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Verse 42. These little ones. By these are clearly meant his disciples. They are called little ones, to denote their want of wealth, rank, learning, and whatever the world calls great. They were little in the estimation of the world, and in their own estimation. They were learners, not yet teachers; and they made no pretensions to what attracts the admiration of mankind.

A cup of cold water only. Few would refuse a cup of cold water to any man, if thirsty and weary; and yet few would give it to such an one because he was a Christian, or to express attachment to the Lord Jesus. In bestowing it on a man because he was a Christian, he would show love to the Saviour himself; in the other case, he would give it from mere sympathy, or kindness, evincing no regard for the Christian, the Christian's Master, or His cause. In one case, he would show that he loved the cause of religion; in the other, not.



(1.) From the narrative in this chapter, in connexion with that in Luke, we are permitted to see the Savior's habits in regard to prayer. An important event was before him; an event on which, humanly speaking, depended the whole success of his religion—the choice of those who should be his messengers to mankind. He felt its importance; and even the Son of God sought the place of prayer, and during the night watches asked the direction of his Father. His example shows that we, in great and trying circumstances, should seek particularly the direction of God.

(2.) We see the benevolence of the gospel, Mt 10:7,8. The apostles were to confer the highest favours on mankind without reward. Like air, and sun-beams, and water—gifts of God—they are without price. The poor are welcome; the rich, unaided by their wealth, are welcome also; the wide world may freely come, and partake the rich blessings of the gospel of peace.

(3.) Ministers of the gospel, and all the followers of Jesus, should depend on the providence of God for support, and the supply of their wants, Mt 10:9,10. He sent his apostles into a cold, unfriendly world, and he took care of them. So all that trust him shall not want. The righteous shall not be forsaken. The God who has in his hand all the pearls of the ocean, the gold in the heart of the earth, and the cattle on a thousand hills, and that feeds the raven when it cries, will hear the cries of his children, and supply their wants.

(4.) We see the duty of treating kindly the messengers of salvation, Mt 10:11-13. Christ expected that in every city and town they would find some who would welcome them. He promised the reward of a prophet to those who should receive a prophet; and assured of his favour those who had nothing better to bestow than even a cup of cold water. The ministers of religion are sent to benefit the world. It is but right, that in that world they should be kindly received, and their wants supplied.

(5.) The guilt of rejecting the gospel, Mt 10:14,15. It is not a small matter to reject an offer of heaven. A palace, a throne, a mine of gold, might be rejected; and, compared with rejecting the gospel, it would be a trifle. But life eternal is not like thrones, and gold, and temples. This lost, all is lost. The gospel rejected, all is gone. Nor hope, nor happiness, awaits him that hath spurned this offer. God requires every one to believe the gospel; and woe, woe, a greater woe than befell the guilty cities of the plain, to him who rejects it.

(6.) Judgment will certainly overtake the guilty, Mt 10:15. It fell on Sodom, and it will fall on all transgressors. None shall escape. Damnation may slumber long over the wicked; and they may long mock the God of truth; but in due time their feet will slide, and all creation shall not be able to save them from woe. How dangerous, how awful is the condition of an impenitent sinner!

(7.) We are to take proper care of our lives, Mt 10:23. The apostles were to flee from danger, when they could do it without denying their Lord. So are we. He that throws away his life, when it might have been, and ought to have been preserved, is a self-murderer. He that exposes himself when duty does not require it, and whose life pays the forfeit, goes before God "rushing unbid into his Maker's presence," nor can he be held guiltless.

(8.) We are to persevere in our duty, through all trials, Mt 10:23. Neither the world, nor pain, poverty, persecution, nor death, is to appall us. He that endures to the end, shall be saved. We hate but one thing to do: to do the will of God; to be the Christian everywhere; and leave the event with him.

(9.) God exercises a particular providence, Mt 10:29,30. He watches the falling sparrow, numbers the hairs of the head, and for the same reason presides over all other things. "The Lord reigneth," says the Psalmist, "let the earth rejoice," Ps 97:1.

(10.) The duty of making a profession of religion, Mt 10:32,33. It must be done in the proper way, or Christ will disown us in the day of judgment. It is impossible to neglect it, and have evidence of piety. If ashamed of him, he will be of us.

(11.) Religion is easy, and easily tested, Mt 10:40-42. What more easy than to give a cup of water to a stranger; and what more easy than to know from what motive we do it! Yet how many are there who, while they would do the thing, would yet lose eternal life, rather than do it with a view of honouring Christ, or showing attachment to him! How dreadful is the opposition of the human heart to religion! How amazing that man will not do the slightest acts to secure an interest in the kingdom of God!

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