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22 Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And
they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and
preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sick24 ness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame verse 18. It has been ingeniously population. Jerusalem had nearly observed, that the inventor of a fic- five hundred. Services were held titious tale would not have been in them on festival and fast days, likely to have mentioned so trivial and the first, second, and seventh a fact as that they were mending days of every week. Saturday was their nets; trivial to one not en- the Jewish Sabbath. The exergaged in that calling, but important cises consisted in reading the law to the fisherman himself. The and the prophets; prayers, and mention of such a fact is one of addresses to the assembly, consistthose minute, but strong and beauti- ing chiefly of interpretations of ful filaments of truth and reality Scripture. The whole was closed which are woven into every page by a short prayer and benediction, of the Gospels; were not our eyes to which the assembly responded, so dulled by custom and familiarity Amen. The officers in a Synaas to pass them over unheeded.
gogue were ten in number.
The 22. Left the ship and their father, most important were the Rulers, and followed him. Mat. x. 37. xix. who constituted, according to Light
They feel it to be their du- foot, the “council of three,” and ty to leave all, at the command of the scribe, or minister, who prayed one whom they considered as a di- and preached. Mark v. 22. Luke vine messenger, and perhaps as the iv. 20. The Synagogues opened a Messiah; and though they had not fine avenue for Christ and his Aposyet, and did not have for a long tles to communicate their instructime, correct ideas of the mission of tions to the Jewish people, for their Master, yet they showed their strangers were often invited to give religious faith and loyalty in adher- a word of exhortation. Acts xiii. ing to one authorized and sent by 15.-Gospel of the kingdom, i. e. God.
Christianity. Gospel is compound23. Synagogues. This word at ed of two Saxon words, meaning first meant a collection of people, good, and message, or news.
Jesus but, like the English word church, preached the good news of Chrisit afterwards was applied to the tianity, the glad intelligence of the building where the assembly was mercy of God, and the brotherhood held. The origin of Synagogues and immortality of mankind. The is unknown. They were probably word kingdom is used as implying introduced during or after the Ba- that its subjects would all recognize bylonish captivity. They are not and obey God, as the Supreme mentioned in the Old Testament. Lawgiver and Judge.- Healing all At first they were erected without manner of sickness and all manner the cities, in the fields, and usually of disease, i. e. every kind, not near streams, or on the sea-shore, every case of sickness. According for the greater convenience of ablu- to Bloomfield, the original word, tion; subsequently, they were erect- translated sickness, signifies a thored in cities, in proportion to the oughly formed disorder, and that
went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people, that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him 25
translated disease, an incipient in- in by-places, and wandering about, disposition. Jesus had already, as their recklessness in attacking perwe learn from John ji., V., begun to sons, their sudden fits of violent work his beneficent miracles. How convulsions, their fixed idea of beactive was his benevolence! He ing some thing or some body difwent about doing good, and pro- ferent from themselves, indicate a claiming glad tidings.
state of derangement. See Luke 24. Syria was at this period a viji. 27-30. Mat. viii. 28. Mark Roman "province, lying north and ix. 20. When cured, the demoniacs north-east of Palestine, and contigu- are said to be restored to reason. ous to it.-All sick people. Not literal- Luke viii, 35. Jesus and his Aposly every one, but great numbers of tles used the popular language of all kinds.—Possessed with devils. Or, the times in reference to them. to hold to the original, possessed with Nor was there any prevarication in demons, demonjacs. None prob- it, any more than in our using the ably believe that the Jews supposed word bewitched, though we do not that these persons were possessed believe in witchcraft; and the exwith devils, in the present acceptu- pressions, St. Vitus' dance, and St. tion of that word; but with demons, Anthony's fire, though we suppose or the departed spirits of wicked, that those saints have nothing to do malignant men, evil genii, who en with certain disorders of the human tered into the living. Josephus body called by those names. Jesus saye, " that those called demons are came not to reform institutions, but no other than the spirits of the men, their makers; not language, wicked, that enter into men that but the spirit from which it sprang. are alive, and kill them, unless they When true religion bad enlightened can obtain soine help against them.” mankind, he foresaw that the super, This was probably a superstition. stitions about demons, ghosts, and Wetstein has conclusively shown witches, would disappear, as the that it is the unanimous opinion of unseemly birds of night vanish bephysicians, whose authority is great fore the shining of the sun.-Luupon such a subject, that demoniacs natic. Not maniacs, but those afand lunatics were cases of natural fected by epilepsy, or falling sickdisorders and insanity. The de- ness. Mat. xvii. 15. Luna, in moniacs sometimes believed, in- Latin, means moon. It was supposed deed, that they were possessed with that persons affected by this disorevil spirits ; but their testimony is der were made better or worse by not admissible; since the insane the changes of that luminary. The often imagine themselves to be what same influence is supposed to affect they are not; kings, generals, Christ, the insane, and with some reason. and eyen God. The symptoms, as Hence the insane are often called given in the New Testament, of this lunatics at the present day.-Had class of sufferers, are precisely the palsy. This disorder affects the those of insanity. Their dislike to perves of locomotion. Sometimes wearing clothes, their love of living it seizes the whole þody, Some.
great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
The Sermon on the Mount.
ND seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he opened
times it fixes upon particular parts How widely they would be disapor limbs, and then takes various pointed in their hopes is apparent names according to its location. from the following chapter. The cure, by our Master, of these severe chronic complaints afforded
CHAP. V. him an opportunity to do immense As has been already said, the good, and furnished one of the Jews were in expectation of a temstrongest evidences of the divine poral, not a spiritual Messiah. authority of his mission and minis- The vast multitudes that thronged try. “The works that I do in my around the Saviour, and witnessed Father's name, they bear witness his miracles, and heard his words, of me,” was his convincing argu were probably inflamed with the ment.
same worldly desires. And as the 25. Decapolis. Or," the ten cities," masses of living beings swelled from two Greek words having this larger and larger, these persuasions meaning. This region was situated would be immensely deepened by east of the Lake of Galilee. The sympathy. Heart would beat to names of the ten cities were, ac- heart, and deep call unto deep; all cording to Pliny, Scythopolis, Hip- the strongest passions of human pos, Gadara, Dion, Pella, Gerasa, and Jewish nature were setting, Philadelphia, Canatha, Damascus, like an ocean tide, in one direction, and Raphana; but Ptolemy makes with an irresistible momentum. Capitolias one of the towns, and We can, by throwing ourselves into Josephus substitutes Otopos for Ca- the scene, and imagining the cirnatha. The vast throngs which as cumstances under which Jesus sembled from the most distant parts spoke, gain some idea of the moral of the land were drawn together, intrepidity, which impelled him to probably, by the astonishing news of dissipate these brilliant but false anChrist's miraculous power, with the ticipations, and, in the face of thouwish to be cured of their diseases; sands, ready to raise the war-cry of with the sentiment of curiosity, a military leader, and rush to conwonder, ambition, highly exalted flict, rapine, and dominion, to denational hopes, and all the various liver first the Beatitudes, and then motives that could actuate the hu- his searching comments upon the man heart under circumstances so opinions and practices of the extraordinary. Multitudes no doubt Scribes and Pharisees. came hoping to see him declare The object of the Sermon on the himself the Messiah, unfurl the Mount, as it has usually been called, banner of that mighty name, and was to give the collected multitudes strike for the liberties of Palestine, some notions of the nature of his and the subjugation of the world. kingdom. He defines it as a king
his mouth, and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit; 3
dom within, a reign of the spirit. kept a standing posture. Luke iv. He settles the long vexed question 20. John viii. 2. Acts xvi. 13.of Happiness. He prostrates their His disciples came unto him. The worldly hopes, by showing that his disciples were learners, or those followers must look for spiritual who were taught. Probably the rewards only, rewards within them- multitude are included in the term, selves; the happiness that arose, not as they were for the time his pufrom riches, honors, or pleasures, pils, his disciples. So upon other but from meekness, humility, righte- occasions, those who followed his ousness, peace, and purity. The instructions, though not of the groundwork of his system, the twelve, nor of his imrnediate atfundamental precepts, he lays down tendants, were denominated disciin a series of bold and beautiful ples. John vi. 66. Nevertheless, paradoxes ; at least, such they others have understood by disciples seem to most men, so small are those only who attached themtheir spiritual attainments. Then selves to Jesus in the belief that he he proceeds to inculcate an infi- was the expected Messiah. nitely higher toned morality and 2. He opened his mouth. These piety than that preached and prac- words are pleonastic, or redundant, tised by the teachers of the day. i. e. they do not add any thing to He proclaimed what may be called the meaning of the sentence. Plethe Magna Charta of the spiritual onasm is a common figure of speech life for all mankind, in this sublime in the Bible. address. It affords in itself alone 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. an unanswerable argument for the Some are in favor of the use of haptruth of Christianity,
py in this connection ; but blessed 1–12. For a parallel passage see is a more forcible and solemn word, Luke vi. 20—26.
and, as Carpenter obseryes, has 1. Seeing the multitudes, i. e. the reference to the appointment and multitudes mentioned in the last blessing of God. There is no verb verse of the foregoing chapter. in the original, and the translation That was a reason for his speaking: would be moru spirited thus, BlessHe saw thousands around him, and ed the poor in spirit
. The declarahe took the opportunity to explain tions from verse 3 to 12 are somehis doctrines. What is here con- times called Beatitudes, because densed in one continuous discourse each of them begins with the word was probably also delivered in parts blessed, or happy, the Latin for to different people upon other occa- which is beatus. The qualities sions.—He went up into a mountain. here pronounced blessed are diOr, according to the original, the rectly the reverse of those which mountain. Some well known moun- the Jews of that time, and the world tain or bill in the vicinity of Caper- generally, have so esteemed. Comi
Its location cannot now be mon opinion says, Blessed the rich. determined. From this elevation Jesus says, Blessed the poor. Comhe could more conveniently address mon opinion says, Blessed the joythe vast concourse. And when he ous, the elevated, the quick-spirited, was set. Was seated. While teach- the popular, the worldly-wise, the ing, the Jewish Rabbins were ac- ambitious. Jesus says, Blessed the customed to sit, but their pupils mourning, the meek, the spiritually
4 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn;
aspiring, the merciful, the pure, ually self-satisfied, self-sufficient, the persecuted, the peace-makers. Rev. iii. 17; who thank God that What a signal testimony to the di- they are not as other men are, and vine origin of Christianity is pre- who boast of a lineage from Abrasented in the fact, that its author ham, and think that of course they flattered none of the prejudices or abound in spiritual riches. For desires most current, but struck out theirs is the kingdom of heaven. a new path, taught a pure and lofty Their state of mind entitles them theology and philosophy, with to the kingdom of heaven. They great distinctness, which the wise will be its possessors, rather than men of old had only felt after, and those who feel rich in spirit, who caught a glimpse of, not fully found! are puffed up with their religious He settled the long vexed question attainments. It will be observed about happiness. He shows in throughout the beatitudes, that there these profound axioms, that reli- is a tacit coinparison instituted begion promotes present and eternal tween the poor in spirit, the mercifelicity.—“In the first place,” says ful, pure, &c., and the opposite charDewey, “ our Saviour addressed a acters, the proud, the cruel, the sencompany of men, his disciples and sual, &c. Another point worthy of others, who looked for their Mesnotice is, the correspondence of the siah as a temporal king, who ex- rewards with the characters describpected that he would deliver them ed. The merciful obtain mercy in from the Roman yoke, conquer the return. The hungry are filled. The surrounding nations, and reinstate poor in spirit are heirs of the whole the Jews in all and more than all rich kingdom; the Gospel is theirs. the possessions and splendors of the 4. They that mourn; for they shall ancient monarchy. In the next be comforted. It has been a quesplace, he addressed a company who tion with interpreters, whether Jewere accustomed to all those eva- sus means those who mourn under sions of the moral law, which had a sense of their sins, or under the been brought in by tradition, and experience of afflictions. Both which were daily multiplied by perhaps are included. Those who Jewish doctors and scribes. Let mourned under a sense of their these things be borne in mind, and spiritual destitution and unworthiwe shall see how far from being ness, who had that “godly sorrow abstract, how pertinent, indeed, and which worketh repentance to salpointed, is every word he utters.”- vation not to be repented of,” would The poor in spirit, i. e. according be rendered happy indeed under to Norton, those whose poverty is the Gospel, which tenderly cherof the spirit; who feel that they are ishes every penitent emotion, and poor inwardly; who are conscious reveals a Father of mercy who is of their moral and spiritual destitu- ready to forgive to the uttermost all tion. Blessed are such, whether of that come unto him. Those who much or little estate, though the suffered in the cause of Christianity poor in goods were more likely, in- would be comforted under their deed, to feel their spiritual wants; trials by the great and entrancing for they are prominent candidates promises it held out to them of for the kingdom of heaven. They eternal blessedness. Those who are much happier than the spirit- lost their goods, or friends, or were