1And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
1 CHAPTER XXII.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXII.
Verse 2. The kingdom of heaven] In Bereshith Rabba, sect. 62.
fol. 60, there is a parable very similar to this, and another
still more so in Sohar. Levit. fol. 40. But these rabbinical
parables are vastly ennobled by passing through the hands of our
Lord. It appears from Luke, Lu 14:15; &c., that it was at an
entertainment that this parable was originally spoken. It was a
constant practice of our Lord to take the subjects of his
discourses from the persons present, or from the circumstances of
times, persons, and places. See Mt 16:6; Joh 4:7-10;
Joh 6:26, 27; 7:37. A preacher that can do so can never be at a
loss for text or sermon.
A marriage for his son] A marriage feast, so the word γαμους
properly means. Or a feast of inauguration, when his son was put
in possession of the government, and thus he and his new subjects
became married together. See 1Ki 1:5-9, 19, 25, &c., where such
a feast is mentioned.
From this parable it appears plain, 1. That the KING means the
great God. 2. His SON, the Lord Jesus. 3. The MARRIAGE, his
incarnation, or espousing human nature, by taking it into union
with himself. 4. The MARRIAGE FEAST, the economy of the Gospel,
during which men are invited to partake of the blessings purchased
by, and consequent on, the incarnation and death of our blessed
Lord. 5. By those who HAD BEEN bidden, or invited, Mt 22:3,
are meant the Jews in general, who had this union of Christ with
human nature, and his sacrifice for sin, pointed out by various
rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices under the law; and who, by all
the prophets, had been constantly invited to believe in and
receive the promised Messiah. 6. By the SERVANTS, we are to
understand the first preachers of the Gospel, proclaiming
salvation to the Jews. JOHN the Baptist and the seventy disciples
(Lu 10:1,) may be here particularly intended. 7. By the OTHER
SERVANTS, Mt 22:4,
the apostles seem to be meant, who, though they were to preach the
Gospel to the whole world, yet were to begin at JERUSALEM
(Lu 24:47) with the first offers of mercy.
8. By their making light of it, &c., Mt 22:5, is pointed out
their neglect of this salvation, and their preferring secular
enjoyments, &c., to the kingdom of Christ. 9. By injuriously
using some, and slaying others, of his servants, Mt 22:6,
is pointed out the persecution raised against the apostles by the
Jews, in which some of them were martyred. 10. By sending forth
his troops, Mt 22:7,
is meant the commission given to the Romans against Judea; and,
burning up their city, the total destruction of Jerusalem by
Titus, the son of Vespasian, which happened about forty-one years
On this parable it is necessary to remark, 1.That man was made
at first in union with God. 2. That sin entered in, and separated
between God and man. 3. That as there can be no holiness but in
union with God, and no heaven without holiness, therefore he
provided a way to reconcile and reunite man to himself. 4. This
was effected by Christ's uniting himself to human nature, and
giving his Spirit to those who believe. 5. That as the marriage
union is the closest, the most intimate, solemn, and excellent,
of all the connections formed among mortals, and that they who are
thus united in the Lord are one flesh; so that mystical union
which is formed between God and the soul through Jesus Christ, by
the Eternal Spirit, is the closest, most intimate, solemn, and
excellent, that can be conceived; for he who is thus joined unto
the Lord is one spirit. 6. This contract is made freely: no man
can be forced to it, for it is a union of will to will, heart to
heart; and it is by willing and consenting that we come unto
God through his Son. 7. That if this marriage do not take place
here, an eternal separation from God, and from the glory of his
power, shall be the fearful consequence. 8. That there are three
states in which men run the risk of living without God and losing
their souls. 1st. That of a soft, idle, voluptuous life, wherein
a man thinks of nothing but quietly to enjoy life, conveniences,
riches, private pleasures, and public diversions. They made light
of it. 2dly. That of a man wholly taken up with agricultural or
commercial employments, in which the love of riches, and
application to the means of acquiring them, generally stifle all
thoughts of salvation. One went to his own field, and another to
his traffic. 3dly. That of a man who is openly unjust, violent,
and outrageously wicked, who is a sinner by profession, and not
only neglects his salvation, but injuriously treats all those who
bring him the Gospel of reconciliation. Seizing his servants,
they treated them injuriously, &c.
2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
7 Verse 7. But when the king] HIMSELF or, this very king. I
have added εκεινος on the authority of nine of the most ancient
MSS. and nearly one hundred others; the later Syriac, six copies
of the Itala, and some of the fathers. Several printed editions
have it, and Griesbach has received it into the text.
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
8 Verse 8. Were not worthy.] Because they made light of it, and
would not come; preferring earthly things to heavenly blessings.
Among the Mohammedans, refusal to come to a marriage feast, when
invited, is considered a breach of the law of God. HEDAYAH, vol.
iv. p. 91. Any one that shall be invited to a dinner, and does
not accept the invitation, disobeys God, and his messenger: and
any one who comes uninvited, you may say is a thief, and returns a
plunderer.-Mischat ul Mesabih. It was probably considered in this
light among all the oriental nations. This observation is
necessary, in order to point out more forcibly the iniquity of the
refusal mentioned in the text. A man may be said to be worthy of,
or fit for, this marriage feast, when, feeling his wretchedness
and misery, he comes to God in the way appointed, to get an
entrance into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus.
9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
9 Verse 9. Go ye therefore into the highways] διεξοδουςτων
αδων, cross or by-paths; the places where two or more
roads met in one, leading into the city, where people were coming
together from various quarters of the country. St. Luke adds
hedges, to point out the people to whom the apostles were sent, as
either miserable vagabonds, or the most indigent poor, who were
wandering about the country, or sitting by the sides of the ways
and hedges, imploring relief. This verse points out the final
rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles. It
was a custom among the Jews, when a rich man made a feast, to go
out and invite in all destitute travellers. See in Rab. Beracoth,
As many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage] God sends his
salvation to every soul, that all may believe and be saved.
10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
10 Verse 10. Gathered together all-both bad and good] By the
preaching of the Gospel, multitudes of souls are gathered into
what is generally termed the visible Church of Christ. This
Church is the FLOOR, where the wheat and the chaff are often
mingled, Mt 3:12.
The FIELD, where the bastard wheat and the true grain grow together,
Mt 13:26, 27.
The NET, which collects of all kinds, both good and bad,
The HOUSE in which the wise and foolish are found, Mt 25:1, &c.
And the FOLD, in which there are both sheep and goats,
Mt 25:33; &c.
11 ¶ And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
11 Verse 11. When the king came] When God shall come to judge the
Wedding garment] Among the orientals, long white robes were
worn at public festivals; and those who appeared on such occasions
with any other garments were esteemed, not only highly culpable,
but worthy of punishment. Our Lord seems here to allude to
Zep 1:7, 8,
The Lord hath prepared a SACRIFICE, he hath BIDDEN his guests.
And it shall come to pass, in the day of the Lord's sacrifice,
that I will PUNISH the princes, and the KING'S CHILDREN, and ALL
SUCH as are clothed with STRANGE APPAREL. The person who invited
the guests prepared such a garment for each, for the time being;
and with which he was furnished on his application to the ruler of
the feast. It was this which made the conduct of the person
mentioned in the text inexcusable; he might have had a proper
marriage garment, if he had applied for it.
To afford accidental guests clothing suitable to a marriage
feast, was a custom among the ancient Greeks. Homer relates that
Telemachus, and the son of Nestor, arriving at Lacedaemon when
Menelaus was making a marriage feast for his son and daughter,
were accommodated with garments suited to the occasion, after
having been bathed and anointed.
Among the Asiatics, garments called caftans, great numbers of
which each nobleman has ordinarily ready in his wardrobe, are
given to persons whom he wishes to honour: to refuse to accept or
wear such a dress would be deemed the highest insult.
This marriage feast or dinner (the communication of the graces
of the Gospel in this life) prepares for the marriage supper of
the Lamb, Re 19:7-9, the enjoyment of eternal blessedness in the
kingdom of glory. Now, as without holiness no man can see the
Lord, we may at once perceive what our Lord means by the marriage
garment-it is HOLINESS of heart and life: the text last quoted
asserts that the fine, white, and clean linen (alluding to the
marriage garment above mentioned) was an emblem of the
RIGHTEOUSNESS of the SAINTS. Mark this expression: the
righteousness, the whole external conduct; regulated according to
the will and word of God. Of the SAINTS, the holy persons, whose
souls were purified by the blood of the Lamb.
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
12 Verse 12. He saith unto him, Friend] Rather, companion: so
εταιρε should be translated. As this man represents the state
of a person in the visible Church, who neglects to come unto the
master of the feast for a marriage garment, for the salvation
which Christ has procured, he cannot be with any propriety called
a friend, but may well be termed a companion, as being a member
of the visible Church, and present at all those ordinances where
Christ's presence and blessing are found, by all those who
sincerely wait upon him for salvation.
How camest thou in hither] Why profess to be called by my name
while living without a preparation for my kingdom?
He was speechless.] εφιμωθη, he was muzzled, or gagged.
He had nothing to say in vindication of his neglect. There was a
garment provided, but he neither put it on, nor applied for it.
His conduct, therefore, was in the highest degree insulting and
indecorous. As this man is the emblem, by general consent, of
those who shall perish in the last day, may we not ask, without
offence, Where does the doctrine of absolute reprobation or
preterition appear in his case? If Christ had never died for him,
or if he had applied for the garment, and was refused, might he
not well have alleged this in behalf of his soul?-and would not
the just God have listened to it? But there is not the smallest
excuse for him: Christ died, the sacrifice was offered, for him;
the ministers of the Gospel invited him; the Holy Spirit strove
with him; he might have been saved, but he was not: and the
fault lies so absolutely at his own door that the just God is
vindicated in his conduct, while he sends him to hell, not for the
lack of what he could not get, but for the lack of what he might
have had, but either neglected or refused it.
Then said the king to the servants] To the ministering angels,
executors of the Divine will.
Cast him into outer darkness] The Jewish marriages were
performed in the night season, and the hall where the feast was
made was superbly illuminated; the outer darkness means,
therefore, the darkness on the outside of this festal hall;
rendered still more gloomy to the person who was suddenly thrust
out into it from such a profusion of light. See all this largely
treated of on Mt 8:12.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14For many are called, but few are chosen.
14 Verse 14. Many are called, &c.] This verse is wanting in one
of Colbert's MSS., marked 33 in Griesbach. See the note on
Mt 20:16. Many are called by the preaching of the Gospel into
the outward communion of the Church of Christ; but few,
are chosen to dwell with God In glory, because they do not come to
the master of the feast for a marriage garment-for that holiness
without which none can see the Lord. This is an allusion to the
Roman custom of raising their militia; all were mustered, but only
those were chosen to serve, who were found proper. See the note
on Mt 20:16. Reader! examine thy soul, and make sure work for
15 ¶ Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
15 Verse 15. In his talk.] ενλογω, by discourse: intending
to ask him subtle and ensnaring questions; his answers to which
might involve him either with the Roman government, or with the
16And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
16 Verse 16. The Herodians] For an account of this sect, see the
note on Mt 16:1. The preceding parable had covered the Pharisees
with confusion: when it was ended they went out, not to humble
themselves before God, and deprecate the judgments with which they
were threatened; but to plot afresh the destruction of their
teacher. The depth of their malice appears, 1. In their mode of
attack. They had often questioned our Lord on matters concerning
religion; and his answers only served to increase his reputation,
and their confusion. They now shift their ground, and question
him concerning state affairs, and the question is such as must be
answered; and yet the answer, to all human appearance, can be none
other than what may be construed into a crime against the people,
or against the Roman government. 2. Their profound malice appears
farther in the choice of their companions in this business, viz.
the Herodians. Herod was at this very time at Jerusalem, whither
he had come to hold the passover. Jesus, being of Nazareth, which
was in Herod's jurisdiction, was considered as his subject. Herod
himself was extremely attached to the Roman emperor, and made a
public profession of it: all these considerations engaged the
Pharisees to unite the Herodians, who, as the Syriac intimates,
were the domestics of Herod, in this infernal plot. 3. Their
profound malice appears, farther, in the praises they gave our
Lord. Teacher, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way
of God. This was indeed the real character of our blessed Lord;
and now they bear testimony to the truth, merely with the design
to make it subserve their bloody purposes. Those whose hearts are
influenced by the spirit of the wicked one never do good, but when
they hope to accomplish evil by it. Men who praise you to your
face are ever to be suspected. The Italians have a very
expressive proverb on this subject:-
He who caresses thee more than he was wont to do, has either
DECEIVED thee, or is ABOUT TO DO IT.
I have never known the sentiment in this proverb to fail; and
it was notoriously exemplified in the present instance.
Flatterers, though they speak the truth, ever carry about with
them a base or malicious soul. 4. Their malice appears still
farther in the question they propose. Is it lawful to give
tribute to Caesar, or not?-Mt 22:17.
The constitution of the Jewish republic, the expectations which
they had of future glory and excellence, and the diversity of
opinions which divided the Jews on this subject, rendered an
answer to this question extremely difficult:-
1. In the presence of the people, who professed to have no other
king but God, and looked on their independence as an essential
point of their religion.
2. In the presence of the Pharisees, who were ready to stir up
the people against him, if his decision could be at all construed
to be contrary to their prejudices, or to their religious rights.
3. In the presence of the Herodians, who, if the answer should
appear to be against Caesar's rights, were ready to inflame their
master to avenge, by the death of our Lord, the affront offered to
his master the emperor.
4. The answer was difficult, because of the different sentiments
of the Jews on this subject; some maintaining that they could not
lawfully pay tribute to a heathen governor: while others held that
as they were now under this strange government, and had no power
to free themselves from it, it was lawful for them to pay what
they had not power to refuse.
5. The answer was difficult, when it is considered that
multitudes of the people had begun now to receive Jesus as the
promised Messiah, who was to be the deliverer of their nation from
spiritual and temporal oppression, and therefore had lately sung
to him the Hosanna Rabba: see Mt 21:9. If then he should decide
the question in Caesar's favour, what idea must the people have of
him, either as zealous for the law, or as the expected Messiah?
If against Caesar, he is ruined. Who that loved Jesus, and was
not convinced of his sovereign wisdom, could help trembling for
him in these circumstances?
Jesus opposes the depth of his wisdom to the depth of their
malice, and manifests it:- 1. By unmasking them, and showing that
he knew the very secrets of their hearts. Ye HYPOCRITES! why
tempt ye me? i.e. why do ye try me thus? This must cover them
with confusion, when they saw their motives thus discovered; and
tend much to lessen their influence in the sight of the people,
when it was manifest that they acted not through a desire to
receive information, by which to regulate their conduct, but
merely to ensnare and ruin him.
2. Christ shows his profound wisdom in not attempting to discuss
the question at large; but settled the business by seizing a maxim
that was common among all people, and acknowledged among the Jews,
That the prince who causes his image and titles to be stamped on
the current coin of a country, is virtually acknowledged thereby
as the governor. See Maimon. Gezel. c. v. in Wetstein. When
Sultan MAHMOUD, king of Maveralnahar, Turquestan, and the Indies,
wished to seize on the dominions of SEIDEH, queen of Persia, who
governed in the place of her young son Megededde-vlet, about A. D.
909, he sent an ambassador to her with the following order: You
must acknowledge me for your KING, cause the kootbah to be read,
i.e. pray for me in all the mosques of the kingdom, and GET YOUR
MONEY recoined, with the IMPRESSION THAT IS ON MINE: thus denoting
that she must become absolutely subject to him. See Bibliot.
Orient. de Galand. p. 453. Esau Afghan carried his conquest into
Bhatty, into the viceroyalty of Bengal, and caused the kootbah to
be read, and coin to be struck in the name of the Emperor Akbar.
Ayeen Akbery, vol. ii p. 5. See also p. 38,92,94,130,139,187.
17Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
19 Verse 19. They brought unto him a penny.] A denarius: probably
the ordinary capitation tax, though the poll tax in the law,
Ex 30:13, 14,
was half a shekel, about twice as much as the denarius. The
Roman denarius had the emperor's image with a proper legend
stamped on one side of it. It was not therefore the sacred shekel
which was to be paid for the repairs of the temple which was now
demanded, but the regular tribute required by the Roman government.
20And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
20 Verse 20. Whose is this image and superscription?] He knew
well enough whose they were; but he showed the excellency of his
wisdom, 3dly, in making them answer to their own confusion. They
came to ensnare our Lord in his discourse, and now they are
ensnared in their own. He who digs a pit for his neighbour
ordinarily falls into it himself.
21他们回答：“凯撒的。”他就对他们说：“凯撒的应当归给凯撒， 神的应当归给 神。”
21 They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
21 Verse 21. They say unto him, Caesars.] The image was the head
of the emperor; the superscription, his titles. JULIUS CAESAR
was the first who caused his image to be struck on the Roman coin.
Tiberius was emperor at this time.
Render therefore unto Caesar] The conclusion is drawn from
their own premises. You acknowledge this to be Caesar's coin;
this coin is current, in your land; the currency of this coin
shows the country to be under the Roman government; and your
acknowledgment that it is Caesar's proves you have submitted.
Don't therefore be unjust; but render to Caesar the things which
you acknowledge to be his; at the same time, be not impious, but
render unto God the thing's which belong to God.
This answer is full of consummate wisdom. It establishes the
limits, regulates the rights, and distinguishes the jurisdiction
of the two empires of heaven and earth. The image of
princes stamped on their coin denotes that temporal things belong
all to their government. The image of God stamped on the soul
denotes that all its faculties and powers belong to the Most High,
and should be employed in his service.
But while the earth is agitated and distracted with the question
of political rights and wrongs, the reader will naturally ask,
What does a man owe to Caesar?-to the civil government under which
he lives? Our Lord has answered the question-That which IS
Caesar's. But what is it that is Caesar's? 1. Honour. 2.
Obedience. And 3. Tribute. 1. The civil government under which a
man lives, and by which he is protected, demands his honour and
reverence. 2. The laws which are made for the suppression of
evil doers, and the maintenance of good order, which are
calculated to promote the benefit of the whole, and the comfort of
the individual should be religiously obeyed. 3. The government
that charges itself with the support and defence of the whole,
should have its unavoidable expenses, however great, repaid by the
people, in whose behalf they are incurred; therefore we should pay
tribute. But remember, if Caesar should intrude into the things
of God, coin a new creed, or broach a new Gospel, and affect to
rule the conscience, while he rules the state, in these things
Caesar is not to be obeyed; he is taking the things of God, and he
must not get them. Give not therefore God's things to Caesar, and
give not Caesar's things to God. That which belongs to the
commonwealth should, on no account whatever, be devoted to
religious uses; and let no man think he has pleased God, by giving
that to charitable or sacred uses which he has purloined from the
state. The tribute of half a shekel, which the law, (Ex 30:13,14,)
required every person above twenty years of age to pay to the
temple, was, after the destruction of the temple, in the time of
Vespasian, paid into the emperor's exchequer. This sum,
Melanethon supposes, amounted annually to THREE TONS OF GOLD.
22When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
22 Verse 22. When they had heard these words, they marvelled] And
well they might-never man spake like this man. By this decision,
CAESAR is satisfied-he gets his own to the uttermost farthing.
GOD is glorified-his honour is in every respect secured. And the
PEOPLE are edified-one of the most difficult questions that could
possibly come before them is answered in such a way as to relieve
their consciences, and direct their conduct. See L'Evangile
Medite, and see my discourse entitled, The Rights of God and
23 ¶ The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
24 Verse 24. Raise up seed unto his brother.] This law is
mentioned De 25:5. The meaning of the expression is, that the
children produced by this marriage should be reckoned in the
genealogy of the deceased brother, and enjoy his estates. The
word seed should be always translated children or posterity.
There is a law precisely similar to this among the Hindoos.
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
25 Verse 25. Seven brethren] It is very likely that the Sadducees
increased the number, merely to make the question the more
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
28 Verse 28. Whose wife shall she be of the seven?] The rabbins
have said, That if a woman have two husbands in this world, she
shall have the first only restored to her in the world to come.
Sohar. Genes. fol. 24. The question put by these bad men is well
suited to the mouth of a libertine. Those who live without God in
the world have no other god than the world; and those who have
not that happiness which comes from the enjoyment of God have no
other pleasure than that which comes from the gratification of
sensual appetites. The stream cannot rise higher than the spring:
these men, and their younger brethren, atheists, deists, and
libertines of all sorts, can form no idea of heaven as a place of
blessedness, unless they can hope to find in it the gratification
of their sensual desires. On this very ground Mohammed built his
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
29 Verse 29. Ye do err] Or, Ye are deceived-by your impure
passions: not knowing the scriptures, which assert the
resurrection:-nor the miraculous power of God (τηνδυναμιντου
θεου) by which it is to be effected. In Avoda Sara, fol. 18,
Sanhedrin, fol. 90, it is said: "These are they which shall have
no part in the world to come: Those who say, the Lord did not come
from heaven; and those who say, the resurrection cannot be proved
out of the law."
Their deception appeared in their supposing, that if there were
a resurrection, men and women were to marry and be given in
marriage as in this life; which our Lord shows is not the case:
for men and women there shall be like the angels of God, immortal,
and free from all human passions, and from those propensities
which were to continue with them only during this present state of
existence. There shall be no death; and consequently no need of
marriage to maintain the population of the spiritual world.
30For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31关于死人复活的事， 神对你们讲过：‘我是亚伯拉罕的 神，以撒的 神，雅各的 神’，你们没有念过吗？ 神不是死人的 神，而是活人的 神。”
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
31 Verse 31. Have ye not read] This quotation is taken from
Ex 3:6, 16;
and as the five books of Moses were the only part of Scripture
which the Sadducees acknowledged as Divine, our Lord, by confuting
them from those books, proved the second part of his assertion,
"Ye are ignorant of those very scriptures which ye profess to hold
32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
32 Verse 32. I am the God of Abraham] Let it be observed, that
Abraham was dead upwards of 300 years before these words were
spoken to Moses: yet still God calls himself the God of Abraham,
&c. Now Christ properly observes that God is not the God of the
dead, (that word being equal, in the sense of the Sadducees, to an
eternal annihilation,) but of the living; it therefore follows
that, if he be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, these are not
dead, but alive; alive with God, though they had ceased, for some
hundreds of years, to exist among mortals. We may see, from this,
that our Lord combats and confutes another opinion of the
Sadducees, viz. that there is neither angel nor spirit; by showing
that the soul is not only immortal, but lives with God, even while
the body is detained in the dust of the earth, which body is
afterwards to be raised to life, and united with its soul by the
miraculous power of God, of which power they showed themselves to
be ignorant when they denied the possibility of a resurrection.
33And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
33 Verse 33. The multitude were astonished at his doctrine.] God
uses the infidelity of some for the edification of others. Had no
false doctrine been broached in the world, we had not seen the
full evidence of the true teaching. The opposition of deists and
infidels has only served to raise up men in behalf of the truth of
God, who not only have refuted them, but shown, at the same time,
that the sacred testimonies are infinitely amiable in themselves,
and worthy of all acceptation. Truth always gains by being
34 ¶ But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
34 Verse 34. They were gathered together.] επιτοαυτο-they came
together with one accord, or, for the same purpose; i.e. of
ensnaring him in his discourse, as the Sadducees had done,
The Codex Bezae and several of the Itala have επαυτον,
against him. Camen togidre into oon.-Old MS. Eng, Bib.
35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
35 Verse 35. A lawyer] νομικος, a teacher of the law. What is
called lawyer, in the common translation, conveys a wrong idea to
most readers: my old MS. renders the word in the same way I have
done. These teachers of the law were the same as the scribes, or
what Dr. Wotton calls letter-men, whom he supposes to be the same
as the Karaites, a sect of the Jews who rejected all the
traditions of the elders, and admitted nothing but the written
word. See Wotton's Mishna, vol. i. p. 78. These are allowed to
have kept more closely to the spiritual meaning of the law and
prophets than the Pharisees did; and hence the question proposed
by the lawyer, (Mark, Mr 12:28,
calls him one of the scribes,) or Karaite, was of a more spiritual
or refined nature than any of the preceding.
36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
36 Verse 36. Which is the great commandment] We see here three
kinds of enemies and false accusers of Christ and his disciples;
and three sorts of accusations brought against them.
1. The Herodians, or politicians and courtiers, who form
their questions and accusations on the rights of the prince, and
matters of state, Mt 22:16.
2. The Sadducees, or libertines, who found theirs upon matters of
religion, and articles of faith, which they did not credit,
3. The Pharisees, lawyers, scribes, or Karaites, hypocritical
pretenders to devotion, who found theirs on that vital and
practical godliness (the love of God and man) of which they wished
themselves to be thought the sole proprietors, Mt 22:36.
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
37 Verse 37. Thou shalt love the Lord] This is a subject of the
greatest importance, and should be well understood, as our Lord
shows that the whole of true religion is comprised in thus loving
God and our neighbour.
It may not be unnecessary to inquire into the literal meaning of
the word love. αγαπη, from αγαπαω, I love, is supposed to be
compounded either of αγαν and ποιειν, to act vehemently or
intensely; or, from αγεινκαταπαν, because love is always
active, and will act in every possible way; for he who loves is,
with all his affection and desire, carried forward to the beloved
object, in order to possess and enjoy it. Some derive it from
αγαν and παυεσθαι, to be completely at rest, or, to be
intensely satisfied; because he who loves is supremely contented
with, and rests completely satisfied in, that which he loves.
Others, from αγαν and παω, because a person eagerly embraces, and
vigorously holds fast, that which is the object of his love.
Lastly, others suppose it to be compounded of αγαω, I admire, and
παυομαι, I rest, because that which a man loves intensely he
rests in, with fixed admiration and contemplation. So that
genuine love changes not, but always abides steadily attached to
that which is loved.
Whatever may be thought of these etymologies, as being either
just or probable, one thing will be evident to all those who know
what love means, that they throw much light upon the subject, and
manifest it in a variety of striking points of view. The ancient
author of a MS. Lexicon in the late French king's library, under
the word αγαπη, has the following definition: ασπαστοςπροθεσις
επιτηφιλιατουφιλουμενουσομψυχια. "A pleasing surrender of
friendship to a friend:-an identity or sameness of soul." A
sovereign preference given to one above all others, present or
absent: a concentration of all the thoughts and desires in a
single object, which a man prefers to all others. Apply this
definition to the love which God requires of his creatures, and
you will have the most correct view of the subject. Hence it
appears that, by this love, the soul eagerly cleaves to,
affectionately admires, and constantly rests in God, supremely
pleased and satisfied with him as its portion: that it acts
from him, as its author; for him, as its master; and to him,
as its end. That, by it, all the powers and faculties of the mind
are concentrated in tho Lord of the universe. That, by it, the
whole man is willingly surrendered to the Most High: and that,
through it, an identity, or sameness of spirit with the Lord is
acquired-the man being made a partaker of the Divine nature,
having the mind in him which was in Christ, and thus dwelling in
God, and God in him.
But what is implied in loving God with all the heart, soul,
mind, strength, &c., and when may a man be said to do this? 1. He
loves God with all his heart, who loves nothing in comparison of
him, and nothing but in reference to him:-who is ready to give up,
do, or suffer any thing in order to please and glorify him:-who
has in his heart neither love nor hatred, hope nor fear,
inclination, nor aversion, desire, nor delight, but as they
relate to God, and are regulated by him.
2. He loves God with all his soul, or rather, ενολητηψυχη,
with all his life, who is ready to give up life for his sake-to
endure all sorts of torments, and to be deprived of all kinds of
comforts, rather than dishonour God:-who employs life with all its
comforts, and conveniences, to glorify God in, by, and through
all:-to whom life and death are nothing, but as they come from and
lead to God, From this Divine principle sprang the blood of the
martyrs, which became the seed of the Church. They overcame
through the blood of the Lamb, and loved not their lives unto the
death. See Re 12:11.
3. He loves God with all his strength (Mr 12:30; Lu 10:27) who
exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of
God:-who, for the glory of his Maker, spares neither labour nor
cost-who sacrifices his time, body, health, ease, for the honour
of God his Divine Master:-who employs in his service all his
goods, his talents, his power, credit, authority, and influence.
4. He loves God with all his mind (intellect-διανοια) who
applies himself only to know God, and his holy will:-who receives
with submission, gratitude, and pleasure, the sacred truths which
God has revealed to man:-who studies no art nor science but as far
as it is necessary for the service of God, and uses it at all
times to promote his glory-who forms no projects nor designs but
in reference to God and the interests of mankind:-who banishes
from his understanding and memory every useless, foolish, and
dangerous thought, together with every idea which has any tendency
to defile his soul, or turn it for a moment from the centre of
eternal repose. In a word, he who sees God in all things-thinks
of him at all times-having his mind continually fixed upon God,
acknowledging him in all his ways-who begins, continues, and ends
all his thoughts, words, and works, to the glory of his name:-this
is the person who loves God with all his heart, life, strength,
and intellect. He is crucified to the world, and the world to
him: he lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He beholds as
in a glass the glory of the Lord, and is changed into the same
image from glory to glory. Simply and constantly looking unto
Jesus, the author and perfecter of his faith, he receives
continual supplies of enlightening and sanctifying grace, and is
thus fitted for every good word and work. O glorious state! far,
far, beyond this description! which comprises an ineffable
communion between the ever-blessed Trinity and the soul of man!
38This is the first and great commandment.
38 Verse 38. This is the first and great commandment.] It is so,
1. In its antiquity, being as old as the world, and engraven
originally on our very nature.
2. In dignity; as directly and immediately proceeding front and
referring to God.
3. In excellence; being the commandment of the new covenant, and
the very spirit of the Divine adoption.
4. In justice; because it alone renders to God his due, prefers
him before all things, and secures to him his proper rank in
relation to them.
5. In sufficiency; being in itself capable of making men holy in
this life, and happy in the other.
6. In fruitfulness; because it is the root of all commandments,
and the fulfilling of the law.
7. In virtue and efficacy; because by this alone God reigns in
the heart of man, and man is united to God.
8. In extent; leaving nothing to the creature, which it does not
refer to the Creator.
9. In necessity; being absolutely indispensable.
10. In duration; being ever to be continued on earth, and never
to be discontinued in heaven.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
39 Verse 39. Thou shalt love thy neighbour] The love of our
neighbour springs from the love of God as its source; is found in
the love of God as its principle, pattern, and end; and the love
of God is found in the love of our neighbour, as its effect,
representation, and infallible mark. This love of our neighbour
is a love of equity, charity, succour, and benevolence. We owe to
our neighbour what we have a right to expect from him-"Do unto all
men as ye would they should do unto you," is a positive command of
our blessed Saviour. By this rule, therefore, we should speak,
think, and write, concerning every soul of man:-put the best
construction upon all the words and actions of our neighbour that
they can possibly bear. By this rule we are taught to bear with,
love, and forgive him; to rejoice in his felicity, mourn in his
adversity, desire and delight in his prosperity, and promote it to
the utmost of our power: instruct his ignorance, help him in his
weakness, and risk even our life for his sake, and for the public
good. In a word, we must do every thing in our power, through all
the possible varieties of circumstances, for our neighbours, which
we would wish them to do for us, were our situations reversed.
This is the religion of Jesus! How happy would Society be, were
these two plain, rational precepts properly observed! Love ME,
and love thy FELLOWS! Be unutterably happy in me, and be in
perfect peace, unanimity, and love, among yourselves. Great
fountain and dispenser of love! fill thy creation with this sacred
principle, for his sake who died for the salvation of mankind!
On the nature of self-love, see Mt 19:19.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
40 Verse 40. On these two-hang all the law and the prophets.]
They are like the first and last links of a chain, all the
intermediate ones depend on them. True religion begins and ends
in love to God and man. These are the two grand links that unite
God to man, man to his fellows, and men again to God.
Love is the fulfilling of the law, says St. Paul, Ro 13:10; for
he who has the love of God in him delights to obey the Divine
precepts, and to do all manner of kindness to men for God's sake.
41 ¶ While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
41 Verse 41. While the Pharisees were gathered together] Jesus
asks a question in his turn, utterly to confound them, and to show
the people that the source of all the captious questions of his
opponents was their ignorance of the prophecies relative to the
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
42 Verse 42. What think ye of Christ?] Or, What are your thoughts
concerning THE CHRIST-the Messiah; for to this title the emphatic
article should always be added.
Whose son is he?] From what family is he to spring?
They say unto him, The son of David.] This was a thing well
known among the Jews, and universally acknowledged, see Joh 7:42;
and is a most powerful proof against them that the Messiah is
come. Their families are now so perfectly confounded that they
cannot trace back any of their genealogies with any degree of
certainty: nor have they been capable of ascertaining the
different families of their tribes for more than sixteen hundred
years. Why, then, should the spirit of prophecy assert so often,
and in such express terms, that Jesus was to come from the family
of David; if he should only make his appearance when the public
registers were all demolished, and it would be impossible to
ascertain the family? Is it not evident that God designed that
the Messiah should come at a time when the public genealogies
might be inspected, to prove that it was he who was prophesied of,
and that no other was to be expected? The evangelists, Matthew
and Luke, were so fully convinced of the conclusiveness of this
proof that they had recourse to the public registers; and thus
proved to the Jews, from their own records, that Jesus was born of
the family mentioned by the prophets. Nor do we find that a
scribe, Pharisee, or any other, ever attempted to invalidate this
proof, though it would have essentially subserved their cause,
could they have done it. But as this has not been done, we may
fairly conclude it was impossible to do it.
43He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
43 Verse 43. How then doth David in spirit (or by the Spirit-by
the inspiration of the Spirit of God) call him Lord? saying,
44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
44 Verse 44. The Lord ( Yeve or Jehovah) said unto my
Lord, ( Adni or Adonai, my prop, stay, master,
support,) Sit thou on my right hand] Take the place of the
greatest eminence and authority. Till I make thine enemies thy
footstool-till I subdue both Jews and Gentiles under thee, and
cause them to acknowledge thee as their sovereign and Lord. This
quotation is taken from Ps 110:1; and, from it, these two points
are clear: 1. That David wrote it by the inspiration of God; and
2. That it is a prophetic declaration of the Messiah.
45If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
45 Verse 45. How is he his son?] As the Jews did not attempt to
deny the conclusion of our Lord's question, which was, the Messiah
is not only the son of David according to the flesh, but he is the
Lord of David according to his Divine nature, then it is evident
they could not. Indeed, there was no other way of invalidating
the argument, but by denying that the prophecy in question related
to Christ: but it seems the prophecy was so fully and so generally
understood to belong to the Messiah that they did not attempt to
do this; for it is immediately added, No man was able to answer
him a word-they were completely nonplussed and confounded.
46And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
46 Verse 46. Neither durst any-ask him any more questions.]
"Thus," says Dr. Wotton, "our Lord put the four great sects of the
Jews to silence, in one day, successively. The Herodians and
Pharisees wanted to know whether they might lawfully pay tribute
to Caesar or not. The Sadducees were inquisitive to know whose
wife the woman should be of the seven brethren, in the
resurrection, who had her to wife. Then comes the scribe, (or
karaite,) who owned no authority beyond or besides the written
law, and asked which was the great commandment in the law. This
lawyer deserves to be mentioned here, because he not only
acquiesced in, but commended, what our Lord had said in answer to
his question." Wotton's Miscellaneous Discourses, vol. i. p. 78.
The Pharisees and Herodians were defeated, Mt 22:15-22. The
Sadducees were confounded, Mt 22:29-33. The lawyers or karaites
nonplussed, Mt 22:37-40. And the Pharisees, &c., finally routed,
Thus did the wisdom of God triumph over the cunning of men.
From this time, we do not find that our Lord was any more
troubled with their captious questions: their whole stock, it
appears, was expended, and now they coolly deliberate on the most
effectual way to get him murdered. He that resists the truth of
God is capable of effecting the worst purpose of Satan.
The very important subjects of this chapter have been so amply
discussed in the notes, and applied so particularly to their
spiritual uses, that it does not appear necessary to add any thing
by way of practical improvement. The explanation of the great
command of the law is particularly recommended to the reader's
notice. See on Mt 22:36-40.