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inference, yound then he will this goods, e
strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house: if you deny my inference, you should consider, that though some perhaps have cast out devils by the assistance of Beelzebub, they never hurt his kingdom by it; they never carried matters so far as to extirpate sin out of the minds of men. Whereas, I not only expel the devils, but I spoil them of their power ; consequently I act by a' power superior and opposite to theirs, even by the assistance of the Spirit of God. Wherefore, the kingdom of God is certainly come unto you. 30. He that is not with me, is against me; and be that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad: if, according to the maxims of the world, those are reckoned enemies who do not assist us against our foes, I who am so deeply engaged in the opposition to Satan, ought much rather to be reckoned his enea my. That Jesus is here reasoning from the maxims of the world only, and not upon any principle of his own, is plain; because on other occasions he declared the very reverse of this maxim to be the rule of his judgment, particulary Mark ix. 40. “ He that is not against us, is for us.” Matth. xii. 31. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: (Mark, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blase phemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme,) but the blasphemay against the Holy Ghost, shall not be forgiven unto men, (Mark, But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.) 32. And whossever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. This inference is not particularly connected with the member of the discourse immediately preceding it, but it arises from the whole series of the reasoning; as if Jesus had said, Since all these arguments make it evident, that I perform my miracles by the Spirit of God, you should not ascribe them to the devil. Yet this blasphemy may be forgiven you, because you may repent and believe, upon receiving stronger proofs of my mission from God. When that period cometh, namely, afa ter I am raised from the dead by the Holy Ghost, and the miraculous gifts are shed down upon almost all believers, and the nature of Messiah's kingdom is more fully made known, the foundation of your prejudices * against me shall be removed. Wherefore, if you shall then speak against the Holy Ghost, by maliciously affirming, that his gifts and miracles come from the devil, it shall not be forgiven you, because it is a sin which you cannor possibly repent of, in as much as farther evidence shall not be offered you ; but you shall be punished for it, both in this worid, and in the world to come. Or we may translate the clause diffe. rently, It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, neither in the age to come, importing that no expiation was provided for the blasphemy of the Spirit, either under the Jewish or Christian dispensations. Mark iii. 30. Because they said he hath an unclean spirit : That is, to use Mark's own words, (ver. 32.) Because they said, “ He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” Our Lord declared the irremissibleness of the sin against the Holy Ghost on this occasion, that the Pharisees might be awakened to a sense of their danger, in approaching so near as they did to that sin, when being unable to deny his miracles, they represented them as performed by the assistance of the devil. Mat. xii. 33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit : If you make my miracles Beelzebub's, you must make my doctrine his also. All the good I do, you must say is his work; all the exhortations by which I excite sinners to repentance, are his; the knowledge which I give you of the way of life, and the motives I offer for your encouragement to enter upon it, are his. On the other hand, if you make my doctrine God's, you must make my miracles his likewise ; for men judge of the nature of an agent by the actions which he does, just as they judge of trees by the fruit they produce. For which reason you may easily know, that I am not in league with Beelzebub, but that you yourselves are so. Or we may give the words another turn thus: since you Pharisees pretend to extraordinary holiness, your words and actions should all be holy. Judge therefore candidly, and speak reverently of the divine dispensations. Or if you will blaspheme, lay aside your pretensions to religion. For however specious these may be, your true characters will be discovered by your words and actions, even
fore, • The prejudices which alleviated the sin of the Jews, who rejected Je sus during his own life-time, and which in the period here referred to were to be removed, arose from such causes as these :-. His parentage and place of aboile, for his countrymen being well acquainted with both, would not allow him to be Messiah, because they imagined when Messiah came, do man would know from whence he was, John vii. 27. 2. The old prophet Elias bad not appeared to usher in the Messiah, as they expected, ac
cording as cording to the doctrine of the Scribes, Mait. xvii. ro. founded on the prophecy, Mal. iv, S. 3. Christ's meai, condition of life occasioned violent prejudices against him in the minds of the Jews, who firmly believed that their Messiah would be surrounded with all the pomp and splendour of an earthly prince, and who in speaking of him, had been accustomed to give him the high-sounding titles of the King of Israel, and Son of God. But by our Lord's resurrection from the dead, and by the descent of the Spirie on the apostles, the foundation of all these prejudices was sapped. Then he was demonstrated to be the Son of God with power, Rom. i. 4. Then he was known to have come down from heaven, John vi. 60, 62. Then he was exalted to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance and remission of sin, Acts v. 31. A kingly dignity infinirely superior to all the most dazzling honours of an earthly diaden.
as a tree is known by its fruit. But to what purpose multiply words? I am sensible that you can speak nothing but evil of the servants and ways of God, for I know you to be men of perverse and malicious minds, and the thoughts of your heart will always shew themselves by the words of your mouth. 34. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things ? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things. Next he declared, that the atrociousness of the blasphemy of the Spirit, is not lessened by its being a sin committed in words. The reason is, words expressing the dispositions of mens hearts, partake of the nature of those dispositions, on which account we shall be rewarded or punished for our words, as well as for our actions. 36. But I say unto you, That * every idle word that men shal) speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment : since therefore men shall give an account of, and be punished at the day of judgment, for every sinful word they speak, you can by no means hope to escape, if you commit so great a sin as the blasphemy of the Spirit, though it be a sin in words only. 37. For by thy words also (see on Luke xiv. 12, 13. $ 92.) ihou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned: seeing that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, (ver. 34.) and words partake of the nature of the dispositions from which they proceed; seeing also, that much good or evil may be produced by words, you may easily understand, that as by other things, so by the right or wrong use of speech also, men shall be justified or condemned. The farther explanation of this verse may be drawn from James i, 26. iii. 3,4-10.
These reasonings were clear and unanswerable. Yet the scribes
* Ver. 36. Every idle word.) An idle word (enned aeyor) according to the idiom of the Hebrew language, may signify a lie ; for (Exod. v. 9.) where Pharaoh orders heavier tasks to be imposed upon the Israelites, that they might not have regard (ypu DT2 ad verba mendacii) to lying words, the LXX as Keuchenius observes, have vain words (EV rEvous doyous) a phrase not very distant from the one under consideration. But in the Targum, it is (rbga yang in verbis otiosis) idle words, answering to our Lord's expression ; bos being rendered in the LXX by apyaw otiosus sum. See Trommius's Concord. It is plain therefore that an idle word (enues aeyor) may be the same with a lie, verbum mendacii. Le Clerc imagines, that ac. cording to the Hebrew idiom, an idle cuord may signify in the general, any vain, sinful, profane speech. But that which comes nearest to explain our Lord's expression, is a passage in Origin, contr. Celsum, lib. ii.p. 73. where reasoning against Celsus, he says, xab raaxusvos ge Tuga Tois da EXTIXOIS agyos royos, ropicha TUYMAYWY, 8% Fat Mey Qloud. Wherefore agyos novos, in the style of the logicians, is a sophism or false reasoning, used with a view to deceive, especially in a matter of importance, such as the Phariaces used on this occasion most maliciously to deceive the people, and to hinder them from being affected properly by Christ's miracles.
in mockery replied, Master we would see a sign from thee; in-, sinuating that the ejection of devils were but trifling miracles, which, for all he had said to the contrary, might be done by the help of devils, and that never so many signs of that kind should not convince them. They would not believe, unless he would prove his mission by what on another occasion they called the sign from heaven. (See on Matt. iv. 6. ø 17.) 38. Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. Jesus told them, their requiring a sign after so many miracles were wrought to convince them, shewed them to be a wicked and adulterous generation, (see on Mark viii. 38. $ 71.) a spurious breed which had degenerated from the faith and piety of their great progenitor Abraham; for which reason they should have no other signs but such as they were every day beholding, the sign of the prophet Jonah excepted. He meant the miracle of his own resurrection from the dead, typified by the deliverance of Jonah from the whale's belly, and which he often appealed to, as the great evidence of his mission from God. 39. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : The greatness of your wickedness makes you unwilling to receive the truth, for which reason you only make a pretence of desiring more evidence. Sufficient proofs of my character and mission have already been laid before you; and no greater shall be given except the miracle prefigured by what befel the prophet Jonah. 40. For as Jonas was three day and three nights * in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be † three days and three nights in
the * Ver. 40. The whale's belly.] The fish which swallowed Jonah, is in our translation called a avhale ; but in both the original languages, it signifies any great fish in general, and should be translated so in this passage, at least · if it be true which some affirm concerning the whale, that its throat is so narrow as not to admit the body of a man.
+ Ibid. Three days and three nights.] From the history of our Lord's crucifixion and resurrection, it appears that he continued in the grave only one day complete, together with a part of the day on which he was buried, and of that on which he arose again. It seems the Jew's had no word answering exactly to the Greek yox nuspor, or natural day of twenty-four hours, but they expressed that idea by the phrases nigh and day, and day and night. Thus, Dan. viii. 14. Unto two thousand and three hundred evening mornings, i. e. days, as it is in our translation, shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Thus also, what is called forty days and forty nights, Gen. vii. 12. is expresscd simply forty days, ver. 17. Wherefore, as it is common in general computations, to ascribe a whole day to what takes up only a part of it, when this was done in the Jewish language, it was necessary to mention both. day and night. Hence, a part of three days, was called by them, three days and three nights. Thus Esther says to the Jews, ch. iv. 16. Fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or dry; I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king. Yet the history, ch. v. 1. expressly says she went to the king on the third day. A second example we
* the heart of the earth. The miraculous preservation of Jonah for three days in the belly of a fish, was to the Ninevites a cer. tain proof of his mission from God, being credibly attested to them, either by the mariners who threw him overboard at a great distance from land, or by some other persons, who happening to see the fish vomit him alive upon the shore, might enquire his. story of him, and who in the course of their business met him afterwards at Nineveh, where they confirmed his preaching by relating what they had seen t. In like manner, Christ's resurrec
tion have, 1 Sam, xxx. 12. where the Egyptian whom David's men found in the field, is said to have eaten no brend, nor drank any water, three days and tbree nigbts. Nevertheless, in giving an account of himself, the Egyptian told them, that his master had left him, “because three days ago he fell sick;" in the Hebrew it is, I fell sick this third duy, i. e. this is the third day since I fell sick. In like manner, Luke ii. 21. it is said, when eight dans were accomplished, they circumcised the coild; whereas the law ordered them to circumcise on the eighth day, reckoning the day of the birth the first; so that though eight days are said to have been accomplished at the circumcision o: Jesus, he might really be no more than six days old, if he was horn at the end of the first day, and circumcised about the beginning of the eighth. Nay, among the Jews, things were said to be done after three days, when they were done on the third day. Thus Rehoboam says to the people, 2 Chron. x. 3. Come unto me after three days, which they understood to be an order to come on the third day. For we are told, verse 13. that Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. In like manner, Deut, xiv, 28. Mita tera etn is explained ch. xxvi. 2, by sy TW ITU TW Teitu. Sec also Luke ii. 46, where his quegues Egers signifies on the third day, and John X5. 26. where uste sisgus otw signifies undoubtedly on the eighth day after the preceding sabbath. Agreeably to these forms, the prophecy of our Lori's resurrection from the dead is sometimes expressed by his rising after ibre dugs, sometimes by his rising on the third day. Wherefore from these examples it is evident, that his predictions concerning the time of his ly. ing in the grave were exactly fulfilled, notwithstanding he remained there only one day complete, with a small part of the days on which he was buried and arose.
Vers 40. The heart of the earth.] This expression in our Lord's prediction, does not imply that he was to be buried in the middle of the earth, hut in the earth simply. Thus, (Fzck. xxviii. 2.) Tyre is said to be “in the heart of the sea," though it was so near the continent, that when Alexander besieged it, he carried a causeway from the land to the city.
+ If the suppositions mentioned above are thought improbable, we may account for the credit which the Ninevites gave to Jonah's story in the following manner: He told them how unwilling he was to bring God's message to them ; that to shun it, he had taken ship to fly to Tarshish. That a great storm coming upon them, he was thrown overboard by the mariners, in consequence of the lot's falling on him. That he was swala lowed by a fish, in whose belly he was miraculously preserved three days, and then vomited up alive, in order to be sent anew with the irksome message. All this might appear credible to the Ninevites, from the gravi. ty and sobriety of Jonah's conversation, from the length of the journey he had come to deliver this message, without the least advantage to him. self, and from the earnestness and grief with which he delivered the dreadful denunciation, Whatever way it was, certain we are from our Lord's