And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead…
I. CONTEMPLATE IN THE CONDUCT OF HEROD AND OF HIS QUEEN THE NATURAL PROGRESS OF DEPRAVITY. LOOK PRIMARILY TO HERODIAS.
II. LET ME ADD SOME OBSERVATIONS, APPLICABLE TO YOUR OWN CONDUCT, WHICH ARE SUGGESTED BY THE HISTORY BEFORE US.
1. In the first place, allow not yourself to be entrapped into sin by the solicitations and importunities of others, not even of your friends and your nearest relations, should you be unhappy enough to perceive tempters among them.
2. That one sin naturally leads to another: that, if you indulge in small offences, you will be carried headlong into greater. You have drawn up the floodgates: and who shall pronounce where ""he torrent shall be stayed? How frequently doth a similar progress occur. In the humbler ranks of life you see a man beginning to be idle, and to neglect his business. This evil habit grows upon him. His time soon hangs heavily upon his hands: and he fills it up at the public house; at first going thither sparingly, but ere long to be found there almost every day. Now drunkenness is added to idleness. These two sins speedily make him poor: and he resorts to dishonest means of gaining money: till justice overtakes him, and he finishes his days in exile or on the gallows. The criminal of high life, in the meantime, pursues a kindred career, but in a wider and a more splendid circle. He commences with fashionable extravagance. He grows hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Make your stand through Divine grace against the beginnings of sin: for you know not what will be the end thereof.
3. Contemplate the inconsistency, the weakness and the corruption of human nature. Herod withstood for a season the arts and importunities of Herodias. She waited until she found a convenient time; renewed the attempt and succeeded. The great enemy of man is ever on the watch to betray you. He is waiting for the hour when you shall no longer be on your guard; or when you shall have grieved by a recent offence the Spirit of God; or when a concurrence of ensnaring circumstances shall heighten the allurements of sin. The birthday of Herod shall arrive. Thy heart shall be opened to enticement. The year shall not revolve without bringing the convenient time. Mirth shall render thee thoughtless: or sorrow shall bow thee to despondence. Pride shall inflate thee with confidence: or sloth shall indispose thee to exertion. Then shall the temptation present itself afresh: perhaps in its original garb; or, if need be, in colours more attractive.
4. That nothing short of a settled determination to labour to avoid all sin, joined with constant application to God, through Christ, for the influence of His sanctifying Spirit, can authorize you to hope that you will preserve for a single hour a conscience void of offence.
(T. Gisborne, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.