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AND seeing this great multitude, he went up to a mountain: and when he was seated, 2 his disciples came unto him: And he opened 3 his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit for their's is the king4 dom of heaven.† Blessed are they that mourn: 5 for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the 6 meek for they shall inherit the earth. Bles
sed are they who do hunger and thirst after 7 righteousness; for they shall be filled. Bles
sed are the merciful for they shall obtain 8 mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart : for 9 they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children 10 of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake for their's is the 11 kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
In this and the two following chapters, are the purest and most comprehensive moral precepts. Here is a system of morals, at once simple, sublime, and perfect. Here are no dogmas of speculation; all is practical, and adapted to the meanest capacity, yet elevated. This address of Christ of the importance of moral and spiritual attainments, was probably designed to suppress the worldly views of the people respecting the Messiah.
That is, my subjects are not the ambitious, the powerful, and the proud; but the humble, meek, merciful, forgiving, and such as desire moral improvement. Certainly, the kingdom of Christ is not of this world," for the gospel pronounces the meek, humble, pious, pacific, &c. happy or blessed, and those only.
12 for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of 14 men.* Ye are the light of the world. A city 15 that is set on an hill, cannot be hid. Neither
do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth 16 light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to des18 troy, but to ratify.† For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be 19 fulfilled.+ Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great 20 in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto
* But for the truly wise and good, the world could not be preserved-it would be so corrupt that it would be necessary to destroy it as before the flood.
Referring to the precepts of the moral law, which are of eternal obligation. The traditions of the Pharisees, by which the spirit of the law was in many instances set aside, are likewise here probably alluded to by Christ, by way of contrast with the moral precepts.
you, That except your righteousness shall exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees,* ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause,† shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of. the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou 23 fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire. There
fore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught 24 against thee, leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be 26 cast into prison. Verily, I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh
The Scribes and Pharisees were formal, hypocritical, and insincere.
It is not only necessary to abstain from overt acts of immorality; but we must subdue evil and malignant pas
§ Fool, means wicked, impious wretch.
on a woman to lust after her, hath committed 29 adultery with her already in his heart.* And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that that thy whole body should be cast into 30 hell. 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 31 be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her 32 a writing of divorcemont: But I say unto you,
That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not perjure thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine 34 oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all:† neither by heaven; for it is God's throne. 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: nei
ther by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the 36 great king. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
* In this respect Christianity is more excellent than any other system of morals, that it requires purity of thought and desires.
Why then should not all Christians solemnly affirm, like the Quakers, instead of swearing? It is generally supposed, however, that Christ meant to forbid the use of caths only on common occasions.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.*
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An 39 eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn 40 to him the other also.† And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, 41 let him have thy cloak also.† And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him 42 twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine ene44 my But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good to them who hate you, and pray for them who des45 pitefully use you, and persecute_you; that ye may be the children of your Father, who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on 46 the just and on the unjust. For if ye love
them who love you, what reward have ye? 47 do not even the publicans the same? And if
In your conversation, let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay. Whatever is more than these, is or tends to evil.
These verses are not to be understood literally, but as designed to discourage and prevent a spirit of retaliation and revenge, to which the Jews were greatly prone; and to make them condescending, pacifie and forgiving.
Verses 41-47. How superior these maxims to those of the wisest heathens! This is true benevolence.