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MATT. xiii. part of ver. 54. 56. ver. 57. and part of ver. 58. 54 And-he taught them in their synagogue—they were astonished—Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
56 And his sisters
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there
Mark vi. 6.
r Mark vi. 34.
MATT. ix. 35, to the end. 9 And Jesus went about all the cities and vil- Matt. ix. 3. Luke xiit. 22. lages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching
the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved Matt. ix. 36. * Or, were
with compassion on them, because they * fainted,
shepherd. + Luke x. 2. Then saith he unto his disciples, * The harvest Matt. ix. 37.
truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that Matt. ix. 38. he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
MARK vi. part of ver. 6.
tired and lay
u Luke xiii. 22.
SECTION I'. J. P.4741.
Christ's Commission to the Twelve Apostles. V. Æ. 28.
MÁTT. X, xi. 1. MARK vi. 7-14. LUKE ix. 1-7.. On a progress, probably in Then he called his twelve disciples together, Luke ix. 1. Galilee.
1 The various sections of this chapter are placed in the same order in which they are respectively inserted in the arrangements of the five harmonizers, by whom I am principally guided. Doddridge considers John vii. 1. as belonging to the same passages to which it is annexed by the others, though, for the sake of convenience, he joins it with the rest of the chapter (a). Michaelis also places . (a) Vide notes and paraphrase, Doddridge's Fam. Expositor, sect. 98,' vol. i.
and gave them power and authority over all On a progress, devils.
the calling of the twelve Apostles in the order of St. Matthew, and inserts John vii. 1. at the head of various passages, which he considers supplementary to the accounts of the other Evangelists.
: ON, THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. Our Lord had now continued his ministry till the whole population of Judæa, Samaria, and Galilee, had heard of his miracles and preaching. Many had fol. lowed him from place to place, and from these he selected twelve, as the constant witnesses of his actions. The word £xdevuévot, which in our translation is interpreted “they fainted,” is generally considered as an erroneous reading. It is rejected by Griesbach, and all the best MSS., versions, and fathers, who read lokvljévoi, which may be rendered grieved, or melancholy; and this interpretation is supported by the harmony. For it does not appear that our Lord was followed by the multitudes to any very considerable distance from their respective cities, (Matt. ix. 36, compared with 35, and Mark vi. 6.) but that our Saviour's compassion was excited for the people, whom he saw to be grieved for want of proper instruction, and scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. To remove this spiritual dearth, he gave the first commission to his Apostles, to proceed to the house of Israel, and declare to them that their Messiah had come; and to preach to them the kingdom of God. Our Lord afterwards sent out the Seventy, to prepare the people for his reception; enjoining them to preach in those cities only which himself intended to visit (Luke x. 1); whereas the Apostles were commanded to preach to all the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The ordination of the Apostles to preach the kingdom of God leads us to consider the manner in which the Church, which Christ had come to establish, was to be perpetuated among mankind until his coming again. The question, therefore, what plan of Church government was instituted by our Lord and his Apostles ? cannot be esteemed unimportant.
The priesthood under the Mosaic economy was so publicly instituted, that its validity and divine origin were never disputed. The rebellion of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, proceeded only from envy at its exclusive nature; and though the kings in after ages innovated during the prevalence of idolatry, and made priests of the lowest, or, as it would be better rendered, of the common people; the line of the succession was considered sacred, and none were admitted into the order of the priesthood, or acknowledged as priests by the people, who could not trace their descent from the sacerdotal house of Aaron.
This regular succession of the priesthood, on the part of the Jews, has been sometimes supposed to form an objection to the Christian dispensation. “ If the Christian religion be true," it has been argued, “its priesthood would have been divinely appointed, and its succession rigorously observed. The whole Christian world, on the contrary, is divided on this point: it is to be presumed, therefore, that the claims of that religion are at least dubious, in which the origin of the priesthood is so uncertain, and its various pretensions and orders so jarring, that they are equally ridiculed and despised.” In reply, however, to these objections, I do not hesitate to assert, from an impartial consideration of the testimony both of Scripture and antiquity, that the origin of the Christian priesthood is as evident as that of the Levitical; that its descent can be as distinctly traced
a Mark iii. 14.
On a progress,
And when he had called unto him his twelve Matt. x. 1. probably
in Galilee. disciples, he gave them power * against unclean Luke ix. I. * Or, over.
that its regular succession has been preserved ; and that, consequently, as it was at the beginning appointed by divine authority, it is entitled to the highest veneration, and to the devoted attachment of Christians.
The essential and immutable difference between the arguments that are adduced for the support of the Christian religion, and those which are brought forward in defence of other systems, consists in this. The Christian religion is founded upon the evidence of actions, and undeniable facts, while every other system depends upon theory alone. The speculations of the philosophers of antiquity, the impositions of Mahomet, the reveries of the schoolmen, the inconsistencies of modern infidelity, the inventions and strange doctrines of various sects among Christians, are all distinguishable from the fundamental truths of Christianity. The conclusions of uninspired men, on subjects of a religious nature, are generally founded upon abstract reasoning; the truths of the Christian religion are so identified with some well supported facts, that the belief of the fact compels at the same time the reception of the doctrine.
The five principal doctrines which may be said to constitute Christianity, and to comprise all its truths, and which are alike uniformly supported by facts, and the express words of Scripture rightly and literally interpreted, are, the doctrine of the Trinity; the Incarnation; the Atonement; the Resurrection from the Dead; and the Establishment of the Christian Church, as the means of perpetuating the truth of these propositions in the world. The doctrine of the Trinity is not only supported upon the general tenor of Scripture, as it may be collected from the fact that the inspired writers assign the attributes of the Deity to the three persons of the Godhead; but from the fact also that the voice came from heaven, that the Holy Spirit, as a dove, hovered over the Messiah, and that the Son of God was distinct from either of those which bore witness to him. The Incarnation of Christ was declared in prophecy, and was proved by the facts which are recorded concerning his birth. The Atonement is proved by the concurrence of all the types and institutions of the Jewish law, and the fact of Christ's death fulfilling them all to the uttermost. The Resurrection of the body was verified not only by the fact of Christ's resurrection, but by the restoration of the widow's son, and of Lazarus. The Establishment of a Church in the world was demonstrated by the fact of the peculiar care with which our Lord collected disciples, selected a certain number from among them, commissioned them to go forth and preach, added others to their number with different powers, and promised to be with them to the end (not, of the age, as many translate the word, but) of the world.
The first establishment of the Christian Church is necessarily brought before us, then, by the subject of this section. The commission given to the twelve Apostles may be called the foundation of the Christian Church. The conduct of the Apostles in their ecclesiastical government, considered as a model, ought to be adopted by all Christian nations, who desire that Christianity should be preserved among themselves, or diffused, and permanently continued, among others.
I have already attempted to prove that Jesus, the Messiah of the New Testament, was the incarnated Jehovah of the Old Testament. He was the Lord and
spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of Oma progress,
in sickness and all manner of disease.
Guide of the Patriarchal and Jewish Churches. He has uniformly been the religious legislator of mankind. He it was who walked with our first parents in the garden of Eden, and instituted sacrifice. When the world apostatized after the deluge, it was He who selected the family of Abraham. When the remembrance of their ancient religion began to be effaced from the minds of the Israelites, it was the same Angel Jehovah who guided them through the Red Sea into the wilderness, and soon after promulgated the law from Mount Sinai. It was He who ordained those minute laws, those rigid observances, those ordinances respecting the priesthood, and the whole frame-work of the ecclesiastical and civil polity, which distinguished the Jews from all other nations; and the very remnant of which, even to this day, unites them, notwithstanding their wide dispersion among the various nations of the world. Can we, then, for a moment, suppose that this same Almighty Being, this manifested God of mankind, should not be equally attentive, and provide equally for a still more glorious dispensation ; of which the other was only a type and shadow? We have every reason to expect, that, in the Christian dispensation, some care would have been taken for the continual remembrance of the great truths and observances which the condition of man required.
The revealed religion of God was perpetuated under the Patriarchal and Levitical dispensations by human means. Though religion was of divine origin, mankind was appointed the guardians of its purity. The means, which God ordained for the preservation of his religion in the Patriarchal dispensation, were the setting apart the first-born of every family to minister in his service, and conferring on the heads of the tribes the spirit of prophecy. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, and the other fathers of the Patriarchal Church were thus gifted. Noah and Shem, after the deluge, obtained the same pre-eminence. There was always a body of men set apart for the service of God. To enter into the proofs on this part of the subject, which might be variously collected from Scripture, ancient history, tradition, and the customs among the early Pagan nations, whose idolatry was but a perversion of primæval truth, would lead us far beyond the limits of a note.
The same means of perpetuating religion, which prevailed among the patriarchal families, were continued by the divine Legislator among the people of Israel, with this alteration only, that one whole tribe was set apart for the service of God, instead of the first-born of every family. The office remained the same; the first-born were redeemed, in remembrance of their original dedication to God; and it was solemnly enacted, that no stranger, not of the seed of Aaron, should offer incense in the public worship. Every individual, of every family, was required to present the sacrifice of praise and prayer to God, and to comply with all the institutions of the law; while it was left to one selected tribe to perform all the public functions required in the temple worship.
Thus did the divine Legislator first impart to fallen man a revelation, and appoint means for its preservation. The incarnated Jehovah has now granted to his creatures the most perfect form of that same religion which began at the fall in Paradise ; and human means also, under the blessing of the same God, must preserve among mankind the consolations of his holy Gospel.
On a progress, probably in
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these ; Matt. . 2. Galilee
The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and An
Four forms of Church government are, in this our age, prevalent among Christians. Episcopacy, Papacy, Presbyterianism, and Independency. From the time of the Apostles till the present day, Episcopacy has been the most general Church government: and till the fifteenth century its apostolic origin was never disputed. Till the beginning also of the seventh century the supremacy of the Pope over all Christian Bishops was quite unknown. Boniface III. received the first title of Universal Bishop from the Emperor Phocas, as a reward for his subserviency and flattery to this basest of tyrants. With the exception of the ambitious heretic, Aerius, who, as Bishop Hall observes, was hooted not out of the Church only, but out of the cities, towns, and villages, for the opinions he maintained, and with the exception of a few dubious expressions of Jerome, which are inconsistent with other parts of his works, Episcopacy prevailed, with the usurpation of Papacy alone, without the least opposition, in every Christian Church throughout the world, till Presbyterianism began to shew itself, under the protection of the Reformer Calvin. When the corruptions produced by the supremacy of the Church of Rome indicated the necessity of a change, or reformation, in Church government, the Catholic Bishop of Geneva, Peter Balma, refusing to comply with some proposed alteration, was expelled with his clergy from that town. After the expulsion of the bishop, the two popular preachers, Farrel and Viret, who had greatly contributed to this measure, assumed the ecclesiastical and civil power. In this state of things, Calvin, in his way from France to Strasburgh, stopped at Geneva, and remained there at the invitation of Farrel. He then, with his two colleagues, proposed a new form of discipline, which he had lately invented; but the people, being dissatisfied with the severity of his laws, expelled him, with his principal associates, from their town. At the expiration of three years he was recalled ; and, being appointed to institute a form of ecclesiastical discipline, he proposed, and finally established a system of Church government, never before either known or practised, which is now distinguished by the name of Presbyterianism. When he first introduced this system, he expressed his highest veneration for reformed Episcopacy, and defended his innovations upon the plea of necessity. Beza, and his other followers, gradually discontinued that mode of argument, and have sometimes asserted, in not very courteous language, that Presbyterianism is of divine right. It is now established in Scotland, where it was introduced by John Knox and his coadjutors, who were the friends of the Reformer of Geneva. Many of the exiles, who had fled to the continent in the reign of the persecuting Mary, adopted the same system, and endeavoured, on their return to England, to complete, as they supposed, the reformation in their own country, by recommending and enforcing the presbyterian discipline. The labours of Cartwright and others, however, were rendered ineffectual, at least in England, by the exertions and vigilance of Whitgift, then Archbishop of Canterbury, aided by the firmness of Elizabeth.
This great Reformer, and celebrated commentator, of Geneva, did not anticipate the possible evils of his deviation from the conclusions to which his brother reformers in England had arrived. He erred only in proceeding to an opposite