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state, or of furnishing the Jews with any pretence to persecute him, he rather chose to submit to the pay. ment, though he was obliged to work a miracle to pro. cure the means, as he did not choose to go to the public purse for his own private use.
The coin found was called a stater, in value about three shillings. How great must have been our Lord's knowledge; to penetrate to the bottom of the sea! and
his power, to direct the fish to Peter's hook, though he himself was at such a distance! It is most likely that the fish had accidentally swallowed the piece of money, which might fall into the water as he was aiming at other prey. No circumstance could have better answered the purposes of encouraging Peter in his dependance on divine Providence, and of shewing that all nature was at the command of the Son of God.
From our Lord's payment of the tribute we are in. structed to pay with cheerfulness the rates appointed for the support of public worship. From his desiring Peter to go and catch a fish, we learn, that in cases of neces. sity we must exercise our own industry, which is the best way of obtaining money, since God's blessing may be expected to reward it. If Peter had not found the money he wanted, in the mouth of the fish, the sale of it would have fetched him something, and by repeated Jabour he might have caught a sufficient number of Ashes to produce the sum he wanted; but our LORD rewarded his faith by miraculous assistance.
It is evident that our LORD could easily have accu. mulated great
riches from the bottom of the sea, but he chose to give his disciples a lesson of moderation,
JESUS DISCOURSES WITH HIS DISCIPLES CONCERNING HUMILITY AND FORGIVENESS.
From Matthew, Chap. xviii.-Mark, ix.
AT the same time came the disciples unto JESUS, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? and being in the house, he asked them, What it was that they disputed among themselves by the way?
But they held their peace: for by the way, they had disputed among themselves who should be the greatest.
And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a mill. stone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences: for it must meets be that offences come: but woe to that man bywhom the offence cometh.
Wherefore, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better fot thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire : Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will you season. it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.
How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother:
Bat if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three wit nesses every word may be established.
Again, if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.
Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Our divine LORD, who was himself a perfect pattern of humility, took every occasion of inculcating this vir tue in his followers; his disciples had privately disputed among themselves which of them should be advanced to the highest dignity in the kingdom of the Messiah, which they expected to be a temporal one. To shew that he knew what had passed, though not personally present at the time, our LORD put a significant question to them; and upon their not replying, he reproved their ambition, and instructed them, that the way for any one to obtain honourable distinction in the kingdom: of heaven, is to be humble and condescending to his bre thren, teachable and governable, like children of good dispositions; and that his disciples might not suppose they would bring contempt upon themselves by this.
humility, our LORD assured them he would espouse the cause of these little ones, and consider every act of kind. ness shewn to them as done to himself; and on the contrary would inflict dreadful judgments on whoever should purposely mislead, seduce, or persecute one of them. Our LORD intimated that as long as the world should last, his disciples would be liable to offences of one kind or other; but to deter them from committing such, he denounced woe to whoever should be guilty of them.
Our LORD then earnestly exhorted his disciples to avoid giving offence; and rather than indulge any sinful passion destructive of the soul, to part with their dearest interests with as much resolution as they would submit to the amputation of a mortified limb; observing, that they would not be the worse in heaven for any thing they should part with here, nor the better in hell for any thing they should unlawfully keep. Our LORD again renewed the subject of humility, and cautioned his disciples not to despise weak Christians, nor to think even children beneath their attention.
The words, In heaven their Angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven, may be understood to mean, that children and those who resemble them in that humility which our Saviour recommended, being partakers of the redemption through CHRIST, will be among the blessed inhabitants of heaven. The parable of the lost sheep was designed to shew that it was not the will of the Father that any member of his Church should perish, who could by any means be reclaimed from error.
As it would be highly necessary that there should be some church discipline, our SAVIOUR promised, that the Apostles should have the power of ruling over it, and that he would confirm their decisions. Nay, for