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ranks and stations, in all the parts of the country, shew, beyond contradiction, how universal the persuasion was, that now prevailed, concerning the truth of his miracles; a persuasion which could be founded on nothing but the reality of those miracles, clearly evident to every spectator. Thus, when our Lord had descended from the mountain, whither he had retired with his disciples, he found a vast concourse of people collected together, out of all Judea, and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases, and they that were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him; for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. By this benignity he put the cure in the power of the diseased themselves, and wrought many more miracles than could have been done in the way of a formal application to him for a cure.
The multitude that pressed to touch Jesus, in order to be healed, being quieted, he turned to his disciples, perhaps, the twelve apostles lately chosen, and delivered a discourse, in many particulars, like that which is called the sermon on the mount. In comparing these two discourses with each other, it appears, that both of them begin with nearly similar benedictions, contain the same exhortations to the love of our enemies, to the exercise of universal benevolence, and to the carefully avoiding rash judgment; and conclude, in like manner, with the remarkable similitude, in which be that only hears the word of Christ without obeying it, is compared to a man that built his house on the sand; while he who diligently practises agreeably to the instructions he has obtained, digs deep, and builds his house upon a rock, where it opposes a firm and effectual resistance to all the fury of the contending elements. The sermon at the plain has, however, nothing answerable to Mat. v. 13..37, the whole sixth chapter, nor to that part of the seventh which is included between the sixth and fifteenth verses. But that which most deserves to be remarked is, that Luke has several additions to the discourse, as recorded by Matthew. For instance, in the latter, our Lord pronounced only blessings; but here he has also added curses. But woe unto you that are rich; for ye have received your consolation. As poverty, which is neither good nor bad in itself, does not recommend one to God, unless it is accompanied with the virtues which are suitable to an afflicted state; so riches do not make us the objects of God's hatred, unless they be accompanied with those vices which oftentimes spring from an opulent fortune, namely, pride, luxury, love of plea sure, covetousness. Rich men, infected with such vices as these, are the objects of the woe here denounced; and not they who make a proper use of their wealth, and possess the virtues which should accompany affluence. Wherefore, though there is no restriction added to the word rich, in the malediction, as there is to the word poor, in the complete enunciation of the beatitude, [Mat. v. 3.] it is equally to be understood in both. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Woe unto you that are rich in spirit, you who are proud, covetous, lovers of pleasure; for ye have received your consolation. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus may be considered as an illustration both of the beatitude and the malediction.
Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger: you shall experience the want of every real good, and endure pains, in the other world, more than equal to those distressing sensations which arise from famine.
Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. A modern author hath explained this well, in the following terms: "Our Lord's malediction is not inconsistent with the apostle's precepts, which commands Christians always to rejoice. Neither is the mirth, against which the woe is here denounced, to be understood of that constant cheerfulness of temper, which arises to truc Christians from the com
A. a. 2.
fortable and cheerful doctrines with which they are enlightened by the gospel, the assurance they have of reconciliation with God, the hope they have of everlasting life, and the pleasure they enjoy in the practice of piety, and the other duties of religion. But it is to be understood of that turbulent, carnal mirth, that excessive levity and vanity of spirit, which arises, not from any solid foundation, but from immoderate sensual pleasure, or those vain amusements of life, by which the giddy and the gay contrive to make away their time; that sort of mirth which dissipates thought, leaves no time for consideration, and gives them an utter aversion to all serious reflections." Persons who continue to indulge themselves in this sort of mirth through life, shall weep and mourn eternally, when they are excluded from the joys of heaven, and banished for ever from the presence of God, by the light of whose countenance all the blessed are enlivened, and made transcendently happy.
Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Dr. Clarke has paraphrased this malediction excellently. "Woe unto you, if, by propagating such doctrine as encourages men in sin, you shall gain to yourselves the applause and flattery of the generality of men; for thus, in old times, did the false prophets and deceivers, who, accommodating their doctrines to the lusts and passions of men, were more caressed, and better hearkened to, than the true prophets of God."
Another peculiarity of this discourse is contained in the thirty-ninth and fortieth verses. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. This inculcates, that guides, in matters of religion, ought to be chosen with the utmost caution; since the scholar is easily tinctured with the opinions of his master, and the consequences of his embracing a false system of faith and conduct may be the utter ruin of his soul.
To those who have considered attentively the various points of similarity and dissimilarity between the two discourses which we have now been comparing, it will not appear surprising that the question has been agitated, whether they were delivered but once, and variously related by the evangelists, or whether they were preached on two different occasions.
Michaelis believed that they were two different discourses, delivered, the one in the evening, and the other on the next morning, as he endeavours to prove, in the following history of the day, in the sermon on the mount.
"On the eve of a sabbath-day, when the sabbath was just commenced, Jesus goes into a synagogue at Capernaum, delivers a discourse of the same import with that on the mount, and cures a demoniac: he then departs out of the city, and goes up into a mountain, where he passes the whole night in prayer. On the following morning he chooses his apostles, and delivers a discourse called the sermon on the mount, in which he teaches them the morality which they were to follow, a morality directly opposite to that of the Pharisees: he then enters again into Capernaum; cures a leper, the servant of a centurion, the mother-in-law of St. Peter, and, when the sun was set, and the sabbath, therefore, ended, several other sick persons, which were brought to him; and then leaves Capernaum. The reasons why I believe that all these events happened in the same day, are the following.
"1. The cure of the demoniac, [Mark i. 21..28. Luke iv. 31..37.] and of St. Peter's mother-in-law, happened on the same day, as appears from Mark i. 29. Luke iv. 38.
"2. The election of the twelve apostles took place on the morning of that day
on which the sermon on the mount was delivered. See Luke, the sixth chapter, 12..17 verses.
"3. That the sermon on the mount, recorded by St. Luke, is no other than that recorded by St. Matthew, appears from the events which immediately follow it. Both evangelists relate, that Jesus, after the sermon was ended, went into Capernaum, and healed the servant of a centurion; a cure attended with such remarkable circumstances, that I can hardly suppose it to have happened twice, and that too in the same city.
"4. The cure of the leper, according to St. Matthew's account, must have happened between the sermon on the mount and the cure of the centurion's servant, when Jesus was just returned into Capernaum. St. Mark and St. Luke relate this fact on a total different occasion, because they were unacquainted with the time; and St. Luke, even with the place in which it happened. The whole account is too circumstantial to admit the supposition, that the same cure, with all its concomitant circumstances, took place more than once.
"5. It is evident from St. Matthew's relation, that the cure of St. Peter's motherin-law happened on the same day as the two just mentioned miracles.
"6. The circumstance mentioned by all three evangelists, that several sick persons were brought in the evening, and after sun-set, to the house where Jesus was, is a proof that the day in question was a sabbath-day. For the Jews, on account of their over-strict observance of the sabbath, would not permit any cure to be exercised on that day; but as soon as the sun was set, the sabbath was ended, and then they could bring their sick, without scruple, to the house where Jesus was, and likewise St. Peter's mother-in-law could prepare for him a repast.
"7. That Jesus immediately afterwards left Capernaum, is evident from the accounts of all the three evangelists."
On the other side, Dr. Macknight observes that the evangelist Matthew, having recorded the former sermon in its place, judged it unnecessary to give this repetition of it here. But, if the reader is of opinion that the two sermons are the same, because this, in Luke, comes immediately after the election of the twelve apostles, and is followed by the cure of the centurion's servant in Capernaum, as that in Matthew comes after the calling of the four disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, and is followed by the cure of a centurion's son, living also in Capernaum, let him consider, in the first place, that the two miracles following these sermons, viz. the curing of the centurion's son and slave are, in several respects, different; and, for that reason, must have been performed on different persons and at different times. In the next place, the calling of the four disciples, which precedes the sermon in Matthew, is, without doubt, a fact entirely different from the election of the twelve apostles, preceding the sermon in Luke, and happened long before it. Besides the sermon in Luke was preached immediately after the election of the twelve; whereas, a large tour through Galilee, which may have taken up some months, intervened between the calling of the four disciples and the sermon in Matthew. And, to name no more differences, the sermon recorded by Matthew was delivered on a mountain, in a sitting posture; for he went up into a mountain, and sat down to pronounce it [Mat. v. I.]; and, after he had finished it, came down to the plain [Mat. viii. 1.]: whereas, when he pronounced this which Luke speaks of, he was in a plain, or valley, where he could not sit because of the multitude which surrounded him, but stood with his disciples. [Luke vi. 17.] But though there was not such evident disagreement in the fact preceding and following these two sermons, the reader may easily have allowed that they were pronounced at different times: because he will find other instances of things
fras a low
, as the
really different, notwithstanding, in their nature, they be alike, and were preceded
speaks of, was a lover of the Jewish nation, and had built them a synagogue, perhaps, in Italy, or some other heathen country; and so was, in all probability, a proselyte of the gate, as they were called; for which cause the principal people in the town cheerfully undertook to solicit Jesus in his behalf.
As the twelve apostles were placed in the most important post that was ever occupied by men, their divine Master was careful to give them all the necessary instructions. Having, therefore, called them to him, he first furnished them with miraculous powers over diseases and evil spirits, and then gave them their commission to go forth and proclaim the gospel.
Go not, said he, into the way of the Gentiles, i. e. their country; for the way of the sea [Mat. iv. 15.] signifies the country round the sea. And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. In travelling through Palestine, the apostles would often have occasion to go into Samaria; but they were not to enter the cities thereof with à design to preach. It is true, in the beginning of his ministry, our Lord himself preached to the Samaritans with great success [John iv. 41, 42.]; and therefore, had he sent his apostles among them, numbers would, in all probability, have been induced to believe. But the inveterate enmity which the Jews bare to the Samaritans made the conversion of the latter improper at this time. [Mat. x. 6.] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isracl; he called the Jews lost sheep, because, as he had told his disciples, [Mat. ix. 36.] they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd, and so were in danger of perishing. [see Isaiah xlix. 10.] And aye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand: publish every where the glad tidings of the approach of the Messiah's kingdom, promised by the prophets. Properly speaking, the kingdom of heaven, or gospel dispensation, did not begin till the Jewish economy was abolished; and, therefore, the apostles in our Lord's time, and even our Lord himself, preached the approach only, and not the actual existence of that kingdom. But though the apostles were directed to preach the approach of the kingdom of heaven, they did not yet fully understand its nature, that it was not to be a temporal, but a spiritual kingdom, consisting in the dominion of righteousness and truth within men
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give. Perform all these miraculous cures in confirmation of your mission, without receiving any hire or reward for them of any kind. [Mat. x. 9.] Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses. Though I forbid you to take any reward for the miraculous cures which you shall perform, I do not mean that you should before-hand lay up money for your support during your journey. You are not even to provide the clothes and shoes which you may have occasion for while you are abroad, because you shall be supplied with whatever you need by those to whom you preach the gospel, and you have a right to be thus supplied by them. Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat. Our Lord forbade his disciples to provide beforehand such things as might be necessary during their journey, because they would be troublesome to them in travelling; and ordered them to go out thus unfurnished, partly that they might be inured, in his own life-time, to bear the hardships they would he exposed to afterwards, when discharging the apostolical function; and partly, that their faith in the providence of God might be confirmed. For it must have afforded them great comfort ever after, to reflect on the singular care that was taken of them while out on their first mission, wholly unprepared to execute such an undertaking. Accordingly, this is the use which Christ himself directed them to make of it. [Luke xxii. 35. Mat x. 11.] And whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquirc