« ElőzőTovább »
Luke xviii. 10, 11, 12, 14. Two men went up into
the temple 10 pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican, I fust , give tithes I
And the Publican standing afar' off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me 2 sinner.
N the beginning of this chapter you read of the reason of the parable of the unjust judge and the poor
widow; nainely, to encourage min to pray. "He spake a parable to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to fajnt;" and a most sweet parable for that purpose it is: Por if through importunity a poor widow-woman may prevail with an unjust judge, and so consequently with an unmerciful and hard-hearted tyrant, how much more shall the poor, afflicted, distressed, and tempted people of God, prevail with, and obtain mercy at the hands of a loving, just, and merciful God! The unjust judge would not harken to, nor regard the cry of the poor widow, for a while: “ But afterwards he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man: Jet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”
Hark, saith Christ, “what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry unto him day and night? I tell you he will avenge them specdily."
This is therefore a very comfortable parable to such of the saints that are under hard usages by reason of evil men, their might and tyranny: For by it we are taught to believe and expect, that God, though for awhile he scemeth not to regard, yet will in due time and season, “ arise and set such in safety from them that puff at them,” Pasł. xii. 5.
Let the good Christian pray always ; let him pray, and not faint at seeming delays; for if the widow by importunity prevailed with the unjust judge, how much more shall he with his heavenly Father, I tell you, says Christ, “ he will avenge them speedily."
But now, forasmuch as this parable reacheth not ( so directly) the poor Publican in the text, therefore our Lord begins again and adds to that other parable this parable which I have chosen for my text ; by which he designeth two things : First, The conviction of the proud and self-conceited Pharisee : Secondly, The raising up and healing of the cast down and dejected Puhlican.' And observe it, as by the first parable he chiefly designeth the relief of those that are under the hands of cruel tyrants, so by this he designeth the relief of those that lie under the load and burthen of a guilty and disquieted conscience.
This therefore is a parable that is full of singular comfort to such of the sinners in the world that are clogged with guilt, and a sense of sin; and that lic under the apprehensions of, and that are driven to God by the sense of the judgment that for sin is due unto them.
In my handling of this text, I shall have respect to these things.
1. To the persons in the text.
3. To the conclusion that Christ makes upon them both.
First, For the persons. They were, as you see, far one from another in their own apprehension of themselves ; one good, the other bad; but yet in the judgment of the law, both alike, both the same, both sinners; for they both stood in need of mercy. True, the first mentioned did not see it, as the other poor sinner did; but that altereth not the case : He that is in the judgment of the law a sinner, is in the judgment of the
law for sin condemned, though in his own judgment he be never so righteous.
Men must not be judged, or justified, according to what themselves do think, but according to the verdict and sentence that cometh out of the mouth of God about them. Now, the sentence of God is, “All have sin. ned: There is none righteous, no not one," Rom. ii. It is no matter, then, what the Pharisee did think of himself; God by his word hath proclaimed him a sinner, by reason of original sin ; a sinner, by reason of actual transgresion. Personally, therefore, with reference to the true nature of their state, they both were sinners, and both by the law under condemnation. True, the Publican's leprosy was outwards ; but the Pharisee's leprosy was inwards ; his heart, his soul, his spirit, was as foul, and had as much the plague of sin, as had the other, in his life and conversation.
Secondly, As to their conditions, (I do not mean by condition, so much a habit of mind, as the state that they had each of them put themselves into by that mind.) “The one,” says the text, “was a Pharisec, the other a Publican." A Pharisee; that is, one that hath chosen to himself such a course of life. A Publi can; that is one that hath chosen to himself such a course of life. These terms, therefore, shew the divers courses of life that they had put themselves into. The Pharisee, as he thought, had put himself in a condition for heaven and glory; but the Publican was for this world of lusts. Wherefore when the Pharisee stands in the temple, he boasteth of himself and good condition, but condemneth the Publican, and bitterly in: veig heth against him. But, as I said, their personal state, by the law, was not at all changed. The Pha: risee made himself never the better; the Publican also abode in his place.
Indeed the Publican is here found to recant, and re: pent of his condition, and of the condition that he had put himself into ; and the Pharisee too boasts of his. But the Publican's repentance was not of himself, but
of God, who can also, yea, and sometimes it is evident (Acts ix. ) doth make Pharisees also repent of that condition that they have chosen to be in themselves, Phil. iii. 3-8. The Pharisee, therefore, in com: mending himself, makes himself never the berrer; the Publican also, in condemning of himself, make's himself never the worse. Nay, contrariwise, the Pharisee, by commending himself, makes himself much, the worse, ver. 14. and the Publican, by condemning of himself, makes himself much the better. “I tell you," says Christ, “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and he that humblech himself, shall be exalted."
But, I say, as to men's commending of themselves, yea, though others should condemn them also, that avail. eth, to Godward, nothing at all. “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” So then, “ Men in measuring of themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves amongst themselves, are not wise." i Cor. x. 12.
Now this was the way of the Pharisee ; “ I am not," saith he, “as other men : I am no extortioner, nor uhjust, no adulterer, nor yet as this Publican.”
"Two men went into the temple to pray;" and they two, aš 1 said, as opposite one to the other, as any two men that ever went thither to pray.
One of thein was over righteous, and the other wicked over much. Some would have thought, had they not by the word of Christ been otherwise described, that they had been both of the same religion ; for they both went up into the temple to pray; yea, both to pray, and that at the same time, as if they did it by appointment, by agreeinent ; but there was no such thing. The one was a Pharisee, and the other a Publican ; for so saith the after words; and therefore persons as opposite as light and darkness, as fire and water ; I meam, as to their apprehensions one of another. The Pharisee could not abide tre
Publican, nor could the Publican brook the Pharisèe; and yet both went up into the temple to pray, It is strange to see, and yet it is seen, that men cross in their minds, cross in their principles, cross in their apprehensions, yea, and cross in their prayers too, should yet meet together in the temple to pray.
“ Two men ;” men not of the middle sort, and them two picked out of the best and worst that was : Two men, a Pharisee and a Publican.
To be a Pharisee was in those days counted honourable for religion, and for holiness of life. A Pharisec was a man of esteem and repute among the Jews, though it is a term of reproach with us; else Paul would not at such a time as he did it, have said, “Men and brethern, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, Acts xxxiii. 6. Phil. iii. 5. For now he stood upon his purgation and justification, especially it appears so by the place first named. And far be it form any to think, that Paul would make use of a colour of wickedness, to save thereby himself from the fury of the people.
A Publican was in those days counted one of the vilest of men, as is manifest; because when they are in the world, by way of discrimination, made mention of
, they are ranked with the most vile and base ; therefore they are joined with sinners. “ He eateth with Publicans and sinners, and with harlots. “ Pulslicans and harlots enter into the kingdon of heaven." Yea, when our Lord Christ would have the rebellious professor stigmatized to purpose, he saith, “Let him be to thee as an Heathen man and a Publican."
We therefore can make no judgment of men upon the outward appearance of them. Who would have thought, but that the Pharisee had been a good man, for he was righteous, for he prayed. And who could have thought, that the other had been a good man? for he was a Publican; a man by good naen and bad men, joined with the worst of men, to wit, with sinners, harlots, and Heathens.