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which the Sadducees denied, and which their objection was meant to overthrow. In our Lord's reply no argument seems to be advanced, nor any plain text of Scripture produced to establish the doctrine of a resurrection of the body, and its re-animation by the soul. It is only contended, that as God declares himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the souls of those persons must still be in existence in a separate state ; because God could not be said to be the God of those who were no longer in being. This is ündeniable. But how it is said) does this prove a resurrection? To explain this, it must be observed, that Christ's answer consists of two parts: in the first, he solves the difficulty started by the Sadducees respecting a resurrection, by telling them that it arose entirely from their not attending to the power of God, "which could effect with the utmost ease what to them appeared impossible; and from their ignorance of the state of human beings in heaven, which resembled that of angels, and required not a constant succession to be kept up by marriage. The case therefore they had stated respecting the marriage of the seven
brethren with one woman was a very unfortunate one, because it happened that in heaven there would be no such thing as marriage; which destroyed at once the whole of that objection which they deemed so formidable. In the second part he completely subverts the false principle on which their disbelief of a resurrection and a future state was entirely founded. This principle was, that the soul had no separate existence, but fell into no thing at the dissolution of its union with the body. This we learn from the Acts of the Apostles *, where it is said, “ that the Sadducees believe neither angel nor spirit;" and from Josephus, who tells us, that the Sadducees held that the soul vanishes (as he expresses it) with the body, and rejected the doctrine of its duration after death $.It was this principle therefore which our Saviour undertook to overthrow, which he does effectually in the 31st and 32d verses, by showing it to be a clear inference from the words
... Chap, xxiii. 8. in v
+ Eyvapanter Tots owpXov. Antiq. l. xvii. c. 2. p. 793. Ed. Huds.
of. Scripture *, that although the bodies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had long been in their graves, yet their souls had survived, and were at that moment in existence. From hence it necessarily followed that the soul did not perish with the body, as the Sadducees believed, but that it continued in being after death ; and at the general resurrection would be again united with the body, and live for ever in a future state of happiness or of misery. .
But though arguments may be confuted, and absurdities exposed, the thorough-paced caviller is not easily silenced. One should have thought that the disgraceful failure of so. many attempts to surprise and ensnare Jesus, would have taught his 'adversaries a little modesty and a little prudence ; but these are qualities with which professed disputers and sophists do not usually much abound. When therefore the Pharisees had heard that Jesus had put the Sadducees to silence, instead of being discouraged from making any more exs, periments, of that nature, they were gathered 74.1* Jud. BAH* Exo . Qe I jesim in
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together, probably to consult how they might renew their attacks upon him with more success. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “ Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great command; ment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.":"0 .
The question here proposed to Jesus by the lawyer, or interpreter of the Mosaic law, took its rise probably from a maxim, which seems to have been received among the Scribes and Pharisees as a first principle, namely, that such a multiplicity of pręcepts as the law contained was too great for any one to observe ; and therefore all that could be required was, that each should select to himself one or two great and important duties, on account of which, if inviolably observed, his transgressions in other respects would be overlooked. But then immediately arose a question, which were these
great and important duties that ought to have the preference to all the rest, and on which they might securely ground all their merit and all their pretences to the favour of God. And on this question a variety of sects were formed, under their respective leaders, who disputed about the chief duty much in the same manner as the ancient pagan philosophers did about the chief good; and exactly with the same benefit to themselves and to the world,
It was with a reference therefore to these disputes, which were so warmly agitated among the Pharisees, that the lawyer asked our Lord, 6 which was the great commandment of the law?” Our Saviour's answer was, “ thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." He decided therefore immediately in favour of the moral law, and yet with his usual prudence did not neglect the ceremonial; for this very commandment of the love of God was written upon their phylacteries. ..! : This then being declared by our Saviour himself to be the first of the commandments; must be considered - by. every-Christian as standing at the head of that evangelical code