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SECTION III.

THAT THE REASONS OF HIS PRECEPTS ARE SOMETIMES GIVEN.

THOUGH in general the reasons of Christ's commands are not assigned, yet some are occasionally suggested. “* Swear not at all ; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne ; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool : neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King: neither shalt thou swear by thy head; for thou canst not make one hair white or black.” “Love your enemies; 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 the just and on the unjust. For if ye

love them who love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same ?" use not vain repetitions, as the heathens do : for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before

ye

ask him.” “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where rust and e moth doth. corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal : but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

" All ' things whatsoever ye would that men should do to

“e When ye pray,

dib. 19,

e

a Matt. v. 34, 5, 6. bib. 45, 6. cib, vi. 7, 8. 20, 21.

In allusion to the various garments, and pieces of fur. niture, which the easterns treasured up. See Job xxvii. 16. Isai. iü.7. * ib. vii. 12.

you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 8 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hidden, that shall not be known." cih Take heed and beware of covetousness : for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

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OUR Lord was the authoritative instructor of rational creatures. We find him refuting the errors of the Scribes and Pharisees by unanswerable reasons. ti a Wo unto you ye blind guides, who say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing : but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. Ye fools and blind : for whether is greater ; the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whosoever therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon."

8 So our version Luke xii. 1. In the common editions we find di, but gäs occurs in Beza's ms. and codd. Lat, translate by the causal particle. bw 'Luke xii. 15. a Matt. xxiii. 16–22. b See part ii. Sect. 6,

*The following was his expostulation with the people for not using their reason in discovering that he was the Messiah. “. When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower : and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat : and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth: but how is it that ye do not discern this time? Yea and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right ?”

When the Pharisees arraigned the conduct of the disciples, in satisfying their hunger by plucking and eating ears of corn on the sabbath, he defended it by a variety of arguments.

“d Have ye not read what David did when he hungered, and they that were with him : how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them who were with him, but only for the priests? Or, have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless ? But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple.” [These therefore, who attend on me, are still more free than those who attend on the temple.] “The sabbath was f made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” “7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, [if ye had duly considered that a tender regard to the wants and infirmities of men is of more value in the sight of God than a

Luke xii. 54–7. Matt. xvi. 2, 4.
Mark ii. 27. f was appointed for his benefit.

d Matt. xii. 36.
& Matt, xii. 7, 8.

strict observance of his positive institutions,] ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For [these are my disciples : they act under the authority of a prophet who has power to regulate the observance of the sabbath :) the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”

When the Scribes and Pharisees murmured against him and his disciples for eating and drinking with Publicans and Sinners in the house of Matthew, his convincing reply was ; “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. [Now reforming sinners is the greatest act of mercy; and it is part of my office :] for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” And on i another occasion he spake three parables in vindication of a like conduct; shewing the fitness of it from hence, that there was joy in heaven over repenting sinners, and that God readily embraced such with the arms of his mercy.

In the last instance but one there is a link omitted in the chain of reasoning. We may observe a like manner of speaking in another place. “* Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. [And this is your true interest.] For whosoever desireth to save his life, shall lose it ; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

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h Matt. ix. 12, 13.

i Luke sv. * Mark viii. 34, 35, 36'Those who sought to save their lives at the time of the Roman war by deserting Christ, lost them : but those who adhered to Christ, though they seemed to endanger their lives from their persecutors, in fact preserved them by leaving Jerusalem before the siege.

[And life is the most valuable consideration.] For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life ?"

When the disciples of John and of the Pharisees asked him why his disciples fasted not, he benevo. lently and wisely answered; “Can " the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them ; and then shall they fast in those days.'

And he spake also a parable unto them: No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old: else both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles : else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles P shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved. No man also, having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new : for he saith, The old is better.” The force of the reasoning is: The days of mourning must come after my departure ; and therefore I will not anticipate them, Besides, it is not fit that rigorous moral discipline should be prescribed to new converts; or that niy hearers should be discouraged by the forbidding as. pect of my religion. When my doctrines are fully known and attentively considered, human prudence,

m Mark ii. 19, 20. u The children of the bride chamber are the guests invited to the marriage feast. Luke v. 36-19. P Perire solent.

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