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1: And he said also to his disciples - Not only to the scribes
and Pharisees to whom he had hitherto been speaking, but to all
the younger as well as the elder brethren: to the returning
prodigals who were now his disciples. A certain rich man had a
steward - Christ here teaches all that are now in favour with God,
particularly pardoned penitents, to behave wisely in what is
committed to them.
3: To beg I am ashamed - But not ashamed to cheat! This was
likewise a sense of honour! "By men called honour, but by
4: I know - That is, I am resolved, what to do.
8: And the lord commended the unjust steward - Namely, in this
respect, because he had used timely precaution: so that though
the dishonesty of such a servant be detestable, yet his
foresight, care, and contrivance, about the interests of this
life, deserve our imitation, with regard to the more important
affairs of another. The children of this world - Those who seek
no other portion than this world: Are wiser - Not absolutely,
for they are, one and all, egregious fools; but they are more
consistent with themselves; they are truer to their principles;
they more steadily pursue their end; they are wiser in their
generation - That is, in their own way, than the children of light
- The children of God, whose light shines on their hearts.
9: And I say to you - Be good stewards even of the lowest talents
wherewith God hath intrusted you. Mammon means riches or money.
It is termed the mammon of unrighteousness, because of the manner
wherein it is commonly either procured or employed. Make
yourselves friends of this, by doing all possible good,
particularly to the children of God: that when ye fail, when
your flesh and your heart faileth, when this earthly tabernacle
is dissolved, those of them who have gone before may receive,
may welcome you into the everlasting habitations.
10: And whether ye have more or less, see that ye be faithful as
well as wise stewards. He that is faithful in what is meanest of
all, worldly substance, is also faithful in things of a higher
nature; and he that uses these lowest gifts unfaithfully, is
likewise unfaithful in spiritual things.
11: Who will intrust you with the true riches? - How should God
intrust you with spiritual and eternal, which alone are true riches?
12: If ye have not been faithful in that which was another's - None
of these temporal things are yours: you are only stewards of them,
not proprietors: God is the proprietor of all; he lodges them in
your hands for a season: but still they are his property. Rich
men, understand and consider this. If your steward uses any part
of your estate (so called in the language of men) any farther
or any otherwise than you direct, he is a knave: he has neither
conscience nor honour. Neither have you either one or the other,
if you use any part of that estate, which is in truth God's, not
yours, any otherwise than he directs. That which is your own
- Heaven, which when you have it, will be your own for ever.
13: And you cannot be faithful to God, if you trim between God
and the world, if you do not serve him alone.(Mt 6:24).
15: And he said to them, Ye are they who justify yourselves
before men - The sense of the whole passage is, that pride,
wherewith you justify yourselves, feeds covetousness, derides
the Gospel, (Lu 16:14), and destroys the law, (Lu 16:18). All
which is illustrated by a terrible example. Ye justify yourselves
before men - Ye think yourselves righteous, and persuade others
to think you so.
16: The law and the prophets were in force until John: from that
time the Gospel takes place; and humble upright men receive it
with inexpressible earnestness.(Mt 11:13).
17: Not that the Gospel at all destroys the law.(Mt 5:18).
18: But ye do; particularly in this notorious instance.(Mt 5:31,19:7).
19: There was a certain rich man - Very probably a Pharisee, and
one that justified himself before men; a very honest, as well
as honourable gentleman: though it was not proper to mention his
name on this occasion: who was clothed in purple and fine linen
- and doubtless esteemed on this account, (perhaps not only by
those who sold it, but by most that knew him,) as encouraging
trade, and acting according to his quality: And feasted splendidly
every day - And consequently was esteemed yet more, for his
generosity and hospitality in keeping so good a table.
20: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, (according to
the Greek pronunciation) or Eleazer. By his name it may be
conjectured, he was of no mean family, though it was thus reduced.
There was no reason for our Lord to conceal his name, which
probably was then well known. Theophylact observes, from the
tradition of the Hebrews, that he lived at Jerusalem. Yea, the
dogs also came and licked his sores - It seems this circumstance
is recorded to show that all his ulcers lay bare, and were not
closed or bound up.
22: And the beggar - Worn out with hunger, and pain, and want of
all things, died: and was carried by angels (amazing change of
the scene!) into Abraham's bosom - So the Jews styled paradise;
the place where the souls of good men remain from death to the
resurrection. The rich man also died, and was buried - Doubtless
with pomp enough, though we do not read of his lying in state;
that stupid, senseless pageantry, that shocking insult on a
poor, putrefying carcass, was reserved for our enlightened age!
23: He seeth Abraham afar off - And yet knew him at that distance:
and shall not Abraham's children, when they are together in
paradise, know each other!
24: Father Abraham, have mercy on me - It cannot be denied, but
here is one precedent in Scripture of praying to departed saints:
but who is it that prays, and with what success? Will any, who
considers this, be fond of copying after him?
25: But Abraham said, Son - According to the flesh. Is it not
worthy of observation, that Abraham will not revile even a damned
soul? and shall living men revile one another? Thou in thy
lifetime receivedst thy good things - Thou didst choose and accept
of worldly things as thy good, thy happiness. And can any be at
a loss to know why he was in torments? This damnable idolatry,
had there been nothing more, was enough to sink him to the
26: Beside this there is a great gulf fixed - Reader, to which
side of it wilt thou go?
28: Lest they also come into this place - He might justly fear
lest their reproaches should add to his own torment.
31: Neither will they be persuaded - Truly to repent: for this
implies an entire change of heart: but a thousand apparitions
cannot, effect this. God only can, applying his word.