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to the prosperity of the community; but it is not our duty to obey him, when he steps beyond his proper province, and legislates for the direction of our faith and worship. In religious matters we should acknowledge no ruler but God, no king but Jesus of Nazareth; and we should respect that great declaration, that “God alone is Lord of conscience.” While we freely yield to Cesar “ the things that are Cesar's”-loyalty, observance of his enactments, our personal services in his defence, and pecuniary contributions for the support of his government-we should be especially careful, not to give to Cesar “ the things that are God's,” not to obey him, when he prescribes our peculiar form of faith, or the peculiar mode in which we are to adore the Creator. Monarchs of the earth may frame articles of faith, we are not to believe them; they may appoint modes of worship, we are not to adopt them; they may make holy-days, we are not to keep them; they may legislate concerning sabbaths, we are not to heed their legislation: all these things belong, not to Cesar, but to God. Kings and queens usurp the prerogatives of Jehovah, when they presume to dictate in religious matters; and all who obey them, abet and assist in the usurpation. No king or queen is head of the Church of Christ; that authority belongs to Jesus alone. No civil magistrate has power to control the faith or homage of the members of that Church; they are responsible to none but Heaven. All this, and more, was included in that brief and most wise reply of the Master, “ Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's; and unto God the things that are God's;” and the Herodians, when they discovered its divine prudence, and its open censure of their own conduct, “ marvelled, and left him, and went their way.”
The Sadducees took the position vacated by their discomfited friends. Their great peculiarity as a sect, was, that they denied the doctrine of a future state. This doctrine, it was the great object of the mission of Jesus clearly to reveal; he was sent “ to bring immortality to light by the Gospel.” The Sadducees therefore framed an artful question, designed to expose the absurdity of this great truth (verse 24-28). A certain woman had in succession seven husbands, “ in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven?” Jesus first answers this question directly, by informing them, that they had formed erroneous ideas respecting the future world; “ For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." The intercourse of heaven is not similar to the intercourse of earth; there, all are immortal, no provision for a continuation of the race is needful; there, accordingly, the relationship of husband and wife does not exist; there, is to be found no exclusive property in the affections of any single being, but a pure, holy, and fervent friendship, animating and pervading all. This reply showed that the imagined difficulty propounded by the Sadducees, had its origin merely in their own crude conceptions of the unseen condition of our existence. Aware, however, that they denied the doctrine of immortality altogether, Jesus adduces out of their own Scriptures, a presumptive argument in its favour; and with admirable prudence selects his quotation from the Pentateuch, the only part of the Old Testament received by the objectors. Verses 31-32: “ But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Jehovah is the Deity of those only who can offer unto him thanksgiving, who can understand and adore his perfections, who can worship him with the judgment and the feelings. He is not the God of the clay of which man was originally formed, and to which he eventually returns; for it cannot know and homage the Creator. But he is the God of that mind, by which the clay was tenanted and informed, and which can investigate and laud his being and attributes. Three hundred vears after the death of the patriarch Abraham, Jehovah declares, “I am the God of Abraham.” If, therefore, he is not the God of the mere earthy body with which Abraham was clothed, and which is now dead and senseless, mixed with the clod of the valley, or constituting a portion of various minerals, plants, and animals; and if he still affirms, “I am the God of Abraham,” Abraham must still be alive. Hence, according to the words of that Scripture which you do acknowledge, there is a life after death, a future existence. Such is perhaps the meaning of our Lord's argument with the Sadducees. " And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.”
Verse 34: “ But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.” A third company of adversaries now make their appearance. They chose one from their number who was by profession a lawyer, an expounder of the Jewish code, and instructed him to put the question, “ Master, which is the great commandment of the law?” This inquiry was made, not through the laudable desire of information, but the lawyer said it “ tempting him," assaying his knowledge, and seeking a reply which he could gainsay and condemn. The reply of Jesus is so well known, that it need not be cited. The Evangelist Mark, whose narrative is in general briefer than that of Matthew, has, however, supplied a portion of the answer which that historian had omitted. According to his recital, Jesus commences bis response with these memorable words, “ The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah,” or, as the passage might be better translated according to the original position of the words, “ Jehovah is one God, Jehovah is One." This was a necessary item when giving a summary of the law of the Two Tables, which the Master designed to do, for the Ten Commandments begin thus, “ I am Jehovah thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, Thou shalt have no other Gods but ME.” The commandments commence with a declaration of the Unity of God; and it was meet that Christ's abridgement of them should commence with a similar declaration. This was the peculiar feature of the Jewish theology. This is the belief of the Jew still; he clings to it as to the great doctrine of his forefathers, and he will never let go his hold of the important fact. Nor can he be brought to receive the Gospel, till be be first convinced, that Jesus of Nazareth revealed no new object of worship, but homaged and taught his disciples to homage, that single uncreated Intelligence who was the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. It may be observed here, that the Unity of God is an essential part of " the first and great commandment.” We are not only taught to “ love Jehovah our God, with all our heart, and soul, and mind;" but we are also enjoined to believe that “ Jebovah is One.” We must both believe and act as our Master instructed, before we can be considered his faithful followers.
Thus Jesus, in one day, defeated the artifices and exposed the machinations of the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees. Willing, moreover, to show the ignorance of those who were so anxious to bring that charge against himself, he in turn proposes a question out of the law, to those who had made religious subjects their peculiar study. Verse 42: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” They say unto him, “ The son of David.” This answer was correct, for it had long ago been foretold that the Messias should spring from the “ root of Jesse;" and this propbecy was well known to the Jews. When they had thus answered, Jesus rejoins
- How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord; how is he bis son?” There is an unnecessary obscurity cast around this question in our English Bibles, by twice using the word “ Lord” in the same sentence. There are two different words “ Lord" in the Scriptures. One of them, which is printed in small capitals, is the translation of the word Jehovah; such is the first in this sentence: the second “ Lord” is applied to kings, teachers, or any superiors. (See on chap. vii. 21.) The text should be read, “ Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,” &c. The Pharisees, like the rest of their brethren, conceived of the Messias as a temporal sovereign, and they could not consequently perceive how he was to be the Lord or superior of David. But to us the question presents no difficulty. Christ was the son of David by natural descent; but he is Lord or superior to David, in his wisdom, holiness, and miraculous power. David's kingdom terminated; that of Jesus shall have no end. Here is a further element of superiority. Besides, Jesus shall, after the general resurrection, be Lord of David in heaven; he shall sit at the right hand of God, ruling all its inhabi
tants according to the Father's instructions; and Moses, Elijah, David, all the righteous sages and monarchs of the past world, who then attain to a state of happiness, shall be “angels worshipping him,” (see on chaps. viii. 2, and xi. 10,) messengers of the Deity, owing him reverence and acknowledging his superiority. Thus is the query answered which puzzled the Pharisees. Such was the effect of the Master's controversies with the Jewish sects on this day—such the wisdom he displayed-and such the triumphant tranquillity with which he exhibited both their malice and their ignorance—that, we are informed, “ Neither durst any man from that day forth, ask him any more questions."
NOVEMBER 1, 1841.
THE ELEVENTH ANNIVERSARY of the SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION, was held at Glasgow, on Sunday and Monday, September 19th and 20th. Friends were present on this occasion from Patna, Girvan, Greenock, Bonbill, Dumbarton, Carluke, Lanark, Dalry, Tillicoultry, Stirling, Falkirk, Airdrie, Paisley, Edinburgh, Kirkintilloch, Renfrew, Campsie, &c. The religious services in the forenoon of Sunday, were conducted by the Rev. James Forrest, M. A., late of Devonport, who delivered a powerful and admirable discourse on the opposition of Nature to the dogmas of reputed Orthodoxy, and the consonancy of the teachings of Creation with undefiled Christianity, as to the power, wisdom, and benignity of God. The discourse was founded on the 104th Psalm, and was listened to with evident pleasure by a large and deeply attentive congregation.
Long before the time for the commencement of worship in the afternoon, the chapel was crowded in every part-- aisles, vestries, organ-loft, every accessible spot; whilst the entrances, both in Union-Street and MelvilleLane, were blocked up by hundreds unable to obtain admission. Had the chapel been twice as large it would doubtless have been filled. There could not have been