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An exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) online

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heart was shut against another, and he had no thought of
anything but of enjoying himself here. We cannot rea-
sonably doubt, but that he had some show of religion, and
sovnetimes said his prayers.

20. But God said unto him. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall
be required of thee : then whose shall those things be, whicli thou
hast provided ?

Let us think of what kind that happiness is, which a
man cannot be sure of retaining, even for one moment ;
let us consider whether or not God does not know best
who are fools. To whom shall thy goods go, when
thy possession of them and the enjoyment of them is
gone, and with them thy all for ever ?

21. Sols he that layeth up treasui-e for himself, and is not
rich toward God.

Who maketh anything his treasure, and gives the
streno-th of his heart to it instead of God.

22. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you.
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat ; neither for the
body, what ^^e shall put on.

The apostles were to depend wholly upon God for a
maintenance; others, in the way of their own endeavours,
without carking care, or anxiety. " Take no thought,"
means, take no uneasy, distrustful thought ; as if there was
no God, or no other world, of which we were to think.

23. The life is more than meat, and tlie body is more than rai-

VER. 31 — 48.] ST. LUKE. 257

24. Consider tlie ravens : for they neither sow nor reaj) ; vvhich
neitlier have storehouse nor barn ; and God feedeth them : how
much more are ye better than the fowls ?

2-5. And which of you with taking thought can add to his sta-
ture one cubit .''

26. If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why
take ye thought for the rest.'*

27. Consider the lilies how they grow : they toil not, they spin
not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these.

28. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field,
and to-morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe
you, O ye of little faith ?

29. And seek not ye what yc shall eat, or what ye shall drink,
neither be ye of doubtful mind.

Strictly speaking, " seek not ye what ye shall eat," was
said only to the disciples. " Neither be ye of doubtful
mind," as to the care of God, in his providence, for you, is
said to all.

30- For all these things do the nations of the world seek after :
and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

The world seek after all these things, as their treasure.
A worldly heart, in God*'s account, makes a heathen. If
we have a worldly heart, it is of little consequence what
we call ourselves, or in what part of the world we live, tl»e
estimate of God respecting us remains the same.


Chap. xii. ver. 31 — 48.


31. But rather seek ye (he kingdom of God ; and all these
things shall be added unto you.


258 ST. LUKE. [chap. XII.

Seek ye the kingdom of God, in the first place, and as
you seek nothing else. Resolve to have your lot in the
kingdom of God's grace here, by faith and obedience, that
you may be admitted into his everlasting kingdom in hea-
ven. Is it so indeed, now, while we are reading? O -Jesus,
speak this to our hearts ! For if thou art not our portion,
whatever we get, we lose all. " Food and raiment" shall
be added unto you. Christ engageth for nothing else : nor
indeed, for that, to the idle, or the thriftless.

32. Fear not, little flock ; for it is yonr Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.

How good a Father ! How precious a gift ! And what
are we, if we have not wills to receive this kingdom ?

33. Sell that ye have, and give aim:, ; provide yourselves bags
which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where
no thief approacheth, neither moth corriipteth.

The apostles had left all : and for special reasons, the
same would be required of some others, at that time ;
Acts ii. 45 ; iv, 34 ; but not of all, at all times, unless
when the poor cannot otherwise be relieved.

34. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And what then ? What if our hearts are in the world .?
Why, then we perish. We cannot love God.

35. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning ;

Stand always ready. The Jews wore their garments
long, and girt them up, when they were at work, or when
they went abroad ; hence the propriety of the image.

Never be off your watch, but let your lights be burning.
The bridegroom conducted his bride home in the night,
and the family were to have the house lighted for his re-

36. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord,
when he will return from the wedding : that when he cometh and
knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

The waiting is to be witii a degree of eager expecta-

VEIL 31—48.] ST. LUKE. 259

37. Blessed ave those servants, whom the lord when he conieth
shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird him-
self, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and
serve them.

See how pleased Christ is with his faithful servants.

38. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the
third watch, and find them so, blessed arc those servants.

39. And this know, that if the goodraan of the house had
known what hour the thief would have come, he would have watch-
ed, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40. Be ye therefore ready also : for the Son of man cometh at
an hour when ye think not.

We know not when Christ will come, or the hour of our
death. But we do know, that we must be ready for him ;
because we do not know when he will come ; and because
it will be a dreadful surprise to us, if we are not.

4 1. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable
unto us, or even to all ?

Christ signifies in his answer, that it was meant chiefly
for them, and other watchmen. But withal it is a lesson
of diligence, sobriety, and watchfulness, for all in their
christian vocation.

42. And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise
steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to
give them their portion of meat in due season ?

43. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall
find so doing.

44. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler
over all that he hath.

45. But and if that servant say in his heart. My lord delayeth
his coming ; and shall begin to beat the men-servants and maidens,
and to eat and drink, and to be drunken ;

40. The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh
not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him
in simder, and will a])p()int him his pcirlion with the unbelievers.

47. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared

260.. ST. LUKE. [chap. XII.

not himself, neither did according to his will, shall he beaten with
many stripes.

48. Biit he that knew not, and did commit tilings worthy of
stri])es, shall he beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever
much is given, of him much shall be required : and to whom men
have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

The man who knew not his lord's will, shall be beaten
with few stripes, if his defect of knowledge was not his
own fault : but not the man who might liave known, and
would not.


Chap, xii ver. 49 — 59-


49. I am come to send fire on the earth ; and what will I, if it
be already kindled ?

The fire of purification by the Holy Ghost : or of divi-
sion, according to what follows. "And what will I, if it be
already kindled ?"" For this end Christ came, and for what
had he farther to wish ?

50. But I have a baptism to be baptized with ; and how am
I straitened till it be accomplished !

This is the baptism of Christ's death. It Avas a bloody
one ; and yet, for the joy of our salvation, he was in pain
till the time came. Will nothing melt our stubborn
hearts ?

51. Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth ? I tell
you. Nay ; but rather division :

This sounds strange. Is not Christ the prince of peace ?
Does he not pronounce the peace-makers blessed ? And
does he not charge us to love our enemies .'' Yes; and none

VER. 49—59.] ST. LUKE. 261

can he his disciples, who are not at peace with all the
world. Nevertheless, his coming would cause great divi-
sions in the earth. He came to separate the good from the
bad, and make the good bear their testimony against the
bad. And the sure effect of this, on the part of the bad,
he knew would be quarrels and heart-burnings, hatred and

52. For from lieiioeforth llicre sliall be five in one house divided,
three against two, and two against three.

A man's nearest friends will sooner forgive him anything,
than his being in earnest in religion, and entering into the
true spirit of the gospel.

53. The father shall be divided against the son, and the sou
against the father : the mother against the daughtei", and the
daughter against the mother; the mother inlaw against her
daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in

Our Lord's assurance of the enmity which wicked men
will cherish against the good, is found true. St. Paul says,
'" all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecu-
tion." Let us count the cost, and bear the reproach of
Christ.- Edit.

54. And he said also to the people. When ye see a cloud rise
out of the west, straightway ye say. There cometh a shower; and
so it is.

55. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, Thrre will
be heat ; and it cometh to pass.

56. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the
earth ; but how is it that ye do not discern this time ?

They had, like many now, understanding and natural
discernn)ent enough, in anything but what it most concerns
them to know.

57. Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is
right ?

Why do ye not judge the good of peace; aiul more es-
pecially of being at peace with God ?

262 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIII.

58. When thou gotst with thine adversary to the magistrate, as
thou art in the way, give diUgence that tiiou mayest be deUvered
from him ; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver
thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

If any man has a just quarrel against thee, and much
more God, attend to the consequences, and make all up
without delay. Are you sure God has no quarrel against
you ?

59. I tell thee, thou shall not depart thence, till thou hast paid
the very last mite.

If hell is the prison, the sinner will never pay the last
mite. No payment can be made there.


Chap. xiii. ver. 1 — 9.


1. There were present at that season some that told him of the
Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

2. And Jesus answering said unto them. Suppose ye that these
Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suf-
fered such things ?

They did so think of them, and concluded that Christ
would think so too. But he, who knew what was in man,
instead of falling into this snare, turned short upon them
with a startling admonition, and sent them to their own

3. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise

Christ does not deny that those who perished were sin-
ners ; but only, not therefore^ greater sinners than others ;

VEH. 1 — 9.] ST. LUKE. 263

or perhaps, those who told him. Hence he says to them,
and in effect to us, " But except ye repent," that is, see
and feel your guilt in sin, and dread to continue in the
y)ractice of sin. Who are the persons who do not repent,
we ask, almost, one and all ? We ourselves. This may
seem hard to those who would be excused from repentance :
but what follows is harder : " Ye shall all likewise perish :"
— it may be, by some sore judgment in this world; as the
Jews did ; but if not, most certainly, for ever.

4. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and
slew them, think ye that ihey were sinners above all men that
dwelt in Jerusalem ?

5. I tell you. Nay ; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise

This is the end of all impenitent sinners. — Edit.

6. He spake also tliis parable : A certain man had a fig-tree
l)lanted in his vineyard ; and he came and sought fruit thereon,
and found none.

Christ spake this parable to convince them and others,
of God's patience, and of their doom, without repentance.

! come into the light of this parable, and know that God
is at a word with us all. The husbandman sought fruit on
the fig-tree; which may teach us, that man was as much
made for holiness, in the full exercise of love to God and
cliarity to men, as the fig-tree, or any other tree, to pro-
duce its proper fruit. " And found none." We have none
for Christ, till we come, by repentance, to the possession of
true faithj and a new nature by the Holy Spirit. A civil,
smooth life, from any other root, is not that fruit.

7. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, IJchold, these
three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none :
cut it down ; why cumbereth it the ground ?

How many times three years is it with many of us?
"And behold !" says he, wondering at the strangeness of
tlie matter. And may not God say of us, " What could

1 liave done for mv vinevard that I have not done in it ?

264 ST. LUKE. [chap. Xlll.

" Cut it down." It is just in God to pronounce this sen-
tence whenever he pleases. He defers it, however, in mercy.
If it is abused, his patience will have an end. What is all
the wisdom in the world to a feelino- of these truths in the
heart "^ '' Why cumbereth it the ground ?' Every one who
does not bring forth fruit unto God, is a burden to the

8. And he answering said unto Lim, Lord, let it alone this year
also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it;

9. And if it bear fruit, well : and if not, then after that thou
shalt cut it down.

We may imagine Christ himself thus interceding for us.
" Lord, let it alone, this year also." What, no more ! Per-
haps not so much as a year. God may have set us a
time, and a short one too, though we think nothing of it.
What has he not done to bring us into a fruit-bearing state .?
O that our souls may bear fruit ! O that they would in-
deed, then it will be well ! — " And if not, then after that
thou shalt cut it down." Christ pleads earnestly for us,
while there is time and hope. But if his labour is in vain,
he has not a word more to say in our behalf. He will give
us up to the justice of God, and be the executioner of it

Chap. xiii. ver. 10 — 22.


10. And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sab-

11. And, bcliold, there was a woman which had a spirit of iii-
finnity eighteen years, and was bowed logolhcr, and could in no
wise lift uj) herself.

VER. 10—22.] ST. LUKE. 265

To see ourselves in this condition, bowed down under a
load of sin, and spiritually disabled, makes us fit to expe-
rience Christ's healing power. Till then, we only mock
liim by calling to him for lielp.

12. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said
unto her. Woman, diou art loosed from thine infirmity.

Jesus saw her misery, and that was enough. He sees
ours, and is ready to relieve us the moment we turn to him
for it. Jesus called this woman, and has he not a call for
every one of us? Does he not speak aloud, "Thou art
loosed," in his gospel to all repenting sinners ?

13. And he laid liis hands on her : and immediately she was
made straight, and gloiified God.

We can then glorify God, when we do it from a sense of
our cure : not by the strength of our crooked natures.

14. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation,
because that Jesus liud healed on the sabbath day, and said unto
the people. There are six days in which men ought to work: in
them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

The law of the sabbath was rightly laid down, but he
ought to have known that works of mercy, and works of
necessity, are not any breach of the sabbath day.

15. The Lord then answered him, and said. Thou hypocrite,
doth not eacli one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass
from the stall, and lead him away to watering ?

Jesus calls him an hypocrite, for blaming what he could
not but allow in other cases, and what Christ tlid with so
much better reason.

16. And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan haih bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from
this bond on the sabbath day ?

It may be said, that she would have been no worse if her
cure had been j)ut off to another day. But help delayed,
is a degree of cruelty, and Christ was for losing no time.
Let us think iiow ready he is to help us, — how much worse

266 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIII

it is to have Satan's bvond upon our souls, and what a ha-
zard we run by letting him have power over us one day

17. And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were
ashamed : and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that
were done by him.

I pray God that we may from our own experience ! O
that we knew what glorious things he has had to do for us,
and in us ! What can it signify to us how many are the
better for him, if we are not ? Let us put the question
home ? What has Jesus done for me ? Has he taken me
out of my old state, and given me a power to become a
child of God ? Has he washed me from my sins in his
blood, purified my heart by his Spirit, and set me in the
way of his commandments ? Has he taught me to pray,
and to keep a daily watch over myself? Have I learned of
him to seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, in
the first place — to love God and man, — to deny myself and
die to the world, to be meek and lowly ?

Have I learned from him patience and resignation ?
When he does this for us, we shall have cause to rejoice.
Then he hath done glorious tilings indeed : he hath
brought down heaven into our hearts.

18. Then said he. Unto what is the kingdom of God like ? and
whereunto shall I resemble it ?

Here Jesus speaks of God's kingdom of grace under him-
self, as to its spreading and manner of working, in the
world, and in every single soul.

19. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast
into his garden ; and it grew, and waxed a great tree ; and the
fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

The comparison is between the smallness of the seed and
the greatness of the plant, which in the East grows to a
great height.

20. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of

VER. 23 — 35.] ST. LUKE. 267

21. It is like the leaven, wliicli a woman took and liid in three
measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

This by degrees turns the whole mass into its own kind
and nature. Observe, 1st, That the seed must be sown,
and the leaven must be put into our hearts : we have nei-
ther ourselves. 2ndly, A christian state is, and must be, a
progressive state. We do not attain all at once ; but if we
have the power and virtue of a seed, or Christ's leaven, in
us, we shall always be growing and working on towards

22. And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and
journeying toward Jerusalem.

By the mercy of God, we sit under his teaching, and
know that he went to Jerusalem to die for us.


Chap. xiii. ver. 23—35.


23. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that he saved?
And he said unto them,

24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate : for many, I say unto
you, will seek to enter in, and shall not he able.

Christ's answer to the question, " Are there few tliat be
saved ?" though not direct, implies that there are but few.
Let it sink down into our hearts, and let us be in pain for
ourselves. Christ bids us to strive earnestly, with deep
concern, and with all our might and main, in all manner of
ways. And why ? Because the gate is strait. If Christ
had not told us so, he would have deceived us. Not one
soul, however, shall be shutout, that seeks in earnest. But
the meaning is, that many would not be made able : many
would seek in a wrong way, and tiiink themselves qualified

268 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIII.

to enter in, when they are not. Alas ! how many ? Even all
who rest in an outward profession, vvithout that inward
change, which Christ came to work in them.

25. When once the master of the liouse is risen up, and hath
shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at
the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us ; and he shall answer
and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are :

26. 1'hen shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in
thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

What shall ive say ? What have we to say ? Lord, we
have been baptized, we have heard thy word preached ;
and we have sometimes come to the sacrament. And is
this all.'' Has Christ nothing to do with our hearts.'*

27. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are ;
depart from nie, all ye workers of iniquity.

As much as if he had said, notwithstanding your name,
and outward advantages, you do not belong to me. Have
we nothing to do with this ? " Depart from me, all ye
workers of iniquity." This is the true character of all
who are unrenewed in their hearts and natures, and lying
under a sentence of guilt and condemnation, whatever they
may think of themselves, or however they may appear to
men. This is the condition, till sin is opened to them in
its root, and brings them, in the exercises of faith and
repentance, to Christ for cleansing, and strength to do the
will of God.

28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teclh, when ye
shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in
the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Excluded, for not being the true children of Abraham,
in faith and obedience.

29. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and
from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the king-
dom of God.

The kingdom of God shall be preached to the Gentiles,

VEU. 23—35.] ST. LUKE. 2G9

and many in all parts of the world will believe to the
saving of their souls.

30. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there
are first which shall be last.

The Gentiles, though last called, shall be first in faith,
and in God's favour. "And there are first which shall be
last," the Jews, the first in covenant with God, but all un-
believers among them, shall be last, that is, finally rejected.

31. The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying
unto him. Get thee out, and depart hence : for Herod will kill thee.

They thought to terrify him with this, and to make him
fly. His answer shows that he knew his danger, and would
not be frightened by it from following on his work. He
knew too that his danger was more from themselves, than

32. And he said unto them. Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I
cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the
third day I shall be perfected.

Christ spoke this of Herod as a prophet, and he does not
hereby authorize any to speak disrespectfully of princes.

" And the third day I shall be ])erfected ;"" that is, within
a few days. This he would attain by finishing the work
which he came to do, and by his perfect obedience unto
death for our redemption. O blessed Jesus ! Perfected !
Crucified as a malefactor ! What an opening is this of thy
heart of love ! What thanks can we render to thee for thy
unspeakable goodness to us .''

33. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the
day following : for it cannot be that a prophet jierisli out of Jeru-

They of Jerusalem had been so notorious for killing
them, that it could hardly be the case that a prophet sliould
perish elsewhere: so that he was safe elsewhere, till he
came there.

34. O JiMusalent, .Terusalem, which killest the prophets, and

270 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIV.

stonest them that are sent unto thee ; how often would I have ga-
thered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under
her wings, and ye would not !

This is, indeed, a familiar and lively image of his tender
concern, even for that blood-thirsty nation, and especially
that generation. How loudly and compassionately does he
here call to us ! O why are we not saved ? Why do we
perish under so great mercy ? He tells us, " Ye would

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 19 of 39)