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25 the palsy ; and he healed them. And there followed him
great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
The Sermon on the Mount.
AND seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain ; and natic. Not maniacs, but those af- with the wish to be cured of their fected by epilepsy, or falling sick- diseases; with the sentiment of cu
Matt. xvii. 15. Luna, in riosity, wonder, ambition, highly Latin, means moon. It was sup- exalted national hopes, and all the posed that persons affected by this various motives that could actuate disorder were made better or worse the human heart under circumstanby the changes of that luminary. ces so extraordinary. Multitudes The same influence is supposed to no doubt came hoping to see him affect the insane, and with some declare himself the Messiah, unfurl
Hence the insane are often the banner of that ghty name, called lunatics at the present day.- and strike for the liberties of PalesHad the palsy. This disorder affects tine, and the subjugation of the the nerves of locomotion. Some- world. How widely they would be times it seizes the whole body. disappointed in their hopes is apparSometimes it fixes upon particular ent from the following chapter. parts or limbs, and then takes various names according to its location.
CHAP. V. The cure, by our Master, of these As has been already said, the severe chronic complaints afforded Jews were in expectation of a temhim an opportunity to do immense poral, not a spiritual Messiah. The good, and furnished one of the vast multitudes that thronged around strongest evidences of the divine au- the Saviour, and witnessed his mirthority of his mission and ministry. acles, and heard his words, were " The works that I do in my Fa- probably inflamed with the same ther's name, they bear witness of worldly desires. And as the masses me, was his convincing argument. of living beings swelled larger and
25. Decapolis. Or, " the ten cit- larger, these persuasions would be ies," from two Greek words having immensely deepened by sympathy. this meaning: This region was sit- Heart would beat to heart, and deep uated east of the Lake of Galilee. call unto deep; all the strongest The names of the ten cities were, passions of human and Jewish naaccording to Pliny, Scythopolis, ture were setting, like an Hippos, Gadara, Dion, Pella, Gera- tide, in one direction, with an irresa, Philadelphia, Canatha, Damas- sistible momentum.
We can, by cus, and Raphana ; but Ptolemy throwing ourselves into the scene, makes Capitolias one of the towns, and imagining the circumstances unand Josephus substitutes Otopos for der which Jesus spoke, gain some Canatha. The vast throngs which idea of the moral intrepidity, which assembled from the most distant impelled him to dissipate these brilparts of the land were drawn to- liant but false anticipations, and, in gether, probably, by the astonishing the face of thousands, ready to raise news of Christ's miraculous power, the war-cry of a military leader,
when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he opened 2 his mouth, and taught them, saying : Blessed are the poor in 3 spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they 4
and rush to conflict, rapine, and do- sions. — He went up into a mounminion, to deliver first the Beati- tain. Or, according to the original, tudes, and then his searching com- the mountain. Some well known ments upon the opinions and practi- mountain or hill in the vicinity of ces of the Scribes and Pharisees. Capernaum. Its location cannot
The object of the Sermon on the now be determined. From this eleMount, as it has usually been called, vation he could more convenientwas to give the collected multitudes ly address the vast concourse. some notions of the nature of his And when he was set. Was seated. kingdom. He defines it as a king. While teaching, the Jewish Rabbins dom within, a reign of the spirit. were accustomed to sit, but their He settles the long vexed question pupils kept a standing posture. of Happiness. He prostrates their Luke iv. 20; John viii. 2; Acts worldly hopes, by showing that his xvi. 13. — His disciples came unto followers must look for spiritual re- him. The disciples were learners, wards only, rewards within them- or those who were taught. Probaselves ; the happiness that arose, bly the multitude are included in not from riches, honors, or pleas- the term, as they were for the time ures, but from meekness, humility, his pupils, his disciples. So upon righteousness, peace, and purity. other occasions, those who followed The groundwork of his system, the his instructions, though not of the fundamental precepts, he lays down twelve, nor of his immediate attendin a series of bold and beautiful ants, were denominated disciples. paradoxes ; at least, such they seem John vi. 66. Nevertheless, others to most men, so small are their spir- have understood by disciples those itual attainments. Then he proceeds only who attached themselves to to inculcate an infinitely higher Jesus in the belief that he was the toned morality and piety than that expected Messiah. preached and practised by the teach- 2. He opened his mouth. These ers of the day. He proclaimed what words are pleonastic, or redundant, may be called the Magna Charta of i. e. they do not add any thing to the spiritual life for all mankind, in the meaning of the sentence. Plethis sublime address. It affords in onasm is a common figure of speech itself alone an unanswerable argu- in the Bible. ment for the truth of Christianity. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
1-12. For a parallel passage see Some are in favor of the use of hapLuke vi. 20 – 26.
py in this connexion ; but blessed 1. Seeing the multitudes, i. e. the is a more forcible and solemn word, multitudes mentioned in the_last and, as Carpenter observes, has refverse of the foregoing chapter. That erence to the appointment and blesswas a reason for his speaking. He ing of God. There is no verb in saw thousands around him, and he the original, and the translation took the opportunity to explain his would be more spirited thus, Blessed doctrines. What is here condensed the poor in spirit. The declarations in one continuous discourse was from verse 3 to 12 are sometimes probably also delivered in parts to called Beatitudes, because each of different people upon other occa- them begins with the word blessed, 5 that mourn ; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the
or happy, the Latin for which is of the spirit ; who feel that they beatus. The qualities here pro- are poor inwardly; who are connounced blessed are directly the re- scious of their moral and spirituverse of those which the Jews of al destitution. Blessed are such, that time, and the world generally, whether of much or little estate, have so esteemed. Common opin- (though the poor in goods were ion says, Blessed the rich. Jesus more likely, indeed, to feel their says, Blessed the poor. Common spiritual wants; ) for they are promopinion says, Blessed the joyous, inent candidates for the kingdom of the elevated, the quick-spirited, the heaven. They are much happier popular, the worldly-wise, the am- than the spiritually self-satisfied, bitious. Jesus says, Blessed the self-sufficient, Rev. iii. 17; who mourning, the meek, the spiritually thank God that they are not as other aspiring, the merciful, the pure, the men are, and who boast of a lineage persecuted, the peace-makers. What from Abraham, and think that of a signal testimony to the divine ori- course they abound in spiritual gin of Christianity is presented in riches. — For theirs is the kingdom the act, that its author flattered of heaven. Their state of mind ennone of the prejudices or desires titles them to the kingdom of heaven. most current, but struck out a new They will be its possessors, rather path, taught a pure and lofty theol- than those who feel rich in spirit, ogy and philosophy, with great dis- who are puffed up with their relitinctness, which the wise men of old gious attainments. It will be obhad only felt after, and caught a served throughout the beatitudes, glimpse of, not fully found! He that there is a tacit comparison inshows in these profound axioms, stituted between the poor in spirit, that religion promotes present and the merciful, pure, &c., and the opeternal felicity. “In the first posite characters, the proud, the place,” says Dewey, our Saviour cruel, the sensual, &c. Another addressed a company of men, his point worthy of notice is, the cordisciples and others, who looked for respondence of the rewards with their Messiah as a temporal king, the characters described. The merwho expected that he would deliver ciful obtain mercy in return. The them from the Roman yoke, conquer hungry are filled. The poor in the surrounding nations, and rein- spirit are heirs of the whole rich state the Jews in all and more than kingdom ; the Gospel is theirs. all the possessions and splendors of 4. They that mourn; for they shall the ancient monarchy. In the next be comforted. It has been a quesplace, he addressed a company who tion with interpreters, whether Jesus were accustomed to all those eva- means those who mourn under a sions of the moral law, which had sense of their sins, or under the exbeen brought in by tradition, and perience of afflictions. Both perwhich were daily multiplied by haps are included. Those who Jewish doctors and scribes. Let mourned under a sense of their spirthese things be borne in mind, and itual destitution and unworthiness, we shall see how far from being ab- who had that “godly sorrow which stract, how pertinent, indeed, and worketh repentance to salvation not pointed, is every word he utters.' to be repented of,” would be ren
The poor in spirit, i. e. according dered happy indeed under the Gosto Norton, those whose poverty is pel, which tenderly cherishes every
meek ; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they 6 penitent emotion, and reveals a Fa- they only are blessed whom he prother of mercy who is ready to for-, nounced so. Matt. xi. 28 - 30; give to the uttermost all that come John xvi. 20, 22; James v. 11. unto him. Those who suffered in
"He that lacks time to mourn lacks time to the cause of Christianity would be
mend. comforted under their trials by the
Eternity mourns that." great and entrancing promises it 5. The meek. We have no word held out to them of eternal blessed- in our language to express the true
Those who lost their goods, idea of Christian meekness. For or friends, or were smitten by any what is called meekness is thought earthly ills, would receive comfort by most persons to signify poorunspeakable from that religion which spiritedness, servility, than which clears up the mysteries of Provi- nothing can be farther from the sendence, shows that a Father's eye timent of Jesus. The meek are the watches over all, and a Father's mild, the amiable, the conciliating. hand conducts “the beautiful vicis- The meek respect themselves too situde.' Jesus represents himself much to be proud, arrogant, and as coming to bind up the broken- quarrelsome, and others too much to hearted, to comfort all that mourn, be either servile, or haughty. Jesus to give unto them beauty for ashes, was meek, Matt. xi. 29, but he vinthe oil of joy for mourning, the gar- dicated his rights, John xviii. 23. ment of praise for the spirit of heav- Paul was meek, patient in the reiness." He invites all that are ception of the grossest insults and weary and heavy laden to come unto injuries, but he was not tame and him, and he will give them rest. abject ; he rebuked those who did His exhortation to his sorrowing dis- him wrong. Acts xvi. 37, xxiii. 3. ciples was, to " be of good cheer.” Meekness is a nice balance of qualiReligion opens fountains of never ties which in most men run into exfailing consolation, and reaches the tremes, either too high or too low; deepest sorrows of the mind. This either into sensitiveness and anger, beatitude, without doubt, was spok- or into timidity and meanness. It is en with reference to the temper of one of the miracles of Christ's charhis audience, as well as uttered to acter, that it combined within itself, express an everlasting law of spirit- in loving harmony and unbroken ual being. They were looking for wholeness, those traits which have mirth and revelry. The gay and been deemed contrary, discordant, the light-hearted would be the most and almost opposite : energy and welcome subjects to the new king- gentleness ; high intrepidity and dom, in their judgment. The great lowliness of mind; the Lion and Teacher holds up the dispensation the Lamb. — They shall inherit the to come, in a reversed view, as af- earth. Or, the land. The Jews in fording comfort to the unhappy and early times looked upon the land of afflicted. “ Not in pride, and plenty, Canaan as the sum of all blessings. and mirth ; but in a lowly, sorrow- To inherit it was one of their dearing mind, amidst persecution, and est hopes, one of the promised fatears, and blood, he saw the ele- vors of God. The patriarchs dwelt ments, the springs of human bles- gladly upon the prospect. Gen. xv. sedness. Study those wonderful 7,8; Ex. xxxii. 13. The whole words of his, and see how true it is, nation looked wistfully towards in the very nature of things, that it. The expectation cheered them which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall
through the sea, the wilderness, meat, drink. Righteousness means and amidst their enemies. It was moral goodness, virtue, holiness. a sentiment next in depth and dear. No wants are so frequent and imness to their subsequent longing perious as those of food and drink. after the Messiah. From this state They come continually, and are of mind grew up a proverbial ex- never long satisfied ; denied a few pression, which Jesus employs : To hours, they create unspeakable disinherit the earth, or, to possess the 'tress. What words, then, in the land. It means, as its derivation range of language, could more fitly shows, to obtain the greatest bless- and emphatically express the conings, to acquire the highest good. stant longings which the good feel The expression is elsewhere found, for more goodness, the unquenchacoupled with moral traits. Ps. ble desires of man's spiritual naxxxvii. 9, 11 ; Isaiah lx. 21. The ture! — They shall be filled. “ Here hearers of Jesus were familiar, again, observe what a strict and therefore, with his phraseology. grand truth or fact is enunciated in How crushing to their eager hopes, these words. It is only those who to hear the quality of meekness make goodness their supreme ohthus extolled to the skies ! Not the ject of desire, who are ever filled, revengeful, the military chieftain, satisfied, happy, and at peace. Any the ambitious leader ; not those other object we may hunger after whose thoughts were on fire with and obtain, but we are not filled. the grandeur of power, the exulta- This is the constitution of our nation of victory and vengeance ; not ture.” Under this beatitude, as these are blessed, not these shall at- well as the others, it may be obtain to the greatest felicity. The served, that what Jesus says has meek, by the very qualities which the most keen and pointed reference others despise, are the happy ones. to the existing opinions and feelings They are free from the evils, sor- of his auditors. It was no comrows, and losses, which plague the mon-place truism. It was no cold malicious and passionate. They abstraction. His declaration bore have peace. They inherit the earth, directly upon the views of his hearthey obtain a universal empire over ers, though it embodied also a printhe hearts of mankind. They win ciple true universally. He preachthe world, which the warrior's ed to their inmost experience, and sword never yet has conquered. they felt it, and were " astonished They are meet for the inheritance at his doctrine.” They hungered of heaven. This is the everlasting and thirsted after national renown, principle of moral existence. It is individual pleasures, honors, and mournful to see, in history and in riches. They wanted a Messiah private life, how often it has been who might aid them in gratifying violated by those who have aspired their unrighteous wishes.
Their to do some great thing, and desires revolved about self as a
grasped their ruin in their bliss.” centre. Jesus sought by his start
6. Hunger and thirst after righ- ling paradox to turn the current of teousness. In the Bible, as in all their thoughts in another direction. literature, what is spiritual is of- Happy, says this profound Teacher, ten illustrated by what is animal. are those who are visited by the Strong desires are called hunger most earnest longings and aspiraand thirst. Truth is called bread, tions after moral excellence; not