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'Know ye not this parable ?This which is so plain and obvi.
• How will ye know all parables ?' Those which are more difficult and obscure. As they were themselves to be teachers, it was important that they should be acquainted with the whole system of religion : of much more importance for them at that time, than for the mass of the people.
14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
See Matt. xüi. 18-23,
21 | And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed ? and not to be set on a candle-stick ?
• Is a candle brought,' &c. Its design is to give light. So Christ's preaching by parables is not designed to obscure the truth, but to throw light on it; and they should understand those parables, and, understanding them, should impart the truth to others also, as a candle throws its beams upon a dark worid. Bushel.'
A measure for grain, containing about twelve quarts, • Bed.' A couch, to sleep on at night, or to recline on al their meals. Probably the latter is here meant, and is equivalent to our saying, a candle is not brought to be put under the table, but on it. See note, Matt. xxiii. 6.
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
There is nothing hid,' &c. See note, Matt. x. 26.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 A.nd he saith unto them, Take heed what ye hear: With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear, shall more be given.
“Take heed what ye hear. Or, consider well what you hear. Make a good improvement of it. With what measure ye mete,' &c. You shall be treated according to the use you make of your opportunities of learning. This is a proverbial expression. See it explained on Matt. vii. 1, 2. Mete.' Measure. With what measure ye measure. 'Unto you that hear.' To you who are attentive, and who improve what you hear.
25 For he that hath, to him shall be given : and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which be hath.
See note, Matt. xiii. 12. The meaning here seems to be, he that diligently attends to Christ's words, shall increase more and more in the knowledge of the truth. But he that neglects them, and is inattentive, shall become more ignorant; the few things which he had learned he will forget, and his scanty knowledge will be diminished. ‘Hath not. Does not improve what he possessed; or does not make proper use of his means of learning.
That which he hath.' That which he had already learned. The attention must be continued. It is not sufficient that we have learned some things, or appear to have learned much. All will be in vain, unless we go forward, and improve every opportunity of learning the will of God, and the way of salvation.
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
'The kingdom of God.' The gospel, or religion in the soul, may be coinpared to this. See Matt. iii. 2.
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
· And should sleep, and rise night and day.' Should sleep in the night, and rise by day; that is, should live in his usual way. By this we are not to infer that men are to use no diligence in the obtaining and growth of piety, but the illustration shows this, and this only, that as we cannot tell how grain grows, so we cannot tell the mode in which piety increases in the heart, Phil. ii. 12. 'He knoweth not how.' This is still true. After all the researches of philosopher3, not one has been able to tell the way in which grain grows. They can observe one fact after another ; they can see the changes; they can see the necessity of the rain and sun, of care and shelter, but beyond this they cannot go. So
in religion. We can mark the change; we can see the need of prayer, and examination, and searching the scriptures, and the use of the ordinances of religion, but we cannot tell in what way the religious principle is strengthened. See John iii. 8.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the
It grows he
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself.' That is, it is done without the power of man.
It is done while man is engaged in other things. God gives it its power. It has no power of its own. So religion in the heart is not by the power of man. cannot tell how ; and of course he cannot, without Divine aid, control it. It is by the power of God. At the same time, as without industry man would have no harvest, so without active effort he would have no religion. Both are connected with effort; both increase when the proper means are used; and both depend on God for increase. “First the blade.' The green, tender shoot, or grass, that first starts out of the earth, before the stalk is formed. Then the ear.' The original means the stalk or spire of wheat or barley, as well as the ear. • The full corn. The ripe whcat. The grain swollen to its proper size. By this is denoted, undoubtedly, that grace or religion in the heart is of gradual growth. It is at first tender, feeble, perhaps almost imperceptible, like the first shootings of the grain in the earth. Perhaps also, like grain, it often lies long in the earth before there are signs of life. Like the tender grain, also, it needs care, kindness, and culture. light frost, a cold storm, or a burning sun, alike injure it. So tender piety, in the heari, needs care, kindness, culture; instruction, prayer, and friendly counsel from parents, teachers, ministers, and experienced christians, that it may grow, and bring forth the full fruits of holiness. Like the grain aiso, in due time, it will grow strong ; it will produce its appropriate fruit-a full and rich harvest to the praise of God.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
'Immediately he putteth in the sickle.'. This is the way with the husbandman. As soon as the grain is ripe, it is cut down. So it is often with the christian. As soon as he is prepared for heaven, he is taken there, But we are not to press this part of the parable, as if it meant that a!l are removed as soon as they are fit for heaven.
30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we coin pare it ?
This shows the great solicitude which Jesus had to adapt his
instructions to the capacity of his disciples. He sought out the mos: plain and striking illustrations; an example which should be followed by all the ministers of the gospel and teachers.
31 It is like a grain of mustard-seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches ; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
See notes on Matt. xiii. 31, 32.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
Spake the word.' The word of God. The doctrines of his gospel. As they were able to hear it.' As they could comprehend it. They were like children; and he led them by degrees to a full understanding of the plan of salvation.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
. Without a parable spake he not unto them.' That is, the things pertaining to his kingdom. On other subjects he spake without parables. On these, such was their prejudice, so many notions had they contrary to the nature of his kingdom, and so liable would plain instructions have been to give offence, that he employed this method to insinuate truth gradually into their minds, and to prepare them fully to understand the nature of his kingdom. They were alone.' "His disciples. "He expounded.' Explained. Showed them more at length the spiritual meaning of the parables.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
See Matt. viïi. 18—27. 'Even as he was the ship.' They took him without making any preparation for the voyage; without providing any food or raiment. He was sitting in a ship, or boat, instructing the people. In the same boat, probably ill fitted to encounter a storm on the lake, they sailed. This would render their danger more imminent, and the miracle more striking. • There were with him other little ships.' Small vessels or boats belonging probably to the people, who seeing him sail, resolved to foflow him,
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow : and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish ? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that ye have no faith ? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
“Peace, be still.' None but the God of the storms and the bil. lows could awe, by a word, the troubled elements, and send peace and stillness among the winds and waves. He must, there fore, be Divine.
CHAPTER V. 1 AND they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains :
See this account of the demoniacs fully explained on Matt. viii. 28–34.
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
'He had been often bound with fetters and chains.' Efforts had been made to confine him, but his strength, increased by his malady, had prevented it.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mount tains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
• Cutting himself with stones.' These are all marks of a madman: a man bereft of reason, an outcast, strong and dangerous. The inspired penman says that this madness was caused by an unclean spirit, or by his being under the influence of a devil. That this account is not irrational, see note on Matt. iv, 24.