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Third Thought.The Master's word as He silences His adversaries with unanswerable demonstration from their own Scriptures of the resurrection of the dead, is not one of triumph in argument, but of grief for their hard-heartedness. "Ye therefore do greatly err"; the word for erring is that of the parable of the lost sheep ; "ye have gone very far astray”; but the good Shepherd does not leave His straying sheep to their fate, but goes out after them to find and bring them back. There is no more amazing characteristic of God than His yearning love for the salvation of His people. Not even the mother's love for her sucking child is an adequate comparison for God's love. It moved Him to give His only-begotten Son to die upon the cross for our salvation; it moves Him still to pardon us times without number, no matter how outrageously we have transgressed, if only we seek Him with honest penitence in the confessional.

But what of our dealings with our adversaries ? Are we moved, because they do greatly err, to seek and to save them; to do whatever lies in our power to bring them to a better mind; to sacrifice ourselves and our feelings freely to win them back; to pray for them very earnestly, very tenderly, day by day?

LXXXII.

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Him, which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, o Israel; T Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask Him any question."-St. Mark xii. 28-34.

Exposition.-Swete says: "The three Hebrew words in Deuteronomy (whence our Lord quotes) are heart, soul, and might; together they represent the sum of the powers which belong to the composite life of man; the first two are frequently combined, especially in Deuteronomy, where the writer desires to enforce the devotion of the whole being to God, the heart being in the psychology of the ancient Hebrews the organ of the intellect, and the soul of the desires and affections. The third word adds the thought of the forces which reside in these parts of human nature, and in the body through which they act. . . In the question no reference had been made to a second commandment, but the Lord adds it in order to complete the summary of human duty. As Bishop Lightfoot points out, in the original text the word neighbour is apparently restricted to the Jewish people; that Jesus used it in the widest sense is clear from the parable of the Good Samaritan, which, in St. Luke, follows the scribe's question. So understood the saying was a recapitulation of the second part of the Decalogue. .. They were the first two commandments because they revealed the ultimate principles of morality which it was the business of the Law as a whole to enforce, and on which the ripest teaching of the prophets

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depended. As to the relative importance of the commandments the Lord is content to say

that these fundamental laws of human life are second to none.

What the Lord observed in reference to the man was the intelligence displayed by his answer. It was shown not only in accepting the Lord's judgment as to the two primary commandments, but in detecting and admitting the principle on which the judgment rested, namely the superiority of moral over ritual obligations. . . . Under the old theocracy those who are far, are either exiled Jews or Gentiles : distance from the new kingdom is measured neither by miles, nor by ceremonial standards, but by spiritual conditions. The man was to some extent intellectually qualified for admission to the kingdom; certainly he had grasped one of its fundamental principles. It would be interesting to work out a comparison between this scribe and the ruler of cap. X, 17. In both cases something was wanting to convert admiration into discipleship. If wealth was the bar in the one case, pride of intellect may have been fatal in the other. The mental acumen which detects and approves spiritual truth may, in the tragedy of human life, keep its possessor from entering the kingdom of God.”

Bede says, in St. Thomas: "He shows when

he says, This is greater than all sacrifices, that a grave question was often debated between the scribes and Pharisees, which was the first commandment, or greatest of the divine Law; that is, some praised offerings and sacrifices, others preferred acts of faith and love, because many of the fathers before the Law pleased God by that faith only, which works by love. This scribe shows that he was of the latter opinion; he proved himself to be a favourer of that opinion which is proper to the New Testament, and to Gospel perfection.”

Isaac Williams quotes St. Augustine: “ 'He hath left no part of our life which ought to be disengaged, or to afford room for the engagement of any other object. But whatever else may have come to the mind as an object of affection, it may be immediately seized and carried in that direction where the whole current of our affection tends; for then is man in his best state when his whole life proceeds to the incommutable Good.'

This is the first commandment; first in order of time, it must go

before every other, for unless it is the constraining motive that leads the way, no other commandment can be acceptably fulfilled. And it is the first in dignity, being the crown and perfection of them all. For it is not only the consummation and excellency of them all, but

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