Luke 9


Christ sends his apostles to preach and work miracles, 1-6.

Herod, hearing of the fame of Jesus, is perplexed; some suppose

that John Baptist is risen from the dead; others, that Elijah

or one of the old prophets was come to life, 7-9.

The apostles return and relate the success of their mission. He

goes to a retired place, and the people follow him, 10, 11.

He feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes,


He asks his disciples what the public think of him, 18-21.

Foretells his passion, 22.

Shows the necessity of self-denial, and the importance of

salvation, 23-25.

Threatens those who deny him before men, 26.

The transfiguration, 27-36.

Cures a demoniac, 37-43.

Again foretells his passion, 44, 45.

The disciples contend who shall be greatest, 46-48.

Of the person who cast out devils in Christ's name, but did not

associate with the disciples, 49, 50.

Of the Samaritans who would not receive him, 51-56.

Of the man who wished to follow Jesus, 57, 58.

He calls another disciple who asks permission first to bury his

father, 59.

Our Lord's answer 60-62.


Verse 1. Power and authority] δυναμινκαιεξουσιαν. The words

properly mean here, the power to work miracles; and that authority

by which the whole demoniac system was to be subjected to them.

The reader will please to observe: 1. That Luke mentions both

demons and diseases; therefore he was either mistaken, or demons

and diseases are not the same. 2. The treatment of these two

was not the same:-the demons were to be cast out, the diseases to

be healed. See Mt 10:1.

Verse 2. To preach the kingdom of God] For an explication of

this phrase, See Clarke on Mt 3:1.

Verse 3. Take nothing] See on Mr 6:7, 8.

Neither money] See Clarke on Mt 10:9.

Neither have two coats] Show that in all things ye are

ambassadors for God; and go on his charges.

Verse 4. There abide, and thence depart.] That is, remain in

that lodging till ye depart from that city. Some MSS. and versions

add μη, which makes the following sense: There remain, and depart

NOT thence. See Clarke on Mt 10:11.

Verse 7. Herod the tetrarch] See on Mt 2:1; 14:1.

By him] This is omitted by BCDL, two others, the Coptic,

Sahidic, Armenian, and four of the Itala. It is probable that

Luke might have written, Herod, hearing of all the things that were

done, &c.; but Matthew says particularly, that it was the fame of

Jesus of which he heard: Mt 14:1.

He was perplexed;] He was greatly perplexed διηπορει. from δια

emphat. and απορεω, I am in perplexity. It is a metaphor taken

from a traveller, who in his journey meets with several paths, one

only of which leads to the place whither he would go; and, not

knowing which to take, he is distressed with perplexity and doubt.

The verb comes from α, negative, and πορος, a way or

passage. A guilty conscience is a continual pest:-Herod had

murdered John, and he is terribly afraid, lest he should arise

from the dead, and bring his deeds to light, and expose him to

that punishment which he deserved. See Mr 6:16.

Verse 10. Told him all] Related distinctly-διηγησαντο, from

δια, through, and ηγεομαι, I declare: hence the whole of

this Gospel, because of its relating every thing so particularly,

is termed διηγησις, Lu 1:1, a

particular and circumstantially detailed narration.

See Clarke on Mr 6:30.

Verse 11. The people-followed him] Observe here five grand

effects of Divine grace. 1. The people are drawn to follow him. 2.

He kindly receives them. 3. He instructs them in the things of

God. 4. He heals all their diseases. 5. He feeds their bodies and

their souls. See Quesnel. Reader! Jesus is the same to the present

moment. Follow him, and he will receive, instruct, heal, feed, and

save thy soul unto eternal life.

Verse 12. Send the multitude away] See this miracle explained at

large, on the parallel places, Mt 14:15-21; Mr 6:36-44.

Verse 16. Then he took the five loaves] A minister of the

Gospel, who is employed to feed souls, should imitate this conduct

of Christ:

1. He ought to exhort the people to hear with sedate and humble


2. He should first take the bread of life himself, that he may

be strengthened to feed others.

3. He ought frequently to lift his soul to God, in order to draw

down the Divine blessing on himself and his hearers.

4. He should break the loaves-divide rightly the word of truth,

and give to all such portions as are suited to their capacities

and states.

5. What he cannot perform himself, he should endeavour to effect

by the ministry of others; employing every promising talent, for

the edification of the whole, which he finds among the members of

the Church of God. Under such a pastor, the flock of Christ will

increase and multiply. See Quesnel.

Verse 18. Whom say the people] οιοχλοι, the common people,

i.e. the mass of the people. See this question considered on

Mt 16:13, &c.

Verse 20. But whom say ye that I am?] Whom do ye tell the people

that I am? What do ye preach concerning me? See also on Mt 16:14;

and see the observations at the end of this chapter.

The Christ of God.] The Coptic and later Persic read, Thou

art Christ God. After this comes in Peter's confession of our

Lord, as related Mt 16:16, &c., where see the notes; and see also

the observations of Granville Sharp, Esq., at the end of this

chapter. See Clarke on Lu 9:62

Verse 23. If any man will come after me]

See Clarke on Mt 16:24, and

See Clarke on Mr 8:34, where the nature of

proselytism among the Jews is explained.

Daily] καθημεραν is omitted by many reputable MSS., versions,

and fathers. It is not found in the parallel places, Mt 16:24;

Mr 8:34.

Verse 24. Will save his life] See Clarke on Mt 16:24, &c.

Verse 25. Lose himself] That is, his life or soul. See the

parallel places, Mt 16:25; Mr 8:35, and especially the note on

the former.

Or be cast away?] Or receive spiritual damage ηζημιωθεις.

I have added the word spiritual here, which I conceive to be

necessarily implied. Because, if a man received only temporal

damage in some respect or other, yet gaining the whole world must

amply compensate him. But if he should receive spiritual

damage-hurt to his soul in the smallest degree, the possession of

the universe could not indemnify him. Earthly goods may repair

earthly losses, but they cannot repair any breach that may be made

in the peace or holiness of the soul. See Clarke on Mt 16:26.

Verse 26. Ashamed of me] See Clarke on Mr 8:38.

Verse 28. About an eight days after] See the whole of this

important transaction explained at large on Mt 17:1-13.

Verse 31. His decease] τηνεξοδοναυτον, That going out (or

death) of his. That peculiar kind of death-its nature,

circumstances, and necessity being considered. Instead of εξοδον,

thirteen MSS. have δοξαν, glory. They spoke of that glory of

his, which he was about to fill up (πληρουν) at Jerusalem. The

AEthiopic unites both readings. The death of Jesus was his

glory, because, by it, he gained the victory over sin, death,

and hell, and purchased salvation and eternal glory for a lost


Verse 33. It is good for us to be here] Some MSS. add παντοτε,

It is good for us to be ALWAYS here.

Verse 35. This is my beloved Son] Instead of οαγαπητος, the

beloved one, some MSS. and versions have εκλεκτος, the chosen

one: and the AEthiopic translator, as in several other cases,

to be sure of the true reading, retains both.

In whom I am well pleased, or have delighted-is added by some

very ancient MSS. Perhaps this addition is taken from Mt 17:5.

Verse 37. Much people] See Clarke on Mt 17:14.

Verse 39. A spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out]

πνευμαλαμβανειαυτον. This very phrase is used by heathen

writers, when they speak of supernatural influence. The following,

from Herodotus, will make the matter, I hope, quite plain.

Speaking of Scyles, king of the Scythians, who was more fond of

Grecian manners and customs than of those of his countrymen, and

who desired to be privately initiated into the Bacchic mysteries,

he adds: "Now because the Scythians reproach the Greeks with these

Bacchanals, and say that to imagine a god driving men into

paroxysms of madness is not agreeable to sound reason, a certain

Borysthenian, while the king was performing the ceremonies of

initiation, went out, and discovered the matter to the Scythian

army in these words: 'Ye Scythians ridicule us because we

celebrate the Bacchanals, καιημεαςοθεοςλαμβανει, and the GOD

POSSESSES US: but now the same demon, ουτοςοδαιμων, has TAKEN

POSSESSION, λελαβηκε, of your king, for he celebrates the

Bacchanals, and υποτουθεουμαινεται, is filled with fury by this

god." Herodot. l. iv. p. 250, edit. Gale.

This passage is exceedingly remarkable. The very expressions

which Luke uses here are made use of by Herodotus. A demon,

δαιμων, is the agent in the Greek historian, and a demon is

the agent in the case mentioned in the text, Lu 9:42. In

both cases it is said the demon possesses the persons, and the

very same word, λαμβανει is used to express this in both

historians. Both historians show that the possessions were real,

by the effects produced in the persons: the heathen king rages

with fury through the influence of the demon called the god

Bacchus; the person in the text screams out, (κραζει,) is

greatly convulsed, and foams at the mouth. Here was a real

possession, and such as often took place among those who were

worshippers of demons.

Verse 42. The devil threw him down, and tare him.] See this case

considered at large, on Mt 17:15-18, and on Mr 9:14-27.

Verse 43. The mighty power] This majesty of God, μεγαλειοτητι

τουθεου. They plainly saw that it was a case in which any power

inferior to that of God could be of no avail; and they were deeply

struck with the majesty of God manifested in the conduct of the

blessed Jesus.

Verse 44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears] Or, put

these words into your ears. To other words, you may lend

occasional attention-but to what concerns my sufferings and

death you must ever listen. Let them constantly occupy a place

in your most serious meditations and reflections.

Verse 45. But they understood not] See Clarke on Mr 9:32.

Verse 46. There arose a reasoning] εισηλθεδεδιαλογισμος, A

dialogue took place-one inquired, and another answered, and so

on. See this subject explained on Mt 18:1, &c.

Verse 49. We forbade him] See this subject considered on

Mr 9:38, &c.

Verse 51. That he should be received up] Bishop PEARCE says: "I

think the word αναληψεως must signify, of Jesus's retiring or

withdrawing himself, and not of his being received up: because

the word συμπληρουσθαι, here used before it, denotes a time

completed, which that of his ascension was not then. The sense

is, that the time was come, when Jesus was no longer to retire

from Judea and the parts about Jerusalem as he had hitherto done;

for he had lived altogether in Galilee, lest the Jews should have

laid hold on him, before the work of his ministry was ended, and

full proofs of his Divine mission given, and some of the

prophecies concerning him accomplished. John says, Joh 7:1:

Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry, because

the Jews sought to kill him. Let it be observed, that all which

follows here in Luke, to Lu 19:45, is represented by him as done

by Jesus in his last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem."

He steadfastly set his face] That is, after proper and mature

deliberation, he chose now to go up to Jerusalem, and firmly

determined to accomplish his design.

Verse 52. Sent messengers] αγγελους, angels, literally; but

this proves that the word angel signifies a messenger of any kind,

whether Divine or human. The messengers in this case were probably

James and John.

Verse 53. His face was] They saw he was going up to Jerusalem to

keep the feast; (it was the feast of tabernacles, Joh 7:2;) and

knowing him thereby to be a Jew, they would afford nothing for his

entertainment; for, in religious matters, the Samaritans and Jews

had no dealings: see Joh 4:9. The Samaritans were a kind of

mongrel heathens; they feared Jehovah, and served other gods,

2Ki 17:34. They apostatized from the true religion, and

persecuted those who were attached to it. See an account of them,

Mt 16:1. Those only who have deserted the truth of God, or who

are uninfluenced by it, hate them who embrace and act by it. When

a man has once decidedly taken the road to heaven, he can have but

little credit any longer in the world, 1Jo 3:1.

Verse 54. That we command fire] Vengeance belongs to the Lord.

What we suffer for his sake, should be left to himself to reprove

or punish. The insult is offered to him, not to us.

See Clarke on Mr 3:17.

Verse 55. Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.] Ye do

not consider that the present is a dispensation of infinite mercy

and love; and that the design of God is not to destroy sinners,

but to give them space to repent, that he may save them unto

eternal life. And ye do not consider that the zeal which you

feel springs from an evil principle, being more concerned for your

own honour than for the honour of God. The disciples of that

Christ who died for his enemies should never think of avenging

themselves on their persecutors.

Verse 56. And they went to another village.] Which probably did

entertain them; being, perhaps, without the Samaritan borders.

The words, Ye know not of what spirit ye are; for the Son of man

is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them, are wanting

in ABCEGHLS-V, and in many others. Griesbach leaves the latter

clause out of the text. It is probable that the most ancient MSS.

read the passage thus: But he turned, and rebuked them, and said,

Ye know not of what spirit ye are. And they went to another

village. See the authorities in GRIESBACH.

Verse 57. A certain man] He was a scribe. See on Mt 8:19-22. It

is probable that this took place when Christ was at Capernaum, as

Matthew represents it, and not on the way to Jerusalem through


Verse 61. Another also said] This circumstance is not mentioned

by any of the other evangelists; and Matthew alone mentions the

former case, Lu 9:57, 58.

Let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home] επιτρεψον

μοιαποταξασθαιτοιςειςτονοικονμου-Permit me to set in order

my affairs at home. Those who understand the Greek text will see

at once that it will bear this translation well; and that this is

the most natural. This person seems to have had in view the case

of Elisha, who made a similar request to the Prophet Elijah,

1Ki 19:19, 20, which request was granted by the prophet; but

our Lord, seeing that this person had too much attachment to the

earth, and that his return to worldly employments, though for a

short time, was likely to become the means of stifling the good

desires which he now felt, refused to grant him that permission.

That which we object to the execution of God's designs is

sometimes the very thing from which we should immediately

disengage ourselves.

Verse 62. Put his hand to the plough] Can any person properly

discharge the work of the ministry who is engaged in secular

employments? A farmer and a minister of the Gospel are

incompatible characters. As a person who holds the plough cannot

keep on a straight furrow if he look behind him; so he who is

employed in the work of the ministry cannot do the work of an

evangelist, if he turn his desires to worldly profits. A good man

has said: "He who thinks it necessary to cultivate the favour of

the world is not far from betraying the interests of God and his

Church." Such a person is not fit, ευθετος, properly disposed,

has not his mind properly directed towards the heavenly

inheritance, and is not fit to show the way to others. In both

these verses there is a plain reference to the call of Elisha. See

1Ki 19:19, &c.

1. CONSIDERING the life of mortification and self-denial which

Christ and his disciples led, it is surprising to find that any

one should voluntarily offer to be his disciple. But there is such

an attractive influence in truth, and such a persuasive eloquence

in the consistent steady conduct of a righteous man, that the

first must have admirers, and the latter, imitators.

Christianity, as it is generally exhibited, has little attractive

in it; and it is no wonder that the cross of Christ is not prized,

as the blessings of it are not known; and they can be known and

exhibited by him only who follows Christ fully.

2. It is natural for man to wish to do the work of God in his

own spirit; hence he is ready to call down fire and brimstone from

heaven against those who do not conform to his own views of

things. A spirit of persecution is abominable. Had man the

government of the world, in a short time, not only sects and

parties, but even true religion itself, would be banished from

the face of the earth. Meekness, long-suffering, and benevolence,

become the followers of Christ; and his followers should ever

consider that his work can never be done but in his own spirit.

Since the notes on Matthew were published, I have received from

Granville Sharp, Esq., a short Treatise, entitled, Remarks on an

important Text, (viz. Mt 16:18,)

which has long been perverted by the Church of Rome, IN SUPPORT



As I should feel it an honour to introduce the name of such a

veteran in the cause of religion, liberty, and learning, into my

work, so it gives me pleasure to insert the substance of his tract

here, as forming a strong argument against a most Anti-christian


"And I also say unto thee, That thou art PETER; and upon this

ROCK I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not

prevail against it." Mt 16:18.

"The Greek word πετρος (Petros or Peter) does not mean a

rock, though it has, indeed, a relative meaning to the word

πετρα, a rock; for it signifies only a little piece of a rock,

or a stone, that has been dug out of a rock; whereby the dignity

of the real foundation intended by our Lord, which he expressed by

the prophetical figure of Petra, (a rock,) must necessarily be

understood to bear a proportionable superiority of dignity and

importance above the other preceding word, Petros; as petra, a

real rock, is, comparatively, superior to a mere stone, or

particle from the rock; because a rock is the regular figurative

expression in Holy Scripture for a Divine Protector:

Jehovah (is) my rock, (2Sa 22:2, and Ps 18:2.) Again,

, my God (is) my rock;

(2Sa 22:2, and Ps 18:2;) and again, ,

and who (is) a rock except our God? 2Sa 22:32.

"Many other examples may be found throughout the Holy

Scriptures; but these six alone are surely sufficient to establish

the true meaning of the figurative expression used by our Lord on

this occasion; as they demonstrate that nothing of less importance

was to be understood than that of our Lord's own Divine divinity,

as declared by St. Peter in the preceding context-'Thou art the

Christ, the Son of the living God!'

"That our Lord really referred to this declaration of Peter,

relating to his own Divine dignity, as being the true rock, on

which he would build his Church, is established beyond

contradiction by our Lord himself, in the clear distinction which

he maintained between the stone (πετρος, petros) and the

rock, (πετρα, petra,) by the accurate grammatical terms in

which both these words are expressly recorded. (For whatsoever may

have been the language in which they were really spoken, perhaps

in Chaldee or Syriac, yet in this point the Greek record is our

only authoritative instructer.) The first word, πετρος, being a

masculine noun, signifies merely a stone; and the second word,

πετρα, though it is a feminine noun, cannot signify any thing of

less magnitude and importance than a rock, or strong mountain of

defence. The true meaning of the name was at first declared by our

Lord to be Cephas, a stone; and a learned commentator, Edward

Leigh, Esq., asserts that πετρος, doth always signify a STONE,

never a rock. Critica Sacra, p. 325.

"With respect to the first.-The word πετρος, petros, in its

highest figurative sense of a stone, when applied to Peter, can

represent only one true believer, or faithful member of Christ's

Church, that is, one out of the great multitude of true believers

in Christ, who, as figurative stones, form altogether the glorious

spiritual building of Christ's Church, and not the foundation on

which that Church is built; because that figurative character

cannot, consistently with truth, be applied to any other person

than to God, or to Christ alone, as I have already demonstrated by

several undeniable texts of Holy Scripture. And though even Christ

himself is sometimes, in Holy Scripture, called a stone, (λοθος,

but not πετρος,) yet, whenever this figurative expression is

applied to him, it is always with such a clear distinction of

superiority over all other figurative stones as will not admit

the least idea of any vicarial stone to be substituted in his

place; as, for instance: He is called 'the head stone of the

corner,' (Ps 118:22,)

'in Zion a precious corner stone,' (Isa 28:16,) by whom alone

the other living stones of the spiritual house are rendered

'acceptable to God;' as St. Peter himself (previous to his

citation of that text of Isaiah) has clearly declared in his

address to the Churches dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia,

Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; wherein he manifestly explains

that very text of Isaiah, as follows:-'Ye also,' (says the

apostle,) 'as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a

holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices ACCEPTABLE TO

GOD, BY' (or through) 'JESUS CHRIST.' (1Pe 2:5.) Thus plainly

acknowledging the true foundation, on which the other living

stones of the primitive catholic Church were built, in order to

render them 'acceptable to God,' as 'a holy priesthood.'

And the apostle then proceeds (in the very next verse) to his

citation of the above-mentioned text from Isaiah:-'Wherefore

also,' (says he, 1Pe 2:6,) 'it is contained in the Scripture,

Behold, I lay in Sion a CHIEF CORNER STONE, elect, precious; and

he that believeth on him' (επαυτω, on him, that is, on Jesus

Christ, the only CHIEF CORNER STONE) 'shall not be confounded.

Unto you, therefore, which believe' (he) 'IS PRECIOUS,' (or, an

honour; as rendered in the margin,) 'but unto them which be

disobedient' (he is, δε, also) 'the stone which the builders

disallowed, the same' (ουτος, for there is no other person that

can be entitled to this supreme distinction in the Church) 'is


"From this whole argument of St. Peter, it is manifest that

there cannot be any other true head of the Church than Christ

himself; so that the pretence for setting up a vicarial head on

earth, is not only contrary to St. Peter's instruction to the

eastern Churches, long after Christ's ascent into heaven; but also

(with respect to the inexpediency and impropriety of acknowledging

such a vicar on earth as the Roman pretender) is equally contrary

to our Lord's own instruction to his disciples (and, of course,

also contrary to the faith of the true primitive catholic Church

throughout the whole world) when he promised them, that, 'Where

two or three are gathered together in my name' (said our Lord

JESUS, the true rock of the Church) 'there am I in the midst of

them,' Mt 18:20.

"So that the appointment of any 'vicar on earth,' to represent

that rock or eternal head of the Church whose continual presence,

even with the smallest congregations on earth, is so expressly

promised, would be not only superfluous and vain, but must also

be deemed a most ungrateful affront to the benevolent Promiser of

his continual presence; such as must have been suggested by our

spiritual enemies to promote an apostasy from the only sure

foundation, on which the faith, hope, and confidence of the

true catholic Church can be built and supported!

"Thus, I trust that the true sense of the first noun, πετρος, a

stone, is here fairly stated; and also, its relative meaning to

the second noun, πετρα, a rock, as far as it can reasonably be

deemed applicable to the Apostle Peter.

"And a due consideration also of the second noun, πετρα, a rock,

will produce exactly the same effect; that is, it will demonstrate

that the supreme title of the rock, which, in other texts of Holy

Scripture, is applied to Jehovah, or God, alone, (as I have

already shown,) most certainly was not intended by our Lord to be

understood as applicable to his disciple Peter; but only to that

true testimony which St. Peter had just before declared,

concerning the Divine dignity of the Messiah-'Thou art the Christ,

the Son of the living God.'

"I have already remarked that πετρα (a rock) is a feminine noun;

and a clear distinction is maintained between πετρος, the

masculine noun, in this text, and the said feminine noun πετρα,

the rock, by the grammatical terms in which the latter, in its

relatives and articles, is expressed, which are all regularly

feminine throughout the whole sentence; and thereby they

demonstrate that our Lord did not intend that the new appellation,

or nominal distinction, which he had just before given to Simon,

(viz. πετρος, the masculine noun in the beginning of the

sentence,) should be construed as the character of which he spoke

in the next part of the sentence; for, if he had really intended

that construction, the same masculine noun, πετρος, must

necessarily have been repeated in the next part of the sentence

with a masculine pronoun, viz. επιτουτωτωπετρω, instead of επι

ταυτητηπετρα, the present text; wherein, on the contrary; not

only the gender is changed from the masculine to the feminine, but

also the figurative character itself, which is as much superior,

in dignity, to the Apostle Simon, and also to his new appellative

πετρος, as a rock is superior to a mere stone. For the word

πετρος cannot signify any thing more than a stone; so that the

popish application to Peter, (or πετρος,) as the foundation of

Christ's Church, is not only inconsistent with the real meaning of

the appellative which Christ, at that very time, conferred upon

him, and with the necessary grammatical construction of it, but

also with the figurative importance of the other word, πετρα, the

rock; επιταυτητηπετρα, 'upon this rock;' the declared

foundation of the Church, a title of dignity, which (as I have

already shown by several texts of Scripture) is applicable only to

God or to Christ.

"And be pleased to observe farther, that the application of this

supreme title (the rock) to Peter, is inconsistent (above all)

with the plain reference to the preceding CONTEXT; made by our

Lord in the beginning of this very verse-'AND I ALSO say unto

thee'-which manifestly points out (both by the copulative 'and,'

and the connective adverb 'also') the inseparable connection of

this verse with the previous declaration of Peter, concerning our

Lord's Divine dignity in the preceding sentence-'Thou art the

Christ, the Son of the living God;' and thereby demonstrates that

our Lord's immediate reply ('AND I ALSO SAY unto thee, &c.) did

necessarily include this declaration of Peter, as being the

principal object of the sentence-the true foundation, or rock, on

which alone the catholic Church can be properly built; because our

faith in Christ (that he is truly 'the Son of the living God') is

unquestionably the only security or rock of our salvation.

"And Christ was also the rock even of the primitive Church of

Israel; for St. Paul testifies, that 'they' (i.e. the hosts of

Israel) 'did all drink of that spiritual drink: for they drank of

that spiritual ROCK that followed them, and that ROCK was CHRIST,'

1Co 10:4. And the apostle, in a preceding chapter, (1Co 3:11,)

says, 'Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is


"In the margin of our English version of 1Co 10:4, instead of

'followed them,' we find, 'went with them;' which is not only

the literal meaning of the Greek, 'followed them,' but it is also

unquestionably true that Christ was, in a more particular manner,

the ROCK of their defence, when he 'followed them,' than when he

'went before them,' as related in Ex 13:21,

'And the Lord' (in the Hebrew, expressly, Jehovah) 'WENT BEFORE

THEM by day in a pillar of a cloud to LEAD THEM the way, and by

night in a pillar of fire,' &c. Yet, afterwards, a necessary

change was made by the Protector of the hosts of Israel, in his

military manoeuvres with the two marching armies, as we are

informed in the next chapter, Ex 14:19. For though, at first,

'he went BEFORE the camp of Israel,' yet he afterwards 'removed,

and went BEHIND them; and the pillar of the cloud removed from

before them, and stood' (or rather, was stationed in the order of

marching) 'behind them.' Which is properly expressed by St. Paul

(in the above-cited text, 1Co 10:4) as

'the rock that followed them.' For Christ was more particularly

'a rock of defence to Israel,' by this changed manoeuvre in

following them; because he thereby prevented the pursuit of

their cruel enemies, the standing armies of the Egyptian tyrant.

"I must remark, however, that in the text, which is parallel to

St. Paul's testimony that Christ was the ROCK which followed, viz.

Ex 14:19, 20, Christ is not mentioned under the supreme title of

Jehovah, (as in the preceding chapter, Ex 13:21,) but only as

'an angel of God.' But the angel appointed to this most gracious

and merciful purpose of the Almighty was really of a supreme

Divine dignity, infinitely superior to all other angels, For (in

another parallel text on the same subject, wherein the title of

angel is also given, viz. Ex 23:20-23,) God declared, saying,

'My name is in him,' (viz. the name Jehovah, signifying all

time, past, present, and future, or the eternal Being.)

'Behold,' (said God to the hosts of Israel,) 'I send AN ANGEL' (or

a messenger) 'before thee, to keep thee in the way,' (the object

of intention before described,) 'and to bring thee into the place

which I have prepared. Beware of him,' [or rather, watch,

(thyself,) or be respectful before him, or in his

presence,] 'and obey his VOICE,' (i.e. the WORD of God, the true

character of Christ, even before the creation;) 'provoke him not,'

(or rather, murmur not, against him,) 'for he will not pardon your

transgressions, for MY NAME IS IN HIM,' (not placed upon him, as

the outward tokens of mere temporary authority are given, to be

exhibited like the insignia of nobility, or robes of magistrates,

but really 'in him,' 'within him,' i.e. thoroughly

included in his personal existence.) 'But if thou shalt indeed

obey HIS VOICE,' (i.e. 'the word of God,' the true figurative

character of the Son of God,) 'and shalt do all that I SPEAK,'

(for it is Jehovah, the Lord God, that speaketh in Christ,) 'then

I will be an enemy to thine enemies,' &c. It is therefore

unquestionably evident, from the examination of all these texts,

that Christ, whom St. Paul has declared to be 'the rock that

followed' the Israelites, was also the Lord, or Jehovah, (as he

is expressly called in the first text here cited, Ex 13:21,) that

'went before' the Israelites 'by day,' in a pillar of a cloud,

to lead them in 'the way, and by night in a pillar of fire,' &c.,

as expressly declared in the first text cited in this note; and,

therefore, an attempt to set up any mere mortal man, as the rock

or foundation of the true catholic Church, must be attributed

either to extreme ignorance of the Holy Scriptures, or to extreme

wickedness; but certainly, also, to the delusions of spiritual


That the power of the keys, or of binding and loosing, belonged

equally to all the apostles, the author goes on to prove.

"But there is a testimony of high authority, which renders it

unquestionable that this declaration of our Lord respecting the

power of 'binding and loosing,' related 'to them,' (the other

disciples,) 'as well as to him:'-even another declaration, made by

our Lord himself, 'to his disciples,' respecting the same

identical power, which our Lord attributed equally to all the

disciples then present.

"The particular discourse of our Lord to which I now refer seems

to have been made at Capernaum, after the miracle of the fish

(bearing the tribute money in his mouth) which Peter was sent to

catch; as related in the 17th chapter of St. Matthew. Mt 17:1

&c. And in the beginning of the very next chapter Mt 18:1 we

are informed as follows:-'At the SAME TIME came the disciples unto

Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Our

Lord's answer to this question (wherein he urges the necessity of

a humiliation like that of little children, as the proper

disposition to qualify mankind for the kingdom of heaven) is

continued from the 2d verse to the 14th verse of this chapter;

Mt 18:2-14 which shows that the

disciples, in general, were still present, as they would certainly

wait for the desired answer to their own question; and then our

Lord immediately afterwards proceeded to instruct them (from the

15th to the 17th verse) Mt 18:15-17 in the general duty of

behaviour towards a brother that has trespassed against us. After

which our Lord added, (in the 18th verse,) Mt 18:18

'Verily I say unto YOU, (υμιν, a plural pronoun, which must

refer unto all the disciples that were then assembled,)

'Whatsoever YE SHALL BIND on earth,' (δησητε, a verb in the

second person plural, plainly including all the disciples that

were then present,) 'shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever YE

SHALL LOOSE on earth,' (λυσητε, another plural verb,) 'shall be

loosed in heaven.'

"This is exactly the power of the keys, which the Church of Rome

has, most absurdly, attributed to St. Peter alone, in order to

invest the bishops of Rome (on the vain pretence of their being

St. Peter's successors) with an exclusive claim to all these

ecclesiastical privileges of binding and loosing, which our Lord

manifestly, in this parallel text, attributed to all his faithful

apostles, without any partial distinction.

"But the importance of examining, not only parallel texts, but

also more particularly the context, of any difficult sentence in

Holy Scripture, for a more easy comprehension of the true meaning,

is clearly exemplified in the examination of the first text in

question, viz. Mt 16:18, 19; for we are informed in the very next

verse, the 20th, Mt 16:20 that our Lord

'THEN charged his disciples,' (τοτε, then, that is, immediately

after his discourse about the rock and keys,) 'that they should

tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ;' manifestly referring to

the first circumstance of the context concerning himself, viz. the

declaration of Peter, 'Thou art the Christ,' &c. (Mt 16:16,) in

answer to his own question to all the disciples-'Whom say ye that

I am?'

"That this question was not addressed to Peter alone is manifest

by the plural pronoun and verb, (υμειςλεγετε,) 'Whom say YE

that I am?' And therefore St. Peter's answer must be considered as

intended not merely for himself, but also for his brethren, the

other faithful witnesses of Christ's miracles and doctrines; so

that the substance of this answer-'Thou art the Christ, the Son of

the living God'-must necessarily be understood as the true

foundation or rock of the Catholic Church, revealed to Peter by

our heavenly Father, as stated in the 17th and 18th verses.

Mt 16:17, 18

"This declaration, therefore, that he was the Christ, was

manifestly the subject of our Lord's charge to the disciples, that

'they should tell no man;' that is, not until after the time of

his sufferings and death, which were the next topics in the

continuation of his discourse. The declaration of Peter,

therefore, demonstrated the true foundation, or rock, of the

Church, which (as Christ himself testified) our heavenly Father

had revealed to Peter. And it is also remarkable, that the very

next discourse of our Lord to his disciples, recorded in the

context, (Mt 16:21,) should produce that severe censure against

Peter, which still farther demonstrated that Peter could not be

the rock on which Christ's Church was to be built. (Mt 16:21.)

'From that time forth' (αποτοτε) 'began Jesus to show unto his

disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and SUFFER many

things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and BE

KILLED,' (all the predicted consequences of his being the CHRIST,

the character which Peter himself had declared,) 'and' (that he

should) 'be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him,'

(Mt 16:22,)

'and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord,'

(or, rather, according to the Greek original, as rendered in the

margin-'Pity thyself, Lord')-'this shall not be unto thee. But he'

(Christ, Mt 16:23)

'turned and said unto Peter,' [τωπετρω, the same appellative

(signifying a stone, or a small part of a rock) which was given to

Peter by our Lord, in the 18th verse:-'Get thee behind me, Satan,

(said our Lord,) thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest

not the things that be of God; but those that be of men.'

Mt 16:18

"Thus a fair examination and comparison of the whole context,

completely sets aside the vain supposition of the Romish Church,

that Peter was the rock of Christ's Church. And I sincerely hope

that a similar attention to this whole context may prevent any

future attempts, that might otherwise be prompted by the

prejudices of Roman Catholics, to bring forward again this

long-disputed question, on which they have vainly set up the

pretended supremacy of the Romish Church above all other episcopal

Churches; and that it may be silenced, and set at rest, for ever


Copyright information for Clarke