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judges to sentence you; for ye give approbation to them, which make use of my Name to this purpose, and yet make opposition to me whose power enables them hereto.
XII. 28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
But if I, by the divine power of the Almighty Spirit of God, do cast out devils, this, as it is a just honour to me, so it is a great privilege and happiness unto you; for hereby you are assured, that that kingdom of the Messiah, which ye have so long expected and desired, is now come unto you.
XII. 29. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
Which kingdom of mine cannot possibly take place, unless Satan be first powerfully ejected by me; for, since that Evil Spirit hath gotten so strong possession as he hath done of the world, how is it possible to enter upon his hold, and to spoil and defeat him in all his wicked practices, except he be first disabled, and personally vanquished ?
XII. 30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
It had been your parts, both for your own honour and safety, to have set forward and advanced this spiritual kingdom of mine; which if ye do not, I can account you no better than the enemies thereof: for, in this case there is no neutrality; he, that is not for me, is against me; and he, that doth not bestir himself to gather with me, even while he stands still scattereth abroad.
XII. 31. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiren unto men.
And now, whereas the Scribes have not stuck, against the light of their own conscience, to accuse me of casting out devils through Beelzebub, their case is fearful; for herein they have maliciously sinned against the evidence of God's Spirit, convincing their hearts of the truth: and this condition is woeful and desperate; for I say unto you, that all those sins, which we commit against God upon frailty or ignorance or sudden and forcible prevalence of a temptation, are yet capable of forgiveness ; but the malicious blasphemy, that a man utters against the known truth of God, wilfully opposing the illumination and conviction of God's Spirit, is a sin, as uncapable of remission, as of repentance.
XII. 32. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.
And, whosoever, out of ignorance or mistaking or by the seducement of others, shall speak words of reproach and blasphemy against me, the Son of Man, under the colour of this outward infirmity and meanness which appeareth in me, it may be forgiven to him; but, whosoever doth despitefully, against his own knowledge and conscience, and against the light of God's Spirit shining into his soul, make opposition to the Son of God, or that saving truth that concerneth him, it shall never be forgiven to him.
XII. 33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt : for the tree is known by his fruit.
There is nothing more odious to God, than a false and counterfeit profession of holiness : I could therefore wish you, Scribes and Pharisees, to be such as ye seem: either be good, and shew yourselves to be such by the fruits which ye bear; or, if ye will needs be corrupt and wicked, let the world know you for such : howsoever, your works will descry you, one time or other; the tree will be known by his fruit.
XII. 36. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Ye have, out of the evil treasure of your heart, brought forth blasphemies against me, whereof ye shall one day give a fearful reckoning: for I say unto you, that even for those words which are but idle, useless, unprofitable, men shall be called to a strict account, in the Day of Judgment; how much more, for wicked and blasphemous!
XII. 39, 40. But he answered and said unto them, An eril and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Nothing will satisfy the Jews, who are a wicked and adulterous brood, but signs and wonders, whereby their infidelity might be throughly shamed and repelled: still, therefore, they call for strange and miraculous works; wherewith, although in my own due time I shall abundantly convince them, yet now, for the present, Jonas the prophet shall be instead of many signs unto them: For, as Jonas the prophet, after three days and three nights spent in the whale's belly, was restored to the light again, and preached to the Ninevites; so shall the Son of Man, after part of three days and nights spent in the grave, be restored to life again, and publish and confirm the glad tidings of salvation to men.
XII. 42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment, fc.
That Ethiopian queen, which came out of the south from Saba, shall rise up in judgment, &c.
XII. 43, 44, 45. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and diell there : and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Certainly, it must needs be, that the Jews are in worse case, than if they had never received the knowledge of God and of his law: for the Devil hath more advantage over them, that have once known the will of God, and have for the time been freed from his tyranny, if they do again give way to the entertainment of his wicked motions; for then the Evil Spirit, finding, by consent, a second harbour there, seizeth on their hearts with more power and freedom than ever, and tyrannizeth over them without all controlment.
XII. 46. Behold, his mother and his brethren stood &c.
XII. 49, 50. And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoerer shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said to the messenger, Behold, you tell me of my mother and near kinsfolk: I do not deny due respects to my parent according to the flesh, and to those which are of my natural and bodily kindred; but I would have you know, that it is the spiritual kindred, that I do most affect and stand upon: these, therefore, that by a true and lively faith are spiritually incorporated into me, these, that do carefully and conscionably give up themselves to the obedience of God my Heavenly Father, these are they, that may justly challenge a holy consanguinity with me; and this conjunction of grace in the soul doth more endear my mother and kinsmen unto me, than all earthly and bodily regards whatsoever.
XIII. 3. Behold, a sower went forth to sow.
Behold, the word of God is as the seed; the preacher is the sower or seedsman; men are the soil; God's messengers, by his appointment, go forth to preach his word and Gospel to men.
XIII. 4. By the way side. See our Saviour's exposition, verse 19.
XIII. 5. Some fell upon stony places. See verses 20, 21. XIII. 7. Among thorns. See verse 22.
XIII. 11. He answered, and said unto them, Because it is giren unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Although I do speak in these riddles or parables, yet the illumination of that Spirit, which is given to you, will sufficiently clear these things unto you, who are acquainted with these Divine Mysteries: but as for those, that have not this light from above, they understand them not; their infidelity is justly punished, with ignorance of all saving doctrine.
XIII. 12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance : but whosoerer hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
For, whosoever, through my goodness and mercy, hath any measure of grace wrought in him, that man, in the effectual use of those means which I afford unto him, shall have yet more; but, whosoever hardeneth his heart to refuse those gracious offers which are made unto him, it is and shall be just with God, to take away from him those helps and tenders of means and previous dispositions, which are made unto him.
XIII. 13. Therefore speak I to them in parables : because they seeing see not ; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Therefore speak I unto them in parables, because they have brought this willing blindness upon themselves, that in seeing they see not; and this wilful deafness, that in hearing they hear not &c.
XIII. 14. By hearing ye shall hear, and shall &c. See Isaiah vi. verse 9.
XIII. 15. This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, fc. and should be converted, and I should save them. See Isaiah vi. verse 10.
XIII. 25. But while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares.
See our Saviour's exposition of this parable, verses 37, 38, 39, 40, of this chapter.
XIII. 31, 32. The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field. Which indeed is the least of all seeds : but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
The Gospel of my Kingdom, in regard of the happy growth and success thereof, may well be resembled to a grain of mustard seed: Which, being one of the least of all seeds, at length grows up to a strong and branched plant; and, exceeding the quantity of a herb, becomes, as it were, a little tree, able to yield sufficient perches for the birds that resort unto it: even so my Gospel, from weak and contemptible beginnings, shall spread forth to that largeness of extent, as that it shall reach unto all the nations upon earth.
XIII. 33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Or, upon the same reason, this Gospel of mine is like unto leaven, which, though in a very small quantity it be hid amongst much dough, yet seasoneth the whole batch : so shall this Gospel of mine diffuse the power and virtue thereof, to all the whole mass of the habitable world.
XIII. 47, 48, 49. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind : Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into the vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.
As the Church, or Spiritual Kingdom of God here upon earth, is thus largely diffused through efficacy of his Gospel; so it may not be conceived to be pure and free from all sinful mixtures, while it is here below : rather, it is like unto a dragnet, which is cast into the sea, and fetches up much variety, not of great and little fishes only, but of stones and sea-weed and shells and mud, altogether : Which, when it is drawn to the shore, is disburdened of all the unprofitable load thereof; and yieldeth the good provision of fish unto the vessels of the owner. So doth the Church of God: here, for the outward and visible composition of it, it containeth not only sound and holy and faithful men, but even the secretly vicious, sly hypocrites, hollow and faithless professors : But, at the end of the world, when this great net is drawn up to the shore, the angels shall come forth, and make a due separation of the wicked from among the just.
XIII. 52. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
These parables I have delivered and expounded unto you, not only for your own information, but also for the instruction of others; for know, that it is not only required of you to understand the mysteries of my kingdom yourselves, but to be able to teach them unto others also : so as if ye will be meet doctors of my Evangelical Church, ye ought to be furnished with all variety of divine knowledge ; that, as a good householder lays up and fetcheth forth store and change of good provision for his guests and family, so may ye, that are my ministers and messengers to the world, be stored with plenty of saving knowledge and heavenly doctrine.
XIII. 54. And when he was come into his own country.
And when he was come to Nazareth, where he was brought up:
XIII. 54, 55, 56. Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses,