Matthew 22MATTHEW CHAPTER 22 Verse 1. Spake--by parables. Mt 13:3. Verse 2. The kingdom of heaven. Mt 3:2. The phrase here means, "God deals with man in his kingdom, or in regard to the dispensation of the gospel, as a certain king did," etc. This parable refers undoubtedly to the rejection ofthe Jews, and to the calling of the Gentiles. The gospel, with all its privileges, was offered to the Jewish people; but through their wickedness and pride they rejected it, and all its blessings were offered to the Gentiles, and accepted. This is the general truth. Many circumstances are thrown in to fill out the narrative, which cannot be particularly explained. A marriage for his son. Rather, a marriage feast, or a feast on the occasion of the marriage of his son. The king here doubtless represents God, providing for the salvation of the world. (i) "The kingdom" Lk 14:16 (k) "a marriage" Rev 19:7,9 Verse 3. And sent forth his servants. These represent the messengers that God has sent to invite men to his kingdom. To call them that were bidden. That is, to give notice to those who had before been invited, that the feast was ready. It appears that there were two invitations, one considerably previous to the time, that they might have opportunity to prepare for it, and the other to give notice of the precise time when they were expected. The wedding. The marriage feast. The same word in the original as in Mt 22:2. They would not come. They might have come if they chose, but they would not. So all the difficulty that sinners ever labour under, in regard to salvation, is in the will. It is a fixed determination not to come and be saved. (l) "And sent forth his servants" Ps 68:11, Jer 25:4, 35:15, Rev 22:17 Verse 4. Other servants. Who might press it on their attention. So God repeats his message to sinners, when they reject it. My dinner. This word literally denotes the meal taken about noon. It is also taken for a meal in general. As marriages were, among eastern nations, in the evening, it refers here to a meal taken at that time. Fatlings. This word does not refer to any particular species of animals. It denotes any fat animals. As oxen are also mentioned, however, it refers here probably to lambs, or calves, 2Sam 6:13; 1Chr 15:26. Verse 5. But they made light of it. Treated it with contempt, as a thing of no consequence: an exact representation of the conduct of sinners in regard to the gospel. One to his farm, etc. So men are engaged so much in their worldly employment, that they pretend they have no time to attend to religion. The world is, in their view, of more value than God. Merchandise. Traffic; trading. (m) "light" Ps 106:24,25, Prov 1:24,25, Acts 24:25, Rom 2:4 Verse 6. And the remnant, etc. That is, a part made light of it, and treated it with silent contempt, and coolly went about their business. The others were not satisfied with that, but showed positive malignity. Some sinners seem to be well satisfied by merely neglecting religion; while others proceed against it with open violence and bitter malice. Entreated them spitefully. Used harsh and opprobrious words, reviled and abused them. This was done because they hated and despised the king. So sinners often abuse and calumniate ministers of religion because they hate God, and can in no way else show it so well. (n) "entreated them" 1Thes 2:15 Verse 7. But when the king heard, etc. This doubtless refers to the Jews, and to Jerusalem. They were murderers, having slain the prophets; and God was about to send forth the armies of the Romans under his providential direction, and to burn up their city. Mt 24:1 and following. Wroth. Angry; displeased. (o) "destroyed those murderers" Dan 9:26, Lk 19:27 Verse 8. (p) "were not worthy" Mt 10:11,13, Acts 13:46, Rev 3:4, 22:14 Verse 9. The highways. Literally, the exit or going out of the paths or roads. It means the square, or principal street, into which a number of smaller streets enter; a place, therefore, of confluence, where many persons would be seen, and persons of all descriptions. By this is represented the offering of the gospel to the Gentiles. They were commonly regarded among the Jews as living in highways and hedges--cast out, poor, and despised. Verse 10. Bad and good. All descriptions of people. None are good by nature; if they were, they would not need the gospel. But some are worse than others; and they have special need of it. None can be saved without it. (q) "together all" Mt 13:47 Verse 11. A man which had not on a wedding garment. Anciently, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of changes of raiment to their friends and favourites, to refuse to receive which was an expression of highest contempt, Gen 14:22, 2Kgs 10:22, Est 6:8, 8:16. It was, of course, expected that such garments would be worn when they came into the presence of the benefactor. The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes; and it was the custom of the person who made the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This renders the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common ordinary dress, as he was taken from the highway; and though he had not a garment of his own suitable for the occasion, yet one had been provided for him, if he had applied for it. His not doing it was expressive of the highest disrespect for the king. This beautifully represents the conduct of the hypocrite in the church. A garment of salvation might be his, wrought by the hands of the Saviour, and dyed in his blood. But the hypocrite chooses the filthy rags of his own righteousness, and thus offers the highest contempt for that provided in the gospel. He is to blame, not for being invited; not for coming, if he would come--for he is freely invited; but for offering the highest contempt to the King of Zion, in presenting himself with all his filth and rags, and in refusing to be saved in the way provided in the gospel. (r) "to see" Zeph 1:12 (s) "wedding garment" Ps 45:14, Isa 61:10, 2Cor 5:3, Eph 4:24, Rev 16:15 Rev 19:8 Verse 12. Friend. Rather, companion. The word does not imply friendship. He was speechless. He had no excuse. So it will be with all hypocrites. (t) "was speechless" Jer 2:26 Verse 13. Cast him into outer darkness. Mt 8:12. This, without doubt, refers to the future punishment of the hypocrite, Mt 23:23-33, 24:51. (u) "him away" Is 52:1, Rev 21:27 Verse 14. Many are called, but few are chosen. Our Saviour often uses this expression. It was probably proverbial. The Jews had been called, but few of them had been chosen to life. The great mass of the nation were wicked; and showed by their lives that they were not chosen to salvation. The Gentiles also were invited to be saved, Isa 45:22. Nation after nation has been called; but few, few have yet showed that they were real Christians, the elect of God. It is also true, that many who are in the church may prove to be without the wedding garment, and show at last that they were not the chosen of God. This remark in the 14th verse is the in reference from the whole parable, and not of the part about the man without the wedding garment. It does not mean, therefore, that the great mass in the church are simply called and not chosen, or are hypocrites; but the great mass in the human family, in the time of Christ, who had been called, had rejected the mercy of God. (w) "Many are called" Mt 7:14, 20:16, Lk 13:23,24 Verses 15-22. The Pharisees and Herodians endeavour to entangle Jesus; This narrative is also found in Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26. Verse 15. Then went the Pharisees. Mt 3:7. How they might entangle him. To entangle means to ensnare, as birds are taken by a net. This is done secretly, by leading them within the compass of the net, and then suddenly springing it over them. So to entangle is artfully to lay a plan for enticing, to beguile by proposing a question, and by leading, if possible, to am incautious answer. This was the kind proposed here to Jesus. In his talk. The word his is supplied here by the translators, perhaps improperly. It means in conversation, or by talking with him; not alluding to anything he had before said. (y) "Then went" Mk 12:13, Lk 20:20 Verse 16. The Herodians. It is not certainly known who these were, it is probable that they took their name from Herod the Great. Perhaps they were first a political party, and were then distinguished for holding some of his peculiar opinions. Dr. Prideaux thinks that those opinions referred to two things: the first respecting subjection to a foreign power. The law of Moses was, that a stranger should not be set over the Jews as a king, De 17:15. Herod, who had received the kingdom of Judea by appointment of the Romans, held that the law of Moses referred only to a voluntary choice of a king, and did not refer to a necessary submission, where they had been overpowered by force. They supposed, therefore, that it was lawful in such cases to pay tribute to a foreign prince. This opinion was, however, extensively unpopular among the Jews; and particularly the Pharisees, who looked upon it as a violation of their law, and all the acts growing out of it as oppressive. Hence the difficulty of the question proposed by them. Whatever way he decided, they supposed he would be involved in difficulty. If he should say it was not lawful, the Herodians were ready to accuse him as being an enemy of Caesar; if he said it was lawful, the Pharisees were ready to accuse him to the people of holding an opinion extremely unpopular among them, and as being an enemy of their rights. The other opinion of Herod, which they seem to have followed, was, that when a people were subjugated by a foreign force, it was right to adopt the rites and customs of their religion. This was what was meant by the "leaven of Herod," Mk 8:15. The Herodians and Sadducees seem on most questions to have been united. Compare Mt 16:6, Mk 8:15. We know that thou art true. A hypocritical compliment, not believed by them, but artfully said, as compliments often are, to conceal their true design. Neither carest thou for any man. That is, thou art an independent teacher, delivering your sentiments without regard to the fear or favour of man. This was true, and probably they believed this. Whatever they might believe about him, they had no reason to doubt that he delivered his sentiments openly and freely. For thou regardest not the person of men. Thou art not partial. Thou wilt decide according to truth, and not from any bias towards either party. To regard the person, or to respect the person, is in the Bible uniformly used to denote partiality; or being influenced in a decision, not by truth, but by previous attachment to a person, or one of the parties--by friendship, or bias, or prejudice, Lev 19:15, Jude 1:16, De 16:19, 2Sam 14:14, Acts 10:34, Jas 2:1,3,9, 1Pet 1:17. Verse 17. Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar? Tribute was the tax paid to the Roman government. Caesar. The Roman emperor. The name Caesar, after the time of Julius Caesar, became common to all the emperors, as Pharaoh was the common name of all the kings of Egypt. The Caesar that reigned at this time was Tiberius--a man distinguished for the grossest vices, and most disgusting and debasing sensuality. Verse 18. Jesus perceived their wickedness. This must have been done by his power of searching the heart, and proves that he was omniscient. No mere man has the power of discerning the motives of others. Tempt ye me. Try me, or endeavour to lead me into difficulty by an insidious question. Hypocrites. Dissemblers. Professing to be candid inquirers, when their only object is to lead into difficulty. Mt 6:2. Verse 19. The tribute money. The money in which the tribute was paid. This was a Roman coin. The tribute for the temple-service was paid in the Jewish shekel; that for the Roman government in foreign coin. Their having that coin about them, and using it, was proof that they themselves held it lawful to pay the tribute; and their pretensions, therefore, were mere hypocrisy. A penny. A Roman denarius, worth about 14 cents, [sevenpence halfpenny.] (1) "penny" or, "In value, sevenpence halfpenny Verse 20. This image. The likeness of the reigning prince was probably struck on the coins, as it is now on [English and] Spanish coins. Superscription. The name and titles of the emperor. (2) "superscription", or "inscription" Verse 21. Render therefore unto Caesar, etc. Caesar's image and name on the coin proved that it was his. It was proper, therefore, to give it back to him when he called for it. But while this was done, he took occasion to charge them also to give to God what he claimed. This may mean either (1) the annual tribute due to the temple-service, implying that paying tribute to Caesar did not free them from the obligation to do that; or (2) that they should give their hearts, lives, property, and influence, all to God, as his due. (z) "Render" Mt 17:25,27, Rom 13:7 (a) "unto God" Mal 1:6-8, 3:8-10 Verse 22. They marvelled. They had been foiled in their attempt. Though he had apparently decided in favour of the Herodians, yet his answer confounded both parties, and wholly prevented the use which they intended to make of it. It was so wise--it so clearly detected their wickedness, and foiled their aim--that they were confounded, and retired covered with shame. Verses 23-33. Conversation of Jesus with the Sadducees respecting the resurrection. See also Mk 12:18-27, Lk 20:27-38. Verse 23. The same day came to him the Sadducees. For an account of the Sadducees, Mt 3:7. No resurrection. The resurrection literally means the raising up the body to life after it is dead, Jn 11:24, 5:29, 1Cor 15:22. But the Sadducees not only denied this, but also a future state, and the separate existence of the soul after death, as well as the existence of angels and spirits, Acts 23:8. Both these doctrines have commonly stood or fallen together, and the answer of our Saviour respects both; though it more distinctly refers to the separate existence of the soul, and to a future state of rewards and punishments, than to the resurrection of the body. (b) "The same day" Mk 12:18, Lk 20:27 (c) "which say" Acts 23:8 Verse 24. Saying, Master, Moses said, etc. De 25:5,6. This law was given by Moses in order to keep the families and tribes of the Israelites distinct, and to perpetuate them. Raise up seed unto his brother. That is, the children shall be reckoned in the genealogy of the deceased brother; or, to all civil purposes, shall be considered as his. (d) "If a man die" De 25:5, Ruth 1:11 Verses 25-28. There were with us seven brethren. It is probable that they stated a case as difficult as possible; and though no such case might have occurred, yet it was supposable, and in their view it presented a real difficulty. The difficulty arose from the fact that they supposed that substantially the same state of things takes place in the other world as here; that husbands and wives must be reunited; and they professed not to be able to see how one woman could be the wife of seven men. Verse 26. Mt 22:25 (1) "the seventh" or, "Seven" Verse 27. Mt 22:25 Verse 28. Mt 22:25 Verse 29. Ye do err, not knowing, etc. They had taken a wrong view of the doctrine of the resurrection. It was not taught that men would marry there. The Scriptures, here, mean the books of the Old Testament. By appealing to them, he showed that the doctrine of the future state was there, and that the Sadducees should have believed it as it was, and not have added the absurd doctrine to it that men must live there as they do here. The way in which the enemies of the truth attempt to make a doctrine of the Bible ridiculous is by adding to it, and then calling it absurd. He produced a passage from the books of Moses, Mt 22:32, because they had also appealed to his writings, Mt 22:24. Other places of the Old Testament asserted it more clearly, Dan 12:2, Isa 26:19; but he wished to meet them on their own ground. None of those Scriptures asserted that men would live there as they do here, and therefore their reasoning was false. Nor the power of God. They probably denied, as many have done since, that God could gather the scattered dust of the dead, and remould it into a body. On this ground they affirmed that the doctrine could not be true--opposing reason to revelation, and supporting that Infinite Power could not reorganize body that it had at first organized, and raise a body for its own dust which it had at first raised from nothing. (e) "not knowing" Jn 20:9 Verse 30. Neither marry, etc. This was a full answer to the objections of the Sadducees. But are as the angels of God. That is, in the manner of their intercourse; in regard to marriage, and the mode of their existence, Luke adds, that they shall be "equal to the angels;" that is, they shall be elevated above the circumstances of mortality, and live in a manner, and in a kind of intercourse, equal to the angels. It does not imply that they shall be equal in intellect, but only in the circumstances of their existence, as that is distinguished from the way in which mortals live. He also adds, "Neither can they die any more: but are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection," Lk 20:36 or being accounted worthy to be raised up to life, and therefore sons of God raised up to him. (f) "angels of God" Mt 18:10, 1Jn 3:2 Verses 31,32. As touching, etc. That is, in proof that the dead are raised. The passage which he quotes is recorded in Ex 3:6,15. This was at the burning bush, (Mark and Luke.) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been long dead when Moses spoke this: Abraham 329 years, Isaac 224, and Jacob 198. Yet God spoke then as being still their God. They must, therefore, be still somewhere living; for God is not the God of the dead--i. e., it is absurd to say that God rules over those who are extinct or annihilated--but he is the God only of those who have an existence. Luke adds, "All live unto him." That is, all the righteous dead; all of whom he can be properly called their God, live unto his glory. This passage does not prove directly that the dead body would be raised, but only by consequence. It proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, or that their souls were alive, This the Sadducees denied, Acts 23:8. And this was the main point in dispute. If this was admitted--if there was a state of rewards and punishments--then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised. Verse 32. Mt 22:31 (g) "I am the God" Ex 3:6,15,16, Heb 11:16 Verse 33. (h) "astonished at his doctrine" Mt 7:28, Mk 12:17 Verses 34-40. Jesus converses with a Pharisee respecting the law. See also Mk 12:28-34. Verse 34. The Pharisees--were gathered together. That is, either to rejoice that their great rivals, the Sadducees, had been so completely silenced, or to lay a new plan for ensnaring him, or perhaps both. They would rejoice that the Sadducees had been confounded, but they would not be the less desirous to involve Jesus in difficulty. They therefore endeavoured, probably, to find the most difficult question in dispute among themselves, and proposed it to him to perplex him. Verse 35. A Lawyer. This does not mean one that practised law, as among us; but one learned or skilled in the law of Moses. Mark calls him "one of the scribes." This means the same thing. The scribes were men of learning; particularly men skilled in the law of Moses. He had heard him reasoning with the Sadducees, and perceived that he answered them well; and he was thought to be better qualified to hold a debate with him, (Mark.) This man was probably of a candid turn of mind; perhaps willing to know the truth; and not entering very fully into their malicious intentions, but acting as their agent, Mk 12:34. Tempting him. Trying him. Proposing a question to test his knowledge of the law. (i) "one of them" Lk 10:25 Verse 36. Which is the great commandment? That is, the greatest commandment, or the one most important. The Jews are said to have divided the law into greater and smaller, commandments. Which was of the greatest importance they had not determined. Some held that it was the law respecting sacrifice; others, that respecting circumcision; others, that pertaining to washings and purifying, etc. The law. The word law has a great variety of significations; it means, commonly, in the Bible, as it does here, the law given by Moses, recorded in the first five books of the Bible. Verse 37. Jesus said unto him, etc. Mark says that he introduced this by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God--"Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord"--taken from De 6:4. This was said, probably, because all true obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. None can keep his commandments who are not acquainted with his nature, his perfections, and his right to command. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, etc. The meaning of this is, thou shalt love him with all thy faculties or powers. Thou shalt love him supremely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardour possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command. With all thy soul. Or, with all thy life. This means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service; to live to him, and to be willing to die at his command. With all thy mind. To submit the intellect to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our own minds. To be willing to submit all our faculties to his teaching and guidance, and to devote to him all our intellectual attainments, and all the results of our intellectual efforts. With all thy strength, (Mark.) With all the faculties of soul and body. To labour and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts. (k) "Thou shalt" De 6:5, 10:12 Verse 38. This is the first and great commandment. This commandment is found in De 6:5. It is the first and greatest of all; first, not in order of time, but of importance; greatest in dignity, in excellence, in extent, and duration. It is the fountain of all others. All beings are to be loved according to their excellence. As God is the most excellent and glorious of all beings, he is to be loved supremely. If He is loved aright, then our affections will be directed towards all created objects in a right manner. Verse 39. The second is like unto it. Lev 19:18. Resembles it in importance, dignity, purity, and usefulness. This had not been asked by the lawyer, but Jesus took occasion to acquaint him with the substance of the whole law. For its meaning, Mt 19:19. Comp. Rom 13:9. Mark adds, There is no greater commandment than these. None respecting circumcision or sacrifice is greater. They are the fountain of all. (l) "like unto it" Lev 19:18 Verse 40. On these two commandments hang, etc. That is, these comprehend the substance of what Moses in the law, and what the prophets have spoken. What they have said has been to endeavour to win men to the love of God and each other. Love to God and man comprehends the whole [of] religion; and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Saviour, and the apostles. Mk 12:32-34 adds, that the scribe said, "Well, Master, thou hast said the truth:" and that he assented to what Jesus had said, and admitted that to love God and man in this manner was more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices; that is, was of more value or importance. Jesus, in reply, told him that he was "not far from the kingdom of God;" i.e., by his reply he had shown that he was almost prepared to receive the doctrines of the gospel. He had shown a real acquaintance with the law, which showed he was nearly prepared to receive the teachings of Jesus. Mt 3:2. Mark and Luke say that this had such an effect on them that no man, after that, durst ask him any question, Lk 20:40, Mk 12:34. This does not mean that none of his disciples durst ask him any question, but none of the Jews. He had confounded all their sects: the Herodians, (Mt 22:15-22;) the Sadducees, (Mt 22:23-33;) and last, the Pharisees, (Mt 22:34-40.) All finding themselves unable to confound him, they gave up the attempt. (m) "commandments hang" Rom 13:9, Jas 2:8 Verses 41-46. Jesus proposes a question concerning the Messiah. See also Mk 12:35-37, Lk 20:41-44. Verse 41. While the Pharisees, etc. Jesus, having confounded the great sects of the Jews, proceeds in his turn to propose to them a question for their solution. This was done not for the purpose of vain parade and triumph, but, 1st. to show them how ignorant they were of their prophecies. 2nd. To humble them in view of their ignorance. 3rd. To bring to their attention the true doctrine respecting the Messiah --his being possessed of a character superior to that of David, the most mighty king of Israel--being his Lord, at the same time that he was his descendant. Verse 42. What think ye Of Christ? What are your views respecting THE MESSIAH, or the Christ, especially respecting his genealogy? He did not ask them their views respecting him in general, but only respecting his ancestry. The article should have been retained in the translation--the Christ, or the Messiah. He did not ask them their opinion respecting himself, his person, and work, as would seem in our translation; but their views respecting the Messiah whom they expected. Whose son is he? Whose descendant? Mt 1:1. The son of David. The descendant of David, according to the promise. (n) "What think ye" Mk 12:35, Lk 20:41 Verse 43. How then, etc. How is this doctrine, that he is descended from David, consistent with what David said when he calls him Lord? How can your opinion be reconciled with that ? That is recorded in Ps 110:1. A lord or master is a superior. The word here does not necessarily imply Divinity, but only superiority. David calls him his superior, his Lord, his Master, his Lawgiver; and expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Messiah was to be merely a descendant of David, as other men descended from parents--if he was to have a human nature only, as you Jews suppose--if he did not exist when David wrote-- with what propriety could he, then, call him his Lord? In spirit. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As a prophet, Acts 2:30, 1:16, 2Sam 23:2. (o) "call him Lord" Ps 110:1, Acts 2:34, Heb 1:13, 10:12,13 Verse 44. The Lord said, etc. This is the language of David. "Jehovah said unto my Lord"--the Messiah--" Sit thou," etc. This was a prediction respecting the exaltation of Christ. To be raised to the right hand of a king was significant of favor, trust, and power. Mt 20:21. This was done respecting Christ, Mk 16:19, Acts 7:55, Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Heb 1:3; 8:1, 10:12. Thine enemies thy footstool. A footstool is that which is under the feet when we are sitting--implying that we have it under subjection, or at our control. So he shall put all enemies under his feet--all his spiritual foes--all that rise up against him, Ps 2:9,12 Heb 10:13, 1Cor 15:25. Verse 45. If David, etc. If he was, then, David's Lord; if he was his superior; if he had an existence at that time, how could he be descended from him ? They could not answer him. Nor is there any way of answering the question but by the admission that the Messiah was Divine as well as human; that he had an existence at the time of David, and was his Lord and Master, his God and King, and that as man he was descended from him. Verse 46. (p) "And no man" Lk 14:6 (q) "neither durst" Mk 12:34, Lk 20:40 REMARKS ON MATTHEW CHAPTER 22 (1.) Multitudes of men, who are invited to be saved, reject the gospel,: and perish in their sins, Mt 22:3. (2.) if they perish, they only will be to blame. The offer was freely made, the salvation, was provided, and the only reason why they were not saved was because they would not come, Mt 22:3. (3.) Attention to the affairs of this life, the love of the world, will shut many out of the kingdom of heaven, Mt 22:6. Some attention to those things is necessary; but such as to lead to the loss of the soul never can be right. (4.) It is treating God ungratefully to reject his gospel, Mt 22:3-5. He has sent his Son to die for us. He has entreated us to be saved, He has followed us with mercies. And to reject all these, and refuse to be saved, is to treat him with contempt, as well as to overwhelm ourselves in condemnation. Man has no right to be damned, He is under the most solemn obligations to be saved. And after what God has done for us, deep and awful woe will await us if we are so foolish and wicked as to be lost. (5.) May of the poor and needy will. be saved, while the haughty and rich will perish for ever, Mt 22:9,10. (6.) Let those who make a profession of religion look often to the great day when Christ will search them, Mt 22:11. There is a day coming that will try us. His eye will be upon us. He will read our hearts, and see whether we are clothed in his righteousness, or only the filthy rags of our own. (7.) A profession of religion will not save us, Mt 22:11-13. It is foolish to deceive ourselves. It is vain to attempt to deceive God. Nothing but genuine piety, true faith in Jesus, and a holy life, will save us. God asks not profession merely, but the heart, he asks not mockery, but sincerity; not pretension, but reality. (8.) The hypocrite must perish, Mt 22:13. It is right that he should perish. He knew his Master's will, and would not do it. He must perish with an awful, condemnation. No man sins amidst so much light; none with so high a hand. No sin is so awful as to attempt to deceive God, and to palm pretensions on him for reality. (9.) Pretended friends are sometimes more dangerous than avowed enemies, Mt 22:16. Pretended friendship is often for the purpose of decoying us into evil. It throws us off our guard, and we are more easily taken. (10.) The truth is often admitted by wicked men from mere hypocrisy, Mt 22:16. It is only for the purpose of deceiving and leading into sin. (11.) Wicked men can decide correctly on the character of a public preacher, Mt 22:16. They often admit his claim in words, but for an evil purpose. (12.) It may be right for us sometimes to attend to artful and captious questions, Mt 22:18. It may afford opportunity to do good, to confound the wicked, and to inculcate truth. (13.) No cunning can overreach God, Mt 22:18. He knows the heart, and he will perceive the wickedness of all who attempt to deceive him. (14.) It is right to obey the law of the land, Mt 22:21. Conscientious Christians make the best citizens. (15.) We should give honour to civil rulers, Mt 22:21. We should pay respect to the office, whatever may be the character of the ruler. We should speak well of it, not abuse it, yield proper obedience to the requirements, and not rebel against it. Men may be wicked who hold an office, but the office is ordained by God, Rom 13:1,2. and for the sake of the office we must be patient, meek, submissive, and obedient, Mt 23:3. (16.) Yet we are to obey civil rulers no farther than their commands are consistent with the law of God, Mt 22:21. God is to be obeyed rather than man. And when a civil ruler commands a thing contrary to the laws of the Bible and the dictates of our consciences, we may, we must resist it. (17.) The objections of men to the doctrines of the Bible are founded on ignorance of what those doctrines are, and distrust of the power of God, Mt 22:29. Men often setup a notion which they call a doctrine of the Bible, and then fight a shadow, and think they have confuted the truth of God, while the truth was untouched. It is a totally different thing from what they supposed. (18.) When men attack a doctrine, they should be certain that they understand it, Mt 22:29. The Sadducees did not understand the true doctrine of the resurrection. The inquiry which they should have made was, whether they had correct views of it. This is the inquiry which men ought always first to make when they approach a doctrine of the Bible. (19.) We learn the glory and happiness of the state after the resurrection, Mt 22:30, (Luke.) We shall be in some respects equal to the angels. Like them we shall be free from sin, suffering, and death. Like them we shall be complete in knowledge and felicity. Like them we shall be secure of eternal joy. Happy are those, the good of all the earth, who shall have part in that resurrection of the just. (20.) The dead shall be raised, Mt 22:31,32. There is a state of happiness hereafter. This the gospel has revealed; and it is the most consoling and cheering truth that has ever beamed upon the heart of man. (21.) Our pious friends that have died are now happy, Mt 22:31,32. They are with God. God is still their God. A father, or mother, or sister, or friend, that may have left us, is there--there in perfect felicity. We should rejoice at that, nor should we wish them back to the poor comforts and the many sufferings of this world. (22.) It is our duty to love God with all the heart, Mt 22:37. No half, formal, cold, and selfish affection comes up to the requirement. It must be full, entire, absolute. It must be pleasure in all his attributes--his justice, his power, his purposes, as well as his mercy and his goodness. God is to be loved just as he is. If man is not pleased with his whole character, he is not pleased with him at all. (23.) God is worthy of love. He is perfect, He should be early loved. Children should love him more than they do father, or mother, or friends. Their first affections should be fixed on God, and fixed on him supremely, till they die. (24.) We must love our neighbour, Mt 22:39. We must do to all as we would have them do to us. This is the law and the prophets. This is the way of justice, of peace, of kindness, of charity, and of benevolence. If all men obeyed these laws, the earth would be a paradise, and man would taste the bliss of heaven here below. (25.) We may ask here of each one, what think you of Christ? Mt 22:42. What think you of the necessity of a Saviour? What think you of his nature. Is he God as well as man, or do, you regard him only as a man? What think you of his character? Do you see him to be lovely and pure, and is he such as to draw forth the warm affections of your heart? What think you of salvation by him? Do you depend on him, and trust in him, and expect heaven only on the ground of his merits? or do you reject and despise him, and would you have joined in putting him to death? Nothing more certainly tests the character, and shows what the feelings are, than the views which we entertain of Christ. Error, here, is fatal error; but he who has just views of the Redeemer, and right feelings towards him, is SURE OF SALVATION. (26.) We have in this chapter an illustrious specimen of the wisdom of Jesus. He successfully met the snares of his mighty and crafty foes, and with infinite ease confounded them. No art of man could confound him. Never was wisdom more clear, never more triumphant!
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