In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
5. And his disciples, when they had come to the opposite bank, through neglect had not taken bread.  6. And Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7. But they considered within themselves, saying, We have not taken bread.  8. And when Jesus knew this, he said to them, Why do you think within yourselves, O you of little faith, that you have not taken bread? 9. Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember those five loaves, when there were five thousand men, and how many baskets you carried away? 10. Nor those seven loaves, when there were four thousand men, and how many baskets you carried away? 11. How comes it that you do not understand that it was not about bread that I told you to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12. Then they understood that he did not bid them beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
14. And they had neglected to take bread, and had not more than one loaf with them in the ship. 15. And he charged them saying, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16. And they reasoned within themselves, saying, We have not bread.  17. And Jesus, perceiving this, said to them, Why do you reason that you have no bread? Do you not yet consider or understand? Have you your heart yet blinded? 18. Having eyes, do you not see? and having ears, do you not hear? and do you not remember? 19. When I broke the five thousand men, how many baskets full of fragments did you carry away? They say to him, Twelve. 20. And when [I broke] the seven among four thousand, how many baskets of the remains of the fragments did you carry away? And they said, Seven. 21. And he said to them, How is it that you do not understand?
1. And when an innumerable multitude had assembled,  so that they trod one upon another, he began to say to his disciples, Above all, beware  of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy
Matthew 16:5. And when his disciples came. Here Christ takes occasion from the circumstance that had just occurred  to exhort his disciples to beware of every abuse that makes an inroad on sincere piety. The Pharisees had come a little before; the Sadducees joined them; and apart from them stood Herod, a very wicked man, and an opponent and corrupter of sound doctrine. In the midst of these dangers it was very necessary to warn his disciples to be on their guard; for, since the human mind has a natural inclination towards vanity and errors, when we are surrounded by wicked inventions, spurious doctrines, and other plagues of the same sort, nothing is more easy than to depart from the true and simple purity of the word of God; and if we once become entangled in these things, it will never be possible for the true religion to hold an entire sway over us. But to make the matter more clear, let us examine closely the words of Christ.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Along with the Pharisees Matthew mentions the Sadducees Instead of the latter, Mark speaks of Herod Luke takes no notice of any but the Pharisees, (though it is not absolutely certain that it is the same discourse of Christ which Luke relates,) and explains the leaven to be hypocrisy In short, he glances briefly at this sentence, as if there were no ambiguity in the words. Now the metaphor of leaven, which is here applied to false doctrine, might have been employed, at another time, to denote the hypocrisy of life and conduct, or the same words might even have been repeated a second time. But there is no absurdity in saying, that those circumstances which are more copiously detailed by the other two Evangelists, in the order in which they took place, are slightly noticed by Luke in a manner somewhat different, and out of their proper place or order, but without any real contradiction. If we choose to adopt this conjecture, hypocrisy will denote here something different from a pretended and false appearance of wisdom. It will denote the very source and occasion of empty display, which, though it holds out an imposing aspect to the eyes of men, is of no estimation in the sight of God. For, as Jeremiah (5:3) tells us that the eyes of the Lord behold the truth, so they that believe in his word are instructed to maintain true godliness in such a manner as to cleave to righteousness with an honest and perfect heart; as in these words,
An now, O Israel, what doth the Lord require from thee, but that thou shouldst cleave to him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul? (Deuteronomy 10:12.)
On the other hand, the traditions of men, while they set aside spiritual worship, wear a temporary disguise, as if God could be imposed upon by such deceptions; for to whatever extent outward ceremonies may be carried, they are, in the sight of God, nothing more than childish trifles, unless so far as they assist us in the exercise of true piety.
We now perceive the reason why hypocrisy was viewed by Luke as equivalent to doctrines invented by men, and why he included under this name the leavens of men, which only puff up, and in the sight of God contain nothing solid, and which even draw aside the minds of men from the right study of piety to empty and insignificant ceremonies. But it will be better to abide by the narrative of Matthew, which is more copious. The disciples, after having been reproved by our Lord, came at length to understand that he had charged them to be on their guard against certain doctrine. It was plainly, therefore, the intention of Christ to fortify them against prevailing abuses, by which they were attacked on all sides. The Pharisees and Sadducees were expressly named, because those two sects maintained at that time a tyrannical sway in the Church, and held opinions so utterly subversive of the doctrine of the Law and the Prophets, that almost nothing remained pure and entire.
But Herod did not in any way profess to teach; and a question arises, why does Mark class him with false teachers? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and Of The Leaven Of Herod. I:reply: he was half a Jew, was mean and treacherous, and availed himself of every contrivance that was within his reach to draw the people to his side; for it is customary with all apostates to contrive some mixture, for the purpose of establishing a new religion by which the former may be abolished. It was because he was laboring craftily to subvert the principles of true and ancient piety, and thus to give currency to a religion that would be exceedingly adapted to his tyranny, or rather because he was endeavoring to introduce some new form of Judaism, that our Lord most properly charged them to beware of his leaven. From the temple of God the scribes disseminated their errors, and the court of Herod was another workshop of Satan, in which errors of a different kind were manufactured.
Thus in our own day we find that not only from Popish temples, and from the dens of sophists and monks, does Antichrist vomit out her impostures, but that there is a Theology of the Court, which lends its aid to prop up the throne of Antichrist, so that no stratagem is left untried. But as Christ opposed the evils which then prevailed, and as he aroused the minds of his followers to guard against those which were the most dangerous, let us learn from his example to make a prudent inquiry what are the abuses that may now do us injury. Sooner shall water mix with fire than any man shall succeed in reconciling the inventions of the Pope with the Gospel. Whoever desires to become honestly a disciple of Christ, must be careful to keep his mind pure from those leavens; and if he has already imbibed them, he must labor to purify himself till none of their polluting effects remain. There are restless men, on the other hand, who have endeavored in various ways to corrupt sound doctrine, and, in guarding also against such impostures, believers must maintain a strict watch, that they may keep a perpetual Passover
with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,
And as on every hand there now rages an impiety like that of Lucian,  a most pernicious leaven, or rather a worse than deadly poison, let them exercise this very needful caution, and apply to it all their senses.
8. Why do you think within yourselves, etc.? The disciples again show how little they had profited by the instructions of their Master, and by his wonderful works. What he had said about being on their guard against the leaven is rashly interpreted by them as if Christ intended only to withdraw them from outward intercourse. As it was customary among the Jews not to take food in company with irreligious men, the disciples imagine that the Pharisees were classed with such persons. This ignorance might perhaps have been endured; but they are forgetful of a favor which they lately received, and do not consider that Christ has the remedy his power to hinder them from being compelled to pollute themselves by meat and drink, and therefore he reproves them sharply, as they deserved. And certainly it was shameful ingratitude that, after having seen bread created out of nothing, and in such abundance as to satisfy many thousands of men, and after having seen this done twice, they are now anxious about bread, as if their Master did not always possess the same power. From these words we infer that all who have once or twice experienced the power of God, and distrust it for the future are convicted of unbelief; for it is faith that cherishes in our hearts the remembrance of the gifts of God, and faith must have been laid asleep, if we allow them to be forgotten.
12. Then they understood. The word leaven is very evidently used by Christ as contrasted with the pure and uncorrupted word of God. In a former passage, (Matthew 13:33,) Christ had used the word in a good sense, when he said that the Gospel resembled leaven;  but for the most part this word is employed in Scripture to denote some foreign substance, by which the native purity of any thing is impaired. In this passage, the naked truth of God, and the inventions which men contrive out of their own brain, are unquestionably the two things that are contrasted. The sophist must not hope to escape by saying that this ought not to be understood as applicable to every kind of doctrine; for it will be impossible to find any doctrine but what has come from God that deserves the name of pure and unleavened Hence it follows that leaven is the name given to every foreign admixture; as Paul also tells us that faith is rendered spurious, as soon as we are
drawn aside from the simplicity of Christ,
It must now be apparent who are the persons of whose doctrine our Lord charges us to beware. The ordinary government of the Church was at that time in the hands of the scribes and priests, among whom the Pharisees held the highest rank. As Christ expressly charges his followers to beware of their doctrine, it follows that all who mingle their own inventions with the word of God, or who advance any thing that does not belong to it, must be rejected, how honorable soever may be their rank, or whatever proud titles they may wear. Accursed and rebellious, therefore, is the obedience of those who voluntarily submit to the inventions and laws of the Pope.
 "Et quand les disciples furent venus outre, ils avoyent oublie a prendre les pains;" -- "and when the disciples were come across, they had forgotten to take bread."
 "[C'est pource que] nous n'avons point prins de pains;" -- "[it is because] we have not taken bread."
 "[C'est pource que] nous n'avons point prins de pains;" -- "[it is because] we have not taken bread."
 "Cependant une multitude s'estant assemblee a milliers;" -- "mean while, a multitude having assembled by thousands."
 "En premier lieu, donnez-vous garde;" -- "in the first place, beware."
 "Ici Christ prenant occasion des propos precedens;" -- "here Christ taking occasion from the former discourse."
 "L'mpiete des Lucianistes et des Atheistes;" -- "the impiety of the Lucianists and Atheists." Lucian, a celebrated Greek writer, of the second century of the Christian era, author of Dialogues of the Dead, is here alluded to as the type of scoffers and Atheists. His subject naturally led him to treat with sportive humor the solenmities of death and the future judgment; and the wit and elegance of his pen, had it been guided by ordinary caution, would have been readily -- far too readily -- sustained as an apology for the tone of his work. But in defiance of the ordinary feelings of mankind, he attacked so fearlessly the most sacred truths, and offended the ear of modesty by such indecent allusions, that his character as a man has been stamped with infamy. Modern times have scarcely produced so daring an infidel, with the exception perhaps of Voltaire, who took no pains to conceal his intense hatred of Christianity and of good men. Had he appeared earlier, his name might perhaps have been substituted for that of Lucian, as the representative of his class. -- Ed.
 See page 127 of this volume.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
16. Behold, I send you out, as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you to the councils, and will scourge you in their synagagues: 18. And you will be brought before rulers and kings on my account, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19. But when they shall deliver you up, be not anxious  as to how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour  what you shall speak. 20. For it is not you that speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
11. And when they shall bring you into synagogues, and before magistrates and powers, do not be anxious how or what you shall answer, or what you shall say. 12. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in the same hour  what you ought to say.
The injunctions which Matthew has hitherto related had no farther reference than to that former expedition or commission, which was to be terminated in a few days. But now Christ proceeds farther, and prepares them for a future period, by informing them, that they were not merely chosen for that brief exercise of preaching, but that an office of greater difficulty and of far higher importance awaited them. Though they were not immediately brought into those contests of which Christ speaks, yet it was advantageous for them to have previous warning, that any uneasiness which they might then suffer might be known to be a sort of preparative for a fiercer warfare to which they had been destined. It was no doubt true in reference to the first mission, that the apostles were like sheep in the midst of wolves: but as the Lord spared their weakness, and restrained the cruelty of the wolves from doing them any injury, these words properly relate to a subsequent period, when the Lord treated them more harshly. Before his resurrection, while the bridegroom was present, they were treated, so to speak, like guests at a marriage: but after the departure of the bridegroom, that softness and gentleness ceased, and they were reduced to such hardships as made them aware, that there were good reasons why they had been early furnished with those arms.
Perhaps, too, Matthew may have collected into one passage discourses which were delivered at different times: for Luke, as we shall afterwards see, (10:17) relates that the same things were said to the seventy disciples, who were placed in the room of the apostles. One thing is beyond dispute: These words did not merely foretell the consequences of that journey which they were now commencing, but gave them warning as to the whole course of their apostleship.
Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you out The exhortation which immediately follows plainly shows the design of this admonition; and therefore the order of the passage must be explained in this manner: "You have need of wisdom and of harmlessness, because you will be like sheep in the midst of wolves " The reason is drawn from the necessity of the case: for if they did not wisely exercise caution, they might be immediately devoured by the wolves; and, on the other hand, if they trembled at the rage of the wolves, or were incautious, they would presently waver, and would at length fail to perform their duty.
We shall first inquire what is meant by their being sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves Though men are cruel and bloody, the Lord might soften their ferocious temper; for he tames and subdues, whenever he pleases, the beasts of prey. When God does not subdue a considerable portion of mankind to the obedience of the gospels but leaves them in their own savage nature, he does it on purpose to try his ministers. Though all whom God does not regenerate with the spirit of gentleness are by nature wolves yet this designation is applied by Christ chiefly to the enraged enemies of the gospel, who are so far from being softened by hearing the voice of the pastor that they are inflamed to greater cruelty. The Lord sends the ministers of his word on the condition of dwelling in the midst of wolves; that is, of having many determined enemies and of being beset on every hand by many dangers, which render it no easy matter to discharge their duty in the midst of hindrances. To make the trial more severe, he does not supply them with defensive armor, but exposes them naked and defenseless to the teeth of the wolves
By calling them sheeps he does not refer to the sweetness and mildness of their manners, or to the gentleness of their mind, but only means that they will have no greater strength or fitness for repelling the violence of enemies than sheep have against the rage of wolves Christ requires no doubt, from his disciples that they shall resemble sheep in their dispositions, by their patience in contending against the malice of wicked men, and by the meekness with which they endure injuries, but the simple meaning of this passage is, that many powerful and cruel enemies are arrayed against the apostles, while they, on their part, are furnished with no means of defense,  If it be objected, that in this way there is no contrast between sheep and wolves, the reply is easy. Though the Lords by calling the enemies of the gospel wolves, expressed their power rather than their desire to do injury, yet as no man is known to be a wolf but by his rage against the gospel, Christ has joined these two things together, the fierce cruelty which impels them to shed blood, and the power with which they are armed.
Be therefore wise The general meaning is, that their wisdom in exercising caution must be so regulated, as to prevent them from being more timid than is necessary, or from becoming more sluggish in duty. We see that those who wish to pass for cautious and circumspect persons are, for the most part, timorous and lazy. It is no doubt proper for the disciples of Christ, surrounded as they are by dangers on every hand, to maintain the strictest caution; but as they are in extreme danger of being kept back by slothfulness, he bids them move forward honestly wherever their calling leads them.
This is pointed out by a twofold comparison, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Serpents, being aware that they are hated, carefully avoid and shrink from every thing that is hostile to them. In this manner he enjoins believers to take care of their life, so as not to rush heedlessly into danger, or lay themselves open to any kind of injury. Doves, on the other hand, though naturally timid, and liable to innumerable attacks, fly in their simplicity, imagine themselves safe till they are struck, and in most cases place themselves within the reach of the fowler's snares. To such simplicity Christ exhorts his disciples, that no excess of terror may hinder them from pursuing their course. There are some who carry their ingenious reasonings still farther as to the nature of the serpent and of the dove, but this is the utmost extent of the resemblance. We see that Christ condemns that carnal wisdom, or rather that trickery, in which the greater part of men are too fond of indulging, while they look around them on every hand to discover how far it will be safe for them to proceed; and thus, from an unwillingness to encounter danger, they renounce the call of Christ. 
17. But beware of men Erasmus has inserted the word these, (beware of these men,) supposing that the article has the force of a demonstrative pronoun.  But in my opinion it is better to view it as indefinite, and as conveying a declaration of Christ, that caution ought to be exercised in dealing with men, among whom every thing is full of snares and injuries. But he appears to contradict himself: for the best way of exercising caution would have been to remain at home, and not to venture to appear in public. I reply, he points out here a different sort of caution, -- not that terror and alarm which would keep them from discharging their duty, but a dread of being excessively annoyed by sudden calamities. We know that those who are surprised by unexpected afflictions are apt to fall down lifeless. Christ, therefore, desired that his disciples should foresee at a distance what would happen, that their minds might be early prepared for maintaining a conflict. In short, he sounds the trumpet to them, that they may quickly make ready for the battle: for as foresight, when it is excessive or attended by unnecessary anxiety, reduces many to a state of weakness, so many are intoxicated by an indolent security, and, rushing on heedlessly, give way at the critical moment.
For they will deliver you up to councils It may readily be inferred from these words, that the contests of which Christ forewarns the apostles must not be limited to the first journey, in which they met with nothing of this description. The object of this prediction is to prevent them from being ever cast down: for it was no ordinary attainment for poor and despised men, when they came into the presence of princes, to preserve composure, and to remain unmoved by any worldly splendor. He warns them, too, that not in Judea only, but in more distant places, they will be called to fight; and he does so, not merely for the purpose of preparing them by long meditation for that warfare, but that, as instructed and experienced masters, they might not scruple to yield themselves to heavenly guidance.
For a testimony to them and to the Gentiles This means that the will of God must be proclaimed even to foreign princes, and to distant nations, that they may be without excuse. Hence it follows, that the labor of the apostles will not be lost, for it will vindicate the judgment of God, when men shall be convicted of their obstinacy.
19. Be not anxious  A consolation is added: for in vain would Christ have given a hundred exhortations to the disciples, if he had not, at the same time, promised that God would be with them, and that through his power they would assuredly be victorious. Hence we infer, that Christ is very far from intending, by announcing those dangers, to abate the fervor of that zeal with which it would be necessary for the disciples to burn if they wished to discharge their duty in a proper manner. It is, no doubt, a great matter to endure the presence of princes; for not only fear, but even shame, sometimes overpowers well-regulated minds. What, then, may be expected, if princes break out into furious anger, and almost thunder?  Yet Christ charges his disciples not to be anxious.
For in that hour shall be given to you what you shall speak The Spirit will suggest words to them. The more a man distrusts himself through consciousness of his own weakness, the more is he alarmed, unless he expect assistance from another quarter. Accordingly, we see that the reason why most men give way is, that they measure by their own strength, which is very small or almost nothing, the success of their undertakings. Christ forbids the disciples to look at their own strength, and enjoins them to rely, with undivided confidence, on heavenly grace. "It is not," he says, "your ability that is in question, but the power of the Holy Spirit, who forms and guides the tongues of believers to a sincere confession of their faith."
That they may not be alarmed by their present deficiency, he assures them that assistance will come at the very instant when it is needed. Frequently does it happen that the Lord leaves believers destitute of the gift of eloquence, so long as he does not require that they give him a testimony, but, when the necessity for it arrives, those who formerly appeared to be dumb are endued by him with more than ordinary eloquence. Thus, in our own time, we have seen some martyrs, who seemed to be almost devoid of talent, and yet were no sooner called to make a public profession of their faith, than they exhibited a command of appropriate and graceful language altogether miraculous. 
Yet it was not the will of Christ that the apostles should be free from all care: for it was advantageous to them to have such a measure of anxiety, as to supplicate and entreat that the Spirit might be given to them; but he desired to remove that deep and uneasy thought which almost always tends to perplex and embarrass. So long as men indulge in conjecture what is to take place, or whether this or the other thing will happen, and do not rely on the providence of God, they are kept in a wretched state of trouble and uneasiness. And, indeed, those who do not render such honor to the providence of God, as to believe that it will seasonably relieve their wants, deserve to be tormented in this manner.
 "N'ayez point de souci;" -- "have no anxiety."
 "Car a ce mesme instant vous sera donn, ce que vous direz;" -- "for at that very instant will be given to you what you shall speak."
 "Ace mesme instant;" -- "at that very instant."
 "Combien que de leur cost, ils n'ayent aucune force ou munition externe;" -- "while they, on their side, have no strength or outward protection."
 "Ils renoncent Christ et sa vocation;" -- "they renounce Christ and his calling."
 "Erasme a traduit, De ces hornroes: pource qu'il luy a sembl, que l'article Grec qul est mis avec le nora denotoit quelques certains hommes." -- "Erasmus translated it, Of these men: because he thought that theGreek article, which is joined to the noun, denoted some particular men." --Prosechete de apo ton anthropon literally means but beware of THE men In Calvin's native tongue, les hommes denotes men in general, and in expressing the idea of the men, it became necessary to substitute ces for les, in order to avoid the circumlocution of les hommes, dont il s'agit But it would be proper to show cause why hoi anthropoi should be here viewed as equivalent to pantes anthropoi. Erasmus, writing in Latin, has supplied a defect of that language by almost the only means which he had in his power, the use of a demonstrative pronoun as a substitute for the definite article. "Cavete ab illis hominibus," naturally interpreting ton anthropon, as referring to the men who had just been described to the disciples as wolves, and in their intercourse with whom the utmost caution would be indispensable. -- Ed.
 "N'ayez point de souci;" -- "have no anxiety."
 "En sorte qu'il semblera quasi qu'ils foudroyent;" -- "so that they will almost appear to thunder."
 "Et de faict, nous avons veu de nostre temps aucuns martyrs, lesquels ayans este le reste de leur vie quasi muets, et n'ayans point de grace a parler, toutesfois quand Dieu les a appelez a rendre confession de leur foy devant les ennenmis, c'a este un miracle du don excellent qu'ils out eu de parlet et respondre pertinemment et avec grace." -- "And, in fact, we have seen, in our own time, some martyrs who having been the rest of their life, as it were, dumb, and having no gracefulness of speech, yet when God called them to make confession of their faith before enemies, the excellent gift which they possessed, of speaking and replying appropriately and gracefully, was quite miraculous."
For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
13. And one out of the multitude said to him, Master, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. 14. And he said to him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15. And he said to them, Take heed and beware of covetousness; for the life of any man does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesseth.  16. And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The field of a certain rich man yielded an abundant produce. 17. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do? for I have no place in which I can collect my fruits. 18. And he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and will build larger ones, and there I will collect all my fruits and my goods. 19. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast many goods laid up for many, years: take thine ease, eat, drink, and enjoy thyself.  20. But God said to him, Fool, this night they shall demand thy soul from thee;  and as to the things which thou hast provided, to whom shall they go? 21. So is he that layeth up for himself:  and is not rich toward God.
13. Bid my brother divide Our Lord, when requested to undertake the office of dividing an inheritance, refuses to do so. Now as this tended to promote brotherly harmony, and as Christ's office was, not only to reconcile men to God, but to bring them into a state of agreement with one another, what hindered him from settling the dispute between the two brothers?  There appear to have been chiefly two reasons why he declined the office of a judge. First, as the Jews imagined that the Messiah would have an earthly kingdom,  he wished to guard against doing any thing that might countenance this error. If they had seen him divide inheritances, the report of that proceeding would immediately have been circulated. Many would have been led to expect a carnal redemption, which they too ardently desired; and wicked men would have loudly declared, that he was effecting a revolution in the state, and overturning the Roman Empire. Nothing could be more appropriate, therefore, than this reply, by which all would be informed, that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual. Let us learn from this to regulate our conduct by prudence, and to undertake nothing which may admit of an unfavorable construction.
Secondly, our Lord intended to draw a distinction between the political kingdoms of this world and the government of his Church; for he had been appointed by the Father to be a Teacher, who should
divide asunder, by the sword of the word, the thoughts and feelings, and penetrate into the souls of men,
but was not a magistrate to divide inheritances This condemns the robbery of the Pope and his clergy, who, while they give themselves out to be pastors of the Church, have dared to usurp an earthly and secular jurisdiction, which is inconsistent with their office; for what is in itself lawful may be improper in certain persons.
There was also in my opinion, a third reason of great weight. Christ saw that this man was neglecting doctrine, and was looking only to his private concerns. This is too common a disease. Many who profess the Gospel do not scruple to make use of it as a false pretense for advancing their private interests, and to plead the authority of Christ as an apology for their gains. From the exhortations  which is immediately added, we may readily draw this inference; for if that man had not availed himself of the Gospel as a pretext for his own emolument, Christ would not have taken occasion to give this warning against covetousness The context, therefore, makes it sufficiently evident, that this was a pretended disciple, whose mind was entirely occupied with lands or money.
It is highly absurd in the Anabaptists to infer from this reply, that no Christian man has a right to divide inheritances, to take a part in legal decisions, or to discharge any public office. Christ does not argue from the nature of the thing itself, but from his own calling. Having been appointed by the Father for a different purpose, he declares that he is not a judge, because he has received no such command. Let us hold by this rule, that every one keep within the limits of the calling which God has given him.
15. Take heed and beware of covetousness. Christ first guards his followers against covetousness, and next, in order to cure their minds entirely of this disease, he declares, that our life consisteth not in abundance. These words point out the inward fountain and source, from which flows the mad eagerness for gain. It is because the general belief is, that a man is happy in proportion as he possesses much, and that the happiness of life is produced by riches. Hence arise those immoderate desires, which, like a fiery furnace, send forth their flames, and yet cease not to burn within. If we were convinced that riches, and any kind of abundance, are evils of the present life, which the Lord bestows upon us with his own hand, and the use of which is accompanied by his blessing, this single consideration would have a powerful influence in restraining all wicked desires; and this is what believers have come to learn from their own experience.  For whence comes it, that they moderate their wishes, and depend on God alone, but because they do not look upon their life as necessarily connected with abundance, or dependent upon it, but rely on the providence of God, who alone upholds us by his power, and supplies us with whatever is necessary?
16. And he spoke a parable to them This parable presents to us, as in a mirror, a lively portrait of this sentiment, that men do not live by their abundance. Since the life even of the richest men is taken away in a moment, what avails it that they have accumulated great wealth? All acknowledge it to be true, so that Christ says nothing here but what is perfectly common, and what every man has constantly in his mouth. But where is the man that honestly believes it? Do not all, on the contrary, regulate their life, and arrange their schemes and employments in such a manner as to withdraw to the greatest distance from God, making their life to rest on a present abundance of good things? It is therefore necessary that all should immediately arouse themselves, lest, by imagining their happiness to consist in riches, they entangle themselves in the snares of covetousness.
This parable shows us, first, that the present life is short and transitory. Secondly, it points out to us, that riches are of no avail for prolonging life. We must add a third, which is not expressed, but may easily be inferred from the other two; that it is a most excellent remedy for believers, to ask from the Lord their daily bread, and to rely on his providence alone, whether they are rich or poor.
17. What shall I do? Wicked men are driven to perplexity in their deliberations, because they do not know how any thing is to be lawfully used;  and, next, because they are intoxicated with a foolish confidence which makes them forget themselves. Thus we find that this rich man lengthens out his expectation of life in proportion to his large income, and drives far away from him the remembrance of death. And yet this pride is accompanied by distrust; for those men, when they have had their fill, are still agitated by insatiable desire, like this rich man, who enlarges his barns, as if his belly, which had been filled with his former barns, had not got enough. At the same time, Christ does not expressly condemn this man for acting the part of a careful householder in storing up his produce, but because his ravenous desire, like a deep whirlpool, swallows up and devours many barns; from which it follows that he does not comprehend the proper use of an abundant produce.
19. Take thine ease, eat, drink, enjoy thyself. When he exhorts himself to eat and drink, he no longer remembers that he is a man, but swells into pride by relying on his abundance. We daily perceive striking instances of this disdainful conduct  in irreligious men, who hold up the mass of their riches, as if it were nothing less than a brazen rampart against death. When he says, Eat, my soul, and enjoy thyself, there is an emphatic meaning in this Hebrew idiom;  for he addresses himself in such a manner as to imply, that he has all that is necessary for gratifying all his senses and all his desires.
20. Fool, this night they will demand thy soul from thee. The word soul carries an allusion. Formerly, the rich man addressed his soul as the seat of all the affections: but now, he speaks of the life itself, or the vital spirit. The words, they will demand, (apaitousin) though in the plural number, are used indefinitely, and mean nothing more than that the life of the rich man, which he imagined to be in his own power, was at the disposal of another. I advert to this, because some take occasion from them to make unfounded speculations about angels. The design of Christ is simply to show that the life of men, which they imagine to be strongly protected by the fortress of their riches, is every moment  taken away. The rich man is thus convicted of folly, in not knowing that his life depended on another.
21. So is he that layeth up for himself. As the two clauses are evidently contrasted, the one must be taken into account for the exposition of the other. Let us ascertain, therefore, what is meant by being rich in God, or, "towards God" or, "with respect to God." Those who are tolerably acquainted with the Scriptures know that the preposition eis not unfrequently takes the sense of en. But whether it be understood in the one sense or in the other, is of little consequence; for the meaning comes to this, that they are rich according to God, who do not trust to earthly things, but depend solely on his providence. It matters not whether they are in abundance or in want, provided that both classes present their sincere prayers to the Lord for their daily bread. The corresponding phrase, layeth up for himself, conveys the idea that this man paid no attention to the blessing of God, but anxiously heaped up an immense store, so that his confidence was shut up in his barns.  Hence we may easily conclude that the parable was intended to show, that vain are the deliberations and foolish attempts of those who, trusting to the abundance of their wealth, do not rely on God alone, and are not satisfied with their own share, or prepared for whatever may befall them;  and, finally, that such persons will suffer the penalty of their own folly.
 "Car encore que les biens' abondent a quelqu'un, si n'a-il pas vie par les biens;" -- "for though a man may abound in wealth, yet he has no life by his wealth."
 "Et fay grand'chere;" -- "and make great cheer."
 "En ceste nuict ton ame to sera ostee, ou, on to redemandera ton ame;" -- "this night thy soul shall be taken from thee, or, thy soul shall be asked again from thee."
 "Ainsi est celuy qui thesaurize (ou, a fait grand areas de biens) pour soy;" -- "so is he that hoards up (or, has formed a great heap of goods) for himself."
 "On pourroit demander qui a empesche qu'il ne se soit entremis d'oster toute occasion de debat entre deux freres?" -- "It might be asked, what hindered him from undertaking to remove all ground of quarrel between two brothers?"
 "Que le Messias regneroit a la facon des princes terriens;" -- "that the Messiah would reign in the manner of earthly princes."
 "En considerant la circonstance de l'exhortation qui est ici adioustee, il est aise a iuger que cestuy-ci estoit mene d'une telle affection perverse;" --"by considering the circumstance of the exhortation which is here added, it may easily be inferred that this man was under the influence of such a wicked disposition."
 "Ce que les fideles experimentent ton les iours en eux-mesmes estre vray;" -- "which believers every day experience in themselves to be true."
 "Pource qu'ils ne scavent point quel est le droit et legitime usage des creatures de Dieu;" -- "because they know not what is the proper and lawful use of the creatures of God."
 "D'une telle mecognoissance et fierte;" -- "of such ingratitude and pride."
 "En ceste locution Hebraique il y a une vehemence et proprie plus que les mots n'emportent de prime face;" -- "in that Hebrew form of expression there is greater force and propriety than the words at first sight bear."
 "Que d'heure en heure la vie est ostee aux hommes;" -- "that from hour to hour the life of man is taken away."
 "En sorte que la fiance de l'homme est en ses greniers, ou en ses coffres;" -- "so that the confidence of the man is in his granaries, or in his chests."
 "Estans prests a recevoir ce qu'il plaira a Dieu leur envoyer;" -- "being prepared to receive what God may be pleased to send to them."
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, 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, and is not rich toward God.
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
25. Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat and drink, or for you body, what clothes you shall wear: is not the life of more value than food, and the body of more value than clothing? 26. Look at the fowls of heaven, for they neither sow nor reap, nor collect into granaries, and your heavenly Father feedeth them: are you not more excellent than they are? 27. And which of you, by anxious care, can add to his stature one cubit? 28. And why are you anxious about clothing? Con sider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. 29. But I say to you, That even Solomon in all hs glory  was not clothed like one of these. 30. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
22. And he said to his disciples, Therefore I say to you, be not anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor for the body, with what you shall be clothed. 23. The life is of more value than food, and the body is of more value than clothing. 24. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have granary nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25. And which of you, by anxious care, can add to your stature on cubit? 26. If therefore you cannot do even that which is least, why are ye anxious about the rest? 27. Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil or spin. And I say to you, Even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28. And if God thus clothes the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more shall he clothe you, O you of little faith?
Throughout the whole of this discourse, Christ reproves that excessive anxiety, with which men torment themselves, about food and clothing, and, at the same time, applies a remedy for curing this disease. When he forbids them to be anxious, this is not to be taken literally, as if he intended to take away from his people all care. We know that men are born on the condition of having some care; and, indeed, this is not the least portion of the miseries, which the Lord has laid upon us as a punishment, in order to humble us. But immoderate care is condemned for two reasons: either because in so doing men tease and vex themselves to no purpose, by carrying their anxiety farther than is proper or than their calling demands; or because they claim more for themselves than they have a right to do, and place such a reliance on their own industry, that they neglect to call upon God. We ought to remember this promise: though unbelievers shall "rise up early, and sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrows," yet believers will obtain, through the kindness of God, rest and sleep, (Psalm 127:2.) Though the children of God are not free from toil and anxiety, yet, properly speaking, we do not say that they are anxious about life: because, through their reliance on the providence of God, they enjoy calm repose.
Hence it is easy to learn, how far we ought to be anxious about food Each of us ought to labor, as far as his calling requires and the Lord commands; and each of us ought to be led by his own wants to call upon God. Such anxiety holds an intermediate place between indolent carelessness and the unnecessary torments by which unbelievers kill themselves. But if we give proper attention to the words of Christ, we shall find, that he does not forbid every kind of care, but only what arises from distrust. Be not anxious, says he, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink That belongs to those who tremble for fear of poverty or hunger, as if they were to be in want of food every moment.
Matthew 6:25. Is not the life of more value than food? He argues from the greater to the less. He had forbidden them to be excessively anxious about the way in which life might be supported; and he now assigns the reason. The Lord, who has given life itself, will not suffer us to want what is necessary for its support. And certainly we do no small dishonor to God, when we fail to trust that he will give us necessary food or clothing; as if he had thrown us on the earth at random. He who is fully convinced, that the Author of our life has an intimate knowledge of our condition, will entertain no doubt that he will make abundant provision for our wants. Whenever we are seized by any fear or anxiety about food, let us remember, that God will take care of the life which he gave us.
26. Look at the fowls of the air This is the remedy I spoke of, for teaching us to rely on the providence of God: for of all cares, which go beyond bounds, unbelief is the mother. The only cure for covetousness is to embrace the promises of God, by which he assures us that he will take care of us. In the same manner, the Apostle, wishing to withdraw believers from covetousness, confirms that doctrine: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, (Hebrews 13:5.) The substance of the exhortation is, that we ought to trust in God, by whom none of his own people, however mean their condition may be, are disregarded.
Your heavenly Father feedeth them This deserves careful attention: for, though we are unable to explain the manner in which their life is supported, which of us is in the habit of considering that their life depends on the providence of God, which he is pleased to extend even to them? But if it is thoroughly fixed in our minds, that the fowls are supplied with food by the hand of God, there will be no difficulty in expecting it for ourselves, who are formed after his image, and reckoned among his children. They neither sow nor reap By these words it is far from being our Lord's intention to encourage us to indolence and sluggishness. All that he means is, that, though other means fail, the providence of God is alone sufficient for us, for it supplies the animals abundantly with every thing that they need.
Instead of fowls, (ta peteina,) Luke uses the word ravens, (tous korakas,) alluding perhaps to that passage in the Psalms, who giveth food to the young ravens that call upon him, (Psalm 67:9.) Some think that David expressly mentioned the ravens, because they are immediately deserted by their parents,  and therefore must have their food brought to them by God. Hence it is evident, that Christ intended nothing more than to teach his people to throw all their cares on God.
27. Which of you by anxious care, etc ? Here our Lord condemns another fault, which is almost always connected with immoderate anxiety about food: and that is, when a mortal man, claiming more than he has a right to do, does not hesitate, in sacrilegious hardihood, to go beyond his limits.
"O Lord, I know (says Jeremiah) that the way of man is not in himself it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," (Jeremiah 10:23.)
You scarcely meet with one person in a hundred, who does not venture to make any promises that he thinks fit on his own industry and power. The consequence is, that those who take credit to themselves for their prosperity, do not hesitate to lose sight of God, when they enter into any undertaking. To restrain this mad rashness, Christ tells us, that whatever contributes to the support of our life depends wholly on the blessing of God. The meaning is: "It is foolish in men to weary themselves, because all our labors are unnecessary and fruitless, and all our anxieties are to no purpose, unless so far as God blesses them." This is more clearly expressed by Luke, If you cannot do even that which is least, why are you anxious about the rest? These words show plainly, that Christ reproves not only distrust, but pride, because men ascribe much more than they ought to their own skill.
29. Not even Solomon in all his glory This means, that the kindness of God, which is gloriously displayed in herbs and flowers, exceeds all that men can accomplish by their wealth or power, or in any other way. Believers ought to be convinced that, though all means fail, they will want nothing that is necessary for their full satisfaction, provided they continue to enjoy the blessing of God alone. O you of little faith In this respect Christ justly accuses us of deficiency or weakness of faith: for the more powerfully we are affected, according to our own grovelling views, by anxiety about the present life, the more do we show our unbelief, if every thing does not happen to our wish. Many persons, accordingly, who in great prosperity appear to possess faith or at least to have a tolerable share of it, tremble when any danger of poverty presents itself.
 "En toute sa gloire, ou, avec toute sa gloire;" -- "in all his glory, or, with all his glory "
 "Pource que le pere et 1a mere les abandonnent incontinent qu'ils sont nais;" -- "because their parents forsake them as soon as they are born."
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
31. Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or with what shall we be clothed? 32. For all those things the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things. 33. But rather seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. 34. Be not therefore anxious about tomorrow: for tomorrow will take care of itself. Its own affliction is sufficient for the day.
29. And seek not what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, and be not lifted on high. 30. For all these things the nations of the world seek: and your Father knoweth that you have need of these things. 31. But rather seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32. Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
This has the same object with the former doctrine. Believers ought to rely on God's fatherly care, to expect that he will bestow upon them whatever they feel to be necessary, and not to torment themselves by unnecessary anxiety.
He forbids them to be anxious, or, as Luke has it, to seek, that is, to seek in the manner of those who look around them in every direction, without looking at God, on whom alone their eye ought to be fixed; who are never at ease, but when they have before their eyes an abundance of provisions; and who, not admitting that the protection of the world belongs to God, fret and tease themselves with perpetual uneasiness.
Matthew 6:32. For all those things the Gentiles seek This is a reproof of the gross ignorance, in which all such anxieties originate. For how comes it, that unbelievers never remain in a state of tranquillity, but because they imagine that God is unemployed, or asleep, in heaven, or, at least, that he does not take charge of the affairs of men, or feed, as members of his family, those whom he has admitted to his friendship. By this comparison he intimates, that they have made little proficiency, and have not yet learned the first lessons of godliness, who do not behold, with the eyes of faith, the hand of God filled with a hidden abundance of all good things, so as to expect their food with quietness and composure. Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of those things: that is, "All those persons who are so anxious about food, give no more honor, than unbelievers do, to the fatherly goodness and secret providence of God."
Luke 12:29. And be not lifted on high  This clause corresponds to the last sentence in the passage taken from Matthew, Be not anxious about tomorrow Our Lord now charges them with another fault. When men wish to make arrangements in their own favor, they would willingly embrace five centuries.  The verb meteorizesthai, which Luke employs, properly signifies to survey from a lofty situation, or, as we commonly say, to make long discourses:  for the intemperate desires of the flesh are never satisfied without making a hundred revolutions of heaven and earth. The consequence is, that they leave no room for the providence of God. This is a reproof of excessive curiosity; for it leads us to bring upon ourselves uneasiness to no purpose, and voluntarily to make ourselves miserable before the time, (Matthew 8:29.) The expression used by Matthew, its own affliction is sufficient for the day, directs believers to moderate their cares, and not to attempt to carry their foresight beyond the limits of their calling: For, as we have said, it does not condemn every kind of care, but only that which wanders, by indirect and endless circuits, beyond limits.
Matthew 6:33. But rather seek first the kingdom of God This is another argument for restraining excessive anxiety about food. It argues a gross and indolent neglect of the soul, and of the heavenly life. Christ reminds us that there is the greatest inconsistency in men, who are born to a better life, being wholly employed about earthly objects. He who assigns the first rank to the kingdom of God, will not carry beyond moderation his anxiety about food. Nothing is better adapted to restrain the wantonness of the flesh from breaking out in the course of the present life, than meditation on the life of the heavens. The word righteousness may be either understood as applying to God, or to the kingdom:  for we know that the kingdom of God consists in righteousness, (Romans 14:17,) that is, in the newness of spiritual life. All other things shall be added This means, that those things which relate to the present life are but favorable appendages, and ought to be reckoned greatly inferior to the kingdom of God
Luke 12:32. Fear not, little flock By this declaration our Lord strengthens the confidence to which he had exhorted his people: for how would God refuse worthless and perishing food to those whom he has adopted as heirs of his kingdom? And he expressly calls his own people a little flock, to hinder them from thinking that they are of less value in the sight of God, because, on account of their small numbers, they are held in little estimation before the world. The verb eudokein conveys the idea, that eternal life flows to us from the fountain of undeserved mercy. For the same purpose the word give is added. When Christ plainly declares, that God hath given us the kingdom, and for no other reason, but because it so pleased him, it is perfectly manifest, that it is not obtained by any merits of works. At whatever time the Lord raises our minds to the expectation of eternal life, let us remember, that we have no cause for fear as to daily food.
 "Ne soyez en suspens;" -- "be not in suspense."
 "Embrasseroyent volontiers beaucoup de cent annees;" -- "would willingly embrace many hundreds of years."
 "Regarder en haut, et estendre sa veue bien loin: ce qu'on dit communement, Faire de longs discours, ou estre en suspens, comme aussi nous l'avons traduit." -- "To look from on high, and to extend one's view very far: as we commonly say, To make long discourses, or to be in suspense, as we have also translated it."
 On the latter supposition, we would naturally have expected that, instead of ten dikaiosunen autou, we would have had ten dikaiosunen autos, when autos would have stood for tos basileias. -- Ed.
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where rust and the moth consume, where theives break through and steal. 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 21. For where your treasure shall be, there will also your heart be.
33. Sell what ye possess, and give alms. Prepare for yourselves bags, which do not grow old, a treasure in heaven which does not fail, where the theif approaches not, nor moth corrupteth. 34. For where your treasure shall be, there will also your heart be.
Matthew 6:19. Lay not up. This deadly plague reigns everywhere throughout the world. Men are grown mad with an insatiable desire of gain. Christ charges them with folly, in collecting wealth with great care, and then giving up their happiness to moths and to rust, or exposing it as a prey to thieves. What is more unreasonable than to place their property, where it may perish of itself, or be carried off by men?  Covetous men, indeed, take no thought of this. They lock up their riches in well-secured chests, but cannot prevent them from being exposed to thieves or to moths They are blind and destitute of sound judgment, who give themselves so much toil and uneasiness in amassing wealth, which is liable to putrefaction, or robbery, or a thousand other accidents: particularly, when God allows us a place in heaven for laying up a treasure, and kindly invites us to enjoy riches which never perish.
20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven They are said to do so, who, instead of entangling themselves in the snares of this world, make it their care and their business to meditate on the heavenly life. In Luke's narrative, no mention is made of the contrast between laying up treasures on the earth and laying up treasures in heaven; and he refers to a different occasion for the command of Christ to prepare bags, which do not grow old: for he had previously said, Sell what you possess, and give alms It is a harsh and unpleasant thing for men to strip themselves of their own wealth; and with the view of alleviating their uneasiness, he holds out a large and magnificent hope of remuneration. Those who assist their poor brethren on the earth lay up for themselves treasures in heaven, according to the saying of Solomon,
"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth to the Lord, and that which he hath given will he pay him again,"
The command to sell possessions must not be literally interpreted, as if a Christian were not at liberty to retain any thing for himself. He only intended to show, that we must not be satisfied with bestowing on the poor what we can easily spare, but that we must not refuse to part with our estates, if their revenue does not supply the wants of the poor. His meaning is, "Let your liberality go so far as to lessen your patrimony, and dispose of your lands."
21. Where your treasure shall be By this statement Christ proves that they are unhappy men who have their treasures laid up on the earth: because their happiness is uncertain and of short duration. Covetous men cannot be prevented from breathing in their hearts a wish for heaven: but Christ lays down an opposite principle, that, wherever men imagine the greatest happiness to be, there they are surrounded and confined. Hence it follows, that they who desire to be happy in the world  renounce heaven. We know how carefully the philosophers conducted their inquiries respecting the supreme good.  It was the chief point on which they bestowed their labor, and justly: for it is the principle on which the regulation of our life entirely depends, and the object to which all our senses are directed. If honor is reckoned the supreme good, the minds of men must be wholly occupied with ambition: if money, covetousness will immediately predominate: if pleasure, it will be impossible to prevent men from sinking into brutal indulgence. We have all a natural desire to pursue happiness;  and the consequence is, that false imaginations carry us away in every direction. But if we were honestly and firmly convinced that our happiness is in heaven, it would be easy for us to trample upon the world, to despise earthly blessings, (by the deceitful attractions of which the greater part of men are fascinated,) and to rise towards heaven. For this reason Paul, with the view of exciting believers to look upwards, and of exhorting them to meditate on the heavenly life, (Colossians 3:1,) presents to them Christ, in whom alone they ought to seek perfect happiness; thus declaring, that to allow their souls to grovel on the earth would be inconsistent and unworthy of those whose treasure is in heaven
 "Ou bien perir d'eux-mesmes, encores que personne n'y touche;" -- "or even perish of themselves, though nobody touch them."
 "Ceux qui demandent d'estre riches et a leur aise en ce monde;"-- those who are eager to be rich and at their ease in this world."
 "Nous savons comment les Philosophes se sont amusez a traiter subtilemerit du souverain bien des hommes." -- "We know to what trouble the Philosophers submitted in ingenious discussions about the supreme good of men." -- "The allusion is chiefly to the Greeks: for the philosophy of the Romans was at second hand, though nothing can be more ingenious or beautiful than the reasonings of Cicero in his Dissertations "De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum." He inquires into the telos, or end, of good and evil actions. In examining the principles of Epicurus, he professes to feel very much at ease, but approaches the Stoics with greater respect, and acknowledges the ability with which they had conducted their argument. The perusal of the whole treatise will gratify a reader prepared to accompany powerful minds in their most intricate researches, or to hail abstruse disquisition clothed in the choicest language by one who, as Robert Hall said of Pascal, "can invest the severest logic with the charms of the most beautiful composition, and render the most profound argumentation as entertaining as a romance." But those studies have a far higher value. When we see the greatest minds tasked to their utmost strength, and yet utterly failing to discover, by unassisted reason, the path which leads to happiness, we appreciate more highly Leland's argument "On the advantage and necessity of Divine Revelation," and bless the name of the Great Prophet, who hath brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, (2 Timothy 1:10.) -- Ed.
 "Car naturellement nous tendons tous a desirer ce qui nous semble estre le souverain bien." -- "For we have all a natural tendency to desire what appears to us to be the supreme good."
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
43. But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly have watched, and would not have permitted his house to be broken into. 44. Therefore, be you also ready; because the Son of man will come at an hour when you are not aware. 45. Who is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master hath appointed over his household, to give them food in due season? 46. Blessed is that servant, whom his master, when he cometh, shall find acting in this manner. 47. Verily I say to you, He will appoint him  over all his property. 48. But if that wicked servant shall say in his heart, My master delayeth to come; 49. And shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and even to eat and drink with drunkards; 50. The master of that servant will come on a day when he doth not look for him, and at an hour when he is not aware; 51. And shall cut him off; and assign his portion with hypocrites: weeping and gnashing of teeth shall be there.
34. As a man  who is going abroad, and hath left his house, and hath given it in charge to his servants, and hath assigned to every man his work, and hath commanded the porter to watch. 35. Watch, therefore; (for you know not when your Lord will come,  whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning;) 36. Lest, when he shall come suddenly, he will find you sleeping. 37. But what I say to you I say to all, Watch.
35. Let your loins be girt, and your lamps burning; 36. And yourselves like men who wait for their master, till he shall return from the marriage, that, when he shall come and knock,  they may open to him immediately. 37. Blessed are those servants whom their lord, when he cometh shall find watching. Verily I tell you, that he will gird himself, and make them sit down at table, and will come forward and serve them. 38. And if he shall come in the second watch, or if he shall come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39. But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly have watched, and would not have permitted his house to be broken into. 40. And therefore be you also ready; for the Son of man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him. 41. And Peter saith to him, Lord, sayest thou this parable to us, or likewise to all? 42. And the Lord said, Who is a faithful and wise steward, whom his master will appoint over his household, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 43. Blessed is that servant, whom his master, when he cometh, shall find acting in this manner. 44. Verily I tell you, that he will appoint him over all that he possesses. 45. But if that servant shall say in his heart, My master delayeth his coming, and shall begin to beat the men-servants, and maids, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46. The master of that servant will come on a day when he doth not expect him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him off, and assign his portion with the unfaithful. 47. But that servant, who knew his master's will, and did not make himself ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48. But he who knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much hath been given, much will be demanded from him, and to whom men have entrusted much, from him they will exact more. 49. I came to send a fire on the earth, and what do I wish if it be already be kindled?  50. But I have to be baptized with a baptism, and how am I distressed till it be accomplished!
Matthew 24:43. If the householder had known. Luke relates this discourse of Christ at a different place from Matthew; and we need not wonder at this, for in the twelfth chapter, where (as we have formerly explained) he collects out of various discourses a summary of doctrine, he inserts also this parable. Besides, he introduces a general preface that the disciples should wait for their master, with their loins girt, and carrying burning lamps in their hands. To this statement corresponds the parable, which we shall soon afterwards find in Matthew 25:1-12 about the wise and foolish virgins.
In a few words Christ glances rapidly at the manner in which believers ought to conduct their pilgrimage in the world; for first he contrasts the girding of the loins with sloth, and burning lamps with the darkness of ignorance. First, then, Christ enjoins the disciples to be ready and equipped for the journey, that they may pass rapidly through the world, and may seek no fixed abode or resting-place but in heaven. The warning is highly useful; for though ungodly men have likewise in their mouth this form of expression, "the course of life," yet we see how they lay themselves down in the world, and remain unmoved in their attachment to it. But God does not bestow the honorable title of his children on any but those who acknowledge that they are strangers on the earth, and who not only are at all times prepared to leave it, but likewise move forward, in an uninterrupted "course," towards the heavenly life. Again, as they are surrounded on all sides by darkness, so long as they remain in the world, he furnishes them with lamps, as persons who are to perform a journey during the night. The first recommendation is, to run vigorously; and the next is, to have clear information as to the road, that believers may not weary themselves to no purpose by going astray; for otherwise it would be better to stumble in the way, than to perform a journey in uncertainty and mistake. As to the expression, girding the loins, it is borrowed from the ordinary custom of Eastern nations in wearing long garments.
Luke 12:36. And you yourselves like men that wait for their master. He uses another parable not mentioned by Matthew, who writes more briefly on this subject; for he compares himself to a householder who, while he is joining in the festivities of the marriage feast, or in other respects indulging in pleasure, out of his own house, wishes his servants to conduct themselves with modesty and sobriety at home, attending to their lawful occupations, and diligently waiting for his return. Now though the Son of God has departed to the blessed rest of heaven, and is absent from us, yet as he has assigned to every one his duty, it would be improper for us to give way to indolent repose. Besides, as he has promised that he will return to us, we ought to hold ourselves prepared, at every moment, to receive him, that he may not find us sleeping. For if a mortal man looks upon it as a duty which his servants owe him, that, at whatever hour he returns home, they shall be prepared to receive him, how much more has he a right to demand from his followers that they shall be sober and vigilant, and always wait for his coming? To excite them to greater alacrity, he mentions that earthly masters are so delighted with such promptitude on the part of their servants, that they even serve them; not that all masters are accustomed to act in this manner, but because it does sometimes happen that a master, who is kind and gentle, admits his servants to his own table, as if they were his companions.
Yet it may be asked, Since Scripture calls us in many passages children of light, (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5,) and since the Lord also shines upon us by his word, so that we walk as at noon, how does the Lord compare our life to the watches of tire night? But we ought to seek the solution of this difficulty from the words of Peter, who tells us, that the word of God shines like a burning lamp, to enable us distinctly to see our road in a dark place. We ought therefore to attend. to both statements, that our journey must be performed amidst the thick darkness of the world, and yet we are protected from the risk of going astray, while the torch of heavenly doctrine goes before us, more especially when we have Christ himself for a sun.
Matthew 24:44. But know this. Another similitude is now employed by Christ, in exhorting his disciples to keep diligent watch; for if any person shall hear that robbers are prowling in the night, fear and suspicion will not allow him to sleep. Since, therefore, we are informed that Christ's coming will be sudden and unexpected, like that of a robber, and since we are expressly forewarned that we must always watch, lest he come upon us when asleep, and we be swallowed up with the ungodly, there is no excuse for our indolence; more especially since there is reason to dread not only a breach of the wall, and a loss of our property, but a deadly wound to ruin our soul, unless we are on our guard. The tendency of these words therefore is, that the warning of Christ should arouse us; for, though the last judgment be delayed for a long time, yet it hangs over us every hour; and, therefore, when there is ground for alarm, and when danger is near, it is unreasonable that we should be sluggish.
45. Who is the faithful and wise servant? This passage is more distinctly explained by Luke, who inserts Peter's question, which gave rise to a new parable. Christ having declared that the suddenness and uncertainty of his coming led to such danger as left no room for sloth, Peter asked, if this doctrine was general, or if it belonged to the twelve alone. For the disciples--as we have formerly seen--were always in the habit of thinking that they were unjustly treated, unless they were exempted from the common lot, and greatly excelled all others. When our Lord now represents to them a condition which is far from being pleasant or desirable, they look around them on every hand, like persons astonished. But the object of Christ's reply is, to show that, if each of the common people ought to watch, much less ought it to be endured that the apostles should be asleep. As Christ had formerly exhorted the whole family in general to watch for his coming, so now he demands extraordinary care from the principal servants, who had been appointed over others for the purpose of pointing out, by their example, the path of sobriety, watchfulness, and strict temperance. By these words he reminds them that they were not elevated to high rank for the purpose of indulging in ease, indolence, and pleasure; but that, the higher the rank of honor which they had obtained, the heavier was the burden which was laid on them; and therefore he declares that it is especially demanded from such persons that they exercise fidelity and wisdom.
Let all who are called to an honorable office learn from this, that they are so much the more strongly bound, not only to bestow their labor faithfully, but to strive with their utmost zeal and industry to discharge their duty. For while it is enough for ordinary servants to go through their daily toil, stewards, whose office embraces the care of the whole family, ought to go much farther. Otherwise Christ charges them with ingratitude, because, while they have been chosen before others, they do not answer to their honor; for why does our Lord prefer them to the rest, but in order that they may excel all by extraordinary fidelity and wisdom? True, indeed, all are enjoined, without exception, to be sober, and to give earnest attention, but drowsiness would be peculiarly disgraceful and inexcusable in pastors. He next holds out even the hope of a reward to encourage them to diligence.
48. But if that wicked servant shall say in his heart. By these words, Christ briefly points out the source of that carelessness which creeps upon wicked servants. It is because they trust to a longer delay, and thus of their own accord involve themselves in darkness. They imagine that the day when they must render an account will never come; and, under the pretext of Christ's absence, they promise themselves that they will remain unpunished. For it is impossible but that the expectation of him, when it does occur to our minds, shall shake off sleep, and still more, that it shall restrain us from being carried away by wicked sensuality. No excitement of exhortation, therefore, can be more powerful or efficacious, than to represent to us that rigid tribunal which no man will be able to escape. That each of us may be careful to discharge his duty earnestly, and keep himself strictly and modestly within his own limits, let us constantly make our minds familiar with the thought of that last and sudden coming of the Lord, the neglect of which leads the reprobate to indulge in wickedness.
At the same time, Christ takes a passing glance at the ease with which insolence grows, when a man has once shaken off the bridle, and given himself up to sinning. For Christ does not represent to us a servant who is merely dissolute and worthless, but one who rises up in an outrageous manner to disturb the whole house, who wickedly abuses the power committed to him, exercises cruelty on his fellow-servants, and wastefully spends the property of his master, whom he treats with open ridicule. Lastly, to excite terror, he adds the punishment, which is of no ordinary degree; for severe punishment is due to such unbounded wickedness.
Luke 12:47. But that servant. There is great weight in this circumstance, which is mentioned by Luke alone, that, in proportion as any man knowingly and willingly takes pleasure in despising the Lord, he deserves severer punishment. A comparison is made between the greater and the less to this effect: If punishment does not fail to be inflicted on a servant who errs through mistake, what shall become of the wicked and rebellious servant, who purposely, as it were, tramples under foot the authority of his master? It ought to be remembered, however, that those who are appointed to govern the Church do not err through ignorance, but basely and wickedly defraud their Master of his right.
Yet we ought to gather from this passage a general doctrine, that it is in vain for men to betake themselves to the plea of ignorance, in order to be freed from condemnation. For if a mortal man claims the right of demanding from his servants that they shall inquire into his will, so that nothing may be done in his house in a heedless or confused manner; how much greater authority belongs to the Son of God, that they who serve him should be earnestly desirous to be informed about his injunctions, and not rush forward, at their own pleasure, to act in a state of uncertainty, but depend wholly on the intimations of his will; particularly when he has prescribed what we ought to do, and always gives us a gracious answer, when we ask his direction? It is certain, that our ignorance is always accompanied by gross and shameful negligence. We see, indeed, that it is in vain to resort to this subterfuge, that he who has gone wrong through ignorance is not in fault; for, on the contrary, the Heavenly Judge declares, that though such offenders are visited by lighter chastisement, yet they will not be altogether unpunished. And if even ignorance does not excuse men, how dreadful is the vengeance that awaits deliberate transgressors, who with outrageous violence provoke God, in opposition to the dictates of their conscience? The more abundant the instruction, therefore, which any man has received, so much the greater is the ground for punishment, if he be not obedient and submissive. Hence it appears how trifling and worthless is the excuse of those who, now rejecting the plain doctrine of the Gospel, endeavor to screen such obstinacy by the ignorance of their fathers; as if ignorance were an adequate shield to ward off the judgment of God. But granting that faults committed through mistake were pardoned, it would be highly unreasonable that the same favor should be extended to those who sin willfully, since with deliberate malice they rage against God.
48. To whomsoever much hath been given. Christ shows by another circumstance, that the more highly favored disciples ought to be visited with severer punishment, if they despise their calling, and abandon themselves without reserve to every kind of licentiousness; because the more eminent a man is, he ought to consider that so much the more has been entrusted to him, and on the express condition that he shall one day render an account of it. In the same proportion, therefore, as any of us is endued with higher gifts, if he does not, like a field which has been cultivated at greater expense, yield to the Lord more abundant produce, the abuse of that grace which he has profaned, or uselessly withheld, will cost him dear.
49. I am come to send fire on the earth. From these concluding words it may easily be inferred, that this was one of Christ's latest discourses, and is not related by Luke at the proper place. But the meaning is, that Christ has introduced into the world the utmost confusion, as if he had intended to mingle heaven and earth. The gospel is metaphorically compared to fire, because it violently changes the face of things. The disciples having falsely imagined that, while they were at ease and asleep, the kingdom of God would come, Christ declares, on the contrary, that there must first be a dreadful conflagration to kindle the world. And as some beginnings of it were even then making their appearance, Christ encourages the disciples by this very consideration, that they already feel the power of the gospel. "When great commotions," says he, "shall already begin to kindle, this is so far from being a reason why you should tremble, that it is rather a ground of strong confidence; and, for my own part, I rejoice that this fruit of my labors is visible." In like manner, all the ministers of the gospel ought to apply this to themselves, that, when there are troubles in the world, they may be more diligently employed in their duty. It is proper to observe, also, that the same fire of doctrine, when it burns on all sides, consumes chaff and straw, but purifies silver and gold.
50. But I have a baptism to be baptized with. By these words our Lord asserts that there remains nothing but his last act, that by his death he may consecrate the renovation of the world. For since the shaking which he mentioned was appalling, and since that conflagration of the human race was terrific, he is about to show that the first-fruits must be offered in his own person, after which the disciples ought not to be displeased at feeling some portion of it. He compares death--as in other passages--to baptism, (Romans 6:4,) because the children of God, after having been immersed for a time by the death of the body, shortly afterwards rise again to life, so that death is nothing else than a passage through the midst of the waters. He says that he is sorely pressed till that baptism has been accomplished, that he may encourage every one of us, by his example, both to bear the cross and to prefer death. Not that any man can have a natural preference for death, or for any abatement of present happiness, but because, when we contemplate on the farther bank the glory, and the blessed and immortal rest of heaven, we not only suffer death with patience, but are even carried forward by eager desire where faith and hope lead us.
 "Il le constituera, ou, luy donnera en charge;" -- "he will appoint him, or, will commit to his charge."
 "C'est ainsi comme si un homme, &c.; ou, Le Fils de l'homme est tout un comme si un homme," &c.--"It is as if a man, &c.; or, The Son of Man is all one as if a man," &c.
 "Quand le Seigneur de la maison viendra;" -- "when the Lord of the house will come."
 "Et frappera ? la porte;" -- "and shall knock at the gate."
 "Et que veux-je plus s'il est ja allum?? ou, sinon qu'il soit allum??" -- "And what do I wish more, if it be already kindled? or, And what do I wish more than that it be kindled?"
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
1. And the Pharisees, together with the Sadducees, came, and tempting desired that he would show them a sign from heaven. 2. But he answering said to them, About the commencement of the evening you say, It will be fine weather; for the sky is red. 3. And in the morning, There will be a storm today; for the sky is red and lowering. Hypocrites, you can judge aright of the face of the sky; but can you not judge of the signs of the times? 4. A wicked and adulterous nation demandeth a sign, and no sign shall be given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed.
11. And the Pharisees came, and began to dispute with him, requesting from him a sign from heaven tempting him. 12. And he groaned in his spirit, and said, Why doth this generation ask a sign? Verily, I say to you, That no sign shall be given to this generation. 13. And he left them, and returned to the ship, and departed across the lake.
54. And he said also to the multitudes, When you see a cloud rising out of the west, you immediately say, A shower is coming; and so it Isaiah 55. And when you perceive the south wind blowing, you say that there will be hot weather; and so it Isaiah 56. Hypocrites, you know how to judge of the appearance of the sky and of the earth, and how comes it that you do not understand this time? 57. And why even of yourselves do you not judge what is right?
Matthew 16:1. And the Pharisees came. Mark says that they began to dispute, from which we may conjecture that, when they had been vanquished in argument, this was their last resource; as obstinate men, whenever they are reduced to extremities, to avoid being compelled to yield to the truth, are accustomed to introduce something which is foreign to the subject. Though the nature of the dispute is not expressed, yet I think it probable that they debated about the calling of Christ, why he ventured to make any innovation, and why he made such lofty pretensions, as if by his coming he had fully restored the kingdom of God. Having nothing farther to object against his doctrine, they demand that he shall give them a sign from heaven. But it is certain that a hundred signs would have no greater effect than the testimonies of Scripture. Besides, many miracles already performed had placed before their eyes the power of Christ, and had almost enabled them to touch it with their hands. Signs, by which Christ made himself familiarly known, are despised by them; and how much less will they derive advantage from a distant and obscure sign? Thus the Papists of our own day, as if the doctrine of the Gospel had not yet been proved, demand that it be ascertained by means of new miracles.
The Pharisees, together with the Sadducees. It deserves our attention that, though the Sadducees and the Pharisees looked upon each other as enemies, and not only cherished bitter hatred, but were continually engaged in hostilities, yet they enter into a mutual league against Christ. In like manner, though ungodly men quarrel among themselves, their internal broils never prevent them from conspiring against God, and entering into a compact for joining their hands in persecuting the truth.
Tempting. By this word the Evangelists mean that it was not with honest intentions, nor from a desire of instruction, but by cunning and deceit, that they demanded what they thought that Christ would refuse, or at least what they imagined was not in his power. Regarding him as utterly mean and despicable, they had no other design than to expose his weakness, and to destroy all the applause which he had hitherto obtained among the people. In this manner unbelievers are said to tempt God, when they murmur at being denied what their fancy prompted them to ask, and charge God with want of power.
2. About the commencement of the evening. By these words Christ reminds them that his power had been sufficiently manifested, so that they must have recognised the time of their visitation, (Luke 19:44,) had they not of their own accord shut their eyes, and refused to admit the clearest light. The comparison which he employs is beautiful and highly appropriate; for, though the aspect of the sky is changeable, so that sometimes a storm unexpectedly arises, and sometimes fair weather springs up when it was not expected, yet the instructions of nature are sufficient to enable men to predict from signs whether the day will be fair or cloudy. Christ therefore asks why they do not recognize the kingdom of God, when it is made known by signs not less manifest; for this proved clearly that they were excessively occupied with earthly and transitory advantages, and cared little about any thing that related to the heavenly and spiritual life, and were blinded not so much by mistake as by voluntary malice.
3. Hypocrites, you can judge. He calls them hypocrites, because they pretend to ask that which, if it were exhibited to them, they are resolved not to observe. The same reproof applies nearly to the whole world; for men direct their ingenuity, and apply their senses, to immediate advantage; and therefore there is scarcely any man who is not sufficiently well qualified in this respect, or at least who is not tolerably acquainted with the means of gaining his object. How comes it then that we feel no concern about the signs by which God invites us to himself? Is it not because every man gives himself up to willing indifference, and extinguishes the light which is offered to him? The calling of Christ, and the immediate exhibition of eternal salvation, were exhibited to the scribes both by the Law and the Prophets, and by his own doctrine, to which miracles were added.
There are many persons of the same description in the present day, who plead that on intricate subjects they have a good right to suspend their judgment, because they must wait till the matter is fully ascertained. They go farther, and believe that it is a mark of prudence purposely to avoid all inquiry into the truth; as if it were not an instance of shameful sloth that, while they are so eagerly solicitous about the objects of the flesh and of the earth, they neglect the eternal salvation of their souls, and at the same time contrive vain excuses for gross and stupid ignorance.
A very absurd inference is drawn by some ignorant persons from this passage, that we are not at liberty to predict from the aspect of the sky whether we shall have fair or stormy weather. It is rather an argument which Christ founds on the regular course of nature, that those men deserve to perish for their ingratitude, who, while they are sufficiently acute in matters of the present life, yet knowingly and willfully quench the heavenly light by their stupidity.
Mark 8:12. And groaning in his spirit. By these words Mark informs us that it occasioned grief and bitter vexation to our Lord, when he saw those ungrateful men obstinately resist God. And certainly all who are desirous to promote the glory of God, and who feel concern about the salvation of men, ought to have such feelings that nothing would inflict on their hearts a deeper wound than to see unbelievers purposely blocking up against themselves the way of believing, and employing all their ingenuity in obscuring by their clouds the brightness of the word and works of God. The words, in his spirit, appear to me to be added emphatically, to inform us that this groan proceeded from the deepest affection of his heart, and that no sophist might allege that Christ resorted to outward attitudes to express a grief which he did not inwardly feel; for that holy soul, which was guided by the zeal of the Spirit, must have been moved by deep sadness at the sight of such wicked obstinacy.
Luke 12:57. And why even of yourselves, etc.? Here Christ opens up the source of the evil, and, as it were, applies the lancet to the ulcer. He tells them that they do not descend into their consciences, and there examine with themselves, as in the presence of God, what is right. The reason why hypocrites are so much disposed to make objections is, that they throw their swelling words into the air without any concern, and never exercise calm thought, or place themselves at the tribunal of God, that the truth, when once ascertained, may be fully embraced. When Luke says that this was spoken to the multitudes, he does not contradict the narrative of Matthew and Mark; for it is probable that Christ adapted his style generally to the followers and disciples of the scribes, and to other despisers of God who resembled them, of whom he perceived that there were too many; as the present complaint or expostulation was applicable to the whole of that rabble.
Matthew 16:4. A wicked and adulterous nation. This passage was explained  under Matthew 12:38. The general meaning is, that the Jews are never satisfied with any signs, but are continually tickled by a wicked desire to tempt God. He does not call them an adulterous nation merely because they demand some kind of sign, (for the Lord sometimes permitted his people to do this,) but because they deliberately provoke God; and therefore he threatens that, after he has risen from the dead, he will be a prophet like Jonah. So Matthew at least says -- for Mark does not mention Jonah -- but the meaning is the same; for, strictly speaking, this was intended to serve as a sign to them, that Christ, when he had risen from the dead, would in every place cause the voice of his Gospel to be distinctly heard.
 See page 93 of this volume.
And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
23. Therefore, if thou shalt bring thy gift to the altar, and there shalt remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, 24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go away: first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer  thy gift. 25. Be agreed with thy adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him: lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be thrown into prison. 26. Verily I say to thee, Thou shalt not depart thence, till thou shalt have paid the last farthing.
58. Now, when thou goest with thy adversary to the magistrate, do thy endeavor, while thou art in the way, to be delivered from him: lest perhaps he drag thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer throw thee into prison. 59. I say to thee, Thou shalt no depart thence, until thou pay even the last mite.
Matthew 5:23. Therefore, if thou shalt bring thy gift This clause confirms, and at the same time explains, the preceding doctrine. It amounts to this, that the precept of the law, which forbids murder, (Exodus 20:13,) is obeyed, when we maintain agreement and brotherly kindness, with our neighbor. To impress this more strongly upon us, Christ declares, that even the duties of religion are displeasing to God, and are rejected by him, if we are at variance with each other. When he commands those who have injured any of their brethren, to be reconciled to him, before they offer their gift, his meaning is, that, so long as a difference with our neighbor is kept up by our fault, we have no access to God. But if the worship, which men render to God, is polluted and corrupted by their resentments, this enables us to conclude, in what estimation he holds mutual agreement among ourselves.
Here a question may be put. Is it not absurd, that the duties of charity should be esteemed more highly than the worship of God? We shall then be forced to say, that the order of the law is improper, or that the first table of the law must be preferred to the second. The answer is easy: for the words of Christ mean nothing more than this, that it is a false and empty profession of worshipping God, which is made by those who, after acting unjustly towards their brethren, treat them with haughty disdain. By a synecdoche he takes a single class to express the outward exercises of divine worship, which in many men are rather the pretenses, than the true expressions, of godliness. It ought to be observed that Christ, adapting his discourse to that age, speaks of sacrifices. Our condition is now different: but the doctrine remains the same, that whatever we offer to God is polluted, unless, at least as much as lieth in us, (Romans 12:18,) we are at peace with our brethren. Alms are called in Scripture sacrifices of a sweet smell, (Philippians 4:18;) and we learn from the mouth of Paul, that he who
"spends all his substance on the poor,
Lastly, God does not receive and acknowledge, as his sons, any who do not, in their turn, show themselves to be brethren to each other. Although it is only to those who have injured their brethren that these words are addressed, enjoining them to do their endeavor to be reconciled to them, yet under one class he points out, how highly the harmony of brethren is esteemed by God. When he commands them to leave the gift before the altar, he expresses much more than if he had said, that it is to no purpose for men to go to the temple, or offer sacrifices to God, so long as they live in discord with their neighbors.
25. Be agreed with thy adversary Christ appears to go farther, and to exhort to reconciliation not only those who have injured their brethren, but those also who are unjustly treated.  But I interpret the words as having been spoken with another view, to take away occasion for hatred and resentment, and to point out the method of cherishing good-will. For whence come all injuries, but from this, that each person is too tenacious of his own rights, that is, each is too much disposed to consult his own convenience to the disadvantage of others? Almost all are so blinded by a wicked love of themselves, that, even in the worst causes, they flatter themselves that they are in the right. To meet all hatred, enmity, debates, and acts of injustice, Christ reproves that obstinacy, which is the source of these evils, and enjoins his own people to cultivate moderation and justice, and to make some abatement from the highest rigor, that, by such an act of justice, they may purchase for themselves peace and friendship.  It were to be wished, indeed, that no controversy of any kind should ever arise among us; and undoubtedly men would never break out into abuse or quarrelling, if they possessed a due share of meekness. But, as it is scarcely possible but that differences will sometimes happen, Christ points out the remedy, by which they may be immediately settled; and that is, to put a restraint on our desires, and rather to act to our own disadvantage, than follow up our rights with unflinching rigor. That Christ frequently gave this exhortation is evident from the twelfth chapter of Luke's Gospel, where he does not relate the sermon on the mount, but gives an abridgment of various passages in our Lord's discourses.
Lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge This part is explained by some in a metaphorical sense, that the Heavenly Judge will act toward us with the utmost rigor, so as to forgive us nothing, if we do not labor to settle those differences which we have with our neighbors. But I view it more simply, as an admonition that, even among men, it is usually advantageous for us to come to an early agreement with adversaries, because, with quarrelsome persons, their obstinacy often costs them dear. At the same time, I admit, that the comparison is justly applied to God; for he will exercise judgment without mercy (James 2:13) to him who is implacable to his brethren, or pursues his contentiousness to the utmost. But it is highly ridiculous in the Papists, to construct their purgatory out of a continued allegory on this passage. Nothing is more evident than that the subject of Christ's discourse is the cultivation of friendship among men. They have no shame, or conscientious scruple, to pervert his words, and to torture them into a widely different meaning, provided they can impose on the unlearned. But as they do not deserve a lengthened refutation, I shall only point out, in a single word, their shameful ignorance. The adversary is supposed by them to be the devil. But Christ enjoins those who believe on him to be agreed with the adversary Therefore, in order that the Papists may find their purgatory here, they must first become the friends and brethren of devils. A farthing is well known to be the fourth part of a penny: but here, as is evident from Luke, it denotes a mite, or any small piece of money. Now, if we were disposed to cavilling,  we might here obtain another exposure of the absurdity of the Papists. For, if he who has once entered Purgatory will never leave it, till he has paid the last farthing, it follows, that the suffrages (as they call them) of the living for the dead are of no avail. For Christ makes no allowance, that others may free a debtor by satisfying for him, but expressly demands from each person the payment of what he owes.  Now, if Moses and other satisfactions are useless, however warm the fire of Purgatory may be, yet the kitchens of priests and monks, for the sake of which they are so anxious to maintain it, will be cool enough.
 "Veniens offer;" -- "coming offer." -- "Lors vien et presente ton oblation;" -- "then come and present thy oblation."
 "Mais aussi ceux qui sont assaillis et provoquez les premiers;" -- "but also those who are first attacked and provoked."
 "Afin que ne prenans pas les choses a la rigueur, ils rachetent paix et amite en se monstrans ainsi traitables." -- "That, not taking things to the rigor, they may purchase peace and friendship, by showing themselves so tractable."
 "Qui voudroit user de cavillation et chippoter sur chacun mot." -- "One who would cavil and higgle about every word."
 "Mais il requiert nommement qu'un chacun satisface pour soy, et paye ce qu'il doit." -- "But he requires expressly that each satisfy for himself and pay what he owes."
I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.