And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
23. And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to him, saying By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee that authority?  24. And Jesus answering said to them, I also will ask you something, which if you shall tell me, I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25. Whence was the baptism of John? From heaven, or from men? But they thought within themselves saying, If we shall say, From heaven, he will say to us, Why then did you not believe him? 26. But if we shall say, From men, we dread the multitude, for they all hold John for a prophet. 27. And answering Jesus, they said, We do not know. And he saith to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
27. And they come again to Jerusalem; and while he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and scribes, and elders, come to him. 28. And they say to him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee that authority  to do these things? 29. And Jesus answering said to them, I will also ask you something, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30. Whether was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me. 31. And they thought within themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven, he will say, Why then did you not believe him? 32. But if we say, From men, they dreaded the people;  for all reckoned John that he was truly a prophet. 33. And they answering say to Jesus, We do not know. And Jesus answering saith to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
1. And it happened on one of those days, while he was teaching the people in the temple, and preaching the gospel, the chief priests, and scribes, with the elders, came upon him, 2. And spoke to him saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee that authority? 3. And Jesus answering said to them, I will also ask you something, and answer me. 4. Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? 5. But they reasoned within themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven, he will say, Why then did you not believe him? 6. But if we shall say, From men, all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John is a prophet. 7. And they answered, That they did not know whence it was. 8. And Jesus said to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 21:23. By what authority doest thou these things. As the other schemes and open attempts to attack Christ had not succeeded, the priests and scribes now attempt, by indirect methods, if they may possibly cause him to desist from the practice of teaching. They do not debate with him as to the doctrine itself, whether it was true or not--for already had they often enough attacked him in vain on that question--but they raise a dispute as to his calling and commission. And, indeed, there were plausible grounds; for since a man ought not, of his own accord, to intermeddle either with the honor of priesthood, or with the prophetical office, but ought to wait for the calling of God, much less would any man be at liberty to claim for himself the title of Messiah, unless it were evident that he had been chosen by God; for he must have been appointed, not only by the voice of God, but likewise by an oath, as it is written, (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:21.)
But when the divine majesty of Christ had been attested by so many miracles, they act maliciously and wickedly in inquiring whence he came, as if they had been ignorant of all that he had done. For what could be more unreasonable than that., after seeing the hand of God openly displayed in curing the lame and blind, they should doubt if he were a private individual who had rashly assumed this authority? Besides, more than enough of evidence had been already laid before them., that Christ was sent from heaven., so that nothing was farther from their wish than to approve of the performances of Christ, after having learned that God was the Author of them. They therefore insist on this., that he is not a lawful minister of God, because he had not been chosen by their votes, as if the power had dwelt solely with them. But though they had been the lawful guardians of the Church, still it was monstrous to rise up against God. We now understand why Christ did not make a direct reply to them. It was because they wickedly and shamelessly interrogated him about a matter which was well known.
25 Whence was the baptism of John? Christ interrogates them about the baptism of John, not only to show that they were unworthy of any authority, because they had despised a holy prophet of God, but also to convict them, by their own reply, of having impudently pretended ignorance of a matter with which they were well acquainted. For we must bear in mind why John was sent, what was his commission, and on what subject he most of all insisted. He had been sent as Christ's herald. He was not deficient in his duty, and claims nothing more for himself than to
In short., he had pointed out Christ with the finger, and had declared him to be the only Son of God. From what source then do the scribes mean that the new authority of Christ should be proved, since it had been fully attested by the preaching of John?
We now see that Christ employed no cunning stratagem in order to escape, but fully and perfectly answered the question which had been proposed; for it was impossible to acknowledge that John was a servant of God, without acknowledging that he was Himself the Lord. He did not therefore shelter arrogant men,  who without any commission, but out of their own hardihood, take upon themselves a public office; nor did he countenance, by his example, the art of suppressing the truth, as many crafty men falsely plead his authority. I do acknowledge that, if wicked men lay snares for us, we ought not always to reply in the same way, but ought to be prudently on our guard against their malice, yet in such a manner that truth may not be left without a proper defense.
Baptism denotes here not only the sign of washing, but the whole ministry of John; for Christ intended to draw out a reply, Was John a true and lawful prophet of God, or an impostor? Yet this mode of expression contains a useful doctrine, Is the of John from God, or from men? For hence we infer, that no doctrine and no sacrament ought to be received among the godly, unless it be evident that it has come from God; and that men are not at liberty to make any invention of this nature. The discourse relates to John, whom our Lord, in another passage, raises, by a remarkable commendation, above all the prophets, (Luke 7:26, 28.) Yet Christ declares that his baptism ought not to be received, unless it had been enjoined by God. What, then, must we say of the pretended sacraments, which men of no authority have foolishly introduced without any command from God? For Christ plainly declares by these words, that the whole government of the Church depends on the will of God in such a manner, that men have no right to introduce any thing from themselves.
But they thought within themselves. Here we perceive the impiety of the priests. They do not inquire what is true, nor do they put the question to their own conscience;  and they are so base as to choose rather to shuffle than to acknowledge what they know to be true, that their tyranny may not be impaired. In this manner, all wicked men, though they pretend to be desirous of learning, shut the gate of truth, if they feel it to be opposed to their wicked desires. So then Christ does not allow those men to go without a reply, but sends them away ashamed and confounded, and, by bringing forward the testimony of John, sufficiently proves that he is furnished with divine power. 
 "Et qui est celuy qui t'a donn? ceste authorit??" -- "And who is he that gave thee that authority?"
 "Et qui est celuy qui t'a donn? ceste authorit??" -- "And who is he that gave thee that authority?"
 "Nous craignous le peuple;" -- "we dread the people."
 "Ainsi done Christ n'a point voulu yei armer de response des glorieux et outrecuidez;" -- "so then Christ did not intend here to arm, by his reply, haughty and presumptuous men."
 "Et n'examinent point la chose selon leur conscience;"--" and do not examine the thing according to their conscience."
 "Qu'il est muni et authoriz? d'une puissance divine;" -- "that he is furnished and authorized by a divine power."
And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
33. Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and surrounded it by a ditch, and dug a wine-press in it, and built a tower, and let it to husbandmen, and went abroad, 34. And when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive its fruits. 35. And the husbandmen, having seized his servants, wounded one, killed another, and stoned another. 36. Again, he sent other servants more numerous  than the first, and they did to them in the same manner. 37. And last of all he sent to them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38. And when the husbandmen saw his son, they said within themselves, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and seize on his inheritance. 39. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40. When therefore the proprietor of the vineyard shall come, what will he do to those husbandmen? 41. They say to him, Since they are wicked, he will miserably destroy them, and will let his vineyard to other husbandmen, who will render to him the fruit in its seasons. 42. Jesus saith to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected is made the head of the corner;  this is done by the Lord, and is wonderful in our eyes?  43. Therefore I say to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation yielding its fruits. 44. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be bruised, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will crush him. 45. And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he spoke of them. 46. And though they sought to take him, they dreaded the multitudes, because they reckoned him a prophet.
1. And he began to speak to them by parables: A man planted a vineyard, and surrounded it by a hedge, and dug a ditch,  and built a tower, and let it to husbandmen and went abroad. 2. And at the proper season he sent a servant, to the husbandmen to receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4. And again he sent to them another servant; and they threw stones at him, and bruised his head, and sent him away disgraced. 5. And again he sent another, and him they killed, and many others, beating some and killing some. 6. And while he had yet one son,  his well-beloved, he sent him also last to them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7. But the husbandmen said within themselves, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8. And they seized him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9. What then will the proprietor of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and give the vineyard to others. 10. And have you not read the Scripture, The stone which the builders rejected is made the head of the corner; 11. This is done by the Lord, and is wonderful in our eyes?  12. And they sought to take him, and dreaded the multitude; for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went away.
9. And he began to speak to the people this parable: A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it to husbandmen, and went abroad for a long time. 10. And at the proper season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they might give him of the fruit of the vineyard; and they beat him, and sent him away empty. 11. And again he sent yet another servant; and him also they wounded, and drove out. 13. And the proprietor of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my well-beloved son; perhaps they will reverence him when they see him. 14. But when the husbandmen saw him, they thought within themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15. And they cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. What then shall the proprietor of the vineyard do to them? 16. He will come and destroy those husbandmen, and give the vineyard to others. And when they heard this, they said, God forbid. 17. And he looked at them, and said, What then is this that is written, The stone which the builders rejected is made the head of the corner? 18. Every one that shall fall on this stone will be bruised; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will crush him. 19. And the chief priests and scribes sought at that hour to lay hands on him; (and they dreaded the people;) for they knew that he had spoken this parable against them.
Matthew 21:33. Hear another parable. The words of Luke are somewhat different; for he says that Christ spoke to the people, while here the discourse is addressed to the priests and scribes. But the solution is easy; for, though Christ spoke against them, he exposed their baseness in the presence of all the people. Mark says that Christ began to speak by parables, but leaves out what was first in order, as also in other passages he gives only a part of the whole. The substance of this parable is, that it is no new thing, if the priests and the other rulers of the Church wickedly endeavor to defraud God of his right; for long ago they practiced the same kind of robbery towards the prophets, and now they are ready to slay his Son; but they will not go unpunished, for God will arise to defend his right. The object is two-fold; first, to reproach the priests with base and wicked ingratitude; and, secondly, to remove the offense which would be occasioned by his approaching death. For, by means of a false title, they had gained such influence over simple persons and the ignorant multitude, that the religion of the Jews depended on their will and decision. Christ therefore forewarns the weak, and shows that, as so many prophets, one after another, had formerly been slain by the priests, no one ought to be distressed, if a similar instance were exhibited in his own person. But let us now examine it in detail.
A man planted a vineyard. This comparison frequently occurs in Scripture. With respect to the present passage, Christ only means that, while God appoints pastors over his Church, he does not convey his right to others, but acts in the same manner as if a proprietor were to let a vineyard or field to a husbandman, who would labor in the cultivation of it, and make an annual return. As he complains by Isaiah (5:4) and Jeremiah, (2:21,) that he had received no fruit from the vine on the cultivation of which he had bestowed so much labor and expense; so in this passage he accuses the vine-dressers themselves, who, like base swindlers, appropriate to themselves the produce of the vineyard. Christ says that the vineyard was well furnished, and in excellent condition, when the husbandmen received it from the hands of the proprietor. By this statement he presents no slight aggravation of their crime; for the more generously he had acted toward them, the more detestable was their ingratitude. Paul employs the same argument, when he wishes to exhort pastors to be diligent in the discharge of their duty, that they are stewards, chosen to govern the house of God, which is the
pillar and round of truth, (1 Timothy 3:16.)
And properly; for the more honorable and illustrious their condition is, they lie under so much the deeper obligations to God, not to be indolent in their work. So much the more detestable (as we have already said) is the baseness of those who pour contempt on the great kindness of God, and on the great honor which they have already received from Him.
God planted a vineyard,  when, remembering his gratuitous adoption, he brought the people out of Egypt, separated them anew to be his inheritance, and called them to the hope of eternal salvation, promising to be their God and Father; for this is the planting of which Isaiah speaks, (60:21; 61:3.) By the wine-press and the tower are meant the aids which were added for strengthening the faith of the people in the doctrine of the Law, such as, sacrifices and other ritual observances; for God, like a careful and provident head of a family, has left no means untried for granting to his Church all necessary protection.
And let it to husbandmen. God might indeed of himself, without the agency of men, preserve his Church in good order; but he takes men for his ministers, and makes use of their hands. Thus, of old, he appointed priests to be, as it were, cultivators of the vineyard. But the wonder is, that Christ compares the prophets to servants, who are sent, after the vintage, to demand the fruit;  for we know that they too were vine-dressers, and that they held a charge in common with the priests. I reply, it was not necessary for Christ to be careful or exact in describing the resemblance or contrariety between those two orders. The priests were certainly appointed at first on the condition of thoroughly cultivating the Church by sound doctrine; but as they neglected the work assigned them, either through carelessness or ignorance, the prophets were sent as an extraordinary supply, to clear the vine from weeds, to lop off the superfluous wood, and in other ways to make up for the neglect of the priests; and, at the same time, severely to reprove the people, to raise up decayed piety, to awaken drowsy souls, and to bring back the worship of God and a new life. And what else was this than to demand the revenue which was due to God from his vineyard? All this Christ applies justly and truly to his purpose; for the regular and permanent government of his Church was not in the hands of the prophets, but was always held by the priests; just as if lazy husbandman, while he neglected cultivation, claimed the place to which he had been once appointed, under the plea of possession.
35. And wounded one, and killed another. Here Mark andLuke differ a little from Matthew; for while Matthew mentions many servants, all of whom were ill-treated and insulted, and says that afterwards other servants were sent more numerous than the first, Mark and Luke mention but one at a time, as if the servants had been sent, not two or three together, but one after another. But though all the three Evangelists have the same object in view, namely, to show that the Jews will dare to act towards the Son in the same manner as they have repeatedly done towards the prophets, Matthew explains the matter more at large, namely, that God, by sending a multitude of prophets, contended with the malice of the priests.  Hence it appears how obstinate their malice was, for the correction of which no remedies were of any avail. 
37. They will reverence my son. Strictly speaking, indeed, this thought does not apply to God; for He knew what would happen, and was not deceived by the expectation of a more agreeable result; but it is customary,  especially in parables, to ascribe to Him human feelings. And yet this was not added without reason; for Christ intended to represent, as in a mirror, how deplorable their impiety was, of which it was too certain a proof, that they rose in diabolical rage against the Son of God, who had come to bring them back to a sound mind.  As they had formerly, as far as lay in their power, driven God from his inheritance by the cruel murder of the prophets, so it was the crowning point of all their crimes to slay the Son, that they might reign, as in a house which wanted an heir. Certainly the chief reason why the priests raged against Christ was, that, they might not lose their tyranny, which might be said to be their prey;  for he it is by whom God chooses to govern, and to whom He has given all authority.
The Evangelists differ also a little in the conclusion. For Matthew relates that he drew from them the confession, by which they condemned themselves; while Mark says simply that Christ declared what punishment must await servants so unprincipled and wicked. Luke differs, at first sight, more openly, by saying that they turned away with horror from the punishment which Christ had threatened. But if we examine the meaning more closely, there is no contradiction; for, in regard to the punishment which such servants deserved, there can be no doubt that they agreed with Christ, but when they perceived that both the crime and the punishment were made to apply to themselves, they deprecated that application.
42. Have you never read in the Scriptures? We must remember what we said a little before, that, as the priests and scribes kept the people devoted to them, it was a principle current among them, that they alone were competent to judge and decide as to the future redemption, so that no one ought to be received as Messiah, unless he were approved and sanctioned by their voice. They therefore maintain that what Christ had said is impossible, that they would slay the son and heir of the proprietor of the vineyard. But Christ confirms his statement by the testimony of Scripture, and the interrogation is emphatic, as if he had said, "You reckon it highly absurd to say that it is possible for the vine dressers to conspire wickedly against the Son of God. But what then? Did the Scripture (Psalm 118:22) foretell that he would be received with joy, and favor, and applause; or did it not, on the contrary, foretell that the rulers themselves would oppose him?"
The passage which he quotes is taken from the same psalm from which had been taken that joyful exclamation,  Save,  O Lord. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. That it is a prediction of the reign of the Messiah is evident from this consideration, that David was appointed by God to be king, on the condition that his throne would remain forever, so long as the sun and moon would shine in heaven, and that, when decayed, it would again be restored by the favor of God to its former prosperity. Since, therefore, that psalm contains a description of the reign of David, there is also added the perpetuity of it, on which the restoration depends. If the discourse had related to any temporal reign, Christ would have acted improperly in applying it to himself. But we must also observe what sort of reign God raised up in the person of David. It was that which He would establish in the true Messiah to the end of the world; for that ancient anointing was but a shadow. Hence we infer that what was done in the person of David was a prelude and figure of Christ.
Let us now return to the words of the psalm. The scribes and priests reckoned it incredible that Christ should be rejected  by the rulers of the Church. But he proves from the psalm, that he would be placed on his throne by the wonderful power of God, contrary to the will of men, and that this had already been shadowed out in David, whom, though rejected by the nobles, God took to give an instance and proof of what he would at length do in his Christ. The prophet takes the metaphor from buildings; for, since the Church is God's sanctuary, Christ, on whom it is founded, is justly called the corner stone; that is, the stone which supports the whole weight of the building. If one were to examine minutely every thing that relates to Christ, the comparison would not apply in every part; but it is perfectly appropriate, for on him the salvation of the Church rests, and by him its condition is preserved. And therefore the other prophets followed the same form of expression, particularly Isaiah and Daniel. But Isaiah makes the closest allusion to this passage, when he represents God as thus speaking,
Lo, I lay in Zion a foundation-stone, a precious and elect stone, against which both houses of Israel shall stumble!
The same mode of expression frequently occurs in the New Testament.
The amount of it therefore is, that the kingdom of God will be founded on a stone, which the builders themselves will reject as unsuitable and useless; and the meaning is, that the Messiah, who is the foundation of the safety of the Church, will not be chosen by the ordinary suffrages of men, but that, when God shall miraculously raise him up by a secret and unknown power, the rulers, to whom has been committed the care of the building, will oppose and persecute him. There are two things here which we ought to consider. First, that we may not be perplexed by the wicked attempts of men, who rise up to hinder the reign of Christ, God has warned us beforehand that this will happen. Secondly, whatever may be the contrivances of men, God has at the same time declared, that in setting up the kingdom of Christ, His power will be victorious. Both ought to be carefully observed by us. It appears to be monstrous that the Author of salvation should be rejected, not by strangers, but by those who belonged to his own household, -- not by the ignorant multitude, but by the rulers themselves, who hold the government of the Church. Against such strange madness of men our faith ought to be fortified, that it may not give way through the novelty of the occurrence. We now perceive how useful that prediction is, which relieves godly minds from the terror that would otherwise be produced by the mournful spectacle. For nothing is more unreasonable than that the members should rise up against the head, the vine-dressers against the proprietor, the counselors against their king, and that the builders should reject the foundation of the building.
That stone is made the head of the corner. Still more emphatic is this clause, in which God declares that the wicked, by rejecting Christ, will avail nothing, but that his rank will remain unimpaired. The design of it is, that believers, relying on that promise, may safely look down with contempt and derision on the wicked pride of men; for when they have made all their contrivances, Christ will still, ill opposition to their wishes, retain the place which the Father has appointed to him. How fiercely soever he may be assailed by those who appear to possess honor and dignity, he will nevertheless remain in his own rank, and will abate nothing on account of their wicked contempt. In short, the authority of God will prevail, that he may be the elect and precious stone, which supports the Church of God, his kingdom and temple. The stone is said to be made the head of the corner, not that he is only a part of the building, (since it is evident from other passages that the Church is entirely founded on Him alone,) but the prophet merely intended to state that he will be the chief support of the building. Some go into ingenious arguments about the word corner, that Christ is placed in the corner, because he unites two separate walls, the Gentiles and Jews. But in my opinion, David meant nothing more than that the corner-stone supports the chief weight of the building.
It may now be asked, How does the Spirit call those men builders, who are so strongly bent on the ruin and destruction of the temple of God? For Paul boasts of having been an honest builder, because he founded the Church on Christ alone, (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11.) The answer is easy. Though they are unfaithful in the execution of the office committed to them, yet he gives them this title with respect to their calling. Thus the name prophet is often given to deceivers, and those who devour the flock like wolves are called pastors. And so far is this from conferring honor on them, that it renders them detestable, when they utterly overthrow the temple of God, which they were appointed to build. Hence we draw a useful warning, that the lawful calling does not prevent those who ought to have been the ministers of Christ from being sometimes his base and wicked enemies. The legal priesthood had certainly been appointed by God, and the Lord had bestowed on the Levites permission to govern the Church. Did they therefore discharge their office faithfully? or ought the godly to have obeyed them by renouncing Christ?
Let the Pope now go with his mitered bishops, and let them boast that they ought to be believed in all things, because they occupy the place of pastors. Even granting that they were lawfully called to the government of the Church, yet they have no right to claim any thing more than to hold the title of prelates of the Church. But even the title of calling does not belong to them; for, in order to raise them to that tyranny, it would be necessary that the whole order of the Church should be overturned. And even though they might justly claim ordinary jurisdiction, yet, if they overturn the sacred house of God, it is only in name that they must be reckoned builders. Nor does it always happen that Christ is rejected by those who are entrusted with the government of the Church; for not only were there many godly priests under the Law, but also, under the reign of Christ, there are some pastors who labor diligently and honestly in building the Church; but as it was necessary that this prediction should be fulfilled, that the builders should reject the stone, wisdom must be exercised in distinguishing between them. And the Holy Spirit has expressly warned us, that none may be mistaken as to an empty title or the dignity of calling.
This has been done by the Lord, As it is a matter too far removed from the ordinary judgment of men, that the pastors of the Church should themselves reject the Son of God from being their Prince, the prophet refers it to the secret purpose of God, which, though we cannot comprehend it by our senses, we ought to contemplate and admire. Let us therefore understand, that this cuts short every question, and that every man is expressly forbidden to judge and measure the nature of Christ's kingdom by the reason of the flesh; for what folly is it to wish to subject to the capacity of our mind a miracle which the prophet exhorts us to adore? Will you then receive nothing but what appears to yourself to be probable, in reference to the kingdom of Christ, the commencement of which the Holy Spirit declares to be a mystery worthy of the highest admiration, because it is concealed from the eyes of men? So then, whenever the question relates to the origin, restoration, condition, and the whole safety of the Church, we must not consult our senses,  but must honor the power of God by admiring his hidden work.  There is also an implied contrast between God and men; for not only are we commanded to embrace the wonderful method of governing the Church, because it is the work of God, but we are likewise withdrawn from a foolish reverence for men, which frequently obscures the glow of God; as if the prophet had said, that however magnificent may be the titles which men bear, it is wicked in any man to oppose them to God.
This furnishes a refutation of the diabolical wickedness of the Papists, who do not scruple to prefer to the word of God a decision of their pretended Church. For on what does the authority of the word of God depend, according to them, but on the opinion of men, so that no more power is left to God than what the Church is pleased to allow him? Far otherwise does the Spirit instruct us by this passage namely, that as soon as the majesty of God  appears, the whole world ought to be silent.
43. Therefore I say to you. Hitherto Christ directed his discourse to rulers and governors, but in presence of the people. Now, however, he addresses in the same manner the people themselves, and not without reason, for they had been the companions and assistants of the priests and scribes in hindering the grace of God. It was from the priests, no doubt, that the evil arose, but the people had already deserved, on account of their sins, to have such corrupt and degenerate pastors. Besides, the whole body was infected, as it were, by a similar malice to resist God. This is the reason why Christ denounces against all indiscriminately the dreadful vengeance of God; for as the priests were inflated with the desire of holding the highest power, so the rest of the people gloried on the ground of having been adopted. Christ now declares that God was not bound to them, and, therefore, that he will convey to another the honor of which they rendered themselves unworthy. And this, no doubt, was once spoken to them, but was written for the sake of all of us, that, if God choose us to be His people, we may not grow wanton through a vain and wicked confidence in the flesh, but may endeavor, on our part, to perform the duties which he enjoins on his children;
for if he spared not the natural branches, (Romans 11:21,)
what will he do with those which were engrafted? The Jews thought that the kingdom of God dwelt among them by hereditary right, and therefore they adhered obstinately to their vices. We have unexpectedly come into their room contrary to nature, and therefore much less is the kingdom of God bound to us, if it be not rooted in true godliness.
Now as our minds ought to be struck with terror by the threatening of Christ, that those who have profaned the kingdom of God will be deprived of it, so the perpetuity of that kingdom, which is here described, may afford comfort to all the godly. For by these words Christ assures us that, though the ungodly destroyed the worship of God among themselves, they would never cause the name of Christ to be abolished, or true religion to perish; for God, in whose hand are all the ends of the earth, will find elsewhere a dwelling and habitation for his kingdom. We ought also to learn from this passage, that the Gospel is not preached in order that it may lie barren and inoperative, but that it may yield fruit.
44. And he who shall fall on this stone. Christ confirms more fully the former statement, that he suffers no loss or diminution when he is rejected by the wicked, because, though their obstinacy were like a stone or like iron, yet by his own hardness he will break them, and therefore he will be the more highly glorified in their destruction. He perceived in the Jews an astonishing obstinacy, and therefore it was necessary that this kind of punishment should be described to them in an alarming manner, that they might not flatter themselves, while they thus dashed against him. This doctrine partly instructs us to give ourselves up gently, with a mild and tractable heart, to the dominion of Christ, and partly fortifies us against the obstinacy and furious attacks of the wicked, for whom there awaits a dreadful end.
Those persons are said to fall upon Christ, who rush forward to destroy him; not that they occupy a more elevated position than he does, but because their madness carries them so far, that they endeavor to attack Christ as if he were below them. But Christ tells them that all that they will gain by it is, that by the very conflict they will be broken. But when they have thus proudly exalted themselves, he tells them that another thing will happen, which is, that they will be bruised under the stone, against which they so insolently dashed themselves.
45. They knew that he spoke of them. The Evangelists show how little success Christ had, that we may not wonder if the doctrine of the Gospel does not bring all men, in the present day, to yield obedience to God. Let us also learn that it is impossible but that the rage of ungodly men will be more and more inflamed by threatenings; for as God seals his word on our hearts, so also it is a hot iron to wound bad consciences, in consequence of which their ungodliness is the more inflamed. We ought therefore to pray that he would subdue us to voluntary fear, lest the mere knowledge of his vengeance should exasperate us the more. When they are restrained solely by the dread of the people from laying their hands on Christ, let us learn that God had laid a bridle on them; from which also arises a very delightful consolation to believers, when they learn that God protects them, and constantly enables them to escape from the jaws of death.
 "En plus grand nombre;" -- "in greater number."
 "Est mise au principal lieu du com;" -- "is put in the chief place of the corner."
 "Devant nos yeux;" -- "before our eyes."
 "Et y fouyt une fosse pour les esgouts d'un pressoir;" -- "and dug in it a ditch for the cistern of a wine press."
 "Or voyant qu'il avoit encore un fils;" -- "But perceiving that he had still one son."
 "Devant nos yeux;" -- "before our eyes."
 "Son vigne;" -- "His vineyard."
 "Le fruit de la vigne;" -- "the fruit of the vine."
 "Que Dieu ne s'est point lass? pour la cruaut? des sacrificateurs, d'envoyer des prophetes; mais les suscitant comme par troupes, a combatu contre leur malice;" -- "That God did not, on account of the cruelty of the priests, fail to send prophets; but raising them up -- as it were -- in troops, fought against their malice."
 "Veu que tous les mayens et remedes que Dieu y a employez n'ont rien servi;" -- "since all the means and remedies which God employed for it were of no avail."
 "C'est la coustume de l'Escriture;" -- "it is the custom of Scripture."
 "Qui estoit venu pour les retirer de leurs meschantes fa?ons de faire;" -- "who had come to withdraw them from their wicked courses of life."
 "Pource qu'ils avoyent peur de perdre la proye; c'est a dire, de dimineur quelque chose de leur tyrannie;" -- "because they were afraid of losing the prey; that is to say, of diminishing something of their tyranny."
 "Ceste priere de louange;" -- "that prayer of praise."
 Our author alludes to the word Hosanna, (hosanna) which he had explained (Harmony, vol. 2, p. 452) to be formed, by a slight alteration of the sound, from a Hebrew phrase used in the 118 Psalm, Hoshiana (hvsy n',) Save now, we beseech thee. -- Ed.
 "Ne pouvoient croire que Christ peust estre rejett?;" -- "could not believe that Christ could be rejected."
 "Qu'il nous souviene de ne nous arrester point a ce que nos sens pervent comprende;" -- "let us remember not to stop at what our senses can comprehend."
 "Son oeuvre incomprehensible;" -- "his incomprehensible work."
 "La majest? du Fils de Dieu;" -- "the majesty of the Son of God."
And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
15. Then the Pharisees went away, and took counsel how they might entrap him in his words. 16. And they send to him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, and carest not for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men. 17. Tell us then, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? 18. But Jesus, perceiving their wickedness, saith, Why do you tempt me, hypocrites? 19. Show me the tribute money. And they presented to him a denarius. 20. And he saith to them, Whose is this image and inscription? 21. They say to him, Caesar's. Then said he to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's. 22. And having heard these things, they wondered, and left him, and went away.
13. And they send to him certain Pharisees and Herodians, to entrap him in his words 14. And they, when they came, said to him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest not for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? 15. But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, Why do you tempt me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it. 16. And they brought it; and he saith to them, Whose is this image and inscription? And they said to him, Caesars. 17. And Jesus answering said to them, Render to Caesar those things which are Caesar's, and to God those things which are God's.  And they wondered at him. 
20. And they watched him, and sent spies, who would pretend to be righteous men, to entrap him in his words, and to deliver him to the authority and power of the governor. 21. And they put a question to him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest uprightly, and regardest not a person,  but teachest the way of God in truth. 22. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 23. And having perceived their craftiness, he said to them, Why do you tempt me? 24. Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription hath it? They answering said, Caesar's. 25. And he said to them, Render therefore to Caesar those things which are Caesar's, and to God those things which are God's. 26. And they could not find fault with his words in presence of the people; and wondering at his reply, they were silent.
Matthew 22:15. That they might entrap him in his words. The Pharisees, perceiving that all their other attempts against Christ had been fruitless, at length concluded that the best and most expeditious method of destroying him was, to deliver him to the governor, as a seditious person and a disturber of the peace. There was at that time, as we have seen under another passage,  a great disputing among the Jews about the tribute-money; for, since the Romans had claimed for themselves the tribute-money, which God commanded to be paid to Himself under the Law of Moses, (Exodus 30:13,) the Jews everywhere complained that it was a shameful and intolerable crime for profane men to lay claim, in this manner, to a divine prerogative; besides that, as this payment of tribute, which was enjoined on them by the Law, was a testimony of their adoption, they looked upon themselves as deprived of an honor to which they had a just claim. Now the deeper any man's poverty was,  the bolder did it render him to raise sedition.
This trick of taking Christ by surprise is therefore continued by the Pharisees, that, in whatever way he reply as to the tribute money, they may lay snares for him. If he affirm that they ought not to pay, he will be convicted of sedition. If, on the contrary, he acknowledge it to be justly due, he will be held to be an enemy of his nation, and a betrayer of the liberty of his country. Their principal object is, to lead the people to dislike him. This is the entrapping to which the Evangelists refer; for they suppose that Christ is surrounded on all sides by nets, so that he can no longer escape. Having avowed themselves to be his enemies, and knowing that they would, on that account, be suspected, they put forward -- as Matthew states -- some of their disciples. Luke, again, calls them spies, who pretended to be righteous men; that is, persons who deceitfully professed an honest and proper desire to learn: for the pretense of righteousness is not here used in a general sense, but is limited to the present occasion, because they would not have been received, had they not made a pretense of docility and of genuine zeal.
With the Herodians. They take along with them the Herodians, because they were more favorable to the Roman government, and therefore would be more disposed to raise an accusation. It is worthy of attention that, though those sects had fierce contentions with each other, so bitter was their hatred against Christ, that they conspired to destroy him. What the sect of the Herodions was, we have formerly explained  for, Herod being only half a Jew, or a spurious and corrupt professor of the Law, those who desired that the Law should be kept with exactness and in every part, condemned him and his impure worship; but he had his flatterers, who gave plausible excuses for his false doctrine. In addition to the other sects, therefore, there sprung up at that time a religion of the Court.
16. Master, we know that thou art true. This is the righteousness which they counterfeit, when they offer humble subjection to Christ, as if they were desirous to learn, and as if they not only had some relish for piety, but also were fully convinced of his doctrine; for if what they said had been from the heart, this would have been true uprightness. And therefore from their words we may obtain a definition of a good and faithful teacher, such as they pretended to believe Christ to be. They say that he is true, and teaches the way of God; that is, he is a faithful interpreter of God, and that he teaches it in truth; that is, without any corruption. The way of God is contrasted with the inventions of men, and with all foreign doctrines; and truth is contrasted with ambition, covetousness, and other wicked dispositions, which usually corrupt the purity of instruction. So then he ought to be reckoned a true teacher, who does not introduce the contrivances of men, or depart from the pure word of God, but gives out, as it were, with his hands what he has learned from the mouth of God, and who, from a sincere desire of edification, accommodates his doctrine to the advantage and salvation of the people, and does not debase it by any disguise. As to this latter clause, when Paul asserts that he
does not make merchandise of the word of God,
he means that there are some persons who use dexterity, and do not openly overturn sound doctrine, or incur the disgrace of holding wicked opinions, but who disguise and corrupt the purity of doctrine, because they are ambitious, or covetous, or easily turned in various directions according to their earnest desire. He therefore compares them to jockeys, (kupelleuontes,) because they deprave the pure use of the word of God.
For thou regardest not the person of men. It is also worthy of attention, that those hypocrites likewise add, that Christ teaches rightly, because he has no regard for the person of men. Nothing has a more powerful tendency to withdraw teachers from a faithful and upright dispensation of the word than to pay respect to men; for it is impossible that any one who
desires to please men (Galatians 1:10)
should truly devote himself to God. Some attention, no doubt, is due to men, but not so as to obtain their favor by flattery. In short, in order to walk uprightly, we must necessarily put away respect of persons, which obscures the light and perverts right judgment, as God frequently inculcates in the Law, (Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 16:19,) and as experience also points out. Thus Christ (John 7:24) contrasts acceptance of persons (prosopolepsian) and sound judgment as things totally different.
18. Knowing their malice. They had opened the conversation in such a manner that they did not appear to differ at all from excellent scholars. Whence then had Christ this knowledge, but because his Spirit was a discerner of hearts? It was not by human conjecture that he perceived their cunning, but because he was God he penetrated into their hearts, and therefore they gained nothing by attempting the concealment of flattery and of pretended righteousness Accordingly, before giving a reply, he exhibited a proof of his Divinity by laying open their concealed malice. Now since wicked men every day employ snares of the same kind, while their inward malice is concealed from us, we ought to pray to Christ to bestow upon us the spirit of discernment, and that what he had by nature and by his own right he may grant to us by a free gift. How much we need this prudence, is evident from the consideration that, if we do not guard against the snares of the wicked, we shall constantly expose the doctrine of God to their calumnies.
19. Show me the tribute-money. When Christ orders them to bring forward a coin, though at first sight it appears to be of no great importance, yet it is sufficient for breaking their snares. In this way they had already made an acknowledgment of subjection, so that Christ did not find it necessary to enjoin upon them any thing new. The coin was stamped with Caesar's likeness; and thus the authority of the Roman government had been approved and admitted by the general practice. Hence it was evident that the Jews themselves had voluntarily come under obligation to pay tribute for they had given up to the Romans the power of the sword;  and there was no propriety in making a separate dispute about the tribute-money, for that question depended on the general arrangements of the government.
21. Render therefore to Caesar those things which are Caesar's. Christ reminds them that, as the subjection of their nation was attested by the coin, there ought to be no debate on that subject; as if he had said, "If you think it strange to pay tribute, be not subjects of the Roman Empire. But the money (which men employ as the pledge of mutual exchanges) attests that Caesar rules over you; so that, by your own silent consent, the liberty to which you lay claim is lost and gone." Christ's reply does not leave the matter open, but contains full instruction on the question which had been proposed. It lays down a clear distinction between spiritual and civil government, in order to inform us that outward subjection does not prevent us from having within us a conscience free in the sight of God. For Christ intended to refute the error of those who did not think that they would be the people of God, unless they were free from every yoke of human authority. In like manner, Paul earnestly insists on this point, that they ought not the less to look upon themselves as serving God alone, if they obey human laws, if they pay tribute, and bend the neck to bear other burdens, (Romans 13:7.) In short, Christ declares that it is no violation of the authority of God, or any injury done to his service, if, in respect of outward government, the Jews obey the Romans.
He appears also to glance at their hypocrisy, because, while they carelessly permitted the service of God to be corrupted in many respects, and even wickedly deprived God of his authority, they displayed such ardent zeal about a matter of no importance; as if he had said, "You are exceedingly afraid, lest, if tribute be paid to the Romans, the honor of God may be infringed; but you ought rather to take care to yield to God that service which he demands from you, and, at the same the to render to men what is their due." We might be apt to think, no doubt, that the distinction does not apply; for, strictly speaking, when we perform our duty towards men, we thereby render obedience to God. But Christ, accommodating his discourse to the common people, reckoned it enough to draw a distinction between the spiritual kingdom of God, on the one hand, and political order and the condition of the present life, on the other. We must therefore attend to this distinction, that, while the Lord wishes to be the only Lawgiver for governing souls, the rule for worshipping Him must not be sought from any other source than from His own word, and that we ought to abide by the only and pure worship which is there enjoined; but that the power of the sword, the laws, and the decisions of tribunals, do not hinder the worship of God from remaining entire amongst us.
But this doctrine extends still farther, that every man, according to his calling, ought to perform the duty which he owes to men; that children ought willingly to submit to their parents, and servants to their masters; that they ought to be courteous and obliging towards each other, according to the law of charity, provided that God always retain the highest authority, to which every thing that can be due to men is, as we say, subordinate.  The amount of it therefore is, that those who destroy political order are rebellious against God, and therefore, that obedience to princes and magistrates is always joined to the worship and fear of God; but that, on the other hand, if princes claim any part of the authority of God, we ought not to obey them any farther than can be done without offending God.
22 They wondered at him. Here, too, it appears how God turns to a different purpose the wicked attempts of His enemies, and not only disappoints their expectation, but even drives them back with disgrace. It will sometimes happen, no doubt, that wicked men, though vanquished, do not cease to growl; but, though their insolence be not subdued, however numerous may be their assaults on the Word of God, there is an equal number of victories which God has in his hand, to triumph over them and Satan their head. But in this reply, Christ intended to give a peculiar display of his glory, by compelling those men to depart crowned with shame.
 "Et n'es point accepteur de personnes;" -- "and art not an accepter of persons."
 "Rendez ? Caesar ce qui est ? Caesar, et ? Dieu ce qui est ? Dieu;" -- "render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
 "Et furent esmerveillez de luy;" -- "and they were astonished at him."
 Harmony, vol. 2, p. 368
 "Selon qu'un chacun estoit plus poure, et n'avoit rien ? perdre;" -- "according as any man was poorer, and had nothing to lose." Harmony, vol. 2.
 Harmony, vol 2, p. 282.
 "Pource qu'ils avoyent laiss? usurper aux Romains la souveraine puissance;" -- "because they had allowed the Romans to usurp the supreme power."
 "Est subalterne, comme on dit; c'est ? dire, en depend;" -- "is subordinate, as we say; that is, depends upon it."
And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.
Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
23. The same day came to him the Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, and interrogated him, 24. Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, not having a child,  his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. 25. Now there were amongst us seven brothers, and the first, having married a wife, died, and, having no seed, left his wife to his brother. 26. In like manner, the second, and the third, till the seventh. 27. And last of all the woman died also. 28. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29. And Jesus answering said to them, You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. 30. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31. But as to the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32. I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33. And when the multitudes heard it, they were astonished at his doctrine.
18. And the Sadducees come to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they interrogated him, saying, 19. Master, Moses wrote to us, that, if any man's brother die, and leave a wife, and do not leave children, his brother shall take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. 20. There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and he, dying, left no seed. 21. And the second took her, and died, and neither did he leave any seed; and the third likewise. 22. And the seven took her, and did not leave seed. And last of all the wife died also. 23. In the resurrection, therefore, when they shall rise again, whose wife of them shall she be? for the seven had her for a wife. 24. And Jesus answering said to them, Is it not the reason why you err, that you do not know the Scriptures, nor the power of God? 25. For when they shall rise again from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels of God who are in heaven. 26. But as to the dead, that they rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, how God spoke to him in the bush, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27. God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; therefore you greatly err.
27. And some of the Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, came, and interrogated him, 28. Saying, Master, Moses wrote to us, that if any man's brother die having a wife, and he die without children, his brother shall take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. 29. Now there were seven brothers, and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30. And the second took her, and also died without children. 31. And the third took her, and in like manner all the seven, and left no children, and died. 32. Last of all the woman also died. 33. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of them shall she be? for the seven had her for a wife. 34. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage. 35. But they who shall be counted worthy of that world,  and of the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36. For they cannot die anymore; for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. 37. But that the dead rise again, even Moses showed at the bush, when he says that the Lord is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38. But he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him. 39. And some of the scribes answering, said, Master, thou hast spoken well. 40. And they did not venture to put any more questions to him.
Matthew 22:23. The same day came to him the Sadducees. We see here how Satan brings together all the ungodly, who in other respects differ widely from each other, to attack the truth of God. For, though deadly strife existed between these two sects,  yet they conspire together against Christ; so that the Pharisees are not displeased to have their own doctrine attacked in the person of Christ. Thus in the present day, we see all the forces of Satan, though in other respects they are opposed to each other, rising on every hand against Christ. And so fierce is the hatred with which the Papists burn against the Gospel, that they willingly support Epicureans, Libertines, and other monsters of that description, provided that they can avail themselves of their aid for accomplishing its destruction. In short, we see that they come out of various camps to make an attack on Christ; and that this was done, because all of them alike hated the light of sound doctrine. Now the Sadducees propose a question to Christ, that by the appearance of absurdity they may either lead him to take part in their error, or, if he disagree with them, that they may hold him up to disgrace and ridicule among an uneducated and ignorant multitude. It is no doubt possible, that they had been formerly accustomed to employ this sophistry for harassing the Pharisees, but now they attempt to take Christ in the same snare.
Who say that there is no resurrection. How the sect of the Sadducees originated we have explained under another passage. Luke assures us that they denied not only the final resurrection of the body, but also the immortality of the soul, (Acts 23:8.) And, indeed, if we consider properly the doctrine of Scripture, the life of the soul, apart from the hope of the resurrection, will be a mere dream; for God does not declare that, immediately after the death of the body, souls live, -- as if their glory and happiness were already enjoyed by them in perfections -- but delays the expectation of them till the last day. I readily acknowledge that the philosophers, who were ignorant of the resurrection of the body, have many discussions about the immortal essence of the soul; but they talk so foolishly about the state of the future life that their opinions have no weight. But since the Scriptures inform us that the spiritual life depends on the hope of the resurrection, and that souls, when separated from the bodies, look forward to it, whoever destroys the resurrection deprives souls also of their immortality.
Now this enables us to perceive the dreadful confusion of the Jewish Church, that their rulers  in religious matters took away the expectation of a future life, so that, after the death of the body, men differed in no respect from brute beasts. They did not indeed deny that our lives ought to be holy and righteous, and were not so profane as to consider the worship of God to be superfluous; on the contrary, they maintained that God is the Judge of the world, and that the affairs of men are directed by His providence. But as the reward of the godly, and likewise the punishment due to the wicked, were limited by them to the present life, even though there had been truth in their assertion, that every man is now treated impartially according to his merit,  yet it was excessively absurd to restrict the promises of God within such narrow limits. Now experience plainly shows that they were chargeable with the grossest stupidity, since it is manifest that the reward which is laid up for the good is left incomplete till another life, and likewise that the punishment of the wicked is not wholly inflicted in this world.
In short, it is impossible to conceive any thing more absurd than this dream, that men formed after the image of God are extinguished by death like the beasts. But how disgraceful and monstrous was it that while, among the profane and blind idolaters of all nations, some notion, at least, of a future life still lingered, among the Jews, the peculiar people of God, this seed of piety was destroyed. I do not mention that, when they saw that the holy fathers earnestly aspired to the heavenly life, and that the covenant which God had made with them was spiritual and eternal, they must have been worse than stupid who remained blind in the midst of such clear light. But, first, this was the just reward of those who had split the Church of God into sects; and, secondly, in this manner the Lord avenged the wicked contempt of His doctrine.
24. Master, Moses said. As it was enough to mention the bare fact, why do they make use of this preface? They cunningly employ the name of Moses, for the purpose of proving that they were lawful marriages, which had been contracted not by the will of men, but by the command and appointment of God himself. But that God should contradict Himself is impossible. Their sophistry therefore is this: "If God shall one day collect believers into His kingdom, He will restore whatever He had given to them in the world. What then shall become of the woman, whom God assigned to seven husbands?" Thus all ungodly persons and heretics forge their calumnies, that by means of them they may disfigure the true doctrine of godliness, and put to shame the servants of Christ. Nay, the Papists are restrained by no shame from openly ridiculing God and his word, when they attempt to take us by surprise. And not without reason, therefore, does Paul enjoin a teacher to be furnished with armor for repelling the adversaries of the truth, (Titus 1:9.) With respect to the law, (Deuteronomy 25:5,) by which God commanded the relatives, who were nearest of kin, to succeed the dead in marriage, if the first had died without children, the reason was, that the woman who had married into a particular family should leave offspring in it. But if there had been children by the first marriage, a marriage within the degrees forbidden by the law (Leviticus 18:16) would have been incestuous.
29. You err, not knowing the Scriptures. Though Christ addresses the Sadducees, yet this reproof applies generally to all inventors of false doctrines. For, since God makes known His will clearly in the Scriptures, the want of acquaintance with them is the source and cause of all errors. But this is no ordinary consolation to the godly, that they will be safe from the danger of erring, so long as they humbly, modestly, and submissively inquire from the Scriptures what is right and true. As to the power of God being connected by Christ with the word, it refers to the present occasion. For, since the resurrection far exceeds the capacity of the human senses, it will be incredible to us, till our minds rise to the contemplation of the boundless power of God, by which, as Paul tells us,
he is able to subdue all things to himself, (Philippians 3:21.)
Besides, the Sadducees must have been void of understanding, when they committed the error of estimating the glory of the heavenly life according to the present state. In the meantime, we learn that those men form and express just and wise sentiments respecting the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, who join the power of God with the Scriptures.
30. But are like the angels of God in heaven. He does not mean that the children of God will be, in all respects, like the angels, but only so far as they shall be free from every infirmity of the present life; thus affirming that they will no longer be exposed to the wants of a frail and perishing life. Luke expresses more clearly the nature of the resemblance, that they can no longer die, and therefore there will be no propagation of their species, as on earth. Now he speaks of believers only, for no mention had been made of the wicked.
But a question arises, Why does he say that they will then be the children of God, because they will be children of the resurrection; since God bestows this honor on those who believe on him, though shut up within the frail prison of the body? And how would we be heirs of eternal life after death, unless God already acknowledged us as children? I:reply: As we are engrafted by faith into the body of Christ, we are adopted by God as his children, and of this adoption the Spirit is the witness, seal, earnest, and pledge, so that with this assurance
Now though we know that we are the children of God, yet as it doth not yet appear what we shall be, till, transformed into his glory, we shall see him as he is,
we are not as yet actually reckoned to be his children. And though we are renewed by the Spirit of God, yet as
our life is still hidden, (Colossians 3:3,)
the manifestation of it will truly and perfectly distinguish us from strangers. In this sense our adoption is said by Paul to be delayed till the last day, (Romans 8:23.).
Luke Romans 20:37. But that the dead shall rise. After having refuted the objection brought against him, Christ confirms, by the testimony of Scripture, the doctrine of the final resurrection. And this is the order which must always be observed. Having repelled the calumnies of the enemies of the truth, we must make them understand that they oppose the word of God; for until they are convicted by the testimony of Scripture, they will always be at liberty to rebel. Christ quotes a passage from Moses, because he was dealing with the Sadducees, who had no great faith in the prophets, or who, at least, held them in no higher estimation than we do the Book of Ecclesiasticus, or the History of the Maccabees. Another reason was, that, as they had brought forward Moses, he chose rather to refer to the same writer than to quote any of the prophets. Besides, he did not aim at collecting all the passages of Scripture, as we see that the apostles do not always make use of the same proofs on the same subject.
And yet we must not imagine that there were no good reasons why Christ seized on this passage (Exodus 3:6) in preference to others; but he selected it with the best judgment -- though it might appear to be some what obscure -- because it ought to have been well known and distinctly remembered by the Jews, being a declaration that they were redeemed by God, because they were the children of Abraham. There, indeed, God declares that he is come down to deliver an afflicted people, but at the same time adds, that he acknowledges that people as his own, in respect of adoption, on account of the covenant which he had made with Abraham. How comes it that God regards the dead rather than the living, but because he assigns the first rank of honor to the fathers, in whose hands he had placed his covenant? And in what respect would they have the preference, if they had been extinguished by death? This is clearly expressed also by the nature of the relation; for as no man can be a father without children, nor a king without a people, so, strictly speaking, the Lord cannot be called the God of any but the living.
Christ's argument, however, is drawn not so much from the ordinary form of expression as from the promise which is contained in these words. For the Lord offers himself to be our God on the condition of receiving us, on the other hand, as his people, which alone is sufficient for the assurance of perfect happiness. Hence that saying of the Church by the prophet Habakkuk, (1:12,)
Thou art our God from the beginning: we shall not die
Since, therefore, the Lord promises salvation to all to whom he declares that he is their God, and since he says this respecting Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it follows that there remains for the dead a hope of life. If it be objected, that souls may continue to exist, though there be no resurrection of the dead, I replied, a little before, that those two are connected, because souls aspire to the inheritance laid up for them, though they do not yet reach that condition.
38. For all live to him. This mode of expression is employed in various senses in Scripture; but here it means that believers, after that they have died in this world, lead a heavenly life with God; as Paul says that Christ, after having been admitted to the heavenly glory, liveth to God, (Romans 6:10) because he is freed from the infirmities and afflictions of this passing life. But here Christ expressly reminds us, that we must not form a judgment of the life of the godly according to the perceptions of the flesh, because that life is concealed under the secret keeping of God. For if, while they are pilgrims in the world, they bear a close resemblance to dead men, much less does any appearance of life exist in them after the death of the body. But God is faithful to preserve them alive in his presence, beyond the comprehension of men.
39. And some of the scribes answering. As it is probable that all of them were actuated by evil dispositions towards him, this confession was extorted, by a secret exercise of divine power, from some of them, that is, from the Pharisees. It may be that, though they could have wished that Christ had been disgracefully vanquished and silenced, when they perceived that his reply has fortified them against the opposite sect,  ambition led them to congratulate him on having obtained a victory. Perhaps, too, they burned with envy, and did not wish that Christ should be put down by the Sadducees.  Meanwhile, it was brought about by the wonderful providence of God, that even his most deadly enemies assented to his doctrine. Their insolence, to was restrained, not only because they saw that Christ was prepared to sustain every kind of attack, but because they feared that they would be driven back with disgrace, which already had frequently occurred; and because they were ashamed of allowing him, by their silence, to carry off the victory, by which his influence over the people would be greatly increased. When Matthew says that all were astonished at his doctrine, we ought to observe that the doctrine of religion was at that time corrupted by so many wicked or frivolous opinions, that it was justly regarded as a miracle that the hope of the resurrection was so ably and appropriately proved from the Law.
 "Sans avoir enfans;" -- "without having children."
 "Dignes d'obtenir ce siecle-l?;" -- "worthy to obtain that world."
 "Combien que ces deux sectes se fissent tous les jours la guerre l'un contre l'autre;" -- "though those two sects were every day making war against each other."
 "Une partie des principaux chefs de la religion;" -- "a part of the chief leaders in religion."
 "Que Dieu traitte yei un chacun selon qu'il a merite;" -- "That God here treats every one according as he has deserved."
 "Contra la secte des Sadduciens, leurs adversaires;" -- "against the sect of the Sadducees, their adversaries."
 "Que ce fussent les Sadduciens qui emportassant la victoire par dessus Christ;" -- "that it should be the Sadducees who carried the victory over Christ."
Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
Last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son?
41. And when the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus asked them, 42. Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, David's. 43. He saith to them, How then doth David by the Spirit call him Lord, saying, 44. The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I have made thy enemies thy footstool?  45. If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his son? 46. And no man could make any reply to him;  nor did any man from that day venture to put any more questions to him.
35. And Jesus answering said, while he was teaching in the temple, How do the scribes say that Christ is the son of David? 36. For David himself by the Holy "Spirit said, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies thy footstool.  37. David himself therefore calleth him Lord; and whence is he his son? And a vast multitude heard him gladly.
41. And he said to them, How do they say that Christ is the son of David? 42. And David himself saith in the Book of Psalms, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, 43. Till I make thy enemies thy footstool.  44. David therefore calleth him Lord; and how is he his son?
Matthew 22:42. What think you of Christ? Mark and Luke express more clearly the reason why Christ put this question. It was because there prevailed among the scribes an erroneous opinion, that the promised Redeemer would be one of David's sons and successors, who would bring along with him nothing more elevated than human nature. For from the very commencement Satan endeavored, by all the arts which he could devise, to put forward some pretended Christ, who was not the true Mediator between God and men. God having so frequently promised that Christ would proceed from the seed, or from the loins of David, this conviction was so deeply rooted in their minds, that they could not endure to have him stripped of human nature. Satan therefore permitted Christ to be acknowledged as a true man and a son of David, for he would in vain have attempted to overturn this article of faith; but--what was worse--he stripped him of his Divinity, as if he had been only one of the ordinary descendants of Adam. But in this manner the hope of future and eternal life, as well as spiritual righteousness, was abolished. And ever since Christ was manifested to the world, heretics have attempted by various contrivances--and as it were under ground--to overturn sometimes his human, and sometimes his Divine nature, that either he might not have full power to save us, or we might not have ready access to him. Now as the hour of his death was already approaching, the Lord himself intended to attest his divinity, that all the godly might boldly rely on him; for if he had been only man, we would have had no right either to glory in him, or to expect salvation from him.
We now perceive his design, which was, to assert that he was the Son of God, not so much on his own account, as to make our faith rest on his heavenly power. For as the weakness of the flesh, by which he approached to us, gives us confidence, that we may not hesitate to draw near to him, so if that weakness alone were before our eyes, it would rather fill us with fear and despair than excite proper confidence. Yet it must be observed, that the scribes are not reproved for teaching that Christ would be the Son of David, but for imagining that he was a mere man, who would come from heaven, to assume the nature and person of a man. Nor does our Lord make a direct assertion about himself, but simply shows that the scribes hold a wicked error in expecting that the Redeemer will proceed only from the earth and from human lineage. But though this doctrine was well known to be held by them, we learn from Matthew, that he interrogated them in presence of the people what their sentiments were.
43. How then does David by the Spirit call him Lord. The assertion made by Christ, that David spoke by the Spirit, is emphatic; for he contrasts the prediction of a future event with the testimony of a present event. By this phrase he anticipates the sophistry by which the Jews of the present day attempt to escape. They allege that this prediction celebrates the reign of David, as if, representing God to be the Author of his reign, David would rise above the mad attempts of his enemies, and affirmed that they would gain nothing by opposing the will of God. That the scribes might not shelter themselves under such an objection, Christ began with stating that the psalm was not composed in reference to the person of David, but was dictated by the prophetic Spirit to describe the future reign of Christ; as it may easily be learned even from the passage itself, that what we read there does not apply either to David, or to any other earthly king; for there David introduces a king clothed with a new priesthood, by which the ancient shadows of the Law must be abolished, (Psalm 110:4)
We must now see how he proves that Christ will hold a higher rank than to be merely descended from the seed of David. It is because David, who was king and head of the people, calls him Lord; from which it follows, that there is something in him greater than man. But the argument appears to be feeble and inconclusive; for it may be objected that, when David gave the psalm to the people to sing, without having any view to his own person, he assigned to Christ dominion over others. But to this I reply that, as he was one of the members of the Church, nothing would have been more improper than to shut himself out from the common doctrine. Here he enjoins all the children of God to boast, as with one voice, that they are safe through the protection of a heavenly and invincible King. If he be separated from the body of the Church, he will not partake of the salvation promised through Christ. If this were the voice of a few persons, the dominion of Christ would not extend even to David. But now neither he, nor any other person, can be excluded from subjection to him, without cutting himself off from the hope of eternal salvation. Since then there was nothing better for David than to be included in the Church, it was not less for himself than for the rest of the people that David composed this psalm. In short, by this title Christ is pronounced to be supreme and sole King, who holds the preeminence among all believers; and no exception ought to be allowed to ranking all in one class, when he is appointed to be the Redeemer of the Church. There can be no doubt, therefore, that David represents himself also as a subject of his government, so as to be reckoned one of the number of the people of God.
But now another question arises: Might not God have raised up one whom he appointed from among mankind to be a Redeemer, so as to be David's Lord, though he was his son? For here it is not the essential name of God, but only Adonai  that is employed, and this term is frequently applied to men. I:reply: Christ takes for granted that he who is taken out of the number of men, and raised to such a rank of honor, as to be the supreme Head of the whole Church, is not a mere man, but possesses also the majesty of God. For the eternal God, who by an oath makes this claim for himself, that
before him every knee shall bow, (Isaiah 45:23,)
at the same time swears that
he will not give his glory to another, (Isaiah 42:8.)
But, according to the testimony of Paul, when Christ was raised to kingly power,
And though Paul had never said this, yet such is the fact, that Christ is above David and other holy kings, because he also ranks higher than angels; which would not apply to a created man, unless he were also
God manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16.)
I do acknowledge that his divine essence is not expressed directly and in so many words; but it may easily be inferred that He is God, who is placed above all creatures.
44. The Lord said to my Lord. Here the Holy Spirit puts into the mouth of all the godly a song of triumph, that they may boldly defy Satan and all the ungodly, and mock at their rage, when they endeavor to drive Christ from his throne. That they may not hesitate or tremble, when they perceive great emotions produced in the earth, they are commanded to place the holy and inviolable decree of God in opposition to all the exertions of adversaries. The meaning therefore is: whatever may be the madness of men, all that they shall dare to contrive will be of no avail for destroying the kingdom of Christ, which has been set up, not by the will of men, but by the appointment of God, and therefore is supported by everlasting strength. Whenever this kingdom is violently attacked, let us call to remembrance this revelation from heaven; for undoubtedly this promise was put into the hand of Christ, that every believer may apply it to his own use. But God never changes or deceives, so as to retract what has once gone out of his mouth.
Sit at my right hand. This phrase is used metaphorically for the second or next rank, which is occupied by God's deputy. And therefore it signifies, to hold the highest government and power in the name of God, as we know that God has committed his authority to his only-begotten Son, so as to govern his Church by his agency. This mode of expression, therefore, does not denote any particular place, but, on the contrary, embraces heaven and earth under the government of Christ. And God declares that Christ will sit till his enemies be subdued, in order to inform us that his kingdom will remain invincible against every attack; not that, when his enemies have been subdued, he will be deprived of the power which had been granted to him, but that, while the whole multitude of his enemies shall be laid low, his power will remain for ever unimpaired. In the meantime, it points out that condition of his kingdom which we perceive in the present day, that we may not be uneasy when we see it attacked on all sides.
 "Jusques a tant que je mettray tes ennemis pour le marchepied de tes pieds;" -- "till I shall place thy enemies as the footstool for thy feet."
 "Et nul ne luy pouvoit respondre une parolle;" -- "and none could answer a word to him."
 "Jusques a tant que je mettray tes ennemis pour le marchepied de tes pieds;" -- "till I shall place thy enemies as the footstool for thy feet."
 "Jusques a tant que je mettray tes ennemis pour le marchepied de tes pieds;" -- "till I shall place thy enemies as the footstool for thy feet."
 Our authorized version of Psalm 110:1 runs thus: The Lord said unto my Lord. While the word Lord occurs twice in this clause, the Translators have followed their ordinary method of printing the first in small capitals, to present it to the eye of the reader as standing for the Hebrew word yhvh, (Jehovah,) which our Author calls "the essential name of God," while the second stands for ('dny), (Adonai,) my Lord, which, as he also mentions, "is frequently applied to men." -- Ed.
And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.