Page images
PDF
EPUB

desert place : and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also : for therefore am I sent.

44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

CHAPTER V. i Christ teacheth the people out of Peter's ship : 4 in a miraculous taking of fishes,

sheweth how he will make him and his partners fishers of men : 12 cleanseth the leper : 16 prayeth in the wilderness : 18 healeth one sick of the palsy : 27 calleth Matthew the publican : 29 eateth with sinners, as being the physician of souls : 34 foretelleth the fustings and afflictions of the apostles after his ascension : 36 and likeneth fainthearted and weak disciples to old bottles and worn garments.

1 AND ` it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

a Matt. iv. 18.

themselves, nor suffered those that would mon and Andrew, the other to James and to enter in ;” and partly by turning into John, the sons of Zebedee, who are callcontempt a Messiah who did not even ed “partners with Simon.” From Siprofess it to be his design to exalt the na- mon's vessel, our Lord, being pressed on tion to power and dominion,-an objection shore by the eager crowd, addressed a to our Lord which the carnal ambition of discourse to the inultitude, who had folthe Jews greatly favoured,-and then by lowed him; and then directed Simon, Anblunting the force of the evidence of his drew also being with him, to launch forth mission from miracles, among those not into deep water, and let down their nets disposed to be convinced, by furnishing for a draught. We observe, 1. That Simon's them with the diabolical sophism, that he objection, We have toiled all the night and cast out devils by the prince of devils, have taken nothing, renders the subsequent they succeeded, to a great extent, in de- miracle more unequivocal and illustrious, stroying the effect both of the Baptist's inasmuch as it shows that the fish did and of our Lord's earliest ministry. Still not then abound in that part of the sea, or great numbers were prepared for the Lord, kept themselves close in their haunts. 2. who were afterwards gathered into the That Simon's letting down the net was an Christian church, as we learn from the act of obedient faith : Nevertheless, at thy Acts of the Apostles ; and numbers more, word I will let down the net. 3. That no doubt, of whom we have no record. the abundance marked by the net breaking,

or rather, being on the point of breaking, CHAPTER V. Verse 2. Two ships, &c. and by the draught so filling both the -Two fishing vessels, either at anchor vessels that they were ready to sink, or near the shore or aground. From these in danger of sinking, was an additional the fishermen had gone out, and were wash- proof of the miraculous character of the ing their nets, after an unsuccessful night's event; for the very impression made upon toil. One of the vessels belonged to Si- Peter, who felt himself as in the presence

3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes : and their net brake.

7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

of Deity, and said, Depart from me, for I power working in the depths of the huam a sinful man, O Lord, proves that no man heart which had wrought in the ordinary event had happened, and that depths of the sea, and brought the fish the draught was unparalleled and preter- into the net of the apostles. These great natural: nor was he only astonished, but lessons were indeed afterwards more all that were with him, at the draught of the clearly comprehended; but even then the fishes which they had taken. They were apostles felt their general impression; and, seized with astonishment and awe, as the under the command of him who had apwords signify. 4. The whole was sym- peared before them as arrayed with omnibolical, a mode of teaching by significant potent power, controlling all nature, they action ; and when our Lord said to Simon, finally went to their great enterprise, in and through him to the other disciples, faith and hope, launched out into the deep, for such they already were, (see the note and, at the bidding of their master, let on Matt. iv. 18,) Fear not, for from hence- down their net. With what success, the forth thou shalt catch men, they under history of the world is witness. stood its import. This they declared by Verse 4. Launch out, &c.—Exarayaze, forsaking all and following him, when they a nautical term, which signifies to put off had brought their vessels to land: they from shore. knew that Christ now called them to the Verse 5. Master, we have toiled, &c. sacred office of instructing others in the That Simon and the others were already way of salvation; and they gave up all to disciples, though now for the first time follow him, so that they might be trained in immediate attendance upon Christ, up for it. Their occupation was indeed is indicated by the mode of address, to be in the great waters of the world ; ETLOTATA, master, teacher, equivalent to their business, to catch men, that is, to Rabbi. make disciples of Christ; and their suc- Verse 8. Depart from me, &c. - The cess was not only to be great but miracu- attitude of Peter, prostrate before the feet lous, and to be owing to the same divine of Christ, and his words, imply that he

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

16 | And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

b Matt. viii. 2.

had at the moment as full an impression Christ merely to “go out of his ship,” of Christ's divinity, as Isaiah when he is a cold and powerless comment on a saw the glory of the Lord of Hosts in phrase which obviously carries with it a the temple, and exclaimed, “Woe is me, force far beyond the mere literal meanfor I am undone, for I am a man of un- ing. clean lips.” The nearness of the divine Verse 10. Catch men. — Several have presence, realized, so to speak, either shown that both Hebrew and Greek wriin vision or thought, uniformly brings ters use terms taken from hunting and man's sinful character to his remem- fishing, to signify the influence exerted brance, and makes him feel that he by some on others, so as to attach them cannot stand acquitted before infinite to their opinion or party. To catch men justice and purity. The impression is al was to bring men to believe in Christ, to ways one of guilty dread, till we are embrace his party, his people, in oppositaught that there is “a new and living tion to the world. The stress laid by wayby which we may draw near to some on the etymology of the word, which God, and God draw near to us, without is, to catch alive in order to preserve, is danger. That way is the atonement of fanciful. It is employed generally as a Christ; and we are conducted along it to term of hunting or fishing. the mercy-seat by the hand of faith. Verse 12. A man full of leprosy. See To make Peter in these words to desire the notes on Matt. viii. 1, 2, &c

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem : and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

18 To And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy : and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone ?

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts ?

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk ?

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

c Matt. ix. 2.

Verse 17. And the power of the Lord power of Christ as inherent IN HIMSELF, was present to heal them.-Not the Pha- which is the grand distinction between risees and doctors just mentioned, for him, and the most highly endowed of his they were there only as objectors and servants. To be present to heal, is a calumniators, as appears in the following mode of expressing the present exercise verses; but the sick persons of the place, of power. That wondrous virtue which Capernaum, where we learn from Mark he possessed he exerted in healing many he then was. Pronouns often refer to the sick persons on that occasion. remoter noun. The power of the Lord Verse 18-25. A man taken with the is the power of Christ; so that the evan- palsy. See the notes on Matt ix. 2, &c., gelist evidently regarded the miraculous and Mark ii. 4, &c.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

27 d. And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

d Matt. ix. 9.

Verse 26. We have seen strange things.- great feast, on occasion of his being called Mapadoša, literally, things beyond all thought, to be an apostle, shows that Matthew was Tapa Tnu dotny, and therefore wonderful. a man of respectable rank. Thc feast, Cicero renders tapadoča by admirabilia. doxny, according to the Hebrew inwo, The remark refers to the whole series of was of that kind which only people of some miracles, principally, perhaps, to the heals wealth could give, and at which the guests ing of the paralytic, who had been brought were numerous. Often indeed have great upon a couch by four men, and by feasts been made upon the acquisition of Christ's simple word had been enabled to wealth and honour: this was the first, and take up that couch and walk home. They perhaps the only one, ever designedly made had heard too his sins pronounced for- in celebration of the renunciation of both, given, by the same Being that had healed and which expressed the joy of the host him. One of the strange things, there at the prospect of becoming the poor disfore, they had seen, was the departure of ciple of him who had not “where to lay a sinner publicly forgiven, from the pre- his head.” Surely there must have been sence of Him who claimed the right and a strong and pure principle of faith and power to forgive sin, and who proved it love in the breasts of these early disciples by a miracle. That indeed was to them who forsook their all, whether fishing the strangest, and probably the most in- boats and nets, or the publican's booth, explicable, of the strange things, they had to follow a Master who held out no worldly that day seen.

inducements. For though it may be said Verse 27. A publican sitting at the re- that they might expect that his kingdom ceipt, &c.—See the notes on Matt. ix. was outward and political as well as spi9-17.

ritual, and that he would at length raise Verses 28, 29. Left all, 8:6.—He left his both himself and them to honour, (and profitable occupation, and the gains of that they did indulge this anticipation is the remaining part of the year; for if he evident,) yet still there was that wrought was one of those publicans who farmed a in their hearts, which took a deep hold of portion of the imposts by the year, he their affections, and planted itself in their would have paid in advance. This is the conscience, which was far above worldly more probable, as it accounts for his hopes; and by it they were enabled to pass speedy departure from his occupation. through all those trials of their faith to Had he been a government servant hired which it was in wisdom subjected, that it at a salary, like our custom-house officers, might be at last crowned with the resistless to collect the duties, he must in justice demonstration of Christ's resurrection have remained until a successor had been from the dead. Matthew is called appointed; but having himself purchased Levi by St. Luke ; whicis has given rise the tolls and dues for a given period, he to some controversy, as to whether two was at liberty to throw up the office of apostles are not meant. The similarity exacting them at pleasure. This circum- of the circumstances, however, indisputastance also, with that of his making a bly proves that two transactions cannot

« PreviousContinue »