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Chap. XIII. CHAP. XIII. ND as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings : there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown
Our blessed Saviour being now ready to depart from the temple; never more, after this, entering into it; and his disciples showing him with wonder and admiration the magnificent structures and build
ings thereof, apprehending, that in regard
of its invincible strength it could not be
threatening of God fulfilled, Jer. xxvi. 18. |
Zon shall be ploughed as a field, and Jeru-
3 And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple, Peter
and James and John and Andrew
hereafter is to come to pass, Oh! how happy were we, if as forward to obey the declarations of God's revealed will, as we are to pry into the hidden counsels of his secret will Tell us, say the disciples, when shall these things be 2
5 And Jesus answering them, began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you : 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be ; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, |and there shall be famines and troubles; | these are the beginnings of sorrows. |9 But take heed to yourselves: for | they shall deliver you up to councils; |and in the synagogues ye shall be |beaten : and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a | testimony against them. 10 And the |gospel must first be published among all mations.
| Here and in the following verses our Saviour gives his disciples the signs which should forerun the destruction of Jerusalem. The first of which was this, that there should arise false Christs, false
phets, and seducers; such as Theudas, and others, under the name and person of the Messias, some affirming themselves to be Christ personal, or the promised Messiah; others to be Christ doctrinal, affirming their erroneous opinions to be the mind and doctrine of Jesus Christ. Learn hence, That as there will be many seducers before the end of the world, (for Jerusalem's destruction was a type and emblem of the world's destruction,) and many will be seduced and misled by them ; so it is the
asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when duty of Christ's own, disciples to take
shall these things be? and what shall
A double question is here propounded
heed, lest they heing also led away by the error of the wicked, do fall from #. ourn steadfastness. Take heed, says Christ, that no man deceive you, for many will come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and will deflicted by God upon a sinful people for their contempt of Christ and gospel-grace. 2. That although these be very terrible judgments, and desolating calamities, yet to an incorrigible and irreclaimable people are they the forerunners of worse judgments. These are, says Christ, the beginnings of sorrows. The third sign of this approaching destruction, was a general persecution of the ministers of the gospel, for preaching the doctrines of the gospel to a lost world: Ye shall be beaten, and brought before kings for my sake, for a testimony. From whence note, That the preaching of the gospel, wherever it comes, will be for a testimony to them to whom it comes: either a testimony for them, or against them; to the humble it is a testimony for, to despisers and scorners it is a testimony against; if the dust of the ministers' feet bear witness against the despisers of the gospel, their sermons much more. The word of God delivered in the scriptures, and dispensed in the ministry thereof, hath its diverse and contrary effects upon different and contrary subjects; from both which yet Almighty God knows how to raise his own glory: to the humble and teachable, the gospel is in adjutorium, to the scorners and despisers it will be in testimonium, to some the savour of life unto life, to others the savour of death unto death. lieve them, though they did never so many great signs and wonders, and promised them never such glorious deliverances. From hence note, 1. That the church's great danger is from seducers, that come in Christ's name, and pretend to work signs and wonders by his authority. Note 2. That such is the power of seduction and delusion, that many, in all ages of the church, have been carried away with seducers and false teachers. 3. That the elect themselves, if left to themselves, might be seduced; but being guarded by divine power against seduction and delusion, they shall be preserved from that fatal mischief: They shall seduce, if possible, even the elect.
"our Saviour by his disciples; namely, ceive many. The second sign of Jerusa
when the destruction of Jerusalem shall illem's destruction was wars and rumours of be! and what shall be the signs of that wars; that is, civil broils, and intestine destruction 1 See here what an itching commotions among themselves; as also furiosity there is in the best of men to famine and earthquake. Whence note, know futurities: to know things that shall That war and fire, earthquakes and fa. come to pass hereafter; and when that, mines, are judgments and calamities in
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye : for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my Name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Here our Saviour acquaints his disciples, that for preaching the gospel they should be brought before kings and rulers; but advises them, when they should be so brought, not to be anxiously thoughtful and solicitous what they should say; for it should be suggested to them by the Holy Ghost what to say in that hour. Note here, That this promise seems to be peculiar to the apostles, and that it belonged to them only, when they were
brought before kings and rulers, to plead
the cause of Christ. Learn hence, That
though the truth of Christmay be opposed,
yet the defenders of it shall never be
ashamed; for rather than they shallwant
a tongue to plead for it, God himself will prompt them by his Holy Spirit, and suggest such arguments to them as all their enemies shall not be able to gainsay. Observe farther, How our Saviour describes the bitter enmity of the world against the preachers of the gospel, to be such as would overcome and extinguish even the natural affection of the dearest relations one towards another. The brother shall betray the brother to death. Grace teaches us to lay down our lives for the brethren; but corruption in general, and enmity to the gospel in particular, teaches brother to take away the life of brother: The brother shall betray the brother to death. Observe lastly, How our Saviour comforts his disciples, that there would bean end of
these their sharp and hitter sufferings:
assuring them, that if their faith and patience did hold out unto the end, they should be saved. This is our comfort, our sufferings for Christ must be sharp, but they shall be short; if our sufferings for Christ end not in our lifetime, they will end with our lives.
14. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand.)
The sense is, “When ye shall see the Roman army, which is an abomination to you, and an occasion of great desolation wherever it goes; when you shall see that abominable desolating army, begiring the city of Jerusalem, in order to her ruin and being laid waste, then call to mind the prophecy of Daniel, which primarily respected Antiochus, but secondarily Titus the Roman emperor, and shall now be fully completed: for the siege shall not be raised till both city and temple be razed to the ground.” From whence learn, 1. That God has instruments ready at his call to lay waste the strongest cities, and to ruin the most flourishing kingdoms which do reject his Son, and refuse the tenders of his grace. 2. That God can, and sometimes doth, make use of those very persons whom sinners most abhor, to be the instruments of their punishment, and the occasion of their destruction. The Roman army, which was an abomination to the Jews, did God
destroy them by.
—Then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains: 15. And let him that is on the house-top not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16. And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter,
The meaning is, “As soon as ye shall see the Roman army appear before the city of Jerusalem, let every one that values his own safety fly, as far and as fast as he can, as Lot fled from the flames of Sodom; and be glad if by flight he can save his life, though he lose goods and clothes, and all things besides.” Whence learn, That when Almighty God is pouring forth his fury upon a sinful people, it is both lawful, and a necessary duty, by flight to endeavour to shelter and secure ourselves from the approaching calamity and desolation; when ye see Jerusalem oncompassed with armies, flee to the mountains. 2. That in case of flight before an enraged enemy, and bloody army, if we lose all that we have, and our lives be given us for a prey, we fare well, and the it deals very graciously and mercifully with us. Next, our Saviour declares the doleful distress of those that could not flee from the Roman army encompassing Jerusalem, as women great with child, and others giving suck, who by that means are like to lose their lives; and adds farther, that it would increase the calamity, if their flight should happen to be in the winter; or, as St. Matthew adds, on the sabboth day, Matt. xxiv. 20. Pray ye that your ight be not in the winter nor on the sab|-day. Flight in the winter is sad, because we can then fly neither fast nor far; and on the sabbath-day it is very sorrowful, that being the day of our spiritual labour, and of our bodily rest. Learn thence, That it is a great addition to the trouble and disquiet of a good man's spirit, when the day of his spiritual rest is interrupted; and instead of enjoying communion with God in his house, he is driven from house and home.
hath shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
The dreadful calamities which were coming upon the Jews in general, and Jerusalem in particular, are here foretold by our blessed Saviour, partly from the Roman army without, and partly from the seditions and factions of the zealots within ; who committed such outrages and slaughters, that there were no less than an hundred thousand Jews slain, and ninetyseven thousand taken prisoners. They that bought our Saviour for thirty pence, were now themselves sold thirty for a penny. Now did the temple itself become a sacrifice, a whole burnt-offering, and was consumed to ashes. Yet observe, Christ promises that those days of vengeance should be shortened for the elect's sake. God had a remnant which he designed should survive that destruction, to be a holy seed: and accordingly the providence of God so ordered it, that the city was taken in six months, and the whole country depopulated in eighteen. From whence observe, How the Lord intermixes some mercy with the extremest misery that doth befal a people for their sin on this side hell. No sinners can say in this life, that they feel the strokes of justice to the utmost, or that they have judgment without mercy.
21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not; 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. , 23. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
The Jews had all along cherished in themselves a vain expectation, that the promised Messias should be a temporal deliverer, and set them at liberty from the power and slavery of the Romans; and accordingly our Saviour declares to his disciples here, That immediately before Jerusalem's destruction, several persons, taking the advantage of this expectation, would make themselves heads of parties, and pretend that they were the true Mes. siah, who should save and deliver them
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light; 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Our Saviour goes on, in figurative expressions, to set forth the calamities that should befall the Jewish nation immediately after Jerusalem's destruction. The sun shall be darkened... that is, all their glory and excellency shall be eclipsed, all their wealth and prosperity shall be laid waste, their whole government, civil and ecclesiastical, destroyed; and such marks of misery found upon them, as never was seen upon a people. Those that apply this to the general judgment understand the words literally, that the sun and moon will then have their influences suspended; that the holy angels will be sent forth to gather the elect from all quarters of the world with the sound of a trumpet, says St. Matthew. Probably, as there was an audible sound of a trumpet at the giving of the law, so there shall be the like sound of a trumpet when Christ shall summon the world to judgment for transgression of the law. A joyful sound will this be to the friends of Christ; a doleful, dreadful sound, in the ears of his enemies.
28 Now learn a parable of the figtree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
summer is near: 29 So-ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, That this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away. 32. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Here our blessed Saviour declares two things with reference to his coming. 1. The certainty of the thing itself. 2. The uncertainty of the time. The certainty of his coming he sets forth by the similitude of the fig-tree, whose beginning to bud declares the summer at hand. Thus our Saviour tells them, that when they should see the fore-mentioned signs, they might conclude the destruction of their city and temple to be nigh at hand; and accordingly some then living did see their predictions fulfilled. Observe, 2. The uncertainty as to the precise time when this judgment should come: no angel in heaven, nor creature upon earth, could determine the time, only the glorious persons in the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Learn hence, That all things are not revealed to the angels themselves, but such things only as it concerns them to know, and the wisdom of God thinks fit to reveal. 2. That the precise time of the day of judgment is kept by God as a secret to himself: we are not to know the hour, to the intent we may be on our watch every hour; Christ himself did not know it as man, but as God only. The knowledge and revelation of this was no part of Christ's prophetic office, it being one of those times and seasons which the Father has put in his own power, Acts i. 7. Consider Christ as God, or the second Person in the Trinity, and to affirm that there is anything which he does not know, is blasphemy; but to consider him as the Messias, and to say that there was some things which Christ, as such, did not know, is no blasphemy; for though Christ as God was equal with the Father, yet as Messias, or God-man, he was inferior to the Father, his servant, or messenger, and could do nothing of himself, and did not know all things.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning ; 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
|34 For the Son of man is as a man
taking a far journey, who left his cils have erred and may err fundamen
Our blessed Saviour takes occasion from the foregoing doctrine of the certainty and suddenness of his coming to judgment, to enforce the duty of diligent and industrious watchfulness upon all his disciples and followers; that is, to be upon their guard against all sin, and to be in an actual readiness for his appearance and approach. Learn hence, That it is the indispensible duty, and ought to be the indefatigable endeavour, of every Christlan, to stand upon his guard in a prepared readiness for Christ's appearance, both for his coming to them, and for their going to him. There is a two-fold readiness for Christ's coming, namely, habitual and actual: an habitual readiness is a readiness of the state and condition; actual readiness is the readiness of the person : when we are furnished with all the graces and virtues of a good life, when our lamps are burning, and our loins girded, our souls furnished with all the graces of God's Holy Spirit, our lives fruitful in good works: Blessed is that servant, who, when his Lord cometh, shall be found thus watching.
AFTER two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. ? But they said, Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar of the people. This chapter gives us a sad and sorrowful account of the high priests’ conspiracy against the life of our blessed Saviour; in which we have observable, The Persons that made this conspiracy, the manner of the conspiracy, and the time when this conspiracy was made. 1. The Persons conspiring are the chief priests, scribes, and elders; that is, the whole Jewish sanhedrim, or general council. They lay their malicious heads together *contrive the destruction of the innocent Jesus. Thence learn, That general coun-,
tally in matters of doctrine; so did this general council at Jerusalem, consisting of chief priests, doctors, and elders, with the high-priest their president, in not believing Jesus to be the Messias, after all the miracles wrought before their eyes. Observe, 2. The manner of this conspiracy against our Saviour's life; it was clandestine, secret, and subtle: they consult how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. Thence note, That Satan makes use of the subtilty of crafty men, and abuseth their parts as well as their power, for his own purposes and designs; the devil sends no fools on his errands. Observe, 3. The circumstance of time when this conspiracy was managed : at the feast of the passover; it being a custom among the Jews to execute malefactors at their solemn feasts, as at the feasts of the passover, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles; at which times all the Jews came up to Jerusalem to sacrifice, and then they put malefactors to death, that all Israel might see and hear and not do so wickedly. Accordingly, this feast of the passover was waited for by the Jews as a fit opportunity to put our Saviour to death; the only objection was, that it might occasion a tumult amongst the people, there being such a mighty concourse at that time in Jerusalem. But Judas making them a profler, they readily comply with the motion, and resolve to take the first opportunity to put our Saviour to death. 3 And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster-box of ointment of spikemard, very precious ; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her, 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone, why trouble ye her ? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good : but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the bury
ing. 9 Verily I say unto you,