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The Good News, according to S. Matthew, is distinguished by its many quotations from the Old Testament, and by the amount of space it gives to the teaching of Jesus as compared with his acts.
This body of teaching is always set before us by S. Matthew at considerable length, and after the fashion and method of the old Hebrew Wisdom Poets. The parallelism of the thought and the rhythmic flow of the language is remarkable.
On the other hand, the bringing out of this great feature of this Gospel makes us appreciate the learning and culture of the writer, as well as to understand and enjoy the beauties of his thought and diction. It shows us what a characteris
portraiture of our Lord he has drawn for us, and the necessity of the four writers for a full and well rounded view of him for all time to
Yet, S. Matthew writes with no stiff national or exclusive pride.
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For it is S. Matthew who is the occasion of our Lord's being charged with eating with saloon-keepers and prostitutes. It is S. Matthew who tell us of the visit of the eastern Magi, in whom Christendom from of old has rightly seen the first fruits of the calling of the Gentiles.
It is S. Matthew who dwells emphatically on the prospect of men coming from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is S. Matthew who sets forth the law of compassionate judgment, which will make the doom of Tyre and Sidon more tolerable than that of Chorazin and Bethsaida.
Yes, it is S. Matthew who represents the Judge of all the earth in the last great day, taking his standard of judgment, not from the old Jewish law, not from the specific truths taught by Christ, even, but from the great and all-inclusive law of kindness, which is stamped everywhere, even when neglected and transgressed, on the hearts and lives of those who have known no other revelation.
F. S. BALLENTINE, CHRIST'S CHURCH RECTORY, SCRANTON, PA.,
1 See note on page 281, S. Luke, Vol. III.