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lency of my person, above thine, now at this time when my Baptism is in hand: do thou readily yield to that, which I require of thee; as that, which God the Father hath willed, both me to undergo, and thee to perform: for thus it is fit for us to accomplish, in all due obedience, all that part of God's will which concerns us.
III. 16. And, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.
And there was a visible kind of opening in the heaven, as if the curtain of the sky had been drawn; and a glorious brightness shewed itself, as it were, above the firmament; and He, who had before received the Spirit, not by measure, now that he was to enter upon the execution of this work of man's redemption, He saw the Spirit of God descending upon him, in the form of a Dove, and lighting upon him; as in a gracious and public attestation from heaven, of the designation and enabling of him to so great a work.
IV. 1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Then was Jesus moved by the Spirit of God, to go aside into the wilderness; that he might there enter the combat with the great enemy of man's salvation; that so he might begin this great office in many and strong temptations.
IV. 4. It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
It is not the very material substance of bread, that can or doth maintain the life of man; but the blessing of God, giving power to that bread to nourish: neither is Almighty God tied to the ordinary means of bread, as if without that he could not sustain man's life; but he is able, by his infinite power, either to create new means, or to work without or against the means.
IV. 5. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.
Then Jesus, that he might give all advantage to the challenges of Satan, suffered himself to be led to Jerusalem, and to be set upon a high pinnacle of the temple.
IV. 7. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. See Deut. vi. verse 16.
IV. 8. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
And represented to his eye divers countries round about; and, withal, represented to his imagination all the kingdoms of the world, and the magnificence and glory thereof, -setting them forth in all their pomp, and pleasure, and royalty.
IV. 12. He departed into Galilee.
He departed into the upper Galilee, which was out of Herod's dominions, called Galilee of the Gentiles.
IV. 15, 16. Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness &c. See Isaiah ix. verses 1, 2.
IV. 19. And he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Follow me, and I will prefer you to a higher function: for, whereas now your trade is this toilsome fishing in the sea, I will advance you to that spiritual calling, wherein you shall take men instead of fishes; by the nets of wholesome doctrine, drawing them up out of the sea of the world, into the ship of my Church.
V. 2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
And he composed himself to speak unto the multitude; and taught them, saying,
V. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of hearen.
Blessedness is the end ye all aim at; and that, which the most men are apt to mistake: ye are wont commonly to account them blessed, which abound with wealth, and honour, and pleasure; and those, on the contrary, miserable, who are wanting in any of these: but I must teach you other doctrine: would ye therefore know who are truly blessed ? howsoever then the world esteems them, they are blessed, who, being dejected by the hand of God, have learned to make a good use of his affliction, being thereby inwardly humbled under that mighty and just hand; for God will recompense their want with abundance, their abasement with heavenly glory.
V. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
And, whereas the world accounts none blessed but the merry and jovial, I tell you that they are blessed, who mourn for their sins, and are sadly affected whether with their own or others' evils; for this sorrow shall end in joy and comfort.
V. 5. Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the lowly and gentle, and patient and longsuffering; for God shall reward their humility, and meek and quiet disposition, with a comfortable fruition of these earthly blessings, and of better above.
V. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are they, who, when they have so moderated their appetite, that their desires are no other than just and equal, yet wait and languish under the forbearance and want thereof, and do eagerly affect spiritual blessings; for God will find a time to satisfy their longing, and to fill them with all good things.
V. 13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his sarour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye, my Apostles and Disciples, are unto the world as salt is to meat: without your Doctrine the world would be altogether unsavoury: consider therefore in what state ye are; the greater your use and service is, the more is your danger and judgment. Other things, when they have lost their savour, recover it by the virtue of salt applied unto them; but if salt itself have lost the savour, what can be able to fetch it again? Even so, ye serve to season the graceless hearts and lives of men, by your good doctrine and life; but if ye yourselves become graceless, what remedy can there be for you? Other things, when they have lost their nature and good qualities, yet even after their corruption may be useful for some purposes; but for salt, if that have once lost the savour, it is, it can be, good for nothing; and therefore must necessarily be cast out, as utterly unprofitable. Even so it is with you, if ye shall degenerate from this holy calling, wherein ye are set.
V. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a
God hath not given unto you these stations or these graces, that ye should keep them to yourselves, and smother them in an obscure privacy; but that ye should bring them forth to the benefit of the world, and improve them to the direction and salvation of many, as men do not light a candle to hide it, &c.
V. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Because
hear some doctrines from me, whereto your ears were not formerly inured, do not imagine or conceive, that I am come to make any innovation or change of that doctrine or holy covenant, that is contained in the law of Moses or the Prophets: no; it is so far from that, as that I am come to make good, and ratify, and perfect the same; in that by my Spirit I shall quicken the dead letter of the law, and really exhibit and perform that which was shadowed out by the figures of the law.
V. 18. For verily I say unto you, Til heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shull in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
For verily I say unto you, The truth of this law is firm, and stable, and inviolable: as soon shall the frame of heaven and earth be dissolved, as any the least part of the law shall miscarry and fall to the ground unfulfilled, or as the truth and equity of any clause of the moral law of God shall cease or be abrogated.
V. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever, therefore, shall break any one of these commandments, which in the opinion of men shall seem the very least and slightest, and shall either by example or doctrine draw men to a neglect or violation thereof, he shall justly be held unworthy to sustain any the meanest place or charge in the Church of God, under the Gospel; but, on the contrary, he, who both in life and doctrine shall set forth and commend this law of God to his people, that man shall be accounted worthy of great honour and respect in God's Church.
V. 20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The Scribes and Pharisees take upon them to be the great masters of the law, and profess much rigorous austerity in their traditional observations; but, in the mean time, they place the breach and fulfilling of the law in outward actions, and do by their false glosses corrupt the holy law of God: except therefore ye go further than they, both in the understanding and observing of this law, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
V. 21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment :
Ye have heard that it hath been taught of old, by those which have taken upon them to be expositors of the law, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall outwardly violate this law, by an actual and malicious shedding of innocent blood, shall be in danger of a capital punishment.
V. 22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
But I say unto you, that not only the outward act of murder is a breach of the law, but the inward mispassion of the heart also: and therefore, that I may express the degrees of God's displeasure and wrath, by those three degrees of punishment, which are wont to be inflicted in those three several orders of courts and proceedings of judicature amongst you; amongst whom, the lesser offences are punished by the judgment of three authorized officers, the greater by the Sanhedrim or Council of three and twenty, the greatest of all by the Supreme Sessions of sixty-one : I say unto you, that even
rash and causeless anger, as coming under the first head, deserves a just punishment from God's hand; but, if that anger break forth into gestures of scorn and disgrace, it goes yet higher, and deserves a further degree of judgment; but, if it shall yet proceed further into words of reviling and contumely, it then, as a notorious offence, incurs the danger of the highest degree of punishment, such as is reserved for the heinousest malefactors.
V. 23. And there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee.
And there rememberest that thy brother hath a just quarrel against thee, and that thou hast given him cause of unkindness.
V. 25. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, 8c.
And, if there be a controversy betwixt thee and thy neighbour, so as you are going to law about it; be thou so inclined to peace, as to take up the matter speedily, betwixt you two, ere ye come to a public trial of it; lest, upon the pursuit of thine adversary, thou be foiled in the cause, and the judge deliver thee into the hands of the officer, &c.
V. 28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
But I say unto you, that adultery doth not only consist in outward act only, but in the wicked concupiscences of the heart; so as, whosoever looketh lasciviously upon a woman, with a will and desire to feed his lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.
V. 29. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, fc.
And if this be difficult for a man to avoid all lustful glances, yet it must be laboured for; and there must be a firm resolution taken up in the soul, rather to part with the dearest part or member of our bodies, than to yield it up as a weapon of unrighteousness unto sin: for it were much better for thee that one &c. So also verse 30.
V. 31. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by hearen; for it is God's throne : fc.
Ye do easily yield that the name of God may not be taken in vain in your oaths, but ye think it not unlawful, according to your common practice, to swear by heaven, or by earth, or by the temple, or Jerusalem, or by your head, or any such like created subject; and herein ye think ye may have liberty enough, so as these names cannot be taken in vain, nor make you liable to perjury: but I say unto you, Swear not unneces