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might attempt, if, as he supposes, eternal life is wages due; and in attempting which he might learn that it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The young Ruler cannot imagine that this Rabbi is referring to anything so elementary as the Ten Commandments. Yet the Lord refers him to these which he had overlooked, and which as a Ruler it was presumed that he understood. He cites certain of the Second Table, specimens of the rest, which might be briefly comprehended in that concluding one by which the Lord illustrated them all. Let this young man test himself even by these. But so little does he know himself, that he protests to Him whom he (embarrassed by a disclaimer he cannot understand) no longer addresses as “Good," 3_ that he has
” — done what no mere man ever did. He had never looked beyond the mere letter of the law. He knew neither its spiritual import, nor his own heart. There was but one thing, so he supposed, lacking to that perfection of which he had heard the Teachers of his nation talk, and which this Teacher had but to point out for him to perform. The Lord, notwithstanding his presumption, still treated him with sweetness; and in His love, ready to add him to the number of His Disciples, told him of the one thing lacking to this. To take up the Cross 4 and follow Christ, as the rest had done, involved parting with those possessions which, notwithstanding his forwardness, he was not found ready to do. This, which was not required of all," was proposed to
but He claims that He is God.”— Ambrose. See the original in Bp. Wordsworth.
i St. John ii. 10.
2 St. Mark adds, “ Defraud not,” in reference it may be to the tenth commandment.
3 St. Mark x. 20.
5 “The similar injunction of our Lord to His Apostles, Provide neither gold nor silver in your purses,' read out in the church at Assissi twelve centuries after it was uttered, so impressed the heart of a young enthusiast, that it led bim to the foundation
of the second order of Mendicant Friars, A.D. 1210. But we must not, with St. Francis, draw from it the conclusion, that a renunciation of property, and the vow of poverty, are the best means of attaining Christian perfection. This literal interpretation is not in harmony with the general teaching of our Lord, and would be a blameable throwing up of our steward. ship before the time assigned by Him who has said, Occupy till I come.' He only spake to the particular case before Him.”—Macbride, Diatesseron,
him as a test, which he failed to stand. It grieved him to be convicted of failure. It had grieved him more to have succeeded at such a cost.
St. Mark x. 23-27.
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shull they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved ? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God : for with Gol all things are possible.
And what saw He when He thus “looked round about”? He saw that young man, whom in His love He would have joined to the band of His Disciples, "very sorrowful;" ? grieved, yet going away. So Herod was “exceeding sorry," and yet he sacrificed the Baptist. This young man was not prepared, like that merchantman in the Lord's parable, to sell all that he had in order to buy the pearl of great price.* From him the Lord turns to His Disciples, and utters that reflection which filled them with astonishment. The Church
1 Notices of the Lord's looks and look, as if the features of that blessed gestures are characteristic of St. Mark. countenance were indelibly graven on “ He recites more often than any of his memory.”—Bp. Wordsworth. Inthe Evangelists the very words of troduction. Christ ... as if the sound of that 2 St. Luke xviii, 23, 24. Divine voice was still ringing in his 3 St. Mark x. 22. ears; and he notices more frequently
4 St. Matt. xiii, 45, 46. the expression of Christ's aspect and
of Christ is continually called “ the Kingdom of Heaven," because Christ came down from Heaven to set it up on earth. It is called indifferently “the Kingdom of God,” because it comes from God and shall return to God. Into this Church or Kingdom the rich were least of all likely to enter. To become a Christian, in those days, often involved parting with one's possessions. This, besides the love of ease and attachment to the things of this world which wealth begets, would hinder those who had much to lose from entering in. That some did so, even at the loss of all things,” and took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, we know indeed; but it was not without a struggle. The Disciples, it appears, were astonished at the saying. The Messiah's Kingdom, as they imagined, required the support of the wealthy. They were dismayed to find it was so difficult for these to enter in. The Lord unfolds His hard saying. It was not riches in themselves which He described as an hindrance, for these may be turned to good account, but that trust in them and attachment to them which so often accompanies their possession. Nor will He soften down His warning words, but repeats them in even stronger form; pressing into His service a comparison like one of their own, and applying it to this purpose. What larger creature in that country than a camel ? What smaller aperture than a needle's eye ? 6 It was a sort of proverbial similitude for an impossibility, or what was next door to it. Their astonishment we find is increased, and they ask one another in an undertone (conscious that their Master must be right, though they cannot understand His saying) that question which seems to despair of the salvation of any rich man; a thing which so upset their notions of the Messiah's Kingdom, which was, so they supposed, to be chiefly maini St. Matt. xix. 24.
sayings, St. Matt. xxiii. 24. ? Phil. iii. 7, 8.
* It lias been supposed by some 3 Heb. x. 31; Acts iv. 34, 35. that our Lord referred to a gateway • St. Luke xvi. 9; 1 Tim. vi. 17-19. so called, or to the low entrance into
• Lightfoot adduces similar pro- the court-yards of eastern dwellings, verbs of impossibility current in the which camels could not enter without East, where an elephant figures for great difficulty ; crouching down, and the camel. This latter the Lord discharging their burthens. employs in another of His proverbial
tained by such. The Lord looks upon them as a mild Master or Parent might regard children discussing a matter beyond their grasp. He tells them that unlikely as it might appear for a rich man to become a Christian, impossible indeed as it would be for unassisted man, yet God could and would bring that strange thing to pass.
St. Matthew xix. 27-30.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; what shall we have therefore ? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last ; and the last shall be first.
What St. Peter here said was true enough. At the call of Christ they had forsaken their all. And though he seems to have been somewhat too forward in his inquiry as to recompense (as sailors who long before arriving in port should interrogate a captain in whose generosity they well might trust) yet forasmuch as it was proposed in simplicity, the Lord, to encourage them, gives them some glimpse of this. Their idea of the Messiah's Kingdom was still a worldly one. The Lord therefore bids them look forward to another time and scene, when He will make all things new,' where there shall be a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. This He calls “ the regeneration." It is a
1 Rev. xxi. 5.
2 2 St. Pet. iii, 13; Rev. xxi. 1.
re-creation, a creating of things anew, of which our second birth in Baptism is a sign and pledge. When that new order of things is established, and He, who is now in that state of humiliation which this title “Son of man ” bespeaks, shall sit on that glorious throne which is His by right, the Apostles, as Elders of the New Testament Church, shall be also exalted to the chief posts of honour and authority; assessors with their supreme Lord ; judging, that is, govern
1 ing all the branches of His spiritual Israel. Nor shall any who may believe on Him through their word have reason to regret anything they may be called to forsake. In those days to become a Christian even in name often involved the necessity of actually forsaking these relationships and possessions. Relations: often rose against those who in Baptism took upon
them the Christian name. Houses and lands were wrested from them. Even now to be a Christian indeed, all that this name implies, sometimes involves unnatural opposition, and demands the surrender of that which is most dear. If it ever becomes a question of giving up these or the Gospel, these or the Kingdom of God,” let no man hesitate. In the midst of persecutions friends shall be found more faithful than those a man has been compelled to resign, possessions more satisfying than those he has parted with. Are not these manifold more in this present time?' And if we add in the world to come eternal life,-is it not an hundredfold ? 10 But let them not be puffed up, and think the battle won before it is well begun. The traitor Judas was at that time numbered among the twelve; and one who was not a
1 Those who take exception to the “ He speaks not so much of the peruse of this term in the formularies of sons, as of the status of the persons.” the Church may be reminded that - Maldonatus. Baptism is called Regeneration in the 3 Rev. iv. 2, 4; XX. 4. Scripture. Tit. iii. 5.
* This promise he afterwards re? "By the perfect number twelve is peats, St. Luke xxii. 29, 30. signified the whole number of those 5 St. Matthew x. 21, 35-37. who shall judge. Otherwise, as 6 St. Mark x. 29. Matthias was elected into the place · St. Luke xviii. 29. of Judas, the Apostle Paul, who & Rom. xvi. 13; Deut. xxxiii. 9, laboured more abundantly than they 10; Ps. xxvii. 10. all, would have no place."-Aug. cited 9 St. Luke xviii. 30. in Bp. Wordsworth. See 1 Cor. vi 3. 10 St. Mark x. 30.