Luke 12

* Christ reproves the interpreters of the law. (1-12) A caution

against covetousness The parable of the rich man. (13-21)

Worldly care reproved. (22-40) Watchfulness enforced. (41-53) A

warning to be reconciled to God. (54-59)

1-12 A firm belief of the doctrine of God's universal

providence, and the extent of it, would satisfy us when in

peril, and encourage us to trust God in the way of duty.

Providence takes notice of the meanest creatures, even of the

sparrows, and therefore of the smallest interests of the

disciples of Christ. Those who confess Christ now, shall be

owned by him in the great day, before the angels of God. To

deter us from denying Christ, and deserting his truths and ways,

we are here assured that those who deny Christ, though they may

thus save life itself, and though they may gain a kingdom by it,

will be great losers at last; for Christ will not know them,

will not own them, nor show them favour. But let no trembling,

penitent backslider doubt of obtaining forgiveness. This is far

different from the determined enmity that is blasphemy against

the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven, because it will

never be repented of.
13-21 Christ's kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world.

Christianity does not meddle with politics; it obliges all to do

justly, but wordly dominion is not founded in grace. It does not

encourage expectations of worldly advantages by religion. The

rewards of Christ's disciples are of another nature.

Covetousness is a sin we need constantly to be warned against;

for happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this

world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a

soul. Here is a parable, which shows the folly of carnal

worldling while they live, and their misery when they die. The

character drawn is exactly that of a prudent, worldly man, who

has no grateful regard to the providence of God, nor any right

thought of the uncertainty of human affairs, the worth of his

soul, or the importance of eternity. How many, even among

professed Christians, point out similar characters as models for

imitation, and proper persons to form connexions with! We

mistake if we think that thoughts are hid, and thoughts are

free. When he saw a great crop upon his ground, instead of

thanking God for it, or rejoicing to be able to do more good, he

afflicts himself. What shall I do now? The poorest beggar in the

country could not have said a more anxious word. The more men

have, the more perplexity they have with it. It was folly for

him to think of making no other use of his plenty, than to

indulge the flesh and gratify the sensual appetites, without any

thought of doing good to others. Carnal worldlings are fools;

and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name,

and they will call themselves so. The death of such persons is

miserable in itself, and terrible to them. Thy soul shall be

required. He is loth to part with it; but God shall require it,

shall require an account of it, require it as a guilty soul to

be punished without delay. It is the folly of most men, to mind

and pursue that which is for the body and for time only, more

than that for the soul and eternity.
22-40 Christ largely insisted upon this caution not to give way

to disquieting, perplexing cares, #Mt 6:25-34|. The arguments

here used are for our encouragement to cast our care upon God,

which is the right way to get ease. As in our stature, so in our

state, it is our wisdom to take it as it is. An eager, anxious

pursuit of the things of this world, even necessary things, ill

becomes the disciples of Christ. Fears must not prevail; when we

frighten ourselves with thoughts of evil to come, and put

ourselves upon needless cares how to avoid it. If we value the

beauty of holiness, we shall not crave the luxuries of life. Let

us then examine whether we belong to this little flock. Christ

is our Master, and we are his servants; not only working

servants, but waiting servants. We must be as men that wait for

their lord, that sit up while he stays out late, to be ready to

receive him. In this Christ alluded to his own ascension to

heaven, his coming to call his people to him by death, and his

return to judge the world. We are uncertain as to the time of

his coming to us, we should therefore be always ready. If men

thus take care of their houses, let us be thus wise for our

souls. Be ye therefore ready also; as ready as the good man of

the house would be, if he knew at what hour the thief would

come.
41-53 All are to take to themselves what Christ says in his

word, and to inquire concerning it. No one is left so ignorant

as not to know many things to be wrong which he does, and many

things to be right which he neglects; therefore all are without

excuse in their sin. The bringing in the gospel dispensation

would occasion desolations. Not that this would be the tendency

of Christ's religion, which is pure, peaceable, and loving; but

the effect of its being contrary to men's pride and lusts. There

was to be a wide publication of the gospel. But before that took

place, Christ had a baptism to be baptized with, far different

from that of water and the Holy Spirit. He must endure

sufferings and death. It agreed not with his plan to preach the

gospel more widely, till this baptism was completed. We should

be zealous in making known the truth, for though divisions will

be stirred up, and a man's own household may be his foes, yet

sinners will be converted, and God will be glorified.
54-59 Christ would have the people to be as wise in the

concerns of their souls as they are in outward affairs. Let them

hasten to obtain peace with God before it is too late. If any

man has found that God has set himself against him concerning

his sins, let him apply to him as God in Christ reconciling the

world to himself. While we are alive, we are in the way, and now

is our time.
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