The grand obstacle to the salvation of the scribes and Pharisees was their pride, vanity and self-love. They lived on each other's praise. If they had acknowledged Christ as the only good teacher, they must have given up the good opinion of the multitude; and they chose rather to lose their souls than to forfeit their reputation among men!
Verse 11. (They presented unto Him gifts). The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Sea Islands.
We communicate happiness to others not often by great acts of devotion and self-sacrifice, but by the absence of fault-finding and censure, by being ready to sympathize with their notions and feelings, instead of forcing them to sympathize with ours.
Even papists could not see that a moral evil was detained in the soul through its physical connection with the body; and that it required the dissolution of this physical connection before the moral contagion could be removed.
Few men can be said to have inimitable excellencies: let us watch them in their progress from infancy to manhood, and we shall soon be convinced that what they attained was the necessary consequence of the line they pursued, and the means they used.
If you go forward in the spirit of the original apostles and followers of Jesus Christ, trusting not in man but in the living God, he will enable you to pull down the strong holds of sin and Satan, and that work by which he is pleased will prosper in your hands.
The Bible is proved to be a revelation from God, by the reasonableness and holiness of its precepts; all its commands, exhortations, and promises having the most direct tendency to make men wise, holy, and happy in themselves, and useful to one another.