Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

LUKE vi. part of ver. 14, 15, 16.

14-James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus-
16 and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Galilee.

Matt.v.1.

SECTION XIX.

The Sermon on the Mount 42.

MATT. v. vi. vii. viii. 1. LUKE vi. 20. to the end. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

42 A brief statement of the reasons which induce me to follow the opinion of Archbishop Newcome, Lightfoot, Pilkington, Michaelis, Bishop Richardson, and others, contrary to the authority of Doddridge and Bedford, may be found in Archbishop Newcome's notes to his Harmony. Michaelis (a) observes, "that the Sermon on the Mount recorded by St. Luke, is no other than that recorded by St. Matthew, appears from the events which immediately follow it. Both evangelists relate that Jesus after the sermon was ended went into Capernaum, and healed the servant of a centurion; a cure attended with such remarkable circumstances, that I can hardly suppose it happened twice, and that too in the same city."

It is objected by Bedford and others, that the discourse in Matthew is different from that in St. Luke, as the former is delivered by our Lord while sitting on a mountain, but the latter standing on a plain, Matt. v. 1. compare with Luke vi. 17. But Dr. Clarke, on this latter place, has suggested "that Jesus might retire from them again to the top of the hill." And Dr. Priestley observes, "Matthew's saying that Jesus sate down after he had gone up the mountain, and Luke's saying that ho stood on the plain when he healed the sick before the discourse, are no inconsistencies (b)."

St. Luke principally relates those parts of this discourse which were more peculiarly addressed to the disciples. It is remarkable that he has mentioned only two of the beatitudes. Markland (c) supposes that the discourses were the same, and delivered at the same time; but one evangelist chose to mention one part, and one, the other, as is done in various other places. These two beatitudes mentioned by St. Luke, were delivered to the disciples as such; in which view, though we cannot certainly tell how the parts were connected by our Saviour when he spoke it, yet it may be supposed to have been something like this. Happy are ye, though ye be very poor, (Luke,) especially those who are poor in spirit, (Matthew.)-Happy are ye, though ye be hungry now, (Luke,) especially those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, (Matthew.)

The general interpretation of the word poor in St. Luke, is usually considered to be given by St. Matthew. It seems more probable that our Lord used the words δι πτῶχοι, and οι πειVVTEL, kai divres, and that St. Matthew wrote the expressions in their metaphorical, and St. Luke in their literal sense. Markland, however, supposes that our Lord used the words mentioned by St. Matthew, τῷ πνέυματι, and καὶ δικαιοσύνην, and I have united on his suggestion the words of both Evangelists.

Luke vi. 20.
Matt. v. 2.

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples,
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

As the High Priest, passing through the holy place when he went up into the holy of holies to consult the oracle, heard the voice as of a man speaking from the mercy-seat, so in contemplating this portion of the New Testament, we seem to have passed on to the most spiritual communication of God to man. Freed from the types and shadows of the Mosaic law, and rescued from the cloudy traditions and perversions of the Pharisees, the light of the sun of truth breaks forth in all its splendour. We hear, from an infallible oracle, the utter overthrow and refutation of all the false glosses and rabbinical corruptions, which had so long perverted the spirit of the divine law. To enter into a long and laboured examination of the various precepts contained in this address, would be merely to transcribe the commentaries of Whitby, Lightfoot, Grotius, and others. The plan of this work precludes me from entering at length into the interpretations of a more general nature. It may, however, be useful to remark a circumstance which has not been much discussed by these commentators; and that is the thorough contrast between the Messiah and the worldly teachers of the Jewish people. The Rabbis were accustomed to prefer as their pupils and disciples, the talented, the learned, the refined, and the wealthy: Christ selected the rude and unlearned, the unpolished and the poor. The rabbis scorned to associate with the despised and hated publican; Christ enrolled the neglected and hated publican among his chosen disciples. The wickedness of the nation increased, in spite of the learning of their teachers, because those teachers were corrupt, and proud, and worldly; the Church of Christ was established in holiness, because its first teachers, though ignorant and rude, were disinterested, humble, and spiritual. Rites and ceremonies had usurped the place of the prayer of the heart, and the homage of a holy life; Christ enforced the meaning of the raw, and exalted devotion and virtue above vows and sacrifices, and all the observances of superstition. The priests were endeavouring to make the law worldly, the Messiah made it spiritual. They would have changed the law of God into an encouragement of the propensities of the animal or inferior nature of man; Christ taught them that the entire conquest of this nature was required by their Father in heaven. The priests encouraged, under the appearance of strict obedience to the law, ingratitude to parents, revenge, facility of divorce, and other evils; Christ commanded them to honour their parents, though they had vowed the dedication of their substance to God, Matt. xv. 5. he commanded love to their enemies, and self dominion over the most powerful passions. He offended at the same time no prejudices-he taught them to pray in a selection from their own liturgical services: he exhorts them to the fulfilment, even to the very letter, of their ritual law. He taught in plain and simple language, such as his hearers instantly understood, and the most ignorant and unlearned in this age (with but little exception arising from the passages particularly referring to the Jewish customs,) can still thoroughly comprehend. Our Lord has here given a code of laws to the world, obedience to which will for ever annihilate all superstitious dependance upon every other mode of aspiring to the favour of the Almighty, than by aiming at spirituality of motive, and holiness of life. Not even the blood of the atonement will save that man from the effects of

Luke vi. 20. Blessed be ye poor:

Matt. v.3.

4.

5.

Luke vi. 21.
Matt. v.6.

Luke vi. 21.

Matt. v. 7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

Declaration who are

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the king- blessed. dom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be com-
forted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are ye that hunger now :

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righ-
teousness for they shall be filled.

Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peace-makers"; for they shall be
called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness
sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men

Luke vi. 22. shall hate you, and when they separate you from their company, and shall reproach you,

Matt. v.11. and revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all man-
ner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Luke vi.22, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake,
Rejoice ye in that day,

23.

Matt. v. 12.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:

Luke vi.23. and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Matt. v. 12. so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. But, wo unto you that are rich: for ye have received your consolation.

Luke vi. 24.

25.

26.

Matt. v. 13.

Wo unto you that are full: for ye shall hunger. Wo unto you that laugh now: for ye shall mourn and weep. Wo unto you when men shall speak well of you: for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Woes denounced.

Ye are the salt of the earth 4: but if the salt have lost Privileges

and duties of Christ's

evil, who professes to believe and hope, without repentance, and disciples.

anxious exertion.

(a) Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. p. 85. (b) Harm. p. 83. Newcome's notes to Harmony, fol. edit. p. 19. (c) Ap. Bowyer's Critical Conjectures, p. 204.

43 The meaning of the word oηvoroloì in this passage, seems to be preachers of the new covenant, who reconciled the two dispensations; who were not to enter upon the obscure and useless discussions of points of the ceremonial law, but to preach the sublimer doctrines of the Gospel. In Ephes. vi. 15. and ii. 14. an allusion seems to be made to this idea.-Vide Schoetgen, vol. i. p. 18.

44 Schoetgen has favoured the world with a laborious and learned treatise on this difficult passage. It was the peculiar characteristic of our Lord's teaching, that he drew his illustrations from common objects, which were either in all probability

Matt. v. 13. its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14.

15.

45

Ye are the light of the world: " a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a
bushel, but on a candlestick: and it giveth light unto all
that are in the house.

16. Let your light so shine before men that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
heaven.

17

18.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the The design prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

in the presence of his hearers when he addressed them, or were
well known from their familiarity and frequency. This passage
contains an allusion to salt which has lost its savour, and is after-
wards trodden under foot as useless. Now salt, generally speak-
ing, may be said never to lose its savour; neither can it be said
to be trodden under foot. It is true, that Mr. Maundrell has in-
formed us that, when he passed through the valley of salt, he
broke off a part that had been long exposed to the rain and the
sun, and it had perfectly lost its savour, though the inner part
retained it; and we may suppose that this useless salt was
trodden under foot. This, however, seems to be a much more
recondite and abstruse meaning than we commonly meet with
in our Lord's addresses to the people: neither would the poor
and ignorant, whom he was addressing, immediately perceive
the aptness of the allusion. The interpretation of Schoetge-
nius, therefore, appears much more probable. The people
would be familiarly acquainted with every custom connected
with the temple service, and any allusion to any part of it
would be readily understood and remembered. There was a
kind of salt used in Judea, which was principally composed of
the bitumen obtained from the Asphaltite Lake. This salt, or bi-
tumen, which had a fragrant odour, was strewn in great quanti-
ties over the sacrifices, both to prevent inconvenience to the
priests and to the worshippers from the smell of the burning flesh,
and to quicken the action of the fire, that the sacrifice might be
more quickly consumed. Great quantities of this bituminous pre-
paration lay in its appointed place in the temple, and was easily
damaged. The virtue of the salt was soon lost by exposure to
the effect of the sun and air, and it was then sprinkled over the
pavement in the temple, to prevent the feet of the priests from
slipping, during the performance of the service.-Schoetgen.
Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 18-24.

45 Our Lord here confers on his apostles the same epithet as
the Jews bestowed on their most distinguished teachers. That
is, he had decreed that his apostles should take the place of the
corrupt teachers of the Jewish law. The Messiah gave to his
apostles, rude, ignorant, and despised fishermen and publicans,
the rank and titles of their proud countrymen-" Light of the
world.", said the disciples of Rabbi Jochanan ben
Saccai, Why do you weep, &c. &c.-Schoetgen. Hor. Hebr.
vol. i. p. 24.

of Christ's

coming.

Matt, v. 19.

20.

21.

22.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least Commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ExplanaThou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment:

But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire".

46 Here are three gradations of crimes mentioned by our Lord, and three degrees of punishment respectively annexed to each. The first is causeless anger, unaccompanied with any abusive expressions to aggravate it; the second may be supposed to arise from the same source, increased by an exclamation, which denotes the triumph of vanity, mixed with insult and contempt; the third seems naturally to rise one degree higher, and occasions the opprobrious epithet, Thou fool.' The two former, we may observe, are threatened with the temporal punishment or animadversion of the Jewish tribunals, the council and the judgment, which were now deprived of the power of life and death, and could therefore take cognizance only of minor offences.

Now, it is highly analogous to our Saviour's reasoning to suppose, that the punshment annexed to the last crime would be of a temporal nature also, particularly as it can only be considered as an abuse of speech, like that of the preceding, though in a more aggravated form. On the contrary, to imagine that, for the distinction between 'Raca,' and thou fool, our blessed Lord should instantly pass from such a sentence as the Jewish Sanhedrim could pronounce, to the awful doom of eternal punishment in hell-fire, is what cannot be reconciled to any rational rule of faith, or known measure of justice. But a critical examination of the original text will remove this difficulty.

What we renderin danger of hell-fire," is in the Greek ἔνοχος ἔται εις τὴν γέενναν τῷ πυρός, “ shall be liable to the Gehenna, of fire," or, "the fire of Gehenna." It is well known that Gehenna is not a pure Greek word, but a compound formed of yñ, land, and a proper name to correspond with the Hebrew expression the valley of Hinnom, or rather from the two Hebrew words, x, a valley, and, Hinnom, the name of its possessor. (See Schleusner in Teevva, and Lightfoot's Chorogr. Cent. ch. xxxix.) In this desecrated spot the Jews burnt bones, the dead carcases of animals, the refuse and offal of the numerous victims, &c. and from the loathsome scene which this place exbibited, as well as from the fires which were kept constantly burning there, it was frequently used as the emblem or symbol of hell, and of hell torments in a state of eternity. But our blessed Lord may well be supposed to use it here in its literal sense, without any reference to its metaphorical meaning; and this will serve to clear the text of its supposed difficulty. For, when we consider what immense quantities of half

tion of the sixth commandment.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »