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the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, at the judgment, than for you.
15. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
These three last verses have occurred already in Matthew, xi. 21, and were there explained.
16. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
To encourage the disciples to enter upon the difficult work about which he now sent them, he assures them that he should consider the kindness shown to them as shown to himself; and, on the other hand, that he should regard those who rejected them as rejecting himself, and as rejecting likewise that God by whose authority he came.
17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, “ Master," even the dæmons are subject unto us through thy name.
That is, disorders attributed to dæmons. Jesus had not told these seventy disciples, as he had told the apostles, when he sent them forth, that they should be able to cure dæmoniacs: they were surprized, therefore, to find their miraculous powers extend to a case beyond their expectations, by perceiving that when they or
dered dæmons to depart from persons, in the name of Christ, they appeared to obey their command; since the persons supposed to be possessed by them were cured.
18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
The word Satan signifies an adversary or enemy, and is applied here by Christ to an allegorical personage, the supposed author of all evil, natural and moral. Before the appearance of Christ this personage reigned in the world without controul, causing many wicked practices and much misery; but his dominion was now about to be overthrown by the gospel, and Christ declares that he saw that his authority was soon to fall, as rapidly as the lightning descends from the skies. What particularly induced him to make this observation at this time was his finding that so many of his disciples as these seventy were enabled to work all kinds of miracles, even those which were deemed inost difficult, the expulsion of dæmons, or the cure of disorders attributed to them. Hence he justly inferred the speedy overthrow of all opposition to his gospel. To be exalted to heaven, is to be raised to dominion and pre-eminence: to fall from it, therefore, must signify degradation and abasement.
19. Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.
This is figurative language, in which Christ, by telling his disciples that they shall trample upon venomous creatures, assures them that they shall overcome their most dangerous and malignant enemies.
And nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you;
but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Rejoice not so much at your being able to work miracles, although of the most extraordinary and difficult kind, as that you are numbered amongst those for whom eternal life is prepared in heaven; which is a much more important privilege. Christ could not mean to assure these seventy disciples that they should all possess eternal life; but he is supposed to allude to the custom of enrolling the names of those who claimed the rights of citizens in a community, and to remind his disciples of the reason which they had to rejoice, in having their names inscribed in the records which God kept of those who had a title to being citizens of heaven, and who would actually possess it, if their title was not forfeited by their own folly.
1. In the mission of the seventy disciples, we see what care Christ took to excite attention to his divine mission, and to the purposes for which he came, by thus sending two of his disciples to every town and village, to preach and to work miracles; to inform the Jews that the kingdom of heaven was about to come to them, and would be more completely unfolded by the arrival of their master. In this he acted agreeably to the benevolence of his own temper, which made him wish to communicate the blessings of the gospel to all. men, and inclined him to spare no pains that might be necessary for that purpose; agreeably likewise to the will of his heavenly Father, who willed that all men should be saved, and that those who rejected his offers should be left without excuse. After the example of Christ, let us endeavour to communicate the knowledge of this gospel to all men; to the poor as well as to the
rich; to strangers as well as friends; and let us be ready to adopt every expedient that may enable us to accomplish this purpose. We cannot confer a greater benefit.
2. In the directions which Jesus gives to these disciples, there is something to be learned by those who teach and by those who are instructed in the gospel. The former may learn that they ought not to be fastidious about their own accommodations, while they are employed in that important work. Especially, let them not discover a fondness for the luxuries and delicacies of the table, which may give those whom they teach reason to suspect that they are more concerned about the gratification of their own appetites than the propagation of the truth; but learn to be content with plain food and a moderate provision for their subsistence. On the other hand, let those who are taught remember that while their instructors manifest these moderate views, they ought not to refuse them a maintenance; they claim it not as a favor or indulgence, but as a right; they are entitled to it upon the same principle of equity as a labourer is entitled to his hire; as that upon which those who call for the time and services of another are bound to provide for his support. This is a maxim of common life, the justice of which every one acknowledges. Let those who are taught, then, communicate to those who teach; and while they partake of their spiritual good things, let them allow them a share of their temporals.
his hid serv. This
3. Let us remember that we, in the present day, are in circumstances nearly resembling those of the first preachers of the gospel. By the corruptions which it has undergone since its first appearance, it has been as much defaced and injured as the religion of the Jews in the time of our Saviour, and stands as much in need of reforination. The great mass of christians have very mistaken notions of the object of divine worship, and of the methods of acceptance with God; two very essential points of religion. But in attempting to communicate to the world juster notions upon these subjects, and to produce a change, there is much to discourage : there is much work indeed to do, and but few to engage in it, in proportion to its magnitude. Let us, however, attend to the exhortation of Christ, and pray the master of the harvest to send forth more labourers into his harvest; the work is in his hands, and he can accomplish it whenever he pleases. Yet let us not content ourselves with our prayers, however earnest; but let every one put in his sickle, and undertake some part of the work himself, as God may have given him ability.
Luke x. 25. to the end. 25. And behold a certain lawyer, 6 a teacher of the law,” stood up, and tempted him, “ tried him," saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
This teacher of the law, as well as the other Pharisees, believed the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead to a future life, upon the authority of tradition, although it was not taught in the law of Moses; and hearing Christ teaching it publicly and openly, he wished to know whether he prescribed any different course of conduct for attaining this life than what the law of Moses prescribed to men; that if this appeared by his an. wer, he might have something whereof to accuse him to the people, as teaching what was contrary to the law'. Jesus replies by referring him to the law of Moses; intimating hereby, that what was necessary to obtain future happiness, was the same as was necessary to the right observance of the law.
26. He said unto him, What is written in the law ? How readest thou ?