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Verses 15-16

Matthew 7:15-16. Beware of false prophets Who in their preaching describe a broad way to heaven: it is their prophesying, their teaching the broad way, rather than walking in it themselves, that is here chiefly spoken of. All those are false prophets who teach any other way than that which our Lord hath here marked out. Who come to you in sheep’s clothing With a form of godliness and fair professions of love; but inwardly they are ravening wolves Not feeding but destroying souls; feeding themselves by the destruction of the flock. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Doddridge, is “grown into a proverb for a wicked man that makes a great profession of religion, yet cannot dissemble so well as not to be discovered by attentive observation; which was just the character of the Pharisees in our Saviour’s days.” Ye shall know them by their fruits “A short, plain, easy rule,” says Mr. Wesley, “whereby to know true from false prophets: and one that may be applied by people of the meanest capacity, who are not accustomed to deep reasoning. True prophets convert sinners to God; or at least confirm and strengthen those that are converted. False prophets do not. They also are false prophets who, though they may declare the very truth, and that clearly and fully, yet do not adorn, but bring a reproach upon it by their unholy conduct; and therefore are not sent of God by his Spirit, but come in their own name to declare God’s word: hence, which is their grand mark, they do not turn men from the power of Satan unto God. Do men gather grapes of thorns, &c. Can it be expected by you, in a common way, that you should reap spiritual advantage, or should obtain religious improvement, from the teaching of wicked men, or of men whom God has not called to that work?

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