Verses 1-4. See also Mark 8:11,12. The Pharisees also with the Saducees. See Barnes " :".

Tempting. That is, trying him --feigning a desire to see evidence that he was the Messiah, but with a real desire to see him make the attempt to work a miracle and fail, that they might betray and ruin him.

A sign from heaven. Some miraculous appearance in the sky. Such appearances had been given by the prophets; and they supposed, if he was the Messiah, that his miracles would not all be confined to the earth, but that he was able to give some signal miracle from heaven. Samuel had caused it to thunder, 1 Samuel 12:16-18. Isaiah had caused the shadow to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz, Isaiah 38:8 and Moses had sent them manna from heaven, Exodus 16:4; John 6:31. It is proper to say, that though Christ did not choose then to show such wonders, yet far more stupendous signs from heaven than these were exhibited at his death.

{c} "sign from heaven" Matthew 12:38; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 12:54-56; 1 Corinthians 1:22

Verses 2,3. He answered, etc. The meaning of this answer is, There are certain indications by which you judge about the weather. In the evening you think you can predict the weather tomorrow. You have evidence in the redness of the sky by which you judge. So there are sufficient indications on which you should judge concerning me and these times. My miracles, and the state of affairs in Judea, are an indication by which you should judge of these times.

Is red. Almost all nations have observed this as an indication of the weather.

In the morning--the sky is red and lowering. That is, there are threatening clouds in the sky, which are made red by the rays of the rising sun. This, in Judea, was a sign of a tempest. In other places, however, the signs of a storm may be different.

The face of the sky. The appearance of the sky.

Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 16:2"

Verse 4. A wicked and adulterous generation, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 12:38-40". Mark adds, Mark 8:12 that he sighed deeply in spirit, he did not say this without feeling, he was greatly affected with their perverseness and obstinacy, Matthew 16:6-12. This account is recorded also in Mark 8:14-21.

{d} "prophet Jonas" Jonah 1:17

Verse 5. And when his disciples were come to the other side. That is, to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Mark says that he entered into a ship again, and departed to the other side. The conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees had been on the east of the sea of Galilee. They crossed from that side again to the west.

Had forgotten to take bread. That is, had forgotten to lay in a sufficient supply. They had, it seems, not more than one loaf, Mark 8:14.

Verses 6-8. Take heed, etc. That is, be cautious, be on your guard.

The leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Leaven is used in making bread. Its use is to pass through the flour, and cause it to ferment or to swell, and become light. It passes secretly, silently, but certainly. None can see its progress. So it was with the doctrines of the Pharisees. They were insinuating, artful, plausible. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, they instilled them secretly into the mind, and they pervaded all the faculties, like leaven.

They reasoned, etc. The disciples did not understand him as referring to their doctrine, because the word leaven was not often used among the Jews to denote doctrines--no other instance of the use of the word occurring in the Scriptures. Besides, the Jews had many particular rules about the leaven which might be used in making bread. Many held that it was not lawful to eat bread made by the Gentiles; and the disciples, perhaps, supposed that he was cautioning them not to procure a supply from the Pharisees and Sadducees.

O ye of little faith. Jesus, in reply, said that they should not be so anxious about the supply of their wants. They should not have supposed, after the miracles that he had wrought in feeding so many, that HE would caution them to be anxious about procuring bread for their necessities. It was improper, then, for them to reason about a thing like that, but they should have supposed he referred to something more important. The miracles had been full proof that he could supply all their wants without such anxiety.

{e} "take them" Luke 12:1
{f} "???" 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9; 2 Timothy 2:16,17

Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 16:6"

Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 16:6"

{g} "unto them" Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31

Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "Five loaves" Matthew 14:19

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{i} "seven loaves" Matthew 15:34

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 12. Then understood they, etc. After this explanation, they immediately saw that he referred to their doctrines. Erroneous doctrines are like leaven in the following respects:

(1.) They are, at first, slight and unimportant in appearance.

(2.) They are insinuated into the soul unawares and silently, and are difficult of detection.

(3.) They act gradually.

(4.) They act most certainly.

(5.) They will pervade all the soul, and bring in all the faculties under their control.

{k} "the doctrine" Matthew 15:1-9

Verses 13-20. See also Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20. Caesarea Philippi: There were two cities in Judea called Caesarea. One was situated on the borders of the Mediterranean and the other was the one mentioned here. It was also called Paneas, was greatly enlarged and ornamented by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod, and called Caesarea in honour of the Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar. To distinguish it from the other Caesarea, the name of Philip was added to it, and called Caesarea Philippi, or Caesarea of Philip. It was situated in the boundaries of the tribe of Naphtali, near Mount Lebanon, and was in the most northern part of Judea. It now contains about two hundred houses, and is inhabited chiefly by Turks.

When Jesus came. The original is, when Jesus was coming. Mark says Mark 8:27 that this conversation took place when they were in the way, and this idea should have been retained in translating Matthew. While in the way, Jesus took occasion to call their attention to the truth that he was the Messiah. This truth it was of much consequence that they should fully believe and understand; and it was important, therefore, that he should often learn their views, and establish them if right, and correct them if wrong. He began, therefore, by inquiring what was the common report respecting him.

Whom do men say, etc. This passage has been variously rendered. Some have translated it. "Whom do men say that I am? The Son of Man? Others. "Whom do men say that I am--I, who am the Son of man, i.e., the Messiah?" The meaning of all is nearly the same. He wished to obtain the sentiments of the people respecting himself.

{l} "Whom do" Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18

Verse 14. And they said, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 11:14". They supposed he might be John the Baptist, as Herod did, risen from the dead. See Matthew 14:2. He performed many miracles, and strongly resembled John in his manner of life, and in the doctrines which he taught.

{m} "they said" Matthew 14:2; Luke 9:7-9

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes " :"

Verse 16. And Simon Peter answered, etc. Peter, expressing the views of the apostles, with characteristic forwardness, answered the question proposed to them by Jesus: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The Christ. The Messiah, the Anointed of God. See Barnes " :".

The Son. That is, the Son by way of eminence, in a peculiar sense. See Barnes "Matthew 1:17". This appellation was understood as implying Divinity, John 10:29-36.

Of the living God. The term living, was given to the true God, to distinguish him from idols, that are dead or lifeless--blocks and stones. He is also the Source of life--temporal, spiritual, and eternal. The term living is often given to him in the Old Testament, Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26,36; Jeremiah 10:9,10 etc. In this noble confession, Peter expressed the full belief of himself and his brethren that he was the long-expected Messiah. Other men have very different opinions of him, but they were satisfied, and were not ashamed to confess it.

{n} "and said" Psalms 2:7; Matthew 14:33; John 1:49; Acts 9:20; Hebrews 1:2,5

Verse 17. And Jesus answered--Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona is the same as Simon son of Jona. Bar is a Syriac word, signifying son. The father of Peter, therefore, was Jona, or Jonas, John 1:42; 21:16,17.

Blessed. That is, happy, honoured, evincing a proper spirit, and entitled to the approbation of God.

For flesh and blood. This phrase commonly signifies man, (see Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 6:12; and it has been commonly supposed that he meant to say that man had not revealed it. But Jesus seems rather to have referred to himself.

"This truth you have not learned from my lowly appearance, from my human nature, from my apparent rank and standing in the world. You, Jews, were expecting to know the Messiah by his external splendour, his pomp and power as a man. But you have not learned me in this manner. I have shown no such indication of my Messiahship. Flesh and blood have not shown it. In spite of my appearance--my lowly state-- my want of resemblance to what you have expected--you have learned it, taught by God."
This they had been taught by his miracles, his instructions, and the direct teachings of God on their minds. To reveal is to make known, or communicate something that was unknown, or secret.

{o} "flesh and blood" 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 2:8
{p} "but my Father" 1 John 4:15; 5:20

Verse 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter. The word Peter, in Greek, means a rock. It was given to Simon by Christ when he called him to be a disciple, John 1:42. Cephas is a Syriac word, meaning the same as Peter--a rock, or stone. The meaning of this phrase may be thus expressed: "Thou, in saying that I am the Son of God, hast called me by a name expressive of my true character. I, also, have given to thee a name expressive of your character. I have called you Peter, a rock, denoting firmness, solidity; and your confession has shown that the name is appropriate. I see that you are worthy of the name, and will be a distinguished support of my religion.

And upon this rock, etc. This passage has given rise to many different interpretations. Some have supposed that the word ROCK refers to Peter's confession; and that he meant to say, upon this rock-- this truth that thou hast confessed, that I am the Messiah--and upon confessions of this from all believers, I will build my church. Confessions like this shall be the test of piety; and in such confessions shall my church stand amidst the flames of persecution--the fury of the gates of hell. Others have thought that he referred to himself. Christ is called a rock, Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:8. And it has been thought that he turned from Peter to himself, and said: "Upon this rock, this truth that I am the Messiah--upon myself as the Messiah--I will build my church." Both these interpretations, though plausible, seem forced upon the passage to avoid the main difficulty in it. Another interpretation is, that the word rock refers to Peter himself. This is the obvious meaning of the passage; and had it not been that the church of Rome has abused it, and applied it to what was never intended, no other would have been sought for. "Thou art a rock. Thou hast shown thyself firm in and fit for the work of laying the foundation of the church. Upon thee will I build it. Thou shalt be highly honoured; thou shalt be first in making known the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles." This was accomplished. See Acts 2:14-36, where he first preached to the Jews, and Acts 10:1 and following, where he preached the gospel to Cornelius and his neighbours, who were Gentiles. Peter had thus the honour of laying the foundation of the church among the Jews and Gentiles. And this is the plain meaning of this passage. See also Galatians 2:9. But Christ did not mean, as the Roman Catholics say he did, to exalt Peter to supreme authority above all the other apostles, or to say that he was the only one on whom he would rear his church. See Acts 15, where the advice of James, and not of Peter, was followed. See also Galatians 2:11, where Paul withstood Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed--a thing which could not have happened if Christ, as the Roman Catholics say, meant that Peter should be absolute and infallible. More than all, it is not said here or anywhere else in the Bible, that Peter should have infallible successors who should be the vicegerents of Christ, and the head of the church. The whole meaning of the passage is this:

"I will make you the honoured instrument of making known my gospel first to Jews and Gentiles, and will make you a firm and distinguished preacher in building my church."
Will build my Church. This refers to the custom of building, in Judea, on a rock or other very firm foundation. See Barnes "Matthew 7:24". The word church means, literally, those called out, and often means an assembly or congregation. See Acts 19:32; Gr.; Acts 7:38. It is applied to Christians as being called out from the world. It means, sometimes, the whole body of believers, 1:22; 1 Corinthians 10:32. This is its meaning in this place. It means, also, a particular society of believers, worshipping in one place, Acts 8:1; 9:31; 1 Corinthians 1:2, etc. Sometimes, also, a society in a single house, as Romans 16:5. In common language, it means the church visible--ie. all who profess religion; or invisible, i.e. all who are real Christians, professors or not.

And the gates of hell, etc. Ancient cities were surrounded by walls. In the gates, by which they were entered, were the principal places for holding courts, transacting business, and deliberating on public matters. See Barnes "Matthew 7:13". The word gates, therefore, is used for counsels, designs, machinations, evil purposes. Hell means, here, the place of departed spirits, particularly evil spirits. And the meaning of the passage is, that all the plots, stratagems, and machinations, of the enemies of the church, should not be able to overcome it--a promise that has been remarkably fulfilled.

{q} "Peter" John 1:42
{r} "and upon" Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14
{s} "gates of hell" Psalms 9:13
{t} "prevail against it" Isaiah 54:17

Verse 19. And I will give unto thee, etc. A key is an instrument for opening a door. He that is in possession of it has the power of access, and has a general care and administration of a house. Hence, in the Bible, a key is used as a symbol of superintendence, an emblem of power and authority. See Isaiah 22:22;; Revelation 1:18; 3:7. The kingdom of heaven here means, doubtless, the church on earth, See Barnes "Matthew 3:2". When he says, therefore, he will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he means that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world--the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. This was done, Acts 2:14-36,; 10:1. The "power of the keys" was given to Peter alone solely for this reason; the power of "binding and loosing" on earth was given to the other apostles with him. See Matthew 18:18. The only pre-eminence, then, that Peter had, was the honour of first opening the doors of the gospel to the world.

Whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc. The phrase to bind and to loose was often used by the Jews. It meant to prohibit and to permit. To bind a thing was to forbid it; to loose it, to allow it to be done. Thus they said about gathering wood on the sabbath day. "The school of Shammei binds it"--i, e. forbids it; "the school of Hillel looses it"--i. e. allows it. When Jesus gave this power to the apostles, he meant that whatsoever they forbid in the church should have Divine authority; whatever they permitted, or commanded, should also have Divine authority--that is, should be bound or loosed in heaven, or meet the approbation of God. They were to be guided infallibly in the organization of the church,

(1.) by the teaching of Christ, and

(2.) by the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

This does not refer to persons, but to things--"whatsoever," not whosoever. It refers to rites and ceremonies in the church. Such of the Jewish customs as they should forbid were to be forbidden; and such as they thought proper to permit were to be allowed. Such rites as they should appoint in the church were to have the force of Divine authority. Accordingly, they forbid circumcision and the eating of things offered to idols, and strangled, and blood, Acts 15:20. They founded the church, and ordained its rites, as of Divine authority.

{u} "whatsoever thou" Matthew 18:18

Verse 20. Then charged, etc. That is, he then commanded them. Mark Mark 8:30 and Luke Luke 9:21 (Greek) that he strictly or severely charged them. He laid emphasis on it, as a matter of much importance. The reason of this seems to be that his time had not fully come; he was not willing to rouse the Jewish malice, and to endanger his life, by having it proclaimed that he was the Messiah. The word Jesus is wanting in many manuscripts, and should probably be omitted. "Then he charged them strictly to tell no man that he was the Christ or Messiah."

{v} "Then charged" Mark 8:30

Verses 21-23. See also Mark 7:31-33; Luke 9:22. From that time forth. This was the first intimation that he gave that he was to die in this cruel manner. He had taken much pains to convince them that he was the Messiah; he saw by the confession of Peter that they were convinced; and he then began to prepare theft minds for the awful event which was before him. Had he declared this when he first called them, they would never have followed him. Their minds were not prepared for it. They expected a temporal, triumphant prince, as the Messiah. He first, therefore, convinced them that he was the Christ; and then, with great prudence, began to correct their apprehensions of the proper character of the Messiah.

Elders. The men of the great council, or sanhedrim. See Barnes "Matthew 5:7".

Chief Priests and Scribes. See Barnes "Matthew 3:7".

{w} "From that time" Luke 9:22; 18:31; 24:6,7; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4

Verse 22. Then Peter took him. This may mean, either to interrupt him, or to take him aside, or to take him by the hand, as a friend. This latter is probably the true meaning. Peter was strongly attached to him. He could not bear to think of his death. He expected, moreover, that he would be the triumphant Messiah. He could not hear, therefore, that his death was so near. In his ardour, and confidence, and strong attachment, he seized him by the hand as a friend, and said, "Be it far from thee." This phrase might have been translated, "God be merciful to thee; this shall not be unto thee." It expressed Peter's strong desire that it might not be. The word rebuke here means to admonish, or earnestly to entreat, as in Luke 17:3. It does not mean that Peter assumed authority over Christ; but that he earnestly expressed his wish that it might not be so. Even this was improper. He should have been submissive, and not have interfered.

{1} "Be it far from them" or, "pity thyself"

Verse 23. Get thee behind me, Satan. The word Satan means, literally, an adversary, or one that opposes us in the accomplishment of our designs. It is applied to the devil commonly, as the opposer or adversary of man. But there is no evidence that the Lord Jesus meant to apply this term to Peter, as signifying that he was Satan or the devil, or that he used the term in anger. He may have used it in the general sense which the word bore, as an adversary or opposer; and the meaning may be, that such sentiments as Peter expressed then were opposed to him and his plans. His interference was improper. His views and feelings stood in the way of the accomplishment of the Saviour's designs. There was, undoubtedly, a rebuke in this language; for the conduct of Peter was improper; but the idea which is commonly attached to it, and which, perhaps, our translation conveys, implies a more severe and harsh rebuke than the Saviour intended, and than the language which he used would express.

Thou art an offence. That is, a stumbling-block: Your advice and wishes are in my way. If followed, they would prevent the very thing for which I came.

Thou savourest not. That is, thou thinkest not. You think that those things should not be done which God wishes to be done. You judge of this matter as men do, who are desirous of honour; and not as God, who sees it best that I should die, to promote the great interests of mankind.

{x} "Satan:" 2 Samuel 19:22
{y} "an offence" Romans 14:13

Verse 24-28. This discourse is also recorded in Mark 8:34-38; 9:1 and Luke 9:23-27

Let him deny himself. That is, let him surrender to God his will, affections, body, and soul. Let him not seek his own happiness as the supreme object, but be willing to renounce all, and lay down his life also, if required.

Take up his cross. See Barnes "Matthew 10:38".

{x} "any man" Matthew 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3

Verse 25. Whosoever will save his life, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 10:39"

{a} "For whosoever" John 12:25; Esther 4:14

Verse 26. For what is a man profited, etc. To gain the whole world means to possess it as our own--all its riches, honours, and pleasures. To lose his own soul means to be cast away, to be shut out from heaven, to be sent to hell. Two things are implied by Christ in these questions:

1st, that they who are striving to gain the world, and are unwilling to give it up for the sake of religion, will lose their souls; and

2nd, that if the soul is lost, nothing can be given in exchange for it, or it can never after be saved. There is no redemption in hell.

{b} "or what" Psalms 49:7,8

Verse 27. For the Son of man, etc. That is, the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to judge the world. He will come in glory--the glory of his Father--the majesty with which God is accustomed to appear, and which befits God. He will be attended by angels. He will judge all men.

Reward. The word reward means recompense, or do justice to. He will deal with them according to their character. The righteous he will reward in heaven, with glory and happiness. The wicked he will send to hell, as a reward or recompense for their evil works, This fact, that he will come to judgment, he gives as a reason why we should be willing to deny ourselves and follow him. Even though now it should be attended with contempt and suffering, yet then he will reward his followers for all their shame and sorrows, and receive them to his kingdom. He adds, Mark 8:38, that if we are ashamed of him here, he will be ashamed of us there. That is, if we reject and disown him here, he will reject and disown us there.

{c} "For the Son" Daniel 7:9,10; Zechariah 14:5; Jude 1:14
{d} "and then" Revelation 22:12

Verse 28. Verily I say unto you, etc. To encourage them, he assured them that though his kingdom was now obscure and despised--though he was cast out and little known--yet the time was near when he should be regarded in a different manner, and his kingdom be established with great power. This cannot refer to the end of the world, and there is no need of referring it to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Taste of death. That is, die. Before they die they shall see this.

Son of man coming in his kingdom. Mark and Luke have explained this. Mark 9:1, "Until they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." Luke 9:27, "Till they see the kingdom of God." The meaning evidently is, till they should see my kingdom, that is, my church, now small, feeble, and despised, greatly enlarged, established, and spreading with great rapidity and extent. All this was accomplished. All these apostles, except Judas, lived to see the wonders of the day of Pentecost; some of them, John particularly, saw the Jewish nation scattered, the temple destroyed, the gospel established in Asia, Rome, Greece, and in a large part of the known world.

{e} "There be" Mark 9:1
{f} "taste of death" Hebrews 2:9


(1.) Men will often judge far more correctly about natural than spiritual things, Matthew 16:1-3. About natural objects they are watchful. In them they feel a deep interest. And they watch for every sign that may affect their interest. They are too much concerned to judge falsely. But they feel no such interest in religious things. Hence it happens that men who have good sense, and much wisdom in regard to worldly concerns, are exceedingly foolish in regard to religion. They often believe reports respecting religion, revivals, and missions, which they would despise on any other subject. They read and believe newspapers and other publications, which they would hold in contempt on any other topic but religion.

(2.) It is of importance to watch the signs of the times, Matthew 16:3. days of Christ, it was the duty of the people to look at the evidence that he was the Messiah. It was plain. It is also important to look at the signs of the times in which we live. They are clear also. Much is doing; and the spread of the Bible, the labours among the heathen, the distribution of tracts, and, perhaps above all, the institution of Sabbath schools--all betoken an eventful age, and are an indication that brighter days are about to dawn on the world. We should watch these signs that we may rejoice, that we may pray with more fervour, and that we may do our part to advance the kingdom of God. Little children should grow up believing that they live in an important age, that they enjoy many peculiar privileges, and that they may and must do much to spread the gospel through the earth. Even when children, they should pray, and they should give to benefit others; and, most of all, they should give themselves to Christ, that they may benefit others with a right spirit.

(3.) Sinners should be addressed with deep feeling and faithfulness, Mark 8:12. Jesus sighed deeply. So should we. We should not be harsh, or sour, or without feeling. We should weep over them, and pray for them, and speak to them, not as if we were better than they, but with an earnest desire for their salvation. Comp. Acts 20:31; Philippians 3:18.

(4.) Men easily mistake plain instruction, Matthew 16:7. And especially is this the case where there is any chance of giving a worldly turn to the instruction. If men's thoughts--even those of Christians-- were more off from the world, and they thought less of the supply of their wants, they would understand the truths of religion much better than they do. No man can understand the doctrines of religion aright, whose principal concern is what he shall eat, and drink, and wear. Hence even Christians are often strangely ignorant of the plainest truths of religion. And hence the importance of teaching those truths to children before their thoughts become engrossed by the world. And hence, too, the importance of Sabbath schools.

(5.) We should not have undue anxiety about the supply of our wants. Christ supplied many thousands by a word, and he can easily supply us, Matthew 16:9-12.

(6.) We should learn, from his past goodness, to trust him for the future, Matthew 16:9-12.

(7.) We should be on our guard against error, Matthew 16:11. It is sly, artful, plausible, working secretly, but effectually. We should always be cautious of what we believe, and examine it by the word of God. False doctrines are often made as much like the truth as possible, for the very purpose of deceiving. Satan is transformed into an angel of light.

(8.) It is important to ascertain our views of Christ, Matthew 16:13-15. It is our all. If we do not think and feel right respecting him, we cannot be safe. We should often, then, ask ourselves--we should ask one another--what we think of Christ.

(9.) It is our duty to profess our attachment to Christ. It should be done boldly, and always, Matthew 16:16. We should never be ashamed of him. And to do this we should always, in our own hearts, believe that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

(10.) We should esteem it a great happiness and honour to be enabled thus to show our attachment to him. The world may not honour us, but God will, and will pronounce us blessed, Matthew 16:17.

(11.) God only reveals this to us, Matthew 16:17. This he does by his word and Spirit. We should, then, search the Bible; and we should pray much that God would reveal his Son in us, and enable us boldly to confess him before men.

(12.) The church is safe, Matthew 16:18. It may be small--it may be feeble--it may weep much--it may be much opposed and ridiculed --it may have mighty enemies--the rich and the great may set themselves against it--but it is safe. It is founded on a Rock. All its enemies shall not overcome it. Jesus has promised it; and in all ages he has shown that he has remembered his promise. It has not been extinct. It has been persecuted, opposed, ridiculed, and almost driven from the world; but a few have been found who have loved the Lord; and soon the flame has kindled, and the church has shone forth "fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners." So it is still. Feeble churches may mourn much; anxiety may abound; and the few pious people may weep in secret places; but Jesus hears their groans, and counts their tears, and they and their church are safe. He is their Friend, and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against them.

(13.) The importance of prudence in delivering truth, Matthew 16:21. It should be well-timed. It should be when people are prepared to receive it. Especially is this true of young converts. They have need of milk, and not of strong meat. They should not be surprised that many doctrines of the Bible are mysterious now. But they may fully comprehend them hereafter. Peter, a young convert, did not understand the plain doctrine that Jesus must die for sin. Yet it was afterwards clear to him, and most cordially he loved it.

(14.) It is highly wicked and improper to attempt to counsel God, or to think that we understand things better than he does, Matthew 16:22,23. His plan is the best plan. And though it does not fall in with our views of wisdom, yet we should be still. It is all wise. And though what he does we know not now, yet we shall know hereafter.

(15.) We, see what religion requires, Matthew 16:24. We must deny ourselves. We must submit to trials. We must do our duty. We must often suffer persecution. We must be, in all places, among all men, and in every employment, Christians. No matter what may happen. Come poverty, disease, persecution, death, it is ours to take up the cross, and do our duty. So apostles, and martyrs, and the Saviour himself, have gone before us. And we must follow in their steps.

"Shall I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

"Sure I must fight, if I would reign: Increase my courage, Lord, To bear the cross, endure the shame, Supported by thy word."

(16.) How foolish are the men of this world! Matthew 16:26. In a little time, how worthless will be all their wealth! It is gained by anxiety, and toil, and tears. It never satisfies. It harasses them with constant care. It smoothes no wrinkles on theft brow, alleviates no pain when they are sick, saves no friend from death, gives no consolation in regard to the future, and may be left at any moment. Others will soon possess, and perhaps scatter in dissipation, what they have obtained by so much toil. See Psalms 39:6. And while they scatter or enjoy it, where shall the soul of him be who spent all his probation to obtain it? Alas! lost, lost, lost--for ever lost! And no wealth, no man, no devil, no angel, can redeem him, or be given for his soul. The harvest will be past, the summer ended, and he not saved. In gaining the world, he gained two things-- disappointment and trouble here, and an eternity of woe hereafter. How foolish and wicked is man!

(17.) The righteous should rejoice that Jesus will come again to our world, He will reward them, Matthew 16:27. He will come as their Friend, and they shall ascend with him to heaven.

(18.) The wicked should weep and Wail that Jesus will come again to our world, He will punish them for their crimes, Matthew 16:27. They cannot escape. See Revelation 1:7.

(19.) It will not be long before he will come, Matthew 16:28. At any rate, it will not be long before we shall meet him. Death is near. And then we must stand before him, and give an account of the deeds done in the body.