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Christ Begins His Galilean Ministry. MATTHEW, IV.
Entry into Galilee. joy would He accept their services when sent, un- Nazareth" here? We answer, just as the same word asked. at the close of all this Temptation, direct is used in Acts, 21. 3, Now when from Him whom He had so gloriously honoured? Cyprus, and left it on the left, we sailed unto Syria." What "angels' food” would this repast be to Him : &c.-i.e., without entering Cyprus at all, but merely and as He partook of it, might not a Voice from *sighting' it, as the nautical phrase is, they steered heaven be heard again, by any who could read the South East of it, leaving it on the North West. So Father's mind, 'Said I not well, This is my beloved here, what we understand the Evangelist to say is. Son, in whom I am well pleased !
that Jesus, on His return to Galilee, did not, as might 12-25. CHRIST BEGINS HIS GALILEAN MINISTRY have been expected, make Nazareth the place of His -CALLING OF PETER AND ANDREW, JAMES AND stated residence, but “leaving for passing by) NazaJOHN - HIS FIRST GALILEAN CIRCUIT. =Mark, reth," he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon 1. 14-20, 36-39; Luke, 4. 14, 15.) There is here a notable the sea coast- maritime Capernaum,' on the North gap in the History, which but for the fourth Gospel West shore of the sea of Galilee; but the precise spot we should never have discovered. From the former is unknown. (See on ch. 11. 23.) Our Lord seems to Gospels we should have been apt to draw three infer- have chosen it for several reasons. Four or five of ences, which from the fourth one we know to be the Twelve lived there : it had a considerable and erroneous: First, that our Lord awaited the close of mixed population, securing some freedom from that John's ministry, by his arrest and imprisonment, | intense bigotry which even to this day characterizes before beginning His own; next, that there was but a all places where Jews in large numbers dwell nearly brief interval between the baptism of our Lord and alone; it was centrical, so that not only on the apthe imprisonment of John; and further, that our proach of the annual festivals did large numbers pass Lord not only opened His work in Galilee, but never through it or near it, but on any occasion multitudes ministered out of it, and never visited Jerusalem at could easily be collected about it; and for crossing all nor kept a Passover till He went thither to be and recrossing the lake, which our Lord had so often come "our Passover, sacrificed for us." The fourth occasion to do, no place could be more convenient Gospel alone gives the true succession of events; not But one other high reason for the choice of Capers only recording those important openings of our Lord's naum remains to be mentioned, the only one specified public work which preceded the Baptist's imprison. by our Evangelist. in the borders of Zabulon and Nephment-extending to the end of the third chapter- thalim-the one lying to the West of the sea of Galilee. but so specifying the Passovers which occurred during the other to the North of it; but the precise bounour Lord's ministry as to enable us to line off, with & | daries cannot now be traced out. 14. That it might be large measure of certainty, the events of the first fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet (ch. 9. three Gospels according to the successive Passovers 1, 2, or, as in Hebrew, ch. 8. 23, and 9. 1), saying, 15. which they embraced. EUSEBIUS, the ecclesiastical The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, (by I historian, who, early in the fourth century, gave much | the way of the sex-the coast skirting the sea of Galiattention to this subject, in noticing these features lee westward - beyond Jordan-& phrase commonly of the Evangelical Records, says (3. 24) that John meaning eastward of Jordan; but here and in several wrote his Gospel at the entreaty of those who knew places it means westward of the Jordan. The word the important materials he possessed, and filled up seems to have got the general meaning of the other what is wanting in the first three Gospels. Why it side; the nature of the case determining which side was reserved for the fourth Gospel, published at so that was. Galilee of the Gentiles-so called from its late a period, to supply such important particulars position, which made it the frontier' between the in the Life of Christ, it is not easy to conjecture with Holy Land and the external world. While Ephraim any probability. It may be, that though not un- and Judah, as STANLEY says, were separated from acquainted with the general facts, they were not the world by the Jordan-valley on one side and the furnished with reliable details. But one thing may hostile Philistines on another, the northern tribes be affirmed with tolerable certainty, that as our Lord's were in the direct highway of all the invaders from teaching at Jerusalem was of a depth and grandeur the North, in unbroken communication with the scarcely so well adapted to the prevailing character promiscuous races who have always occupied the of the first three Gospels, but altogether congenial to heights of Lebanon, and in close and peaceful alli. the fourth; and as the bare mention of the successive ance with the most commercial nation of the ancient Passovers, without any account of the transactions world-the Phoenicians. Twenty of the cities of Gaand discourses they gave rise to, would have served lilee were actually annexed by Solomon to the adlittle purpose in the first three Gospels, there may jacent kingdom of Tyre, and formed with their terrihave been no way of preserving the unity and con- tory, the "boundary" or "offscouring" ("Gebul" or sistency of each Gospel, so as to furnish by means of "Cabul") of the two dominions-at a later time still them all the precious information we get from them, known by the general name of "the boundaries save by the plan on which they are actually con- (coasts" or "borders”) of Tyre and Sidon." In the structed.
first great transportation of the Jewish population. Entry into Galilee (v. 12-17). 12. Now when Jesus had Naphthali and Galilee suffered the same fate as the heard that John was cast into prison-more simply, 'was trans-Jordanic tribes before Ephraim or Judah had delivered up; as recorded in ch. 14. 3-6; Mark, 6.17-20; 1 been molested (2 Kings, 16. 29). In the time of the Luke, 3. 19, 20-he departed-rather, withdrew-into Christian era this original disadvantage of their Galilee-as recorded, in its proper place, in John, 4. position was still felt; the speech of the Galileans 1-3. 13. And leaving Nazareth. The prevalent opinion bewrayed them" by its uncouth pronunciation is, that this refers to a first visit to Nazareth after His(Matthew, 26. 73): and their distance from the seats baptism, whose details are given by Luke (4. 16, &c.); of government and civilization at Jerusalem and & second visit being that detailed by our Evangelist Cæsarea gave them their character for turbulence or (ch. 13. 54-68), and by Mark (ch. 6. 1-6). But to us independence, according as it was viewed by their there seem all but insuperable difficulties in the friends or their enemies. 16. The people which sat in supposition of two visits to Nazareth after His bap- darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the tism; and on the grounds stated on Luke, 4. 16. &c, region and shadow of death light is sprung up. The we think that the one only rusit to Nazareth is that prophetic strain to which these words belong com. recorded by Matthew (13.), Mark (6.), and Luke (4.). mences with Isaiah, 7., to which ch. 6. is introductory. But how, in that case, are we to take the word "lcavmg and goes down to the end of cb. 12., which hymns the
Jesus Beginneth to Preach.
Calling of Peter and Andreso. spirit of that whole strain of prophecy. It belongs | after His return to Galilee. 2. Here, Christ calls to the reign of Ahaz, and turns upon the combined Andrew: there, Andrew solicits an interview with ettorts of the two neighbouring kingdoms of Syria Christ. 3. Here, Andrew and Peter are called toand Larael to crush Judah. In these critical cir- gether; there, Andrew having been called, with an cunstances Judah and her king were, by their ungod- unnamed disciple, who was clearly the beloved disFiness, provoking the Lord to sell them into the ciple (see on John, 1. 40), goes and fetches Peter his hands of their enemies. What, then, is the burden brother to Christ, who then calls him. 4. Here, John of this prophetic strain, on to the passage here is called along with James his brother: there, John is quoted? First. Judah shall not, cannot perish, be- I called along with Andrew, after having at their own cause IXMANUEL, the Virgin's Son, is to come forth request had an interview with Jesus; no mention befrom his loins. Next. One of the invaders shall soon ing made of James, whose call, if it then took place, perish, and the kingdom of neither be enlarged. would not likely have been passed over by his own Further. While the Lord will be the Sanctuary of brother. Thus far nearly all are agreed. But on the such as confide in these promises and await their ful next question opinion is divided-Was this the same fillment. He will drive to confusion, darkness, and de- calling as that recorded in Luke, 5. 1-11? Many able gair the vast multitude of the nation who despised critics think so. But the following considerations His oracles, and, in their anxiety and distress, betook are to us decisive against it. First, Here, the four are themselves to the lying oracles of the heathen. This I called separately, in pairs: in Luke, all together. carries us down to the end of the eighth chapter. At Next, In Luke, after a glorious miracle: here, the one the opening of the ninth chapter a sudden light is pair are casting their net, the other are mending seen breaking in upon one particular part of the theirs. Further, Here, our Lord had made no public country, the part which was to suffer most in these appearance in Galilee, and so had gathered none wans and devastations-"the land of Zebulun, and the around Him; He is walking solitarily by the shores land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond Jor of the lake when He accosts the two pairs of fisherdan, Galilee of the Gentiles." The rest of the pro- men: in Luke, “the multitude are lying upon Him,
becy stretches over both the Assyrian and the Chal and hearing the word of God, as He stands by the lake dean esptivities, and terminates in the glorious of Gennesaret"-a state of things implying a someNessianic prophecy of ch. 11., and the choral hymn what advanced stage of His early ministry, and some of ch. 12 Well, this is the point seized on by our popular enthusiasm. Regarding these successive Evangelist. By Messiah's taking up His abode in callings, see on Luke, 6. 1. thoge very regions of Galilee, and shedding His glori- First Galilean Circuit (v. 23-25). 23. And Jesus went ons light upon them, this prediction, he says, of the about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues. These evangelieal prophet was now fulfilled; and if it was were houses of local worship. It cannot be proved not thus fulfilled, we may confidently affirm it was that they existed before the Babylonish captivity: pot fulfilled in any age of the Jewish economy, and I but as they began to be erected soon after it, prohas received no fulfilment at all. Even the most bably the idea was suggested by the religious inconnationalistic critics have difficulty in explaining it inveniences to which the captives had been subjected. any other way. 17. From that time Jesus began to In our Lord's time, the rule was to have one wherever preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is I ten learned men, or professed students of the law re# hand. Thus did our Lord not only take up the sided; and they extended to Syria, Asia Minor, strain, bat give forth the identical summons of His Greece, and most places of the dispersion. The larger bonoured forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of towns had several, and in Jerusalem the number apthe new kingdom as already come-in His own Person proached 500. In point of officers and mode of worand ministry; but the economy of it was only "at ship, the Christian congregations were modelled after land" notil the blood of the cross was shed, and the the synagogue. and preaching the gospel-proclaiming Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain the glad tidings of the kingdom, and healing all manner for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large. of sickness-every disease-and all manner of disease
Calling of Peter and Andrew, James and John every complaint.' The word means any incipient I. 13- 18. And Jesus, walking. The word “Jesus" | malady causing 'softness.' among the people. 24. Aud bere appears not to belong to the text, but to have his fame went throughout all Syria-reaching first to been introduced from those portions of it which were that part of it adjacent to Galilee, called Syrophetranscribed to be used as Church Lessons; where it nicia (Mark, 7. 26), and thence extending far and was naturally introduced as a connecting word at the wide. and they brought unto him all sick people all commencement of a Lesson.) by the sea of Galilee, that were ailing' or unwell.' (those that were taken
# two brethren, Simon called Peter-for the reason for this is a distinct class, not an explanation of the mentioned in eh. 16. 18-and Andrew his brother, cast. "unwell" class, as our translators understood it: with
net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19. And he divers diseases and torments-i.e.. acute disorders: and suth unto them, Follow me-rather, as the same expres- those which were possessed with devils-'that were de. goo is rendered in Mark, "Come ye after me"--and monized' or 'possessed with demons.' and those which I will make you fishers of men-raising them from a were lunatic - 'moon-struck' - and those that had the lower to a higher fishing, as David was from a lower paley-paralytics,' a word not naturalized when our to bigber feeding Psalın 78. 70-72). 20. And they version was made-and he healed them. These healstraightway lert their nets, and followed him. 21. Andings were at once His credentials and illustrations of fin es from thence, he saw other two brethren, James "the glad tidings" which He proclaimed. After read. tre son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship ing this account of our Lord's first preaching tour, can rather in the ship.' their fishing boat-with Zebedeel we wonder at what follows? 25. And there followed their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22. I him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from DeAnd es immediately left the ship and their father. capolis-& region lying to the East of the Jordan, so Mark adds an important clause: "They left their called as containing ten cities, founded and chiefly father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants: inhabited by Greek settlers and from Jerusalem, and showing that the family were in easy circumstances. I from beyond Jordan-meaning from Perea. Thus not ad followed him. Two harmonistic questions here only was all Palestine upheaved, but all the adjaarise. Furst, Wag this the same calling with that re- cent regions. But the more immediate object for corded in Joha. 1. 35-42? Clearly not. For, 1. That which this is here mentioned is, to give the reader all is ren while Jesus was yet in Judea : this, I some idea both of the vast concourse and of the
on the Mount, varied complexion of eager attendants upon the great | Though the latter only answered to the subjects of Preacher, to whom the astonishing Discourse of the His kingdom, described in this Discourse, there were next three chapters was addressed. On the import-drawn from time to time into this inner circle souls ance which our Lord Himself attached to this first from the outer one, who, by the power of His matchpreaching circuit, &nd the preparation which He made less word, were constrained to forsake their all for for it, see on Mark, 1. 35-39.
the Lord Jesus. 2. And he opened his mouth-a solemn CHAPTERS V-VI.
way of arousing the reader's attention, and preparing SERMON ON THE MOUNT.
him for something weighty (Job, 3. 1; Acts, 8. 35; 10. 34) That this is the same Discourse with that in Luke, 6. -and taught them, saying, 3. Blessed, &c Of the two 17-49-only reported more fully by Matthew, and less words which our translators render "blessed,” the fully, as well as with considerable variation, by Luke one here used points more to what is inward, and so -is the opinion of many very able critics (of the Greek might be rendered "happy." in a lofty sense; while the commentators; of CALVIN, GROTIUS, MALDONATUS other denotes rather what comes to us from withoret who stands almost alone among Romish commenta- (as Matthew, 25. 341. But the distinction is not al. tors: and of most moderns, as THOLUCK, MEYKR, ways nicely carried out. One Hebrew word expresses DE WETTE, TISCHENDORF, STIER, WIESELER, both. On these precious Beatitudes, observe that ROBINSON). The prevailing opinion of these critics I though eight in number, there are here but seven disis, that Luke's is the original form of the Discourse, tinct features of character. The eighth one - the to which Matthew has added a number of sayings, "persecuted for righteousness' sake"-denotes merely uttered on other occasions, in order to give at one the possessors of the seven preceding features. on view the great outlines of our Lord's ethical teaching account of which it is that they are persecuted But that they are two distinct Discourses - the one (2 Timothy, 3. 12). Accordingly, instead of any disdelivered about the close of His first missionary tour, tinct promise to this class, we have merely a repetiand the other after a second such tour and the solemn tion of the first promise. This has been noticed by choice of the Twelve-is the judgment of others who several critics, who by the sevenfold character thus have given much attention to such matters (of most set forth have rightly observed that a complete char. Romish commentators, including ERASMUS; and acter is meant to be depicted, and by the screnfold among the moderns, of LANGE, GRESWELL, BIRKS, blessedness attached to it, a perfect blessedness is in. WEBSTER & WILKINSON, The question is left unde-tended. Observe, again, that the language in which cided by ALFORD). AUGUSTIN's opinion-that they these beatitudes are couched is purposely fetched were both delivered on one occasion, Matthew's on from the Old Testament, to show that the new kingthe mountain, and to the disciples: Luke's in the dom is but the old in a new form; while the charplain, and to the promiscuous multitude--is so clumsy acters described are but the varied forms of that and artificial as bardly to deserve notice. To us the spirituality which was the essence of real religion weight of argument appears to lie with those who all along, but had well-nigh disappeared under corthink them two separate Discourses. It seems hardrupt teaching. Further, the things here promised, to conceive that Matthew should have put this Dis- far from being mere arbitrary rewards, will be found course before his own calling, if it was not uttered in each case to grow out of the characters to which till long after, and was spoken in his own hearing as they are attached, and in their completed form are one of the newly-chosen Twelve. Add to this, that but the appropriate coronation of them. Once more, Matthew introduces his Discourse amidst very de- as "the kingdom of heaven," which is the first and finite markings of time, which fix it to our Lord's | the last thing here promised, has two stages-a prefirst preaching tour; while that of Luke, which is ex sent and a future, an initial and a consummate stage pressly said to have been delivered immediately after -so the fulfilment of each of these promises has two the choice of the Twelve, could not have been spoken stages-a present and a future, a partial and a pertill long after the time noted by Matthew. It is hard, | fect stage. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. All fatoo, to see how either Discourse can well be regarded miliar with Old Testament phraseology know how as the expansion or contraction of the other. And frequently God's true people are styled "the poor" as it is beyond dispute that our Lord repeated some the 'oppressed,''afflicted,' miserable'-"the needy," of His weightier sayings in different forms, and with or both together (as in Psalın 40. 17; Isaiah, 41. 17). varied applications, it ought not to surprise us that, The explanation of this lies in the fact that it is after the lapse of perhaps a year-when, having spent generally "the poor of this world" who are "rich in & whole night on the hill in prayer to God, and set | faith" (James, 2. 6; cf. 9 Corinthians, 6. 10, and Rethe Twelve apart, He found Himself surrounded by velation, 2. 9): while it is often "the ungodly" who crowds of people, few of whom probably had heard "prosper in the world" (Psalm 73. 12). Accordingly, the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still remem- in Luke 16, 20, 21), it seems to be this class - the liter. bered much of it - He should go over again its prin- ally "poor" and "hungry"- that are specially ad. cipal points, with just as much sameness as to show dressed. But since God's people are in so many their enduring gravity, but at the same time with that places styled "the poor" and "the needy," with no differeuce which shows flis exhaustless fertility as the evident reference to their temporal circumstances great Prophet of the Church.
(as in Psalm 68. 10: 69. 20-33; 132. 15; Isaiah, 61. 1; 66. 2), CHAPTER V.
it is plainly & frame of mind which those terms are Ver. 1-16. THE BEATITUDES, AND THEIR BEARING meant to express. Accordingly, our translators someUPON THE WORLD. 1. And seeing the multitudes-those times render such words "the humble" (Psalm 10. mentioned in ch. 4. 25-he went up into a mountain-one 12, 171, "the meek" (Psalm 22. 26), "the lowly" (Proof the dozen mountains which ROBINSON says there verbs, 3. 34), as having no reference to outward cir. are in the vicinity of the sea of Galilee, any one of cumstances. But here the explanatory words, " in them answering about equally well to the occasion. I spirit," fix the sense to 'those who in their deepest So charming is the whole landscape that the descrip consciousness realize their entire need' (cf. the Greek tions of it, from JOSEPHUS downwards (J. W., 4. 10,8). I of Luke. 10. 21; John, 11. 33; 13, 21; Acts, 20, 22; Romans. are apt to be thought a little coloured. and when he | 12. 11; 1 Corinthians, 6. 3; Philippians, 3.). This self. was set - 'had sat' or 'seated Himself'-his disciples emptying conviction, that before God we are void of came unto him-already a large circle, more or less at everything,' lies at the foundation of all spiritual tracted and subdued by His preaching and miracles, excellence, according to the teaching of Scripture, in addition to the smaller band of devoted adherents. Without it we are inaccessible to the riches of Christ:
on the Mount with it we are in the fitting state for receiving all and ye shall find rest into your souls" (Matthew, 11. spiritual supplies (Revelation, 3. 17, 18: Matthew, 9. 29); and the apostle besought one of the churches by 12. 13). for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. See on ch "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Corin. 22 The poor in spirit not only shall have-they thians, 10. 1). In what esteem this is held by Him already have-the kingdom. The very sense of their who seeth not as man seeth, we may learn from poverty is begun riches. While others "walk in 1 Peter, 3. 4, where the true adorning is said to be that vain show"_'in a shadow,' an image' in an unreal of "a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of world, taking & false view of themselves and all God is of great price." Towards men this disposition around them the poor in spirit are rich in the is the opposite of high-mindedness, and a quarrel knowledge of their real case. Having courage to some and revengeful spirit; it "rather takes wrong. look this in the face, and own it guilelessly, they feel and suffers itself to be defrauded" (1 Corinthians, 6. strong in the assurance that "unto the upright there 7); it "avenges not itself, but rather gives place unto ariseth light in the darkness" (Psalm 112. 4); and soon wrath” (Romans, 12. 19): like the meek One, "when it breaks forth as the morning. God wants nothing reviled, it reviles not again; when it suffers, it threatfrom us as the price of His saving gifts; we have but ens not; but commits itself to Him that judgeth to feel our universal destitution, and cast ourselves righteously” (1 Perer, 2. 19-22). "The earth" which upon His compassion (Job, 33. 27, 28: 1 John, 1. 9).the meek are to inherit might be rendered “the land" So the poor in spirit are enriched with the fulness of bringing out the more immediate reference te Christ, which is the kingdom in substance; and when Canaan as the promised land, the secure possession of He shall say to them from His great white throne, which was to the Old Testament saints the evidence * Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the king- and manifestation of God's favour resting on them, dom prepared for you." He will invite them merely and the ideal of all true and abiding blessedness. to the full enjoyment of an already possessed inheri. Even in the Psalm from which these words are taken tance. 4. Blessed are they that mourn ; for they shall the promise to the meek is not held forth as an be comforted. This * mourning" must not betaken arbitrary reward, but as having a kind of natural ful. loosely for that feeling which is wrung from men un-filment. When they delight themselves in the Lord, der pressure of the ills of life, nor yet strictly for sor- He gives them the desires of their heart: When they Tow on account of committed sins. Evidently it is commit their way to Him, He brings it to pass ; that entire feeling which the sense of our spiritual bringing forth their righteousness as the light, and poverty begets, and so the second beatitude is but the their judgment as the noon-day: The little that they complement of the first. The one is the intellectual, have, even when despoiled of their rights, is better the other the emotional aspect of the same thing. It than the riches of many wicked, &c. (Psalm 37.) All is poverty of spirit that says. “I am undone;" and it things, in short, are theirs-in the possession of that in the mourning which this causes that makes it break favour which is life, and of those rights which belong forth in the form of a lamentation-"Woe is me, for to them as the children of God--whether the world, I am undone." Hence this class are termed "mourn or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; ens is Zion," or. 29 we might express it, religious all are theirs (1 Corinthians, 3. 21. 22); and at length, Mourners, in sharp contrast with all other sorts overcoming, they "inherit all things" (Revelation, (Isaiah, 61.1-3; 66. 2). Religion, according to the Bible, 21. 7). Thus are the meek the only rightful occupants
neither a set of intellectual convictions nor a bun- of a foot of ground or a crust of bread here, and heire dle of emotional feelings, but & compound of both, of all coming things. 6. Blessed are they which do han. the former giving birth to the latter. Thus closely do ger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled the first two beatitudes cohere. The mourners shall 'shall be saturated." "From this verse,' says le "comforted." Even now they get beauty for THOLUCK, 'the reference to the Old Testament backashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of ground ceases.' Surprising! On the contrary, none praise for the spirit of heavinesg. Sowing in tears, of these beatitudes is inore manifestly dug out of the they reap even here in joy. Still all present comfort. rich mine of the Old Testament. Indeed, how could even the best. is partial,' interrupted, short-lived. any one who found in the Old Testament "the poor But the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, in spirit," and "the mourners in Zion,” doubt that and then God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. he would also find those same
he would also find those same characters also craving Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be that righteousness which they feel and mourn their
comforted." 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall I want of? But what is the precise meaning of "right meerit the earth. This promise to the meek is but a l eousness" here? Lutheran expositors, and some of repetition of Psalm 37. 11; only the word which our our own, seem to have a hankering after that more Evangelist renders "the meek," after the LXX., is restricted sense of the term in which it is used with the same which we have found so often translated reference to the sinner's justification before God.
the poor," showing how closely allied these two (See Jeremiah, 23. 6; Isaiah, 45. 24; Romans, 4. 6: Teatures of character are. It is impossible, indeed. / 2 Corinthians, 6. 21.) But, in so comprehensive & say. that "the poor in spirit" and "the mourners" in | ing as this, it is clearly to be taken-as in v. 10 also-in Con should not at the same time be "meek;" that a much wider sense, as denoting that spiritual and en
to say, persons of a lowly and gentle carriage. tire conformity to the law of God, under the want of now fitting, at least, it is that they should be so, may which the saints groan, and the possession of which De seen by the following touching appeal: "Put them constitutes the only true saintship. The Old Testa19 mind to be subject to principalities and powers, ment dwells much on this righteousness, as that bo obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, which alone God regards with approbation (Psalm 11. ko speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, 7: 23. 3; 106. 3; Proverbs, 12. 28; 16. 31; Isaiah, 64. 6, &c.). suring all meeleness unto all men : FOR WE OUR-As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, SELVES WERE ONCE YOOLISH, disobedient, deceived, | our Lord, by employing this figure here, plainly serving divers lusts and pleasures... But after that the means 'those whose deepest cravings are after spiriKiadness and love of God our Saviour toward man tual blessings.' And in the Old Testament we find appeared,...according to His mercy He saved us," &c. this craving variously expressed :-"Hearken unto hits, 3. 1-7.) Bat He who had no such affecting me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Tessons for manifesting this beautiful carriage, said, the Lord” (Isaiah, 61. 1): "I have waited for thy salva Devertheless, of Himself. * Take My yoke upon you, tion. O Lord,” exclaimed dying Jacob (Genesis, 49. 1815 and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: "My soul,” says the sweet Psalmist, "breaketh for
on the Mount. the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all is everywhere taught. Nor is the vision of God' times" (Psalm 119. 20): and in similar breathings does strange to the Old Testament; and though it was an he give vent to his deepest longings in that and other understood thing that this was not possible in the Psalms. Well, our Lord just takes up here this present life (Exodus, 33, 20; and cf. Job. 19. 26. 27: blessed frame of mind, representing it as the surest | Isaiah, 6. 5), yet spiritually it was known and felt to pledge of the coveted supplies, as it is the best pre- be the privilege of the saints even here (Genesis, 6. parative, and indeed itself the beginning of them. 24; 6. 9; 17. 1: 48. 16; Psalm 27. 4; 36. 9; 63. 2; Isaiah, * They shall be saturated," He says: they shall not 38. 3. 11. &c.). But, with what brand simplicity, only have what they so highly value and long to pos- brevity, and power is this great fundamental truth sess, but they shall have their fill of it. Not here, here expressed! And in what striking contrast would however. Even in the Old Testament this was well such teaching appear to that which was then current. understood. "Deliver me,” says the Psalmist, in in which exclusive attention was paid to ceremonial language which, beyond all doubt, stretches beyond purification and external morality? This heartthe present scene, "from men of the world, which purity begins in a "heart sprinkled from an evil conhave their portion in this life: As for me, I shall be science," or a "conscience purged from dead works" hold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, (Hebrews, 10. 22; 9. 14; and see Acts, 15. 9), and this when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17. 13-16). also is taught in the Old Testament (Psalm 32. 1. 2: The foregoing beatitudes - the first four-represent cf. Romans, 4. 5-8: and Isaiah, 6.5-8). The conscience the saints rather as conscious of their need of salvation, thus purged-the heart thus sprinkled-there is light and acting suitably to that character, than as pos- within wherewith to see God. "If we say that we sessed of it. The next three are of a different kind- have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we representing the saints as having now found salvation, lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light. and conducting themselves accordingly. 7. Blessed as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Beautiful other" - He with us and we with Him - "and the is the connection between this and the preceding be blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us"-us who atitude. The one has a natural tendency to beget the have this fellowship, and who, without such continual other. As for the words, they seem directly fetched cleansing, would soon lose it again-" from all sin" from Psalm 18. 25. * With the merciful thou wilt (1 John, 1. 6. 7). "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen show thyself merciful." Not that our mercifulness | Him, neither known Him” (1 John, 3. 6); “He that comes absolutely first. On the contrary, our Lord doeth evil hath not seen God" (3 John, 11). The inHimself expressly teaches us that God's method is | ward vision thus clarified, and the whole inner man to awaken in us compassion towards our fellow-men in sympathy with God, each looks upon the other by His own exercise of it, in so stupendous a way with complacency and joy, and we are "changed and measure, towards ourselves. In the parable of into the same image from glory to glory." But the the unmerciful debtor, the servant to whom his lord full and beatific vision of God is reserved for that forgave ten thousand talents was naturally expected time to which the Psalmist stretches his viewg-"As to exercise the small measure of the same compas- for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness: sion required for forgiving his fellow-servant's debt | 1 shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" of a hundred pence; and it is only when, instead of (Psalm 17. 16). Then shall His servants serve Him : this, he relentlessly imprisoned him till he should and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in pay it up, that his lord's indignation was roused, and their foreheads (Revelation, 22. 3, 4). They shall see he who was designed for a vessel of mercy is treated | Him as He is (1 John, 3. 2). But, says the apostle. as a vessel of wrath (ch. 18. 23-35: and see ch. 6. 23, 24: 1 expressing the converse of this beatitude-"Follow 6. 15; James, 2 13). According to the view given in holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" Scripture,' says TRENCH most justly, 'the Christian Hebrews, 12. 14). 9. Blessed are the peacemakers-who stands in a middle point, between a mercy received not only study peace, but diffuse it-for they shall be and a mercy yet needed. Sometimes the first is called the children'shall be called sons'-of God. Of urged upon him as an argument for showing mercy- all these beatitudes this is the only one which could *forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you" (Colos hardly be expected to find its definite ground in the sians, 3. 13: Ephesians, 4, 32); sometimes the last | Old Testament; for that most glorious character of "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain God, the likeness of which appears in the peace. mercy:" "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke, makers, had yet to be revealed. His glorious name, 6. 37: James, 5. 9). And thus, while he is ever to look indeed-as "The Lord, the Lord God, inerciful and back on the mercy received as the source and motive gracious. long-suffering, and abundant in goodness of the mercy which he shows, he also looks forward and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and to the mercy which he yet needs, and which he is sin"- had been proclaimed in a very imposing man. assured that the merciful-according to what BEN.ner (Exodus, 34. 6), and manifested in action with GEL beautifully calls the benigna talio (the gracious affecting frequency and variety in the long course requital) of the kingdom of God-hall receive, as of the ancient economy. And we have undeniable a new provocation to its abundant exercise.' The evidence that the saints of that economy felt its foretastes and beginnings of this judicial recompense transforming and ennobling influence on their own are richly experienced here below: its perfection is character. But it was not till Christ "made peace reserved for that day when, from His great white by the blood of the cross" that God could manifest throne, the King shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Himself as "the God of peace, Ithat brought again Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, and sick, and I covenant" (Hebrews. 13. 20)- could reveal Himself as in prison, and ye ministered unto me." Yes, thus in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not he acted towards us while on earth, even laying down imputing their trespasses unto them," and hold His life for us, and He will not. He cannot disown, Himself forth in the astonishing attitude of beseechin the merciful, the image of Himself. 8. Blessed are ing men to be " reconciled to Himself” (2 Corinthians the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Here, too. 5. 19, 20). When this reconciliation actually takes we are on Old Testament ground. There the differ- place, and one has "peace with God throngbour ence between outward and inward purity, and the Lord Jesus Christ"-even the peace of God which acceptableness of the latter only in the sight of God, passeth all understanding"-the peace-receivers be.