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The gospel would occasion violent contentions ;


Christ observes the evils which would be occasioned by his coming,

yet declares his desire to complete his work, and warns the Jews
of the great danger of neglecting the short remainder of their time
of trial. Luke XII. 49, to the end.



UR Lord farther added in his discourse to I AM come to send

fire on the earth ;



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that I have said to promote humanity and cha- be already kindled? XII. 49. rity, yet it will in fact appear, that I am come to

send fire on the earth ; so opposite is my doctrine
to the prejudices and the lusts of men, and such
are the violent contentions that my gospel will
occasion, through the wickedness of those among
whom it is preached : and yet what do I wish?
that the gospel might be suppressed? nay, but I
rather say, Oh that this fire, fierce as it shall be,
were already kindled by the universal propaga-
tion of a religion, whose blessings so abundantly

counterbalance all the accidental evils which
50 can attend it! But I have indeed, in the 50 But I hare 2

mean time, a most dreadful baptism to be baptized baptism to be baptised
with, and know that I shall shortly be bathed, straitened till it be ac.

with, and how am I
as it were, in blood, and plunged in the most complished !
overwhelming distress : yet, far from drawing
back on that account, how inexpressibly am I
straitened and uneasy through the earnestness of
my desire, till, terrible as it is, it be fully com-
pleted", and the glorious birth produced, what-

ever agonies may lie in the way to it! 51

But these benefits are to be secured in a very 51 Suppose ye that
different manner from what some of you, my
disciples, imagine : for do you now suppose that


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a And what do I wish? Or that it were easy to him; compare 2 Cor. v. 14.-Mr. already kindled! ] I think Sir Norton Locke understands it of a kind of embarrass. Knatchbult has abundantly established this ment which Christ was under to know, version. Dr. Whitby (who here, as in ma- how faithfully to fulfil his ministry without ny other places, transcribes from Grotius) giving such umbrage to the Roman power seems fully to have proved that so sometimes as would have drawn persecution and death has this force. Compare Luke xix. 42, and upon him before the appointed time; (see Numb. xxii

. 29; Josh. vii. 7 ; Psal. Ixxxi. Mr. Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, 13, Septuak. (Perhaps we may add Luke p. 134): but this seems to me å very xxii. 42.) See Grotius, in loc.

foreign and unnatural sense. -That, which b How am I straitened and uneasy till it I take it in, is also favoured by Luke xxii. be completed!] The word OureX9p20. seems 15, sect. 168 : but if Grotius, whose sense to import an ardour of mind, with which a I have hinted in the paraphrase, judge person is so borne on towards the object of rightly of the particular force and beauty his affection and pursuit, that the necessary of the word curex quar, it may be illustrated impediments, which lie in his way, are une by John xvi. 21, sect. clxxviii.

c Or

I am





And be followed, not with peace, but with division. 587 come to give I am come to give peace on the earth, or imme- SECT. peace you, Nay; but rather diately to establish that temporal tranquility and cxv.

prosperity which you expect should attend the
Messiah's kingdom ? Nay, but considering how XII. 51.
my gospel, notwithstanding all its tendency to
peace, will be opposed, and how it will be per-

verted, I may say to you, that I am rather come 52 For from hence- to occasion the most unnatural division. For such 52 forth there shall be five in one house di- are the contentious heats and animosities that vided, Three against will attend the publication of the gospel, that, ere two, and two against long, five in one family shall be so divided, that

there shall be three against two on the one side, 53 The father shall and two against three on the other: And this sbalí

53 be divided against the be the case when those families consist of persons son, and the son against in the nearest relations to each other: the father, the father; the mother against the daughter, for instance, shall differ with the son, and the son and the daughter a- with the father ; the fondest mother with the

: the
mother-in-law against daughter, and the daughter with the mother; the
her daughter-in-law, mother-in-law with her son's wife, and the daugh-
and the daughter-in- ter-in-law with her husband's motherd; and so
law against her mo- inveterate shall be their hatred against all that

embrace my gospel, that they shall break the
bands of nature, as well as of friendship, to ex.

(Compare Mat, X. 34, 35, p.

400.) 54 And he said

And he said also to the people, This perverse. 54 also to the people, ness already shews itself in your overlooking so When ye see á cloud rise out of the west, many proofs of the Messiah's appearance among

straight- you, while you discover such a sagacity in your

observations with respect to other things : for
when you see a cloud arising out of the west, or
coming from the Mediterranean sea, you present-


press it.


« Or immediately to establish that tem- See Dr. Lelanie's Anstoer to the Moral Phim poral tranquility, &c.]

There are so losopher, p. 353–366. many prophecies of the peaceful state of the d The mother-in-law with her son's wife, Messiah's kingdom (compare Psal. Ixxii. 7; and the daughter-in-law with her husband's Isa. ii. 4; xi. 6—9; Ixv. 25), that it is mother.] The original words, tirbeza, and hard to say how Christ could completely youpon, are exactly expressed in this translaanswer the character of the Messiah if he tion. The English words mother-in-laze, and should never give peace on earth : but the daughter-in-law, are more extensive, and error of the Jews lay in supposing he was rather, though not necessarily, lead us to immediately to accomplish it; whereas the think of [noverca, paipuox,) a step-came, or prophecies of the New Testament, especi; father's second wifi, and her husband's ally in the hook of Revelation), shew, and daughter.-Our Lord might mention this those of the Old Testament most plainly relation, because, in consequence of the intimate, that this prosperous state of his obligation which the Jewish children were kingdom was not only to be preceded by under to maintain their aged parents, a his own sufferings, but by a variety of per- young man might, when he settled in the secutions, trials, and sufferings, which world, often take his mother, if a widow, should in different degrees attend his fol. into his family, and her abode in it might lowers, before the kingdoms of the earth be- occasion less uneasiness than that of a mo, came, by a general conversion, the kingdoms ther-in-law in any other sense. of the Lord, and of his Christ (Rey, xi, 15);

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SECT. cvii.

388 They are inexcusable in not discerning him to be the Messiah.

ly say, A heavy shower is coming e; and it is so, straightway ye sav, And when you find) the south-wind blowing from There cometh

a show. Luke the desert of Arabia, and other hot climates, you

er; and so it is.

55 And when ye sed XII. 55. say, There will be sultry heat ; and so according, the south wind blow, 56 ly it comes to pass. Ye hypocrites, that pretend ye say, There will be to ask for farther signs, as if you were really de

pass. sirous to know, whether I be or be not a Divine 56 Ye hypocrites, Teacher ; you know how by such remarks as ye can discern the face these to distinguish the face of the earth and of earth : but how is it

of the sky, and of the the heavens, so as to foretell the changes in the that you do not discera weather before they come; but how is it that this time? you do not discern and judge of the much more evident signs of this time, which are attended with such manifest and unparalleled tokens of

the Messiah's coming ? (Compare Mat. xvi. 2, 3, 57 p. 456.) Yea, why is it you do not even

57 Yea, and why of yourselves judge what is fit and right', and judge ye nat what is

of yourselves gather from such obvious premises, how you right? ought in reason and conscience to treat so extraordinary a Person as I appear to be from the whole series of my doctrine and conduct, in, stead of disregarding all the proofs that shew me

to be sent from God? 58 This, however you may thoughtlessly neglect 58 When thou goes: it, is a matter of the utmost importance: I must

with thine adversary therefore enforce the exhortation I formerly gave thou art in the way,

to the magistrate, as you (Mat. v. 25, 26. p. 209), and press give diligence that you to endeavour, with the greatest diligence, vered from him ; les that the controversy may immediately be made

pe up between God and your souls. For you count it a rule of human prudence, when you go to the magistrate with your adversary, who has a suit against you, to use your utmost endeavour to make up the affair with him 6 while you are yet


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e A heavy shower is coming.) ou pas pro- & Use your utmost endeavour to make up perly signifies a heavy shower; and savswv, the affair with him.] Theophylact intiin the next verse, sultry or scorching heat. mates, and Salmasius, and after him, La

f Why is it you do not even of your- Cene, largely insist upon it, that dos selves, &c.] The phrase ao'za:7wy does afyacia signifies “ Pay the inlerest, as weli not seem here to signily, “ From the like as 'the principal of thy debt, in order to principles of good sense which you use in procure deliverance." But Luke inake use common affairs, or in matters relating to of another word [TOXO) for usury (Luke yourselves ;' but it seems an advance on xix. 23), which I think a considerable ar. that thought, as if our Lord had said, gument for the common rendering, which Even though I had not so expressly drawn is also more extensive.-Annamaxbat sig. the consequence, yet, from the tenor of my nifies, not merely any kind of deliverance, doctrine and character, as well as from my but such an agreement as secures the de. miracles, you might have discerned, your. fendant from any farther danger of prosee selves, that it must be a very wrong and cution ; as Elsner accurately shews, very dangerous thing to reject and slight Observ. Vol. I. p. 237.-It is well known me.”-Castalio and Grotius connect this that aylıfır y properly signifies a prosecutor, verse with the two following, I think, with, or one who has a suit at law against ano, put any reason.

ther, whether in a civil or criminal case.

# The

. CXV.


Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel.

529 he hale thee to the on the way; lest he force thee before the judge, SECT. judze, and the judge and the judge, having found thee to be indeed cer, and the officer cast accountable, deliver thee to the custody of the thee into prison. serjeant, and the serjeant throw thee into prison. XII. 58.

59 I tell thee, thou It will not then be in thy power to compound 59
shalt not depart thence
till thou hast paid the the matter upon gentler terms, or to get free
very last mite. from thy confinement; but I tell thee that, when

he has thee at such an advantage, thou shalt not
be able to come out from thence till thou hast paid
the very last mite of the debt thou owest h.
And thus if you are regardless of the proposals
of God's mercy while the day of life and grace
is continued, nothing is to be expected from the
tribunal of bis justice, but a severe sentence,
which will end in everlasting confinement and

IMPROVEMENT. To what a lamentable degree is human nature corrupted, that Ver. so noble a remedy as the gospel, so well adapted to the cure of a 49. malevolent and contentious disposition, should in so many instaoces only irritate the disease! and that a scheme so full of love and goodness, and so well suited to promote peace and barmony in those, who cordially embrace it, should be opposed with ali the violence of persecution, and be the means of introducing strife and division ! How monstrous is it, that any should hate their neighbours,

51, 53 rea, and their nearest relatives, for that disinterested piety, and regard to conscience, which might recommend strangers to their esteem and affection! Yet let not those, who meet with such injurious treatment, be discouraged; knowing they have a Father and a Saviour in heaven, whose love is ten thousand times more than all: nor let others be offended, as if Christianity bad been the occasion of more evil than good; for such is the nature of eternity, that the salvation of one immortal soul will be more than an equivalent for the greatest and most lasting temporal evils, which the greatest number of persons can suffer for conscience sike.

Let this awaken our zeal to save souls, however great and ter- 50 rible the sufferings are, to which it may expose us, in proportion


h The very last mite of the debt thou part of the as, or accaprov, or of the larger owest.] The mite [aenlo,] was the least farthing, mentioned Mat. 8. 29. and Luke valuable of their coins (see Mark xii. 42), xii. 6; so that the mite was but little more containing no more than half of their least than the third part of an English farthing, kind of farthing, or of their xodzavins, or and a sparrow was reckoned worth four of quadrons; which was itself but the fourth them, VOL. VI.

4 C



590 Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel. SECT. to the rage, with which the enemy is endeavouring their destruc

tion. May we be animated in it by the example of the blessed Luke Jesus, who, with a view to this, even longed for those sufferings, XII. 50. which innocent nature could not but regard as the object of strong

aversion ! 54, 56

May we at all times be so wise as to discern the evidences, and to comply with the purposes, of the gospel, else our knowledge in natural things, should it extend not only to the most common, but the most curious appearances on the face of the earth or the heavens, will turn to no other account but to shame and con

demn us! 59 If we have any reason to fear that, through obstinate impeni

tence, the blessed God is still an adversary to us, let us make it our first and greatest care, that, by an humble submission of soul to him in the methods of his gospel grace, that strict scrutiny of his justice may be prevented, and that sentence of his wrath averted, which would otherwise plunge us into endless ruin and misery; for when could we pretend to have paid the last farthing of the debt of ten thousand talents, which we have been daily contracting, and which is charged to our account in the book of his remembrance.






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