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loss. The steward being thus put in mind of his debt, and threatened with the execution of the law, durst neither deny it nor make light of it, as many do who are admonished with respect to their sins. For the accounts were at hand, and the oilicers had laid hold on him to bind him, ver. 27. In great perplexity, therefore, he fell down on the ground, and besought his lord with many tears to have patience, promising to pay the whole debt. 26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. The confusion he was in made him say this without considerations for the debt which he owed was a sum by far too great for one advanced in years, as he was, and who tiad nothing, ever to think of acquiring. However, his lord being of an exceeding generous and merciful disposition, was touched with his distress, had compassion on him, and ordered him to be loosed. 27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt, that is, did not insist on present payment, for he afterwards exacted the debt, ver. 34. 28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowcervants which owed him an hundred pence; and he laid hands on him, and took himn by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou swest. The Roman penny, or denarius, which is here spoken of, being in value about sevenpence-halfpenny of our money, the whole sum that was due to him did not much exceed three pounds Sterling. Therefore, his craving this trifle in so rough a manner, immediately on coming out of the palace, where so much lenity had been shewed to him in a matter of far greater importance, manifested the very basest disposition in the man. 29. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with ine, and I will poy thee all. Though this poor man's creditor was a fellow-servant, and consequently no more than his equal in rank, he humbly fell down at his feet, and with the same earnestness entreated him as he had done his lord, making him a promise, which there was not only a possibility, but a probability of his performing. I will pay thee all. Nevertheless the other, forgetting the much greater mercy that had been shewed to himself so lately, in the like circumstances, by their common master, was insolent and inexorable, and would not wait a moment. He went immediately, and cast, the man into prison. 30. And he would not, but went and cast kim into prison, till he should pay the debt. Such inhumanity in such circumstances, and from such a man, afflicted all his fellowservants exceedingly. So they came and told it to their lord, So when his fellow-servants saw what quas done, they were very sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done. 32. Then his brd, after he had colled him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, the vast sums thou owedst
me, because thou desiredst me: I forgave thee because thou acknowledgedst the debt, fell down at my feet, and humbly beggedst me to have patience, promising to pay me. Matt. xviii. 38. Shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant ? whọ likewise acknowledged his debt, and promised payment, shewing thee in his supplication, though thine equal, as much respect as thou shewedst to me, thy lord and king. Thou shouldst therefore have had compassion on him, even as I had pity on thee. 84. and his lord was wroth, was exceedingly enraged, and * de livered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him : He ordered him to be tortured till he should make payment of the whole debt. .. w. love while
In this parable, which may be considered as our Lord's explication of the fifth petition of his own prayer, there are three things set in opposition; namely, the lord to his servant, an immense sum to a trifle, and the most extraordinary clemency to the greatest cruelty. The application of the parable therefore is easy, and fit to overturn all the arguments whereby evil minds justify revenge; particularly those that are taken from the nature and number of the offences committed, or from the dignity of the persons against whom they are committed; or from the benefits conferred on the persons who commit them. For, in the first place, what are men compared with God? In the second place, how great sums do each of us owe to him? In the third place, how trifling are the offences which our brethren commit against us, perhaps through inadvertency, or in consequence of some provocation received from us? Most unworthy, therefore, of the divine mercy are weak mortals, who, notwithstanding they are
. themselves ..* Ver. 34. Delivered him, &c.] This at first sight may seem an improper method of obtaining payment in such circumstances. Yet when it is considered, that the man's bebaviour to his fellow-servant shewed him to be a wretch not only of the most barbarous dispositions, but extremely covet ous, his lord had reason to suspect that he had secreted his money and goods, especially as nothing appeared in his possession. Wherefore he wisely ordered him to be torturet on the rack, till he should discover with whom they were lodged, and make complete payment. Besides it may be considered in the light of a punishment incomparably heavier than that which was to have been inflicted on him purely for his insolvency. For though the debt was immense, yet whilst it appeared to have been contracted, not by fraud, but by extravagance and bad management, he was only to be sold with his family for a certain term of years, that payment might be made as far as their price would go. But now that he added to his former misbehaviour, covetousness and unmercifulness in the exaction of a trifiing ebt froin a fellow servant to whom he ought to have been more indulgent for the sake of their coumon lord, who had been so kind to him, there was all the reason in the world to suspect, that in his lord's affairs he was more fraudulent than negligent. For which cause be was delivered to the tormentors, to be prinished in the manner his crimes de served ; than which, a stronger representation of God's displeasure against men of unmerciful, unforgiving, a d revengeful dispositions cannot be set forth, or even conceived by the utmost force of human imagination.
themselves weighed down with an infinite load of guilt, are implacable towards their fellow-men, and will not forgive them the smallest offences, although they have a due sense of thein, and express their sorrow for them. Persons of this monstrous disposition, should seriously consider the conclusion and application of the parable in hand. 35. So likerise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts, that is, really, inwardHy, and not in word or tongue only, forgive not every one, however great, or rich, or powerful you may be, his brother their trespasses. A most awful threatening, which ought to strike terror into men of fierce and implacable minds. For whatever they may think, it shall in its utmost extent be executed upon all who will not be persuaded by the consideration 'of the divine mercy, fully to forgive, not their fellow-servants merely, but their own brethren and God's children, such petty trespasses as they may happen to commit against them, but afterwards are sensible of their fault; make reparation, and promise amendment. LXXV. Jesus leaves Galilee, and goes up to Jerusalem to the fourth passover by the way of Perea. Mat. xix." 1,2Mark x. 1.
AFTER delivering the parable of the servant debtors, our Lord went into Judea. Matt. xix. 1. And it came to pass that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan. Properly speak ing, no part of Judea was on the farther side of Jordan; for though after the Jews returned from the captivity, the whole of their land was called Judea, especially by foreigners who happened to mention their affairs, it is certain that in the gospels, Judea is always spoken of as a particular division of the country. We may therefore reasonably suppose that Matthew's expression, *** **r sus tu eque ens ludzigas tugev logoare, is elliptical; and may supply it from Mark thus, And came into the coasts of Judea, due of nigay 7 logdars, through the country beyond Jordan. For Mark says expressly, x. 1. xox1.Tey ayesas sgXiTch6 155 ta ogrce ins Isdzies di ngar Tu lopours, And he arose from thence, and came into Judea by the farther side of Jordan, by Perea, see on John ix. 39.9 84. In this journey, our Lord passed through the country beyond Jordan, that the Jews living there might enjoy the bene fit of his doctrine and miracles. Matt. xix. 2. And great multitudes followed him, namely from Galilee into Perea, and he heal. ed them there. Mark x. 1. And the people resort unto him again, viz. the inhabitants of Perea, for Mark speaks of them chiefly, and as he was wont, he taught them again. At this time our Lord seems to have travelled quickly through Perea in his way to Judea. For though the people now resorted to him in great crowds, we cannot froin that circumstance infer that he staid long
here. His fame was become exceeding great, insomuch, that every where he was resorted to, and followed by the sick who wished to be healed, by their friends who attended them, by those whose curiosity prompted them to see and examine things so wonderful, by well disposed persons who found themselves greatly profited and pleased with his sermons, by enemies who watched all his words and actions with a design to expose him as a deceiver, lastly, by those who expected that he would set up the king om immediately. Besides, at this time the multitude may have even been greater than ordinary, because as the passp over was at hand, many going thither may have chosen to travel in our Lord's train, expecting to see new miracles *. ; sono
* In the first chapter of the Talmudical tract called Shekalim, we have the following passage as it is cited by Lamy, Harm. vol. i. p. 207. On the first day of the month Adar, a prodamation was made, requiring that the half shekel, which every Jew paid towards the service and reparation of the temple, should be provided. On the fourteenth day of the month, tbe collectors of this tribute sar in every city to receive it : but tbey did not as set constrain persons to make payment. On the twenty-fifth day bosvever, they sat in tbe temple, and then obliged thein to pay, seizing on the goods of those who refused. Adar being the last month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year, answering to our February and March, if the authority of the Talmud is acknowledge ed, the tribute was demanded from our Lord at Capernaum, about four weeks before the passover; for that feast was always celebrated on the fif. teenth day of the first month. On this supposition, the journey which Matthew and Mark say Christ took into Judea, immediately after paying the tribute, must have been to the passover in the fallowing month; not, however, to the passover at which he suffered, because we find him afterwards celebrating the feast of tabernacles and dedication. Besides, if the sumber and extent of the journits performed between the third passover and that at which our Lord suffered are considered, it will perhaps appear, tliat they could not all take place in the space of one year; and conse quently, that a passover may have intervened, and that it was celebrated soon after the tribute was demanded, as the passage cited from the Tale mud obliges us to believe. We can thus see the reason why the multitude accompanied our Lord into Judea at this time; they were going to the passover, and chose to travel along with him, in hopes of seeing new miracles. And though it should be granted, that they took their journey immediately after the tribute was paid, i. e. three weeks before the passe over, it is no ways inconsistent with the hypothesis now offered, as the people commonly went up early to purify themselves, John xi. 55. It is true, the passovers in our Lord's public life will thus have been no fewer than five; but the arguments offered under the second preliminary observation, shew, that there may have been niore passovers in his ministry, than the historians have thought fit to mention distinctly. It may seem an objecrion of more moment, that, according to this hypothesis, Matthew and Mark have omitied a whole year almost of Christ's public life, relating ony a few things which happened before his passion but we should cong sidir; that the bke blanks are to be found in oiher parts of their histories. Besides, Luke, who wrote before them, had given a large account of Christ's ministry during this interval, in the country beyond Jordan; pot to men. tion that his sermons there were much the saine with those he preached in Galilee, and which they had given an account of. John, whose principal design was to write the history of our Lord's transactions in Jerusalem,
during during the passovers and other feasts omitted by the precedent evangelists, relates what happened at the feasts of tabernacles and dedication this year; so that he brings down the history through the period which Luke had omitted. But if the reader, setting aside the authority of the Talmud, supposes that the tribute was demanded at Capernaum sooner in the year, and that all the journies which Jesus made since the third passover, together with those which follow to the close of the history, were performed in the space of twelve months, it will no ways affect the scheme of harmony laid down in this book, only the journey into Judea through Perea must in that case have been to the feast of tabernacles, and not to the passa over, and consequently must be placed after John vii. 10. This is Sir Isaac Newton's scheme, who is of opinion, that the journey into Judea by Perea, brought our Lord up to the feast of tabernacles, and that this was his last departure from Galilee. The other scheme however I judge to be more natural and probable, for which reason I place the fourth passover here.
FOURTH PASSOVER... . It is probable that Jesus, after the celebration of this fourth passover, left Jerusalem and Judea as soon as possible, because the priests and great men were now become solicitous to have him killed. There is nothing said of him by any of the evangelists after this passover till the feast of tabernacles approached, where John takes ap the history again, relating what happened at that feast, from ch. vii. 2. to ch, ix. 35. so that he has omitted the transactions of one whole year, viz. that which intervened between the third passover, before which the first miraculous dinner was given, where he drops the history, and the fourth passover, after which the feast of tabernacles happened, where he resumes it again. Luke gives an account of his transactions between the feast of tabernacles and dedication, mentioned by John, and particularly what happened in his journey at the feast of dedication, from ch. ix. 51. to ch. xi. 1. Here John's account of the feast of dedication comes in, ch. ix. 35. After that, Jesus went away into the country beyond Jordan, where he abode till he was called into Judea to visit Lazarus. The history of his ministry in this country Luke hath giren from chap. xi. 1. to chap: xvii. ii. When our Lord was calle ed into Judea to visit Lazarus, he left Perea, and taking the south of Galilee in his way, travelled through Samaria to Bethany. We have the history of that journey Luke xvii. 113---10. After the resurrection of Lazarus, our Lord retired to Ephraim, John xi. 54. The transactions at Ephraim we have Luke xvii. 20. Matt. xix. 3. Mark x. 2. The reader vill be pleased to take notice, that this is Sir Isaac Newton's scheme also; only he supposes that the transactions recorded Matt. xix. 3, &c. happened in Perea before the resurrection of Lazarus ; whereas I imagine they were done at Ephraim, whither Christ retired after having performed that miracle. The three histories coincide again (Matt. xix. i 3. Mark x. 13. Luke xvii. 15.) in the account of the little children, who were brought to Jesus at Ephraim to be blessed. But Matthew and Mark relate this immediately after their account of the journey which brought our Lord into Judea at the preceding passover, I mean, according to the scheme of haras mony proposed in this book, omitting the interinediate events, because Luke had given the history of them. Accordingly, the transitions by which they have connected those distant periods of our Lord's life, are such as they have made use of on other occasions, when they give accounts of things very remote from each other in point of time. For the passage Mati. xix. 3. which we have translated, the Pharisees also came to him, tempta ing him, and saying, is in the original, rct posen JOVTES KUTW O. Pa zic celok, and therefore should have been translated, and ibe Pharisees came unto himn. We have the journey from Ephraim to Jerusalem by Jericho, M.:th. XX, 17.