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14. H Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
15. But when Jesus knew :'/, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
16. And charged them that they should not make him known:
"It was seriously argued that to walk upon the grass with nailed shoes was a violation of the Sabbath, because it was a kind of threshing, and to catch a flea upon one's person was a violation, because it was a kind of hunting; and it was gravely debated whether one might eat a fresh egg on the first day of the week, since, in the order of nature, it had probably been prepared by the hen on the seventh." —Abbott.
"He that hath toothache," they said, "let him not take vinegar, to spit it out again; but he is allowed to take it, if he swallow it down."—Lightfoot's Exercitations.
"Abarbanel relates that, when in 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain, and were forbidden to enter the city of Fez lest they should cause a famine, they lived on grass; yet even in this state 'religiously avoided the violation of their Sabbath by plucking the grass with their hands' To avoid this they took the much more laborious methods of grovelling on their knees, and cropping it with their teeth."—Cambridge Bible for Schools.
"To break the Sabbath, rather than suffer hunger for a few hours, was guilt worthy of stoning. Was it not their boast that Jews were known over the world by their readiness to die rather than break the holy day? Every one had stories of grand fidelity to it. The Jewish sailor had refused, even when threatened with death, to touch the helm a moment after the sun had set on Friday, though a storm was raging; and had not thousands let themselves be butchered rather than touch a weapon in self-defence on the Sabbath ?"—Geikie.
"A tragic illustration of Jewish superstition came under my notice, a few years ago, in Jerusalem. A fire broke out, on the Sabbath, in a house in the Jewish quarter. No one would make the slightest effort to extinguish it. It being unlawful among them to kindle a fire on that day, they interpret this prohibition to imply that fire may not be touched; and thus to save themselves from ceremonial pollution, as they supposed, there was not one who would make the slightest effort to rescue the inmates. Three beautiful young girls
17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
were burned to death, when a very little exertion might have saved them all. One of the women, on being afterwards reproached for this hideous tragedy, replied that it was a sacrifice acceptable to God, who would reward them for having allowed their dear ones to perish, rather than break his commandment."
— Tristram, in Sunday-School Times.
Barnacles.—The Pharisees' interpretations were like the barnacles on the bottom of a ship; or like the dust and dirt of ages upon a painting by one of the old masters. We should remove the barnacles, but keep the ship; cleanse away the dust, but retain the picture.
Jewel And Dirt Upon It.—Jesus would keep the jewel, but wash away the dirt which had accumulated upon it, and dimmed or destroyed its radiance.
Plato's Comparison Of The Soul To Glaucus.—Plato compares the soul of man, as it now is, to the marine Glaucus, who cast himself into the sea, and cruised along the shores with the whales. "His ancient nature cannot be easily perceived, because the ancient members of his body are partly broken off, and others worn away; and besides this, other things are grown to him, such as shellfish, and seaweeds, and stones, so that he in every respect resembles a beast, rather than what he naturally was." Under the Jews, the divine Sabbath had become thus disfigured, its best parts broken away, and much that was evil and unworthy had overgrown it.
The Jewel And The Case.—They were like the Roman soldier who, finding a bag full of jewels, threw away the jewels but kept the leather case.
Brushing Away Cobwebs.—Jesus brushed away the cobwebs, and the Pharisees thought that the ceiling was about to fall.
2o. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
22. Tf Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David?
24. But when the Pharisees heard it, the> said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
29. Or else, how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man ? and then he will spoil his house.
30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31. H Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
20. A Bruised Reed. . . A Smoking Flax.—A "dimly burning wick" in the Hebrew. "He himself, partaking the nature of our frail humanity, is both a lamp and a reed, humble, but not to be broken, and the light of the world. Compare the beautiful passage in Dante, where Cato directs Virgil to wash away the stains of the nether world from Dante's face, and to prepare him for the ascent of the Purgatorial mount by girding him with a rush, the emblem of humility " (Purgatorio, I., 94-105, 133-137).
—M. R. Vincent, in Word-Studies.
31. Shall Not Be Forgiven Him.—A man may misuse his eyes, and yet see; but whosoever puts them out can never see again. One may misdirect his mariner's compass, and turn it aside from the north pole by a magnet or piece of iron, and it may reVnpardoH- cover an^ point right again; but whosoever destroys the able sin. compass itself has lost his guide at sea. So it is possible for us to sin and be forgiven: recovery through God's Spirit is not impossible. But if we so harden our hearts that they cannot feel the power of the Spirit, who alone can convert us, if the
32. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by fas fruit.
eyes of the soul are destroyed, then there is no hope. We are beyond the reach of the only power that can save us.
"Past Redemption Point—On the bank of the Niagara River, where the rapids begin to swell and swirl most desperately preparatory to their final plunge, is a sign board which bears a most startling legend, ' Past Redemption Point,' it reads. To read it, even while one feels the firm soil beneath his feet sends a shiver of horror through one's soul as he looks off upon the turbulent waters, and realizes the full significance [of the sign. The one who gets into those boiling rapids, and passes that point, cannot retrace his way, cannot be rescued by friends."—London Sunday-School Chronicle.
The Inchcape Rock.—The unpardonable sin from destroying the power within us which makes salvation possible, is illustrated by Southey's poem, " The Inchcape Rock." The "holy abbot of Aberbrothock " had placed a bell over this rock, in such a way that it was rung by the motion of the waves.
"When the rock was hid by the tempest's swell,
One day Ralph the Rover, in sport, " cut the warning bell from its float," and " sailed away, and scoured the seas for many a day." Returning, richly laden, he finds himself near the Scottish shore in a fog and the swell of a gale.
"Canst hear, says one, the breakers' roar?
But they hear no sound, and soon are wrecked upon the very rock from which they had destroyed the warning bell.
Reference.—33. "Make the tree good." See chapter vii: 16-18.
34. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Reference.—34. "Out of the abundance of the heart." See " Poisoning the Fountains," under chapter xiii: 24-30.
35. Out Of The Good Treasure Of The Heart.—"One summer day, a few years ago, strolling for rest and pleasure near the mouth of the Columbia River, where there is a large rise and fall of the tide, I came, at low tide, upon a splendid spring of pure fresh water, clear as crystal, gushing up from between the rocks that, two hours before, had formed a part of the river's bed.
The "Twice a day the soiled tide rises above that beauti
Fountain ful fountain and covers it over; but there it is, down beneath the deep under the salt tide, and when the tide has spent its force, and gone back again to the ocean's depths, it sends out its pure waters fresh and clear as before.
"So if the human heart be really a fountain of love to Christ, it will send out its streams of fresh, sweet waters, even into the midst of the salt tides of politics or business. And the man who carries such a fountain into the day's worry and struggle will come again at night, when the world's tide has spent its force, with clean hands, sweet spirit, and conscience void of offence toward God and man."
— The Watchword.
Bringeth Forth.—tup&tUi, throws out of its abundance as a full reservoir forces the water out of the pipes or fountains below.
36. Every Idle Word.—Idle, apyw, from o not, and loyov, work, a word that does not do its work, useless.
Argon.—" Much interest attaches to the recent discovery of the third and hitherto unsuspected component of the air,—the gas called argon, from the Greek ' a,' not, and 'ergon,' work. Four years (1891-2) ago Lord Raleigh perceived that nitrogen taken from the air is heavier than the same gas chemically obtained. He and