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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Luke 8

 

 

Verses 16-18

DISCOURSE: 1504

THE LIGHTED CANDLE

Luke 8:16-18. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

AMONG the ancient philosophers there were some, who instilled into their more immediate followers, principles different from what they avowed to the public at large. But there was no such insincerity in our Divine Teacher. He did indeed instruct his peculiar Disciples more fully than others (for others were not capable of enduring the clear light of his Gospel) but it was his design that, in due season, the whole truth should be made known to the world; and of this his intention he advertised his Disciples, at the very time that he was explaining to them his public discourses.

In the parable before us he suggests the duty,

I. Of those who preach the Gospel—

The Gospel is a light in the midst of a dark world—

[The world lieth in utter darkness: nor has it any means of discovering the way of acceptance with God, but by the Gospel of Christ. Something of God may be learned from the visible creation: and reason may discover many things that are proper to that relation which we bear to God and to each other: but nothing can be known of Christ, nor can any means of reconciliation with God be devised, by unenlightened reason. It is in the Gospel only that the Saviour is exhibited, and that all the things belonging to our peace are fully revealed. Hence the word of the Gospel is represented as a light shining in a dark place [Note: 2 Peter 1:19.], and as that light to which the whole world must be indebted for life and salvation [Note: Isaiah 60:1-3.].]

It is the duty of ministers to preach this Gospel,

1. With fidelity—

[It is not sufficient to amuse the people with moral essays, or with dissertations that shall display our own learning. We must preach Christ crucified. We must “determine to know nothing else among our people [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:2.].” We must never omit any opportunity of setting before men that “light which God has sent into the world.” We may indeed, yea we must, use discretion in our method of dispensing the Gospel, lest by an injudicious declaration of the truth we injure those whom it is our desire to benefit [Note: John 16:12. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 5:14.]: but, in this, we must be actuated, not by worldly policy or the fear of man, but solely by a love to the souls of our fellow-creatures. When no such necessity imposes a restraint, we must declare the whole counsel of God [Note: Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27.].]

2. With perseverance—

[As a man should not substitute any thing else in the place of the Gospel, so neither should he withdraw from the engagements he has solemnly entered into to preach the Gospel [Note: Leviticus 27:28. with Luke 9:62. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17.]. Neither political ambition, nor worldly care, can ever justify a man in intermitting, much less in vacating, the paramount duties of the ministry [Note: 2 Timothy 2:3-4.]: not even sickness itself is any excuse for neglecting to employ the strength we have in the service of our God [Note: 1 Timothy 5:23. Paul does not say, Leave off preaching; but, Take care of your health.]. We do not say, that the education of youth is incompatible with the ministry: but it should never be suffered to make void the superior obligations which we owe to God, and to the souls of men. It may be made subservient to the ministry; but must never supersede it.]

From the duty of those who preach the Gospel, we pass on to consider that,

II. Of those who hear it—

We should “take heed how we hear it”—

[We should be extremely careful what we hear [Note: Mark 4:24.]; lest we be led astray by those who profess to guide us into the way of peace [Note: Proverbs 19:27.]. We must also be duly attentive to the manner in which we hear. We must not be indulging a vain curiosity, or a disposition to cavil; but must receive the word humbly, as the word of God himself [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:13.]; attentively, in order to retain it [Note: Hebrews 2:1.]; and obediently, with a view to practise all that it enjoins [Note: James 1:21-22.]. If, like those to whom this injunction was given, we be already in the ministry, or are preparing for it, our obligations to profit by the word, whether in the Church or in the closet, are greatly increased.]

An attention to this duty is of infinite importance—

1. We shall invariably receive benefit in proportion as we do attend to it—

[Who that has ever searched the Holy Scriptures in private, and waited diligently on the public ministration of the Gospel, has not found that, together with increasing views of the truth, his faith, his hope, and all his graces, have been strengthened and confirmed [Note: Acts 17:11-12.]? — — —]

2. We shall assuredly suffer loss in proportion as we neglect it—

[From whatever cause we are led to slight the ordinances of religion, or to decline from the study of the sacred oracles, we shall soon find occasion for regret and sorrow. We may ask of all who have experienced such declension, Have you not lost much of the light and liberty which you once enjoyed in your souls? have not your graces languished; your corruptions gathered strength; your difficulties increased; your comforts vanished? — — —

God has inseparably connected prosperity with diligence, and with remissness want [Note: Proverbs 10:4. Matthew 25:28-29.].]

Application—

[If the true light now shine around you, be thankful for it, and walk in the light, lest the candlestick be removed [Note: Revelation 2:5.], and ye be left in utter darkness [Note: John 12:35.]: and “let all make their light to shine before men;” that, being “as lights in the world,” they may “win by their holy conversation” those who have resisted the light of the written word, and shut their ears against the preached Gospel [Note: 1 Peter 3:1-2. Philippians 2:15-16.].]


Verse 18

DISCOURSE: 1505

DIRECTIONS HOW TO HEAR SERMONS

Luke 8:18. Take heed therefore how ye hear.

THE office of a Christian minister is arduous. He is to explain and enforce every part of man’s duty: he is to search out and censure every sin. After all his labours, he will see but little fruit. However faithfully he preach, there are but few who will hear aright: this our Lord had just declared in the parable of the sower. He then enforced his declaration with this most important caution. In discoursing upon which, we shall,

I. Assign some reasons for the caution—

Our Lord elsewhere cautions his people to take heed what they hear: nor can any thing be more necessary than to be on our guard against error. But the caution how we hear was also necessary:

1. Because many hear in an unbecoming manner—

The generality are careless hearers—

[They attend God’s house merely in conformity with the customs of the country: they suffer their thoughts to rove after earthly and carnal things: they discern very little difference in the doctrines which they hear: they, like Gallio, seem to “care for none of these things.”]

Many are critical hearers—

[They can attend to nothing which is not composed with elegance; or they affect only what accords with their own views of religion: they judge of all they hear by a standard of their own. Hence they form parties, and set up one minister against another [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:3-4.].]

Many also are captious hearers—

[They will not hear any thing which militates against their prejudices: they cannot bear to have their favourite habits condemned [Note: Luke 11:45.]: they are offended if their bosom lusts be faithfully reproved [Note: Mark 6:17-18.]: they too much resemble the Scribes and Pharisees of old [Note: Luke 11:54.]—While there continue such hearers, the caution will be necessary.]

2. Because God himself speaks to us by the preacher—

[Ministers are ambassadors for God, and speak in Christ’s stead [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:20.]. If they preach what is founded on the Scriptures, their word, as far as it is agreeable to the mind of God, is to be considered as God’s [Note: Hebrews 13:7.]. This is asserted by our Lord and his Apostles [Note: John 13:20. 1 Thessalonians 4:8.]. We ought therefore to receive the preacher’s word as the word of God himself [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:13.]. With what humility then ought we to attend to it! What judgments may we not expect, if we slight it [Note: Hebrews 2:1-3.]. Surely therefore on this account also we need the caution in the text.]

3. Because every discourse increases either our salvation or condemnation—

[The word delivered is either a savour of life or of death [Note: 2 Corinthians 2:15-16.]. Our Lord himself intimates this reason for the caution [Note: Luke 8:18.]. Hence our Lord’s preaching eventually enhanced the guilt of the Jews [Note: John 15:22.]. The same awful effects will be felt by those who slight his ministers [Note: Hebrews 6:7-8.]. What stronger reasons for such a caution can possibly be imagined?]

The necessity of such an admonition being evinced, we,

II. Give some directions for obeying it—

An humble mind will naturally receive instruction in a proper manner—

We should hear,

With candour

[We cannot too carefully divest ourselves of prejudice: we should not “call any man master upon earth.” We should rather weigh what we hear, in the balance of the sanctuary [Note: 1 Thessalonians 5:21.]; but we ought to have our minds open to conviction. We should “receive the seed in an honest and good heart:” we should “receive with meekness the engrafted word:” nor can we hope to profit, if we do not cultivate this disposition.]

With a desire to profit

[The word of God is profitable for many blessed purposes [Note: 2 Timothy 3:16-17.]: yet it cannot be serviceable to us, if it be not received in faith [Note: Hebrews 4:2.]; but when applied to the soul, its operation is very powerful [Note: Hebrews 4:12.]. We should therefore at all times apply it to ourselves: we should go to the ordinances, as the sick to Bethesda’s pool. Nor do we ever hear aright, except when we attend in this spirit [Note: 1 Peter 2:2.]: it is the practical hearer only that derives benefit to his soul [Note: James 1:22-25.].]

With an humble dependence on God’s Spirit

[It is God alone who “teacheth us to profit.” Human labours, without his blessing, will be vain [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:7.]. It is his work to open the understanding [Note: Luke 24:45.], and the heart [Note: Acts 16:14.]. To him therefore should we look for the teaching of his spirit [Note: Ephesians 1:17-18.]. We should plead the promise which God has given us [Note: Isaiah 55:10-11.]—In this way we shall experience much benefit from the word [Note: Micah 2:7.]. No obstacles whatever shall be able to withstand its power [Note: 2 Corinthians 10:4.]: it shall be a rich source of grace and wisdom to us [Note: Colossians 3:16.]. Let us then offer in sincerity that petition in the Litany [Note: “That it may please thee to give to all thy people increase of grace, to hear meekly thy word, and to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.”]—]


Verse 50

DISCOURSE: 1506

JAIRU’S DAUGHTER HEALED

Luke 8:50. When Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

AFFLICTIONS may well be deprecated by us as painful to flesh and blood; but they are often the means of humbling us before God. Multitudes came as suppliants to our Lord, who would never have regarded him if they had not felt the pressure of disease or trouble. The rich in general were the most backward to acknowledge him; but they found that in the hour of affliction none other could do them good. Hence occasionally we see the opulent presenting their supplications before him. Nor did he reject the suit of any, whether they were rich or poor. The answer he gave to the ruler of the synagogue is recorded in the text; and it will naturally lead us to notice the ruler’s faith:

I. How it was tried—

Jairus (such was his name) had much to try his faith—

[He had an only child (twelve years of age) in dying circumstances. Having heard much of our Lord’s miracles, he applied to him on behalf of his daughter, and earnestly requested him to come and restore her to health. But while he was returning with Jesus to his house, his servant brought tidings that the child was dead. This was a dreadful shock to the parent’s feelings, and might have utterly destroyed all his hopes.]

Thus it is that the faith of God’s people is often tried—

[They are enabled to make application to their God and Saviour. But the storm in the meantime gathers thick around them: their difficulties so increase, that their hopes seem almost blasted. They have cried for pardon, and find only an increasing sense of guilt. They have prayed for deliverance from corruption or temptation, and experienced the assaults of Satan more violent than ever. Thus they are almost ready to think that God has cast out their prayer, and shut up his tender mercies from them. It was in this manner that holy Job was tried. Yea, the experience of most, however diversified, is generally found to agree in this [Note: Psalms 107:5-6; Psalms 107:12-13; Psalms 107:18-19; Psalms 107:26-28.].]

But this accumulated trouble was permitted for the further exercise of the ruler’s faith.

II. How it operated—

He was enabled humbly and confidently to depend on Jesus—

[It was his faith that first led him to Jesus for help: nor, when his case seemed desperate, did he give up his hope. It is probable that our Lord might perceive some rising apprehensions in his mind; but he sustained him instantly with those encouraging words, “Fear not.” Jairus expected now that his child should be raised as from a sleep. The idea of sleep, however, only called forth the derision of the mourners. Such was the fruit of their ignorance and unbelief: but the ruler himself resembled the father of the faithful [Note: Romans 4:18; Romans 4:20-21.].]

It is in this way that true faith will ever shew itself—

[It will surely lead us to Jesus for relief: it will make us humble and importunate in our supplications to him. We shall not presently turn from him because our difficulties increase: we shall rather adopt the expression of holy Job [Note: Job 13:15.]—. Unbelief may prompt us to deride what we do not understand; but faith will make us acquiesce in God’s declarations, though we cannot fully comprehend them, and expect the accomplishment of his promises, however his providence may appear to contradict them.

Jesus did not fail to respect the faith that honoured him—

III. How it was rewarded—

Jesus answered the ruler to the full extent of all his wishes—

[Our Lord reproved the excessive lamentations of the people, and encouraged them to expect the restoration of the child; but he would not suffer those who had derided him to be spectators of the miracle. He took with him, however, persons sufficient to attest it: he favoured the believing parents with admission to behold it, and restored their daughter, as it had been from sleep, in their very presence. The child arose instantly, and walked as in perfect health. For their further conviction he ordered food to be given to the child. By this also he intimated, that though she was restored by a miracle, she was to be kept alive by natural means. What a rich reward was this to the believing suppliant!]

Nor shall any one who asks in faith, be disappointed—

[Our Lord has commanded us to ask in faith [Note: Mark 11:24.]; and has assured us that petitions, so offered, shall be answered by him [Note: Matthew 21:22.]. Things the most impossible to man, shall, if they will conduce to our good and to God’s honour, be effected by the prayer of faith [Note: Mark 9:23.]: crimes the most atrocious that ever were committed, shall be pardoned [Note: Acts 13:39.]: lusts the most inveterate that ever enslaved a soul, shall be subdued [Note: Isaiah 59:19. 1 Corinthians 6:11.]. The dead in trespasses and sins shall be raised, like Christ himself, to a new and heavenly life [Note: Ephesians 1:19-20. with 2:5, 6.]: nor shall they fail of attaining eternal happiness in heaven [Note: John 3:15. Isaiah 45:17.].]

Application—

[Every man must expect trouble in this vale of tears: the dearest friends must look forward to a day of separation; but let every trouble drive us to the compassionate Jesus, and every want be spread before him in prayer [Note: Philippians 4:6.]. We are not now indeed to expect miraculous interpositions; nor ought we to ask for temporal blessings in an unqualified manner. We should commit the concerns of this life to his all-wise disposal; but for spiritual blessings we cannot be too importunate, nor can our faith in his word be too strong. What he said to Martha he still says to us [Note: John 11:40.]—. The advice of Jehosaphat is the best direction we can follow [Note: 2 Chronicles 20:20.]—. Let us not then limit his tender mercies. If we resemble the Samaritan lord, we shall fare like him [Note: 2 Kings 7:2; 2 Kings 7:17.]. Let us not in renewed troubles be like the unbelieving Jews [Note: Psalms 78:20.]; but let us bear in mind that encouraging declaration [Note: Ephesians 3:20.]—, and determine henceforth to live like the Apostle [Note: Galatians 2:20.]—.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Luke 8:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/luke-8.html. 1832.

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