From Wesley's Notes
1. Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? - Which of us shall be thy prime minister? They still dreamed of a temporal kingdom.
2. And Jesus calling to him a little child - This is supposed to have been the great Ignatius, whom Trajan, the wise, the good Emperor Trajan, condemned to be cast to the wild beasts at Rome! Mark ix, 36; Luke ix, 47.
3. Except ye be converted - The first step toward entering into the kingdom of grace, is to become as little children: lowly in heart, knowing yourselves utterly ignorant and helpless, and hanging wholly on your Father who is in heaven, for a supply of all your wants. We may farther assert, (though it is doubtful whether this text implies so much, ) except ye be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God:, except ye be entirely, inwardly changed, renewed in the image of God, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of glory. Thus must every man be converted in this life, or he can never enter into life eternal. Ye shall in no wise enter - So far from being great in it. Matt. xix, 14.
5, 6. And all who are in this sense little children are unspeakably dear to me. Therefore help them all you can, as if it were myself in person, and see that ye offend them not; that is, that ye turn them not out of the right way, neither hinder them in it. Matt. x, 40; Luke x, 16; John xiii, 20.
7. Wo to the world because of offenses - That is, unspeakable misery will be in the world through them; for it must needs be that offenses come - Such is the nature of things, and such the weakness, folly, and wickedness of mankind, that it cannot be but they will come; but wo to that man - That is, miserable is that man, by whom the offense cometh. Offenses are, all things whereby any one is turned out of, or hindered in the way of God.
8, 9. If thy hand, foot, eye, cause thee to offend - If the most dear enjoyment, the most beloved and useful person, turn thee out of, or hinder thee in the way Is not this a hard saying? Yes; if thou take counsel with flesh and blood. Matt. v, 29; Mark ix, 43.
10. See that ye despise not one of these little ones - As if they were beneath your notice. Be careful to receive and not to offend, the very weakest believer in Christ: for as inconsiderable as some of these may appear to thee, the very angels of God have a peculiar charge over them: even those of the highest order, who continually appear at the throne of the Most High. To behold the face of God seems to signify the waiting near his throne; and to be an allusion to the office of chief ministers in earthly courts, who daily converse with their princes.
11. Another, and yet a stronger reason for your not despising them is, that I myself came into the world to save them. Luke xix, 10.
12. Luke xv, 4.
14. So it is not the will of your Father - Neither doth my Father despise the least of them. Observe the gradation. The angels, the Son, the Father.
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