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that the case in short comes to this : He that makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience to save his life, shall lose that which is really so, his everlasting happiness; whereas, he that maintaineth integrity at the expence of life and all its enjoyments, shall find what is infinitely better, a blessed immortality. 39. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40. He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me: Whoso acknowledgerh you as my apostles, and hearkens to you as such, acknowledges and obeys me; and he who does so, really acknowledges and obeys God who has commissioned me to reveal his will to men, even as I now send you on the same errand. 41. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth e righteous man in the mame of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward : He who obeys a prophet as a person commissioned by God, to reveal future events and to teach men their duty, who reverences him as God's messenger, and who assists him in the execution of his office, shall receive a reward of the same kind with that which is promised to prophets, on account of their having turne. ed many to righteousness. And he who respects and encourages a righteous man, shall receive the reward due to righteousness, of which this is an excellent instance.-42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones (see on Matth. xi. 25. $43.) a cup of cold water only, water in its natural state without any preparation, which certainly is the least favour imaginable, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. He who doth any good office whatever to the meanest of my disciples, though it should be but the small service of handing a cup of cold water to them, shall not go unrewarded. The above is the common interpretation of this passage. But other commentators think it improper to interpret these promises of the rewards of the life to come, because the offices to which they are annexed may possibly be performed by very bad men, who on some occasions honour and cherish the servants of Christ, as Herod did John Baptist. Besides, the promises thus understood, would not have animated the disciples so powerfully in the discharge of their duty, under the difficulties they were to meet with. Wherefore, if the circumstance of mens suffering persecution, for having done such good offices to the ministers of Christ, which Le Clerc has supplied bere in order to obviate this difficulty, is not admitted, we must understand these rewards actively, of the temporal blessings, which the apostles, as prophets and righteous men, were empowered to confer on the families who shewed them hospitality. . As prophets they could heal the sick in those families, and raise their dead. As righteous men, they could assist them in the management of their
affairs, by giving them prudent advice in difficult cases, also might keep them back from sin by their religious conversation and example; and in both capacities might draw down many blessings on them by their prayers. (See ver. 13. of this chapter.) You are to meet, said he, with great opposition, but I will engage men to befriend you; for all who do you any kindness, shall even in this life be so rewarded by your miracles and prayers, that they shall be confirmed in their good will to you; and others observing how God has blessed them, shall be excited to imitate their humanity. Calvin thinks this text teaches, that the rewards of the good offices mentioned, will bear a proportion to the dignity of the person receiving them. L'Enfant imagines, that our Lord alludes to the old custom of carrying presents to prophets when persons went to consult them, 1 Sam. ix. 7. But whatever sense we put upon the passage, the declaration and promises here made, joined with verse 14. where our Lord threatens to punish those who should reject his messengers, were excellently calculated to comfort them, under the prospect of the bad reception he told them they were to meet with, while employed in preaching the gospel *
* These instructions were afterwards repeated to the apostles more briefly, when they were actually sent out, Mark vi. 8. Luke ix. 2. Ø $8. For it does not appear that they went away immediately upon receiving their commission. They heard Jesus a considerable time after they were or. dained apostles. And indeed it was necessary that they should do so, in order to learn more fully the doctrines of the gospel which they were to preach. It is probable, therefore, that they did not depart till they went by two's, an account of which we have in the passages quoted Wherefore, the evident propriety of this supposition, as well as the order of the history, renders it abundantly probable. Yet if the reader shall think that the word (5154), used by Matthew, ver 5. signifies something more than an order given to go forth in due time, he must suppose either that Jesus sent his apostles out twice, or that Matthew gives the history of their mission along with that of their commission, as he might very properly do, notwithstand. ing their mission did not happen till several months after. His words will easily bear this interpretation, as he only says, these twelve Yesus sent forth, A and commanded them, saying, without determining particularly the time when he sent them forth. For that they did not go away iminediately af. ter their ordination, may be gathered from this, that we find them accom. panying Jesus in his next tour to Nain, Luke vii. 11. 41. See the note on that passage. Besides, we find the disciples with him in the journey which he took immediately after to the passover.
( XLI. Jesus goes to Nain and raises a widow's son from the dead.
, Matth. xi. 1. Luke vii. 11,–17. OUR Lord having thus delivered to the apostles their commission and instructions, set out with them, probably that very evening, on a new tour through the cities and villages, proposing to preach to as many as would hear him, and to work miracles of healing on those who should apply to him. Mat. xi. 1. And it came
to poss when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. He chose to begin his journey in the cool of the evening, that he might travel more commodiously; for Luke assures us that the day after the apostles were elected he arrived at Nain, a town situated about a mile or two south of Tabor, and near Endor. (See Reland's Palestin. Illustrat.). In this journey, he was attended by a crowd of disciples and others. Luke vi. Il. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain, and * many of his disciples went with him, wnd much people. When Jesus, and the multicude that attended him, came to the gates of Nain, they met the corpse of a youth whom much people of the city were carrying out to burial, accompanied by his afflicted mother bathed in tears. 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 woman, being a widow, had no prospect of more children; wherefore, as he was her only son, the loss she sustained in him was very great. Hence the syms:thy which she received from her relations and acquaintance was singular. In testimony of their concern for her, a crowd of people much greater than was usual on such occasions, attended her while she performed the last duty to her beloved son. This circumstance the evangelist takes notice of to shew, that though there had been no persons present at the miracle but those who attended the funeral, it was illustrious on account of the number of the witnesses. Jesus, whose tenderness made him susceptible of the strongest impressions from occurrences of this kind, knowing that the mother's affliction was bitter, and the occasion of it real, was greatly moved with compassion at the sorrowful scene. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. Nor was his sympathy vain. He re- ; solved to turn their mourning into joy by raising the young man : from the dead. And he could do this with a good grace, because having met the funeral by accident just as he was finishing a : journey, it plainly appeared that there was no collusion in the case. " Besides, the multitude of people attending the corpse, as Dr Lardner has remarked, entirely prevents all suspicion, that the person carried out was not dead; since to manage with success a fraud, in which so many must have been concerned, was absolutely impossible. The miracle therefore being liable to no objection, Je
sus, * Luke vii. 11. Many of his disciples went with him.) I suppose the apostles were of the number of the disciples here said to have made part of his retinue, because it is not to be imagined that he would suffer the chosen witnesses of his miracles (Acts x. 39.) to be absent, when so great a miracle was to be perforined as the resurrection of a person from the dead; nay, was to be performed publicly, in the presence of all those who were carrying him out, in order to bury him.
sus came near, laid hold on the bier, and bade the young man arise. 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.-No sooner had he uttered this command than the youth revived, having received life from Jesus. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak; and he delivered him to his mother: Instead of shewing him around to the multitude, Jesus, by a singular exercise of modesty and humanity, presented him to his mother, to intimate, that in compassion of her affliction he had wrought the lite-giving miracle. At the same time, as it was performed hard by che city gate, which anciently in those countries was the place of public resort, the youth must have been raised from the dead in presence of many witnesses, particularly the multitude which came with Jesus, the people who accompanied the corpse, and all who on business happened to be at that instant in the gate. Wherefore, being so publicly performed, this great miracle became also a noble confirmation of our Lord's mission. 16. And there came a fear on all: All the people present being sensible, that Jesus shewed in this instance, not only the greatness of his power, but the truth of his mission from God, were seized with a religious awe and reverence, which had him for its object,
and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visiteu his people. This is the expression which Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, used when he spake of the coming of Messiah. Wherefore the meaning of the inhabitants of Nain was this: God hath visited his people, by having raised up among them the great prophet promised to Moses in the law. The envangelist justly observes, that by acknowledging Jesus as Messiah, they honoured God.-17. And this rumour of him, that he was the prophet promised to Moses, or Messiah, went forth throughout all Judea and througlio eut all the region round about: Wherever the miracle was reported, which was not only in Judea, but in all the neighbouring regions, it produced the same opinion in those who heard of it, as it had done in the inhabitants of Nain who saw it; so that Jesus was universally believed to be Messiah. . ( XLII. John Baptist sends messengers to Jesus. They find him
at Capernaum. Jesus vindicates the Baptist's character. Mat. xi. 2,-20. Luke vii. 18,--35.
All this while, John Baptist was in prison, Herod having confined him for the freedom which he took in reproving his adulte. rous commerce with Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. But his confinement was not of the closest kind, for his disciples had access to see him frequently. In one of those visits, they gave him an account of the election of the twelve apostles to preach the gospel, and of Christ's miracles; particularly that he had VOL. II.
lately raised from the dead Jarius' daughter, and the widow of Nain's son ; as is plain from Luke, who brings in the history of John's message immediately after these miracles, in the following manner : Luke vii. 18. And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. Mat, xi. 2. Now when John had heard in pri. son the works of Christ, he sent, &c. Luke vii. 19. And John calling unto him two of his disciples, sent them unto Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come, the appellation given to Messiah, Hab. ii. 3. or look we for another? Formerly John had pointed our Lord out as Messiah to the people who attended his ministry, and had declared that the discovery was made to him by revelation. It may therefore seem strange, that he should at any time
a thing which can by no means be admitted, viz. that a prophet might be in an uncertainty with respect to his own inspiration.
To obviate this difficulty, some have supposed that John sent his disciples only to'learn whether the person who performed those miracles was he on whom the Spirit formerly had descended. But the supposition is improbable, as at this time there was no other worker of miracles in Judea, who could give occasion to the doubt. Besides, when John's disciples spake of Jesus, they must have mentioned him by his name, which the Baptist was well acquainted with, or they must have described him so as to distinguish him sufficiently from all other persons whatever, as we find them doing, John ii. 26. “ Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness," &c. Wherefore, the weakness of this solution is evident. Others think that John did not send his disciples to Jesus for the confirmation of his own faith, but for the strengthening of theirs. However, the scope of the passage forbids this solution also, insinuating that he sent the message for his own sake principally. His disciples, it is said, came and related to him Christ's miracles; particularly the two resurrections which had been lately performed. But the more and greater miracles Jesus wrought, the higher must the opinion have been which the Baptist's disciples entertained of him. His . miracles, instead of weakening, should have strengthened their
faith in him, and in their master's testimony concerning him. Besides, liad the greatness of his miracles really staggered their faith, it is not easy to understa'id how they should have been disposed to believe Christ's testimony concerning himself, rather than their master's concerning him. Not to mention that Jesus bade the disciples go and carry his answer to John, “Go, tell John what ye hear and see," plainly implying, that John had sent the message for his own sake chiefly, and not for the sake of his disciples.
The Baptist entertaining an high opinion of his own gifts, thought it was necessary that he should preach the gospel, and