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Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 'And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, 'teaching in their synagogues, and preaching "the gospel of the kingdom, "and kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.

i Mark i. 14. Luke iii. 20, & iv. 14, 31. John iv. 43. Or, delivered up. A. D. 31.-k Is. ix. 1, 2.-/ Is. xlii. 7. Luke ii. 32.-m Mark i. 14, 15. n ch. iii. 2. & x. 7. -o Mark i. 16, 17, 18. Luke v. 2. p John i. 42.Luke v. 10, 11.-r Mark x. 28. Luke xviii. 28.-s Mark i. 19, 20. Luke v. 10.-t ch. 9. 35. Mark i. 21, 39. Luke iv. 15, 44. u ch. xxiv. 14. Mark i. 14. z Mark i. 34.-y Mark iii. 7.

Reader. Our Lord went into Galilee, where John had lately been preaching, in order perhaps, to carry forward the good work which had been interrupted by the Baptist's imprisonment, and also because that remote part of the country afforded greater facility for his own ministry than Judea, which was the chief seat of the Scribes and Pharisees. We ought to avoid persecution, whenever we can do so consistently with duty.

Theophilus. It is said that Capernaum was upon the sea-coast; but it is not marked as a maritime town in the maps.

Reader. "Upon the sea-coast" means here "on the borders of the lake of Gennesaret," otherwise called the sea of Galilee or of Tiberias. This lake was about fifteen miles long, and from six to nine wide. It is often mentioned in the New Testament.

Upper Galilee is here called Galilee of the Gentiles, because it bordered on heathen countries, and because a great number of Phenicians, Egyptians, and other foreign

ers had settled there.

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The prophecy here quoted is from the ninth chapter of Isaiah. In its primary sense, it related to deliverance from the army of Sennacherib. St. Matthew points out its farther application to the spiritual blessings attendant on the presence and preaching of Christ, in which these words received their complete fulfilment.

It is said that our Lord preached in their synagogues. I suppose you know what the synagogues were.

Theophilus. Places of worship among the Jews, in which the Law and the Prophets were read and expounded, and prayer was offered up every Sabbath. The services were under the presidency of certain superintendents, who frequently invited different members of the congregation, especially strangers, to expound the Scriptures, and to address the people on religious subjects.

Reader. Mention is made in verse 24 of" persons possessed with devils" or demons. Read a passage to which I point, describing the case of these unhappy persons, to whom frequent allusion is made in the New Testament.

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evil spirits spoke, conversed, asked questions, gave answers, and expressed their knowledge of Christ, and their fear of him; Mat. viii. 28; Luke viii. 27. They are represented as going out of the bodies of the persons possessed, and entering the bodies of others; Mat. viii. 32. Jesus threatened them, commanded them to be silent, to depart, and not to return; Mark i. 25; v. 8; ix. 25. This could not be said of diseases. Nor is there any absurdity in the opinion that those persons were really under the influence of demons. It is no more absurd to suppose that an angel, or many angels, should have fallen and become wicked, than that so many men should. It afforded an opportunity for Christ to show his power over the enemies of himself and of man, and thus to evince himself qualified to meet every enemy of the race, and triumphantly to redeem his people." He came to destroy the power of Satan; Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. xvi. 20.

READER. We may learn much from successive portions of this passage.

Leaving Nazareth,-from which place our Lord was, in fact, rudely thrust out. Luke iv. 29.-God justly withdraws the means of grace from those who continue to slight and reject them; although, in his mercy, he often pleads long with such miserable offenders. Christ left Nazareth, even the town in which he had been brought up. Let us give him a welcome in our hearts, and he will

never leave us nor forsake us.-O | enlivening, reviving and cheering

God, make clean our hearts within us, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us!

He came and dwelt in Capernaum; i.e. he made that town his principal place of resort. If some men refuse to entertain Christ and his Gospel, others will receive himself and his blessings with open and thankful hearts.

The people which sat in darkness.Sad and dangerous was the temporal condition of that people, before God sent them the deliverance of which Isaiah speaks. Still worse was their spiritual condition when our Lord began his ministry among them. All men, by nature, are in darkness; nay, they are sitting in darkness, like the Egyptians of old, of whom it is said that none moved from his place by reason of the plague which wrapped them in impenetrable gloom. To be without the knowledge of God, to be deprived of his favour, and to be destitute of any means of obtaining either the one or the other, is indeed to be enveloped in thick darkness, which may be felt. Such is the benighted and woful condition of every man by nature, in this fallen

the souls of those who entertain it, how great soever their outward darkness and distress may be."

Well may the language of this verse be applied to ourselves, as the inhabitants of a country once heathen, ignorant, and barbarous! How grievous is the case of those among us, and how great will be their condemnation, who sit in darkness even while the light of the Gospel is shining clearly around them! Let not such misery and guilt be our own. We have the light, and well may we rejoice in the light which we possess; but let us remember that it is also our solemn duty to walk as children of light! (See John i. 5; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4).

Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repentance is a demand made by Christ, as well as by his forerunner. And our Lord not only gives a call to repentance, but also bestows power to repent and turn to God. Acts v. 31.

He saith unto them, Follow me.— These were poor, illiterate fishermen, whom Christ called to be his disciples and preachers of the Gos

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the divine power by which the Gospel was established in the world was rendered the more remarkable.

and apostate world. But, it is added, | pel; pel; thus choosing "the foolish that they things of the world to confound the Saw great light,-und to them-wise." See 1 Cor. i. 26-29. Hence light is sprung up.-Such is the character of the Gospel. Christ is " a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel." "The entrance of thy word," says the Psalmist, "giveth light"-instruction to the ignorant, comfort and joy to the wretched; quickening and


But this is no warrant for the employment of men ignorant of Scripture, and of things necessary for the right understanding of Scripture, as preachers of the Gospel in our day.

Matthew Henry says very truly, "This will not justify the bold intrusion of ignorant and unqualified men into the work of the ministry; extraordinary gifts of knowledge and utterance are not now to be expected, but requisite abilities must be obtained in an ordinary way; and without a competent measure of these, none are to be admitted to that service."

Follow me.-These disciples had already become acquainted with Jesus; but now they are called to devote themselves entirely to give attendance on his sacred person, and to perform the work which he should assign to them.-"Even those who have been called to follow Christ have need to be called to follow on, and to follow nearer; especially when they are designed for the work of the ministry." They must follow him in the way of faith, and in the exercise of patience, humility, self-denial, and all other graces of the Spirit.

I will make you fishers of men."It is Christ that qualifies men for this work, calls them to it, authorises them in it, and gives them success in it." The call and teaching of the Spirit within the heart, as well as an outward call and designation by the church, are needful to make a good and faithful minister of Christ.

Fishers of men.-How beautifully characteristic are these words of the real nature and effect of the ministerial office! See 2 Cor. xii. 14—19. "We must be Christ's disciples," says a pious commentator, "before we are his ministers; his fol

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lowers before we are his ambassadors. We must learn Christ before we preach him; otherwise we may fish for a livelihood, for honour and applause, but not for souls; if v we be not first enclosed ourselves in the net of the Gospel, we can have but small hopes of bringing in others." But when Christ's ministers faithfully preach the Gospel, in sincerity, humility, and love, they have many encouraging reasons to hope that their labour "will not be in vain in the Lord." Still, however, the blessing and success must be derived from Christ himself. himself. "Our labour," says Bishop Hall, "is only in the cast, Christ's power wholly in the draught. Some fish cleave to the rocks, others play upon the sands, and more wallow in the mud; and we shall labour all our days and catch nothing, if Christ doth not bring our fish to the net, and enclose them in it, as well as assist us in the throwing of it."

Let us pray that it may please God to give his grace and benediction to Christian ministers, that both by their life and doctrine they may set forth his glory, and set forward the salvation of all men.

They left their nets-left their ship and their father, and followed him.— Observe here the power of the Lord Jesus, and the efficacy of his word.Consider the obedience of his disciples, as an act of faith, resembling that of their father Abraham; Heb. xi. 8. And remember also, that "those who would follow Christ aright, must leave all to follow him. Every Christian must leave all in

affection, must sit loose to all, must 'hate father and mother' (Luke xiv. 26), i.e. must love them less than Christ, must be ready to part with his interest in them rather than with his interest in Jesus Christ. But those who are devoted to the work of the ministry are, in a special manner, concerned to disentangle themselves from all the affairs of this life, that they may give themselves wholly to that work which requires the whole man." "Nothing but an indispensable necessity in providing for a family can excuse minister's


entangling himself with worldly business."

A church ought not to encourage a worldly spirit in its ministers, either by holding out offers of wealth and honour to those who seek such things; or by withholding necessary support from those who really seek men's souls.-It is awful to see some ministers seeking the patronage of the great, suing for appointments, and hunting for preferment, instead of acting as fishers of men; and it is sad to see others compelled, by dire necessity, to neglect, more or less, their proper and favourite employment, in order to earn a livelihood!

They brought unto him all sick people-and he healed them.-The multitude of persons cured, and the great variety of complaints from which they were relieved, are among many other striking attestations to the reality and extent of our Lord's miraculous power; and to the divinity of him who wrought such wonders, by his own authority, and as an act of his own omnipotence.

Meditate upon the last two verses of this chapter, as containing, at once, proofs of divine power-instances of divine mercy and compassion-patterns and spiritual motives to our own benevolent care of the sick and the afflicted, in the benefits conferred upon men by the Redeemer and Saviour of their souls.


Thou whose almighty word
Chaos and darkness heard,

And took their flight;
Hear us, we humbly pray,
And, where the Gospel's day
Sheds not its glorious ray,

Let there be light.

Thou who didst come to bring
On thy protecting wing

Healing and light,
Sight to the inly blind,
Health to the sick in mind;
Oh, now to all mankind

Let there be light.

Spirit of truth and love,
Life-giving, holy dove,

Speed forth thy flight;
Move o'er the waters' face,
Bearing the lamp of grace,
And in earth's darkest place,
Let there be light.
O holy and blessed
And glorious Trinity,

Grace, love, and might,
Boundless as ocean's tide,
Rolling in fullest pride
O'er the world, far and wide,
Let there be light!

§ XIV.


CHAP. V. 1—12.

Christ beginneth his sermon in the mount: declaring who are blessed. AND seeing the multitudes, "he

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