« הקודםהמשך »
and is an admirable comment on that very passage which has so long engaged our attention. It seems indeed to allude and refer to it, and points out all those distinctions which tend to explain away its seeming harshness; and ascertain its true spirit and meaning
It cautions the rich men of the world not to trust in uncertain riches: the very expression made use of by our Lord, and the very circumstance which renders it so hard for them to enter into the kingdom of heavení. They are enjoined to place their trust in the LIVING God. They are to be rich in a far brighter treasure than gold and silver, in faith and in good works; and if they are, they will “ lay a good foundation against the time to come, and will lay hold on eternal life." This entirely does away all the terror, all the dismay, which our Lord's denunciation might tend to produce in the minds of the wealthy and the great: it proves that the way to heaven is as open to them, as to all other ranks and conditions of men, and it points out to them the very means by which they may arrive there. These means are, trust in the living God, dedication of themselves to
his service and his glory, zeal in every good work, and more particularly the appropriation of a large part of that very wealth, which constitutes their danger, to the purposes of piety; charity, and beneficence. These are the steps by which they must, through the merits of their Redeemer, ascend to heaven. Those riches which are their natural enemies, must be converted into allies and friends. They must, as the Scripture expresses it, make to themselves “ friends of the mammon of unrighteousness * ;" they must be rich towards God; they must turn that wealth, which is too often the cause of their perdition, into an instrument of salvation, into an instrument by which they may lay hold, as the apostle' expresses it, on eternal life. si
Before I quit this interesting passage, it may be of use to observe, that while it furnishes å Lesson of great caution, vigilance; and cireumspection to the rich, it affords also no small degree of consolation to the poor. If they are less bountifully provided than the rich, with the materials of happiness for the present life, let them however be thankful- to Provi.. . * Lake xvido. ?. w sieg
dence that they have fewer difficulties to contend with, fewer temptations-to-combat, and fewer obstacles to surmount, in their way to the life which is to come. They have fortunately no means of indulging themselves in that luxury and dissipation, those extravagances and excesses which sometimes disgrace the wealthy and the great; and they are pres served from many follies, imprudences, and șins, equally injurious to present comfort and future. happiness. If they are destitute of all the elegancies and many of the conveniences and accommodations of life, they are also exempt from those cares and anxieties which frequently corrode the heart, and perhaps more than balance the enjoyments of their superiors. The inferiority of their condition secures them from all the dangers and all the torments of ambition and pride; it produces in them generally that meekness and lowliness of mind, which is the chief constituent of a true evangelical temper, and one of the most essential qualifications for the kingdom of heaven, : til Jesus having made these observations on the conduct of the young ruler, who refused to part with his wealth and follow him, Peter
thought this a fair opportunity of asking our Lord what reward should be given to him, and the other apostles, who had actually done what the young ruler had not the courage and the virtue to do. Then answered Peter and said unto him, “ Lo! we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" It is true the apostles had no wealth to relinquish, but what little they had they cheerfully parted with ; they gave up their all, they took up their cross and followed Christ. Surely after such a sacrifice they might well be allowed to ask what recompence they might expect, and nothing can be more natural and affecting than theit appeal to their divine Master : - Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee what shall we have therefore?” Our Lord felt the force and the justice of this appeal, and immediately gave them this most gracious, and consolatory answer::56 Verily. I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel: and every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, op sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hụndred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Our translators, by connecting the word regeneration with the preceding words, “ye which have followed me in the regeneration,”. evidently supposed that word to relate to the first preaching of the Gospel, when those who heard and received it were to be regenerated or made new creatures.
But most of the ancient fathers, as well as the best modern, commentators, refer that expression to the words that follow it, “ in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory;" by which is meant the day of judgment and of recompence, when all mankind shall be as it were regenerated or born again, by rising from their graves; and when, as St. Matthew tells us in the 27th chapter (making use of the very same phrase that he does here) the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory. At that solemn hour Jesus tells his apostles that they shall also sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is an allusion to the custom of princes having their great men ranged around