What but self-righteousness could ever induce a preacher to imagine that he belongs to a different order from the church in general; and what but pride of the very worst description could lead him to expect his brethren to call him “Reverend?” This spirit of self-righteousness and pride in the ancient scribes called forth the severest invective from the patient and lovely Jesus. He even notices their carriage and their dress. “Beware of the Scribes, who love to go in long clothing.” Not that their clothing was in itself of any importance, but as it indicated a spirit of clerical self-righteousness, it provoked the eyes of his glory. They loved to go in long clothing, they loved the chief seats, they loved to be called Rabbi, Rabbi. It was therefore on account of the spiritual pride of their hearts that our Lord uttered his solemn “Woe to the Scribes.” It well becomes men to tremble when they hear a woe from the mouth of incarnate love! The “woe” of Jesus falls not upon men in this life, but in the world to come. Many, who are too righteous in their own eyes to imagine they are under his woe, live respectably and their death is honourable and hopeful in the sight of the world. Our Saviour himself has given us a solemn instance of this. [Luke 16:19-31.] A certain rich but carnal professor, a nominal son of Abraham, was of elevated rank and enjoyed abundantly the fatness of the earth. There is reason to believe that his religious character stood high and that he cast of his abundance into the treasury. It is certain that he contributed to the necessities of a poor saint, though not from a right motive. It came to pass, however, that he died and was buried. It is highly probable that a sort of funeral eulogium from the lips of some chief priest recorded his pious and liberal actions and elevated him to the third heaven. But he died under the woe of God and the next account we have of him is, that in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments!
– William Rushton