. 

A  good  pastor  ought  to  be  such  as  Christ.     He  must  sow  the 

word  in  all  places,  to  the  end  it  may  fall  upon  some  in  wbich 

it  will  spring  up,  and  bear  eternal  fruit. 

5.  A  sower  went  out  to  sow  his  seed :  and  as  he  sowed,  some  fell  by 
the  way  side ;  and  it  was  trodden  down,  and  the  fowls  of  the  air  de- 
voured it. 

See  here  what  a  heart  is  which  either  despises  or  neglects 
the  word  of  God,  and  thereby  renders  ineffectual  all  the 
light,  desires,  and  inclinations  to  good  which  he  has  sown  in 
it.  This  is  one  of  the  most  common  faults  of  the  world, 
wherein  the  love  of  earthly  things  is,  as  it  were,  the  feet 
which  treads  down  the  seed ;  and  the  love  of  glory  as  the 
fowls  which  devour  it.  In  vain  do  men  flatter  themselves,  as 
if  they  were  not  of  the  world,  if  they  love  it,  and  seek  its 
conversation  ;  this  is  to  be  by  the  way  side,  though  not  to  be 
in  it.  Whoever  loves  the  world,  will  never  retain  the  word 
of  God  in  his  heart. 

C.  And  some  fell  upon  a  rock ;  and  as  soon  as  it  was  sprung  up,  it 
withered  away,  because  it  lacked  moisture. 

What  man,  when  he  considers  his  own  hardness  and  insen- 
sibility, has  not  reason  to  fear  that  he  has  a  heart  of  stone  as 
to  the  things  of  God  ?  The  tears  of  repentance  are  that 
wholesome  moisture  which  nourishes  the  love  of  God's  word 
and  of  the  truth,  and  which  keeps  the  heart  from  growing 
hard,  and  the  seed  sprung  up  from  withering  away.  Lord, 
my  heart  is  in  thy  sight  like  land  where  there  is  no  water : 
let  the  rain  of  thy  grace  descend  upon  it,  and  cause  this  foun- 
tain of  the  tears  of  true  repentance  to  spring  up  therein  ! 

7.  And  some  fell  among  thorns  ;  and  the  thorns  sprang  up  with  it, 
and  choked  it. 

How  can  the  love  of  evangelical  truths  possibly  subsist  in 

a  heart  full  of  the  thorns  of  worldly  lusts  ?     Fear  lest  thy 

CHAPTER    Vlir.  23 

own  is  such.  How  oft  are  we  deceived  in  this  matter,  when 
we  see  the  love  of  God's  word,  good  desires,  and  even  good 
works,  subsist  for  some  time  together  with  vanity,  ambition, 
luxury,  and  other  lusts,  and  even  grow  up  together  with 
them  !  Sooner  or  later  the  thorns  will  choke  the  seed,  if 
they  be  not  plucked  up  in  time. 

8.  And  other  fell  on  good  ground,  and  sprang  up,  and  bare  fruit  a 
hundred-fold.  And  when  he  had  said  these  things,  he  cried,  He  that 
hath  ears  to  hear,  let  him  hear. 

The  fruit  shows  plainly  whether  we  belong  to  the  good 
ground.  But  let  us  tremble,  when  we  see  so  little  which  is 
good,  in  comparison  of  the  rest.  All  that  which  bears  fruit 
does  not  preserve  it  to  maturity.  The  wind  of  temptation 
blows  down  abundance  of  it;  the  worm  of  pride  and  of 
riches  devours  a  great  quantity;  and  the  rottenness  of  un- 
clean pleasures  destroys  as  much.  How  little  good  grain,  0 
Lord,  is  carried  into  thy  celestial  granaries  !  Vouchsafe  to 
cause  me  to  become  part  of  thy  wheat. 

9.  And  his  disciples  asked  him,  saying,  What  might  this  parable  be  ? 
10.  And  he  said,  Unto  you  it  is  given  to  know  the  mysteries  of  the 
kingdom  of  God :  but  to  others  in  parables ;  that  seeing  they  might  not 
see,  and  hearing  they  might  not  understand. 

The  understanding  of  the  Scriptures  and  mysteries  is  not 
given  to  all.  It  must  be  humbly  begged  of  Him  who  is  the 
Author  and  sovereign  Dispenser  thereof.  No  man  has  any 
reason  to  complain  of  God,  who  is  the  master  of  the  secrets 
of  his  own  kingdom  ;  but  those  to  whom  he  communicates 
them  have  abundant  reason  to  adore  and  acknowledge  in 
themselves  the  mercy  which  they  never  deserved.  Hear  and 
study  the  Scriptures :  in  them  all  religion  is  to  be  found,  all 
the  conduct  of  God,  all  the  mysteries  of  Christ,  and  what- 
ever passes  in  the  formation  and  government  of  his  church. 
They  are  an  adorable  mixture  of  clearness  and  obscurity, 
which  enlightens  and  humbles  the  children  of  God,  and  blinds 
and  hardens  those  of  this  world :  but  the  light  proceeds  from 
God,  and  the  blindness  from  the  creature. 



11.  Now  the  parable  is  this  :  The  seed  is  the  word  of  God.  12.  Those 
by  the  way  side  are  they  that  hear ;  then  cometh  the  devil,  and  taketh 
away  the  word  out  of  their  hearts,  lest  they  should  believe  and  be  saved. 
The  power  of  the  devil  over  the  hearts  of  the  children  of 
the  world  is  greater  than  it  is  imagined,  and  is  not  suffi- 
ciently dreaded.  The  number,  diversity,  and  incumbrance 
of  the  affairs  of  the  world ;  the  continual  motion  and  hurry 
in  which  worldly  men  are ;  that  chain  of  employments  which 
to  appearance  are  neither  good  nor  bad,  and  of  new  designs 
which  succeed  one  another ;  and  that  circle  of  pleasures, 
amusements,  and  vanities, — these  are  the  things  wherein  that 
art  and  policy  consists  which  the  devil  uses,  in  order  to  ren- 
der the  word,  good  thoughts,  and  good  desires  fruitless,  and 
to  take  away  God's  seed  out  of  their  hearts  and  minds. 

13.  They  on  the  rock  are  they,  which,  when  they  hear,  receive  the 
word  with  joy  ;  and  these  have  no  root,  which  for  a  while  believe,  and  in 
time  of  temptation  fall  away. 

Temptation  makes  it  evidently  appear  whether  we  are 
really  the  servants  of  God.  When  the  root  of  charity  is 
wanting,  the  word  of  God  can  do  but  little  in  the  heart,  and 
that  little  is  not  lasting.  Good  inclinations  and  piety  fre- 
quently continue,  on  no  other  account  but  only  because 
nothing  opposes  them,  and  because  the  darling  passion  of 
the  heart  is  not  contradicted ;  but  all  disappears  when  once 
we  are  threatened  with  the  loss  of  that  which  we  love  more 
than  God,  without  being  sensible  of  it.  Let  us  take  great 
care  not  to  defer,  till  the  time  of  temptation  and  trial,  the 
necessary  work  of  subduing  and  rooting  out  of  our  hearts 
whatever  may  hinder  the  truths  of  salvation  from  entering 
in  and  fixing  there.  They  grow  hard  by  evil  habits :  we 
must  labour  to  weaken  and  conquer  these,  if  we  desire  the 
seed  should  take  root  in  those,  and  remain  secure  in  times  of 
storm  and  tempest. 

14.  And  that  which  fell  among  thorns  are  they,  which,  when  they 
have  heard,  go  forth,  and  are  choked  with  cares  and  riches  and  plea- 
sures of  this  life,  and  Ijring  no  fruit  to  perfection. 

Riches  and  pleasures  are  the  thorns  of  life  :  they  choke 


all  good  desires  whatever  which  are  in  the  heart.  There  are 
three  sorts  of  persons  in  whom  Christian  truths  become  un- 
fruitful, through  engagements  which  succeed  either  a  good 
education,  or  a  regular  way  of  life,  or  retirement : — (1.)  A 
young  person  of  quality,  who  goes  forth  from  under  the  care 
of  a  father,  a  mother,  a  prudent  tutor,  or  a  Christian  precep- 
tor, and  enters  into  the  world,  into  oflBces  of  state,  into  de- 
signs of  establishing  himself,  etc.,  which  makes  him  forget 
all.  (2.)  A  man  who  quits  a  private  life,  to  give  himself  up 
entirely  to  trade,  to  business,  and  to  the  desire  of  riches. 
(3.)  One  who  passes  from  the  holy  repose  of  retirement  to  a 
soft,  idle,  and  effeminate  life,  and  seeks  nothing  but  his  own 
ease.     Let  every  man  examine  and  judge  himself. 

15.  But  that  on  the  good  ground  are  they,  which  in  an  honest  and 
good  heart,  having  heard  the  word,  keep  it,  and  bring  forth  fruit  with 

To  receive  the  seed  of  the  word,  to  keep  it  in  the  heart, 

and  to  bring  forth  fruit,  are  three  different  gifts  of  God,  which 

we  must  beg  of  him  ;   but  the  chief  gift  of  all  is  the  good  and 

perfect  heart.     The  good  heart  which  is  fit  to  love,  receive, 

retain,  and  practise  the  law  and  word  of  God,  is  that  which 

has  not  these  three  bad  qualities  above  mentioned,  and  in 

which  charity  is   stronger   than   concupiscence.     There  are 

three  kinds  of  patience  which  are  necessary  for  the  elect,  in 

order  to  bring  forth  fruit  worthy  of  heaven :  the  patience  or 

perseverence  of  prayer,  necessary  to  keep  and  preserve  the 

seed  in  expectation  of  God's  proper  time  and  season ;    the 

patience  of  Christian  perseverance,  in  bringing  forth  fruit  to 

the  end  without  being  tired ;  and  the  patience  of  resistance 

and  suffering  in  trials  and  persecutions,  either  internal  from 

evil  habits,  or  external  from  the  hands  of  men.     What,  then, 

must  we  always  pray,  always  labour,  and  always   contend  ? 

This  is  the  portion  of  the  elect,  the  fruit  of  the  divine  word 

in  their  heart,  and  the  continual  exercise  of  their  patience. 

26  LUKE. 



16.  1[  No  man,  when  he  hath  lighted  a  candle,  covereth  it  with  a  vessel, 
or  putteth  it  under  a  bed  ;  but  setteth  it  on  a  candlestick,  that  they  which 
enter  in  may  see  the  light. 

It  is  a  matter  not  merely  of  counsel,  but  of  duty  and  obliga- 
tion, that  we  should  not  possess  graces,  light,  and  talents  to 
no  purpose.  It  is  still  a  greater  piece  of  infidelity  to  hold 
the  truth  in  captivity  to  unrighteousness,  and  to  the  love  of 
temporal  conveniences.  It  is  not  sufficient  to  salvation  for  a 
man  to  believe  in  his  heart  the  truth  of  the  gospel,  he  must 
make  profession  of  it,  and  not  be  ashamed  to  give  testimony 
thereto.  Neither  is  it  sufiicient  for  him  even  to  have  been 
justified  by  faith  and  charity,  but  he  must  perform  the  •works 
of  them,  and  edify  the  church  and  those  who  desire  to  enter 
into  it. 

17.  For  nothing  is  secret,  that  shall  not  be  made  manifest ;  neither  any 
thing  hid,  that  shall  not  be  known  and  come  abroad. 

Well  and  good  men  may  disguise  their  irregular  intentions 
to  themselves  and  others :  they  will  one  day  appear  manifest 
to  the  eyes  of  the  whole  universe.  We  hide  ourselves  from 
men  for  the  short  moment  of  this  life ;  we  thereby  avoid  little 
troubles  and  inconveniences,  and  enjoy  some  small  conve- 
niences and  advantages  from  the  favour  of  the  great,  which 
passes  away  like  a  shadow  :  but  when  this  shadow  is  vanished, 
then  the  light  of  the  great  day,  which  will  make  every  thing 
manifest — truth,  which  will  judge  every  thing,  and  justice, 
which  will  punish  every  thing  and  forever — shall  make  un- 
righteousness evidently  known,  and  overwhelm  the  cowardly 
and  hypocritical. 

18.  Take  heed  therefore  how  ye  hear:  for  whosoever  hath,  to  him 
shall  be  given ;  and  whosoever  hath  not,  from  him  shall  be  taken  evea 
that  which  he  seemeth  to  have. 

Whoever    improves    the    grace    he  has  received,   receives 

abundantly  more.     What  person  is  there,  who,  either  opening 

the    gospel,  or    receiving   from    the    mouth    of  pastors  and 

preachers  the   seed  and  light  of  God's  word,  seriously  re- 


fleets  and  considers  liow  he  ought  to  read  or  hear  it ;  what 
use  he  is  obliged  to  make  of  it ;  what  account  will  be  de- 
manded of  every  truth  ;  what  reward  God  has  decreed  to  the 
faithful  use  of  it ;  and  what  punishment  both  to  the  abuse  and 
to  the  making  no  use  at  all  thereof?  A  man  has  properly 
nothing  at  all,  when  he  has  neither  the  knowledge  of  the 
Scriptures  nor  the  gifts  which  should  be  instrumental  thereto, 
in  such  a  manner  as  is  profitable  to  salvation.  Very  often, 
even  in  this  life,  all  is  taken  away  as  a  punishment  of  infi- 
delity, ingratitude,  and  the  abuse  of  God's  gifts ;  and  the 
light  is  turned  into  darkness. 

19.  f  Then  came  to  him  his  mother  and  his  brethren,  and  could  not 
come  at  him  for  the  press.  20.  And  it  was  told  him  by  certain  which 
said,  Thy  mother  and  thy  brethren  stand  without,  desiring  to  see  thee. 

He  who  has  an  ardent  love  for  Christ  cannot  be  long  ab- 
sent from  him.  Whatever  private  conversations  the  blessed 
Virgin  might  have  with  her  Son,  this  earnest  desire  to  hear 
from  his  mouth  the  word  of  God,  and  to  see  him  exercise  the 
public  functions  of  his  ministry,  was  very  commendable.  To 
go  to  hear  those  whom  God  fills  with  his  Holy  Spirit,  that 
they  may  preach  his  truths  worthily,  is  a  respect  and  honour 
v/hich  we  owe  to  his  mission,  his  word,  his  goodness,  and  his 
designs.  If  ever  curiosity  were  holy  and  allowable,  it  was 
this  of  desiring  to  hear  the  word  made  man,  speak  to  men 
with  all  the  knowledge  and  power  of  God.  Had  we  but  a 
lively  faith,  we  should  find  the  same  advantage  in  his  word. 

21.  And  he  answered  and  said  unto  them,  My  mother  and  my  brethren 
are  these  which  hear  the  word  of  God,  and  do  it. 

An  ecclesiastical  person,  a  Christian,  ought  to  forget  every- 
body, and  even  his  relations,  when  the  service  of  God  is  in 
question.  Faith  and  charity  are  the  things  which  unite  us 
closely  to  him,  by  causing  us  to  adhere  to  his  word  and  truth. 
Christ  does  not  despise  his  mother,  but  only  shows  us  upon 
what  account  she  is  to  be  esteemed ;  namely,  on  the  account 
of  her  constant  attention  to  divine  truth,  of  her  faithfulness 
in  making  all  the  use  of  it  which  was  required  of  her,  and  of 
that  union  of  grace  and  love  which  she  had  with  his  sacred 
humanity,  not  so  much  because  she  had  given  it  him,  as  be- 

cause  the  Son  of  God  Lad  made  it  his  own  by  causing  it  to 
subsist  in  his  divine  person.  Let  us  learn  of  her  to  love 
Christ  in  such  a  way  as  is  worthy  of  him,  and  never  to  apply 
ourselves  to  holy  things  but  after  a  holy  manner. 


22.  ^  Now  it  came  to  pass  on  a  certain  day,  that  he  went  into  a  ship 
with  his  disciples :  and  he  said  unto  them,  Let  us  go  over  unto  the  oth.n* 
side  of  the  hxke.  And  they  launched  forth.  23.  But  as  they  sailed,  ho 
fell  asleep  :  and  there  came  down  a  storm  of  wind  on  the  lake  ;  and  they 
wei'e  filled  with  water,  and  were  in  jeopardy. 

The  present  life  is  but,  as  it  were,  a  passage  from  one  shore 
to  another — from  time  to  eternity.  The  world  is  the  lake 
over  which  we  must  pass,  the  storm  of  wind  is  temptation, 
and  the  water  with  which  the  bark  is  filled  is  that  corruption 
•which  slides  insensibly  into  the  heart  by  the  senses.  Christ 
is  asleep  in  respect  of  us  when  he  suffers  us  to  be  tempted, 
when  negligence  causes  our  faith  and  vigilance  to  slumber, 
and  the  fervency  of  prayer  begins  to  abate.  If  we  do  not 
see  what  the  dangers  of  this  life  are,  because  they  are  not 
always  sensible,  let  us  but  open  the  eyes  of  our  faith,  and  wo 
shall  behold  them  with  horror.  Christ  seems  not  to  watch 
over  us  in  the  time  of  temptation,  and  as  if  he  permitted  all 
to  the  devil ;  but  he  sees  and  governs  all  things  with  a  sove- 
reign knowledge  and  wisdom. 

24.  And  they  came  to  him,  and  awoke  him,  saying.  Master,  Master, 
we  perish.  Then  he  arose,  and  rebuked  the  wind  and  the  raging  of  the 
water:  and  they  ceased,  and  there  was  a  calm. 

Let  us  but  awake  Christ  by  prayer  Avhen  the  storm  arises, 
and  the  calm  Avill  be  immediately  restored  to  our  heart.  Let 
us  make  prayer  familiar  to  us ;  for  without  his  grace  we  are 
in  danger  of  perishing  every  moment.  When  we  have  Jesus 
Christ  at  the  bottom  of  our  heart,  we  have  reason  to  hope 
that  temptations  will  be  no  more  than  trials,  and  that  they 
will  only  serve  to  awaken  our  faith,  to  render  us  more  watch- 
ful in  prayer,  and  to  make  the  almighty  power  of  his  grace 
manifest  in  us.  The  illustrious  manner  in  which  it  shows 
itself  in  this  miracle,  is  an  emblem  of  that  Avhich  grace  per- 
forms in  gaining  the  victory  over  temptations.  It  is  to  prayer 
that  God  joins  these  wonderful  effects. 


25.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Where  is  jour  faith?  And  thpy  boino; 
afraid  wondered,  saying  one  to  another,  What  manner  of  man  is  this  I 
for  he  commandeth  even  the  winds  and  water,  and  they  obey  him. 

In  temptation  our  faith  is  frequently  asleep,  and  we  ima- 
gine it  is  Christ  who  is  so.  Vouchsafe,  0  Jesus,  often  to  re- 
peat this  "wholesome  reproof  at  the  bottom  of  my  heart ;  but 
do  it  in  such  a  manner  as  may  fill  me  with  a  holy  dread,  and 
an  admiration  of  faith,  at  the  sight  of  thy  conduct  toward 
thy  elect  and  toward  thy  church.  He  who  has  made  her 
triumph  over  so  many  persecutors,  is  always  with  her  to  de- 
fend her.  Even  creatures  the  most  insensible  are  subject  to 
him.  The  greater  proportion  and  dependency  there  is  be- 
tween the  sovereign  and  the  created  reason,  between  the  un- 
changeable and  all-powerful  will,  and  the  weak  and  changeable 
wall  of  man,  the  more  ought  we  to  believe  that  God  can  act 
upon  this  as  sovereign  Lord,  and  as  God,  without  doing  vio- 
lence to  its  nature  or  injuring  its  liberty,  but,  on  the  contrary, 
healing  and  perfecting  both,  by  the  communication  of  his 
supreme  reason  and  his  divine  liberty. 

SECT.  V. — THE     LEGION     OF     DEVILS     CAST     OUT. THE     SWINE 


26.  f  And  they  arrived  at  the  country  of  the  Gadarenes,  which  is  over 
against  Galilee.  27.  And  when  he  went  forth  to  land,  there  met  him  out 
of  the  city  a  certain  man,  which  had  devils  long  time,  and  ware  no 
clothes,  neither  abode  in  any  house,  but  in  the  tombs. 

A  soul  possessed  with  the  sin  of  uncleanness  is,  without 
comparison,  a  more  horrid  spectacle  than  this  to  the  eyes  of 
faith.  The  effects  of  this  possession  are  these : — 1st,  It  ren- 
ders the  heart  a  slave  to  sin  and  the  devil  in  a  more  servile, 
shameful,  grievous,  and  insuperable  manner.  2d,  It  strips  a 
man  of  all  the  divine  gifts,  and  of  all  modesty.  3d,  It  causes 
him  to  wander  and  run  about  after  the  creatures,  and  to  fly  from 
his  own  heart,  which  is  his  house,  and  the  proper  place  of  his 
retirement.  4th,  It  changes  this  house,  which  ought  to  be 
holy,  and  to  be  the  temple  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  into  a  noisome 
sepulchre,  full  of  infection.  My  God,  suffer  not  this  change ! 
Lord,  preserve  those  from  corruption  who  make  but  one  body 

with  thyself  I     0  Holy  Spirit,  defend  thy  temple  from  this 
profanation  ! 

28.  AVhen  he  saw  Jesus,  lie  cried  out,  and  fell  down  before  him,  and 
with  a  loud  voice  said,  AVhat  have  I  to  do  with  thee,  Jesus,  thou  Son  of 
God  most  high?     I  beseech  thee,  torment  me  not. 

The  5th  eifect  of  the  sin  of  uncleanness  in  one  possessed 
with  it,  is,  that  it  causes  him  to  look  upon  Christ,  who  is 
purity  itself,  as  a  mortal  enemy.  The  Gth  effect  is,  that  it 
renders  all  converse  and  intercourse  with  Christ  insupportable 
to  him,  and  inclines  him  to  make,  if  possible,  even  that  of 
religion  subservient  to  his  brutal  passion.  What  union  is 
there  not  between  the  head  and  the  members,  and  what  con- 
formity ought  there  not  to  be  answerable  to  this  union?  But 
what  separation,  what  disparity  does  not  the  sin  of  impurity 
cause  ?  The  7th  effect  of  the  passion  of  an  unchaste  person 
is,  that  it  causes  him  both  to  fear  lest  God  should  come  and 
disturb  the  bad  peace  of  his  conscience  with  some  remorse, 
and  audaciously  to  accuse  him  of  injustice,  when  he  would 
take  him  off  from  his  impure  life.  Lord,  were  I  ever  to  be 
so  miserable,  hearken  not  to  the  complaints  or  desires  of  ray 
corrupt  heart,  but  to  the  voice  of  thy  own  mercy.  Torment 
me,  and  shake  the  bed  of  my  criminal  repose,  until  thou  hast 
thoroughly  awakened  me  ! 

29.  (For  he  had  commanded  the  unclean  spirit  to  come  out  of  the 
man.  For  oftentimes  it  had  caught  him:  and  he  was  kept  bound  with 
chains  and  in  fetters ;  and  he  brake  the  bands,  and  was  driven  of  the 
devil  into  the  wilderness.) 

The  8th  effect  of  the  sin  of  impurity  is,  that  it  makes  the 

unchaste  person  afraid  lest  God  should  convert  him  too  soon. 

The  9th,  that  it  causes  him  to  violate  all  laws,  to  despise  all 

admonitions,  and  to  harden  himself  against  all  manner  of 

threatenings.     The  10th  effect  of  this  vice  is,  that  it  is  the 

source  of  all  sorts  of  temptations.     The  sinner  is  free  only 

as  to  evil,  without  the  grace  of  his  Redeemer  and  Deliverer. 

This  alone  renders  him  free  to  do  good,  by  breaking  the  chains 

which  he  has  made  of  his  own  will.     A  sinner  who  flies  from 

the  presence  of  his  God,  and  from  his  own  heart,  who  is  free 

from  righteousness,  and  a  slave  to  sin  and  the  devil,  whither 

is  he  not  driven  ?     The  region  of  heresy  and  sin  is  a  most 


frightful  wilderness,  without  water,  without  shelter,  and  with- 
out any  path  whereby  to  return  out  of  it.  We  must  inevita- 
bly perish  therein,  0  Jesus,  unless  thou  thyself  vouchsafest 
to  come  and  seek  us,  and  to  lead  us  back  into  the  ways  of  thy 
truth  and  righteousness  ! 

30.  And  Jesus  asked  him,  saying,  What  is  thy  name?  And  he  said, 
Legion:  because  many  devils  were  entered  into  him. 

The  11th  effect  of  this  sin  is,  that  it  is  always  accompanied 
with  many  others.  An  unchaste  person  is  fastened  to  sin  by 
all  the  powers  of  his  soul,  and  all  the  senses  of  his  body. 
How  many  devils  have  Ave  not  to  fear !  The  devil  of  wicked 
thoughts,  in  the  mind ;  that  of  filthy  representations,  in  the 
fancy ;  that  of  unchaste  desires,  in  the  heart ;  that  of  curi- 
osity, in  the  ears;  that  of  impudence,  in  the  countenance; 
of  wandering  glances,  in  the  eyes ;  and  a  whole  legion  upon 
the  tongue,  etc.  0  Jesus,  who  can  deliver  me  from  these 
furious  enemies  of  my  salvation,  if  I  am  abandoned  by  thee ! 

31.  And  they  besought  him  that  he  v>'Ould  not  command  them  to  go 
out  into  the  deep. 

The  12th  effect  of  the  passion  of  the  unclean  person  is, 

that  it  causes  him  to  frame  a  thousand  different  desires  and 

unjust  prayers,  and  even  to  wish  that  God  himself  was  not 

just,  that  so  his  irregularities   might  go  unpunished.     The 

devil  is  permitted  to  be  in  the  air  and  upon  the  earth,  on 

purpose  to  exercise  the  elect,  and  to  reap  his  harvest  of  the 

wicked,  until  the  time  of  Christ's  coming  to  reap  his  at  the 

last  judgment.     He  dreads  hell,  not  so  much  because  it  is  the 

place  of  his  punishment,  as  because  he  can  find  none  to  tempt 

there, — all  there  being  his  own  already.     The  devil  is  afraid 

of  hell ;  and  yet  there  are  men  who  either  fear  it  not  at  all,  or, 

at  most,  only  like  the  devils,  with  a  servile  and  slavish  fear. 

If  these  persons  never  attain  to  a  filial  fear,  what  can  they 

expect  but  the  portion  of  devils  ? 

32.  And  there  was  there  a  hei'd  of  many  swine  feeding  on  the  moun- 
tain: and  they  besought  him  that  he  would  suifer  them  to  enter  into 
them.     And  he  suffered  them. 

The  13th  effect  of  impurity  in  a  heart  possessed  therewith 
is,  that  it  causes  it  continually  to  seek  new  objects  to  satisfy 

32  LUKE. 

its  passion,  and  to  abandon  itself  to  every  thing  wliicli  is 
most  detestable  therein.  This  forced  humiliation  and  sup- 
pliant condition  of  the  devil  show  us  plainly  that  he  is  but  a 
slave,  and  can  do  nothing  by  himself.  How  great  is  the 
infidelity  of  those  who  dread  his  power  !  How  foolish  and 
sacrilegious  is  their  confidence,  who  consult  him,  who  trust  to 
his  promises,  and  expect  from  him  that  assistance  and  wealth 
which  he  is  not  able  to  give  them  !  He  is  only  then  to  be 
feared,  when  a  man  does  not  fear  sin.  He  is  the  hope  of 
none  but  the  desperate. 

33.  Then  went  the  devils  out  of  the  man,  and  entered  into  the  swine: 
and  the  herd  ran  violently  down  a  steep  place  into  the  lake,  and  were 

The  14th  eff'ect  of  impurity  is,  that  the  unchaste  person 
meets  with  his  punishment  even  in  the  gratification  of  his 
desires,  and  perishes  miserably  with  the  accomplices  of  his 
passion.  There  is  not  a  more  dreadful  sign  of  the  wrath  of 
God,  than  when  he  abandons  the  sinner  to  his  lusts,  and  per- 
mits him  to  find  means  of  satisfying  them.  His  satisfaction 
lasts  but  for  a  moment.  The  devils  who  enter  into  the  swine 
are  an  emblem  of  those  persons  who  seek  all  their  happiness 
in  sensual  pleasures,  and  shorten  their  days  by  those  very 
pleasures  which  plunge  them  the  sooner  into  eternal  misery. 

34.  When  they  that  fed  them,  saw  what  was  done,  they  fled,  and  went 
and  told  it  in  the  city  and  in  the  country.  35.  Then  thej'  went  out  to 
see  what  was  done;  and  came  to  Jesus,  and  found  the  man,  out  of  whom 
the  devils  were  departed,  sitting  at  the  feet  of  Jesus,  clothed,  and  in  his 
right  mind:  and  they  were  afraid.  36.  They  also  which  saw  it  told 
them  by  what  means  he  that  was  possessed  of  the  devils  was  healed. 

The  15th  effect  of  this  vice  is,  that  it  takes  away  all  good 
sense  and  reason,  stupefies  a  man,  and  makes  him  become,  as 
it  were,  a  brute.  The  16th  and  last  effect  is,  that  nothing 
but  a  miracle  can  recover  him  from  this  sinful  habit.  If 
Christ  has  not  wrought  one  upon  thee  by  a  mercy  of  deliver- 
ance and  cure,  ho  has  done  it  at  least  by  a  mercy  of  preven- 
tion; and  even  that  prevention  could  not  be  effected,  but  by 
delivering  and  curing  the  will.  A  person  possessed  is  a 
spectacle  of  horror  to  men,  and  his  deliverance  a  subject  of 
admiration;  and  the  unchaste  person,  of  whom  the  other  is 


only  a  figure,  is  often  esteemed,  caressed,  and  envied  under 
his  miserable  possession;  and  on  the  contrary  despised, 
avoided,  and  ridiculed  by  the  world,  as  soon  as  ever  God  has 
delivered  him.  0  judgment  of  the  world !  0  corruption  of 
man's  heart ! 

37.  f  Then  the  whole  multitude  of  the  country  of  the  Gadarenes 
round  about  besought  him  to  depart  from  them ;  for  they  were  taken 
with  great  fear:  and  he  went  up  into  the  ship,  and  returned  back  again. 

The  knowledge  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  the  love  of  salvation, 
cannot  long  subsist  together  with  the  love  of  pleasures,  and 
with  an  affection  for  temporal  possessions  and  the  ease  of 
this  present  life.  Little  does  he  know  the  value  of  a  Saviour 
or  of  salvation,  who  chooses  rather  to  be  rich  without  Christ, 
than  to  be  poor  with  him.  The  carnal  man  willingly  re- 
nounces him,  in  order  to  enjoy  that  which  he  loves.  Men 
will  not  understand  that  it  is  a  happiness  to  be  deprived  of  the 
objects  of  their  desires,  and  delivered  from  the  occasions  of  sin. 
In  vain  does  God  work  miracle  upon  miracle  to  disengage  us 
from  them;  there  must  be  one  wrought  upon  the  heart  itself 
to  break  its  chains.  Blind  and  senseless  wretches,  to  be 
afraid  of  their  Deliverer,  even  after  he  had  delivered  them 
from  a  legion  of  devils  in  the  person  of  their  countryman! 
Terrible  is  the  judgment  upon  sinners,  when  God  hears  their 
prayers,  as  he  does  this  of  the  devil.  Vouchsafe  to  continue 
with  me,  0  Lord,  and  hearken  not  to  the  irregular  desires  of 
my  heart. 

38.  Now  the  man,  out  of  whom  the  devils  were  departed,  besought 
him  that  he  might  be  with  him:  but  Jesus  sent  him  away,  saying. 

He  who  has  passed  his  life  in  uncleanness  ought  not  to 
think  of  following  Christ  in  the  company  of  the  apostles, 
that  is,  in  the  priesthood.  It  is  a  sort  of  irregular  and  mis- 
taken devotion,  for  a  man  to  be  made  a  priest  upon  no  other 
view  but  that  of  withdrawing  himself  from  vice  and  disorder, 
and  of  avoiding  the  occasions  of  sin.  Bishops  and  priests 
ought  to  be  penitents,  (l.j  As  being  subject  to  the  sins  and 
infirmities  of  the  righteous.  (2.)  In  order  to  prevent  sins 
of  another  nature,  and  to  suppress  the  principle  and  cause  of 
them  which    they    carry    within    themselves.      (3.)    On    the 

34  LUKE. 

account  of  the  sins  of  their  people  and  of  the  whole  church, 
after  the  example  of  Christ.  But  the  state  of  priesthood 
and  episcopacy  is  [properly]  a  state  of  holiness,  and  not 
[merely]  of  penance. 

39.  Return  to  thine  own  house,  and  shew  how  great  things  God  hath 
done  unto  thee.  And  he  went  his  way,  and  published  throughout  the 
whole  city  how  great  things  Jesus  had  done  unto  him. 

He  who  is  cured  of  the  vice  of  uncleanness  ought — (1.)  To 
live  retired,  either  in  his  own  house,  or  elsewhere,  according 
to  his  state  and  ability,  that  he  may  there  seriously  consider 
the  great  things  God  hath  done  unto  him  and  the  mysteries 
which  Christ  has  accomplished  for  all  sinners,  and  reflect 
with  gratitude  on  the  graces  he  received  in  order  to  his  own 
conversion.  (2.)  He  ought  to  oiFer  up  continual  thanksgivings 
to  God.  (3.)  To  make  amends  for  the  scandal  he  has  given. 
And,  (4.)  To  publish  the  mercy  of  God,  when  he  comes 
abroad  into  the  world.  We  ought  not  to  make  the  least  diffi- 
culty of  acknowledging  our  own  misery,  when  the  glory  of 
God  is  concerned,  and  of  publishing  his  mercy,  when  the 
edification  of  our  neighbour  depends  upon  it. 

40.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that,  when  Jesus  was  returned,^  the  people 
gladly  received  him  ;  for  they  were  all  waiting  for  him. 

Jesus  Christ  brings  joy  and  gladness  to  a  heart  which  has 
long  expected  and  waited  for  him.  The  vicissitudes  of  devo- 
tion and  coldness  in  a  soul  cause  it  to  set  a  greater  value 
upon  the  assistance  of  grace.  God  sometimes  suffers  men  to 
desire  and  expect  him  a  long  time,  that  he  may  find  their 
hearts  better  disposed  and  prepared  to  receive  him.  It  is  a 
great  matter  to  know  how  to  expect  God  as  we  ought,  and  to 
wait  his  proper  time  without  remissness  and  growing  cold. 


41.  T[  And,  behold,  there  came  a  man  named  .Tairus,  and  he  was  a  ruler 
of  the  synagogue  ;  and  ho  fell  down  at  Jesus's  feet,  and  besought  him  that 
he  would  come  into  his  house:  42.  For  he  had  one  only  daughter,  about 
twelve  years  of  age,  and  she  lay  a  dying. 

Whenever  we  perceive  our  souls  begin  to  grow  weak  in 
piety,  to  faint  in  the  performance  of  our  duty,  or  to  be  ready 


to  fall  through  the  violence  of  any  temptation,  our  only  way 
is,  to  humble  ourselves,  to  have  recourse  to  Christ,  and  to  in- 
vite and  beseech  him,  by  an  humble  and  fervent  prayer,  that 
he  would  vouchsafe  to  come  by  his  grace  into  the  house  of  our 
heart.  The  generality  of  persons  either  hazard  or  neglect 
the  salvation  of  their  souls,  as  if  each  of  them  had  several, 
and  might  venture  one.  We  have  each  of  us  but  one  only 
soul :  we  must  love  it  exclusively  of  all  things  else,  and  fear 
its  loss  as  that  which  is  irrecoverable;  we  must  be  greatly 
concerned  for  it  under  all  occasions  of  sin,  which  is  its  death ; 
and  often  in  its  behalf  fall  down  at  Jesus's  feet,  who  is  its  only 

—  But  as  he  went  the  people  thronged  him.  43.  T[  And  a  woman 
having  an  issue  of  blood  twelve  years,  which  had  spent  all  her  living 
upon  physicians,  neither  could  be  healed  of  any, 

Remission  of  sins  is  granted  only  while  we  are  in  the  way, 
that  is,  during  the  time  of  this  life.  Concupiscence  is  a 
shameful,  inveterate,  and  continual  disease,  which  proceeds 
from  original  sin,  and  is  incurable,  and  not  to  be  healed  by  any 
but  Jesus  Christ.  The  law,  philosophy,  confidence  in  our 
own  strength,  and  the  presumption  of  free-will,  do  but  inflame 
and  increase  it.  Happy  are  we,  notwithstanding,  if,  after 
having  experienced  the  insufficiency  of  hutuan,  natural,  and 
external  remedies,  we  are  truly  humbled,  and  fully  convinced, 
that  thy  grace,  0  Jesus,  is  the  only  remedy  for  the  disease 
of  the  soul  and  the  sickness  of  concupiscence  ! 

44.  Came  behind  1dm,  and  touched  the  border  of  his  garment ;  and 
immediately  her  issue  of  blood  stanched. 

In  order  to  be  cured,  we  must  (1.)  Approach  Christ  by  a 
belief  of  his  power  and  goodness,  and  of  the  necessity  of  his 
healing  grace.  (2.)  We  must  think  ourselves  unworthy  to  ap- 
pear in  his  presence,  and  to  be  looked  upon  by  him.  (3.) 
We  must  cast  ourselves  at  his  feet,  and  there  pour  out  our 
heart  in  prayer.  (4.)  We  must  adore  his  sacred  humanity,  as 
the  source  of  our  own  sanctification.  (5.)  We  must  unite  our- 
■  selves  to  him  by  partaking  of  his  mysteries,  the  spirit  and 
virtue  of  which  are  to  purify  our  souls,  liumbly  desiring  him 
to  apply  them  to  us.     (6.)  We  must  take  care  to  honour  his 

36  LUKE. 

divine  word,  to   render  it   familiar  to  us,  and  to   put  it  in 

45.  And  Jesus  said,  Who  touched  me?  When  all  denied,  Peter  and 
they  that  were  •with  him  said,  Master,  the  multitude  throng  thee  and 
press  titee,  and  sayest  thou,  Who  touched  me? 

Abundance  of  Christians,  as  it  were,  press  upon  Jesus 
Christ,  in  hearing  his  word,  receiving  the  sacrament,  and  per- 
forming the  outward  part  of  religion ;  but  few  touch  him  by 
a  lively  faith,  by  a  true  Christian  life,  by  the  prayer  of 
charity,  and  by  the  meditation,  love,  and  imitation  of  his 
mysteries.  Those  numerous  assemblies  and  multitudes  of 
people  who  fill  the  churches  and  make  the  crowd  at  sermons, 
and  yet  cease  not  to  go  on  in  their  usual  course,  in  following  the 
world  and  their  own  passions,  throng  and  press  Christ,  but  do 
not  touch  him. 

46.  And  Jesus  said.  Somebody  hath  touched  me ;  for  I  perceive  that 
virtue  is  gone  out  of  me. 

There  is  not  so  much  as  one  good  thought  or  inclination 
but  what  proceeds  from  Christ,  and  is  an  emanation  from  that 
fulness  of  grace  and  truth  which  is  in  him.  God  and  Christ 
know  in  themselves  the  good  which  we  do,  because  it  is  God 
who  produces  it  in  us  by  Jesus  Christ:  God  by  Christ,  by  his 
merits,  by  his  Spirit,  by  his  sacred  humanity,  as  the  instru- 
ment of  the  Divinity  in  all  the  works  of  sanctification,  and  in 
whatever  has  any  relation  thereto,  particularly  miracles. 
What  virtue  would  there  not  stream  forth  from  this  fire  of 
love  to  inflame  our  heart,  when  we  possess  it  by  the  holy 
eucharist,  had  we  but  the  heart  of  this  poor  woman — an 
humble  heart,  more  to  be  desired,  by  far,  than  the  most  pre- 
cious thing  in  the  world  ! 

47.  And  when  the  women  saw  that  she  was  not  hid,  she  came  trem- 
bling, and  falling  down  before  him,  she  declared  unto  him  before  all  the 
people  for  what  cause  she  had  touched  him,  and  how  she  was  healed 

Humility,    simplicity,     acknowledgment,    and     confusion, 

when  we  reflect  upon  the  gifts  we  have  received  of  God,  are 

the  faithful  guardians  of  grace,  which  we  ought  to  imitate  in 

this  poor  woman.     It  is  a  sign  that  this  grace  has  penetrated 

very  deep  into  the  heart,  when  we  begin  to  be  ashamed  and 


confounded  at  the  sight  of  our  own  unworthiness.  How  far 
is  this  disposition,  both  from  the  insensibility  of  those  who 
receive  the  blessings  of  God  Avithout  being  in  the  least  affected 
with  them,  and  from  the  ingratitude  of  those  who  look  upon 
them  as  a  debt ! 

48.  And  he  said  unto  her,  Daughter,  be  of  good  comfort:  thy  faith 
hath  made  thee  whole ;  go  in  peace. 

There  is  no  inward  peace,  but  only  by  the  cure  of  our  lusts ; 
no  cure  but  by  the  grace  of  Christ ;  and  no  grace  but  by  faith, 
which  is  the  first  of  all,  Christ  frequently  praises  faith,  not 
with  design  to  oppose  it  to  good  Avorks,  but  to  show  that  it  is 
the  fountain  of  them,  and  to  take  the  Jews  off  from  their  con- 
fidence in  the  works  of  the  law  and  in  theis  own  righteousness. 
Do  thou,  0  Jesus,  give,  preserve,  increase,  perfect,  and  con- 
summate in  us  this  principle  of  true  righteousness  and  of 
every  good  work !  thou  who  art  the  Author  and  Finisher  of  faith ! 

49.  f  While  he  yet  spake,  there  cometh  one  from  the  ruler  of  the  syna- 
gogue's liouse,  saying  to  him.  Thy  daughter  is  dead  ;  trouble  not  the  Master. 

It  is  usual  for  faith  to  find  itself  tempted  and  weakened  by 

flesh  and  blood,  when   it  is  at  the  very  point  of  receiving 

that  which  it  desires.     Those  whom  the  devil  cannot  ruin  by 

a  confidence  in  themselves,  he  endeavours  with  all  his  might  to 

ruin  by  taking  from  them  their  confidence  in  God  and  Christ. 

In  losing  this  confidence  they  lose  the  very  soul  of  prayer; 

and  in  losing   that,  they  lose   all.     Let  us   on  no   account 

be  afraid  to  importune  God  with  the  earnestness  of  prayer  : 

it  is  this  importunity  which  he  requires ;  in  this  consists   the 

perseverance  of  prayer,  to  which  every  thing  is  promised. 

50.  But  when  Jesus  heard  it,  he  answered  him,  saying,  Fear  not :  be- 
lieve only,  and  she  shall  be  made  whole. 

The  word  of  God  nourishes  and  strengthens  faith,  and  faith 
supports  prayer  under  all  occasions  of  discouragement:  but 
this  threefold  knot  is  tied  only  by  the  grace  of  him  who  gives 
it  to  whom  he  pleases.  God  would  have  us  prepare  ourselves 
for  the  reception  of  his  mercy  by  confidence  and  faith  ;  but 
even  this  faith  and  confidence,  and  all  preparation  for  his 
mercy,  are  no  other  than  so  many  gifts  of  this  very  mercy  it- 
self.    No  human  impotency,  no  natural  impossibility  what- 

VoL.  II.— 4 

ever,  ought  to  discourage  us;  because  it  is  neither  from  man 
nor  from  nature  that  our  salvation  is  to  come,  but  from  the 
almighty  Avill  of  God. 

51.  And  when  he  came  into  the  house,  he  suffered  no  man  to  go  in, 
save  Peter,  and  James,  and  John,  and  the  father  and  the  mother  of  the 

A  man  ought  to  have   abundance  of  discretion,  to   know 

when  to  discover  and  when  to  conceal  the  works  of  God. 

52.  And  all  wept,  and  bewailed  her :  but  he  said,  Weep  not ;  she  is 
not  dead,  but  sleepeth. 

How  little  faith  do  we  generally  show  in  affliction,  and  on 
the  death  of  our  relations  !  We  weep  and  bewail  them,  most 
commonly,  either  out  of  ceremony  or  interest :  whereas  we 
ought  either  to  weep  through  faith,  in  casting  our  eyes  upon 
sin,  which  is  the  cause  of  death;  or  to  rejoice  through  faith 
in  considering  that  the  dead  are  delivered  from  sin,  and  from 
concupiscence,  the  source  of  it.  Death,  considered  as  an  ac- 
cident of  nature,  suggests  only  sentiments  which  savour  of  the 
corruption  of  nature ;  but,  considered  in  the  order  settled  and 
appointed  by  God,  it  is  a  necessary  penance,  the  completion  of 
the  Christian  sacrifice,  the  passage  to  a  better  life,  the  deliver- 
ance of  a  prisoner,  the  recalling  of  an  exile,  and  the  end  of  all 
the  miseries  of  a  sinner. 

53.  And  they  laughed  him  to  scorn,  knowing  that  she  was  dead. 
The  faith  of  true  Christians,  who  look  upon  death  only  as 

a  sleep,  and  expect  the  life  of  the  world  to  come  as  their 
happiness,  appears  a  folly  to  the  eyes  of  the  world.  It  is  in 
this  respect  that  the  death  of  a  Christian  is  a  mystery  of 
faith,  as  well  as  that  of  Jesus  Christ.  We  behold  one  thing 
in  it,  and  we  believe  another ;  a  humbling  and  abasing  death, 
which  is  the  seed,  and,  as  it  were,  the  sacrament  of  a  blessed 
life.  The  folly  and  delusion  of  the  world  will  likewise  appear 
in  their  turn,  when  it  shall  be  evidently  seen  that  so  many 
deaths  which  seemed  glorious  to  its  eyes,  were  only  the  seed 
and  the  beginning  of  an  eternal  death. 

54.  And  he  put  them  all  out,  and  took  her  by  the  hand,  and  called, 
saying,  Maid,  arise. 

Christ  touches  with  his  grace  a  soul  dead  in  sin,  and  raises 

CHAPTEK   IX.  39 

it  by  his  power.  Thou  hast  wrought  this  miracle,  0  Lord, 
more  than  once  upon  mj  heart :  but  I  believe,  I  hope,  I  ex- 
pect another  to  be  wrought  upon  my  body,  when  thou  shalt 
reanimate  dust  and  ashes  by  thy  almighty  voice,  and  com- 
mand the  dead  to  rise  and  appear  before  thee.  Grant,  0 
Jesus,  that  I  may  continually  live  in  this  hope,  and  let  it  be 
the  constant  rule  of  my  conduct  and  behaviour  ! 

55.  And  her  spirit  came  again,  and  she  arose  straightway :  and  he 
commanded  to  give  her  meat. 

When  the  soul  is  truly  risen  again,  it  may  be  fed  with  the 

holy  eucharist,  and  not  before.     This  is  the  bread  of  the 

living,  and  not  of  the  dead  ;  and  if  the  dead  eat  it,  it  onlv 

makes  them  die  the  more.     When  once  we  shall  be  raised  witli 

that  resurrection  which  will  be  performed  in  an  instant,  we 

shall  then  eat  in  the  kingdom  of  God  that  bread  which  is  the 

life  thereof,  and  shall  be  forever  satisfied  with  that  food  of 

our  souls  which  is  God  himself,  as  being  eternal  truth. 

56.  And  her  parents  were  astonished :  but  he  charged  them  that  they 
should  tell  no  man  what  was  done. 

By  this  example,  Christ  plainly  teaches  how  necessary 
humility  is  to  those  whose  labours  are  directed  to  the  salva- 
tion of  souls.  The  more  extraordinary  the  conversions  are, 
the  more  care  they  who  have  been  instrumental  in  them  by 
their  ministry  ought  to  take  not  to  ascribe  to  themselves  the 
honour  of  them.  Christ,  who  is  the  truth,  has  no  fear  upon 
his  own,  but  only  upon  man's,  account,  who  is  nothing  but 
vanity ;  and  who  is  apt  so  much  the  more  criminally  to  at- 
tribute to  himself  the  works  of  God,  as  they  are  more  divine. 
Let  not  this  poison.  Lord,  insinuate  itself  into  my  heart ! 



1.  Then  he  called  his  twelve  disciples  together,  and  gave  them  power 
and  authority  over  all  devils,  and  to  cure  diseases. 

The  call  to  the  ministry,  and  the  application  to  the  exer- 
cise of  it,  are  two  different  graces :   we  must  depend  upon 

Christ  for  both.  A  man  is  often  unsuccessful  in  the  functions 
of  the  ministry,  not  for  want  of  a  call,  hut  because  he  chooses 
and  undertakes  such  a  particular  function  of  his  own  head, 
and  upon  other  considerations  than  that  of  God's  glory.  The 
power  of  absolving  is  one  thing ;  the  gift  of  moving  and  con- 
verting sinners,  by  casting  out  the  devil  of  vice  and  curing 
the  diseases  of  the  soul,  is  another. 

2.  And  he  sent  them  to  preach  the  kingdom  of  God,  and  to  heal  the  sick. 
A  man  ought  not  to  labour  in  the  church  till  he  has  received 

(1.)  A  call;  (2.)  Power;  (3.)  Mission ;  and  (4.)  Instruction. 
Our  blessed  Lord,  when  he  sends  his  apostles,  gives  them  at 
the  same  time  means  to  prove  their  mission,  and  by  out- 
ward miracles  to  oblige  men  to  look  upon  them  as  the  minis- 
ters of  God :  it  is  this  which  distinguishes  them  from  false 
apostles,  to  whom  the  devil  gives  a  mission  without  miracles. 
Christ  here  gives  them  the  power  to  work  only  such  miracles 
as  should  be  beneficial  to  mankind ;  to  teach  them  not  to  act 
in  the  spirit  of  Elias,  or  in  that  of  the  old  law,  but  in  the 
spirit  of  the  Saviour,  and  of  his  law,  consisting  wholly  of 
gentleness  and  love.  He  does  hot  give  them  the  power  to 
make  rich,  but  to  restore  health,  which  is  a  blessing  more 
natural,  innocent,  and  common  to  all  than  riches. 

3.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Take  nothing  for  ?/o?<r  journey,  neither  staves, 
nor  scrip,  neither  bread,  neither  money ;  neither  have  two  coats  apiece. 

The  mission  and  poverty  of  the  apostles  is  the  pattern  of 
that  of  missionaries.  Those  who  preach  up  the  love  of  eter- 
nal possessions,  and  an  indifference  to  all  perishing  enjoy- 
ments, ought  to  do  it  by  their  life  and  conversation.  Men 
will  never  be  able  to  establish  the  kingdom  of  God  in  the 
hearts  of  people,  so  long  as  they  do  not  appear  fully  per- 
suaded themselves  of  those  truths  which  they  preach.  And 
how  can  they  appear  to  be  so,  if  they  plainly  contradict  them 
in  their  practice  and  behaviour  ?  In  order  to  persuade  others 
to  be  unconcerned  for  superfluities,  a  man  must  not  himself 
appear  too  much  concerned  even  about  necessaries. 

4.  And  whatsoever  house  ye  enter  into,  there  abide,  and  thence 

A  minister  ought  to  be  very  careful  not  to  wander  from 

•  CHAPTER    IX.  41 

house  to  house  upon  human  motives.  If  he  have  the  spirit 
of  evangelical  poverty,  he  will  think  himself  well  everywhere. 
The  love  of  the  conveniences  of  life  is  a  great  hinderance  to 
the  work  of  God  in  a  missionary  or  a  minister  of  the  gospel ; 
because  the  poor,  who  cannot  accommodate  him  with  them, 
are  those  with  whom  there  is  most  to  be  done  in  the  business 
of  salvation ;  and  the  rich,  who  enjoy  them,  are  more  likely 
to  inspire  into  a  minister  an  aifection  for  them,  than  he  is  to 
wean  those  from  them. 

5.  And  whosoever  will  not  receive  you,  when  ye  go  out  of  that  city, 
shake  off  the  very  dust  from  your  feet  for  a  testimony  against  them. 

How  extremely  dangerous  is  it  not  to  receive  the  blessing 
which  offers  and  presents  itself  to  us  !  Though  we  do  not 
dishonour  the  ministers  of  the  truth  in  the  very  manner  here 
set  down,  yet  we  do  it,  perhaps,  in  several  others  which  are 
criminal.  Is  it  nothing,  think  we,  to  decry  them  by  calum- 
nies, to  cause  them  to  be  driven  away  and  persecuted  out  of 
envy,  to  represent  their  doctrine  as  false  and  corrupt,  to  ren- 
der them  useless  in  any  manner  whatever,  and  to  hinder  the 
fruit  of  the  divine  word  in  their  mouth  ?  Alas,  who  can  ex- 
press what  damage  is  hereby  done  to  the  church,  and  Avhat 
crimes  a  man  thus  renders  himself  either  directly  guilty  of, 
or  in  some  measure  accountable  for  ! 

6.  And  they  departed,  and  went  through  the  towns,  preaching  the 
gospel,  and  healing  every  where. 

They  who  would  imitate  Christ,  must  seek  rather  to  in- 
struct the  poor  than  the  rich,  and  join,  as  much  as  they  are 
able,  bodily  relief  with  spiritual  instruction.  0  wonderful 
goodness  of  our  blessed  Saviour,  to  be  the  Saviour  of  bodies 
as  well  as  of  souls !  Hereby  he  makes  it  evident  that  he  came 
to  reform  the  whole  man,  corrupted  by  sin  in  the  outward 
man  as  well  as  in  the  inward.  If  ever  such  miracles  were 
wrought  b}'^  any  others  besides  Christ  and  his  servants,  let 
his  religion  and  doctrine  be  taken  for  a  mere  human  inven- 
tion; but  let  it  be  owned  by  all  for  the  true  religion,  if  it  be 
a  thing  unheard  of,  that  men  should  cure,  not  only  some  par- 
ticular person  by  choice,  but  all  manner  of  sick  persons  with- 
out distinction. 


42  LUKE. 

7.  1[  Now  Herod  the  tetrarch  heard  of  all  that  was  done  by  him:  and 
he  was  perplexed,  because  that  it  was  said  of  some,  that  John  was  risen 
from  the  dead ; 

Ambition  and  a  bad  conscience  are  endless  causes  of  per- 
plexities and  disquiets.  There  is  a  very  great  difference  be- 
tween knowing  all  that  was  done  by  Christ,  and  knowing  it 
after  a  saving  manner.  Herod  was  extremely  well  informed 
of  all,  because  he  needed  only  eyes  and  ears  to  be  so ;  but 
he  was  not  in  the  least  changed  or  altered  thereby,  because 
no  man  knoweth  the  Son  to  any  benefit  or  advantage,  but 
only  he  to  whom  the  Father  has  been  pleased  to  reveal  him. 
Thou  hast  vouchsafed,  0  ray  God,  to  reveal  to  me  this  Son, 
in  whom  is  my  salvation  and  eternal  life ;  but  cease  not,  I 
beseech  thee,  to  reveal  him  to  my  heart,  lest  it  should  know 
him  only  unprofitably. 

8.  And  of  some,  that  Elias  had  appeared ;  and  of  others,  that  one  of 
the  old  prophets  was  risen  again.  0.  And  Herod  said,  John  have  I  be- 
headed ;  but  who  is  this,  of  whom  I  hear  such  things  ?  And  he  desired 
to  see  him. 

Let  us  admire  how  fruitful  in  false  notions  of  religion  the 
mind  of  man  is  when  it  is  not  enlightened  of  God.  Natural 
curiosity,  with  respect  to  men  of  God,  produces  nothing  of 
itself  toward  salvation.  It  is  instrumental  thereto  when  God 
designs  it  for  that  purpose,  as  in  Zaccheus ;  it  is  prejudicial 
when  men  have  not  grace  to  make  a  good  use  of  it,  as  in  the 
case  of  Herod.  The  death  of  John,  in  which  Herod's  vene- 
ration for  him  terminated,  the  design  of  this  tyrant  upon  the 
life  of  Christ,  and  the  scorn  he  made  of  him  at  the  time  of 
his  passion,  are  the  works  Avhich  make  it  evidently  appear 
from  what  principle  this  desire  to  see  Christ  proceeded. 
What  an  example  is  this  for  the  great ! 


10.  f  And  the  apostles,  when  thoy  were  returned,  told  him  all  that 
they  had  done.  And  he  took  them,  and  went  aside  privately  into  a  desert 
place  belonging  to  the  city  called  Betiisaida. 

Ministers,  after  the  evangelical  labours,  ought,  (1.)  To  give 
an  account  thereof  to  the  prelates.     (2.)  To  recollect  them- 

CHAPTER    IX.  43 

selves  in  retirement  with  Christ.  (3.)  To  interrupt  some- 
times the  course  of  their  instructions,  on  purpose  to  make 
them  the  more  desired.  See  here  the  pattern  of  a  bishop,  in- 
tent on  forming  under  his  eyes  the  subordinate  pastors,  and 
who  is  wont  to  retreat  with  them  from  time  to  time  in  that 
retirement,  to  reform  whatever  they  may  find  amiss  in  them- 
selves, by  prayer,  by  paternal  instructions,  by  private  con- 
ferences, and  by  examining  the  maxims  which  they  follow, 
the  conduct  which  they  observe,  and  the  faults  to  which  they 
are  subject  in  the  administration  of  the  sacraments,  in  preach- 
ing, in  catechetical  lectures,  etc. 

11.  And  the  people,  when  they  knew  it,  followed  him  :  and  he  received 
them,  and  spake  unto  them  of  the  kingdom  of  God,  and  healed  them  that 
had  need  of  healing. 

Observe  here  four  effects  of  the  goodness  of  Christ :  (1.)  He 
receives  those  well  who  seek  him.  (2.)  He  instructs  them. 
(3.)  He  heals  them.  (4.)  He  feeds  them.  This  is  the  pattern 
of  the  four  chief  duties  of  a  good  pastor.  He  is  happy,  when 
his  charity  has  so  far  gained  the  hearts  of  his  sheep  that 
they  themselves  seek  him  who  should  seek  them.  More  happy 
still,  if  he  instructs  them  with  so  much  care  and  blessing  that 
he  sees  the  fruit  thereof  in  the  cure  of  their  souls.  But  most 
happy  of  all,  if  he  has  nothing  more  to  do  than  only  to  feed 
them  in  the  desert  of  this  life,  till  they  come  to  be  satisfied 
in  their  own  country. 

12.  And  when  the  day  began  to  wear  away,  then  came  the  twelve, 
and  said  unto  him,  Send  the  multitude  away,  that  they  may  go  into  the 
towns  and  country  round  about,  and  lodge,  and  get  victuals ;  for  we  are 
here  in  a  desert  place. 

God  would  have  men  sensible  of  human  weakness,  before  he 
exercises  his  divine  power.  We  can  want  nothing  when  we 
have  Jesus  Christ;  much  less,  if  we  have  forsaken  aH  to  seek 
him  in  retirement.  It  is  a  counsel  merely  human,  to  advise 
a  man  to  leave  the  safety  and  sweetness  of  solitude  on  pur- 
pose to  seek  in  the  world  a  subsistence,  which  is  never  want- 
ing but  to  those  who  are  themselves  wanting  in  fidelity  to 
their  state  and  condition,  in  trust  to  the  providence  of  God, 
and  in  afiection  toward  Jesus  Christ.     There  is  no  barren 

desert  for  the  creature,  when  faith  in  the  Creator  is  lively 
and  fruitful. 

13.  But  he  said  unto  them,  Give  ye  them  to  eat.  And  they  said,  We 
have  no  more  but  five  loaves  and  two  fishes ;  except  we  should  go  and 
buy  meat  for  all  this  people. 

The  pastors  ought  themselves  to  feed  their  sheep :  Christ, 
who  commands  them  to  do  it,  helps  their  insufficiency.  God 
does  not  command  things  impossible;  those  which  appear  so 
being  impossible  only  to  human  weakness.  But  his  command- 
ment admonishes  us,  both  to  do  whatever  is  in  our  power,  and 
to  beg  of  him  whatever  is  not ;  and  then  he  himself  comes  to 
our  assistance,  on  purpose  to  make  us  able  to  perform  it.  We 
offer  up  an  excellent  prayer,  when  we  join  a  grateful  acknow- 
ledgment of  the  benefits  we  have  received  already  to  an  hum- 
ble confession  of  our  own  inability  to  do  that  which  God  re- 
quires of  us  more.  Command,  Lord,  but,  at  the  same  time, 
give  that  which  thou  dost  command. 

14.  For  they  were  about  five  thousand  men.  And  he  said  to  his  dis- 
ciples, Make  them  sit  down  by  fifties  in  a  company.  15.  And  they  did 
so,  and  made  them  all  sit  down.  16.  Then  he  took  the  five  loaves  and 
the  two  fishes,  and  looking  up  to  heaven,  he  blessed  thorn,  and  brake, 
and  gave  to  the  disciples  to  set  before  the  multitude. 

See  here  the  duties  of  a  true  bishop,  who  would  feed  his 
people  with  the  word  of  God:  (1.)  He  ought  to  exhort  them 
to  hear  it  with  an  humble  and  sedate  reverence,  perfectly  free 
and  disengaged  from  all  secular  cares.  (2.)  He  must  first 
take  this  food,  and  fill  himself  therewith.  (3.)  He  ought  fre- 
quently to  lift  his  heart  up  to  God.  (4.)  To  draw  down  the 
divine  blessing  upon  his  people  by  his  prayers  and  good  works. 
(5.)  He  must  break  the  loaves,  by  giving  such  instructions  as 
are  suited  to  the  capacity  of  all.  (6.)  He  must  do  that  by 
the  hands  of  holy  priests  which  he  cannot  do  by  himself. 
(7.)  He  must  perform  every  thing  with  order  and  discipline 
in  the  distribution  of  this  bread  of  the  soul,  and  religiously 
observe  the  division  of  parishes,  of  which  we  may  here  behold 
a  slight  draught.  (8.)  He  must  give  that  to  the  subordinate 
pastors  which  they  are  to  give  to  the  people;  that  is,  he  must 
fill  them  with  solid  instructions  and  the  knowledge  of  salva- 
tion, furnish  them  with  means  of  attaining  it,  and  put  into 


their  hands  the  doctrine  which  has  been  transmitted  down 
from  Christ  by  those  of  the  apostles. 

17.  And  they  did  eat,  and  were  all  filled :  and  there  was  taken  up  of 
fragments  that  remained  to  them  twelve  baskets. 

The  word  of  God  is  extremely  nourishing,  and  not  to  be 
exhausted  or  consumed.  The  more  one  is  filled  therewith, 
the  more  plentifully  does  it  abound  to  him  who  reads  it.  That 
pastor  who,  upon  an  unforeseen  necessity  of  preaching  God's 
word,  commits  himself  to  him,  and,  in  speaking  out  of  the 
abundance  of  his  heart,  trusts  entirely  to  his  promise,  finds 
sufficient  both  to  fill  his  people,  and  plentifully  to  feed  him- 
self. Even  the  fragments,  which  remain  after  the  feast  of 
God's  word,  are  precious ;  a  man  ought  to  gather  them  up  for 
himself  by  meditation,  after  he  has  fed  others  by  preaching. 

SECT.  III. — Peter's  confession. — the  cross  to  be  borne. 
— WE  must  lose  all  in  order  to  be  saved. 

18.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  he  was  alone  praying,  his  disciples  were 
with  him  ;  and  he  asked  them,  saying.  Whom  say  the  people  that  I  am? 

Christ  asks  his  disciples  concerning  their  faith,  after  prayer, 
and  in  the  privacy  of  retirement,  on  purpose  to  teach  bishops, 
not  to  instruct  nor  examine  into  the  faith  of  inferior  pastors 
in  the  presence  of  the  people;  and  to  do  it  with  abundance 
of  prudence,  and  after  having  begged  of  God  the  Spirit  of 
wisdom.  He  asks  for  his  apostles  that  very  faith  whereof  he 
demands  of  them  an  account,  and  shows  Peter  that  the  reve- 
lation made  by  the  Father  was  the  fruit  of  the  prayer  of  the 
Son.  (Matt.  xvi.  17.)  We  must  pray  before  we  catechize, 
after  the  example  of  this  adorable  Head  of  catechists;  and 
much  more  prayer  is  still  necessary,  in  order  to  form  the 
ministers  of  the  church. 

19.  They  answering  said,  John  the  Baptist ;  but  some  say,  Elias  ;  and 
others  say,  that  one  of  the  old  prophets  is  risen  again. 

There  is  nothing  but  what  is  either  uncertain  or  false,  when 
the  spirit  of  man  undertakes  to  speak  of  God.  Christ  gave 
occasion  to  his  disciples  to  mention  the  several  errors  of  the 
world  in  relation  to  his  person,  that  they  might  be  the  more 
fully  convinced  that  their  faith  did  not  proceed  from  them- 
selves.    This  is  the  use  which  we  ourselves  ought  to  make  of 

46  LUKE. 

those  mistakes  and  false  conjectures  of  the  mind  of  man  which 
fill  the  world.  Every  thing  ought  thus  to  be  instrumental  to 
the  increase  of  our  gratitude,  our  love,  and  our  faith,  that  we 
may  be  of  the  number  of  those  to  whom  all  things  work 
together  for  good. 

20.  He  said  unto  them,  But  whom  say  ye  that  I  am  ?  Peter  answer- 
ing said,  The  Christ  of  God. 

There  is  nothing  but  what  is  true  and  certain,  when  the 
Spirit  of  God  speaks  by  his  ministers.  The  faith  of  the  pas- 
tors ought  to  be  more  enlightened  than  that  of  the  people. 
Christ  applies  himself  to  establish  and  confirm  in  his  apostles 
the  belief  of  his  incarnation  as  the  foundation  of  all  religion. 
It  is  all  contained  in  brief  under  this  great  expression,  <'The 
Christ  of  God ;"  that  is  to  say,  a  man  anointed  and  conse- 
crated by  his  personal  union  with  the  eternal  Son  of  God,  to 
be  the  High  Priest  of  the  Christian  religion,  the  true  Wor- 
shipper of  God,  the  Saviour  and  Mediator  of  men,  and  the 
Head,  who,  pouring  out  of  the  fulness  of  his  Spirit  and  grace 
upon  sinners,  makes  them  Christians,  and  forms  them  into 
his  mystical  body,  to  which  he  gives  his  own  name,  and  of 
which  he  raises  up  a  living  and  eternal  temple  to  God  his 

21.  And  he  straitly  charged  them,  and  commanded  them  to  tell  no 
man  that  thing ;  22. "Saying,  The  Son  of  man  must  suffer  many  things, 
and  be  rejected  of  the  elders  and  chief  priests  and  scribes,  and  be  slain, 
and  be  raised  the  third  day. 

There  is  a  time  to  speak,  and  a  time  to  be  silent,  concern- 
ing the  divine  mysteries,  Man  is  both  unworthy  and  inca- 
pable of  hearing  them,  before  Christ  has,  by  his  sufferings 
and  death,  merited  for  him  the  grace  requisite  thereto.  We 
have  here  a  symbol  of  the  faith,  or  a  short  creed,  taught  by 
Christ  himself,  which  comprehends  all  under  the  three  great 
mysteries  of  his  incarnation,  his  passion  and  death,  and  his 
resurrection.  How  profitable,  how  pleasant  is  it,  to  make 
this  the  continual  object  of  our  faith,  adoration,  love,  imita- 
tion, meditation,  and  hope  ! 

23.  If  And  he  said  to  them  all,  If  any  man  will  come  after  me,  let  him 
deny  liimself,  and  take  up  his  cross  daily,  and  follow  me. 

What  is  meant  by  the   connection  of  this  verse  with  the 

CHAPTER   IX.  47 

former,  if  not  that  the  mysteries  of  the  Head  must  be  ac- 
complished likewise  in  the  members  ;  and  to  those  who  have 
by  the  baptism  of  the  Spirit  been  made  partakers  of  the 
divine  nature  in  Christ,  are  one  day  to  partake  of  his  resur- 
rection;  but  not  unless  they  have  partaken  of  his  sufferings 
and  death.  To  suffer  and  to  die  the  death  of  the  gospel,  is 
to  resist  in  ourselves  the  spirit  and  inclinations  of  Adam, 
continually  to  crucify  the  flesh  with  its  affections  and  lusts, 
to  imitate  the  sufferings  of  Christ  by  mortification,  and  to 
die  to  our  own  passions,  in  order  to  follow  the  motions  of  his 
Spirit.  Take  particular  notice  of  these  words,  "  to  them 
all,"  and  "daily:"  no  person  then  is  excused,  no  day  ex- 
cepted. Of  what,  therefore,  do  those  think,  to  what  do  they 
aspire,  who  make  every  day  a  day  of  pleasure,  luxury,  and 
diversion?  Who  has  a  right  to  shake  off  the  yoke  of  the 
cross,  but  only  he  who  designs  to  have  a  right  to  nothing 
but  hell? 

24.  For  whosoever  will  save  his  life  shall  lose  it :  but  whosoever  will 
lose  his  life  for  my  sake,  the  same  shall  save  it. 

He  who  loves  himself  with  respect  to  his  life  only,  hates 
himself  as  to  eternity.  See  here  that  which  makes  all  the 
vast  difference  which  there  is  between  the  life  of  true  Chris- 
tians and  that  of  worldly  persons.  Both  would  willingly  be 
saved  and  live  happy :  but  the  former  purchase,  through  the 
merits  of  Christ,  the  blessed  life  of  eternity,  by  the  cross  and 
the  mortifications  of  this  momentary  life  ;  the  latter  pur- 
chase a  mere  shadow  of  transitory  felicity,  by  an  eternal 
cross  and  death,  and  a  punishment  without  end.  Teach  me. 
Lord,  to  save  my  life  by  losing  it,  and  to  be  every  day  ex- 
tremely careful  not  to  lose  it  even  in  seeking  to  save  it.  For 
it  is  thou,  0  Saviour  of  the  world,  who  art  the  great  master 
and  teacher  of  this  important  and  only  necessary  lesson  ! 

25.  For  what  is  a  man  advantaged,  if  he  gain  the  whole  world,  and 
lose  himself,  or  be  cast  away  ? 

Nothing  can   compensate  the  loss  sustained  by  him  who 

loses  his  soul.    Let  us  then  rather  suffer  the  loss  of  all  things, 

than  that  of  our  salvation.     Let  us  but  weigh  the  gain   and 

the  loss  which  there  is  in  following  or  not  following  the  rules 

of  the  gospel,  and  we  shall  soon  be  convinced  that  it  is  no 
better  than  madness  to  be  in  the  least  doubt  or  suspense  what 
to  do.  Bj  doing  the  first,  we  lose  at  the  most  nothing  but 
what  we  must  necessarily  lose  in  a  few  years,  or  perhaps 
months,  and  what  a  philosopher  or  a  reasonable  man  judges 
unworthy  of  his  fondness  and  affection.  By  not  doing  it,  we 
lose  every  thing  to  all  eternity ! 

26.  For  whosoever  shall  be  ashamed  of  me  and  of  my  words,  of  him 
shall  the  son  of  man  be  ashamed,  when  he  shall  come  in  his  own  glory, 
and  in  his  Father's,  and  of  the  holy  angels. 

Whosoever  is  ashamed  of  the  truth  while  it  is  humbled  and 
oppressed  in  this  world,  shall  be  humbled  and  confounded  be- 
fore truth  itself,  glorious  and  triumphant,  in  heaven.  It  is  a 
holy  kind  of  boldness,  not  to  be  ashamed  of  the  humiliations 
of  Christ,  or  of  any  thing  in  his  ways  which  seems  a  debase- 
ment to  the  eyes  of  the  world.  It  is  very  just  that  he, 
who  in  time  has  preferred  himself  before  God,  should  in  eter- 
nity be  abandoned  to  his  own  choice.  Whoever  has  not 
thought  God  worthy  of  him,  is  by  no  means  worthy  of  God. 
The  testimony  which  God  requires  of  us,  renders  him  neither 
more  rich  nor  more  happy ;  but  upon  his,  our  eternal  happi- 
ness entirely  depends.  Though  the  being  faithful  to  him  may 
cost  us  our  lives,  what  do  we  lose  which  we  do  not  receive  in 
him  again  an  hundred-fold  ? 


27.  But  I  tell  you  of  a  truth,  there  be  some  standing  here,  which 
shall  not  taste  of  death,  till  they  see  the  kingdom  of  God. 

That  which  Christ  does  here  with  respect  to  his  apostles, 
he  frequently  does  with  respect  to  his  elect,  by  a  certain 
confidence  and  presage  of  the  glory  he  prepares  for  them 
imprinted  on  the  bottom  of  their  hearts.  AYc  see  this  king- 
dom established  in  the  world  by  grace  now  almost  seventeen 
ages;  and  yet  untractable  and  obstinate  minds  can  hardly  be 
persuaded  of  the  truth  of  it.  I  know,  0  Lord,  that  I  cannot 
behold  the  consummation  and  glory  of  it  without  dying; 
give  me,  therefore,  that  desire  and  earnest  longing  which  I 
ought  to  have  for  that  happy  moment  which  is  to  transport 
me  into  that  eternal  kinordom ! 

CHAPTER   IX.  49 

28.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass  about  an  eight  days  after  these  sayings,  he 
took  Peter  and  John  and  James,  and  went  up  into  a  mountain  to  pray. 

In  order  to  a  perfect  knowledge  of  the  mysteries  of  Christ, 
and  the  secrets  of  his  kingdom,  he  must  raise  us  above  our- 
selves. This  is  a  privilege  granted  to  very  few.  In  order 
fully  to  learn  Christ,  it  is  necessary  to  pray  muchj:  and  in 
order  to  pray  as  we  ought,  we  must  have  him  with  us,  and 
raise  ourselves  with  and  by  him  from  the  earth  toward  the 
holy  mountain.  It  belongs  to  him  to  conduct  us  to  God  his 
Father.  Take  and  separate  my  heart,  0  Jesus,  from  this 
tumult  and  confusion  of  human  things;  lift  it  up,  unite  it  to, 
and  fix  it  on  thyself,  and  on  thy  Father,  by  a  true  Christian 

29.  And  as  he  prayed,  the  fashion  of  his  countenance  was  altered, 
and  his  raiment  was  white  and  glistering. 

It  is  in  prayer  that  God  discovers  himself  to  men ;  it  is  by 

this  that  the  inward  part  of  man  is  altered,  and,  as  it  were, 

transfigured.     A  soul  nourished  with   prayer  appears   even 

outwardly  white  and  glistering,  through  recollection,  modesty, 

mortification  of  the  senses,   simplicity,  silence,   candour  of 

behaviour,  and  innocency  of  manners. 

30.  And,  behold,  there  talked  with  him  two  men,  which  were  Moses 
and  Elias : 

The  law  and  the  prophets  breathe  nothing  but  Jesus  Christ ; 
and  it  is  prayer  which  is  the  key  of  the  Scriptures,  which 
lets  us  into  the  spirit  of  the  law,  which  gives  us  an  insight 
into  the  prophecies,  and  therein  discovers  the  mysteries  of 
Christ.  There  are  three  things  which  we  must  have  continu- 
ally before  our  eyes  when  we  read  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old 
Testament:  namely,  Jesus  Christ,  who  is  therein  typified  and 
foretold;  the  law  of  charity,  to  which  that  of  Moses  tends; 
and  the  economy  of  the  church  and  the  sanctification  of  the 
elect,  which  are  represented  in  the  prophets,  and  prefigured 
even  in  all  the  histories  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  in  all  the 
events  which  are  related  there. 

31.  Who  appeared  in  glory,  and  spake  of  his  decease  which  he  should 
accomplish  at  Jerusalem. 

.  Christ  appears  but  one  moment  in  his  glory,  and  even  then 

Vol.  II.— 5.  j) 

50  LUKE. 

speaks  of  his  sufferings  and  death.  Let  us  learn  of  him 
never  to  lose  sight  of  that  moment  which  is  to  separate  us 
from  this  world.  In  the  midst  of  joy,  and  even  of  spiritual 
prosperity,  we  ought  to  remember  that  we  must  purchase  the 
joys  of  the  heavenly  Jerusalem  by  the  sacrifice  of  ourselves. 
Christ's  decease,  or  departure  out  of  the  world,  comprehends 
two  things :  his  death,  which,  being  suffered  in  obedience, 
opens  heaven,  as  that  of  Moses,  happening  by  the  express 
command  of  God,  was  almost  immediately  followed  by  the 
people's  entrance  into  the  land  of  promise  ;  and  his  ascension, 
which  was  prefigured  by  the  taking  up  of  Elias  into  heaven. 

32.  But  Peter  and  they  that  were  with  him  were  heavy  with  sleep: 
and  when  they  were  awake,  they  saw  his  glory,  and  the  two  men  that 
stood  with  him. 

The  sight  of  Christ's  glory,  and  the  presence  of  Moses  and 
Elias,  are  a  representation  of  that  lively  faith  concerning 
heavenly  things,  and  of  that  knowledge  of  the  Scriptures 
which  Christ  gave  to  his  apostles  and  to  apostolical  men 
to  qualify  them  for  the  work  of  the  gospel.  The  sleep 
and  waking  of  the  disciples  are  an  emblem  of  the  sleep 
of  death,  and  of  our  being  awaked  at  the  resurrection, 
which  will  open  our  eyes  to  the  beauties  of  eternity,  and  un- 
fold to  us  all  the  mysteries  and  truths  of  the  law  and  the 
prophets.  0  desirable  moment,  when,  being  waked,  as  it 
were,  out  of  a  profound  sleep,  all  the  beauty  of  this  world 
will  appear  to  us  only  as  a  dream,  and  the  light  of  eternity 
shall  clearly  show  us  Jesus  Christ  and  his  whole  church  glo- 
rified in  God ! 

33.  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  they  departed  from  him,  Peter  said  nnto 
Jesus,  Master,  it  is  good  for  us  to  be  here:  and  let  us  make  three  taber- 
nacles ;  one  for  thee,  and  one  for  Moses,  and  one  for  Elias:  not  knowing 
what  he  said. 

They  know  not  the  nature  of  the  Christian  religion,  who 

would  fain  enjoy  rest  and  glory  before  labour  and   suffering. 

The  rest  and  satisfaction  which  prayer  and  meditation  afford, 

is  very  sweet  and  pleasant  to  one  who  has  a  relish  of  truth, 

and  a  mind  open  to  the  mysteries  of  the  Scriptures,  so  as  to 

discover  in  them  Christ  and  his  church.     This  is,  as  it  were, 

a  third  heaven,  which  a  man  must  leave,  in  order  to  form 

CHAPTER    IX.  5\ 

Christ  and  his  church  in  hearts  by  the  ministry  of  the  word, 
when  he  is  called  thereto  by  God. 

34.  While  he  thus  spake,  there  came  a  cloud,  and  overshadowed  them: 
and  they  feared  as  they  entered  into  the  cloud. 

God  frequently  permits  a  cloud  to  overshadow  the  light 

which  has  illuminated  a  man  in  prayer,  and  fear  to  succeed 

the  consolation  which  he  has  tasted  therein.      He   thereby 

teaches  souls  to  rely  on  nothing  here  below,  and  entirely  to 

depend  upon  him  from  one  moment  to  another.     Christ  enters 

into  the  cloud  when  he  leaves  us  under  the  obscurity  of  faith, 

by  withdrawing  from  us  that  light  and  sensible  comfort  which 

we  sometimes  experience  in  our  devotions.     The  secret  is,  to 

believe,  and  to  put  our  whole  trust  and  confidence  in  God. 

35.  And  there  came  a  voice  out  of  the  cloud,  saying,  This  is  my  be- 
loved Son:  hear  him. 

See  here  a  representation  of  the  perfect  adoption  of  the 

children  of  God.     Christ  is  substituted  in  the  place  of  Moses, 

to  give  us  not  only  the  law,  but  the  spirit  and  truth  of  it. 

Whom  will  we  hear,  if  we  refuse  to  hear  Jesus  Christ  ?     He 

speaks   to  us  in  so  many  divers  manners,  by  his  life,  by  his 

death,  and  by  all  his  mysteries ;  by  his  gospel,  by  his  church, 

and  by  his  servants ;   by  his  benefits,  by  his  chastisements, 

and  by  his  inspirations.     Shall  we  be  deaf  to  so  many  difi"er- 

ent  voices  ? 

36  And  when  the  voice  was  past,  Jesus  was  found  alone.  And  they 
kept  it  close,  and  told  no  man  in  those  days  any  of  those  things  which 
they  had  seen. 

Jesus  alone  is  to  us  instead  of  the  law,  the  sacrifices,  and 
the  prophets.  Our  true  happiness  consists  in  looking  upon 
him  alone  as  our  law  and  pattern  ;  in  following  him  alone  as 
our  Moses  in  the  desert  of  this  world  ;  and  in  desiring  his 
Spirit  alone  instead  of  that  of  Elias.  Since  truth  is  not 
properly  ours,  but  God's,  we  must  be  so  faithful  as  not  to 
speak  of  divine  truths  but  only  so  far  as  the  Spirit  moves  us 
thereto,  either  by  himself  or  by  those  who  have  a  right  to 
open  our  mouths.  It  is  always  the  safest  way  not  to  divulge 
or  publish  extraordinary  favours  and  graces  :  they  are  a 
treasure  which  ought  to  be  carefully  hid,  for  fear  lest  vanity 
should  rob  us  of  it. 


37.  T[  And  it  came  to  pass,  that  on  the  next  day,  when  they  were  come 
down  from  the  hill,  much  people  met  him. 

After    the    sweetness    of    retirement    and    the    repose    of 

prayer,  a  man  must  return  to  his  emploj'ment  and  resume 

his  labour.     God  shows  the  ministers  of  the  gospel  the  fruit 

of  retirement  and  prayer,  in  the  eagerness  of  the  people, 

who  came  either  to  hear  the  word  or  to  seek  a  cure.      It  is  a 

very  great  comfort  to  a  pastor,  when  those  whom  he  ought  to 

seek  in  all  places,  come  on  purpose  to  meet  him,  and  in  some 

measure  anticipate  his  pastoral  care. 

38.  And,  behold,  a  man  of  the  company  cried  out,  saying,  Master,  I 
beseech  thee,  look  upon  my  son;  for  he  is  mine  only  child. 

He  who  begs  one  look  of  mercy,  begs  every  thing.  God 
has  already  looked  upon  that  person,  who,  knowing  the  abso- 
lute necessity  of  this  look,  desires  and  implores  it.  To  beg 
it  with  a  loud  cry,  is  to  beg  it  with  a  great  fiiith  and  an  ardent 
prayer.  There  are  but  few  among  the  crowd  whose  faith  cries 
out  after  this  manner.  That  which  it  ought  above  all  things 
to  believe  is,  that  Christ  is  Lord  of  the  heart,  and  can  with 
one  single  look  change  and  cure  it.  Our  soul,  our  heart  is, 
as  it  were,  our  only  child.  He  who  thinks  seriously  of  this, 
must  conclude  that  he  hns  no  other  business  in  the  world  be- 
sides the  salvation  of  this  only  child,  the  loss  of  which  is  ir- 

39.  And,  lo,  a  spirit  takcth  him,  and  he  suddenly  crieth  out ;  and  it 
teareth  him  that  he  foameth  again,  and  bruising  him,  hardly  departeth 
from  him. 

How  dreadful  is  that  man's  condition  whom  sin  has  pos- 
sessed from  his  youth  !  The  devil  is  absolute  master  of  his 
heart,  renders  his  tongue  a  woidd  of  iniquity,  causes  him  by 
continued  relapses  to  cleave  more  and  more  to  the  earth,  and 
kindles  every  day  new  passions  which  shake  and  torment  him. 
The  intervals  are  very  rare  and  short  in  a  habitual  sinner:  a 
lively  and  ardent  passion  is  alwaj^s  seeking  to  satisfy  itself, 
and  by  so  doing  renders  itself  more  incurable.  Vouchsafe, 
0  Lord,  to  grant  eyes  to  sinners,  that  thoy  may  perceive  the 

CHAPTER   IX.  53 

total  subversion  of  their  hearts,  and  all  the  disorder  and  con- 
fusion which  sin  has  caused  therein. 

40.  And  I  besought  thy  disciples  to  cast  him  out ;  and  they  could  not. 
God  often  suffers  sinners  to  struggle  a  long  time  against 

their  evil  habits,  on  purpose  to  make  them  sensible  of  the  na- 
ture of  sin.  The  first  endeavours  of  a  sinner,  represented  to 
us  by  the  prayer  of  this  man,  are  not  altogether  fruitless, 
though  they  may  seem  to  be  so,  since  they  increase  his  desire 
of  deliverance,  and  convince  him  that  Christ  alone  is  the 

41.  And  Jesus  answering  said,  0  faithless  and  perverse  generation, 
how  long  shall  I  be  with  you,  and  suffer  you  ?     Bring  thy  son  hither. 

Want  of  faith  is  an  obstacle  to  abundance  of  graces.     It  is 

with  great  justice  that  Christ  blames  it,  and  that  not  without 

some  indignation,  after  all  which  he  had  done  to  establish 

faith  and  confidence  in  his  sovereign  power.     This  reproach 

and  emotion  are  not  an  effect  of  impatience,  but  a  transport 

of  zeal,  which  makes  his  long  patience  to  be  more  particularly 

observed.     It  hereby  evidently  appears,  that  he  did  not  seek 

his  own  satisfaction,  when  he  continued  so  long  with  this 

faithless  and  perverse  people.     Who,  after  this,  will  suffer 

himself  to  be  guided  by  his  aversions  or  inclinations  ? 

42.  And  as  he  was  yet  a  coming,  the  devil  threw  him  down,  and  tare 
him.  And  Jesus  rebuked  the  unclean  spirit,  and  healed  the  child,  and 
delivered  him  again  to  his  father. 

When  a  soul  is  willing  to  be  converted,  the  devil  makes 

his  last  efforts ;  but  Christ  renders  them  ineffectual  by  his 

grace.    Whatever  he  permits  the  devil  to  do  against  his  elect, 

is  only  for  the  gloi'y  of  his  own  grace,  and  to  the  confusion 

of  the  tempter.     It  is  by  his  almighty  power  that  he  casts  the 

devil  out  of  the  body  and  the  soul,  and  puts  his  Spirit  into 

possession  of   the  heart  of  man.     He  need  only  exert  one 

single  act  of  his  will,  in  order  to  make  all  things  obey  him ; 

and  no  created  will  can  hinder  that  which  the  Omnipotent 

will  would  have  me  do,  by  causing  me  to  will  it. 

43.  ^  And  they  were  all  amazed  at  the  mighty  power  of  God.  But 
while  they  wondered  every  one  at  all  things  which  Jesus  did,  he  said 
unto  his  disciples,     44.  Let  these  sayings  sink  down  into  your  ears:* 


54  LUKE. 

for  the  Son  of  man  shall  be  delivered  Into  the  hands  of  men.     [*Fr, 

It  is  not  enough  to  admire  the  eifects  of  the  mighty  poAver 
of  God ;  we  must  also  apply  ourselves  to  consider  the  sufter- 
ings  of  Christ,  which  are  far  more  inconceivable  to  human 
understanding.  Happy  the  child  of  the  cross,  who  carries  a 
livelier  impression  thereof  in  the  bottom  of  his  heart  than  in 
his  memory !  It  is  a  thing  extremely  rare  and  uncommon, 
for  us  to  endeavour  to  alter  the  minds  of  those  who  are  in- 
tent on  admiring  us,  by  setting  before  their  eyes  whatever  is 
most  humbling,  and  tends  to  create  the  meanest  opinion  of 
us.  The  example  which  Christ  gives  us  of  this,  is  not  very 
grateful  to  the  children  of  Adam.  To  see  a  God  suffer  in 
the  flesh,  is  something  much  more  wonderful  than  to  see  him 
cast  out  devils  by  his  Spirit.  He  delivers  men  from  the 
power  of  the  devil ;  and  he  suffers  himself  to  be  delivered 
into  the  hands  of  men :  his  power  gives  way  to  his  love. 

45.  But  they  understood  not  this  saying,  and  it  was  hid  from  them, 
that  they  perceived  it  not :  and  they  feared  to  ask  him  of  that  saying. 

How  much  above  the  understanding  of  man  are  the  designs 
of  God  concerning  the  death  of  his  Son  !  We  must  show  more 
fidelity  and  humility  in  adoring  them,  than  curiosity  in  desir- 
ing to  pry  into  them.  The  carnal  man  does  not  willingly 
consider  objects  which  exact  of  him  great  duties,  and  such  as 
are  grievous  to  nature.  He  who  fears  that  he  shall  find  in 
the  passion  of  Christ  an  obligation  to  suffer,  and  to  crucify 
the  flesh  with  him,  does  not  love  to  employ  his  thoughts  on 
that  mystery.  Lord,  deliver  me  from  this  carnal  fear ;  and 
make  me  love  to  ask  thee,  and  to  inquire  concerning  this 
subject,  by  meditating  upon  thy  Scriptures,  and  invoking  thy 
Spirit  by  prayer. 

SECT.  VI. — HE    WHO     THINKS     HIMSELF    THE    LEAST,    IS    THE 

46.  ^  Then  there  arose  a  reasoning  among  them,  which  of  them  should 
be  greatest. 

What  blindness  is  it  in  the  members  of  a  head  intent  on 

nothing  but  humbling  himself,  to  think  of  nothing  but  exalting 

themselves  !     Sclf-lovc  must  needs  be  strangely  delighted  with 

CHAPTER    IX.  55 

the  thoughts  of  greatness,  since  men  are  not  exempt  from 
them  in  the  very  school  of  humility.  Christ  takes  off  his 
disciples  from  the  consideration  of  his  power,  to  fix  their 
minds  upon  that  of  his  humiliations ;  and  they  leave  this  pro- 
fitable subject  to  think  of  their  own  greatness,  and  how  to 
raise  themselves  above  others.  Lord,  deliver  me  not  up  to  this 
irregular  inclination. 

47.  And  Jesus,  perceiving  the  thought  of  their  heart,  took  a  child,  and 
set  him  by  him. 

Christian  childhood  obliges  us  to  be  humble,  meek,  and 
sincere.  Man,  in  innocence,  had  God  alone  for  his  pattern, 
being  created  in  his  image  :  man,  in  a  state  of  sin,  is  reduced 
to  frame  himself  by  a  child,  and  to  study  him  as  his  pattern, 
having  by  sin  rendered  himself  like  the  very  beasts  them- 
selves. Since,  then,  we  ought  to  imitate  a  child,  it  is  thy 
divine  childhood,  0  Jesus,  on  which  I  will  fix  my  eyes,  not 
only  as  the  pattern  which  I  am  to  consider,  but  as  the  object 
•which  I  ought  to  adore  and  love,  which  is  to  sanctify  me,  and 
in  which  I  may  certainly  find  the  grace  to  imitate  thee  in 
that  state  and  condition. 

48.  And  said  unto  them,  Whosoever  shall  receive  this  child  in  my 
name  receiveth  me ;  and  whosoever  shall  receive  me,  receiveth  him  that 
sent  me :  for  he  that  is  least  among  you  all,  the  same  shall  be  great. 

It  is  counted  as  nothing  in  this  world  to  despise  or  treat 
those  ill  whom  Christ  represents  under  this  figure ;  because 
God  but  seldom  punishes  or  rewards  in  this  life.  They  who 
have  faith  depend  upon  his  word,  and  rest  assured  of  his  faith- 
fulness. God  is  in  Christ,  and  Christ  in  his  members,  who 
conform  themselves  to  his  inclinations  with  the  docility  of  a 
child :  he  takes  a  particular  care  of  them,  and  accepts  in 
them  all  the  good  which  is  done  to  them.  True  greatness 
consists  in  humility;  but  it  is  a  spiritual  greatness,  which 
carnal  men  do  not  understand, 

40.  f  And  John  answered  and  said.  Master,  we  saw  one  casting  out 

devils  in  thy  name  ;  and  we  forbade  him,  because  he  foUoweth  not  with  us. 

Holy  persons  in  this  life  are  not  always  free  from  a  zeal 

without  knowledge,  nor   from    emulation    in  their  conduct. 

Every  one  ought  carefully  to  examine  himself  upon  this  point. 

66  -  LUKE. 

The  name  of  Jesus  Christ  is  poAverful  and  terrible  to  the  devil, 
even  in  the  mouth  of  one  who  is  a  stranger  to  him.  From 
the  time  when  Christ  first  condescended  to  make  use  of  such 
to  work  miracles  as  do  not  follow  him,  he  condemns  the  jea- 
lousy and  envy  of  his  disciples.  Religious  societies,  as  well  as 
private  persons,  have  great  reason  to  preserve  themselves  from 
this  spirit,  which  makes  them  either  faintly  commend,  or 
openly  condemn,  the  good  which  is  done  by  other  societies. 
They  are  not  settled  in  the  church  for  their  own  glory,  but 
for  that  of  their  Master. 

50.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him.  Forbid  him  not :  for  he  that  is  not 
against  us  is  for  us. 

It  is  the  part  of  true  charity  to  love  and  to  justify  that 

which  is  good,  in  what  place  or  person  soever  it  is  found. 

There  is  no  neutrality  for  the  heart  in  the  kingdom  of  God :  it 

must  be  either  for  Christ  or  for  his  enemy.     It  is  not  so  as 

to  the  outward  profession :    a  man  may  openly  favour  the 

church,  and  yet  neither  have  anything  of  the  spirit  of  it,  nor 

belong  at  all  to  God. 


51.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  the  time  was  come  that  he  should  be 
received  up,  he  steadfastly  set  his  face  to  go  to  Jerusalem, 

That  man  knows   himself  but  little  who  does  not  fortify 

himself,  by  faith  and  prayer,  against  temptation  and  the  fear 

of  sufferings,  when  he  foresees  them.     The  apprehension  of 

death  ought  not  in  the  least  to  discourage  those  who  know 

that  it  is  the  way  which  leads  to  the  heavenly  Jerusalem.     Let 

thy  strength  and  steadfastness,  0  Jesus,  fortify  our  weakness, 

and  raise  our  drooping  spirits  at  the  prospect  of  that  day 

which  takes  a  true  Christian  out  of  this  life,  only  to  reunite 

him  to  thee,  0  life  eternal,  whom  the  Father  has  vouchsafed 

to  give  us. 

52.  And  sent  messengers  before  his  face :  and  they  went,  and  entered 
into  a  village  of  the  Samaritans,  to  make  ready  for  him.  53.  And  they 
did  not  receive  him,  because  his  face  was  as  though  he  would  go  to  Je- 

Men  have  but  little  inclination  to  expose  themselves  to  re- 

CHAPTER    IX.  57 

pulses,  when  tliey  foresee  them  as  our  blessed  Saviour  did. 
He  exposes  both  himself  and  his  disciples  to  them,  because 
he  would  accustom  them  thereto  by  his  own  example.  Piety 
often  renders  us  odious  or  disagreeable  to  those  who  have 
deserted  it.  Such  conjectures  are  proper  to  acquaint  us 
thoroughly  with  ourselves,  and  to  satisfy  us  whether  we 
really  seek  God,  and  desire  to  please  none  but  him.  When 
we  have  once  taken  the  road  to  heaven,  we  have  but  little 
credit  any  longer  in  the  world.  Nothing  can  give  us  a  greater 
assurance  that  we  are  in  the  way  of  salvation,  than  to  see 
ourselves  despised  and  rejected  of  those  who  will  not  think  of 
any  other  life.  God  frequently  separates  us  from  such  per- 
sons by  means  of  some  repulses  and  disgusts,  without  which 
we  should  have  continued  always  fond  of  them. 

54.  And  when  his  disciples  James  and  John  saw  this,  they  said,  Lord, 
■wilt  thou  that  we  command  fire  to  come  down  from  heaven,  and  consume 
them,  even  as  Elias  did  ? 

It  often  happens,  that  the  ministers  of  the  church,  under 
pretence  of  zeal  for  her  interests,  offend  against  Christian 
meekness.  The  church  knows  no  such  thing  as  revenge,  and 
her  ministers  ought  not  to  know  it  either.  Their  wrath  should 
be  incensed  against  sin,  not  against  the  sinner.  The  fire  of 
heaven  is  one  day  to  come  down  to  purify  the  world  by  de- 
struction :  at  present,  it  comes  down  only  to  sanctify  it  by 
edification.  We  must  consult  God,  and  address  ourselves  to 
Christ,  in  order  to  know  our  duty,  and  to  learn  to  moderate 
our  zeal. 

55.  But  he  turned,  and  rebuked  them,  and  said.  Ye  know  not  what 
manner  of  spirit  ye  are  of. 

The  growing  cold  on  the  account  of  ill  usage,  and,  much 
more,  sharpness  and  bitterness  of  mind,  are  not  according  to 
the  Spirit  of  Christ.  The  disciples  of  a  God  who  dies  for  his 
enemies,  ought  to  think  of  nothing  but  laying  down  their 
lives  for  those  very  persons  who  do  them  harm :  so  far  must 
they  be  from  revenging  themselves  on  those  who  only  refuse 
to  do  them  good.  God  permits  the  inclinations  of  concupis- 
cence to  appear  sometimes  in  the  holiest  persons,  on  purpose 
that  they  may  acknowledge  that  charity  is  a  gift  of  God ;  and 

that  all  the  world  may  plainly  see,  that  there  is  no  person 
whatever  in  -whom  nature  is  not  corrupted. 

56.  For  the  Son  of  man  is  not  come  to  destroy  men's  lives,  but  to  save 
them.     And  tliey  went  to  another  viUage. 

The  spirit  of  the  new  law  is  a  spirit  of  meekness  and 
charity.  The  ministers  of  the  church  ought  always  to  re- 
member, that  they  are  the  disciples  of  him  Avho  came  only  to 
do  good,  and  that  their  ministry  is  a  ministry  of  salvation. 
Nothing  is  more  distant  from  his  Spirit,  than  for  a  man  to 
make  use  of  authority,  force,  or  violence,  to  enter  upon  a 
benefice,  or  to  settle  himself  in  a  city,  only  under  pretence 
of  doing  good  there :  Christ  having  not  thought  fit  to  oblige 
even  a  single  village  to  receive  him  in  his  necessity,  and  hav- 
ing blamed  his  apostles  upon  somewhat  of  the  like  nature. 


57.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass,  that,  as  they  went  in  the  way,  a  certain 
man  said  unto  him.  Lord,  I  will  follow  the  whithersoever  thou  goest. 

Human  presumption  undertakes  and  embraces  every  thing 

with  eagerness,  and  thinks  nothing  too  difficult.     Christian 

humility  has  for  its  foundation  the  acknowledgment  of  a  man's 

own  inability  as  to  every  thing  which  is  good,  a  belief  of  the 

necessity  of  grace  in  order  to  perform  it,  a  conviction  of  his 

own  unworthiness  to  receive  this  assistance,  and  a  firm  hope 

in  the  free  mercy  of  God,  and  in  the  grace  of  Jesus  Christ. 

58.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him.  Foxes  have  holes,  and  birds  of  the  air 
have  nests  ;  but  the  Son  of  man  hath  not  where  to  lay  his  head. 

Abundance  of  persons  seem  to  seek  Jesus  Christ,  who  only, 
under  his  name,  seek  ease,  honour,  self-satisfaction,  the  con- 
veniences of  life,  etc.  If  they  find  that  which  they  seek,  it 
will  be  only  to  their  greater  condemnation.  The  poverty  of 
Christ,  is  the  patrimony  of  those  who  make  profession  of  fol- 
lowing him  in  the  way  of  perfection.  All  his  true  children 
ought  to  love,  honour,  and  imitate  it,  in  some  measure  at  least, 
and  to  have  their  hearts  prepared  for  it.  They  are  unworthy 
to  serve  him,  who  seek  other  things  in  his  service.  0  Jesus, 
Saviour  of  men,  how  few  are  there  who  honour  thy  poverty, 


in  bearing  it  with  thy  Spirit ;  not  to  reckon  those  who  fly 
from  it,  and  have  it  in  abhorrence  !  Cause  us,  Lord,  by  the 
power  of  thy  grace,  to  love  this  virtue. 

59.  And  he  said  unto  another,  Follow  me.  But  he  said,  Lord,  suffer 
me  first  to  go  and  bury  my  father. 

Fondness  for  relations  is  an  obstacle  to  salvation.  Christ 
rejects  the  person  who  desired  to  follow  him,  and  draws  him 
who  was  for  delaying  it ;  to  teach  us  that  his  will  and  grace 
ought  to  fix  our  call,  and  not  our  own  choice  and  appointment. 
Self-love  never  wants  pious  pretences  to  excuse  itself,  with 
some  decency,  from  doing  the  will  of  God.  Happy  that  per- 
son whom  God  does  not  abandon  to  the  resistance  and  oppo- 
sition which  he  makes  to  the  grace  of  his  call ! 

60.  Jesus  said  unto  him,  let  the  dead  bury  their  dead ;  but  go  thou 
and  preach  the  kingdom  of  God. 

The  ministers  of  the  church  cannot  be  too  often  told  that 
they  should  leave  the  world  to  the  people  of  the  world.  When 
the  heart  is  sincere,  and  nothing  hinders  from  entering  into 
the  way  which  Christ  shows  us,  but  only  the  fear  of  being 
wanting  in  some  pious  ofiices,  he  soon  makes  us  surmount  this 
obstacle.  When  God  accompanies  his  external  word  and  com- 
mandment with  the  unction  of  his  Spirit,  and  the  internal 
power  of  his  grace,  it  works  in  the  heart  that  obedience  Avhich 
it  requires.  It  is  as  dangerous  not  to  preach  the  kingdom  of 
God  when  a  man  is  called  to  that  office,  as  it  is  to  intrude 
himself  into  it  of  his  own  accord.  It  is  not  complying  with 
the  designs  of  God  either  way. 

61.  And  another  also  said,  Lord,  I  will  follow  thee;  but  let  me  first 
go  bid  them  farewell,  which  are  at  home  at  my  house. 

Self-love  always  finds  something  to  lay  hold  of,  in  order  to 
maintain  itself  in  its  liberty.  The  devil  thinks  he  has  gained 
enough,  in  making  a  man  defer  the  good  which  he  cannot 
altogether  prevent.  We  run  a  very  great  risk  in  not  doing  the 
works  of  God  at  the  very  time  when  he  requires  them  to  be 
done.  The  devil  desires  only  a  little  time  ;  and  a  voluntary 
delay  involves  us  frequently  in  difficulties  which  are  involun- 
tary, and  out  of  which  we  shall  perhaps  never  be  able  to  ex- 
tricate ourselves.     God  certainly  well  deserves  to  be  obeyed 

60  L  U  K  E. 

without  the  least  delay.  That  -which  -we  object  to  the  execu- 
tion of  his  designs,  is  sometimes  the  very  thing  from  which 
he  would  chiefly  disengage  and  set  us  loose. 

62.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him,  No  man,  having  put  his  hand  to  the 
plough,  and  looking  back,  is  fit  for  the  kingdom  of  God. 

How  dangerous  a  return  is  it  for  a  man  to  seek  tlie  world 
again,  after  he  has  once  quitted  it !  If  to  have  still  a  fond- 
ness and  affection  for  things  in  themselves  indifferent  be  to 
look  back,  how  criminal  is  the  pursuit  of  worldly  desires  in 
those  who  are  consecrated  to  God!  Pastors  who  still  retain 
some  claims  and  pretensions  to  the  world,  cannot  be  faithful 
ministers.  A  man  is  a  slave  to  the  world  from  the  time  that 
he  stands  in  need  of  it.  He  who  thinks  it  necessary  to  culti- 
vate its  favour,  is  not  far  from  betraying  the  interests  of  God 
and  the  church. 



1.  After  these  things  the  Lord  appointed  other  seventy  also,  and  sent 
them  two  and  two  before  his  face,  into  every  city  and  place,  whither  he 
himself  would  come. 

Christ  sends  his  disciples  two  and  two,  to  teach  them  to 
labour  in  the  church  in  the  spirit  of  concord  and  charity. 
The  office  of  priest  is  to  prepare  men  to  receive  Jesus  Christ. 
He  who  prepares  the  will  of  sinners  himself,  by  turning  it  as 
he  pleases  with  an  almighty  facility,  has  no  need  of  the  minis- 
try of  his  servants  ;  but  his  design  is,  to  join  the  members  of 
his  body  one  to  another  by  a  mutual  dependence,  and  to  give 
to  his  church  a  form  of  government  suited  to  its  present  state 
upon  earth. 

2.  Therefore  said  he  unto  them,  The  harvest  truly  ?.s-  great,  but  the 
l^ourers  are  few:  pray  ye  tlicrefore  the  Lord  of  the  harvest,  that  he 
would  send  forth  labourers  into  his  harvest. 

A  man  must  not  of  his  own  accord  run  to  the  harvest ;  but 

he  must  pray  the  Lord  of  the  harvest,  that  he  would  send 

CHAPTER   X.  61 

forth  labourers,  and  must  be  himself  disposed  to  labour.  This 
person  complains  of  negligent  pastors  and  scandalous  minis- 
ters, who  might  perhaps  have  turned  away  this  judgment  from 
the  church,  had  he  but  prayed  as  he  ought.  When  we  see  any 
of  that  profession  corrupt  and  disorderly,  let  us  descend  into 
ourselves,  and  attribute  it  to  our  own  sins  and  negligence. 
The  church  is  obedient  to  this  command  of  our  blessed  Lord 
when  it  prescribes  fasts  and  prayers.  Let  us  join  with  her, 
and  with  her  offer  up  our  fasts,  our  prayers,  and  our  groans. 

3.  Go  your  ways  :  behold,  I  send  you  forth  as  lambs  among  wolves. 
Lambs  among  wolves  are  the  disciples  of  Christ  amid  the 

people  of  the  world,  in  order  to  convert  them,  more  by  labour, 
patience,  good  example,  meekness,  and  charity,  than  by  the 
word  itself.  It  belongs  to  thee,  0  Lamb  without  blemish, 
who  didst  deliver  thyself  up  to  wolves,  and  who  changest  at 
thy  pleasure  wolves  into  lambs, — it  belongs  to  thee  to  guard 
both  the  pastors  and  lambs  of  thy  flock  from  those  wolves 
who  assault  them,  either  openly  or  in  sheep's  clothing. 

4.  Carry  neither  purse,  nor  scrip,  nor  shoes;  and  salute  no  man  by 
the  way. 

Christ  puts  the  trust  and  confidence  of  his  ministers  to  all 
imaginable  trials,  that  they  may  learn  once  for  all  to  depend 
entirely  upon  God  in  whatever  relates  to  their  ministry,  and 
to  rely  on  none  but  him.  In  order  to  be  a  true  evangelical 
minister,  a  man  must  be  fond  of  nothing,  not  even  of  life 
itself;  he  must  be  always  ready  to  expose  it  to  wolves,  and  to 
neglect,  when  God  requires  it,  the  ordinary  means  of  preserv- 
ing it,  but  never  taken  up  with  the  care  of  making  friends  on 
purpose  to  procure  them. 

5.  And  into  whatsoever  house  ye  enter,  fii-st  say.  Peace  be  to  this  house. 
Christian  peace  is  the   greatest  good  which  we  can  wish  to 

our  neighbour.  This  is  the  wealth  which  the  truly  poor  in 
Christ's  account  distribute  in  all  places.  Those  who  enter 
into  houses,  and  creep  into  families,  only  to  make  divisions 
and  to  profit  thereby,  are  very  unworthy  of  so  sacred  a  mi- 
nistry. No  house  is  to  be  excluded  from  this  blessing,  not 
even  that  of  an  enemy. 

62  LUKE. 

G.  And  if  the  son  of  peace  be  there,  your  peace  shall  rest  upon  it:  if 
not,  it  shall  turn  to  you  again. 

God  would  have  the  word  of  peace  delivered  to  all,  though 
all  be  not  children  of  peace  and  of  the  promise.  It  belongs 
not  to  men  to  make  this  distinction ;  it  is  hid  in  God  from  all 
eternity,  and  shall  be  entirely  made  manifest  at  the  end  of 
the  world.  An  evangelical  labourer  turns  every  thing  to 
advantage,  as  well  the  hardness  and  impenitence  of  some  as 
the  fidelity  and  obedience  of  others. 

7.  And  in  the  same  house  remain,  eating  and  drinking  such  things  as 
they  give :  for  the  labourer  is  worthy  of  his  hire.  Go  not  from  house  to 

To  maintain  the  ministers  of  the  church  is  according  to  di- 
vine and  natural  right ;  but  they  themselves  are  not  to  make 
use  of  it,  but  only  with  edification,  and  in  the  spirit  of  po- 
verty. That  man  who  uses  the  credit  which  the  gospel  gives 
him  in  order  to  procure  good  entertainment,  well  deserves  to 
have  no  other  reward.  He  always  finds  sufficient  who  seeks 
no  more  than  the  necessaries  of  life:  it  is  only  sensuality 
which  is  never  satisfied,  A  labourer  in  the  gospel  must  ex- 
pect at  the  hands  of  men  no  other  recompense  but  a  comfort- 
able subsistence :  that  which  he  expects  from  God  is  neither 
sensible  nor  temporal. 

8.  And  into  whatsoever  city  ye  enter,  and  they  receive  you,  eat  such 
things  as  are  set  before  you : 

An  evangelical  labourer,  to  satisfy  the  necessities  of  life, 
may  make  use  of  all  such  things  as  are  set  before  him,  and 
are  not  forbidden,  provided  it  be  done  without  either  eager- 
ness or  afiection.  If  a  missionary,  a  pastor  or  a  preacher, 
do  not  show  a  great  indiffcrency  toward  every  thing  which 
relates  to  bodily  wants,  he  will  never  be  able  much  to  advance 
the  work  of  God.  He  ought  to  imitate  his  Master,  who 
preached  up  the  contempt  of  these  things  by  contemning  them 

9.  And  heal  the  sick  that  are  therein,  and  say  unto  them,  The  king- 
dom of  God  is  come  nigh  unto  you. 

The  shepherd  and  Bishop  of  souls  takes  great  care  to  re- 
commend the  joining,  as  much  as  possible,  temporal  relief 
with  spiritual.     He  never  sent  his  disciples  to  do  the  least 

CHAPTER   X.  63 

hurt  to  men,  but  always  to  do  them  good.  The  conquerors  of 
the  earth  destroy  all  with  fire  and  sword,  to  render  themselves 
masters  of  the  kingdoms  of  others;  the  Son  of  God  sends  his 
ministers,  with  no  other  intent  but  freely  to  offer  his  king- 
dom to  all  men,  and  to  oblige  them  to  accept  it  by  all  sorts 
of  benefits.  This  kingdom  is  come  nigh  unto  us :  we  have  but 
one  step  to  make.  Let  us  only  pass  from  the  love  of  our- 
selves to  the  love  of  God,  and  his  kingdom  is  our  own. 

10.  But  into  whatsoever  city  ye  enter,  and  they  receive  you  not,  go 
your  ways  out  into  the  streets  of  the  same,  and  say,  11.  Even  the  very 
dust  of  your  city,  which  cleaveth  on  us,  we  do  wipe  off  against  you  : 
notwithstanding,  be  ye  sure  of  this,  that  the  kingdom  of  God  is  come 
nigh  unto  you. 

Miserable  is  that  person  who  receives  not  the  truth  nor 
the  wholesome  admonitions  which  are  given  him.  To  be  de- 
prived of  the  word  of  God,  and  of  the  assistance  of  his  mi- 
nisters, is  a  punishment  which  is  so  much  the  greater,  as  it  is 
less  sensible  to  sinners.  Let  us  fear  and  tremble,  lest  the 
truth,  which  is  preached  to  us  as  a  means  of  salvation,  should, 
through  the  hardness  of  our  hearts,  become  a  testimony 
against  us. 

12.  But  I  say  unto  you,  that  it  shall  be  more  tolerable  in  that  day  for 
Sodom,  than  for  that  city. 

Since  the  rejecting  of  the  truth  and  the  maxims  of  the 
gospel  is  more  severely  punished  than  the  greatest  crimes, 
let  us  take  great  care  that  we  do  not  shut  our  heart  against 
some  of  them.  Christ  being  the  only  refuge  of  sinners,  who- 
ever rejects  him,  and  refuses  to  have  him  for  his  Saviour, 
what  other  refuge  can  he  promise  himself?  The  men  of  So- 
dom made  an  attempt  only  against  angels ;  the  Jews  against 
Jesus  Christ  whilst  he  was  passible  and  mortal ;  but  wicked 
Christians  do  this  against  him  in  his  glorious  and  immortal 
state :  how  much  more  rigorously,  therefore,  will  the  divine 
justice  be  executed  against  Christians,  who  abuse  Jesus  Christ 
and  his  blood,  and  despise  his  graces  ? 

13.  Woe  unto  thee,  Chorazin !  woe  unto  thee,  Bethsaida!  for  if  the 
mighty  works  had  been  done  in  Tyre  and  Sidon,  which  have  been  done 
in  you,  they  had  a  great  while  ago  repented,  sitting  in  sackcloth  and 

It  is  an  adorable  abyss  of  the  divine  judgments,  that  the 

64  LUKE. 

gospel  should  be  preaclied  to  those  •uho  were  to  reject  it,  and 
not  to  those  Avho  would  certainly  have  repented.  Where  is 
the  merit  upon  which  heretics  pretend  that  God  regulates 
the  distribution  of  his  favours  and  graces  ?  Let  us  acknow- 
ledge that  he  distributes  them  according  to  a  method  full  of 
■wisdom  and  power,  in  the  causes  and  reasons  whereof  we  are 
altogether  ignorant. 

14.  But  it  shall  be  more  tolerable  for  Tyre  and  Sidon  at  the  judgment, 
than  for  you. 

The  impenitency  of  the  Jews  is  punished  in  proportion  to 

the  favours  which  they  received  ;  the  same  conduct  will  be 

used  toward  private  persons.     The  knowledge  of  God's  law 

is  a  blessing  for  which  we  ought  to  return  him  the  greatest 

thanks ;  and  yet,  if  we  make  not  a  good  use  of  this  blessing, 

it  becomes  the  occasion  of  a  more  dreadful  vengeance.     The 

more  light  and  knowledge  we  have  received,  the  more  ought 

we  to  fear  and  to  humble  ourselves ;  because,  without  a  grace 

of  heart  and  will,  our  will,  left  to  itself,  will  certainly  abuse 

this  knowledge. 

15.  And  thou,  Capernaum,  which  art  exalted  to  heaven,  shalt  be  thrust 
down  to  hell. 

The  higher  sinners  are  exalted  in  this  world,  the  lower 
shall  they  be  thrust  down  and  humbled  in  hell.  A  state  of 
great  elevation  is  a  very  dangerous  one ;  because  the  falls 
from  thence  are  seldom  very  light.  That  is' a  very  blind  joy 
which  proceeds  from  seeing  ourselves,  our  relations,  or  our 
friends  advanced  to  higher  stations  or  great  power.  The  fear 
of  falling  from  them,  which  arises  from  an  irregular  love  of 
grandeur  and  advancement  itself,  is  the  fear  of  reprobates ; 
but  the  fear  of  keeping  them  to  the  day  of  our  death,  even 
thougli  God  should  call  upon  us  to  forsake  them,  and  of  fall- 
ing from  thence  into  an  eternal  abyss  of  misery,  is  the  fear 
of  a  Christian,  who  loves  his  salvation  above  every  thing,  and 
sees  the  danger  of  being  lost  in  a  state  wherein  there  is  so 
much  opposition  to  the  humility  of  the  gospel. 

16.  He  that  heareth  you  heareth  me ;  and  he  that  despiseth  you  de- 
episeth  me;  and  ho  tliat  despiseth  me  dospiseth  him  that  sent  me. 

llow    extremely  dangerous   is   it    not   to    hear   those  who 

CHAPTER  X.  65 

speak  to  us  on  the  part  of  God,  and  not  to  obey  the  pastors 
who  conduct  us  in  his  name !  It  is  one  and  the  same  truth, 
which  is  in  the  Father  by  his  essence,  in  the  Son  by  his 
eternal  generation,  in  the  apostles  by  divine,  and  in  the 
bishops  by  apostolical  tradition.  So  long  as  this  trust  is  kept 
inviolable,  in  hearing  these,  we  hear  the  Father  and  the  Son. 
The  pastoral  authority  which,  as  well  as  the  truth,  has  God 
himself  for  its  fountain,  is  communicated  to  the  Son  by  the 
mission  of  his  Father,  that  is,  by  his  incarnation;  to  the 
apostles  by  the  mission  of  the  Son ;  and  to  the  bishops  by 
succession  :  an  authority  always  venerable. 



17.  ^  And  the  seventy  returned  again  with  joy,  saying,  Lord,  even  the 
devils  are  subject  unto  us  through  thy  name. 

It  is  a  thing  very  extraordinary,  for  men  not  to  take  too 

much  complacency  in  the  success  of  those  works  which  God 

performs  by  their  hands.     The  apostles  themselves  are  not 

proof  against  it.     Every  state  of  superiority  is  dangerous  for 

those  who  have  from  Adam  inherited  a  desire  to  distinguish 

themselves  from  others,  and   to   bear   rule.     One   is    ready 

enough  to  own  that  all  success  is  the  gift  of  God ;  but  the 

delight  and  complacency  one  is  apt  to  take  in  having  this  gift 

preferable  to  others,  and  the  joy  of  being  taken  notice  of  by 

men  on  this  account,  are  deplorable  effects  of  self-love. 

18.  And  he  said  unto  them,  I  beheld  Satan  as  lightning  fall  from 

What  dreadful  fall  is  this  !  but  how  common  is  it  in  the 
church !  How  many  angels,  on  the  account  of  their  ministry, 
of  the  purity  of  their  life,  and  of  the  eminency  of  their  grace, 
fall  from  heaven  by  their  infidelity?  and  we  tremble  not! 
God  knows  how  to  make  us  find  sufficient  cause  of  humiliation 
in  those  very  things  from  which  we  take  occasion  to  be  puffed 
up.  If  grace  is  not  in  a  state  of  security  in  heaven  in  an 
angel,  who  will  not  tremble  upon  earth,  since  he  carries  this 
treasure  in  so  weak  a  vessel? 

19.  Behold,  I  give  unto  you  power  to  tread  on  serpents  and  scorpions, 
6*  E 

66  LUKE.  *•*** 

and  over  all  the  power  of  the  enemy ;  and  nothing  shall  by  any  means 
hurt  you. 

The  benedictions,  etc.  of  the  church  are  founded  upon  thia 

declaration  of  the  Son  of  God,  which  is,  as  it  were,  her  title. 

The  prayers  of  the  church  are  a  sort  of  public  archives,  in 

which  her  titles  and  powers  are  kept;  and  the  abuse  which 

may  be  made  of  them  cannot  do  them  any  prejudice.     The 

want  of  piety  and  the  negligence  of  ministers,  and  the  want 

of  faith  in  Christians,  hinder  the  effects  of  this  power.     It  is 

the  shame  of  some  of  the  sons  and  daughters  of  the  church, 

that  they  choose  rather  to  put  their  trust  in  superstitious  and 

ineffectual  means,  than  to  have  recourse  with  faith  to  that 

power  which  Christ  here  gave  unto  her. 

20.  Notwithstanding,  in  this  rejoice  not,  that  the  spirits  are  subject 
unto  you ;  but  rather  rejoice,  because  your  names  are  written  in  heaven. 

Let  us  not  rejoice  in  the  great  and  extraordinary  gifts  of 

God,  but  only  in  his  mercy  toAvard  us.     That  which  may  be 

in  common  both  to  good  and  bad,  and  which  was  given  to 

Judas  as  well  as  to  the  other  apostles,  is  not  a  proper  subject 

of  our  joy.     It  is  but  a  small  matter  for  us  to  deliver  the 

bodies  of  others  from  the  power  of  the  evil  spirit,  if  he  remain 

master  of  our  heart  by  means  of  our  passions.     When  the 

love  of  God  is  written  in  our  hearts  by  his  Spirit,  and  in  our 

hands  by  good  works,  we  ought  then  to  have  this  confidence, 

that  our  names  are  written  in  heaven  as  heirs  of  eternal  life. 

21.  f  In  that  hour  Jesus  rejoiced  in  spirit,  and  said,  I  thank  thee,  0 
Father,  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth,  that  thou  hast  hid  these  things  from 
the  wise  and  prudent,  and  hast  revealed  them  unto  babes :  even  so,  Fa- 
ther ;  for  so  it  seemed  good  in  thy  sight. 

Let  us  follow  the  inclinations  of  Christ's  heart ;  let  us  make 
that  our  joy  which  is  his.  Let  us  rejoice  with  him  at  the  con- 
templation of  the  designs  of  his  Father  in  relation  to  man- 
kind. Let  us  adore  what  he  adores:  these  mysteries  hidden 
from  the  wise  and  prudent ;  this  conduct  which  is  so  adorable, 
and  adored  by  Christ  himself.  Nothing  is  worthy  of  our  joy 
any  more  than  of  his,  but  that  only  which  makes  known  to  us 
the  destruction  of  the  kingdom  of  the  devil,  and  the  advance- 
ment of  the  kingdom  of  God  in  his  church.  It  was  the  con- 
solation of  our  blessed  Saviour,  amid  his  afflictions,  and  upon 

;  CH-A'P*rER   X.  67 

the  prospect  of  his  sufferings  and  death,  to  converse  with  his 
Father  upon  the  subject  of  his  designs  toward  his  elect ;  for 
whom  are  all  things,  and  who  are  the  fruit  of  his  sacrifice. 
Every  thing  relating  to  this  subject  is  worthy  of  the  joy, 
adoration,  acknowledgment,  and  contemplation  of  the  Son  of 
God,  particularly  the  magnificence  of  his  gracious  designs, 
the  election  of  those  in  whom  he  intends  to  accomplish  them, 
and  the  means  he  employs  to  that  end,  though  to  the  eyes  of 
men  they  seem  but  weakness,  meanness,  and  folly.  Nothing 
is  more  worthy  of  the  majesty  of  God,  than  to  raise  a  mere 
nothing  up  to  himself,  and  to  do  it  by  the  abasement  of  the 
Creator,  and  the  humiliation  of  the  creature  after  his  example. 

22.  All  things  are  delivered  to  me  of  my  Father  :  and  no  man  knoweth 
who  the  Son  is,  but  the  Father ;  and  who  the  Father  is,  but  the  Son,  and 
he  to  whom  the  Son  will  reveal  liim. 

Observe  here,  power,  knowledge,  and  love,  (for  in  God  to 
will  is  to  love :)  the  three  principles  which  produced  the  church, 
and  every  thing  which  contributes  to  the  framing  of  it,  namely, 
authority,  truth,  and  charity.  They  are,  as  it  were,  divided 
in  God  by  his  personal  properties,  reunited  in  Christ  by  the 
incarnation,  and  communicated  to  the  church.  The  Son  alone, 
from  all  eternity,  receives  the  authority  of  the  Father  by  a 
generation,  the  principle  whereof  is  the  truth  subsisting,  and 
productive  of  the  consubstantial  love  of  the  Father  and  the 
Son,  which  is  the  Holy  Ghost.  All  things  are  delivered  to 
Christ  by  his  incarnation  and  temporal  mission ;  for  God  was 
in  Christ  reconciling  the  world  to  himself,  and  communicated 
himself,  and  wrought  by  Jesus  Christ,  according  to  these 
three  properties,  which  the  Christian  religion  represents, 
adores,  and  imitates.  Every  thing  therefore  ought  to  pay 
homage  thereto.  Every  hierarchical  action  in  the  pastors 
ought  to  be  an  act  of  authority,  truth,  and  charity.  Every 
Christian  action  in  the  faithful,  an  act  of  homage  and  obe- 
dience to  the  authority,  truth,  and  love  of  God,  and  such  as 
has  nothing  in  it  contrary  to  them.  Every  thing  is  performed 
in  the  church  in  the  way  of  paternal  and  pastoral  authority; 
in  the  w^ay  of  knowledge  revealed,  of  truth  taught,  and  of  the 
word  preached  by  a  particular  mission;  and  in  the  way  of 

68  LUKE. 

love  inspired,  of  grace  freely  dispensed,  and  of  ministries  dis- 
tributed according  to  the  will  and  call  of  the  divine  Spirit, 
and  received  with  submission,  adoration,  and  gratitude  toward 
the  adorable  Trinity  and  the  personal  properties  thereof. 

23.  ^  And  he  turned  him  unto  Jiis  disciples,  and  said  privately,  Blessed 
are  the  eyes  which  see  the  things  that  ye  see: 

Blessed  is  that  person  who,  with  Christian  eyes,  with  the 
eyes  of  faith,  sees  that  which  the  Jews  saw  only  with  carnal 
eyes — namely,  the  Mediator  and  way  of  our  salvation,  the  vic- 
tim of  our  reconciliation,  the  author  and  finisher  of  our  faith, 
and  the  principle  of  all  grace,  of  all  perfect  love,  and  of  every 
good  thing  in  us.  Take  from  me,  0  Lord,  those  eyes  which, 
seeing,  see  not.  Give  me  the  eyes  of  the  heart,  Avhich,  in  see- 
ing, love,  obey,  and  imitate  thee,  and  are  continually  fixed 
upon  thee,  as  the  eyes  of  servants  look  unto  the  hand  of  their 

24.  For  I  tell  you,  that  many  prophets  and  kings  have  desired  to  see 
those  things  which  ye  see,  and  have  not  seen  them;  and  to  hear  those 
things  which  ye  hear,  and  have  not  heard  tliem. 

What  have  we  done  for  God  to  deserve  this  preference? 
He  prevented  all  our  desires,  by  giving  himself  to  us  (before 
ever  we  could  so  much  as  think  of  him)  in  giving  us  his  Son, 
of  whom  the  prophets,  kings,  and  patriarchs  saw  nothing  but 
the  types  and  shadows.  0  beneficial  gift  to  every  one  who 
makes  use  of  it  to  promote  his  own  salvation,  by  taking  him 
for  the  rule  of  his  life,  imitating  him  as  his  pattern,  having 
recourse  to  him  by  humble  and  persevering  prayer,  and  de- 
pending upon  him  in  all  things !  But  a  very  fatal  gift  to 
every  one  who  makes  no  use  at  all  of  it !  If  it  were  a  happi- 
ness to  see  Jesus  Christ  in  the  infirmity  and  humility  of  his 
flesh,  what  a  happiness  must  it  be  to  see  him  in  his  glory,  to 
possess  him  in  eternity,  to  live  his  life,  to  be  transported  with 
his  joy,  inebriated,  as  it  were,  with  his  pleasures,  and  blessed 
with  his  very  felicity ! 


25.  1[  And,  behold,  a  certain  lawyer  stood  up,  and  tempted  him,  say- 
ing, Master,  what  shall  I  do  to  inherit  eternal  life? 

How  many  times  have  we,  like  this  lawyer,  tempted  God 

CHAPTER    X.  69 

'  is  will,  as 

if  we  really  intended  to  do  it,  while,  at  the  same  time,  we 
neglect  to  do  that  which  we  know  of  it  already.  There  are 
hut  too  many  who  place  the  best  part  of  their  devotion  in 
asking  questions,  and  hearing  a  spiritual  guide  or  director, 
concerning  those  things  which  they  sufficiently  understand ; 
and  who  waste  both  his  time  and  their  own  in  such  discourses 
as  are  of  little  or  no  advantage  at  all.  The  gospel  would 
save  them  abundance  of  this  trouble,  if  they  would  but  therein 
sincerely  consult  the  truth  itself,  and  practise  that  which  they 

26.  He  said  unto  him,  What  is  written  in  the  law  ?  how  readest  thou  ? 
Jesus  Christ  himself  refers  us  to  the  law  of  God,  though  he 

was  truth  in  itself,  and  could  give  such  holy  instructions.  In 
vain  do  we  seek  after  other  lights  and  ways  besides  those 
which  we  find  there.  It  is  the  Spirit  of  God  which  dictated 
the  law,  and  made  it  the  rule  of  our  life;  it  is  injurious  to 
him  for  us  either  not  to  study  it,  or  to  prefer  the  thoughts 
of  men  before  it.  The  first  question  which  will  be  put  to  a 
Christian  at  the  tribunal  of  God  will  be  to  this  eifect, — "  What 
is  written  in  the  law?  What  have  you  read  in  the  gospel? 
What  use  have  you  made  thereof?"  What  answer  can  that 
person  return,  who  has  not  so  much  as  read  it,  though  he  has 
had  sufficient  ability  and  opportunity  to  do  it? 

27.  And  he  answering  said,  Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all 
thy  heart,  and  with  all  thy  soul,  and  with  all  thy  strength,  and  with  all 
thy  mind;  and  thy  neighbour  as  thyself. 

Our  heart  and  our  time  ought  not  to  be  divided  in  the  love 
of  God.  Whatever  is  in  man,  and  belongs  to  him,  ought  to 
be  referred  ultimately  thereto.  We  must  love  our  neighbour 
as  we  love  ourselves,  when  we  love  God  and  ourselves  only 
for  God's  sake.  Christ  does  not  command  the  love  of  our 
neighbour  till  after  he  has  commanded  and  explained  the 
love  of  God,  without  which  the  rule  which  he  gives  would  be 
false.  If  the  love  of  God  be  not  the  prevailing  principle  and 
motive,  in  the  use  we  make  of  our  mind,  our  will,  our  senses, 
talents,  health,  strength,  etc.,  we  are  deficient  in  the  observa- 
tion of  this  precept. 

28.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Thou  hast  answered  right  :  this  do,  and 
thou  shalt  live. 

Do  thi^  in  me,  0  Lord,  and  then  I  shall  do  it ;  cause  me 
to  live,  and  I  shall  live :  for  without  thee  I  can  do  nothing, 
(John  XV.  5 ;)  and  it  belongs  to  thee  to  make  me  perfect  in 
every  good  work,  doing  in  me  thyself  that  which  cannot  be 
well-pleasing  in  thy  Father's  sight  but  through  thee  alone, 
(Heb.  xiii.  21.)  To  live  without  charity  is  not  properly 
living;  and  charity  itself  does  not  live  long  Avithout  good 
works.  True  piety  does  not  consist  in  knowledge,  but  in 
practice ;  and  that  knowledge  of  which  we  make  no  use,  will 
serve  only  to  our  condemnation. 

29.  But  he,  ■willing  to  justify  himself,  said  unto  Jesus,  And  who  is 
my  neighbour? 

The  more  a  sinner  endeavours  to  justify  himself  before 
God,  the  more  he  condemns  himself.  A  man  must  be  very 
vainly  puffed  up  with  learning,  not  to  know  who  is  his  neigh- 
bour ;  for  he  who  knows  not  this,  knows  nothing  of  charity. 
My  God,  how  much  is  learning  to  be  dreaded,  when  charity 
does  not  render  it  useful,  edifying,  holy,  religious,  mindful  of 
Christ,  who  is  our  chief  neighbour,  of  the  church  as  his 
spouse,  and  of  our  brethren  as  his  members ! 


30.  And  Jesus  answering  said,  A  certain  man  went  down  from  Jeru- 
salem to  Jericho,  and  fell  among  thieves,  which  stripped  him  of  his  rai- 
ment, and  wounded  him,  and  departed,  leaving  Mm  half  dead. 

This  man,  fallen  among  thieves,  is  an  emblem  of  the  de- 
plorable condition  of  a  sinner,  who  having  withdrawn  himself 
from  being  under  the  hand  of  God,  and  from  his  dependence 
on  him,  is  fallen  into  that  of  the  devil,  has  lost  the  state  of 
original  innocency,  and  is  banished  from  the  heavenly  Jeru- 
salem, sinking  gradually  every  day  into  the  lowest  abyss  of 
misery,  being  stripped  of  righteousness,  grace,  immortality, 
and  of  all  the  gifts  of  God,  covered  with  the  wounds  of  sin 
and  concupiscence,  full  of  ignorance  and  infirmity,  unable  to 
do  any  good,  capable  of  all  evil,  and  having  no  longer  any 
thing  left  but  only  hope  in  Jesus  Christ  and   in  his  grace, 

CHAPTER   X.  71 

which  keeps  him  from. being  altogether  dead,  and  past  reco- 
very, as  the  rebellious  angels  are. 

31.  And  by  chance  there  came  down  a  certain  priest  that  way;  and 
when  he  saw  him,  he  passed  by  on  the  other  side. 

Neither  Moses  nor  Aaron,  neither  the  priests  nor  the 
saints  of  the  natural  law,  neither  the  patriarchs  nor  the  pro- 
phets, were  able  to  repair  lost  man.  They  saw  and  felt  the 
wounds  of  sin,  but  could  not  heal  them ;  and  they  passed 
their  whole  life  without  seeing  the  salvation  of  the  world, 
except  only  in  hope.  No,  my  Saviour,  there  is  no  man  like 
myself  who  can  give  me  the  least  relief:  thou  alone,  0  God- 
man,  art  my  only  refuge. 

32.  And  likewise  a  Levite,  when  he  was  at  the  place,  came  and  looked 
on  Mm,  and  passed  by  on  the  other  side. 

Let  US  observe  and  acknowledge  in  this  Levite  the  inability 
of  the  law,  and  of  the  ancient  sacrifices,  to  expiate  the  guilt, 
or  to  heal  the  wound  of  sin.  The  law  makes  it  known  by  for- 
bidding it ;  and  by  this  very  means  is  an  occasion  of  exciting 
and  increasing  it,  so  far  is  it  from  weakening  it  or  stopping 
its  course.  The  whole  time  of  the  law  passed  away,  without 
making  any  thing  but  transgressors  of  the  law  of  all  those  in 
whom  the  grace  of  Christ  did  not  act  beforehand  and  by  way 
of  anticipation. 

33.  But  a  certain  Samaritan,  as  he  journeyed,  came  where  he  was  ;  and 
when  he  saw  him,  he  had  compassion  on  him. 

Jesus  Christ,  the  true  Samaritan,  a  stranger  to  us  before 
the  incarnation,  separate  from  sinners,  and  journeying,  as  it 
were,  among  us  by  becoming  man,  vouchsafed  to  look  upon 
sinful  man,  grovelling  on  the  earth,  and  wounded  in  every 
part.  0  Saviour  and  Guardian  of  my  soul,  cease  not  to  cast 
thy  eyes  upon  it,  to  observe  its  wounds,  and  to  have  compas- 
sion on  its  miseries ! 

34.  And  went  to  1dm,  and  bound  up  his  wounds,  pouring  in  oil  and 
wine,  and  set  him  on  his  own  beast,  and  brought  him  to  an  inn,  and  took 
care  of  him. 

The  Son  of  God  unites  to  and  takes  upon  himself  the  sin- 
ner and  his  sins,  in  order  to  cure  them ;  pours  into  his 
wounded  heart  his  healing,  smooth,  strong,  and  delicious 
grace ;  binds  up  his  wounds  with  the  bands  of  his  command- 

72  L  U  K  E. 

ments,  and  brings  him  into  his  church.  No  merit  or  desert 
of  ours  drew  down  upon  us  the  assistance  of  our  blessed 
Saviour,  to  Avhom  we  were  strangers,  and  even  enemies,  when 
he  undertook  to  save  us.  Teach  us.  Lord,  to  do  good  indif- 
ferently to  everybody,  and  to  do  it  gently  and  efficaciously, 
without  sparing  any  thing  which  may  be  serviceable  either  to 
the  body  or  the  soul. 

35.  And  on  the  morrow  when  he  departed,  he  took  out  two  pence,  and 
gave  them  to  the  host,  and  said  unto  him.  Take  care  of  him :  and  what- 
soever thou  spendest  more,  when  I  come  again,  I  will  repay  thee.  36. 
Which  now  of  these  three,  thinkest  thou,  was  neighbour  unto  him  that 
fell  among  the  thieves  ? 

Happy  is  that  man  whom  God  brings  off  from  the  highway 
where  he  was  wounded,  and  places  in  the  inn — namely,  in  the 
church  on  earth,  where  we  remain  as  travellers  and  strangers 
till  we  are  perfectly  cured.  It  is  in  this  house  of  unity  that 
God  has  left  the  two  pence  of  truth  and  charity,  to  be  em- 
ployed by  his  ministers  toward  the  salvation  of  souls  until  his 
return.  The  church  is  the  house  of  salvation.  The  labours 
of  faithful  ministers  will  certainly  be  rewarded  by  Christ, 
provided  they  have  laboured  by  his  appointment,  for  his  sake, 
and  by  his  Spirit.  It  is  till  the  time  of  his  coming  again,  that 
is,  till  the  last  judgment,  that  this  reward  is  reserved. 

37.  And  he  said,  lie  that  shewed  mercy  on  him.  Then  said  Jesus 
unto  him,  Go,  and  do  thou  likewise. 

Our  neighbour  is  he  who  stands  in  need  of  our  assistance, 
let  him  be  what  he  will.  Blood,  interest,  friendship,  inclina- 
tion, or  vain  generosity,  are  but  private  and  selfish  motives ; 
the  common  ties  of  nature,  and  those  of  grace,  are  the  things 
which  ought  to  give  us  a  common  satisfaction  or  concern  for 
the  happiness  or  misery  of  other  men.  Mercy  is  a  natural 
debt,  not  a  service  which  is  arbitrary  and  left  to  our  own  dis- 
cretion. The  being  miserable  is  sufficient  to  give  a  man  a 
right  to  the  mercy  of  his  neighbour. 


38.  Tl  Now  it  came  to  pass,  as  they  went,  that  he  entered  into  a  certain 
village:  and  a  certain  woman  named  Martha  received  him  into  her 
house.  39.  And  slie  had  a  sister  called  Mary,  which  also  sat  at  Jesus's 
feet,  and  heard  his  word. 

Martha  is  the  emblem  of  an  active  life,  busied  about  things 

C  11 A  P  T  E  R  X.  73 

relating  to  our  neighbour,  through  the  necessity  of  charity; 
and  Mary  her  sister  is  that  of  a  contemplative  life,  -which  is 
intent  only  on  God,  through  the  love  of  truth.  These  two 
kinds  of  life  ought  to  be  united,  like  two  sisters,  in  a  Chris- 
tian. It  is  the  lot  and  portion  of  a  son  or  daughter  of  the 
church  to  hear  Jesus  Christ  in  prayer,  and  in  reading  his 
word,  with  silence,  humility,  peace  of  mind,  assiduity,  disen- 
gagement from  all  business,  and  with  a  holy  eagerness  of  de- 
sire. Happy  portion  this,  for  persons  to  pass  their  life  at 
Jesus'  feet,  when  God  does  not  call  them  to  any  other  em- 
ployment ! 

40.  But  Martha  was  cumbered  about  much  serving,  and  came  to 
him,  and  said,  Lord,  dost  thou  not  care  that  my  sister  hath  left  me  to 
serve  alone  ?  bid  her  therefore  that  she  help  me. 

Happy  is  the  house  wherein  Martha  calls  Mary  to  her  as- 
sistance, and  where  prayer  and  love  of  retirement  sanctify 
labour  and  external  occupations  !  It  would  be  a  very  great 
misfortune  and  disorder  indeed,  if  Mary  should  envy  Martha ; 
if  one  should  prefer  the  noise  and  hurry  of  business  before 
the  quietness  of  silence  and  solitude,  of  prayer  and  attend- 
ance upon  God.  It  is  a  very  considerable  grace  for  a  man 
to  be  sensible  of  the  weight  and  danger  of  outward  employ- 
ments, and  upon  this  consideration  to  complain  of  them  be- 
fore God,  without  envying  the  grace  of  another.  Though  our 
labour  have  God,  Christ,  and  the  church  for  its  end,  yet  it  is 
apt  to  distract  and  dry  up  the  heart,  and  to  cause  murmuring, 
when  it  is  not  undertaken  in  the  spirit  of  mortification  and 
submission  to  the  will  of  God.  Martha  does  well  in  calling 
Mary  to  her  assistance :  prayer  ought  to  support  labour.  It 
is  common  for  ministers  who  are  truly  the  servants  of  God 
to  complain  of  the  difficulty  of  recollecting  themselves,  and 
that  they  find  their  minds  subject  to  distractions  in  prayer. 

41.  And  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  her,  Martha,  Martha,  thou  art 
careful  and  troubled  about  many  things  : 

The  more  active  our  temper  is,  the  more  watchful  ought  we 
to  be  over  ourselves,  even  in  the  employments  of  charity,  lest 
we  be  troubled  and  distracted  thereby.  We  must  avoid  hurry 
and  eagerness  in   acting :  this  generally  proceeds  from  that 

Vol.  II.— 7 

74  L  U  K  E. 

great  desire  which  men  have  of  success,  which  is  always  seek- 
ing to  satisfy  itself,  to  avoid  blame,  and  to  acquire  praise  by 
satisfying  others.  That  activity  which  the  Spirit  of  God  in- 
spires is  quiet  and  peaceable,  because  it  submits  itself  to  God, 
and  desires  nothing  but  his  will.  Trouble  proceeds  from 
hence,  that  we  would  willingly  do  more,  or  in  another  manner, 
than  we  are  able,  and  that  Ave  would  fain  distinguish  ourselves. 

42.  But  one  thing  is  needful ;  and  Mary  hath  chosen  that  good  part, 
which  shall  not  be  taken  away  from  her. 

The  one  thing  needful  is  to  live  for  God.  That  which  re- 
gards only  the  life  of  the  body  and  the  present  world  is  not 
absolutely  necessary,  since  it  is,  on  the  contrary,  necessary  for 
us  to  wean  ourselves  from  them  both,  and  sometimes  even  to 
sacrifice  the  former.  Nothing  is  necessary  but  what  is  either 
eternal,  or  leads  to  eternity.  Martha's  employment  is  good ; 
but  that  of  Mary  is  better,  because  she  begins  here  below 
that  which  she  is  to  do  in  heaven.  Deliver  us,  0  Lord,  from 
those  necessities  which  proceed  only  from  concupiscence,  and 
likewise  from  every  thing  which  stifles  the  spirit  of  prayer, 
withdraws  us  from  the  presence  of  God,  and  hinders  us  from 
following  that  which  alone  is  truly  necessary. 


SECT.  I. — THE    lord's    PRAYER. 

1.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that,  as  he  was  praying  in  a  certain  place, 
when  he  ceased,  one  of  his  disciples  said  unto  him,  Lord,  teach  us  to 
pray,  as  John  also  taught  his  disciples. 

By  this  example  we  may  understand  how  profitable  and 
edifying  public  prayer  is  in  the  church,  or  in  common  in  fa- 
milies. God  often  affixes  great  blessings  to  a  good  example; 
this  is  a  debt  which  is  owing  from  masters  of  families,  and 
from  all  superiors,  to  those  who  are  under  their  care  or  have 
any  dependence  upon  them.  Pastors  are  obliged,  in  relation 
to  prayer,  to  give  not  only  example,  but  also  instruction,  in 
imitation  of  Jesus  Christ  and  John.  One  single  person, 
being  moved  and  edified  by  this  good  example  of  our  Lord, 

CHAPTER    XL  75 

conceives  a  love  for  prayer,  desires  to  know  how  to  pray,  is 
sensible  that  of  himself  he  is  not  capable  of  doing  it,  ad- 
dresses himself  to  Christ,  obtains  from  him  this  divine  pat- 
tern, procures  this  treasure  for  the  rest  of  the  disciples  and 
for  the  whole  church,  and  becomes  the  occasion  of  the  infinite 
good  which  this  prayer  has  produced,  and  will  produce  therein, 
to  the  end  of  the  world.  A  person  must  needs  have  prayed 
very  much  himself,  to  be  able  to  teach  others  to  pray.  It 
belongs  properly  to  none  but  the  God-man  to  teach  how  God 
would  be  prayed  to  by  man. 

2.  And  he  said  unto  them,  When  ye  pray,  say.  Our  Father  which  art 
in  heaven,  Hallowed  be  thy  name. 

The  Lord's  Prayer  is  an  abridgment  of  religion,  and  con- 
tains the  object  and  duties  thereof.  The  order  of  our  peti- 
tions shows  the  order  of  our  desires,  and  the  order  of  our  de- 
sires that  of  our  love,  in  which  the  true  worship  of  God  does 
consist.  God,  who  is  Father  of  the  eternal  truth,  and,  to- 
gether with  his  Son,  the  principle  from  whence  the  Holy 
Ghost  proceeds,  will  be  served  by  children,  not  by  slaves, 
will  be  worshipped  in  spirit  and  in  truth,  and  sought  after  for 
the  sake  of  himself,  and  for  the  sanctification  of  his  name. 
The  first  motive,  then,  of  our  actions,  and  the  first  desire  of 
our  heart,  is  the  glory  of  God  in  this  world  by  the  reign  of 
grace  and  the  sanctification  of  souls. 

—  Thy  kingdom  come. 

The  second  motive  of  our  actions  and  desire  of  our  heart 
is,  the  coming  of  the  kingdom  of  God  by  his  glory,  which 
will  be  the  perfection  of  the  divine  adoption,  the  fulness  of 
the  knowledge  of  God  and  Christ,  the  consummation  of  holi- 
ness and  charity,  the  perfect  establishment  of  the  kingdom 
of  God  by  the  union  of  all  the  elect  to  their  Head,  and  by 
completing  the  whole  mystical  body  in  God  to  all  eternity. 

—  Thy  will  be  done,  as  in  heaven,  so  in  earth.  3.  Give  us  day  by 
day  our  daily  bread. 

The  third  motive  of  our  actions  and  desire  of  our  heart 
ought  to  be,  that  of  our  own  sanctification  and  of  the  assist- 
ance of  God.  Grace  is  the  bread  of  a  Christian,  as  glory  is 
his  patrimony ;  and  he'  ought  to  esteem,  desire,  and  pray  for 

76  L  U  K  E. 

grace,  in  the  same  proportion  that  he  desires  the  glory  to 
which  it  leads.  The  bread  of  the  body  and  of  the  soul  is 
whatever  i^  necessary  to  the  nourishment  of  both.  A  poor 
traveller  begs  his  bread  every  day,  and  eats  only  to  strengthen 
himself  for  his  journey.  Let  us  also,  like  travellers,  beg 
ours,  and  let  us  hasten  toward  the  country  where  we  shall  be 
filled  with  the  bread  of  God  without  having  any  occasion  to 
ask  for  it. 

4.  And  forgive  us  our  sins ;  for  we  also  forgive  every  one  that  is  in- 
debted to  us. 

The  fourth  motive  of  our  actions  and  desire  of  our  heart 
is,  that  of  the  forgiveness  of  our  sins  and  of  the  mercy  of 
God.  It  is  not  sufficient  for  a  traveller  to  have  his  provisions 
ready,  and  to  be  plentifully  fed ;  he  must  remove  all  impedi- 
ments which  may  either  stop  or  retard  his  journey;  he  must 
pay  his  debts,  finish  all  his  suits  at  law,  and  agree  with  all 
his  adversaries.  It  is  easy  for  a  good  Christian  to  do  all 
this.  Charity  alone  does  it  for  him,  if  he  has  but  that  in  his 
heart;  and  if  he  has  it  not,  let  him  not  cease  to  seek  and  beg 
it  of  Him  who  never  fails  to  give  it  to  every  one  who  asks  it 
as  he  ought. 
—  And  lead  us  not  into  temptation ;  but  deliver  us  from  evil. 

The  fifth  and  last  motive  of  our  actions  and  desire  of  our 
heart  is,  that  of  perseverance  in  the  love  of  God  above  all 
things.  Let  us  always  remember  that  we  travel  in  a  country 
where  every  place  is  full  of  enemies  and  of  great  dangers. 
A  traveller  is  generally  afraid  of  those  who  may  rob  him  of 
his  money.  How  comes  it  to  pass,  then,  that  a  Christian  is 
under  so  little  apprehension  of  losing  grace,  which  is  his 
whole  treasure  and  subsistence  ?  This  alone  renders  him  un- 
worthy to  preserve  and  keep  it.  So  far  as  we  esteem  and 
know  the  value  of  it,  so  far  are  we  careful  to  watch  and 
pray,  lest  it  should  be  taken  away  from  us  by  temptation. 
To  pray  not  to  be  led  into  temptation,  is  to  pray  for  the  gift 
of  perseverance.  And  how  careful  ought  we  to  be  in  en- 
deavouring to  obtain  a  gift  upon  which  our  eternal  happiness 
depends,  and  which  we  deserve  so  much  the  less  to  receive 
the  more  we  are  persuaded  that  we  do  deserve  it,  and  the  less 


solicitous  we  are  to  obtain  it !  Lord,  I  expect  it  from  thy 
pure  mercy  alone.  I  do  not  ask  not  to  be  tempted  at  all,  but 
that  I  may  meet  with  the  temptations  only  of  thy  ^ect,  which 
serve  to  increase  their  love  toward  thee,  and  cause  them  to 
cleave  unto  thee  with  the  greater  steadfastness. 


5.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Which  of  you  shall  have  a  friend,  and  shall 
go  unto  him  at  midnight,  and  say  unto  him,  Friend,  lend  me  three  loaves  ; 

How  great  is  the  advantage  and  privilege  of  a  Christian, 
•who  prays,  not  to  a,  friend,  but  to  a  Father,  and  a  Father 
who  does  not  wait  for  our  soliciting  him,  but  presses  us  him- 
self to  ask  him  ;  who  has  no  difficult  moments  or  unseasonable 
hours,  but  whom  we  find  ready  at  all  times,  not  barely  to 
lend,  but  even  to  give,  and  that  not  only  more  than  we  de- 
serve, but  more  than  we  ask  or  could  presume  to  ask.  The 
bread  of  the  mind  is  truth ;  the  bread  of  the  heart  is  to  do 
the  will  of  God  ;  the  bread  of  the  whole  man  is  Jesus  Christ 
and  his  grace :  give  us.  Lord,  these  three,  and  never  cease  to 
give  them. 

6.  For  a  friend  of  mine  in  his  journey  Is  come  to  me,  and  I  have  no- 
thing to  set  before  him  : 

The  friend  whom  we  ought  to  love  most  is  our  soul :  it  is  in 

a  journey  from  the  very  time  that  it  is  united  to  the  body, 

and  comes  into  the  world  ;    and  it  finds   here  nothing  but 

poverty,  indigence,  and  infirmity.     It  is  to  thee,  0  my  God, 

that  I  have  recourse  in  behalf  of  my  soul ;  for  I  have  nothing 

to  set  before  it.     Thou  hast  been  pleased  to  give  it  the  life 

of  faith :  vouchsafe  likewise  to  nourish  it  with  hope,  and  to 

strengthen  and  support  it  by  charity. 

7.  And  he  from  within  shall  answer  and  say,  Trouble  me  not:  the 
door  is  now  shut,  and  my  children  are  with  me  in  bed :  I  cannot  rise 
and  give  thee. 

The  importunity  and  violence  which  we  use  toward  God  in 
prayer,  are  very  grateful  to  him  ;  or  rather,  we  never  properly 
offer  any  violence  at  all  to  him,  but  when  we  force  him  to  re- 
fuse us  by  rendering  ourselves  unworthy  to  receive  his  gifts. 
The  door  of  his  mercy  is  always  open  during  this  life.  He, 
from  within  his  liouse,  Avhicli  is  heaven,  hears  those  who  pray 

on  earth.  The  supreme  rest  and  happiness  which  he  enjoys 
in  himself  with  his  saints,  does  not  make  him  insensible  to 
our  pains^and  miseries  ;  and  he  need  not  quit  the  least  part 
of  that  happiness  in  order  to  assist  and  relieve  us.  Rise, 
Lord,  and  behold  the  weariness,  hunger,  and  wants  of  this 
poor  traveller. 

8.  I  say  unto  you,  Though  he  will  not  rise  and  give  him,  because  he 
is  his  friend,  yet  because  of  his  importunity  he  will  rise  and  give  him  as 
many  as  he  needeth. 

Perseverance  in  prayer  obtains  every  thing.  The  odd  con- 
duct and  irregular  behaviour  of  worldly  people  serve  for  the 
instruction  of  the  righteous,  to  whom  charity  makes  every 
thing  useful  and  advantageous.  Man  is  hard-hearted  even 
to  his  friends,  when  it  must  cost  him  something  to  assist 
them ;  because  most  commonly  it  is  only  either  his  own  satis- 
faction, or  his  interest,  which  he  loves  in  them.  God  does 
good  to  all,  because  he  is  goodness  itself,  because  he  commu- 
nicates his  good  things  without  diminishing  them,  because  he 
works  in  all  things  without  being  wearied,  and  because  he 
loves  without  the  least  interest. 

9.  And  I  say  unto  you.  Ask,  and  it  shall  be  given  you;  seek,  and  ye 
shall  find;  knock,  and  it  shall  be  opened  unto  you. 

A  man,  in  order  to  offer  up  a  good  prayer,  must  ask  with 
the  humility  of  a  beggar,  he  must  seek  with  the  carefulness 
of  a  good  servant,  and  he  must  knock  with  the  confidence  of 
a  friend.  It  is  either  through  pride,  hard-heartedness,  or 
want  of  power,  that  men  suffer  themselves  to  be  importuned 
by  others,  and  make  them  wait  for  their  gifts  so  long :  God 
does  it  out  of  kindness,  wisdom,  and  love,  and  in  order  to  the 
more  plentiful  effusion  of  his  gifts  and  mercies,  since  he  him- 
self engages  to  form  in  us  the  piety,  perseverance,  and  other 
dispositions  of  prayer,  and  to  proportion  thereto  the  magnifi- 
cence of  his  gifts  and  the  abundance  of  his  graces. 

10.  For  every  one  that  asketh  receiveth ;  and  he  that  sceketh  findeth; 
and  to  him  that  knocketh  it  shall  be  opened. 

It  is  by  charity  that  we  must  ask,  seek,  and  knock  ;  it  is  by 

this  that  we  obtain  every  thing ;  it  is  by  this  that  we  make 

a  good  and   persevering   use   of  any  gift   already  received. 

When  we  do  not  receive  that  which  we  ask,  let  us  always  be- 


lieve  either  that  "we  do  not  ask  it  as  we  ought,  or  that  it  is 
good  for  us  not  to  receive  it.  We  must  receive  refusals  from 
God  as  gifts  with  adoration  and  thanksgiving,  because  it  is 
really  a  great  gift  for  us  not  to  receive  that  which  he  fore- 
sees we  would  abuse,  and  the  abuse  of  which  would  incense 
his  wrath  against  us. 

11.  If  a  son  shall  ask  bread  of  any  of  you  that  is  a  fixther,  will  he 
give  him  a  stone?  or  if  he  ask  a  fish,  will  he  for  a  fish  give  him  a  serpent? 

Let  us  never  fear  that  God  will  give  us  a  stone  instead  of 

bread ;  but  let  us  fear  lest  we  ourselves  should  change  the 

bread  of  God  into  a  stone,  by  the  hardness  of  our  own  heart. 

Whoever  receives  the  sacrament  without  profit,  and  eats  and 

drinks  the  representative  body  and  blood  of  Christ  without 

being  nourished  by  them,  he  changes  the  bread  of  heaven  into 

a  stone.    Judas  received  them  into  his  mouth,  and  the  serpent 

entered  into  his  heart,  because  he  received  them  Avith  the 

heart  of  a  serpent. 

12.  Or  if  he  shall  ask  an  egg,  will  he  offer  him  a  scorpion? 

What  ought  we  not  then  to  expect  from  so  good  a  Father 
as  God  is  in  relation  to  us  ?  And  how  can  his  gifts  possibly 
do  us  any  hurt,  so  long  as  we  take  care  to  keep  our  heart 
sound  and  good  ?  The  Scripture  may  be  compared  to  an  egg, 
which  we  must  open  in  order  to  discover  the  truths  of  religion 
therein  contained,  and  on  which  a  good  heart  feeds,  taking  it 
with  the  salt  of  wisdom  and  discretion.  Heretics  and  liber- 
tines find  therein  that  which  poisons  them,  because  they  have 
the  heart  of  a  scorpion. 

13.  If  ye  then,  being  evil,  know  how  to  give  good  gifts  unto  your  chil- 
dren ;  how  much  more  shall  yoiir  heavenly  Father  give  the  Holy*  Spirit 
to  them  that  ask  him  ?     [*F)\  Good.] 

It  is  the  goodness  of  God  which  is  the  fountain  of  all  his 
gifts.  The  good  Spirit  is  the  Spirit  of  love,  which  God  urges 
us  to  ask  of  him.  This  is  the  only  gift  which  in  itself  is  wor- 
thy of  God,  and  of  those  to  whom  he  has  already  vouchsafed 
to  give  his  Son.  There  is  nothing  which  we  ought  to  ask 
more  frequently  and  earnestly  than  this  ;  and  yet  there  is  no- 
thing which  is  by  the  generality  of  persons  asked  more  seldom 
and  with  greater  indifference.      It  is  a  shame  to  Christians 

80  LUKE. 

that  their  vows,  devotions,  etc.  have  almost  all  of  them  no 
other  end  but  health,  the  gaining  of  a  suit  at  law,  or  some 
other  temporal  advantage.  We  are  very  ready  to  ask  for 
good  success  in  our  affairs ;  but  we  seldom  ask  for  that  good 
Spirit  which  makes  even  the  worst  affairs  beneficial  and  ad- 
vantageous to  us,  through  the  good  which  it  causes  us  to  make 
of  them. 

8ECT.     III. — THE     DUMB     DEVIL. — THE     BLASPHEMY     OF    THE 

14.  ^  And  he  was  casting  out  a  devil,  and  it  was  dumb.  And  it 
came  to  pass,  when  the  devil  was  gone  out,  the  dumb  spake,  and  the 
people  wondered. 

The  devil  shuts  up  the  mouth  of  those  whom  he  hinders 

from  praising  God,  from  praying  to  him,  from   confessing 

their  sins,  from  bearing  witness  to  truth  and  innocence,  or 

from  giving  admonition,  instruction,  and  comfort  to  those  who 

need  them,  and  to  whom  they  are  due.    The  mouth  is  generally 

shut  with  respect  to  all  these  duties,  only  because  the  heart 

is  shut  toward  God,  and  open  to  temporal  interests,  and  to 

human  fears  and  motives.     Lord,  it  belongs  to  thy  Spirit  to 

cast  out  this  dumb  devil.     Thou  hast  the  key  of  David  ;  and 

if  thou  dost  but  vouchsafe  to  open  the  heart  and  the  mouth, 

no  man  is  able  to  shut  them. 

15.  But  some  of  them  said,  lie  casteth  out  devils  through  Beelzebub 
the  chief  of  the  devils. 

That  which  proceeds  from  the  Spirit  of  God,  is  every  day 
ascribed  to  the  evil  spirit  by  the  rash  judgments  of  men. 
Two  spirits  so  contrary  to  each  other  have  likewise  ways  as 
directly  contrary.  The  Spirit  of  God  inclines  men  to  excuse 
even  bad  actions  as  much  as  possible,  by  the  uprightness  of 
the  intention  ;  the  evil  spirit  endeavours  to  decry  the  very 
best,  condemning  either  the  intention  or  the  means.  We  ought 
to  be  forced  by  the  plainest  evidence  to  condemn  our  neigh- 
bour; and  we  often  condemn  him  contrary  to  all  evidence. 

IG.  And  others,  tempting  him,  sought  of  him  a  sign  from  heaven. 

Infidelity  has  never  sufficient  arguments  for  conviction. 
Faith,  though  wise  and  discreet,  having  likewise  humility  and 
sinceritj^,  is  satisfied  with  such  as  God  is  pleased  to  use.     To 


one  wlio  has  a  sincere  faith,  it  is  enough  that  God  has  once 
declared  himself.  He  who  is  not  content  with  this,  wants 
faith,  not  proofs.  Lord,  I  do  not  ask  of  thee  new  signs  or 
miracles  :  thou  art  thyself  the  greatest  of  all.  Faith  is  that 
which  is  necessary  for  me, — this  is  the  thing  which  I  ask  of 

17.  But  he,  knowing  their  thoughts,  said  unto  them,  Every  kingdom 
divided  against  itself  is  brought  to  desolation;  and  a  house  divided  against 
a  house  falleth. 

How  much  ought  we  to  love  unity,  without  which  nothing 

can  subsist,  since  it  is  one  of  the  properties  and  marks  of 

God's  works,  and  above  all  of  his  church  !    Every  communion 

which  separates  itself  from  this  church  is  no  other  than  a 

house  divided  against  itself,  which  will  certainly  fall.     The 

church  alone,  founded  upon  a  rock,  is  preserved  in  the  midst, 

and  against  all  the  assaults,  of  schismatical  churches  or  of 

false  religions,  which  all  conspire  its  destruction. 

18.  If  Satan  also  be  divided  against  himself,  how  shall  his  kingdom 
stand  ?  because  ye  say  that  I  cast  out  devils  through  Beelzebub. 

There  can  be  no  concord  between  Christ  and  Belial.  It  is 
a  foolish  and  senseless  calumny,  to  endeavour  to  make  it  be- 
lieved that  a  man  is  an  enemy  of  the  church,  when  he  is 
wholly  intent  on  establishing  truth  of  doctrine  and  holiness 
of  manners  therein,  and  on  casting  out  of  it  the  devils  of 
error  and  sin.  We  must  therefore,  following  the  example  of 
Christ,  not  cease  to  serve  the  church  in  the  midst  of  all  the 
calumnies  and  oppositions  of  false  brethren. 

19.  And  if  I  by  Beelzebub  cast  out  devils,  by  whom  do  your  sons  cast 
them  out?  therefore  shall  they  be  your  judges. 

The  corruption  of  the  heart  is  the  cause  of  the  corruption 
of  the  understanding  and  judgment.  Passion  makes  men 
frequently  condemn  that  in  some  which  they  approve  in  others 
As  nothing  is  so  common  as  these  personal  errors  and  here- 
sies, so  nothing  is  more  criminal  than  to  employ  these  means 
to  render  those  whom  we  do  not  love  odious  to  the  world. 

20.  But  if  I  with  the  finger  of  God  cast  out  devils,  no  doubt  the  king- 
dom of  God  is  come  upon  you. 

Wherever  the  reign  of  the  devil  and  of  self-love  ceases, 

82  LUKE. 

there  God  and  charity  must  needs  reign.  We  cannot  be  as- 
sured that  God  reigns  in  a  soul,  but  only  -when  the  devils 
which  possessed  it,  that  is,  its  lusts  and  evil  habits,  are  cast 
out,  not  by  other  devils  or  lusts,  but  by  the  love  of  righteous- 
ness and  the  hatred  of  sin ;  which  is  done  by  the  finger  of 
God — namely,  by  his  Holy  Spirit. 


21.  When  a  strong  man  armed  keepeth  his  palace,  his  goods  are  in 

The  world  and  the  sinner  are  the  habitation  of  the  devil, 
until  Christ  take  possession  of  them  by  his  incarnation  and 
grace.  We  are  all  born  under  the  dominion  of  this  strong 
person  armed  ;  and  have  all  been  his  house  and  his  possession, 
by  being  born  slaves  to  sin.  Would  to  God  we  had  never 
been  so  by  our  own  will,  and  that  we  had  not  given  ourselves 
to  him  more  than  once !  We  cannot  have  too  frequent  occa- 
sions of  humbling  ourselves  on  this  account ;  and  all  the 
truths  which  have  any  relation  to  this  matter,  put  us  in  mind 
of  doing  it. 

22.  But  when  a  stronger  than  he  shall  come  upon  him,  and  overcome 
him,  he  taketh  from  him  all  his  armour  wherein  he  trusted,  and  divideth 
his  spoils. 

Blessed  be  thou,  0  my  God,  for  that  thou  hast  not  left  this 
enemy  in  possession  of  my  heart,  but  hast  been  pleased  to  re- 
enter upon  thy  rights,  and  to  reinstate  thyself  therein,  by 
overcoming  in  me  concupiscence  by  a  stronger  charity.  With- 
out concupiscence,  the  devil  has  no  power :  that  is  the  thing 
wherein  he  places  his  whole  strength  and  confidence.  Christ 
takes  from  him  all  his  armour  whenever  he  roots  out  of  the 
heart  the  love  of  pleasures,  the  desire  of  riches,  and  the  pride 
of  life. 

23.  He  that  is  not  with  me  is  against  me;  and  he  that  gathereth  not 
with  me  scattereth. 

Indifference  is  a  crime  in  a  pastor  and  minister  of  the 

church,  who  is  a  man  of  God,  obliged   by  his  profession  to 

have  the  interests  of  Christ  and  of  his  spouse  at  heart.     In 

vain  does  he  flatter  himself  that  he  does  no  evil,  if  so  be  that 

he  do  no  good.     He  disperses  the  flock  of  God,  if  he  is  not 


diligent  in  seeking  and  bringing  home  the  sheep  which  are 
gone  astray,  in  securing  those  which  are  in  the  fold,  and  in 
feeding,  strengthening,  and  curing  them.  That  person  scat- 
ters who  does  not  gather  with  Jesus  Christ,  in  the  unity  of 
his  body,  in  his  Spirit,  and  by  his  grace. 

24.  When  the  unclean  spirit  is  gone  out  of  a  man,  he  walketh  through 
dry  places,  seeking  rest ;  and  finding  none,  he  saith,  I  will  return  unto 
my  house  whence  I  came  out. 

The  rage  of  the  devil  against  those  who  are  returned  to 
God,  is  greater  than  we  can  imagine.  We  have  but  little 
knowledge  of  this  enemy  of  our  salvation,  if  we  suffer  our- 
selves to  grow  careless  after  having  been  delivered  from  his 
yoke.  No  person  has  greater  reason  to  be  afraid  of  his  as- 
saults and  snares  than  one  who  has  vanquished  him,  if  the 
victory  either  puff  him  up  or  render  him  less  vigilant.  A 
converted  sinner  is  a  place  which  the  devil  has  lost,  the  weak 
sides  and  avenues  whereof  he  perfectly  knows,  and  in  which 
he  very  often  keeps  a  correspondence. 

25.  And  when  he  conieth,  he  findeth  it  swept  and  garnished. 
Nothing  is  more  likely  to  recall  the  devil  into  a  reconciled 

sinner,  than  for  him  either  not  to  confirm  and  secure  his 
reconciliation  by  good  works,  or  to  have  only  the  outward 
part  of  them,  or  to  take  great  complacency  and  satisfaction 
in  them  as  in  his  own  proper  righteousness.  Such  a  soul 
seems  to  be  swept  and  garnished  on  purpose  to  invite  the 
devil  back  again. 

26.  Then  goeth  he,  and  taketh  to  him  seven  other  spirits  more  wicked 
than  himself;  and  they  enter  in,  and  dwell  there:  and  the  last  state  of 
that  man  is  worse  than  the  first. 

How  dangerous  are  relapses  !  If  the  Jews,  delivered  from 
their  bondage  in  Egypt,  and  become  the  people  of  God  by 
the  covenant  of  the  law,  fell  into  a  state  much  worse  than 
their  first,  by  the  abuse  of  that  covenant  and  by  rejecting 
Jesus  Christ, — alas  !  what  is  the  last  state  of  a  Christian, 
who  falls  from  the  divine  adoption  by  losing  the  grace  of  his 
baptism,  by  trampling  under  foot  the  blood  of  Christ,  and 
obliging  his  Holy  Spirit  to  withdraw  from  him,  and  give 
place  to  the  evil  spirit ! 

84  LUKE. 


27.  1[  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  he  spake  these  things,  a  certain  woman 
of  the  company  lifted  up  her  voice,  and  said  unto  him,  Blessed  is  the 
■vromb  that  bare  thee,  and  the  paps  which  thou  hast  sucked. 

The  holy  Virgin  is  not  blessed  in  having  borne  Christ,  on 

any  other  account,  but  only  because  he,  being  much  more 

the  holiest  of  saints,  made  her  worthy  to  be  his  mother  by 

sanctifying  her.     The  virtue  of  children  is  the  glory  of  those 

who  gave  them  bii'th  and  good  education. 

28.  But  he  said.  Yea,  rather,  blessed  are  they  that  hear  the  word  of 
God,  and  keep  it. 

Christ  does  not  blame  the  praise  here  given  to  his  mother, 

but  he   completes    and  perfects  it,   by  intimating  that   her 

blessedness  proceeded  from  having  borne  the  Son  of  God  in 

her  heart,  even  before  she  bare  him  in  her  womb ;  and  from 

her  having  been  nourished  herself  with  the  milk  of  the  word 

and  will  of  his  Father,  even  before  she  nourished  his  Son 

with  her  own  milk.     Let  us  imitate  Jesus  Christ,  who  always 

prefers    those  who   belong  to   him   according   to  the   Spirit 

before  those  who  belong  to  him  according  to  the  flesh.    Blessed 

is  that  person  who  hears  the  word  and  keeps  it ! 

29.  Tf  And  when  the  people  were  gathered  thick  together,  he  began  to 
say,  This  is  an  evil  generation:  they  seek  a  sign;  and  there  shall  no 
sign  be  given  it,  but  the  sign  of  Jonas  the  prophet. 

Nothing  shows  more  clearly  the  hardness  and  corruption 
of  these  hearts,  than  their  asking  a  new  miracle — counting,  it 
seems,  all  those  as  nothing  which  they  had  seen  before.  Their 
incredulity  with  respect  to  that  which  he  promised,  and  which 
he  gave  them  in  his  resurrection,  ought  fully  to  convince  man 
that  the  most  extraordinary  are  capable  only  of  hardening 
the  heart  the  more,  unless  God  change  it  by  an  inward  mira- 
cle of  his  grace,  and  render  it  attentive  to  the  voice  of 
external  miracles.  My  God,  this  is  the  miracle  which  I  ask 
of  thee: — grant  that  I  may  not  have  the  heart  of  a  Jew,  in 
relation  either  to  all  those  which  thou  hast  wrought  for  me, 
or  to  all  those  which  I  have  every  day  before  the  eyes  of  my 
flesh  and  of  mv  faith  I 

CHAPTER    XI.  85 

30.  For  as  Jonas  was  a  sign  unto  the  Ninevites,  so  shall  also  the  Son 
of  man  be  to  this  generation. 

The  resurrection  of  Christ  was  the  last  of  his  miracles  for 
the  Jews,  and  filled  up  the  measure  of  their  impenitence.  It 
was  the  first  for  the  Gentiles — the  signal  that  they  should  be 
called  to  repentance,  and  the  cause  and  pattern  of  their  con- 
version, prefigured  by  that  of  the  heathen  Ninevites.  Let  thy 
resurrection,  0  Jesus,  be  truly  to  me,  both  the  end  of  my 
falling  and  the  beginning  of  a  new  life.  The  mysteries  of 
Christ,  which  to  those  who  have  faith  are  sources  of  grace, 
become  to  proud  and  incredulous  hearts  occasions  of  their 
falling  and  being  hardened  in  sin. 

31.  The  queen  of  the  south  shall  rise  up  in  the  judgment  with  the  men 
of  this  generation,  and  condemn  them:  for  she  came  from  the  utmost 
parts  of  the  earth  to  hear  the  wisdom  of  Solomon;  and,  behold,  a 
greater  than  Solomon  is  here. 

Unbelieving  Christians  will  be  condemned  even  by  infidels. 
What  pains  do  people  take  to  satisfy  their  curiosity,  and 
perhaps  only  to  see  a  man  ?  Would  they  do  as  much  in  order 
to  their  own  salvation,  and  to  know  Jesus  Christ?  This 
example  will  confound  those  Christians  at  the  day  of  judg- 
ment who  have  not  vouchsafed  to  open  the  New  Testament, 
that  they  might  hear  the  incarnate  Wisdom  speaking  therein, 
and  learn  from  his  mouth  the  words  of  eternal  life.  We  have 
no  occasion  to  cross  the  seas,  or  to  go  far  to  hear  him :  we 
need  only  hearken  to  the  church  everywhere,  which  is  the 
mouth  of  the  true  Solomon.  How  great  is  the  comfort  when, 
at  the  foot  of  the  gospel,  our  faith  tells  us,  "  Behold,  a  greater 
than  Solomon  is  here !"  This  is  He  who  possesses  and  gives 
true  wisdom. 

32.  The  men  of  Nineveh  shall  rise  up  in  the  judgment  with  this  gene- 
ration, and  shall  condemn  it:  for  they  repented  at  the  preaching  of 
Jonas;  and,  behold,  a  greater  than  Jonas  is  here. 

Graces  not  received  as  they  ought,  and  the  abuse  of  the 
divine  benefits,  harden  the  heart.  What  a  repentance  was 
this,  at  the  preaching  of  a  person  unknown,  of  a  different 
nation  and  religion,  and  working  no  miracles,  and  this  only 
to  avoid  temporal  evils !  Where  is  that  of  the  generality  of 
Christians,  though  instructed  by  the  Son  of  God  himself,  and 

Vol.  II.— 8 

86  LUKE. 

by  wliicli  they  are  to  deliver  themselves  from  an  eternity  of 
torments,  and  to  gain  heaven  ?  Let  us  not  wait  till  the  last 
day,  either  of  the  world  or  of  our  life,  ere  we  make  this  com- 
parison, and  understand  what  we  owe  to  Christ  and  to  our 
own  souls. 


33.  No  man,  when  he  hath  liglited  a  candle,  putteth  it  in  a  secret 
place,  neither  under  a  bushel,  but  on  a  candlestick,  that  they  which 
come  in  may  see  the  light. 

The  truths  of  the  gospel  are  not  to  be  concealed,  nor  held 

captive  in  unrighteousness  ;  but  the  people  are  to  be  instructed 

in  them.     The  Scripture,  and  particularly  the  gospel,  is  our 

candle.     It  is  the  Spirit  of  God  which  has  lighted  and  placed 

it  on  the  candlestick  of  the  church,  that  the  light  of  it  might 

be  seen  by  all  the  faithful.     To  forbid  Christians  the  reading 

of  the  Scripture,  is  to  forbid  the  use  of  light  to  the  children 

of  light,  and  to  make  them  suffer  a  sort  of  excommunication. 

Thou,  0  Lord,  wast  pleased  to  invite  everybody  to  hear  thee, 

and  didst  expressly  forbid  thy  apostles  to  hinder  little  ones 

from  coming  to  thee :  do  not  permit  me,  then,  to  be  hindered 

from  hearing  thee  in  thy  gospel,  which  is  to  me  instead  of  thy 

visible  presence ;    nor  suffer  this  candle  to  be  put  under  a 

bushel  or  in  a  secret  place. 

34.  The  light  of  the  body  is  the  eye:  therefore  when  thine  eye  ia 
single,  thy  whole  body  also  is  full  of  light ;  but  when  thine  eye  is  evil, 
thy  body  also  is  full  of  darkness. 

The  single  eye  is  an  upright,  pure,  and  Christian  intention. 

It  is  a  great  misfortune  for  a  Christian,  and  much  more  for  a 

clergyman,  to  have  either  false  lights  and  prejudices  in  his 

mind,  or  corrupt  passions  and  intentions :  all  his  designs,  his 

judgments,  and  the  whole  conduct  of  his  life  are  generally 

infected  thereby.     This  was  that  which  made  the  Jews  judge 

so  ill  of  Christ,  and  reject  him ;  and  it  is  this  which  makes 

Christians  judge  so  ill  of  their  brethren,  and  set  themselves 

against  them  without  any  foundation. 

35.  Take  heed  therefore  that  the  light  which  is  in  thee  be  not  dark- 

An  irregular  intention  corrupts  the  whole  action ;  a  false 

CHAPTER   XI.  87 

light  causes  a  man  to  fall  into  abundance  of  faults.  It  is  one 
of  the  most  dangerous,  for  us  to  be  unwilling  to  examine,  ac- 
cording to  Christ's  direction,  whether  that  by  which  we  are 
led  be  not  rather  darkness  than  light.  It  is  an  inexhaustible 
spring  of  rash  judgments,  divisions,  and  sins,  for  men  to  ad- 
here inflexibly  to  their  own  prepossessions,  and  to  resolve  no 
more  to  hear  nor  receive  any  instruction  than  if  they  were 

36.  If  thy  whole  body  therefore  he  full  of  light,  having  no  part  dark, 
the  whole  shall  be  full  of  light,  as  when  the  bright  shining  of  a  candle 
doth  give  the  light. 

When  a  man's  heart  and  inclinations  tend  to  God,  and  he 

walks  toward  him,  following  a  sure  guide,  such  as  is  the  gospel 

or  the  church,  he  has  peace  in  his  heart,  and  walks  as  in  a 

way  of  light.     Every  thing  which  moves  the  heart  must  be 

very  right  and  pure ;  the  least  irregular  aim,  the  least  dark 

intention,  is  capable  of  spreading  great  darkness  over  the 

whole  conduct  and  behaviour. 


37.  1[  And  as  he  spake,  a  certain  Pharisee  besought  him  to  dine  with 
him :  and  he  went  in,  and  sat  down  to  meat. 

It  is  necessary  to  converse  familiarly  with  sinners,  in  order 
to  gain  them  to  God ;  but  it  must  be  done  with  prudence  and 
circumspection.  A  minister  of  God  ought  not  to  eat  at  the 
table  of  others  either  often  or  of  his  own  accord.  He  may 
sometimes  yield  to  importunity,  and  to  considerations  of  use- 
fulness, decency,  or  charity ;  but  never  to  his  own  inclination, 
or  to  the  desire  of  good  cheer. 

38.  And  when  the  Pharisee  saw  it,  he  marvelled  that  he  had  not  first 
washed  before  dinner. 

This  Pharisee,  by  immediately  showing  his  Pharisaism,  dis- 
covers the  reason  which  brought  the  Son  of  God  to  his  house  : 
it  was  more  to  instruct  than  to  be  entertained.  It  is  easy  to 
pass  from  the  practice  of  some  external  action  to  a  fond- 
ness for  it ;  from  fondness  to  superstition ;  from  superstition  to 
a  condemnation  of  those  who  do  not  practise  it ;  from  a  con- 
demnation to  a  contempt  of  them ;  and  from  a  contempt  to  an 
open  schism  and  separation. 

S3  LUKE. 

39.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  him,  Now  do  ye  Pharisees  make  clean  the 
outside  of  the  cup  and  the  platter ;  but  your  inward  part  is  full  of  raven- 
ing and  wickedness. 

Christ  here  teaches  his  ministers  not  to  be  parasites,  who  pur- 
chase their  good  meals  at  the  expense  of  truth.  He  does  not 
speak  the  language  of  one  who  has  sold  his  liberty,  or  who 
is  lavish  of  his  commendations  out  of  interest.  Who  can  say 
that  he  is  entirely  free  from  this  Pharisaical  hypocrisy  ? 
Where  is  that  person  to  be  found,  who,  by  the  inward  purity 
of  the  motions  of  his  heart,  takes  as  much  care  not  to  offend 
the  eyes  of  God,  as  he  does  not  to  displease  men  by  his  out- 
ward behaviour? 

40.  Ye  fools,  did  not  he  that  made  that  which  is  without  make  that 
which  is  within  also  ? 

This  apparent  severity  of  expression  is  often  useful  and 
even  necessary  to  awaken  the  sinner,  and  to  give  him  a  more 
lively  sense  of  his  faults.  There  are  no  sinners  whatever,  who 
think  themselves  wiser,  or  more  applaud  their  own  actions, 
than  hypocrites  do ;  and  it  is  for  this  very  reason  that  our 
blessed  Lord  exposes  the  folly  of  their  conduct.  Nothing  is 
more  foolish  than  to  pretend  to  be  devout  by  a  grave  and  se- 
rious appearance ;  to  endeavour  to  please  men  who  cannot 
possibly  make  us  happy;  and  not  to  be  at  all  solicitous  to 
please  God,  upon  whom  our  happiness  depends ;  to  bestow  all 
our  care  on  the  outside,  not  considering  that  it  is  in  mind  and 
heart  that  we  are  made  after  the  image  of  God,  and  that, 
without  giving  him  these,  it  is  not  possible  to  please  him. 

41.  But  rather  give  alms  of  such  things  as  you  have  ;  and,  behold,  all 
things  are  clean  unto  you. 

He  who  has  pity  on  the  poor  shall  be  saved,  provided  he 
have  likewise  pity  on  his  own  soul,  in  rendering  himself  ac- 
ceptable to  God.  Hypocrisy  and  avarice,  when  joined  to- 
gether, are  almost  incurable.  In  beginning  to  oppose  cove- 
tousness  by  giving  alms,  we  weaken  hypocrisy ;  because  the 
latter  is  oftentimes  only  an  effect  of  the  former,  and  because 
God  shows  mercy  to  those  who  themselves  show  it  to  others. 



42.  But  woe  unto  you,  Pharisees !  for  je  tithe  mint  and  rue,  and  all 
manner  of  herbs,  and  pass  over  judgment  and  the  love  of  God;  these 
ought  ye  to  have  done,  and  not  to  leave  the  other  undone. 

Observe  here  the  several  marks  and  characters  of  the  devo- 
tion  of  the  Pharisees,  and  of  all  those  who  act  by  their  spirit : 
First,  They  are  very  exact  in  trifles,  in  order  to  gain  reputa- 
tion and  credit;  but  they  destroy  the  commandment  concern- 
ing the  love  of  God,  to  flatter  the  desires  of  the  world,  of  whose 
favour  they  are  extremely  fond.  It  ought  to  be  the  chief 
care  of  a  pastor,  to  establish  religion  in  the  heart  by  the  love 
of  God,  which  worships  him  in  spirit  and  in  truth,  and  by  the 
love  of  our  neighbour,  which  includes  in  it  judgment  or  justice. 
External  performances  are  but  the  outside  of  these  things. 

43.  Woe  unto  you,  Pharisees !  for  ye  love  the  uppermost  seats  in  the 
synagogues,  and  greetings  in  the  markets. 

The  second  character  of  the  imitators  of  the  Pharisees  is, 
that  they  seek  to  be  the  first  or  chief  in  the  church,  to  teach 
and  preach  in  the  chief  pulpits,  and  to  be  honoured  by  the 
people.  Pride  does  not  consist  in  being  the  first  or  chiefest, 
but  in  loving  the  esteem  and  distinction  which  attend  upon 
the  first  place,  and  seeking  the  advantages  which  accompany 
it.  It  is  a  misfortune  to  be  exposed  to  them,  because  it  is 
very  rare  not  to  be  corrupted  by  them. 

44.  Woe  unto  you,  scribes  and  Pharisees,  hypocrites !  for  ye  are  as 
graves  vj^hich  appear  not,  and  the  men  that  walk  over  them  are  not  aware 
of  them. 

The  third  mark  or  character  of  these  imitators  is,  that  they 
hide  their  corrupt  maxims  under  an  external  piety  and  a  false 
charity.  It  is  a  dreadful  judgment  on  hypocrites,  when  God 
sufiers  them  to  conceal  their  corruption  according  to  their 
heart's  desire:  their  being  exposed  to  public  shame  would  be 
a  step  toward  their  conversion.  It  is  the  same  in  proportion 
with  respect  to  the  lesser  instances  of  hypocrisy  and  feigned 
humiliations,  from  which  few  are  altogether  exempt. 


45.  If  Then  answered  one  of  the  lawyers,  and  said  unto  him,  Master, 
thus  saying  thou  reproachest  us  also. 

The  fourth  character  of  hypocrites  is,  that  they  think  them- 
selves incapable  of  committing  fiiults,  that  they  cannot  bear 
being  reproved  for  them,  and  that  they  are  no  fm'ther  con- 
cerned at  the  disgrace  of  others  than  as  it  falls  upon  them- 
selves. We  see  two  very  contrary  affections  in  the  proud. 
The  fear  of  being  despised,  persuades  them  that  they  are  taxed 
whenever  we  reprove  the  faults  of  others ;  and  the  esteem  they 
have  of  themselves,  makes  them  believe  that  our  discourse  is 
never  directed  to  them,  when  we  exhort  to  the  practice  of  virtue. 

46.  And  he  said,  Woe  unto  you  also,  ye  lawyers  !  for  ye  lade  men  with 
burdens  grievous  to  be  borne,  and  ye  yourselves  touch  not  the  burdens 
with  one  of  your  fingers. 

The  fifth  mark  or  character  of  the  imitators  of  the  Phari- 
sees is,  that  they  observe  no  part  of  that  themselves  to  which 
they  oblige  others ;  and  that  they  indiscreetly  load  them  with 
the  burden  of  many  unprofitable  performances,  without  con- 
cerning themselves  whether  their  heart  is  devoted  to  God. 
True  charity  is  compassionate,  willing  to  take  upon  itself  the 
burden  of  others,  and  far  from  laying  upon  them  one  which  is 
too  grievous  to  be  borne:  whereas  hypocrites  aim  at  nothing 
but  gaining  to  themselves  honour  from  the  austerities  wliich 
they  impose  upon  others,  without  consulting  their  strength. 

47.  Woe  unto  you !  for  ye  build  the  sepulchres  of  the  prophets,  and 
your  fathers  killed  them. 

The  sixth  character  of  hypocrites  is,  that  they  spare  nothing 

to  persuade  the  world  that  they  honour  those  who  have  laid 

down  their  lives  for  the  truth,  and  that  they  condemn  their 

persecutors,  though  they  themselves  persecute  the  truth  and 

those  who  preach  it.     Those  persons  who  inherit  the  vices  of 

their  fathers,  can  never  sincerely  condemn  their  crimes. 

48.  Truly  ye  bear  witness  that  ye  allow  the  deeds  of  your  fathers:  for 
they  indeed  killed  them,  and  ye  build  their  sepulchres. 

Seventhly,  Hypocrites  imitate  the  wicked  wlio  are  gone 
before  them.  Cruel  as  their  fathers,  they  are  continually 
hatching  mischievous  designs  in  their  hearts  against  tlie  ser- 
vants of  God  living  in  their  own  age,  and,  at  the  same  time, 
make  a  show  of  honouring  the  saints  of  ages  past. 

.      CHAPTER    XL  91 

49.  Therefore  also  said  the  wisdom  of  God,  I  will  send  them  prophets 
and  apostles,  and  some  of  them  they  shall  slay  and  persecute : 

In  the  eighth  place,  they  make  no  scruple  to  destroy  or 

ruin  those  who  contradict  them  no  otherwise  than  by  opposing 

their  passions  in  teaching  them  the  truth.     The  wisdom  of 

God  must  needs  draw  abundance  of  glory  from  the  fidelity  of 

a  minister  who  gives  up  his  life  rather  than  renounce  the 

truth  or  be  wanting  to  his  ministry ;  since,  in  order  to  make 

way  for  it,  he  permits  so  great  a  crime,  even  foreseeing  it. 

50.  the  blood  of  all  the  prophets,  which  was  shed  from  the  foun- 
dation of  the  world,  may  be  required  of  this  generation  . 

The  ninth  mark  or  character  of  hypocrites  is,  that  they 
draw  down  the  curse  of  God  upon  a  whole  people,  by  engag- 
ing them  in  their  passions.  The  blood  of  the  prophets,  that 
is,  the  injustice  and  violence  done  to  the  ministers  of  the 
Lord,  is  that  which  generally  fills  up  the  measure  of  iniquity, 
and  brings  down  utter  desolation  upon  states  and  kingdoms. 
Other  sins  are  punished  in  private  persons:  God  revenges 
these  as  injuries  done  to  himself,  after  a  most  dreadful  man- 
ner, and  by  the  ruin  and  desolation  of  whole  nations. 

51.  From  the  blood  of  Abel  unto  the  blood  of  Zacharias,  which  perished 
between  the  altar  and  the  temple :  verily  I  say  unto  you.  It  shall  be  re- 
quired of  this  generation. 

The  tenth  character  of  hypocrites  is,  that  they  flatter  them- 
selves with  the  hopes  of  impunity ;  but  the  justice  of  God  will 
certainly  punish  them,  all  in  general,  and  every  one  in  par- 
ticular. Abel  is  counted  among  the  prophets,  because  he  pre- 
figured or  foreshowed  Jesus  Christ  by  his  innocence  and  death, 
as  Cain  did  Judas  and  the  Jewish  people,  by  his  treachery, 
envy,  and  fratricide.  Extraordinary  crimes,  which  put  an 
end  to  the  patience  of  God,  are  punished  with  a  general  pu- 
nishment; because  the  corruption  and  impenitence  are  then 
become  general,  the  people  join  in  the  sins  of  their  leaders, 
and  they  seem  to  have  heaped  up  and  surpassed  all  the  wicked- 
ness of  preceding  ages. 

52.  "Woe  unto  you,  lawyers  !  for  ye  have  taken  away  the  key  of  know- 
ledge :  ye  entered  not  in  yourselves,  and  them  that  were  entering  in  ye 

The  eleventh  mark  or  character  of  hypocrites  is,  that  they 

imagine  themselves  alone  in  possession  of  knowledge,  though 
they  be  ignorant,  and  endeavour  to  keep  others  in  ignorance 
as  much  as  possible.  It  is  a  wretched  and  damnable  artifice 
of  those  who  would  tyrannize  over  the  consciences  of  men,  to 
introduce  and  continue  ignorance  in  the  church.  They  who 
are  resolved  not  to  follow  the  light,  are  far  from  endeavour- 
ing to  disperse  the  darkness,  by  the  favour  of  which  they 
securely  reign. 

53.  And  as  he  said  these  things  unto  them,  the  scribes  and  the  Pharisees 
began  to  urge  him  vehemently,  and  to  provoke  him  to  speak  of  many 
things :  54.  Laying  wait  for  him,  and  seeking  to  catch  something  out 
of  his  mouth,  that  they  might  accuse  him. 

The  twelfth  and  last  character  of  the  imitators  of  the  Pha- 
risees is,  that  they  place  all  their  strength  in  confidence,  craft, 
and  deceit ;  whereas  sincerity,  humility,  and  trust  in  God  are 
the  whole  strength  of  the  righteous.  It  is  the  common  way 
of  heretics  and  false  teachers  to  be  provoked  by  the  advice 
which  is  given  them,  and  at  the  imputations  with  which  they 
are  justly  charged,  to  clear  no  one  point,  to  answer  by  new 
questions,  and  to  seek  to  surprise  their  adversaries,  or  to 
catch  something  out  of  their  mouth  that  they  may  accuse 
them.  Thy  wisdom  and  light,  0  Lord,  can  disperse  all  their 
artifice  and  darkness.  Cast  the  bright  beams  of  this  light  on 
those  who  are  to  defend  themselves  against  these  subtle  and 
deceitful  men.  Raise  and  animate  their  heart,  that  they  may 
not  be  wanting  to  the  cause  of  truth ;  guide  their  tongues,  that 
they  may  not  be  deficient  in  prudence,  nor  expose  the  truth 
by  any  indiscretions  or  unseasonable  transports  of  zeal. 



1.  In  the  mean  time,  when  there  gathered  together  an  innumerable 
multitude  of  pe(ii)Ie,  insomuch  that  they  trode  one  upon  another,  he  be- 
gan to  say  unto  his  dif^ciples  first  of  all,  Beware  ye  of  the  leaven  of  the 
Pharisees,  which  is  hypocrisy. 

Great  and  habitual  hjj-pocrites,  and  whose  hypocrisy  tends 
to  seduce  the  minds  of  men  by  error,  or  to  corrupt  their  man- 

CHAPTER    XII.  93 

ners  by  sin,  ought  not  to  be  concealed.  But  to  qualify  a  man 
to  tax  others  with  this  vice,  he  must  either  know  the  bottom 
of  the  heart,  as  Jesus  did,  or  there  must  be  such  full  proof 
and  evidence  of  the  thing,  that  he  may  be  certain  of  it.  Some 
particular  persons  among  the  Pharisees  might  be  exempt  from 
this  crime ;  and  yet  this  did  not  hinder  Christ  from  bringing 
a  general  charge  against  the  whole  body ;  because  private 
good  ought  to  give  way  to  public. 

2.  For  there  is  nothing  covered,  that  shall  not  be  revealed ;  neither 
hid,  that  shall  not  be  known. 

In  vain,  when  we  are  about  to  commit  a  sin,  do  we  shun 

the  sight  of  men,  since  we  cannot  possibly  avoid  that  of  our 

Judge.     The  darkness  of  the  night,  and  the  light  of  the  day, 

to  him  are  both  alike.     Sooner  or  later  the  hypocrite  will  be 

known  for  what  he  is ;  and  he  is  often  discovered  even  in  this 

life.     It  is  just  that  those  who  have  not  the  least  esteem  and 

value  for  the  life  to  come,  should  not  even  in  this  be  secure 

of  enjoying  always  the  short  pleasure  of  a  vain  reputation. 

3.  Therefore,  whatsoever  ye  have  spoken  in  darkness  shall  be  heard  in 
the  light ;  and  that  which  ye  have  spoken  in  the  ear  in  closets  shall  be 
proclaimed  upon  the  housetops. 

The  more  a  sinner  endeavours  to  hide  himself  here,  with 
the  greater  shame  and  confusion  shall  he  be  covered  hereafter 
in  the  sight  of  all  the  world.  That  which  constitutes  the 
peace  and  satisfaction  of  a  good  man  is,  that  he  does  nothing 
in  secret  of  which  he  need  be  ashamed  at  the  day  of  judg- 
ment ;  and  that  he  shuns  the  eyes  of  men  on  no  other  ac- 
count but  only  that  he  may  not  receive  from  them  his  reward. 
Let  us  often  reflect  upon  this  truth,  that  our  Judge  is  our 
Witness,  and  that  the  thickest  darkness  is  so  far  from  cover- 
ing us  from  his  sight,  that  it  becomes  bright  and  clear,  so  as 
to  show  us  plainly  to  him  with  all  our  most  secret  lusts  and 
desires.  It  is  not  enough  for  a  minister  of  the  truths  of  the 
gospel  not  to  corrupt  them  in  secret,  but  he  must  produce 
them  to  open  daylight,  and  preach  them  in  the  face  of  the 
whole  world. 

4.  And  I  say  unto  you,  my  friends,  Be  not  afraid  of  them  that  kill 
the  body,  and  after  that  have  no  more  that  they  can  do. 

We  ought  to  fear,  not  the  death  of  the  body,  since  it  must 

n  L  U  K  E. 

die,  but  that  of  the  soul,  which  was  created  to  live  eternally. 
Christ  is  not  of  the  number  of  those  friends  who  are  altogether 
for  sparing  those  they  love  the  trouble  of  present  evils,  and 
for  lulling  them  asleep  as  to  those  of  eternity,  for  fear  of 
disturbing  and  grieving  their  minds.  True  friendship  con- 
sists in  exciting  our  friends  to  do  their  duty,  and  saving  their 
souls  at  the  expense  of  all  things.  A  man  has  but  one  life 
to  lose,  and  one  soul  to  save ;  and  it  is  madness  to  sacrifice 
the  salvation  of  the  soul  to  the  preservation  of  the  life  of  the 
body,  instead  of  sacrificing  the  latter  to  the  salvation  of  the 

5.  But  I  will  not  forewarn  you  whom  ye  shall  fear;  Fear  him,  which 
after  he  hath  killed,  hath  power  to  cast  into  hell ;  yea,  I  say  unto  you, 
Fear  him. 

What  darkness  must  have  overspread  the  mind  of  man, 
what  corruption  must  there  be  in  his  heart,  since  it  was  re- 
quisite that  God  should  take  upon  him  our  flesh,  to  teach  us 
that  he  alone  ought  to  be  feared  !  It  is  our  fondness  for  the 
present  life  and  the  conveniences  thereof  which  makes  us  fear 
men,  and  is  the  cause  that  we  cannot  prevail  with  ourselves 
to  fear  none  but  God.  lie  alone  is  able  to  disengage  the 
heart  from  these  things  who  is  Lord  of  it  at  present,  and 
who  shall  hereafter  be  its  life  and  eternal  felicity.  Teach  us. 
Lord,  this  necessary  lesson.  Grant  that  I  may  love  nothing 
which  it  is  in  the  power  of  men  to  give  or  take  away,  to  the 
end  that  thou  mayest  be  the  sole  object  of  my  fear  as  well 
as  of  my  love. 

6.  Are  not  five  sparrows  sold  for  two  farthings,  and  not  one  of  them 
is  forgotten  before  God  ? 

The  providence  of  God  is  the  comfort  of  the  righteous. 
The  little  faith  we  have  as  to  the  care,  vigilance,  and  concern 
of  God,  in  every  thing  which  relates  to  us,  is  the  source  of 
all  human  disquiets  and  fears.  His  wisdom  cannot  be  sur- 
prised, his  power  cannot  be  forced,  his  love  cannot  forget 
itself:  this  ought  to  make  us  easy  and  satisfied,  yet  so  as  not 
to  neglect  human  means.  Man  distrusts  God,  and  fears  that 
he  is  forgotten  by  him,  because  he  judges  of  God  by  himself, 
is  very  apt  to  forget  him,  and  to  be  unfaithful  to  him. 


7.  But  even  the  very  hairs  of  your  head  are  all  numbered.     Fear  not 
tl^erefore:  ye  are  of  more  value  than  many  sparrows. 

Some  men  admire  the  providence  of  God  over  the  smallest 

creatures,  who  yet,  upon  occasion,  are  uneasy  and  solicitous, 

as  if  they  believed  none  with  respect  to  themselves.     God 

watches  over  every  thing,  without  debasing  himself;  he  acts 

in  every  thing,  without  growing  weary;  and  he  is  sufficient 

for  every  thing,  without  multiplying  himself:  and  this  because 

he  need  only  will,  and  because  whatever  good  he  designs  his 

creatures,  he  wills  it  by  his  power  and  his  love.     He  alone 

knows  our  value,  because  he  alone  knows  how  much  he  loves 

us,  and  because  he  is  himself  the  price  of  our  love.     Since 

God  is  mindful  of  man  with  so  much  goodness,  how  can  man 

be  so  unmindful  of  God  ? 

8.  Also  I  say  unto  you,  Whosoever  shall  confess  me  before  men,  him 
shall  the  Son  of  man  also  confess  before  the  angels  of  God : 

Christ  will  treat  us  at  the  day  of  judgment  as  we  have 

treated  him  in  the  time  of  our  life.     Happy  is  that  person 

who  confesses  him  in  his  heart,  with  his  mouth,  and  by  his 

works !     We  should  esteem  it  an  honour  to  declare  for  Christ 

if  it  cost  us  none  of  our  worldly  pretensions,  as  if  he  was  not 

capable  of  making  us  amends  for  whatever  we  can  lose  for 

his  sake,  and  as  if  it  were  not  sufficient  to  be  owned  by  him 

as  joint-heirs,  and  called  to  possess  his  inheritance  together 

with  him. 

9.  But  he  that  denieth  me  before  men  shall  be  denied  before  the  angels 
of  God. 

What  despair  must  bfe  the  portion  of  that  soul  which  Jesus 

Christ  denies  and  renounces  !     To  whom  can  it  belong  but  to 

the  devil,  whom  it  chose  for  its  master  when  it  refused  to 

acknowledge  Christ  for  its  Lord  and  its  God  ?     Every  age 

has  its  proper  manner  of  confessing  or  denying  Christ,  as 

every  age  has  its  proper  way  of  persecuting  those  who  do 

confess  him.     The  disposition  whereby  we  are  ready  to  give 

up  our  life  and  our  blood  is  requisite  at  all  times ;   and  when 

a  man  has  it,  he  sits  very  loose  from  every  thing  else.     The 

less  we  lose  at  present,  the  more  culpable  are  we  if  we  are 

unwilling,  when    occasion   requires,  to  relinquish  it  for  the 

sake  of  Christ. 

96  LUKE. 

10.  And  whosoever  shall  speak  a  word  against  the  Son  of  man,  it  shall 
be  forgiven  him :  but  unto  him  that  blasphemeth  against  the  Holy  Ghost 
it  shall  not  be  forgiven. 

To  what  remedy  can  the  sinner  have  recourse,  if  he  reject 

the  Holy  Ghost,  who  alone  calls  him  to  repentance,  and  gives 

him  the  grace  and  the  will  to  perform  it.     He  who  through 

fear  renounces  Clirist,  is  not  far  from  speaking  against  him; 

but  to  renounce  the  faith  through  infidelity,  and  to  call  every 

thing  which  the  Spirit  of  God  has  done   by  Christ  and  his 

apostles  a  mere  illusion, — this  is  a  blasphemy  out  of  which  men 

seldom  or  never  recover,  because  the  root  of  faith  is  plucked 

up,  and  every  principle  of  life  extinguished. 

11.  And  when  they  bring  you  unto  the  synagogues,  and  unto  magis- 
trates, and  powers,  take  ye  no  thought  how  ur  what  thing  ye  shall 
answer,  or  what  ye  shall  say: 

Who  would  not  despair  of  being  able  to  stand  against  so 

many  sorts  of  temptations,  if  Christ  did  not  assure  us  that  it 

is  neither  by  our  own  understanding  nor  strength  that  we  are 

to  resist  them  ?     It  is  the  chief  foundation  of  our  hope,  not  to 

place    our   trust    and    confidence    in    ourselves,    but    to    be 

thoroughly  sensible  of  our  own  ignorance  and  weakness. 

12.  For  the  Holy  Ghost  shall  teach  you  in  the  same  hour  what  ye 
ought  to  say. 

The  knowledge  of  our  own  inability  would  serve  only  to 

make  us  despair,  if  Christ  had  not  promised  that  his  Spirit 

should  supply  all  our  defects,  and  do  all  in  us.     This  Spirit 

is  that  perfect  Master,  who    enlightens    the  understanding, 

inflames  the  heart,  and  forms  the  v^ry  words  in  our  mouth. 

0  Holy  Spirit!  thou  art  my  only  hope:  be  not  wanting  to  me 

in  my  need,  and  at  the  hour  of  temptation.     Instruct  me  in 

the  manner  peculiar  to  thyself,  by  causing  me  to  know,  love, 

and  perform  my  duty. 


13.  And  one  of  the  company  said  unto  him,  Master,  speak  to  my  bro- 
ther, that  he  divide  the  inheritance  with  me. 

The  possessions  of  this  world  are  only  occasions  of  division, 

trouble,   and  scandal:  the  certain  way  for  a  man  to  enjoy 


peace,  is  not  to  set  his  heart  upon  thera.  The  strictest  and 
closest  ties  are  not  proof  against  interest  and  the  desire  of 
riches.  Would  to  God  that  Christians,  after  the  example  of 
this  person,  instead  of  going  to  law,  would  refer  their  inte- 
rests to  the  determination  of  understanding  and  charitable 
arbitrators  !  This  is  the  fruit  of  a  good  sermon ;  and  a  pas- 
tor ought  to  preach  in  such  a  manner  as  to  gain  the  con- 
fidence of  the  faithful  to  that  degree,  that  they  may  believe 
they  put  their  interests  into  the  hands  of  Christ  in  putting 
them  into  his. 

14.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Man,  who  made  me  a  judge  or  a  divider  over 


A  person  consecrated  to  God  ought  not  to  concern  himself 
with  temporal  affairs,  any  further  than  charity  and  the  order 
of  discipline  engage  him  therein,  without  prejudice  to  more 
essential  duties.  Our  blessed  Lord  could  have  decided  this 
difference  in  a  moment;  but  the  example  of  a  perfect  dis- 
engagement from  worldly  things,  was  more  necessary  for  the 
ministers  of  the  church  than  that  of  a  charity  applying  itself 
to  temporal  concerns.  A  common  father  [or  pastor]  ought 
not  to  run  the  risk  of  losing  that  confidence  which  is  necessary 
with  respect  to  the  affairs  of  salvation,  by  concerning  him- 
self with  the  temporal  interest  of  one  of  the  parties  without 
the  consent  of  the  other. 

15.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Take  heed,  and  beware  of  covetousness: 
for  a  man's  life  consisteth  not  in  the  abundance  of  the  things  which  he 

It  is  not  for  the  ministers  of  the  church  to  meddle  with  the 
partition  of  estates,  or  with  the  differences  in  families ;  but 
they  ought  to  teach  the  faithful  the  rules  of  Christian  piety, 
and  the  means  of  avoiding  all  injustice.  This  vice  still  pro- 
ceeds from  covetousness,  and  therefore  this  is  the  thing  which 
must  be  rooted  up.  A  man's  life  does  not  consist  in  super- 
fluities, but  in  necessaries :  the  safest  way  is  to  keep  to  these. 
A  man  is  really  covetous,  not  only  in  taking  away  the  goods 
of  others,  but  likewise  in  preserving  and  securing  his  own 
with  too  much  affection  and  concern. 

16.  And  he  spake  a  parable  unto  them,  saying,  The  ground  of  a  cer- 
tain rich  man  brought  forth  plentifully  :     17.  And  he  thought  within 
Vol.  II.— 9  (i 

98  LUKE. 

himself,  sayino-,  What  shall  I  do,  because  I  have  no  room  where  to  be- 
stow my  fruits  ? 

Peace  is  to  be  found  in  evangelical  poverty  or  in  Christian 
mediocrity :  there  is  nothing  but  vexation  in  riches,  though 
ever  so  well  acquired.  Great  wealth  is  but  a  great  incum- 
brance, Mhen  a  man  has  not  learned  to  wean  his  affections 
from  it.  How  can  such  things  be  called  goods,  of  which 
even  the  abundance  vexes  and  disturbs  the  mind,  which  can- 
not be  preserved  without  great  pains  and  cost,  and  which, 
through  the  fear  of  losing  them,  become  the  torment  of  him 
who  possesses  them  ?  There  are  no  true  goods,  0  my  God, 
but  only  those  which  thou  designest  for  thy  elect — namely, 
the  good  things  of  heaven,  which  increase  by  desires,  which 
are  laid  up  only  in  the  heart,  which  enlarge  it,  which,  by 
multiplying,  make  room  for  themselves  therein,  and  which 
secure  and  preserve  themselves ;  because  to  love  them  always 
is  sufficient  of  itself  to  keep  us  from  ever  losing  them. 

18.  And  he  said,  This  will  I  do:  I  will  pull  down  my  barns,  and 
build  greater ;  and  there  will  I  bestow  all  my  fruits  and  my  goods. 

The  rich  are  full  of  designs  concerning  this  life  till  the 
very  time  of  their  death,  without  thinking  of  eternity.  Vain 
and  foolish  employment  of  the  children  of  this  world,  to  pass 
their  life  in  removing,  heaping,  and  raising  up  earth  to  afford 
a  momentary  spectacle  to  the  eyes  of  their  flesh,  or  a  tran- 
sient amusement  to  the  desires  of  their  heart !  Senseless 
wretch !  to  call  those  things  which  were  liable  to  perish  in  a 
moment  all  his  goods,  and  thereby  to  renounce  the  good 
things  of  eternity,  and  God  himself,  the  only  sovereign  and 
infinite  Good !  How  comes  it  to  pass  that  this  rich  man  does 
not  apprehend  that,  in  bestowing  [from  love  to  Christ]  this 
superfluity  which  perplexes  him  in  the  hands  of  the  poor,  he 
may,  without  any  further  charge,  securely  lay  up  a  treasure 
for  eternity  ? 

19.  And  I  will  say  to  my  soul,  Soul,  thou  hast  much  goods  laid  up  for 
many  years  ;  take  tliine  ease,  cat,  drink,  and  be  merry. 

The  rich  are  often  surprised  by  death  in  the  midst  of  their 
delights.  The  most  common  fruit  of  wealth  is  a  soft  and  vo- 
luptuous life.     Labour,  fasting,  and  the  godly  sorrow  of  re- 

CHAPTER    XII.  99 

pentance  are  the  portion  of  the  elect  in  this  life ;  that  of 
the  reprobate  is  idleness,  sensuality,  and  pleasure.  There 
are  few  who  speak  as  this  rich  man  did ;  but  the  world  is  full 
of  rich  persons  who  live  like  him.  It  is  a  great  misfortune 
for  the  generality  of  the  rich  that  they  are  not  poor,  and 
that  they  have  such  great  possessions  as  to  live  in  pride,  idle- 
ness, and  luxury ;  but  who  is  sensible  of  this  ?  Moderate 
poverty  is  a  great  talent  in  order  to  salvation,  but  it  is  one 
which  nobody  desires.  How  many  rich  men,  like  this  here 
before  us,  have  only  just  time  to  look  upon  their  riches,  and 
then  die,  without  any  enjoyment  of  those  on  earth,  and  with- 
out the  least  hopes  of  those  in  heaven  ! 

20.  But  God  said  unto  him,  TJiou  fool,  this  night  thy  soul  shall  be  re- 
quired of  thee :  then  whose  shall  those  things  be,  which  thou  hast  pro- 

A  strange  but  very  common  blindness  this,  for  men  to  heap 
up  immense  riches,  and  to  build  palaces  for  a  moment  of  life 
which  remains,  and  not  to  think  at  all  of  eternity,  which  fol- 
lows this  moment !  God  does  not  pronounce  this  sentence 
upon  each  rich  man  in  particular,  but  he  speaks  here  to  all. 
Nothing  is  more  inculcated  in  the  Scriptures  than  the  folly 
of  the  rich  and  the  vanity  of  riches ;  but  no  person  applies  it 
to  himself.  Those  whose  wisdom,  conduct,  and  address  the 
world  so  highly  extols,  for  having  raised  a  great  fortune  for 
their  children,  and  in  a  little  time — those  very  persons  God 
calls  by  no  other  name  than  that  of  fools. 

21.  So  is  he  that  layeth  up  ti-easure  for  himself,  and  is  not  rich  toward 

Nothing  but  a  curse  attends  those  riches,  the  use  of  which 
is  not  directed  toward  God  and  salvation.  It  is  the  property 
of  the  covetous  man  to  lay  up  treasure,  not  for  his  own  occa- 
sions, nor  for  those  of  others,  but  merely  for  himself,  in  order 
to  make  riches  his  delight,  his  happiness,  and  his  god,  in- 
stead of  making  them  the  riches  of  his  God,  by  laying  them 
out  according  to  his  law  and  will,  transmitting  them  to  hea- 
ven by  the  hands  of  the  poor,  and  employing  them  to  his 
glory  and  to  the  salvation  of  souls. 

100  LUKE. 


22.  1[  And  he  said  unto  his  disciples,  Therefore  I  say  unto  you,  Take 
no  thought  for  your  life,  what  ye  shall  eat;  neither  for  the  body,  what 
ye  shall  put  on.  23.  The  life  is  more  than  meat,  and  the  body  is  more 
than  raiment. 

It  is  very  easy  to  pass  from  solicitousness  to  covetousness ; 
therefore,  to  avoid  the  latter,  we  must  secure  ourselves  from 
the  former.  Who  is  He  who  formed  our  body;  who  com- 
posed it  of  so  many  different  parts,  and  joined  those  parts 
together  in  so  just  a  proportion  ;  who  causes  them  to  receive 
spirits  and  life  by  means  of  so  many  different  vessels ;  who 
preserves  the  temperature  of  the  humours,  so  necessary  to 
its  health  and  conservation,  and  keeps  off  so  many  inward 
and  outward  accidents,  and  so  many  dangers  which  are 
capable  of  destroying  it?  Is  he  not  the  same  God?  And 
can  we,  then,  fear  that  he  will  suffer  us  to  want  that  little 
which  is  necessary  to  feed  and  clothe  this  body?  That  per- 
son who,  with  faith  and  gratitude,  often  reflects  upon  what  he 
has  already  received  from  God,  is  far  from  distrusting  his 
providence  for  the  time  to  come. 

24.  Consider  the  ravens:  for  they  neither  sow  nor  reap  ;  which  neither 
have  storehouse  nor  barn  ;  and  God  feedeth  them :  how  much  more  are 
ye  better  than  the  fowls  ? 

The  sight  and  consideration  of  the  world  is  a  continual 
lesson  for  a  rational  creature ;  and  faith  finds  something 
everywhere  to  increase  and  strengthen  itself,  from  the  con- 
duct which  God  observes  therein.  The  care  which  he  takes 
of  the  most  useless,  voracious,  and  destitute  animals,  from  the 
time  of  their  birth,  upbraids  men  with  their  uneasiness  and 
distrust.  Man  knows  but  too  well  his  own  excellence,  and 
how  to  set  himself  off  when  he  would  gain  the  confidence  of 
others.  But  he  forgets  what  he  is  when  he  should  put  his 
confidence  in  God. 

25.  And  which  of  you  with  taking  thought  can  add  to  his  stature  one 
cubit  ? 

An  anxious  concern  about  the  future  gives  man  abundance 

of  trouble,  and  is  of  no  manner  of  use  to  him :  confidence  in 

CHAPTER    XII.  101 

God  is  always  useful  and  beneficial,  and  yet  lie  cannot  per- 
suade himself  to  trust  in  liim.  He  can  add  nothing  to  the 
work  of  God:  it  is  God  alone  who  formed  him,  who  causes 
him  to  grow  up  to  his  full  stature  and  perfection,  and  pre- 
serves him  by  the  ordinary  means  which  he  has  appointed. 
If  these  fail  us,  he  supplies  the  want  of  them  by  extraor- 
dinary ways,  which  are  equally  in  his  hands  with  the  other, 
unless  our  distrust  render  us  unworthy  of  them. 

26.  If  ye  then  be  not  able  to  do  that  thing  which  is  least,  why  take 
ye  thought  for  the  rest  ? 

True  confidence  must  needs  be  a  thing  extremely  rare  and 

very  necessary,  since  Christ   recommends    it  to  us  with  so 

much  earnestness.     Let  the  experience  of  our  own  inability 

as  to  those  things  which  are  least,  oblige  us  at  last  to  resign 

ourselves  up  entirely  to  God  on  all  extraordinary  occasions, 

and  to  acknowledge  that  it  is  through  his  blessing  alone  that 

our  most  ordinary  cares  and  endeavours  succeed. 

27.  Consider  the  lilies  how  they  grow:  they  toil  not,  they  spin  not; 
and  yet  I  say  unto  you,  that  Solomon  in  all  his  glory  was  not  arrayed 
like  one  of  these. 

Let  us  learn  of  Christ  to  make  a  good  and  holy  use  of  the 
works  of  God,  and  to  contemplate  in  them  his  greatness,  ma- 
jesty, paternal  providence,  perfections,  and  conduct.  Man, 
who  is  nothing  but  weakness,  aifects  to  distinguish  and  set 
himself  off  by  great  things ;  God  can  make  his  greatness  ad- 
mired in  the  least,  and  cause  his  providence  to  shine  forth  in 
the  meanest  of  his  creatures. 

28.  If  then  God  so  clothe  the  grass,  which  is  to-day  in  the  field,  and 
to-morrow  is  cast  into  the  oven ;  how  much  more  wUl  he  clothe  you,  0 
ye  of  little  faith  ? 

Here  is  a  matter  of  humiliation  for  the  great:  the  gayety 
of  their  clothes  does  not  come  near  the  beauty  of  a  flower  or 
herb  of  the  field.  Here  is  matter  of  consolation  and  confi- 
dence for  the  poor :  they  have  a  great  treasure  if  they  have 
a  great  faith.  If  nothing  was  ever  wanting  to  man,  he  would 
always  have  great  reason  indeed  to  praise  God,  and  to  give 
him  thanks  for  his  bounty  and  liberality ;  but  he  would  h;ive 
no  occasion  to  exercise  his  faith  and  trust.  To  be  sensible 
of  benefits  is  a  human  virtue ;    but  it  is  a  divine  virtue  to 

102  LUKE. 

depend  upon  an  invisible  God  as  if  lie  were  visible,  and  with 
confidence  to  expect  every  thing  from  him,  without  any  other 
security  but  his  word. 

29.  And  seek  not  ye  what  ye  shall  cat,  or  what  ye  shall  drink,  neither 
be  ye  of  doubtful  mind. 

Christ  does  not  forbid  the  labour  of  the  body,  but  the  un- 
easiness and  distrust  of  the  mind.  Men  seek  human  supports  ; 
but  a  Christian,  who  is  somewhat  more  than  a  man,  ought  to 
rest  only  upon  a  divine  foundation,  which  is  the  goodness  and 
promise  of  God.  The  mind  which  has  faith  for  its  support, 
is  not  doubtful  and  wavering :  he  who  has  it  not,  is  like  a 
building  in  the  air,  and  without  foundation. 

30.  For  all  these  things  do  the  nations  of  the  world  seek  after:  and 
your  Father  knoweth  that  ye  have  need  of  these  things. 

Distrust  is  the  property  of  infidels,  and  trust  or  confidence 
the  virtue  of  the  children  of  God.  For  men  to  rely  upon 
their  own  industry,  care,  and  labour,  is  to  resemble  the  hea- 
thens ;  it  is  peculiar  to  those  who  have  God  for  their  Father, 
to  trust  to  his  love  and  tenderness,  without  giving  themselves 
up  to  negligence  or  sloth. 

31.  ^  But  rather  seek  ye  the  kingdom  of  God;  and  all  these  things 
shall  be  added  unto  you. 

Is  it  not  evident,  that  the  generality  of  men  do  the  direct 
contrary  to  that  which  God  requires  of  them,  seeking  all 
other  things  first ;  and  frequently  them  alone ;  and  yet 
expect  the  kingdom  of  God  should  be  added  unto  them  ?  Do 
not  these  words  of  Christ  seem  likewise  to  be  misplaced,  who 
here  obliges  us  to  seek  that  which  depends  least  upon  our 
search,  and  to  expect  to  receive  that  Avhich  depends  most 
upon  own  labour  ?  The  reason  of  this  is,  because  sloth  is 
more  usual,  and  more  to  be  feared,  in  the  business  of  salva- 
tion, and  uneasiness  more  common  with  respect  to  temporal 

SECT.     IV. — THE     LITTLE    FLOCK. — CUE     TREASURE    AND     OUR 

32.  Fear  not,  little  flock  ;  for  it  is  your  Father's  good  pleasure  to  give 
you  the  kingdom. 

It  is  the  small  number  which  is  saved ;  and  therefore  we 

CHAPTER   XII.  103 

ought  to  fear  to  be  of  that  great  number  of  the  reprobate. 
The  goodness  of  God  toward  his  elect  is  all  their  security. 
"Who  would  not  have  despaired,  if  Christ  had  only  said,  «  Seek 
ye  the  kingdom  of  God,"  etc.,  and  had  not  here  added,  that 
this  kingdom  is  the  gift  of  God — of  God  as  a  Father,  which, 
by  consequence,  includes  the  gift  of  divine  adoption,  a  free 
gift,  depending  upon  the  good  pleasure  of  his  will,  and  pro- 
ceeding from  his  paternal  love ;  and  a  gift  of  an  unchange- 
able kingdom  to  all  those  who  are  to  compose  this  little  flock  in 
heaven  ?  Give  us,  Lord,  that  which  thou  commandest.  Cause 
and  enable  us  to  seek,  find,  and  preserve  that  righteousness 
which  alone  leads  to  this  kingdom,  and  gives  a  right  thereto. 

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. 

God  freely  gives  his  kingdom,  and  yet  it  must  be  purchased. 
The  poor  are  those  who  sell  it,  and  receive  the  price.  This 
price  is  just  what  we  are  able  to  give :  it  costs  little,  if  we 
have  but  little ;  much,  if  we  have  much.  But  we  must  give 
all,  either  by  actually  parting  with  every  thing,  if  God,  by 
calling  us  to  perfection,  require  it  of  us  ;  or  at  least  by  dis- 
engaging our  heart  from  every  thing,  if  God  vouchsafe  to  be 
satisfied  therewith.  AYe  can  give  nothing  but  what  we  have 
received ;  and  we  receive  even  the  grace  to  give  it,  and  the 
hundred-fold  of  that  which  is  given  by  us.  The  treasure  we 
give  is  liable  to  perish  four  ways — to  be  worn  out,  wasted, 
stolen,  and  corrupted ;  and  we  receive  it  again,  a  treasure 
which  is  eternal,  which  faileth  not,  and  which  cannot  possibly 
be  either  lost  or  corrupted.  It  is  the  hand  of  the  poor  which 
works  this  miracle. 

34.  For  where  your  treasure  is,  there  will  your  heart  be  also. 
Happy  is  that  person  who  has  nothing  on  earth  which  de- 
tains and  fixes  his  heart  there.  Every  one  lays  up  his  trea- 
sure on  earth,  if  he  take  not  great  care;  and  this  earthly 
treasure  is  whatever  he  loves  contrary  to  the  will  of  God,  and 
and  in  which  he  seeks  his  own  satisfaction.  One  person,  his 
gold,  silver,  furniture ;  his  estate,  grandeur,  glory ;  his  busi- 
ness, diversions,  pleasure,  etc.     Another,  his  learning,  books, 

reputation,  ease ;  liis  friends,  their  esteem,  applause,  and 
company,  the  sweetness  of  their  conversation,  etc.  And  it  is 
thou  alone,  0  my  God,  whom  we  ought  to  seek  in  all  these 
things,  who  shouldst  be  to  us  even  all  things,  and  the  only 
treasure  of  our  heart. 


34.  Let  your  loins  be  girded  about,  and  *your  lights  burning;  \*Fr. 
Have  lighted  lamps  in  your  hands.] 

Christ  here  proposes  to  us  several  means  of  securing  our 
salvation : — First.  According  to  the  custom  of  servants, 
soldiers,  and  travellers,  who  used  to  gird  up  their  upper 
garment,  a  Christian  ought  to  be  always  ready  to  do  the  will 
of  God,  as  a  vigilant  and  faithful  servant ;  to  fight  as  a  soldier 
of  Christ,  against  sin  and  the  enemies  of  his  salvation ;  and 
to  remove  to  another  country,  as  a  stranger  and  pilgrim  upon 
earth.  Second.  He  must  have  in  his  hand  the  lamp  of  faith, 
always  lighted  by  reading  and  meditating  upon  God's  word, 
always  burning  with  the  love  of  God  and  of  his  neighbour, 
and  always  filled  with  the  oil  of  good  works. 

36.  And  ye  yourselves  like  unto  men  that  wait  for  their  lord,  when  he 
will  return  from  the  Avedding;  that,  when  he  cometh  and  knocketh,  they 
may  open  unto  him  immediately. 

Third.  A  Christian  must  live  in  expectation  of  his  Lord, 
who  will  return  from  the  wedding,  when  (the  number  of  those 
espoused  souls  whom  God  designs  to  take  eternally  to  himself 
being  complete)  he  shall  come  to  judge  the  world,  and  to  con- 
summate the  happiness  of  the  elect  by  the  resurrection  of 
their  bodies,  or  when  he  comes  to  take  the  righteous  out  of 
this  present  world.  He  who  expects  his  master  is  always  in 
that  state  wherein  he  desires  to  be  found.  Fourth.  A  Chris- 
tian must  not  look  upon  death  with  concern  and  anxiety,  but 
with  submission,  love,  joy,  and,  if  possible,  with  the  earnest- 
ness and  impatience  of  a  good  servant,  who  waits  for  his 
master's  return  after  a  long  absence,  who  opens  to  him  im- 
mediately, and  goes  out  to  meet  him. 

37.  Blessed  are  those  servants,  whom  the  lord  when  he  cometh  shall 
find  watching:  verily  I  say  unt<j  you,  that  he  shall  gird  himself,  and 
make  them  to  sit  down  to  meat,  and  will  come  forth  and  serve  them. 

Fifth.  The  Christian,  in  order  to  secure  his  salvation,  must 

CHAPTER    XII.  105 

live  in  Christian  watchfulness,  intent  upon  his  duty,  not  suf- 
fering his  heart  to  he  overcharged  with  the  cares  of  this 
world,  with  the  love  of  life,  or  with  carnal  pleasures,  never 
losing  sight  of  the  last  moment,  or  of  that  eternity  which 
follows  it,  and  continually  observing  all  the  motions  of  his 
own  heart.  Happy  that  person  Avho,  living  only  to  and  for 
God  in  this  world,  shall  in  the  other  sit  down  at  God's  table, 
and  there  live  in  and  upon  God  himself  to  all  eternity  ! 

38.  And  if  he  shall  come  in  the  second  watch,  or  come  in  the  third 
watch,  and  find  them  so,  blessed  are  those  servants. 

Sixth.  The  Christian  must  look  upon  every  hour  as  that 

which  may  possibly  be  his  last.     The  generality  of  mankind 

place   their  happiness   in   things  which  cause    their   eternal 

misery.     The  only  true  happiness  of  this  life  is  to  secure  a 

happy  eternity ;  and  this  is  done  by  Christian  vigilance. 

39.  And  this  know,  that  if  the  goodman  of  the  house  had  known  what 
hour  the  thief  would  come,  he  would  have  watched,  and  not  have  suf- 
fered his  house  to  be  broken  through. 

Seventh.  A  Christian  must  at  all  times  suspect  and  mistrust 
the  artifices  and  snares  of  the  devil.  With  what  care  do 
people  watch,  that  they  may  not  lose  their  money,  their  fur- 
niture, and  other  perishing  things !  It  seems  as  if  the  soul 
were  the  only  thing  not  worth  the  pains  of  being  watched  and 
guarded ! 

40.  Be  ye  therefore  ready  also:  for  the  Son  of  man  cometh  at  an  hour 
when  ye  think  not. 

Eighth.  The  Christian  must  take  care  to  keep  his  conscience 
clear,  and  always  ready  to  appear  before  the  Son  of  God. 
He  who  would  be  always  ready,  ought  always  to  be  under 
some  penitential  exercise,  and  to  cleave  to  nothing  which  may 
hinder  him  from  going  to  God,  and  doing  that  which  is 
pleasing  in  his  sight.  Are  not  so  many  sudden  and  unex- 
pected deaths  sufficient  to  convince  us  of  the  folly  of  depend- 
ing upon  life,  and  assuring  ourselves  of  one  single  moment^ 
though  Christ  had  not  given  us  any  warning  against  it  ? 

41.  If  Then  Peter  said  unto  him.  Lord,  speakest  thou  this  parable  unto 
us,  or  even  to  all  ? 

Ninth.  Every  one  ought  to  persuade  himself  that  the  truths 

103  LUKE. 

of  the  gospel  are  addressed  to  him  in  particular.  The  minis- 
ters of  the  Lord  are  often  those  who  apply  those  truths  least 
to  themselves  which  they  preach  to  others,  and  are  likewise 
soonest  surprised  by  death.  No  state,  no  condition,  no  age, 
is  excused  from  watching:  because  death  is  the  punishment 
of  all,  and  it  is  nature  which  is  condemned  thereto.  There 
is  no  safer  way  we  can  take,  than  to  count  ourselves  in  the 
number  of  those  who  are  to  be  surprised  :  the  only  reason 
why  so  many  fall  into  this  misfortune  is,  because  they  flatter 
themselves  that  they  shall  not. 

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  ? 

The  tenth  and  last  means  to  secure  our  salvation  is,  to  be 

faithful  in  performing  the  duties  of  our  state  in  the  time  of 

our  life,  if  we  would  be  found  at  that  of  death  employed  in 

the  work  which  God  has  committed  to  our  care.     Observe 

here  two  main  qualities  in  a  pastor.     The  first  is  fidelity,  in 

not  appropriating  to  himself  the  gifts  of  God,  as  time,  talents, 

etc.     The  second  is  prudence,  in  employing  them  to  the  profit 

of  his  household,  which  is  the  church.     Whoever  remembers 

that  he  is  only  a  steward,  is  far  from  desiring  to  command 

and  dispose  of  every  thing  as  master.     God  will  be  served  in 

his  own  way,  not  in  ours.     A  man  must,  not  only  in  order 

to  his   admittance  into  the    ministry,   depend  upon  and  be 

directed  by  him,  as  the  Master  of  the  family,  but  also  as  to 

the  quality,  measure,  and  time  of  the  food  which  he  is  to 

give,  both  to  all  in  general,  and  to  every  one  in  particular. 

It  is  a  great  part  of  pastoral  prudence  to  give  the  proper 

portion,  and  to  do  it  in  due  season. 

43.  Blessed  is  that  servant,  whom  his  lord  when  he  conicth  shall  find 
60  doing. 

Miserable  then  is  he  whom    death  surprises   either  doing 

evil  or  doing  nothing,   or  doing  that  which  God   does   not 

require  of  him  !     A  pastor's  life  is  a  life  of  labour,  and  of  a 

labour  which  must  be  continued  to  his  very  last  breath.     If 

he  be  not  found  intent  upon  his  work  when  his  Lord  cometh, 

how  can  he  have  any  right  to  the  blessedness  belonging  to 


the  faithful  and  wise  servant?  He  must  never  quit  his 
station,  either  through  discouragement,  or  idleness,  or  in- 

44.  Of  a  truth  I  say  unto  you,  that  he  will  make  him  ruler  over  all 
that  he  hath. 

The  labour  is  great,  but  the  reward  is  without  measure. 
We  should  be  able  to  comprehend  it,  could  we  comprehend 
all  the  riches  of  God — that  is,  God  himself.  To  see  the  idle- 
ness of  so  many  pastors  and  ministers  of  the  church,  can  any- 
one think  that  they  really  believe  this  promise,  confirmed 
with  a  kind  of  oath  by  truth  itself? 


45.  But  and  if  that  servant  say  in  his  heart,  My  lord  delayeth  hia 
coming;  and  shall  begin  to  beat  the  menservants  and  maidens,  and  to 
eat  and  drink,  and  to  be  drunken ; 

One  cause  of  our  forgetfulness  as  to  our  duty,  and  of  our 
contempt  of  God's  law,  is,  that  we  are  apt  to  flatter  ourselves 
with  the  hopes  of  a  long  life,  and  to  look  upon  death  as  at  a 
great  distance.  The  two  common  vices  of  wicked  pastors, 
from  which  a  great  many  more  proceed,  are — (1.)  Their  ruling 
with  a  spirit  of  imperiousness,  with  severity  and  violence. 
(2.)  Their  enjoying,  in  ease  and  idleness,  the  conveniences 
and  pleasures  of  life,  and  the  temporal  advantages  of  their 
dignity.  My  God  !  whither  are  not  sinners  led  by  a  forget- 
fulness of  death  and  of  thy  judgments  ?  Suffer  us  not,  we 
beseech  thee,  to  fall  into  it. 

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  sun- 
der, and  will  appoint  him  his  portion  with  the  unbelievers. 

The  punishment  of  an  unfaithful  minister,  as  well  as  of 
every  wicked  Christian,  is — (1.)  An  untimely,  sudden,  or  un- 
expected death.  (2.)  An  eternal  separation  from  God.  (3.) 
An  everlasting  torment  with  the  devils  and  the  reprobate. 
Death  has  nothing  in  it  which  is  either  dreadful  or  of  fatal 
consequence  to  him  who  lives  in  continual  expectation  of  it. 
But  under  what  despair  must  he  necessarily  fall  whom  it 
surprises  in  the  midst  of  pleasures,  in  a  course  of  sin,  and  a 
total  forgetfulness  of  God !     Let  us  say  to  ourselves  every 

108  LUKE. 

day,  and  if  possible  every  hour,  that  the  Lord  is  at  the  door, 
and  that  the  moment  which  will  decide  our  eternal  state  is 
at  hand. 

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 

How  much  is  knowledge  to  be  dreaded,  when  our  charity 
and  works  are  not  answerable  thereto !  To  be  ignorant  of 
our  Lord's  will  and  our  own  duty,  is  a  sin  which  deserves  pu- 
nishment, or  is  rather  itself  a  punishment  of  sin;  but  not  to 
do  according  to  his  will  when  we  do  know  it,  is  a  criminal 
contempt  of  the  law  of  God.  This  knowledge  comes  from 
thee  alone,  0  Lord,  and  likewise  the  use  which  I  ought  to 
make  of  it.  Grant  that  I  may  apply  myself  hereto,  not  out 
of  a  fear  of  punishment,  but  from  a  sincere  love  of  thee  ! 

48.  But  he  that  knew  not,  and  did  commit  things  worthy  of  stripes, 
shall  be  beaten  with  few  stripes. 

The  ignorance  of  our  duty  toward  God  as  our  Creator  and 

Lord,  may  sometimes  extenuate  our  sin  in  transgressing  his 

law;  but  it  can  never  entirely  exempt  us  from  guilt.     Lord, 

it  belongs  to  thee  to  disperse  the  darkness  of  our  ignorance, 

as  it  does  to  heal  the  corruption  of  our  sinful  inclinations  and 


— 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. 

The  more  graces  a  man  has  received,  the  more  reason  has 

he  to  fear,  and  the  greater  obligation  to  labour  for  God.     An 

enlightened  pastor  trembles  under  the  weight  of  the  talents 

he  has  received  for  the  benefit  of  souls,  as  well  as  under  the 

weight  of  the  souls  he  is  to  serve  by  those  talents.     Every 

thing  is  given  by  God  as  upon  account :  we  must  therefore 

make  it  appear,  how  it  has  been  laid  out,  and  be  answerable 

for  all  which  is  charged  to  us.     God  will  allow  the  servant 

■whatever  he  has  disbursed  for  his  Master's  glory;  but  how 

can  the  servant  return  those  gifts  which  he  has  parted  with 

to  vanity,  and  consumed  upon  his  lusts  and  passions?     How 

can  he  recover  those  souls  which  have  been  lost  through  his 

negligence  ? 

CHAPTER    XII.  109 


49.  1[  I  am  come  to  send  fire  on  the  earth ;  and  what  will  I,  if  it  be 
already  kindled  ? 

The  fervour  of  charity,  a  zeal  for  the  salvation  of  souls,  a 
love  of  mortification,  and  the  heat  of  persecution,  adversity, 
and  affliction,  are  so  many  sorts  of  fire  which  consume  the 
filth  of  a  sinner,  and  complete  the  sacrifice  of  a  Christian  and 
of  a  minister  of  the  gospel.  0  Jesus,  cast,  I  beseech  thee, 
one  spark  of  thy  heavenly  fire  into  my  heart !  Let  thy  love 
be  kindled  therein,  and  consecrate  it  to  thy  will :  the  fire  of 
that  divine  love,  I  mean,  sent  by  Christ  on  the  earth  on  pur- 
pose to  consume  all  sin,  and  consecrate  man  to  his  God. 

50.  But  I  have  a  baptism  to  be  baptized  with  ;  and  how  am  I  straitened 
till  it  be  accomplished  ! 

Christ  had  his  passion  continually  present  to  his  mind.  His 
love  for  the  cross  condemns  the  tenderness  and  delicacy  of 
Christians,  and  much  more  that  of  pastors.  The  earnest 
desire  by  which  he  is  straitened  is,  to  bring  forth  his  church 
by  his  pains,  to  wash  her  in  his  blood,  to  give  her  life  by  his 
own  death,  and  to  establish  the  kingdom  and  glory  of  his 
Father  by  the  sacrifice  of  himself.  This  disposition  of  the 
High  Priest  of  good  things  to  come,  in  not  regarding  his  life, 
so  he  can  but  promote  the  glory  of  God  and  the  salvation  of 
sinners, — how  suitable  is  it  to  his  holiness,  how  fit  to  be  en- 
graved on  the  heart  of  every  pastor  ! 

51.  Suppose  ye  that  I  am  come  to  give  peace  on  earth?  I  tell  you, 
Nay  ;  but  rather  division  : 

God  came  indeed  to  bring  division  on  earth,  but  such  a 
division  as  separates  us  from  the  creature  only  to  unite  us  to 
the  Creator;  and  makes  us  hate  the  spirit  of  the  world  in 
order  to  follow  that  of  God.  For  peace  with  God  and  peace 
with  the  world  are  altogether  inconsistent.  There  are  but 
too  many  ministers  of  the  church,  as  well  as  private  Chris- 
tians, Avho  seem  to  believe  that  Christ  came  with  no  other 
design  but  to  introduce  a  carnal  peace  and  a  sensual  repose. 
We  can  scarce  think  otherwise,  when  we  see  them  entirely 

Vol.  II.— 10 

110  LUKE, 

taken  up  in  settling  themselves  therein,  and  making  even  re- 
ligion and  Christ  himself  subservient  to  that  purpose.  AVhat ! 
shall  we  be  unwilling  to  do  any  thing  which  may  set  us  at 
variance  with  the  world,  and  make  us  break  with  it  ?  How 
opposite  is  this  to  the  design  and  spirit  of  Jesus  Christ ! 

52.  For  from  henceforth  tliere  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  ill  law. 

There  is  no  union,  how  close  and  natural  soever  it  be,  which 
we  must  not  resolve  to  break,  rather  than  separate  ourselves 
from  unity  itself,  when  faith  and  the  interests  of  God  are  in 
question.  A  small  temporal  interest  often  occasions  a  mis- 
understanding in  families  the  most  united ;  but  a  miracle  of 
grace  is  necessary  to  produce  a  separation  upon  the  motives 
of  piety  and  religion.  Send,  Lord,  this  salutary  division,  the 
work  of  the  Spirit  of  unity  alone,  among  those  who  are  sepa- 
rated from  thee,  only  because  they  are  too  closely  united  one 
with  another ! 

54.  1[  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 ; 
and  it  cometh  to  pass. 

The  mind  of  man  has  but  little  insight  into  the  things  of 
God,  because  it  applies  itself  but  little  to  them,  and  is  diverted 
from  them  by  his  passions ;  but  in  those  of  nature,  and  of  the 
present  life,  it  is  very  discerning,  because  his  curiosity,  in- 
terest, and  other  passions  give  a  relish  to  the  study  of  these 
things,  and  make  them  grateful  to  his  understanding  or  senses. 
It  is  toward  the  setting  sun,  that  is,  toward  Christ  dying,  that 
we  must  turn  ourselves,  to  the  end  that  the  shower  of  blood 
which  wet  his  cross  may  produce  a  shower  of  tears  to  Avash 
our  heart.  It  is  to  his  heart,  all  inflamed  with  charity,  that 
we  must  address  ourselves,  in  order  to  have  our  own  inflamed 
with  this  divine  fire. 

56.  Ye  hypocrites,  ye  can  discern  the  face  of  the  sky  and  of  the  earth ; 
but  how  is  it  that  ye  do  not  discern  this  time? 

The  true  knowledge  of  a  Christian  penitent  consists  in  being 

able  to  discern  the  time  of  repentance  and  mercy,  which  in- 


cessantly  glides  away  and  will  never  return.  The  infallible 
marks  of  the  time  of  salvation,  which  are  prophecies  and  mira- 
cles, will  condemn  all  incredulous  persons,  who  are  apt  enough 
to  be  full  of  confidence  in  unprofitable  and  uncertain  sciences. 
The  ignorance  of  hypocrites  is  either  pretended  or  judicial. 
To  them  every  thing  is  obscure  in  mysteries,  and  uncertain  in 
religion,  either  because  they  reject  the  light,  which  they  will 
not  follow,  or  because  they  are  delivered  up  to  their  own 
darkness,  as  the  punishment  of  their  pride  and  hypocrisy. 
How  fatal  is  this  state,  and  how  much  to  be  dreaded ! 

57.  Yea,  and  why  even  of  yourselves  judge  ye  not  what  is  right? 

Righteousness  and  truth  seldom  find  admittance  into  the 
minds  of  men,  unless  some  interest  open  their  eyes,  or  grace 
work  this  miracle.  When  there  is  any  danger  of  losing  some 
temporal  good,  nothing  escapes  their  penetration  and  pru- 
dence ;  but  they  shut  their  eyes  against  all  light,  when  they 
are  obliged  to  sacrifice  either  some  temporal  good,  or  some 
passion,  to  the  only  true  and  eternal  good.  Very  often  a 
little  reflection  upon  ourselves,  and  upon  our  ordinary  conduct, 
would  enable  us  to  judge  what  we  ought  to  do  in  order  to  our 
salvation ;  but  even  this  reflection,  which  we  think  need  cost 

58.  ^  When  thou  goestwith  thine  adversary  to  the  magistrate,  as  tliou 
art  in  the  way,  give  diligence  that  thou  niayest  be  delivered  from  him  ; 
lest  he  hate  thee  to  the  judge,  and  the  judge  deliver  thee  to  the  officer, 
and  the  officer  cast  thee  into  prison. 

We  must  not  delay  to  appease  and  quiet  the  remorses  of 
our  conscience ;  but  the  only  way  to  do  it  as  we  ought,  is  to 
avoid,  or  to  make  some  amends  for  the  evil  with  which  it  up- 
braids us,  in  preventing  the  justice  of  God  by  a  speedy  re- 
pentance. There  is  not  so  much  as  one  moment  to  be  lost, 
since  we  cannot  be  certain  of  one  moment.  Men  improve  their 
time  with  consummate  skill  and  prudence,  when  the  interests 
of  this  mortal  life  are  concerned ;  but  they  squander  it  away  in 
a  foolish  and  desperate  manner,  when  their  everlasting  salva- 
tion lies  at  stake.  Thou,  0  Lord,  givest  us  these  moments,  on 
which  eternity  depends :  give  us  likewise,  we  beseech  thee,  the 
grace  to  employ  them  in  such  a  manner  as  eternity  deserves  ! 

112  '  LUKE. 

59.  I  tell  thee,  thou  shalt  not  depart  thence,  till  thou  hast  paid  the 
very  last  mite. 

Observe  here  the  dreadful.severity  of  the  judgments  of  God. 
Wise  and  prudent  is  he  who  prevents  it  by  repentance,  and 
by  a  faithful  performance  of  all  the  good  which  his  conscience 
dictates  and  grace  inspires.  When  we  are  once  out  of  the 
way  of  repentance  and  mercy,  what  can  we  expect  but  the 
rigour  of  an  inflexible  justice?  Where  there  is  no  longer 
charity,  there  is  no  longer  any  return  to  God.  When  there 
is  no  more  time,  there  is  no  more  hope  for  eternity. 




1.  TiiBRE  -were  present  at  that  season  some  that  told  him  of  the  Gali- 
leans, whose  blood  Pilate  had  mingled  with  their  sacrifices.  2.  And 
Jesus  answering  said  unto  them.  Suppose  ye  that  these  Galileans  were 
sinners  above  all  the  Galileans,  because  they  suffered  such  things? 

Jesus  restrains  the  rashness  of  human  judgments.  No  man 
is  punished  without  being  a  sinner;  but  they  are  not  the 
greatest  sinners  who  are  punished  most  in  this  life.  It  is 
only  in  the  other  that  God  punishes  with  the  view  chiefly  of 
inflicting  punishment;  and  that  his  justice  proportions  the 
punishment  to  the  sin.  Here  the  punishment  proceeds,  either 
from  his  mercy,  which  would  fain  save  the  sinner  ;  or  from  his 
holiness,  which  purifies  the  saints;  or  from  his  providence, 
which  establishes  the  belief  of  his  justice  ;  or  from  his  wisdom, 
which  by  means  of  fear  puts  a  stop  to  sin. 

3.  I  tell  you,  Nay:  but,  except  ye  repent,  ye  shall  all  likewise  perish. 

Impunity  hardens  and  stupefies  the  sinner,  through  his 
abuse  of  the  patience  of  God ;  but  it  is  this  very  patience 
which  induces  the  elect  to  love  repentance  and  mortification, 
well  knowing  tliat  sin  must  be  punished  either  in  this  world 
or  in  the  next,  either  by  the  justice  of  God,  or  by  the  volun- 
tary afiliction  of  the  sinner.  To  repent  is  not  a  matter  of 
counsel,  but  of  absolute  necessity.  He  who  defers  doing  it, 
hazards  no  less  than  eternity.     Let  us  not  imitate  the  Jews, 


who  were  in  effect  massacred  and  sacrificed  in  the  temple  to 
the  justice  of  God,  for  not  having  profited  by  the  admonitions 
of  the  Son  of  God,  so  as  to  be  converted  before  the  destruc- 
tion of  Jerusalem. 

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  Jeru- 
salem ? 

Open  sins  are  not  always  the  greatest,  nor  the  punishments 
which  are  visible  to  the  eyes  of  men  such  as  are  most  to  be 
feared.  Christ  here  gives  us  to  understand,  that  all  human 
events  or  natural  accidents  happen  only  according  to  God's 
appointment ;  and  that  he  makes  every  thing  subservient  to 
his  designs  and  judgments.  Would  to  God  we  were  so  faith- 
ful as  to  observe  the  hand  of  God,  and  to  have  recourse  to 
him  in  every  thing  which  happens  to  us  by  means  of  the 
creatures !  Whether  we  suffer  by  the  injustice  of  men,  (ver. 
1,)  or  by  unforeseen  accidents,  (ver.  4,)  Christ  here  informs 
us  that  it  still  proceeds  from  the  justice  of  God,  who 
makes  use  of  both  to  chastise  us,  either  as  a  judge  or  as  a 

5.  I  tell  you,  Nay:  but,  except  ye  repent,  ye  shall  all  likewise  perish. 

Why  does  Christ  repeat  this  truth  so  frequently  and  for- 
cibly, but  only  because  there  are  fewer  true  penitents  than  we 
imagine,  and  because  men  are  not  sufficiently  convinced  of 
the  necessity  of  repentance  ?  There  is  no  medium :  either  re- 
pentance or  damnation.  It  is  a  small  thing  to  perish  in  the 
ruins  of  a  city  as  the  Jews  did,  or  in  the  ruins  of  the  world  as 
at  the  last  day,  if  a  man  has  taken  timely  care  to  secure  his 
soul  by  repentance :  but  how  great  must  be  the  despair  when 
the  first  death  is  followed  by  the  second !  Let  us  seriously 
reflect  on  this. 

6.  f  He  spake  also  this  parable;  A  certain  man  had  a  fig  tree  planted 
in  his  vineyard  ;  and  he  came  and  sought  fruit  thereon,  and  found  none. 

This  barren  fig  tree  is  faith  without  works.  It  is  not 
enough  for  a  man  to  be  grafted  on  Jesus  Christ  by  baptism, 
as  all  Christians  are ;  to  be  planted  in  the  true  church,  as 
the  orthodox ;  to  be  associated  to  the  priesthood  of  Christ,  as 
the  clergy ;  or  to  be  incorporated  into  some  society  for  the 
io»  H 

propagation  of  religion:  the  life  must  be  answerable  to  the 
holiness  of  the  baptism,  church,  priesthood,  and  religion. 
Let  us  seek  for  fruit  ourselves  in  our  lives,  before  Jesus 
Christ  come  to  do  it.  Lord,  how  canst  thou  possibly  find 
any,  if  thou  thyself  dost  not  first  produce  it  in  our  hearts  by 
thy  grace  ? 

7.  Then  said  he  unto  the  dresser  of  his  vineyard,  Behold,  these  three 
years  I  come  seeking  fruit  on  this  fig  tree,  and  find  none:  cut  it  down  ; 
■why  cumbereth  it  the  ground? 

How  many  years  does  God  wait  for  the  fruit  of  his  mysteries 
and  graces,  and  we  yield  him  nothing  but  ineffectual  promises 
and  barren  resolutions !  Public  chastisements,  calamities, 
and  diseases  are  so  many  admonitions  from  God  in  order  to 
our  conversion,  and  threaten  us  with  his  wrath  and  indigna- 
tion. They  are  the  voice  of  God ;  and  when  we  are  deaf 
thereto,  it  is  he  whom  we  refuse  to  hear.  Life  is  conferred 
upon  us,  to  no  other  end  but  that  we  should  serve  God,  per- 
form repentance,  and  work  out  our  own  salvation.  He  who 
does  no  part  of  this,  well  deserves  to  have  it  immediately  cut 
off  and  taken  from  him. 

8.  And  he  answering  said  unto  him.  Lord,  let  it  alone  this  year  also, 
till  I  shall  dig  about  it,  and  dung  it:  9.  And  if  it  bear  fruit,  well:  and 
if  not,  then  after  that  thou  shalt  cut  it  down. 

The  patience  of  God  with  respect  to  sinners  is  one  of  the 
most  surprising  things  imaginable,  when  we  consider  Avhat 
God  and  what  the  sinner  is;  and  yet  who  is  there  who  fre- 
quently think  of  this,  adores  it,  renders  thanks  for  it,  and 
co-operates  with  it  ?  They  are  the  prayers  and  labours  of 
holy  pastors,  which  suspend  the  wrath  of  God  and  attract  his 
mercy.  A  soul  subsists  sometimes  only  by  the  sighs  and 
penitential  exercises  of  him  to  whose  care  God  has  committed 
it ;  and  a  community,  a  church,  and  a  whole  people,  by 
nothing  but  the  tears,  charity,  good  works,  and  fidelity  of  a 
small  number  of  God's  servants,  who  faithfully  perform  their 
duty.  Let  us  fear  that  the  building  is  near  its  fall,  when 
God  removes  the  pillars  of  it.  The  patience  of  God  is  great, 
and  of  long  continuance ;  but  it  is  wearied  out  at  last,  when 
it  has  no  efi'ect  upon  sinners. 



10.  f  And  he  was  teaching  in  one  of  the  synagogues  on  the  sabbath. 
11.  And,  behold,  there  was  a  woman  which  had  a  spirit  of  infirmity 
eighteen  years,  and  was  bowed  together,  and  could  in  no  wise  lift  up 

Christ  confirms  his  word  and  mission  by  a  miracle,  joins 
works  to  instruction,  and  shows,  by  the  cure  of  the  body, 
what  he  came  to  perform  on  the  soul.  Into  what  condition 
does  a  long  habit  of  sin  put  a  soul  which  is  possessed  thereby  ? 
AVhat  will  become  of  it,  0  Lord,  unless  thou  vouchsafest,  by 
thy  almighty  grace,  to  deliver  it  from  this  voluntary  bondage,  to 
rectify  its  will  and  inclinations,  which  are  become  altogether 
earthly,  and  to  raise  and  lift  it  up  toward  thyself? 

12.  And  when  Jesus  saw  her,  he  called  her  to  him,  and  said  unto  her. 
Woman,  thou  art  loosed  from  thine  infirmity.  13.  And  he  laid  his  hands 
on  her: 

It  is  this  preventing  eye  of  the  mercy  of  God  which  seeks 
the  sinner  in  the  depth  of  his  misery ;  it  is  his  inward  word 
which  calls  him ;  his  sovereign  will  which  draws  and  heals 
him  ;  and  his  beneficent  hand  which  confirms  and  strengthens 
him,  heaps  his  blessings  upon  him,  and  leads  and  conducts 
him  in  the  way  of  salvation. 

— And  immediately  she  was  made  straight,  and  glorified  God. 
God  alone  can  reform  and  correct  his  own  work,  both  in 
nature  and  in  grace.  We  must  resign  ourselves  up  entirely 
to  him.  He  whose  will  is  omnipotence  itself,  has  no  occa- 
sion either  for  time  or  means  to  accomplish  his  works.  Lord, 
thou  canst  perform,  now  thou  art  in  heaven,  whatever  thou 
didst  upon  earth  :  thou  canst  efiect  in  the  heart  whatever  thou 
didst  then  on  the  body.  Rectify  in  me,  I  beseech  thee, 
every  thing  which  is  not  conformable  to  the  rule  of  thy  holy 
will.  The  gratitude  and  acknowledgment  of  the  creature  is 
a  new  benefit  of  the  Creator ;  and  the  glory  which  we  render 
him  for  his  gifts  is  still  a  fresh  obligation  and  engagement  to 
glorify  him  again. 

14.  And  the  ruler  of  the  synagogue  answered  with  indignation,  because 
that  Jesus  had  healed  on  the  sabbath  day,  and  said  unto  the  people,  There 

are  six  days  in  -which  men  ought  to  work :  in  them  therefore  come  and 
be  healed,  and  not  on  the  sabbath  day. 

Religion  often  serves  to  cover  envy  and  avarice  :  we  can- 
not be  too  much  upon  our  guard  against  this  sort  of  impos- 
ture. Ye  great  pretenders  to  zeal  for  the  sanctification  of 
the  Sabbath,  blind  judges  of  the  works  of  God,  unjust  accu- 
sers of  his  elect,  and  ignorant  interpreters  of  his  law,  learn 
not  to  confound  the  servile  works  of  men  with  the  works  of 
God,  mercenary  employments  with  acts  of  charity,  and  com- 
mon labour  with  necessary  assistance  and  relief.  The  one 
are  forbidden  by  the  law  to  be  exercised  on  the  sabbath  day ; 
the  other  are  the  completion  of  the  law,  the  sanctification  of 
the  Sabbath,  and  that  very  rest  which  God  commands  to  be  ob- 
served, which  consists  in  resting  in  him  by  holiness  and  charity. 

15.  The  Lord  then  answered  him,  and  said.  Thou  hypocrite,  doth  not 
each  one  of  you  on  the  sabbath  loose  his  ox  or  his  ass  from  the  stall,  and 
lead  him  away  to  watering? 

Necessity  and  charity  are  laws  which   are   superior  to  all 

others.     Men   are  always    ready,   either   out   of  interest  or 

envy,  to  condemn  every  thing  in  those  whom  they  do  not 

love.     When  the  essence  of  religion   is  made  to  consist  in 

ceremonies  and  external  usages,  every  seeming  violation  of 

them  passes  for  irreligion  and  profaneness.     This  is,  in  the 

judgment  of  Christ  himself,  the  vice  of  hypocrites,  as  well  as 

to  have  two  different  measures,  and  to  object,  as  a  crime  in 

others,  that  which  they  practice  every  day  themselves. 

16.  And  ought  not  this  woman,  being  a  daughter  of  Abraham,  whom 
Satan  hath  bound,  lo,  these  eighteen  years,  be  loosed  from  this  bond  on 
the  sabbath  day. 

Nothing  is  more  proper  for  the  Lord's  day  than  the  work 

of  the  Lord,  which  is  to  destroy  the  works  of  Satan.     What 

grievous  bonds  are  those  of  the  devil,  which  confine  the  body 

in  this  sad  condition  !    But  how  much  more  grievous  and  fatal 

are  the  bonds  of  sin,  which  detain  souls  as  slaves  under  his 

tyranny,  chained  down  to  earthly  pleasures  and  desires,  and 

unable  to  lift  their  hearts  up  toward  God,  or  to  desire  the 

things  of  heaven  I     It  is  the  office  of  a  good  pastor  to  spend 

his  life  in  labouring  to  deliver  them,  and  thereby  conduct  them 

to  the  eternal  sabbath. 

CHAPTER    XIII.  117 

17.  And  when  he  had  said  these  things,  all  his  adversaries  were 
ashamed:  and  all  the  people  rejoiced  for  all  the  glorious  things  that  were 
done  by  him. 

Men  cannot  long  resist  the  truth,  but  it  does  not  convert 
all  those  whom  it  confounds.  The  passions  blind  the  under- 
standing, and  harden  the  heart  against  it :  that  of  the  com- 
mon people  opens  itself  thereto  without  difficulty,  because  not 
corrupted  either  by  envy  or  interest.  It  is  always  time  to 
show  by  our  joy,  and  other  religious  dispositions,  how  much 
we  are  concerned  in  the  mysteries,  works,  and  glory  of  Christ. 
We  ought,  in  reading  them,  to  be  transported  with  joy  in  our 
heart,  if  we  have  any  love  toward  Jesus  Christ. 


18.  Y  Then  said  he,  Unto  what  is  the  kingdom  of  God  like?  and  where- 
unto  shall  I  resemble  it? 

The  good  disposition  of  these  people,  which  comes  origin- 
ally from  Christ  himself,  engages  him  to  instruct  them  in  the 
truths  of  salvation,  and  concerning  the  kingdom  of  God.  He 
has  more  regard  to  the  good  and  honest  heart,  which  he  gives 
to  the  simple,  than  to  the  bad  disposition  of  conceited  scho- 
lars, which  proceeds  from  themselves.  It  frequently  happens 
that  some  pious  souls  which  are  ready  to  embrace  whatever 
is  good,  which  are  faithful  to  God  and  earnestly  desirous  of 
his  word,  prevail  with  him  not  to  remove  out  of  a  country  a 
faithful  minister. 

19.  It  is  like  a  grain  of  mustard  seed,  which  a  man  took,  and  cast  into 
his  garden  ;  and  it  grew,  and  waxed  a  great  tree  ;  and  the  fowls  of  the 
air  lodged  in  the  branches  of  it. 

The  imperceptible  growth  of  grace  and  of  the  church  is 
much  to  be  admired ;  but  neither  the  beauty  nor  the  perfec- 
tion of  the  church  is  to  be  seen  in  this  life.  Here  every 
thing  relating  to  her  appears  little,  because  she  is  as  yet  in  a 
state  of  humiliation ;  her  light  being  obscure,  her  charity 
imperfect,  and  her  children  not  yet  become  fowls  of  heaven. 
When  will  it  be,  0  my  God,  that  thy  spouse  will  arrive  at  her 
perfect  age  ;  that  this  tree  will  attain  to  the  greatness,  extent, 
and  height  Avhich  thou  hast  designed  it ;  and  that  we,  being 

118  LUKE. 

perfectly  disengaged  from  the  earth,  shall  lodge  in  the  branches 
of  it,  to  contemplate  thee  to  all  eternity  ? 

20.  And  again  he  said,  Whereunto  shall  I  liken  the  kingdoni  of  God. 
A  good  pastor  is  never  weary  of  instructing  his  flock,  no 

more  than  a  tender  nurse  is  of  giving  suck  to  her  infant. 
There  always  remains  abundance  to  be  said  concerning  the 
kingdom  of  God,  because  there  are  no  words  nor  comparisons 
which  can  express  the  beauty  and  riches  thereof. 

21.  It  is  like  leaven,  which  a  woman  took  and  hid  in  three  measures 
of  meal,  till  the  whole  was  leavened. 

Grace  penetrates  the  soul,  raises  and  transforms  it,  and 
changes  the  whole  man  into  one  entirely  new,  the  darkness  of 
his  understanding  into  the  light  of  God,  the  depraved  love  of 
his  heart  into  a  holy  love,  and  the  corruption  of  his  senses 
into  a  regular  and  religious  use.  How  then  will  it  be  when 
God  shall  penetrate  all  our  faculties  with  the  light  of  his  glory, 
and  with  the  virtue  of  his  divine  essence,  and  be  himself  en- 
tirely in  us  !  Let  his  kingdom,  which  thou,  0  my  God,  hast 
promised  us,  come ;  and  let  it  be  speedily  established  in  our 
hearts  ! 

22.  And  he  went  through  the  cities  and  villages,  teaching,  and  jour- 
neying toward  Jerusalem. 

A  pastor  who  instructs  his  people  with  care,  who  visits  his 
flock  in  the  country,  and  is  continually  intent  on  his  duty, — 
such  a  pastor  advances  very  fast  toward  the  heavenly  Jerusa- 
lem. What  fidelity,  what  courage  ought  not  these  toils  and 
labours  of  the  Prince  of  pastors  in  seeking  his  sheep,  to  in- 
spire into  the  pastors  of  the  church !  Form,  0  Lord,  by  thy 
Spirit,  unwearied  imitators  of  thy  zeal ! 


23.  T[  Then  said  one  unto  him,  Lord,  are  there  few  that  be  saved  ?  And 
he  said  unto  them. 

Men  are  more  inclined  to  ask  curious  questions  than  to  de- 
sire necessary  instructions.  Let  us  learn  of  Christ  to  speak 
with  great  discretion  concerning  hidden  mysteries  and  such 
truths  as  are  of  no  general  use.     The  truths  which  relate  to 

CHAPTER    Xlir.  119 

practice,  and  which  are  instrumental  in  setting  us  forward  in 
the  way  of  salvation,  are  those  which  ought  to  employ  our 

24.  Strive  to  enter  in  at  the  strait  gate :  for  many,  I  say  unto  you,  will 
eeek  to  enter  in,  and  shall  not  be  able. 

Christ  here  gives  an  implicit  answer  to  the  preceding  ques- 
tion ;  for  as  there  are  few  who  strive  to  enter  in  at  the  strait 
gate,  so  there  are  few  who  are  saved.  Men  may  make  devo- 
tion as  easy  as  they  please,  they  may  widen  the  gate  of  hea- 
ven, and  flatter  themselves  and  others  that  their  salvation  is 
continually  in  their  hands  :  the  direct  contrary  is  true,  since 
truth  itself  assures  us  so.  There  is  nothing  which  is  more  an 
object  of  faith  than  that  which  the  Author  of  faith  here 
teaches  us — namely,  that  salvation  is  neither  for  the  slothful 
and  idle,  who  will  not  strive,  nor  for  such  as  will  not  enter  in 
at  the  strait  gate,  nor  yet  for  those  who  presume  to  the  very 
last,  either  upon  their  own  strength  or  upon  the  grace  of  God. 
God  has  his  proper  seasons,  which  we  must  by  no  means  let 
slip.  There  will  certainly  come  a  time  when,  by  a  just  judg- 
ment, we  shall  not  be  able  to  do  any  thing,  though  we  would 
ever  so  fain,  because  we  would  not  do  it  when  we  might. 

25.  When  once  the  Master  of  the  house  is  risen  up,  and  hath  shut  to 
the  door,  and  ye  begin  to  stand  without,  and  to  knock  at  the  door,  saying. 
Lord,  Lord,  open  unto  us ;  and  he  shall  answer  and  say  unto  you,  I  know 
you  not  whence  ye  are. 

A  false  righteousness,  and  a  repentance  which  comes  too 
late,  are  equally  rejected.  No  sinner  ought,  at  any  time,  to 
believe  that  there  is  no  more  mercy  for  him,  since  God  com- 
mands him  to  hope  to  the  end  ;  but  he  ought  likewise  to  be- 
lieve, since  Christ  himself  declares  so,  that,  unless  he  be  con- 
verted now  immediately,  there  may  come  a  time  (and  who 
can  tell  how  soon  ?)  when  he  shall  seek  to  enter  in,  and  sliall 
not  be  able ;  when  he  shall  knock  at  the  door,  and  it  shall 
not  be  opened  to  him ;  when  he  shall  pray,  and  shall  not  be 
heard  !  Dreadful  truths  these !  but  such  as  are  absolutely 
necessary  to  be  known.  To  endeavour  to  conceal  them  is  to 
affect  to  be  wiser  than  wisdom  herself,  who  has  revealed 
them  to  us. 

120  LUKE. 

26.  Then  shall  ye  begin  to  say,  We  have  eaten  and  drunk  in  thy  pre- 
sence, and  thou  hast  taught  in  our  streets. 

The  being  familiarly  acquainted  with  Christ  himself  in  the 
flesh,  is  no  manner  of  use  in  order  to  salvation,  without  works. 
What  will  it  signify  to  the  incredulous  Jews,  to  have  seen  our 
blessed  Saviour  and  his  miracles,  and  to  have  heard  his  word 
from  his  own  mouth,  but  only  that  they  will  undergo  a  severer 
punishment  on  that  account  ?  Those  Christians  who  are  dis- 
tinguished from  infidels  and  impious  persons  by  nothing  but 
the  external  use  of  the  word  and  sacraments,  will  not  be 
owned  as  Christians  by  Him  who  will  judge  of  Christianity 
by  the  life  and  by  the  works.  God  is  not  satisfied  at  the 
time  of  death  with  those  communions  only  of  ceremony,  nor 
with  those  shoAvs  of  piety  which  are  not  accompanied  with  a 
truly  converted  and  Christian  heart. 

27.  But  he  shall  say,  I  tell  you,  I  know  you  not  whence  ye  are  ;  depart 
from  me,  all  ye  workers  of  iniquity. 

It  is  very  just  that  those  who  would  not  acknowledge 
Christ  for  their  Master  and  Pattern,  by  obeying  and  imitat- 
ing him  during  their  life,  should  be  altogether  unknown  to 
him  at  death  and  judgment.  Not  to  be  owned  by  Jesus 
Christ,  is  sufficient  to  our  condemnation.  Whoever  does  not 
belong  to  him,  can  belong  only  to  the  devil.  This  external 
separation  of  the  creature  from  its  God  is  a  dreadful  punish- 
ment ;  but  the  sinner  separated  himself  first  from  God  by  a 
will  which,  by  means  of  his  death,  becomes  eternal.  He  who 
does  not  tremble  at  this  word  "Depart,"  nor  endeavour  to 
lead  a  life  which  may  show  him  to  be  a  Christian,  has  either 
no  faith  at  all,  or  only  so  much  as  will  be  to  his  condemnation. 

28.  There  shall  be  weeping  and  gnashing  of  teeth,  when  ye  shall  see 
Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob,  and  all  the  prophets,  in  the  kingdom  of  God, 
and  you  yourselves  thrust  out. 

The  tears  of  penitents  flow  for  a  moment,  and  produce  an 
eternal  happiness :  those  of  the  damned  are  eternal,  and 
eternally  fruitless  and  ineffectual.  The  joy  and  happiness  of 
the  elect  will  be  the  despair  and  punishment  of  the  reprobate ; 
because,  in  hell,  envy  will  reign  and  be  at  its  utmost  height, 
as  charity  will  be  perfect  in  heaven.  If  we  would  not  have 
the  glory  of  the  saints  become  the  object  of  our  envy  then,  let 


US  earnestly  endeavour,  by  imitating  their  fidelity  now,  to 
become  tbe  partners  and  companions  of  their  felicity.  The 
Jews,  who  were  instructed  by  Jesus  Christ  himself,  seemed 
to  have  great  advantages  above  Abraham  and  the  prophets ; 
but  a  lively  faith  supplied  all  defects,  and  the  sight  of  Christ 
himself  could  not  supply  the  defect  of  that  alone. 

29.  And  they  shall  come  from  the  east,  and  ./"row  the  west,  and  from 
the  north,  and  from  the  south,  and  shall  sit  down  in  the  kingdom  of  God. 

Let  us  be  transported  with  joy,  because  the  kingdom   of 

God  is  established  in  the  remotest  countries ;  but  let  us,  by 

our  fidelity,  take  care    that    our  grace   be   not   transferred 

thither.     We  must  co-operate  by  our  prayers,  desires,  cares, 

and  acts  of  charity,  to  enlarge  the  bounds  of  this  kingdom, 

if  we  cannot  do  it  by  our  labours  and  ministry.     We  secure 

ourselves  a  place  in  this  kingdom,  when  we  contribute  to  the 

entrance  and  admission  of  others  into  it. 

30.  And,  behold,  there  are  last  which  shall  be  first,  and  there  are  first 
which  shall  be  last. 

What  amazing  changes  are  these  !  an  exaltation  of  a  mo- 
ment is  succeeded  by  an  eternal  humiliation  in  the  damned; 
and  a  transient  humiliation  is  crowned  with  everlasting  glory 
in  the  elect.  That  the  primacy  or  first  place  in  power,  glory, 
riches,  learning,  etc.,  with  which  men  are  so  intoxicated  in 
this  world  as  to  sacrifice  every  thing  thereto,  should  vanish 
away  and  be  the  cause  of  their  abasement,  is  not  so  very 
strange  and  surprising.  But  that  which  ought  to  humble  the 
greatest  saints,  and  to  make  them  tremble,  is,  that  even  the 
primacy  in  religion,  piety,  and  the  sublimest  virtues,  undergoes 
sometimes  the  same  fate. 


31.  1[  The  same  day  there  came  certain  of  the  Pharisees,  saying  unto 
him,  Get  thee  out,  and  depart  hence;  for  Herod  will  kill  thee. 

There  is  no  stratagem  or  artifice  whatever,  of  which  the 
devil  does  not  make  use  by  his  ministers  to  obstruct  the  work 
of  God,  to  cause  his  servants  to  quit  their  station,  and  to  cool 
their  zeal.     Power  in  the  former,  and  love  of  life  or  ease  in 

Vol.  II.— 11 

122  LUKE. 

the  latter,  are  the  things  which  he  most  commonly  employs  to 
that  purpose.  The  only  shield  which  is  proof  against  every 
thing,  is  to  fear  and  love  nothing  hut  that  which  is  eternal. 

32.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Go  ye,  and  tell  that  fox.  Behold  I  cast  out 
devils,  and  I  do  cures  to-day  and  to-morrow,  and  the  third  day  I  shall 
be  perfected. 

Let  us  imitate  the  steadfastness  and  constancy  of  Christ, 
in  performing  our  duty  in  spite  of  all  the  opposition  of  the 
world.  When  God  has  intrusted  us  with  any  work,  we  must 
labour  without  intermission,  and  finish  it  without  any  appre- 
hensions from  men.  A  minister  of  God  has  need  of  know- 
ledge, to  discover  the  wiles  of  the  serpent ;  of  fidelity,  to  dis- 
charge all  the  duties  of  his  ministry ;  and  of  courage,  to 
despise  death, — for  which  reason  he  must  pray  and  humble 
himself  very  much.  A  true  pastor  ought  to  labour  toward 
the  salvation  of  souls,  in  casting  out  the  devil  of  concupis- 
cence, and  procuring  them  the  health  of  charity ;  and  to  be 
as  diligent  in  doing  this  as  if  he  had  but  three  days  to  live. 
Happy  that  pastor  who,  like  Jesus  Christ,  lives  only  to  fight 
against  the  devil,  and  to  do  good  to  men,  and  looks  upon  death 
as  a  desirable  sacrifice  ! 

33.  Nevertheless  I  must  walk  to-day,  and  to-morrow,  and  the  day  fol- 
lowing: for  it  cannot  be  that  a  prophet  perish  out  of  Jerusalem. 

Our  life  belongs  to  God ;  and  that  of  his  ministers  is  more 
especially  in  his  hands,  because  it  is  bound  up  with  his  de- 
signs concerning  his  church.  The  threats  of  men  are  nothing, 
so  long  as  God  permits  them  to  do  nothing.  Christ  assigns 
the  time  and  place  of  his  death,  as  having  them  more  in  his 
own  power  than  those  who  were  to  inflict  it  on  him.  The 
victim  was  not  to  be  sacrificed  far  from  the  temple;  the  truth 
was  to  be  accomplished  near  its  types  and  figures ;  and  Jeru- 
salem to  fill  up  the  measure  of  her  sins,  in  crucifying  the 
Saviour  of  the  world. 

34.  0  Jerusalem,  Jerusalem,  which  killest  the  prophets,  and  stonest 
thom  that  are  sent  unto  thee ;  how  often  would  I  have  gathered  tliy 
children  together,  as  a  hen  doth  gather  her  brood  under  her  wings,  and 
ye  would  not ! 

How  great  is  the  goodness  of  God  !  how  great  the   obdu- 

rateness  of  the  sinner  !  Jerusalem,  which  killed  the  prophets, 

CHAPTER    XIV.  123 

is  an  emblem  representing  to  us  the  world,  in  whose  power  it 
is  to  use  the  servants  of  God  despitefully,  and  to  persecute  the 
ministers  of  his  word.  Whoever  does  this,  makes  a  part  of  that 
criminal  city.  This  Jerusalem  would  not  have  her  children 
gathered  together ;  but,  notwithstanding  this,  our  blessed 
Saviour  gathers  under  his  wings  all  those  of  her  children 
whom  he  has  chosen  to  salvation.  In  the  mother,  he  shows 
how  far  a  depraved  will  can  go  in  resisting  the  Holy  Spirit ; 
in  the  children,  he  shows  the  power  which  his  grace  has  over 
the  will,  in  subjecting  it  freely  to  itself.  Make  us  hear,  0 
Jesus,  this  voice  of  thy  love,  and  we  shall  then  come  unto 
thee.  Place  us  under  the  shadow  of  thy  wings,  and  we  shall 
be  in  safety. 

35.  Behold,  your  house  is  left  unto  you  desolate :  and  verily  I  say 
unto  you,  Ye  shall  not  see  me,  until  the  time  come  when  ye  shall  say, 
Blessed  is  he  that  coraeth  in  the  name  of  the  Lord. 

The  soul,  abandoned  by  the  light  of  truth,  no  longer  knows 
God  with  a  saving  knowledge.  What  a  frightful  desert  is  a 
heart,  when  God  Avithdraws  and  leaves  it !  What  darkness 
overspreads  it,  when  the  eternal  Light  shines  no  longer 
therein  !  Let  us  take  great  care  that  our  repeated  acts  of 
infidelity  do  not  invariably  lead  us,  like  the  Jews,  into  that 
dismal  state.  God  was  at  last  wearied  with  their  disobedience 
and  infidelity,  after  having  afforded  them  so  many  opportuni- 
ties of  conversion,  and  sent  them  so  many  preachers  of  re- 
pentance. If  he  should  likewise  grow  weary  of  our  frequent 
relapses  and  revolts,  as  he  did  of  theirs,  what  would  become 
of  us? 



1.  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  he  went  into  the  house  of  one  of  the  chief 
Pharisees  to  eat  bread  on  the  sabbath  day,  that  they  watched  him. 

Christ  goes  not  into  public  company,  except  when  there  is 
some  good  to  be  done.     The  world  takes  notice  of  every 

124  LUKE. 

thing  in  ecclesiastical  persons,  and  in  the  great :  this  obliges 
them  to  a  particular  care  in  all  their  actions.  How  corrupt 
is  the  heart  of  man  !  This  Pharisee,  instead  of  opening  his 
heart  to  the  light  and  grace  offered  him  in  this  visit  of  our 
blessed  Saviour,  opens  it  only  to  malice  and  malicious  suspi- 
cions. How  should  we  be  able  of  ourselves  to  profit  by  the 
afflictions  which  God  sends  us,  since,  without  the  assistance 
of  his  grace,  we  abuse  even  the  most  engaging  instances  of 
his  favour ! 

2.  And,  behold,  there  was  a  certain  man  before  him  which  had  the 

It  is  sufficient  sometimes  that  our  miseries  be  only  exposed 
to  the  eyes  of  mercy.  Mercy  is  of  a  preventing  nature,  and, 
without  staying  for  our  solicitation,  is  disposed  to  do  us  good. 
The  pride  of  man's  heart,  which  this  dropsical  person  repre- 
sents, stood  in  great  need  of  such  a  charitable  physician  as 
Jesus  Christ. 

3.  And  Jesus  answering  spake  unto  the  lawyers  and  Pharisees,  say- 
ing, Is  it  lawful  to  heal  on  the  sabbath  day  ? 

How  great  must  the  corruption  be,  where  one  is  obliged  to 
propose  it  as  a  question,  Whether  it  be  lawful  to  do  good  ? 
It  is  not  out  of  ignorance,  but  charity,  that  Christ  asks  this 
question,  on  purpose  to  give  these  men  an  occasion  of  reflect- 
ing upon  their  own  thoughts,  and  by  their  answer  to  engage 
them  in  such  as  are  good.  The  captious  and  malicious  ques- 
tions of  deceitful  and  pharisaical  hearts,  are  very  contrary  to 
this  discreet  and  charitable  disposition. 

4.  And  they  held  their  peace.  And  he  took  him,  and  healed  him,  and 
let  him  go ; 

There  is,  in  wicked  persons,  a  silence  proceeding  from 
pride,  malice,  impotence,  dissimulation,  and  craft ;  but  it 
cannot  hide  their  hearts  from  Him  who  sees  the  inmost  re- 
cesses of  it.  One  ought  to  have  no  manner  of  regard  to 
them,  when  an  opportunity  of  doing  good  works  presents 
itself.  Let  this  hand,  which  gives  such  sovereign  relief,  be 
extended  over  my  heart,  0  Jesus,  and  heal  its  spiritual  dropsy, 
the  swelling  of  its  pride,  the  fulness  of  its  corruption,  and  its 
greediness  and  thirst  after  earthly  things. 

CHAPTER    XIV.  125 

5.  And  answered  them,  saying,  Which  of  you  shall  have  an  ass  or  an 
ox  fallen  into  a  pit,  and  will  not  straightway  pull  him  out  on  the  sab- 
bath day?     6.  And  they  could  not  answer  him  again  to  these  things. 

The  meekness  and  goodness  of  our  blessed  Saviour  shows 
itself  on  all  occasions.  He  instructs,  without  insulting ;  he 
sees  the  disorder  and  confusion  of  these  proud  spirits,  with- 
out exposing  it ;  and  he  reduces  them  to  silence,  without  de- 
siring to  triumph  over  them.  One  cannot  too  often  occasion 
men  to  reflect  upon  the  depravity  of  their  heart,  so  manifest 
in  their  being  unwilling  to  allow  charity  to  do  that  for  the 
glory  of  God  and  the  salvation  of  their  neighbour,  which  a 
small  temporal  interest  causes  them  to  do  without  the  least 

ARE    TO    BE    INVITED. 

7.  1[  And  he  put  forth  a  parable  to  those  which  were  bidden,  when  he 
marked  how  they  chose  out  the  chief  rooms ;  saying  unto  them. 

Corrupt  nature  inclines  us  always  to  prefer  ourselves  to 
others,  and  to  appropriate  to  ourselves  the  best  of  every  thing. 
Pride,  which  is  the  principle  from  whence  this  eternal  pre- 
ference proceeds,  is  the  dropsy  which  Christ  would  cure  in 
these  guests.  When  quality,  custom,  or  laws  have  regulated 
and  settled  places  in  public  assemblies,  a  man  may  then  take 
them,  but  he  must  not  love  them.  When  nothing  of  this  na- 
ture is  settled,  the  law  of  humility  and  the  love  of  order  are 
the  only  judges  of  what  is  proper. 

8.  When  thou  art  bidden  of  any  man  to  a  wedding,  sit  not  down  in  the 
highest  room ;  lest  a  more  honourable  man  than  thou  be  bidden  of  him ; 

To  take  the  highest  place  when  it  is  not  our  due,  is  a  piece 
of  vanity  which  is  plain  and  visible;  obstinately  to  refuse  it, 
is  another  instance  of  the  same  vice,  though  it  be  more  pri- 
vate and  concealed.  Humility  takes  as  much  care  to  avoid 
the  ostentation  of  an  affected  refusal  as  the  open  seeking  a 
superior  place.  This  parable  does  immediately  relate  to  the 
outward  behaviour ;  but  the  thing  signified  thereby  is  inward 
humility,  which  prefers  itself  to  none,  and  is  not  at  all  am- 
bitious of  the  first  place  in  the  esteem  of  others. 

126  LUKE. 

9.  And  he  that  bade  thee  and  him  come  and  say  to  theo,  Give  this  man 
place  ;  and  thou  begin  with  shame  to  take  the  lowest  room. 

Shame  generally  attends  the  proud  person.  It  is  neither 
the  fear  of  being  humbled,  nor  the  desire  of  being  exalted  by 
men,  which  ought  to  divert  us  from  seeking  the  chief  places ; 
but  the  knowledge  of  our  own  vileness,  the  love  of  order,  the 
spirit  of  mortification,  a  hatred  of  pride,  a  true  sense  of  hu- 
mility, and  a  desire  to  conform  ourselves  to  the  example  of 
Christ,  and  to  obey  his  gospel.  It  is  one  thing  to  hate  the 
punishment  of  the  proud,  and  another  to  act  by  their  spirit : 
the  latter  is  always  bad,  the  former  not. 

10.  But  when  thou  art  bidden,  go  and  sit  down  in  the  lowest  room ; 
that  when  he  that  bade  thee  cometh,  he  may  say  unto  thee,  Friend,  go 
up  higher:  then  shalt  thou  have  worship  in  the  presence  of  them  that  sit 
at  meat  with  thee. 

That  which,  in  the  parable,  is  no  other  than  a  vice,  is  a 
virtue  in  that  which  is  signified  by  it.  Human  glory  is  alto- 
gether unworthy  of  a  Christian's  love  :  the  glory  which  comes 
from  God  is  that  alone  which  is  worthy  of  his  ambition.  The 
only  means  to  attain  to  this  glory  is  humility ;  but  humility 
expects  it  only  from  the  pure  bounty  of  God,  desires  it  only 
for  his  glory,  and  receives  it  only  by  abasing  itself,  and,  as  it 
were,  losing  itself  in  him.  Lord,  humble  my  heart,  and  cause 
it  to  love  that  place  which  belongs  to  it,  that  it  may  not  be- 
come unworthy  of  that  Avhich  thou  hast  merited  for  it. 

11.  For  whosoever  exalteth  himself  shall  be  abased;  and  he  that 
humbleth  himself  shall  be  exalted. 

This  is  the  unchangeable  conduct  of  God  in  respect  of  the 

humble  and  the  proud.     The  carnal  man  will  not  comprehend 

it ;  because  he  prefers  the  vain  and  momentary  glory  which 

is  offered  him  by  the  world,  before  the  substantial  and  eternal 

glory  which  God  has  promised  him.     It  does  by  no  means 

belong  to  man  to  exalt  himself,  since  of  himself  he  has  nothing 

which  is  good,  since  he  knows  not  whether  he  shall  always 

retain  the  good  he  has,  and  since  nothing  is  more  deceitful 

than  the  judgment  which  he  forms  concerning  himself.     Let 

us  wait  with  patience  one  moment:  the  day  of  eternity  will 

discover  to  us  both  our  own  heart  and  that  of  others. 

12.  f  Then  said  he  also  to  him  that  bade  him,  When  thou  makest  a 

CHAPTER    XIV.  127 

dinner  or  a  supper,  call  not  thy  friends,  nor  thy  brethren,  neither  thy 
kinsmen,  nor  iliy  rich  neighbours ;  lest  they  also  bid  thee  again,  and  a 
recompense  be  made  thee. 

Our  charity  must  be  perfectly  disinterested,  if  we  desire  to 
be  recompensed  by  him  who  has  not  the  least  interest  in  lov- 
ing us.  To  make  sometimes  entertainments  and  presents,  in 
order  to  keep  up  a  good  understanding  and  Christian  friend- 
ship, is  to  serve  the  purposes  of  charity ;  and  God  will  place 
them  to  account,  if  charity  be  likewise  the  soul  and  principle 
of  them.  They  are  entirely  lost  as  to  heaven,  if  we  have 
only  earthly  views  of  interest,  pleasure,  vanity,  ambition,  or 
human  friendship.  There  are  very  few  who  regulate  these 
expenses  by  Christian  motives;  as  if  it  were  not  necessary  to 
be  Christians,  even  in  the  most  common  actions  of  civil  life. 

13.  But  when  thou  makest  a  feast,  call  the  poor,  the  maimed,  the  lame, 
the  blind : 

A  man  finds  his  friends,  his  brethren,  his  kinsmen,  and  his 

neighbours  in  these  poor  people,  since  he  finds  in  them  Jesus 

Christ,  who  is  all  things  to  those  who  are  entirely  his.     He 

who  consecrates  to  these  miserable  wretches  his  estate,  his 

cares,  his  labours,  his  services,  and  his  life,  may  perhaps  be 

counted  a  fool ;  but  how  much  true  wisdom  lies  concealed 

under  this  seeming  folly !     This  is  a  mystery  of  faith :  we 

must  believe  in  it  something  very  different  from  what  we  see. 

14.  And  thou  shalt  be  blessed  ;  for  they  cannot  recompense  thee :  for 
thou  shalt  be  recompensed  at  the  resurrection  of  the  just. 

Happy  that  person  who  receives  not  from  men  the  recom- 
pense of  his  charity!  God  himself  will  be  his  recompense. 
We  should  think  ourselves  happy  in  being  able  to  purchase 
the  friendship  of  some  great  prince,  the  heir  of  a  rich  crown, 
by  lending  him  in  his  wants,  and  when  he  is  in  no  condition 
to  repay  us.  The  poor  are  bo  many  distressed  princes  :  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  is  theirs ;  and  therefore  to  lend  them  in 
their  necessities,  is  to  make  our  own  fortune.  What  do  we 
not  venture  upon  a  deceitful  hope,  upon  an  uncertain  futurity  ? 
Here  every  thing  is  sure,  every  thing  is  certain,  since  the  gospel 
is  answerable  for  it,  since  Christ  himself  is  security  for  the 
poor,  and  since,  whatever  we  lend  to  them  is  lent  to  him  in 
their  persons. 


SECT.    in. — THE    PARABLE    OF    THE    GUESTS   WHO    EXCUSED 

15.  f  And  when  one  of  them  that  sat  at  meat  with  him  heard  these 
things,  he  said  unto  him,  Blessed  is  he  that  shall  eat  bread  in  the  king- 
dom of  God. 

He  who  thinks  with  faith  on  the  treasures  and  delights  of 
heaven,  is  not  able  to  contain  his  joy.  Jesus  speaks  to  all 
present  concerning  the  eternal  reward ;  and  only  one  single 
person  seems  to  open  his  heart,  and  to  feed  upon  it.  The 
bread  of  the  kingdom  of  God  is  God  himself:  it  is  with  him, 
as  being  eternal  truth,  that  those  shall  be  fed  and  satisfied 
who  have  fed  Jesus  Christ  in  his  members.  It  is  by  the  in- 
fusion, communication,  and  intimate  union  of  the  sovereign 
good  with  the  soul,  that  those  shall  be  eternally  nourished 
who  have  given  part  of  their  perishing  goods  to  the  poor. 
Blessed  is  he  who  opens  his  heart  and  his  purse  to  them  ! 

16.  Then  said  he  unto  him,  A  certain  man  made  a  great  supper,  and 
bade  many : 

How  highly  is   the    honour  of  eating   at   a  king's    table 

esteemed  in  the  world  ?     But  that  God  should  invite  a  sinner 

to  the  delights  of  his   glory,  and  to  the  participation  of  his 

joy — what  transcendent  goodness  and  mercy  is  this  !     Men 

invite  others  to  their  table,  because  they  have  occasion  for 

them  to  be  subservient  to  their  pleasure,  their  interest,  or  to 

some   other  designs,  which    plainly  show  their  wants :    God 

alone,  happy  in  himself,  communicates  his  good  things  out  of 

pure  bounty  and  an  abundant  fulness. 

17.  And  sent  his  servant  at  supper  time  to  say  to  them  that  were 
bidden.  Come :  for  all  things  are  now  ready. 

God  sends  his  own  Son,  clothed  in  the  form  of  a  servant, 

to  invite  and  conduct  us  to  the  heavenly  supper.     The  time 

of  walking  by  faith,  in  order  to  go  to  this  supper,  is  chiefly 

since  the  incarnation,  death,  and  resurrection  of  our  blessed 

Saviour.     All  things  are  ready,  because  he  has  done  all  things 

necessary  to  our  salvation,  has  merited  all  things  for  us,  is 

himself  the  banquet,  and  is  gone  to  prepare  the  place  for  us 

which  we  are  to  have.     Let  us  therefore  go  to  this  divine 

banquet  with  all  the  fervency  of  our  faith. 

CHAPTER   XrV.  129 

18.  And  they  all  with  one  consent  begin  to  make  excuse.  The  first 
said  unto  him,  I  have  bought  a  piece  of  ground,  and  I  must  needs  go  and 
see  it :  I  pray  thee  have  me  excused. 

Diverse  obstacles  to  salvation  are  here  denoted :  First, 
idleness,  pleasure,  and  the  pride  of  riches.  Can  we  possibly 
look  upon  wealth  as  a  real  good,  if  it  be  a  hinderance  of  our 
salvation  ?  And  is  it  not  certainly  so,  when  the  heart  is  en- 
tirely fixed  upon  it,  taken  up  with  it,  makes  it  its  treasure, 
and  is  possessed  thereby ;  insomuch  that  it  loses  all  relish  of 
heavenly  enjoyments,  and  can  find  no  time  to  use  any  endea- 
vours to  render  itself  in  any  measure  worthy  of  them  ?  Men 
make  a  necessity  of  that  which  proceeds  from  nothing  but 
their  passions,  as  if  the  only  true  necessity  did  not  consist  in 
opposing  their  passions,  and  sacrificing  them  to  their  eternal 

19.  And  another  said,  I  have  bought  five  yoke  of  oxen,  and  I  go  to 
prove  them :  I  pray  thee  have  me  excused. 

The  second  obstacle  to  salvation  here  mentioned,  contains 
under  it  the  curiosity  of  the  mind  and  senses,  labour,  em- 
ployment, and  business.  What  are  the  generality  of  men, 
who  are  entirely  taken  up  with  these  things,  but  mere  beasts, 
bearing  a  most  heavy  yoke,  slaves  to  those  whom  they  serve, 
always  stooping  toward  the  earth,  seeing  nothing  but  that, 
and  wholly  employed  in  moving  and  turning  it  up  ?  How  in- 
nocent soever  any  employment  may  be  in  itself,  it  ceases  to 
be  so  when  it  hinders  us  from  thinking  on  God,  when  it  fills 
up  our  whole  life,  busies  our  whole  mind,  and  causes  us  to 
forget  that  we  were  made  for  heaven,  and  that  the  means  of 
attaining  thereto  is  our  only  necessary  affair.  Too  much  lei- 
sure and  too  much  business  are  both  equally  dangerous  with 
respect  to  salvation. 

20.  And  another  said,  I  have  married  a  wife,  and  therefore  1  cannot 

The  third  obstacle  to  salvation  here  mentioned  compre- 
hends the  lust  of  the  flesh,  too  great  a  fondness  toward  our 
family,  pleasures,  disorders,  excesses,  etc.  The  sacred  bond 
of  marriage,  which  ought  to  be  a  help  toward  salvation,  is 
but  too  often  the  utter  ruin  of  it.  If  a  woman,  given  to  Adam 
in  a  state  of  innocence  by  the  hand  of  God  himself,  was,  not- 

130  LUKE. 

withstanding,  the  cause  of  his  fall,  by  means  of  a  fondness 
and  compliance  contrary  to  his  duty,  who  has  not  reason  to 
be  afraid  lest  he  should  meet  with  a  snare  in  marriage  through 
the  bad  disposition  of  his  own  heart.  These  ties  of  flesh  and 
blood  are  the  most  difficult  to  be  broken.  The  persons  men- 
tioned before,  excuse  themselves  civilly :  this  man  bluntly 
declares  he  cannot  come.  Some  damn  themselves  in  a  rude 
and  brutal,  others  in  a  civil  and  well-bred,  manner. 

21.  So  that  servant  came,  and  showed  his  Lord  these  things.  Then 
the  master  of  the  house  being;  angry  said  to  his  servant,  Go  out  quickly 
into  the  streets  and  lanes  of  the  city,  and  bring  in  hither  the  poor,  and 
the  maimed,  and  the  halt,  and  the  blind. 

The  contempt  of  God's  word  provokes  his  justice.  We  must 
acknowledge  ourselves  to  be  poor,  incapable  of  doing  any 
good,  blind,  and  sinners,  if  we  desire  to  partake  of  the  divine 
mercy.  It  is  a  great  misfortune,  but  very  difficultly  owned 
as  such,  for  a  man  to  have  any  thing  in  this  life  on  which  he 
may  set  his  affections,  and  wherein  he  may  place  a  kind  of 
felicity.  It  is,  on  the  contrary,  a  great  happiness,  and  as 
difficult  to  be  comprehended,  for  a  man  to  have  nothing  in 
this  world  which  may  make  him  love  it.  We  are  always  ready 
to  go  to  the  heavenly  banquet,  when  we  are  thoroughly  sen- 
sible of  the  poverty,  misery,  and  dangers  of  this  life.  It  is 
much  easier  to  make  poverty  than  riches  a  means  of  salva- 
tion. A  rich  man,  who  would  be  saved,  must  wean  and  dis- 
engage his  heart  from  his  wealth :  a  poor  man,  the  more  he 
loves  his  poverty,  the  fitter  is  he  for  heaven,  and  the  greater 
right  has  he  thereto. 

22.  And  the  sei-vant  said,  Lord,  it  is  done  as  thou  hast  commanded, 
and  yet  there  is  room. 

Every  place  shows  that  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  for  the 
poor.  The  gospel  is  very  seldom  preached,  or  instruction 
given  to  them,  without  some  fruit.  It  is  proper  to  them  to  be 
of  a  teachable  and  open  disposition,  and  fit  to  receive  the  im- 
pression of  the  truths  of  salvation  :  whereas  the  minds  of  the 
rich,  who  are  proud  and  conceited,  are  generally  unteachable, 
shut  up,  and  hardened  against  the  word  of  God  and  against 
his  ministers.  The  places  in  heaven  are  numbered,  and  yet 
there  is  alwavs  room  for  those  who  will  work  out  their  salva- 

CHAPTER   XIV.  131 

tion.  The  bosom  of  God  is  the  place  where  this  heavenly- 
banquet  is  prepared  ;  it  is  there  that  we  are  to  be  filled  with 
his  good  things.  How  can  either  room  or  provisions  ever  be 
wanting  there,  since  we  are  to  be  in  God,  and  to  feed  upon 
him ! 

23.  And  the  lord  said  unto  the  servant,  Go  out  into  the  hiojhways  and 
hedges,  and  compel  them  to  come  in,  that  my  house  may  be  filled. 

Observe  here  the  mercy,  freeness,  and  efficacy  of  the  di- 
vine vocation !  From  what  errors,  what  forgetfulness  of 
God,  does  he  not  recover  those  sinners  to  whom  he  has  deter- 
mined to  make  known  his  truth,  and  to  open  his  celestial 
mansions?  He  seeks  those  who  fly  from  him,  overcomes 
those  who  resist  him,  and  causes  those  who  hate  to  love  him. 
Void  of  all  understanding  is  he  who  despairs  either  of  his 
goodness  or  his  power,  in  what  abyss  of  sin  and  misery  soever 
he  finds  himself.  There  is  no  empty  space  in  the  house  of 
God:  none  of  the  elect,  who  are  the  fulness  of  the  body  of 
Christ,  shall  be  wanting  to  it ;  all  his  designs  concerning 
them  will  certainly  be  accomplished.  Vouchsafe,  Lord,  to 
draw  pur  rebellious  hearts  toward  thyself;  exercise,  we  be- 
seech thee,  that  sort  of  violence  upon  us  which  does  not 
force  and  necessitate  our  wills,  but  sets  them  perfectly  at 
liberty,  and  heals  them. 

24.  For  I  say  unto  you,  That  none  of  those  men  which  were  bidden 
shall  taste  of  my  supper. 

He  who  loves  the  world,  and  the  things  which  are  in  the 
world,  will  be  excluded  from  the  heavenly  supper,  unless  he 
disengage  his  affections  from  them  before  the  appointed  hour. 
This  is  a  dreadful  sentence,  but  such  as  is  executed  every  day 
and  every  moment.  There  are  four  sorts  of  grace  vouch- 
safed to  sinners,  and  denoted  here  by  these  four  terms :  Sin- 
ners bade  or  invited,  ver.  16  ;  called,  ver.  17  ;  brought,  ver. 
21 ;  compelled,  ver.  23.  The  grace  of  invitation  and  of  out- 
ward call  is  not  sufficient ;  none  ever  enter  who  are  not  either 
brought  and  led  by  the  gentle  and  powerful  hand  of  grace,  or 
even  compelled  by  an  extraordinary  conduct  of  God,  which 
breaks  their  chains,  and  tears  them  from  their  passions.  It  is 
an  unsearchable  judgment  of  God,  that  he  should  only  invite 

132  L  U  K  E. 

and  call  those  who  Trere  nearest,  and  whose  hearts  were  not 
set  upon  any  evil  thing,  leaving  them  to  their  own  inclinations 
and  desires,  and  that  he  should  cause  others  to  be  brought  in, 
and,  as  it  were,  compelled,  who  seem  to  have  been  less  fit,  at  a 
greater  distance,  and  in  no  manner  of  expectation  of  such  a 
favour.  My  God,  thou  art  the  sovereign  Master  of  our  destiny ; 
it  belongs  solely  to  thee  to  dispose  of  it  as  thou  pleasest ! 




25.  T[  And  there  went  great  multitudes  with  him  :  and  he  turned,  and 
said  unto  them,  26.  If  any  man  come  to  me,  and  hate  not  his  father, 
and  mother,  and  Avife,  and  children,  and  brethren,  and  sisters,  yea,  and 
his  own  life  also,  he  cannot  be  my  disciple. 

It  is  a  law  that  we  should  hate  our  kindred,  and  whatever 
is  derived  from  Adam,  whenever  they  divert  us  from  following 
Christ ;  but  then  this  hatred  does  not  consist  in  wishing  them 
any  ill,  but  in  consenting  to  lose  them  rather  than  lose  the 
supreme  good.  Are  there  many  in  this  disposition,  to  abandon 
their  life  and  that  which  is  most  dear  to  them,  rather  than  to 
forsake  God  in  disobeying  his  law  ?  Are  we  in  this  disposition 
ourselves — we  who  so  often  prefer  a  mere  trifle  before  him? 
He  builds  without  a  foundation  who  pretends  to  be  the  servant 
of  God  Avithout  loving  him,  or  to  love  him  as  he  ought,  with- 
out preferring  him  above  all  things  whatsoever. 

27.  And  whosoever  doth  not  bear  his  cross,  and  come  after  me,  cannot 
be  my  disciple. 

How  can  we  presume  to  call  ourselves  Christians,  when  we 
live  in  ease  and  pleasure  instead  of  bearing  our  cross ;  when 
we  follow  the  world,  which  is  the  enemy  of  Christ,  and  con- 
form ourselves  to  its  manners,  instead  of  following  our  Head, 
and  practising  his  gospel  ?  No  man  can  be  saved  who  is  not 
the  disciple  of  Christ ;  and  no  man  is  his  disciple  unless,  be- 
ing convinced  of  the  truth  of  his  doctrine,  he  loves  his  pre- 
cepts, applies  himself  to  the  observation  of  them,  makes  them 
the  rule  of  his  life  and  behaviour,  and  glories  in  having  him 
for  his  Master,  and  in  imitating  his  example.  If  this  be  so, 
how  few  Christians  are  there — how  few  true  disciples  of  Christ  I 

CHAPTER   XIV.  133 

28.  For  which  of  you,  intending  to  build  a  tower,  sitteth  not  down 
first,  and  counteth  the  cost,  whether  he  have  sitjficieat  to  finish  it? 

To  build  the  tower  of  our  salvation  will  cost  us  very  dear ; 
nay,  we  must  lay  out  all  we  have  on  this  work — at  least  we  must 
be  ready  to  do  it  in  the  disposition  of  our  heart.  We  are  but 
little  concerned  about  this  matter  when  we  take  no  time  to 
consider  of  it,  to  examine  the  state  we  intend  to  embrace,  to 
weigh  the  obligations  thereof,  and,  above  all,  those  of  Chris- 
tianity, which  is  our  first  calling.  Retirement,  repose,  prayer, 
and  meditation  upon  the  fundamental  truths  of  piety,  are  ne- 
cessary in  order  thoroughly  to  understand  the  holiness  of  the 
Christian  religion,  and  our  own  obligations  and  duties.  Men 
would  fain  be  Christians  at  too  cheap  a  rate,  and  for  this  rea- 
son they  are  none  at  all ;  and  they  entertain  that  foolish  de- 
sire only  because  they  have  never  seriously  thought  of  this 

29.  Lest  haply,  after  he  hath  laid  the  foundation,  and  is  not  able  to 
finish  it,  all  that  behold  it  begin  to  mock  him,  30.  Saying,  This  man 
began  to  build,  and  was  not  able  to  finish. 

Those  who  have  either  renounced  the  true  religion,  or  not 
performed  the  duties  of  it,  will  be  exposed  to  a  public  shame 
and  a  universal  confusion  at  the  day  of  judgment.  They  run 
the  risk  of  making  apostates  rather  than  Christians,  who 
baptize  adult  persons  before  they  have  well  instructed  them 
in  the  faith  and  duties  of  Christianity.  Without  doing  this, 
they  do  not  properly  list  soldiers  into  the  service  of  Christ, 
but  only  prepare  deserters  from  it.  From  whence  do  the  fre- 
quent relapses  of  sinners  proceed,  if  it  be  not  from  our  not 
allowing  them  time  to  become  true  penitents,  and  by  prayer 
and  retirement  to  settle  and  confirm  themselves  in  the  know- 
ledge and  love  of  true  piety  and  religion  ? 

31.  Or  what  king,  going  to  make  war  against  another  king,  sitteth  not 
down  first,  and  consulteth  whether  he  be  able  with  ten  thousand  to  meet 
him  that  cometh  against  him  with  twenty  thousand  ?  32.  Or  else,  while 
the  other  is  yet  a  great  way  ofi",  he  sendeth  an  ambassage,  and  desireth 
conditions  of  peace. 

This  comparison  intimates  to  us  that  the  life  of  a  Christian 

is  a  state  of  continual  war ;  that  there  is  no  virtue  without 

fighting;  and  that  we  must  be  always  ready  and  prepared. 

The  devil,  the  world,  and  our  own  passions  are  the  enemies 

Vol.  II.— 12 

134  L  U  K  E. 

against  whom  we  are  to  fight,  but  of  whom  we  must  never  de- 
sh'e  any  conditions  of  peace.  Our  consultation  is  prayer ;  our 
counsel  is  Jesus  Christ ;  Christian  virtues  are  our  army ;  and 
the  all-powerful  grace  of  our  blessed  Saviour  is  our  strength. 

33.  So  likewise,  whosoever  he  be  of  you  that  forsaketh  not  all  that  he 
hath,  he  cannot  be  my  disciple. 

To  forsake  all,  in  order  to  follow  Christ,  is  a  counsel  of 

perfection,  and  an  apostolical  virtue.    To  renounce  all,  in  order 

to  be  Christ's  disciple,  is  a  precept  necessary  to  salvation. 

We  renounce  all  when  we  do  not  set  our  heart  and  affections 

upon  anything  here  below;  when  we  are  ready  to  forsake 

every  thing  at  the  command  of  God ;  when  we  make  use  of  it, 

like  travellers,  only  as  provision  for  our  journey  toward  our 

own  country,  and  are  far  from  looking  upon  it  as  a  blessing 

fit  to  detain  us,  and  to  take  possession  of  our  heart.     This  is 

a  disposition  as  necessary  to  make  a  good  Christian,  as  money 

is  to  build  a  tower,  or  an  army  to  fight  a  battle. 

34.  f  Salt  is  good :  but  if  the  salt  have  lost  his  savour,  wherewith  shall 
it  be  seasoned?  35.  It  is  neither  fit  for  the  land,  nor  yet  for  the  dung- 
hill ;  hid  men  cast  it  out.     He  that  hath  ears  to  hear,  let  him  hear. 

A  lukewarm  or  a  corrupt  Christian  is  more  insupportable 
to  the  eyes  of  God  than  a  heathen.  To  what  purpose  is  an 
indiscreet  zeal  of  making  proselytes,  either  by  baptism,  or  re- 
pentance, or  the  priesthood,  without  observing  the  proper 
rules  for  trying  the  spirits,  whether  they  are  of  God,  but  only 
to  render  them  worthy  of  a  greater  condemnation  ?  There  is 
nothing  more  corrupt  than  a  wicked  Christian,  a  false  peni- 
tent, or  a  priest  without  vocation  and  piety.  Of  how  great 
importance  is  it,  that  bishops,  missionaries,  etc.  should  value 
more  the  having  a  small  number  of  good  Christians,  true  peni- 
tents, and  holy  priests,  than  a  great  number  of  such  as  are  fit 
for  nothing  but  to  dishonour  the  church  and  to  people  hell ! 

CHAPTER   XV.  135 


SECT.    I. — THE    SHEEP   AND    THE    PIECE    OF    SILVER    FOUND. — 

1.  Then  drew  near  unto  him  all  the  publicans  and  sinners  for  to  hear 

Christ  draws  sinners  to  him,  and  does  not  treat  them  as 

persons  unworthy  to  hear  his  word.     To  hear  it  with  pleasure, 

is  one  of  the  first  marks  of  conversion.     To  what  end  did  our 

blessed  Saviour  come  into  the  world,  if  it  were  not  that  the 

sick  might  seek  their  Physician,  that  the  blind  might  draw 

near  to  the  light,  the  ignorant  to  truth,  and  the  miserable  to 

mercy?     To  draw  near  to  Christ  by  faith,  prayer,  love,  and 

meditation  upon  his  word,  is  almost  every  thing  which  is  to  be 

done  in  this  life. 

2.  And  the  Pharisees  and  scribes  murmured,  saying,  This  man  re- 
ceiveth  sinners,  and  eateth  with  them. 

Pride  corrupts  the  best  principles.  We  ought  to  avoid  sin- 
ners on  some  occasions,  either  through  fear  of  being  corrupted, 
or  in  obedience  to  the  church,  which  would  put  them  to  shame, 
in  order  to  their  spiritual  good.  But  we  must  not  avoid  them 
either  out  of  contempt  or  ill-nature,  or  to  the  prejudice  of  the 
duties  either  of  Christian  charity  or  the  pastoral  care.  Envy 
and  ignorance  in  the  ways  of  God,  make  men  find  an  occasion 
of  scandal  or  offence  in  the  most  edifying  charity.  An  en- 
venomed heart  puts  a  bad  construction  upon  the  very  best 
actions  of  its  neighbour. 

3.  f  And  he  spake  this  parable  unto  them,  saying,  4.  What  man  of 
you,  having  a  hundred  sheep,  if  he  lose  one  of  them,  doth  not  leave  the 
ninety  and  nine  in  the  wilderness,  and  go  after  that  which  is  lost,  until 
he  find  it  ? 

Several  duties  of  a  good  pastor  toward  a  soul  which  is  gone 
astray  are  here  denoted.  The  first  is,  to  have,  in  some  mea- 
sure, a  greater  regard  and  concern  for  it,  than  for  those  which 
are  safe  in  the  fold.  The  second  is,  to  seek  it  with  care  and 
perseverance.  As  a  mother  never  shows  herself  more  a  mo- 
ther than  when  she  has  lost  her  child;  so  a  pastor  cannot 

better  show  the  bowels  of  his  chanty,  than  by  his  zeal  and 
tenderness  for  sinners.  A  hireling  may  perhaps  be  a  little 
diligent  in  seeking  and  bringing  back  a  sinner ;  but  none  but 
a  pastor  and  a  father  seeks  until  he  find  him. 

5.  And  when  he  hath  found  it,  he  layeth  it  on  his  shoulders,  rejoicing. 
The  third  duty  of  a  pastor  is,  to  support  the  infirmities  of 

souls  with  a  discreet  mildness,  regulated  by  the  divine  laAv ;  to 
be  sensible  of  their  wounds  through  a  compassion  which  la- 
ments them ;  and  to  bear  their  sins  as  his  own  by  an  humble 
and  fervent  repentance.  The  fourth  duty  of  a  pastor  is,  joy- 
fully to  undergo  the  labour  which  is  necessary  to  bring  souls 
back  to  their  duty.  Nothing  is  burdensome  to  charity ;  no- 
thing is  difficult  or  troublesome  to  him  who  loves  souls  for  the 
sake  of  God,  and  considers  how  great  things  Christ  has  done 
for  them.  A  woman  becomes  a  mother,  only  by  bringing 
forth;  and  she  cannot  bring  forth  without  pain.  This  is  an 
emblem  of  a  true  pastor. 

6.  And  vrhen  he  cometh  home,  he  calleth  together  Ids  friends  and 
neighbours,  saying  unto  them,  Rejoice  with  me ;  for  I  have  found  my 
sheep  which  was  lost. 

The  fifth  duty  of  a  pastor  is,  to  manifest  by  his  joy  his 
charity  for  sinners,  and  his  value  for  souls.  A  soul  is  a  king- 
dom. As  many  as  we  can  bring  back  to  God  are  so  many 
kingdoms  reconquered :  and  nothing  equals  the  joy  of  a  con- 
queror. We  must  ultimately  refer  this  joy  to  Christ,  since 
the  victory  and  conquest  proceed  from  him.  The  sixth  duty 
of  a  pastor  is,  to  excite  others  to  return  thanks  and  praise  to 
God  for  the  graces  which  souls  have  received  by  his  ministry. 
It  belongs  properly  to  the  church  to  praise  God  for  the  con- 
version of  sinners ;  because  it  is  to  form  her  body  that  he  de- 
livers them  from  the  power  of  the  devil ;  and  because  he  hears 
only  the  voice  of  his  spouse,  and  of  those  who  pray  in  and 
with  her,  and  in  her  house. 

7.  I  say  unto  you,  that  likewise  joy  shall  be  in  heaven  over  one  sinner 
that  repenteth,  more  than  over  ninety  and  nine  just  persons,  which  need 
no  repentance. 

It  is  reasonable  there  should  be  joy  in  heaven  over  a  re- 
penting sinner,  since  it  is  for  heaven,  and  by  the  assistance 

CHAPTER   XV.  137 

of  heaven,  that  this  miracle  is  wrought  on  earth.  The  church 
triumphant,  and  the  church  militant,  are  but  one  heart  and 
soul;  and  the  same  spirit  which  prays  for  the  increase  and 
accomplishment  of  God's  kingdom,  in  the  saints  of  heaven 
and  in  those  of  earth,  rejoices  also  in  them  both,  to  see  that 
it  is  forming,  and  that  the  kingdom  of  the  devil  declines,  by 
the  loss  of  those  members  which  are  torn  from  him. 

8.  1[  Either  what  woman  having  ten  pieces  of  silver,  if  she  lose  one 
piece,  doth  not  light  a  candle,  and  sweep  the  house,  and  seek  diligently 
till  she  find  it? 

There  are  three  common  sources  of  sin  in  the  church,  and 
in  particular  sinners:  (1.)  Want  of  knowledge,  ignorance  of 
duty,  and  weakness  of  faith.  (2.)  Public  disorders,  and  cor- 
ruption of  manners  in  the  house  of  God.  (3.)  The  negligence 
of  pastors.  There  are,  on  the  contrary,  three  sources  like- 
wise of  reformation  in  the  church,  and  of  the  conversion  of 
sinners.  The  first  is,  "  To  light  the  candle" — that  is,  to 
illuminate  and  revive  faith  by  the  means  of  good  books,  and, 
above  all,  by  inspiring  the  soul  with  the  love  of  God's  word 
according  to  that  of  the  royal  prophet,  "  Thy  word  is  a  lamp 
unto  my  feet,  and  a  light  unto  my  path;"  and  by  propagating 
the  knowledge  of  the  mysteries  of  religion,  and  of  the  duties 
of  Christianity.  The  second  is,  to  purge  the  church  from 
the  pernicious  maxims  of  corrupt  morality,  and  from  public 
disorders.  The  third  is,  to  give  to  particular  churches  en- 
lightened and  zealous  pastors,  and  such  as  may  labour  with 
an  indefatigable  care  in  the  conversion  and  sanctification  of 

9.  And  when  she  hath  found  it,  she  calleth  lier  friends  and  her  neigh- 
bours together,  saying,  Rejoice  with  me;  for  I  have  found  the  piece 
which  I  had  lost. 

The  piece  of  silver  had  not  been  found,  if  it  had  not  been 
sought.  The  sheep  had  never  returned  to  the  fold,  if  it  had 
not  been  brought  back.  How  then  should  the  sinner  ever 
surrender  himself  into  the  hands  of  God — how  should  the 
heretic  ever  return  to  the  church,  unless  God  himself  vouch- 
safe to  seek  him,  unless  a  good  pastor  take  the  pains  to  carry 
this  sheep,  which  had  strength  enough  to  go  astray,  but  can- 
not take  one  step  toward  a  return  I     It  is  thy  grace,  0  Jesus, 

138  LUKE. 

which  gives  this  occasion  of  joy  to  thy  church;  it  is  also  to 
thy  glory  that  she  ultimately  refers  it  all ! 

10.  Likewise,  I  say  unto  you,  there  is  joy  in  the  presence  of  the  angels 
of  God  over  one  sinner  that  repenteth. 

The  conversion  of  sinners  is  the  joy  of  angels  as  well  as 
of  men.  The  more  a  man  is  a  friend  of  God,  the  more  sen- 
sible is  he  of  every  thing  which  relates  to  his  interests.  He 
who  is  unconcerned  about  them,  has  reason  to  mistrust  the 
state  and  condition  of  his  own  heart.  It  is  a  torment  to  the 
devil,  by  reason  of  his  envy,  to  behold  the  holiness  of  the 
just,  and  the  conversion  of  sinners:  the  charity  of  the  angels 
causes  them  to  take  part  therein,  by  their  assistance,  their 
joy,  and  their  thanksgiving.  Wo  to  those  priests  who,  being 
angels  by  their  ministry,  become  no  better  than  devils  through 
their  envy  and  jealousy ;  or  who,  instead  of  rejoicing,  are 
troubled  at  the  good  which  does  not  pass  through  their  hands ! 


11.  f  And  he  said,  A  certain  man  had  two  sons:  12.  And  the  younger 
of  thorn  said  to  his  fiithcr,  Father,  give  nie  the  portion  of  goods  that 
falleth  to  me.     And  he  divided  unto  them  Ms  living. 

The  prodigal  son  is  an  emblem  of  a  sinner.  How  danger- 
ous is  it  for  us  to  desire  to  be  at  our  own  disposal,  to  live  in 
a  state  of  independency,  and  to  be  governed  only  by  our- 
selves !  It  is  the  greatest  mark  of  the  Avrath  of  God,  for  him 
to  hearken  to  this  proud  inclination  of  our  corrupt  heart,  and 
to  leave  us  to  ourselves.  What  is  the  will  of  man,  light  and 
inconstant  as  it  is,  if  it  be  not  ruled  and  governed  by  the 
unchangeable  and  supreme  will  of  the  Creator  !  It  withdrew 
itself  from  his  guidance  and  direction  even  when  it  was  sound, 
and,  by  so  doing,  impaired  and  ruined  its  health ;  and  there- 
fore, now  that  it  is  blind,  sick,  and  fainting,  how  extremely 
does  it  want  the  support  of  his  divine  hand  ! 

13.  And  not  many  days  after  the  younger  son  gathered  all  togetlier, 
and  took  his  iourney  into  a  far  country,  and  there  wasted  liis  substance 
with  riotous  living. 

Man  cannot  be  guided  long  by  himself  without  finding,  by 
fatal  experience,  that  he  is  under  the  direction  of  a  very 

CHAPTER   XV.  139 

blind  and  deceitful  guide.  The  misery  of  a  sinner  has  its 
degrees,  and  he  generally  arrives  step  by  step  at  the  highest 
pitch  of  it.  The  first  degree  of  his  misery  is,  that  he  loses 
sight  of  God,  and  removes  at  a  distance  from  him  ?  There 
is  an  infinite  distance  between  the  love  of  God  and  the  love 
of  ourselves ;  and  yet  we  pass  in  a  moment  from  the  one  to 
the  other  !  The  secomi_degree  of  the  sinner's  misery  is,  that 
the  love  of  God  no  longer  reigning  in  his  heart,  carnal  love 
and  desire  must  necessarily  reign  therein,  and  corrupt  all  his 
actions.  The  third  degree  is,  that  he  loses  all  the  spiritual 
riches  of  his  soul.  Self-love  is  a  very  bad  guardian,  and  a 
great  waster  of  the  divine  gifts.  He  only  who  bestows  them 
on-  us  can  secure  them;  and  we  endeavour  to  lose  them  if  we 
pretend  to  keep  them  without  him. 

14.  And  when  he  had  spent  all,  there  arose  a  mighty  famine  in  that 
land;  and  he  began  to  be  in  want. 

The  fourth  degree  of  a  sinner's   misery  is,  that,  having 

forsakefl~"GDd,  and  lost  his  grace  and  his  love,  he  can  find 

nothing  elsewhere  but  poverty,  misery,  and  want.     It  is  just 

that  he  who  thought  he  could  be  happy  without  God,  should 

find,  at  a  distance  from  him,  nothing  but  affliction,  necessity, 

and  oppression.     How  empty  is  that  soul  which  no  longer 

enjoys  the  bread  of  truth !     What  a  famine  is  there  in  that 

heart  which  is  no  longer  nourished  with  charity ! 

15.  And  he  went  and  joined  himself  to  a  citizen  of  that  country;  and 
he  sent  him  into  his  fields  to  feed  swine. 

The  fifth  degree  of  the  sinner's  misery  is,  that  he  renders 
himself  a  slave  to  the  devil.  The  farther  a  man  removes  from 
the  supreme  and  sovereign  Good,  the  more  likewise  does  dark- 
ness overspread  his  understanding,  the  more  heavy  does  the 
yoke  of  concupiscence  sit  upon  his  will,  and  the  more  abso- 
lutely does  the  will  surrender  itself  up  into  the  hands  of  the 
only  master  whom  he  deserves  to  meet  with,  who  would  not 
continue  in  the  service  of  Jesus  Christ.  We  are  never  sensi- 
ble of  this  misery  until  God  makes  us  feel  it.  The  sixth 
degree  of  it  is,  that  the  sinner  finds  by  experience  the  hard- 
ship and  rigour  of  his  slavery.  There  is  no  master  so  cruel 
as  the  devil ;  no  yoke  so  heavy  as  that  of  sin ;  and  no  slavery 

140  LUKE. 

SO  mean  and  vile,  as  for  a  man  to  be  a  slave  to  liis  OAvn  carnal, 
shameful,  and  brutish  passions. 

16.  And  he  would  fain  have  filled  his  belly  with  the  husks  that  the 
swine  did  eat:  and  no  man  gave  unto  him. 

The  seventh  degree  of  the  sinner's  misery  is,  that,  having 
deprived  himself  of  every  thing  which  he  could  lawfully  and 
innocently  possess,  he,  in  his  hunger,  feeds  upon  a  thousand 
criminal  desires  of  worldly  pleasures  and  riches,  wherein  he 
imagines  he  shall  find  something  to  satisfy  his  lusts.  Mise- 
rable is  he,  in  not  obtaining  that  which  he  desires ;  and  yet 
more  miserable  would  he  be,  if  he  did  obtain  it !  The  plea- 
sures of  the  world  are  the  pleasures  of  swine,  always  stooping 
toward  the  earth,  always  wallowing  in  filth  and  mire. 

17.  And  when  he  came  to  himself,  he  said,  How  many  hired  sei'vants 
of  my  father's  have  bread  enough  and  to  spare,  and  I  perish  with  hunger! 

Let  US  observe  here  the  several  degrees  of  a  sinner's  con- 
version. The  first  is,  that  he  knows  his  misery,  and  the  cor- 
ruption of  his  own  heart :  but  how  should  he  ever  know  this, 
if  the  light  which  he  deserted  first  did  not  first  return  toward 
him,  and  come  to  seek  him  in  the  abyss  of  his  darkness  ?  "We 
cannot  "come  to  ourselves,"  unless  God  return  to  us;  as  we 
are  far  from  ourselves,  when  we  are  far  from  God.  It  is  the 
utmost  misery,  when  God  permits  the  sinner  to  be  lulled 
asleep  in  the  criminal  pleasure  of  sin,  without  being  awakened 
by  any  affliction ;  or  when  a  continual  and  undistui'bed  pros- 
perity make  him  lose  the  very  remembrance  of  the  true  and 
substantial  felicity.  It  is  a  beginning  of  happiness,  for  a  man 
thoroughly  to  comprehend  the  misery  of  sin,  and  to  envy  the 
happiness  of  those  who  serve  God. 

18.  I  will  arise  and  go  to  my  father,  and  will  say  unto  him.  Father,  I 
have  sinned  against  heaven,  and  before  thee, 

The  second  degree  of  the  sinner's  conversion  is,  that  he 

resolves  to  forsake  sin,  and  the  occasion  thereof.     A  man 

cannot  forsake   them   both    too   soon,   though  it   were  only 

through  an  imperfect  motive  of  interest,  and  more  from  a 

sense  of  the  grievous  consef[uenccs  of  sin  than  from  a  hatred 

of  sin  itself.     Grace  purifies  all  in  the  sequel.     The  third 

CHAPTER    XV.  141 

degree  of  conversion  is,  when  a  sinner  turns  toward  God, 
looks  upon  him  as  his  Father,  entertains  a  desire  to  return  to 
him,  takes  a  resolution  of  doing  it,  and  is  convinced  that  he 
must  not  delay  it  one  moment,  because  he  cannot  too  soon 
cease  to  be  miserable,  or,  without  the  greatest  folly,  by  a  de- 
lay run  the  hazard  of  being  so  eternally.  The  fourth  de- 
gree of  the  conversion  of  a  sinner  is,  his  making  a  confession 
of  his  sin,  and  beginning  that  confession  by  a  name  of  love, 
"my  Father;"  because  the  love  of  God  is  the  foundation  of 
true  repentance.  The  chief  motive  to  the  hatred  of  sin  is, 
because  it  is  contrary  to  the  goodness  of  God,  and  because 
he,  who  is  the  best  of  all  fathers,  is  offended  thereby, 

19.  And  am  no  more  worthy  to  be  called  thy  son :  make  me  as  one 
of  thy  hired  servants. 

The  fifth  degree  of  a  sinner's  conversion  is,  his  humbling 
himself,  as  being  altogether  unworthy  of  the  grace  and  mercy 
of  God,  It  is  love  and  the  Spirit  of  adoption  which  give  us 
a  right  to  call  God  our  Father :  we  lose  this  right,  when  we 
lose  that  love,  and  when  that  Spirit  is  Avithdrawn  from  us. 
The  acknowledgment  of  our  own  unworthiness  is  an  accept- 
ance of  the  humiliation  which  is  due  to  a  sinner,  We  love 
it  when  we  love  God ;  because  it  is  the  appointment  of  his 
justice,  which  is  God  himself, 

20.  And  he  arose,  and  came  to  his  father.  But  when  he  was  yet  a 
great  way  off,  his  father  saw  him,  and  had  compassion,  and  ran,  and  fell 
on  his  neck,  and  kissed  him. 

In  the  sixth  place,  a  true  penitent,  how  earnest  soever  he  may 
be  to  be  reconciled  to  God,  does  not  leave  his  state  of  life  to 
go  to  desire  reconciliation,  until  after  he  has  settled  and  con- 
firmed himself  in  the  dispositions  above  mentioned.  In  the 
seventh  place,  God  Avith  his  grace  anticipates  the  penitent  in 
all  the  steps  he  takes  in  order  to  return  to  him.  He  is  care- 
ful to  receive  him  with  a  fatherly  tenderness,  since  it  is  his 
goodness  which  causes  him  to  return.  He  pours  into  the 
heart  of  true  penitents  so  much  comfort  and  delight,  and 
caresses  them  in  such  a  manner,  as  inspires  them  with  a 
holy  confidence  of  the  pardon  of  their  sins  and  of  reconcilia- 
tion, denoted,  as  here,  by  the  holy  kiss.     A  pastor  to  Avhom  a 

142  LUKE. 

penitent  comes  as  a  father,  ought  to  have  the  heart  and  de- 
portment of  one,  and  imitate  him  whose  place  he  holds. 

2L  And  the  son  said  unto  him,  Father,  I  have  sinned  against  heaven, 
and  in  thy  sight,  and  am  no  more  worthy  to  be  called  thy  son. 

The  eighth  degree  of  a  sinner's  conversion  is,  his  openly 
owning  his  sin  and  bearing  the  shame  of  his  ingratitude. 
The  particular  marks  of  God's  favour  and  goodness  toward  a 
true  penitent,  never  cause  him  to  lay  aside  the  resolution  he 
has  taken  of  humbling  himself.  He  is  faithful  to  his  pro- 
mises, and  it  is  even  an  effect  of  the  goodness  of  God  that  he 
is  so.  How  unworthy  soever  he  may  acknowledge  himself  to 
be  called  a  child  of  God,  yet  he  cannot  forbear  calling  him 
Father :  it  is  a  contest  between  confidence  and  humility ;  the 
former  restores  what  the  latter  takes  away. 

22.  But  the  father  said  to  his  servants,  Bring  forth  the  best  robe,  and 
put  it  on  him  ;   and  put  a  ring  on  his  hand,  and  shoes  on  his  feet: 

In  the  ninth  place,  the  more  a  penitent  humbles  himself, 
and  the  more  unworthy  he  thinks  himself  of  every  thing,  the 
higher  does  God  raise  him,  and  heap  upon  him  the  greater 
benefits.  He  treats  him  as  his  son, — so  far  is  he  from  depriv- 
ing him  of  the  name,  and  giving  him  time  to  take  that  of  a 
servant.  In  the  tenth  place,  to  the  grace  of  reconciliation 
God  adds  abundance  of  other  graces,  with  which  he  covers  the 
nakedness  of  a  converted  sinner,  clothing  him  with  Jesus 
Christ,  his  righteousness,  his  merits,  his  virtues,  etc.  In  the 
eleventh,  he  seals  this  new  covenant  with  a  lively  impression 
of  his  Spirit,  which  is  the  seal  of  adoption,  a  pledge  of  the  in- 
heritance in  heaven,  and  an  earnest  of  the  eternal  promises. 
In  the  twelfth  place,  he  gives  him  such  graces  and  assistances 
as  enable  him  to  walk  in  the  way  of  his  commandments  and 
in  the  practice  of  good  works,  to  secure  himself  from  serpents 
and  to  tread  upon  scorpions,  which  are  the  devil  and  his 

23.  And  bring  hither  the  fatted  calf,  and  kill  it;  and  let  us  eat,  and 
be  merry : 

The  thirteenth  degree  of  the  conversion  of  a  sinner  is,  that, 

being  reconciled,  he  has  a  right  to  be  present  at  the  Christian 

sacrifice;  and,  in  the   fourteenth  place,  to  be  fed  with  the 

CHAPTER   XV.  143 

flesh  of  Christ,  which  is  the  seal  of  reconciliation  on  the  part 
of  the  church.  My  God,  what  joy  must  necessarily  arise  in 
a  soul  which  has  recovered  Christ,  which  feeds  upon  him, 
which  receives  in  him  the  fruit  and  grace  of  his  mysteries, 
and  which  tastes  anew  this  heavenly  gift !  Come,  sinners, 
taste  and  see  how  sweet  the  Lord  is.  Blessed  is  he  who  hopes 
in  him ! 

2-i.  For  this  my  son  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again  ;  he  was  lost,  and  is 
found.     And  they  began  to  be  merry. 

The  fifteenth  degree  of  a  sinner's  conversion  is,  that,  for 

the  time  to  come,  he  leads  the  life  of  a  person  newly  found 

and  raised  from  the  dead.     He  must  not  live,  either  to  the 

world,  which  caused  him  to  lose  himself;  or  to  sin,  which  give 

him  death;  or   to  himself,  who  could  neither  find  nor  raise 

himself  again :  but  he  must  live  to  Him  who  was  made  man 

on  purpose  to  seek  him,  who  died  to  raise  him  to  life,  and  who 

vouchsafes  to  become  his  food,  his  passover,  and  his  banquet. 

Let  his  life,  therefore,  be  one  continued  act  of  thanksgiving. 

25.  Now  his  elder  son  was  in  the  field  :  and  as  he  came  and  drew  nigh 
to  the  house,  he  heard  music  and  dancing. 

The  sixteenth  effect  of  the  conversion  of  a  sinner  is,  the  joy 
of  the  church,  which  shows  itself  more  on  this  occasion  than 
for  the  fidelity  of  a  just  person  ;  because  it  is  a  double  triumph, 
to  see  the  devil's  power  diminished,  and  the  number  of  the 
servants  of  God  increased.  This  is  to  imitate  God,  who  in- 
fuses more  sensible  comforts  into  the  heart  of  a  new  convert 
than  into  that  of  one  who  has  always  served  him.  This  is  not 
the  proper  place  for  the  reward  of  souls,  but  only  for  the  gain- 
ing them  over  to  religion.  The  conduct  of  God  toward  the 
strong  is  severe  and  rigorous:  he  suiFers  them  to  toil  .and 
labour,  far  from  the  comforts  of  their  Father's  house,  and 
exposed  to  heat  and  cold.  But  they  shall  be  abundantly  re- 
warded by  the  possession  of  the  inheritance. 

26,  And  he  called  one  of  the  servants,  and  asked  what  these  things 
meant.  27.  And  he  said  unto  him.  Thy  brother  is  come  ;  and  thy  father 
hath  killed  the  fatted  calf,  because  he  hath  received  him  safe  and  sound. 

God  comforts  his  church  by  the  return  of  souls  which  were 

thought  to  be  lost.     He  does  not  convert  them  all  at  once, 

144  LUKE. 

that  he  may  from  time  to  time  renew  her  gratitude  and  ac- 
knowledgment, that  he  may  give  her  comfort  under  the  losses 
which  she  sustains,  and  that  he  may  encourage  the  weak  by 
the  sight  of  what  his  grace  continually  performs  in  souls.  We 
ought  to  be  sensible  of  his  designs,  and  to  have  the  same  dis- 
positions with  the  church. 

28.  And  he  Tvas  angrj-,  and  would  not  go  in  :  therefore  came  his  father 
out,  and  entreated  him. 

The  seventeenth  and  last  degree  of  the  conversion  of  true 
penitents  is,  their  enjoying  such  graces  as  are  capable  of  rais- 
ing envy  in  the  minds  of  the  just,  or  of  the  imperfect,  or  of 
those  who  are  but  little  instructed  in  the  ways  of  God.  The 
most  righteous  persons  are  not  exempt  from  these  temptations. 
God  is  the  sole  master  of  his  own  gifts;  and  he  dispenses 
them  always  with  the  greatest  wisdom:  it  belongs  to  us  to 
adore  his  conduct  and  designs.  He  is  not  less  ready  to  sup- 
port the  righteous  in  their  troubles,  and  to  cure  their  imper- 
fections, than  to  assist  the  weak  in  their  beginnings;  but  he 
applies  himself  to  each  in  such  a  manner  as  is  most  agreeable 
to  their  state  and  condition. 

29.  And  he  answering  said  to  his  father,  Lo,  these  many  yeai's  do  I 
serve  thee,  neither  transgressed  I  at  any  time  thy  commandment ;  and 
yet  thou  never  gavest  me  a  kid,  that  I  might  make  merry  with  my  friends : 

Those  who  have  laboured  much  and  for  a  long  time  in  the 
church,  ought  carefully  to  secure  themselves  against  one 
temptation — namely,  tlie  imagining  that  God  is  in  their  debt. 
There  is  danger  in  employing  our  thoughts  too  much  upon  the 
good  we  do,  in  reckoning  up  the  years  of  our  service,  in  de- 
siring to  be  rewarded  in  this  life,  and  to  enjoy  the  conve- 
niencies  and  pleasures  of  it.  Let  us  leave  this  matter  to  God, 
and  not  pretend  to  account  with  him. 

30.  But  as  soon  as  this  thy  son  was  come,  which  hath  devoured  thy 
living  with  harluts,  thou  hast  killed  for  him  the  fatted  calf 

Condescension  tOAvard  the  weak  is  subject  to  be  censured 
and  blamed.  The  readiness  with  which  God  goes  to  meet 
them,  is  above  the  thoughts  and  imaginations  of  men.  We 
ought  to  have  more  compassion  toward  sinners  than  indigna- 
tion at  their  sins,  and  to  speak  of  them  neither  with  severity 

CHAPTER   XV.  145 

nor  with  contempt.  We  must  avoid  making  comparisons  of 
this  nature  :  it  is  the  grace  of  God  which  distinguishes  us ;  it 
is  humility  which  preserves  his  gifts. 

31.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Son,  thou  art  ever  with  me,  and  all  that  I 
have  is  thine. 

The  righteous,  being  united  to  God,  have  a  right  to  the 
heavenly  inheritance  by  his  grace.  He  who  thoroughly  com- 
prehends how  great  the  favour  of  the  divine  adoption  is,  and 
that  which  Christian  hope  encourages  a  child  of  God  to  expect 
in  the  world  to  come,  looks  upon  every  thing  as  else  than  no- 
thing. Those  are  for  selling  beforehand  part  of  the  eternal 
inheritance,  who  desire  temporal  rewards  or  satisfactions. 
That  person  will  never  envy  the  happiness  of  those  who  enjoy 
them,  who  thoroughly  understands  these  two  sentences :  that 
God  is  ever  with  him  as  his  Father,  and  that  God  is  his  as  his 
patrimony  and  inheritance.  This  is  what  God  speaks  to  his 
children,  as  often  as  faith  speaks  it  to  them  in  meditation  and 
prayer.  Whoever,  in  the  like  temptations,  has  recourse  to 
these  two  truths,  will  certainly  receive  from  them  abundance 
of  strength  and  consolation. 

32.  It  was  meet  that  we  should  make  merry,  and  be  glad:  for  this  thy 
brother  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again ;  and  was  lost,  and  is  found. 

These  words  are  repeated  by  the  father  of  the  family.     Of 

so  great  importance  is  it  to  make  it  evident  that  a  sinner  is 

dead  in  the  eyes  of  faith,  because  God  whom  he  forsakes  is 

the  life  of  his  soul,  as  his  soul  is  the  life  of  his  body.     A 

Christian's  sin  is  a  brother's  death ;  and  in  proportion  to  our 

concern  for  this,  is  our  joy  at  his  resurrection.     Let  us  have 

a  brotherly  heart  toward  our  brethren ;  since  God  has  that 

of  a  father  toward  his  children,  and  seems  to  be  afflicted  at 

their  loss,  and  to  rejoice  at  their  being  found  again,  as  if  they 

were  necessary  to  his  happiness. 

Vol.  IL— 13 

U«  L  U  K  E, 



1.  And  he  said  also  unto  his  disciples,  There  was  a  certain  rich  man, 
which  had  a  steward  ;  and  the  same  was  accused  unto  him  that  he  had 
wasted  his  goods. 

We  are  all  the  stewards  of  God,  sent  into  the  world  to 
employ,  to  our  own  salvation,  the  riches  and  talents  which 
God  has  put  into  our  hands,  and  which  are  by  no  means  our 
own.  He  alone  is  truly  rich,  and  no  man  has  any  thing  but 
what  he  has  received  from  Him  as  a  sum  trusted  with  him,  and 
for  which  he  must  pay  interest.  What  will  become  of  him 
who  has  been  so  far  from  improving  it  to  his  master's  advan- 
tage, that  he  has  wasted  even  the  principal  ?  The  only  rea- 
son why  we  are  so  apt  to  do  this  is,  because  we  do  not  fre- 
quently enough  reflect  upon  the  moment  when  we  shall  be 
accused  and  judged.  Not  to  use  it  according  to  the  design 
and  intention  of  God,  is  no  other  than  to  waste  it. 

2.  And  he  called  him,  and  said  unto  him,  How  is  it  that  I  hear  this 
of  thee  ?  give  an  account  of  thy  stewardship ;  for  thou  mayest  be  no 
louf^er  steward. 

There  are  three  things  at  the  death  of  a  reprobate  which 
are  very  terrible : — ( 1.)  His  being  obliged  to  appear  with  a 
guilty  conscience  before  holiness  itself.  (2.)  His  having  an 
exact  account  to  give  of  his  whole  life,  and  of  whatever  he 
has  received.  (3.)  His  seeing  himself  deprived  of  all  forever. 
The  most  holy  persons  in  the  world  will  be  accused,  examined, 
and  judged  concerning  the  use  they  have  made  of  their  na- 
tural talents,  and  of  supernatural  gifts,  which  both  belong  to 
God ;  concerning  the  employment  of  their  understanding,  time, 
and  wealth ;  and  concerning  the  use  which  they  either  have 
or  have  not  made  of  Jesus  Christ,  of  his  graces  and  myste- 
ries, and  of  the  sacraments  and  all  the  helps  of  religion. 
Let  us  therefore  make  use  of  all  these  talents  as  persons  who 
must  give  a  strict  account  of  them. 

3.  Then  the  steward  said  within  himself, -What  shall  I  do?  for  my 


lord  taketh  away  from  me  the  stewardship :  I  cannot  dig ;  to  beg  I  am 

What  remains  to  a  soul  which  has  lost  God  and  his  grace, 

but  onlj  sin  and  the  consequences  thereof,  a  proud  poverty, 

and  a  slothful  indigence ;  that  is,  a  universal  inability  as  to 

labour,  prayer,  and  every  good  work  conducting  to  salvation? 

He  is  exceeding  rich  in  the  sight  of  God  who  knows  perfectly 

how  to  pray  to  him,  all  true  riches  being  obtained  by  prayer. 

It  is  a  double  poverty  to  want  every  thing,  and  to  be  able  to 

ask  nothing. 

4.  I  am  resolved  what  to  do,  that,  when  I  am  put  out  of  the  steward- 
ship, they  may  receive  me  into  their  houses. 

Few  persons  are  seriously  concerned  who  shall  receive  their 
soul  after  death,  and  supply  its  wants ;  but  the  generality  of 
men  are  very  earnest  in  seeking  a  retreat  for  this  miserable 
body  which  must  rot.  There  is  nothing  which  they  are  un- 
willing to  do,  no  industry  which  they  will  not  employ,  to  se- 
cure themselves  from  temporal  poverty;  that  of  the  soul  is 
the  only  poverty  of  which  they  are  insensible,  and  the  only 
reason  why  they  are  so,  is  because  they  are  ignorant  of  the 
nature  and  consequences  of  it.  Make  me  sensible  of  my  po- 
verty, 0  my  God,  my  sovereign  good,  the  possession  of  whom 
alone  gives  the  true  riches,  and  the  loss  of  whom  is  the  only 
real  poverty ! 

5.  So  he  called  every  one  his  lord's  debtors  unto  liim,  and  said  unto 
the  first,  How  much  owest  thou  my  lord?  6.  And  he  said,  An  hundred 
measures  of  oil.  And  he  said  uuto  him,  Talie  thy  bill,  and  sit  down 
quickly,  and  write  fifty. 

When  we  know  not  how  to  pray  ourselves,  we  must  engage 
the  prayers  of  the  poor,  who  will  speak  to  God  in  our  behalf. 
The  last  refuge  of  a  sinner  is  alms,  which  is  the  art  of  turn- 
ing our  master's  goods  innocently  to  our  advantage,  and  mak- 
ing to  ourselves  friends  of  his.  Heaven  belongs  to  the  [pious] 
poor  in  a  peculiar  manner;  it  is  their  patrimony  and  inherit- 
ance. Alms  are  likewise  instrumental  to  the  salvation  of  the 
poor  themselves :  for  we  thereby  hinder  them  from  falling 
into  murmuring,  impatience,  despair,  etc.,  and  give  them  oc- 
casion to  praise  God,  to  adore  his  providence,  and  to  put  their 
confidence  therein. 

148  LUKE. 

7.  Then  said  he  to  another,  And  how  much  owest  thou  ?  And  he  said, 
An  hundred  measures  of  wheat.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Take  thy  bill, 
and  write  fourscore. 

A  Christian  ought  to  serve  his  neighbour  out  of  a  pure  and 
disinterested  charity,  and  to  give  alms  for  the  sake  of  Christ 
alone.  Alms  spiritual  or  temporal,  though  defective,  imper- 
fect, and  done  for  our  own  interest,  are  notwithstanding  bene- 
ficial to  the  imperfect  and  to  great  sinners ;  because  they  engage 
the  poor  and  pious  souls  to  solicit  the  mercy  of  God  for  them. 

8.  And  the  lord  commended  the  unjust  steward,  because  he  had  done 
wisely:  for  the  children  of  this  world  are  in  their  generation  wiser  than 
the  children  of  light. 

The  children  of  this  world  are  wiser  in  the  management  of 
affairs  which  are  of  no  moment  at  all,  than  Christians  are  in 
that  which  alone  is  necessary.  The  use  which  the  former 
make  of  their  reason,  to  carry  on  their  worldly  designs,  will 
condemn  the  little  use  which  the  latter  make  of  their  fiiith  in 
the  business  of  salvation.  It  is  by  this  faith  that  these  are 
children  of  light;  and  it  is  by  leaving  it  useless  and  unem- 
ployed, that  they  fall  back  into  darkness.  True  wisdom  con- 
sists in  knowing  how  to  make  every  thing  instrumental  to  our 
salvation.  We  never  want  means  to  save  ourselves,  when  we 
earnestly  will  and  desire  it.  Faith  finds  remedies  and  assist- 
ance in  the  greatest  poverty,  because  it  can  make  a  treasure 
of  poverty  itself 

9.  And  I  say  unto  you.  Make  to  yourselves  friends  of  the  mammon  of 
unrighteousness :  that  when  ye  fail,  they  may  receive  you  into  everlast- 
ing habitations. 

The  great   secret  in  the  holy  policy  of  rich  sinners,  is  to 

make  to  themselves  friends  in  heaven  by  giving  alms.     This 

is   the  only  way  to  sanctify  riches,  which  are  almost  always 

either  the  fruit  or  the  seed  of  unrighteousness  and  injustice, 

and  which,  by  this  means,  become  the  fruit  of  charity  and 

the  seed  of   glory.     Whenever  we  squander  them   away  in 

foolish  and  criminal  expenses,  we  make  enemies  of  them,  who 

will  accuse  us  at  the  tribunal  of  God.     But  we  make  them 

friends,   advocates,   and  protectors   against   the  great   day, 

when  [from  love  to  Christ]  we  distribute  them  among  the 

poor.     It  is  our  part  to  entreat,  and,  as  it  were,  court  the 

CHAPTER    XVI.  149 

poor ;  so  far  should  we  be  from  treating  them  roughly  and 
with  contempt,  and  from  disheartening  and  tiring  them  out  by 
our  delays  and  mortifying  usage. 

— GOD    AND    MAMMON. 

10.  He  that  is  faithful  in  that  which  is  least  is  faithful  also  in  much : 
and  he  that  is  unjust  in  the  least  is  unjust  also  in  much. 

That  which  is  little  is  little;  but  to  be  always  faithful,  even 
in  the  least  things,  is  somewhat  which  is  very  great.  It  is 
dangerous  voluntarily  to  commit  the  least  faults,  because  they 
may  possibly  have  very  great  and  fatal  consequences.  Ava- 
rice, and  the  ill  use  of  earthly  riches,  is  an  abuse  of  things 
of  the  smallest  value  ;  but  the  love  of  the  world,  which  is  the 
principle  from  whence  this  abuse  proceeds,  is  the  source  of 
the  greatest  evils.  A  man  does  not  indeed  become  perfect 
by  alms  alone,  but  it  may  be  the  beginning  of  the  highest 

11.  If  therefore  ye  have  not  been  faithful  in  the  unrighteous  mammon, 
who  will  commit  to  your  trust  the  true  riches? 

Such  riches  as  may  be  acquired  by  criminal  methods,  pos- 
sessed by  the  most  wicked  persons,  and  are  extremely  valued 
by  the  world,  cannot  possibly  be  the  true  riches.  Charity  in 
this  world,  and  glory  in  the  other,  are  the  only  riches  which 
we  cannot  abuse;  but  earthly  riches  are  almost  always 
abused,  without  an  extraordinary  grace.  Those  things  which 
serve  to  arm  injustice,  which  are  the  object  of  the  most  violent 
desire,  and  the  cause  and  occasion  of  almost  all  the  evils  upon 
earth, — how  can  such  things  possibly  render  a  man  happy  ? 
Lord,  either  deliver  or  defend  us  from  the  malignity  of  this 
sort  of  riches,  which  may  ruin,  but  cannot  save  us  ! 

12.  And  if  ye  have  not  been  faithful  in  that  which  is  another  man's, 
who  shall  give  you  that  which  is  your  own? 

Earthly  riches  are  false  goods,  and  foreign  to  a  Christian. 

His  own  proper  and  true  wealth  is  not  of  this  world,  any  more 

than  himself.     The  good  things  of  this  world  are  only  lent 

and  trusted  in  our  hands  for  use,  and  not  for  enjoyment.    As 

we  ourselves  are  really  nothing   but  what  we  are  in  Christ 


150  L  U  K  E. 

Jesus,  so  we  have  no  stock  nor  inheritance  but  in  him.  All 
the  rest  is  foreign  to  us.  We  are  made  Christians  in  order 
to  enjoy  heaven  and  eternity ;  and  therefore  heavenly  and 
eternal  treasures  are  those  alone  which  are  properly  our  own. 
Let  us  weigh,  in  the  balance  of  faith,  the  three  qualities 
which  our  blessed  Saviour  gives  them — "great,"  ver.  10, 
"true,"  ver.  11,  "our  own,"  ver.  12,  whereas  those  he 
ascribes  to  earthly  riches  are,  that  they  are  little,  contempti- 
ble, false,  and  foreign. 

13.  f  No  servant  can  serve  two  masters:  for  either  he  will  hate  the 
one,  and  love  the  other;  or  else  he  will  hold  to  the  one,  and  despise  the 
other.     Ye  cannot  serve  God  and  mammon. 

Strange  is  the  blindness  of  the  covetous  wretch,  to  set 

mammon  in  the  place  of  his  God  !     If  we  must  choose  one  of 

these  two  masters,  is  there  any  room  to  deliberate  upon  the 

choice  ?     It  is  a  real  slavery  to  love  riches,  to  employ  all  our 

time  and  care  about  them,  and  to  surrender  our  heart  to  them. 

If  we  have  any  faith  in  the  word  of  Christ,  let  us  believe  what 

he  here  tells  us  so  plainly, — that  we  cannot  possibly  reconcile 

the  love  of  God  with  the  love  of  money ;  that  God  cannot 

bear  a  rival  in  the  heart  of  his  creature ;  and  that  we  do  not 

love  God  at  all,  if  we  love  any  thing  together  with  him  which 

we  do  not  love  for  his  sake. 



14.  And  the  Pharisees  also,  who  were  covetous,  heard  all  these  things: 
and  they  derided  him 

Truth,  when  it  opposes  the  love  of  worldly  things,  is 
generally  treated  with  contempt  and  derision  by  worldly- 
minded  men.  A  preacher  who  strikes  at  the  darling  passions, 
is  very  unwillingly  heard.  God  will,  in  his  turn,  deride  and 
laugh  at  those  Avho  now  deride  him  and  laugh  at  his  word. 
It  has  the  least  influence  upon  covetous  persons  of  all  others, 
because  this  passion,  rendering  the  heart  altogether  earthly, 
extinguishes  therein  all  faith,  which  has  no  other  object  but 
heavenly  and  invisible  things. 

15.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Ye  are  they  vsdiich  justify  yourselves  be- 

CHAPTER    XVI.  151 

foremen;  but  God  knoweth  your  hearts:  for  that  which  is  highly  es- 
teemed among  men  is  an  abomination  in  the  sight  of  God. 

How  many  things  do  we  admire  which  are  an  abomination 

in  the  sight  of  God  !     How  different  is  his  judgment  from 

that   of  the  world!     And   yet  it  is  this   latter   which   men 

generally  applaud,  and  dare  not  declare  for  the  former.     Of 

what  advantage  is  it  to  hypocrites  to  attract  on  themselves 

praises  which  are  as  false  as  their  righteousness?     It  is  the 

heart  which  shall  be  judged  by  Him  who  sees  the  secrets  of  it; 

it  is  by  the  heart  that  we  must  please  Him.     The  judgment 

of  men  will  change,  when  that  of  God  shall  be  manifested  to 

their  eyes ;  and  it  is  already  made  manifest  by  the  gospel  to 

all  those  who  have  evangelical  eyes. 

16.  The  law  and  the  prophets  were  until  John:  since  that  time  the 
kingdom  of  God  is  preached,  and  every  man  presseth  into  it. 

It  is  now  no  longer  a  time  for  men  to  place  their  glory  and 
religion  in  a  worship  wholly  figurative,  .in  prophetic  cere- 
monies, and  in  empty  promises,  since  the  kingdom  typified, 
foretold,  and  promised,  is  established  upon  earth.  It  is  not, 
therefore,  a  legal,  external,  and  carnal  righteousness,  pecu- 
liar only  to  the  Jews,  which  we  must  now  offer  to  God,  but  a 
Christian,  internal,  and  spiritual  righteousness,  which  con- 
sists in  charity  common  to  all  nations,  which  alone  is  worthy 
of  God  and  his  kingdom,  which  alone  is  capable  of  taking  it 
by  a  holy  and  generous  violence ;  an  internal  worship,  which 
does  not  exclude  the  external,  but  supports,  animates,  sancti- 
fies, and  renders  it  acceptable  to  God. 

17.  And  it  is  easier  for  heaven  and  earth  to  pass,  than  one  tittle  of  the 
law  to  fail. 

The  immutability  of  the  divine  word,  in  relation  either  to 
happiness  or  misery,  yields  as  much  comfort  to  the  righteous 
as  it  gives  despair  to  the  wicked.  Every  thing  is  accom- 
plished and  perfected  by  the  coming  of  the  kingdom  of  God ; 
the  shadows  by  the  light,  the  figures  by  the  truth,  the  pro- 
phecies by  the  event,  the  promises  by  the  effects,  the  imper- 
fection of  the  Jewish  dispensation  by  the  evangelical  perfec- 
tion, fear  by  charity,  and  the  law  by  grace.  Without  this 
grace,  0  Lord,  what  should  I  be  as  long  as  I  live,  but  only  a 

152  L  U  K  E. 

Jew,  intent  on  the  shadow  and  fashion  of  this  world,  which 
passes  away,  and  oppressed  under  the  insupportable  yoke  of 
the  law  ? 

18.  Whosoever  putteth  away  his  wife,  and  marrieth  another,  com- 
mitteth  adultery:  and  whosoever  marrieth  her  that  is  but  away  from 
her  husband,  conimitteth  adultery. 

The  indissolubility  of   marriage  is  of  divine  right.     The 

good  which  the  law  did  not  presume  to  hope  for,  is  become 

the  common  law  of  Christians ;  the  evil  which  it  was  forced 

to  tolerate,  is  intolerable  in  the  church.     Men  may  deceive 

her  by  surprise,  and  impose  upon  her  by  false  pretences,  but 

they  cannot  make  her  approve  that  which  Christ  condemns, 

or  condemn  that  which  he  approves. 


19.  T[  There  was  a  certain  rich  man,  which  was  clothed  in  purple  and 
fine  linen,  and  fared  sumptuously  every  day: 

It  is  then  certainly  true,  that  for  a  man  to  be  rich,  to  be 
clothed  magnificently,  to  fare  sumptuously,  and  to  take  no 
care  of  the  poor,  is  sufficient  to  his  damnation ;  because  it  is 
sufficient  to  hinder  him  from  leading  a  Christian  life.  How 
can  we  possibly  reconcile  a  life  of  repentance,  mortification, 
and  the  cross,  with  a  soft,  sensual,  and  voluptuous  life ;  the 
humility  and  poverty  of  Christ,  with  the  pride  and  superfluity 
of  riches;  and  the  love  of  this  present  life,  of  ease,  and  of 
the  world,  with  a  constant  opposition  to  our  passions,  with 
the  care  of  our  salvation,  and  the  desire  of  eternal  happiness  ? 
A  life  which  is  most  abhorred  by  men,  on  the  account  of 
such  gross  crimes  as  are  plain  and  visible  to  the  eyes,  is,  in 
the  sight  of  God,  more  supportable  sometimes,  and  less  dan- 
gerous, than  a  life  which,  though  entirely  heathenish,  is 
covered  Avith  an  external  innocency,  and  with  worldly  civility 
and  good  breeding, 

20.  And  there  was  a  certain  beggar  named  Lazarus,  which  was  laid 
at  his  gate,  full  of  sores, 

Poverty,  the  neglect  and  desertion  of  men,  afflictions  and 

diseases,  are  a  condition  Avhich  is  very  hard  and  grievous  to 

nature;  but  how  advantageous  is  it  with  regard  to  heaven, 

how  much  is  it  to  be  preferred  before  that  of  a  wicked  rich 

CHAPTER   XVI.  153 

man,  when  God  enables  us  to  bear  it  humbly  and  patiently  by 
his  grace  ?  How  many  wounds  in  the  soul  do  these  sores  of 
the  body  heal,  when  the  hand  of  the  sovereign  Physician 
applies  them  as  a  remedy  to  the  diseases  of  the  heart  ? 

21.  And  desiring  to  be  fed  with  the  crumbs  which  fell  from  the  rich 
man's  table:  moreover  the  dogs  came  and  licked  his  sores. 

This  representation  of  the  hard-heartedness  of  a  rich  man, 
and  of  the  patience  of  a  holy  beggar,  contains  in  it  an  im- 
portant lesson,  which  deserves  well  to  be  studied  both  by  rich 
and  poor.  This  rich  man  cannot  plead  that  he  is  oppressed 
with  the  multitude  of  the  poor,  for  this  beggar  is  alone ;  or 
that  he  is  at  a  distance  from  him,  for  he  is  at  his  very  gate; 
or  that  his  misery  is  unknown  to  him,  for  it  is  exposed  to  his 
eyes :  neither  can  he  say  that  he  might  work,  for  his  weak- 
ness forces  him  to  lie  on  the  ground ;  or  that  he  was  trouble- 
some, for  he  speaks  not  one  word ;  or  that  he  wanted  a  great 
deal,  since  he  would  have  been  contented  only  with  crumbs: 
nor,  lastly,  can  he  pretend  either  that  his  servants  took  care 
of  him,  since  not  one  of  them  relieves  him ;  or  that  nobody 
put  him  in  mind  of  this  object,  since  his  very  dogs  do  it  by 
their  example,  easing  this  poor  wretch  as  much  as  they  are 
able.  We  cannot,  without  indignation,  read  in  the  gospel 
this  instance  of  hard-heartedness ;  but  do  we  not,  almost 
every  day,  behold  in  the  world  instances  of  the  like  nature 
without  being  affected  by  them  ?  We  there  frequently  see 
rich  men,  who  are  less  sensible  than  beasts  of  the  misery  of 
the  poor,  who  look  upon  them  as  no  better  than  beasts,  and 
have  even  less  care  and  concern  for  them  than  they  have  for 

22.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that  the  beggar  died,  and  was  carried  by  the 
angels  into  Abraham's  bosom:  the  rich  man  also  died,  and  was  buried; 

The  [pious]  poor  have  three  advantages :  (1.)  That  they  do 

not  set  their  hearts  so  much  upon  this  life.     (2.)  That  they 

are  sooner  delivered  from  it,  by  reason  of  the  miseries  of  the 

body.     (3.)  That  they  find  a  new,  blessed,  and  immortal  life 

in  the  bosom  of  God,  which  is  the  mansion  of  his  children. 

On  the  contrary,  the  rich,  who  live  wickedly,  are  exposed  to 

a   threefold    misfortune :    (1.)    That   they   make    themselves 

164  LUKE. 

chains,  which  bind  them  more  strongly,  and  for  a  longer 
time,  to  the  love  of  a  life  which  serves  only  to  multiply  their 
sins.  (2.)  That  they  leave  it  with  regret.  (3.)  That  they 
fall  from  one  death  into  another.  What  joy  must  it  be  to  a 
''man,  at  the  end  of  a  miserable  but  short  life,  to  find  the 
bosom  of  God  open  to  receive  him,  in  order  to  his  being 
eternally  happy  there !  But  how  great  the  despair  when,  at 
the  conclusion  of  a  life  which  pleasures  and  the  fear  of  death 
make  appear  even  shorter  than  it  is,  a  man  finds  the  abyss 
of  hell  open  to  swallow  him  up,  and  confine  him  there  to  all 
eternity !  Can  we  sufficiently  reflect  upon  the  diiference  of 
these  two  states  ? 

23.  And  in  hell  he  lifted  up  his  eyes,  being  in  torments,  and  seeth 
Abraham  afar  off,  and  Lazarus  in  his  bosom. 

Hell  is  to  the  damned  not  only  a  prison  and  a  place  of 
death,  but  likewise  a  place  of  torments,  which  make  them 
feel  that  there  is  a  God.  His  justice  forces  them  to  open 
and  lift  up  their  eyes  toward  him,  which  they  had  always 
kept  shut  against  his  law,  or  turned  down  toward  the  earth. 
That  small  glimmering  of  light  which  is  left  them,  whereby 
they  perceive  the  happiness  of  the  elect,  serves  only  to  aug- 
ment their  rage  and  despair.  Lord,  open  now  the  eyes  of 
the  rich,  that  they  may  see  the  deceitfulness  of  their  riches, 
and  lift  up  their  eyes  toward  the  treasures  which  are  invisible. 

24.  And  he  cried  and  said.  Father  Abraham,  have  mercy  on  me,  and 
send  Lazarus,  that  ho  may  dip  the  tip  of  his  finger  in  water,  and  cool 
my  tongue;  for  I  am  tormented  in  this  tlame. 

After  death  there  is  no  longer  any  time  for  fatherly  kind- 
ness and  mercy :  it  is  in  vain  to  cry  out  and  call  upon  it  in 
hell.  In  vain  would  any  one  there  implore  the  assistance  of 
the  poor  whom  he  has  despised  :  they  are  deaf  and  insensible 
to  the  entreaties  of  those  who  have  been  deaf  to  their  groans, 
and  unmoved  by  their  tears.  It  is  very  just  that  he,  who  has 
refused  to  give  the  crumbs  which  fell  from  his  table  to  a  poor 
wretch  who  desired  them,  should  eternally  desire  a  drop  of 
water,  and  not  receive  it.  "  Blessed  is  he  who  considereth 
the  poor  and  needy :  the  Lord  will  deliver  him  in  the  time  of 
trouble,"  Ps.  xli.  1. 

CHAPTER   XVI.  155 

25.  But  Abraham  said,  Son,  remember  that  thou  in  thy  lifetime  re- 
ceivedst  thy  good  things,  and  likewise  Lazarus  evil  things:  but  now  he 
is  comforted,  and  thou  art  tormented. 

The  quality  of  being  the  [professed]  children  of  God,  which 
wicked  Christians  received  in  baptism,  shall  be  remembered 
even  in  hell — but  it  will  be  to  their  greater  damnation.  This 
word  "son,"  which  is  a  word  of  tenderness,  is  here  used  to 
show  us  that  God  does  not  punish  out  of  any  transport  of 
anger  or  passion,  but  out  of  a  calm  and  sedate  love  of  his 
own  justice.  Riches  are  the  good  things  of  reprobates,  be- 
cause they  love  them  passionately,  and  place  all  their  happi- 
ness in  them ;  and  because  God  either  seldom  permits  his 
elect  to  enjoy  them,  or  weans  their  affections  from  them.  It 
is  then  a  very  miserable  state  and  condition,  for  a  man  to 
Lave  every  thing  according  to  his  desire  in  this  world,  and 
quietly  to  enjoy  the  pleasures  and  satisfactions  of  life ;  since 
there  needs  no  more  to  expose  him  to  an  eternal  misery. 
The  cross  of  Christ  is  the  portion  of  Christians :  he  who 
bears  it  not,  has  no  part  in  him.  Let  those  tremble  with  fear 
who  are  unwilling  to  suffer  any  thing,  and  abhor  the  very  name 
of  mortification  and  the  cross.  Happy  is  that  person  who 
makes  it  his  comfort  and  consolation  during  the  short  moment 
of  this  present  life  ! 

26.  And  beside  all  this,  between  us  and  you  there  is  a  great  gulf  fixed: 
80  that  they  which  would  pass  from  hence  to  you  cannot ;  neither  can 
they  pass  to  us,  that  would  come  from  thence. 

How  great  is  the  gulf  and  separation  between  the  saints  in 
heaven  and  the  damned  in  hell !  and  yet  we  do  not  reflect 
upon  it.  There  is  no  communication  between  heaven  and 
hell ;  no  more  society  between  the  righteous  and  the  wicked ; 
no  more  mixture  of  the  elect  with  the  reprobate,  as  in  the 
church  on  earth.  As  eternal  happiness  consists  in  the  per- 
fect communion  of  God  and  his  elect,  of  Christ  and  his  mem- 
bers ;  so  eternal  damnation  consists  in  being  excommunicated 
by  a  general  and  irrevocable  excommunication,  deprived  for- 
ever of  God,  of  Christ,  and  of  their  Spirit,  and  condemned 
to  the  society  of  devils  and  their  torments  to  all  eternity. 
The  latter  have  not  the  least  hope  of  ever  leaving  that  place 

of  punishment,  nor  tlie  former  any  fear  of  falling  from  their 
blessed  state. 

27.  Then  he  said,  I  pray  thee  therefore,  father,  that  thou  wouldest 
send  him  to  my  f\ither's  house :  28.  For  I  have  five  brethren  ;  tliat  he 
•may  testify  unto  them,  lest  they  also  come  into  this  place  of  torment. 

The  false  and  selfish  compassion  of  the  damned  who  suffer 
for  others,  being  an  irregular  affection,  can  serve  only  to  in- 
crease their  sufferings.  No  prayers  nor  desires  are  heard  in 
hell ;  because  there  is  no  charity  to  form  them.  A  rich  man, 
who,  by  leaving  his  relations  an  example  of  a  soft  and  volup- 
tuous life,  and  likewise  riches  to  enable  them  to  imitate  his 
example,  leaves  them  two  means  of  damning  themselves,  is 
punished  in  hell  for  so  doing ;  and  it  is  this  punishment  which 
the  rich  man  before  us  would  willingly  avoid.  One  part  of 
damnation  consists  in  being  exposed  to  the  reproaches  of 
those  whom  we  have  loved  in  a  wrong  manner,  and  thereby 
made  companions  in  our  misery.  A  rich  man,  in  the  torments 
of  hell,  will  wish  that  he  could,  by  means  of  the  poor  them- 
selves, make  satisfaction  for  the  thefts  of  which  he  has  been 
guilty,  with  regard  to  them,  by  his  criminal  expenses  and 
hard-heartedness ;  but  it  will  be  then  too  late. 

29.  Abraham  saith  unto  him.  They  have  Moses  and  the  prophets ;  let 
them  hear  them. 

We  have  Moses  and  the  prophets  as  well  as  they ;  and  we 
have,  moreover,  Christ  and  the  apostles,  the  gospel  and  the 
apostolical  writings,  and  yet  we  neglect  them.  It  is  a  very 
great  instance  of  negligence  for  a  man  not  to  inform  himself 
of  his  duty,  by  reading  the  word  of  God  while  he  has  op- 
portunity to  do  it ;  and  it  is  to  expose  himself  to  this  re- 
proach, when  there  is  no  longer  any  time  to  receive  the  least 
advantage  from  it.  What  is  it  to  hear  the  word  of  God  as 
we  ought,  but  to  read  it  with  faith,  respect,  and  obedience  ; 
to  make  it  the  rule  of  our  opinions,  our  conduct,  and  our  life ; 
and  to  have  recourse  to  it  in  all  our  doubts,  afflictions,  and 
infirmities,  as  our  only  light,  consolation,  and  strength  ? 

30.  And  he  said.  Nay,  father  Abraham ;  but  if  one  Avent  unto  them 
from  the  dead,  they  will  repent. 

That  man  is  under  a  great  delusion  who  waits  for  some- 

CHAPTER  xvir.  15r 

■what  extraordinary  to  convert  him,  and  engage  him  to  set 
about  the  work  of  his  salvation.  The  wicked  foolishly  flatter 
themselves  that  proofs  are  wanting  to  their  faith ;  whereas 
faith  is  the  only  thing  which  is  wanting  in  the  midst  of  the 
most  plain  and  evident  proofs.  The  Son  of  God,  who  cama 
down  from  heaven  to  preach  repentance  to  us,  and  who  re- 
turned from  hell  [or  the  place  of  departed  spirits]  to  confirm 
his  preaching,  has  not  been  able  to  persuade  us  to  repent: 
and  yet  we  imagine,  that  we  should  perform  this  duty  if 
either  an  angel  come  from  heaven,  or  a  dead  man  from  the 
grave,  to  declare  to  us  the  absolute  necessity  thereof. 

31.  And  he  said  unto  him,  If  they  hear  not  Moses  and  the  prophets, 
neither  will  they  be  persuaded,  though  one  rose  from  the  dead. 

He  who  gives  no  credit  to  the  Scripture,  gives  none  to 
miracles,  since  it  is  filled  with  those  of  Christ  and  his  apos- 
tles. Passion  has  no  other  design,  but  to  gain  time,  and  to 
get  rid  of  those  proofs  which  press  too  hard  upon  and  incom- 
mode it,  under  pretence  of  desiring  better;  and  when  such 
are  produced,  they  serve  only  to  provoke  and  harden  it  the 
more.  Christ  did  raise  another  Lazarus,  and  the  Jews  would 
fain  have  sent  him  back  to  the  grave,  and  from  that  very 
time  resolved  upon  the  death  of  Christ  himself.  This  Saviour 
rose  from  the  dead,  and  it  was  this  very  resurrection  which 
hardened  that  perfidious  people,  and  served  to  fill  up  the 
measure  of  their  sins.  In  vain  does  the  sun  of  truth  shine 
upon  him  who  is  blinded  by  passion.  Let  this  but  cease,  and 
every  thing  will  appear  plain.  Faith  is  satisfied  with  such 
proofs  as  God  vouchsafes  to  afford  it ;  incredulity  never  has 



1.  Then  said  he  unto  the  disciples,  It  is  impossible  but  that  offences 
will  come :  but  woe  imto  him,  through  whom  they  come  ! 

God,  to  whom  nothing  is  impossible,  could  prevent  all 
offences  or  scandals;  but  he  chooses  rather  to  reduce  them  by 

Vol.  II.— li 

153  LUKE. 

his  wisdom  within  the  order  of  his  providence,  and  to  make 
them  instrumental  to  the  sanctification  of  the  elect,  to  the 
manifestation  of  his  justice,  and  to  his  other  designs.  What- 
ever good  God  brings  out  of  evil,  can  by  no  means  excuse  the 
sinner;  because  he  has  no  manner  of  share  in  that  good.  A 
public  sin  does  not  always  escape  a  public  punishment ;  because 
the  honour  of  God's  justice  is  often,  as  it  were,  engaged  to 
inflict  it. 

2.  It  were  better  for  him  that  a  millstone  were  hanged  about  his  neck, 
and  he  cast  into  tlie  sea,  than  that  he  should  offend  one  of  these  little  ones. 

Miserable  is  that  person  who,  being  already  oppressed  with 

the  burden  of  his  own  sins,  draws  upon  himself  the  guilt  of 

other  men's,  by  being  to  them  an  occasion  of  oiFence.     It  is 

a  terrible  judgment  upon  this  sort  of  sinners,  that  God  does 

not  by  an  early  death  prevent  the  first  causes  of  offence  or 

scandal  which  they  give  to  souls.    Who  is  there  who  thoroughly 

comprehends  how  great  a  sin  it  is  to  cause  one  single  soul  to 

lose  its  innocency,  by  being  thereto  an  occasion  of  sin  ?     This 

is  sufficient  to  draw  upon  any  person  the  curse  of  God.     But 

how  much  more,  when  the  scandal  or  offence  becomes  the 

source  of  an  infinity  of  others,  and  causes  the  loss  of  a  world 

of  souls;  as  an  heresiarch,  or  an  impious  person  does,  who 

keeps,  as  it  were,  a  school  of  libertinism,  who  justifies  and 

authorizes  sin,  etc. 

3.  f  Take  heed  to  yourselves:  If  thy  brother  trespass  against  thee, 
rebuke  him ;  and  if  he  repent,  forgive  him. 

It  is  not  sufficient  for  the  charity  of  a  true  Christian  not 
to  give  any  occasion  of  sin  to  others :  it  must  likewise  assist 
them  in  reforming  their  lives,  and  even  forgive  the  trespasses 
committed  against  it.  Let  us  seriously  consider  these  words 
of  our  blessed  Lord;  for  it  is  not  without  reason  that  he  ad- 
monishes us  to  take  heed  to  ourselves  on  these  occasions.  In- 
stead of  mildly  rebuking  our  brother,  we  are  apt  to  brood 
upon  our  displeasure  at  the  bottom  of  our  heart,  where  enmity, 
bitterness,  disgust,  contempt,  and  aversion  are  nourished  by 
a  thousand  disadvantageous  thoughts  and  malicious  reflec- 
tions, and  take  deep  root  therein.  All  that  is  gained  by  re- 
buking him  in  a  harsh  manner,  is  only  to  inflame  the  wound 


which  he  has  given  himself,  to  render  it  incurable,  and  fre- 
quently to  make  us  want  his  pardon  who  before  wanted  ours. 

4.  And  if  he  trespass  against  thee  seven  times  in  a  day,  and  seven 
times  in  a  day  turn  again  to  tlree,  saying,  I  repent ;  thou  shalt  forgive  him. 

Charity  and  true  mercy  have  no  bounds.  It  is  the  greatest 
folly  imaginable,  to  refuse  mercy  to  others,  so  long  as  we 
stand  in  need  of  the  mercy  of  God  toward  ourselves ;  and  who 
does  not  stand  in  need  of  it  every  moment,  even  to  the  hour 
of  his  death  ?  As  the  kindness  and  gentleness  of  God  toward 
us  is  the  rule  and  pattern  of  that  which  we  owe  to  others,  so 
our  rigour  and  severity  toward  others  is,  as  it  were,  the  rule 
and  pattern  of  that  which  God  will  exercise  toward  us.  There 
is  nothing  more  dangerous  to  such  as  have  need  of  an  infinite 
mercy,  than  to  set  bounds  and  limits  to  their  own. 

5.  And  the  apostles  said  unto  the  Lord,  Increase  our  faith. 

How  necessary  is  this  prayer  continually  throughout  the 
whole  course  of  our  life;  and  especially  when  we  are  to  for- 
give injuries,  and  to  sacrifice  to  charity  the  deceitful  sweetness 
of  revenge!  Faith  decays  every  moment,  unless  it  be  sup- 
ported by  prayer.  Prajer  owes  its  birth  to  fjiith ;  but  faith 
owes  its  increase  to  prayer ;  and  both  are  a  gift  of  God  in 
every  degree.  Lord,  thou  alone  canst  infuse,  preserve,  in- 
crease, and  perfect  thy  gifts  in  us,  and  make  them  helpful  and 
subservient  one  to  another. 

6.  And  the  Lord  said,  If  ye  had  faith  as  a  gi-ain  of  mustard  seed,  ye 
might  say  unto  this  sycamine  tree.  Be  thou  plucked  up  by  the  root,  and 
be  thou  planted  in  the  sea ;  and  it  should  obey  you. 

Faith  is  a  thing  which  appears  mean  and  contemptible  to 
the  eyes  of  the  carnal  man;  and  yet  there  is  nothing  more 
strong  and  powerful.  Lord,  I  do  not  ask  this  gift  of  thee, 
either  to  pluck  up  trees  by  the  root,  or  to  remove  mountains, 
but  to  root  out  of  my  heart  self-love  and  concupiscence, — that 
accursed  tree  which  bears  nothing  but  corrupt  fruit,  and  to 
sink  it  in  the  sea  of  thy  blood.  Command,  0  Lord,  and  thou 
shalt  be  immediately  obeyed. 



7.  But  which  of  you,  having  a  servant  ploughing  or  feeding  cattle, 
will  say  unto  him  by-Jind-by,  when  he  is  come  from  the  field,  Go  and  sit 
down  to  meat  ? 

The  church  is  the  field  and  the  flock  of  the  Lord :  his  mi- 
nisters are  not  masters  or  owners  thereof,  but  labourers  and 
shepherds ;  and  consequently  their  life  is  a  life  of  labour, 
care,  and  vigilance.  This  is  their  portion  or  tagk  during  the 
day  of  this  life ;  this  is  their  duty,  were  there  no  manner  of 
reward  to  be  expected,  since  every  creature  was  made  to  serve 
his  Creator.  Let  us  not  expect  here  below  either  rest,  or 
reward,  or  comforts,  or  caresses  from  our  Master :  let  us 
mind  nothing  but  to  do  his  will,  to  carry  on  the  work  in  his 
field,  and  to  feed  his  sheep :  this  is  the  way  to  be  accounted 
worthy  both  of  his  table  and  his  inheritance  in  heaven. 

8.  And  will  not  rather  say  unto  him,  Make  ready  wherewith  I  may 
sup,  and  gird  thyself,  and  serve  me,  till  I  have  eaten  and  drunken;  and 
afterward  thou  shalt  eat  and  drink  ? 

One  labour  continually  succeeds  another ;  but  it  is  not 
sufiicient  barely  to  work,  unless  we  do  it  for  God.  We  then 
make  ready  wherewith  our  Master  may  sup,  when  we  ulti- 
mately refer  to  him  all  the  glory  of  our  works, — a  repast  to 
which  he  alone  has  a  right.  Christ  is  likewise  served,  fed, 
and  nourished  by  us,  when  we  gain  over  souls  to  him,  which 
being  his  fulness,  augment  and  fill  his  body,  and  bring  it  to 
its  perfect  age  and  stature.  Happy  that  person  who,  through 
his  service  and  fidelity,  is  deemed  worthy  to  be  admitted  to 
the  heavenly  banquet,  and  to  have  God  himself  for  his  food 
and  nourishment  there ! 

9.  Doth  he  thank  that  servant  because  he  did  the  things  that  were 
commanded  him?     I  trow  not. 

We  are  more  God's,  than  a  slave  is  his  master's.    We  do  no 

more  than  what  we  ought,  when  we  even  spend  ourselves  in 

his  service,  since  we  have  received  every  thing  only  from  and 

for  him.     It  is  the  glory  of  the  creature,  to  be  employed  in 

the  works  of  the  Creator ;  and  it  is  still  a  new  obligation,  to 

receive  from  him  the  qualifications  which  enable  us  to  labour 

therein.     Let  us  not  boast  of  any  thing,  since  no  manner  of 

CHAPTER    XVir.  161 

good  proceeds  from  our  own  stock,  not  even  so  much  as  a 
good  thought  or  a  good  desire.  Our  stock  is  our  nothing ; 
and  all  our  pretensions  are  built  entirely  upon  the  goodness 
and  liberality  of  our  Master. 

10.  So  likewise  ye,  when  ye  shall  have  done  all  those  things  which  are 
commanded  you,  say.  We  are  unprofitable  servants :  we  have  done  that 
which  was  our  duty  to  do. 

There  is  not  a  more  unprofitable  servant  in  the  world,  than 
one  who  can  do  nothing  unless  his  master  work  with  him,  and 
work  more  than  he ;  who  can  bring  him  no  profit  by  his  labour ; 
and  cannot  do  any  thing  as  he  ought,  and  in  a  manner  which 
is  pleasing  and  acceptable  to  him.  Such  is  man  left  to  him- 
self; such  is  he,  who,  acting  by  the  spirit  of  bondage  to  the 
law,  performs  only  the  external  part  thereof;  and  who  is  not 
moved  and  acted  by  the  Spirit  of  the  adoption  of  children, 
which  causes  them  to  perform  the  commandment  upon  a  prin- 
ciple of  love.  My  God,  I  acknowledge  with  joy,  that  I  owe 
every  thing  to  thy  mercy,  and  that  all  thy  rewards  are  acts  of 
pure  grace ;  because  all  our  deserts  are  thy  gifts,  and  it  is 
thou  who  workest  in  us  all  our  good  works. 


11.  T[  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  he  went  to  Jerusalem,  that  he  passed 
through  the  midst  of  Samaria  and  Galilee.  12.  And  as  he  entei-ed  into 
a  certain  village,  there  met  him  ten  men  that  were  lepers,  which  stood 
afar  off: 

The  leprosy  of  sin  renders  us  unworthy  to  approach  and 
draw  near  to  God.  There  is  no  deadly  sin  whatever  but  car- 
ries in  it  excommunication  in  respect  of  God,  since  it  deprives 
us  of  God  himself.  That  man  who  is  sensible  of  his  own 
unworthiness  to  draw  near  to  God,  is  then  actually  drawing 
near  to  him.  This  sense  of  our  unworthiness  is  the  thing  by 
which  our  repentance  must  begin.  We  know  nothing  of  the 
nature  either  of  sin,  or  of  true  repentance,  when  we  would 
fain  be  reinstated  immediately  in  the  possession  of  those  ad- 
vantages which  we  have  lost  by  sin,  and  are  unwilling  to  bear 
the  shame  and  confusion  of  being  separated  from  them. 

13.  And  they  lifted  up  their  voices,  and  said,  Jesus,  Master,  have 
mercy  on  us. 

Prayer  must  be  strong  and  earnest,  when  the  disease  is 

162  L  U  K  E. 

great  and  inveterate.  The  gift  of  prayer,  in  the  beginning 
of  conversion,  is  a  great  gift ;  and  it  is  preserved  by  prayer 
itself.  The  farther  we  see  ourselves  from  God,  the  higher 
must  we  lift  up  our  voices.  All  that  we  have  to  ask  in  this 
condition  is  the  mercy  of  God  ;  and  it  is  of  and  through  Jesus 
Christ  that  we  must  ask  it.  The  double  leprosy  of  ignorance 
and  concupiscence  requires  a  double  mercy :  a  Master  to  dis- 
perse the  darkness  of  the  understanding  by  his  light ;  and  a 
Jesus  or  Saviour  to  deliver  the  heart  from  its  slavery  by  the 
infusion  of  his  love.  Have  mercy  on  us,  0  Jesus,  our  Master 
and  our  Saviour! 

14.  And  -when  he  saw  them,  he  said  unto  them,  Go  shew  yourselves 
unto  the  priests.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that,  as  they  went,  they  were 

Respect,  love,  and  submission  toward  the  church,  are  here 
intimated  and  recommended  to  us  in  the  conduct  of  the  Son 
of  God.  So  speedy  a  cure  is  the  reward  of  so  ready  an  obe- 
dience. God  would  have  us  submit,  before  all  things,  to  the 
ordinary  means  of  salvation.  We  ought  as  much  as  possible 
to  prevent  calumnies,  as  Jesus  Christ  here  does,  by  submit- 
ting exactly  to  the  laAvs. 

15.  And  one  of  them,  when  he  saw  that  he  was  healed,  turned  back, 
and  with  a  loud  voice  glorified  God, 

Acknowledgment  for  favours  and  blessings  received  is  so 
much  the  more  acceptable  to  God,  because  it  is  so  rare.  A 
heart  which  is  very  grateful  cannot  defer  testifying  its  gra- 
titude one  moment.  The  world  is  full  of  persons  who  lift  up 
their  voice  in  the  church  to  pray  for  benefits  and  favours, 
and  who  continue  dumb  Avhen  they  have  once  received  them. 
The  design  of  God  in  conferring  them  upon  us  is  to  be  glori- 
fied for  them. 

16.  And  fell  down  on  liis  fixce  at  his  feet,  giving  him  thanks :  and  ho 
was  a  Samaritan. 

What  acknowledgment  and  gratitude,  then,  do  those  owe 
to  God  whom  he  has  so  often  cured  of  an  infinite  number  of 
sins  !  This  is  a  thing  of  which  we  are  the  least  sensible, 
while  we  very  carefully  preserve  the  remembrance  of  a  tem- 
poral   blessing,   of   the  cure  of   any  bodily   distemper,    etc. 


True  gratitude   is  always    accompanied  witli  humility ;    and 

this  humility  is   so  much  the  greater  in   proportion  to  the 

greatness  of  the  evil,  and  to  the  sense  a  man  had  of  his  un- 

worthiness  to  be  delivered  from  it.     Let,  then,  a  recovered 

sinner  be  always  prostrate  in  mind  and  heart  at  the  feet  of 

his  Deliverer. 

17.  And  Jesus  answering  said,  Were  there  not  ten  cleansed  ?  but 
where  are  the  nine  ?  18.  There  are  not  found  that  returned  to  give  glory 
to  God,  save  this  stranger. 

Those  who  are  of  the  household  of  faith,  are  oftentimes 
more  subject  to  ingratitude  than  strangers,  because  they  are 
less  sensible  of  their  own  unworthiness.  It  is  a  great  bless- 
ing for  a  man  to  have  always  been  within  the  pale  of  the 
church,  or  in  the  way  of  piety ;  but  the  faults  he  has  com- 
mitted in  that  state  are  the  greater,  and  the  pardon  received 
for  them  the  more  valuable.*  To  render  to  God  the  glory  of 
his  mercies  is  to  deserve  [or  to  invoke]  new ;  to  be  forgetful 
of  them  is  to  dry  up  the  fountain  from  whence  they  flow. 

19.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Arise,  go  thy  way  :  thy  faith  hath  made 
thee  whole. 

The  lower  a  penitent  prostrates  himself  at  the  feet  of  Christ 

by  a  thankful  humility  and  a  humble  thankfulness,  the  higher 

he  lifts  him  up,  and  the  more  he  encourages  him  to  walk  in 

his  ways.      Christ  praises  the  faith  of  man,  to  the  end  that 

man  may  praise  the  grace  of  God,  which  is  the  principle  from 

which  it  proceeds,  and  frequently  beg  this  principle  of  him. 

It  is  faith  which  gives  birth  to  the  life  of  grace  in  sinners  :  it  is 

faith  likewise  which  increases  and  perfects  it  in  the  righteous. 

OF    CHRIST. — THE    DAYS    OF    NOAH   AND    OF    LOT. 

20.  \  And  when  he  was  demanded  of  the  Pharisees,  when  the  king- 
dom of  God  should  come,  he  answered  them  and  said,  The  kingdom  of 
God  cometh  not  with  observation : 

The  kingdom  of  God  does  not  consist  in  the  pomp  or  splen- 
dour of  the  world  :  it  is  in  vain  to  seek  it  therein.  Every  one 
would  willingly  find  it  without  waiting  and  preparing  himself 
for  it;  but  every  one  runs  the  risk  of  never  finding  it,  who 
does  not  live  in  a  constant  expectation  of  it,  and  in  a  con- 

164  LUKE. 

tinual  disposition  to  receive  it.  Carnal  men,  big  with  the 
conceits  of  a  carnal  kingdom,  the  power,  riches,  and  great- 
ness of  which  have  a  visible  appearance,  are  far  from  per- 
ceiving and  owning  the  kingdom  of  God,  which  is  established 
only  upon  the  ruins  of  that  love  which  they  have  toward  false 
happiness.  The  kingdom  of  grace  is  visible  to  none  but  those 
who  have  invisible  eyes,  and  to  whom  invisible  things  are  all 
in  all. 

21.  Neither  shall  they  say,  Lo  here !  or,  lo  there  !  for,  behold,  the  king- 
dom of  God  is  within  you. 

It  is  in  the  heart  of  man  that  the  kingdom  of  God  and  of 
his  grace  is  established  by  obedience  and  love  ;  and  this  king- 
dom was  made  visible  and  manifest  only  by  miracles,  by  the 
subjection  of  the  devil  to  the  power  of  Christ,  and  by  the 
obedience  of  those  who  forsook  all  to  follow  him  in  his  state 
of  poverty.  It  is  very  just  that  we  should  not  find  it,  if  we 
will  not  know  it  by  those  marks  which  he  has  given  us  of  it 
in  his  word.  A  heart  which  is  humble,  meek,  charitable,  and 
disengaged  from  earthly  things,  will  ahvays  find  it,  because 
they  are  these  very  virtues  which  make  the  kingdom  which  it 

22.  And  he  said  unto  the  disciples,  The  days  will  come,  when  ye  shall 
desire  to  see  one  of  the  days  of  the  Son  of  man,  and  ye  shall  not  see  it. 

We  must  make  good  use  of  the  times  of  grace,  peace,  in- 
dulgence, and  light,  to  prepare  ourselves  against  those  of  des- 
titution, trouble,  temptation,  suffering,  and  darkness.  The- 
apostles  profited  but  little  by  the  visible  presence  and  sensible 
graces  of  Christ;  and  had  not  the  Holy  Ghost  taught  them 
all  things  anew,  and  brought  all  things  to  their  remembrance, 
what  would  have  become  of  them  in  the  times  of  false  Christs 
and  of  persecutors  ?  Let  us  fear  these  times,  in  which  Christ 
seems  to  be  withdrawn  ;  and  let  us  establish  and  strengthen 
ourselves  in  his  doctrine  and  love,  that  we  may  not  have  the 
misfortune  to  be  surprised  in  our  weakness. 

23.  And  they  shall  say  to  you.  See  here ;  or,  see  there :  go  not  after 
them,  nor  follow  them. 

It  is  not  to  the  bare  name  of  Christ,  but  to  his  doctrine 

and  precepts,  that  we  must    adhere,   since  there  are  false 


Christs  and  false  gospels.  Let  us  not  follow  him  whom  men 
point  out  to  us,  but  him  whom  God  points  out  in  the  Scrip- 
tures, and  authorizes  by  miracles.  There  are  false  churches 
as  well  as  false  Christs  ;  and  the  true  spouse  is  known  by  the 
same  marks  with  the  true  Bridegroom. 

24.  For  as  the  lightning,  that  lighteneth  out  of  the  one  fart  under  hea- 
ven, shineth  unto  the  other  'part  under  heaven ;  so  shall  also  the  Son  of 
man  be  in  his  day. 

The  brightness  and  quickness  with  which  Chi-ist  was  made 
known  in  the  world  by  the  preaching  of  the  gospel,  may  very 
justly  be  compared  to  lightning.  As  it  is  one  and  the  same 
lightning  which  shineth  from  the  one  part  under  heaven  to 
the  other,  so  it  is  the  same  faith,  the  same  Christ,  and  the 
same  Christian  society ;  and  this  universality  is  one  of  the 
properties  of  the  true  faith,  the  true  Christ,  and  the  true 
church.  That  which  is  now  done  successively  by  faith,  Avill 
be  done  in  an  instant,  when  the  Son  of  man  shall  visibly  ap- 
pear to  all  mankind,  in  order  to  judge  the  world.  Now  is  the 
day  of  men :  it  will  be  then  the  day  of  the  Lord. 

25.  But  first  must  he  suffer  many  things,  and  be  rejected  of  this  gene- 

Suffering  and  the  cross  of  Christ  are  the  only  means  chosen 
by  God  to  form  his  church,  and  to  fit  and  prepare  her  to  appear 
with  Christ  at  the  great  day.  None  of  his  members  are  ex- 
cused from  walking  in  this  way :  they  must  suffer,  and  be 
hated  of  the  world,  before  they  can  partake  of  his  glory. 
And  a  man  may  justly  be  said  to  be  hated  and  rejected  of  the 
world,  when  he  follows  those  maxims  which  it  hates  and  re- 
jects, and  exposes  himself  to  persecution  on  that  account. 

26.  And  as  it  was  in  the  days  of  Noah,  so  shall  it  be  also  in  the  days 
of  the  Son  of  man. 

The  hour  of  death  and  that  of  judgment  are  uncertain. 

That  which  happened  in  former  ages,  is  a  figure  of  what  will 

happen  in  the  last  times.     The  use  which  a  Christian  ought 

to  make  of  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament,  according 

to  the  institution  of  God  and  the  advice  of  Christ,  is  therein 

to  study  his  own  duties,  and  to  contemplate  Christ  and  his 

church.     The   old  world,   surprised  by  the   deluge,  after  a 

course  of  preaching  and  impenitency  for  a  hundred  years  to- 

166  LUKE. 

getter,  is  an  emblem  of  that  which  happens  to  the  generality 
of  men  at  the  time  of  death,  and  of  that  -which  will  happen  at 
the  last  day  to  the  whole  world. 

27.  They  did  eat,  they  drank,  they  married  wives,  they  were  given  in 
marriage,  until  the  day  that  Noah  entered  into  the  ark ;  and  the  flood 
came,  and  destroyed  them  all. 

The  life  of  men  in  the  days  of  Noah  represents  to  us,  in  a 

lively  manner,  the  sottishness  and  strange  stupidity  of  wordly 

men,  who  are  entirely  taken  up  with  this  present  life,  and 

regard  not  in  the  least  the  threats  of  the  divine  wrath.     It 

looks  as  if  this  life  were  given  to  men  to  no  other  end,  but 

only  that  they  might  acquire  such  a  share  of  the  good  things 

thereof,  as  will  enable  them  to  pass  it  at  their  ease,  in  the 

midst  of  all  sorts  of  conveniences,  in  abundance,  and  with 

splendour ;    and   that   they  might  endeavour  to  perpetuate 

their  name  and  family  by  advantageous  matches.     For  is  not 

this  the  thing  which  takes  up  the  whole  care  and  concern  of 

those  whom   the   world    styles    people   of  fashion,  and  that 

which  generally  makes  them  unhappy  reprobates  ? 

28.  Likewise  also  as  it  was  in  the  days  of  Lot ;  they  did  eat,  they 
drank,  they  bought,  they  sold,  they  planted,  they  builded ; 

To  see  the  life  of  the  generality  of  mankind,  would  one  not 
be  apt  to  imagine  that  they  were  made  only  to  establish 
themselves  upon  earth,  to  eat  and  drink,  and  to  perform  the 
business  of  the  natural  or  civil  life ;  and  that  the  world  to 
come  did  not  at  all  relate  to  them  ?  They  will  open  their 
eyes  at  the  time  of  death ;  but  God  grant  it  may  not  be  to  as 
little  purpose  as  men  opened  theirs  in  the  days  of  Noah  and 
Lot !  These  two  dreadful  histories  are  read  with  the  same 
indifference  with  Avhich  the  Roman  history  is  read ;  and  yet 
they  are  types  and  prophecies  of  the  miserable  end  of  the  sin- 
ners who  read  them,  if  not  prevented  by  a  timely  repentance. 

29.  But  the  same  day  that  Lot  went  out  of  Sodom  it  rained  fire  and 
brimstone  from  heaven,  and  destroyed  them  all. 

What  can  these  words  and  this  figure  mean,  but  only  that 
the  greatest  part  of  mankind  are  surprised  by  death,  while 
some  are  thinking  only  of  their  pleasures,  others  of  their  for- 
tune ?  Let  us  learn  of  Lot  to  despise  and  forsake  every 
thing,  if  there  be  occasion,  rather  than  continue  exposed  to 

CHAPTER  XVrr.  167 

the  wratli  of  God.  Let  us  lose  no  time  in  deliberating :  the 
danger  is  always  great  and  imminent  when  a  man  is  not  sure 
of  one  moment,  and  eternity  lies  at  stake.  One  moment's 
delay  had  exposed  Lot  to  inevitable  destruction  by  the  fire 
and  brimstone  of  Sodom :  we  have  infinitely  more  to  fear. 

30.  Even  thus  shall  it  be  in  the  day  when  the  Son  of  man  is  revealed. 

A  sudden  and  universal  deluge,  and  a  rain  of  fire  and  brim- 
stone, are  only  types  and  shadows  of  the  last  desolation. 
"Even  thus  shall  it  be  in  the  day,"  etc.,  are  not  words  spo- 
ken at  random  :  they  are  words  of  faith,  which  assure  us  that 
the  world  shall  be  surprised,  that  the  wrath  of  God  shall  pour 
down  upon  sinners  like  a  rain,  and  swallow  them  up  like  a 
deluge,  and  that  a  very  small  number  shall  escape  his  justice. 
A  false  notion  which  men  frame  to  themselves  of  a  mercy 
without  rule  or  means,  encourages  the  greatest  part  of  the 
world  in  the  neglect  of  their  salvation.  Let  us  judge  of  the 
divine  justice  by  these  two  examples,  since  it  is  to  this  end 
that  our  blessed  Lord  proposes  them  to  us. 

31.  In  that  day,  he  which  shall  be  upon  the  housetop,  and  his  stuff  in 
the  house,  let  him  not  come  down  to  take  it  away :  and  he  that  is  in  the 
field,  let  him  likewise  not  return  back. 

Let  us  leave  that  to  perish  which  must  perish :  let  us  save 

our   immortal  part.     There   is  nothing,  among  all  the  good 

things  of  the  world,  which  deserves  that  we  should  hazard 

our  life  for  it,  much  less  our  soul.     Life  is  short,  death  is  at 

the  gate,  the  hour  is  uncertain ;  and  at  that  hour,  whatever 

we  love  and  value  in  the  world  will  be  taken  away  from  us  : 

what  folly  is   it,  then,  to   set  our  affections  upon  any  thing 

here  below  !     Let  us  not  be  solicitous  to  change  that  state  and 

condition  wherein  God  has  thought  fit  to  place  us ;  but  let  us 

therein,  with  patience,  wait  for  that  state  which  will  never 


32.  Remember  Lot's  wife. 

When  we  have  once  quitted  the  world,  we  must  not  think 
any  more  of  it ;  nor  return  to  our  former  inclinations  when 
God  has  weaned  us  from  them.  A  man  is  sometimes  so  great 
an  enemy  to  his  own  good,  that  he  regrets  the  loss  of  wicked 
company,  and  of  those  opportunities  of  ruining  himself,  from 

which  he  has  been  delivered  through  the  mercy  of  God.  This 
is  a  piece  of  ingratitude  which  he  cannot  bear,  and  which  he 
punishes  very  severely.  We  must,  even  with  joy,  relinquish 
our  friends  and  relations,  our  wealth  and  temporal  advantages, 
and  raze  them  out  of  our  memory,  whenever  they  become 
obstacles  to  our  salvation.  We  love  them  with  a  criminal 
fondness  when  we  leave  them  with  grief  and  anxiety. 

33.  Whosoever  sh.all  seek  to  save  his  life,  shall  lose  it ;  and  whosoever 
shall  lose  his  life,  shall  preserve  it. 

Happy  is  the  loss  when  a  man  loses  himself,  full  of  sins 
and  corrupt  inclinations,  and  subject  to  death,  in  order  to 
find  himself  again  innocent,  full  of  charity,  immortal  and  glo- 
rious !  The  love  alone  of  this  short  and  perishing  life  can 
make  us  resolve  to  lose  all  in  order  to  save  it ;  but  we  must 
resolve  to  lose  even  this  life  itself,  for  the  sake  of  one  infinitely 
better  and  eternal.  Had  we  but  faith,  should  we  not  be 
willing  to  do  more  for  the  life  of  the  soul  than  for  that  of  the 
body  ?     But  that  which  we  do  now  is  the  direct  contrary. 

34.  I  tell  you,  ia  that  night  there  shall  be  two  men'va.  one  bed;  the  one 
shall  be  taken,  and  the  other  shall  be  left. 

Men  save  and  lose  their  souls  in  all  places  and  in  all  states 

and  conditions.     First.  In  the  state  which  belongs  to  those 

who  live  retired  from  the  noise  of  the  world,  or  are  most 

closely  united  together.     It  is  an  advantage  to  be  united  to 

holy  persons,  either  by  friendship  or  relation ;  but  if  we  desire 

to  improve  this  advantage  as  we  ought,  and  to  be  saved  with 

them,  we  must  imitate  their  example.     God  can  easily  discern 

in  all  places,  and  distinguish   those  who  are  his.     It  is  in 

the  night  of  tribulation,  persecution,  extreme  calamity,  and 

death,  that  this  distinction  is  made.     Let  us  prepare  ourselves 

for  it  while  it  is  day. 

35.  Two  women  sliall  bo  grinding  together;  the  one  shall  be  taken, 
and  the  other  left.  30.  Two  men  shall  be  in  the  field  ;  the  one  shall  be 
taken,  and  the  other  left. 

The  second  state  is  of  such  as  labour  for  the  necessaries 

of  life,  or  in  troublesome  and  tumultuous  employments,  the 

noise  and  hurry  whereof  hinder  them  from  hearing  the  voice 

of  God  and   the   warnings  of   approaching   calamity.     The 

third  state  is  of  those  who,  being  neither  in  business  nor  in 


retirement,  lead  a  free  and  easy  life  at  their  own  discretion. 
God  has  his  elect,  and  the  devil  his  slaves,  who  are  the  repro- 
bate, in  all  places  and  in  all  conditions  of  life :  it  is  therefore 
necessary  in  all  for  men  to  labour  and  watch,  that  they  may 
be  of  the  number  of  those  who  belong  to  God,  and  that  they 
may  avoid  the  snares  of  the  devil. 

37.  And  they  answered  and  said  unto  him,  Where,  Lord?  And  he 
said  unto  them,  Wheresoever  the  body  is,  thither  will  the  eagles  be 
gathered  together. 

The  elect  are  the  eagles  :  Christ  is  their  prey  and  nourish- 
ment for  eternal  life.  Happy  he  who  is  of  the  number  of 
these  spiritual  eagles,  who  soar  toward  heaven  to  seek  Jesus 
Christ  there,  the  eternal  Truth,  and  to  fasten  unchangeably 
upon  him ;  and  not  of  the  number  of  the  ravens,  who  seek 
only  to  gorge  themselves  with  the  things  on  earth !  These 
eagles  and  ravens  are  here  below  mixed  together  in  the  church, 
which  is  the  body  of  Christ,  diffused  throughout  the  world, 
and  composed  of  all  nations  ;  but  in  heaven  none  but  eagles 
will  be  gathered  together,  and  reunited  in  this  immortal  body, 
of  which  Christ  is  the  head,  the  strength,  the  food,  the  joy, 
and  the  eternal  felicity. 



1.  And  he  spake  a  parable  unto  them  to  this  end,  that  men  ought  al- 
ways to  pray,  and  not  to  faint ; 

Prayer  is  a  duty  properly  belonging  to  such  as  are  poor 
and  needy ;  and  sighing  is  the  portion  of  the  miserable. 
They  must  be  continual  in  this  life,  because  we  are  continually 
oppressed  with  wants  and  miseries.  The  tempter  is  never 
weary  in  assaulting  us :  let  us  never  grow  weary  in  resisting 
him  with  the  arms  of  prayer.  To  pray  always,  and  to  speak 
but  little,  is  one  of  the  paradoxes  of  the  gospel :  this  duty  re- 
quires little  of  the  tongue,  much  of  the  heart.  A  man  may 
be  justly  said  always  to  pray,  when  he  has  God  always  pre- 

VoL.  IL— 15 

sent  to  his  mind,  and  always  desires  him;  whether  he  do  it 
standing  or  kneeling,  in  rest  or  labour,  in  grief  or  joy. 

2.  Saying,  There  was  in  a  city  a  judge,  which  feared  not  God,  neither 
regarded  man : 

If  perseverance  in  prayer  triumph  over  the  most  obstinate 
wickedness  of  an  unjust  judge,  can  we  have  the  least  a])pre- 
hension  that  our  prayers  will  not  prevail  with  God,  who  is 
goodness  itself  ?  He  must  needs  be  very  desirous  to  grant, 
who  so  readily  inspries  men  with  the  confidence  to  ask.  No 
hard-heartedness  whatever  is  more  inflexible  than  that  of  an 
unjust  judge ;  and  yet  a  poor  widow  overcomes  it  by  her  per- 
severance. AVhat  then  must  necessarily  be  the  success,  when 
the  Spirit  pf  God  prays  to  him  in  his  saints  ? 

3.  And  there  was  a  widow  in  that  city;  and  she  came  unto  him,  say- 
ing, Avenge  me  of  mine  adversary. 

The  portion  of  Christian  widows  consists  in  affliction  and 

the  cross,  in  constancy  and  perseverance  in  prayer.     It  is 

from  such  a  widow  that  we  must  learn  to  pray  well,  because 

she  is  an  emblem  of  the  church,  and  of  every  soul  which  has 

no  hope  but  in  God.     A  widow  who  is  desolate  and  oppressed, 

without  relations,  friends,  substance,  and  support, — what  other 

refuge  can  she  have  but  humble  prayer,  assiduous  supplication, 

and  importunate  perseverance  ?     Such  is  ray  soul  in  thy  sight, 

0  my  God  !  and  even  more  desolate,  since  it  has  not  even  the 

power  to  pray  unto  thee,  unless  thou  vouchsafest  to  bestow  it 

on  me  as  a  gift  and  an  alms. 

4.  And  he  would  not  for  a  while  :  but  afterward  he  said  within  him- 
self, Though  I  fear  not  God,  nor  regard  man ;  5.  Yet  because  this  widow 
troultloth  me,  I  will  avenge  her,  lest  by  her  continual  coming  she 
weary  me. 

How  many  actions  which  appear  good,  have  neither  the 
love  of  God,  nor  that  of  our  neighbour,  but  only  self-love,  for 
their  motive  and  principle !  What  other  reward  can  we  ex- 
pect for  such,  except  that  wdiich  is  due  to  self-love  ?  God,  by 
his  infinite  love  and  wisdom,  makes  these  actions  subservient 
to  his  designs  concerning  his  elect,  and  to  the  comfort  and 
consolation  of  the  oppressed.  AVhenever  he  pleases,  he  causes 
justice  to  be  done  by  the  most  unjust  judge,  whose  heart  is 
in  his  hand,  as  well  as-that  of  the  most  upright.     It  is  in  him, 


therefore,  that  we  must  put  our  trust  and  confidence,  but 
without  neglecting  human  means.  But  we  are  apt  too  fre- 
quently to  ascribe  all  the  glory  of  the  success  to  these 
means,  and  to  forget  Him  who  alone  made  them  useful  and 

G.  And  the  Lord  said,  Hear  what  the  unjust  judge  saith. 

We  may,  after  the  example  of  our  Lord,  make  a  good  use 
even  of  the  worst  examples.  Every  thing  serves  to  display 
the  justice  and  goodness  of  God,  by  way  either  of  conformity 
or  opposition,  either  as  lines  which  form  the  resemblance 
thereof,  or  as  shadows  which  heighten  the  lustre  and  liveli- 
ness of  the  colours.  Faith  has  the  art  of  changing  poison 
into  a  safe  remedy,  and  the  most  venomous  herbs  into  whole- 
some food. 

7.  And  shall  not  God  avenge  his  own  elect,  which  cry  day  and  night 
unto  him,  though  he  bear  long  with  them  ? 

To  sigh  and  pray  is  the  portion  of  the  elect  in  this  life. 
God  hears  them  sooner  or  later,  in  one  manner  or  another ; 
either  delivering  them  at  present,  or  making  their  afflictions 
and  oppressions  instrumental  to  the  good  of  the  church,  and 
to  the  increase  of  their  glory  and  happiness  in  the  world  to 
come.  Those  who  have  no  notion  of  any  other  happiness  or 
misery  but  in  this  life,  have  likewise  no  notion  of  any  deliver- 
ance but  the  present ;  but  those  who  count  them  as  nothing, 
triumph,  by  the  power  of  hope,  over  the  very  triumphs  of  the 
wicked.  To  pray  as  one  of  the  elect,  it  is  necessary,  (1.) 
That  our  prayer  be  like  a  cry,  by  its  strength,  fervency,  and 
elevation  toward  God.  (2.)  That  it  be  persevering  and  con- 
tinual. Neither  the  night,  nor  sleep,  interrupts  the  prayer 
of  the  elect,  because  their  heart  watches  by  the  dispositions 
in  which  sleep  seizes  them ;  and  because  even  their  body, 
while  under  it,  still  preserves  mortification  and  humility,  which 
speak  to  God  in  silence,  and  are  always  heard. 

8.  I  tell  you  that  he  will  avenge  them  speedily.  Nevertheless,  when 
the  Son  of  man  cometh,  shall  he  find  faith  on  the  earth  ? 

The  delusion  under  which  the  rich,  and  those  who  place 

their  happiness  in  this  world,  lie,  consists  in  this :   That  they 

reckon  upon  a  long  life,  and  do  not  consider  that  even  the 

172  LUKE. 

longest  is  but  a  shadow  which  passes  away.  A  double  error 
this,  from  which  faith  secures  the  elect,  by  convincing  them, 
on  the  word  of  Christ,  that  not  only  life,  but  even  all  ages 
put  together,  are  but  a  short  time.  All  manner  of  good  ac- 
companies a  lively  faith ;  when  this  is  wanting,  every  thing 
else  is  so.  Vouchsafe,  Lord,  to  give  me  such  a  faith  as  thou 
wouldst  find  in  me  at  thy  coming ;  and  grant  that  it  may  be  in 
me  the  source  of  a  true  confidence  and  a  persevering  prayer. 


9.  And  he  spake  this  parable  unto  certain  which  trusted  in  them- 
selves that  they  were  righteous,  and  despised  others : 

There  are  two  infallible  marks  by  which  the  true  devotion 
may  be  discerned  from  the  false.  The  first  is,  when  a  man 
relies  only  upon  the  mercy  of  God  and  the  grace  of  Christ, 
being  fully  persuaded  that,  without  this  grace,  he  has  in  him- 
self nothing  but  an  inclination  to  evil,  and  an  utter  inability 
to  do  good.  The  second  is,  when  he  concerns  himself  wholly 
about  his  own  sins  and  miseries,  and  when  the  more  he  be- 
holds in  others  the  more  he  fears  in  himself.  AVe  never  de- 
spise others,  but  when  we  do  not  know  ourselves.  Nothing 
is  more  contrary  to  humility,  and  by  consequence  to  true 
piety,  than  despising  our  neighbour. 

10.  Two  men  went  up  into  the  temple  to  pray;  the  one  a  Pharisee,  and 
the  other  a  publican. 

To  judge  of  these  two  men  by  their  profession,  who  would 

not  have  chose  to  have  the  heart  of  the  Pharisee,  rather  than 

that  of  the  publican  ?    But  God  judges  quite  otherwise  in  this 

case.     Let  us  learn  not  to  judge  of  others  at  all,  since  in 

order  to  judge  well  it  is  necessary  to  know  the  heart.    A  man 

may  be  corrupted  in  a  holy  state  or  profession ;   he  may  be 

sanctified  in  one  which  is  very  common  and  ordinary.     It  is 

the  heart,  and  not  the  habit,  which  renders  us  the  servants 

of  God. 

11.  The  Pharisee  stood  and  prayed  thus  with  himself,  God,  I  thank 
thee,  that  I  am  not  as  other  men  are,  extortioners,  unjust,  adulterers,  or 
even  as  this  publican. 

This  prayer,  so  full  of  ostentation,  pride,  presumption,  and 

CHAPTER    XVIir.  173 

vain  confidence  in  his  own  merits,  is  very  agreeable  to  the 
character  of  a  Pharisee.  Let  us  take  great  care  that  we  have 
not  the  spirit  and  heart  of  such  a  person,  either  in  whole  or 
in  part.  In  prayer,  nothing  is  better  than  thanksgiving,  pro- 
vided it  be  very  humble  and  Christian,  and  not  to  boast  of  the 
advantages  we  possess,  but  to  pay  homage  for  them  to  him  from 
wdiom  we  have  received  them.  He  who  knows  that  piety  does 
not  consist  only  in  abstaining  from  gross  sins,  and  performing 
the  external  part  of  some  virtues,  never  thanks  God  for  what 
he  has  received,  without  humbling  himself  for  his  pride,  which 
raay  corrupt  the  divine  gifts  in  him,  and  trembling  with  fear 
lest  he  have  nothing  but  the  shadow  and  outward  appearance 
of  virtue.  When  a  man  compares  himself  with  such  as  are 
notoriously  wicked,  he  may  think  himself  a  saint ;  but  he  will 
always  find  himself  criminal  when  he  compares  himself  with 
the  saints. 

12.  I  fast  twice  in  the  week,  I  give  tithes  of  all  that  I  possess. 
Exemption  from  gross  faults,  and  the  external  performance 

of  good  works,  are  a  source  of  pride  and  complacency  in 
those  who  have  not  laid  a  foundation  of  humility.  Bodily 
mortification  and  liberality  in  alms  are  apt  to  pufl"  men  up,  and 
do  sometimes  cause  more  hurt  and  prejudice  to  a  soul,  than 
it  would  receive  either  from  luxury  or  avarice.  A  fault  which 
truly  humbles,  is  more  useful  and  profitable  than  a  virtue 
which  puff's  up  with  pride ;  because  a  false  virtue  is  a  veil 
which  hides  our  vices  from  us.  It  is  a  very  miserable  condi- 
tion in  which  we  are  here  below,  where  we  have  as  much  to 
do  to  secure  ourselves  from  the  sight  which  the  devil  gives  us 
of  our  own  goodness,  as  from  the  evil  which  he  earnestly  en- 
deavours to  put  into  our  hearts. 

13.  And  the  publican,  standing  afar  off,  would  not  lift  up  so  much  as 
his  eyes  unto  heaven,  but  smote  upon  his  breast,  saying,  God  be  merciful 
to  me  a  sinner. 

My  God,  how  different  are  the  motions  of  grace  from  those 
of  corrupt  nature  !  Grace  changes  the  sinner's  pride  into  a 
salutary  confusion,  inspires  him  with  a  holy  indignation 
against  himself,  and  inclines  him  to  make  a  sincere  confes- 
sion of  his  sins,  and  to  offer  up  humble,  fervent,  and  continual 


174  L  U  K  E. 

prayer.  That  wliicli  a  true  penitent  thinks  himself  to  he  in 
the  siglit  of  God,  the  same  he  is  willing  to  appear  in  the 
sight  of  men — namely,  the  last  of  all.  He  is  thoroughly  sen- 
sible how  much  sin  has  degraded  him ;  and  he  lays  claim  to 
nothing  but  a  right  to  perform  penance,  and  to  humble  him- 
self. He  approaches  God  by  standing  afar  off,  out  of  respect 
and  reverence;  he  attracts  his  eyes,  by  not  presuming  to  lift 
up  so  much  as  his  own  unto  heaven;  by  not  sparing  himself, 
he,  in  some  measure,  deserves  that  God  should  spare  him; 
and,  by  acknowledging  his  own  misery,  he  obtains  mercy. 

14.  I  toll  you,  this  man  went  down  to  his  house  justified  rather  than 
the  other:  for  every  one  that  exalteth  himself  shall  be  abased;  and  he 
that  humbleth  himself  shall  be  exalted. 

Pride  destroys  all  good  works  in  the  sight  of  God:  humility 
covers  all  manner  of  sins,  and  is  to  a  sinner  instead  of  all 
virtues.  The  proud  prayer  of  a  pretender  to  righteousness  is 
so  far  from  blotting  out  sin,  that  it  is  itself  turned  into  sin. 
Humiliation  is  the  way  to  glory,  because  it  is  the  mark  of  a 
sincere  conversion:  pride  is  the  distinguishing  character  of 
an  impenitent  heart.  Lord,  form  in  me  such  a  heart  as 
thou  wilt  crown;  give  me  that  humility  which  thou  wilt 
exalt ! 

15.  And  they  brought  unto  him  also  infants,  that  he  would  touch 
them:  but  when  his  disciples  saw  it,  they  rebuked  them. 

It  is  not  sufficient  to  pray  either  with  the  importunity  and 
perseverance  of  a  poor  widow  who  sues  for  justice,  or  with  the 
humility  and  dejection  of  the  publican;  we  must  do  it  like- 
wise with  the  simplicity,  and  often  with  the  silence,  of  an 
infant.  A  man  must  not  pretend  to  play  the  orator  in  his 
addresses  to  God :  he  is  not  to  be  persuaded  by  human  argu- 
ments, or  to  be  gained  by  eloquence.  Nothing  is  more  per- 
suasive with  him  than  a  plain  and  simple  faith ;  nothing  more 
eloquent  than  an  humble  silence.  The  imperfection  of  charity 
and  knowledge  in  this  present  life,  exposes  the  humble  and 
the  little  ones  to  suffer  frequent  repulses  even  from  good 
men ;  but  they  have  nothing  of  this  nature  to  fear  when  they 
present  themselves  before  God,  who  rejects  none  but  those 
who  are  great  in  their  own  eyes. 


16.  But  Jesus  called  them  unto  him,  and  said,  Suffer  little  children 
to  come  unto  me,  and  forbid  them  not:  for  of  such  is  the  kingdom 
of  God. 

The  perseverance  of  the  prayer  of  the  righteous  is  victo- 
rious over  temptation ;  the  humility  of  the  prayer  of  penitents 
obtains  mercy;  but  the  simplicity  of  the  saints  renders  them 
worthy  of  a  kind  of  familiarity  with  God,  to  have  a  particular 
and  intimate  union  with  him,  to  be  capable  of  being  always 
in  his  presence,  to  be  his  favourites,  and  to  enter  even  at 
present,  as  it  were,  into  the  possession  of  his  kingdom.  The 
prayer  of  the  just,  and  that  of  the  penitent,  are  for  all  those 
who  are  in  this  life ;  but  the  most  sublime  prayer,  the  prayer 
of  intimate  union,  familiarity,  and  contemplation,  is  only  for 
those  among  the  saints  whom  God  particularly  calls  thereto. 
To  be  ambitious  of  exalting  ourselves  to  this  honour  is  not 
the  property  of  children,  Avho  suffer  themselves  to  be  led  and 
carried  thereto,  but  it  is  the  property  of  presumptuous  per- 
sons, who  are  full  of  their  own  strength  and  merit.  How 
desirable  are  simplicity,  innocence,  and  humility  of  heart, 
since  they  obtain  so  free  an  access  to  Jesus  Christ,  and  give 
a  right  to  the  kingdom  of  heaven ! 

17.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  Whosoever  shall  not  receive  the  kingdom 
of  God  as  a  little  child  shall  in  no  wise  enter  therein. 

It  is  necessary,  beyond  expression,  to  bring  along  with  us 
the  simplicity  and  docility  of  a  child,  when  we  set  ourselves 
to  read  or  meditate  upon  the  truths  of  the  gospel,  which  is 
the  treasure  of  Christian  prayer.  It  is  properly  and  princi- 
pally in  this  duty  of  prayer  that  God  offers  his  kingdom  to 
us,  by  causing  us  therein  to  see  the  laws  of  it,  and  by  dis- 
covering to  us  the  paths  of  salvation,  and  the  ways  of  perfec- 
tion. The  proud,  the  great,  and  the  wits  of  the  age  generally 
reject  this  kingdom,  while  children  receive  it;  because, 
wherever  either  reason  or  the  love  of  earthly  things  prevails, 
men  are  not  in  a  disposition  to  receive  the  kingdom  of  God, 
which  is  the  kingdom  of  faith,  and  contains  only  such  good 
things  as  are  invisible. 



18.  And  a  certain  ruler  asked  him,  saying,  Good  Master,  what  shall  I 
do  to  inherit  eternal  life  ? 

The  thoughts  of  eternal  life  are  very  rare  in  a  young  man 
of  "quality.  Happy  is  he  to  whom  God  vouchsafes  to  give 
them !  Men  ought,  after  the  example  of  this  person,  to  be 
fully  persuaded  that  they  cannot  be  saved  without  doing 
something;  that  the  first  step  is,  to  get  themselves  instructed 
in  the  way  to  heaven;  and  that,  in  order  to  do  this,  they 
must  seek  after  an  understanding  master  and  a  virtuous  guide. 
Few  give  themselves  the  trouble  to  take  these  necessary  steps, 
because  there  are  very  few  who  think  seriously  how  they  may  be 
saved.  If  faith  be  necessary  even  to  a  poor  man's  believing 
another  life,  how  much  more  is  it  so  to  a  great  and  rich  per- 
son, who  has  nothing  which  gives  him  any  distaste  toward 
this,  and  who  wants  nothing  which  can  contribute  to  the 
gratification  of  his  senses  ! 

19.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Why  callest  thou  me  good?  none  is 
good,  save  one,  that  is,  God. 

It  is  not  sufficient  to  have  a  guide  to  show  us  the  way;  we 

must  likewise  have  strength  to  walk  therein,  and  none  but 

God  can  give  it  us.      This  whole  strength  consists  in  the 

goodness  of  the  heart;    and  no  heart  can  be  good  but  by 

partaking  of  the  supreme  goodness.     A  good  director  of  the 

conscience  ought  to  take  care,  after  the  example  of  Christ 

the  good  Master,  to  instruct  those  concerning  the  necessity 

of  God's  grace,  who,  through  the  heat  of  good  desires,  are 

apt  to  believe  that  they  have  need  of  nothing  but  only  to 

learn  what  they  ought  to  do.     God  alone  is  good,  and  the 

fountain  of  all  goodness:  every  man  is  corrupt,  and  stands 

in  need  of  a  restorer  to  cause  him  both  to  will  and  to  do  that 

•which  is  good. 

20.  Thou  knowest  the  commandments,  Do  not  commit  adultery.  Do 
not  kill,  Do  not  steal,  Do  not  bear  false  witness,  Honour  thy  father  and 
thy  mother, 

Christ  seems  to  forget  the  interests  of  God,  that  he  may 

recommend    those    of    our    neighbour.       But    it    sufficiently 


sliowed  our  duty  to'ward  God,  to  say  that  lie  is  God,  alone 
supremely  good,  and  consequently  alone  worthy  to  be  su- 
premely loved  and  adored.  Our  neighbour  belongs  to  God ; 
and  whatever  he  possesses  is  an  effusion  and  participation  of 
the  being  and  goodness  of  God.  We  therefore  offend  him 
whenever  we  make  any  attempt  upon  the  wife,  life,  goods,  or 
reputation  of  our  neighbour.  It  is  an  impiety  for  a  man  not 
to  honour  his  father  and  mother,  because  it  is  no  other  than 
to  dishonour  the  power,  authority,  and  goodness  of  God,  of 
which  they  are  the  channels,  the  instruments,  and  the  em- 
blems. God  is  the  principle  or  first  cause  of  our  being,  life, 
and  of  all  the  other  natural  gifts  which  we  enjoy ;  but  it  is 
by  and  in  our  parents  that  he  is  so,  and  it  is  in  them  that  he 
would  receive  from  us  the  homage  due  for  all  those  things. 

21.  And  he  said,  All  these  have  I  kept  from  my  youth  up. 

Such  a  one  thinks  he  has  done  all,  who  has  not  yet  begun. 
A  man  never  keeps  the  law  of  God  as  he  ought,  but  only 
when  he  keeps  it  upon  a  principle  of  love  toward  God  him- 
self, and  through  a  faithful  adherence  to  his  will ;  and  this  is 
a  matter  concerning  which  it  is  very  dangerous  to  flatter  our- 
selves. It  is  not  the  work  of  the  hands  which  we  must  con- 
sider, but  the  disposition  of  the  heart ;  and  who  knows  that  ? 

22.  Now  when  Jesus  heard  these  things,  he  said  unto  him,  Yet  lackest 
thou  one  thing;  sell  all  that  thou  hast,  and  distribute  unto  the  poor,  and 
thou  shalt  have  treasure  in  heaven :  and  come,  follow  me. 

Two  things  are  necessary  to  salvation : — (1.)  To  observe 
the  general  law  which  is  common  to  all.  (2.)  To  be  faithful 
in  performing  that  which  God  requires  of  every  one  in  par- 
ticular. To  distribute  all  to  the  poor,  in  order  to  follow 
Christ  in  his  state  of  poverty,  is  only  a  counsel  of  perfection. 
But  if  God  require  it,  it  is  a  precept  of  necessity,  to  obey 
\vhich  we  must  always  be  in  readiness  and  disposition ;  nothing 
being  more  necessary  than  to  obey  God,  and  to  prefer  his 
will  before  all  things.  Christ  cannot  own  those  for  his  dis- 
ciples who  are  fond  of  perishing  treasures.  They  are  a 
weight  too  heavy  for  a  man,  who  carries  it  in  his  heart,  to  be 
able  to  follow  Christ.  To  leave  our  wealth  to  rich  relations, 
is  to  discharge  ourselves  indeed  of  it,  but  it  is  not  to  give  it 

178  LUKE. 

to  God.  It  is  to  the  poor  that  we  must  intrust  it,  if  we  de- 
sire to  have  treasure  in  heaven. 

23.  And  when  he  heard  this,  he  was  very  sorrowful:  for  he  was  very  rich. 
We  are  not  fully  sensible  of  the  fondness  which  we  have 

for  earthly  things,  any  other  way  than  by  the  difficulty  Avhich 
we  find  in  parting  with  them,  and  by  the  grief  and  sorrow 
which  we  undergo  in  losing  them.  It  is  a  certain  sign  that 
virtue  is  not  solid  and  substantial,  when  it  sinks  under  the 
first  trial.  There  are  abundance  of  persons  who  lack  but  one 
thing,  and  who  are  detained  in  the  way  by  one  single  afi'ec- 
tion  which  they  cannot  surmount.  We  have  great  reason  to 
fear  lest  that  which  at  the  beginning  was  only  an  obstacle 
to  perfection,  should  in  the  end  prove  an  obstacle  to  salvation. 

24.  And  when  Jesus  saw  that  he  was  very  sorrowful,  he  said.  How 
hardly  shall  they  that  have  riches  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God  ! 

Where  there  is  abundance  of  riches,  there  is  generally 
abundance  of  worldly  love ;  and  worldly  love  cannot  enter 
into  the  kingdom  of  charity.  If  we  will  not,  as  to  this  truth, 
refer  ourselves  to  the  judgment  of  Him  who  is  himself  the 
way  to  heaven  and  the  door  of  salvation,  we  are  resolved 
blindly  to  cast  ourselves  headlong  into  destruction.  If  salva- 
tion be  so  marvellously  difficult  to  such  as  have  great  riches, 
even  lawfully  acquired,  what  must  it  be  to  those  who  love  and 
pursue  them  with  eagerness  and  passion,  who  heap  them  up 
by  all  sorts  of  methods,  and  whose  hearts  are  entirely  taken 
up  and  possessed  by  them  ! 

25.  For  it  is  easier  for  a  camel  to  go  through  a  needle's  eye,  than  for 
a  rich  man  to  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God  ! 

Who  would  believe  this  truth,  if  the  Son  of  God  himself 
did  not  deliver  it  ?  It  is  very  hard  and  difficult  to  those  who 
put  their  trust  in  earthly  treasures ;  but  this  difficulty  pro- 
ceeds from  their  heart,  not  from  the  truth.  To  forbid  men 
the  love  of  riches,  what  is  it  but  to  take  away  toys  from 
children,  a  sword  from  a  madman,  and  from  worldly  desires 
that  which  feeds  and  nourishes  them  ?  A  rich  man  is  not 
properly  one  who  only  possesses  great  wealth,  but  one  who  is 
possessed  thereby;  not  one  who  distributes  it  among  the  poor, 
as  being  only  a  steward,  but  one  who  makes  it  the  instrument 


of  his  passions,  and  places  his  supreme  good  and  happiness 

26.  And  they  that  heard  it  said,  Who  then  can  be  saved  ? 

There  are  but  few  who  are  at  all  terrified  by  this  truth,  be- 
cause the  generality  of  the  rich  stop  their  ears  that  they  may 
not  hear  it.  Since  the  number  of  the  poor  is,  without  com- 
parison, always  greater  than  that  of  the  rich,  why  should 
these  men  say,  "Who  then  can  be  saved  ?"  Is  it  not  because 
there  are  very  few  who  do  not  desire  and  love  riches,  and  who 
are  not  rich  at  least  in  heart  ? 

27.  And  he  said,  The  things  which  are  impossible  with  men  are  pos- 
sible with  God. 

The  salvation  of  a  rich  man  is  a  double  miracle,  and  a 
thing  which  is  more  rare  and  uncommon  than  we  imagine. 
Lest  despair  should  throw  us  into  sloth  and  idleness,  Christ 
promises,  that  the  things  which,  by  reason  of  our  own  weak- 
ness, are  impossible  to  us,  shall  become  possible  by  the  power 
of  God.  If  it  be  impossible  for  a  rich  man  to  sit  loose  to  his 
riches,  it  is  so  only  because  he  continues  wilfully  under  his 
weakness,  and  will  not  have  recourse  to  Him  who  admonishes 
him,  by  his  commandment,  to  do  that  which  he  is  able,  and 
to  beg  that  which  he  is  not,  and  who  confers  his  grace  upon 
men  in  order  to  make  them  able. 

28.  Then  Peter  said,  Lo,  we  have  left  all,  and  followed  thee. 

A  man  may  be  rich  without  riches :  he  may  leave  all,  with- 
out having  ever  possessed  any  thing.  It  is  by  the  heart  that 
we  cleave  to  earthly  possessions ;  it  is  by  renouncing  them  in 
our  heart  that  we  disengage  ourselves  from  them.  We  leave 
them,  when  we  cease  to  desire  them,  and  shut  our  hearts 
against  all  worldly  hopes;  because  we  possess  them  more  by 
desire,  hope,  and  love,  than  by  possession  itself.  We  do  not 
properly  leave  or  forsake  any  thing,  but  only  when  we  do  it 
by  the  Spirit,  and  for  the  sake  of  Christ,  and  in  order  to  follow 
him  by  imitating  his  example;  because  otherwise,  whatever 
our  hands  let  go,  is  retained  by  the  desire  of  our  hearts. 

29.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Verily  I  say  unto  you.  There  is  no  man 
that  hath  left  house,  or  parents,  or  brethren,  or  wife,  or  children,  for  ( he 

180  L  U  K  E. 

kingdom  of  God's  sake,    30.  Who  shall  not  receive  manifold  more  in  this 
present  time,  and  in  the  world  to  come  life  everlasting. 

God  finds  means  to  recompense,  even  in  this  life,  Christian 
virtue,  which  engages  a  man  to  forsake  all,  either  to  preserve 
his  fidelity  to  the  faith  and  the  truth,  or  to  follow  Christ  in 
the  way  of  perfection.  How  rich  in  the  sight  of  God  is  the 
apostolical  poverty  of  a  minister  of  Christ,  who  renounces  all 
hopes  of  any  thing  in  this  world,  that  he  may  dedicate  him- 
self to  the  salvation  of  souls,  and  serve  Jesus  Christ  in  a  state 
of  poverty!  It  is  the  work  of  God  alone  to  cause  a  man, 
under  an  extreme  poverty,  and  a  total  destitution  of  all  things, 
to  find  satisfaction,  joy,  consolation,  and  true  peace,  while  the 
rich  of  the  world  find  nothing  in  their  false  treasures  but  an 
inexhaustible  source  of  fears,  troubles,  vexations,  disquiets, 
and  frequently  of  all  sorts  of  miseries.  Nothing  affords 
greater  matter  of  comfort  to  a  person  deprived  of  every  thing 
for  the  sake  of  God,  than  to  see  his  paternal  care  exert  itself 
on  every  occasion,  and  prevent  all  his  w^ants,  at  the  same  time 
concealing  itself  under  human  means.  That  which  a  man 
finds  again  in  Christian  charity,  which  is,  as  it  were,  the  stock 
of  Providence,  is  something  very  different  from  that  which  he 
would  find  in  his  own.  It  becomes  a  hundred-fold  increased  by 
the  blessing  which  God  sheds  upon  it — but  who  knows  the 
value  thereof? 


31.  T[  Then  he  took  unto  liim  the  twelve,  and  said  unto  them,  Behold, 
we  go  up  to  Jerusalem,  and  all  things  that  are  written  by  the  prophets 
concerning  the  Son  of  man  shall  be  accomplished. 

We  do  not  know,  as  Christ  did,  the  time  of  our  sacrifice, 
but  we  know  very  well  that  we  are  continually  advancing 
toward  that  moment ;  that  possibly  it  is  at  no  great  distance ; 
and  that  it  is  much  more  necessary  for  us  than  it  was  for  him 
to  think  seriously  of  it,  and  to  prepare  ourselves  for  it.  Christ 
thinks  with  pleasure  on  the  accomplishment  of  his  Father's 
orders  concerning  him,  how  rigorous  soever  they  are;  and  we, 
for  our  parts,  cither  think  with  trouble  and  anxiety  concern- 
ing death,  which  will  happen  at  the  time  and  in  the  manner 


appointed  by  God,  or  else  use  our  utmost  endeavours  not  to 
think  of  it  at  all. 

32.  For  he  shall  be  delivered  unto  the  Gentiles,  and  shall  be  mocked, 
and  spitefully  entreated,  and  spitted  on : 

The  treachery,  humiliations,  pains,  and  ignominies  which 
preceded  the  death  of  Christ,  admonish  us  to  prepare  ourselves 
for  our  own  by  mortification  and  humility.  Nothing  but  a 
forgetfulness  of  this  sacrifice  can  induce  a  man  to  give  him- 
self up  to  pleasures,  at  a  time  when  he  is  upon  the  very  point 
of  appearance  before  his  Judge.  And  who  can  pretend  to 
say  that  he  is  not  ? 

33.  And  they  shall  scourge  liim,  and  put  him  to  death ;  and  the  third 
day  he  shall  rise  again. 

Nothing  is  so  capable  of  giving  us  comfort,  and  fortifying 

our  weakness  against  the  fear  of  painful  diseases  and  the 

dread  of  death,  as  the  remembrance  of  the  sufierings,  death, 

and  resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ.     His  sufferings  sweeten  and 

sanctify  ours ;  his  death  changes  the  punishment  of  a  criminal 

into   a  sacrifice  of  atonement;    and  his  resurrection  is  the 

pattern  and  principle  of  a  new  and  eternal  life,  for  all  those 

who  die  in  the  spirit  of  mortification,  and  with  submission  to 

the  justice  of  God. 

34.  And  they  understood  none  of  these  things :  and  this  saying  was 
hid  from  them,  neither  knew  they  the  things  which  were  spoken. 

The  mind  of  man  is  naturally  shut  against  the  knowledge 
of  the  cross,  of  sufferings,  and  of  death;  and  especially  of 
those  of  a  God.  As  criminal  as  man  is,  and  how  worthy  so- 
ever he  is  of  death,  yet  nothing  but  daily  experience  can  force 
him  to  believe  that  he  must  die;  how  then,  without  faith,  should 
he  ever  believe  this  of  Him  who  is  innocence  itself!  Open, 
Lord,  our  understandings  to  these  truths  which  are  so  ne- 
cessary; and  cause  our  hearts  to  submit  themselves  thereto 
with  an  humble  love. 


35.  T[  And  it  came  to  pass,  that  as  he  was  come  nigh  unto  Jericho,  a 
certain  blind  man  sat  by  the  way  side  begging : 

Let  us  take  care  to  contemplate  ourselves  in  this  emblem 

of  the  blindness,  ignorance,  misery,  and  poverty  into  which 

Vol.  IL— 16 

182  L  U  K  E. 

man  is  cast  by  sin,  with  respect  to  heavenly  things.  What  is 
the  sight  of  corporeal  things,  of  which  the  blind  are  deprived, 
but  only  a  source  of  temptations,  snares,  and  sins  ?  But  not 
to  know  ourselves  to  be  blind  as  to  the  things  of  salvation, 
and  to  want  those  eyes  which  alone  can  discern  the  truth,  0 
God,  what  blindness  is  this  !  and  yet  scarce  any  one  is  sensi- 
ble of  it,  and  very  few  desire  to  be  cured. 

36.  And  hearing  the  multitude  pass  by,  he  asked  what  it  meant. 
The  cure  of  a  sinner  is  sometimes  linked  to,  and  depends 

upon,  a  first  motion  which  seems  natural,  upon  curiosity  or 
mere  chance ;  and  yet  it  is  really  no  other  than  a  gift  of  God, 
who  intends  to  heal  him.  Whenever  we  earnestly  desire  to 
be  cured  of  any  bodily  disease,  we  are  mindful  of  every  thing, 
we  neglect  nothing,  and  we  ask  advice  of  people  upon  the 
very  least  probability  of  finding  what  we  seek.  Why  then, 
0  my  God,  should  we  be  so  stupid  and  sluggish  with  respect 
to  those  things  which  may  contribute  to  the  cure  of  our  souls  ? 

37.  And  they  told  him,  that  Jesus  of  Nazareth  passeth  by. 
Happy  news  for  this  poor  blind  man !  but  more  happy  still 

for  the  sinner,  that  the  Author  of  light  and  the  sovereign 
Physician  is  to  be  found  and  met  with  in  his  way.  Jesus 
passes  in  this  life  for  the  sake  of  sinners,  because  they  them- 
selves pass  away,  and  must  therefore  make  use  of  time  while 
they  have  it.  The  opportunities  of  salvation  are  continually 
passing  away :  it  is  the  greatest  folly  imaginable  to  let  them 
slip  by  our  delays ;  and  we  are  far  from  doing  it  when  the 
cure  of  our  bodies  is  the  thing  in  question. 

38.  And  he  cried,  saying,  Jesus,  thou  Son  of  David,  have  mercy  on  me. 
There  is  no  occasion  to  move  this  blind  man  to  cry  out — 

the  love  of  sight  is  a  sufficient  motive.  He  who  does  not 
pray  desires  nothing  ;  a  strong  desire  either  causes  a  man  to 
pray  much,  or  is  itself  fervent  prayer.  We  may  judge  of  our 
heart  by  our  prayer,  without  any  fear  of  deceiving  ourselves. 
We  are  certainly  insensible  of  our  spiritual  diseases,  when  we 
do  not  find  ourselves  inclined  and  moved  to  pray ;  and  we  are 
blind  to  our  miseries,  when  wo  do  not  seek  at  all  to  obtain 

CHAPTER    XVIir.  133 

39.  And  they -which  went  before  rebuked  him,  that  he  should  hold  his 
peace  :  but  he  cried  so  much  the  more,  Tlioii,  Son  of  David,  have  mercy 
on  me. 

Happy  is  that  person  whom  nothing  can  hinder  from  cry- 
ing out  incessantly  after  his  Deliverer  !  We  sometimes  con- 
demn persons  for  praying  too  long  or  too  often,  not  perceiv- 
ing that  it  is  God  who  constrains  them  thus  to  pray,  by  open- 
ing and  fixing  their  eyes  upon  their  own  wants  and  failings, 
and  upon  the  blessings  which  they  wait  for,  and  by  giving 
them  a  lively  sense  of  their  misery,  and  an  ardent  thirst  after 

40.  And  Jesus  stood,  and  commanded  him  to  be  brought  unto  him: 
and  when  he  was  come  near,  he  asked  him, 

The  prayer  of  faith  renders  Christ  attentive  to  our  mise- 
ries. It  is  the  fruit  of  perseverance  and  earnestness  in 
prayer,  to  engage  at  length  the  goodness  of  God  to  cast  his 
eyes  upon  us.  When  we  are  once  got  above  the  censures  of 
the  world,  and  resolve  in  good  earnest  to  labour  after  conver- 
sion, God  declares  himself  in  favour  of  us,  and  causes  us  to 
come  near  unto  him.  Let  the  sinner  be  then  transported  with 
joy,  for  his  recovery  draws  nigh. 

41.  Saying,  What  wilt  thou  that  I  shall  do  unto  thee?  And  he  said, 
Lord,  that  I  may  receive  my  sight. 

We  cannot  too  often  pray  for  the  bright  and  active  light  of 
faith.  Men  prefer  the  light  of  the  day,  an  advantage  com- 
mon to  them  with  flies,  before  all  earthly  riches,  no  part  of 
which  is  desired  by  this  blind  man ;  and  yet  the  generality 
prefer  even  these  perishing  riches  to  the  light  of  faith,  and  to 
that  infinite  source  of  light  which  is  promised  us  in  heaven. 
How  corrupt  is  reason !  How  blind  a  judge  is  sense  !  How 
little  does  carnal  man  know  how  to  choose  his  own  happiness  ! 

42.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Receive  thy  sight:  thy  faith  hath  saved 

I  have  eyes  and  see  not,  neither  am  I  worthy  to  see ;  but 

vouchsafe,  0  Lord,  only  to  say  to  my  soul,   "Receive  thy 

sight !"  and  it  will  presently  perceive  that  thou  art  its  God, 

that  thou  alone  art  worthy  to  be  served,  and  that  all  other 

things  are  but  vanity  and  vexation  of  spirit.     God,  by  the 

sole  motion  of  his  Avill,  enlightens  and  heals  the  soul  as  well 

as  the  body ;  he  commands,  and  is  immediately  obeyed. 
Faith  is  properly  ours,  because  we  believe  by  an  act  of  our 
will ;  and  yet  it  is  the  gift  of  God,  because  it  is  he  who  work- 
eth  in  us  both  the  will  to  believe  and  the  act  of  believing  it- 
self. He  first  gives  us  faith  to  pray,  and  then  grants  all  the 
rest  to  prayer. 

43.  And  immediately  he  received  his  sight,  and  followed  him,  glorify- 
ing God :  and  all  the  people,  when  they  saw  it,  gave  praise  unto  God. 

Love  follows  faith.  The  mind,  enlightened  of  God,  carries 
the  heart  toward  him.  Happy  is  that  blind  person  to  whom 
God  gives  not  only  eyes  to  know  him,  but  likewise  feet  to 
follow,  a  tongue  to  praise,  and  a  heart  to  love  him  !  To  fol- 
low Christ  is  to  imitate  him,  and  to  lead  such  a  life  as  is  an- 
swerable to  what  he  has  done  to  enlighten  our  minds.  The 
glory  which  we  ought  to  render  him  consists  not  in  words, 
but  in  works.  A  true  conversion,  which  no  way  contradicts 
itself,  but  is  followed  by  an  edifying  life,  makes  known  the 
power  and  majesty  of  God  in  a  more  eminent  manner  than 
the  greatest  external  miracles. 



1.  And  Jesus  entered  and  passed  through  Jericho.  2.  And,  behold, 
there  was  a  man  named  Zaccheus,  which  was  the  chief  among  the  publi- 
cans, and  he  was  rich. 

Jesus  shows  the  truth  of  his   word  by  plain  and  visible 

effects  :  in  the  rich  man,  abandoned  to  the  love  of  his  wealth, 

(chap,  xviii.)  how  difficult  the  salvation  of  the  rich  is ;    in 

Zaccheus,  how  easy  it  is  by  the  assistance  of  God's  grace. 

Men  have  double  chains  to  break  when  they  are  rich,  and  are 

likewise  in  a  post  wherein  they  grow  every  day  richer,  as 

when  they  have  the  m.anagemcnt  of  the  public  treasure.    The 

public  good,  perhaps,  requires  that  a  man  should  continue  in 

his  place ;  but  if  his  eternal  salvation  require  that  he  should 

leave  it,  is  there  the  least  room  for  deliberation?     Another 

person  besides  thee  may  take  upon  him  the  care  of  the  public 

revenues ;  but  none  but  thou  thyself  can  save  thy  own  soul. 


3.  And  he  sought  to  see  Jesus*  who  he  was  ;  and  could  not  for  the 
press,  because  he  was  little  of  stature.     [*Fr.  to  know  him.] 

A  desire  to  know  spiritual  and  invisible  riches,  is  an  ex- 
traordinary grace  in  a  person  who  abounds  in  earthly.  The 
first  seed  of  salvation  for  such  a  man  is,  to  desire  to  know  his 
Saviour ;  but  none  but  he  who  sowed  the  seed  in  his  heart 
can  make  it  bring  forth  fruit  therein.  There  are  two  impedi- 
ments  which  liiuder  the  conversion  of  sucE  a  person, — the 
crowd  of  t]:e  world  and  its  affairs,  and  the  littleness  of  the 
heart  of  man  for  the  things  of  salvation.  It  is  absolutely 
necessary  to  leave  this  crowd,  and  to  be  lifted  up  by  grace,  in 
order  to  endeavour  earnestly  to  know  and  follow  Jesus  Christ. 
Those  great  men,  considered  in  their  public  offices,  civil  or 
military,  are  yet  often,  in  respect  of  the  business  of  salvation, 
even  less  than  children. 

4.  And  he  ran  before,  and  climbed  up  into  a  sycamore  tree  to  see 
him  ;  for  he  was  to  pass  that  wai/. 

It  is  a  great  gift,  and  very  necessary  in  order  to  a  true 
conversion,  for  a  man  to  have  a  holy  eagerness  to  raise  him- 
self above  earthly  things,  that  he  may  see  and  know  Christ, 
and  to  surmount  all  the  obstacles  which  proceed  from  the 
world  and  from  corrupt  nature.  One  need  only  be  really 
willing  to  think  seriously  of  salvation,  and  to  set  about  this 
work,  and  all  outward  obstacles  will  appear  as  nothing.  They 
are  almost  all  surmounted,  when  once  we  are  got  above  the 
judgments  and  discourses  of  men,  which  generally  stop  those 
who  are  exposed  to  them.  Had  Zaccheus  considered  worldly 
honour,  his  rank,  his  office,  and  his  wealth,  he  would  never 
have  taken  this  method,  which  exposed  him  to  the  laughter 
of  the  people ;  but  then  he  would  not  have  seen  Christ,  and 
perhaps  had  never  been  saved.  Men  are  sometimes  lost  by  \ 
refusing  to  take  some  certain  steps  upon  which  God  has  made 
their  salvation  to  depend. 

5.  And  when  Jesus  came  to  the  place,  he  looked  up,  and  saw  him,  and 
said  unto  him,  Zaccheus,  make  haste,  and  come  down ;  for  to-day  1  must 
abide  at  thy  house. 

Make  haste  and  descend,  0  sinner,  into  thy  original  nothing; 

for  it  is  in  thy  heart  that  Christ  intends  to  abide,  by  means 

of  the  communion,  or  by  his  other  favours  ;  and  it  is  by  humi- 


186  L  U  K  E. 

litj  that  the  heart  is  prepared  to  receive  him.  God  gives  men 
a  desire  to  know  him ;  and  he  goes  even  beyond  this  desire, 
by  giving  himself  to  be  possessed  by  them.  His  designs 
concerning  souls  begin  first  to  appear  by  the  call  to  conver- 
sion. This  is  the  effect  of  the  notice  taken  of  them  by  his 
mercy,  by  which  he  determined  to  make  his  abode  in  those 
souls.  He  chooses  of  his  own  accord,  and  without  any  invita- 
tion, because  his  love  precedes  all  merit,  and  because  he 
shows  grace  and  favour  to  whom  he  pleases,  and  does  it 
with  an  absolute  authority. 

6.  And  he  made  haste,  and  came  down,  and  received  him  joyfully. 
So  ready  and  sincere  an  obedience  makes  it  evident  that 

Christ  spoke  to  the  heart  of  Zaccheus,  and  had  already  taken 
possession  of  it.  His  joy  shows  plainly,  that  he  knew  the 
good  which  he  possessed,  that  he  was  far  from  thinking  him- 
self worthy  of  it,  and  that  he  was  not  at  all  solicitous  what 
judgment  the  scribes  and  Pharisees  would  pass  upon  this 
matter.  The  sincerity  of  our  desires  is  known  by  our  works. 
In  receiving  the  poor,  or  giving  them  sufficient  to  procure 
themselves  lodging,  we  imitate  the  example  of  Zaccheus, 
and  receive  Jesus  Christ  himself:  but  then  we  must,  like 
him,  do  this  joyfully,  and  with  love. 

7.  And  when  they  saw  it,  they  all  murmured,  saying,  Tliat  lie  was 
gone  to  be  guest  with  a  man  that  is  a  sinner. 

The  ways  of  God's  mercy  toward  sinners  arc  hid  from  carnal 
men,  as  well  as  his  designs  in  the  incarnation  of  his  Son. 
Alas  !  who  can  say  that  there  does  not  happen  to  himself 
somewhat  like  that  which  we  here  see  in  these  blind  persons, 
who  blame  our  blessed  Saviour  for  that  very  thing  which  ought 
to  render  him  the  more  amiable;  who  undertake  to  judge  of 
the  heart,  which  is  altogether  unknown  to  them  ;  and  who  do 
not  in  the  least  perceive  the  change  of  that  of  Zaccheus  in  his 
humility,  obedience,  and  his  whole  behaviour  ?  It  is  thy  work 
alone,  0  Jesus,  to  searcli  into  sinners,  even  to  the  very  bottom 
of  their  hearts ;  and  without  this  remedy,  what  would  become 
of  them  ? 

8.  And  Zaccheus  stood,  and  said  unto  the  Lord,  Behold,  Lord,  tho 

CHAPTER    XIX.  187 

half  of  my  goods  I  give  to  the  poor  ;  and  if  I  have  taken  any  thing  from 
any  man  by  false  accusation,  I  restore  him  fourfold. 

True  conversion  shows  iigel£ -by -Uxe-cliaiige  of  life.  We 
cannot  possibly  secure  our  salvation,  without  making  satisfac- 
tion to  men  by  an  exact  restitution,  rather  exceeding  than 
deficient ;  and  without  making  satisfaction  likewise  to  God, 
as  far  as  we  are  able,  by  alms  proportioned,  in  some  measure, 
to  our  substance  and  our  sins.  A  true  penitent  regards  not 
the  censures  of  the  world,  and  vindicates  himself  only  by  his 
works.  He  leaves  his  justification  to  Him  who  knows  his 
heart,  and  has  no  other  thought  but  to  condemn  himself. 
The  judgment  which,  of  his  own  accord,  this  penitent  passes 
against  himself,  will  condemn  those  hard  and  impenitent 
hearts  who  reject  all  the  remedies  which  are  offered  them, 
and  who  will  do  nothing  to  make  the  least  atonement  for 
their  crimes. 

9.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him.  This  day  is  salvation  come  to  this  house, 
forasmuch  as  he  also  is  a  son  of  Abraham. 

Men  sometimes  despise  a  poor  sinner,  and  at  the  same  time 
he  is  an  elect  of  God,  a  child  of  promise,  an  Israelite  indeed, 
and  an  heir  of  the  blessings  promised  in  a  figure  to  Abraham. 
Those  whom  God  has  chosen  from  all  eternity  to  salvation, 
cannot  fail  of  receiving  grace.  Grant,  Lord,  that  a  lively 
faith,  and  a  life  of  faith,  may  make  us  true  children  of  Abra- 
ham, and  give  us  a  right  to  expect  his  inheritance  ! 

10.  For  the  Son  of  man  is  come  to  seek  and  to  save  that  which  was 

These  are  comfortable  words  for  sinners.  How  much  so- 
ever they  are  gone  astray,  let  them  not  despair,  since  no  less 
a  person  than  God  is  come  to  seek  them.  What  progress  so- 
ever the  righteous  have  made,  let  them  not  imagine  that  they 
have  no  longer  any  occasion  of  being  sought.  They  have  still 
their  wanderings  as  well  as  sinners;  and  always  carry  in  their 
own  hearts  an  evil  principle  which  leads  them  out  of  the  way. 
Lord,  seek  in  me  that  which  is  gone  astray ;  save  that  which 
is  lost ;  and  preserve  that  which  thou  hast  already  found ! 

183  L  U  K  E. 


11.  And  as  they  heard  these  things,  he  added  and  spake  a  parable, 
because  he  was  nigh  to  Jerusalem,  and  because  they  thouglit  that  the 
kingdom  of  God  should  immediately  appear. 

These  words,  so  full  of  comfort  and  consolation,  give  none 
at  all  to  these  worldly  souls,  in  whom  they  only  raise  a  desire 
and  expectation  of  a  present  deliverance  and  a  temporal  king- 
dom. Men  frequently  render  the  most  sacred  truths  alto- 
gether fruitless  and  ineffectual  as  to  themselves  ;  because  their 
hearts  being  filled  with  the  things  of  this  world,  can  neither 
relish  nor  comprehend  those  of  the  other.  The  kingdom  of 
God  is  indeed  about  to  appear  immediately ;  but  it  is  the  king- 
dom of  a  God  crucified,  and  reigning  upon  the  cross,  in  order 
to  reign  by  the  cross  in  our  hearts. 

12.  He  said  therefore,  A  certain  nobleman  went  into  a  far  country  to 
receive  for  himself*  a  kingdom,  and  to  return.     [*Fr.  Take  possession  of.] 

Christ  is  truly  a  person  of  great  birth,  being  born  the  Son 

of  God  from  all  eternity,  and  the  son  of  David  according  to 

the  flesh.     He  concealed  the  greatness  of  his  first  birth,  and 

regarded  not  that  of  the  second,  to  confound  the  vanity  of 

men,  and  to  teach  them  humility.     The  glory  of  which  he  is 

gone  to  take  possession,  is  a  country  far  remote  from  the  low 

condition  of  man:  it  is  the  life  of  heaven,  which  diflfers  vastly 

from  that  of  earth :  it  is  a  state  of  power  and  immortality, 

which  l)ears  no  resemblance  with  this  state  of  weakness.     Let 

us  comfort  ourselves :   he  will  certainly  return  to  conduct  us 


13.  And  he  called  his  ten  servants,  and  delivered  them  ten  pounds, 
and  said  unto  them,  Occupy  till  I  come. 

The  belief  of  the  return  and  second  coming  of  Christ,  and 
the  uncertainty  under  which  he  has  left  us  as  to  the  time  of 
his  coming,  ought  to  awaken  us  from  our  slumber.  We  have 
but  very  little  faith,  if  we  are  not  continually  preparing  our- 
selves against  his  return,  by  making  a  good  use  of  the  gifts 
of  God.  There  is  no  person  whatever,  who  has  not  some  of 
these  gifts  to  improve.  The  common  sort  of  Christians  have 
the  knowledge  of  God  and  Christ,  the  call  to  the  true  church, 
instructions,  and  many  other  graces :   beside  these  gifts,  the 

CHAPTER    XIX.  189 

ministers  of  the  cliurcli  ought  to  improve  whatever  they  have 
received  for  the  salvation  of  others.  How  few  of  them  are 
there  who  take  care  to  employ  their  talent,  and  to  employ  it 
well !  They  either  lose  it  by  vanity,  or  let  it  lie  useless 
through  sloth. 

14.  But  his  citizens  hated  him,  and  sent  a  message  after  him  saying, 
We  will  not  have  this  iiiaii  to  reign  over  us. 

This  is  no  more  than  a  mere  shadow  of  the  rebellion  of  a 
sinner  against  his  God.  Whoever  will  not  have  Jesus  Christ 
to  reign  over  him,  cannot  possibly  avoid  being  a  slave  to  sin 
under  the  dominion  of  the  devil.  None  but  a  fool  or  a  mad- 
man would  speak  as  these  citizens  do :  and  yet  we  say  the  very 
same  thing  by  our  works,  when  we  do  not  live  according  to 
the  law  of  Christ.  Whoever  blindly  follows  the  maxims  of 
the  world,  which  is  an  enemy  to  Christ,  declares  plainly  enough, 
by  so  doing,  that  he  disclaims  the  authority  and  government 
of  Christ.  Preserve  in  me,  0  Lord,  the  will  which  thou  hast 
vouchsafed  to  give  me,  never  to  Tiave  any  other  king  over  my 
heart  beside  thyself ! 

15.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that  when  he  was  returned,  having  received 
the  kingdom,  then  he  commanded  these  servants  to  be  called  unto  him, 
to  whom  he  had  given  the  money,  that  he  might  know  how  much  every 
man  had  gained  by  trading. 

How  great  will  the  sinner's  despair  be,  when  he  must  give 
an  account  of  the  employment  of  his  time,  and  of  the  use  of 
his  understanding,  will,  and  senses,  of  all  his  substance,  of  all 
the  graces  he  has  received,  and  even  of  the  blood  of  Jesus 
Christ !  The  account  which  pastors  must  give,  will  be,  with- 
out comparison,  much  more  dreadful.  Souls  are  the  treasure 
of  Christ:  it  is  in  these  he  desires  to  grow  rich.  A  pastor 
who  neglects  them,  and  does  not  employ  his  ministry  and  au- 
thority, his  tim.e  and  talents,  his  industry  and  labours,  to  gain 
them  for  God,  alas !  what  answer  will  he  be  able  to  make  to 
him  who  ha,^  intrusted  them  to  his  care  ?  Lord,  open  the  eyes,: 
and  touch  the  heart  of  those  unfaithful  servants,  who  do  no- 
thing in  thy  church  but  scandalize  and  ruin  souls. 

16.  Then  came  the  first,  saying.  Lord,  thy  pound  hath  gained  ten 

How  great  will  be  the  consolation  of  the  just  man,  whose 

190  LUKE. 

conscience  shall  give  testimony  of  his  fidelity  at  the  hour  of 
death  !  What  joy  will  a  good  pastor  experience,  who  has  pre- 
served and  increased  the  flock  of  Christ,  and  sacrificed  him- 
self to  gain  over  souls  to  him  !  Such  a  one  appears  with  the 
greater  confidence,  because  he  ascribes  nothing  to  himself, 
but  attributes  all  to  grace.  It  is  the  Lord's  gift,  and  not  the 
servant's  industry,  which  produces  this  gain  and  advantage ; 
and  it  is  even  a  part  of  this  gain,  to  render  to  God  all  the 
glory  of  his  gifts. 

17.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Well,  thou  good  servant:  because  thou  hast 
been  faithful  in  a  very  little,  have  thou  authority  over  ten  cities. 

God  praises  and  rewards  his  own  gifts,  in  praising  and  re- 
warding the  goodness  and  faithfulness  of  his  servants.  The 
only  true  and  advantageous  praise  is  that  which  God  will  give 
at  the  last  day :  let  us  be  very  careful  not  to  anticipate  that 
time,  by  desiring  the  praise  of  men,  which  is  so  deceitful,  false, 
and  dangerous.  The  gifts  which  God  bestows  on  men  in  this 
life,  are  not  to  be  compared  with  those  of  the  world  to  come. 
Our  virtues  are  in  themselves  but  a  small  and  inconsiderable 
matter;  and  God,  in  rewarding  them,  has  more  regard  to  his 
own  mercy,  than  to  their  worth  and  value. 

18.  And  the  second  came,  saying,  Lord,  thy  pound  hath  gained  five 
pounds.     19.  And  he  said  likewise  to  him,  Be  thou  also  over  live  cities. 

Fidelity  has  several  degrees,  as  talents  are  diflferent,  and 
not  one  shall  lose  its  reward  from  Him  whose  justice  and  good- 
ness are  equally  infinite.  Fidelity  is  the  thing  which  God 
requires:  it  is  this  which  makes  the  good  servant;  it  is  this 
which  makes  all  his  merit  in  the  sight  of  God.  The  honour, 
riches,  power,  and  authority  of  a  temporal  government,  are  but 
a  faint  shadow  and  resemblance  of  that  which  he  shall  receive 
at  the  hands  of  God,  who  has  faithfully  managed  andim  proved 
the  wealth  of  his  sovereign  Master.  It  is  to  this  advancement 
and  greatness,  that  all  Christian  ambition  ought  to  tend. 

20.  And  another  came,  saying.  Lord,  behold,  here  is  thy  pound,  which 
I  have  kept  laid  up  in  it  napkin : 

This  negligent  and  slothful  servant  ought  to  make  all  pas- 
tors and  clergymen  tremble,  who  imagine  that  they  lead  an 
innocent  life  if  they  do  but  avoid  the  grosser  sins,  and  only 


lead  an  easy  and  quiet  life  in  idleness  and  indolence.  In  a 
priest  it  is  a  great  evil  not  to  do  any  good.  Not  to  use  the  gifts 
of  God  is  to  abuse  them.  He  loses  them  who  does  not  make 
them  serviceable  to  the  good  of  the  church.  Rest  is  a  crime 
in  one  who  is  called  to  a  laborious  life ;  and  we  cannot  live  to 
ourselves  alone,  when  we  belong  to  the  church. 

21.  For  I  feared  thee,  because  thou  art  an  austere  man:  thou  takest  up 
that  thou  hiyedst  not  down,  and  reapest  that  thou  didst  not  sow. 

It  is  a  strange  blindness  for  a  man  to  imagine  that  he  can 
justify  himself  by  accusing  God  of  injustice !  Self-love, 
which  conducts  itself  in  the  affairs  relating  to  heaven  by 
views  only  of  interest,  and  by  a  servile  fear,  will  never  make 
any  other  than  mean-spirited  and  slothful  ministers,  and  such 
as  are  unconcerned  for  the  glory  of  God.  Love  never  frames 
to  itself  any  idea  of  God  which  is  unworthy  of  his  goodness 
and  mercy ;  and  it  is  always  ready  to  hope  in  him  and  to 
labour  for  him.  Servile  fear  represents  God  to  itself  no  other- 
wise than  as  a  hard,  austere,  imperious,  and  unjust  Master; 
and  this  it  does  to  palliate  its  own  idleness,  to  have  some  pre- 
tence to  murmur  against  him,  and  to  screen  itself  from  his 

22.  And  he  saith  unto  him,  Out  of  thine  own  mouth  will  I  judge  thee, 
tliou  wicked  servant.  Thou  knewest  that  I  was  an  austere  man,  taking 
up  that  I  laid  not  down,  and  reaping  that  I  did  not  sow :  23.  Wherefore 
then  gavest  thou  not  my  money  into  the  bank,  that  at  my  coming  I 
might  have  required  mine  own  with  usury? 

The  sinner,  accused  by  his  own  conscience,  and  confounded 

by  his  own  wickedness,  will  be  able,  at  death  and  judgment, 

to  find  no  excuse  but  such  as  will  serve  only  to  increase  his 

condemnation.    Self-love  forms  to  itself  a  God  according  to  its 

own  fancy  and  the  humour  of  its  different  passions :  sometimes 

such  a  one  as  is  mild  and  indulgent  without  rule  or  measure ; 

at  other  times,  one  who  is   excessively  rigorous  and  severe. 

It  is  only  by  the  word  and  dispensations  of  God  that  we  can 

frame  a  true  notion  of  his  justice  and  his  mercy.   A  false  notion 

of  his  mercy  encourages  abundance  of  bad  Christians  in  the 

neglect  of  their  salvation,  and  a  forgetfulness  of  their  duty : 

a  false  notion  of  his  justice  and  severity,  in  respect  of  those 

punishments  which  he  will  inflict  for  the  faults  committed  in 

192  LUKE. 

the  direction  of  souls,  increases  idleness  and  sloth  in  a  great 
number  of  ministers.  It  is  therefore  of  the  utmost  import- 
ance imaginable  for  a  man  to  know  God  well,  and  not  to 
judge  of  him  any  otherwise  than  according  to  the  repre- 
sentation which  he  has  been  pleased  to  give  of  himself  in  the 

24.  And  he  said  unto  them  that  stood  by,  Take  from  him  the  pound, 
and  give  it  to  him  that  hath  ten  pounds. 

He  who  has  not  charity,  which  alone  causes  men  to  make  a 
good  use  of  God's  other  gifts,  shall  be  deprived  even  of  these. 
The  righteous  are  gainers  by  the  loss  of  the  wicked:  the 
grace  which  one  person  neglects  to  use  is  frequently  trans- 
ferred to  another.  The  grace  of  being  zealous  for  the  salva- 
tion of  souls,  of  relieving  the  poor,  and  of  promoting  and  ad- 
vancing the  works  of  God,  is  sometimes  neglected  by  those 
who  are  peculiarly  obliged  thereto  by  their  ministry ;  and  is 
given  to  inferior  ministers,  to  voluntary  labourei'S,  to  lay- 
men, and  to  devout  women. 

25.  (And  they  said  unto  him,  Lord,  he  hath  ten  pounds.) 
Nothing  appears   more  surprising   to  carnal  men,  than  to 

see  the  holiest  persons  growing  daily  richer,  and  still  acquir- 
ing new  virtues.  It  is  our  duty,  without  the  least  envy,  to 
admire  the  goodness  of  God  in  heaping  his  mercies  upon  them, 
and  causing  them  to  make  a  continual  progress  in  fidelity.  It 
is  his  glory  to  show  that  a  soul,  to  which  nothing  seems  to  be 
wanting,  is  visibly  raising  itself  to  higher  degrees  of  perfec- 
tion, by  proceeding  from  the  observation  of  the  ten  command- 
ments to  an  exact  practice  of  the  evangelical  counsels.  The 
one  is  the  recompense  of  the  other.  Let  us  not  admire  this 
after  a  supine  and  fruitless  manner. 

26.  For  1  say  unto  you.  That  unto  every  one  which  hath  shall  be  given; 
and  from  him  that  hath  not,  even  that  he  hath  shall  be  taken  away 
from  him. 

The  righteous  person,  being  exactly  faithful,  increases  con- 
tinually in  charity :  the  wicked  becomes  continually  poorer 
and  more  unworthy,  by  the  increase  of  his  sensual  affection. 
Faith  is  nourished  by  good  works,  and  grows  stronger  by  the 
good  which  it  causes  a  man  to  do;  it  grows  Aveak  and  decays, 


from  time  to  time,  in  those  who  live  not  by  faith,  and  who  do 
not  perform  the  works  thereof.  Grace,  piety,  the  love  of 
God,  and  a  zeal  for  his  glory,  increase  in  a  pastor  or  a  priest 
in  proportion  to  his  labours  for  the  good  of  the  church,  and 
the  salvation  of  souls :  every  thing  diminishes,  and  is  at  last 
entirely  lost,  in  those  who  appear  the  most  pious,  when  they 
neglect  their  ministry  and  do  not  labour  at  all  in  the  work 
of  God. 

27.  But  those  mine  enemies,  which  would  not  that  I  should  reign  over 
them,  bring  hither,  and  slay  tliem  before  me. 

Those  who  will  not  go  to  Jesus  Christ  in  order  to  receive 
life,  shall  one  day  be  brought  before  him  to  receive  the  sen- 
tence of  eternal  death.  That  which  is  separated  in  the  para- 
ble is  joined  in  the  truth  signified  thereby:  a  man  being 
always  an  enemy  of  Christ  when  he  is  a  wicked  servant,  and 
a  slothful,  idle,  and  unfaithful  minister.  To  be  deprived  of 
all  the  gifts  of  God,  of  all  sorts  of  good  things,  and  to  lose 
the  beatific  life — that  is,  the  sight  and  love  of  God  in  which  it 
consists, — this  is  a  double  death  which  will  never  have  an  end  ; 
and  will  be  the  eternal  portion  of  all  those  who  would  not 
that  Christ  should  reign  here  below  in  their  hearts  by  charity, 
but  have  refused  to  yield  obedience  to  his  will,  and  to  perform 
the  duties  belonging  to  their  state. 

SECT.  III. — Christ's  entry  into  Jerusalem. 

28.  ^  And  when  he  had  thus  spoken,  he  went  before,  ascending  up  to 

Christ,  our  head  and  pattern,  goes  before  us  toward  the 
cross  and  to  the  sacrifice  :  can  we  refuse  to  follow  him  1  It 
is  the  comfort  and  consolation  of  his  faithful  ministers,  who, 
in  performing  their  duty,  expose  themselves  to  all  kinds  of 
danger  to  see  Jesus  Christ  at  their  head,  and  to  fight  and 
suffer  under  his  conduct,  after  his  example,  and  by  his  grace. 
Men  are  very  willing  to  follow  him  to  Jerusalem,  there  to  cele- 
brate the  passover  with  him  ;  but  very  rarely  do  they  follow  him 
so  as  to  be  willing  to  be  together  with  him  the  Sacrifice  of  the 
passover.  Whoever  is  associated  to  the  priesthood  of  Christ, 
ought  to  love  all  the  functions  thereof;  of  which  it  is  one  of 

194  LUKE. 

the  principal  for  a  man  to  sacrifice  himself  for  the  advantage 

of  Christ's  church,  and  for  all  the  designs  of  God  his  Father. 

29.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  he  was  come  nigh  to  Bethphage  and 
Bethany,  at  the  mount  called  the  mount  of  Olives,  he  sent  two  of  his  dis- 
ciples, 30,  Saying,  Go  ye  into  the  village  over  against  you;  in  the  which 
at  your  entering  ye  shall  find  a  colt  tied,  whereon  yet  never  man  sat: 
loose  him,  and  bring  him  hither. 

The  office  of  priests  and  preachers  is,  to  go  to  seek  those 
who  have  not  yet  borne  the  yoke  of  the  gospel,  to  assist  them 
in  breaking  the  bands  of  sin,  and  to  lead  and  conduct  them 
to  Jesus  Christ.  In  order  to  this,  it  is  necessary  for  them  to 
be  sent  by  him :  mission  being  the  source  of  all  ecclesiastical 
authority,  and  the  door  by  which  they  must  enter  into  all  the 
sacred  functions.  God  is  pleased  to  represent  his  greatest 
designs  to  us  by  the  meanest  and  lowest  things ;  as  the  con- 
version of  the  nations,  the  framing  of  his  church,  and  the 
sanctification  of  souls  bound  and  held  captive  by  sin,  are  re- 
presented by  what  passes  here.  The  work  of  God  is  a  work 
of  humility :  this  virtue  ought  likewise  to  be  the  distinguish- 
ing character  of  the  workmen. 

31.  And  if  any  man  ask  you,  Why  do  ye  loose  him?  thus  shall  ye  say 
unto  hiin,  Because  the  Lord  hath  need  of  him. 

How  different  are  the  needs  of  God  from  those  of  men! 
The  creature  has  need  of  the  Creator,  the  sinner  of  mercy, 
and  the  sick  person  of  the  sovereign  Physician,  through  indi- 
gence, misery,  and  weakness.  God  has  need  of  the  poor,  the 
miserable,  and  the  sick,  only  to  make  his  riches,  goodness, 
and  omnipotence  the  more  evident  and  illustrious.  Vouch- 
safe, Lord,  to  count  it  thy  glory  to  make  them  shine  forth 
in  me  I 

32.  And  they  that  were  sent  went  their  way,  and  found  even  as  he 
had  said  unto  them.  33.  And  as  they  were  loosing  the  colt,  the  owners 
thereof  said  unto  them,  Why  loose  ye  the  colt?  34.  And  they  said,  Tho 
Lord  hath  need  of  him. 

The  designs  of  God  must  be  accomplished,  and  they  are  all 
contained  in  the  mystery  of  Christ  entire,  including  both  the 
head  and  the  members.  His  church  is  necessary  to  him,  be- 
cause she  is  his  spouse,  his  fulness,  and  his  body ;  and  this 
body  is  composed  of  all  nations,  which,  through  ignorance  of 
the  true  God,  were  become  like  beasts,  without  reason  or  un- 

CHAPTER    XIX.  195 

derstanding.  The  easiness  which  these  disciples  find  in  bring- 
ing away  the  colt,  denotes  that  easiness  wherewith  the  almighty 
power  of  God  would  bring  all  people  into  the  church  by  the 
preaching  of  the  apostles,  and  that  docility  which  grace  in- 
spires into  the  most  savage  and  untractable  hearts.  Remember, 
Lord,  that  my  heart  is  of  the  number  of  those  over  which  all 
power  has  been  given  unto  thee. 

35.  And  they  T)rought  him  to  Jesus :  and  they  cast  their  garments 
upon  the  colt,  and  they  set  Jesus  thereon. 

That  which  God  requires  of  us  by  these  circumstances 
wherein  Christ  appears  to  the  eyes  of  our  faith,  is  to  carry 
this  Saviour  in  our  hearts  and  bodies ;  to  be  humble,  teach- 
able, and  obedient  to  his  word ;  to  suffer  ourselves  to  be 
guided  by  his  Spirit ;  by  no  means  to  contradict  the  holiness 
of  his  precepts  ;  to  go  forward  with  peace  and  meekness  in 
his  ways,  bearing  the  yoke  of  our  duty ;  and  to  be  always  dis- 
posed to  follow  the  will  of  Him  whom  we  carry  within  our- 
selves. It  is  not  through  want  of  power,  but  through  mystery, 
that  Christ  chooses  to  be  assisted  by  his  apostles.  He  hereby 
teaches  us  that  it  is  the  part  of  his  ministers  to  prepare  souls 
for  him,  to  be  workers  together  with  him  toward  their  sanc- 
tification,  and  to  serve  him  by  their  ministry,  in  engaging 
them  to  bear  the  yoke  of  the  gospel. 

36.  And  as  he  went,  they  spread  their  clothes  in  the  way. 

It  is  an  instance  of  generosity  well  becoming  a  Christian, 
to  make  every  thing  subservient  to  the  triumph  and  reign  of 
Christ  in  the  church.  We  must,  if  it  be  necessary,  strip  our- 
selves of  all,  that  he  may  reign  and  triumph  in  our  hearts. 
We  here  see  the  power  of  Christ  over  the  hearts  of  men  in 
this  sudden  and  general  agreement  of  all  the  people,  who, 
without  the  least  unwillingness,  spread  their  clothes  in  the 
way,  to  honour  Jesus  Christ.  But  what  shall  we  think,  when 
we  see  millions  of  martyrs  pour  out  their  blood,  and  lay  down 
their  lives  for  the  glory  of  his  name,  and  Christians  without 
number  renounce  all  things,  and  trample  under  foot  honours 

37.  And  when  he  was  come  nigh,  even  now  at  the  descent  of  the 
mount  of  Olives,  the  whole  multitude  of  the  disciples  began  to  rejoice 

196  LUKE. 

and  praise  God  witb  a  loud  voice,  for  all  the  mighty  works  that  they 
had  seen ; 

A  man  is  not  truly  a  disciple  of  Christ  -when  he  is  uncon- 
cerned for  his  glory.  The  progress  of  the  gospel  in  the  re- 
motest countries,  the  triumph  of  Christ  over  hearts  the  most 
barbarous,  and  the  conversion  of  the  most  unknown  people, 
ought  to  transport  us  with  joy  if  we  love  the  kingdom  of  God. 
If  the  mighty  works  which  God  has  wrought  publicly  for  the 
salvation  of  the  world  and  the  establishment  of  the  church, 
require  a  public  joy,  every  one  ought  in  proportion  to  praise  and 
bless  God  for  that  which  he  has  done  in  his  heart,  and  for  all 
the  particular  mercies  which  have  contributed  to  his  salvation. 

38.  Saying,  Blessed  he  the  King  that  cometh  in  the  name  of  the  Lord: 
peace  in  heaven,  and  glory  in  the  highest. 

What  joy  does  not  a  true  Christian  feel,  when  he  has  reason 
to  think  that  he  is  drawing  nigh  to  the  heavenly  Jerusalem  in 
following  Christ,  and  that  the  perfect  kingdom  of  God  is  about 
to  appear  !  How  much  greater  will  be  the  joy  of  the  blessed 
in  that  great  day  of  the  complete  triumph  of  Christ  and  his 
elect !  Let  us  go  forth  to  meet  him  by  our  desires ;  and  let 
us  with  the  saints  say,  "  Blessed  be  the  King  who  cometh  in 
the  name  of  the  Lord !"  The  remembrance  of  the  mysteries 
of  Christ  will  be  an  eternal  subject  of  praise  and  benediction 
in  heaven.  It  is  there  that  peace  will  forever  fiom'ish,  and 
that  we  shall  fully  taste  the  fruit  of  glory :  here  we  have  no- 
thing but  the  seed  and  the  bud  thereof. 

39.  And  some  of  the  Pharisees  from  among  the  multitude  said  unto 
him,  Master,  rebuke  thy  disciples. 

The  praise  of  God  is  troublesome  to  the  ears  of  the  world; 
and  envy  cannot  hear  the  good  which  is  spoken  of  others. 
The  proud,  like  the  Pharisees,  will  not  have  Christ  to  reign 
over  them,  and  cannot  bear  our  insisting  upon  the  kingdom 
of  his  grace.  Of  what  should  the  disciples  of  truth  speak 
more  willingly  than  of  this  amiable  kingdom,  which  is  the 
principle  of  their  righteousness  here  on  earth,  and  the  foun- 
dation of  the  hope,  peace,  and  glory  of  heaven  ? 

40.  And  he  answered  and  said  unto  them,  I  tell  you  that,  if  these 
should  hold  their  peace,  the  stones  would  immediately  cry  out. 

God  makes  every  thing  in  nature  pay  him  honour  as  ho 

CHAPTER    XIX.  197 

pleases,  and  can  give  even  to  stones  a  tongue  whenever  he 
thinks  fit.  In  vain  does  the  world  oppose  his  designs,  and 
strive  to  suppress  his  glory  when  he  intends  to  make  it  mani- 
fest. God  does  not  leave  it  always  in  the  power  of  carnal 
men  to  depress  his  servants  ;  whenever  he  thinks  fit  to  honour 
them,  he  very  easily  finds  means  to  do  it.  He  forms,  as 
often  as  he  pleases,  devout  worshippers  and  zealous  defenders 
of  his  glory,  even  out  of  persons  who  were  before  as  hard 
and  insensible  as  the  very  stones. 


41.  T[  And  -when  he  was  come  near,  he  beheld  the  city,  and  wept  over  it, 
Such  are  the  grief,  the  compassion,  and  the  tears  of  Christ 

over  a  soul  which  ruins  itself  by  its  own  wickedness.  Tears 
very  different  from  those  of  men,  who  weep  through  weak- 
ness, passion,  interest,  or  hypocrisy.  These  of  Christ  are 
holy  and  sanctifying  tears — tears  of  religion  and  zeal  for  the 
glory  of  God,  and  which  make  part  of  his  sacrifice;  they  are 
tears  of  compassion  and  charity  toward  sinners,  and  of  in- 
struction and  consolation  to  penitents.  Teach  us,  0  Jesus,  to 
weep  as  Christians  and  penitents,  not  on  account  of  such 
good  things  as  perish,  of  which  our  sensual  affection  is  de- 
prived, nor  on  the  account  of  such  evils  as  pass  away  with 
time,  but  through  a  hatred  of  sin,  the  only  real  evil,  and  for 
the  loss  of  thy  grace  and  love,  the  only  things  which  are  truly 
good.  Teach  priests  to  weep,  as  such,  over  the  afilictions  of 
the  church,  for  the  blindness  of  sinners,  and  from  a  sense  of 
the  interests  of  God. 

42.  Saying,  If  thou  hadst  known,  even  thou,  at  least  in  this  thy  day, 
the  things  wfiicli  belong  unto  thy  peace  !  but  now  they  are  hid  from  thine 

It  is  a  matter  of  great  importance  to  know  the  time  and 
ways  of  salvation,  which  slip  away  from  us  whenever  we  ne- 
glect them.  The  greatest  misfortune  does  not  consist  in  a 
man's  being  a  sinner,  but  in  not  knowing  either  his  sin  or  the 
remedy  thereof,  and  in  rejecting  the  saving  hand  of  Ilira  Avho 
would  heal  him  by  repentance.  The  time  of  performing  this 


is  but  a  daj,  and  tliis  is  the  day  of  the  sinner ;  whoever  lets 
this  opportunity  pass  without  improving  it,  will  see  what  the 
days  of  vengeance,  the  great  days  of  the  Lord,  are.  Herein, 
lies  the  great  blindness  of  the  sinner,  in  that  he  prefers  the 
false  peace  which  he  finds  in  sin,  in  his  passions,  and  in  the 
delights  and  pleasures  of  the  present  life,  before  the  true  and 
substantial  peace  of  repentance  and  the  cross.  My  God,  how 
many  are  there  from  whose  eyes  all  these  mysteries  of  salva- 
tion are  hid,  and  to  whom  the  truths  of  repentance  and  mor- 
tification are  incomprehensible  !  Let  us  make  a  good  use  of 
the  light  of  faith,  lest  it  should  be  taken  away  from  us. 

43.  For  the  days  shall  come  upon  thee,  that  thine  enemies  shall  cast  a 
trench  about  thee,  and  compass  thee  round,  and  keep  thee  in  on  every  side, 

Whoever  will  not  come  within  the  order  of  God's  mercy, 
must  inevitably  fall  within  the  order  of  his  justice.  Those 
Christians  who  reject  and  crucify  Christ  by  their  sins  will, 
without  doubt,  be  punished  more  severely  than  the  Jews. 
Our  blessed  Saviour  speaks  here  only  of  the  temporal  punish- 
ment which  was  to  be  inflicted  upon  the  Jews,  to  the  end  that 
aU  may  understand  that  this  is  but  a  figure  and  shadow  of 
that  which  the  divine  justice  prepares  for  sinners  in  the  other 
life.  My  God,  who  can  conceive  the  deplorable  state  and 
condition  of  a  soul  delivered  up  to  the  devil,  and  treated  like 
a  rebellious  city,  which  is  abandoned  to  the  plunder  of  the 
enemy  after  a  long  and  dreadful  siege  !  We  cannot  possibly 
escape  the  justice  of  God,  when  once  the  proper  time  to  ap- 
pease it  is  past.     Let  us  therefore  make  haste  to  do  it. 

44.  And  shall  lay  thee  even  with  the  ground,  and  thy  children  within 
thee;  and  they  shall  not  leave  in  thee  one  stone  upon  another;  because 
thou  knewest  not  the  time  of  thy  visitation. 

It  is  extremely  dangerous  to  neglect  the  time  of  the  Lord's 
visitation,  his  grace,  his  word,  and  his  chastisements.  If 
God,  by  such  external  punishments  as  these,  take  vengeance 
on  the  Jews  for  tlieir  contempt  of  Christ's  external  visitation, 
by  his  incarnation,  preaching,  miracles,  and  mysteries,  what 
ought  not  an  unfaithful  soul  to  fear  which  he  has  visited  in- 
ternally, and  made  his  habitation,  palace,  and  royal  city,  by 
his  grace  and  sacraments,  and  by  the  application  of  the  fruits 

CHAPTER    XIX.  199 

of  all  his  mysteries  ?  Graces  and  virtues  are,  as  it  were,  tlie 
stones  with  which  God  builds  himself  a  house  and  a,  city  in 
our  heart.  There  is  no  longer  any  thing  of  all  this  in  hell ; 
no  more  good  thoughts  or  desires,  which  are,  as  it  were,  the 
children  of  our  hearts,  where  they  are  conceived  and  formed 
by  grace.  Lord,  let  the  serious  consideration  of  so  great  a 
desolation  as  this  excite  in  me  a  salutary  dread  of  losing 
thee,  and  cause  me  to  profit  by  all  the  visitations  of  tby  grace 
and  mercy. 

45.  And  he  went  into  the  temple,  and  began  to  cast  them  out  that  sold 
therein,  and  them  that  bought ; 

Avarice,  merchandise,  simony,  and  a  mercenary  spirit  in 
the  church, — these  are  all  insupportable  to  Jesus  Christ.  The 
zeal  for  the  sanctity  of  the  church  and  the  sanctification  of 
souls,  with  which  he  ought  to  be  inflamed  who  enters  into  the 
ecclesiastical  state  and  ministry,  is  here  signified  unto  us  by 
the  zeal  of  Christ  upon  his  entrance  into  the  Jewish  temple. 
This  is  one  of  the  plainest  marks  of  a  true  call,  because  the 
very  end  of  this  ministry  is  to  labour  in  advancing  the  sanc- 
tification of  God's  name,  and  the  salvation  of  souls.  This  is 
the  only  merchandise  which  is  permitted  them,  and  for  which 
they  ought  to  give  all  that  they  have. 

46.  Saying  unto  them,  It  is  written,  My  house  is  the  house  of  prayer; 
but  ye  have  made  it  a  den  of  thieves. 

A  man  is  no  better  than  a  thief  in  the  church  when  he 
does  not  therein  honour  God,  nor  serve  souls,  by  performing 
the  acts  of  religion  in  spirit  and  in  truth.  He  who  performs 
them  only  with  his  lips,  carelessly  and  negligently,  robs  God 
of  that  glory  which  he  does  not  pay  him,  deprives  souls  of 
that  assistance  which  they  should  receive  from  thence,  and 
everybody  of  that  edification  and  good  example  which  he 
owes  them.  Prayer  is  good  in  all  places  ;  but  there  is  a  par- 
ticular blessing  which  attends  it  when  oifered  to  God  in  the 
house  of  prayer,  the  house  of  God  himself.  God  is  present 
everywhere :  but  Jesus  Christ  the  High  Priest,  by  whom  our 
prayers  are  to  be  offered  up  to  God,  and  the  sacrifice  through 
the  merits  of  which  we  must  offer  them,  is  j^resent  here  below, 

more  peculiarly  in  the  eucharist,  which  is  the  throne  of  his 
mercy,  where  the  miserable  have  access  to  God. 

47.  And  he  taught  daily  in  the  temple. 

The  zeal  of  priests  ought  not  only  to  be  employed  in  reprov- 
ing sinners  and  inveighing  against  disorders ;  it  ought  like- 
wise to  excite  them  to  instruct  the  people  in  the  truth,  and 
inform  them  concerning  their  duties.  The  fidelity  of  a  mi- 
nister of  the  church  consists  in  not  being  weary  with  doing  this, 
after  the  example  of  Christ,  who  did  it  daily.  Can  a  pastor, 
when  he  considers  this,  seek  for  rest  here  below  ?  The  church 
is  not  only  a  house  of  prayer,  but  also  a  house  of  instruction : 
it  is  there  that  we  must  learn  to  adore  and  serve  God.  The 
Catholic  church,  of  which  our  churches  are  an  emblem,  is  not 
only  the  house  of  charity,  which  prays  therein ;  and  of  the 
Holy  Spirit,  who  there  maketh  intercession  in  the  saints  with 
groanings  which  cannot  be  uttered ;  but  it  is  likewise  the 
house  of  truth,  which  teaches  there  by  pastors  lawfully  sent. 

—  But  the  chief  priests  and  the  scribes  and  the  chief  of  the  people 
sought  to  destroy  him, 

The  reward  which  Christ  received  in  this  world,  for  teach- 
ing the  people  daily,  and  seeking  the  glory  of  his  Father,  was 
to  endure  for  his  sake  the  contradiction  of  sinners,  and  to  be 
continually  exposed  to  the  wicked  designs  of  his  enemies. 
Can  we  pretend  to  claim  any  other  here  below?  The  conclu- 
sion of  the  day  is  the  time  Avhen  the  workmen  receive  their 
wages :  till  then,  labour  and  difficulties  are  their  portion. 

48.  And  could  not  find  what  they  might  do:  for  all  the  people  were 
very  attentive  to  hear  him. 

The  fidelity  and  diligence  of  Christ  in  the  exercise  of  his 
ministry,  even  when  the  chief  priests  and  the  scribes  sought 
to  destroy  him,  is  rewarded  by  the  affection  which  the  people 
have  for  his  word.  God,  one  way  or  another,  preserves  and 
protects  his  faithful  ministers  against  their  enemies,  and  gives 
them  great  comfort  and  encouragement  by  opening  the  peo- 
ple's hearts  to  their  instructions.  A  true  pastor  thinks 
nothing  troublesome  and  grievous,  when  he  finds  himself  use- 
ful in  advancing  the  work  of  God.  The  proficiency  of  souls 
is  his  whole  deli<i;ht. 

CHAPTER  XX.  201 



1.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that  on  one  of  those  days,  as  he  taught  the 
people  in  the  temple,  and  preached  the  gospel,  the  chief  priests  and  the 
scribes  came  upon  him  with  the  elders,  2.  And  spake  unto  him,  saying, 
Tell  us,  by  what  authority  doest  thou  these  things?  or  who  is  he  that 
gave  thee  this  authority  ? 

Envy  and  hatred  have  no  manner  of  regard  either  to  the 
holiness  of  the  place,  or  to  the  goodness  of  the  work,  or  to 
truth  itself,  when  the  taking  away  the  credit  of  a  person  who 
gives  umbrage  is  the  thing  in  question.  They  leave  no  stone 
unturned  to  oppress  him,  but  employ  the  sacred  ministry,  the 
holy  Scripture,  and  the  secular  authority  to  this  purpose. 
The  wicked,  when  they  cannot  excuse  their  crimes,  do  what 
they  can  to  ruin  the  authority  of  the  pastors  who  reprove 
them  for  them.  The  question  these  men  put  to  our  blessed 
Saviour  would  have  been  just,  had  he  not  anticipated  and 
rendered  it  unnecessary  by  such  evident  proofs  of  his  ex- 
traordinary mission.  We  have  always  a  right  to  ask  this 
question,  where  no  true  miracles  appear  to  warrant  such  a 

3.  And  he  answered  and  said  unto  them,  I  will  also  ask  you  one  thing ; 
and  answer  me  :     4.  The  baptism  of  John,  was  it  from  heaven,  or  of  men? 

Christ  does  neither  evade  the  question  nor  despise  author- 
ity, by  forcing  these  envious  persons  either  to  discover  the 
malice  of  their  hearts  or  to  return  an  answer  to  their  own 
demand,  by  owning  the  authority  of  John,  who  had  borne 
witness  to  his  divine  mission.  This  conduct  of  the  Son  of 
God  can  by  no  means  serve  to  justify  the  refusal  of  heretics 
as  to  the  proof  of  their  mission :  since  they  never  wrought 
any  miracles,  as  Jesus  Christ  did  ;  since  they  were  never  fore- 
told by  the  prophets,  as  he  was ;  since  they  have  no  John  for 
a  witness ;  since  they  reject  the  authority  of  the  church  which 
asks  them  this  question — a  thing  which  Christ  did  not  do;  and 
since  they  do  not  put  their  answer  upon  a  just  and  equitable 
condition,  as  he  did. 

202  LUKE. 

5.  And  they  reasoned  with  themselves,  saying,  If  we  shall  say,  From 
heaven ;  he  will  say,  Why  then  believed  ye  him  not  ? 

A  minister  of  the  church  is  in  the  most  miserable  disposi- 
tion which  can  possibly  be  imagined,  when  he  will  neither 
acknowledge  nor  publish  the  truth,  but  only  so  far  as  it  is 
serviceable  to  his  designs,  and  suppresses  it  without  scruple 
when  he  finds  his  own  condemnation  therein.  In  vain  do 
men  endeavour  to  hide  and  conceal  their  craft  and  malice 
within  themselves :  God,  who  sees  all  things,  can  neither  be 
ignorant  of  it,  nor  let  it  go  unpunished. 

6.  But  and  if  we  say,  Of  men  ;  all  the  people  will  stone  us :  for  they 
be  persuaded  that  John  was  a  prophet. 

He  who  forbears  speaking  against  the  truth  only  through 
fear  of  men,  has  betrayed  and  dishonoured  it  already  in  his 
heart,  and  is  judged  at  the  invisible  tribunal  of  God.  These 
enemies  of  the  truth  did  not  deserve  the  honour  of  giving 
their  testimony  to  one  who  had  been  a  martyr  for  it.  The 
common  people  were  fully  persuaded  that  John  was  a  prophet, 
because  he  had  led  the  life  and  died  the  death  of  the  pro- 
phets :  but  to  the  eyes  of  the  learned,  blinded  with  envy  and 
wickedness,  all  this  appears  as  nothing. 

7.  And  they  answered,  that  they  could  not  tell  whence  'd  teas. 

A  wicked  person  values  not  a  lie,  when  he  thinks  it  useful  to 
his  designs.  Truth  can  easily  find  the  way  to  reduce  haughty 
and  conceited  scholars  to  a  necessity  of  owning  their  ignorance. 
These  men  undertake  to  judge  of  the  mission  of  Christ,  and 
yet  are  forced  to  own  that  they  cannot  tell  whence  that  of 
John  was.  Men  fall  from  one  error  and  disorder  into  another 
when  they  are  resolved,  at  any  rate,  to  persecute  the  truth : 
to  be  given  up  to  lying  is  a  punishment  proportioned  to  this 

8.  And  Jesus  said  unto  them.  Neither  tell  I  you  by  what  authority  I 
do  these  things. 

It  is  suitable  to  the  prudence  of  Christ's  ministers,  and  to 

the  dignity  of  his  word,  not  to  expose  it  to  the  malice  of  the 

wicked.     God,  who  discovers  himself  to  the  simple,  hides  his 

light  from  the  crafty,  and  confounds  the  false  prudence  of  the 

world.     Christ  docs  not  tell  these  men  from  whence  his  au- 

CHAPTER   XX.  203 

tliority  came  ;  but  his  miracles  tell  them  very  plainly.  They 
who  did  not  believe  these,  would  not  have  believed  him  upon 
his  bare  word.  The  silence  of  the  truth  is  one  of  the  most 
terrible  punishments  of  the  divine  justice  in  this  world. 


9.  Then  began  he  to  speak  to  the  people  this  parable  ;  A  certain  man 
planted  a  vineyard,  and  let  it  forth  to  husbandmen,  and  went  into  a  far 
country  for  a  long  time. 

A  pastor  ought  to  look  upon  his  church  as  a  vineyard 
planted  by  the  hand  of  Christ,  of  which  he  is  only  the  hus- 
bandman, hired  to  cultivate  it  with  care,  and  to  render  all  the 
fruit  thereof  to  his  Master.  Christ,  who  is  absent  from  his 
vineyard  as  to  his  visible  presence,  is  continually  present  there 
by  his  protection,  by  his  Spirit,  and  by  his  i-n visible  presence 
in  the  eucharist.  Faithful  pastors  live  as  having  him  for  a 
constant  witness  of  their  conduct,  and  labour  as  under  his  in- 
spection. He  is  at  a  distance  only  to  those  who  have  no  faith. 
The  good  pastor  watches  and  labours  as  expecting  his  Master 
every  moment,  and  believing  him  to  be  at  the  very  door.  The 
hireling  is  negligent  and  slothful,  because  his  faith  as  to  the 
coming  of  the  Supreme  Pastor  is  extinguished  and  dead,  and  be- 
cause the  moment  of  this  present  life  seems  to  him  a  long  time. 

10.  And  at  the  season  he  sent  a  servant  to  the  husbandmen,  that  they 
should  give  him  of  the  fruit  of  the  vineyard :  but  the  husbandmen  beat 
him,  and  sent  him  away  empty. 

Christ  demands  the  use  of  his  graces,  and  the  fruit  of  his 
mysteries  and  his  blood,  of  those  to  whom  he  has  intrusted 
the  dispensation  of  them,  by  calling  them  to  the  sacred  mi- 
nistry. It  is  a  most  dreadful  state  to  be  found  at  death  under 
a  total  incapacity  of  answering  this  demand.  As  it  is  always 
a  proper  season  to  work  in  the  Lord's  vineyard,  so  it  is  always 
a  proper  season  to  require  the  fruit  thereof.  He  requires  both 
the  one  and  the  other  of  his  ministers  by  his  inspirations. 
They  do  despite  to  his  Spirit  who  reject  them,  and  who  live  in 
idleness  or  luxury,  appropriating  to  themselves  all  the  advan- 
tages of  the  ministry,  without  doing  any  thing  in  the  church 
for  the  glory  of  God  or  the  salvation  of  souls. 

204  LUKE. 

11.  And  again  he  sent  another  servant:  and  they  beat  him  also,  and 
entreated  him  shamefully,  and  sent  him  away  empty. 

The  holy  Scripture  may  be  looked  upon  as  a  second  servant, 
which  calls  upon  and  urges  the  ministers  of  the  Lord  to  labour 
in  gaining  souls  and  consecrating  them  to  him.  It  is  but  too 
true  that  the  word  of  God  is  abused  and  shamefully  treated 
by  those  to  whom  God  has  sent  it  in  order  to  their  salvation, 
and  to  that  of  his  church.  We  too  often  see  mercenary  and 
faithless  pastors  read  it  without  any  respect,  make  it  subser- 
vient to  their  vanity  and  ambition,  despise  its  admonitions, 
and  treat  it  as  a  profane  and  dangerous  book. 

12.  And  again  he  sent  a  third :  and  they  wounded  him  also,  and  cast 
him  out. 

A  wicked  pastor  involves  himself  continually  more  and  more 

in  sin,  and  is  provoked  by  all  those  admonitions  to  do  his  duty 

which  are  given  him  either  by  God  himself,  or  by  men  animated 

with  his  Spirit,  or  by  the  example  of  such  a  conduct  as  is  truly 

pastoral.     These  seldom  fail  of  being  persecuted  by  those  who 

look  upon  their  life  as  a  condemnation  of  their  own.     Pastors 

who  walk  disorderly  cannot  bear  with  any  patience  the  most 

charitable  admonitions ;  and  men  seldom  admonish  them  of 

their  duty  without  suffermg  for  it. 

13.  Then  said  the  lord  of  the  vineyard,  What  shall  I  do?  I  will  send 
my  beloved  son:  it  may  be  they  will  reverence  him  when  they  see  him  : 
14.  But  when  the  husbandmen  saw  him,  they  reasoned  among  tliom- 
selves,  saying.  This  is  the  heir:  come,  let  us  kill  him,  that  the  inherit- 
ance may  be  ours. 

Whoever  proposes  to  himself  to  satisfy  his  worldly  desires 
in  the  priesthood  or  pastoral  office,  will  make  no  difficulty  of 
sacrificing  Christ  and  his  whole  religion  to  them.  When  co- 
vetousnoss,  ambition,  or  the  love  of  pleasures  has  once  taken 
possession  of  the  heart  of  a  priest,  he  is  but  little  concerned 
that  abundance  of  souls  perish,  and  that  Christ  is  crucified 
afresh,  provided  he  can  but  gratify  his  passion.  They  may 
justly  be  said  to  kill  Jesus  Christ  in  souls,  who,  by  their  negli- 
gence, are  instrumental  in  causing  them  to  lose  the  life  of  faith 
and  grace.  They  kill  him  in  tlie  poor,  who  let  such  die  with 
hunger  or  miser}'-,  Avhilc  they  waste  their  patrimony  in  luxury 
and  excess. 

CHAPTER  XX.  205 

15.  So  they  cast  him  out  of  the  vineyard,  and  killed  liim.  What  there- 
fore shall  the  lord  of  the  vineyard  do  unto  them? 

Jesus  Christ,  excommunicated  by  the  Jews  and  put  to  death 
without  the  gate  of  Jerusalem,  to  bear  the  curse  denounced 
against  the  sinner,  teaches  pastors  to  expose  themselves  to 
every  thing,  rather  than  to  be  wanting  to  the  truth,  to  the 
salvation  of  souls,  and  to  Jesus  Christ  himself.  There  are 
some  occasions  on  which  they  ought  to  be  ready,  as  Paul  and 
as  Jesus  Christ  were,  to  be  anathematized  by  unjust  excom- 
munications, Avhich  are  never  ratified  in  heaven,  that  they 
may  continue  internally  united  to  Christ  and  the  church  in 
performing  their  duty.  They  who,  to  satisfy  their  passion 
and  hatred,  are  for  casting  out  of  the  church  those  who  are 
resolved  not  to  forsake  it,  are  in  reality  for  casting  Christ 
out  of  his  vineyard,  and  out  of  Jerusalem,  in  order  to  cru- 
cify him. 

16.  He  shall  come  and  destroy  these  husbandmen,  and  shall  give  the 
vineyard  to  others.     And  when  they  heard  it,  they  said,  God  forbid. 

Men  may  resolve,  if  they  think  fit,  not  to  hear  the  denun- 
ciation of  those  punishments  which  are  due  to  mercenary, 
idle,  unjust,  and  turbulent  pastors,  such  as  are  guilty  of  rob- 
bing the  poor :  the  misery  which  attends  them  will  thereby 
become  the  more  dreadful.  The  Judge,  the  Lord  of  the 
vineyard,  shall  come ;  and  who  will  be  able  to  abide  his  pre- 
sence ?  He  will  destroy  all  prevaricating  and  unfaithful 
ministers ;  and  what  refuge  can  be  found  when  God  under- 
takes to  destroy  the  sinner  ?  He  will  give  the  vineyard  to 
others ;  and  what  despair  must  be  their  portion  who  have  no 
more  communion  with  the  church,  no  part  in  Christ,  and  no 
longer  any  God  but  an  avenger,  eternally  intent  on  punish- 
ing sin  ! 

17.  And  he  beheld  them,  and  said,  What  is  this  then  that  is  written. 
The  stone  which  the  builders  rejected,  the  same  is  become  the  head  of 
the  corner? 

Christ  himself,  the  foundation,  cement,  and  ornament  of 

his  church,  was  rejected  by  those  who  flattered  themselves 

with  being  the  builders  thereof.     What  therefore  must  not 

those  of  his  ministers  expect  who  are  resolved  to  Avalk  in  his 

steps  ?     He  shows  the  scribes  their  ignorance  in  not  knowing 

206  LUKE. 

the  Messias  by  tlie  Scriptures,  of  which  they  imagined  they 
had  the  key.  He  who  judges  of  the  holiness  and  virtue  of 
the  ministers  of  Christ  in  this  life,  by  the  ill  usage  which 
they  here  receive  from  the  world,  beholds  them  only  with  the 
eyes  of  Jews  and  Pharisees.  Their  lot  and  portion  here 
below  is  to  be  treated  as  the  Prince  of  pastors  was :  it  is  in 
heaven  that  they  will  enter  into  his  power  and  glory. 

18.  Whosoever  shall  foil  upon  that  stone  shall  bo  broken;  but  on 
whomsoever  it  shall  foil,  it  will  grind  him  to  powder. 

The  punishment  of  sinners  is  terrible  even  in  this  world; 
but  it  is  without  remedy  in  the  other.  The  Jews  rejected, 
despised,  and  put  Christ  to  shame  only  in  the  time  designed 
for  his  humiliations  and  the  ignominy  of  his  cross ;  and  yet 
their  punishment  was  beyond  example :  what  then  will  that 
of  Christians  be,  who,  as  far  as  in  them  lies,  crucify  him 
afresh,  and  put  him  to  an  open  shame  in  the  very  time  ap- 
pointed for  his  reign,  and  in  his  state  of  glory  and  power  ? 
They  who  persecute  good  men  in  this  world,  are  only  instru- 
ments of  good  to  them;  and  are  themselves  broken  to  pieces, 
like  a  glass  which  falls  upon  the  hardest  stone.  But  how 
dreadful  will  their  punishment  be,  when  he,  who  comes  to 
avenge  his  elect,  shall  appear  with  them,  and  employ  all  his 
majesty  to  confound,  and  all  his  power  to  punish  these  mise- 
rable wretches! 


19.  f  And  the  chief  priests  and  the  scribes  the  same  hour  sought  to 
lay  hands  on  him;  and  they  feared  the  people:  for  they  perceived  that 
he  had  spoken  this  parable  against  them. 

A  soul  is  in  a  very  desperate  condition  indeed,  when  the 
most  wholesome  admonitions,  and  the  denunciations  of  the 
greatest  miseries,  do  but  provoke  and  carry  it  to  greater 
excesses.  My  God,  what  is  the  heart  of  man  when  left  to 
himself !  The  fear  of  God  and  of  his  eternal  justice  makes 
not  the  least  impression  upon  him ;  and  the  fear  of  men  and 
of  temporal  evil  restrains  and  governs  him.  Fear  restrains 
only  the  hand ;  but  the  heart  is  abandoned  to  sin  so  long  as 
it  is  not  guided  and  directed  by  the  love  of  righteousness. 

CHAPTER   XX,  207 

20.  And  they  watched  Mm,  and  sent  forth  spies,  which  should  feign 
themselves  just  men,  that  they  might  take  hold  of  his  words,  that  so 
they  might  deliver  him  unto  the  power  and  authority  of  the  governor. 

The  mask  of  piety  is  often  serviceable  to  the  wicked  in  the 
execution  of  the  worst  designs.  To  be  exposed  to  the  arti- 
fices of  hypocrisy  is  a  very  uneasy  and  difficult  condition  for 
good  men,  wherein  they  have  great  occasion  for  Christian 
prudence.  Charity  forbids  us  to  judge  of  our  neighbour's 
heart ;  and  prudence  requires  us  not  to  trust  to  outward 
appearances.  Prudence  ought  to  guide  charity,  to  prevent 
its  being  imposed  upon;  and  candour  ought  to  accompany 
prudence,  that  it  may  not  be  too  suspicious :  but  it  is  thy 
light,  0  Jesus,  which  must  enlighten  both;  it  is  thy  Spirit 
which  must  make  them  act;  and  prayer  is  the  thing  which 
attracts  and  draws  down  both  these. 

21.  And  they  asked  him,  saying.  Master,  we  know  that  thou  sayest 
and  teachest  rightly,  neither  acceptest  thou  the  person  of  any,  but  teach- 
est  the  way  of  God  truly : 

We  ought  always  to  suspect  the  praises  which  are  given  by 
men  devoted  to  the  world.  The  wicked  person  is  so  cor- 
rupted, that  he  seldom  speaks  truth  but  with  an  intent  to 
deceive ;  but  truth  is  so  powerful,  that  it  makes  use  even  of 
his  tongue  to  condemn  hini.  The  knowledge  which  a  minister 
of  the  truth  has  of  his  duties,  renders  his  sin  the  greater 
when  he  either  betrays  it  out  of  respect  of  persons,  or  cor- 
rupts it  by  falsehood  and  lies.  Let  us  consider  neither  the 
design  of  those  who  deliver  the  truth,  nor  the  ill  use  they 
make  thereof,  but  the  truth  itself,  and  the  account  which  God 
will  require  us  to  give  of  it.  It  is  a  light  carried  by  a  wicked 
wretch,  which,  notwithstanding,  shows  us  the  way,  and  dis- 
covers to  us  the  precipices.  The  power  of  God  shines  forth 
more  illustriously,  and  his  wisdom  is  the  more  to  be  admired, 
when  he  makes  even  the  enemies  of  truth  instrumental  in 
publishing  and  promoting  it. 

22.  Is  it  lawful  for  us  to  give  tribute  unto  Cesar,  or  no  ? 

None  but  an  impious  person  makes  any  question  concern- 
ing his  duty  toward  his  sovereign.  He  who  will  not  bear  the 
yoke  of  God,  bears  that  of  his  prince  with  great  regret,  and 
thinks  of  nothing  but  how  to  shake  it  off.     He  who  serves 

208  L  U  K  E. 

God,  serves  liis  king;  and  it  is  one  part  of  religion  to  honour 
God  in  the  most  lively  image  of  his  greatness  and  sovereign 
power.  How  can  any  one  call  in  question  the  rights  of  this 
second  majesty,  without  offending  the  first  and  eternal  Ma- 
jesty, in  whose  word  they  are  plainly  declared;  or  pretend 
to  dispute  an  obedience  which  ought  never  to  be  contested  ? 

23.  But  he  perceived  their  craftiness,*  and  said  unto  them,  Why  tempt 
ye  me?"     [*  i^;-.  Malice.] 

No  veil  can  hide  from  the  eyes  of  God  that  which  passes  in 
the  most  secret  corner  of  man's  heart.  Of  what  advantage  is 
it  to  the  sinner  to  deceive  the  eyes  of  men  for  a  moment,  by 
concealing  his  wickedness  from  them  under  the  deceitful  ap- 
pearance of  piety  and  virtue  ?  He  who  is  to  judge  all  things 
sees  them  all,  and  will,  by  the  light  of  the  great  day,  expose 
every  thing  to  open  view  which  is  now  so  carefully  disguised 
and  concealed  from  the  sight  of  men.  Christ  discovers  the 
hidden  malice  of  his  enemies,  who  designed  to  surprise  him ; 
but  he  discovers  likewise,  at  the  same  time,  the  goodness, 
gentleness,  and  patience  of  his  own  heart,  in  reproving  with 
such  soft  words  so  black  an  instance  of  hypocrisy  and  malice. 

24.  Shew  me  a  penny.  Whose  image  and  superscription  hath  it? 
They  answered  and  said,  Cesar's. 

The  prince's  name  and  image,  and  the  right  of  giving  money 

its  current  value,  are  marks  of  sovereign  authority  over  his 

subjects  :  how  then,  0  Jesus,  can  I  ever  dispute  thine  over  my 

heart,  and  over  all  that  I  am ;  how  can  I  do  this,  who  bear 

thy  name  and  image,  and  who  have  no  worth  or  value,  but 

that  only  Avhich  thou  art  pleased  to  give  us !     Thou,  Lord, 

canst  increase  my  value,  canst  render  me  worthy  of  that  sacred 

name  thou  causest  me  to  bear,  and  canst  renew  thy  image  in 

me, — and  all  this  I  hope  for  from  thy  grace. 

25.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Render  therefore  unto  Cesar  the  things 
which  be  Cesar's,  and  unto  God  the  things  which  be  God's. 

We  see  here  one  of  the  principal  titles  which  kings  have  to 

obedience  and  subsidies  by  divine  right.     It  is   one  part  of 

the  law  of  God  and  of  Christian  piety  to  be  subject  to  them 

in  every  thing  which  belongs  to  their  jurisdiction.     We  must 

never  separate  these  two  seitences  which  Christ  has  joined 

CHAPTER    XX.  209 

•with  SO  much  wisdom,  that  so  we  may  never  do  any  thing 
contrary  to  the  rights  of  God  in  obeying  princes,  and  never 
violate  the  rights  of  princes  under  pretence  of  doing  service 
to  God.  The  more  zealous  princes  are  in  "  rendering  to  God 
the  things  Avhich  be  God's,"  and  in  obliging  others  to  do  the 
same,  the  more  faithful  will  God  cause  their  people  to  be  in 
rendering  to  princes  the  things  which  are  theirs. 

26.  And  they  could  not  take  hold  of  his  words  before  the  people :  and 
they  marvelled  at  his  answer,  and  held  their  peace. 

God  guides  and  directs  that  person's  tongue  whose  heart 
is  devoted  to  him.  One  of  the  most  proper  ways  to  preserve 
peace  without  doing  any  prejudice  to  the  truth,  to  take  away 
from  its  enemies  all  pretences  of  doing  it  without  provoking 
them,  to  change  their  artifices  into  admiration,  and  to  put 
them  to  silence  without  the  expense  of  many  words,  is  care- 
fully to  weigh  every  Avord  which  we  are  about  to  speak,  when 
we  lie  under  any  obligation  to  speak  at  all.  It  is  of  great 
importance  to  speak  with  still  more  circumspection  of  that 
which  concerns  matters  of  state  and  the  interests  of  princes, 
to  say  no  more  than  what  is  absolutely  necessary,  and  to  hold 
the  scales  even  between  God  and  Cesar,  heaven  and  hell,  the 
church  and  the  court. 


27.  T[  Then  came  to  him  certain  of  the  Sadducees,  which  deny  that 
there  is  any  resurrection ;  and  they  asked  him, 

The  devil  never  ceases  to  lay  snares  for  the  ministers  of 
Christ  and  for  his  church,  as  he  did  continually  for  Christ 
himself  during  his  mortal  life.  He  never  wants  new  stra- 
tagems, when  the  first  have  proved  unsuccessful.  We  must 
not  therefore  ever  grow  supine  and  careless,  but  we  must  be 
always  prepared  to  oppose  his  attempts,  and  to  secure  our- 
selves against  his  wiles. 

28.  Saying,  Master,  Moses  wrote  unto  us,  If  any  man's  brother  die, 
having  a  wife,  and  he  die  without  children,  that  his  brother  should  take 
his  wife,  and  raise  up  seed  unto  his  brother. 

It  is  by  the  priesthood  that  the  church  is  made  fruitful, 

and  that  the  bishops  are  the  husbands  of  the  church  in  Jesus 

18®  0 

210  LUKE. 

Christ,  and  become  thereby  his  brethren  in  a  particular  man- 
ner. There  are  but  too  many  who  would  fain  espouse  this 
holy  widow ;  but  alas,  how  few  are  there  who  are  willing  to 
bewail  with  her  the  death  of  her  Lord,  to  lead  with  her  a  poor, 
desolate,  and  afflicted  life,  and  to  raise  up  children  to  her  by 
labouring  to  raise  them  up  to  Christ !  If  to  leave  a  brother's 
widow  childless  were  a  disgrace  of  infamy  under  the  law,  what 
shame  will  it  be  for  you  in  the  sight  of  God,  ye  slothful  and 
idle  ministers,  if  ye  raise  not  up  children  unto  Jesus  Christ 
by  the  ministry  of  the  word,  by  prayers,  and  by  the  labours 
proper  to  the  hierarchy. 

29.  There  were  therefore  seven  brethren :  and  the  first  took  a  wife, 
and  died  without  cliildren.  30.  And  the  second  took  her  to  wife,  and 
he  died  childless.  31.  And  the  third  took  her  ;  and  in  like  manner  the 
seven  also:  and  they  left  no  children,  and  died. 

Disorderly  marriages,  and  such  as  proceed  from  incon- 
tinence, are  frequently  punished  with  barrenness.  And  the 
spiritual  marriage  between  a  bishop  and  his  church  is  but  too 
commonly  attended  with  a  deplorable  barrenness  when  he 
brings  along  with  him  neither  a  call,  nor  virtues,  nor  talents, 
but  only  ambition,  avarice,  and  other  criminal  passions.  This 
long  list  of  husbands  dying  childless,  is  a  sad  representation 
of  the  desolation  and  barrenness  of  so  many  dioceses  whose 
lot  is  to  have,  for  bishops,  persons  who  contemn  their  spouses, 
and  leave  them  barren. 

32.  Last  of  all  the  woman  died  also.  33.  Therefore  in  the  resurrec- 
tion whose  wife  of  them  is  she  ?  for  seven  had  her  to  wife. 

With  how  many  vain  questions  and  fruitless  curiosities  does 
man  fill  his  mind  on  these  occasions,  instead  of  making  a 
Christian  use  of  worldly  events  ?  God  frequently  confounds 
the  designs  which  men  frame  beforehand,  concerning  children 
who  are  not  yet  come  into  the  world.  He  obliges  them  to 
think  rather  of  dying  to  this  present  world,  than  of  immortal- 
izing themselves  by  a  numerous  and  flourishing  posterity,  the 
hopes  whereof  are  so  deceitful  and  uncertain.  Nothing  but 
the  glorious  resurrection  can  render  us  immortal ;  and  nothing 
but  the  hopes  we  have  of  this,  can  yield  us  any  comfort  and 
consolation  here  below.  It  is  by  our  fruitfulness  in  good  works 
that  we  must  do  all  we  can  to  deserve  it  and  attain  unto  it. 

CHAPTER    XX.  211 

34.  And  Jesus  answering  said  unto  them,  The  children  of  this  world 
marry,  and  are  given  in  marriage :  35.  But  they  which  shall  be  ac- 
counted worthy  to  obtain  that  world,  and  the  resurrection  from  the  dead, 
neither  marry,  nor  are  given  in  marriage  : 

Who  shall  be  accounted  most  worthy  to  obtain  that  world, 
but  he  who  has  most  despised  the  present,  and  all  its  transi- 
tory advantages,  and,  by  Christian  hope,  set  his  heart  entirely 
upon  invisible  treasures  and  the  years  of  eternity?  The  vir- 
tue of  a  good  life,  which  makes  us  counted  worthy  of  that 
which  is  eternal,  being  founded  only  upon  the  grace  and  mercy 
of  God,  does  not  in  the  least  hinder  it  from  being  a  pure  gift 
of  the  divine  bounty.  Let  us  aspire  to  this  angelical  life  of 
the  saints  after  the  resurrection,  the  first  advantage  of  which 
is  a  virginal  purity.  Let  us  begin  it  even  in  this  life,  if  we 
are  able — every  one  according  to  his  gift  and  the  state  where- 
unto  he  is  called. 

36.  Neither  can  they  die  any  more :  for  they  are  equal  unto  the  angels  ; 
and  are  the  children  of  God,  being  the  children  of  the  resurrection. 

The  second  advantage  of  the  saints  after  the  resurrection 
is,  to  partake  of  the  immortality  of  the  angels.  They  will 
then  have  no  more  passions,  no  more  occasion  for  food,  and 
no  more  fear  of  dying,  than  pure  spirits.  The  third  advantage 
of  the  glory  of  the  children  of  the  resurrection  is,  a  new  birth, 
wherein  they  will  have  no  other  father  but  the  Father  of  the 
world  to  come,  who  will  restore  life  to  the  members  as  he  has 
restored  it  to  the  Head,  by  the  eternal  and  immortal  Spirit 
working  in  them.  The  fourth  advantage  of  the  saints  raised 
from  the  dead  will  consist  in  this,  that  they  will  no  longer 
have  any  thing  of  the  life  of  Adam,  but  will  be  wholly  re- 
generated to  a  new  life,  and  become  entirely  the  children  of 
God  both  in  soul  and  body. 

87.  Now  that  the  dead  are  raised,  even  Moses  shewed  at  the  bush, 
when  he  calleth  the  Lord  the  God  of  Abraham,  and  the  God  of  Isaac, 
and  the  God  of  Jacob. 

That  which  our  Lord  mentions  here  is  a  convincing  proof 

of  the  resurrection.    Neither  the  remembrance  nor  the  reward 

of  the  righteous  can  be  lost.     God,  who  renders  their  piety 

immortal  in  heaven,  owes  to  his  justice  the  resurrection  of 

their  bodies,  which  make  a  part  of  themselves.     The  martyrs 

212  LUKE. 

having  lost  the  hfe  of  the  body  for  the  sake  of  God,  it  belongs 
to  his  justice  to  restore  it  to  them  again  by  the  resurrection. 
The  rest  of  the  saints  have  also  made  a  sacrifice  thereof  by 
the  disposition  of  their  hearts,  which  were  prepared  for  every 
thing,  as  Abraham  was  to  sacrifice  himself  in  his  son,  Isaac 
to  give  up  his  own  life,  and  Jacob  to  sacrifice  that  of  his  son 
Joseph  in  another  manner. 

38.  For  he  is  not  a  God  of  the  dead,  but  of  the  living :  for  all  live  unto 

They  who  are  to  rise  again,  only  that  they  may  die  eternally, 
do  not  properly  live  unto  him.  Those  live  continually  unto 
him  who  have  lost  their  lives  only  for  the  short  moment  of 
this  present  world,  and  for  whom  God  reserves  an  immortal 
life,  which  by  means  of  hope  they  enjoy  even  already.  Abra- 
ham received  an  earnest  and  figure  of  it  in  his  son,  who  sur- 
vived his  sacrifice ;  Isaac  in  himself;  and  Jacob  in  his  son 
Joseph.  Lord,  confirm  and  strengthen  in  me  the  faith  and 
hope  of  this  new  life;  and  grant  that  I  may  always  live  unto 
thee  and  for  thee. 

39.  If  Then  certain  of  the  scribes  answering  said,  Master,  thou  hast 
well  said. 

To  approve  of  truth  is  certainly  a  very  good  thing ;  but 
when  we  do  it  not  at  all  times,  we  have  reason  to  fear  that  we 
do  not  approve  of  it  out  of  any  love  we  have  for  truth  itself, 
but  either  out  of  a  fondness  for  our  own  opinion,  or  through 
a  personal  opposition  to  those  who  entertain  a  contrary,  or 
from  a  mere  want  of  power  to  contradict  it,  or  a  proud  usurpa- 
tion of  the  key  of  knowledge,  and  of  the  right  to  judge  of 
every  thing.  We  must  give  our  approbation  of  the  truth  as 
disciples,  and  not  as  masters  ;  with  humility,  and  not  with 
pride  and  ostentation,  like  these  scribes. 

40.  And  after  that  they  durst  not  ask  him  any  question  at  all. 

The  silence  of  the  enemies  of  truth  is  no  mark  either  of  the 
conversion  of  their  hearts  or  of  the  conviction  of  their  minds. 
Oftentimes  they  cease  to  oppose  it  in  the  way  of  dispute,  only 
that  they  may  lay  more  dangerous  snares  for  it,  and  oppress 
it  cither  by  open  force  or  secret  combination.  God  is  the 
Lord  and  disposer  of  all  things.     It  is  always  for  his  glory  to 

CHAPTER    XX.  213 

render  truth  victorious  in  dispute ;  it  is  often  for  his  glory  to 
permit  the  defenders  of  it  to  sink  under  the  artifices  and  vio- 
lence of  its  enemies. 


41.  And  he  said  unto  them,  How  say  they  that  Christ  is  David's  son  ? 
Christ  was  born  the  son  of  David  according  to  the  flesh,  to 

accompHsh  the  promises ;  but  he  was  not  born  of  that  royal 
family  till  after  it  was  fallen  into  poverty  and  obscurity,  to 
give  us  an  example  of  humility,  to  teach  us  to  despise  all  ad- 
vantages of  this  kind,  and  to  confound  the  vanity  of  men. 

42.  And  David  himself  saith  in  the  book  of  Psalms,  The  Lord  said 
unto  my  Lord,  Sit  thou  on  my  right  hand, 

David,  in  owning  the  Messias  to  be  his  Lord,  owns  him  to 
be  the  Son  of  God,  equal  to  his  Father  by  his  eternal  birth, 
humbled  under  his  almighty  hand  by  his  temporal  birth,  and 
exalted  and  placed  at  his  right  hand  by  his  new  birth  to  im- 
mortal life,  which  puts  his  human  nature  into  possession  of 
the  rights  belonging  to  his  divine.  Rest,  glory,  and  an  al- 
mighty power  in  heaven  and  on  earth  to  form  the  kingdom 
of  God,  are  denoted  by  this  sitting.  This  ought  to  be  the 
continual  object  of  our  adoration,  our  joy,  and  our  confidence. 

43.  Till  I  make  thine  enemies  tiiy  footstool. 

Jesus  will  be  eternally  the  same ;  but  even  to  the  end  of 
the  world  he  will  do  no  other  thing  but  what  he  does  at 
present,  to  form  his  church,  to  destroy  sin,  and  to  fight  for 
and  in  his  elect  against  the  power  of  hell,  and  against  con- 
cupiscence. Christ  has  now  no  other  enemies  besides  those 
of  our  salvation  and  of  the  whole  church.  It  is  only  for 
our  sakes  that  he  triumphs  over  them.  When  will  it  be,  0 
Lord,  that  I  shall  behold  every  thing  reduced  under  thy  feet 
which  in  me  opposes  thy  law ;  and,  above  all,  my  evil  will  and 
corrupt  inclinations,  which  are  my  greatest  enemies  as  well 
as  thine  ? 

44.  David  therefore  calleth  him  Lord,  how  is  he  then  his  son  ? 
Jesus  Christ,  that  adorable  compound  of  God  and  man,  con- 
tains in  himself  both  lowliness  and  greatness,  dependency  and 

214  L  U  K  E. 

soA'ereign  independency,  the  creature  and  the  Creator,  the  God 
who  gave  being  and  life  to  David,  and  the  man  "who  received 
a  body  derived  from  his  blood,  and  united  to  the  person  of 
the  divine  Word.  Let  us  steadfastly  believe  this  mystery  of  a 
God  who  became  the  Son  of  man,  that  men  might  become 
the  children  of  God :  for  on  this  very  thing  our  salvation 
does  depend ;  and  this  second  mystery  is  annexed  to  the  first. 

45.  f  Then  in  the  audience  of  all  the  people  he  said  unto  his  disciples, 
46.  Beware  of  the  scribes,  which  desire  to  walk  in  long  robes,  and  love 
greetings  in  the  markets,  and  the  highest  seats  in  the  synagogues,  and 
the  chief  rooms  at  feasts  ; 

Such  pastors  or  teachers  as  are  proud,  ambitious,  hypo- 
critical, and  covetous,  are  more  dangerous  than  common  and 
ordinary  sinners.  A  bad  example,  supported  by  the  author- 
ity, reputation,  and  majesty  of  religion,  is  a  very  subtle  poi- 
son, from  which  it  is  very  difficult  for  men  to  preserve  them- 
selves. It  is  a  great  misfortune  for  any  people  to  be  obliged 
to  beware  of  those  very  persons  who  ought  to  be  their  rule 
and  pattern.  In  vain  do  those  preach  humility  by  their  words, 
whose  whole  conduct  and  behaviour  preaches  nothing  but 
pride.  When  we  see  in  those  whom  God  enjoins  us  to  respect 
such  inclinations  as  are  agreeable  to  self-love,  it  is  very  diflS- 
cult  for  us  not  to  approve  of  them,  and  not  follow  a  guide 
authorized  by  his  character,  when  he  shows  us  a  way  to  which 
natural  propensity  already  carries  us  with  violence. 

47.  Which  devour  widows'  houses,  and  for  a  show  make  long  prayers: 
the  same  shall  receive  greater  damnation. 

Christian  widows,  above  all  persons,  ought  to  beware  of  the 
great  pretenders  to  devotion.  The  necessity  of  seeking  coun- 
sel and  assistance  abroad  for  want  of  that  of  a  husband,  the 
diligence  and  craft  of  a  hypocrite  who  makes  himself  neces- 
sary, the  easiness  of  their  sex,  the  liberty  they  have  to  dispose 
of  their  estate,  the  impression  which  a  religious  appearance 
makes  upon  them,  etc.,  render  widows  very  capable  of  being 
deceived.  They  who  sell  their  prayers  and  their  advice  at  so 
dear  a  rate,  shall  pay  dearly  themselves  for  that  whereof  they 
rob  the  poor,  by  robbing  pious  widows,  who  are  the  common 
refuge  of  such  distressed  persons. 




1.  And  he  looked  up,  and  saw  the  rich  men  casting  their  gifts  into 
the  treasury. 

Christ  even  now  beholds,  with  no  less  attention,  the  visible 

hand  and  the  invisible  heart,  both  of  the  rich  and  poor.      We 

must  desire  to  be  seen  by  no  other  eyes  but  those  of  Christ, 

if  we  desire  to  receive  the  invisible  reward  of  charity,  and  not 

the  empty  reward  of  vanity.     Christ  does  not  blame  any  thing 

in  these  rich  men,  to  teach  us  not  to  judge  of  the  intentions 

when  the  action  is  in  itself  good. 

2.  And  he  saw  also  a  certain  poor  widow  casting  in  thither  two  mites. 
A  poor  man  who  gives  to  God  even  the  necessaries  of  life, 

is  a  sight  more  worthy  to  attract  the  eyes  of  Christ,  than  a 
rich  man  who  gives  millions  out  of  his  superfluity.  It  is  the 
same  in  proportion  as  to  all  other  actions.  They  are  not 
the  eminent  actions  of  the  great  which  are  great  in  the  sight 
of  God ;  but  they  are  those  which  are  done  with  a  true  Chris- 
tian heart, — a  heart  which  is  thoroughly  sensible  of  its  own 
poverty,  which,  like  a  widow,  bewails  the  death  of  the  heavenly 
Bridegroom,  and  sighs  only  for  him,  which  offers  to  God  what- 
ever it  is,  whatever  it  does,  and  whatever  it  possesses,  and  yet 
always  believes  it  scarce  offers  to  him  any  thing  at  all. 

3.  And  he  said,  Of  a  truth  I  say  unto  you,  that  this  poor  widow  hath 
cast  in  more  than  they  all. 

God  judges  of  the  greatness  of  the  gift,  not  by  the  gift  it- 
self, but  by  the  heart  which  offers  it.  The  applause  which 
the  great  gifts  of  the  rich  receive,  the  complacency  they  take 
in  them,  and  the  little  religion  wherewith  they  are  frequently 
accompanied,  degrade  and  lessen  them  in  the  sight  of  God.  A 
poor  person,  rich  in  faith,  charity,  and  humility,  cannot  pos- 
sibly offer  small  gifts ;  because  religion  heightens,  ennobles, 
augments,  and  multiplies  the  least  things  which  it  consecrates 
to  God. 

4.  For  all  these  have  of  their  abundance  cast  in  unto  the  offerings  of 
God:  but  she  of  her  penury  hath  cast  in  all  the  living  that  she  had. 

The  rich    man  who  gives   a  great    deal,  still  reserves  a 

216  LUKE. 

great  deal  to  himself.  Nothing  remains  to  the  poor  man  who 
gives  all  he  has,  but  only  confidence  in  God.  God  does  not 
indeed  reject  the  voluntary  sacrifice  of  that  which  is  superflu- 
ous :  but  for  a  man  to  offer  even  necessaries,  is  to  off'cr  his 
own  life,  is  to  sacrifice  his  own  heart,  which  loves  nothing  so 
much  as  life.  God  manifests  his  greatness  and  the  power  of 
his  grace  in  disengaging  a  soul  even  from  that  which  is  most 
necessary  to  life,  and  raising  it  above  the  fears  of  poverty,  by 
the  love  of  religion,  and  the  belief  of  Providence. 


5.  ^  And  as  some  spake  of  the  temple,  how  it  was  adorned  with  goodly 
stones  and  gifts,  he  said,  6.  As  for  these  things  which  ye  behold,  the 
days  will  come,  in  the  which  there  shall  not  be  left  one  stone  upon  an- 
other, that  shall  not  be  thrown  down. 

That  which  appears  most  magnificent  to  the  eyes  of  the 
flesh  may  amuse'  the  curiosity  of  men,  but  it  is  not  worthy 
of  the  observation  of  Christ  or  of  the  admiration  of  his  mem- 
bers. They  who  have  other  eyes  besides  those  of  the  body, 
have  likewise  another  beauty  to  admire  besides  that  which 
must  perish.  Christ,  by  his  conduct,  teaches  us  what  use  we 
ought  to  make  of  the  sight  of  such  objects  as  these ;  namely, 
to  consider  that  in  a  very  little  time  they  will  disappear  and 
be  no  more,  and  that  there  is  nothing  solid  and  durable  but 
that  which  is  not  seen.  The  wrath  of  God,  which  broke  out 
with  so  much  fierceness  against  this  figurative  temple,  is  but 
a  shadow  of  that  wrath  which  he  frequently  exercises  upon 
kingdoms,  possessions,  and  souls  wherein  he  has  been  served 
and  worshipped,  and  which  have  abused  his  greatest  gifts. 

7.  And  they  asked  him,  saying.  Master,  but  when  shall  these  things 
be  ?  and  what  sign  loill  there  be  when  these  things  shall  come  to  pass? 

Nothing  is  more  useful  and  profitable  than  to  discourse 
concerning  the  judgments  of  God,  the  destruction  of  every 
thing  which  makes  the  greatest  figure  in  the  world,  and  the 
end  even  of  this  sinful  Avorld  itself:  nothing  is  more  unpro- 
fitable than  to  entertain  and  amuse  our  minds  with  the  beauty 
of  human  works.  Christ  could  not  be  induced  to  admire  the 
latter ;  but  he  very  readily  enters  into  a  conversation  about 
the  former. 

CHAPTER    XXT.  217 

8.  And  he  said,  Take  heed  that  ye  be  not  deceived :  for  many  shall 
come  in  my  name,  saying,  I  am  Christ ;  and  the  time  draweth  near :  go 
ye  not  therefore  after  them. 

If  the  apostles  themselves  had  need  of  being  warned  not 

to  mistake,  in  taking  a  seducer  for  a  Saviour,  a  false  Christ 

for  the  true,  alas  !  what  seducement  have  we  not  reason  to 

fear  ?     We  find  a  false  Christ  whenever  we  find  a  deceitful 

guide,  who  directs  us  not  to  Jesus  Christ,  who  leads  us  to  a 

church  which  is  not  his,  who  inspires  us  with  a  doctrine  which 

he  never  taught,  who  diverts  us  from  the  way  of  the  gospel, 

and  who,  by  his  whole  conduct,  carries  us  at  a  distance  from 

the  cross  and  from  salvation. 

9.  But  when  ye  shall  hear  of  wars  and  commotions,  he  not  terrified : 
for  these  things  must  first  come  to  pass ;  but  the  end  is  not  by  and  by. 

Wars  are  the  forerunners  of  the  last  judgment,  the  begin- 
ning of  the  divine  vengeance  upon  sinners,  and  an  emblem 
of  the  destruction  of  the  world.  To  punish  sinners,  God 
need  only  abandon  them  to  their  own  passions,  from  whence 
proceed  quarrels  and  lawsuits  between  private  persons,  and 
wars  and  revolts  among  states  and  princes.  Those  ambitious 
persons  who  lay  waste  whole  provinces,  who  raise  to  them- 
selves so  great  a  name  in  the  world,  what  are  they  but  the 
executioners  of  God's  justice,  who  already  begins  his  judg- 
ment ?  Great  armies  are  for  the  most  part  no  other  than 
great  multitudes  of  criminals,  whom  God  draws  together  to 
punish  one  another :  the  field  of  battle  is  only  a  great  scaf- 
fold, where  they  are  made  a  spectacle  to  the  rest  of  the 
world ;  and  fire  and  sword,  the  arms  of  his  justice,  which  he 
puts  into  their  hands  that  they  may  execute  one  another  there- 
with. How  dreadful,  then,  will  it  be  when  the  end  and  con- 
summation of  this  justice  shall  come,  and  both  the  fire  and  the 
sword  shall  be,  as  one  may  say,  in  the  hand  of  God  himself! 

10.  Then  said  he  unto  them,  Nation  shall  rise  against  nation,  and 
kingdom  against  kingdom : 

Seditions,  rebellions,  and  civil  wars  are  fruits  of  hell  and 
the  work  of  the  devil ;  but  God  makes  use  of  those  as  he  does 
of  these,  to  punish  both  kings  and  people  for  their  rebellions 
against  him,  and  for  that  intestine  war  which  the  flesh  wages 
against  the  Spirit  in  them  both.     None  but  God  can  bring 

Vol.  II.— 19 

218  L  U  K  E. 

good  out  of  so  great  evils  !  but  he  makes  them  subservient  to 
his  mercy  in  a  small  number  of  elect,  and  to  his  justice  in  all 

11.  And  great  earthquakes  shall  be  in  divers  places,  and  famines,  and 
pestilences  ;  and  fearful  sights  and  great  signs  shall  there  be  from  heaven. 

Let  us  fear  sin  and  love  God,  and  we  shall  not  fear  these 
evils.  They  are  dreadful  to  none  but  those  whose  bad  con- 
science hinders  them  from  loving  the  coming  of  Christ.  To 
such  they  are  dismal  presages  of  the  end  of  all  their  false 
happiness,  and  of  the  beginning  of  an  endless  misery ;  to 
others  they  are  blessed  omens  of  their  approaching  deliver- 
ance, and  of  the  kingdom  of  their  Deliverer,  and  means 
whereby  they  purify  and  prepare  themselves  to  appear  before 
him  with  confidence.  Happy  is  that  person  who  makes  this 
use  of  all  public  calamities,  and  who  still  finds  something  in 
them  to  nourish  his  faith,  to  strengthen  his  hope,  and  to  in- 
crease his  charity. 


12.  But  before  all  these,  they  shall  lay  their  hands  on  you,  and  perse- 
cute you,  delivering  you  up  to  the  synagogues,  and  into  prisons,  being 
brought  before  kings  and  rulers  for  my  name's  sake.  13.  And  it  shall 
turn  to  you  for  a  testimony. 

Persecution  is  useful  and  profitable,  because  it  gives  men 
an  opportunity  of  making  the  truth  known,  of  giving  testi- 
mony thereto  at  the  expense  of  that  which  is  most  dear  to 
them,  of  trying  their  patience,  of  knowing  their  own  hearts, 
and  of  adhering  the  more  steadfastly  to  Christ  the  more  the 
world  despises  and  rejects  them,  and  the  more  it  endeavours 
to  force  them  to  hate  him.  We  are  very  forward  to  appear 
before  kings  and  great  persons  in  order  to  receive  benefits, 
and  to  pay  them  in  praises  and  flatteries ;  but  we  are  never 
80  to  appear  before  them  to  tell  them  the  truth,  or  to  speak 
in  favour  of  innocence,  which  is  the  cause  of  Christ.  Happy 
the  martyrs  and  confessors  whom  God  has  chosen  and  ren- 
dered worthy  to  maintain  the  cause  of  truth  and  righteous- 
ness, which  is  his  own !  Unhappy  their  persecutors,  not  to 
know  that  those  whom  they  treated  so  cruelly  were  the  only 


persons  who  could  have  promoted  their  salvation,  while  those 
whom  they  loaded  with  their  favours  were  only  instrumental 
to  their  damnation. 

14.  Settle  it  therefore  in  your  hearts,  not  to  meditate  before  what  ye 
shall  answer: 

It  must  necessarily  be  of  very  great  importance,  then,  for 
us  not  to  depend  either  upon  any  light  or  prudence  with 
which  our  own  understanding  can  supply  us,  or  upon  any 
strength  or  firmness  which  we  may  promise  ourselves  from  our 
own  courage.  He  who  enjoins  his  servants  to  watch  at  all 
times,  and  to  pray  without  ceasing,  is  far  from  designing  here 
to  forbid  them  to  do  either,  since  it  is  by  means  even  of  vigi- 
lance and  prayer  that  this  very  thought  is  most  deeply  settled 
in  their  hearts.  It  is  a  great  part  of  vigilance,  and  one  of 
the  chief  fruits  of  prayer,  for  a  man  to  learn  therein  to  put 
his  whole  trust  and  confidence  in  God,  and  to  rely  only  upon 
his  grace. 

15.  For  I  will  give  you  a  mouth  and  wisdom,  which  all  your  adversa- 
ries shall  not  be  able  to  gainsay  nor  resist. 

No  eloquence,  no  wisdom,  except  those  which  God  gives, 
are  victorious,  and  proof  against  those  of  the  world.  By  faith, 
a  man  knows  very  well  how  to  resign  himself  up  entirely  to 
God  without  tempting  him.  Can  the  Spirit  of  God  then  be 
less  powerful  over  the  heart  of  man,  when  he  speaks  to  him 
immediately  by  himself,  to  cause  him  to  do  good,  and  when 
he  rules  the  will  of  his  creature  by  his  own  almighty  will,  to 
divert  it  from  evil,  than  when  he  speaks  to  one  man  by  the 
mouth  of  another?  Let  us  be  under  no  fear  of  any  violence 
to  be  ofiered  to  the  freedom  of  our  will,  when  it  is  its  God  and 
its  Creator  who  interposes  to  direct  it ;  but  let  us  fear  lest  we 
should  gainsay  and  resist  the  truth,  which  assures  us  that  no- 
thing can  gainsay  or  resist  his  Spirit  when  he  is  pleased  to 
render  his  elect  victorious  over  the  enemies  of  their  salvation. 

16.  And  ye  shall  be  betrayed  both  by  parents,  and  brethren,  and  kins- 
folks, and  friends ;  and  Rome  of  you  shall  they  cause  to  be  put  to  death. 

Obstacles  and  hinderances  to  piety,  and  even  the  greatest 
persecutions,  frequently  proceed  from  our  friends  and  rela- 
tions. They  do  us  less  hurt  when  they  strip  us  of  all  we  have. 

and  deliver  us  up  to  the  executioner,  than  ^yhen  they  hinder 
us  from  following  Christ,  and  from  being  obedient  to  his  law 
and  inspirations.  In  these  days,  men  do  not  think  they  have 
any  occasion  to  fear  persecution  from  their  friends  and  rela- 
tions ;  and  it  is  this  very  thing  which  renders  it  the  more  dan- 
gerous. Do  they  persecute  us  less  when  they  deliver  us  up 
to  ambition,  vanity,  and  the  torrent  of  worldly  desires,  by 
engaging  us  in  dangerous  employments,  and  advancing  us  to 
great  places  ?  Is  eternal  salvation  of  less  value  than  the  life 
of  the  body  ? 

17.  And  ye  shall  be  hated  of  all  men  for  my  name's  sake. 

Happy  is  that  person  who  is  hated  by  the  world  for  the 
sake  of  Christ !  It  is  a  sign  that  he  loves  God,  and  is  loved 
by  him.  Though  a  Christian,  or  a  minister  of  Christ,  be  to 
live  only  among  Christians,  he  must,  notwithstanding,  expect 
to  see  the  world  combined  against  him  whenever  he  shall 
maintain  the  interests  of  Christ  against  the  world.  Not  to 
resemble  the  world,  is  enough  to  draw  upon  us  its  hatred ;  but 
then  it  is  likewise  enough  to  make  us  resemble  Christ,  and  to 
entitle  us  to  his  love  and  the  protection  of  his  grace.  It  is 
not  the  hatred  of  the  world  which  sanctifies  us,  but  the  love 
of  God  which  makes  that  hatred  profitable  to  us,  and  the  cause 
of  Christ  which  heightens  and  ennobles  it. 

18.  But  there  shall  not  a  hair  of  your  head  perish. 

Let  us  engrave  these  words  upon  our  hearts,  and  be 
thoroughly  sensible  how  adorable  the  providence  of  God  over 
his  servants  is,  and  how  great  a  source  of  consolation  it  is  for 
them.  That  which  is  lost  only  for  a  moment,  is  looked  'upon 
as  a  loss  by  none  but  those  who  understand  not  the  secret  of 
the  gospel.  When  we  cast  seed  into  the  earth  which  will 
spring  up,  and  in  due  season  bear  a  hundred-fold,  we  do  not 
lose  it  in  any  respect ;  but  to  be  unwilling  to  lose  any  thing 
in  this  manner,  is  the  certain  way  to  lose  every  thing. 

19.  In  your  patience  possess  ye  your  souls. 

It  is  patience  alone  which  renders  us  masters  of  ourselves, 
under  the  loss  of  all  things.  Persecution,  which  deprives 
those  of  every  thing  whose  heart  is  in  their  treasure,  secures 

CHAPTER   XXI.  221 

every  thing  to  those  who  have  the  good  treasure  in  their  heart. 
Christian  suffering  is  the  price  of  salvation.  It  is  by  this  that 
sinners  obtain  righteousness,  that  the  just  preserve  it,  that 
penitents  recover  it,  that  martyrs  sacrifice  themselves  for  it, 
and  that  the  saints  receive  the  crown  thereof,  and  possess 
themselves  in  possessing  God. 


20.  And  when  ye  shall  see  Jerusalem  compassed  with  armies,  then 
know  that  the  desolation  thereof  is  nigh. 

We  know  by  fatal  experience  that  armies  carry  desolation 
into  all  places ;  but  we  are  not  sufficiently  sensible  that  they 
are  the  sins  of  men  which  draw  them  together,  which  keep 
them  up,  which  regulate  their  operations  in  the  council  of  the 
Lord  of  hosts,  and  which  occasion  the  success  of  them.  The 
only  way  either  to  disperse  them  or  to  make  them  instru- 
mental to  our  salvation,  is  to  be  converted. 

21.  Then  let  them  which  are  in  Judea  flee  to  the  mountains;  and  let 
them  which  are  in  the  midst  of  it  depart  out ;  and  let  not  them  that  are 
in  the  countries  enter  thereinto. 

The  true  way  to  flee  from  the  wrath  of  God  is  to  flee  from  the 

world  by  retirement,  or  at  least  to  flee  from  sin  by  a  speedy  and 

sincere  conversion.    Happy  they  who,  anticipating  the  time  of 

wrath,  have  already  fled  to  the  mountain,  the  true  church,  leaving 

a  reprobate  society,  and  never  more  returning  into  it !    Happy 

likewise   is  he  who,  profiting  by  wholesome  admonitions,  has 

recourse  to  God,  whom  we  may  suppose  signified  by  these 

mountains,  who  separates  himself  from  bad  company  and  the 

occasions  of  sin,  and  never  more  engages  himself  therein ! 

22.  For  these  be  the  days  of  vengeance,  that  all  things  Avhich  are 
written  may  be  fulfilled. 

Let  us  make  the  best  use  of  the  days  of  mercy,  in  punishing 

sin  in  ourselves  by  repentance  and  mortification,  that  we  may 

anticipate  the  days  of  the  divine  vengeance.    Is  not  that  with 

which  every  sinner  is  threatened,  in  case  he  be  not  converted, 

without  comparison  more  to  be  dreaded,  though  it  be  less  the 

object  of  our  senses  ?     We  must  frequently  think  of  it,  if  we 

would  avoid  it.      "We  are  afraid  of  representing  this  matter  to 


222  LU  K  E. 

our  minds  by  serious  reflection  and  meditation,  lest  it  should 
give  us  too  much  disturbance  and  concern ;  and  our  greatest 
misfortune  is,  that  we  are  not  sufficiently  disturbed  and  con- 
cerned about  it.  We  endeavour  to  lull  our  faith  asleep  with 
respect  to  the  threatenings  whereof  the  Scripture  is  full,  lest 
too  lively  a  faith  should  render  us  uneasy :  but  can  this  in- 
sensibility hinder  all  things  that  are  written  from  being  ful- 
filled, if  we  continue  unconverted  ? 

23.  But  woe  unto  them  that  are  witli  child,  and  to  them  that  give 
suck,  in  those  days !  for  there  shall  be  great  disti'ess  in  the  land,  and 
wrath  upon  this  people. 

Miserable  is  that  person  whom  natural  tenderness  hinders 
from  avoiding  the  wrath  of  God !  We  are  never  sufficiently 
sensible  how  dangerous  it  is  to  bring  ourselves  under  earthly 
ties,  till  we  are  forced  either  to  break  them  or  perish.  Let 
us  begin  betimes  to  disengage  ourselves  from  the  incum- 
brances of  the  world,  that  death  may  not  find  us  loaded  with 
chains  which  we  cannot  shake  off.  The  generality  of  persons 
at  that  hour,  being  either  filled  with  anxious  cares  for  their 
children  whom  they  are  about  to  leave,  or  wholly  taken  up 
with  the  concerns  of  a  family  of  which  they  are  extravagantly 
fond,  have  no  time  to  flee  from  the  wrath  of  God  which  is 
just  ready  to  overwhelm  them,  and  which  will  not  end  with 
death  like  that  which  is  here  spoken  of. 

24.  And  they  shall  fall  by  the  edge  of  the  sword,  and  shall  be  led  away 
captive  into  all  nations :  and  -Jerusalem  shall  be  trodden  down  of  the 
Gentiles,  until  the  times  of  the  Gentiles  be  fulfilled. 

What  miseries  do  those  undergo,  even  in  this  world,  who 
have  rejected  Jesus  Christ !  The  humiliation,  slavery,  and 
death  with  which  the  Jews  have  been  punished,  hindered  not 
this  miserable  people  from  still  hoping  to  be  recalled  and  re- 
established ;  but  to  those  whom  the  wrath  of  God  shall  over- 
whelm at  the  last  day,  there  will  not  remain  even  the  least 
shadow  of  any  hope.  The  Jews  are  dispersed  into  all  nations, 
to  proclaim  and  show  to  all  the  world  what  a  people  or  a  soul 
is  without  Jesus  Christ ;  what  it  is  to  have  let  slip  the  time 
and  opportunity  of  repentance  ;  and  what  it  is  to  have  heard, 
without  bringing  forth  any  fruit,  the  Saviour  and  his  gospel. 
That  Avhich  has  happened  to  this  people  happens  to  every  one 


•who  is  finally  impenitent ;  but  after  a  manner  which  is  much 
more  dreadful. 


25.  f  And  there  shall  be  signs  in  the  sun,  and  in  the  moon,  and  in  the 
stars ;  and  upon  the  earth  distress  of  nations,  with  perplexity ;  the  sea 
and  the  waves  roaring  ; 

All  nature  will  be  armed  against  the  sinner  at  the  day  of 
judgment.  God  continually  arms  it  against  us  by  drought, 
excessive  rain,  the  barrenness  of  the  earth,  the  multitude  of 
insects,  the  irregularity  of  the  seasons,  the  malignity  of  the 
air,  etc. ;  and  we  take  no  notice  that  his  finger  is  in  all  this.  All 
these  convulsions  of  nature  are  no  more  than  signs  of  the 
divine  wrath  :  how  then  will  it  be  when  God  himself  shall  ap- 
pear, and  pronounce  the  sentence  of  his  judgment  against  the 
wicked?  His  goodness  manifests  itself  in  the  midst  of  the 
most  terrible  presages  of  his  fury,  since  it  is  by  these  that 
he  would  persuade  us  to  avoid  his  anger  by  repentance. 

26.  Men's  hearts  failing  them  for  fear,  and  for  looking  after  those 
things  which  are  coming  on  the  earth :  for  the  powers  of  heaven  shall  be 

Let  faith  work  in  us  now  the  dread  and  terrors  of  the  last 
day.  They  will  then  be  common  to  all,  but  profitable  to  few. 
The  fear  of  temporal  evils,  of  which  men  already  see  the  be- 
ginnings, may  cause  indeed  their  hearts  to  fail  them,  but  it 
cannot  convert  them  of  itself.  The  fear  of  invisible  and  eter- 
nal evils,  which  is  excited  by  faith,  accompanied  with  hope, 
and  sanctified  and  perfected  by  charity,  is  that  alone  which 
is  beneficial,  and  which  is  indeed  more  the  fear  of  the  Lord 
than  the  fear  of  the  evils  themselves.  Give  us,  Lord,  now  in 
the  time  of  our  health,  a  calm  and  beneficial  sight  of  thy  jus- 
tice, of  which,  at  the  last  hour,  the  trouble  and  fear  of  death 
generally  give  but  very  imperfect  notions,  such  as  are  false  in 
themselves,  unworthy  of  thee,  and  altogether  unprofitable  to 
the  sinner ! 

27.  And  then  shall  they  see  the  Son  of  man  coming  in  a  cloud  with 
power  and  great  glory. 

Whoever  has  despised  the  Son  of  man  in  his  humility,  shall 

be  forced  to  see  him  in  all  his  majesty  and  power.     Those  to 

■whom  his  state  of  weakness  and  humiliation,  at  his  first  com- 
ing, has  been  an  occasion  of  scandal  and  incredulity,  shall, 
in  the  power  and  glory  of  his  second,  behold  their  infidelity 
confounded.  We  must,  by  a  true  meekness  and  humility  of 
heart,  conform  ourselves  to  the  first,  if  we  desire  to  partake 
of  the  greatness  and  glory  of  the  second.  It  is  just,  0  Jesus, 
that  thou  shouldst  appear  for  thy  glory,  in  thy  own  natural 
greatness  and  majesty — thou  who,  for  my  salvation,  wast 
pleased  to  appear  mean,  abject,  and  contemptible  to  the  eyes 
of  men.  Come  then.  Lord  Jesus,  in  the  glory  which  is  suit- 
able to  the  only-begotten  of  the  Father  ! 

28.  And  when  these  things  begin  to  come  to  pass,  then  look  up,  and 
lift  up  your  heads  ;  for  your  redemption  draweth  nigh. 

0  day  of  afiiiction  and  confusion  for  the  reprobate,  how 
dreadful  art  thou!  0  day  of  redemption  and  confidence  for 
the  elect,  how  desirable  art  thou !  At  length  the  great  mys- 
tery of  the  gospel  is  about  to  be  made  manifest.  The  deceit- 
ful and  imaginary  felicity  of  this  world,  and  of  the  children 
thereof,  is  just  going  to  disappear,  and  to  be  changed  into  a 
state  of  tears,  despair,  and  misery  to  all  eternit}^ ;  and  the 
light  captivity,  afl!liction,  and  momentary  tears  of  the  elect 
are  going  to  be  changed  into  the  liberty,  joy,  and  glory  of  the 
children  of  God.  God  of  Israel !  Avhen  will  this  veil,  which 
hides  thy  children  from  the  sight  of  the  world,  be  taken 
away?  When  wilt  thou  appear  openly  with  thy  elect  in 
glory  ? 

29.  And  he  spake  to  them  a  parable ;  Behold  the  fig  tree,  and  all  the 
trees :  30.  When  they  noAV  shoot  forth,  ye  see  and  know  of  your  own 
selves  that  summer  is  now  nigh  at  hand.  31.  So  likewise  ye,  when  ye 
see  these  things  come  to  pass,  know  ye  that  the  kingdom  of  God  is  nigh 
at  hand. 

As  it  is  out  of  mercy  that  God  gives  presages  of  his  wrath, 

to  the  end  that  men  may  escape  it  by  repentance,  so  it  is  out 

of  a  particular  tenderness  toward  his  elect  that  he  discovers 

to  them  the  approach  of  his  kingdom.     It  is  the  approach  of 

this  kingdom   of  eternal    charity  and  justice,  which   enables 

them  to  endure  with  patience  the  afl[iictions  they  meet  with 

under  the  reign  of  the  iniquity  and  injustice  of  the  world. 

To  see  the  elect  always  persecuted  in  this  world,  their  out- 

CHAPTER    XXI.  225 

ward  life  appears  no  other  than  a  frightful  winter  to  carnal 
eyes.  But  whoever  could  behold  their  inward  life,  all  of  faith 
and  hope,  would  see  their  heart,  as  it  were,  in  a  continual 
spring,  wherein  they  look  upon  present  evils  as  past,  and 
future  good  as  present.  If  this  life  be  to  the  elect  the  time 
of  spring,  the  life  of  heaven  is  a  perpetual  summer,  which, 
without  losing  the  flowers  of  the  spring,  without  feeling  the 
decay  of  autumn,  or  fearing  the  desolation  of  winter,  possesses 
all  sorts  of  fruit  in  abundance.  Let  us  pursue  the  hint  which 
Christ  is  here  pleased  to  give  us,  by  accustoming  ourselves  to 
look  upon  this  present  world,  its  elements  and  seasons,  as  a  re- 
presentation of  the  world  to  come.  Sensual  and  sordid  persons 
look  upon  the  spring  as  a  time  which  is  favourable  to  their 
pleasures  and  their  covetousness :  true  Christians  look  upon 
this  general  resurrection  of  nature  as  a  slight  draught  of  the 
resurrection  of  the  children  of  God,  and  as  a  sign  of  the  ap- 
proach of  the  Sun  of  righteousness. 

32.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  This  generation  shall  not  pass  away  till  all 
be  fulfilled. 

Neither  the  crime  of  the  Jews,  nor  the  dispersion  of  this 

nation,  nor  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  which  Christ  had 

just  foretold,  will  hinder  God  from  fulfilling  his  promises  with 

respect  to  the  body  of  this  people.     It  is  to  this  end  that  he 

still  preserves  them,  in  order  to  bring  them  into  his  church, 

and  to  conduct  them  to  heaven,  the  true  land  of  promise. 

My  God,  how  faithful  art  thou  to  man  !  and  yet  man  cannot 

be  persuaded  to  trust  in  thee. 

33.  Heaven  and  earth  shall  pass  away  ;  but  my  words  shall  not  pass 

The  stability  and  truth  of  the  word  of  God,  whether  in  re- 
lation to  good  or  evil,  is  one  of  those  perfections  of  which  he 
is  most  jealous.  It  is  the  sin  of  bad  Christians,  as  well  as  of 
the  Jews,  not  to  give  credit  to  it.  A  king  promises  or  threat- 
ens, and  all  obey :  but  in  respect  of  God,  men  live  as  if  the 
promises  of  eternal  happiness,  and  the  threatenings  of  the 
miseries  of  hell,  were  only  the  predictions  of  an  almanac. 
Let  us,  therefore,  take  great  care  to  fix  and  settle  our  faith 
upon  the  veracity  of  God  and  the  immutability  of  his  word, 

226  L  U  K  E. 

to  receive  this  word,  to  hear  and  read  it  as  the  Ayord  of  God, 
such  as  it  really  is,  let  the  person  be  what  he  will  who  de- 
livers it. 


34.  And  take  heed  to  yourselves,  lest  at  any  time  your  hearts  be  over- 
charged with  surfeiting,  and  drunkenness,  and  cares  of  this  life,  and  so 
that  day  come  upon  you  unawares. 

Nothing  more  plainly  shows  how  little  faith  men  have  as  to 
the  threatenings  of  God,  of  which  his  word  is  full,  than  to 
observe  that  security  and  that  forgetfulness  of  death  wherein 
the  generality  of  Christians  live,  although  God  everywhere 
declares  that  we  shall  be  surprised  thereby.  Almost  all  per- 
sons endeavour  to  shut  their  eyes  against  this  truth  :  some  by 
a  life  openly  loose  and  disorderly,  and  by  sensual  pleasures ; 
others  by  the  multiplicity  of  afi'airs  with  which  they  are  en- 
tirely taken  up,  and,  as  it  were,  oppressed.  Christian  watch- 
fulness is  to  be  found  only  in  a  penitential  and  retired  life, 
or  at  least  in  a  life  disengaged  from  pleasure,  business,  ambi- 
tion, and  the  desire  of  worldly  riches. 

35.  For  as  a  snare  shall  it  come  on  all  them  that  dwell  on  the  face  of 
the  whole  earth. 

True  Christians,  who  seek  the  things  above,  and  not  those 

on  the  earth,  may  be  compared  to  the  fowls  of  the  air,  which, 

so  long  as  they  keep  at  a  distance  from  the  earth,  have  no 

occasion  to  fear  the  fowler's  nets.     Wo  unto  those  who,  as  it 

were,  settle  here  below,  and  whom  the  care  of  worldly  affairs, 

the  desire  of  raising  a  fortune,  and  the  love  of  this  present 

life,  and  of  the  conveniences  thereof,  render  perfectly  men  of 

the  earth.     Let  us,  with  the  wings  of  faith  and  hope,  raise 

ourselves  up  to  heaven,  that  we  may  not  be  caught  in  the  net 

here  below. 

36.  Watch  ye  therefore,  and  pray  always,  that  ye  may  be  accounted 
worthy  to  escape  all  these  things  that  shall  come  to  pass,  and  to  *  stand 
before  the  Son  of  man.     [*  Fr.  Appear  with  confidence.] 

Watchfulness  and  prayer  are  absolutely  necessary  to  pre- 
pare us  to  appear  with  confidence  at  the  last  day.  The  one 
is  inseparable  from  the  other,  and  both  are  so  from  good  works, 


since  we  cannot  be  attentive  to  our  duty  but  through  a  desire 
of  performing  it,  and  since  we  pray  only  in  order  to  obtain 
the  grace  of  being  faithful  thereto.  We  must  watch  and  pray 
always  and  at  all  times,  because  at  all  times  we  may  be  sum- 
moned before  the  tribunal  of  God.  If  our  tongue  cannot 
always  pray,  yet  our  heart  can,  for  this  prays  to  God  when 
it  desires  God  and  his  will,  and  when  it  hungers  and  thirsts 
after  his  righteousness  and  eternal  happiness.  A  great  part 
of  our  confidence  and  virtue  consists  in  being  diffident  of  our- 
selves, and  in  relying  solely  upon  the  grace  and  mercy  of  God, 
by  acknowledging  our  own  unworthiness  and  inability. 

37.  And  in  the  daytime  he  was  teaching  in  the  temple;  and  at  night 
he  went  out,  and  abode  in  the  mount  that  is  called  the  mount  of  Olives. 
38.  And  all  the  people  came  early  in  the  morning  to  him  in  the  temple, 
for  to  hear  him. 

The  usual  division  of  our  blessed  Saviour's  public  life  was, 
to  instruct  the  people  in  the  daytime,  to  pray  to  his  Father 
during  the  night,  to  join  mortification  with  prayer,  and  to  be 
always  ready  to  begin  his  labours  again  early  in  the  morning. 
In  how  happy  and  flourishing  a  condition  is  a  church,  when  a 
people,  hungering  after  the  word  of  God,  meets  with  a  pastor 
as  desirous  to  feed  them  with  it;  and  who  joins  to  his  instruc- 
tions watchfulness  and  prayer,  mortification  and  labour !  The 
love  and  holy  earnestness  of  a  well-disposed  people  toward  the 
word  of  God,  animate  the  zeal  of  a  pastor,  and  the  pastor's 
zeal  and  assiduity  encourage  and  animate  the  people. 



1.  Now  the  feast  of  unleavened  bread  drew  nigh,  which  is  called  the 

The  unleavened  bread  for  the  passover  is  purity  and  inno- 
cence for  the  communion.  The  whole  life  of  a  Christian 
ought  to  be  exempt  from  the  leaven  of  sin,  because  he  ought 
to  be  always  in  a  disposition  to  celebrate  the  eucharistic  pass- 
over,  always  ready  to  go  to  keep  the  eternal  passover  in 

22S  -  LUKE. 

heaven.  It  is  always  nigh  in  respect  of  that  person  who 
always  desires  it,  and  prepares  himself  continually  for  it. 
Cease  not,  0  Lord,  to  purify  my  heart  even  to  the  end,  thou 
who  hast  been  pleased  to  make  it,  as  it  were,  unleavened  bread 
by  baptism,  in  order  to  its  being  one  day  the  bread  of  God  in 
the  glory  of  heaven. 

2.  And  the  chief  priests  and  scribes  sought  how  they  might  kill  him  5 
for  they  feared  the  people. 

Ungrateful  wretches  !    whose   minds  are  wholly  taken  up 

with  designs  of  death  and  destruction  against  Christ,  while 

his  is  full  of  designs  of  life  and  salvation  for  the  Jews  and 

for  all  mankind.     That  person  is  in  a  very  miserable  state 

who  is  afraid  of  sin   upon  no   other  than  human  motives. 

This  is  not  to  hate  sin,  but  only  to  love  himself.      When 

those  who,  by  their  profession,  ought  to  breathe  nothing  but 

holiness    and   truth,  are   restrained  only  by  temporal  fear, 

that  passion  will  soon  be  overcome  by  one  more  violent  and 


3.  If  Then  entered  Satan  into  Judas  surnamed  Iscariot,  being  of  the 
number  of  the  twelve. 

A  priest,  a  minister  of  the  Lord,  is  seldom  corrupted  only 
in  part.  If  he  be  not  a  man  of  God,  and  a  faithful  instru- 
ment in  his  work,  he  has  great  reason  to  fear  lest  he  should 
become  a  man  of  the  devil,  and  an  instrument  in  promoting 
his  designs  of  darkness.  Nothing  gives  more  horror  than  the 
sight  of  a  person  possessed ;  and  yet  it  had  been  a  desirable 
mercy  for  Judas  to  have  been  delivered  up  to  Satan  to  be 
tormented  in  his  body,  rather  than  to  have  his  heart  possessed 
by  the  devil,  and  abandoned  to  his  temptation  and  illusion. 
It  is  avarice,  or  the  desire  of  earthly  riches,  which  generally 
lays  open  the  heart  of  ecclesiastical  persons  to  the  devil,  as 
it  did  that  of  this  apostle.  They  deliver  up  the  key  of  their 
hearts  when  they  deliver  up  themselves  to  this  passion. 

4.  And  he  went  his  way,  and  communed  with  the  chief  priests  and 
captains,  how  ho  might  betray  him  unto  them. 

He  who  has  once  given  up  his  heart  to  sin,  becomes  capable 

of  the  greatest  crimes.     There  may  possibly  be  one  Judas  or 

more  in  the  most  holy  society.  We  must  not  be  scandalized,  nor 

CHAPTEK    XXII.  229 

leave  it  on  this  account.  The  means  and  opportunities  which 
the  world  seeks  to  invade  the  rights  of  the  church,  and  to 
persecute  its  ministers,  are  generally  furnished  by  ambitious 
clergymen,  who  are  possessed  with  the  spirit  of  the  world  as 
it  were  with  a  devil.  The  avarice  and  infidelity  of  one  priest 
betrays  and  delivers  up  Christ  to  the  envy  and  revenge  of 
many  others.  That  which  was  seen  once  in  the  Head  will 
be  seen  very  often  in  the  members. 

5.  And  they  were  glad,  and  covenanted  to  give  him  money. 

It  is  a  terrible  judgment  upon  a  sinner  for  him  to  find 
means  of  putting  his  wicked  designs  in  execution,  and  for 
God  to  permit  him  to  meet  with  no  manner  of  obstacles 
therein.  How  many  sins  should  I  have  committed,  0  Lord, 
if  thou  hadst  not  vouchsafed  to  oppose  my  corrupt  will ! 
Blessed  be  thy  name  forever,  for  not  having  left  me  to  my- 
self, as  thou  didst  think  fit  to  leave  to  themselves  these  un- 
grateful priests. 

6.  And  he  promised,  and  sought  opportunity  to  betray  him  unto  them 
in  the  absence  of  the  multitude. 

Whoever  has  a  great  desire  to  be  rich,  falls  easily  into  the 
greatest  crimes.  A  priest  whose  heart  is  corrupted  by  ava- 
rice does  not  wait  till  an  opportunity  to  betray  truth,  justice, 
innocence,  and  Christ  himself,  is  presented  to  him  ;  but  he 
goes  to  meet  it,  he  seeks,  he  finds  it,  and  delivers  them  up  to 
their  greatest  enemies.  Shut  my  heart,  0  Jesus,  against  the 
love  of  worldly  riches,  lest  this  love  should  set  it  open  to 
admit  the  greatest  treacheries  against  thee,  or  against  the  in- 
terests of  thy  glory. 


7.  1[  Then  came  the  day  of  unleavened  bread,  when  the  passover  must 
be  killed. 

The  best  disposition  to  qualify  a  man  to  undergo  the  great- 
est afilictions,  and  even  death  itself,  is  quietly  to  perform  his 
duty  in  the  usual  manner,  after  the  example  of  the  Son  of 
God,  who  sees  every  thing  which  his  enemies  are  contriving 
against  him.  He  prepares  for  the  legal  passover  out  of  obe- 
dience to  the  law ;  and,  by  this  very  thing,  he  prepares   to 

sacrifice  himself  as  the  true  passover,  by  the  appointment  of 
his  Father,  and  to  give  the  type  and  figure  its  full  verity  and 
completion.  0  holy  and  truly  sanctifying  victim,  I  adore 
thee  as  the  only  person  among  all  mankind  worthy  to  be 
offered  to  God,  being  alone  the  true  unleavened  bread,  the 
man  without  sin,  and  the  lamb  without  spot  or  blemish. 

8.  And  he  sent  Peter  and  John,  saying,  Go  and  prepare  us  tlie  pass- 
over,  that  we  may  eat.  9.  And  they  said  unto  him.  Where  wilt  thou 
that  we  prepare  ? 

One  of  the  greatest  cares  of  a  Christian  ought  to  be,  to 
prepare  himself  to  celebrate  the  Christian  passover,  which  is 
the  holy  communion,  according  to  the  appointment  of  God 
and  the  designs  of  its  institution.  The  Jews  are  so  faithful 
in  keeping  their  figurative  passover,  in  memory  of  a  temporal 
deliverance;  and  sinners  delivered  from  sin  and  hell  by  the 
sacrifice  of  Christ  the  true  passover,  either  wholly  neglect  to 
celebrate  the  memorial  thereof  by  a  worthy  communion,  or 
perhaps,  even  while  they  do  communicate,  think  but  little 
either  of  the  death  of  Christ  who  has  delivered  them,  or  even 
of  the  deliverance  itself. 

10.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Behold,  when  ye  are  entered  into  the  city, 
there  shall  a  man  meet  you,  bearing  a  pitcher  of  water ;  follow  him  into 
the  house  where  he  entereth  in. 

Christ  knows  whatever  lies  most  concealed  and  hidden  in 
futurity.  He  by  this  gives  his  apostles  a  new  proof  of  his 
divinity,  to  awaken  their  faith,  and  to  prepare  them  for  the 
belief  of  the  mystery  which  he  is  going  to  institute.  Let  us 
learn  to  judge  of  this  mystery,  not  by  our  own  shallow  rea- 
son, but  by  the  idea  of  the  divine  omnipotence. 

11.  And  ye  shall  say  unto  the  goodman  of  the  house,  The  Master 
saith  unto  thee,  Where  is  the  guest-chamber,  where  I  shall  eat  the  pass- 
over  with  my  disciples  ? 

Whoever  is  not  a  disciple  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  has   not 

learned  of  him  to  renounce  sin,  and  to  love  his  righteousness, 

cannot  eat  the  passover  with  him,  nor  receive  his  body  and 

blood.     This  is  the  passover  of  those  who  are  delivered,  and 

whose  will  cleaves  no  longer  to  the  world  and  sin,  and  who, 

like  true  Israelites,  have  their  staff  in  their  hand,  just  ready 

to  depart.     He  who  is  not,  but  whose  will  continues  still  en- 


slaved  to  Egypt  and  Pharaoh,  to  the  world  and  the  devil 
through  sin,  cannot  partake  thereof;  as  the  Jews  did  not  eat 
the  legal  passover  till  they  were  just  going  out  of  Egypt,  and 
were  delivered  from  their  bondage  under  Pharaoh. 

12.  And  he  shall  shew  you  a  large  upper  room  furnished :  there  make 

A  large  upper  room  is  a  large  heart  extended  by  charity, 

furnished  and  adorned  with  all  Christian  virtues,  and  prepared 

and  made  ready  by  repentance  and  purity.     It  is  in  such  a 

heart  that  Christ  delights  to  keep  his  passover  :  but  it  belongs 

to  him  alone  to  form  and  prepare  such  a  heart. 

13.  And  they  went,  and  found  as  he  had  said  unto  them:  and  they 
made  ready  the  passover. 

Men  are  never  deceived  when  they  obey  the  command  of 

Christ.     Peter  and  John  prepare  a  passover  for  the  Son  of 

God  and  his  disciples ;  but  he  himself  is  preparing  another 

for  them  which  they  know  not  of,  and  disposing  himself  to 

render  them  capable  of  preparing  it  one  day  for  the  whole 

church,  by  making  them  priests  to  consecrate  his  body  and 

blood,  and  to  feed  souls  therewith. 

14.  And  when  the  hour  was  come,  he  sat  down,  and  the  twelve  apostles 
with  him. 

Christ  confines  himself  to  the  accustomed  hours,  to  teach 
ns  to  comply  with  those  of  God,  and  to  observe  those  appointed 
by  the  church  for  the  times  of  divine  service  and  prayer,  and 
for  the  duties  of  religion.  Nothing  has  a  more  godly  appear- 
ance, or  can  seem  more  united  than  this  society :  but  how  great 
is  the  difference,  in  the  sight  of  God,  between  the  heart  of 
Christ,  just  going  to  sacrifice  himself  to  God  his  Father  for 
the  salvation  of  the  world,  and  the  heart  of  Judas,  going  to 
sacrifice  himself  to  the  devil  in  order  to  destroy  even  the 
Saviour  of  the  world  himself? 

15.  And  he  said  unto  them.  With  desire  I  have  desired  to  eat  this 
passover  with  you  before  I  suifer : 

This  earnest  desire  of  Jesus  Christ  does  not  relate  to  the 

legal  and  ceremonial  passover,  but  to  the  eucharistic  passover 

and  the  sacrifice  of  which  he  was  going  to  be  the  victim.      The 

eucharistic  passover  was  celebrated  once,  by  way  of  anticipa- 

tion,  before  the  bloody  sacrifice  of  the  victim  of  salvation, 
and  before  the  deliverance  it  was  appointed  to  commemorate : 
as  the  figurative  passover  had  been  likewise  once  celebrated 
before  the  going  out  of  Egypt,  and  the  deliverance  of  God's 
chosen  people.  Let  us  blush  at  our  excessive  coldness  in  re- 
lation to  so  precious  a  gift,  when  we  consider  the  ardent 
desire  and  love  with  which  Christ  bestows  it  upon  us.  He 
desires  to  unite  himself  to  us  in  so  close  and  intimate  a  man- 
ner, as  if  he  was  to  receive  some  advantage  from  this  union ; 
and  those  whose  whole  happiness  depends  upon  it,  seem  to 
decline  and  avoid  it.  Put  me.  Lord,  into  such  a  disposition 
as  to  desire  it  more  and  more.  Thou  vouchsafest  to  give 
thyself  to  me,  because  thou  lovest  me ;  grant  that  I  may  love 
thee,  to  qualify  me  to  receive  thee. 

16.  For  I  say  unto  you,  I  will  not  any  more  eat  thereof,  until  it  be 
fulfilled  in  the  kingdom  of  God. 

The  sacrifice  of  Jesus  Christ,  which  is  the  completion  of 
the  figurative  sacrifices,  is  itself  entirely  perfected  and  com- 
pleted by  that  glory  alone  which  qualifies  the  victim  for  the 
acceptance  of  God.  One  communion  prepares  for  the  other; 
and  one  effect  which  that  of  the  eucharist  ought  to  produce 
in  us  is,  to  make  us  desire  the  heavenly  and  eternal  com- 
munion. We  here  partake  but  imperfectly  of  the  mysteries 
and  Spirit  of  Christ ;  we  shall  do  it  fully  and  perfectly  in 

17.  And  he  took  the  cup,  and  gave  thanks,  and  said.  Take  this,  and 
divide  it  among  yourselves. 

Although  this  first  cup  belong  not  to  the  eucharist,  but  either 
to  the  ordinary  supper  or  to  the  legal  passover,  yet  it  is  sanc- 
tified by  the  thanksgiving  of  the  Son  of  God.  It  is  by  praise 
and  thanksgiving  that  we  must  prepare  ourselves  to  receive 
the  gifts  of  God,  and  to  offer  and  present  our  duties  unto 
him.  He  gives  more  than  ho  receives,  when  he  gives  us  the 
grace  to  offer  as  we  ought. 

18.  For  I  say  unto  you,  I  will  not  drink  of  the  fruit  of  the  vine,  until 
the  kingdom  of  God  shall  come. 

Jesus  Christ  exhibits  and  sets  forth  his  death  in  giving  us 

his  body  and  blood  in  the  eucharist,  which  is  the  memorial 


thereof;  but  he,  at  the  same  time,  exhibits  and  sets  forth  the 
kingdom  of  God  in  its  glory,  of  which  his  death  is,  as  it  -were 
the  seed  and  bud.  Gratitude  for  the  benefit  of  redemption, 
and  hope  of  heavenly  felicity,  are  two  dispositions  and  duties 
with  which  we  ought  to  have  our  minds  and  hearts  filled  in 
the  holy  communion.  This  is  the  true  passover  given  to  the 
church,  both  in  the  eucharistic  sacrifice  instituted  in  remem- 
brance of  the  deliverance  begun  by  grace,  and  in  the  sacrifice 
of  heaven,  which  shall  be  offered  in  thanksgiving  for  the  de- 
liverance completed  by  glory. 

19.  f  And  he  took  bread,  and  g;ave  thanks,  and  brake  it,  and  gave  unto 
them,  saying,  This  is  my  body  which  is  given  for  you :  this  do  in  remem- 
brance of  me. 

The  institution  of  the  priesthood,  of  the  sacrifice,  and 
sacrament  of  the  altar  of  the  new  law,  are  three  different 
benefits  which  deserve  each  of  them  a  particular  consideration 
and  acknowledgment.  What  is  it  to  celebrate  the  holy  sacri- 
fice, and  to  communicate  in  the  remembrance  of  Christ  ?  It 
is  to  do  it  in  rendering  his  death  present  to  us  by  faith.  It 
is  to  do  it  with  a  heart  overflowing  with  gratitude  for  his 
having  redeemed  us  with  his  blood ;  and  to  show,  by  a  life 
truly  Christian,  that  we  are  dead  to  sin,  to  the  world,  and  to 
ourselves,  and  that  we  really  partake  of  the  effects  of  his 
death  and  of  the  spirit  of  his  sacrifice. 

20.  Likewise  also  the  cup  after  supper,  saying,  This  cup  is  the  new 
testament*  in  my  blood,  which  is  shed  for  you.   [*  Fr.  Covenant.] 

Our  sacrifice  supposes  three  effusions  of  the  blood  of  Christ : 
the  first,  representative  upon  the  altar  ;  the  second,  real  upon 
the  cross ;  and  the  third,  virtual  in  our  heart.  This  heart 
ought  to  be  always  a  holy  altar ;  and  it  is  but  too  often  a 
cross  in  respect  of  Jesus  Christ.  Would  to  God  that  this 
adorable  blood  were  always  the  cement  of  a  new  covenant  to 
souls  ;  and  that  it  were  not  frequently  the  occasion  of  remov- 
ing them  at  a  farther  distance  from  God,  or  even  of  separat- 
ing them  from  him  to  all  eternity  !  To  the  end  that  thy 
blood,  0  Jesus,  may  unite  me  eternally  to  thee,  grant  that  it 
may  now  separate  me  from  myself,  and  from  all  my  vicious 


234  LUKE. 

21.  T[  But,  behold,  the  hand  of  him  that  betrayeth  me  is  -with  me  on 
the  table. 

Before  we  approacli  this  mysterious  table,  let  us  examine 

ourselves  and  see  whether  our  hands,  that  is  to  say,  our  works, 

are  the  hands  and  works  of  a  Christian  or  of  a  traitor.     To 

hold  intelligence  with   the   enemies   of  Christ — namely,  the 

world  and  sin,  and,  at  the  same  time,  to  eat  at  his  table, — this 

is  no  other  than  to  betray  him,  even  after  we  have  taken  an 

oath  of  fidelity  to  him  in  baptism. 

22.  And  truly  the  Son  of  man  goeth,  as  it  was  determined :  but  woe 
unto  that  man  by  whom  he  is  betrayed ! 

It  is  blasphemy  to  say  that  the  treachery  of  Judas,  or  that 

any  other  sin,  is  the  work  of  God,  as  some  heretics  have  done ; 

but  it  is  true  that  into  what  disorders   soever  sinners  are 

carried  by  their  own  will,  God  is  always  more  the  master 

thereof  than  they  are   themselves.     He  is  so  good   and  so 

powerful,  that  he  makes  their  wickedness  subservient  to  his 

own  designs ;  but  the  sinner  is  not  at  all  the  less  punishable 

on  this  account,  because  he  alone  is  the  author  of  his  own 


23.  And  they  began  to  inquire  among  themselves,  which  of  them  it 
was  that  should  do  this  thing. 

No  man  knows  into  what  temptation  his  own  heart  will 

permit  him  to  be  drawn.     Jesus  Christ  alone  can  inform  us. 

Prevent,  0  Lord,  by  thy  grace,  whatever  my  wretched  will 

may  possibly  undertake  contrary  to  thine !     I  cannot  answer 

for  my  own  heart :  it  belongs  to  thee,  who  art  absolute  master 

thereof,  to  answer  for  it,  and  to  put  a  stop  to  the  wickedness 

which  thou  perceivest  in  it ! 


24.  T[  And  there  was  also  a  strife  among  them,  which  of  them  should 
be  accounted  the  greatest. 

The  apostles  themselves  received  but  little  spiritual  ad- 
vantage from  the  sacrifice  and  sacrament  of  the  eucharist, 
and  from  every  thing  which  they  had  seen  before  the  death 
of  Christ  and  the  mission  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  Never  had 
they  greater  cause  to  humble  themselves  than  at  this  time, 
and  yet  they  now  contend  for  pre-eminence !     The  love  of 

CHAPTER    XXII.  235 

preference,  so  lively  on  this  occasion  in  persons  of  no  blrtli, 
without  talents  or  temporal  advantages,  makes  it  evident  that 
no  man  whatever  is  free  from  the  wound  of  pride,  and  that 
humility  is  in  all  persons  a  gift  of  the  grace  of  Christ. 

25.  And  he  said  unto  them,  The  kings  of  the  Gentiles  exercise  lord- 
ship over  them;  and  they  that  exercise  authority  upon  them  are  called 

The  true  greatness  of  kings  must  necessarily  consist  in 
doing  good  to  their  subjects,  since  those  whose  government 
was  most  imperious  and  severe  affected  to  have  the  name  of 
benefactors.  Those  are  great  indeed,  and  truly  benefactors, 
who  make  the  happiness  of  their  people  their  own  glory,  who 
never  punish  but  out  of  necessity,  who  cause  justice  to  reign 
and  flourish,  and  who  love  more  to  command  their  own  passions 
than  their  subjects. 

26.  But  ye  sliall  not  he  so :  but  he  that  is  greatest  among  you,  let  him 
be  as  the  younger ;  and  he  that  is  chief,  as  he  that  doth  serve. 

A  pastor  understands  but  little  his  place  and  office  in  the 
church,  if  he  pretend  to  signalize  himself  therein  by  power, 
imperiousness,  and  grandeur.  The  advantage,  above  others, 
which  the  ministers  of  the  church  are  permitted  to  desire,  is 
to  be  more  sacrificed  to  God  by  a  true  humility,  and  more 
devoted  to  the  good  of  the  church,  and  to  the  salvation  of 
souls,  by  an  active,  laborious,  and  indefatigable  charity.  The 
marks  of  greatness  and  distinction  are  a  burden  to  a  holy 
bishop:  he  bears  them  indeed  before  men  out  of  necessity,  but 
he  complains  of  them  through  humility  before  God. 

27.  For  whether  is  greater,  he  that  sitteth  at  meat,  or  he  that  serveth? 
is  not  he  that  sitteth  at  meat  ?  but  I  am  among  you  as  he  that  serveth. 

A  pastor  makes  no  manner  of  difficulty  to  stoop  to  the 
meanest  of  his  flock,  when  he  considers  that  he  is  really  the 
servant,  and  not  the  lord  of  souls,  and  that  He  who  is  their 
Lord  made  himself  their  servant.  One  hardly  dares  propose 
such  an  example  to  the  ministers  of  the  church:  but  it  is  to 
no  purpose  for  them  to  refuse  to  hear  it ;  it  is  notwithstand- 
ing true,  that  the  servitude  of  Jesus  Christ  is  the  pattern  for 
that  of  pastors,  how  eminent  soever  they  may  be. 

28.  Ye  are  they  which  have  continued  with  me  in  my  temptations. 
Christ  glories  in  the  fidelity  of  his  servants,  because  it  pro- 
ceeds from  himself.  He  is  so  good,  that  he  is  pleased  to  im- 
pute to  them  as  merit  the  gifts  of  his  grace,  and  to  praise 
them  for  that  perseverance  which  he  works  in  them  by  his 
Spirit.  It  is  Jesus  Christ  himself,  who,  throughout  all  ages, 
endures,  in  his  church  and  ministers,  the  temptations  of  the 
world;  and  it  is  he  also,  who  places  to  account  the  fidelity  of 
those  who  continue  with  him,  and  forsake  him  not. 

29.  And  I  appoint  unto  you  a  kingdom,  as  my  Father  hath  appointed 
unto  me ; 

Whoever  is  not  transported  with  joy  at  these  words,  has 
little  faith  and  relish  for  the  things  of  eternity.  Who  can 
comprehend  the  dignity  and  advantage  of  being  a  disciple  of 
Christ,  whom  he  vouchsafes  to  treat  in  the  same  manner 
wherein  he  is  himself  treated  by  his  Father !  How  many 
truths  are  comprised  under  this  comparison  !  What  a  promise 
is  this  !  A  promise  unchangeable  and  free,  which  implies  in- 
fallible means,  but,  at  the  same  time,  imposes  a  necessity  of 
being  conformable  to  Christ  crucified. 

30.  That  ye  may  eat  and  drink  at  my  table  in  my  kingdom,  and  sit 
on  thrones  judging  the  twelve  tribes  of  Israel. 

Glory  is  a  state  of  joy,  delight,  power,  and  eternal  com- 
munion in  the  great  sacrifice  of  Jesus  Christ.  Thou,  0  Jesus, 
art  pleased  to  assure  us  that  the  pleasures,  riches,  and  ho- 
nours which  we  renounce  for  thy  sake,  shall  be  restored  to  us 
a  hundred-fold,  by  the  holy  delights  of  a  table  where  we  shall 
feed  on  God  himself,  by  the  infinite  treasures  of  his  eternal 
kingdom,  and  by  a  sovereign  power  over  all  creatures. 


31.  ^  And  the  Lord  said,  Simon,  Simon,  behold,  Satan  hath  desired  to 
have  you,  that  ho  may  sift  you  as  wheat: 

These  eiforts  of  Satan  against  Peter  are  a  warning  to  us," 

and  an  emblem  of  those  which  he  is  continually  making  against 

all  Christians.     Let  us  fear  an  enemy  who  is  always  desiring 

and  never  weary  in  soliciting  for  leave  to  tempt  us.     Let  us 

comfort  ourselves,  however,  since  it  is  hereby  manifest  that  he 


is  not  able  to  do  any  thing  against  us  without  the  permission 
of  God.  Lord,  what  should  we  be  in  the  time  of  temptation, 
but  mere  chaff  which  the  wind  scatters  away,  did  not  thy 
grace  give  us  the  firmness  and  solidity  of  wheat  ? 

32.  But  I  have  prayed  fur  tliee,  that  thy  faith  fail  not :  and  when  thou 
art  converted,  strengthen  thy  brethren. 

What  would  even  the  faith  of  Peter  himself  have  been,  bad 

it  not  been  strengthened  by  the  prayer  of  Christ  ?     It  was 

likewise  in  Peter  that  the  faith  of  all  the  faithful,  of  whom  he 

was   the  pastor,  that  of  all  the  pastors,  of  whom  he  was  a 

principal  one,  and  that  of  the  whole  church,  of  which  he  was 

a  figure,  were  strengthened  and  fortified.     No  temptation  is 

overcome  but  by  the  virtue  of  this  prayer,  which  is  even  the 

oblation  which  this  divine  Mediator  continually  makes  of  his 

blood  in  heaven.     Peter's  sin  did  not  proceed  from  infidelity, 

but  infirmity.     The  experience  which  a  pastor  has  had  of  his 

own  weakness,  and  the   acknowledgment  which  he  makes  of 

the   assistance  which  upheld  him,  are  a  double  engagement 

upon   him  to  compassionate  the  weakness  of  others,  and  to 

apply  himself  to  the  supporting  of  them. 

33.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Lord,  I  am  ready  to  go  with  thee,  both 
into  prison,  and  to  death. 

How  much  presumption  is  there  in  man,  before  he  has  him- 
self experienced  his  own  weakness  !  The  stronger  he  believes 
himself,  the  more  weak  is  he :  because  his  promising  himself 
a  great  deal  from  his  own  strength,  is  a  sign  that  God  has 
already  left  him  to  himself.  It  is  more  difiicult  than  we 
imagine,  to  know  what  love  has  gained  the  ascendant  over 
our  hearts.  One  of  the  chiefest  of  the  apostles  thought  the 
love  of  his  Master  most  prevalent,  and  it  was  the  love  of  his 
own  life. 

34.  And  he  said,  I  tell  thee,  Peter,  the  cock  shall  not  crovr  this  day, 
before  that  thou  shalt  thrice  deny  that  thou  knovs^est  me. 

The  fall  of  Peter,  thus  foretold  unto  him,  admonishes  us  to 

renounce  our  own  light  and  knowledge,  especially  as  to  what 

regards  the  disposition  of  our  heart.     God  and  Christ,  who 

is  true  God,  know  better  than  ourselves  the  use  which  we  shall 

make  of  the  freedom  of  our  will ;  and  yet  this  foreknowledge 

imposes  no  manner  of  necessity  upon  it.  God  foresees  all 
the  evil  which  he  permits,  as  he  predestinates  all  the  good 
which  he  intends  to  perform  in  us. 

35.  And  he  said  unto  them,  When  I  sent  you  without  purse,  and  scrip, 
and  shoes,  lacked  ye  any  thing?     And  they  said,  Nothing. 

The  providence  of  God  is  always  watchful  over  such  as  for- 
sake all  to  follow  Christ,  and  continually  mindful  of  their 
wants.  It  is  of  great  use  frequently  to  revolve  in  our  minds 
the  conduct  of  God  toward  us,  because  it  ought  to  serve  as  a 
pledge  and  security  for  the  time  to  come.  Those  who  are 
grateful  are  always  full  of  hope  :  none  but  the  ungrateful  dis- 
trust the  divine  providence.  In  friendship,  it  is  a  crime  to 
be  distrustful  of  a  friend  who  has  never  failed  us  in  our 
necessity :  but  let  God  anticipate  all  the  wants  of  his  creature 
ever  so  much,  yet  he  still  finds  a  heart  subject  to  distrust  and 

36.  Then  said  he  unto  them.  But  now,  he  that  hath  a  purse,  let  him 
take  it,  and  likewise  Ids  scrip :  and  he  that  hath  no  sword,  let  him  sell 
his  garment,  and  buy  one. 

It  is  a  virtue  common  to  all  true  Christians  to  trust  that 
nothing  shall  be  wanting  to  them,  either  for  their  subsistence 
or  their  safety ;  but  it  is  an  apostolic  virtue  for  a  man  to  be 
ready,  for  the  sake  of  Christ,  to  disclaim  all  human  relief  and 
assistance,  and  to  expose  himself  as  a  mark  to  all  men.  It  is 
this  state  which  our  blessed  Lord  foretells  unto  them,  by  in- 
timating to  them  what  is  generally  done  by  those  who  are 
either  forsaken  or  assaulted  by  all  the  world. 

37.  Fori  say  unto  you,  That  this  that  is  written  must  yet  be  accom- 
plished in  me,  And  he  was  reckoned  among  the  transgressors:  for  the 
things  concerning  me  have  an  end. 

This  is  not  the  time  for  the  true  disciples  of  Christ  to  de- 
pend upon  the  good-will  of  men,  when  Christ  himself  is  to  be 
reckoned  and  treated  as  a  transgressor  and  malefactor.  It 
is  just  and  reasonable  that  the  members  should  share  in  the 
different  conditions  of  the  Head.  To  be  persecuted,  and 
to  suffer  as  a  heretic,  as  a  wicked  or  an  impious  person,  is 
generally  the  last  trial,  and  the  most  meritorious,  as  being 
that  which  gives  a  man  the  greatest  conformity  to  Jesus 


38.  And  they  said,  Lord,  behold,  here  are  two  swords.  And  he  said 
unto  them,  It  is  enough. 

This  answer  of  Christ,  "It  is  enough,"  ought  to  have 
made  his  apostles  sensible  of  the  greatness  and  nearness  of 
the  danger.  These  two  swords  were  enough,  and  even  too 
much,  for  him  who  designed  to  defend  himself  only  by  deliver- 
ing himself  up,  to  fight  only  by  suffering,  and  to  conquer  only 
by  dying.  These  were  enough  to  give  occasion  to  Christ  to 
instruct  the  church,  in  one  of  the  chief  of  the  apostles,  con- 
cerning the  use  she  was  to  make  of  the  sword,  concerning  the 
mildness  we  ought  to  show  toward  our  enemies,  and  the  sub- 
mission we  ought  to  have  for  authority ;  and  to  give  Christ  an 
opportunity  of  doing  good  to  his  persecutors,  of  making 
known  his  power  to  them,  and  of  showing  them  plainly  that 
his  being  seized  by  them,  and  his  death,  were  altogether 
voluntary  on  his  part. 

SECT.    V. — THE    AGONY    IN    THE    GARDEN. — THE   ANGEL. — THE 

39.  f  And  he  came  out,  and  went,  as  he  was  wont,  to  the  mount  of 
Olives  ;  and  his  disciples  also  followed  him. 

0  holy  mount,  happy  solitude,  consecrated  by  the  frequent 
retirement  and  prayers  of  the  Lamb  of  God,  by  his  last  pre- 
paration for  his  sacrifice,  by  his  sorrows,  his  agony,  his  pros- 
tration, his  sweat,  and  his  blood !  Let  our  faith  transport  us 
thither  in  spirit,  that  we  may  with  our  heart  follow  Christ  and 
the  apostles  thither,  and  there  adore  and  contemplate  all  that 
was  done  for  us,  that  we  may  reap  the  fruits  and  beg  the 
spirit  thereof,  and  there  unite  ourselves  to  Jesus  Christ,  pray- 
ing for  us,  and  bearing  the  punishment  of  our  sins. 

40.  And  when  he  was  at  the  place,  he  said  unto  them,  Pray  that  ye 
enter  not  into  temptation. 

We  must  not  wait  until  the  time  of  temptation  before  we 

pray,  but  we  must  pray  before  it  comes.     Christ  prayed  that 

the  faith  of  the  apostles  might  not  fail ;  and  his  prayer  was 

already  heard  by  his  Father :  but  it  was  necessary  that  the 

apostles  likewise  should  pray,  to  complete  in  themselves  that 

■which  was  wanting  to  the  prayer  of  their  Head,  according  to 

240  L  U  K  E. 

the  appointment  of  God,  who  had  made  their  perseverance 
depend  upon  their  own  prayer,  as  well  as  upon  that  of  Christ. 

41.  And  he  was  withdrawn  from  them  about  a  stone's  cast,  and 
kneeled  down,  and  prayed, 

These  circumstances  of  our  blessed  Saviour's  prayer  are 
the  pattern  of  a  Christian  prayer  in  affliction,  under  the  ap- 
prehension of  danger,  and  the  expectation  of  death.  In  this 
condition,  we  must  (1.)  Separate  ourselves  even  from  our 
dearest  friends,  in  order  to  open  our  hearts  to  God  alone. 
(2.)  We  must  humble  ourselves,  internally  at  least;  and,  if  we 
are  able,  externally  also.  The  custom  of  praying  kneeling  is 
derived  not  only  from  the  apostles,  but  from  Jesus  Christ 
himself.  Every  knee  must  bow  before  the  majesty  of  God, 
and  at  the  sight  of  his  justice :  and  nothing  shows  both  more 
evidently  than  to  see  the  Son  of  God  upon  his  knees,^  and 
prostrate  before  his  Father.  Let  us  imitate  him,  and  unite 
ourselves  unto  him. 

42.  Saying,  Father,  if  thou  be  willing,  remove  this  cup  from  me :  ne- 
vertheless, not  my  will,  but  thine,  be  done. 

If  we  would  imitate  Christ  in  his  prayer,  we  must  (3.)  Lay 

our    condition    before   God    with   plainness    and    simplicity. 

(4.)  We  must  be  full  of  trust  and  confidence.     (5.)  We  must 

speak  but  little.     (6.)  We  must  resign  ourselves  up  to  the  will 

of  God,  and  choose  rather  to   have  that  done  than  our  own. 

(7.)  We  must  persevere  in  praying.     The  sacrifice  of  our  own 

will  is  that  which  God  loves  the  most,  and  which  ought  ever 

to  accompany  all  others.     The  more  holy  the  will  of  Christ 

was,  the  more  innocent  and  worthy  to  be  preserved  was  the 

life  for  which  he  prays ;  and,  on  this  account,  the  sacrifice 

which  ho  makes  of  it  to  the  will  and  designs  of  his  Father  is 

so  much  the  more  worthy  of  his  majesty  and  holiness. 

43.  And  there  appeared  an  angel  unto  him  from  heaven,  strengthen- 
ing him.     44.  And  being  in  an  agony  he  prayed  more  earnestly  : 

We  must,  (8.)  After  the  example  of  Christ,  not  reject  those 

external  consolations  which  God  sends    us  in  our  troubles. 

(9.)  We  must  fight  valiantly  against  every  thing  within  us 

which  opposes  the  will  of  God.     (10.)  We  must  pray  the  more 

earnestly,  and  redouble  our  fervency,  when  the  affliction  or 


temptation  is  redoubled.  The  divine  nature,  without  sepa- 
rating itself  from  the  human,  leaves  it  to  the  weakness  com- 
mon to  other  men,  to  the  end  that  the  Head  may  be  the 
consolation  of  the  weakest  of  his  members  and  the  instruction 
of  the  strongest.  Christ  receives  assistance  from  an  angel, 
to  teach  us  to  receive  comfort,  support,  and  instruction  in  our 
troubles,  even  from  our  inferiors,  when  God  causes  us  to  have 
a  dependence  upon  them  in  that  respect.  What  relief  soever 
we  may  receive  from  the  creatures,  we  must,  notwithstanding, 
continually  have  recourse  to  the  God  of  all  consolation. 

— And  his  sweat  was  as  it  were  great  drops  of  blood  falling  down  to 
the  ground. 

To  the  end  that  our  prayer  may  be  effectual,  like  that  of 
Christ,  we  must  (11.)  Be  prepared  to  resist  even  unto  blood 
in  fighting  against  sin.  How  adorable  is  this  bloody  sweat, 
which  the  violence  of  Christ's  grief  and  sorrow  for  our  sins 
forces  out  of  his  veins  !  The  first  Adam  was  condemned  to  a 
common  and  ordinary  sweat ;  the  second,  to  perform  and  finish 
that  penance  in  a  manner  truly  worthy  of  God,  endures  a 
sweat  which  had  never  any  parallel  or  example.  He  submits 
to  the  marks  of  the  greatest  weakness,  in  order  to  merit  for 
his  members  the  greatest  strength.  The  most  humble  ways 
are  those  which  Christ  still  prefers  before  others.  That  which 
seems  to  us  most  unsuitable  to  his  majesty  and  greatness,  ap- 
pears to  him  most  suitable  to  his  love  for  God  and  for  his 
church.  Let  us  adore  this  blood  shed  for  us,  which  falls  down 
to  the  ground,  and  seems  to  be  lost  there.  Oh  let  not  the  fruit 
of  it  at  least  be  lost  as  to  us ! 

45.  And  when  he  rose  up  from  prayer,  and  was  come  to  his  disciples, 
he  found  them  sleeping  for  sorrow, 

Lastly:  In  these  circumstances  of  trouble  and  afiliction, 

which  oblige  us  to  pray,  we  must  not  forget  even  the  wants 

of  those  who  are  intrusted  to  our  care.     The  disciples  receive 

at  present  the  impression  of  Christ's  infirmities  and  sorrows, 

as  it  were,  by  reflection  from  him ;  they  will  one  day  receive 

the  fruit  and  the  strength  procured  by  them,  when  the  time 

of  suffering  for  him  is  come.     Our  strength  depends  upon  the 

will  of  God,  and  not  upon  the  instrument  of  which  he  makes 

Vol.  II.— 21  Q 

242  LTJKE. 

use  to  convey  it  to  us.  An  angel  visits  and  comforts  the 
Son  of  God  ;  the  Son  of  God  himself  visits  and  comforts 
his  apostles :  and  yet  the  latter  continue  still  under  their 
■weakness,  whereas  the  former  receives  as  it  were  fresh 

46.  And  said  unto  them,  Why  sleep  ye  ?  rise  and  pray,  lest  ye  enter 
into  temptation. 

It  is  one  fruit  of  prayer  to  be  able  to  encourage  others 

thereto,  and  to  assist  them  in  it.     The  necessity  of  prayer  in 

temptation,  shows  us  the  necessity  of  a  new  grace  in  order  to 

overcome  it.  To  fall  asleep  when  we  ought  to  pray,  is  to  yield 

already  to  temptation.     And  by  our  not  resisting  sloth,  this 

temptation  draws  on  such  as  are  more  dangerous,  if  we  do  not 

wake  and  rise  immediately.     It  is  good  to  have  a  charitable 

monitor,  who  may  awake  us  from  our  slumber,  and  encourage 

us  under  our  dejection.     Be  thou  mine,  0  Jesus,  as  thou  wast 

pleased  to  be  that  of  thy  apostles ! 

SECT,  VI. — THE    KISS     OF    JUDAS. — MALCHUS. — THE     HOUR    OF 

47.  I"  And  -while  he  yet  spake,  behold  a  multitude,  and  he  that  was 
called  Judas,  one  of  the  twelve,  went  before  them,  and  drew  near  unto 
Jesus  to  kiss  him. 

The  impious  person,  blinded  by  his  audacious  impudence, 
imagines  that  God  is  blind  too.  To  flatter  the  consciences 
of  men,  and  thereby  ruin  them  eternally, — what  is  this  but  to 
give  a  kiss  like  that  of  Judas  to  Christ  in  the  persons  of  his 
members  ?  It  is  no  other  than  to  offer  to  give  one  to  himself 
in  person,  for  a  man  to  go  to  receive  him  in  the  holy  sacra- 
ment with  a  heart  like  that  of  Judas,  with  a  conscience  bur- 
dened with  deadly  sin,  and  with  a  will  continually  disposed  to 
sin,  and  ready  to  deliver  Christ  up  thereto  on  the  first  occa- 
sion. It  is  a  most  deplorable  disposition  when  any  one  loves 
these  occasions,  when  he  will  not  withdraw  himself  from  them, 
but  on  the  contrary  seeks  them,  and,  as  much  as  in  him  lies, 
carries  Jesus  Christ  to  them  after  the  communion.  If  this  be 
not  actually  to  betray  Jesus  Christ  with  a  kiss,  it  is  something 
which  comes  very  near  it. 

CHAPTER    XXII.  243 

48.  But  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Judas,  betrayest  thou  the  Son  of  man 

with  a  kiss  ? 

There  is  need  of  a  very  great  degree  of  virtue,  and  of  a 
charity  long  rooted  in  the  heart,  to  keep  a  man  from  losing 
the  meekness  of  his  temper  in  the  midst  of  the  greatest  out- 
rages. To  bear  the  deceitful  caresses  of  a  false  friend,  re- 
quires more  virtue  than  to  endure  the  most  violent  attacks  of 
a  known  and  declared  enemy.  This  kindness,  this  gentle 
reproof,  this  usual  familiarity,  and  this  discovery  which  he 
makes  of  the  bottom  of  this  traitor's  heart,  make  it  evident 
that  nothing  external  is  sufficient  to  convert  a  sinner,  if  God 
vouchsafe  not  to  speak  to  the  heart  itself. 

49.  When  they  which  were  about  him  saw  what  would  follow,  they 
said  unto  him,  Lord,  shall  we  smite  with  the  sword? 

They  know  Christ  but  little  who  are  for  defending  him  by 
force  of  arms.  He  is  very  far  from  desiring  to  save  his  own 
life  by  exposing  that  of  others,  since  he  came  on  purpose  to 
shed  his  blood,  and  to  die  for  all  mankind.  This  question  of 
the  apostles  is  a  sign  of  their  doubtfulness,  and  at  the  same 
time  of  their  ignorance,  as  to  the  designs  of  God  concerning 
his  Son,  in  which  they  had  been  so  often  instructed  ;  but  this 
ignorance  does  not  excuse  Peter,  and  this  doubtfulness  con- 
demns him.  There  are  abundance  of  persons  in  the  world 
who,  like  Peter,  consult  God,  and  yet  sufier  themselves  to  be 
hurried  away  by  their  passion  or  their  false  zeal  before  they 
know  his  will. 

50.  T[  And  one  of  them  smote  the  servant  of  the  high  priest,  and  cut 
off  his  right  ear. 

The  blind  and  indiscreet  will,  which  is  not  guided  by  the 

will  of  the  eternal  wisdom,  exposes  itself  so  much  the  more  to 

offend  God,  the  more  ready  and  eager  it  is  to  follow  its  own 

violent  motion,  even  in  seeking  to  serve  him. 

51.  And  Jesus  answered  and  said,  Suffer  ye  thus  far.  And  he  touched 
his  ear,  and  healed  him. 

Jesus  permits  evil,  in  order  only  to  bring  out  of  it  a  greater 

good.     He  teaches  us  to  return  good  for  evil.     The  Spirit  of 

Christ  and  of  his  true  disciples  does  not  allow  private  persons 

to  repel  by  force  any  violence  authorized  by  the  name  of  law- 

ful  magistrates,  how  unjust  soever  it  may  be.  Private  revenge 
and  public  rebellion  are  things  unknown  to  true  Christians, 
who  count  it  their  glory  rather  to  lose  their  own  lives  than  to 
take  away  those  of  other  men.  The  only  miracle  which  ap- 
pears not  to  have  been  asked  of  Christ,  is  this  in  favour  of  an 
enemy  and  an  unjust  aggressor ;  and  he  works  it,  not  to  de- 
liver himself,  but  by  the  sole  motive  of  his  own  inclination 
and  charity. 

52.  Then  Jesus  said  unto  the  chief  priests,  and  captains  of  the  temple, 
and  the  elders,  which  were  come  to  him,  Be  ye  come  out,  as  against  a 
thief,  with  swords  and  staves  ? 

The  reason  why  Christ  is  treated  as  a  thief,  is  because  sin- 
ners are  really  such,  in  robbing  God  of  his  glory,  and  of 
every  thing  which  they  owe  him.  The  best  of  persons  are 
more  sensibly  affected  by  the  ill  usage  which  wounds  their 
reputation  and  honour,  (this  usage  being  most  proper  for 
thieves,)  than  they  are  by  any  other  kind  of  injustice.  It  is 
in  order  to  secure  us  from  that  excess  to  which  this  sense  of 
human  honour  is  apt  to  carry  us,  that  Christ  is  willing  to  be 
treated  as  a  thief, — even  he  who  has  divested  himself  of  all, 
and  who  is  now  just  going  to  lay  down  his  life. 

53.  When  I  was  daily  with  you  in  the  temple,  ye  stretched  forth  no 
hands  against  me  :  but  this  is  your  hour,  and  the  power  of  darkness. 

Christ  determines  the  hour  of  his  death,  as  a  voluntary 
victim,  who  offers  himself  not  out  of  necessity,  but  out  of 
choice  and  love.  Such  is  the  blindness  of  sinners,  who  think 
they  reign  and  triumph  when  they  accomplish  their  wicked 
desires ;  whereas  they  are  only  the  instruments  of  the  devil, 
who  makes  them  serve  his  design,  as  the  devil  is  himself  an 
instrument  whom  God  makes  subservient  to  his.  This  is,  in 
truth,  much  more  thy  hour,  0  Jesus,  than  that  of  these  im- 
pious wretches, — the  hour  of  thy  great  work,  to  which  thou 
raakest  both  the  power  of  darkness  and  the  malice  of  men 
subservient  and  instrumental. 



54.  f  Then  took  they  him,  and  led  liim,  and  brought  him  into  the  high 
priest's  house.     And  Peter  followed  afar  off. 

0  Jesus  !  made  a  captive  on  purpose  to  deliver  captives  ! 
break  the  chains  of  my  sinful  habits  by  that  invisible  power 
which  cannot  be  bound  or  confined  by  men  !  Let  this  cap- 
tivity, which  expiates  all  the  ill  use  of  the  corrupt  freedom 
of  my  will,  and  merits  for  me  the  cure,  deliverance,  and  good 
use  thereof,  be  the  object  of  my  religion,  my  gratitude,  and 
my  love ! 

55.  And  when  they  had  kindled  a  fire  in  the  midst  of  the  hall,  and 
were  set  down  together,  Peter  sat  down  among  them. 

He  who  loves  danger,  and  takes  no  care  to  avoid  the  occa- 
sions of  sin,  runs  the  hazard  of  perishing  eternally.  It  is 
infinitely  better  for  a  man  humbly  to  retire,  acknowledging 
his  weakness,  and  having  recourse  to  Him  who  is  the  strength 
of  the  weak,  till  he  vouchsafe  to  show  him  mercy,  than  wil- 
fully to  persist  in  performing  a  presumptuous  promise,  by  en- 
deavours which  are  still  more  presumptuous.  The  stronger 
we  would  fain  appear,  out  of  a  confidence  merely  human,  the 
more  destitute  are  we  of  the  strength  of  God. 

56.  But  a  certain  maid  beheld  him  as  he  sat  by  the  fire,  and  earnestly 
looked  upon  him,  and  said.  This  man  was  also  with  him. 

Every  enemy  is  formidable  to  a  person  not  supported  by 
God.  An  occasion  which  we  entirely  disregard  is  sometimes 
very  fatal  to  our  virtue.  If  every  thing  be  dangerous  to  us 
when  we  do  not  distrust  ourselves,  how  much  more  is  it  so 
when  we  are  possessed  of  an  opinion  of  our  own  strength ! 
Peter  was  extremely  desirous  to  distinguish  himself  from  the 
rest  of  the  apostles,  who  humbly  laid  hold  of  the  permission 
which  Christ  gave  them  to  flee,  intimated  by  those  words, 
"Let  these  go  their  way,"  (John  xviii.  8;)  but  he  distin- 
guishes himself  from  them  by  nothing  but  a  most  shameful 

57.  And  he  denied  him,  saying,  "Woman,  I  know  him  not. 

This  denial  of  which  Peter  is  guilty  is  a  dreadful  example 


246  L  U  K  E. 

of  human  infirmity.  The  love  of  life  and  the  fear  of  death 
make  men  forget  the  best  resolutions  when  they  have  not  been 
formed  by  God,  and  are  not  supported  by  an  humble  prayer. 
One  of  the  chiefest  of  the  pastors,  overcome  thus  by  a  servant 
maid  at  the  very  first  blow,  warns  us  to  be  upon  our  guard 
against  every  thing,  especially  in  a  place  and  company  to 
which  neither  our  vocation  nor  our  duty  calls  us. 

58.  And,  after  a  little  while,  another  saw  him,  and  said.  Thou  art  also 
of  them.     And  Peter  said,  Man,  I  am  not. 

One  sin  hardens  the  heart,  and  disposes  it  for  the  commis- 
sion of  another.  God  permits  Peter  to  fall  more  than  once, 
that  he  may  have  no  room  to  excuse  his  sin  as  proceeding 
from  surprise ;  and  that  he  may  seek  the  cause  thereof  in  his 
own  presumption.  Such  a  one  is  surprised  at  the  cowardice 
of  Peter,  who,  upon  a  hundred  occasions,  wherein  his  duty 
obliges  him  to  declare  for  the  innocent,  says,  either  by  his 
words  or,  his  actions,  "I  am  not  of  them." 

59.  And  about  the  space  of  one  hour  after,  another  confidently  affirmed, 
saying.  Of  a  truth  this  fellow  also  was  with  him  ;  for  he  is  a  Galilean. 

One  temptation,  when  not  resisted,  draws  on  another.  The 
space  of  one  hour  is  allowed  Peter  to  recover  himself,  and  he 
makes  no  use  of  it :  in  vain  God  gives  men  time  for  repent- 
ance, if  he  do  not  give  them  likewise  a  penitent  heart.  The 
patience  of  God  serves  only  to  harden  the  sinner,  when  it  is 
not  accompanied  with  the  internal  operation  of  grace.  With- 
out this,  it  is  both  ineff"ectual  toward  his  recovery,  and  fre- 
quently the  occasion  of  a  new  fall. 

60.  And  Peter  said,  Man,  I  know  not  what  thou  sayest.  And  imme- 
diately, while  he  yet  spake,  the  cock  crew. 

Let  us  not  be  weary  of  considering  the  deplorable  infidelity 

of  the  heart  of  man  when  left  to  himself.      These  three  falls 

are,  as  it  were,  three  witnesses  of  human  weakness  ;  and  show 

plainly  that  none  but  God  knows  perfectly  how  great  it  is. 

He  permitted  these  falls  in  one  of  the  chiefest  of  the  pastors, 

to  the  end  that  all  the  sheep  may  behold  in  him  what  they 

are  of  themselves,  and  what  they  are  by  grace. 

01.  And  the  Lord  turned,  and  looked  upon  Peter :  and  Peter  rcmem- 


bered  the  word  of  the  Lord,  how  he  said  unto  him,  Before  the  cock  crow, 
thou  shalt  deny  me  thrice. 

How  powerful  is  the  internal  look  of  Christ !  Without  it, 
nothing  external  can  convert.  With  it,  even  the  hardest 
hearts  melt  into  tears.  The  cock  had  crowed,  and  yet  Peter 
did  not  recollect  himself,  because  Jesus  had  not  yet  looked 
upon  him.  He  casts  but  one  look  of  mercy  upon  this  sinner, 
and  his  heart  is  pierced  with  grief.  Oh  turn  not  away  from 
mine,  0  Lord,  those  eyes  of  mercy,  on  which  my  salvation 
and  eternal  happiness  depend  ! 

62.  And  Peter  went  out,  and  wept  bitterly. 

All  that  we  know  of  this  apostle's  repentance  is,  that  he 
immediately  quitted  the  occasion  of  his  falling,  that  he  la- 
mented his  fall,  and  lamented  it  bitterly.  All  the  rest  follows 
a  true  sorrow  and  a  true  hatred  of  sin,  because  these  can 
proceed  from  nothing  but  a  love  to  God,  and  this  love  pardons 
itself  nothing,  and  spares  nothing  to  please  him.  It  is  al- 
ways a  time  to  weep,  because  it  is  always  a  time  to  love ;  but 
it  is  not  always  a  proper  time  to  endeavour  to  make  satisfac- 
tion for  our  sin  in  the  sight  of  men.  We  must  sometimes 
wait  for  a  fit  opportunity,  as  Peter  did. 


63.  ^  And  the  men  that  held  Jesus  mocked  him,  and  smote  liim. 
God  becomes  the  sport  of  his  creatures,  and  he  is  pleased 

to  endure  it  to  merit  for  us  the  grace  to  bear  contempt  with 
patience.  Can  the  sinner  suifer  himself  to  be  carried  out  into 
resentment,  complaints,  and  revenge,  when  he  beholds  his 
Saviour  and  his  God,  innocence  and  holiness  itself,  in  these 
circumstances  retaining  the  meekness  of  a  lamb,  who  could 
have  lifted  up  his  voice  like  a  lion,  and  crushed  all  his  ene- 
mies by  the  sole  motion  of  his  will  ? 

64.  And  when  they  had  blindfolded  him,  they  struck  him  on  the  face, 
and  asked  him,  saying,  Projihesy,  who  is  it  that  smote  thee? 

Christ  is  willing  to  be  deprived  of  the  use  of  his  bodily 
eyes,  to  open  those  of  our  mind.  His  divine  sight  is  exposed  to 
mockery  and  contempt,  to  expiate  the  abuse  which  human 
pride  makes  of  knowledge.     These  soldiers  insult  and  abuse 

248  L  U  K  E. 

the  Son  of  God,  but  without  knowing  him ;  and  Christians 
affront  the  God  whom  they  know  as  audaciously  as  if  he  were 
blindfolded,  and  could  only  guess  at  those  who  insult  him. 
Thou  seest  every  thing,  0  my  God ;  and  the  very  bottom  of 
all  hearts  is  known  to  thee.  Cause  me,  therefore,  to  do 
every  thing  as  under  thy  immediate  inspection  and  in  thy 

65.  And  many  other  things  blasphemously  spake  they  against  him. 
Christ  suffers  these  abuses  and  blasphemies  to  atone  for 

ours.  Grant,  Lord,  that  I  may  forget  all  occasions  of  com- 
plaint which  relate  to  myself,  and  employ  my  thoughts  wholly 
upon  the  contempts  and  abuses  which  thou  wast  pleased  to 
undergo  for  my  sake.  Thou  sanctifiest  these  things  by  en- 
during them  in  thy  divine  person ;  thou  makest  of  them  a 
sacrifice  to  thy  Father,  a  pattern  of  patience  and  humility 
for  me,  and  a  fountain  of  grace  for  thy  whole  church.  Grant 
me,  I  beseech  thee,  the  grace  to  adore  this  divine  object,  to 
offer  this  sacrifice,  to  imitate  this  pattern,  and  to  draw  con- 
tinually from  this  fountain-head ! 

66.  1[  And  as  soon  as  it  was  day,  the  elders  of  the  people  and  the  chief 
priests  and  the  scribes  came  together,  and  led  him  into  their  council,  say- 
ing,   67.  Art  thou  the  Christ?  tell  us. 

Authority,  sacerdotal  dignity,  and  learning,  without  grace, 

serve  often  to  destroy  Christ  and  his  church,  whereas  they 

ought  to  contribute  solely  to  the  establishment  of  his  kingdom 

therein.     If  these  men  had  been  willing   to  have  believed, 

they  should  have  asked  the  prophecies  concerning  Christ,  and 

the  miracles  which  he  had  wrought;  and  these  would  have 

answered  for  him,  that  he  was  the  only  Son  of  God.     But 

they  would  fain  induce  him  to  speak  with  no  other  design  but 

to  destroy  him.     Preserve  me.  Lord,  from  being  ever  guilty 

of  so  heinous  an  outrage !  grant,  that  I  may  never  ask  thee 

any  thing,  0  eternal  Truth,  but  only  in  order  to  follow  and 

obey  thee ! 

— And  he  said  unto  thom.  If  I  tell  you,  ye  will  not  believe :  68.  And 
if  I  also  ask  yoit,  ye  will  not  answer  me,  nor  let  me  go. 

Let  us  here   learn  of  the   Son   of   God    to  show  always 

modesty  and  respect  toward  our  superiors,  how  unjust  soever 

CHAPTER    XXII.  249 

tLey  may  be.  We  ought  to  be  very  reserved  in  the  discovery 
of  truths,  when  men  are  not  well  disposed  to  hear  them  ;  that 
"we  may  prevent  their  being  contemned,  and  the  other  ill  uses 
the  wicked  are  apt  to  make  of  them,  as  much  as  we  can. 

69.  Hereafter  shall  the  Son  of  man  sit  on  the  right  hand  of  the  power 
of  God. 

Christ  is  faithful  to  his  ministry  to  the  very  last,  in  declar- 
ing to  those  who  are  going  to  put  him  to  death  the  power  of 
that  state  wherein  his  resurrection  would  place  him.  He 
preaches  indeed  to  the  deaf,  but  he  instructs  his  church,  and 
honours  the  truth,  by  bearing  witness  to  it  before  the  ene- 
mies thereof  and  his  own  judges.  He  does  not  in  the  least 
insult  them,  by  threatening  them  with  his  power :  he  only  de- 
clares to  them,  that,  instead  of  that  mortal  life  they  are  going 
to  take  from  him,  he  shall  receive  a  new  one,  full  of  power 
and  glory. 

70.  Then  said  they  all,  Art  thou  then  the  Son  of  God  ?  And  he  said 
unto  them,  Ye  say  that  I  am. 

The  incarnation  and  resurrection  of  the  Son  of  God  being 

the  fundamental  mysteries  of  the  Christian  religion,  which 

were  to  make  so  many  martyrs,  it  was  necessary  that  Jesus 

Christ,  as  the  head  of  them,  should  be  himself  a  martyr  for 

those  truths.     He  knew  very  well  that  they  would  cost  him 

his  life;  but  he  knew  likewise,  that  life  is  a  debt  which  all 

men  owe  to  the  truth,  and  that  to  sacrifice  it  to  God  is  not  to 

lose  it. 

71.  And  they  said.  What  need  we  any  further  witness  ?  for  we  our- 
selves have  heard  of  his  own  mouth. 

How  difi'erent  is  the  joy  of  these  men,  upon  hearing  the 
truth  out  of  the  mouth  of  Christ,  from  that  of  his  true  disci- 
ples !  These  find  therein  the  words  of  eternal  life ;  but  those 
convert  it  into  words  of  death,  both  for  Christ  and  themselves, 
by  the  abuse  they  make  of  it.  Preserve  me,  Lord,  I  beseech 
thee,  from  abusing  it;  for  without  thy  grace  I  can  do  no- 
thing else ! 




1.  And  the  whole  multitude  of  them  arose,  and  led  him  unto  Pilate. 
2.  And  they  began  to  accuse  him,  saying.  We  found  this  fellow  pervert- 
ing the  nation,  and  forbidding  to  give  tribute  to  Cesar,  saying  that  he 
himself  is  Christ  a  king. 

Christ,  who  was  accused  of  blasphemy  against  God,  of  trea- 
son against  Cesar,  and  of  sowing  sedition  among  the  people, 
affords  those  abundance  of  consolation  who  suffer  under 
calumny,  and  admonishes  judges  and  princes  not  to  give 
credit  to  it  very  easily.  There  is  certainly  no  conduct  or 
behaviour  in  the  world,  how  upright  and  innocent  soever 
it  may  be,  which  can  secure  a  man  from  accusations  of  this 
nature,  since  that  of  Christ  could  not  secure  him  from  them. 

3.  And  Pilate  asked  him,  saying,  Art  thou  the  King  of  the  Jews  ? 
And  he  answered  him  and  said.  Thou  sayest  it. 

Christ  is  still  willing  to  be  called  the  King  of  this  people, 
though  they  are  so  disloyal  and  ungrateful  to  him  as  to  so- 
licit his  death.  Let  men  do  all  they  can  to  shake  off  the  yoke 
of  Christ's  sovereignty,  yet  he  will  ever  preserve  his  rights. 
He  exercises  his  power  over  all  men,  either  in  punishing  or 
in  changing  their  rebellious  wills.  Grant,  0  Jesus,  that  I 
may  be  the  subject  of  thy  mercy  and  grace ;  vouchsafe  to 
reign  in  my  heart  by  thy  love  ! 

4.  Then  said  Pilate  to  the  chief  priests  and  to  the  people,  I  find  no  fault 
in  this  man. 

A  judge  who  is  neither  corrupted  nor  prepossessed,  finds  it 

not  at   all  difficult   to  discover    innocence    in  the    midst  of 

calumnies.     Let  us  to  our  shame  acknowledge  that  there  is 

often  more  equity  and  integrity  to  be  found  in  a  layman,  and 

even  in  a  heathen,  than  in  a  Christian  or  a  clergyman  who 

is  blinded  by  envy  or  interest.     It  is  something,  indeed,  for  a 

judge  not  to  suppress  and  stifle  the  knowledge  Avhich  he  has 

of  innocence;    but   he   becomes   the  more   guilty  upon   this 

account,  if  he  abandons  the  defence  of  it,  and  delivers  it  up 

to  its  enemies. 


5.  And  they  were  the  more  fierce,  saying,  He  stirreth  up  the  people, 
teaching  throughout  all  Jewry,  beginning  from  Galilee  to  this  place. 

The  peaceable  doctrine  of  Jesus  Christ,  represented  as  sedi- 
tious, is  matter  of  comfort  and  consolation  to  those  evangelical 
preachers  who  are  aspersed.  It  is  the  common  artifice  of 
those  whose  bad  doctrine  or  hypocrisy  is  discovered  and  laid 
open  by  others,  to  decry  their  accusers  as  turbulent  and  sedi- 
tious persons.  To  hinder  such  false  teachers  from  corrupt- 
ing every  thing  by  their  pernicious  maxims  and  calumnies,  is, 
if  you  will  believe  them,  to  trouble  the  consciences  of  men, 
and  to  disturb  the  peace  of  church  and  state. 


6.  When  Pilate  heard  of  Galilee,  he  asked  whether  the  man  were  a 
Galilean.  7.  And  as  soon  as  he  knew  that  he  belonged  unto  Herod's 
jurisdiction,  he  sent  him  to  Herod,  who  himself  also  was  at  Jerusalem 
at  that  time. 

How  many  Christians  are  there  who,  like  Pilate,  make 
Christ  subservient  to  their  temporal  aflfairs  and  designs ! 
What  will  not  a  judge  do,  rather  than  let  a  cause  go  out  of 
his  hands  from  which  he  hopes  to  reap  advantage !  On  the 
contrary,  a  man  endeavours  to  clear  his  hands  of  any  cause, 
when  he  has  so  much  honour  as  to  be  unwilling  to  betray  in- 
nocence, but  has  not  courage  enough  to  defend  it,  to  the 
hazard  of  his  fortune,  or  of  losing  the  friendship  of  the  great. 
Christ  never  went  to  court  of  his  own  accord :  he  is  led 
thither.  And  he  appears  there  in  bonds,  to  signify  to  us 
that  truth  is  there  seldom  free  from  captivity  and  insults. 

8.  1[  And  when  Herod  saw  Jesus,  he  was  exceeding  glad:  for  he  was 
desirous  to  see  him  of  a  long  season,  because  he  had  heard  many  things 
of  him;  and  he  hoped  to  have  seen  some  miracle  done  by  him. 

Thus  many  people  of  the  world  learn  the  truths  of  Christi- 
anity with  a  joy  arising  only  from  curiosity,  and  not  from 
any  desire  of  being  instructed  in  them,  and  of  putting  them 
in  practice.  Christ  makes  every  thing  instrumental  to  the 
accomplishment  of  his  designs.  Herod's  curiosity  gives  our 
blessed  Saviour  an  opportunity  to  increase  the  number  both 
of  his  humiliations  and  of  the  witnesses  of  his  innocence, 
and  likewise  to  draw  from  the  mouth  even  of  a  Jewish  king 
the  condemnation  of  the  Jews.     The  great  men  of  the  world 

252  LUKE. 

always  want  some  new  sight  for  their  entertainment  and 
diversion.  This  was  all  the  use  which  Herod  and  his  court 
made  of  Christ. 

9.  Then  he  questioned  with  him  in  many  words;  but  he  answered 
him  nothing. 

Christ  hears  not  those  who  seek  him  only  out  of  curiosity. 
The  curiosity  of  men  of  corrupt  minds,  with  regard  to  mys- 
teries, is  much  to  be  suspected;  and  we  should  not  amuse 
ourselves  in  endeavouring  to  give  them  satisfaction.  It  is 
diflScult  for  a  man  to  come  off  with  advantage,  when  he 
engages  in  discourse  concerning  religion  with  persons  who 
have  no  more  than  what  human  policy  gives  them.  A  re- 
spectful silence  is  an  instruction  for  some,  and  a  refuge 
against  others.  That  person  says  a  great  deal  who  speaks 
by  his  modesty,  his  humility,  and  his  patience. 

10.  And  the  chief  priests  and  scribes  stood  and  vehemently  accused  him. 

Corrupt  priests  and  teachers  are  generally  the  most  impla- 
cable enemies  of  Christ  and  of  the  truth.  The  passions 
betray  those  who  are  slaves  to  them.  An  affected  modera- 
tion would  have  rendered  these  accusers  less  suspected,  their 
accusations  more  probable,  and  their  envy  less  visible,  than 
this  vehemence ;  but  envy  seldom  or  never  consults  prudence. 
And  God  permits  this  to  be"  so  for  the  honour  of  truth  and 

11.  And  Herod  with  his  men  of  war  set  him  at  nought,  and  mocked 
Mm,  and  arrayed  him  in  a  gorgeous  robe,  and  sent  him  again  to  Pihite. 

The  curiosity  of  those  who  apply  themselves  to  the  reading 
of  the  Holy  Scripture  and  to  religion  only  through  this  spirit, 
is  most  commonly  turned  into  contempt — contempt  produces 
libertinism,  this  leads  to  atheism,  and  atheism  to  damnation. 
There  are  scarce  any  places  to  be  found  in  the  gospel, 
wherein  we  do  not  learn  of  Christ  that  it  is  the  lot  and  por- 
tion of  true  Christians,  as  well  as  of  their  Head,  to  be  con- 
temned and  despised  by  the  world.  It  is  not  in  the  courts 
of  princes  that  faith  and  a  reverence  for  holy  things  are 
most  conspicuous.  It  is  not  from  carnal  men  that  we  can 
ever  learn  how  much  silence  and  humility  are  to  be  esteemed, 
since  they  look  upon  these  things  as  no  better  than  folly. 


12.  1[  And  the  same  day  Pilate  and  Herod  were  made  friends  toge- 
ther; for  befoi-e  they  were  at  enmity  between  themselves. 

Irreligious  men  and  heretics,  though  ever  so  opposite  to 
one  another,  frequently  unite  together  against  Christ,  his 
truth,  and  his  church.  Worldly  interest  divides  carnal  men, 
and  worldly  interest  makes  them  friends  again ;  but  religion 
rather  suffers  than  gains  by  this  reconcilement.  In  a  very 
little  time,  0  Jesus,  thy  death  will  reconcile  and  unite  toge- 
ther not  only  a  Gentile  and  a  Jew,  but  Jews  and  Gentiles, 
by  one  and  the  same  faith,  in  one  and  the  same  body,  and 
under  one  and  the  same  head. 


13.  f  And  Pilate,  when  he  had  called  together  the  chief  priests  and 
the  rulers  and  the  people,  14.  Said  unto  them,  Ye  have  brought  this 
man  unto  me,  as  one  that  perverteth  the  people;  and,  behold,  I,  having 
examined  liim  before  you,  have  found  no  fault  in  this  man  touching 
those  things  whereof  ye  accuse  him:  15.  No,  nor  yet  Herod:  for  I  sent 
you  to  him;  and,  lo,  nothing  worthy  of  death  is  done  unto  him. 

God  is  pleased  to  make  use  of  all  sorts  of  means  to  mani- 
fest the  innocency  of  his  Son,  as  he  does  to  cause  his  truth 
to  triumph  and  to  enlarge  his  church.  Pilate,  who  here 
strongly  insists  upon  the  conduct  of  Herod  as  an  argument 
in  favour  of  Christ,  will  certainly  condemn  those  Christian 
judges  who  do  not  hold  out  in  defence  of  calumniated  inno- 
cence even  so  long  as  this  heathen.  But  this  heathen  con- 
demns himself,  in  declaring  Christ  innocent  of  that  very 
crime  against  the  state  for  which  he  is  just  going  to  deliver 
him  up  to  be  crucified.  That  man  is  in  a  very  miserable  con- 
dition indeed,  who  is  not  at  all  the  better  even  for  that  little 
good  which  he  does  among  abundance  of  evil. 

16.  I  will  therefore  chastise  him,  and  release  him.  17.  For  of  neces- 
sity he  must  release  one  unto  them  at  the  feast. 

If  Christ  be  guilty,  why  should  he  be  released  ?  If  he  be 
innocent,  why  should  he  be  chastised  ?  We  see  here  a  repre- 
sentation of  the  corrupt  management  of  a  judge  who  would 
fain  please  everybody,  instead  of  having  regard  to  justice 
alone.  For  a  man  to  expose  it  to  suffering  at  the  same  time 
that  he  knows  and  publishes  it,  is  to  dishonour  and  disgrace 
it :  as  if  it  did  not  deserve  to  have  every  thing  sacrificed  for 
its  sake. 

Vol.  II.— 22 

254  LUKE. 

18.  And  they  cried  out  all  at  once,  saying,  Away  with  this  man,  and 
release  unto  us  Barabbas: 

There  is  nothing  in  the  world  which  the  wicked  man  will 
not  prefer  before  truth  in  order  to  satisfy  his  passion.  How 
false  is  the  judgment  of  the  world  !  Who  can  have  any 
regard  for  it  after  that  which  it  passes  upon  Jesus  Christ  ? 
Let  us  judge  of  the  injiiry  here  done  to  Christ,  by  our  own 
disposition  and  resentment  when  we  are  placed  beneath  some 
contemptible  person.  Let  us  be  ashamed  of  being  so  apt  to 
complain  of  unjust  preferences.  Can  quarrels,  revenge,  and 
deadly  hatred,  arising  from  disputes  about  rank  and  punc- 
tilios of  honour,  subsist  any  longer  after  such  an  example  ? 

19.  (Who  for  a  certain  sedition  made  in  the  city,  and  for  murder,  was 
cast  into  prison.) 

To  what  degree  does  not  the  Son  of  God  abase  himself? 
A  robber  preferred  before  the  Saviour  of  the  world,  a  sedi- 
tious villain  before  the  Prince  of  peace,  and  a  murderer  be- 
fore the  Author  of  life,  to  purchase  for  us  salvation,  peace, 
and  life  eternal.  These  wretches  make  a  great  outcry  con- 
cerning the  public  good,  the  rights  of  the  prince,  and  the 
royal  prerogative,  in  order  to  oppress  our  blessed  Saviour ; 
but  they  entirely  forget  and  neglect  all  this  in  begging  the 
releasement  of  a  seditious  person,  and  an  enemy  to  peace  and 
the  public  good.  Thou  seest.  Lord,  the  corruption  of  man's 
heart.  Since  it  is  in  order  to  cure  this  heart  that  thou  art 
pleased  to  bear  the  effects  of  its  corruption,  vouchsafe  to  ap- 
ply this  remedy  to  mine. 

20.  Pilate  therefore,  willing  to  release  Jesus,  spake  again  to  them. 
The  voice  of  our  sins,  which  requires  the  death  of  Christ, 

is  more  strong  and  prevalent  than  that  of  Pilate,  which  in- 
tercedes for  his  life.  The  world  is  full  of  these  imperfect 
good  wills,  which  never  proceed  to  execution,  and  which 
serve  only  to  render  sinners  more  inexcusable,  because  they 
sin  with  knowledge  and  a  full  sight  of  their  duty.  Give  us, 
Lord,  an  active  and  efficacious  will  to  perform  our  duty ;  and 
abandon  us  not  to  the  weakness  of  our  own  desires. 

21.  But  they  cried,  saying.  Crucify  him,  crucify  him. 

See  here  the  inconstancy  of  the  friendship  of  the  world ! 


The  very  same  persons,  but  six  days  ago,  cried  out,  "Ilosan- 
nah  to  the  Son  of  David,"  who  now  cry  out,  "  Crucify  him, 
crucify  him."  What  a  strange  forgetfulness  was  here  of  so 
many  benefits  !  "What  strange  ingratitude  was  this  in  a  peo- 
ple who  had  been  eye-witnesses  of  so  many  miracles  !  But 
how  great  the  goodness  and  "charity  of  Christ,  who  foresaw 
all  this  ingratitude  at  the  very  time  when  he  heaped  his  bless- 
ings upon  them;  and  who  loses  nothing  of  his  meekness  even 
now,  when  they  demand  his  death. 

22.  And  he  said  unto  them  the  third  time,  Why,  what  evil  hath  he 
done  ?  I  have  found  no  cause  of  death  in  him :  I  will  therefore  chastise 
him,  and  let  him  go. 

Strange  condition  this  of  the  Son  of  God,  given  up  by  the 

justice  of  his  Father  to  the  discretion  of  his  creatures  !     He 

meets  with  no  good  will  but  in  his  judge,  and  this  has  no  other 

eifect  but  to  make  him   suffer  the  more.     How  often  has  he 

turned  into  good  the  evil  which  men  were  contriving  against 

us  ?     And  the  justice  of  God  permits  that  very  good  which 

Pilate  designed  to  do  him,  to  be  turned  to  his  disadvantage. 

23.  And  they  were  instant  with  loud  voices,  requiring  that  he  might 
be  crucified :  and  the  voices  of  them  and  of  the  chief  priests  prevailed. 

The  confederacy  and  clamour  of  the  wicked  often  prevail 
against  the  reasons  of  those  who  speak  in  behalf  of  truth  and 
justice.  Injustice  and  envy  have  more  perseverance  in  their 
wicked  designs,  than  the  good  intention  of  Pilate  has  in  en- 
deavouring to  save  Jesus  Christ.  In  the  perverse  and  stub- 
born wills  of  these  hardened  wretches  I  plainly  perceive  what 
mine  would  certainly  be,  if  thou.  Lord,  should  abandon  it  to 
its  own  natural  obduracy. 


24.  And  Pilate  gave  sentence  that  it  should  be  as  they  required.  25. 
And  he  released  unto  them  him  that  for  sedition  and  murder  was  cast 
into  prison,  whom  they  had  desired  ;  but  he  delivered  Jesus  to  their  will. 

He  who  loves  any  thing  more  than  truth,  will  abandon  it 

sooner  or  later.     Christ  is  delivered  up  to  the  will  of  man, 

that  man  may  deliver  himself  up  to  the  will  of  Christ  through 

his  grace.     Lord,  I  see  myself  in  this  criminal  as  in  a  glass ; 

25«  LUKE. 

thou  takest  my  place  in  taking  this,  and  in  setting  liim  at 
liberty  by  thy  death.  0  may  thy  Father  see  and  own  me  in 
thee  !  Grant  that  he  may  behold  me  covered  with  thy  blood, 
nailed  to  thy  cross,  and  obedient  even  unto  death,  like  one 
of  his  children,  like  one  of  thy  members  ! 

26.  And  as  they  led  him  away,  they  laid  hold  upon  one  Simon,  a 
Cyrenian,  coming  out  of  the  country,  and  on  him  they  laid  the  cross, 
that  he  might  bear  it  after  Jesus. 

God  never  leaves  any  person  alone  who  bears  his  cross  for 
the  sake  of  him.  It  is  a  great  favour  to  be  chosen  of  God 
to  accompany  an  afflicted  soul,  and  to  keep  it  from  sinking 
under  the  burden  of  its  cross.  Nothing  affords  greater  con- 
solation to  one  who  feels  the  weight  of  it,  and  fortifies  him 
more,  than  the  example  of  another  who  bears  it  with  con- 
stancy and  courage.  Lord,  abandon  not  those  whom  the 
world  crucifies  for  defending  thy  cause — give  them  that 
strength,  consolation,  and  support  of  which  they  stand  in 
need ! 

27.  1[  And  there  followed  him  a  great  company  of  people,  and  of  wo- 
men, which  also  bewailed  and  lamented  him. 

Happy  that  person  who  follows  Christ,  bearing  his  cross; 
who  compassionates  his  pains,  and  sheds  tears  over  him !  We 
see  here  none  but  the  meaner  sort  of  people  touched  with 
compassion  for  Christ,  and  bearing  him  company  while  he 
carries  his  cross.  All  the  rest — the  king  of  the  Jews,  the 
Roman  govenor,  the  high-priest,  the  chief  priests,  doctors  of 
the  law,  scribes,  and  soldiers — all  these  concern  themselves  no 
otherwise  about  Christ  than  only  to  contribute  to  his  suffer- 
ings. That  compassion  which  shows  itself  by  outward  ex- 
pressions, is  not  the  most  perfect ;  but  the  simplicity  and  sin- 
cerity of  those  souls  who  thus  take  part  in  the  pains  and 
sorrows  of  the  Son  of  God,  supplies  what  is  defective  in 
them.  God  assembles  together  about  Christ,  as  he  carries 
his  cross,  the  pious  souls  which  were  in  Jerusalem,  on  pur- 
pose that  they  may  reap  the  fruits  of  this  painful  journey  of 
Christ,  of  the  example  of  this  adorable  victim  loaded  with 
the  wood  of  his  sacrifice,  and  likewise  of  the  instructions 
which  this  dying  Saviour  has  yet  to  give  them. 

CHAPTER  XXm.  257 

28.  But  Jesus  turning  unto  them  said,  Daughters  of  Jerusalem,  weep 
not  for  me,  but  weep  for  yourselves,  and  for  your  children. 

At  the  court  Christ  kept  a  perfect  silence :  he  vouchsafed 
not  to  honour  King  Herod  with  so  much  as  one  Avord;  and  he 
here  speaks  in  public  to  the  meanest  of  the  people.  How 
ought  this  preference  to  humble  the  great !  How  ought  it  to 
comfort  those  whom  they  generally  look  upon  as  mere  worms 
of  the  earth,  unworthy  of  their  notice,  but  whom  Christ  thinks 
worthy  of  his  notice,  his  acknowledgment,  and  his  last  in- 
structions !  One  of  the  fruits  of  our  applying  our  minds  to 
the  contemplation  of  Christ's  sufferings,  and  raising  in  our- 
selves a  compassion  for  them,  is  to  receive  instruction  con- 
cerning those  crosses  and  afflictions  which  will  in  all  proba- 
bility happen  to  us,  to  prepare  ourselves  to  bear  them  like 
Christians,  and  to  enter  into  the  spirit  of  repentance  for  our 
sins.  In  vain  do  we  weep  for  Christ,  if  we  do  not  weep  for 
ourselves  when  we  consider  the  justice  of  God.  A  man  must 
have  a  heart  as  good  as  that  of  this  good  Shepherd,  to  forget 
the  evils  which  he  suffers  himself,  and  to  be  mindful  of  those 
of  others,  though  as  yet  at  a  great  distance.  This  ungrate- 
ful city  cannot  be  blotted  out  of  his  mind  to  his  very  last 
breath.  How  terrible  an  example  is  this  against  the  re- 
vengeful ! 

29.  For,  behold,  the  days  are  coming,  in  the  which  they  shall  say, 
Blessed  are  the  barren,  and  the  wombs  that  never  bare,  and  the  paps 
which  never  gave  suck. 

We  have  not  indeed  any  reason  to  fear  those  very  evils 
which  were  to  happen  at  the  siege  and  destruction  of  Jerusa- 
lem ;  and  yet  these  words  are  directed  likewise  to  us,  because 
these  calamities  prefigure  those  of  the  damned,  who  shall  seek 
death  without  being  able  to  find  it,  and  shall  suffer  an  eternal 
confusion.  Nothing  but  repentance  can  prevent  these  mise- 
ries. It  is  a  very  great  mercy,  that  Christ  vouchsafes  thus 
to  warn  and  persuade  us  tp  avoid  the  wrath  of  God ;  but  it  is 
a  very  great  misery,  and  a  most  deplorable  blindness  in  men, 
to  receive  no  manner  of  advantage  from  it  by  continuing  still 
in  impenitence.  Every  sinner  ought  to  apply  to  himself  in 
particular  this  general  admonition. 

258  •  LUKE. 

30.  Then  shall  they  begin  to  say  to  the  mountains,  Fall  on  us ;  and  to 
the  hills,  Cover  us. 

Thus  an  insupportable  confusion  shall  fall  on  all  those  who 
have  been  ashamed  to  perform  the  duty  of  repentance.  All 
desires  to  escape  the  wrath  of  God  will  be  altogether  fruitless 
and  ineffectual  when  the  time  of  mercy  is  past.  The  state 
and  condition  of  a  person  who  dies  without  any  repentance, 
or  with  one  which  is  late,  imperfect,  and  doubtful,  has  some- 
thing in  it  very  dreadful :  but  how  much  more  dreadful  will 
it  be,  when  he  finds  himself  at  the  tribunal  of  his  Judge 
without  any  other  refuge  than  these  wishes  of  despair  !  Let 
us  prevent  them  by  an  efficacious  will ;  and  let  us  earnestly 
beg  this  will  of  God.  Let  us  hide  ourselves  in  the  holes  of 
the  rock,  in  the  wounds  of  Jesus  Christ,  while  they  continue 
open  to  us. 

31.  For  if  thoy  do  these  things  in  a  green  tree,  what  shall  be  done  in 
the  dry  ? 

If  Christ,  the  tree  of  life,  full  of  the  juice  of  grace,  truth, 
and  righteousness,  is  treated  with  so  much  rigour  for  the  sins 
of  men,  let  us  not  wonder  to  see  the  most  holy  persons  suffer 
in  this  life.  What  have  not  the  wicked  to  fear,  who  are  no 
other  than  dry  and  barren  branches,  cut  off  from  the  stock, 
when  they  see  holiness  itself  overwhelmed  with  sorrows  and 
afflictions  ?  It  is  only  at  the  foot  of  the  cross  that  we  can 
frame  true  ideas  of  the  justice  and  anger  of  God.  All  that 
we  see  beside  is  no  more  than  a  shadow  of  them. 

32.  f  And  there  Avere  also  two  others,  malefactors,  led  with  him  to  be 
put  to  death. 

My  God,  into  what  company  hast  thou  brought  that  Son, 
who  lives  and  reigns  eternally  with  thee  in  the  society  and 
unity  of  the  Holy  Spirit !  By  this  thou  art  pleased  to  com- 
fort those  who,  being  oppressed  by  the  calumnies  and  injus- 
tice of  men,  are  confined  to  the  company  of  malefactors,  in  a 
dungeon,  in  the  galleys,  and  perhaps  on  a  scaffold.  Cause 
them,  0  my  God,  by  the  perception  of  a  lively  faith,  to  be 
sensible  of  the  consolation  arising  from  the  conformity  of 
their  state  with  that  of  thy  beloved  Son. 



33.  And  when  tbey  were  come  to  the  place,  which  is  called  Calvary, 
there  they  crucified  him,  and  the  malefactors ;  one  on  the  right  hand, 
and  the  other  on  the  left. 

Christ,  in  submitting  to  the  punishment  of  slaves,  joins  the 
greatest  of  ignominies  with  the  most  violent  of  all  pains,  that 
nothing  may  be  wanting  to  the  example  of  patience  and  hu- 
mility which  he  intends  to  give  us  in  his  death,  and  to  the  re- 
medy which  he  prepares  thereby  for  the  cure  of  all  our 
wounds.  Apply  this  remedy  to  me,  0  adorable  Physician  ! 
Cause  me  to  imitate  this  example,  and  vouchsafe  to  imprint 
thyself  in  my  soul  as  my  pattern,  0  thou  Head  of  the  truly 
humble  and  the  truly  penitent ! 

34.  ^  Then  said  Jesus,  Father,  forgive  them  ;  for  they  know  not  what 
they  do. 

These  are  adorable  words  of  the  oblation  of  the  grand  sa- 
crifice of  Christ,  spoken  by  him  while  they  were  nailing  him 
to  the  cross,  where  this  new  Priest,  laid  upon  this  new  altar, 
oifers  himself  as  a  victim  for  the  ignorances  of  the  people.  If 
a  God  must  die,  it  must  be  out  of  an  excess  of  love,  and  car- 
rying it  to  its  highest  perfection,  in  offering  his  blood  for  those 
who  shed  it,  in  making  himself  the  mediator  and  advocate  of 
sinners,  and  in  interceding  for  grace  and  salvation  for  his  ene- 
mies and  executioners.  He  dies  as  the  martyr  of  his  own  di- 
vinity, confessing  and  sealing  with  his  blood  this  fundamental 
truth  of  the  Christian  religion  which  has  made  so  many  mar- 
tyrs, namely,  that  he  was  truly  the  Son  of  God,  which  he  de- 
clares by  using  the  term,  "Father."  Settle  and  establish  in 
thy  church,  0  Lord,  this  double  foundation  of  its  faith  and 
morality — thy  divinity  and  thy  love — against  the  new  enemies 
of  both !  If  these  men  sin  out  of  ignorance,  this  does  not  ex- 
cuse them  any  more  than  it  does  thy  executioners ;  but  it 
renders  them,  however,  more  worthy  of  compassion,  through 
the  extremity  of  their  misfortune. 

—  And  they  parted  his  raiment,  and  cast  lots. 

That  which  is  done  here  by  the  avarice  of  these  soldiers, 

2fW  LUKE. 

was  guided  and  directed  by  the  same  Spirit  -who  had  foretold 
it,  to  give  the  greater  authority  to  these  mysteries  by  the 
completion  of  the  least  circumstances.  Lord,  thou  abandonest 
and  givest  up  to  thy  executioners  these  garments,  made  by 
the  hands  of  men ;  but  thou  leavest  us  garments  far  more 
precious  than  these,  since  thou  vouchsafest  to  clothe  us  with 
thyself  in  baptism,  and  to  give  us  thy  virtues,  mysteries, 
grace,  and  holy  Spirit,  to  cover  the  nakedness  of  our  heart. 
Grant,  0  Jesus,  that  we  may  be  always  clothed  therewith, 
both  within  and  without. 

35.  And  the  people  stood  beholding.  And  the  rulers  also  with  them 
derided  liim,  saying,  lie  saved  others ;  let  him  save  himself,  if  he  be 
Christ,  the  chosen  of  God. 

As  long  as  this  life  lasts,  the  righteous  continue  exposed 
to  the  insults  of  the  world :  and,  what  is  worse,  it  does  what 
it  can  to  rob  them  of  their  trust  and  confidence  in  God,  and 
to  cause  them  to  murmur  against  his  Providence.  Our 
churches  are  to  us  instead  of  Calvary;  our  altars,  instead  of 
the  cross  ;  and  the  eucharistical  sacrifice,  instead  of  the  sacri- 
fice of  the  death  of  Christ,  of  which  it  is  the  most  lively  re- 
presentation. Would  to  God,  that  those  who  here  made  of 
the  mystery  of  the  cross  only  a  spectacle  of  curiosity  and  an 
occasion  of  dishonouring  Jesus  Christ,  had  not  still  imitators 
in  these  days !  I  adore  thee,  0  Jesus,  both  upon  the  cross 
and  when  I  approach  the  altar,  as  the  Saviour  who  has  de- 
livered us  from  our  sins ;  as  the  Christ,  who  pourest  upon  us 
of  the  fulness  of  the  unction  of  thy  Spirit  and  thy  grace  ;  and 
as  the  only  chosen  of  God,  in  whom  all  the  rest  are  elected, 
sanctified,  and  glorified  as  his  members. 

36.  And  the  soldiers  also  mocked  him,  coming  to  him,  and  offering 
him  vinegar. 

See  here  the  comforters  whom  Christ  finds  on  earth  in  the 

day  of  his  sufferings,  and  in  the  extremity  of  his  sharpest  pains ! 

He  thirsts,  and  no  man  offers  him  so  much  as  one  drop  of 

■water  !     They  give  him  vinegar,  while  sinners  gratify  their 

taste  with  the  most  delicious  liquors.      Lord,   apply  to  our 

sensuality  the  remedy  which  thou  preparedst  for  it  by  this 

particular  suffering ! 


37.  And  saying,  If  thou  be  the  King  of  the  Jews,  save  thyself. 

0  my  God,  how  true  is  it  that  carnal  men  cannot  compre- 
hend the  dispensations  of  thy  wisdom  and  thy  Spirit !  Jesus 
is  the  king  of  the  Jews,  in  reigning  by  his  grace  not  over  Jews 
according  to  the  flesh  and  the  letter,  but  over  Jews  according 
to  the  Spirit  and  the  truth  ;  and  this  grace  is  the  fruit  of  his 
cross  and  death.  It  is  by  dying  that  he  establishes  his  king- 
dom, gains  his  people,  and  saves  them.  Let  this  be  to  the 
Jews  a  stumbling-block,  and  to  the  Gentiles  foolishness, — it 
shall  ever  be  the  object  of  my  adoration,  my  gratitude,  my 
hope,  and  my  love  ! 

38.  And  a  superscription  also  was  written  over  him  in  letters  of  Greek, 
and  Latin,  and  Hebrew,  THIS  IS  THE  KING  OF  THE  JEWS. 

Pilate,  from  being  the  judge  of  Christ,  seems  to  become  his 

first  apostle  to  the  Greeks,  Romans,  and  Hebrews,  publishing 

to  them  his  reign  upon  and  by  the  cross.     It  is  just,  0  Jesus, 

that  every  tongue  should  confess  that  thou  art  a  king  upon 

the  cross,  as  well  as  in  thy  glory,  until  the  time  come  when 

every  knee  shall  bow  at  thy  adorable  name.     Give  me  that 

reverence,  obedience,  religion,   gratitude,  and   love  which  I 

owe  thee  in  this  quality  and  this  state  of  suffering.     Let  my 

submission  to  whatever  afflictions  may  befall  me  for  thy  sake, 

or  by  thy  appointment,  be  to  me  a  pledge  and  assurance  of 

my  fidelity  toward  thee,  0  my  crucified  King  ! 


39.  T[  And  one  of  the  malefactors  which  were  hanged  railed  on  him, 
saying,  If  thou  be  Christ,  save  thyself  and  us. 

Dismal  and  irrecoverable  estate  indeed,  when  even  the  last 
punishments  of  sin  do  not  open  the  sinner's  eyes !  Let  us 
adore  the  justice  of  God,  and  his  judgments  upon  sinners. 
He  who  suff"ers,  blaspheming  God,  without  faith,  hope,  and  sub- 
mission, suffers  as  a  reprobate.  It  is  a  favour  to  be  punished 
in  this  life,  when  a  man  knows  how  to  make  a  good  use  of  his 
sufierings  ;  but  how  rarely  is  this  grace  to  be  found !  Whoever 
suffers  altogether  by  constraint,  both  without  accepting  of  his 
sufierings  in  the  spirit  of  repentance  and  without  the  benediction 
or  unction  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  sufiers  doubly,  without  comfort 
and  without  benefit.     Miserable  is  he  who  makes  this  choice  ! 

40.  But  the  other  answering  rebuked  him,  saying,  Dost  not  thou  fear 
God,  seeing  thou  art  in  the  same  condemnation?  41.  And  we  indeed 
justly;  for  we  receive  the  due  reward  of  our  deeds:  but  this  man  hath 
done  nothing  amiss.  42.  And  he  said  unto  Jesus,  Lord,  remember  me 
when  thou  comest  into  thy  kingdom. 

The  elect,  by  accepting  their  cross,  suffer  abundantly  the 

less,  are  comforted  by  God  himself,  and  receive  an  infinite 

reward.     The  penitent  thief  is  the  first  confessor  of  Christ's 

heavenly  kingdom,  the  first  martyr  who  bore  testimony  to  the 

holiness    of  his  sufferings,   and   the   first    apologist   for   his 

oppressed  innocence.     He  consecrates  t^  Christ  whatever  he 

has  at  liberty — his  heart  to  believe  in  him,  and  his  tongue  to 

confess  him.     The  first  fruit  of  faith,  in  a  penitent  punished 

for  his  sins,  is,  to  consider  the  difterence  there  is  between  the 

sufferings  of  Christ,  entirely  innocent,  and  those  of  sinners. 

The  second  is,  to  acknowledge  that  he  himself  suffers  justly. 

The  third  is,  to  have  compassion  on  those  who  lose  all  the 

fruit  of  their  sufferings  by  receiving  them  ill,  and  to  exhort 

them  to  repentance.     The  fourth  is,  not  to  be  offended  or 

scandalized  at  the  humiliations  of  Christ.     The  fifth,  to  expect 

his  eternal  kingdom.    The  sixth,  to  pray  humbly  to  him.    And 

the  seventh,  to  have  no  other  ambition  than  to  be  remembered 

by  him,  for  his  memory  is  his  heart ;  and  all  is  well  when  we 

have  a  place  therein. 

43.  And  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Verily  I  say  unto  thee,  To-day  ahalt 
thou  be  with  me  in  paradise. 

Let  us  admire  how  exceedingly  God  comforts  true  penitents 
at  the  time  of  death  by  a  lively  hope.  Whoever  perseveres, 
united  in  heart  to  Christ  in  his  sufferings,  shall  be  united  to 
him  in  his  glory.  One  sinner  is  converted  at  the  hour  of 
death,  that  we  may  hope — and  but  one,  that  we  may  fear ! 
Christ,  the  sovereign  dispenser  of  his  own  grace  and  glory, 
gives  it  to  a  thief  at  the  last  moment  of  his  life,  to  show  us 
that  he  does  not  give  it  to  merit.  The  bounty  of  God  sur- 
passes the  utmost  hopes  of  true  penitents.  The  person  before 
us  here  begged  only  to  be  "remembered,"  without  presuming 
to  mention  a  word  relating  either  to  time,  or  to  any  thing 
else ;  and  Jesus  promises  him  heavenly  repose,  the  joy  of 
possessing  it  together  with  himself,  and  the  enjoyment  of  it 


that  very  day.     What  sinner  will  not  be  attracted  by  a  good- 
ness so  bountiful,  preventing,  and  divine ! 


44.  And  it  was  about  the  sixth  hour,  and  there  was  a  darkness  over 
all  Ihe  earth  until  the  ninth  hour. 

How  much  thicker  was  the  darkness  which  covered  the 
hearts  of  the  Jews,  since  they  did  not  perceive  by  this  mi- 
racle that  they  had  crucified  their  King  and  God !  Let  it 
admonish  us  at  least  to  return  the  humblest  thanks  to  Christ, 
for  having  merited  for  us,  by  his  death,  the  light  of  faith  and 
the  grace  of  his  covenant. 

45.  And  the  sun  was  darkened,  and  the  vail  of  the  temple  was  rent  in 
the  midst. 

God  speaks  even  yet  by  inanimate  creatures  to  this  obdu- 
rate people,  who  refused  to  hear  his  Son.  He  makes  use  of 
every  thing  to  awaken  the  sinner ;  but  the  sinner,  by  his  ob- 
duracy, renders  every  thing  ineflFectual  when  God  works  not 
an  internal  and  invisible  miracle  upon  his  heart.  How  is  it, 
that  they  do  not  now  at  least  know  that  it  is  the  Sun  of  their 
souls,  whose  light  and  life  they  have  extinguished  and  put  out, 
and  that  his  death  rends  the  vail  of  types  and  shadows,  dis- 
covers the  truth,  and  opens  heaven !  But  the  time  is  not  yet 

46.  f  And  when  Jesus  had  cried  with  a  loud  voice,  he  said,  Father, 
into  thy  hands  I  commend  my  spirit:  and  having  said  thus,  he  gave  up 
the  ghost. 

The  cry  of  Jesus  shows  the  reality  of  his  human   nature, 

the  extremity  of  his  pains,  and  the  ingratitude  of  men.    This 

is  the  cry  of  the  true  Abel,  whose  blood  intercedes  for  mercy 

toward  sinners.     One  fruit  of  these  last  words  is  to  teach  us 

to  resign  ourselves  up  willingly  to  God  as  our  Father,  at  the 

time  of  death,  after  the  example  of  Jesus  Christ.     He  lays 

down  his  life  of  himself,  as  a  voluntary  victim.     Let  us  learn, 

in  imitating  him,  to  be  always  ready  freely  to  sacrifice  our 

own.     As  the  true  wheat  of  the  elect,  he  dies  here  on  earth 

in  order  to  bring  forth  much  fruit  in  heaven.     How  large  a 

field  of  meditation  does  every  one  of  these  last  words  afford 

us  !  How  much  is  there  in  them  to  be  adored  and  imitated  ! 
How  many  other  duties  are  we  obliged  to  perform  toward  a 
God  who  dies  for  us  such  a  death,  and  by  such  a  love : 

47.  Now  when  the  centurion  saw  what  was  done,  he  glorified  God, 
saying,  Certainly  this  was  a  righteous  man. 

The  first  fruits  of  the  death  of  Christ  are  not  for  a  priest, 
a  doctor  of  the  law,  a  Pharisee,  or  for  any  Jew,  but  for  a 
Gentile,  a  soldier,  who  Avas  present  at  it  merely  by  the  duty 
of  his  post.  How  far  are  thy  judgments,  0  my  God,  above 
the  reach  of  our  understandings  !  The  Jewish  priests,  not- 
withstanding all  the  helps  they  had  from  the  law  and  the  pro- 
phets, from  the  miracles  and  preaching  of  Christ,  could  see 
nothing  of  his  holiness  ;  and  thy  mercy  supplies  the  want  of 
all  those  things  in  the  heart  of  this  centurion,  and  causes  him 
to  know  and  confess  the  Saviour  of  the  world.  Let  us  adore 
these  judgments  of  God — his  justice  toward  some,  and  his 
mercy  toward  others. 

48.  And  all  the  people  that  came  together  unto  that  sight,  beholding 
the  things  which  were  done,  smote  their  breasts,  and  returned. 

The  second  graces  are  for  the  common  and  illiterate  people, 
who  were  not  so  much  set  against  Christ,  and  had  not  contri- 
buted to  his  death  out  of  any  malicious  design,  as  others  had 
done.  Many  of  these  people,  but  a  few  hours  since,  had 
cried  out,  "  Crucify  him,  crucify  him  !"  and  yet  Christ  vouch- 
safes to  touch  their  hearts,  and  to  give  them  the  grace  of  re- 
pentance. On  the  contrary,  with  how  much  difficulty  does  a 
revengeful  person  pardon  an  injury ;  and  how  long  must  one 
wait  for  some  small  testimony  of  reconciliation !  Let  us 
adore  the  readiness  of  Christ  in  pardoning  those  who  were 
instrumental  in  his  death,  and  condemn  our  own  slowness  and 
backwardness  in  forgiving  the  least  offences. 

49.  And  all  his  acquaintance,  and  the  women  that  followed  him  from 
Galilee,  stood  afar  off,  beholding  thet^e  things. 

Christ  has  often  curious  and  inquisitive  spectators  of  his 

mysteries,  who  are  only  present  in  body  ;  but  love  and  fidelity 

are  the  things  which  keep  these  holy  women  here,  as  they 

were  those  which  caused  them  at  first  to  follow  Jesus  Christ. 

His  grace  drew  them  to  him  ;  his  grace  detains  them.     Effect 


in  my  heart,  0  Jesus,  that  which  thou  didst  effect  in  theirs  ! 
Grant  that  I  may  never  contemplate  thee  fastened  to  the 
cross  but  with  reverence  and  religion,  never  but  with  a  cru- 
cified heart ! 

50.  ^  And,  behold,  there  was  a  man  named  Joseph,  a  counsellor;  and 
lie  ivas  a  good  man,  and  a  just: 

Fidelity  in  taking  part  in  the  humiliations  of  Christ  is  a 
thing  very  rare  in  a  person  of  quality.  Joseph  is  the  first 
confessor  of  Christ  in  his  state  of  death.  It  was  for  this 
particular  ofiice  that  God  prepared  him  by  that  goodness  and 
justice  which  are  here  praised  by  the  evangelist,  and  of  which 
it  is  the  reward.  The  majesty  and  magnificence  of  God,  and 
his  design  of  setting  off  the  humiliations  of  his  Son,  are  the 
cause  of  his  reserving  to  himself  some  great  persons,  to  be 
peculiarly  applied  and  consecrated  to  the  mystery  of  his  bu- 
rial. We  do  not  enough  consider  this  mystery,  though  it  be 
particularly  set  down  in  the  Scripture  and  in  the  creed.  It 
is  the  emblem  of  baptism,  wherein  we  are  buried  with  Christ. 

51.  The  same  had  not  consented  to  the  counsel  and  deed  of  them :  Jie 
was  of  Arimathea,  a  city  of  the  Jews  ;  who  also  himself  waited  for  the 
kingdom  of  God. 

God  has  servants  of  several  sorts ;  and  graces,  the  measure 
and  quality  whereof  are  little  known  to  men.  We  must  not 
proceed  rashly  to  judge  in  this  matter,  nor  to  condemn  those 
who  may  seem  to  us  to  be  too  reserved  on  some  particular 
occasions.  There  are  some  persons  of  whom  God  requires 
no  more,  with  respect  to  public  acts  of  injustice,  than  only 
not  to  join  in  them,  and  to  live  according  to  the  rules  of  Chris- 
tian faith  and  hope,  unless  they  are  particularly  obliged,  by 
their  state  of  life  or  their  ministry,  to  oppose  injustice,  and 
to  speak  in  behalf  of  innocence.  We  know  that  Joseph 
"consented  not  to  the  counsel  and  deed  of  them ;"  but  we  do 
not  know  whether  he  spoke  on  this  occasion  or  not. 

52.  This  man  went  unto  Pilate,  and  begged  the  body  of  Jesus. 
Faith  draws  even  from  the  death  of  Christ  the  courage  to 

declare  for  him.     On  such  dangerous  occasions  a  man  may 
easily  know  whether  he  has  been  silent  through   cowardice 
and  fear,  or  according  to  God's  will,  and  by  his  Spirit.     To 
Vol.  II.— 23 

beg  "the  body  of  Jesus,"  is  to  beg  the  victim  of  the  world, 
the  most  precious  relic  which  can  possibly  be  imagined,  and 
the  source  of  all  graces.  Happy  he  who  begged  it,  received 
it,  and  disposed  of  it  as  God  required  him  to  do. 

53.  And  he  took  it  down,  and  wrapped  it  in  linen,  and  laid  it  in  a 
sepulchre  that  was  hewn  in  stone,  wherein  never  man  befure  was  laid. 

God  causes  his  Son  to  receive  the  honour  of  a  bui'ial  that 

it  may  serve  as  a  declaration  of  his  innocence,  and  as  a  proof 

of  the  reality  of  his  death  and  resurrection.     Christians  are 

well  enough  disposed  to  honour  the  death  and  resurrection  of 

Christ,  but  few  are  mindful  of  his  burial.     This,  according  to 

Paul,  is  the  model  of  a  Christian  life,  which  is  a  life  hid  from 

the  world,  a  life  wherein  we  labour  not  only  to  crucify,  but 

likewise  to  bury  the   old  man  ;  so  as  that  nothing  may  any 

longer  appear  but  the  new  man,  and  such  things  as  are  worthy 

of  him. 

54.  And  that  day  was  the  preparation,  and  the  sabbath  drew  on. 
55.  And  the  women  also,  which  came  with  him  from  Galilee,  followed 
after,  and  beheld  the  sepulchre,  and  how  his  Ijody  was  laid. 

Jesus  Christ  being  dead,  draws  to  his  sepulchre  those  holy 

women  who  had  continued  faithful  to  him  at  the  cross.    Tliese 

souls,  devoted  to  the  service  of  his  sacred  humanity,  to  feed 

and  support  him  during  his  life,  seek  him  after  his  death, 

that  they  may  serve  him  as  long  as  they  know  him  to  remain 

on  earth.     Let  us  bury  and  serve  him  in  the  poor,  since  he 

has  left  them  in  his  place,  and  has  in  them  continual  wants 

and  necessities  to  be  supplied. 

56.  And  they  returned,  and  prepared  spices  and  ointments ;  and 
rested  the  sabbath  day  according  to  the  commandment. 

The  honour  which  these  pious  women  prepare  for  the  body 
of  this  divine  victim,  is  a  mark  of  its  sanctity  and  of  the  con- 
secration of  this  holy  flesh,  by  its  being  offered  as  a  sacrifice. 
It  is  upon  this  account  that  we  likewise  pay  some  honour  to 
the  bodies  of  Christians,  as  being  the  temples  of  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  parts  of  that  adorable  victim. 

CHAPTER    XXIV.  267 



1.  Now  upon  the  first  day  of  the  week,  very  early  in  the  morning,  they 
came  unto  the  sepulchre,  bringing  the  spices  which  they  had  prepared, 
and  certain  others  with  them. 

The  diligence  and  earnestness  of  a  soul  ■which  seeks  God, 
is  represented  in  these  holy  women.  All  sloth  must  be  shaken 
off  when  the  doing  something  for  Jesus  Christ  is  the  matter 
in  question.  There  are  two  conditions  which  ought  to  pre- 
cede the  good  works  which  we  would  offer  to  God :  we  must 
prepare  ourselves  to  perform  them  with  holy  dispositions  ;  and 
we  must  set  about  them  without  delay. 

2.  And  they  found  the  stone  rolled  away  from  the  sepulchre. 
When  persons  have  a  true  confidence  in  God,  obstacles  do 

not  hinder  them  from  undertaking  whatever  they  have  reason 
to  believe  he  requires ;  and  the  removal  of  them  they  leave  to 
him.  All  manner  of  diflSculties  vanish  before  those  who  are 
led  by  a  lively  faith  and  a  sincere  desire  to  please  God. 

3.  And  they  entered  in,  and  found  not  the  body  of  the  Lord  Jesus. 
God  sometimes  tries  those  who  seek  him,  when  they  think 

to  find  him  in  the  exercises  of  piety.  It  is  no  small  morti- 
fication to  a  soul  which  loves  God,  to  lose  an  opportunity  of 
serving  him  when  it  imagines  itself  so  happy  as  to  have  one 

4.  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  they  were  much  perplexed  thereabout, 
behold,  two  men  stood  by  them  in  shining  garments : 

The  absence  of  Jesus  Christ  ought  always  to  give  us  some 
perplexity,  and  to  make  us  fear  lest  this  has  happened  through 
our  own  fault.  God  never  leaves  those  souls  in  trouble  long 
whom  he  exercises  by  withdrawing  himself  from  them :  if  he 
do  not  send  them  comforters  from  heaven,  he  causes  them  to 
meet  with  visible  angels  upon  earth  for  their  support  and  con- 
solation. The  only  way  is  to  be  faithful  to  him ;  and  he  will 
certainly  be  so  on  his  part. 

5.  And  as  they  were  afraid,  and  bowed  down  their  faces  to  the  earth 
they  said  unto  them,  Why  seek  ye  the  living  among  the  dead? 

We  never  seek  Jesus  Christ  without  benefit  and  comfort 

when  we  seek  him  sincerely  and  with  our  whole  heart.     How 

full  of  consolation  is  this  gospel  of  life  to  those  souls  who  are 

wholly  taken  up   in  contemplating  the  death  and  burial  of 

their  Saviour !      The  mysteries  of  the   cross   and    death  of 

Christ,  to  those  who  apply  themselves  thereto  with  faith  and 

devotion,  are  a  means  of  arriving  at  the  joy  of  his  new  life. 

6.  He  is  not  here,  but  is  risen:  remember  how  he  spake  unto  yoii 
when  he  was  yet  in  Galilee, 

Whoever  by  mortifying  himself  seeks  Jesus  Christ  dead, 
shall  find  him  risen  again,  by  receiving  the  Spirit  and  partici- 
pation of  his  new  life.  The  belief  of  mysteries  is  founded 
chiefly  upon  the  word  of  Christ.  It  is  to  this  word  that  the 
angels  refer  these  very  souls,  whom  they  instruct  with  their 
own  mouth  by  the  direction  of  God.  Render  our  minds  intent, 
0  Jesus,  and  make  us  always  remember,  that  thou  art  no 
longer  visible  here  below,  that  heaven  is  the  place  where  we 
must  seek  for  thee,  and  that  thou  art  to  be  found  only  by  faith. 

7.  Saying,  The  Son  of  man  must  be  delivered  into  the  hands  of  sinful 
men,  and  be  crucified,  and  the  third  day  rise  again. 

Strange  necessity  of  the  humiliations  and  sufferings  of 
Christ !  How  can  sinners  then  pretend  to  be  exempted  from 
suffering?  It  was  not  indeed  absolutely  necessary  in  itself 
that  the  Son  of  God  should  be  the  victim  of  his  Father ;  but 
it  was  necessary  that  he  should  be  so,  supposing  the  designs 
of  God  concerning  the  satisfaction  of  his  justice  and  the  sal- 
vation of  men.  Since  Christ,  according  to  the  divine  decrees, 
was  to  be  the  principle  of  our  life  and  righteousness,  and  the 
head  of  the  elect,  it  was  necessary  that,  after  he  had  appeased 
the  wrath  of  God  by  his  death,  he  should  receive  a  new  life 
by  his  resurrection. 

8.  And  they  remembered  his  words, 

The  remembrance  of  the  words  of  Christ  on  proper  occa- 
sions, is  a  grace  which  proceeds  from  Christ  himself.  It  was 
he  who  assisted  the  memory  of  these  pious  women,  and  who 

CHAPTER    XXrV.  269 

worked  In  their  hearts,  at  the  same  time  that  the  angels  ex- 
horted them  to  remember. 

9.  And  returned  from  the  sepulchre,  and  told  all  these  things  unto  the 
eleven,  and  to  all  the  rest.  10.  It  Avas  Mary  Magdalene,  and  Joanna, 
and  Mary  the  mother  of  James,  and  other  women  that  were  with  them, 
which  told  these  things  unto  the  apostles. 

These  women,  who  had  more  courage  than  the  apostles  at 
the  time  of  Christ's  passion,  receive  the  first  news  of  his  resur- 
rection, and  are  the  persons  who  inform  them  of  it.  It  is  the 
duty  of  those  pious  souls  whom  God  visits  with  particular 
graces,  to  acquaint  their  pastors  or  directors  therewith,  and 
to  submit  them  to  their  judgment.  Obedience  preserves  those 
graces  which  piety  has  obtained,  and  gains  a  new  degree  of 
grace  to  make  use  of  them. 

11.  And  their  words  seemed  to  them  as  idle  tales,  and  they  believed 
them  not.  12.  Then  arose  Peter,  and  ran  unto  the  sepulchre  ;  and  stoop- 
ing down,  he  beheld  the  linen  clothes  laid  by  themselves,  and  departed, 
wondering  in  himself  at  that  which  was  come  to  pass. 

The  wonder  of  Christ's  resurrection  infinitely  surpasses  the 
hopes  and  understandings  of  men.  God  did  not  perhaps  re- 
quire of  the  apostles  that  they  should  believe  so  great  a  mys- 
tery upon  the  bare  word  of  two  or  three  women ;  but  he  only 
begins  to  avraken  their  faith  by  this  first  account.  Peter,  as 
one  of  the  chiefest  of  the  apostles,  runs  to  the  sepulchre,  be- 
lieves, v/onders,  and  is  thereby  disposed  to  receive  with  greater 
faith  the  visit  of  our  blessed  Lord. 


13.  1[  And,  behold,  two  of  them  went  that  same  day  to  a  village  called 
Emmaus,  which  was  from  Jerusalem  about  threescore  furlongs.  14.  And 
they  talked  together  of  all  these  things  which  had  ' 

If  the  faith  of  these  two  disciples  was  somewhat  weakened, 
yet  they  were  at  least  filled  with  the  remembrance  of  Christ's 
mysteries ;  and  for  persons  to  love  to  discourse  of  holy  things, 
is  one  means  to  raise  and  revive  their  hope.  Would  to  God, 
that  Christians  would  in  their  journeys  and  conversations  imi- 
tate them,  instead  of  entertaining  one  another  with  trifles,  as 
they  generally  do. 

15.  And  it  came  to  pass,  that,  while  they  communed  together  and 

270  LUKE. 

reasoned,  Jesus  himself  drew  near,*  and  went  with  them.       [*  Fr.  Came 
and  joined  them.] 

How  profitable  and  advantageous  is  it  to  discourse  of  Jesus 
Christ!  If,  when  we  speak  of  him  with  piety,  he  do  not 
become  visibly  present  indeed,  yet  he  becomes  more  present 
to  our  heart  by  an  increase  of  grace.  Let  us  admire  and  adore 
the  charity  of  the  good  Shepherd,  who,  as  soon  as  ever  he  is 
risen  again,  labours  to  gather  his  dispersed  flock,  and  to  bring 
back  his  sheep  which  were  gone  astray  !  Vouchsafe,  0  Lord, 
to  join  thyself  to  us,  to  act  and  go  along  with  us,  in  all  our 
undertakings  and  journeys  to  sanctify  them  by  thy  Spirit. 

16.  But  their  eyes  were  holden  that  they  should  not  know  him. 

If  grace  open  not  our  minds,  they  will  continue  eternally 
shut  with  respect  to  the  mysteries  of  Christ.  God  has  his 
secret  and  wise  designs  when  he  sometimes  hides  himself 
from  those  whom  he  loves  the  most.  The  ignorance  to  which 
God,  out  of  his  just  anger,  abandons  the  wicked  by  way  of 
punishment,  is  one  thing;  that  into  which  he  permits  the 
righteous  to  fall,  only  to  exercise  and  try  them,  is  another. 
We  may  have  Jesus  Christ  with  us,  and  not  know  him.  We 
may  walk  along  Avith  him  in  his  ways,  and  yet  not  see  clearly 
into  his  conduct. 

17.  And  he  said  unto  them.  What  manner  of  communications  are  these 
that  ye  have  one  to  another,  as  ye  walk,  and  are  sad  ? 

Christ  compassionates  the  sorrows  of  those  who  have  a 
sense  of  his.  This  grief  and  sadness  for  having  lost  him, 
though  weak  and  imperfect  in  itself,  is  notwithstanding  pleas- 
ing to  him,  and  prepares  them  for  something  more  perfect. 
It  is  even  the  weakness  and  imperfection  of  the  disciples  which 
occasions  this  visit,  and  draws  upon  them  the  comfort  and 
consolation  of  so  good  a  Master.     Who  will  not  hope  in  him? 

18.  And  the  one  of  them,  whose  name  was  Cleopas,  answerinjj;  said 
unto  him,  Art  thou  only  a  stranger  in  Jerusalem,  and  hast  not  known 
the  things  wliich  are  come  to  pass  there  in  these  days  ? 

IIow  many  Christians  are  such  strangers  in  the  church  that 

Christ  and  his  mysteries  are  almost  utterly  unknown  to  them, 

after  so  many  ages  of  predictions,  miracles,  and  instructions ! 

Let  our  faith  render  the  mystery  of  the  cross  so  familiar  to 

CHAPTER    XXIV.  271 

our  minds,  that  we  may  never  be  surprised  whenever  the  cross 

presents  itself  unto  us. 

19.  And  he  said  unto  them,  What  things  ?  And  they  said  unto  him. 
Concerning  Jesus  of  Nazareth,  which  was  a  prophet  mighty  in  deed  and 
word  before  God  and  all  the  people:  20.  And  how  the  chief  priests  and 
our  rulers  delivered  him  to  be  condemned  to  death,  and  have  crucified  him. 

Death  and  glory  cause  a  forgetfulness  of  what  has  been 
suffered  during  this  mortal  life.  Christ  seems  to  be  such  with 
respect  to  the  apostles,  as  they  themselves  were  with  respect 
to  him.  He  forgets,  as  it  were,  his  state  of  infirmity,  as  they 
had  forgotten  his  divinity.  The  praise  of  a  bishop,  or  of  a 
minister  of  the  church,  cannot  be  real  and  substantial,  unless 
it  include  these  two  things — deeds  and  words,  doing  and  teach- 
ing. It  is  a  matter  of  small  moment,  to  charm  the  ears  with 
fine  discourses,  or  to  dazzle  the  eyes  with  remarkable  and 
shining  actions ;  it  is  only  by  the  works  of  a  holy  life,  that  a 
man  is  in  the  sight  of  God  such  as  he  ought  to  be.  If  an  ex- 
traordinary mission  be  not  authorized  by  miracles,  we  are  not 
obliged  to  have  any  manner  of  regard  to  it.  If  piety  do  not 
support  preaching  and  ecclesiastical  labours,  a  man  either 
labours  altogether  in  vain,  or  at  least  in  vain  as  to  himself. 

21  But  we  trusted*  that  it  had  been  he  which  should  have  redeemed 
Israel :  and  beside  all  this,  to  day  is  the  third  day  since  these  things  were 
done.     [*  Fr.  Hoped.] 

Alas,  what  is  the  spirit  of  man  without  the  Spirit  of  God, 
even  in  those  who  were  appointed  to  be  the  founders  of  the 
church  and  the  preachers  of  the  faith  !  It  hopes  for  every 
thing  when  there  is  the  least  foundation  imaginable;  and  it 
despairs  of  every  thing  in  the  time  of  the  greatest  hope. 
True  faith  waits  for  God's  proper  time,  without  any  concern 
or  anxiety:  Christian  hope  is  such  only  by  patience  and  per- 
severance. The  deliverance  and  salvation  of  the  heart  are 
the  things  which  both  aim  at  and  expect. 

22.  Yea,  and  certain  women  also  of  our  company  made  ua  astonished, 
which  were  early  at  the  sepulchre ;  23.  And  when  they  found  not  his 
body,  they  came,  saying,  that  they  had  also  seen  a  vision  of  angels,  which 
said  that  he  was  alive. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  the  third  day  the  sepulchre  is 
found  empty,  angels  descend  from  heaven  to  publish  the  re- 
surrection, and  the  apostles  themselves  find  not  Christ's  body 

272  L  U  K  E. 

in  the  tomb  :  is  not  all  this  enough  to  put  these  wandering 
pilgrims  again  into  the  right  way,  who  had  been  instructed 
by  the  preaching  of  the  Son  of  God  ?  But  nothing  external 
is  sufficient  to  inspire  men  with  faith  and  hope ;  this  is  the 
work  of  internal  grace,  which  operates  in  the  heart.  This 
incredulity  of  the  apostles  is  mysterious,  it  makes  a  part  of 
the  economy  of  the  divine  dispensations,  and  is  instrumental 
in  promoting  the  faith  of  all  people.  God  frequently  per- 
mits faults  in  others  for  our  instruction ;  and  the  falls  of  the 
most  perfect  are  useful  in  supporting  the  most  weak. 

24.  And  certain  of  them  which  were  with  us  went  to  the  sepulchre, 
and  found  it  even  so  as  the  women  had  said  :  but  him  they  saw  not. 

For  this  very  reason  they  ought  to  have  believed  he  was 

risen ;  for  he  could  not  have  been  so  if  they  had  found  him 

there.     But  without  grace,  that  which  should  contribute  to 

awaken  and  fortify  faith  and  hope    serves  only  to  weaken 

them  the  more ;  whereas,  with  grace  they  are  nourished,  and 

increase  by  those  very  things  which  seem  most  violently  to 

obstruct  and  oppose  them. 

25.  Then  he  said  unto  them,  0  fools,  and  slow  of  heart  to  believe  all 
that  the  prophets  have  spoken  : 

This  reproof  from  Christ  seems  somewhat  harsh  and  severe, 
but  it  is  extremely  charitable,  and  necessary  to  awaken  their 
faith.  A  flattering  mildness  or  gentleness,  which  lulls  the 
sinner  asleep,  is  no  other  than  a  real  cruelty ;  whereas,  on 
the  contrary,  a  sharp  word  is  a  kind  instance  of  severity,  and 
a  necessary  remedy  to  open  the  eyes  of  a  friend.  The  mys- 
tery of  the  cross  is  the  salvation  of  the  world.  Whoever 
does  not  believe  it,  disowns  all  the  prophets,  or  docs  not  un- 
derstand them  at  all. 

26.  Ouf^ht  not  Christ  to  have  suffered  these  things,  and  to  enter  into 
his  glory  ? 

The  necessity  of  suffering  is  unavoidable :  there  is  no  other 

gate  by  which  we  can  enter  into  glory.     This  is  the  way  of 

salvation  for  the  whole  church ;  it  is  that  of  every  one  of  the 

elect :  it  was  the  way  of  the  Head,  and  it  must  be  that  of  the 

members.     In  vain  would  men  hope  to  find  out  another  way, 

more  easy,  and  better  suited  to  the  inclinations  of  nature. 

CHAPTER  XXIV.  '     273 

For  tlic  more  it  is  flattered,  the  more  it  is  corrupted  and 
rendered  more  unworthy  of  God.  It  cannot  possibly  be  either 
sanctified  or  saved  but  by  mortification,  which  makes  one 
part  of  the  cross.  No,  Lord,  I  desire  no  salvation  but 
through  the  virtue  and  by  the  participation  of  thy  sufferings ; 
and  it  is  in  these  very  sufferings  that  I  find  the  grace  and 
strength  to  partake  of  them  in  thy  Spirit. 

27.  And  beginning  at  Moses  and  all  the  prophets,  he  expounded  unto 
them  in  all  the  Scriptures  the  things  concerning  himself. 

All  the  Scriptures,  even  those  of  the  Old  Testament,  are 

full  of  Jesus  Christ.     We  find  him  in  them  when  we  know 

how  to  seek  him  as  we  ought ;  and  this  we  must  do  by  the 

light  of  faith,  and  of  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ  himself.     Let 

us  pursue  the  intimation  here  given  us  by  Christ,  in  order  to 

attain  to  the  true  knowledge  of  his  mysteries.     How  worthy 

is  this  study  of  a  Christian,  instead  of  those  vain  sciences 

with  which  the  mind  is  generally  filled !     Vouchsafe,  great 

God,  to  give  us  a  relish  and  love  for  thy  Scriptures,  and  a 

perfect  understanding  of  them.    Let  it  be  our  delight  to  seek, 

to  find,  and  to  taste  Christ  in  them  ;  and  to  admire  therein 

the  holiness  and  wonders  of  thy  conduct  in  relation  to  him, 

to  his  church,  and  to  all  his  elect ! 

28.  And  they  drew  nigh  unto  the  village,  whither  they  went:  and  he 
made  as  though  he  would  have  gone  further. 

God  tries  the  charity  of  his  servants  as  well  as  their  faith. 

He  seems  sometimes  to  be  withdrawing  himself  from  a  soul 

when  he  is  ready  to  manifest  and  communicate  himself  thereto 

in  the  fullest  manner.     The  fear  of  losing  him  increases  our 

esteem  both  of  God  and  of  his  gifts,  and  kindles  in  us  a  more 

ardent  desire  of  them ;  and  it  is  by  this  desire  that  he  causes 

us  in  some  sense  to  deserve  not  to  lose  them,  and  to  receive  a 

more  abundant  participation  of  them. 

29.  But  they  constrained  him,  saying.  Abide  with  us;  for  it  is  toward 
evening,  and  the  day  is  far  spent.     And  he  went  in  to  tarry  with  them. 

The  love  of  truth,  and  the  influence  of  charitable  instruc- 
tions, cause  charity  to  grow  and  increase  in  the  heart.      In 
this  manner  ought  we  to  use  a  holy  violence  toward  Clu'ist  in 
the  persons  of  the  poor,  and,  as  it  were,  constrain  him  to  re- 

2U  L  U  K  E. 

ceive  our  hospitality  and  our  alms.  We  must  likewise  use 
this  holy  violence  toward  him  in  prayer,  that  our  imperfec- 
tions may  not  constrain  him  to  forsake  us  Happy  is  that 
person  Avho  fully  knows  what  it  is  to  possess  him  by  faith  and 
charity,  and  by  the  holy  eucharist !  The  time  of  receiving 
this,  is  the  proper  time  to  importune  him  more  earnestly  to 
make  his  abode  in  us.  How  much  greater  reason  have  we  to 
redouble  our  importunities,  when  we  see  the  Sun  of  righteous- 
ness begin  to  decline,  and  the  light  of  faith  to  grow  dim  in 
ourselves,  in  our  brethren,  or  in  the  church,  and  more  espe- 
cially when  the  day  of  life  is  likewise  far  spent  ? 

30.  And  it  came  to  pass,  as  he  sat  at  meat  with  them,  he  took  bread, 
and  blessed  it,  and  brake,  and  gave  to  them. 

Christ  himself  feeds  those  who  feed  him  in  the  poor.  We 
may  know  religious  persons  not  only  in  the  exercises  of  reli- 
gion, but  even  in  the  most  common  actions  of  life,  which  they 
convert  into  holy  actions,  by  the  holiness  of  their  dispositions, 
by  prayer  which  sanctifies  every  thing,  and  by  the  oblation 
which  they  make  thereof  to  God.  The  meals  of  Christians 
ought  to  resemble  those  of  Christ,  who  here  teaches  them 
never  to  sit  down  to  them  till  they  have  invoked  the  divine 
blessing  by  thanksgiving  and  prayer,  which  must  be  performed 
with  faith,  attention,  and  reverence,  and  not  carelessly,  by 
rote,  and  only  for  fashion's  sake. 

31.  And  their  eyes  were  opened,  and  they  knew  him;  and  he  vanished 
out  of  their  sight. 

The  eucharist  is  a  bread  of  life  and  of  knowledge.  God 
diffuses  his  light,  and  manifests  himself  when  he  pleases,  by 
this  sacrament,  to  such  souls  as  are  a  little  wavering  in  the 
faith,  and  begin  to  grow  weak  in  piety.  One  communion 
alone  sometimes  opens  the  eyes  more  with  respect  to  matters 
of  faith,  than  all  the  discourses  and  instructions  of  men. 
The  practice  of  God's  word  is  often  more  enlightening  to 
souls  which  have  a  true  simplicity,  than  constant  study  is  to 
the  learned.  It  happens,  on  some  certain  occasions,  that  we 
possess  God  without  knowing  him ;  and  that  when  we  do 
know  him,  we  lose  the  sensible  enjoyment  of  him.     We  have 


then  great  need  of  an  enlightened  guide,  who  can  both  dis- 
cern and  follow  the  ways  of  God,  and  who  will  neither  lead 
souls  astray,  nor  disquiet  and  disturb  them. 

32.  And  they  said  one  to  another,  Did  not  our  heart  burn  within  us, 
•while  he  talked  with  us  by  the  way,  and  while  he  opened  to  us  the 
Scriptures  ? 

The  word  of  Jesus  Christ  is  a  fire  which  inflames  him  who 
feeds  thereon ;  whereas  the  conversation  of  the  world  serves 
only  to  distract  and  to  cool  the  heart.  Pious  discourses,  the 
truths  of  the  Scripture,  and  the  explication  of  the  mysteries 
of  our  salvation,  when  retained  in  the  memory,  kindle  the 
love  of  God  in  our  heart,  and  feed  and  preserve  it  there.  We 
do  not  always  perceive  immediately  the  good  effects  produced 
in  us  by  the  word  of  God  and  by  sermons,  but  we  find  them 
afterward.  Let  us  but  love  to  hear  God  spoken  of,  and  we 
shall  soon  be  sensible  that  God  himself  speaks  to  us,  warns 
us,  and  changes  our  hearts. 

33.  And  they  rose  up  the  same  hour,  and  returned  to  Jerusalem,  and 
found  the  eleven  gathered  together,  and  them  that  were  with  them,  34. 
Saying,  The  Lord  is  risen  indeed,  and  hath  appeared  to  Simon. 

There  sometimes  wants  but  one  Christian  conversation,  one 
pious  discourse,  or  one  devout  communion,  to  cause  a  soul  to 
return  into  the  way  of  perfection,  which  it  was  just  going  to 
leave.  The  faith  of  these  disciples  grew  weaker  the  farther 
they  removed  from  Jerusalem;  by  returning  thither,  they  find 
sufficient  matter  to  strengthen  and  increase  it.  We  may 
observe  two  circumstances  very  common  in  the  failings  of  the 
elect, — that  God  does  not  permit  them  to  fall  away  very  far, 
and  that  they  are  ready  to  return  whenever  he  recalls  them. 
Christ  distinguishes  Peter,  and  favours  him  with  a  parti- 
cular visit,  because  he  is  a  penitent  whose  heart  is  under 
great  affliction  and  humiliation ;  and  likewise  to  teach  us  to 
respect  and  honour  authority  in  the  pastors,  notwithstanding 
all  their  faults  and  imperfections.  It  is  a  very  great  conso- 
lation to  the  disciples  recovered  from  their  errors,  but  con- 
tinuing still  weak,  to  learn  so  soon  that  Christ  does  not  reject 
sinners,  and  that  he  has  even  a  compassion  and  tenderness 
toward  penitents. 

276  LUKE. 

35.  And  they  told  what  things  were  done  in  the  way,  and  how  he  was 
known  of  them  in  bi-eaking  of  bread. 

We  may  here  observe  the  wonderful  effects  of  the  eucha- 
rist,  of  the  practice  of  works  of  mercy,  and  of  the  word  of 
God,  which  are — (1.)  To  recover  us  out  of  dangerous  ways 
and  errors.  (2.)  To  bring  us  back  to  unity.  (3.)  To  confirm 
us  in  the  faith.  And,  (4.)  To  open  our  eyes,  that  we  may 
know  Christ  more  perfectly.  0  heavenly  bread,  broken  upon 
the  cross  for  my  salvation,  in  the  eucharist  for  my  spiritual 
nourishment,  and  in  the  Scriptures  for  my  instruction,  save, 
feed,  and  enlighten  me;  and  grant  that  I  may  everywhere 
know  and  acknowledge  thee  to  be  the  bread  of  God,  of  life, 
and  of  my  soul. 


36.  Tl  And  as  they  thus  spake,  Jesus  himself  stood  in  the  midst  of 
them,  and  saith  unto  them,  Peace  be  unto  you. 

Jesus  is  present  in  the  midst  of  those  who  discourse  of  his 
mysteries.  0  good  Shepherd,  thou  seekest  thy  sheep  in  all 
places,  to  comfort  them,  to  strengthen  their  faith,  and  to  show 
them,  by  thy  visible  presence,  that  thou  knowest  the  means 
to  render  thyself  present  to  them  in  their  wants,  and  when- 
ever they  are  assembled  together  in  thy  name  and  according 
to  thy  word.  May  thy  charity  be  praised  by  all  Christians, 
may  it  be  imitated  by  all  pastors  in  their  proper  manner. 
Whenever  Jesus  enters  into  a  heart,  he  brings  peace  into  it. 
He  produces  it  there  by  only  wishing  or  willing  it,  because 
his  will  is  omnipotent,  and  is  even  his  omnipotence  itself 

37.  But  they  were  terrified  and  affrighted,  and  supposed  that  they  had 
seen  a  spirit. 

The  spirit  of  man,  incapable  of  itself  to  discern  the  things 
of  God,  is  ready  on  all  occasions  to  lay  itself  open  to  the 
illusions  of  the  devil,  and  to  take  the  peculiar  favours  and 
visits  of  God  for  no  other  than  illusions.  The  devil  flatters 
men  at  first,  to  take  away  all  diffidence  and  distrust,  and  to 
keep  them  from  examining  any  thing:  on  the  contrary,  the 
Spirit  of  God  imprints  a  fear  and  amazement  on  the  mind, 


because  he  would  have  nothing  -which  is  extraordinary  re- 
ceived without  examination. 

38.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Why  are  ye  troubled?  and  why  do 
thoughts  arise  in  your  hearts  ? 

The  mind  of  man  is  strangely  fruitful  in  such  thoughts  as 
are  contrary  to  faith.  In  all  extraordinary  visits  from  God, 
it  is  good  to  be  somewhat  fearful  and  diffident,  but  not  to  such 
a  degree  as  to  be  troubled,  and  to  suffer  all  sorts  of  thoughts 
to  rise  in  our  hearts.  It  is  not  sufficient  that  we  receive 
extraordinary  measures  of  grace  from  God;  it  is  likewise 
necessary  that  he  should  make  them  known,  and  hinder  our 
minds  from  turning  them  to  our  own  disadvantage. 

39.  Behold  my  hands  and  my  feet,  that  it  is  I  myself:  handle  me, 
and  see;  for  a  spirit  hath  not  flesh  and  bones,  as  ye  see  me  have. 

A  body  raised  from  the  dead  is  a  real  body,  which  is  solid, 

and  capable  of  being  touched.     We  must  settle  and  confirm 

ourselves  in  the  belief  of  the  resurrection  of  our  bodies  by  the 

resurrection  of  that  of  our  Head.     Whoever  expects  to  have 

his  own  body  enjoy  the  rights  which  are  enjoyed  by  the  body 

of  Christ,  must,  after  his  example,  take  upon  himself  the  yoke 

of  mortification  here  below.     Those  marks  and  prints  of  his 

sufferings,  which  still  remain  in  the  midst  of  his  glory,  serve 

to  put  us  in  mind  that  it  was  by  the  cross  that  he  merited  it, 

and  that  we  must  bear  it  after  him  in  order  to  be  glorified 

with  him. 

40.  And  when  he  had  thus  spoken,  he  showed  them  Ids  hands  and  his 

Christ  retains  the  scars  of  his  wounds,  (1.)  To  encourage 
us  to  suffer  for  him,  by  showing  us  how  much  he  loves  suffer- 
ings. (2.)  For  the  comfort  and  consolation  of  his  elect.  (3.) 
For  the  confusion  of  the  damned.  (4.)  To  afford  us  a  sanc- 
tuary or  refuge  in  our  temptations  and  troubles.  And,  (5.) 
To  show  us  fountains  of  grace  continually  open  to  us  in  our 
wants.  Grant  me,  Lord,  the  fidelity  to  improve  to  these  pur- 
poses the  contemplation  of  thy  sacred  wounds.  Let  them  not 
be  closed  against  me,  I  humbly  beseech  thee.  And  let  ray 
heart  enter  into  thine  by  that  passage  which  thou  hast  been 
pleased  to  keep  open  for  it. 

Vol.  II.— 21 

2rS  LUKE, 

41.  And  while  they  yet  believed  not  for  joy,  and  wondered,  he  said 
unto  them,  have  ye  here  any  meat  ? 

God  produces  faith  by  degrees  in  the  heart,  that  men  may 
be  the  more  sensible  that  it  is  his  work.  The  slowness  and 
backwardness  of  the  disciples  shows  plainly  that  they  did  not 
believe  lightly  and  rashly.  Every  thing  here  seems  to  oppose 
the  belief  of  the  resurrection — amazement,  fear,  a  prepossessed 
imagination,  joy,  and  admiration ;  the  evidence  alone  of  the 
proofs  here  given  bears  down  all  before  it,  and  establishes  the 
belief  of  this  truth.  For  a  man  not  to  yield  to  these,  is  to 
resolve  to  shut  his  eyes,  and  to  be  wilfully  blind. 

42.  And  they  gave  him  a  piece  of  a  broiled  fish,  and  of  a  honeycomb. 
43.  And  he  took  it,  and  did  eat  before  them. 

To  instruct  and  heal  a  soul,  a  pastor  must  stoop  to  the 
lowest  condescensions.  If  he  eat  with  his  sheep,  he  must  do 
it  only  out  of  charity,  not  often,  and  with  the  indiiferency  of 
a  man  raised  from  the  dead,  chiefly  to  comply  with  their 
weakness,  and  to  strengthen  them  without  weakening  himself. 
Happy  that  pastor  who,  even  by  the  meanest  and  most  na- 
tural actions,  shows  plainly  that  he  is  risen  again,  in  per- 
forming them  in  the  spirit  of  the  new  life,  and  as  a  person 
altogether  heavenly. 

44.  And  he  said  unto  them,  These  are  the  words  which  I  spake  unto 
you,  while  I  was  yet  with  you,  that  all  things  must  be  fulfilled,  which 
were  written  in  the  law  of  Moses,  and  in  the  Prophets,  and  in  the  Psalms, 
concerning  me. 

Would  to  God  that  those  entertainments  or  repasts  at  which 
pastors  and  spiritual  directors  are  engaged  to  be  present, 
were,  like  this,  only  an  occasion  of  instructing  others,  of  mak- 
ing known  the  truths  of  religion,  of  replenishing  souls  with 
Christ  and  his  mysteries,  of  inspiring  into  them  a  love  for  the 
Scriptures,  of  sanctifying  conversation  with  pious  discourses, 
and  of  settling  and  confirming  the  wavering  faith  of  the  weak. 
Let  us  be  careful  to  seek  Jesus  Christ  in  the  Old  Testament, 
as  well  as  in  the  New.  He  is  in  all  parts  thereof;  and  in  all 
he  frames  the  heart  of  a  Christian.  The  Prophets  exercise 
our  faith,  the  Psalms  nourish  our  hopes,  and  the  Law  tries 
and  makes  known  our  charity. 

CHAPTER  XXrV.  279 

45.  Then  opened  he  their  understanding,  that  they  might  understand 
the  Scriptures, 

We  cannot  penetrate  into  and  understand  the  true  sense  of 
the  Scriptures,  but  only  by  Jesus  Christ.  In  vain  would  he 
himself  have  instructed  the  apostles  in  the  truths  contained 
in  them,  if  he  had  not  likewise  given  them  the  understanding 
thereof.  It  is  a  strange  delusion  under  which  heretics  are, 
in  flattering  every  private  person  with  this  gift  of  understand- 
ing, which  even  the  apostles  themselves,  though  sanctified,  did 
not  receive  till  after  the  resurrection,  and  that  by  a  peculiar 
grace  and  favour.  It  is  the  fruit  of  humility,  prayer,  true 
spiritual  poverty,  and  of  fidelity  in  bringing  the  mind  into 
subjection  to  the  yoke  of  faith.  0  Jesus,  it  is  thou  who  hast 
the  key  of  the  knowledge  of  the  Scriptures,  as  well  as  that 
of  our  understandings  and  hearts.  Cause  us  to  understand, 
to  love,  and  to  practise  them. 

46.  And  said  unto  them,  Thus  it  is  written,  and  thus  it  behoved  Christ 
to  suffer,  and  to  rise  from  the  dead  the  third  day : 

"It  behoved  Christ  to  suffer,"  because  God  had  so  ordained 

it ;  because  he  could  not  content  his  mercy  without  satisfying 

his  justice,  which  was  not  to  be  done  but  by  a  victim  worthy 

of  himself;  and  because  "It  became  him,  for  whom  are  all 

things,  and  by  whom  are  all  things,  in  bringing  many  sons 

unto  glory,  to  make  the  Captain  of   their  salvation  perfect 

through  sufierings."     (Heb.  ii.  10.) 

47.  And  that  repentance  and  remission  of  sins  should  be  preached  in 
his  name  among  all  nations,  beginning  at  Jerusalem. 

Repentance  on  the  part  of  sinners,  and  mercy  on  that  of 
God,  are  the  summary  of  the  whole  gospel.  Christ  has  pur- 
chased the  whole  earth  by  his  death,  and  by  preaching  he 
takes  possession  thereof;  but  he  both  purchased  it  and  pos- 
sesses it  only  in  order  to  sanctify  and  consecrate  it  to  God. 
True  repentance  and  remission  of  sins  are  inseparable. 
Whoever  refuses  to  make  any  satisfaction  to  justice  by  re- 
pentance, has  not  the  least  right  to  mercy.  God  leads  to 
both  by  his  word.  He  gives  the  spirit  of  repentance  to  those 
whose  sins  he  intends  to  pardon ;  and  causes  those  to  obey 
his  word  to  whom  he  designs  to  give  the  grace  of  repentance. 

280  LUKE. 

48.  And  ye  are  witnesses  of  these  things. 

All  Christians  are  not  designed  to  be  witnesses  of  the  mys- 
teries and  doctrine  of  Christ,  by  preaching  them  and  dying 
for  them,  as  the  apostles  were ;  but  all  ought  to  be  witnesses 
of  them  by  their  life  and  conversation.  Our  faith  renders 
these  things  present  to  ourselves ;  let  our  manners  and  be- 
haviour publish  them  to  others. 

49.  T[  And,  behold,  I  send  the  promise  of  my  Father  upon  you :  but 
tarry  ye  in  the  city  of  Jerusalem,  until  ye  be  endued  with  power  from 
on  high. 

Comfortable  promise  this,  and  which  follows  the  preceding 
discourse  very  seasonably.  For  who  could  believe  that  a  God 
died  and  rose  again,  who  could  hope  for  the  remission  of  his 
sins,  who  could  love  repentance  and  the  cross,  without  this  gift 
which  the  Father  promises  and  sends  us  by  the  Son  ?  Retire- 
ment and  repose  were  by  Jesus  Christ  judged  necessary  for 
the  apostles  and  disciples,  in  order  to  their  receiving  the  Holy 
Ghost,  who  is  the  strength  of  the  weak :  and  can  we  judge 
otherwise  by  ourselves  ?  These  words  should  teach  us  neither 
to  expose  ourselves  to  the  world  and  its  temptations,  nor  to 
imdertake  the  work  of  God,  until  we  be  endued  with  power 
from  on  high. 


50.  ^  And  he  led  them  out  as  far  as  to  Bethany,  and  he  lifted  up  his 
hands,  and  blessed  them. 

Jesus  blesses  his  disciples  as  their  Father,  their  Head,  and 
their  sovereign  Priest ;  and  this  benediction  supports  them 
till  the  descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  These  adorable  hands, 
lifted  up,  stretched  out,  pierced,  and  nailed  to  the  cross  as 
hands  of  malediction,  did  by  that  very  means  become  the 
fountain  of  benediction  to  the  whole  earth,  and  of  all 
kind  of  graces  to  his  church.  Lift  up,  and  extend  over 
me,  0  Lord,  from  the  height  of  heaven,  these  divine 
hands,  on  which  my  eternal  portion  and  happiness  de- 


CHAPTER    XXIV.  281 

51.  And  it  came  to  pass,  while  he  blessed  them,  he  was  parted  from 
them,  and  carried  up  into  heaven. 

The  love  with  which  Christ  loves  his  own  continues  unto 

the  end.     He  parts  from  them,  only  to  unite  them  more  closely 

and  holily  to  himself.     He  ascends  into  heaven,  to  prepare 

the  way  and  to  open  the  gate  thereof  unto  them.     Bless  me, 

Lord,  with  that  kind  of  benediction  which  unites  those  to 

thyself  who  are  as  yet  separated  from  thee  in  this  world ;  and 

let  thy  heart,  in  leaving  the  earth,  separate  mine  from  it,  and 

draw  me  after  thee  into  heaven. 

52.  And  they  worshipped  him,  and  returned  to  Jesusalem  with  great 
joy:      _ 

Christ,  in  receiving  the  adoration  of  his  disciples,  gives 
them  his  joy.  It  is  good  to  unite  ourselves  in  heart  to  the 
apostles,  that  we  may  worship  Jesus  Christ  with  them,  and,  in 
imitation  of  them,  to  obey  him  in  seeking  retirement,  and  in 
continuing  in  Jerusalem,  which  is  the  church,  there  to  expect 
the  divine  promises  which  are  received  only  in  her  bosom. 
It  is  very  probable  that  this  last  adoration  imprinted  on  the 
minds  of  the  disciples  a  reverence  toward  Christ,  and  left 
them  in  such  a  temper  of  devotion,  in  respect  of  him,  as  did 
not  forsake  them  during  their  whole  life ;  and  that  the  joy 
which  they  felt  in  their  losses  and  tribulations  was  the  conse- 
quence of  this  joy,  which  Jesus  gave  them  at  the  time  of  his 
parting  from  them. 

53.  And  were  continually  in  the  temple,  praising  and  blessing  God. 

Christ,  who  obliged  his  disciples  to  prepare  themselves  for 
the  coming  of  the  Holy  Ghost  by  the  exercise  of  praise, 
thanksgiving,  and  prayer,  thereby  teaches  us  how  we  ought 
to  prepare  ourselves  for  the  same.  Temples  and  churches 
are  the  house  of  God  ;  there  he  loves  to  receive  our  homage, 
to  shed  forth  his  Spirit,  and  to  communicate  himself  to  his 
creatures.  If  the  apostles  had  so  much  reverence  for  a 
temple  wherein  Christ  was  present  only  in  figure,  how  much 
more  ought  we  to  have  for  those  temples  where  he  really  re- 
sides ;  where  the  representative  sacrifice  of  his  death  is 
ofiered  continually  to  his   Father ;   where  that  alliance  or 


232  LUKE. 

union,  which  he  vouchsafes  to  have  with  us  to  all  eternity,  is 
formed;  and  where  pastor  and  people,  met  together  to  praise 
and  bless  God,  afford  a  comfortable  emblem  of  the  heavenly 
Jerusalem  to  all  those  whose  hearts  are  entirely  set  upon 
that  celestial  country ! 





SECT.  I. — THE   WORD    GOD. — THE    LIGHT    SHINING    IN    DARK- 

1.  In  the  beginning  was  the  Word,  and  the  Word  was  with  God,  and 
the  Word  was  God. 

What  sublimity  and  majesty,  what  beauty  and  instruction, 
are  there  in  these  first  words,  which  are  the  gospel  of  the 
most  holy  Trinity!  Our  knowledge  thereof  ought  to  begin 
by  that  of  the  Son  of  God,  to  whom  it  properly  belongs  to 
make  his  Father  known,  as  being  his  resemblance,  image,  and 
substantial  Word,  coeternal,  and  equal  to  him  in  all  things. 
It  belonged  likewise  to  the  Holy  Ghost  to  bring  us  to  the 
knowledge  of  the  Son,  and  to  discover  to  us  his  glory,  (chap, 
xvi.  13,  14,)  as  he  does  in  this  place,  by  beginning  first  with 
what  he  is  in  himself.  He  thinks  it  sufficient  to  propose  to 
our  faith  his  eternity,  his  existence  in  his  Father,  and  his 
divinity,  without  unfolding  these  mysteries  to  us.  Our  faith 
ought  likewise  to  think  this  sufficient;  and  to  believe  rather 
than  to  dispute,  to  adore  rather  than  to  explain,  to  be  thank- 
ful rather  than  nicely  to  examine,  and  to  love  rather  than 
to  knov^. 

2.  The  same  was  in  the  beginning  with  God. 

The  eternal  Word,  sole  offspring  of  the  divine  understand- 
ing, and  only  Son  of  the  Father,  is  from  all  eternity  in  the 


bosom  of  him  who  produced  him  by  an  eternal  generation ; 
neither  was  the  Father  ever  without  the  Son.  0  eternal 
Word,  inseparable  from  thy  eternal  principle  !  adorable  Son, 
who  never  leavest  thy  Father's  bosom  !  let  me  be  never  sepa- 
rated from  thee,  and  unite  me  in  thee  to  thy  Father ! 

3.  All  things  were  made  by  him ;  and  without  him  was  not  any  thing 
made  that  was  made. 

The  Holy  Ghost,  in  the  second  place,  declares  to  us  the 
glory  of  the  Word  according  to  what  he  is  in  respect  of  the 
creatures  in  general.  They  all  owe  him  homage,  both  on  the 
account  of  their  being,  whereof  he  is  the  fountain,  by  that 
power  which  is  common  to  him  with  the  Father;  and  likewise 
on  the  account  of  their  manner  of  being,  whereof  he  is  the 
divine  idea  and  pattern,  as  being  the  eternal  wisdom  from 
whence  all  the  creatures  receive  whatever  beauty,  order,  and 
proportion  they  have,  either  in  relation  to  one  another  or  to 
the  designs  of  God.  0  eternal  Wisdom !  lively  image  of  all 
thy  Father's  perfections,  and  adorable  pattern  of  all  created 
excellency !  cause  me  to  seek,  to  contemplate,  and  to  adore 
thee  in  all  thy  creatures !  Grant  that  they  may  continually 
remind  me  of  thee ;  that  I  may  always  ascribe  to  thee  all  the 
glory  of  them,  and  that  I  may  never  be  deaf  to  so  many  voices, 
which  incessantly  inform  me  that  thou  hast  made  them,  and 
that  I  ought  to  adhere  to  thee  alone. 

4.  In  him  was  life  ;  and  the  life  was  the  light  of  men. 

The  Holy  Ghost,  in  the  third  place,  declares  to  us  the  glory 
of  the  Word  with  respect  to  living,  spiritual,  and  intelligent 
creatures.  He  is  not  only  a  living  being  which  has  light,  but 
he  is  both  life  and  light  itself  by  his  eternal  generation,  the 
principle  of  all  created  life,  and  the  fountain  of  all  the  light 
and  knowledge  which  is  in  the  soul.  0  uncreated  wisdom, 
eternal  truth,  holy  and  sanctifying  light,  happy  and  blessed 
life,  and  even  happiness  and  blessedness  itself !  Without  thee 
there  is  nothing  but  folly  and  falsehood,  darkness  and  sin, 
death  and  misery.  Open  and  enlighten  my  understanding, 
penetrate  and  inflame  my  heart,  since  my  whole  felicity  con- 
sists in  knoAving  and  loving  thee. 

CHAPTER    I.  285 

5.  And  the  light  shineth  in  darkness ;  and  the  darkness  comprehended 
it  not. 

The  Holy  Spirit,  in  the  fourth  place,  declares  to  us  the 
glory  of  the  Word  in  relation  to  men  fallen  by  sin  into  the 
darkness  of  ignorance  and  concupiscence.  That  small  re- 
mainder of  the  knowledge  of  what  is  good,  and  of  natural 
light  in  sinners — namely,  reason  itself,  is  no  other  than  a 
communication  of  the  eternal  light  of  the  Word ;  and  yet  the 
generality  of  men  are  either  altogether  ignorant  of  it,  or  at 
least  unmindful  of  rendering  to  him  the  glory  thereof.  The 
Word  incarnate,  dwelling  unknown  among  men,  is  the  light 
which  shineth  in  darkness.  Let  us  take  great  care  that  we 
be  not,  even  at  this  day,  under  the  same  darkness,  at  least  in 
some  degree.  How  often  do  we  know  this  light,  only  to  re- 
ject it  when  it  shows  us  our  duty. 

6.  ^  There  was  a  man  sent  from  God,  whose  name  was  John. 

The  Holy  Ghost,  in  the  fifth  place,  declares  to  us  the  glory 
of  the  Word  in  respect  of  the  Jews,  among  whom  he  appeared 
as  a  light  shining  in  darkness.  It  is  a  peculiar  instance  of 
mercy  toward  a  sinner,  a  city,  or  a  people,  when  a  holy  man 
is  sent  from  God  to  prepare  them  for  the  reception  of  salva- 
tion. But  this  great  and  peculiar  mercy  requires  a  suitable 
compliance  and  return.  John's  mission  is  without  miracles, 
because  it  is  ordinary,  and  he  only  preaches  repentance  to 
men  in  order  to  fit  them  to  receive  the  Messias ;  which  was 
likewise  the  gospel  of  all  the  prophets. 

7.  The  same  came  for  a  witness,  to  bear  witness  of  the  Light,  that  all 
men  through  him  might  believe. 

Let  us  honour  John  as  the  first  witness  of  Jesus  Christ,  the 

first  apostle  of  the  light,  and  the  first  minister  of  the  faith. 

How  far  soever  those  who  have  contributed  to  our  faith  and 

salvation  may  be  from  having  any  relation  to  us,  let  us  look 

upon  them  as  our  fathers,  our  benefactors,  and  our  patrons. 

We  inherit  all  the  graces  and  favours  showed  to  the  Jews,  and 

therefore  we  owe  to  God  all  that  grateful  acknowledgment  for 

them  which  they  did  not  pay  him. 

8.  He  was  not  that  Light,  but  was  sent  to  bear  witness  of  that  Light. 
It  is  not  any  mere  man  who  can  enlighten  us,  though  he 

286  JOHN. 

were  another  John.  The  Word  of  God,  the  eternal  truth, 
alone  is  our  light.  How  much  is  it  to  be  feared,  lest  those 
who  are  sometimes  called  the  lights  of  the  church,  should 
either  be  too  easily  persuaded  themselves  that  they  are  so,  or 
at  least  not  be  at  all  unwilling  to  be  thought  so  by  others. 
John  had  but  one  thing  to  do,  which  was  to  bear  witness  of 
the  truth  and  the  light ;  he  confined  himself  to  this,  and 
employed  his  whole  life  and  his  death  therein.  Where  is  that 
minister  of  Christ  to  be  found  who  follows  his  example  ? 

9.  TJiat  was  the  true  Light,  which  lighteth  every  man  that  cometh  into 
the  world. 

Let  us  adore  the  Son  of  God  as  the  true  Light,  and  the 

supreme,  original,  and  substantial  Reason,  which  lighteth  every 

man  that  cometh  into  the  world,  since  the  soul  cannot  either 

think,  or  argue,  or  discern  truth  from  falsehood,  or  good  from 

evil,  of  itself,  but  only  by  that  light  which  is  communicated 

to  it  from  this  eternal  Reason.     How  many  other  ways,  0 

true   Light,   dost  thou    enlighten  man   by  being  incarnate ! 

What  darkness  dost  thou  not  disperse  by  thy  coming  into  the 

world  !     Vouchsafe  to  shine  still  more   and  more  in  my  soul, 

so  as  to  drive  out  thence  all  the  remains  of  false  light  and  of 

real  darkness.     Grant   that  I  may  love,  follow,  and  prefer 

thee  to  every  other  light ! 

10.  He  was  in  the  world,  and  the  world  was  made  by  him,  and  the 
world  knew  him  not. 

The  love  of  the  world  hinders  men  from  knowing  him  who 

made  it — though  he  made  it  only  to  make  himself  known  ! 

Sin  blinds  men,  and  shuts  his  eyes  against  the  true  light, 

which  is  his  God ;  and  the  more  he  resigns  himself  up  to  sin, 

the  more  his  knowledge  of  God  diminishes,  and  his  darkness 

continually  increases.  It  was  this  darkness  which  drew  down  on 

the  earth  the  true  light  in  the  incarnation.     The  AYord,  seeing 

that  the  world  by  human  wisdom  knew  not  God  in  the  works 

of  his  divine  wisdom,  came  on  purpose  to  save  man  by  the 

foolishness  of  preaching.     And  the  world  does  not  know  him 

even  yet. 

11.  He  came  unto  his  own,  and  his  own  received  him  not. 

Let  US  tremble  at  these  words.     Not  to  receive  Jesus  Christ 

CHAPTEK  I.  287 

is  the  greatest  of  misfortunes.  The  Jews  rejected  him,  not 
knowing  who  he  was ;  and  we,  how  often  have  we  done  the 
same  thing  after  having  known  and  received  him,  after  hav- 
ing been  loaded  with  his  benefits  !  To  receive  Jesus  Christ, 
is  to  obey  his  word,  to  follow  his  light,  and  to  live  according 
to  his  gospel.  0  my  God,  how  great  is  the  number  of  those 
who  have  never  received  thee  as  they  ought,  and  who  reject 
thee  by  their  wicked  lives,  though  they  profess  themselves  to 
be  thine  by  partaking  of  thy  sacraments  !  Christ,  rejected 
by  his  own,  is  the  consolation  of  all  such  as  suffer  at  the  hands 
of  their  near  relations. 

12.  But  as  many  as  received  him,  to  them  gave  he  power  to  hecome  the 
•ons  of  God,  even  to  them  that  believe  on  his  name  :  13.  Which  were  born, 
not  of  blood,  nor  of  the  will  of  the  flesh,  nor  of  the  will  of  man,  but  of  God, 

In  the  last  place,  the  Holy  Ghost  declares  the  glory  of  the 
incarnate  Word,  with  respect  to  Christians,  in  his  communi- 
cating the  quality  of  son  of  God,  and  his  rights,  to  those  who 
receive  him  with  a  faith  which  is  lively  and  fruitful  in  good 
works.  The  true  nobility,  and  that  which  alone  ought  to  be 
esteemed  and  valued  by  a  Christian,  consists  in  being  a  child 
of  God.  This  quality  comprehends  every  thing ;  but,  alas, 
few  understand  it,  few  preserve  it,  few  live  like  children  of 
God !  A  gentleman  of  the  lowest  rank  values  himself  upon 
his  not  degenerating  from  his  birth ;  and  yet  a  Christian,  by 
leading  a  carnal  life,  degenerates  from  a  birth  which  is  alto- 
gether holy,  spiritual,  and  divine.  It  is  by  the  choice  of  the 
will  of  God,  and  by  his  love,  that  we  are  made  partakers  of 
his  divine  nature,  and  appointed  to  enjoy  his  heavenly  in- 
heritance. It  is  this  will,  therefore,  and  this  love,  which  we 
must  take  for  the  rule  of  our  life,  and  not  the  will  of  the 
flesh  nor  the  will  of  man — namely,  a  human  or  carnal  love. 

14.  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh,  and  dwelt  among  us,  and  we  beheld 
his  glory,  the  glory  as  of  the  only-begotton  of  the  Father,  full  of  grace 
and  truth. 

It  is  no  less  impossible  to  comprehend  here  the  humiliation 
and  abasement  of  the  Word,  than  it  is  to  comprehend  his 
dignity  and  glory.  Here  are  five  degrees  of  abasement 
opposed  to  the  glories  above-mentioned: — God  became  man; 
the  Son  of  the  Father,  the  son  of  man ;  the  Word,  a  child ; 

288  JOHN. 

tlie  Life,  a  mortal  man  ;  and  the  Light,  by  dwelling  among 
men,  shone  in  the  midst  of  darkness.  Is  it  then  so  small  a 
matter  that  carnal  man  should  become  the  child  of  God, 
■when,  in  order  to  this,  it  was  necessary  that  the  Son  of  God 
should  be  made  flesh  ?  To  set  our  hearts  upon  the  objects  of 
sense  and  upon  Avorldly  greatness,  is  to  oppose  the  design  of 
the  incarnation,  since  it  was  on  purpose  to  withdraw  our 
affections  from  such  objects,  and  to  raise  them  to  the  love  of 
things  invisible,  that  God  "was  pleased  to  become  visible,  and 
to  humble  and  abase  himself.  It  is  highly  just  and  reason- 
able that  we  should  every  day  adore  and  contemplate,  with 
gratitude  and  thanksgiving,  the  humble  birth  and  appearance 
of  the  Word  in  human  nature,  since  this  is  the  foundation  of 
our  own  adoption.  Let  the  great  persons  of  the  world  learn 
from  him,  not  to  avoid  and  shun  the  poor  and  miserable ;  and 
let  the  poor,  on  their  part,  learn  to  bear  with  patience  and 
willingness  the  want  of  honours  and  riches.  Christ  is  the 
fulness  of  truth,  of  grace,  and  of  glory :  of  truth,  to  verify 
the  types  and  figures  of  the  Jewish  church ;  of  grace,  to  com- 
plete the  righteousness  of  the  Christian  church ;  of  glory,  to 
crown  the  holiness  of  the  elect,  and  to  perfect  and  consummate 
the  church  and  religion  in  heaven. 

15.  1[  .John  bare  Tvitness  of  him,  and  cried,  saying.  This  was  he  of 
whom  I  spake,  He  that  cometh  after  me  is  preferred  before  me ;  for  he 
was  before  me. 

A  preacher  ought  to  determine  not  to  know  or  to  preach 
any  thing  save  Jesus  Christ  humbled,  after  John's  example  ; 
and  Jesus  Christ  crucified,  after  Paul's.  He  must  be  very 
careful  to  fix  the  minds  of  his  audience  upon  the  excellency 
of  our  blessed  Saviour,  by  hiding  and  concealing  himself. 
John  is  not  a  timorous  witness ;  he  preaches  Christ  openly, 
and  with  a  loud  voice,  and  is  under  no  apprehension  that,  by 
extolling  his  Master's  greatness,  he  shall  lessen  his  own  repu- 
tation. Men  are  not,  generally  speaking,  very  forward  to 
praise  those  who  appear  in  the  same  rank  and  have  the  same 
employment  with  themselves.  The  praise  which  John  hero 
gives  to  Christ  is  plain  and  simple,  because  it  is  sincere;  very 
different  from  that  of  a  hypocrite,  who  proclaims  the  merit  of 

CHAPTER    I.  289 

others  only  out  of  pride,  to  hide  his  own  envy,  and  to  gain 
esteem  by  an  appearance  of  equity,  penetration,  and  humility. 

16.  And  of  his  fulness  have  all  we  received,  and  grace  for  grace. 
All  grace  which  tends  to  salvation  was  given  peculiarly  to 

Jesus  Christ.  Whatever  we  receive  of  that  nature  is  no 
other  than  a  gift  of  his  bounty,  and  an  emanation  from  his 
fulness.  Let  us  adore  him  as  our  Head,  that,  in  quality  of 
his  members,  we  may  be  filled  out  of  his  abundance.  The 
more  closely  we  are  united  to  him,  the  more  do  we  receive  of 
his  double  fulness,  who,  as  God,  is  the  fountain  of  all  good, 
and  as  the  head  of  Christians  and  of  the  elect,  is  the  principle 
of  all  their  holiness,  and  of  every  grace  which  contributes 
thereto.  Head  for  head — the  second  Adam  for  the  first : 
"grace  for  grace;"  namely,  an  extraordinary,  efScacious, 
powerful,  and  divine  grace,  such  as  is  that  of  our  blessed 
Saviour,  for  the  ordinary,  weak,  and  perishing  grace  of  Adam, 
which  was  subject  to  free-will,  suited  to  man  in  the  state  of 
innocence,  and  productive  of  nothing  but  human  virtues.  Le- 
gislator for  legislator — Jesus  Christ  for  Moses:  "grace  for 
grace;"  instead  of  external  grace  of  the  law,  a  law  of  fear, 
threats,  types,  and  shadows,  which  affected  only  the  senses, — 
an  internal  grace,  a  law  of  love,  which  converts  the  heart, 
which,  writes  in  it  the  law  of  God,  and  puts  us  in  possession  of 
the  true  promises.  Let  us  be  sensible  of  our  own  privileges  and 
advantages,  let  us  praise  God  for  them,  and  not  do  any  thing 
to  render  ourselves  unworthy  of  them. 

17.  For  the  law  was  given  by  Moses,  hut  grace  and  truth  came  by- 
Jesus  Christ. 

The  law  was  given  to  awaken,  admonish,  and  enlighten  the 

sinner,  and  to  cause  him  to  seek  after  grace.     Grace  is  given 

to  perfect  and  fulfil  the  law  by  charity ;  and  truth,  to  disperse 

the  darkness  of  idolatry,  the  shadows  of  Judaism,  and  the 

hypocrisy  of  wicked  Christians.     The  servant  can  do  no  more 

than  barely  publish  the  law  and  declare  the  will  of  his  Master : 

it  belongs  to  Jesus  Christ,  the  true  God  and  Saviour  of  souls, 

to  take  full  possession  of  them  by  his  grace,  to  cause  them  to 

love  him  as  he  pleases,  and  in  them  to  accomplish  the  truth 

Vol.  II.— 25  T 

290  JOHN. 

of  his  promises,  by  changing  hearts  of  stone  into  hearts  of 

18.  No  man  hath  seen  God  at  any  time  ;  the  only  begotten  Son,  which 
is  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  he  hath  declared  Mm. 

God,  in  his  own  nature  invisible  to  mortal  man,  rendered 
himself  visible  by  the  incarnation.  He  has  but  one  only  Son, 
and  he  makes  us  members  of  him,  that  he  may  have  in  him 
as  many  children  as  Christians :  a  favour  so  great  and  in- 
conceivable this,  that  none  but  he  who  confers  it  upon  us  can 
make  us  thoroughly  sensible  thereof.  The  bosom  of  the 
Father  is  the  source  from  whence  all  truth  is  derived,  and 
where,  at  the  same  time,  it  resides  ;  and  as  the  Son  alone,  the 
eternal  truth,  is  in  that  adorable  bosom,  it  is  by  him  alone 
that  all  truth  must  be  conveyed  to  us, — some  by  the  natural 
channel  of  reason,  some  by  the  supernatural  means  of  revela- 
tion. 0  divine  Light !  0  eternal  Truth  !  grant  that  my  heart 
may  become  like  a  glass,  always  fit  to  receive  the  impression 
of  thy  image !  Grant  that  neither  the  dust  of  the  earth  nor 
the  breath  of  pride  may  ever  tarnish  or  deface  that  purity 
and  brightness  which  thy  Holy  Spirit  has  vouchsafed  to  com- 
municate thereto  ! 


19.  Tl"  And  this  is  the  record  of  John,  when  the  Jews  sent  priests  and 
Levitcs  from  Jerusalem  to  ask  him,  Who  art  thou? 

What  shall  we  be  able  to  answer,  when  God  himself  shall 

ask  us,  and  that  perhaps  very  soon,  "Who  art  thou?"     A 

Christian  ?     A  priest  ?     A  bishop  ?     Where  is  the  life  of  one  ? 

Where  are  the  proper  works  ?     Let  us  present  this  dreadful 

question,  and  let  us  frequently  ask  ourselves.  Who  we  are. 

Let  us  by  no  means  stay  for  an  answer  from  our   self-love. 

That  is  a  flatterer  and  seducer,  whom  we  should  neither  hear 

nor  suffer  to  speak.     Let  us  also  have  the  same  diffidence  of 

others  in  this  respect :  for  we  deceive  them,  and  they  in  their 

turn  deceive  us.     Let  our  heart  answer  us  as  sincerely  as  it 

will  be  one  day  forced  to  answer  God. 

20.  And  he  confessed,  and  denied  not;  but  confessed,  I  am  not  the 

A  person  who  is  truly  humble  is  very  glad  to  find  an  op- 

CHAPTER   I.  291 

portunity  of  showing  himself  what  he  really  is,  by  removing 
the  false  opinions  which  have  been  entertained  concerning 
him.  He  does  this  in  very  plain,  distinct,  and  strong  terms, 
without  leaving  the  least  room  for  any  doubt.  He  has  no 
notion  of  that  kind  of  faint  denials  whereby  a  man  retains 
with  one  hand  that  which  he  rejects  with  the  other,  and,  with- 
out receding  from  the  honour  of  that  place  which  he  unjustly 
keeps  in  the  esteem  of  others,  would  likewise  fain  enjoy  the 
reputation  of  humility. 

21.  And  they  asked  him,  What  then?  Art  thou  Ellas?  And  he 
saith,  I  am  not.     Art  thou  that  prophet  ?     And  he  answered,  No. 

The  humble  man  speaks  very  little,  no  more  than  is  just 
necessary,  for  fear  of  doing  some  prejudice  either  to  humility 
or  truth.  Humility  conceals  from  the  humble  man  all  per- 
sonal advantages,  and  persuades  him  that  he  is  nothing.  John 
has  the  spirit  and  power  of  Elias — is  a  prophet,  and  more 
than  a  prophet ;  but  has  no  inclination  to  discover  it,  since 
he  may  conceal  it  without  any  prejudice  to  truth.  He  whose 
mind  is  fully  taken  up  with  the  greatness  of  his  Master,  thinks 
of  nothing  but  how  to  abase  and  humble  himself  before  him. 

22.  Then  said  they  unto  him.  Who  art  thou  ?  that  we  may  give  an  an- 
swer to  them  that  sent  us.     What  sayest  thou  of  thyself? 

To  an  humble  person  nothing  is  more  ungrateful  than  to 

speak  of  himself;  but  he  is  far  from  showing  that  it  is  so,  out 

of  a  desire  to  reap  the  honour  due  to  his  modesty.     True 

humility  uses  no  artifice,  and  seeks  not  to  discover  itself  by 

an   affected  resistance.     It  loves  to  be   constrained  ;  but  it 

always  yields  to  authority  with  a  wise  and  discreet  simplicity. 

23.  He  said,  I  am  the  voice  of  one  crying  in  the  wilderness.  Make 
straight  the  way  of  the  Lord,  as  said  the  prophet  Esaias. 

The  preacher  is  only  the  voice  of  Jesus  Christ,  which  is  to 

prepare  the  hearts  of  men  by  repentance  for  his  coming.    Let 

him  therefore  take  great  care  not  to  speak  any  thing  but 

what  may  be  spoken  and  avowed  by  Jesus   Christ  himself. 

Every  thing  in  a  minister  of  Christ  ought  to  speak,  and  that 

concerning  Jesus  Christ  himself,  and  the  ways  he  has  appointed 

of  returning  to  God.     How  much  good  would  a  preacher  do, 

if  he  was  but,  as  it  were,  a  voice  not  to  be  seen,  but  only 

heard  !  To  see,  and  to  be  seen  too  much,  often  destroys  more 
than  the  word  edifies.  A  voice  which  cries  aloud,  is  a  preacher 
who  teaches  the  ways  of  the  gospel  without  weakening  the 
truths  thereof,  himself,  or  his  ministry.  They  may  be  said 
to  preach  in  the  wilderness  who  preach  with  as  little  awe  upon 
them  from  their  audience,  and  with  as  much  boldness,  as  if 
they  saw  nobody. 

24.  And  they  which  were  sent  were  of  the  Pharisees.  25.  And  they 
asked  him,  and  said  unto  him,  Why  baptizest  thou  then,  if  thou  be  not 
that  Christ,  nor  Elias,  neither  that  prophet  ? 

It  is  one  mark  of  a  lawful  mission,  for  a  man  to  be  always 
ready  to  give  an  account  thereof  to  those  who  have  authority 
to  demand  it.  The  devil  is  very  expert  in  deceiving  and 
causing  men  to  mistake  their  way.  He  puts  them  upon 
amusing  themselves,  and  disturbing  holy  men  with  unprofitable 
questions  and  inquiries,  instead  of  profiting  by  their  doctrine, 
admonitions,  and  the  example  of  their  virtues.  It  is  by  these 
that  they  should  form  a  judgment  of  them. 

26.  John  answered  them,  saying,  I  baptize  with  water :  but  there 
standeth  one  among  you,  whom  ye  know  not ; 

Men  are  not  easily  determined  to  undervalue  themselves 

and  their  employments,  in  order  to  please  and  keep  fair  with 

those  from  whom  they  have  nothing  either  to  hope  or  fear. 

There  is  a  holy  artifice  or  address  in  turning  the  minds  of 

men  from  a  vain  and  useless  curiosity  to  that  religious  and 

necessary  one  which  fixes  their  thoughts  upon  Jesus  Christ. 

Hitherto  the  ignorance  of  the  Jews  was  excusable ;  but  how 

highly  culpable  are  multitudes  of  Christians  who  know  not 

Christ !     He  is  treated  like  an  unknown  person  by  all  such  as 

have  no  regard  to  his  presence,  who  live  in  a  forgetfulness 

of  his  mysteries,  and  are  as  negligent  in  representing  to  him 

their  wants  as  if  he  were  not  their  Saviour. 

27.  lie  it  is,  who  coming  after  me  is  preferred  before  me,  whose  shoe's 
latchet  I  am  not  worthy  to  unloose. 

If  the  greatest  of  saints  be  unworthy  to  render  to  Christ 

even  the  meanest  service,  how  much  more  unworthy  beyond 

all  comparison  is  the  sinner  to  adore  and  love  God,  which  is 

the  highest  action  which  a  creature  can  perform  toward  him ! 

CHAPTER   I.  293 

Reverence,  fear,  and  humiliation,  before  the  holiness  of  God 
and  Christ,  must  always  accompany  our  addresses  in  prayer. 
Let  us  learn  to  put  a  vast  difference  between  the  honour  we 
pay  to  Jesus  Christ  and  that  respect  which  we  pay  to  the 
memory  of  the  greatest  among  the  saints.  This  is  one  of 
the  first  instructions  which  God  thought  fit  to  give  us  by 
John,  and  we  cannot  act  contrary  thereto  without  overturning 
every  thing  in  religion. 

28.  These  things  were  done  in  Bethabara  beyond  Jordan,  where  John 
was  baptizing. 

A  word,  in  appearance  altogether  insignificant,  is  some- 
times full  of  mysteries.  John  made  choice  of  this  place,  be- 
cause it  was  the  passage  of  Jordan,  over  which  the  people 
about  that  time  began  to  travel  in  their  way  to  Jerusalem  to 
keep  the  feast  of  the  Passover.  It  was  likewise  by  that  very 
place  that  Jesus  or  Joshua  led  the  people  of  God  into  the 
promised  land,  by  a  second  miraculous  passage  through  the 
midst  of  the  water,  which  was  a  kind  of  second  baptism,  fol- 
lowed soon  after  by  the  second  circumcision  and  the  second 
passover.  It  was,  lastly,  the  place  where  the  manna  ceased. 
And  all  this  prefigured  that  which  Jesus  Christ  was  come  to 
perform  in  truth  and  reality,  by  washing  his  people  from  their 
sins,  in  order  to  put  them  into  possession  of  heaven,  where 
the  perfect  adoption  is  completed — the  second  circumcision  of 
the  whole  old  man,  where  all  types  and  figures  cease,  and 
where  he  himself  is  the  true  Lamb  and  the  eternal  Passover. 

OF    GOD. 

29.  T[  The  next  day  John  seeth  Jesus  coming  unto  him,  and  saith,  Be- 
hold the  Lamb  of  God,  which  taketh  away  the  sin  of  the  world ! 

Behold  here,  not  the  lamb  of  the  legal  and  figurative  pass- 
over,  but  Him  who  was  typified  and  represented  thereby  ;  not 
one  of  those  sacrifices  which  God  rejects  as  incapable  of 
pleasing  him,  but  the  sole  sacrifice  which  he  himself  has 
chosen,  and  in  which  he  is  well  pleased ;  not  the  lamb  which, 
being  offered  every  year  and  every  day,  could  not  take  away 
sin  or  justify  the  sinner,  but  Him  who,  being  once  sacrificed 


294  J  0  H  N. 

on  the  cross,  taketh  away  all  the  sins,  not  only  of  the  Jews, 
but  of  all  the  world.  I  adore  thee,  0  Jesus,  as  the  proper 
and  peculiar  victim  of  God,  alone  worthy  to  adore  him,  and  to 
render  him  a  homage  suitable  to  his  greatness  and  majesty ! 
It  is  in,  by,  and  with  thee  alone  that  we  are  permitted  to 
praise  and  adore  him,  to  give  him  thanks,  to  satisfy  his  jus- 
tice, to  implore  his  mercy,  to  hope  in  him,  and  to  perform 
toward  him  the  other  duties  of  religion. 

30.  This  is  he  of  whom  I  said,  After  me  cometli  a  man  which  is  pre- 
ferred before  me  ;  for  he  was  before  me. 

Christ,  as  man,  was  after  John ;  as  God,  he  was  before  him. 

He  who  knows  the  worth  and  value  of  humility,  can  never  be 

weary  of  humbling  himself  when   it   is    necessary  to   exalt 

others.     John  teaches  the  ministers  of  the  word  that  they 

owe  their  people  an  example  of  humility  in  particular ;  because 

they,  as  well  as  he,  are  the  ministers,  and,  as  it  were,  the 

forerunners  of  a  God  who  stooped  to  the  form  of  a  servant. 

31.  And  I  knew  him  not:  but  that  he  should  be  made  manifest  to 
Israel,  therefore  am  I  come  baptizing  with  water. 

The  only  design  of  John's  being  sent  into  the  world  M^as  to 
make  Christ  manifest  to  Israel ;  and  yet  he  lived  even  to  the 
time  of  his  own  preaching  without  so  much  as  knowing  him. 
An  eager  and  impatient  desire  to  know  what  will  become  of 
us,  and  for  what  we  are  designed,  is  contrary  to  perfection. 
When  God  leads  and  conducts  a  soul  by  himself,  he  does  it 
by  Avays  so  pure  and  holy,  that  it  is  supported  by  nothing  but 
his  Spirit  and  his  grace.  For  a  man  to  spend  thirty  years  of 
retirement  in  a  desert,  in  a  course  of  almost  incredible  mor- 
tification, and  under  a  total  destitution  of  all  human  relief 
and  consolation,  without  knowing  to  what  end ;  to  have  but 
once  the  comfort  of  speaking  to  Christ,  and  to  see  him  only 
as  he  passed  by ;  and  yet  to  continue  faithful  to  God,  and  en- 
tirely satisfied  with  his  conduct, — this  is  indeed  no  other  than 
to  serve  God  for  God's  sake. 

32.  And  John  bare  record,  saying,  I  saw  the  Spirit  descending  from 
heaven  like  a  dove,  and  it  abode  upon  him. 

Christ  is  the  only  person  worthy  to  receive  the  fulness  of 

the  Holy  Spirit ;  and  John,  to  receive  the  first  knowledge  of 

CHAPTER   I.  295 

SO  great  a  mystery.  The  more  a  man  is  filled  with  the  Holy 
Spirit,  the  better  is  he  able  to  judge  in  what  fulness  Christ 
received  it  in  order  to  communicate  it.  Innocence,  purity, 
sincerity,  meekness,  charity,  fruitfulness  in  good  works,  etc, — 
these  are  the  virtues  with  which  Christ  and  the  Holy  Ghost 
would  inspire  us,  by  taking  to  themselves,  the  one  the  emblem 
of  a  lamb,  the  other  that  of  a  dove.  Grant,  0  Jesus,  that  I 
may  not  be  of  the  number  of  those  upon  whom  thy  Spirit 
only  descends,  but  does  not  abide. 

33.  And  I  knew  him  not:  but  he  that  sent  me  to  baptize  with  water, 
the  same  said  unto  me,  Upon  whom  thou  shalt  see  the  Spirit  descending, 
and  remaining  on  him,  the  same  is  he  which  baptizeth  with  the  Holy 

Men  may  here  learn  to  impart  to  souls,  and  to  the  directors 

of  them,  the  necessary  knowledge  of  truth,  with  due  measure 

and  in  proper  season.     God  seems  to  have  given  John,  for 

thirty  years  together,  no  more  light  than  was  necessary  to  his 

personal  perfection,  with   intent,  perhaps,  to   establish  him 

thereby  in  such  a  substantial    humility  as  might   keep  him 

from  being  puffed  up  by  those  greater  degrees  of  light  and 

knowledge  which  were  to  be  given  him  for  the  salvation  of 

others.     John  is  very  far  from  the  temper  of  those  who  are 

ashamed  of  having  been  a  long  time  ignorant  of  some  truths, 

and  who  boast  of  their  intimacy  with  great  persons,  and  of 

their  early  knowledge  of  some  secret.     It  is  very  rare  for  a 

man  to  be  willing  to  contribute  to  the  glory  of  others  by  his 

own  abasement.     Whoever  the  person  be  who  administers  the 

baptism  of  Christ,  it  is  always  Christ  himself  who  baptizes 

internally.     Let  us  praise  him  for  having  not  permitted  our 

sanctification  to  be  at  all  obstructed  by  the  insincerity  or 

wickedness  of  any  minister. 

34.  And  I  saw,  and  bare  record  that  this  is  the  Son  of  God. 

It  is  the  duty  of  a  servant  of  God  freely  and  willingly  to 
bear  witness  to  the  truth,  more  especially  if  he  have  received 
a  particular  commission  to  do  it  from  God  or  the  church,  as 
preachers,  priests,  teachers,  etc.  Christ  must  necessarily 
have  been  the  Son  of  God,  because  he  gave  the  Holy  Ghost, 
and  washed  man  clean  from  all  his  sins.     Wonderful  is  the 

296  J  0  H  N. 

divine  wisdom  :  it  obviates  the  perverseness  of  the  Jews  by  the 
testimony  of  Jolm,  who  calls  Jesus  Christ  the  Son  of  God 
before  Christ  declares  that  he  is  so. 



35.  T[  Again,  the  next  day  after,  John  stood,  and  two  of  his  disciples ; 
36.  And  looking  upon  Jesus  as  he  walked,  he  saith,  Behold  the  Lamb 
of  God ! 

One  duty  incumbent  on  pastors  is  to  make  the  sufferings 
and  sacrifice  of  Christ  thoroughly  known,  and  to  inspire  sin- 
ners with  a  firm  trust  and  confidence  in  him  as  the  victim  of 
their  salvation.  This  quality  is  the  meanest  of  all  belonging 
to  him,  because  it  puts  him  in  the  place  of  all  sinners,  and 
gives  God  a  right  over  his  life  as  many  times  as  there  are  men 
whose  lives  are  forfeited  to  the  divine  justice.  John  here 
gives  him  the  appellation  of  Lamb,  rather  than  that  of  any 
other  kind  of  victim,  because  the  lamb  was  the  proper  vic- 
tim for  the  deliverance  of  God's  people,  and  because  the  Jews 
were  perhaps  at  that  very  time  going  up  to  the  paschal  sacri- 
fice. How  much  better  title  and  greater  obligation  have  Ave 
to  adore  Christ  under  this  name,  we  whom  he  has  delivered 
by  dying  for  us  as  our  passover !  What  a  comfort  is  it,  that, 
in  casting  our  eyes  upon  the  representative  sacrifice  of  Christ, 
we  can  every  one  say,  "Behold  the  Lamb  of  God,"  whose 
blood  is  my  deliverance,  my  life,  my  strength,  and  my  salva- 
tion !  Unhappy  they  who  deprive  themselves  of  this  support 
and  consolation,  by  rejecting  this  commemorative  sacrifice, 
wherein  this  Lamb  is  spiritually  present,  and  offered  up  to  his 
Father  for  us ! 

37.  And  the  two  disciples  heard  him  speak,  and  they  followed  Jesus. 

We  ought  to  follow  this  victim  as  his  members,  desiring  to 
be  sacrificed  with  him  by  humiliations,  sufferings,  and  death. 
Oh  lot  it  not  be  in  vain,  that  we  have  this  sacrifice  so  often  re- 
presented before  our  eyes :  let  it  be  also  present  to  the  eyes 
of  our  faith.  Let  us  follow  the  path  marked  with  Christ's 
blood,  imitate  his  patience,  and  clothe  ourselves  with  his 

CHAPTER   I.  297 

38.  Then  Jesus  turned,  and  saw  them  following,  and  saith  unto  them, 
What  seek  ye?  They  said  unto  him,  Rabbi,  (which  is  to  say,  being  in- 
terpreted, Master,)  where  dwellest  thou? 

The  holy  curiosity  of  these  disciples  is  not  long  without  its 

reward.     How  profitable  is  it  to  seek  Jesus  Christ !   but  in 

order  to  find  him,  we  must  seek  him  by  his  own  direction  and 

assistance.     The  law  shows  him  to  us,  and  inclines  us  to  take 

some  steps  toward  him  ;  but  we  can  take  none  to  any  purpose, 

nor  by  any  means  go  to  him,  unless  he  prevent  us  with  his 

grace,  by  turning  to-\vard  us,  looking  upon  us  with  the  eyes 

of  his  mercy,  and  speaking  even  to  our  hearts.     The  first 

quality  which  we  are  obliged  to  own  and  acknowledge  in  him, 

is,  that  he  is  our  Master,  of  whom  we  are  to  learn  the  way 

of  salvation,  and  how  to  walk  therein. 

39.  lie  saith  unto  them,  Come  and  see.  They  came  and  saw  where 
he  dwelt,  and  abode  with  him  that  day:  for  it  was  about  the  tenth  hour. 

The  church  is  the  house  of  Christ.  How  great  a  happiness 
is  it  to  abide  with  him  therein  !  It  is  matter  of  continual 
gratitude  and  acknowledgment  for  all  those  who  enjoy  it. 
"Come  and  see,"  all  ye  who  do  not  yet  belong  to  it,  and  you 
will  soon  discover  and  own  that  those  have  no  other  design 
than  to  impose  upon  you  who  would  frighten  you  from  this 
house  of  truth  and  unity.  Christ,  notwithstanding  his  po- 
verty, used  hospitality :  a  man  has  always  enough  to  do  this, 
if  he  have  but  charity.  Happy  day  and  happy  night  for 
these  two  disciples ! 

40.  One  of  the  two  which  heard  John  speah,  and  followed  him,  was 
Andrew,  Simon  Peter's  brother.  41.  He  first  findeth  his  own  brother 
Simon,  and  saith  unto  him,  We  have  found  the  Messias,  which  is,  being 
interpreted,  the  Christ. 

When  we  have  once  found  Christ,  and  the  way  which  leads 
to  him,  we  must  not  hide  this  treasure,  but  we  must  commu- 
nicate it  to  others.  Fidelity  in  obeying  the  voice  of  a  mas- 
ter or  spiritual  director,  obtains  the  grace  and  favour  of 
finding  one  more  enlightened,  even  Jesus  Christ  himself. 
Andrew  is  the  first  disciple  and  apostle  of  Christ,  according 
to  the  order  of  vocation,  and  performs  the  office  of  an  apostle 
toward  his  own  brother  Simon. 

42.  And  he  brought  him  to  Jesus.     And  when  Jesus  beheld  him,  he 

298  J  0  H  N. 

said,  Thou  art  Simon  the  son  of  Jonas:  thou  shalt  be  called  Cephas, 
which  is  by  interpretation,  A  stone. 

It  is  not  enough  to  preach  Jesus  Christ;  a  man  must  like- 
wise conduct  and  bring  souls  to  him.  Happy  he  whom  Christ 
beholds  !  His  looks  are  saving,  and  reach  the  heart.  True 
friendship  between  friends  or  relations  consists  in  mutually 
assisting  one  another  in  the  business  of  salvation.  A  person 
who  admits  his  friend  or  his  brother  into  a  share  of  his  for- 
tune, and  of  his  favour  with  the  great,  is  very  frequently 
instrumental  in  poisoning  their  hearts  with  the  love  of  the 
w^orld  or  of  riches,  and  in  ruining  their  souls  forever.  But 
to  procure  them  the  knowledge  and  favour  of  Christ,  is  to 
promote  their  eternal  salvation. 


43.  f  The  day  following  Jesus  would  go  forth  into  Galilee,  and  findeth 
Philip,  and  sai'th  unto  him,  Follow  me.  44.  Now  Philip  was  of  Beth- 
saida,  the  city  of  Andrew  and  Peter. 

Let  us  by  no  means  accuse  this  disciple  of  levity  in  obeying 

so  readily,  without  knowing  the  person  who  commanded  him ; 

but  let  us  adore  the  power  of  this  Master,  who  holds,  as  it 

were,  our  wills  in  his  own  hand.     There  are  three  sorts  of 

calls  to  the  knowledge  of  the  truth.     The  first  is,  of  those 

who  seek  it  by  the  advice  of  their  spiritual  director  or  pastor, 

as  Andrew  did.     The  second,  of  such  as  are  brought  to  it  by 

the  advice  and  example  of  some  pious  relation,  as  Peter  was. 

The  third,  of  those  who  did  not  at  all  think  of  it,  and  whom 

God  calls  thereto  in  an  extraordinary  manner,  as  he  called 

Philip.     In  whatever  way  this  happens,  the  call  always  comes 

from  God. 

45.  Philip  findeth  Nathanael,  and  saith  unto  him.  Wo  have  found  him, 
of  whom  Moses  in  the  law,  and  the  prophets,  did  write,  Jesus  of  Naza- 
reth, the  son  of  Joseph. 

Philip's  knowledge  in  the  law  and  the  prophets  is  a  proof 
of  his  earnest  application  to  the  business  of  his  salvation,  and 
to  the  discovering  the  Messias ;  and  this  application,  which 
was  no  other  than  a  gift  of  God,  was  perhaps  the  very  thing 
which  drew  down  upon  him  that  of  his  vocation.  Tlie  joy  of 
these  two  disciples  at  having  found  the  Messias  in  the  person 

CHAPTER   I.  299 

of  Jesus,  shows  plainly  that  they  desired  him,  sought  after 
him,  and  had  their  hearts  entirely  taken  up  with  him.  Let 
us  imitate  them  if  we  really  desire  to  find  Jesus  Christ,  to 
preserve  him  in  our  hearts,  and  to  receive  new  graces. 

46.  And  Nathanael  said  unto  him,  Can  there  any  good  thing  come 
out  of  Nazareth  ?     Philip  saith  unto  him,  Come  and  see. 

It  is  necessary  to  taste  Christ  in  order  to  know  him.  We 
must  not  judge  of  the  things  of  God  by  appearancef  or  human 
prejudices.  What  is  it  to  "come  and  see,"  but  only  to 
examine  and  believe,  according  to  the  principles  of  faith, 
those  things  which  relate  to  salvation  ?  God  has  compassion 
on  such  whose  simplicity  engages  them  in  prejudices  con- 
trary to  the  truth;  but  he  confounds  those  who  take 
them  up  through  envy  and  malice,  and  communicate  them 
to  others. 

47.  Jesus  saw  Nathanael  coming  to  him,  and  saith  of  him.  Behold  an 
Israelite  indeed,  in  whom  is  no  guile  ! 

He  who  is  solicitous,  and  takes  the  pains  to  inform  himself 

concerning  any  thing,  shows  that  he  is  sincere  in  his  error ; 

but  he  who  is  not  desirous  of  any  better  information,  gives 

us  suiScient  grounds  to  believe  that  his  prejudice  is  not  free 

from  all  guile  and    dissimulation.     The  character  of   great 

sincerity  is  a  very  great  character,  not  indeed  in  the  world, 

but  in  the  gospel  and  in  the  church. 

48.  Nathanael  saith  unto  him.  Whence  knowest  thou  me?  Jesus 
answered  and  said  unto  him,  Before  that  Philip  called  thee,  when  thou 
wast  under  the  fig  tree,  I  saw  thee. 

The  divine  knowledge  of  Christ  sees  into  every  thing.     It 

is  the  comfort  of  the  sincere,  that  he  knows  the  uprightness 

of  their  hearts;  and  it  ought  to  be  the  terror  of  the  crafty 

and  deceitful,  that  the  disguise   and  dissimulation  of   their 

minds  cannot  be  concealed  from  him. 

49.  Nathanael  answered  and  saith  unto  him,  Rabbi,  thou  art  the  Sou 
of  God;  thou  art  the  King  of  Israel. 

A  beginning  of  grace,  which  perhaps  appears  very  small 

and  inconsiderable  in  the  eyes  of  men,  is  capable  of  bringing 

us  entirely  to  God,  when  he  sheds  abroad  his  light  and  love 

in  our  hearts.     This  faith  of  Nathanael  is  much  to  be  ad- 

mired;  and  yet  it  is  but  a  small  specimen,  as  it  were,  of  tliat 
■which  the  Son  of  God  was  to  produce  in  the  hearts  of  so 
many  Jews  and  Gentiles.  Let  us  show  toward  this  divine 
Master,  the  docility  proper  to  disciples ;  toward  this  only  Son 
of  God,  the  respect  and  reverence  of  true  Christians;  and 
toward  this  king,  the  obedience  and  submission  of  faithful 

50.  Jesus  Tinswered  and  said  unto  him,  Because  I  said  unto  thee,  I 
saw  thee  under  the  fig  tree,  believest  thou  ?  thou  shalt  see  greater  things 
than  these. 

When  a  man  has  once  opened  his  heart  to  faith,  his  faith 
continually  grows  stronger  by  means  of  new  proofs.  God  at 
first  makes  faith  depend  upon  very  small  things,  to  subject 
and  humble  the  minds  of  men,  and  to  convince  them  that  it 
is  a  gift  of  God;  he  afterward  comforts  and  encourages 
them,  by  giving  them  a  sight  of  the  greater  wonders  of  reli- 
gion, to  manifest  his  goodness  and  magnificence  toward  those 
who  resign  themselves  up  entirely  to  him. 

51.  And  he  saith  unto  him,  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  you.  Hereafter 
ye  shall  see  heaven  open,  and  the  angels  of  God  ascending  and  descend- 
ing upon  the  Sou  of  man. 

The  homage  and  service  of  angels  paid  to  Christ,  both  be- 
fore his  death  and  at  his  resurrection  and  ascension,  show 
plainly  that  he  is  more  than  Son  of  man.  The  more  men 
put  their  trust  and  confidence  in  God,  like  true  Israelites,  the 
more  he  is  pleased  to  increase  it  by  the  hopes  of  the  greatest 
blessings.  What  good  news,  what  mighty  consolation  is  this, 
for  us  as  well  as  for  this  new  disciple,  that  heaven,  shut  up 
so  long,  is  now  going  to  be  opened  to  men  in  favour  of  this 
heavenly  person,  who  is  Son  of  God  as  well  as  Son  of  man ; 
that  the  correspondence  between  heaven  and  earth  is  about 
to  be  restored ;  that  this  man  who  converses  on  earth  is  King 
of  heaven,  since  the  angels  who  dwell  there  pay  him  homage ; 
and  that  he  is  himself  the  way  which  leads  thither,  the  truth 
which  promises  and  secures  to  us  the  enjoyment,  and  the  life 
which  makes  the  happiness  and  felicity  of  that  place ! 

CHAPTER   II.  301 



1.  And  the  third  day  there  was  a'marriage  in  Cana  of  Galileo ;  and 
the  mother  of  Jesus  was  there  : 

This  is  a  blessed  marriage  indeed,  at  which  the  greatest 
example  of  purity,  modesty,  and  humility  is  present,  and  in- 
spii-es  these  three  virtues  ;  whereas,  generally  speaking,  im- 
modesty, excess,  and  pride  render  marriages  criminal  and 
unhappy.  The  mother  of  Jesus  is  there  the  first,  because 
she  is  the  pattern  of  all  Christian  mothers,  whose  discretion 
contributes  most  to  make  a  holy  and  Christian  marriage  by 
the  good  education  of  their  daughters.  They  who  enter  into 
this  state  ought  to  take  her  for  their  pattern,  as  being  the 
most  discreet  and  modest  of  virgins,  the  most  holy  of  all 
wives,  and  the  first  Christian  mother. 

2.  And  both  Jesus  was  called,  and  his  disciples,  to  the  marriage. 

To  call  Christ  to  our  marriages  is  to  draw  down  his  Holy 
Spirit  on  them  by  prayer :  to  invite  his  disciples  thereto,  is 
to  observe  in  them  his  maxims  and  doctrine,  to  use  such  be- 
haviour as  becomes  his  disciples,  and  to  follow  the  rules  of 
his  church.  How  unhappy  generally  are  marriages  when 
Jesus  Christ  is  not  at  them,  when  they  are  entered  into  upon 
nothing  but  human  and  carnal  motives,  upon  views  of  ambi- 
tion, pleasure,  or  covetousness,  and  with  a  conduct  and  be- 
haviour altogether  profane  and  heathenish !  To  do  thus  is 
to  drive  Christ  from  them,  instead  of  inviting  him  to  them. 
A  good  Christian  takes  care,  in  like  manner,  to  invite  him  to 
all  other  assemblies  or  meetings,  either  for  entertainment,  for 
public  or  domestic,  civil  or  ecclesiastical  afi"airs,  or  which  re- 
late either  to  learning  or  to  charity. 

3.  And  Avhen  they  wanted  wine,  the  mother  of  Jesus  saith  unto  him. 
They  have  no  wine. 

It  is  an  excellent  disposition  for  persons  to  represent  only 
their  real  wants  and  necessities  to  God  in  prayer,  after  her 
example,  with  plainness,  modesty,  charity,  and   confidence. 

YoL.  II.— 26 

Does  not  the  conduct  of  the  blessed  virgin  on  this  occasion 
give  us  reason  to  think  that  she  used  to  represent  to  her  Son 
the  necessities  of  the  poor,  or  those  of  her  own  family  ?  Let 
us  profit  by  this  example  which  she  has  given  us,  of  confi- 
dence in  God  under  wants  and  necessities,  and  of  fidelity  in 
emplojang  our  credit  in  behalf  of  the  poor  when  we  are  not 
able  to  relieve  them  ourselves. 

4.  Jesus  saith  unto  her,  Woman,  what  have  I  to  do  with  thee  ?  mine 
hour  is  not  yet  come. 

In  this  answer  of  Christ  we  behold  an  example  of  a  per- 
fect disengagement  from  flesh  and  blood,  and  even  from  the 
most  pious  parents,  with  respect  to  divine  matters  and  the 
ecclesiastical  ministry.  He  chooses  rather  to  treat  his  holy 
mother  with  some  seeming  harshness,  than  to  neglect  giving  in 
her  person  this  important  advice  to  all  parents,  that  they  must 
not  pretend  to  direct  the  actions  of  their  cliildren  in  those 
things  which  relate  to  their  vocation  or  ecclesiastical  func- 
tions, or  to  put  them  upon  doing  something  very  eminent  and 
remarkable,  merely  to  gain  honour  and  reputation  to  them- 
selves. Let  us  admire  and  imitate  this  edifying  humility  of 
the  blessed  virgin,  who  speaks  not  one  word  in  her  own  justi- 
fication, submitting  to  this  reproof  with  silence,  but  Avithout 
losing  her  confidence  in  him.  Jesus,  on  his  side,  is  faithful 
in  his  dependence  upon  God,  even-  to  a  moment.  This  mo- 
ment was  not  anticipated,  bu.t  was  made  to  depend  on  the  re- 
quest of  the  blessed  virgin,  and  the  obedience  of  the  servants. 

5.  His  mother  saith  unto  the  servants,  Whatsoever  he  saith  unto  you, 
do  it. 

Confidence  increases  by  a  humiliation  received  as  it  ought, 

and  is  weakened  or  destroyed  by  the  contrary. 

6.  And  there  were  set  there  six  water  pots  of  stone,  after  the  manner 
of  the  purifyinj^  of  the  Jews,  containing  two  or  tliree  firkins  apiece. 
7.  Jesus  saith  unto  them,  Fill  the  water  pots  with  water.  And  tiioy  filled 
them  up  to  the  brim.  8.  And  he  saith  unto  them,  Draw  uut  now,  and 
bear  to  the  governor  of  the  feast.     And  tiiey  bare  it. 

These  people  want  wine,  and  Jesus  calls  for  water-:  but  he 

who  speaks  is  the  Creator  both  of  water  and  of  wine,  and 

changes  every  year  the  former  into  the  latter  in  the  vine. 

An  implicit  and  ready  obedience  obtains  the  greatest  favoiu'S 

CHAPTER    II.  303 

and  graces,  of  wliicli  men  often  render  themselves  unworthy, 
by  despising  or  neglecting  things  which  seem  either  trivial  or 
improper,  upon  which  God  has  notwithstanding  been  pleased 
to  make  those  favours  and  graces  depend. 

9.  When  the  ruler  of  the  feast  had  tasted  the  water  that  was  made 
■wine,  and  knew  not  whence  it  was,  (but  the  servants  which  drew  the 
water  knew,)  the  governor  of  the  feast  called  the  bridegroom, 

Let  us  humbly  offer  up  our  addresses  to  Christ,  to  obtain, 
not  the  change  of  water  into  wine,  but  the  conversion  of  our 
corrupt  heart  into  one  truly  Christian ;  not  temporal  advan- 
tages and  enjoyments,  which  are  flat,  insipid,  unstable,  and 
glide  away  and  are  lost  in  earth  like  water ;  but  the  gifts  of 
grace,  that  fruit  of  the  vine,  of  the  blood  and  merits  of  Christ, 
that  wine  which  renders  virgins  fruitful  in  good  works. 
Lord,  thou  knowest  what  my  soul  of  itself  is,  even  weakness 
itself,  and  that  the  wine  of  thy  grace  is  its  whole  strength. 

10.  And  saith  unto  him,  Every  man  at  the  beginning  doth  set  forth 
good  wine  ;  and  when  men  have  well  drunk,  then  that  which  is  worse : 
but  thou  hast  kept  the  good  wine  until  now. 

God  gave  at  first  the  old  vine  of  the  law,  without  strength, 
spirit,  or  taste ;  and  in  the  fulness  of  time  he  gave  the  new 
wine  of  a  strong  and  powerful  grace,  which  enables  us  to 
ful^l  the  law,  which  inebriates  the  heart  in  a  holy  manner, 
and  causes  it  to  forget  all  present  things.  Let  us  desire, 
pray  for,  and  taste  this  wine  of  our  heart,  which  is  so  neces- 
sary to  our  salvation.  This  is  the  wine  of  the  marriage  of 
the  Lamb — a  marriage  begun  in  the  incarnation,  by  the  union 
.of  the  Word  with  our  nature ;  continued  and  brought  to  per- 
fection in  the  sanctification  of  sinners,  by  their  being  incor- 
porated with  Christ ;  finished  and  consummated  in  heaven, 
by  the  union  of  all  the  elect  with  their  Head,  and  the  com- 
pletion of  the  adoption  of  God's  children  in  the  bosom  of  the 

11.  This  beginning  of  miracles  did  Jesus  in  Cana  of  Galileee,  and 
manifested  forth  his  glory  ;  and  his  disciples  believed  on  him. 

We  must  honour  this  adorable  beginning  and  these  first- 
fruits  of  the  miracles  of  Christ.  The  end  of  miracles  is  not 
to  satisfy  the  curiosity  of  men,  nor  to  support  and  comfort 
the  body,  but  to  promote  the  glory  of  God,  and  to  establish 

304  JOHN. 

the  faith.  This  miracle  was  wrought  for  the  new  disciples  of 
the  Christian  church,  and  to  establish  the  belief  of  Christ's 
almighty  power  as  the  foundation  of  the  gospel. 


12.  ^  After  this  he  went  down  to  Capernaum,  he,  and  his  mother,  and 
his  brethren,  and  his  disciples;  and  they  continued  there  not  many  days. 

Jesus  leaves  his  own  country,  to  teach  his  ministers,  as  the 

first  thing,  to  wean  themselves  from  theirs,  that  they  may  be 

ready  to  go  any  whither.    He  chooses  Capernaum,  to  instruct 

them  that  they  ought  not  to  prefer  those  places  where  they 

are  likely  to  find  most  convenience,  hut  those  where  there  is 

most  need  of  their  presence.     His  mother  and  his  brethren 

follow  his  example,  to  show  that  his  ministers  ought  rather 

to  draw  their  relations  after  them  by  their  good  example, 

than  to  suffer  themselves  to  be  drawn  aside   by  their  carnal 

affection ;  and  that,  in  things  pertaining  to  their  ministry, 

they  should  rather  govern  their  relations  than  be  governed 

by  them. 

13.  f  And  the  Jews'  passover  was  at  hand,  and  Jesus  went  up  to 

The  constant  attendance  of  Christ,  even  on  the  external 
duties  of  religion,  has  the  force  of  a  law  obliging  us  con- 
stantly to  attend  on  them.  He  observes  the  feasts  and  obeys 
the  law,  when  he  could  at  the  same  time  time  have  dispensed 
with  it ;  and  thereby  shames  those  who  value  themselves  upon 
seeming  to  be  above  these  duties,  through  licentiousness, 
pride,  or  negligence.  He  gives  us,  in  his  own  person,  the 
pattern  of  a  good  parishioner  and  master  of  a  family,  who 
obliges  his  children  and  domestics  to  an  exact  observance  of 
these  duties.  What  business  can  excuse  those  who  make  that  a 
pretence  for  not  performing  the  duties  of  a  parishioner,  since 
the  Son  of  God  himself  has  set  them  such  an  example  ?  We 
must  imitate  it,  by  applying  ourselves  on  these  occasions  to 
such  things  as  will  promote  the  glory  of  God  and  the  good  of 
our  neighbour. 

CHAPTER   II.  305 

14.  And  found  in  the  temple  those  that  sold  oxen  and  sheep  and  doves, 
and  the  changers  of  money  sitting : 

It  is  very  remarkable,  that  both  the  first  and  the  last  time 
that  our  blessed  Lord  was  in  the  temple,  after  he  was  baptized, 
he  signalized  his  zeal  against  the  irreverence  and  profanation 
which  the  Jews  were  guilty  of  therein.  Will  not  the  example 
of  our  High-Priest  awaken  the  zeal  of  all  those  who  are  in- 
vested with  his  authority,  against  so  many  profaners  of  the 
churches,  where  the  majesty  of  God  resides,  and  the  true 
sacrifice  is  offered?  Profane,  unprofitable,  and  criminal  dis- 
course, indecent  postures,  a  scandalous  unseemliness  in  dress, 
lascivious  glances,  meetings  about  business,  sinful  assigna- 
tions, and  vain,  extravagant,  and  wicked  thoughts, — these  are 
much  more  insupportable  in  the  sight  and  in  the  temple  of 
God,  than  either  those  creatures  which  were  designed  for 
sacrifices,  or  than  the  bare  trading  in  things  of  the  like 

15.  And  when  he  had  made  a  scourge  of  small  cords,  he  drove  them 
all  out  of  the  temple,  and  the  sheep,  and  the  oxen ;  and  poured  out  the 
changers'  money,  and  overthrew  the  tables  ; 

Nothing  kindles  the  wrath  of  Christ  more  than  the  mer- 
chandise and  profanation  of  holy  things,  and  the  insolence  of 
those  who  dare  be  guilty  thereof,  even  in  the  house  of  God. 
For  a  man  to  go  on  purpose  to  commit  new  sins  in  that  very 
place  whither  he  ought  to  go  to  bewail  and  expiate  the  old, 
is  no  other  than  to  mock  God  Almighty.  If  all  those  who 
profane  the  Christian  temples  by  their  irreverence  were  to  be 
driven  out  thence,  how  few  would  remain  therein  ! 

16.  And  said  unto  them  that  sold  doves.  Take  these  things  hence ; 
make  not  my  Father's  house  a  house  of  merchandise. 

Can  we  believe  this  truth,  and  avoid  trembling  out  of  re- 
spect and  reverence,  when  we  enter  into  churches  ?  What- 
ever either  has  no  relation,  or  is  contrary  to  religion,  prayer, 
adoration,  the  worship  of  God,  and  the  sanctification  of  souls, 
ought  to  be  banished  from  those  places  which  are  consecrated 
to  the  divine  Holiness  alone.  They  who  come  into  them  to 
sell  the  word  of  God,  the  exercise  of  the  sacred  ministry, 
prayer,  and  the  praise  of  God,  having  nothing  in  view  but 
human  glory,  recompense,  temporal  advantages,  and  raising 

306  J  0  H  N. 

a  fortune, — these  are  no  other  than  sacrilegious  sellers  and 
changers,  who  ought  to  be  cast  out  of  the  true  temple. 

17.  And  his  disciples  remembered  that  it  was  ■written,  The  zeal  of 
thine  house  hath  eaten  me  up. 

We  must  not,  in  the  heat  of  zeal,  lay  aside  Christian  meek- 
ness ;  but  then  Ave  must  likewise  take  great  care  that  we  do 
not  grow  lukewarm  and  indiiferent,  under  the  specious  pre- 
tence of  meekness  and  charity.  Christ  here  informs  us,  that 
the  zeal  of  God's  house  is,  as  it  were,  the  proper  virtue  be- 
longing to  pastors.  A  man  is  a  Christian  for  himself:  he 
becomes  a  pastor  for  the  benefit  of  his  neighbour,  but  with- 
out zeal  he  can  do  him  no  service.  The  church  is  the  house 
of  God,  and  whatever  tends  to  promote  the  holiness  and  in- 
terests thereof  is  the  proper  business  of  his  ministers.  If  a 
pastor,  as  he  ought,  looks  upon  the  soul  of  the  meanest  of  his 
sheep  as  the  house  of  God,  can  he  possibly  see  the  disorder 
and  filthiness  thereof  and  not  use  his  utmost  endeavour  to 
cleanse  it  ?  To  be  only  zealous,  is  not  sufficient  in  a  pastor ; 
he  must  have  an  ardent  zeal,  which,  as  it  were,  continually 
feeds  upon  and  eats  him  up;  but  such  as  is  guided  and  di- 
rected by  the  wisdom  of  God. 

18.  ^  Then  answered  the  Jews  and  said  unto  him,  What  sign  shewest 
thou  unto  us,  seeing  that  thou  doest  these  things  ? 

Pastors  must  expect  to  meet  Avith  contradiction  when  they 
endeavour  to  correct  disorders  and  to  reform  abuses.  Every- 
body has  a  right  to  exclaim  against  public  and  visible  dis- 
orders when  the  pastors,  instead  of  opposing  them,  counte- 
nance and  promote  them.  The  Jcavs  require  a  sign  or  mira- 
cle ;  and  is  it  not  a  very  great  one,  that  Christ  should,  with- 
out any  visible  authority,  make  men  obey  him  so  readily,  and 
strike  such  a  terror  into  them  only  with  a  scourge  of  small 
cords  !  Is  not  this  enough  to  show  the  presence  of  the  di- 
vinity? The  miracle  which  must  authorize  and  justify  the 
zeal  of  all  pastors,  is  an  exemplary  and  truly  apostolic  life. 

19.  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  them.  Destroy  this  temple,  and  in 
three  days  I  will  raise  it  up. 

See  here  a  terrible  judgment  upon  those  who  oppose  that 

which  is  good !    God  leaves  them  in  their  darkness  and  igno- 

CHAPTER    II,  307 

ranee,  with  respect  both  to  that  good  and  to  their  own  sins. 
Men  show  very  plainly  that  they  love  sin,  when  they  will  not 
suffer  any  one  to  put  a  stop  to  it,  to  remove  the  occasions 
thereof,  and  to  reprove  and  punish  the  sinner.  This  is  a  sin 
which  draws  after  it  greater  sins,  and  punishments  proportion- 
able to  them ;  and  especially  that  of  not  knowing  either  the 
one  or  the  other.  The  destruction  of  the  true  temple  of  God, 
by  the  death  of  Jesus  Christ,  was  the  punishment  of  the  pride, 
envy,  and  avarice  of  the  Jews,  which  made  them  take  the  part 
of  these  profaners  of  the  figurative  temple. 

20.  Then  said  the  Jews,  Forty  and  six  years  was  this  temple  in  build- 
ing, and  wilt  thou  rear  it  up  in  three  days  ? 

It  is  not  at  all  surprising  that  the  Jews  understood  not  the 

figurative  words  of  Christ;  but  it  was  the   hardness  of  their 

hearts  which  rendered  them  unworthy  to  be  more  clearly  and 

plainly  instructed.      Christ,   at  the   very  beginning   of  his 

preaching,  establishes  beforehand  the  belief  of  his  death  and 

resurrection.       It    frequently   happens    that   an   instruction 

proves  of  more  advantage  to  others  in  succeeding  times,  than 

to  those  to  whom  it  was  first  addressed. 

21.  But  he  spake  of  the  temple  of  his  body. 

The  body  and  soul  of  Jesus  Christ  are  the  true  temple  of 
God,  in  which  he  dwells,  where  he  receives  the  true  worship 
and  adoration,  and  where  all  religion  is  to  be  found  in  its 
truth  and  reality.  How  much  light  does  this  obscure  and 
figurative  expression  contain  and  afford  to  all  those  who  have 
the  eyes  and  attention  of  faith  !  Whatever  respect,  zeal,  and 
affection  the  Jews  had  for  their  temple,  that,  and  infinitely 
more,  ought  Christians  to  have  for  the  humanity  of  Christ, 
the  true  and  adorable  temple  of  his  divinity.  Let  us  present 
ourselves  before  it  in  spirit,  let  us  bo  united  to  it  in  heart ; 
let  us  turn  all  our  thoughts,  desires,  and  sighs  toward  this 
temple  during  our  banishment  and  captivity,  as  the  Jews, 
while  they  were  captive,  directed  all  theirs  toward  the  temple 
at  Jerusalem. 

22.  When  therefore  he  was  risen  from  the  dead,  his  disciples  remem- 
bered that  he  had  said  this  unto  them  ;  and  they  believed  the  Scripture, 
and  the  word  which  Jesus  had  said. 

The  completion  of  mysteries  opens  the  understanding  to 

308  J  0  H  N. 

the  knowledge  of  the  Scriptures,  and  strengthens  faith. 
Truths  bring  forth  fruit  in  their  season.  The  slowness  and 
backwardness  of  some  understandings  should  not  hinder'  us 
from  instructing  them  whenever  we  have  an  opportunity. 
Truth  is  a  seed  which  grace  will  cause  to  blossom  at  God's 
appointed  time.  Now  is  the  proper  time  to  read  the  Scrip- 
tures, and  therein  to  adore  with  comfort  the  mysteries  fully 
accomplished,  the  veracity  of  God  in  his  word,  and  his  faith- 
fulness in  respect  of  his  promises — and  yet  -we  neglect  to 
read  them !  The  Jews  will  rise  in  judgment  against  us,  and 
condemn  us. 

23.  ^  Now  when  he  was  in  Jerusalem  at  the  passover,  in  the  feast 
day,  many  believed  in  his  name,  when  they  saw  the  miracles  which  he 

Christ  here  keeps  his  passover  in   his   own  manner,  and 

causes  some  of  his  elect  to  keep  it  also,  in  causing  them  to 

pass  from  incredulity  to  faith,  by  the  anticipated  merits  of 

his  blood.     This  is  to  communicate  in  the  Christian  passover 

by  way  of  anticipation.     The  miracles  which  Christ  so  lately 

refused   to   the   obstinacy  and  envy   of   the   Jews,   he    now 

vouchsafes  to  grant  to  his  elect,  in  order  to  accomplish  his 

designs  concerning  them.     Let  us  learn  to  do  all  the  service 

we  can  to  souls,  when  God  is  pleased  to  give  us  opportunity ; 

and  let  us  not  be  at  all  concerned  at  the  offence  taken  by 

such  Pharisaical   persons  as  shut  up  the  way  of  salvation 

against  themselves. 

24.  But  Jesus  did  not  commit*  himself  unto  them,  because  he  knew 
all  men,     [*  Fr.  Trust.] 

Mysteries  are  not  to  be  revealed  but  with  wisdom  and  dis- 
cretion, in  measure  and  by  degrees  ;  nor  the  body  and  blood 
of  Christ  to  be  given  to  men  without  great  judgment. 
Christian  prudence  requires  that  we  should  neither  hastily 
condemn  any  one,  nor  inconsiderately  trust  all  upon  specious 
appearances.  Man  does  not  thoroughly  know,  but  frequently 
deceives  himself;  how  then  should  others  avoid  being  often 
deceived  by  him  ?  We  have  no  right  to  search  into  the  heart ; 
but  we  have  a  right,  through  the  grace  of  Christ,  to  beg  of 
him  some  portion  of  his  light,  to  secure  us  from  being  de- 

CHAPTER    III.  309 

ceived,  and  to  enable  us  to  know  our  neighbour  so  far  as  our 
duties  and  necessities  require. 

25.  And  needed  not  that  any  should  testify  of  man ;  for  he  knew  what 
was  in  man. 

It  would  be  the  vainest  thing  imaginable  for  any  one  to 

pretend  to  hide  himself  from  Christ :  he  sees  the  verj  bottom 

of  the  heart,  and  knows  us  better  than   we   do   ourselves. 

What  respect  and  caution  should  a  person  observe  in  all  his 

actions,   who   is   assured  that    God   continually  beholds    his 

heart !     It  is  a  double  kindness  and  advantage  to  man,  that 

he  has  no  knowledge  of  the  secrets  of  the  heart,  which  his 

curiosity  would  cause  him  to  abuse,  and  that  he  is  capable 

of  receiving  as  much  as  is  necessary  at  the  hand  of  Him  who 

dispenses  every  thing  with  a  sovereign  wisdom. 


SECT.  I. — NICODEMUS. — WE    MUST    BE     BORN     OF    THE    SPIRIT. 


1.  There  was  a  man  of  the  Pharisees,  named  Nicodemus,  a  ruler  of 
the  Jews :  2.  The  same  came  to  Jesus  by  night,  and  said  unto  him, 
Rabbi,  we  know  that  thou  art  a  teacher  come  from  God :  for  no  man  can 
do  these  miracles  that  thou  doest,  except  God  be  with  him. 

We  must  not  discourage  those  who  come  to  Christ,  though 
they  may  lie  under  a  great  many  imperfections,  and  have  not  yet 
courage  enough  to  serve  him  openly ;  but  we  must  endeavour 
to  instruct  them,  and  to  manage  prudently  the  first  beginnings 
of  their  faith  or  piety.  This  received  principle  among  the 
Jews,  that  it  is  God  who  speaks  by  miracles,  and  that  an  ex- 
traordinary mission  ought  to  be  authorized  thereby,  will  con- 
demn heretics.  When  a  man  seeks  truth  sincerely  and  in 
earnest  upon  such  principles  as  are  generally  acknowledged, 
he  is  not  far  from  finding  it.  The  corruption  of  the  heart  is 
a  greater  obstacle  thereto  than  the  prepossession  of  the  mind. 
Christ  is  indeed  the  teacher  of  the  true  righteousness  promised 
by  the  Scriptures,  and  foretold  by  the  prophecies ;  but  he 
teaches  it  in  a  manner  very  different  from  that  which  this 
ruler  imagines,  since  he  does  it  by  putting  it  into  the  heart, 

310  J  0  H  N. 

and  causing  the  heart  to  enjoy  and  love  it.  He  does  not  only 
teach  it  as  a  person  come  from  God,  but  he  teaches  it  as  God; 
and  God  is  not  only  with  him,  but  he  himself  is  God.  Teach 
me  in  this  manner,  0  Jesus,  my  Saviour,  my  Master,  and 
my  God 

3.  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  him,  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  thee, 
Except  a  man  be  born  again,  he  cannot  see  the  kingdom  of  God. 

The  first  step  toward  returning  to  God  is  to  renounce  our 
birth  derived  from  Adam,  and  to  be  born  again  in  Jesus  Christ. 
We  must  afterward  renounce  ourselves,  our  will,  our  inclina- 
tions, and  the  presumption  we  have  of  our  own  strength,  that 
we  may  receive  new  from  Jesus  Christ.  The  knowledge  of 
the  corruption  of  our  nature,  and  of  the  necessity  of  our  be- 
ing renewed  by  Christ,  is  the  very  first  thing  which  we  must 
learn  in  the  Christian  religion. 

4.  Nicodemus  saith  unto  him,  IIow  can  a  man  be  born  when  he  is  old? 
can  he  enter  the  second  time  into  his  mother's  womb,  and  be  born  ? 

Let  US  not  at  all  wonder  that  our  reason  is  very  difficultly 

persuaded  to  submit  to  the  belief  of  mysteries.  The  ways  of  God 

are  incomprehensible,  and  his  mysteries  full  of  contradictions 

to  carnal  minds  and  to  a  Jewish  understanding.     It  is  good 

for  a  man  at  first  to  comprehend  little  or  nothing  in  religion, 

that  he  may  be  convinced  of  the  necessity  of  a  light  superior, 

but  not  contrary,  to  that  of  reason.     We  have  here  a  plain 

proof  that  man  is  become  altogether  carnal,  in  that  this  ruler 

thinks  of  nothing  but  a  natural  mother  and  a  birth  according 

to  the  flesh,  instead  of  reflecting,  that  he  whom  he  owns  to  be 

a  teacher  sent  from  God,  for  the  salvation  of  souls,  could  not 

speak  of  any  other  thing  but  the  new  birth  of  the  soul  and 

the  reformation  of  the  heart. 

5.  Jesus  answered.  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  thee.  Except  a  man  be 
born  of  water  and  of  the  Spirit,  he  cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God. 

In  this  new,  divine,  and  spiritual  birth,  God  himself,  by  the 

virtue  of  his  Holy  Spirit,  is  to  us  as  a  father  ;  and  the  church, 

represented  by  the  water,  receives  us  into  her  bosom  as  our 

mother.     Baptism  gives  us  a  right  to  the  kingdom  of  God, 

provided  we  live  like  children  of  God  and  members  of  Christ, 

in  being  obedient  to  his  Spirit. 

CHAPTER   III.  311 

6.  That  which  is  born  of  the  flesh  is  flesh ;  and  that  which  is  born  of 
the  Spirit  is  spirit. 

Let  us  always  remember  that  our  spiritual  birth  obliges  us 
to  lead  a  spiritual  life.  We  consist  of  two  men,  which  make 
but  one :  the  one  carnal,  born  after  a  carnal,  the  other  spi- 
ritual, born  after  a  spiritual  manner.  What  a  shame  is  it 
that  "that  which  is  born  of  the  flesh"  should  subject  and 
govern  the  spiritual  man,  and  render  it  carnal,  instead  of  our 
subduing  and  mortifying  whatever  there  is  in  us  which  is 
carnal  and  corrupt ! 

7.  Marvel  not  that  I  said  unto  thee,  Ye  must  be  born  again. 

Adam,  being  a  sinner,  could  beget  only  sinners,  and  propa- 
gate no  other  inclinations  but  such  as  tend  to  sin.  It  belongs 
to  thee,  0  holy  Jesus  !  as  the  principle  of  our  new  life,  to  give 
us  thy  Spirit,  and  to  inspire  into  us  thy  spiritual  and  holy  in- 
clinations. He  who  is  thoroughly  sensible  of  the  corruption 
of  the  heart  of  man,  is  far  from  wondering  that  it  is  necessary 
for  him  to  be  changed  into  a  new  man,  and  that  he  must  re- 
ceive a  new  spirit,  a  new  heart,  and  a  new  principle  of  life  and 
action.  It  is  this  new  birth  which  gives  us  a  right,  on  all 
occasions,  to  pray  for  the  new  Spirit. 

8.  The  wind  bloweth  where  it  listeth,  and  thou  hearest  the  sound  there- 
of, but  canst  not  tell  whence  it  cometh,  and  whither  it  goeth :  so  is  every- 
one that  is  born  of  the  Spirit. 

He  who  is  fully  convinced  of  this  truth,  that  grace  is 
due  to  no  person  whatever,  and  that  the  distribution  of  the 
gifts  of  God's  Holy  Spirit,  in  order  to  make  us  his  children 
and  spiritual  men,  proceeds  solely  from  his  will  and  mercy, — 
such  a  person  takes  the  greatest  care  to  live  in  a  constant 
course  of  humility  and  gratitude.  A  true  Christian  is  a  great 
wonder  and  an  incomprehensible  mystery;  for  we  see  such  a 
one  renouncing  and  hating  himself,  and  continually  opposing 
all  his  inclinations,  without  seeing  either  the  principle  which 
puts  him  in  action,  or  the  end  at  which  he  aims,  or  the  re- 
ward for  which  he  hopes.  That  person  who  sees  with  no  other 
eyes  but  those  of  the  flesh,  cannot  possibly  perceive  that 
which  the  Spirit  works  in  the  heart  of  him  who  is  born  of  the 
Spirit.     Lord,  it  is  from  thee  that  this  Spirit  proceeds,  which 

alone  searclies  the  deep  things  of  God,  -which  renders  invisi- 
ble mysteries  visible  to  the  eyes  of  faith,  makes  future  en- 
joyments present  to  our  hope,  and  causes  charity  to  perform 
things  otherwise  impossible. 

9.  Nicodemus  answered  and  said  unto  him,  How  can  these  things  be? 
The  spirit  of  man  is  always  opposing  and  contradicting  the 

Spirit  of  God,  and  would  fain  know  the  manner  of  his  con- 
duct and  operation  in  the  heart.  It  is  not  for  them  who 
believe  in  an  almighty  God  to  be  under  any  apprehension 
lest  he  should  find  something  impossible  to  be  accomplished 
in  his  designs  concerning  our  salvation,  and  in  the  methods 
of  his  grace.  Nicodemus  was  excusable,  considering  the  time 
in  which  he  lived :  Christians  cannot  have  the  least  excuse, 
after  so  many  ages  of  miracles  and  wonders. 

10.  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  him,  Art  thou  a  master  of  Israel, 
and  knowest  not  these  things  ? 

The  learning  of  men  is  always  accompanied  with  great 
ignorance ;  and  yet  they  are  puffed  up  therewith.  The  gospel 
humbles  the  learned  and  comforts  the  simple.  The  humble 
and  teachable  faith  of  the  poor  in  spirit  make  all  diflBculties 
easy ;  whereas  the  presumptuous  confidence  of  the  masters  of 
the  law  blinds  them,  and  renders  every  thing  incredible  to 
them.  Would  to  God  there  were  not  many  to  be  found  who 
pass  their  lives,  like  this  Pharisee,  in  the  study  of  the  Scrip- 
ture, and  yet,  like  him  are  ignorant  of  the  true  intent,  mys- 
teries, and  end  thereof,  which  is  Jesus  Christ ! 





11.  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  thee.  We  speak  that  we  do  know,  and 
testify  that  we  have  seen ;  and  ye  receive  not  our  witness. 

Christ  alone  knows,  and  can  teach  the  mysteries  of  eternity, 
and  the  conduct  of  God  in  respect  of  souls.  Whenever  we 
read  the  gospel,  we  must  remember  that  it  is  the  Son  of  God 
who  speaks  therein  concerning  the  things  of  God;  that,  by 

CHAPTER   III.  313 

the  prerogative  of  his  eternal  birth,  he  is  light  of  light,  truth 
itself,  and  the  fountain  of  all  knowledge ;  and  that,  in  his 
mission  and  temporal  birth,  and  in  virtue  of  the  union  of  his 
soul  with  the  eternal  Word,  he  received  a  perfect  knowledge 
of  the  designs  and  ways  of  God,  and  of  the  whole  economy 
of  grace,  of  which  he  is  the  sovereign  dispenser.  It  is  a 
shame  and  reproach  to  human  reason  that  it  frequently 
admits  and  receives,  without  any  difficulty,  the  witness  of  a 
stranger  and  an  impostor,  and  yet  cannot  be  persuaded  to 
receive  that  of  truth  itself. 

12.  If  I  have  told  you  earthly  things,  and  ye  believe  not,  how  shall  ye 
believe,  if  I  tell  you  of  heavenly  things  ? 

In  order  to  obtain  the  gift  of  understanding,  we  must 
humble  ourselves,  and  submit  our  reason  to  the  yoke  of  faith, 
without  which  there  is  nothing  but  darkness  with  respect  to 
mysteries.  Those  which  come  to  pass  in  time,  though  they 
be  spiritual,  are  yet  earthly  in  comparison  w^ith  those  which 
are  eternal.  One  of  the  first  doubts  and  first  evangelical  in- 
structions recorded  by  John,  relates  to  the  wonderful  and 
mysterious  operation  of  the  Spirit  of  God  in  changing  the 
heart  of  man — of  so  great  importance  is  it  to  be  instructed  in 
this  matter.  Let  us  not  imitate  the  incredulity  of  this  dis- 
ciple. That  which  we  believe  concerning  the  heavenly  mys- 
teries concealed  in  the  bosom  of  God,  should  dispose  us  to 
believe  that  which  he  is  able  to  perform  in  the  heart  of  man 
upon  earth. 

13.  And  no  man  hath  ascended  up  to  heaven,  but  he  that  came  down 
from  heaven,  even  the  Son  of  man  vrhich  is  in  heaven. 

The  secrets  of  heaven  do  not  come  within  the  compass  of 
human  reason.  He  only  among  men  has  the  key  of  them 
who,  as  the  Son  of  God,  is  in  heaven.  We  must  therefore 
unite  ourselves  to  him  by  faith,  which  alone  transports  us  to 
heaven,  and  discovers  to  us  the  mysteries  of  that  place.  No 
person  is  born  again,  raised  to  a  new  life,  and  ascends  up  to 
heaven,  but  only  in  Jesus  Christ,  of  whom  he  is  made  a  mem- 
ber by  baptism,  and  together  with  whom  he  makes  but  one 
Christ.  0  union !  0  unity !  which  we  shall  never  be  ^ble 
to  comprehend,  to  esteem,  and  to  love  enough  ! 

Vol.  II.— 27 

314  JOHN. 

14.  ^  And  as  Moses  lifted  up  the  serpent  in  the  -wilderness,  even  so 
must  the  Son  of  man  be  lifted  up: 

This  is  the  second  prediction  of  the  undeserved  death  of 

Christ  on  the  cross,  by  his  applying  to  himself  the  type  of  the 

serpent  which  had  neither  life  nor  venom.     Though  he  bore 

only  the  resemblance  of  sinful  flesh,  yet  he  bore  the  real  curse 

denounced  against  it  in  his  body  upon  the  cross.     But,   0 

God  !  into  how  great  a  blessing  is  this  curse  changed  for  all 

those  sinners  who  put  their  whole  trust  and  confidence  therein ! 

It  is  by  the  virtue  of  the  cross  of  Christ  that  we  receive  faith, 

that  we  are  made  his  members,  and  that  we  have  a  right  to 

heaven  ;  but  it  is  by  our  crucifying  ourselves  with  him  that 

all  this  is  accomplished  in  us. 

15.  That  whosoever  believeth  in  him  should  not  perish,  but  have 
eternal  life. 

The  fruit  of  Christ's  death  and  passion  is  the  life  of  faith ; 

and  the  fruit  of  faith  is  to  cause  us  to  find  in  him  a  deliverance 

from  the  death  of  sin  and  of  hell,  and  whatever  is  necessary 

to  our  attaining  to  that  life  which  he  has  merited  for  us  by 

his  cross.     0  cross  of  my  Saviour,  my  only  refuge,  the  cradle 

as  it  were  of  my  faith,  the  origin  of  my  salvation,  and  the 

source  of  eternal  life !     Ungrateful  is  he,  and  an  enemy  to 

his  own  happiness,  who  loves  not  to  turn  his  intellectual  eyes 

toward  thee,  there  to  adore  his  life  crucified,  and  to  find  there 

the  death  of  all  his  passions. 

16.  ^  For  God  so  loved  the  world,  that  he  gave  his  only-begotten  Son, 
that  whosoever  believeth  in  him  should  not  perish,  but  have  everlasting 

How  many,  how  great  and  important  truths,  how  many 
mysteries  are  here  presented  to  the  faith  of  a  Christian! 
Somewhat  more  than  faith  is  requisite  to  comprehend  them  ; 
there  must  be  more  than  all  the  love  we  can  possibly  have  on 
earth  to  answer  the  love  of  God,  who  gives  not  an  angel,  but 
his  only-begotten  Son  ;  who  gives  him  to  his  creatures,  to 
sinners,  and  to  his  enemies ;  and  who,  by  giving  him,  reduces 
him  as  it  were  to  nothing,  that  they  may  not  perish  by  his 
justice.  It  is  in  the  bosom  of  God  himself  that  we  must  seek 
for  the  reason  of  his  mercies,  and  for  the  causes  of  salvation. 
The  first  of  God's  gifts  is  his  love ;  the  first  gift  of  his  love  to 

CHAPTER   III.  315 

tlie  sinner  is  liis  Son ;  the  first  gift  of  his  Son  is  faith ;  and 
faith  is  the  root  of  all  other  graces,  the  principle  of  the  new 
life,  and  the  key  which  shuts  up  hell,  and  opens  the  gate  of 

17.  For  God  sent  not  his  Son  into  the  world  to  condemn  the  world; 
but  that  the  world  through  him  might  be  saved. 

The  first  coming  of  the  Son  of  God  is  in  order  to  save  the 

world :  miserable  is  that  person  who  renders  it  ineffectual  to 

himself,  and  turns  it  into  a  judgment  by  his  infidelity!     It  is 

our  own  sin  which  condemns  us ;  it  is  the  grace  of  Christ 

which  saves  us :  in  him  alone  then  must  we  place  our  whole 

trust  and  confidence.     Lord,  this  world  which  through  thee 

is  to  be  saved,  seek  it,  I  beseech  thee,  at  the  very  bottom  of 

my  heart. 

18.  ^  He  that  believeth  on  him  is  not  condemned :  but  he  that  be- 
lieveth  not  is  condemned  ah-eady,  because  he  hath  not  believed  in  the 
name  of  the  only  begotten  Son  of  God. 

Whoever  by  means  of  faith  is  not  in  Jesus  Christ,  continues 
still  in  Adam,  and  is  under  his  condemnation.  The  true  jus- 
tifying faith  is  neither  the  false  confidence  of  heretics,  nor  the 
dead  and  barren  faith  of  such  among  the  orthodox  as  lead 
wicked  lives;  but  it  is  that  which  changes  the  heart,  and 
causes  it  to  love  and  embrace  the  maxims  of  the  gospel.  We 
do  not  believe  in  the  name  of  our  blessed  Saviour  as  we  ought, 
if  we  walk  not  in  the  way  of  the  gospel :  we  have  nothing  but 
a  false  and  deceitful  confidence  in  Christ,  when  we  are  not 
obedient  to  his  word, 

19.  And  this  is  the  condemnation,  that  light  is  come  into  the  world, 
and  men  loved  darkness  rather  than  light,  because  their  deeds  were  evil. 

The  greatest  misfortune  of  men  does  not  consist  in  their 

being  subject  to  sin,  corruption,  and  blindness ;  but  in  their 

rejecting  the  deliverer,  the  physician,  and  even  light  itself. 

Nothing  more  plainly  discovers  the  corruption  of  the  world, 

and  afibrds  greater  cause  to  dread  the  wrath  of  God,  than  to 

see  men's  opposition  to  the  light   continually  increase,  the 

more  abundantly  he  is  pleased  to  diffuse  and  manifest  it  abroad. 

The  love  of  darkness  is  always  disguised  under  a  pretended. 

love  of  light;  and  it  is  the  great  and  just  judgment  of  God, 

both  upon  particular  persons  and  whole  nations,  to  give  them 

316  JOHN. 

over  to  this  reprobate  mind,  which  takes  light  for  darkness, 
and  darkness  for  light. 

20.  For  every  one  that  doeth  evil  hateth  the  light,  neither  cometh  to 
the  light,  lest  his  deeds  should  be  reproved. 

There  are  three  degrees  of  blindness:  The  first  is,  -when 
passion  causes  men  to  prefer  the  darkness  of  sin  before  the 
light  of  truth.  The  second,  when  the  love  of  sin  renders 
truth  itself  disagreeable  and  odious  to  us.  And  the  third, 
when  men  keep  at  a  distance,  fly  from  it,  persecute,  suppress, 
and  stifle  it  as  a  dangerous  evil.  The  love  of  the  gospel,  and 
of  the  great  principles  of  Christian  morality,  grows  and  in- 
creases in  a  heart  in  proportion  as  it  disengages  itself  from 
sin,  and  as  it  really  loves  and  practises  virtue.  On  the  con- 
trary, men  always  find  the  gospel  too  severe,  the  most  neces- 
sary truths  too  hard,  and  the  Christian  morality  carried  too 
high,  and  full  of  mortifying  discouragements,  when  they  will 
not  renounce  those  passions  which  are  condemned  thereby. 
A  man  who  is  notoriously  profligate  frequently  judges  better 
in  this  case  than  a  proud  hypocrite,  who  would  at  the  same 
time  enjoy  both  the  reputation  of  piety  and  the  pleasure  of 
his  passions. 

21.  But  he  that  doeth  truth  cometh  to  the  light,  that  his  deeds  may  be 
made  manifest,  that  they  are  wrought  ir^  God. 

True  Christians  are  the  children  of  light  and  the  disciples 
of  truth ;  and  it  is  their  joy  continually  to  walk  by  the  most 
pure  light  of  the  gospel,  and  to  regulate  their  actions  by  the 
most  substantial  truths  of  Christianity.  He  who  seeks  God 
alone,  and  resolves  to  do  nothing  but  according  to  his  Spirit, 
is  very  far  from  having  any  apprehension  that  he  shall  know' 
the  law  of  God  too  well,  and  discover  too  much  of  the  holiness 
of  his  ways.  Those  who  seek  the  glory  and  applause  of  the 
world  come  to  the  light  thereof,  and  expose  their  actions 
thereto :  those  who,  in  performing  good  works,  love  only  the 
grace  of  God,  which  is  the  principle,  his  will,  which  is  the 
rule,  and  his  glory,  Avhich  is  the  end  of  them,  are  likewise 
desirous  to  have  them  examined  by  his  light,  that  they  may 
praise  him  for  what  is  found  good  in  them,  that  they  may  con- 


demn  what  is  bad,  and  that  they  may  improve  and  complete 
whatever  is  defective  and  imperfect. 


22.  f  After  these  things  came  Jesus  and  his  disciples  into  the  land  of 
Judea ;  and  there  he  tarried  with  them,  and  baptized. 

Jesus  trains  his  disciples  up  to  labour,  and  does  not  suffer 
them  to  continue  in  idleness.  It  is  he  who  baptizes  by  his 
disciples,  because  they  do  it  by  his  appointment,  in  his  pre- 
sence, and  perhaps  with  his  baptism ;  how  much  more  cer- 
tainly does  he  baptize,  when  his  baptism  is  given  by  the 
ministers  of  his  church,  which  is  his  body,  which  acts  by  his 
Spirit,  and  which  lives  and  subsists  only  in  him !  It  is  of 
great  use  for  men  to  have  this  truth  present  to  their  minds 
whenever  they  either  administer  or  receive  the  sacraments 
that  they  may  bring  along  with  them  that  faith  and  reverence 
which  they  ought. 

23.  1[  And  John  also  was  baptizing  in  Enon :  near  to  Salim,  because 
there  was  much  water  there :  and  they  came,  and  were  baptized.  24.  For 
John  was  not  yet  cast  into  prison. 

We  ought  to  labour  in  the  work  of  God  until  we  fall  under 
an  impossibility  of  performing  it,  according  to  John's  example. 
His  labours  are  terminated  by  imprisonment  and  death ;  and 
he  foresaw  that  this  would  be  the  consequence  of  them.  How 
few  evangelical  workmen  would  there  be  in  the  church,  if  they 
expected  nothing  else  from  the  world !  Imprisonment,  which 
is  the  fruit  of  a  holy  freedom  in  preaching  the  truth,  is  the 
seed  of  that  perfect  liberty  and  freedom  which  we  shall  enjoy 
in  the  very  source  and  fountain  thereof. 

25.  1[  Then  there  arose  a  question  between  some  of  John's  disciples 
and  the  Jews  about  purifying. 

Emulation  between  the  disciples  of  different  masters,  how 
holy  soever  those  masters  may  be,  is  an  evil  which  is  always 
to  be  feared.  It  is  not  a  new  thing  for  persons  to  be  divided 
by  disputes  concerning  repentance,  instead  of  agreeing  to 
perform  it  in  the  spirit  of  charity.  To  discover  who  is  in  the 
wrong  in  these  disputes,  we  need  only  observe  on  which  side 
emulation  and  interest  may  chiefly  lie. 

318  J  0  H  N. 

26.  And  they  came  unto  John,  and  said  unto  him,  Rabbi,  he  that  was 
with  thee  beyond  Jordan,  to  whom  thou  barest  witness,  behold,  the  same 
baptizeth,  and  all  men  come  to  him. 

How  difficult  is  it  to  secure  ourselves  from  too  human  a 
fondness  and  affection  for  a  spiritual  guide  or  director,  when 
he  has  gained  a  considerable  reputation!  This  affection 
appears  plainly  to  be  such,  when  we  do  not  rejoice  so  much 
at  the  good  which  is  done  by  others,  as  at  that  which  we  see 
him  do.  Self-love  divides  and  distracts  the  heart  with  con- 
trary desires.  One  sort  of  vanity  would  fain  have  imitators 
and  followers;  another  cannot  endure  them:  charity  and 
humility  agree  to  desire  none  but  for  the  sake  of  God.  "All 
men  come  to  him:"  these  are  words  of  envy  and  emulation. 
Alas !  what  mischiefs  has  this  vice  caused  in  the  church ;  and 
how  many  does  it  still  cause  therein !  How  much  good  has 
it  obstructed !     How  many  souls  has  it  destroyed  ! 

27.  John  answered  and  said,  A  man  can  receive  nothing,  except  it  be 
given  him  from  heaven. 

Let   us    never    forget    this    great    principle    of    Christian 

humility — that  every  good  thing  comes  from  God.     If  there 

■were  any  good  in  man,  any  pious  motion  in  his  heart  which 

is  not  "given  him  from  heaven,"  it  would  be  sufficient  to 

entitle  him  to  ascribe  to  himself  all  the  consequences  thereof. 

Every  grace,  every  vocation  has  its  bounds  and  limits ;  and 

no  person  ought  to  raise  himself  above  his  own.     An  humble 

and  wise  director  of  souls  ought  frequently  to  inculcate  into 

his  disciples  this  rule — that  they  must  not  set  their  affections 

upon  him  or  his  talents,  but  upon  God,  from  whom  they  are 


28.  Ye  yourselves  bear  me  witness,  that  I  said,  I  am  not  the  Christ, 
but  that  I  am  sent  before  him. 

How  great  honour  soever  it  may  be  for  a  minister  of  the 
church  to  be  sent  as  the  ambassador  of  God  and  the  har- 
binger of  Jesus  Christ,  he  has  still  more  reason  to  humble 
himself  than  to  be  puffed  up  on  that  account ;  for  this  office 
is  not  merely  a  post  of  honour,  but  a  laborious  commission 
and  employment.  A  man  is  not  made  a  bishop  to  receive  the 
homage  due  to  God ;  but  to  see  it  paid  to  him,  and  to  prepare 
his  way  by  instruction,  prayer,  and  good  example. 

CHAPTER    III.  319 

29.  He  that  hath  the  bride  is  the  bridegroom:  but  the  friend  of  the 
bridegroom,  which  standeth  and  heareth  hiin,  rejoiceth  greatly  because 
of  the  bridegroom's  voice:  this  my  joy  therefore  is  fulfilled. 

The  church  belongs  to  Christ,  and  not  to  particular  pastors. 
Spiritual  directors  ought  to  look  upon  souls  as  the  spouses  or 
brides  of  Christ,  and  to  hearken  to  his  voice,  that  they  may 
guide  and  direct  them  as  they  ought.  They  must  not  be 
jealous  on  the  account  of  any  extraordinary  favours  which 
he  shows  them;  and  they  must  rejoice  when  he  either  puts 
them  into  the  hands  of  others,  or  takes  them  under  his  own 
immediate  direction,  and  guides  them  in  such  a  manner  as  is 
above  their  reach,  and  by  ways  which,  though  they  do  not 
comprehend,  yet  they  see  plainly  are  the  ways  of  God. 
There  can  be  no  greater  joy  to  a  pastor  than  to  see,  by  the 
edification  of  his  flock,  that  the  Bridegroom  speaks  to  the 
hearts  thereof,  and  that  it  is  really  his  in  quality  of  his  spouse. 

30.  He  must  increase,  but  I  must  decrease. 

A  true  pastor  has  nothing  at  heart  but  the  increase  of  the 
glory  of  Christ:  his  own  consists  in  promoting  that  at  the 
expense  of  all  things.  The  more  he  is  humbled  for  his  mas- 
ter's sake,  the  more  serviceable  and  useful  is  he  both  to  him 
and  his  work.  Humiliation  never  surprises  or  afflicts  him 
who,  like  John,  continually  expects  it,  and  is  disposed  to 
sacrifice  his  reputation,  as  well  as  his  life,  to  advance  the 
kingdom  of  the  Son  of  God. 

31.  He  that  cometh  from  above  is  above  all:  he  that  is  of  the  earth  is 
earthly,  and  speaketh  of  the  earth:  he  that  cometh  from  heaven  is 
above  all. 

The  divinity,  birth,  and  divine  mission  of  Christ  are  the 
three  sources  of  the  holiness  and  authority  of  his  words. 
Man  of  himself  has  nothing  but  what  is  low  and  mean  in  his 
words  and  thoughts ;  and  nothing  but  what  is  great,  sublime, 
and  heavenly,  when,  leaving  himself  and  his  own  darkness, 
he  by  faith  enters  into  Jesus  Christ  and  his  light.  We  all 
carry  within  ourselves  two  men  of  a  diiferent  nature :  the  one 
heavenly,  the  other  earthly;  and  it  is  the  great  design  of 
God  to  make  them  one,  in  renewing,  sanctifying,  and  render- 
ing the  earthly  man  happy,  by  the  spirit,  in  the  body,  and 
according  to  the  pattern  of  the  heavenly  man.     Grant,  Lord, 

320  JOHN. 

that  I  may  shut  my  ears  against  every  thing  which  the  chil 
dren  of  this  world  have  to  suggest  to  me  concerning  earthly 
things ;  and  that  the  ears  of  my  heart  may  be  continually 
open  to  those  divine  truths  which  thou  camest  from  heaven 
to  reveal  to  us,  0  heavenly  Man,  who  art  also  God ! 

32.  And  what  he  hath  seen  and  heard,  that  he  testifieth;  and  no  man 
receiveth  his  testimony: 

These  words  afford  us  a  true  idea  of  faith  and  of  incredu- 
lity. To  believe,  or  not  to  believe,  is  no  other  than  to  receive 
or  reject  the  testimony  which  the  Son  of  God  gives  concern- 
ing what  he  has  seen  and  heard ;  that  is,  concerning  what  he 
knows,  by  that  divine  knowledge  which  he  received  from  his 
Father,  when,  by  his  eternal  birth,  he  received  of  him  his 
essence — a  knowledge  communicated  by  the  incarnation  to 
the  God-man,  in  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  divine 
knowledge  and  wisdom.  What  punishment  does  not  the 
incredulous  person  deserve  who  judges  the  Son  of  God  less 
worthy  of  credit  and  belief  than  the  most  inconsiderable  eye- 
witness among  men  ? 

33.  He  that  hath  received  his  testimony  hath  set  to  his  seal  that  God 
is  true. 

The  faith  of  the  elect  and  of  the  whole  church  is,  as  it 

were,  the  seal  of  the  truth  of  God's  word,  and  of  his  fidelity 

in  his  promises.     What  blasphemy  is  there  more  horrid  than 

to  give  the  lie  to  truth  itself,  and  to  say  that  God  is  a  liar ! 

And  does  not  every  man  do  this  who  refuses  to  receive  the 

truth  delivered  by  the  Son  of  God,  whose  miracles  evidently 

proved  him  to  be  such  ? 

34.  For  he  whom  God  hath  sent  speaketh  the  words  of  God  :  for  God 
giveth  not  the  Spirit  by  measure  unto  him. 

Observe  here  the  excellency  of  Christ's  mission,  and  how  it 
differed  from  that  of  the  prophets.  The  first  difference  is, 
that  God  spoke  to  them  by  intervals ;  whereas  he  speaks  con- 
tinually in  his  Son,  because  this  Son  is  God.  The  second 
difference  is,  that  the  prophets  spoke  by  an  inspiration  whicli 
was  borrowed,  transient,  and  "given  by  measure;"  whereas 
he  spoke  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  who  is  his  own  Spirit,  who  inse- 
parably dwells  in  him,  and  by  the  possession  of  whose  fulness 

CHAPTER   III.  321 

he  receives  his  unction  and  consecration.  What  respect  and 
reverence  ought  we  to  have  when  we  read  the  gospel !  To  do 
it  as  we  ought,  we  must  beg  a  portion  of  this  Spirit,  whose 
fulness  is  the  source  of  the  divine,  adorable,  and  sanctifying 

35.  The  Father  loveth  the  Son,  and  hath  given  all  things  into  his  hand. 
The  third  difference  between  the  mission  of  Christ  and  that 

of  the  prophets  is,  that  God  loved  the  prophets  as  his  servants ; 
but  that  he  loves  Christ  as  his  only  Son,  and  communicates 
himself  to  him  in  proportion  to  his  love.  The  fourth  differ- 
ence is,  that  the  prophets  had  only  particular  commissions, 
limited  to  a  certain  time,  and  to  certain  purposes ;  but  that 
Christ  has  full  power  given  him,  as  the  general  disposer  of  all 
his  Father's  works,  the  executor  of  his  designs,  the  head  of 
his  church,  the  universal  high-priest  of  his  good  things  to 
come,  the  steward  and  dispenser  of  all  his  graces,  the  Saviour 
of  all  his  people,  and  the  only  way  which  leads  to  truth  and 
life.  Lord,  I  desire  not  either  to  take  any  step  toward  these, 
or  to  arrive  at  them  any  other  way  than  by  thee.  My  sal- 
vation is  in  thy  hand.     My  joy  is  to  depend  upon  thee. 

36.  He  that  believeth  on  the  Son  hath  everlasting  life :  and  he  that 
believeth  not  the  Son  shall  not  see  life ;  but  the  wrath  of  God  abideth 
on  him. 

It  is  by  faith  that  Christ  dwells  in  our  hearts ;  and  to  have 
him  there,  is  to  have  everlasting  life.  To  believe  in  Jesus 
Christ,  is  not  barely  to  give  credit  to  what  he  reveals ;  but  it 
is  to  put  our  whole  trust  and  confidence  in  him,  as  the  only 
Mediator  of  salvation,  by  the  merits  of  his  blood,  and  by  the 
power  of  his  grace.  This  faith  is  the  seed  of  everlasting  life ; 
and  both  consist  in  knowing  and  loving  God  imperfectly 
here  below,  perfectly  in  heaven.  A  lively  faith  renders  the 
enjoyments  of  the  world  to  come  present  even  in  this  life; 
but  glory  will  render  them  visible.  There  is  no  salvation,  in 
any  state  whatever,  but  only  by  Jesus  Christ.  Without  him, 
the  sentence  of  death,  pronounced  against  all  mankind  in 
Adam,  would  be  put  in  execution  without  mercy ;  because 
there  is  no  mercy  to  be  had  but  through  Jesus  Christ.  It  is 
through  thee  alone  that  I  entreat,  hope  for,  and  expect  it,  0 
thou  my  only  and  almighty  Mediator  ! 

322  JOHN. 



1.  When  therefore  the  Lord  knew  how  the  Pharisees  had  heard  that 
Jesus  made  and  baptized  more  disciples  than  John,  2.  (Though  Jesus 
himself  baptized  not,  but  his  disciples,)  3.  He  left  Judea,  and  departed 
again  into  Galilee. 

It  is  prudence  and  charity  to  take  away  all  occasions  of  envy 
and  sin  from  the  weak,  and  even  from  the  wicked,  as  much  as 
we  possibly  can.  There  is  a  time  to  give  away  to  the  enemies 
of  the  truth,  and  a  time  to  render  it  triumphant  over  them. 
It  is  a  very  great  grace  not  to  mistake  in  this  matter,  and  tfo 
do  nothing  out  of  season.  To  avoid  dangers  on  some  occa- 
sions is  a  thing  not  only  permitted,  but  it  is  frequently  ac- 
cording to  God's  appointment,  for  the  interest  of  his  glory, 
and  consequently  a  part  of  perfection.  To  make  an  humble 
retreat  is  a  thing  sometimes  more  difficult  to  nature  than  a 
stout  and  glorious  resistance.  That  person  follows  God  who 
does  not  expose  himself  to  suffering  before  the  time.  The 
residue  of  a  pastor's  life  shows  plainly  enough  whether  he 
retired  out  of  fearfulness  or  out  of  faithfulness  to  his  ministry. 

4.  And  he  must  needs  go  through  Samaria.  5.  Then  cometh  he  to  a 
city  of  Samaria,  which  is  called  S3-char,  near  to  the  parcel  of  ground 
that  Jacob  gave  to  his  son  Joseph. 

One  soul  alone  of  the  number  of  the  elect,  though  as  yet 
buried  in  corruption,  sometimes  invites  Christ,  and  draws 
down  the  blessings  of  God  upon  a  whole  country.  Let  us 
adore  the  zeal  of  the  true  Pastor,  who  comes  on  purpose  to 
seek  his  lost  sheep.  When  a  man  has  no  longer  any  oppor- 
tunities of  serving  God  in  a  country,  he  must  endeavour  to 
find  them  in  some  other  place.  It  is  no  other  than  necessity, 
in  all  appearance,  which  obliges  Christ  to  pass  by  this  city; 
but,  in  reality,  it  is  the  eternal  love  of  God  toward  some  par- 
ticular souls  therein,  -which  he  intends  to  save.  All  ages  are 
full  of  instances  of  this  nature  ;  but  to  observe  the  secret  con- 
duct of  God  in  them  an  attentive  faith  is  necessary. 

CHAPTER    IV.  323 

6.  Now  Jacob's  well  was  there.  Jesus  therefore,  being  wearied  with 
7iJs  journey,  sat  thus  on  the  well :  and  it  was  about  the  sixth  hour. 

Christ  by  his  toils  and  weariness  obtains  rest  for  us.  They 
are  not  mentioned  without  design.  What  a  sight  to  the  eyes 
of  faith  is  a  God  wearied  by  his  incessant  labours  for  the 
salvation  of  his  creatures !  What  return  of  duty  does  he  not 
justly  require  of  us  !  Let  us  at  least  be  so  faithful  as  to  adore 
him  in  this  condition  ;  to  give  him  thanks  for  wearying  him- 
self in  seeking  us ;  and  to  imitate  him,  as  occasion  requires, 
in  bearing  the  fatigues  of  our  employment  or  state  of  life ;  and 
sometimes  even  those  of  journeys  in  union  with  his,  and  in 
reflecting  on  them  with  reverence  and  respect.  The  rest  of 
Jesus  Christ  is  as  mysterious,  and  as  full  of  kindness  and 
beneficence,  as  his  weariness :  for  he  waits  for  a  soul  which 
was  tired  in  the  ways  of  sin,  in  order  to  give  it  rest.  It  is  a 
great  matter  for  a  man  to  learn  how  to  rest  himself  without 
being  idle,  and  to  make  his  necessary  repose  subservient  to 
the  glory  of  God. 

7.  There  cometh  a  woman  of  Samaria  to  draw  water:  Jesus  saith  unto 
her,  Give  me  to  drink.  8.  For  his  disciples  were  gone  away  unto  the  city 
to  buy  meat. 

Jesus  asks  in  order  to  give.  A  cup  of  cold  water,  (where 
there  is  not  ability  to  give  more,)  which  he  asks  and  receives 
by  the  hand  of  a  poor  man,  is  perhaps  the  occasion  of  salva- 
tion to  him  who  gives  it :  perhaps  his  salvation  depends  upon 
so  small  an  alms.  Christ  honours  and  sanctifies  the  state  of 
those  who  are  forced  to  ask  charity,  by  asking  it  himself. 
He  voluntarily  reduces  himself  to  such  circumstances  as  to 
want  the  assistance  of  his  creatures,  that  we  may  not  be 
ashamed  to  have  our  dependence  on  them.  He  here  shows  us 
the  way,  by  common  and  ordinary  conversation,  insensibly  to 
introduce  discourses  concerning  piety  and  salvation.  His  di- 
vine thirst  and  earnest  desire  to  save  souls  is  that  which  is 
most  vehement,  and  to  which  he  makes  his  bodily  thirst  sub- 
servient.    They  are  both  to  be  adored  and  imitated. 

9.  Then  saith  the  woman  of  Samaria  unto  him,  How  is  it  that  thou, 
being  a  Jew,  askest  drink  of  me,  which  am  a  woman  of  Samaria?  for 
the  Jews  have  no  dealings  with  the  Samaritans. 

When  a  soul  is  to  be  saved,  we  must  not  refuse  our  cares 

324  JOHN. 

and  endeavours  to  the  greatest  sinners.  If  we  cannot  be  in- 
strumental to  the  salvation  of  heretics,  and  have  reason  to 
apprehend  that  our  own  will  be  endangered  by  them,  the  law 
of  nature  obliges  us  to  avoid  them.  Error,  as  well  as  vice,  is 
%%f  a  contagious  disease.  To  converse  familiarly  with  such  as 
may  infect  us  with  either,  when  we  lie  under  no  necessity  nor 
obligation  to  do  it,  is  no  other  than  to  be  willing  to  perish. 
How  many  precautions  do  we  generally  take  to  secure  the 
body  ! — how  few  with  regard  to  the  soul ! 

10.  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  her,  If  thou  knowest  the  gift  of 
God,  and  -who  it  is  that  saith  to  thee,  Give  me  to  drink ;  thou  wouldest 
have  asked  of  him,  and  he  ■would  have  given  thee  living  water. 

Jesus  Christ  is  the  great  gift  of  God,  and  the  source  of  all 
other  gifts.  Such  as  this  Samaritan  woman  is,  such  is  every 
sinner  before  the  first  ray  of  divine  light  has  shone  in  his 
heart.  So  far  is  she  from  being  able  to  deserve  it,  desire  it, 
or  ask  for  it,  that  she  rejects  it,  and  has  not  the  least  sus- 
picion imaginable  that  she  has  any  want  of  it.  To  be  ad- 
monished of  our  ignorance  signifies  but  very  little,  if  God  do 
not  perform  the  rest.  To  know  Jesus  Christ  and  the  neces- 
sity of  his  grace,  is  the  first  step  toward  conversion.  His 
grace  is  living  water,  which  quenches  our  thirst  after  worldly 
riches  and  pleasures.  Who  would  not  incessantly  desire  and 
long  to  drink  thereof?  Frequent  opportunities  of  receiving 
this  water  present  themselves  to  us,  and  we  are  not  sensible 
of  them.  Disgrace,  sickness,  poverty,  and  afiliction  often 
bring  along  with  them  this  precious  gift,  and  yet  we  refuse 
them.  Cause  us.  Lord,  to  know  this  gift  on  all  occasions, 
that  we  may  esteem,  desire  it,  and  pray  for  it,  and  that  we 
may  give  all  we  have  to  purchase  and  preserve  it. 

11.  The  woman  saith  unto  him.  Sir,*  thou  hast  nothing  to  draw  with, 
and  the  well  is  deep:  from  whence  then  hast  thou  that  living  water? 
I*  ^r.  Lord.] 

The  term  "Lord,"  of  which  this  woman  makes  use,  shows 

that  when  God  begins  to  speak  to  the  heart  he  disposes  it  to 

hear,  by  making  it  sensible  of  his  presence,  and  imprinting 

thereon  a  great  degree  of  respect  and  reverence.     And  then 

it  begins  to  discover  the  greatness  of  his  promises,  and  to 

perceive  that  they  cannot  possibly  be  only  carnal  and  tern- 

CHAPTER    IV.  325 

poral ;  it  sees  plainly  the  weakness  and  inability  of  nature, 
and  the  absolute  necessity  of  supernatural  assistance. 

12.  Art  thou  greater  than  our  fiither  Jacob,  which  gave  us  the  well, 
and  drank  thereof  himself,  and  his  children,  and  his  cattle? 

.  What  is  the  greatness  of  Jacob  in  comparison  with  that  of 
Christ,  which  Jacob  himself  adored  in  the  sign  of  the  great- 
ness of  his  son  Joseph,  a  prophetic  sign  of  the  kingdom  of 
the  Messias !  How  deep,  0  Jesus,  is  that  well  from  whence 
thou  drawest  without  measure  the  water  of  wisdom  and  grace, 
the  fulness  whereof  thou  possessest,  and  of  which  thou  givest 
thy  children  and  the  whole  flock  of  God  to  drink ! 

13.  Jesus  answered  and  said  unto  her,  Whosoever  drinketh  of  this 
water  shall  thirst  again :  14.  But  whosoever  drinketh  of  the  water  that 
I  shall  give  him  shall  never  thirst ; 

Christ  here  teaches  us  not  to  be  diverted  from  the  subject 
in  debate  by  personal  reflections,  when  we  are  engaged  in  con- 
ferences about  religion,  but  to  go  on  convincing  and  instruct- 
ing. These  are  terrible  words  for  those  who  are  continually 
parched  with  thirst  after  earthly  riches  and  enjoyments ! 
Of  what  water  have  they  drunk  ? 

—  But  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him  shall  be  in  him  a  well  of  water, 
springing  up  into  everlasting  life. 

The  dead  and  muddy  water  of  earthly  things  only  inflames 

our  thirst :    grace,  which  is  a  clear  and  living  stream,  and 

which  alone  can  extinguish  it,  comes  from  and  returns  to  God, 

carrying    us    along  with  it,  and    uniting   us    to   him    to   all 

eternity.     These  words  are  full  of  comfort  to    all  such  as 

have  renounced  the  love  of  false  riches,  and  set  their  afi"ec- 

tions  upon  those  of  heaven  :  for  this  is  a  proof  that  this  water 

is  already  in  their  heart,  and  a  just  ground  for  them  to  hope 

that  it  will  "spring  up  into  everlasting  life." 

15.  The  woman  saith  unto  him,  Sir,  give  me  this  water,  that  I  thirst 
not,  neither  come  hither  to  draw. 

To  desire  and  pray  for  the  grace  and  Spirit  of  Christ,  are 

the  first  steps  toward  conversion.     This  desire,  how  imperfect 

soever  it  be  in  this  woman,  is,  notwithstanding,  the  efl"ect  of 

the  internal  operation  of  grace,  though  nothing  but  what  is 

jnerely  human  appear  in  the  manner  of  Christ's  exciting  this 

Vol.  IL— 20 

326  J  0  H  N. 

desire  in  her  heart.  Let  us  admire  this  mixture  and  union 
of  the  Spirit  of  God  with  external  and  human  appearances, 
which  honours  the  union  of  the  divine  and  human  nature,  and 
the  divinely  human  operations  of  the  God-man.  Do  thou 
thyself,  0  Lord,  raise  in  me  the  desire  of  this  divine  water, 
that  thou  thyself  mayest  also  satisfy  the  desire  which  thou 
hast  raised ! 

16.  Jesus  saith  unto  her,  Go,  call  thy  husband,  and  come  hither. 
After  these  first  desires,  which  began  to  stir  and  awaken 

the  sinner,  God  causes  him  to  enter  into  his  own  heart  to  take 
a  full  view  of  himself,  and  to  lay  his  hand  upon  his  own  sores. 
That  which  is  done  here  by  the  words  of  Christ,  is  effected 
by  accidental  meetings,  reflections,  and  sermons  in  other  sin- 
ners, who  find  themselves  most  exposed  to  their  own  sight 
when  they  endeavour  to  flee  from  themselves  with  the  great- 
est care. 

17.  The  woman  answered  and  said,  I  have  no  husband.  Jesus  said 
unto  her,  Thou  hast  well  said,  I  have  no  husband :  18.  For  thou  hast 
had  five  husbands  ;  and  he  whom  thou  now  hast  is  not  thy  husband :  in 
that  saidst  thou  truly. 

It  is  to  no  purpose  to  endeavour  to  turn  away  our  eyes  from 
ourselves  that  we  may  not  see  our  own  corruption.  God  sets 
it  plainly  before  our  eyes  when  he  has  undertaken  to  give  us 
an  abhorrence  of  it.  Every  sinner  in  proportion  is  very  glad 
to  conceal  his  failings  from  himself  as  much  as  possible,  and 
to  avoid  considering  and  reflecting  upon  them.  Self-love  al- 
ways blinds  us  in  something  or  other  which  regards  our  own 
persons,  and  continually  opens  to  us  some  secret  door,  to  give 
us  means  and  opportunity  to  steal  away  from  our  own  sight, 
and  to  make  our  escape  from  ourselves.  But  to  what  purpose 
is  it  to  flee  from  ourselves,  if  we  cannot  possibly  avoid  either 
the  sight  or  justice  of  God  ? 

19.  The  woman  saith  unto  him,  Sir,  I  perceive  that  thou  art  a  prophet. 

This  woman  perceives  at  last,  and  confesses  her  sins.  How 
powerful  and  full  of  mercy  is  this  ray  of  grace,  which  at  one 
and  the  same  time  opens  our  eyes  that  wo  behold  our  own 
wickedness  and  the  holiness  of  God,  draws  from  us  an  ac- 
knowledgment of  our  own  slavery,  and  causes  us  to  know  oui^ 

CHAPTER   IV.  327 

deliverer !  Lord,  thou  art  indeed  a  prophet,  and  more  than 
a  prophet,  since  thou  dost  not  only  discover  the  heart,  but 
dost  likewise  work  and  operate  therein. 

20.  Our  fathers  worshipped  in  this  mountain  ;  and  ye  say,  that  in  Je- 
rusalem is  the  place  where  men  ought  to  worship. 

In  order  to  repent  and  think  effectually  of  salvation,  a  per- 
son must,  in  the  first  place,  be  assured  of  the  true  church, 
out  of  the  pale  of  which  neither  the  grace  of  repentance, 
nor  the  spirit  of  prayer,  nor  the  true  worship  of  God,  nor 
salvation,  is  to  be  found.  The  prejudice  of  birth  and  educa- 
tion in  the  greatest  part  of  sectaries,  is  the  cause  of  their 
false  way  of  worship.  They  have  nothing  to  say  in  vindica- 
tion of  it,  any  more  than  the  Samaritan  woman,  but  only  that 
it  is  the  religion  of  their  fathers.  But  it  is  necessary  to  trace 
both  the  true  and  the  false  religion  up  to  their  very  original. 

21.  Jesus  saith  unto  her,  Woman,  believe  me,  the  hour  cometh,  when 
ye  shall  .neither  in  this  mountain,  nor  yet  at  Jerusalem,  worship  the 

It  is  the  advantage  of  the  Christian  religion  to  be  able,  by 
the  oblation  of  the  external  representative  sacrifice,  to  wor- 
ship God  in  every  place. 

22.  Ye  worship  ye  know  not  what :  we  know  what  we  worship ;  for 
salvation  is  of  the  Jews. 

The  sinner  knows  not  what  God  he  worships,  because  he 
worships  what  he  loves,  and  he  loves  whatever  flatters  his  pas- 
sions— to-day  one  thing,  to-morrow  another.  The  true  know- 
ledge of  God  is  not  mixed  with  errors,  nor  the  true  worship 
with  superstitions  authorized  by  the  body  of  the  pastors,  or 
adopted  by  the  whole  church.  Where  Jesus  Christ  is  repre- 
sented in  sacrifice  as  the  victim  and  salvation  of  the  world, 
there  is  the  true  church,  the  true  knowledge  of  God,  and  the 
true  worship. 

23.  But  the  hour  cometh,  and  now  is,  when  the  true  worshippers  shall 
worship  tlie  Father  in  spirit  and  in  truth  ;  for  the  Father  seeketh  such 
to  worship  him. 

The  true  church  is  the  church  of  the  true  worshippers  ;  the 

true  worshippers  are  those  who  worship  God,  (1.)  By  sacrifice. 

(2.)  By  an  external  sacrifice.     (3.)  By  a  sacrifice  which  is 

the  representative  body  and  blood  of  Christ.     (4.)  By  a  sa- 

328  JOHN". 

crifice  wliicli  is  offered  to  God  as  the  Father,  the  almighty 
principle  of  every  created  and  uncreated  being,  of  all  divine 
and  human  life,  and  of  all  natural  and  supernatural  good. 
(5.)  In  the  spirit  of  love,  which  is  the  spirit  of  children  and 
of  true  Christians.  And,  (6.)  In  the  truth  and  purity  of  the 
faith.  Where,  0  my  God,  wilt  thou  find  these  worshippers 
which  thou  seekest,  unless  thou  thyself  form  them  by  thy 
grace  ?  Blessed  be  thou,  for  having  caused  us  to  be  born  in 
the  times  of  the  spirit  and  the  truth !  Do  not  suffer  us  to 
bring  along  with  us  to  the  Christian  sacrifice  a  Jewish  or 
Samaritan  disposition. 

24.  God  in  a  Spirit :  and  they  that  worship  him  must  worship  him  in 
spirit  and  in  truth. 

There  are  three  sorts  of  sacrifices,  suited  to  the  three  dif- 
ferent states  of  the  church  and  of  religion.  The  first,  ex- 
ternal and  corporeal,  for  the  Jewish  church,  which  was  merely 
typical  and  prophetic.  The  second,  both  internal  and  exter- 
nal, corporeal  and  spiritual,  for  the  Christian  church  on  earth. 
The  third,  purely  internal  and  spiritual,  for  the  church  of  the 
elect  in  heaven.  The  first  and  second,  as  far  as  they  are  ex- 
ternal and  corporeal,  are  only  preparatory,  and  instituted 
merely  on  the  account  of  sin,  and  for  the  transitory  state  of 
the  church ;  or  only  to  prefigure  the  spiritual  sacrifice,  as  the 
former ;  or  to  be  subservient  thereto,  as  the  latter.  The  se- 
cond, as  far  as  it  is  spiritual,  together  with  the  third,  is  the 
sacrifice  which  is  most  agreeable  to  the  nature  of  God,  who 
is  a  pure  Spirit.  A  spirit  and  heart  sacrificed  and  conse- 
crated to  God  by  adoration  and  a  sincere  humiliation  before 
his  majesty,  a  submission  and  absolute  dependence  on  his 
will,  a  lively  acknowledgment  of  his  goodness  and  benefits,  and 
a  zeal  and  ardent  love  for  his  glory, — this  is  the  sacrifice,  in 
some  measure,  worthy  of  that  eternal  and  infinitely  perfect 
Spirit,  and  of  that  supremely  holy  and  unchangeable  will, 
which  is  God  himself.  It  is  by  this  internal  sacrifice  that 
that  of  Jesus  Christ  himself  is  a  sacrifice  in  spirit  and  in 
truth,  and  acceptable  to  God.  Without  this  sacrifice  of  the 
mind  and  heart  by  cliarity,  the  external  sacrifice,  which  ought 
to  be  the  sign,  effect,  and  representation  of  the  other,  is  only 

CHAPTER    IV.  329 

an   empty  sign,   a  deceitful  representation,   and  a   Jewish 

25.  The  woman  saith  unto  him,  I  know  that  Messias  cometh,  which  ia 
called  Christ :  when  he  is  come,  he  will  tell  us  all  things. 

Jesus  then  came  at  a  time  when  the  expectation  of  the 
Messias  was  so  common  among  the  Jews  that  even  a  poor 
Samaritan  woman,  without  the  assistance  of  the  prophets, 
whom  her  sect  did  not  receive,  does  not  stick  to  declare  that 
he  was  upon  the  very  point  of  appearing  in  the  world.  She 
will  condemn  the  Jews  and  all  incredulous  persons  who  have 
seen  in  him  the  works  and  marks  of  the  Messias.  Yes,  Lord, 
it  is  really  thou  from  whom  we  are  to  learn  all  things.  It  is 
to  thee  that  I  ought  to  have  recourse  in  all  my  doubts,  and  it 
is  from  thee  that  I  must  receive  suflBcient  light  to  understand 
the  Scriptures. 

26.  Jesus  saith  unto  her,  I  that  speak  unto  thee  am  he. 

How  great  comfort  and  consolation  is  it,  in  our  doubts  and 
miseries,  to  know  that  w^e  have  Jesus  Christ  for  our  Saviour 
and  Master  !  He  confounds  the  vanity  of  proud  and  con- 
ceited doctors  or  teachers  by  discovering  himself  to  this  poor 
woman,  though  involved  in  erroi^vschism,  and  immorality, 
rather  than  to  the  Pharisees,  persons  of  great  learning  and 
an  austere  life.  It  is  a  great  mistake  to  imagine  that  the 
knowledge  of  the  mysteries  of  religion  ought  not  to  be  im- 
parted to  persons  of  her  sex  by  the  reading  of  the  sacred 
books,  considering  this  instance  of  the  great  confidence  Christ 
reposed  in  this  woman  by  his  manifestation  of  himself  unto 
her.  The  abuse  of  the  Scriptures,  and  the  rise  of  heresies, 
did  not  proceed  from  the  simplicity  of  women,  but  from  the 
conceited  learning  of  men.  The  more  religion  and  piety  any 
persons  have,  the  more  right  have  they  to  feed  on  the  word 
of  God,  and  on  his  truths. 

SECT.  II. — THE   WILL    OF    GOD    THE    FOOD    OF   THE    SOUL. THE 


27.  1[  And  upon  this  came  his  disciples,  and  marvelled  that  he  talked 
with  the  woman :  yet  no  man  said,  What  seekest  thou  ?  or,  Why  talkest 
thou  with  her  ? 

Christ  conversed  but  very  little  with  women,  since  his  dis- 


330  JOHN. 

ciples  marvel  at  his  doing  it :  this  affords  an  example  of  great 
weight  for  the  clergy.  We  must  not  immediately  sensure 
good  men,  though  they  seem  to  us  to  do  something  contrary 
to  decency.  We  run  no  risk  at  all  in  suspending  our  judg- 
ment, and  waiting  until  some  further  discovery  may  be  made; 
but  we  hazard  a  great  deal  when  we  expose  ourselves  to  the 
violation  of  justice  and  charity  by  a  rash  and  precipitate 

28.  The  woman  then  left  her  waterpot,  and  went  her  way  into  the 
city,  and  saith  to  the  men,  29.  Come,  see  a  man,  which  told  mo  all 
things  that  ever  I  did:  is  not  this  the  Christ?  30.  Then  they  went  out 
of  the  city,  and  came  unto  him. 

Wonderful  effect  this,  of  one  Avord  of  our  blessed  Saviour 
upon  the  heart  of  a  woman  who  becomes  the  apostle  of  her 
country  I  He  must  needs  have  spoken  to  other  ears  than 
those  of  the  body,  since  he  has  a  greater  influence  on  her 
heart  than  she  has  herself,  insomuch  that  she  forgets  every 
thing  through  her  great  haste  to  carry  tidings  of  him  to  her 
countrymen.  Let  us  learn  of  her  that,  in  order  to  give  our- 
selves up  to  God,  it  is  necessary  we  should  forget  temporal 
things,  that  we  should  withdraw  from  our  ordinary  employ- 
ments for  some  time,  that  we  should  be  full  of  acknowledg- 
ment for  the  grace  we  have  received,  that  we  should  seriously 
meditate  upon  Christ,  and  by  zealous  discourses  bring  those 
to  him  who  either  do  not  know  him  or  offend  him,  whenever 
we  have  an  opportunity  of  doing  it. 

31.  f  In  the  meanwhile  his  disciples  prayed  him,  saying,  Master,  eat. 
32.  But  he  said  unto  them,  I  have  moat  to  eat  that  je  know  not  of. 

Christ  cannot  lose  sight  of  this  soul  whom  he  has  just  gained 
over  to  his  Father;  he  follows  her  in  mind  and  heart ;  he  acts 
in  hers ;  he  is  taken  up  with  reflecting  upon  the  zeal  which 
carries  her  back  to  the  city;  he  attends  upon  her  tongue  to 
bless  the  word  of  eternal  life  which  she  delivers  to  them ;  and 
he  seeks  among  that  people  those  whom  his  Father  has  given 
him,  that  he  may  draw  them  to  him ;  he  offers  them  up  to  liim, 
prays  to  him  for  them,  and  works  in  their  hearts  to  render 
them  tractable  and  obedient  to  the  voice  of  this  woman.  Tliis 
is  the  food  of  him  who  is  himself  our  bread  and  sustenance. 

CHAPTER  rV.  331 

He  teaches  the  apostles  and  ministers  of  the  gospel  that  they 
must  not  easily  he  induced  to  give  over  any  work  which  they 
have  begun,  on  the  account  either  of  bodily  wants  or  temporal 
concerns.  From  this  indifference  of  Christ  in  respect  of  food, 
after  his  having  walked  till  noon,  it  is  easy  to  infer  from 
whence  this  woman  received  the  forgetfulness  of  her  bodily 
thirst.  This  forgetfulness  is  a  participation  of  that  of  Jesus 

33.  Therefore  said  the  disciples  one  to  another,  Ilath  any  man  brought 
him  aught  to  eat? 

Men,  as  yet  carnal,  find  it  difficult  to  conceive  how  much 

strength  a  zeal  for  the  glory  of  God  gives  even  to  the  body. 

The  work  of  God  supports  the  workman,  and  an  evangelical 

labourer  does  not  live  by  bread  alone,  but  by  the  same  word 

of  God  which  proceeds  out  of  his  mouth  for  the  nourishment 

and  support  of  others.     God  has  in  store  for  his  servants  such 

meat  and  delicious  food  as  the  mind  of  man  knows  not  of. 

34.  Jesus  saith  unto  them,  My  meat  is  to  do  the  will  of  him  that  sent 
me,  and  to  finish  his  work. 

A  pastor  ought  to  have  nothing  at  heart  but  the  work  of 

God  and  the  salvation  of  souls.    This  ought  to  be  his  delight, 

his  meat,  and  his  life.     There  is  nothing  greater  in  the  world 

than  this  apostolical  employment;  yet  we  must  not  love  the 

dignity  and  eminency  thereof,  but  the  doing  the  will  of  God. 

We  ought  to  apply  our  minds  thereto   not  because  it  pleases 

us,  but  because  it  pleases  God ;  and  to  esteem  the  work  not 

on  the  account  of  the  part  we  have  in  it,  but  because  it  is 

God's,  and  for  his  sake.      Though  a  man  labour  therein  till 

he  has  quite  spent  himself,  yet  it  is  still  more  the  work  of 

God  than  of  man,  since  it  is  his  Spirit  which  speaks  by  the 

preacher's  mouth,  and  which  produces  faith  in  the  heart  of 

the  auditor.     While  we  are  carrying  on  the  work  of  God  in 

others,  let  us  take  care  that  the  devil  do  not  carry  on  his  work 

in  us  by  means  of  vanity.     In  this  employment  our   humility 

must  be  equal  to  our  zeal.     We  have  reason  to  tremble  under 

the  weight  of  these  three  words — the  will,  the  mission,  and 

the  work  of  God. 

35.  Say  not  ye,  There  are  yet  four  months,  and  then  cometh  harvest? 

behold,  I  say  unto  you,  Lift  up  your  eyes,  and  look  on  the  fields ;  for 
they  are  white  already  to  harvest. 

The  multitude  of  the  nations  whom  God  calls  to  the  faith, 
and  the  vast  number  of  sinners  who  are  to  be  brought  to 
repentance,  are  a  harvest  always  ready  for  the  evangelical 
labourers.  It  belongs  to  them  to  labour  at  all  times,  and  to 
God  to  give  his  blessing  to  their  labours  when  and  as  he 
pleases.  Let  us  often  lift  up  our  eyes,  and  awaken  our  zeal, 
either  to  beseech  him  to  send  forth  labourers  among  so  many 
sinners,  among  so  many  people  who  know  him  not,  or  to  go 
among  them  ourselves  if  he  vouchsafe  to  call  us  forth. 

36.  And  he  that  reapeth  receiveth  wages,  and  gathereth  fruit  unto 
life  eternal:  that  both  he  that  soweth  and  he  that  reapeth  may  rejoice 

Observe  here  three  fruits,  which  ought  to  serve  as  motives 
to  encourage  an  evangelical  workman  in  his  labour.  The 
first  is,  salvation  and  an  eternal  reward  for  himself.  This  is 
fully  sufficient  to  oblige  us  to  expect  no  other ;  but  we  must 
not  hope  to  have  it  till  after  the  harvest.  The  second  is,  the 
salvation  of  souls  converted.  And  the  third  is,  the  perfection 
of  the  body  of  the  elect,  and  the  consummation  of  the  saints 
in  God,  by  eternal  joy  and  glory,  in  which  the  full  harvest 
does  consist.  If  to  have  contributed  to  the  salvation  of  one 
soul  be  a  cause  of  joy  and  comfort,  what  will  it  be  for  a  man 
to  see  heaven,  as  it  were,  peopled  by  his  labours !  The  sal- 
vation of  an  evangelical  minister  frequently  depends  upon 
that  of  other  men:  in  labouring  for  them  he  labours  for 

37.  And  herein  is  that  saying  true,  One  soweth,  and  another  reapeth. 
38.  I  sent  you  to  reap  that  whereon  ye  bestowed  no  labour:  other  men 
laboured,  and  ye  are  entered  into  their  labours. 

It  is  no  small  comfort  to  those  who  labour  much  in  the 

church,  and  see  no  fruits  thereof,  to  be  assured  that  they 

shall  lose  no  part  of  their  reward.     It  often  happens  that  the 

fruit  does  not  appear  till  a  long  time  after  the  death  of  the 

labourers :  but  all  are  equal  in  the  sight  of  God,  both  they 

who  sow  and  they  who  reap,  when  their  charity  is  equal.     It 

is  a  motive  to  humility  for  these  ecclesiastical  workmen,  to 

consider  that  the  plentifulness  of  their  crop  is  perhaps  the 

CHAPTER   rV.  333 

fruit  and  recompense  of  the  piety  of  their  predecessors.  A 
second  guide  or  spiritual  director  pleases  himself  with  seeing 
the  progress  made  by  a  soul  under  his  care ;  whereas  it  is 
perhaps  the  eifect  of  the  prayers,  labours,  and  patience  of 
another  person. 

39.  T[  And  many  of  the  Samaritans  of  that  city  believed  on  him  for 
the  saying  of  the  woman,  which  testified,  He  told  me  all  that  ever  I  did. 

God  frequently  converts  a  soul  in  order  to  make  it  instru- 
mental in  converting  others.  By  making  use  of  the  ministry 
of  a  poor  woman  for  the  conversion  of  these  people,  who  were 
at  so  great  a  distance  from  the  truth,  he  shows  plainly  that 
all  instruments  are  alike  to  him  to  whom  none  is  necessary, 
and  who  of  himself  turns  the  heart  of  man  as  he  pleases. 
We  must  not  disdain  to  receive  from  a  woman  that  instruction 
of  which  we  stand  in  need.  God  is  pleased  sometimes  to 
humble  learned  men,  by  giving  them  a  further  insight  into 
their  duty  by  the  means  of  pious  ladies  on  whom  he  has  con- 
ferred a  great  degree  of  light  and  knowledge,  to  reward  their 
charity,  fidelity,  and  zeal  for  his  glory. 

40.  So  when  the  Samaritans  were  come  unto  him,  they  besought  him 
that  he  would  tarry  with  them :  and  he  abode  there  two  days. 

Christ  finds  more  openness  of  heart  and  more  teachable 

dispositions  among  the  Samaritans  than  among  the  Jews;  and 

yet  he  forbids  his  discijiles  to  preach  the  truth  to  them.     Oh 

the  depths  of  the  judgments  of  God !     Christ  here  teaches  us 

to  despise  none,  to  instruct  all  without  distinction,  and  not  to 

judge  what  fruit  the  divine  word  will  produce  by  the  present 

disposition  of  sinners.     God  alone  knows  those  who  are  his, 

and  on  whom  he  intends  to  show  the  great  instances  of  his 


41.  And  many  more  believed  because  of  his  own  word; 

The  word  of  Christ  in  his  own  mouth  is  more  powerful  and 
efficacious  than  in  that  of  another.  In  like  manner  greater 
blessings  attend  the  reading  divine  truths  in  the  gospel  itself, 
than  when  we  read  the  very  same  truths  in  other  books  :  to 
do  the  former  is  to  receive  them,  as  it  were,  immediately 
from  the  mouth  of  wisdom  itself.  As  a  lively  and  reverential 
faith  supplies  Christ's  corporeal  presence  in  us,  so  will  he,  by 

the  power  of  liis  grace  and  the  abundance  of  his  blessings, 
supply  us  with  the  beneficial  and  saving  efi"ects  of  that 

42.  And  said  unto  the  woman,  Now  we  believe,  not  because  of  thy 
saying:  for  we.have  heard  him  ourselves,  and  know  that  this  is  indeed 
the  Christ,  the  Saviour  of  the  world. 

How  much  light  and  knowledge  does  faith  infuse,  in  a  little 
time,  into  those  hearts  which  God  vouchsafes  to  open  to  his 
word !  Had  these  men  rejected  this  word  when  it  was  first 
delivered  to  them  by  this  woman,  they  would  then  have  never 
heard  it  from  the  mouth  of  Christ  himself.  Nothing  is  to  be 
slighted  when  our  salvation  is  concerned:  one  single  step  at 
first  is  frequently  attended  with  vei-y  great  consequences. 
Happy  this  people,  in  having  been  the  first-fruits  of  the  faith, 
among  the  Samaritans ;  in  having  learned,  in  so  short  a  time, 
the  need  which  the  whole  world  had  of  a  Saviour,  and  conse- 
quently the  corruption  of  nature,  and  the  necessity  of  grace 
to  repair  and  restore  it;  in  having  been  the  first  who  owned, 
reverenced,  and  proclaimed  on  earth  that  amiable  quality  and 
name  of  Saviour,  which  the  angel  had  proclaimed  from  heaven 
to  the  Jews;  and  in  having  been  the  only  persons  who,  before 
the  apostles,  published  this  truth,  that  Jesus  is  the  Saviour 
of  the  world !  Who  can  tell  but  that  this  was  a  reward  for 
their  having  invited,  received,  and  kept  Jesus  Christ  among 
them;  and  was  perhaps  conferred  as  a  blessing  upon  that 
hospitality  which  they  had  shown  toward  him,  without  having 
any  regard  either  to  the  aversion  of  the  Samaritans  or  to  the 
hatred  of  the  Jews  ? 

SECT.    III. — THE    ruler's    SON    HEALED. 

43.  1[  Now  after  two  days  he  departed  thence,  and  went  into  Galilee. 
What !  so  short  a  stay  in  a  place  where  he  met  with  nothing 

but  kind  reception  and  obedience,  and  where  he  saw  so  much 
fruit  of  his  labours  !  The  reason  is,  because  the  conduct  of 
a  minister  of  the  gospel  is  not  to  be  regulated  by  such  con- 
siderations, but  by  God's  appointment.  To  do  the  work 
enjoined  is  not  enough;  we  must  examine  whether  we  do  it 
according  to  his  will  and  the  order  of  his  mission.     It  is  an 

CHAPTER  rV.  335 

instance  of  self-denial  which  is  very  uncommon  and  extraor- 
dinary, to  leave  those  who  respect  and  applaud  us  that  we 
may  go  to  preach  among  others  from  whom  we  have  reason 
to  expect  a  quite  different  treatment. 

44.  For  Jesus  himself  testified,  that  a  prophet  hath  no  honour  in  his 
own  country. 

It  is  seldom  known  that  a  man  is  very  serviceable  to  his 
friends  and  acquaintance  in  the  business  of  salvation,  and 
yet  inclination  always  leads  us  that  way.  When  we  decline 
going  among  them  for  fear  of  being  despised,  it  is  pride  ;  but 
when  we  do  it  because  we  would  not  have  the  word  of  God  ex- 
posed to  contempt,  it  is  prudence  and  discretion.  In  the 
mean  time  we  must  take  care  not  to  be  mistaken  in  our  mo- 
tives. The  safest  way  is  to  keep  to  the  advice  and  example 
of  Jesus  Christ  in  relation  to  this  matter. 

45.  Then  when  he  was  come  into  Galilee,  the  Galileans  received  him, 
having  seen  all  the  things  that  he  did  at  Jerusalem  at  the  feast :  for  they 
also  went  unto  the  feast. 

To  believe  without  miracles,  is  the  excellency  of  the  faith 
of  the  Samaritans  ;  to  believe  on  the  account  of  miracles,  is 
at  least  to  do  more  than  the  generality  of  the  Jews,  and  to 
yield  to  the  authority  of  God  as  the  Galileans  did.  These 
miracles  are  for  us,  as  well  as  for  those  who  saw  them,  since 
the  gospel  renders  them  present  to  us.  Let  them  serve  there- 
fore to  increase  our  faith  and  confidence  in  Christ,  especially 
since  they  have  been  confirmed  by  the  grand  miracle  of  his 
resurrection,  and  by  so  many  others  which  have  followed  it. 
The  Galileans  would  perhaps  have  rejected  Christ  and  his 
word,  if  they  had  not  seen  his  miracles ;  and  they  would  not 
have  seen  them  if  they  had  not  gone  unto  the  feast.  Of  so 
great  advantage  is  it  faithfully  to  perform  the  duties  of  re- 
ligion. So  great  is  the  blessing  which  attends  the  constant 
appearance  at  our  parish  church  on  days  set  apart  for  the 
honour  of  God ! 

46.  So  Jesus  came  again  into  Cana  of  Galilee,  where  he  made  the  wa- 
ter wine.  And  there  was  a  certain  nobleman,  whose  son  was  sick  at 

Christ  does  not  come  to  this  place  to  seek  any  new  ap- 
plause on  the  account  of  his  miracle,  but  to  reap  the  fruit  of 

336  J  0  H  N. 

it  in  the  confidence  of  this  ruler,  and  to  strengthen  the  faith 
of  these  people  by  showing  them  another.  An  evangelical 
labourer,  after  the  example  of  Christ,  must  be  careful  to  keep 
up  and  confirm  the  good  which  he  has  done  among  souls  by 
the  ministry  of  the  word. 

47.  When  he  heard  that  Jesus  was  come  out  of  Judea  into  Galilee,  he 
went  unto  him,  and  besought  him  that  he  would  come  down,  and  heal 
his  son :  for  he  was  at  the  point  of  death. 

Afilictions  are  useful,  since  they  oblige  us  to  have  recourse 

to  God.     We  should  very  often  be  extremely  fond  of  a  son, 

a  friend,  or  an  estate,  and  place  our  whole  happiness  therein, 

if  the  danger  of  being  deprived  of  every  one  of  them  did  not 

put  us  in  mind  that  they  are  all  but  perishing  things,  and  that 

we  must  seek  our  happiness  in  something  which  cannot  be 

taken  away  from  us.      Neither  the  fondness  of  this  father 

toward  his  son,  nor  his  too  great  forwardness  in  desiring  a 

miracle  to  secure  his  enjoyment  of  him,  nor  his  false  notion 

of  the  omnipotence  of  God,  nor  the  imperfection  of  his  faith, 

gives    any    disgust   to   Christ.      Thus    God    bears   with    our 

prayers,  how  imperfect  soever  they  be. 

48.  Then  said  Jesus  unto  him,  Except  ye  see  signs  and  wonders,  ye 
will  not  believe. 

Would  to  God  there  were  not  abundance  of  persons  in  the 
world  who,  like  this  nobleman,  do  not  believe  miracles  because 
they  do  not  see  them !  It  is  great  ingratitude  not  to  think 
ourselves  concerned  in  those  signs  and  wonders  which  God  has 
wrought  at  distant  times  or  remote  places,  to  establish  the 
faith  of  the  church  which  everywhere  and  in  all  ages  is  one 
and  the  same.  It  is  a  shame  and  reproach  to  the  understand- 
ing of  man,  that  it  is  seldom  averse  to  the  belief  of  strange 
and  extraordinary  things,  unless  it  be  when  God  is  the  author 
of  them.  It  is  not  enough  just  to  believe  them:  we  must 
preserve  the  remembrance  of  them ;  we  must  not  suffer  the 
impression  they  have  made  upon  our  mind  to  be  lost ;  but  we 
must  draw  from  them  their  just  consequences,  and  reap  that 
fruit  which  they  ought  to  produce. 

49.  The  nobleman  saith  unto  him,  Sir,  come  down  ere  my  child  die. 
The  power  of  Jesus  Christ  is  not  confined  either  to  time 

CHAPTER   IV.  337 

or  place.  Men  are  very  far  from  desiring  miracles  with  as 
much  earnestness  to  secure  their  faith  and  salvation,  as  to  se- 
cure to  themselves  the  enjoyment  of  some  temporal  advan- 
tage, which  may  possibly  extinguish  their  faith,  and  rob  them 
of  salvation.  The  presence  of  Christ  is  a  very  great  and 
desirable  blessing :  but  to  confine  his  power  and  goodness  to 
his  presence,  is  a  piece  of  infidelity  which  seems  very  com- 
mon even  in  the  present  age.  The  eagerness  and  confusion 
of  our  desires,  which  are  too  natural  and  carnal,  often  hinder 
us  from  understanding  that  which  God  speaks  to  us.  Christ 
intends  to  cure  this  father  of  his  want  of  faith,  in  order  to 
make  him  worthy  to  receive  the  cure  of  his  son ;  but  he  is 
hitherto  wholly  taken  up  with  the  thoughts  of  that  which  he 
is  afraid  of  losing.  Alas,  how  many  fathers  are  there  in  the 
world  who  nearly  resemble  him  ! 

50.  Jesus  saith  unto  him,  Go  thy  way ;  thy  son  liveth.  And  the  man 
believed  the  word  that  Jesus  had  spoken  unto  him,  and  he  went  his  way. 

Let  us  observe  here  the  double  miracle,  wrought  by  the 
word  alone  of  Christ :  the  one  on  the  distant  body  of  the  son, 
the  other  on  the  invisible  heart  of  the  father,  who  is  himself 
cured  of  his  incredulity  by  believing  the  cure  which  he  did 
not  see.  We  admire  the  first,  but  we  take  scarce  any  notice 
at  all  of  the  second,  which  is  yet  more  worthy  of  God,  afi"ords 
a  greater  proof  of  the  divinity  of  Christ,  belongs  more  pe- 
culiarly to  his  mission,  and  is  l^ss  communicable  to  prophets 
and  other  holy  men.  It  is  of  this  miracle,  0  Lord,  that  I 
stand  in  need ;  it  is  this  which  I  beg  of  thee,  as  being  the 
Saviour  of  my  soul  and  the  sovereign  Physician  for  all  the 
diseases  of  my  heart. 

51.  And  as  he  was  now  going  down,  his  servants  met  him,  and  told 
Mm,  saying.  Thy  son  liveth.  52.  Then  inquired  he  of  them  the  hour 
when  he  began  to  amend.     And  they  said  unto  him,  Yesterday  at  the 

hour  the  fever  left  him. 

The  efficaciousness  of  the  word  of  Christ,  even  absent, 
taught  his  disciples  thus  early  that  his  departure  into  heaven 
ought  not  in  the  least  to  diminish  their  trust  and  confidence 
in  his  assistance.  His  word  performs  that  which  it  signifies, 
because  it  is  the  sign  of  his  will,  and  his  will  is  his  omnipo- 
tence itself.  The  fevers  which  alFect  the  body  are  generally 
Vol.  II.— 29  W 

338  JOHN. 

healthful  to  the  soul ;  and  therefore  we  ought  to  be  more 
earnest  in  praying  for  a  good  use  of  them  than  for  their  cure, 
and  much  less  should  we  desire  a  miracle  to  this  purpose. 
Those  fevers  only  which  affect  the  soul  are  obstacles  to  salva- 
tion ;  and  nothing  must  be  spared  to  obtain  their  cure.  Say 
to  me,  0  Jesus,  after  an  effectual  manner.  Thy  soul  is  healed  ? 
Say  to  the  church,  who  pours  out  her  sighs  before  thee  in  be- 
half of  so  many  weak  and  diseased  children,  "  Thy  son 

53.  So  the  father  knew  that  it  was  at  the  same  hour  in  the  which  Jesus 
said  unto  him,  Thy  son  liveth ;  and  himself  believed,  and  his  whole 

It  is  not  sufficient  that  we  ourselves  are  convinced  of  the 
miracles  which  God  has  Avrought  for  us :  we  must  likewise 
assert  the  truth  of  them  to  others,  that  God  may  be  glorified 
thereby,  and  that  the  church  may  reap  that  fruit  from  them 
which  he  designed  she  should.  This  family  had  not  been  con- 
verted, if  this  father  had  contented  himself  with  only  believ- 
ing the  miracle,  and  returning  thanks  to  God  in  the  private 
recesses  of  his  heart.  The  publication  of  the  divine  graces 
and  favours  is  an  engagement  to  gratitude  and  acknowledg- 
ment ;  and,  considering  our  own  unfaithfulness,  Ave  cannot  lay 
ourselves  under  too  many  engagements  to  perform  any  duty. 
This  nobleman  is.  an  example  of  a  master  of  a  family  intent 
on  making  all  the  favours  and  mercies  which  God  has  showed 
him  instrumental  to  the  spiritual  advantage  thereof.  The 
piety  of  a  father  or  of  a  superior  is  a  grace  belonging  to  the 
head,  which  should  be  diffused  throughout  all  the  members : 
and  when  God  intends  to  save  a  family  or  society,  the  seed  of 
this  grace  is  generally  sown  in  the  head  thereof. 

54.  This  is  again  the  second  miracle  that  Jesus  did,  when  he  was  come 
out  of  Judoa  into  Galilee. 

The  exactness  of  the  evangelist  is  serviceable  to  the  faith, 
and  tends  to  confirm  the  truth  of  the  miracles  of  Jesus  Christ. 
The  first,  wrought  at  Cana,  established  the  faith  of  the  heads 
of  the  church ;  the  second  gained  a  whole  family  thereto. 
Both  were  designed  to  instruct  the  people  of  Nazareth  at  a 
distance,  and  to  show  them  plainly  who  he  was,  without  ex- 
citing either  their  envy  or  contempt  by  his  presence. 




1.  After  this  there  was  a  feast  of  the  Jews ;  and  Jesus  went  up  to 

We  find  our  blessed  Saviour,  at  all  times  and  on  all  occa- 
sions, exact  in  observing  the  laws  and  usages  of  religion,  in 
celebrating  the  festivals,  in  edifying  his  neighbour  by  a  con- 
stant performance  of  the  duties  of  piety,  and  in  seeking  all 
opportunities  to  prove  his  mission,  to  instruct  the  people,  and 
to  comfort  the  elect,  by  showing  them  the  Saviour  so  much 
desired  and  expected. 

2.  Now  there  is  at  Jerusalem  by  the  sheep  market  a  pool,  which  is 
called  in  the  Hebrew  tongue  Bethesda,  having  five  porches.  3.  In  these 
lay  a  great  multitude  of  impotent  folk,  of  blind,  halt,  withered,  waiting, 
for  the  moving  of  the  water. 

A  great  number  of  diseases  and  diseased  persons  are  ne- 
cessary to  represent  the  state  and  condition  to  which  man  is 
reduced  by  sin :  so  miserable  is  he,  and  full  of  infirmity  from 
his  very  birth.  He  is  nothing  but  weakness,  corruption,  and 
blindness,  utterly  unable  to  do  the  least  good,  and  in  him  all 
grace  and  virtue  are  exhausted  and  withered  away.  This,  0 
my  Saviour,  is  what  I  should  have  been  eternally  in  thy  sight, 
if,  after  having  been  so  long  expected,  thou  hadst  not  come 
down  among  us  by  thy  incarnation.  How  great  is  the  debt 
which  I  owe  thee  for  having  moved  this  water  in  my  behalf, 
which  has  made  me  whole !  Finish,  Lord,  what  thou  hast 

4.  For  an  angel  went  down  at  a  certain  season  into  the  pool,  and 
troubled  the  water :  whosoever  then  first  after  the  troubling  of  the  water 
stepped  in  was  made  whole  of  whatsoever  disease  he  had. 

We  must  wait  for  the  moments  of  grace  and  mercy,  which 
God  has  reserved  to  his  sovereign  power  for  the  conversion 
of  souls,  not  passing  our  time  in  idleness,  but  in  labour,  hu- 
mility, and  vigilance.  The  grace  of  repentance  is  a  thing 
very  rare  :  a  true  penitent,  who  in  every  respect  deserves  that 
name,  is  almost  as  difiicult  to  be  found  as  a  phoenix.     To  wait 

for  the  angel's  coming  down,  either  by  the  pool's  side  or  in 
one  of  the  porches,  is  to  desire,  implore,  and  wait  for  the 
spirit  of  repentance,  in  order  to  perform  it  every  one  in  his 
proper  state.  Whoever  fully  understands  the  value  of  this 
grace  should  make  great  haste,  should  use  violence  toward 
himself,  and  not  lose  a  moment  in  casting  himself  into  this 
healing  pool.  It  is  a  holy  ambition  in  a  person  to  be  desi- 
rous of  stepping  first  into  it,  as  looking  upon  himself  to  be 
the  first  or  chiefest  of  sinners.  The  trouble  which  we  meet 
with  in  repentance  is  a  trouble  of  grace,  which  the  dread  of 
the  divine  judgments  raises  in  our  minds  to  no  other  end  but 
to  procure  us  a  substantial  peace  and  an  everlasting  calm. 
0  peace  of  a  good  conscience  !  0  perfect  cure  !  what  ought 
we  not  to  do  in  order  to  obtain  and  enjoy  thee  ? 

5.  And  a  certain  man  was  there,  which  had  an  infirmity  thirty  and 
eight  years. 

God  often  makes  choice  of  the  greatest  sinners,  to  show 
forth  in  them  the  greatness  of  his  mercy  and  the  power  of  his 
grace.  The  more  destitute  we  are  of  human  aid  and  assist- 
ance, the  more  right  have  we  to  hope  for  that  of  God. 
Though  the  disease  of  our  soul  be  inveterate  and  incurable, 
yet  it  is  not  so  in  respect  of  the  almighty  Physician.  This 
is  a  very  great  comfort  even  for  the  greatest  sinners.  Pas- 
tors ought  to  apply  themselves  with  the  greatest  care  to  those 
who  have  the  greatest  need :  to  these  the  preference  is  due. 

G.  When  Jesus  saw  him  lie,  and  knew  that  he  had  heen  now  a  long 
time  171  that  case,  he  saith  unto  him,  Wilt  thou  be  made  whole  ? 

The  look  which  Christ  casts  upon  this  paralytic  is  an 
emblem  of  that  internal  look  of  mercy  which  he  casts  upon  a 
sinner  while  he  lies  grovelling  on  the  earth  through  the  cor- 
ruption of  his  heart,  and  depressed  under  the  weight  of  his 
sins.  In  vain  would  the  sinner  endeavour  to  conceal  from 
him  the  wounds  and  ulcers  of  his  heart :  Christ  knows  them 
better  than  he  himself  does.  When  the  body  is  out  of  order, 
the  will  has  no  need  of  a  physician  to  dispose  it  to  desire 
health,  because  it  is  not  that  which  is  indisposed,  unless  it  be 
perhaps  in  desiring  health  either  too  eagerly  or  to  a  bad  pur- 
pose.    But  in  the  disease  of  the  soul,  it  is  the  will  itself  which 

CHAPTER   V.  341 

is  indisposed  ;  and  its  greatest  illness  is,  that  it  loves  its  dis- 
ease, and  hates  and  avoids  health.  We  cannot  therefore  be 
made  whole  and  cured  of  our  sins  unless  we  be  willing :  but 
it  is  God  who  produces  in  us  both  the  will  and  the  effect ;  he 
causes  us  to  desire  that  which  he  designs  to  give. 

7.  The  impotent  man  answered  him,  Sir,  I  have  no  man,  when  the 
water  is  troubled,  to  put  me  into  the  pool :  but  while  I  am  coming, 
another  steppeth  down  before  me. 

It  is  the  first  beginning  of  a  cure,  for  a  man  to  know  the 

need  he  has  of  a  good  director  of  the  conscience,  to  guide  him 

to  the  healing  pool  of  repentance,  and  to  put  him  into  it.    The 

more  uncommon  such  persons  are,  the  more  care  must  be  taken 

in  choosing  well.    Before  a  sinner  makes  this  choice,  he  ought 

frequently  to  address  himself  to  God  after  this  manner: — 

Loi'd,  I  have  no  man  to  whom  I  can  intrust  my  heart ;  who 

knows  how  to  manage  and  improve  those  motions  of  attrition 

by  which  it  is  stirred  and  troubled ;  who  will  not  flatter  my 

contrary  passions  and  inclinations,  but  has  knowledge  and 

prudence,  vigilance  and  application,  strength  and  resolution, 

sufficient  to  put  me  into  the  exercises  of  a  penitential  life. — 

It  is  necessary  to  wait  for  such  a  man,  to  delay  our  choice 

rather  than  to  make  a  bad  one ;  but  above  all,  to  implore  the 

assistance  of  that  invisible  man  without  whom  no  other  is  able 

to  do  any  thing 

8.  Jesus  saith  unto  him.  Rise,  take  up  thy  bed,  and  walk. 
Observe  here  thi-ee  effects  of  the  cure  of  the  soul :    (1.)  It 

forsakes  its  sin.  (2.)  It  lays  aside  the  marks,  and  declines 
all  the  occasions  thereof.  (3.)  It  performs  the  contrary  actions. 
It  is  in  this  respect  that  a  spiritual  director  ought  to  show 
some  courage  and  resolution,  and  to  make  use  of  his  authority, 
but  to  do  it  with  mildness  and  the  discreet  methods  of  charity. 
Christ  causes  the  sinner  to  do  that  which  he  commands.  He 
gives  the  heart  strength  to  rise  from  the  earth,  arms  to  under- 
take works  of  mortification,  and  feet  to  walk  in  the  way  of 
God's  commandments  and  of  penitential  exercises.  A  spiritual 
guide  or  director  cannot  give  these  feet,  these  arms,  or  this 
strength ;  but  he  ought  to  beg  them  for  the  person  under  his 
care,  and  that  with  so  much  the  greater  earnestness  and  per- 

342  J  0  H  N. 

severance,  as  the  penitent  is  less  able  to  do  it,  and  does  it  less 

9.  And  immediately  the  man  was  made  vfhole,  and  took  up  his  bed, 
and  walked :  and  on  the  same  day  was  the  sabbath. 

It  is  a  miracle  -which  happens  very  seldom,  for  a  man  to  be 
delivered  in  an  instant  from  his  sins  and  evil  habits,  and  from 
the  weakness  which  generally  attends  them.  God  sometimes 
works  this  miracle  to  manifest  his  power,  and  to  inspire  confi- 
dence into  sinners  ;  but  he  most  commonly  lets  them  feel  their 
weakness,  and  struggle  with  their  vicious  habits,  on  purpose 
to  humble  them  by  the  remembrance  of  their  sins,  to  make 
them  apprehensive  of  a  relapse,  and  to  oblige  them  to  be  dif- 
fident of  themselves,  and  to  have  recourse  to  him  by  prayer. 
Tractableness  and  obedience  to  the  directions  given,  is  a  virtue 
very  necessary  to  a  penitent  who  is  in  good  hands.  It  gives 
strength  to  the  weak,  settles  them  in  a  state  of  great  peace 
and  satisfaction,  and  draws  down  upon  them  abundance  of 

10.  T[  The  Jews  therefore  said  unto  him  that  was  cured,  It  is  the  sab- 
bath day  ;  it  is  not  lawful  for  thee  to  carry  thy  bed. 

The  most  discreet  directors  of  the  conscience  always  meet 
with  persons  who  control  and  censure  their  conduct,  and  who 
knoAV  how  to  cover  their  spirit  of  malice,  envy,  and  self-inte- 
rest with  the  specious  pretence  of  religion,  and  a  feigned  love 
of  the  divine  law.  It  is  the  property  of  Pharisees  to  decry 
the  pastors  of  the  church,  and  to  raise  a  distrust  in  the  mind 
of  penitents  by  vain  scruples  and  a  false  tenderness  of  con- 
science. All  the  notice  we  are  to  take  of  such  malicious  per- 
sons is  to  despise,  to  leave  them  to  themselves  after  Christ's 
example,  and  to  persevere  in  doing  our  duty. 

11.  lie  answered  them,  He  that  made  me  whole,  the  same  said  unto 
me.  Take  up  thy  bed  and  walk. 

True  obedience  consists  in  complying  rather  with  the  author 
and  the  spirit  of  the  law  than  with  the  letter.  He  who  has  a 
good  director  of  his  conscience,  has  a  good  warrant  for  his 
conduct.  A  real  cure  of  a  man's  passions,  received  in  follow- 
ing his  directions,  is  the  best  assurance  he  can  have  of  the 
approbation  of  God.     It  is  a  right  way  of  reasoning  to  argue 

CHAPTER    V.  343 

thus : — This  sph'itual  director  has  cured  me  of  my  vanity,  of 
my  fondness  for  the  world,  of  ray  inclination  to  gaming,  luxury, 
and  sloth,  and  of  my  other  vicious  habits :  I  ought  therefore 
to  rely  upon  his  conduct,  and  despise  whatever  is  alleged 
against  him  without  proof  in  order  to  render  him  suspected  to 
me.  As  it  is  by  real  cures  that  true  physicians  are  distin- 
guished from  quacks,  so  it  is  by  the  change  of  the  manners 
of  penitents  that  good  directors  of  the  conscience  are  known. 

12.  Then  asked  they  hira,  What  man  is  that  which  said  unto  thee, 
Take  up  thy  bed  and  walk  ? 

We  are  too  often  apt  to  make  inquiries  of  this  nature,  which 

proceed  from  envy,  jealousy,  and  self-interest,  concerning  a 

spiritual  guide  who  is  faithful  to  his  ministry,  only  that  we 

may  find  out  somewhat  for  which  we  may  decry  hira.    "What 

man  is  that,"  who  causes  others  to  renounce  ambition   and 

pleasure,  and  would  have  them  walk  so  uprightly  in  the  ways 

of  God  ?     His  works  speak  for  him :  and  those  likewise  of 

these  impertinent  inquirers  show  plainly  what  they  are. 

13.  And  he  that  was  healed  wist  not  who  it  was:  for  Jesus  had  con- 
veyed himself  away,  a  multitude  being  in  that  place. 

Christ,  by  conveying  himself  away,  admonishes  his  ministers 

not  to  expect  applause  after  the  doing  some  remarkable  action, 

but  to  hide  and  conceal  themselves.     A  disinterested  director 

of  the  conscience  studies  only  how  he  may  be  serviceable  to 

souls  for  the  sake  of  God,  and  never  thinks  of  making  the 

least  temporal  advantage  to  himself  by  the  direction  of  them. 

Spiritual  guides  and  penitents  should  not  know  one  another 

any  further  than  in  what  relates  to  the  cure  of  the  soul ;  nor 

should   directors  of   the  conscience  make    their  relation  too 

much  known,  or  employ  to  their  advantage  that  interest  which 

the  nature  of  their  office  necessarily  gives  them. 

14.  Afterward  Jesus  findeth  him  in  the  temple,  and  said  unto  him.  Be- 
hold, thou  art  made  whole :  sin  no  more,  lest  a  worse  thing  come  unto 

Let  us  learn  from  these  words,  (1.)  That  diseases  and  afflic- 
tions are  punishments  of  sin,  and,  consequently,  that  the  best 
remedy  we  can  apply  to  them  is  repentance  and  conversion. 
(2.)  That  these  punishments  ought  to  serve  as  instructions ; 

344  JOHN. 

and  that,  after  the  cure  either  of  our  bodies  or  our  souls,  Tce 
are  obliged  to  manifest  a  very  great  humility  and  a  profound 
gratitude  toward  God.  (3.)  That  relapses  are  more  danger- 
ous, and  more  severely  punished.  (4.)  That  one  of  the  chief 
cares  of  a  spiritual  guide  or  director,  -who  has  laboured  in 
the  conversion  of  a  soul,  and  been  blessed  with  success,  is  to 
remind  it  from  time  to  time  of  the  great  favour  it  has  received, 
of  the  sad  condition  out  of  which  it  has  been  recovered,  and 
to  secure  it  against  relapses.  (5.)  That  a  spiritual  director 
ought  not  to  lose  sight  of  a  soul  which  he  has  converted ;  but 
that  he  ought  even  to  seek  it  out,  to  improve  the  beginnings 
of  its  new  life.  And,  (6.)  That  it  is  in  the  temple,  and  at 
the  foot  of  the  altar,  that  a  penitent  soul  ought  to  be  found, 
in  prayer,  in  performing  the  duties  of  religion,  in  the  presence 
of  God,  and  in  recollection.  It  is  there  that  it  will  find  Jesus 
Christ,  and  receive  new  graces  and  instructions. 

15.  The  man  departed,  and  told  the  Jews,  that  it  was  Jesus,  which 
had  made  him  whole. 

It  requires  abundance  of  prudence  to  speak  of  the  graces 

we  have  received,  and  of  those  by  whose  ministry  we  have 

received  them.     Men  sometimes  think  to  gain  new  admirers 

of  the  works  and  mercies  of  God,  and  they  only  stir  up  envy, 

and  kindle  a  persecution  against  his  servants. 

16.  And  therefore  did  the  Jews  persecute  Jesus,  and  sought  to  slay 
him,  because  he  had  done  these  things  on  the  sabbath  day. 

Every  thing  conspires  to  make  Christ  suffer ;  and  even  the 
gratitude  and  acknowledgments  of  those  who  love  him  con- 
tribute thereto.  It  belongs  to  the  fidelity  of  a  Christian  not 
to  abstain  from  doing  good,  and  especially  from  works  of  cha- 
rity, for  fear  either  of  giving  a  seeming  occasion  of  offence  to 
others,  or  of  receiving  ill  treatment  from  them.  Whenever 
God  visibly  authorizes  an  action  which  appears  contrary  to 
his  law,  he  himself  interprets  his  OAvn  law,  or  dispenses 
with  it.  A  strange  way  this  of  judging  of  the  conduct  of 
Christ,  as  well  as  of  his  ministers ! — to  fix  only  upon  that 
which  is  blamable  in  appearance,  and  to  consider  no  part  of 
that  which  God  does  in  justification  of  it.  Blind  wretches ! 
not  to  discern  the  works  of  God's  omnipotence  from  the  actions 

CHAPTER  V.  ^345 

of  men ;  nor,  among  the  latter,  to  distinguish  those  of  neces- 
sity and  charity,  which  could  not  possibly  be  prohibited,  from 
common  and  ordinary  actions,  which  the  law  forbade  on  the 
sabbath  day. 

SECT.  II. — Christ's   sermon  to  the  jews. — the  son  does 



17.  Tf  But  Jesus  answered  them,  My  Father  worketh  hitherto,  and  I 

See  here  a  most  high  and  divine  apology  for  the  pretended 
violation  of  the  Sabbath.  Let  us  here  admire  how  God  makes 
the  perverseness  of  the  enemies  of  the  truth  subservient  to  the 
manifestation  of  the  most  sublime  truths  of  rieligion,  and  how 
he  instructs  his  elect  Avhile  in  all  appearance  he  speaks  only 
to  his  enemies.  The  first  reason  which  Christ  here  gives  of 
his  conduct  on  this  occasion  is,  that  he  is  God,  and  that  the 
Jewish  Sabbath  is  not  at  all  obligatory  with  respect  to  him. 
That  rest  and  complacency  which  he  took  in  his  works  after 
the  creation  of  the  world,  and  which  he  intended  should  be 
honoured  by  the  rest  of  the  Sabbath,  does  by  no  means  hinder 
either  the  eternal  operations  of  his  divine  understanding  and 
adorable  will,  which  terminate  in  the  generation  of  the  Son 
and  the  procession  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  nor  the  operation  of 
his  providence,  which  preserves,  governs,  and  makes  all  crea- 
tures act ;  nor  the  operation  of  his  Spirit,  either  as  to  the 
miraculous  effects  produced  on  corporeal  beings,  or  the  effects 
of  grace  in  spiritual.  The  Son,  being  God  equally  with  the 
Father,  does  all  things  as  well  as  he:  they  having  eternally 
but  one  and  the  same  virtue,  majesty,  substance,  power,  will, 
operation,  etc.  The  creatures,  every  one  according  to  its 
state  and  condition,  ought  by  a  quiet  and  constant  labour  to 
honour  that  God  who  is  continually  working  amid  his  eternal 
rest.  A  soul  who  knows  to  what  end  it  was  created,  is  inces- 
santly aspiring  after  that  unity  of  action  in  heaven  which  is 
to  succeed  the  variety  and  multiplicity  of  our  actions  here  on 
earth.  Let  us  take  great  care,  by  a  union  of  mind  and  will 
with  God  in  whatever  we  do,  to  prepare  ourselves  for  that 
unity  which  is  promised  us  for  all  eternity. 

348  JOHN. 

18.  Therefore  the  Jews  sought  the  more  to  kill  him,  because  he  not 
only  had  broken  the  sabbath,  but  said  also  that  God  was  his  Father, 
making  himself  equal  with  God. 

Christ  is  the  martyr  of  truth  and  charity,  who  exposes  him- 
self to  the  danger  of  death,  rather  than  abandon  the  miserable, 
or  not  assert  his  divinity,  when  the  glory  of  his  Father  re- 
quired it.  Is  this  the  gratitude  and  acknowledgment  which 
men  owe  thee,  0  Saviour  of  the  world  !  for  having  vouchsafed 
to  manifest  thyself  unto  them,  and  to  reveal  a  truth  upon 
which  their  salvation  entirely  depends  ?  This  is  the  lot  and 
portion  of  truth  upon  earth.  Those  who  preach  the  most 
saving  truths,  must  expect  to  be  contradicted  and  exposed. 
This  contradiction  is  instrumental  to  the  sanctification  of  the 
preacher,  the  glory  of  God,  and  the  triumph  of  truth  itself; 
but  it  tends  to  the  condemnation  of  the  world,  and  is  the  cause 
of  the  judgments  of  God. 

19.  Then  answered  Jesus  and  said  unto  them,  Verily,  verily,  I  say 
unto  you,  The  Son  can  do  nothing  of  himself,  but  what  he  seeth  the  Fa- 
ther do :  for  what  things  soever  he  doeth,  these  also  doeth  the  Son  like- 

The  second  reason  of  the  conduct  of  Christ  in  the  pre- 
tended violation  of  the  Sabbath,  and  by  which  he  confounds 
the  malice  of  the  Jews,  in  revealing  the  most  sublime  truths 
of  Christianity,  is,  that  he  may  make  known  that  he  is  not 
only  God,  but  likewise  the  Son  of  God,  who  receives  from  his 
Father,  together  with  his  divine  essence,  his  whole  knowledge, 
will,  designs,  and  power,  as  also  a  holy  and  adorable  neces- 
sity of  doing  by  him  what  things  soever  he  doeth  himself. 
0  inability,  almighty  and  infinitely  perfect,  whereby  God  is 
unchangeably  all  that  he  is  eternally,  without  any  possibility 
of  being  otherwise !  The  Father  cannot  act  any  otherwise 
than  of  himself,  as  being  the  beginning  without  beginning. 
The  Son  cannot  act  of  himself,  since  he  receives  of  the  Fa- 
ther his  essence,  power,  and  will,  by  his  eternal  origin  and 
birth,  yet  without  any  imperfection  or  dependence.  To  whom 
does  it  belong  to  adore  this  mystery  of  the  AVord  proceeding 
from  the  understanding  of  the  Father,  but  to  those  for  whose 
sake  he  humbled  himself  in  stooping  to  be  born  in  and  of  the 
flesh?     To  do  that  which  he  seeth  the  Father  do,  is  to  do  it 

CHAPTEK  V.  '  347 

by  a  will  and  power  flowing  from  the  Father  by  way  of  light 
and  knowledge.  Let  us  adore  these  incomprehensible  myste- 
ries, and,  like  true  children  of  God,  love  to  imitate  them  in 
doing  nothing  merely  of  our  own  will,  but  with  a  dependence 
upon  God  and  Jesus  Christ  as  the  principle  and  pattern  of 
all  our  actions. 

20.  For  the  Father  loveth  the  Son,  and  showeth  him  all  things  that 
himself  doeth:  and  he  will  show  him  greater  works  than  these,  that  ye 
may  marvel. 

The  third  reason  of  the  conduct  of  Christ  in  the  pretended 
violation  of  the  Sabbath,  is  because,  that  as  Son  of  God  in- 
carnate, and  the  sole  object  of  the  love  and  confidence  of  his 
Father,  he  observes  only  his  commands,  being  the  person  who 
executes  all  the  designs  of  his  love  toward  his  church,  of 
which  he  is  the  head.  In  this  quality  he  has  received  of  him 
a  full  knowledge,  and  as  it  were  a  draught  of  all  his  designs, 
which  he  is  punctually  to  follow  in  order  to  accomplish  them 
by  his  human  nature,  as  by  the  instrument  of  his  divine, 
united  to  the  divine  nature  itself.  How  adorable  are  these 
two  communications  made  to  the  Son  in  his  two  different 
births:  the  one  eternal,  by  the  natural  and  necessary  fruit- 
fulness  of  the  Father's  understanding;  the  other  temporal, 
by  the  free  and  gratuitous  kindness  and  mercy  of  his  will ! 
The  miraculous  cures  performed  by  Christ  are  but  an  intro- 
duction to  the  wonders  of  his  mission.  These  are  for  us 
rather  than  for  the  Jews.  Let  us  admire,  adore,  thank,  and 
praise  God,  for  all  the  great  things  he  has  done  for  us  by 
his  Son. 

21.  For  as  the  Father  raiseth  up  the  dead,  and  quickeneth  them  ;  even 
so  the  Son  quickeneth  whom  he  will. 

The  proof  of  these  three  reasons  of  Christ's  conduct  in  the 

pretended  violation  of  the  Sabbath — namely,  because  he  is 

God,  the  Son  of  God  equal  to  his  Father,  and  the  general 

dispenser  of  his  designs  concerning  men,  is  drawn  from  his 

prerogatives  and  functions  in  these  three  qualities.     For  his 

first  prerogative  and  function  is  to  give  life.     The  prophets 

both  healed  sick  persons  and  raised  the  dead,  but  not  one  of 

them  did  either  to  prove  that  he  was  the  Son  of  God,  ascrib- 

348  J  0  H  N. 

ing  to  himself  a  power  of  raising  the  dead  equal  to  that  of 
the  Father,  or  asserting  that  he  quickened  whom  he  would,  or 
foretelling  miracles  a  long  time  before  they  came  to  pass. 
Of  what  nature  soever  the  life  be,  it  comes  from  thee,  0  Jesus, 
as  the  author  and  principle  of  all  life  in  conjunction  with  thy 
Father,  and  as  the  first-fruits  of  life  both  in  time  and  eter- 
nity. I  adore  thee,  therefore,  as  restoring  life  to  the  dead 
even  in  the  days  of  thy  mortal  life.  I  give  myself  to  thee  as 
restoring  the  life  of  grace  to  sinners  from  the  highest  heavens. 
And  I  wait  for  thee  as  the  fountain  and  pattern  of  the  eternal 
life  of  thy  elect  at  thy  second  coming. 

22.  For  the  Father  judgeth  no  man,  but  hath  committed  all  judgment 
unto  the  Son : 

The  second  prerogative  and  function  of  Christ  is,  to  be  the 
universal  Judge  of  the  quick  and  the  dead.  To  him  belongs 
all  judgment,  visible  and  invisible,  particular  and  general, 
temporal  and  eternal,  either  by  withdrawing  grace,  or  inflict- 
ing punishment.  I  own  and  adore  thee,  0  Jesus,  as  my  judge, 
and  as  the  sovereign  disposer  of  life  and  death.  My  lot  is  in 
thy  hands ;  for  thou  dispenseth  thy  graces  according  to  the 
measure  which  thou  hast  settled,  and  appointest  punishments 
according  to  the  degree  and  demerit  of  the  sins.  Judge  me, 
0  Lord,  not  in  thy  anger,  but  in  thy  mercy.  Punish  me  in 
this  world,  not  in  the  other :  not  by  withdrawing  thy  Holy 
Spirit  from  me,  or  casting  me  out  of  thy  sight,  but  rather  by 
depriving  me  of  the  carnal  satisfactions  of  this  life,  and  the 
fatal  prosperity  of  this  corrupt  world. 

23.  That  all  men  should  honour  the  Son,  even  as  they  honour  the 
Father.  He  that  honoureth  not  the  Son  honoureth  not  the  Father  which 
hath  sent  him. 

The  third  prerogative  of  Jesus  Christ  is,  to  be  honoured 
with  the  same  honour  which  is  paid  to  his  Father ;  as  being 
his  only  Son,  appointed  by  him  heir  of  all  things  according 
to  his  human  nature,  and  Lord  of  all  things  according  to  his 
divine  ;  as  being  his  envoy  and  ambassador,  not  barely  repre- 
senting his  adorable  majesty,  but  possessing  it  indivisibly  with 
him  ;  and  as  being  his  living  image,  an  honorary  image  which 
does  not  by  some  particular  features  just  give  a  faint  idea  of 

CHAPTER   V.  349 

his  greatness,  but  which  really  contains  all  his  perfections,  is 
the  very  brightness  of  his  glory,  and  the  eternal  and  subsist- 
ing character  of  his  essence.  It  is  the  design  of  God  to 
cause  his  Son  Jesus  Christ  to  be  honoured,  to  receive  honour 
himself  only  in  and  by  him,  and  to  own  none  for  his  true 
worshippers  but  Christians  who  bear  the  name  of  his  Christ ; 
and  yet  the  generality  of  Christians  apply  themselves  less  to 
him  than  to  his  servant.  Great  God !  awaken  in  this  age,  I 
beseech  thee,  a  spirit  of  devotion  toward  thy  Son,  and  cause 
him  to  be  honoured  in  the  church  as  he  ought. 

24.  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  you,  lie  that  heareth  my  word,  and  be- 
lieveth  on  him  that  sent  me,  hath  everlasting  life,  and  shall  not  come 
into  condemnation ;  but  is  passed  from  death  unto  life. 

The  fourth  prerogative  and  function  of  Christ  is,  to  bring 
the  word  of  his  Father  to  men ;  to  make  his  own  word  the 
seed  of  faith,  and  to  cause  it  by  faith  to  become  the  necessary 
means  of  escaping  the  condemnation  of  Adam,  of  rising  again 
to  the  life  of  grace,  and  of  enjoying  that  which  is  eternal. 
Observe  here  the  chief  points  necessary  to  salvation :  (1.) 
To  hear  the  word  of  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ.  (2.)  To  be- 
lieve and  put  our  trust  in  God.  (3.)  To  believe  the  doctrine 
of  the  Trinity — a  God  who  sends,  a  God  who  is  sent,  and  a 
God  who  is  the  Spirit  and  love  of  both — one  only  God  in 
three  persons.  (4.)  To  believe  the  incarnation  of  the  Son 
sent  by  the  Father.  (5.)  To  believe  the  fall  of  Adam,  his 
condemnation  to  the  death  of  body  and  soul,  and  original  sin, 
Avhich  renders  his  fall  and  condemnation  common  to  all  his 
posterity.  (6.)  To  believe  the  necessity  of  a  Redeemer  in 
order  to  our  passing  from  death  unto  life.  (7.)  To  hope  for 
everlasting  life.  Grant,  0  Jesus,  that  I  may  truly  honour 
thee  in  adhering  steadfastly  to  thy  word  with  a  lively  faith, 
in  feeding  upon  it  in  hope  of  the  blessed  life  hereafter,  and 
in  practising  it  by  charity. 

25.  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  you.  The  hour  is  coming,  and  now  is, 
when  the  dead  shall  hear  the  voice  of  the  Son  of  God :  and  they  that 
hear  shall  live. 

The  (8th)  point  necessary  to   salvation  is,  to  believe  the 

resurrection  of  the  body  and  the   immortality  of  the  soul. 

Vol.  II.— 30 

350  JOHN. 

Christ  makes  his  voice  to  be  heard  equally  by  the  dead  and 
by  the  most  hardened  sinners,  and  restores  to  the  latter  the 
life  of  the  soul,  and  to  the  former  that  of  the  body.  0  Jesus, 
■who  art  the  word  of  life,  the  life  itself  made  manifest  to  men, 
life  eternal  which  was  in  the  Father  as  the  first  production  of 
intellectual  life  in  God  himself,  and  as  the  principle  of  the 
living,  subsisting,  and  consubstantial  love  of  the  divine  Per- 
sons,— to  thee  only  it  appertains  to  be  the  life  of  the  children 
of  God,  and  the  source  of  all  life  in  men,  ^vhether  spiritual  or 
corporeal,  natural  or  supernatural,  mortal  or  immortal,  of 
grace  or  of  glory ;  and  such  thou  art  by  the  ministry  of  thy 
word,  to  honour  thyself  as  the  eternal  life  and  word,  and  to 
teach  us  to  honour  thee  as  such,  and  to  depend  upon  thee  in 
all  the  uses  and  effects  of  life  and  of  the  word,  which  thou 
hast  been  pleased  to  communicate  to  us  out  of  thy  abundant 

26.  For  as  the  Father  hath  life  in  himself;  so  hath  he  given  to  the  Son 
to  have  life  in  himself;  27.  And  hath  given  him  authority  to  execute 
judgment  also,  because  he  is  the  Son  of  man. 

The  authority  of  Jesus  Christ  as  head  of  the  church  and 
envoy  of  his  Father,  is  comprised  in  these  two  qualities  of 
Saviour  and  Judge.  As  Saviour,  he  delivers  from  death  and 
bestows  life  ;  and  he  bestoAvs  it  as  being  essential  life,  and 
the  fountain  of  all  life  in  quality  of  Son  of  God.  As  Judge, 
he  punishes  and  condemns  to  death,  and  Avill  alone  exercise 
this  power  of  judging  the  world  in  a  plain  and  sensible  man- 
ner ;  because  he  alone  rendered  himself  visible  by  the  incar- 
nation, and  he  alone  is  Son  of  God  and  Son  of  man  together. 
I  adore  thee,  0  Jesus,  who  judgest  both  the  quick  and  the 
dead  invisibly  with  thy  Father,  as  Son  of  God,  and  who  wilt 
judge  them  visibly  in  thy  Father's  name,  as  Son  of  man. 

28.  Marvel  not  at  this :  for  the  hour  is  coming,  in  the  which  all  that 
are  in  the  graves  shall  hoar  his  voice, 

No,  Lord,  my  faith  scruples  not  in  the  least  to  believe  that 

death  heard  thy  voice  from  the  bed  of  Jairus's  daughter,  from 

the  coffin  of  the  widow's  son,  and  from  the  grave  of  Lazarus ; 

because  I  believe  likewise,  without  the  least  scruple,  that  dust 

and  ashes  will  hear  it  from  the  centre  of  the  earth  and  from 

CHAPTER   V.  351 

all  parts  of  the  world,  and  that  death  will  obey  thee  every- 
where and  forever.  Let  my  heart,  0  Jesus,  not  be  deaf  to 
thy  voice,  when  thou  vouchsafest  to  speak  to  it  in  order  to 
destroy  in  it  some  part  of  the  death  of  sin  !  Happy  is  that 
person  whom  Christ  has  caused  to  hear  the  voice  of  his  grace 
from  the  very  lowest  abyss  of  his  sin,  and  who  has  been  obe- 
dient to  his  call !  What  gratitude  and  acknowledgment  is  due 
to  him  for  so  great  a  benefit ! 

29.  And  shall  come  forth  ;  they  that  have  done  good,  unto  the  resurrec- 
tion of  life  ;  and  they  that  have  done  evil,  unto  the  resurrection  of  dam- 

According  to  these  words  of  Christ,  there  is  no  medium 
between  good  and  bad  actions,  with  respect  to  salvation  ;  be- 
tween the  resurrection  of  life  and  the  resurrection  of  damna- 
tion. There  are  but  two  sorts  of  love,  from  which  all  our 
desires  and  actions  proceed  :  the  love  of  God,  which  does 
every  thing  for  his  sake,  and  which  is  rewarded  by  him ;  and 
the  love  of  ourselves  and  of  the  world,  which  does  not  ulti- 
mately refer  that  to  God  which  ought  to  be  referred  to  him, 
and  which  for  this  very  reason  becomes  bad.  Let  us  think 
seriously  upon  this  matter:  we  shall  come  forth  out  of  our 
graves  such  as  we  enter  in,  destined  either  to  a  blessed  and 
eternal  life  for  our  good  works,  or  to  eternal  death  for  our 
sins.  Who  would  not  courageously  apply  himself  to  good 
works,  which  will  make  so  prodigious  a  difference  and  distinc- 
tion between  men  ? 

30.  I  can  of  mine  own  self  do  nothing:  as  I  hear,  I  judge:  and  my 

i'udgment  is  just;  because  I  seek  not  mine  own  will,  but  the  will  of  the 
'ather  which  hath  sent  me. 

The  sovereign  power  is  given  to  Jesus  Christ,  as  head  of 
the  church,  to  form  it  in  succeeding  ages  by  the  infusion  of 
his  Spirit  and  life,  and  to  judge  mankind  at  the  end  of  the 
world,  in  raising  them  either  to  life  or  condemnation.  But 
this  sovereign  power  of  this  divine  Head  of  the  church  de- 
pends originally  upon  the  knowledge  and  will  of  the  Word, 
which  are  those  of  the  Father.  Christ,  as  man,  has  no 
thoughts,  designs,  desires,  or  inclinations  of  himself;  and  he 
neither  quickens  nor  judges  any  one  by  a  choice  which  is  ar- 
bitrary, and  independent  on  the  inspiration,  conduct,  and  di- 

352  J  0  H  N. 

rection  of  the  Word  to  •whom  he  is  united.  The  injustice  of 
our  judgments  and  actions  proceeds  either  from  the  darkness 
of  our  understanding  or  from  the  corruption  of  our  wilL 
Every  thing  is  just  in  Christ,  because  every  thing  in  him  is 
conformable  to  the  truth  and  the  will  of  his  Father.  Render 
me,  0  divine  Word,  attentive  to  that  which  thou  speakest  to 
me,  and  so  faithful  as  to  desire  nothing  but  what  is  agreeable 
to  thy  will !  Hinder  by  thy  grace,  I  beseech  thee,  any  secret 
design  of  doing  always  my  own  will,  from  darkening  my  judg- 
ment in  relation  to  the  things  of  God  and  eternal  salvation ! 



31.  If  I  bear  witness  of  myself,  my  witness  is  not  true. 

How  false  then  is  the  testimony  or  witness  which  the  proud 
person  bears  to  himself  in  his  OAvn  heart,  without  having  the 
testimony  of  his  works,  and  having  against  himself  that  of 
his  own  infidelities  and  miseries  ?  Those  reformers  who  have 
no  other  testimony  of  their  mission  than  that  which  they  give 
to  themselves,  do  they  deserve  to  be  so  much  as  heard  !  No 
witness  whatever  ought  to  be  more  suspected  by  us,  and  is 
more  justly  liable  to  exception,  than  ourselves,  when  we  are 
the  only  persons  who  speak  to  our  own  advantage.  We 
imagine  we  see  in  ourselves  the  good  which  we  have  not;  and 
we  do  not  see  the  evil  which  we  really  have. 

32.  ^  There  is  another  that  beareth  witness  of  me;  and  I  know  that 
the  witness  which  he  witnesseth  of  me  is  true.  33.  Ye  sent  unto  John, 
and  he  bare  witness  unto  the  truth. 

John  is  the  first  witness  of  Jesus  Christ,  by  a  wonderful 

dispensation  of  the  providence  of  the  Father  in  relation  to 

his  Son,  causing  another  to  bear  witness  of  him  before  he 

should  bear  witness  of  himself.     Humility  does  not  allow  us 

to  be  the  first  in  speaking  in  our  own  behalf,  without  great 

necessity.     It  is  one  mark  of  a  divine  mission  for  a  person, 

before  his  appearing  in  the  world,  to  have  some  declaration 

from  God  concei-ning  him :  a  mark  which  no  authors  of  heresy 

ever  had.     There  are  several   circumstances  in  John  which 

render  his  testimony  unexceptionable: — (1.)  He  is  consulted 

by  the  very  enemies  of  Christ  as  a  holy  and  extraordinary 

CHAPTER   V.  353 

person.  (2.)  He  is  perfectly  free  from  all  self-interest, 
having  declined  making  the  least  advantage  by  his  own  repu- 
tation. (3.)  He  is  sincere,  undaunted,  and  so  averse  to  all 
kinds  of  flattery  that  he  reproves  Herod  at  the  hazard  of  his 
liberty  and  life.  (4.)  He  was  so  far  from  having  been  so- 
licited or  courted  by  Christ,  that  he  had  not  yet  so  much  as 
seen  him. 

34.  But  I  receive  not  testimony  from  man:  but  these  things  I  say, 
that  ye  might  be  saved. 

We  ought  never  to  omit  any  thing  which  may  be  instru- 
mental to  the  salvation  of  souls ;  yet  we  must  avoid  ostenta- 
tion in  whatever  we  do.  It  is  the  part  of  prudence,  as  well 
as  humility,  not  to  be  forward  in  endeavouring  to  engage 
others  in  favourable  discourses  concerning  us:  it  belongs  to 
God  to  open  their  mouths  in  our  commendation.  A  pastor 
should  not  be  jealous  of  his  own  reputation,  but  only  so  far 
as  it  concerns  the  salvation  of  his  flock  and  the  honour  of 
the  church:  to  promote  these  is  the  sole  end  to  which  he 
ought  to  make  the  esteem  of  men  subservient. 

35.  He  was  a  burning  and  a  shining  light:  and  ye  were  willing  for  a 
season  to  rejoice  in  his  light. 

Only  to  shine  is  but  vanity;  to  burn  without  shining  is  not 

suflficient.     To  burn  with  the  love  of  God,  and  to  enlighten 

our  neighbour  by  instruction  and  good  example, — this  is  the 

perfection  of  the  pastoral  charity,  and  the  completion  of  the 

ministry.     Wo  to  those  extinguished  lamps,  in  which  neither 

the  light  of  truth  nor  the  heat  of   charity   can  be  found  I 

Wo  to  those  people  and  souls  who  find  both  these  qualities 

in  their  pastors  only  to  their   own   condemnation,  like  the 

Jews !     When  a  light  rises  in  the  church,  it  darts  forth  at 

first  a  lustre,  at  which  the  world  itself  rejoices ;  but  this  lasts 

not  long.     The  world  always  loves  its  own  darkness  better 

than  light,   and    endeavours  to  extinguish,  in  the  end,  the 

light  which  opposes  its  darkness.     We  have  great  reason  to 

fear  lest  we  should  be  of  the  number  of  those  souls  who 

rejoice  at  the  brightness  of  the  light    or   reputation  of  a 

preacher  or  spiritual  director,  and  perform  not  that  which  he 

requires  of  them  in  order  to  their  salvation. 

354  JOHN. 

3G.  f  But  I  have  greater  witness  than  that  of  John:  for  the  works 
which  the  Father  hath  given  me  to  finish,  the  same  works  that  I  do, 
bear  witness  of  me,  that  the  Father  hath  sent  me. 

The  miraculous  works  of  Christ  are  the  second  witness 

which  bear  testimony  of  him.     The  testimony  of  men,  when 

not  supported  by  that  of  works,  is  of  little  or  no  account. 

The  opinions  of   men  change,  and  ours    change  concerning 

them,  as  those  of  the  Jews  did  in  respect  of  John;  but  works 

continue  always  the   same.      Let    us  never  grow  weary  of 

reminding  our  brethren   who  are  wandered  out  of  the  way 

of  what  God  is  never  weary  of  reminding  us  in  his  word, 

namely,  that  their  apostles  were  only  seducers,  having  had 

neither  forerunners  to  introduce  them,  nor  miraculous  works 

to  authorize  them,  nor  voice  of  God   to  approve  them,  nor 

Scripture  to  foretell  and  point  them  out. 

37.  And  the  Father  himself,  which  hath  sent  me,  hath  borne  witness 
of  me.  Ye  have  neither  heard  his  voice  at  any  time,  nor  seen  his  shape. 
38.  And  ye  have  not  his  word  abiding  in  you:  for  whom  he  hath  sent, 
him  believe  ye  not. 

God  the  Father  is  the  third  witness  who  bears  testimony  of 
Jesus  Christ.  He  speaks  to  men  by  his  incarnate  Word.  He 
who  will  not  own  and  receive  the  Son,  and  the  word  of  salva- 
tion which  he  delivers,  shall  never  know  God,  whom  we  can- 
not possibly  either  hear  with  the  ears  or  see  with  the  eyes  of 
the  body,  but  only  with  the  ears  and  eyes  of  faith  in  his 
word.  If  we  have  the  word  of  God  in  our  mind  and  mouth 
alone,  and  have  it  not  abiding  in  our  heart,  we  have  it  only 
after  a  Jewish  manner,  and  to  our  own  condemnation. 



39.  T[  Search  the  Scriptures;  for  in  them  yQ  think  ye  have  eternal 
life:  and  they  are  they  which  testify  of  me. 

All  the  Scriptures,  which  are  full  of  Jesus  Christ,  are  a 
fourth  witness  in  his  favour.  They  are  mines  of  gold:  we 
must  search  and,  as  it  were,  dig  very  deep  in  them,  by  means 
of  study,  prayer,  and  meditation,  in  order  to  find  Jesus 
Christ.  The  ill  use  which  these  people  made  of  the  Scrip- 
tures hinders  not  our  blessed  Lord  from  encouraging  and 
pressing  them  to  read  them  all  with  care.     They  do  indeed 

CHAPTER    V.  355 

contain  eternal  life — not  for  those  who,  like  the  Jews,  mind 
only  the  letter,  are  intent  on  carnal  promises,  and  put  their 
whole  confidence  in  them  knowing  nothing  of  their  spirit  and 
design — but  for  those  who  by  a  deep  search  discover  Christ 
in  them,  and  place  all  their  hopes  of  salvation  in  him  alone. 
Teach  me  thyself,  0  Lord,  to  seek,  to  find,  and  to  relish  thee 
in  these  divine  books. 

40.  And  ye  will  not  come  to  me,  that  ye  might  have  life. 

It  is  a  dreadful  proof  of  hardness  of  heart  in  the  Jews,  that 
they  should  choose  rather  to  adhere  to  a  law  of  death,  than 
to  go  to  Christ,  to  whom  this  very  law  refers  and  guides  them, 
as  to  the  author  and  fountain  of  life.  How  much  more 
hardened,  then,  is  the  heart  of  a  Christian  who  has  already 
received  it,  and  tasted  the  fruits  thereof,  if  he  still  prefer  the 
death  of  sin  before  it !  What  discouragement,  what  despair 
will  not  so  soft  a  reproof,  so  tender  and  preventing  a  love, 
remove !  But  every  thing  is  hard  and  difiicuit  to  him  whose 
heart  is  hardened.  To  keep  at  a  distance  from  Christ,  is  to 
avoid  and  fly  from  life :  it  is  in  vain  to  seek  it  anywhere  else. 

41.  I  receive  not  honour*  from  men.         [*  Fr.  My  glory.] 

To  see  the  earnestness  of  the  Son  of  God  in  soliciting  us  to 
put  our  trust  and  confidence  in  him,  and  in  drawing  sinners 
after  him,  one  would  imagine  that  this  honour  and  glory  de- 
pended upon  their  faith,  and  that  he  could  not  be  happy  unless 
they  were  so.  No,  Lord,  thy  glory  has  not  the  least  depend- 
ence on  ours ;  and  the  esteem  of  men  cannot  possibly  either 
tempi  thee  or  increase  thy  happiness.  But  we  are  those 
who,  without  thee,  must  necessarily  be  eternally  miserable. 

42.  But  I  know  you,  that  ye  have  not  the  love  of  God  in  you. 

To  see  the  great  zeal  of  the  Jews  for  the  observance  of  the 
Sabbath,  and  for  the  law  of  God,  should  we  not  be  apt  like- 
wise to  imagine  that  their  hearts  were  inflamed  with  the  love 
of  him.  And  yet  all  this  was  nothing  but  the  love  of  them- 
selves, and.  of  human  glory,  which  they  would  fain  acquire 
from  the  gifts  of  God.  How  common  is  this  false  zeal !  How 
deceitful  is  it !  There  is  in  these  persons  abundance  of  pride, 
vanity,  and  delusion;  but  they  have  not  the  least  degree  of 

35«i  JOHN, 

the  love  of  God  in  them.  Do  thou  vouchsafe,  0  Lord,  to  shed 
abroad  this  love  in  our  hearts — thou,  whom  the  extreme  want 
thereof,  which  thou  sawest  in  mankind,  drew  down  from  heaven ! 

43.  I  am  come  in  my  Father's  name,  and  ye  receive  me  not :  if  another 
shall  come  in  his  own  name,  him  will  ye  receive. 

See  here  some  plain  and  evident  marks  that  they  were 

never  animated  with  the  love  of  God,  and  that  they  are  fallen 

under  great  delusion.     The  first  is,  that  they  have  received 

persons  who  came  in  their  own  name,  having  no  mark  of  a 

divine  mission,  at  the  same  time  that  they  have  rejected  those 

who  were  authorized  by  sanctity  of  life,  by  the  gifts  of  the 

Holy  Ghost,  etc. 

44.  How  can  ye  believe,  which  receive  honour  one  of  another,  and 
seek  not  the  honour  that  cometh  from  God  only  ? 

The  second  mark  is,  that  pride,  and  the  love  of  vain-glory — 
two  vices  most  opposite  to  faith  and  salvation — have  been  the 
distinguishing  character  of  these  heads  of  a  party;  whereas 
that  of  the  apostles,  and  of  apostolical  men,  consisted  in  hu- 
mility, and  in  carefully  avoiding  all  human  glory. 

45.  Do  not  think  that  I  will  accuse  you  to  the  Father :  there  is  one 
that  accuseth  you,  even  Moses,  in  whom  ye  trust. 

The  third  mark,  which  shows  that  these  men  are  mistaken, 
and  likewise  have  not  the  love  of  God,  is,  that  the  very  Scrip- 
ture alone,  in  which  they  put  their  whole  confidence,  is  sufii- 
cient  to  accuse,  convict,  and  condemn  them  as  seducers  and 
corrupters  of  the  word  of  God.  A  real  delusion  and  error  is 
sometimes  concealed  under  a  false  reverence  for  the  word  of 
God,  a  false  confidence  in  Christ,  and  a  false  love  of  religion. 
Suifer  yourselves,  dear  brethren,  to  be  convinced  and  con- 
demned by  the  truth  of  the  Scripture.  Whoever  does  not 
follow  the  example  of  the  saints,  must  expect  to  have  them 
for  accusers. 

4G.  For  had  ye  believed  Moses,  ye  would  have  believed  me :  for  he 
wrote  of  me. 

The  fourth  mark  or  proof  of  delusion  and  error  is,  that  they 

have  not,  and  cannot  possibly  have,  a  right  understanding  of 

the  Scriptures.     The  law  and  the  Scripture  speak  only  of 

Jesus  Christ.     He  is  the  key  of  the  books  of  the  Old  Testa- 

CHAPTER  VI.  357 

ment,  which  we  can  never  understand  nor  relish  unless  we 
read  them  with  a  view  to  him,  and  that  entire,  as  consisting 
of  head  and  members,  and  observing  in  them  everj  thing 
which  concerns  his  body  the  church. 

47.  But  if  ye  believe  not  his  writings,  how  shall  ye  believe  my  words  ? 

The  fifth  mark  or  proof  of  delusion  is,  that  they  have  as- 
sumed to  themselves  a  power  to  believe  or  not  believe  what 
they  think  fit,  to  despise  the  authority  of  the  church  and  of 
Christ  himself,  and  to  subvert  the  whole  foundation  of  the 
faith.  Enlighten,  Lord,  these  blind  people,  and  lead  them 
back  into  the  way  of  faith  which  they  have  forsaken.  They 
will  believe  whatever  thou  speakest  to  them  by  thy  word,  if 
thou  vouchsafe  to  write  it  in  their  hearts  by  thy  Spirit. 



1.  After  these  things  Jesus  went  over  the  sea  of  Galilee,  which  is  the 
sea  of  Tiberias.  2.  And  a  great  multitude  followed  him,  because  they 
saw  his  miracles  which  he  did  on  them  that  were  diseased.  3.  And 
Jesus  went  up  into  a  mountain,  and  there  he  sat  with  his  disciples. 

Jesus  here  shows  his  wisdom,  in  not  provoking  the  envious 
any  longer  by  his  presence ;  his  charity,  in  removing  from 
them  the  occasions  of  sin;  his  humility,  in  withdrawing  him- 
self from  the  world  after  such  remarkable  actions  ;  his  piety, 
in  recollecting  himself  in  retirement  after  his  preaching ;  his 
goodness,  in  not  hiding  himself  from  those  who  follow  him ; 
and  his  preference  of  the  mean  and  illiterate  people,  who 
hearken  to  the  voice  of  miracles  while  the  learned  continue 
altogether  deaf  thereto.  Let  us  hearken  to  that  of  his  vir- 
tues, which  gives  us  a  more  useful  lesson  than  all  the  mira- 
cles which  he  wrought  on  the  body. 

4.  And  the  passover,  a  feast  of  the  Jews,  was  nigh.  5.  1[  "When  Jesus 
then  lifted  up  his  eyes,  and  saw  a  great  company  come  unto  him,  he  saith 
unto  Philip,  Whence  shall  we  buy  bread,  that  these  may  eat? 

When  human  means  fail,  God  causes  his  power  to  appear. 

358  JOHN. 

Christ  does  not  work  miracles  till  he  has  showed  the  neces- 
sity there  is  for  them,  to  teach  us  never  to  ask  or  desire  any 
without  an  absolute  necessity.  He  takes  occasion  from  this 
want,  and  from  the  approaching  passover,  to  give  his  disciples 
an  emblem  of  the  miraculous  passover  which  he  is  preparing 
for  his  church.  Since  his  different  miracles  denote  his  dif- 
ferent qualities,  it  is  necessary  there  should  be  some  to  show 
that  he  is  in  all  respects  the  pastor  of  his  sheep.  Too  faith- 
less, too  ungrateful  is  he  who  distrusts  his  goodness,  provi- 
dence, and  almighty  power,  for  the  support  and  nourishment 
either  of  the  body  or  of  the  soul. 

6.  And  this  he  said  to  prove*  him :  for  he  himself  knew  what  he 
would  do.         [Fr.  Tempt.] 

God  tempts  us,  to  prove  and  exercise  our  faith ;  the  devil, 
to  weaken  and  extinguish  it.  Let  us  carefully  observe  and 
consider  these  two  sorts  of  temptations,  that  we  may  reap 
profit  from  them.  That  of  the  devil,  through  the  disposal  of 
the  divine  mercy,  tends  to  make  us  sensible  of  our  own  weak- 
ness, and  to  cure  us  of  having  any  presumption  of  our  own 
strength.  That  of  God,  has  a  tendency  in  itself  to  make  us 
conceive  a  more  lively  belief  of  his  majesty  and  greatness,  and 
to  clear  our  minds  of  those  mean  ideas  and  human  notions 
which  we  are  apt  to  entertain  concerning  his  almighty  power. 
Grant  that  I  may  know  thee,  0  my  God,  and  that  I  may 
know  myself. 

7.  Philip  answered  him,  Two  hundred  pennyworth  of  bread  is  not 
sufficient  for  them,  that  every  one  of  them  may  take  a  little. 

Infinitely  less  will  be  sufBcient  to  satisfy  them  all,  because 

he  who  made  them  all  of  nothing  can  likewise  feed  them  all 

out  of  nothing.     Observe  here  the  common  failing  and  defect 

of  men  under  their  wants  :  their  minds  are  more  intent  on  the 

wants  themselves,  than  on  the  goodness,  wisdom,  and  power 

of  God,  who  commands  us  to  put  our  trust  in  him.     It  is  a 

sin  against  the  established  order  of  his  wisdom,  to  expect  that 

he  should,  without  any  necessity,  dispense  with  the  ordinary 

rules  of  his  providence.     It  is  a  sin  against  the  belief  of  his 

omnipotence,  to  desire  to  subject  it  to  human  methods. 

8.  One  of  his  disciples,  Andrew,  Simon  Peter's  brother,  salth  unto 

CHAPTER    YI.  359 

him,    9.  There  is  a  lad  here,  which  hath  five  barley  loaves,  and  two  small 
fishes :  but  what  are  they  among  so  many  ? 

Five  loaves  and  two  small  fishes  are  more  than  enough  in 
his  hands  who  continually  multiplies  the  corn  of  the  earth  a 
hundred-fold,  and  raises  out  of  her  bosom  so  many  good  things 
for  the  food  and  nourishment  of  mankind,  of  little  birds,  and 
of  the  smallest  insects.  Whoever  is  faithful  in  adoring  and 
praising  God  for  all  the  benefits  he  does  us  by  the  ordinary 
methods  of  his  providence,  will  not  find  his  faith  and  confi- 
dence stagger  when  he  stands  in  need  of  extraordinary  assist- 
ances. The  latter  are  as  easy  to  God  as  the  former  ;  but  they 
afford  us  a  plainer  proof  of  his  mindfulness  with  respect  to 
the  wants  of  particular  persons,  and  of  his  continual  vigilance. 
It  is  his  will  that  we  should  be  made  sensible  of  the  greatness 
of  our  want,  that  we  may  set  the  greater  value  upon  his 

10.  And  Jesus  said,  IMake  the  men  sit  down.  Now  there  was  much 
grass  in  the  place.     So  the  men  sat  down,  in  number  about  five  thousand. 

It  is  not  so  much  for  the  sake  of  these  five  thousand  men 
that  Clirist  is  going  to  work  this  miracle,  as  for  the  sake  of 
all  those  who  live  in  continual  submission  to  the  laws  of  pro- 
vidence. He  who  feeds  here  five  thousand  men  in  an  extra- 
ordinary manner,  and  by  a  visible  miracle,  cannot  he  find 
means  to  support  this  numerous  family,  which  raises  in  the 
mind  of  this  father  and  mother  so  many  uneasy  and  distrust- 
ful thoughts  ?  God  works  more  invisible  miracles  than  visible ; 
and  the  latter  are  designed  only  to  strengthen  the  belief  of 
the  former  in  those  persons  to  whom  providence  is,  as  it  were, 
obliged  to  give  some  present  security.  Does  not  that  abun- 
dance of  grass  which  God  bringeth  forth  continually  for  the 
cattle,  justly  upbraid  men  with  their  infidelity  or  their 
distrust  ? 

11.  And  Jesus  took  the  loaves  ;  and  when  he  had  given  thanks,  he  dis- 
tributed to  the  disciples,  and  the  disciples  to  them  that  were  set  down  ; 
and  likewise  of  the  fishes  as  much  as  they  would. 

Every  thing  wastes  in  the  hands  of  men :  but  every  thing 
multiplies  in  those  of  the  Son  of  God.  Before  Christ  feeds 
the  body,  he  feeds  and  nourishes  the  soul  by  the  good  ex- 
ample of  his  gratitude  and  thankfulness  to  his  Father.     There 

360  JOHN. 

is  often  found  in  a  good  pastor  greater  acknowledgment  for 
that  which  God  confers  upon  him  for  the  benefit  and  advan- 
tage of  his  people,  than  in  the  people  themselves  who  receive 
that  advantage.  Christ  feeds  only  those  who,  in  sitting  down, 
give  a  proof  of  their  trust  and  confidence  in  him  by  their 
obedience.  Let  us  in  this  emblem  contemplate  our  duties 
with  respect  to  the  word  of  God  and  to  the  communion,  the 
fruit  whereof  is  answerable  to  the  disposition  of  our  heart. 
The  more  earnestly  we  hunger  after  them  with  a  sincere 
hunger  of  heart  and  will,  the  more  benefit  do  we  still  receive 
from  them. 

12.  When  they  were  filled,  he  said  unto  his  disciples,  Gather  up  the 
fragments  that  remain,  that  nothing  be  lost. 

Every  thing  which  Christ  has  consecrated  by  his  word  or 
his  Spirit  ought  to  be  precious  to  us,  and  nothing  should  be 
lost.  We  ought  to  manage  our  temporal  riches  to  the  best 
advantage,  not  out  of  covetousness,  but  out  of  respect  to  the 
gifts  of  God.  These  fragments  left  by  the  poor  are  yet  more 
precious :  Christ  does  not  take  care  about  saving  them,  till 
the  poor  have  eaten  and  are  satisfied.  It  is  not  out  of  indi- 
gence that  be  causes  these  fragments  to  be  gathered  up,  since 
nothing  is  beyond  the  reach  of  his  power ;  but  it  is  to  make 
known  the  greatness  of  the  miracle,  and  to  teach  the  rich 
themselves  not  to  squander  away  unprofitably