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For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that secketh 8 findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what 9 man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone ? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent ? 10 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your ii children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things, 12 whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
ye even so
press increased earnestness. The tion of earthly parents is contrasted idea is, that in our prayers we with the perfection of our Heavenly should be urgent, persevering, and Father. Parents may be selfish, engaged, and then we shall be unfeeling, partial, fickle, or passionheard and answered. Luke xi. 5 ate, but God is absolute, unchange-8, xviii. 1-8.
able, wise, and kind. Is. xlix. 15. 8. In temporal affairs, those who Good gifts. In the parallel place wish for any thing ask or seek for in Luke xi. 13, the expression is, it, and, as a general rule, they ob- the Holy Spirit. This is an intimatain what they want. So in spirit- tion that the best things we can ask, ual concerns, if we pray aright, our or God bestow, are spiritual blesrequests are granted. But it is of sings. The Holy Spirit, as used in course implied, that we ask in a the New Testament, often signifies proper spirit, sincerely, humbly, and miraculous powers and influences. devoutly. And, also, that we ask Though these are not shed abroad what is consistent with God's will now, as they were upon Jesus and to bestow, and best adapted to our his Apostles, yet the natural workgood, on the whole, to receive. ings of the Holy Spirit of God The prayer of filial faith and sub- upon us are a proper subject of mission, which sums up all by say- prayer.
What touching pursuaing, “ Not my will, but thine be sives our Master addresses to us to done,” is never breathed in vain. be constant and persevering in our
9. Luke xi. 11 – 13. What force devotions — to supplicate for spiritand beauty in this mode of reason- ual blessings, and to resign ouring!
It has been observed that the selves trustfully into the arms of a word man is emphatic here. Who Father, so mighty and so good, who, of you men? Who of a fallible though he denies us the things we race of creatures could treat their ask, will grant us what we really offspring with such hard-hearted- need! ness as to give a stone for bread ? 12. Luke vi. 31. He had been How much less would the Divine alluding to the kindness of parents Parent be guilty of such unnatural to their children. But he now says, treatment! Whom. Should be Let what is right be done to all men. who, grammatically.
In all circumstances, everywhere, 10. Luke, in xi. 12, adds yet to every person, do as you would another illustration : “ Or if he shall reasonably desire to be done by. ask an egg, will he offer him a scor The sense is, not that our wishes, pion ?” Such metaphors were com however unjust, should be the
measure of our conduct towards 11. Being evil. The imperfec- others; but that we should act to
13 to them ; for this is the law and the prophets.
in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the
others as we might properly wish Rabbi, and offered to become a prosthem to conduct towards us. Right- elyte, provided he would teach him ly construed, the precept is of uni- the whole law while he stood on versal obligation and application. It one foot. The Rabbi took him at his is an abridgment of social duty. word, and made him a proselyte by The common iron rule is, to do to saying, "Do not to another what others as others do to us. But this is odious to thyself: this is the golden one of our Saviour is more whole law ; the rest is but explananoble, to do to others as we would tion ; go away perfect.”
in The that others should do to us. It is ten commandments," said Luther, said to be a rule found extensively“ are the measuring lines of God; in classic and rabbinical writings, they are written in our flesh and Tobit iv. 15: “Do that to no man blood; the meaning of them is : which thou hatest." And the idea What thou wouldst have done to is so consonant to truth and justice thyself, the same thou oughtest also that almost all languages contain it. to do to another. God presseth upWe can better learn our duty in this on that point, and saith : Such way, because we see more clearly measure as thou metest, the same what is just and right, when we re- shall be measured to thee again. flect what others owe to us, than by With this measuring line he hath asking what we owe to them. By marked the whole world.” changing places, our judgments are 13. This verse is connected with rectified. It has been well said, the foregoing rule of social conduct, " that this law is what the balance which is hard of observance to wheel is to machinery. It would thoughtless, sinful man.
The figprevent all irregularity of movement ures of the gate and the road are in the moral world, as that does in taken from the ancient cities, some the steam engine. It would destroy of whose passages and entrances avarice, envy, false conduct, treach were broad and thronged, and others ery, unkindness, slander, theft, adul- narrow and unfrequented. The cultery, and murder." - This is the law tivation of a true, disinterested, selfand the prophets. This is not to be renouncing love, and its constant cut to the quick, as interpreters say, exercise under all circumstances, is not to be taken too literally. Similar difficult indeed. How few walk in phrases occur in Rom. xiii. 8 – 10; the straight path of love! How Gal. v. 14; 1 Tim. i. 5. The same many hurry along the broad road of language was used by our Lord, selfishness! The lesson conveyed Mait. xxii. 37 – 40. Love to God in general is, that virtue requires and man is the substance of law, choice, care, and effort. - Enter. prophets, and, we may add, Gos- It must be an act of choice and pel. And where one prevails in its preference.
- Strait gate.
Close, vigor, the other can hardly be want- narrow, difficult of entrance. Cauing; so that, in a free sense, either tion will be demanded to walk in it love to man, or love to God, might uprightly. — Broad is the way. The be called the fulfilling of the law, temptations to a thoughtless, worldand the sum of the prophets. It is ly life are numerous and obvious; related in the Jewish Talmud, that widely thrown open are the facilities a Pagan came to Hillel, a great to vice. Leadeth to destruction.
way, that leadeth to destruction ; and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the 14 way, which leadeth unto life ; and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's 15 clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall 16 know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, But the course is a dangerous one, teachers and false pretenders would and will lead to the most fatal con- arise, Christ and his disciples presequences. — Many go in thereat. dicted, Matt. xxiv. 11, 24; and deYet, strange and sad to say, it is the scribed, Acts xx. 29 ; Rom. xvi. 18; very way multitudes are flocking, 2 Peter ii. 1, 3; 1 John iv. 1. If and it will require resolution not to any character of distinguished exbe borne away into the heedless cellence in any pursuit or art arise, crowd, yielding to the seduction of there is usually a school of imitators their example. But we must not and sciolists who spring up after follow a multitude to do evil.
him. In this respect religion holds 14. Because strait is the gate. The an analogy with other things. reading of Griesbach is, - How strait Sheep's clothing. In the garb of in is the gate! This exclamation more nocence, and fair appearance; not energetically expresses the difficulty literally a dress of sheepskins, though of the way of virtue. — Leadeth un some have supposed that reference to life. Conducts to that goodness was made to the dress of the prophwhich is the life and happiness of ets, but in the aspect of goodness the soul, in this and all future states and meekness. Heb. xi. 37. — But of being; — Find it. It is said of inwardly ravening wolves. A wolf the broad way, many go in thereat. in sheep's clothing is a proverb to The right way is something to be express a cruel hypocrite. The found, to be sought af c; it does teachers here described make fair not come of itself. Holiness, piety, pretensions, are pure and innocent benevolence, are not the result of outwardly, but inwardly are ready chance, but of choice.
to prey upon their victims. In this verses have been paraphrased thus: description, Jesus referred perhaps
Aim at entering in at the strait to the Jewish teachers, who made gate: though there be a gate that is long prayers, but devoured widows' wide, and the way to it is broad, houses; innocent, pure, and harmand many are travelling along it; less as sheep to all appearance, but yet it leads to perdition; therefore in reality full of extortion and extake it not. And though there be a cess, rapacious as wolves. 1 Tim. gait that is strait, and the way to it vi. 5. narrow, and few are they that travel 16. Know them ty their fruits. thereto, yet take it, for it leads to Though so deceptive in their aplife and eternal happiness.” pearance, there was one way by
15. The gate is narrow and diffi- which their hypocrisy would be uncult; beware therefore of false masked ; their lives would belie guides. - False prophets. The term their professions. Their fruits, their prophet is used with considerable works, would betray them. It has latitude of signification in the Scrip- been said : A man's works are the tures, meaning sometimes simply a tongue of his heart, and tell honestteacher of religion. That such ly whether he is inwardly corrupt,
17 or figs of thistles ? Even so every good tree bringeth forth 18 good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt 19 tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree, that bringeth not forth 20 good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire, Wherefore 21 by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith
unto me : Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day : Lord, Lord, have we not or pure. The Saviour takes an il- 10. But there is no other evilustration from nature. Do men dence against its genuineness. It from the poorest plants, as thorns may be regarded as a parenthetical and thistles, obtain the richest fruits, sentence. as grapes and figs? So from these
20. By their fruits ye shall know counterfeit teachers, meagre souls, them. This is the summing up
of wretched hypocrites, the encumber- the illustrations drawn from the nating thorns and thistles of the moral ural world. These false teachers world, we are not to look for those would be known by their conduct. rich, nutritious lessons of wisdom By that criterion Jesus permits us which proceed from one who speaks to judge of their sincerity. from the abundance of a deep, good 21. Not every one, i. e. no man. — heart. Especially from the tree of Lord, Lord. Or, Master, Master. barren hypocrisy we cannot expect Luke vi. 46; James i. 22. Saith any fruits of good works, but only and doeth are emphatic. Mere prothe leaves and flowers of good pro- fession is worthless. Earnest callfessions and specious pretensions. ing upon Jesus, and feigning a 17. Matt. xii. 33; Luke vi. 43 - dependence and allegiance, not ac
James ïïi. 12. Good tree. A knowledged in the heart, or extree of a good kind produces fruits pressed in the life, is hypocrisy of like itself. -Corrupt tree-evil fruit. the most shallow kind. Kingdom But a tree of a bad kind produces of heaven often stands for the Gosfruits of the same sort. The Sa- pel itself. Persons described above viour draws an analogy between are not Christians, however loud the natural and the spiritual world, they may be in their pretended deshowing that in each like produces votedness to Jesus. No doubt many like, good, good, and evil, evil. came to him, after seeing his won
18. So it is morally impossible derful works, professing for him the for a bad man to yield the fruits of greatest interest, and readiness to virtue, or a good man to produce follow him, John vi. 15, who were wickedness. Human conduct is de influenced by hopes of worldly hontermined by the state of the heart, or and wealth. They said Master, as fruits are by the nature of the Master, to secure a higher place in tree upon which they grow.
his court, not out of submission to 19. John XV. 6.
his spiritual laws, which alone would bears so much the character of an entitle them to membership in his intruder and interrupter of the kingdom. sense, that many have deemed it 22. Luke xüi. 25 - 27. In that an interpolation from Matt. iii. day. At the period of future retri.
prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then 23 will I profess unto them : I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these 24 sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock ; and the rain de- 25 bution. Prophesied in thy name. stronger than to do iniquitously ; it Not necessarily predicted future is, to make a trade and business of events, but preached in thy name, iniquity, as these false teachers did, preached the Gospel. — In thy name. who converted the holy office of By thy power and authority. The preaching the Gospel into an inApostles appealed to the authority strument of selfish aggrandizement. of Christ, when they performed The great end of Christianity, miracles. Acts xvi. 18. Cast out whether in teacher, or taught, is a devils. See note upon Matt. iv. 24. good life. Nothing short of this, It was a common superstition at be it faith, or zeal, or profession, or that time that the spirits of deceased even martyrdom, can meet the purwicked persons dwelt in some men. poses
of Heaven, or the wants of They were called, however, demons the soul. and not devils, in the present pop
24. We come now to the epiular meaning of that word. This logue and peroration of the Sermon sort of miracles is specified, because on the Mount, and it harmonizes, it was more difficult of performance. in its sustained beauty and energy, Matt. xvii. 21. — Wonderful works. with the preceding part, and conMiracles, so called because they cludes a}} in a manner worthy of created wonder and awe in those one who was a teacher from the who beheld them. We learn from Father of Lights. Similar figures the New Testament that some were were used by the Jewish teachers, hypocritical in their profession of but inferior in power and elegance. Christianity from the beginning, and The following is one:
* The man that miraculous powers were claim- who studies much in the law, and ed by some who were not worthy maintains good works, is like to a of the trust. — Goodness is the only man who built a house, laying stones key to unlock the gate of heaven. at the foundation, and building brick 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3; Gal. vi. 15. upon them; and though many wa
23. Will I profess unto them. ters come against it, they cannot Plainly and publicly declare to them. move it from its place. But the To give greater vivacity and force man who studies much in the law, to the truth, Jesus throws it into and does not maintain good works, the form of a dialogue between him- is like a man who, in building his self and these false claimants. - I house, put bricks at the foundation, never knew you, i. e. never ap- and laid stones upon them, so that proved and recognised you as my even gentle waters shall overflow disciples ; for such is the meaning that house."
Wise man. Pruof know in some cases. Ps. i. 6; dent, considerate man. 1 Cor. viii. 3. - Depart from me, 25. The beauty of the comparifc. Ps. vi. 8. The dramatic sen son is enhanced by knowing the blance is continued. - Work iniqui- reference which is here made to ty. The sense of the original is the soil and climate of Judea. The