Matthew - John

The Gospel According To St. Matthew. The first thing that strikes the mind, as undesirable in an accurate version of the Scriptures, is, that words supplied by the translators, which have no counterpart in the original, should not be designated as such by italics as attempted more or less fully in the Authorised Bible. Dr. Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible sought this more systematically, and therefore is happier in this respect. In the Revised New Testament, on the contrary, the in...

Matthew - John

The Gospel According To St. Matthew. The first thing that strikes the mind, as undesirable in an accurate version of the Scriptures, is, that words supplied by the translators, which have no counterpart in the original, should not be designated as such by italics as attempted more or less fully in the Authorised Bible. Dr. Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible sought this more systematically, and therefore is happier in this respect. In the Revised New Testament, on the contrary, th...

Giving - Matthew 5:42

(B.T. Vol. N4, p. 340-341.)

In this verse we have a grand principle for the Christian. It comes in at the close of the exhortation to resist not evil, but rather to suffer it, privately, by perversions of law, or from public demand. Christ is the pattern for the disciple; and no sound exposition can explain His word away, however distasteful to flesh and blood. The new nature goes along with it loyally as the perfect law of liberty. Only the fleshly mind seeks evasion by every disingenuous means.

“To him that asketh thee give, and from him that desireth to borrow of thee turn not away.” The disciple learns from God that he is a debtor to grace, not only in the outward mercies of every day which he shares with all mankind, but in that still deeper love which quickened him from moral death, death in offences and sins, when a child of wrath by nature. Here a Jew or a Gentile made no difference: as far as we all were concerned, it was a hopeless case of irremediable evil. But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, quickened us together with Christ, raised us up together, and made us sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus; that He might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Fasting - Matt. 6:16-18

(B.T. Vol. N5, p. 70-71.)

It remains for us to weigh our Lord’s words on fasting, as the third part of His teaching on “righteousness” (not “alms”) in the first verse of the chapter. Prayer holds the intermediate place between alms and fasting, the pious and holy basis to guard the other two, binding them up with faith against formality.

“And when ye fast, be not gloomy-faced as the hypocrites; for they disguise their faces, so that they may appear to men fasting. Verily, I say to you, They have their reward. But thou while fasting anoint thy head, and wash thy face, so that thou mayest not appear to men fasting, but to thy Father that [is] in secret; and thy Father that seeth in secret will recompense thee.”

Love Your Enemies - Matt. 5:43-45

(B.T. Vol. N4, p. 355-356.)

This word of our Lord demands our earnest heed; for it is as foreign to the feelings of men in Christendom as to Jewish disciples. But here is nothing that goes beyond the word of the beginning of Christ, nothing that supposes the work of redemption accomplished, or the Holy Spirit given to the believer. Yet the presence of the Lord brought in no little change.

“Ye heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father that is in [the] heavens; for he maketh his sun to rise on evil and good, and sendeth rain on just and unjust” (vers. 43-45).

In vain some essay to impress those words of Christ on men in general, on such as are not born of God. Now the language assumes that those addressed did believe in Christ, and had a new life of the Spirit as being born anew. But this is not so in our country or any other, even if as favoured in the possession of an open Bible. Yet the divine speaker takes for granted, what was true then and is still, that the mass of men, the nations (and the Jews are at least as bad), seek after what pertains to this life, eating, drinking, clothing, money, ease, honour : baptism, or the profession of Christ, in no way delivers from or lessens it. Therefore He warns that wide is the gate and broad the way that leads unto destruction, and many are they that enter through it; that narrow is the gate and straitened the way that leads unto life, and few are they that find it. It is therefore a total and dangerous misconception thus to overlook man’s existing state of ruin.

The Birds of the Sky - Matt. 6:26, 27

(B.T. Vol. N5, p. 165-166.)

The Lord appeals to the disciples, in view of the creature subjected to man, against personal anxiety. It is humbling but wholesome for them to draw lessons of dependence thence. And first, He points to the winged class, familiar everywhere to human eyes, as objects of divine care and dependent on His beneficent provision. How much more are not His own in their incomparably higher and nearer relationship to Him! and how powerless too is their anxiety to effect relief!

“Look at the birds of the heavens, that they sow not, nor reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature?” (vers. 26, 27.)

The birds are of a large class and of immense variety; so much so that the famous Cuvier had to confess his dissent from all the scientific systems he had seen. Can any competent naturalist since deny that an adequately true arrangement still awaits its discoverer? He in his “Règne Animal” proposed six orders with far more numerous genera; Temminck, sixteen orders; Latreille, seven, with 252 genera. Though some few excellent observers as Willughby and Ray preceded and have followed since these distinguished French writers, there is no end as yet to that controversy.

As Having Authority - Matt. 7:28, 29

(B.T. Vol. N5, p. 228-229.)

From first to last of the words of righteousness on the mountain, the Lord had spoken as none but a divine person was entitled to do.

“And it came to pass, when Jesus concluded these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his doctrine, for he was teaching them as having authority, and not as their scribes.”

The Lord, alone on earth, was qualified to speak with authority peculiar to Himself. Beyond all others He knew what was in man (John 2:25): He alone here below knew what was in God (John 3:11). On one side He is the Man whom God raised from out of dead men, marked out by God as judge of living and dead, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts. On the other hand no one hath seen God at any time, the Only-begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father — He declared Him. He is thus in every way qualified to speak with authority; yet who so lowly?

But the Jews ware used, now that the Prophets of Jehovah for four centuries had ceased, to lean on their rabbis. Indeed they had shown the same unbelief in the days of prophets of the highest character; as Isaiah bears witness (Isa. 29:13). It was with them in Israel, as afterwards in Christendom, a sea of uncertainty, and a conflict of learned or rash opinions. How could it be otherwise when they were thus cheated to give up God’s word for man’s ideas? So our Lord cites this very oracle in His day, “In vain they do worship me, teaching as doctrines men’s precepts.”

Alms - Matt. 6:2-4

(B.T. Vol. N5, p. 22-23.)

The Lord takes for granted that His disciples would walk righteously before God in alms, prayer, and fasting. He is not satisfied with bidding such give to him that asks, as in the preceding chapter (Matt. 5:42), and from him that would borrow not to turn away. It is by the grace of Christ in contrast with legal narrowness. Here we have the single motive of pleasing our Father that is in the heavens. Thus would their light shine in Christ as believed and confessed by them, not their righteousness be done before men to be seen of them, which is the object expressly forbidden. As in alms we have the needy and distressed of mankind directly brought before us, we have this followed up by prayer to our Father in the closet, fasting subjoined to set aside self-indulgence for the body and leave room for humiliation before Him: thus dealing with man, apostles, self and God, in ways suited to the Father revealed by the Son.

“When therefore thou doest aims, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. Verily I say to you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; so that thine alms may be secret, and thy Father that seeth in secret will repay thee.”

The Lord's Prophecy on Olivet in Matthew 24-25

(Section 1 of Three Prophetic Gems)

Chapter 1 - The Jewish Disciples


In the discourse given in Matthew 24-25 the Lord unfolds, first, the future of the Jewish disciples; secondly, that of the Christian profession; and thirdly, that of all the nations tested by the gospel of the Kingdom before the end comes, and He Himself reigns. Such are the simple divisions of the two chapters of this study, and so it was or will be in fact. The discourse grew in the Lord's wisdom out of the disciples directing His attention to the splendor of the buildings of the temple, from which their hearts were not yet weaned. They believed that Jesus was the Christ and that they were born of God, but their hearts were associated with Israel's hopes, until the day that He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11), though theirs was no small advance when He rose from the dead.

Remarks on Matthew 18

In chapter 16 we had two subjects connected with the revelation of the Lord’s Person to Simon Peter — one of them entirely new, or for the first time divulged; the other the familiar subject of the kingdom of heaven. We shall find in the chapter before us that these two topics are again brought together, but of course not confounded or identified. We are called to see the kingdom and the Church in their practical bearing. We heard already that the Lord was to build the Church upon the rock of the confession of His Person — “Upon this rock I will build My church.” Afterwards, He promised to give the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. Now we find — and I think connected with our Lord’s showing the practical principle which actuated Himself with the consciousness of glory, and of the absolute command of all that He had made (for He was the Lord of heaven and earth, if He paid the tribute of the temple) — it was not a question of rights. Had it been a mere matter of right, the children were free: He was the Lord of the temple, so that there was no claim possible on that ground. But “lest we should offend them,” etc.

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