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Verses 8-10

Matthew 23:8-10. Be not ye called rabbi Do not affect those titles of reverence and respect which give too much honour or authority to man. The Jewish doctors were called rabbis, fathers, and masters, by their several disciples, whom they required both to believe implicitly what they affirmed, without asking any further reason, and to obey unreservedly what they enjoined, without seeking for any further authority. But our Lord here teaches his apostles, and their successors in the ministry of the gospel, that they were to be very different from these Jewish teachers. They were to decline being called rabbi, because the thing signified by the term belonged solely to their Master, in whom the whole treasures of divine knowledge and wisdom are hid; and who, for that reason, is the only infallible teacher of his church; and also, because they owed none of their knowledge to themselves, but derived it entirely from him, in which respect they were all brethren, and on a level. And they were to call no man father upon earth To consider no man as the father of their religion, that is, the founder, author, or director of it; to look up to no man with the reverence wherewith a child should regard a father, or so as to yield an absolute subjection to his will and pleasure, or be absolutely swayed and governed thereby; because one was their Father who is in heaven, the source, as of their being, so of all their blessings, and especially of their religion; the fountain and founder of it; the life and Lord of it. Our Lord adds, Neither be ye called masters Gr. καθηληται , leaders, or guides. That is, of the judgments and consciences of men, because, says he, one is your Master, even Christ The infallible instructer and guide of his church in all matters of faith and practice; commissioned by his Father to reveal his will, and teach all that is needful to be known, believed, or done, in order to salvation; whose apostles even were only to be regarded as his ministers and ambassadors, and only to be credited because, by their gifts and miraculous powers derived from him, they manifested that they taught men those things which he had commanded, and by his Spirit had revealed to them. Thus our Lord, the more effectually to enforce this warning against an unlimited veneration for the judgments and decisions of men, as a most important lesson, puts it in a variety of lights, and prohibits them from regarding any man with an implicit and blind partiality as teacher, father, or guide. Upon the whole, the things forbidden are, 1st, a vain-glorious affectation of such titles as these, the ambitious seeking of them, and glorying in them; 2d, that authority and dominion over the consciences of men, which the Pharisaical doctors had usurped; telling the people that they ought to believe all their doctrines, and practise all their injunctions, as the commands of the living God.

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