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41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things :

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

CHAPTER XI. i Christ teacheth to pray, and that instantly : 11 assuring that God so will give us good

things. 14 He, casting out a dumb devil, rebuketh the blasphemous Pharisees : 28 and sheweth who are blessed : 29 preacheth to the people, 37 and reprehendeth the outward shew of holiness in the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers.

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3 Give us ' day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one

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and table would, in all likelihood, have -She hath made choice of an imperishagone on as well or better had not Martha ble good, the effects of which will endure given herself up to chafing, restless, and to eternity. Mary therefore wisely regudistracting cares. No defect of real duty lated her cares by the true measure and is implied in the case of Mary; but excess proportion of things; and gave up her of solicitude and bustle is certainly im- whole affection only to those objects plied in the reproof administered to Mar- which were spiritual and enduring. There tha. Yet was Martha a good woman, is one good which we, through the merloved by her Lord, and, as a proof of cy of God, can command, and but one. that, reproved by him. She had a dan- That is the chief GOOD. Every other gerous habit of indulging an anxious may be taken away by time, accident, mind; this was her weakness and her by the power of man, by the stripping source of danger ; but this reproof proba- and impoverishing hand of death. But bly cured the evil. In the account we this is above all such accidents, it is a have of St. John, she appears before us “life hid with Christ in God.” Of this as a woman of a noble and most exalted truth several of the heathen sages had faith. Let all who have the natural fault some notion. “The true good,” says one, of Martha, be corrected by the reproof “is something strictly belonging to and which our Lord administers to them within ourselves, and that cannot easily through her ; for, as Mr. Baxter truly, be taken from us ;” and another makes though quaintly, remarks, "preferring it a characteristic of virtue that “it canthings unnecessary, though good, and not be taken away,” αρητη αναφαιρετον. troubling ourselves about NEED-NOTS, is a common fault, even of religious per- CHAPTER XI. Verses 1-4. Our sons.”

Father which art in heaven.-See the notes Which shall not be taken away from her. on Matt. vi. 9—13. The doxology, "For that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation ; but deliver us from evil.

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves ;

6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

* Or, out of the way. thine is the kingdom,” &c., is wanting in and repeated application in prayer. His St. Luke. It is evident, however, that form of prayer contains not many petithe

prayer as it here stands is a shorten- tions, but they are most comprehensive ed form of that prescribed in the sermon and important: and he teaches not so on the mount, and taught on a different much to vary and multiply our petitions, occasion. The full form is therefore to as though prayer were an exercise of inbe sought in the longer discourse ; and tellectual or imaginative ingenuity; but we act right in always using this divinely to plead them before our heavenly Father composed prayer with the doxology, with an earnestness and importunity suitwhich leaves the heart fixed upon God, able to the greatness of the blessing asked. as its first petition elevates it to him. For, although he knows what we want; The Jewish doctors taught their disciples and needs not exciting to bestow his gifts short forms of prayer. This was a well- upon us, yet it is necessary that we also known practice; and it is to be gathered should know our wants, should enter by from the text that John the Baptist gave deep and serious consideration into their to his disciples also a form suited to nature, and that we should seek them his peculiar and transitive dispensation with fitting desires, which we must stir Perhaps the disciple who made this re- up vigorously within our hearts. The quest, did not know that he had already great point to be remembered is, that we given a form of prayer in his sermon on must attain the blessings we ask, or the mount; or, as that was given in the perish; and if, therefore, God should presence of the multitude, he might think sometimes hear us instantly and with no that the disciples had not been sufficient- delay, and at others should seem to dis. ly distinguished, and that they ought to regard, we are to "continue in prayer," have a prayer peculiar to themselves like and knock till the door is opened to us. those of the Baptist. If the latter was At midnight.-Journeys in the east the reason of the request, our Lord, by are often performed in the night, on repeating the same prayer he had before account of the heats of the day. The taught, intimated that it was sufficiently arrival of a friend at midnight was thereadapted to their case ; and this affords a fore no unusual occurrence. Three loaves reason why he does not repeat it at full, were not a large supply of bread, as they since he intended only to bring it to the were but three cakes. remembrance of the disciple who made Verse 7. My children are with me in

bed.—That is, asleep on mattresses in the Verses 5, 6. Which of you shall have a same room, according to the custom of friend, &c.—This is one of several

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those countries. He urges it as a reason bles which our blessed Lord at different why he should not rise, lest he should times uttered to encourage importunity, awake the young

children.

the request.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone ? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent ?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion ?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

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Verses 8, 9. Because of his importunity. successful. Hence our Lord adds, Ask, -It is supposed that the applicant, disre- and it shall be given you, &c. See the garding all the excuses of his neighbour, notes on Matt. vii. 7-11. This is an incontinues knocking and urging his request, stance of another portion of the sermon until, from no other motive than merely on the mount being spoken on quite a to escape his importunity, which would distinct occasion. take no denial, he grants the request. Verse 13. Give the Holy Spirit.-In St. The argument to encourage earnest per- Matthew it is “give good things;" and severance in prayer derives its force the variation here is important, as we are from contrast: if a churlish man will taught that among those good things is yield to importunity, how much more included that sum of all moral and spishall the blessed God himself, who is ritual good to man, the Holy Spirit. Nor perfect benevolence, and delights in be- is it to be confined to the first disciples, stowing his benefits upon the needy, an- since it is as extensive as the duty of imswer the reiterated requests of those that portunate prayer, which our Lord had call upon him? The whole tends to im- been urging. If the duty be therefore press us with the necessity of obtaining universal, then is the promise universal, the fulfilment of our petitions, and thus and every one who importunately prays to guard against a common and fatal evil, shall receive the Holy Spirit. It follows that of resting in prayer as an END, with therefore that the miraculous endowout regarding it but as a means of ob- ments of the Holy Spirit, such as some, taining the petitions we present. How but by no means a large proportion, of the many rest here! They have done a duty, primitive Christians were endowed with, that is enough! which is a fatal infatua- could not be intended. These were always tion. If we have not received what we partial in extent, and we know, in fact, ask, hitherto we have prayed in vain; that they were temporary in duration ; and we are at once reminded that the and yet the duty of prayer is binding upon end of praying is receiving, and encou- all, in all ages, and the promise of the raged to repeat our requests by the as- Holy Spirit still stands as our encourage

that they must be ultimately ment to that exercise. His gracious in

surance

14 | And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

15 But some of them said, a He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

16 And others tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand ? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

d Matt. ix. 34 ; xii. 24.

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fluence upon the mind must therefore be astonishment of the people at the casting intended, to enlighten, to invigorate, to out of devils by our Lord, which renderquicken, to purify, and to comfort us. ed them so favourably disposed to his This is the introduction of a new power doctrine. They were miracles of the into the heart of man, even the restoring most impressive kind. The affliction reand sanctifying influence of God, which lieved was the greatest conceivable one all who seek shall find, whilst all who find to which human beings could be subject; it are raised above their former selves, the torments inflicted were of the most and become new creatures. “This pro- frightful kind, the evil was apparently mise,” says Archbishop Tillotson, further than any out of the reach of husures to us the continual presence and man relief, whilst the frequency of the influence of the Holy Ghost, for all the occurrence of these possessions, in those purposes of guidance and direction, of times, served to indicate that the kinggrace and assistance, of comfort and sup- dom of darkness was making constant port, in our Christian course.” Without aggression upon them, so as to bring both this great endowment we are not true the souls and bodies of men into captivity. Christians. It is the source of all spi- Great therefore was the wonder, and ritual life here, and the earnest of eternal great the joy, of the unsophisticated peolife hereafter. We are therefore not only ple, when they saw the armed strong man encouraged, but bound to ask it seriously bound and cast out by one stronger than and importunately, as we value our salva- himself; and they were ready to hail our tion. For, “if any man have not the Lord universally as the Messiah, when Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." the scribes and Pharisees, with malignant

Verses 14, 15. It was dumb.—That is, subtilty, invented and spread abroad the the devil had rendered the unhappy sub- aspersion, and enforced it by all the ject of his malice dumb.

weight that their reputed wisdom and And the people wondered.It was the sanctity gave them among the people,

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace :

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

24 · When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 | And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

e Matt. xii. 43.

that he cast out devils by Beelzebub, the been undisturbed; but the very fact that chief of the devils, and that these very ini- they were not at peace, that the strong racles were therefore “lying wonders," castle had been assailed and taken, the to lead them astray from the law of God, spoil seized, and the captives liberated, was which they represented Jesus as aiming sufficient to prove that a state of most vito destroy. It was this that ensnared and gorous warfare had been commenced, perverted a people who were at one time and that there could be no concord be“prepared for the Lord,” and blasted all tween Christ and Belial.” The language the blooming prospects of usefulness is military: to come upon, is to attack; and which opened to our Lord throughout the stripping of the armour, and the divithe whole region of Galilee. They neither sion of the spoils, are according to the anentered the kingdom of heaven them- cient treatment of conquered enemies. selves, nor suffered them that were at one Verse 23. He that is not with me, ge. time well disposed to do so. See notes See the notes on Matt. xii. 28-30. on Matt. xii. 22–32.

Verse 24. When the unclean spirit, &c. Verses 21, 22. When a strong man armed, -See the notes on Matt. xii. 43–45. &c.—These words were designed to show Verse 27. Blessed is the womb, fe.both that Christ was stronger than Satan, A form of expression which occurs in and that he was hostile to him, instead of Greek writers, and was very cominon being in league with him, as the Pharisees

among the Jews when great admiration insinuated. Had there been such a league, was felt. “Blessed is she that bore him," in fact, then the goods of Satan would have is the complimentary phrase used of celem been in peace, his possessions would have brated Rabbins.

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