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world (u) knoweth us not, (x) be- | law. 2. cause it knew him not. Beloved,
now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we (y) shall be: but we know that, when (z) he shall appear, we shall be like (a) him; for we shall 3. see (b) him as he is. And every
man that hath this hope in him, purifieth (c) himself even as he 4. is pure. Whosoever committeth
sin transgresseth also the law:
(u)"Knoweth," i.e. countenanceth, favoureth, sheweth no attachment to. The word is used in nearly the same sense Ps. i. 7. The Lord knoweth the way of "the righteous," i. c. favours it, makes it secure.
(x)" Because," &c. So John xv. 19.
(y) "Shall be," i. e. what further pri-
(z) "When he shall appear," pro-
(a)" Like him." It is very possible St. John and the other disciples might so far have formed a wrong notion of the nature of Christ's approaching appearance, as to expect that his faithful followers would at that time be singularly glorified, and perhaps, taken up into heaven and a mistake in this respect, so far from impeaching the epistles, seems to furnish a strong argument as to the time when they were written, viz. before the destruction of Jerusalem: after that event their expectation would be corrected, and they could no longer be under this mistake. Thus, Thess. iv. 15, &c. St. Paul says, "We which are
alive and rema in" (as if he expected it whilst some of them remained alive before that generation should have passed away) "unto the con ing of the Lord, shall not "prevent ther a which are asleep : for the "Lord himsc If shall descend from heaven
And ye know that he was manifested to (d) take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever (e) abideth in him (ƒ) sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not (g) seen him, neither known him. Little chil dren, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness, is righteous even as he is (b) righte ous. He that committeth sin, is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this
body." Again, Col. iii. 4. he says, "when Christ, who is our life, shall also appear appear, then shall ye "with him in glory." See also 2 Pet. iii. 10.-Rom. viii. 18. post, and see ante 30, note on Luke xxxii. I find Dr. Benson supposes the apostles might think the destruction of the world and the end of the world would come to pass at or near the same period. Benson's Introduct. xxix.
(b) See," &c. i. e. perhaps, have as perfect knowledge as sight ordinarily gives. See note on 1 Cor. xiii. 12. post.
(c) "Purifieth," &c. i.e. endeavours to purify" as he," i e. God,
(d) "Take away," i. e. to remove the penal consequences of the past, and to restrain us from sinning in future.
(e) "Abideth in," i. e. adheres stedfastly to.
(ƒ) "Sinneth not." Takes care to commit no sin.
(g) "Not seen him," &c. i. e. not to any purpose.
Is righteous," &c. i.e. endea vours to be perfect in righteousness; one can be considered as "
who does not aim at this
(i) "To destroy," &c. i. e. to reform mankind; according to Tit. ii. 14. "to purify to himself a peculiar people, "zealous of good works."
()" Then," &c. This is part of our Saviour's noted prophecy in answer to the question when the temple "should be destroyed, and what should "be the sign of his coming."
(1)False Christs." Many impostors, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, did accordingly appear before the destruction of Jerusalem, before the siege and during it. Their appearing at this time, and having followers, is an argument that there was then a general expectation of the Messiah's coming. This refers to those who appeared during the siege of Jerusalem; he had noticed the appearance of others before it in v. 5.
(m) "Great signs." A miracle is not necessarily a proof that the doer has God's approbation. God may sanction a miracle from an impostor, to try men's faith. Thus, Deutr. xiii. 1, 2, 3. Moses says, "if there arise among you a pro"phet, and he giveth thee a sign or a "wonder, and the sign or the wonder "cometh to pass, whereof he spake "unto thee, saying, let us go after "other gods, thou shalt not hearken "unto the words of that prophet, for "the Lord your God proveth you, to "know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart." Something may depend upon the character of the miracle, and the doctrine, &c. it is brought forward to sanction.
(n) Insomuch that," &c. The rendering may be," in order to de"ceive," and then it only implies what
elect (o). Behold, I have told you 25. before. Wherefore if they shall 26. say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the light- 27. ning (p) cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For (q) wherefo- 28. ever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Im- 29. mediately after the tribulation of those days shall the (r) sun be
was the object of the signs, &c. without importing that they were to be so extraordinary as to be likely to accomplish the object.
(0) "The very elect," i. e. the most v. 24. faithful Christians, those who had most manfully withstood all temptation, opposition, and persecution.
(p)"As the lightning," &c. i. e. as v. 27. the lightning is not confined to place, not stationary, not waiting that any one may come to look at it, but extends in a moment from one end of heaven to the other, so the Son of man's coming shall not be confined to place, &c. he shall not be the object of sight, he shall be seen only by his effects, and those effects shall occur wherever his adversaries
(9) Wheresoever," &c. i. e. as cer- . 28. tainly as the eagle or vulture will find out a dead carcase, so certainly will the instruments of the Messiah's vengeance find out his enemies. Job gives this character of the eagle, "where the slain
are, there is she." Job xxxix. 30. It is observable too, that the Roman armies were in this instance the instru ments of God's vengeance, and their ensign was an eagle.
(r)" The sun shall be darkened." v.29. In prophetic language great commotions, &c. on earth are represented by commotions, &c. in heaven, and the overthrow, &c. of earthly potentates by defects, &c. in the lights of heaven. In antient hieroglyphics the sun, moon, and stars stood for states, potentates, kings, &c. When God was foretelling by Isaiah the destruction of Babylon, Isaiah xiii. 9. he says, "Behold the day of the Lord
darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30. and then shall appear the sign (s)
of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes (t) of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming (u) in the clouds of heaven with power 31. and great glory. And he shall send (x) his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
(s)" The sign," &c. The vengeance will prove that he was the Messiah.
(t)" The tribes of the earth," i. e. the adversaries of Christ's religion; the unbelievers, the men of this world.
(u)" Coming in the clouds of hea "ven:" not literally, but figuratively; with as strong marks of his power as if he came visibly riding in the clouds. Daniel, speaking prophetically of the Messiah, Dan. vii. 13. says, "one like the "Son of Man came with the clouds of "heaven" and, with reference to this prophecy, one of the names by which the Messiah was spoken of before the time of our Saviour was Anani, which signifies the clouds; and, when in answer to the question, whether he were the Christ the Son of God? our Saviour told the high priest that he was; he added, that they should see the Son of Man sitting at "the right hand of Power, and coming "in the clouds of heavn" Matt. xxvi. 63 to 66. Mark xiv. 62. Coming in the clouds
SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, or the Third Sunday before Lent.
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name, through Jefus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
was perhaps never applied but to God, or to signify divine power. In Ps. xviii. 10. it is said that God "rode upon the che"rubims, and did fly; he came flying upon the wings of the wind;" and Ps. civ. 3. that he maketh "the clouds "his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.”
(x)" Shall send," &c. not, perhaps, 31. literally, but he shall as effectually provide for their preservation, as if he did. It is supposed that not a single Christian perished in these times. Our Saviour had cautioned them, Matt. xxiv. 15. to flee as soon as they should see the abomi nation of desolation (i. e. the Roman ensigns) standing in (or about) the holy place; or, as St. Luke expresses it, Luke xxvi. 20. when they should see Jerusalem compassed with armies. Jeru salem was first besieged by Gallus; but he raised the siege, and the Christians all took the opportunity, and fled; so that when it was afterwards besieged by Titus, there was not one Christian remaining in it. 1,100,000 Jews perished in Jerusalem, 97,000 were taken pri soners, and 247,490 perished elsewhere. The preservation of the Christians had been foretold, Joel ii, 32. "And it shall "come to pass, that whosoever shall call "on the name of the Lord shall be de. "livered for in Mount Zion, and in "Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, as the "Lord hath said, and in the remnant "whom the Lord shall call." See a very able reading on this prophecy, 2 Porteus's Lectures, 166, 199, Lec, tures 19 and 20.
The Epistle. 1 Cor. ix. 24. (y) KNOW ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that 25. ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly (z); so fight I, not as one
(y) St. Paul presses upon the Corinthian converts exertion and self-denial, by reminding them how much they underwent to endeavour to succeed in their games, where however one only could be successful, and where the crown or prize, when obtained, was nothing to what would ultimately be conferred upon the faithful servants of Christ. The Isthmian games were celebrated near Corinth; so that the Corinthians would peculiarly feel the force of this species of argument.
(z) "Uncertainly." To a Christian, who strives to the utmost, success is certain: in a race, as one only can succeed, many who strive to the utmost must fail.
(a) "One that beateth the air," whose blow fails, is evaded by the opponent. In the Christian warfare no exertion can be thrown away.
(b) "The kingdom of heaven," i. e. God's dispensation under the gospel.
(c)" Like," &c. The objects of this parable seem to have been, to check Peter for having asked, Matt. xix. 27. "what they should have for having for"saken all and followed our Saviour," to prevent extraordinary expectations in the first converts, and to let them know that God alone was to apportion to each man his reward, that the lowest he would give would be to the utmost as much as any one could claim, and that he was not to be questioned if one appeared to have a greater proportion of reward than another. Our Saviour had indeed told him, that when he "should sit in the throne of "his glory, they should sit upon twelve "thrones, judging the twelve tribes " of Israel," &c. See ante 60. Matt. xix. 28. But he added, that " many "that were first should be last, and the "last should be first." And then he
that (a) beateth the air: but I 27. keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a
The Gospel. Matt. xx. 1. THE (b) kingdom of heaven is like (c) unto a man that is an householder, which went out
spake this parable, which he concludes, so the last shall be first," &c. as if that were the position he was meaning to establish. He might mean, that in after times, the exertions, sufferings, &c. of others, in the cause of Christianity, might be such as to entitle them to as great rewards as the first apostles, or that persons who became converts at an advanced period of their lives, and had not had an earlier opportunity, if they then exerted themselves to the utmost, might be entitled to the same rewards as persons converted younger; but the chief point seems to have been to convince them, that God was to apportion the reward, and not man, and that it was man's duty to be thankful for what was given to him, without looking jealously upon what was given to others. This is one proof of our Saviour's sincerity. An impostor would rather raise the expectations of his followers than depress them. Another object of the parable might be, to let the Gentiles know, that if they embraced Christianity, and endured with firmness the dangers and difficulties it might bring upon them, they, who had been so long in a state of spiritual idleness, because they had not received the benefits of revelation, and were therefore in an unhired state, might receive the same advantages from it as the Jews, who had been so long God's people and servants, and that the Jews would have no right to complain, or to be envious, if God did allow the Gentiles those advantages. According to Rom. ix. 15. God is entitled to have " mercy on whom "he will have mercy, and to have com"passion on whom he will have com"passion." If God gives to every man to the full as much as he has a right to, (and he gives much more), no one is
early in the morning to hire la2. bourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a-day, he 3. sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, and said unto 4. them, "Go ye also into the vine
"yard; and whatsoever is right, "I will give you." And they 5. went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth 6. hour, and did likewise.
about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, "Why "stand ye here all the day idle?" 7. They say unto him, "Because
"no man hath hired us." He saith unto them, "Go ye also "into the vineyard; and what"soever is right, that shall ye 8. " receive." So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, "Call the "labourers, and give them their "hire, beginning from the last "unto the first." And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received 10. every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every 11. man a penny. And when they
(d)" Evil," i.e. "envious," "good," v i. e. liberal.
(e) From the conduct of some false teachers, St. Paul thought himself constrained to state his own pretensions: but his apologies shew how contrary it was to his inclination.
(f) "Fools," &c. It was perhaps a pro- . verb, "that the wise can bear with pa"tience what fools do:" they are above being annoyed by it: and the meaning here may be, you have too much sense to