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ousness 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 21 time: “ Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry 22

ality. They appeared beautiful to the ancients, meaning to the conoutwardly, no garnished sepulchre temporaries of Moses. Jesus did more so, but it was with numbers not decry the piety and morality of only a fair seeming; descending the Mosaic standards, but censured within, as Jesus did, a mass of the interpretations, often lax, which moral corruption, as of the charnel were put upon the original comhouse, disclosed itself. What! the mands.—Thou shalt not kill, i. e. people were ready to exclaim to thou shalt not commit murder. Ex. Jesus; is not the goodness of such xx. 13. This precept was Mosaic, persons as our religious teachers divine.Whosoever shall kill, &c. sufficient to save us? So far from This was an explanation, or tradithat, is his reply, your virtue must tion, afterwards appended to the far exceed theirs, or you can lay no law, referring merely to the temclaim to be my disciples. My poral punishment consequent upon standard is a far higher and purer the overt act of murder. Jesus one than theirs.— Ye shall in no case went down to the source from enter into the kingdom of heaven, i. e. which the act originated ; the you cannot become my disciples, or thoughts and feelings of the heart; Christians. The righteousness of and showed their criminality and the Scribes and Pharisees is out- danger, even when they did not ward, technical, meagre, hypocriti- actually result in the deed of viocal; the righteousness of my fol- lence.—In danger of, i. e. responsilowers must be of the heart, living, ble to, obnoxious to.The judgsincere, universal, the unqualified ment. This signifies not a judicial obedience of the whole man. Hav- sentence, but a municipal court by ing thus stated the general priuci- which sentence was passed, judgple, that he should require a loftier ment pronounced. The Talmudvirtue than the current examples of ists, or writers among the Jews of the day, he proceeds to specify the third and fourth centuries after cases; first in regard to Murder; Christ, describe this court as consecondly, verse 27, Adultery; third- sisting of twenty-three persons; but ly, verse 33, Oaths; fourthly, verse Josephus, whose authority is to be 38, Retaliation.

preferred, represents it as a tribunal 21. Jesus proceeds to quote and of seven, which sat in each city or comment upon the commandments town, with the Levites as attending of Moses, the traditions, and the officers. As is evident from the glosses which had been put upon reference of the text, causes of inthem, and shows what he meant by portance came before them, and sea better righteousness than that of vere punishments, as strangling, the Scribes and Pharisees. First, and beheading, were inflicted at in relation to Murder.—Ye have their command. heard that it was said by them of 22. But I say unto yout. Jesus old time, i. e. it is matter of tradi- speaks with authority, with a natution. Instead of by then of old ral tone of superiority and comtime, some read, to them of old time: mand, which was felt to be genuine

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

by his hearers, and different from which this tribunal commands to the hollow assumption of the be inflicted.—Raca. A Syriac or Scribes. Chap. vii. 29. His spe- Chaldaic word expressing great cial commission from God gave a contenipt, equivalent to fool, dolt, godlike weight to his words; as an simpleton. A commandment of ambassador from an earthly, king God may be violated in spirit, when speaks and negotiates with the en- it is kept in the letter. The feeling ergy and decision of the sovereign of bitterness and contempt which in whose stead he acts. Worldly prompts men to call each other by teachers had glossed over the strict opprobrious names often results in truth with their own interpreta- the actual deed of violence and tions ; Jesus rends them away, and, murder. So far as these are its backed by the power and wisdom of natural consequences, the feeling God, uses the simple but lofty form itself is of the same dark guilt as of address: “ But I say unto you.” its results. The council, i. e. the Such an expression, in any but a Sanhedrim, the chief tribunal special, divinely authorized, super- among the Jews. It was established naturally gifted messenger of God, in the time of the Maccabees, about would excite anything but respect. two hundred years before our SaIn Jesus it is natural and graceful. viour. Civil aud ecclesiastical caHe utters his great truths with an ses fell beneath their jurisdiction. easy air of anthority, notwithstand- They could pass sentence of death, ing bis humble origin, which con- but they depended upon the Roman vinces us that he had a right from governor to carry it into effect. above to decide, and that his word Their number was about seventy, was final.-Angry with his brother consisting of the highest officers of without a cause.

1 John iij. 15.— the Jewish commonwealth. They Brother means any man. All man- commonly held their sessions at kind in the view of Christianity are Jerusalem in a room near the tembrothers.-Angry without a cause, ple. Mention is often made of this i. e. either without an adequate rea- court in the New Testament. Our son, or to an excessive degree. Saviour was condemned by it, and This is to be understood in the two his apostles were arraigned before last clauses, as well as the first. it. The sense is, that he who used Jesus calls not only the overt act of a word of contempt and scorn violence criminal and punishable, towards his fellow-man would exbut also the state of feeling from pose himself to a condemnatio which the act originated, the bad and punishment, under the governpassions causelessly and excessive- ment of God, equivalent and parally inflamed. He deals with the lel to that which it came within heart.- In danger of the judgment, the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim i. e. liable to the condemnation of to pronounce. Thou fool. This the iuferior court of judicature; or translation is nearer the sense of rather, to express the exact sense, Raca, used before, than of the word is liable to such a punishment from in the original. T'he term is Moreh. God as may be parallel with that It means not fool, but impious,

of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there 23


apostate, wretch ; implying a low three, corresponding gradations of moral condition, as Raca does a punishment proportioned to the contemptible intellect.-Hell fire. different degrees of guilt. Where In the Greek, the Gehenna of fire. these punishments will be inflicted, Gehenna is a word of Hebrew ori- he does not say, he need not say, giu, signifying the valley of Hin- The man, who indulges any wicked

It was situated near the city feelings against his brother man, is of Jerusalem on the east. The in this world punished, his anger is brook Kedron ran through it. the torture of his soul, and unless Horrid sacrifices of the heath- he repents of it, and forsakes it, it en god Moloch were perforined in must prove his woe in all future this valley. On this account the states of his being. Jesus thus ilplace was afterwards held in such lustrates the principle of his reliabhorrence that it was made the gion in contradistinction to the ercommon receptacle of the filth of roneous instructions of the Scribes the city. The carcasses of animals, and Pharisees, that not only the the bodies of executed criminals, outward act, but the inward feeling were thrown into this place. Fires and the words of the lips, are subwere kept constantly burning to ject to the laws of God." Unjust or consume these things and prevent immoderate anger, contemptuous the atmosphere becoming pestilen- epithets, and passionate reproaches, tial. Worms were frequently to were in fact breaches of that law be seen preying upon the remains of social duty, every violation of of the filth and rubbish of the popu- which was an offence of greater or Jous city. Hence very severe and less magnitude against the Supreme disgraceful punishments, and the Lawgiver and Judge. retributions of the future world, in 23. It is said that the Scribes resome places, are depicted by the quired restitution in money matfigure of the Gehenna of fire, or ters, but that in other things they the constantly burning fires of the held that gifts and sacrifices would valley of Hinnom, and the worms expiate all offences not cognizable that are always to be found there. by the judge. But our Saviour takes In using this term, our Lord em a different ground. He teaches ployed the current language of his that reconciliation is better than day and nation. His idea seems to sacrifices, and that a gift to God is have been, that for the most oppro- vain and unacceptable, so long as brious words, and the correspond- the giver is in the practice of vioing temper which prompted their lating his social obligations. Havuse, a man would be subject, wheth- ing in the preceding verses warned er in this life or the future one, to his hearers against anger and scorn the punishment of God ---a punish- towards their human brethren, be ment as much severer in degree now points out the true course of than those aforementioned, as the conduct when the offence has actuburning fires and undying worm of ally been committed; it is, first of the valley of Hipnom would ex- all, to be reconciled; even to postceed in severity the punishment in- pone the services and sacrifices of flicted by the tribunal of Seven divine worship till the broken chain and the Sanhedrim. Three de- of brotherly love is again united. grees of anger are specified, and The duty of benevolence is para

24 rememberest that thy brother bath ought against thee; leave there

thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy


go to hiin.

mount to ritual observances. But 24. Leave there thy gift before the the Jewish teachers inculcated the altar. Gifts were delayed or rereverse.-If

thou bring thy gift to jected sometimes on account of the altar. The freewill offering their impropriety, or because they and sacrifices of the Jewish wor- had some blemish, or the person shippers were called gifts. The offering them was disqualified by altar was situated in front of the uncleanness, or for some other temple. If a person had gone so cause, from performing such an far as to bring his gist to the very But Jesus speaks of delaying altar, to the place where it was to the gift for a new reason, the moral be offered, and there, just before he unfitness and unpreparedness of made his offering, recollected that the giver. Such an idea had not there was matter of difference and probably entered the minds of the ill will between him and his brother, Jewish teachers, wedded as they he was to turn back from the tem- were to technicality and ceremople of God, and seek reconciliation nies.—Go thy way. Seek reconwith his fellow-man, and then he ciliation. Do not wait till the inmight reasonably trust that his gifts jured person, or he who supposes would be accepted by the Al- himself injured, comes to you. But mighty.-- Rememberest should be re

And this would be member, grammatically.That thy practicable in the case of those who brother hath ought against thee, i. e. came from the farthest parts of the has, or thinks he has, any just land, for these gifts were offered on cause of complaint. Jesus men- general festival days, when the nations the case of one who has of- tion were together at Jerusalem, fended, not one who has been and every man could find his neighwronged. The person who has bors and acquaintances without done wrong to another, or who, going to a great distance. Be rethat other believes, has done wrong, conciled. Not only cherish right is to seek reconciliation with his in- feelings yourself, but make reparajured brother rather than perform tion, explanation, or whatever will ceremonial observances. But if it satisfy, within the bounds of reason, be the other way, and his brother your offended, injured fellow-man, has wronged him, there is nothing and thus obtain his pardon and in the lessons of Jesus to show that love. Let there be reconciliation his offerings will be unworthy up- on both sides.Then come and offer til the affair is settled. It then de- thy gift. Having discharged your volves upon the man who has done duty to m you will be prepared the wrong to seek the reconcilia- to worship God. The spirit of tion. Still it is the fruit of a Chris- these instructions, though wrapped tian spirit to forgive, to forget, to be in Jewish phraseology and imagealways ready to receive the ad- ry, is for us as well as for them of vances of reconciliation from those old. If we would worship our who have ill used us; to desire Maker acceptably, our prayers must most earnestly to have others in rise from hearts baptized into the charity with us, as well as to be love of man, as well as into the ourselves in charity with them. belief of God. The tongue we use

brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine ad- 25 versary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou 26

in devotion must not utter cursings gy. The longer the difficulty was towards mankind, as well as bless- delayed, the harder it would be to ings towards the Father; else the be settled, the more aggravated its cursings will devour the blessings, evil consequences. The passage is and our supplications will fall back designed rather to point out the to the earth dead. If faith be one of importance of early reparation and the wings of prayer, love is the other. reconciliation in regard to our fel

25. See Luke xii. 58, 59. Jesus low-men, than to be violently conhas already shown that to indulge strued as an admonition against dein malevolent feelings, and use op- lay in religion, in general, or in our probrious epithets, is highly crimi- duties more especially to our Manal, and that the exercise of a con- ker. In the interpretation of Scripciliating temper should take prece- ture, there is as much danger of dence of ritual observanees and acts attributing a sense to a passage of worship; and he now goes on to which was never in the writer or show, that, merely as a matter of speaker's mind, as of mistaking the self-interest, we should seek to live sense; as niuch danger of erring in brotherly love, and settle all dif- as to the degree, so to speak, as to ficulties immediately with our fel- the kind of meaning.At any time. low-creatures.-Agree with thine These words are superfluous; pot adversary quickly, &c. Be, or make in the original.-The officer. The friends with him. This probably one who executed the sentence; had reference to the Roman law the sheriff, or prison keeper. Reconcerning injuries, by which the ference is supposed to be made in plaintiff

, the adversary as it is here this verse to the oppression of the translated, could, without the for- Romans, which rendered it expemality of a summons or writ, drag dient to settle difficulties in private, the offender with his own hand be- rather than to resort to fore the court. On the way he winked justice.” had however an opportunity of 26. He describes the evil of desettling the affair, if he pleased, laying to be reconciled, but the and of being set at liberty. But if advantages of regaiping peace and the case were brought before the good will are obvious, and therejudge, a fine would be imposed, fore not mentioued. In this verse and, if unable to pay it, the prisoner the language of the courts is still would be held in confinement until kept up. There would be no dethe debt was discharged. It is a Jiverance from jail till the last farmaxim of prudence therefore, as thing was paid. If reconciliation well as a dictate of love, to seek is not early sought and secured, reconciliation with those whom we irreparable troubles will come to have offended and injured, and to the injurer. The punishment will do it at the earliest opportunity. be inflicted without abatement. The ill consequences of not being He will not escape until he has reconciled to our fellow-men are expiated fully the offence. He pictured forth in judicial phraseolo- will be visited with upmitigated

is hood

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