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had been used, overcame their confirmed wickedness. Hardness of their hearts.' The heart is said to be tender when it is easily affected by the sufferings of others; by our own sin and danger; by the love and commands of God; when we are easily made to feel on the great subjects pertaining to our interest, Ezek. xi. 19, 20. It is hard, when nothing moves it. It is most tender in youth, or when we have committed fewest crimes. It is made hard by indulgence in sin; by long resisting the offers of the appeals which God may make to us by his Spirit or providence. Hence it is, that the most favourable period for securing an interest in Christ, or for becoming a christian, is in youth; in the first, the tenderest, and the best days of life.
6 And the pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Straightway! Immediately; or, as soon as possible. "Took counsel.' Laid a plan. Consulted with them. The Herodians.' See note, Matt. xxii. 16. 'How they might destroy him.' They hated him for his holiness; because he reproved them ; because he laid open their hypocrisy; and because he won the hearts of the people, and lessened their influence. Men would often rather put him to death who reproves them, than forsake their sins. The pharisees had rather commit any crime, even to the murder of their Messiah, than forsake the sins for which he rebuked them.
7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea : and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea, 8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
"To the sea.' The sea of Galilee. Or, to the desert and lonely regions which surrounded the sea, where he might be in obscurity, and avoid their designs against his life. Galilee. See Matt. ii. 22. "Judea.' See Matt. ï. l. 'Jerusalem.' Jeru. salem was in Judea. It is mentioned particularly to show that not only the people of the surrounding country came, but also many from the capital, the place of wealth, and honour, and power. ' Idumea. The country formerly inhabited by the Edomites, the most southern part of the land of Canaan. 'Idumea' is a Greek word, derived from the Hebrew, Edom. It signifies the land of Edom, a name given to Esau, one of the sons of Isaac, Gen. xxv. 30. He settled in mount Seir, Deut. ii, 5, on the south of the land of Canaan; and the country oi due mea bounded Palestine on the south. 'From beyond Jordan.' From the east side of the river Jordan. The sacred writers lived on the west side of Jordan, and, by the country beyond Jordan they meant that on the east side. 'Tyre and Sidon. See note, Matt. xi. 21.
9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small shin should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throug him. 10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
A small ship. Rather, a boat. There were, properly speak. ing, no ships on the sea of Tiberias. This was probably a small boat that belonged to his disciples, in which he could sit off from the shore, and teach the people, without being pressed by them. 'Lest they should throng him. He had healed inany, and those who were still diseased pressed or crowded on him. He therefore withdrew from the multitude. As many as had plagues.' As many as had diseases, or maladies of body or mind.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
Unclean spirits. Persons who were possessed of evil spirits. Thou art the Son of God.' The Son of God, by way of eminence. In this place it is equivalent to the Messiah, who was annong the Jews called the Son of God. Hence they were charged not to make him known, because he was not desirous that it should be blazoned abroad that he claimed to be the Messiah.
This circumstance proves the existence of evil spirits. If these were merely diseased or deranged persons, how could they be endowed with knowledge so much superior to those in health? If they were under the influence of an order of spirits superior to man-whose appropriate habitation was in another world—then it is not strange that they should know him, even in the midst of his poverty, to be the Messiah, the Son of God.
13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would : and they came unto him.
For an account of the appointment of the apostles, see Matt. x. 1-4. 'And calleth unto him whom he would.' Those whom he chose; whom he was about to appoint to the apostleship.
14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
He ordained twelve.' The word rendered ' ordained,' means literally " he made,' or he appointed twelve to be with him.
15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils : 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James ; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
Boanerges.' This word is made up of two Hebrew words, signifying sons of thunder, meaning that they, on some accounts, resembled thunder. Note Matt. i, 1. This name was probably given to James and John, on account of something fervid, and glowing, and powerful in their eloquence and character.
18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house: 20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
“They could not so much as eat bread.' Their time and attention were so occupied, that they were obliged to forego their regular meals. Religion is far more important than the ordinary business of this life; and there is nothing unreasonable if our temporal affairs sometimes give way to the higher interests of our own souls, and the souls of others. At the same time, it is true that religion is ordinarily consistent with a diligent attention to worldly business. It promotes industry, economy, order, neatness, and punctuality--all indispensable to worldly prosperity. Of these excellences our Saviour himself was an 'illustrious example.
21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him : for they said, He is beside himself.
When his friends.' His relatives. 'Heard of it.' Heard of his conduct; his preaching; his appointing the apostles; his drawing such a multitude to his preaching. They went out to lay hold on him.' To take him away from the multitude, and to remove him to his home, that he might be treated as a maniac, and restored to his right mind. "They said.' Probably the ene mies of Jesus raised the report, and his relatives were persuaded to believe it to be true. 'He is beside himself.' He is delirious or deranged. The charge of derangement on account of attention to religion has not been confined to our Saviour. Let a man be deeply impressed with a sense of his .condition and danger, spend much of his time in prayer, and have no relish for the ordinary amusements or business of life; or, let a christian be much iinpressed with bis oblivation to devote himself to God, and act as
if he believed there was an eternity; or let a minister show uncommon zeal, and waste his strength in the service of his Master, and the world is not slow to call it derangement. As if eternity was of no consequence, and all anxiety about that interminable state were madness. At the same time, men may endanger themselves on the bosom of the deep, or in the bowels of the earth, for wealth; or may plunge into the ways of fashion, and folly, and vice, and neglect the hours of repose, and the social endearments of their family, and the demands of business; and in the view of the world this is wisdom, and proof of a sane mind! Such is the consistency of boasted reason; such the wisdom and prudence of worldly men!
22 | And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man: and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily, I say unte you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
And the scribes, &c. See Matt. xii. 24–32. The occasion of their saying this was, that he had healed a man possessed with a devil. The scribes, who came from Jerusalem to watch his conduct, ascribed it to a compact or agreement between him and the prince of the devils.
31 | There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold
my mother and my brethren ! 35 For whosoever slial! do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. See notes on Matt. xii. 46–50.
CHAPTER IV. Į AND he began again to teach by the sea-side : and. there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea, on the land. 2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, 3 Hearken ; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up, and increased ; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
See the parable of the sower explained, in the notes on Matt. xiii. 149.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him, with the twelve, asked of him the parable. II And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive ; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
See Matt. xiii. 10–17. When he was alone.' When he withdrew from the multitude, a few followed him for the purpose of further instruction,
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this para. ble? and how then will ye know all parables ?