Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
1. And having called the twelve disciples,  he gave them power against the unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure any disease and any sickness. 2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3. Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, surnamed Thaddeus; 4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 5. These, twelve in number, Jesus sent out, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,  and enter not into a city of the Samaritans: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  7. And when you have departed, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8. Cure the diseased, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give. 
7. And he calleth the twelve, and began to send them out two and two, and gave them power against  the unclean spirits.
1. And having called the twelve,  Jesus gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases. 2. And sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to cure the diseased.
The calling of the Apostles is here described to us, not as on a former occasion, when the Lord Jesus Christ, intending to prepare them for their office, selected them for admission into his private circle. They are now called to immediate performance, are ordered to prepare themselves for the work, receive injunctions, and, that there may be no want of authority, are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Formerly, they were held in expectation of future labor: now, Christ announces that the hour is come when they must put their hands to the work. It is proper to observe, however, that he does not as yet speak of perpetual apostleship, but only of temporary preaching, which was fitted to awaken and excite the minds of men, that they might be more attentive to hear Christ. So then they are now sent to proclaim throughout Judea that the time of the promised restoration and salvation is at hand at a future period, Christ will appoint them to spread the Gospel through the whole world. Here, he employs them as assistants only, to secure attention to him where his voice could not reach afterwards, he will commit into their hands the office of teaching which he had discharged. It is of great importance to observe this, that we may not suppose it to be a certain and fixed rule laid down for all ministers of the word, when our Lord gives instructions to the preachers of his doctrine as to what he wishes them to do for a short time. From inattention to this point many have been led astray, so as to demand from all ministers of the word, without distinction, conformity to this rule. 
Matthew 10:1. And having called the twelve disciples The number, twelve, was intended to point out the future restoration of the Church. As the nation was descended from twelve patriarchs, so its scattered remains are now reminded by Christ of their origin, that they may entertain a fixed hope of being restored. Although the kingdom of God was not in so flourishing a state in Judea, as to preserve the nation entire, but, on the contrary, that people, which already had miserably fallen, deserved doubly to die on account of ingratitude in despising the grace which had been offered to them, yet this did not prevent a new nation from afterwards springing up. At a future period, God extended far beyond Zion the scepter of the power of his Son, and caused rivers to flow from that fountain, to water abundantly the four quarters of the world. Then God assembled his Israel from every direction, and united into one body not only the scattered and torn members, but men who had formerly been entirely alienated from the people of God.
It was not without reason, therefore, that the Lord, by appointing, as it were, twelve patriarchs, declared the restoration of the Church. Besides, this number reminded the Jews of the design of his coming; but, as they did not yield to the grace of God, he begat for himself a new Israel. If you look at the beginnings, it might appear ridiculous that Christ should bestow such honorable titles on persons who were mean and of no estimation: but their astonishing success, and the wide extension of the Church, make it evident that, in honorable rank and in numerous offspring, the apostles not only are not inferior to the patriarchs, but greatly excel them.
Gave them power The apostles had almost no rank among men, while the commission which Christ gave them was divine. Besides, they had neither ability nor eloquence, while the excellence and novelty of their office required more than human endowments,  It was therefore necessary that they should derive authority from another source. By enabling them to perform miracles, Christ invests them with the badges of heavenly power, in order to secure the confidence and veneration of the people. And hence we may infer what is the proper use of miracles. As Christ gives to them at the same time, and in immediate connection, the appointment to be preachers of the gospel and ministers of miracles, it is plain that miracles are nothing else than seals of his doctrine, and therefore we are not at liberty to dissolve this close connection. The Papists, therefore, are guilty of forgery, and of wickedly corrupting the works of God, by separating his word from miracles.
2. The first, Simon, who is called Peter The Church of Rome displays extreme folly in drawing from this passage their doctrine of the primacy. That Simon Peter was the first among the apostles we readily allow, but what was true in reference to a few persons, cannot, on any proper grounds, be extended to the whole world. Besides, the circumstance of his being mentioned first, does not imply that he possessed authority over his companions. Granting all that they ask regarding Peter, his rank will be of no avail to the Roman See, till they prove that wicked and sacrilegious apostles are Peter's successors.
5. Into the tray of the Gentiles This makes still more evident what I have lately hinted, that the office, which was then bestowed on the apostles, had no other object than to awaken in the Jews the hope of an approaching salvation, and thus to render them more attentive to hear Christ. On this account, he now confines within the limits of Judea their voice, which he afterwards commands to sound everywhere to the farthest limits of the world. The reason is, that he had been sent by the Father to be
the minister of circumcision, to fulfill the promises, which had anciently been given to the fathers, (Romans 15:8.)
Now God had entered into a special covenant with the family of Abraham, and therefore Christ acted properly in confining the grace of God, at the outset, to the chosen people, till the time for publishing it were fully come. But after his resurrection, he spread over all nations the blessing which had been promised in the second place, because then the veil of the temple had been rent, (Matthew 27:51,) and the middle wall of partition had been thrown down, (Ephesians 2:14.) If any one imagine that this prohibition is unkind, because Christ does not admit the Gentiles to the enjoyment of the gospel, let him contend with God, who, to the exclusion of the rest of the world, established with the seed of Abraham alone his covenant, on which the command of Christ is founded.
6. But go rather to the lost sheep The first rank, as we have said, is assigned to the Jews, because they were the firstborn; or rather, because at that time they alone were acknowledged by God to belong to his family, while others were excluded.  He calls them lost sheep, partly that the apostles, moved by compassion, may more readily and with warmer affection run to their assistance, and partly to inform them that there is at present abundant occasion for their labors. At the same time, under the figure of this nation, Christ taught what is the condition of the whole human race. The Jews, who were near to God, and in covenant with him, and therefore were the lawful heirs of eternal life, are nevertheless pronounced to be lost, till they regain salvation through Christ. What then remains for us who are inferior to them in honor?  Again, the word sheep is applied even to the reprobate, who, properly speaking, did not belong to the flock of God, because the adoption extended to the whole nation; as those who deserved to be rejected, on account of their treachery, are elsewhere called the children of the kingdom, (Matthew 8:12.) In a word, by the term sheep, Christ recommends the Jews to the apostles, that they may dedicate their labors to them, because they could recognize as the flock of God none but those who had been gathered into the fold.
7. Preach, saying This is the preaching,  I spoke of, by which Christ intended to arouse the minds of the nation to expect an approaching redemption. The kingdom of heaven is at hand For the kingdom of heaven Luke substitutes the kingdom of God; but the meaning is the same. It was to inform the Jews, first, that they owed their restoration to divine agency, and not to the kindness of men; secondly, that under the reign of God their condition would be prosperous; and, thirdly, that the happiness which had been promised to them was not earthly and fading, but heavenly and eternal.
8. Cure the diseased As he has bestowed on them power, so he enjoins them to be faithful and liberal in dispensing it, and charges them not to suppress that power, which had been lodged with them for the common benefit of all. By those miracles he shows why he was sent by the Father, and what was the design of his Gospel. It is not without design that he enjoins them to raise the dead and heal the sick, instead of bringing diseases on the healthy and inflicting death on the living. There is an analogy and resemblance, therefore, which those miracles bear to the office of Christ; and this is intended to inform us, that he came to bestow upon us every blessing, to rescue us from the tyranny of Satan and of death, to heal our diseases and sins, and to relieve us from all our miseries.
Freely you have received  That they may be more willing to communicate the gifts which he had bestowed on them, he declares that they were not entrusted to them for their own individual renown, but in order that they might be, as it were, a sort of channels for transmitting the free bounty of God. "Consider whence you derived this power. As it flowed without any merit of yours from the pure grace of God, it is proper that, through your agency, it should flow freely to others."
We know how unwilling every man is to communicate to others what he considers to belong to himself, and how any one who excels the rest of the brethren is apt to despise them all. No higher commendation could have been given to a liberal communication of spiritual gifts, than by the warning which Christ gives them, that no man surpasses another through his own industry, but through the undeserved kindness of God. Now Christ has presented to us in his ministers a proof of that grace which had been predicted by Isaiah, (55:1)
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milh without money and without price.
At the same time he shows, that no man will be a sincere minister of his word or dispenser of his grace, till he is prepared to bestow his labor gratuitously,  and that all hirelings basely corrupt and profane the sacred office of teaching. Yet it is not inconsistent with this gratuitous dispensation, that the teachers of the church receive public salaries, provided that they willingly and generously serve Christ and his church, and that their support is, in some sort, an accessory of their labor.
 "Lors ayant appel, a soy ses douze disciples;" -- "then having called to himself his twelve disciples."
 "N'allez point vers les Gentils;" -- "go not towards the Gentiles."
 "Mats plustost allez aux ouailles de la matson d'Israel, qui sontperies;" -- "but rather go to the flocks of the house of Israel, which are lost."
 "Vous l'avez receu pour neant, donnez-le pour neant;" -- "you have received it for nothing, give it for nothing."
 "Sur les esprits immondes;" -- "over the unclean spirits."
 "Puis apres avoir appel, ses douze disciples ensemble;" -- "then after having called his twelve disciples together."
 "Voulant reigler indifferemment tous ministres de la parole selon ee qui est ici dk;" -- "wishing to regulate indiscriminately all ministers of the word according to what is here said."
 "Et cependant une charge si excellente et nouvelle requeroit des graces plus grandes qu'on n'en pent trouver en l'homme;" -- "and yet an office so excellent and new demanded higher graces than can be found in man."
 "Les autres en estans eslogncz et bannis;" -- "the others being removed and banished from it."
 "Qui n'avons point une telle prerogative;" -- "who have not such a prerogative."
 "La predication, ou publication;" -- "the preaching, or publication."
 "Vous l'avez receu pour neant;" -- "you have received it for nothing."
 "S'il n'est prest de s'y employer, et d'y mettre son labor gratuitement, et sans consideration de son profit;" -- "if he is not ready to be employed in it, and to bestow his labor on it gratuitously, and without regard to his own gain."
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
9. Do not provide gold, nor silver,  nor brass in your purses, 10. Nor scrip for the journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 11. But into whatsoever city or village you shall enter, inquire what person in it is worthy, and remain there till you depart. 12. And when you shall enter a house, salute it. 13. And if the house shall be worthy, may your peace come upon it: but if it shall not be worthy, may your peace return to you. 14. And whosoever shall not receive you, or hear your words, when you go out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15. Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and of Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
8. And commanded them to take nothing for the journey, but a staff only; not a scrip, nor bread, nor money in their girdle: 9. But to be shod with sandals, and not to wear two coats. 10. And he said to them, Whenever you shall enter a house, remain there till you depart thence. 11. And whoever shall not receive you or hear you, when you go out of that place, shake off the dust which is under your feet for a testimony to them. Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorroah in the day of judgment than for that city.
3. And he said to them, Carry nothing for the journey, neither a staff, nor a scrip, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two coats each. 4. And into whatsoever house you shall enter, remain there, and depart thence. 5. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
Matthew 10:9. Do not provide. As the embassy  was of such a nature, that Christ wished the disciples to traverse the whole of Judea within a few days, and immediately to return to him, he forbids to carry luggage with them, by which this speed may be retarded. Some have ignorantly supposed that the rule here laid down for the ministers of the word, or for the apostles, is perpetual. We shall presently meet with a few sentences which have a more extensive reference: but the present injunctions not to carry baggage must undoubtedly be restricted to that temporary commission of which I have already spoken. The whole of the prohibition of gold, silver, a scrip, and two coats, which is given by Matthew, must be read in immediate connection, as is evident from the other two Evangelists.
I have therefore chosen to translate ue ktesesthe, do not provide: for our Lord simply intended to forbid them to take any thing for the journey They might have scrips, and shoes, and a change of coats, at home; but that they may be better prepared for the journey, he orders them to leave every thing that would be burdensome. Such too is the import of what Mark says, to be shod with sandals There is an appearance of contradiction as to the staff, or stick for, according to Mark, the staff is allowed, while according to Matthew and Luke it is refused. But there is an ambiguity in the use of the Hebrew word svt, (shebet;) and the Evangelists, though they wrote in Greek, used the word rha'bdos in various senses. Matthew and Luke mean by it a rod which would be burdensome to the person who carries it: while Mark means by it a walking-stick to support and relieve a traveler. It is evident, that in making a journey it was customary to carry a staff; and hence those words of Jacob, With my staff, I passed over this Jordan, (Genesis 32:10,) by which he acknowledges that he came empty and without money into Syria.
10. For the laborer is worthy of his food. Christ anticipates an objection that might be made: for it might appear to be a harsh condition to travel through the whole of Judea without any provisions.  Accordingly, Christ tells them, that they have no reason to dread that they will suffer hunger; because, wherever they come, they will at least be worthy of their food  He calls them laborers, not that they resembled ordinary ministers, who labor in the Lord's vineyard, and who, by planting and watering, bring it into a state of cultivation; but merely because they were the heralds of a richer and more complete doctrine. They did not at that time receive the office of preaching any farther than to render the Jews attentive to the preaching of the Gospel.
11. Inquire what person in it is worthy. Again, they might object that they would be deprived of the food to which they were entitled, because nobody would acknowledge them as laborers But Christ meets this difficulty also by ordering them to make inquiry what person in each city is worthy of the message of salvation. By these words, he bids them ask, if there are any godly and upright men, who have some fear and reverence for God, and of whose readiness to receive instruction good hopes may be entertained, that they may direct their labors chiefly to them. For, as they were not at liberty to remain long in any one place, it was proper to begin with those who, in some respect were better prepared.
Remain there till you depart. This too has a reference to dispatch: for if they had made a longer stay in any place, it would have been necessary to change their lodging, that they might not be too burdensome to any individual. When, therefore, Christ enjoins them to remain in the house of the person who shall first receive them, till they depart to another city, he intimates that they must make haste, so that, after having published the Gospel in one city, they may immediately run to another.
12. Salute it. As they could not distinguish the devout worshippers of God from despisers, he enjoins them to address in a friendly manner any family which they may have occasion to meet. The act of saluting is a kind of opening to a conversation. They had already been warned to look out for persons to entertain them, whose religious zeal was generally known and believed. But as it sometimes happens that persons of lofty reputation, when they are brought to a serious trial, discover their impiety, it was proper that this rule should be expressly laid down. The meaning therefore is: "Make trial, when you first enter, whether your entertainers will cheerfully submit to hear you. Whoever shall willingly embrace your doctrine, remain in their house, that your salutation may be confirmed. If any shall reject, depart from them immediately, and, so far as lies in your power, withdraw your salutation."
13. If it be not worthy. The import of this mode of expression may be thus stated, -- "As their ingratitude makes them unworthy to enjoy the blessing of God which you have supplicated for them, break off every bond of communication." The word peace refers to the mode of salutation which generally used among the Jews. As the Hebrew word slvm, (shalom,) peace, denotes prosperity, when they desire that any one may be well and happy, and that his affairs may succeed to his wish, they pray that he may have peace I do acknowledge that the apostles brought to men a different kind of peace, but it is too great a refinement of speculation to make this passage refer to the free reconciliation which takes place between God and men.
14. And whoever will not receive you. This awful threatening of punishment against the despisers of the gospel was intended to animate his disciples, that they might not be retarded by the ingratitude of the world. He directs the apostles, indeed, what he wishes them to do if they meet with despisers. But his principal design was that, wherever their doctrine was rejected, their well-founded grief and distress might be relieved by consolation, that they might not fail in the middle of their course. And we see how Paul, relying on this consolation, boldly sets at naught all the obstinacy of men, moves on steadily in the midst of hindrances, and boasts that he is
a sweet savor to God, though he is the savor of death to them that perish, (2 Corinthians 2:15,16.)
Now, this passage shows in what estimation the Lord holds his gospel, and, indeed, as it is an inestimable treasure, they are chargeable with base ingratitude who refuse it when offered to them. Besides, it is the scepter of his kingdom, and therefore cannot be rejected without treating him with open contempt.
Shake off the dust As the Lord here recommends the doctrine of the gospel, that all may receive it with reverence, and terrifies rebels by threatening severe punishment, so he enjoins the apostles to proclaim the vengeance which he threatens. But this they cannot do, unless they burn with very ardent zeal to make known the doctrines which they preach. We must therefore hold that no man is qualified to become a teacher of heavenly doctrine, unless his feelings respecting it be such, that he is distressed and agonized when it is treated with contempt.
To shake off the dust from the feet was probably a custom then prevalent in Judea, as a sign of execration; and was intended to declare that the inhabitants of the place were so polluted, that the very ground on which they trod was infected. That it was an ordinary custom I conjecture from our Lord's manner of speaking of it as a thing well known. This form of execration confirms still more what I lately mentioned, that no crime is more offensive to God than contempt of his word: for he does not enjoin them to make use of so solemn a mode in expressing their detestation of adulterers, or murderers, or any description of malefactors.
Verily, I say to you That they may not imagine this to be an idle bugbear,  Christ declares that those who reject the gospel, will receive more severe punishment than the inhabitants of Sodom. Some view the word judgment as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. But this is foreign to our Lord's intention: for it must be understood as referring to the general judgment, in which both must give their account, that there may be a comparison of the punishments. Christ mentioned Sodom rather than other cities, not only because it went beyond them all in flagitious crimes, but because God destroyed it in an extraordinary manner, that it might serve as an example to all ages, and that its very name might be held in abomination. And we need not wonder if Christ declares that they will be treated less severely than those who refuse to hear the gospel. When men deny the authority of Him who made and formed them, when they refuse to listen to his voice, nay, reject disdainfully his gentle invitations, and withhold the confidence which is due to his gracious promises, such impiety is the utmost accumulation, as it were, of all crimes. But if the rejection of that obscure preaching was followed by such dreadful vengeance, how awful must be the punishment that awaits those who reject Christ when he speaks openly! Again, if God punishes so severely the despisers of the word, what shall become of furious enemies who, by blasphemies and a venomous tongue, oppose the gospel, or cruelly persecute it by fire and sword?
 "Ne faites provision d'or ni d'argent;" -- "make no provision of gold or of silver."
 "La commission et ambassade;" -- "the commission and einbassy."
 "N'ayans rien de quoy faire leurs despens;" -- "having no means of paying their expenses."
 "Ils gaigneront bien pour le moins leur nourriture;" -- "they will get their food at least."
 "Afin qu'il ne semble que ce soit une menace vaine, et (cornroe on dit) seulement pour faire peur aux petits enfans;" -- "that it may not seem as if it were an idle threatening, and (as we say) only to frighten young children."
And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
12. And they departed, and preached  that men should repent. 13. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many diseased persons, and healed them.
6. And they departed, and we went round about through the villages  preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere.
Mark 6:12. And they departed, and preached. Matthew silently passes over what the Apostles did. Mark and Luke relate that they proceeded to execute the commission which they had received; and from their statements it appears more clearly, that the office which Christ at that time bestowed upon them, as I have formerly mentioned, was temporary, and indeed lasted but a few days. They tell us that the Apostles went through the cities and villages: and they unquestionably returned in a short time to their Master, as we shall find to be stated in another passage.
The only matter that requires exposition here is the fact related by Mark, that they anointed with oil many diseased persons Christ having conferred on them the power of healing, it is asked, why did they apply oil? Some learned persons suppose that it was a sort of medicine; and I acknowledge that in these countries the use of oil was very common. But nothing is more unreasonable than to imagine, that the Apostles employed ordinary and natural remedies, which would have the effect of obscuring the miracles of Christ. They were not instructed by our Lord in the art and science of healing, but, on the contrary, were enjoined to perform miracles which would arouse all Judea. I think, therefore, that this anointing was a visible token of spiritual grace, by which the healing that was administered by them was declared to proceed from the secret power of God; for under the Law oil was employed to represent the grace of the Spirit. The absurdity of an attempt to imitate the Apostles, by making the anointing of the sick a perpetual ordinance of the Church, appears from the fact, that Christ bestowed on the Apostles the gift of healing, not as an inheritance which they should hand down to posterity, but as a temporary seal of the doctrine of the Gospel. In our own day, the ignorance of the Papists is exceedingly ridiculous in maintaining that their nasty unction,  by which they hurry to the grave persons who are fast dying, is a Sacrament.
 "Eux donc estans partis prescherent;" -- "they then having set out, preached."
 "Eux donc estans partis alloyent de village en village a l'entour;" -- "they then having set out, went from village to village round about."
 The allusion is to extreme unction, (or last anointing,) which is one of the Seven Sacraments recognized by the Church of Rome. -- Ed.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
1. At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2. And said to his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is raised from the dead, and therefore miracles work in him.
14. And king Herod heard of him, (for his name had become celebrated,) and said, John, who baptized, hath risen from the dead, and therefore miracles are performed by him. 15. Others said, It is Elijah; and others said, It is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16. But when Herod heard that, he said, It is John whom I beheaded, he hath rasen from the dead.
7. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him, and was perplexed, because it was said by some that Christ had risen from the dead; 8. And by some, that Elijah had appeared; and by others, that one of the ancient prophets had risen again. 9. And Herod said, John have I beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
The reason why the Evangelists relate this occurrence is, to inform us that the name of Christ was universally celebrated, and, therefore, the Jews could not be excused on the plea of ignorance. Many might otherwise have been perplexed by this question, "How came it that, while Christ dwelt on the earth, Judea remained in a profound sleep, as if he had withdrawn into some corner, and had displayed to none his divine power?" The Evangelists accordingly state, that the report concerning him was everywhere spread abroad, and penetrated even into the court of Herod.
2. And said to his servants. From the words of Luke it may be inferred, that Herod did not of his own accord adopt this conjecture, but that it was suggested to him by a report which was current among the people. And, indeed, I have no doubt that the hatred which they bore to the tyrant, and their detestation of so shocking a murder, gave rise, as is commonly the ease, to those rumors. It was a superstition deeply rooted, as we have formerly mentioned, in the minds of men, that the dead return to life in a different person. Nearly akin to this is the opinion which they now adopt, that Herod, when he cruelly put to death the holy man, was far from obtaining what he expected; because he had suddenly risen from the dead by the miraculous power of God, and would oppose and attack his enemies with greater severity than ever.
Mark and Luke, however, show that men spoke variously on this subject: some thought that he was Elijah, and others that he was one of the prophets, or that he was so eminently endued with the gifts of the Spirit, that he might be compared to the prophets. The reason why they thought that he might be Elijah, rather than any other prophet, has been already stated. Malachi having predicted (4:5,6) that Elijah would come to gather the scattered Church, they misunderstood that prediction as relating to the person of Elijah, instead of being a simple comparison to the following effect: "That the coming of Messiah may not be unknown, and that the people may not remain ignorant of the grace of redemption, there will be an Elijah to go before, like him who of old raised up that which was fallen, and the worship of God which had been overthrown. He will go before, by a remarkable power of the Spirit, to proclaim the great and dreadful day of the Lord." The Jews, with their usual grossness of interpretation, had applied this to Elijah the Tishbite, (1 Kings 17:1,) as if he were to appear again and discharge the office of a prophet. Others again conjecture, either that some one of the ancient prophets had risen, or that he was some great man, who approached to them in excellence.
It was astonishing that, amidst the diversity of views which were suggested, the true interpretation did not occur to any one; more especially as the state of matters at that very time directed them to Christ. God had promised to them a Redeemer, who would relieve them when they were distressed and in despair. The extremity of affliction into which they had been plunged was a loud call for divine assistance. The Redeemer is at hand, who had been so clearly pointed out by the preaching of John, and who himself testifies respecting his office. They are compelled to acknowledge that some divine power belongs to him, and yet they fall into their own fancies, and change him into the persons of other men. It is thus that the world is wont, in base ingratitude, to obliterate the remembrance of the favors which God has bestowed.
With respect to Herod himself, as I hinted, little ago, the conjecture that John had risen did not at first occur to himself; but as bad consciences are wont to tremble and hesitate, and turn with every wind, he readily believed what he dreaded. With such blind terrors God frequently alarms wicked men; so that, after all the pains they take to harden themselves, and to escape agitation, their internal executioner gives them no rest, but chastises them with severity.
And therefore miracles work in him. We naturally wonder what reasoning could have led them to this conclusion. John had performed no miracle during the whole course of his preaching. There appears to be no probability, therefore, in the conjecture, that it was John whom they saw performing extraordinary miracles. But they imagine that miracles are now performed by him for the first time, in order to prove his resurrection, and to show that the holy prophet of God had been wickedly put to death by Herod, and now came forward with a visible and divine protection, that no man might afterwards venture to assail him. They think that miracles work (enezgousin) in him; that is, are powerfully displayed, so as to give him greater authority, and make it evident that the Lord is with him.
And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
13. When Jesus heard this, he departed thence to a ship to a desert place apart; and when the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14. And Jesus, when leaving (the ship,) saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, and healed of such of them as were diseased. 15. And when the evening was drawing on, his disciples came to him, saying, It is a desert place, and the time is now past: send the multitudes away, that they may go into the village, and purchase victuals for themselves. 16. And Jesus said to them, It is not necessary that they should go away: give you to them something to eat. 17. And they say to him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes. 18. And he said, Bring them hither to me. 19. And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass, and, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, and raising his eyes to heaven, he blessed.  And when he had broken the loaves, he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. 20. And they all ate, and were satisfied, and carried away what remained of the fragments  twelve baskets full. 21. And they who had eaten were nearly five thousand men, besides women and children.
30. And the Apostles assembled to Jesus, and related to him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.  31. And he said to them, Come you apart into a desert place, and rest for a little. For there were many who were coming and going, so that there was not even leisure to take food.  . 32. And he went into a desert place by ship apart. 33. And the multitude saw them departing, and many recognized him, and ran hither on foot out of all the cities, and went before them, and came together to him. 34. And Jesus, as he was leaving (the ship,) saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. 35. And when a great part of the day was already past, his disciples came to him, saying, It is a desert place, and the day is now far advanced. 36. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and villages and purchase bread for themselves; for they having nothing to eat. 37. And he answering said to them, Give you to them something to eat. And they said to him Shall we go and purchase bread for two hundred pence, and give them something to eat? 38. And he said to them, How many loaves have you? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39. And he commanded them to make them all sit down, arranging the guests on the green grass. 40. And they sat down, arranged in hundreds, and fifties. 41. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, raising his eyes to heaven, he blessed,  and brake the loaves, and gave to the disciples to set before them, and divided the two fishes among them all. 42. And they all ate, and were satisfied. 43. And they carried away twelve baskets full of the fragments and of the fishes. 44. Now they who had eaten were about five thousand men.
10. And the Apostles, having returned,  related to him all that they had done. And he took them, and withdrew apart into a desert place, near a city which is called Bethsaida. 11. And when the multitudes knew it, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 12. And the day began to decline; and the twelve approached and said to him, Send away the multitudes, that they may go into the neighboring towns and villages, and procure food; for we are here in a desert place. 13. And he said to them, Give you to them something to eat. And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless we go and buy food for all this people. 14. Now they were about five thousand men. And he saith to his disciples, Make them sit down, fifty in each division. 15. And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16. And, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he raised his eyes to heaven, and blessed them, and broke them,  and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17. And they all ate, and were satisfied; and there was carried away what was left of the fragments twelve baskets.
Matthew 14:13. When Jesus heard it. John, who relates the same narrative, does not mention the reason why Jesus crossed over to the opposite bank, (6: 5.) Mark and Luke differ somewhat from Matthew; for they describe the occasion of the journey to have been to give some repose to his disciples, after that they had returned from their embassy. But there is no contradiction here; for it is possible that he intended to withdraw his disciples into a desert place, in order that he might be more at leisure to train them for higher labors, and that, about the same time, an additional reason arose out of the death of John. Minds which were still feeble might have been terrified by the death of John, learning from the melancholy end of that eminent prophet what condition awaited them all. Certainly, as it was formerly related that, when John was imprisoned, Christ removed from Herod's territory, in order to avoid his fury for the time, so we may now infer that Christ, in order to keep his trembling disciples at a distance from the flame, withdrew into a desert place.
How long the Apostles were employed in their first embassy it is not in our power to determine; for the Evangelists, as we have formerly remarked, either did not attend to dates, or did not observe them with great exactness. I think it highly probable that their commission to proclaim the kingdom of Christ was not confined to a single occasion, but that, as opportunities were offered, they either repeated their visit to some places, or went to others after a lapse of time. The words, they came together to him, I look upon as meaning that ever afterwards they were his constant attendants; as if the Evangelist had said, that they did not leave their Master so as to be individually and constantly employed in the ordinary office of teaching, but that, having discharged a temporary commission, they went back to school to make greater advances in learning.
They followed him on foot out of the cities. Though Christ, who foresaw all things before they happened, was in no respect ignorant of what would take place, yet he wished, as a man, to forewarn his disciples, that the fact might testify the anxiety which he had about them. The vast crowd that had assembled shows how widely his fame was spread in every direction: and this left the Jews without excuse in depriving themselves, by their own carelessness, of the salvation which was offered to them; for even out of this great multitude, which was inflamed by a sudden zeal to follow Christ, it is evident from what is stated by John, (6:66, 12:37) that not more than a very small number yielded a true and steady adherence to his doctrine.
14. He was moved with compassion towards them. The other two Evangelists, and particularly Mark, state more clearly the reason why this compassion (sumpatheia) was awakened in the mind of Christ. It was because he saw famishing souls, whom the warmth of zeal had carried away from their homes and led into a desert place This scarcity of teaching indicated a wretched state of disorder; and accordingly Mark says that Jesus was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd Not that, as to his Divine nature, he looked upon them all as sheep, but that, as man, he judged according to the present aspect of the case. It was no small manifestation of piety that they left their own homes, and flocked in crowds to the Prophet of God, though he purposely concealed himself from them. Besides, it ought to be remarked, that Christ was mindful of the character which he sustained; for he had been commanded to discharge the duties of a public teacher, and was therefore bound to look upon all the Jews, for the time being, as belonging to the flock of God and to the Church, till they withdrew from it.
So strongly was Christ moved by this feeling of compassion, that though, in common with his disciples, he was fatigued and almost worn out by uninterrupted toil, he did not spare himself. He had endeavored to obtain some relaxation, and that on his own account as well as for the sake of his disciples; but when urgent duty calls him to additional labor, he willingly lays aside that private consideration,  and devotes himself to teaching the multitudes. Although he has now laid aside those feelings which belonged to him as a mortal man, yet there is no reason to doubt that he looks down from heaven on poor sheep that have no shepherd, provided they ask relief of their wants. Mark says, that he began to teach them MANY things; that is, he spent a long time in preaching, that they might reap some lasting advantage. Luke says, that he spoke to them concerning the Kingdom of God, which amounts to the same thing. Matthew makes no mention of any thing but miracles, because they were of great importance in establishing Christ's reputation; but it may naturally be concluded that he did not leave out doctrine, which was a matter of the highest importance.
15. When the evening was drawing on. The disciples had now lost their object, and they see that Christ is again absorbed in teaching, while the multitudes are so eager to receive instruction that they do not think of retiring. They therefore advise that for the sake of attending to their bodily wants, Christ should send them away into the neighboring villages. He had purposely delayed till now the miracle which he intended to perform; first, that his disciples might consider it more attentively, and might thus derive from it greater advantage; and next, that the very circumstance of the time might convince them that, though he does not prevent, and even does not immediately supply, the wants of his people, yet he never ceases to care for them, but has always at hand the assistance which he affords at the very time when it is required.
16. Give you to them something to eat. As a fuller exposition of this miracle will be found at the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, instead of troubling my readers with a repetition of what I have said, I would rather send them to that exposition; but rather than pass over this passage entirely, I shall offer a brief recapitulation. Hitherto Christ had bestowed his whole attention on feeding souls, but now he includes within his duties as a shepherd the care even of their bodies. And in this way he confirms his own saying, that to those who
seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,
We have no right, indeed, to expect that Christ will always follow this method of supplying the hungry and thirsty with food; but it is certain that he will never permit his own people to want the necessaries of life, but will stretch out his hand from heaven, whenever he shall see it to be necessary to relieve their necessities. Those who wish to have Christ for their provider, must first learn not to long for refined luxuries, but to be satisfied with barley-bread.
Christ commanded that the people should sit down in companies; and he did so, first, that by this arrangement of the ranks the miracle might be more manifest; secondly, that the number of the men might be more easily ascertained, and that, while they looked at each other, they might in their turn bear testimony to this heavenly favor. Thirdly, perceiving that his disciples were anxious, he intended to make trial of their obedience by giving them an injunction which at first sight appeared to be absurd; for, as no provisions were at hand, there was reason to wonder why Christ was making arrangements that resembled a feast. To the same purpose is what follows, that he gave them the loaves, in order that in their hands the astonishing increase might take place, and that they might thus be the ministers of Christ's divine power; for as if it had been of small importance that they should be eye-witnesses, Christ determined that his power should be handled by them.  Two hundred pence, according to the computation of Budaeus, are worth about thirty-four French livres;  and so when the disciples speak of what is sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little, they calculate at the rate of a farthing for each individual. Forming so high an estimate of the sum of money that would be required to purchase bread barely sufficient for procuring a morsel to the people, they are entitled to no small praise for their obedience, when they implicitly comply with the command of Christ, and leave the result to his disposal.
19. He blessed. In this passage, as in many others, blessing denotes thanksgiving. Now Christ has taught us, by his example, that we cannot partake of our food with holiness and purity, unless we express our gratitude to God, from whose hand it comes to us. Accordingly, Paul tells us, that every kind of food which God bestows upon us is sanctifed by the word of God and prayer, (1 Timothy 4:5;) by which he means, that brutal men, who do not regard by faith the blessing of God, and do not offer to him thanksgiving, corrupt and pollute by the filth of their unbelief all that is by nature pure; and, on the other hand, that they are corrupted and defiled by the food which they swallow, because to unbelievers nothing is clean. Christ has therefore laid down for his followers the proper manner of taking food, that they may not profane their own persons and the gifts of God by wicked sacrilege.
Raising his eyes towards heaven. This expresses warm and earnest supplication. Not that such an attitude is at all times necessary when we pray, but because the Son of God did not choose to disregard the outward forms which are fitted to aid human weakness. It ought also to be taken into account, that to raise the eyes upwards is an excitement well fitted to arouse us from sloth, when our minds are too strongly fixed on the earth.
20. And carried away what was left. The fragments that remained after satisfying so vast a multitude of men were more than twelve times larger in quantity than what was at first put into their hands, and this contributed not a little to the splendor of the miracle. In this way all came to know that the power of Christ had not only created out of nothing the food that was necessary for immediate use, but that, if it should be required, there was also provision for future wants; and, in a word, Christ intended that, after the miracle had been wrought, a striking proof of it should still remain, which, after being refreshed by food, they might contemplate at leisure.
Now though Christ does not every day multiply our bread, or feed men without the labor of their hands or the cultivation of their fields, the advantage of this narrative extends even to us. If we do not perceive that it is the blessing of God which multiplies the corn, that we may have a sufficiency of food, the only obstacle is, our own indolence and ingratitude. That, after we have been supported by the annual produce, there remains seed for the following year, and that this could not have happened but for an increase from heaven, each of us would easily perceive, were he not hindered by that very depravity which blinds the eyes both of the mind and of the flesh, so as not to see a manifest work of God. Christ intended to declare that, as all things have been delivered into his hands by the Father, so the food which we eat proceeds from his grace.
 "Rendit graces;" -- "gave thanks."
 "Puis recueillerent le residu des pieces des pains;" -- "then gathered what was left of the pieces of bread."
 "Tout ce qu'ils avoyent fait et enseigne;" -- "all that they had done and taught."
 "Tellement qu'ils n'avoyent pas mesmes loisir de manger;" -- "so that they had not even leisure to eat."
 "Rendit graces;" -- "gave thanks."
 "Quand les Apostres furent retournez;" -- "when the Apostles were returned."
 "Les benit, et les rompit."
 "Mettant arriere ceste consideration particuliere de donner repos au corps;"-- "setting aside that private consideration of giving rest to the body."
 "Car Christ ne se contentant point de leur faire voir de leurs propres yeux sa vertu, a voulu mesme qu'elle passast par leurs mains, et qu'ils la touchassent;"-- "for Christ, not satisfied with making them see his power with their own eyes, determined even that it should pass through their hands, and that they should touch it."
 The value of a livre was so much affected both by time and by place, that it is not easy to determine with exactness how it was rated by Budaeus or Calvin. Most probably, the reference is to la livre Parisis, which was three times the value of a franc, or about two shillings and sixpence sterling; and thirty-four of these would amount to four pounds, five shillings, sterling. Now reckoning the Roman denarius, or the eighth part of an ounce of silver, to be worth sevenpence halfpenny of our own money, une livre Parisis must have been equal to four denarii, and therefore two hundred denarii must have been worth--not thirty-four but fifty livres Parisis, or six pounds, five shillings, sterling.--Ed.
And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
And they did so, and made them all sit down.
Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
13. And when Jesus came to the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some [say,] John the Baptist; and other, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith to them, But who do you say that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answering said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answering said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona;  for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18. But I say to thee, That thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatseover thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
27. And Jesus departed, and his disciples, into the villages of Cesarea, which is called, Philippi; and by the way he asked his disciples, saying to them, Who do men say that I am? 28. And they replied, John the Baptist; and some, Elijah; and others, One of the prophets, 29. And he saith to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answering saith to him, Thou art the Christ.
18. And it happened, when he was alone praying, his disciples also were with him, and he asked them, saying, Who do the multitudes say that I am? 19. And they answering said, John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and others, that one of the ancient prophets hath risen. 20. And he said to them, And who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
Matthew 16:13. And when Jesus came to the coasts of Cesarea Philippi. Mark says that this conversation took place during the journey. Luke says that it took place while he was praying, and while there were none in company with him but his disciples. Matthew is not so exact in mentioning the time. All the three unquestionably relate the same narrative; and it is possible that Christ may have stopped at a certain place during that journey to pray, and that afterwards he may have put the question to his disciples. There were two towns called Cesarea, of which the former was more celebrated, and had been anciently called The Tower of Strato; while the latter, which is mentioned here, was situated at the foot of Mount Lebanon, not far from the river Jordan. It is for the sake of distinguishing between these two towns that Philippi is added to the name; for though it is conjectured by some to have been built on the same spot where the town of Dan formerly stood, yet, as it had lately been rebuilt by Philip the Tetrarch, it was called Philippi 
Who do men say that I am? This might be supposed to mean, What was the current rumor about the Redeemer, who became the Son of man? But the question is quite different, What do men think about Jesus the Son of Mary? He calls himself, according to custom, the Son of man, as much as to say, Now that clothed in flesh I inhabit the earth like other men, what is the opinion entertained respecting me? The design of Christ was, to confirm his disciples fully in the true faith, that they might not be tossed about amidst various reports, as we shall presently see.
14. Some [say,] John the Baptist. This inquiry does not relate to the open enemies of Christ, nor to ungodly scoffers, but to the sounder and better part of the people, who might be called the choice and flower of the Church. Those only are mentioned by the disciples who spoke of Christ with respect; and yet, though they aimed at the truth, not one of them reaches that point, but all go astray in their vain fancies. Hence we perceive how great is the weakness of the human mind; for not only is it unable of itself to understand what is right or true, but even out of true principles it coins errors. Besides, though Christ is the only standard of harmony and peace, by which God gathers the whole world to himself, the greater part of men seize on this subject as the occasion of prolonged strife. Among the Jews, certainly, the unity of faith related solely to Christ; and yet they who formerly appeared to have some sort of agreement among themselves now split into a variety of sects.
We see too how one error quickly produces another; for a preconceived opinion, which had taken a firm hold of the minds of the common people, that souls passed from one body to another, made them more ready to adopt this groundless fancy. But though, at the time of Christ's coming, the Jews were divided in this manner, such a diversity of opinions ought not to have hindered the godly from desiring to attain the pure knowledge of him. For if any man, under such a pretense, had given himself up to sloth, and neglected to seek Christ, we would have been forced to declare that there was no excuse for him. Much less then will any man escape the judgment of God who is led by the variety of sects to entertain a dislike of Christ, or who, disgusted by the false opinions of men, does not deign to attach himself to Christ.
15. But who do you say that I am? Here Christ distinguishes his disciples from the rest of the crowd, to make it more fully evident that, whatever differences may exist among others, we at least ought not to be led aside from the unity of faith. They who shall honestly submit to Christ, and shall not attempt to mix with the Gospel any inventions of their own brain, will never want the true light. But here the greatest vigilance is necessary, that, though the whole world may be carried away by its own inventions, believers may continually adhere to Christ. As Satan could not rob the Jews of the conviction which they derived from the Law and the Prophets, that Christ would come, he changed him into various shapes, and, as it were, cut him in pieces. His next scheme was, to bring forward many pretended Christs, that they might lose sight of the true Redeemer. By similar contrivances, he continued ever afterwards either to tear Christ in pieces, or to exhibit him under a false character. Among the confused and discordant voices of the world, let this voice of Christ perpetually sound in our ears, which calls us away from unsettled and wavering men, that we may not follow the multitude, and that our faith may not be tossed about amongst the billows of contending opinions.
16. Thou art the Christ. The confession is short, but it embraces all that is contained in our salvation; for the designation Christ, or Anointed, includes both an everlasting Kingdom and an everlasting Priesthood, to reconcile us to God, and, by expiating our sins through his sacrifice, to obtain for us a perfect righteousness, and, having received us under his protection, to uphold and supply and enrich us with every description of blessings. Mark says only, Thou art the Christ. Luke says, Thou art the Christ of God But the meaning is the same; for the Christs (christoi) of God was the appellation anciently bestowed on kings, who had been anointed by the divine command.  And this phrase had been previously employed by Luke, (2:26,) when he said that Simeon had been informed by a revelation from heaven that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ For the redemption, which God manifested by the hand of his Son, was clearly divine; and therefore it was necessary that he who was to be the Redeemer should come from heaven, bearing the impress of the anointing of God. Matthew expresses it still more clearly, Thou art the Son of the living God; for, though Peter did not yet understand distinctly in what way Christ was the begotten of God, he was so fully persuaded of the dignity of Christ, that he believed him to come from God, not like other men, but by the inhabitation of the true and living Godhead in his flesh. When the attribute living is ascribed to God, it is for the purpose of distinguishing between Him and dead idols, who are nothing, (1 Corinthians 8:4.)
17. Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona. As
this is life eternal, to know the only true God,
Christ justly pronounces him to be blessed who has honestly made such a confession. This was not spoken in a peculiar manner to Peter alone, but our Lord's purpose was, to show in what the only happiness of the whole world consists. That every one may approach him with greater courage, we must first learn that all are by nature miserable and accursed, till they find a remedy in Christ. Next, we must add, that whoever has obtained Christ wants nothing that is necessary to perfect happiness, since we have no right to desire any thing better than the eternal glory of God, of which Christ puts us in possession.
Flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee. In the person of one man Christ reminds all that we must ask faith from the Father, and acknowledge it to the praise of his grace; for the special illumination of God is here contrasted with flesh and blood. Hence we infer, that the minds of men are destitute of that sagacity which is necessary for perceiving the mysteries of heavenly wisdom which are hidden in Christ; and even that all the senses of men are deficient in this respect, till God opens our eyes to perceive his glory in Christ. Let no man, therefore, in proud reliance on his own abilities, attempt to reach it, but let us humbly suffer ourselves to be inwardly taught by the Father of Lights, (James 1:17,) that his Spirit alone may enlighten our darkness. And let those who have received faith, acknowledging the blindness which was natural to them, learn to render to God the glory that is due to Him.
18. And I say to thee. By these words Christ declares how highly he is delighted with the confession of Peter, since he bestows upon it so large a reward. For, though he had already given to his disciple, Simon, the name of Peter, (Matthew 10:2; John 1:42,) and had, out of his undeserved goodness, appointed him to be an apostle, yet these gifts, though freely bestowed,  are here ascribed to faith as if they had been a reward, which we not unfrequently find in Scripture. Peter receives a twofold honor, the former part of which relates to his personal advantage, and the latter to his office as an Apostle.
Thou art Peter. By these words our Lord assures him that it was not without a good reason that he had formerly given him this name, because, as a living stone (1 Peter 2:5) in the temple of God, he retains his stedfastness. This extends, no doubt, to all believers, each of whom is a temple of God, (l 1 Corinthians 6:19,) and who, united to each other by faith, make together one temple, (Ephesians 2:21.) But it denotes also the distinguished excellence of Peter above the rest, as each in his own order receives more or less, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, (Ephesians 4:7.)
And on this rock. Hence it is evident how the name Peter comes to be applied both to Simon individually, and to other believers. It is because they are founded on the faith of Christ, and joined together, by a holy consent, into a spiritual building, that God may dwell in the midst of them, (Ezekiel 43:7.) For Christ, by announcing that this would be the common foundation of the whole Church, intended to associate with Peter all the godly that would ever exist in the world. "You are now," said he, "a very small number of men, and therefore the confession which you have now made is not at present supposed to have much weight; but ere long a time will arrive when that confession shall assume a lofty character, and shall be much more widely spread." And this was eminently fitted to excite his disciples to perseverance, that though their faith was little known and little esteemed, yet they had been chosen by the Lord as the first-fruits, that out of this mean commencement there might arise a new Church, which would prove victorious against all the machinations of hell.
Shall not prevail against it. The pronoun it (autos) may refer either to faith or to the Church; but the latter meaning is more appropriate. Against all the power of Satan the firmness of the Church will prove to be invincible, because the truth of God, on which the faith of the Church rests, will ever remain unshaken. And to this statement corresponds that saying of John,
This is the victory which overcometh the world, your faith, (1 John 5:4.)
It is a promise which eminently deserves our observation, that all who are united to Christ, and acknowledge him to be Christ and Mediator, will remain to the end safe from all danger; for what is said of the body of the Church belongs to each of its members, since they are one in Christ. Yet this passage also instructs us, that so long as the Church shall continue to be a pilgrim on the earth, she will never enjoy rest, but will be exposed to many attacks; for, when it is declared that Satan will not conquer, this implies that he will be her constant enemy. While, therefore, we rely on this promise of Christ, feel ourselves at liberty to boast against Satan, and already triumph by faith over all his forces; let us learn, on the other hand, that this promise is, as it were, the sound of a trumpet, calling us to be always ready and prepared for battle. By the word gates (pulai) is unquestionably meant every kind of power and of weapons of war.
19. And I will give thee the keys Here Christ begins now to speak of the public office, that is, of the Apostleship, which he dignifies with a twofold title. First, he says that the ministers of the Gospel are porters, so to speak, of the kingdom of heaven, because they carry its keys; and, secondly, he adds, that they are invested with a power of binding and loosing, which is ratified in heaven.  The comparison of the keys is very properly applied to the office of teaching; as when Christ says (Luke 11:52) that the scribes and Pharisees, in like manner, have the key of the kingdom of heaven, because they are expounders of the law. We know that there is no other way in which the gate of life is opened to us than by the word of God; and hence it follows that the key is placed, as it were, in the hands of the ministers of the word.
Those who think that the word keys is here used in the plural number, because the Apostles received a commission not only to open but also to shut, have some probability on their side; but if any person choose to take a more simple view of the meaning, let him enjoy his own opinion.  Here a question arises, Why does the Lord promise that he will give to Peter what he appeared to have formerly given him by making him an Apostle? But this question has been already answered,  when I said that the twelve were at first (Matthew 10:5) nothing more than temporary preachers,  and so, when they returned to Christ, they had executed their commission; but after that Christ had risen from the dead, they then began to be appointed to be ordinary teachers of the Church. It is in this sense that the honor is now bestowed for the future.
Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth. The second metaphor, or comparison, is intended directly to point out the forgiveness of sins; for Christ, in delivering us, by his Gospel, from the condemnation of eternal death, looses the cords of the curse by which we are held bound. The doctrine of the Gospel is, therefore, declared to be appointed for loosing our bonds, that, being loosed on earth by the voice and testimony of men, we may be actually loosed in heaven. But as there are many who not only are guilty of wickedly rejecting the deliverance that is offered to them, but by their obstinacy bring down on themselves a heavier judgment, the power and authority to bind is likewise granted to the ministers of the Gospel. It must be observed, however, that this does not belong to the nature of the Gospel, but is accidental; as Paul also informs us, when, speaking of the vengeance which he tells us that he has it in his power to execute against all unbelievers and rebels, he immediately adds,
When your obedience shall have been fulfilled,
For were it not that the reprobate, through their own fault, turn life into death, the Gospel would be to all the power of God to salvation, (Romans 1:16;) but as many persons no sooner hear it than their impiety openly breaks out, and provokes against them more and more the wrath of God, to such persons its savor must be deadly, (2 Corinthians 2:16.)
The substance of this statement is, that Christ intended to assure his followers of the salvation promised to them in the Gospel, that they might expect it as firmly as if he were himself to descend from heaven to bear testimony concerning it; and, on the other hand, to strike despisers with terror, that they might not expect their mockery of the ministers of the word to remain unpunished. Both are exceedingly necessary; for the inestimable treasure of life is exhibited to us in earthen vessels, (2 Corinthians 4:7,) and had not the authority of the doctrine been established in this manner, the faith of it would have been, almost every moment, ready to give way.  The reason why the ungodly become so daring and presumptuous is, that they imagine they have to deal with men. Christ therefore declares that, by the preaching of the Gospel, is revealed on the earth what will be the heavenly judgment of God, and that the certainty of life or death is not to be obtained from any other source.
This is a great honor, that we are God's messengers to assure the world of its salvation. It is the highest honor conferred on the Gospel, that it is declared to be the embassy of mutual reconciliation between God and men, (2 Corinthians 5:20.) In a word, it is a wonderful consolation to devout minds to know that the message of salvation brought to them by a poor mortal man is ratified before God. Meanwhile, let the ungodly ridicule, as they may think fit, the doctrine which is preached to them by the command of God, they will one day learn with what truth and seriousness God threatened them by the mouth of men. Finally, let pious teachers, resting on this assurance, encourage themselves and others to defend with boldness the life-giving grace of God, and yet let them not the less boldly thunder against the hardened despisers of their doctrine.
Hitherto I have given a plain exposition of the native meaning of the words, so that nothing farther could have been desired, had it not been that the Roman Antichrist, wishing to cloak his tyranny, has wickedly and dishonestly dared to pervert the whole of this passage. The light of the true interpretation which I have stated would be of itself sufficient, one would think, for dispelling his darkness; but that pious readers may feel no uneasiness, I shall briefly refute his disgusting calumnies. First, he alleges that Peter is declared to be the foundation of the Church. But who does not see that what he applies to the person of a man is said in reference to Peter's faith in Christ? There is no difference of meaning, I acknowledge, between the two Greek words Petros (Peter) and petra, (petra, a stone or rock,)  except that the former belongs to the Attic, and the latter to the ordinary dialect. But we are not to suppose that Matthew had not a good reason for employing this diversity of expression. On the contrary, the gender of the noun was intentionally changed, to show that he was now speaking of something different.  A distinction of the same sort, I have no doubt, was pointed out by Christ in his own language;  and therefore Augustine judiciously reminds the reader that it is not petra (petra, a stone or rock) that is derived from Petros, (Peter,) but Petros (Peter) that is derived from petra, (petra, a stone or rock )
But not to be tedious, as we must acknowledge the truth and certainty of the declaration of Paul, that the Church can have no other foundation than Christ alone, (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20,) it can be nothing less than blasphemy and sacrilege when the Pope has contrived another foundation. And certainly no words can express the detestation with which we ought to regard the tyranny of the Papal system on this single account, that, in order to maintain it, the foundation of the Church has been subverted, that the mouth of hell might be opened and swallow up wretched souls. Besides, as I have already hinted, that part does not refer to Peter's public office, but only assigns to him a distinguished place among the sacred stones of the temple. The commendations that follow relate to the Apostolic office; and hence we conclude that nothing is here said to Peter which does not apply equally to the others who were his companions, for if the rank of apostleship was common to them all, whatever was connected with it must also have been held in common.
But it will be said, Christ addresses Peter alone: he does so, because Peter alone, in the name of all, had confessed Christ to be the Son of God, and to him alone is addressed the discourse, which applies equally to the rest. And the reason adduced by Cyprian and others is not to be despised, that Christ spake to all in the person of one man, in order to recommend the unity of the Church. They reply,  that he to whom this privilege was granted in a peculiar manner is preferred to all others. But that is equivalent to saying that he was more an apostle than his companions; for the power to bind and to loose can no more be separated from the office of teaching and the Apostleship than light or heat can be separated from the sun. And even granting that something more was bestowed on Peter than on the rest, that he might hold a distinguished place among the Apostles, it is a foolish inference of the Papists, that he received the primacy, and became the universal head of the whole Church. Rank is a different thing from power, and to be elevated to the highest place of honor among a few persons is a different thing from embracing the whole world under his dominion. And in fact, Christ laid no heavier burden on him than he was able to bear. He is ordered to be the porter of the kingdom of heaven; he is ordered to dispense the grace of God by binding and loosing; that is, as far as the power of a mortal man reaches. All that was given to him, therefore, must be limited to the measure of grace which he received for the edification of the Church; and so that vast dominion, which the Papists claim for him, falls to the ground.
But though there were no strife or controversy about Peter,  still this passage would not lend countenance to the tyranny of the Pope. For no man in his senses will admit the principle which the Papists take for granted, that what is here granted to Peter was intended to be transmitted by him to posterity by hereditary right; for he does not receive permission to give any thing to his successors. So then the Papists make him bountiful with what is not his own. Finally, though the uninterrupted succession were fully established, still the Pope will gain nothing by it till he has proved himself to be Peter's lawful successor. And how does he prove it? Because Peter died at Rome; as if Rome, by the detestable murder of the Apostle, had procured for herself the primacy. But they allege that he was also bishop there. How frivolous  that allegation is, I have made abundantly evident in my Institutes, (Book 4, Chapter 6,) to which I would willingly send my reader for a complete discussion of this argument, rather than annoy or weary him by repeating it in this place. Yet I would add a few words. Though the Bishop of Rome had been the lawful successor of Peter, since by his own treachery he has deprived himself of so high an honor, all that Christ bestowed on the successors of Peter avails him nothing. That the Pope's court resides at Rome is sufficiently known, but no mark of a Church there can be pointed out. As to the pastoral office, his eagerness to shun it is equal to the ardor with which he contends for his own dominion. Certainly, if it were true that Christ has left nothing undone to exalt the heirs of Peter, still he was not so lavish as to part with his own honor to bestow it on apostates.
 "Simon, fils de Iona;" -- "Simon, son of Jonah."
 "On la nommoit Cesaree de Philippe;" -- "it was named Cesarea of Philip."
 See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 92, n. 2; p. 142, n. 2.
 "Ces dons qui estoyent procedez de sa pure liberalite;" -- "those gifts which had proceeded altogether from his liberality."
 "Laquelle est receue et advouee es cieux;" -- "which is received and acknowledged in heaven."
 "Ie n'y contredi point;" -- "I do not contradict him in it."
 Harmony, vol. 1, p. 437.
 "Ambassadeurs ou prescheurs temporels;" -- "temporary messengers or preachers."
 "D'heure en heure elle seroit revoquee en doute;" -- "from hour to hour it would be called in question."
 "Ie confesse bien qu'en la langue Grecque il n'y a pas grande difference entre le mot qui signifie une pierre, et celuy qui signifie un homme nomme Pierre;" -- "I readily acknowledge that, in the Greek language, there is no great difference between the word that signifies a stone, and that which signifies a man named Peter."
 "A fin de monstrer qu'au second lieu il parloit de quelque autre chose que de la personne de Pierre;" -- "in order to show that, in the latter clause, he was speaking of something totally different from the person of Peter."
 By Christ's own language is meant the Syriac -- a dialect of Hebrew -- which is supposed to have been the vernacular language of Palestine in the time of our Lord, and consequently to have been spoken by him and his apostles. It is enough for our present purpose that CALVIN adopted this hypothesis, whatever may be the result of a controversy in which the claims of the Greek language above the Syriac, as familiarly spoken and written in Syria at that period, have been urged with vast learning and ability. -- Ed.
 "Les Romanisques repliquent a l'encontre;" -- "the Romanists reply on the other hand."
 "Mais mettons le cas que ce qu'ils disent de Pierre soit hors de doute;" -- "but let us suppose that what they say about Peter were beyond a doubt."
 "Combien cela est faux et frivole;" -- "how false and frivolous it is."
They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
20. Then he charged his disciples  not to tell any one that he was Jesus the Christ. 21. From that time Jesus began to make known to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day. 22. And Peter, taking him aside,  began to rebuke him, saying, Lord, spare thyself;  this shall not happen to thee. 23. But he turning said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offense to me; for thou relishest not those things which are of God, but those which are of men. 24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any man chooses to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and on the other hand, whosoever shall lose his life on my account shall find it. 26. For what doth it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give, that, in exchange for it, he may redeem his soul? 27. For the Son of man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every one according to his actions. 28. Verily I say to you, There are some standing here, who will not taste death till they have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
30. And he threatened, and forbade them to tell any one concerning him.  31. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32. And he spoke that saying openly, and Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33. But he turning and looking upon his disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou relishest not the things that are of God, but those that are of men. 34. And when he had called the multitude to him along with his disciples, he said to them, Whosoever would follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, shall save it, 36. For what will it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? 37. Or what shall a man give as a ransom for his soul? 38. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him likewise will the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
1. And he said to them, Verily, I say to you, There are some among those who stand here  that will not taste death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
21. And he threatening charged them not to tell this to any one,  22. Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and rise again on the third day. 23. And he said to all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up hi cross daily,  and follow me. 24. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life on my account shall save it. 25. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and be ruined and lost? 26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my saying, of him likewise will the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own majesty, and in the majesty of his Father, and of the holy angels. 27. And I say to you, There truly are some standing here who will not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God. 
Having given a proof of his future glory, Christ reminds his disciples of what he must suffer, that they also may be prepared to bear the cross; for the time was at hand when they must enter into the contest, to which he knew them to be altogether unequal, if they had not been fortified by fresh courage. And first of all, it was necessary to inform them that Christ must commence his reign, not with gaudy display, not with the magnificence of riches, not with the loud applause of the world, but with an ignominious death. But nothing was harder than to rise superior to such an offense; particularly if we consider the opinion which they firmly entertained respecting their Master; for they imagined that he would procure for them earthly happiness. This unfounded expectation held them in suspense, and they eagerly looked forward to the hour when Christ would suddenly reveal the glory of his reign. So far were they from having ever adverted to the ignominy of the cross, that they considered it to be utterly unsuitable that he should be placed in any circumstances from which he did not receive honor.  To them it was a distressing occurrence that he should be rejected by the elders and the scribes, who held the government of the Church; and hence we may readily conclude that this admonition was highly necessary. But as the bare mention of the cross must, of necessity, have occasioned heavy distress to their weak minds, he presently heals the wound by saying, that on the third day he will rise again from the dead. And certainly, as there is nothing to be seen in the cross but the weakness of the flesh, till we come to his resurrection, in which the power of the Spirit shines brightly, our faith will find no encouragement or support. In like manner, all ministers of the Word, who desire that their preaching may be profitable, ought to be exceedingly careful that the glory of his resurrection should be always exhibited by them in connection with the ignominy of his death.
But we naturally wonder why Christ refuses to accept as witnesses the Apostles, whom he had already appointed to that office; for why were they sent but to be the heralds of that redemption which depended on the coming of Christ? The answer is not difficult, if we keep in mind the explanations which I have given on this subject: first, that they were not appointed teachers for the purpose of bearing full and certain testimony to Christ, but only to procure disciples for their Master; that is, to induce those who were too much the victims of sloth to become teachable and attentive; and; secondly, that their commission was temporary, for it ended when Christ himself began to preach. As the time of his death was now at hand, and as they were not yet fully prepared to testify their faith, but, on the contrary, were so weak in faith, that their confession of it would have exposed them to ridicule, the Lord enjoins them to remain silent till others shall have acknowledged him to be the conqueror of death, and till he shall have endued them with increased firmness.
Matthew 16:22. And Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him. It is a proof of the excessive zeal of Peter, that he reproves his Master; though it would appear that the respect he entertained for him was his reason for taking him aside, because he did not venture to reprove him in presence of others. Still, it was highly presumptuous in Peter to advise our Lord to spare himself, as if he had been deficient in prudence or self-command. But so completely are men hurried on and driven headlong by inconsiderate zeal, that they do not hesitate to pass judgment on God himself, according to their own fancy. Peter views it as absurd, that the Son of God, who was to be the Redeemer of the nation, should be crucified by the elders, and that he who was the Author of life should be condemned to die. He therefore endeavors to restrain Christ from exposing himself to death. The reasoning is plausible; but we ought without hesitation to yield greater deference to the opinion of Christ than to the zeal of Peter, whatever excuse he may plead.
And here we learn what estimation in the sight of God belongs to what are called good intentions. So deeply is pride rooted in the hearts of men, that they think wrong is done them, and complain, if God does not comply with every thing that they consider to be right. With what obstinacy do we see the Papists boasting of their devotions! But while they applaud themselves in this daring manner, God not only rejects what they believe to be worthy of the highest praise, but even pronounces a severe censure on its folly and wickedness. Certainly, if the feeling and judgment of the flesh be admitted, Peter's intention was pious, or at least it looked well. And yet Christ could not have conveyed his censure in harsher or more disdainful language. Tell me, what is the meaning of that stern reply? How comes it that he who so mildly on all occasions guarded against breaking even a bruised reed, (Isaiah 42:3,) thunders so dismally against a chosen disciple? The reason is obvious, that in the person of one man he intended to restrain all from gratifying their own passions. Though the lusts of the flesh, as they resemble wild beasts, are difficult to be restrained, yet there is no beast more furious than the wisdom of the flesh. It is on this account that Christ reproves it so sharply, and bruises it, as it were, with an iron hammer, to teach us that it is only from the word of God that we ought to be wise.
23. Get thee behind me, Satan. It is idle to speculate, as some have done, about the word (opiso) behind; as if Peter were ordered to follow, and not to go before; for, in a passage which we have already considered, Luke (4:8) informs us that our Lord used those very words in repelling the attacks of Satan, and the verb hupage (from which the Latin word Apage is derived) signifies to withdraw  Christ therefore throws his disciple to a distance from him, because, in his inconsiderate zeal, he acted the part of Satan; for he does not simply call him adversary, but gives him the name of the devil, as an expression of the greatest abhorrence.
Thou art an offense to me; for thou relishest not those things which are of God, but those which are of men. We must attend to this as the reason assigned by our Lord for sending Peter away from him. Peter was an offense to Christ, so long as he opposed his calling; for, when Peter attempted to stop the course of his Master, it was not owing to him that he did not deprive himself and all mankind of eternal salvation. This single word, therefore, shows with what care we ought to avoid every thing that withdraws us from obedience to God. And Christ opens up the original source of the whole evil, when he says that Peter relishes those things which are of men.  Lest we and our intentions should be sent away by our heavenly Judge to the devil,  let us learn not to be too much attached to our own views, but submissively to embrace whatever the Lord approves. Let the Papists now go and extol their notions to the skies. They will one day learn, when they appear before the judgment-seat of God, what is the value of their boasting, which Christ declares to be from Satan And with regard to ourselves, if we do not, of our own accord, resolve to shut ourselves out from the way of salvation by deadly obstacles, let us not desire to be wise in any other manner than from the mouth of God.
24. Then Jesus said to his disciples. As Christ saw that Peter had a dread of the cross, and that all the rest were affected in the same way, he enters into a general discourse about bearing the cross, and does not limit his address to the twelve apostles, but lays down the same law for all the godly.  We have already met with a statement nearly similar, (Matthew 10:38.)  But in that passage the apostles were only reminded of the persecution which awaited them, as soon as they should begin to discharge their office; while a general instruction is here conveyed, and the initiatory lessons, so to speak, inculcated on all who profess to believe the Gospel.
If any man will come after me. These words are used for the express purpose of refuting the false views of Peter  Presenting himself to every one as an example of self-denial and of patience, he first shows that it was necessary for him to endure what Peter reckoned to be inconsistent with his character, and next invites every member of his body to imitate him. The words must be explained in this manner: "If any man would be my disciple, let him follow me by denying himself and taking up his cross, or, let him conform himself to my example." The meaning is, that none can be reckoned to be the disciples of Christ unless they are true imitators of him, and are willing to pursue the same course.
He lays down a brief rule for our imitation, in order to make us acquainted with the chief points in which he wishes us to resemble him. It consists of two parts, self-denial and a voluntary bearing of the cross. Let him deny himself. This self-denial is very extensive, and implies that we ought to give up our natural inclinations, and part with all the affections of the flesh, and thus give our consent to be reduced to nothing, provided that God lives and reigns in us. We know with what blind love men naturally regard themselves, how much they are devoted to themselves, how highly they estimate themselves. But if we desire to enter into the school of Christ, we must begin with that folly to which Paul (1 Corinthians 3:18) exhorts us, becoming fools, that we may be wise; and next we must control and subdue all our affections.
And let him take up his cross. He lays down this injunction, because, though there are common miseries to which the life of men is indiscriminately subjected, yet as God trains his people in a peculiar manner, in order that they may be conformed to the image of his Son, we need not wonder that this rule is strictly addressed to them. It may be added that, though God lays both on good and bad men the burden of the cross, yet unless they willingly bend their shoulders to it, they are not said to bear the cross; for a wild and refractory horse cannot be said to admit his rider, though he carries him. The patience of the saints, therefore, consists in bearing willingly the cross which has been laid on them.  Luke adds the word daily -- let him take up his cross Daily -- which is very emphatic; for Christ's meaning is, that there will be no end to our warfare till we leave the world. Let it be the uninterrupted exercise of the godly, that when many afflictions have run their course, they may be prepared to endure fresh afflictions.
25. For he that would save his life shall lose it. It is a most appropriate consolation, that they who willingly suffer death for the sake of Christ  do actually obtain life; for Mark expressly states this as the motive to believers in dying -- for my sake, and for the sake of the Gospel -- and in the words of Matthew the same thing must be understood. It frequently happens that irreligious men are prompted by ambition or despair to despise life; and to such persons it will be no advantage that they are courageous in meeting death. The threatening, which is contrasted with the promise, has also a powerful tendency to shake off carnal sloth, when he reminds men who are desirous of the present life, that the only advantage which they reap is, to lose life. There is a contrast intended here between temporal and eternal death, as we have explained under Matthew 10:39, where the reader will find the rest of this subject. 
26. For what doth it profit a man? The word soul is here used in the strictest sense. Christ reminds them that the soul of man was not created merely to enjoy the world for a few days, but to obtain at length its immortality in heaven. What carelessness and what brutal stupidity is this, that men are so strongly attached to the world, and so much occupied with its affairs, as not to consider why they were born, and that God gave them an immortal soul, in order that, when the course of the earthly life was finished, they might live eternally in heaven! And, indeed, it is universally acknowledged, that the soul is of higher value than all the riches and enjoyments of the world; but yet men are so blinded by carnal views, that they knowingly and willfully abandon their souls to destruction. That the world may not fascinate us by its allurements, let us remember the surpassing worth of our soul; for if this be seriously considered, it will easily dispel the vain imaginations of earthly happiness.
27. For the Son of man will come. That the doctrine which has just been laid down may more deeply affect our minds, Christ places before our eyes the future judgment; for if we would perceive the worthlessness of this fading life, we must be deeply affected by the view of the heavenly life. So tardy and sluggish is our mind, that it needs to be aided by looking towards heaven. Christ summons believers to his judgment-seat, to lead them to reflect at all times that they lived for no other object than to long after that blessed redemption, which will be revealed at the proper time. The admonition is intended to inform us, that they do not strive in vain who set a higher value on the confession of faith than on their own life. "Place your lives fearlessly," says he, "in my hand, and under my protection; for I will at length appear as your avenger, and will fully restore you, though for the time you may seem to have perished."
In the glory of the Father, with his angels. These are mentioned to guard his disciples against judging of his kingdom from present appearances; for hitherto he was unknown and despised, being concealed under the form and condition of a servant. He assures them that it will be far otherwise when he shall appear as the Judge of the world. As to the remaining part of the passage in Mark and Luke, the reader will find it explained under the tenth chapter of Matthew. 
And then will he render to every one according to his actions. The reward of works has been treated by me as fully as was necessary under another passage.  It amounts to this: When a reward is promised to good works, their merit is not contrasted with the justification which is freely bestowed on us through faith; nor is it pointed out as the cause of our salvation, but is only held out to excite believers to aim at doing what is right,  by assuring them that their labor will not be lost. There is a perfect agreement, therefore, between these two statements, that we are justified freely, (Romans 3:24,) because we are received into God's favor without any merit;  and yet that God, of his own good pleasure, bestows on our works a reward which we did not deserve.
28. Verily, I say to you. As the disciples might still hesitate and inquire when that day would be, our Lord animates them by the immediate assurance, that he will presently give them a proof of his future glory. We know the truth of the common proverb, that to one who is in expectation even speed looks like delay; but never does it hold more true, than when we are told to wait for our salvation till the coming of Christ. To support his disciples in the meantime, our Lord holds out to them, for confirmation, an intermediate period; as much as to say, "If it seem too long to wait for the day of my coming, I will provide against this in good time; for before you come to die, you will see with your eyes that kingdom of God, of which I bid you entertain a confident hope." This is the natural import of the words; for the notion adopted by some, that they were intended to apply to John, is ridiculous.
Coming in his kingdom. By the coming of the kingdom of God we are to understand the manifestation of heavenly glory, which Christ began to make at his resurrection, and which he afterwards made more fully by sending the Holy Spirit, and by the performance of miracles; for by those beginnings he gave his people a taste of the newness of the heavenly life, when they perceived, by certain and undoubted proofs, that he was sitting at the right hand of the Father.
 "Lors il commanda expressement a ses disciples;" -- "then he expressly commanded his disciples."
 "L'ayant prins a part;" -- "have taken him aside."
 "Seigneur, aye pitie de toy;" -- "Lord, have pity on thyself."
 "Et il leur defendit avec menace qu'ils ne dissent [cela] de luy a personne;" -- "and he forbade them with threatening to tell [this] concerning him to any one."
 "Il y en d'aucuns de ceux qui sont ici presens;" -- "there are some of those who are here present."
 "Adonc usant de menaces il leur commanda qu'ils ne le dissent a personne;" -- "Then employing threatenings, he commanded them not to tell it to any one."
 "De iour en iour;" -- "day by day."
 "Iusqu'a taut qu'ils ayent veu le regne de Dieu;" -- "till they have seen the kingdom of God."
 "Que rien luy peust advenir qui ne fust honorable et magnifique;" -- "that any thing should happen to him which was not honorable and magnificent."
 "Le mot Grec signifie simplement se reculer et s'en aller;" -- "the Greek word simply means to withdraw and go away."
 "Que Pierre s'arreste a la sagesse de l'homme;" -- "that Peter rests satisfied with the wisdom of man."
 "Et pourtant de peur que le Iuge celeste ne nous renvoye au diable avec nos bonnes affections et intentions;" -- "and then lest our heavenly Judge should send us away to the devil with our good feelings and intentions."
 "A tous fideles;" -- "to all believers."
 Harmony, vol. 1 p.
 "Pour refuter l'imagination que Pierre avoit en son corveau;" -- "to refute the imagination which Peter had in his brain."
 "A porter la croix qua Dieu leur met sur les epaules;" -- "in bearing the cross which God lays on their shoulders."
 "Ceux qui meurent alaigrement pour Christ;" -- "those who die cheerfully for Christ."
 Harmony, vol. 1 p.
 Harmony, vol. 1 p.
 "Alibi is a general reference, but en un autre passage is more specific; and the passage to which he probably refers the reader for a distinct exhibition of his views, and in which, so far as I remember, he handles this subject more fully than in any other part of the Gospels, is John 4:36." -- Ed.
 "A faire bonnes oeuvres;" -- "to do good works."
 "Sans que nous en soyons dignes, ou l'ayons meritd;" -- "without being worthy of it, or having deserved it."
Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father, who is in heaven. 33. And whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father, who is in heaven. 34. Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35. For I have come to set a man at variance against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And the persons of a man's household shall be his enemies.
38. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory,  and [in the glory] of the Father, and of the holy angels.
Luke 12:8-9, 51-53
8. And I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will the Son of man also confess before the angels of God. 9. And he who shall deny me before men, will be denied before the angels of God.--(Same chapter.) 51. Do you suppose that I came to send peace on earth? I tell you no; but division. 52. For henceforth there will be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53. The father will 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.
Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me He now applies to his present subject what he formerly said in a general manner about contempt of death: for we must struggle against the dread of death, that it may not keep us back from an open confession of faith, which God strictly demands, and which the world cannot endure. For this purpose the disciples of Christ must be bold and courageous, that they may be always ready for martyrdom. Now confession of Christ, though it is regarded by the greater part of men as a trifling matter, is here represented to be a main part of divine worship, and a distinguished exercise of godliness. And justly is it so represented: for if earthly princes, in order to enlarge and protect their glory, and to increase their wealth, call their subjects to arms, why should not believers maintain, at least in language, the glory of their heavenly King?
It is therefore certain that those persons extinguish faith, (as far as lies in their powers) who inwardly suppress it, as if the outward profession of it were unnecessary. With good reason does Christ here call us his witnesses, by whose mouth his name shall be celebrated in the world. In other words, he intends that the profession of his name shall be set in opposition to false religions: and as it is a revolting matter, he enjoins the testimony which we must bear, that the faith of each person may not remain concealed in the heart, but may be openly professed before men. And does not he who refuses or is silent deny the Son of God, and thus banish himself from the heavenly family?
A more public confession of faith, no doubt, is demanded from teachers than from persons in a private station. Besides, all are not endued with an equal measure of faith, and in proportion as any one excels in the gifts of the Spirit, he ought to go before others by his example. But there is no believer whom the Son of God does not require to be his witness. In what place, at what time, with what degree of frequency, in what manner, and to what extent, we ought to profess our faith, cannot easily be determined by a fixed rule: but we must consider the occasion, that not one of us may fail to discharge his duty at the proper time. We must also ask from the Lord the spirit of wisdom and courage, that under his direction we may know what is proper, and may boldly follow whatever we shall have ascertained that he commands us.
Him will I also confess. A promise is added to inflame our zeal in this matter. But we must attend to the points of contrast. If we draw a comparison between ourselves and the Son of God, how base is it to refuse our testimony to him, when on his part he offers his testimony to us by way of reward? If mortals, and men who are of no worth, are brought into comparison with God and the angels and all the heavenly glory, how much more valuable is that which Christ promises than that which he requires? Although men are unbelieving and rebellious, yet the testimony which we deliver to them is estimated by Christ as if it had been made in the presence of God and of the angels.
Thus also by way of amplification, Mark and Luke  add, in this adulterous and sinful generation; the meaning of which is, that we must not imagine our labor to be lost, because there is a want of proper disposition in our hearers. Now if any one is not sufficiently moved by the promise, it is followed by an awful threatening. When Christ shall make his appearance to judge the world, he will deny all who have basely denied him before men Let the enemies of the cross now go away, and flatter themselves in their hypocrisy, when Christ blots their names out of the book of life: for whom will God acknowledge as his children at the last day, but those who are presented to him by Christ? But he declares that he will bear witness against them, that they may not insinuate themselves on false grounds. When it is said that Christ will come in the glory of the Father and of the angels, the meaning is, that his divine glory will then be fully manifested; and that the angels, as they now surround the throne of God, will render their services to him by honoring his majesty. The passage from the twelfth chapter of Luke's Gospel corresponds to the text of Matthew. What we have inserted out of the ninth chapter, and out of Mark, appears to have been spoken at another time: but as the doctrine is quite the same, I have chosen to introduce them together.
Luke 12:51. Do you suppose that I came to send peace on the earth? What Christ has now demanded from his disciples any one of them would reckon it an easy matter to give, if the whole world, with one consent, embraced the doctrine of the Gospel. But as a considerable part of the world not only opposes but fights keenly against it, we cannot confess Christ without encountering the resistance and hatred of many. Christ therefore warns his followers to prepare for battle, for they must necessarily fight for the testimony of truth. And here he meets two stumbling-blocks, which otherwise would greatly have distressed weak minds. The prophets everywhere promise that there will be peace and tranquillity under the reign of Christ. What then were his disciples entitled to expect but that, wherever they went, all would instantly be at peace? Now as Christ is called our peace, (Ephesians 2:14,) and as the Gospel reconciles us to God, it follows, that he also establishes a brotherly harmony amongst us. The kindling of wars and contentions in the world where the Gospel is preached, does not seem to agree with the predictions of the prophets, and still less with the office of Christ, and with the nature of the Gospel.
But that peace which the prophets describe in lofty terms, is associated with faith, and has no existence but among the sincere worshippers of God, and in the consciences of the godly. To unbelievers it does not come, though it is offered to them; nay, they cannot endure to be reconciled to God: and the consequence is, that the message of peace excites in them a greater tumult than before. As Satan, who holds a kingly power over the reprobate, is furious against the name of Christ, as soon as the doctrine of the Gospel is proclaimed to them, their impiety, which formerly lay asleep, acquires fresh vigor. Thus Christ, who properly speaking, is the author of peace, becomes the occasion of disturbances in consequence of the wickedness of men.
Let us hence learn how great is the depravity of corrupt nature, which not only soils a gift so inestimable, but changes it into a most destructive evil. Meanwhile, if tumults arise at the commencement of the reign of Christ, let us not be alarmed at it, as if it were strange or unusual: for he compares his Gospel to a sword, and says that it is diamerismos, separation Some think that this is intended to describe the punishment which was inflicted on the despisers of the Gospel, by their rising in hostility against each other. But the context shows, that Christ is here exhorting his disciples to perseverance, though a good part of the world should be at variance with them, and though their voice should be like a war-trumpet to call innumerable enemies to arms.
Matthew 10:35 To set a man at variance Hence we see more clearly what was stated a little before, that wars and tumults arise, contrary to the nature of the Gospel, through the fault of wicked men. What Malachi says about John the Baptist, [4:5,6] applies to all the ministers of Christ. They are sent for this purpose to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers. But in consequence of the malice of wicked men, those who were formerly combined no sooner hear the voice of Christ than they separate into opposite parties, and proceed so far as to break up the ties of relationship. In a word, Christ foretells that the world will come to such a state of confusion, that all the bonds of kindred will be treated with indifference, and humanity will be no longer regarded. When Micah complains [7:6] that a man's enemies are the men of his own house, he deplores it as a state of extreme and ruinous corruption. Christ declares that the same thing will happen when his doctrine shall be published, which otherwise could not have been believed. At the same time, he does not mean that this will uniformly take place, as certain fretful persons foolishly imagine that it will be impossible for them to be good disciples without forsaking parents, children, and wives. On the contrary, every lawful bond of union is confirmed by unity of faith: only Christ warns his followers, that when it does happen, they must not be alarmed.
 "En sa majest?;" -- -"in his majesty."
 This is a blunder: for the clause in question is not found in Luke, but in Mark only. The french version sets the matter right. -- Ed.
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, and James, and John his brother, and leadeth them to a high mountain apart; 2. And was transfigured before them: and his face shone as the sun, and his garments became white as the light. 3. And, lo, there appeared to them  Moses and Elijah talking with him. 4. And Peter answering said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 5. While he was speaking, lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, lo, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him. 6. And having heard this, the disciples fell on their face,  and were exceedingly afraid. 7. Then Jesus approaching touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man but Jesus only.
2. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them to a high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. 3. And his garments became shining, exceedingly white as snow, so white as no fuller on earth could make them. 4. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5. And Peter answering said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 6. For he knew not what he said; for they were terrified. 7. And there came a cloud that overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him. 8. And suddenly, when they looked around, they saw no other person, but Jesus alone with them.
28. And it happened about eight days after these words, and he took Peter, and James, and John, and went up to a mountain to pray. 29. And while he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was changed, and his raiment became white and dazzling.  30. And, lo, two men talked with him; who were Moses and Elijah; 31. Who appeared in a majestic form, and spoke of the decease which he would accomplish at Jerusalem. 32. And Peter, and they that were with him, were overpowered with sleep; and when they awoke, they saw his glory, and the two men who were with him. 33. And it happened, while they were departing from him,  Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah: not knowing what he said. 34. And while he was speaking these words, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered into the cloud. 35. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him. 36. And while the voice was uttered, Jesus was found alone.
Matthew 17:1. And after six days. We must first inquire for what purpose Christ clothed himself with heavenly glory for a short time, and why he did not admit more than three of his disciples to be spectators. Some think that he did so, in order to fortify them against the trial which they were soon to meet with, arising from his death. That does not appear to me to be a probable reason; for why should he have deprived the rest of the same remedy, or rather, why does he expressly forbid them to make known what they had seen till after his resurrection, but because the result of the vision would be later than his death? I have no doubt whatever that Christ intended to show that he was not dragged unwillingly to death, but that he came forward of his own accord, to offer to the Father the sacrifice of obedience. The disciples were not made aware of this till Christ rose; nor was it even necessary that, at the very moment of his death, they should perceive the divine power of Christ, so as to acknowledge it to be victorious on the cross; but the instruction which they now received was intended to be useful at a future period both to themselves and to us, that no man might take offense at the weakness of Christ, as if it were by force and necessity that he had suffered.  It would manifestly have been quite as easy for Christ to protect his body from death as to clothe it with heavenly glory.
We are thus taught that he was subjected to death, because he wished it to be so; that he was crucified, because he offered himself. That same flesh, which was sacrificed on the cross and lay in the grave, might have been exempted from death and the grave; for it had already partaken of the heavenly glory. We are also taught that, so long as Christ remained in the world, bearing the form of a servant, and so long as his majesty was concealed under the weakness of the flesh, nothing had been taken from him, for it was of his own accord that he emptied himself, (Philippians 2:7;) but now his resurrection has drawn aside that veil by which his power had been concealed for a time.
Our Lord reckoned it enough to select three witnesses, because that is the number which the Law has laid down for proving any thing;
at the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses,
The difference as to time ought not to give us uneasiness. Matthew and Mark reckon six entire days, which had elapsed between the events. Luke says that it happened about eight days afterwards, including both the day on which Christ spake these words, and the day on which he was transfigured. We see then that, under a diversity of expression, there is a perfect agreement as to the meaning.
2. And was transfigured before them. Luke says that this happened while he was praying; and from the circumstances of time and place, we may infer that he had prayed for what he now obtained, that in the brightness of an unusual form his Godhead might become visible; not that he needed to ask by prayer from another what he did not possess, or that he doubted his Father's willingness, but because, during the whole course of his humiliation, he always ascribed to the Father whatever he did as a divine Person, and because he intended to excite us to prayer by his example.
His transfiguration did not altogether enable his disciples to see Christ, as he now is in heaven, but gave them a taste of his boundless glory, such as they were able to comprehend. Then his face shone as the sun; but now he is far beyond the sun in brightness. In his raiment an unusual and dazzling whiteness appeared; but now without raiment a divine majesty shines in his whole body. Thus in ancient times God appeared to the holy fathers, not as He was in Himself, but so far as they could endure the rays of His infinite brightness; for John declares that not until
they are like him will they see him as he is, (1 John 3:2.)
There is no necessity for entering here into ingenious inquiries as to the whiteness of his garments, or the brightness of his countenance; for this was not a complete exhibition of the heavenly glory of Christ, but, under symbols which were adapted to the capacity of the flesh, he enabled them to taste in part what could not be fully comprehended.
3. And, lo, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah. It is asked, Were Moses and Elijah actually present? or was it only an apparition that was exhibited to the disciples, as the prophets frequently beheld visions of things that were absent? Though the subject admits, as we say, of arguments on both sides, yet I think it more probable that they were actually brought to that place. There is no absurdity in this supposition; for God has bodies and souls in his hand, and can restore the dead to life at his pleasure, whenever he sees it to be necessary. Moses and Elijah did not then rise on their own account,  but in order to wait upon Christ. It will next be asked, How came the apostles to know Moses and Elijah, whom they had never seen? The answer is easy. God, who brought them forward, gave also signs and tokens by which they were enabled to know them. It was thus by an extraordinary revelation that they obtained the certain knowledge that they were Moses and Elijah
But why did these two appear rather than others who equally belonged to the company of the holy fathers? It was intended to demonstrate that Christ alone is the end of the Law and of the Prophets; and that single reason ought to satisfy us: for it was of the utmost importance to our faith that Christ did not come into our world without a testimony, but with commendations which God had formerly bestowed. I have no objection, however, to the reason which is commonly adduced, that Elijah was selected, in preference to others, as the representative of all the Prophets; because, though he left nothing in writing, yet next to Moses he was the most distinguished of their number, restored the worship of God which had been corrupted, and stood unrivaled in his exertions for vindicating the Law and true godliness, which was at that time almost extinct.
And they conversed with Jesus. When they appeared along with Christ, and held conversation with him, this was a declaration of their being agreed. The subject on which they conversed is stated by Luke only: they talked of the decease which awaited Christ at Jerusalem This must not be understood to refer to them as private individuals, but rather to the commission which they had formerly received. Though it was now a long time since they had died and finished the course of their calling, yet our Lord intended once more to ratify by their voice what they had taught during their life, in order to inform us that the same salvation, through the sacrifice of Christ, is held out to us in common with the holy fathers. At the time when the ancient prophets uttered their predictions concerning the death of Christ, he himself, who was the eternal wisdom of God, was sitting on the invisible throne of his glory. Hence it follows that, when he was clothed in flesh, he was not liable to death any farther than as he submitted to it of his own free will.
4. Lord, it is good for us to be here. Luke tells us that Peter uttered these words while Moses and Elijah were departing; and hence we infer that he was afraid lest, at their departure, that pleasant and delightful exhibition should vanish away. We need not wonder that Peter was so captivated by the loveliness of what he beheld, as to lose sight of every other person, and rest satisfied with the mere enjoyment of it; as it is said in the psalm,
In thy presence is fulnessess of joy, (Psalm 16:11.)
But his desire was foolish; first, because he did not comprehend the design of the vision; secondly, because he absurdly put the servants on a level with their Lord; and, thirdly, he was mistaken in proposing to build fading tabernacles  for men who had been already admitted to the glory of heaven and of the angels.
I have said that he did not understand the design of the vision; for, while he was hearing, from the mouth of Moses and Elijah, that the time of Christ's death was at hand, he foolishly dreamed that his present aspect, which was temporary, would endure for ever. And what if the kingdom of Christ had been confined in this way to the narrow limits of twenty or thirty feet? Where would have been the redemption of the whole world? Where would have been the communication of eternal salvation? It was also highly absurd to conceive of Moses and Elijah as companions of the Son of God, as if it had not been proper that all should be reduced to a lower rank, that he alone may have the pre-eminence. And if Peter is satisfied with his present condition, why does he suppose that earthly supports were needed by those persons, the very sight of whom, he imagined, was enough to make him happy?
Justly, therefore, is it stated by two of the Evangelists, that he knew not what he said; and Mark assigns the reason, that they were afraid; for God did not intend that the apostles should, at that time, derive any advantage from it beyond that of beholding for a moment, as in a bright mirror, the divinity of his Son. At a later period, he pointed out to them the fruit of the vision, and corrected the error of their judgment. What is stated by Mark must therefore mean, that Peter was carried away by frenzy, and spoke like a man who had lost his senses.
5. Lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Their eyes were covered by a cloud, in order to inform them, that they were not yet prepared for beholding the brightness of the heavenly glory. For, when the Lord gave tokens of his presence, he employed, at the same time, some coverings to restrain the arrogance of the human mind. So now, with the view of teaching his disciples a lesson of humility, he withdraws from their eyes the sight of the heavenly glory. This admonition is likewise addressed to us, that we may not seek to pry into the secrets which lie beyond our senses, but, on the contrary, that every man may keep within the limits of sobriety, according to the measure of his faith. In a word, this cloud ought to serve us as a bridle, that our curiosity may not indulge in undue wantonness. The disciples, too, were warned that they must return to their former warfare, and therefore must not expect a triumph before the time.
And, lo, a voice from the cloud. It deserves our attention, that the voice of God was heard from the cloud, but that neither a body nor a face was seen. Let us therefore remember the warning which Moses gives us, that God has no visible shape, lest we should deceive ourselves by imagining that He resembled a man, (Deuteronomy 4:15.) There were, no doubt, various appearances under which God made himself known to the holy fathers in ancient times; but in all cases he refrained from using signs which might induce them to make for themselves idols. And certainly, as the minds of men are too strongly inclined to foolish imaginations, there was no necessity for throwing oil upon the flame.  This manifestation of the glory of God was remarkable above all others. When he makes a cloud to pass between Him and us, and invites us to himself by His voice, what madness is it to attempt to place Him before our eyes by a block of wood or of stone? Let us therefore endeavor to enter by faith alone, and not by the eyes of flesh, into that inaccessible light in which God dwells. The voice came from the cloud, that the disciples, knowing it to have proceeded from God, might receive it with due reverence.
This is my beloved Son. I willingly concur with those who think that there is an implied contrast of Moses and Elijah with Christ, and that the disciples of God's own Son are here charged to seek no other teacher. The word Son is emphatic, and raises him above servants. There are two titles here bestowed upon Christ, which are not more fitted to do honor to him than to aid our faith: a beloved Son, and a Master. The Father calls him my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, and thus declares him to be the Mediator, by whom he reconciles the world to himself. When he enjoins us to hear him, he appoints him to be the supreme and only teacher of his Church. It was his design to distinguish Christ from all the rest, as we truly and strictly infer from those words, that by nature he was God's only Son In like manner, we learn that he alone is beloved by the Father, and that he alone is appointed to be our Teacher, that in him all authority may dwell.
But it will perhaps be objected, Does not God love angels and men? It is easy to reply, that the fatherly love of God, which is spread over angels and men, proceeds from him as its source. The Son is beloved by the Father, not so as to make other creatures the objects of his hatred, but so that he communicates to them what belongs to himself. There is a difference, no doubt, between our condition and that of the angels; for they never were alienated from God, and therefore needed not that he should reconcile them; while we are enemies on account of sin, till Christ procure for us his favor. Still, it is a fixed principle that God is gracious to both, only so far as he embraces us in Christ; for even the angels would not be firmly united to God if Christ were not their Head. It may also be observed that, since the Father here speaks of himself as different from the Son, there is a distinction of persons; for they are one in essence and alike in glory.
Hear him. I mentioned a little ago, that these words were intended to draw the attention of the Church to Christ as the only Teacher, that on his mouth alone it may depend. For, though Christ came to maintain the authority of the Law and the Prophets, (Matthew 5:17,) yet he holds the highest rank, so that, by the brightness of his gospel, he causes those sparks which shone in the Old Testament to disappear. He is the Sun of righteousness, whose arrival brought the full light of day. And this is the reason why the Apostle says (Hebrews 1:1) that
God, who at sundry times and in various ways spoke formerly by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by his beloved Son.
In short, Christ is as truly heard at the present day in the Law and in the Prophets as in his Gospel; so that in him dwells the authority of a Master, which he claims for himself alone, saying, One is your Master, even Christ, (Matthew 23:8.) But his authority is not fully acknowledged, unless all the tongues of men are silent. If we would submit to his doctrine, all that has been invented by men must be thrown down and destroyed. He is every day, no doubt, sending out teachers, but it is to state purely and honestly what they have learned from him, and not to corrupt the gospel by their own additions. In a word, no man can be regarded a faithful teacher of the Church, unless he be himself a disciple of Christ, and bring others to be taught by him.
6. And having heard this God intended that the disciples should be struck with this terror, in order to impress more fully on their hearts the remembrance of the vision. Yet we see how great is the weakness of our nature, which trembles in this manner at hearing the voice of God. If ungodly men mock at God, or despise him without concern, it is because God does not address them so as to cause his presence to be felt; but the majesty of God, as soon as we perceive him, must unavoidably cast us down.
7. Then Jesus approaching touched them. Christ raises them up when they had fallen, and by so doing performs his office; for he came down to us for this very purpose, that by his guidance believers might boldly enter into the presence of God, and that his majesty, which otherwise would swallow up all flesh, might no longer fill them with terror. Nor is it only by his words that he comforts, but by touching also that he encourages them.
8. They saw no man but Jesus only. When it is said that in the end they saw Christ alone, this means that the Law and the Prophets had a temporary glory, that Christ alone might remain fully in view. If we would properly avail ourselves of the aid of Moses, we must not stop with him, but must endeavor to be conducted by his hand to Christ, of whom both he and all the rest are ministers. This passage may also be applied to condemn the superstitions of those who confound Christ not only with prophets and apostles, but with saints of the lowest rank, in such a manner as to make him nothing more than one of their number. But when the saints of God are eminent in graces, it is for a totally different purpose than that they should defraud Christ of a part of his honor, and appropriate it to themselves. In the disciples themselves we may see the origin of the mistake; for so long as they were terrified by the majesty of God, their minds wandered in search of men, but when Christ gently raised them up, they saw him alone If we are made to experience that consolation by which Christ relieves us of our fears, all those foolish affections, which distract us on every hand, will vanish away.
 "Et voyci, ils veirent Moyse et Elie parlans avec luy;" -- "and, lo, they saw Moses and Elijah talking with him."
 "Ce qu'ayant ouy les disciples cheurent sur leur face en terre;" -- "which the disciples having heard, fell on their face to the earth."
 "Resplendissant comme un esclair;" -- "dazzling like lightning."
 "Et adveint quarid ceux-la furent departis d'avec luy;" -- "and it happened when those men had departed from him."
 "Comme si par force et contreinte il fust renu endurer la mort;" -- "as if by force and constraint he had come to suffer death."
 "Moise et Elie ne sont pas lors ressuscitez pour eux, et pour le regard de la resurrection derniere;" -- "Moses and Elijah did not then rise for themselves, and with respect to the last resurrection."
 "Des tabernacles terriens;" -- "earthly tabernacles."
 "Il n'estoit ia besoin de ietter de l'huile au feu pour enflamber davantage le mal;" -- "there was no necessity for throwing oil on the fire to inflame the evil still more."
And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
9. And as they were going down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 10. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? 11. And Jesus answering said to them, Elijah indeed will come first, and restore all things. 12. But I say to you, That Elijah is come already, and they did not know him, but have done to him whatever they pleased: thus also will the Son of man suffer from them. 13. Then the disciples understood that he had spoken to them concerning John the Baptist. 
9. And when they were going down from the mountain, he charged them not to tell any man those things which they had seen, till the Son of man had risen from the dead. 10. And they kept this saying among themselves, disputing with each other what was the meaning of the expression which he had used, To rise from the dead. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? 12. And he answering said to them, Elijah indeed will come first, and restore all things; and, as it is written, the Son of man must suffer many things and be despised. 13. But I say to you, That Elijah is come, and they have done to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.
36. And they kept silence, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
Matthew 17:9. And as they were going down from the mountain. We have said that the time for making known the vision was not yet fully come; and, indeed, the disciples would not have believed it, if Christ had not given a more striking proof of his glory in his resurrection. But after that his divine power had been openly displayed, that temporary exhibition of his glory began to be admitted, so as to make it fully evident that, even during the time that he emptied himself, (Philippians 2:7,) he continued to retain his divinity entire, though it was concealed under the veil of the flesh. There are good reasons, therefore, why he enjoins his disciples to keep silence, till he be risen from the dead.
10. And his disciples asked him, saying. No sooner is the resurrection mentioned than the disciples imagine that the reign of Christ is commenced;  for they explain this word to mean that the world would acknowledge him to be the Messiah. That they imagined the resurrection to be something totally different from what Christ meant, is evident from what is stated by Mark, that they disputed with each other what was the meaning of that expression which he had used, To rise from the dead Perhaps, too, they were already under the influence of that dream which is now held as an undoubted oracle among the Rabbins, that there would be a first and a second coming of the Messiah; that in the first he would be mean and despised, but that this would be shortly afterwards followed by his royal dignity. And, indeed, there is some plausibility in that error, for it springs from a true principle. The Scripture, too, speaks of a first and a second coming of the Messiah; for it promises that he will be a Redeemer, to expiate by his sacrifice the sins of the world  And such is the import of the following prophecies:
Rejoice, daughter of Zion, behold, thy King cometh, poor, sitting on an ass,
We beheld him, and he had no form or beauty, and he resembled a leper, so that we had no esteem for him,
Again, Scripture represents him as victorious over death, and as subjecting all things to his dominion. But we see how the Rabbins corrupt the pure word of God by their inventions; and as every thing was greatly corrupted in the time of our Lord, it is probable that the people had also embraced this foolish notion.
Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? The gross mistakes which they committed as to the person of Elijah have been pointed out on two or three occasions.  Perhaps, too, they cunningly and wickedly endeavored to lessen the authority of Christ by bringing forward Elijah; for as it had been promised that Elijah would come as the forerunner of Messiah, to prepare the way before him, (Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5,) it was easy to excite a prejudice against Christ, by saying that he came unaccompanied by Elijah By a trick closely resembling this, the devil enchants the Papists of the present day not to expect the day of judgment till Elijah and Enoch have appeared.  It may not usually be conjectured that this expedient was purposely resorted to by the scribes, in order to represent Christ as unworthy of confidence, because he wanted the legitimate badge of the Messiah.
11. Elijah indeed will come first. We have stated elsewhere the origin of that error which prevailed among the Jews. As John the Baptist was to resemble Elijah by restoring the fallen condition of the Church, the prophet Malachi (4:5,6) had even given to him the name of Elijah; and this had been rashly interpreted by the scribes, as if Elijah the Tishbite (1 Kings 17:1) were to return a second time to the world. Christ now declares that every thing which Malachi uttered was true, but that his prediction had been misunderstood and distorted from its true meaning. "The promise," says he, "that Eliah would come was true, and has been already fulfilled; but the scribes have already rejected Elijah, whose name they idly and falsely plead in opposing me."
And will restore all things. This does not mean that John the Baptist restored them perfectly, but that he conveyed and handed them over to Christ, who would complete the work which he had begun. Now as the scribes had shamefully rejected John, Christ reminds his disciples that the impostures of such men ought not to give them uneasiness, and that it ought not to be reckoned strange, if, after having rejected the servant, they should, with equal disdain, reject his Master. And that no one might be distressed by a proceeding so strange, our Lord mentions that the Scripture contained predictions of both events, that the Redeemer of the world, and Elijah his forerunner, would be rejected by false and wicked teachers.
 "Que c'estoit de Iean Baptiste qu'il leur avoit parle;" -- "that it was of John the Baptist that he had spoken to them."
 "Ils imaginent que c'est l'entree du regne de Christ, et leur semble qu'ils y sont desia;" -- "they imagine that it is the commencement of the kingdom of Christ, and think that they are already in it."
 "Faisant par son sacrifice satisfaction pour les pechez du monde;" -- "making satisfaction by his sacrifice for the sins of the world."
 Among other passages in which our Author has treated of the erroneous notions entertained by the Jews respecting Elijah, the reader may consult his Commentary on John 1:21, 25. -- Ed.
 "Iusques a ce qu'on voye Elie et Henoch retourner en ce monde;" -- "till Elijah and Enoch are seen returning to this world."
And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.
14. And when they were come to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling before him, 15. And saying, Lord, have compassion on my son, for he is lunatic, and is grievously distressed; for frequently he falleth into the fire, and frequently into the water. 16. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17. And Jesus answering said, O unbelieving and perverse nation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. 18. And Jesus rebuked the devil, who went out of him; and from that instant the child was cured.
14. And when he came to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and the scribes disputing with them. 15. And the whole multitude, as soon as they saw him, were astonished, and, running to him, saluted him. 16. And he asked the scribes, What do you dispute among yourselves? 17. And one of the multitude answering said, Master, I have brought to thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; 18. And wheresoever it seizeth him, it teareth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and languished: and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. 19. And he, answering, saith to him, O unbelieving nation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him to me. 20. And they brought him to him; and as soon as he saw him, the spirit tore him, and he lay on the ground, and rolled about, foaming. 21. And he asked hi father, How long is it since this happened to him? And he said, From a child. 22. And frequently it hath thrown him into the fire, and into the water, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23. And Jesus said, If thou canst believe it, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24. And immediately the father of the child, exclaiming with tears, said, Lord, I believe; aid thou my unbelief. 25. And when Jesus saw that the multitude were crowding upon him, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, Dumb and deaf spirit, I command thee, go out of him, and enter no more into him. 26. And when the spirit had cried out, and torn him greatly, he went out of him; and he became like a dead person, so that many said, He is dead. 27. But Jesus stretched out his hand, and raised him; and he stood up.
37. And it happened on the following day, while they were going down from the mountain, a great multitude met him. 38. And, lo, a man, who was one of the multitude, cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look to my son; for he is my only son. 39. And, lo, a spirit seizeth him, and teareth him foaming, and bruising him, hardly departeth from him. 40. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. 41. And Jesus answering said, O unbelieving and perverse nation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. 42. And while he was still approaching, the devil tore him, and threw him down; and Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and cured the child, and restored him to his father. 43. And they were all astonished at the mighty power of God.
As Mark is more full, and explains the circumstances very minutely, we shall follow the order of his narrative. And first he points out clearly the reason why Christ uses a harshness so unusual with him, when he exclaims that the Jews, on account of their perverse malice, do not deserve to be any longer endured. We know how gently he was wont to receive them, even when their requests were excessively importunate.  A father here entreats in behalf of an only son, the necessity is extremely urgent, and a modest and humble appeal is made to the compassion of Christ. Why then does he, contrary to his custom, break out suddenly into passion, and declare that they can be endured no longer? As the narrative of Matthew and Luke does not enable us to discover the reason of this great severity, some commentators have fallen into the mistake of supposing that this rebuke was directed either against the disciples, or against the father of the afflicted child. But if we duly consider all the circumstances of the case, as they are related by Mark, there will be no difficulty in arriving at the conclusion, that the indignation of Christ was directed against the malice of the scribes, and that he did not intend to treat the ignorant and weak with such harshness.
During Christ's absence, a lunatic child had been brought forward. The scribes, regarding this as a plausible occasion for giving annoyance, seized upon it eagerly, and entreated the disciples that, if they had any power, they would exercise it in curing the child. It is probable that the disciples made an attempt, and that their efforts were unavailing; upon which the scribes raise the shout of victory, and not only ridicule the disciples, but break out against Christ, as if in their person his power had been baffled. It was an extraordinary display of outrageous impiety united with equally base ingratitude, maliciously to keep out of view so many miracles, from which they had learned the amazing power of Christ; for they manifestly endeavored to extinguish the light which was placed before their eyes. With good reason, therefore, does Christ exclaim that they could no longer be endured, and pronounce them to be an unbelieving and perverse nation; for the numerous proofs which they had formerly beheld ought at least to have had the effect of preventing them from seeking occasion of disparagement. 
Mark 9:14. He saw a great multitude around them. The disciples were, no doubt, held up to public gaze, as the enemies of the truth are wont, on occasions of triumph, to assemble a crowd about a trifle. The scribes had made such a noise about it, as to draw down on the disciples the ridicule of many persons. And yet it appears that there were some who were not ill disposed; for, as soon as they see Jesus, they salute him; and even the insolence of the scribes is restrained by his presence, for, when they are asked what is the matter in dispute, they have not a word to say.
17. Master, I have brought to thee my son. Matthew describes a different sort of disease from what is described by Mark, for he says that the man was lunatic But both agree as to these two points, that he was dumb, and that at certain intervals he became furious. The term lunatic is applied to those who, about the waning of the moon, are seized with epilepsy, or afflicted with giddiness. I do not admit the fanciful notion of Chrysostom, that the word lunatic was invented by a trick of Satan, in order to throw disgrace on the good creatures of God; for we learn from undoubted experience, that the course of the moon affects the increase or decline of these diseases.  And yet this does not prevent Satan from mixing up his attacks with natural means. I am of opinion, therefore, that the man was not naturally deaf and dumb, but that Satan had taken possession of his tongue and ears; and that, as the weakness of his brain and nerves made him liable to epilepsy, Satan availed himself of this for aggravating the disease. The consequence was, that he was exposed to danger on every hand, and was thrown into violent convulsions, which left him lying on the ground, in a fainting state, and like a dead man.
Let us learn from this how many ways Satan has of injuring us, were it not that he is restrained by the hand of God. Our infirmities both of soul and body, which we feel to be innumerable, are so many darts with which Satan is supplied for wounding us. We are worse than stupid, if a condition so wretched does not, arouse us to prayer. But in this we see also an amazing display of the goodness of God, that, though we are liable to such a variety of dangers,  he surrounds us with his protection; particularly if we consider with what eagerness our enemy is bent on our destruction. We ought also to call to remembrance the consoling truth, that Christ has come to bridle his rage, and that we are safe in the midst of so many dangers, because our diseases are effectually counteracted by heavenly medicine.
We must attend also to the circumstance of the time. The father replies, that his son had been subject to this grievous disease from his infancy. If Satan was permitted to exert his power, to such an extent, on a person of that tender age, what reason have not we to fear, who are continually exposing ourselves by our crimes to deadly strokes, who even supply our enemy with darts, and on whom he might justly be permitted to spend his rage, if it were not kept under restraint by the astonishing goodness of God?
Matthew 17:17. O unbelieving and rebellious nation. Though Christ appears to direct his discourse to the father of the lunatic, yet there can be no doubt that he refers to the scribes, as I have lately explained; for it is certain that the reproof is directed, not against ignorant and weak persons, but against those who, through inveterate malice, obstinately resist God. This is the reason why Christ declares that they are no longer worthy to be endured, and threatens that ere long he will separate from them. But nothing worse could happen to them than that Christ should leave them, and it was no light reproach that they rejected so disdainfully the grace of their visitation. We must also observe here, that we ought to treat men in various ways, each according to his natural disposition. For, while our Lord attracts to him the teachable by the utmost mildness, supports the weak, and gently arouses even the sluggish, he does not spare those crooked serpents, on whom he perceives that no remedies can effect a cure.
Mark 9:20. And as soon as he saw him. That the devil should rage with more than ordinary cruelty against the man, when he is brought to Christ, ought not to excite surprise; for in proportion as the grace of Christ is seen to be nearer at hand, and acts more powerfully, the fury of Satan is the more highly excited. The presence of Christ awakens him like the sound of a trumpet. He raises as violent a storm as he can, and contends with all his might. We ought to be prepared beforehand with such meditations, that our faith may not be disturbed, when the approach of the grace of Christ is met by more than ordinary violence on the part of our enemy. Nor ought we to lose sight of another point, that the true commencement of our cure is, when our affliction is so heavy that we are almost at the point of death. It must also be taken into account that, by means of the furious attack of Satan, our Lord lights a torch to cause his grace to be seen; for, when the spectators were appalled at the dreadful spectacle, the display of the power of Christ, which immediately followed, was more distinctly perceived.
21. From a child. Hence we infer that this punishment was not inflicted on account of the sins of the individual, but was a secret judgment of God. True indeed, even infants, as soon as they have come out of the womb, are not innocent in the sight of God, or free from guilt; but God's chastisements have sometimes hidden causes, and are intended to try our obedience. We do not render to God the honor which is due to Him, unless with reverence and modesty we adore His justice, when it is concealed from us. Whoever wishes to obtain more full information on this point, may consult my Commentary on these words, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, (John 9:3.)
22. If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. We see how little honor he renders to Christ; for, supposing him to be some prophet, whose power was limited, he approaches to him with hesitation. On the other hand, the first foundation of faith is, to embrace the boundless power of God; and the first step to prayer is, to raise it above all opposition by the firm belief that our prayers are not in vain. As this man did not suppose Christ to be at all different from other men, his false opinion is corrected; for our faith must be so formed as to be capable and prepared for receiving the desired favor. In his reply Christ does not administer a direct reproof, but indirectly reminding the man of what he had said amiss, points out to him his fault, and informs him how a remedy may be obtained.
23. If thou canst believe. "You ask me," says he, "to aid you as far as I can; but you will find in me an inexhaustible fountain of power, provided that the faith which you bring be sufficiently large." Hence may be learned a useful doctrine, which will apply equally to all of us, that it is not the Lord that prevents his benefits from flowing to us in large abundance, but that it must be attributed to the narrowness of our faith, that it comes to us only in drops, and that frequently we do not feel even a drop, because unbelief shuts up our heart. It is an idle exercise of ingenuity to prove Christ's meaning to be, that a man can believe of himself: for nothing more was intended than to throw back on men the blame of their poverty, whenever they disparage the power of God by their unbelief.
All things are possible to him that believeth. Christ undoubtedly intended to teach that the fullness of all blessings has been given to us by the Father, and that every kind of assistance must be expected from him alone in the same manner as we expect it from the hand of God. "Only exercise," says he, "a firm belief, and you will obtain." In what manner faith obtains any thing for us we shall immediately see.
24. Lord, I believe. He declares that he believes, and yet acknowledges himself to have unbelief These two statements may appear to contradict each other, but there is none of us that does not experience both of them in himself. As our faith is never perfect, it follows that we are partly unbelievers; but God forgives us, and exercises such forbearance towards us, as to reckon us believers on account of a small portion of faith. It is our duty, in the meantime, carefully to shake off the remains of infidelity which adhere to us, to strive against them, and to pray to God to correct them, and, as often as we are engaged in this conflict, to fly to him for aid. If we duly inquire what portion has been bestowed on each, it will evidently appear that there are very few who are eminent in faith, few who have a moderate portion, and very many who have but a small measure.
 "Encores mesme qu'ils se monstrassent import uns et facheux en leurs requestes;" -- "even though they showed themselves to be importunate and troublesome in their requests."
 "Qu'ils n'allassent plus chercher des cavillations et moyens obliques pour luy resister;" -- "not to resort any more to cavils and indirect methods of opposing him."
 On the opinion expressed by calvin, as to the influence of the moon on these diseases, the reader may consult Harmony, vol. 1 p. n.l. -- Ed.
 "Combien que nous soyons subiets a mille dangers et inconveniens;" -- "though we are liable to a thousand dangers and inconveniences."
And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.
And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.
And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.
And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.
And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
22. And while they remained in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men: 23. And they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again. And they were deeply grieved.
1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2. And Jesus, having called a little child to him, placed him in the midst of them, 3. And said, Verily I say to you, Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4. Whosoever then shall humble himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5. And whosoever shall receive such a little child in my name receiveth me.
30. And departing thence, they passed through Galilee, and he was desirous that nobody should know it. 31. For he taught his disciples, and said to them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and, after being killed, he will arise on the third day. 32. but they knew not what he said, and were afraid to ask him. 33. And he came to Capernaum;  and when he was come into the house, he asked them, What were you disputing about among yourselves on the road? 34. But they were silent; for they had disputed among themselves by the way who was the greatest. 35. And when he had sat down, he called the twelve, and said to them, If any man choose to be first, he shall be last of all,  and servant of all. 36. And he took a child, and placed him in the midst of them; and when he had taken him in his arms, he said to them, 37. Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name receiveth me; and whosoever receiveth me receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
43. But while all were wondering at everything that he did, he said to his disciples, 44. Put these words in your ears; for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. 45. But they understood not that saying, and it was hidden from them, so that they did not perceive it, and they were afraid to ask him concerning this saying. 46. And a dispute arose among them, which of them was the greatest. 47. But Jesus, seeing the thought of their heart, took a child, and placed him near him, 48. And said to them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me; for he that is least among you all shall be great.
Matthew 17:22. And while they remained in Galilee. The nearer that the time of his death approached, the more frequently did Christ warn his disciples, lest that melancholy spectacle might give a violent shock to their faith. It was shortly after the miracle had been performed that this discourse was delivered; for Mark says that he went from that place to Galilee, in order to spend there the intervening time in privacy; for he had resolved to come to Jerusalem on the day of the annual sacrifice, because he was to be sacrificed at the approaching Passover.
The disciples had previously received several intimations on this subject, and yet they are as much alarmed as if nothing relating to it had ever reached their ears. So great is the influence of preconceived opinion, that it brings darkness over the mind in the midst of the clearest light. The apostles had imagined that the state of Christ's kingdom would be prosperous and delightful, and that, as soon as he made himself known, he would be universally received with the highest approbation. They never thought it possible that the priests, and scribes, and other rulers of the Church, would oppose him. Under the influence of this prejudice, they admit nothing that is said on the other side; for Mark says that they understood not what our Lord meant. Whence came it that a discourse so clear and distinct was not understood, but because their minds were covered by the thick veil of a foolish imagination?
They did not venture to make any farther inquiry. This must have been owing, in part, to their reverence for their Master; but I have no doubt that their grief and astonishment at what they had heard kept them silent. Such bashfulness was not altogether commendable; for it kept them in doubt, and hesitation, and sinful grief. In the meantime, a confused principle of piety, rather than a clear knowledge of the truth, kept them attached to Christ, and prevented them from leaving his school. A certain commencement of faith and right understanding had been implanted in their hearts, which made their zeal in following Christ not very different from the implicit faith of the Papists; but as they had not yet made such progress as to become acquainted with the nature of the kingdom of God and of the renewal which had been promised in Christ, I say that they were guided by zeal for piety rather than by distinct knowledge.
In this way we come to see what there was in them that deserved praise or blame. But though their stupidity could not entirely be excused, we have no reason to wonder that a plain and distinct announcement of the cross of their Master, and of the ignominy to which he would be subjected, appeared to them a riddle; not only because they reckoned it to be inconsistent with the glory of the Son of God that he should be rejected and condemned, but because it appeared to them to be highly improbable that the grace which was promised in a peculiar manner to the Jews should be set at naught by the rulers of the nation. But as the immoderate dread of the cross, which had suddenly seized upon them, shut the door against the consolation which was immediately added, arising out of the hope of the resurrection, let us learn that, when the death of Christ is mentioned, we ought always to take into view at once the whole of the three days, that his death and burial may lead us to a blessed triumph and to a new life.
Matthew 18:1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus. It is evident from the other two Evangelists, that the disciples did not come to Christ of their own accord, but that, having secretly disputed on the road, they were brought out of their lurking-places, and dragged forth to light. There is nothing inconsistent with this in the account given by Matthew, who hastens to Christ's reply, and does not relate all the circumstances of the case, but passes over the commencement, and relates in a summary manner the reason why Christ rebuked the foolish ambition of his disciples for the highest rank. When Christ makes inquiry about a secret conversation, and forces the disciples to acknowledge what they would willingly have kept back, this teaches us that we ought to beware of all ambition, however carefully it may be concealed. We must also attend to the time at which this occurred. The prediction of his death had made them sad and perplexed; but as if they had received from it unmingled delight, as if they had tasted of the nectar which the poets feign,  they immediately enter into a dispute about the highest rank.  How was it possible that their distress of mind vanished in a moment, but because the minds of men are so devoted to ambition, that, forgetful of their present state of warfare, they continually rush forward, under the delusive influence of a false imagination, to obtain a triumph? And if the apostles so soon forgot a discourse which they had lately heard, what will become of us if, dismissing for a long period meditation on the cross, we give ourselves up to indifference and sloth, or to idle speculations?
But it is asked, what occasioned the dispute among the disciples? I reply, as the flesh willingly shakes off all uneasiness, they left out of view every thing that had given rise to grief, and fixed on what had been said about the resurrection; and out of this a debate sprung up among idle persons. And as they refuse the first part of the doctrine, for which the flesh has no relish, God permits them to fall into a mistake about the resurrection, and to dream of what would never take place, that, by mere preaching, Christ would obtain a kingdom, an earthly kingdom, and would immediately rise to the highest prosperity and wealth.
There were two faults in this debate. First, the apostles were to blame for laying aside anxiety about the warfare to which they had been called, and for demanding beforehand repose, and wages, and honors, as if they had been soldiers that had served their time. The second fault is, that, instead of laboring with one consent, as they ought to have done, to render mutual assistance, and to secure for their brethren as large a share of honors as for themselves, they strove with wicked ambition to excel each other. If we wish that our manner of life should receive the approbation of the Lord, we must learn to bear patiently the burden of the cross that has been laid on us, till the proper time arrive for obtaining the crown, and, as Paul exhorts, in honor preferring one another, (Romans 12:10.) To the first of these faults is closely allied the vain curiosity of those persons in the present day, who, leaving the proper duties of their calling, eagerly attempt to fly above the clouds. The Lord, who in the Gospel invites us to his kingdom, points out to us the road by which we are to reach it. Fickle persons, who give themselves no concern about faith, patience, calling on God, and other exercises of religion, dispute about what is going on in heaven; as if a man who was about to commence a journey made inquiry where a lodging-place was situated, but did not move a step. Since we are commanded by the Lord to walk on the earth, those who make the condition of departed saints in heaven the subject of eager debate will be found, in so doing, to retard their own progress towards heaven.
2. And Jesus called a child to him. The general meaning is, that those who desire to obtain greatness by rising above their brethren, will be so far from gaining their object that they do not even deserve to occupy the lowest corner. He reasons from contraries, because it is humility alone that exalts us. As we are more powerfully affected by appearances presented to the eyes, he holds up to them a little child as an emblem of humility. When he enjoins his followers to become like a child, this does not extend indiscriminately to all points. We know that in children there are many things faulty; and accordingly Paul bids us be children, not in understanding, but in malice, (1 Corinthians 14:20;) and in another passage he exhorts us to strive to reach the state of a perfect man, (Ephesians 4:13.) But as children know nothing about being preferred to each other, or about contending for the highest rank, Christ desires that their example should banish from the minds of his followers those eager longings after distinction, which wicked men and the children of the world continually indulge, that they may not be allured by any kind of ambition.
It will perhaps be objected, that children, even from the womb, have a native pride, which leads them to desire the highest honor and distinction; but the reply is obvious, that comparisons must not be too closely or too exactly carried out, so as to apply at all points. The tender age of little children is distinguished by simplicity to such an extent, that they are unacquainted with the degrees of honor, and with all the incentives to pride; so that they are properly and justly held out by Christ as an example.
3. Unless you are converted. To the example of little children must be referred the conversion of which he now speaks. Hitherto they had been too much habituated to the ordinary customs of men; and if they would gain their object, they must pursue a totally different course.  Every one wished for himself the first or the second rank; but Christ does not allot even the lowest place to any man who does not lose sight of distinctions and humble himself On the contrary, he says,
4. Whosoever shall humble himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. This is intended to guard us against supposing that we degrade ourselves in any measure by freely surrendering every kind of distinction. And hence we may obtain a short definition  of humility. That man is truly humble who neither claims any personal merit in the sight of God, nor proudly despises brethren, or aims at being thought superior to them, but reckons it enough that he is one of the members of Christ, and desires nothing more than that the Head alone should be exalted.
5. And he that shall receive such a child. The term children is now applied metaphorically by Christ to those who have laid aside lofty looks, and who conduct themselves with modesty and humility. This is added by way of consolation, that we may not account it troublesome or disagreeable to exercise humility, by means of which Christ not only receives us under his protection, but likewise recommends us to the favor of men. And thus believers are taught in what way they ought to esteem each other: it is by every one humbling himself How is mutual friendship usually maintained among the children of the world but by every man complying with the wishes of another? The more desirous a man is to obtain renown, the more insolently does he grasp at power, that he may be raised to a lofty station, and that others may be ridiculed or despised; but Christ enjoins that the more a man abases himself, the more highly shall he be honored. Such, too, is the import of the words given by Luke, he that is least among you shall be great; for our Lord does not enjoin us to think more highly of those who justly deserve to be despised, but of those who divest themselves of all pride, and are perfectly willing to occupy the lowest place.
 "Apres ces choses il veint en Capernaum;" -- "after these things he came to Capernaum."
 "Il sera (ou, qu'il soit) le dernier de tous;" -- "he shall be (or, let him be) servant of all."
 "Comme si tout alloit a souhait et comme si ce qu'on leur a dit estoit aussi doux a avaller que sucre;" -- "as if every thing went to their wish, and as if what was said to them were as pleasant to swallow as sugar."
 "De la primaute;" -- "about the primacy."
 "Il leur est besoin de tourner bride, et de s'accoustumer a tout cela;" -- "they must wheel round, and get accustomed to all this."
 "La vraye definition;" -- "the true definition."
Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,
And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
1. And it happened, when Jesus had finished these discourses, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan. 2. And great multitudes followed him, and he cured them there.
38. And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us; and we forbade him, because he followeth him, because he followeth not us. 39. And Jesus said, Forbid him not; for there is no man who, if he has performed a miracle in my name, can easily speak evil of me. 40. For he who is not against us is for us.
1. And when he had risen thence, he came into the coasts of Judea, through the district which is beyond Jordan. And again the multitudes assemble to him, and again he taught them, as he was accustomed.
49. And John answering said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. 50. And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not; for he who is not against us is for us. 51. And it happened, when the days of his being received up were in course of being fulfilled, and he set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem. 52. And he sent messengers before his face; and they went and entered into a town of the Samaritans, to make ready for him: 53. And they did not receive him, because his face was as if he were going to Jerusalem.  54. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? 55. And Jesus, turning, rebuked them, saying, You know not of what spirit you are. 56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went into another village.
Mark 9:38. Master, we saw one. Hence it is evident that the name of Christ was at that time so celebrated, that persons who were not of the number of his intimate disciples used that name, or perhaps even abused it, for I will not venture to avouch any thing on this point as certain. It is possible that he who is here mentioned had embraced the doctrine of Christ, and betaken himself to the performance of miracles with no bad intention; but as Christ bestowed this power on none but those whom he had chosen to be heralds of his Gospel, I think that he had rashly taken, or rather seized upon, this office. Now though he was wrong in making this attempt, and in venturing to imitate the disciples without receiving a command to do so, yet his boldness was not without success: for the Lord was pleased, in this way also, to throw luster around his name,  as he sometimes does by means of those of whose ministry he does not approve as lawful. It is not inconsistent with this to say, that one who was endued with special faith followed a blind impulse, and thus proceeded inconsiderately to work miracles.
I now come to John and his companions. They say that they forbade a man to work miracles Why did they not first ask whether or not he was authorized? For now being in a state of doubt and suspense, they ask the opinion of their Master. Hence it follows, that they had rashly taken on themselves the right to forbid; and therefore every man who undertakes more than he knows that he is permitted to do by the word of God is chargeable with rashness. Besides, there is reason to suspect the disciples of Christ of ambition, because they are anxious to maintain their privilege and honor. For how comes it that they all at once forbid a man who is unknown to them to work miracles, but because they wish to be the sole possessors of this right? For they assign the reason, that he followeth not Christ; as much as to say, "He is not one of thy associates, as we are: why then shall he possess equal honor?"
39. Forbid him not. Christ did not wish that he should be forbidden; not that he had given him authority, or approved of what he did, or even wished his disciples to approve of it, but because, when by any occurrence God is glorified, we ought to bear with it and rejoice. Thus Paul, (Philippians 1:18,) though he disapproves of the dispositions of those who used the Gospel as a pretense for aggrandizing themselves, yet rejoices that by this occurrence the glory of Christ is advanced. We must attend also to the reason which is added, that it is impossible for any man who works miracles in the name of Christ to speak evil of Christ, and therefore this ought to be reckoned as gain; for hence it follows, that if the disciples had not been more devoted to their own glory than anxious and desirous to promote the glory of their Master, they would not have been offended when they saw that glory heightened and enlarged in another direction. And yet Christ declares that we ought to reckon as friends those who are not open enemies.
40. For he who is not against us is for us. He does not enjoin us to give a loose rein to rash men, and to be silent while they intermeddle with this and the other matter, according to their own fancy, and disturb the whole order of the Church: for such licentiousness, so far as our calling allows, must be restrained. He only affirms that they act improperly, who unseasonably prevent the kingdom of God from being advanced by any means whatever. And yet he does not acknowledge as his disciples, or reckon as belonging to his flock, those who hold an intermediate place between enemies and friends, but means that,. so far as they do no harm, they are useful and profitable: for it is a proverbial saying, which reminds us that we ought not to raise a quarrel till we are constrained.
Luke 9:51. While the days of his being received up, etc. Luke alone relates this narrative, which, however, is highly useful on many accounts. For, first, it describes the divine courage and firmness of Christ  in despising death; secondly, what deadly enmities are produced by differences about religion; thirdly, with what headlong ardor the nature of man is hurried on to impatience; next, how ready we are to fall into mistakes in imitating the saints; and, lastly, by the example of Christ we are called to the exercise of meekness. The death of Christ is called his being received up, (analepsis) not only because he was then withdrawn from the midst of us,  but because, leaving the mean prison of the flesh, he ascended on high.
52. And he sent messengers. It is probable that our Lord was, at that time, attended by a great multitude of followers; for the messengers were not sent to prepare a splendid banquet, or to select some magnificent palace, but only to tell that a vast number of guests were approaching. They again, when excluded and repulsed, wait for their Master. Hence, too, we learn, what I remarked in the second place,  that when men differ among themselves about the doctrines of religion, they readily break out into hatred of each other; for it was an evidence of very bitter hatred to withhold food from the hungry, and lodging from those who were fatigued. But the Samaritans have such a dislike and enmity at the Jewish religion, that they look upon all who follow it as unworthy of any kindness. Perhaps, too, they were tormented with vexation at being despised; for they knew that their temple was detested by the Jews as profane, and that they were considered to be spurious and corrupt worshippers of God. But as the superstition once admitted kept so firm a hold of them, they strove, with wicked emulation, to maintain it to the last. At length the contention grew so hot, that it consumed both nations in one conflagration; for Josephus assures us that it was the torch which kindled the Jewish war. Now though Christ might easily have avoided that dislike, he chooses rather to profess himself to be a Jew, than by an indirect denial to procure a lodging.
53. He steadfastly set his face. By this expression Luke has informed us that Christ, when he had death before his eyes, rose above the fear of it, and went forward to meet it; but, at the same time, points out that he had a struggle, and that, having vanquished terror,  he boldly presented himself to die. For if no dread, no difficulty, no struggle, no anxiety, had been present to his mind, what need was there that he should set his face steadfastly?  But as he was neither devoid of feeling, nor under the influence of foolish hardihood, he must have been affected by the cruel and bitter death, or rather the shocking and dreadful agony, which he knew would overtake him from the rigorous judgment of God; and so far is this from obscuring or diminishing his glory, that it is a remarkable proof of his unbounded love to us; for laying aside a regard to himself that he might devote himself to our salvation, through the midst of terrors he hastened to death, the time of which he knew to be at hand.
54. And when His disciples James and John saw it. The country itself had perhaps suggested to them the desire of thundering immediately against the ungodly; for it was there that Elijah had formerly destroyed, by a fire from heaven, the king's soldiers who had been sent to apprehend him, (2 Kings 1:10.) It therefore occurred to them that the Samaritans, who so basely rejected the Son of God, were at that time devoted to a similar destruction. And here we see to what we are driven by a foolish imitation  of the holy fathers. James and John plead the example of Elijah, but they do not consider how far they differ from Elijah; they do not examine properly their own intemperate zeal, nor do they look at the calling of God. Under a pretext equally plausible did the Samaritans cloak their idolatry, our fathers worshipped in this mountain, (John 4:20.) But both were in the wrong; for, neglecting the exercise of judgment, they were apes rather than imitators of the holy fathers. Now though it is doubtful whether they think that they have the power in their own hand, or ask Christ to give it to them, I think it more probable that, elated with foolish confidence, they entertain no doubt that they are able to execute vengeance, provided that Christ give his consent.
55. You know not of what spirit you are By this reply he not only restrained the unbridled fury of the two disciples, but laid down a rule to all of us not to indulge our temper. For whoever undertakes any thing, ought to be fully aware that he has the authority and guidance of the Spirit of God, and that he is actuated by proper and holy dispositions. Many will be impelled by the warmth of their zeal, but if the spirit of prudence be wanting, their ebullitions end in foam. Frequently, too, it happens, that the impure feelings of the flesh are mingled with their zeal, and that those who appear to be the keenest zealots for the glory of God are blinded by the private feelings of the flesh. And therefore, unless our zeal be directed by the Spirit of God, it will be of no avail to plead in our behalf, that we undertook nothing but from proper zeal. But the Spirit himself will guide us by wisdom and prudence, that we may do nothing contrary to our duty, or beyond our calling, nothing, in short, but what is prudent and seasonable; and, by removing all the filth of the flesh, he may impart to our minds proper feelings, that we may desire nothing but what God shall suggest. Christ likewise blames his disciples because, though they are widely distant from the spirit of Elijah,  they rashly take upon themselves to do what he did. For Elijah executed the judgment of God, which had been committed to him by the Spirit; but they rush to vengeance, not by the command of God, but by the movement of the flesh. And therefore the examples of the saints are no defense to us, unless the same Spirit that directed them dwell in us.
 "Pourtant que sa face estoit tournee pour aller en Ierusalem;" -- "because his face was turned to go to Jerusalem."
 "Pour avancer la gloire de son nom;" -- "to advance the glory of his name."
 "La magnanimite et constance admirable de Iesus Christ;" -- "the wonderful magnanimity and firmness of Jesus Christ."
 "Non pas seulement pource qu il a lors este enleve et comme retranche du milieu des hommes;" -- "not only because he was then raised up, and, as it were, withdrawn from the midst of men."
 See our Author's observations above on Luke 9:51.
 "Estans victorieux par dessus ceste frayeur naturelle;" -- "being victorious over that natural dread."
 "Quel besoin estoit il qu'il prinst sa resolution, et par maniere de dire s'obstinast en soy-mesme?" -- "What need was there that he should take his resolution, and, so to speak, persist in his own mind?"
 "Une folle et inconsideree imitation des saincts peres;" -- "a foolish and ill-considered imitation of the holy fathers."
 "De l'esprit et affection d'Elie;" -- "from the spirit and disposition of Elijah."
And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
19. And a scribe approaching said to him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou shalt go. 20. And Jesus saith to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests: but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21. And another of his disciples said to him, Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father. 22. And Jesus said to him, Follow me, and allow the dead to bury their dead.
57. And it happened, while they were walking in the way, one said to him, I will follow thee withersoever thou shalt go. 58. Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests: but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59. And he said to another, Follow me. And he said, Lord, permit me to go first and bury my father. 60. And Jesus said to him, Allow the dead to bury their dead: but go thou and proclaim the kingdom of God. 61. And another said to him, I will follow thee, Lord, but permit me first to bid farewell to those who are in my house. 62. Jesus said to him, No man who, having put his hand to the plough, shall look back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Matthew 8:19. And a scribe approaching. Two men are here presented to us by Matthew, and three by Luke, all of whom were prepared to become disciples of Christ, but who, having been prevented by a diversity of vices from following the right course, receive a corresponding variety of replies. It might at first sight appear strange, that Christ sends back, and does not admit into his family, one who offers to follow him immediately and without delay: while he detains another along with him who, by asking leave for a time, showed himself to be slower and less willing. But there are the best reasons for both. Whence arose the great readiness of the scribe to prepare himself immediately to accompany Christ, but from his not having at all considered the hard and wretched condition of his followers? We must bear in mind that he was a scribe, who had been accustomed to a quiet and easy life, had enjoyed honor, and was ill-fitted to endure reproaches, poverty, persecutions, and the cross. He wishes indeed to follow Christ, but dreams of an easy and agreeable life, and of dwellings filled with every convenience; whereas the disciples of Christ must walk among thorns, and march to the cross amidst uninterrupted afflictions. The more eager he is, the less he is prepared. He seems as if he wished to fight in the shade and at ease, neither annoyed by sweat nor by dust, and beyond the reach of the weapons of war. There is no reason to wonder that Christ rejects such persons: for, as they rush on without consideration, they are distressed by the first uneasiness of any kind that occurs, lose courage at the first attack, give way, and basely desert their post. Besides, this scribe might have sought a place in the family of Christ, in order to live at his table without expense, and to feed luxuriously without toil. Let us therefore look upon ourselves as warned, in his person, not to boast lightly and at ease, that we will be the disciples of Christ, while we are taking no thought of the cross, or of afflictions; but, on the contrary, to consider early what sort of condition awaits us. The first lesson which he gives us, on entering his school, is to deny ourselves, and take up his cross, (Matthew 16:24.)
20. Foxes have holes. The Son of God describes by these words what was his condition while he lived on the earth, but, at the same time, informs his disciples what sort of life they must be prepared to expect. And yet it is strange that Christ should say, that he had not a foot of earth on which he could lay his head, while there were many godly and benevolent persons, who would willingly receive him into their houses. But this was spoken, it ought to be observed, as a warning to the scribe, not to expect an abundant and rich hire, as if he had a wealthy master, while the master himself receives a precarious subsistence in borrowed houses.
21. Lord, permit me to go first and bury my father. We have said, that the scribe was rejected by Christ as a follower, because he made his offer without consideration, and imagined that he would enjoy an easy life. The person whom Christ retains had an opposite fault. He was prevented from immediately obeying the call of Christ by the weakness of thinking it a hardship to leave his father. It is probable that his father was in extreme old age: for the mode of expression, Permit me to bury, implies that he had but a short time to live. Luke says that Christ ordered him to follow; while Matthew says that he was one of his disciples But he does not refuse the calling: he only asks leave for a time to discharge a duty which he owes to his father.  The excuse bears that he looked upon himself as at liberty till his father's death. From Christ's reply we learn, that children should discharge their duty to their parents in such a manner that, whenever God calls them to another employment, they should lay this aside, and assign the first place to the command of God. Whatever duties we owe to men must give way, when God enjoins upon us what is immediately due to himself. All ought to consider what God requires from them as individuals, and what is demanded by their particular calling, that earthly parents may not prevent the claims of the highest and only Father of all from remaining entire.
22. Allow the dead to bury their dead. By these words Christ does not condemn burial: for it would have been shameful and cruel to throw away the bodies of the dead unburied, and we know that the custom of burying originated in a divine command, and was practiced by the saints, in order to strengthen the hope of the last resurrection. He intended only to show, that what ever withdraws us from the right course, or retards us in it, deserves no other name than death Those only live, he tells us, who devote all their thoughts, and every part of their life, to obedience to God; while those who do not rise above the world, -- who devote themselves to pleasing men, and forget God, -- are like dead men, who are idly and uselessly employed in taking care of the dead.
Luke 9:60. But go thou and proclaim the kingdom of God. Matthew has only the words, Follow me: but Luke states more fully the reason why he was called, which was, that he might be a minister and preacher of the Gospel. Had he remained in a private station, there would have been no absolute necessity for leaving his father, provided he did not forsake the Gospel on his father's account.  But the preaching of the Gospel does not allow him to remain at home, and therefore Christ properly takes him away from his father. While the amazing goodness of Christ appears in bestowing so honorable an office on a man who was still so weak, it deserves our notice, that the fault which still cleaved to him is corrected, and is not overlooked and encouraged.
Luke 9:61. And another said. Matthew does not mention this third person. It appears that he was too strongly attached to the world, to be ready and prepared to follow Christ. True, he offers to join the family of Christ, but with this reservation, after he has bid farewell to those who are in his house; that is, after he has arranged his business at home, as men are wont to do when preparing for a journey. This is the true reason why Christ reproves him so severely: for, while he was professing in words that he would be a follower of Christ, he turned his back upon him, till he had despatched his worldly business.
62. He who, after having put his hand to the plough, shall look back, is unfit for the kingdom of God. We must carefully inquire what this declaration of Christ means. They are said to look back, who become involved in the cares of the world, so as to allow themselves to be withdrawn from the right path; particularly, when they plunge themselves into those employments which disqualify them to follow Christ.
 "Jusque a ce qu'il se soit acquitte envers son pere du devoir que nature commande;" -- "until he has discharged that duty to his father which nature requires."
 "Pour faire son devoir envers son pere;" -- "to do his duty to his father."
And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.