« הקודםהמשך »
shine before men, that they may see your good works, and 17 glorify your Father which is in heaven. - - Think not that I
am come to destroy the law or the prophets ; I am not come shine naturally and unconsciously "How far the little candle throws his beams! out of the face and behaviour of So shines a good deed on a naughty world."
17. Think not that I am come to 16. It is wrong to act for appear- destroy, but to fulfil. After showing ance's sake. We should have a in the Beatitudes, that the worldly higher principle of conduct than hopes of the Jews were without the praise of men. Our foremost basis, Jesus proceeds to anticipate aim should be to glorify our Father and correct an erroneous impresin heaven. His glory, the great. sion, which would naturally and ness and goodness of his character, immediately arise, that he came to is hidden from the sight of the destroy the Jewish system. He worldly. But in the good man it came not, he says, as they might flames out, and the blindest can see hastily infer from what he had been it. A virtuous being is the most saying, for the purpose of destrucnoble manifestation of the glory of tion, but of fulfilment. He came God in the world. For example, not to substitute violently one the purest splendors of the Deity scheme for another, but to superstream forth from the face of Jesus sede an old system, established for Christ. He made God to be known, temporary uses,
a shadow of good revered, and obeyed, and conse- things to come,” with a new and quently glorious in the eyes of perpetual one. His was the com
Every Christian, however pletion of that splendid line of humble the sphere of his action, revelations of which the law and can do something toward the same the prophets were the beginnings. holy end. He can praise his Fa- He was so far from wishing to dether, can acknowledge his resplen- stroy, subvert, or impair the venerdent attributes, can win others " to able authority of the Law and the work and worship so divine.” The Prophets, that the very end of his goodness and happiness of man mission was to fulfil, finish, crown kind are the glory of the Creator. those disclosures of God, with And the humblest creature that others in harmony with them, but lives can advance that goodness, more advanced, and for the recepand augment that happiness in tion of which those had served to himself and others. No matter if prepare the world. The law, i. e. he is poor, sick, ignorant, and un- the Pentateuch, or five books of known; he shines, a cheering and a Moses, or, more specifically, the guiding light, if he has caught the Mosaic legislation.
The prophets, spirit of religion. His lowly hovel i. e. the books and compositions is illuminated with a serene ray, his which the prophets had written, or comfortless chamber is irradiated the course of religious teaching with a light above the brightness of which had succeeded the Mosaic the sun; the star of God's glory, legislation. The Jewish revelation that never sets, comes and stands was designed for a particular peoover the place where that good ple and a limited time. It was prespirit tabernacles and suffers. He paratory to a universal and permalives with the best effect, though nent religion. It was the schoolunaware of his influence.
master to train men for the coming
to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till 18 heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore 19
of the Great and Perfect Teacher. One jot. Jot or yod, is the name The master idea, running as a sta- of ", the smallest letter in the Heple through the whole Jewish econ- brew alphabet. One tittle. This omy, is the UNITY of God. Line signifies the small points, or the upon line, precept upon precept, this flourishes, made underneath or at truth was wrought through centu- the corners of the Hebrew letters, ries into the core of the Jewish and on the accuracy of which the heart. This noble principle, with meaning of a word or sentence the inferences which diverged from often depended. The Rabbins were it in every direction, and reached accustomed to say, that an alteration to every motive of life, and every of one of these little marks would hope of the soul, opened the way destroy the world, because it would for those fuller, tenderer disclosures change the divine commandments. of truth, which Jesus lived and In transcribing the Old Testament, it died to make. The Jewish dis was a sufficient reason for destroying pensation is not therefore to be the whole manuscript, if a mistake judged by the Christian, nor the had been committed in reference to Christian by the Jewish. Each has these small points and curvatures. its purpose in the counsels of The idea is, not only that the law Heaven, and each, when rightly in general was permanent, but that understood, is seen to bear those even its least requisitions, and the beautiful characters of wise design, spirit they breathed, were of fresh, and benevolent adaptation, which eternal obligation. The smallest are written all over the universe. part of God's commandments never ..-18. This verse expands and con can become null. The ceremonial firms the sense of the latter clause and judicial institutions of the Jews of the preceding. — Verily. The were intended, at the time they Greek work is amen, which is used were made, to be only temporary. at the end of prayers. It expresses But the moral truths, the spiritual strong affirmation, so be it, truly, requisitions, of Judaism were not certainly. Our Master uses it in to be abated one atom, but to be many places, to emphasize what he carried out to perfection, fulfilled says. Compare Matt. xvi. 28, with by the Messiah. Till all be fulfillLuke ix. 27. — Till heaven and earth ed, i. e. till all the purposes, conpass. Wakefield thus paraphrases templated in the Mosaic dispensathe verse : “For verily I say unto tion, are effected; till the gracious you, the heaven and the earth will designs of God, commencing in the sooner pass away, than one jot or earliest revelations, are completed one tittle of the law be destroyed, under Christianity. The Jews and fail of its accomplishment.” would suspect, from what Jesus had See Luke xvi. 17. The heaven said, that he came to subvert the and earth signify the whole crea law and the prophets. By no tion, the universe. The expression means, is his language. The spirit was no doubt a proverbial one, fito of those revelations is strictly imted to convey à vivid idea of its perishable ; it is to last and deepen perpetuity, to say that a thing would till the final consummation of all last as long as the universe itself. things. I came to breathe into it
shall break one of 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 them, the same shall be call%0 ed great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that,
except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the
new energy, and send it forth over shall break, or undervalue one class the globe, conquering and to con of duties, one set of divine laws; quer, till the purposes of God are whosoever shall discard morality in at last all accomplished.
his zeal for piety, or neglect piety 19. This verse is intelligible only because he is a good moral man, when we learn that the Scribes and falls under the rebuke of this verse. Pharisees, the teachers and casuists Whilst one who does and teaches most in vogue, were accustomed to all the commandments, gives to make distinctions between moral every duty its place, is faithful to precepts ; calling some of greater, man, and God, and his Saviour, and others of less obligation, and shall be great in the spiritual kingholding that the transgression of doin, and an eminent Christian. one of the less commandments was 20. Your righteousness, your vira venial offence. This method hu- tue, goodness. — The righteousness mored the bad propensities of man- of the Scribes and Pharisees. They kind, and vitiated all strictness of professed_great piety and benevomorality. Matt. xxii. 36. One of lence. They thanked God, that these least commandments, i. e. more they were not as other men are. properly rendered, one of the least Their claims to superior virtue seem of these commandments, i. e. the to have been acquiesced in by their laws of Moses, though some with countrymen. For it was a comless probability refer the sentence mon saying, that, if but two men to the doctrines of Jesus which fol were admitted into the kingdom of low. He appears to continue the heaven, one of them would be a thought started in the preceding Pharisee, and the other a Scribe.
Suppose not, he says, that But, notwithstanding their bold preI have any hostility to the Mosaic tensions, our Saviour, looking at system; on the contrary, those will the heart, detected and exposed be lightly esteemed among my fol. their hypocrisy. They tithed the lowers, who set themselves up as smallest herbs, but omitted those violators and disparagers of that vast concerns, judgment, mercy, and dispensation of God, or who, like faith. Their religion was of apthe Scribes and Pharisees, whilst pearance, not of reality. They held, they profess great fidelity to it, vir- that the thoughts of the heart were tually nullify its injunctions by their not sinful. They were scrupulous traditions, and divisions of the law to a fault in things of small conseinto duties of greater and less quence, but they indulged with the weight; but they will be the most greater latitude in selfishness and honored who practise and inculcate sensuality. They appeared beautiuniversal obedience, and who, in ful outwardly, no garnished sepulbecoming the advocates of Chris- chre more so, but it was with numtianity, acknowledge also the finger bers only a fair seeming; descendof God in the law and the prophets. ing within, as Jesus did, a mass of So at the present day, whosoever moral corruption, as of the charnel
Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in po case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of 21 old time : “ Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” But I say unto you, that who- 2 house, 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 law, referring merely to the temno claim 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 went down to the source from case enter into the kingdom of heav- which the act originated; the en, i. e. you cannot become my dis- thoughts and feelings of the heart; ciples, or Christians. The righ- and showed their criminality and teousness of the Scribes and Phari- danger, even when they did not sees is outward, technical, meagre, actually result in the deed of viohypocritical ; the righteousness of lence. - In danger of, i. e. responmy followers must be of the heart, sible to, obnoxious to. — living, sincere, universal, the un ment. This signifies not a judicial qualified obedience of the whole sentence, but a municipal court by man. Having thus stated the gen- which sentence was passed, judgeral principle, that he should re ment pronounced. The Talmudquire a loftier virtue than the cur- ists, or writers among the Jews of rent examples of the day, he pro- the third and fourth centuries after ceeds to specify cases; first in re- Christ, describe this court as congard to Murder ; secondly, verse sisting of twenty-three persons; but 27, Adultery; thirdly, verse 33, Josephus, whose authority is to be Oaths; fourthly, verse 38, Retali- preferred, represents it as a tribunal ation.
of seven, which_sat in each city or 21. Jesus proceeds to quote and town, with the Levites as attending comment upon the commandments officers. As is evident from the of Moses, the traditions, and the reference of the text, causes of imglosses which had been put upon portance came before them; and ihem, and shows what he meant by severe punishments, as strangling, a better righteousness than that of and beheading, were inflicted at the Scribes and Pharisees. First, their command. in relation to Murder.. Ye have 22. But I say unto you. Jesus heard that it was said by them of old speaks with authority, with a nattime, it is matter of tradition. ural tone of superiority and comInstead of by them of old time, some mand, which was felt to be genuine read, to them of old time: to the an- by his hearers, and different from the cients, meaning to the contempora- hollow assumption of the Scribes. ries of Moses. Jesus did not de- Chap. vii. 29. His special comcry the piety and morality of the mission from God gave a godlike Mosaic standards, but censured the weight to his words; as an ambasinterpretations, often lax, which sador from an earthly king speaks were put upon the original com- and negotiates with the energy and
soever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his broth
er, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever 23 shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Theredecision of the sovereign in whose of bitterness and contempt, which stead he acts. Worldly teachers prompts men to call each other by had glossed over the strict truth opprobrious names, often results in with their own interpretations; the actual deed of violence and Jesus rends them away, and, back- murder. So far as these are its ed by the power and wisdom of natural consequences, the feeling God, uses the simple but lofty form itself is of the like dark guilt as its of address : “But I say unto you.'
results. The council, i. e. the SanSuch an expression, in any but a hedrim, the chief tribunal among special, divinely authorized, super- the Jews. It was established in naturally gifted messenger of God, the time of the Maccabees, about would excite any thing but respect. two hundred years before our SaIn Jesus it is natural and graceful. viour. Civil and ecclesiastical cases He utters his great truths with an fell beneath its jurisdiction. It could easy air of authority, notwithstand- pass sentence of death, but depending his humble origin, which con- ed upon the Roman governor to vinces us that he had a right from carry it into effect. Its number above to decide, and that his word was about seventy, consisting of the was final. -- Angry with his brother highest officers of the Jewish comwithout a cause.
i John iii. 15. monwealth. They commonly held Brother means any man.
their sessions at Jerusalem in a kind, in the view of Christianity, are room near the temple. Mention is brothers. — Angry without a cause, often made of this court in the New i. e. either without an adequate rea- Testament. Our Saviour was conson, or to
an excessive degree. demned by it, and his apostles were This is to be understood in the two arraigned before it. The sense is, last clauses, as well as the first. that he who used a word of conJesus calls not only the overt act of tempt and scorn towards his fellowviolence criminal and punishable, man, would expose himself to a but also the state of feeling from condemnation and punishment, unwhich the act originated, the bad der the government of God, equivapassions causelessly and excessive- lent and parallel to that which it ly inflamned. He deals with the came within the jurisdiction of the heart. — In danger of the judgment, Sanhedrim to pronounce. Thou i. e. liable to the condemnation of fool. This translation is nearer the the inferior court of judicature; or sense of Raca, used before, than rather, to express the exact sense, of the word in the original. The is liable to such a punishment from term is Moreh. It means not fool, God as may be parallel with that but impious, apostate, wretch ; imwhich this tribunal commands to plying a low moral condition, as be inflicted. - Raca. A Syriac or Raca does a contemptible intellect. Chaldaic word, expressing great con Hell fire. In the Greek, the Getempt, equivalent to fool, dolt, sim- henna of fire. Gehenna is a word pleton. A commandment of God of Hebrew origin, signifying the may be violated in spirit, when it valley of Hinnom. It was situatis kept in the letter. The feeling ed near the city of Jerusalern on