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Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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XVII. 1. It is impossible but offences will come - And they ever did and do come chiefly by Pharisees, that is, men who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others. Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42.

Verse 2. Little ones - Weak believers.

Verse 3. Take heed to yourselves - That ye neither offend others, nor be offended by others. Matthew 18:15.

Verse 4. If he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day return, saying, I repent - That is, if he give sufficient proof that he does really repent, after having sinned ever so often, receive him just as if he had never sinned against thee. But this forgiveness is due only to real penitents. In a lower sense we are to forgive all, penitent or impenitent; (so as to bear them the sincerest good will, and to do them all the good we can;) and that not seven times only, but seventy times seven.

Verse 5. Lord, increase our faith - That we may thus forgive, and may neither offend nor be offended. Matthew 17:20.

Verse 6. And he said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed - If ye had the least measure of true faith, no instance of duty would be too hard for you. Ye would say to this sycamine tree - This seems to have been a kind of proverbial expression.

Verse 7. But which of you - But is it not meet that you should first obey, and then triumph? Though still with a deep sense of your utter unprofitableness.

Verse 9. Doth he thank that servant - Does he account himself obliged to him?

Verse 10. When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants - For a man cannot profit God. Happy is he who judges himself an unprofitable servant: miserable is he whom God pronounces such. But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not unprofitable to us. For he is pleased to give by his grace a value to our good works, which in consequence of his promise entitles us to an eternal reward.

Verse 20. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation - With such outward pomp as draws the observation of every one.

Verse 21. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there - This shall not be the language of those who are, or shall be sent by me, to declare the coming of my kingdom. For behold the kingdom of God is within or among you - Look not for it in distant times or remote places: it is now in the midst of you: it is come: it is present in the soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an internal principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.

Verse 22. Ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man - One day of mercy. or one day wherein you might converse with me, as you do now.

Verse 23. They shall say, See, Christ is here, or there - Limiting his presence to this or that place. Matthew 24:23.

Verse 24. So shall also the Son of man be - So swift, so wide, shall his appearing be: In his day - The last day.

Verse 26. The days of the Son of man - Those which immediately follow that which is eminently styled his day. Matthew 24:37.

Verse 31. In that day - (Which will be the grand type of the last day) when ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies.

Verse 32. Remember Lot's wife - And escape with all speed, without ever looking behind you. Luke 9:24; John 12:25.

Verse 33. The sense of this and the following verses is, Yet as great as the danger will be, do not seek to save your life by violating your conscience: if you do, you will surely lose it: whereas if you should lose it for my sake, you shall be paid with life everlasting. But the most probable way of preserving it now, is to be always ready to give it up: a peculiar Providence shall then watch over you, and put a difference between you and other men.

Verse 37. Matthew 24:28.

 

 
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