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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.
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.
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 all 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. Woe 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 Christianity.
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.
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.
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