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iniquity should be full.. The Scribes and Pharisees, though they pretended to venerate the memory of those holy men, whom their forefathers had slain, adopted the spirit which had occasioned their death, and so made themselves partakers of the national crime, as much as if they had themselves killed Abel and Zacharias; and, by extending their malice to our LORD and his Apostles,. they brought down the vengeance of GoD on their own generation; and might be said to be guilty of the blood of all the Prophets, because in opposition to the written word of God, and the preaching of our SAVIOUR himself, they justified all who had slain them, from the foundation of the world.
Our LORD accused these expounders of the law, of taking away the key of knowledge; by which is meant, that they had perverted the plain doctrine of Scripture, and by this means misled men who would otherwise have known their duty, and been ready and willing to perceive that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and that various prophecies were accomplished by the coming of the MESSIAH. And not only so, but they had intimidated many from embracing the offer of salvation, by threatening to cast them out of the synagogues.
As there was nothing, in our LORD's discourse that. would bear a criminal accusation, the Pharisees endeavoured to provoke him by dangerous questions to say something which they might produce against him; but. he was superior to every snare, and, on all occasions,. observed the exactest rules of prudence, so that no proyocation or contradiction could excite intemperate anger. or resentment in his mind.
Let us carefully consider our LORD's admonitions, which, though addressed to the Pharisees, are recorded for all whose circumstances they may happen to suit
And let us remember, that hypocrisy and deceit are but for a short time, and that at the last day men will ap pear as they really are, and be judged accordingly.
OUR LORD'S DISCOURSE ON HYPOCRISY.-THE PA RABLE OF THE WORLDLY-MINDED MAN,
From Luke, Chap. xii.
In the mean time, when there were gathered toge ther an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware-ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy..
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known..
Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge, or a divider over you?
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?
So is be that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards GoD.
And Jesus said unto his disciples, Fear not, little flock For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that you have, and give alms: provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens, that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: Verily, I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those
And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
Be ye therefore ready also for the Son of man com
oth at an hour when ye think not. unto him, LORD, speakest thou this or even to all ? ·
Then Peter said parable unto us,
And the LORD said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his houshold, to give them their portion of meat in due
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants, and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken:
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
And that servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not for himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required and to whom men have committed much, of him they shall ask the more.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
There is no one sin against which our Saviour was so severe as that of hypocrisy ; and in this section he shews. the folly of it, by intimating that there will certainly come a time when those who have been guilty of it will be exposed, in their real characters, before men and angels.
The man who applied to our LORD to settle a dif ference between himself and his brother concerning inheritance, did not consider the nature of his ministry, which related to the kingdom of heaven, not to the trifling concerns of this world. He did not come as a temporal prince to exercise a judical power upon earth, or to alter established rules and customs relating to temporal concerns; but to teach mankind to wean their af. fections from things below, and set them upon learning things from above: therefore, instead of commanding the man to do as his brother required, our LORD began a discourse concerning covetousness, which would suit either one who unlawfully retained more than his right, or one who desired more than his lawful share; observing, that our happiness and comfort did not depend upon having great wealth: this he illustrated by a pa rable, the design of which was to shew the folly of those who are wholly intent on amassing riches, to the neglect of their spiritual concerns, and the misery of their latter end.
Few of our LORD's followers were in such affluent eircumstances, as to have riches to set their hearts upon their greatest danger was of having an immode. rate solicitude about the necessary supplies of life: he; therefore, proceeded to caution them against this, by repeating the instructions he had formerly delivered in his Sermon on the Mount; these have been already explained; but he added others, which require consideration.
Having assured his disciples that all things necessary should be given them, if they would lay aside, anxious care and trust to Divine Providence, our LORD added, that poor, weak, and mean as their condition was, GoD
* Luke, xii, 22, 32.-compared with Matt. vi,