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1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Ver. 1. Spake unto them again ] That by one discourse he might peg in another. He had but a while to be with men, and see how he bestirs him! Natural motion is more swift and violent toward the end of it. It was as pleasant to Christ to seek men’s salvation as it is to the devil to seek their destruction; who therefore doth his utmost, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time, Revelation 12:12 , his malevolence is motive to his diligence.
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Ver. 2. Like unto a certain king ] God is a great King, and he stands upon his seniority, Malachi 1:8 , will be served of the best, and curseth that cheat that does otherwise,Matthew 22:14; Matthew 22:14 . He scorneth to drink the devil’s snuffs, to take his leavings.
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Ver. 3. They would, not come ] They proved recusants, and this rendered them unworthy of eternal life, Acts 13:46 . God’s ministers sent to call them, must turn them over to him, with a Non convertentur, uncovertable person, and let him deal with them.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Ver. 4. Behold I have prepared my dinner ] Luke calleth it a supper. The kingdom of heaven is compared to both, to show that the saints do both dine and sup with Christ; they eat at his table continually, as Mephibosheth did at David’s, yea, they have, as Jeconiah had, a continual portion from the king every day, a certain, all the days of their lives.
My oxen and my fatlings are killed ] Gr. Are sacrificed, τεθυμενα , but here it is translated to common use, because even heathen princes began their solenm feasts with sacrifices (which was craving a blessing on their food in their way), and for that men should come to a feast as to a sacrifice. Adeo ut gulae maetetur appetitus, as Novarinus here noteth.
5 But they made light of it , and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Ver. 5. But they made light of it ] God’s rich offers are still slighted and critized; and most men turn their backs upon those blessed and bleeding embracements of his, as if heaven were not worth hearkening after;
" ... Paris ut vivat regnetque beatus
Cogi posse negat ".-Horat, Ephesians 2:10 .
One to his farm, another to his merchandise ] Licitis perimus omnes, More die by food than poison. Worldliness is a great handicap to faith, though men cannot be charged with any great covetousness. See that ye shift not off him that speaketh to you from heaven,Hebrews 12:25; Hebrews 12:25 .
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them .
Ver. 6. Entreated them spitefully and slew them ] This is that sin which brings ruin without remedy,2 Chronicles 36:16; 2 Chronicles 36:16 . Josiah’s humiliation could not expiate Manasseh’s bloodshed. Our Popish prelates in less than four years sacrificed the lives of eight hundred innocents to their idols here in Queen Mary’s days. That precious blood doth yet cry to heaven for vengeance against us. And it was a pious motion that one made in a sermon to this present parliament, that there might be a day of public humiliation, purposely set apart, and solemnly kept throughout the kingdom, for the innocent bloodshed here in those Marian days of most abhorred memory.
7 But when the king heard thereof , he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Ver. 7. But when the king heard thereof ] And kings have long ears, this King of heaven especially. Cui etiam muta clamant cadavera.-Ut taceant homines iumenta loquentur. In case of the abuse of God’s servants, a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter, Ecclesiastes 10:20 . John Baptist was beheaded in the prison, as if God had known nothing of the matter, said that martyr. But when he maketh inquisition for blood (which he often doth with great secrecy and severity) he remembereth such to purpose,Psalms 9:12; Psalms 9:12 , as he did Herod, Maximinius, Charles IX of France, Felix of Wartenburg, and various other bloody persecutors. The king is said to hear of what was done, for blood crieth.
Sent forth his armies ] The Roman spoilers, who were the rod in God’s hand, and revenged the quarrel of his covenant. Howbeit they thought not so,Isaiah 10:7; Isaiah 10:7 . As in letting blood by leeches the physician seeks the health of his patient, the leech only filling of his gorge; so when God turns the wicked upon his people, he hath excellent ends, howbeit they think not so, but to destroy and cut off nations not a few, Isaiah 10:7 .
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Ver. 8. They which were bidden were not worthy ] Who were then? Such as came from the highways and hedges, Matthew 22:9 , that is, such as fit and show their sores to God, as the cripple and others do by the highway side to every passenger, to move pity. Such sensible sinners shall walk with Christ in white, for they are worthy.
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Ver. 9. Go ye therefore to the highways ] Those sinners of the Gentiles, Galatians 2:15 , who wandered in their own ways, Acts 14:16 , and were, till now, without God in the world,Ephesians 4:18; Ephesians 4:18 . These are those other husbandmen, to whom the householder would let out his vineyard, Matthew 21:41-43 , which truth to illustrate, this parable is purposely uttered, and principally, as it may seem intended.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Ver. 10. Both bad and good, &c. ] Such a mixture there ever hath been, and will be here in the Church. Doeg sets his foot as far within the sanctuary as David. There are sacrificing Sodomites, Isaiah 1:10 , sinners in Sion, Isaiah 33:14 . We cannot avoid the company of those from whom we shall be sure to carry guilt or grief.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Ver. 11. And when the king came in to see ] He is in the assemblies of his saints to observe their behavior, and to apportion to them in blessing as they do to him in preparation; he goes down into his garden to see whether the vine flourish, and the pomegranates bud, Song of Solomon 6:11 ; he walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Revelation 2:1 . Now therefore we are all here present before God, said Cornelius, Acts 10:33 .
Which had not on a wedding garment ] i.e. Christ apprehended by faith, and expressed in his virtues by holy life. Justification and sanctification are the righteousnesses of the saints ( δικαιωματα των αγιων , Rev 19:8 ), wherewith arrayed they are beautiful even to admiration; as without the which, Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua the high priest,Zechariah 3:1; Zechariah 3:1 , because (as some will have it) his accusation was as true as vehement, so that Satan had the upper hand of him, till such time as Christ bade, Take away the filthy garments from him; there he pardoned his sin in heaven; and unto him he said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment; there he pardoned it in his own conscience also.
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Ver. 12. Friend, how camest? &c. ] Not wretch, rebel, reprobate. Hard reproofs administered in soft language break the bones. See the notes above on Matthew 20:13 .
Not having a wedding garment ] Is it fit to come to such a feast in thy worst? in the leathern coats, in the tattered rags and menstruous clouts of wretched old Adam?
And he was speechless ] He was muzzled or haltered up, a that is, he held his peace, as though he had had a bridle or a halter in his mouth. This is the import of the Greek word here used. He was αυτοκατακριτος , self-condemned,Titus 3:11; Titus 3:11 , and could not ανταποκρινεσθαι , chat at God, Romans 9:30 , as he used to do; he was gagged, as it were.
a εφιμωθη . Occlusum est illi os quasi capistro et fraeno ac si brutum animal fuisset, ratione prorsus viduum. Novarin.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Ver. 13. Bind him hand and foot ] He that comes into Christ’s table without a wedding garment on his back shall not go out without fetters on his feet. Neither shall it help him, that he hath eaten and drunk in Christ’s presence; for his meat is sauced, and his drink spiced with that bitter wrath of God, Job 20:23 . He shall be taken as here, from the table to the tormentor. Look to it therefore, and come not hand overhead. The very heathens saw, and could say, that God was not to be served slightly or slubberingly, but with all possible preparation beforehand, ουκ εν παροδω προσκυνειν, αλλ ’ οικοθεν παρασκευασμενοι . Plut.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Ver. 14. For many are called, &c. ] With an outward calling; but outward privileges profit not, where the hidden man of the heart is not right, where the power and practice of godliness is wanting. Many a ship hath been called Safeguard and Goodspeed, which yet hath split upon the rocks, or fallen into the hands of pirates.
15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
Ver. 15. Then went the Pharisees ] They were, as one saith, Puncti et repuncti, minime tamen ad resipiscentiam compuncti. They were stung with the former parables, and grew more enraged. It is a vain persuasion for any godly man to think by any discretion wholly to still and escape the clamours and hates of wicked persons; Christ himself could not do it.
How they might entangle him in his talk ] As beasts are in the hunter’s toil, or birds in the fowler’s net. a Every man hunteth his brother with a net, was an old complaint, Micah 7:2 . And, "They make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate," &c., Isaiah 29:21 . Doctor Story’s rule to know a heretic was, They will say, The Lord, and, We praise God, and, The living God. So, The Lord, and not to say, Our Lord, is called by Stephen Gardiner, Symbolum haereticorum, the heretic’s badge. But God will take these wizards in their own craft,1 Corinthians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 3:19 , he will catch them in their own cunning, he will over shoot them in their own bow, he will take his handful of them, so that they shall not make escape, as the word there signifies, οο δρασσομενος , comprehendens et quasi manum complens. Aret.
a παγιδευσωσι , Metaph. a venatione ferarum. Piscator. Metaph. a feris quibus tenduntur laquei et retia. Par.
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man : for thou regardest not the person of men.
Ver. 16. With the Herodians ] i.e. Such as were of Herod’s religion, as the Melchites, a kind of mongrel Christians in the East: so called of Melech, as one would say, of the king’s religion, because they followed the decrees and examples of the emperors. Some think these Herodians were the same with the publicans, or toll collecters (so Origen and Cyril), whom the Pharisees took with them to our Saviour, as if the one exacted tribute, the other refused to pay, and both came to our Saviour, as to an impartial judge, to end the quarrel, and decide the controversy.
Master, we know that thou art true, &c. ] Here is a fair glove, drawn upon a foul hand. "Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross," Proverbs 26:23 . There are those that will smile in your face, and at the same time cut your throat. Squier, sent from Spain to poison Queen Elizabeth, anointed the pummel of the queen’s saddle with poison covertly, and, as it were, doing something else, praying with a loud voice, God save the Queen.
That thou art true, and teachest the way of God ] These all are high commendations and necessary qualifications of a teacher and instructor of others. These cony catchers tell the truth of Christ (for he was all this that they say of him and more), and yet they tell a lie, because they thought him not so, but spoke against their consciences. They thought, belike, to have tickled and taken our Saviour with their flatteries (as every wind will blow up a bubble), and so to have had what they would of him; but Christ was not for their turn. He was inadulabilis, unflatterable, and might better say than Politian did, Assentatiunculis quorundam, aut etiam obtrectationibus, non magis attollor aut deprimor, quam umbra mei corporis. I am no more lifted up, nor cast down with men’s flatteries or slanders than with the shadow of mine own body. For I think not myself either longer or shorter at morning or at noon, because my shadow is so.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Ver. 17. Is it lawful ] They make it a case of conscience. Dissembled sanctity is double iniquity. Covetousness goes cloaked or coloured, 1 Thessalonians 2:5 . So doth malice most times; but God will wash off its varnish with rivers of brimstone.
To give tribute ] Κηνσον , a kind of coin proper to this purpose. The Jews paid then to the Romans, as now they do to the pope, and other princes of Italy, a yearly rent for the very heads they wear. And yet how they brave it to our Saviour, and say, John 8:33 ; "We were never in bondage to any man." And there is not a more vain glorious people this day under heaven than the Jews, saith Alsted.
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Ver. 18. Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ] Hypocrites pretend Nathaniel in the skin of a Nicodemus, saith one; of a Demas rather, who made fair weather for a while, but at length forsook Paul, and became an idolatrous priest at Thessalonica, if Dorotheus may be believed. Jesus perceived these men’s wickedness, and detected it. So dealt Peter with Simon Magus, whom Philip took for a very honest man, and baptized him. All will out at length; Quod sis esse velis, nihilque malis. Martial.
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Ver. 19. They brought unto him a penny ] Monachi pecunias attingere pro piaculo ducunt. No Capuchin among the Papists may take or touch silver. This metal is as very anathema to these, as the wedge of gold to Achan; at the offer whereof he starts back, as Moses from the serpent. Yet he carries a boy with him that takes and carries it, and never complains of either metal or measure.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Ver. 20. Whose is this image, &c. ] Not that he knew not whose it was, but that he might refell them by their own answers, judge them out of their own mouth; and that the people (into whose hatred they thought by this captious question to draw him) might see that this was not more his than the Pharisees’ own sentence.
They said unto him, Caesar’s ] Julius Caesar was the first that had his own face stamped in the Roman coin.
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Ver. 21. Render therefore unto Caesar ] Not give, but render; as who should say, Ye give him but what belongs to him; ye do him but right, ye help him but to his own, and that which he may justly require of you, In reddendo hostimentum patrocinii et defensionis, in lieu of his care toward you.
And unto God the things that are God’s ] The Greek article is twice repeated, when he speaks of God more than when of Caesar; to show, saith one, that our special care should be, τα του θεου τω θεω , to give God his due. For if Caesar will take to himself God’s part, by commanding that which is sinful, to pay him such a tribute, Non est tributum Caesaris, sed servitium diaboli, saith Chrysostom, it is not a paying of tribute to Caesar, but a doing service to the devil. Cur non et animam nostrum Dei imaginem soli Deo consignemus, saith one. Let God only have our soul, since it bears his image. That was a witless and wicked speech of him, that said, that he had two souls in one body, the one for God, if he pleased, the other for any one else that would. But that was a gallant speech of the Prince of Condee, who being taken prisoner by Charles IX of France, and put to his choice whether he would go to mass or be put to death, or suffer perpetual imprisonment? Ut eligeret ex his tribus unum vel missam, vel mortem, vel perpetuum carcerem, &c. (Hist. Gall.) The former, said he, by God’s grace, I will never do. And for the two latter, let the king do with me what he pleaseth. God, I hope, will turn all to the best.
22 When they had heard these words , they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
Ver. 22. They marvelled and left him, and went their way ] With a flea in their ear, as we say.
" Demitto auriculas ut iniquae mentis asellus. " Hor.
Confounded they were that they were so disappointed. Christ shaped them such an answer, as they could neither dislike nor digest. "The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness," Ecclesiastes 2:14 . Ad poenitentiara properat, cito qui iudicat. He that precipitates a censure shall soon see cause to repent him. How often doth an open mouth prove a man’s purgatory? We had great need therefore carry a pair of balances between our lips, lest we be entangled in our talk. For,
" Sic licet in partes circumspectissimus omnes,
Nemo tamen vulpes, nemo cavere potest. "
23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
Ver. 23. The same day came to him the Sadducees ] Vulpium capita possunt esse aversa, quorum tamen caudae in face eadem coeunt. Heretics may differ as much from one another, as they all do from the truth. Both Pharisees and Sadducees can conspire against Christ, though they cannot consent among themselves. These Sadducees were a brutish sect and sort of Jews, that held many monstrous opinions. Some of them are set down, Acts 23:8 . Various others more gross may be read of in Josephus, who also tells us that they were but few of them, yet of the chief among the people. (Ant. 18, 2; B. J. 2, 7.) And no wonder, for even at this day atheists and epicures are rife; and among the great ones especially, who either think or could wish at least, there would be no resurrection, &c.
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Ver. 24. Master, Moses said ] They pretend Scripture; so did the devil, Matthew 4:1-11 . So do heretics all; Sed sensum afferunt non auferunt, but they fetch not the meaning from the Scripture, but fasten a sense (even that of their own devising) on the Scripture: Caedem Scripturarum faciunt ad materiam suam, saith Tertullian. They taw the text, as shoemakers do their leather uppers, saith Polydore Virgil, that they may bring them to serve their turns; they lay the dead child of their own corrupt glosses in the bosom of holy Scripture, and then cry out, It is hers, and not theirs.
If a man die, having no children ] This law these Sadducees seem to approve, when indeed they jeer it, as the mother of much monstrous confusion, if there ever be a resurrection. So deals the devil and his janizaries a (Jesuits, I should say) at this day, by both Scriptures and fathers, whom they either elude or deride, further than they serve their turn, to confirm their falsehoods.
Raise up seed unto his brother ] Our children are a principal part of ourselves, even the seed; as though now there were nothing left in us but the chaff.
a One of a former body of Turkish infantry, constituting the Sultan’s guard and the main part of the standing army. The body was first organised in the 14th century, and was composed mainly of tributary children of Christians; after a large number of them had been massacred in 1826, the organization was finally abolished. ŒD
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
Ver. 25. When he had married a wife, deceased ] Thus they that will marry shall have trouble, aye, and that in the flesh, wherein they haply promised themselves most comfort and contentment, How many are there that seek a happiness here; and when to enjoy it might seem a happiness indeed, they die, and then all their thoughts perish. Instances we have in Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Tamerlane, who, making great preparations for the conquest of the Turkish Empire, died of an ague in the midst of his great hope and greatest power. The like might be showen of many learned men, that died, when they might have been most useful, as Keckerman, Perkins, Preston, Pemble, young Drusius, &c. All our learning is soon refuted with one black Theta, which, understanding us not, snappeth us unrespectively without distinction, and putteth at once a period to our writing and to our being.
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
Ver. 26. And the third unto the seventh ] Happy it was, if seeing their brethren fall so fast, themselves were warned to number their own days and provide for death’s coming. But this is not easily done; for we naturally dream of an immortality, Psalms 49:11 ; and it is death to us to think of death, though we see so many daily die before us. It fareth with us for the most part as with fatting cattle. The butcher comes today, and fetcheth away one, tomorrow and fetcheth away another, &c. The rest that are left behind do neither miss their fellows nor dread their own destiny. So here, this is brutish stupidity, shake it off.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
Ver. 27. And last of all the woman, &c. ] It is scarcely credible that one woman should outlive seven husbands. But grant she did, yet impartial death, that had so often times cut off her head, hit her heart at last. Death, as an archer, aiming at us, misseth us again, and hitteth haply some beyond us, some short of us, some on either hand of us; now our superiors, now our inferiors, now our equals, till at length we also are wounded; and the longer death’s hand is exercised, the more skilful it grows. Joannes de Temporibus, who is said to have lived in France over 300 years, died at length; so did the old old, the very old man, A.D. 1635.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Ver. 29. Ye do err, not knowing ] Ignorance is a breeder. All sins are seminally in ignorance. St Paul thanks it for all his persecutions, 1 Timothy 1:13 . Aristotle makes it the mother of all the misrule in the world. (Ethic. 3.) All heresies, saith Chemnitius, are known to have proceeded, Vel ex supercilio Samosateni fastu, vel ex Arrii dialectica, vel ex Aetii ολιγομαθεια , from pride, sophistry, or ignorance.
Nor the power of God ] Who can as easily raise the dead as he did at first create them. This the Athenians, with all their learning, understood not; and therefore counted all that St Paul could say to it, bibble babble ( σλερμολογος ), because he preached Jesus, and Anastasis , or the resurrection, which they took to be some strange goddess,Acts 17:18-19; Acts 17:18-19 . They saw not how there could possibly be a regress from a privation to a habit. Neither can any of us see it, unless God by his Spirit of revelation give us to know what is the exceeding greatness of his power, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in raising Christ, and us by him,Ephesians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:19-20 , where it is easy to observe a six-fold gradation in the original, and all to set forth the power of God, in Christ’s and our resurrection.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Ver. 30. For in the resurrection they neither marry ] Therefore our condition then shall be better than that of Adam’s in Paradise, where he had need of a meet help, Chenegdo, such another as himself, a second self. St Luke adds the reason why men shall not marry in the resurrection, viz, they can die no more; and therefore need not marry for propagation of their kind and immortalizing of their name. Mahomet, as he professed that himself had a special licence given him by God to know what woman he would, and to put them away when he would; so he promised to all his votaries and adherents the like carnal pleasures at the resurrection. Sensualists cast God and the things of God into a dishonourable mould; they rise not above their spring.
But are as the angels of God ] ισαγγελοι . Are, that is, certainly shall be; yea, in their Head, Christ, they are so already. For God hath even here "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 2:6 . And at the resurrection, the just shall shine as the sun in heaven, nay, as the Son of God himself, with whom they shall appear in glory, as his spouse. Uxor fulget radiis mariti, is a maxim in law. Their vile bodies shall be conformed to his most glorious body, Philippians 3:21 , the standard in beauty, brightness, agility, immortality, &c., and other like unspeakable angelical qualities and perfections. Their souls shall be freed from all evil, fraught with all fulness both of grace and of glory.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Ver. 31. Have ye not read ] In Moses, whose writings only they received, rejecting the rest. And the superstitious Jews at this day are said in their liturgy to read two lessons, one out of the law, which is read by some chief person, another out of the prophets, which is read by some boy or mean companion. For savouring somewhat of these old Sadducces, they will in no sort do honour, neither attribute they that authority to any part of the Bible that they do to their law, which they do usually carry about their synagogue at the end of the service in procession, with many ornaments of crowns and sceptres; the children kissing it as it passeth by them.
Spoken unto you by God ] It is God that speak. eth in the holy Scriptures; it is the express mind of God that is there set forth unto us. See my True Treasure, p. 10, &c.
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Ver. 32. God is not the God of the dead ] That is, in the Sadducees’ sense, utterly dead and extinct for ever; but in St Paul’s sense,Romans 14:9; Romans 14:9 , He is the God of the dead. For the dead bodies also of the faithful, while they lie rotting in the grave, and resolved into dust, are united to Christ; by means whereof a substance is preserved, sin only is rotted with its concomitant infirmities. But the rotting of the body is but to refine it; it is but as the rotting of grain under the earth, 1 Corinthians 15:36 , that it may arise more glorious. Once, death to the saints is neither total, but of the body only; nor yet perpetual, but for a time only. See both these together, Romans 8:10-11 . Further, front this verse we may learn, that there is a two-fold knowledge to be gotten from holy Scriptures: 1. Express, "I am the God of Abraham," &c. 2. By due deduction and firm inference, God is the God of the living.
33 And when the multitude heard this , they were astonished at his doctrine.
Ver. 33. They were astonished at his doctrine ] This was well; but St Luke Luk 20:39-40 adds that which was more strange: 1. That certain of the scribes said, Master, thou hast well said. No Jesuit had ever so much ingenuity. 2 That the Sadducees were thenceforth silent, and said no more.
" Praestat herbam dare, quam turpiter pugnare. "
"He excels to give herbs than to fight rashly."
Those Romish frogs, the Jesuits, will never have done, though never so much set down, but be still up with their hateful Brekekekex-coax-coax. (Aristoph. in Ranis.)
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
Ver. 34. But when the Pharisees ] Nunquam bella bonis, nunquam certamina desunt. Truth never lacks an adversary. Christ had many conflicts all his life long, but most and sharpest at last cast. At death, Satan will muster up all his forces against a Christian; that last encounter is like to be the sharpest; as Israel in the wilderness met with much hardship: but when they entered the land, all the kings of Canaan combined against them.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question , tempting him, and saying,
Ver. 35. Then one of them which was a lawyer ] Pareus gathereth out of Mark, Mark 12:28 , that this lawyer was one of them that had applauded Christ for his conquest over the Sadducees in the last conflict, Luke 20:39 , and that for a penance he was enjoined by his fellow Pharisees to undertake this following disputation with Christ: Ad liberandum igitur se uspicione, partes disputandi adversus eum nunc ibi imponi a collegio patitur.
Tempting him, and saying ] Saint Peter saith, "They found no guile in his mouth," which implies that they sought it, 1 Peter 2:22 . There are those who hear us merely to catch, cavil, and quarrel.
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Ver. 36. Which is the great commandment ] the Rabbis reckoned up 613 commandments of the law; and distinguished them into the greater and the lesser. These later they thought might be neglected or violated with little or no guilt. The Romish Pharisee have also their venial sins, their peccadillos, as we know, but the Scripture makes all sin mortal and destructory. A little strange fire might seem a small matter, yet it was such a sin as made all Israel guilty, as appears by the sacrifices offered for that sin, Leviticus 10:1-2 ; Leviticus 16:1-3 .
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Ver. 37. Thou shalt love the Lord ] God must be loved and honoured by us, η ολος η μη ολως , saith one; truly, that there be no halting, and totally, that there be no halving; he will not divide with the devil, as the Circassians are said to divide their whole life between rapine and religion. God’s service must be the totum hominis,Ecclesiastes 12:13; Ecclesiastes 12:13 , and the bonum hominis, Micah 6:8 . We should love him infinitely; which, because we cannot, we must love him unfeignedly; but how far short we come in loving him with all our heart, soul, strength, &c. (which yet the Papists affirm feasible), appears by our lives, which, do what we can, are fuller of sins than the firmament is of stars or the furnace of sparks.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
Ver. 38. This is the first and great commandment ] In respect of order, quantity, and dignity. The second table is fulfilied in the first, and Luther is bold to say, Primo praecepto reliquorum omnium observantia praecipitur; in the first commandment is commanded the keeping of all the rest. We rightly love our very selves no further than we love God. And for others, we are bound to love our friends in him, our foes for him.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Ver. 39. And the second is like unto it ] For it hath, 1. The same author, God "spake all these words." 2. The same tic. 3. The same sanction and punishment of the violation. 4. It requires the same kind of love and service; for the love of our neighbour is the service of God.
Love thy neighbour as thyself ] Now, thou lovest thyself truly, really, fervently, freely, constantly, hiding thine own defects and deformities as much as may be. Thou wouldst have others rejoice with thee and condole with thee as occasion serves. Go thou now and do likewise to others. Howbeit our Saviour strains us up a peg higher, John 13:34 . His new commandment of the gospel is, that we love one another not only as we love ourselves, but as he loved us. This form hath something in it that is more express (in which respect partly it is called a new commandment), and for the incomparable sufficiency of the precedent is matchless, and more full of incitation to fire affection.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Ver. 40. Hang all the law and prophets ] Yea, and the gospel too; for love is both the complement of the law and the supplement of the gospel, Romans 13:10 ; John 13:34 . It is the filling up of the law (as the word πληρωμα signifieth), for that it clotheth the duties of the law with the glory of a due manner, and seateth them upon their due subjects, with unwearied labours of constant well doing. The prophets also hang ( κρεμανται ) upon the same nail of love with the law, so some frame the metaphor here used. As some others rather think that our Saviour in this expression alludeth to the Jewish phylacteries, Heb. Totaphoth, which were scrolls of parchment having the commandments written in them, which the Pharisees wear about their heads and arms to remind them of obedience to the law.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Ver. 41. While the Pharisees were gathered ] i.e. Before the former meeting was dissolved. We should watch for and catch at all opportunities of working upon the worst. Dr Taylor preached every time he could get his people together, holy day or else.
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
Ver. 42. What think ye of Christ? ] Christus utramque paginam impleret. All our search should be with those wise men for the babe of Bethlehem, who is wrapped up, as it were, in the swathing bands of both the Testaments.
Whose son is he? ] They were curious in genealogies. A shame therefore it was for them to be ignorant of Christ’s descent and pedigree.
They say unto him, The Son of David ] Herein they said well, but not all; for they conceived no otherwise of Christ than as of a mere man. Our Saviour therefore takes a text out of Psalms 110:1 , and thereby convinceth them of his divinity. We must be well versed in the mystery of Christ, and neglect nothing needful to be known by us.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
Ver. 43. How then doth David in spirit ] The Spirit possessed David after a sort, and by his mouth uttered what he would publish to the Church concerning the Godhead of Christ. "Holy men spake of old as they were acted by the Holy Ghost," as they were forcibly moved, or borne away, and, as it were, carried out of themselves by the Holy Ghost ( φερομενοι ), 2 Peter 1:21 .
44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Ver. 44. The Lord said unto my Lord ] God the Father to God the Son; these two differ no otherwise than that the one is the Father, and not the Son, the other is the Son, and not the Father.
Sit thou on my right hand ] As my fellow and co-equal, Zechariah 13:7 ; Philippians 2:6 . And as Christ is at the right hand of his Father, so is the Church at the right hand of Christ, Psalms 45:9 , which is a place both of greatest dignity and safety.
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
Ver. 45. Lord, how is he his Son? ] This is that great mystery of godliness, which angels intently look into, 1 Peter 1:12 , as the cherubims did of old into the mercy seat. That Christ should be David’s Lord and David’s Son, God and man in one person, this is that wonder of wonders. Well might his name be Wonderful, Isaiah 9:6 .
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions .
Ver. 46. And no man was able to answer ] Though they were subtle sophisters, and mighty in the Scriptures, yet they had nothing to oppose. Magna est veritas, et valebit. Great is the truth, and shall prevail.
Neither durst any man, &c. ] How easily can God button up the mouths of our busiest adversaries, yea, and plead for us in their consciences, as he did for Mr Bradford and many more of the martyrs, whom as they could not out reason, so neither could they but conceive well of the martyr’s innocence, triumphing in their persecutors’ consciences.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 22". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany