Thomas Adam.

An exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) online

. (page 22 of 39)
Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 22 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the kingdom of God is within you.

It should be ; in the hidden man of the heart ; or amon-
you : Christ is come, and witii him the kingdom of God,
though you discern it not. We know and believe he is

298 ST. LUKE. [chap, XVII.

come; but in vain, if we are strangers to the inward
power of his kingdom.

22. Aud he said unto the disciples. The days will come, when
ye shall desire to see one of the da^'s of the Son of man, and ye
shall not see it.

Ye of the Jewish nation, and he here means the unbe-
lieving part of it: these would have sad occasion to lament
their rejection of Christ. This is said to us as well as to
them, and is a warning to all to improve their day.

23. And they shall say to you. See here ; or, see there : go not
after them, nor follow them.

They will be deceivers : the true Christ will be gone.

24. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part
under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven ; so shall
also the Son of man be in his day.

The coming of Christ to judgment ; and before that,
his coming to destroy their city and nation. And both of
them will be like the lightning, which is general, sudden,
and only discoverable, just at the moment of its appear-

25. But first nnist he suifer many things, and be rejected of this

O let tis not reject him! He died that we might not.
But if we do not receive him into our hearts, we are of that
generation, and should have joined with it in condemning

26. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the
days of the Son of man.

This includes all the time from his first to his last
coming. Both his coming to take vengeance on the Jews,
and his coming to judgment at the end of the world, will
be as sudden, unexpected, and as little prepared for by the
generality, as the flood was.

27. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were
given in maniagc, until the day that Noe entered into the ark ;
and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

VER. 20—37.] ST. LUKE. 2;)9

They did, and thought of nothing else than their worldly
interests and pleasures. Let us be instructed, and let all
within us give way to the light of scripture. Some will
say, were not these things both lawful and necessary ? Yes ;
but let us learn from hence that the business of this world
isneither ours only, nor our great concern in it; and that
if we give ourselves wholly up to it, to the neglect of our
souls, though in never so prudent, sober, and reputable a
way, we are undone, and live only to perish for ever.

2S. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot ; they did eat,
ihey drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded ;

29. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire
and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30. Even so shall it be in the day when the Son of man is

We may not live to see, and be surprised by that day.
Death is, however, coming to every one of us ; and yet
most men die suddenly. Even sickness does not give us
warning, and we think of nothing, almost to the last gasp,
but living on.

3 1. In that day he that shall be upon the bouse-tu]), and his stud'
in the house, let him not come down to take it away : and he that
is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

" In that day," chiefly of his coming to the destruction
of Jerusalem, which is past, and does not so much concern
us. But we are greatly concerned to carry our thoughts on
to his last coming, of which that was a sign, and to consider
in what state of preparation we are for the event. The
meaning of the caution in the latter part of the verse is,
that they were to make haste for their lives, and to make
their escape, not liaving a moment to lose. Have we ?

32. Remember Lot's wife.

She perished for looking back to Sodom. Her licart
was in that look. No sin is little there. God sees this
hour which way ours look.

300 ST. LUKE. [chap. XVIIl.

33. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it ; and who-
soever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

He, who shall seek to save his life, by cleaving to the
world in opposition to the will of God, shall lose it for
ever. " And whosoever shall lose his life," to keep a good
conscience, shall preserve it to life eternal.

34. I tell you, in that night there shall he two men in one bed ;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.

The one shall be taken to God, and the other left to
eternal perdition. Here is work for thought! Who can
help asking, Lord, is it I ? If my soul should be required
of me this night, shall I be thus left.''

35. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be
taken, and the other left.

36. Two men shall be in the field ; the one shall be taken, and
the other left.

37. And they answered and said unto him. Where, Lord ? And
he said unto them. Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles
be gathered together.

Wherever, and whenever, men are dead to God, judg-
ment will seize them, as certainly as eagles flock to their


Chap, xviii. ver. 1 — 8.


1. And he si)akc a parable to them to this end, that men ought
always to pray, and not to taint ;

It is soon enough to give over praying, when we have
no wants, nor any work to do, or resolve to have nothing
more to do with God. A sense of our dependence and
weakness would as naturally drive us to prayer, as a

VER. 1 — 8.] ST. LUKE. 301

drowning man calls out for help. Look here for a proof
of your state, and do not conclude upon the outward life
though never so decent. What are we in this respect?
Do we, can we pray in secret, from the heart, from what we
feel, as we would for relief from bodily pain, or worldly
trouble, and knowing that we must be undone, if we have
not what we ask for, namely, remission of sins, and strengtii
to do the will of God, as taught by Christ.'* O that we
knew what it is to be Christians !

2. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God,
neither regarded man ;

3. And there was a widow in that city ; and she came unto
him, saying. Avenge me of mine adversary.

This was a helpless, poor woman. Think what the soul
is without God.

4. And he would not for a while : but afterward he said within
himself, Thougli I fear not God^ nor regard man :

5. Yet because ibis widow troubletli me, I will avenge her, lest
by her continual coming she weary me.

6. And the liord said. Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and
night unto him, though he bear long with them ?

" And shall not God," who hears prayer, who gives us
the will to pray, and who wants nothing else from us ?
The rest is his work. Observe the character of the elect,
or saints : they cry day and night ; and here especially they
are represented as crying, for help in trouble, and deliver-
ance from their persecutors. The elect pray for the con-
version of all. But if men will be still their own enemies,
they know it is righteous with God to take vengeance upon
them ; and as they are conformed to the will of God in all
things, they can give them wyt to his justice.

" Though he bear long with them," his delay is not a
denial. No true prayer is ever lost.

8. I tell you that ho will avenge them sjieedily.

When his own time comes, suddenly, unexpectedly: aiul

302 ST. LUKE. [chap. XVIII.

whenever it comes, it will be speedily, whether in this world
or the next, for those on whom his vengeance falls.

8. Nevertheless when the Son of man couieth, shall he find
faith on the earth ?

There is little enough at all times to make us think his
cominfT cannot be far off to some of us. Let us take no-
tice that without prayer there is no faith. It is the na-
tural working of the new life that we receive from God,
and the very breath by which it is preserved.


Chap, xviii. ver. 9 — 14-


9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trtisted in
themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others.

The design of the former parable was to put us upon
constant, unceasing prayer ; of this, to teach us how to pray,
in humility, and with a deep sense of our unworthiness.

10. Two men went up into the temple to pray ; the one a Pha-
risee, and the other a puhlican.

The former a man of great outward strictness : the latter
a man of infamous character, but now convinced of his sin.

11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I
thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust,
adulterers, or even as this puhlican.

This was a boast, and not a prayer. You are to suppose
that what he said was true. Here was a fair account of his
duty to God and man, and more than even you pretend
to. But still there was no confession. He had his eye
only upon his goodness, such as it was. He had forgotten
the pride of his heart. IMen say they do no harm, live

VER. 9—14.] ST. LUKE. 303

quietly and civilly, wipe their mouths clean, and rip up
their neighbours' characters ; and what is this, but saying
and supposing that tliey are not like other men "i AVe niav
hold to this if we please; but let us remember that heaven
is shut against our prayers. God sees us, not what we are
in respect of others, but what we are to him, and his whole
law in the heart. Let us look there, if we would know

12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13. And the jjublican, standing afar off, would not lift up so
much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying,
God be merciful to me a sinner.

" The publican stood afar off." Holy, infinite God !
How can we poor worms of the earth, sinful dust and
ashes, do otherwise than stand at an humble, awful distance
from thee ! Though he dared not lift up his eyes, he
looked the right way ; and besides, he looked v/here most
men never look, into his own heart.

He " smote upon his breast ;" but his heart had smote him
first. He knew where his pain was, and laid his hand
upon it.

His cry was, " God be merciful to me a sinner." This
is a hard prayer: but till we come to it, we cannot come
to Christ. I had rather say it truly than be the owner of
the world.

14. I tell you, this man went down to liis house justified rather
than the other :

One was, and the other was not, justified. You see tiie
way -, and that a proud heart cannot be in it. Do men say
their hearts are not jiroud ? They have said enough to
show that they are jiitkien from them to this hour.

14. For every one that cxaltcth himself shall be abased ;

By an haughty comparison of himself with others, or
taking anything of what he is in his best estate to himself,
without giving the whole glory of it to God. " Shall be

304 ST. LUKE. [chap. XVIII.

abased," he is nothing in God's sight. That is, utterly

14. And he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

He that humbleth himself as a creature and a sinner :
and no man humbleth himself too much. The more
liumble he is, the higher he shall be exalted.

Chap, xviii. ver. 15 — 30.


15. And they brought unto him also infants, that he would
touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

Jesus knew better ; and as his manner was, took occa-
sion from hence to raise an useful lesson of instruction for

16. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer litde
children to come unto me, and forbid them not : for of such is the
kingdom of God.

Jesus commands them to come to him in baptism now,
since they are not less capable of a blessing now, than
they were then. For, of such as resemble them in free-
dom from malice, in simplicity, and oneness of desire, " is
the kingdom of God."

17. Verily 1 say unto you. Whosoever shall not receive the
kingdom of God as a little child shall in nowis^e enter therein.

As a little child does its food, having no other appetite ;
and afterwards instruction, without disputing. So we
must learn of Christ. So our great desire must be to the
kingdom of God.

18. And a certain ruler asked him, saying. Good Master, what
shall I do to inherit eternal life ?

VER. 15 — 30.] ST. LUKE. 305

He thought of nothing but meriting heaven by his
works. Christ takes him in his own way, and tries him to
the truth.

19. And Jesus said unto him. Why callest thou me good ? none
is good, save one, that is, God.

As if he had said, Thou dost not know who I am, why
then dost thou call me good ? There is none good, and
therefore, not thou thyself. Thou art not good enough
of thyself for heaven, whatever thou thinkest.

20. Thou knowest the comniandnients. Do not commit adultery.
Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy
father and thy mother.

21. And he said. All these have I kept from my youth up.

Supposing he had been correct in this assertion, which
was not the case, one step more must be taken, or he
could never set his foot in heaven. Alas ! he stopped
short, and lost all.

22. Now, when Jesus heard these things, he said unto liim,
Yet lackest thou one thing : sell all that thou hast, and distribute
unto the ])oor, and thou shall have treasnie in heaven : and come,
follow me.

Do we lack but one thing .'' Sell all that thou hast, is a
particular, positive command from God to this man. This
was to be the trial of his obedience. And the inference
with regard to us is, that we must be ready to part with
all for Christ, whenever he calls us to make any sacrifice.

23. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful ; for he was
very rich.

He was now laid open to the root. His heart did not
cleave to God, but to his possessions.

24. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said.
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of

Notwithstanding what is here said, the poor will not
understand to this day, in how much better condition they



are for salvation than the rich, who have so strong a chain
about them to bind them to the world.

25. For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

And yet how fain would we all have this load upon our
backs !

26. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved .^
What rich man, or who ? Seeing that all have the same

hearts ; and if they are not rich, would be so.

27. And he said. The things which are impossible with men are
possible with God.

As if the rich man's conversion was but barely possible.
But remember that the poor man can do nothing without
God. And if we are not come to a true prayer for our-
selves, all is to begin.

28. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

It may be asked with what view ? As yet they were
but babes in knowledge, and had not yet quitted the
notion of a temporal kingdom. But they had a root of
sincerity ; and the same Spirit which opens the eyes of all,
fully opened their's at the day of Pentecost.

29. And he said unto them. Verily I say unto you, There is no
man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or chil-
dren, for the kingdom of God's sake,

That is, upon a divine call. This cannot be a general
command- The instruction intended for all is, be ready,
sit loose to the world, have no rival with Christ in our

30. Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time,
and in the world to come life everlasting.

He shall receive what is of manifold more value, namely,
spiritual enjoyments, spiritual relations, spiritual hopes,
and spiritual possessions. Believe this and thou art a
Christian. What is thy treasure, and what does thy heart
cleave to for happiness ?

VER. 31 43.] ST. LUKE. 307

Chap, xviii. ver. 31 — 43.


31. Then he took unto liim the twelve, and said unto them ,
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written hy
the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

32. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be
mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on :

33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death ; and
the third day he shall rise again.

All these things came to pass in a very little time.

34. And they understood none of these things : and this saying
was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were

The same thing had been remarked before of the apos-
tles, in chap. ix. 45. And it is here again expressed as
strongly as possible. Let us learn from hence,

1st, To have patience with the ignorant. If they are in
earnest, the time of their understanding will come.

2ndly, To have an eye to ourselves ; to consider in what
respects we are blind to the plainest words of Christ; and
to submit implicitly to his teaching, though it is never so
cross to our own knowledge, our wills, or our worldly

35. And it came to pass, that, as he was come nigh unto
Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging :

Why is this told us, but to convince us of the power of
Christ, and that we may come to him for our own cure ?
Our distemper is spiritual blindness ; and the consequence
of it, as you cannot but know, is much worse than that of
natural blindness. Either Christ has opened our eyes, or
he has not. Let us think how it is with us this very

X 2

308 ST. LUKF. [chap. XVIII.

36. And hearing the multitude pass hy, he asked what it

37. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth hy.

He is now passing by in the power of his gospel ; and
what is more, he is present in the power of his Spirit to
heal us.

38. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have
mercy on me.

This cry is always heard.

39. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should
hold his peace ; but he cried so much the more. Thou son of
David, have mercy on me.

Whenever the mouths of any poor sinners are opened to
cry for mercy, they will meet with many such officious
rebukers. Their neighbours, and nearest friends, will be
ready with their pestilent advice, to stop their crying.
But, as in the present case, they will cry the more, when
they know that they are blind. And they will know too,
as he did, that their help is not in themselves.

40. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto
him : and when he was come near, he asked him,

41. Sayincj, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee ? And he
said. Lord, that I may receive my sight.

Christ knows what we want ; but no relief comes, till
he draws a confession from us. If we should say this, or,
Lord have mercy upon me, without knowing, or believing
that we are blind in sin, it is the way to keep us so for ever.

42. And Jesus said unto him. Receive thy sight ; thy faith hath
saved thee.

Faith alone saves all ; but behold, without sense of sin
going before, hearty trouble for it, and conviction of our
helplessness under it, it is impossible.

43. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him,
glorifying God : and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise
unto God.


Grant, O God, that what \vc have now heard may cause
us to make deep search into ourselves, and that we may all
glorify thee for thy mercy in Christ Jesus.

Chap. xix. vcr. 1 — 10.


1. And Jesus entered and passed tln-ough Jericho.

In the foregoing chapter, Christ had said, that the con-
version of a ricli man, though hard, was possible with God.
For their comfort and encouragement, here is an instance
of it immediately subjoined, in the person of Zacchaeus;
and also of the natural workings, and effects, of a true
conversion in all.

2. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was
the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3. And he sought to see Jesus who he was ; and could not lor
the press, because he was little of stature.

God had touched his heart, and he was resolved to have
a sight of Jesus. O ! the least working toward Christ is
worth a world. If it is sincere, he sees it, and will as
surely show himself to that man, with all his powerful
love, as he did to Zacchauis.

4. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomorc-tree to
see him ; for lie was to pass that way.

He might have said, I would fain see Jesus, but I am
little, and cannot help it, and must be content without a
sight of him. But he did not make such an excuse. O
no ! here was a heart and good will ; and everything he
said and did shows that his heart was lively within him.
What would you think, if you were to see a great rich man
climbing up into a tree on such an occasion.^ Let us give
up our unbelief, and our vain excuses ; and lot us see what

310 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIX.

is at the bottom of our hearts, though men are never so
low in the world, never so poor in knowledge, never so
little in grace, let them be assured, if they are willing,
there is a way to see Jesus.

5. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw
him, and said unto him, Zacchieus, make haste, and come down ;
for to-day I must abide at thy house.

It was happy for Zacchaeus that Jesus observed him.
He saw him through and through, knew what brought
him to the place, and perceived what was in his heart. So he
sees every one of us, at the moment when our wills turn
to him. Christ said to him. Come down, make haste ; so he
says in effect to all who express a real desire to see him by
the eye of faith, and to embrace him. " For to-day I
must abide at thy house." These are sweet words to a
fainting soul ! And wherever he comes, it is to abide
always, if it is not our own fault. Has he been knocking,
day by day, at the door of our house, and do we still shut
him out ? Let the hardened, and unhappily blinded, who-
soever they are, know, that as sure as Christ is not there,
Satan is.

6. And he made haste, and came down, and received him

Let each one ask, was it ever such a day with me.^
Can I think of a time when my heart longed for Jesus,
and sprang forward to welcome him ? Let not any fly to
their Christian name and profession, good meanings, out-
ward appearance, or lifeless performances in religion, when
there is no inward prizing, or joyful acceptance of Jesus,
from a sense of their helpless and undone state.

7. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying. That he
was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

He never was a guest with a sinner who proudly says
this. Where can he be a guest upon earth, if not with
sinners ? Sinner, this is joyful news to thee. Thy soul is
a polluted lodging for him ; but he hath set his love upon

VER. 1 — 10.] ST. LUKE. 311

it, and, if thou receivest him, lie will make it fit for

8. Ami Zaccliicus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord,
the half of my goods I gux* to the ])oor ; and if I have taken any
thii)"- from any man hv false accusation, I return him four-fold.

He promised from that day forward to give the half of
his goods. If this command, " Sell all that thou hast,
and distribute to the poor," was an absolute command to
all, at all times, Christ would have told him at once, that
this was not enough. But what we are principally to re-
mark, is the effect of his conversion. He was a changed
man, his heart was turned within him, and he was ready to
make full proof of it by his actions. How very few can
say, as he did, " the half of my goods I give to the poor,""
since but few have so much to spare. But we must sa}',
one and all, and we shall say, when Christ conies to us :
" Behold, Lord, I give myself wholly up to thee ; and
whatsoever evil I have done, I am heartily troubled for it,
and resolve to do so no more." Till you come to this, all is
darkness and self-deceit.

*' I restore fourfold." This was a great deal more than
the law required in case of voluntary restitution. But
nevertheless full restitution must be made by all, as far as
it is in their power, or else there can be no repentance.
This very thing makes the repentance of great numbers
almost impossible.

9. And Jesus said unto him. This day is salvation come to this
house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

The meaning of our Saviour was, that salvation was
come along with himself, by whom alone, indeed, it can
come, and who brings it freely to all. He declares Zac-
chaeus to be a son of Abraham by descent, but now truly
so by faith, and conversion. Nothing but this spiritual

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 22 of 39)