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exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted 13 they the prophets which were before you. -Ye are the salt of the
earth. But if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted ?
limited to the gratification of the dungeon, and at the stake. sepses, not a poor satisfaction of 13. Ye are the salt of the earth. some temporal, superficial desire, Livy, the Roman historian, calls but large, deep, intense, commen Greece sal gentium, the salt of the surate with the vast and undying nations. Salt is used for preserving aspirations of inmortals.-So per- articles of food from taint, and for secuted they the prophets. Proph- imparting to them a stimulating ets include all religious teachers, flavor. Hence naturally, it becaine whether they predicted future a symbol of preservation, of spiritevents or not. The language of edness, and wisdom. Mark ix. 50. Jesus is, You need not be surprised Col. iv. 6. Some understand by at the prospect of persecution; it is the salt, the Jews. But the sense no more than all the great and good is, more probably, that the disciples have suffered. In this respect my would be the salt of the whole dispensation is analogous to that of world. Through them, the Gospel Moses. The religion of heaven would season, inspirit, and purify will stir up the hostility of a bad the corrupt race. By hearing bim, world, and its promulgators will in- they had been summoned to a great evitably be the first objects on which moral enterprise. The hopes of that hostility wreaks itself. Moses the earth rested on them. It was a met with disobedience, taunts, and caution to discharge so great a insurrection. Exod. xvii. 2. xxxii. trust, and not lose their savor ; pot 1. Num. xvi. 13. Elijah was in desert him, and prove false to their hazard of his life, and hunted like privileges, and duties to the world. a wild beast. 1 Kings xviii. 10. The same warning holds morally xix. 2, 3. Elisha was mocked at good through all ages. Christians even by the children in the street. are the salt of the earth, the pre2 Kings ii. 23. Jeremiah was put servers from moral putrefaction. in the stocks, beaten, cast into a Let them not become insipid, lifemost loathsome dungeon, and re- less, good for nothing. If the salt peatedly menaced with death. Jer. have lost his savor, &c. By exposure XX. 2. xxvi. 8-15. xxxii. 2. xxxvii. to the atmosphere, rock salt loses 13—16. xxxviii. 6. The faithful its useful properties, and becomes Three were placed in a red-hot tasteless. His is frequently used furnace. Dan. iii. 21, 22. Daniel for its in the Scriptures. Maundwas thrown into a den of lions. rell, in his Travels in the East in vi. 16. The prediction of the Sa- 1697, describing the valley of salt, viour was verified in the persecu near Aleppo, says, “ Along on one tion of his Apostles and disciples, side of the valley, towards Gibul, as we learn from the history of the there is a small precipice, about planting of Christianity. But they two men's length, occasioned by joyed in stripes, imprisonment, and the continual taking away of the death ; and sustained, by a good salt, and in this you may see how conscience, their Master's example, the veins of it lie. I broke a piece and the hopes of heaven; they sang of it, of which that part that was “their hymns of lofty cheer” in the exposed to the rain, sun, and air,
it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set 14 on an hill cannot be hid; neither do rnen light a candle, and put it un- 15 der a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that
though it had the sparks and parti- “a burning and shining light." cles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost Paul denominates the Philippian its savor ; the inner part, which was Christians as those that "shine as connected to the rock, retained its lights in the world.” It is comsavor, as I found by proof.” You monly said of illustrious men, that are to be the preservers and puri- they are “the lights of their age fiers of the world; but if you be- and country.”. Light, as well as come corrupt, what means will beat, is requisite to vivify the cold, there be of reforming and purify- benighted world.—A city that is set ing you? Woe unto you, if, when on an hill cannot be hid. Our Lord you are thus privileged and com was accustomed to take his similes missioned, you prove unfaithful to from the most obvious things; from your high trust.
You will be cast the sun in the sky, the birds flying aways and vagabonds.-Cast out, through the air, the lilies in the and trodden under foot of men. It field. On this occasion, probably, is supposed by some commentators a city was in view from the emithat allusion is here made to a bitu nence on which Jesus delivered minous salt procured from the this address; perhaps that of JaDead Sea, which, as it had a fra- phia or Bethulia.—Christians have grant odor, was sprinkled over the not ceased to be the salt of the sacrifices in the Temple to connter- earth, and the light of the world, act the sınell of the burning flesh; and cities set on hills. They are and as it sometimes spoiled when seen and read by all men. Their laid up, by exposure to the sun and characters and conduct are critiair, it was scattered over the Tem- cised. If true, they spread moral ple pavements in wet weather to fertility and beauty around them; prevent slipping; thus it was cast if false, they defeat the cause they out and trodden under foot. The profess to aid. illustration possesses great point, if 15. Neither do men light a candle, the practice was observed in our &c. Luke xi. 33. Candles were Saviour's day.
not used then. The word should 14. Ye are the light of the world. have been translated lamp ; also The most eminent Jewish Rabbins lamp-stand, instead of candlestick. were called “the lights of the For bushel, we ought to read measworld.” Jesus applies the title to ure; the word in the original sigthose who heard and followed him. nifies a vessel of less capacity than They would enlighten the world, a peck. The sentence contains a not with the rays of material light, proverbial phraseology, to express but, what was of transcendent con- depriving any thing of its utility sequence, with a moral illumina- by putting it to some use the fartion, chasing away the darkness of thest possible from the one for superstition and sin. Christ said of which it was intended. Religion himself, that he was the light of the is not to be kept 'secret, any more world, the sun of the moral uni- than it is to be ostentatiously ob
He calls John the Baptist truded upon the notice of mankind;
16 are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may
see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am
but it should shine naturally and unaware of his influence. unconsciously out of the face and
" How far the little candle throws his beams! behaviour of every Christian.
So shines a good deed on a naughty world.” 16. It is wrong to act for appearance's sake. We should have a 17. Think not that I am come to higher principle of conduct than destroy, but to fulfil. After showing the praise of men. Our foremost in the Beatitudes, that the worldly aim should be to glorify our Father hopes of the Jews were without in heaven. His glory, the great basis, Jesus proceeds to anticipate ness and goodness of his character, and correct an erroneous impresis hidden from the sight of the sion which would naturally and worldly. But in the good man it immediately arise, that he came to flames out, and the blindest can see destroy the Jewish system.
He it. A virtuous being is the most came not, he says, as they might noble manifestation of the glory of hastily infer from what he had been God in the world. For example, saying, for the purpose of destructhe purest splendors of the Deity tion, but of fulfilment. He came stream forth from the face of Jesus not to substitute violently one Christ. He made God to be known, scheme for another, but to superrevered, and obeyed, and conse- sede an old system, established for quently glorious in the eyes of temporary uses, “a shadow of good
Every Christian, however things to come,” with a new and humble the sphere of his action, perpetual one. His was the comcan do something toward the same pletion of that splendid line of holy end. He can praise his Fa- revelations of which the law and ther, can acknowledge his resplen- the prophets were the beginnings. dent attributes, can win others “ to He was so far from wishing to deswork and worsbip so divine.” The troy, subvert, or impair the veneragoodness and happiness of man- ble authority of the Law and the kind are the glory of the Creator. Prophets, that the very end of his And the humblest creature that mission was to fulfil, finish, crown lives can advance that goodness, those disclosures of God, with othand augment that happiness in ers in harmony with them, but himself and others. No matter if more advanced, and for the recephe is poor, sick, ignorant, and un- tion of which those had served to known; he shines, a cheering and a prepare the world.---The law, i. e. guiding light, if he has caught the the Pentateuch,
the Pentateuch, or five books of spirit of religion. His lowly hovel Moses, or, more specifically, the is illuminated with a serene ray, his Mosaic legislation. The prophets, comfortless chamber is irradiated i. e. the books and compositions with a light above the brightness of which the prophets had written, or the sun ; the star of God's glory, the course of religious teaching that never sets, comes and stands which had succeeded the Mosaic over the place where that good legislation. The Jewish revelation spirit tabernacles and suffers. He was designed for a particular peolives with the best effect, though ple and a limited time. It was pre
not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till 18
paratory to a universal and perma was no doubt a proverbial one, fitnent religion. It was the school- ted to convey a vivid idea of its master to train men for the coming perpetuity, to say that a thing would of the Great and Perfect Teacher. last as long as the universe itself. The master idea, running as a staple -One jot. Jot or iota, is the name through the whole Jewish econo of i, the smallest letter in the Hemy, is THE UNITY OF GOD. Line brew alphabet.- One tittle. This upon line, precept upon precept, this signifies the small points, or the truth was wrought through centu- flourishes, made underneath or at ries into the core of the Jewish the corners of the Hebrew letters, heart. This noble principle, with and on the accuracy of which the the inferences which diverged from meaning of a word or sentence it in every direction, and reached often depended. The Rabbins to every motive of life, and every were accustomed to say that an alhope of the soul, opened the way teration of one of these little marks for those fuller, tenderer disclosures would destroy the world, beof truth which Jesus lived and cause it would change the divine died to make. The Jewish dis- commandments. In transcribing pensation is not therefore to be the Old Testament, it was a suffijudged by the Christian, nor the cient reason for destroying the Christian by the Jewish. Each whole manuscript, if a mistake had has its purpose in the counsels of been committed in reference to Heaven, and each, when rightly these small points and curvatures. understood, is seen to bear those The idea is, not only that the law beautiful characters of wise design, in general was permanent, but that and benevolent adaptation, which even its least requisitions, and the are written all over the universe. spirit they breathed, were of fresh,
18. This verse expands and con eternal obligation. The smallest firms the sense of the latter clause part of God's commandments never of the preceding.–Verily. The can become null. The ceremonial Greek work is amen, which is used and judicial institutions of the Jews at the end of prayers. It expresses were intended, at the time they strong affirmation, so be it, truly, were made, to be only temporary; certainly. Our Master uses it in But the moral truths, the spiritual many places, to emphasize what he requisitions, of Judaism were not says. Compare Mat. xvi. 28, with to be abated one atom, but to be Luke ix. 27.-- Till heaven and earth carried out to perfection, fulfilled pass. Wakefield thus paraphrases by the Messiah-Till all be fulfilled, the verse :-“For verily I say unto i. e, till all the purposes, contemyou, the heaven and the earth will plated in the Mosaic dispensation, sooner pass away, than one jot or are effected; till the gracious deone tittle of the law be destroyed, signs of God, commencing in the and fail of its accoinplishment." earliest revelations, are completed See Luke xvi. 17. The heaven under Christianity. The Jews and earth signify the whole crea would suspect, from what Jesus had tion, the universe. The expression said, that he came to subvert the
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 20 them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For
I say unto you, that, except your righteousness shall exceed the righte
law and the prophets. By no practise and inculcate universal means, is his language. The spirit obedience, and who, in becoming of those revelations is strictly im- the advocates of Christianity, acperishable; it is to last and deepen knowledge also the finger of God till the final consummation of all in the law and the prophets. So at things. I came to breathe into it the present day, whosoever shall new energy, and send it forth over break, or undervalue one class of the globe, conquering and to con- duties, one set of divine laws; whoquer, till the purposes of God are soever shall discard morality in bis at last all accomplished.
zeal for piety, or neglect piety be19. This verse is intelligible only cause he is a good moral man, falls when we learn that the Scribes and under the rebuke of this verse. Pharisees, the teachers and casu Whilst one who does and teaches ists most in vogue, were accustom all the commandments, gives to ed to make distinctions between every duty its place, is faithful to moral precepts; calling some of man, and God, and bis Saviour, greater, and others of less obliga- shall be great in the spiritual kingtion, and holding that the trans- dom, and an eminent Christian. gression of one of the less com 20. Your righteousness, your virmandments was a venial offence. tue, goodness.—The righteousness This method humored the bad pro- of the Scribes and Pharisees. They pensities of mankind, and vitiated professed great piety and benevoall strictness of morality. Mat. lence. They thanked God that xxii. 36.-One of these least com- they were not as other men are. mandments, i. e. more properly Their claims to superior virtue rendered, one of the least of these seem to have been acquiesced in commandments, i. e. the laws of by their countrymen. For it was a Moses, though some with less prob- common saying, that, if but two ability refer the sentence to the men were admitted to the kingdom doctrines of Jesus which follow. of heaven, one of them would be a He appears to continue the thought Pharisee, and the other a Scribe. started in the preceding verses. But notwithstanding their bold preSuppose not, he says, that I have tensions, our Saviour, looking at any hostility to the Mosaic system; the heart, detected and laid open on the contrary, those will be light- their hypocrisy. They tithed the ly esteemed among my foilowers, smallest herbs, but omitted those who set themselves up as violators vast concerns, judgment, mercy, and disparagers of that dispensa- and faith. Their religion was one tion of God, or who, like the Scribes of appearance, not one of reality. and Pharisees, whilst they profess They held that the thoughts of the great fidelity to it, virtually nullify beart were not sinful. They were its injunctions by their traditions, scrupulous to a fault in things of and divisions of the law into du- small consequence, that they might ties of greater and less weight; but have the greater latitude in the inthey will be the most honored who dulgence of selfishness and sensu