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Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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XVIII

1. He spake a parable to them - This and the following parable warn us against two fatal extremes, with regard to prayer: the former against faintness and weariness, the latter against self confidence.

7. And shall not God - The most just Judge, vindicate his own elect - Preserve the Christians from all their adversaries, and in particular save them out of the general destruction, and avenge them of the Jews? Though he bear long with them - Though he does not immediately put an end, either to the wrongs of the wicked, or the sufferings of good men.

8. Yet when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith upon earth - Yet notwithstanding all the instances both of his long suffering and of his justice, whenever he shall remarkably appear, against their enemies in this age or in after ages, how few true believers will be found upon earth!

9. He spake this parable - Not to hypocrites; the Pharisee here mentioned was no hypocrite, no more than an outward adulterer: but he sincerely trusted in himself that he was righteous, and accordingly told God so, in the prayer which none but God heard.

12. I fast twice in the week - So did all the strict Pharisees: every Monday and Thursday. I give tithes of all that I possess - Many of them gave one full tenth of their income in tithes, and another tenth in alms, the sum of this plea is, I do no harm: I use all the means of grace: I do all the good I can.

13. The publican standing afar off - From the holy of holies, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven - Touched with shame, which is more ingenuous than fear.

14. This man went down - From the hill on which the temple stood, justified rather than the other - That is, and not the other.

15. Matt. xix, 13; Mark x, 13.

16. Calling them - Those that brought the children: of such is the kingdom of God - Such are subjects of the Messiah's kingdom. And such as these it properly belongs to.

18. Matt. xix, 16; Mark x, 17.

20. Exod. xx, 12, &c.

22. Yet lackest thou one thing - Namely, to love God more than mammon. Our saviour knew his heart, and presently put him upon a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to cure his love of the world, which could not in him be cured otherwise, Christ commanded him to sell all that he had. But he does not command us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.

31. Matt. xx, 17; Mark x, 32.

34. They understood none of these things - The literal meaning they could not but understand. But as they could not reconcile this to their preconceived opinion of the Messiah, they were utterly at a loss in what parabolical or figurative sense to take what he said concerning his sufferings; having their thoughts still taken up with the temporal kingdom.

35. Matt. xx, 29; Mark x, 46.

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