[Matthew & Acts

Not included here]





I. The beginning of the Gospel,

a. John prepares the way Chap. i, 1-8

b. Baptizes Jesus, who is proclaimed the Son of God 9-11

c. Tempted of Satan, served by angels 12, 13

II. The Gospel itself,

A. In Galilee: where we may observe three periods,

a. After John was cast into prison,

In general,

1. The place and matter of his preaching, 14, 15

2. The calling of several of the apostles 16-20

In particular,

1. Actions not censured by his adversaries

1. He teaches with authority 21, 22

2. Cures the demoniac 23-28

3. Heals many sick 29-34

4. Prays 35

5. Teaches every where 36-39

6. Cleanses the leper 40-45

2. Actions censured by them,

Here occur,

1. The paralytic forgiven and healed ii, 1-12

2. The call of Levi, and eating with publicans and sinners. 13-17

3. The question concerning fasting answered 18-22

4. The ears of corn plucked 23-28

5. The withered hand restored: Snares laid iii, 1-6

3. Our Lord's retirement,

1. At the sea 7-12

2. In the mountain, where the apostles are called 13-19

3. In the house, where after refuting the blasphemy of the

Pharisees, he shows who are his mother and his brethren. 20-35

4. In the ship; various parables iv, 1-34

5. On the sea, and beyond it 35-41 v, 1-20

6. On this side the sea: Again: Jairus, and the woman with the flux

of blood 21-43

7. At Nazareth: His countrymen offended vi, 1-6

8. The apostles sent forth 7-13

b. After John was put to death,

1. Herod's hearing of Jesus, and judgment of him 14-29

2. Christ's retiring with his apostles, now returned 30-32

3. The earnestness of the people; Christ's compassion; five

thousand fed 33-44

4. His walking on the sea 45-52

5. He heals many in the land of Gennesaret 53-56

6. And teaches what defiles a man vii, 1-23

7. A devil cast out in the coasts of Tyre and Sidon 24-30

8. At the sea of Galilee, the deaf and dumb healed; four thousand

fed 31-37 viii, 1-9

9. He comes into the parts of Dalmanutha, and answers

concerning the sign from heaven Chap. viii, 10-13

10. In the ship, he warns them of evil leaven 14-21

11. At Bethsaida, heals the sick 22-26

c. After he was acknowledged to be the Son of God,

1. Peter confessing him, he enjoins his disciples silence; foretells

his passion; reproves Peter; exhorts to follow him 21 ix, 1

2. Is transfigured: casts out a devil; foretells his passion. 2-32

3. Reproves and instructs his disciples 33-50

B. In Judea,

a. In the borders x, 1

1. He treats of divorce 2-12

2. Of little children 13-16

3. Of entering into life, and of the danger of riches 17-31

b. In his way to the city,

1. He foretells his passion a third time 32-34

2. Answers James and John, and instructs them all 35-45

3. At Jericho, gives sight to Bartimeus 46-52

4. At Jerusalem xi, 1

a. His royal entry' 2-11

b. The day after, the fig tree cursed 12-14 the temple purged 15-


c. The day after that,

1. Near the fig tree, he shows the power of faith 20-26

2. In the temple,

1. His authority vindicated 27-33

2. The parable of the wicked husbandmen xii, 1-12

3. Of paying tribute to Cesar 13-17

4. Of the resurrection 18-27

5. Of the great commandment 28-34

6. Of David's Lord 35-37

7. He warns the people of the scribes 38-40

8. Commends the poor widow 41-44

3. On Mount Olivet, he foretells the destruction of the city and

temple, and the end of the world xiii, 1-37

d. Two days before the passover; his enemies bargain with Judas.

xiv, 1-11

e. On the first day of unleavened bread,

1. The passover prepared 12-16

2. The Lord's Supper instituted 17-25

3. After the hymn, the offense of the disciples and Peter's denial

foretold 26-31

4. In Gethsemane,

Jesus prays; wakes his disciples 32-42 is betrayed; taken; forsaken

of all 43-52

5. In the high priest's palace,

He is condemned to death 53-65

Denied by Peter 66-72

f. Friday,

What was done,

1.In Pilate's palace xv, 1-20

2. In the way 21

3. At Golgotha 22

1. The wine and myrrh offered 23

2. The crucifixion; his garments parted 24, 25

3. The title 26

4. The two malefactors 27, 28

5. Revilings 29-32

6. The darkness; the cry of Jesus; the scoff; the vinegar; his death;

the veil rent 33-38

7. The saying of the centurion; the women looking on 39-41

4. In the evening, the burial 42-47

g. Sunday,

Our Lord's resurrection declared,

1. By an angel Chap. xvi, 1-8

2. By himself,

To Mary Magdalene 9-11

To two going into the country 12, 13

To the eleven sitting at meat 14

III. The Gospel,

1. Committed by Christ to apostles after his resurrection. 15-18

2. Confirmed after his ascension 19, 20



1. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - The evangelist

speaks with strict propriety: for the beginning of the Gospel is in

the account of John the Baptist, contained in the first paragraph;

the Gospel itself in the rest of the book. Matt. iii, 1; Luke iii, 1

2. Mal. iii, 1

3. Isaiah xl, 3.

4. Preaching the baptism of repentance - That is, preaching

repentance, and baptizing as a sign and means of it.

7. The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose - That

is, to do him the very meanest service.

9. Matt. iii, 13; Luke iii, 21.

12. And immediately the Spirit thrusteth him out into the

wilderness - So in all the children of God, extraordinary

manifestations of his favour are wont to be followed by

extraordinary temptations. Matt. iv, 1; Luke iv, 1.

13. And he was there forty days, tempted by Satan - Invisibly.

After this followed the temptation by him in a visible shape,

related by St. Matthew. And he was with the wild beasts - Though

they had no power to hurt him. St. Mark not only gives us a

compendium of St. Matthew's Gospel, but likewise several

valuable particulars, which the other evangelists have omitted.

14. Matt. iv, 12.

15. The time is fulfilled - The time of my kingdom, foretold by

Daniel, expected by you, is fully come.

16. Matt. iv, 18; Luke v, 1.

18. Straightway leaving their nets, they followed him - From this

time they forsook their employ, and constantly attended him.

Happy they who follow Christ at the first call!

21. Luke iv, 31.

26. A loud noise - For he was forbidden to speak. Christ would

neither suffer those evil spirits to speak in opposition, nor yet in

favour of him. He needed not their testimony, nor would

encourage it, lest any should infer that he acted in concert with


29. Matt. viii, 14; Luke iv, 38.

32. When the sun was set - And, consequently, the Sabbath was

ended, which they reckoned from sunset to sunset.

33. And the whole city was gathered together at the door - O what

a fair prospect was here! Who could then have imagined that all

these blossoms would die away without fruit?

34. He suffered not the devils to say that they knew him - That is,

according to Dr. Mead's hypothesis, (that the Scriptural

demoniacs were only diseased persons, ) He suffered not the

diseases to say that they knew him!

35. Rising a great while before day - So did he labour for us, both

day and night. Luke iv, 42.

40. Matt. viii, 2; Luke v, 12.

44. See thou say nothing to any man - But our blessed Lord gives

no such charge to us. If he has made us clean from our leprosy of

sin, we are not commanded to conceal it. On the contrary, it is our

duty to publish it abroad, both for the honour of our Benefactor,

and that others who are sick of sin may be encouraged to ask and

hope for the same benefit. But go, show thyself to the priest, and

offer for thy cleansing what Moses commanded for a testimony to

them - The priests seeing him, pronouncing him clean, Lev. xiii,

17, 23, 28, 37, and accordingly allowing him to offer as Moses

commanded, Lev. xiv, 2, 7, was such a proof against them, that

they durst never say the leper was not cleansed; which out of envy

or malice against our saviour they might have been ready to say,

upon his presenting himself to be viewed, according to the law, if

by the cleansed person's talking much about his cure, the account

of it had reached their ears before he came in person. This is one

great reason why our Lord commanded this man to say nothing.

45. So that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city - It was

also to prevent this inconvenience that our Lord had enjoined him



1. And again - After having been in desert places for some time,

he returned privately to the city. In the house - In Peter's house.

2. And immediately many were gathered together - Hitherto

continued the general impression on their hearts. Hitherto, even at

Capernaum, all who heard received the word with joy.

3. Matt. ix, 2; Luke v, 18.

4. They uncovered the roof - Or, took up the covering, the lattice

or trap door, which was on all their houses, (being flat roofed.)

And finding it not wide enough, broke the passage wider, to let

down the couch.

6. But certain of the scribes - See whence the first offense cometh!

As yet not one of the plain unlettered people were offended. They

all rejoiced in the light, till these men of learning came, to put

darkness for light, and light for darkness. Wo to all such blind

guides! Good had it been for these if they had never been born. O

God, let me never offend one of thy simple ones! Sooner let my

tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!

12. They were all amazed - Even the scribes themselves for a


13. All the multitude came to him - Namely, by the sea side. And

he as readily taught them there as if they had been in a synagogue.

14. Matt. ix, 9; Luke v, 27.

15. Many publicans and notorious sinners sat with Jesus - Some

of them doubtless invited by Matthew, moved with compassion

for his old companions in sin. But the next words, For there were

many, and they followed him, seem to imply, that the greater part,

encouraged by his gracious words and the tenderness of his

behaviour, and impatient to hear more, stayed for no invitation,

but pressed in after him, and kept as close to him as they could.

16. And the scribes and Pharisees said - So now the wise men

being joined by the saints of the world, went a little farther in

raising prejudices against our Lord. In his answer he uses as yet

no harshness, but only calm, dispassionate reasoning.

17. I came not to call the righteous - Therefore if these were

righteous I should not call them. But now, they are the very

persons I came to save.

18. Matt. ix, 14; Luke v, 33.

23. Matt. xii, 1; Luke vi, 1.

26. In the days of Abiathar the high priest - Abimelech, the father

of Abiathar, was high priest then; Abiathar himself not till some

time after. This phrase therefore only means, In the time of

Abiathar, who was afterward the high priest. 1 Sam. xxi, 6.

27. The Sabbath was made for man - And therefore must give way

to man's necessity.

28. Moreover the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath - Being

the supreme Lawgiver, he hath power to dispense with his own

laws; and with this in particular.

III He entered again into the synagogue - At Capernaum on the

same day. Matt. xii, 9; Luke vi, 6.

2. And they - The scribes and Pharisees, watched him, that they

might accuse him - Pride, anger, and shame, after being so often

put to silence, began now to ripen into malice.

4. Is it lawful to save life or to kill? - Which he knew they were

seeking occasion to do. But they held their peace - Being

confounded, though not convinced.

5. Looking round upon them with anger, being grieved - Angry at

the sin, grieved at the sinner; the true standard of Christian anger.

But who can separate anger at sin from anger at the sinner? None

but a true believer in Christ.

6. The Pharisees going out - Probably leaving the scribes to watch

him still: took counsel with the Herodians - as bitter as they

usually were against each other.

8. From Idumea - The natives of which had now professed the

Jewish religion above a hundred and fifty years. They about Tyre

and Sidon - The Israelites who lived in those coasts.

10. Plagues or scourges (so the Greek word properly means) seem

to be those very painful or afflictive disorders which were

frequently sent, or at least permitted of God, as a scourge or

punishment of sin.

12. He charged them not to make him known - It was not the time:

nor were they fit preachers.

13. He calleth whom he would - With regard to the eternal states

of men, God always acts as just and merciful. But with regard to

numberless other things, he seems to us to act as a mere

sovereign. Luke vi, 12

14. Matt. x, 2; Luke vi, 13; Acts i, 13.

16. He surnamed them sons of thunder - Both with respect to the

warmth and impetuosity of their spirit, their fervent manner of

preaching, and the power of their word.

20. To eat bread - That is, to take any subsistence.

21. His relations - His mother and his brethren, ver. 31. But it was

some time before they could come near him.

22. The scribes and Pharisees, Matt. xii, 22; who had come down

from Jerusalem - Purposely on the devil's errand. And not without

success. For the common people now began to drink in the

poison, from these learned, good, honourable men! He hath

Beelzebub - at command, is in league with him: And by the prince

of the devils casteth he out devils - How easily may a man of

learning elude the strongest proof of a work of God! How readily

can he account for every incident without ever taking God into the

question. Matt. xii, 24; Luke xi, 15.

28. Matt. xii, 31; Luke xii, 10.

30. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit - Is it not

astonishing, that men who have ever read these words, should

doubt, what is the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost? Can any

words declare more plainly, that it is "the ascribing those miracles

to the power of the devil which Christ wrought by the power of

the Holy Ghost?"

31. Then come his brethren and his mother - Having at length

made their way through the crowd, so as to come to the door. His

brethren are here named first, as being first and most earnest in

the design of taking him: for neither did these of his brethren

believe on him. They sent to him, calling him - They sent one into

the house, who called him aloud, by name. Matt. xii, 46; Luke

viii, 19.

34. Looking round on them who sat about him - With the utmost

sweetness; He said, Behold my mother and my brethren - In this

preference of his true disciples even to the Virgin Mary,

considered merely as his mother after the flesh, he not only shows

his high and tender affection for them, but seems designedly to

guard against those excessive and idolatrous honours, which he

foresaw would in after ages be paid to her.


1. Matt. xiii, 1; Luke viii, 4.

2. He taught them many things by parables - After the usual

manner of the eastern nations, to make his instructions more

agreeable to them, and to impress them the more upon attentive

hearers. A parable signifies not only a simile or comparison, and

sometimes a proverb, but any kind of instructive speech, wherein

spiritual things are explained and illustrated by natural, Prov. i, 6.

To understand a proverb and the interpretation - The proverb is

the literal sense, the interpretation is the spiritual resting in the

literal sense killeth, but the spiritual giveth life.

3. Hearken - This word he probably spoke with a loud voice, to

stop the noise and hurry of the people.

10. When he was alone - That is, retired apart from the multitude.

11. To them that are without - So the Jews termed the heathens: so

our Lord terms all obstinate unbelievers: for they shall not enter

into his kingdom: they shall abide in outer darkness.

12. So that seeing they see and do not perceive - They would not

see before now they could not, God having given them up to the

blindness which they had chosen.

13. Know ye not this parable? - Which is as it were the foundation

of all those that I shall speak hereafter; and is so easy to be


19. The desire of other things choke the word - A deep and

important truth! The desire of any thing, otherwise than as it leads

to happiness in God, directly tends to barrenness of soul. Entering

in - Where they were not before. Let him therefore who has

received and retained the word, see that no other desire then enter

in, such as perhaps till then he never knew. It becometh unfruitful

- After the fruit had grown almost to perfection.

21. And he said, Is a candle - As if he had said, I explain these

things to you, I give you this light, not to conceal, but to impart it

to others. And if I conceal any thing from you now, it is only that

it may be more effectually manifested hereafter. Matt. v, 15; Luke

viii, 16; xi, 33.

22. Matt. x, 26; Luke viii, 17.

24. Take heed what ye hear - That is, attend to what you hear, that

it may have its due influence upon you. With what measure you

mete - That is, according to the improvement you make of what

you have heard, still farther assistance shall be given. And to you

that hear - That is, with improvement.

25. He that hath - That improves whatever he has received, to the

good of others, as well as of his own soul. Matt. xiii, 12; Luke

viii, 18.

26. So is the kingdom of God - The inward kingdom is like seed

which a man casts into the ground - This a preacher of the Gospel

casts into the heart. And he sleeps and rises night and day - That

is, he has it continually in his thoughts. Meantime it springs and

grows up he knows not how - Even he that sowed it cannot

explain how it grows. For as the earth by a curious kind of

mechanism, which the greatest philosophers cannot comprehend,

does as it were spontaneously bring forth first the blade, then the

ear, then the full corn in the ear: so the soul, in an inexplicable

manner, brings forth, first weak graces, then stronger, then full

holiness: and all this of itself, as a machine, whose spring of

motion is within itself. Yet observe the amazing exactness of the

comparison. The earth brings forth no corn (as the soul no

holiness) without both the care and toil of man, and the benign

influence of heaven.

29. He putteth in the sickle - God cutteth down and gathereth the

corn into his garner.

30. Matt. xiii, 31; Luke xiii, 18.

33. He spake the word as they were able to hear it - Adapting it to

the capacity of his hearers; and speaking as plain as he could

without offending them. A rule never to be forgotten by those

who instruct others.

35. Matt. viii, 23; Luke viii, 22.

36. They take him as he was in the vessel - They carried him

immediately in the same vessel from which he had been preaching

to the people.

38. On the pillow - So we translate it, for want of a proper English

expression, for that particular part of the vessel near the rudder, on

which he lay.

39. Peace - Cease thy tossing: Be still - Cease thy roaring;

literally, Be thou gagged.


1. Matt. viii, 28; Luke viii, 26.

2. There met him a man with an unclean spirit - St. Matthew

mentions two. Probably this, so particularly spoken of here, was

the most remarkably fierce and ungovernable.

9. My name is Legion! for we are many - But all these seem to

have been under one commander, who accordingly speaks all

along, both for them and himself.

15. And they were afraid - It is not improbable they might

otherwise have offered some rudeness, if not violence.

18. Matt. ix, 1; Luke viii, 37;

19. Tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee - This

was peculiarly needful there, where Christ did not go in person.

20. He published in Decapolis - Not only at home, but in all that

country where Jesus himself did not come.

21. Luke viii, 40.

22. One of the rulers of the synagogue - To regulate the affairs of

every synagogue, there was a council of grave men. Over these

was a president, who was termed the ruler of the synagogue.

Sometimes there was no more than one ruler in a synagogue.

Matt. ix, 18; Luke viii, 41.

25. Matt. ix, 20; Luke viii, 43.

37. John, the brother of James - When St. Mark wrote, not long

after our Lord's ascension, the memory of St. James, lately

beheaded, was so fresh, that his name was more known than that

of John himself.

40. Them that were with him - Peter, James, and John.

43. He charged them that no man should know it - That he might

avoid every appearance of vain glory, might prevent too great a

concourse of people, and might not farther enrage the scribes and

Pharisees against him; the time for his death, and for the full

manifestation of his glory, being not yet come. He commanded

something should be given her to eat - So that when either natural

or spiritual life is restored, even by immediate miracle, all proper

means are to be used in order to preserve it.


1. Matt. xiii, 54; Luke iv, 16.

3. Is not this the carpenter? - There can be no doubt, but in his

youth he wrought with his supposed father Joseph.

5. He could do no miracle there - Not consistently with his

wisdom and goodness. It being inconsistent with his wisdom to

work them there, where it could not promote his great end; and

with his goodness, seeing he well knew his countrymen would

reject whatever evidence could be given them. And therefore to

have given them more evidence, would only have increased their


6. He marvelled - As man. As he was God, nothing was strange to


7. Matt. x, 1; Luke ix, 1.

8. He commanded them to take nothing for their journey - That

they might be always unincumbered, free, ready for motion. Save

a staff only - He that had one might take it; but he that had not

was not to provide one, Matt. x, 9. Luke ix, 3.

9. Be shod with sandals - As you usually are. Sandals were pieces

of strong leather or wood, tied under the sole of the foot by

thongs, something resembling modern clogs. The shoes which

they are in St. Matthew forbidden to take, were a kind of short

boots, reaching a little above the mid-leg, which were then

commonly used in journeys. Our Lord intended by this mission to

initiate them into their apostolic work. And it was doubtless an

encouragement to them all their life after, to recollect the care

which God took of them, when they had left all they had, and

went out quite unfurnished for such an expedition. In this view

our Lord himself leads them to consider it, Luke xxii, xxxv,

When I sent you forth without purse or scrip, lacked ye any thing?

10. Matt. x, 11; Luke ix, 4.

12. Luke ix, 6.

13. They anointed with oil many that were sick - Which St. James

gives as a general direction, James v, 14, 15, adding those

peremptory words, And the Lord shall heal him - He shall be

restored to health: not by the natural efficacy of the oil, but by the

supernatural blessing of God. And it seems this was the great

standing means of healing, desperate diseases in the Christian

Church, long before extreme unction was used or heard of, which

bears scarce any resemblance to it; the former being used only as

a means of health; the latter only when life is despaired of.

14. Matt. xiv, 1; Luke ix, 7.

15. A prophet, as one of the prophets - Not inferior to one of the

ancient prophets.

16. But Herod hearing thereof - Of their various judgments

concerning him, still said, It is John.

20. And preserved him - Against all the malice and contrivances

of Herodias. And when he heard him - Probably sending for him,

at times, during his imprisonment, which continued a year and a

half. He heard him gladly - Delusive joy! While Herodias lay in

his bosom.

21. A convenient day - Convenient for her purpose. His lords,

captains, and principal men of Galilee - The great men of the

court, the army, and the province.

23. To the half of my kingdom - A proverbial expression.

26. Yet for his oath's sake, and for the sake of his guests - Herod's

honour was like the conscience of the chief priests, Matt. xxvii, 6.

To shed innocent blood wounded neither one nor the other.

30. Luke ix, 10.

31. Matt. xiv, 13; John vi, 1.

32. They departed - Across a creek or corner of the lake.

34. Coming out - of the vessel.

40. They sat down in ranks - The word properly signifies a

parterre or bed in a garden; by a metaphor, a company of men

ranged in order, by hundreds and by fifties - That is, fifty in rank,

and a hundred in file. So a hundred multiplied by fifty, make just

five thousand.

43. Full of the fragments - of the bread.

45. He constrained his disciples - Who did not care to go without

him. Matt. xiv, 22.

46. Matt. xiv, 23; John vi, 15.

48. And he saw them - For the darkness could veil nothing from

him. And would have passed by them - That is, walked, as if he

was passing by.

52. Their heart was hardened - And yet they were not reprobates.

It means only, they were slow and dull of apprehension.

53. Matt. xiv, 34; John vi, 21.


1. Coming from Jerusalem - Probably on purpose to find occasion

against him. Matt. xv, 1.

4. Washing of cups and pots and brazen vessels and couches - The

Greek word (baptisms) means indifferently either washing or

sprinkling. The cups, pots, and vessels were washed; the couches


5. The tradition of the elders - The rule delivered down from your


6. Isaiah xxix, 13.

10. Exod. xx, 12; Exod. xxi, 17.

15. There is nothing entering into a man from without which can

defile him - Though it is very true, a man may bring guilt, which

is moral defilement, upon himself by eating what hurts his health,

or by excess either in meat or drink yet even here the pollution

arises from the wickedness of the heart, and is just proportionable

to it. And this is all that our Lord asserts.

19. Purging all meats - Probably the seat was usually placed over

running water.

22. Wickedness - The word means ill natured, cruelty,

inhumanity, and all malevolent affections. Foolishness - Directly

contrary to sobriety of thought and discourse: all kind of wild

imaginations and extravagant passions.

24. Matt. xv, 21.

26. The woman was a Greek (that is, a Gentile, not a Jew) a

Syrophenician or Canaanite. Canaan was also called

Syrophenicia, as lying between Syria, properly so called, and


31. Matt. xv, 29.

33. He put his fingers into his ears - Perhaps intending to teach us,

that we are not to prescribe to him (as they who brought this man

attempted to do) but to expect his blessing by whatsoever means

he pleases: even though there should be no proportion or

resemblance between the means used, and the benefit to be

conveyed thereby.

34. Ephphatha - This was a word of SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY,

not an address to God for power to heal: such an address was

needless; for Christ had a perpetual fund of power residing in

himself, to work all miracles whenever he pleased, even to the

raising the dead, John v, 21, 26.

36. Them - The blind man and those that brought him.


1. Matt. xv, 32.

8. So they did eat - This miracle was intended to demonstrate, that

Christ was the true bread which cometh down from heaven; for he

who was almighty to create bread without means to support

natural life, could not want power to create bread without means

to support spiritual life. And this heavenly bread we stand so

much in need of every moment, that we ought to be always

praying, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

11. Tempting him - That is, trying to ensnare him. Matt. xvi, 1.

12. Matt. xvi, 4.

15. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, or of the

Sadducees; two opposite extremes.

17, 18. Our Lord here affirms of all the apostles, (for the question

is equivalent to an affirmation, ) That their hearts were hardened;

that having eyes they saw not, having ears they heard not; that

they did not consider, neither understand: the very same

expressions that occur in the thirteenth of Matthew. And yet it is

certain they were not judicially hardened. Therefore all these

strong expressions do not necessarily import any thing more than

the present want of spiritual understanding.

23. He led him out of the town - It was in just displeasure against

the inhabitants of Bethsaida for their obstinate infidelity, that our

Lord would work no more miracles among them, nor even suffer

the person he had cured, either to go into the town, or to tell it to

any therein.

24. I see men as trees walking - He distinguished men from trees

only by their motion.

27. Matt. xvi, 13; Luke ix, 18.

30. He enjoined them silence for the present,

1. That he might not encourage the people to set him up for a

temporal king;

2. That he might not provoke the scribes and Pharisees to destroy

him before the time and,

3. That he might not forestall the bright evidence which was to be

given of his Divine character after his resurrection.

31. Matt. xvi, 21; Luke ix, 22.

32. He spake that saying openly - Or in express terms. Till now he

had only intimated it to them. And Peter taking hold of him -

Perhaps by the arms or clothes.

33. Looking on his disciples - That they might the more observe

what he said to Peter.

34. And when he called the people - To hear a truth of the last

importance, and one that equally concerned them all. Let him

deny himself - His own will, in all things small and great,

however pleasing, and that continually: And take up his cross -

Embrace the will of God, however painful, daily, hourly,

continually. Thus only can he follow me in holiness to glory.

35. Matt. xvi, 25; Luke ix, 24; Luke xvii, 33; John xii, 25.

38. Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words - That is,

avowing whatever I have said (particularly of self denial and the

daily cross) both by word and action. Matt. x, 32; Luke ix, 26;

Luke xii, 8.


1. Till they see the kingdom of God coming with power - So it

began to do at the day of pentecost, when three thousand were

converted to God at once.

2. By themselves - That is, separate from the multitude: Apart -

From the other apostles: and was transfigured - The Greek word

seems to refer to the form of God, and the form of a servant,

{mentioned by St. Paul, Phil. ii, 6, 7, } and may intimate, that the

Divine rays, which the indwelling God let out on this occasion,

made the glorious change from one of these forms into the other.

Matt. xvii, 1; Luke ix, 28.

3. White as snow, such as no fuller can whiten - Such as could not

be equalled either by nature or art.

4. Elijah - Whom they expected: Moses, whom they did not.

7. There came a (bright, luminous) cloud, overshadowing them -

This seems to have been such a cloud of glory as accompanied

Israel in the wilderness, which, as the Jewish writers observe,

departed at the death of Moses. But it now appeared again, in

honour of our Lord, as the great Prophet of the Church, who was

prefigured by Moses. Hear ye him - Even preferably to Moses and


12. Elijah verily coming first restoreth all things: and how it is

written - That is, And he told them how it is written - As if he had

said, Elijah's coming is not inconsistent with my suffering. He is

come: yet I shall suffer. The first part of the verse answers their

question concerning Elijah; the second refutes their error

concerning the Messiah's continuing for ever.

14. Matt. xvii, 14; Luke ix, 37.

15. All the multitude seeing him were greatly amazed - At his

coming so suddenly, so seasonably, so unexpectedly: perhaps also

at some unusual rays of majesty and glory, which yet remained on

his countenance.

17. And one of the multitude answering - The scribes gave no

answer to our Lord's question. They did not care to repeat what

they had said to his disciples. A dumb spirit - A spirit that takes

his speech from him.

20. When he saw him - When the child saw Christ; when his

deliverance was at hand. Immediately the spirit tore him - Made

his last grand effort to destroy him. Is it not generally so, before

Satan is cast out of a soul, of which he has long had possession?

22. If thou canst do any thing - In so desperate a case: Have

compassion on us - Me as well as him.

23. If thou canst believe - As if he had said, The thing does not

turn on my power, but on thy faith. I can do all things: canst thou


24. Help thou mine unbelief - Although my faith be so small, that

it might rather be termed unbelief, yet help me.

25. Thou deaf and dumb spirit - So termed, because he made the

child so. When Jesus spake, the devil heard, though the child

could not. I command thee - I myself now; not my disciples.

26. Having rent him sore - So does even the body sometimes

suffer, when God comes to deliver the soul from Satan.

30. They passed through Galilee - Though not through the cities,

but by them, in the most private ways. He was not willing that any

should know it: for he taught his disciples - He wanted to be alone

with them some time, in order to instruct them fully concerning

his sufferings. The Son of man is delivered - It is as sure as if it

were done already. Matt. xvii, 22; Luke ix, 44.

32. They understood not the word - They did not understand how

to reconcile the death of our saviour (nor consequently his

resurrection, which supposed his death) with their notions of his

temporal kingdom.

33. Luke ix, 46.

34. Who should be greatest - Prime minister in his kingdom.

35. Let him be the least of all - Let him abase himself the most.

36. Matt. xviii, 2; Luke ix, 47.

37. One such little child - Either in years or in heart.

38. And John answered him - As if he had said, But ought we to

receive those who follow not us? Master, we saw one casting out

devils in thy name - Probably this was one of John the Baptist's

disciples, who believed in Jesus, though he did not yet associate

with our Lord's disciples. And we forbad him, because he

followeth not us - How often is the same temper found in us?

How readily do we also lust to envy? But how does that spirit

become a disciple, much more a minister of the benevolent Jesus!

St. Paul had learnt a better temper, when he rejoiced that Christ

was preached, even by those who were his personal enemies. But

to confine religion to them that follow us, is a narrowness of spirit

which we should avoid and abhor. Luke ix, 49.

39. Jesus said - Christ here gives us a lovely example of candour

and moderation. He was willing to put the best construction on

doubtful cases, and to treat as friends those who were not avowed

enemies. Perhaps in this instance it was a means of conquering the

remainder of prejudice, and perfecting what was wanting in the

faith and obedience of these persons. Forbid him not - Neither

directly nor indirectly discourage or hinder any man who brings

sinners from the power of Satan to God, because he followeth not

us, in opinions, modes of worship, or any thing else which does

not affect the essence of religion.

40. For he that is not against you, is for you - Our Lord had

formerly said, he that is not with me, is against me: thereby

admonishing his hearers, that the war between him and Satan

admitted of no neutrality, and that those who were indifferent to

him now, would finally be treated as enemies. But here in another

view, he uses a very different proverb; directing his followers to

judge of men's characters in the most candid manner; and

charitably to hope that those who did not oppose his cause wished

well to it. Upon the whole, we are to be rigorous in judging

ourselves, and candid in judging each other.

41. For whosoever shall give you a cup - Having answered St.

John, our Lord here resumes the discourse which was broken off

at the 37th verse. Mark ix, 37. Matt. x, 42.

42. On the contrary, whosoever shall offend the very least

Christian. Matt. xviii, 6; Luke xvii, 1.

43. And if a person cause thee to offend - (The discourse passes

from the case of offending, to that of being offended) if one who

is as useful or dear to thee as a hand or eye, hinder or slacken thee

in the ways of God, renounce all intercourse with him. This

primarily relates to persons, secondarily to things. Matt. v, 29;

Matt. xviii, 8.

44. Where their worm - That gnaweth the soul, (pride, self will,

desire, malice, envy, shame, sorrow, despair, ) dieth not - No

more than the soul itself: and the fire (either material, or infinitely

worse!) that tormenteth the body, is not quenched for ever. Isaiah

lxvi, 24.

49. Every one - Who does not cut off the offending member, and

consequently is cast into hell, shall be, as it were, salted with fire,

preserved, not consumed thereby whereas every acceptable

sacrifice shall be salted with another kind of salt, even that of

Divine grace, which purifies the soul, (though frequently with

pain) and preserves it from corruption.

50. Such salt is good indeed; highly beneficial to the world, in

respect of which I have termed you the salt of the earth. But if the

salt which should season others, have lost its own saltness,

wherewith will ye season it? - Beware of this; see that ye retain

your savour; and as a proof of it, have peace one with another.

More largely this obscure text might be paraphrased thus:- As

every burnt offering was salted with salt, in order to its being cast

into the fire of the altar, so every one who will not part with his

hand or eye, shall fall a sacrifice to Divine justice, and be cast into

hell fire, which will not consume, but preserve him from a

cessation of being. And on the other hand, every one, who,

denying himself and taking up his cross, offers up himself as a

living sacrifice to God, shall be seasoned with grace, which like

salt will make him savoury, and preserve him from destruction for

ever. As salt is good for preserving meats, and making them

savoury, so it is good that ye be seasoned with grace, for the

purifying your hearts and lives, and for spreading the savour of

my knowledge, both in your own souls, and wherever ye go. But

as salt if it loses its saltness is fit for nothing, so ye, if ye lose your

faith and love, are fit for nothing but to be utterly destroyed. See

therefore that grace abide in you, and that ye no more contend,

Who shall be greatest. Matt. v, 13; Luke xiv, 34.


1. He cometh thence - From Galilee. Matt. xix, 1.

2. Matt. v, 31; Matt. xix, 7; Luke xvi, 18.

4. Deut. xxiv, 1.

6. From the beginning of the creation - Therefore Moses in the

first of Genesis gives us an account of things from the beginning

of the creation. Does it not clearly follow, that there was no

creation previous to that which Moses describes? God made them

male and female - Therefore Adam did not at first contain both

sexes in himself: but God made Adam, when first created, male

only; and Eve female only. And this man and woman he joined

together, in a state of innocence, as husband and wife.

7. Gen. ii, 24.

11, 12. All polygamy is here totally condemned.

13. Matt. xix, 13.

14. Jesus seeing it was much displeased - At their blaming those

who were not blame worthy: and endeavouring to hinder the

children from receiving a blessing. Of such is the kingdom of God

- The members of the kingdom which I am come to set up in the

world are such as these, as well as grown persons, of a child-like


15. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little

child - As totally disclaiming all worthiness and fitness, as if he

were but a week old.

17. Matt. xix, 16; Luke xviii, 18.

20. He answering, said to him, Master - He stands reproved now,

and drops the epithet good.

21. Jesus looking upon him - And looking into his heart, loved

him - Doubtless for the dawnings of good which he saw in him:

and said to him - Out of tender love, One thing thou lackest - The

love of God, without which all religion is a dead carcass. In order

to this, throw away what is to thee the grand hindrance of it. Give

up thy great idol, riches. Go, sell whatsoever thou hast.

24. Jesus saith to them, Children - See how he softens the harsh

truth, by the manner of delivering it! And yet without retracting or

abating one tittle: How hard is it for them that trust in riches -

Either for defense, or happiness, or deliverance from the thousand

dangers that life is continually exposed to. That these cannot enter

into God's glorious kingdom, is clear and undeniable: but it is

easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a man to

have riches, and not trust in them. Therefore, it is easier for a

camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to

enter the kingdom.

28. Lo, we have left all - Though the young man would not.

30. He shall receive a hundred fold, houses, &c. - Not in the same

kind: for it will generally be with persecutions: but in value: a

hundred fold more happiness than any or all of these did or could

afford. But let it be observed, none is entitled to this happiness,

but he that will accept it with persecutions.

32. They were in the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus went before

them: and they were amazed - At his courage and intrepidity,

considering the treatment which he had himself told them he

should meet with there: and as they followed, they were afraid -

Both for him and themselves: nevertheless he judged it best to

prepare them, by telling them more particularly what was to

ensue. Matt. xx, 17; Luke xviii, 31.

35. Saying - By their mother. It was she, not they that uttered the

words. Matt. xx, 20.

38. Ye know not what ye ask - Ye know not that ye ask for

sufferings, which must needs pave the way to glory. The cup - Of

inward; the baptism - Of outward sufferings. Our Lord was filled

with sufferings within, and covered with them without.

40. Save to them for whom it is prepared - Them who by patient

continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and

immortality. For these only eternal life is prepared. To these, only

he will give it in that day; and to every man his own reward,

according to his own labour.

45. A ransom for many - Even for as many souls as needed such a

ransom, 2 Cor. v, 15.

46. Matt. xx, 29; Luke xviii, 35.

50. Casting away his garment - Through joy and eagerness.


1. To Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives - The limits

of Bethany reached to the mount of Olives, and joined to those of

Bethphage. Bethphage was part of the suburbs of Jerusalem, and

reached from the mount of Olives to the walls of the city. Our

Lord was now come to the place where the boundaries of Bethany

and Bethphage met. Matt. xxi, 1; Luke xix, 29; John xii, 12.

11. Matt. xxi, 10, 17.

12. Matt. xxi, 18.

13. For it was not a season of figs - It was net (as we say) a good

year for figs; at least not for that early sort, which alone was ripe

so soon in the spring. If we render the words, It was not the

season of figs, that is, the time of gathering them in, it may mean,

The season was not yet: and so (inclosing the words in a

parenthesis, And coming to it, he found nothing but leaves) it may

refer to the former part of the sentence, and may be considered as

the reason of Christ's going to see whether there were any figs on

this tree. Some who also read that clause in a parenthesis, translate

the hollowing words, for where he was, it was the season of figs.

And it is certain, this meaning of the words suits best with the

great design of the parable, which was to reprove the Jewish

Church for its unfruitfulness at that very season, when fruit might

best be expected from them.

15. Matt. xxi, 12; Luke xix, 45.

16. He suffered not that any should carry a vessel through the

temple - So strong notions had our Lord, of even relative holiness!

And of the regard due to those places (as well as times) that are

peculiarly dedicated to God.

17. Isaiah lvi, 7; Jer. vii, 11.

18. They feared him - That is, they were afraid to take him by

violence, lest it should raise a tumult; because all the people was

astonished at his teaching - Both at the excellence of his

discourse, and at the majesty and authority with which he taught.

20. Matt. xxi, 20.

22. Have faith in God - And who could find fault, if the Creator

and Proprietor of all things were to destroy, by a single word of

his mouth, a thousand of his inanimate creatures, were it only to

imprint this important lesson more deeply on one immortal spirit?

25. When ye stand praying - Standing was their usual posture

when they prayed. Forgive - And on this condition, ye shall have

whatever you ask, with. out wrath or doubting. Matt. vi, 14.

27. Matt. xxi, 23; Luke xx, 1.


1. Matt. xxi, 43; Luke xx, 9.

10. Psalm cxviii, 22.

12. They feared the multitude - How wonderful is the providence

of God, using all things for the good of his children! Generally the

multitude is restrained from tearing them in pieces only by the

fear of their rulers. And here the rulers themselves are restrained,

through fear of the multitude!

13. Matt. xxii, 15; Luke xx, 20.

17. They marvelled at him - At the wisdom of his answer.

18. Matt. xxi, 23; Luke xx, 27.

19. Deut. xxv, 5.

25. When they rise from the dead, neither men marry nor women

are given in marriage.

26. Exod. iii, 6.

27. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living - That

is, (if the argument be proposed at length, ) since the character of

his being the God of any persons, plainly intimates a relation to

them, not as dead, but as living; and since he cannot be said to be

at present their God at all, if they are utterly dead; nor to be the

God of human persons, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

consisting of souls and bodies, if their bodies were to abide in

everlasting death; there must needs be a future state of

blessedness, and a resurrection of the body to share with the soul

in it.

28. Which is the first commandment? - The principal, and most

necessary to be observed. Matt. xxii, 34; Luke x, 25.

29. The Lord our God is one Lord - This is the foundation of the

first commandment, yea, of all the commandments. The Lord our

God, the Lord, the God of all men, is one God, essentially, though

three persons. From this unity of God it follows, that we owe all

our love to him alone. Deut. vi, 4.

30. With all thy strength - That is, the whole strength and capacity

of thy understanding, will, and affections.

31. The second is like unto it - Of a like comprehensive nature:

comprising our whole duty to man. There is no other moral, much

less ceremonial commandment, greater than these. Lev. xix, 18.

33. To love him with all the heart - To love and serve him, with

all the united powers of the soul in their utmost vigour; and to

love his neighbour as himself - To maintain the same equitable

and charitable temper and behaviour toward all men, as we, in like

circumstances, would wish for from them toward ourselves, is a

more necessary and important duty, than the offering the most

noble and costly sacrifices.

34. Jesus said to him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God -

Reader, art not thou? then go on: be a real Christian: else it had

been better for thee to have been afar off.

35. Matt. xxii, 41; Luke xx, 41.

36. Psalm cx, 1.

38. Beware of the scribes - There was an absolute necessity for

these repeated cautions. For, considering their inveterate

prejudices against Christ, it could never be supposed the common

people would receive the Gospel till these incorrigible

blasphemers of it were brought to just disgrace. Yet he delayed

speaking in this manner till a little before his passion, as knowing

what effect it would quickly produce. Nor is this any precedent

for us: we are not invested with the same authority. Matt. xxiii, 5;

Luke xx, 46.

41. He beheld how people cast money into the treasury - This

treasury received the voluntary contributions of the worshippers

who came up to the feast; which were given to buy wood for the

altar, and other necessaries not provided for in any other way.

Luke xxi, 1.

43. I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they

all - See what judgement is cast on the most specious, outward

actions by the Judge of all! And how acceptable to him is the

smallest, which springs from self-denying love!


1. Matt. xxiv, 1; Luke xxi, 5.

4. Two questions are here asked; the one concerning the

destruction of Jerusalem: the other concerning the end of the


9. Luke xxi, 12.

10. Matt. xxiv, 14.

11. The Holy Ghost will help you. But do not depend upon any

other help For all the nearest ties will be broken.

14. Where it ought not - That place being set apart for sacred use.

Matt. xxiv, 15; Luke xxi, 20; Dan. ix, 27.

19. In those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the

beginning of the creation - May it not be doubted, whether this be

yet fully accomplished? Is not much of this affliction still to


20. The elect - The Christians: whom he hath chosen - That is,

hath taken out of, or separated from, the world, through

sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. He hath

shortened - That is, will surely shorten.

21. Matt. xxiv, 23.

24. But in those days - Which immediately precede the end of the

world: after that tribulation - Above described.

28. Matt. xxiv, 32; Luke xxi, 28.

29. He is nigh - The Son of man.

30. All these things - Relating to the temple and the city.

32. Of that day - The day of judgment is often in the Scriptures

emphatically called that day. Neither the Son - Not as man: as

man he was no more omniscient than omnipresent. But as God he

knows all the circumstances of it.

33. Matt. xxiv, 42; Luke xxi, 34.

34. The Son of man is as a man taking a far journey - Being about

to leave this world and go to the Father, he appoints the services

that are to be performed by all his servants, in their several

stations. This seems chiefly to respect ministers at the day of

judgment: but it may be applied to all men, and to the time of

death. Matt. xxv, 14; Luke xix, 12.


1. Matt. xxvi, 1; Luke xxii, 1.

3. Matt. xxvi, 6.

4. Some had indignation - Being incited thereto by Judas: and said

- Probably to the women.

10. Judas went to the chief priests - Immediately after this reproof,

having anger now added to his covetousness. Matt. xxvi, 14; Luke

xxii, 3.

12. Matt. xxvi, 17; Luke xxii, 7.

13. Go into the city, and there shall meet you a man - It was

highly seasonable for our Lord to give them this additional proof

both of his knowing all things, and of his influence over the minds

of men.

15. Furnished - The word properly means, spread with carpets.

17. Matt. xxvi, 20; Luke xxii, 14.

24. This is my blood of the New Testament - That is, this I

appoint to be a perpetual sign and memorial of my blood, as shed

for establishing the new covenant, that all who shall believe in me

may receive all its gracious promises.

25. I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, till I drink it new

in the kingdom of God - That is, I shall drink no more before I

die: the next wine I drink will not be earthly, but heavenly.

26. Matt. xxvi, 30; Luke xxii, 39; John xviii, 1.

27. This night - The Jews in reckoning their days began with the

evening, according to the Mosaic computation, which called the

evening and the morning the first day, Gen. i, 5. And so that

which after sunset is here called this night is, ver. 30, called today.

The expression there is peculiarly significant. Verily I say to thee,

that thou thyself, confident as thou art, today, even within four

and twenty hours; yea, this night, or ever the sun be risen, nay,

before the cock crow twice, before three in the morning, wilt deny

me thrice. Our Lord doubtless spoke so determinately, as knowing

a cock would crow once before the usual time of cock crowing.

By chap. xiii, 35, it appears, that the third watch of the night,

ending at three in the morning, was commonly styled the cock

crowing. Zech. xiii, 7.

32. Matt. xxvi, 36.

33. Sore amazed - The original word imports the most shocking

amazement, mingled with grief: and that word in the next verse

which we render sorrowful intimates, that he was surrounded with

sorrow on every side, breaking in upon him with such violence, as

was ready to separate his soul from his body.

36. Abba, Father - St. Mark seems to add the word Father, by way

of explication.

37. Saith to Peter - The zealous, the confident Peter.

43. Matt. xxvi, 47; Luke xxii, 47; John xviii, 2.

44. Whomsoever I shall kiss - Probably our Lord, in great

condescension, had used (according to the Jewish custom) to

permit his disciples to do this, after they had been some time


47. Matt. xxvi, 51; Luke xxii, 49; John xviii, 10.

51. A young man - It does not appear, that he was one of Christ's

disciples. Probably hearing an unusual noise, he started up out of

his bed, not far from the garden, and ran out with only the sheet

about him, to see what was the matter. And the young men laid

hold on him - Who was only suspected to be Christ's disciple: but

could not touch them who really were so.

53. Matt. xxvi, 57; Luke xxii, 54; John xviii, 12.

55. All the council sought for witness and found none - What an

amazing proof of the overruling providence of God, considering

both their authority, and the rewards they could offer, that no two

consistent witnesses could be procured, to charge him with any

gross crime. Matt. xxvi, 59.

56. Their evidences were not sufficient - The Greek words

literally rendered are, Were not equal: not equal to the charge of a

capital crime: it is the same word in the 59th verse.

58. We heard him say - It is observable, that the words which they

thus misrepresented, were spoken by Christ at least three years

before, John ii, 19. Their going back so far to find matter for the

charge, was a glorious, though silent attestation of the

unexceptionable manner wherein he had behaved, through the

whole course of his public ministry.

61. Matt. xxvi, 63; Luke xxii, 67.

66. Matt. xxvi, 69; Luke xxii, 56; John xviii, 25.

72. And he covered his head - Which was a usual custom with

mourners, and was fitly expressive both of grief and shame.


1. Matt. xxvii, 1, 2; Luke xxii, 66; Luke xxiii, 1; John xviii, 28.

3. Matt. xxvii, 12.

7. Insurrection - A crime which the Roman governors, and Pilate

in particular, were more especially concerned and careful to


9. Will ye that I release to you the king of the Jews - Which does

this wretched man discover most? Want of justice, or courage, or

common sense? The poor coward sacrifices justice to popular

clamour, and enrages those whom he seeks to appease, by so

unseasonably repeating that title, The king of the Jews, which he

could not but know was so highly offensive to them.

16. Praetorium - The inner hall, where the praetor, a Roman

magistrate, used to give judgment. But St. John calls the whole

palace by this name. Matt. xxvii, 27; John xix, 2.

17. Purple - As royal robes were usually purple and scarlet, St.

Mark and John term this a purple robe, St. Matthew a scarlet one.

The Tyrian purple is said not to have been very different from


20. Matt. xxvii, 31; John xix, 16.

21. The father of Alexander and Rufus - These were afterward

two eminent Christians, and must have been well known when St.

Mark wrote.

22. Matt. xxvii, 33; Luke xxiii, 33; John xix, 17.

24, 25. St. Mark seems to intimate, that they first nailed him to the

cross, then parted his garments, and afterward reared up the cross.

28. Isaiah liii, 12.

29. Matt. xxvii, 39.

33. Matt. xxvii, 45; Luke xxiii, 44.

34. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me - Thereby

claiming God as his God; and yet lamenting his Father's

withdrawing the tokens of his love, and treating him as an enemy,

while he bare our sins.

37. Matt. xxvii, 50; Luke xxiii, 46; John xix, 30.

41. Who served him - Provided him with necessaries.

42. Because it was the day before the Sabbath - And the bodies

might not hang on the Sabbath day: therefore they were in haste to

have them taken down.

43. honourable - A man of character and reputation: A counsellor

- A member of the sanhedrim. Who waited for the kingdom of

God - Who expected to see it set up on earth. Matt. xxvii, 57;

Luke xxiii, 50; John xix, 38.

46. He rolled a stone - By his servants. It was too large for him to

roll himself.


1. Matt. xxviii, 1; Luke xxiv, 1; John xx, 1.

2. At the rising of the sun - They set out while it was yet dark, and

came within sight of the sepulchre, for the first time, just as it

grew light enough to discern that the stone was rolled away, Matt.

xxviii, 1; Luke xxiv, 1; John xx, 1. But by the time Mary had

called Peter and John, and they had viewed the sepulchre, the sun

was rising.

3. Who shall roll us away the stone - This seems to have been the

only difficulty they apprehended. So they knew nothing of Pilate's

having sealed the stone, and placed a guard of soldiers there.

7. And Peter - Though he so oft denied his Lord. What amazing

goodness was this!

9. John xx, 11.

10. Luke xxiv, 9; John xx, 18.

12. Luke xxiv, 13.

13. Neither believed they them - They were moved a little by the

testimony of these, added to that of St. Peter, Luke xxiv, 34; but

they did not yet fully believe it.

14. Luke xxiv, 36; John xx, 19.

15. Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every

creature - Our Lord speaks without any limitation or restriction. If

therefore every creature in every age hath not heard it, either those

who should have preached, or those who should have heard it, or

both, made void the counsel of God herein. Matt. xxviii, 19.

16. And is baptized - In token thereof. Every one that believed

was baptized. But he that believeth not - Whether baptized or

unbaptized, shall perish everlastingly.

17. And these signs shall follow them that believe - An eminent

author sub-joins, "That believe with that very faith mentioned in

the preceding verse." (Though it is certain that a man may work

miracles, and not have saving faith, Matt. vii, 22, 23.) "It was not

one faith by which St. Paul was saved, another by which he

wrought miracles. Even at this day in every believer faith has a

latent miraculous power; (every effect of prayer being really

miraculous;) although in many, both because of their own

littleness of faith, and because the world is unworthy, that power

is not exerted. Miracles, in the beginning, were helps to faith; now

also they are the object of it. At Leonberg, in the memory of our

fathers, a cripple that could hardly move with crutches, while the

dean was preaching on this very text, was in a moment made

whole." Shall follow - The word and faith must go before. In my

name - By my authority committed to them. Raising the dead is

not mentioned. So our Lord performed even more than he


18. If they drink any deadly thing - But not by their own choice.

God never calls us to try any such experiments.

19. The Lord - How seasonable is he called by this title! After he

had spoken to them - For forty days. Luke xxiv, 50.

20. They preached every where - At the time St. Mark wrote, the

apostles had already gone into all the known world, Rom. x, 18;

and each of them was there known where he preached: the name

of Christ only was known throughout the world.





I. The beginning: and therein.

1. The conception of John Chap. i, 5-25

2. The conception of Christ 26-56

3. The birth and circumcision of John; the hymn of Zacharias; the

youth of John 57-80

4. Christ's birth ii, 1-20

Christ's circumcision and name 21

Presentation in the temple 22-38

Country and growth 39, 40

II. The middle, when he was twelve years old and upward 41-52

III. The course of the history.

A. The introduction, wherein are described John the Baptist;

Christ's baptism, and temptation iii, iv, 1-13

B. The acceptable year in Galilee,

a. Proposed at Nazareth 14-30

b. Actually exhibited,

I. At Capernaum and near it; here we may observe,

1. Actions not censured, while Jesus

1. Teaches with authority 31, 32

2. Casts out a devil 33-37

3. Heals many sick 38-41

4. Teaches every where 42-44

5. Calls Peter; then James and John Chap. v, 1-11

6. Cleanses the leper 12-16

2. Actions censured, more and more severally, here occur,

1. The healing the paralytic 17-26

2. The calling of Levi; eating with publicans and sinners. 27-32

3. The question concerning fasting 33-39

4. The plucking the ears of corn vi, 1-5

5. The withered hand restored; snares laid 6-11

3. Actions having various effects on various persons,

1. Upon the apostles 12-16

2. Upon other hearers 17-40

3. Upon the centurion vii, 1-10

4. Upon the disciples of John,

The occasion: the young man raised 11-17

The message and answer 18-23

The reproof of them that believed not John 24-35

5. Upon Simon and the penitent sinner 36-50

6. Upon the woman who ministered to him viii, 1-3

7. Upon the people 4-18

Upon his mother and brethren 19-21

II. On the sea, and 22-26

Beyond it 27-39

III. On this side again.

1. Jairus and the flux of blood 40-55

2. The apostles sent ix, 1-6

3. Herod's doubting 7-9

4. The relation of the apostles 10

5. The earnestness of the people; our Lord's benignity; five

thousand fed 11-17

C. The preparation for his passion,

a. A recapitulation of the doctrine concerning his person: his

passion foretold 18-27

b. His transfiguration; the lunatic healed; his passion again

foretold; humility enjoined 28-50

c. His last journey to Jerusalem, which we may divide into

eighteen intervals,

1. The inhospitable Samaritans born with 51-57

2. In the way, improper followers repelled,

Proper ones pressed forward 58-62

3. Afterward the seventy sent; and received again x, 1-24

And the scribe taught to love his neighbour, by the

example of the good Samaritan 25-37

4. In Bethany, Mary preferred before Martha 38-42

5. In a certain place the disciples taught to pray xi, 1-13

A devil cast out, and the action defended 14-26

The acclamation of the woman corrected 27, 28

Those who desire a sign reproved 29-36

6. In a certain house, the scribes and Pharisees censured. 37-54

7. Our Lord's discourse to his disciples xii, 1-12

To one that interrupts him 13-21

To his disciples again 22-40

To Peter 41-53

To the people 54-59

8. The necessity of repentance shown xiii, 1-9

A woman healed on the Sabbath 10-21

9. The fewness of them that are saved 22-30

10. Herod termed a fox: Jerusalem reproved 31-35

11. In the Pharisee's house, he cures the dropsy on the

Sabbath; and xiv, 1-6

Teaches humility 7-11

Hoseapitality 12-14

The nature of the great supper 15-24

The necessity of self denial 25-35

12. Joy over repenting sinners defended, and xv, 1-10

Illustrated by the story of the prodigal son 11-32

The unjust steward, wise in his generation xvi, 1-13

The Pharisees reproved; and warned by the story of 14-18 the rich

man and Lazarus 19-31

Cautions against scandals xvii, 1-4

The faith of the apostles increased 5-10

13. In the confines of Samaria and Galilee he heals ten lepers. 11-


14. Answers the question concerning the time when the kingdom

of God should come 20-37

Commends constant prayer xviii, 1-8

Recommends humility by the story of the Pharisee and publican


15. Blesses little children 15-17

Answers the rich young man 18-27

And Peter, asking what he should have 28-30

16. Foretells his passion a third time 31-34

17. Near Jericho, cures a blind man 35-42

18. In Jericho, brings salvation to Zaccheus xix, 1-10

Answers touching the sudden appearance of his kingdom. 11-28

D. Transactions at Jerusalem,

a. The four first days of the great week,

1. His royal entry 29-44

2. The abuse of the temple corrected 45, 46

Its use restored, and 47, 48

Vindicated xx, 1-8

3. His discourses in the temple,

1. The parable of the husbandmen 9-19

2. The answer concerning paying tribute 20-26

And the resurrection 27-40

3. The question concerning the Son of David 41-44

4. The disciples admonished 45-47

5. The poor widow's offering commended xxi, 1-4

4. His prediction of the end of the temple, the city, and the world


5. Judas's agreement with the chief priests xxii, 1-6

b. Thursday,

1. Peter and John prepare the passover 7-13

2. The Lord's Supper: discourse after it 14-23

3. The dispute, which of them was greatest 24-30

4. Peter, and the other apostles warned 31-38

5. On the mount of Olives,

1. Jesus prays; is in an agony; strengthened by an angel; wakes his

disciples 39-46

2. Is betrayed; unseasonably defended 47-53

3. Carried to the high priest's house 54

Denied by Peter 55-62

Mocked 63-65

c. Friday,

1. His passion and death: transactions,

1. In the council 66-71

2. With Pilate xxiii, 1-5

3. With Herod 6-12

4. With Pilate again 13-25

5. In the way 26-32

6. At Golgotha, where,

The crucifixion itself, and Jesus's prayer 33, 34

His garments parted 34

Scoffs: the inscription on the cross 35-39

The penitent thief 40-43

The prodigies, and the death of Jesus 44-46

The beholders of it 47-49

2. His burial 50-53

d. Friday evening and Saturday 54-56

e. His resurrection made known,

1. To the women Chap. xxiv, 1-12

2. To the two going into the country, and to Peter 13-35

3. To the other apostles 36-45

f. The instructions given his apostles: his ascension 46-53



1, 2. This short, weighty, artless, candid dedication, belongs to the

Acts, as well as the Gospel of St. Luke. Many have undertaken -

He does not mean St. Matthew or Mark; and St. John did not write

so early. For these were eye witnesses themselves and ministers of

the word.

3. To write in order - St. Luke describes in order of time; first,

The Acts of Christ; his conception, birth, childhood, baptism,

miracles, preaching, passion, resurrection, ascension: then, The

Acts of the Apostles. But in many smaller circumstances he does

not observe the order of time. Most excellent Theophilus - This

was the appellation usually given to Roman governors.

Theophilus (as the ancients inform us) was a person of eminent

quality at Alexandria. In Acts i, 1, St. Luke does not give him that

title. He was then probably a private man. After the preface St.

Luke gives us the history of Christ, from his coming into the

world to his ascension into heaven.

5. The course of Abia - The priests were divided into twenty-four

courses, of which that of Abia was the eighth, 1Ch xxiv, 10. Each

course ministered in its turn, for seven days, from Sabbath to

Sabbath. And each priest of the course or set in waiting, had his

part in the temple service assigned him by lot.

6. Walking in all the moral commandments, and ceremonial

ordinances, blameless - How admirable a character! May our

behaviour be thus unblamable, and our obedience thus sincere and


10. The people were praying without, at the time of the incense -

So the pious Jews constantly did. And this was the foundation of

that elegant figure, by which prayer is in Scripture so often

compared to incense. Perhaps one reason of ordaining incense

might be, to intimate the acceptableness of the prayer that

accompanied it; as well as to remind the worshippers of that

sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, which was once to be offered

to God for them, and of that incense, which is continually offered

with the prayers of the saints, upon the golden altar that is before

the throne, Rev. viii, 3, 4.

12. Zacharias was troubled - Although he was accustomed to

converse with God, yet we see he was thrown into a great

consternation, at the appearance of his angelical messenger,

nature not being able to sustain the sight. Is it not then an instance

of the goodness is well as of the wisdom of God, that the services,

which these heavenly spirits render us, are generally invisible?

13. Thy prayer is heard - Let us observe with pleasure, that the

prayers of pious worshippers come up with acceptance before

God; to whom no costly perfume is so sweet, as the fragrancy of

an upright heart. An answer of peace was here returned, when the

case seemed to be most helpless. Let us wait patiently for the

Lord, and leave to his own wisdom the time and manner wherein

he will appear for us. Thou shalt call his name John - John

signifies the grace or favour of Jehovah. A name well suiting the

person, who was afterward so highly in favour with God, and

endued with abundance of grace; and who opened a way to the

most glorious dispensation of grace in the Messiah's kingdom.

And so Zacharias's former prayers for a child, and the prayer

which he, as the representative of the people, was probably

offering at this very time, for the appearing of the Messiah, were

remarkably answered in the birth of his forerunner.

15. He shall be great before the Lord - God the Father: of the Holy

Ghost and the Son of God mention is made immediately after.

And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink - Shall be

exemplary for abstemiousness and self-denial; and so much the

more filled with the Holy Ghost.

16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn - None

therefore need be ashamed of "preaching like John the Baptist."

To the Lord their God - To Christ.

17. He shall go before him, Christ, in the power and spirit of

Elijah - With the same integrity, courage, austerity, and fervour,

and the same power attending his word: to turn the hearts of the

fathers to the children - To reconcile those that are at variance, to

put an end to the most bitter quarrels, such as are very frequently

those between the nearest relations: and the hearts of the

disobedient to the wisdom of the just - And the most obstinate

sinners to true wisdom, which is only found among them that are

righteous before God.

18. Zacharias said, Whereby shall I know this? - In how different

a spirit did the blessed virgin say, How shall this be? Zacharias

disbelieved the fact: Mary had no doubt of the thing; but only

inquired concerning the manner of it.

19. I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God - Seven angels

thus stand before God, Rev. vii, 2; who seem the highest of all.

There seems to be a remarkable gradation in the words, enhancing

the guilt of Zacharias's unbelief. As if he had said, I am Gabriel, a

holy angel of God: yea, one of the highest order. Not only so, but

am now peculiarly sent from God; and that with a message to thee

in particular. Nay, and to show thee glad tidings, such as ought to

be received with the greatest joy and readiness.

20. Thou shalt be dumb - The Greek word signifies deaf, as well

as dumb: and it seems plain, that he was as unable to hear, as he

was to speak; for his friends were obliged to make signs to him,

that he might understand them, ver. 62.

21. The people were waiting - For him to come and dismiss them

(as usual) with the blessing.

24. Hid herself - She retired from company, that she might have

the more leisure to rejoice and bless God for his wonderful mercy.

25. He looked upon me to take away my reproach - Barrenness

was a great reproach among the Jews. Because fruitfulness was

promised to the righteous.

26. In the sixth month - After Elisabeth had conceived.

27. Espoused - It was customary among the Jews, for persons that

married to contract before witnesses some time before. And as

Christ was to be born of a pure virgin, so the wisdom of God

ordered it to be of one espoused, that to prevent reproach he might

have a reputed father, according to the flesh.

28. Hail, thou highly favoured; the Lord is with thee; blessed art

thou among women - Hail is the salutation used by our Lord to the

women after his resurrection: thou art highly favoured, or hast

found favour with God, ver. 30, is no more than was said of Noah,

Moses, and David. The Lord is with thee, was said to Gideon,

Judg. vi, 12; and blessed shall she be above women, of Jael, Judg.

v, 24. This salutation gives no room for any pretense of paying

adoration to the virgin; as having no appearance of a prayer, or of

worship offered to her.

32. He shall be called the Son of the Highest - In this respect also:

and that in a more eminent sense than any, either man or angel,

can be called so. The Lord shall give him the throne of his father

David - That is, the spiritual kingdom, of which David's was a


33. He shall reign over the house of Jacob - In which all true

believers are included.

35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the

Highest shall overshadow thee - The power of God was put forth

by the Holy Ghost, as the immediate Divine agent in this work:

and so he exerted the power of the Highest as his own power, who

together with the Father and the Son is the most high God.

Therefore also - Not only as he is God from eternity, but on this

account likewise he shall be called the Son of God.

36. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth - Though Elisabeth was of

the house of Aaron, and Mary of the house of David, by the

fathers side, they might be related by their mothers. For the law

only forbad heiresses marrying into another tribe. And so other

persons continually intermarried; particularly the families of

David and of Levi.

38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord - It is not

improbable, that this time of the virgin's humble faith, consent,

and expectation, might be the very time of her conceiving.

39. A city of Judah - Probably Hebron, which was situated in the

hill country of Judea, and belonged to the house of Aaron.

41. When Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary - The discourse

with which she saluted her, giving an account of what the angel

had said, the joy of her soul so affected her body, that the very

child in her womb was moved in an uncommon manner, as if it

leaped for joy.

45. Happy is she that believed - Probably she had in her mind the

unbelief of Zacharias.

46. And Mary said - Under a prophetic impulse, several things,

which perhaps she herself did not then fully understand.

47. My spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour - She seems to turn

her thoughts here to Christ himself, who was to be born of her, as

the angel had told her, he should be the Son of the Highest, whose

name should be Jesus, the saviour. And she rejoiced in hope of

salvation through faith in him, which is a blessing common to all

true believers, more than in being his mother after the flesh, which

was an honour peculiar to her. And certainly she had the same

reason to rejoice in God her saviour hat we have: because he had

regarded the low estate of his handmaid, in like manner as he

regarded our low estate; and vouchsafed to come and save her and

us, when we were reduced to the lowest estate of sin and misery.

51. He hath wrought strength with his arm - That is, he hath

shown the exceeding greatness of his power. She speaks

prophetically of those things as already done, which God was

about to do by the Messiah. He hath scattered the proud - Visible

and invisible.

52. He hath put down the mighty - Both angels and men.

54. He hath helped his servant Israel - By sending the Messiah.

55. To his seed - His spiritual seed: all true believers.

56. Mary returned to her own house - And thence soon after to


60. His mother said - Doubtless by Revelation, or a particular

impulse from God.

66. The hand of the Lord - The peculiar power and blessing of


67. And Zacharias prophesied - Of things immediately to follow.

But it is observable, he speaks of Christ chiefly; of John only, as it

were, incidentally.

69. A horn - Signifies honour, plenty, and strength. A horn of

salvation - That is, a glorious and mighty saviour.

70. His prophets, who have been since the world began - For there

were prophets from the very beginning.

74. To serve him without fear - Without any slavish fear. Here is

the substance of the great promise. That we shall be always holy,

always happy: that being delivered from Satan and sin, from every

uneasy and unholy temper, we shall joyfully love and serve God,

in every thought, word, and work.

76. And thou, child - He now speaks to John; yet not as a parent,

but as a prophet.

77. To give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins - The

knowledge of the remission of our sins being the grand instrument

of present and eternal salvation, Heb. viii, 11, 12. But the

immediate sense of the words seems to be, to preach to them the

Gospel doctrine of salvation by the remission of their sins.

78. The day spring - Or the rising sun; that is, Christ.


1. That all the world should be enrolled - That all the inhabitants,

male and female, of every town in the Roman empire, with their

families and estates, should be registered.

2. When Cyrenius was governor of Syria - When Publius

Sulpicius Quirinus governed the province of Syria, in which Judea

was then included.

6. And while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she

should be delivered - Mary seems not to have known that the

child must have been born in Bethlehem, agreeably to the

prophecy. But the providence of God took care for it.

7. She laid him in the manger - Perhaps it might rather be

translated in the stall. They were lodged in the ox stall, fitted up

on occasion of the great concourse, for poor guests. There was no

room for them in the inn - Now also, there is seldom room for

Christ in an inn. Matt. i, 25

11. To you - Shepherds; Israel; mankind.

14. Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will

toward men - The shouts of the multitude are generally broken

into short sentences. This rejoicing acclamation strongly

represents the piety and benevolence of these heavenly spirits: as

if they had said, Glory be to God in the highest heavens: let all the

angelic legions resound his praises. For with the Redeemer's birth,

peace, and all kind of happiness, come down to dwell on earth:

yea, the overflowings of Divine good will and favour are now

exercised toward men.

20. For all the things that they had heard - From Mary; as it was

told them - By the angels.

21. To circumcise the child - That he might visibly be made under

the law by a sacred rite, which obliged him to keep the whole law;

as also that he might be owned to be the seed of Abraham, and

might put an honour on the solemn dedication of children to God.

22. The days - The forty days prescribed, Lev. xii, 2, 4.

23. Exod. xiii, 2.

24. A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons - This offering

sufficed for the poor. Lev. xii, 8.

25. The consolation of Israel - A common phrase for the Messiah,

who was to be the everlasting consolation of the Israel of God.

The Holy Ghost was upon him - That is, he was a prophet.

27. By the Spirit - By a particular Revelation or impulse from


30. Thy salvation - Thy Christ, thy saviour.

32. And the glory of thy people Israel - For after the Gentiles are

enlightened, all Israel shall be saved.

33. Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were

spoken - For they did not thoroughly understand them.

34. Simeon blessed them - Joseph and Mary. This child is set for

the fall and rising again of many - That is, he will be a savour of

death to some, to unbelievers: a savour of life to others, to

believers: and for a sign which shall be spoken against - A sign

from God, yet rejected of men: but the time for declaring this at

large was not yet come: that the thoughts of many hearts may be

revealed - The event will be, that by means of that contradiction,

the inmost thoughts of many, whether good or bad, will be made


35. A sword shall pierce through thy own soul - So it did, when he

suffered: particularly at his crucifixion.

37. Fourscore and four years - These were the years of her life,

not her widowhood only. Who departed not from the temple -

Who attended there at all the stated hours of prayer. But served

God with fastings and prayers - Even at that age. Night and day -

That is, spending therein a considerable part of the night, as well

as of the day.

38. To all that were waiting for redemption - The scepter now

appeared to be departing from Judah, though it was not actually

gone: Daniel's weeks were plainly near their period. And the

revival of the spirit of prophecy, together with the memorable

occurrences relating to the birth of John the Baptist, and of Jesus,

could not but encourage and quicken the expectation of pious

persons at this time. Let the example of these aged saints animate

those, whose hoary heads, like theirs, are a crown of glory, being

found in the way of righteousness. Let those venerable lips, so

soon to be silent in the grave, be now employed in the praises of

their Redeemer. Let them labour to leave those behind, to whom

Christ will be as precious as he has been to them; and who will be

waiting for God's salvation, when they are gone to enjoy it.

40. And the child grew - In bodily strength and stature; and waxed

strong in spirit - The powers of his human mind daily improved;

filled with wisdom - By the light of the indwelling Spirit, which

gradually opened itself in his soul; and the grace of God was upon

him - That is, the peculiar favour of God rested upon him, even as


43. The child Jesus - St. Luke describes in order Jesus the fruit of

the womb, chap. i, 42; an infant, chap. ii, 12; a little child, ver. 40;

a child here, and afterward a man. So our Lord passed through

and sanctified every stage of human life. Old age only did not

become him.

44. Supposing him to have been in the company - As the men and

women usually travelled in distinct companies.

46. After three days - The first day was spent in their journey, the

second, in their return to Jerusalem: and the third, in searching for

him there: they found him in the temple - In an apartment of it:

sitting in the midst of the doctors - Not one word is said of his

disputing with them, but only of his asking and answering

questions, which was a very usual thing in these assemblies, and

indeed the very end of them. And if he was, with others, at the

feet of these teachers (where learners generally sat) he might be

said to be in the midst of them, as they sat on benches of a

semicircular form, raised above their hearers and disciples.

49. Why sought ye me? - He does not blame them for losing, but

for thinking it needful to seek him: and intimates, that he could

not be lost, nor found any where, but doing the will of a higher


50. It is observable that Joseph is not mentioned after this time;

whence it is probable, he did not live long after.

52. Jesus increased in wisdom - As to his human nature, and in

favour with God - In proportion to that increase. It plainly

follows, that though a man were pure, even as Christ was pure,

still he would have room to increase in holiness, and in

consequence thereof to increase in the favour, as well as in the

love of God.


1. The fifteenth year of Tiberius - Reckoning from the time when

Angustus made him his colleague in the empire. Herod being

tetrarch of Galilee - The dominions of Herod the Great were, after

his death, divided into four parts or tetrarchies. This Herod his son

was tetrarch of Galilee, reigning over that fourth part of his

dominions. His brother reigned over two other fourth parts, the

region of Iturea, and that of Trachonitis (that tract of land on the

other side Jordan, which had formerly belonged to the tribe of

Manasseh.) And Lysanias (probably descended from a prince of

that name, who was some years before governor of that country)

was tetrarch of the remaining part of Abilene, which was a large

city of Syria, whose territories reached to Lebanon and Damascus,

and contained great numbers of Jews. Matt. iii, 1; Mark i, 1.

2. Annas being high priest, and Caiaphas - There could be but one

high priest, strictly speaking, at once. Annas was the high priest at

that time, and Caiaphas his sagan or deputy.

4. Isaiah xl, 3.

5. Every valley shall be filled, &c. - That is, every hindrance shall

be removed.

6. The salvation of God - The saviour, the Messiah.

8. Say not within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father -

That is, trust not in your being members of the visible Church, or

in any external privileges whatsoever: for God now requires a

change of heart; and that without delay.

10. He answereth - It is not properly John, but the Holy Ghost,

who teaches us in the following answers, how to come ourselves,

and how to instruct other penitent sinners to come to Christ, that

he may give them rest. The sum of all this is, Cease to do evil,

learn to do well. These are the fruits worthy of repentance.

20. He shut up John - This circumstance, though it happened after,

is here mentioned before our Lord's baptism, that his history (that

of John being concluded) may then follow without any


21. Jesus praying, the heaven was opened - It is observable, that

the three voices from heaven, see chap. ix, 29, 35; John xii, 28; by

which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced either

while he was praying, or quickly after it. Matt. iii, 13; Mark i, 9.

23. And Jesus was - John's beginning was computed by the years

of princes: our saviour's by the years of his own life, as a more

august era. About thirty years of age - He did not now enter upon

his thirtieth year (as the common translation would induce one to

think) but he now entered on his public ministry: being of such an

age as the Mosaic law required. Our great Master attained not, as

it seems, to the conclusion of his thirty-fourth year. Yet what

glorious achievements did he accomplish within those narrow

limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any proportionable

zeal, despatches the great business of life; and so much the more

happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the space that is taken

from the labours of time, shall be added to the rewards of eternity.

The son of Heli - That is, the son-in-law: for Heli was the father

of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph,

descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke that of Mary,

descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph

(recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being

accustomed to marry into their own families.

38. Adam the son of God - That is, whatever the sons of Adam

receive from their human parents, Adam received immediately

from God, except sin and misery.


1. The wilderness - Supposed by some to have been in Judea; by

others to have been that great desert of Horeb or Sinai, where the

children of Israel were tried for forty years, and Moses and Elijah

fasted forty days. Matt. iv, 1; Mark i, 12.

4. Deut. viii, 3.

6. I give it to whomsoever I will - Not so, Satan. It is God, not

thou, that putteth down one, and setteth up another: although

sometimes Satan, by God's permission, may occasion great

revolutions in the world.

8. Deut. vi, 13.

10. Psalm xci, 11.

12. Deut. vi, 16.

13. A convenient season - In the garden of Gethsemane, chap.

xxii, 53.

14. Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit - Being more

abundantly strengthened after his conflict.

15. Being glorified of all - So God usually gives strong cordials

after strong temptations. But neither their approbation continued

long, nor the outward calm which he now enjoyed.

16. He stood up - Showing thereby that he had a desire to read the

Scripture to the congregation: on which the book was given to

him. It was the Jewish custom to read standing, but to preach

sitting. Matt. xiii, 54; Mark vi, 1.

17. He found - It seems, opening upon it, by the particular

providence of God.

18. He hath anointed me - With the Spirit. He hath by the power

of his Spirit which dwelleth in me, set me apart for these offices.

To preach the Gospel to the poor - Literally and spiritually. How

is the doctrine of the ever-blessed trinity interwoven, even in

those scriptures where one would least expect it? How clear a

declaration of the great Three-One is there in those very words,

The Spirit - of the Lord is upon me! To proclaim deliverance to

the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty

them that are bruised - Here is a beautiful gradation, in comparing

the spiritual state of men to the miserable state of those captives,

who are not only cast into prison, but, like Zedekiah, had their

eyes put out, and were laden and bruised with chains of iron.

Isaiah lxi, 1.

19. The acceptable year - Plainly alluding to the year of jubilee,

when all, both debtors and servants, were set free.

21. Today is this scripture fulfilled in your ears - By what you

hear me speak.

22. The gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth - A

person of spiritual discernment may find in all the discourses of

our Lord a peculiar sweetness, gravity, and becomingness, such as

is not to be found in the same degree, not even in those of the


23. Ye will surely say - That is, your approbation now outweighs

your prejudices. But it will not be so long. You will soon ask, why

my love does not begin at home? Why I do not work miracles

here, rather than at Capernaum? It is because of your unbelief.

Nor is it any new thing for me to be despised in my own country.

So were both Elijah and Elisha, and thereby driven to work

miracles among heathens, rather than in Israel.

24. No prophet is acceptable in his own country - That is, in his

own neighbourhood. It generally holds, that a teacher sent from

God is not so acceptable to his neighbours as he is to strangers.

The meanness of his family, or lowness of his circumstances,

bring his office into contempt: nor can they suffer that he, who

was before equal with, or below themselves, should now bear a

superior character.

25. When the heaven was shut up three years and six months -

Such a proof had they that God had sent him. In 1 Kings xviii, 1,

it is said, The word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year:

namely, reckoning not from the beginning of the drought, but

from the time when he began to sojourn with the widow of

Sarepta. A year of drought had preceded this, while he dwelt at

the brook Cherith. So that the whole time of the drought was (as

St. James likewise observes) three years and six months. 1 Kings

xvii, 19; xviii, 44.

27. 2 Kings v, 14.

28. And all in the synagogue were filled with fury - Perceiving the

purport of his discourse, namely, that the blessing which they

despised, would be offered to, and accepted by, the Gentiles. So

changeable are the hearts of wicked men! So little are their starts

of love to be depended on! So unable are they to bear the close

application, even of a discourse which they most admire!

30. Passing through the midst of them - Perhaps invisibly; or

perhaps they were overawed; so that though they saw, they could

not touch him.

31. He came down to Capernaum - And dwelt there, entirely

quitting his abode at Nazareth. Mark i, 21.

34. What have we to do with thee - Thy present business is with

men, not with devils. I know thee who thou art - But surely he did

not know a little before, that he was God over all, blessed for

ever; or he would not have dared to tell him, All this power is

delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I will. The Holy One

of God - Either this confession was extorted from him by terror,

(for the devils believe and tremble, ) or he made it with a design

to render the character of Christ suspected. Possibly it was from

hence the Pharisees took occasion to say, He casteth out devils by

the prince of the devils.

38. Matt. viii, 14; Mark i, 29.

40. When the sun was set - And consequently the Sabbath ended,

which they reckoned from sunset to sunset. Matt. viii, 16; Mark i,


42. Mark i, 35.


1. Matt. iv, 18; Mark i, 16.

6. Their net brake - Began to tear.

8. Depart from me, for I am a sinful man - And therefore not

worthy to be in thy presence.

11. They forsook all and followed him - They had followed him

before, John i, 43, but not so as to forsake all. Till now, they

wrought at their ordinary calling.

12. Matt. viii, 2; Mark i, 40.

14. Lev. xiv, 2.

16. He withdrew - The expression in the original implies, that he

did so frequently.

17. Sitting by - As being more honourable than the bulk of the

congregation, who stood. And the power of the Lord was present

to heal them - To heal the sickness of their souls, as well as all

bodily diseases.

18. Matt. ix, 2; Mark ii, 3.

19. Not being able to bring him in through the multitude, they

went round about by a back passage, and going up the stairs on

the outside, they came upon the flat-roofed house, and let him

down through the trap door, such as was on the top of most of the

Jewish houses: doubtless, with such circumspection as the

circumstances plainly required.

26. We have seen strange things to. day - Sins forgiven, miracles


27. Matt. ix, 9; Mark ii, 14.

28. Leaving all - His business and gain.

29. And Levi made him a great entertainment - It was necessarily

great, because of the great number of guests.

33. Make prayers - Long and solemn. Matt. ix, 14; Mark ii, 18.

34. Can ye make - That is, is it proper to make men fast and

mourn, during a festival solemnity?

36. He spake also a parable - Taken from clothes and wine;

therefore peculiarly proper at a feast.

39. And no man having drunk old wine - And beside, men are not

wont to be immediately freed from old prejudices.


1. The first Sabbath - So the Jews reckoned their Sabbaths, from

the passover to pentecost; the first, second, third, and so on, till

the seventh Sabbath (after the second day.) This immediately

preceded pentecost, which was the fiftieth day after the second

day of unleavened bread. Matt. xii, 1; Mark ii, 23.

2. Why do ye - St. Matthew and Mark represent the Pharisees as

proposing the question to our Lord himself. It was afterward,

probably, they proposed it to his disciples.

4. 1 Sam. xxi, 6.

6. Matt. xii, 9; Mark iii, 1.

9. To save life or to kill - He just then probably saw the design to

kill him rising in their hearts.

12. In the prayer of God - The phrase is singular and emphatical,

to imply an extraordinary and sublime devotion. Mark iii, 13.

13. Matt. x, 2; Mark iii, 14; Acts i, 13.

15. Simon called Zelotes - Full of zeal; otherwise called Simon

the Canaanite.

17. On a plain - At the foot of the mountain.

20. In the following verses our Lord, in the audience of his newly-

chosen disciples, and of the multitude, repeats, standing on the

plain, many remarkable passages of the sermon he had before

delivered, sitting on the mount. He here again pronounces the

poor and the hungry, the mourners, and the persecuted, happy;

and represents as miserable those who are rich, and full, and

joyous, and applauded: because generally prosperity is a sweet

poison, and affliction a healing, though bitter medicine. Let the

thought reconcile us to adversity, and awaken our caution when

the world smiles upon us; when a plentiful table is spread before

us, and our cup is running over; when our spirits are gay; and we

hear (what nature loves) our own praise from men. Happy are ye

poor - The word seems here to be taken literally: ye who have left

al] for me. Matt. v, 3.

24. Miserable are ye rich - If ye have received or sought your

consolation or happiness therein.

25. Full - Of meat and drink, and worldly goods. That laugh -

That are of a light trifling spirit.

26. Wo to you when all men shall speak well of you - But who

will believe this?

27. But I say to you that hear - Hitherto our Lord had spoken only

to particular sorts of persons: now he begins speaking to all in

general. Matt. v, 44.

29. To him that smiteth thee on the cheek - Taketh away thy cloak

- These seem to be proverbial expressions, to signify an invasion

of the tenderest points of honour and property. Offer the other -

Forbid not thy coat - That is, rather yield to his repeating the

affront or injury, than gratify resentment in righting your self; in

any method not becoming Christian love. Matt. v, 39.

30. Give to every one - Friend or enemy, what thou canst spare,

and he really wants: and of him that taketh away thy goods - By

borrowing, if he be insolvent, ask them not again. Matt. v, 42.

31. Matt. vii, 12.

32. It is greatly observable, our Lord has so little regard for one of

the highest instances of natural virtue, namely, the returning love

for love, that he does not account it even to deserve thanks. For

even sinners, saith he, do the same: men who do not regard God at

all. Therefore he may do this, who has not taken one step in


37. Matt. vii, 1.

38. Into your bosom - Alluding to the mantles the Jews wore, into

which a large quantity of corn might be received. With the same

measure that ye mete with, it shall be measured to you again -

Amazing goodness! So we are permitted even to carve for

ourselves! We ourselves are, as it were, to tell God how much

mercy he shall show us! And can we be content with less than the

very largest measure? Give then to man, what thou designest to

receive of God.

39. He spake a parable - Our Lord sometimes used parables when

he knew plain and open declarations would too much inflame the

passions of his hearers. It is for this reason he uses this parable,

Can the blind lead the blind? - Can the scribes teach this way,

which they know not themselves? Will not they and their scholars

perish together? Can they make their disciples any better than

themselves? But as for those who will be my disciples, they shall

be all taught of God; who will enable them to come to the

measure of the stature of the fulness of their Master. Be not ye

like their disciples, censuring others, and not amending

yourselves. Matt. xv, 14.

40. Matt. x, 24; John xv, 20.

41. Matt. vii, 3.

46. And why call ye me Lord, Lord - What will fair professions

avail, without a life answerable thereto? Matt. vii, 21.

47. Matt. vii, 24.


1. Matt. viii, 5.

3. Hearing of Jesus - Of his miracles, and of his arrival at


18. Matt. xi, 2.

22. To the poor the Gospel is preached - Which is the greatest

mercy, and the greatest miracle of all.

24. When the messengers were departed - He did not speak the

following things in the hearing of John's disciples, lest he should

seem to flatter John, or to compliment him into an adherence to

his former testimony. To avoid all suspicion of this kind, he

deferred his commendation of him, till the messengers were gone;

and then delivered it to the people, to prevent all imaginations, as

if John were wavering in his judgment, and had sent the two

disciples for his own, rather than their satisfaction.

27. Mal. iii, 1.

28. There is not a greater prophet than John - A greater teacher.

But he that is least in the kingdom of God - The least teacher

whom I send forth.

29. And all the people - Our Lord continues his discourse:

justified God - Owned his wisdom and mercy in thus calling them

to repentance, and preparing them for Him that was to come.

30. But the Pharisees and scribes - The good, learned, honourable

men: made void the counsel, the gracious design, of God toward

them - They disappointed all these methods of his love, and would

receive no benefit from them.

32. They are like children sitting in the market place - So froward

and perverse, that no contrivance can be found to please them. It

is plain our Lord means, that they were like the children

complained of, not like those that made the complaint.

34. But wisdom is justified by all her children - The children of

wisdom are those who are truly wise unto salvation. The wisdom

of God in all these dispensations, these various methods of calling

sinners to repentance, is owned and heartily approved by all these.

36. And one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him - Let the

candour with which our Lord accepted this invitation, and his

gentleness and prudence at this ensnaring entertainment, teach us

to mingle the wisdom of the serpent, with the innocence and

sweetness of the dove. Let us neither absolutely refuse all favours,

nor resent all neglects, from those whose friendship is at best very

doubtful, and their intimacy by no means safe.

37. A woman - Not the same with Mary of Bethany, who anointed

him six days before his last passover.

40. And Jesus said, Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee - So

tender and courteous am address does our Lord use even to a

proud, censorious Pharisee!

43. Which of them will love him most? - Neither of them will

love him at all, before he has forgiven them. An insolvent debtor,

till he is forgiven, does not love, but fly his creditor.

44. Thou gavest me no water - It was customary with the Jews to

show respect and kindness to their welcome guests, by saluting

them with a kiss, by washing their feet, and anointing their heads

with oil, or some fine ointment.

47. Those many sins of hers are forgiven; therefore she loveth

much - The fruit of her having had much forgiven. It should

carefully be observed here, that her love is mentioned as the effect

and evidence, not the cause of her pardon. She knew that much

had been forgiven her, and therefore she loved much.

50. Thy faith hath saved thee - Not thy love. Love is salvation.


2. Mary Magdalene - Or Mary of Magdala, a town in Galilee:

probably the person mentioned in the last chapter.

4. Matt. xiii, 1; Mark iv, 1.

15. Who - keep it - Not like the highway side: And bring forth

fruit - Not like the thorny ground: With perseverance - Not like

the stony.

16. No man having lighted a candle - As if ho had said, And let

your good fruit appear openly. Matt. v, 15; Mark iv, 21; Chap. xi,


17. For nothing is hid - Strive not to conceal it at all; for you can

conceal nothing long. Matt. x, 26; Mark iv, 22; Chap. xii, 2.

18. The word commonly translated seemeth, wherever it occurs,

does not weaken, but greatly strengthens the sense. Matt. xiii, 12;

Mark iv, 25; Luke xix, 26.

19. Matt. xii, 46; Mark iii, 31.

22. Matt. viii, 23; Mark iv, 35.

26. Matt. viii, 28; Mark v, 1.

29. For many times it had caught him - Therefore our

compassionate Lord made the more haste to cast him out.

31. The abyss - That is, the bottomless pit.

32. To enter into the swine - Not that they were any easier in the

swine than out of them. Had it been so, they would not so soon

have dislodged themselves, by destroying the herd.

37. Matt. ix, 1; Mark v, 18.

40. Mark v, 21.

52. She is not dead but sleepeth - Her soul is not separated finally

from the body; and this short separation is rather to be called sleep

than death.


1. Matt. x, 1; Mark vi, 7.

4. There abide and thence depart - That is, stay in that house till

ye leave the city.

7. It was said by some - And soon after by Herod himself. Matt.

xiv, 1; Mark vi, 14.

8. That Elijah had appeared - He could not rise again, because he

did not die.

10. Mark vi, 30.

12. Matt. xiv, 15; Mark vi, 35; John vi, 3.

18. Apart - From the multitude. And he asked them - When he had

done praying, during which they probably stayed at a distance.

Matt. xiv, 13; Mark viii, 27.

22. Saying - Ye must prepare for a scene far different from this.

23. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross - The necessity of

this duty has been shown in many places: the extent of it is

specified here, daily - Therefore that day is lost wherein no cross

is taken up.

24. Matt. xvi, 25; Mark viii, 35; John xii, 25.

28. Matt. xvii, 1; Mark ix, 2.

31. In glory - Like Christ with whom they talked.

32. They saw his glory - The very same expression in which it is

described by St. John, John i, 14; and by St. Peter, 2 Pet. i, 16.

34. A cloud came and overshadowed them all. And they, the

apostles, feared, while they (Moses and Elijah) entered into the

cloud, which took them away.

37. Matt. xvii, 14; Mark ix, 14.

44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears - That is, consider

them deeply. In joy remember the cross. So wisely does our Lord

balance praise with sufferings. Matt. xvii, 22; Mark ix, 31.

46. And there arose a reasoning among them - This kind of

reasoning always arose at the most improper times that could be


47. Matt. xviii, 2; Mark ix, 37.

48. And said to them - If ye would be truly great, humble

yourselves to the meanest offices. He that is least in his own eyes

shall be great indeed.

49. Mark ix, 38.

51. The days are fulfilled that he should be received up - That is,

the time of his passion was now at hand. St. Luke looks through

this, to the glory which was to follow. He steadfastly set his face -

Without fear of his enemies, or shame of the cross, Heb. xii, 2.

52. He sent messengers to make ready - A lodging and needful

entertainment for him and those with him.

53. His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem - It plainly

appeared, he was going to worship at the temple, and thereby, in

effect, to condemn the Samaritan worship at Mount Gerizim.

54. As Elisha did - At or near this very place, which might put it

into the minds of the apostles to make the motion now, rather than

at any other time or place, where Christ had received the like


55. Ye know not what manner of spirit - The spirit of Christianity

is. It is not a spirit of wrath and vengeance, but of peace, and

gentleness, and love.

57. Matt. viii, 19.

58. But Jesus said to him - First understand the terms: consider on

what conditions thou art to follow me.

61. Suffer me first to bid them farewell that are in my house - As

Elisha did after Elijah had called him from the plough, 1 Kings

xix, 19; to which our Lord's answer seems to allude.

62. Is fit for the kingdom of God - Either to propagate or to

receive it.


2. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would thrust forth

labourers - For God alone can do this: he alone can qualify and

commission men for this work. Matt. ix, 37.

3. Matt. x, 16.

4. Salute no man by the way - The salutations usual among the

Jews took up much time. But these had so much work to do in so

short a space, that they had not a moment to spare.

6. A son of peace - That is, one worthy of it.

7. Matt. x, 11.

11. The kingdom of God is at hand - Though ye will not receive


13. Wo to thee, Chorazin - The same declaration Christ had made

some time before. By repeating it now, he warns the seventy not

to lose time by going to those cities. Matt. xi, 21.

16. Matt. x, 40; John xiii, 20.

18. I beheld Satan - That is, when ye went forth, I saw the

kingdom of Satan, which was highly exalted, swiftly and suddenly

cast down.

19. I give you power - That is, I continue it to you: and nothing

shall hurt you - Neither the power, nor the subtilty of Satan.

20. Rejoice not so much that the devils are subject to you, as that

your names are written in heaven - Reader, so is thine, if thou art

a true, believer. God grant it may never be blotted out!

21. Lord of heaven and earth - In both of which thy kingdom

stands, and that of Satan is destroyed. That thou hast hid these

things - He rejoiced not in the destruction of the wise and prudent,

but in the display of the riches of God's grace to others, in such a

manner as reserves to Him the entire glory of our salvation, and

hides pride from man. Matt. xi, 25.

22. Who the Son is - Essentially one with the Father: who the

Father is - How great, how wise, how good!

23. Matt. xiii, 16.

25. Matt. xxii, 35; Mark xii, 28.

27. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God - That is, thou shalt unite all

the faculties of thy soul to render him the most intelligent and

sincere, the most affectionate and resolute service. We may safely

rest in this general sense of these important words, if we are not

able to fix the particular meaning of every single word. If we

desire to do this, perhaps the heart, which is a general expression,

may be explained by the three following, With all thy soul, with

the warmest affection, with all thy strength, the most vigourous

efforts of thy will, and with all thy mind or understanding, in the

most wise and reasonable manner thou canst; thy understanding

guiding thy will and affections. Deut. vi, 5; Lev. xix, 18.

28. Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live - Here is

no irony, but a deep and weighty truth. He, and he alone, shall live

for ever, who thus loves God and his neighbour in the present life.

29. To justify himself - That is, to show he had done this. Lev.

xviii, 5.

30. From Jerusalem to Jericho - The road from Jerusalem to

Jericho (about eighteen miles from it) lay through desert and

rocky places: so many robberies and murders were committed

therein, that it was called the bloody way. Jericho was situated in

the valley: hence the phrase of going down to it. About twelve

thousand priests and Levites dwelt there, who all attended the

service of the temple.

31. The common translation is, by chance - Which is full of gross

improprieties. For if we speak strictly, there is no such thing in the

universe as either chance or fortune. A certain priest came down

that way, and passed by on the other side - And both he and the

Levite no doubt could find an excuse for passing over on the other

side, and might perhaps gravely thank God for their own

deliverance, while they left their brother bleeding to death. Is it

not an emblem of many living characters, perhaps of some who

bear the sacred office? O house of Levi and of Aaron, is not the

day coming, when the virtues of heathens and Samaritans will rise

up in judgment against you?

33. But a certain Samaritan came where he was - It was admirably

well judged to represent the distress on the side of the Jew, and

the mercy on that of the Samaritan. For the case being thus

proposed, self interest would make the very scribe sensible, how

amiable such a conduct was, and would lay him open to our

Lord's inference. Had it been put the other way, prejudice might

more easily have interposed, before the heart could have been


34. Pouring in oil and wine - Which when well beaten together are

one of the best balsams that can be applied to a fresh wound.

36. Which of these was the neighbour to him that fell among the

robbers - Which acted the part of a neighbour?

37. And he said, He that showed mercy on him - He could not for

shame say otherwise, though he thereby condemned himself and

overthrew his own false notion of the neighbour to whom our love

is due. Go and do thou in like manner - Let us go and do likewise,

regarding every man as our neighbour who needs our assistance.

Let us renounce that bigotry and party zeal which would contract

our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race, but a small

number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own, that

our love to them is but self love reflected. With an honest

openness of mind let us always remember that kindred between

man and man, and cultivate that happy instinct whereby, in the

original constitution of our nature, God has strongly bound us to

each other.

40. Martha was encumbered - The Greek word properly signifies

to be drawn different ways at the same time, and admirably

expresses the situation of a mind, surrounded (as Martha's then

was) with so many objects of care, that it hardly knows which to

attend to first.

41. Martha, Martha - There is a peculiar spirit and tenderness in

the repetition of the word: thou art careful, inwardly, and hurried,


42. Mary hath chosen the good part - To save her soul. Reader,

hast thou?


1. Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples - The

Jewish masters used to give their followers some short form of

prayer, as a peculiar badge of their relation to them. This it is

probable John the Baptist had done. And in this sense it seems to

be that the disciples now asked Jesus, to teach them to pray.

Accordingly he here repeats that form, which he had before given

them in his sermon on the mount, and likewise enlarges on the

same head, though still speaking the same things in substance.

And this prayer uttered from the heart, and in its true and full

meaning, is indeed the badge of a real Christian: for is not he such

whose first and most ardent desire is the glory of God, and the

happiness of man by the coming of his kingdom? Who asks for no

more of this world than his daily bread, longing meantime for the

bread that came down from heaven? And whose only desires for

himself are forgiveness of sins, (as he heartily forgives others, )

and sanctification.

2. When ye pray, say - And what he said to them is undoubtedly

said to us also. We are therefore here directed, not only to imitate

this in all our prayers, but to use this very form of prayer. Matt. vi,


4. Forgive us; for we forgive them - Not once, but continually.

This does not denote the meritorious cause of our pardon; but the

removal of that hindrance which otherwise would render it


5. At midnight - The most unseasonable time: but no time is

unseasonable with God, either for hearing or answering prayer.

9. Matt. vii, 7.

13. How much more shall your heavenly Father - How beautiful is

the gradation! A friend: a father: God! Give the Holy Spirit - The

best of gifts, and that which includes every good gift.

14. It was dumb - That is, it made the man so. Matt. xii, 22.

15. But some said, He casteth out devils by Beelzebub - These he

answers, ver. 17. Others, to try whether it were so or no, sought a

sign from heaven. These he reproves in ver. 29 and following

verses. Beelzebub signifies the Lord of flies, a title which the

heathens gave to Jupiter, whom they accounted the chief of their

gods, and yet supposed him to be employed in driving away flies

from their temple and sacrifices. The Philistines worshipped a

deity under this name, as the God of Ekron: from hence the Jews

took the name, and applied it to the chief of the devils. Mark iii,


16. Matt. xii, 38.

17. A house - That is, a family.

20. If I cast out devils by the finger of God - That is, by a power

manifestly Divine. Perhaps the expression intimates farther, that it

was done without any labour: then the kingdom of God is come

upon you - Unawares, unexpected: so the Greek word implies.

21. The strong one armed - The devil, strong in himself, and

armed with the pride, obstinacy, and security of him in whom he


26. The last state of that man becometh worse than the first -

Whoever reads the sad account Josephus gives of the temple and

conduct of the Jews, after the ascension of Christ and before their

final destruction by the Romans, must acknowledge that no

emblem could have been more proper to describe them. Their

characters were the vilest that can be conceived, and they pressed

on to their own ruin, as if they had been possessed by legions of

devils, and wrought up to the last degree of madness. But this also

is fulfilled in all who totally and finally apostatize from true faith.

27. Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou

hast sucked! - How natural was the thought for a woman! And

how gently does our Lord reprove her!

28. Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and

keep it - For if even she that bare him had not done this, she

would have forfeited all her blessedness.

29. It seeketh - The original word implies seeking more, or over

and above what one has already.

32. They repented at the preaching of Jonah - But it was only for a

season. Afterward they relapsed into wickedness, till (after about

forty years) they were destroyed. It is remarkable, that in this also

the comparison held. God reprieved the Jews for about forty

years; but they still advanced in wickedness, till having filled up

their measure, they were destroyed with an utter destruction.

33. The meaning is, God gives you this Gospel light, that you may

repent. Let your eye be singly fixed on him, aim only at pleasing

God; and while you do this, your whole soul will be full of

wisdom, holiness, and happiness. Matt. v, 15; Mark iv, 21; Luke

viii, 16.

34. But when thine eye is evil - When thou aimest at any thing

else, thou wilt be full of folly, sin, and misery. On the contrary,

Matt. vi, 22.

36. If thy whole body be full of light - If thou art filled with holy

wisdom, having no part dark, giving way to no sin or folly, then

that heavenly principle will, like the clear flame of a lamp in a

room that was dark before, shed its light into all thy powers and


39. Now ye Pharisees - Probably many of them were present at

the Pharisee's house. Matt. xxiii, 25.

41. Give what is in them - The vessels which ye clean, in alms,

and all things are clean to you. As if he had said, By acts directly

contrary to rapine and wickedness, show that your hearts are

cleansed, and these outward washings are needless.

42. Wo to you - That is, miserable are you. In the same manner is

the phrase to be understood throughout the chapter.

44. For ye are as graves which appear not - Probably in speaking

this our Lord fixed his eyes on the scribes. As graves which

appear not, being overgrown with grass, so that men are not

aware, till they stumble upon them, and either hurt themselves, or

at least are defiled by touching them. On another occasion Christ

compared them to whited sepulchres, fair without, but foul within;

Matt. xxiii, 27.

45. One of the lawyers - That is scribes; expounders of the law.

48. Whom they killed, ye build their sepulchres - Just like them

pretending great reverence for the ancient prophets, while ye

destroy those whom God sends to yourselves. Ye therefore bear

witness by this deep hypocrisy that ye are of the very same spirit

with them.

49. The wisdom of God, agreeably to this, hath said - In many

places of Scripture, though not in these very words, I will send

them prophets - Chiefly under the Old Testament: and apostles -

Under the New. Matt. xxiii, 34.

50. The blood of all shall be required of this generation - That is,

shall be visibly and terribly punished upon it.

51. And so it was within forty years, in a most astonishing

manner, by the dreadful destruction of the temple, the city, and

the whole nation. Between the temple and the altar - In the court

of the temple.

52. Ye have taken away the key of knowledge - Ye have obscured

and destroyed the knowledge of the Messiah, which is the key of

both the present and the future kingdom of heaven; the kingdom

of grace and glory. Ye have not entered in - Into the present

kingdom of heaven.


1. He said to his disciples first - But afterward ver. 54 to all the

people. Matt. xvi, 6.

3. Matt. x, 27.

4. But I say to you, Fear not - Let not the fear of man make you

act the hypocrite, or conceal any thing which I have

commissioned you to publish.

5. Fear him who hath power to cast into hell - Even to his peculiar

friends, Christ gives this direction. Therefore the fearing of God

as having power to cast into hell, is to be pressed even on true


6. Are not five sparrows - But trust as well as fear him.

7. Matt. x, 30.

8. And I say to you - If you avoid all hypocrisy, and openly avow

my Gospel: The Son of man shall confess you - before the angels

- At the last day. Mark viii, 38; Chap. ix, 26.

10. And whosoever - As if he had said, Yet the denying me in

some degree, may, upon true repentance, be forgiven; but if it rise

so high as that of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall

never be forgiven, neither is there place for repentance. Matt. xii,

31; Mark iii, 28.

11. Take no thought - Be not solicitous about the matter or

manner of your defense; nor how to express yourselves. Matt. x,

19; Luke xxi, 12.

14. Who made me a judge? - In worldly things. His kingdom is

not of this world.

15. He said to them - Perhaps to the two brothers, and through

them to the people. A man's life - That is, the comfort or

happiness of it.

17. What shall I do? - The very language of want! Do? Why, lay

up treasure in heaven.

20. Thou fool - To think of satisfying thy soul with earthly goods!

To depend on living many years! Yea, one day! They - The

messengers of death, commissioned by God, require thy soul of


21. Rich toward God - Namely, in faith, and love, and good


22. Matt. vi, 25.

25. Which of you can add the least measure - It seems, to add one

cubit to a thing (which is the phrase in the original) was a kind of

proverbial expression for making the least addition to it.

28. The grass - The Greek word means all sorts of herbs and


29. Neither be ye of a doubtful mind - The word in the original

signifies, any speculations or musings in which the mind

fluctuates, or is suspended (like meteors in the air) in an uneasy


32. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom -

How much more food and raiment? And since ye have such an

inheritance, regard not your earthly possessions.

33. Sell what ye have - This is a direction, not given to all the

multitude: (much less is it a standing rule for all Christians:)

neither to the apostles; for they had nothing to sell, having left all

before: but to his other disciples, (mentioned chap. xii, 22, and

Acts i, 15, ) especially to the seventy, that they might be free from

all worldly entanglements. Matt. vi, 19.

35. Let your loins be girt - An allusion to the long garments, worn

by the eastern nations, which they girded or tucked up about their

loins, when they journeyed or were employed in any labour: as

also to the lights that servants used to carry at weddings, which

were generally in the night.

37. He will come and serve them - The meaning is, he will show

them his love, in the most condescending and tender manner.

38. The Jews frequently divided the night into three watches, to

which our Lord seems here to allude.

41. Speakest thou this parable to us - Apostles and disciples: Or to

all - The people? Does it concern us alone? Or all men?

42. Who is that faithful and wise steward - Our Lord's answer

manifestly implies, that he had spoken this parable primarily

(though not wholly) to the ministers of his word: Whom his Lord

shall make ruler over his household - For his wisdom and


43. Happy is that servant - God himself pronounces him wise,

faithful, happy! Yet we see, he might fall from all, and perish for


46. The Lord will appoint him his portion - His everlasting

portion, with the unfaithful - As faithful as he was once, God

himself being the Judge!

47. And that servant who knew his Lord's will shall be beaten

with many stripes - And his having much knowledge will

increase, not lessen, his punishment.

49. I am come to send fire - To spread the fire of heavenly love

over all the earth.

50. But I have a baptism to be baptized with - I must suffer first,

before I can set up my kingdom. And how I long to fight my way

through all!

51. Suppose ye that I am come to send peace upon earth - That

universal peace will be the immediate effect of my coming? Not

so, but quite the contrary. Matt. x, 34.

52. There shall be five in one house, three against two, and two

against three - There being an irreconcilable enmity between the

Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the world.

53. The father against the son - For those who reject me will be

implacable toward their very nearest relations who receive me. At

this day also is this scripture fulfilled. Now likewise there is no

concord between Christ and Belial.

54. And he said to the people also - In the preceding verses he

speaks only to his disciples. From the west - In Judea, the west

wind, blowing from the sea, usually brought rain: the south wind,

blowing from the deserts of Arabia, occasioned sultry heat. Matt.

xvi, 2.

56. How do ye not discern this season - Of the Messiah's coming,

distinguishable by so many surer signs.

57. Why even of yourselves, without any external sign, judge ye

not what is right? - Why do ye not discern and acknowledge the

intrinsic excellence of my doctrine?

58. When thou art going - As if he had said, And ye have not a

moment to lose. For the executioners of God's vengeance are at

hand. And when he hath once delivered you over to them, ye are

undone for ever. Matt. v, 25.

59. A mite - was about the third part of a farthing sterling.


1. The Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their

sacrifices - Some of the followers of Judas Gaulonites. They

absolutely refused to own the Roman authority. Pilate surrounded

and slew them, while they were worshipping in the temple, at a

public feast.

3. Ye shall all likewise perish - All ye of Galilee and of Jerusalem

shall perish in the very same manner. So the Greek word implies.

And so they did. There was a remarkable resemblance between

the fate of these Galileans and of the main body of the Jewish

nation; the flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman

sword, while they were assembled at one of their great festivals.

And many thousands of them perished in the temple itself, and

were literally buried under its ruins.

6. A man had a fig tree - Either we may understand God the

Father by him that had the vineyard, and Christ by him that kept

it: or Christ himself is he that hath it, and his ministers they that

keep it. Psalm lxxx, 8. &c.

7. Three years - Christ was then in the third year of his ministry.

But it may mean only several years; a certain number being put

for an uncertain. Why doth it also cumber the ground? - That is,

not only bear no fruit itself, but take up the ground of another tree

that would.

11. She was bowed together, and utterly unable to lift up herself -

The evil spirit which possessed her afflicted her in this manner.

To many doubtless it appeared a natural distemper. Would not a

modern physician have termed it a nervous case?

15. Thou hypocrite - For the real motive of his speaking was

envy, not (as he pretended) pure zeal for the glory of God.

16. And ought not this woman? - Ought not any human creature,

which is so far better than an ox or an ass? Much more, this

daughter of Abraham - probably in a spiritual as well as natural

sense, to be loosed?

18. Matt. xiii, 31; Mark iv, 30.

20. Matt. xiii, 33.

21. Covered up - So that, for a time, nothing of it appeared.

24. Strive to enter in - Agonize. Strive as in an agony. So the word

signifies Otherwise none shall enter in. Barely seeking will not

avail. Matt. vii, 13.

25. And even agonizing will not avail, after the door is shut.

Agonize, therefore, now by faith, prayer, holiness, patience. And

ye begin to stand without - Till then they had not thought of it! O

how new will that sense of their misery be? How late? How

lasting? I know not whence ye are - I know not, that is, I approve

not of your ways.

27. Matt. vii, 23.

28. Matt. viii, 11.

29. They shall sit down in the kingdom of God - Both the

kingdom of grace and of glory.

30. But there are last - Many of the Gentiles who were latest

called, shall be most highly rewarded; and many of the Jews who

were first called, shall have no reward at all. Matt. xix, 30.

31. Herod is minded to kill thee - Possibly they gave him the

caution out of good will.

32. And he said, Go and tell that fox - With great propriety so

called, for his subtilty and cowardice. The meaning of our Lord's

answer is, Notwithstanding all that he can do, I shall for the short

time I have left, do the works of him that sent me. When that time

is fulfilled, I shall be offered up. Yet not here, but in the bloody

city. Behold, I cast out devils - With what majesty does he speak

to his enemies! With what tenderness to his friends! The third day

I am perfected - On the third day he left Galilee, and set out for

Jerusalem, to die there. But let us carefully distinguish between

those things wherein Christ is our pattern, and those which were

peculiar to his office. His extraordinary office justified him in

using that severity of language, when speaking of wicked princes,

and corrupt teachers, to which we have no call; and by which we

should only bring scandal on religion, and ruin on ourselves,

while we irritated rather than convinced or reformed those whom

we so indecently rebuked.

33. It cannot be, that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem - Which

claims prescription for murdering the messengers of God. Such

cruelty and malice cannot be found elsewhere.

34. How often would I have gathered thy children together -

Three solemn visits he had made to Jerusalem since his baptism

for this very purpose. Matt. xxiii, 37.

35. Your house is left to you desolate - Is now irrecoverably

consigned to desolation and destruction: And verily I say to you,

after a very short space, ye shall not see me till the time come,

when taught by your calamities, ye shall be ready and disposed to

say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It does not

imply, that they should then see Jesus at all; but only that they

would earnestly wish for the Messiah, and in their extremity be

ready to entertain any who should assume that character.


2. There was a certain man before him - It does not appear that he

was come thither with any insidious design. Probably he came,

hoping for a cure, or perhaps was one of the family.

3. And Jesus answering, spake - Answering the thoughts which he

saw rising in their hearts.

7. He spake a parable - The ensuing discourse is so termed,

because several parts are not to be understood literally. The

general scope of it is, Not only at a marriage feast, but on every

occasion, he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that

abaseth himself shall be exalted.

11. Matt. xxiii, 12.

12. Call not thy friends - That is, I do not bid thee call thy friends

or thy neighbours. Our Lord leaves these offices of humanity and

courtesy as they were, and teaches a higher duty. But is it not

implied herein, that we should be sparing in entertaining those

that need it not, in order to assist those that do need, with all that

is saved from those needless entertainments? Lest a recompense

be made - This fear is as much unknown to the world, as even the

fear of riches.

14. One of them that sat at table hearing these things - And being

touched therewith, said, Happy is he that shall eat bread in the

kingdom of God - Alluding to what had just been spoken. It

means, he that shall have a part in the resurrection of the just.

16. Then said he - Continuing the allusion. A certain man made a

great supper - As if he had said, All men are not sensible of this

happiness. Many might have a part in it, and will not.

18. They all began to make excuse - One of them pleads only his

own will, I go: another, a pretended necessity, I must needs go:

the third, impossibility, I cannot come: all of them want the holy

hatred mentioned ver. 26. All of them perish by things in

themselves lawful. I must needs go - The most urgent worldly

affairs frequently fall out just at the time when God makes the

freest offers of salvation.

21. The servant came and showed his Lord these things - So

ministers ought to lay before the Lord in prayer the obedience or

disobedience of their hearers.

23. Compel them to come in - With all the violence of love, and

the force of God's word. Such compulsion, and such only, in

matters of religion, was used by Christ and his apostles.

24. For refers to Go out, ver. 23.

26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father -

Comparatively to Christ: yea, so as actually to renounce his field,

oxen, wife, all things, and act as if he hated them, when they stand

in competition with him. Matt. x, 37.

28. And which of you intending to build a tower - That is, and

whoever of you intends to follow me, let him first seriously weigh

these things.

31. Another king - Does this mean, the prince of this world?

Certainly he has greater numbers on his side. How numerous are

his children and servants!

33. So - Like this man, who, being afraid to face his enemy, sends

to make peace with him, every one who forsaketh not all that he

hath -

1. By withdrawing his affections from all the creatures;

2. By enjoying them only in and for God, only in such a measure

and manner as leads to him;

3. By hating them all, in the sense above mentioned, cannot be my

disciple - But will surely desist from building that tower, neither

can he persevere in fighting the good fight of faith.

34. Salt - Every Christian, but more eminently every minister.

Matt. v, 13; Mark ix, 50.


1. All the publicans - That is, all who were in that place. It seems

our Lord was in some town of Galilee of the Gentiles, from

whence he afterward went to Jerusalem, chap. xvii, 11.

3. He spake - Three parables of the same import: for the sheep, the

piece of silver, and the lost son, all declare (in direct contrariety to

the Pharisees and scribes) in what manner God receiveth sinners.

4. Leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness - Where they used

to feed: all uncultivated ground, like our commons, was by the

Jews termed wilderness or desert. And go after - In recovering a

lost soul, God as it were labours. May we not learn hence, that to

let them alone who are in sin, is both unchristian and inhuman!

Matt. xviii, 12.

7. Joy shall be - Solemn and festal joy, in heaven - First, in our

blessed Lord himself, and then among the angels and spirits of

just men, perhaps informed thereof by God himself, or by the

angels who ministered to them. Over one sinner - One gross,

open, notorious sinner, that repenteth - That is, thoroughly

changed in heart and life; more than over ninety and nine just

persons - Comparatively just, outwardly blameless: that need not

such a repentance - For they need not, cannot repent of the sins

which they never committed. The sum is, as a father peculiarly

rejoices when an extravagant child, supposed to be utterly lost,

comes to a thorough sense of his duty; or as any other person who

has recovered what he had given up for gone, has a more sensible

satisfaction in it, than in several other things equally valuable, but

not in such danger: so do the angels in heaven peculiarly rejoice

in the conversion of the most abandoned sinners. Yea, and God

himself so readily forgives and receives them, that he may be

represented as having part in the joy.

12. Give me the part of goods that falleth to me - See the root of

all sin! A desire of disposing of ourselves; of independency on


13. He took a journey into a far country - Far from God: God was

not in all his thoughts: And squandered away his substance - All

the grace he had received.

14. He began to be in want - All his worldly pleasures failing, he

grew conscious of his want of real good.

15. And he joined himself to a citizen of that country - Either the

devil or one of his children, the genuine citizens of that country

which is far from God. He sent him to feed swine - He employed

him in the base drudgery of sin.

16. He would fain have filled his belly with the husks - He would

fain have satisfied himself with worldly comforts. Vain, fruitless


17. And coming to himself - For till then he was beside himself,

as all men are, so long as they are without God in the world.

18. I will arise and go to my father - How accurately are the first

steps of true repentance here pointed out! Against Heaven -

Against God.

20. And he arose and came to his father - The moment he had

resolved, he began to execute his resolution. While he was yet a

great way off, his father saw him - Returning, starved, naked.

22. But the father said - Interrupting him before he had finished

what he intended to say. So does God frequently cut an earnest

confession short by a display of his pardoning love.

23. Let us be merry - Both here, and wherever else this word

occurs, whether in the Old or New Testament, it implies nothing

of levity, but a solid, serious, religious, heartfelt joy: indeed this

was the ordinary meaning of the word two hundred years ago,

when our translation was made.

25. The elder son seems to represent the Pharisees and scribes,

mentioned chap. xv, 2.

27. Thy father hath killed the fatted calf - Perhaps he mentions

this rather than the robe or ring, as having a nearer connection

with the music and dancing.

28. He was angry, and would not go in - How natural to us is this

kind of resentment!

29. Lo, so many years do I serve thee - So he was one of the

instances mentioned ver. 7. How admirably therefore does this

parable confirm that assertion! Yet thou never gavest me a kid,

that I might make merry with my friends - Perhaps God does not

usually give much joy to those who never felt the sorrows of


31. Thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine - This

suggests a strong reason against murmuring at the indulgence

shown to the greatest of sinners. As the father's receiving the

younger son did not cause him to disinherit the elder; so God's

receiving notorious sinners will be no loss to those who have

always served him; neither will he raise these to a state of glory

equal to that of those who have always served him, if they have,

upon the whole, made a greater progress in inward as well as

outward holiness.

32. This thy brother was dead, and is alive - A thousand of these

delicate touches in the inspired writings escape an inattentive

reader. In ver. 30, the elder son had unkindly and indecently said,

This thy son. The father in his reply mildly reproves him, and

tenderly says, This thy brother - Amazing intimation, that the best

of men ought to account the worst sinners their brethren still; and

should especially remember this relation, when they show any

inclination to return. Our Lord in this whole parable shows, not

only that the Jews had no cause to murmur at the reception of the

Gentiles, (a point which did not at that time so directly fall under

consideration, ) but that if the Pharisees were indeed as good as

they fancied themselves to be, still they had no reason to murmur

at the kind treatment of any sincere penitent. Thus does he

condemn them, even on their own principles, and so leaves them

without excuse. We have in this parable a lively emblem of the

condition and behaviour of sinners in their natural state. Thus,

when enriched by the bounty of the great common Father, do they

ungratefully run from him, ver. 12. Sensual pleasures are eagerly

pursued, till they have squandered away all the grace of God, ver.

13. And while these continue, not a serious thought of God can

find a place in their minds. And even when afflictions come upon

them, ver. 14, still they will make hard shifts before they will let

the grace of God, concurring with his providence, persuade them

to think of a return, ver. 15, 16. When they see themselves naked,

indigent, and undone, then they recover the exercise of their

reason, ver. 17. Then they remember the blessings they have

thrown away, and attend to the misery they have incurred. And

hereupon they resolve to return to their father, and put the

resolution immediately in practice, ver. 18, 19. Behold with

wonder and pleasure the gracious reception they find from Divine,

injured goodness! When such a prodigal comes to his father, he

sees him afar off, ver. 20. He pities, meets, embraces him, and

interrupts his acknowledgments with the tokens of his returning

favour, ver. 21. He arrays him with the robe of a Redeemer's

righteousness, with inward and outward holiness; adorns him with

all his sanctifying graces, and honours him with the tokens of

adopting love, ver. 22. And all this he does with unutterable

delight, in that he who was lost is now found, ver. 23, 24. Let no

elder brother murmur at this indulgence, but rather welcome the

prodigal back into the family. And let those who have been thus

received, wander no more, but emulate the strictest piety of those

who for many years have served their heavenly Father, and not

transgressed his commandments.

XVI And he said also to his disciples - Not only to the scribes and

Pharisees to whom he had hitherto been speaking, but to all the

younger as well as the elder brethren: to the returning prodigals

who were now his disciples. A certain rich man had a steward -

Christ here teaches all that are now in favour with God,

particularly pardoned penitents, to behave wisely in what is

committed to them.

3. To beg I am ashamed - But not ashamed to cheat! This was

likewise a sense of honour! "By men called honour, but by angels


4. I know - That is, I am resolved, what to do.

8. And the Lord commended the unjust steward - Namely, in this

respect, because he had used timely precaution: so that though the

dishonesty of such a servant be detestable, yet his foresight, care,

and contrivance, about the interests of this life, deserve our

imitation, with regard to the more important affairs of another.

The children of this world - Those who seek no other portion than

this world: Are wiser - Not absolutely, for they are, one and all,

egregious fools; but they are more consistent with themselves;

they are truer to their principles; they more steadily pursue their

end; they are wiser in their generation - That is, in their own way,

than the children of light - The children of God, whose light

shines on their hearts.

9. And I say to you - Be good stewards even of the lowest talents

wherewith God hath intrusted you. Mammon means riches or

money. It is termed the mammon of unrighteousness, because of

the manner wherein it is commonly either procured or employed.

Make yourselves friends of this, by doing all possible good,

particularly to the children of God: that when ye fail, when your

flesh and your heart faileth, when this earthly tabernacle is

dissolved, those of them who have gone before may receive, may

welcome you into the everlasting habitations.

10. And whether ye have more or less, see that ye be faithful as

well as wise stewards. He that is faithful in what is meanest of all,

worldly substance, is also faithful in things of a higher nature; and

he that uses these lowest gifts unfaithfully, is likewise unfaithful

in spiritual things.

11. Who will intrust you with the true riches? - How should God

intrust you with spiritual and eternal, which alone are true riches?

12. If ye have not been faithful in that which was another's - None

of these temporal things are yours: you are only stewards of them,

not proprietors: God is the proprietor of all; he lodges them in

your hands for a season: but still they are his property. Rich men,

understand and consider this. If your steward uses any part of

your estate (so called in the language of men) any farther or any

otherwise than you direct, he is a knave: he has neither conscience

nor honour. Neither have you either one or the other, if you use

any part of that estate, which is in truth God's, not yours, any

otherwise than he directs. That which is your own - Heaven,

which when you have it, will be your own for ever.

13. And you cannot be faithful to God, if you trim between God

and the world, if you do not serve him alone. Matt. vi, 24.

15. And he said to them, Ye are they who justify yourselves

before men - The sense of the whole passage is, that pride,

wherewith you justify yourselves, feeds covetousness, derides the

Gospel, ver. 14, and destroys the law, ver. 18. All which is

illustrated by a terrible example. Ye justify yourselves before men

- Ye think yourselves righteous, and persuade others to think you


16. The law and the prophets were in force until John: from that

time the Gospel takes place; and humble upright men receive it

with inexpressible earnestness. Matt. xi, 13.

17. Not that the Gospel at all destroys the law. Matt. v, 18.

18. But ye do; particularly in this notorious instance. Matt. v, 31;

xix, 7.

19. There was a certain rich man - Very probably a Pharisee, and

one that justified himself before men; a very honest, as well as

honourable gentleman: though it was not proper to mention his

name on this occasion: who was clothed in purple and fine linen -

and doubtless esteemed on this account, (perhaps not only by

those who sold it, but by most that knew him, ) as encouraging

trade, and acting according to his quality: And feasted splendidly

every day - And consequently was esteemed yet more, for his

generosity and hospitality in keeping so good a table.

20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, (according to

the Greek pronunciation) or Eleazer. By his name it may be

conjectured, he was of no mean family, though it was thus

reduced. There was no reason for our Lord to conceal his name,

which probably was then well known. Theophylact observes,

from the tradition of the Hebrews, that he lived at Jerusalem. Yea,

the dogs also came and licked his sores - It seems this

circumstance is recorded to show that all his ulcers lay bare, and

were not closed or bound up.

22. And the beggar - Worn out with hunger, and pain, and want of

all things, died: and was carried by angels (amazing change of the

scene!) into Abraham's bosom - So the Jews styled paradise; the

place where the souls of good men remain from death to the

resurrection. The rich man also died, and was buried - Doubtless

with pomp enough, though we do not read of his lying in state;

that stupid, senseless pageantry, that shocking insult on a poor,

putrefying carcass, was reserved for our enlightened age!

23. He seeth Abraham afar off - And yet knew him at that

distance: and shall not Abraham's children, when they are together

in paradise, know each other!

24. Father Abraham, have mercy on me - It cannot be denied, but

here is one precedent in Scripture of praying to departed saints:

but who is it that prays, and with what success? Will any, who

considers this, be fond of copying after him?

25. But Abraham said, Son - According to the flesh. Is it not

worthy of observation, that Abraham will not revile even a

damned soul? and shall living men revile one another? Thou in

thy lifetime receivedst thy good things - Thou didst choose and

accept of worldly things as thy good, thy happiness. And can any

be at a loss to know why he was in torments? This damnable

idolatry, had there been nothing more, was enough to sink him to

the nethermost hell.

26. Beside this there is a great gulf fixed - Reader, to which side

of it wilt thou go?

28. Lest they also come into this place - He might justly fear lest

their reproaches should add to his own torment.

31. Neither will they be persuaded - Truly to repent: for this

implies an entire change of heart: but a thousand apparitions

cannot, effect this. God only can, applying his word.


1. It is impossible but offenses will come - And they ever did and

do come chiefly by Pharisees, that is, men who trust in themselves

that they are righteous, and despise others. Matt. xviii, 6; Mark ix,


2. Little ones - Weak believers.

3. Take heed to yourselves - That ye neither offend others, nor be

offended by others. Matt. xviii, 15.

4. If he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a

day return, saying, I repent - That is, if he give sufficient proof

that he does really repent, after having sinned ever so often,

receive him just as if he had never sinned against thee. But this

forgiveness is due only to real penitents. In a lower sense we are

to forgive all, penitent or impenitent; (so as to bear them the

sincerest good will, and to do them all the good we can;) and that

not seven times only, but seventy times seven.

5. Lord, increase our faith - That we may thus forgive, and may

neither offend nor be offended. Matt. xvii, 20.

6. And he said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed - If ye

had the least measure of true faith, no instance of duty would be

too hard for you. Ye would say to this sycamine tree - This seems

to have been a kind of proverbial expression.

7. But which of you - But is it not meet that you should first obey,

and then triumph? Though still with a deep sense of your utter


9. Doth he thank that servant - Does he account himself obliged to


10. When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants -

For a man cannot profit God. Happy is he who Judges himself an

unprofitable servant: miserable is he whom God pronounces such.

But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not

unprofitable to us. For he is pleased to give by his grace a value to

our good works, which in consequence of his promise entitles us

to an eternal reward.

20. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation - With such

outward pomp as draws the observation of every one.

21. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there - This shall not be

the language of those who are, or shall be sent by me, to declare

the coming of my kingdom. For behold the kingdom of God is

within or among you - Look not for it in distant times or remote

places: it is now in the midst of you: it is come: it is present in the

soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an internal

principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.

22. Ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man - One

day of mercy. or one day wherein you might converse with me, as

you do now.

23. They shall say, See, Christ is here, or there - Limiting his

presence to this or that place. Matt. xxiv, 23.

24. So shall also the Son of man be - So swift, so wide, shall his

appearing be: In his day - The last day.

26. The days of the Son of man - Those which immediately follow

that which is eminently styled his day. Matt. xxiv, 37.

31. In that day - (Which will be the grand type of the last day)

when ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies.

32. Remember Lot's wife - And escape with all speed, without

ever looking behind you. Luke ix, 24; John xii, 25.

33. The sense of this and the following verses is, Yet as great as

the danger will be, do not seek to save your life by violating your

conscience: if you do, you will surely lose it: whereas if you

should lose it for my sake, you shall be paid with life everlasting.

But the most probable way of preserving it now, is to be always

ready to give it up: a peculiar Providence shall then watch over

you, and put a difference between you and other men.

37. Matt. xxiv, 28.


1. He spake a parable to them - This and the following parable

warn us against two fatal extremes, with regard to prayer: the

former against faintness and weariness, the latter against self


7. And shall not God - The most just Judge, vindicate his own

elect - Preserve the Christians from all their adversaries, and in

particular save them out of the general destruction, and avenge

them of the Jews? Though he bear long with them - Though he

does not immediately put an end, either to the wrongs of the

wicked, or the sufferings of good men.

8. Yet when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith upon earth

- Yet notwithstanding all the instances both of his long suffering

and of his justice, whenever he shall remarkably appear, against

their enemies in this age or in after ages, how few true believers

will be found upon earth!

9. He spake this parable - Not to hypocrites; the Pharisee here

mentioned was no hypocrite, no more than an outward adulterer:

but he sincerely trusted in himself that he was righteous, and

accordingly told God so, in the prayer which none but God heard.

12. I fast twice in the week - So did all the strict Pharisees: every

Monday and Thursday. I give tithes of all that I possess - Many of

them gave one full tenth of their income in tithes, and another

tenth in alms. the sum of this plea is, I do no harm: I use all the

means of grace: I do all the good I can.

13. The publican standing afar off - From the holy of holies,

would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven - Touched with

shame, which is more ingenuous than fear.

14. This man went down - From the hill on which the temple

stood, justified rather than the other - That is, and not the other.

15. Matt. xix, 13; Mark x, 13.

16. Calling them - Those that brought the children: of such is the

kingdom of God - Such are subjects of the Messiah's kingdom.

And such as these it properly belongs to.

18. Matt. xix, 16; Mark x, 17.

20. Exod. xx, 12, &c.

22. Yet lackest thou one thing - Namely, to love God more than

mammon. Our saviour knew his heart, and presently put him upon

a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to cure his love

of the world, which could not in him be cured otherwise, Christ

commanded him to sell all that he had. But he does not command

us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.

31. Matt. xx, 17; Mark x, 32.

34. They understood none of these things - The literal meaning

they could not but understand. But as they could not reconcile this

to their preconceived opinion of the Messiah, they were utterly at

a loss in what parabolical or figurative sense to take what he said

concerning his sufferings; having their thoughts still taken up with

the temporal kingdom.

35. Matt. xx, 29; Mark x, 46.


1. He passed through Jericho - So that Zaccheus must have lived

near the end of the town: the tree was in the town itself. And he

was rich - These words seem to refer to the discourse in the last

chapter, ver. 24, particularly to ver. 27. Zaccheus is a proof, that it

is possible by the power of God for even a rich man to enter into

the kingdom of heaven.

2. The chief of the publicans - What we would term,

commissioner of the customs. A very honourable as well as

profitable place.

4. And running before - With great earnestness. He climbed up -

Notwithstanding his quality: desire conquering honour and shame.

5. Jesus said, Zaccheus, make haste and come down - What a

strange mixture of passions must Zaccheus have now felt, hearing

one speak, as knowing both his name and his heart!

7. They all murmured - All who were near: though most of them

rather out of surprise than indignation.

8. And Zaccheus stood - Showing by his posture, his deliberate,

purpose and ready mind, and said, Behold, Lord, I give - I

determine to do it immediately.

9. He also is a son of Abraham - A Jew born, and as such has a

right to the first offer of salvation.

10. Matt. xviii, 11.

11. They thought the kingdom of God - A glorious temporal

kingdom, would immediately appear.

12. He went into a far country to receive a kingdom - Christ went

to heaven, to receive his sovereign power as wan, even all

authority in heaven and earth. Matt. xxv, 14; Mark xiii, 34.

13. Trade till I come - To visit the nation, to destroy Jerusalem, to

judge the world: or, in a more particular sense, to require thy soul

of thee.

14. But his citizens - Such were those of Jerusalem, hated him,

and sent an embassy after him - The word seems to imply, their

sending ambassadors to a superior court, to enter their protest

against his being admitted to the regal power. In such a solemn

manner did the Jews protest, as it were, before God, that Christ

should not reign over them: this man - So they call him in


15. When he was returned - In his glory.

23. With interest - Which does not appear to be contrary to any

law of God or man. But this is no plea for usury, that is, the taking

such interest as implies any degree of oppression or extortion.

25. They said - With admiration, not envy.

26. Matt. xxv, 29; Luke viii, 18.

27. He went before - The foremost of the company, showing his

readiness to suffer.

29. He drew nigh to the place where the borders of Bethphage and

Bethany met, which was at the foot of the mount of Olives. Matt.

xxi, 1; Mark xi, 1.

37. The whole multitude began to praise God - Speaking at once,

as it seems, from a Divine impulse, words which most of them did

not understand.

38. Peace in heaven - God being reconciled to man.

39. Rebuke thy disciples - Paying thee this immoderate honour.

40. If these should hold their peace, the stones, which lie before

you, would cry out - That is, God would raise up some still more

unlikely instruments to declare his praise. For the power of God

will not return empty.

42. O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day - After thou

hast neglected so many. Thy day - The day wherein God still

offers thee his blessings.

43. Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass

thee around - All this was exactly performed by Titus, the Roman


44. And thy children within thee - All the Jews were at that time

gathered together, it being the time of the passover. They shall not

leave in thee one stone upon another - Only three towers were left

standing for a time, to show the former strength and magnificence

of the place. But these likewise were afterward levelled with the


45. Matt. xxi, 12; Mark xi, 11.

46. Isaiah lvi, 7.


1. Matt. xxi, 23; Mark xi, 27.

9. A long time - It was a long time from the entrance of the

Israelites into Canaan to the birth of Christ. Matt. xxi, 33; Mark

xii, 1.

16. He will destroy these husbandmen - Probably he pointed to

the scribes, chief priests, and elders: who allowed, he will

miserably destroy those wicked men, Matt. xxi, 41; but could not

bear that this should be applied to themselves. They might also

mean, God forbid that we should be guilty of such a crime as your

parable seems to charge us with, namely, rejecting and killing the

heir. Our saviour answers, But yet will ye do it, as is prophesied

of you.

17. He looked on them - To sharpen their attention. Psalm cxviii,


18. Matt. xxi, 45.

20. Just men - Men of a tender conscience. To take hold of his

discourse - If he answered as they hoped he would. Matt. xxii, 16;

Mark xii, 12.

21. Thou speakest - In private, and teachest - In public.

24. Show me a penny - A Roman penny, which was the money

that was usually paid on that occasion.

26. They could not take hold of his words before the people - As

they did afterward before the sanhedrim, in the absence of the

people, chap. xxii, 67.

27. Matt. xxii, 23; Mark xii, 18.

28. Deut. xxv, 5.

34. The children of this world - The inhabitants of earth, marry

and are given in marriage - As being all subject to the law of

mortality; so that the species is in need of being continually


35. But they who obtain that world - Which they enter into, before

the resurrection of the dead.

36. They are the children of God - In a more eminent sense when

they rise again.

37. That the dead are raised, even Moses, as well as the other

prophets showed, when he calleth - That is, when he recites the

words which God spoke of himself, I am the God of Abraham,

&c. It cannot properly be said, that God is the God of any who are

totally perished. Exod. iii, 6.

38. He is not a God of the dead, or, there is no God of the dead -

That is, tho term God implies such a relation, as cannot possibly

subsist between him and the dead; who in the Sadducees' sense

are extinguished spirits; who could neither worship him, nor

receive good from him. So that all live to him - All who have him

for their God, live to and enjoy him. This sentence is not an

argument for what went before; but the proposition which was to

be proved. And the consequence is apparently just. For as all the

faithful are the children of Abraham, and the Divine promise of

being a God to him and his seed is entailed upon them, it implies

their continued existence and happiness in a future state as much

as Abraham's. And as the body is an essential part of man, it

implies both his resurrection and theirs; and so overthrows the

entire scheme of the Sadducean doctrine.

40. They durst not ask him any question - The Sadducees durst

not. One of the scribes did, presently after.

41. Matt. xxii, 41; Mark xii, 35.

42. Psalm cx, 1.

46. Matt. xxiii, 5.

47. Matt. xxiii, 14.


1. He looked up - From those on whom his eyes were fixed

before. Mark xii, 41.

5. Goodly stones - Such as no engines now in use could have

brought, or even set upon each other. Some of them (as an eye

witness who lately measured them writes) were forty - five cubits

long, five high, and six broad; yet brought thither from another

country. And gifts - Which persons delivered from imminent

dangers had, in accomplishment of their vows, hung on the walls

and pillars. The marble of the temple was so white, that it

appeared like a mountain of snow at a distance. And the gilding of

many parts made it, especially when the sun shone, a most

splendid and beautiful spectacle. Matt. xxiv, 1; Mark xiii, 1.

8. I am the Christ; and the time is near - When I will deliver you

from all your enemies. They are the words of the seducers.

9. Commotions - Intestine broils; civil wars.

11. Fearful sights and signs from heaven - Of which Josephus

gives a circumstantial account.

12. Mark xiii, 9.

13. It shall turn to you for a testimony - Of your having delivered

your own souls, and of their being without excuse.

16. Matt. x, 21.

17. Matt. xxiv, 13; Mark xiii, 13.

18. Not a hair of your head - A proverbial expression, shall perish

- Without the special providence of God. And then, not before the

time, nor without A full reward.

19. In your patience possess ye your souls - Be calm and serene,

masters of yourselves, and superior to all irrational and

disquieting passions. By keeping the government of your spirits,

you will both avoid much misery, and guard the better against all


21. Let them that are in the midst of it - Where Jerusalem stands

(that is, they that are in Jerusalem) depart out of it, before their

retreat is cut off by the uniting of the forces near the city, and let

not them that are in the adjacent countries by any means enter into


22. And things which are written - Particularly in Daniel.

24. They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away

captive - Eleven hundred thousand perished in the siege of

Jerusalem, and above ninety thousand were sold for slaves. So

terribly was this prophecy fulfilled! And Jerusalem shall be

trodden by the Gentiles - That is, inhabited. So it was indeed. The

land was sold, and no Jew suffered even to come within sight of

Jerusalem. The very foundations of the city were ploughed up,

and a heathen temple built where the temple of God had stood.

The times of the Gentiles - That is, the times limited for their

treading the city; which shall terminate in the full conversion of

the Gentiles.

25. And there shall be - Before the great day, which was typified

by the destruction of Jerusalem: signs - Different from those

mentioned in ver. 11. Matt. xxiv, 29; Mark xiii, 24.

28. Now when these things - Mentioned ver. 8, 10, &c., begin to

come to pass, look up with firm faith, and lift up your heads with

joy: for your redemption out of many troubles draweth nigh, by

God's destroying your implacable enemies.

29. Behold the fig tree and all the trees - Christ spake this in the

spring, just before the passover; when all the trees were budding

on the mount of Olives, where they then were.

30. Ye know of yourselves - Though none teach you.

31. The kingdom of God is nigh - The destruction of the Jewish

city, temple, and religion, to make way for the advancement of

my kingdom.

32. Till all things be effected - All that has been spoken of the

destruction of Jerusalem, to which the question, ver. 7, relates:

and which is treated of from ver. 8-24.

34. Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overloaded with

gluttony and drunkenness - And was there need to warn the

apostles themselves against such sins as these? Then surely there

is reason to warn even strong Christians against the very grossest

sins. Neither are we wise, if we think ourselves out of the reach of

any sin: and so that day - Of judgment or of death, come upon

you, even you that are not of this world-Unawares. Matt. xxiv, 42;

Mark xiii, 33; Luke xii, 35.

35. That sit - Careless and at ease.

36. Watch ye therefore - This is the general conclusion of all that

precedes. That ye may be counted worthy - This word sometimes

signifies an honour conferred on a person, as when the apostles

are said to be counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ, Acts v,

41. Sometimes meet or becoming: as when John the Baptist

exhorts, to bring fruits worthy of repentance, chap. iii, 8. And so

to be counted worthy to escape, is to have the honour of it, and to

be fitted or prepared for it. To stand - With joy and triumph: not to

fall before him as his enemies.

37. Now by day - In the day time, he was teaching in the temple -

This shows how our Lord employed his time after coming to

Jerusalem: but it is not said, he was this day in the temple, and

next morning the people came. It does not therefore by any means

imply, that he came any more after this into the temple.

38. And all the people came early in the morning to hear him -

How much happier were his disciples in these early lectures, than

the slumbers of the morning could have made them on their beds!

Let us not scruple to deny ourselves the indulgence of

unnecessary sleep, that we may morning after morning place

ourselves at his feet, receiving the instructions of his word, and

seeking those of his Spirit.


1. Matt. xxvi, 1; Mark xiv, 1.

3. Then entered Satan - Who is never wanting to assist those

whose heart is bent upon mischief.

4. Captains - Called captains of the temple, ver. 52. They were

Jewish officers, who presided over the guards which kept watch

every night in the temple.

7. Matt. xxvi, 17; Mark xiv, 12.

14. Matt. xxvi, 20; Mark xiv, 17.

15. With desire have I desired - That is, I have earnestly desired it.

He desired it, both for the sake of his disciples, to whom he

desired to manifest himself farther, at this solemn parting: and for

the sake of his whole Church, that he might institute the grand

memorial of his death.

16. For I will not eat thereof any more - That is, it will be the last I

shall eat with you before I die. The kingdom of God did not

properly commence till his resurrection. Then was fulfilled what

was typified by the passover.

17. And he took the cup - That cup which used to be brought at

the beginning of the paschal solemnity, and said, Take this and

divide it among yourselves; for I will not drink - As if he had said,

Do not expect me to drink of it: I will drink no more before I die.

19. And he took bread - Namely, some time after, when supper

was ended, wherein they had eaten the paschal lamb. This is my

body - As he had just now celebrated the paschal supper, which

was called the passover, so in like figurative language, he calls

this bread his body. And this circumstance of itself was sufficient

to prevent any mistake, as if this bread was his real body, any

more than the paschal lamb was really the passover.

20. This cup is the New Testament - Here is an undeniable figure,

whereby the cup is put for the wine in the cup. And this is called,

The New Testament in Christ's blood, which could not possibly

mean, that it was the New Testament itself, but only the seal of it,

and the sign of that blood which was shed to confirm it.

21. The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table - It

is evident Christ spake these words before he instituted the Lord's

Supper: for all the other evangelists mention the sop, immediately

after receiving which he went out: John xiii, 30. Nor did he return

any more, till he came into the garden to betray his Master. Now

this could not be dipped or given, but while the meat was on the

table. But this was all removed before that bread and cup were


24. There was also a contention among them - It is highly

probable, this was the same dispute which is mentioned by St.

Matthew and St. Mark: and consequently, though it is related

here, it happened some time before.

25. They that exercise the most arbitrary authority over them,

have from their flatterers the vain title of benefactors.

26. But ye are to be benefactors to mankind, not by governing, but

by serving.

27. For - This he proves by his own example. I am in the midst of

you - Just now: see with your eyes. I take no state upon me, but sit

in the midst, on a level with the lowest of you.

28. Ye have continued with me in my temptations - And all his

life was nothing else, particularly from his entering on his public


29. And I - Will preserve you in all your temptations, till ye enter

into the kingdom of glory: appoint to you - By these very words.

Not a primacy to one, but a kingdom to every one: on the same

terms: as my Father hath appointed to me - Who have fought and


30. That ye may eat and drink at my table - That is, that ye may

enjoy the highest happiness, as guests, not as servants. These

expressions seem to be primarily applicable to the twelve

apostles, and secondarily, to all Christ's servants and disciples,

whose spiritual powers, honours, and delights, are here

represented in figurative terms, with respect to their advancement

both in the kingdom of grace and of glory.

31. Satan hath desired to have you - My apostles, that he might

sift you as wheat - Try you to the uttermost.

32. But I have prayed for thee - Who wilt be in the greatest danger

of all: that thy faith fail not - Altogether: and when thou art

returned - From thy flight, strengthen thy brethren - All that are

weak in faith; perhaps scandalized at thy fall.

34. It shall not be the time of cock crowing this day - The

common time of cock crowing (which is usually about three in the

morning) probably did not come till after the cock which Peter

heard had crowed twice, if not oftener.

35. When I sent you - lacked ye any thing - Were ye not born

above all want and danger?

36. But now - You will be quite in another situation. You will

want every thing. He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment

and buy one - It is plain, this is not to be taken literally. It only

means, This will be a time of extreme danger.

37. The things which are written concerning me have an end - Are

now drawing to a period; are upon the point of being

accomplished. Isaiah liii, 12.

38. Here are two swords - Many of Galilee carried them when

they travelled, to defend themselves against robbers and assassins,

who much infested their roads. But did the apostles need to seek

such defense? And he said; It is enough - I did not mean literally,

that every one of you must have a sword.

39. Matt. xxvi, 30.

40. The place - The garden of Gethsemane.

43. Strengthening him - Lest his body should sink and die before

the time.

44. And being in an agony - Probably just now grappling with the

powers of darkness: feeling the weight of the wrath of God, and at

the same time surrounded with a mighty host of devils, who

exercised all their force and malice to persecute and distract his

wounded spirit. He prayed more earnestly - Even with stronger

cries and tars: and his sweat - As cold as the weather was, was as

it were great drops of blood - Which, by the vehement distress of

his soul, were forced out of the pores, in so great a quantity as

afterward united in large, thick, grumous drops, and even fell to

the ground.

48. Betrayest thou the Son of man - He whom thou knowest to be

the Son of man, the Christ?

49. Seeing what would follow - That they were just going to seize

him. Matt. xxvi, 51; Mark xiv, 47.

51. Suffer me at least to have my hands at liberty thus far, while I

do one more act of mercy.

52. Jesus said to the chief priests, and captains, and the elders who

were come - And all these came of their own accord: the soldiers

and servants were sent.

53. This is your hour - Before which ye could not take me: and the

power of darkness - The time when Satan has power.

54. Matt. xxvi, 57; Mark xiv, 53; John xviii, 12.

58. Another man saw him and said - Observe here, in order to

reconcile the four evangelists, that divers persons concurred in

charging Peter with belonging to Christ.

1. The maid that led him in, afterward seeing him at the fire, first

put the question to him, and then positively affirmed, that he was

with Christ.

2. Another maid accused him to the standers by, and gave

occasion to the man here mentioned, to renew the charge against

him, which caused the second denial.

3. Others of the company took notice of his being a Galilean, and

were seconded by the kinsman of Malchus, who affirmed he had

seen him in the garden. And this drew on the third denial.

59. And about one hour after - So he did not recollect himself in

all that time.

63. Matt. xxvi, 67; Mark xiv, 65.

64. And having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face -

This is placed by St. Matthew and Mark, after the council's

condemning him. Probably he was abused in the same manner,

both before and after his condemnation.

65. Many other things blasphemously spake they against him -

The expression is remarkable. They charged him with blasphemy,

because he said he was the Son of God: but the evangelist fixes

that charge on them, because he really was so.

66. Matt. xxvi, 63; Mark xiv, 61.

70. They all said, Art thou then the Son of God? - Both these, the

Son of God, and the Son of man, were known titles of the

Messiah; the one taken from his Divine, and the other from his

human nature.


1. Matt. xxvii, 1; Mark xv, 1; John xviii, 28.

4. Then said Pilate - After having heard his defense-I find no fault

in this man - I do not find that he either asserts or attempts any

thing seditious or injurious to Cesar.

5. He stirreth up the people, beginning from Galilee - Probably

they mentioned Galilee to alarm Pilate, because the Galileans

were notorious for sedition and rebellion.

7. He sent him to Herod - As his proper judge.

8. He had been long desirous to see him - Out of mere curiosity.

9. He questioned him - Probably concerning the miracles which

were reported to have been wrought by him.

11. Herod set him at nought - Probably judging him to be a fool,

because he answered nothing. In a splendid robe - In royal

apparel; intimating that he feared nothing from this king.

15. He hath done nothing worthy of death - According to the

judgment of Herod also.

16. I will therefore chastise him - Here Pilate began to give

ground, which only encouraged them to press on. Matt. xxvii, 15;

Mark xv, 6; John xviii, 39.

22. He said to them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? -

As Peter, a disciple of Christ, dishonoured him by denying him

thrice, so Pilate, a heathen, honoured Christ, by thrice owning him

to be innocent.

26. Matt. xxvii, 31; Mark xv, 21; John xix, 16.

30. Hosea x, 8.

31. If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in

the dry? - Our Lord makes use of a proverbial expression,

frequent among the Jews, who compare a good man to a green

tree, and a bad man to a dead one: as if he had said, If an innocent

person suffer thus, what will become of the wicked? Of those who

are as ready for destruction as dry wood for the fire?

34. Then said Jesus - Our Lord passed most of the time on the

cross in silence: yet seven sentences which he spoke thereon are

recorded by the four evangelists, though no one evangelist has

recorded them all. Hence it appears that the four Gospels are, as it

were, four parts, which, joined together, make one symphony.

Sometimes one of these only, sometimes two or three, sometimes

all sound together. Father - So he speaks both in the beginning

and at the end of his sufferings on the cross: Forgive them - How

striking is this passage! While they are actually nailing him to the

cross, he seems to feel the injury they did to their own souls more

than the wounds they gave him; and as it were to forget his own

anguish out of a concern for their own salvation. And how

eminently was his prayer heard! It procured forgiveness for all

that were penitent, and a suspension of vengeance even for the


35. If thou be the Christ; ver. 37. If thou be the king - The priests

deride the name of Messiah: the soldiers the name of king.

38. Matt. xxvii, 37; Mark xv, 26; John xix, 19.

39. And one of the malefactors reviled him - St. Matthew says, the

robbers: St. Mark, they that were crucified with him, reviled him.

Either therefore St. Matthew and Mark put the plural for the

singular (as the best authors sometimes do) or both reviled him at

the first, till one of them felt "the overwhelming power of saving


40. The other rebuked him - What a surprising degree was here of

repentance, faith, and other graces! And what abundance of good

works, in his public confession of his sin, reproof of his fellow

criminal, his honourable testimony to Christ, and profession of

faith in him, while he was in so disgraceful circumstances as were

stumbling even to his disciples! This shows the power of Divine

grace. But it encourages none to put off their repentance to the last

hour; since, as far as appears, this was the first time this criminal

had an opportunity of knowing any thing of Christ, and his

conversion was designed to put a peculiar glory on our saviour in

his lowest state, while his enemies derided him, and his own

disciples either denied or forsook him.

42. Remember me when thou comest - From heaven, in thy

kingdom - He acknowledges him a king, and such a king, as after

he is dead, can profit the dead. The apostles themselves had not

then so clear conceptions of the kingdom of Christ.

43. In paradise - The place where the souls of the righteous

remain from death till the resurrection. As if he had said, I will not

only remember thee then, but this very day.

44. There was darkness over all the earth - The noon-tide

darkness, covering the sun, obscured all the upper hemisphere.

And the lower was equally darkened, the moon being in

opposition to the sun, and so receiving no light from it. Matt.

xxvii, 45.

45. Mark xv, 38.

46. Father, into thy hands - The Father receives the Spirit of Jesus:

Jesus himself the spirits of the faithful.

47. Certainly this was a righteous man - Which implies an

approbation of all he had done and taught.

48. All the people - Who had not been actors therein, returned

smiting their breasts - In testimony of sorrow.

50. Matt. xxvii, 57; Mark xv, 43; John xix, 38.


1. Certain others with them - Who had not come from Galilee.

Matt. xxviii, 1; Mark xvi, 1; John xx, 1.

4. Behold two - Angels in the form of men. Mary had seen them a

little before. They had disappeared on these women's coming to

the sepulchre, but now appeared again. St. Matthew and Mark

mention only one of them, appearing like a young man.

6. Remember how he spake to you, saying, The Son of man must

be delivered - This is only a repetition of the words which our

Lord had spoken to them before his passion But it is observable,

he never styles himself the Son of man after his resurrection.

13. Mark xvi, 12.

21. Today is the third day - The day he should have risen again, if

at all.

25. O foolish - Not understanding the designs and works of God:

And slow of heart - Unready to believe what the prophets have so

largely spoken.

26. Ought not Christ - If he would redeem man, and fulfil the

prophecies concerning him, to have suffered these things? - These

very sufferings which occasion your doubts, are the proofs of his

being the Messiah. And to enter into his glory - Which could be

done no other way.

28. He made as though he would go farther - Walking forward, as

if he was going on; and he would have done it, had they not

pressed him to stay.

29. They constrained him - By their importunate entreaties.

30. He took the bread, and blessed, and brake - Just in the same

manner as when ho instituted his last supper.

31. Their eyes were opened - That is, the supernatural cloud was

removed: And he vanished - Went away insensibly.

32. Did not our heart burn within us - Did not we feel an unusual

warmth of love! Was not our heart burning, &c.

33. The same hour - Late as it was.

34. The Lord hath appeared to Simon - Before he was seen of the

twelve apostles, 1 Cor. xv, 5. He had, in his wonderful

condescension and grace, taken an opportunity on the former part

of that day (though where, or in what manner, is not recorded) to

show himself to Peter, that he might early relieve his distresses

and fears, on account of having so shamefully denied his Master.

35. In the breaking of bread - The Lord's Supper.

36. Jesus stood in the midst of them - It was just as easy to his

Divine power to open a door undiscernibly, as it was to come in at

a door opened by some other hand. Mark xvi, 14, 19; John xx, 19.

40. He showed them his hands and his feet - That they might

either see or feel the prints of the nails.

41. While they believed not for joy - They did in some sense

believe: otherwise they would not have rejoiced. But their excess

of joy prevented a clear, rational belief.

43. He took it and ate before them - Not that he had any need of

food; but to give them still farther evidence.

44. And he said - On the day of his ascension. In the law, and the

prophets, and the psalms - The prophecies as well as types,

relating to the Messiah, are contained either in the books of Moses

(usually called the law) in the Psalms, or in the writings of the

prophets; little being said directly concerning him in the historical


45. Then opened he their understanding, to understand the

Scriptures - He had explained them before to the two as they went

to Emmaus. But still they Understood them not, till he took off the

veil from their hearts, by the illumination of his Spirit.

47. Beginning at Jerusalem - This was appointed most graciously

and wisely: graciously, as it encouraged the, greatest sinners to

repent, when they saw that even the murderers of Christ were not

excepted from mercy: and wisely, as hereby Christianity was

more abundantly attested; the facts being published first on the

very spot where they happened.

49. Behold I send the promise - Emphatically so called; the Holy


50. He led them out as far as Bethany - Not the town, but the

district: to the mount of Olives, Acts i, 12, which stood within the

boundaries of Bethany.

51. And while he was blessing them, he was parted from them - It

was much more proper that our Lord should ascend into heaven,

than that he should rise from the dead, in the sight of the apostles.

For his resurrection was proved when they saw him alive after his

passion: but they could not see him in heaven while they

continued on earth. Please see Notes at Matt. i, 1




IN this book is set down the history of the Son of God dwelling

among men; that,

I. Of the first days, where the apostle, premising the sum of the

whole Chap. i, 1-14

Mentions the testimony given by John, after the baptism of Christ,

and the first calling of some of the apostles.

Here is noted what fell out,

The first day 15-28

The day after 29-34

The day after 35-42

The day after 43-52

The third day ii, 1-11

After this 12

II. Of the two years between, spent chiefly in journeys to and

from Jerusalem,

A. The first journey, to the passover 13

a. Transactions in the city,

1. Zeal for his Father's house 14-22

2. The power and wisdom of Jesus 23-25

3. The instruction of Nicodemus iii, 1-21

b. His abode in Judea; the rest of John's testimony 22-36

c. His journey through Samaria (where he confers with the

Samaritan woman) into Galilee, where he heals the nobleman's

son iv, 1-54

B. The second journey to the feast of pentecost.

Here may be observed transactions,

a. In the city, relating to the impotent man, healed at the pool of

Bethesda v, 1-47

b. In Galilee, before the second passover and after.

Here we may note,

1. His feeding the five thousand vi, 1-14

2. Walking upon the sea 15-21

3. Discourse of himself, as the bread of life 22-59

4. Reproof of those who objected to it 60-65

5. Apostasy of many, and steadiness of the apostles 66-71

6. His continuance in Galilee ` vii, 1

C. The third journey, to the feast of tabernacles 2-13

Here may be observed transactions,

a. In the city,

1. In the middle and end of the feast 14-53 viii;

Where note,

1. The woman taken in adultery 2-12

2. Christ's preaching and vindicating his doctrine 13-30

3. His confuting the Jews and escape from them 31-59

4. His healing the man born blind ix, 1-7

5. Several discourses on that occasion 8-41

6. Christ the Door and the

Shepherd of the sheepx, 1-18

7. Different opinions concerning him 19-21

2. At the feast of the dedication. here occur,

1. His disputes with the Jews Chap. x, 22-38

2. His escaping their fury 39

b. Beyond Jordan 40-42

III. Of the last days, which were,

A. Before the great week, where we may note,

a. The two days spent out of Judea, while Lazarus was sick and

died xi, 1-6

b. The journey into Judea; the raising of Lazarus; the advice of

Caiaphas; Jesus's abode in Ephraim; the order given by his

adversaries 7-57

c. The sixth day, before the passover; the supper at Bethany; the

ointment poured on Jesus xii, 1-11

B. In the great week, wherein was the third passover, occur,

a. On the three former days, his royal entry into the city; the desire

of the Greeks; the obstinacy of the Jews; the testimony given to

Jesus from heaven 12-50

b. On the fourth day, the washing the feet of the disciples; the

discovery of the traitor, and his going out by night xiii, 1-30

c. On the fifth day,

1. His discourse

1. Before the paschal supper 31, xiv, 1-31

2. After it xv, and xvi.

2. His prayer xvii, 1-26

3. The beginning of his passion,

1. In the garden xviii, 1-11

2. In Caiaphas's house 12-27

d. On the sixth day,

1. His passion under Pilate,

1. In the palace of Pilate 28 xix, 1-16

2. On the cross 17-30

2. His death 30-37

3. His burial 38-42

C. After the great week,

a. On the day of the resurrection xx, 1-25

b. Eight days after 26-31

c. After that

1. He appears to his disciples at the sea of Tiberias. xxi, 1-14

2. Orders Peter to feed his sheep and lambs 15-17

3. Foretells the manner of Peter's death, and checks his curiosity

about St John 18-23

4. The conclusion 24, 25



1. In the beginning - (Referring to Gen. i, 1, and Prov. viii, 23.)

When all things began to be made by the Word: in the beginning

of heaven and earth, and this whole frame of created beings, the

Word existed, without any beginning. He was when all things

began to be, whatsoever had a beginning. The Word - So termed

Psalm xxxiii, 6, and frequently by the seventy, and in the Chaldee

paraphrase. So that St. John did not borrow this expression from

Philo, or any heathen writer. He was not yet named Jesus, or

Christ. He is the Word whom the Father begat or spoke from

eternity; by whom the Father speaking, maketh all things; who

speaketh the Father to us. We have, in the 18th verse, both a real

description of the Word, and the reason why he is so called. He is

the only begotten Son of the Father, who is in the bosom of the

Father, and hath declared him. And the Word was with God -

Therefore distinct from God the Father. The word rendered with,

denotes a perpetual tendency as it were of the Son to the Father, in

unity of essence. He was with God alone; because nothing beside

God had then any being. And the Word was God - Supreme,

eternal, independent. There was no creature, in respect of which

he could be styled God in a relative sense. Therefore he is styled

so in the absolute sense. The Godhead of the Messiah being

clearly revealed in the Old Testament, (Jer. xxiii, 7; Hosea i, 6;

Psalm xxiii, 1, ) the other evangelists aim at this, to prove that

Jesus, a true man, was the Messiah. But when, at length, some

from hence began to doubt of his Godhead, then St. John

expressly asserted it, and wrote in this book as it were a

supplement to the Gospels, as in the Revelation to the prophets.

2. The same was in the beginning with God - This verse repeats

and contracts into one the three points mentioned before. As if he

had said, This Word, who was God, was in the beginning, and

was with God.

3. All things beside God were made, and all things which were

made, were made by the Word. In the first and second verse is

described the state of things before the creation: verse 3, In the

creation: verse 4, In the time of man's innocency: verse 5, In the

time of man's corruption.

4. In him was life - He was the foundation of life to every living

thing, as well as of being to all that is. And the life was the light

of men - He who is essential life, and the giver of life to all that

liveth, was also the light of men; the fountain of wisdom,

holiness, and happiness, to man in his original state.

5. And the light shineth in darkness - Shines even on fallen man;

but the darkness - Dark, sinful man, perceiveth it not.

6. There was a man - The evangelist now proceeds to him who

testified of the light, which he had spoken of in the five preceding


7. The same came for (that is, in order to give) a testimony - The

evangelist, with the most strong and tender affection, interweaves

his own testimony with that of John, by noble digressions,

wherein he explains the office of the Baptist; partly premises and

partly subjoins a farther explication to his short sentences. What

St. Matthew, Mark, and Luke term the Gospel, in respect of the

promise going before, St. John usually terms the testimony,

intimating the certain knowledge of the relator; to testify of the

light - Of Christ.

9. Who lighteth every man - By what is vulgarly termed natural

conscience, pointing out at least the general lines of good and evil.

And this light, if man did not hinder, would shine more and more

to the perfect day.

10. He was in the world - Even from the creation.

11. He came - In the fulness of time, to his own - Country, city,

temple: And his own - People, received him not.

12. But as many as received him - Jews or Gentiles; that believe

on his name - That is, on him. The moment they believe, they are

sons; and because they are sons, God sendeth forth the Spirit of

his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

13. Who were born - Who became the sons of God, not of blood -

Not by descent from Abraham, nor by the will of the flesh - By

natural generation, nor by the will of man - Adopting them, but of

God - By his Spirit.

14. Flesh sometimes signifies corrupt nature; sometimes the body;

sometimes, as here, the whole man. We beheld his glory - We his

apostles, particularly Peter, James, and John, Luke ix, 32. Grace

and truth - We are all by nature liars and children of wrath, to

whom both grace and truth are unknown. But we are made

partakers of them, when we are accepted through the Beloved.

The whole verse might be paraphrased thus: And in order to raise

us to this dignity and happiness, the eternal Word, by a most

amazing condescension, was made flesh, united himself to our

miserable nature, with all its innocent infirmities. And he did not

make us a transient visit, but tabernacled among us on earth,

displaying his glory in a more eminent manner, than even of old

in the tabernacle of Moses. And we who are now recording these

things beheld his glory with so strict an attention, that we can

testify, it was in every respect such a glory as became the only

begotten of the Father. For it shone forth not only in his

transfiguration, and in his continual miracles, but in all his

tempers, ministrations, and conduct through the whole series of

his life. In all he appeared full of grace and truth: he was himself

most benevolent and upright; made those ample discoveries of

pardon to sinners, which the Mosaic dispensation could not do:

and really exhibited the most substantial blessings, whereas that

was but a shadow of good things to come.

15. John cried - With joy and confidence; This is he of whom I

said - John had said this before our Lord's baptism, although he

then knew him not in person: he knew him first at his baptism,

and afterward cried, This is he of whom I said. &c. He is

preferred before me - in his office: for he was before me - in his


16. And - Here the apostle confirms the Baptist's words: as if he

had said, He is indeed preferred before thee: so we have

experienced: We all - That believe: have received - All that we

enjoy out of his fulness: and in the particular, grace upon grace -

One blessing upon another, immeasurable grace and love.

17. The law - Working wrath and containing shadows: was given

- No philosopher, poet, or orator, ever chose his words so

accurately as St. John. The law, saith he, was given by Moses:

grace was by Jesus Christ. Observe the reason for placing each

word thus: The law of Moses was not his own. The grace of

Christ was. His grace was opposite to the wrath, his truth to the

shadowy ceremonies of the law. Jesus - St. John having once

mentioned the incarnation (ver. 14,) no more uses that name, the

Word, in all his book.

18. No man hath seen God - With bodily eyes: yet believers see

him with the eye of faith. Who is in the bosom of the Father - The

expression denotes the highest unity, and the most intimate


19. The Jews - Probably the great council sent.

20. I am not the Christ - For many supposed he was.

21. Art thou Elijah? - He was not that Elijah (the Tishbite) of

whom they spoke. Art thou the prophet - Of whom Moses speaks,

Deut. xviii, 15.

23. He said - I am that forerunner of Christ of whom Isaiah

speaks. I am the voice - As if he had said, Far from being Christ,

or even Elijah, I am nothing but a voice: a sound that so soon as it

has expressed the thought of which it is the sign, dies into air, and

is known no more. Isaiah xl, 3.

24. They who were sent were of the Pharisees - Who were

peculiarly tenacious of old customs, and jealous of any innovation

(except those brought in by their own scribes) unless the

innovator had unquestionable proofs of Divine authority.

25. They asked him, Why baptizest thou then? - Without any

commission from the sanhedrim? And not only heathens (who

were always baptized before they were admitted to circumcision)

but Jews also?

26. John answered, I baptize - To prepare for the Messiah; and

indeed to show that Jews, as well as Gentiles, must be proselytes

to Christ, and that these as well as those stand in need of being

washed from their sins.

28. Where John was baptizing - That is, used to baptize.

29. He seeth Jesus coming and saith, Behold the Lamb - Innocent;

to be offered up; prophesied of by Isaiah, Isaiah liii, 7, typified by

the paschal lamb, and by the daily sacrifice: The Lamb of God -

Whom God gave, approves, accepts of; who taketh away -

Atoneth for; the sin - That is, all the sins: of the world - Of all

mankind. Sin and the world are of equal extent.

31. I knew him not - Till he came to be baptized. How surprising

is this; considering how nearly they were related, and how

remarkable the conception and birth of both had been. But there

was a peculiar providence visible in our saviour's living, from his

infancy to his baptism, at Nazareth: John all the time living the

life of a hermit in the deserts of Judea, Luke i, 80, ninety or more

miles from Nazareth: hereby that acquaintance was prevented

which might have made John's testimony of Christ suspected.

34. I saw it - That is, the Spirit so descending and abiding on him.

And testified - From that time.

37. They followed Jesus - They walked after him, but had not the

courage to speak to him.

41. He first findeth his own brother Simon - Probably both of

them sought him: Which is, being interpreted, the Christ - This the

evangelist adds, as likewise those words in ver. 38, that is, being

interpreted, Master.

42. Jesus said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah - As none had

told our Lord these names, this could not but strike Peter. Cephas,

which is Peter - Moaning the same in Syriac which Peter does in

Greek, namely, a rock.

45. Jesus of Nazareth - So Philip thought, not knowing he was

born in Bethlehem. Nathanael was probably the same with

Bartholomew, that is, the son of Tholomew. St. Matthew joins

Bartholomew with Philip, Matt. x, 3, and St. John places

Nathanael in the midst of the apostles, immediately after Thomas,

chap. xxi, 2, just as Bartholomew is placed, Acts i, 13.

46. Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? - How cautiously

should we guard against popular prejudices? When these had once

possessed so honest a heart as that of Nathanael, they led him to

suspect the blessed Jesus himself for an impostor, because he had

been brought up at Nazareth. But his integrity prevailed over that

foolish bias, and laid him open to the force of evidence, which a

candid inquirer will always be glad to admit, even when it brings

the most unexpected discoveries. Can any good thing - That is,

have we ground from Scripture to expect the Messiah, or any

eminent prophet from Nazareth? Philip saith, Come and see - The

same answer which he had received himself from our Lord the

day before.

48. Under the fig tree I saw thee - Perhaps at prayer.

49. Nathanael answered - Happy are they that are ready to believe,

swift to receive the truth and grace of God. Thou art the Son of

God - So he acknowledges now more than he had heard from

Philip: The Son of God, the king of Israel - A confession both of

the person and office of Christ.

51. Hereafter ye shall see - All of these, as well as thou, who

believe on me now in my state of humiliation, shall hereafter see

me come in my glory, and all the angels of God with me. This

seems the most natural sense of the words, though they may also

refer to his ascension.


1. And the third day - After he had said this. In Cana of Galilee -

There were two other towns of the same name, one in the tribe of

Ephraim, the other in Caelosyria.

2. Jesus and his disciples were invited to the marriage - Christ

does not take away human society, but sanctifies it. Water might

have quenched thirst; yet our Lord allows wine; especially at a

festival solemnity. Such was his facility in drawing his disciples at

first, who were afterward to go through rougher ways.

3. And wine falling short - How many days the solemnity had

lasted, and on which day our Lord came, or how many disciples

might follow him, does not appear. His mother saith to him, They

have not wine - Either she might mean, supply them by miracle;

or, Go away, that others may go also, before the want appears.

4. Jesus saith to her, Woman - So our Lord speaks also, chap. xix,

26. It is probable this was the constant appellation which he used

to her. He regarded his Father above all, not knowing even his

mother after the flesh. What is it to me and thee? A mild reproof

of her inordinate concern and untimely interposal. Mine hour is

not yet come - The time of my working this miracle, or of my

going away. May we not learn hence, if his mother was rebuked

for attempting to direct him in the days of his flesh, how absurd it

is to address her as if she had a right to command him, on the

throne of his glory? Likewise how indecent it is for us to direct his

supreme wisdom, as to the time or manner in which he shall

appear for us in any of the exigencies of life!

5. His mother saith to the servants - Gathering from his answer he

was about to do something extraordinary.

6. The purifying of the Jews - Who purified themselves by

frequent washings particularly before eating.

9. The governor of the feast - The bridegroom generally procured

some friend to order all things at the entertainment.

10. And saith - St. John barely relates the words he spoke, which

does not imply his approving them. When they have well drunk -

does not mean any more than toward the close of the


11. And his disciples believed - More steadfastly.

14. Oxen, and sheep, and doves - Used for sacrifice: And the

changers of money - Those who changed foreign money for that

which was current at Jerusalem, for the convenience of them that

came from distant countries.

15. Having made a scourge of rushes - (Which were strewed on

the ground, ) he drove all out of the temple, (that is, the court of it,

) both the sheep and the oxen - Though it does not appear that he

struck even them; and much less, any of the men. But a terror

from God, it is evident, fell upon them.

17. Psalm lxix, 9.

18. Then answered the Jews - Either some of those whom he had

just driven out, or their friends: What sign showest thou? - So they

require a miracle, to confirm a miracle!

19. This temple - Doubtless pointing, while he spoke, to his body,

the temple and habitation of the Godhead.

20. Forty and six years - Just so many years before the time of this

conversation, Herod the Great had begun his most magnificent

reparation of the temple, (one part after another, ) which he

continued all his life, and which was now going on, and was

continued thirty-six years longer, till within six or seven years of

the destruction of the state, city, and temple by the Romans.

22. They believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had

said - Concerning his resurrection.

23. Many believed - That he was a teacher sent from God.

24. He did not trust himself to them - Let us learn hence not rashly

to put ourselves into the power of others. Let us study a wise and

happy medium between universal suspiciousness and that easiness

which would make us the property of every pretender to kindness

and respect.

25. He - To whom all things are naked, knew what was in man -

Namely, a desperately deceitful heart.


1. A ruler - One of the great council.

2. The same came - Through desire; but by night - Through

shame: We know - Even we rulers and Pharisees.

3. Jesus answered - That knowledge will not avail thee unless

thou be born again - Otherwise thou canst not see, that is,

experience and enjoy, either the inward or the glorious kingdom

of God. In this solemn discourse our Lord shows, that no external

profession, no ceremonial ordinances or privileges of birth, could

entitle any to the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom: that an

entire change of heart as well as of life was necessary for that

purpose: that this could only be wrought in man by the almighty

power of God: that every man born into the world was by nature

in a state of sin, condemnation, and misery: that the free mercy of

God had given his Son to deliver them from it, and to raise them

to a blessed immortality: that all mankind, Gentiles as well as

Jews, might share in these benefits, procured by his being lifted

up on the cross, and to be received by faith in him: but that if they

rejected him, their eternal, aggravated condemnation, would be

the certain consequence. Except a man be born again - If our Lord

by being born again means only reformation of life, instead of

making any new discovery, he has only thrown a great deal of

obscurity on what was before plain and obvious.

4. When he is old - As Nicodemus himself was.

5. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit - Except he

experience that great inward change by the Spirit, and be baptized

(wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and means of


6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh - Mere flesh, void of the

Spirit, yea, at enmity with it; And that which is born of the Spirit

is spirit - Is spiritual, heavenly, divine, like its Author.

7. Ye must be born again - To be born again, is to be inwardly

changed from all sinfulness to all holiness. It is fitly so called,

because as great a change then passes on the soul as passes on the

body when it is born into the world.

8. The wind bloweth - According to its own nature, not thy will,

and thou hearest the sound thereof - Thou art sure it doth blow,

but canst not explain the particular manner of its acting. So is

every one that is born of the Spirit - The fact is plain, the manner

of his operations inexplicable.

11. We speak what we know - I and all that believe in me.

12. Earthly things - Things done on earth; such as the new birth,

and the present privileges of the children of God. Heavenly things

- Such as the eternity of the Son, and the unity of the Father, Son,

and Spirit.

13. For no one - For here you must rely on my single testimony,

whereas there you have a cloud of witnesses: Hath gone up to

heaven, but he that came down from heaven. Who is in heaven -

Therefore he is omnipresent; else he could not be in heaven and

on earth at once. This is a plain instance of what is usually termed

the communication of properties between the Divine and human

nature; whereby what is proper to the Divine nature is spoken

concerning the human, and what is proper to the human is, as

here, spoken of the Divine.

14. And as Moses - And even this single witness will soon be

taken from you; yea, and in a most ignominious manner. Num.

xxi, 8, 9.

15. That whosoever - He must be lifted up, that hereby he may

purchase salvation for all believers: all those who look to him by

faith recover spiritual health, even as all that looked at that serpent

recovered bodily health.

16. Yea, and this was the very design of God's love in sending

him into the world. Whosoever believeth on him - With that faith

which worketh by love, and hold fast the beginning of his

confidence steadfast to the end. God so loved the world - That is,

all men under heaven; even those that despise his love, and will

for that cause finally perish. Otherwise not to believe would be no

sin to them. For what should they believe? Ought they to believe

that Christ was given for them? Then he was given for them. He

gave his only Son - Truly and seriously. And the Son of God gave

himself, Gal. iv, 4, truly and seriously.

17. God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world -

Although many accuse him of it.

18. He that believeth on him is not condemned - Is acquitted, is

justified before God. The name of the only-begotten Son of God -

The name of a person is often put for the person himself. But

perhaps it is farther intimated in that expression, that the person

spoken of is great and magnificent. And therefore it is generally

used to express either God the Father or the Son.

19. This is the condemnation - That is, the cause of it. So God is


21. He that practiceth the truth (that is, true religion) cometh to

the light - So even Nicodemus, afterward did. Are wrought in God

- That is, in the light, power, and love of God.

22. Jesus went - From the capital city, Jerusalem, into the land of

Judea - That is, into the country. There he baptized - Not himself;

but his disciples by his order, chap. iv, 2.

23. John also was baptizing - He did not repel them that offered,

but he more willingly referred them to Jesus.

25. The Jews - Those men of Judea, who now went to be baptized

by Jesus; and John's disciples, who were mostly of Galilee: about

purifying - That is, baptism. They disputed, which they should be

baptized by.

27. A man can receive nothing - Neither he nor I. Neither could he

do this, unless God had sent him: nor can I receive the title of

Christ, or any honour comparable to that which he hath received

from heaven. They seem to have spoken with jealousy and

resentment; John answers with sweet composure of spirit.

29. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom - He whom the bride

follows. But all men now come to Jesus. Hence it is plain he is the

bridegroom. The friend who heareth him - Talk with the bride;

rejoiceth greatly - So far from envying or resenting it.

30. He must increase, but I must decrease - So they who are now,

like John, burning and shining lights, must (if not suddenly

eclipsed) like him gradually decrease, while others are increasing

about them; as they in their turns grew up, amidst the decays of

the former generation. Let us know how to set, as well as how to

rise; and let it comfort our declining days to trace, in those who

are likely to succeed us in our work, the openings of yet greater


31. It is not improbable, that what is added, to the end of the

chapter, are the words of the evangelist, not the Baptist. He that is

of the earth - A mere man; of earthly original, has a spirit and

speech answerable to it.

32. No man - None comparatively, exceeding few; receiveth his

testimony - With true faith.

33. Hath set to his seal - It was customary among the Jews for the

witness to set his seal to the testimony he had given. That God is

true - Whose words the Messiah speaks.

34. God giveth not him the Spirit by measure - As he did to the

prophets, but immeasurably. Hence he speaketh the words of God

in the most perfect manner.

36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life - He hath it

already. For he loves God. And love is the essence of heaven. He

that obeyeth not - A consequence of not believing.


1. The Lord knew - Though none informed him of it.

3. He left Judea - To shun the effects of their resentment.

4. And he must needs go through Samaria - The road lying

directly through it.

5. Sychar - Formerly called Sichem or Shechem. Jacob gave - On

his death bed, Gen. xlviii, 22.

6. Jesus sat down - Weary as he was. It was the sixth hour - Noon;

the heat of the day.

7. Give me to drink - In this one conversation he brought her to

that knowledge which the apostles were so long in attaining.

8. For his disciples were gone - Else he needed not have asked


9. How dost thou - Her open simplicity appears from her very first

words. The Jews have no dealings - None by way of friendship.

They would receive no kind of favour from them.

10. If thou hadst known the gift - The living water; and who it is -

He who alone is able to give it: thou wouldst have asked of him -

On those words the stress lies. Water - In like manner he draws

the allegory from bread, chap. vi, 27, and from light, viii, 12; the

first, the most simple, necessary, common, and salutary things in

nature. Living water - The Spirit and its fruits. But she might the

more easily mistake his meaning, because living water was a

common phrase among the Jews for spring water.

12. Our father Jacob - So they fancied he was; whereas they were,

in truth, a mixture of many nations, placed there by the king of

Assyria, in the room of the Israelites whom he had carried away

captive, 2 Kings xvii, 24. Who gave us the well - In Joseph their

supposed forefather: and drank thereof - So even he had no better

water than this.

14. Will never thirst - Will never (provided he continue to drink

thereof) be miserable, dissatisfied, without refreshment. If ever

that thirst returns, it will be the fault of the man, not the water. But

the water that I shall give him - The spirit of faith working by

love, shall become in him - An inward living principle, a fountain

- Not barely a well, which is soon exhausted, springing up into

everlasting life - Which is a confluence, or rather an ocean of

streams arising from this fountain.

15. That I thirst not - She takes him still in a gross sense.

16. Jesus saith to her - He now clears the way that he might give

her a better kind of water than she asked for. Go, call thy husband

- He strikes directly at her bosom sin.

17. Thou hast well said - We may observe in all our Lord's

discourses the utmost weightiness, and yet the utmost courtesy.

18. Thou hast had five husbands - Whether they were all dead or

not, her own conscience now awakened would tell her.

19. Sir, I perceive - So soon was her heart touched.

20. The instant she perceived this, she proposes what she thought

the most important of all questions. This mountain - Pointing to

Mount Gerizim. Sanballat, by the permission of Alexander the

Great, had built a temple upon Mount Gerizim, for Manasseh,

who for marrying Sanballat's daughter had been expelled from the

priesthood and from Jerusalem, Neh. xiii, 28. This was the place

where the Samaritans used to worship in opposition to Jerusalem.

And it was so near Sychar, that a man's voice might be heard from

the one to the other. Our fathers worshipped - This plainly refers

to Abraham and Jacob (from whom the Samaritans pretended to

deduce their genealogy) who erected altars in this place: Gen. xii,

6, 7, and Gen. xxxiii, 18, 20. And possibly to the whole

congregation, who were directed when they came into the land of

Canaan to put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, Deut. xi, 29. Ye

Jews say, In Jerusalem is the place - Namely, the temple.

21. Believe me - Our Lord uses this expression in this manner but

once; and that to a Samaritan. To his own people, the Jews, his

usual language is, I say unto you. The hour cometh when ye -

Both Samaritans and Jews, shall worship neither in this mountain,

nor at Jerusalem - As preferable to any other place. True worship

shall be no longer confined to any one place or nation.

22. Ye worship ye know not what - Ye Samaritans are ignorant,

not only of the place, but of the very object of worship. Indeed,

they feared the Lord after a fashion; but at the same time served

their own gods, 2 Kings xvii, 33. Salvation is from the Jews - So

spake all the prophets, that the saviour should arise out of the

Jewish nation: and that from thence the knowledge of him should

spread to all nations under heaven.

23. The true worshippers shall worship the Father - Not here or

there only, but at all times and in all places.

24. God is a Spirit - Not only remote from the body, and all the

properties of it, but likewise full of all spiritual perfections,

power, wisdom, love, holiness. And our worship should be

suitable to his nature. We should worship him with the truly

spiritual worship of faith, love, and holiness, animating all our

tempers, thoughts, words, and actions.

25. The woman saith - With joy for what she had already learned,

and desire of fuller instruction.

26. Jesus saith - Hasting to satisfy her desire before his disciples

came. l am He - Our Lord did not speak this so plainly to the Jews

who were so full of the Messiah's temporal kingdom. If he had,

many would doubtless have taken up arms in his favour, and

others have accused him to the Roman governor. Yet he did in

effect declare the thing, though he denied the particular title. For

in a multitude of places he represented himself, both as the Son of

man, and as the Son of God: both which expressions were

generally understood by the Jews as peculiarly applicable to the


27. His disciples marvelled that he talked with a woman - Which

the Jewish rabbis reckoned scandalous for a man of distinction to

do. They marvelled likewise at his talking with a woman of that

nation, which was so peculiarly hateful to the Jews. Yet none said

- To the woman, What seekest thou? - Or to Christ, Why talkest

thou with her?

28. The woman left her water pot - Forgetting smaller things.

29. A man who told me all things that ever I did - Our Lord had

told her but a few things. But his words awakened her conscience,

which soon told her all the rest. Is not this the Christ? - She does

not doubt of it herself, but incites them to make the inquiry.

31. In the meantime - Before the people came.

34. My meat - That which satisfies the strongest appetite of my


35. The fields are white already - As if he had said, The spiritual

harvest is ripe already. The Samaritans, ripe for the Gospel,

covered the ground round about them.

36. He that reapeth - Whoever saves souls, receiveth wages - A

peculiar blessing to himself, and gathereth fruit - Many souls: that

he that soweth - Christ the great sower of the seed, and he that

reapeth may rejoice together - In heaven.

37. That saying - A common proverb; One soweth - The prophets

and Christ; another reapeth - The apostles and succeeding


38. I - he Lord of the whole harvest, have sent you - He had

employed them already in baptizing, ver. 2.

42. We know that this is the saviour of the world - And not of the

Jews only.

43. He went into Galilee - That is, into the country of Galilee: but

not to Nazareth. It was at that town only that he had no honour.

Therefore he went to other towns.

44. Matt. xiii, 57.

47. To come down - For Cana stood much higher than


48. Unless ye see signs and wonders - Although the Samaritans

believed without them.

52. He asked the hour when he amended - The more exactly the

works of God are considered, the more faith is increased.


1. A feast - Pentecost.

2. There is in Jerusalem - Hence it appears, that St. John wrote his

Gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed: it is supposed about

thirty years after the ascension. Having five porticos - Built for

the use of the sick. Probably the basin had five sides! Bethesda

signifies the house of mercy.

4. An angel - Yet many undoubtedly thought the whole thing to be

purely natural. At certain times - Perhaps at a certain hour of the

day, during this paschal week, went down - The Greek word

implies that he had ceased going down, before the time of St.

John's writing this. God might design this to raise expectation of

the acceptable time approaching, to add a greater lustre to his

Son's miracles, and to show that his ancient people were not

entirely forgotten of him. The first - Whereas the Son of God

healed every day not one only, but whole multitudes that resorted

to him.

7. The sick man answered - Giving the reason why he was not

made whole, notwithstanding his desire.

14. Sin no more - It seems his former illness was the effect or

punishment of sin.

15. The man went and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had

made him whole - One might have expected, that when he had

published the name of his benefactor, crowds would have

thronged about Jesus, to have heard the words of his mouth, and

to have received the blessings of the Gospel. Instead of this, they

surround him with a hostile intent: they even conspire against his

life, and for an imagined transgression in point of ceremony,

would have put out this light of Israel. Let us not wonder then, if

our good be evil spoken of: if even candour, benevolence, and

usefulness, do not disarm the enmity of those who have been

taught to prefer sacrifice to mercy; and who, disrelishing the

genuine Gospel, naturally seek to slander and persecute the

professors, but especially the defenders of it.

17. My Father worketh until now, and I work - From the creation

till now he hath been working without intermission. I do likewise.

This is the proposition which is explained ver. 19-30, confirmed

and vindicated in ver. 31 and following verses.

18. His own Father - The Greek word means his own Father in

such a sense as no creature can speak. Making himself equal with

God - It is evident all the hearers so understood him, and that our

Lord never contradicted, but confirmed it.

19. The Son can do nothing of himself - This is not his

imperfection, but his glory, resulting from his eternal, intimate,

indissoluble unity with the Father. Hence it is absolutely

impossible, that the Son should judge, will, testify, or teach any

thing without the Father, ver. 30, &c.; chap. vi, 38; chap. vii, 16;

or that he should be known or believed on, separately from the

Father. And he here defends his doing good every day, without

intermission, by the example of his Father, from which he cannot

depart: these doth the Son likewise - All these, and only these;

seeing he and the Father are one.

20. The Father showeth him all things that himself doth - A proof

of the most intimate unity. And he will show him - By doing

them. At the same time (not at different times) the Father showeth

and doth, and the Son seeth and doth. Greater works - Jesus

oftener terms them works, than signs or wonders, because they

were not wonders in his eyes. Ye will marvel - So they did, when

he raised Lazarus.

21. For - He declares which are those greater works, raising the

dead, and judging the world. The power of quickening whom he

will follows from the power of judging. These two, quickening

and judging, are proposed ver. 21, 22. The acquittal of believers,

which presupposes judgment, is treated of ver. 24; the quickening

some of the dead, ver. 25; and the general resurrection, ver. 28.

22. For neither doth the Father judge - Not without the Son: but he

doth judge by that man whom he hath ordained, Acts xvii, 31.

23. That all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the

Father - Either willingly, and so escaping condemnation, by faith:

or unwillingly, when feeling the wrath of the Judge. This

demonstrates the EQUALITY of the Son with the Father. If our

Lord were God only by office or investiture, and not in the unity

of the Divine essence, and in all respects equal in Godhead with

the Father, he could not be honoured even as, that is, with the

same honour that they honoured the Father. He that honoureth not

the Son - With the same equal honour, greatly dishonoureth the

Father that sent him.

24. And cometh not into condemnation - Unless he make

shipwreck of the faith.

25. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God - So did

Jairus's daughter, the widow's son, Lazarus.

26. He hath given to the Son - By eternal generation, to have life

in himself - Absolute, independent.

27. Because he is the Son of man - He is appointed to judge

mankind because he was made man.

28. The time is coming - When not two or three, but all shall rise.

29. The resurrection of life - That resurrection which leads to life


30. I can do nothing of myself - It is impossible I should do any

thing separately from my Father. As I hear - Of the Father, and

see, so I judge and do; A because I am essentially united to him.

See ver. 19.

31. If I testify of myself - That is, if I alone, (which indeed is

impossible,) my testimony is not valid.

32. There is another - The Father, ver. 37, and I know that, even in

your judgment, his testimony in beyond exception.

33. He bare testimony - That I am the Christ.

34. But I have no need to receive, &c. But these things -

Concerning John, whom ye yourselves reverence, I say, that ye

may be saved - So really and seriously did he will their salvation.

Yet they were not saved. Most, if not all of them, died in their


35. He was a burning and a shining light - Inwardly burning with

love and zeal, outwardly shining in all holiness. And even ye were

willing for a season - A short time only.

37. He hath testified of me - Namely at my baptism. I speak not of

my supposed father Joseph. Ye are utter strangers to him of whom

I speak.

38. Ye have not his word - All who believe have the word of the

Father (the same with the word of the Son) abiding in them, that

is, deeply ingrafted in their hearts.

39. Search the Scriptures - A plain command to all men. In them

ye are assured ye have eternal life - Ye know they show you the

way to eternal life. And these very Scriptures testify of me.

40. Yet ye will not come unto me - As they direct you.

41. I receive not honour from men - I need it not. I seek it not

from you for my own sake.

42. But I know you - With this ray he pierces the hearts of the

hearers. And this doubtless he spake with the tenderest


43. If another shall come - Any false Christ.

44. While ye receive honour - That is, while ye seek the praise of

men rather than the praise of God. At the feast of pentecost, kept

in commemoration of the giving the law from Mount Sinai, their

sermons used to be full of the praises of the law, and of the people

to whom it was given. How mortifying then must the following

words of our Lord be to them, while they were thus exulting in

Moses and his law!

45. There is one that accuseth you - By his writings.

46. He wrote of me - Every where; in all his writings; particularly

Deut. xviii, 15, 18.


1. After these things - The history of between ten and eleven

months is to be supplied here from the other evangelists. Matt.

xiv, 13; Mark vi, 32; Luke ix, 10.

3. Jesus went up - Before the people overtook him.

5. Jesus saith to Philip - Perhaps he had the care of providing

victuals for the family of the apostles.

15. He retired to the mountain alone - Having ordered his

disciples to cross over the lake.

16. Matt. xiv, 22; Mark vi, 45.

22. Who had stood on the other side - They were forced to stay a

while, because there were then no other vessels; and they stayed

the less unwillingly, because they saw that Jesus was not


26. Our Lord does not satisfy their curiosity, but corrects the

wrong motive they had in seeking him: because ye did eat -

Merely for temporal advantage. Hitherto Christ had been

gathering hearers: he now begins to try their sincerity, by a

figurative discourse concerning his passion, and the fruit of it, to

be received by faith.

27. labour not for the meat which perisheth - For bodily food: not

for that only not chiefly: not at all, but in subordination to grace,

faith, love, the meat which endureth to everlasting life. labour,

work for this; for everlasting life. So our Lord expressly

commands, work for life, as well as from life: from a principle of

faith and love. Him hath the Father sealed - By this very miracle,

as well as by his whole testimony concerning him. See chap. iii,

33. Sealing is a mark of the authenticity of a writing.

28. The works of God - Works pleasing to God.

29. This is the work of God - The work most pleasing to God, and

the foundation of all others: that ye believe - He expresses it first

properly, afterward figuratively.

30. What sign dost thou? - Amazing, after what they had just


31. Our fathers ate manna - This sign Moses gave them. He gave

them bread from heaven - From the lower sublunary heaven; to

which Jesus opposes the highest heaven: in which sense he says

seven times, ver. 32, 33, 38, 50, 58, 62, that he himself came

down from heaven.

32. Moses gave you not bread from heaven - It was not Moses

who gave the manna to your fathers; but my Father who now

giveth the true bread from heaven. Psalm lxxviii, 24.

33. He that - giveth life to the world - Not (like the manna) to one

people only: and that from generation to generation. Our Lord

does not yet say, I am that bread; else the Jews would not have

given him so respectful an answer, ver. 34.

34. Give us this bread - Meaning it still, in a literal sense: yet they

seem now to be not far from believing.

35. I am the bread of life - Having and giving life: he that cometh

-he that believeth - Equivalent expressions: shall never hunger,

thirst - Shall be satisfied, happy, for ever.

36. I have told you - Namely, ver. 26.

37. All that the Father giveth me - All that feel themselves lost,

and follow the drawings of the Father, he in a peculiar manner

giveth to the Son: will come to me - By faith. And him that thus

cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out - I will give him pardon,

holiness, and heaven, if he endure to the end - to rejoice in his


39. Of all which he hath already given me - See chap. xvii, 6, 12.

If they endure to the end. But Judas did not.

40. Here is the sum of the three foregoing verses. This is the will

of him that sent me - This is the whole of what I have said: this is

the eternal, unchangeable will of God. Every one who truly

believeth, shall have everlasting life. Every one that seeth and

believeth - The Jews saw, and yet believed not. And I will raise

him up - As this is the will of him that sent me, I will perform it


44. Christ having checked their murmuring, continues what he

was saying, ver. 40. No man comes to me, unless my Father draw

him - No man can believe in Christ, unless God give him power:

he draws us first, by good desires. Not by compulsion, not by

laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet,

yet still resistible, motions of his heavenly grace.

45. Every man that hath heard - The secret voice of God, he, and

he only believeth. Isaiah liv, 13.

46. Not that any one - Must expect him to appear in a visible

shape. He who is from or with God - In a more eminent manner

than any creature.

50. Not die - Not spiritually; not eternally.

51. If any eat of this bread - That is, believe in me: he shall live

for ever - In other words, he that believeth to the end shall be

saved. My flesh which I will give you - This whole discourse

concerning his flesh and blood refers directly to his passion, and

but remotely, if at all, to the Lord's Supper.

52. Observe the degrees: the Jews are tried here; the disciples, ver.

60-66, the apostles, ver. 67.

53. Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man - Spiritually: unless

ye draw continual virtue from him by faith. Eating his flesh is

only another expression for believing.

55. Meat - drink indeed - With which the soul of a believer is as

truly fed, as his body with meat and drink.

57. I live by the Father - Being one with him. He shall live by me

-Being one with me. Amazing union!

58. This is - That is, I am the bread - Which is not like the manna

your fathers ate, who died notwithstanding.

60. This is a hard saying - Hard to the children of the world, but

sweet to the children of God. Scarce ever did our Lord speak more

sublimely, even to the apostles in private. Who can hear - Endure


62. What if ye shall see the Son of man ascend where he was

before? - How much more incredible will it then appear to you,

that he should give you his flesh to eat?

63. It is the Spirit - The spiritual meaning of these words, by

which God giveth life. The flesh - The bare, carnal, literal

meaning, profiteth nothing. The words which I have spoken, they

are spirit - Are to be taken in a spiritual sense and, when they are

so understood, they are life - That is, a means of spiritual life to

the hearers.

64. But there are some of you who believe not - And so receive no

life by them, because you take them in a gross literal sense. For

Jesus knew from the beginning - Of his ministry: who would

betray him - Therefore it is plain, God does foresee future

contingencies:- "But his foreknowledge causes not the fault,

Which had no less proved certain unforeknown."

65. Unless it be given - And it is given to those only who will

receive it on God's own terms.

66. From this time many of his disciples went back - So our Lord

now began to purge his floor: the proud and careless were driven

away, and those remained who were meet for the Master's use.

68. Thou hast the words of eternal life - Thou, and thou alone,

speakest the words which show the way to life everlasting.

69. And we - Who have been with thee from the beginning,

whatever others do, have known - Are absolutely assured, that

thou art the Christ.

70. Jesus answered the - And yet even ye have not all acted

suitable to this knowledge. Have I not chosen or elected you

twelve? - But they might fall even from that election. Yet one of

you - On this gracious warning, Judas ought to have repented; is a

devil - Is now influenced by one.


1. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee - That is, continued

there, for some months after the second passover. For he would

not walk - Continue in Judea; because the Jews - Those of them

who did not believe; and in particular the chief priests, scribes,

and Pharisees, sought an opportunity to kill him.

2. The feast of tabernacles - The time, manner, and reason of this

feast may be seen, Lev. xxiii, 34, &c.

3. His brethren - So called according to the Jewish way of

speaking. They were his cousins, the sons of his mother's sister.

Depart hence - From this obscure place.

4. For no man doth any thing - Of this kind, in secret; but rather

desireth to be of public use. If thou really dost these things -These

miracles which are reported; show thyself to the world - To all


6. Jesus saith, Your time is always ready - This or any time will

suit you.

7. The world cannot hate you - Because ye are of the world. But

me it hateth - And all that bear the same testimony.

10. He also went up to the feast - This was his last journey but one

to Jerusalem. The next time he went up he suffered.

11. The Jews - The men of Judea, particularly of Jerusalem.

12. There was much murmuring among the multitude - Much

whispering; many private debates with each other, among those

who were come from distant parts.

13. However no man spake openly of him - Not in favour of him:

for fear of the Jews - Those that were in authority.

14. Now at the middle of the feast - Which lasted eight days. It is

probable this was on the Sabbath day. Jesus went up into the

temple - Directly, without stopping any where else.

15. How does this man know letters, having never learned? - How

comes he to be so well acquainted with sacred literature as to be

able thus to expound the Scripture, with such propriety and

gracefulness, seeing he has never learned this, at any place of


16. My doctrine is not mine - Acquired by any labour of learning;

but his that sent me - Immediately infused by him.

17. If any man be willing to do his will, he shall know of the

doctrine, whether it be of God - This is a universal rule, with

regard to all persons and doctrines. He that is thoroughly willing

to do it, shall certainly know what the will of God is.

18. There is no unrighteousness in him - No deceit or falsehood.

19. But ye are unrighteous; for ye violate the very law which ye

profess so much zeal for.

20. The people answered, Thou hast a devil - A lying spirit. Who

seeketh to kill thee? - These, coming from distant parts, probably

did not know the design of the priests and rulers.

21. I did - At the pool of Bethesda: one work - Out of many: and

ye all marvelled at it - Are amazed, because I did it on the Sabbath


22. Moses gave you circumcision - The sense is, because Moses

enjoined you circumcision (though indeed it was far more ancient

than him) you think it no harm to circumcise a man on the

Sabbath: and are ye angry at me (which anger had now continued

sixteen months) for doing so much greater a good, for healing a

man, body and soul, on the Sabbath?

27. When Christ cometh, none knoweth whence he is - This

Jewish tradition was true, with regard to his Divine nature: in that

respect none could declare his generation. But it was not true with

regard to his human nature, for both his family and the place of

his birth were plainly foretold.

28. Then cried Jesus - With a loud and earnest voice. Do ye both

know me, and know whence I am? - Ye do indeed know whence I

am as a man. But ye know not my Divine nature, nor that I am

sent from God.

29. l am from him - By eternal generation: and he hath sent me -

His mission follows from his generation. These two points answer

those: Do ye know me? Do ye know whence I am?

30. His hour - The time of his suffering.

33. Then said Jesus - Continuing his discourse (from ver. 29)

which they had interrupted.

34. Ye shall seek me - Whom ye now despise. These words are, as

it were, the text which is commented upon in this and the

following chapter. Where I am - Christ's so frequently saying

while on earth, where I am, when he spake of his being in heaven,

intimates his perpetual presence there in his Divine nature: though

his going thither was a future thing, with regard to his human


35. Will he go to the dispersed among the Greeks - The Jews

scattered abroad in heathen nations, Greece particularly. Or, Will

he teach the Greeks? - The heathens themselves.

37. On the last, the great day of the feast - On this day there was

the greatest concourse of people, and they were then wont to fetch

water from the fountain of Siloam, which the priests poured out

on the great altar, singing one to an other, With joy shall ye draw

water from the wells of salvation. On this day likewise they

commemorated God's miraculously giving water out of the rock,

and offered up solemn prayers for seasonable rains.

38. He that believeth - This answers to let him come to me. And

whosoever doth come to him by faith, his inmost soul shall be

filled with living water, with abundance of peace, joy, and love,

which shall likewise flow from him to others. As the Scripture

hath said - Not expressly in any one particular place. But here is a

general reference to all those scriptures which speak of the

effusion of the Spirit by the Messiah, under the similitude of

pouring out water. Zech. xiv, 8.

39. The Holy Ghost was not yet given - That is, those fruits of the

Spirit were not yet given even to true believers, in that full


40. The prophet - Whom we expect to be the forerunner of the


42. From Bethlehem - And how could they forget that Jesus was

born there? Had not Herod given them terrible reason to

remember it? Micah v, 2.

48. Hath any of the rulers - Men of rank or eminence, or of the

Pharisees - Men of learning or religion, believed on him?

49. But this populace, who know not the law - This ignorant

rabble; are accursed - Are by that ignorance exposed to the curse

of being thus seduced.

50. Nicodemus, he that came to him by night - Having now a little

more courage, being one of them - Being present as a member of

the great council, saith to them - Do not we ourselves act as if we

knew not the law, if we pass sentence on a man before we hear


52. They answered - By personal reflection; the argument they

could not answer, and therefore did not attempt it. Art thou also a

Galilean? - One of his party? Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet -

They could not but know the contrary. They knew Jonah arose out

of Gethhepher; and Nahum from another village in Galilee. Yea,

and Thisbe, the town of Elijah, the Tishbite, was in Galilee also.

They might likewise have known that Jesus was not born in

Galilee, but at Bethlehem, even from the public register there, and

from the genealogies of the family of David. They were conscious

this poor answer would not bear examination, and so took care to

prevent a reply.

53. And every man went to his own house - So that short plain

question of Nicodemus spoiled all their measures, and broke up

the council! A word spoken in season, how good it is! Especially

when God gives it his blessing.


5. Moses hath commanded us to stone such - If they spoke

accurately, this must have been a woman, who, having been

betrothed to a husband, had been guilty of this crime before the

marriage was completed; for such only Moses commanded to be

stoned. He commanded indeed that other adulteresses should be

put to death; but the manner of death was not specified. Deut.

xxii, 23.

6. That they might have to accuse him - Either of usurping the

office of a judge, if he condemned her, or of being an enemy to

the law, if he acquitted her. Jesus stooping down, wrote with his

finger on the ground - God wrote once in the Old Testament;

Christ once in the New: perhaps the words which he afterward

spoke, when they continued asking him. By this silent action, he,

1, fixed their wandering, hurrying thoughts, in order to awaken

their consciences: and, 2, signified that he was not then come to

condemn but to save the world.

7. He that is without sin - He that is not guilty: his own conscience

being the judge) either of the same sin, or of some nearly

resembling it; let him - as a witness, cast the first stone at her.

9. Beginning at the eldest - Or the elders. Jesus was left alone -By

all those scribes and Pharisees who proposed the question. But

many others remained, to whom our Lord directed his discourse

presently after.

10. Hath no man condemned thee? - Hath no judicial sentence

been passed upon thee?

11. Neither do I condemn thee - Neither do I take upon me to pass

any such sentence. Let this deliverance lead thee to repentance.

12. He that followeth me shall in nowise walk in darkness - In

ignorance, wickedness, misery: but shall have the light of life -He

that closely, humbly, steadily follows me, shall have the Divine

light continually shining upon him, diffusing over his soul

knowledge, holiness, joy, till he is guided by it to life everlasting.

13. Thou testifiest of thyself; thy testimony is not valid - They

retort upon our Lord his own words, chap. v, 31; if I testify of

myself, my testimony is not valid. He had then added, There is

another who testifieth of me. To the same effect he replies here,

verse 14, Though I testify of myself, yet my testimony is valid;

for I am inseparably united to the Father. I know - And from firm

and certain knowledge proceeds the most unexceptionable

testimony: whence I came, and whither I go - To these two heads

may be referred all the doctrine concerning Christ. The former is

treated of verse 16, &c., the latter ver. 21, &c. For I know whence

I came - That is, For I came from God, both as God and as man.

And I know it, though ye do not.

15. Ye judge after the flesh - As the flesh, that is, corrupt nature

dictates. I judge no man - Not thus; not now; not at my first


16. I am not alone - No more in judging, than in testifying: but I

and the Father that sent me - His Father is in him, and he is in the

Father, chap. xiv, 10, 11; and so the Father is no more alone

without the Son, than the Son is without the Father, Prov. viii, 22,

23, 30. His Father and he are not one and another God, but one

God, (though distinct persons,) and so inseparable from each

other. And though the Son came from the Father, to assume

human nature, and perform his office as the Messiah upon earth,

as God is sometimes said to come from heaven, for particular

manifestations of himself; yet Christ did not leave the Father, nor

the Father leave him, any more than God leaves heaven when he

is said to come down to the earth.

17. Deut. xix, 15.

19. Then said they to him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered -

Showing the perverseness of their question; and teaching that they

ought first to know the Son, if they would know the Father.

Where the Father is - he shows, ver. 23. Meantime he plainly

intimates that the Father and he were distinct persons, as they

were two witnesses; and yet one in essence, as the knowledge of

him includes the knowledge of the Father.

23. Ye are - Again he passes over their interruption, and proves

what he advanced, ver. 21. Of them that are beneath - From the

earth. I am of them that are above - Here he directly shows

whence he came, even from heaven, and whither he goes.

24. If ye believe not that I AM - Here (as in ver. 58) our Lord

claims the Divine name, I AM, Exod. iii, 14. But the Jews, as if he

had stopped short, and not finished the sentence, answered, Who

art thou?

25. Even what I say to you from the beginning - The same which I

say to you, as it were in one discourse, with one even tenor from

the time I first spake to you.

26. I have many things to say and to judge of you - I have much to

say concerning your inexcusable unbelief: but he that sent me is

true - Whether ye believe or no. And I speak the things which I

have heard from him - I deliver truly what he hath given me in


27. They understood not - That by him that sent him he meant

God the Father. Therefore in ver. 28, 29 he speaks plainly of the

Father, and again claims the Divine name, I AM.

28. When ye shall have lifted up - On the cross, ye shall know -

And so many of them did, that I AM - God over all; and that I do

nothing of myself - Being one with the Father.

29. The Father hath not left me alone - Never from the moment I

came into the world.

32. The truth - Written in your hearts by the Spirit of God, shall

make you free - From guilt, sin, misery, Satan.

33. They - The other Jews that were by, (not those that believed,)

as appears by the whole tenor of the conversation. We were never

enslaved to any man - A bold, notorious untruth. At that very time

they were enslaved to the Romans.

34. Jesus answered - Each branch of their objection, first

concerning freedom, then concerning their being Abraham's

offspring, ver. 37, &c. He that committeth sin, is, in fact, the slave

of sin.

35. And the slave abideth not in the house - All sinners shall be

cast out of God's house, as the slave was out of Abraham's: but I,

the Son, abide therein for ever.

36. If I therefore make you free, ye - shall partake of the same

privilege: being made free from all guilt and sin, ye shall abide in

the house of God for ever.

37. I know that ye are Abraham's offspring - As to the other

branch of your objection, I know that, ye are Abraham's offspring,

after the flesh; but not in a spiritual sense. Ye are not followers of

the faith of Abraham: my word hath no place in your hearts.

41. Ye do the deeds of your father - He is not named yet. But

when they presumed to call God their Father, then he is expressly

called the devil, ver. 44.

42. I proceeded forth - As God, and come - As Christ.

43. Ye cannot - Such is your stubbornness and pride, hear -

Receive, obey my word. Not being desirous to do my will, ye

cannot understand my doctrine, chap. vii, 17.

44. He was a murderer - In inclination, from the beginning - Of

his becoming a devil; and abode not in the truth - Commencing

murderer and liar at the same time. And certainly he was a killer

of men (as the Greek word properly signifies) from the beginning

of the world: for from the very creation he designed and contrived

the ruin of men. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own -

For he is the proper parent, and, as it were, creator of it. See the

origin not only of lies, but of evil in general!

45. Because I speak the truth - Which liars hate.

46. Which of you convicteth me of sin? - And is not my life as

unreprovable as my doctrine? Does not my whole behaviour

confirm the truth of what I teach?

47. He that is of God - That either loves or fears him, heareth -

With joy and reverence, God's words - Which I preach.

48. Say we not well - Have we not just cause to say, Thou art, a

Samaritan - An enemy to our Church and nation; and hast a devil?

-Art possessed by a proud and lying spirit?

49. I honour my Father - I seek his honour only.

50. I seek not my own glory - That is, as I am the Messiah, I

consult not my own glory. I need not. For my Father consulteth it,

and will pass sentence on you accordingly.

51. If a man keep my word - So will my Father consult my glory.

We keep his doctrine by believing, his promises by hoping, his

command by obeying. He shall never see death - That is, death

eternal. He shall live for ever. Hereby he proves that he was no

Samaritan; for the Samaritans in general were Sadducees.

54. If I honour myself - Referring to their words, Whom makest

thou thyself?

56. He saw it - By faith in types, figures, and promises; as

particularly in Melchisedec; in the appearance of Jehovah to him

in the plains of Mamre, Gen. xviii, 1; and in the promise that in

his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Possibly he

had likewise a peculiar Revelation either of Christ's first or second


57. Thou art not yet fifty years old - At the most. Perhaps the

gravity of our Lord's countenance, together with his afflictions

and labours, might make him appear older than he really was.

Hast thou seen Abraham - Which they justly supposed must have

been, if Abraham had seen him.

58. Before Abraham was I AM - Even from everlasting to

everlasting. This is a direct answer to the objection of the Jews,

and shows how much greater he was than Abraham.

59. Then they took up stones - To stone him as a blasphemer; but

Jesus concealed himself - Probably by becoming invisible; and so

passed on - With the same ease as if none had been there.


2. Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? -

That is, was it for his own sins, or the sins of his parents? They

suppose (as many of the Jews did, though without any ground

from Scripture) that he might have sinned in a pre-existent state,

before he came into the world.

3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents -

It was not the manner of our Lord to answer any questions that

were of no use, but to gratify an idle curiosity. Therefore he

determines nothing concerning this. The scope of his answer is, It

was neither for any sins of his own, nor yet of his parents; but that

the power of God might be displayed.

4. The night is coming - Christ is the light. When the light is

withdrawn night comes, when no man can work - No man can do

any thing toward working out his salvation after this life is ended.

Yet Christ can work always. But he was not to work upon earth,

only during the day, or season which was appointed for him.

5. I am the light of the world - I teach men inwardly by my Spirit,

and outwardly by my preaching, what is the will of God; and I

show them, by my example, how they must do it.

6. He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay - This

might almost have blinded a man that had sight. But what could it

do toward curing the blind? It reminds us that God is no farther

from the event, when he works either with, or without means, and

that all the creatures are only that which his almighty operation

makes them.

7. Go, wash at the pool of Siloam - Perhaps our Lord intended to

make the miracle more taken notice of. For a crowd of people

would naturally gather round him to observe the event of so

strange a prescription, and it is exceeding probable, the guide who

must have led him in traversing a great part of the city, would

mention the errand he was going upon, and so call all those who

saw him to a greater attention. From the fountain of Siloam,

which was without the walls of Jerusalem, a little stream flowed

into the city, and was received in a kind of basin, near the temple,

and called the pool of Siloam. Which is, by interpretation, Sent -

And so was a type of the Messiah, who was sent of God. He went

and washed, and came seeing - He believed, and obeyed, and

found a blessing. Had he been wise in his own eyes, and reasoned,

like Naaman, on the impropriety of the means, he had justly been

left in darkness. Lord, may our proud hearts be subdued to the

methods of thy recovering grace! May we leave thee to choose

how thou wilt bestow favours, which it is our highest interest to

receive on any terms.

11. A man called Jesus - He seems to have been before totally

ignorant of him.

14. Anointing the eyes - With any kind of medicine on the

Sabbath, was particularly forbidden by the tradition of the elders.

16. This man is not of God - Not sent of God. How can a man that

is a sinner - That is, one living in wilful sin, do such miracles?

17. What sayest thou of him, for that he hath opened thine eyes? -

What inference dost thou draw herefrom?

22. He should be put out of the synagogue - That is be


27. Are ye also - As well as I, at length convinced and willing to

be his disciples?

29. We know not whence he is - By what power and authority he

does these things.

30. The man answered - Utterly illiterate as he was. And with

what strength and clearness of reason! So had God opened the

eyes of his understanding, as well as his bodily eyes. Why, herein

is a marvelous thing, that ye - The teachers and guides of the

people, should not know, that a man who has wrought a miracle,

the like of which was never heard of before, must be from heaven,

sent by God.

31. We - Even we of the populace, know that God heareth not

sinners - Not impenitent sinners, so as to answer their prayers in

this manner. The honest courage of this man in adhering to the

truth, though he knew the consequence, ver. 22, gives him claim

to the title of a confessor.

33. He could do nothing - Of this kind; nothing miraculous.

34. Born in sin - And therefore, they supposed, born blind. They

cast him out - Of the synagogue; excommunicated him.

35. Having found him - For he had sought him.

36. Who is he, that I may believe? - This implies some degree of

faith already. He was ready to receive whatever Jesus said.

37. Lord, I believe - What an excellent spirit was this man of! Of

so deep and strong an understanding; (as he had just shown to the

confusion of the Pharisees,) and yet of so teachable a temper!

39. For judgment am I come into the world - That is, the

consequence of my coming will be, that by the just judgment of

God, while the blind in body and soul receive their sight, they

who boast they see, will be given up to still greater blindness than


41. If ye had been blind - Invincibly ignorant; if ye had not had so

many means of knowing: ye would have had no sin -

Comparatively to what ye have now. But now ye say - Ye

yourselves acknowledge, Ye see, therefore your sin remaineth -

Without excuse, without remedy.


1. He that entereth not by the door - By Christ. He is the only

lawful entrance. Into the sheepfold - The Church. He is a thief and

a robber - In God's account. Such were all those teachers, to

whom our Lord had just been speaking.

3. To him the door keeper openeth - Christ is considered as the

shepherd, ver. 11. As the door in the first and following verses.

And as it is not unworthy of Christ to be styled the door, by which

both the sheep and the true pastor enter, so neither is it unworthy

of God the Father to be styled the door keeper. See Acts xiv, 27;

Colossians iv, 3; Rev. iii, 8; Acts xvi, 14. And the sheep hear his

voice - The circumstances that follow, exactly agree with the

customs of the ancient eastern shepherds. They called their sheep

by name, went before them and the sheep followed them. So real

Christians hear, listen to, understand, and obey the voice of the

shepherd whom Christ hath sent. And he counteth them his own,

dearer than any friend or brother: calleth, advises, directs each by

name, and leadeth them out, in the paths of righteousness, beside

the waters of comfort.

4. He goeth before them - In all the ways of God, teaching them in

every point, by example as well as by precept; and the sheep

follow him - They tread in his steps: for they know his voice -

Having the witness in themselves that his words are the wisdom

and the power of God. Reader, art thou a shepherd of souls? Then

answer to God. Is it thus with thee and thy flock?

5. They will not follow a stranger - One whom Christ hath not

sent, who doth not answer the preceding description. Him they

will not follow - And who can constrain them to it? But will flee

from him - As from the plague. For they know not the voice of

strangers - They cannot relish it; it is harsh and grating to them.

They find nothing of God therein.

6. They - The Pharisees, to whom our Lord more immediately

spake, as appears from the close of the foregoing chapter.

7. I am the door - Christ is both the Door and the Shepherd, and

all things.

8. Whosoever are come - Independently of me, assuming any part

of my character, pretending, like your elders and rabbis, to a

power over the consciences of men, attempting to make laws in

the Church, and to teach their own traditions as the way of

salvation: all those prophets and expounders of God's word, that

enter not by the door of the sheepfold, but run before I have sent

them by my Spirit. Our Lord seems in particular to speak of those

that had undertaken this office since he began his ministry, are

thieves -Stealing temporal profit to themselves, and robbers -

Plundering and murdering the sheep.

9. If any one - As a sheep, enter in by me - Through faith, he shall

be safe - From the wolf, and from those murdering shepherds.

And shall go in and out - Shall continually attend on the

shepherds whom I have sent; and shall find pasture - Food for his

soul in all circumstances.

10. The thief cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy -

That is, nothing else can be the consequence of a shepherd's

coming, who does not enter in by me.

12. But the hireling - It is not the bare receiving hire, which

denominates a man a hireling: (for the labourer is worthy of his

hire; Jesus Christ himself being the Judge: yea, and the Lord hath

ordained, that they who preach the Gospel, should live of the

Gospel:) but the loving hire: the loving the hire more than the

work: the working for the sake of the hire. He is a hireling, who

would not work, were it not for the hire; to whom this is the great

(if not only) motive of working. O God! If a man who works only

for hire is such a wretch, a mere thief and a robber, what is he

who continually takes the hire, and yet does not work at all? The

wolf - signifies any enemy who, by force or fraud, attacks the

Christian's faith, liberty, or life. So the wolf seizeth and scattereth

the flock - He seizeth some, and scattereth the rest; the two ways

of hurting the flock of Christ.

13. The hireling fleeth because he is a hireling - Because he loves

the hire, not the sheep.

14. I know my sheep - With a tender regard and special care: and

am known of mine - With a holy confidence and affection.

15. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father - With such

a knowledge as implies an inexpressible union: and I lay down my

life - Speaking of the present time. For his whole life was only a

going unto death.

16. I have also other sheep - Which he foreknew; which are not of

this fold - Not of the Jewish Church or nation, but Gentiles. I must

bring them likewise - Into my Church, the general assembly of

those whose names are written in heaven. And there shall be one

flock - (Not one fold, a plain false print) no corrupt or divided

flocks remaining. And one shepherd - Who laid down his life for

the sheep, and will leave no hireling among them. The unity both

of the flock and the shepherd shall be completed in its season. The

shepherd shall bring all into one flock: and the whole flock shall

hear the one shepherd.

17. I lay down my life that I may take it again - I cheerfully die to

expiate the sins of men, to the end I may rise again for their


18. I lay it down of myself - By my own free act and deed. I have

power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again - I have an

original power and right of myself, both to lay it down as a

ransom, and to take it again, after full satisfaction is made, for the

sins of the whole world. This commission have I received of my

Father - Which I readily execute. He chiefly spoke of the Father,

before his suffering: of his own glory, after it. Our Lord's

receiving this commission as mediator is not to be considered as

the ground of his power to lay down and resume his life. For this

he had in him self, as having an original right to dispose thereof,

antecedent to the Father's commission. But this commission was

the reason why he thus used his power in laying down his life. He

did it in obedience to his Father.

21. These are not the words - The word in the original takes in

actions too.

22. It was the feast of the dedication - Instituted by Judas

Maccabeus, 1 Macc. iv, 59, when he purged and dedicated the

altar and temple after they had been polluted. So our Lord

observed festivals even of human appointment. Is it not, at least,

innocent for us to do the same?

23. In Solomon's portico - Josephus informs us, that when

Solomon built the temple, he filled up a part of the adjacent

valley, and built a portico over it toward the east. This was a noble

structure, supported by a wall four hundred cubits high: and

continued even to the time of Albinus and Agrippa, which was

several years after the death of Christ.

26. Ye do not believe, because ye are not of my sheep - Because

ye do not, will not follow me: because ye are proud, unholy,

lovers of praise, lovers of the world, lovers of pleasure, not of


27, 28, 29. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they

follow me, &c.- Our Lord still alludes to the discourse he had

before this festival. As if he had said, My sheep are they who,

1. Hear my voice by faith;

2. Are known (that is, approved) by me, as loving me; and

3. Follow me, keep my commandments, with a believing, loving

heart. And to those who,

1. Truly believe (observe three promises annexed to three

conditions) I give eternal life. He does not say, I will, but I give.

For he that believeth hath everlasting life. Those whom,

2. I know truly to love me, shall never perish, provided they abide

in my love.

3. Those who follow me, neither men nor devils can pluck out of

my hand. My Father who hath, by an unchangeable decree, given

me all that believe, love, and obey, is greater than all in heaven or

earth, and none is able to pluck them out of his hand.

30. I and the Father are one - Not by consent of will only, but by

unity of power, and consequently of nature. Are - This word

confutes Sabellius, proving the plurality of persons: one - This

word confutes Arius, proving the unity of nature in God. Never

did any prophet before, from the beginning of the world, use any

one expression of himself, which could possibly be so interpreted

as this and other expressions were, by all that heard our Lord

speak. Therefore if he was not God he must have been the vilest

of men.

34. Psalm lxxxii, 6.

35. If he (God) called them gods unto whom the word of God

came, (that is, to whom God was then speaking,) and the Scripture

cannot be broken - That is, nothing which is written therein can be

censured or rejected.

36. Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into

the world - This sanctification (whereby he is essentially the Holy

One of God) is mentioned as prior to his mission, and together

with it implies, Christ was God in the highest sense, infinitely

superior to that wherein those Judges were so called.

38. That ye may know and believe - In some a more exact

knowledge precedes, in others it follows faith. I am in the Father

and the Father in me. I and the Father are one - These two

sentences illustrate each other.

40. To the desert place where John baptized, and gave so

honourable a testimony of him.

41. John did no miracle - An honour reserved for him, whose

forerunner he was.


1. One Lazarus - It is probable, Lazarus was younger than his

sisters. Bethany is named, the town of Mary and Martha, and

Lazarus is mentioned after them, ver. 5. Ecclesiastical history

informs us, that Lazarus was now thirty years old, and that he

lived thirty years after Christ's ascension.

2. It was that Mary who afterward anointed, &c. She was more

known than her elder sister Martha, and as such is named before


4. This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God - The

event of this sickness will not be death, in the usual sense of the

word, a final separation of his soul and body; but a manifestation

of the glorious power of God.

7. Let us go into Judea - From the country east of Jordan, whither

he had retired some time before, when the Jews sought to stone

him, chap. x, 39,


9. Are there not twelve hours in the day? - The Jews always

divided the space from sunrise to sunset, were the days longer or

shorter, into twelve parts: so that the hours of their day were all

the year the same in number, though much shorter in winter than

in summer. If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not - As if he

had said, So there is such a space, a determined time, which God

has allotted me. During that time I stumble not, amidst all the

snares that are laid for me. Because he seeth the light of this world

- And so I see the light of God surrounding me.

10. But if a man walk in the night - If he have not light from God;

if his providence does no longer protect him.

11. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth - This he spoke, just when he

died. Sleepeth - Such is the death of good men in the language of

heaven. But the disciples did not yet understand this language.

And the slowness of our understanding makes the Scripture often

descend to our barbarous manner of speaking.

16. Thomas in Hebrew, as Didymus in Greek, signifies a twin.

With him - With Jesus, whom he supposed the Jews would kill. It

seems to be the language of despair.

20. Mary sat in the house - Probably not hearing what was said.

22. Whatsoever thou wilt ask, God will give it thee - So that she

already believed he could raise him from the dead.

25. l am the resurrection - Of the dead. And the life - Of the

living. He that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live - In

life everlasting.

32. She fell at his feet - This Martha had not done. So she makes

amends for her slowness in coming.

33. He groaned - So he restrained his tears. So he stopped them

soon after, ver. 38. He troubled himself - An expression

amazingly elegant, and full of the highest propriety. For the

affections of Jesus were not properly passions, but voluntary

emotions, which were wholly in his own power. And this tender

trouble which he now voluntarily sustained, was full of the

highest order and reason.

35. Jesus wept - Out of sympathy with those who were in tears all

around him, as well as from a deep sense of the misery sin had

brought upon human nature.

37. Could not this person have even caused, that this man should

not have died? - Yet they never dreamed that he could raise him

again! What a strange mixture of faith and unbelief.

38. It was a cave - So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their wives,

except Rachel, were buried in the cave of Machpelah, Gen. xlix,

29-31. These caves were commonly in rocks, which abounded in

that country, either hollowed by nature or hewn by art. And the

entrance was shut up with a great stone, which sometimes had a

monumental inscription.

39. Lord, by this time he stinketh - Thus did reason and faith

struggle together.

40. Said I not - It appears by this, that Christ had said more to

Martha than is before recorded.

41. Jesus lifted up his eyes - Not as if he applied to his Father for

assistance. There is not the least show of this. He wrought the

miracle with an air of absolute sovereignty, as the Lord of life and

death. But it was as if he had said, I thank thee, that by the

disposal of thy providence, thou hast granted my desire, in this

remarkable opportunity of exerting my power, and showing forth

thy praise.

43. He cried with a loud voice - That all who were present might

hear. Lazarus, come forth - Jesus called him out of the tomb as

easily as if he had been not only alive, but awake also.

44. And he came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes -

Which were wrapt round each hand and each foot, and his face

was wrapt about with a napkin - If the Jews buried as the

Egyptians did, the face was not covered with it, but it only went

round the forehead, and under the chin; so that he might easily see

his way.

45. Many believed on Him - And so the Son of God was glorified,

according to what our Lord had said, ver. 4.

46. But some of them went to the Pharisees - What a dreadful

confirmation of that weighty truth, If they hear not Moses and the

prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the


47. What do we? - What? Believe. Yea, but death yields to the

power of Christ sooner than infidelity.

48. All men will believe - And receive him as the Messiah. And

this will give such umbrage to the Roman that they will come and

subvert both our place - Temple; and nation - Both our Church

and state. Were they really afraid of this? Or was it a fair colour

only? Certainly it was no more. For they could not but know, that

he that raised the dead was able to conquer the Romans.

49. That year - That memorable year, in which Christ was to die.

It was the last and chief of Daniel's seventy weeks, the fortieth

year before the destruction of Jerusalem, and was celebrated for

various causes, in the Jewish history. Therefore that year is so

peculiarly mentioned: Caiaphas was the high priest both before

and after it. Ye know nothing - He reproves their slow

deliberations in so clear a case.

50. It is expedient that one man should die for the people - So God

overruled his tongue, for he spake not of himself, by his own

spirit only, but by the spirit of prophecy. And thus he gave

unawares as clear a testimony to the priestly, as Pilate did to the

kingly office of Christ.

52. But that, he might gather into one - Church, all the children of

God that were scattered abroad - Through all ages and nations.

55. Many went up to purify themselves - That they might remove

all hindrances to their eating the passover.


1. Six days before the passover - Namely, on the Sabbath: that

which was called by the Jews, "The Great Sabbath." This whole

week was anciently termed "The great and holy week." Jesus

came - From Ephraim, chap. xi, 54.

2. It seems Martha was a person of some figure, from the great

respect which was paid to her and her sister, in visits and

condolences on Lazarus's death, as well as from the costly

ointment mentioned in the next verse. And probably it was at their

house our Lord and his disciples lodged, when he returned from

Jerusalem to Bethany, every evening of the last week of his life,

upon which he was now entered.

3. Then Mary, taking a pound of ointment - There were two

persons who poured ointment on Christ. One toward the

beginning of his ministry, at or near Nain, Luke vii, 37, &c. The

other six days before his last passover, at Bethany; the account of

whom is given here, as well as by St. Matthew and Mark.

7. Against the day of my burial - Which now draws nigh.

10. The chief priests consulted, how to kill Lazarus also - Here is

the plain reason why the other evangelists, who wrote while

Lazarus was living, did not relate his story.

12. The next day - On Sunday. Who were come to the feast - So

that this multitude consisted chiefly of Galileans, not men of

Jerusalem. Matt. xxi, 8.

13. Psalm cxviii, 26; Mark xi, 8; Luke xix, 36.

15. Fear not - For his meekness forbids fear, as well as the end of

his coming. Zech. ix, 9.

16. These things his disciples understood not at first - The design

of God's providential dispensations is seldom understood at first.

We ought therefore to believe, though we understand not, and to

give ourselves up to the Divine disposal. The great work of faith

is, to embrace those things which we knew not now, but shall

know hereafter. When he had been glorified - At his ascension.

17. When he called Lazarus out of the tomb - How admirably

does the apostle express, as well the greatness of the miracle, as

the facility with which it was wrought! The easiness of the

Scripture style on the most grand occurrences, is more sublime

than all the pomp of orators.

18. The multitude went to meet him, because they heard - From

those who had seen the miracle. So in a little time both joined

together, to go before and to follow him.

20. Certain Greeks - A prelude of the Gentile Church. That these

were circumcised does not appear. But they came up on purpose

to worship the God of Israel.

21. These came to Philip of Bethsaida in Galilee - Perhaps they

used to lodge there, in their journey to Jerusalem. Or they might

believe, a Galilean would be more ready to serve them herein,

than a Jew. Sir - They spake to him, as to one they were little

acquainted with. We would see Jesus - A modest request. They

could scarce expect that he would now have time to talk with


23. The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified -

With the Father and in the sight of every creature. But he must

suffer first.

24. Unless a grain of wheat die - The late resurrection of Lazarus

gave our Lord a natural occasion of speaking on this subject. And

agreeable to his infinite knowledge, he singles out, from among so

many thousands of seeds, almost the only one that dies in the

earth: and which therefore was an exceeding proper similitude,

peculiarly adapted to the purpose for which he uses it. The like is

not to be found in any other grain, except millet, and the large


25. He that loveth his life - More than the will of God; shall lose it

eternally: and he that hateth his life - In comparison of the will of

God, shall preserve it. Matt. x, 39.

26. Let him follow me - By hating his life: and where I am - In

heaven. If any man serve me - Thus, him will the Father honour.

27. Now is my soul troubled - He had various foretastes of his

passion. And what shall I say? - Not what shall I choose? For his

heart was fixed in choosing the will of his Father: but he laboured

for utterance. The two following clauses, Save me from this hour -

For this cause I came - Into the world; for the sake of this hour (of

suffering) seem to have glanced through his mind in one moment.

But human language could not so express it.

28. Father, glorify thy name - Whatever I suffer. Now the trouble

was over. I have glorified it - By thy entrance into this hour. And I

will glorify it - By thy passing through it.

29. The multitude who stood and heard - A sound, but not the

distinct words - In the most glorious Revelations there may

remain something obscure, to exercise our faith. Said, It

thundered -Thunder did frequently attend a voice from heaven.

Perhaps it did so now.

31. Now - This moment. And from this moment Christ thirsted

more than ever, till his baptism was accomplished. Is the

judgment of this world - That is, now is the judgment given

concerning it, whose it shall be. Now shall the prince of this world

- Satan, who had gained possession of it by sin and death, be cast

out -That is, judged, condemned, cast out of his possession, and

out of the bounds of Christ's kingdom.

32. Lifted up from the earth - This is a Hebraism which signifies

dying. Death in general is all that is usually imported. But our

Lord made use of this phrase, rather than others that were

equivalent, because it so well suited the particular manner of his

death. I will draw all men - Gentiles as well as Jews. And those

who follow my drawings, Satan shall not be able to keep.

34. How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? - How

can these things be reconciled? Very easily. He first dies, and then

abideth for ever. Who is this Son of man? - Is he the Christ?

Psalm cx, 4.

35. Then Jesus said to them - Not answering them directly, but

exhorting them to improve what they had heard already. The light

- I and my doctrine.

36. The children of light - The children of God, wise, holy, happy.

37. Though he had done so many miracles before them - So that

they could not but see them.

38. The arm of the Lord - The power of God manifested by Christ,

in his preaching, miracles, and work of redemption. Isaiah liii, 1.

39. Therefore now they could not believe - That is, by the just

judgment of God, for their obstinacy and wilful resistance of the

truth, they were at length so left to the hardness of their hearts,

that neither the miracles nor doctrines of our Lord could make any

impression upon them.

40. Isaiah vi, 10; Matt. xiii, 14; Acts xxviii, 26.

41. When he saw his glory - Christ's, Isaiah vi, 1, &c. And it is

there expressly said to be the glory of the Lord, Jehovah, the

Supreme God.

44. Jesus said with a loud voice - This which follows to the end of

the chapter, is with St. John the epilogue of our Lord's public

discourses, and a kind of recapitulation of them. Believeth not on

me - Not on me alone, but also on him that sent me: because the

Father hath sent the Son, and because he and the Father are one.

45. And he that seeth me - By the eye of faith.

47. I judge him not - Not now: for I am not come to judge the

world. See, Christ came to save even them that finally perish!

Even these are a part of that world, which he lived and died to


50. His commandment - Kept, is life everlasting - That is the way

to it, and the beginning of it.


1. Before the feast - Namely, on Wednesday, in the paschal week.

Having loved his own - His apostles, he loved them to the end -

Of his life.

2. Having now - Probably now first.

3. Jesus knowing - Though conscious of his own greatness, thus

humbled himself.

4. Layeth aside his garments - That part of them which would

have hindered him.

5. Into the basin - A large vessel was usually placed for this very

purpose, wherever the Jews supped.

7. What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter

- We do not now know perfectly any of his works, either of

creation, providence, or grace. It is enough that we can love and

obey now, and that we shall know hereafter.

8. If I wash thee not - If thou dost not submit to my will, thou hast

no part with me - Thou art not my disciple. In a more general

sense it may mean, If I do not wash thee in my blood, and purify

thee by my Spirit, thou canst have no communion with me, nor

any share in the blessings of my kingdom.

9. Lord, not my feet only - How fain would man be wiser than

God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.

10. And so ye, having been already cleansed, need only to wash

your feet - That is, to walk holy and undefiled.

14. Ye ought also to wash one another's feet - And why did they

not? Why do we not read of any one apostle ever washing the feet

of any other? Because they understood the Lord better. They

knew he never designed that this should be literally taken. He

designed to teach them the great lesson of humble love, as well as

to confer inward purity upon them. And hereby he teaches us,

1. In every possible way to assist each other in attaining that


2. To wash each other's feet, by performing all sorts of good

offices to each other, even those of the lowest kind, when

opportunity serves, and the necessity of any calls for them.

16. The servant is not greater than his Lord - Nor therefore ought

to think much of either doing or suffering the same things.

18. I speak not of you all - When I call you happy, I know one of

you twelve whom I have chosen, will betray me; whereby that

scripture will be fulfilled. Psalm xli, 9.

20. And I put my own honour upon you, my ambassadors. Matt.

x, 40.

21. One of you - The speaking thus indefinitely at first was

profitable to them all.

23. There was lying in the bosom of Jesus - That is, sitting next to

him at table. This phrase only expresses the then customary

posture at meals, where the guests all leaned sidewise on couches.

And each was said to lie in the bosom of him who was placed

next above him. One of the disciples whom Jesus loved - St. John

avoids with great care the expressly naming himself. Perhaps our

Lord now gave him the first proof of his peculiar love, by

disclosing this secret to him.

24. Simon Peter - Behind Jesus, who lay between them.

25. Leaning down, and so asking him privately.

26. Jesus answered - In his ear. So careful was he not to offend (if

it had been possible) even Judas himself. The sop - Which he took

up while he was speaking. He giveth it to Judas - And probably

the other disciples thought Judas peculiarly happy! But when even

this instance of our Lord's tenderness could not move him, then

Satan took full possession.

27. What thou doest, do quickly - This is not a permission, much

less a command. It is only as if he had said, If thou art determined

to do it, why dost thou delay? Hereby showing Judas, that he

could not be hid, and expressing his own readiness to suffer.

28. None knew why he said this - Save John and Judas.

30. He went out - To the chief priests. But he returned afterward,

and was with them when they ate the passover, Matt. xxvi, 20,

though not at the Lord's Supper.

31. Jesus saith - Namely, the next day; on Thursday, in the

morning. Here the scene, as it were, is opened, for the discourse

which is continued in the following chapters. Now - While I speak

this, the Son of man is glorified - Being fully entered into his

glorious work of redemption. This evidently relates to the glory

which belongs to his suffering in so holy and victorious a manner.

33. Ye cannot come - Not yet; being not yet ripe for it. John vii,


34. A new commandment - Not new in itself; but new in the

school of Christ: for he had never before taught it them expressly.

Likewise new, as to the degree of it, as I have loved you.

36. Peter saith, Lord, whither goest thou? - St. Peter seems to have

thought, that Christ, being rejected by the Jews, would go to some

other part of the earth to erect his throne, where he might reign

without disturbance, according to the gross notions he had of

Christ's kingdom. Thou canst not follow me now - But Peter

would not believe him. And he did follow him, chap. xviii, 15.

But it was afar off. And not without great loss.

38. The cock shall not have crowed - That is, cock crowing shall

not be over, till thou hast denied me thrice - His three-fold denial

was thrice foretold; first, at the time mentioned here; secondly, at

that mentioned by St. Luke; lastly, at that recorded by St.

Matthew and Mark.


1. Let not your heart be troubled - At my departure. Believe - This

is the sum of all his discourse, which is urged till they did believe,

chap. xvi, 30. And then our Lord prays and departs.

2. In my Father's house are many mansions - Enough to receive

both the holy angels, and your predecessors in the faith, and all

that now believe, and a great multitude, which no man can


4. The way - Of faith, holiness, sufferings.

5. Thomas saith - Taking him in a gross sense.

6. To the question concerning the way, he answers, I am the way.

To the question concerning knowledge, he answers, I am the truth.

To the question whither, I am the life. The first is treated of in this

verse; the second, ver. 7-17; the third, xiv, 18, &c.

7. Ye have known - Ye have begun to know him.

10. I am in the Father - The words that I speak, &c. - That is, I am

one with the Father, in essence, in speaking, and in acting.

11. Believe me - On my own word, because I am God. The works

- This respects not merely the miracles themselves, but his

sovereign, Godlike way of performing them.

12. Greater works than these shall he do - So one apostle wrought

miracles merely by his shadow, Acts v, 15; another by

handkerchiefs carried from his body, Acts xix, 12; and all spake

with various tongues. But the converting one sinner is a greater

work than all these. Because I go to my Father - To send you the

Holy Ghost.

15. If ye love me, keep my commandments - Immediately after

faith he exhorts to love and good works.

16. And I will ask the Father - The 21st verse, ver. 21, shows the

connection between this and the preceding verses. And he will

give you another Comforter - The Greek word signifies also an

advocate, instructer, or encourager. Another - For Christ himself

was one. To remain with you for ever - With you, and your

followers in faith, to the end of the world.

17. The Spirit of truth - Who has, reveals, testifies, and defends

the truth as it is in Jesus. Whom the world - All who do not love

or fear God, cannot receive, because it seeth him not - Having no

spiritual senses, no internal eye to discern him; nor consequently

knoweth him. He shall be in you - As a constant guest. Your

bodies and souls shall be temples of the Holy Ghost dwelling in


18. I will not leave you orphans - A word that is elegantly applied

to those who have lost any dear friend. I come to you - What was

certainly and speedily to be, our Lord speaks of as if it were


19. But ye see me - That is, ye shall certainly see me. Because I

live, ye shall live also - Because I am the living One in my Divine

nature, and shall rise again in my human nature, and live for ever

in heaven: therefore ye shall live the life of faith and love on

earth, and hereafter the life of glory.

20. At that day - When ye see me after my resurrection; but more

eminently at the day of pentecost.

21. He that hath my commandments - Written in his heart. I will

manifest myself to him - More abundantly.

23. Jesus answered - Because ye love and obey me, and they do

not, therefore I will reveal myself to you, and not to them. My

Father will love him - The more any man loves and obeys, the

more God will love him. And we will come to him, and make our

abode with him - Which implies such a large manifestation of the

Divine presence and love, that the former in justification is as

nothing in comparison of it.

26. In my name - For my sake, in my room, and as my agent. He

will teach you all things - Necessary for you to know. Here is a

clear promise to the apostles, and their successors in the faith, that

the Holy Ghost will teach them all that truth which is needful for

their salvation.

27. Peace I leave with you - Peace in general; peace with God and

with your own consciences. My peace - In particular; that peace

which I enjoy, and which I create, I give - At this instant. Not as

the world giveth - Unsatisfying unsettled, transient; but filling the

soul with constant, even tranquillity. Lord, evermore give us this

peace! How serenely may we pass through the most turbulent

scenes of life, when all is quiet and harmonious within! Thou hast

made peace through the blood of thy cross. May we give all

diligence to preserve the inestimable gift inviolate, till it issue in

everlasting peace!

28. God the Father is greater than I - As he was man. As God,

neither is greater nor less than the other.

29. I have told you - Of my going and return.

30. The prince of this world is coming - To make his grand

assault. But he hath nothing in me - No right, no claim, or power.

There is no guilt in me, to give him power over me; no corruption

to take part with his temptation.

31. But I suffer him thus to assault me,

1. Because it is the Father's commission to me, chap. x, 18.

2. To convince the world of my love to the Father, in being

obedient unto death, Phil. ii, 8. Arise, let us go hence - Into the

city, to the passover. All that has been related from chap. xii, 31,

was done and said on Thursday, without the city. But what

follows in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters, was

said in the city, on the very evening of the passover just before he

went over the brook Kedron.


1. I am the true vine - So the true bread, chap. vi, 32; that is, the

most excellent.

2. Every one that beareth fruit, he purifieth - by obeying the truth,

1 Pet. i, 22; and by inward or outward sufferings, Heb. xii, 10, 11.

So purity and fruitfulness help each other. That it may bear more

fruit - For this is one of the noblest rewards God can bestow on

former acts of obedience, to make us yet more holy, and fit for

farther and more eminent service.

3. Ye are clean - All of you, to whom I now speak, are purged

from the guilt and power of sin; by the word - Which, applied by

the Spirit, is the grand instrument of purifying the soul.

4. Abide in me - Ye who are now pure by living faith, producing

all holiness; by which alone ye can be in me.

5. I am the vine, ye are the branches - Our Lord in this whole

passage speaks of no branches but such as are, or at least were

once, united to him by living faith.

6. If any one abide not in me - By living faith; not by Church

communion only. He may thus abide in Christ, and be withered all

the time, and cast into the fire at last. He is cast out - Of the

vineyard, the invisible Church. Therefore he was in it once.

7. If ye abide in me, ye shall ask - Prayers themselves are a fruit

of faith, and they produce more fruit.

8. So shall ye be my disciples - Worthy of the name. To be a

disciple of Christ is both the foundation and height of Christianity.

9. Abide ye in my love - Keep your place in my affection. See that

ye do not forfeit that invaluable blessing. How needless a caution,

if it were impossible for them not to abide therein?

10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love - On

these terms, and no other, ye shall remain the objects of my

special affection.

11. That my joy might remain in you - The same joy which I feel

in loving the Father, and keeping his commandments.

12. Your joy will be full, if ye so love one another.

13. Greater love - To his friends. He here speaks of them only.

14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you - On

this condition, not otherwise. A thunderbolt for Antinomianism!

Who then dares assert that God's love does not at all depend on

man's works?

15. All things - Which might be of service to you.

16. Ye - My apostles, have not chosen me, but I have chosen you -

As clearly appears from the sacred history: and appointed you,

that ye may go and bear fruit - I have chosen and appointed you

for this end, that ye may go and convert sinners: and that your

fruit may remain - That the fruit of your labours may remain to

the end of the world; yea, to eternity; that whatsoever ye shall ask

- The consequence of your going and bearing fruit will be, that all

your prayers will be heard.

19. Because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth

you - Because your maxims, tempers, actions, are quite opposite

to theirs. For the very same reason must the world in all ages hate

those who are not of the world.

20. John xiii, 16; Matt. x, 24; Luke vi, 40.

21. All these things will they do to you, because they know not

him that sent me - And in all ages and nations they who know not

God will, for this cause, hate and persecute those that do.

22. They had not had sin - Not in this respect.

23. He that hateth me - As every unbeliever doth, For as the love

of God is inseparable from faith, so is the hatred of God from


25. Psalm lxix, 4.

26. When the Comforter is come, whom I will send from the

Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he

shall testify of me - The Spirit's coming, and being sent by our

Lord from the Father, to testify of him, are personal characters,

and plainly distinguish him from the Father and the Son; and his

title as the Spirit of truth, together with his proceeding from the

Father, can agree to none but a Divine person. And that he

proceeds from the Son, as well as from the Father, may be fairly

argued from his being called the Spirit of Christ, 1 Pet. i, 11; and

from his being here said to be sent by Christ from the Father, as

well as sent by the Father in his name.


2. The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think he doth

God service - But, blessed be God, the time is so far past, that

those who bear the name of Christ do not now generally suppose

they do him service by killing each other for a difference in

opinion or mode of worship.

3. They have not known the Father nor me - This is the true root

of persecution in all its forms.

4. I did not tell you these things at the beginning, because I was

with you - To bear the chief shock in my own person, and to

screen you from it.

5. None of you asketh me - Now when it is most seasonable. Peter

did ask this before, chap. xiii, 36.

7. It is expedient for you - In respect of the Comforter, ver. 7, &c.,

and of me, ver. 16, &c., and of the Father, ver. 23, &c.

8. He - Observe his twofold office; toward the world, ver. 8, &c.;

toward believers, ver. 12, &c.: will convince - All of the world -

Who do not obstinately resist, by your preaching and miracles, of

sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment - He who is convinced

of sin either accepts the righteousness of Christ, or is judged with

Satan. An abundant accomplishment of this we find in the Acts of

the Apostles.

9. Of sin - Particularly of unbelief, which is the confluence of all

sins, and binds them all down upon us.

10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father - Which the Spirit

will testify, though ye do not then see me. But I could not go to

him if I were not righteous.

11. The prince of this world is judged - And in consequence

thereof dethroned, deprived of the power he had so long usurped

over men. Yet those who reject the deliverance offered them will

remain slaves of Satan still.

12. I have yet many things to say - Concerning my passion, death,

resurrection, and the consequences of it. These things we have,

not in uncertain traditions, but in the Acts, the Epistles, and the

Revelation. But ye cannot bear them now - Both because of your

littleness of faith, and your immoderate sorrow.

13. When he is come - It is universally allowed that the Father,

Son, and Holy Ghost dwell in all believers. And the internal

agency of the Holy Ghost is generally admitted. That of the Father

and the Son, as represented in this Gospel, deserves our deepest


15. All things that the Father hath are mine - Could any creature

say this?

16. A little while and ye shall not see me - When I am buried: and

again, a little while, and ye shall see me - When I am risen:

because I go to my Father - I die and rise again, in order to ascend

to my Father.

19. Jesus said to them - Preventing their question.

20. Ye will weep and lament - When ye see me dead; but your

sorrow will be turned into joy - When ye see me risen.

22. Ye now therefore have sorrow - This gives us no manner of

authority to assert all believers must come into a state of darkness.

They never need lose either their peace, or love, or the witness

that they are the children of God. They never can lose these, but

either through sin, or ignorance, or vehement temptation, or

bodily disorder.

23. Ye shall not question me about any thing - Which you do not

now understand. You will not need to inquire of me; for you will

know all things clearly. Whatsoever ye shall ask - Knowledge,

love, or any thing else, he will give it - Our Lord here gives us a

charte blanche. Believer, write down what thou wilt. He had said,

chap. xiv, 13, I will do it, where the discourse was of glorifying

the Father through the Son. Here, speaking of the love of the

Father to believers, he saith, He will give it.

24. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name - For they had

asked him directly for all they wanted.

26. At that day ye shall ask - For true knowledge begets prayer.

And I say not that I will pray - This in nowise implies that he will

not: it means only, The Father himself now loves you, not only

because of my intercession, but also because of the faith and love

which he hath wrought in you.

30. Thou knowest all things - Even our hearts. Although no

question is asked thee, yet thou answerest the thoughts of every

one. By this we believe that thou camest forth from God - They,

as it were, echo back the words which he had spoken in ver. 27,

implying, We believe in God; we believe also in thee.

XVII In this chapter our Lord prays,

1. For himself, ver. 1-5. John xvii, 1-5

2. For the apostles, ver. 6-19; John xvii, 6-19 and again, ver. 24-

26. John xvii, 24-26

3. For all believers, ver. 20-23. John xvii, 20-23 And

4. For the world, ver. 21-23. John xvii, 21-23 In his prayer he

comprises all he had said from chap. xiii, 31, and seals, as it were,

all he had hitherto done, beholding things past, present, and to

come. This chapter contains the easiest words, and the deepest

sense of any in all the Scripture: yet is here no incoherent

rhapsody, but the whole is closely and exactly connected.

1. Father - This simplicity of appellation highly became the only-

begotten Son of God; to which a believer then makes the nearest

approach, when he is fullest of love and humble confidence. The

hour is come - The appointed time for it; glorify thy Son - The

Son glorified the Father, both before and after his own

glorification. When he speaks to the Father he does not style

himself the Son of man.

2. As thou hast given him power over all flesh - This answers to

glorify thy Son. That he may give eternal life, &c.-This answers

to that thy Son may glorify thee. To all whom thou hast given him

- To all believers. This is a clear proof that Christ designed his

sacrifice should avail for all: yea, that all flesh, every man, should

partake of everlasting life. For as the Father had given him power

over all flesh, so he gave himself a ransom for all.

3. To know - By loving, holy faith, thee the only true God - The

only cause and end of all things; not excluding the Son and the

Holy Ghost, no more than the Father is excluded from being Lord,

1 Cor. viii, 6; but the false gods of the heathens; and Jesus Christ -

As their prophet, priest, and king: this is life eternal - It is both the

way to, and the essence of, everlasting happiness.

4. I have finished the work - Thus have I glorified thee, laying the

foundation of thy kingdom on earth.

5. The glory which I had - He does not say received - He always

had it, till he emptied himself of it in the days of his flesh.

6. I have manifested thy name - All thy attributes; and in

particular thy paternal relation to believers; to the men whom thou

hast given me - The apostles, and so ver. 12. They were thine - By

creation, and by descent from Abraham. And thou hast given

them me - By giving them faith in what I have spoken. So ver. 9.

7. Now they know that all things - Which I have done and spoken,

are of thee - And consequently right and true.

8. They have received them - By faith.

9. I pray not for the world - Not in these petitions, which are

adapted to the state of believers only. (He prays for the world at

ver. 21, 23, that they may believe - That they may know God hath

sent him.) This no more proves that our Lord did not pray for the

world, both before and afterward, than his praying for the apostles

alone, ver. 6-19, proves that he did not pray for them also which

shall believe through their word, ver. 20.

10. All things that are mine are thine, and that are thine are mine -

These are very high and strong expressions, too grand for any

mere creature to use; as implying that all things whatsoever,

inclusive of the Divine nature, perfections, and operations, are the

common property of the Father and the Son. And this is the

original ground of that peculiar property, which both the Father

and the Son have in the persons who were given to Christ as

Mediator; according to what is said in the close of the verse, of his

being glorified by them; namely, believing in him, and so

acknowledging his glory.

11. Keep them through thy name - Thy power, mercy, wisdom,

that they may be one - with us and with each other; one body,

separate from the world: as we are - By resemblance to us, though

not equality.

12. Those whom thou hast given me I have guarded, and none of

them is lost, but the son of perdition - So one even of them whom

God had given him is lost. So far was even that decree from being

unchangeable! That the Scripture might be fulfilled - That is,

whereby the Scripture was fulfilled. The son of perdition signifies

one that deservedly perishes; as a son of death, 2 Sam. xii, 5;

children of hell, Matt. xxiii, 15, and children of wrath, Eph. ii, 3,

signify persons justly obnoxious to death, hell, wrath. Psalm cix,


13. In the world - That is, before I leave the world. My joy - The

joy I feel at going to the Father.

15. That thou wouldest take them out of the world - Not yet: but

that thou wouldest keep them from the evil one - Who reigns


17. Sanctify - Consecrate them by the anointing of thy Spirit to

their office, and perfect them in holiness, by means of thy word.

19. I sanctify myself - I devote myself as a victim, to be


20. For them who will believe - In all ages.

21. As thou art in me - This also is to be understood in a way of

similitude, and not of sameness or equality. That the world may

believe - Here Christ prays for the world. Observe the sum of his

whole prayer,

1. Receive me into thy own and my glory;

2. Let my apostles share therein;

3. And all other believers:

4. And let all the world believe.

22. The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them - The

glory of the only begotten shines in all the sons of God. How

great is the majesty of Christians.

24. Here he returns to the apostles. I will - He asks, as having a

right to be heard, and prays, not as a servant, but a Son: that they

may behold my glory - Herein Is the happiness of heaven, 1 John

iii, 2.

25. Righteous Father - The admission of believers to God through

Christ, flows even from the justice of God.

26. I have declared to them thy name - Thy new, best name of

love; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me - That thou and

thy love, and I and my love, may be in them - That they may love

me with that love.


1. A garden - Probably belonging to one of his friends. He might

retire to this private place, not only for the advantage of secret

devotion, but also that the people might not be alarmed at his

apprehension, nor attempt, in the first sallies of their zeal, to

rescue him in a tumultuous manner. Kedron was (as the name

signifies) a dark shady valley, on the east side of Jerusalem,

between the city and the mount of Olives, through which a little

brook ran, which took its name from it. It was this brook, which

David, a type of Christ, went over with the people, weeping in his

flight from Absalom. Matt. xxvi, 30; Mark xiv, 26; Luke xxii, 39.

2. Mark xiv, 43; Luke xxii, 47.

3. A troop of soldiers - A cohort of Roman foot.

6. As soon as he said, I am he, they went backward and fell to the

ground - How amazing is it, that they should renew the assault,

after so sensible an experience both of his power and mercy! But

probably the priests among them might persuade themselves and

their attendants, that this also was done by Beelzebub; and that it

was through the providence of God, not the indulgence of Jesus,

that they received no farther damage.

8. If ye seek me, let these (my disciples) go - It was an eminent

instance of his power over the spirits of men, that they so far

obeyed this word, as not to seize even Peter, when he had cut off

the ear of Malchus.

9. John xvii, 12.

10. Then Simon Peter - No other evangelist names him. Nor could

they safely. But St. John, writing after his death, might do it

without any such inconvenience.

13. Annas had been high priest before his son-in-law Caiaphas.

And though he had for some time resigned that office, yet they

paid so much regard to his age and experience, that they brought

Christ to Annas first. But we do not read of any thing remarkable

which passed at the house of Annas; for, which reason, his being

carried thither is omitted by the other evangelists. Matt. xxvi, 57;

Mark xiv, 53; Luke xxii, 54.

17. Art thou also - As well as the others, one of this man's

disciples - She does not appear to have asked with any design to

hurt him.

20. I spake openly - As to the manner: continually - As to the

time: in the synagogue and temple - As to the place. In secret have

I said nothing - No point of doctrine which I have not taught in


21. Why askest thou me - Whom thou wilt not believe?

22. Answerest thou the high priest so? - With so little reverence?

24. Now Annas had sent him to Caiaphas - As is implied ver. 13.

Bound - Being still bound, ver. 12.

28. They went not into the palace themselves, lest they should be

defiled - By going into a house which was not purged from

leaven, Deut. xvi, 4. Matt. xxvii, 2; Mark xv, 1; Luke xxiii, 1.

31. It is not lawful for us to put any man to death - The power of

inflicting capital punishment had been taken from them that very

year. So the scepter was departed from Judah, and transferred to

the Romans.

32. Signifying what death he should die - For crucifixion was not

a Jewish, but a Roman punishment. So that had he not been

condemned by the Roman governor, he could not have been

crucified. chap. iii, 14.

36. My kingdom is not of this world - Is not an external, but a

spiritual kingdom; that I might not be delivered to the Jews -

Which Pilate had already attempted to do, ver. 31, and afterward

actually did, chap. xix, 16.

37. Thou sayest - The truth. To this end was I born - Speaking of

his human origin: his Divine was above Pilate's comprehension.

Yet it is intimated in the following words, I came into the world,

that I might witness to the truth - Which was both declared to the

Jews, and in the process of his passion to the princes of the

Gentiles also. Every one that is of the truth - That is, a lover of it,

heareth my voice - A universal maxim. Every sincere lover of

truth will hear him, so as to understand and practice what he saith.

38. What is truth? - Said Pilate, a courtier; perhaps meaning what

signifies truth? Is that a thing worth hazarding your life for? So he

left him presently, to plead with the Jews for him, looking upon

him as an innocent but weak man.


1. Matt. xxvii, 26; Mark xv, 15.

7. By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of

God - Which they understood in the highest sense, and therefore

accounted blasphemy.

8. He was the more afraid - He seems to have been afraid before

of shedding innocent blood.

9. Whence art thou? - That is, whose son art thou?

11. Thou couldst have no power over me - For I have done

nothing to expose me to the power of any magistrate. Therefore

he that delivered me to thee, namely, Caiaphas, knowing this, is

more blamable than thou.

13. Pilate sat down on the judgment seat - Which was then

without the palace, in a place called, in Greek, the pavement, on

account of a beautiful piece of Mosaic work, with which the floor

was adorned: but in Hebrew, Gabbatha - Or the high place,

because it stood on an eminence, so that the judge sitting on his

throne might be seen and heard by a considerable number of


14. It was the preparation of the passover - For this reason both

the Jews and Pilate were desirous to bring the matter to a

conclusion. Every Friday was called the preparation, (namely, for

the Sabbath.) And as often as the passover fell on a Friday, that

day was called the preparation of the passover.

17. Bearing his cross - Not the whole cross, (for that was too large

and heavy,) but the transverse beam of it, to which his hands were

afterward fastened. This they used to make the person to be

executed carry. Matt. xxvii, 31; Mark xv, 20; Luke xxiii, 26.

19. Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews - Undoubtedly these

were the very words, although the other evangelists do not express

them at large.

20. It was written in Latin - For the majesty of the Roman empire;

in Hebrew - Because it was the language of the nation; and in

Greek - For the information of the Hellenists, who spoke that

language, and came in great numbers to the feast.

22. What I have written, I have written - That shall stand.

23. The vesture - The upper garment.

24. They parted my garments among them - No circumstance of

David's life bore any resemblance to this, or to several other

passages in the 22nd Psalm. So that in this scripture, as in some

others, the prophet seems to have been thrown into a preternatural

ecstacy, wherein, personating the Messiah, he spoke barely what

the Spirit dictated, without any regard to himself. Psalm xxii, 18.

25. His mother's sister - But we do not read she had any brother.

She was her father's heir, and as such transmitted the right of the

kingdom of David to Jesus: Mary, the wife of Cleopas - Called

likewise Alpheus, the father, as Mary was the mother of James,

and Joses, and Simon, and Judas.

27. Behold thy mother - To whom thou art now to perform the

part of a son in my place, a peculiar honour which Christ

conferred on him. From that hour - From the time of our Lord's


29. A stalk of hyssop - Which in those countries grows exceeding

large and strong. Psalm lxix, 21.

30. It is finished - My suffering: the purchase of man's

redemption. He delivered up his spirit - To God, Matt. xxvii, 50.

31. Lest the bodies should remain on the cross on the Sabbath -

Which they would have accounted a profanation of any Sabbath,

but of that in particular. For that Sabbath was a great day - Being

not only a Sabbath, but the second day of the feast of unleavened

bread (from whence they reckoned the weeks to pentecost:) and

also the day for presenting and offering the sheaf of new corn: so

that it was a treble solemnity.

34. Forthwith there came out blood and water - It was strange,

seeing he was dead, that blood should come out; more strange,

that water also; and most strange of all, that both should come out

immediately, at one time, and yet distinctly. It was pure and true

water, as well as pure and true blood. The asseveration of the

beholder and testifier of it, shows both the truth and greatness of

the miracle and mystery.

35. His testimony is true - Valid, unexceptionable. And he

knoweth - And his conscience beareth him witness, that he

testifieth this for no other end, than that ye may believe.

36. A bone of it shall not be broken - This was originally spoken

of the paschal lamb, an eminent type of Christ. Exod. xii, 46.

37. They shall look on him whom they have pierced - He was

pierced by the soldier's spear. They who have occasioned his

sufferings by their sins (and who has not?) shall either look upon

him in this world with penitential sorrow: or with terror, when he

cometh in the clouds of heaven, Rev. i, 7. Zech. xii, 10.

38. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate - And Nicodemus also came

- Acknowledging Christ, when even his chosen disciples forsook

him. In that extremity Joseph was no longer afraid, Nicodemus no

longer ashamed.

41. In the place where he was crucified - There was a garden in

the same tract of land: but the cross did not stand in the garden.

42. Because of the preparation - That is, they chose the rather to

lay him in that sepulchre which was nigh, because it was the day

before the Sabbath, which also was drawing to an end, so that

they had no time to carry him far.


1. Matt. xxviii, 1; Mark xvi, 1; Luke xxiv, 1.

3. Peter went out - Of the city.

6. Peter seeth the linen clothes lie - and the napkin folded up - The

angels who ministered to him when he rose, undoubtedly folded

up the napkin and linen clothes.

8. He saw - That the body was not there, and believed - That they

had taken it away as Mary said.

9. For as yet - They had no thought of his rising again.

10. They went home - Not seeing what they could do farther.

11. But Mary stood - With more constancy. Mark xvi, 9.

16. Jesus saith to her, Mary - With his usual voice and accent.

17. Touch me not - Or rather, Do not cling to me (for she held him

by the feet,) Matt. xxviii, 9. Detain me not now. You will have

other opportunities of conversing with me. For I am not ascended

to my Father - I have not yet left the world. But go immediately to

my brethren - Thus does he intimate in the strongest manner the

forgiveness of their fault, even without ever mentioning it. These

exquisite touches, which every where abound in the evangelical

writings, show how perfectly Christ knew our frame. I ascend -

He anticipates it in his thoughts, and so speaks of it as a thing

already present. To my Father and your Father, to my God and

your God - This uncommon expression shows that the only-

begotten Son has all kind of fellowship with God. And a

fellowship with God the Father, some way resembling his own, he

bestows upon his brethren. Yet he does not say, Our God: for no

creature can be raised to an equality with him: but my God and

your God: intimating that the Father is his in a singular and

incommunicable manner; and ours through him, in such a kind as

a creature is capable of.

19. Mark xvi, 14 Luke xxiv, 36.

21. Peace be unto you - This is the foundation of the mission of a

true Gospel minister, peace in his own soul, 2 Cor. iv, 1. As the

Father hath sent me, so send I you - Christ was the apostle of the

Father, Heb. iii, 1. Peter and the rest, the apostles of Christ.

22. He breathed on them - New life and vigour, and saith, as ye

receive this breath out of my mouth, so receive ye the Spirit out of

my fulness: the Holy Ghost influencing you in a peculiar manner,

to fit you for your great embassy. This was an earnest of


23. Whose soever sins ye remit - (According to the tenor of the

Gospel, that is, supposing them to repent and believe) they are

remitted, and whose soever sins ye retain (supposing them to

remain impenitent) they are retained. So far is plain. But here

arises a difficulty. Are not the sins of one who truly repents, and

unfeignedly believes in Christ, remitted, without sacerdotal

absolution? And are not the sins of one who does not repent or

believe, retained even with it? What then does this commission

imply? Can it imply any more than,

1. A power of declaring with authority the Christian terms of

pardon; whose sins are remitted and whose retained? As in our

daily form of absolution; and

2. A power of inflicting and remitting ecclesiastical censures?

That is, of excluding from, and re-admitting into, a Christian


26. After eight days - On the next Sunday.

28. And Thomas said, My Lord and my God - The disciples had

said, We have seen the Lord. Thomas now not only acknowledges

him to be the Lord, as he had done before, and to be risen, as his

fellow disciples had affirmed, but also confesses his Godhead, and

that more explicitly than any other had yet done. And all this he

did without putting his hand upon his side.

30. Jesus wrought many miracles, which are not written in this

book - Of St. John, nor indeed of the other evangelists.

31. But these things are written that ye may believe - That ye may

be confirmed in believing. Faith cometh sometimes by reading;

though ordinarily by hearing.


2. There were together - At home, in one house.

4. They knew not that it was Jesus - Probably their eyes were


6. They were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes - This

was not only a demonstration of the power of our Lord, but a kind

supply for them and their families, and such as might be of service

to them, when they waited afterward in Jerusalem. It was likewise

an emblem of the great success which should attend them as

fishers of men.

7. Peter girt on his upper coat (for he was stript of it before) -

Reverencing the presence of his Lord: and threw himself into the

sea - To swim to him immediately. The love of Christ draws men

through fire and water.

12. Come ye and dine - Our Lord needed not food. And none

presumed - To ask a needless question.

14. The third time - That he appeared to so many of the apostles


15. Simon, son of Jonah - The appellation Christ had given him,

when be made that glorious confession, Matt. xvi, 16, the

remembrance of which might make him more deeply sensible of

his late denial of him whom he had so confessed. Lovest thou me?

- Thrice our Lord asks him, who had denied him thrice: more than

these - Thy fellow disciples do? - Peter thought so once, Matt.

xxvi, 33, but he now answers only- I love thee, without adding

more than these. Thou knowest - He had now learnt by sad

experience that Jesus knew his heart. My lambs - The weakest and

tenderest of the flock.

17. Because he said the third time - As if he did not believe him.

18. When thou art old - He lived about thirty-six years after this:

another shall gird thee - They were tied to the cross till the nails

were driven in; and shall carry thee - With the cross: whither thou

wouldest not - According to nature; to the place where the cross

was set up.

19. By what death he should glorify God - It is not only by acting,

but chiefly by suffering, that the saints glorify God. Follow me -

Showing hereby likewise what death he should die.

20. Peter turning - As he was walking after Christ. Seeth the

disciple whom Jesus loved following him - There is a peculiar

spirit and tenderness in this plain passage. Christ orders St. Peter

to follow him in token of his readiness to be crucified in his cause.

St. John stays not for the call; he rises and follows him too; but

says not one word of his own love or zeal. He chose that the

action only should speak this; and even when he records the

circumstance, he tells us not what that action meant, but with

great simplicity relates the fact only. If here and there a generous

heart sees and emulates it, be it so; but he is not solicitous that

men should admire it. It was addressed to his beloved Master, and

it was enough that he understood it.

22. If I will that he tarry - Without dying, till I come - To

judgment. Certainly he did tarry, till Christ came to destroy

Jerusalem. And who can tell, when or how he died? What is that

to thee? - Who art to follow me long before.

23. The brethren - That is, the Christians. Our Lord himself taught

them that appellation, chap. xx, 17. Yet Jesus did not say to him,

that he should not die - Not expressly. And St. John himself, at the

time of writing his Gospel, seems not to have known clearly,

whether he should die or not.

24. This is the disciple who testifieth - Being still alive after he

had wrote. And we know that his testimony is true - The Church

added these words to St. John's, Gospel, as Tertius did those to St.

Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Rom. xvi, 22.

25. If they were to be written particularly - Every fact, and all the

circumstances of it. I suppose - This expression, which softens the

hyperbole, shows that St. John wrote this verse.



1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ -To this introduction the

conclusion answers, chap. xv, 15, &c. Called to be an apostle -

And made an apostle by that calling. While God calls, he makes

what he calls. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the

apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the

very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely

overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts are

suggested in this short introduction; particularly the prophecies

concerning the gospel, the descent of Jesus from David, the great

doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection, the sending the gospel

to the gentiles, the privileges of Christians, and the obedience and

holiness to which they were obliged in virtue of their profession.

Separated - By God, not only from the bulk of other men, from

other Jews, from other disciples, but even from other Christian

teachers, to be a peculiar instrument of God in spreading the


2. Which he promised before - Of old time, frequently, solemnly.

And the promise and accomplishment confirm each other. Deut.

xviii, 18; Isa. ix, 6, 7; Chapter liii; lxi; Jer. xxiii, 5.

3. Who was of the seed of David according to the flesh - That is,

with regard to his human nature. Both the natures of our saviour

are here mentioned; but the human is mentioned first, because the

divine was not manifested in its full evidence till after his


4. But powerfully declared to be the Son of God, according to the

Spirit of Holiness - That is, according to his divine nature. By the

resurrection from the dead - For this is both the fountain and the

object of our faith; and the preaching of the apostles was the

consequence of Christ's resurrection.

5. By whom we have received - I and the other apostles. Grace

and apostleship - The favour to be an apostle, and qualifications

for it. For obedience to the faith in all nations - That is, that all

nations may embrace the faith of Christ. For his name - For his

sake; out of regard to him.

6. Among whom - The nations brought to the obedience of faith.

Are ye also - But St. Paul gives them no preeminence above


7. To all that are in Rome - Most of these were heathens by birth,

ver. 13, though with Jews mixed among them. They were

scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into

the form of a church. Only some had begun to meet in the house

of Aquila and Priscilla. Beloved of God - And from his free love,

not from any merit of yours, called by his word and his Spirit to

believe in him, and now through faith holy as he is holy. Grace -

The peculiar favour of God. And peace - All manner of blessings,

temporal, spiritual, and eternal. This is both a Christian salutation

and an apostolic benediction. From God our Father, and the Lord

Jesus Christ - This is the usual way wherein the apostles speak,

"God the Father," "God our Father." Nor do they often, in

speaking of him, use the word Lord, as it implies the proper name

of God, Jehovah. In the Old Testament, indeed, the holy men

generally said, "The Lord our God;" for they were then, as it were,

servants; whereas now they are sons: and sons so well know their

father, that they need not frequently mention his proper name. It is

one and the same peace, and one and the same grace, which is

from God and from Jesus Christ. Our trust and prayer fix on God,

as he is the Father of Christ; and on Christ, as he presents us to the


8. I thank - In the very entrance of this one epistle are the traces of

all spiritual affections; but of thankfulness above all, with the

expression of which almost all St. Paul's epistles begin. He here

particularly thanks God, that what otherwise himself should have

done, was done at Rome already. My God - This very word

expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion.

Through Jesus Christ - The gifts of God all pass through Christ to

us; and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to

God. That your faith is spoken of - In this kind of congratulations

St. Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, as Colossians i,

3, &c.; or some part of it, as 1 Cor. i, 5. Accordingly here he

mentions the faith of the Romans, suitably to his design, ver. 12,

17. Through the whole world - This joyful news spreading

everywhere, that there were Christians also in the imperial city.

And the goodness and wisdom of God established faith in the

chief cities; in Jerusalem and Rome particularly; that from thence

it might be diffused to all nations.

9. God, whom I serve - As an apostle. In my spirit - Not only with

my body, but with my inmost soul. In the gospel - By preaching


10. Always - In all my solemn addresses to God. If by any means

now at length - This accumulation of particles declares the

strength of his desire.

11. That I may impart to you - Face to face, by laying on of hands,

prayer, preaching the gospel, private conversation. Some spiritual

gift - With such gifts the Corinthians, who had enjoyed the

presence of St. Paul, abounded, 1 Cor. i, 7; xii, 1; xiv, 1. So did

the Galatians likewise, Gal. iii, 5; and, indeed, all those churches

which had had the presence of any of the apostles had peculiar

advantages in this kind, from the laying on of their hands, Acts

xix, 6; viii, 17, &c., 2 Tim. i, 6. But as yet the Roman were greatly

inferior to them in this respect; for which reason the apostle, in the

twelfth chapter also, says little, if any thing, of their spiritual gifts.

He therefore desires to impart some, that they might be

established; for by these was the testimony of Christ confirmed

among them. That St. Peter had no more been at Rome than St.

Paul, at the time when this epistle was wrote, appears from the

general tenor thereof, and from this place in particular: for,

otherwise, what St. Paul wishes to impart to the Roman would

have been imparted already by St. Peter.

12. That is, I long to be comforted by the mutual faith both of you

and me - He not only associates the Roman with, but even prefers

them before, himself. How different is this style of the apostle

from that of the modern court of Rome!

13. Brethren - A frequent, holy, simple, sweet, and yet grand,

appellation. The apostles but rarely address persons by their

names; 'O ye Corinthians," "O Timotheus." St. Paul generally uses

this appellation, " Brethren;" sometimes in exhortation, " My

beloved," or, " My beloved brethren;" St. James, "Brethren," "My

brethren," My beloved brethren;" St. Peter and Jude always, "

Beloved;" St. John frequently, " Beloved;" once, " Brethren;"

oftener than once, My little children." Though I have been

hindered hitherto - Either by business, see chap. xv, 22; or

persecution, 1 Thess. ii, 2; or the Spirit, Acts xvi, 7. That I might

have some fruit - Of my ministerial labours. Even as I have

already had from the many churches I have planted and watered

among the other gentiles.

14. To the Greeks and the barbarians - He includes the Roman

under the Greeks; so that this division comprises all nations. Both

to the wise, and the unwise - For there were unwise even among

the Greeks, and wise even among the barbarians. I am a debtor to

all - I am bound by my divine mission to preach the gospel to


16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel - To the world, indeed, it

is folly and weakness, 1 Cor. i, 18; therefore, in the judgment of

the world, he ought to be ashamed of it; especially at Rome, the

head and theatre of the world. But Paul is not ashamed, knowing

it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth -

The great and gloriously powerful means of saving all who accept

salvation in God's own way. As St. Paul comprises the sum of the

gospel in this epistle, so he does the sum of the epistle in this and

the following verse. Both to the Jew, and to the gentile - There is

a noble frankness, as well as a comprehensive sense, in these

words, by which he, on the one hand, shows the Jews their

absolute need of the gospel; and, on the other, tells the politest

and greatest nation in the world both that their salvation depended

on receiving it, and that the first offers of it were in every place to

be made to the despised Jews.

17. The righteousness of God - This expression sometimes means

God's eternal, essential righteousness, which includes both justice

and mercy, and is eminently shown in condemning sin, and yet

justifying the sinner. Sometimes it means that righteousness by

which a man, through the gift of God, is made and is righteous;

and that, both by receiving Christ through faith, and by a

conformity to the essential righteousness of God. St. Paul, when

treating of justification, means hereby the righteousness of faith;

therefore called the righteousness of God, because God found out

and prepared, reveals and gives, approves and crowns it. In this

verse the expression means, the whole benefit of God through

Christ for the salvation of a sinner. Is revealed - Mention is made

here, and ver. 18, of a twofold Revelation, - of wrath and of

righteousness: the former, little known to nature, is revealed by

the law; the latter, wholly unknown to nature, by the gospel. That

goes before, and prepares the way; this follows. Each, the apostle

says, is revealed at the present time, in opposition to the times of

ignorance. From faith to faith - By a gradual series of still clearer

and clearer promises. As it is written - St. Paul had just laid down

three propositions:

1. Righteousness is by faith, ver. xvii,

2. Salvation is by righteousness, ver. xvi,

3. Both to the Jews and to the gentiles, ver. 16. Now all these are

confirmed by that single sentence, The just shall live by faith -

Which was primarily spoken of those who preserved their lives,

when the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, by believing the

declarations of God, and acting according to them. Here it means,

He shall obtain the favour of God, and continue therein by

believing. Hab. ii, 4

18. For - There is no other way of obtaining life and salvation.

Having laid down his proposition, the apostle now enters upon the

proof of it. His first argument is, The law condemns all men, as

being under sin. None therefore is justified by the works of the

law. This is treated of chap. iii, 20. And hence he infers, Therefore

justification is by faith. The wrath of God is revealed - Not only

by frequent and signal interpositions of divine providence, but

likewise in the sacred oracles, and by us, his messengers. From

heaven - This speaks the majesty of Him whose wrath is revealed,

his all-seeing eye, and the extent of his wrath: whatever is under

heaven is under the effects of his wrath, believers in Christ

excepted. Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness - These

two are treated of, ver. 23, &c. Of men - He is speaking here of

the gentiles, and chiefly the wisest of them. Who detain the truth -

For it struggles against their wickedness. In unrighteousness - The

word here includes ungodliness also.

19. For what is to be known of God - Those great principles

which are indispensably necessary to be known. Is manifest in

them; for God hath showed it to them - By the light which

enlightens every man that cometh into the world.

20. For those things of him which are invisible, are seen - By the

eye of the mind. Being understood - They are seen by them, and

them only, who use their understanding

21. Because, knowing God - For the wiser heathens did know that

there was one supreme God; yet from low and base considerations

they conformed to the idolatry of the vulgar. They did not glorify

him as God, neither were thankful - They neither thanked him for

his benefits, nor glorified him for his divine perfection. But

became vain - Like the idols they worshipped. In their reasonings

- Various, uncertain, foolish. What a terrible instance have we of

this in the writings of Lucretius! What vain reasonings, and how

dark a heart, amidst so pompous professions of wisdom!

23. And changed - With the utmost folly. Here are three degrees

of ungodliness and of punishment: the first is described, ver. 21-

24; the second, ver. 25-27; the third, in ver. 28, and following

verses. The punishment in each case is expressed by God gave

them up. If a man will not worship God as God, he is so left to

himself that he throws away his very manhood. Reptiles - Or

creeping things; as beetles, and various kinds of serpents.

24. Wherefore - One punishment of sin is from the very nature of

it, as ver. 27; another, as here, is from vindictive justice.

Uncleanness - Ungodliness and uncleanness are frequently joined,

1 Thess. iv, 5 as are the knowledge of God and purity. God gave

them up - By withdrawing his restraining grace.

25. Who changed the truth - The true worship of God. Into a lie -

False, abominable idolatries. And worshipped - Inwardly. And

served - Outwardly.

26. Therefore God gave them up to vile affections - To which the

heathen Roman were then abandoned to the last degree; and none

more than the emperors themselves.

27. Receiving the just recompense of their error - Their idolatry

being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a

dishonour to the body, as their idolatry was to God.

28. God gave them up to an undiscerning mind - Treated of, ver.

32. To do things not expedient - Even the vilest abominations,

treated of verses ver. 29-31.

29. Filled with all injustice - This stands in the first place;

unmercifulness, in the last. Fornication - Includes here every

species of uncleanness. Maliciousness - The Greek word properly

implies a temper which delights in hurting another, even without

any advantage to itself.

30. Whisperers - Such as secretly defame others. Backbiters -

Such as speak against others behind their back. Haters of God -

That is, rebels against him, deniers of his providence, or accusers

of his justice in their adversities; yea, having an inward heart-

enmity to his justice and holiness. Inventors of evil things - Of

new pleasures, new ways of gain, new arts of hurting, particularly

in war.

31. Covenant-breakers - It is well known, the Romans, as a nation,

from the very beginning of their commonwealth, never made any

scruple of vacating altogether the most solemn engagement, if

they did not like it, though made by their supreme magistrate, in

the name of the whole people. They only gave up the general who

had made it, and then supposed themselves to be at full liberty.

Without natural affection - The custom of exposing their own new

- born children to perish by cold, hunger, or wild beasts, which so

generally prevailed in the heathen world, particularly among the

Greeks and Romans, was an amazing instance of this; as is also

that of killing their aged and helpless parents, now common

among the American heathens.

32. Not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that practice

them - This is the highest degree of wickedness. A man may be

hurried by his passions to do the thing he hates; but he that has

pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness'

sake. And hereby he encourages them in sin, and heaps the guilt

of others upon his own head.


1. Therefore - The apostle now makes a transition from the

gentiles to the Jews, till, at ver. 6, he comprises both. Thou art

inexcusable - Seeing knowledge without practice only increases

guilt. O man - Having before spoken of the gentile in the third

person, he addresses the Jew in the second person. But he calls

him by a common appellation, as not acknowledging him to be a

Jew. See verses 17, 28. Whosoever thou art that Judgest -

Censurest, condemnest. For in that thou Judgest the other - The

heathen. Thou condemnest thyself; for thou doest the same things

- In effect; in many instances.

2. For we know - Without thy teaching That the judgment of God

- Not thine, who exceptest thyself from its sentence. Is according

to truth - Is just, making no exception, ver. 5, 6, 11; and reaches

the heart as well as the life, ver. 16.

3. That thou shalt escape - Rather than the gentile.

4. Or despisest thou - Dost thou go farther still, - from hoping to

escape his wrath, to the abuse of his love?. The riches - The

abundance. Of his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering -

Seeing thou both hast sinned, dost sin, and wilt sin. All these are

afterwards comprised in the single word goodness. Leadeth thee -

That is, is designed of God to lead or encourage thee to it.

5. Treasurest up wrath - Although thou thinkest thou art treasuring

up all good things. O what a treasure may a man lay up either

way, in this short day of life! To thyself - Not to him whom thou

Judgest. In the day of wrath, and Revelation, and righteous

judgment of God - Just opposite to "the goodness and forbearance

and longsuffering" of God. When God shall be revealed, then

shall also be "revealed" the secrets of men's hearts, ver. 16.

Forbearance and Revelation respect God, and are opposed to each

other; longsuffering and righteous judgment respect the sinner;

goodness and wrath are words of a more general import.

6. Prov. xxiv, 12

7. To them that seek for glory - For pure love does not exclude

faith, hope, desire, 1 Cor. xv, 58.

8. But to them that are contentious - Like thee, O Jew, who thus

fightest against God. The character of a false Jew is disobedience,

stubbornness, impatience. Indignation and wrath, tribulation and

anguish - Alluding to Psalm lxxviii, xlix, "He cast upon them,"

the Egyptians. "the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation,

and trouble;" and finely intimating, that the Jews would in the day

of vengeance be more severely punished than even the Egyptians

were when God made their plagues so wonderful.

9. Of the Jew first - Here we have the first express mention of the

Jews in this chapter. And it is introduced with great propriety.

Their having been trained up in the true religion, and having had

Christ and his apostles first sent to them, will place them in the

foremost rank of the criminals that obey not the truth.

10. But glory - Just opposite to "wrath," from the divine

approbation. honour - Opposite to "indignation," by the divine

appointment; and peace now and for ever, opposed to tribulation

and anguish.

11. For there is no respect of persons with God - He will reward

every one according to his works. But this is well consistent with

his distributing advantages and opportunities of improvement,

according to his own good pleasure.

12. For as many as have sinned - He speaks as of the time past, for

all time will be past at the day of judgment. Without the law -

Without having any written law. Shall also perish without the law

- Without regard had to any outward law; being condemned by the

law written in their hearts. The word also shows the agreement of

the manner of sinning, with the manner of suffering. Perish - He

could not so properly say, Shall be judged without the law.

13. For not the hearers of the law are, even now, just before God,

but the doers of the law shall be justified - Finally acquitted and

rewarded a most sure and important truth, which respects the

gentiles also, though principally the Jews. St. Paul speaks of the

former, ver. 14, &c.; of the latter, ver. 17, &c. Here is therefore no

parenthesis; for the sixteenth verse also depends on the fifteenth,

not on the twelfth. Rom. ii, 16, 15, 12.

14. For when the gentiles - That is, any of them. St. Paul, having

refuted the perverse judgment of the Jews concerning the

heathens, proceeds to show the just judgment of God against

them. He now speaks directly of the heathens, in order to

convince the heathens. Yet the concession he makes to these

serves more strongly to convince the Jews. Do by nature - That is,

without an outward rule; though this also, strictly speaking, is by

preventing grace. The things contained in the law - The ten

commandments being only the substance of the law of nature.

These, not having the written law, are a law unto themselves -

That is, what the law is to the Jews, they are, by the grace of God,

to themselves; namely, a rule of life.

15. Who show - To themselves, to other men, and, in a sense, to

God himself. The work of the law - The substance, though not the

letter, of it. Written on their hearts - By the same hand which

wrote the commandments on the tables of stone. Their conscience

- There is none of all its faculties which the soul has less in its

power than this. Bearing witness - In a trial there are the plaintiff,

the defendant, and the witnesses. Conscience and sin itself are

witnesses against the heathens. Their thoughts sometimes excuse,

sometimes condemn, them. Among themselves - Alternately, like

plaintiff and defendant. Accusing or even defending them - The

very manner of speaking shows that they have far more room to

accuse than to defend.

16. In the day - That is, who show this in the day. Everything will

then be shown to be what it really is. In that day will appear the

law written in their hearts as it often does in the present life.

When God shall judge the secrets of men - On secret

circumstances depends the real quality of actions, frequently

unknown to the actors themselves, ver. 29. Men generally form

their judgments, even of themselves merely from what is

apparent. According to my gospel - According to the tenor of that

gospel which is committed to my care. Hence it appears that the

gospel also is a law.

17. But if thou art called a Jew - This highest point of Jewish

glorying, after a farther description of it interposed, ver. 17-20,

and refuted, ver. 21-24, is itself refuted, ver. 25, &c. The

description consists of twice five articles; of which the former

five, ver. 17, 18, show what he boasts of in himself; the other five,

ver. 19, 20, what he glories in with respect to others. The first

particular of the former five answers to the first of the latter; the

second, to the second, and so on. And restest in the law -

Dependest on it, though it can only condemn thee. And gloriest in

God - As thy God; and that, too, to the exclusion of others.

19. Blind, in darkness, ignorant, babes - These were the titles

which the Jews generally gave the gentiles.

20. Having the form of knowledge and truth - That is, the most

accurate knowledge of the truth.

21. Thou dost not teach thyself - He does not teach himself who

does not practice what he teaches. Dost thou steal, commit

adultery, commit sacrilege - Sin grievously against thy neighbour,

thyself, God. St. Paul had shown the gentiles, first their sins

against God, then against themselves, then against their

neighbours. He now inverts the order: for sins against God are the

most glaring in an heathen, but not in a Jew. Thou that abhorrest

idols - Which all the Jews did, from the time of the Babylonish

captivity. Thou committest sacrilege - Doest what is worse,

robbing Him "who is God over all" of the glory which is due to

him. None of these charges were rashly advanced against the Jews

of that age; for, as their own historian relates, some even of the

priests lived by rapine, and others in gross uncleanness. And as

for sacrilegiously robbing God and his altar, it had been

complained of ever since Malachi; so that the instances are given

with great propriety and judgment.

24. Isaiah lii, 5

25. Circumcision indeed profiteth - He does not say, justifies.

How far it profited is shown in the third and fourth chapters. Thy

circumcision is become uncircumcision - is so already in effect.

Thou wilt have no more benefit by it than if thou hadst never

received it. The very same observation holds with regard to


26. If the uncircumcision - That is, a person uncircumcised. Keep

the law - Walk agreeably to it. Shall not his uncircumcision be

counted for circumcision - In the sight of God?

27. Yea, the uncircumcision that is by nature - Those who are,

literally speaking, uncircumcised. Fulfilling the law - As to the

substance of it. Shall judge thee - Shall condemn thee in that day.

Who by the letter and circumcision - Who having the bare, literal,

external circumcision, transgressest the law.

28. For he is not a Jew - In the most important sense, that is, one

of God's beloved people. Who is one in outward show only;

neither is that the true, acceptable circumcision, which is apparent

in the flesh.

29. But he is a Jew - That is, one of God's people. Who is one

inwardly - In the secret recesses of his soul. And the acceptable

circumcision is that of the heart - Referring to Deut. xxx, 6; the

putting away all inward impurity. This is seated in the spirit, the

inmost soul, renewed by the Spirit of God. And not in the letter -

Not in the external ceremony. Whose praise is not from men, but

from God - The only searcher of the heart.


1. What then, may some say, is the advantage of the Jew, or of the

circumcision - That is, those that are circumcised, above the


2. Chiefly in that they were intrusted with the oracles of God -

The scriptures, in which are so great and precious promises. Other

prerogatives will follow, chap. ix, 4-5. St. Paul here singles out

this by which, after removing the objection, he will convict them

so much the more.

3. Shall their unbelief disannul the faithfulness of God - Will he

not still make good his promises to them that do believe?

4. Psalm ii, 4.

5. But, it may be farther objected, if our unrighteousness be

subservient to God's glory, is it not unjust in him to punish us for

it? I speak as a man - As human weakness would be apt to speak.

6. God forbid - By no means. If it were unjust in God to punish

that unrighteousness which is subservient to his own glory, how

should God judge the world - Since all the unrighteousness in the

world will then commend the righteousness of God.

7. But, may the objector reply, if the truth of God hath abounded -

Has been more abundantly shown. Through my lie - If my lie, that

is, practice contrary to truth, conduces to the glory of God, by

making his truth shine with superior advantage. Why am I still

judged as a sinner - Can this be said to be any sin at all? Ought I

not to do what would otherwise be evil, that so much "good may

come?" To this the apostle does not deign to give a direct answer,

but cuts the objector short with a severe reproof.

8. Whose condemnation is just - The condemnation of all who

either speak or act in this manner. So the apostle absolutely denies

the lawfulness of " doing evil," any evil, "that good may come."

9. What then - Here he resumes what he said, verse 1. Rom. iii, 1.

Under sin - Under the guilt and power of it: the Jews, by

transgressing the written law; the gentiles, by transgressing the

law of nature.

10. As it is written - That all men are under sin appears from the

vices which have raged in all ages. St. Paul therefore rightly cites

David and Isaiah, though they spoke primarily of their own age,

and expressed what manner of men God sees, when he "looks

down from heaven;" not what he makes them by his grace. There

is none righteous - This is the general proposition. The particulars

follow: their dispositions and designs, ver. 11, 12; their discourse,

ver. 13, 14; their actions, ver. 16-18. Psalm xiv, 1, &c.

11. There is none that understandeth - The things of God.

12. They have all turned aside - From the good way. They are

become unprofitable - Helpless impotent, unable to profit either

themselves or others.

13. Their throat - Is noisome and dangerous as an open sepulchre.

Observe the progress of evil discourse, proceeding out of the

heart, through the throat, tongue, lips, till the whole mouth is

filled therewith. The poison of asps - Infectious, deadly

backbiting, tale-bearing, evil-speaking, is under (for honey is on)

their lips. An asp is a venomous kind of serpent. Psalm v, 9;

Psalm cxl, 3.

14. Cursing - Against God. Bitterness - Against their neighbour.

Psalm x, 7.

15. Isaiah lix, 7, 8

17. Of peace - Which can only spring from righteousness.

18. The fear of God is not before their eyes - Much less is the love

of God in their heart. Psalm xxxvi, 1.

19. Whatsoever the law - The Old Testament. Saith, it saith to

them that are under the law - That is, to those who own its

authority; to the Jews, and not the gentiles. St. Paul quoted no

scripture against them, but pleaded with them only from the light

of nature. Every mouth - Full of bitterness, ver. 14, and yet of

boasting, ver. 27. May become guilty - May be fully convicted,

and apparently liable to most just condemnation. These things

were written of old, and were quoted by St. Paul, not to make men

criminal, but to prove them so.

20. No flesh shall be justified - None shall be forgiven and

accepted of God. By the works of the law - On this ground, that

he hath kept the law. St. Paul means chiefly the moral part of it,

ver. 9, 19 chap. ii, 21,

26; &c. which alone is not abolished, ver. 31. And it is not

without reason, that he so often mentions the works of the law,

whether ceremonial or moral; for it was on these only the Jews

relied, being wholly ignorant of those that spring from faith. For

by the law is only the knowledge of sin - But no deliverance either

from the guilt or power of it.

21. But now the righteousness of God - That is, the manner of

becoming righteous which God hath appointed. Without the law -

Without that previous obedience which the law requires; without

reference to the law, or dependence on it. Is manifested - In the

gospel. Being attested by the Law itself, and by the Prophets - By

all the promises in the Old Testament.

22. To all - The Jews. And upon all - The gentiles That believe:

for there is no difference - Either as to the need of justification, or

the manner of it.

23. For all have sinned - In Adam, and in their own persons; by a

sinful nature, sinful tempers, and sinful actions. And are fallen

short of the glory of God - The supreme end of man; short of his

image on earth, and the enjoyment of him in heaven.

24. And are justified - Pardoned and accepted. Freely - Without

any merit of their own. By his grace - Not their own righteousness

or works. Through the redemption - The price Christ has paid.

Freely by his grace - One of these expressions might have served

to convey the apostle's meaning; but he doubles his assertion, in

order to give us the fullest conviction of the truth, and to impress

us with a sense of its peculiar importance. It is not possible to find

words that should more absolutely exclude all consideration of

our own works and obedience, or more emphatically ascribe the

whole of our justification to free, unmerited goodness.

25. Whom God hath set forth - Before angels and men. A

propitiation - To appease an offended God. But if, as some teach,

God never was offended, there was no need of this propitiation.

And, if so, Christ died in vain. To declare his righteousness - To

demonstrate not only his clemency, but his justice; even that

vindictive justice whose essential character and principal office is,

to punish sin. By the remission of past sins - All the sins

antecedent to their believing.

26. For a demonstration of his righteousness - Both of his justice

and mercy. That he might be just - Showing his justice on his own

Son. And yet the merciful justifier of every one that believeth in

Jesus. That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be

strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his

government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner

that believeth in Jesus. The attribute of justice must be preserved

inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction

of punishment on our saviour. On this plan all the attributes

harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no,

nor so much as clouded.

27. Where is the boasting then of the Jew against the gentile? It is

excluded. By what law? of works? Nay - This would have left

room for boasting. But by the law of faith - Since this requires all,

without distinction, to apply as guilty and helpless sinners, to the

free mercy of God in Christ. The law of faith is that divine

constitution which makes faith, not works, the condition of


28. We conclude then that a man is justified by faith - And even

by this, not as it is a work, but as it receives Christ; and,

consequently, has something essentially different from all our

works whatsoever.

29. Surely of the gentiles also - As both nature and the scriptures


30. Seeing it is one God who - Shows mercy to both, and by the

very same means.

31. We establish the law - Both the authority, purity, and the end

of it; by defending that which the law attests; by pointing out

Christ, the end of it; and by showing how it may be fulfilled in its


IV Having proved it by argument, he now proves by example, and

such example as must have greater weight with the Jews than any


1. That justification is by faith:

2. That it is free for the gentiles.

1. That our father Abraham hath found - Acceptance with God.

According to the flesh - That is, by works.

2. The meaning is, If Abraham had been justified by works, he

would have had room to glory. But he had not room to glory.

Therefore he was not justified by works.

3. Abraham believed God - That promise of God concerning the

numerousness of his seed, Gen. xv, 5, 7; but especially the

promise concerning Christ, Gen. xii, 3, through whom all nations

should be blessed. And it was imputed to him for righteousness -

God accepted him as if he had been altogether righteous. Gen. xv,


4. Now to him that worketh - All that the law requires, the reward

is no favour, but an absolute debt. These two examples are

selected and applied with the utmost judgment and propriety.

Abraham was the most illustrious pattern of piety among the

Jewish patriarchs. David was the most eminent of their kings. If

then neither of these was justified by his own obedience, if they

both obtained acceptance with God, not as upright beings who

might claim it, but as sinful creatures who must implore it, the

consequence is glaring It is such as must strike every attentive

understanding, and must affect every individual person.

5. But to him that worketh not - It being impossible he should

without faith. But believeth, his faith is imputed to him for

righteousness - Therefore God's affirming of Abraham, that faith

was imputed to him for righteousness, plainly shows that he

worked not; or, in other words, that he was not justified by works,

but by faith only. Hence we see plainly how groundless that

opinion is, that holiness or sanctification is previous to our

justification. For the sinner, being first convinced of his sin and

danger by the Spirit of God, stands trembling before the awful

tribunal of divine justice; and has nothing to plead, but his own

guilt, and the merits of a Mediator. Christ here interposes; justice

is satisfied; the sin is remitted, and pardon is applied to the soul,

by a divine faith wrought by the Holy Ghost, who then begins the

great work of inward sanctification. Thus God justifies the

ungodly, and yet remains just, and true to all his attributes! But let

none hence presume to "continue in sin;" for to the impenitent,

God "is a consuming fire." On him that justifieth the ungodly - If

a man could possibly be made holy before he was justified, it

would entirely set his justification aside; seeing he could not, in

the very nature of the thing, be justified if he were not, at that very

time, ungodly.

6. So David also - David is fitly introduced after Abraham,

because be also received and delivered down the promise.

Affirmeth - A man is justified by faith alone, and not by works.

Without works-That is, without regard to any former good works

supposed to have been done by him.

7. Happy are they whose sins are covered - With the veil of divine

mercy. If there be indeed such a thing as happiness on earth, it is

the portion of that man whose iniquities are forgiven, and who

enjoys the manifestation of that pardon. Well may he endure all

the afflictions of life with cheerfulness, and look upon death with

comfort. O let us not contend against it, but earnestly pray that

this happiness may be ours! Psalm xxxii, 1, 2.

9. This happiness - Mentioned by Abraham and David. On the

circumcision - Those that are circumcised only. Faith was

imputed to Abraham for righteousness - This is fully consistent

with our being justified, that is, pardoned and accepted by God

upon our believing, for the sake of what Christ hath done and

suffered. For though this, and this alone, be the meritorious cause

of our acceptance with God, yet faith may be said to be "imputed

to us for righteousness," as it is the sole condition of our

acceptance. We may observe here, forgiveness, not imputing sin,

and imputing righteousness, are all one.

10. Not in circumcision - Not after he was circumcised; for he was

justified before Ishmael was born, Gen. xv, 1-21; but he was not

circumcised till Ishmael was thirteen years old, Gen. xvii, 25.

11. And - After he was justified. He received the sign of

circumcision - Circumcision, which was a sign or token of his

being in covenant with God. A seal - An assurance on God's part,

that he accounted him righteous, upon his believing, before he

was circumcised. Who believe in uncircumcision - That is, though

they are not circumcised.

12. And the father of the circumcision - Of those who are

circumcised, and believe as Abraham did. To those who believe

not, Abraham is not a father, neither are they his seed.

13. The promise, that he should be the heir of the world - Is the

same as that he should be "the father of all nations," namely, of

those in all nations who receive the blessing. The whole world

was promised to him and them conjointly. Christ is the heir of the

world, and of all things; and so are all Abraham's seed, all that

believe in him with the faith of Abraham

14. If they only who are of the law - Who have kept the whole

law. Are heirs, faith is made void - No blessing being to be

obtained by it; and so the promise is of no effect.

15. Because the law - Considered apart from that grace, which

though it was in fact mingled with it, yet is no part of the legal

dispensation, is so difficult, and we so weak and sinful, that,

instead of bringing us a blessing, it only worketh wrath; it

becomes to us an occasion of wrath, and exposes us to

punishment as transgressors. Where there is no law in force, there

can be no transgression of it.

16. Therefore it - The blessing. Is of faith, that it might be of grace

- That it might appear to flow from the free love of God, and that

the promise might be firm, sure, and effectual, to all the spiritual

seed of Abraham; not only Jews, but gentiles also, if they follow

his faith.

17. Before God - Though before men nothing of this appeared,

those nations being then unborn. As quickening the dead - The

dead are not dead to him and even the things that are not, are

before God. And calling the things that are not - Summoning them

to rise into being, and appear before him. The seed of Abraham

did not then exist; yet God said, "So shall thy seed be." A man can

say to his servant actually existing, Do this; and he doeth it: but

God saith to the light, while it does not exist, Go forth; and it

goeth. Gen. xvii, 5. 18-21. The Apostle shows the power and

excellence of that faith to which he ascribes justification. Who

against hope - Against all probability, believed and hoped in the

promise. The same thing is apprehended both by faith and hope;

by faith, as a thing which God has spoken; by hope, as a good

thing which God has promised to us. So shall thy seed be - Both

natural and spiritual, as the stars of heaven for multitude. Gen. xv,


23. On his account only - To do personal honour to him.

24. But on ours also - To establish us in seeking justification by

faith, and not by works; and to afford a full answer to those who

say that, " to be justified by works means only, by Judaism; to be

justified by faith means, by embracing Christianity, that is, the

system of doctrines so called." Sure it is that Abraham could not

in this sense be justified either by faith or by works; and equally

sure that David (taking the words thus) was justified by works,

and not by faith. Who raised up Jesus from the dead - As he did in

a manner both Abraham and Sarah. If we believe on him who

raised up Jesus - God the Father therefore is the proper object of

justifying faith. It is observable, that St. Paul here, in speaking

both of our faith and of the faith of Abraham, puts a part for the

whole. And he mentions that part, with regard to Abraham, which

would naturally affect the Jews most.

25. Who was delivered - To death. For our offenses - As an

atonement for them. And raised for our justification - To empower

us to receive that atonement by faith.


1. Being justified by faith - This is the sum of the preceding

chapters. We have peace with God - Being enemies to God no

longer, ver. 10; neither fearing his wrath, ver. 9. We have peace,

hope, love, and power over sin, the sum of the fifth, sixth,

seventh, and eighth chapters. These are the fruits of justifying

faith: where these are not, that faith is not.

2. Into this grace - This state of favour.

3. We glory in tribulations also - Which we are so far from

esteeming a mark of God's displeasure, that we receive them as

tokens of his fatherly love, whereby we are prepared for a more

exalted happiness. The Jews objected to the persecuted state of the

Christians as inconsistent with the people of the Messiah. It is

therefore with great propriety that the apostle so often mentions

the blessings arising from this very thing.

4. And patience works more experience of the sincerity of our

grace, and of God's power and faithfulness.

5. Hope shameth us not - That is, gives us the highest glorying.

We glory in this our hope, because the love of God is shed abroad

in our hearts - The divine conviction of God's love to us, and that

love to God which is both the earnest and the beginning of

heaven. By the Holy Ghost - The efficient cause of all these

present blessings, and the earnest of those to come.

6. How can we now doubt of God's love? For when we were

without strength - Either to think, will, or do anything good. In

due time - Neither too soon nor too late; but in that very point of

time which the wisdom of God knew to be more proper than any

other. Christ died for the ungodly - Not only to set them a pattern,

or to procure them power to follow it. It does not appear that this

expression, of dying for any one, has any other signification than

that of rescuing the life of another by laying down our own.

7. A just man - One who gives to all what is strictly their due The

good man - One who is eminently holy; full of love, of

compassion, kindness, mildness, of every heavenly and amiable

temper. Perhaps-one-would-even-dare to die - Every word

increases the strangeness of the thing, and declares even this to be

something great and unusual.

8. But God recommendeth - A most elegant expression. Those are

wont to be recommended to us, who were before either unknown

to, or alienated from, us. While we were sinners - So far from

being good, that we were not even just.

9. By his blood - By his bloodshedding. We shall be saved from

wrath through him - That is, from all the effects of the wrath of

God. But is there then wrath in God? Is not wrath a human

passion? And how can this human passion be in God? We may

answer this by another question: Is not love a human passion?

And how can this human passion be in God? But to answer

directly: wrath in man, and so love in man, is a human passion.

But wrath in God is not a human passion; nor is love, as it is in

God. Therefore the inspired writers ascribe both the one and the

other to God only in an analogical sense.

10. If - As sure as; so the word frequently signifies; particularly in

this and the eighth chapter. We shalt be saved - Sanctified and

glorified. Through his life - Who "ever liveth to make intercession

for us."

11. And not only so, but we also glory - The whole sentence, from

the third to the eleventh verse, may be taken together thus: We not

only "rejoice in hope of the glory of God," but also in the midst of

tribulations we glory in God himself through our Lord Jesus

Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.

12. Therefore - This refers to all the preceding discourse; from

which the apostle infers what follows. He does not therefore

properly make a digression, but returns to speak again of sin and

of righteousness. As by one man - Adam; who is mentioned, and

not Eve, as being the representative of mankind. Sin entered into

the world - Actual sin, and its consequence, a sinful nature. And

death - With all its attendants. It entered into the world when it

entered into being; for till then it did not exist. By sin - Therefore

it could not enter before sin. Even so - Namely, by one man. In

that - So the word is used also, 2 Cor. v, 4. All sinned - In Adam.

These words assign the reason why death came upon all men;

infants themselves not excepted, in that all sinned.

13. For until the law sin was in the world - All, I say, had sinned,

for sin was in the world long before the written law; but, I grant,

sin is not so much imputed, nor so severely punished by God,

where there is no express law to convince men of it. Yet that all

had sinned, even then, appears in that all died.

14. Death reigned - And how vast is his kingdom! Scarce can we

find any king who has as many subjects, as are the kings whom he

hath conquered. Even over them that had not sinned after the

likeness of Adam's transgression - Even over infants who had

never sinned, as Adam did, in their own persons; and over others

who had not, like him, sinned against an express law. Who is the

figure of him that was to come - Each of them being a public

person, and a federal head of mankind. The one, the fountain of

sin and death to mankind by his offense; the other, of

righteousness and life by his free gift. Thus far the apostle shows

the agreement between the first and second Adam: afterward he

shows the differences between them. The agreement may be

summed up thus: As by one man sin entered into the world, and

death by sin; so by one man righteousness entered into the world,

and life by righteousness. As death passed upon all men, in that

all had sinned; so life passed upon all men, (who are in the second

Adam by faith,) in that all are justified. And as death through the

sin of the first Adam reigned even over them who had not sinned

after the likeness of Adam's transgression; so through the

righteousness of Christ, even those who have not obeyed, after the

likeness of his obedience, shall reign in life. We may add, As the

sin of Adam, without the sins which we afterwards committed,

brought us death; so the righteousness of Christ, without the good

works which we afterwards perform, brings us life: although still

every good, as well as evil, work, will receive its due reward.

15. Yet not - St. Paul now describes the difference between Adam

and Christ; and that much more directly and expressly than the

agreement between them. Now the fall and the free gift differ,

1. In amplitude, ver. 15.

2. He from whom sin came, and He from whom the free gift

came, termed also "the gift of righteousness," differ in power, ver.


3. The reason of both is subjoined, ver. 17.

4. This premised, the offense and the free gift are compared, with

regard to their effect, ver. 18, and with regard to their cause, ver.


16. The sentence was by one offense to Adam's condemnation -

Occasioning the sentence of death to pass upon him, which, by

consequence, overwhelmed his posterity. But the free gift is of

many offenses unto justification - Unto the purchasing it for all

men, notwithstanding many offenses.

17. There is a difference between grace and the gift. Grace is

opposed to the offense; the gift, to death, being the gift of life.

18. Justification of life - Is that sentence of God, by which a

sinner under sentence of death is adjudged to life.

19. As by the disobedience of one man many (that is, all men)

were constituted sinners - Being then in the loins of their first

parent, the common head and representative of them all. So by the

obedience of one - By his obedience unto death; by his dying for

us. Many - All that believe. Shall be constituted righteous -

Justified, pardoned.

20. The law came in between - The offense and the free gift. That

the offense might abound - That is, the consequence (not the

design) of the law's coming in was, not the taking away of sin, but

the increase of it. Yet where sin abounded, grace did much more

abound - Not only in the remission of that sin which Adam

brought on us, but of all our own; not only in remission of sins,

but infusion of holiness; not only in deliverance from death, but

admission to everlasting life, a far more noble and excellent life

than that which we lost by Adam's fall.

21. That as sin had reigned - so grace also might reign - Which

could not reign before the fall; before man had sinned. Through

righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord - Here is

pointed out the source of all our blessings, the rich and free grace

of God. The meritorious cause; not any works of righteousness of

man, but the alone merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. The effect or

end of all; not only pardon, but life; divine life, leading to glory.


1. The apostle here sets himself more fully to vindicate his

doctrine from the consequence above suggested, chap. iii, 7, 8. He

had then only in strong terms denied and renounced it: here he

removes the very foundation thereof.

2. Dead to sin - Freed both from the guilt and from the power of


3. As many as have been baptized into Jesus Christ have been

baptized into his death - In baptism we, through faith, are

ingrafted into Christ; and we draw new spiritual life from this new

root, through his Spirit, who fashions us like unto him, and

particularly with regard to his death and resurrection.

4. We are buried with him - Alluding to the ancient manner of

baptizing by immersion. That as Christ was raised from the dead

by the glory - Glorious power. Of the Father, so we also, by the

same power, should rise again; and as he lives a new life in

heaven, so we should walk in newness of life. This, says the

apostle, our very baptism represents to us.

5. For - Surely these two must go together; so that if we are

indeed made conformable to his death, we shall also know the

power of his resurrection.

6. Our old man - Coeval with our being, and as old as the fall; our

evil nature; a strong and beautiful expression for that entire

depravity and corruption which by nature spreads itself over the

whole man, leaving no part uninfected. This in a believer is

crucified with Christ, mortified, gradually killed, by virtue of our

union with him. That the body of sin - All evil tempers, words,

and actions, which are the "members" of the "old man,"

Colossians iii, 5, might be destroyed.

7. For he that is dead - With Christ. Is freed from the guilt of past,

and from the power of present, sin, as dead men from the

commands of their former masters.

8. Dead with Christ - Conformed to his death, by dying to sin.

10. He died to sin - To atone for and abolish it. He liveth unto

God - A glorious eternal life, such as we shall live also.

12. Let not sin reign even in your mortal body - It must be subject

to death, but it need not be subject to sin.

13. Neither present your members to sin - To corrupt nature, a

mere tyrant. But to God - Your lawful King.

14. Sin shall not have dominion over you - It has neither right nor

power. For ye are not under the law - A dispensation of terror and

bondage, which only shows sin, without enabling you to conquer

it. But under grace - Under the merciful dispensation of the

gospel, which brings complete victory over it to every one who is

under the powerful influences of the Spirit of Christ.

17. The form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered -

Literally it is, The mould into which ye have been delivered;

which, as it contains a beautiful allusion, conveys also a very

instructive admonition; intimating that our minds, all pliant and

ductile, should be conformed to the gospel precepts, as liquid

metal, take the figure of the mould into which they are cast.

18. Being then set free from sin - We may see the apostles method

thus far at one view: - Chap. Ver.

1. Bondage to sin chap. iii, 9

2. The knowledge of sin by the law; a sense of God's wrath;

inward death chap. iii, 20

3. The Revelation of the righteousness of God in Christ through

the gospel chap. iii, 21

4. The center of all, faith, embracing that righteousness chap. iii,


5. Justification, whereby God forgives all past sin, and freely

accepts the sinner chap. iii, 24

6. The gift of the Holy Ghost; a sense of chap. v, 5, God's love

new inward life ver. 4

7. The free service of righteousness ver. 12

19. I speak after the manner of men - Thus it is necessary that the

scripture should let itself down to the language of men. Because

of the weakness of your flesh - Slowness of understanding flows

from the weakness of the flesh, that is, of human nature. As ye

have presented your members servants to uncleanness and

iniquity unto iniquity, so now present your members servants of

righteousness unto holiness - Iniquity (whereof uncleanness is an

eminent part) is here opposed to righteousness; and unto iniquity

is the opposite of unto holiness. Righteousness here is a

conformity to the divine will; holiness, to the whole divine nature.

Observe, they who are servants of righteousness go on to holiness;

but they who are servants to iniquity get no farther. Righteousness

is service, because we live according to the will of another; but

liberty, because of our inclination to it, and delight in it.

20. When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from

righteousness - In all reason, therefore, ye ought now to be free

from unrighteousness; to be as uniform and zealous in serving

God as ye were in serving the devil.

21. Those things - He speaks of them as afar off.

23. Death - Temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Is the due wages of

sin; but eternal life is the gift of God - The difference is

remarkable. Evil works merit the reward they receive: good works

do not. The former demand wages: the latter accept a free gift.


1. The apostle continues the comparison between the former and

the present state of a believer, and at the same time endeavours to

wean the Jewish believers from their fondness for the Mosaic law.

I speak to them that know the law - To the Jews chiefly here. As

long - So long, and no longer. As it liveth - The law is here

spoken of, by a common figure, as a person, to which, as to an

husband, life and death are ascribed. But he speaks indifferently

of the law being dead to us, or we to it, the sense being the same.

2. She is freed from the law of her husband - From that law which

gave him a peculiar property in her.

4. Thus ye also - Are now as free from the Mosaic law as an

husband is, when his wife is dead. By the body of Christ - Offered

up; that is, by the merits of his death, that law expiring with him.

5. When ye were in the flesh - Carnally minded, in a state of

nature; before we believed in Christ. Our sins which were by the

law - Accidentally occasioned, or irritated thereby. Wrought in

our members - Spread themselves all over the whole man.

6. Being dead to that whereby we were held - To our old husband,

the law. That we might serve in newness of spirit - In a new,

spiritual manner. And not in the oldness of the letter - Not in a

bare literal, external way, as we did before.

7. What shall we say then - This is a kind of a digression, to the

beginning of the next chapter, wherein the apostle, in order to

show in the most lively manner the weakness and inefficacy of the

law, changes the person and speaks as of himself, concerning the

misery of one under the law. This St. Paul frequently does, when

he is not speaking of his own person, but only assuming another

character, chap. iii, 5, 1 Cor. x, 30, 1 Cor. iv, 6. The character here

assumed is that of a man, first ignorant of the law, then under it

and sincerely, but ineffectually, striving to serve God. To have

spoken this of himself, or any true believer, would have been

foreign to the whole scope of his discourse; nay, utterly contrary

thereto, as well as to what is expressly asserted, chap. viii, 2. Is

the law sin - Sinful in itself, or a promoter of sin. I had not known

lust - That is, evil desire. I had not known it to be a sin; nay,

perhaps I should not have known that any such desire was in me:

it did not appear, till it was stirred up by the prohibition.

8. But sin - My inbred corruption. Taking occasion by the

commandment - Forbidding, but not subduing it, was only fretted,

and wrought in me so much the more all manner of evil desire.

For while I was without the knowledge of the law, sin was dead -

Neither so apparent, nor so active; nor was I under the least

apprehensions of any danger from it.

9. And I was once alive without the law - Without the close

application of it. I had much life, wisdom, virtue, strength: so I

thought. But when the commandment - That is, the law, a part put

for the whole; but this expression particularly intimates its

compulsive force, which restrains, enjoins, urges, forbids,

threatens. Came - In its spiritual meaning, to my heart, with the

power of God. Sin revived, and I died - My inbred sin took fire,

and all my virtue and strength died away; and I then saw myself to

be dead in sin, and liable to death eternal.

10. The commandment which was intended for life - Doubtless it

was originally intended by God as a grand means of preserving

and increasing spiritual life, and leading to life everlasting.

11. Deceived me - While I expected life by the law, sin came

upon me unawares and slew all my hopes.

12. The commandment - That is, every branch of the law. Is holy,

and just, and good - It springs from, and partakes of, the holy

nature of God; it is every way just and right in itself; it is designed

wholly for the good of man.

13. Was then that which is good made the cause of evil to me;

yea, of death, which is the greatest of evil? Not so. But it was sin,

which was made death to me, inasmuch as it wrought death in me

even by that which is good - By the good law. So that sin by the

commandment became exceeding sinful - The consequence of

which was, that inbred sin, thus driving furiously in spite of the

commandment, became exceeding sinful; the guilt thereof being

greatly aggravated.

14. I am carnal - St. Paul, having compared together the past and

present state of believers, that "in the flesh," ver. 5, and that "in

the spirit," ver. 6, in answering two objections, (Is then the law

sin? ver. 7, and, Is the law death? ver. 13,) interweaves the whole

process of a man reasoning, groaning, striving, and escaping from

the legal to the evangelical state. This he does from ver. 7, to the

end of this chapter. Sold under sin - Totally enslaved; slaves

bought with money were absolutely at their master's disposal.

16. It is good - This single word implies all the three that were

used before, ver. 12, "holy, just, and good."

17. It is no more I that can properly be said to do it, but rather sin

that dwelleth in me - That makes, as it were, another person, and

tyrannizes over me.

18. In my flesh - The flesh here signifies the whole man as he is

by nature.

21. I find then a law - An inward constraining power, flowing

from the dictate of corrupt nature.

22. For I delight in the law of God - This is more than "I consent

to," ver. 16. The day of liberty draws near. The inward man -

Called the mind, ver. 23, 25.

23. But I see another law in my members - Another inward

constraining power of evil inclinations and bodily appetites.

Warring against the law of my mind - The dictate of my mind,

which delights in the law of God. And captivating me - In spite of

all my resistance

24. Wretched man that I am - The struggle is now come to the

height; and the man, finding there is no help in himself, begins

almost unawares to pray, Who shall deliver me? He then seeks

and looks for deliverance, till God in Christ appears to answer his

question. The word which we translate deliver, implies force. And

indeed without this there can be no deliverance. The body of this

death - That is, this body of death; this mass of sin, leading to

death eternal, and cleaving as close to me as my body to my soul.

We may observe, the deliverance is not wrought yet.

25. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord - That is, God will

deliver me through Christ. But the apostle, as his frequent manner

is, beautifully interweaves his assertion with thanksgiving;' the

hymn of praise answering in a manner to the voice of sorrow,

"Wretched man that I am!" So then - He here sums up the whole,

and concludes what he began, ver. 7. I myself - Or rather that I,

the person whom I am personating, till this deliverance is

wrought. Serve the law of God with my mind - My reason and

conscience declare for God. But with my flesh the law of sin - But

my corrupt passions and appetites still rebel. The man is now

utterly weary of his bondage, and upon the brink of liberty.


1. There is therefore now no condemnation - Either for things

present or past. Now he comes to deliverance and liberty. The

apostle here resumes the thread of his discourse, which was

interrupted, chap. vii, 7.

2. The law of the Spirit - That is, the gospel. Hath freed me from

the law of sin and death - That is, the Mosaic dispensation.

3. For what the law - Of Moses. Could not do, in that it was weak

through the flesh - Incapable of conquering our evil nature. If it

could, God needed not to have sent his own Son in the likeness of

sinful flesh - We with our sinful flesh were devoted to death. But

God sending his own Son, in the likeness of that flesh, though

pure from sin, condemned that sin which was in our flesh; gave

sentence, that sin should be destroyed, and the believer wholly

delivered from it.

4. That the righteousness of the law - The holiness it required,

described, ver. 11. Might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the

flesh, but after the Spirit - Who are guided in all our thoughts,

words, and actions, not by corrupt nature, but by the Spirit of

God. From this place St. Paul describes primarily the state of

believers, and that of unbelievers only to illustrate this.

5. They that are after the flesh - Who remain under the guidance

of corrupt nature. Mind the things of the flesh - Have their

thoughts and affections fixed on such things as gratify corrupt

nature; namely, on things visible and temporal; on things of the

earth, on pleasure, (of sense or imagination,) praise, or riches. But

they who are after the Spirit - Who are under his guidance. Mind

the things of the Spirit - Think of, relish, love things invisible,

eternal; the things which the Spirit hath revealed, which he works

in us, moves us to, and promises to give us.

6. For to be carnally minded - That is, to mind the things of the

flesh. Is death - The sure mark of spiritual death, and the way to

death everlasting. But to be spiritually minded - That is, to mind

the things of the Spirit. Is life - A sure mark of spiritual life, and

the way to life everlasting. And attended with peace - The peace

of God, which is the foretaste of life everlasting; and peace with

God, opposite to the enmity mentioned in the next verse.

7. Enmity against God - His existence, power, and providence.

8. They who are in the flesh - Under the government of it.

9. In the Spirit - Under his government. If any man have not the

Spirit of Christ - Dwelling and governing in him. He is none of

his - He is not a member of Christ; not a Christian; not in a state

of salvation. A plain, express declaration, which admits of no

exception. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!

10. Now if Christ be in you - Where the Spirit of Christ is, there is

Christ. The body indeed is dead - Devoted to death. Because of

sin - Heretofore committed. But the Spirit is life - Already truly

alive. Because of righteousness - Now attained. From ver. 13, St.

Paul, having finished what he had begun, chap. vi, 1, describes

purely the state of believers.

12. We are not debtors to the flesh - We ought not to follow it.

13. The deeds of the flesh - Not only evil actions, but evil desires,

tempers, thoughts. If ye mortify - Kill, destroy these. Ye shall live

- The life of faith more abundantly here, and hereafter the life of


14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God - In all the ways of

righteousness. They are the sons of God - Here St. Paul enters

upon the description of those blessings which he comprises, ver.

30, in the word glorified; though, indeed, he does not describe

mere glory, but that which is still mingled with the cross. The sum

is, through sufferings to glory.

15. For ye - Who are real Christians. Have not received the spirit

of bondage - The Holy Ghost was not properly a spirit of

bondage, even in the time of the Old Testament. Yet there was

something of bondage remaining even in those who then had

received the Spirit. Again - As the Jews did before. We - All and

every believer. Cry - The word denotes a vehement speaking, with

desire, confidence, constancy. Abba, Father - The latter word

explains the former. By using both the Syriac and the Greek word,

St. Paul seems to point out the joint cry both of the Jewish and

gentile believers. The spirit of bondage here seems directly to

mean, those operations of the Holy Spirit by which the soul, on its

first conviction, feels itself in bondage to sin, to the world, to

Satan, and obnoxious to the wrath of God. This, therefore, and the

Spirit of adoption, are one and the same Spirit, only manifesting

itself in various operations, according to the various

circumstances of the persons.

16. The same Spirit beareth witness with our spirit - With the

spirit of every true believer, by a testimony distinct from that of

his own spirit, or the testimony of a good conscience. Happy they

who enjoy this clear and constant.

17. Joint heirs - That we may know it is a great inheritance which

God will give us for he hath given a great one to his Son. If we

suffer with him - Willingly and cheerfully, for righteousness'

sake. This is a new proposition, referring to what follows.

18. For I reckon - This verse gives the reason why he but now

mentioned sufferings and glory. When that glory "shall be

revealed in us," then the sons of God will be revealed also.

19. For the earnest expectation - The word denotes a lively hope

of something drawing near, and a vehement longing after it. Of

the creation - Of all visible creatures, believers excepted, who are

spoken of apart; each kind, according as it is capable. All these

have been sufferers through sin; and to all these (the finally

impenitent excepted) shall refreshment redound from the glory of

the children of God. Upright heathens are by no means to be

excluded from this earnest expectation: nay, perhaps something of

it may at some times be found even in the vainest of men; who

(although in the hurry of life they mistake vanity for liberty, and

partly stifle. partly dissemble, their groans, yet) in their sober,

quiet, sleepless, afflicted hours, pour forth many sighs in the ear

of God.

20. The creation was made subject to vanity - Abuse, misery, and

corruption. By him who subjected it - Namely, God, Gen. iii, 17,

v, 29. Adam only made it liable to the sentence which God

pronounced; yet not without hope.

21. The creation itself shall be delivered - Destruction is not

deliverance: therefore whatsoever is destroyed, or ceases to be, is

not delivered at all. Will, then, any part of the creation be

destroyed? Into the glorious liberty - The excellent state wherein

they were created.

22. For the whole creation groaneth together - With joint groans,

as it were with one voice. And travaileth - Literally, is in the pains

of childbirth, to be delivered of the burden of the curse. Until now

- To this very hour; and so on till the time of deliverance.

23. And even we, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit - That is,

the Spirit, who is the first-fruits of our inheritance. The adoption -

Persons who had been privately adopted among the Roman were

often brought forth into the forum, and there publicly owned as

their sons by those who adopted them. So at the general

resurrection, when the body itself is redeemed from death, the

sons of God shall be publicly owned by him in the great assembly

of men and angels. The redemption of our body - From corruption

to glory and immortality.

24. For we are saved by hope - Our salvation is now only in hope.

We do not yet possess this full salvation.

26. Likewise the Spirit - Nay, not only the universe, not only the

children of God, but the Spirit of God also himself, as it were,

groaneth, while he helpeth our infirmities, or weaknesses. Our

understandings are weak, particularly in the things of God our

desires are weak; our prayers are weak. We know not - Many

times. What we should pray for - Much less are we able to pray

for it as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us - In

our hearts, even as Christ does in heaven. With groanings - The

matter of which is from ourselves, but the Spirit forms them; and

they are frequently inexpressible, even by the faithful themselves.

27. But he who searcheth the hearts - Wherein the Spirit dwells

and intercedes. Knoweth - Though man cannot utter it. What is

the mind of the Spirit, for he maketh intercession for the saints -

Who are near to God. According to God - According to his will,

as is worthy of God. and acceptable to him.

28. And we know - This in general; though we do not always

know particularly what to pray for. That all things - Ease or pain,

poverty or riches, and the ten thousand changes of life. Work

together for good - Strongly and sweetly for spiritual and eternal

good. To them that are called according to his purpose - His

gracious design of saving a lost world by the death of his Son.

This is a new proposition. St. Paul, being about to recapitulate the

whole blessing contained in justification, (termed "glorification,"

ver. 30,) first goes back to the purpose or decree of God, which is

frequently mentioned in holy writ. To explain this (nearly in the

words of an eminent writer) a little more at large:-When a man

has a work of time and importance before him, he pauses,

consults, and contrives; and when he has laid a plan, resolves or

decrees to proceed accordingly. Having observed this in

ourselves, we are ready to apply it to God also; and he, in

condescension to us has applied it to himself. The works of

providence and redemption are vast and stupendous, and therefore

we are apt to conceive of God as deliberating and consulting on

them, and then decreeing to act according to "the counsel of his

own will;" as if, long before the world was made, he had been

concerting measures both as to the making and governing of it,

and had then writ down his decrees, which altered not, any more

than the laws of the Medes and Persians. Whereas, to take this

consulting and decreeing in a literal sense, would be the same

absurdity as to ascribe a real human body and human passions to

the ever-blessed God. This is only a popular representation of his

infallible knowledge and unchangeable wisdom; that is, he does

all things as wisely as a man can possibly do, after the deepest

consultation, and as steadily pursues the most proper method as

one can do who has laid a scheme beforehand. But then, though

the effects be such as would argue consultation and consequent

decrees in man, yet what need of a moment's consultation in Him

who sees all things at one view? Nor had God any more occasion

to pause and deliberate, and lay down rules for his own conduct

from all eternity, than he has now. What was there any fear of his

mistaking afterwards, if he had not beforehand prepared decrees,

to direct him what he was to do? Will any man say, he was wiser

before the creation than since? or had he then more leisure, that he

should take that opportunity to settle his affairs, and make rules

(or himself, from which he was never to vary? He has doubtless

the same wisdom and all other perfections at this day which he

had from eternity; and is now as capable of making decrees, or

rather has no more occasion for them now than formerly: his

understanding being always equally clear and bright, his wisdom

equally infallible.

29. Whom he foreknew, he also predestinated conformable to the

image of his Son - Here the apostle declares who those are whom

he foreknew and predestinated to glory; namely, those who are

conformable to the image of his Son. This is the mark of those

who are foreknown and will be glorified,

2 Tim. ii, 19. Phil. iii, 10, 21.

30. Them he - In due time. Called - By his gospel and his Spirit.

And whom he called - When obedient to the heavenly calling,

Acts xxvi, 19. He also justified - Forgave and accepted. And

whom he justified - Provided they "continued in his goodness,"

chap. xi, 22, he in the end glorified - St. Paul does not affirm,

either here or in any other part of his writings, that precisely the

same number of men are called, justified, and glorified. He does

not deny that a believer may fall away and be cut off between his

special calling and his glorification, chap. xi, 22. Neither does he

deny that many are called who never are justified. He only affirms

that this is the method whereby God leads us step by step toward

heaven. He glorified - He speaks as one looking back from the

goal, upon the race of faith. Indeed grace, as it is glory begun, is

both an earnest and a foretaste of eternal glory.

31. What shall we say then to these things - Related in the third,

fifth, and eighth chapters? As if he had said, We cannot go, think,

or wish anything farther. If God be for us - Here follow four

periods, one general and three particular. Each begins with

glorying in the grace of God, which is followed by a question

suitable to it, challenging all opponents to all which, "I am

persuaded," &c., is a general answer. The general period is, If

God be for us, who can be against us? The first particular period,

relating to the past time, is, He that spared not his own Son, how

shall he not freely give us all things? The second, relating to the

present, is, It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?

The third, relating to the future, is, It is Christ that died - Who

shall separate us from the love of Christ?

32. He that - This period contains four sentences: He spared not

his own Son; therefore he will freely give us all things. He

delivered him up for us all; therefore, none can lay anything to our

charge. Freely - For all that follows justification is a free gift also.

All things - Needful or profitable for us.

33. God's elect - The above-cited author observes, that long before

the coming of Christ the heathen world revolted from the true

God, and were therefore reprobated, or rejected. But the nation of

the Jews were chosen to be the people of God, and were therefore

styled, "the children" or "sons of God," Deut. xiv, 1; "holy

people," Deut. vii, 6; xiv, 2; "a chosen seed," Deut. iv, 37; "the

elect," Isaiah xli, 8, 9; xliii, 10; "the called of God," Isaiah xlviii,

12. And these titles were given to all the nation of Israel,

including both good and bad. Now the gospel having the most

strict connection with the Books of the Old Testament, where

these phrases frequently occur; and our Lord and his apostles

being native Jews, and beginning to preach in the land of Israel,

the language in which they preached would of course abound with

the phrases of the Jewish nation. And hence it is easy to see why

such of them as would not receive him were styled reprobated.

For they no longer continued to be the people of God; whereas

this and those other honourable titles were continued to all such

Jews as embraced Christianity. And the same appellations which

once belonged to the Jewish nation were now given to the gentile

Christians also together with which they were invested with all

the privileges of "the chosen people of God;" and nothing could

cut them off from these but their own wilful apostasy. It does not

appear that even good men were ever termed God's elect till

above two thousand years from the creation. God's electing or

choosing the nation of Israel, and separating them from the other

nations, who were sunk in idolatry and all wickedness, gave the

first occasion to this sort of language. And as the separating the

Christians from the Jews was a like event, no wonder it was

expressed in like words and phrases only with this difference, the

term elect was of old applied to all the members of the visible

church; whereas in the New Testament it is applied only to the

members of the invisible.

34. Yea rather, that is risen - Our faith should not stop at his

death, but be exercised farther on his resurrection, kingdom,

second coming. Who maketh intercession for us - Presenting there

his obedience, his sufferings, his prayers, and our prayers

sanctified through him.

35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ - Toward us?

Shall affliction or distress - He proceeds in order, from less

troubles to greater: can any of these separate us from his

protection in it; and, if he sees good, deliverance from it?

36. All the day - That is, every day, continually. We are accounted

- By our enemies; by ourselves. Psalm xliv, 22.

37. We more than conquer - We are not only no losers, but

abundant gainers, by all these trials. This period seems to describe

the full assurance of hope.

38. I am persuaded - This is inferred from the thirty-fourth verse,

in an admirable order: - Neither death" shall hurt us; For "Christ is

dead:" "Nor life;" 'is risen" Nor angels, nor principalities, nor

powers; nor things pre- sent, nor things to come;" "is at the right

hand of God:" "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature;"

"maketh intercession for us." Neither death - Terrible as it is to

natural men; a violent death in particular, ver. 36. Nor life - With

all the affliction and distress it can bring, ver. 35; or a long, easy

life; or all living men. Nor angels - Whether good (if it were

possible they should attempt it) or bad, with all their wisdom and

strength. Nor principalities, nor powers - Not even those of the

highest rank, or the most eminent power. Nor things present -

Which may befall us during our pilgrimage; or the whole world,

till it passeth away. Nor things to come - Which may occur either

when our time on earth is past, or when time itself is at an end, as

the final judgment, the general conflagration, the everlasting fire.

Nor height, nor depth - The former sentence respected the

differences of times; this, the differences of places. How many

great and various things are contained in these words, we do not,

need not, cannot know yet. The height - In St. Paul's sublime

style, is put for heaven. The depth - For the great abyss: that is,

neither the heights, I will not say of walls, mountains, seas, but, of

heaven itself, can move us; nor the abyss itself, the very thought

of which might astonish the boldest creature. Nor any creature -

Nothing beneath the Almighty; visible enemies he does not even

deign to name. Shall be able - Either by force, ver. 35; or by any

legal claim, ver. 33, &c. To separate us from the love of God in

Christ - Which will surely save, protect, deliver us who believe in,

and through, and from, them all.

IX In this chapter St. Paul, after strongly declaring his love and

esteem for them, sets himself to answer the grand objection of his

countrymen; namely, that the rejection of the Jews and reception

of the gentiles was contrary to the word of God. That he had not

here the least thought of personal election or reprobation is


1. Because it lay quite wide of his design, which was this, to show

that God's rejecting the Jews and receiving the gentiles was

consistent with his word

2. Because such a doctrine would not only have had no tendency

to convince, but would have evidently tended to harden, the Jews;

3. Because when he sums up his argument in the close of the

chapter, he has not one word, or the least intimation, about it.

1. In Christ - This seems to imply an appeal to him. In the Holy

Ghost - Through his grace.

2. I have great sorrow - A high degree of spiritual sorrow and of

spiritual Joy may consist together, chap. viii, 39. By declaring his

sorrow for the unbelieving Jews, who excluded themselves from

all the blessings he had enumerated, he shows that what he was

now about to speak, he did not speak from any prejudice to them.

3. I could wish - Human words cannot fully describe the motions

of souls that are full of God. As if he had said, I could wish to

suffer in their stead; yea, to be an anathema from Christ in their

place. In how high a sense he wished this, who can tell, unless

himself had been asked and had resolved the question? Certainly

he did not then consider himself at all, but only others and the

glory of God. The thing could not be; yet the wish was pious and

solid; though with a tacit condition, if it were right and possible.

4. Whose is the adoption, &c. - He enumerates six prerogatives, of

which the first pair respect God the Father, the second Christ, the

third the Holy Ghost. The adoption and the glory - That is, Israel

is the first-born child of God, and the God of glory is their God,

Deut. iv, 7; Psalm cvi, 20. These are relative to each other. At

once God is the Father of Israel, and Israel are the people of God.

He speaks not here of the ark, or any corporeal thing. God himself

is "the glory of his people Israel." And the covenants, and the

giving of the law - The covenant was given long before the law. It

is termed covenants, in the plural, because it was so often and so

variously repeated, and because there were two dispositions of it,

Gal. iv, 24, frequently called two covenants; the one promising,

the other exhibiting the promise. And the worship, and the

promises - The true way of worshipping God; and all the promises

made to the fathers.

5. To the preceding, St. Paul now adds two more prerogatives.

Theirs are the fathers - The patriarchs and holy men of old, yea,

the Messiah himself. Who is over all, God blessed for ever - The

original words imply the self-existent, independent Being, who

was, is, and is to come. Over all - The supreme; as being God, and

consequently blessed for ever. No words can more dearly express

his divine, supreme majesty, and his gracious sovereignty both

over Jews and, gentiles.

6. Not as if - The Jews imagined that the word of God must fail if

all their nation were not saved. This St. Paul now refutes, and

proves that the word itself had foretold their falling away. The

word of God - The promises of God to Israel. Had fallen to the

ground - This could not be. Even now, says the apostle, some

enjoy the promises; and hereafter "all Israel shall be saved." This

is the sum of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters. For - Here he

enters upon the proof of it. All are not Israel, who are of Israel -

The Jews vehemently maintained the contrary; namely, that all

who were born Israelites, and they only, were the people of God.

The former part of this assertion is refuted here, the latter, ver. 24,

&c. The sum is, God accepts all believers, and them only; and this

is no way contrary to his word. Nay, he hath declared in his word,

both by types and by express testimonies, that believers are

accepted as the "children of the promise," while unbelievers are

rejected, though they are "children after the flesh." All are not

Israel - Not in the favour of God. Who are lineally descended of


7. Neither because they are lineally the seed of Abraham, will it

follow that they are all children of God - This did not hold even in

Abraham's own family; and much less in his remote descendants.

But God then said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called - That is,

Isaac, not Ishmael, shall be called thy seed; that seed to which the

promise is made.

8. That is, Not the children, &c. - As if he had said, This is a clear

type of things to come; showing us, that in all succeeding

generations, not the children of the flesh, the lineal descendants of

Abraham, but the children of the promise, they to whom the

promise is made, that is, believers, are the children of God. Gen.

xxi, 12

9. For this is the word of the promise - By the power of which

Isaac was conceived, and not by the power of nature. Not,

Whosoever is born of thee shall be blessed, but, At this time -

Which I now appoint. I will come, and Sarah shall have a son -

And he shall inherit the blessing. Gen. xviii, 10.

10. And that God's blessing does not belong to all the descendants

of Abraham, appears not only by this instance, but by that of Esau

and Jacob, who was chosen to inherit the blessing, before either of

them had done good or evil. The apostle mentions this to show,

that neither were their ancestors accepted through any merit of

their own. That the purpose of God according to election might

stand - Whose purpose was, to elect or choose the promised seed.

Not of works - Not for any preceding merit in him he chose. But

of him that called - Of his own good pleasure who called to that

privilege whom he saw good.

12. The elder - Esau. Shall serve the younger - Not in person, for

he never did; but in his posterity. Accordingly the Edomites were

often brought into subjection by the Israelites. Gen. xxv, 23.

13. As it is written - With which word in Genesis, spoken so long

before, that of Malachi agrees. I have loved Jacob - With a

peculiar love; that is, the Israelites, the posterity of Jacob. And I

have, comparatively, hated Esau - That is, the Edomites, the

posterity of Esau. But observe,

1. This does not relate to the person of Jacob or Esau

2. Nor does it relate to the eternal state either of them or their

posterity. Thus far the apostle has been proving his proposition,

namely, that the exclusion of a great part of the seed of Abraham,

yea, and of Isaac, from the special promises of God, was so far

from being impossible, that, according to the scriptures

themselves, it had actually happened. He now introduces and

refutes an objection. Mal. i, 2, 3.

14. Is there injustice with God - Is it unjust in God to give Jacob

the blessing rather than Esau? or to accept believers, and them

only. God forbid - In no wise. This is well consistent with justice;

for he has a right to fix the terms on which he will show mercy,

according to his declaration to Moses, petitioning for all the

people, after they had committed idolatry with the golden calf. I

will have mercy on whom I will have mercy - According to the

terms I myself have fixed. And I will have compassion on whom I

will have compassion - Namely, on those only who submit to my

terms, who accept of it in the way that I have appointed.

15. Exod. xxxiii, 19.

16. It - The blessing. Therefore is not of him that willeth, nor of

him that runneth - It is not the effect either of the will or the works

of man, but of the grace and power of God. The will of man is

here opposed to the grace of God, and man's running, to the divine

operation. And this general declaration respects not only Isaac and

Jacob, and the Israelites in the time of Moses, but likewise all the

spiritual children of Abraham, even to the end of the world.

17. Moreover - God has an indisputable right to reject those who

will not accept the blessings on his own terms. And this he

exercised in the case of Pharaoh; to whom, after many instances

of stubbornness and rebellion, he said, as it is recorded in

scripture, For this very thing have I raised thee up - That is,

Unless thou repent, this will surely be the consequence of my

raising thee up, making thee a great and glorious king, that my

power will be shown upon thee, (as indeed it was, by

overwhelming him and his army in the sea,) and my name

declared through all the earth - As it is at this day. Perhaps this

may have a still farther meaning. It seems that God was resolved

to show his power over the river, the insects, other animals, (with

the natural causes of their health, diseases, life, and death,) over

the meteors, the air, the sun, (all of which were worshipped by the

Egyptians, from whom other nations learned their idolatry,) and at

once over all their gods, by that terrible stroke of slaying all their

priests, and their choicest victims, the firstborn of man and beast;

and all this with a design, not only to deliver his people Israel, (for

which a single act of omnipotence would have sufficed,) but to

convince the Egyptians, that the objects of their worship were but

the creatures of Jehovah, and entirely in his power, and to draw

them and the neighbouring nations, who should hear of all these

wonders, from their idolatry, to worship the one God. For the

execution of this design, (in order to the display of the divine

power over the various objects of their worship, in variety of

wonderful acts, which were at the same time just punishments for

their cruel oppression of the Israelites,) God was pleased to raise

to the throne of an absolute monarchy, a man, not whom he had

made wicked on purpose, but whom he found so, the proudest, the

most daring and obstinate of all the Egyptian princes; and who,

being incorrigible, well deserved to be set up in that situation,

where the divine judgments fell the heaviest. Exod. ix, 16.

18. So then - That is, accordingly he does show mercy on his own

terms, namely, on them that believe. And whom he willeth -

Namely, them that believe not. He hardeneth - Leaves to the

hardness of their hearts.

19. Why doth he still find fault - The particle still is strongly

expressive of the objector's sour, morose murmuring. For who

hath resisted his will - The word his likewise expresses his

surliness and aversion to God, whom he does not even deign to


20. Nay, but who art thou, O man - Little, impotent, ignorant man.

That repliest against God - That accusest God of injustice, for

himself fixing the terms on which he will show mercy? Shall the

thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me

thus - Why hast thou made me capable of honour and immortality,

only by believing?

21. Hath not the potter power over the clay - And much more hath

not God power over his creatures, to appoint one vessel, namely,

the believer, to honour, and another, the unbeliever, to dishonour?

If we survey the right which God has over us, in a more general

way, with regard to his intelligent creatures, God may be

considered in two different views, as Creator, Proprietor, and

Lord of all; or, as their moral Governor, and Judge. God, as

sovereign Lord and Proprietor of all, dispenses his gifts or favours

to his creatures with perfect wisdom, but by no rules or methods

of proceeding that we are acquainted with. The time when we

shall exist, the country where we shall live, our parents, our

constitution of body and turn of mind; these, and numberless other

circumstances, are doubtless ordered with perfect wisdom, but by

rules that lie quite out of our sight. But God's methods of dealing

with us, as our Governor and Judge, are dearly revealed and

perfectly known; namely, that he will finally reward every man

according to his works: "He that believeth shalt be saved, and he

that believeth not shall be damned." Therefore, though "He hath

mercy on whom he willeth, and whom he willeth he hardeneth,"

that is, suffers to be hardened in consequence of their obstinate

wickedness; yet his is not the will of an arbitrary, capricious, or

tyrannical being. He wills nothing but what is infinitely wise and

good; and therefore his will is a most proper rule of judgment. He

will show mercy, as he hath assured us, to none but true believers,

nor harden any but such as obstinately refuse his mercy. Jer. xviii,

6, 7

22. What if God, being willing - Referring to ver. 18, 19. That is,

although it was now his will, because of their obstinate unbelief,

To show his wrath - Which necessarily presupposes sin. And to

make his power known - This is repeated from the seventeenth

verse. Yet endured - As he did Pharaoh. With much longsuffering

- Which should have led them to repentance. The vessels of wrath

- Those who had moved his wrath by still rejecting his mercy.

Fitted for destruction - By their own wilful and final impenitence.

Is there any injustice in this?

23. That he might make known - What if by showing such

longsuffering even to "the vessels of wrath," he did the more

abundantly show the greatness of his glorious goodness, wisdom,

and power, on the vessels of mercy; on those whom he had

himself, by his grace, prepared for glory. Is this any injustice?

24. Even us - Here the apostle comes to the other proposition, of

grace free for all, whether Jew or gentile. Of the Jews - This he

treats of, ver. 25. Of the gentiles - Treated of in the same verse.

25. Beloved - As a spouse. Who once was not beloved -

Consequently, not unconditionally elected. This relates directly to

the final restoration of the Jews. Hosea ii, 23

26. There shall they be called the sons of God - So that they need

not leave their own country and come to Judea. Hosea i, 10

27. But Isaiah testifies, that (as many gentiles will be accepted,

so) many Jews will be rejected; that out of all the thousands of

Israel, a remnant only shall be saved. This was spoken originally

of the few that were saved from the ravage of Sennacherib's army.

Isaiah x, 22, 23

28. For he is finishing or cutting short his account - In rigorous

justice, will leave but a small remnant. There will be so general a

destruction, that but a small number will escape.

29. As Isaiah had said before - Namely, Isaiah i, 9, concerning

those who were besieged in Jerusalem by Rezin and Pekah.

Unless the Lord had left us a seed - Which denotes,

1. The present paucity:

2. The future abundance. We had been as Sodom - So that it is no

unexampled thing for the main body of the Jewish nation to revolt

from God, and perish in their sin.

30. What shall we say then - What is to be concluded from all that

has been said but this, That the gentiles, who followed not after

righteousness - Who a while ago had no knowledge of, no care or

thought about, it. Have attained to righteousness - Or justification.

Even the righteousness which is by faith. This is the first

conclusion we may draw from the preceding observations. The

second is, that Israel - The Jews Although following after the law

of righteousness - That law which, duly used, would have led

them to faith, and thereby to righteousness. Have not attained to

the law of righteousness - To that righteousness or justification

which is one great end of the law

32. And wherefore have they not? Is it because God eternally

decreed they should not? There is nothing like this to be met with

but agreeable to his argument the apostle gives us this good

reason for it, Because they sought it not by faith - Whereby alone

it could be attained. But as it were - In effect, if not professsedly,

by works. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone - Christ


33. As it is written - Foretold by their own prophet. Behold, I lay

in Sion - I exhibit in my church, what, though it is in truth the

only sure foundation of happiness, yet will be in fact a

stumblingstone and rock of offense - An occasion of ruin to many,

through their obstinate unbelief. Isaiah viii, 14; Isaiah xxviii, 16


1. My prayer to God is, that they may be saved - He would not

have prayed for this, had they been absolutely reprobated.

2. They have a zeal, but not according to knowledge - They had

zeal without knowledge; we have knowledge without zeal.

3. For they being ignorant of the righteousness of God - Of the

method God has established for the justification of a sinner. And

seeking to establish their own righteousness - Their own method

of acceptance with God. Have not submitted to the righteousness

of God - The way of justification which he hath fixed.

4. For Christ is the end of the law - The scope and aim of it. It is

the very design of the law, to bring men to believe in Christ for

justification and salvation. And he alone gives that pardon and life

which the law shows the want of, but cannot give. To every one -

Whether Jew or gentile, treated of, ver. 11, &c. That believeth -

Treated of, ver. 5.

5. For Moses describeth the only righteousness which is attainable

by the law, when he saith, The man who doeth these things shall

live by them - that is, he that perfectly keeps all these precepts in

every point, he alone may claim life and salvation by them. But

this way of justification is impossible to any who have ever

transgressed any one law in any point. Lev. xviii, 5

6. But the righteousness which is by faith - The method of

becoming righteous by believing. Speaketh a very different

language, and may be considered as expressing itself thus: (to

accommodate to our present subject the words which Moses

spake, touching the plainness of his law:) Say not in thy heart,

Who shall ascend into heaven, as if it were to bring Christ down:

or, Who shall descend into the grave, as if it were to bring him

again from the dead - Do not imagine that these things are to be

done now, in order to procure thy pardon and salvation. Deut.

xxx, 14.

8. But what saith he - Moses. Even these words, so remarkably

applicable to the subject before us. All is done ready to thy hand.

The word is nigh thee - Within thy reach; easy to be understood,

remembered, practiced. This is eminently true of the word of faith

- The gospel. Which we preach - The sum of which is, If thy heart

believe in Christ, and thy life confess him, thou shalt be saved.

9. If thou confess with thy mouth - Even in time of persecution,

when such a confession may send thee to the lions.

10. For with the heart - Not the understanding only. Man believeth

to righteousness - So as to obtain justification. And with the

mouth confession is made - So as to obtain final salvation.

Confession here implies the whole of outward, as believing does

the root of all inward, religion.

11. Isaiah xxviii, 16.

12. The same Lord of all is rich - So that his blessings are never to

be exhausted, nor is he ever constrained to hold his hand. The

great truth proposed in ver. 11 is so repeated here, and in ver. 13,

and farther confirmed, ver. 14, 15, as not only to imply, that

"whosoever calleth upon him shall be saved;" but also that the

will of God is, that all should savingly call upon him.

13. Joel ii, 32.

15. But how shall they preach, unless they be sent - Thus by a

chain of reasoning, from God's will that the gentiles also should

"call upon him," St. Paul infers that the apostles were sent by God

to preach to the gentiles also. The feet - Their very footsteps; their

coming. Isaiah lii, 7.

16. Isaiah liii, 1.

17. Faith, indeed, ordinarily cometh by hearing; even by hearing

the word of God.

18. But their unbelief was not owing to the want of hearing For

they have heard. Yes verily - So many nations have already heard

the preachers of the gospel, that I may in some sense say of them

as David did of the lights of heaven. Psalm xxix, 4

19. But hath not Israel known - They might have known, even

from Moses and Isaiah, that many of the gentiles would be

received, and many of the Jews rejected. I will provoke you to

jealousy by them that are not a nation - As they followed gods that

were not gods, so he accepted in their stead a nation that was not a

nation; that is, a nation that was not in covenant with God. A

foolish nation - Such are all which know not God. Deut. xxxii, 21

20. But Isaiah is very bold - And speaks plainly what Moses but

intimated. Isaiah lxv, 1, 2.

21. An unbelieving and gainsaying people - Just opposite to those

who believed with their hearts, and made confession with their



1. Hath God rejected his whole people - All Israel? In no wise.

Now there is "a remnant" who believe, ver. 5; and hereafter "all

Israel will be saved," ver. 26.

2. God hath not rejected that part of his people whom he foreknew

- Speaking after the manner of men. For, in fact, knowing and

foreknowing are the same thing with God, who knows or sees all

things at once, from everlasting to everlasting. Know ye not - That

in a parallel case, amidst a general apostasy, when Elijah thought

the whole nation was fallen into idolatry, God "knew" there was

"a remnant" of true worshippers.

3. 1 Kings xix, 10.

4. To Baal - Nor to the golden calves.

5. According to the election of grace - According to that gracious

purpose of God, "He that believeth shall be saved."

6. And if by grace, then it is no more of works - Whether

ceremonial or moral. Else grace is no longer grace - The very

nature of grace is lost. And if it be of works, then it is no more

grace: else work is no longer work - But the very nature of it is

destroyed. There is something so absolutely inconsistent between

the being justified by grace, and the being justified by works, that,

if you suppose either, you of necessity exclude the other. For what

is given to works is the payment of a debt; whereas grace implies

an unmerited favour. So that the same benefit cannot, in the very

nature of things, be derived from both.

7. What then - What is the conclusion from the whole? It is this:

that Israel in general hath not obtained justification; but those of

them only who believe. And the rest were blinded - By their own

wilful prejudice.

8. God hath at length withdrawn his Spirit, and so given them up

to a spirit of slumber; which is fulfilled unto this day. Isaiah xxix,


9. And David saith - In that prophetic imprecation, which is

applicable to them, as well as to Judas. A recompence - Of their

preceding wickedness. So sin is punished by sin; and thus the

gospel, which should have fed and strengthened their souls, is

become a means of destroying them. Psalm lxix, 22, 23

11. Have they stumbled so as to fall - Totally and finally? No But

by their fall - Or slip: it is a very soft word in the original.

Salvation is come to the gentiles - See an instance of this, Acts

xiii, 46. To provoke them - The Jews themselves, to jealousy.

12. The first part of this verse is treated of, ver. 13, &c.; the latter,

How much more their fulness, (that is, their full conversion,) ver.

23, &c. So many prophecies refer to this grand event, that it is

surprising any Christian can doubt of it. And these are greatly

confirmed by the wonderful preservation of the Jews as a distinct

people to this day. When it is accomplished, it will be so strong a

demonstration, both of the Old and New Testament Revelation, as

will doubtless convince many thousand Deists, in countries

nominally Christian; of whom there will, of course, be increasing

multitudes among merely nominal Christians. And this will be a

means of swiftly propagating the gospel among Mahometans and

Pagans; who would probably have received it long ago, had they

conversed only with real Christians.

13. I magnify my office - Far from being ashamed of ministering

to the gentiles, I glory therein; the rather, as it may be a means of

provoking my brethren to jealousy.

14. My flesh - My kinsmen.

15. Life from the dead - Overflowing life to the world, which was


16. And this will surely come to pass. For if the first fruits be

holy, so is the lump - The consecration of them was esteemed the

consecration of all and so the conversion of a few Jews is an

earnest of the conversion of all the rest. And if the root be holy -

The patriarchs from whom they spring, surely God will at length

make their descendants also holy.

17. Thou - O gentile. Being a wild olive tree - Had the graft been

nobler than the stock, yet its dependance on it for life and

nourishment would leave it no room to boast against it. How

much less, when, contrary to what is practiced among men, the

wild olive tree is engrafted on the good!

18. Boast not against the branches - Do not they do this who

despise the Jews? or deny their future conversion?

20. They were broken off for unbelief, and thou standest by faith -

Both conditionally, not absolutely: if absolutely, there might have

been room to boast. By faith - The free gift of God, which

therefore ought to humble thee.

21. Be not highminded, but fear - We may observe, this fear is not

opposed to trust, but to pride and security.

22. Else shalt thou - Also, who now "standest by faith," be both

totally and finally cut off.

24. Contrary to nature - For according to nature, we graft the

fruitful branch into the wild stock; but here the wild branch is

grafted into the fruitful stock.

25. St. Paul calls any truth known but to a few, a mystery. Such

had been the calling of the gentiles: such was now the conversion

of the Jews. Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits - Puffed

up with your present advantages; dreaming that ye are the only

church; or that the church of Rome cannot fail. Hardness in part is

happened to Israel, till - Israel therefore is neither totally nor

finally rejected. The fulness of the gentiles be come in - Till there

be a vast harvest amongst the heathens.

26. And so all Israel shall be saved - Being convinced by the

coming of the gentiles. But there will be a still larger harvest

among the gentiles, when all Israel is come in. The deliverer shall

come - Yea, the deliverer is come; but not the full fruit of his

coming. Isaiah lix, 20

28. They are now enemies - To the gospel, to God, and to

themselves, which God permits. For your sake: but as for the

election - That part of them who believe, they are beloved.

29. For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance -

God does not repent of his gifts to the Jews, or his calling of the


32. For God hath shut up all together in disobedience - Suffering

each in their turn to revolt from him. First, God suffered the

gentiles in the early age to revolt, and took the family of Abraham

as a peculiar seed to himself. Afterwards he permitted them to fall

through unbelief, and took in the believing gentiles. And he did

even this to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and so bring them also

in the end to faith. This was truly a mystery in the divine conduct,

which the apostle adores with such holy astonishment.

33. O the depth of the riches, and wisdom, and knowledge of God

- In the ninth chapter, St. Paul had sailed but in a narrow sea: now

he is in the ocean. The depth of the riches is described, ver. 35;

the depth of wisdom, ver. 34; the depth of knowledge, in the latter

part of this verse. Wisdom directs all things to the best end;

knowledge sees that end. How unsearchable are his judgments -

With regard to unbelievers. His ways - With regard to believers.

His ways are more upon a level; His judgments "a great deep."

But even his ways we cannot trace.

34. Who hath known the mind of the Lord - Before or any farther

than he has revealed it. Isaiah xl, 13.

35. Given to him - Either wisdom or power?

36. Of him - As the Creator. Through him - As the Preserver. To

him - As the ultimate end, are all things. To him be the glory of

his riches, wisdom, knowledge. Amen - A concluding word, in

which the affection of the apostle, when it is come to the height,

shuts up all.


1. I exhort you - St. Paul uses to suit his exhortations to the

doctrines he has been delivering. So here the general use from the

whole is contained in the first and second verses. The particular

uses follow, from the third verse to the end of the Epistle. By the

tender mercies of God - The whole sentiment is derived from

Romans. The expression itself is particularly opposed to "the

wrath of God," chap. i, 18. It has a reference here to the entire

gospel, to the whole economy of grace or mercy, delivering us

from "the wrath of God," and exciting us to all duty. To present -

So chap. vi, 13; xvi, 19; now actually to exhibit before God. Your

bodies - That is, yourselves; a part is put for the whole; the rather,

as in the ancient sacrifices of beasts, the body was the whole.

These also are particularly named in opposition to that vile abuse

of their bodies mentioned, chap. i, 24. Several expressions follow,

which have likewise a direct reference to other expressions in the

same chapter. A sacrifice - Dead to sin and living - By that life

which is mentioned, chap. i, 17; vi, 4, &c. Holy - Such as the holy

law requires, chap. vii, 12. Acceptable - chap. viii, 8. Which is

your reasonable service - The worship of the heathens was utterly

unreasonable, chap. i, 18, &c.; so was the glorying of the Jews,

chap. ii, 3, &c. But a Christian acts in all things by the highest

reason, from the mercy of God inferring his own duty.

2. And be not conformed - Neither in judgment, spirit, nor

behaviour. To this world - Which, neglecting the will of God,

entirely follows its own. That ye may prove - Know by sure trial;

which is easily done by him who has thus presented himself to

God. What is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God -

The will of God is here to be understood of all the preceptive part

of Christianity, which is in itself so excellently good, so

acceptable to God, and so perfective of our natures.

3. And I say - He now proceeds to show what that will of God is.

Through the grace which is given to me - He modestly adds this,

lest he should seem to forget his own direction. To every one that

is among you - Believers at Rome. Happy, had they always

remembered this! The measure of faith - Treated of in the first and

following chapters, from which all other gifts and graces flow.

5. So we - All believers. Are one body - Closely connected

together in Christ, and consequently ought to be helpful to each


6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace which is

given us - Gifts are various: grace is one. Whether it be prophecy

- This, considered as an extraordinary gift, is that whereby

heavenly mysteries are declared to men, or things to come

foretold. But it seems here to mean the ordinary gift of

expounding scripture. Let us prophesy according to the analogy of

faith - St. Peter expresses it, "as the oracles of God;" according to

the general tenor of them; according to that grand scheme of

doctrine which is delivered therein, touching original sin,

justification by faith, and present, inward salvation. There is a

wonderful analogy between all these; and a close and intimate

connection between the chief heads of that faith "which was once

delivered to the saints." Every article therefore concerning which

there is any question should be determined by this rule; every

doubtful scripture interpreted according to the grand truths which

run through the whole.

7. Ministering - As deacons. He that teacheth - Catechumens; for

whom particular instructers were appointed. He that exhorteth -

Whose peculiar business it was to urge Christians to duty, and to

comfort them in trials.

8. He that presideth - That hath the care of a flock. He that

showeth mercy - In any instance. With cheerfulness - Rejoicing

that he hath such an opportunity.

9. Having spoken of faith and its fruit, ver. 3, &c., he comes now

to love. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh verses refer to chapter the

seventh; the twelfth verse to chapter the eighth; the thirteenth

verse, of communicating to the saints, whether Jews or gentiles, to

chapter the ninth, &c. Part of the sixteenth verse is repeated from

chap. xi, 25. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good

- Both inwardly and outwardly, whatever ill-will or danger may


10. In honour preferring one another - Which you will do, if you

habitually consider what is good in others, and what is evil in


11. Whatsoever ye do, do it with your might. In every business

diligently and fervently serving the Lord - Doing all to God, not to


12. Rejoicing in hope - Of perfect holiness and everlasting

happiness. Hitherto of faith and love; now of hope also, see the

fifth and eighth chapters; afterwards of duties toward others;

saints, ver. 13 persecutors, ver. 14 friends, strangers, enemies, ver.

15, &c.

13. Communicate to the necessities of the saints - Relieve all

Christians that are in want. It is remarkable, that the apostle,

treating expressly of the duties flowing from the communion of

saints, yet never says one word about the dead. Pursue hospitality

- Not only embracing those that offer, but seeking opportunities to

exercise it.

14. Curse not - No, not in your heart.

15. Rejoice - The direct opposite to weeping is laughter; but this

does not so well suit a Christian.

16. Mind not high things - Desire not riches, honour, or the

company of the great.

17. Provide - Think beforehand; contrive to give as little offense

as may be to any.

19. Dearly beloved - So he softens the rugged spirit. Revenge not

yourselves, but leave that to God. Perhaps it might more properly

be rendered, leave room for wrath; that is, the wrath of God, to

whom vengeance properly belongs. Deut. xxxii, 35

20. Feed him - With your own hand: if it be needful, even put

bread into his mouth. Heap coals of fire upon his head - That part

which is most sensible. "So artists melt the sullen ore of lead, By

heaping coals of fire upon its head; In the kind warmth the metal

learns to glow, And pure from dross the silver runs below." Prov.

xxv, 21, &c.

21. And if you see no present fruit, yet persevere. Be not

overcome with evil - As all are who avenge themselves. But

overcome evil with good. Conquer your enemies by kindness and



1. St. Paul, writing to the Romans, whose city was the seat of the

empire, speaks largely of obedience to magistrates: and this was

also, in effect, a public apology for the Christian religion. Let

every soul be subject to the supreme powers - An admonition

peculiarly needful for the Jews. Power, in the singular number, is

the supreme authority; powers are they who are invested with it.

That is more readily acknowledged to be from God than these.

The apostle affirms it of both. They are all from God, who

constituted all in general, and permits each in particular by his

providence. The powers that be are appointed by God - It might

be rendered, are subordinate to, or, orderly disposed under, God;

implying, that they are God's deputies or vicegerents and

consequently, their authority being, in effect, his, demands our

conscientious obedience.

2. Whosoever resisteth the power - In any other manner than the

laws of the community direct. Shall receive condemnation - Not

only from the magistrate, but from God also.

3. For rulers are - In the general, notwithstanding some particular

exceptions. A terror to evil works - Only. Wouldest thou then not

be afraid - There is one fear which precedes evil actions, and

deters from them: this should always remain. There is another fear

which follows evil actions: they who do well are free from this.

4. The sword - The instrument of capital punishment, which God

authorizes him to inflict.

5. Not only for fear of wrath - That is, punishment from man. But

for conscience' sake - Out of obedience to God.

6. For this cause - Because they are the ministers (officers) of God

for the public good. This very thing - The public good.

7. To all - Magistrates. Tribute - Taxes on your persons or estates.

Custom - For goods exported or imported. Fear - Obedience.

honour - Reverence. All these are due to the supreme power.

8. From our duty to magistrates he passes on to general duties. To

love one another - An eternal debt, which can never be

sufficiently discharged; but yet if this be rightly performed, it

discharges all the rest. For he that loveth another - As he ought.

Hath fulfilled the whole law - Toward his neighbour.

9. If there be any other - More particular. Commandment -

Toward our neighbour; as there are many in the law. It is summed

up in this - So that if you was not thinking of it, yet if your heart

was full of love, you would fulfil it.

10. Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law - For the same love

which restrains from all evil, incites us to all good.

11. And do this - Fulfil the law of love in all the instances above

mentioned. Knowing the season - Full of grace, but hasting away.

That it is high time to awake out of sleep - How beautifully is the

metaphor carried on! This life, a night; the resurrection, the day;

the gospel shining on the heart, the dawn of this day; we are to

awake out of sleep; to rise up and throw away our night-clothes,

fit only for darkness, and put on new; and, being soldiers, we are

to arm, and prepare for fight, who are encompassed with so many

enemies. The day dawns when we receive faith, and then sleep

gives place. Then it is time to rise, to arm, to walk, to work, lest

sleep steal upon us again. Final salvation, glory, is nearer to us

now, than when we first believed - It is continually advancing,

flying forward upon the swiftest wings of time. And that which

remains between the present hour and eternity is comparatively

but a moment.

13. Banqueting - Luxurious, elegant feasts.

14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ - Herein is contained the

whole of our salvation. It is a strong and beautiful expression for

the most intimate union with him, and being clothed with all the

graces which were in him. The apostle does not say, Put on purity

and sobriety, peacefulness and benevolence; but he says all this

and a thousand times more at once, in saying, Put on Christ. And

make not provision - To raise foolish desires, or, when they are

raised already, to satisfy them.


1. Him that is weak - Through needless scruples. Receive - With

all love and courtesy into Christian fellowship. But not to doubtful

disputations - About questionable points.

2. All things - All sorts of food, though forbidden by the law.

3. Despise him that eateth not - As over-scrupulous or

superstitious. Judge him that eateth - As profane, or taking undue

liberties. For God hath received him - Into the number of his

children, notwithstanding this.

5. One day above another - As new moons, and other Jewish

festivals. Let every man be fully persuaded - That a thing is

lawful, before he does it.

6. Regardeth it to the Lord - That is, out of a principle of

conscience toward God. To the Lord he doth not regard it - He

also acts from a principle of conscience. He that eateth not -

Flesh. Giveth God thanks - For his herbs.

7. None of us - Christians, in the things we do. Liveth to himself -

Is at his own disposal; doeth his own will.

10. Or why dost thou despise thy brother - Hitherto the apostle as

addressed the weak brother: now he speaks to the stronger.

11. As I live - An oath proper to him, because he only possesseth

life infinite and independent. It is Christ who is here termed both

Lord and God; as it is he to whom we live, and to whom we die.

Every tongue shall confess to God - Shall own him as their

rightful Lord; which shall then only be accomplished in its full

extent. The Lord grant we may find mercy in that day; and may it

also be imparted to those who have differed from us! yea, to those

who have censured and condemned us for things which we have

done from a desire to please him, or refused to do from a fear of

offending him. Isaiah xlv, 23

13. But judge this rather - Concerning ourselves. Not to lay a

stumblingblock - By moving him to do as thou doest, though

against his conscience. Or a scandal - Moving him to hate or

judge thee.

14. I am assured by the Lord Jesus - Perhaps by a particular

Revelation. That there is nothing - Neither flesh nor herbs.

Unclean of itself - Unlawful under the gospel.

15. If thy brother is grieved - That is, wounded, led into sin.

Destroy not him for whom Christ died - So we see, he for whom

Christ died may be destroyed. With thy meat - Do not value thy

meat more than Christ valued his life.

16. Let not then your good and lawful liberty be evil spoken of -

By being offensive to others.

17. For the kingdom of God - That is, true religion, does not

consist in external observances. But in righteousness - The image

of God stamped on the heart; the love of God and man,

accompanied with the peace that passeth all understanding, and

joy in the Holy Ghost.

18. In these - Righteousness, peace, and joy. Men - Wise and

good men.

19. Peace and edification are closely joined. Practical divinity

tends equally to peace and to edification. Controversial divinity

less directly tends to edification, although sometimes, as they of

old, we cannot build without it, Neh. iv, 17.

20. The work of God - Which he builds in the soul by faith, and in

the church by concord. It is evil to that man who eateth with

offense - So as to offend another thereby.

21. Thy brother stumbleth - By imitating thee against his

conscience, contrary to righteousness. Or is offended - At what

thou doest to the loss of his peace. Or made weak - Hesitating

between imitation and abhorrence, to the loss of that joy in the

Lord which was his strength.

22. Hast thou faith - That all things are pure? Have it to thyself

before God - In circumstances like these, keep it to thyself, and do

not offend others by it. Happy is he that condemneth not himself -

By an improper use of even innocent things! and happy he who is

free from a doubting conscience! He that has this may allow the

thing, yet condemn himself for it.

23. Because it is not of faith - He does not believe it lawful and, in

all these cases, whatsoever is not of faith is sin - Whatever a man

does without a full persuasion of its lawfulness, it is sin to him.


1. We who are strong - Of a clearer judgment, and free from these

scruples. And not to please ourselves - Without any regard to


2. For his good - This is a general word: edification is one species

of good.

3. But bore not only the infirmities, but reproaches, of his

brethren; and so fulfilled that scripture. Psalm lxix, 9

4. Aforetime - In the Old Testament. That we through patience

and consolation of the scriptures may have hope - That through

the consolation which God gives us by these, we may have

patience and a joyful hope.

5. According to the power of Christ Jesus.

6. That ye - Both Jews and gentiles, believing with one mind, and

confessing with one mouth.

7. Receive ye one another - Weak and strong, with mutual love.

8. Now I say - The apostle here shows how Christ received us.

Christ Jesus-Jesus is the name, Christ the surname. The latter was

first known to the Jews; the former, to the gentiles. Therefore he

is styled Jesus Christ, when the words stand in the common,

natural order. When the order is inverted, as here, the office of

Christ is more solemnly considered. Was a servant - Of his Father.

Of the circumcision - For the salvation of the circumcised, the

Jews. For the truth of God - To manifest the truth and fidelity of


9. As it is written - In the eighteenth psalm, here the gentiles and

Jews are spoken of as joining in the worship of the God of Israel.

Psalm xviii, 49

10. Deut. xxxii, 43.

11. Psalm cxvii, 1.

12. There shall be the root of Jesse - That kings and the Messiah

should spring from his house, was promised to Jesse before it was

to David. In him shall the gentiles hope - Who before had been

"without hope," Eph. ii, 12. Isaiah xi, 10

13. Now the God of hope - A glorious title of God, but till now

unknown to the heathens; for their goddess Hope, like their other

idols, was nothing; whose temple at Rome was burned by

lightning. It was, indeed, built again not long after, but was again

burned to the ground.

14. There are several conclusions of this Epistle. The first begins

at this verse; the second, chap. xvi, 1; the third, chap. xvi, 17; the

fourth, chap. xvi, 21; and the fifth, chap. xvi, 25; Ye are full of

goodness - By being created anew. And filled with all knowledge

- By long experience of the things of God. To admonish - To

instruct and confirm.

15. Because of the grace - That is, because I am an apostle of the


16. The offering up of the gentiles - As living sacrifices.

17. I have whereof to glory through Jesus Christ - All my glorying

is in and through him.

18. By word - By the power of the Spirit. By deed - Namely,

through "mighty signs and wonders."

20. Not where Christ had been named - These places he generally

declined, though not altogether, having an holy ambition (so the

Greek word means) to make the first proclamation of the gospel in

places where it was quite unheard of, in spite of all the difficulty

and dangers that attended it. Lest I should only build upon another

man's foundation - The providence of God seemed in a special

manner, generally, to prevent this, though not entirely, lest the

enemies of the apostle, who sought every occasion to set light by

him, should have had room to say that he was behind other

apostles, not being sufficient for planting of churches himself, but

only for preaching where others had been already; or that he

declined the more difficult part of the ministry

21. Isaiah lii, 15.

22. Therefore I have been long hindered from coming to you -

Among whom Christ had been named.

23. Having no longer place in these parts - Where Christ has now

been preached in every city.

24. Into Spain - Where the gospel had not yet been preached. If

first I may be somewhat satisfied with your company - How

remarkable is the modesty with which he speaks! They might

rather desire to be satisfied with his. Somewhat satisfied -

Intimating the shortness of his stay; or, perhaps, that Christ alone

can throughly satisfy the soul.

26. The poor of the saints that are in Jerusalem - It can by no

means be inferred from this expression, that the community of

goods among the Christians was then ceased. All that can be

gathered from it is, that in this time of extreme dearth, Acts xi, 28,

29, some of the church in Jerusalem were in want; the rest being

barely able to subsist themselves, but not to supply the necessities

of their brethren.

27. It hath pleased them; and they are their debtors - That is, they

are bound to it, in justice as well as mercy. Spiritual things - By

the preaching of the gospel. Carnal things - Things needful for the


28. When I have sealed to them this fruit - When I have safely

delivered to them, as under seal, this fruit of their brethren's love.

I will go by you into Spain - Such was his design; but it does not

appear that Paul went into Spain. There are often holy purposes in

the minds of good men, which are overruled by the providence of

God so as never to take effect. And yet they are precious in the

sight of God.

30. I beseech you by the love of the Spirit - That is, by the love

which is the genuine fruit of the Spirit. To strive together with me

in your prayers - He must pray himself, who would have others

strive together with him in prayer. Of all the apostles, St. Paul

alone is recorded to desire the prayers of the faithful for himself.

And this he generally does in the conclusions of his Epistles; yet

not without making a difference. For he speaks in one manner to

them whom he treats as his children, with the gravity or even

severity of a father, such as Timothy, Titus, the Corinthians, and

Galatians; in another, to them whom he treats rather like equals,

such as the Romans, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians,


31. That I may be delivered - He is thus urgent from a sense of the

importance of his life to the church. Otherwise he would have

rejoiced "to depart, and to be with Christ." And that my service

may be acceptable - In spite of all their prejudices; to the end the

Jewish and gentile believers may be knit together in tender love.

32. That I may come to you - This refers to the former, With joy -

To the latter, part of the preceding verse.


1. I commend unto you Phebe - The bearer of this letter. A servant

- The Greek word is a deaconness. Of the church in Cenchrea - In

the apostolic age, some grave and pious women were appointed

deaconnesses in every church. It was their office, not to teach

publicly, but to visit the sick, the women in particular, and to

minister to them both in their temporal and spiritual necessities.

2. In the Lord - That is, for the Lord's sake, and in a Christian

manner. St. Paul seems fond of this expression.

4. Who have for my life, as it were, laid down their own necks -

That is, exposed themselves to the utmost danger. But likewise all

the churches of the gentiles - Even that at Rome, for preserving so

valuable a life.

5. Salute the church that is in their house - Aquila had been driven

from Rome in the reign of Claudius, but was now returned, and

performed the same part there which Caius did at Corinth, ver. 23.

Where any Christian had a large house, there they all assembled

together though as yet the Christians at Rome had neither bishops

nor deacons. So far were they from any shadow of papal power.

Nay, there does not appear to have been then in the whole city any

more than one of these domestic churches. Otherwise there can be

no doubt but St. Paul would have saluted them also. Epenetus -

Although the apostle had never been at Rome, yet had he many

acquaintance there. But here is no mention of Linus or Cemens;

whence it appears, they did not come to Rome till after this. The

firstfruits of Asia - The first convert in the proconsular Asia.

7. Who are of note among the apostles - They seem to have been

some of the most early converts. Fellowprisoners - For the

gospel's sake.

9. Our fellowlabourer - Mine and Timothy's, verse 21.

11. Those of the family of Aristobulus and Narcissus, who are in

the Lord - It seems only part of their families were converted.

Probably, some of them were not known to St. Paul by face, but

only by character. Faith does not create moroseness, but courtesy,

which even the gravity of an apostle did not hinder.

12. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa - Probably they were two


13. Salute Rufus - Perhaps the same that is mentioned, Mark xv,

21. And his mother and mine - This expression may only denote

the tender care which Rufus's mother had taken of him.

14. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, &c. - He seems to join those

together, who were joined by kindred, nearness of habitation, or

any other circumstance. It could not but encourage the poor

especially, to be saluted by name, who perhaps did not know that

the apostle bad ever heard of them. It is observable, that whilst the

apostle forgets none who are worthy, yet he adjusts the nature of

his salutation to the degrees of worth in those whom he salutes.

15. Salute all the saints - Had St. Peter been then at Rome, St.

Paul would doubtless have saluted him by name; since no one in

this numerous catalogue was of an eminence comparable to his.

But if he was not then at Rome, the whole Roman tradition, with

regard to the succession of their bishops, fails in the most

fundamental article.

16. Salute one another with an holy kiss - Termed by St. Peter,

"the kiss of love," 1 Pet. v, 14. So the ancient Christians

concluded all their solemn offices; the men saluting the men, and

the women the women. And this apostolical custom seems to have

continued for some ages in all Christian churches.

17. Mark them who cause divisions - Such there were, therefore,

at Rome also. Avoid them - Avoid all unnecessary intercourse

with them.

18. By good words - Concerning themselves, making great

promises. And fair speeches - Concerning you, praising and

flattering you. The harmless - Who, doing no ill themselves, are

not upon their guard against them that do.

19. But I would have you - Not only obedient, but discreet also.

Wise with regard to that which is good - As knowing in this as

possible. And simple with regard to that which is evil - As

ignorant of this as possible.

20. And the God of peace - The Author and Lover of it, giving a

blessing to your discretion. Shall bruise Satan under your feet -

Shall defeat all the artifices of that sower of tares, and unite you

more and more together in love.

21. Timotheus my fellowlabourer - Here he is named even before

St. Paul's kinsmen. But as he had never been at Rome, he is not

named in the beginning of the epistle.

22. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you - Tertius, who

wrote what the apostle dictated, inserted this, either by St. Paul's

exhortation or ready permission. Caius - The Corinthian, 1 Cor. i,

14. My host, and of the whole church - Who probably met for

some time in his house.

23. The chamberlain of the city - Of Corinth.

25. Now to him who is able - The last words of this epistle exactly

answer the first, chapter i, 1-v, chap. i, 1-v, in particular,

concerning the power of God, the gospel, Jesus Christ, the

scriptures, the obedience of faith, all nations. To establish you -

Both Jews and gentiles. According to my gospel, and the

preaching of Jesus Christ - That is, according to the tenor of the

gospel of Jesus Christ, which I preach. According to the

Revelation of the mystery - Of the calling of the gentiles, which,

as plainly as it was foretold in the Prophets, was still hid from

many even of the believing Jews.

26. According to the commandment - The foundation of the

apostolical office. Of the eternal God - A more proper epithet

could not be. A new dispensation infers no change in God. Known

unto him are all his works, and every variation of them, from

eternity. Made known to all nations - Not barely that they might

know, but enjoy it also, through obeying the faith.

27. To the only wise God - Whose manifold wisdom is known in

the church through the gospel, Eph. iii, 10. "To him who is able,"

and, to the wise God," are joined, as 1 Cor. i, 24, where Christ is

styled "the wisdom of God," and "the power of God." To him be

glory through Christ Jesus for ever - And let every believer say,





CORINTH was a city of Achaia, situate on the isthmus which

joins Peloponnesus, now called the Morea, to the rest of Greece.

Being so advantageously situated for trade, the inhabitants of it

abounded in riches, which, by too natural a consequence, led them

into luxury, lewdness, and all manner of vice. Yet even here St.

Paul planted a numerous church, chiefly of heathen converts; to

whom, about three years after he had left Corinth, he wrote this

epistle from Ephesus; as well to correct various disorders of

which they were guilty, as to answer some questions which they

bad proposed to him. The Epistle consists of:

The inscription Chap. i. 1-3

I. The treatise itself, in which is,

1. An exhortation to concord, beating down all glorying in the

flesh, 4- iv.21

2. A reproof,

1. For not excommunicating the incestuous person, v. 1-13

2. For going to law before heathen Judges, vi. 1-11

3. A dissuasive from fornication, 12-20

4. An answer to the questions they had proposed concerning

marriage, vii. 1, 10, 25, 36, 39

5. Concerning things sacrificed to idols, viii. 1- ix. 1

6. Concerning the veiling of women, 2-16

7. Concerning the Lord's supper, 17-34

8. Concerning spiritual gifts, xii. xiii. xiv

9. Concerning the resurrection, xv. 1-58

10. Concerning the collection for the poor, the coming of himself,

of Timothy, of Apollos, the sum of all, xvi, 1, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14

II. The conclusion, 15, 17, 19-24



1. Paul, called to be an apostle - There is great propriety in every

clause of the salutation, particularly in this, as there were some in

the church of Corinth who called the authority of his mission in

question. Through the will of God - Called "the commandment of

God," 1 Tim. i, 1 This was to the churches the ground of his

authority; to Paul himself, of an humble and ready mind. By the

mention of God, the authority of man is excluded, Gal. i, 1; by the

mention of the will of God, the merit of Paul, chap. xv, 8, &c.

And Sosthenes - A Corinthian, St. Paul's companion in travel. It

was both humility and prudence in the apostle, thus to join his

name with his own, in an epistle wherein he was to reprove so

many irregularities. Sosthenes the brother - Probably this word is

emphatical; as if he had said, Who, from a Jewish opposer of the

gospel, became a faithful brother.

2. To the church of God which is in Corinth - St. Paul, writing in a

familiar manner to the Corinthians, as also to the Thessalonians

and Galatians, uses this plain appellation. To the other churches

he uses a more solemn address. Sanctified through Jesus Christ -

And so undoubtedly they were in general, notwithstanding some

exceptions. Called - Of Jesus Christ, Rom. i, 6 And - As the fruit

of that calling made holy. With all that in every place - Nothing

could better suit that catholic love which St. Paul labours to

promote in this epistle, than such a declaration of his good wishes

for every true Christian upon earth. Call upon the name of our

Lord Jesus Christ - This plainly implies that all Christians pray to

Christ, as well as to the Father through him.

4. Always - Whenever I mention you to God in prayer.

5. In all utterance and knowledge - Of divine things. These gifts

the Corinthians particularly admired. Therefore this

congratulation naturally tended to soften their spirits, and I make

way for the reproofs which follow.

6. The testimony of Christ - The gospel. Was confirmed among

you - By these gifts attending it. They knew they had received

these by the hand of Paul: and this consideration was highly

proper, to revive in them their former reverence and affection for

their spiritual father.

7. Waiting - With earnest desire. For the glorious Revelation of

our Lord Jesus Christ - A sure mark of a true or false Christian, to

long for, or dread, this Revelation.

8. Who will also - if you faithfully apply to him. Confirm you to

the end. In the day of Christ - Now it is our day, wherein we are to

work out our salvation; then it will be eminently the day of Christ,

and of his glory in the saints.

9. God is faithful - To all his promises; and therefore "to him that

hath shall be given." By whom ye are called - A pledge of his

willingness to save you unto the uttermost.

10. Now I exhort you - Ye have faith and hope; secure love also.

By the endearing name of our Lord Jesus Christ - lnfinitely

preferable to all the human names in which ye glory. That ye all

speak the same thing - They now spoke different things, ver. 12

And that there be no schisms among you - No alienation of

affection from each other. Is this word ever taken in any other

sense in scripture? But that ye be joined in the same mind -

Affections, desires. And judgment - Touching all the grand truths

of the gospel.

11. It hath been declared to me by them of the family of Chloe -

Whom some suppose to have been the wife of Stephanas, and the

mother of Fortunatus and Achaicus. By these three the

Corinthians had sent their letter to St. Paul, chap. xvi, 17. That

there are contentions - A word equivalent with schisms in the

preceding verse.

12. Now this I say - That is, what I mean is this: there are various

parties among you, who set themselves, one against an other, in

behalf of the several teachers they admire. And I of Christ - They

spoke well, if they had not on this pretense despised their

teachers, chap. iv, 8 Perhaps they valued themselves on having

heard Christ preach in his own person.

13. Is Christ divided - Are not all the members still under one

head? Was not he alone crucified for you all; and were ye not all

baptized in his name? The glory of Christ then is not to be divided

between him and his servants; neither is the unity of the body to

be torn asunder, seeing Christ is one still.

14. I thank God - (A pious phrase for the common one, "I

rejoice,") that, in the course of his providence, I baptized none of

you, but Crispus, once the ruler of the synagogue, and Caius.

15. Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name - In

order to attach them to myself.

16. I know not - That is, it does not at present occur to my

memory, that I baptized any other.

17. For God did not send me to baptize - That was not my chief

errand: those of inferior rank and abilities could do it: though all

the apostles were sent to baptize also, Matt. xxviii, 19 But to

preach the gospel - So the apostle slides into his general

proposition: but not with wisdom of speech - With the artificial

ornaments of discourse, invented by human wisdom. Lest the

cross of Christ should be made of none effect - The whole effect

of St. Paul's preaching was owing to the power of God

accompanying the plain declaration of that great truth, "Christ

bore our sins upon the cross." But this effect might have been

imputed to another cause, had he come with that wisdom of

speech which they admired.

18. To them that perish - By obstinately rejecting the only name

whereby they can be saved. But to us who are saved - Now saved

from our sins, and in the way to everlasting salvation, it is the

great instrument of the power of God.

19. For it is written - And the words are remarkably applicable to

this great event. Isaiah xxix, 14

20. Where is the wise? &c. - The deliverance of Judea from

Sennacherib is what Isaiah refers to in these words; in a bold and

beautiful allusion to which, the apostle in the clause that follows

triumphs over all the opposition of human wisdom to the

victorious gospel of Christ. What could the wise men of the

gentiles do against this? or the Jewish scribes? or the disputers of

this world? - Those among both, who, proud of their acuteness,

were fond of controversy, and thought they could confute all

opponents. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world -

That is, shown it to be very foolishness. Isaiah xxxiii, 18

21. For since in the wisdom of God - According to his wise

disposals, leaving them to make the trial. The world - Whether

Jewish or gentile, by all its boasted wisdom knew not God -

Though the whole creation declared its Creator, and though he

declared himself by all the prophets; it pleased God, by a way

which those who perish count mere foolishness, to save them that


22. For whereas the Jews demand of the apostles, as they did of

their Lord, more signs still, after all they have seen already; and

the Greeks, or gentiles, seek wisdom - The depths of philosophy,

and the charms of eloquence.

23. We go on to preach, in a plain and historical, not rhetorical or

philosophical, manner, Christ crucified, to the Jews a

stumblingblock - Just opposite to the "signs" they demand. And to

the Greeks foolishness - A silly tale, just opposite to the wisdom

they seek.

24. But to them that are called - And obey the heavenly calling.

Christ - With his cross, his death, his life, his kingdom. And they

experience, first, that he is the power, then, that he is the wisdom,

of God.

25. Because the foolishness of God - The gospel scheme, which

the world judge to be mere foolishness, is wiser than the wisdom

of men; and, weak as they account it, stronger than all the strength

of men.

26. Behold your calling - What manner of men they are whom

God calls. That not many wise men after the flesh - In the account

of the world. Not many mighty - Men of power and authority.

28. Things that are not - The Jews frequently called the gentiles,

"Them that are not," 2 Esdras vi. 56, 57. In so supreme contempt

did they hold them. The things that are - In high esteem.

29. That no flesh - A fit appellation. Flesh is fair, but withering as

grass. May glory before God - In God we ought to glory.

30. Of him - Out of his free grace and mercy. Are ye Engrafted

into Christ Jesus, who is made unto us that believe wisdom, who

were before utterly foolish and ignorant. Righteousness - The sole

ground of our justification, who were before under the wrath and

curse of God. Sanctification - A principle of universal holiness,

whereas before we were altogether dead in sin. And redemption -

That is, complete deliverance from all evil, and eternal bliss both

of soul and body.

31. Let him glory in the Lord - Not in himself, not in the flesh, not

in the world. Jer. ix, 23, 24


1. And I accordingly came to you, not with loftiness of speech or

of wisdom - I did not affect either deep wisdom or eloquence.

Declaring the testimony of God - What God gave me to testify

concerning his Son.

2. I determined not to know anything - To wave all my other

knowledge, and not to preach anything, save Jesus Christ, and him

crucified - That is, what he did, suffered, taught. A part is put for

the whole.

3. And I was with you - At my first entrance. In weakness - Of

body, 2 Cor. xii, 7 And in fear - Lest I should offend any. And in

much trembling - The emotion of my mind affecting my very


4. And my speech in private, as well as my public preaching, was

not with the persuasive words of human wisdom, such as the wise

men of the world use; but with the demonstration of the Spirit and

of power - With that powerful kind of demonstration, which flows

from the Holy Spirit; which works on the conscience with the

most convincing light, and the most persuasive evidence.

5. That your faith might not be built on the wisdom or power of

man, but on the wisdom and power of God.

6. Yet we speak wisdom - Yea, the truest and most excellent

wisdom. Among the perfect - Adult, experienced Christians. By

wisdom here he seems to mean, not the whole Christian doctrine,

but the most sublime and abstruse parts of it. But not the wisdom

admired and taught by the men of this world, nor of the rulers of

this world, Jewish or heathen, that come to nought - Both they and

their wisdom, and the world itself.

7. But we speak the mysterious wisdom of God, which was

hidden for many ages from all the world, and is still hidden even

from "babes in Christ;" much more from all unbelievers. Which

God ordained before the world - So far is this from coming to

nought, like worldly wisdom. For our glory - Arising from the

glory of our Lord, and then to be revealed when all worldly glory


8. Had they known it - That wisdom. They would not have

crucified - Punished as a slave. The Lord of glory - The giving

Christ this august title, peculiar to the great Jehovah, plainly

shows him to be the supreme God. In like manner the Father is

styled, "the Father of glory," Eph. i, 17; and the Holy Ghost, "the

Spirit of glory," 1 Pet. iv, 14. The application of this title to all the

three, shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are "the God of

glory;" as the only true God is called, Psalm xxix, 3, and Acts vii,


9. But this ignorance of theirs fulfils what is written concerning

the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. No natural man hath

either seen, heard, or known, the things which God hath prepared,

saith the prophet, for them that love him. Isaiah lxiv, 4

10. But God hath revealed - Yea, and "freely given," ver. 12.

Them to us - Even inconceivable peace, and joy unspeakable. By

his Spirit - Who intimately and fully knows them. For the Spirit

searcheth even the deep things of God - Be they ever so hidden

and mysterious; the depths both of his nature and his kingdom.

11. For what man knoweth the things of a man - All the inmost

recesses of his mind; although men are all of one nature, and so

may the more easily know one another. So the things of God

knoweth no one but the Spirit - Who, consequently, is God.

12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world - This spirit

is not properly received; for the men of the world always had it.

But Christians receive the Spirit of God, which before they had


13. Which also we speak - As well as know. In words taught by

the Holy Spirit - Such are all the words of scripture. How high a

regard ought we, then, to retain for them! Explaining spiritual

things by spiritual words; or, adapting spiritual words to spiritual

things - Being taught of the Spirit to express the things of the


14. But the natural man - That is, every man who hath not the

Spirit; who has no other way of obtaining knowledge, but by his

senses and natural understanding. Receiveth not - Does not

understand or conceive. The things of the Spirit - The things

revealed by the Spirit of God, whether relating to his nature or his

kingdom. For they are foolishness to him - He is so far from

understanding, that he utterly despises, them Neither can he know

them - As he has not the will, so neither has he the power.

Because they are spiritually discerned - They can only be

discerned by the aid of that Spirit, and by those spiritual senses,

which he has not.

15. But the spiritual man - He that hath the Spirit. Discerneth all

the things of God whereof we have been speaking. Yet he himself

is discerned by no man - No natural men. They neither understand

what he is, nor what he says.

16. Who - What natural man. We - Spiritual men; apostles in

particular. Have - Know, understand. The mind of Christ -

Concerning the whole plan of gospel salvation. Isaiah xl, 13


1. And I, brethren - He spoke before, ver. 1, of his entrance, now

of his progress, among them. Could not speak to you as unto

spiritual - Adult, experienced Christians. But as unto men who

were still in great measure carnal, as unto babes in Christ - Still

weak in grace, though eminent in gifts, chap. i, 5.

2. I fed you, as babes, with milk - The first and plainest truths of

the gospel. So should every preacher suit his doctrine to his


3. For while there is among you emulation in your hearts, strife in

your words, and actual divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk

according to men - As mere men; not as Christians, according to


4. I am of Apollos - St. Paul named himself and Apollos, to show

that he would condemn any division among them, even though it

were in favour of himself, or the dearest friend he had in the

world. Are ye not carnal - For the Spirit of God allows no party


5. Ministers - Or servants. By whom ye believed, as the Lord, the

Master of those servants, gave to every man.

7. God that giveth the increase - Is all in all: without him neither

planting nor watering avails.

8. But he that planteth and he that watereth are one - Which is

another argument against division. Though their labours are

different. they are all employed in one general work, - the saving

souls. Hence he takes occasion to speak of the reward of them that

labour faithfully, and the awful account to be given by all. Every

man shall receive his own peculiar reward according to his own

peculiar labour - Not according to his success; but he who labours

much, though with small success, shall have a great reward. Has

not all this reasoning the same force still? The ministers are still

surely instruments in God's hand, and depend as entirely as ever

on his blessing, to give the increase to their labours. Without this,

they are nothing: with it, their part is so small, that they hardly

deserve to be mentioned. May their hearts and hands be more

united; and, retaining a due sense of the honour God doeth them

in employing them, may they faithfully labour, not as for

themselves, but for the great Proprietor of all, till the day come

when he will reward them in full proportion to their fidelity and


9. For we are all fellowlabourers - God's labourers, and

fellowlabourers with each other. Ye are God's husbandry - This is

the sum of what went before: it is a comprehensive word, taking

in both a field, a garden, and a vineyard. Ye are God's building -

This is the sum of what follows.

10. According to the grace of God given to me - This he premises,

lest he should seem to ascribe it to himself. Let every one take

heed how he buildeth thereon - That all his doctrines may be

consistent with the foundation.

11. For other foundation - On which the whole church: and all its

doctrines, duties, and blessings may be built. Can no man lay than

what is laid - In the counsels of divine wisdom, in the promises

and prophecies of the Old Testament, in the preaching of the

apostles, St. Paul in particular. Which is Jesus Christ - Who, in his

person and offices, is the firm, immovable Rock of Ages, every

way sufficient to bear all the weight that God himself, or the

sinner, when he believes, can lay upon him.

12. If any one build gold, silver, costly stones - Three sorts of

materials which will bear the fire; true and solid doctrines. Wood,

hay, stubble - Three which will not bear the fire. Such are all

doctrines, ceremonies, and forms of human invention; all but the

substantial, vital truths of Christianity.

13. The time is coming when every one's work shall be made

manifest: for the day of the Lord, that great and final day, shall

declare it - To all the world. For it is revealed - What faith beholds

as so certain and so near is spoken of as already present. By fire;

yea, the fire shall try every one's work, of what sort it is - The

strict process of that day will try every man's doctrines, whether

they come up to the scripture standard or not. Here is a plain

allusion to the flaming light and consuming heat of the general

conflagration. But the expression, when applied to the trying of

doctrines, and consuming those that are wrong, is evidently

figurative; because no material fire can have such an effect on

what is of a moral nature. And therefore it is added, he who builds

wood, hay, or stubble, shall be saved as through the fire - Or, as

narrowly as a man escapes through the fire, when his house is all

in flames about him. This text, then, is so far from establishing the

Romanish purgatory, that it utterly overthrows it. For the fire here

mentioned does not exist till the day of judgment: therefore, if this

be the fire of purgatory, it follows that purgatory does not exist

before the day of judgment.

14. He shall receive a reward - A peculiar degree of glory. Some

degree even the other will receive, seeing he held the foundation;

though through ignorance he built thereon what would not abide

the fire.

15. He shall suffer loss - The loss of that peculiar degree of glory.

16. Ye - All Christians. Are the temple of God - The most noble

kind of building, ver. 9.

17. If any man destroy the temple of God - Destroy a real

Christian, by schisms, or doctrines fundamentally wrong. Him

shall God destroy - He shall not be saved at all; not even as

through the fire."

18. Let him become a fool in this world - Such as the world

accounts so. That he may become wise - In God's account.

19. For all the boasted wisdom of the world is mere foolishness in

the sight of God. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness - Not

only while they think they are acting wisely, but by their very

wisdom, which itself is their snare, and the occasion of their

destruction. Job v, 13.

20. That they are but vain - Empty, foolish; they and all their

thoughts. Psalm xciv, 11.

21. Therefore - Upon the whole. Let none glory in men - So as to

divide into parties on their account. For all things are yours - and

we in particular. We are not your lords, but rather your servants.

22. Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas - We are all equally

yours, to serve you for Christ's sake. Or the world - This leap

from Peter to the world greatly enlarges the thought, and argues a

kind of impatience of enumerating the rest. Peter and every one in

the whole world, however excellent in gifts, or grace, or office,

are also your servants for Christ's sake. Or life, or death - These,

with all their various circumstances, are disposed as will be most

for your advantage. Or things present - On earth. Or things to

come - In heaven. Contend, therefore, no more about these little

things; but be ye united in love, as ye are in blessings.

23. And ye are Christ's - His property, his subjects. his members.

And Christ is God's - As Mediator, he refers all his services to his

Father's glory.


1. Let a man account us, as servants of Christ - The original word

properly signifies such servants as laboured at the oar in rowing

vessels; and, accordingly, intimates the pains which every faithful

minister takes in his Lord's work. O God, where are these

ministers to be found? Lord, thou knowest. And stewards of the

mysteries of God - Dispenseth of the mysterious truths of the


3. Yea, I judge not myself - My final state is not to be determined

by my own judgment.

4. I am not conscious to myself of anything evil; yet am I not

hereby justified - I depend not on this, as a sufficient justification

of myself in God's account. But he that judgeth me is the Lord -

By his sentence I am to stand or fall.

5. Therefore judge nothing before the time - Appointed for

judging all men. Until the Lord come, who, in order to pass a

righteous judgment, which otherwise would be impossible, will

both bring to light the things which are now covered with

impenetrable darkness, and manifest the most secret springs of

action, the principles and intentions of every heart. And then shall

every one - Every faithful steward, have praise of God.

6. These things - Mentioned, chap. i, 10, &c. I have by a very

obvious figure transferred to myself and Apollos - And Cephas,

instead of naming those particular preachers at Corinth, to whom

ye are so fondly attached. That ye may learn by us - From what

has been said concerning us, who, however eminent we are, are

mere instruments in God's hand. Not to think of any man above

what is here written - Or above what scripture warrants. chap. iii,


7. Who maketh thee to differ - Either in gifts or graces. As if thou

hadst not received it - As if thou hadst it originally from thyself.

8. Now ye are full - The Corinthians abounded with spiritual gifts;

and so did the apostles: but the apostles, by continual want and

sufferings, were kept from self- complacency. The Corinthians

suffering nothing, and having plenty of all things, were pleased

with and applauded themselves; and they were like children who,

being raised in the world, disregard their poor parents. Now ye are

full, says the apostle, in a beautiful gradation, ye are rich, ye have

reigned as kings - A proverbial expression, denoting the most

splendid and plentiful circumstances. Without any thought of us.

And I would ye did reign - In the best sense: I would ye had

attained the height of holiness. That we might reign with you -

Having no more sorrow on your account, but sharing in your


9. God hath set forth us last, as appointed to death - Alluding to

the Roman custom of bringing forth those persons last on the

stage, either to fight with each other, or with wild beasts, who

were devoted to death; so that, if they escaped one day, they were

brought out again and again, till they were killed.

10. We are fools, in the account of the world, for Christ's sake, but

ye are wise in Christ - Though ye are Christians, ye think

yourselves wise; and ye have found means to make the world

think you so too. We are weak - In presence, in infirmities, in

sufferings. But ye are strong - In just opposite circumstances.

11. And are naked - Who can imagine a more glorious triumph of

the truth, than that which is gained in these circumstances when

St. Paul, with an impediment in his speech, and a person rather

contemptible than graceful, appeared in a mean, perhaps tattered,

dress before persons of the highest distinction, and yet

commanded such attention. and made such deep impressions upon


12. We bless-suffer it-intreat - We do not return revilings,

persecution, defamation; nothing but blessing.

13. We are made as the filth of the world, and offscouring of all

things - Such were those poor wretches among the heathens, who

were taken from the dregs of the people, to be offered as expiatory

sacrifices to the infernal gods. They were loaded with curses,

affronts, and injuries, all the way they went to the altars; and

when the ashes of those unhappy men were thrown into the sea,

these very names were given them in the ceremony.

14. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved

children I warn you - It is with admirable prudence and sweetness

the apostle adds this, to prevent any unkind construction of his


15. I have begotten you - This excludes not only Apollos, his

successor, but also Silas and Timothy, his companions; and the

relation between a spiritual father and his children brings with it

an inexpressible nearness and affection.

16. Be ye followers of me - In that spirit and behaviour which I

have so largely declared.

17. My beloved son - Elsewhere he styles him "brother," 2 Cor. i,

1; but here paternal affection takes place. As I teach - No less by

example than precept.

18. Now some are puffed up - St. Paul saw, by a divine light, the

thoughts which would arise in their hearts. As if I would not come

- Because I send Timothy.

19. I will know - He here shows his fatherly authority Not the big,

empty speech of these vain boasters, but how much of the power

of God attends them.

20. For the kingdom of God - Real religion, does not consist in

words, but in the power of God ruling the heart.

21. With a rod - That is, with severity.


1. Fornication - The original word implies criminal conversation

of any kind whatever. His father's wife - While his father was


2. Are ye puffed up? Should ye not rather have mourned - Have

solemnly humbled yourselves, and at that time of solemn

mourning have expelled that notorious sinner from your


3. I verily, as present in spirit - Having a full (it seems, a

miraculous) view of the whole fact. Have already, as if I were

actually present, judged him who hath so scandalously done this.

4. And my spirit - Present with you. With the power of the Lord

Jesus Christ - To confirm my sentence.

5. To deliver such an one - This was the highest degree of

punishment in the Christian church; and we may observe, the

passing this sentence was the act of the apostle, not of the

Corinthians. To Satan - Who was usually permitted, in such cases,

to inflict pain or sickness on the offender. For the destruction -

Though slowly and gradually. Of the flesh - Unless prevented by

speedy repentance.

6. Your glorying - Either in your gifts or prosperity, at such a time

as this, is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven - One sin, or

one sinner. Leaveneth the whole lump - Diffuses guilt and

infection through the whole congregation.

7. Purge out therefore the old leaven - Both of sinners and of sin.

That ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened - That is, that

being unleavened ye may be a new lump, holy unto the Lord. For

our passover is slain for us - The Jewish passover, about the time

of which this epistle was wrote, ver. 11, was only a type of this.

What exquisite skill both here and everywhere conducts the zeal

of the inspired writer! How surprising a transition is here, and yet

how perfectly natural! The apostle, speaking of the incestuous

criminal, slides into his darling topic, - crucified saviour. Who

would have expected it on such an occasion. Yet, when it is thus

brought in, who does not see and admire both the propriety of the

subject, and the delicacy of its introduction?

8. Therefore let us keep the feast - Let us feed on him by faith.

Here is a plain allusion to the Lord's supper, which was instituted

in the room of the passover. Not with the old leaven - Of

heathenism or Judaism. Malignity is stubbornness in evil.

Sincerity and truth seem to be put here for the whole of true,

inward religion.

9. I wrote to you in a former epistle - And, doubtless, both St.

Paul and the other apostles wrote many things which are not

extant now. Not to converse - Familiarly; not to contract any

intimacy or acquaintance with them, more than is absolutely


10. But I did not mean that you should altogether refrain from

conversing with heathens, though they are guilty in some of these

respects. Covetous, rapacious, idolaters - Sinners against

themselves, their neighbour, God. For then ye must go out of the

world - Then all civil commerce must cease. So that going out of

the world, which some account a perfection, St. Paul accounts an

utter absurdity.

11. Who is named a brother - That is, a Christian; especially if a

member of the same congregation. Rapacious - Guilty of

oppression, extortion, or any open injustice. No, not to eat with

him - Which is the lowest degree of familiarity.

12. I speak of Christians only. For what have I to do to judge

heathens? But ye, as well as I, judge those of your own


13. Them that are without God will judge - The passing sentence

on these he hath reserved to himself. And ye will take away that

wicked person - This properly belongs to you.


1. The unjust - The heathens. A Christian could expect no justice

from these. The saints - Who might easily decide these smaller

differences in a private and friendly manner.

2. Know ye not - This expression occurs six times in this single

chapter, and that with a peculiar force; for the Corinthians knew

and gloried in it, but they did not practice. That the saints - After

having been judged themselves. Shall judge the world - Shall be

assessors with Christ in the judgment wherein he shall condemn

all the wicked, as well angels as men, Matt. xix, 28 Rev. xx, 4.

4. Them who are of no esteem in the church - That is, heathens,

who, as such, could be in no esteem with the Christians.

5. Is there not one among you, who are such admirers of wisdom,

that is wise enough to decide such causes?

7. Indeed there is a fault, that ye quarrel with each other at all,

whether ye go to law or no. Why do ye not rather suffer wrong -

All men cannot or will not receive this saying. Many aim only at

this, "I will neither do wrong, nor suffer it." These are honest

heathens, but no Christians.

8. Nay, ye do wrong - Openly. And defraud - Privately. O how

powerfully did the mystery of iniquity already work!

9. Idolatry is here placed between fornication and adultery,

because they generally accompanied it. Nor the effeminate - Who

live in an easy, indolent way; taking up no cross, enduring no

hardship. But how is this? These good-natured, harmless people

are ranked with idolaters and sodomites! We may learn hence,

that we are never secure from the greatest sins, till we guard

against those which are thought the least; nor, indeed, till we think

no sin is little, since every one is a step toward hell.

11. And such were some of you: but ye are washed - From those

gross abominations; nay, and ye are inwardly sanctified; not

before, but in consequence of, your being justified in the name -

That is, by the merits, of the Lord Jesus, through which your sins

are forgiven. And by the Spirit of our God - By whom ye are thus

washed and sanctified.

12. All things - Which are lawful for you. Are lawful for me, but

all things are not always expedient - Particularly when anything

would offend my weak brother; or when it would enslave my own

soul. For though all things are lawful for me, yet I will not be

brought under the power of any - So as to be uneasy when I

abstain from it; for, if so, then I am under the power of it.

13. As if he had said, I speak this chiefly with regard to meats;

(and would to God all Christians would consider it!) particularly

with regard to those offered to idols, and those forbidden in the

Mosaic law. These, I grant, are all indifferent, and have their use,

though it is only for a time: then meats, and the organs which

receive them, will together moulder into dust. But the case is quite

otherwise with fornication. This is not indifferent, but at all times

evil. For the body is for the Lord - Designed only for his service.

And the Lord, in an important sense, for the body - Being the

saviour of this, as well as of the soul; in proof of which God hath

already raised him from the dead.

16. Gen. ii, 24.

17. But he that is joined to the Lord - By faith. Is one spirit with

him - And shall he make himself one flesh with an harlot?

18. Flee fornication - All unlawful commerce with women, with

speed, with abhorrence, with all your might. Every sin that a man

commits against his neighbour terminates upon an object out of

himself, and does not so immediately pollute his body, though it

does his soul. But he that committeth fornication, sinneth against

his own body - Pollutes, dishonours, and degrades it to a level

with brute beasts.

19. And even your body is not, strictly speaking, your own even

this is the temple of the Holy Ghost - Dedicated to him, and

inhabited by him. What the apostle calls elsewhere "the temple of

God," chap. iii, 16, 17, and "the temple of the living God," 2 Cor.

vi, 16, he here styles the temple of the Holy Ghost; plainly

showing that the Holy Ghost is the living God.

20. Glorify God with your body, and your spirit - Yield your

bodies and all their members, as well as your souls and all their

faculties, as instruments of righteousness to God. Devote and

employ all ye have, and all ye are, entirely, unreservedly, and for

ever, to his glory.


1. It is good for a man - Who is master of himself. Not to touch a

women - That is, not to marry. So great and many are the

advantages of a single life.

2. Yet, when it is needful, in order to avoid fornication, let every

man have his own wife. His own - For Christianity allows no


3. Let not married persons fancy that there is any perfection in

living with each other, as if they were unmarried. The debt - This

ancient reading seems far more natural than the common one.

4. The wife-the husband - Let no one forget this, on pretense of

greater purity.

5. Unless it be by consent for a time - That on those special and

solemn occasions ye may entirely give yourselves up to the

exercises of devotion. Lest - If ye should long remain separate.

Satan tempt you - To unclean thoughts, if not actions too.

6. But I say this - Concerning your separating for a time and

coming together again. Perhaps he refers also to ver. 2.

7. For I would that all men were herein even as I - I would that all

believers who are now unmarried would remain "eunuchs for the

kingdom of heaven's sake" St. Paul, having tasted the sweetness

of this liberty, wished others to enjoy it, as well as himself. But

every one hath his proper gift from God - According to our Lord's

declaration, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they," the

happy few, to whom it is given," Matt. xix, 11.

8. It is good for them if they remain even as I - That St. Paul was

then single is certain and from Acts vii, 58, compared with the

following parts of the history, it seems probable that he always

was so. It does not appear that this declaration, any more than ver.

1, hath any reference at all to a state of persecution.

10. Not I - Only. But the Lord - Christ; by his express command,

Matt. v, 32.

11. But if she depart - Contrary to this express prohibition. And

let not the husband put away his wife - Except for the cause of


12. To the rest - Who are married to unbelievers. Speak I - By

Revelation from God, though our Lord hath not left any

commandment concerning it. Let him not put her away - The

Jews, indeed, were obliged of old to put away their idolatrous

wives, Ezra x, 3; but their case was quite different. They were

absolutely forbid to marry idolatrous women; but the persons here

spoken of were married while they were both in a state of


14. For the unbelieving husband hath, in many instances, been

sanctified by the wife - Else your children would have been

brought up heathens; whereas now they are Christians. As if he

had said, Ye see the proof of it before your eyes.

15. A brother or a sister - A Christian man or woman. Is not

enslaved - is at full liberty. In such cases: but God hath called us

to peace - To live peaceably with them, if it be possible.

17. But as God hath distributed - The various stations of life, and

various relations, to every one, let him take care to discharge his

duty therein. The gospel disannuls none of these. And thus I

ordain in all the churches - As a point of the highest concern.

19. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing - Will

neither promote nor obstruct our salvation. The one point is,

keeping the commandments of God; "faith working by love."

20. In the calling - The outward state. Wherein he is - When God

calls him. Let him not seek to change this, without a clear

direction from Providence.

21. Care not for it - Do not anxiously seek liberty. But if thou

canst be free, use it rather - Embrace the opportunity.

22. Is the Lord's freeman - Is free in this respect. The Greek word

implies one that was a slave, but now is free. Is the bondman of

Christ - Not free in this respect; not at liberty to do his own will.

23. Ye are bought with a price - Ye belong to God; therefore,

where it can be avoided, do not become the bondslaves of men -

Which may expose you to many temptations.

24. Therein abide with God - Doing all things as unto God, and as

in his immediate presence. They who thus abide with God

preserve an holy indifference with regard to outward things.

25. Now concerning virgins - Of either sex. I have no

commandment from the Lord - By a particular Revelation. Nor

was it necessary he should; for the apostles wrote nothing which

was not divinely inspired: but with this difference, - sometimes

they had a particular Revelation, and a special commandment; at

other times they wrote from the divine light which abode with

them, the standing treasure of the Spirit of God. And this, also,

was not their private opinion, but a divine rule of faith and

practice. As one whom God hath made faithful in my apostolic

office; who therefore faithfully deliver what I receive from him.

26, 27. This is good for the present distress - While any church is

under persecution. For a man to continue as he is - Whether

married or unmarried. St. Paul does not here urge the present

distress as a reason for celibacy, any more than for marriage; but

for a man's not seeking to alter his state, whatever it be, but

making the best of it.

28. Such will have trouble in the flesh - Many outward troubles.

But I spare you - I speak as little and as tenderly as possible.

29. But this I say, brethren - With great confidence. The time of

our abode here is short. It plainly follows, that even they who

have wives be as serious, zealous, active, dead to the world, as

devoted to God, as holy in all manner of conversation, as if they

had none - By so easy a transition does the apostle slide from

every thing else to the one thing needful; and, forgetting whatever

is temporal, is swallowed up in eternity.

30. And they that weep, as if they wept not - "Though sorrowful,

yet always rejoicing." They that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not -

Tempering their joy with godly fear. They that buy, as if they

possessed not - Knowing themselves to be only stewards, not


31. And they that use this world, as not abusing it - Not seeking

happiness in it, but in God: using every thing therein only in such

a manner and degree as most tends to the knowledge and love of

God. For the whole scheme and fashion of this world - This

marrying, weeping, rejoicing, and all the rest, not only will pass,

but now passeth away, is this moment flying off like a shadow.

32. Now I would have you - For this flying moment. Without

carefulness - Without any incumbrance of your thoughts. The

unmarried man - If he understand and use the advantage he

enjoys-Careth only for the things of the Lord, how he may please

the Lord.

33. But the married careth for the things of the world - And it in

his duty so to do, so far as becomes a Christian. How he may

please his wife - And provide all things needful for her and his


34. There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin -

Whether the church be under persecution or not. The unmarried

woman - If she know and use her privilege. Careth only for the

things of the Lord - All her time, care, and thoughts center in this,

how she may be holy both in body and spirit. This is the standing

advantage of a single life, in all ages and nations. But who makes

a suitable use of it?

35. Not that I may cast a snare upon you - Who are not able to

receive this saying. But for your profit - Who are able. That ye

may resolutely and perseveringly wait upon the Lord - The word

translated wait signifies sitting close by a person, in a good

posture to hear. So Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Luke x, 39.

Without distraction - Without having the mind drawn any way

from its center; from its close attention to God; by any person, or

thing, or care, or incumbrance whatsoever.

36. But if any parent think he should otherwise act indecently -

Unbecoming his character. Toward his virgin daughter, if she be

above age, (or of full age,) and need so require, ver. 9, let them

marry - Her suitor and she.

37. Having no necessity - Where there is no such need. But

having power over his own will - Which would incline him to

desire the increase of his family, and the strengthening it by new


38. Doeth better - If there be no necessity.

39. Only in the Lord - That is, only if Christians marry Christians:

a standing direction, and one of the utmost importance.

40. I also - As well as any of you. Have the Spirit of God -

Teaching me all things This does not imply any doubt; but the

strongest certainty of it, together with a reproof of them for

calling it in question. Whoever, therefore, would conclude from

hence, that St. Paul was not certain he had the Spirit of Christ,

neither understands the true import of the words, nor considers

how expressly he lays claim to the Spirit, both in this epistle,

chap. ii, 16, xiv, 37, and the other. 2 Cor. xiii, 3. Indeed, it may be

doubted whether the word here and elsewhere translated think,

does not always imply the fullest and strongest assurance. See

chap. x, 12.


1. Now concerning the next question you proposed. All of us have

knowledge - A gentle reproof of their self-conceit. Knowledge

without love always puffeth up. Love alone edifies - Builds us up

in holiness.

2. If any man think he knoweth any thing - Aright, unless so far

he is taught by God. He knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know

- Seeing there is no true knowledge without divine love.

3. He is known - That is, approved, by him. Psalm i, 6.

4. We know that an idol is nothing - A mere nominal God, having

no divinity, virtue, or power.

5. For though there be that are called gods - By the heathens both

celestial, (as they style them,) terrestrial, and infernal deities.

6. Yet to us - Christians. There is but one God - This is exclusive,

not of the One Lord, as if he were an inferior deity; but only of the

idols to which the One God is opposed. From whom are all things

- By creation, providence, and grace. And we for him - The end of

all we are, have, and do. And one Lord - Equally the object of

divine worship. By whom are all things - Created, sustained, and

governed. And we by him - Have access to the Father, and all

spiritual blessings.

7. Some eat, with consciousness of the idol - That is, fancying it is

something, and that it makes the meat unlawful to be eaten. And

their conscience, being weak - Not rightly informed. Is defiled -

contracts guilt by doing it.

8. But meat commendeth us not to God - Neither by eating, nor by

refraining from it. Eating and not eating are in themselves things

merely indifferent.

10. For if any one see thee who hast knowledge - Whom he

believes to have more knowledge than himself, and who really

hast this knowledge, that an idol is nothing-sitting down to an

entertainment in an idol temple. The heathens frequently made

entertainments in their temples, on what hath been sacrificed to

their idols. Will not the conscience of him that is weak -

Scrupulous. Be encouraged - By thy example. To eat - Though

with a doubting conscience.

11. And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for

whom Christ died? - And for whom thou wilt not lose a meal's

meat, so far from dying for him! We see, Christ died even for

them that perish.

12. Ye sin against Christ - Whose members they are.

13. If meat - Of any kind. Who will follow this example? What

preacher or private Christian will abstain from any thing lawful in

itself, when it offends a weak brother?


1. Am I not free? am I not an apostle? - That is, Have not I the

liberty of a common Christian? yea, that of an apostle? He

vindicates his apostleship, chap. ix, 1-iii, his apostolical liberty,

chap. ix, 4-19. Have I not seen Jesus Christ? - Without this he

could not have been one of those first grand witnesses. Are not ye

my work in the Lord - A full evidence that God hath sent me?

And yet some, it seems, objected to his being an apostle, because

he had not asserted his privilege in demanding and receiving such

maintenance from the churches as was due to that office.

2. Ye are the seal of my apostleship - Who have received not only

faith by my mouth, but all the gifts of the Spirit by my hands.

3. My answer to them who examine me - Concerning my

apostleship. Is this - Which I have now given.

4. Have we not power - I and my fellowlabourers. To eat and to

drink - At the expense of those among whom we labour.

5. Have we not power to lead about with us a sister, a wife - And

to demand sustenance for her also? As well as the other apostles -

Who therefore, it is plain, did this. And Peter - Hence we learn,

1. That St. Peter continued to live with his wife after he became

an apostle:

2. That he had no rights as an apostle which were not common to

St. Paul.

6. To forbear working - With our hands.

8. Do I speak as a man - Barely on the authority of human reason?

Does not God also say, in effect, the same thing? The ox that

treadeth out the corn - This was the custom in Judea, and many

eastern nations. In several of them it is retained still. And at this

day, horses tread out the corn in some parts of Germany.

9. Doth God - In this direction. Take care for oxen - Only? Hath

he not a farther meaning? And so undoubtedly he hath in all the

other Mosaic laws of this kind.

10. He who ploweth ought to plow in hope - Of reaping. This

seems to be a proverbial expression. And he that thresheth in hope

- Ought not to be disappointed, ought to eat the fruit of his

labours. And ought they who labour in God's husbandry. Deut.

xxv, 4

11. Is it a great matter if we shall reap as much of your carnal

things - As is needful for our sustenance? Do you give us things

of greater value than those you receive from us?

12. If others - Whether true or false apostles. Partake of this

power - Have a right to be maintained. Do not we rather - On

account of our having laboured so much more? Lest we should

give any hindrance to the gospel - By giving an occasion of cavil

or reproach.

14. Matt. x, 10

15. It were better for me to die than - To give occasion to them

that seek occasion against me, 2 Cor. xi, 12.

17. Willingly - He seems to mean, without receiving anything. St.

Paul here speaks in a manner peculiar to himself. Another might

have preached willingly, and yet have received a maintenance

from the Corinthians. But if he had received anything from them,

he would have termed it preaching unwillingly. And so, in the

next verse, another might have used that power without abusing it.

But his own using it at all, he would have termed abusing it. A

dispensation is intrusted to me - Therefore I dare not refrain.

18. What then is my reward - That circumstance in my conduct

for which I expect a peculiar reward from my great Master? That I

abuse not - Make not an unseasonable use of my power which I

have in preaching the gospel.

19. I made myself the servant of all - I acted with as self-denying

a regard to their interest, and as much caution not to offend them,

as if I had been literally their servant or slave. Where is the

preacher of the gospel who treads in the same steps?

20. To the Jews I became as a Jew - Conforming myself in all

things to their manner of thinking and living, so far as; I could

with innocence. To them that are under the law - Who apprehend

themselves to be still bound by the Mosaic law. As under the law

- Observing it myself, while I am among them. Not that he

declared this to be necessary, or refused to converse with those

who did not observe it. This was the very thing which he

condemned in St. Peter, Gal. ii, 14.

21. To them that are without the law - The heathens. As without

the law - Neglecting its ceremonies. Being not without the law to

God - But as much as ever under its moral precepts. Under the

law to Christ - And in this sense all Christians will be under the

law for ever.

22. I became as weak - As if I had been scrupulous too. I became

all things to all men - Accommodating myself to all, so far as I

could consistent with truth and sincerity.

24. Know ye not that - In those famous games which are kept at

the isthmus, near your city. They who run in the foot race all run,

though but one receiveth the prize - How much greater

encouragement have you to run; since ye may all receive the prize

of your high calling!

25. And every one that there contendeth is temperate in all things

- To an almost incredible degree; using the most rigorous self

denial in food, sleep, and every other sensual indulgence. A

corruptible crown - A garland of leaves, which must soon wither.

The moderns only have discovered that it is "legal" to do all this

and more for an eternal crown than they did for a corruptible!

26. I so run, not as uncertainly - I look straight to the goal; I run

straight toward it. I cast away every weight, regard not any that

stand by. I fight not as one that beateth the air - This is a

proverbial expression for a man's missing his blow, and spending

his strength, not on his enemy, but on empty air.

27. But I keep under my body - By all kinds of self denial. And

bring it into subjection - To my spirit and to God. The words are

strongly figurative, and signify the mortification of the body of

sin, "by an allusion to the natural bodies of those who were

bruised or subdued in combat. Lest by any means after having

preached - The Greek word means, after having discharged the

office of an herald, (still carrying on the allusion,) whose office it

was to proclaim the conditions, and to display the prizes. I myself

should become a reprobate - Disapproved by the Judge, and so

falling short of the prize. This single text may give us a just notion

of the scriptural doctrine of election and reprobation; and clearly

shows us, that particular persons are not in holy writ represented

as elected absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, or

predestinated absolutely and unconditionally to eternal death; but

that believers in general are elected to enjoy the Christian

privileges on earth; which if they abuse, those very elect persons

will become reprobate. St. Paul was certainly an elect person, if

ever there was one; and yet he declares it was possible he himself

might become a reprobate. Nay, he actually would have become

such, if he had not thus kept his body under, even though he had

been so long an elect person, a Christian, and an apostle.


1. Now - That ye may not become reprobates, consider how

highly favoured your fathers were, who were God's elect and

peculiar people, and nevertheless were rejected by him. They

were all under the cloud - That eminent token of God's gracious

presence, which screened them from the heat of the sun by day,

and gave them light by night. And all passed through the sea -

God opening a way through the midst of the waters. Exod. xiii, 21

Exod. xiv, 22

2. And were all, as it were, baptized unto Moses - initiated into

the religion which he taught them. In the cloud and in the sea -

Perhaps sprinkled here and there with drops of water from the sea

or the cloud, by which baptism might be the more evidently


3. And all ate the same manna, termed spiritual meat, as it was


1. Of Christ and his spiritual benefits:

2. Of the sacred bread which we eat at his table. Exod. xvi, 15.

4. And all drank the same spiritual drink - Typical of Christ, and

of that cup which we drink. For they drank out of the spiritual or

mysterious rock, the wonderful streams of which followed them

in their several journeyings, for many years, through the

wilderness. And that rock was a manifest type of Christ - The

Rock of Eternity, from whom his people derive those streams of

blessings which follow them through all this wilderness. Exod.

xvii, 6.

5. Yet - Although they had so many tokens of the divine presence.

They were overthrown - With the most terrible marks of his


6. Now these things were our examples - Showing what we are to

expect if, enjoying the like benefits, we commit the like sins. The

benefits are set down in the same order as by Moses in Exodus;

the sins and punishments in a different order; evil desire first, as

being the foundation of all; next, idolatry, ver. 7, 14; then

fornication, which usually accompanied it, ver. 8; the tempting

and murmuring against God, in the following verses. As they

desired - Flesh, in contempt of manna. Num. xi, 4

7. Neither be ye idolaters - And so, "neither murmur ye," ver. 10.

The other cautions are given in the first person; but these in the

second. And with what exquisite propriety does he vary the

person! It would have been improper to say, Neither let us be

idolaters; for he was himself in no danger of idolatry; nor

probably of murmuring against Christ, or the divine providence.

To play - That is, to dance, in honour of their idol. Exod. xxxii, 6.

8. And fell in one day three and twenty thousand - Beside the

princes who were afterwards hanged, and those whom the Judges

slew so that there died in all four and twenty thousand. Num. xxv,

1, 9.

9. Neither let us tempt Christ - By our unbelief. St. Paul

enumerates five benefits, ver. 1-4; of which the fourth and fifth

were closely connected together; and five sins, the fourth and fifth

of which were likewise closely connected. In speaking of the fifth

benefit, he expressly mentions Christ; and in speaking of the

fourth sin, he shows it was committed against Christ. As some of

them tempted him - This sin of the people was peculiarly against

Christ; for when they had so long drank of that rock, yet they

murmured for want of water. Num. xxi, 4, &c.

10. The destroyer - The destroying angel. Num. xiv, 1, 36

11. On whom the ends of the ages are come - The expression has

great force. All things meet together, and come to a crisis, under

the last, the gospel, dispensation; both benefits and dangers,

punishments and rewards. It remains, that Christ come as an

avenger and judge. And even these ends include various periods,

succeeding each other.

12. The common translation runs, Let him that thinketh he

standeth; but the word translated thinketh, most certainly

strengthens, rather than weakens, the sense.

13. Common to man - Or, as the Greek word imports,

proportioned to human strength. God is faithful - In giving the

help which he hath promised. And he will with the temptation -

Provide for your deliverance.

14. Flee from idolatry - And from all approaches to it.

16. The cup which we bless - By setting it apart to a sacred use,

and solemnly invoking the blessing of God upon it. Is it not the

communion of the blood of Christ - The means of our partaking of

those invaluable benefits, which are the purchase of the blood of

Christ. The communion of the body of Christ - The means of our

partaking of those benefits which were purchased by the body of

Christ - offered for us.

17. For it is this communion which makes us all one. We being

many are yet, as it were, but different parts of one and the same

broken bread, which we receive to unite us in one body.

18. Consider Israel after the flesh - Christians are the spiritual

"Israel of God." Are not they who eat of the sacrifices partakers of

the altar - Is not this an act of communion with that God to whom

they are offered? And is not the case the same with those who eat

of the sacrifices which have been offered to idols?

19. What say I then - Do I in saying this allow that an idol is

anything divine? I aver, on the contrary, that what the heathens

sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils. Such in reality are the gods of

the heathens; and with such only can you hold communion in

those sacrifices.

21. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils -

You cannot have communion with both.

22. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy - By thus caressing his

rivals? Are we stronger than he - Are we able to resist, or to bear

his wrath?

23. Supposing this were lawful in itself, yet it is not expedient, it

is not edifying to my neighbour.

24. His own only, but another's welfare also.

25. The apostle now applies this principle to the point in question.

Asking no questions - Whether it has been sacrificed or not.

26. For God, who is the Creator, Proprietor, and Disposer of the

earth and all that is therein, hath given the produce of it to the

children of men, to be used without scruple. Psalm xxiv, 1

28. For his sake that showed thee, and for conscience' sake - That

is, for the sake of his weak conscience, lest it should be wounded.

29. Conscience I say, not thy own - I speak of his conscience, not

thine. For why is my liberty judged by another's conscience -

Another's conscience is not the standard of mine, nor is another's

persuasion the measure of my liberty.

30. If I by grace am a partaker - If I thankfully use the common

blessings of God.

31. Therefore - To close the present point with a general rule,

applicable not only in this, but in all cases, Whatsoever ye do - In

all things whatsoever, whether of a religious or civil nature, in all

the common, as well as sacred, actions of life, keep the glory of

God in view, and steadily pursue in all this one end of your being,

the planting or advancing the vital knowledge and love of God,

first in your own soul, then in all mankind.

32. Give no offense - If, and as far as, it is possible.

33. Even as I, as much as lieth in me, please all men.


2. I praise you - The greater part of you.

3. I would have you know - He does not seem to have given them

any order before concerning this. The head of every man -

Particularly every believer. Is Christ, and the head of Christ is

God - Christ, as he is Mediator, acts in all things subordinately to

his Father. But we can no more infer that they are not of the same

divine nature, because God is said to be the head of Christ, than

that man and woman are not of the same human nature, because

the man is said to be the head of the woman.

4. Every man praying or prophesying - Speaking by the

immediate power of God. With his head - And face. Covered -

Either with a veil or with long hair. Dishonoureth his head - St.

Paul seems to mean, As in these eastern nations veiling the head is

a badge of subjection, so a man who prays or prophesies with a

veil on his head, reflects a dishonour on Christ, whose

representative he is.

5. But every woman - Who, under an immediate impulse of the

Spirit, (for then only was a woman suffered to speak in the

church,) prays or prophesies without a veil on her face, as it were

disclaims subjection, and reflects dishonour on man, her head. For

it is the same, in effect, as if she cut her hair short, and wore it in

the distinguishing form of the men. In those ages, men wore their

hair exceeding short, as appears from the ancient statues and


6. Therefore if a woman is not covered - If she will throw off the

badge of subjection, let her appear with her hair cut like a man's.

But if it be shameful far a woman to appear thus in public,

especially in a religious assembly, let her, for the same reason,

keep on her veil.

7. A man indeed ought not to veil his head, because he is the

image of God - In the dominion he bears over the creation,

representing the supreme dominion of God, which is his glory.

But the woman is only matter of glory to the man, who has a

becoming dominion over her. Therefore she ought not to appear,

but with her head veiled, as a tacit acknowledgment of it.

8. The man is not - In the first production of nature.

10. For this cause also a woman ought to be veiled in the public

assemblies, because of the angels - Who attend there, and before

whom they should be careful not to do anything indecent or


11. Nevertheless in the Lord Jesus, there is neither male nor

female - Neither is excluded; neither is preferred before the other

in his kingdom.

12. And as the woman was at first taken out of the man, so also

the man is now, in the ordinary course of nature, by the woman;

but all things are of God - The man, the woman, and their

dependence on each other.

13. Judge of yourselves - For what need of more arguments if so

plain a case? Is it decent for a woman to pray to God - The Most

High, with that bold and undaunted air which she must have,

when, contrary to universal custom, she appears in public with her

head uncovered?

14. For a man to have long hair, carefully adjusted, is such a mark

of effeminacy as is a disgrace to him.

15. Given her - Originally, before the arts of dress were in being.

16. We have no such custom here, nor any of the other churches

of God - The several churches that were in the apostles' time had

different customs in things that were not essential; and that under

one and the same apostle, as circumstances, in different places,

made it convenient. And in all things merely indifferent the

custom of each place was of sufficient weight to determine

prudent and peaceable men. Yet even this cannot overrule a

scrupulous conscience, which really doubts whether the thing be

indifferent or no. But those who are referred to here by the apostle

were contentious, not conscientious, persons.

18. In the church - In the public assembly. I hear there are schisms

among you; and I partly believe it - That is, I believe it of some of

you. It is plain that by schisms is not meant any separation from

the church, but uncharitable divisions in it; for the Corinthians

continued to be one church; and, notwithstanding all their strife

and contention, there was no separation of any one party from the

rest, with regard to external communion. And it is in the same

sense that the word is used, chap. i, 10; chap. xii, 25; which are

the only places in the New Testament, beside this, where church

schisms are mentioned. Therefore, the indulging any temper

contrary to this tender care of each other is the true scriptural

schism. This is, therefore, a quite different thing from that orderly

separation from corrupt churches which later ages have

stigmatized as schisms; and have made a pretense for the vilest

cruelties, oppressions, and murders, that have troubled the

Christian world. Both heresies and schisms are here mentioned in

very near the same sense; unless by schisms be meant, rather,

those inward animosities which occasion heresies; that is, outward

divisions or parties: so that whilst one said, "I am of Paul,"

another, "I am of Apollos," this implied both schism and heresy.

So wonderfully have later ages distorted the words heresy and

schism from their scriptural meaning. Heresy is not, in all the

Bible, taken for "an error in fundamentals," or in anything else;

nor schism, for any separation made from the outward

communion of others. Therefore, both heresy and schism, in the

modern sense of the words, are sins that the scripture knows

nothing of; but were invented merely to deprive mankind of the

benefit of private judgment, and liberty of conscience.

19. There must be heresies - Divisions. Among you - In the

ordinary course of things; and God permits them, that it may

appear who among you are, and who are not, upright of heart.

20. Therefore - That is, in consequence of those schisms. It is not

eating the Lord's supper - That solemn memorial of his death; but

quite another thing.

21. For in eating what ye call the Lord's supper, instead of all

partaking of one bread, each person brings his own supper, and

eats it without staying for the rest. And hereby the poor, who

cannot provide for themselves, have nothing; while the rich eat

and drink to the full just as the heathens use to do at the feasts on

their sacrifices.

22. Have ye not houses to eat and drink your common meals in?

or do ye despise the church of God - Of which the poor are both

the larger and the better part. Do ye act thus in designed contempt

of them?

23. I received - By an immediate Revelation.

24. This is my body, which is broken for you - That is, this broken

bread is the sign of my body, which is even now to be pierced and

wounded for your iniquities. Take then, and eat of, this bread, in

an humble, thankful, obediential remembrance of my dying love;

of the extremity of my sufferings on your behalf, of the blessings I

have thereby procured for you, and of the obligations to love and

duty which I have by all this laid upon you.

25. After supper - Therefore ye ought not to confound this with a

common meal. Do this in remembrance of me - The ancient

sacrifices were in remembrance of sin: this sacrifice, once offered,

is still represented in remembrance of the remission of sins.

26. Ye show forth the Lord's death - Ye proclaim, as it were, and

openly avow it to God, and to all the world. Till he come - In


27. Whosoever shall eat this bread unworthily - That is, in an

unworthy, irreverent manner; without regarding either Him that

appointed it, or the design of its appointment. Shall be guilty of

profaning that which represents the body and blood of the Lord.

28. But let a man examine himself - Whether he know the nature

and the design of the institution, and whether it be his own desire

and purpose throughly to comply therewith.

29. For he that eateth and drinketh so unworthily as those

Corinthians did, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself -

Temporal judgments of various kinds, ver. 30. Not distinguishing

the sacred tokens of the Lord's body - From his common food.

30. For this cause - Which they had not observed. Many sleep - In


31. If we would judge ourselves - As to our knowledge, and the

design with which we approach the Lord's table. We should not be

thus judged - That is, punished by God.

32. When we are thus judged, it is with this merciful design, that

we may not be finally condemned with the world.

33. The rest - The other circumstances relating to the Lord's



1. Now concerning spiritual gifts - The abundance of these in the

churches of Greece strongly refuted the idle learning of the Greek

philosophers. But the Corinthians did not use them wisely, which

occasioned St. Paul's writing concerning them. He describes,

1. The unity of the body, ver. 1-xxvii,

2. The variety of members and offices, ver. 27-30,

3. The way of exercising gifts rightly, namely, by love, ver. 31,

chap. xiii, 1. throughout: and adds,

4. A comparison of several gifts with each other, in the chap. xiv,

1. fourteenth chapter.

2. Ye were heathens - Therefore, whatever gifts ye have received,

it is from the free grace of God. Carried away - By a blind

credulity. After dumb idols - The blind to the dumb; idols of wood

and stone, unable to speak themselves, and much more to open

your mouths, as God has done. As ye were led - By the subtlety of

your priests.

3. Therefore - Since the heathen idols cannot speak themselves,

much less give spiritual gifts to others, these must necessarily be

among Christians only. As no one speaking by the Spirit of God

calleth Jesus accursed - That is, as none who does this, (which all

the Jews and heathens did,) speaketh by the Spirit of God - Is

actuated by that Spirit, so as to speak with tongues, heal diseases,

or cast out devils. So no one can say, Jesus is the Lord - None can

receive him as such; for, in the scripture language, to say, or to

believe, implies an experimental assurance. But by the Holy

Ghost - The sum is, None have the Holy Spirit but Christians: all

Christians have this Spirit.

4. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit - Divers

streams, but all from one fountain. This verse speaks of the Holy

Ghost, the next of Christ, the sixth of God the Father. The apostle

treats of the Spirit, ver. 7, &c.; of Christ, ver. 12, &c.; of God, ver.

28, &c.

5. Administrations - Offices. But the same Lord appoints them all.

6. Operations - Effects produced. This word is of a larger extent

than either of the former. But it is the same God who worketh all

these effects in all the persons concerned.

7. The manifestation - The gift whereby the Spirit manifests itself.

Is given to each - For the profit of the whole body.

8. The word of wisdom - A power of understanding and

explaining the manifold wisdom of God in the grand scheme of

gospel salvation. The word of knowledge - Perhaps an

extraordinary ability to understand and explain the Old Testament

types and prophecies.

9. Faith may here mean an extraordinary trust in God under the

most difficult or dangerous circumstances. The gift of healing

need not be wholly confined to the healing diseases with a word

or a touch. It may exert itself also, though in a lower degree,

where natural remedies are applied; and it may often be this, not

superior skill, which makes some physicians more successful than

others. And thus it may be with regard to other gifts likewise. As,

after the golden shields were lost, the king of Judah put brazen in

their place, so, after the pure gifts were lost, the power of God

exerts itself in a more covert manner, under human studies and

helps; and that the more plentifully, according as there is the more

room given for it.

10. The working of other miracles. Prophecy - Foretelling things

to come. The discerning - Whether men be of an upright spirit or

no; whether they have natural or supernatural gifts for offices in

the church; and whether they who profess to speak by inspiration

speak from a divine, a natural, or a diabolical spirit.

11. As he willeth - The Greek word does not so much imply

arbitrary pleasure, as a determination founded on wise counsel.

12. So is Christ - That is, the body of Christ, the church.

13. For by that one Spirit, which we received in baptism, we are

all united in one body. Whether Jews or gentiles - Who are at the

greatest distance from each other by nature. Whether slaves or

freemen - Who are at the greatest distance by law and custom. We

have all drank of one Spirit - In that cup, received by faith, we all

imbibed one Spirit, who first inspired, and still preserves, the life

of God in our souls.

15. The foot is elegantly introduced as speaking of the hand; the

ear, of the eye; each, of a part that has some resemblance to it. So

among men each is apt to compare himself with those whose gifts

some way resemble his own, rather than with those who are at a

distance, either above or beneath him. Is it therefore not of the

body - Is the inference good? Perhaps the foot may represent

private Christians; the hand, officers in the church; the eye,

teachers; the ear, hearers.

16. The ear - A less noble part. The eye - The most noble.

18. As it hath pleased him - With the most exquisite wisdom and


20. But one body - And it is a necessary consequence of this

unity, that the several members need one another.

21. Nor the head - The highest part of all. To the foot - The very


22. The members which appear to be weaker - Being of a more

delicate and tender structure; perhaps the brains and bowels, or

the veins, arteries, and other minute channels in the body.

23. We surround with more abundant honour - By so carefully

covering them. More abundant comeliness - By the help of dress.

24. Giving more abundant honour to that which lacked - As being

cared for and served by the noblest parts.

27. Now ye - Corinthians. Are the body and members of Christ -

part of them, I mean, not the whole body.

28. First apostles - Who plant the gospel in the heathen nations.

Secondly prophets - Who either foretel things to come, or speak

by extra-ordinary inspiration, for the edification of the church.

Thirdly teachers - Who precede even those that work miracles.

Under prophets and teachers are comprised evangelists and

pastors, Eph. iv, 11. Helps, governments - It does not appear that

these mean distinct offices: rather, any persons might be called

helps, from a peculiar dexterity in helping the distressed; and

governments, from a peculiar talent for governing or presiding in


31. Ye covet earnestly the best gifts - And they are worth your

pursuit, though but few of you can attain them. But there is a far

more excellent gift than all these; and one which all may, yea,

must attain or perish.

XIII The necessity of love is shown, ver. 1-3. The nature and

properties, ver. 4-7. The duration of it, ver. 8-13 Verse

1. Though I speak with all the tongues - Which are upon earth,

and with the eloquence of an angel. And have not love - The love

of God, and of all mankind for his sake, I am no better before God

than the sounding instruments of brass, used in the worship of

some of the heathen gods. Or a tinkling cymbal - This was made

of two pieces of hollow brass, which, being struck together, made

a tinkling, but very little variety of sound.

2. And though I have the gift of prophecy - Of foretelling future

events. And understand all the mysteries - Both of God's word and

providence. And all knowledge - Of things divine and human, that

ever any mortal attained to. And though I have the highest degree

of miracle working faith, and have not this love, I am nothing.

3. And though I - Deliberately, piece by piece. Give all my goods

to feed the poor, yea, though I deliver up my body to be burned -

Rather than I would renounce my religion. And have not the love

- Hereafter described. It profiteth me nothing - Without this,

whatever I speak, whatever I have, whatever I know, whatever I

do, whatever I suffer, is nothing.

4. The love of God, and of our neighbour for God's sake, is patient

toward, all men. It, suffers all the weakness, ignorance, errors, and

infirmities of the children of God; all the malice and wickedness

of the children of the world: and all this, not only for a time, but to

the end. And in every step toward overcoming evil with good, it is

kind, soft, mild, benign. It inspires the sufferer at once with the

most amiable sweetness, and the most fervent and tender

affection. Love acteth not rashly - Does not hastily condemn any

one; never passes a severe sentence on a slight or sudden view of

things. Nor does it ever act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or

precipitate manner. Is not puffed up - Yea, humbles the soul to the


5. It doth not behave indecently - Is not rude, or willingly

offensive, to any. It renders to all their due - Suitable to time,

person, and all other circumstances. Seeketh not her own - Ease,

pleasure, honour, or temporal advantage. Nay, sometimes the

lover of mankind seeketh not, in some sense, even his own

spiritual advantage; does not think of himself, so long as a zeal for

the glory of God and the souls of men swallows him up. But,

though he is all on fire for these ends, yet he is not provoked to

sharpness or unkindness toward any one. Outward provocations

indeed will frequently occur; but he triumphs over all. Love

thinketh no evil - Indeed it cannot but see and hear evil things,

and know that they are so; but it does not willingly think evil of

any; neither infer evil where it does not appear. It tears up, root

and branch, all imagining of what we have not proof. It casts out

all jealousies, all evil surmises, all readiness to believe evil.

6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity - Yea, weeps at either the sin or folly

of even an enemy; takes no pleasure in hearing or in repeating it,

but desires it may be forgotten for ever. But rejoiceth in the truth -

Bringing forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart and life. Good in

general is its glory and joy, wherever diffused in all the world.

7. Love covereth all things - Whatever evil the lover of mankind

sees, hears, or knows of any one, he mentions it to none; it never

goes out of his lips, unless where absolute duty constrains to

speak. Believeth all things - Puts the most favourable construction

on everything, and is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to

the advantage of any one character. And when it can no longer

believe well, it hopes whatever may excuse or extenuate the fault

which cannot be denied. Where it cannot even excuse, it hopes

God will at length give repentance unto life. Meantime it endureth

all things - Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men

can inflict. He can not only do, but likewise suffer, all things,

through Christ who strengtheneth him.

8. Love never faileth - It accompanies to, and adorns us in,

eternity; it prepares us for, and constitutes, heaven. But whether

there be prophecies, they shall fail - When all things are fulfilled,

and God is all in all. Whether there be tongues, they shall cease -

One language shall prevail among all the inhabitants of heaven,

and the low and imperfect languages of earth be forgotten. The

knowledge likewise which we now so eagerly pursue, shall then

vanish away - As starlight is lost in that of the midday sun, so our

present knowledge in the light of eternity.

9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part - The wisest of

men have here but short, narrow, imperfect conceptions, even of

the things round about them, and much more of the deep things of

God. And even the prophecies which men deliver from God are

far from taking in the whole of future events, or of that wisdom

and knowledge of God which is treasured up in the scripture


10. But when that which is perfect is come - At death and in the

last day. That which is in part shall vanish away - Both that poor,

low, imperfect, glimmering light, which is all the knowledge we

now can attain to; and these slow and unsatisfactory methods of

attaining, as well as of imparting it to others.

11. In our present state we are mere infants in point of knowledge,

compared to what we shall be hereafter. I put away childish things

- Of my own accord, willingly, without trouble.

12. Now we see - Even the things that surround us. But by means

of a glass - Or mirror, which reflects only their imperfect forms,

in a dim, faint, obscure manner; so that our thoughts about them

are puzzling and intricate, and everything is a kind of riddle to us.

But then - We shall see, not a faint reflection, but the objects

themselves. Face to face - Distinctly. Now I know in part - Even

when God himself reveals things to me, great part of them is still

kept under the veil. But then I shall know even as also I am

known - In a clear, full, comprehensive manner; in some measure

like God, who penetrates the center of every object, and sees at

one glance through my soul and all things.

13. Faith, hope, love - Are the sum of perfection on earth; love

alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.


1. Follow after love - With zeal, vigour, courage, patience; else

you can neither attain nor keep it. And - In their place, as

subservient to this. Desire spiritual gifts; but especially that ye

may prophesy - The word here does not mean foretelling things to

come; but rather opening and applying the scripture.

2. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaks, in effect, not to

men, but to God - Who alone understands him.

4. Edifieth himself - Only, on the most favourable supposition.

The church - The whole congregation.

5. Greater - That is, more useful. By this alone are we to estimate

all our gifts and talents.

6. Revelation - Of some gospel mystery. Knowledge - Explaining

the ancient types and prophecies. Prophecy - Foretelling some

future event. Doctrine - To regulate your tempers and lives.

Perhaps this may be the sense of these obscure words.

7. How shall it be known what is piped or harped - What music

can be made, or what end answered?

8. Who will prepare himself for the battle - Unless he understand

what the trumpet sounds? suppose a retreat or a march.

9. Unless ye utter by the tongue - Which is miraculously given

you. Words easy to be understood - By your hearers. Ye will

speak to the air - A proverbial expression. Will utterly lose your


11. I shall be a barbarian to him - Shall seem to talk unintelligible


13. That he may be able to interpret - Which was a distinct gift.

14. If I pray in an unknown tongue - The apostle, as he did at ver.

6, transfers it to himself. My spirit prayeth - By the power of the

Spirit I understand the words myself. But my understanding is

unfruitful - The knowledge I have is no benefit to others.

15. I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the

understanding also - I will use my own understanding, as well as

the power of the Spirit. I will not act so absurdly, as to utter in a

congregation what can edify none but myself.

16. Otherwise how shall he that filleth the place of a private

person - That is, any private hearer. Say Amen - Assenting and

confirming your words, as it was even then usual for the whole

congregation to do.

19. With my understanding - In a rational manner; so as not only

to understand myself, but to be understood by others.

20. Be not children in understanding - This is an admirable stroke

of true oratory! to bring down the height of their spirits, by

representing that wherein they prided themselves most, as mere

folly and childishness. In wickedness be ye infants - Have all the

innocence of that tender age. But in understanding be ye grown

men - Knowing religion was not designed to destroy any of our

natural faculties, but to exalt and improve them, our reason in


21. It is written in the Law - The word here, as frequently, means

the Old Testament. In foreign tongues will I speak to this people -

And so he did. He spake terribly to them by the Babylonians,

when they had set at nought what he had spoken by the prophets,

who used their own language. These words received a farther

accomplishment on the day of pentecost. Isaiah xxviii, 11.

22. Tongues are intended for a sign to unbelievers - To engage

their attention, and convince them the message is of God.

Whereas prophecy is not so much for unbelievers, as for the

confirmation of them that already believe.

23. Yet - Sometimes prophecy is of more use, even to unbelievers,

than speaking with tongues. For instance: If the whole church be

met together - On some extraordinary occasion. It is probable, in

so large a city, they ordinarily met in several places. And there

come in ignorant persons - Men of learning might have

understood the tongues in which they spoke. It is observable, St.

Paul says here, ignorant persons or unbelievers; but in the next

verse, an unbeliever or an ignorant person. Several bad men met

together hinder each other by evil discourse. Single persons are

more easily gained.

24. He is convicted by all - who speak in their turns, and speak to

the heart of the hearers. He is judged by all - Every one says

something to which his conscience bears witness.

25. The secrets of his heart are made manifest - Laid open, clearly

described; in a manner which to him is most astonishing and

utterly unaccountable. How many instances of it are seen at this

day! So does God still point his word.

26. What a thing is it, brethren - This was another disorder among

them. Every one hath a psalm - That is, at the same time one

begins to sing a psalm; another to deliver a doctrine; another to

speak in an unknown tongue; another to declare what has been

revealed to him; another to interpret what the former is speaking;

every one probably gathering a little company about him, just as

they did in the schools of the philosophers. Let all be done to

edification - So as to profit the hearers.

27. By two or three at most - Let not above two or three speak at

one meeting. And that by course - That is, one after another. And

let one interpret - Either himself, ver. 13; or, if he have not the

gift, some other, into the vulgar tongue. It seems, the gift of

tongues was an instantaneous knowledge of a tongue till then

unknown, which he that received it could afterwards speak when

he thought fit, without any new miracle.

28. Let him speak - That tongue, if he find it profitable to himself

in his private devotions.

29. Let two or three of the prophets - Not more, at one meeting.

Speak - One after another, expounding the scripture.

31. All - Who have that gift. That all may learn - Both by

speaking and by hearing.

32. For the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets - But

what enthusiast considers this? The impulses of the Holy Spirit,

even in men really inspired, so suit themselves to their rational

faculties, as not to divest them of the government of themselves,

like the heathen priests under their diabolical possession. Evil

spirits threw their prophets into such ungovernable ecstasies, as

forced them to speak and act like madmen. But the Spirit of God

left his prophets the clear use of their judgment, when, and how

long, it was fit for them to speak, and never hurried them into any

improprieties either as to the matter, manner, or time of their


34. Let your women be silent in the churches - Unless they are

under an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit. For, in other cases, it

is not permitted them to speak - By way of teaching in public

assemblies. But to be in subjection - To the man whose proper

office it is to lead and to instruct the congregation. Gen. iii, 16.

35. And even if they desire to learn anything - Still they are not to

speak in public, but to ask their own husbands at home - That is

the place, and those the persons to inquire of.

36. Are ye of Corinth either the first or the only Christians? If not,

conform herein to the custom of all the churches.

37. Or spiritual - Endowed with any extraordinary gift of the

Spirit. Let him - Prove it, by acknowledging that I now write by

the Spirit.

38. Let him be ignorant - Be it at his own peril.

39. Therefore - To sum up the whole.

40. Decently - By every individual. In order - By the whole



2. Ye are saved, if ye hold fast - Your salvation is begun, and will

be perfected, if ye continue in the faith. Unless ye have believed

in vain - Unless indeed your faith was only a delusion.

3. I received - From Christ himself. It was not a fiction of my

own. Isaiah liii, 8, 9.

4. According to the scriptures - He proves it first from scripture,

then from the testimony of a cloud of witnesses. Psalm xvi, 10.

5. By the twelve - This was their standing appellation; but their

full number was not then present.

6. Above five hundred - Probably in Galilee. A glorious and

incontestable proof! The greater part remain - Alive.

7. Then by all the apostles - The twelve were mentioned ver. 5.

This title here, therefore, seems to include the seventy; if not all

those, likewise, whom God afterwards sent to plant the gospel in

heathen nations.

8. An untimely birth - It was impossible to abase himself more

than he does by this single appellation. As an abortion is not

worthy the name of a man, so he affirms himself to be not worthy

the name of an apostle.

9. I persecuted the church - True believers are humbled all their

lives, even for the sins they committed before they believed.

10. I laboured more than they all - That is, more than any of them,

from a deep sense of the peculiar love God had shown me. Yet, to

speak more properly, it is not I, but the grace of God that is with

me - This it is which at first qualified me for the work, and still

excites me to zeal and diligence in it.

11. Whether I or they, so we preach - All of us speak the same


12. How say some - Who probably had been heathen


13. If there be no resurrection - If it be a thing flatly impossible.

14. Then is our preaching - From a commission supposed to be

given after the resurrection. Vain - Without any real foundation.

15. If the dead rise not - If the very notion of a resurrection be, as

they say, absurd and impossible.

17. Ye are still in your sins - That is, under the guilt of them. So

that there needed something more than reformation, (which was

plainly wrought,) in order to their being delivered from the guilt

of sin even that atonement, the sufficiency of which God attested

by raising our great Surety from the grave.

18. They who sleep in Christ - Who have died for him, or

believing in him. Are perished - Have lost their life and being


19. If in this life only we have hope - If we look for nothing

beyond the grave. But if we have a divine evidence of things not

seen, if we have "a hope full of immortality," if we now taste of

"the powers of the world to come," and see "the crown that fadeth

not away," then, notwithstanding" all our present trials, we are

more happy than all men.

20. But now - St. Paul declares that Christians "have hope," not

"in this life only." His proof of the resurrection lies in a narrow

compass, ver. 12-19. Almost all the rest of the chapter is taken up

in illustrating, vindicating, and applying it. The proof is short, but

solid and convincing, that which arose from Christ's resurrection.

Now this not only proved a resurrection possible, but, as it proved

him to be a divine teacher, proved the certainty of a general

resurrection, which he so expressly taught. The first fruit of them

that slept - The earnest, pledge, and insurance of their resurrection

who slept in him: even of all the righteous. It is of the resurrection

of these, and these only, that the apostle speaks throughout the


22. As through Adam all, even the righteous, die, so through

Christ all these shall be made alive - He does not say, "shall

revive," (as naturally as they die,) but shall be made alive, by a

power not their own.

23. Afterward - The whole harvest. At the same time the wicked

shall rise also. But they are not here taken into the account.

24. Then - After the resurrection and the general judgment.

Cometh the end - Of the world; the grand period of all those

wonderful scenes that have appeared for so many succeeding

generations. When he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the

Father, and he (the Father) shall have abolished all adverse rule,

authority, and power - Not that the Father will then begin to reign

without the Son, nor will the Son then cease to reign. For the

divine reign both of the Father and Son is from everlasting to

everlasting. But this is spoken of the Son's mediatorial kingdom,

which will then be delivered up, and of the immediate kingdom or

reign of the Father, which will then commence. Till then the Son

transacts the business which the Father hath given him, for those

who are his, and by them as well as by the angels, with the Father,

and against their enemies. So far as the Father gave the kingdom

to the Son, the Son shall deliver it up to the Father, John xiii, 3.

Nor does the Father cease to reign, when he gives it to the Son;

neither the Son, when he delivers it to the Father: but the glory

which he had before the world began, John xvii, 5; Heb. i, 8, will

remain even after this is delivered up. Nor will he cease to be a

king even in his human nature, Luke i, 33. If the citizens of the

new Jerusalem" shall reign for ever," Rev. xxii, 5, how much

more shall he?

25. He must reign - Because so it is written. Till he - the Father

hath put all his enemies under his feet. Psalm cx, 1.

26. The last enemy that is destroyed is death - Namely, after

Satan, Heb. ii, 14, and sin, ver. 56, are destroyed. In the same

order they prevailed. Satan brought in sin, and sin brought forth

death. And Christ, when he of old engaged with these enemies,

first conquered Satan, then sin, in his death; and, lastly, death, in

his resurrection. In the same order he delivers all the faithful from

them, yea, and destroys these enemies themselves. Death he so

destroys that it shall be no more; sin and Satan, so that they shall

no more hurt his people.

27. Under him - Under the Son. Psalm viii, 6, 7

28. The Son also shall be subject - Shall deliver up the mediatorial

kingdom. That the three-one God may be all in all - All things,

(consequently all persons,) without any interruption, without the

intervention of any creature, without the opposition of any enemy,

shall be subordinate to God. All shall say, "My God, and my all."

This is the end. Even an inspired apostle can see nothing beyond


29. Who are baptized for the dead - Perhaps baptized in hope of

blessings to be received after they are numbered with the dead.

Or, "baptized in the room of the dead" - Of them that are just

fallen in the cause of Christ: like soldiers who advance in the

room of their companions that fell just before their face.

30. Why are we - The apostles. Also in danger every hour - It is

plain we can expect no amends in this life.

31. I protest by your rejoicing, which I have - Which love makes

my own. I die daily - I am daily in the very jaws of death. Beside

that I live, as it were, in a daily martyrdom.

32. If to speak after the manner of men - That is, to use a

proverbial phrase, expressive of the most imminent danger I have

fought with wild beasts at Ephesus - With the savage fury of a

lawless multitude, Acts xix, 29, &c. This seems to have been but

just before. Let as eat, &c. - We might, on that supposition, as

well say, with the Epicureans, Let us make the best of this short

life, seeing we have no other portion.

33. Be not deceived - By such pernicious counsels as this. Evil

communications corrupt good manners - He opposes to the

Epicurean saying, a well - known verse of the poet Menander.

Evil communications - Discourse contrary to faith, hope, or love,

naturally tends to destroy all holiness.

34. Awake - An exclamation full of apostolical majesty. Shake off

your lethargy! To righteousness - Which flows from the true

knowledge of God, and implies that your whole soul be broad

awake. And sin not - That is, and ye will not sin Sin supposes

drowsiness of soul. There is need to press this. For some among

you have not the knowledge of God - With all their boasted

knowledge, they are totally ignorant of what it most concerns

them to know. I speak this to your shame - For nothing is more

shameful, than sleepy ignorance of God, and of the word and

works of God; in these especially, considering the advantages

they had enjoyed.

35. But some one possibly will say, How are the dead raised up,

after their whole frame is dissolved? And with what kind of

bodies do they come again, after these are mouldered into dust?

36. To the inquiry concerning the manner of rising, and the

quality of the bodies that rise, the Apostle answers first by a

similitude, ver. 36-42, and then plainly and directly, ver. 42, 43.

That which thou sowest, is not quickened into new life and

verdure, except it die - Undergo a dissolution of its parts, a change

analogous to death. Thus St. Paul inverts the objection; as if he

had said, Death is so far from hindering life, that it necessarily

goes before it.

37. Thou sowest not the body that shall be - Produced from the

seed committed to the ground, but a bare, naked grain, widely

different from that which will afterward rise out of the earth.

38. But God - Not thou, O man, not the grain itself, giveth it a

body as it hath pleased him, from the time he distinguished the

various Species of beings; and to each of the seeds, not only of the

fruits, but animals also, (to which the Apostle rises in the

following verse,) its own body; not only peculiar to that species,

but proper to that individual, and arising out of the substance of

that very grain.

39. All flesh - As if he had said, Even earthy bodies differ from

earthy, and heavenly bodies from heavenly. What wonder then, if

heavenly bodies differ from earthy? or the bodies which rise from

those that lay in the grave?

40. There are also heavenly bodies - As the sun, moon, and stars;

and there are earthy - as vegetables and animals. But the brightest

lustre which the latter can have is widely different from that of the


41. Yea, and the heavenly bodies themselves differ from each


42. So also is the resurrection of the dead - So great is the

difference between the body which fell, and that which rises. It is

sown - A beautiful word; committed, as seed, to the ground. In

corruption - Just ready to putrefy, and, by various degrees of

corruption and decay, to return to the dust from whence it came. It

is raised in incorruption - Utterly incapable of either dissolution or


43. It is sown in dishonour - Shocking to those who loved it best,

human nature in disgrace! It is raised in glory - Clothed with

robes of light, fit for those whom the King of heaven delights to

honour. It is sown in weakness - Deprived even of that feeble

strength which it once enjoyed. It is raised in power - Endued with

vigour, strength, and activity, such as we cannot now conceive.

44. It is sown in this world a merely animal body - Maintained by

food, sleep, and air, like the bodies of brutes: but it is raised of a

more refined contexture, needing none of these animal

refreshments, and endued with qualities of a spiritual nature, like

the angels of God.

45. The first Adam was made a living soul - God gave him such

life as other animals enjoy: but the last Adam, Christ, is a

quickening spirit - As he hath life in himself, so he quickeneth

whom he will; giving a more refined life to their very bodies at

the resurrection. Gen. ii, 7

47. The first man was from the earth, earthy; the second man is

the Lord from heaven-The first man, being from the earth, is

subject to corruption and dissolution, like the earth from which he

came. The second man - St. Paul could not so well say, "Is from

heaven, heavenly:" because, though man owes it to the earth that

he is earthy, yet the Lord does not owe his glory to heaven. He

himself made the heavens, and by descending from thence

showed himself to us as the Lord. Christ was not the second man

in order of time; but in this respect, that as Adam was a public

person, who acted in the stead of all mankind, so was Christ. As

Adam was the first general representative of men, Christ was the

second and the last. And what they severally did, terminated not

in themselves, but affected all whom they represented.

48. They that are earthy - Who continue without any higher

principle. They that are heavenly - Who receive a divine principle

from heaven.

49. The image of the heavenly - Holiness and glory.

50. But first we must be entirely changed; for such flesh and

blood as we are clothed with now, cannot enter into that kingdom

which is wholly spiritual: neither doth this corruptible body

inherit that incorruptible kingdom.

51. A mystery - A truth hitherto unknown; and not yet fully

known to any of the sons of men. We - Christians. The Apostle

considers them all as one, in their succeeding generations. Shall

not all die - Suffer a separation of soul and body. But we shall all

- Who do not die, be changed - So that this animal body shall

become spiritual.

52. In a moment - Amazing work of omnipotence! And cannot the

same power now change us into saints in a moment? The trumpet

shall sound - To awaken all that sleep in the dust of the earth.

54. Death is swallowed up in victory - That is, totally conquered,

abolished for ever.

55. O death, where is thy sting? - Which once was full of hellish

poison. O hades, the receptacle of separate souls, where is thy

victory - Thou art now robbed of all thy spoils; all thy captives are

set at liberty. Hades literally means the invisible world, and

relates to the soul; death, to the body. The Greek words are found

in the Septuagint translation of Hosea xiii, 14. Isaiah xxv, 8

56. The sting of death is sin - Without which it could have no

power. But this sting none can resist by his own strength. And the

strength of sin is the law - As is largely declared, Rom. vii, 7, &c.

57. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory - Over

sin, death, and hades.

58. Be ye steadfast - In yourselves. Unmovable - By others;

continually increasing in the work of faith and labour of love.

Knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord - Whatever ye do

for his sake shall have its full reward in that day. Let us also

endeavour, by cultivating holiness in all its branches, to maintain

this hope in its full energy; longing for that glorious day, when, in

the utmost extent of the expression, death shall be swallowed up

for ever, and millions of voices, after the long silence of the grave,

shall burst out at once into that triumphant song, O death, where is

thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?


1. The saints - A more solemn and a more affecting word, than if

he had said, the poor.

2. Let every one - Not the rich only: let him also that hath little,

gladly give of that little. According as he hath been prospered -

Increasing his alms as God increases his substance. According to

this lowest rule of Christian prudence, if a man when he has or

gains one pound give a tenth to God, when he has or gains an

hundred he will give the tenth of this also. And yet I show unto

you a more excellent way. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Stint yourself to no proportion at all. But lend to God all you can.

4. They shall go with me - To remove any possible suspicion.

5. I pass through Macedonia - I purpose going that way.

7. I will not see you now - Not till I have been in Macedonia.

8. I will stay at Ephesus - Where he was at this time.

9. A great door - As to the number of hearers. And effectual - As

to the effects wrought upon them. And there are many adversaries

- As there must always be where Satan's kingdom shakes. This

was another reason for his staying there.

10. Without fear - Of any one's despising him for his youth. For

he worketh the work of the Lord - The true ground of reverence to

pastors. Those who do so, none ought to despise.

11. I look for him with the brethren - That accompany him.

12. I besought him much - To come to you. With the brethren -

Who were then going to Corinth. Yet he was by no means willing

to come now - Perhaps lest his coming should increase the

divisions among them.

13. To conclude. Watch ye - Against all your seen and unseen

enemies. Stand fast in the faith - Seeing and trusting him that is

invisible. Acquit yourselves like men - With courage and

patience. Be strong - To do and suffer all his will.

15. The first fruits of Achaia - The first converts in that province.

16. That ye also - In your turn. Submit to such - So repaying their

free service. And to every one that worketh with us and laboureth

- That labours in the gospel either with or without a fellow-


17. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and

Achaiacus - Who were now returned to Corinth but the joy which

their arrival had occasioned remained still in his heart. They have

supplied what was wanting on your part - They have performed

the offices of love, which you could not, by reason of your


18. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours - Inasmuch as you

share in my comfort. Such therefore acknowledge - With suitable

love and respect.

19. Aquila and Priscilla had formerly made some abode at

Corinth, and there St. Paul's acquaintance with them began, Acts

xviii, 1, 2.

21. With my own hand - What precedes having been wrote by an


22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ - If any be an enemy

to his person, offices, doctrines, or commands. Let him be

Anathema. Maran-atha-Anathema signifies a thing devoted to

destruction. It seems to have been customary with the Jews of that

age, when they had pronounced any man an Anathema, to add the

Syriac expression, Maran-atha, that is, "The Lord cometh;"

namely, to execute vengeance upon him. This weighty sentence

the apostle chose to write with his own hand; and to insert it

between his salutation and solemn benediction, that it might be

the more attentively regarded.





IN this epistle, written from Macedonia, within a year after the

former, St. Paul beautifully displays his tender affection toward

the Corinthians, who were greatly moved by the seasonable

severity of the former, and repeats several of the admonitions he

had there given them. In that he had written concerning the affairs

of the Corinthians: in this he writes chiefly concerning his own;

but in such a manner as to direct all he mentions of himself to

their spiritual profit. The thread and connection of the whole

epistle is historical: other things are interwoven only by way of


It contains,

I.The inscription, C.i. 1, 2

II.The treatise itself.

1. In Asia I was greatly pressed; but God comforted me; as I acted

uprightly; even in this, that I have not yet come to you; who ought

to obey me, Cii. 11

2. From Troas I hastened to Macedonia, spreading the gospel

everywhere, the glorious charge of which I execute, according to

its importance, Cvii. 1

3. In Macedonia I received a joyful message concerning you, 2-16

4. In this journey I had a proof of the liberality of the

Macedonians, whose example ye ought to follow, C.viii.1-C.ix.15

5. I am now on my way to you, armed with the power of Christ.

Therefore obey, C.x 1-C.xiii.10

The conclusion 11-13



1. Timotheus our brother - St. Paul writing to Timotheus styled

him his son; writing of him, his brother.

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - A

solemn and beautiful introduction, highly suitable to the

apostolical spirit. The Father of mercies, and God of all comfort -

Mercies are the fountain of comfort; comfort is the outward

expression of mercy. God shows mercy in the affliction itself. He

gives comfort both in and after the affliction. Therefore is he

termed, the God of all comfort. Blessed be this God!

4. Who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to

comfort them who are in any affliction - He that has experienced

one kind of affliction is able to comfort others in that affliction.

He that has experienced all kinds of affliction is able to comfort

them in all.

5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us - The sufferings

endured on his account. So our comfort also aboundeth through

Christ - The sufferings were many, the comfort one; and yet not

only equal to, but overbalancing, them all.

6. And whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and

salvation - For your present comfort, your present and future

salvation. Or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort -

That we may be the better able to comfort you. Which is effectual

in the patient enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer -

Through the efficacy of which you patiently endure the same kind

of sufferings with us.

7. And our hope concerning you - Grounded on your patience in

suffering for Christ's sake, is steadfast.

8. We would not have you ignorant, brethren, of the trouble which

befell us in Asia - Probably the same which is described in the

nineteenth chapter of the Acts. The Corinthians knew before that

he had been in trouble: he now declares the greatness and the fruit

of it. We were exceedingly pressed, above our strength - Above

the ordinary strength even of an apostle.

9. Yea, we had the sentence of death in ourselves - We ourselves

expected nothing but death.

10. We trust that he will still deliver - That we may at length be

able to come to you.

11. You likewise - As well as other churches. Helping with us by

prayer, that for the gift - Namely, my deliverance. Bestowed upon

us by means of many persons - Praying for it, thanks may be

given by many.

12. For I am the more emboldened to look for this, because I am

conscious of my integrity; seeing this is our rejoicing - Even in

the deepest adversity. The testimony of our conscience -

Whatever others think of us. That in simplicity - Having one end

in view, aiming singly at the glory of God. And godly sincerity -

Without any tincture of guile, dissimulation, or disguise. Not with

carnal wisdom, but by the grace of God - Not by natural, but

divine, wisdom. We have had our conversation in the world - In

the whole world; in every circumstance.

14. Ye have acknowledged us in part - Though not so fully as ye

will do. That we are you rejoicing - That ye rejoice in having

known us. As ye also are ours - As we also rejoice in the success

of our labours among you; and we trust shall rejoice therein in the

day of the Lord Jesus.

15. In this confidence - That is, being confident of this.

17. Did I use levity - Did I lightly change my purpose? Do I

purpose according to the flesh - Are my purposes grounded on

carnal or worldly considerations? So that there should be with me

yea and nay - Sometimes one, sometimes the other; that is,

variableness and inconstancy.

18. Our word to you - The whole tenor of our doctrine. Hath not

been yea and nay - Wavering and uncertain.

19. For Jesus Christ, who was preached by us - That is, our

preaching concerning him. Was not yea and nay - Was not

variable and inconsistent with itself. But was yea in him - Always

one and the same, centering in him.

20. For all the promises of God are yea and amen in him - Are

surely established in and through him. They are yea with respect

to God promising; amen, with respect to men believing; yea, with

respect to the apostles; amen, with respect to their hearers.

21. I say, to the glory of God - For it is God alone that is able to

fulfil these promises. That establisheth us - Apostles and teachers.

With you - All true believers. In the faith of Christ; and hath

anointed us - With the oil of gladness, with joy in the Holy Ghost,

thereby giving us strength both to do and suffer his will.

22. Who also hath sealed us - Stamping his image on our hearts,

thus marking and sealing us as his own property. And given us the

earnest of his Spirit - There is a difference between an earnest and

a pledge. A pledge is to be restored when the debt is paid; but an

earnest is not taken away, but completed. Such an earnest is the

Spirit. The first fruits of it we have Rom. viii, 23; and we wait for

all the fulness.

23. I call God for a record upon my soul - Was not St. Paul now

speaking by the Spirit? And can a more solemn oath be

conceived? Who then can imagine that Christ ever designed to

forbid all swearing? That to spare you I came not yet to Corinth -

Lest I should be obliged to use severity. He says elegantly to

Corinth, not to you, when be is intimating his power to punish.

24. Not that we have dominion over your faith - This is the

prerogative of God alone. But are helpers of your joy - And faith

from which it springs. For by faith ye have stood - To this day.

We see the light in which ministers should always consider

themselves, and in which they are to be considered by others. Not

as having dominion over the faith of their people, and having a

right to dictate by their own authority what they shall believe, or

what they shall do; but as helpers of their joy, by helping them

forward in faith and holiness. In this view, how amiable does their

office appear! and how friendly to the happiness of mankind!

How far, then, are they from true benevolence, who would expose

it to ridicule and contempt!


1. In grief - Either on account of the particular offender, or of the

church in general.

2. For if I grieve you, who is he that cheereth me, but he that is

grieved by me - That is, I cannot be comforted myself till his grief

is removed.

3. And I wrote thus to you - I wrote to you before in this

determination, not to come to you in grief.

4. From much anguish I wrote to you, not so much that ye might

be grieved, as that ye might know by my faithful admonition my

abundant love toward you.

5. He hath grieved me but in part - Who still rejoice over the

greater part of you. Otherwise I might burden you all.

6. Sufficient for such an one - With what a remarkable tenderness

does St. Paul treat this offender! He never once mentions his

name. Nor does he here so much as mention his crime. By many -

Not only by the rulers of the church: the whole congregation

acquiesced in the sentence.

10. To whom ye forgive - He makes no question of their

complying with his direction. Anything - So mildly does he speak

even of that heinous sin, after it was repented of. In the person of

Christ - By the authority wherewith he has invested me.

11. Lest Satan - To whom he had been delivered, and who sought

to destroy not only his flesh, but his soul also. Get an advantage

over us - For the loss of one soul is a common loss.

12. Now when I came to Troas - It seems, in that passage from

Asia to Macedonia, of which a short account is given, Acts xx, 1,

2. Even though a door was opened to me - That is, there was free

liberty to speak, and many were willing to hear: yet,

13. I had no rest in my spirit - From an earnest desire to know

how my letter had been received. Because I did not find Titus - In

his return from you. So I went forth into Macedonia - Where

being much nearer, I might more easily be informed concerning

you. The apostle resumes the thread of his discourse, chap. vii, 2,

interposing an admirable digression concerning what he had done

and suffered elsewhere, the profit of which he by this means

derives to the Corinthians also; and as a prelude to his apology

against the false apostles.

14. To triumph, implies not only victory, but an open

manifestation of it. And as in triumphal processions, especially in

the east, incense and perfumes were burned near the conqueror,

the apostle beautifully alludes to this circumstance in the

following verse: as likewise to the different effects which strong

perfumes have upon different persons; some of whom they revive,

while they throw others into the most violent disorders.

15. For we - The preachers of the gospel. Are to God a sweet

odour of Christ - God is well-pleased with this perfume diffused

by us, both in them that believe and are saved, treated of, chap. iii,

1; chap. iv, 2; and in them that obstinately disbelieve and,

consequently, perish, treated of, chap. iv, 3-6.

16. And who is sufficient for these things - No man living, but by

the power of God's Spirit.

17. For we are not as many, who adulterate the word of God -

Like those vintners (so the Greek word implies) who mix their

wines with baser liquors. But as of sincerity - Without any

mixture. But as from God - This rises higher still; transmitting his

pure word, not our own. In the sight of God - Whom we regard as

always present, and noting every word of our tongue. Speak we -

The tongue is ours, but the power is God's. In Christ - Words

which he gives, approves, and blesses.


1. Do we begin again to recommend ourselves - Is it needful?

Have I nothing but my own word to recommend me? St. Paul

chiefly here intends himself; though not excluding Timotheus,

Titus, and Silvanus. Unless we need - As if he had said, Do I

indeed want such recommendation?

2. Ye are our recommendatory letter - More convincing than bare

words could be. Written on our hearts - Deeply engraven there,

and plainly legible to all around us.

3. Manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ - Which he has

formed and published to the world. Ministered by us - Whom he

has used herein as his instruments, therefore ye are our letter also.

Written not in tables of stone - Like the ten commandments. But

in the tender, living tables of their hearts - God having taken away

the hearts of stone and given them hearts of flesh.

4. Such trust have we in God - That is, we trust in God that this is


5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves - So much as to think

one good thought; much less, to convert sinners.

6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant - Of

the new, evangelical dispensation. Not of the law, fitly called the

letter, from God's literally writing it on the two tables. But of the

Spirit - Of the gospel dispensation, which is written on the tables

of our hearts by the Spirit. For the letter - The law, the Mosaic

dispensation. Killeth - Seals in death those who still cleave to it.

But the Spirit - The gospel, conveying the Spirit to those who

receive it. Giveth life - Both spiritual and eternal: yea, if we

adhere to the literal sense even of the moral law, if we regard only

the precept and the sanction as they stand in themselves, not as

they lead us to Christ, they are doubtless a killing ordinance, and

bind us down under the sentence of death.

7. And if the ministration of death - That is, the Mosaic

dispensation, which proves such to those who prefer it to the

gospel, the most considerable part of which was engraven on

those two stones, was attended with so great glory.

8. The ministration of the Spirit - That is, the Christian


9. The ministration of condemnation - Such the Mosaic

dispensation proved to all the Jews who rejected the gospel

whereas through the gospel (hence called the ministration of

righteousness) God both imputed and imparted righteousness to

all believers. But how can the moral law (which alone was

engraven on stone) be the ministration of condemnation, if it

requires no more than a sincere obedience, such as is proportioned

to our infirm state? If this is sufficient to justify us, then the law

ceases to be a ministration of condemnation. It becomes (flatly

contrary to the apostle's doctrine) the ministration of


10. It hath no glory in this respect, because of the glory that

excelleth - That is, none in comparison of this more excellent

glory. The greater light swallows up the less.

11. That which remaineth - That dispensation which remains to

the end of the world; that spirit and life which remain for ever.

12. Having therefore this hope - Being fully persuaded of this.

13. And we do not act as Moses did, who put a veil over his face -

Which is to be understood with regard to his writings also. So that

the children of Israel could not look steadfastly to the end of that

dispensation which is now abolished - The end of this was Christ.

The whole Mosaic dispensation tended to, and terminated in, him;

but the Israelites had only a dim, wavering sight of him, of whom

Moses spake in an obscure, covert manner.

14. The same veil remaineth on their understanding unremoved -

Not so much as folded back, (so the word implies,) so as to admit

a little, glimmering light. On the public reading of the Old

Testament - The veil is not now on the face of Moses or of his

writings, but on the reading of them, and on the heart of them that

believe not. Which is taken away in Christ - That is, from the

heart of them that truly believe on him.

16. When it - Their heart. Shall turn to the Lord - To Christ, by

living faith. The veil is taken away - That very moment; and they

see, with the utmost clearness, how all the types and prophecies of

the law are fully accomplished in him.

17. Now the Lord - Christ is that Spirit of the law whereof I

speak, to which the letter was intended to lead. And where the

Spirit of the Lord, Christ, is, there is liberty - Not the veil, the

emblem of slavery. There is liberty from servile fear, liberty from

the guilt and from the power of sin, liberty to behold with open

face the glory of the Lord.

18. And, accordingly, all we that believe in him, beholding as in a

glass - In the mirror of the gospel. The glory of the Lord - His

glorious love. Are transformed into the same image - Into the

same love. From one degree of this glory to another, in a manner

worthy of his almighty Spirit. What a beautiful contrast is here!

Moses saw the glory of the Lord, and it rendered his face so

bright, that he covered it with a veil; Israel not being able to bear

the reflected light. We behold his glory in the glass of his word,

and our faces shine too; yet we veil them not, but diffuse the

lustre which is continually increasing, as we fix the eye of our

mind more and more steadfastly on his glory displayed in the



1. Therefore having this ministry - Spoken of, chap. iii, 6. As we

have received mercy - Have been mercifully supported in all our

trials. We faint not - We desist not in any degree from our

glorious enterprise.

2. But have renounced - Set at open defiance. The hidden things

of shame - All things which men need to hide, or to be ashamed

of. Not walking in craftiness - Using no disguise, subtlety, guile.

Nor privily corrupting the pure word of God - By any additions or

alterations, or by attempting to accommodate it to the taste of the


3. But if our gospel also - As well as the law of Moses.

4. The God of this world - What a sublime and horrible

description of Satan! He is indeed the God of all that believe not,

and works in them with inconceivable energy. Hath blinded - Not

only veiled, the eye of their understanding. Illumination - Is

properly the reflection or propagation of light, from those who are

already enlightened, to others. Who is the image of God - Hence

also we may understand how great is the glory of Christ. He that

sees the Son, sees the Father in the face of Christ. The Son exactly

exhibits the Father to us.

5. For - The fault is not in us, neither in the doctrine they hear

from us. We preach not ourselves - As able either to enlighten, or

pardon, or sanctify you. But Jesus Christ - As your only wisdom,

righteousness, sanctification. And ourselves your servants - Ready

to do the meanest offices. For Jesus' sake - Not for honour,

interest, or pleasure.

6. For God hath shined in our hearts - The hearts of all those

whom the God of this world no longer blinds. God who is himself

our light; not only the author of light, but also the fountain of it.

To enlighten us with the knowledge of the glory of God - Of his

glorious love, and of his glorious image. In the face of Jesus

Christ - Which reflects his glory in another manner than the face

of Moses did.

7. But we - Not only the apostles, but all true believers. Have this

treasure - Of divine light, love, glory. In earthen vessels - In frail,

feeble, perishing bodies. He proceeds to show, that afflictions,

yea, death itself, are so far from hindering the ministration of the

Spirit, that they even further it, sharpen the ministers, and increase

the fruit. That the excellence of the power, which works these in

us, may undeniably appear to be of God.

8. We are troubled, &c. - The four articles in this verse respect

inward, the four in the next outward, afflictions. In each clause the

former part shows the "earthen vessels;" the latter, "the excellence

of the power." Not crushed - Not swallowed up in care and

anxiety. Perplexed - What course to take, but never despairing of

his power and love to carry us through.

10. Always - Wherever we go. Bearing about in the body the

dying of the Lord Jesus - Continually expecting to lay down our

lives like him. That the life also of Jesus might be manifested in

our body - That we may also rise and be glorified like him.

11. For we who yet live - Who are not yet killed for the testimony

of Jesus. Are always delivered unto death - Are perpetually in the

very jaws of destruction; which we willingly submit to, that we

may "obtain a better resurrection."

12. So then death worketh in us, but life in you - You live in

peace; we die daily. Yet - Living or dying, so long as we believe,

we cannot but speak.

13. Having the same spirit of faith - Which animated the saints of

old; David, in particular, when he said, I believed, and therefore

have I spoken - That is, I trusted in God, and therefore he hath put

this song of praise in my mouth. We also speak - We preach the

gospel, even in the midst of affliction and death, because we

believe that God will raise us up from the dead, and will present

us, ministers, with you, all his members, "faultless before his

presence with exceeding joy." Psalm cxvi, 10.

15. For all things - Whether adverse or prosperous. Are for your

sakes - For the profit of all that believe, as well as all that preach.

That the overflowing grace - Which continues you alive both in

soul and body. Might abound yet more through the thanksgiving

of many - For thanksgiving invites more: abundant grace.

16. Therefore - Because of this grace, we faint not. The outward

man - The body. The inward man - The soul.

17. Our light affliction - The beauty and sublimity of St. Paul's

expressions here, as descriptive of heavenly glory, opposed to

temporal afflictions, surpass all imagination, and cannot be

preserved in any translation or paraphrase, which after all must

sink infinitely below the astonishing original.

18. The things that are seen - Men, money, things of earth. The

things that are not seen - God, grace, heaven.


1. Our earthly house - Which is only a tabernacle, or tent, not

designed for a lasting habitation.

2. Desiring to be clothed upon - This body, which is now covered

with flesh and blood, with the glorious house which is from

heaven. Instead of flesh and blood, which cannot enter heaven, the

rising body will be clothed or covered with what is analogous

thereto, but incorruptible and immortal. Macarius speaks largely

of this.

3. If being clothed - That is, with the image of God, while we are

in the body. We shall not be found naked - Of the wedding


4. We groan being burdened - The apostle speaks with exact

propriety. A burden naturally expresses groans. And we are here

burdened with numberless afflictions, infirmities, temptations.

Not that we would be unclothed - Not that we desire to remain

without a body. Faith does not understand that philosophical

contempt of what the wise Creator has given. But clothed upon -

With the glorious, immortal, incorruptible, spiritual body. That

what is mortal - This present mortal body. May be swallowed up

of life - Covered with that which lives for ever.

5. Now he that hath wrought us to this very thing - This longing

for immortality. Is God - For none but God, none less than the

Almighty, could have wrought this in us.

6. Therefore we behave undauntedly - But most of all when we

have death in view; knowing that our greatest happiness lies

beyond the grave.

7. For we cannot clearly see him in this life, wherein we walk by

faith only: an evidence, indeed, that necessarily implies a kind of

"seeing him who is invisible;" yet as far beneath what we shall

have in eternity, as it is above that of bare, unassisted reason.

8. Present with the Lord - This demonstrates that the happiness of

the saints is not deferred till the resurrection.

9. Therefore we are ambitious - The only ambition which has

place in a Christian. Whether present - In the body. Or absent -

From it.

10. For we all - Apostles as well as other men, whether now

present in the body, or absent from it. Must appear - Openly,

without covering, where all hidden things will be revealed;

probably the sins, even of the faithful, which were forgiven long

before. For many of their good works, as their repentance, their

revenge against sin, cannot other wise appear. But this will be

done at their own desire, without grief, and without shame.

According to what he hath done in the body, whether good or evil

- In the body he did either good or evil; in the body he is

recompensed accordingly.

11. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we the more

earnestly persuade men to seek his favour; and as God knoweth

this, so, I trust, ye know it in your own consciences.

12. We do not say this, as if we thought there was any need of

again recommending ourselves to you, but to give you an

occasion of rejoicing and praising God, and to furnish you with an

answer to those false apostles who glory in appearance, but not in

heart, being condemned by their own conscience.

13. For if we are transported beyond ourselves - Or at least,

appear so to others, treated of, 2 Cor. v, 15-21, speaking or

writing with uncommon vehemence. It is to God - He understands

(if men do not) the emotion which himself inspires. If we be sober

- Treated of, chap. vi, 1-10. If I proceed in a more calm, sedate

manner. It is for your sakes - Even good men bear this, rather than

the other method, in their teachers. But these must obey God,

whoever is offended by it.

14. For the love of Christ - To us, and our love to him.

Constraineth us - Both to the one and the other; beareth us on with

such a strong, steady, prevailing influence, as winds and tides

exert when they waft the vessel to its destined harbour. While we

thus judge, that if Christ died for all, then are all, even the best of

men, naturally dead - In a state of spiritual death, and liable to

death eternal. For had any man been otherwise, Christ had not

needed to have died for him.

15. And that he died for all - That all might be saved. That they

who live - That all who live upon the earth. Should not henceforth

- From the moment they know him. Live unto themselves - Seek

their own honour, profit, pleasure. But unto him - In all

righteousness and true holiness.

16. So that we from this time - That we knew the love of Christ.

Know no one - Neither ourselves, nor you, neither the rest of the

apostles, Gal. ii, 6, nor any other person. After the flesh -

According to his former state, country, descent, nobility, riches,

power, wisdom. We fear not the great. We regard not the rich or

wise. We account not the least less than ourselves. We consider

all, only in order to save all. Who is he that thus knows no one

after the flesh? ln what land do these Christians live? Yea, if we

have known even Christ after the flesh - So as to love him barely

with a natural love, so as to glory in having conversed with him

on earth, so as to expect only temporal benefits from him.

17. Therefore if any one be in Christ - A true believer in him.

There is a new creation - Only the power that makes a world can

make a Christian. And when he is so created, the old things are

passed away - Of their own accord, even as snow in spring.

Behold - The present, visible, undeniable change! All things are

become new - He has new life, new senses, new faculties, new

affections, new appetites, new ideas and conceptions. His whole

tenor of action and conversation is new, and he lives, as it were, in

a new world. God, men, the whole creation, heaven, earth, and all

therein, appear in a new light, and stand related to him in a new

manner, since he was created anew in Christ Jesus.

18. And all these new things are from God, considered under this

very notion, as reconciling us - The world, 2 Cor. v, 19, to


19. Namely - The sum of which is, God - The whole Godhead, but

more eminently God the Father. Was in Christ, reconciling the

world - Which was before at enmity with God. To himself - So

taking away that enmity, which could no otherwise be removed

than by the blood of the Son of God.

20. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ-we beseech you in

Christ's stead - Herein the apostle might appear to some

"transported beyond himself." In general he uses a more calm,

sedate kind of exhortation, as in the beginning of the next chapter.

What unparalleled condescension and divinely tender mercies are

displayed in this verse! Did the judge ever beseech a condemned

criminal to accept of pardon? Does the creditor ever beseech a

ruined debtor to receive an acquittance in full? Yet our almighty

Lord, and our eternal Judge, not only vouchsafes to offer these

blessings, but invites us, entreats us, and, with the most tender

importunity, solicits us, not to reject them.

21. He made him a sin offering, who knew no sin - A

commendation peculiar to Christ. For us - Who knew no

righteousness, who were inwardly and outwardly nothing but sin;

who must have been consumed by the divine justice, had not this

atonement been made for our sins. That we might be made the

righteousness of God through him - Might through him be

invested with that righteousness, first imputed to us, then

implanted in us, which is in every sense the righteousness of God.


1. We then not only beseech, but as fellow-labourers with you,

who are working out your own salvation, do also exhort you, not

to receive the grace of God - Which we have been now

describing. In vain - We receive it by faith; and not in vain, if we

add to this, persevering holiness.

2. For he saith - The sense is, As of old there was a particular time

wherein God was pleased to pour out his peculiar blessing, so

there is now. And this is the particular time: this is a time of

peculiar blessing. Isaiah xlix, 8.

3. Giving, as far as in us lies, no offense, that the ministry be not

blamed on our account.

4. But approving ourselves as the ministers of God - Such as his

ministers ought to be. In much patience - Shown,

1. In afflictions, necessities, distresses - All which are general


2. In stripes, imprisonments, tumults - Which are particular sorts

of affliction, necessity, distress

3. In labours, watchings, fastings - Voluntarily endured. All these

are expressed in the plural number, to denote a variety of them. In

afflictions, several ways to escape may appear, though none

without difficulty in necessities, one only, and that a difficult one;

in distresses, none at all appears.

5. In tumults - The Greek word implies such attacks as a man

cannot stand against, but which bear him hither and thither by


6. By prudence - Spiritual divine; not what the world terms so.

Worldly prudence is the practical use of worldly wisdom: divine

prudence is the due exercise of grace, making spiritual

understanding go as far as possible. By love unfeigned - The chief

fruit of the Spirit.

7. By the convincing and converting power of God -

Accompanying his word; and also attesting it by divers miracles.

By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and the left -

That is, on all sides; the panoply or whole armour of God.

8. By honour and dishonour - When we are present. By evil report

and good report - When we are absent. Who could bear honour

and good report, were it not balanced by dishonour? As deceivers

- Artful, designing men. So the world represents all true ministers

of Christ. Yet true - Upright, sincere, in the sight of God.

9. As unknown - For the world knoweth us not, as it knew him

not. Yet well known - To God, and to those who are the seals of

our ministry. As dying, yet behold - Suddenly, unexpectedly, God

interposes, and we live.

10. As sorrowing - For our own manifold imperfections, and for

the sins and sufferings of our brethren. Yet always rejoicing - In

present peace, love, power, and a sure hope of future glory. As

having nothing, yet possessing all things - For all things are ours,

if we are Christ's. What a magnificence of thought is this!

11. From the praise of the Christian ministry, which he began

chap. ii, 14, he now draws his affectionate exhortation. O ye

Corinthians - He seldom uses this appellation. But it has here a

peculiar force. Our mouth is opened toward you - With

uncommon freedom, because our heart is enlarged - In tenderness.

12. Ye are not straitened in us - Our heart is wide enough to

receive you all. But ye are straitened in your own bowels - Your

hearts are shut up, and so not capable of the blessings ye might


13. Now for a recompence of the same - Of my parental

tenderness. I speak as to my children - I ask nothing hard or

grievous. Be ye also enlarged - Open your hearts, first to God, and

then to us, so chap. viii, 5, that God may "dwell in you," 2 Cor. vi,

16; vii, 1; and that ye may "receive us," chap. vii, 2.

14. Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers - Christians with

Jews or heathens. The apostle particularly speaks of marriage. But

the reasons he urges equally hold against any needless intimacy

with them. Of the five questions that follow, the three former

contain the argument; the two latter, the conclusion.

15. What concord hath Christ - Whom ye serve. With Belial - To

whom they belong.

16. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols - If God

would not endure idols in any part of the land wherein he dwelt,

how much less, under his own roof! He does not say, with the

temple of idols, for idols do not dwell in their worshippers. As

God hath said - To his ancient church, and in them to all the Israel

of God. I will dwell in them, and walk in them - The former

signifying his perpetual presence; the latter, his operation. And I

will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people - The sum

of the whole gospel covenant. Lev. xxvi, 11, &c.

17. Touch not the unclean person - Keep at the utmost distance

from him. And I will receive you - Into my house and family.

Isaiah lii, 11; Zephaniah iii, 19, 20.

18. And ye shall be to me for sons and for daughters, saith the

Lord Almighty - The promise made to Solomon, 1Chr xxviii, 6, is

here applied to all believers; as the promise made particularly to

Josh. is applied to them, Heb. xiii, 5. Who can express the worth,

who can conceive the dignity, of this divine adoption? Yet it

belongs to all who believe the gospel, who have faith in Christ.

They have access to the Almighty; such free and welcome access,

as a beloved child to an indulgent father. To him they may fly for

aid in every difficulty, and from him obtain a supply in all their

wants. Isaiah xliii, 6.


1. Let us cleanse ourselves - This is the latter part of the

exhortation, which was proposed, chap. vi, 1, and resumed, chap.

vi, 14. From all pollution of the flesh - All outward sin. And of the

spirit - All inward. Yet let us not rest in negative religion, but

perfect holiness - Carrying it to the height in all its branches, and

enduring to the end in the loving fear of God, the sure foundation

of all holiness.

2. Receive us - The sum of what is said in this, as well as in the

tenth and following chapters. We have hurt no man - In his

person. We have corrupted no man - In his principles. We have

defrauded no man - Of his property. In this he intimates likewise

the good he had done them, but with the utmost modesty, as it

were not looking upon it.

3. I speak not to condemn you - Not as if I accused you of laying

this to my charge. I am so far from thinking so unkindly of you,

that ye are in our hearts, to live and die with you - That is, I could

rejoice to spend all my days with you.

4. I am filled with comfort - Of this he treats, 2 Cor. vii, 6, &c.; of

his joy, 2 Cor. vii, 7, &c.; of both, 2 Cor. vii, 13.

5. Our flesh - That is, we ourselves. Had no rest from without -

From the heathens. Were fightings - Furious and cruel

oppositions. From within - From our brethren. Were fears - Lest

they should be seduced.

7. Your earnest desire - To rectify what had been amiss. Your

grief - For what had offended God, and troubled me.

8. I did repent - That is, I felt a tender sorrow for having grieved

you, till I saw the happy effect of it.

10. The sorrow of the world - Sorrow that arises from worldly

considerations. Worketh death - Naturally tends to work or

occasion death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal.

11. How great diligence it wrought in you - Shown in all the

following particulars. Yea, clearing of yourselves - Some had

been more, some less, faulty; whence arose these various

affections. Hence their apologizing and indignation, with respect

to themselves; their fear and desire, with respect to the apostle;

their zeal and revenge, with respect to the offender, yea, and

themselves also. Clearing of yourselves - From either sharing in,

or approving of, his sin. Indignation - That ye had not

immediately corrected the offender. Fear - Of God's displeasure,

or lest I should come with a rod. Vehement desire - To see me

again. Zeal - For the glory of God, and the soul of that sinner.

Yea, revenge - Ye took a kind of holy revenge upon yourselves,

being scarce able to forgive yourselves. In all things ye - As a

church. Have approved yourselves to be pure - That is, free from

blame, since ye received my letter.

12. It was not only, or chiefly, for the sake of the incestuous

person, or of his father; but to show my care over you.


1. We declare to you the grace of God - Which evidently appeared

by this happy effect.

2. In a great trial of affliction - Being continually persecuted,

harassed, and plundered.

4. Praying us with much entreaty - Probably St. Paul had lovingly

admonished them not to do beyond their power.

5. And not as we hoped - That is, beyond all we could hope. They

gave themselves to us, by the will of God - In obedience to his

will, to be wholly directed by us.

6. As he had begun - When he was with you before.

9. For ye know - And this knowledge is the true source of love.

The grace - The most sincere, most free, and most abundant love.

He became poor - In becoming man, in all his life; in his death.

Rich - In the favour and image of God.

12. A man - Every believer. Is accepted - With God. According to

what he hath - And the same rule holds universally. Whoever

acknowledges himself to be a vile, guilty sinner, and, in

consequence of this acknowledgment, flies for refuge to the

wounds of a crucified saviour, and relies on his merits alone for

salvation, may in every circumstance of life apply this indulgent

declaration to himself.

14. That their abundance - If need should so require. May be - At

another time. A supply to your want: that there may be an equality

- No want on one side, no superfluity on the other. It may likewise

have a further meaning:-that as the temporal bounty of the

Corinthians did now supply the temporal wants of their poor

brethren in Judea, so the prayers of these might be a means of

bringing down many spiritual blessings on their benefactors: so

that all the spiritual wants of the one might be amply supplied; all

the temporal of the other.

15. As it is written, He that had gathered the most had nothing

over; and he that had gathered the least did not lack - That is, in

which that scripture is in another sense fulfilled. Exod. xvi, 18

17. Being more forward - Than to need it, though he received it


18. We - I and Timothy. The brother - The ancients generally

supposed this was St. Luke. Whose praise - For faithfully

dispensing the gospel, is through all the churches.

19. He was appointed by the churches - Of Macedonia. With this

gift - Which they were carrying from Macedonia to Jerusalem.

For the declaration of our ready mind - That of Paul and his

fellow-traveler, ready to be the servants of all.

22. With them - With Titus and Luke. Our brother - Perhaps


23. My partner - In my cares and labours. The glory of Christ -

Signal instruments of advancing his glory.

24. Before the churches - Present by their messengers.


1. To write to you - Largely.

2. I boast to them of Macedonia - With whom he then was.

3. I have sent the above mentioned brethren before me.

5. Spoken of before - By me, to the Macedonians. Not as a matter

of covetousness - As wrung by importunity from covetous


6. He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; he that soweth

bountifully shall reap bountifully - A general rule. God will

proportion the reward to the work, and the temper whence it


7. Of necessity - Because he cannot tell how to refuse.

8. How remarkable are these words! Each is loaded with matter

and increases all the way it goes. All grace - Every kind of

blessing. That ye may abound to every good work - God gives us

everything, that we may do good therewith, and so receive more

blessings. All things in this life, even rewards, are, to the faithful,

seeds in order to a future harvest. Prov. xxii, 9

9. He hath scattered abroad - (A generous word.) With a full hand,

without any anxious thought which way each grain falls. His

righteousness - His beneficence, with the blessed effects of it.

Remaineth for ever - Unexhausted, God still renewing his store.

Psalm cxii, 9

10. And he who supplieth seed - Opportunity and ability to help

others. And bread - All things needful for your own souls and

bodies. Will continually supply you with that seed, yea, multiply

it to you more and more. And increase the fruits of your

righteousness - The happy effects of your love to God and man.

Isaiah lv, 10

11. Which worketh by us thanksgiving to God - Both from us who

distribute, and them who receive, your bounty.

13. Your avowed subjection - Openly testified by your actions. To

all men - Who stand in need of it.

15. His unspeakable gift - His outward and inward blessings, the

number and excellence of which cannot be uttered.


1. Now I Paul myself - - A strongly emphatical expression. Who

when present am base among you - So, probably, some of the

false teachers affirmed. Copying after the meekness and

gentleness of Christ, entreat - Though I might command you.

2. Do not constrain me when present to be bold - To exert my

apostolical authority. Who think of us as walking after the flesh -

As acting in a cowardly or crafty manner.

3. Though we walk in the flesh - In mortal bodies, and,

consequently, are not free from human weakness. Yet we do not

war - Against the world and the devil. After the flesh - By any

carnal or worldly methods. Though the apostle here, and in

several other parts of this epistle, speaks in the plural number, for

the sake of modesty and decency, yet he principally means

himself. On him were these reflections thrown, and it is his own

authority which he is vindicating.

4. For the weapons of our warfare - Those we use in this war. Are

not carnal - But spiritual, and therefore mighty to the throwing

down of strong holds - Of all the difficulties which men or devils

can raise in our way. Though faith and prayer belong also to the

Christian armour, Eph. vi, 15, &c., yet the word of God seems to

be here chiefly intended.

5. Destroying all vain reasonings, and every high thing which

exalteth itself - As a wall or rampart. Against the knowledge of

God, and bringing every thought - Or, rather, faculty of the mind.

Into captivity to the obedience of Christ - Those evil reasonings

are destroyed. The mind itself, being overcome and taken captive,

lays down all authority of its own, and entirely gives itself up to

perform, for the time to come, to Christ its conqueror the

obedience of faith.

6. Being in readiness to avenge all disobedience - Not only by

spiritual censure, but miraculous punishments. When your

obedience is fulfilled - When the sound part of you have given

proof of your obedience, so that I am in no danger of punishing

the innocent with the guilty.

7. Do ye look at the outward appearance of things - Does any of

you judge of a minister of Christ by his person, or any outward

circumstance? Let him again think this of himself - Let him learn

it from his own reflection, before I convince him by a severer


8. I should not be ashamed - As having said more than I could

make good.

9. I say this, that I may not seem to terrify you by letters -

Threatening more than I can perform.

10. His bodily presence is weak - His stature, says St.

Chrysostom, was low, his body crooked, and his head bald.

12. For we presume not - A strong irony. To equal ourselves - As

partners of the same office. Or to compare ourselves - As

partakers of the same labour. They among themselves limiting

themselves - Choosing and limiting their provinces according to

their own fancy.

13. But we will not, like them, boastingly extend ourselves

beyond our measure, but according to the measure of the province

which God hath allotted us - To me, in particular, as the apostle of

the gentiles. A measure which reaches even unto you - God

allotted to each apostle his province, and the measure or bounds


14. We are come even to you - By a gradual, regular process,

having taken the intermediate places in our way, in preaching the

gospel of Christ.

15. Having hope, now your faith is increased - So that you can the

better spare us. To be enlarged by you abundantly - That is,

enabled by you to go still further.

16. In the regions beyond you - To the west and south, where the

gospel had not yet been preached.


1. I wish ye would bear - So does he pave the way for what might

otherwise have given offense. With my folly - Of commending

myself; which to many may appear folly; and really would be so,

were it not on this occasion absolutely necessary.

2. For - The cause of his seeming folly is expressed in this and the

following verse; the cause why they should bear with him, 2 Cor.

xi, 4.

3. But I fear - Love is full of these fears. Lest as the serpent - A

most apposite comparison. Deceived Eve - Simple, ignorant of

evil. By his subtilty - Which is in the highest degree dangerous to

such a disposition. So your minds - We might therefore be

tempted, even if there were no sin in us. Might be corrupted -

Losing their virginal purity. From the simplicity that is in Christ -

That simplicity which is lovingly intent on him alone, seeking no

other person or thing.

4. If indeed - Any could show you another saviour, a more

powerful Spirit, a better gospel. Ye might well bear with him -

But this is impossible.

6. If I am unskilful in speech - If I speak in a plain, unadorned

way, like an unlearned person. So the Greek word properly


7. Have I committed an offense - Will any turn this into an

objection? In humbling myself - To work at my trade. That ye

might be exalted - To be children of God.

8. I spoiled other churches - I, as it were, took the spoils of them:

it is a military term. Taking wages (or pay, another military word)

of them - When I came to you at first. And when I was present

with you, and wanted - My work not quite supplying my

necessities. I was chargeable to no man - Of Corinth.

9. For - I choose to receive help from the poor Macedonians,

rather than the rich Corinthians! Were the poor in all ages more

generous than the rich?

10. This my boasting shall not be stopped - For I will receive

nothing from you.

11. Do I refuse to receive anything of you, because I love you

not? God knoweth that is not the case.

12. Who desire any occasion - To censure me. That wherein they

boast, they may be found even as we - They boasted of being

"burdensome to no man." But it was a vain boast in them, though

not in the apostle.

14. Satan himself is transformed - Uses to transform himself; to

put on the fairest appearances.

15. Therefore it is no great, no strange, thing; whose end,

notwithstanding all their disguises, shall be according to their


16. I say again - He premises a new apology to this new

commendation of himself. Let no man think me a fool - Let none

think I do this without the utmost necessity. But if any do think

me foolish herein, yet bear with my folly.

17. I speak not after the Lord - Not by an express command from

him; though still under the direction of his Spirit. But as it were

foolishly - In such a manner as many may think foolish.

18. After the flesh - That is, in external things.

19. Being wise - A beautiful irony.

20. For ye suffer - Not only the folly, but the gross abuses, of

those false apostles. If a man enslave you - Lord it over you in the

most arbitrary manner. If he devour you - By his exorbitant

demands; not - withstanding his boast of not being burdensome. If

he take from you - By open violence. If he exalt himself - By the

most unbounded self-commendation. If he smite you on the face -

(A very possible case,) under pretense of divine zeal.

21. I speak with regard to reproach, as though we had been weak -

I say, "Bear with me," even on supposition that the weakness be

real which they reproach me with.

22. Are they Hebrews, Israelites, the seed of Abraham - These

were the heads on which they boasted.

23. I am more so than they. In deaths often - Surrounding me in

the most dreadful forms.

24. Five times I received from the Jews forty stripes save one -

Which was the utmost that the law allowed. With the Roman he

sometimes pleaded his privilege as a Roman; but from the Jews he

suffered all things.

25. Thrice I have been shipwrecked - Before his voyage to Rome.

In the deep - Probably floating on some part of the vessel.

27. In cold and nakedness - Having no place where to lay my

head; no convenient raiment to cover me; yet appearing before

noble-men, governors, kings; and not being ashamed.

28. Beside the things which are from without - Which I suffer on

the account of others; namely, the care of all the churches - A

more modest expression than if he had said, the care of the whole

church. All - Even those I have not seen in the flesh. St. Peter

himself could not have said this in so strong a sense.

29. Who - So he had not only the care of the churches, but of

every person therein. Is weak, and I am not weak - By sympathy,

as well as by condescension. Who is offended - Hindered in, or

turned out of, the good way. And I burn not - Being pained as

though I had fire in my bosom.

30. I will glory of the things that concern my infirmities - Of what

shows my weakness, rather than my strength.

32. The governor under Aretas - King of Arabia and Syria of

which Damascus was a chief city, willing to oblige the Jews, kept

the city - Setting guards at all the gates day and night.

33. Through a window - Of an house which stood on the city wall.


1. It is not expedient - Unless on so pressing occasion. Visions are

seen; Revelations, heard.

2. I knew a man in Christ - That is, a Christian. It is plain from 2

Cor. xii, 6, 7, that he means himself, though in modesty he speaks

as of a third person. Whether in the body or out of the body I

know not - It is equally possible with God to present distant things

to the imagination in the body, as if the soul were absent from it,

and present with them; or to transport both soul and body for what

time he pleases to heaven; or to transport the soul only thither for

a season, and in the mean time to preserve the body fit for its re-

entrance. But since the apostle himself did not know whether his

soul was in the body, or whether one or both were actually in

heaven, it would be vain curiosity for us to attempt determining it.

The third heaven - Where God is; far above the aerial and the

starry heaven. Some suppose it was here the apostle was let into

the mystery of the future state of the church; and received his

orders to turn from the Jews and go to the gentiles.

3. Yea, I knew such a man - That at another time.

4. He was caught up into paradise - The seat of happy spirits in

their separate state, between death and the resurrection. Things

which it is not possible for man to utter - Human language being

incapable of expressing them. Here he anticipated the joyous rest

of the righteous that die in the Lord. But this rapture did not

precede, but follow after, his being caught up to the third heaven:

a strong intimation that he must first discharge his mission, and

then enter into glory. And beyond all doubt, such a foretaste of it

served to strengthen him in all his after trials, when he could call

to mind the very joy that was prepared for him.

5. Of such an one I will - I might, glory; but I will not glory of

myself - As considered in myself.

6. For if I should resolve to glory - Referring to, I might glory of

such a glorious Revelation. I should not be a fool - That is, it

could not justly be accounted folly to relate the naked truth. But I

forbear - I speak sparingly of these things, for fear any one should

think too highly of me - O where is this fear now to be found?

Who is afraid of this?

7. There was given me - By the wise and gracious providence of

God. A thorn in the flesh - A visitation more painful than any

thorn sticking in the flesh. A messenger or angel of Satan to buffet

me - Perhaps both visibly and invisibly; and the word in the

original expresses the present, as well as the past, time. All kinds

of affliction had befallen the apostle. Yet none of those did he

deprecate. But here he speaks of one, as above all the rest, one

that macerated him with weakness, and by the pain and ignominy

of it prevented his being lifted up mere, or, at least, not less, than

the most vehement head ache could have done; which many of the

ancients say he laboured under. St. Paul seems to have had a fresh

fear of these buffetings every moment, when he so frequently

represses himself in his boasting, though it was extorted from him

by the utmost necessity.

8. Concerning this - He had now forgot his being lifted up. I

besought the Lord thrice - As our Lord besought his Father.

9. But he said to me - ln answer to my third request. My grace is

sufficient for thee - How tender a repulse! We see there may be

grace where there is the quickest sense of pain. My strength is

more illustriously displayed by the weakness of the instrument.

Therefore I will glory in my weaknesses rather than my

Revelations, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me - The

Greek word properly means, may cover me all over like a tent.

We ought most willingly to accept whatever tends to this end,

however contrary to flesh and blood.

10. Weaknesses - Whether proceeding from Satan or men. For

when I am weak - Deeply conscious of my weakness, then does

the strength of Christ rest upon me.

11. Though I am nothing - Of myself.

14. The third time - Having been disappointed twice. I seek not

yours - Your goods. But you - Your souls.

15. I will gladly spend - All I have. And be spent - Myself.

16. But some may object, though I did not burden you, though I

did not take anything of you myself, yet being crafty I caught you

with guile - I did secretly by my messengers what I would not do

openly, or in person.

17. I answer this lying accusation by appealing to plain fact. Did I

make a gain of you by Titus - Or any other of my messengers?

You know the contrary. It should be carefully observed, that St.

Paul does not allow, but absolutely denies, that he had caught

them with guile; so that the common plea for guile, which has

been often drawn from this text, is utterly without foundation.

18. I desired Titus - To go to you.

19. Think ye that we again excuse ourselves - That I speak this for

my own sake? No. I speak all this for your sakes.

21. Who had sinned before - My last coming to Corinth.

Uncleanness - Of married persons. Lasciviousness - Against



1. I am coming this third time - He had been coming twice before,

though he did not actually come.

2. All the rest - Who have since then sinned in any of these kinds.

I will not spare - I will severely punish them.

4. He was crucified through weakness - Through the impotence of

human nature. We also are weak with him - We appear weak and

despicable by partaking of the same sufferings for his sake. But

we shall live with him - Being raised from the dead. By the power

of God in you - By that divine energy which is now in every

believer, 2 Cor. xiii, 5.

5. Prove yourselves - Whether ye are such as can, or such as

cannot, bear the test - This is the proper meaning of the word

which we translate, reprobates. Know ye not yourselves, that

Jesus Christ is in you - All Christian believers know this, by the

witness and by the fruit of his Spirit. Some translate the words,

Jesus Christ is among you; that is, in the church of Corinth; and

understand them of the miraculous gifts and the power of Christ

which attended the censures of the apostle.

6. And I trust ye shall know - By proving yourselves, not by

putting my authority to the proof.

7. I pray God that ye may do no evil - To give me occasion of

showing my apostolical power. I do not desire to appear approved

- By miraculously punishing you. But that ye may do that which is

good, though we should be as reprobates - Having no occasion to

give that proof of our apostleship.

8. For we can do nothing against the truth - Neither against that

which is just and right, nor against those who walk according to

the truth of the gospel.

9. For we rejoice when we are weak - When we appear so, having

no occasion to show our apostolic power. And this we wish, even

your perfection - In the faith that worketh by love.

11. Be perfect - Aspire to the highest degree of holiness. Be of

good comfort - Filled with divine consolation. Be of one mind -

Desire, labour, pray for it, to the utmost degree that is possible.

13. The grace - Or favour. Of our Lord Jesus Christ - By which

alone we can come to the Father. And the love of God -

Manifested to you, and abiding in you. And the communion - Or

fellowship. Of the Holy Ghost - In all his gifts and graces. It is

with great reason that this comprehensive and instructive blessing

is pronounced at the close of our solemn assemblies; and it is a

very indecent thing to see so many quitting them, or getting into

postures of remove, before this short sentence can be ended. How

often have we heard this awful benediction pronounced! Let us

study it more and more, that we may value it proportionably; that

we may either deliver or receive it with a becoming reverence,

with eyes and hearts lifted up to God, "who giveth the blessing

out of Sion, and life for evermore."




THIS epistle is not written, as most of St. Paul's are, to the

Christians of a particular city, but to those of a whole country in

Asia Minor, the metropolis of which was Ancyra. These readily

embraced the gospel; but, after St. Paul had left them, certain men

came among them, who (like those mentioned, Acts xv, 1.) taught

that it was necessary to be circumcised, and to keep the Mosaic

law. They affirmed, that all the other apostles taught thus; that St.

Paul was inferior to them; and that even he sometimes practiced

and recommended the law, though at other times he opposed it.

The first part, therefore, of this epistle is spent in vindicating

himself and his doctrine; proving,

1. That he had it immediately from Christ himself; and that he was

not inferior to the other apostles.

2. That it was the very same which the other apostles preached.


3. That his practice was consistent with his doctrine.

The second contains proofs, drawn from the Old Testament, that

the law and all its ceremonies were abolished by Christ. The third

contains practical inferences, closed with his usual benediction.

To be a little more distinct - This epistle contains,

I. The inscription, C.i. 1-5

II. The calling the Galatians back to the true gospel; wherein he

1. Reproves them for leaving it, 6-10

2. Asserts the authority of the gospel he had preached, who,

1. Of a persecutor was made an apostle, by an immediate call

from heaven, 11-17

2. Was no way inferior to Peter himself, 18-C.ii. 21

3. Defends justification by faith, and again reproves the Galatians,

C.iii. 1-iv. 11

4. Explains the same thing by an allegory taken out of the law

itself, 12-31

5. Exhorts them to maintain their liberty, C.v.1-12 warns them not

to abuse it, and admonishes them to walk not after the flesh, but

after the Spirit,. 10

III. The conclusion, 11-18



1. Paul, an apostle - Here it was necessary for St. Paul to assert his

authority; otherwise he is very modest in the use of this title. He

seldom mentions it when he mentions others in the salutations

with himself, as in the Epistles to the Philippians and

Thessalonians; or when he writes about secular affairs, as in that

to Philemon; nor yet in writing to the Hebrews because he was not

properly their apostle. Not of men - Not commissioned from

them, but from God the Father. Neither by man - Neither by any

man as an instrument, but by Jesus Christ. Who raised him from

the dead - Of which it was the peculiar business of an apostle to

bear witness.

2. And all the brethren - Who agree with me in what I now write.

4. That he might deliver us from the present evil world - From the

guilt, wickedness, and misery wherein it is involved, and from its

vain and foolish customs and pleasures. According to the will of

God - Without any merit of ours. St. Paul begins most of his

epistles with thanksgiving; but, writing to the Galatians, he alters

his style, and first sets down his main proposition, That by the

merits of Christ alone, giving himself for our sins, we are

justified: neither does he term them, as he does others, either

saints," elect," or churches of God."

5. To whom be glory - For this his gracious will.

6. I marvel that ye are removed so soon - After my leaving you.

From him who called you by the grace of Christ - His gracious

gospel, and his gracious power.

7. Which, indeed, is not properly another gospel. For what ye

have now received is no gospel at all; it is not glad, but heavy,

tidings, as setting your acceptance with God upon terms

impossible to be performed. But there are some that trouble you -

The same word occurs, Acts xv, 24. And would - If they were

able. Subvert or overthrow the gospel of Christ - The better to

effect which, they suggest, that the other apostles, yea, and I

myself, insist upon the observance of the law.

8. But if we - I and all the apostles. Or an angel from heaven - If it

were possible. Preach another gospel, let him be accursed - Cut

off from Christ and God.

9. As - He speaks upon mature deliberation; after pausing, it

seems, between the two verses. We - I and the brethren who are

with me. Have said before - Many times, in effect, if not in terms.

So I say - All those brethren knew the truth of the gospel. St. Paul

knew the Galatians had received the true gospel.

10. For - He adds the reason why he speaks so confidently. Do I

now satisfy men - Is this what I aim at in preaching or writing? If

I still - Since I was an apostle. Pleased men - Studied to please

them; if this were my motive of action; nay, if I did in fact please

the men who know not God. I should not be the servant of Christ -

Hear this, all ye who vainly hope to keep in favour both with God

and with the world!

11. But I certify you, brethren - He does not till now give them

even this appellation. That the gospel which was preached by me

among you is not according to man - Not from man, not by man,

not suited to the taste of man.

12. For neither did I receive it - At once. Nor was I taught it -

Slowly and gradually, by any man. But by the Revelation of Jesus

Christ - Our Lord revealed to him at first, his resurrection,

ascension, and the calling of the gentiles, and his own apostleship;

and told him then, there were other things for which he would

appear to him.

13. I Persecuted the church of God - That is, the believers in


14. Being zealous of the unwritten traditions - Over and above

those written in the law.

15. But when it pleased God - He ascribes nothing to his own

merits, endeavours, or sincerity. Who separated me from my

mother's womb - Set me apart for an apostle, as he did Jeremiah

for a prophet. Jer. i, 5. Such an unconditional predestination as

this may consist, both with God's justice and mercy. And called

me by his grace - By his free and almighty love, to be both a

Christian and an apostle.

16. To reveal his Son in me - By the powerful operation of his

Spirit, chap. iv, 6; as well as to me, by the heavenly vision. That I

might preach him to others - Which I should have been ill

qualified to do, had I not first known him myself. I did not confer

with flesh and blood - Being fully satisfied of the divine will, and

determined to obey, I took no counsel with any man, neither with

my own reason or inclinations, which might have raised

numberless objections.

17. Neither did I go up to Jerusalem - The residence of the

apostles. But I immediately went again into Arabia, and returned

again to Damascus - He presupposes the journey to Damascus, in

which he was converted, as being known to them all.

18. Then after three years - Wherein I had given full proof of my

apostleship. I went to visit Peter - To converse with him.

19. But other of the apostles I saw none, save James the brother

(that is, the kinsman) of the Lord - Therefore when Barnabas is

said to have "brought him into the apostles," Acts ix, 27, only St.

Peter and St James are meant.

24. In me - That is, on my account.


1. Then fourteen years after - My first journey thither. I went up

again to Jerusalem - This seems to be the journey mentioned Acts

xv, 2; several passages here referring to that great council,

wherein all the apostles showed that they were of the same

judgment with him.

2. I went up - Not by any command from them, but by an express

Revelation from God. And laid before them - The chief of the

church in Jerusalem. The gospel which I preach among the

gentiles - Acts xv, 4, touching justification by faith alone; not that

they might confirm me therein, but that I might remove prejudice

from them. Yet not publicly at first, but severally to those of

eminence - Speaking to them one by one. Lest I should run, or

should have run, in vain - Lest I should lose the fruit either of my

present or past labours. For they might have greatly hindered this,

had they not been fully satisfied both of his mission and doctrine.

The word run beautifully expresses the swift progress of the


3. But neither was Titus who was with me - When I conversed

with them. Compelled to be circumcised - A clear proof that none

of the apostles insisted on the circumcising gentile believers. The

sense is, And it is true, some of those false brethren would fain

have compelled Titus to be circumcised; but I utterly refused it.

4. Because of false brethren - Who seem to have urged it.

Introduced unawares - Into some of those private conferences at

Jerusalem. Who had slipped in to spy out our liberty - From the

ceremonial law. That they might, if possible, bring us into that

bondage again.

5. To whom we did not yield by submission - Although in love he

would have yielded to any. With such wonderful prudence did the

apostle use his Christian liberty! circumcising Timothy, Acts xvi,

3, because of weak brethren, but not Titus, because of false

brethren. That the truth of the gospel - That is, the true genuine

gospel. Might continue with you - With you gentiles. So we

defend, for your sakes, the privilege which you would give up.

6. And they who undoubtedly were something - Above all others.

What they were - How eminent soever. It is no difference to me -

So that I should alter either my doctrine or my practice. God

accepteth no man's person - For any eminence in gifts or outward

prerogatives. In that conference added nothing to me - Neither as

to doctrine nor mission.

7. But when they saw - By the effects which I laid before them,

ver. 8; Acts xv, 12. That I was intrusted with the gospel of the

uncircumcision - That is, with the charge of preaching it to the

uncircumcised heathens.

8. For he that wrought effectually in Peter for the apostleship of

the circumcision - To qualify him for, and support him in, the

discharge of that office to the Jews. Wrought likewise effectually

in and by me - For and in the discharge of my office toward the


9. And when James - Probably named first because he was bishop

of the church in Jerusalem. And Cephas - Speaking of him at

Jerusalem he calls him by his Hebrew name. And John - Hence it

appears that he also was at the council, though he is not

particularly named in the Acts. Who undoubtedly were pillars -

The principal supporters and defenders of the gospel. Knew -

After they had heard the account I gave them. The grace - Of

apostleship. Which was given me, they - In the name of all. Gave

to me and Barnabas - My fellow-labourer. The right hands of

fellowship - They gave us their hands in token of receiving us as

their fellow- labourers, mutually agreeing that we - I and those in

union with me. Should go to the gentiles - Chiefly. And they -

With those that were in union with them, chiefly to the

circumcision - The Jews.

10. Of the poor - The poor Christians in Judea, who had lost all

they had for Christ's sake.

11. But - The argument here comes to the height. Paul reproves

Peter himself. So far was he from receiving his doctrine from

man, or from being inferior to the chief of the apostles. When

Peter - Afterwards, Came to Antioch - Then the chief of all the

Gentile churches. I withstood him to the face, because he was to

be blamed - For fear of man, ver. 12; for dissimulation, ver. 13;

and for not walking uprightly. ver. 14.

13. And the other believing Jews - Who were at Antioch.

Dissembled with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away

with their dissimulation - Was born away, as with a torrent, into

the same ill practice.

14. I said to Cephas before them all - See Paul single against Peter

and all the Jews! If thou being a Jew, yet livest, in thy ordinary

conversation, after the manner of the gentiles - Not observing the

ceremonial law, which thou knowest to be now abolished. Why

compellest thou the gentiles - By withdrawing thyself and all the

ministers from them; either to judaize, to keep the ceremonial law,

or to be excluded from church communion?

15. We - St. Paul, to spare St. Peter, drops the first person

singular, and speaks in the plural number. ver. 18, he speaks in the

first person singular again by a figure; and without a figure, ver.

19, &c. Who are Jews by nature - By birth, not proselytes only.

And not sinners of the gentiles - That is, not sinful Gentiles; not

such gross, enormous, abandoned sinners, as the heathens

generally were.

16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law -

Not even of the moral, much less the ceremonial, law. But by the

faith of Jesus Christ - That is, by faith in him. The name Jesus was

first known by the gentiles; the name Christ by the Jews. And they

are not always placed promiscuously; but generally in a more

solemn way of speaking, the Apostle says, Christ Jesus; in a more

familiar, Jesus Christ. Even we - And how much more must the

Gentiles, who have still less pretense to depend on their own

works! Have believed - Knowing there is no other way. Because -

Considering the demands of the law, and the fate of human nature,

it is evident, that by the works of the law - By such an obedience

as it requires. Shall no flesh living - No human creature, Jew or

Gentile, be justified. Hitherto St. Paul had been considering that

single question, "Are Christians obliged to observe the ceremonial

law? But he here insensibly goes farther, and, by citing this

scripture, shows that what he spoke directly of the ceremonial,

included also the moral, law. For David undoubtedly did so, when

he said, Psalm cxliii, 2, the place here referred to, "In thy sight

shall no man living be justified;" which the Apostle likewise

explains, Rom. iii, 19, 20, in such a manner as can agree to none

but the moral law.

17. But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are

still found sinners - If we continue in sin, will it therefore follow,

that Christ is the minister or countenancer of sin?

18. By no means. For if I build again - By my sinful practice. The

things which I destroyed - By my preaching, I only make myself -

Or show myself, not Christ, to be a transgressor; the whole blame

lies on me, not him or his gospel. As if he had said, The objection

were just, if the gospel promised justification to men continuing in

sin. But it does not. Therefore if any who profess the gospel do

not live according to it, they are sinners, it is certain, but not

justified, and so the gospel is clear.

19. For I through the law - Applied by the Spirit to my heart, and

deeply convincing me of my utter sinfulness and helplessness.

Am dead to the law - To all hope of justification from it. That I

may live to God - Not continue in sin. For this very end am I, in

this sense, freed from the law, that I may be freed from sin.

20. The Apostle goes on to describe how he is freed from sin; how

far he is from continuing therein. I am crucified with Christ -

Made conformable to his death; "the body of sin is destroyed."

Rom. vi, 6. And I - As to my corrupt nature. Live no longer -

Being dead to sin. But Christ liveth in me - Is a fountain of life in

my inmost soul, from which all my tempers, words, and actions

flow. And the life that I now live in the flesh - Even in this mortal

body, I live by faith in the Son of God - I derive every moment

from that supernatural principle; from a divine evidence and

conviction, that "he loved me, and delivered up himself for me."

21. Meantime I do not make void - In seeking to be justified by

my own works. The grace of God - The free love of God in Christ

Jesus. But they do, who seek justification by the law. For if

righteousness is by the law - If men might be justified by their

obedience to the law, moral or ceremonial. Then Christ died in

vain - Without any necessity for it, since men might have been

saved without his death; might by their own obedience have been

both discharged from condemnation, and entitled to eternal life.


1. O thoughtless Galatians - He breaks in upon them with a

beautiful abruptness. Who hath bewitched you - Thus to

contradict both your own reason and experience. Before whose

eyes Jesus Christ hath been as evidently set forth - By our

preaching, as if he had been crucified among you.

2. This only would I learn of you - That is, this one argument

might convince you. Did ye receive the witness and the fruit of

the Spirit by performing the works of the law, or by hearing of

and receiving faith?

3. Are ye so thoughtless - As not to consider what you have

yourselves experienced? Having begun in the Spirit - Having set

out under the light and power of the Spirit by faith, do ye now,

when ye ought to be more spiritual, and more acquainted with the

power of faith, expect to be made perfect by the flesh? Do you

think to complete either your justification or sanctification, by

giving up that faith, and depending on the law, which is a gross

and carnal thing when opposed to the gospel?

4. Have ye suffered - Both from the zealous Jews and from the

heathens. So many things - For adhering to the gospel. In vain -

So as to lose all the blessings which ye might have obtained, by

enduring to the end. If it be yet in vain - As if he had said, I hope

better things, even that ye will endure to the end.

5. And, at the present time, Doth he that ministereth the gift of the

Spirit to you, and worketh miracles among you, do it by the works

of the law - That is, in confirmation of his preaching justification

by works, or of his preaching justification by faith?

6. Doubtless in confirmation of that grand doctrine, that we are

justified by faith, even as Abraham was. The Apostle, both in this

and in the epistle to the Romans, makes great use of the instance

of Abraham: the rather, because from Abraham the Jews drew

their great argument, as they do this day, both for their own

continuance in Judaism, and for denying the gentiles to be the

church of God. Gen. xv, 6

7. Know then that they who are partakers of his faith, these, and

these only, are the sons of Abraham, and therefore heirs of the

promises made to him.

8. And the scripture - That is, the Holy Spirit, who gave the

scripture. Foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles also by

faith, declared before - So great is the excellency and fulness of

the scripture, that all the things which can ever be controverted

are therein both foreseen and determined. In or through thee - As

the father of the Messiah, shall all the nations be blessed. Gen. xii,


9. So then all they, and they only, who are of faith - Who truly

believe. Are blessed with faithful Abraham - Receive the blessing

as he did, namely, by faith.

10. They only receive it. For as many as are of the works of the

law - As God deals with on that footing, only on the terms the law

proposes, are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one

who continueth not in all the things which are written in the law.

Who continueth not in all the things - So it requires what no man

can perform, namely, perfect, uninterrupted, and perpetual

obedience. Deut. xxvii, 26

11. But that none is justified by his obedience to the law in the

sight of God - Whatever may be done in the sight of man, is

farther evident from the words of Habakkuk, The just shall live by

faith - That is, the man who is accounted just or righteous before

God, shall continue in a state of acceptance, life, and salvation, by

faith. This is the way God hath chosen. Hab. ii, 4.

12. And the law is not of faith - But quite opposite to it: it does

not say, Believe; but, Do. Lev. xviii, 5

13. Christ - Christ alone. The abruptness of the sentence shows an

holy indignation at those who reject so great a blessing. Hath

redeemed us - Whether Jews or gentiles, at an high price. From

the curse of the law - The curse of God, which the law denounces

against all transgressors of it. Being made a curse for us - Taking

the curse upon himself, that we might be delivered from it,

willingly submitting to that death which the law pronounces

peculiarly accursed. Deut. xxi, 23.

14. That the blessing of Abraham - The blessing promised to him.

Might come on the gentiles - Also. That we - Who believe,

whether Jews or gentiles. Might receive the promise of the Spirit -

Which includes all the other promises. Through faith - Not by

works; for faith looks wholly to the promise.

15. I speak after the manner of men - I illustrate this by a familiar

instance, taken from the practice of men. Though it be but a man's

covenant, yet, if it be once legally confirmed, none - No, not the

covenanter himself, unless something unforeseen occur, which

cannot be the case with God. Disannulleth, or addeth thereto -

Any new conditions.

16. Now the promises were made to Abraham and his seed -

Several promises were made to Abraham; but the chief of all, and

which was several times repeated, was that of the blessing through

Christ. He - That is, God. Saith not, And to seeds, as of many - As

if the promise were made to several kinds of seed. But as of one -

That is, one kind of seed, one posterity, one kind of sons. And to

all these the blessing belonged by promise. Which is Christ -

including all that believe in him. Gen. xxii, 18.

17. And this I say - What I mean is this. The covenant which was

before confirmed of God - By the promise itself, by the repetition

of it, and by a solemn oath, concerning the blessing all nations.

Through Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years

after - Counting from the time when the promise was first made to

Abraham, Gen. xii, 2, 3. Doth not disannul, so as to make the

promise of no effect - With regard to all nations, if only the

Jewish were to receive it; yea, with regard to them also, if it was

by works, so as to supersede it, and introduce another way of

obtaining the blessing.

18. And again - This is a new argument. The former was drawn

from the time, this from the nature, of the transaction. If the

eternal inheritance be obtained by keeping the law, it is no more

by virtue of the free promise - These being just opposite to each

other. But it is by promise. Therefore it is not by the law.

19. It - The ceremonial law. Was added - To the promise. Because

of transgressions - Probably, the yoke of the ceremonial law was

inflicted as a punishment for the national sin of idolatry, Exod.

xxxii, 1, at least the more grievous parts of it; and the whole of it

was a prophetic type of Christ. The moral law was added to the

promise to discover and restrain transgressions, to convince men

of their guilt, and need of the promise, and give some check to

sin. And this law passeth not away; but the ceremonial law was

only introduced till Christ, the seed to or through whom the

promise was made, should come. And it was ordained by angels

in the hand of a mediator - It was not given to Israel, like the

promise to Abraham, immediately from God himself; but was

conveyed by the ministry of angels to Moses, and delivered into

his hand as a mediator between God and them, to remind them of

the great Mediator.

20. Now the mediator is not a mediator of one - There must be

two parties, or there can be no mediator between them; but God

who made the free promise to Abraham is only one of the parties.

The other, Abraham, was not present at the time of Moses.

Therefore in the promise Moses had nothing to do. The law,

wherein he was concerned, was a transaction of quite another


21. Will it follow from hence that the law is against, opposite to,

the promises of God? By no means. They are well consistent. But

yet the law cannot give life, as the promise doth. If there had been

a law which could have given life - Which could have entitled a

sinner to life, God would have spared his own Son, and

righteousness, or justification. with all the blessings consequent

upon it, would have been by that law.

22. But, on the contrary, the scripture wherein that law is written

hath concluded all under sin - Hath shut them up together, (so the

word properly signifies,) as in a prison, under sentence of death,

to the end that all being cut off from expecting justification by the

law, the promise might be freely given to them that believe.

23. But before faith - That is, the gospel dispensation. Came, we

were kept - As in close custody. Under the law - The Mosaic

dispensation. Shut up unto the faith which was to be revealed -

Reserved and prepared for the gospel dispensation.

24. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ - It was

designed to train us up for Christ. And this it did both by its

commands, which showed the need we had of his atonement; and

its ceremonies, which all pointed us to him.

25. But faith - That is, the gospel dispensation. Being come, we

are no longer under that schoolmaster - The Mosaic dispensation.

26. For ye - Christians. Are all adult sons of God - And so need a

schoolmaster no longer.

27. For as many of you as have testified your faith by being

baptized in the name of Christ, have put on Christ - Have received

him as your righteousness, and are therefore sons of God through


28. There is neither Jew nor Greek - That is, there is no difference

between them; they are equally accepted through faith. There is

neither male nor female - Circumcision being laid aside, which

was peculiar to males, and was designed to put a difference,

during that dispensation, between Jews and gentiles.

29. If ye are Christ's - That is, believers in him.


1. Now - To illustrate by a plain similitude the preeminence of the

Christian, over the legal, dispensation. The heir, as long as he is a

child - As he is under age. Differeth nothing from a servant - Not

being at liberty either to use or enjoy his estate. Though he be

Lord - Proprietor of it all.

2. But is under tutors - As to his person. And stewards - As to his


3. So we - The church of God. When we were children - In our

minority, under the legal dispensation. Were in bondage - In a

kind of servile state. Under the elements of the world - Under the

typical observances of the law, which were like the first elements

of grammar, the A B C of children; and were of so gross a nature,

as hardly to carry our thoughts beyond this world.

4. But when the fulness of the time - Appointed by the Father, ver.

2. Was come, God sent forth - From his own bosom. His Son,

miraculously made of the substance of a woman - A virgin,

without the concurrence of a man. Made under the law - Both

under the precept, and under the curse, of it.

5. To redeem those under the law - From the curse of it, and from

that low, servile state. That we - Jews who believe. Might receive

the adoption - All the privileges of adult sons.

6. And because ye - Gentiles who believe, are also thus made his

adult sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your

hearts likewise, crying, Abba, Father - Enabling you to call upon

God both with the confidence, and the tempers, of dutiful

children. The Hebrew and Greek word are joined together, to

express the joint cry of the Jews and gentiles.

7. Wherefore thou - Who believest in Christ. Art no more a

servant - Like those who are under the law. But a son - Of mature

age. And if a son, then an heir of all the promises, and of the all-

sufficient God himself.

8. Indeed then when ye knew not God, ye served them that by

nature - That is, in reality. Are no gods - And so were under a far

worse bondage than even that of the Jews. For they did serve the

true God, though in a low, slavish manner.

9. But now being known of God - As his beloved children. How

turn ye back to the weak and poor elements - Weak, utterly unable

to purge your conscience from guilt, or to give that filial

confidence in God. Poor - incapable of enriching the soul with

such holiness and happiness as ye are heirs to. Ye desire to be

again in bondage - Though of another kind; now to these

elements, as before to those idols.

10. Ye observe days - Jewish sabbaths. And months - New

moons. And times - As that of the passover, pentecost, and the

feast of tabernacles. And years - Annual solemnities. it does not

mean sabbatic years. These were not to be observed out of the

land of Canaan.

11. The apostle here, dropping the argument, applies to the

affections, ver. 11-20, and humbles himself to the Galatians, with

an inexpressible tenderness.

12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am - Meet me in mutual love.

For I am as ye were - I still love you as affectionately as ye once

loved me. Why should I not? Ye have not injured me at all - I

have received no personal injury from you.

13. I preached to you, notwithstanding infirmity of the flesh - That

is, notwithstanding bodily weakness, and under great

disadvantage from the despicableness of my outward appearance.

14. And ye did not slight my temptation - That is, ye did not slight

or disdain me for my temptation, my "thorn in the flesh."

15. What was then the blessedness ye spake of - On which ye so

congratulated one another.

17. They - The judaizing teachers who are come among you.

Zealously affect you - Express an extraordinary regard for you.

But not well - Their zeal is not according to knowledge; neither

have they a single eye to your spiritual advantage. Yea, they

would exclude you - From me and from the blessings of the

gospel. That ye might affect - Love and esteem them.

18. In a good thing - In what is really worthy our zeal. True zeal is

only fervent love.

19. My little children - He speaks as a parent, both with authority,

and the most tender sympathy, toward weak and sickly children.

Of whom I travail in birth again - As I did before, ver. 13, in

vehement pain, sorrow, desire, prayer. Till Christ be formed in

you - Till there be in you all the mind that was in him.

20. I could wish to be present with you now - Particularly in this

exigence. And to change - Variously to attemper. My voice - He

writes with much softness; but he would speak with more. The

voice may more easily be varied according to the occasion than a

letter can. For I stand in doubt of you - So that I am at a loss how

to speak at this distance.

21. Do ye not hear the law - Regard what it says.

22. Gen. xxi, 2, 9.

23. Was born after the flesh - In a natural way. By promise -

Through that supernatural strength which was given Abraham in

consequence of the promise.

24. Which things are an allegory - An allegory is a figurative

speech, wherein one thing is expressed, and another intended. For

those two sons are types of the two covenants. One covenant is

that given from mount Sinai, which beareth children to bondage -

That is, all who are under this, the Jewish covenant, are in

bondage. Which covenant is typified by Agar.

25. For this is mount Sinai in Arabia - That is, the type of mount

Sinai. And answereth to - Resembles Jerusalem that now is, and is

in bondage - Like Agar, both to the law and to the Romans.

26. But the other covenant is derived from Jerusalem that is

above, which is free - Like Sarah from all inward and outward

bondage, and is the mother of us all - That is, all who believe in

Christ, are free citizens of the New Jerusalem.

27. For it is written - Those words in the primary sense promise a

flourishing state to Judea, after its desolation by the Chaldeans.

Rejoice. thou barren, that bearest not - Ye heathen nations, who,

like a barren woman, were destitute, for many ages, of a seed to

serve the Lord. Break forth and cry aloud for joy, thou that, in

former time, travailedst not: for the desolate hath many more

children than she that hath an husband - For ye that were so long

utterly desolate shall at length bear more children than the Jewish

church, which was of old espoused to God. Isaiah liv, 1.

28. Now we - Who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles. Are

children of the promise - Not born in a natural way, but by the

supernatural power of God. And as such we are heirs of the

promise made to believing Abraham.

29. But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him

that was born after the Spirit, so it is now also - And so it will be

in all ages and nations to the end of the world.

30. But what saith the scripture - Showing the consequence of

this. Cast out the bondwoman and her son - Who mocked Isaac. In

like manner will God cast out all who seek to be justified by the

law; especially if they persecute them who are his children by

faith. Gen. xxi, 10.

31. So then - To sum up all. We - Who believe. Are not children

of the bondwoman - Have nothing to do with the servile Mosaic

dispensation. But of the free - Being free from the curse and the

bond of that law, and from the power of sin and Satan.


1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty - From the ceremonial law.

Wherewith Christ hath made us - And all believers, free; and be

not entangled again with the yoke of legal bondage.

2. If ye be circumcised - And seek to be justified thereby. Christ -

The Christian institution. Will profit you nothing - For you hereby

disclaim Christ, and all the blessings which are through faith in


3. I testify to every man - Every gentile. That is circumcised - He

thereby makes himself a debtor - Obliges.

4. Therefore Christ is become of no effect to you - Who seek to be

justified by the law. Ye are fallen from grace - Ye renounce the

new covenant. Ye disclaim the benefit of this gracious


5. For we - Who believe in Christ, Who are under the gospel

dispensation. Through the Spirit - Without any of those carnal

ordinances. Wait for - in sure confidence of attaining. The hope of

righteousness - The righteousness we hope for, and full reward of

it. This righteousness we receive of God through faith; and by

faith we shall obtain the reward.

6. For in Christ Jesus - According to the institution which he hath

established, according to the tenor of the Christian covenant.

Neither circumcision - With the most punctual observance of the

law. Nor uncircumcision - With the most exact heathen morality.

Availeth anything - Toward present justification or eternal

salvation. But faith - Alone; even that faith which worketh by love

- All inward and outward holiness.

7. Ye did run well - In the race of faith. Who hath hindered you in

your course, that ye should not still obey the truth?

8. This your present persuasion cometh not from God, who called

you - to his kingdom and glory.

9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump - One troubler, ver.

10, troubles all.

10. Yet I have confidence that - After ye have read this. Ye will

be no otherwise minded - Than I am, and ye were. But he that

troubleth you - It seems to have been one person chiefly who

endeavoured to seduce them. Shall bear his judgment - A heavy

burden, already hanging over his head.

11. But if I still preach circumcision - As that troubler seems to

have affirmed, probably taking occasion from his having

circumcised Timothy. Why do I still suffer persecution? then is

the offense of the cross ceased - The grand reason why the Jews

were so offended at his preaching Christ crucified, and so bitterly

persecuted him for it, was, that it implied the abolition of the law.

Yet St. Paul did not condemn the conforming, out of

condescension to the weakness of any one, even to the ceremonial

law; but he did absolutely condemn those who taught it as

necessary to justification.

12. I would they were even cut off - From your communion; cast

out of your church, that thus trouble you.

13. Ye have been called to liberty - From sin and misery, as well

as from the ceremonial law. Only use not liberty for an occasion

to the flesh - Take not occasion from hence to gratify corrupt

nature. But by love serve one another - And hereby show that

Christ has made you free.

14. For all the law is fulfilled in this, Thou shalt love thy

neighbour as thyself - inasmuch as none can do this without

loving God, 1 John iv, 12; and the love of God and man includes

all perfection. Lev. xix, 18.

15. But if - On the contrary, in consequence of the divisions

which those troublers have occasioned among you, ye bite one

another by evil speaking. And devour one another - By railing and

clamour. Take heed ye be not consumed one of another - By

bitterness, strife, and contention, our health and strength, both of

body and soul, are consumed, as well as our substance and


16. I say then - He now explains what he proposed, ver. 13. Walk

by the Spirit - Follow his guidance in all things. And fulfil not - In

anything. The desire of the flesh - Of corrupt nature.

17. For the flesh desireth against the Spirit - Nature desires what

is quite contrary to the Spirit of God. But the Spirit against the

flesh- - But the Holy Spirit on his part opposes your evil nature.

These are contrary to each other - The flesh and the Spirit; there

can be no agreement between them. That ye may not do the things

which ye would- - That, being thus strengthened by the Spirit, ye

may not fulfil the desire of the flesh, as otherwise ye would do.

18. But if ye are led by the Spirit - Of liberty and love, into all

holiness. Ye are not under the law - Not under the curse or

bondage of it; not under the guilt or the power of sin.

19. Now the works of the flesh - By which that inward principle is

discovered. Are manifest - Plain and undeniable. Works are

mentioned in the plural because they are distinct from, and often

inconsistent with, each other. But "the fruit of the Spirit" is

mentioned in the singular, ver. 22, as being all consistent and

connected together. Which are these - He enumerates those

"works of the flesh" to which the Galatians were most inclined;

and those parts of "the fruit of the Spirit" of which they stood in

the greatest need. Lasciviousness - The Greek word means

anything inward or outward that is contrary to chastity, and yet

short of actual uncleanness.

20. Idolatry, witchcraft - That this means witchcraft, strictly

speaking, (not poisoning,) appears from its being joined with the

worship of devil-gods, and not with murder. This is frequently

and solemnly forbidden in the Old Testament. To deny therefore

that there is, or ever was, any such thing, is, by plain consequence,

to deny the authority both of the Old and New Testament.

Divisions - In domestic or civil matters. Heresies are divisions in

religious communities.

21. Revellings - Luxurious entertainments. Some of the works

here mentioned are wrought principally, if not entirely, in the

mind; and yet they are called "works of the flesh." Hence it is

clear, the apostle does not by "the flesh" mean the body, or

sensual appetites and inclinations only, but the corruption of

human nature, as it spreads through all the powers of the soul, as

well as all the members of the body. Of which I tell you before -

Before the event, I forewarn you.

22. Love - The root of all the rest. Gentleness - Toward all men;

ignorant and wicked men in particular. Goodness - The Greek

word means all that is benign, soft, winning, tender, either in

temper or behaviour.

23. Meekness - Holding all the affections and passions in even


24. And they that are Christ's - True believers in him. Have thus

crucified the flesh - Nailed it, as it were, to a cross whence it has

no power to break loose, but is continually weaker and weaker.

With its affections and desires - All its evil passions, appetites,

and inclinations.

25. If we live by the Spirit - If we are indeed raised from the dead,

and are alive to God, by the operation of his Spirit. Let us walk by

the Spirit - Let us follow his guidance, in all our tempers,

thoughts, words, and actions.

26. Be not desirous of vain glory - Of the praise or esteem of men.

They who do not carefully and closely follow the Spirit, easily

slide into this: the natural effects of which are, provoking to envy

them that are beneath us, and envying them that are above us.


1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in any fault - By surprise,

ignorance, or stress of temptation. Ye who are spiritual - Who

continue to live and walk by the Spirit. Restore such an one - By

reproof, instruction, or exhortation. Every one who can, ought to

help herein; only in the spirit of meekness - This is essential to a

spiritual man; and in this lies the whole force of the cure.

Considering thyself - The plural is beautifully changed into the

singular. Let each take heed to himself. Lest thou also be tempted

- Temptation easily and swiftly passes from one to another;

especially if a man endeavours to cure another without preserving

his own meekness.

2. Bear ye one another's burdens - Sympathize with, and assist,

each other, in all your weaknesses, grievances, trials. And so fulfil

the law of Christ - The law of Christ (an uncommon expression) is

the law of love: this our Lord peculiarly recommends; this he

makes the distinguishing mark of his disciples.

3. If any one think himself to be something - Above his brethren,

or by any strength of his own. When he is nothing, he deceiveth

himself - He alone will bear their burdens, who knows himself to

be nothing.

4. But let every man try his own work - Narrowly examine all he

is, and all he doeth. And then he shall have rejoicing in himself -

He will find in himself matter of rejoicing, if his works are right

before God. And not in another - Not in glorying over others.

5. For every one shall bear his own burden - ln that day shall give

an account of himself to God.

6. Let him that is taught impart to him that teacheth all such

temporal good things as he stands in need of.

7. God is not mocked - Although they attempt to mock him, who

think to reap otherwise than they sow.

8. For he that now soweth to the flesh - That follows the desires of

corrupt nature. Shall hereafter of the flesh - Out of this very seed.

Reap corruption - Death everlasting. But he that soweth to the

Spirit - That follows his guidance in all his tempers and

conversation. Shall of the Spirit - By the free grace and power of

God, reap life everlasting.

9. But let us not be weary in well doing - Let us persevere in

sowing to the Spirit. For in due season - When the harvest is

come, we shall reap, if we faint not.

10. Therefore as we have opportunity - At whatever time or place,

and in whatever manner we can. The opportunity in general is our

lifetime; but there are also many particular opportunities. Satan is

quickened in doing hurt, by the shortness of the time, Rev. xii, 12.

By the same consideration let us be quickened in doing good. Let

us do good - In every possible kind, and in every possible degree.

Unto all men - neighbours or strangers, good or evil, friends or

enemies. But especially to them who are of the household of faith.

For all believers are but one family.

11. Ye see how large a letter - St. Paul had not yet wrote a larger

to any church. I have written with my own hand - He generally

wrote by an amanuensis.

12. As many as desire to make a fair appearance in the flesh - To

preserve a fair character. These constrain you - Both by their

example and importunity. To be circumcised - Not so much from

a principle of conscience, as lest they should suffer persecution -

From the unbelieving Jews. For the cross of Christ - For

maintaining that faith in a crucified saviour is alone sufficient for


13. For neither they themselves keep the whole law - So far are

they from a real zeal for it. But yet they desire to have you

circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh - That they may

boast of you as their proselytes, and make a merit of this with the

other Jews.

14. But God forbid that I should glory - Should boast of anything

I have, am, or do; or rely on anything for my acceptance with

God, but what Christ hath done and suffered for me. By means of

which the world is crucified to me - All the things and persons in

it are to me as nothing. And I unto the world - I am dead to all

worldly pursuits, cares, desires, and enjoyments.

15. For neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision -

Neither of these is of any account. But a new creation - Whereby

all things in us become new.

16. And as many as walk according to this rule -

1. Glorying only in the cross of Christ.

2. Being crucified to the world. And,

3. Created anew. Peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the

Israel, that is, the Church, of God - Which consists of all those,

and those only, of every nation and kindred, who walk by this


17. From henceforth let none trouble me - By quarrels and

disputes. For I bear - And afflictions should not be added to the

afflicted. In my body the marks of the Lord Jesus - The scars,

marks, and brands of my sufferings for Him.




EPHESUS was the chief city of that part of Asia, which was a

Roman province. Here St. Paul preached for three years, Acts xx,

31; and from hence the gospel was spread throughout the whole

province, Acts xix, 10. At his taking leave of the church there, he

forewarned them both of great persecutions from without, and of

divers heresies and schisms which would arise among themselves.

And accordingly he writes this epistle, nearly resembling that to

the Colossians, written about the same time, to establish them in

the doctrine he had delivered, to arm them against false teachers,

and to build them up in love and holiness, both of heart and

conversation. He begins this, as most of his epistles, with

thanksgiving to God for their embracing and adhering to the

gospel. He shows the inestimable blessings and advantages they

received thereby, as far above all the Jewish privileges, as all the

wisdom and philosophy of the heathens. He proves that our Lord

is the Head of the whole church; of angels and spirits, the church

triumphant, and of Jews and gentiles, now equally members of the

church militant. In the three last chapters he exhorts them to

various duties, civil and religious, personal and relative, suitable

to their Christian character, privileges, assistances, and


In this epistle we may observe,

I. The inscription, Chap. i. 1, 2

II. The doctrine pathetically explained, which contains,

1. Praise to God for the whole gospel blessing, 3-14 With

thanksgiving and prayer for the saints, 15- ii. 10

2. A more particular admonition concerning their once miserable,

but now happy, condition, 11-12

A prayer for their establishment, iii. 1-19

A doxology, 20, 21

III. The exhortation,

1. General: to walk worthy of their calling, agreeably to,

1.The unity of the Spirit, and the diversity of his gifts, C.iv.1-16

2.The difference between their former and their present state, 17-


2. Particular To avoid,

1. Lying, 25

2. Anger, 26, 27

3. Theft, 28

4. Corrupt communication, 29, 30

5. Bitterness, 31- 5. 2

6. Uncleanness, 3-14

7. Drunkenness, 15-21

With a commendation of the opposite virtues

To do their duty, as,

1. Wives and husbands, 22-33

2. Children and parents, vi. 1-4

3. Servants and masters, 5-9

3. Final: to war the spiritual warfare, 10-20

IV. The conclusion, 21-24



1. By the will of God - Not by any merit of my own. To the saints

who are at Ephesus - And in all the adjacent places. For this

epistle is not directed to the Ephesians only, but likewise to all the

other churches of Asia.

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who

hath blessed us - God's blessing us is his bestowing all spiritual

and heavenly blessings upon us. Our blessing God is the paying

him our solemn and grateful acknowledgments, both on account

of his own essential blessedness, and of the blessings which he

bestows upon us. He is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, as man

and Mediator: he is his Father, primarily, with respect to his

divine nature, as his only begotten Son; and, secondarily, with

respect to his human nature, as that is personally united to the

divine. With all spiritual blessings in heavenly things - With all

manner of spiritual blessings, which are heavenly in their nature,

original, and tendency, and shall be completed in heaven: far

different from the external privileges of the Jews, and the earthly

blessings they expected from the Messiah.

4. As he hath chosen us - Both Jews and gentiles, whom he

foreknew as believing in Christ, 1 Pet. i, 2.

5. Having predestinated us to the adoption of sons - Having

foreordained that all who afterwards believed should enjoy the

dignity of being sons of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.

According to the good pleasure of his will - According to his free,

fixed, unalterable purpose to confer this blessing on all those who

should believe in Christ, and those only.

6. To the praise of the glory of his grace - His glorious, free love

without any desert on our part.

7. By whom we - Who believe. Have - From the moment we

believe. Redemption - From the guilt and power of sin. Through

his blood - Through what he hath done and suffered for us.

According to the riches of his grace - According to the abundant

overflowings of his free mercy and favour.

8. In all wisdom - Manifested by God in the whole scheme of our

salvation. And prudence - Which be hath wrought in us, that we

may know and do all his acceptable and perfect will.

9. Having made known to us - By his word and by his Spirit. The

mystery of his will - The gracious scheme of salvation by faith,

which depends on his own sovereign will alone. This was but

darkly discovered under the law; is now totally hid from

unbelievers; and has heights and depths which surpass all the

knowledge even of true believers.

10. That in the dispensation of the fulness of the times - In this

last administration of God's fullest grace, which took place when

the time appointed was fully come. He might gather together into

one in Christ - Might recapitulate, re-unite, and place in order

again under Christ, their common Head. All things which are in

heaven, and on earth - All angels and men, whether living or dead,

in the Lord.

11. Through whom we - Jews. Also have obtained an inheritance -

The glorious inheritance of the heavenly Canaan, to which, when

believers, we were predestinated according to the purpose of him

that worketh all things after the counsel of his own will - The

unalterable decree, "He that believeth shall be delivered;" which

will is not an arbitrary will, but flowing from the rectitude of his

nature, else, what security would there be that it would be his will

to keep his word even with the elect?

12. That we - Jews. Who first believed - Before the gentiles. So

did some of them in every place. Here is another branch of the

true gospel predestination: he that believes is not only elected to

salvation, (if he endures to the end,) but is fore-appointed of God

to walk in holiness, to the praise of his glory.

13. In whom ye - Gentiles. Likewise believed, after ye had heard

the gospel - Which God made the means of your salvation; in

whom after ye had believed - Probably some time after their first

believing. Ye were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise - Holy

both in his nature and in his operations, and promised to all the

children of God. The sealing seems to imply,

1. A full impression of the image of God on their souls.

2. A full assurance of receiving all the promises, whether relating

to time or eternity.

14. Who, thus sealing us, is an earnest - Both a pledge and a

foretaste of our inheritance. Till the redemption of the purchased

possession - Till the church, which he has purchased with his own

blood, shall be fully delivered from all sin and sorrow, and

advanced to everlasting glory. To the praise of his glory - Of his

glorious wisdom, power, and mercy.

15. Since I heard of your faith and love - That is, of their

perseverance and increase therein.

16. I cease not - In all my solemn addresses to God. To give

thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers - So he did

of all the churches, Col. i, 9.

17. That the Father of that infinite glory which shines in the face

of Christ, from whom also we receive the glorious inheritance,

ver. 18, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and Revelation - The

same who is the Spirit of promise is also, in the progress of the

faithful, the Spirit of wisdom and Revelation; making them wise

unto salvation, and revealing to them the deep things of God. He

is here speaking of that wisdom and Revelation which are

common to all real Christians.

18. The eyes of your understanding - It is with these alone that we

discern the things of God. Being first opened, and then

enlightened - By his Spirit. That ye may know what is the hope of

his calling - That ye may experimentally and delightfully know

what are the blessings which God has called you to hope for by

his word and his Spirit. And what is the riches of the glory of his

inheritance in the saints - What an immense treasure of

blessedness he hath provided as an inheritance for holy souls.

19. And what the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who

believe - Both in quickening our dead souls, and preserving them

in spiritual life. According to the power which he exerted in

Christ, raising him from the dead - By the very same almighty

power whereby he raised Christ; for no less would suffice.

20. And he hath seated him at his own right hand - That is, he hath

exalted him in his human nature, as a recompence for his

sufferings, to a quiet, everlasting possession of all possible

blessedness, majesty, and glory.

21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and

dominion - That is, God hath invested him with uncontrollable

authority over all demons in hell, all angels in heaven, and all the

princes and potentates on earth. And every name that is named -

We know the king is above all, though we cannot name all the

officers of his court. So we know that Christ is above all, though

we are not able to name all his subjects. Not only in this world,

but also in that which is to come - The world to come is so styled,

not because it does not yet exist, but because it is not yet visible.

Principalities and powers are named now; but those also who are

not even named in this world, but shall be revealed in the world to

come, are all subject to Christ.

22. And he hath given him to be head over all things to the church

- An head both of guidance and government, and likewise of life

and influence, to the whole and every member of it. All these

stand in the nearest union with him, and have as continual and

effectual a communication of activity, growth, and strength from

him, as the natural body from its head.

23. The fulness of him that filleth all in all - It is hard to say in

what sense this can be spoken of the church; but the sense is easy

and natural, if we refer it to Christ, who is the fulness of the



1. And he hath quickened you - In the nineteenth and twentieth

verses of the preceding chapter, St. Paul spoke of God's working

in them by the same almighty power whereby he raised Christ

from the dead. On the mention of this he, in the fulness of his

heart, runs into a flow of thought concerning the glory of Christ's

exaltation in the three following verses. He here resumes the

thread of his discourse. Who were dead - Not only diseased, but

dead; absolutely void of all spiritual life; and as incapable of

quickening yourselves, as persons literally dead. In trespasses and

sins-Sins seem to be spoken chiefly of the gentiles, who knew not

God; trespasses, of the Jews, who had his law, and yet regarded it

not, ver. 5. The latter herein obeyed the flesh; the former, the

prince of the power of the air.

2. According to the course of this world - The word translated

course properly means a long series of times, wherein one corrupt

age follows another. According to the prince of the power of the

air - The effect of which power all may perceive, though all do

not understand the cause of it: a power unspeakably penetrating

and widely diffused; but yet, as to its baneful influences, beneath

the orb of believers. The evil spirits are united under one head, the

seat of whose dominion is in the air. Here he sometimes raises

storms, sometimes makes visionary representations, and is

continually roving to and fro. The spirit that now worketh - With

mighty power; and so he did, and doth in all ages. In the sons of

disobedience - In all who do not believe and obey the gospel.

3. Among whom we - Jews. Also, formerly had our conversation:

doing the will of the flesh - In gross, brutal sins. And of the mind -

By spiritual, diabolical wickedness. In the former clause, flesh

denotes the whole evil nature; in the latter, the body opposed to

the soul. And were by nature - That is, in our natural state.

Children of wrath - Having the wrath of God abiding on us, even

as the gentiles. This expression, by nature, occurs also, Gal. iv, 8;

Rom. ii, 14; and thrice in the eleventh chapter. But in none of

these places does it signify, by custom, or practice, or customary

practice, as a late writer affirms. Nor can it mean so here For this

would make the apostle guilty of gross tautology, their customary

sinning having been expressed already, in the former part of the

verse. But all these passages agree in expressing what belongs to

the nature of the persons spoken of.

4. Mercy removes misery: love confers salvation.

5. He hath quickened us together with Christ - In conformity to

him, and by virtue of our union with him. By grace ye are saved -

Grace is both the beginning and end. The apostle speaks

indifferently either in the first or second person; the Jews and

gentiles being in the same circumstance, both by nature and by

grace. This text lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and

all glorying in ourselves. Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the

backwardness of mankind to receive it, yet knowing the absolute

necessity of its being received, again asserts the very same truth,

ver. 8, in the very same words.

6. And hath raised us up together - Both Jews and gentiles already

in spirit; and ere long our bodies too will be raised. And made us

all sit together in heavenly places - This is spoken by way of

anticipation. Believers are not yet possessed of their seats in

heaven; but each of them has a place prepared for him.

7. The ages to come - That is, all succeeding ages.

8. By grace ye are saved through faith - Grace, without any

respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift. Faith, with

an empty hand, and without any pretense to personal desert,

receives the heavenly blessing. And this is not of yourselves -

This refers to the whole preceding clause, That ye are saved

through faith, is the gift of God.

9. Not by works - Neither this faith nor this salvation is owing to

any works you ever did, will, or can do.

10. For we are his workmanship - Which proves both that

salvation is by faith, and that faith is the gift of God. Created unto

good works - That afterwards we might give ourselves to them.

Which God had before preprepared - The occasions of them: so

we must still ascribe the whole to God. That we might walk in

them - Though not be justified by them.

11. Wherefore remember - Such a remembrance strengthens faith,

and increases gratitude. That ye being formerly gentiles in the

flesh - Neither circumcised in body nor in spirit. Who were

accordingly called the uncircumcision - By way of reproach. By

that which is called the circumcision - By those who call

themselves the circumcised, and think this a proof that they are

the people of God; and who indeed have that outward

circumcision which is performed by hands in the flesh.

12. Were at that time without Christ - Having no faith in, or

knowledge of, him. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel

- Both as to their temporal privileges and spiritual blessings. And

strangers to the covenants of promise - The great promise in both

the Jewish and Christian covenant was the Messiah. Having no

hope - Because they had no promise whereon to ground their

hope. And being without God - Wholly ignorant of the true God,

and so in effect atheists. Such in truth are, more or less, all men,

in all ages, till they know God by the teaching of his own Spirit.

In the world - The wide, vain world, wherein ye wandered up and

down, unholy and unhappy.

13. Far off - From God and his people. Nigh - Intimately united to


14. For he is our peace - Not only as he purchased it, but as he is

the very bond and center of union. He who hath made both - Jews

and gentiles, one church. The apostle describes,

1. The conjunction of the gentiles with Israel, ver. 14, 15. And,

2. The conjunction of both with God, ver. 15-18. Each description

is subdivided into two parts. And the former part of the one,

concerning abolishing the enmity, answers the former part of the

other; the latter part of the one, concerning the evangelical

decrees, the latter part of the other. And hath broken down the

middle wall of partition - Alluding to that wall of old, which

separated the court of Israel from the court of the gentiles. Such a

wall was the ceremonial law, which Christ had now taken away.

15. Having abolished by his suffering in the flesh the cause of

enmity between the Jews and gentiles, even the law of ceremonial

commandments, through his decrees - Which offer mercy to all;

see Colossians ii, 14. That he might form the two - Jew and

gentile. Into one new man - one mystical body.

16. In one body - One church. Having slain - By his own death on

the cross. The enmity - Which had been between sinners and God.

17. And he came - After his resurrection. And preached peace -

By his ministers and his Spirit. To you - Gentiles. That were afar

off - At the utmost distance from God. And to them that were nigh

- To the Jews, who were comparatively nigh, being his visible


18. For through him, we both - Jews and gentiles. Have access -

Liberty of approaching, by the guidance and aid of one Spirit to

God as our Father. Christ, the Spirit, and the Father, the three-one

God, stand frequently in the same order.

19. Therefore ye are no longer strangers, but citizens of the

heavenly Jerusalem; no longer foreigners, but received into the

very family of God.

20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets

- As the foundation sustains the building, so the word of God,

declared by the apostles and prophets, sustains the faith of all

believers. God laid the foundation by them; but Christ himself is

the chief corner-stone of the foundation. Elsewhere he is termed

the foundation itself, 1 Cor. iii, 11.

21. On whom all the building fitly framed together - The whole

fabric of the universal church rises up like a great pile of living

materials. Into an holy temple in the Lord - Dedicated to Christ,

and inhabited by him, in which he displays his presence, and is

worshipped and glorified. What is the temple of Diana of the

Ephesians, whom ye formerly worshipped, to this?


1. For this cause - That ye may be so "built together," I am a

prisoner for you gentiles - For your advantage, and for asserting

your right to these blessings. This it was which so enraged the

Jews against him.

2. The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf -

That is, the commission to dispense the gracious gospel; to you

gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.

3. The mystery - Of salvation by Christ alone, and that both to

Jews and gentiles. As I wrote before - Namely, chap. i, 9, 10; the

very words of which passage he here repeats.

5. Which in other - In former, ages was not so clearly or fully

made known to the sons of men - To any man, no, not to Ezekiel,

so often styled, "son of man;" nor to any of the ancient prophets.

Those here spoken of are New Testament prophets.

6. That the gentiles are joint-heirs - Of God. And of the same

body - Under Christ the head. And joint-partakers of his promise -

The communion of the Holy Ghost.

7. According to the gift of the grace of God - That is, the apostle-

ship which he hath graciously given me, and which he hath

qualified me for. By the effectual working of his power - In me

and by me.

8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace

given - Here are the noblest strains of eloquence to paint the

exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness

of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ.

9. What is the fellowship of the mystery - What those mysterious

blessings are whereof all believers jointly partake. Which was, in

a great measure, hidden from eternity by God, who, to make way

for the free exercise of his love, created all things - This is the

foundation of all his dispensations.

10. That the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by

the church - By what is done in the church, which is the theatre of

the divine wisdom.

12. By whom we have free access - Such as those petitioners

have, who are introduced to the royal presence by some

distinguished favourite. And boldness - Unrestrained liberty of

speech, such as children use in addressing an indulgent father,

when, without fear of offending, they disclose all their wants, and

make known all their requests.

13. The not fainting is your glory.

15. Of whom - The Father. The whole family of angels in heaven,

saints in paradise, and believers on earth is named. Being the

"children of God," (a more honourable title than "children of

Abraham,") and depending on him as the Father of the family.

16. The riches of his glory - The immense fulness of his glorious

wisdom, power, and mercy. The inner man - The soul.

17. Dwell - That is, constantly and sensibly abide.

18. That being rooted and grounded - That is, deeply fixed and

firmly established, in love. Ye may comprehend - So far as an

human mind is capable. What is the breadth of the love of Christ -

Embracing all mankind. And length - From everlasting to

everlasting. And depth - Not to be fathomed by any creature. And

height - Not to be reached by any enemy.

19. And to know - But the apostle corrects himself, and

immediately observes, it cannot be fully known. This only we

know, that the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge. That ye

may be filled - Which is the sum of all. With all the fulness of

God - With all his light, love, wisdom, holiness, power, and glory.

A perfection far beyond a bare freedom from sin.

20. Now to him - This doxology is admirably adapted to

strengthen our faith, that we may not stagger at the great things

the apostle has been praying for, as if they were too much for God

to give, or for us to expect from him. That is able - Here is a most

beautiful gradation. When he has given us exceeding, yea,

abundant blessings, still we may ask for more. And he is able to

do it. But we may think of more than we have asked. He is able to

do this also. Yea, and above all this. Above all we ask - Above all

we can think. Nay, exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can

either ask or think.

21. In the church - On earth and in heaven.


1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord - Imprisoned for his sake

and for your sakes; for the sake of the gospel which he had

preached amongst them. This was therefore a powerful motive to

them to comfort him under it by their obedience.

3. endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit - That mutual union

and harmony, which is a fruit of the Spirit. The bond of peace is


4. There is one body - The universal church, all believers

throughout the world. One Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father -

The ever-blessed Trinity. One hope - Of heaven.

5. One outward baptism.

6. One God and Father of all - That believe. Who is above all -

Presiding over all his children, operating through them all by

Christ, and dwelling in all by his Spirit.

7. According to the measure of the gift of Christ - According as

Christ is pleased to give to each.

8. Wherefore he saith - That is, in reference to which God saith by

David, Having ascended on high, he led captivity captive - He

triumphed over all his enemies, Satan, sin, and death, which had

before enslaved all the world: alluding to the custom of ancient

conquerors, who led those they had conquered in chains after

them. And, as they also used to give donatives to the people, at

their return from victory, so he gave gifts to men - Both the

ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. Psalm lxviii, 18.

9. Now this expression, He ascended, what is it, but that he

descended - That is, does it not imply, that he descended first?

Certainly it does, on the supposition of his being God. Otherwise

it would not: since all the saints will ascend to heaven, though

none of them descended thence. Into the lower parts of the earth -

So the womb is called, Psalm cxxxix, 5; the grave, Psalm lxiii, 9.

10. He that descended - That thus amazingly humbled himself. Is

the same that ascended - That was so highly exalted. That he

might fill all things - The whole church, with his Spirit, presence,

and operations.

11. And, among other his free gifts, he gave some apostles - His

chief ministers and special witnesses, as having seen him after his

resurrection, and received their commission immediately from

him. And same prophets, and some evangelists - A prophet

testifies of things to come; an evangelist of things past: and that

chiefly by preaching the gospel before or after any of the apostles.

All these were extraordinary officers. The ordinary were. Some

pastors - Watching over their several flocks. And some teachers -

Whether of the same or a lower order, to assist them, as occasion

might require.

12. In this verse is noted the office of ministers; in the next, the

aim of the saints; in the 14th, 15th, 16th, the way of growing in

grace. And each of these has three parts, standing in the same

order. For the perfecting the saints - The completing them both in

number and their various gifts and graces. To the work of the

ministry - The serving God and his church in their various

ministrations. To the edifying of the body of Christ - The building

up this his mystical body in faith, love, holiness.

13. Till we all - And every one of us. Come to the unity of the

faith, and knowledge of the Son of God - To both an exact

agreement in the Christian doctrine, and an experimental

knowledge of Christ as the Son of God. To a perfect man - To a

state of spiritual manhood both in understanding and strength. To

the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ - To that

maturity of age and spiritual stature wherein we shall be filled

with Christ, so that he will be all in all.

14. Fluctuating to and fro - From within, even when there is no

wind. And carried about with every wind - From without; when

we are assaulted by others, who are unstable as the wind. By the

sleight of men - By their "cogging the dice;" so the original word


15. Into him - Into his image and Spirit, and into a full union with


16. From whom the whole mystical body fitly joined together -

All the parts being fitted for and adapted to each other, and most

exactly harmonizing with the whole. And compacted - Knit and

cemented together with the utmost firmness. Maketh increase by

that which every joint supplieth - Or by the mutual help of every

joint. According to the effectual working in the measure of every

member - According as every member in its measure effectually

works for the support and growth of the whole. A beautiful

allusion to the human body, composed of different joints and

members, knit together by various ligaments, and furnished with

vessels of communication from the head to every part.

17. This therefore I say - He returns thither where he begun, ver.

1. And testify in the Lord - In the name and by the authority of the

Lord Jesus. In the vanity of their mind - Having lost the

knowledge of the true God, Rom. i, 21. This is the root of all evil


18. Having their understanding darkened, through the ignorance

that is in them - So that they are totally void of the light of God,

neither have they any knowledge of his will. Being alienated from

the life of God - Utter strangers to the divine, the spiritual life.

Through the hardness of their hearts - Callous and senseless. And

where there is no sense, there can be no life.

19. Who being past feeling - The original word is peculiarly

significant. It properly means, past feeling pain. Pain urges the

sick to seek a remedy, which, where there is no pain, is little

thought of. Have given themselves up - Freely, of their own

accord. Lasciviousness is but one branch of uncleanness, which

implies impurity of every kind.

20. But ye have not so learned Christ - That is, ye cannot act thus,

now ye know him, since you know the Christian dispensation

allows of no sin.

21. Seeing ye have heard him - Teaching you inwardly by his

Spirit. As the truth is in Jesus - According to his own gospel.

22. The old man - That is, the whole body of sin. All sinful desires

are deceitful; promising the happiness which they cannot give.

23. The spirit of your mind - The very ground of your heart.

24. The new man - Universal holiness. After - In the very image

of God.

25. Wherefore - Seeing ye are thus created anew, walk

accordingly, in every particular. For we are members one of

another - To which intimate union all deceit is quite repugnant.

26. Be ye angry, and sin not - That is, if ye are angry, take heed ye

sin not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the

sinner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin.

And how hardly do we avoid it. Let not the sun go down upon

your wrath - Reprove your brother, and be reconciled

immediately. Lose not one day. A clear, express command.

Reader, do you keep it?

27. Neither give place to the devil - By any delay.

28. But rather let him labour - Lest idleness lead him to steal

again. And whoever has sinned in any kind ought the more

zealously to practice the opposite virtue. That he may have to give

- And so be no longer a burden and nuisance, but a blessing, to his


29. But that which is good - Profitable to the speaker and hearers.

To the use of edifying - To forward them in repentance, faith, or

holiness. That it may minister grace - Be a means of conveying

more grace into their hearts. Hence we learn, what discourse is

corrupt, as it were stinking in the nostrils of God; namely, all that

is not profitable, not edifying, not apt to minister grace to the


30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit - By any disobedience. Particularly

by corrupt discourse; or by any of the following sins. Do not force

him to withdraw from you, as a friend does whom you grieve by

unkind behaviour. The day of redemption - That is, the day of

judgment, in which our redemption will be completed.

31. Let all bitterness - The height of settled anger, opposite to

kindness, ver. 32. And wrath - Lasting displeasure toward the

ignorant, and them that are out of the way, opposite to

tenderheartedness. And anger - The very first risings of disgust at

those that injure you, opposite to forgiving one another. And

clamour - Or bawling. "I am not angry," says one; "but it is my

way to speak so." Then unlearn that way: it is the way to hell. And

evil speaking - Be it in ever so mild and soft a tone, or with ever

such professions of kindness. Here is a beautiful retrogradation,

beginning with the highest, and descending to the lowest, degree

of the want of love.

32. As God, showing himself kind and tenderhearted in the

highest degree, hath forgiven you.


1. Be ye therefore followers - Imitators. Of God - In forgiving and

loving. O how much more honourable and more happy, to be an

imitator of God, than of Homer, Virgil, or Alexander the Great!

3. But let not any impure love be even named or heard of among

you - Keep at the utmost distance from it, as becometh saints.

4. Nor foolish talking - Tittle tattle, talking of nothing, the

weather, fashions, meat and drink. Or jesting - The word properly

means, wittiness, facetiousness, esteemed by the heathens an half-

virtue. But how frequently even this quenches the Spirit, those

who are tender of conscience know. Which are not convenient -

For a Christian; as neither increasing his faith nor holiness.

6. Because of these things - As innocent as the heathens esteem

them, and as those dealers in vain words would persuade you to

think them.

8. Ye were once darkness - Total blindness and ignorance. Walk

as children of light - Suitably to your present knowledge.

9. The fruit of the light - Opposite to " the unfruitful works of

darkness," chap. iv, 11. Is in - That is, consists in. Goodness and

righteousness and truth - Opposite to the sins spoken of, chap. iv,


11. Reprove them - To avoid them is not enough.

12. In secret - As flying the light.

13. But all things which are reproved, are thereby dragged out into

the light, and made manifest - Shown in their proper colours, by

the light. For whatsoever doth make manifest is light - That is, for

nothing but light, yea, light from heaven, can make anything


14. Wherefore he - God. Saith - In the general tenor of his word,

to all who are still in darkness. Awake thou that steepest - In

ignorance of God and thyself; in stupid insensibility. And arise

from the dead - From the death of sin. And Christ shall give thee

light - Knowledge, holiness, happiness.

15. Circumspectly - Exactly, with the utmost accuracy, getting to

the highest pitch of every point of holiness. Not as fools - Who

think not where they are going, or do not make the best of their


16. With all possible care redeeming the time - Saving all you can

for the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the

hands of sin and Satan; out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure,

worldly business; the more diligently, because the present are evil

days, days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.

17. What the will of the Lord is - In every time, place, and


18. Wherein is excess - That is, which leads to debauchery of

every kind. But be ye filled with the Spirit - In all his graces, who

gives a more noble pleasure than wine can do.

19. Speaking to each other - By the Spirit. In the Psalms - Of

David. And hymns - Of praise. And spiritual songs - On any

divine subject. By there being no inspired songs, peculiarly

adapted to the Christian dispensation, as there were to the Jewish,

it is evident that the promise of the Holy Ghost to believers, in the

last days, was by his larger effusion to supply the lack of it.

Singing with your hearts - As well as your voice. To the Lord -

Jesus, who searcheth the heart.

20. Giving thanks - At all times and places. And for all things -

Prosperous or adverse, since all work together for good. In the

name of, or through, our Lord Jesus Christ - By whom we receive

all good things.

22. In the following directions concerning relative duties, the

inferiors are all along placed before the superiors, because the

general proposition is concerning submission; and inferiors ought

to do their duty, whatever their superiors do. Wives, submit

yourselves to your own husbands - Unless where God forbids.

Otherwise, in all indifferent things, the will of the husband is a

law to the wife. As unto the Lord - The obedience a wife pays to

her husband is at the same time paid to Christ himself; he being

head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church.

23. The head - The governor, guide, and guardian of the wife.

And he is the saviour of the body - The church, from all sin and


24. In everything - Which is not contrary to any command of God.

25. Even as Christ loved the church - Here is the true model of

conjugal affection. With this kind of affection, with this degree of

it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives.

26. That he might sanctify it through the word - The ordinary

channel of all blessings. Having cleansed it - From the guilt and

power of sin. By the washing of water - In baptism; if, with "the

outward and visible sign," we receive the "inward and spiritual


27. That he might present it - Even in this world. To himself - As

his spouse. A glorious church - All glorious within. Not having

spot - Of impurity from any sin. Or wrinkle - Of deformity from

any decay.

28. As their own bodies - That is, as themselves. He that loveth

his wife loveth himself - Which is not a sin, but an indisputable


29. His own flesh - That is, himself. Nourisheth and cherisheth -

That is, feeds and clothes it.

30. For we - The reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes the

church is, that close connection between them which is here

expressed in the words of Moses, originally spoken concerning

Eve. Are members - Are as intimately united to Christ, in a

spiritual sense, as if we were literally "flesh of his flesh, and bone

of his bone."

31. For this cause - Because of this intimate union. Gen. ii, 24.


1. Children, obey your parents - In all things lawful. The will of

the parent is a law to the child. In the Lord - For his sake. For this

is right - Manifestly just and reasonable.

2. honour - That is, love, reverence, obey, assist, in all things. The

mother is particularly mentioned, as being more liable to be

slighted than the father. Which is the first commandment with a

promise - For the promise implied in the second commandment

does not belong to the keeping that command in particular, but the

whole law. Exod. xx, 12

3. That thou mayest live long upon the earth - This is usually

fulfilled to eminently dutiful children; and he who lives long and

well has a long seed-time for the eternal harvest. But this promise,

in the Christian dispensation, is to be understood chiefly in a more

exalted and Spiritual sense.

4. And, ye fathers - Mothers are included; but fathers are named,

as being more apt to be stern and severe. Provoke not your

children to wrath - Do not needlessly fret or exasperate them. But

bring them up - With all tenderness and mildness. In the

instruction and discipline of the Lord - Both in Christian

knowledge and practice.

5. Your masters according to the flesh - According to the present

state of things: afterward the servant is free from his master. With

fear and trembling - A proverbial expression, implying the utmost

care and diligence. In singleness of heart - With a single eye to the

providence and will of God.

6. Not with eye-service - Serving them better when under their

eye than at other times. But doing the will of God from the heart -

Doing whatever you do, as the will of God, and with your might.

7. Unto the Lord, and not to men - That is, rather than to men; and

by making every action of common life a sacrifice to God; having

an eye to him in all things, even as if there were no other master.

8. He shall receive the same - That is, a full and adequate

recompence for it.

9. Do the same things to them - That is, act toward them from the

same principle. Forbearing threatening - Behaving with gentleness

and humanity, not in a harsh or domineering way.

10. Brethren - This is the only place in this epistle where he uses

this compellation. Soldiers frequently use it to each other in the

field. Be strong - Nothing less will suffice for such a fight: to be

weak, and remain so, is the way to perish. In the power of his

might - A very uncommon expression, plainly denoting what

great assistance we need as if his might would not do, it must be

the powerful exertion of his might.

11. Put on the whole armour of God - The Greek word means a

complete suit of armour. Believers are said to put on the girdle,

breastplate, shoes; to take the shield of faith, and sword of the

Spirit. The whole armour - As if the armour would scarce do, it

must be the whole armour. This is repeated, ver. 13, because of

the strength and subtilty of our adversaries, and because of an

"evil day" of sore trial being at hand.

12. For our wrestling is not only, not chiefly, against flesh and

blood - Weak men, or fleshly appetites. But against principalities,

against powers - The mighty princes of all the infernal legions.

And great is their power, and that likewise of those legions whom

they command. Against the rulers of the world - Perhaps these

principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their

kingdom of darkness. But there are other evil spirits who range

abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed. Of the

darkness - This is chiefly spiritual darkness. Of this age - Which

prevails during the present state of things. Against wicked spirits -

Who continually oppose faith, love, holiness, either by force or

fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry malice, envy,

anger, hatred. In heavenly places - Which were once their abode,

and which they still aspire to, as far as they are permitted.

13. In the evil day - The war is perpetual; but the fight is one day

less, another more, violent. The evil day is either at the approach

of death, or in life; may be longer or shorter and admits of

numberless varieties. And having done all, to stand - That ye may

still keep on your armour, still stand upon your guard, still watch

and pray; and thus ye will be enabled to endure unto the end, and

stand with joy before the face of the Son of Man.

14. Having your loins girt about - That ye may be ready for every

motion. With truth - Not only with the truths of the gospel, but

with "truth in the inward parts;" for without this all our knowledge

of divine truth will prove but a poor girdle "in the evil day." So

our Lord is described, Isaiah xi, 5. And as a girded man is always

ready to go on, so this seems to intimate an obedient heart, a ready

will. Our Lord adds to the loins girded, the lights burning, Luke

xii, 35; showing that watching and ready obedience are the

inseparable companions of faith and love. And having on the

breastplate of righteousness - The righteousness of a spotless

purity, in which Christ will present us faultless before God,

through the merit of his own blood. With this breastplate our Lord

is described, Isaiah lix, 17. In the breast is the seat of conscience,

which is guarded by righteousness. No armour for the back is

mentioned. We are always to face our enemies.

15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel - Let

this be always ready to direct and confirm you in every step. This

part of the armour, for the feet, is needful, considering what a

journey we have to go; what a race to run. Our feet must be so

shod, that our footsteps slip not. To order our life and

conversation aright, we are prepared by the gospel blessing, the

peace and love of God ruling in the heart, Colossians iii, 14, 15.

By this only can we tread the rough ways, surmount our

difficulties, and hold out to the end.

16. Above or over all - As a sort of universal covering to every

other part of the armour itself, continually exercise a strong and

lively faith. This you may use as a shield, which will quench all

the fiery darts, the furious temptations, violent and sudden

injections of the devil.

17. And take for an helmet the hope of salvation - 1 Thess. v, 8.

The head is that part which is most carefully to be defended. One

stroke here may prove fatal. The armour for this is the hope of

salvation. The lowest degree of this hope is a confidence that God

will work the whole work of faith in us; the highest is a full

assurance of future glory, added to the experimental knowledge of

pardoning love. Armed with this helmet, the hope of the joy set

before him, Christ "endured the cross, and despised the shame,"

Heb. xii, 2. And the sword of the Spirit, the word of God - This

Satan cannot withstand, when it is edged and wielded by faith.

Till now our armour has been only defensive. But we are to attack

Satan, as well as secure ourselves; the shield in one hand, and the

sword in the other. Whoever fights with the powers of hell will

need both. He that is covered with armour from head to foot, and

neglects this, will be foiled after all. This whole description shows

us how great a thing it is to be a Christian. The want of any one

thing makes him incomplete. Though he has his loins girt with

truth, righteousness for a breastplate, his feet shod with the

preparation of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of

salvation, and the sword of the Spirit; yet one thing he wants after

all. What is that? It follows,

18. Praying always - At all times, and on every occasion, in midst

of all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing. By the

Spirit - Through the influence of the Holy Spirit. With all prayer -

With all sort of prayer, public, private, mental, vocal. Some are

careful in respect of one kind of prayer, and negligent in others. If

we would have the petitions we ask, let us use all. Some there are

who use only mental prayer or ejaculations, and think they are in a

state of grace, and use a way of worship, far superior to any other:

but such only fancy themselves to be above what is really above

them; it requiring far more grace to be enabled to pour out a

fervent and continued prayer, than to offer up mental aspirations.

And supplication - Repeating and urging our prayer, as Christ did

in the garden. And watching - Inwardly attending on God, to

know his will, to gain power to do it, and to attain to the blessings

we desire. With all perseverance - Continuing to the end in this

holy exercise. And supplication for all the saints - Wrestling in

fervent, continued intercession for others, especially for the

faithful, that they may do all the will of God, and be steadfast to

the end. Perhaps we receive few answers to prayer, because we do

not intercede enough for others.

19. By the opening my mouth - Removing every inward and every

outward hindrance.

20. An ambassador in bonds - The ambassadors of men usually

appear in great pomp. How differently does the ambassador of

Christ appear!

21. Ye also - As well as others.

22. That he might comfort your hearts - By relating the supports I

find from God, and the success of the gospel.

23. Peace - This verse recapitulates the whole epistle.

24. In sincerity - Or in incorruption; without corrupting his

genuine gospel, without any mixture of corrupt affections. And

that with continuance, till grace issue in glory.




PHILIPPI was so called from Philip, king of Macedonia, who

much enlarged and beautified it. Afterwards it became a Roman

colony, and the chief city of that part of Macedonia. Hither St.

Paul was sent by a vision to preach and here, not long after his

coming, he was shamefully entreated. Nevertheless many were

converted by him, during the short time of his abode there; by

whose liberality he was more assisted than by any other church of

his planting. And they had now sent large assistance to him by

Epaphroditus; by whom he returns them this epistle. It contains

six parts:

I. The inscription, Chap. i. 1, 2

II. Thanksgiving and prayers for them, 3-11

III.He relates his present state and good hope: 12-24

Whence he exhorts them,

1. While he remains with them to walk worthy of the gospel, 25-

30 ii. 1-16

2. Though he should be killed, to rejoice with him, 17, 18

And promises,

1. To certify them of all things by Timotheus, 19-24

2. In the mean time to send Epaphroditus, 25-30

IV. He exhorts them to rejoice, iii. 1-3 admonishing them to

beware of false teachers, and to imitate the true, 2-21

commending concord, iv. 1-3

He again exhorts them to joy and meekness 4-7 and to whatsoever

things are excellent, 8-9

V. He accepts of their liberality, 10-20

VI. The conclusion, 21-23



1. Servants - St. Paul, writing familiarly to the Philippians, does

not style himself an apostle. And under the common title of

servants, he tenderly and modestly joins with himself his son

Timotheus, who had come to Philippi not long after St. Paul had

received him, Acts xvi, 3, 12. To all the saints - The apostolic

epistles were sent more directly to the churches, than to the

pastors of them. With the bishops and deacons - The former

properly took care of the internal state, the latter, of the externals,

of the church, 1 Tim. iii, 2-8; although these were not wholly

confined to the one, neither those to the other. The word bishops

here includes all the presbyters at Philippi, as well as the ruling

presbyters: the names bishop and presbyter, or elder, being

promiscuously used in the first ages.

4. With joy - After the epistle to the Ephesians, wherein love

reigns, follows this, wherein there is perpetual mention of joy.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy." And joy peculiarly enlivens

prayer. The sum of the whole epistle is, I rejoice. Rejoice ye.

5. The sense is, I thank God for your fellowship with us in all the

blessings of the gospel, which I have done from the first day of

your receiving it until now.

6. Being persuaded - The grounds of which persuasion are set

down in the following verse. That he who hath begun a good work

in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ - That he who having

justified, hath begun to sanctify you, will carry on this work, till it

issue in glory.

7. As it is right for me to think this of you all - Why? He does not

say, "Because of an eternal decree;" or, "Because a saint must

persevere;" but, because I have you in my heart, who were all

partakers of my grace - That is, because ye were all (for which I

have you in my heart, I bear you the most grateful and tender

affection) partakers of my grace - That is, sharers in the afflictions

which God vouchsafed me as a grace or favour, ver. 29, 30; both

in my bonds, and when I was called forth to answer for myself,

and to confirm the gospel. It is not improbable that, after they had

endured that great trial of affliction, God had sealed them unto

full victory, of which the apostle had a prophetic sight.

8. I long for you with the bowels of Jesus Christ - In Paul, not

Paul lives, but Jesus Christ. Therefore he longs for them with the

bowels, the tenderness, not of Paul, but of Jesus Christ.

9. And this I pray, that your love - Which they had already shown.

May abound yet more and more - The fire which burned in the

apostle never says, It is enough. In knowledge and in all spiritual

sense - Which is the ground of all spiritual knowledge. We must

be inwardly sensible of divine peace, joy, love; otherwise, we

cannot know what they are.

10. That ye may try - By that spiritual sense. The things that are

excellent - Not only good, but the very best; the superior

excellence of which is hardly discerned, but by the adult

Christian. That ye may be inwardly sincere - Having a single eye

to the very best things, and a pure heart. And outwardly without

offense - Holy, unblamable in all things.

11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are

through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God - Here are

three properties of that sincerity which is acceptable to God:

1. It must bear fruits, the fruits of righteousness, all inward and

outward holiness, all good tempers, words, and works; and that so

abundantly, that we may be filled with them.

2. The branch and the fruits must derive both their virtue and their

very being from the all - supporting, all - supplying root, Jesus


3. As all these flow from the grace of Christ, so they must issue in

the glory and praise of God.

12. The things concerning me - My sufferings. Have fallen out

rather to the furtherance, than, as you feared, the hindrance, of the


13. My bonds in Christ - Endured for his sake. Have been made

manifest - Much taken notice of. In the whole palace - Of the

Roman emperor.

14. And many - Who were before afraid. Trusting in the Lord

through my bonds - When they observed my constancy, and

safety not withstanding, are more bold.

15, 16. Some indeed preach Christ out of contention - Envying St.

Paul's success, and striving to hurt him thereby. Not sincerely -

From a real desire to glorify God. But supposing - Though they

were disappointed. To add more affliction to my bonds - By

enraging the Roman against me.

17. But the others out of love - To Christ and me. Knowing - Not

barely, supposing. That I am set - Literally, I lie; yet still going

forward in his work. He remained at Rome as an ambassador in a

place where he is employed on an important embassy.

18. In pretense - Under colour of propagating the gospel. In truth -

With a real design so to do.

19. This shall turn to my salvation - Shall procure me an higher

degree of glory. Through your prayer - Obtaining for me a larger

supply of the Spirit.

20. As always - Since my call to the apostleship. In my body -

however it may be disposed of. How that might be, he did not yet

know. For the apostles did not know all things; particularly in

things pertaining to themselves, they had room to exercise faith

and patience.

21. To me to live is Christ - To know, to love, to follow Christ, is

my life, my glory, my joy.

22. Here he begins to treat of the former clause of the preceding

verse. Of the latter he treats, chap. ii, 17. But if I am to live is the

flesh, this is the fruit of my labour - This is the fruit of my living

longer, that I can labour more. Glorious labour! desirable fruit! in

this view, long life is indeed a blessing. And what I should choose

I know not - That is, if it were left to my choice.

23. To depart - Out of bonds, flesh, the world. And to be with

Christ - In a nearer and fuller union. It is better to depart; it is far

better to be with Christ.

25. I know - By a prophetic notice given him while he was writing

this. That I shall continue some time longer with you - And

doubtless he did see them after this confinement.

27. Only - Be careful for this, and nothing else. Stand fast in one

spirit - With the most perfect unanimity. Striving together - With

united strength and endeavours. For the faith of the gospel - For

all the blessings revealed and promised therein.

28. Which - Namely, their being adversaries to the word of God,

and to you the messengers of God. Is an evident token - That they

are in the high road to perdition; and you, in the way of salvation.

29. For to you it is given - As a special token of God's love, and of

your being in the way of salvation.

30. Having the same kind of conflict with your adversaries, which

ye saw in me - When I was with you, Acts xvi, 12, 19, &c.


1. If there be therefore any consolation - In the grace of Christ. If

any comfort - In the love of God. If any fellowship of the Holy

Ghost; if any bowels of mercies - Resulting therefrom; any tender

affection towards each other.

2. Think the same thing - Seeing Christ is your common Head.

Having the same love - To God, your common Father. Being of

one soul - Animated with the same affections and tempers, as ye

have all drank ill to one spirit. Of one mind - Tenderly rejoicing

and grieving together.

3. Do nothing through contention - Which is inconsistent with

your thinking the same thing. Or vainglory - Desire of praise,

which is directly opposite to the love of God. But esteem each the

others better than themselves - (For every one knows more evil of

himself than he can of another:) Which is a glorious fruit of the

Spirit, and an admirable help to your continuing "of one soul."

4. Aim not every one at his own things - Only. If so, ye have not

bowels of mercies.

6. Who being in the essential form - The incommunicable nature.

Of God - From eternity, as he was afterward in the form of man;

real God, as real man. Counted it no act of robbery - That is the

precise meaning of the words, - no invasion of another's

prerogative, but his own strict and unquestionable right. To be

equal with God - the word here translated equal, occurs in the

adjective form five or six times in the New Testament, Matt. xx,

12; Luke vi, 34; John v, 18; Acts xi, 17; Rev. xxi, 16. In all which

places it expresses not a bare resemblance, but a real and proper

equalitg. It here implies both the fulness and the supreme height

of the Godhead; to which are opposed, he emptied and he

humbled himself.

7. Yet - He was so far from tenaciously insisting upon, that he

willingly relinquished, his claim. He was content to forego the

glories of the Creator, and to appear in the form of a creature; nay,

to be made in the likeness of the fallen creatures; and not only to

share the disgrace, but to suffer the punishment, due to the

meanest and vilest among them all. He emptied himself - Of that

divine fulness, which he received again at his exaltation. Though

he remained full, John i, 14, yet he appeared as if he had been

empty; for he veiled his fulness from the sight of men and angels.

Yea, he not only veiled, but, in some sense, renounced, the glory

which he had before the world began. Taking - And by that very

act emptying himself. The form of a servant - The form, the

likeness, the fashion, though not exactly the same, are yet nearly

related to each other. The form expresses something absolute; the

likeness refers to other things of the same kind; the fashion

respects what appears to sight and sense. Being made in the

likeness of men - A real man, like other men. Hereby he took the

form of a servant.

8. And being found in fashion as a man - A common man, without

any peculiar excellence or comeliness. He humbled himself - To a

still greater depth. Becoming obedient - To God, though equal

with him. Even unto death - The greatest instance both of

humiliation and obedience. Yea, the death of the cross - Inflicted

on few but servants or slaves.

9. Wherefore - Because of his voluntary humiliation and

obedience. He humbled himself; but God hath exalted him - So

recompensing his humiliation. And hath given him - So

recompensing his emptying himself. A name which is above

every name - Dignity and majesty superior to every creature.

10. That every knee - That divine honour might be paid in every

possible manner by every creature. Might bow - Either with love

or trembling. Of those in heaven, earth, under the earth - That is,

through the whole universe.

11. And every tongue - Even of his enemies. Confess that Jesus

Christ is Lord - Jehovah; not now "in the form of a servant," but

enthroned in the glory of God the Father.

12. Wherefore - Having proposed Christ's example, he exhorts

them to secure the salvation which Christ has purchased. As ye

have always - Hitherto. Obeyed - Both God, and me his minister.

Now in my absence - When ye have not me to instruct, assist, and

direct you. Work out your own salvation - Herein let every man

aim at his own things. With fear and trembling - With the utmost

care and diligence.

13. For it is God - God alone, who is with you, though I am not.

That worketh in you according to his good pleasure - Not for any

merit of yours. Yet his influences are not to supersede, but to

encourage, our own efforts. Work out your own salvation - Here

is our duty. For it is God that worketh in you - Here is our

encouragement. And O, what a glorious encouragement, to have

the arm of Omnipotence stretched out for our support and our


14. Do all things - Not only without contention, ver. 3, but even

without murmurings and disputings - Which are real, though

smaller, hindrances of love.

15. That ye may be blameless - Before men. And simple - Before

God, aiming at him alone. As the sons of God - The God of love;

acting up to your high character. Unrebukable in the midst of a

crooked - Guileful, serpentine, and perverse generation - Such as

the bulk of mankind always were. Crooked - By a corrupt nature,

and yet more perverse by custom and practice.

17. Here he begins to treat of the latter clause of chap. i, 22. Yea,

and if I be offered - Literally, If I be poured out. Upon the

sacrifice of your faith - The Philippians, as the other converted

heathens, were a sacrifice to God through St. Paul's ministry,

Rom. xv, 16. And as in sacrificing, wine was poured at the foot of

the altar, so he was willing that his blood should be poured out.

The expression well agrees with that kind of martyrdom by which

he was afterwards offered up to God.

18. Congratulate me - When I am offered up.

19. When I know - Upon my return, that ye stand steadfast.

20. I have none - Of those who are now with me.

21. For all - But Timotheus. Seek their own - Ease, safety,

pleasure, or profit. Amazing! In that golden age of the church,

could St. Paul throughly approve of one only, among all the

labourers that were with him? chap. i, 14, 17. And how many do

we think can now approve themselves to God? Not the things of

Jesus Christ - They who seek these alone, will sadly experience

this. They will find few helpers likeminded with themselves,

willing naked to follow a naked Master.

22. As a son with his father - He uses an elegant peculiarity of

phrase, speaking partly as of a son, partly as of a fellowlabourer.

25. To send Epaphroditus - Back immediately. Your messenger -

The Philippians had sent him to St. Paul with their liberal


26. He was full of heaviness - Because he supposed you would be

afflicted at hearing that he was sick.

27. God had compassion on him - Restoring him to health.

28. That I may be the less sorrowful - When I know you are


30. To supply your deficiency of service - To do what you could

not do in person.


1. The same things - Which you have heard before.

2. Beware of dogs - Unclean, unholy, rapacious men. The title

which the Jews usually gave the gentiles, he returns upon

themselves. The concision - Circumcision being now ceased, the

apostle will not call them the circumcision, but coins a term on

purpose, taken from a Greek word used by the LXX, Lev. xxi, 5,

for such a cutting as God had forbidden.

3. For we - Christians. Are the only true circumcision - The

people now in covenant with God. Who worship God in spirit -

Not barely in the letter, but with the spiritual worship of inward

holiness. And glory in Christ Jesus - As the only cause of all our

blessings. And have no confidence in the flesh - In any outward

advantage or prerogative.

4. Though I - He subjoins this in the singular number, because the

Philippians could not say thus.

5. Circumcised the eighth day - Not at ripe age, as a proselyte. Of

the tribe of Benjamin - Sprung from the wife, not the handmaid.

An Hebrew of Hebrews - By both my parents; in everything,

nation, religion, language. Touching the law, a pharisee - One of

that sect who most accurately observe it.

6. Having such a zeal for it as to persecute to the death those who

did not observe it. Touching the righteousness which is described

and enjoined by the Law - That is, external observances,


7. But all these things, which I then accounted gain, which were

once my confidence, my glory, and joy, those, ever since I have

believed, I have accounted loss, nothing worth in comparison of


8. Yea, I still account both all these and all things else to be mere

loss, compared to the inward, experimental knowledge of Christ,

as my Lord, as my prophet, priest, and king, as teaching me

wisdom, atoning for my sins, and reigning in my heart. To refer

this to justification only, is miserably to pervert the whole scope

of the words. They manifestly relate to sanctification also; yea, to

that chiefly. For whom I have actually suffered the loss of all

things - Which the world loves, esteems, or admires; of which I

am so far from repenting, that I still account them but dung - The

discourse rises. Loss is sustained with patience, but dung is cast

away with abhorrence. The Greek word signifies any, the vilest

refuse of things, the dross of metals, the dregs of liquors, the

excrements of animals, the most worthless scraps of meat, the

basest offals, fit only for dogs. That I may gain Christ - He that

loses all things, not excepting himself, gains Christ, and is gained

by Christ. And still there is more; which even St. Paul speaks of

his having not yet gained.

9. And be found by God ingrafted in him, not having my own

righteousness, which is of the law - That merely outward

righteousness prescribed by the law, and performed by my own

strength. But that inward righteousness which is through faith -

Which can flow from no other fountain. The righteousness which

is from God - From his almighty Spirit, not by my own strength,

but by faith alone. Here also the apostle is far from speaking of

justification only.

10. The knowledge of Christ, mentioned in the eighth verse, is

here more largely explained. That I may know him - As my

complete saviour. And the power of his resurrection - Raising me

from the death of sin, into all the life of love. And the fellowship

of his sufferings - Being crucified with him. And made

conformable to his death - So as to be dead to all things here


11. The resurrection of the dead - That is, the resurrection to


12. Not that I have already attained - The prize. He here enters on

a new set of metaphors, taken from a race. But observe how, in

the utmost fervour, he retains his sobriety of spirit. Or am already

perfected - There is a difference between one that is perfect, and

one that is perfected. The one is fitted for the race, ver. 15; the

other, ready to receive the prize. But I pursue, if I may apprehend

that - Perfect holiness, preparatory to glory. For, in order to which

I was apprehended by Christ Jesus - Appearing to me in the way,

Acts xxvi, 14. The speaking conditionally both here and in the

preceding verse, implies no uncertainty, but only the difficulty of


13. I do not account myself to have apprehended this already; to

be already possessed of perfect holiness.

14. Forgetting the things that are behind - Even that part of the

race which is already run. And reaching forth unto - Literally,

stretched out over the things that are before - Pursuing with the

whole bent and vigour of my soul, perfect holiness and eternal

glory. In Christ Jesus - The author and finisher of every good


15. Let us, as many as are perfect - Fit for the race, strong in faith;

so it means here. Be thus minded - Apply wholly to this one thing.

And if in anything ye - Who are not perfect, who are weak in

faith. Be otherwise minded - Pursuing other things. God, if ye

desire it, shall reveal even this unto you - Will convince you of it.

16. But let us take care not to lose the ground we have already

gained. Let us walk by the same rule we have done hitherto.

17. Mark them - For your imitation.

18. Weeping - As he wrote. Enemies of the cross of Christ - Such

are all cowardly, all shamefaced, all delicate Christians.

19. Whose end is destruction - This is placed in the front, that

what follows may be read with the greater horror. Whose God is

their belly - Whose supreme happiness lies in gratifying their

sensual appetites. Who mind - Relish, desire, seek, earthly things.

20. Our conversation - The Greek word is of a very extenslve

meaning: our citizenship, our thoughts, our affections, are already

in heaven.

21. Who will transform our vile body - Into the most perfect state,

and the most beauteous form. It will then be purer than the

unspotted firmament, brighter than the lustre of the stars and,

which exceeds all parallel, which comprehends all perfection, like

unto his glorious body - Like that wonderfully glorious body

which he wears in his heavenly kingdom, and on his triumphant



1. So stand - As ye have done hitherto.

2. I beseech - He repeats this twice, as if speaking to each face to

face, and that with the utmost tenderness.

3. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow - St. Paul had many

fellowlabourers, but not many yokefellows. In this number was

Barnabas first, and then Silas, whom he probably addresses here;

for Silas had been his yokefellow at the very place, Acts xvi, 19.

Help those women who laboured together with me - Literally,

who wrestled. The Greek word doth not imply preaching, or

anything of that kind; but danger and toil endured for the sake of

the gospel, which was also endured at the same time, probably at

Philippi, by Clement and my other fellowlabourers - This is a

different word from the former, and does properly imply

fellowpreachers. Whose names, although not set down here, are in

the book of life - As are those of all believers. An allusion to the

wrestlers in the Olympic games, whose names were all enrolled in

a book. Reader, is thy name there? Then walk circumspectly, lest

the Lord blot thee out of his book!

5. Let your gentleness - Yieldingness, sweetness of temper, the

result of joy in the Lord. Be known - By your whole behaviour.

To all men - Good and bad, gentle and froward. Those of the

roughest tempers are good natured to some, from natural

sympathy and various motives; a Christian, to all. The Lord - The

judge, the rewarder, the avenger. Is at hand - Standeth at the door.

6. Be anxiously careful for nothing - If men are not gentle towards

you, yet neither on this, nor any other account, be careful, but

pray. Carefulness and prayer cannot stand together. In every thing

- Great and small. Let your requests be made known - They who

by a preposterous shame or distrustful modesty, cover, stifle, or

keep in their desires, as if they were either too small or too great,

must be racked with care; from which they are entirely delivered,

who pour them out with a free and filial confidence. To God - It is

not always proper to disclose them to men. By supplication -

Which is the enlarging upon and pressing our petition. With

thanksgiving - The surest mark of a soul free from care, and of

prayer joined with true resignation. This is always followed by

peace. Peace and thanksgiving are both coupled together,

Colossians iii, 15.

7. And the peace of God - That calm, heavenly repose, that

tranquility of spirit, which God only can give. Which surpasseth

all understanding - Which none can comprehend, save he that

receiveth it. Shall keep - Shall guard, as a garrison does a city.

Your hearts - Your affections. Your minds - Your understandings,

and all the various workings of them; through the Spirit and

power of Christ Jesus, in the knowledge and love of God. Without

a guard set on these likewise, the purity and vigour of our

affections cannot long be preserved.

8. Finally - To sum up all. Whatsoever things are true - Here are

eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former

containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first

word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second

word, the second and so on. True - In speech. Honest - In action.

Just - With regard to others. Pure - With regard to yourselves.

Lovely - And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is

honesty, even where it is not practiced. If there be any virtue -

And all virtues are contained in justice. If there be any praise - In

those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our

neighbour. Think on these things - That ye may both practice

them yourselves, and recommend them to others.

9. The things which ye have learned - As catechumens. And

received - By continual instructions. And heard and seen - In my

life and conversation. These do, and the God of peace shall be

with you - Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the

fountain of peace.

10. I rejoiced greatly - St. Paul was no Stoic: he had strong

passions, but all devoted to God. That your care of me hath

flourished again - As a tree blossoms after the winter. Ye wanted

opportunity - Either ye had not plenty yourselves, or you wanted a

proper messenger.

11. I have learned - From God. He only can teach this. In

everything, therewith to be content - Joyfully and thankfully

patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a

beautiful gradation in the expressions, I have learned; I know; I

am instructed; I can.

12. I know how to be abased - Having scarce what is needful for

my body. And to abound - Having wherewith to relieve others

also. Presently after, the order of the words is inverted, to intimate

his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to

scarcity. I am instructed - Literally, I am initiated in that mystery,

unknown to all but Christians. Both to be full and to be hungry -

For one day. Both to abound and to want - For a longer season.

13. I can do all things - Even fulfil all the will of God.

15. In the beginning of the gospel - When it was first preached at

Philippi. In respect of giving - On your part. And receiving - On


17. Not that I desire - For my own sake, the very gift which I

receive of you.

18. An odour of a sweet smell - More pleasing to God than the

sweetest perfumes to men.

19. All your need - As ye have mine. According to his riches in

glory - In his abundant, eternal glory.




COLOSSE was a city of the Greater Phrygia, not far from

Laodicea and Hierapolis. Though St. Paul preached in many parts

of Phrygia, yet he never had been at this city. It had received the

gospel by the preaching of Epaphras, who was with St. Paul when

he wrote this epistle. It seems the %Colossians were now in

danger of being seduced by those who strove to blend Judaism, or

heathen superstitions, with Christianity; pretending that God,

because of his great majesty, was not to be approached but by the

mediation of angels; and that they were certain rites and

observances, chiefly borrowed from the law, whereby these

angels might be made our friends. In opposition to them, the


1. Commends the knowledge of Christ, as more excellent than all

other, and so entire and perfect that no other knowledge was

necessary for a Christian. He shows,

2. That Christ is above all angels, who are only his servants; and

that, being reconciled to God through him, we have free access to

him in all our necessities. This epistle contains,

I. The inscription, Chap. i. 1, 2

II. The doctrine, wherein the apostle pathetically explains the

mystery of Christ,

By thanksgiving for the Colossians, 3-8

By prayers for them, 9-23

With a declaration of his affection for them, 24-29 ii. 1-3

II. The exhortation,

1. General, wherein he excites them to perseverance, and warns

them not to be deceived, 4-8

Describes again the mystery of Christ in order, 9-15

And in the same order, draws his admonitions,

1. From Christ the head, 16-19

2. From his death, 20-23

3. From his exaltation, iii. 1-4

2. Particular, 5-9

1. To avoid several vices,

2. To practice several virtues, 10, 11

Especially to love one another, 12-15

And study the scriptures 16, 17

3. To the relative duties of wives and husbands,. 18, 19

Children and parents, 20, 21

Servants and masters, 22-25 iv.1

Final, to prayer, 2-4 to spiritual wisdom 5, 6

V. The conclusion, 7-16



2. The saints-This word expresses their union with God. And

brethren - This, their union with their fellow-Christians.

3. We give thanks - There is a near resemblance between this

epistle, and those to the Ephesians and Philippians.

5. Ye heard before - I wrote to you. In the word of truth, of the

gospel - The true gospel preached to you.

6. It bringeth forth fruit in all the world - That is, in every place

where it is preached. Ye knew the grace of God in truth - Truly

experienced the gracious power of God.

7. The fellowservant - Of Paul and Timotheus.

8. Your love in the Spirit - Your love wrought in you by the


9. We pray for you - This was mentioned in general, Colossians i,

3, but now more particularly. That ye may be filled with the

knowledge of his will - Of his revealed will. In all wisdom - With

all the wisdom from above. And spiritual understanding - To

discern by that light whatever agrees with, or differs from, his


10. That, knowing his whole will, ye may walk worthy of the

Lord, unto all pleasing - So as actually to please him in all things;

daily increasing in the living, experimental knowledge of God,

our Father, saviour, Sanctifier.

11. Strengthened unto all patience and longsuffering with

joyfulness - This is the highest point: not only to know, to do, to

suffer, the whole will of God; but to suffer it to the end, not barely

with patience, but with thankful joy.

12. Who, by justifying and sanctifying us, hath made us meet for


13. Power detains reluctant captives, a kingdom cherishes willing

subjects. His beloved Son - This is treated of in the fifteenth and

following verses.

14. In whom we have redemption - This is treated of from the

middle of Colossians i, 18. The voluntary passion of our Lord

appeased the Father's wrath, obtained pardon and acceptance for

us, and, consequently, dissolved the dominion and power which

Satan had over us through our sins. So that forgiveness is the

beginning of redemption, as the resurrection is the completion of


15. Who is - By describing the glory of Christ, and his pre-

eminence over the highest angels, the apostle here lays a

foundation for the reproof of all worshippers of angels. The image

of the invisible God - Whom none can represent, but his only

begotten Son; in his divine nature the invisible image, in his

human the visible image, of the Father. The first begotten of every

creature - That is, begotten before every creature; subsisting

before all worlds, before all time, from all eternity.

16. For - This explains the latter part of the preceding verse.

Through implies something prior to the particles by and for; so

denoting the beginning, the progress, and the end. Him - This

word, frequently repeated, signifies his supreme majesty, and

excludes every creature. Were created all things that are in heaven

- And heaven itself. But the inhabitants are named, because more

noble than the house. Invisible - The several species of which are

subjoined. Thrones are superior to dominions; principalities, to

powers. Perhaps the two latter may express their office with

regard to other creatures: the two former may refer to God, who

maketh them his chariots, and, as it were, rideth upon their wings.

17. And he is before all things - It is not said, he was: he is from

everlasting to everlasting. And by him all things consist - The

original expression not only implies, that he sustains all things in

being, but more directly, All things were and are compacted in

him into one system. He is the cement, as well as support, of the

universe. And is he less than the supreme God?

18. And - From the whole he now descends to the most eminent

part, the church. He is the head of the church - Universal; the

supreme and only head both of influence and of government to the

whole body of believers. Who is - The repetition of the expression

{ Colossians i, 15} points out the entrance on a new paragraph.

The beginning - Absolutely, the Eternal. The first begotten from

the dead - From whose resurrection flows all the life, spiritual and

eternal, of all his brethren. That in all things - Whether of nature

or grace. He might have the pre-eminence - Who can sound this


19. For it pleased the Father that all fulness - All the fulness of

God. Should dwell in him - Constantly, as in a temple; and always

ready for our approach to him.

20. Through the blood of the cross - The blood shed thereon.

Whether things on earth - Here the enmity began: therefore this is

mentioned first. Or things in heaven - Those who are now in

paradise; the saints who died before Christ came.

21. And you that were alienated, and enemies - Actual alienation

of affection makes habitual enmity. In your mind - Both your

understanding and your affections. By wicked works - Which

continually feed and increase inward alienation from, and enmity

to, God. He hath now reconciled - From the moment ye believed.

22. By the body of his flesh - So distinguished from his body, the

church. The body here denotes his entire manhood. Through death

- Whereby he purchased the reconciliation which we receive by

faith. To present you - The very end of that reconciliation. Holy -

Toward God. Spotless - In yourselves. Unreprovable - As to your


23. If ye continue in the faith - Otherwise, ye will lose all the

blessings which ye have already begun to enjoy. And be not

removed from the hope of the gospel - The glorious hope of

perfect love. Which is preached - Is already begun to be preached

to every creature under heaven.

24. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up - That is,

whereby I fill up. That which is behind of the sufferings of Christ

- That which remains to be suffered by his members. These are

termed the sufferings of Christ,

1. Because the suffering of any member is the suffering of the

whole; and of the head especially, which supplies strength, spirits,

sense, and motion to all.

2. Because they are for his sake, for the testimony of his truth.

And these also are necessary for the church; not to reconcile it to

God, or satisfy for sin, (for that Christ did perfectly,) but for

example to others, perfecting of the saints, and increasing their


25. According to the dispensation of God which is given me - Or,

the stewardship with which I am intrusted.

26. The mystery - Namely, Christ both justifying and sanctifying

gentiles, as well as Jews. Which hath been comparatively hid

from former ages and past generations of men.

27. Christ dwelling and reigning in you, The hope of glory - The

ground of your hope.

28. We teach the ignorant, and admonish them that are already



1. How great a conflict - Of care, desire, prayer. As many as have

not seen my face - Therefore, in writing to the Colossians, he

refrains from those familiar appellations, "Brethren," "Beloved."

2. Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the

acknowledgment of the mystery of God - That is, unto the fullest

and clearest understanding and knowledge of the gospel.

6. So walk in him - In the same faith, love, holiness.

7. Rooted in him - As the vine. Built - On the sure foundation.

8. Through philosophy and empty deceit - That is, through the

empty deceit of philosophy blended with Christianity. This the

apostle condemns,

1. Because it was empty and deceitful, promising happiness, but

giving none.

2. Because it was grounded, not on solid reason, but the traditions

of men, Zeno, Epicurus, and the rest. And,

3. Because it was so shallow and superficial, not advancing

beyond the knowledge of sensible things; no, not beyond the first

rudiments of them.

9. For in him dwelleth - Inhabiteth, continually abideth, all the

fulness of the Godhead. Believers are "filled with all the fulness

of God," Eph. iii, 19. But in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the

Godhead; the most full Godhead; not only divine powers, but

divine nature, Colossians i, 19. Bodily - Personally, really,

substantially. The very substance of God, if one might so speak,

dwells in Christ in the most full sense.

10. And ye - Who believe. Are filled with him - John i, 16. Christ

is filled with God, and ye are filled with Christ. And ye are filled

by him. The fulness of Christ overflows his church, Psalm cxxxiii,

3. He is originally full. We are filled by him with wisdom and

holiness. Who is the head of all principality and power - Of angels

as well as men Not from angels therefore, but from their head, are

we to ask whatever we stand in need of.

11. By whom also ye have been circumcised - Ye have received

the spiritual blessings typified of old by circumcision. With a

circumcision not performed with hands - By an inward, spiritual

operation. In putting off, not a little skin, but the whole body of

the sins of the flesh - All the sins of your evil nature. By the

circumcision of Christ - By that spiritual circumcision which

Christ works in your heart.

12. Which he wrought in you, when ye were as it were buried

with him in baptism - The ancient manner of baptizing by

immersion is as manifestly alluded to here, as the other manner of

baptizing by sprinkling or pouring of water is, Heb. x, 22. But no

stress is laid on the age of the baptized, or the manner of

performing it, in one or the other; but only on our being risen with

Christ, through the powerful operation of God in the soul; which

we cannot but know assuredly, if it really is so: and if we do not

experience this, our baptism has not answered the end of its

institution. By which ye are also risen with him - From the death

of sin to the life of holiness. It does not appear, that in all this St.

Paul speaks of justification at all, but of sanctification altogether.

13. And you who were dead - Doubly dead to God, not only

wallowing in trespasses, outward sins, but also in the

uncircumcision of your flesh - A beautiful expression for original

sin, the inbred corruption of your nature, your uncircumcised

heart and affections. Hath he - God the Father. Quickened

together with him - Making you partakers of the power of his

resurrection. It is evident the apostle thus far speaks, not of

justification, but of sanctification only.

14. Having blotted out - in consequence of his gracious decrees,

that Christ should come into the world to save sinners, and that

whosoever believeth on him should have everlasting life. The

handwriting against us - Where a debt is contracted, it is usually

testified by some handwriting; and when the debt is forgiven, the

handwriting is destroyed, either by blotting it out, by taking it

away, or by tearing it. The apostle expresses in all these three

ways, God's destroying the handwriting which was contrary to us,

or at enmity with us. This was not properly our sins themselves,

(they were the debt,) but their guilt and cry before God.

15. And having spoiled the principalities and powers - The evil

angels, of their usurped dominion. He - God the Father. Exposed

them openly - Before all the hosts of hell and heaven. Triumphing

over them in or by him - By Christ. Thus the paragraph begins

with Christ, goes on with him, and ends with him.

16. Therefore - Seeing these things are so. Let none judge you -

That is, regard none who judge you. In meat or drink - For not

observing the ceremonial law in these or any other particulars. Or

in respect of a yearly feast, the new moon, or the weekly Jewish


17. Which are but a lifeless shadow; but the body, the substance,

is of Christ.

18. Out of pretended humility, they worshipped angels, as not

daring to apply immediately to God. Yet this really sprung from

their being puffed up: (the constant forerunner of a fall, (Prov.

xvi, 18) so far was it from being an instance of true humility.

19. And not holding the head - He does not hold Christ, who does

not trust in him alone. All the members are nourished by faith,

and knit together by love and mutual sympathy.

20. Therefore - The inference begun, Colossians ii, 16; is

continued. A new inference follows, Colossians iii, 1. If ye are

dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world - That is, If ye

are dead with Christ, and so freed from them, why receive ye

ordinances - Which Christ hath not enjoined, from which he hath

made you free.

21. Touch not - An unclean thing. Taste not - Any forbidden meat.

Handle not - Any consecrated vessel.

22. Perish in the using - Have no farther use, no influence on the


23. Not sparing the body - Denying it many gratifications, and

putting it to many inconveniences. Yet they are not of any real

value before God, nor do they, upon the whole, mortify, but

satisfy, the flesh. They indulge our corrupt nature, our self-will,

pride, and desire of being distinguished from others.


1. If ye are risen, seek the things above - As Christ being risen,

immediately went to heaven.

3. For ye are dead - To the things on earth. And your real, spiritual

life is hid from the world, and laid up in God, with Christ - Who

hath merited, promised, prepared it for us, and gives us the earnest

and foretaste of it in our hearts.

4. When Christ - The abruptness of the sentence surrounds us with

sudden light. Our life - The fountain of holiness and glory. Shall

appear - In the clouds of heaven.

5. Mortify therefore - Put to death, slay with a continued stroke.

Your members - Which together make up the body of sin. Which

are upon the earth - Where they find their nourishment.

Uncleanness - In act, word, or thought. Inordinate affection -

Every passion which does not flow from and lead to the love of

God. Evil desire - The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye,

and the pride of life. Covetousness - According to the derivation

of the word, means the desire of having more, or of any thing

independent on God. Which is idolatry - Properly and directly; for

it is giving the heart to a creature.

6. For which - Though the heathens lightly regarded them.

7. Living denotes the inward principle; walking, the outward acts.

8. Wrath - Is lasting anger. Filthy discourse - And was there need

to warn even these saints of God against so gross and palpable a

sin as this? O what is man, till perfect love casts out both fear and


10. In knowledge - The knowledge of God, his will, his word.

11. Where - In which case, it matters not what a man is externally,

whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian,

void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all

barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus

renewed, and is all things in them and to them.

12. All who are thus renewed are elected of God, holy, and

therefore the more beloved of him. Holiness is the consequence of

their election, and God's superior love, of their holiness.

13. Forbearing one another - If anything is now wrong. And

forgiving one another - What is past.

14. The love of God contains the whole of Christian perfection,

and connects all the parts of it together.

15. And then the peace of God shall rule in your hearts - Shall

sway every temper, affection, thought, as the reward (so the Greek

word implies) of your preceding love and obedience.

16. Let the word of Christ - So the apostle calls the whole

scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master. Dwell -

Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated

residence. Richly - In the largest measure, and with the greatest

efficacy; so as to fill and govern the whole soul.

17. In the name - In the power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus.

Giving thanks unto God - The Holy Ghost. And the Father

through him - Christ.

18. Wives, submit - Or be subject to. It is properly a military term,

alluding to that entire submission that soldiers pay to their

general. Eph. v, 22, &c.

19. Be not bitter - (Which may be without any appearance of

anger) either in word or spirit.

21. Lest they be discouraged - Which may occasion their turning

either desperate or stupid.

22. Eyeservice - Being more diligent under their eye than at other

times. Singleness of heart - A simple intention of doing right,

without looking any farther. Fearing God - That is, acting from

this principle.

23. Heartily - Cheerfully, diligently. Menpleasers are soon

dejected and made angry: the single-hearted are never displeased

or disappointed; because they have another aim, which the good

or evil treatment of those they serve cannot disappoint.


1. Just - According to your contract. Equitable - Even beyond the

letter of your contract.

3. That God would open to us a door of utterance - That is, give us

utterance, that we "may open our mouth boldly," Eph. vi, 19, and

give us an opportunity of speaking, so that none may be able to


6. Let your speech be always with grace - Seasoned with the grace

of God, as flesh is with salt.

10. Aristarchus my fellowprisoner - Such was Epaphras likewise

for a time, Phil. i, 23. Ye have received directions - Namely, by

Tychicus, bringing this letter. The ancients adapted their language

to the time of reading the letter; not, as we do, to the time when it

was written. It is not improbable, they might have scrupled to

receive him, without this fresh direction, after he had left St. Paul,

and "departed from the work."

11. These - Three, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus. Of all the

circumcision - That is, of all my Jewish fellowlabourers. Are the

only fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God - That is, in

preaching the gospel. Who have been a comfort to me - What,

then, can we expect? that all our fellowworkers should be a

comfort to us?

12. Perfect - Endued with every Christian grace. Filled - As no

longer being babes, but grown up to the measure of the stature of

Christ; being full of his light, grace, wisdom, holiness.

14. Luke, the physician - Such he had been, at least, if he was not


15. Nymphas - Probably an eminent Christian at Laodicea.

16. The epistle from Laodicea - Not to Laodicea. Perhaps some

letter had been written to St. Paul from thence.

17. And say to Archippus - One of the pastors of that church.

Take heed - It is the duty of the flock to try them that say they are

apostles to reject the false, and to warn, as well as to receive, the

real. The ministry - Not a lordship, but a service; a labourious and

painful work; an obligation to do and suffer all things; to be the

least, and the servant, of all. In the Lord - Christ by whom, and for

whose sake, we receive the various gifts of the Holy Spirit.




THIS is the first of all the epistles which St. Paul wrote.

Thessalonica was one of the chief cities of Macedonia. Hither St.

Paul went after the persecution at Philippi: but he had not

preached here long before the unbelieving Jews raised a tumult

against him and Silvanus and Timotheus. On this the brethren sent

them away to Berea. Thence St. Paul went by sea to Athens, and

sent for Silvanus and Timotheus to come speedily to him. But

being in fear, lest the Thessalonian converts should be moved

from their steadfastness, after a short time he sends Timotheus to

them, to know the state of their church. Timotheus returning

found the apostle at Corinth from whence he sent them this

epistle, about a year after he had been at Thessalonica. The parts

of it are these:

I. The inscription, Chap. i, 1

II. He celebrates the grace of God towards them,. 2-10

Mentions the sincerity of himself and his fellowlabourers, ii. 1-


And the teachableness of the Thessalonians,. 13-16

III. He declares,

1. His desire, 17-20

2. His care, iii. 1-5

3. His joy and prayer for them, 6-13

IV. He exhorts them to grow,

1. In holiness, iv.1-8

2. In brotherly love with industry, 9-12

V. He teaches and exhorts,

1. Concerning them that sleep, 13-18

2. Concerning the times, v.1-11

VI. He adds miscellaneous exhortations, 12-24

VII. The conclusion, 25-28



1. Paul - In this epistle St. Paul neither uses the title of an apostle,

nor any other, as writing to pious and simple-hearted men, with

the utmost familiarity. There is a peculiar sweetness in this

epistle, unmixed with any sharpness or reproof: those evils which

the apostles afterward reproved having not yet crept into the


3. Remembering in the sight of God - That is, praising him for it.

Your work of faith - Your active, ever-working faith. And labour

of love - Love continually labouring for the bodies or souls of

men. They who do not thus labour, do not love. Faith works, love

labours, hope patiently suffers all things.

4. Knowing your election - Which is through faith, by these plain


5. With power - Piercing the very heart with a sense of sin and

deeply convincing you of your want of a saviour from guilt,

misery, and eternal ruin. With the Holy Ghost - Bearing an

outward testimony, by miracles, to the truth of what we preached,

and you felt: also by his descent through laying on of hands. With

much assurance - Literally, with full assurance, and much of it:

the Spirit bearing witness by shedding the love of God abroad in

your hearts, which is the highest testimony that can be given. And

these signs, if not the miraculous gifts, always attend the

preaching of the gospel, unless it be in vain: neither are the

extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost ever wholly withheld,

where the gospel is preached with power, and men are alive to

God. For your sake - Seeking your advantage, not our own.

6. Though in much affliction, yet with much joy.

8. For from you the word sounded forth - (Thessalonica being a

city of great commerce.) Being echoed, as it were, from you. And

your conversion was divulged far beyond Macedonia and Achaia.

So that we need not speak anything - Concerning it.

9. For they themselves - The people wherever we come.

10. Whom he hath raised from the dead - In proof of his future

coming to judgment. Who delivereth us - He redeemed us once;

he delivers us continually; and will deliver all that believe from

the wrath, the eternal vengeance, which will then come upon the



1. What was proposed, chap. i, 5, 6, is now more largely treated

of: concerning Paul and his fellowlabourers, ver. 1-12; concerning

the Thessalonians, ver. 13-16.

2. We had suffered - In several places. We are bold -

Notwithstanding. With much contention - Notwithstanding both

inward and outward conflicts of all kinds.

3. For our exhortation - That is, our preaching. A part is put for

the whole. Is not, at any time, of deceit - We preach not a lie, but

the truth of God. Nor of uncleanness - With any unholy or selfish

view. This expression is not always appropriated to lust, although

it is sometimes emphatically applied thereto. Nor in guile - But

with great plainness of speech.

5. Flattering words - This ye know. Nor a cloak of covetousness -

Of this God is witness. He calls men to witness an open fact; God,

the secret intentions of the heart. In a point of a mixed nature, ver.

10, he appeals both to God and man.

6. Nor from others - Who would have honoured us more, if we

had been burdensome - That is, taken state upon ourselves.

7. But we were gentle - Mild, tender. In the midst of you - Like a

hen surrounded with her young. Even as a nurse cherisheth her

own children - The offspring of her own womb.

8. To impart our own souls - To lay down our lives for your sake.

10. Holily - In the things of God. Justly - With regard to men.

Unblamable - In respect of ourselves. Among you that believe -

Who were the constant observers of our behaviour.

11. By exhorting, we are moved to do a thing willingly; by

comforting, to do it joyfully; by charging, to do it carefully.

12. To his kingdom here, and glory hereafter.

14. Ye suffered the same things - The same fruit, the same

afflictions, and the same experience, at all times, and in all places,

are an excellent criterion of evangelical truth. As they from the

Jews - Their countrymen.

15. Us - Apostles and preachers of the gospel. They please not

God - Nor are they even careful to please him, notwithstanding

their fair professions. And are contrary to all men - Are common

enemies of mankind; not only by their continual seditions and

insurrections, and by their utter contempt of all other nations; but

in particular, by their endeavouring to hinder their hearing or

receiving the gospel.

16. To fill up - The measure of their sins always, as they have

ever done. But the vengeance of God is come upon them - Hath

overtaken them unawares, whilst they were seeking to destroy

others, and will speedily complete their destruction.

17. In this verse we have a remarkable instance, not so much of

the transient affections of holy grief, desire, or joy, as of that

abiding tenderness, that loving temper, which is so apparent in all

St. Paul's writings, towards those he styles his children in the

faith. This is the more carefully to be observed, because the

passions occasionally exercising themselves, and flowing like a

torrent, in the apostle, are observable to every reader; whereas it

requires a nicer attention to discern those calm standing tempers,

that fixed posture of his soul, from whence the others only flow

out, and which more peculiarly distinguish his character.

18. Satan - By those persecuting Jews, Acts xvii, 13.

19. Ye also - As well as our other children.


1. We - Paul and Silvanus. Could bear no longer - Our desire and

fear for you.

3. We are appointed hereto - Are in every respect laid in a fit

posture for it, by the very design and contrivance of God himself

for the trial and increase of our faith and all other graces. He gives

riches to the world; but stores up his treasure of wholesome

afflictions for his children.

6. But now when Timotheus was come to us from you -

Immediately after his return, St. Paul wrote; while his joy was

fresh, and his tenderness at the height.

8. Now we live - Indeed; we enjoy life: so great is our affection

for you.

10. And perfect that which is wanting in your faith - So St. Paul

did not know that "they who are once upon the rock no longer

need to be taught by man."

11. Direct our way - This prayer is addressed to Christ, as well as

to the Father.

13. With all his, Christ's, saints - Both angels and men.


1. More and more - It is not enough to have faith, even so as to

please God, unless we abound more and more therein.

3. Sanctification - Entire holiness of heart and life: particular

branches of it are subjoined. That ye abstain from fornication - A

beautiful transition from sanctification to a single branch of the

contrary; and this shows that nothing is so seemingly distant, or

below our thoughts, but we have need to guard against it.

4. That every one know - For this requires knowledge, as well as

chastity. To possess his vessel - His wife. In sanctification and

honour - So as neither to dishonour God or himself, nor to

obstruct, but further, holiness; remembering, marriage is not

designed to inflame, but to conquer, natural desires.

5. Not in passionate desire - Which had no place in man when in a

state of innocence. Who know not God - And so may naturally

seek happiness in a creature. What seemingly accidental words

slide in; and yet how fine, and how vastly important!

6. In this matter - By violating his bed. The things forbidden, here

are three: fornication, ver. 3; the passion of desire, or inordinate

affection in the married state, ver. 5; and the breach of the

marriage contract.

8. He that despiseth - The commandments we gave. Despiseth

God - Himself. Who hath also given you his Holy Spirit - To

convince you of the truth, and enable you to be holy. What naked

majesty of words! How oratorical, and yet with what great

simplicity!-a simplicity that does not impair, but improve, the

understanding to the utmost; that, like the rays of heat through a

glass, collects all the powers of reason into one orderly point,

from being scattered abroad in utter confusion.

9. We need not write - Largely. For ye are taught of God - By his


11. That ye study - Literally, that ye be ambitious: an ambition

worthy a Christian. To work with your hands - Not a needless

caution; for temporal concerns are often a cross to them who are

newly filled with the love of God.

12. Decently - That they may have no pretense to say, (but they

will say it still,) "This religion makes men idle, and brings them to

beggary." And may want nothing - Needful for life and godliness.

What Christian desires more?

13. Now - Herein the efficacy of Christianity greatly appears, -

that it neither takes away nor embitters, but sweetly tempers, that

most refined of all affections, our desire of or love to the dead.

14. So - As God raised him. With him - With their living head.

15. By the word of the Lord - By a particular Revelation. We who

are left - This intimates the fewness of those who will be then

alive, compared to the multitude of the dead. Believers of all ages

and nations make up, as it were, one body; in consideration of

which, the believers of that age might put themselves in the place,

and speak in the person, of them who were to live till the coming

of the Lord. Not that St. Paul hereby asserted (though some seem

to have imagined so) that the day of the Lord was at hand.

16. With a shout - Properly, a proclamation made to a great

multitude. Above this is, the voice of the archangel; above both,

the trumpet of God; the voice of God, somewhat analogous to the

sound of a trumpet.

17. Together - In the same moment. In the air - The wicked will

remain beneath, while the righteous, being absolved, shall be

assessors with their Lord in the judgment. With the Lord - In



1. But of the precise times when this shall be.

2. For this in general ye do know; and ye can and need know no


3. When they - The men of the world say.

4. Ye are not in darkness - Sleeping secure in sin.

6. Awake, and keep awake - Being awakened, let us have all our

spiritual senses about us.

7. They usually sleep and are drunken in the night - These things

do not love the light.

9. God hath not appointed us to wrath - As he hath the obstinately


10. Whether we wake or sleep - Be alive or dead at his coming.

12. Know them that,

1. labour among you:

2. Are over you in the Lord:

3. Admonish you. Know - See, mark, take knowledge of them and

their work. Sometimes the same person may both labour, that is,

preach; be over, or govern; and admonish the flock by particular

application to each: sometimes two or more different persons,

according as God variously dispenses his gifts. But O, what a

misery is it when a man undertakes this whole work without either

gifts or graces for any part of it! Why, then, will he undertake it?

for pay? What! will he sell both his own soul and all the souls of

the flock? What words can describe such a wretch as this? And

yet even this may be "an honourable man!"

13. Esteem them very highly - Literally, more than abundantly, in

love - The inexpressible sympathy that is between true pastors and

their flock is intimated, not only here, but also in divers other

places of this epistle. See

chap. ii, 7, 8. For their work's sake - The principal ground of their

vast regard for them. But how are we to esteem them who do not

work at all?

14. Warn the disorderly - Them that stand, as it were, out of their

rank in the spiritual warfare. Some such were even in that church.

The feeble-minded - Literally, them of little soul; such as have no

spiritual courage.

15. See that none - Watch over both yourselves and each other.

Follow that which is good - Do it resolutely and perseveringly.

16. Rejoice evermore - In uninterrupted happiness in God. Pray

without ceasing - Which is the fruit of always rejoicing in the

Lord. In everything give thanks - Which is the fruit of both the

former. This is Christian perfection. Farther than this we cannot

go; and we need not stop short of it. Our Lord has purchased joy,

as well as righteousness, for us. It is the very design of the gospel

that, being saved from guilt, we should be happy in the love of

Christ. Prayer may be said to be the breath of our spiritual life. He

that lives cannot possibly cease breathing. So much as we really

enjoy of the presence of God, so much prayer and praise do we

offer up without ceasing; else our rejoicing is but delusion.

Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer: it is almost

essentially connected with it. He that always prays is ever giving

praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the

greatest adversity. He blesses God for all things, looks on them as

coming from him, and receives them only for his sake; not

choosing nor refusing, liking nor disliking, anything, but only as it

is agreeable or disagreeable to his perfect will.

18. For this - That you should thus rejoice, pray, give thanks. Is

the will of God - Always good, always pointing at our salvation.

19. Quench not the Spirit - Wherever it is, it burns; it flames in

holy love, in joy, prayer, thanksgiving. O quench it not, damp it

not in yourself or others, either by neglecting to do good, or by

doing evil!

20. Despise not prophesyings - That is, preaching; for the apostle

is not here speaking of extraordinary gifts. It seems, one means of

grace is put for all; and whoever despises any of these, under

whatever pretense, will surely (though perhaps gradually and

almost insensibly) quench the Spirit.

21. Meantime, prove all things - Which any preacher

recommends. (He speaks of practice, not of doctrines.) Try every

advice by the touchstone of scripture, and hold fast that which is

good - Zealously, resolutely, diligently practice it, in spite of all


22. And be equally zealous and careful to abstain from all

appearance of evil - Observe, those who "heap to themselves

teachers, having itching ears," under pretense of proving all

things, have no countenance or excuse from this scripture.

23. And may the God of peace sanctify you - By the peace he

works in you, which is a great means of sanctification. Wholly -

The word signifies wholly and perfectly; every part and all that

concerns you; all that is of or about you. And may the whole of

you, the spirit and the soul and the body - Just before he said you;

now he denominates them from their spiritual state. The spirit -

Gal. vi, 8; wishing that it may be preserved whole and entire: then

from their natural state, the soul and the body; (for these two

make up the whole nature of man, Matt. x, 28;) wishing it may be

preserved blameless till the coming of Christ. To explain this a

little further: of the three here mentioned, only the two last are the

natural constituent parts of man. The first is adventitious, and the

supernatural gift of God, to be found in Christians only. That man

cannot possibly consist of three parts, appears hence: The soul is

either matter or not matter: there is no medium. But if it is matter,

it is part of the body: if not matter, it coincides with the Spirit.

24. Who also will do it - Unless you quench the Spirit.

27. I charge you by the Lord - Christ, to whom proper divine

worship is here paid. That this epistle - The first he wrote. Be read

to all the brethren - That is, in all the churches. They might have

concealed it out of modesty, had not this been so solemnly

enjoined: but what Paul commands under so strong an adjuration,

Rome forbids under pain of excommunication.




THIS epistle seems to have been written soon after the former,

chiefly on occasion of some things therein which had been

misunderstood. Herein he,

1. Congratulates their constancy in the faith, and exhorts them to

advance daily in grace and wisdom.

2. Reforms their mistake concerning the coming of our Lord And,

3. Recommends several Christian duties.

The parts of it are five:

I. The inscription, Chap. i. 1, 2

II. Thanksgiving and prayer for them, 3-12

III. The doctrine concerning the man of sin,. ii. 1-12

Whence he comforts them against this trial, 13, 14

Adding exhortation and prayer, 15-17

IV. An exhortation to prayer, with a prayer for. iii. 1-5 them, to

correct the disorderly, 6-16

V. The conclusion, 17, 18



3. It is highly observable, that the apostle wraps up his praise of

men in praise to God; giving him the glory. Your faith groweth -

Probably he had heard from them since his sending the former

letter. Aboundeth - Like water that overflows its banks, and yet

increaseth still.

4. Which ye endure - "That ye may be accounted worthy of the


5. A manifest token - This is treated of in the sixth and following


6. It is a righteous thing with God - (However men may judge) to

transfer the pressure from you to them. And it is remarkable that

about this time, at the passover, the Jews raising a tumult, a great

number (some say thirty thousand) of them were slain. St. Paul

seems to allude to this beginning of sorrows, 1 Thess. ii, 16,

which did not end but with their destruction.

8. Taking vengeance - Does God barely permit this, or (as "the

Lord" once "rained brimstone and fire from the Lord out of

heaven," Gen. xix, 24) does a fiery stream go forth from him for

ever? Who know not God - (The root of all wickedness and

misery) who remain in heathen ignorance. And who obey not -

This refers chiefly to the Jews, who had heard the gospel.

9. From the glory of his power - Tremble, ye stout-hearted.

Everlasting destruction - As there can be no end of their sins, (the

same enmity against God continuing,) so neither of their

punishment; sin and its punishment running parallel throughout

eternity itself. They must of necessity, therefore, be cut off from

all good, and all possibility of it. From the presence of the Lord -

Wherein chiefly consists the salvation of the righteous. What

unspeakable punishment is implied even in falling short of this,

supposing that nothing more were implied in his taking


10. To be glorified in his saints - For the wonderful glory of

Christ shall shine in them.

11. All the good pleasure of his goodness - Which is no less than

perfect holiness.

12. That the name - The love and power of our Lord may be

glorified - Gloriously displayed in you.


1. Our gathering together to him - In the clouds.

2. Be not shaken in mind - In judgment. Or terrified - As those

easily are who are immoderately fond of knowing future things.

Neither by any pretended Revelation from the Spirit, nor by

pretense of any word spoken by me.

3. Unless the falling away - From the pure faith of the gospel,

come first. This began even in the apostolic age. But the man of

sin, the son of perdition - Eminently so called, is not come yet.

However, in many respects, the Pope has an indisputable claim to

those titles. He is, in an emphatical sense, the man of sin, as he

increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too,

properly styled, the son of perdition, as he has caused the death of

numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers,

destroyed innumerable souls, and will himself perish

everlastingly. He it is that opposeth himself to the emperor, once

his rightful sovereign; and that exalteth himself above all that is

called God, or that is worshipped - Commanding angels, and

putting kings under his feet, both of whom are called gods in

scripture; claiming the highest power, the highest honour;

suffering himself, not once only, to be styled God or vice-God.

Indeed no less is implied in his ordinary title, "Most Holy Lord,"

or, "Most Holy Father." So that he sitteth - Enthroned. In the

temple of God - Mentioned Rev. xi, 1. Declaring himself that he is

God - Claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.

6. And now ye know - By what I told you when I was with you.

That which restraineth - The power of the Roman emperors.

When this is taken away, the wicked one will be revealed. In his

time - His appointed season, and not before.

7. He will surely be revealed; for the mystery - The deep, secret

power of iniquity, just opposite to the power of godliness, already

worketh. It began with the love of honour, and the desire of

power; and is completed in the entire subversion of the gospel of

Christ. This mystery of iniquity is not wholly confined to the

Romish church, but extends itself to others also. It seems to

consist of,

1. Human inventions added to the written word.

2. Mere outside performances put in the room of faith and love.

3. Other mediators besides the man Christ Jesus. The two last

branches, together with idolatry and bloodshed, are the direct

consequences of the former; namely, the adding to the word of

God. Already worketh - In the church. Only he that restraineth -

That is, the potentate who successively has Rome in his power.

The emperors, heathen or Christian; the kings, Goths or

Lombards; the Carolingian or German emperors.

8. And then - When every prince and power that restrains is taken

away. Will that wicked one - Emphatically so called, be revealed.

Whom the Lord will soon consume with the spirit of his mouth -

His immediate power. And destroy - With the very first

appearance of his glory.

10. Because they received not the love of the truth - Therefore

God suffered them to fall into that "strong delusion."

11. Therefore God shall send them - That is, judicially permit to

come upon them, strong delusion.

12. That they all may be condemned - That is, the consequence of

which will be, that they all will be condemned who believed not

the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness - That is, who

believed not the truth, because they loved sin.

13. God hath from the beginning - Of your hearing the gospel.

Chosen you to salvation - Taken you out of the world, and placed

you in the way to glory.

14. To which - Faith and holiness. He hath called you by our

gospel - That which we preached, accompanied with the power of

his Spirit.

15. Hold - Without adding to, or diminishing from, the traditions

which ye have been taught - The truths which I have delivered to

you. Whether by word or by our epistle - He preached before he

wrote. And he had written concerning this in his former epistle.


1. May run - Go on swiftly, without any interruption. And be

glorified - Acknowledged as divine, and bring forth much fruit.

2. All men have not faith - And all men who have not are more or

less unreasonable and wicked men.

3. Who will stablish you - That cleave to him by faith. And guard

you from the evil one - And all his instruments.

4. We trust in the Lord concerning you - Thus only should we

trust in any man.

5. Now the Lord - The Spirit, whose proper work this is. Direct -

Lead you straight forward. Into the patience of Christ - Of which

he set you a pattern.

6. That walketh disorderly - Particularly by not working. Not

according to the tradition he received of us - The admonition we

gave, both by word of mouth, and in our former epistle.

10. Neither let him eat - Do not maintain him in idleness.

11. Doing nothing, but being busybodies - To which idleness

naturally disposes.

12. Work quietly - Letting the concerns of other people alone.

14. Have no company with him - No intimacy, no familiarity, no

needless correspondence.

15. Admonish him as a brother - Tell him lovingly of the reason

why you shun him.

16. The Lord of peace - Christ. Give you peace by all means - In

every way and manner.




THE mother of Timothy was a Jewess, but his father was a

gentile. He was converted to Christianity very early; and while he

was yet but a youth, was taken by St. Paul to assist him in the

work of the gospel, chiefly in watering the churches which he had

planted. He was therefore properly, as was Titus, an itinerant

evangelist, a kind of secondary apostle, whose office was, to

regulate all things in the churches to which he was sent; and to

inspect and reform whatsoever was amiss either in the bishops,

deacons, or people. St. Paul had doubtless largely instructed him

in private conversation for the due execution of so weighty an

office. Yet to fix things more upon his mind, and to give him an

opportunity of having recourse to them afterward, and of

communicating them to others, as there might be occasion, as also

to leave divine directions in writing, for the use of the church and

its ministers in all ages; he sent him this excellent pastoral letter,

which contains a great variety of important sentiments for their

regulation. Though St. Paul styles him his "own son in the faith,"

yet he does not appear to have been converted by the apostle; but

only to have been exceeding dear to him, who had established him

therein; and whom he had diligently and faithfully served, like a

son with his father in the gospel. Phil. ii, 22.

The epistle contains three parts:

I. The inscription, C.i.1, 2

II. The instruction of Timothy how to behave at Ephesus, wherein,

1. In general, he gives him an injunction to deliver to them that

taught the law in a wrong manner, and confirms at the same time

the sum of the gospel as exemplified in himself, 3-20

2. In particular,

1. He prescribes to men, a method of prayer,. C.ii.1-8

To women, good works and modesty, 9-15

2. He recounts the requisites of a bishop,. C.iii.1-7

The duties of deacons, 8-10 of women, 11-13

3. He shows what Timothy should teach 14-C.iv.1-6

What he should avoid, 7-11

What follow after, 12-16

How he should treat men and women, C.v.1, 2

Widows, 3-16

Elders, 17-19

Offenders, 20, 21

Himself, 22, 23

Those he doubts of, 24, 25

Servants,, 2

4. False teachers are reproved, 3-10

Timothy is admonished, quickened, 11, 12 and charged, 13-16

Precepts are prescribed to be enforced on the rich, 17-19

III. The conclusion, 20,



1. Paul an apostle-Familiarity is to be set aside where the things of

God are concerned. According to the commandment of God - The

authoritative appointment of God the Father. Our saviour - So

styled in many other places likewise, as being the grand orderer of

the whole scheme of our salvation. And Christ our hope - That is,

the author, object, and ground, of all our hope.

2. Grace, mercy, peace - St. Paul wishes grace and peace in his

epistles to the churches. To Timotheus he adds mercy, the most

tender grace towards those who stand in need of it. The

experience of this prepares a man to be a minister of the gospel.

3. Charge some to teach no other doctrine - Than I have taught.

Let them put nothing in the place of it, add nothing to it.

4. Neither give heed - So as either to teach or regard them. To

fables - Fabulous Jewish traditions. And endless genealogies -

Nor those delivered in scripture, but the long intricate pedigrees

whereby they strove to prove their descent from such or such a

person. Which afford questions - Which lead only to useless and

endless controversies.

5. Whereas the end of the commandment - of the whole Christian

institution. Is love - And this was particularly the end of the

commandment which Timotheus was to enforce at Ephesus, ver.

3, 18. The foundation is faith; the end, love. But this can only

subsist in an heart purified by faith, and is always attended with a

good conscience.

6. From which - Love and a good conscience. Some are turned

aside - An affectation of high and extensive knowledge sets a man

at the greatest distance from faith, and all sense of divine things.

To vain jangling - And of all vanities, none are more vain than

dry, empty disputes on the things of God.

7. Understanding neither the very things they speak, nor the

subject they speak of.

8. We grant the whole Mosaic law is good, answers excellent

purposes, if a man use it in a proper manner. Even the ceremonial

is good, as it points to Christ; and the moral law is holy, just, and

good, on its own nature; and of admirable use both to convince

unbelievers, and to guide believers in all holiness.

9. The law doth not lie against a righteous man - Doth not strike

or condemn him. But against the lawless and disobedient - They

who despise the authority of the lawgiver violate the first

commandment, which is the foundation of the law, and the ground

of all obedience. Against the ungodly and sinners - Who break the

second commandment, worshipping idols, or not worshipping the

true God. The unholy and profane - Who break the third

commandment by taking his name in vain.

10. Manstealers - The worst of all thieves, in comparison of

whom, highwaymen and housebreakers are innocent. What then

are most traders in negroes, procurers of servants for America,

and all who list soldiers by lies, tricks, or enticements?

11. According to the glorious gospel - Which, far from "making

void," does effectually "establish, the law."

12. I thank Christ, who hath enabled me, in that he accounted me

faithful, having put me into the ministry - The meaning is, I thank

him for putting me into the ministry, and enabling me to be

faithful therein.

13. A blasphemer - Of Christ. A persecutor - Of his church. A

reviler - Of his doctrine and people. But I obtained mercy - He

does not say, because I was unconditionally elected; but because I

did it in ignorance. Not that his ignorance took away his sin; but it

left him capable of mercy; which he would hardly have been, had

he acted thus contrary to his own conviction.

14. And the grace - Whereby I obtained mercy. Was exceeding

abundant with faith - Opposite to my preceding unbelief. And

love - Opposite to my blasphemy, persecution, and oppression.

15. This is a faithful saying - A most solemn preface. And worthy

of all acceptation - Well deserving to be accepted, received,

embraced, with all the faculties of our whole soul. That Christ -

Promised. Jesus - Exhibited. Came into the world to save sinners -

All sinners, without exception.

16. For this cause God showed me mercy, that all his

longsuffering might be shown, and that none might hereafter


17. The King of eternity - A phrase frequent with the Hebrews.

How unspeakably sweet is the thought of eternity to believers!

18. This charge I commit to thee - That thou mayest deliver it to

the church. According to the prophecies concerning thee - Uttered

when thou wast received as an evangelist, chap. iv, 14; probably

by many persons, chap. vi, 12; that, being encouraged by them,

thou mightest war the good warfare.

19. Holding fast faith - Which is as a most precious liquor. And a

good conscience - Which is as a clean glass. Which - Namely, a

good conscience. Some having thrust away - It goes away

unwillingly it always says, "Do not hurt me." And they who retain

this do not make shipwreck of their faith. Indeed, none can make

shipwreck of faith who never had it. These, therefore, were once

true believers: yet they fell not only foully, but finally; for ships

once wrecked cannot be afterwards saved.

20. Whom - Though absent. I have delivered to Satan, that they

may learn not to blaspheme - That by what they suffer they may

be in some measure restrained, if they will not repent.


1. I exhort therefore - Seeing God is so gracious. In this chapter he

gives directions,

1. With regard to public prayers

2. With regard to doctrine. Supplication is here the imploring help

in time of need: prayer is any kind of offering up our desires to

God. But true prayer is the vehemency of holy zeal, the ardour of

divine love, arising from a calm, undisturbed soul, moved upon by

the Spirit of God. Intercession is prayer for others. We may

likewise give thanks for all men, in the full sense of the word, for

that God "willeth all men to be saved," and Christ is the Mediator

of all.

2. For all that are in authority - Seeing even the lowest country

magistrates frequently do much good or much harm. God supports

the power of magistracy for the sake of his own people, when, in

the present state of men, it could not otherwise be kept up in any

nation whatever. Godliness - Inward religion; the true worship of

God. Honesty - A comprehensive word taking in the whole duty

we owe to our neighbour.

3. For this - That we pray for all men. Do you ask, "Why are not

more converted?" We do not pray enough. Is acceptable in the

sight of God our saviour - Who has actually saved us that believe,

and willeth all men to be saved. It is strange that any whom he has

actually saved should doubt the universality of his grace!

4. Who willeth seriously all men - Not a part only, much less the

smallest part. To be saved - Eternally. This is treated of, ver. 5, 6.

And, in order thereto, to come - They are not compelled. To the

knowledge of the truth - Which brings salvation. This is treated

of, ver. 6, 7.

5. For - The fourth verse is proved by the fifth; the first, by the

fourth. There is one God - And they who have not him, through

the one Mediator, have no God. One mediator also - We could not

rejoice that there is a God, were there not a mediator also; one

who stands between God and men, to reconcile man to God, and

to transact the whole affair of our salvation. This excludes all

other mediators, as saints and angels, whom the Papists set up and

idolatrously worship as such: just as the heathens of old set up

many mediators, to pacify their superior gods. The man -

Therefore all men are to apply to this mediator, "who gave

himself for all."

6. Who gave himself a ransom for all - Such a ransom, the word

signifies, wherein a like or equal is given; as an eye for an eye, or

life for life: and this ransom, from the dignity of the person

redeeming, was more than equivalent to all mankind. To be

testified of in due season - Literally, in his own seasons; those

chosen by his own wisdom.

8. I will - A word strongly expressing his apostolical authority.

Therefore - This particle connects the eighth with the first verse.

That men pray in every place - Public and private. Wherever men

are, there prayer should be. Lifting up holy hands - Pure from all

known sin. Without wrath - In any kind, against any creature. And

every temper or motion of our soul that is not according to love is

wrath. And doubting - Which is contrary to faith. And wrath, or

unholy actions, or want of faith in him we call upon, are the three

grand hindrances of God's hearing our petitions. Christianity

consists of faith and love, embracing truth and grace: therefore the

sum of our wishes should be, to pray, and live, and die, without

any wrath or doubt.

9. With sobriety - Which, in St. Paul's sense, is the virtue which

governs our whole life according to true wisdom. Not with curled

hair, not with gold - Worn by way of ornament. Not with pearls -

Jewels of any kind: a part is put for the whole. Not with costly

raiment - These four are expressly forbidden by name to all

women (here is no exception) professing godliness, and no art of

man can reconcile with the Christian profession the wilful

violation of an express command.

12. To usurp authority over the man - By public teaching.

13. First - So that woman was originally the inferior.

14. And Adam was not deceived - The serpent deceived Eve: Eve

did not deceive Adam, but persuaded him. "Thou hast hearkened

unto the voice of thy wife," Gen. iii, 17. The preceding verse

showed why a woman should not "usurp authority over the man."

this shows why she ought not "to teach." She is more easily

deceived, and more easily deceives. The woman being deceived

transgressed - "The serpent deceived" her, Gen. iii, 13, and she


15. Yet she - That is, women in general, who were all involved

with Eve in the sentence pronounced, Gen. iii, 16. Shall be saved

in childbearing - Carried safe through the pain and danger which

that sentence entails upon them for the transgression; yea, and

finally saved, if they continue in loving faith and holy wisdom.


1. He desireth a good work - An excellent, but labourious,


2. Therefore - That he may be capable of it. A bishop - Or pastor

of a congregation. Must be blameless - Without fault or just

suspicion. The husband of one wife - This neither means that a

bishop must be married, nor that he may not marry a second wife;

which it is just as lawful for him to do as to marry a first, and may

in some cases be his bounden duty. But whereas polygamy and

divorce on slight occasions were common both among the Jews

and heathens, it teaches us that ministers, of all others, ought to

stand clear of those sins. Vigilant, prudent - Lively and zealous,

yet calm and wise. Of good behaviour - Naturally flowing from

that vigilance and prudence.

4. Having his children in subjection with all seriousness - For

levity undermines all domestic authority; and this direction, by a

parity of reason, belongs to all parents.

6. Lest being puffed up - With this new honour, or with the

applause which frequently follows it. He fall into the

condemnation of the devil - The same into which the devil fell.

7. He ought also to have a good report - To have had a fair

character in time past. From them that are without - That are not

Christians. Lest he fall into reproach - By their rehearsing his

former life, which might discourage and prove a snare to him.

8. Likewise the deacons must be serious - Men of a grave, decent,

venerable behaviour. But where are presbyters? Were this order

essentially distinct from that of bishops, could the apostle have

passed it over in silence? Not desirous of filthy gain - With what

abhorrence does he everywhere speak of this! All that is gained

(above food and raiment) by ministering in holy things is filthy

gain indeed; far more filthy than what is honestly gained by

raking kennels, or emptying common sewers.

9. Holding fast the faith in a pure conscience - Steadfast in faith,

holy in heart and life.

10. Let these be proved first - Let a trial be made how they

believe. Then let them minister - Let them be fixed in that office.

11. Faithful in all things - Both to God, their husbands, and the


13. They purchase a good degree - Or step, toward some higher

office. And much boldness - From the testimony of a good


15. That thou mayest know how to behave - This is the scope of

the epistle. In the house of God - Who is the master of the family.

Which is - As if he had said, By the house of God, I mean the


16. The mystery of godliness - Afterwards specified in six

articles, which sum up the whole economy of Christ upon earth. Is

the pillar and ground - The foundation and support of all the truth

taught in his church. God was manifest in the flesh - In the form

of a servant, the fashion of a man, for three and thirty years.

Justified by the Spirit - Publicly "declared to be the Son of God,"

by his resurrection from the dead. Seen - Chiefly after his

resurrection. By angels - Both good and bad. Preached among the

gentiles - This elegantly follows. The angels were the least, the

gentiles the farthest, removed from him; and the foundation both

of this preaching and of their faith was laid before his assumption.

Was believed on in the world - Opposed to heaven, into which he

was taken up. The first point is, He was manifested in the flesh;

the last, He was taken up into glory.


1. But the Spirit saith - By St. Paul himself to the Thessalonians,

and probably by other contemporary prophets. Expressly - As

concerning a thing of great moment, and soon to be fulfilled. That

in the latter times - These extend from our Lord's ascension till his

coming to judgment. Some - Yea, many, and by degrees the far

greater part. Will depart from the faith - The doctrine once

delivered to the saints. Giving heed to seducing spirits - Who

inspire false prophets.

2. These will depart from the faith, by the hypocrisy of them that

speak lies, having their own consciences as senseless and

unfeeling as flesh that is seared with an hot iron.

3. Forbidding priests, monks, and nuns to marry, and commanding

all men to abstain from such and such meats at such and such

times. Which God hath created to be received by them that know

the truth - That all meats are now clean. With thanksgiving -

Which supposes a pure conscience.

5. It is sanctified by the word of God - Creating all, and giving it

to man for food. And by prayer - The children of God are to pray

for the sanctification of all the creatures which they use. And not

only the Christians, but even the Jews, yea, the very heathens used

to consecrate their table by prayer.

7. Like those who were to contend in the Grecian games, exercise

thyself unto godliness - Train thyself up in holiness of heart and

life, with the utmost labour, vigour, and diligence.

8. Bodily exercise profiteth a little - Increases the health and

strength of the body.

10. Therefore - Animated by this promise. We both labour and

suffer reproach - We regard neither pleasure, ease, nor honour.

Because we trust - For this very thing the world will hate us. In

the living God - Who will give us the life he has promised. Who is

the saviour of all men - Preserving them in this life, and willing to

save them eternally. But especially - In a more eminent manner.

Of them that believe - And so are saved everlastingly.

12. Let no one have reason to despise thee for thy youth. To

prevent this, Be a pattern in word - Public and private. In spirit -

In your whole temper. In faith - When this is placed in the midst

of several other Christian graces, it generally means a particular

branch of it; fidelity or faithfulness.

13. Give thyself to reading - Both publicly and privately.

Enthusiasts, observe this! Expect no end without the means.

14. Neglect not - They neglect it who do not exercise it to the full.

The gift - Of feeding the flock, of power, and love, and sobriety.

Which was given thee by prophecy - By immediate direction from

God. By the laying on of my hands - 2 Tim. i, 6; while the elders

joined also in the solemnity. This presbytery probably consisted

of some others, together with Paul and Silas.

15. Meditate - The Bible makes no distinction between this and to

contemplate, whatever others do. True meditation is no other than

faith, hope, love, joy, melted down together, as it were, by the fire

of God's Holy Spirit; and offered up to God in secret. He that is

wholly in these, will be little in worldly company, in other studies,

in collecting books, medals, or butterflies: wherein many pastors

drone away so considerable a part of their lives.

16. Continue in them - In all the preceding advices.


1. Rebuke not - Considering your own youth, with such a severity

as would otherwise be proper.

3. honour - That is, maintain out of the public stock.

4. Let these learn to requite their parents - For all their former

care, trouble, and expense.

5. Widows indeed - Who have no near relations to provide for

them; and who are wholly devoted to God. Desolate - Having

neither children, nor grandchildren to relieve her.

6. She that liveth in pleasure - Delicately, voluptuously, in

elegant, regular sensuality, though not in the use of any such

pleasures as are unlawful in themselves.

7. That they - That is, the widows.

8. If any provide not - Food and raiment. For his own - Mother

and grandmother, being desolate widows. He hath - Virtually.

Denied the faith - Which does not destroy, but perfect, natural

duties. What has this to do with heaping up money for our

children, for which it is often so impertinently alleged? But all

men have their reasons for laying up money. One will go to hell

for fear of want; another acts like a heathen, lest he should be

worse than an infidel.

9. Let not a widow be chosen - Into the number of deaconesses,

who attended sick women or travelling preachers. Under

threescore - Afterwards they were admitted at forty, if they were

eminent for holiness. Having been the wife of one husband - That

is, having lived in lawful marriage, whether with one or more

persons successively.

10. If she hath washed the feet of the saints - Has been ready to do

the meanest offices for them.

11. Refuse - Do not choose. For when they are waxed wanton

against Christ - To whose more immediate service they had

addicted themselves. They want to marry - And not with a single

eye to the glory of God; and so withdraw themselves from that

entire service of the church to which they were before engaged.

12. They have rejected their first faith - Have deserted their trust

in God, and have acted contrary to the first conviction, namely,

that wholly to devote themselves to his service was the most

excellent way. When we first receive power to believe, does not

the Spirit of God generally point out what are the most excellent

things; and at the same time, give us an holy resolution to walk in

the highest degree of Christian severity? And how unwise are we

ever to sink into anything below it!

14. I counsel therefore the younger women - Widows or virgins,

such as are not disposed to live single. To marry, to bear children,

to guide the family - Then will they have sufficient employment

of their own. And give no occasion of reproach to the adversary -

Whether Jew or heathen.

15. Some - Widows. Have turned aside after Satan - Who has

drawn them from Christ.

17. Let the elders that rule well - Who approve themselves faithful

stewards of all that is committed to their charge. Be counted

worthy of double honour - A more abundant provision, seeing that

such will employ it all to the glory of God. As it was the most

labourious and disinterested men who were put into these offices,

so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was

generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the

churchmen became very rich in after ages, but as the design of the

donors was something else, there is the highest reason why it

should be disposed of according to their pious intent. Especially

those - Of them. Who labour - Diligently and painfully. In the

word and teaching - In teaching the word.

18. Deut. xxv, 4

19. Against an elder - Or presbyter. Do not even receive an

accusation, unless by two or three witnesses - By the Mosaic law,

a private person might be cited (though not condemned) on the

testimony of one witness; but St. Paul forbids an elder to be even

cited on such evidence, his reputation being of more importance

than that of others.

20. Those - Elders. That sin - Scandalously, and are duly

convicted. Rebuke before all - The church.

21. I charge thee before God - Referring to the last judgment, in

which we shall stand before God and Christ, with his elect, that is,

holy, angels, who are the witnesses of our conversation. The

apostle looks through his own labours, and even through time

itself, and seems to stand as one already in eternity. That thou

observe these things without prejudging - Passing no sentence till

the cause is fully heard. Or partiality - For or against any one.

22. Lay hands suddenly on no man - That is, appoint no man to

church offices without full trial and examination; else thou wilt be

accessary to, and accountable for, his misbehaviour in his office.

Keep thy self pure - From the blood of all men.

24. Some men's sins are manifest beforehand - Before any strict

inquiry be made. Going before to judgment - So that you may

immediately judge them unworthy of any spiritual office. And

some they - Their sins. Follow after - More covertly.

25. They that are otherwise - Not so manifest. Cannot be long hid

- From thy knowledge. On this account, also, be not hasty in

laying on of hands.


1. Let servants under the yoke - Of heathen masters. Account

them worthy of all honour - All the honour due from a servant to a

master. Lest the name of God and his doctrine be blasphemed - As

it surely will, if they do otherwise.

2. Let them not despise them - Pay them the less honour or

obedience. Because they are brethren - And in that respect on a

level with them. They that live in a religious community know the

danger of this; and that greater grace is requisite to bear with the

faults of a brother, than of an infidel, or man of the world. But

rather do them service - Serve them so much the more diligently.

Because they are joint partakers of the great benefit - Salvation.

These things - Paul, the aged, gives young Timotheus a charge to

dwell upon practical holiness. Less experienced teachers are apt to

neglect the superstructure, whilst they lay the foundation; but of

so great importance did St. Paul see it to enforce obedience to

Christ, as well as to preach faith in his blood, that, after strongly

urging the life of faith on professors, he even adds another charge

for the strict observance of it.

3. If any teach otherwise - Than strict practical holiness in all Its

branches. And consent not to sound words - Literally, healthful

words; words that have no taint of falsehood, or tendency to

encourage sin. And the doctrine which is after godliness -

Exquisitely contrived to answer all the ends, and secure every

interest, of real piety.

4. He is puffed up - Which is the cause of his not consenting to

the doctrine which is after inward, practical religion. By this mark

we may know them. Knowing nothing - As he ought to know.

Sick of questions - Doatinglyy fond of dispute; an evil, but

common, disease; especially where practice is forgotten. Such,

indeed, contend earnestly for singular phrases, and favourite

points of their own. Everything else, however, like the preaching

of Christ and his apostles, is all "law," and "bondage," and "carnal

reasoning." Strifes of words - Merely verbal controversies.

Whereof cometh envy - Of the gifts and success of others.

Contention - For the pre-eminence. Such disputants seldom like

the prosperity of others, or to be less esteemed themselves. Evil

surmisings - It not being their way to think well of those that

differ from themselves in opinion.

5. Supposing that gain is godliness - Thinking the best religion is

the getting of money: a far more common case than is usually


6. But godliness with content - The inseparable companion of

true, vital religion. Is great gain - Brings unspeakable profit in

time, as well as eternity.

7. Neither can we carry anything out - To what purpose, then, do

we heap together so many things? O, give me one thing, - a safe

and ready passage to my own country!

8. Covering - That is, raiment and an house to cover us. This is all

that a Christian needs, and all that his religion allows him to


9. They that desire to be rich - To have more than these; for then

they would be so far rich; and the very desire banishes content,

and exposes them to ruin. Fall-plunge - A sad gradation! Into

temptation - Miserable food for the soul! And a snare - Or trap.

Dreadful "covering!" And into many foolish and hurtful desires -

Which are sown and fed by having more than we need. Then

farewell all hope of content! What then remains, but destruction

for the body, and perdition for the soul?

10. Love of money - Commonly called "prudent care" of what a

man has. Is the root - The parent of all manner of evils. Which

some coveting have erred - Literally, missed the mark. They

aimed not at faith, but at something else. And pierced themselves

with many sorrows - From a guilty conscience, tormenting

passions, desires contrary to reason, religion, and one another.

How cruel are worldly men to themselves!

11. But thou, O man of God - Whatever all the world else do. A

man of God is either a prophet, a messenger of God, or a man

devoted to God; a man of another world. Flee - As from a serpent,

instead of coveting these things. Follow after righteousness - The

whole image of God; though sometimes this word is used, not in

the general, but in the particular, acceptation, meaning only that

single branch of it which is termed justice. Faith - Which is also

taken here in the general and full sense; namely, a divine,

supernatural sight of God, chiefly in respect of his mercy in

Christ. This faith is the foundation of righteousness, the support of

godliness, the root of every grace of the Spirit. Love - This St.

Paul intermixes with everything that is good: he, as it were,

penetrates whatever he treats of with love, the glorious spring of

all inward and outward holiness.

12. Fight the good fight of faith - Not about words. Lay hold on

eternal life - Just before thee. Thou hast confessed the good

confession - Perhaps at his baptism: so likewise, ver. 13; but with

a remarkable variation of the expression. Thou hast confessed the

good confession before many witnesses - To which they all

assented. He witnessed the good confession; but Pilate did not

assent to it.

13. I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things - Who

hath quickened thee, and will quicken thee at the great day.

15. Which - Appearing. In his own times - The power, the

knowledge, and the Revelation of which, remain in his eternal


16. Who only hath underived, independent immortality. Dwelling

in light unapproachable - To the highest angel. Whom no man

hath seen, or can see - With bodily eyes. Yet "we shall see him as

he is."

17. What follows seems to be a kind of a postscript. Charge the

rich in this world - Rich in such beggarly riches as this world

affords. Not to be highminded - O who regards this! Not to think

better of themselves for their money, or anything it can purchase.

Neither to trust in uncertain riches - Which they may lose in an

hour; either for happiness or defense. But in the living God - All

the rest is dead clay. Who giveth us - As it were holding them out

to us in his hand. All things - Which we have. Richly - Freely,

abundantly. To enjoy - As his gift, in him and for him. When we

use them thus, we do indeed enjoy all things. Where else is there

any notice taken of the rich, in all the apostolic writings, save to

denounce woes and vengeance upon them?

18. To do good - To make this their daily employ, that they may

be rich - May abound in all good works. Ready to distribute -

Singly to particular persons. Willing to communicate - To join in

all public works of charity.

19. Treasuring up for themselves a good foundation - Of an

abundant reward, by the free mercy of God. That they may lay

hold on eternal life - This cannot be done by alms-deeds; yet they

"come up for a memorial before God," Acts x, 4. And the lack

even of this may be the cause why God will withhold grace and

salvation from us.

20. Keep that which is committed to thy trust - The charge I have

given thee, chap. i, 18. Avoid profane empty babblings - How

weary of controversy was this acute disputant! And knowledge

falsely so called - Most of the ancient heretics were great

pretenders to knowledge.




THIS epistle was probably wrote by St. Paul, during his second

confinement at Rome, not long before his martyrdom. It is, as it

were, the swan's dying song. But though it was wrote many years

after the former, yet they are both of the same kind, and nearly

resemble each other.

It has three parts:

I. The inscription, Chap. i. 1, 2

II. An invitation, "Come to me," variously expressed,

1. Having declared his love to Timothy, 3-5

he exhorts him, " Be

not ashamed of me." 6-14

And subjoins various examples, 15-18

2. He adds the twofold proposition,

1. "Be strong,"

2. "Commit the ministry" to faithful men,. ii. 1, 2

The former is treated of, 3-13

The latter, 14

With farther directions concerning his own behaviour, 15- iv.8

3. "Come quickly." Here St. Paul, 9

1. Mentions his being left alone, 10-12

2. Directs to bring his books, 13

3. Gives a caution concerning Alexander, 14, 15

4. Observes the inconstancy of men, and the faithfulness of God,


4. "Come before winter." Salutations, 19-21

III. The concluding blessing, 22



3. Whom I serve from my forefathers - That is, whom both I and

my ancestors served, with a pure conscience - He always

worshipped God according to his conscience, both before and

after his conversion One who stands on the verge of life is much

refreshed by the remembrance of his predecessors, to whom he is


4. Being mindful of thy tears - Perhaps frequently shed, as well as

at the apostle's last parting with him.

5. Which dwelt - A word not applied to a transient guest, but only

to a settled inhabitant. First - Probably this was before Timothy

was born, yet not beyond St. Paul's memory.

6. Wherefore - Because I remember this. I remind thee of stirring

up - Literally, blowing up the coals into a flame. The gift of God -

All the spiritual gifts, which the grace of God has given thee.

7. And let nothing discourage thee, for God hath not given us -

That is, the spirit which God hath given us Christians, is not the

spirit of fear - Or cowardice. But of power - Banishing fear. And

love and sobriety - These animate us in our duties to God, our

brethren, and ourselves. Power and sobriety are two good

extremes. Love is between, the tie and temperament of both;

preventing the two bad extremes of fearfulness and rashness.

More is said concerning power, ver. 8; concerning love,

chap. ii, 14, &c.; concerning sobriety, chap. iii, 1, &c.

8. Therefore be not thou ashamed - When fear is banished, evil

shame also flees away. Of the testimony of our Lord - The gospel,

and of testifying the truth of it to all men. Nor of me - The cause

of the servants of God doing his work, cannot be separated from

the cause of God himself. But be thou partaker of the afflictions -

Which I endure for the gospel's sake. According to the power of

God - This which overcomes all things is nervously described in

the two next verses.

9. Who hath saved us - By faith. The love of the Father, the grace

of our saviour, and the whole economy of salvation, are here

admirably described. Having called us with an holy calling -

Which is all from God, and claims us all for God. According to

his own purpose and grace - That is, his own gracious purpose.

Which was given us - Fixed for our advantage, before the world


10. By the appearing of our saviour - This implies his whole

abode upon earth. Who hath abolished death - Taken away its

sting, and turned it into a blessing. And hath brought life and

immortality to light - Hath clearly revealed by the gospel that

immortal life which he hath purchased for us.

12. That which I have committed to him - My soul. Until that day

- Of his final appearing.

13. The pattern of sound words - The model of pure, wholesome


14. The good thing - This wholesome doctrine.

15. All who are in Asia - Who had attended me at Rome for a

while. Are turned away from me - What, from Paul the aged, the

faithful soldier, and now prisoner of Christ! This was a glorious

trial, and wisely reserved for that time, when he was on the

borders of immortality. Perhaps a little measure of the same spirit

might remain with him under whose picture are those affecting

words, "The true effigy of Francis Xavier, apostle of the Indies,

forsaken of all men, dying in a cottage."

16. The family of Onesiphorus - As well as himself. Hath often

refreshed me - Both at Ephesus and Rome.


2. The things - The wholesome doctrine, ver. 13. Commit - Before

thou leavest Ephesus. To faithful men, who will be able, after

thou art gone, to teach others.

4. No man that warreth entangleth himself - Any more than is

unavoidable. In the affairs of this life - With worldly business or

cares. That - Minding war only, he may please his captain. In this

and the next verse there is a plain allusion to the Roman law of

arms, and to that of the Grecian games. According to the former,

no soldier was to engage in any civil employment; according to

the latter, none could be crowned as conqueror, who did not keep

strictly to the rules of the game.

6. Unless he labour first, he will reap no fruit.

8. Of the seed of David - This one genealogy attend to.

9. Is not bound - Not hindered in its course.

10. Therefore - Encouraged by this, that "the word of God be not

bound." I endure all things - See the spirit of a real Christian?

Who would not wish to be likeminded? Salvation is deliverance

from all evil; glory, the enjoyment of all good.

11. Dead with him - Dead to sin, and ready to die for him.

12. If we deny him - To escape suffering for him.

13. If we believe not - That is, though some believe not, God will

make good all his promises to them that do believe. He cannot

deny himself - His word cannot fail.

14. Remind them - Who are under thy charge. O how many

unnecessary things are thus unprofitably, nay hurtfully, contended


15. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed - Either of

unfaithfulness or unskilfulness. Rightly dividing the word of truth

- Duly explaining and applying the whole scripture, so as to give

each hearer his due portion. But they that give one part of the

gospel to all (the promises and comforts to unawakened,

hardened, scoffing men) have real need to be ashamed.

16. They - Who babble thus will grow worse and worse.

17. And their word - If they go on, will be mischievous as well as

vain, and will eat as a gangrene.

18. Saying the resurrection is already past - Perhaps asserting that

it is only the spiritual passing from death unto life.

19. But the foundation of God - His truth and faithfulness.

Standeth fast - Can never be overthrown; being as it were sealed

with a seal, which has an inscription on each side: on the one, The

Lord knoweth those that are his; on the other, Let every one who

nameth the name of the Lord, as his Lord, depart from iniquity.

Indeed, they only are his who depart from iniquity. To all others

he will say, "I know you not." Matt. vii, 22, 23

20. But in a great house - Such as the church, it is not strange that

there are not only vessels of gold and silver, designed for

honourable uses, but also of wood and of earth - For less

honourable purposes. Yet a vessel even of gold may be put to the

vilest use, though it was not the design of him that made it.

21. If a man purge himself from these - Vessels of dishonour, so

as to have no fellowship with them.

22. Flee youthful desires - Those peculiarly incident to youth.

Follow peace with them - Unity with all true believers. Out of a

pure heart-Youthful desires, destroy this purity: righteousness,

faith, love, peace, accompany it.

24. A servant of the Lord must not - Eagerly or passionately.

Strive - As do the vain wranglers spoken of, verse 23. But be apt

to teach - Chiefly by patience and unwearied assiduity.

25. In meekness - He has often need of zeal, always of meekness.

If haply God - For it is wholly his work. May give them

repentance - The acknowledging of the truth would then quickly


26. Who - At present are not only captives, but asleep; utterly

insensible of their captivity.


1. In the last days - The time of the gospel dispensation,

commencing at the time of our Lord's death, is peculiarly styled

the last days. Grievous - Troublesome and dangerous.

2. For men - Even in the church. Will be - In great numbers, and

to an higher degree than ever. Lovers of themselves - Only, not

their neighbours, the first root of evil. Lovers of money - The


3. Without natural affection - To their own children. Intemperate,

fierce - Both too soft, and too hard.

4. Lovers of sensual pleasure - Which naturally extinguishes all

love and sense of God.

5. Having a form - An appearance of godliness, but not regarding,

nay, even denying and blaspheming, the inward power and reality

of it. Is not this eminently fulfilled at this day?

6. Of these - That is, mere formalists.

7. Ever learning - New things. But not the truth of God.

8. Several ancient writers speak of Jannes and Jambres, as the

chief of the Egyptian magicians. Men of corrupt minds - Impure

notions and wicked inclinations. Void of judgment - Quite

ignorant, as well as careless, of true, spiritual religion.

9. They shall proceed no farther - In gaining proselytes.

12. All that are resolved to live godly - Therefore count the cost.

Art thou resolved? In Christ - Out of Christ there is no godliness.

Shall suffer persecution - More or less. There is no exception.

Either the truth of scripture fails, or those that think they are

religious, and are not persecuted, in some shape or other, on that

very account, deceive themselves.

13. Deceiving and being deceived - He who has once begun to

deceive others is both the less likely to recover from his own

error, and the more ready to embrace the errors of other men.

14. From whom - Even from me a teacher approved of God.

15. From an infant thou hast known the holy scriptures - Of the

Old Testament. These only were extant when Timothy was an

infant. Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through

faith in the Messiah that was to come. How much more are the

Old and New Testament together able, in God's hand, to make us

more abundantly wise unto salvation! Even such a measure of

present salvation as was not known before Jesus was glorified.

16. All scripture is inspired of God - The Spirit of God not only

once inspired those who wrote it, but continually inspires,

supernaturally assists, those that read it with earnest prayer. Hence

it is so profitable for doctrine, for instruction of the ignorant, for

the reproof or conviction of them that are in error or sin, for the

correction or amendment of whatever is amiss, and for instructing

or training up the children of God in all righteousness.

17. That the man of God - He that is united to and approved of

God. May be perfect - Blameless himself, and throughly furnished

- By the scripture, either to teach, reprove, correct, or train up



1. I charge thee therefore - This is deduced from the whole

preceding chapter. At his appearing and his kingdom - That is, at

his appearing in the kingdom of glory.

2. Be instant - Insist on, urge these things in season, out of season

- That is, continually, at all times and places. It might be

translated, with and without opportunity - Not only when a fair

occasion is given: even when there is none, one must be made.

3. For they will heap up teachers - Therefore thou hast need of "all

longsuffering." According to their own desires - Smooth as they

can wish. Having itching ears - Fond of novelty and variety,

which the number of new teachers, as well as their empty, soft, or

philosophical discourses, pleased. Such teachers, and such

hearers, seldom are much concerned with what is strict or to the

purpose. Heap to themselves - Not enduring sound doctrine, they

will reject the sound preachers, and gather together all that suit

their own taste. Probably they send out one another as teachers,

and so are never at a loss for numbers.

5. Watch - An earnest, constant, persevering exercise. The

scripture watching, or waiting, implies steadfast faith, patient

hope, labouring love, unceasing prayer; yea, the mighty exertion

of all the affections of the soul that a man is capable of. In all

things - Whatever you are doing, yet in that, and in all things,

watch. Do the work of an evangelist - Which was next to that of

an apostle.

6. The time of my departure is at hand - So undoubtedly God had

shown him. I am ready to be offered up - Literally, to be poured

out, as the wine and oil were on the ancient sacrifices.

8. The crown of that righteousness - Which God has imputed to

me and wrought in me. Will render to all - This increases the joy

of Paul, and encourages Timotheus. Many of these St. Paul

himself had gained. That have loved his appearing - Which only a

real Christian can do. I say a real Christian, to comply with the

mode of the times: else they would not understand, although the

word Christian necessarily implies whatsoever is holy, as God is

holy. Strictly speaking, to join real or sincere to a word of so

complete an import, is grievously to debase its noble signification,

and is like adding long to eternity or wide to immensity.

9. Come to me - Both that he might comfort him, and be

strengthened by him. Timotheus himself is said to have suffered at


10. Demas - Once my fellowlabourer, Phil. i, 24. Hath forsaken

me. Crescens, probably a preacher also, is gone, with my consent,

to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, having now left Crete. These either

went with him to Rome, or visited him there.

11. Only Luke - Of my fellowlabourers, is with me - But God is

with me; and it is enough. Take Mark - Who, though he once

"departed from the work," is now again profitable to me.

13. The cloak - Either the toga, which belonged to him as a

Roman citizen, or an upper garment, which might be needful as

winter came on. Which I left at Troas with Carpus - Who was

probably his host there. Especially the parchments - The books

written on parchment.

14. The Lord will reward him - This he spoke prophetically.

16. All - My friends and companions. Forsook me - And do we

expect to find such as will not forsake us? My first defense -

Before the savage emperor Nero.

17. The preaching - The gospel which we preach.

18. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work - Which is

far more than delivering me from death. Yea, and, over and

above, preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom - Far better than

that of Nero.

20. When I came on, Erastus abode at Corinth - Being

chamberlain of the city, Rom. xvi, 23. But Trophimus I have left

sick - Not having power (as neither had any of the apostles) to

work miracles when he pleased, but only when God pleased.



TITUS was converted from heathenism by St. Paul, and, as it

seems, very early; since the apostle accounted him as his brother

at his first going into Macedonia: and he managed and settled the

churches there, when St. Paul thought not good to go thither

himself. He had now left him at Crete, to regulate the churches; to

assist him wherein, he wrote this epistle, as is generally believed,

after the First, and before the Second, to Timothy. The tenor and

style are much alike in this and in those; and they cast much light

on each other, and are worthy the serious attention of all Christian

ministers and churches in all ages.

This epistle has four parts:

I. The inscription, Chap. i, 1-4

II. The instruction of Titus to this effect

1. Ordain good presbyters, 5-9

2. Such are especially needful at Crete, 10-12

3. Reprove and admonish the Cretans, 13-16

4. Teach aged men and women, ii. 1-5

And young men, being a pattern to them, 6-8

And servants, urging them by a glorious motive,. 9-15

5. Press obedience to magistrates, and gentleness to all men, iii.


Enforcing it by the same motive, 3-7

6. Good works are to be done, foolish questions avoided. heretics

shunned, 8-11

III. An invitation of Titus to Nicopolis, with some admonitions,


IV. The conclusion,



1. Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ - Titles

suitable to the person of Paul, and the office he was assigning to

Titus. According to the faith - The propagating of which is the

proper business of an apostle. A servant of God - According to the

faith of the elect. An apostle of Jesus Christ - According to the

knowledge of the truth. We serve God according to the measure

of our faith: we fulfil o