15 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 their walking in it themselves, that is here chiefly spoken
of. All those are false prophets, who teach any other way than that our
Lord hath here marked out. In sheep's clothing - With outside religion
and fair professions of love: Wolves - Not feeding, but destroying souls.
16 By their fruits ye shall know them - A short, plain, easy rule, whereby
to know true from false prophets: and one that may be applied by people
of the weakest 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 speaking the very truth, yet are not sent by the Spirit of God,
but come in their own name, to declare it: their grand mark is, "Not turning
men from the power of Satan to God." Luke 6:43,44.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree
good fruit - But it is certain, the goodness or badness here mentioned
respects the doctrine, rather than the personal character. For a bad man
preaching the good doctrine here delivered, is sometimes an instrument
of converting sinners to God. Yet I do not aver, that all are true prophets
who speak the truth, and thereby convert sinners. I only affirm, that none
are such who do not.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast
into the fire - How dreadful then is the condition of that teacher who
hath brought no sinners to God!
21 Not every one - That is, no one that saith, Lord, Lord - That makes
a mere profession of me and my religion, shall enter - Whatever their false
teachers may assure them to the contrary: He that doth the will of my Father
- as I have now declared it. Observe: every thing short of this is only
saying, Lord, Lord. Luke 6:46.