Our Saviour now cometh to denounce eight woes against the teachers of those times, the scribes and Pharisees. Luke saith, Luk_11:52, Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away thekey of knowledge: ye enter not in yourselves, and them that wereentering in ye hindered. It was written of old, that thepriest’s lips should preserve knowledge: God hath committed the key of knowledge to the ministers and guides of his church, not that they should take it away, but that the people might seek the lawat their mouths, because they are the messengers of the Lord ofhosts, Mal_2:7. Now saith our Saviour, you have taken it away: this Matthew calls a shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men; doing what in them lay to keep men from the knowledge of the mind and will of God, neither themselves teaching them the knowledge of God, which yet was their office and duty, nor suffering others to do it who would. You will neither go in yourselves, neither will you suffer them that are entering to go in. Yourselves are too proud or lazy, to preach the gospel, which is the way to the kingdom of heaven, and when others would, you suffer them not; nor yet will you suffer the people, who have a heart to it, to hear it. For this he calls them hypocrites seven times in this chapter, they pretending to be teachers and openers of the door to the kingdom of heaven, when indeed they did shut it; and denounces a woe to them, comprehending that ruin which soon after came upon them and their city by the Roman armies, and that eternal damnation which slept not, and was due to them. There are no worse men in the world than hypocrites, men pretending highly to God, yet neither themselves doing their duty in embracing the gospel, nor suffering others to do it, but doing what in them lie to hinder people from the means by which they might come to the kingdom of heaven.