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Forgiveness of

ST. MATTHEW.

injuries inculcated. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there re- | to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou memberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; be cast into prisou. 24 b Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; firet De reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, d whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee

a Ch. 8. 4. & 23; 19.-b See Job 42. 8. Ch. 18. 19. 1 Tim. 2. 8. 1 Pet. 3. 7.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

e Prov. 95. 8. Lk. 12. 58, 59.-d See Ps. 32. 6. Is. 55. 6.-e Ex. M, 14. Pơn. §. 13. Then come and offer thy gift.] Then, when either thy bro to effect this reconciliation. My own obstinacy and uncharitableness must render me utterly unfit to receive any gool from God's hands, or to worship him in an acceptable nianner; but the wickedness of another can be no hinderance to me, when I have endeavoured earnestly to get it removed, though without effect.

25. Agree with thine adversary quickly.] Adversary, avridikos, properly a plaintiff in law-a perfect law term. Our Lord enforces the exhortation given in the preceding verses from the consideration of what was deemed prudent in ordinary law-suits. In such cases, men should make up matters with the utmost speed; as running through the whole course of a law-suit, inust not only be vexations, but be attended with great expense; and in the end, though the loser may be ruined, yet the gainer has nothing. A good use of this very prudential advice of our Lord is this: Thou art a sinner: God hath a controversy with thee. There is but a step between thee and death. Now is the accepted time. Thou art invited to return to God by Christ Jesus. Come immediately at his call, and he will save thy soul. Delay not! Eternity is at hand: and if thou die in thy sins, where God is thou shalt never come.

Those who make the adversary, God; the judge, Christ; the officer, Death; and the prison, Hell, abuse the passage, and highly dishonour God.

Shall be in danger of hell fire.] Ενοχος έσται εις την γενναν Tov vpos, shall be liable to the hell of fire. Our Lord here alther is reconciled to thee, or thou hast done all in thy power ludes to the valley of the son of Hinnom, Dan Ghi hinom, This place was near Jerusalem, and had been formerly used for those abominable sacrifices in which the idolatrous Jews had caused their children to pass through the fire to Molech. A particular place in this valley was called Tophet, from tophet, the fire-store, in which, some suppose, they burnt their children alive to the above idol. See 2 Kings xxiii. 10. 2Chron. xxviii. 3. Jer. vii. 31, 32. From the circumstance of this valley having been the scene of those infernal sacrifices, the Jews, in our Saviour's time, used the word for hell, the plare of the damned. See the word applied in this sense by the Targum, on Ruth ii. 12. Psal. cxl. 12. Gen. iii. 24. xv. 17. It is very probable, that our Lord means no more here than this: If a man charge another with apostacy from the Jewish religion, or rebellion against God, and cannot prove his charge, then he is exposed to that punishment(burning alive) which the other must have suffered, if the charge had been substantiated. There are three kinds of offences here, which exceed each other in their degrees of guilt. Anger against a man, accompanied with some injurious act. 2dly. Contempt, expressed by the opprobrious epithet raka, or shallow brains. 3dly. Hatred and mortal enmity, expressed by the term moreh, or apostate, where such apostacy could not be proved. Now, proportioned to these three offences were three different degrees of punishment, each exceeding the other in its severity, as the offences exceeded each other in their different degrees of guilt. 1st. The judgment, the council of twenty-three, which could inflict the punishment of strangling. 2dly. The sanhedrim, or great council, which could inflict the punishment of stoning. And 3dly, the being burnt alive in the valley of the son of Hinnom. This appears to be the meaning of our Lord. Now, if the above offences were to be so severely punished, which did not immediately affect the life of another, how much sorer must the punishment of murder be? ver. 21. And as there could not be a greater punishment inflicted than death, in the above terrific forms, and this was to be inflicted for minor crimes; then the punishment of murder must not only have death here, but a hell of fire in the eternal world, attached to it. It seems that these different degrees of guilt, and the punishment attached to each, had not been properly distinguished among the Jews. Our Lord here calls their at tention back to them, and gives them to understand, that in the coming world there are different degrees of punishment prepared for different degrees of vice; and that not only the outward act of iniquity should be judged and punished by the Lord, but that injurious words, and evil passions, should all meet their just recompense and reward. Murder is the most punishable of all crimes, according to the written law, in respect both of our neighbour and civil society. But He who sees the heart, and judges it by the eternal law, punishes as much a word, or a desire, if the hatred whence they proceed be complete and perfected. Dr. Lightfoot has some curious observations on this passage in the preface to his Harmony of the Evangelists. See his works, Vol. II. and the conclusion of this chapter.

23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift.] Evil must be nipped in the bud. An unkind thought of another may be the foundation of that which leads to actual murder. A Christian, properly speaking, cannot be an enemy to any man: nor is he to consider any man his enemy, without the fullest evidence: for surmises to the prejudice of another, can never rest in the bosom of him who has the love of God in his heart, for to him all men are brethren. He sees all men as children of God, and members of Christ, or at least capable of becoming such. If a tender forgiving spirit was required, even in a Jew, when he approached God's altar with a bullock or a lamb, how much more necessary is this in a man who professes to be a follower of the Lamb of God; especially when he receives the sym. bols of that Sacrifice which was offered for the life of the world, in what is commonly called the sacrament of the Lord's supper?

26. The utmost farthing.] Kodpavrny. The rabbins have this Greek word corrupted into De kordiontes, and pnp kontarik, and say, that two non prutoth, make a kontarik, which is exactly the same with those words in Mark xii. 42. Xerra dvo, o εσTi Kodpartns, two mites, which are one farthing. Hence it appears, that the Acarov, lepton, was the same as the prutah. The weight of the prutch was half a barley corn, and it was the smallest coin among the Jews, as the kodrantes, or farthing, was the smallest coin among the Romans. If the matter issue in law, strict justice will be done, and your creditor be allowed the fulness of his just claim; but if, while you are on the way, going to the magistrate, you come to a friendly agreement with him, he will relax in his clains, take a part for the whole, and the composition be, in the end, both to his and your profit.

This text has been considered a proper foundation on which to build not only the doctrine of a purgatory, but also that of universal restoration. But the most unwarrantable violence must be used before it can be pressed into the service of either of the above antiscriptural doctrines. At the most, the text can only be considered as a metaphorical representation of the procedure of the great Judge; and let it ever be remembered, that, by the general consent of all, (except the basely interest. ed,) no metaphor is ever to be produced in proof of any doc. trine. In the things that concern our eternal salvation, we need the most pointed and express evidence on which to esta blish the faith of our souls.

27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old.] By the ancients, rats apxalots, is omitted by nearly a hundred MSS. and some of then of the very greatest antiquity and autho rity; also by the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Gothic, and Slavonian versions; by four copies of the old Itala; and by Origen, Cyril, Theophylact, Euthymius, and Hilary. On this authority, Wetstein and Griesbach have left it out of the text.

28. Whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her.] Enonungat anrny, earnestly to covet her. The verb covuto, is undoubtedly used here by our Lord, in the sense of coveting through the influence of impure desire. The word is used in precisely the same sense, on the same subject, by Ferodo tus, book the first, near the end. I will give the passage, but I dare not translate it. To the learned reader it will justify my translation, and the unlearned must take my word. Th ΕΠΙΘΥΜΗΣΕΙ γυναικός Μασσαγέτης ανηρ, μίσγεται άδεως. Raphelius, on this verse, says, novusi, hoc loco, est turpi cu. piditate mulieris potiunde flagrare. In all these cases our blessed Lord points out the spirituality of the law; which was a matter to which the Jews paid very little attention. Indeed it is the property of a Pharisee to abstain only from the outward crime. Men are very often less inquisitive to know how far the will of God extends, that they many please him in performing it, than they are to know how far they may satisfy their lusts without destroying their bodies and souls utterly, by an open violation of his law.

24. Leave there thy gift before the altar.] This is as much as to say, "Do not attempt to bring any offering to God whilst thou art in a spirit of enmity against any person, or hast any difference with thy neighbour which thou hast not used thy diligence to get adjusted." It is our duty and interest, both to bring our gift, and offer it too; but God will not accept of any act of religious worship from us, while any entity subsists in our hearts towards any soul of man: or while any subsists in our neighbour's heart towards us, which we have not used Hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.) It the proper means to remove. A religion, the very essence of is the earnest wish or desire of the soul, which, in a variety which is love, cannot suffer at its altars a heart that is revenge. of cases, constitutes the good or evil of an act. If a man ful and uncharitable, or which does not use its utmost en-earnestly wish to commit an evil, but cannot, because Go deavours to revive love in the heart of another. The original word, dopov, which we translate gift, is used by the rabbing in Hebrew letters p doron, which signifies not only a gift, but a sacrifice offered to God. See several proofs in Schoetigen.

puts time, place, and opportunity out of his power; he is fully chargeable with the iniquity of the act, by that God who searches and judges the heart. So, if a man earnestly wish to do some kindness, which it is out of his power to perío. m,

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in

29 b And if thy right eye offend thee, d pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy mem bers should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

a Job 31. 1. Pro, 6, 25. See Gen. 34. 2. 2 Sam. 11. 2-b Ch. 19. 8, 9. Mk. 9. 43-47. e Or, do cause thee to offend-d See Ch. 19. 12. Rom. 8. 13, 1 Cor. 9. 27. Col. 3. 5. Deu. 24. 1. Jer 3 1. See Ch. 19. 3, &c. Mark 10. 2, &c.

the act is considered as his; because God, in this case, as in that above, takes the will for the deed. If voluntary and deliberate looks and desires make adulterers and adulteresses, how many persons are there whose whole life is one continued crime? whose eyes being full of adultery, they cannot cease from sin, 2 Pet. ii. 14. Many would abhor to commit one external act before the eyes of men, in a temple of stone; and yet they are not afraid to commit a multitude of such acts in the temple of their hearts, and in the sight of God!

29. And if thy right eye offend thee.] The right eye and the right hand are used here to point out those sins which appear most pleasing and profitable to us; from which we must Se separated, if we desire ever to see the kingdom of God. Offend thee.] Exavdaligice. Te fait broncher, cause thee to stumble, French Bible. Exavdadnopa, is explained by Suidas, "that piece of wood in a trap or pit for wild beasts, which being trodden upon by them, causes them to fall into the trap or pit." The word in Suidae appears to be compounded of axavdaλov, a stumbling-block, or something that causes a man to trip, and Aalpa, private or hidden. Thus, then, the right eye may be considered the darling idol; the right hand the profitable employment, pursued on sinful principles; these become snares and traps to the soul, by which it falls into the pit of perdition.

29, 30. Pluck it out-cut it off.] We must shut our senses against dangerous objects, to avoid the occasions of sin, and deprive ourselves of all that is most dear and profitable to us, in order to save our souls, when we find that these dear and profitable things, however innocent in themselves, cause us to sin against God.

It is profitable for thee that one of thy members.] Men often part with some members of the body, at the discretion of a surgeon, that they may preserve the trunk and die a little later; and yet they will not deprive themselves of a look, a touch, a small pleasure, which endanger the eternal death of the soul. It is not enough to shut the eye, or stop the hand; the one must be plucked out, and the other cut off. Neither is this enough, we must cast them both from us. Not one moment's truce with an evil passion, or a sinful appetite. If you indulge them, they will gain strength, and you shall be ruined. The rabbíns have a saying similar to this: "It is better for thee to be scorched with a little fire in this world, than to be burned with a devouring fire in the world to come."

31. Whosoever shall put away his wife.] The Jewish doctors gave great license in the matter of divorce. Among them, a man might divorce his wife if she displeased him even in the dressing of his victuals!

Rabbi Akiba said, "If any man saw a woman handsomer than his own wife, he might put his wife away; because it is said in the Law, If she find not favour in his eyes." Deut. xxiv. 1.

Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, in his life tells us, with the utmost coolness and indifference," About this time I put away my wife, who had borne me three children, not being pleased with her manners."

These two cases are sufficient to show, to what a scandalous and criminal excess this matter was carried among the Jews. However, it was allowed by the school of Shammai, that no man was to put away his wife, unless for adultery. The school of Hillel gave much greater license.

A writing of divorcement.] The following is the common form of such a writing. See Maimonides and Lightfoot.

"On the day of the week A. in the month B. in the year C. from the beginning of the world, according to the common computation, in the province of D. I, N. the son of N. by whatever name I am called, of the city E., with entire consent of mind, and without any compulsion, have divorced, dismissed, and expelled thee-thee, I say, M. the daughter of M. by whatever name thou art called, of the city E., who wast heretofore my wife: but now I have dismissed thee-thee, I say, M. the daughter of M. by whatever name thou art called, of the city E., so as to be free and at thine own disposal, to marry whomsoever thou pleasest, without hinderance from any one, from this day for ever. Thou art therefore free for any man. Let this be thy bill of divorce from me, a writing of separation and expulsion, according to the law of Moses and Israel. REUBEN, son of Jacob, Witness. ELIEZAR, son of Gilead, Witness."

God permitted this evil to prevent a greater; and, perhaps, to typify his repudiating the Jews, who were his first spouse. 32. Saving for the cause of fornication.] Aoyov Topvsias,

Of lawful and unlawful divorces.

32 But I say unto you, That Whosoever shall put away his
mit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced,
wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to com-
committeth adultery.

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of
unto the Lord thine oaths:
old time, h Thou shalt no forswear thyself, but i shalt perform

34 But I say unto you, k Swear not at all; neither by heaven;
for it is God's throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jern-
salem; for it is the city of the great king.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou cans
not make one hair white or black.

f Ch. 19. 9. Luke 16, 18. Rom. 7.3. 1 Cor. 7. 10, 11-g Ch. 23. 16-h Ex. 20.7
Lev. 19. 12. Num. 30. 2. Deu. 5. 11.- Deu. 28. 23-k Ch. 23. 16, 18, 22. James 3
12.- Isa. 66. 1.-m Ps. 48. 2. & 57.3

on account of whoredom. As fornication signifies no more
than the unlawful connexion of unmarried persons, it can-
not be used here with propriety, when speaking of those who
are married. I have therefore translated Aoyov opvelas, on
account of whoredom. It does not appear that there is any
other case in which Jesus Christ adimits of divorce. A real
"But divorce was al-
Christian ought rather to beg of God the grace to bear patient-
ly and quietly the imperfections of his wife, than to think of
the means of being parted from her.
lowed by Moses; yes, for the hardness of their hearts it was
permitted: but what was permitted to an uncircumcised
in which the love of God has been shed abroad by the Holy
heart among the Jews, should not serve for a rule to a heart
Spirit. Those who form a matrimonial connexion in the fear
and love of God, and under his direction, will never need a
divorce. But those who marry as passion or money lead the
way, may be justly considered adulterers and adulteresses
as long as they live.

33. Thou shalt not forswear thyself.] They dishonour the
great God, and break this commandment, who use frequent
oaths and imprecations, even in reference to things that are
true: and those who make vows and promises which they
criminal. Swearing in civil matters is become so frequent,
either cannot perform, or do not design to fulfil, are not less
that the dread and obligation of an oath are utterly lost in it.
In certain places, where oaths are frequently administered,
people have been known to kiss their thumb or pen, instead
of the book, thinking thereby to avoid the sin of perjury; but
on Deut. iv. 26. vi. 13.
this is a shocking imposition on their souls. See the notes

Perform unto the Lord thine oaths.] The morality of the Jews on this point was truly execrable: they maintained, that a man might swear with his lips, and annul it in the same moment in his heart. Rab. Akiba is quoted as an example of this kind of swearing. See Schoettgen.

34. Swear not at all.] Much has been said in vindication of the propriety of swearing in civil cases before a magistrate, and much has been said against it. The best way is to have as little to do as possible with oaths. An oath will not bind a knave nor a liar; and an honest man needs none, for his character and conduct swear for him. On this subject the advice of Epictetus is very good: "Swear not at all, if possible; if you cannot avoid, do it as little as you can." Enchir. c. 44. See on Deut. iv. 26. vi. 13.

34, 35. Neither by heaven, &c.] It was a custom among most solemn manner, to swear by the king's throne; and if the Scythians, when they wished to bind themselves in the the king was at any time sick, they believed it was occasioned Who is there among the traders and people of this world by some one's having taken the oath falsely. Herod. 1. iv. who obey this law? A common swearer is constantly perjuring himself: such a person should never be trusted. Wnen we make any promise contrary to the command of God, tabelonging to him, we engage that which is not ours, without king, as a pledge of our sincerity, either GoD, or something the Master's consent. God manifests his glory in heaven as upon his throne; he imprints the footsteps of his perfections upon the earth, his footstool; and shows, that his holiness and Let it be our constant care to seek and honour God in all his grace reign in his temple as the place of his residence. his works.

36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head.] For these plain reasons; 1st. God commands thee not to do it. 2dly. Thou hast nothing which is thy own, and thou shouldst not pledge another's property. 3dly. It never did, and never can, answer any good purpose. And 4thly. Being a breach of the law of God, it is the way to everlasting misery.

37. Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay.] That is, a positive affirmation or negation, according to your knowledge of the matter concerning which you are called to testify. Do not equivocate; mean what you assert, and adhere to your assertion. Hear what a heathen says on this Εχθρος γαρ μοι κείνος όμως αίδαο πυλησιν, subject: Ος χ' ετέρον μεν κευθεί ενι φρεσιν αλλά δε βάζει. Hom. I. ix. 312. "He whose words agree not with his private thoughts, is as detestable to me as the gates of hell." See on Josh. ii. at the end.

See the subject of swearing particularly considered in 29 the note at the conclusion of Deut. chap. vi.

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37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for
whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said,
eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

An eye for an 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

a Col. 4. 6. James 5, 12-bEx. 21. 24. Lev. 24. 20. Deu. 19. 21- Pro, 9). 22. & 24.29 Luke 6:49. Rom. 12. 17, 19. 1 Cor. 6. 7. 1 Thess. 5. 13. 1 Pet. 3. 9. Whatsoever is more than these. That is, inore than a bare affirmation or negation, according to the requirements of Eternal Truth, cometh of evil; or, is of the wicked one-k TOU ROUNDOY COT, i. e. the devil, the father of superfluities and lies. One of Selden's MSS. and Gregory Nyssen, a commentator of the fourth century, have εκ του διαβόλου έστιν, 18 of the devil.

resentment of injuries.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with

him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and f from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

dlsa, 50, 6. Lam. 3. 30.-e Ch. 27. 2. Mark 15. 21.-f Deu. 15. 8, 10. Lake 6. 30, 36. Rom. 12. 21.

jury. But these exhortations belong to those principally who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Let such leave the judgment of their cause to Him for whose sake they suffer. The Jews always thought that every outrage should be resented: and thus the spirit of hatred and strife was fostered. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law. Every where our blessed Lord shows the utmost disapprobation of such litigations as tended to destroy brotherly kindness and cha rity. It is evident he would have his followers to suffer rather the loss of all their property, than to have recourse to such modes of redress at so great a risk. Having the mind averse from contentions, and preferring peace and concord to tem poral advantages, is most solemnly recommended to all Christians. We are great gainers when we lose only our money or other property, and risk not the loss of our souls by losing Or the love of God and man.

Coat.] Xirova, upper garment.-Cloak, ipariov, under gar ment. What we call strait coat, and great coat. See on Luke vi. 29.

41. Shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.] Ayya pevect. This word is said to be derived from the Persians, among whom the king's messengers or posts, were called Ayyapot, or Angari. This definition is given both by Hesy chius and Suidas.

That the Jews were notoriously guilty of common swearing, for which our Lord particularly reprehends them, and warns his disciples against; and that they swore by heaven, by earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, &c. the following extracts, made by Dr. Lightfoot from their own writings, amply testify: "It was customary and usual among them to swear by the creatures. If any swear by heaven, by earth, by the sun, &c. although the mind of the swearer be, under these words, to swear by Him who created them, yet this is not an oath. if any swear by some of the prophets, or by some of the books of the Scripture, although the sense of the swearer be to swear by HIM that sent that prophet, or that gave that book, never theless this is not an oath.' MAIMONIDES. If any adjure another by heaven or earth, he is not guilty. TALMUD. They swore by HEAVEN, hashshamayim, cen hu, By heaven, so it is.' BAB. BERAC. They swore by the TEMPLE. When turtles and young pigeons were sometimes sold at Jerusalem for a penny of gold, Rabban Simeon ben Gama- The Persian messengers had the royal authority for press. liel said, pyn By this habitation, (that is, by this TEM ing horses, ships, and even men, to assist them in the business PLE) I will not rest this night unless they be sold for a penny on which they were employed. These Angari are now termed of silver.' CHERITUTH, cap. i. R. Zechariah ben Ketsab Chappars, and serve to carry despatches between the court Baid, pyonBy this TEMPLE, the hand of the woman de and the provinces. When a chappar sets out, the master of parted not out of my hand.-R. Jochanan said, N, By the horse furnishes him with a single horse, and when that the TEMPLE, it is in our hand,' &c. KETUBOTH and BAB. is weary, he dismounts the first man he meets, and takes his KIDUSHIN. Bava ben Buta swore by the TEMPLE, in the horse. There is no pardon for a traveller that refuses to let end of the tract Cherithuth, and Rabban Simeon ben Gama a chappar have his horse, nor for any other who should deny liel in the beginning, an n-And so was the custom him the best horse in his stable. See Sir J. Chardin's and in Israel. Note this, so was the custom. JUCAS. fol. 56. They Hanway's travels. For pressing post-horses, &c. the Persian swore by the city Jerusalem. Rab. Judah saith, He that term is, Sukhreh geriften. I find no Persian sarth, By JERUSALEM, saith nothing, unless with an intent word exactly of the sound and signification of Ayyapos; but purpose he shall vow towards Jerusalem.' Where also, after the Arabic let, agharet, signifies spurring a horse, attack two lines coming between those forms of swearing and vowing, plundering, &c. The Greek word itself is preserved

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angaria, and אנגרי among the rabbins in Hebrew characters | ירושלם לירושלם בירושלם היכל להיכל בהיכל ,ing, are added

We are here exhorted to patience and forgiveness: First, when we receive in our persons all sorts of insults and affronts, ver. 39.

Jerusalem, For Jerusalem, By Jerusalem.-The Temple, it has precisely the same meaning; viz. to be compelled by
For the Temple, By the Temple-The Altar, For the Altar, violence to do any particular service, especially of the public
By the Altar.-The Lamb, For the Lamb, By the Lamb.-kind, by the king's authority. Lightfoot gives several instan.
The chambers of the Temple, For the chambers of the Temple, ces of this kind in his Hora Talmudice.
By the chambers of the Temple.-The Word, For the Word,
By the Word.-The Sacrifices on fire, For the Sucrifices on
fire, By the Sacrifices on fire.-The Dishes, For the Dishes,
By the Dishes.-By all these things that I will do this to you.'
TOSAPH. ad NEDARIM. They swore by their own HEADS.
"One is bound to swear to his neighbour, and he saith, TN
Vow (or swear) to me by the life of thy head,' &c.
SANHEDR. cap. 3.

"One of the holiest of their precepts relative to swearing was this; Be not much in oaths, although one should swear concerning things that are true: for in much swearing it is impossible not to profane.' Tract. DEMAL"-See Lightfoot's Works, Vol. II. p. 149.

They did not pretend to forbid ALL common swearing, but only what they term MUCH. A Jew might swear, but he must not be too abundant in the practice. Against such permission our Lord opposes his Swear NOT AT ALL! He who uses any oath, except what he is solemnly called by the magistrate to make, so far from being a Christian, he does not deserve the reputation, either of decency, or common sense. In some of our old elementary books for children, we have this good maxim: "Never swear: for he that swears will lie; and he that lies will steal; and if so, what bad things will he not do." READING MADE EASY.

38. An eye for an eye.] Our Lord refers here to the law of retaliation mentioned Ex. xxi. 24. (see the note there, and on Lev. xxiv. 20.) which obliged the offender to suffer the same injury he had committed. The Greeks and Romans had the same law. So strictly was it attended to at Athens, that if a man put out the eye of another who had but one, the offender was condemned to lose both his eyes, as the loss of one would not be an equivalent inisfortune. It seems that the Jews had made this law (the execution of which belonged to the civil magistrate) a ground for authorizing private resentments, and all the excesses committed by a vindictive spirit. Revenge was often carried to the utmost extremity, and more evil returned than what had been received. This is often the case among those who are called Christians.

39. Resist not evil.] Or, the evil person. So, I am fully persuaded, rovno, ought to be translated. Our Lord's incaning is, "Do not repel one outrage by another." He that does so, makes himself precisely what the other is, a wicked

person.

Turn to him the other also.] That is, rather than avenge thy self, be ready to suffer patiently a repetition of the same in

Secondly, When we are despoiled of our goods, ver. 40. Thirdly, When our bodies are forced to undergo all kinds of toils, vexations, and torinents, ver. 41. The way to improve the injustice of man to our own advantage, is to exercise under it meekness, gentleness, and long-suffering, without which disposition of mind, no man can either be happy here or hereafter: for he that avenges himself, must lose the mind of Christ, and thus suffer an injury ten thousand times greater than he can ever receive from man. Revenge, at such an expense, is dear indeed.

42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow.] To give and lend freely to all who are in need, is a general precept from which we are only excused by our inability to perform it. Men are more or less obliged to it as they are more or less able, as the want is more or less pressing: as they are more or less burthened with common poor, or with necessitous relatives. In all these matters, both pru dence and charity must be consulted. That God, who makes use of the beggar's hand to ask our charity, is the same from whom we ourselves beg our daily bread: and dare we refuse HIM! Let us show at least mildness and compassion, when we can do no more: and if we cannot or will not relieve a poor man, let us never give him an ill word nor an ill look. If we do not relieve him, we have no right to insult him.

To give and to lend, are two duties of charity which Christ joins together, and which he sets on equal footing. A rich man is one of God's stewards. God has given him money for the poor, and he cannot deny it without an act of injustice. But no man, from what is called a principle of charity or gene rosity, should give that in alms which belongs to his credit ors. Generosity is godlike, but Justice has ever, both in Law and Gospel, the first claim.

A loan is often more beneficial than an absolute gift: first, because it flatters less the vanity of him who lends: secondly, it spares more the shame of him who is in real want: and thirdly, it gives less encouragement to the idleness of him who may not be very honest. However, no advantage should be taken of the necessities of the borrower; he who does so, is at least half a murderer. The lending which our Lord here inculcates, is that which requires no more than the restora tion of the principal in a convenient time: otherwise to live upon trust is the sure way to pay double.

We must love

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CHAPTER V.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you do good to them that hate you; and pray d for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Lev 19. 19.-b Deu. 29. 6. Ps. 41. 10.-c Luke 6. 27, 35. Rom. 12. 14, 20.

43. Thou shall love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.] Instead of Antov, neighbour, the Codex Grævii, a MS. of the eleventh century, reads piλov, friend. Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy. This was certainly the meaning which the Jews put on it: for neighbour, with them, implied those of the Jewish race, and all others were considered by them as natural enemies. Besides, it is evident that Angior, among the Hellenistic Jews, meant friend merely Christ uses it precisely in this sense in Luke x. 36. in answer to the question asked by a certain lawyer, ver. 29. Who of the three was neighbour, (rλnatov, friend) to him who fell among the thieves? He who showed him mercy: i. e. he who acted the friendly part. In Hebrew, yreang, signifies friend, which word is translated Anatov by the LXX. in more than one hundred places. Among the Greeks it was a very comprehensive term, and signified every man, not even an enemy excepted, as Raphelius on this verse has shown from Poly. bius. The Jews thought themselves authorized to kill any Jew who apostatized, and though they could not do injury to the Gentiles, in whose country they sojourned. yet they were bound to suffer them to perish, if they saw them in danger of death. Hear their own words: "A Jew sees a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means lift him out; for it is writ. ten, Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neigh bour-but this is not thy neighbour." Maimon. This shows, that by neighbour they understood a Jew; one who was of the same blood and religion with themselves.

44. Love your enemies.] This is the most sublime piece of morality ever given to man. Has it appeared unreason. able and absurd to some? It has. And why? Because it is natural to man to avenge himself, and plague those who plague him; and he will ever find abundant excuse for his conduct in the repeated evils he receives from others; for men are naturally hostile to each other. Jesus Christ designs to make men happy. Now he is necessarily miserable who hates another. Our Lord prohibits that only, which, from its nature, is opposed to man's happiness. This is therefore one of the most reasonable precepts in the universe. But who can obey it? None but he who has the mind of Christ. But I have it not. Seek it from God; it is that kingdom of heaven which Christ came to establish upon earth. See on chap. iii. 2. This one precept is a sufficient proof of the holiness of the Gospel, and of the truth of the Christian religion. Every false religion flatters man, and accommodates itself to his pride and his passions. None but God could have imposed a yoke so contrary to self-love; and nothing but the supreme eternal love can enable men to practise a precept so insupportable to corrupt nature.

Bless them that curse you.] Evλoyeure, give them good words for their bad words. See the note on Gen. ii. 3.

Do good to them that hate you.] Give your enemy every proof that you love him. We must not love in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Pray for them which despitefully use you.] Ennocaforror, from Ert, against, and Apns, Mars, the heathen god of war. Those who are making continual war upon you, and constantly harassing and calumniating you. Pray for them-This is another exquisitely reasonable precept. I cannot change that wicked man's heart; and while it is unchanged he will continue to harass me: God alone can change it: then I must Implore him to do that which will at once secure the poor man's salvation, and contribute so much to my own peace. And persecute you.] AtwKOVTwv, those who press hard on and pursue you with hatred and malice, accompanied with repeated acts of enmity.

our enemies, &c.

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good; and sendeth rain on the just and on the injust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"

d Lk. 23. 34. Acts 7. 60. I Cor. 4, 12, 13. 1 Pet. 2. 23. & 3. 9.-e Job 25 3.—f Lk. 6.

mies, we could never have become his children: and we shall cease to be such, as soon as we cease to imitate him.

46. For if ye love them which love you.] He who loves only his friends, does nothing for God's sake. He who loves for the sake of pleasure or interest, pays himself. God has no enemy which he hates but sin; we should have no other. The publicans.] That is, tax-gatherers, redovai, from Teλos, a tax, and oveopai, Ibuy or farm. A farmer or collector of the taxes or public revenues. Of these there were two classes; the superior, who were Romans of the equestrian order; and the inferior, those mentioned in the Gospels, who it appears were mostly Jews. This class of men was detestable among the Romans, the Greeks, and the Jews, for their intolerable ra pacity and avarice. They were abhorred in an especial man. ner by the Jews, to whoin the Roman government was odious; these assisting in collecting the Roman tribute, were considered as betrayers of the liberties of their country, and abettors of those who enslaved it. They were something like the tithe farmers in a certain country-a principal cause of the public burthens and discontent. One quotation, of the many produced by Kypke, will amply show in what detesta. tion they were held among the Greeks.

Theocritus being asked, Which of the wild beasts were the most cruel? answered, Ev per Tois operiv, aρktol kai deoνTES" cv de rais nodevi TEAЯNAL kai σUKOĻAVTAL. Bears and lions in the mountains; and tax-gatherers and calum niators in cities.

47. And if ye salute your brethren only.] Instead of adeλpovs, brethren, upwards of one hundred MSS., and seve ral of them of great authority and antiquity, have pidovs, friends. The Armenian, Slavonic, and Gothic versions, with the latter Syriac, and some of the primitive Fathers, agree in this reading. I scarcely know which to prefer; as brother is more conformable to the Jewish mode of address, it should be retained in the text: the other reading, however, tends to confirm that of the Codex Gravi on ver. 43.

On the subject of giving and receiving salutations in Asia. tic countries, Mr. Harmer, Observat. vol. ii. p. 327, &c. edit. 1808, has collected much valuable information: the following extract will be sufficient to elucidate our Lord's meaning. "Dr. Doddridge supposes that the salutation our Lord refers to, Matt. v. 47. If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others! do not even the publicans so? means embracing, though it is a different word. I would observe, that it is made use of in the Septuagint to express that action of endearment; and which is made use of by an apocryphal writer, (Ecclus. xxx. 19.) whereas, the word we translate salute, is of a much more general nature: this, I apprehend, arose from his being struck with the thought, that it could never be necessary to caution his disciples, not to restrain the civilities of a common salutation to those of their own religious party. Juvenal, when he satirizes the Jews of the apostolic age for their religious opinions, and represents them as unfriendly, and even malevolent to other people; Sat. xiv. and when he mentions their refusing to show travellers the way, Non monstrare rias, &c. or to point out to them where they might find water to drink when thirsty with journeying, takes no notice of their not saluting those of another nation; yet there is reason to believe, from these words of CHRIST, that inany of thein at least would not, and that even a Jewish publican received no salutations from one of his own nation, excepting brother publicans.

In this verse our Lord shows us that a man may be our en emy in three different ways. First, in his heart, by hatred. Secondly, in his words, by cursing or using direful imprecations (katap wμɛvovs) against us. Thirdly, in his actions, by continually harassing and abusing us. He shows us also howther,' according to Niebuhr, it is generally in these terms, we are to behave to those. The hatred of the first, we are to meet with love. The cursings or evil words of the second, we are to meet with good words and blessings. And the repeated injurious acts of the third, we are to meet with continual prayer to God for the man's salvation.

45. That ye may be the children of your Father.] Instead of bot, children, some MSS. the latter Persic version, and seve. ral of the primitive Fathers, read opotot, that ye may be like to or resemble your Father who is in heaven. This is certainly our Lord's meaning. As a man's child is called his, because a partaker of his own nature, so a holy person is said to be a child of God, because he is a partaker of the divine

nature.

"Nor shall we wonder at this, or think it requisite to suppose the word we translate salute (arragonai) and which certainly, sometimes at least, signifies nothing more than making use of some friendly words upon meeting with people, must here signify something more particular, since we find some of the present inhabitants of the east seem to want this admonition of our Lord. When the Arabs salute one anoSalim aleikum, Peace be with you; in speaking which words they lay the right hand on the heart. The answer is, Aleikum essalâm, With you be peace. Aged people are in clined to add to these words, And the mercy and blessing of God. The Mohammedans of Egypt and Syria never salute a Christian in this manner; they content themselves with saying to them, Good day to you; or, Friend, how do you do? The Arabs of Yemen, who seldom see any Christians, are not so zealous but that sometimes they will give them the Salam aleikum.

"Presently after he says: For a long time I thought the Mohammedan custom of saluting Christians in a different manner from that made use of to those of their own profes sion, was an effect of their pride and religious bigotry. I saluted them sometimes with the Salim aleikum, and I had often only the common answer. At length I observed in Natolia, that the Christians themselves might probably be the cause that Mohammedans did not make the same return to their civilities that they did to those of their own religion For the G

He maketh his sun to rise on the evil.] "There is nothing greater than to imitate God in doing good to our enemies. All the creatures of God pronounce the sentence of condemnation on the revengeful: and this sentence is written by the rays of the sun, and with the drops of rain, and indeed by all the natural good things, the use of which God freely gives to his enemies." If God had not loved us while we were his ene-country

hants, with whom I travelled in that Pleased with my saluting Mohamme.

We must resemble

ST. MATTHEW. our heavenly Father. 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even bas your Father, which han others? do not even the publicans so? is in heaven, is perfect.

a Gen. 17. 1. Lev. 11. 44. & 19. 2. Luke 6. 36. Col. 1. 28. dans in the Mohammedan manner. And when they were not known to be Christians, by those Turks whom they met with in their journeying, (it being allowed Christian travellers, in those provinces, to wear a white turban, Christians in common being obliged to wear the sash of their turbans, white striped with blue, that banditti might take them at a distance for Turks and people of courage) they never answered those that addressed them with the compliment of Salim aleikum.' One would not, perhaps, suspect that similar customs obtain in our times, among Europeans: but I find that the Roman Catholics of some provinces of Germany, never address the Protestants that live among them with the compliment, JESUS CHRIST be praised; and when such a thing happens by mistake, the Protestants do not return it after the manner in use among the Catholics, For ever and ever, Amen! "After this the words of our Lord in the close of the fifth of Matthew, want no further commentary. The Jews would not address the usual compliment of Peace be to you, to either heathens or publicans; the publicans of the Jewish nation would use it to their countrymen that were publicans, but not to heathens; though the more rigid Jews would not do it to them, any more than to heathens; our Lord required his disciples to lay aside the moroseness of Jews, and express more extensive benevolence in their salutations. There seems to be nothing of embracing thought of in this case, though that, doubtless, was practised anciently among relations, and intimate friends, as it is among modern Asiatics."

If not to salute, be a heathenish indifference; to hide hatred under outward civilities, is a diabolic treachery. To pretend much love and affection for those for whom we have neither-to use towards them complimentary phrases, to which we affix no meaning, but that they mean nothing, is highly offensive in the sight of that God by whom actions are weighed and words judged.

Do not-the publicans.] Teλovai,—but elvikot, heathens, is adopted by Griesbach, instead of reλovat, on the authority of Codd. Vatican, and Beza, and several others; together with the Coptic, Syriae later, and Syriac Jerusalem; two Arabic, Persic, Slavonic; all the Itala but one; Vulgate, Saxon, and several of the primitive Fathers.

& 4. 12. James 1. 4. 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16.-b Eph. 5. 1.

was of so common use among them. Take these few examples. "A certain man sought to betake himself to repentance (and restitution.) His wife said to him, Rekah, if thou make restitution, even thy girdle about thee is not thine own,' &c. Tanchum, fol. 5.

"Rabbi Jochanan was teaching concerning the building of Jerusalem with sapphires and diamonds, &c. One of his scholars laughed him to scorn. But afterward being convin ced of the truth of the thing, he saith to him, Rabbi, do thon expound, for it is fit for thee toexpound: as thou saidst, so have I seen it.' He saith to him, Rekah, hadst thou not seen, thou wouldst not have believed,' &c. Midras Tillin, fol. 38. col. 4. "To what is the thing like? To a king of flesh and blood, who took to wife a king's daughter: he saith to her, 'Wait and fill me a cup;' but she would not, whereupon he was angry, and put her away: she went, and was married to a sordid fellow; and he saith to her, 'Wait and fill me a cup;' she said unto him, Rekah, I am a king's daughter,' &c. Idem in Psalm cxxxvii.

"A Gentile saith to an Israelite, 'I have a choice dish for thee to eat of.' He saith, 'What is it?' He answers, Swine's flesh' He saith to him, 'Rekah, even what you kill of clean beasts, is forbidden us, much more this.' Tanchum. fol. 18. col. 4, "The THIRD offence is to say to a brother, 'Thou fool,' which how to distinguish from Racha, which signifies an empty fellow, were some difficulty, but that Solomon is a good dictionary here for us, who takes the term continually here for a wicked wretch and reprobate, and in opposition to spiritual wisdom, so that in the first clause, is condemned causeless anger; in the second, scornful taunting, and reproaching of a brother; and in the last, calling him a repro bate, and wicked, or uncharitably censuring his spiritual and eternal estate. And this last does more especially hit the scribes and Pharisees, who arrogated to themselves only to be called on chocamim, wise men, but of all others they had this scornful and uncharitable opinion. 'This people, that knoweth not the law, is cursed.' Jolm vii. 49. "And now for the penalties denounced upon these offences, let us look upon them, taking notice of these two traditions of the Jews, which our Saviour seems to face, and to contradict.

48. Be ye therefore perfect-as your Father.] God him- "1st. That they accounted to command, Thou shalt not kill, self is the grand law, sole giver, and only pattern of the per- to aim only at actual murder. So that in their collecting the fection which he recommends to his children. The words six hundred and thirteen precepts out of the law, they under are very emphatic, cocoɛ ovv ÚμɛLS TEλELOL, Ye shall be there- stand that command to mean but this: That one should not fore perfect-ye shall be filled with the Spirit of that God kill an Israelite,' and accordingly they allotted this only vio whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love. God has lation of it to judgments. Against this wild gloss and prac many imitators of his power, independence, justice, &c. tice, he speaks in the first clause: Ye have heard it said, but few of his love, condescension, and kindness. He calls Thou shalt not kill, and he that killeth or committeth actual himself LOVE, to teach us that in this consists that perfection, murder, is liable to judgment, and ye extend the violation of the attainment of which he has made both our duty and that command no further; but I say to you, that causeless an privilege; for these words of our Lord include both a com-ger against thy brother is a violation of that command, and mand and a promise.

"Can we be fully saved from sin in this world ?" is an im portant question, to which this text gives a satisfactory an swer: "Ye shall be perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."-As in his infinite nature there is no sin, nothing but goodness and love; so in your finite nature there shall dwell no sin, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, shall make you free from the law of sin and death, Rom. viii. 2. God shall live in, fill, and rule your hearts; and in what He fills and influences, neither Satan nor sin can have any part. If men, slighting their own mercies, cry out, This is impossible. Whom does this arguing reprove God, who on this ground, has given a command, the fulfilment of which is impossible. "But who can bring a clean out of an unclean thing?" God Almighty-and however inveterate the disease of sin may be, the grace of the Lord Jesus can fully cure it; and who will say, that he who laid down his life for our souls, will not use his power completely to effect that salvation, which he has died to procure. "But where is the person thus saved?" Wherever he is found who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; and his neighbour as himself: and for the honour of Christianity and its AUTHOR, may we not hope there are many such in the church of God, not known indeed by any profession of this kind which they make, but by a surer testimony, that of uniformly holy tempers, piety to God, and beneficence to man?

Dr. Lightfoot is not perfectly satisfied with the usual mode of interpreting the 22d verse of this chapter. I subjoin the substance of what he says. Having given a general exposition of the word brother, which the Jews understood as signifying none but an Israelite-evoxos, which we translate is in danger of, and what he shows the Jews used to signify, is exposed to, merits, or is guilty of; and the word gehenna, hell-fire, which he explains as I have done above, he comes to the three offences, and their sentences.

The FIRST is causeless anger, which he thinks too plain to require explanation: but into the two following he enters in considerable detail:

"The SECOND. Whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha,' a nickname, or scornful title usual, which they disdainfully put one upon another, and very commonly; and therefore our Saviour has mentioned this word, the rather because it

even that maketh a man liable to judgment.

"2d. They allotted that murder only to be judged by the council or sanhedrim, that was committed by a man in pro pria persona, let them speak their own sense, &c. Talm. in sanhedrim, per. 9.

"Any one that kills his neighbour with his hand, as if he strike him with a sword, or with a stone, that kills him, or strangle him till he die, or burn him in the fire, seeing that he kills him any how in his own person, lo! such an one must be put to death by the sanhedrim: but he that hires another to kill his neighbour, or that sends his servants, and they kill him, or that violently thrusts him before a lion, or the like, and the beast kills him: any one of these is a shedder of blood, and the guilt of shedding of blood is upon him, and lie is lia. ble to death by the hand of Heaven, but he is not to be put to death by the sanhedrim. And whence is the proof that it must be thus ? Because it is said, He that sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. This is he that slays a man himself, and not by the hand of another. Your blood of your lives will I require. This is he that slays himself. At the hand of every beast will I require it. This is he that de livers up his neighbour before a beast to be rent in pieces. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's bro ther, will I require the life of man. This is he that hires others to kill his neighbour: In this interpretation, requiring, is spoken of all the three, behold their judgment is delivered over to Heaven (or God.) And all these manslayers and the like, who are not liable to death by the sanhedrim; if the king of Israel will slay them by the judgment of the kingdom, and the law of nations, he may,' &c. Maym. ubi supr. per. 2

"You may observe in these wretched traditions à twofold killing, and a twofold judgment: a man's killing another in his own person, and with his own hand, and such an one liable to the judgment of the sanhedrim, to be put to death by them, as a murderer: and a man that killed another by proxy; not with his own hand, but hiring another to kill him, or turn. ing a beast or serpent upon him to kill him. This man is not to be judged and executed by the sanhedrim, but referred and reserved only to the judgment of God. So that we see plainly from hence, in what sense the word judgment is used in the latter end of the preceding verse, and the first clause of this, namely, not for the judgment of any one of the sanhedrima

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