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If ye have faith as a grain of raised again.

And they were mustard seed, ye shall say unto exceeding sorry. this mountain, Remove hence, 24 And when they were to yonder place; and it shall re- come to Capernaum, they that move; and nothing shall be im- received tribute-money, came to possible unto you.

Peter, and said, Doth not your 21 Howbeit, this kind goeth Master pay tribute ? not out, but by prayer and fasting. 25 He saith, Yes. And when

22 And while they abode in he was come into the house, Galilee, Jesus said unto them, Jesus prevented him, saying, The Son of man shall be be- What thinkest thou, Simon? of trayed into the hands of men : whom do the kings of the earth

23 And they shall kill him, take custom or tribute ? of their and the third day he shall be own children, or of strangers ?

were soon to occur.

Mark 9 : 14, we learn that the scribes REMARK. By keeping our minds had been disputing with the disciples habitually directed to the promises of during the absence of their Master. God, rather than to any difficulties It is likely that the scribes were dis- which may beset us, our faith will puting in reference to Jesus, and to become stronger, our happiness more the power of working miracles; and by abiding, and our ability to be useful casting suspicions and surmises, and much greater. v. 20. suggesting doubts, they had produced a distrustful state of mind in the dis- 22, 23. Mark observes (9:30) that ciples. One who believes the truth Jesus at this time purposely kept himmay have his mind shaken for a time self from the multitude. He was by hearkening to objections, especially wishing to prepare the minds of his if skilfully and slyly presented. || Ås disciples for the trying events which a grain of mustard seed; that is, a

Compare Mark very small degree of faith. The mus- 9:30–32. Luke 9:43–45. tard seed was regarded as the smallest 24. They that receive tribute. The of seeds. See 13 : 32. || Nothing shall tribute here spoken of was the yearly be impossible ; by cherishing a stead payment of a half shekel from every fast faith, you will be able to accom- adult Jew, for the support of the tem. plish any miracles which your official ple, originating from the requisition station requires; you will never be in Ex. 30: 12–16. The Greek word foiled.

here rendered tribute, is the name of 21. By prayer and fasting. By a coin equal to a Jewish half shekel, such religious exercises, love to God and amounting to about twenty-eight and confidence in his promises would cents of our money. || Doth not your be greatly increased ; and only to so Muster pay tribute? It has been supstrong a faith as would be nourished posed, though there is no positive eviby such religious exercises, would dence, that the religious teachers this species of adversaries, would these among the Jews were exempted from demons yield. Mark (9:14—29) gives this tax, but that they usually paid it, an account of this transaction more as a proof of their regard for religion. particular and highly interesting, es- 25. Jesus prevented him; that is, pecially as developing the feelings of anticipated him, commenced speaking the anxious father, and showing the on the subject before Peter had time high value of faith in order to the re- to inform him of the question that had ception of blessings. Compare, also, been proposed. The word prevent, in Luke 9 ; 37-43.

the Bible, means to be before, to go be. 1 Came

26 Peter saith unto him, Of | ing, Who is the greatest in the strangers. Jesus saith unto him, kingdom of heaven? Then are the children free. 2 And Jesus called a little

27 Notwithstanding, lest we child unto him, and set him in should offend them, go thou to the midst of them, the sea, and cast a hook, and 3 And said, Verily I say take up the fish that first cometh unto you, Except ye be convertup : and when thou hast opened ed, and become as little chilhis mouth, thou shalt find a piece dren, ye shall not enter into the of money : that take, and give kingdom of heaven. unto them for me and thee.

4 Whosoever, therefore, shall

humble himself as this little child, CHAPTER XVIII.

the same is greatest in the kingA

T the same time came the dom of heaven.

disciples unto Jesus, say- 5 And whoso shall receive fore, or to anticipate. ll Of their own

CHAPTER XVIII. children, or of strangers ? that is, from 1. At the same time. Reference members of their own family, from may be had to the time of the event their own sons, or from persons not just related. In Mark 9: 33, mention belonging to the family ?

is made of the disciples having con26. On the principle just acknowl- versed on the way, that is, to Caperedged, then, a king's sons would be naum, where they now were. regarded as free from the taxes which the disciples to Jesus. According to were required for the support of the Mark 9: 33, &c., the question men. king and his household. Now, the tioned by Matthew was discussed temple was the house of God, the among the disciples while they were great King; and the half shekel tax on the way; and when they had come was devoted to the support of the into the house, Jesus inquired of them temple, and professedly to the honor what they had been disputing about. of the great King. Jesus was this But they held their peace. Probably, King's son; of him, then, the tax ought after remaining silent a short time, not, on the principle above stated, to they came up to Jesus, as Matthew rebe demanded.

lates, and proposed the question, Who 27. Should offend them; should give is the greatest in the kingdom of heavthem occasion to speak reproachfully en? They meant, Who shall have the and sinfully. || .4 piece of money; in principal honors, the chief offices, in the original, a stater, the name of a the Messiah's earthly government ? coin equivalent to a shekel. It is well Perhaps the remarks of Jesus to Peter, to observe, that in all matters pertain- in 16: 18, 19, and his having taken ing to the ordinary duties of a citizen, Peter, James, and John, apart, 17:1, Jesus wished to be blameless. Even gave rise to this inquiry. exactions which had become grossly 3. Except ye be converted ; turned perverted, he did not resist, from a from this worldly, aspiring disposition. regard to peace and blamelessness. || Become as little children; not asHe was establishing a religion which piring, seeking for great things, but would work a silent cure for all evils; modest, humble. || Ye shall not enter, and without attacking all the impro- &c.; ye shall not be regarded as beprieties which existed, he enforced longing to the Messiah's kingdom. principles which would ultimately 4. Greatest, &c. True humility is correct them.

the ground on which the blessings and rewards of the divine kingdom will be

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one such little child in my into life halt or maimed, rather name, receiveth me.

than having two hands or two 6 But whoso shall offend one feet, to be cast into everlasting of these little ones, which be- fire. lieve in me, it were better for 9 And if thine eye offend him that a millstone were hanged thee, pluck it out, and cast it about his neck, and that he from thee: it is better for thee were drowned in the depth of to enter into life with one eye,

rather than having two eyes, 7 Woe unto the world, be- to be cast into hell fire. cause of offences! for it must 10 Take heed that ye despise needs be that offences come; not one of these little ones: for but woe to that man by whom I say unto you, That in heaven the offence cometh:

their angels do always behold 8 Wherefore, if thy hand or the face of my Father, which is thy foot offend thee, cut them in heaven. off, and cast them from thee: 11 For the Son of man is it is better for thee to enter come to save that which was lost.

distributed. To be little in your own departure from Christ, stumbling-
eyes is the way to be great in the blocks.
esteem of the Messiah.

8, 9. Compare 5: 29, 30. As par-
5. In my name; on my account, as allel passages relating to what is con-
my disciple. By comparing the par- tained in Matt. 18:1–9, see Mark
allel passage in Mark 9:38, it will 9: 33–50. Luke 9. 46–48.
appear, that the conversation between 10. Jesus proceeded to show more
Jesus and the disciples now took a at large the temper of mind which
different turn. Mark relates that just should be cherished towards his dis-
at this point, John recollected an ciples, and mentioned some reasons
event which had lately occurred. why they should be treated with
Some of the disciples had met with a much affection. Despise; disesteem,
man who was casting out demons in undervalue. | Their angels. Com-
the name of the Messiah ; and because pare Heb. 1: 14. Angels in heaven
he was not of their company, and did are represented as feeling a deep in-
not follow them, they endeavored to terest in the repentance and salvation
restrain him. Jesus disapproved of of a sinner. See Luke 15:7, 10.
their conduct, and took occasion from Here they are said to behold the
this circumstance to explain how they face of God, that is, to stand in his
ought to feel and to act towards all presence, ready to obey any order
who acknowledged him.

which he may give in respect to the 6. Offend ; cast a stumbling-block welfare of the righteous. This is the in the way; treat one so as to alien- / first consideration enforcing a benevoate him from me. || These little ones ; | lent regard for the disciples of Christ ; an expression equivalent to disciples. namely, they are objects of divine See on 10: 42. Reference is had care, and angels, who are appointed here not to age, but to the relation as ministering spirits to them, are sustained to the Messiah as the greut always ready to perform the will of Teacher; little ones being the con- God in respect to them. trasted term; as disciples are

11. Another reason Jesus present trasted with Teacher.

ed for cherishing a very kind regard 7. Offences; occasions of sin and for the disciples ; namely, the Mes

con

12 How think ye? If a man than of the ninety and nine have a hundred sheep, and one which went not astray. of them be gone astray, doth he 14 Even so it is not the will not leave the ninety and nine, of your Father which is in and goeth into the mountains, heaven, that one of these little and seeketh that which is gone ones should perish. astray ?

15 Moreover, if thy brother 13 And if so be that he find shall trespass against thee, go it, verily I say unto you, he and tell him his fault between rejoiceth more of that sheep, thee and him alone: if he shall

siah himself came on earth in order suit of moral excellence, but not the to save them. In their welfare, then, seeking after great earthly distincwhat an interest does the Messiah tions. Compare Jer. 45: 5. 1 Tim. cherish! He looks upon them as 6: 9. those who were wandering and lost, 2. Humility is the best recommenand whom he came to search for and dation to the divine favor. v. 4. Comto deliver from their danger.

pare Luke 14:11. James 4: 6. 12, 13. Astray. The disciples of 3. The condescension of Christ is Jesus, regarded as those who had great in regarding any disciple as a wandered away from duty and bliss, representative of himself. v. 5. Combut who had been sought after and pare Matt. 10: 42. reclaimed, are on this very account 4. To be the means of leading a objects of deep interest to the Mes-Christian to do wrong, is an offence siah. This thought he illustrated by of no ordinary magnitude. v. 6. the feeling which a shepherd would 5. Any inconvenience ought to be cherish towards a sheep that had submitted to, rather than to be drawn wandered from the fold, and had be atsray to the commission of sin. vs. come lost, and which, after much 7-9. anxiety and

care,

he had found and 6. We ought to cherish a very brought back. Such an unhappy high esteem for the followers of sheep, thus rescued and restored, Christ, however lowly their situation, would, while the remembrance of or mean their garb, or depressed in this fact was present to the mind of understanding and outward circumthe shepherd, be contemplated with stances. vs. 10–14. Compare John a more lively interest than a whole 15: 12. 13: 34, 35. 1 John 3: 14. flock that had not been thus exposed. So Jesus, having rescued and restored 15. The cautions respecting the his disciples from their former sinful | high regard which we ought to cherand dangerous condition, feels a very ish towards the disciples of Christ, peculiar interest in them.

were followed by directions how to 14. As in the case supposed, the regulate our conduct, if a Christian rescuing of the lost sheep was the ob- brother should do us wrong. Hear ject to be gained, so in the case of the thee; hear so as to yield to thy rep Saviour's disciples, God has purposed resentations, and return to his duty. that they shall not be lost. And if || Gained thy brother. A person who he has formed such a design respect- lives in sin, is lost in respect to his ing them, surely we ought not (v. 10) eternal welfare ; if he be recovered to despise, to undervalue them. from sin, he experiences great gain,

and is gained, that is, recovered and REMARKS. 1. Jesus always dis- saved by the instrumentality of him countenanced an ambitious, aspiring who brings him back to obedience. disposition. He encouraged the pur- The one who thus brings him back,

hear thee, thou hast gained thy | Whatsoever ye shall bind on brother.

earth, shall be bound in heav16 But if he will not hear en: and whatsoever ye shall thee, then take with thee one or loose on earth, shall be loosed two more, that in the mouth in heaven. of two or three witnesses every 19 Again, I say unto you, word may be established. That if two of you shall agree

17 And if he shall neglect on earth, as touching any thing to hear them, tell it unto the that they shall ask, it shall be church; but if he neglect to done for them of my Father, hear the church, let him be wbich is in heaven. unto thee as a heathen man 20 For where two or three are and a publican.

gathered together in my name, 18 Verily I say unto you, there am I in the midst of them. guins him, saves him from being lost. tion to the church, they would need Compare James 5: 20. 1 Pet. 3:1. special direction from heaven. This 1 Cor. 7: 16. 9:19–22.

the Saviour promised they should re16. Two or three witnesses, &c. Aceive, in answer to prayer. If t100 of rule similar in its import was binding you shall agree. It was not necessaon the Jews. Compare Deut. 19: 15. ry that the whole company should

17. The church ; the company of always be together in order to conbelievers with which the offender is sult and pray; if only two should connected. As a heathen man and unite in seeking a knowledge of the a publican. The Jews did not en- divine will, their prayer would be courage intimacy with the heathen, heard, and whatsoever they should that is, with Gentiles, and publicans ask for, as connected with their offi. (see on 5:47) they regarded as un- cial capacity, they should receive it. worthy of their society. An offender, 20. Where two or three, &c. If then, who would not bearken, in a any of the apostles had met in the private conversation, to reasonable name of Christ, that is, with reference suggestions, nor listen, when two or to his cause, to consult on a matter three witnesses were present, nor which involved his glory, Christ him. comply with the directions of the self would be spiritually present with church, was no longer to be kept in them, and communicate to their minds familiar intimacy as a Christian, but a knowledge of his will. was to be removed from the company of Christians, as unsuitable for Chris. REFLECTIONS. 1. There is great tians to associate with. Jesus, how- wisdom and kindness in the rule reever, unlike the Jewish teachers, does quiring a private interview with a not permit us to hate those who are Christian brother who may have done thus separated. See 5: 44–48. us wrong. Little success could be

18. Compare 16: 19. The differ. anticipated, if we should at first conence between this verse and the one verse with him in the presence of referred to, is, that in this verse the others. Men have such a regard to words of Christ are manifestly ad-false honor, and are so unwilling to dressed to all the apostles, giving acknowledge that they have done them all alike full authority in re-wrong, when their reputation is at spect to the church, as his representa- stake, that the utmost secrecy ought tives. His followers were to look to to be sought in matters of this kind. them as guides fully qualified and Reproof is unwelcome to one who empowered.

deserves it; and all outward circum19. Sustaining this important rela- stances which might unpleasantly

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