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Christs, and false prophets, and even unto the west, so shall also shall shew great signs (i) and the coming of the (n) Son of man wonders ; insomuch (k) that, if it be. 28. For (0) wheresoever the were possible, they shall deceive carcase is, there will the (o) eagles the very elect (1). 25. Behold, I be gathered together. 29. Imhave told you before. 26. Where mediately after the tribulation of fore if they shall say unto you, those days shall the (p) sun be “ Behold, he is in the desert;" go darkened, and the moon shall not not forth : “ Behold, he is in give her light, and the stars shall “ the secret chambers,” believe it fall from heaven, and the powers not. 27. For as the lightning (m) of the heavens shall be shaken : cometh out of the east, and shineth 30. and then shall

appear

the

(1) “ Great signs.” A miracle is not necessarily a proof that the doer has God's approbation. God may sanction a miracle from an impostor, to try men's faith. Thus, Deut. xiii. 1, 2, 3. Moses says, “ if there arise among you a prophet, "and he giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and " the sign or the wonder cometh to pass, ** whereof he spake unto thee, saying, “ let " as go after other gods," thou shalt not “ hearken unto the words of that prophet, " for the Lord your God proveth you, to " know whether you love the Lord your “God with all your heart.” Something may depend upon the character of the mi. racle, and the doctrine or purpose it is brought forward to sanction.

(4) “ Insomuch that, &c.” or, in order to deceive," and then it only implies what was the object of the signs, without importing that they were to be so extraordinary as to be likely to accomplish it.

(1) v. 24. “ The very elect," i. e. “ the " most faithful Christians, those who had "most manfully withstood all temptation, " opposition, and persecution.”

(m) “ As the lightning, &c.” i. e. " as the lightning is not confined to place, " not stationary, not waiting that any one "may come to look at it, but extends in "a moment from one end of heaven to the "other, so the Son of man's coming shall " not be confined to place, he shall not " be the object of sight, he shall be seen " only by his effects, and those effects "shall occur wherever his adversaries "are."

(n) “ The Son, &c." with the article in the original, to distinguish him from every other individual. “ Our Sa"viour," says Dr. Middleton (Midd. on Gr. Article, 364.) “ assumes this appellation at

“ least seventy times, and he never does

so, but in allusion to his present humilia“ tion, or his future glory. It is therefore “ a strong and repeated, though indirect, “ declaration, that the human nature did “ not originally belong to him, and was not “properly his own."

(o) v. 28. “ Wheresoever, &c.” A proverb!" as certainly as the eagle or vulture " will find out a dead carcase, so certainly « will the instruments of the Messiah's

vengeance find out his enemies.” Job gives this character of the eagle, “where “ the slain are, there is she. Job xxxix. “ 30." It is observable too, that at the de struction of Jerusalem the Roman armies were the instruments of God's vengeance, and their ensign was an eagle.

(p) v. 29. “ The sun shall be darkened.” In prophetic language great commotions on earth are represented by commotions in heaven, and the overthrow of earthly potentates by defects in the lights of heaven. In ảntient hieroglyphics the sun, moon, and stars stood for states, potentates, and kings. When God was foretelling by Isaiah the destruction of Babylon, (Isaiah xiii. 9.) he says, “Behold the day « of the Lord cometh, cruel both with “ wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land “ desolate, and he shall destroy the sin“ ners thereof out of it. For the stars of * heaven and the constellations thereof shall “ not give their light, the sun shall be dark“ ened in his going forth, and the moon “ shall not cause her light to shine.” And Joel ii. 31. (speaking prophetically of the destruction of Jerusalem,) says, “ shall be turned into darkness, and the

moon into blood, before the great and “ the terrible day of the Lord come.” See also Ezek. xxxii. 7,8.-Dan. viii. 10.

is the sun

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sign (9) of the Son of man in SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, or the Third heaven: and then shall all the

Sunday before Lent. tribes (r) of the earth mourn, and

The Collect. they shall see the Son of man O LORD, we beseech thee facoming (s) in the clouds of heaven vourably to hear the prayers of with power and

great glory: thy people ; that we, who are 31. And he shall send (t) his (ú) | justly punished for our offences, angels with a great sound of a

may be mercifully delivered by trumpet; and they shall gather thy goodness, for the glory of thy together his (u) elect from the four Name, through Jesus Christ our winds, from one end of heaven to Saviour, who liveth and reigneth the other.

with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

(9) v. 30. “ The sign," or, “standard,” “ did.” It is supposed that not a single το σημείον,

" then shall commence his Christian perished at the destruction of Je“ kingdom; he shall set up his standard, rusalem. Our Saviour had cautioned them, " that all people may come under his ban- (Matt. xxiv. 15.) to flee as soon as they “ ners.” Enucios, signifies a standard, or should see the abomination of desolation banner, as onueñopopos signifies a standard (i. e. the Roman ensigns) standing in (or bearer.

about) the holy place; or, as St. Luke ex(r) “ The tribes of the earth," i.e. presses it, (Luke xxvi. 20.) “ when they « the adversaries of Christ's religion ; the á should see Jerusalem compassed with 6 unbelievers, the men of this world.” « armies.” Jerusalem was first besieged

(s) “Coming in the clouds of hea- by Gallus, but he raised the siege; the

ven," i. e. (perhaps) “with as strong Christians took the opportunity, and Aled ; “ marks of his power as if he came visibly so that when it was afterwards besieged “ riding in the clouds.” Daniel, (speaking by Titus, there was not one Christian in prophetically of the Messiah, Dan. vii. 13.) it. 1,100,000 Jews perished in Jerusalem, says,

one like the Son of Man came 97,000 were taken prisoners, and 247,490 with the clouds of heaven :" and, with re- perished elsewhere. The preservation of ference to this prophecy, one of the names the Christians had been foretold, (Joel ii. by which the Messiah was spoken of be- 32.) “ And it shall come to pass, that fore the time of our Saviour was Anani, « whosoever shall call on the name of the which signifies the clouds; and when our “ Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Saviour told the high priest that he was « Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverthe Christ the Son of God: he added, “ ance, as the Lord hath said, and in the that they should “ see the Son of man “ remnant whom the Lord shall call." See “ sitting at the right hand of Power, and a very able reading on this prophecy, “ coming in the clouds of heaven. Matt. 2 Porteus's Lectures, 166, 199, Lectures 6 xxvi. 63–66.–Mark xiv. 62.” Coming in 19. and 20. the clouds was probably considered a di- (u) his angels," his elect." So vine characteristic, not applied to any one that he was to have angels of his own, but God. In Ps. xviii, 10. it is said that and those who were worthy were to be God “ rode upon the cherubims, and did deemed his elect, as well as the Father's, “ fly; he came flying upon the wings of See Graves's Trinity, 96. So Matt. xii. 41. “ the wind ;" and Ps. civ. 3. “ he maketh ante, 73. our Saviour says of himself, “ at " the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon “ the end of this world the Son of man “ the wings of the wind."

“ shall send forth his angels, and they shall (t) v. 31. “ Shall send, &c." “not, (per- “ gather out of his kingdom all that of“haps,) literally, but shall as effectually “ fend, &c." So that he was to have angels “provide for their preservation, as if he and a kingdom at the end of this world.

The Epistle. 1 Cor. ix. 24. (y) that (6) beateth the air : 27. but Know ye not that they which I keep under my (C) body, and run in a race run all, but one re- bring it into subjection ; lest that ceiveth the prize? So run, that ye by any means, when I have preachmay obtain. 25. And every man

ed to others, I myself should be a that striveth for the mastery is (3) temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible

The Gospel. Matt. xx. 1. crown ; but we an incorruptible. Tue (d) kingdom of heaven is 28. I therefore so run, not as un- like (e) unto a man that is an certainly (a); so fight I, not as one householder, which went out early their way.

cast-away.

“ to bring

(y) St. Paul presses upon the Corinthian converts exertion and self-denial, by reminding them how much they underwent to endeavour to succeed in their games, where however one only could be successful, and where the crown or prize, when obtained, was nothing to what would ultimately be conferred upon those who strove in the cause of Christ. The Isthmian games were celebrated near Corinth; so that the Corinthians would peculiarly feel the force of this species of argument.

(z) v. 25.“ Temperate, &c. “ himself into proper order for the con"test."

(2) v. 26. « Uncertainly." To a Christian, who strives to the utmost, success is certain : in a race, as one only can succeed, many who strive to the utmost must fail.

(6) One that beateth the air," "whose blow fails, is evaded by the oppo"Dent." In the Christian warfare, no exertion can be thrown away..

(c) v. 27. “My body," i. e. “my caranal, evil appetites."

(d) v. 1. “The kingdom of heaven," i.e. * God's dispensation under the gospel."

(e) v. 2. “ Like, &c.” The objects of this parable seem to have been, to check Peter for having asked (Matt. xix. 27.) what they should have for having forsaken all and followed our Saviour, to prevent extraordinary expectations in the first converts, and to let them know that God alone was to apportion to each man his reward, that the lowest he would give would be as much as any one could claim, and that he was not to be questioned if one appeared to have a greater proportion of reward than another. Our Saviour had indeed told the apostles, that when he

u should sit in the throne of his glory, they “ should sit upon twelve thrones, judging “ the twelve tribes of Israel," (See ante, 66. Matt. xix. 28.) but he added, that “ “many “ that were first should be last, and the “ last should be first ;" and then he spake this parable, which he concludes, “ so the “ last shall be first, &c.” as if that were the position he was meaning to establish. He might mean, that in after times, the exertions and sufferings of others, in the cause of Christianity, might be such as to entitle them to as great rewards as the first apostles, or that persons who had not had the opportunity of becoming converts till an advanced period of their lives, if they then exerted themselves to the utmost, might be entitled to the same rewards as persons converted younger; but the chief point seems to have been to convince them, that God was to apportion the reward, not man, and that it was each man's duty to be thankful for what was given to himself, without looking jealously upon what was given to others. This is one proof of our Saviour's sincerity. An impostor would rather raise the expectations of his fol. lowers than depress them. Another object of the parable might be, to let the Gentiles know, that if they embraced Christianity, and endured with firmness the dangers and difficulties it might bring upon them, they, (who had been so long in a state of spiritual idleness, because they had not received the benefits of revelation, and were therefore in an unhired state,) might receive the same advantages from it as the Jews, who had been so long God's people and servants, and that the Jews would have no right to complain, if God should allow the Gentiles those advantages. Ac. cording to Rom. ix. 15. God is entitled to

15. Is

in the morning to hire labourers received every man a penny: into his vineyard. 2. And when 11. And when they had received he had agreed with the labourers it, they murmured against the for a penny a-day, he sent them good man of the house, 12. say. into his vineyard. 3. And he ing, “ These last have wrought went out about the third hour, and “but one hour, and thou hast made saw others standing idle in the “ them equal unto us, which have market-place, 4. and said unto " borne the burden and heat of the them, “Go ye also into the vine- day.” 13. But he answered

yard; and whatsoever is right, I one of them, and said, “Friend, “ will give you.” And they went “ I do thee no wrong: didst not

5. Again he went out “ thou agree with me for a penny? about the sixth and ninth hour, 14. Take that thine is, and go and did likewise. 6. And about

thy way: I will give unto this the eleventh hour he went out, “ last even as unto thee. and found others standing idle, “ it not lawful for me to do what I and saith unto them, “Why stand « will with mine own? Is thine eye

ye here all the day idle ?" (h) evil because I am (h) good?" 7. They say unto him, “Be- 16. So the last shall be first, and

cause (8) no man hath hired us.' the first last : for many be called, He saith unto them, “Go ye also but few chosen. “ into the vineyard; and whatso

ever is right, that shall ye re6 ceive.” 8. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY, or the Second saith unto his steward, “ Call the

Sunday before Lent. “ labourers, and give them their

The Collect. .hire, beginning from the last “ unto the first." 9. And when O LORD God, who seest that they came that were hired about we put not our trust in any thing the eleventh hour, they received that we do; Mercifully grant, every man man a penny. 10. But that by thy power we may

be when the first came, they sup- defended against all adversity, posed that they should have re- through Jesus Christ our Lord. ceived more ; and they likewise Amen.

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have mercy on whom he will have mercy, “ what it was our duty to do.” Whatever “ and to have compassion on whom he will reward, therefore, God gives us, is matter of “have compassion." If God gives to every favour, and devout thankfulness is the only man to the full as much as he has a right feeling it should raise. The parable could to, (and he gives much more,) is any one not mean that a short service, at the close of entitled to call him to account, because he life, should be rewarded in all cases as ligives to some more than may be thought berally as a long one. See Benson's Intheir due ? According to Luke xvii. 10. troduction, xvi. the doctrine of our Saviour is, that “when (g) v. 7. “ Because, &c." not from want “ we have done all things which are com. of inclination, but want of opportunity. “ manded us," (and who has ?) “we are still (1) v. 15. “Evil,” i. e. « epsious;" “ unprofitable servants; we have only done good," i. e. “ liberal."

The Epistle. 2 Cor. xi. 19. (i) whereinsoever any is bold (0), (1 Ye suffer (k) fools gladly, seeing speak foolishly,) I am bold also, ye yourselves are wise. 20. For 22. Are they Hebrews ? so am I, ye (1) suffer, if a man bring you Are they Israelites ? so am I. Are into bondage, if a man devour you, they the seed of Abraham? So if a man take of

you,
if a man

am I. 23. Are they ministers of exalt himself, if a man smite you Christ? (I speak as (p) a fool) I on the face. 21. I speak as (m) am more; in labours more abunconcerning reproach, as though dant, in (7) stripes above measure; we had been weak. Howbeit (n) in prisons more frequent, in deaths

(6) From the conduct of some false « be witnesses of the Christian miracles, teachers, St. Paul thought himself con- “ passed their lives in labours, dangers, strained to state his own pretensions : his “ and sufferings, which they voluntarily apologies shew how much it was against his « underwent in' attestation of the accounts inclination.

“they delivered, and solely in consequence (k) v. 19. “ Fools, &c." It was perhaps a “ of those accounts. Paley's Evid. i. 17." proverb, “ that the wise can bear what St. Paul was not witness to the miracles of

fools do;" they are above being annoyed our Saviour's time, but he was to that of by it: and the meaning here may be, his own conversion, to whatever he himself "men, so wise as you, will disregard my wrought, and probably to many which “ folly in speaking in my own behalf." the other apostles worked. Our Saviour (1) d. 20. “Ye suffer, &c." i. e. “ye

had foretold to his disciples, (Luke xxi. " have indeed borne with much from these 12, 16, 17.) that “men should lay hands on "false teachers ; ye have suffered them to " them, should persecute them, delivertreat you as bondmen, to prey upon you,

“ ing them up to the synagogues, &c.” "to use you contumaciously, &c.

“ that some of them they should cause to (m) v. 21.“ Reproach, as though, &c." “ be put to death, and that they should be ie. “ upon the imputation of my being “ hated of all men for his name's sake," " weak, not having such pretensions to that is, " for embracing Christianity." The "power, and other gifts, as they." sufferings St. Paul here enumerates were, as

(n) “Whereinsoever, &c." 'i. e. “ if to him, a completion of the prophecy; and " others boast on account of their lineage, the Acts furnish instances of the

persecu“ their exertions and sufferings in the tions of other disciples. Stephen was " cause, their accommodating themselves stoned to death. (Acts vii. 59, 60.) Herod " to the feelings of others to make them “ killed James, the brother of John, with “converts, I have, at least, on each ground, “ the sword; and because it pleased the " as strong claims as they."

“ Jews, he took Peter also, and put him () “ Bold,” i. e. “ vaunting, confident, “ into prison. (Acts xii. 1, 2, 3.") St. Paul, presumptuous." See Philip. iii. 4. where “ before his conversion, made havock of the he again states that his pretensions in what “ Church, entering into every house, and he there calls “the flesh," i. e. “ the Old haling men, women, and children, com“ Testament prerogatives," are more than “ mitted them to prison, Acts viii. 3.-xxvi. equal to those of any other person.

10." The earnest manner, too, in which (p) v. 23. “As a fool,” in mentioning St. Paul, St. James, and St. Peter, exhort my own merits.

the converts to bear up against persecution, (9) "In stripes, &c." St. Paul ap- implies pretty strongly that their sufferings peals particularly to his exertions and were such as to require strong encourages sufferings : they proved not only his zeal ment. See 2 Thess. i. 3–6. - James ïi. and sincerity in bearing up against them, 5—7.—1 Pet. iv. 12–19. See also but God's grace to him in giving him Heb. x. 32, 33. Tacitus also mentions the courage, and afford strong ground for persecutions of the Christians. Ann. Lib. 15. considering his doctrine true, because it C. 45. No impostor would hold out such a gained so much ground, in defiance of so prospect to his followers as that our Samuch opposition. Dr. Paley makes it the viour held out; and nothing but conviction great ground upon which he infers the truth would induce them to bear the trials. of Christianity, that “persons professing to

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