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to sit in Moses's chair, [Mat. xxiii. 3.] and to determine what doctrines are contained in scripture [Mat. xii. 35.] Hence, also, an able minister of the New Testament is called a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. But as the Jews were divided into several religious sects, it is natural to imagine that each sect gave such interpretations of scripture as best agreed with their peculiar tenets. Wherefore, it cannot be doubted, that the doctors studied and expounded the sacred writings with a view to authorize the opinions of the party they espoused. Accordingly. [Acts xxiii. 9.] mention is made of the scribes that were of the sect of the Pharisees, which plainly implies that some of the scribes were of the other sects. It is true, the scribes are distinguished from the Pharisees in the woes which our Lord now pronounced, and in several other passages, particularly Mat. v. 20, xxiii. 2. But from the latter of these passages Dr. Mackaight thinks it is evident, that by the scribes and Pharisees is commonly meant the Pharisaic scribes, according to the idiom of the Hebrew language for, as the name Pharisees denoted a sect, and not an office, it could by no means be said of the whole sect, that they sat in Moses's chair. A character of this sort was applicable only to the doctors or scribes of the sect In other instances, where the scribes are distinguished from the Pharisees, the Sadducean doctors may be intended. The badge of a Pharisee was his placing the tradition of the elders on an equality with scripture: whereas, the Sadducees rejected all the pretended oral traditions, and adhered so close to the text, that they acknowledged nothing as a matter of faith which was not expressly contained in the sacred books. And in this they were followed by the Karaités, or Scripturists, a sect that subsists among the Jews to this day. It is generally supposed, indeed, that the Sadducees acknowledged the authority of none of the sacred books, except the writings of Moses. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that they received all these books; for had they denied the authority of any of them, our Lord, who so sharply reproved their other corruptions, would, probably, not have let this escape uncensured. Nay, Josephus himself, who was no friend to the Sadducees, does not, in the whole compass of his writings, charge them with rejecting any of the sacred books. He says, they rejected. the traditions of the elders, so much cried up by the Pharisees, affirming that nothing ought to be held as an institution or rule but what was written. Perhaps, of the sacred writings, the Sadducees preferred the books of Moses. All the Jews did so, and do so still: but whether, in this point, the Sadducees outstripped the rest of the sects, it is hard to say. In the mean time, considering the veneration which the Jews had for the books of the law, it is reasonable to suppose that some of the doctors of each sect would apply themselves more especially to the study of these books in private, and to the explication of them in public; and that such as did so might obtain the appellation of la vyers. Accordingly, he is called by Matthew a Pharisee, and a lawyer, [xxii, 35.] whom Mark calls a scribe.
Farther, it is not unprobable, that the Pharisean lawyers, fond of their own particular study, mig exalt the law, not only above the rest of the sacred writings, but above the tradition of the elders, in which respect they were distinguished from the rest of their sect, paying only a secondary sort of regard to these traditions It was on this account that one of them was now so displeased, when he heard Jesus join the whole body of scribes indiscriminately; and consequently the lawyers with the Pharisees, in the woes which he now denounced against them for the hypocritical shews of piety which they made by their zeal in giving tythes of mint, anise, and cummin, according to the precepts of the elders, whilst they omitted judgment and. the love of God, enjoined expressly by the divine law. It seems, he thought the rebuke undeserved on the part of the lawyers, even of the Pharisean sect, becaus
they did not pay that superlative regard to tradition which the rest were remarkable for.
We shall now continue the conversation in the words of Dr. Campbell.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because ye are like concealed graves, over which people walk without knowing it.
Here one of the lawyers interposing, said, by speaking thus, Rabbi, thou reproachest us also. He answered, woe unto you, lawyers, also, because ye lade men with intolerable burdens, which ye yourselves will not so much as touch with one of your fingers. Woe unto you, because ye build the monuments of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Surely ye are both vouchers and accessaries to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and ye build their monuments.
Wherefore, thus saith the wisdom of God, "I will send them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill, others they will banish; insomuch that the blood of all the prophets which has been shed since the foundation of the world shall be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who fell between the altar and the house of God." Yes, I assure you, all shall be required of this generation."
The scribes and Pharisees, finding themselves thus severely reproved, urged him with great vehemence, from the hope that he might say something prejudicial to his cause, that they might bring an accusation against him, either before the Romans or the Jews.
A vast multitude of people having collected, about this time, to hear the instructions of the Son of God, he thought proper to repeat, before this vast assembly, the same injunctions as he had before given them in private. There would thus be many witnesses, that the troubles hich were to fall upon his followers were not unknown to him ard hat he did not entice them to continue in his service by any flattering prospt of worldly advantage. He began by exhorting them, as he had done on a voyage cross the sea of Tiberias, to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which he explained to be hypocrisy. To enforce this admonition, he reminded them of the omniscience of God, who knew every secret thought, and of the approach of that awful day, when every thing should be made publicly manifest The body, he said, being mortal, might suffer many things from the hands of their enemies but there was a great and terrible God, who was able to destroy both body and soul in hell. he, said Jesus, is the proper object of your fear. But let not this tremendous thought fill your minds with melancholy; for there is as much safety in his protection as there is danger in being exposed to his wrath. He watches over every part of his creation, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without fulfilling, by its death, some part of his plan of providence. You need not, therefore, fear; for all the hairs of your head are numbered, and ye, both as men and as my disciples, are of more value than many sparrows. If you constantly and steadily persevere in my ways, unmoved by the allurements and afflictions of this world, the Son of man will acknowledge you for his favourites and friends, before his heavenly Father, and all the angels of light; while he, on the contrary, who shall desert my cause, shall be cast out as evil; and though he may have gained the world, shall have eternal reason to repent of his choice, siuce he shall incur the destruction of his soul. And let all meu beware how they oppose your mission; for unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven. Nor need you be afraid to appear before kings or rulers; for, though you are illiterate men, the Holy Spirit shall furnish you, without your previous meditation, with the most suitable defences to make against your enemies.
While Jesus was thus exhorting his disciples, a certain person in the crowd begged
that he would persuade his brother to divide their inheritance, and give him his share. But because judging in civil matters was the province of the magistrate, and foreign to the end of our Lord's coming, he refused to interfere in their dispute; but knowing that quarrels of this kind arise from covetousness in one or both of the parties, he cautioned them to beware of that vice; for neither the happiness nor the security of a man's life consisteth in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. To shew them that the love of this world was foolish and dangerous, even when it did not lead to any unlawful acquisition of wealth, he related the following parable: The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and thus enabled him, without oppression, rapidly to accumulate wealth. He therefore determined to provide barns of sufficient magnitude to contain his goods; and as he was not one of those mean wretches who would continually hoard and never enjoy, he said to his soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine case, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, by living for this present world, and has not, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, become rich towards God. He may obtain a little short lived gratification, but will, at length, find that the end of these things is death.
Christ then proceeded to exhort his disciples that they should take no anxious thought for the things of this life; but, setting their affections upon a better world, commit the keeping of all their concerns into the hands of a faithful and merciful Creator. Fear not little flock, though you may be here despised and persecuted, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. He now added a precept particularly calculated for those times, and for the peculiar circumstances of the apostles: sell that ye have, and give alms: provide yourselves with bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Having thus recommended disengagement of affection from the things of this world, e ordered them to be in constant readiness for the discharge of their duty. In the Eastern countries, great entertainments were usually made in the evening; so that the guests were seldom dismissed till the night was far spent. On such oc← casions, servants shewed their fidelity by watching and keeping their lamps burning, and their loins girded, that they might be ready to open the door to the master on the first knock. Heexhorted his disciples to imitate these servants, and assured them, that if they pursued a similar line of conduct, their Master would not only .eceive them to his company, but gird himself and come forth and serve them.
Peter enquiring to know whether this parable was addressed to the disciples or the multitude, the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their meat in due season. Blessed is the servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing, he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But lest this watchfulness should be remitted, he instructed him further by the case of a servant, who, presuming upon his master's favour, neglected his duty, and oppressed his fellow-servants. Such an one was to be cut in sunder, and have his portion with unbelievers, who had made no pretensions to the faith and practice of religion. Nay, his doom should be still more heavy; for; in proportion to the knowledge which the disobedient servant should possess of his Master's wili, should be the stripes with which he should be chastised. Then, reassuming his prophetic character, he looked forward into futurity, and announced the persecu tions which should fall upon his followers. I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I if it were already kindled. This passage is. variously translated; but:
must be understood to convey a wish that his sufferings might speedily commencz. I have a dreadful baptism of blood to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till ut be accomplished. Instead of peace, which shall be ultimately the consequence of my mission, there shall be a spirit of violent dissension and animosity extensively diffused on the earth; for, on account of the introduction of the Christian religion, there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shail be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughler against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
The land of Judea, as has been already observed, was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean sea, and on the south by the deserts of Arabia: when, therefore, the west wind blew, it indicated rain; while the blasts from the south were accompanied with extreme heat. Our Lord reproved the multitude because they could understand the succession of these natural phenomena, but could not discern the important events which were taking place, or which should speedily happen. Ye cannot discern this time ye are so blinded by superstition, prejudice, and pride, that ye are unable to discover that the kingdom of God is approaching, that the true Messiah is now upon earth, and that you and your countrymen, by rejecting him, are filling up the measure of your iniquities, and bringing about the ruin of your nation. You ought, in this instance, to act with the same prudence as you would exercise towards a powerful and justly incensed adversary, who had commenced a prosecution against you, with whom you would agree quickly, lest he should hale you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer cast you into prison.
Some that were present at this time informed Christ of the murder of certain Galileans, of whose history we are ignorant, but whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, secretly insinuating that these people must have been more than usually wicked, or else they would not have incurred such severe judgments. Christ, however, opposed this sentiment; assuring them, that unless they repented, they must all likewise perish. He also made a similar observation upon the death of eighteen persons on whom the tower of Siloam, which was, probably, one of the porticos of Bethesda, had fallen. Moreover, to rouse them still more to a sense of approaching calamities, he spake the parable of the barren fig-tree, which was ordered to be cut down, and only spared for one year from the intercession of the gardener, and in the expectation that it might, the next season, bring forth fruit. This was, undoubtedly, intended to represent the Jewish nation, the advantages they had enjoyed, the sins they had committed, the long-suffering mercy of God, which was vouchsafed towards them through the mediation of the Son, and the ruin which would certainly fall upon their heads, both as individuals and a community, unless prevented by their repentance: but it also speaks loudly to the consciences of such as are living in impenitence and unbelief, though continually surrounded with divine benefits.
Jesus happening to preach in one of the synagogues of Perea on a sabbath-day, cast his eyes upon a woman in the congregation who had not been able to stand upright during the space of eighteen years; wherefore, pitying her affliction, he restored her body to its natural soundness This benevolent miracle excited the gratitude of the poor woman to God, but produced a very different effect on the ruler of the synagogue. He was filled ith great indignation, and said unto the people, there are six days in which men ought to work, in them, therefore, come and be healed, and not on the sabbath-day. The Lord then answered him and said, thou hypocrite, doth not each of you, on the sabbath, loose his or or his ass from the stall, and teaɑ him away to watering? And ought not this woman, whom Satan hath bound, Ic,
these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath-day? And when he said these things all his adversaries were ashamed, and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
After the Lord had thus silenced the ruler of the synagogue, and whilst he observed the rejoicings of the people, he reflected with pleasure on the reason and truth which so effectually supported his kingdom: for he spake a second time the parables of the grain of mustard-seed and of the leaven, to shew the efficacious operation of the gospel upon the minds of men, and its speedy propagation through the world in spite of all opposition.
While our Lord was passing through the cities and villages in his journey towards Jerusalem, he met with one who expressed a desire to be made acquainted with the number of the saved. Christ, not judging this a profitable question, instead of returning a direct answer, exhorted his hearers not to trust to their privileges as Jews, but to strive to enter in at the strait gate; for that many, deferring this consideration, should strive to enter in and should not be able. When the elect of God are gathered in, and the door of heaven is shut, they shall in vain request admission, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; for he shall answer and say unto them, I know not whence you are, you are perfect strangers to me, and therefore shall not he admitted into my company. In vain shall they then allege, we have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; we have not merely been Jews, and, as such, have had the advantages of the peculiar people of God, but we have also had the advantage of thine acquaintance when upon earth; for they should be dismissed into outer darkness, as the workers of iniquity; while many should come from the farthest parts of the earth, and sit down to the everlasting enjoyment of the kingdom of God.
The same day, some of the Pharisees intimated to Christ, that if he was desirous of seeking his safety, he ought to depart out of that country, for that Herod sought to slay him. But Christ, knowing that he had his appointed work to perform, and that no one could cut him off till his hour of suffering was come, answered, go ye and tell that fox, referring to the cruelty and craft of Herod, behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. Our Lord here, probably, referred both to the general wickedness of that city, which was notorious for its opposition to the prophets of God, and also to the malice which he well knew that the priests and rulers had conceived against him. Our Lord then took up the pathetic lamentation, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house, the temple in which you trust, is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see me until the time come, when ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. This last expression probably refers to the general ingathering of the Jews, with the fulness of the Gentiles, which shall take place before the dissolution of all things.
About this time, a distinguished person among the Pharisees, with an insidious intention, invited our Lord to dine at his house. This was on the sabbath-day; and a man who was afflicted with the dropsy was present, being probably introduced for the purpose of seeing whether Christ would cure him. Not having received an answer to the question, whether it were lawful to heal on the sabbath-day, he laid his hand on the diseased man, and he immediately healed him and sent him away. Determining still further to press his adversaries with unanswerable questions, he asked them whether they would not, on the sabbath, rescue an ox or an ass from the