Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves I now send you forth weak and defenceless among a wicked, cruel, and persecuting people. “Considering the nature of the tidings which the apostles were now sent out to publish, namely, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand considering, also, the number and variety of the miraculous cures which they were to be enabled to perform in confirmation of their doctrine, together with the greatness of the benefits they were to confer upon the families who should entertain them kindly, it is reasonable to think that they were flattering themselves with the hopes of great honour and acceptance wherever they came. In the meantime, the event was by no means to answer their expectation. They were everywhere to be despised, persecuted, delivered up into the hands of public justice, and punished as evil doers. Our Lord, therefore, who thought fit to forewarn them of these things, made them large promises of the divine aid, and gave them directions with respect to their conduct in every circumstance.” Macknight. Be ye therefore wise as serpents On the one hand, be so prudent as not to irritate the wicked, and those who shall oppose you, either by your behaviour or your doctrine, unnecessarily, and avoid all unnecessary dangers: and harmless as doves On the other hand, let not your prudence degenerate into craft, lest it lead you to betray the truth, or to encourage or countenance men in their evil practices; maintain at all times a holy simplicity of soul; and to your prudence join a harmless and inoffensive behaviour, rendering yourselves remarkable for integrity amid the greatest temptations, and for meekness amid the greatest provocations.
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