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was room for artifice and collusion in these miracles, which were performed on earth; but if they beheld a miracle in the heavens, where there was no room for imposture, they intimated that they should be satisfied that he was the Messiah.
2. Ile answered and said unto them, When it is evening ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
3. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering, “ gloomy.” O ye hypocrites! Ye can discern the face of the sky, or, “ye can judge of the face of the sky;" but can ye net judge of the signs of the times?
Tlre meaning of which is this; You pretend that I have not given you sufficient proof that I am the Messiah; but you only do this from a desire to cavil and find fault: for you are satisfied with much less evidence in other instances: from the appearance of the sky you think that you can prognosticate what kind of weather is approaching, and imagine that with this advantage you need not be informed of what is coming; yet you demand signs of the coming of the Messiah, as if none were already given; whereas you have many and decisive proofs of that event, to which, however, you have not leisure or inclination to attend. Were you to examine the declarations of the prophets, as carefully as you observe the face of the heavens before you take a journey, you would see without doubt that the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel was at hand; that the morals of the people are become most corrupt; that you, the leaders of the people, either destroy the seeds of piety, by taking away the hope of a future life, or convert all religion into useless ceremonies; that on the other side, a doctrine of the most distinguished pur
ity is preached by me, and accompanied with miracles, calculated not to gratify the vain humours of men, but to afford substantial benefit to them, giving sight to the blind, feet to the lame, and health to those that are sick; all which things are unquestionable proofs of the Messiah's kingdom being come.
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
These two sects are called an adulterous generation, because they had both of them departed from the doctrines of true religion; in the same manner as forsaking the true God to worship idols, is compared perpetually in the Old Testament to a breach of the marriage vow, and called adultery. Our Lord here makes a very obscure allusion to his own resurrection, as resembling the miracle of Jonah's deliverance from the whale's belly, which it was impossible that these Jews should understand; and he does not seem to have intended that they should. To men who were so wilfully blind he did not think it necessary to explain himself more fully; but left them immediately to go to another place. The same demand had been made to Christ before, and he had replied in the same manner, but a little more fully than in the present instance. See Matt. xii. 38---40. His meaning in both places is, “You seek a sign or miracle from heaven, but none shall be given you greater or more excellent than that which shall come not from the heavens, as ye foolishly require, but froin the bowels of the earth, whence I shall be raised on the third day, after being put to death by your malice; and hereby completely establish the innocence of my character and my claim to a divine mission. "
5. And when his disciples were come to the other side, i.e. of the lake of Ge
nesareth, they had forgotten, they found that they had forgotten, to take bread.
6. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
It is the nature of leaven to extend itself widely: on this account the Christian doctrine, which was to spread through the world, has been compared to leavèn; but here false opinions are compared to the same substance, and probably for the same reason, because they are likely to spread themselves. Our Lord, going back to the subject of the Pharisees and Sadducees whom they had just left, warns his disciples to beware of their doctrines: that doctrine of the Pharisees to wbich he referred was, probably, the maxim that the traditions of the elders were of equal, if not of superior authority to the law of God: that doctrine of the Sadducees which he thought dangerous was the notion that generally prevailed among that sect, that there was no resurrection from the dead, or state of future iecompence.
7. And they reasoned among themselves, not silently but openly, It is because we have taken no bread.
They thought that as Jesus knew that they wanted bread, he intended to warn them not to procure it from the sect either of the Pharisees or Sadducees; as if such bread was likely to defile them: so speedily had the precepts of Christ, by which he had taught that such things could not defile the mind, been forgotten by them: they began to be seriously alarmed about the want of bread, especially as Christ had, in their apprehension, increased the difficulty, by narrowing the circle of those of whoin they were to buy.
8. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, Oye of little faith!
Why reason ye among yourselves, be
ye have brought no bread? That is, Why should you think that this was said by me, because you had not a stock of bread; as if it was necessary that you should perish with hunger, if you did not receive bread from men, but must avoid at any rate to take any from the Pharisees or Sadducees.---Could I not feed you, although you could procure no bread from others there was no reason, therefore, why, on that account, I should so carefully forbid you to have any intercourse with the Pharisees and Sadducees.
9. Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up ?
10. Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye Had you
recollected these miracles, or reasoned properly upon them, you would not have supposed that I could have been under any anxiety about the want of bread, or have given you any directions about buying it, when I could so easily supply my own wants and yours by a miracle.
11. How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees ?
12. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
1. To discover sagacity and wisdom in the common affairs of life, and yet to betray the greatest stupidity or prejudice in religious concerns, is but too just a picture of the conduct of many of the human race at the present day. How many are there who will believe nothing in the ordinary concerns of life without substantial evidence; who wisely resolve to manage all important matters of a temporal nature for themselves, and not to confide blindly in the discretion of other men; yet in religion are ready to believe whatever their parents or the church have taught them to be true; trust the salvation of their souls to others, as if it were a matter of no consequence, and take no pains to secure their eternal welfare." If the symptoms of a dangerous disease appear in their bodies, their fears are alarmed, and they resolve immediately to apply any remedy which may be well recommended; but although the mind is afflicted with the most violent distemper, and they are told that without the utmost care and exertion it will prove fatal, they discover no fear, and take no pains to remove it till it is past cure. Men believe the account which is given of past transactions, from the evidence of history; yet reject the history of Christ, which is founded upon better and more authentic evidence than any other history in the world, ' So inconsistent are men with themselves, and so true is it that the same persons are not equally wise in every thing. Let us learn hence to exercise our own judgment in all important matters, and not trust to the judgment of other men, nor to think unfavourably of a good cause, because some persons, distinguished for their sagacity in other things, do not countenance it.--