Chapter Verse" fon is he?' They answer—'The Son of David.

To which he replied How then doth David

in spirit call him Lord? saying--the Lord said • unto my Lord, fit thou on my right hand, till

I make thine enemies thy footstool. If David ' then call him Lord, how is he his fon? (The « Jews might have replied - Thou callest thyself

the Son of Man: how then art thou Christ the « Son of God?) St. Matthew adds, and no • man was able to answer him a word, neither

durst any man, from that day forth, ask him

any more questions.' Mark and Luke, in this place mention the story of the widow's mites, which I cannot help thinking has in it foinething of improbability; and if true, wherein was it a praise-worthy act? Though it was but a trifle, yet if it was her all, it was imprudent, and certainly it had, at least in appearance, more of oftentation than charity : to whom was it given? Why to the public treasury of the temple. We now proceed to St. Matthew, 23d chapter, throughout which Jesus explodes the pride and

hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees; in the xxiii. 15 15th verse, he tells them, that to make one pro

felyte, they would compass sea and land : but in so doing, they made him two-fold more the child of hell than themselves. (There is some ambi

guity in this.) In the 23d verse, he says, they az were indeed punctual in the payment of trifling

tythes, but omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. From the Chapter Verse 29th to the 36th, he tells them, they are the children of those who killed the prophets; calls them serpents, a generation of vipers, and asks how they can escape the damnation of hell ? Tells them, that to fill up the measure (or ini. quity) of their fathers, he would send them prophets, and wise-men, and Scribes: some of whom they would kill; some scourge in their syna. gogues ; and lome perlecute from city to city : that upon them might come all the righteous blood which had been shed upon the earth, froin that of Abel, to that of Zacharias the son of Barachias. (This is a mistake, but whether of Jesus or Matthew is of little consequence.) And adds— Verily I say unto you, all these things xxiii. 36 'Thall come upon this generation. This prophecy was certainly fulfilled, in the course of a few years; and that generation, in fulfilling it, had crimes enough of their own før punishınent : but why they should be loaded with those of their ancestors, even to the third and fourth generation, according to Moses, I know not; much less from the time of Abel, according to Jesus. It is observable, that eight times in this single chapter, Jesus denounces woe to the Scribes and Pharisees, but not a single word is said of the Sadducees, nor do we find in all the scriptures a single denunciation made by him against them. This distinction appears to me, not a little ex


I 3. traordinary,

traordinary. In the preceding chapter we are told, they likewise had tempted him : and we learn from history that in the fubje&t of this temptation, the Sadducees were far worse than the Pharisees. The former, following indeed the literal sense of the Mosaic law, obstinately rejected the immortality of the soul : the latter, profiting by the wisdom of their eastern neighbours, admitted and profetsed it, together with its selfevident consequence, a future state of reward and punishment. This belief assuredly must have influenced the actions of mankind to good, much more than the contrary opinion which had no such stiinulation. The Pharisees, whom he in this chapter says, would compass fea and land to make a profelyte; in course would affail the Sadducees their neighbours; but how, in converting from a disbelief to a belief of a future ftate they made him two-fold more the child of hell, is beyond my powers of conception. The Pharisees, in some circumstances, appear to have been his friends : we are told by Luke, ch. xiii. v. 31. that at or in his way to (but I apprehend in) Jerusalem, “ There came certain of the Pha* risees, saying unto him-Get thee out, and de"part hence : for Herod will kill thee. And in the first verse of the following chapter Luke says— And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) went

into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to - eat bread, &c. From this friendly advice,

which he seems to have taken, and the friendly Chapter Verse intercourse which followed ; it appears that he had some friends among the Pharisees. But it doth not appear that he had any among the Sadducees; and these last, after his death, were the first to molest his apostles in their duty, vide Acts ch. iv, v. 1, and ch, v, v. 17. We hear nothing of that fort done by the Pharisees : on the contrary, when the former would have flain the apostles ; they were diverted from that cruel design, by the humane and wise advice of Gamaliel a Pharisee. Vide ch. v, v. 34, &c *

St. Matthew proceeds to inform us--that Jesus xxiii. 37 then lamented, in pathetic terms the former cruelty of Jerusalem ; and in a very beautiful simile, the inattention of its present inhabitants to his solicitations for their benefit. Adding Ye shall not 39 see me henceforth, till ye shall say— Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, I do not understand this, unless he meant that they should not see him again in the temple ; for though he soon after left the city, he returned to it again to celebrate the pallover; and was after that brought there to be examined before the High Priests, &c. Upon quitting the temple, he foretells its de- xxiv. Itruction. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, his disciples privately interrogate him Tell us, when shall these thi s be? And what

* Vide page

I 4



Chapter Verfe shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end

of the world ? A very interesting question ; plainly put, but not plainly answered. The destrụction of Jerusalem, and the end of the world, are so blended, that we cannot separate thein with any degree of confiltency : and therefore we must suppose that the men to whom this answer was. addressed, concluded and believed, that one would iminediately follow the other, and that both would be accomplished in that generation. Experience has however taught us, that though the first happened in about forty years after the prediction ; more than seventeen hundred have elapsed from that period, and yet the accomplishment of the second does not appear to us, either from observations upon nature, or upon prophecy, to be at all advanced. Their afflictions, previous to the accomplishment, Jesus describes ; he tells them-Earth-quakes, wars, famines, pesti

lences, and false prophets, should afflict and dexxiv. 14 ceive mankind. Adding -' And this gospel

*** of the kingdom shall be preached in all the

world, for a witness unto all nations, and then • Tall the end come.' According to this prediction, the end of the world is even yet at a dirtance: the gospel not having been preached in one half the world, cannot be a witness unto all nations. The Chinese are, an ancient, learned, and prosperous nation : morality is no where better understood, or more generally practifed. To


« 上一页继续 »