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1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end , that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Ver. 1. Always to pray and not to faint ] Gr. εκκακειν , not shrink back, as sluggards in work or cowards in war. Prayer should be redoubled and reinforced, as those arrows of deliverance, 2 Kings 13:19 . The woman of Canaan prays on when denied; and Jacob holds with his hands when his thigh is lamed. He wrestled with slight and might, he raised dust, as the word signifies, and would not away without a blessing. a James, surnamed the Just (Christ’s kinsman), had his knees made as hard as camel’s knees with much praying, as Eusebius writes. Father Latimer, during his imprisonment, was so constant and instant in prayer, that often times he was not able to rise off his knees without help. Yea, Paulus Aemilius, being to fight with Perses, king of Macedonia, would not give up sacrificing to his god Hercules, till he saw certain arguments of a victory. As loathing of meat (saith a divine) and painfulness of speaking are two symptoms of a sick body, so irksomeness of praying and carelessness of hearing, of a sick soul.
a Etiam post naufragium tentantur maria.
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
Ver. 2. Which feared not God, nor regarded man ] These two, fear of God and shame of the world, God hath given to men as curbs to restrain them from outrage. But sin hath loaded such an impudency in some men’s faces that they dare do anything.
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
Ver. 3. Avenge me of mine adversary ] A downright request, without either logic or rhetoric to set it forth or enforce it; to teach us that though our prayers be but blunt or broken language, if importunate, they shall prevail nevertheless.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Ver. 4. And he would not for awhile ] There is a passive injustice. Non faciendo nocens, sed patiendo fuit, saith Ausonius of Claudius: Not to do justice is injustice.
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Ver. 5. She weary me ] Gr. υπωπιαζη , she buffet me, or club me down. God must be pressed in prayer till we put him (as you would say) to the blush, or leave a blot in his face, unless we may be masters of our requests. Vota fundimus, coelos tangimus, Deum tangimus, misericordiam extorquemus. (Tertul. Apol.)
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
Ver. 6. Hear what the unjust judge saith ] Hic paria non inter se conferuntur, sed minus cum maiore, saith Beza.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Ver. 7. Though he bear long with them ] When they are at the utmost under. When their enemies are above fear, and they below hope; when there is not faith in earth to believe, then are there bowels in heaven to relieve and restore them.
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Ver. 8. Shall he find faith upon earth? ] God often stays so long till the saints have done looking for him, when they have forgotten their prayers, and he comes, as it were, out of an engine.
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Ver. 9. That they were righteous, and despised others. ] Pray to be preserved from this perilous pinnacle of self-exaltation.
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Ver. 10. The one a Pharisee ] A Doeg may set his foot as far and farther within the sanctuary as a David. The Pharisee and publican went both of them up to private prayer.
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.
Ver. 11. God, I thank thee ] Non vulnera, sed munera ostendit, he shows not his want, but his worth, and stands not only upon his comparisons, but upon his disparisons, -I am not as this publican. No, for thou art worse; yea, for this, because thou thinkest thee better. But of Pharisees it might be said, as Arnobius did of the Gentiles, Apud vos optimi censentur, quos comparatio pessimorum sic facit. They are very good that are not very bad. Αντιπροσωπος βλεπων τω θεψ διελεγετο . (Basil.) Velut dignus qui cum Deo colloqueretur. (Erasm.)
I am not as other men are ] Pride wears a triple crown with this motto, Transcendo, Non obedio, Perturbo. This Pharisee held himself the whole piece, and all others a remnant only, as Basil of Seleucia hath it; he takes his poor counter and sets it down for a thousand pounds; he priceth himself above the market.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Ver. 12. I fast twice a week ] Cardinal Bellarmine did more, for he fasted thrice a week, saith he that writes his life. John, Archbishop of Constantinople, he who first affected the style of Universal Bishop, was surnamed Nesteutes, from his frequent fasting. Monday and Thursday were the Pharisees’ fasting days, because Moses went up to the mount on a Thursday, and came down on a Monday, saith Drusius. The Manichees fasted on the sabbath, from whence the whole week here taketh its denomination in the original.
I give tithes ] He braggingly made a gift of that which he was bound to pay.
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.
Ver. 13. Smote upon his breast ] In token of indignation, and that he would have smitten his sin so hard if he could have come at it.
God be merciful, &c. ] Here was much in few. The Publican prayed much though he spake little. As a body without a soul, much wood without fire, a bullet in a gun without powder, so are words in prayer without spirit. Oratio brevis penetrat coelum. Short prayer penetrates heaven. The hottest springs send forth their waters by ebullitions. Prayer is called a charm, Isaiah 26:16 . Now, in a charm or enchantment, in three or four words there is much efficacy.
To me, a sinner ] This prayer was often in Mr Bradford’s mouth, and likewise in Mr Samuel Crook’s. See his Life, page 32.
14 I tell 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.
Ver. 14. Justified rather than the other ] The Pharisee was not at all justified; neither is there more or less in justification. But our Saviour here useth a popular kind of expression.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it , they rebuked them.
Ver. 15. See Trapp on " Mat 19:13 "
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.
Ver. 16. See Trapp on " Mat 19:14 "
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Ver. 17. See Trapp on " Mat 19:14 "
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Ver. 18. And a certain ruler ] St Mark, Mark 10:17 , saith that this ruler came running, which argues his earnestness, and in a man of quality was unusual, for such walk softly for most part, and in state, Gressu grallatorio.
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is , God.
Ver. 19. See Matthew 19:16-17 .
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.
Ver. 20. See Matthew 19:17-19 .
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Ver. 21. See Matthew 19:20 .
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.
Ver. 22. Yet lackest thou one thing ] Yea, all things. But our Saviour speaketh thus by a holy irony.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
Ver. 23. See Matthew 19:22 .
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!
Ver. 24. See Matthew 19:23 .
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.
Ver. 25. It is easier for a camel ] Caveant ergo divites (saith an interpreter) et solicite; mane, vesperi, interdiu, noctu, secum de periculosa vitae suae ratione commententur. Let rich men therefore weigh their danger, and beware.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
Ver. 26. See Matthew 19:26 .
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Ver. 27. See Matthew 19:26 .
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
Ver. 28. See Matthew 19:27 .
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 the kingdom of God’s sake,
Ver. 29. See Matthew 19:28 .
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Ver. 30. See Matthew 19:30 .
31 Then he took unto him 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.
Ver. 31. See Matthew 20:17 ; Mark 10:32 .
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
Ver. 32. See Matthew 20:17 ; Mark 10:32 .
33 And they shall scourge him , and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
Ver. 33. See Matthew 20:17 ; Mark 10:32 .
34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Ver. 34. And they understood none, &c. ] Prejudicate opinions of Christ’s earthly kingdom hung as so many bullets at their eyelids, that they could not perceive so plain a truth.
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
Ver. 35. See Matthew 20:29 ; Mark 10:46 .
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
Ver. 36. See Matthew 20:29 ; Mark 10:46 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26