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OF THE




I II |ALBAI*CRbrT&



ms

EXPOSITORY THOUGHTS
m THE GOSPELS.






FOR B'AMILY AND PRIVATE USE



WITH THE TEXT COMPLET



BY THE REV. J. C. RYLE, B.A.,



RECTOR OF HELMINGIIAM, SUFFOLK ;

AUTHOR OF "LIVING OR DEAD," " WHEAT OB CHAFF," " STARTLING QUESTIONS,'
"RICH OR POOR," "PRIEST, PURITAN, AND PREACHER," ETC.



ST. MATTHEW.





NEW YOKE:
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,

530 BROADWAY.



1860,



>s



stf






STEREOTYPED BT S.B. THOMSON, PRINTED BY

THOMAS B. SMITH, BINDER, E.O. JENKINS

82 A 84 Beekman-street. 82 & 84 Beekman^t. 26 Frankfort-it.



PREFACE.

In sending forth the first volume of a new expository
work upon the Gospels, I feel it necessary, in order to
prevent misapprehension, to offer some explanation of
the character and design of the work.

The " Expository Thoughts," which are now before
the reader, are not a learned, critical commentary. I
do not profess to expound every verse of the Gospels,
grapple with every difficulty, attempt the solution of
every hard text, and examine every disputed reading or
translation.

The " Expository Thoughts" are not a continuous
and homiletic exposition, containing practical remarks
on every verse, like the commentaries of Brentius and
Gualter.

The plan I have adopted in drawing up the " Expos-
itory Thoughts" is as follows. I have divided the sacred
text into sections or passages, averaging about twelve
verses in each. I have then supplied a continuous
series of short, plain " Expositions" of each of these



IV PREFACE.

passages. In each Exposition I have generally begun
by stating as briefly as possible the main scope and
purpose of the passage under consideration. I have
then selected two, three, or. four prominent points in
the passage, singled them out from the rest, dwelt ex-
clusively on them, and endeavored to enforce them
plainly and vigorously on the reader's attention. The
points selected will be found to be sometimes doctrinal,
and sometimes practical. The only rule in selection has
been to seize on the really leading points of the passage.
In style and composition I frankly avow that I have
studied, as far as possible, to be plain and pointed, and
to choose what an old divine calls "■ picked and packed"
words. I have striven to place myself in the position
of one who is reading aloud to others, and must arrest
their attention, if he can. I have said to myself in
writing each Exposition, " I am addressing a mixed
Company, and I have but a short time." Keeping this
in view, I have constantly left unsaid many things that
might have been said, and have endeavored to dwell
chiefly on the things needful to salvation. I have de-
liberately passed over many subjects of secondary
importance, in order to say something that might strike
and stick in consciences. I have felt that a few points,
well remembered and fastened down, are better than a



PREFACE. V

quantity of truth lying loosely and thinly scattered over
the mind.

A few foot-notes explaining difficult passages, have
occasionally been added to the exposition. I have
thought it good to add these notes for the information
of readers, who may feel a wish to know what can be
said about the "deep things" of Scripture, and may
have no commentary of their own. If the reading
public should ever demand another edition of the work,
the number of these foot-notes will probably be much
increased.

I cannot, of course, expect that the opinions ex-
pressed in these expositions, whether about doctrine,
practice, or prophecy, will be satisfactory and acceptable
to every one. I can only say, I have spoken out freely,
and kept back nothing that seemed to me true. I have
set down nothing but what I conscientiously believe to
be the real meaning of the inspired writer, and the mind
of the Spirit. I have always held that truth is most
likely to be reached, when men on all sides conceal
nothing, but tell out all their minds. Right or wrong,
I have endeavored to tell out my own mind. It is my
firm conviction, that I have said nothing in these ex-
positions which is not in perfect harmony with the
thirty-nine articles of my own church, and does not



VI PREFACE.

agree in the main with all the Protestant confessions of
faith. The words of an old divine will explain the kind
of theology, to which I ever desire to conform ; — u I
know no true religion but Christianity ; no true Chris-
tianity but the doctrine of Christ ; of His divine person,
(Col. i. 15.) of His divine office, (1 Tim. ii. 5.) of His
divine righteousness, (Jer. xxiii. 6.) and of His divine
Spirit, which all that are His receive. (Rom. viii. 9.) I
know no true ministers of Christ but such as make it
their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ,
in His saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith
and love of men. I know no true Christian, but one
united to Christ by faith, and abiding in Him by faith
and love, to the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ,
in the beauties of gospel holiness. Ministers and Chris-
tians of this spirit, have for many years been my
brethren and companions, and I hope ever shall be,
whithersoever the hand of the Lord may lead me." —
Traill's Preface to Throne of Grace.

I am deeply sensible of the many imperfections and
defects of the volume which is now sent forth. No one
perhaps will see them more clearly than I do myself.
At the same time, I think it only fair to say, that no
exposition in this volume has been composed without
deliberate reflection, and laborious examination of other



PREFACE. VU

men's opinions. There are very few passages handled
in these expositions, concerning which I have not at
least looked at the views of the following writers : —
Ch^sostom, Augustine, Theophylact, Euthymius, Cal-
vin, Brentius, Bucer, Musculus, Gualter, Beza, Bullinger,
Pellican, Calovius, Cocceius, Baxter, Poole, Hammond,
Lightfoot, Hall, Du Veil, Whitby, Piscator, Paraeuse,
Ferus, Jansenius, Leigh, Ness, Mayer, Trapp, Henry,
Gill. Doddridge, Burkitt, Quesnel, Bengel, Scott, A.
Clarke, Pearce, Adams, Watson, Olshausen, Alford,
Barnes, Stier. I can say, that I have spent hours,
days, and weeks in examining the opinions of these
writers, and that when I differ from them, it is not be-
cause I do not know their views.

Commentaries and Expositions of Scripture are so
numerous in the present day, that I feel it necessary to
say something as to the class of readers whom I have
specially had in view in putting forth these Expository
Thoughts.

In the first place, I indulge the hope, that the work
may be found suitable for use at family prayers. The
supply of works adapted for this purpose has never yet
been equal to the demand.

In the next place, I cannot help hoping that the work
may prove an aid to those ivho visit the sick and the poor.



Vlll PREFACE.

The number of persons who visit hospitals, sick-rooms,
and cottages, with an earnest desire to do spiritual
good, is now very great. There is reason to believe
that proper books for reading on such occasions are
much wanted.

Last, but not least, I trust that the work may not be
found unprofitable for private reading, as a companion to
the Gospels. There are not a few whose callings and
engagements make it impossible for them to read large
commentaries and expositions of God's Word. I have
thought that such may find it helpful to their memories
to have a few leading points set before their minds, in
connection with what they read.

I now send forth the volume with an earnest prayer,
that it may tend to the promotion of pure and undefiled
religion, help to extend the knowledge of Christ, and
be a humble instrument in aid of the glorious work of
converting and edifying immortal souls.

J. C.RYLE.

Helmingham Rectory,
December, 1856.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



Matthew. page

I. 1 — 17. The genealogy of Christ. ... 1
18 — 25. The incarnation and name of Christ. . . 5

II. 1—12. The wise men from the East .... 9
13 — 23. The flight into Egypt, — and subsequent abode

at Nazareth 13

III. 1—12. The ministry of John the Baptist ... It
13— 17. The baptism of Christ 21

IV. 1—11. The temptation 24

12 — 25. The beginning of Christ's ministry, and the

calling of the first disciples .... 2*7

V. 1—12. The beatitudes ...... 31

13 — 20. The character of true Christians, and the con-
nection between the teaching of Christ and

the Old Testament 35

21 — 37. Spirituality of the law proved by three ex-
amples 39

38 — 48. The Christian law of love set forth. . . 43
VX 1 — 8. Ostentation in almsgiving and prayer for-
bidden 46

9 — 1 5. The Lord's prayer, and the duty of forgiving

one another . . . . . .49

16 — 24. The right manner of fasting, — treasure in

heaven, — the single eye .... 55

25 — 34. Over- carefulness about this world forbidden . 58

VII. 1 — 11. Censoriousness forbidden, — prayer encouraged 61
12 — 20. The rule of duty towards others, — the two

gates, — warning against false prophets . 65
21 — 29. Uselessness of profession without practice, —

the two builders 69

VIII. 1 — 15. Miraculous healing of a leprosy, a palsy, and

a fever .... ... 72



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



yni.


16— 27.




28—34.


IX.


1—13.




14—26.




27—37.


X.


1—15.




16—23.




24—33.




34—42.


XI.


1—15.




16—24.




25—30.


XII.


1—13.




14—21.




22—37.




38—50.







XIII.


1—23.




24—43.




44—50.




51—58.


XIV.


1—12.




13—21.




22—36.



PAG*



Christ's wisdom in dealing with professors,
the storm on the lake calmed

The devil cast out of a man in the country of
the Gergesenes .80

A palsied man healed, — the calling of Mat-
thew the publican

New wine and new bottles, — the ruler's
daughter raised to life

Two blind men healed, — Christ's compassion
on the multitude, — the duty of disciples

The sending forth of the first Christian
preachers

Instructions to the first Christian preachers .

Warnings to the first Christian preachers

Cheering words to the first Christian preachers

Christ's testimony about John the Baptist

Unreasonableness of unbelievers exposed, —
danger of not using the light

Greatness of Christ, — fulness of Gospel invi-
tations 115

The true doctrine of the Sabbath cleared
from Jewish error

Wickedness of the Pharisees, — encouraging
description of Christ's character .

Blasphemy of Christ's enemies, — sins against
•knowledge, — idle words ....

Power of unbelief, — danger of imperfect and
incomplete reformation, — Christ's love to
His disciples

Parable of the sower

Parable of the wheat and tares

Parables of the treasure, the pearl, and the net

Christ's treatment in His own country, —
danger of unbelief

Martyrdom of John the Baptist .

Miracle of the loaves and fishes

Christ walking on the sea



76



33



90

94

98

101

105

108

112



121



124



128



134
140
145
150

154
158
161
166



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



XI



Matthew-


XT.


1—9.




10—20.




21—28.




29—39.


XVI.


1—12.




13—20.




21—23.




24—28.


XVII.


1—13.




14—21.




22—27.


XVIII. * 1—14.



XIX.



XX.



XXI.



XXII



15—20.

21—35.
1—15.

16—22.
23—30.

1—16.
17—23.



24—28.

29—34.

1—11.

12—22.

23—32.

33—46.

1—14.
1 5—22.



PAGE

Hypocrisy of Scribes and Pharisees, — danger

of traditions 170

False teachers, — the heart the source of sin . 175
The Canaanitish mother . . . .179
Christ's miracles of healing . . . .183
Enmity of the Scribes and Pharisees, —
Christ's warning against them . . .187

Peter's noble confession 192

Peter rebuked 198

Necessity of self-denial, — value of the soul . 201
The Transn>urat'on 204



The young man possessed with a devil healed 210
The fish and the tribute money . . .214
Necessity of conversion and humility, — reality

of hell 218

Rule for settling differences among Christians,

— nature of Church discipline . . . 224

Parable of the unforgiving servant . . . 228
Christ's judgment about divorces, — Christ's

tenderness to little children . . . 232

The rich young man 237

Danger of riches, — encouragement to forsake

all for Christ 241

Parable of the laborers in the vineyard . . 245
Christ's announcement of His coming death,

— mixture of ignorance and faith in true

disciples 250

True standard of greatness among Christians . 255
Healing of two blind men . " . . .259

Christ's public entry into Jerusalem . . 262
Christ casting the buyers and sellers out of

the temple, — the barren fig-tree . . . 267
Christ's reply to the Pharisees demanding His

authority, — the two sons . . . .271

Parable of the wicked husbandmen . . 275

Parable of the great supper .... 279

The Pharisees' question about paying tribute 283



Xll



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



Matthew
XXII. 23—33.

34—46.



XXIII. 1—12.
13—33.

34—39.

XXIV. 1—14.

15—28.

29—35.

36—51.



XXV.



XXVI.



1—13.
14—30.
31—46.

1—13.
14—25.
26—35.
36—46.
47—56.



57—68.
69—75.

XXVII. 1—10.
11—26.
27—44.

45—46.
47—66.

XXVIII. 1—11.
12—20.



PAGE

The Sadducees' question about the resurrection 288
The Lawyer's question about the great com-
mandment, — Christ's question to His ene-
mies 292

Christ's warning against the teaching of the

Scribes and Pharisees . . . .296
Eight charges against the Scribes and Phari-
sees 300

Christ's last public words to the Jews . .306
Prophecy on the mount of Olives, — about the
destruction of Jerusalem, — Christ's second
coming, and the end of the world . .311
Prophecy continued, about miseries to come

at the first and second sieges of Jerusalem . 316
Second advent of Christ described . . . 321
Time just before second advent described, and

watchfulness enjoined 325

Parable of the ten virgins . . . .330

Parable of the talents 335

Last judgment 340

The woman who anointed our Lord's head . 345
The false apostle, amd his besetting sin . . 349
The Lord's supper and the first communicants 354
The agony in the garden .... 361
The false apostle's kiss, — the voluntary sub-
mission of Christ 366

Christ before the Jewish council . . .370
Peter's denial of his Master . . . .374
The end of Judas Iscariot . . . .378
Christ condemned before Pilate . . . 384
Christ's sufferings in the hands of the soldiers,

and crucifixion 388

Christ's death, and signs accompanying it . 393
Christ's burial, and vain precautions of His
enemies to prevent His resurrection . . 398

Christ's resurrection 402

Christ's parting charge to His disciples . . 407



EXPOSITORY THOUGHTS

ON THE GOSPELS.



MATTHEW I. 1—17.



1 The book of the generation of
Jesus Christ, the son of David, the
son of Abraham.

2 Abraham begat Isaac ; and Isaac
begat Jacob ; and Jacob begat Judas
and his brethren ;

3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara
of Thamar ; and Phares begat Esrom ;
and Esrom begat Aram ;

4 And Aram begat Aminadab ; and
Aminadab begat Naasson ; and Naas-
bou begat Salmon ;

5 And Salmon begat Booz of Ka-
chab ; and Booz begat Obed of Enth ;
and Obed begat Jesse ;

6 And Jesse begat David the king ;
and David the king begat Solomon of
her that had ieen the wife of Urias ;

7 And Solomon begat Eoboam ; and
Eoboam begat Abia ; and Abia begat
Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and
Josaphat begat Joram ; and Joram
begat Ozias ;

9 And Ozias begat Joatham ; and
Joatham begat Achaz ; and Achaz be-
gat Ezekias ;



10 And Ezekias begat Manasses;
and Manasses begat Amon , and Amon
begat Josias ;

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and
his brethren, about the time they
were carried away to Babylon :

12 And after they were brought to
Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel;
and Salathiel begrat Zorobabel ;

13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud ; and
Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim
begat Azor ;

14 And Azor begat Sadoc; andSadoo
begat Achim ; and Achim begat Eliud ;

15 And Eliud begat Elea/ar; and
Eleazar begat Matthau ; and Matthan
begat Jacob ;

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the
husband of Mary, of whom was born
Jesus, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations, from
Abraham to David, are fourteen gen-
erations ; and from David, until the
carrying away into Babylon, are four-
teen generations ; and from the carry-
ing away into Babylon unto Christ,
are fourteen generations.



These verses begin the New Testament. Let us always
read thern with serious and solemn feelings. The book
before us contains not the word of men, but of God.
Every verse in it was written by inspiration of the Holy
Ghost.



2 EXPOSITORY THOUGHTS.

Let us thank God daily for giving us the Scriptures.
The poorest Englishman who understands his Bible,
knows more about religion than the wisest philosophers
of Greece and Eome.

Let us remember our deep responsibility. We shall
all be judged at the last day according to our light. To
whomsoever much is given , of them much will be required.

Let us read our Bibles reverently and diligently, with
an honest determination to believe and practise all we
find in them. It is no light matter how we use this
book. Eternal life or death depends on the spirit in
which it is used.

Above all let us humbly pray for the teaching of the
Holy Spirit. He alone can apply truth to our hearts,
and make us profit by what we read.

The New Testament begins with the life, death, and
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. No part of the
Bible is so important as this, and no part is so full and
complete. Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of
Christ's doing and dying. Four times over we read the
precious account of His works and words. How thankful
we ought to be for this ! To know Christ is life eternal.
To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To
follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To^bewith
Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too
much about Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of St. Matthew begins with a long list of
names. Sixteen verses are taken up with tracing a
pedigree from Abraham to David, and from David to the
family in which Jesus was born. Let no one think that
these verses are useless. Nothing is useless in creation.



MATTHEW, CHAP. I. 6

The least mosses, and the smallest insects, serve some good
end. Nothing is useless in the Bible. Every word of it
is inspired. The chapters and verses which seem at first
sight unprofitable, are all given for some good purpose,
Look again at these sixteen verses, and you will see in
them useful and instructive lessons.

Learn from this list of names, that God always keeps
His word. He had promised, that in Abraham's seed
all the nations of the earth should be blessed. He had
promised to raise up a Saviour of the family of David,
(Gen. xii. 3 ; Isaiah xi. 1.) These sixteen verses prove,
that Jesus was the son of David and the son of Abra-
ham, and that God's promise was fulfilled. — Thoughtless
and ungodly people should remember this lesson, and be
afraid. Whatever they may think, God will keep His
word. If they repent not, they will surely perish. — True
Christians should remember this lesson, and take comfort.
Their Father in heaven will be true to all His engage-
ments. He has said, that He will save all believers in
Christ. If He has said it, He will certainly do it. " He
is not a man that He should lie." " He abideth faith-
ful : He can not deny Himself." (2 Tim. ii. 13.)

Learn next from this list of names the sinfulness and
corruption of human nature. Observe how many godly
parents in this catalogue had wicked and ungodly sons.
The names of Roboam, and Joram, and Amon, and Jecho-
nias, should teachus humbling lessons. They had all pious
fathers. But they were all wicked men. Grace does not
run in families. It needs something more than good
examples and good advice to make us children of God.
They that are born again are not born of blood, nor of



4 EXPOSITORY THOUGHTS.

the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John i. 13.) Praying parents should pray night and
day, that their children may be born of the Spirit.

Learn lastly from this list of names, how great is the
mercy and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think
how defiled and unclean our nature is ; and then think
what a condescension it was in Him to be born of a
woman, and " made in the likeness of men." Some of the
names we read in this catalogue remind us of shameful
and sad histories. Some of the names are those of per-
sons never mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. But at the
end of all comes the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Though He is the eternal God, He humbled Himself to
become man, in order to provide salvation for sinners.
" Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor."

We should always read this catalogue with thankful
feelings. We see here that no one who partakes of
human nature can be beyond the reach of Christ's
sympathy and compassion. Our sins may have been as
black and great as those of any w 7 hom St. Matthew
names. But they can not shut us out of heaven, if we
repent and believe the gospel. If Jesus was not ashamed
to be born of a woman, whose pedigree contained such
names as those we have read to-day, we need not think
that He will be ashamed to call us brethren, and to give
us eternal life.



MATTHEW I. 18—25.



18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ
was on this wise. When as his mother
Mary was espoused to Joseph, before
they came together, she was found
with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being
a just man, ana not willing to make
her a public example, was minded to
put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these
things, behold, the angel of the Lord
appeared unto him in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou son of David, fear not
to take unlo thee Mary thy wife : for
that which is conceived in her is of
the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a sou,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS :



for he shall save his people from their
sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it
might be fulfilled which was spoken
of the Lord by the prophet, say-
ing,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with
child, and shall bring forth a son, and
they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with
us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from
sleep, did as the angel of the Lord
had bidden him, and took unto him
his wife :

25 And knew her not till she had
brought forth her firstborn son : and
he called his name JESUS.



These verses begin by telling us two great truths. They
tell us how the Lord Jesus Christ took our nature upon
Him, and became man. They tell us also that His birth
was miraculous. His mother Mary was a virgin.

These are very mysterious subjects. They are depths,
which we have no line to fathom. They are truths, which
we have not mind enough to comprehend. Let us not
attempt to explain things which are above our feeble
reason. Let us be content to believe with reverence, and
not speculate about matters which we cannot understand.
Enough for us to know, that with Him who made the
world nothing is impossible. Let us rest in the words
of the Apostles' Creed : " Jesus Christ was conceived
by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary."

Let us observe the conduct of Joseph described in these
verses. It is a beautiful example of godly wisdom, and
tender consideration for others. He saw the " appear-
ance of evil" in her who was his espoused wife. But he
djid nothing rashly. He waited patiently to have the



EXPOSITORY THOUGHTS.

line of duty made clear. In all probability he laid the
matter before God in prayer. u He that believeth shall
not make haste." (Isaiah xxviii. 16.)

The patience of Joseph was graciously rewarded. He
received a direct message from God upon the subject of
his anxiety, and was at once relieved from all his fears.
How good it is to wait upon God ! Who ever cast his
cares upon God in hearty prayer, and found him fail ? J
" In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct
thy paths." (Pro v. iii. 6.)

Let us observe the tivo names given to our Lord in these
verses. One is Jesus : the other Emmanuel. One de-
scribes His office ; the other His nature. Both are
deeply interesting.

The name Jesus means " Saviour." It is the same
name as Joshua in the Old Testament. It is given to
our Lord because " He saves His people from their sins."
This is His special office. He saves them from the guilt



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