be offended in me.' Mark says nothing of this Chapter Verk question. Luke relates it in Matthew's manner. John does not mention it; nor was it at all likely he should, for in his 3d chapter he introduces John the Baptist, previous to his imprisonment, giving ample testimony of Jesus and his mission. After the departure of John's messengers; Jesus questioned his audience relative to their opinion of himn ; and then gives' his own-Verily I say xi, 1 unto you, among then that are born of woman, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. This is followed up with two assertions, neither of which do I understand-And from the days of John the Baptist, until now, the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence; and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come. What can we understand by the kingdom of Heaven suffering violence? or how are we to conceive the violent take it by storm? The introduction seems to imply that this had been so but a very short time ; even if it means from the birth of John, which preceded his own but a few months. Or are we to suppose an antecedent state of John's. Pre-existence was held by many in those days : they hoped, and fully expected that the soul of Elias, clothed in some other body, would again visit this world. And here we are told this is Elias, which was for

Chapter Verse, xi. I to come. With this addition--' He that

“ hath ears to hear, let him ear.' But it is plain, by the 25th verse, that all who had ears could not hear; or rather as it is meant understand. Jesus says, the Father, and he thanks hin for it, had hidden those things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes. What makes the contents of this 25th verse still more mysterious, is, that it doth not stand in the order here placed, but is preceded by a denunciation of woe to those cities in which his mighty works had been performed without effecting their repentante. If this were fo; they had indeed eyes and faw not, ears and heard not, &c. (But more of

this when we examine the 13th chapter). Jesus 27 proceeds All things are delivered unto me of

my father: and no man knoweth the Son but • the Father: neither knoweth any mąn the Fa. 'ther, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the « Son will reveal him.' As we find no answer made to this last assertion, we may suppose none of the Scribes or Pharisees were present. He concludes, with an invitation to all that are diftreiled, promising to give them rest, St. Matthew in the next chapter informs us, that Jesus upon the fabbath-day, going with his disciples through the corn, they, being hungry, gathered and eat. The Pharisees, seeing this, upbraided Jesus for permitting them to do so unlawful an act. To justify them; he, in reply, quotes the

action of David and his men eating the shew. Chapter Verse bread which was lawful to the priests only. This extenuation (if it be one) applies, in my opinion, only as a case of necessity*. The 5th, 6th, and 9th verses, are to me obscure; he says to the Pharisees— Have, ye not read in the law how xii.

that on the fabbath-days, the priests in the

temple prophane the fabbath, and are blameF less? But I say unto you, that in this place is ? one greater than the temple, but if ye had

known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, F and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemn{ed the guiltless. Adding, For the Son of Man ' is Lord even of the fabbath-day.' He then entered their synagogue, where he found a man whose hand was withered. The Pharisees asking him? Is it lawful to heal on the fabbath-days?' He replied that it was lawful to do good upon the fabbath-days : asked which of them, having a sheep fallen into a pit, would not, upon a fabbath-day, pull it out; and if a man was not of more worth than a sheep? It does not appear that they made any reply : but upon his healing the man, they went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him, Nor can we be surprised at their so doing, when we recollect the declaration he had made previous to

* David obtained this shew-bread by an impofition, and for which the priests of Nob were destroyed by Saul.

Chapter Verse this, (Matth. ch. v. v. 17, 18, 19.) That he

came not to destroy, but to fulfil the law : that it should endure to the end of the world : and whoever broke one of the commandments, or taught men to do it, should be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven*. Yet it now ap. pears to the Pharisees, that he not only broke one of them himself, but taught others that they also might do so with impunity. If they misapprehended him, or were in an error : he, knowing their thoughts, ought rather to have appeased their resentment by an explanation, than to have

fled from it, as we find he did. Soon after this, xii. 16 we are told, he healed multitudes who followed

him, and charged them that they should not make him known. Here St. Marthew, with his usual ill-luck, applies another prophecy ; and then goes on to inform us, that Jesus healed a man pofseffed of a devil, blind and dumb: so

that he both faw and spake. The spectators 23 amazed at this miracle, exclaimed-Is not this

the son of David. (Alluding, I apprehend, to the power of casting out devils poffeffed by Solomon). But when the Pharisees heard of it,

(from this, and the 38th verse, it is plain they 28 were not present) they said-this fellow doth not

cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. This accusation had been brought

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* Vide page 28.


against him by the Pharisees upon a former occa. Chapter Verle fion. (Vide Matth. ch. ix. v. 34.) he then made no reply; but here he urges a very sensible confutation, shewing the inconsistency of Satan's being divided against himself. The Jews had, or pretended to have, a power of casting out devils, he therefore asked the Pharisees-by whom do xii. 27 your children cast them out ? and appears to offer the decision of this question to thein. This subject produces, a severe and reiterated denuncia tion against those who finned against the Holy Ghost. What was this fin against the Holy Ghost ? This unpardonable crime? has been a question often asked by the ignorant, and frequently disputed by the learned. Jesus, in this place, apparently the most proper for it, has not explained what he meant by Holy Ghost. It appears only that his auditors the Pharisees, were perverse enough to assign a bad motive for a good action : or that, as he derived the power of doing good, from an evil principal; his doing good actions was only with a view to deceive. But this could not be sinning against the Holy Ghost, which was never to be forgiven, because he tells them at the same time~ Whosoever

speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it 5 fhall be forgiven him.' I am inclined to think, that by the Holy Ghost, is meant the spirit of

truth and knowledge, proceeding from, or given ·by, God alone. Vide Matth. ch. iii. v. 16.


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