Billeder på siden

fus with a meffage from the centurion, in which he expreffed the highest opinion of our Lord's power, and defired him not to take the trouble of coming, but to order the cure, which he knew he could eafily do. 6, Then Jefus went with them. And when he was now not far from the boufe, the centurion fent friends to him, faying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyfelf, for I am not worthy that thou shouldeft enter under my roof. 7. Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; but fay in a word, 8. For I also am a man under and my fervant shall be healed authority, having under me foldiers, and I fay unto one, Go, and be goeth; and to another, Come, and be cometh; and to my ferSee on Matt. viii. 9. § 28. vant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9. When Jefus heard thefe things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and faid unto the people that followed him, I fay unto you, I have not found fo great faith, no, not in Ifrael. 10. And they that were fent, returning to the house, found the fervant whole that had been fick. The kindness of this centurion to his flave, and the anxiety he fhewed to get him cured, was suitable to the character of an humane mafter, and exhibits an excellent pattern of duty very fit to be imitated by Chriftian masters, with whom it is but too common to treat their flaves and dependants, as if they were not creatures of the fame rank with themselves, but of an inferior order.

See the reasons offered to prove this a different miracle from that which is recorded, Matt. viii. 5. § 28.

§ XL. The apoftles receive their commission and inftructions in Ca-
Matt. x. 1,-42. Mark iii. 19,-21. See § 58.
AFTER curing the centurion's flave, Jefus went to Peter's house,
where he usually lodged. See on Matth. iv. 13. § 25. He had
been with the difciples the whole preceding night in the mountain,
and with the multitude the greateft part of the day in the plain,
probably without taking any meat. Wherefore, being come
home, they were going to eat fomething. But the citizens,
brought together by the report of the miracle performed on the
centurion's flave, furrounded the house in a tumultuous manner,
and perhaps called on him to cure their fick, a favour which they
thought he was bound in humanity to grant them, fince he could
do it without being perfonally prefent with the afflicted. Mark
20. And the multitude
iii. 19 And they went into an boufe.
cometh together again, fo that they could not fo much as eat bread.
21. And when
This rudeness incenfed the difciples not a little.
bis friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him, for they
faid, He is befide himself*.


*Ver. 21.] Moft tranflations render this verfe as we do; but the meaning which they give is falfe, and fuch as fuggefts a very unbecoming idea of our Lord, who on no occafion behaved fo as to give his friends


The multitude being difperfed, Jefus called his twelve apoftles, and conferred on them the power of working miracles, in confirmation of the doctrine they were appointed to preach, delivered them their commiffion or authorized them to preach it, and gave them fuch inftructions as he thought proper to fit them for discharging the duties of their new office. Matt. x. 1. And when he had called unto him his twelve difciples. From Matthew's naming them the twelve, it appears that he confidered them as elected before this, though he has given no account of it in his gofpel-be gave them power against unclean spirits to caft them out. Evil fpirits are called unclean, because they are wicked and delight in wickednefs, which is the only pollution of a spiritual being, and because they excite men to the commiffion of it.-And to beal all manner of sickness, and all manner of difeafe This power of working miracles was extremely receifary to the apoftles, because being men of low degree, they could not otherwise have drawn the attention of the world, nor have gained credit to the unheard of doctrines which they were to preach. 2. Now the names of the twelve apoftles are thefe: the firft Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James the fon of Zebedee and John his brother. 3. Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, James the fon of Alpheus and Lebbeus whofe firname was Thaddeus. 4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who alfo betrayed him. See $37. where the hif tory of the twelve apoftles is given. 5 Thefe twelve Jefus fent forth, namely to preach the gofpel and to work miracles (verfe 7,8.) and commanded them, faying, Go not into the way of the



room to fufpe&t that he was mad. The original runs thus. Kai aNBOUYTES
οι παρ' αυτε εξήλθον κρατήσαι αυτόν. ελέγον γαρ. οτι εξεστη. Οι παρ' αυτό,
they that were with him, namely in the houte, (ver. 19.) a×85zvtes, hearing,
viz. the noife which the mob made at the door, they went out. ngarnoal autoy,
to restrain or quell, not Jefus, for he was in the houfe, (ver. 19) but the
multitude or mob. (avrov, it, viz oxo) either by diiperfing them or keep-
ing them out; for they said, ežern, viz. axλ) The multitude or mob is
mad This feafe the veil xguri bas without difpute, Rev. vii. 1. xgaт81-
TES THE TITOAgas aveμus, 66
holamg, detaining, 'reftraining, the four winds
Ot: earth.

* Ver. 5. Go not into the way of the Gentiles. It may feem ftrange that our Lord neither preached himself to the Gentiles. nor allowed his difciples to preach among them during his own life time; especially when it is confidered, that he came into the world on purpose to deftroy the polytheifm of the heathens, their idol mediators, and their idolatrous worship, and to establish the knowledge of the true God, and of the only mediator between God and man, and of the right method of obtaining his favour. But our wonder will ceafe, when the reafon of his conduct is understood. As the Jews were the only people in the world who believed in the one true God, before his meflengers attempted to preach him to the heathens, it was fit that they fhould prove their million to the conviction of the Jews, inftruct them more fully in the fundamental doctrines of religion,



Gentiles, i. e. their country; for the way of the fea (Matth. iv. 15.) fignifies the country round the fea. And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. In travelling through Palestine, the apostles would often have occafion to go into Samaria; but they were not to enter the cities thereof with a defign to preach. It is true, in the beginning of his ministry our Lord himself preached to the Samaritans with great fuccefs, John iv. 41, 42. and therefore had he fent his apoftles among them, numbers in all


and correct what errors had crept into their faith. Besides, Christianity was not only to be propagated through the world, by the force of its own intrinfic excellency, and by the miracles wherewith it was accompanied, but it was to make its way also by the evidence which it derived from the Jewish prophecies, and by the light thrown upon it, confidered as the perfection of that grand scheme which was begun in the first ages, and carried on under various difpenfations from time to time, till it obtained a more complete and lafting form under the Jewish economy. It was highly expedient, therefore, that a competent number of Jews fhould be converted to Chriflianity, who might publifh it to the rest of the world with all the evidence that was proper to be offered. But if, on account of the former revelation made to the Jews, it was abfolutely fit that the new revelation fhould be preached by them to the rest of the world, it was neceflary that the gospel at the firft fhould be confined to them; becaufe had it been preached to the Gentiles, that circumftance alone would have made the Jews reject it univerfally. It is well known how high the prejudices of the apostles themselves ran on this head, even after they had received the gifts of the Spirit, being exceffively offended with Peter, one of their num. ber, who by a vifion from heaven had with difficulty been prevailed upon to preach to the profelyte Cornelius. Nay, they were hardly brought to believe that God intended to bestow the gospel on the Gentiles, when they faw them receive the greatest of its privileges in an equal degree with themselves, even the gifts of the Spirit. And though after this they preached to the Gentiles, yet wherever they came, their cuftom was to begin at the Jews, if there were any in the place, that all offence might be prevented; and on the Jews rejecting the gospel, they turned to the Gentiles, Acts xiii. 46. Thus, as the apoftle tells us, Rom. xv. 8. Jefus Chrift was a minister of the circumcifion, he preached only to the Jews; for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, he preached to the Jews to make the truth of God manifeft; it being the moft effectual means of confirming the promifes made to Abraham and the reft of the fathers, namely, that in his feed all the families of the earth should be blessed. For thus the Jews were firft bleffed. It was likewife the most effectual means of bleffing even the Gentiles themselves. Accordingly the apostle adds, as the fruit of this appointment, and that the Gentiles might glorify God on account of his mercy; the mercy of the new covenant which they enjoy by their converfion to Chriftianity. The truth is, had Jefus Chrift been a minifter of the uncircumcifion, that is, had he preached the gospel at all to the Gentiles, the Jews would have rejected it; fo that the profelytes, and fuch as held the faith of the profelytes, which the wifer fort of the Gentiles feem generally to have done, would not have become Chrift's difciples with fuch eafe and readiness. The reason was, the evidence of the gospel being greatly weakened by the unbelief of the Jews, the converts among the Gentiles would have been few in con parifon, and by that means the promifes made to the fathers, that in Chrift all nations fhould be blessed, would not have been confirmed, or fo fully accomplished, as it is by the fcheme which Providence has actually cholen.

probability would have been induced to believe. But the inveterate enmity which the Jews bare to the Samaritans, made the converfion of the latter improper at this time, for the reasons mentioned in the note on ver. 5. Matt. x. 6. But go rather to the loft fheep of the boufe of Ifrael: he called the Jews loft sheep, because, as he had told his disciples, (Matt. ix. 36.) they fainted and were scattered abroad as theep having no fhepherd, and fo were in danger of perishing, fee Ifa. xlix. 10. 7. And as ye go, preach, faying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand; publish every where the glad tidings of the approach of the Meffiah's kingdom promised by the prophets. Properly speaking, the kingdom of beaven or gospel-dispensation, did not begin till the Jewish economy was abolished: and therefore the apoftles, in our Lord's time, and even our Lord himself, preached the approach only, and not the actual exiftence of that kingdom. But though the apoftles were directed to preach the approach of the kingdom of heaven, they did not yet fully understand its nature, that it was not to be a temporal but a spiritual kingdom, confisting in the dominion of righteousness and truth within men. 8. Heal the fick, cleanfe the lepers, raife the dead, caft out devils: freely ye have received, freely give; perform all thefe miraculous cures in confirmation of your miffion, without receiving any hire or reward for them of any kind. Matt. x. 9. Provide neither gold, nor filver, nor brafs in your purses. Though


* Ver. S. Raife the dead] In several copies, the clause, raise the dead, is wanting; for which reason, and because the disciples did not raise any perfon from the dead, till after Chrift's afcenfion, Dr Mills takes it to be an interpolation. But his opinion is ill founded, as it is certain that this, with feveral other articles in the apoftles firft commiffion, have a direct relation to the period comprehended under that more extenfive commiffion, which they received after their mafter's refurrection. See ver. 18. 21. 23. of this chapter.

+ Ver. 8. Freely give.] That the direction freely ye have received, freely give, relates to the miraculous cures which the apoftles were empowered to perform, and not to the ftated offices of the apoftolical function, is evident from Luke x. 7. where our Lord, in giving a like commiflion to the feventy, bids them "eat and drink what was fet before them, because the labourer was worthy of his hire." Nay, in this very charge, no fooner did he order the apoftles to give freely, than he forbade them to provide gold, &c." because the workman is worthy of his meat:" plainly infinuating, that while they were preaching the gospel, they had a right to maintenance from thofe who enjoyed the benefit of their labours, and thould in the courfe of the divine Providence be fupplied with all things neceflary. Accordingly, we find the apoftles receiving maintenance, and infifting upon it as their due, 1 Cor. ix. 4, 5, 14 Gal. vi 6.

Ver. 9. In your purses.] Ev (avais, in your girdles. The eastern gir dle being doubled and fewed along the edges, was more convenient for carrying a quantity of money than a purfe, because the money being diftributed round the body in the fobs of the girdle, the weight of it was not fo much felt. By money therefore in their girdles, is to be understood a çonfiderable fum,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Though I forbid you to take money for the miraculous cures which you fhall perform, I do not mean that you fhould beforehand lay up money for your fupport during your journey. You are not even to provide the clothes and fhoes which you may have occafion for while you are abroad; because you fhall be fupplied with whatever you need by those to whom you preach the gofpel, and you have a right to be thus fupplied by them. 10. *Nor fcrip for your journey, neither two coats, † neither Shoes, nor yet faves: (for the workman is worthy of his meat). Our Lord forbade his difciples to provide beforehand fuch things as might be neceflary during their journey, because they would be troublesome to them in travelling, and ordered them to go out thus unfurnished, partly that they might be inured in his own life-time to bear the hardships they would be expofed to afterwards, when discharging the apoftolical function, and partly that their faith in the providence of God might be confirmed. For it must have afforded them great comfort ever after, to reflect on the fingular care that was taken of them while out on their firft miffion, wholly unprepared to execute fuch an undertaking. Accordingly this was the ufe which Chrift himself directed them to make of it, Luke xxii. 35. Matt. x. 11. And into whatfoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire | who in it is worthy, and


* Ver. 10. Nor fcrip for your journey.] The fcrip (ng) was a fort of large bag in which thepherds, and thofe who journeyed, carried their provifions. See on Luke x. 34. § 52. Thus the bag, into which David put the smooth stones, wherewith he smote Goliah, is called both a scrip and a fhepherd's bag.

Ibid. Neither foes.] Yodquaτa. In the account which Mark gives of the repetition of these inttructions, immediately before the difciples took their journey, he fays they were permitted to be fhod with fandals: (aλx' vmodedeμerus carduria, vi. 9.) The fandal was a piece of trong leather or wood, fastened to the fole of the toot with flrings, which they tied round the foot and ancle; but the fhoe was a kind of fhort boot, that covered the foot and part of the leg, and was a more delicate piece of dress than the fandal.

Ibid. Nor yet flaves.] Mark fays the difciples were allowed to take a ftaff, vi. 8. But in Calvin's opinion, the feeming contradiction may be removed by attending to the ambiguity of the Hebrew word , answering to the Greek gadov. For as the Hebrew word fignifies any fort of rod, whether club, jaff. fceptre, or pole, he thinks the flaff which, according to Matthew, the difciples were prohibited to ufe, may have been a pole for carrying a burden on, an accoutrement that was ufelefs, as they were not allowed to carry provifions with them, nor any ipare clothes; whereas, the faff, which by Mark's account he permitted them to take, was a walking staff, very proper for thofe who were to perform a journey with expedition. See another folution, Prelim. Obf. I.-Heinfius labours to prove that un, the exceptive particle in Mark, may fignify no not; fo would have the claule. u un gadov povov tranflated, no, not a single flaff.

Ver. 11. Who in it is worthy.] Anciently they had not houfes of entertainment for the accommodation of travellers, fuch as we have, but only


« ForrigeFortsæt »