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26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known.
Here is the Christian's comfort, if at any time he may find his character reviled, his motives misunderstood, his actions misrepresented. It is no proof that God disapproves or disallows him. “His own Son,” “his beloved Son,” was evil spoken of and blasphemed, as if in league with Beelzebub. So therefore may the disciples be, as the master was
the servant be, as his lord ; and yet be the object of complacency and favour with him who is above all, and “judgeth righteously.” The Christian, very probably, may not stand in need of this cheering consideration : “all men may speak well of him :” but should it be otherwise, should his good be recompensed with evil, here is the consolation ready: “ the Lord will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart : and then shall every man have praise of God.” 2
27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light : and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without
on the ground without your Father. 30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31. Fear ye not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Our Lord addressed this to men, who would be forced, in defence of the gospel, to hazard even their lives. Such is not our case. But we must not suppose that no fear of man exists now, because he does not any longer kill the body. The fear of man, in one shape or other, causes many to do those things which they ought not to do, and to leave undone what they ought to have done. Family prayer, reverence of the sabbath, abstinence from doubtful amusements, and other signs of a heart devoted to God, are often restrained by the reflection- What will be thought of this, in such or such a quarter? How shall I bear the reproach of that companion, or the ridicule of this friend?
Nothing but an over-ruling sense of an obligation due to God can overcome these feelings now, just as no other motive could have induced the first Christians to stand up and say, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” God has put an awful remonstrance into the mouth of his prophet—“I, even I, am he that comforteth you : who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass : and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth ?” (Is. li. 12.)
May God imprint that salutary dread upon our hearts. Fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell ! “ Let him be our fear, let him be our dread.” 3
Is. viii. 13.
APOSTLES COMMISSIONED AND INSTRUCTED.
Matt. x. 32-42.
32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peuce, but a sword.
35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Our Lord speaks here, not of the intent, but of the effect of his coming. He came to offer peace, the highest peace, with God; and to promote peace, the sweetest peace, among men. But man's perverseness too often meets the offer of peace with rebellion, and where all should be charity, creates dissension. In early times, when a man embraced the gospel, and professed his faith in Christ, the members of his own family were the first to restrain, and afterwards to denounce him. And we cannot doubt but this opposition would be among the most dangerous snares to a man's conscience. Could he presume to be wiser than his parents ? Could he forfeit the affection of those dearest to his heart?
In all ages, Christians are sometimes obliged to make sacrifices of this sort for conscience sake. And they are enjoined to make them, for our Lord says,
37. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.
38. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39. Ile that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find il.
Certainly whoever declines his duty towards his Saviour because he would otherwise risk the loss of earthly love, cannot be worthy of him who, for our sakes, descended from the glory which he “ had with the Father before the world was.” Certainly whoever declines the inconvenience to which his faith in Christ may expose him, whether it be the loss of fortune, or of friendship, or of popular opinion, cannot be worthy of him who bore on his own shoulders the cross which was the penalty of our sin. Certainly Peter endangered his soul, when to find (or save) his earthly life, he denied his Lord. Certainly Paul had found life everlasting, when he was “ready not to be bound only, but to die at Jerusalem, for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”
The expressions are strong, and show that times of religious enmity and actual persecution are first intended, and not the usual course of events. Still the spirit of these passages must be imbibed. To refer them to the time of martyrs only, would be to show that we have none of that disposition which belonged to martyrs. It is a truth for all ages and all individuals, He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy of me.
The design of the whole passage is, to admonish the disciples that they must “count the cost” of following him faithfully, for it would be great ; and then to encourage them to pay this cost, for great would be the reward. And as this is true perpetually and universally, so it is enforced by an universal declaration : whosoever shall confess me before men, in spite of the difficulties or losses he may encounter, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever (through fear of these present trials, or through loss of present advantages) shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
40. He that receiveth you, receiveth me ; und he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.
41. He that receiveth u prophet in the nanie of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
As the apostles were going forth upon a mission new and unpopular, there would be many who opposed and rejected them; there would be others who received them with the disposition of Lydia, (Acts xvi. 15,) who “besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she con