And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
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 to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
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 when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no 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? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
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
we may freely cry, Abba, Father, (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.)
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."
Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
34. But when the Pharisees heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they assembled together. 35. And one of them, a doctor of the law, put a question to him, tempting him, and saying, 36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37. Jesus saith to him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as much as thyself. 40. On these two commandments the whole law and the prophets depend.
28. And when one of the scribes came, and heard them disputing together, and saw that he had answered them well, he put a question to him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29. And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30. And, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. 31. And the second, which is like it, is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: there is no other commandment greater than these. 32. And the scribe said to him, Master, thou hast answered well with truth, that there is one God, and there is no other besides him. 33. And that to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is better than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34. And Jesus, when he saw that he had replied skillfully, said to him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And after that, no man ventured to put a question to him.
25. And, lo, a certain lawyer  rose up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26. And he said to him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? 27. He answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28. And he said to him, Thou hast answered right: do this, and thou shalt live. 29. But he wishing to justify himself, said to Jesus, and Who is my neighbor? 30. And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who even stripped him of his raiment, and, having wounded him, went away, leaving him half-dead. 31. And it happened that a certain priest came down that way, and having seen him, passed by. 32. And in like manner a Levite, going near the place, having approached and seen him, passed by. 33. And a certain Samaritan, on his journey, came to him, and when he saw him, was moved with compassion. 34. And approaching, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and, setting him on his own beast, conducted him to an inn, and took care of him. 35. And, next day, as he was departing, he drew out two denarii, and gave them to the landlord, and said to him, Take care of him, and whatever thou spendest more, when I return, I will repay thee. 36. Which therefore of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor to him who fell among robbers? 37. And he said, He who took compassion on him. Jesus therefore said to him, Go, and do thou in like manner.
Although I think that this narrative has nothing more than a resemblance to what is related by Matthew in the 22^nd, and by Mark in the 12^th chapter, of his Gospel, and that they are not the same; I have chosen to collect them into one place, because, while Matthew and Mark affirm that this was the last question by which our Lord was tempted, Luke makes no mention of that circumstance, and seems intentionally to leave it out, because he had stated it in another passage. And yet I do not dispute that it may be the same narrative, though Luke has some things different from the other two. They all agree in this, that the scribe put a question for the sake of tempting Christ; but he who is described by Matthew and Mark goes away with no bad disposition; for he acquiesces in Christ's reply, and shows a sign of a teachable and gentle mind: to which must be added, that Christ, on the other hand, declares that he is not far from the kingdom of God. Luke, on the other hand, introduces a man who was obstinate and swelled with pride, in whom no evidence of repentance is discovered. Now there would be no absurdity in saying that Christ was repeatedly tempted on the subject of true righteousness, and of keeping the Law, and of the rule of a good life. But whether Luke has related this out of its proper place, or whether he has now passed by the other question -- because that former narrative relating to doctrine was sufficient -- the similarity of the doctrine seemed to require me to compare the three Evangelists with each other.
Let us now see what was the occasion that led this scribe to put a question to Christ. It is because, being an expounder of the Law, he is offended at the doctrine of the gospel, by which he supposes the authority of Moses to be diminished. At the same time, he is not so much influenced by zeal for the Law, as by displeasure at losing some part of the honor of his teaching. He therefore inquires at Christ, if he wishes to profess any thing more perfect than the Law; for, though he does not say this in words, yet his question is ensnaring, for the purpose of exposing Christ to the hatred of the people. Matthew and Mark do not attribute this stratagem to one man only, but show that it was done by mutual arrangement, and that out of the whole sect one person was chosen who was thought to excel the rest in ability and learning. In the form of the question, too, Luke differs somewhat from Matthew and Mark; for, according to him, the scribe inquires what men must do to obtain eternal life, but according to the other two Evangelists, he inquires what is the chief commandment in the law. But the design is the same, for he makes a deceitful attack on Christ, that, if he can draw any thing from his lips that is at variance with the law, he may exclaim against him as an apostate and a promoter of ungodly revolt.
Luke 10:26. What is written in the law? He receives from Christ a reply different from what he had expected. And, indeed, no other rule of a holy and righteous life was prescribed by Christ than what had been laid down by the Law of Moses; for the perfect love of God and of our neighbors comprehends the utmost perfection of righteousness. Yet it must be observed, that Christ speaks here about obtaining salvation, in agreement with the question which had been put to him; for he does not teach absolutely, as in other passages, how men may arrive at eternal life, but how they ought to live, in order to be accounted righteous in the sight of God. Now it is certain that in the Law there is prescribed to men a rule by which they ought to regulate their life, so as to obtain salvation in the sight of God. That the Law can do nothing else than condemn, and is therefore called the doctrine of death, and is said by Paul to increase transgressions, (Romans 7:13,) arises not from any fault of its doctrine, but because it is impossible for us to perform what it enjoins. Therefore, though no man is justified by the Law yet the Law itself contains the highest righteousness, because it does not falsely hold out salvation to its followers, if any one fully observed all that it commands.  Nor ought we to look upon this as a strange manner of teaching, that God first demands the righteousness of works, and next offers a gratuitous righteousness without works; for it is necessary that men should be convinced of their righteous condemnation, that they may betake themselves to the mercy of God. Accordingly, Paul (Romans 10:5, 6) compares both kinds of righteousness, in order to inform us that the reason why we are freely justified by God is, that we have no righteousness of our own. Now Christ in this reply accommodated himself to the lawyer, and attended to the nature of his question; for he had inquired not how salvation must be sought, but by what works it must be obtained.
Matthew 22:37. Thou shalt love the Lord thou God. According to Mark, the preface is inserted, that Jehovah alone is the God of Israel; by which words God supports the authority of his law in two ways. For, first, it ought to be a powerful excitement to the worship of God, when we are fully convinced that we worship the actual Creator of heaven and earth, because indifference is naturally produced by doubt; and, secondly, because it is a pleasing inducement to love him, when he freely adopts us as his people. So then, that they may not hesitate, as usually happens in cases of uncertainty, the Jews are informed that the rule of life is prescribed to them by the true and only God; and, on the other hand, that they may not be kept back by distrust, God approaches to them in a familiar manner, and reminds them of his gracious covenant with them. And yet there is no reason to doubt that the Lord distinguishes himself from all idols, that the Jews may not be drawn aside from him, but may adhere to the pure worship of God himself. Now if uncertainty does not keep back the wretched worshippers of idols from being carried away to the love of them by impetuous zeal, what excuse is left for the hearers of the Law, if they remain indifferent, after that God has revealed himself to them?
What follows is an abridgment of the Law,  which is also found in the writings of Moses, (Deuteronomy 6:5.) For, though it is divided into two tables, the first of which relates to the worship of God, and the second to charity, Moses properly and wisely draws up this summary,  that the Jews may perceive what is the will of God in each of the commandments. And although we ought to love God far more than men, yet most properly does God, instead of worship or honor, require love from us, because in this way he declares that no other worship is pleasing to Him than what is voluntary; for no man will actually obey God but he who loves Him. But as the wicked and sinful inclinations of the flesh draw us aside from what is right, Moses shows that our life will not be regulated aright till the love of God fill all our senses. Let us therefore learn, that the commencement of godliness is the love of God, because God disdains the forced services of men, and chooses to be worshipped freely and willingly; and let us also learn, that under the love of God is included the reverence due to him.
Moses does not add the mind, but mentions only the heart, and the soul, and the strength; and though the present division into four clauses is more full, yet it does not alter the sense. For while Moses intends to teach generally that God ought to be perfectly loved, and that whatever powers belong to men ought to be devoted to this object, he reckoned it enough, after mentioning the soul and the heart, to add the strength, that he might not leave any part of us uninfluenced by the love of God; and we know also that under the word heart the Hebrews sometimes include the mind,  particularly when it is joined to the word soul What is the difference between the mind and the heart, both in this passage and in Matthew, I do not trouble myself to inquire, except that I consider the mind to denote the loftier abode of reason, from which all our thoughts and deliberations flow.
It now appears from this summary that, in the commandments of the Law, God does not look at what men can do, but at what they ought to do; since in this infirmity of the flesh it is impossible that perfect love can obtain dominion, for we know how strongly all the senses of our soul are disposed to vanity. Lastly, we learn from this, that God does not rest satisfied with the outward appearance of works, but chiefly demands the inward feelings, that from a good root good fruits may grow.
39. And the second is like it. He assigns the second place to mutual kindness among men, for the worship of God is first in order. The commandment to love our neighbors, he tells us, is like the first, because it depends upon it. For, since every man is devoted to himself, there will never be true charity towards neighbors, unless where the love of God reigns; for it is a mercenary love  which the children of the world entertain for each other, because every one of them has regard to his own advantage. On the other hand, it is impossible for the love of God to reign without producing brotherly kindness among men.
Again, when Moses commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he did not intend to put the love of ourselves in the first place, so that a man may first love himself and then love his neighbors; as the sophists of the Sorbonne are wont to cavil, that a rule must always go before what it regulates. But as we are too much devoted to ourselves, Moses, in correcting this fault, places our neighbors in an equal rank with us; thus forbidding every man to pay so much attention to himself as to disregard others, because kindness unites all in one body. And by correcting the self-love (philautian) which separates some persons from others, he brings each of them into a common union, and--as it were--into a mutual embrace. Hence we conclude, that charity is justly pronounced by Paul to be
the bond of perfection, (Colossians 3:14,)
and, in another passage, the
fulfilling of the law, (Romans 13:10;)
for all the commandments of the second table must be referred to it.
Luke 10:28. Do this, and thou shalt live. I have explained a little before, how this promise agrees with freely bestowed justification by faith; for the reason why God justifies us freely is, not that the Law does not point out perfect righteousness, but because we fail in keeping it, and the reason why it is declared to be impossible for us to obtain life by it is, that
it is weak through our flesh, (Romans 8:3.)
So then these two statements are perfectly consistent with each other, that the Law teaches how men may obtain righteousness by works, and yet that no man is justified by works, because the fault lies not in the doctrine of the Law, but in men. It was the intention of Christ, in the meantime, to vindicate himself from the calumny which, he knew, was brought against him by the unlearned and ignorant, that he set aside the Law, so far as it is a perpetual rule of righteousness.
29. But he wishing to justify himself. This question might appear to be of no importance for justifying a man. But if we recollect what was formerly stated, that the hypocrisy of men is elderly detected by means of the second table--for, while they pretend to be eminent worshippers of God, they openly violate charity towards their neighbors--it will be easy to infer from this, that the Pharisee practiced this evasion, in order that, concealed under the false mask of holiness, he might not be brought forth to light. So then, aware that the test of charity would prove unfavorable to him, he seeks concealment under the word neighbor, that he may not be discovered to be a transgressor of the Law. But we have already seen, that on this subject the Law was corrupted by the scribes, because they reckoned none to be their neighbors but those who were worthy of it. Hence, too, this principle was received among them, that we have a right to hate our enemies, (Matthew 5:43.) For the only method to which hypocrites can resort for avoiding the condemnation of themselves, is to turn away as far as they are able, that their life may not be tried by the judgment of the Law.
30. And Jesus answering said. Christ might have stated simply, that the word neighbor extends indiscriminately to every man, because the whole human race is united by a sacred bond of fellowship. And, indeed, the Lord employed this word in the Law, for no other reason than to draw us sweetly to mutual kindness. The commandment would have run more clearly thus: Love every man as thyself. But as men are blinded by their pride, so that every man is satisfied with himself, scarcely deigns to admit others to an equal rank, and withholds from them the duties he owes them, the Lord purposely declares that all are neighbors that the very relationship may produce mutual love. To make any person our neighbor, therefore, it is enough that he be, a man; for it is not in our power to blot out our common nature.
But Christ intended to draw the reply from the Pharisee, that he might condemn himself. For in consequence of the authoritative decision being generally received among them, that no man is our neighbor unless he is our friend, if Christ had put a direct question to him, he would never have made an explicit acknowledgment, that under the word neighbor all men are included, which the comparison brought forward forces him to confess. The general truth conveyed is, that the greatest stranger is our neighbor, because God has bound all men together, for the purpose of assisting each other. He glances briefly, however, at the Jews, and especially at the priests; because, while they boasted of being the children of the same Father, and of being separated by the privilege of adoption from the rest of the nations, so as to be God's sacred heritage, yet, with barbarous and unfeeling contempt, they despised each other, as if no relationship had subsisted between them. For there is no doubt that Christ describes the cruel neglect of brotherly kindness, with which they knew that they were chargeable. But here, as I have said, the chief design is to show that the neighborhood, which lays us under obligation to mutual offices of kindness, is not confined to friends or relatives, but extends to the whole human race.
To prove this, Christ compares a Samaritan to a priest and a Levite. It is well known what deadly hatred the Jews bore to the Samaritans, so that, notwithstanding their living close beside them, they were always at the greatest variance. Christ now says, that a Jew, an inhabitant of Jericho, on his journey from Jerusalem, having been wounded by robbers, received no assistance either from a Levite or from a priest, both of whom met with him lying on the road, and half-dead, but that a Samaritan showed him great kindness, and then asks, Which of these three was neighbor to the Jew? This subtle doctor could not escape from preferring the Samaritan to the other two. For here, as in a mirror, we behold that common relationship of men, which the scribes endeavored to blot out by their wicked sophistry;  and the compassion, which an enemy showed to a Jew, demonstrates that the guidance and teaching of nature are sufficient to show that man was created for the sake of man. Hence it is inferred that there is a mutual obligation between all men.
The allegory which is here contrived by the advocates of free will is too absurd to deserve refutation. According to them, under the figure of a wounded man is described the condition of Adam after the fall; from which they infer that the power of acting well was not wholly extinguished in him; because he is said to be only half-dead. As if it had been the design of Christ, in this passage, to speak of the corruption of human nature, and to inquire whether the wound which Satan inflicted on Adam were deadly or curable; nay, as if he had not plainly, and without a figure, declared in another passage, that all are dead, but those whom he quickens by his voice, (John 5:25.) As little plausibility belongs to another allegory, which, however, has been so highly satisfactory, that it has been admitted by almost universal consent, as if it had been a revelation from heaven. This Samaritan they imagine to be Christ, because he is our guardian; and they tell us that wine was poured, along with oil, into the wound, because Christ cures us by repentance and by a promise of grace. They have contrived a third subtlety, that Christ does not immediately restore health, but sends us to the Church, as an innkeeper, to be gradually cured. I acknowledge that I have no liking for any of these interpretations; but we ought to have a deeper reverence for Scripture than to reckon ourselves at liberty to disguise its natural meaning. And, indeed, any one may see that the curiosity of certain men has led them to contrive these speculations, contrary to the intention of Christ.
Matthew 22:40. On these two commandments. I now return to Matthew, where Christ says that all the Law and the prophets depend on these two commandments; not that he intends to limit to them  all the doctrine of Scripture, but because all that is anywhere taught as to the manner of living a holy and righteous life must be referred to these two leading points. For Christ does not treat generally of what the Law and the Prophets contain, but, in drawing up his reply, states that nothing else is required in the Law and the prophets than that every man should love God and his neighbors; as if he had said, that the sum of a holy and upright life consists in the worship of God and in charity to men, as Paul states that charity is
the fulfilling of the law, (Romans 13:10.)
And therefore some ill-informed persons are mistaken in interpreting this saying of Christ, as if we ought to seek nothing higher in the Law and the Prophets. For as a distinction ought to be made between the promises and the commandments, so in this passage Christ does not state generally what we ought to learn from the word of God, but explains, in a manner suited to the occasion, the end to which all the commandments are directed. Yet the free forgiveness of sins, by which we are reconciled to God, -- confidence in calling on God, which is the earnest of the future inheritance, -- and all the other parts of faith, though they hold the first rank in the Law, do not depend on these two commandments; for it is one thing to demand what we owe, and another thing to offer what we do not possess. The same thing is expressed in other words by Mark, that there is no other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:32. Master, thou hast spoken well, and with truth. Mark alone mentions that the scribe was softened down; and it is worthy of notice that, though he had attacked Christ maliciously, and with the intention of taking him by surprise, not only does he silently yield to the latter, but openly and candidly assents to what Christ had said. Thus we see that he did not belong to the class of those enemies whose obstinacy is incurable; for, though they have been a hundred times convinced, yet they do not cease to oppose the truth in some manner. From this reply it may also be concluded, that Christ did not precisely include under these two words the rule of life, but embraced the opportunity which presented itself for reproving the false and hypocritical holiness of the scribes, who, giving their whole attention to outward ceremonies, almost entirely disregarded the spiritual worship of God, and cared little about brotherly kindness. Now though the scribe was infected by such corruptions, yet, as sometimes happens, he had obtained from the Law the seed of right knowledge, which lay choked in his heart, and on that account he easily allows himself to be withdrawn from the wicked custom.
33. Is better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices. But it appears to be incongruous that sacrifices, which are a part of divine worship, and belong to the first table of the Law, should be reckoned of less importance than charity towards men. The reply is, Though the worship of God is greatly preferable, and is more valuable than all the duties of a holy life, yet its outward exercises ought not to be estimated so highly as to swallow up brotherly kindness. For we know that brotherly kindness, in itself and simply, is pleasing to God, though sacrifices are not regarded by him with delight or approbation, except with a view to another object. Besides, it is naked and empty sacrifices that are here spoken of; for our Lord contrasts a hypocritical appearance of piety with true and sincere uprightness. The same doctrine is to be found very frequently in the prophets, that hypocrites may know that sacrifices are of no value, unless spiritual truth be joined to them, and that God is not appeased by offerings of beasts, where brotherly kindness is neglected.
34. But when Jesus saw. Whether this scribe made any farther progress is uncertain; but as he had shown himself to be teachable, Christ stretches out the hand to him, and teaches us, by his example, that we ought to assist those in whom there is any beginning either of docility or of right understanding. There appear to have been two reasons why Christ declared that this scribe was not far from the kingdom of God. It was because he was easily persuaded to do his duty, and because he skillfully distinguished the outward worship of God from necessary duties. Nor was it so much with the design of praising as of exhorting him, that Christ declared that he was near the kingdom of God; and in his person Christ encourages us all, after having once entered into the right path, to proceed with so much the greater cheerfulness. By these words we are also taught that many, while they are still held and involved in error, advance with closed eyes towards the road, and in this manner are prepared for running in the course of the Lord, when the time arrives.
And after that, no man ventured to put a question to him. The assertion of the Evangelists, that the mouth of adversaries was stopped, so they did not venture any more to lay snares for Christ, must not be so understood as if' they desisted from their wicked obstinacy; for they groaned within, like wild beasts shut up in their dens, or, like unruly horses, they bit the bridle. But the more hardened their obstinacy, and the more incorrigible their rebellion, so much the more illustrious was Christ's triumph over both. And this victory, which he obtained, ought greatly to encourage us never to become dispirited in the defense of the truth, being assured of success. It will often happen, indeed, that enemies shall molest and insult us till the end, but God will at length secure that their fury shall recoil on their own heads, and that, in spite of their efforts, truth shall be victorious.
 "Un docteur de la loy;" -- "a doctor of the law."
 "S'il s'en trouvoit quelqu'un qui observast entierement ce qu'elle commande;" -- "if any one were found who observed entirely what it commands."
 "Un abbreg? ou sommaire de la Loy;" -- "an abridgment or summary of the Law."
 "Moyse a fort bien et sagement comprins le tout en ce sommaire;" -- "Moses has very properly and wisely comprehended the whole in this summary."
 "L'entendement;" -- "the understanding."
 "Car l'amour qu'ont les enfans de ce monde les uns envers les autres n'est point une vray amour, mais est une amour mercenaire;" -- "for the love which the children of the world have for each other is not a true love, but is mercenary love."
 "Par ur fausse glose et cavillation meschante;" -- "by their false gloss and wicked sophistry."
 "Restraindre ? ce sommaire;" -- "to limit to this summary."
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
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,
there was given to him a name which is above every name, that before him every knee should bow, (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:9.)
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.
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in the chair of Moses. 3. Observe and do, therefore, all things whatever they command you to observe; but do not according to their works; for they say and do not. 4. For they bind heavy and intolerable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they refuse to touch them with their finger. 5. And they do all their works that they may be seen by men, and make their phylacteries broad, and wear large fringes on their robes, 6. And love the first places at entertainments, and the first seats in the synagogues, 7. And salutations in the marketplace, and to be called by men Rabbi.  8. But as for you, be not called Rabbi;  for there is one who is your Master, Christ; and you are all brethren. 9. And do not call any one on earth your Father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. 10. And be not called Masters;  for one is your Master, Christ. 11. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12. But he that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
38. And he said to them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, who love to walk in robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39. And the first seats in the synagogues, and the first places at entertainments.
45. And one of the lawyers  answering said to him, Master, in saying these things thou also reproachest us. 46. And he said, Woe also to you, lawyers! for you load men with burdens which are intolerable; and you yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. (A little before.)
45. And while all the people were hearing, he said to his disciples, 46. Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces and the first seats in the synagogues, and the first places at entertainments.
Matthew 23:1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes. This warning was highly useful, that, amidst contentions and the noise of combats, amidst the trouble and confusion of public affairs, amidst the destruction of proper and lawful order, the authority of the word of God might remain entire. The design of Christ was, that the people might not, in consequence of being offended at the vices of the scribes,  throw away reverence for the Law. For we know how prone the minds of men are to entertain dislike of the Law; and more especially when the life of their pastors is dissolute, and does not correspond to their words, almost all grow wanton through their example, as if they had received permission to sin with impunity. The same thing happens -- and something worse -- when contentions arise; for the greater part of men, having thrown off the yoke, give utterance to their wicked desires, and break out into extreme contempt.
At that time the scribes burned with covetousness and swelled with ambition; their extortions were notorious; their cruelty was formidable; and such was their corruption of manners, that one would think they had conspired for the destruction of the Law. Besides, they had perverted by their false opinions the pure and natural meaning of the Law, so that Christ was constrained to enter into a sharp conflict with them; because their amazing rage hurried them on to extinguish the light of truth. So then, because there was danger that many persons, partly on account of such abuses, and partly on account of the din of controversies, would come to despise all religion, Christ seasonably meets them, and declares that it would be unreasonable if, on account of the vices of men, true religion were to perish, or reverence for the Law to be in any degree diminished. As the scribes were obstinate and inveterate enemies, and as they held the Church oppressed through their tyranny, Christ was compelled to expose their wickedness; for if good and simple men had not been withdrawn from bondage to them, the door would have been shut against the Gospel. There was also another reason; for the common people think themselves at liberty to do whatever they see done by their rulers, whose corrupt manners they form into a law.
But that no man might put a different interpretation on what he was about to say, he begins by stating, that whatever sort of men the teachers were it was altogether unreasonable, either that on account of their filth the word of God should receive any stain, or that on account of their wicked examples men should hold themselves at liberty to commit sin. And this wisdom ought to be carefully observed; for many persons, having no other object in view than to bring hatred and detestation on the wicked and ungodly, mix and confound every thing through their inconsiderate zeal. All discipline is despised, and shame is trampled under foot; in short, there remains no respect for what is honorable, and, what is more, many are emboldened by it, and intentionally blazon the sins of priests, that they may have a pretext for sinning with less restraint. But in attacking the scribes, Christ proceeds in such a manner, that he first vindicates the Law of God from contempt. We must attend to this caution also if we desire that our reproofs should be of any service. But, on the other hand, we ought to observe, that no dread of giving offense prevented Christ from exposing ungodly teachers as they deserved; only he preserved such moderation, that the doctrine of God might not come to be despised on account of the wickedness of men.
To inform us that he spoke publicly about their vices, not to raise envy against their persons, but to prevent the contagion from spreading more widely, Mark expressly states that he spoke to them in his doctrine; by which words he means that the hearers were profitably warned to beware of them. Now, though Luke appears to restrict it to the disciples, yet it is probable that the discourse was addressed indiscriminately to the whole multitude; which appears more clearly from Matthew, and, indeed, the subject itself required that Christ should have his eye on all without exception.
2. In the chair of Moses. Reasons were not wanting for inserting here what Luke relates at a different place. Besides that the doctrine is the same, I have no doubt that Luke, after having said that the scribes were sharply and severely reproved by our Lord, added also the other reproofs which Matthew delayed till the proper place; for already we have frequently seen that the Evangelists, as occasion required, collected into one place various discourses of Christ. But as the narrative of Matthew is more full, I choose rather to take his words as the subject of exposition.
Our Lord gives a general exhortation to believers to beware of conforming their life to the wicked conduct of the scribes, but, on the contrary, to regulate it by the rule of the Law which they hear from the mouth of the scribes; for it was necessary (as I have lately hinted) that he should reprove many abuses in them, that the whole people might not be infected. Lest, through their crimes, the doctrine of which they were the ministers and heralds should be injured, he enjoins believers to attend to their words, and not to their actions; as if he had said, that there is no reason why the bad examples of pastors should hinder the children of God from holiness of life. That the word scribes, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom, denotes the teachers or expounders of the Law, is well known; and it is certain that Luke calls the same persons lawyers 
Now our Lord refers peculiarly to the Pharisees, who belonged to the number of the scribes, because at that time this sect held the highest rank in the government of the Church, and in the exposition of Scripture. For we have formerly mentioned that, while the Sadducees and Essenes preferred the literal interpretation of Scripture, the Pharisees followed a different manner of teaching, which had been handed down, as it were, to them by their ancestors, which was, to make subtle inquiries into the mystical meaning of Scripture. This was also the reason why they received their name; for they are called Pherusim, that is, expounders.  And though they had debased the whole of Scripture by their false opinions, yet, as they plumed themselves on that popular method of instruction, their authority was highly esteemed in explaining the worship of God and the rule of holy life. The phrase ought, therefore, to be thus interpreted: "The Pharisees and other scribes, or, the scribes, among whom the Pharisees are the most highly esteemed, when they speak to you, are good teachers of a holy life, but by their works they give you very bad instructions; and therefore attend to their lips rather than to their hands."
It may now be asked, Ought we to submit to all the instructions of teachers without exception? For it is plain enough, that the scribes of that age had wickedly and basely corrupted the Law by false inventions, had burdened wretched souls by unjust laws, and had corrupted the worship of God by many superstitions; but Christ wishes their doctrine to be observed, as if it had been unlawful to oppose their tyranny. The answer is easy. He does not absolutely compare any kind of doctrine with the life, but the design of Christ was, to distinguish the holy Law of God from their profane works. For to sit in the chair of Moses is nothing else than to teach, according to the Law of God, how we ought to live. And though I am not quite certain whence the phrase is derived, yet there is probability in the conjecture of those who refer it to the pulpit which Ezra erected, from which the Law was read aloud, (Nehemiah 8:4.) Certainly, when the Rabbis expounded Scripture, those who were about to speak rose up in succession; but it was perhaps the custom that the Law itself should be proclaimed from a more elevated spot. That man, therefore, sits in the chair of Moses who teaches, not from himself, or at his own suggestion, but according to the authority and word of God. But it denotes, at the same time, a lawful calling; for Christ commands that the scribes should be heard, because they were the public teachers of the, Church.
The Papists reckon it enough, that those who issue laws should possess the title and occupy the station; for in this way they torture the words of Christ to mean, that we are bound to receive obediently whatever the ordinary prelates of the Church enjoin. But this calumny is abundantly refuted by another injunction of Christ, when he bids them beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, (Matthew 16:6.)
If Christ pronounces it to be not only lawful, but even proper, to reject whatever of their own the scribes mingle with the pure doctrine of the Law, certainly we are not bound to embrace, without discrimination or the exercise of judgment, whatever they are pleased to enjoin. Besides, if Christ had intended here to bind the consciences of his followers to the commandments of men, there would have been no good ground for what he said in another passage, that it is in vain to worship God by the commandments of men, (Matthew 15:9.)
Hence it is evident, that Christ exhorts the people to obey the scribes, only so far as they adhere to the pure and simple exposition of the Law. For the exposition of, Augustine is accurate, and in accordance with Christ's meaning, that, "the scribes taught the Law of God while they sat in the chair of Moses; and, therefore, that the sheep ought to hear the voice of the Shepherd by them, as by hirelings." To which words he immediately adds: "God therefore teaches by them; but if they wish to teach any thing of their own, refuse to hear, refuse to do them." With this sentiment accords what the same writer says in his Fourth Book of Christian Doctrine: "Because good believers do not obediently listen to any sort of man, but to God himself; therefore we may profitably listen even to those whose lives are not profitable." It was, therefore, not the chair of the scribes, but the chair of Moses, that constrained them to teach what was good, even when they did not do what was good. For what they did in their life was their own; but the chair of another man did not permit them to teach what was their own.
4. For they bind heavy and intolerable burdens. He does not charge the scribes with oppressing and tyrannizing over souls by harsh and unjust laws; for, though they had introduced many superfluous ceremonies -- as is evident from other passages -- yet Christ does not at present refer to that vice, because his design is, to compare right doctrine with a wicked and dissolute life. That the Law of God should be called a heavy and intolerable burden is not wonderful, and more especially in reference to our weakness. But though the scribes required nothing but what God had enjoined, yet Christ reproves the stern and rigid manner of teaching which was usually followed by those proud hypocrites, who authoritatively demand from others what they owe to God, and are rigorous in enforcing duties, and yet indolently dispense with the performance of what they so strictly enjoin on others, and allow themselves to do whatever they please. In this sense Ezekiel (34:4) reproaches them for ruling with sternness and rigor. For those who truly fear God, though they sincerely and earnestly endeavor to bring their disciples to obey Him, yet as they are more severe towards themselves than towards others, they are not so rigid in exacting obedience, and, being conscious of their own weakness, kindly forgive the weak. But it is impossible to imagine any thing that can exceed the insolence in commanding, or the cruelty, of stupid despisers of God, because they give themselves no concern about the difficulty of doing those things from which they relieve themselves; and therefore no man will exercise moderation in commanding others, unless he shall first become his own teacher. 
5. And all their works they do that they may be seen by men. He had lately said that the scribes live very differently from what they teach; but now he adds that, if they have any thing which is apparently good, it is hypocritical and worthless, because they have no other design than to please men, and to vaunt themselves. And here zeal for piety and a holy life is contrasted with the mask of those works which serve no purpose but for ostentation; for an upright worshipper of God will never give himself up to that empty parade by which hypocrites are puffed up. Thus not only is the ambition of the scribes and Pharisees reproved, but our Lord, after having condemned the transgression and contempt of the Law of God in their whole life, that they might not shield themselves by their pretended holiness, anticipates them by replying, that those things of which they boast are absolute trifles, and of no value whatever, because they spring from mere ostentation. He afterwards produces a single instance, by which that ambition was easily perceived, which was, that by the fringes of their robes they held themselves out to the eyes of men as good observers of the Law.
And make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge the fringes of their robes. For why were their fringes made broader, and their phylacteries more magnificent, than what was customary, except for idle display? The Lord had commanded the Jews to wear, both on their forehead and on their raiment, some remarkable passages selected out of the Law, (Deuteronomy 6:8.) As forgetfulness of the Law easily creeps upon the flesh, the Lord intended in this manner to keep it constantly in the remembrance of his people; for they were likewise enjoined to inscribe such sentences
on the posts of their houses, (Deuteronomy 6:9,)
that, wherever they turned their eyes, some godly warning might immediately meet them. But what did the scribes do? In order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the people, they carried about with them the commandments of God more magnificently inscribed on their garments; and in this boasting there was displayed an offensive ambition.
Let us also learn from this, how ingenious men are in mixing up vain deception, in order to conceal their vices under some pretext and cloak of virtues, by turning to the purposes of their own hypocrisy those exercises of piety which God has enjoined. Nothing was more profitable than to exercise all their senses in the contemplation of the Law, and it was not without good reason that this was enjoined by the Lord. But so far were they from profiting by these simple instructions, that, by making perfect righteousness to consist in the adorning of robes, they despised the Law throughout their whole life. For it was impossible to treat the Law of God with greater contempt, than when they imagined that they kept it by pompous dress, or pronounced masks contrived for enacting a play to be a keeping of the Law.
What Mark and Luke say about the robes relates to the same subject. We know that the inhabitants of Eastern countries commonly used long robes, -- a custom which they retain to this day. But it is evident from Zechariah (13:4) that the prophets were distinguished from the rest of the people by a particular form of a cloak. And, indeed, it was highly reasonable that the teachers should dress in this manner, that there might be a higher degree of gravity and modesty in their dress than in that of the common people; but the scribes had made an improper use of it by turning it into luxury and display. Their example has been followed by the Popish priests, among whom robes are manifestly nothing more than the badges of proud tyranny.
6 And love the first places at entertainments.. He proves, by evident signs, that no zeal for piety exists in the scribes, but that they are wholly devoted to ambition. For to seek the first places and the first seats belongs only to those who choose rather to exalt themselves among men, than to enjoy the approbation of God. But above all, Christ condemns them for desiring to be called masters; for, though the name Rabbi in itself denotes excellence, yet at that time the prevailing practice among the Jews was, to give this name to the masters and teachers of the Law. But Christ asserts that this honor does not belong to any except himself; from which it follows that it cannot, without doing injury to him, be applied to men. But there is an appearance of excessive harshness, and even of absurdity, in this, since Christ does not now teach us in his own person, but appoints and ordains masters for us. Now it is absurd to take away the title from those on whom he bestows the office, and more especially since, while he was on earth, he appointed apostles to discharge the office of teaching in his name.
If the question be about the title, Paul certainly did not intend to do any injury to Christ by sacrilegious usurpation or boasting, when he declared that. he was
a master and teacher of the Gentiles, (1 Timothy 2:7.)
But as Christ had no other design than to bring all, from the least to the greatest, to obey him, so as to preserve his own authority unimpaired, we need not give ourselves much trouble about the word. Christ therefore does not attach importance to the title bestowed on those who discharge the office of teaching, but restrains them within proper limits, that they may not rule over the kith of brethren. We must always attend to the distinction, that Christ alone ought to be obeyed, because concerning him alone was the voice of the Father heard aloud from heaven, Hear him, (Matthew 17:5;) and that teachers are his ministers in such a manner that he ought to be heard in them, and that they are masters under him, so far as they represent his person. The general meaning is, that his authority must remain entire, and that no mortal man ought to claim the smallest portion of it. Thus he is the only Pastor; but yet he admits many pastors under him, provided that he hold the preeminence over them all, and that by them he alone govern the Church.
And you are all brethren. This opposite clause must be observed. For, since we are brethren, he maintains that no man has a right to hold the place of a master over others; and hence it follows, that he does not condemn that authority of masters which does not violate brotherly intercourse among the godly. In short, nothing else is here enjoined than that all should depend on the mouth of Christ alone. Nearly to the same purpose does Paul argue, when he says that we have no right to judge one another, for all are brethren, and
all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ,
9. And call no man on earth your Father. He claims for God alone the honor of Father, in nearly the same sense as he lately asserted that he himself is the only Master; for this name was not assumed by men for themselves, but was given to them by God. And therefore it is not only lawful to call men on earth fathers, but it would be wicked to deprive them of that honor. Nor is there any importance in the distinction which some have brought forward, that men, by whom children have been begotten, are fathers according to the flesh, but that God alone is the Father of spirits. I readily acknowledge that in this manner God is sometimes distinguished from men, as in Hebrews 12:5, but as Paul more than once calls himself a spiritual father, (1 Corinthians 4:15; Philippians 2:22,) we must see how this agrees with the words of Christ. The true meaning therefore is, that the honor of a father is falsely ascribed to men, when it obscures the glory of God. Now this is done, whenever a mortal man, viewed apart from God, is accounted a father, since all the degrees of relationship depend on God alone through Christ, and are held together in such a manner that, strictly speaking, God alone is the Father of all.
10. For one is your Master, even Christ. He repeats a second time the former statement about Christ's office as Master, in order to inform us that the lawful order is, that God alone rule over us, and possess the power and authority of a Father, and that Christ subject all to his doctrine, and have them as disciples; as it is elsewhere said, that Christ is the only
head of the whole Church, (Ephesians 1:22)
because the whole body ought to be subject to him and obey him.
11. He who is greatest among you. By this conclusion he shows that he did not, after the manner of the sophists, dispute about words, but, on the contrary, looked to the fact, that no man, through forgetfulness of his rank, might claim more than was proper. He therefore declares that the highest honor in the Church is not government, but service. Whoever keeps himself within this limit, whatever may be the title which he bears, takes nothing away either from God or from Christ; as, on the other hand, it serves no good purpose to take the name of a servant for the purpose of cloaking that power which diminishes the authority of Christ as a Master. For of what avail is it that the Pope, when he is about to oppress wretched souls by tyrannical laws, begins with styling himself the servant of servants of God, but to insult God openly, and to practice shameful mockery on men? Now while Christ does not insist on words, he strictly forbids his followers to aspire or desire to rise any higher than to enjoy brotherly intercourse on an equal footing under the heavenly Father, and charges those who occupy places of honor to conduct themselves as the servants of others. He adds that remarkable statement which has been formerly explained,  he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
 "Estre appelez des hommes Maistres;" -- "to be called by men Masters."
 "No Soyez point appelez Maistres;" -- "but not be called Masters."
 "Docteurs;" -- "doctors."
 "Un des docteurs de la loy;" -- "one of the doctors of the law."
 "Offens? et scandaliz? des vices qu'on voyoit ?s scribes;" -- "offended and scandalized at the vices which they saw in the scribes."
 "Docteurs de la loy;" -- "teachers," or "doctors of the law." Harmony, vol. 1, p. 281.
 Harmony, vol 1, p. 281.
 "Si premierement il ne se regle luy-mesme, et s'assul jetit aux mesmes choses qu'il commande;" -- "if he do not first rule himself, and submit to the same things which he commands."
 Harmony, vol. 2, p. 165.
And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
13. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you do not enter yourselves, and do not permit those who come to enter. 14. And woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and that under the disguise of a long prayer; therefore you will be the more severely punished. 15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make  one proselyte; and when he is made,  you make him twice as much the child of hell as yourselves.
40. Who devour widows' houses, and that under the disguise of a longprayer. These shall receive a severer condemnation.
52. Woe to you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.
47. Who devour widows' houses, and by way of pretence make long prayers  . These shall receive greater condemnation.
He breaks out into still stronger language of condemnation, and he does so not so much on their account, as for the purpose of withdrawing the common people and simple-minded men from their sect.  For though we see frequently in Scripture the judgment of God pronounced against the reprobate, so as to render them the more inexcusable, yet in their person the children of God receive a useful warning, not to involve themselves in the snares of the same crimes, but to guard against falling into similar destruction. Certainly, when the scribes, after overturning the worship of God and corrupting the doctrine of godliness, would endure no correction, and with desperate madness, to their own destruction and that of the whole nation, opposed the redemption which was offered to them, it was proper that they should be held up to the hatred and detestation of all. And yet Christ did not so much consider what they deserved, as what would be useful to the uneducated and ignorant; for he intended, towards the close of his life, to leave a solemn testimony, that no man might, except knowingly and willingly, be deceived by persons so base and wicked.
We know how powerfully a foolish reverence for false teachers hinders simple people from getting clear of their erroneous views. The Jews were at that time deeply imbued with false doctrine, and had even imbibed from their earliest years many superstitions. While it was hard and difficult in itself to bring them back to the right path, the chief obstacle lay in the foolish opinion which they had formed about the false teachers, whom they regarded as the lawful prelates of the Church, the rulers of divine worship, and the pillars of religion. Besides, they were so strongly fascinated, that they could scarcely be drawn away from those teachers but by violent fear. It is not therefore for the purpose of cursing the scribes that Christ pronounces against them the dreadful vengeance of God, but to withdraw others from their impostures. In like manner, we are compelled at the present day to thunder loudly against the Popish clergy, for no other reason than that those who are tractable, and not quite desperate, may direct their minds to their salvation, and, moved by the judgment of God, may break the deadly snares of superstitions by which they are held captive.
Hence we may infer how cruel is the mildness of those who dislike our vehemence. They are displeased to see harshness and severity used towards the wolves, which are constantly, with open mouth, tearing and devouring the sheep; and yet they see the poor sheep deceived by a vain disguise, freely throwing themselves into the jaws of the wolves, unless the pastor who desires to save them, and endeavors to rescue them from destruction, drive them away with a loud voice. We must therefore follow out the design of Christ, by copying out his example in severe threatenings against wicked despisers, and in boldly exclaiming against them, that those who are capable of being cured may be led by the fear of destruction to withdraw from them. For though we gain nothing by addressing the enemies of the truth, yet they must be summoned to the judgment-seat of God, and others must be warned, that they may know that the same destruction awaits themselves, if they do not speedily withdraw from a wicked league with them.
Matthew 23:13. You shut up the kingdom of heaven. Christ pronounces a curse on them, because they pervert their office to the general destruction of the whole people; for since the government of the Church was in their hands, they ought to have been, as it were, porters for the kingdom of heaven. What purpose is served by religion and holy doctrine but to open heaven to us? For we know that all mankind are banished from God, and excluded from the inheritance of eternal salvation. Now the doctrine of religion may be said to be the door by which we enter into life, and therefore Scripture says metaphorically, that the keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to pastors, as I have explained more fully under Matthew 16:19. And we ought to abide by this definition, which appears still more strongly from the words of Luke, in which Christ reproaches the lawyers with having taken away the key of knowledge, which means that, though they were the guardians of the Law of God, they deprived the people of the true understanding of it. As, therefore, in the present day, the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed to the custody of pastors, that they may admit believers into eternal life, and exclude unbelievers from all expectation of it, so the priests and scribes anciently under the Law held the same office.
From the word knowledge we infer how absurdly the Papists forge false keys, as if they possessed some magical power apart from the word of God; for Christ declares that none but those who are ministers of doctrine have the use of keys. If it be objected, that the Pharisees, though they were perverse expounders of the Law still held the keys, I:reply: Though, in respect of their office, the keys were entrusted to them, yet they were suppressed by malice and deceit, so that they no longer retained the use of them. And therefore Christ says, that they took away, or stole that key of knowledge, by which they ought to have opened the gate of heaven. In like manner, heaven is shut by Popery against the wretched people, while the very pastors--or, at least, those who hold that office--prevent them by their tyranny from being opened. If we are not excessively indifferent, we will not willingly enter into a league with wicked tyrants, who cruelly shut against us the entrance into life.
14. For you devour widows' houses. He now proceeds farther, for he not only accuses them of open crimes which demand hatred and detestation, but even tears away the disguises of virtues, by which they deceived the common people. If it be objected, that there was no need of reproving those things which could do no harm by their example, we ought to recollect that it was impossible to promote the salvation of those who were held bound by the errors of the scribes, unless they turned away entirely from such persons. This reason, therefore, constrained Christ to expose the vain appearance of virtues, which nourishes superstitions.
And that under the pretense of a long prayer. He says in general that, even when they appear to do what is right, they wickedly abuse the pretense of religion. Long prayers contained some evidence of remarkable piety; for the more holy a man is, the more eminently is he devoted to prayer. But Christ says that the Pharisees and scribes were so impure, that even the chief part of the worship of God was not used by them without committing sin, because constancy in prayer was with them, trap for base gain. For they sold their prayers in exactly the same manner as hirelings dispose of their daily labor.  Hence also we infer that our Lord does not exactly reprove long prayers, as if in itself it were an impropriety--particularly since pastors ought to be eminently devoted to prayer--but to condemn this abuse, because a thing laudable in itself was turned to a wicked purpose. For when men aim at gain by means of hired prayers, the more fervent the appearance of what they call devotion becomes, the more is the name of God profaned. And as this false conviction had been long and deeply seated in the minds of the common people, on this account Christ employs harsher threatenings; for the pollution of so sacred a thing was no light offense. That it was chiefly widows that were imposed on need not excite surprise, because silly women are more prone to superstition, and therefore it has always been customary for base men to make gain of. them. Thus Paul brings a charge against the false teachers of his age, that they
lead captive silly women laden with sins, (2 Timothy 3:6.)
15. For you compass sea and land. The scribes had also acquired celebrity by their zeal in laboring to bring over to the Jewish religion the strangers and uncircumcised. And so, if they had gained any one by their false appearances, or by any other stratagem, they gloried wonderfully over it as an increase of the Church. On this account also they received great applause from the common people, that by their diligence and ability they brought strangers into the Church of God. Christ declares, on the contrary, that so far is this zeal from deserving applause, that they more and more provoke the vengeance of God, because they bring under heavier condemnation those who devote themselves to their sect. We ought to observe how corrupt their condition at that time was, and what confusion existed in religion; for as it was a holy and excellent work to gain disciples to God, so to allure the Gentiles to the Jewish worship--which was at that time degenerate, and was even full of wicked profanation -- was nothing else than to hurry them from Scylla to Charybdis.  Besides, by a sacrilegious abuse of the name of God, they drew down upon themselves a heavier condemnation, because their religion allowed them grosser licentiousness of crime. An instance of the same kind may be seen at the present day among the monks; for they are diligent in culling proselytes from every quarter, but those proselytes, from being lascivious and debauched persons, they render altogether devils: for such is the filthiness of those puddles, within which they carry on their reveling, that it would corrupt even the heavenly angels.  Yet the monk's habit is a very suitable mantle for concealing enormities of every description.
 "Afin de gaigner un proselyte;" -- "in order to gain one proselyte."
 "Et quand il est gaign?;" -- "and when he is gained."
 "Lesquels devorent les maisons des vefues, sous ombre de faire longue oraison;" -- "who devour the houses of widows, under the pretense of making a long prayer."
 "De suyvre telle maniere de gens;" -- "from following that sort of people."
 "Que les mercenaires et ouvriers ont accoustum? de vendre leur labeur, et se loer ? la journee;" -- "as hirelings and laborers are wont to sell their labor, and to hire themselves out for the day."
 "Ce n'estoit autre chose que de les oster d'un danger, pour les precipiter en un plus grand;" -- "it was nothing else than to rescue them from one danger to plunge them into a greater." The allusion in the text is to Scylla a rocky promontory on the Italian side of the Strait of Messina, and to Charybdis, a whirlpool opposite to it, on the coast of Sicily. Either of them singly would have rendered the navigation formidable, but their vicinity to ly aggravated the danger; for the very exertions which kept the mariner at a distance from the one unavoidably brought him nearer to the other. This appalling scene meets us frequently in the ancient mythology, in the allusions of poets and orators, and on many other occasions. He who, by avoiding one evil, fell into one still greater, was proverbially said to have avoided Scylla and fallen into Charybdis. -- Ed.
 "Les anges de Paradis;" -- "the angels of Paradise."
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
41. And while Jesus was sitting opposite to the treasury, he perceived how the multitude threw money into the treasury, and many rich persons put in much. 42. And a poor widow came, and threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43. And having called his disciples to him, he said, Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath thrown in more than all who have thrown into the treasury: 44. For they all have thrown in out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty hath thrown in all that she had, all her living. 
1. And, lifting up his eyes, he saw those rich men who were throwing their gifts into the treasury. 2. And he saw also a certain poor widow throwing into it two mites. 3. And he said, Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath thrown in more than all: 4. For all these, out of their abundance, have thrown into the offering of God; but she out of her poverty hath thrown in all the living which she had. 
Mark 12:43. Verily I say to you. This reply of Christ contains a highly useful doctrine that whatever men offer to God ought to be estimated not by its apparent value,  but only by the feeling of the heart, and that the holy affection of him who according to his small means, offers to God the little that he has, is more worthy of esteem than that of him who offers a hundred times more out of his abundance. In two ways this doctrine is useful, for the poor who appear not to have the power of doing good, are encouraged by our Lord not to hesitate to express their affection cheerfully out of their slender means; for if they consecrate themselves, their offering, which appears to be mean and worthless, will not be less valuable than if they had presented all the treasures of Croesus.  On the other hand, those who possess greater abundance, and who have received from God larger communications, are reminded that it is not enough if in the amount of their beneficence they greatly surpass the poor and common people; because it is of less value in the sight of God that a rich man, out of a vast heap, should bestow a moderate sum, than that a poor man, by giving very little, should exhaust his store. This widow must have been a person of no ordinary piety, who, rather than come empty into the presence of God, chose to part with her own living. And our Lord applauds this sincerity, because, forgetting herself, she wished to testify that she and all that she possessed belonged to God. In like manner, the chief sacrifice which God requires from us is self-denial. As to the sacred offerings, it is probable that they were not at that time applied properly, or to lawful purposes; but as the service of the Law was still in force, Christ does not reject them. And certainly the abuses of men could not prevent the sincere worshippers of God from doing what was holy, and in accordance with the command of God, when they offered for sacrifices and other pious uses.
 "Toute sa substance;" -- "all her substance."
 "Tout le vivre, ou bien, qu'elle avoit;" -- "all the living, or wealth, that she had."
 "Selon le prix qu'il vaut au monde;" -- "according to the price at which it is estimated by the world."
 "De Croesus, lequel on dit avoir est? si riche;" -- "of Croesus, who is said to have been so rich." -- The allusion is to Croesus, King of Lydia, whose vast wealth was a proverb among the Greeks and Romans. -- Ed.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.