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not. For from the one he advances to the other. My duty towards my neighbour follows from my duty towards God. Christian religion leads directly to good citizenship. The Apostle, after his Lord, couples them together. “Fear God, Honour the King.” It is only imperial authority that is expressly mentioned, but we are not of course to limit it to that. The dues of Cæsar are put generally for what is due to all who are in authority over us. But how shall we attempt to unfold the dues of God ? Behold, we owe to Him even our own selves; all that we have, all that we are; by creation His, His by redemption. Whose stamp do we bear? “God created man in His own image.' And when we had done our best to mar and deface this image, seeking to obliterate the sign of God, He gave His Son to redeem us.3 Here then is His mark as it were again set upon us, of which in our Baptism we have the sign and seal. The Lord's words fill His foes with wonder. They do no more than marvel. Disappointed that “they could not take hold of His words before the people," + they depart in silence;' foiled in the encounter they had themselves provoked. Four days later we find these baffled ones actually accusing Him of forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar.5
St. Luke xx. 27-39.
Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection ; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore
| As in that exposition of the 5th Commandment in the Catechism of the Church, wherein I am instructed “ to honour and obey the Queen and all that are put in authority under her, to submit myself to all my gover
nors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and
2 1 Cor. xi. 7; St. James iii. 9.
, seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also : and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. ' And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage : but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage : neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
The self-righteous and the worldly, who had laid siege against Him in concert, having been foiled, the sceptics now advance to the attack. They had little reverence for Moses, and only quote him here for the purpose, if it were possible, of perplexing Christ. The law they refer to that the next of kin should marry the widow of his deceased kinsman, was given with a view to the peculiar circumstances of the Jewish nation, and was meant to keep their families together. It is no rule for Christians. These questioners ground hereon a most improbable case, with a view of bringing into ridicule a doctrine they disbelieved. It is absurd, they argue, to allow the existence of a state where such confusion as they imagine would follow. The Lord calmly shows these, who thought themselves wiser than others, the reason of their error. They did not really know the meaning of the Scriptures from which they quoted, nor the power of God," who is not limited in another world by the conditions He has laid down
1 The Lex Leviratûs, as it was called. Deut. xxv. 5-10. 21 Tim. vi. 4, 5.
For to quote the Scriptures is
for this. In this world men marry, and women are given to them in marriage. But they who are accounted worthy to obtain that better world which is to come, and the resurrection to everlasting life, have no need of such relation. As they become immortal, and can die no more, there is no fear of the race being lost, no need of marriage to insure its perpetuation. They who are now lower than the Angels shall
. then be made equal unto the Angels. They who are now the children of this world? shall be made, in the highest sense, the children of God. Christ is the “first born from the dead,” and they are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” They share " the power of His resurrection.” To His answer to these flippant and shallow objectors, the Lord adds an argument touching the resurrection itself, contempt of which was at the bottom of their question. “Have ye
” not read,” He asks these who had quoted Scripture," that which was spoken unto you by God?”4 They behaved as though they had never read what was written in “ the Book of Moses," -as the Pentateuch was called in that section of it entitled “The Bush.” 5 There the self-existing God 6 speaks of Himself as the God of their yet living ancestors. These, and all who are like these, live unto Him. Even some of the Scribes who stood by could not refrain from commending His answer to their common adversaries.
I “ The words ‘for neither can they the Divine origin of the Pentateuch. die' supply the reason why they do 5 Compare Rom. xi. 2 margiu. not marry."-Bp. Wordsworth.
6 In St. Matt. xxii. 32 we have the 2 The phrase is not used altogether “I am." "How startling is the rein the same sense as in St. Luke xvi. collection that Christ Himself was the 8. In a secondary sense however we Speaker on the occasion alluded to may compare Ps. xvii. 14, 15.
(Ex. iii. 6); and that we here behold 3 All things they denied He affirms. Him, after an interval of more than Acts xxvi. 8.
fifteen hundred years, interpreting His · St. Matt. xxii. 31. A testimony to own words.”—A Plain Commentary.
THE GREAT COMMANDMENT.
St. Mark xii. 28-34.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all ? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, ( Israel ; The Lord our God is one Lord : and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth : for there is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw thut he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
This Scribe' was of the Pharisees' part, who came together on hearing how the Lord had put the Sadducees to silence.3 They probably had some satisfaction in the late discomfiture of their rivals. The like defeat, they might have supposed, could not happen to them. This particular one of their number had been present throughout, before the rest came up. The question he asked seems to have been asked with no evil intent. He was rather trying this Teacher's strength 4
· St. Matthew (xxii. 35) calls him a lawyer. The other seems to have been the more comprehensive term, embracing all whose occupation it was to write out copies of the Law of Moses or to interpret the same; as
we, contrariwise, use the latter as a
2 Acts xxiii. 9.
than laying for Him any snare. For no harm would have
. happened to our Lord whichever of the Commandments He might have pronounced to be the greatest; and His questioner ingenuously confessed that He had answered well. This was one of the contentions and “strivings about the law” in which the Scribes were wont to indulge;? some of them being in the habit of singling out some one Commandment, as that of the Sabbath, as the object of their devotion, and setting small store by the rest. Our Lord, by reminding His questioner of those two passages of Scripture which are the sum of the two Tables, shows that the Commandments may not thus be classified. None of His Commandments are little. He would have him keep all. Keep these, and you keep all. For all may be resolved into these two. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” If we love God, we shall keep His Commandments. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour. The lawyer had asked about one; the Lord answers him concerning two. To the first He adds a second. But these two are really one. This second grows out of the first. It is like unto it as the moon is like the sun, being the reflection of its light. Our love to our neighbour must correspond to the Divine love to ourselves. Possibly our Lord pointed to the
* lawyer's phylactery, on which the Scriptures He cited were inscribed. The words He added may be a figure taken from the Jewish custom of so hanging up in their houses the two tables of the law. “The offering of sacrifice was by many regarded as the paramount duty."
This Scribe however, who has more understanding? than his teachers, sees that there is something more important than this. And the Lord 1 Tit. iii. 9.
5 “ Deut. vi. 4... was recited 2 " The question involved a matter twice a day by every Israelite, and of no little controversy among the called from its first word ... 'hear.'” Jewish doctors, as involving the com- -Goodwin in Bp. Wordsworth. Long parative importance of different pre- before the Lord had elicited from cepts; some maintaining the pre- another lawyer, who asked Him howeminence of one, some of another ... ever in another spirit, this same sumthey distinguished the Divine precepts mary of the Law. St. Luke x. 25(of which they numbered 613) into great and small.” — Bloomfield.
Bp. Wordsworth. 3 A notion which St. James (ii. 10, ? See the original word rendered 11) seems to be combating.
discreetly, v. 34. * Bengel.
& Ps. cxix. 99, 100.