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to petition the judge for redress. 4. And he would not for a while : He was so addicted to his pleasures, that he would not put himself to the trouble of examining her cause, notwithstanda ing the grievous injustice that had been done to her, pleaded powerfully in her behalf : But afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God nor regard man, 5. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she * weary me. By importuning him incessantly, she forced him whether he would or no to do her justice; for he thought with himself, Though I have no fear of God, nor regard to the happiness of others, I will avenge this widow merely to be rid of the troublesome feelings which the repeated representations of her distress raise in my mind. The sentiment painted in this parable is very beautiful; namely, that if the repeated importunate cries of the afflicted do at length make an impression on the hearts even of men so wicked as to glory in their impiety, injustice, and barbarity, they will much more be regarded by God most gracious, who is ever ready to bestow his choicest blessings when he sees his creatures fit to receive them, Arguments of this kind taken from the feeble goodness, or even from the imperfections of men, to illustrate the superior and infinite perfections of God, were often made use of by Jesus, and with great success in working the conviction designed. Such appeals force their way directly into mens hearts, bear down all opposition, and make a lasting impression. Luke xviii. 6. And the Lord said, Hear what the una just judge saith. 7. And shall not God avenge his own elect which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them. Though God bear long with the wicked who oppress his elect, and seem deaf to the cries which they send up to his throne day. and night for deliverance, the just view which he hath of their affliction, will in due time move him to punish severely their enemies. It may be proper to observe here, that though the sentiment expressed be general, it was spoken with a particular refe. rence to the destruction of the Jewish people described in the pre
* Ver. s. Weary me, UTW Tocan pes.] The word v7wTicar properly signifies to beat on the face, and particularly under the eye, so as to make the parts black and blue. Hence it signifies to beat in general, as i Cor. ix. 27. In the passage under consideration, it has a metaphorical meaning, as all the translators acknowledge, though they seem to have missed the exact propriety of the metaphor. For utwTisov here signifies to give great pain, such as arises from severe heating. The meaning therefore is, that the uncasy feelings which this widow raised in the judge's breast, by the moving representacions which she gave him of her distress, affected him to such a degree that he could not bear it, and therefore, to be rid of those feelings, he resolved to do her justice. The passage understood in this sense, has a peculiar advantage, as it throw's a beautiful light on our Lord's argu ment, ver. 6, . and lays a proper foundation for the conclusion which it centains
ceding prophecy, and which was to be brought on them by God for persecuting Jesus and his apostles. Luke xviii, 8. I tell you that * he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, Shall he find faith on the earth? This question implies, that at the coming of Christ to avenge and deliver God's elect, the faith of his coming should in a great measure be lost'; accordingly, from 2 Pet. iii. 4. it appears that many infidels and apostates scoffed at the expectation of Christ's coming, which the godly in those days cherished: “ Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." .
* Ver. 3. He quill avenge them speedin.1 Or rather suddenly, for so av TUY! may signify. Besides, scripture and experience teach, that in most cases punishment is not speedily executed against the evil works of evil men ; but that when the Divine patience ends, oftentimes destruction overtaketb the wicked as a whirlwind, Pial. ixxill. 18,--20. and by its suddenness bee comes the more heavy. Farther, the correction of the translation proposa ed, removes the secming opposition between this clause and the end of the precedent verse, the reconciling of which has given rise to several strained criticisms, and I suppose to ihe various readings found there; not to mention that it agrees exactly with the subject in hand, the destruction of the Jewish nation having been represented by our Lord, in this very discourse, as what wouid be exceeding sudden and heavy, See Luke xvii. 14. CII. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, who went
up to the temple to pray. Luke xviii. 9,--14. JESUS next adiressed his discourse to such vain persons as were righteous in their own conceit, and despised others. But because things are sometimes b-st illustrated by their contraries, he placed, the character of this sort of men beside that of the humble, der scribing the reception which each of them met with fromy God, in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, who went up to the temple together at the hour of sacrifice, in order to pray. Luke xviii. 9. And he spoke this purable into certain pers ns in his train, which trus-ed in themselves that they were righteous, and despised skers: had an high opinion of their own sanctity, and on that account despised all other men as greatly inferior to them, both in righteoust's, and in favour with God. 10. Two men went up into the temple to prn; the one a Pharisee, a person of the strictest sect of the Jewish religion, who made a great profession of piety, and who was esteemed by all a very holy man; the other a publican, a man, who by reason of his occupation, was exposed to general orium as a very grear sinner. 11. The Pharisee stood and prnyrd ihus with himself : The Pharisee having a very h h opinion et his on sanctity, would not mingle with the Cwd of worshippers in the temple, lest he should have been defiled by thn.; but to stood on a place by himself alone. This is plainly told in the Greek texti o do Caputx105 52.9ius #gos mute,
sentias agornugston - The Pharisee standing by himself, prayed these things. He spoke them aloud, in the hearing of those who were in the temple at their devotions. Moreover, he shewed his pride and self-conceit, by standing as near the sanctuary, the place of the Divine habitation, as he could, that the priests might hear him also, and that he might be at as great a distance as possible from the profane publican, who he observed was praying at the same time with himself. The circumstance of his standing near the sanctuary, indeed, is not mentioned directly, but it is implied in that which is told of the publican, ver. 13. viz. that he stood afar off. Here therefore the Pharisee prayed, giving God the hos nour of his supposed righteousness, in which he would have acted so får well, had he really been possessed of any. God, I thanke thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adula terers, or even as this publican. But this thanksgiving savoured of the rankest pride, being a praising of himself rather than of God; and such a praising of himself as implied the highest contempt of others, and particularly of his fellow-worshipper; for he did not simply thank God that he was possessed of this or that virtue, but forsooth, that he was not like other men, and partis eularly like the publican who was then addressing God. Moreover, he took care to do himself all manner of honour, by an exact detail of the sins to which other men were prone, but from which, in his own opinion, he was perfectly free'; and of the duties which they neglected, but which he never failed to perform. Luke xviii. 12. I fast twice in the week, and I give tithes. of all that I possess. The sins he mentioned being such as were generally charged on publicans, and the duties such as that sort of men were supposed to neglect, it shewed to what an intolerable pitch his vanity was grown, since it led him, even in his devotions, directly to insult his brethren, and proved that he posa dessed none of those virtues for which he very vainly returned God this solemn thanksgiving. Besides, his fasting twice in the week was a duty not prescribed by the law, as was likewise his paying tithes of all, according to the opinion of most casuists at that time, if, as is probable, he meant tithes of mint, anise, and cummin; a preciseness by which the men of his sect made thems selves remarkable, Luke xi. 42. Wherefore the language of this part of his prayer was, I not only far excel other men in point of holiness, but I am even more righteous than the law requires.
Thus did the proud Pharisee arrogantly insinuate, that he had laid God, as it were, under an obligation to him. How different was the behaviour of the publican! Impressed with a deep sense of his sins, he appeared so vile in his own sight, that he would not go up among the people of God, but stood afar off in the court of Vol. II.
the Gentiles *, perhaps without the stone wall, called by the apos. tle the middle wall of partition, which Gentiles and unclean Israelites were not permitted to pass. See $122. Here, with eyes fixed on the ground, smiting upon his breast, he by that action made a public acknowledgment of his great transgressions before all who were in sight of him, and in the bitterness of his soul earnestly cried for merey. Luke xviii. 13. And the publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto hea. vin, the habitation of the great Being whom he had offended, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner, He too, as well as the Pharisee, pronounced his devotions aloud. But in regard his prayer was a confession of his sin, his speaking it aloud proceeded not from vanity, but from the anguish of his soul. For instead of doing him honour, this prayer tended to abase him greatly; as he alleged no mixtere of good to palliate the many evils of his past life, but openly acknowledged that he was a sinner, and sought refuge in the mercy of God, the alone foundation of his hope. And that he did not act the hypocrite in this, was evident from the place which he chose for his devotions, where there were few to behold him, from the melancholy of his countenance, and from his whole deportment. But humility and contrition being the dispositions of mind with which guilty creatures should come into the Divine presence, the public can was a more acceptable worshipper than the Pharisee. 14. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: that is, obtained the pardon of his sin, the blessing he had asked in his prayer, wiiile the proud Pharisee, who justified himself, came away without being accepted ; as is intimated in the comparison, which, according to the Hebrew idiom, often includes a negation. See Gen. xxxviii. 26. I Sam. xxiv. 17. When Jesus had finished the parable, he made an application of it to the persons for whose sake it was delivered, in his favourite and well known maxiin, for every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and he that humbleih himself, shall be exalted.
This parable teaches us several important lessons : as, that the generality of men are great strangers to themselves, and ignorant of their own characters; that they oftentimes thank God in
Salmasius indeed imagines that he was in the game court of the temple with the Pharisee, because the later mentioned him in his prayer. If so, his standing afar off implies, that he came no farther than the gate or the extremity of the court, being so humble that he would not go near the Pharises, whom he estetned much more holy than himself. It is true Grotius and Cooccius affiim, that persons of his character, by the customs of the times, were obliged to keep at a distance, and that he did so, not out of humility, hut necessity. Nevertheless, the text seems to contradict their potion, ly mentioning the publican's standing afar off, along with the other undoubted instances of his buinility, namely, that he woeld noi even look up to hearen, but emoc upon his breat, &c.
words for his benefits, while their hearts are by no means penetrated with any just sense of them; that it is difficult to thinka of the sins we ourselves are free from, without censuring the persons who, in our opinion, are guilty of them ; that a man may, be very ready to censure others, without ever forming a thought of reforming himself; and that in a certain sense we may be clear of open and scandalous sins, while we are full of inward spiritual wickedness, pride, envy, malice, hypocrisy, and voluptu. qusness. To conclude, by propounding this parable of the Pha. risee and the publican, immediately after that of the importunate widow, our Lord has taught us, that although our prayers must be very earnest and frequent, they should always be accompanied with the deepest humility ; because no disposition of mind is more proper for such weak and frail beings as men to appear with before the great God, than an absolute self-abasement. CIII. The Pharisees ask Christ's opinion concerning divorces.
Mark xix. 3,-12. Mark x. 2,--12. Jesus was still in the town of Ephraim , when the Pharisees came and asked him whether he thought it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause whatever ? Matt. xix. 3. The Pharisees also came unto kim, tempting him, and suying unto him, Is it lowful for a man to put away his wife for every cause ? L&TH FATHI ANTIH), for any couse; so the word sus signifies, Rom.
. 20. Gal. ii. 16. He had delivered his sentiments on this subject twice; once in Galilee, Matt. v. 31. 26. and again iu Pe. rea, Luke xvi. 18. $ 96. It is probable therefore, that they knew his opinion, and solicited him to declare it, hoping it would incense, the people, who reckoned the liberty which the law gave them of divorcing their wives, one of their chief privileges. Or, if scanding in awe of the people, he should deliver a doctrine dif. ferent from what he had taught on former occasions, they thought it would be a fit ground for accusing himn of dissimulation. But they missed their aim entirely; for Jesus, always consistent with himself, boldly declared the third time against arbitrary divorces, not fearing the popular resentment in the least.
The accounts which Matthew and Mark have given of this matter, when compared, seem to clash, though in reality they are perfectly consistent. The two historians indeed take notice of different particulars; but these, when jained together, mutually throw light on each other, and give the reader a full view of the subject. According to both evangelists, the Pharisees came with an insiduous intention, and asked our Lord's opinion concernung divorce.. Mark x. 2. And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it listujad for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. But the inner returned to this question is differently represented by the liistorians. Matthew says our Lord