And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
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 his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.
And Peter answered and 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 Elias.
For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.
And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
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 they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.
And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?
And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
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 straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
19. Then the disciples, coming to Jesus apart, said, Why could not we cast it out? 20. And Jesus said to them, On account of your unbelief; for verily I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, you shall say to this mountain. Remove thou hence, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. 21. But this kind  goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
28. And when he had entered into the house, his disciples asked him apart, Why could not we cast out? 29. And he said to them, This kind  cannot go out in any other way than by prayer and fasting.
5. And the apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith. 6. And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, you might say to this sycamore tree. Be thou rooted up and planted in the sea; and it would obey you.
Matthew 17:19. Then the disciples coming. The disciples wonder that the power which they once possessed has been taken from them; but they had lost it by their own fault. Christ therefore attributes this want of ability to their unbelief, and repeats and illustrates more largely the statement which he had previously made, that nothing is impossible to faith It is a hyperbolical mode of expression, no doubt, when he declares that faith removes trees and mountains; but the meaning amounts to this, that God will never forsake us, if we keep the door open for receiving his grace. He does not mean that God will give us every thing that we may mention, or that may strike our minds at random. On the contrary, as nothing is more at variance with faith than the foolish and irregular desires of our flesh, it follows that those in whom faith reigns do not desire every thing without discrimination, but only that which the Lord promises to give. Let us therefore maintain such moderation as to desire nothing beyond what he has promised to us, and to confine our prayers within that rule which he has laid down.
But it may be objected, that the disciples did not know whether or not the Lord was pleased to cure the lunatic It is easy to reply, that it was their own fault if they did not know; for Christ is now speaking expressly about special faith, which had its secret instincts, as the circumstances of the case required. And this is the faith of which Paul speaks, (1 Corinthians 12:9.) How then came it that the apostles were deprived of the power of the Spirit, which they had formerly exercised in working miracles, but because they had quenched it by their indolence? But what Christ said about special faith, in reference to this particular event, may be extended to the common faith of the whole Church.
21. This kind goeth not out,  By this expression Christ reproved the negligence of certain persons, in order to inform them that it was not an ordinary faith which was required; for otherwise they might have replied that they were not altogether destitute of faith The meaning therefore is, that it is not every kind of faith that will suffice, when we have to enter into a serious conflict with Satan, but that vigorous efforts are indispensably necessary. For the weakness of faith he prescribes prayer as a remedy, to which he adds fasting by way of an auxiliary. "You are effeminate exorcist," said he, "and seem as if you were engaged in a mock-battle got up for amusement;  but you have to deal with a powerful adversary, who will not yield till the battle has been fought out. Your faith must therefore be excited by prayer, and as you are slow and languid in prayer, you must resort to fasting as an assistance."  Hence it is very evident how absurdly the Papists represent fasting to be the specific method of driving away devils, since our Lord refers to it for no other reason than to stimulate the earnestness of prayer. When he says that this kind of devils cannot be cast out in any other way than by prayer and fasting, he means that, when Satan has taken deep root in any one, and has been confirmed by long possession, or when he rages with unbridled fury, the victory is difficult and painful, and therefore the contest must be maintained with all our might.
 "Mais ceste sorte [de diables] ne sort point;" -- "but this kind [of devils] goeth not out."
 "Ceste espece [de diables] ne sort point;" -- "this kind [of devils] goeth not out."
 "Cest espece [de diablos] ne sort point;" -- "this kind [of devils] goeth not out."
 "Vous y venez ainsi qu'a un combat de petits enfans, et comme s'il n'estoit question que de s'escarmoucher pour passe-temps." -- "You come to it as if it were to a fight of little children, and as if you had nothing to do but to skirmish for amusement."
 "Comme une aide pour vous exciter et enflamber;" -- "as an assistance to excite and inflame you."
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it.
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."
For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.
And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not 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."
But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
For he that is not against us is on our part.
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
37. He who loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38. And he who doth not take his cross and follow me,  is not worthy of me. 39. He who findeth his life  shall lose it; and he who loseth his life for my sake shall find it.  40. He who receiveth you receiveth me: and he who receiveth me receiveth him who sent me. 41. He who receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward: he who receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall a righteous man's reward. 42. And whosoever shall give to one of these little ones to drink a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
41. For whosoever shall give to you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
25. And great multitudes went with him, and he turned, and said to them, 26. If any man cometh to me,  and hateth not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28. For who is there among you that wishes to build a tower, and does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have what is necessary to finish it? 29. Lest after he hath laid the foundation, all who see him begin to mock him, 30. Saying, this man began to build, and was not able to complete it. 31. Or what king, who is setting out to make war against another king, does not first sit down and consider whether or not he will be able, with ten thousand, to meet him who cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32. Otherwise, while the other is still at a distance, he sends an embassy, and requests conditions of peace. 33. So then every one of you who forsaketh not all that he possesses, cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 10:37. He who loveth father or mother As it is exceedingly harsh, and is contrary to natural feelings, to make enemies of those who ought to have been in closest alliance with us, so Christ now says that we cannot be his disciples on any other condition. He does not indeed enjoin us to lay aside human affections, or forbid us to discharge the duties of relationship, but only desires that all the mutual love which exists among men should be so regulated as to assign the highest rank to piety. Let the husband then love his wife, the father his son, and, on the other hand, let the son love his father, provided that the reverence which is due to Christ be not overpowered by human affection. For if even among men, in proportion to the closeness of the tie that mutually binds us, some have stronger claims than others, it is shameful that all should not be deemed inferior to Christ alone. And certainly we do not consider sufficiently, or with due gratitude, what it is to be a disciple of Christ, if the excellence of this rank be not sufficient to subdue all the affections of the flesh. The phrase employed by Luke is more harsh, if any man doth not hate his father and mother, but the meaning is the same, "If the love of ourselves hinder us from following Christ, we must resist it, courageously:" as Paul says,
what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, (Philippians 3:7,8.)
38. He who doth not take up his cross From particular cases he proceeds to general views, and informs us that we cannot be reckoned his disciples unless we are prepared to endure many afflictions. If we are vexed and tormented by the thought, that the gospel should set us at variance with our father, or our wife, or our children, let us remember this condition, that Christ subjects all his disciples to the cross Yet let us also bear in mind this consolation, that, in bearing the cross, we are the companions of Christ, -- which will speedily have the effect of allaying all its bitterness. The reprobates are not less firmly bound to their cross, and cannot with their most violent struggles shake it off; but as to those who are out of Christ the cross is accursed, a mournful end awaits them. Let us therefore learn to connect these two things, that believers must bear the cross in order to follow their Master; that is, in order to conform to his example, and to abide by his footsteps like faithful companions.
39. He who findeth his life Lest the former doctrine, which is very difficult and troublesome to the flesh, should have little weight with us, Christ confirms it in two ways by this statement. He affirms that persons of excessive caution and foresight, when they look upon themselves as having very well defended their life, will be disappointed and will lose it; and, on the other hand, that those who disregard their life will sustain no loss, for they will recover it. We know that there is nothing which men will not do or leave undone for the sake of life, (so powerful is that attachment to it which is natural to us all;) and, therefore, it was necessary that Christ should employ such promises and threatenings in exciting his followers to despise death.
To find the life means here to possess it, or to have it in safe keeping. Those who are excessively desirous of an earthly life, take pains to guard themselves against every kind of danger, and flatter themselves with unfounded confidence, as if they were looking well to themselves, (Psalm 49:18:) but their life, though defended by such powerful safeguards, will pass away; for they will at last die, and death will bring to them everlasting ruin. On the other hand, when believers surrender themselves to die, their soul, which appears to vanish in a moment, passes into a better life. Yet as persons are sometimes found, who heedlessly lay down their life, either for the sake of ambition or of madness, Christ expressly states the reason why we ought to expose ourselves to death.
It is uncertain if the discourse, which is related by Luke, was delivered on another occasion. There, too, our Lord exhorts his followers to bear the cross, but does not dwell upon it at equal length. To support this sentiment he immediately adds two comparisons, of which Matthew takes no notice: but as the subject treated is substantially the same, I have not scrupled to introduce in this place what we find in Luke.
Luke 14:28. For which of you, etc , That no one may think it hard to follow Christ on the condition of renouncing all his desires, a useful warning is here given. We must consider beforehand what the profession of the gospel demands. The reason why many persons yield to very slight temptations is, that they have pictured to themselves unmixed enjoyment, as if they were to be always in the shade and at their ease. No man will ever become fit to serve Christ till he has undergone a long preparation for warfare.
Now the comparisons are exceedingly adapted to this object. Building is a tedious and vexatious matter, and one that gives little satisfaction on account of the expense. War, too, brings along with it many inconveniences, and almost threatens destruction to the human race, so that it is never undertaken but with reluctance. And yet the advantages of building are found to be sufficient to induce men to spend their substance on it without hesitation; while necessity drives them to shrink from no expenses in carrying on wars. But a far more valuable reward awaits those who are the builders of the temple of God, and who fight under the banner of Christ: for Christians do not labor for a temporary building, or fight for a passing triumph.
If a king find himself unable to endure the burden of a war,  he prevents an ignominious defeat by seeking peace with his adversary. The statements which our Lord makes to this effect must not be applied to the present subject, in such a manner as if we were to enter into any compromise with our spiritual foe, when our strength and resources fail. It would be idle to treat parables as applying in every minute point  to the matter in hand. But our Lord simply means that we ought to be so well prepared, as not to be taken by surprise for want of a proper defense, or basely to turn our backs: for it is not every one of us who is a king, to carry on war under his direction.
This doctrine reproves the rashness of those who foolishly proceed beyond their capacity, or flatter themselves without thinking of bearing the cross Yet we must take care lest this meditation, to which Christ exhorts us, should fill us with alarm or retard our progress. Many persons, not having from the outset laid their account with suffering, relax their zeal through cowardice: for they cannot endure to be Christians on any other condition than that of being exempted from the cross Others again, when a condition that is harsh and unpleasant to the flesh is proposed to them, do not venture to approach to Christ. But there is no good reason for being discouraged by a knowledge of our poverty, for the Lord grants to us seasonable aid. I readily acknowledge that, if we calculate the expense, we are all destitute of power to lay a single stone, or to wield a sword against the enemy. But as the materials, expense, arms, and forces, are supplied by the Lord out of heaven, no pretext on the score of difficulty can be offered by our indifference or sloth. The design of Christ, therefore, is to warn his followers to bear the cross, that they may prepare themselves with courage.
Luke 14:33. So then every one of you This clause shows what is meant by the calculation of expenses, with which Christ enjoins his followers to begin: it is to lead them to consider that they must forsake all In vain do persons who are delighted with an easy, indolent life, and with exemption from the cross, undertake a profession of Christianity. Those persons are said to forsake all who prefer Christ so greatly, both to their own life, and to all the wishes of the flesh, that nothing deters them from the right course.
It would be absurd to insist on a literal interpretation of the phrase, as if no man were a disciple of Christ, till he threw into the sea all that he possessed, divorced his wife, and bade farewell to his children. Such idle dreams led foolish people to adopt a monastic life, as if those who intend to come to Christ must leave off humanity. Yet no man truly forsakes all that he possesses till he is prepared at every instant to leave all, gives himself free and unconstrained to the Lord, and, rising above every hindrance, pursues his calling. Thus the true self-denial which the Lord demands from his followers does not consist so much in outward conduct as in the affections; so that every one must employ the time which is passing over him without allowing the objects which he directs by his hand to hold a place in his heart.
Matthew 10:40. He who receiveth you, receiveth me. A considerable portion of the world may be opposed to the disciples of Christ, and the confession of their faith may draw upon them universal hatred. Yet here is another consolation tending to excite a very great number of persons to treat them with kindness. Whatever is done to them, Christ does not hesitate to reckon as done to himself. This shows how dearly he loves them, when he places to his own account the kind offices which they have received. He is not speaking here about receiving the doctrine, but about receiving the men. The latter meaning, I admit, arises out of the former, but we must attend to the design of Christ. Perceiving that this was exceedingly adapted to support their weakness, he intended to assure them that, if any one would receive them in a friendly manner, and do them kind offices, he would be as highly pleased as if their benevolence had been exercised towards his own person; and not only so, but that in such a sacrifice God the Father would smell a sweet savor, (Genesis 8:21.)
41. He who receiveth a prophet He begins with the prophets, but at length comes down to the lowest rank, and embraces all his disciples. In this manner he commends all, without exception, who truly worship God and love the gospel. To receive a person in the name of a prophet, or in the name of a righteous man, means to do them good for the sake of honoring their doctrine, or of paying respect to piety. Though God enjoins us to perform offices of kindness to all mankind, yet he justly elevates his people to a higher rank, that they may be the objects of peculiar regard and esteem.
Shall receive a prophet's reward This clause is variously interpreted by commentators. Some think that it denotes a mutual compensation, or, in other words, that spiritual benefits are bestowed on the prophets of God instead of temporal benefits. But if this exposition is admitted, what shall we say is meant by the righteous man's reward? Others understand it to mean, that those who shall be kind to them will partake of the same reward which is laid up for prophets and righteous men. Some refer it to the intercourse of saints, and suppose it to mean, that as by our kind actions we give evidence that we are one body with the servants of Christ, so in this way we become partakers of all the blessings which Christ imparts to the members of his body.
I consider it simply as denoting the reward which corresponds to the rank of the person to whom kindness has been exercised; for Christ means that this will be a remarkable proof of the high estimation in which he holds his prophets, and indeed all his disciples. The greatness of the reward will make it evident, that not one kind office which was ever rendered to them has been forgotten.
By way of amplification, he promises a reward to the very meanest offices of kindness, such as giving them a cup of cold water, He gives the name of little ones not only to those who occupy the lowest place, or are held in least estimation in the Church, but to all his disciples, whom the pride of the world tramples under foot.
 "Et vient apres moy;" -- -"and cometh after me."
 "Qui aura trouve, ou, garde sa vie;" -- "he who shall have found, or, protected, his life."
 "La trouvera, ou, gardera;" -- "will find it, or, will protect it "
 "Si aucun vient avec moy;" -- "if any man cometh with me."
 "Pour soustenir une guerre, et fournir l'argent qu'il faut" -- "to support a war, and to supply the money that is required."
 "De vouloir esplucher tout par le menu, et rapporter tout jusqu'aux petits mots;" -- "to wish to explain every thing minutely, and to make every thing apply down to the smallest words."
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
6. But whosoever shall offend one of those little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were sunk to the bottom of the sea. 7. Woe to the world on account of offenses! for offenses must come; but woe to the man by whom the offense cometh! 8. But if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee;  for it is better for thee to enter lame or maimed into life, than that, having two hands or two feet, thou shouldst be cast into the everlasting fire. 9. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee;  for it is better that thou shouldst enter into life having one eye, than that, having two eyes, thou shouldst be cast into hell-fire. 10. Beware of despising one of these little ones; for I say to you, That their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.
42. And whosoever shall offend one of the little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hung around his neck, and that he were thrown into the sea. 43. And if thy hand shall offend thee, cut it off; for it were better for thee to enter lame into life, than that, having two hands, thou shouldst go into hell, into the unquenchable fire:  44. Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. 45. And if thy foot shall offend thee, cut if off; for it were better for thee to enter lame into life, than that, having two feet, thou shouldst be cast into hell, into the unquenchable fire: 46. Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. 47. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out; for it were better for thee to enter with one eye into the kingdom of God than that, having two eyes, thou shouldst be cast into hell-fire: 48. Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.
1. And he said to his disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come; but woe to him by whom they come! 2. It were better for him that a millstone were hung around his neck, and that he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Matthew 18:6. But whosoever shall offend one of those little ones. This appears to be added for the consolation of the godly, that they may not be rendered uneasy by their condition, if they are despised by the world. It is a powerful obstruction to the voluntary exercise of modesty, when they imagine, that by so doing they expose themselves to contempt; and it is hard to be not only treated disdainfully, but almost trodden under foot, by haughty men. Christ therefore encourages his disciples by the consoling truth, that, if their mean condition draws upon them the insults of the world, God does not despise them.
But he appears to have had likewise another object in view; for a dispute had arisen amongst them as to the first place of honor, from which it might naturally have been inferred that the Apostles were tainted with sinful ambition. Every man who thinks too highly of himself, or desires to be preferred to others, must necessarily treat his brethren with disdain. To cure this disease, Christ threatens a dreadful punishment, if any man in his pride shall throw down those who are oppressed with poverty, or who in heart are already humbled.
Under the word offend he includes more than if he had forbidden them to despise their brethren; though the man who gives himself no concern about offending the weak, does so for no other reason, than because he does not render to them the honor to which they are entitled. Now as there are various kinds of offenses, it will be proper to explain generally what is meant by offending If any man through our fault either stumbles, or is drawn aside from the right course, or retarded in it, we are said to offend him.  Whoever then desires to escape that fearful punishment which Christ denounces, let him stretch out his hand to the little ones who are despised by the world, and let him kindly assist them in keeping the path of duty; for Christ recommends them to our notice, that they may lead us to exercise voluntary humility; as Paul enjoins the children of God to
condescend to men of low estate, (Romans 12:16,)
and again says that
we ought not to please ourselves, (Romans 15:1.)
To hang a millstone about a man's neck, and drown him in the sea, was the punishment then reckoned the most appalling, and which was inflicted on the most atrocious malefactors. When our Lord alludes to this punishment, we are enabled to perceive how dear and precious those persons are in the sight of God, who are mean and despised in the eyes of the world.
7. Woe to the world on account of offenses! This passage may be explained in two ways. It may be taken actively, as meaning that Christ pronounces a curse on the authors of offenses; and then by the term world, we must understand all unbelievers. Or it may be taken passively, as meaning that Christ deplores the evils which he perceives to be rapidly coming on the world on account of offenses; as if he had said, that no plague will be more destructive, or attended by more fearful calamities, than the alarm or desertion of many on account of offenses. The latter meaning is more appropriate; for I have no doubt that our Lord, who had spoken on another occasion about offenses, proceeded to discourse more largely on this subject; in order to make his disciples more attentive and watchful in guarding against them. That Satan may not gain advantage over us through our sluggishness, our Lord breaks out into an exclamation, that there is nothing which we ought to dread more than offenses; for as Satan has innumerable kinds of them in his hand, he constantly, and at almost every step, throws new difficulties in our way; while we, through excessive tenderness or sloth, are too ready to yield. The consequence is, that there are few who make tolerable progress in the faith of Christ; and of the few who have begun to walk in the way of salvation, there is scarcely one in ten who has the courage to persevere till he reaches the goal.  Now since Christ intended to strike his disciples with terror on account of offenses, and thus to arouse them to exertion, woe to our indifference, if each of us does not earnestly apply himself to overcome those offenses
For offenses must come. To awaken more powerfully their care and anxiety, our Lord reminds his disciples that there is no possibility of walking but in the midst of various offenses; as much as to say, that this is an evil which cannot be avoided. Thus he confirms the former statement; for Christ shows us how great are the inconveniences which arise from offenses, since the Church never will be, and indeed never can be, free from this evil. But he does not state the reason of this necessity, as Paul does, when, speaking of heresies, he says that they arise, that the good may be made manifest, (1 Corinthians 11:19.) It must be held by us as a fixed principle, that it is the will of God to leave his people exposed to offense, in order to exercise their faith, and to separate believers, as the refuse and the chaff, from the pure wheat. Does any one object or complain, that blame attaches to our Lord for giving loose reins to Satan, to accomplish the destruction of wretched men? It is our duty to think and speak with the deepest reverence of the secret purposes of God, of which this is one, that the world must be disturbed by offenses
But woe to the man by whom the offense cometh. After having exhorted his disciples to beware of offenses, he again breaks out against those who occasion them. To impart the greater vehemence to the threatening, he adds, that neither a right eye nor a right hand ought to be spared, if they occasion offense to us; for I explain these words as added for the purpose of amplification. Their meaning is, that we ought to be so constant and so zealous in opposing offenses, that we would rather choose to pluck out our eyes, or cut off our hands, than give encouragement to offenses; for if any man hesitate to incur the loss of his limbs, he spares them at the risk of throwing himself into eternal perdition. What dreadful vengeance then awaits those who by offenses shall bring ruin on their brethren!  As those two verses have been already explained  under Matthew 5:29,30, it was sufficient, on the present occasion, to glance at the reason why Christ repeats here the same statement.
10. Beware of despising one of these little ones As pride is the mother of disdain, and as contempt hardens men in giving offense, our Lord, for the purpose of applying an appropriate remedy for curing this disease, forbids his disciples to despise the little ones. And certainly, as we have already hinted, no man who has a proper care for his brethren will ever allow himself, on light grounds, to give them offense This conclusion of our Lord's discourse has the same tendency as the commencement of it, to remind us that we ought to strive with each other who shall be most submissive and modest; for God embraces with wonderful love the little ones It would be strange indeed that a mortal man should despise, or treat as of no account, those whom God holds in such high esteem. He proves this love from the fact, that angels, who are ministers of their salvation, enjoy intimately the presence of God. Yet I do not think that he intended merely to show what honor God confers on them by appointing angels to be their guardians, but likewise to threaten those who despise them; as if he had said, that it is no light matter to despise those who have angels for their companions and friends, to take vengeance in their behalf. We ought therefore to beware of despising their salvation, which even angels have been commissioned to advance.
The interpretation given to this passage by some commentators, as if God assigned to each believer his own angel, does not rest on solid grounds. For the words of Christ do not mean that a single angel is continually occupied with this or the other person;  and such an idea is inconsistent with the whole doctrine of Scripture, which declares that the angels encamp around (Psalm 34:7) the godly, and that not one angel only, but many, have been commissioned to guard every one of the faithful. Away, then, with the fanciful notion of a good and evil angel, and let us rest satisfied with holding that the care of the whole Church is committed to angels, to assist each member as his necessities shall require. It will perhaps be asked, Do the angels occupy a station inferior to ours, because they have been appointed to be our ministers? I reply, Though by nature they take rank above us, this does not prevent them from rendering service to God  in dispensing the favor which he freely bestows upon us. For this reason they are called our angels, because their labors are bestowed on us.
 "Et le iette [arriere] de toy;" -- "and cast it behind thee."
 "Et le iette [arriere] de toy;" -- "and cast it behind thee."
 "Au feu qui ne s'esteint point;" -- "into the fire which is not quenched."
 "L'Escriture dit que nous oftensons ou scandalizons cestuy la." -- "Scripture says that we give offense or scandal to that man."
 "Qui persevere courageusement iusqu'a la fin;" -- "who perseveres courageously to the end."
 "Lesquels par scandales auront donne occasion de faire perdre et damner leurs freres;" -- "who by offenses shall have given occasion to bring ruin and damnation on their brethren."
 Harmony, vol. 1 p.
 "Les mots n'emportent pas qu'un Ange n'ait autre charge que de veiller tousiours sur cestuy-ci ou sur cestuy-la;" -- "the words do not bear that one Angel has nothing else to do than to watch continually over this or that man."
 "Cela n'empesche point que Dieu n'use de leur service;" -- "that does not hinder God from employing their services."
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if salt shall become tasteless,  with what shall it be salted?  It is good for nothing farther, than to be thrown out and trodden down by men. 14. Ye are the light of the world: a city placed upon a mountain cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it upon a bushel but upon a candlestick, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16. Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in heaven.
49. For every (man) shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50. Salt is a good thing: but if salt shall become tasteless, with what shall it be seasoned? Have salt in yourselves, and cultivate peace with one another.
21. And he said to them, Is a candle lighted, that it may be put under a bushel, or under a bed? Is it not that it may be put on a candlestick?
34. Salt is good: but if salt shall have become tasteless, with what shall it be seasoned? 35. It is not useful either for the land  or for the dunghill: they throw it out. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
16. And no man, when he hath lighted a candle, covered it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed, but putteth it on a candlestick, that those who enter may see the light.
33. No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that those who enter may see the light.
Matthew 5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth. What belongs to doctrine is applied to the persons to whom the administration of it has been committed. When Christ calls the apostles the salt of the earth, he means, that it is their office to salt the earth: because men have nothing in them but what is tasteless, till they have been seasoned with the salt of heavenly doctrine. After having reminded them to what they are called, he pronounces against them a heavy and dreadful judgment, if they do not fulfill their duty. The doctrine, which has been entrusted to them, is shown to be so closely connected with a good conscience and a devout and upright life, that the corruption, which might be tolerated in others, would in them be detestable and monstrous. "If other men are tasteless in the sight of God, to you shall be given the salt which imparts a relish to them: but if you have lost your taste, where shall you obtain the remedy which you ought to supply to others?"
Our Lord skillfully pursues his metaphor, by saying, that other things when they lose their original qualities, are still useful after they have become corrupted: but that salt becomes even hurtful, and communicates barrenness even to dunghills.  The amount of his statement is, that it is an incurable disease, when the ministers and teachers of the word corrupt and render themselves tasteless: for they ought to season the rest of the world with their salt. This warning is useful, not only to ministers, but to the whole flock of Christ. Since it is the will of God that the earth shall be salted by his own word, it follows, that whatever is destitute of this salt is, in his estimation, tasteless, how much soever it may be relished by men. There is nothing better, therefore, than to receive the seasoning, by which alone our tastelessness is corrected. But, at the same time, let those whose business is to salt it beware lest they encourage the world in their own folly,  and still more, that they do not infect it with a depraved and vicious taste.
The wickedness of the Papists is therefore intolerable:  as if it had been the design of Christ, to allow the apostles unbounded liberty, and to make them tyrants of souls, instead of reminding them of their duty, that they might not swerve from the right path. Christ declares what sort of men he wishes the teachers of his Church to be. Those who, without any proper grounds, give themselves out to be apostles,  hide by this covering all the abominations which they are pleased to introduce; because Christ pronounced Peter, and his companions, to be the salt of the earth. They do not, at the same time, consider the sharp and severe reproof which is added, that, if they become tasteless, they are the worst of all. This sentence is mentioned by Luke in an abrupt manner: but is introduced there for the same purpose as in this passage, so that it does not require a separate exposition.
Mark 9:49. Every man shall be salted with fire. I have connected these words of Mark with the passage in Matthew which we have just considered: not that I look upon them to have altogether the same meaning, or to have been spoken at the same place and time, but rather to enable the reader to understand better, by means of comparison, the different applications of the same sentence. According to Mark's narrative, our Lord, having spoken of eternal fire, (Mark 9:48,) exhorts his own people, on the contrary, to offer themselves now to God to be seasoned with fire and salt, that they may be devoted sacrifices,  and that they may not draw upon themselves, by their sins, that fire which is never extinguished. To be salted with fire is an incorrect phrase; but as salt and fire possess the same quality of purifying and refining, Christ applied the same term to both. Such was the occasion on which this sentiment was uttered. It was, that believers may not refuse to be purified by fire and salt; since, without this seasoning, they cannot be holy to God. He alludes to an enactment of the Law:
"Every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt, neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt,"
But now he shows, that believers are salted by the word of the Gospel, that they may be sanctified.
He next adds, salt is good This extends generally to all, whom God has once been pleased to season with his own word. He exhorts them to retain always their savor. To give the name of salt to what is salted is rather a harsh metaphor, but it creates no doubt as to the meaning. When men have lost, by their carelessness, that savor which they obtained by the grace of God, there is no farther remedy. Those who lose their faith, by which they were consecrated to God, and become without savor, are in a desperate condition: for the good savor cannot be acquired by any other seasoning. Besides, those who have become corrupted, by making void the grace of God, are worse than unbelievers, as salt spoils the land and the dunghill
Mark 9:50. Have salt in yourselves This word may be taken in a different sense from what it had in the former verse, as meaning that seasoning of good odor, which is obtained by faith, or rather the wisdom of the Spirit. When Paul enjoins, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt," (Colossians 4:6,) he means, that we ought to be holy, and purified from all profane follies and corruptions, and filled with spiritual grace, which edifies all who hear it, and diffuses over them its sweet odor. If this exposition is adopted, it may be necessary to understand the latter clause as referring to the mutual peace, which is promoted by that salt. Yet, as it is more probable, that this last sentence depends on the former discourse, I think that Christ is exhorting his own people to maintain the rigor of faith, which may serve also to purify others. "You must do your endeavor, not only to be salted within, but likewise to salt others." But as salt bites by its sharpness, he immediately admonishes them to regulate the seasoning in such a manner, that peace may be preserved entire with one another
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world We are all the children of light, after having been enlightened by faith, and are commanded to carry in our hands "burning lamps," (that we may not wander in darkness,) and even to point out to others the way of life, (Luke 12:35.) But, as the preaching of the Gospel was committed to the apostles above others, and is now committed to the pastors of the Church, this designation is given to them, in a peculiar manner, by Christ. "They are placed in this rank on the condition, that they shall shine, as from an elevated situation, on all others."
He subjoins two comparisons. A city placed on a mountain cannot be concealed; and a candle, when it has been lighted, is not usually concealed, (verse 15.) This means, that they ought to live in such a manner, as if the eyes of all were upon them.  And certainly, the more eminent a person is, the more injury he does by a bad example, if he acts improperly. Christ, therefore, informs the apostles, that they must be more careful to live a devout and holy life, than unknown persons of the common rank, because the eyes of all are directed to them, as to lighted candles; and that they must not be endured, if their devotion, and uprightness of conduct, do not correspond to the doctrine of which they are ministers. Mark and Luke appear to apply the comparison in a different manner: for there Christ gives a general admonition, that they ought to take particular care, lest any one, trusting to the darkness, indulge freely in sin, because what is hidden for a time will afterwards be revealed. But perhaps the discourses related by both of them are detached from the immediate context.
16. Let your light shine before men After having taught the apostles that, in consequence of the rank in which they are placed, both their vices and their virtues are better known for a good or bad example, he now enjoins them so to regulate their life, as to excite all to glorify God. That they may see your good works: for, as Paul tells us, believers must,
"provide for honest things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of men," (2 Corinthians 8:21.)
The command, which he gives shortly afterwards, to seek concealment and a retired situation for their good works, (Matthew 6:4,) is intended only to forbid ostentation. In the present instance, he has quite a different object in view, to recommend to them the glory of God alone. Now, if the glory of good works cannot be properly ascribed to God, unless they are traced to him, and unless he is acknowledged to be their only Author, it is evident, that we cannot, without offering an open and gross insult to God, extol free will, as if good works proceeded wholly, or in part, from its power. Again, we must observe, how graciously God deals with us, when he calls the good works ours, the entire praise of which would justly be ascribed to himself.
 "Ou, s'evente;" -- "or, is spoiled."
 "Ou, luy rendra-on sa saveur?" -- "or, shall its taste be restored to it?" (Leviticus 2:13.)
 "Il n'est propre ne (pour mettre) en la terre, ni au fumier." -- "It is not fit either (to put) on the land, nor on the dunghill."
 "Que le sel estant empire, ne fait mesmes que gaster tout, a quoi qu'on le mette, tellement qu'il corrompt mesmes les fumiers, et consume toute la grasse d'iceux." -- "That salt, when it is decayed, does only spoil everything that it touches: so that it corrupts even dunghills, and consumes all their fatness."
 "De ne nourrir le monde en sa folie et fadesse;" -- "not to nourish the world in their folly and tastelessness."
 "Et pourtant la malice des Papistes n'est aucunement a supporter, quand ils n'ont point de honte de couvrir de ces titres leurs Prelats mas-quez, afin que nul ne presume de rien reprendre en leurs personnes."-- "And then the malice of the Papists is not at all to be endured, since they are not ashamed to cover with these titles their masked Prelates, that no one may presume to reprove any thing in their persons."
 "Des gens qui se vantent a fausses enseignes de tenir le place des apostres." -- "People who boast, under false colors, of holding the place of apostles."
 "Sacrifices ou offrandes sacrees;" -- "sacrifices or sacred offerings."
 "Comme si tout le monde les regardoit;" -- "as if every body were looking at them."
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.