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26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; ' for all hold John as a prophet.
27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
28 | But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
j Matt. xiv. 5
no doubt revealed to the evangelist, who the power of which they arrogated to the records their “reasoning among them- Sanhedrim. Hence, when they replied, Ire selves,” by inspiration, as they were not cannot tell, our Lord rejoins, Neither tell likely to make it publicly known ; un- I you by what authority I do these things ; less, indeed, we may suppose some one
“Since you have confessed your of the council, more favourable to the inability to discriminate the marks of a claims of Christ, as Nicodemus, might true and a false prophet in the case of report it. They said, “If we shall say, John, it follows that you are unfit to deFrom heaven," that is, from God, be- cide every similar case; and I refuse to cause used in that sense by the Jews, as put myself upon your judgment.” sometimes by us, “he will say, Why did
Verse 28. A certain man had two sons, ye not then believe him,” and become his 8C.—This parable was designed to redisciples, instead of slighting and perse- prove the hypocrisy of the scribes and cuting him ? “But if we shall say, Of Pharisees, for professing to pay a ready men,” a merely human and self-instituted obedience to the commands of God, and ministry, ve fear the people ; for all hold yet rejecting the ministry of John. AlJohn as a prophet ;” which indeed was so though they declined to say whether strong a persuasion among them, that John's ministry was from God or not, our they considered the defeat of Herod's Lord determines the case, and charges army, in his war with Aretas, king of them with a sinful opposition to his auArabia, to be a signal judgment of God thorized mission. upon him on account of the murder of Verse 29. I will not, but afterwards ke the Baptist. Betwixt a decision which repented, 8c.— These represented, accord- . would have condemned themselves, and ing to our Lord's own explanation, verse one which would have exasperated the the publicans and the harlots," that people, and lessened their credit with is, notorious sinners, who had openly and them, they were held so firmly, that their rebelliously contemned the divine authoonly way of escape was to confess their rity; but afterwards believed John's doeignorance of the matter ; which only trine, listened to his warnings, and turned brought them into a difficulty more se- with a penitent mind to God; of which riously fatal to their pretensions, because class of persons it would appear that conit was a confession that they were unable siderable numbers were recovered by to judge between true and false prophets, John's ministry. divine and self-constituted messengers, Verse 30. I go, sir, and went not
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father ? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
32 For * John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not : but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
k Matt. iii. 1.
Eyw'Kuple, the ellipsis being supplied by Enjoining it even to severity, and strictly απερχομαι. . This prompt but hypocritical practising it himself; and ye who make assent, followed by disobedience, repre- great professions of sanctity and selfsented the criminal dissimulation of the denial, and respect to them wherever Pharisees, who, pretending to pay the found, did not receive him as a prophet. most perfect regard to every injunction This is the point of the reproof: they of God, held the publicans and other boasted of strict righteousness, conforcommon sinners in the utmost contempt, mity to all the institutions of God; and and yet neither received the testimony of in this way John came to them, this was John at first, nor, even after they had the character of his ministry, which they, seen the mighty effects produced in the however, proudly spurned, and thereby reformation of the greatest sinners, after- declared their hypocrisy. tards repented, and acknowledged his Some apply this parable of the two mission.
sons to the Gentiles and Jews; the former Verse 31. They say unto him, The first.- of whom, though for ages openly disIn this kind of interlocutory argument obedient to the commands of God, to the be to whom the question was proposed law written upon their hearts, or handed was bound to answer, although he might down by tradition, promptly embraced see that his reply would only give occa- the gospel ; while the Jews, who, at least sion to his antagonist to turn the conclu- ever since the return from the captivity, sion against himself. The debate was in had paid all outward respect to the worpublic; and silence on the part of the ship and revelations of God, yet wholly Pharisees, who had introduced it, would rejected the gospel, which stood upon the have been a confession that they were re- same kind of evidence as their law and futed: they were impelled therefore to prophets. Still this application is only make answer to our Lord's questions, inferential and secondary; for our Lord although at every step his remarks press- himself explains the parable of the two ed with heavier weight upon them. classes of men among the Jews who are
The publicans and harlots go into the mentioned. It, however, frequently hapkingdom of God before yon.—The Telwval, pens, in Christian communities, that and the ropval, stand for openly careless, they who are the most complaisant as to or immoral persons in general; and as truth, are the farthest from the kingdom these were most powerfully and speedily of God; and that the openly rebellious brought to repentance by John, so our wills of the wicked are suddenly and Lord declares that the same effect would effectually turned to God by the power of follow under his dispensation of religion : his grace, and that they deal more hothey would enter the kingdom of God before nestly with their spiritual dangers, and the self-righteous and deluded formalists. accept with greater readiness the free sal
Verse 32. In the way of righteousness.- vation of Christ.
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, 'which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country :
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first : and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, m This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
| Isaiah v. 1; Jer. ii. 21 ; Mark xii. 1; Luke xx. 9.
m Jatt. xxvi. 3; John xi. 53.
Verse 33. A vineyard.—The Jewish that it appears that the rent of the vinechurch.
yard was paid in produce, which was an A winepress.-Or wine-vat, into which ancient custom. the grapes were cast, and then trodden by Verse 37. They will reverence my son.
It was often hewed out of a rock, - This is another proof that the minor and had a grated opening near the bot- circumstances of parables are not to be tom to convey the expressed juice into a interpreted strictly. God foreknew that lower vat.
the Jews would reject the Son, which is And built a tower.—The towers in vine- made the subject of prophecy; but it yards were principally watchhouses, was their duty to receive him with where servants were placed to observe the reverence, and so the words are used to approach of robbers.
express what it was fitting and reasonable To husbandmen.-Sewpyors, to those who to expect. cultivate the ground by their own labour, Verse 41. He will miserably destroy as distinguished from the oικοδεσποτης, or those wicked men.-Thus were the scribes proprietor.
and Pharisees made to pass sentence upon Verse 34. When the time of the fruit.— themselves. They were the descendants The season for gathering the fruits ; so of a race who had persecuted God's ser.
42 Jesus saith unto them, " Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes ?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
n Psalm cxviii. 22; Acts iv. 11.
rants, the prophets, beating one, and the various parts, and crowns the whole stoning another; and now they themselves with strength and beauty. were conspiring against the life of the Verse 43. Therefore say I unto you, &c. son, the heir of the vineyard.
Their -The connexion of this verse, which church privileges were therefore to be some have thought out of its place, is abolished, their nation destroyed, and the marked by the words dla TOUTO, vineyard let out to others, who should account, I say unto you, The kingdom of render the fruits in their seasons. This God shall be taken from you,” &c.; bewas a plain allusion to the calling of the cause you builders have rejected the Gentiles.
stone chosen of God, elect and precious, Verse 42. Did ye never read in the his church shall be built up among anoscriptures ? &c.—The passage quoted by ther people, even the Gentile nations our Lord is from Psalm cxviii. 22, 23. whom ye despise and hate. One of the It was first spoken of David, who, after Jewish commentators, Jarchi, has a sinhaving been persecuted by Saul, and re- gular note upon the words in Jer, xiii. 17, jected by the chiefs of Israel, at last tri. “My soul shall weep in secret places for umphed over all his enemies, and raised your pride.”
“ Because of your granthe state to unexampled prosperity and deur, which shall cease; because of the strength. He might therefore be well excellency of the kingdom of heaven, compared to a stone rejected by the which shall be given to the profane.” builders, which had become the head- Verse 44. And whosoever shall fall on stone of the corner, giving grace and this stone shall be broken, &c.—The allustrength to the whole building. Our sion here does not appear to be to one Lord applies this passage to himself, for method of stoning, which Maimonides to him it ultimately referred; and thus, as says was practised among the Jews, that he had predicted his own death at the is, first casting down from a precipice murderous hands of the scribes and Pha- upon the rock below, which, if not fatal, risees, he predicts also his future glory, was followed by rolling a large stone as at once the foundation and the chief down upon the criminal; which is somecorner-stone of that vast spiritual temple what far-fetched, and indeed was not the which God was about to set up in the common method of inflicting that punishearth. The princes and chiefs of a people ment. It rather arises out of the metawere called 135, rendered in the Septua- phor of the stone rejected by the builders, gint, yuviai, corner-stones : so, 1 Sam. xiv. whether considered as a foundation or 38, πασας τας γωνιας του Ισραηλ, “ all the the top stone of the corner. chief of Israel.” Christ has this eminence, represented our Lord's humiliation and that he is both the foundation-stone and sufferings, the only foundation of saving the chief stone of the corner. Thus he trust, the other was an emblem of the supports and completes the fabric of his glory and majesty of his exaltation to the church, sustains the whole weight, unites right hand of God. In the former, he
As the one
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
CHAPTER XXII. i The parable of the marriage of the king's son. 9 The vocation of the Gentiles. 12 The
punishment of him that wanted the wedding garment. 15 Tribute ought to be paid to Cæsar. 23 Christ confuteth the Sadducees for the resurrection : 34 answereth the lawyer, which is the first and great commandment : 41 and poseth the Pharisees about the Messias.
1 And Jesus answered * and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
o Rom. ix. 33; 1 Peter ii. 7 ; Isaiah viü. 14. a Luke xiv. 16; Rev. xix. 9.
was “a stone of stumbling, and rock of too must meet him in his glory as Judge, offence;” first, to all the Jews who re- and in “the hour of death, and in the jected a suflering Messiah, and by con- day of judgment,” shall awfully realize sequence, his sacrificial death; and then the truth of the words, “ On whomsoever to all others who equally spurned Christ this stone shall fall, it will grind him to crucified as the only ground of their hope powder.” Συνθλασθαι, and λικμαν, are of of salvation. Thus they were broken, so different degrees of force : the former sig. wounded as to sustain great injury, yet nifies to bruise; the latter, to disperse, as not but that they might repent and find chaff, from Auxuos, a winnowing van ; and mercy; for their case is not represented hence is used figuratively for utter deas absolutely fatal, until the stone at the struction, or a dashing in pieces. head of the corner should fall upon them. Verse 46. They feared the multitude.This signifies a judicial wielding of This shows that not only the people who Christ's power and supreme authority came up with our Lord from Jericho, but against all such as rejected him, though vast numbers who were now collecting after much long-suffering and delay. from all parts to celebrate the passover at With respect to the Jews as a nation, Jerusalem, admitted his claims as a prothis took place after the gospel in its per- phet, and would have been excited to fected form, with all the additional attes- tumult by any open attempt to apprehend tations of Christ's resurrection and as- him. This rendered it necessary for his cension, and the effusion of the Holy enemies to proceed with circumspection Spirit upon the apostles, had been for and subtlety; and therefore St. Luke many years proclaimed among them, and adds, “They watched him, and sent pressed upon their acceptance. But they forth spies, which should feign themselves continued to full upon or stumble at the just men, that they might take hold of foundation, and still more grievously to his words, that so they might deliver him wound and injure themselves ; until at unto the power and authority of the last Christ turned against them the governor.” weight of his power as the Judge, and utterly destroyed their city and nation. CHAPTER XXII. Verse 1. And Jesus Thus also it shall be with every indivi- answered, &-c.-It has been before remarked dual who rejects Christ as a Saviour : he that this formula does not always siuri