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they ill the ship with them more tlian one loaf.

15. And be charged ibem, saying, Take heed, beware of the
leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy : the leaven
of Herod was the error of the Sadducees, courtiers who
believed no resurrection, angels, nor spirit, and who pre-

VEIL 10 —21.] ST. MARK. 73

tended to take Herod, an earthly king, for the Christ.
Either of these opinions would have been sour leaven, yea
poison to their hearts.

16. And they reasoned among themselves, saying. It is because
we have no bread.

17. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto tbeni. Why reason
ye, because ye have no bread .'' perceive ye not yet, neither under-
stand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

It is a hardened heart that causes darkness in the under-
standing, makes men deaf and blind ; and forgetful of
everything that is good. Suppose the sun to shine upon
two men, one blind, the other not ; one would see every
thing clearly by it, the other nothing, though it is the same
sun, and gives forth the same light to both. So it is with
men in reading the Scripture ; it is clear, or dark to them,
just as they are fitted, or not fitted to receive it.

18. Having eyes, see ye not ? and having ears, hear ye not?
and do ye not remember ?

19. When I brake the five loaves among tlie five thousand,
how many baskets full of fragments took ye up ? They say unto
him. Twelve.

20. And when the seven among four thousand, how many bas-
kets full of fragments took ye up ? And they said, Seven.

21. And he said unto them. How is it that ye do not under-
stand P

You who read, and hear so much of Christ, if you do
do not know enough of him for your salvation, the ftiult
is certainly in yourselves. You have heard the reason — a
hard heart is barred against him.

See, O my soul, whether all that is here said to the
whole of the disciples, in the way of sharp rebuke, does
not come home to thyself; and whether thou art not still
backward to understand and believe the grace and power
of Jesus, notwithstanding the proof thou hast of his all-
sufficiency, in this, and many other miracles, wrought on
purpose, and recorded for thy conviction and assurance.
Art thou without righteousness and without strength, and


I'eady to despond at the sight of thy corruption, manifold
wants, and utter helplessness ? Dear soul, why wilt thou
shut thine eyes, stop thine ears, and harden thy heart
against what thou here readest and hearest ? Why dost
thou ever forget it ? How is it that thou dost not yet
understand who Jesus is, and what he is able to do for
thee ?

The earthly sense still prevailed in the disciples, and
they turned all Christ's sayings that way. So hard is
it for those whose hearts are in the worlds to have an
understanding and relish of spiritual things.


Chap. viii. ver. 22—38.


22. And he conieth to Betlisaida ; and they bring a blind man
unto him, and besought him to touch him.

Spiritual blindness is worse than natural; all are blind
till Christ opens their eyes; and none but he can doit.
Have you come to him for a cure? If you have not, you are
blind to this day !

23. And he took the blind man by tlie hand, and led him out
of the town ;

O condescending, compassionate Jesus i So thou
wouldest take every one of us by the hand, and guide us
thyself, to thy Father, thy truth, thy heaven.

23. And when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon
liira, he asked him if he saw ought.

VEIL 22—38.] ST. MARK. 75

24. And lie lonkod uj), and said, I see men as trees, walk-

At first he saw confusedly, and imperfectly, as vve do.
Though we are in the hands of Christ for a cure, we
must have patience ; we do not see all at once.

2o. After that he put his hands again npon his eyes, and made
him look up : and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

So Christ will bring his work to perfection in us, by de-
grees, and in iiis own time. And we see clearly, when we
know him to be the way, the truth, and the life, and re-
solve to follow him.

26. And he sent him away to his house, saying-. Neither go into
the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Perhaps, because he knew that they would not regard
it, and so be the worse for it. Bethsaida was a har-
dened place, notwithstanding Christ so often preached
in it.

27. And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of
Cesarea Philippi ; and by the way he asked his disciples, saying
unto them, Whom do men say that I am ?

What answer can you give to this, of your own proper
knowledge ?

28. And they answered, John the Baptist ; but some say,
Elias ; and others. One of the prophets.

29. And he saith unto them. But whom say ye that I am ? And
Peter answereth and saith unto him. Thou art the Clirist.

This answer of Peter, may serve to lead to this ques-
tion, who and what is Christ ? The Son of God, and the
Saviour of the world. What has he done, and what do
you desire he should do for you? He docs not want a vain
confession from us, that we acknowledge him to be the
anointed of God, to be our King, Priest, and Prophet :
he desires to do his whole office in us, by opening our eyes,
washing us from our sins in his own blood, and ruling over
us by his Spirit. This confession of Christ, from a true

76 ST. MARK. [chap. VIII.

knowledge of what he is, of our want of him, and faith-
fidness to him, makes a Christian.

30. And he charged them tliat they should tell no man of

As yet they were not fit to preach Christ, as Peter soon
made it appear. The disciples then knew him but by
halves ; and the meanest Christian, now, knows him better
than they did at this time.

31. And he hegan to teach them, that the Son of man must
sullermany things, and be rejected of the ciders, and of the chief
priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise

Of this the disciples then knew nothing; and here
Peter was as blind as the rest of the disciples.

32. And he spake that sayhig openly. And Peter took him,
and began to rebuke him.

33. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples,
he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan : for thou
savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of

This was sharp indeed ! But Christ cannot endure
worldly hearts : he knows that they are not fit for him,
and intended that this rebuke should pierce into all our
hearts like lightning.

34. And when he had called the people unto him with his dis-
ciples also, he said unto them.

He would have all hear that in which all, to the end
of the world, are so much concerned.

34. Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and
take up his cross, and follow me.

Christ will have him deny his natural self, which savours
only of the things of the world. He will also take up his
cross, by dying to his worldly self. He will in great
humility take up his cross, as his own desert, while lie sees
Christ's death upon it, as his only deliverance from the

VER. 22-— 3.'^.] ST. MAHK. 77

curse and punishment of sin. What can be a greater cross
to the pride of nature ? And'yet, painful as this knowledfo
is, every man must come to it, let his state or attainments
be what they will. The cross of bodily austerities, pa-
tient sufferings, and self-denying labours of any kind, how-
ever necessary, is a vain subterfuge, when taken up as our
righteousness, to the exclusion of a better, and the only
one which will be so accounted of God. Besides, we must
follow Christ, in doing and suffering the will of God,

35. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; but whoso-
ever shall lose his life for iny sake and the gospel's, the same shall
save it.

The man who will save his life, is he who only thinks of,
and cares for, and desires most to enjoy, his worldly life.
He " shall lose it," indeed, as to all the purposes of his
being sent into the world, if he loses heaven for it. But
whosoever will deny himself for Christ's sake, and the
gospel's, even to tlie loss of life, — shall save it eter-

36. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul ?

37. Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?

No man in his senses can have anything to reply to what
is so palpably evident ; and if this consideration was allowed
its due weight, the world would be all self-denial and obe-
dience. But behold the weakness, folly, and strong corrup-
tion of human nature ! A petty advantage, one single
lust in the opposite scale, can outweigh the soul, and all
its interests.

Perhaps you would be a better man, — you would deny
yourself in what the world thinks you need not, — you
would own Christ more, in many things ; — you would read
the Scriptures, pray in, and with your families, and show
yourselves more on the side of religion than you do, if you
were not hindered by a false shame. Hear then what
Christ says, knowing how many would be thus hindered.


" What shall a man give in exchange for his soul.''"' If we
liave this constantly before our eyes, and live in the belief
of it, we shall be Christians.

38. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words
in this adulterous and sinful generation ; of him also shall the Son
of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father
with the holy angels.

Think on these words, and then you will be content
to let men speak all manner of evil of you, as they cer-
tainly will, whenever you are in earnest in saving your
soul accordino; to the relimon of Christ.


Chap. ix. ver. 1 — 10.


1. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you. That there
he some of them that stand here, wliich shall not taste of death, till
they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

The persons alluded to were Peter, James, and John.
The kingdom of God, which Christ came to set up on the
earth as a specimen and proof of his greatness in the king-
dom of glory, in which he will appear at the last day, and
also of God's power to make us like him at his coming.

2. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James,
and John, and leadeth them into a high mountain apart by then,-
selves : and he was transfigured before them.

3. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow ;
so as no fuller on earth can white them.

4. And there a])peared unto them Elias with Moses : and they
were talking with Jtsus.

VER. 1 — 10. J ST. MARK. 79

5. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good
for us to be here : and let us make three tabernacles ; one for tliee,
and one for Moses, and one for Ellas.

6. For he wist not what to say ; for they were sore afraid.

Then it is plain he should not have said what he did.
It would not have been good for Christ or them to have
stopped there. He had still his own work to finish, and
he had appointed to Peter a great work in the world, and
a much higher glory was reserved for him. We profit by
this mistake, when we conclude, that it is good to be no-
where but with Christ in heaven, and in the way to it, by
doing his work.

7. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them : and a voice
came out of the cloud, saying. This is my beloved Son : hear

This voice sounds as powerfully into the hearts of
the faithful, as if they heard it spoken to them from the
clouds. And all depends upon it. If you do not receive
Christ, and hear him as the Son of God, you can have no
share in him.

8. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw
no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

9. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them
that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till die
Son of man were risen from the dead.

When they would be better fitted to speak of them, in
full belief of his resurrection, and of the great change
which will then pass upon our bodies. As yet they were
very lamentably in the dark, as appears by what follows.

10. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one
with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

Christ's rising from the dead ; for it is not probable that
they disbelieved a resurrection in general ; only they had
no notion of the sufferings and death of Christ, and there-
fore not of his rising again. AVhat blindness and igno-
ranee was here ! And observe, how men are proof against

80 ST. MARK. [chap. IX.

plain words, when they are prepossessed with a contrary
opinion. Christ told them positively that he must die,
and rise again, and yet they did not understand it. How
often is this our case ! and how greatly does it concern us
to know, that the reason why we do not understand Christ
better, is because we set up a wisdom, and will of our own
against him ; and have not learned this first lesson in his
school, to submit to his teaching with undisputing sim-

Ver. 1 — 10. — At the close of the last chapter, Christ
had stunned his disciples with a solemn warning of his
approaching death, and sufferings. Here they are revived
by God's attestation to him from heaven, as his well-be-
loved Son, and with a sight of his glorified body ; and are
thereby showed what kind of bodies they would have at
the resurrection. For all the faithful shall be raised in
glory, with such bodies, as His then was, and he now ap-
pears in at the right hand of God, and in which the righte.
ous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father. Matt. xiii. 43. And no doubt the remembrance
of what they had seen would encourage them greatly in
their work, and amidst all their sufferings. St. Paul tells
us, that he was encouraged, supported, and comforted with
the thoughts of his new body, his house eternal in the
heavens, of God's making and providing for him. 2. Cor.
V. 5. What do we set our affections most upon ? These
grassy, earthly bodies of ours, which were made to perish,
and to be food for worms. If we might keep them always,
we should not desire to exchange them for glorious hea-
venly bodies. It may be asked, why did Christ only ad-
mit three of his disciples to the sight of his transfiguration.?
We know not any farther than that they would communi-
cate it to the rest for their benefit, as it is here left upon
record for ours. Let us be Christians indeed, by thinking
most of that luippy change, and happy home, when God
shall wipe all tears from our eyes, and there shall be no


more death, neither sorrow, nor cr^'ing; neither shall
there be any more pain ; for the former things are passed
away. Kev. xxi. 4.

Chap. ix. ver. 11—29.


11. And they asked hiin, saying. Why say the scribes that
Elias must first come ?

If the scribes say so, why may not we satisfy them and
otliers that Elias is come, and that we have seen him ? In
answer to which Christ shows their mistake, and tells them
that he whom they had seen with him, was not the Elias
prophesied of as his forerunner, but another, namely,
John the Baptist.

12. And he answered and told them, EHas verily cometh first,
and restorelh all things ;

Elias is John the Baptist, Christ's forerunner, and the
opener of his dispensation, in which all things were to
be restored. In this dispensation, God''s peace and good
will are restored to men ; and the hearts of men to God.
You never have your work before you till you are aiming
at this restoration, each one for himself.

12. And how it is written of the Son of man, tliat he must suf-
fer many things, and be set at nought.

This was immediately suhjoined to prevent a mistake in
the disciples, namely, that tiie restoration here spoken of
was to be that of the kingdon) to Israel. Acts i. 6. No,
verily, says Ciirist, the Son of man, the author of it, must
accomplish it by suffering.


82 ST. MARK. [chap. IX.

13. But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come, and they
have done unto him whatsoever they hsted, as it is written of him.

14. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multi-
tude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

15. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him,
were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

They were struck with an awful sense of Christ's coming
and presence; and ran with alacrity to see and hear him.
Here is a pattern for us ; let us receive him gladly into
our hearts.

16. And he asked the scribes. What question ye with them ?

He knew, though at a distance, that they were question-
ing with them ; and what was the subject. Nothing is hid
from him. It would be of great use to us, to set Christ
always before us.

17. And one of the multitude answered and said. Master, I
have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb s])irit ;

18. And wheresoever he laketh him, he teareth him; and he
foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away ; and I
spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out ; and they
could not.

This was a pitiable case, and is so represented here, that
we might never think our own to be desperate, while we
have the same helps in which we may trust. Thougli all
otlier means fail us, Jesus cannot.

19. lie answeretb him, and sailh, O foidiless generation, how
long shall I be with you, how long shall I suffer you ? bring him
unto me.

Can you see nothing in yourselves to make you think
this is spoken to you ? You are undone if Christ esteems
you a faithless generation. You must be spoken to more
plainly. If your nature, your sin, your helpless condition,
has not been brouglit before Christ, with a true sense of it,
and concern for yourself, like that of the father of this
child, you are not yet come to him. You therefore who
read this, bring yourselves to him, with all your sins, and

VEll. 11 29.] ST. MARK. §3

with all your needs, for his help. You can do nothing for
yourselves in the exigency of your souls : and take heed
also that you do not go for help chiefly to man, to sermons,
to books, or even to the Scripture itself. All they can do
is to send you to Jesus.

20. And they brought him unto him : and when he saw him,
straightway the spirit tare him : and he fell on the ground, and
wallowed foaming.

21. And lie asked his father. How Ion" is it a^o since this came
unto him ? And he said, Of a child.

Length of time is no hindrance to Christ''s power. Sup-
pose him saying to many of us, How long hast thou been an
unawakened worldling, or sinner .? The true answer would
be, " Of a child." But do not therefore despair : only feel
thy case now at the last, and come to him for a cure.

22. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the
waters, to destroy him : but if thou canst do anything, have com-
passion on us, and helj) us.

No one ever said these words to Christ with a sincere
heart, in vain.

23. Jesus said unto him. If thou canst believe.

The answer to this, according to some, is, No, we cannot ;
it must be given us. So I am persuaded. But liow given "^
Not instantaneously, or by putting a force upon our wills,
any more than in the case of strength against sin, which we
equally want ; but by tlie secret operation of the Spirit,
convincing us of our want of Christ, and of his all-suffi-
ciency ; and inclining us in the use of our faculties, to be-
lieve, and embrace the mercy offered us in him.

23. All things are possible to him that bclievcth.

Victory over sin, gospel holiness, perseverance ; and that
because the power of God waits upon faitli, which is a
compound of penitence, desire, and trust : and is as freely
given to the humble believer, as the breast is by the mother
to the child that turns to it.


84 ST. MARK. [chap. IX.

24. And straiglitway the father of the child cried out, and said
with tears, Tiord, I believe ; help thou mine unbelief.

We think it an easy matter to believe, and say we do ;
but sense of sin, and an humble heart, must go before, and
then we shall cry out, Lord, help mine unbelief.

25. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he
rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him. Thou dumb and deaf
spirit, T charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into

Christ proceeded without delay to the cure. ' Why?
Could too many be witnesses of the miracle, or be bene-
fitted by it ? It must be remembered that the multitude
was ready to make an ill use of it, and he was aware of the
consequence of exciting a sedition, on his account. So in
ver. 30, " He passed through Galilee ; and he would not
that any man should know it ;" and took occasion from
thence to arm his disciples against the common notion of
his temporal kingship, by forewarning them again of his
approaching sufferings and death. Learn also from this
verse, that, when you know every one the plague of his
own heart, and who is your physician, to rebuke it in you,
and give the word of command for your recovery, you
know all. Be faithful to this knowledge, and you do all.

26. And the spirit ciicd, and rent him sore, and came out of
him : and he was as one dead ; insomuch that many said. He is
dead .

27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up ; and
he arose.

Know for certain that a great work has been wrought
in you, when you give your hand to Jesus for this pur-
pose ; and that he will answer your faitli, and fulfil the
desire of your heart, by purifying you from the guilt of
sin, and raising you from its death.

28. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked
him privately. Why could not we cast him out ?

29. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by no-
thing, but by i)rayer and fasting.

VER. 30—50.] ST. MARK, 85

Here is our remedy, and wliat sin will not these united
keep under.?

Chap. ix. ver. 30—50.


30. And ihcy departed thence, and passed through Galilee ;
and he would not that any man should know it.

31. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them. The Son of
man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him ;
and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

32. But they understood not that saying,

Observe, it was plain in itself, and we who live after the
event, and know and believe the resurreetion of Christ,
cannot help wondering at the slowness of comprehension
which the disciples here exhibited. Nevertheless such a
resurrection was a strange thing in the earth, and the death
of Christ contrary to the opinions entertained of the Mes-
siah ; and both these concurred to keep them in ignorance.
Let us bring the matter home to ourselves. Plain words
from the mouth of Christ are not ])lain to us ; we have
other things in view, are set down in other opinions, and do
not wish them to be true.

32. And [they] were afraid to adc him.

They need not have been afraid, after the experience
they had had of his readiness to instruct them, and his
great ])atience with them ; but most probably they did not
choose to know more of what they were not willing to be-
lieve. Is not this our case.'* We plead ignorance, and
remain ignorant of what we might know because we are
suspicious beforehand, that it will put us upon doing some-
thing to which we have no mind.

86 ST. MARK. [chap. IX.

33. And he came to Capernaum ; and being in the house he
asked them, "What was it ye disputed among yourselves by the
way ?

He knew their hearts, and what lay lurking within them ;
as he does ours. O what a searching eye have we every
moment upon us, and upon every thought that arises
within us !

34. But they held their peace : for by the way they had dis-
puted among themselves, who should be the greatest.

35. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto
them. If any man desire to be first.

That is truly so, and chiefest in God's esteem.

35. The same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Let him be last of all, and servant even of the meanest,
especially to help them in their way to heaven.

36. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them : and
when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,

37. Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name,
receiveth me : and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me,
but him that sent me.

Observe, 1st, Christ embraced the child (according to the
Greek) to show how dear all such are to him. Observe,
2dly, he adds, whosoever shall receive one such little one

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 39)