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risees, hypocrites, for ye are as graves which appear not, (85€ as Arressa tu udnie) and the men that wall over them are not aware of them *. Under a shew of humility and contempt of the world, you are proud, voluptuous and rapacious, so resemble concealed graves, which are apt to pollute those who walk over them.But a lawyer who was at table, thinking that a rebuke levelled against the Scribes and Pharisees in general, affected the men of
• Ver. 44. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, &c.] In the repetition of the woes, Matt. xxiii. 27. this one is differently expressed, Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, for ye are like unto whited sepulchres (Tagovoru ITI TRE 0046 XeroyExpivo16) whicb indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead mens bones, and of all uncleanness, $ 121. Persons of fortune among the Jews, often raised fine stone structures over their dead, especially wheo they buried them in the fields, and these they white-washed from time to time, to make them look beautiful, Dr Shaw gives the following account of those sepulchres, Travels, pag. 219. “ If we except a few persons, who are buried within the precincts of the sanctuaries of their Marabutts, the Test are carried out at a small distance from their cities and villages, where a great extent of ground is allotted for the purpose. Each family has a particular part of it walled in, like a garden, where the bones of their ancestors have remained for many generations. For in these inclosures, the graves are all distinct and separated, each of them having a stone placed upright both at the head and feet, inscribed with the name or title ( 2 Kings xxiii. 17.) of the deceased; whilst the intermediate space is either planted with flowers, bordered round with stones, or paved with tiles. The graves of the principal citizens are farther distinguished by having cupolas or vaulted chambers, of three, four, or more square yards built over them; and as these very frequently lie open, and occasionally shelter us from the inclemency of the wcather, the demoniac (Mark v. 5.) Inight with propriety enough have had his dwelling among the tombs; as others are said (isa. Ixv, 4.) to remain among the graves and to lodge in the monuments | mountains.) And as all these different sorts of tombs and sepulchres, with the very walls likewise of their respective cupolas and inclosures, are constantly kept clean white-washed and beautified, they continue to illustrate those expressions of our Saviour, where he mentions the garnishing of sepulchres, and compares the Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites to whited scpulebres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones and all uncleanness.” But though the sepulchres of the Tich were thus beautified, the graves of the poor were oftentimes so neglected, that if the stones by which they were inarked happened to fall, they were not set up again, by which means the graves themselves did not appear; they were conna, as they are called in the text, so that men might tread on them inadvertently. ..
By the law, (Numb. xix. 16.) graves of all sorts polluted the persons who touched them, the sepolchres that were kept perfectly neat and bcautiful, as well as those that were neglected. Hence, to shew the hypocrisy, of the Pharisees, cor Lord, in the one woe, likened them to graves which did pot appear, had no mark to koow them by, and which being covered with grass, men were polluted by going over them ere they were aware. In the other woe, he likened them to whited sepulchres, which, thongh they, Inoked fair and beau:iful outwardly, were full of wickedness within. The Scribes and Phariseei, however, holy they might appear by Urrir exactress in the externals of selgion, were polluted with the grosses: vices, incmuch, that by the contagion of their example, they detil d all who were much in their company.
reproachest umetsand said unto hinke xi. 45. The
his order, was exceedingly displeased. Luke xi. 45. Then an swered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saya ing, thou reproachest us also. The lawyers, even of the Pharisean denomination, had done unspeakable mischief by their erroneous interpretations of scripture, which they perverted to favour the tradition of the elders as much as possible, and so bound bearg burdens on mens shoulders, which they themselves would not touch with one of their fingers. Jesr's therefore spake his mind freely concerning them also, laid open their character, and denounced farther woes against them. 46. And lie said, Wo unto you also, ye lawyers, for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Moreover, he blamed them for building the sepulchres of the prophets whom their fathers had killed, because they did it from no regard to the murdered prophets, though in words they pretended to venerate their memory, but from a secret approbation of their fathers deeds, as the general tenor of their conduct too evidently declared. 47. Wo unto you, for this reason also, that in order to make an ostentation of great piety, ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them: The prophets, whose sepulchres ye build, were murdered by your fathers, that is, by men precisely of the same character and dispositions with you; hypocrites, who covered the grossest acts of wickedness, with the specious appearance of piety. 48. Truly yje bear witness, that ye allow the deeds of your fathers. By all your conduct you shew, that inwardly in your minds you approve of the deeds of your fathers who persecuted the prophets, For they inderd killed them, and ye build their sepulchres: From your known dispositions, as well as from your open practice, which is to trample upon the laws of God as often as they stand in the way of your wicked purposes, and particularly from your persecuting the messengers of God, one is obliged to think, that you build the sepulchres of the prophets whom your fathers killed, not from any pious regard to God, whose messengers they were, nor to do honour to the prophets themselves, but to do ho. nour to their murderers, as approving of their deeds, and intending to perpetuate the memory of them to posterity with applause. The great men among the Jews, always possessed the true spirit of politicians. In the time of the prophets they made no scrupie to kill persons whom they knew to be the messengers of God, because forsooth the good of the state required it. In our Saviour's time, Caiaphas the high-priest openly avowed this principle in a full meeting of the grandees. For when some were opposing the resolution of the niajor part of the council, who had determined to kill Jesus, and to shew the inconvenience of that tesolution, urged the unlawfulress of the action, he told them plainly that they were a parcel of grotant bigots, who'knew
nothing at all either of the principles or ends of government, wbich rendered it necessary oft-times to sacrifice the most innocent for the safety of the community. And to say the truth, this is the darling maxim of all politicians. Wherefore, it is Rot improbable that the Scribes, Pharisees and lawyers, who ruled the Jewish nation at this juncture, might, in repairing the sepulchres of the prophets, really intend to perpetuate the memory of their fathers boldness in putting the prophets to death. For as this was a pattern and precedent which not only directed them how to proceed in cases of extremity, but justified any unlawful action they might happen to commit in the administration of the government, it was by no means proper to suffer the memory thereof to perish. Hence, in repairing the tombs of the propheis, though they pretended to the people that they designed to honour these servants of God, and declared, as it is in the parallel pas, sage, (Matt. xxiii. 30. ý 121.) that they would not have cmbrued their hands in their blood, their real intention was to perpetuate the memory of their fathers actions. Our Lord, who knew the hearts of men, bas expressly suich so, and we cannot entertain any doubt of it. Truly ye bear quitness, thai ye alloru the deed's of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, ond ye build their sepulchres. Luke xi. 49. Therefore also said the * wisdom of God, dice T8TO KALI Ý copos T8 9:8 6.76v : For this reason, that you inwardly approve of the deeds of your fathers who killed the prophets, and propose among yourselves to perpetuate the memory of their wickedness, by building the sepulchres of the holy men whom they slew; and also because you insitate their way in your own conduct, by persecuting the messengers of God; in a word, because you carry your wickedness to a greater pirch than they did; for all these reasons, God hath, in the council of heaven, de clared his last resolution concerning you: I will serid the in prophets and apostles; and some of thein they will siay and persecule: i will send my Son and his apostles unto them, notwithstanding I know they will persecute and slay them. 50. That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the axld, (see on Matt. xxiii. 35, 36. $ 121.) may be required of this generation: That by this list and greatest act of rebellion, the iniquity of the nation being completed, or as it is expressed Matt. xxiii. 32. the measure of their fathers iniquity being filled ap, God may at length testify how much he was displeased with the Jewish people from the beginning, for persecuting and nur. dering his prophets, and that by sending upon the generation which completed the iniquity of the nation, such signal judgments as should evidently appear to be the punishment of that great and accumulated wickedness, committed by the nation in its several successive generations. The justice of such a procedure, every thinking person will acknowledge, who considers that sins committed by men as constituting a body politic, can only be punished in the present life, the proper punishment of national sins being national judgments, even such judgments as dissolve the transgressing state. And these the providence of God thinks necessary for its own vindication, always inflicting them upon nations when the measure fixed upon by God for punishment is filled up, that the wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, the nations of the world may be awed and kept in subjection to the government of God. 52. Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered: By your wrong interpretations of scripture, you have filled the people with strong prejudices against the gospel, so that ye not only reject it yourselves, but hinder others from receiving it; see Matth. xxiii. 13. § 121. The freedom which Jesus now took with the Pharisee and his guests, provoked them exceedingly, for they were guilty of the crimes which he laid to their charge; and to be revenged, they urged him to speak upon a variety of topics, relative to religion and government, hoping that he might let something drop which would render him obnoxious either to the magistrate or to the people. 53. And as he said these things unto them, the Scribes and Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things. 54. Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth that they might accuse him. $LXXXVIII. The charge to the multitude. The parables of
a dering * Some think, that by the quisdom of God liere mentioned. we are to understand Christ; becau, in the parallel passage (art. xxii. 34.) he ascribes this saying to himself, ani because the arostle Pink calls him cxpressly the suisdom of God, 1 Cor. i, 24 Others suppose that the Father is meant, the wisdom of Gurl being a periphrasis for God himself, who might be said to speak the words mentioned, because he commissioned his Son to speak them in his name.
the rich glutton, of the servant that waited for the return of his lord, and of the two stewards. Luke xii. 19-53.
On a time when Jesus was preaching in the country beyond Jordan, he was surrounded with an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode upon one another. It was in the hearing of this vast assembly that he gave his disciples in general a charge and exhortation similar to that which he had given to the twelve apostles, after their election *, g 40. Luke xii. 1.
* The two charges being kept distinct, appear with a beautiful proprie. ty. For the order of the history is secured by it, which is a material point. Besides, as our Lord was soon to be received up, (Luke ix. 51.) all the disciples were immediately to be employed according to their ability, in
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode upon one another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Fhorisees, which is hypocrisy. The precept, “ Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees," with which he began his charge to the disciples in general, is parallel to that which in the charge to the twelve runs thus : « Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves,” Matt. x. 16. For though the apostles and disciples were to be remarkably prudent in their behaviour, the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy and deceit, was not to enter into the composition of their prudence, because hypocrisy is only an expedient to serve a turn, the mask being always torn from hypocrites sooner or latter. l. For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither any thing hid that shall not be known. 3. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the tar in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops: All your actions shall be brought to light, either in this world, or in the next. Wherefore, take great care never to do any thing which cannot bear the light, but let the whole of your behaviour be fair, honest, and good. This argument against hypocrisy, he improved as a reason for their acquiring another quality, which would serve all the ends they could propose by their hypocrisy, and to much better purpose ; an undaunted resolution in the performance of their duty, founded on faith in God, who now governs the world by a particular providence, and in the end will reward or punish every man according to his deeds. 4. And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do: The utmost effect of the malice of man can extend only to the destruction of your body, they cannot hurt your soul; for which reason you need not be so exceedingly afraid of them, as in any instance to commit sin to avoid their displeasure. 5. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him. Almighty God, after he has killed the body, is able to torment the soul eternally ; wherefore, his displeasure is infinitely to be dreaded. Besides, he is a more kind and powerful friend than man. All things are in his hand and keeping. Nothing happens without his permission. He numbers the very hairs of your head; for which reason, his friendship is more to be courted than man's. 6. Are not five sparrowus sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7. But even the very hairs of your
the work that was assigned to the twelve; they were to preach the gospel. It was therefore fit that they should all be guided by the same directions, spirited by the same courage, and quickened by the same mo.