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Mat.xvï.25. He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Capernaum.

Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Si-
mon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or

tribute ? of their own children, or of strangers ?
26. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto

him, Then are the children free.
27. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou

to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first
cometh up: and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou
shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto
them for me and thee.

The Disciples contend for Superiority *.
MATT. xviii. 1. to the end. MARK ix. 33, to the end.

LUKE ix. 47-50.
Mat, xviii,l. At the same time
Mark ix. 33. being in the house,

to all mankind, quietly to submit to all the laws and customs of
their country, which are not hostile to Christianity.

Jones (c) considers this as another significant action, and
remarks on it-"I have a notion of my own, for which I can
produce no authority of any commentator, that the three orders
of animals, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the earth, and the
fishes of the sea, represent three states of being ; the fowls of
the air, the angelic or spiritual nature, both bad and good ; the
land animals, the present state of man's life; the fish of the sea,
the state of the dead, wbo are silent and invisible. This may
appear strange and visionary to those who have not considered
it; but if the distinction is founded on the Scripture, then the
fish, that first cometh up, is he that first cometh up from the
dead, as Christ did, the first fruits of them that slept : and as
he rose for our justification, he brought with him our ransom,
to be paid for those who have no tribute money of their own to
give. With this sense the case was worthy of the divine inter-
position.” I insert this as a curious specimen of Jones' inter-
pretation of Scripture ; it is fanciful, but ingenious.

Dr. Owen (apud Bowyer, p. 103.) has justly observed that the omission of our translators to mark the difference between the didracbma, v. 24. and the stater, v. 27. has obscured and enervated the whole account. The stater was equal in value to the didrachma, which was equivalent to the hair shekel demanded (d) (Exod. xxx. 11–16. and xxxviii. 25-28.) for the service of the temple.

(a) Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 212. (b) Whitby in loc. (c) Jones' Figurative Language of Scriptnre. id. See on this subject Elsley in loc. Lightfoot ut supra, and Schoetgen's Remarks on Lightfoot, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 151.

26 The ambitious dispute of the disciples concerning their precedency in the kingdom of heaven, proves that not even the repeated predictions of our Saviour's sufferings and death could banish from the minds of his followers their preconceived ideas respecting the Messiah's kingdom. To correct this prevailing error, our Saviour now resorts to a different mode of unde

Mat. xviii.l. came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest Capernaum.

in the kingdom of heaven?

ceiving them. He places a little child before them, assuring
them that unless they were converted; that is, unless they be-
came as unambitious and as humble, as mild, as meek, and as
regardless of all temporal powers and distinctions, as a little
child, they could not even be admitted into the kingdom of
heaven. Humility is the characteristic virtue of Christianity;
and the highest rewards of heaven are promised to the most
humble and meek-for he that is least among you all, the same
shall be great.

The reason, Michaelis observes on this conversation, why ap-
parent contradictions are unavoidable in the deposition of se-
veral eye witnesses to the same transaction, is easy to be
assigned. They do not all observe every minute circumstance
of the transaction, but some pay particular attention to one
circumstance, others, to another; this occasions a variation
in their accounts, which it is sometimes difficult to reconcile.
This happened likewise to the Evangelists, as I will illustrate
by the following instance. St. Matthew, ch.xviii. 1–14. and
St. Mark, ch. ix. 33–50. relate the same transaction, but in
different points of view, and for that reason appear, at first
sight, to contradict each other.

St. Matthew says, At that time came the disciples to Jesus, and said, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?St. Mark, on the contrary, He came to Capernaum, and having entered into an 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. According to St. Matthew, the disciples themselves lay the subject of their dispnte before Jesus, for his decision : but, according to St. Mark, they even refuse to relate the subject of their dispute, though Jesus requested it, because they were conscious to themselves that it would occasion a reproof. The questien is, how these accounts are to be reconciled.

Without entering into the various solutions which have been given by the commentators, I shall only observc, that, as this transaction relates to a matter of dispute among the disciples, it has of course two different sides, and therefore capable of two different representations. Some of the disciples laid claim to the title of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, among whom wo may probably reckon Peter, with the two sons of Zebedee, James and John. These could hardly expect to escape a reproof, and were undoubtedly ashamed, when questioned as to the subject of their dispute. Other disciples, on the contrary, may be considered as the party attacked, wbo, without claiming the first rank for themselves, might yet think it unjust to be treated as inferiors, since they all appeared to be equal. The latter had less reason to fear a reproof, since the pure morality of Christ, which teaches that every action must be estimated by the motives which gave it birth, was not then fully understood by his disciples. In their outward behaviour, at least, there was nothing unreasonable, and, without being guilty of a breach of propriety, they might lay their complaints before their Master, and request his decision. It is probable that St. Matthew was of this party, since a man, who was by profession a tax-gatherer, and never particularly distinguished himself among the Apostles, would have hardly supposed that he should become the first in the kingdom of God. He relates

Mark ix. 33. and he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among Capernaum.

yourselves by the way?
34. But they held their peace : for by the way they had dis-

puted among themselves, who should be the greatest.
Luke ix. 47. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart,
Mark ix. 35. 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. Mat.xviii.2. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in

the midst of them. Luke ix. 47. by him, Mark ix. 36. in the midst of them: and when he had taken bim in his

arms, he said unto them, Mat.xviii.3. Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and be

come as little children, ye shall not enter into the king

dom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little
child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my

name receiveth me.

the transaction, therefore, as one of that party to which he
belonged. St. Mark, on the contrary, who derived informa-
tion from St. Peter, considers the matter from an opposite
point of view. Let us suppose the full state of the case to be
as follows.

Some of the disciples, who were of the diffident party, and
laid no claim to the first rank, bring the matter before Christ,
with the same kind of indignation as was displayed by ten of
the Apostles on another occasion, Matt. xx. 24. Christ re-
serves the decision of the dispute till they were entered into
the house, where they were accustomed to meet: he then calls
bis disciples together, and enquires into the subject of their
dispute, to which Peter, James, John, and those in general
who had claim to pre eminence make no answer. If the tran-
saction was literally as here described, it is by no means im-
possible that Matthew and Mark might consider it from differ-
ent points of view, and write what we find in their Gospels,
without the least violation of truth. The one relates one part,
and the other another part of the transaction, but neither of
them relates the whole. If we read a few verses further in St.
Mark's Gospel, we find a circumstance recorded of St. John,
which St. Matthew passes over in silence, and from which it
appears that St. John was more concerned in this dispute tban
most of the other disciples. He even ventured, when Cbrist,
with a view of introducing a perfect equality among his dis-
ciples, said, “Whoever receiveth one of these children in my
name, receiveth me,” to doubt of the universality of this posi-
tion, alleging that persons of unexceptionable character might
appeal to the name of Jesus, and giving an instance of one
who had cast out devils in his name, whom the Apostles had re-
buked, Mark ix. 37, 38. Tbis again occasioned replies from
Christ; which, though they are mentioned by St. Matthew,
have in bis Gospel a different appearance, and are attended
with less perspicuity than they are in St. Mark's Gospel, be-
canse St. Matthew has not related the causes which gave them
birth.–Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. pt. 1. p. 6-9.

Markix. 37. and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but Capernaum.

him that sent me: Lake ix. 48. for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great. Mark ix. 38. 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. 39. 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.
40. For he that is not against us is on our part.
41. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink,

because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he

shall not lose his reward.
Mat.xviii.6. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which

believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the

depth of the sea.
7. Woe unto the world, because of offences ! for it must

needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by

whom the offence cometh.
8. Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them

off, and cast them from thee :
Mark ix.43. 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 :
44. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not

45. 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 :
46. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not


And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out:
Mat.xviii.9. and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life
Mark ix. 47. into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two

eyes to be cast into hell-fire :
48. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not

49. For every one shall be salted with firea, and

crifice shall be salted with salt.

every sa

27 This is one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament. Beza and Mr. Gilpin suppose it to inean, every Christian is purified by the difficult or fiery trials of liso, in the same manner as (kai for us, as in John xiv, 20. and Mark x. 12.) every sacrifice is salted with salt.

Macknight would road, “ Every Christian is salted and prepared Tvpi for the fire, (in the dative, as 2 Pet. iii. 7.) i. e. by the apostles for the fire of the altar, i. e, as an holy sacrifice to God.

Whitby would render in this manner, “ Every wicked man shall be so seasoned by the fire itself, as to become unconsumable ; and sball endure for ever to be tormented."


Mark ix.50. Salt is good, but if the salt have lost his saltness, Capernaam.

wherewith will you season it? Have salt in yourselves,

and have peace one with another. Matt. xviii. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones ;

10. for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always

behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and
one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety
and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that

which is gone astray?
13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he

rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine

that went not astray.
14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in

heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go

and tell him his fault between thee and him alone : if he

shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or

two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses
every word may be established.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the
Church : but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be

unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on

earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall
loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.


Grotius, “Every wicked man shall be consumed, like the whole burnt sacrifice, yet with unquenchable fire.".

Lightfoot and Doddridge, “He that is a true sacrifice to God shall be seasoned with the salt of grace, to the incorruption of glory; and every victim to divine justice shall be salted with fire, to endure for ever.”

Clarke, in his Paraphrase, thus interprets this verse, “ For as every burnt offering under the law was first salted with salt, and then consumed by fire; so every one who has been instruct. ed in the doctrine of the Gospel, if when he is tried, he shall be found deficient, or not seasoned, he shall be destroyed by the eternal fire of the divine wrath." And he then observes, in a note from Le Clerc, that the emphasis of the comparison lies in the ambiguity of the word n bo', which signifies both, shall be salted, and shall be destroyed. As every sacrifice is salted, nype, with salt, so every apostate shall be destroyed, abra', (in the other signification or ihe word) with fire.

Schoetgen supposes that an allusion is made to the salt, or
bitumen, with which the sacrifices were sprinkled, that they
might burn more easily. He also interprets the passage, that
as every sacrifice must be prepared for the altar, by the salt
which was set apart for that purpose, so ought Christians to be
imbued with the heavenly virtues, to become a living sacrifice
to God. He renders the word kai, by quemadmodum, on the
authority of Noldius.

Schoetgen, Hor. Heb, vol. i. p. 249. Elsley, and Clarke's
Paraphrase in loc.

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