« IndietroContinua »
Gentiles, i. e. 'their country for the way of the sea (Matth. iv. 35.) signifies the country round the sea...And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. In travelling through Palestine, the apostles would often have occasion to go into Samaria; but they were not to enter the cities thereof with a design to preach. It is true, in the beginning of his ministry our Lord himself preached to the Samaritans with great success, John iv. 41, 42. and therefore had he sent his apostles among them, numbers in all
probability and correct what errors had crept into their faith. Besides, Christianity was not only to be propagated through the world, hy the force of its own intrinsic exellency, and by the miracles wherewith it was accompanied, hut it was to make its way also by the evidence which it derived from the Jewish prophecies, and by the light thrown upon it, considered as the perfection of that grand scheme which was begun in the first ages, and carried on under various dispensations from time to time, till it obtained a more complcte and lasting form under the Jewish economy. It was highly expedient, therefore, that a competent naniber of Jews should be converted io Christianity, who might publish it to the rest of the world, with all the evidence that was proper to be offered. But if, on account of the former revelation made to the Jews, it was absolutely fit that the new revelation should be preached by them to the rest of the world, it was necessary that the gospel at the first should be confined to them ; because had it been preached to the Gentiles, that circumstance alone would have made the Jews reject it universally. It is well known how high the prejudices of the apostles themselves ran on this head, even after they had received the gifts of the Spirit, being excessively offended with Peter, one of their numher, who by a vision from heaven had with difficulty been prevailed «pon to preach to the proselyte Cornelius. Nay, they were hardly brought to believe that God intended to bestow the gospel on the Gentiles, when they enix them receive the greatest of its privileges in an equal degree with themselves, even the gilts of the Spirit. And thongh after this they preached to the Gentiles, yet wherever they came, their custom was to legin at the Jews, if there were any in the place, that all offence might lie prevented; and on the Jews rejecting the gospel, they turned to the Gentiles, Acts xui 46. Thus, as the apostle tells us, Rom. xv. 8. Jesies Christ w's 17 minister of the circumcision, he preached only to the Jews; for the truth of Col to torform the promises mode to the fathers, he preached to the Jews 10 make the truth of God manifest; it being the most effectual means of confirming the promises made to Abraham and the rest of the fathers, namely, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blesser. For thus the Jews were first blessed It was likewise the most effectual means of blessing even the Gertiles themselves. Accordingly the apostle adds, as the fruit of this appointment, and that the Gentiles misht glorify God on account if his mercy; the mercy of the new covenant which they enjoy by their conversion to Christianity. The truth is, had Jesus Christ bern a mi. nister of the uneircumcision, that is, had he preached the gospel at all to the Gentiles, the Jews would have rejected it; so that the proselytes, and such as held the faith of the proselytes, which the wiser sort of the Gentiles seem generally to have done, would not have become Christ's disciples with such ease and readiness. I he reason was, the evidence of the gospel being greatly weakened by the unbelief of the Jew's, the converts among the Gentiles would have been few in comparison, and by that means the promises made to the fathers, that in Christ all nations should be blessed, would not have been confirmed, or so fully accomplished, as it is by the scheme which Providence has actually chosen.
probability would have been induced to believe. But the inveterate enmity which the Jews bare to the Samaritans, made the conversion of the latter improper at this time, for the reasons mentioned in the note on ver. 5. Mat. x. 6. But
rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: he called the Jews lost sheep, because, as he had told his disciples, (Matt. ix. 36.) they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd, and so were in danger of perishing, see Isa. xlix. 10. 7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand; publish every where the glad tidings of the approach of the Messiah's kingdom promised by the prophets. Properly speaking, the kingdom of heaven or gospel-dispensation, did not begin till the Jewish economy was abolished : and therefore, the apostles in our Lord's time, and even our Lord himself, preached the approach only, and not the actual existence of that kingdom. But though the apostles were directed to preach the approach of the kingdom of heaven, they did not yet fully understand its nature, that it was not to be a temporal but a spiritual kingdom, consisting in the dominion of righteousness and truth within men. -8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, * raise the dead, cast out devils : + freely ye have received, freely give ; perform all these miraculous cures in confirmation of your mission, without receiving any hire or reward for them of
kind. Matt. x. 9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass I in your purses.
* Ver. 8. Raise the dead.] In several copies, the clause, raise the dead, is wanting ; for which reason, and because the disciples did not raise any person from the dead, till after Christ's ascension, Dr Mills takes it to be an interpolation. But his opinion is ill founded, as it is certain that this, with several other articles in the apostles first commission, have a direct relation to the period comprehended under that more extensive commission, which they received after their master's resurrection. See ver, 18, 21, 23. of this chapter.
+ Ver. 8. Freely give.) That the direction freely ye have received, freely give, relates to the miraculous cures which the apostles were empowered to perform, and not to the stated offices of the apostolical function, is evident from Luke x. 7. where our Lord, in giving a like commission to the Seventy, bids them “ eat and drink what was set before them, because the labourer was worthy of his hire.” Nay, in this very charge, no sooner did he order the apostles to give freely, than he forbade them to provide goid, &c. “ because the workman is worthy of his meat:" plainly insinuating, that while they were preaching the gospel, they had a right to maintenance from those who enjoyed the benefit of their labours, and should in the course of the divine Providence be supplied with all things necessary. Accordingly, we find the apostles receiving maintenance, and insisting upon it as their due, 1 Cor. ix 4, 5, 14. Gal. vi. 6.
I Ver. 8. In your purses.] Ey (wvalls, in your girdles. The eastern girdie being doubled and sewed along the edges, was more convenient for carrying a quantity of money than å purse, because the money being distributed round the body in the fobs of the girdle, the weight of it was not so much felt. By money therefore in their girdles, is to be understood a considerable sum
Though I forbid you to take money for the miraculous cures which you shall perform, I do not mean that you should beforehand lay up money for your support during your journey. You are not even to provide the clothes and shoes which you may have occasion for while you are abroad; because you shall be supplied with whatever you need by those to whom you preach the gospel, and you have a right to be thus supplied by them. 10. * Nor scrip for your journey, nether two coats, † neither shoes, I nor yet staves: (for the workman is worthy of his meat.) Our Lord forbade his disciples to provide before-hand such things az might be necessary during their journey, because they would be troublesome to them in travelling, and ordered them to go out thus unfurnished, partly that they might be inured in his own life-time to bear the hardships they would be exposed to afterwards, when discharging the apostolical function, and partly that their faith in the providence of God might be confirmed. For it must have afforded them great comfort ever after, to reflect on the singular care that was taken of them while out on their first mission, wholly unprepared to execute such an undertaking. Accordingly this was the use which Christ himself directed them to make of it, Luke xxii. 35. Matth. x. 11. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire || who in it is worthy, and there abide till ye go thence. When ye enter into any city, endeavour to find out those who are most remarkable for their piety, probity, and hospitality, who are expecting the Messiah's kingdom, who will receive the news of it with pleasure, and who, in all probability, will assist you in publishing it; and when ye have found such persons, abide with them till ye leave that city or village. We have this more fully expressed in the instructions to the seventy, Luke x. 7. “ In the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they have; go not from house to house." Doubtless the disciples on some occasions might change their quarters with decency; but our Lord absolutely forbade them to do it for the sake of better entertainment, that they might not give mankind the least handle of imagining they served their bela lies. Matth. x. 12. And when ye come into an house, salute it: or, as it is in the instructions given to the seventy, Luke x. 5. “Say, peace be to this house.” For in the eastern countries * the form of salutation used among friends was, Peace be to you, or to this house. Hence our Lord adds, 13. And if the house be worthy, be of a hospitable disposition and receive you, let your peace come upon it; let your salutation be made effectual, by its enjoying great temporal and spiritual prosperity; so do I command who have the government of the world. But if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you; your benediction shall return to yourselves, for ye shall be sure to find the more kindness elsewhere, that you have been ill used by these inhospitable people. 14. And whosoever shall not + receive you, that is, entertain you kindly, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or cily, shake off the dust of your feet. The Jews fancied that the very dust of heathen countries polluted them; for which reason, when they returned to their own land, they used to stop ar the borders of it, and wipe their feet, that the holy inheritance might not be defiled. If our Lord had this custom in his eye, his meaning was, Look upon those who refuse you the offices of humanity, and will not hearken to your instructions, as no better than heathens. Accordingly, the direction is thus expressed, Mark vi. 11. Shake off the dust under your feet, for a testimony
Ver. 1o Nur scrip for your journey.) The scrip (anexe was a sort of large bag in which shepherds, and those who journeyed, carried their provisions. See on Luke x. 34. V 82. Thus the bag, into which David put the smooth stones, wherewith he smote Goliath, is called both a scrip and a shepherd's bag.
† Ibid. Neither shoes.] Irodnuatu. In the account which Mark gives of the repetition of these instructions, immediately before the disciples took their journey, he says they were permitted to be shod with sandals : (arri ugodsdeleves gordania, vi. 9.) The sandal was a piece of strong leather or wond fastened to the sole of the foot with strings, which they tied round the foot and ancle ; but the shoe was a kind of short boot, that covered the foot and part of the leg, and was a more delicate piece of dress than the sandal,
# Ibid. Nor yet staves.) Mark says the disciples were allowed to take a staff, vi. 8. But in Calvin's opinion, the seeming contradiction may be removed by attending to the ainbiguity of the Hebrew word vau, answering to the Greek qaööor. For as the Hebrew word signifies any sort of rod, whether club, staff sceptre, or pole, he thinks the staff, which, according to Matthew, the disciples were prohibited to use, may have been a pole for carrying a burden on, an accoutrement that was useless, as they were not allowed to carry provisions with them, nor any spare clothes ; whereas, the stoff, which by Mark's account he permitted them to take, was a walking staff very proper for those who were to perform a journey with expedition. See another solution, Prelim. Obs. I.--Heinsius labours to prove that ! plin, the exceptive particle in Mark, may signify no not; so would have the clanse, ss peina exodov plovou translated, no, not a single staff.
|| Ver. 11. Hbo in it is wortb.) Anciently they had pot houses of entertainment for the accommodation of travellers, such as we have, but only
against houses for lodging them, called in modern language Caravanserai's, into which travellers brought their own provisions, and accommodated them. selves the best way they could. But it was common for persons of humane dispositions, such as our Lord here calls ažios, worthy persons, to entertain strangers according to their ability. See Judges xix. 17,-21.
The form of salutation, &c.) Thus when Moses and his father-in-law Je thro met, the text says they asked each other peace, Exod. xviii. ?. that is, asked for peace, prayed for it, wished it to each other. See John xiv. 27.
+ Ver. 14. Receive you.) In scripture, to receive one, signifies to allow him the benefit of our company, to converse familarly with him, and to do him good offices. See Luke xv. 2. It signifies also to entertain one hospitahly; being applied twice to Rahab's entertaining the spies, Heb. xi. 31. James ii. 25.
against them: declare in the plainest manner, that for the future you will not have the least intercourse with such an obstinate and impious race. Matth. x. 15. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for that city: persons, the matter of whose crimes far exceed theirs, are less guilty than they, because they have not despised such advantages, so that they shall be more lightly punished.
Considering the nature of the tidings which the apostles were now sent out to publish, namely, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, considering also the number and variety of the miraculous cures which they were enabled to perform in confirmation of their doctrine, together with the greatness of the benefits they were empowered to confer upon the families who should entera tain them kindly, it is reasonable to think that they were flattering themselves with the hopes of great honour and acceptance wherever they came. In the mean time, the event was by no means to answer their expectation. They were every where to be despised, persecuted, delivered up into the hands of public, justice, and punished as evil doers. Our Lord therefore thought fit to forewarn them of these things, made them large promises of the divine aid, and gave them directions with respect to their conduct in every circumstance. Matth. x. 16. Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: I now send you forth weak and defenceless among a cruel and wicked people. therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves: on the one hand, be so prudent as not to irritate the wicked, and those who shall oppose you, either by your behaviour or your doctrine unnecessarily, (Mat. vii. 6.); on the other hand, let not your prudence degenerate into craft, lest it lead you to betray the truth, or to encourage men in their evil practices. Join prudence and innocence together, rendering yourselves remarkable for integrity amidst the greatest temptations, and for meekness under the greatest provocations. 17. But beware of men: though I order you to be meek and patient under injuries, I do not mean that you should not be on your guard, and if possible avoid them. No; the more circumspect you are in the whole of your conversation with the men of this world, whom I before compared to wolves, it is so much the better; for, after all, you
will meet with
many indignities, and often be in danger of death, even from the hand of public justice; for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues as apostates. 18. And ye shall be brought before governors and kings, as malefactors, for my sake. These things did not happen while the apostles were out on their first mission. They came to pass after Christ's ascension, when Peter and John were called before the sanhedrim, Acts iv. 6, 7. and beaten, Acts v. 40. Also when James and