Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

here promised. Some contend, that moreguou should be re- || tion. Our word meek comes from the old Anglo-saxon meca, ferred to novuoto, and the verse translated thus : Happy, or or meccea, a companion or equal, because he who is of a meek blessed in spirit are the poor. But our Lord seems to have or gentle spirit, is ever ready to associate with the meanest the humiliation of the spirit particularly in view.

of those who fear God, feeling himself superior to none; and Kingdom of heaven.] Or, 'wy ougarwy, of the heavens. A par | well knowing, that he has nothing of spiritual or temporal ticipation of all the blessings of the New Covenant here, and good, but what he has received from the mere bounty of the blessings of Glory above. See this phrase explained, chap. God, having never deserved any favour from his hand. .. ii. 2. Blessed are the poor! this is God's word: but who For they shall inherit the earth.) Or, onu you, the land. Unbelieves it? Do we not say, Yea rather, Blessed is the rich ! der this expression, which was commonly used by the pro

The Jewish Rabbins have many good sayings relative to phets to signify the land of Canaan, in which ail temporal that porerty and humility of spirit, which Christ recommends Il good abounded, Judg. xviii. 9, 10. Jesus Christ points out in this verse. In the treatise called Bammidbar Rabba, s. 20. thatabundance of spiritual good, which was provided for we have these words : There were three (evils) in Balaam, | men in the gospel. Besides, Canaan was a type of the kingthe evil eye, (envy) the towering spirit, (pride) and, the exten dom of God, and who is so likely to inherit glory, as the sive mind (avarice.)

man in whom the meekness and gentleness of Jesus dwell ? Tanchum, fol. 84. The luw does not abide with those who || In some good MSS. and several ancient versions, the fourth have the extensive mind, (avarice) but with him only who has and fifth verses are transposed : see the authorities in the vaa contrite heart.

rious readings in Professor Griesbach's edition. The present Rabbi Chanina said, “Why are the words of the Law || arrangement certainly is most natural ; 1. Poverty, to which compared to water? Because, as waters flow from heights, the promise of the kingdom is made. 2. Mourning or disand settle in low places; so the words of the Law rest only || tress, on account of this impoverished state, to which conwith him who is of a humble heart.” See Schoetgen. solation is promised. And 3. Meekness established in the

Verse 4. Blessed are they that mourn] That is, those, who | heart by the consolations received. feeling their spiritual poverty, mourn after God, lamenting | Verse 6. They which do hunger and thirst] As the body has the iniquity that separated them from the fountain of bless | its natural appetites of hunger and thirst for the food and edness. Every one flies from sorrow, and seeks after joy, l| drink suited to its nourishment, so has the soul. No being and yet true joy must necessarily be the fruit of sorrow. || is indestructible or unfailing in its nature but God; no being The whole need not (do not feel the need of) the physician; | is independant but him : as the body depends for its nourishbut they that are sick do ; i. e, they who are sensible of their ment, health, and strength upon the earth ; so does the soul disease. Only such persons as are deeply convinced of the upon heaven. Heavenly things cannot support the body, they sinfulness of sin, feel the plague of their own heart, and turn | are not suited to its nature: earthly things cannot support with disgust from all worldly consolations, because of their the soul, for the same reason. When the uneasy sensation insufficiency to render them happy, have God's promise of termed hunger, takes place in the stomach, we know we must solid comfort. They SHALL BE comforted, says Christ, tapce- get food, or perish. When the soul is awakened to a sense nan Importat, from taza, near, and xodew, I call. He will call of its wants, and begins to hunger and thirst after righteous. them to himself, and speak the words of pardon, peace, and ness or holiness, which is its proper food, we know that it life eternal, to their hearts. See this notion of the word ex- || must be purified by the Holy Spirit, and be made a partaker pressed fully by our Lord, chap. xi. 28. come UNTO ME all || of that living bread, John viii. 48. or perish everlastingly. ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Now, as God never inspires á prayer but with the design to

Verse 5. Blessed are the meek] Happy, on separats, from gaos, answer it, he who hungers and thirsts after the full salvation easy, those who are of a quiet, gentle spirit, in opposition to of God, may depend on being speedily and effectually blessed the proud and supercilious Scribes and Pharisees, and their or satisfied, well-fed, as the word xoptar ricortas implies. disciples. We have a compound word in English, which Strong and intense desire after any object has been, both by once fully, expressed the meaning of the original, viz. gentle poets and orators, represented metaphorically by hunger and mun ; but it has now almost wholly lost its original significa- | thirst. See the well known words of Virgil, Æneid ii. 55.

The merciful, pure in heart, peace. CHAP. V. makers and persecuted are blessed.
A.M. 4051. 7 Blessed are the merciful : * for they || 9 Blessed are the peace-makers : for A. M. 4031.
A. D. 27.
An. Olymp. shall obtain mercy.

|| they shall be called the children of An. Olymp. CCI. S.

CCI. 3. S 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for God. they shall see God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

- Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,

And earthly pow'r doth then shew likest God's,
Auri sacra fames!

When mercy seasons justice.* O cursed hunger after gold! what canst thou not influence

Though justice be thy plea, consider this, the hearts of men to perpetrate ?” How frequently do we

That in the course of justice, none of us find, inerplebilis honorum fames_SITiens virtutis-famæ sitis,

Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy; the insatiable hunger after honour, a thirst for virtue, thirst

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render after fame, and such like? Righteousness here is taken for

The deeds of mercy. all the blessings of the New Covenant-all the graces of Why all the souls that are, were forfeit once : the Messiah's kingdom—a full restoration to the image of And he who might the 'vantage best have took , God!

Found out the remedy. How would you be, Verse 7. The merciful] The word mercy, among the Jews, If He who is the top of judgment, should signified two things: the pardon of injuries, and almsgiving. But judge you as you are ? Oh! think on that, Our Lord undoubtedly takes it in its fullest latitude here. And mercy then will breathe within your lips, To know the nature of mercy, we have only to consult the Like man, new made.grammatical meaning of the Latin word misericordia, from

How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring none ?: which ours is derived. It is composed of two words : mise- || In the Tract Subboth full rans. pitying, and cor, the heart; or miseria cordis, pain of || like this of our Lord. “He who shews mercy to men, God heart. Mercy supposes two things: 1. a distressed object : I will shew mercy to him : but to him who shews no mercy and 2. a disposition of the heart, through which it is affected l to man; God will shew no the sight of such an object. This virtue therefore is no

Verse 8. Pure in heart] In opposition to the Pharisees, other than a lively emotion of the heart, which is excited by who affected outward purity, while their hearts were full of the discovery of any creature's misery; and such an emotion

corruption and defilement. A principal part of the Jewish as manifests itself outwardly, by effects suited to its nature.

religion consisted in outward washings and cleansings : on The merciful man is here termed by our Lord exempwr, from

| this ground they expected to see God, to enjoy eternal toos, which is generally derived from the Hebrew bon chil,

glory: but Christ here shews, that a purification of the to be in pain as a woman in travuil : or from Sy ilel, to cry, || heart from all vile affections and desires, is essentially-requior lament grievously ; because a merciful man enters into the site in order

site in order to enter into the kingdom of God. He whose miseries of his neighbour, feels for, and mourns with him. ll soul is not delivered from all sin, through the blood of the

They shall obtuin mercy.] Mercy is not purchased but at | covenant, can have no scriptural hope of ever being with the price of mercy itself; and even this price is a gift of the God. There is a remarkable illustration of this passage, mercy of God. What mercy can those vindictive persons quoted by Mr. Wakefield from Origen, Contra Cels. lib. vi. expect, who forgive nothing, and are always ready to im God has no body, and therefore is invisible: but men of prove every advantage they have of avenging themselves ? contemplation can discern him with the heart and underWhatever mercy a man shews to another, God will take care standing. But A DEFILED HEART CANNOT SEE God: but he to shew the same to him. The following elegant and ner

MUST BE PURE WHO WISHES TO ENJOY A PROPER view OF À vous saying of one of our best poets, is worthy of the read

PURE BEING." er's most serious attention.

Shall see God.) This is a Hebraism, which signifies possess “ The quality of mercy is not strained;

God, enjoy his felicity: as seeing a thing, was used among It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

the Hebrews for possessing it. See Psal. xvi. 10. Thou wilt Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed; not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption, i. e. he shall not be It blesseth him who gives, and him who takes : corrupted. So John iii. 3. Except a man be born again, he cun'Tis mightiest in the mightiest : it becomes

not see the kingdom of God, i. e. he cannot enjoy it. So John The throned monarch better than his crown.

iii. 16. He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, i. e. It is an attribute of God himself;

shall not be put in possession of eternal glory.

Genuine Christians are


the salt of the earth;

[ocr errors]

A.M. 4031. righteousness' sake: for their's is the 12 " Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: A.M. 4031. A. D. 27.

A. D. 27. An. Olymp. kingdom of heaven.

. for great is your reward in heaven: for An. Olymp. CCI 3. ·

Loa Blosso

11 · Blessed are ye, when men shall || so persecuted they the prophets which revile you, and persecute you, and shall say were before you. all manner of evil against you ‘falsely, 13 | Ye are the salt of the earth : 'but if my sake.

the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Probably our Lord alludes to the advantages those had, || Christ gives no quarter to vice; so the vicious will give no who were legally pure, of entering into the sanctuary, into l quarter to this religion, or to its professors. the presence of God, while those who had contracted any | For their's is the kingdom of heaven. ] That spiritual king, legal defilement, were excluded from it. This also was obvi-dom, explained chap. iii. 2. and that kingdom of glory. ously typical.

| which is its counterpart, and consequence. Verse 9. The peace-makers] Eignun, peace, is compounded Verse 11. When men shall recile you, and persecute] The of agow (+15) in, connecting into one : for as war distracts, and persecution mentioned in the preceding verse, comprehends divides nations, families, and individuals, from each other, | all outward acts of violence—all that the hand can do. This inducing them to pursue different objects and different in comprehends all calumny, slander, &c. all that the tongue terests : so Peace restores them to a state of unity, giving can effect. But as Sowaty, which we render to persecute, is a them one object, and one interest. A peuce-maker is a man, forensic term, and signifies legal persecutions and public who, being endowed with a generous public spirit, labours | accusations, which, though totally unsubstantiated. were for the public good; and feels his own interest promoted, || the means of destroying multitudes of the primitive Chrisin promoting that of others : therefore, instead of fanning || tians, our Lord probably refers to such. No Protestant can the fire of strife, he uses his influence and wisdom to recon- || think, without horror, of the great numbers burnt alive in cile the contending parties, adjust their differences, and re this country, on such accusations, under the popish reign store them to a state of unity. As all men are represented | of her, who is emphatically called Bloody Queen Mary. to be in a state of hostility to God and each other, the Gos

to God and each other, the Gos- || Verse 12. Rejoice] In the testimony of a good conscience; pel is called the Gospel of peace, because it tends to recon- || for without this, suffering has nothing but misery in it. cile men to God and to each other. Hence our Lord here | Be exceeding glad] Ayad nosode, leap for joy. There are terms peace-makers, the children of God : for as he is the Fa- several cases on record, where this was literally done by the ther of peace, those who promote it are reputed his children. | martyrs, in Queen Mary's days. But whose children are they who foment divisions in the | Great is your reward in heaven] In the Talmudical Tract church, the state, or among families ? Surely they are not || Pirkey Aboth, are these words : “Rabbi Tarpon said. The of that God, who is the Father of peace, and lover of con-|| day is short : the work is great : the labourers are slow : the cord; of that CHRIST, who is the sacrifice and mediator of | REWARD IS GREAT : and the father of the family is urgent.”. it; of that Spirit, who is the nourisher and bond of peace; || The followers of Christ are encouraged to suffer joyfully nor of that Church of the Most High, which is the kingdom on two considerations. 1. They are thereby conformed to and family of peace,

the prophets who went before. 2. Their reward in heaven · St. Clement, Strom. lib. iv. s. 6. in fin. says, that “ Some || is a great one. God gives the grace to suffer, and then who transpose the Gospels, add this verse : Happy they who crowns that grace with glory; hence it is plain, the reward are persecuted by justice, for they shall be perfect : happy they || is not of debt, but of grace : Rom. vi. 23. who are persecuted on my account, for they shall have a place | Verse 13. Ye are the sult of the earth] Our Lord shews where they shall not be persecuted.

here what the preachers of the Gospel, and what all who proVerse 10. They which are persecuted] Adiwypiros, they who | fess to follow him, should be ; the salt of the earth, to preare hard pressed upon, and pursued with repeated acts of serve the world from putrefaction and destruction. See the enmity. Purkhurst. They are happy who suffer, seems a note on Lev. ii. 13. strange saying: and that the righteous should suffer, merely | But if the salt have lost his savour] That this is possible in because they are such, seems as strange. But such is the | the land of Judea, we have proof from Mr. Maundrell, who, enmity of the human heart to every thing of God and good- || describing the Valley of Sult, speaks thus : “ Along, on one ness, that all those who live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suf- || side of the valley, towards Gibul, there is a small precipice fer persecution in one form or other. As the religion of || about two mcn's lengths, occasioned by the continual taking

and the light of the world.


Their light should shine before men.

A.M. 2031. it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for it under oa bushel, but on a candle- A.M. 4031. A. D. 27.

A. D. 27. An. Olymp. nothing, but to be cast out, and to be stick; and it giveth light unto all that An. Olymp. CCI. 3.

CCI. 3. - trodden under foot of men.

are in the house. 14 'Ye are the light of the world. A city|| 16 Let your light so shine before men, " that that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

they may see your good works, and 'glorify 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put your Father which is in heaven.

* Pror. 4. 18. Phil. 2. 15.

Mark 4. 21. Luke 8. 16. & 11. 33.

The word in the original signifieth a measure containing about a pint less

than a peck. 1 Pet. 2. 12.- John 15. 8. 1 Cor. 14. 25.

away of the salt; and in this, you may see how the veins of we cannot arrive without pains: whilst it withdraws us from it lie. I broke a piece of it, of which, that part that was the earth, and carries us nearer heaven, it places us in view, exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and as a mark, to the malice of carnal men.” and particles of salt, YET IT HAD PERFECTLY LOST ITS SAVOUR: Verse 15. Neither. do men light a candle, and put it under a the inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained bushel] A bushel, rodios:-a measure both among the Greeks its savour, as I found by proof.” See his Trav. 5th edit. last l and Romans, containing a little more than a peck English. page. A preacher or private Christian, who has lost the From some ancient writers we learn, that only those who life of Christ, and the witness of his Spirit, out of his soul, had bad designs, hid a.candle under a bushel ; that, in the may be likened to this salt. He may have the sparks and dead of the night, when all were asleep, they might rise up, glittering particles of true wisdom, but without its unction or and have light at hand to help them to effect their horrid. confort. Only that which is connected with the rock, the soul purposes of murder, &c. See Wetstein, Kypke, Wolf, &c. that is in union with Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, can pre- || Verse 16. Let your light so shine] Or, more literally, Thus serve its savour, and be instrumental of good to others. let your light shine, Outw Rapfatw to Ows. As the sun is light

To be trodden under foot] There was a species of salt in ed up in the firmament of heaven to diffuse its light and Judea, which was generated at the lake Asphaltitis, and || heat freely to every inhabitant of the earth; and, as the lamp hence called - bituminous salt, easily rendered vapid, and of is not set under the bushel, but placed upon the lamp-stand, no other use but to be spread in a part of the temple, to that it may give light to all in the house; thus let every folprevent slipping in wet weather. This is probably what our || lower of Christ, and especially every preacher of the GosLord alludes to in this place. The existence of such a salt, pel, diffuse the light of heavenly knowledge, and the warmth and its application to such a use, Schoetgenius has largely of divine love, through the whole circle of their acquaintproved in his Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 18, &c.

ance. Verse 14. Ye are the light of the world.] That is, the in | That they may see your good works] It is not sufficient to struments which God chooses to make use of, to illuminate have light-we must walk in the light, and by the light, the minds of men, as he uses the sun (to which probably Our whole conduct should be a perpetual comment on the he pointed) to enlighten the world. Light of the world, 73 doctrine we have received, and a constant exemplification of Shry ner ólam, was a title applied to the most eminent Rab- its power and truth. bins. Christ transfers the title from these, and gives it to And glorify your Father] The following curious saying is his own disciples, who, by the doctrines that he taught found in Bammidbar Rabba, s. 15. “ The Israelites said to them, were to be the means of diffusing the light of life the holy blessed God, Thou commandest us to light lamps throughout the universe.

to thee; and yet thou art the Light of the world, and with A city that is set on a hill] This place may receive light thee the light dwelleth. The holy blessed God answered, I do from the following passage in Maundrel's Travels. “A few | not command this because I need light; but that you may points towards the north (of Tabor) appears that which reflect light upon me, as I have illuminated you :--that the they call the Mount of Beatitudes, a small rising, from which people may say, Behold, how the Israelites illustrate him, our blessed Saviour delivered his Sermon in the fifth, sixth, who illuminates them in the sight of the whole earth.” See and seventh chapters of Matthew. Not far from this little more in Schoetgen. Real Christians are the children of God hill is the city Saphet, supposed to be the ancient Bethulia. | they are partakers of his holy and happy nature: they It stands upon a very eminent and conspicuous mountain, and should ever be concerned for their Father's honour, and enis seeN par and Near. May we not suppose, that Christ |deavour so to recommend him and his salvation, that others alludes to this city, in these words of his, A city set on a hill may be prevailed on to come to the light, and walk in it. cinnot be hid ?" p. 115. Quesnell remarks here: “ The Then God is said to be glorified, when the glorious power of Christian life is something very high and sublime, to which his grace is manifested in the salvation of meo .

Christ is not come to


destroy the law or the prophets.

A. M. 4031. 17 | Think not that I am come | 18 For, verily I say unto you, Till A
A.D. 27.

A.D. 27. An. Olymp. to destroy the law, or the prophets ; heaven and earth pass, one jot or one An. Olymp. CCI. S. 1

CCI. 3. - I am not come to destroy, but to | tittle shall in no wise pass from the fulfil:

law, till all be fulfilled.

a Rom. 3. 31. & 10. 4. Gal. 3. 24.

Luke 16. 17.

Verse 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Hebrew alphabet. One tittle, or point, xeparia, either meanlaw] Do not imagine that I am come to violate the Law ing those points which serve for vowels in this language, if rataduras, from xata, and now, I loose, violate, or dis- | they then existed; or the apices, or points of certain letters, solve-I am not come to make the Law of none effect-to such as a resh, or 7 daleth, i he, or a cheth, (as the change dissolve the connection which subsists between its several ll of any of these into the other, would make a most essential parts, or the obligation men are under to have their lives alteration in the sense, or, as the Rabbins say, destroy the regulated by its moral precepts; nor am I come to dissolve world). the connecting reference it has to the good things promised. | That this saying, one jot or one tittle, is a proverbial But I am come, Tangwex, to completeto perfect its con- | mode of expression among the Jews, and that it expressed nection and reference, to accomplish every thing shadowed || the meaning given to it above, is amply proved by the exforth in the Mosaic ritual, to fill up its great design; and to tracts in Lightfoot and Schoetgen. The Reader will not be give grace to all my followers, aangwoos, to fill up, or com- | displeased to find a few of them here, if he can bear with plete, every moral duty. In a word, Christ completed the the allegorical and strongly figurative language of the Law: Ist. In itself, it was only the shadow, the typical re- Rabbins. presentation of good things to come; and he added to it that Il “ The book of Deuteronomy came and prostrated itself which was necessary to make it perfect, his own SACRIFICE, || before the Lord, and said, 'O Lord of the world, thou hast without which it could neither satisfy God, nor sanctify 1 written in me thy Law; but now, a Testament defective in men. 2dly. He completed it in himself, by submitting to some parts, is defective in 'all. Behold, Solomon endeaits types with an exact obedience, and verifying them by vours to root the letter · yod out of me :' (in this text, his death upon the cross. 3dly. He completes this Law, Deut. xvii. 5. 'Di na9 ms lo yirbeh nashim, he shall not and the sayings of bis Prophets, in his members, by giving multiply wives.) The holy blessed God answered, Solomon, them grace to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, || and a thousand such as he, shall perish, but the least word and strength, and their neighbour as themselves; for this | shall not perish out of thee.' is all the Law and the Prophets..

In Shir Hashirim Rabba, are these words : “ Should all the - It is worthy of observation, that the word 7 gamar, || inhabitants of the earth gather together, in order to whiten among the Rabbins, signifies not only to fulfil, but also to one feather of a crow, they could not succeed : ‘so, if all the teach; and consequently, we may infer that our Lord inti | inhabitants of the earth should unite to abolish one · yod, mated, that the Law and the Prophets were still to be which is the smallest letter in the whole Law, they should taught or inculcated by him and his disciples; and this he not be able to effect it.” and they have done in the most pointed manner. . See the In Vayikra Rabba, s. 19. it is said: “ Should any person Gospels and Epistles; and see especially this Sermon on the in the words of Deut. vi. 4. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God mount, the Epistle of James, and the Epistle to the He- || is ynx achad, one Lord, change the adaleth into a 7 resh, brews. And this meaning of the word gives the clear sense he would ruin the world.” [Because, in that case, the word of the Apostle's words, Coloss. i. 25. Whereof I am made a || nx achar, would signify a strange or false God.] minister, mangucal Toy Loyoy tou tov, to fulfil the word of God, Il “ Should any one, in the words of Exod. xxxiv. 14. Thou i, e. to teach the doctrine of God.

shalt worship no OTHER, 978 achar, God, change 9 resh into Verse 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven] In the daleth, he would ruin the world.” [Because the command very commencement of his ministry, Jesus Christ teaches the || would then run, Thou shalt not worship the ONLY or true instability of all visible things. “ The heaven which you | God.] see, and which is so glorious, and the earth which you in “ Should any one, in the words of Levit. xxii. 32. habit and love, shall pass away; for the things which are Neither shall ye . PROPHANE, 7bno techalelu, my holy name, seen are temporal, Tigop nanga, are for a time; but the things change a cheth into'n he, he would ruin the world.” [Bewhich are not seen are eternal, amwnd, ever-during,2 Cor. ll cause the sense of the commandment would then be, Neither iv. 18. And the word of the Lord endureth for ever. shall ye Praise my holy name.]

One jot or one tittle] One yod, () the smallest letter in the ll “ Should any one, in the words of Psal. cl. 6. Let every

« PreviousContinue »