The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ

By Johann Peter Lange

Edited by Rev. Marcus Dods







the first journey of Jesus from Capernaum through Galilee. the sermons on the mount. the healing of the leper

(Mat 4:23-8:4; Mar 1:31-45; Mar 3:12-13; Luk 5:12-16; Luk 6:12-49)

With His four companions, Jesus travelled from Capernaum through Galilee, hastening from place to place, from one synagogue to another. Everywhere He proclaimed the glad tidings that the kingdom of God had commenced: and He proved the great announcement by His deeds; for He healed the sick, and removed every infirmity and disorder of the people which met Him in His progress. On the bright path of the Prince of Life, every form of suffering which encountered Him vanished like a dissolving view. He became highly celebrated. His fame spread far and wide through all Syria at this time, in the first outburst of joy on account of the great salvation. A general impulse was diffused abroad, to bring the sick to Jesus, as if everything diseased had been tracked and hunted out for the purpose. But especially He healed ‘many that were possessed, and those which were lunatic, and those which had the palsy.’ But He had not merely to do with crowds streaming to and fro, but many groups of travellers followed Him, His Galilean adherents especially, but also those who were well affected towards Him in Decapolis, in Jerusalem, and Judea generally, as well as Perea.

The Evangelists have not given us many particulars of this journey, but only three facts of importance: the sermon on the Mount, the sermon on the mountain-plain, and the healing of a leper. As to the two sermons, it is in the first place doubtful whether they are to be distinguished from one another, or identical, and only differing in the manner of being reported: in the former case, whether they belong to the same period of Christ’s ministry or not; and lastly, for what reason, if they belong to one time, they belong to this place according to Matthew, and not to the beginning of the summer of the year 782, in which Luke seems to place them.

In our times the two discourses have been generally considered as identical, that is, as two different evangelical reports of one and the same discourse of Jesus;1 so that, by some Matthew’s report,2 by others that of Luke,3 has been held as the least authentic; by a third class, no great authenticity has been ascribed to either.4 It certainly cannot be denied that the similarity of the two discourses in the leading thoughts is so great, that we may be induced to believe that they are to be regarded as the same discourse, only differently reported. Truly the fundamental thought of both is the same: the representation of the exaltation of the depressed and the humble, and the depression of those who are falsely exalted, the self-exalted,—which begins with the year of jubilee. The similarity appears most strikingly as to form in the beatitudes. But in all of them the differences are so great, that they cannot possibly be set to the account of the Evangelists, unless the right can be established generally to ascribe to them a faded, ‘washy’ (verwaschene) representation of the Lord’s evangelical ministry. The number of the beatitudes is not the same in the two discourses, and the construction of single sentences is different. The Evangelist Luke presents a contrast to the beatitudes in a parallel series of woes. The contrast is, indeed, found in Matthew as to the substance, in the delineation of pharisaical righteousness and its consequences, but the form in Luke is totally different. Add to this the difference of the locality and of the auditory which the Evangelists state for each discourse. According to the Evangelist Matthew, Jesus delivered His discourse seated on the top of a mountain; according to Luke, He came to a level place on the side of a mountain in order to preach to the people. There, He, at the sight of the multitude of people, withdrew to the circle of His disciples;5 here, He came down with His disciples from the top of the mountain, and places Himself in the midst of the multitude, in order to speak to them. Thus, therefore, we have evidently two different addresses or discourses, which are formed of the same materials, before us; and before we turn to the hypothesis of ‘faded representations,’ we have first of all to try our good fortune on the method of estimating the most living peculiarities of the Gospels. But here the two discourses immediately appear to us as highly characteristic. The Sermon on the Mount (properly so called) manifests throughout the character of a discourse such as Christ would not deliver to a promiscuous audience. This remark applies particularly to the delineation of the Pharisees and scribes and their righteousness, and to the description of the striking contrast between His doctrine and theirs. He could not have yet spoken in this manner to the Jewish people in general, without endangering His work to the utmost by a disregard of consequences. And if in this discourse we also admit that the Evangelist might give some particular passages in a different connection than they stood in the original, and have inserted some others, yet the discourse, in its whole structure, has too original and harmonious a character for us to ascribe it in essentials to the Evangelist.6 The Sermon on the Mount appears to us, consequently, as a discourse of Christ which has throughout an esoteric, confidential character. But in this character it corresponds entirely to the account of the Evangelist repecting its origin, according to which the Lord delivered it to His disciples in the mountain solitude, withdrawn from the people; though the Evangelist, by the inexact observation at the close, that the people were ‘astonished at His teaching,’ which is only to be referred to the second mountain discourse of Christ, has in some measure weakened that more exact statement. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord exhibited to His confidential disciples the leading doctrines and characteristics of His kingdom, in opposition to the doctrine and religion of its opponents. But by the disciples we need not necessarily understand only the four already distinctly called, but rather the circle of His confidential adherents generally. Even a Matthew might properly find himself among them, though his calling to the apostleship did not take place till a later period. While this discourse has a marked esoteric character, on the contrary the discourse in Luke is throughout popular in its concrete vivacity, symbolic phraseology, and conciseness; it has altogether an exoteric character, and so it exactly corresponds to the connection which the Evangelist Luke has given to it. Christ delivers this discourse standing among the multitude, though His eye rests with a blessing on His disciples, who form the choicest part of the audience.

If we now propose the question, in what relation the two discourses stand to one another as to the time of their delivery, from various indications we arrive at the conclusion, that the discourse to the people (Volkspredigt) was delivered immediately after that to the disciples (Gemeindepredigt). First of all, in reference to the order of time, we may be guided by the history of the centurion at Capernaum. As this in Matthew follows close upon the discourse to the disciples, so in Luke it follows close upon the discourse to the people. Thus the two discourses are brought very near one another; they occur within the same time of one journey of Jesus through Galilee. Let us now add to this, that a multitude of people stand waiting below the mountain while Jesus delivers His first sermon to His disciples, and that when He has come down from the mountain with His disciples, He delivers the latter sermon to the people; and if we thus account for the material resemblance of the two discourses, we gain in this way a perspicuous, comprehensive view of the whole question. We see how Christ, first of all, in the mountain solitude initiates His confidential disciples into the mysteries of His kingdom, and then, on His return to the people, propounds the same doctrine in its leading features, but in a form more suited to the popular apprehension.7

We must now examine to which of the Evangelists the preference is to be given in reference to determining the time. In this respect Matthew furnishes important elements for determining the question. First of all, we take into account that the longer discourse so shortly preceded his own calling. It is not at all probable that he would have placed the great events which occurred so close to that calling in a chronologically false position. Add to this, the contents of the second discourse presuppose a circle of hearers for the most part wholly susceptible; a larger than which Jesus rarely had in His second official summer. But the most significant circumstance is, that the contents of the discourse in both forms very distinctly refer back to the leading thoughts of the first announcement of salvation made by Jesus, namely, to the thought that the great, real jubilee year of God had commenced.

If we would thoroughly apprehend the import of the twofold discourse, we must set out from its relation to the jubilee year in the legislation of the Old Covenant.8

The law speaks respecting the year of jubilee as a deeply typical determination of the eternal ideal divine law which is to overrule the historical relations of earthly social rights, including those of person and property. In it is plainly reflected the correct relation of God’s proprietorship and that of the holy national community, founded and invested by God, to the proprietorship of the individual, and the personal right of the individual in contrast to the relations or duties of servitude.

The year of jubilee was the Sabbath of the holy community; hence it was founded on the sabbatical year which brought about a great Sabbath9 of the Holy Land, which also was for the advantage of the community. The land was to be once every seven years free from the discipline and coercion of cultivation; it was not, as commonly, to be sown and cleared by reaping, but to produce freely whatever it carried in its bosom as its own genius pleased. It was to be quite as free from the checks on its own luxuriance which the self-interest of the possessor might commonly impose, and to pour forth its abundance as a pure divine property, and be for the common benefit of all, masters and servants, Jews and strangers, man and beast. Every seven years, therefore, the splendour of a theocratic Arcadia, of a glorified paradisaical world, was to shine forth in the Holy Land. But by this rest (or Sabbath) the principle was expressed, that the ground and soil of the earth must ever be a middle property between common property and private possession; that it could never become absolute common property, Church, State, or communal property, but also never absolute private property. So, then, in the seventh year the claim of the community, and especially of the poor in it, also of foreigners, and even of the beasts within their range, to the free abundance of the land, was celebrated. But as nature in seven years completed its cycle through toil to rest, so the holy national community completed its cycle in seven times seven years. For society is nature multiplied by itself-nature elaborating, spiritualizing itself. The fiftieth year (not the nine-and-fortieth) must therefore be the sabbatical year of the congregation of Jehovah, the year of jubilee, or trumpet-year. Its beginning was to be signalized by the great feast of atonement; therefore, from the remission of debt before God must proceed the remission of debts in society. The opening of this great festival was to be announced by trumpets; and from this custom its name is explained.10 In this year, every inheritance which an Israelite had sold from necessity reverted again to him, and upon this reversion the purchase—money was to be calculated.11 Also, the servitude into which the Israelite, by his poverty, had been subjected to his brother, a wealthier Israelite, was to cease with this year;12 it could never amount to slavery. Thus with the year of jubilee the bondsman became free, and he who had lost his inheritance regained it. The ideal fundamental relations of the holy nation, in which the eternal kingdom of God was reflected, sprang out of the complications and privations of a severe reality, and the community rested from its own hardships as the holy congregation of the rich and equally portioned heirs and heiresses of Jehovah.13

Thus the Divine Spirit in Israel had withdrawn the three most essential goods of life from the will, the absolute possession of the individual, as well as the right of prescription and perpetual exchange—the produce of the field, the holy soil of the land, and the personal freedom of the individual. These goods were reserved for the Lord, and hence must always revert to the holy congregation of God. From the right of goods, a twofold right of eternal possession was distinguished, both downwards and upwards.

There was, upwards, an eternal divine possession, or possession of the holy community, which could not become the possession of individuals. To this belonged the fields of the Levites (Lev 25:34). But there was also, downwards, a perpetual private possession, which was not included in the great reversion of the year of jubilee. To this, without doubt, belonged especially money14 and moveable goods, besides the dwelling-house in an unwalled town, if it was not redeemed within the first year after the sale. Yet from this the houses in the cities of the Levites were excepted. They could be sold like the landed property of other Israelites, but must revert like that, since they were the landed property of the Levitical individual (Lev 25:29). Further, the heathen who had become the bondsman of a Jew was regarded as private property; he might be held in perpetual slavery. Moveable goods, wealth, are incorporated with the individual; they belong to his personal dignity. But this slave, as a heathen in the typical ritual, had not yet attained the enjoyment of personal dignity; yet he was not treated as a thing, as among the heathen, but as a man theocratically under age.15 Lastly, as to the unwalled house in a city, it was separated by the walls from the fields of the country (Lev 25:30-31), and the individuality was measured by this boundary. The unenclosed house belonged, with the fields, to the divine community and to Jehovah; the house in a walled city fell to the individual, and belonged again, like himself, to the Lord.

In these fundamental distinctions of an ideal right of property, are underlaid, without doubt, the ideas of the eternal right of the kingdom of God. They form the typical ground-plan of the rights and regulations of the Christian social age, the realization of the kingdom of heaven upon earth.16 They stood so high above the reality, that they could not easily in Israel become a fixed civil usage. But they answered this valuable purpose, that the people, when better disposed, could always use them as a directory. Moses foresaw that the people would not grant the land its Sabbath, and foretold that in the future desolations the land would obtain its rights, and enjoy its Sabbaths (Lev 26:34-35). And his prediction was fulfilled first of all, according to 2Ch 36:21, in the misconduct of the people before the Babylonish captivity, and in the punishment which followed. In the last days before that catastrophe, the people, it is true, made an attempt to realize the theocratic rights of persons, but in vain (Jer. 34.) But in proportion as the actual state of things contravened the law, the prophets perceived that the year of jubilee must first of all be exhibited in its spiritual relations, before it could be realized in the earthly ones. They saw in spirit that Jehovah Himself must establish, and would establish, a great year of jubilee,—that He Himself, as the great creditor, must proclaim remission for His debtors, and release His captives, and thus would establish the time of a great general restoration of the children of God. Thus arose the visions of the most delightful longing, hope, and promise, in which the age of the Messiah is depicted as the great jubilee of Jehovah, in which the Messiah appears as the messenger of God who sounds the trumpet of the jubilee; as in the passage of Isaiah (61:1, 2) which the Lord read and expounded in the synagogue at Nazareth.

Just as He there announced the kingdom of heaven as the beginning of the spiritual and everlasting jubilee, so He appears to have preached the kingdom of heaven variously in this figurative representation, which was admirably suited to move the Israelites in their inmost souls, and was, indeed, from the first an ideal of the new heavenly age. This is testified by the last words of the message of Jesus to John—‘the poor have the Gospel preached to them.’17

Just so, this equalizing which is to bring the kingdom of God as a year of jubilee for both poor and rich of the old world, is a fundamental thought in the two discourses of the blessedness of the poor in the new world.

On the first great journey of Jesus through Galilee, not only the groups of His adherents in a narrower sense increased, but also the multitude of sufferers, and began to press upon Him more and more. When He saw the crowds thus increasing, He felt Himself obliged to withdraw from their excessive intrusion, since He never would expose the holy action of His life to being overpowered by a host of carnal proselytes and their mean interests. He went therefore to the mountain, the Evangelists narrate here in the same sense as John on another occasion; the mountain (τὸ ὄρος), namely, in distinction from the high plains or terraces on which the people stayed.18 He withdrew into the mountain solitude exactly overhanging the encampment of the people.19 This we gather very distinctly from the representation of Luke (6:17).20

But into that loneliness He took only His confidential disciples with Him: ‘whom He would’ (Mar 3:14). It is very possible that not only the later twelve apostles formed this circle, but that also many others of His more confidential disciples surrounded Him. On that account Mark and Luke might transfer to this place the more distinct separation of the Twelve, which took place somewhat later in their being actually sent out, especially since these Evangelists do not particularly report that later sending. At all events, it was a confidential circle that surrounded the Lord, as is indicated by the significant and historically certain fact, that He stayed and sat down sociably in their midst. On the other hand, surrounded by thousands of people, He could not well preach to them sitting. ‘And He opened His mouth,’ says the Evangelist. He felt the world-historical importance of this moment, in which Christianity was first expressed in its grand outlines by Christ, and that in contrast to Judaism. It was the moment of breaking open the greatest seal of the world, the moment of the revelation of a new religion, of a religion that transcended Judaism. He opened His mouth and revealed the mystery of this new religion, the Christian in a circle of persons animated with the strongest attachment to Judaism.21

This discourse of Christ is called the Sermon on the Mount in a literal sense, but it may be likewise so called in a symbolical sense. Christ stands on the summit of spiritual human life; His soul is filled with the beatitudes of His holy and perfected divine-human life. From this elevation He addresses poor man in error and confusion, in the depths of an unhappy life, in order to call him up, to lead him, to draw him to His own stand-point; for His word is not only the word of light, but also of power. We may call this discourse the Summit-sermon in order to distinguish it from the following, which was delivered on an elevated plain or lower mountain-terrace, and hence may be designated the Plateau-sermon.

We may contemplate the Summit-sermon as an organic unity which unfolds two principal parts in a most significant contrast, and closes with a third practical part. If we look at it as a unity, the doctrine of Christ appears to us in it in its main outlines, or, more definitely, the representation of the righteousness of Christ as it is unfolded in His disciples, or as the announcement of the spiritual jubilee year, as it consists in rectifying inequalities in the kingdom of God. If we consider it in its two chief component parts, it exhibits the contrariety of the doctrine of Christ to the doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees, or, more definitely, the true righteousness of His disciples in opposition to the false righteousness of His adversaries; or also, the contrasted equalizing which is brought by Christ’s jubilee-the exaltation of the poor, and the humiliation of the rich. If, lastly, we fix our attention on the threefold division of the discourse,—the first part depicts the gradual progression of Christian righteous men, how it rises from the depths of poverty of spirit to the summit of blessedness in the vision of God (Mat 5:1-19); the second part depicts the descent of the pharisaically righteous, how they begin their way of error with deforming the law, and end it by giving that which is holy to the dogs and casting pearls before swine, and in return are torn in pieces by them (Mat 5:20; Mat 7:6); the third part gives directions how to avoid the false way down—hill, and to choose the true way up-hill,-it announces, therefore, the true method of the spiritual life. In this threefold division, those distinctions are shown to us, according to which the great equalization is effected which the year of jubilee brings. Especially, therefore, is this discourse to be considered in its unity. We see here the beginning of the New Testament law of life breaking forth from the husk of the Old Testament law. For only by the specially strict law of Jehovah in a narrower sense could be appointed poverty of spirit and the disposition of divine mourning connected with it be produced-the longing after righteousness. We see, then, how in this new legally progressive unfolding the old law celebrates its glorification, since here all its literal appointments are spiritually fulfilled. Then the Lord shows how this new life completely loosens itself from the withered husk of pharisaical maxims by which it was covered, and we are taught the element of Christian practice (Askese), of spiritual good conduct, in which this fruit ripens into the complete purity and blessedness of the inner life.

Therefore the Sermon on the Mount in its unity is an organic representation of the appointed forms of life according to Christianity. In this relation it has, not without reason, been compared with the giving of the law on Sinai. As the first comprehensive announcement of the Gospel, it forms the most expressive contrast to the announcement of the law from Sinai. There, the prophet of the Old Covenant received the revelation from the hand of Jehovah by the mediation of angels, therefore with feelings which elevated his life far above the ordinary state; here, the Prophet of the New Covenant utters the revelations of God from the depths of His own innermost life, from the matured moments of His most habitual and yet highest spiritual condition. There, a law is announced which confronts the people with threatenings on tables of stone—accompanied by thunder and lightning, the phenomena of Omnipotence which stands in harmony with the righteousness of God, and therefore accompanied by the signs of armed, threatening, and warning righteousness. Here, a law utters its voice, which begins to write the power of the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of men, and whose vivifying power makes itself known in the promises of salvation by which it is accompanied. And while there, Moses shattered the first tables of the law in displeasure at the idolatry of the people, and then brings a second, perfectly similar, stern repetition of the law; so here, Jesus brings the first form of the Sermon on the Mount, which is only comprehensible by His initiated disciples, in a second concrete and more comprehensible form, out of tender regard to the weakness of the people. But His law remains in all its features a gospel, as His Gospel preserves in all fulness the legal precision. This, therefore, is the unity of the Sermon on the Mount; it is the Gospel of the law, or the law of the Gospel. The origin of this law is a human heart, the holy heart of the Lord; the tables of this law are human hearts, the susceptible hearts of believers; all its written characters are life-forms of the real world. If we look at the Sermon on the Mount according to the antagonism which animates it, its peculiar theme lies evidently in the twentieth verse. The righteousness of the disciples of Jesus is delineated in opposition to the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. The one rise upwards as copartners of the shame and glory of Christ, till they stand near Him in the light of glorification; the others descend into the depths of grossness, till they are trampled under foot by the dogs and swine of the spiritual world. The close of the discourse shows how men have to walk in one way, and to avoid the other.

If we let this closing word come forth in its entire significance along with the preceding words, the division of the three parts is plainly shown, according to which we wish to consider the discourse in particulars.

The beatitudes form the chief materials of the first part. These beatitudes are certainly nine, if we number them mechanically; but if we keep in view the main point, the successive steps, it will be seen that the old reckoning of seven beatitudes is perfectly well founded. While the beatitudes, as far as the seventh, exhibit a definite succession of steps in the Christian life, the eighth relates to the pursuit of the Christian after righteousness in general, and to his holy sufferings arising from it in the world, as both begin when he takes the first step in the inner life. He must suffer for righteousness’ sake on all the stages of his development; and this is a blessed suffering. But that he suffers for righteousness’ sake is identical with suffering for Christ’s sake, which is extolled in the ninth beatitude. Here only the life which at first was depicted in its general spiritual form, appears in its concrete Christian distinctness and beauty, and it is manifest that Christ is the historical, perfected life-principle of Christian righteousness, and of its unfolding through all its stages.

As to what regards the relation of this delineation of the inner life, we have to contemplate it in accordance with its evangelical character, not as an outward legal prescription of the Lord respecting the conduct of His disciples. Rather His lawgiving is a creative act. When He describes the righteous, He calls them into life by His word; a new world is drawn forth, not from the gloomy fermentation of the elements, but from the night of internal judgments and divine sorrow. This world exists upon His word. We see, therefore, the holy mount surrounded by steps, and all the steps covered by souls rising from the depths to the heights. They are, these ‘poor in spirit,’ these ‘mourners;’ they live, and that in the spirit. In their unfolding we witness the noiseless formation of the new heavens in the quiet recesses of the hidden world of the affections, and even in the abysses of an unutterable sorrow, by which the Christian life makes its way through the opposition of the old world life.

Life in the spirit is the fundamental character of all Christians. The Christian begins his Christian existence with feeling himself poverty-struck in spirit: he is conscious of an infinite want in his spirit, with an equally powerful craving after satisfaction. But he feels this want so strongly in the spirit, because he lives in the spirit. Without life in the spirit there is no Christianity whatever; no theological science, no moral culture, no church ceremonial, can supply the place of life in the spirit. In spiritual life, that is, in that life in which the spirit of man comes in contact and is united with the Spirit of God, the various stages of righteousness and blessedness are all identical. It lies in the nature of the spirit that it exhibit itself in the whole circumference of its constituent elements. Therefore the poor in spirit on the first stage must also be in the germ a peacemaker; and in the blessed peacemaker of the seventh stage there is still poverty in spirit in its essential contents, though transformed into a most blessed humility. Nevertheless, the succession of stages is a necessary, organic, and perfectly definite succession. Every step has its own character, controlling and determining the whole inner life, and the Christian in his inner life must experience all these phases of his spirit’s constitution to verify their eternal value, and to exhibit them on the summit of his development in perfect unity.

It is the foundation of an organically determined development, that man begins his new life in the spirit in the feeling of his woeful destitution of all the highest goods of the spirit. This poverty embraces the whole new life of the spirit as a germ, and breaks forth in a twofold direction in polar unfolding. In poverty of spirit, man comes to himself, and now he necessarily comprehends in his inmost soul his most intimate relation to God. Then the root of his new life is formed in pure, holy sorrow, which in its nature is a divine sorrow, a mourning on account of separation from God, a pining after home. But in this divine sorrow his relation to other men becomes a new one; the old fierceness and hardness of his natural egoism is stripped off, and the stem of his life is formed under the smooth spiritual control of gentleness with which he now meets his fellow-men. That sorrow is nourished by this gentleness, and, striking its roots deeper, becomes an ardent longing after the righteousness of God. This gentleness, under the holy longing after righteousness and its satisfaction, is developed into tenderheartedness, which recognizes his neighbour as miserable, and is interested in positively rescuing him. Lastly, that hungering and thirsting after righteousness before God is satisfied under the exercises of mercifulness and the acts of self-denial which accompany it, and purity of heart is its fruit, the lily-blossom of the perfection of the life turned to God; and so at last this mercifulness ripens to the highest vitality in power to bring the peace of God, and to establish peace upon earth, and therefore in the perfection of the life turned to men. But this double threefold development of the Christian is a conflict against the world for eternal righteousness, and therefore is connected with the severest suffering; it is a suffering for God. But it is equally a suffering for holy man, a suffering for Christ’s sake,—indeed a dying with Him on His cross.

These phenomena of the spiritual life consist neither in well-disposed natural states of the affections, nor in imperfect strivings of the will; they are neither moral virtues, nor legal habitual acts of a laborious, striving self-determination. They are rather, as constituents of the proper spiritual life, such dispositions as on the one hand may be contemplated as operations of God, as new states of the spirit, and, on the other, altogether as the ripe, free, ardent, decided acts of human striving; therefore spiritual determinations in which man, striving and free, lays hold of the divine life as he is laid hold of by it.

Now, if the Lord pronounces men blessed in these spiritual states, it is not merely a promise of blessedness. They are already blessed, although they have not attained the full consciousness of this blessedness. The deepest divine sorrow exists under the influence of the peace of God, and is more blessed than the highest worldly enjoyment. But this blessedness is to be perfected;—the promises express that. To the poor in spirit the whole kingdom of heaven is allotted. Since he is poor in spirit, he is poor in the infinity of the divine life; therefore he is craving, poverty-struck, with a consecrated hungering after the Eternal,22 and on that account, because the infinite fulness of the Divine Spirit has already enkindled him, and thus he is nobly covetous of the highest, he is become a spiritual mendicant, so that the whole world can no longer satisfy him. In his eager anticipation, that fulness has already touched him and penetrated his inmost life; hereafter the complete effulgence of that fulness shall enter his spirit. But as his poverty in spirit is formed and unfolded before God and the world, so also is his reward, or the inheritance that is promised him. To mourning absolutely—that is, the highest, pure, divine mourning sorrow for destitution of God—corresponds consolation absolutely; therefore, consolation from God in the heavenly refreshment and encouragement of his life. For this mourning proceeds from the disgust man feels with pleasure in vain things: the mourner absolutely is impelled by the presentiment of the eternal, serene, divine life, the peace of God; and hence this peace is to greet him in a spiritual rejuvenescence of life, and will hereafter become altogether his portion. But the disciples of Jesus inherit the earth as the meek. The holy land of the world, now in the course of transformation, and hereafter to be wholly transformed, gains immediately for them a fresh splendour, and will be one day their heritage, the earthly basis for the appearance of their glory,23 not only because meekness, as the mightiest spiritual life, must lead to victory over the rude, impassioned men of violence, and because God makes up to the patient his injured rights by abundant recompense, but also because the meek is already filled with the ideal of the transformed earth, and therefore cannot eagerly contend about the provisional forms of the earth and earthly phantoms; since he has chosen paradise in the earth, while others have chosen in it the accursed ground, therefore, in fact, only the curse which is to be withdrawn from the earth.24 Here it becomes evident in what a rich sense the rights of the Jewish year of jubilee find their essential realization in the consummation of Christ’s kingdom. Therefore the disciples of Jesus appear as renouncing their claims in the old world, not because they have no sense of the beauty of the world, but because the resplendent image of the pure divine world ravishes and ennobles them, and has raised them above the lower desires of transitory things. But above all things they yearn after the prime fundamental condition of all divine life—righteousness. All their longing, every desire of their life, is tinged and controlled by this highest spiritual aspiration, and is drawn into the ardent revolution of this aspiration; therefore, their very breaking of bread easily becomes the supper for the remembrance of the death of Jesus, and their bridal festivity a symbol of Christ’s relation to the Church. But since in all things they long after righteousness, all the fulness of life to their life’s satisfaction is to be given to them in and with the righteousness of God; they are to be satisfied absolutely—altogether calmed with the reconciling righteousness first of all, but also with all heaven, which is in its train, until they are satisfied in their infinite longing, and express it in never-ending praise. This satisfaction is already announced in their hunger and thirst; for the most ardent desire after righteousness is the most ardent motive to be released from the bondage of creature-desire, the cessation of the desire of human nature—life, by entrance into the Christian ideality of the world, in which man enjoys everything in the spirit. The pain suffered for eternal righteousness leads the higher longing of life into the quiet tribunal in the breast in which earthly wishes die, there to be examined and tried; and thus it is glorified as the joy of sorrow, rests in God, comes forth from this tribunal, and in the transformed sorrow of life’s deepest depths has recognized its choicest part, the blessedness of the cross. With this divine satisfaction of their life, the disciples of Jesus have become rich in the presence of suffering humanity; and as in these riches they exercise mercy, so also they obtain mercy. In the soothing balm which now streams forth from their benevolent heart into the wounds of their neighbours and of the world, they have gained the sense for the rich, divine balm of healing mercy which streams into their own sick life, their life’s wounds, in order to complete their restoration; and in the gentle influence of God’s Spirit they feel assured of finding mercy both with God and man—in distress and death—that even after they lose their health and sink strengthless, everything must be transformed for them into a sheltering bosom of God’s love—into a holy grave filled with the healing and reviving power of God. The perfection of their life in its upward direction consists in purity of heart. The heart is first pure in positive power, in the firmness of the eternal spirit, when it desires, grasps, and retains nothing worldly as worldly, and nothing of its own as its own; when it seeks and finds all things only in God, and only God in all things. In this state of the perfected spirit no desire disturbs its Christian ideal or holy relation to God and the world; and therefore the heart has become a pure mirror in which the glory of God is expressed most clearly to a spiritual eye that can see God. This seeing of God is to be accomplished as the most intimate knowledge and experience of God’s administration and nature, as it is revealed through all the world; therefore it is mediated by the spiritual contemplation of Christ, in whom the organic life-principle of the world is revealed, in whom the image of God has appeared. The possibility of God’s being seen is conditioned by this revelation of God (which at the same time is the glorification of the world), by the being of Christ. Moreover the possibility of the heart’s becoming pure is conditioned by the believing contemplation of the positive purifying divine purity in him.25 According to this promise, the heart’s becoming pure must be essentially allied to the elevation of the spirit to the sight of God. Hence it follows that the cognitive power of man, his power of spiritual vision, has its innermost nerve in the life of his heart. If he is foolish in his thinking, so is he foolish in his heart,26 and out of the corruption of his feelings arises the corruption of his thoughts. If a man is wise, he is wise in his heart: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The highest form of knowledge is therefore not the abstract apprehension of philosophizing thought, but the spiritual seeing in which all the faculties (Qualitäten) of the spirit discharge their functions, priest-like, in the most living unity—a seeing in which the whole life becomes knowledge, and all knowledge perfect life—the eye one with the heart, and indeed one in the clearest beholding of God, as it proceeds from union with God in the purity of the heart.27 The human heart was originally consecrated to be a place for the spaceless, a measure of time for the timeless, a uniqueness of the revelation of the eternal God; therefore it can never become a tabula rasa of infinite desolation and worthless insensibility; as it has died altogether to the world, it has become alive in the eternal God. Now, since man, according to the measure of this purification becomes a peacemaker and a messenger of peace for the world, an angel of the Gospel, or a Christian genius of the world’s peace resting in reconciliation with God,—so he also obtains an inheritance that corresponds to this life. The kings and judges of the earth were from the beginning destined to rule as peacemakers in a higher sense over the earth full of contentions, and to quell the hellish strife of the passions; and in accordance with this destination they are called in a higher sense, children or sons of God.28 But the kings and judges of the ancient world mostly contradicted their destination, and in the best instances exhibited only more or less strong symbols of the essential heavenly life of their calling that could be first realized in spirit in the life of the disciples of Jesus. These therefore undertook in the most real sense the office to judge and to rule on the earth by the word of God in the spirit of His love; and for this ever more, as the end of the world approaches, will the honour be awarded them, that they have become the true chiefs of the human race,29 its perpetual assessors of peace,30 and the most genuine sons of God in the world’s history. They were once the most real, most absolute mendicants,—mendicants emphatically, as the poor in spirit; and to this character it corresponds that they have now become the most special chiefs of humanity, illustrious chiefs in the kingdom of the spirit, sons of God, and are recognized as such.31 Thus the rewards of the disciples of Jesus rise with their virtues. In their spiritual position before God they were first of all comforted, then filled, lastly illuminated and glorified in the vision of God by His sun-like splendour; but in the presence of the world, they gained the inheritance of the new earth, they experienced the healing of all their life’s wounds, and attained those spiritual honours which are the reflection of their inner life and outward conduct in the award of God and the acknowledgment of men. But as that Christian deportment towards God and towards men unfolded itself in a constant polar reciprocal action—so that, for example, mourning before God became meekness towards men, and from mercy towards men came purity of heart before God; so likewise their rewards unfold themselves in this reciprocal action. As the comforted ones, Christians have begun to understand the true enjoyment of the earth, and the images in it of the Eternal; as those who see God, they have gained that power of light which is reflected in their countenances, so that they can overpower the demons of strife on earth. But because on the whole path of this spiritual life they have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. But why again the kingdom of heaven, as well as in the case of the poor in spirit? For this reason: the kingdom of heaven is the all-comprehensive expression of the divine requital, and because it develops itself in a distinct contrast from the deepest secrecy as the work of God in the heart to the highest glorification of the life and of the world. As the poor in spirit, they already possess the kingdom of heaven in its foundation, for the work of God has made its beginning in their hearts. But they scarcely know themselves how rich they have become. As the rich in spirit, they have been driven and persecuted through the world; but by this means they have become conscious that to them belongs the kingdom of heaven, and indeed that they exhibit, reveal, and spread it in the world by their life; and at last they know perfectly that their life is one and the same with the kingdom of heaven, and that the kingdom of heaven, in its complete manifested glory, becomes their inheritance. But this was the historical, the satisfied form of their holy life, that they suffered for Christ’s sake and with Him. He was the life-principle of their whole spiritual life and condition; therefore their inheritance gains the complete historical form; they enter into the kingdom of Christ’s glory, in which they associate themselves with their predecessors the prophets in one grand choir, and in the perfected relations of blessedness receive their full reward in the personal assembly of the redeemed. The spiritual relations of the kingdom of heaven, therefore, perfectly coincide with its individual relations; the name of Christ is one with righteousness; and as the suffering for righteousness was a suffering of persecution for Christ’s sake, so the spiritual gain of the kingdom of heaven is an individual entrance into heaven, and a reception of the reward in the circle of the blessed prophets.

Thus has the Lord marked out the ascent of His disciples to the summit of their felicity. This heavenly way forms a contrast to the world’s way of death; and hence the conflict and persecution experienced by believers. Therefore they should not think this experience strange; they must go through this necessity of conflict. The Lord points this out to them by two similitudes. They are the salt of the earth. Salt, as the most living mineral substance, as the highest, sharpest life-spirit of earthy minerals, seasons the earthy nutritious matter, and checks the corruption of animal substances; and so the children of the Spirit of Christ, in the power of this Spirit punishing what is evil, vivifying and transforming what is naturally good, are the seasoning, conservative, and transforming life-power of human society.32 But since salt is the noblest mineral, which can improve even bread and flesh, vegetable and animal life, it becomes the least valuable when it is decayed, and loses its seasoning power; it then sinks below dead rubbish, and can only serve as the most worthless mineral, to be cast out of doors to mend the road. Such deterioration is indeed not possible in pure earthly salt; and as little is it possible in the pure spiritual salt, the life of Christ. But as there is in nature an imperfect salt, which, on account of its earthy mixture, can decay and become worthless,33 so it is also possible with the spiritual salt which the disciples exhibit before the world. Just as Christ calls them the light of the world on account of the illumination which they receive from Him, although much that is dark in their minds requires to be removed; so here He calls them the salt of the earth because the sharp, spiritual power that He imparts to them must form the governing principle of their life, although still much that is earthly is in their spiritual nature, by which they may be again corrupted, and then most awfully be cast away. The disciples therefore are to preserve their salt-power and sharpness before the world. And while as the salt of the earth they are to preserve the world from moral corruption and hellish ruin, they must likewise plant in it the highest, heavenly life as the light of the world. They are not to imagine that they can remain hidden any more than a city that is set upon a hill.34 Still less should they aim at concealing their luminous spiritual life. A lamp is lighted, not to be put under a corn-measure,35 but on a stand, that it may give light to all that are in the house. So should they confidently let their light, of which the first ray is poverty in spirit, and therefore humility, shine before men; and if people at first revile in them the mystic source of their light, the name of Christ, yet they will at last learn to value the beneficial effects of their light, their good works, and glorify the Father in heaven. This is the practical close of the discourse on the beatitudes.

But now the Lord must display to His disciples the world with which they will come in conflict in its worst form, in the positive descent from the mountain, from the pure legal standpoint, therefore (so to speak) from the consecrated heights of Sinai, as it was exhibited in the righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes. And since His disciples, like the Jews generally, were wont to identify the law of Moses and the maxims of the scribes, the hallowing of that law and the righteousness of the Pharisees according to those maxims, so they were in danger of being perplexed at the doctrine of Christ as soon as they perceived its contrariety to the maxims of the Pharisees. Hence Christ first of all determines the relations in which, on the one hand, He stands with His doctrine to the Old Covenant, and in which, on the other, the Pharisees and scribes are to the same.

This is the relation of Christ to the Old Covenant. He came not to destroy the law or the prophets.36 Generally He came not to destroy, but to fulfil.37

In His institution the perfection of all the legal institutions and ordinances of the kingdom of God lies in their unity; just as in the flower, not the half, but the whole substance of the plant is brought into splendid exhibition. In His life this fulfilling of the Old Testament seed was completed in its chosen part or centre. But as to its circumference, the unfolding of this fulfilment continues to the end of the world.38

And before heaven and earth or the old world-form are dissolved, not an iota, not a tittle39 of the law will be dissolved or destroyed; nothing of it will be destroyed till all which it has determined has become a reality.40 Whatever was fixed as law can only be removed by its being changed into a principle of life by the spirit. But when a false spirit, as Spiritualism, would remove such a legal appointment by a pure negation, without renewing and elevating it into an evangelical appointment, the supposed expunged iota or the misunderstood fragment of the mutilated law will make its appearance again in large or even flaming characters; it will take vengeance on those who in a perverse spirit misinterpreted or rejected it. And thus will the law for ever enforce its claims till every part of it has come to pass or become life—until this mature life-birth of the realized law makes its appearance as a new world, and the enclosing shell of the old world is broken through and destroyed.

Therefore he is not a reformer, but a revolutionist, who relaxes or destructively repeals one of the least enactments of the law, or perverts it by a false interpretation,41 without restoring or preserving it in an evangelical form. And whoever misleads others to this nullification, such a person will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, because his spirit has the smallest compass, because he cannot come to the life of the law without giving up the fulness of its enactments and confining himself to a few abstract principles. But whoever strives above all things to keep the law in its power and full extent, and teaches accordingly, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. This is the greatness of the reformer, that he collects together all the riches of the enactments of the law, and unfolds them in the fully comprehensive, though not directly explicit, enactments of the Gospel.42 But such revolutionists who disannul the true law we have had to seek for a thousand times in a quarter where we should least suspect them to exist—among the men of prescriptions. The righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes leads not to the kingdom of heaven, but downhill to the abyss. And this is shown first of all in their disfiguring the true law. While, therefore, in Christianity the glorification of Sinai, the fulfilling and bloom of the Old Covenant, must be recognized, we see in the righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes a dissolution of this covenant.43 This heavy charge the Lord establishes in the sequel. From His showing, it appears that the old law might be annulled in different ways.

This annulment had been brought about slowly, by a succession of criminal acts, the offspring of false tradition. We cannot say who did it; it was effected by the general spirit of the interpretation (ἐῤῥέθη); but this tradition was carefully taken up by the ancients, or at least by those who were like-minded (ἀρχαίοις). The first corruption of the law was shown in this, that it was not developed according to its spirit, but was limited to its literal meaning. Thus the Jews had understood the law, Thou shalt not kill, by the addition of the civil enactment, Whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment, in stiff literality, without ascertaining its spirit and applying it to the life; therefore they had deprived it of its spirit and annulled it. But the law must be developed if it is to remain true; it operates falsely as soon as it is only enforced according to the letter. This we see in the first example. Christ develops this first law according to its spirit. Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause44 shall be in danger45 of the district court;46 for he has exalted himself against its right to be judge over him, and thereby made an insolent attack on the rights of this court. But whoever says to his brother, Racha! thou detestable one! thou accursed one!47 he is obnoxious to the judgment of the Sanhedrim, since he has designated his brother as one excommunicated from the congregation—a judgment which belongs only to the Sanhedrim. But whoever says to him, Thou fool! thou wicked, abandoned reprobate! he is obnoxious to the heaviest divine judgment in Israel, which sentences to be thrown into the hell of fire, to be executed and thrown into the valley of Gehinnom, and to be burnt as a corpse with the corpses that are thrown there,48 according to the same law, because, without right or reason, he had condemned his brother to this penal court. Therefore the unauthorized judge rightly incurs the same judgment which, contrary to love, he inflicts on his neighbour. If he treats him as a criminal, he exposes himself to the criminal court; if he condemns him as a heretic, he is obnoxious to the tribunal for heresy; and if he gives him up as a reprobate past recovery, he is obnoxious to the highest religious tribunal in which the punishment of damnation is reflected. It is therefore manifest that Christ does not merely intend to represent an uncharitable disposition as damnable, by an arbitrarily marked hyperbolic punishment: He rather exhibits uncharitableness from the first in its subtle, social offences, as to make it punishable according to the spirit of the law in a social sense. The aggravations of guilt are quite definite, and with the same definiteness the succession of courts of justice to which the person guilty of uncharitableness would be amenable. The meaning of the succession of courts of justice was, in short, this: It is criminal when a man stamps his brother, in unauthorized private passion, arbitrarily as a criminal; it is heretical when he stamps him as a heretic; and damnable when he dooms him to perdition. These sharp distinctions must serve to show how far the law, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ goes beyond the limited exposition, the murderer alone falls under the judgment of the criminal court: how soon the uncharitable would be lost with the first expressions of his uncharitableness, if he were judged by God and man according to the standard which his own uncharitableness has set up.

That severity, therefore, which too hastily judges a brother, always exposes itself to its own sentences, and that according to its own rules. So sharp is the law in its development, since it demands the greatest gentleness of love, the placable spirit which the Lord characterized by a single case. ‘If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there recollectest before God—where the admonitory and punitive Spirit of God looks sharply upon man, and where the pious easily becomes conscious of a hidden fault—that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’ So very much is reconciliation with God conditioned by the spirit of reconcilableness towards man. The point in question is, indeed, not an outward and literal, but a spiritual fulfilment of this rule; as, for example, it was in this sense a custom among the early Christians for the members of a family to beg forgiveness of one another before they went to the holy supper. ‘See to it,’ the Lord adds, ‘that thou agreest with thy adversary who hastens a suit against thee whilst thou art on the way to the judge; quickly come to terms with him, that he may not hand thee over to the judge, and the judge cause thee by his officers to be cast into prison.’ If there is the right to bring to judgment, it will operate in the form of judgment; there will be no release till the last farthing is paid, till the debt has been discharged according to law. Thus man must cherish a deep, holy solicitude, lest he should in any way violate love. This spirit of mildness and reconciliation is the spirit of the law, Thou shalt not kill.

Also a second command, the law, Thou shalt not commit adultery, the Jews had deprived of its due force by not developing it according to its meaning, but, on the contrary, misinterpreting it. The Lord restores this development: Whoever looketh on a woman with the design to lust after her, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.49 So easily may guilt be contracted if we are not on our guard. The law of marriage requires a holy caution, which shows itself particularly in two respects. A man must pluck out his right eye, if he is seduced by the eye to commit this transgression. This probably is to be understood of the pleasurable gazing on beauty. The pleasure of beholding which leads to ruinous desires must be entirely renounced, though it may be the most ardent enthusiasm, the pleasure of the right eye. And so a man must cut off his right hand, if by this hand he is seduced into transgression. This probably is to be understood of friendly intercourse. It must be entirely given up, if a man cannot overcome and destroy the temptation in it by faith, even though it were the most powerful attachment.50 But not only had the Jews injured the law of marriage by the want of development, but likewise in another way: that political concession which Moses had annexed to the promulgation of the eternal law itself, in order gradually to pave the way for the true sanctification of marriage, they neither recognized nor practised according to its true and holy intent, but had represented it with lightness as a trivial matter. Moses found the practice of divorce, as a natural result of his people’s hardness of heart, to be a custom which he could not put a stop to by legislation, because the actual marriage very often did not correspond to the ideal true marriage. As long as the actual marriage was frequently at variance with the ideal of marriage, so long it was needful for the concession to continue. But it must be regulated and checked by the law, in order that many marriage-contracts might not be contaminated by the preceding unrestrained divorces, and that the law might promote the continual tending of the actual marriage towards the ideal. Therefore Moses introduced a check on the unrestrained practice of divorce by ordaining ‘a writing of divorcement.51 But instead of seeing a limitation of divorce in this statute, the Jews saw an encouragement of it. Hence Christ pronounced the decision, ‘Every divorce which is not occasioned by adultery (whoredom) is itself adultery, inasmuch as the divorced is beguiled to regard herself as free, and to marry again; and so also he violates the marriage who espouses the divorced.’ Adultery, therefore, is committed when the divorce of the former marriage ends in a new one.

A similar manner of obscuring the law by a misinterpretation of its decisions, is shown in the way the Jews decided on the law of oaths.52 Moses looked upon the oath in civil matters as an unavoidable instrument of justice.53 But in general he counterworked the taking an oath. This he did in three ways. In the first place he interdicted the false oath as an abuse of the name of God (Exo 20:7; Lev 19:12); then he insisted on regarding as sacred, and on fulfilling, a vow made with an oath;54 and thirdly, he decided that persons were to swear by the name of the Lord.55 In this way of counterworking the taking of oaths, Christ advances to the full accomplishment; and certainly in opposition to the Jews, who had made out of the Mosaic regulations a very easy theory of oath-taking. Christ forbids the spontaneous swearing of the individual absolutely, that is, asseverations by oath in a literal sense. The person swearing appeals to some object as a witness; he constitutes that object an avenger or a pledge for the truth of his deposition. But in this lies the wrongfulness of the common voluntary adjuration. How can a person constitute anything as a pledge for the truth of his assertions when all things belong to God? If he swears by heaven, he presumes to pledge the throne of God. Just so, he acts against eternal right when he would pledge the earth, which is God’s footstool; or Jerusalem, the chief city of Jehovah as the great King of the theocracy; or even his own head, his life, which altogether, even to every hair, in all its several relations, is under the control of God. Only his own consciousness can he pledge. But this is done when he makes his simple assertion in yea and nay serve for an oath, when he strengthens the common Yea or Nay by a solemn Yea! or Nay! and therefore speaks with a collectedness and certainty which may be regarded as the consciousness of one taking an oath who speaks in the presence of God. Whatever goes beyond that, the Lord says, is from the evil one, at all events, proceeds from the corruption of the world. When the State makes a form of adjuration, because it cannot dispense with it for the sake of the general body, the Christian should then drop his yea and nay, but should know that his yea and nay signify the pledge of his moral person for his word before God; and that of themselves no adjurations can have greater force which do not become him, and which obscure the true essential oath-nature of veracious speech (Jam 5:12).

It is no contradiction of this statement respecting the law of oaths when Christ admitted the validity of the oath before the Sanhedrim, for He rendered it on His part by the solemn yea, which to Him was always equivalent to an oath. And when the Apostle Paul appeals to the truth of Christ within him (2Co 11:10), or to his conscience in the Holy Ghost (Rom 9:1), or calls God to witness,—in these assurances there appears to us precisely the glorification of the oath, namely, the avowal of his Christian elevated consciousness, in which the truth of Christ, the witness of God and his conscience, are one. For his consciousness is exactly that over which the speaker has power, which he can pledge by his assurance as a witness. From this it may be inferred that the pure oath in God’s sight, in the life of the believer who has united himself with God, is no oath in the common sense, and hence it was not mentioned by Christ. But when it is said, God swore by Himself (Isa 45:23; Heb 6:13), this is the expression of the perfect self-consciousness of God, which is one with His personality, and the most solemn assurance that in the power of His self-consciousness or personality, He makes an everlasting covenant with His children as personal beings related to Him.

Again, another perversion of the law takes place when it is falsely applied; when, for example, a regulation for public State life is extended to private life. So it was with the strict law of retaliation (Lex talionis), ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’56 The Mosaic legislation expressed this law of sheer retaliation most vividly in these words. Moses gave this right of retaliation the form of revenge, in order to intimate that it should set aside revenge and be a substitute for it. Indeed, private revenge he expressly forbids (Lev 19:18). And that legislation itself was not wanting in the living explanation and application of this enactment. The enactment was orally made (Exo 21:26), when any one smote his servant or maid in the eye, and the eye perished, or when he smote out a tooth of either, he was to be punished by letting the injured party go free. But the Jew brought this right of retaliation as a right of revenge into his private life; exactly contrary to the intention of the law, which was to guard against revenge. Therefore the Lord developed the law in His declaration, ‘Resist not evil:’ you are not to assert your right by personal individual violence, but by the greatest patience and forbearance promote the rule of public justice, appeal to and announce the eternal justice. This precept the Lord illustrates by concrete specifications which are to be explained together, not literally, but spiritually: ‘Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, offer him also the left:’ let him feel by thy equanimity and willingness to suffer that thou art not agitated about thy right, but with firm joyfulness abidest certain of eternal justice, which protects thy dignity. Let not the civil tribunal be thy highest confidence. If any man will sue thee for thy coat, and seek to take it from thee in that way, let him have thy cloak also, though it may be of greater value.57 Let him quietly dispute with thee about thy property, and rather let all go as a poor beggar, than oppose in court a quarrelsome disposition with the same spirit, or lose thy Christian equanimity by a false judgment Do not continue disputing in an earthly court of judicature, but give an unequivocal sign that thou art certain of the eternal court of judicature. And though the supreme earthly power does thee injustice, when a person more powerful than thyself compels thee to go a mile as a messenger,58 outvie the coercion of this world of violence by the alacrity of a spirit which proclaims the victory of love over force by going two miles with him. And when, lastly, any one employs the most powerful weapons against thee, gentle entreaty, as a needy person, or a borrower, grant him his request. Here in a wonderful manner culminates the enactment, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The highest, strictest justice is, according to its innermost meaning, this tender love which, in the deep humiliation of a man before his fellow-man as if he were a king, beholds a claim to which he must respond by the tenderest compliance.

It is due to one’s neighbour, it is due to one’s self, to limit these maxims in actual life, or to apply them with wisdom. But the preservation of personality which opposes ill-usage must never become revenge; the preservation of property must never become a fondness for litigation; the preservation of free self-determination must never become a fierce wrestling with superior power; the preservation of domestic economy against beggars and borrower must never become a heartless ‘turning thyself away’ (Mat 5:42); but in all these cases, the spirit of the highest love must dictate and animate the protective measures. Thus the Christian spirit, by cheerful submission to suffering, moderation, compliance, and willingness to serve others, is to spread abroad a spirit of life which overcomes the endless litigations of the old world, which always threaten to become an endless complication of revenge, and allows the bloom of the most rigid public retribution to appear in the manifestation of the free kingdom of love. But how these precepts are to be fulfilled, in the spirit, not in the letter, that was shown by the Lord, when before the Sanhedrim one of the officers smote Him with the palm of his hand (Joh 18:22). The calm reprimand which He gave to the man, showed that He was not afraid of a second blow, and perhaps was the occasion of His being smitten still more (Mat 26:67).

The last obscuration of the law is the worst, namely, the positive falsification and perversion of a legal enactment. The bigoted pharisaical spirit had referred the Mosaic command, Thou shalt love thy neighbour,59 exclusively to the Jews, and then deduced from it the poisonous false converse, and hate thy enemy. To this vile perversion (Lev 24:22) the Saviour opposes the true development of the law of love to our neighbour. Our enemy is exactly so far our neighbour, that he more than any one else agitates and occupies our thoughts; therefore he is especially commended to our love. Precisely on those who curse us must we more urgently invoke than upon others the blessings of illumination and mercy, if their curse is not to kindle in us the curse of hatred. Towards them that hate us, we have most of all to take pains not to damage, but to benefit the bedimmed human life in them; and lastly, for those who slander, threaten, and actively injure us,60 our intercessions are especially demanded, since they are constantly giving us fresh impressions of their unhappy state. These are the mournful images in which our neighbour must always continue to be commended to our love. It is God’s plan so to rule over His enemies with sunshine and rain: the children of His spirit must imitate Him in this love of enemies. This is the special test of the spiritual life of a genuine believer. But if we merely love our friends, and kindly salute our brethren, this is merely an exercise of the natural affections as they are found among publicans and heathens, without any self-conquest; no victory and no blessed fruit of the spiritual life.

After the Lord had shown how His Jewish opponents had deformed and relaxed the law of God61 by their maxims, He points out how they corrupted religious life by their sanctimoniousness and hypocrisy, and precisely ‘in the three chief modes of practical religion, in the performance of which the arrogance of pharisaic piety was pre-eminently displayed, and which the Church of Rome has specially comprehended under the name of good works, almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.’62 Pharisaism imagined that it rendered the highest obedience in these principal relations of religious life, which ought to exhibit the right demeanour of a good man towards his neighbour, towards God, and towards his own life, while in reality, by forced service and false appearances, it corrupted these works, and sank down to the poorest and grossest unreality of the heathen.

These hypocrites, first of all, made out of righteousness63 a dead mechanical service of almsgiving, and out of this mechanical service a parade of pretended holiness. When they gave alms, they caused trumpets to be sounded before them in the synagogues and public places. The trumpets which the Lord refers to were probably the loud and shrill beggars’ litanies, which are always the offspring of mendicity wherever pharisaic beneficence carries on its operations; and so they have their reward—the foolish praise of blind admirers. But the Christian ought to give his alms with the greatest quietness and absence of parade. His left hand is not to know what his right hand doeth (Mat 6:3). No scrupulous counting out of one hand into the other is permitted before the almsgiving, and no vainglorious clapping of hands after it. The deed is performed as a pure impulse of the heart by the beneficent hand under the protection of its inward truthfulness, and never is it published to the bystanders. Whoever thus performs his good works in secret is seen by his Father in heaven; and in the public blessing which He causes to come upon him, it is manifest that He has recognized and rewarded his liberality.

Equally did these pretended religionists desecrate prayer. Since the Jew everywhere performed his prescribed devotions, as soon as the appointed hour of prayer arrived, wherever he might be, ‘the hypocrite could so contrive that exactly at that time he should be in the streets.’64 In such public situations these men preferred to pray in order to be seen by the people. But in return, this show was their only gain. The Christian, on the contrary, prays according to another rule. He prays in his chamber65 with closed doors; for he has to do with his Father, who Himself acts in secret, and from His secrecy beholds him who is praying in secret. And this prayer, this most secret of secret things, as it were lost in invisibility, is blessed by God as a living spiritual work, and becomes manifest in the most glorious open effects.

But not only by their hypocritical pretensions and gloomy slave-like service did the hypocrites desecrate their prayers, like the heathen, they made them, in their delusion, mere babbling: the more words, forms, litanies of devotion, so much greater merit and acceptance with God. The Christian dare not and cannot so pray; for he knows that He to whom he speaks, who already knows all that he has to say, and whose Spirit meets the words in his own spirit, anticipates his wishes, and changes his prayer to praise.

The Lord now points out to His disciples how they ought to pray, by communicating to them what we call the Lord’s Prayer. This does not appear to stand here in its right place, since it interrupts the progressive delineation of pharisaic corruption. At all events, Luke has specified a more suitable occasion for it. He narrates (11:2) that the disciples had seen their Lord praying in private, and that at the close of the prayer one of them availed himself of the opportunity to request Him that He would teach them to pray, as John had taught his disciples. It has been supposed that the time when the Lord communicated the prayer to His disciples is more correctly given by Luke than by Matthew.66 But since Luke does not everywhere keep to the exact order of events, since particularly he gives this history in a connection that rests on no exact chronological datum, we may well admit that the place where the disciples saw the Lord praying was the top of the mountain, the summit, where He first honoured them to live in the most cordial intercourse with Him, and so to see Him praying; and as soon as we make that point clear, this occurrence becomes very probable. The most distinguished of these disciples were themselves of the school of John, and prayed in forms which John had taught them, and which probably referred to the kingdom of the Messiah and the baptism of the Spirit as future divine institutions. As soon, therefore, as in this confidential intercourse they saw the Lord’s method of prayer, it occurred to them that in their method of prayer they were still the disciples of John, and now the forms of prayer they had received from him must appear to them as unsatisfactory, perhaps as quite unsuitable. Hence the boldest in their circle was induced to represent this circumstance to the Lord, with the wish that now, as they had become His disciples, they might be taught to pray according to His method.

Here, therefore, the request of the disciples is clearly accounted for. If, on the other hand, we suppose it was made by them half a year later, perhaps in the summer of 782, the time to which the general position of the prayer in Luke may point, it might then appear as rather too late; and the exact reference of the disciples to the circumstance that John also taught his disciples to pray, would be without any adequate reason, since Jesus, in a great variety of ways, had already explained His relation to John.

But if the Lord’s Prayer was dictated in the manner we have specified on that Galilean mountain-top, in all probability it originally preceded the Sermon on the Mount. It formed the transition, so to speak, to the instructions which Jesus here imparted to His disciples. But the Evangelist, who wished to exhibit the whole discourse of Jesus in uninterrupted connection, placed it here, where the subject under consideration was the right method of praying, in opposition to the pharisaical.

John the Baptist, in accordance with his general character, would attach much greater weight than Jesus to training his disciples in outwardly fixed religious exercises, since he could not impart to them what constitutes the life of all true exercises of devotion, the baptism of the Spirit. Christ, on the contrary, taught His disciples to pray from the first by a different method, since He carried them on imperceptibly in the way of evangelical guidance to life in the Spirit. He taught them, in truth, to pray without ceasing. Yet He did not deny their pious request, and so they received, at their little but living request, which itself was a beginning of most spiritual praying, that great, infinitely deep prayer, the form of prayer which they preserved as an invaluable jewel, and have handed down to the Church. We may regard this prayer as the most concentrated form of all Christian spiritual life. Just as the Eternal Word, generally, was made flesh in Christ, or as the whole æthereal fire which animates our planetary system has found its expression in the sun; just as in the diamond all the elements, particularly water and light, seem to sparkle in concentrated unity; so is this prayer a form in which all the elements of the Christian spiritual life are united. First, all the doctrines of the fundamental relations of the Christian life, and of the correct order and sequence of its component parts, are to be found in it. Then it is also a compendium of all the divine promises which invite man to Christianity, and lead him to find in it his complete redemption. On the other hand, it presents the arranged pure expression of all true human prayers as they issue from the flames of all human sighs, from the purified glow of all human aspirations.67 Therefore it is, at the same time, the combination of all Christian vows, in which the promises of God have become one with human sighs, and the work of the regeneration of the Christian completed. And as this whole Christian life rests on the life of Christ, so at the same time we may see in it a regular series of the redeeming facts of Christ’s life. Lastly, the course of the Christian’s life, and, in fact, the world-historical development of the Church, is expressed in it; for the Christian’s pilgrimage begins with calling on the Father, and closes with redemption from death. The Church of God is born into the world with calling on the name of God, and the general judgment at last brings its complete redemption.

The invocation of the prayer manifests the pure and perfect spirit of prayer, which is one with the spirit of perfect religion, and with the spirit of the highest knowledge. Father, prays the Christian in the spirit of a child. But this child-spirit is not without the feeling of humanity and brotherhood, in truth a fraternizing with all good spirits; therefore it is said, Our Father—Father of us all. And great as the Father and as the praying family is the Father’s house: the spirit of devout Christian Theism, in its elevation above all Polytheism, Pantheism, and Deism, expresses this by the addition, Who art in heaven! Present in all heavens, not merely, according to the meagre representation of modern Pantheists, superintending the earth, or rather only struggling into consciousness Himself: transforming all worlds into heavens, not, according to the representation of the more profound ancient Pantheism, inundated and darkened by all worlds: in all heavens One, not, according to the erroneous fancy of Polytheists, divided into numberless powers: in all heavens comprehending also the earth, not, according to the false notion of the Deists, withdrawn into a heaven beyond the visible universe; He Himself is in all heavens; the supreme consciousness, the perfect personality, the Father who hears His praying child when he calls upon Him. So is He our Father in the heavens!

After the invocation follow seven petitions, in which the primary relations of the kingdom of God, as well as of the Christian life, appear in orderly sequence and in the most living form. In seven spiritual acts and priestly dedications of life the child of God consummates the one spiritual act by which he calls down his Father with His heaven to earth, but which causes him to be drawn upwards by the Father out of all distresses, sins, and evils, into heaven.

But this is the order of the spiritual life and of prayer: first of all, man must bear in his heart the cause of God, then the concerns of his own life and heart in God. If he merely, or first and chiefly, directs his regards to himself, then he loses God, or shrivels his sense of God into Pietism. In this case he is more conscious of his own devoutness than of his God. But were he to lose himself in God, and not also apprehend his own life in God, then would he not recognize God with a pure, child-like feeling, as the Father who loves and protects His child; he would give himself up as a Pantheist to the illusion of a Deity absorbing his life, or at all events allow his life to dissolve in Mysticism. In the life of a healthy piety, man apprehends God in himself and himself in God, by the Eternal Spirit which is given him in Christ; but he puts the life of God before his own life, for by the beholding of God in Christ must his own life be glorified.

The Father Himself is the true heaven of all heavens; He therefore must come upon earth, in order that earth may become heaven. The faith of the child of God sees Him coming; but he also sees what is disposed to obstruct His advent, and stands ready to meet it with dark threatenings, though powerless. Therefore the most ardent longing is unfolded, and hastens its flight towards Him. It calls to the Father that He would come with His heaven in the three first great petitions. God is indeed on earth already, as in heaven, with His essential presence and superintendence, but not in the knowledge and acknowledgment of men—not with His name. The essence of God cannot be desecrated, but His name may be desecrated; just as the sun itself cannot be darkened, but the clear image of the sun in the earthly water-mirror, since it is broken and vanishes when the wind agitates the stream and obscures its clearness by the mud of its bed. In the turbid religions of earth the name of God is desecrated. In the true religion, which in its concentration is one with the person of Christ, the reflection of God’s glory, the express image of His essence, this name must become glorified to humanity, that it may confess to the Heaven of heavens, Hallowed be Thy name!

But in proportion as humanity acknowledges and hallows this name in the reception of the right knowledge of God through Christ, this heaven lowers itself to earth. The kingdom of God which is in the heart of Christ is unfolded in the life of a holy community in which the perfect kingdom of God is exhibited—a kingdom in which the domain, the laws, the Ruler, and His administration, make up together one spiritual life, in which the King has His throne in every heart, and every heart has in its King its most glorious inheritance. This kingdom is in progress, but is confronted by the resistance of a kingdom of darkness. God must prepare its way, and the Christian will prepare its way in God. ‘Thy kingdom come!

But if heaven descends to earth, then must earth become heaven. How will it become heaven? Not by satisfaction being given to the millions of morbid human desires and all the false aspirations of sinful human hearts, which would be doing the will of the world: by having everything removed which strives against and withstands the will of God, so that every heart is offered to Him, all life becomes subject to Him. Thus will the earth become a beautiful heaven when humanity in its life shall be entirely one with the life of God’s Spirit. Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth.

Thus the Christian in praying has given glory to God. The name of God has so cast its rays upon him that he has forgotten his own name; the kingdom of God has overwhelmed him with its fulness, and humbled him, so that his own glory has become nothing; the will of God has seized him like the glowing last day, and has consumed him as a burnt-offering with the innermost part of his own life—his self-will. Thus he has given God His due, but he himself seems vanished from the scene. The world itself appears a sacred pile of ashes under this devouring fire of the will of God, seizing and penetrating all things. Yet the God of the Christian does not consume his sacrifices, but transforms them, by consuming the evil in them. Thus then the believer comes forth purified from the divine fire, and now brings his own concerns to God. In the three first petitions, zeal was perfected for the honour of God, for the heavenly name of the Father, for the kingdom of the Son, for the perfected will of the Holy Spirit. In the four last petitions, on the other hand, the blessedness of the Christian is completed which proceeds from the view of this honour done to God, the higher world-life of men wherein they stand before God as eternal individuals. Three is the number of the Spirit; four is the number of the world-life. The man who rightly sinks himself in God, finds himself again in Him as a God-loved child, with his whole life borne and sustained by Him by means of his daily bread. Daily bread appears to him as the noble central point in that great operation of God’s hand which always preserves him. But what preserves and animates him? The whole divine agency appears to him as daily bread, a single agency in all, whatever promotes his outer and inner life. It is not, therefore, simply earthly bread, such as a mortal father provides for his mortal child, that is here spoken of, but the bread of God with which the Eternal Father daily nourishes the life of His eternal child and satisfies his heart, as this bread consists of bread and wine, light and air, men and solitude, friendship and love, God’s word and light, according to the varying needs of every soul. For the Christian daily bread becomes a nourishment of the spirit by thanksgiving, and the nourishment of the spirit becomes daily bread by the intensity of the enjoyment; the two always becoming more one by the unity of his outer and inner life.68 And in this spirit he feels all his own peculiar wants, he understands human necessity, and the divine provision for his trusting brethren, and the morbid indigence of the starving world. But with a bold soaring of filial confidence he sets himself free from all the infinite anxiety of his own heart and of the world by taking refuge with the Father. Our bread—the essential (or what corresponds to our nature as the essential nourishment of life), the super-substantial, the bread of heaven, the bread of men and Christians69—give us to-day. Thus first of all his present time is glorified.

But in the next place, not the future but the past troubles him. The Christian cares first of all for yesterday, then for to-morrow. It is true he stands, in general, already in faith in the atonement; of the blotting out of his transgressions he is assured, and absolved from the sentence of final condemnation. But he well knows that he has been infinitely indebted to God with his sins and shortcomings, and will ever be indebted, and with him all his brethren.70 His own past casts a dark shadow over his life. The longer he stands before God, with so much greater force all his own debt affects him; the debts also of his brethren press upon him as well as his own sins.71 And even the sins by which his brethren had injured him, he now feels as his own trouble before God. The spirit of reconciliation in its unity with the spirit of reconcilableness agitates his soul, and his readiness to forgive his neighbour is to him a sign of the grace which will forgive him much more. On this point it cannot be supposed that ‘our reconcilableness gives a measure for the divine,’ still less that it can be a meritorious means of obtaining it. But reconciliation is reconciliation once for all; it is a spirit moving in every direction. If the offerer of the petition does not find the moving of the spirit of reconcilableness in his own breast, he cannot comfort himself with the divine reconciliation. What, then, he feels and performs in this respect is to him a sacramental sign of the great reconciliation in God. Thus he lays down forgiveness for his neighbour, which his neighbour perhaps cannot yet understand, on the altar of God. He really pledges himself in the most solemn manner to forgive all offenders, as he feels that he needs forgiveness; so that his prayer would be an imprecation on his own life, if it were not the most certain dedication of it in commemoration of the general atonement. He therefore seeks the transformation of his whole past, and of the past of all men, through grace. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors!

And now he turns confidently to the future, with heavenly composure, but also with the holiest earnestness. His heart still trembles at the recollection, how a thousand times he has grievously transgressed through light-mindedness. He now knows the whole danger of the past, and has an impression that the path of his future will be haunted by the spirits of darkness. It has become evident to him that man tempts God a thousand times by his pride, and that, according to God’s justice, the temptation which he has practised must be abandoned, if he is to be humbled. He sees that, according to the everlasting right, most men under the effect of the old curse-destiny enter a tragical course in some peculiar sentence of temptation, or even of death; thereby they come to the real redemption from the curse which oppresses their life. And in the life of the Lord, the certainty makes him tremble that they might be led into such courses in the deepest temptation, not merely for themselves, but also for others, since in the tragical or retributive leading of Providence, everywhere men with men—the most innocent with the most guilty—are swallowed up in one catastrophe. But it is for him a most awful phenomenon, that many men mar again their tragical course to redemption in the catastrophe, and so get another fall, under great temptation, and plunge into deeper ruin. This danger, which threatens his own life and that of all his associates, terrifies him. It cannot indeed surprise a Christian, that throughout his whole life he should meet with a succession of temptations; and this general character of his pilgrimage he cannot wish altered, since only thus he fights out the battle of his life so as to test it. But he knows that the most inconsiderable temptation would be his ruin, unless he took refuge in God. And what might be the issue if all the destructive materials of temptation, if all the powers of darkness, were permitted in a concentrated position to attack him in all his weakness, and completely to agitate and imperil him? He knows not what he may unconsciously have been guilty of in this respect, or what may impend over him on account of others. But the mere possibility horrifies him, as the prospect of the crucifixion agonized the Lord in Gethsemane. And so, in sympathy with that future agony of his Lord, and from regard to thousands of his brethren who all in some way or other are in peril, and to the millions who still recklessly rush onwards into darkness, an irrepressible sense of his own and all human weakness rises within him, and he entreats God, Impel us not thither; do not, in retribution,72 carry us away into temptation!

A profound sense of the justice of God, which plunges sinners who tempt God into critical situations, catastrophes, and judgments, is expressed in this entreaty, Hurry us not away into temptation! After this prayer, a profound sense of the mercy of God can discharge itself in the petition,73 Rather bear us upward to Thyself in redemption from evil.74

He has confessed all his weakness to God, and entrusted Him with his whole temporal future. He has become assured, in his weakness, of God’s redeeming omnipotence, and of its victory which annihilates the domination of all the powers of darkness. Over the evil one, and over evil and all the consequences of evil—all ills, over distress and death, his joy in God now soars aloft. He knows that all present ills are to be changed into angels of redemption, and that with the last ill, death, full redemption must come. Therefore now, with eagle’s wings, his hope flies to meet the coming redeeming Lord above all the troubles of time, and transports him in spirit to His own heaven. And in this hope he embraces also the whole still threatened and oppressed community, the entire suffering humanity, in its misery, supported by the promise of Christ, ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me’ (Joh 12:32). And, rejoicing in spirit, he sees how redeeming Omnipotence carries upwards the whole heavenly humanity from the distress and anguish of the old earth and the bonds of darkness, from death and the flames of judgment, in triumph. In this anticipation of blessedness he utters his last petition.75 Thus the entire present and past, with the temporal and eternal future of the Christian, obtain through the prayer a heavenly transfiguration.

The prayer here loses itself in a solemn silence which in its nature is an inexpressible act of adoration, a glorification of God resounding through the life. The doxology which has been added later76 to the Lord’s Prayer, translates this blessed silence into words which may be regarded as its correct interpretation. The words of this doxology express that the fulness of God, that His majesty, is the basis, the soul, and the aim of the prayer.

The essence of this majesty of God spreads itself out in a threefold manner on the deep foundation of His eternity. The world is His kingdom, for He rules over it with absolute control; and thus everything which the Christian implores must proceed from His fulness and His appointment. The world is His work, for with absolute power He establishes and sustains the world; therefore the petitioner stands in the contemplation of His power. His very prayer is an effect of it, and all which is asked for must be obtained by its operation. Lastly, the world is the theatre of His honour, for with absolute clearness He reveals Himself in the world, and through it in its constantly increasing transfiguration, and all prayers, as well as all the fulfilments of all prayers, tend to His glory. Finally, the Amen is the seal of the prayer, in which the Spirit of God harmonizes with man, and the spirit of man with God; it is the announcement of the fulfilment of the prayer, and therefore a prophecy of the world’s transformation.77

The Evangelist Matthew appends to the prayer a comment on the fifth petition: ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (6:14, 15). We learn from the Evangelist Mark (11:25) the true relation of this explanatory remark to Christ’s doctrine concerning prayer. Christ urged in that connection, that the disciples before every prayer, just as before every sacrifice, under the enlightening, purifying effects of God’s presence, should call to mind the ill-will which might be in their heart against any offender, and effect a reconciliation in their hearts with him, that the curse of hypocrisy might not fall on their prayer. They were bound to make it clear to the last that the spirit of the need of reconciliation before God was identical with the spirit of reconcilableness towards their neighbour, and to recognize in the absence of the one, the absence of the other, and in the presence of the one, the presence of the other.

The Lord next proceeds to give a representation of the third positive corruption of religious life. It shows itself first in legal, then in hypocritical fasts, and in works of worldly-mindedness which proceed from the operation of worldly sorrow and a false renunciation of the world. The hypocrites put on dismal looks at their fasts; they disfigure their countenances, exchange cheerfulness for gloom, to make a show before other people; their renunciation of the world is therefore in itself false; it is, in fact, a hankering after the praise of the world. But the abstemiousness of a Christian, when he finds it needful for the discipline of his outer and the furtherance of his inner life, ought to be a festival of his soul, and to proceed from the elevation of his soul above the lower necessities of the world; therefore he ought to fast with anointed head and fresh-washed countenance, with cheerful appearance and demeanour.78 His painful, free renunciation remains a mystery to the world, but it is manifest in a rich recompense from God. What the Spirit of God takes from him, it gives him back a hundredfold. From the pain of his renunciations, his higher life acquires fresh vigour.

Upon this follows a longer warning against avarice and worldly anxiety, the connection of which with what goes before has been mistaken by many persons.79 And yet it might be understood by a glance at the conduct of the Pharisees, which the Lord had described. These men were, on the one hand, persons who fasted with a sad countenance; and on the other hand, such as were greedy of gain, amassing riches, and even devouring widows’ houses.80 Therefore in their hearts that fasting and this avariciousness must have a most intimate connection, or form a decided polarity. The history of monastic life is also an important voucher for the deep-lying connection of these passages. In it are seen the intensely dismal looks of a pseudo-Christian unworldliness; in the enormous accumulation of wealth and property in monastic institutions, the other pole is shown of the same perverse tendency. Discontent with the world (Weltgroll) always turns into eager desire after the world (Weltgier), since from the first it is animated and excited by a hidden germ of it. And when the monastic spirit has once realized its worldly greed, it is then preeminently a collector of ‘treasures upon earth;’ it appropriates a dead estate, and lays upon it its oppressive dead hand81 (Mortmain); while the merchant, the banker, and every man engaged in secular concerns, does not, at all events, collect his treasures so absolutely for himself as to withdraw them entirely from the general social system. But if we see in the Sermon on the Mount a confidential discourse, in which Christ communicates to His disciples the main outlines of His doctrine and of His kingdom in opposition to the Pharisaical system, we shall understand how strongly He charged upon them as a sin this amassing of treasure, and how this crimination itself might arise from a presentiment of the corruption which, in future times, the monkish and hierarchical covetousness would bring into the Church. He has warned His own people, particularly in relation to their apostolic mission in the world, with peculiar earnestness, of this tendency to suffocate men professing to renounce the world by dead monastic property,—the Protestant Church, by immense endowments,—the ecclesiastical office, by the management of small or perhaps gigantic and princely pastoral possessions, and altogether by striving after secular wealth.

The treasures which are accumulated on earth imperceptibly escape from their foolish collector; they are consumed or taken away from him by moth, rust,82 and thieves; therefore, by the vegeto-animal, by the chemical, and by the moral principle of destruction in the lower transitory world, or, on the one hand, because by the lapse of time the property wears itself out and becomes valueless, and, on the other hand, by worldly fraud, it is soon snatched away from the possessor. But the treasures in heaven are beyond the reach of the destroyers; these are what men ought to acquire. The treasure should correspond to the heart in the wants of its eternity; it must therefore be a treasure embracing eternity—the divine life itself. For by the treasure the heart is polarized, it is in the treasure by its aims and desires. The heart reposes, therefore, in the eternity of heaven when its treasure is in heaven; on the contrary, it always suffers the death-pang of transitoriness when it has its treasure on earth, in earthly things. But how can it come to pass that the heart of an immortal being cleaves to the transitory earth? By the deceit of the inner eye, the sight of the spirit. Just as the eye of the body is light, the organ of light in affinity to the sun, enlightening the body, the individual sunlight of the body,83 transporting the body into the light of the world; so is the judgment of the spirit the inner light which mediates to the soul the light of God’s eternal world, the knowledge of its ideality and holiness, or of the eternal relations, rules, and laws of its being. If now the eye is simply in close junction84 with the soul, animated by the spirit and consciously directed to its proper object, then the whole body is luminous; it occupies its right place. But when the eye by inward thoughtlessness has lost its power of perception, and by a distracting vagrancy, so to speak, is become evil and false, the whole body is awfully darkened, it stands in night, and becomes a night-piece for others to contemplate. But this blindness of the spirit has a dreadful result. When the inner eye, the discernment of the soul, the understanding, becomes double-sighted and confused by the divided state of the heart, and thus a darkening power for the soul, how great then must be the darkness of all nature and the world in which the soul finds itself involved, not merely the sphere of its inclinations and desires, but also its experiences, means, and objects! The whole of God’s world becomes a midnight for one thus darkened, so that, groping in the dark, he seizes on the perishable as if it were the imperishable. It is true, the covetous man does not imagine that he is doing homage only to the earthly, but he wishes to connect the two, the service of God and the service of Mammon.85 But he cannot persist in this divided allegiance, but must neglect, hate, and despise one of the two masters, and that will be the lawful one. The servant of Mammon is therefore, as such, necessarily a despiser of God. After this solemn declaration, Christ lays open the fatal source of covetousness, which consists in heathenish anxiety. With the most glorious expressions of filial confidence, He dissuades from giving way to a baleful anxiety. But this anxiety is a distinct, over-hasty, irregular, conjectural brooding over the possible necessities of the future, by which the heart is disturbed in its distinct obligatory consideration of the requirements of the present, since its aims are divided.86 Anxiety reckons falsely, for it is founded on a false estimate of life. In order to unlearn the pernicious reckoning of anxiety, men must reckon correctly according to the thoughts of God; they must reckon in the following manner: He who gives life that is so valuable, will also give the nourishment for it that is less valuable; He who gives the body, will provide the clothing that is less important; He who feeds the fowls of heaven that live in the open air of heaven, that neither sow nor reap, will provide food for His human family, who yet, with all their anxiety, cannot add to the essential measure of their life, in any of its relations, so much as a cubit;87 He who so gloriously adorns the lilies that grow wild in the fields, that neither toil nor spin, will much rather clothe men; He who so urgently holds out to man the kingdom of God and His righteousness as the highest object, will give in addition to him, as he may need, all lesser things, which vanish in the comparison. And as a man is certain of his existence to-day, in its full, clear, sharp reality, with all the troubles of the day, so ought he still more to commit himself confidently to God for the morrow, which rests entirely in the bosom of His providence, and the troubles of which he cannot and should not know. A man must expect that the following day will take care of its own, and will bring with it its peculiar earthly troubles and its peculiar heavenly aids. Thus he should reckon according to truth with the unlimited cheerfulness of trust in God, and not gloomily according to an erroneous fancy, as the heathen are wont to reckon, because for them there is no treasure in heaven. But it ought to be the first care of the present day to seek first after the kingdom, and most decidedly to seek after the righteousness of this kingdom. Let the Christian thus seek to live according to righteousness, and it will be found that in doing so he provides for all the affairs of life, and that he will receive all the good things of life according to his need.

Along with the obscuration of man’s vital energy towards God, which shows itself in anxiety, is ever more developed the last corruption of religious life in pharisaical righteousness, since on the one side it unfolds a fanaticism which always judges harshly of others, while on the other side it falls into an increasing carnal administration and waste of holy things. And as that monastic disposition has a polarized connection with anxious worldliness, so also this judicial fanaticism is connected with this desecration of holy things.88

The Lord opens His representation of that propensity to judge with the dehortation, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged!’ God always lets man, in His administration, experience the consequences of his own principles, of his own doings.89 As he judges, is he judged; therefore, for example, the Jew who has always condemned the heathen as a child of darkness, has been covered through all ages of the Church with the ban of contempt, and is now regarded by the converted heathen as an unenlightened half-heathen. And as a man attributes goodness to others, is it measured to him; therefore, for example, the secret order which has made Christian toleration from the first its watchword, has always enjoyed a decided toleration in the modern European States. But this is the way with the fanatic: he sees the splinter in his brother’s eye, and is not aware of the beam in his own eye. In the little faults of his brother which bedim his eye, he sees a dangerous hurt, he calls upon him to submit to his rude attempt at curing it, while he himself is in a far worse state of blindness. And this blindness is shown in the profanation and waste of sacred things. He gives what is holy, the priestly food, the sacrificial meat,90 to the dogs; for example, the assurance of the forgiveness of sins, the Gospel absolution to the most impure men,—he deals out what is holy without regulating it by the conditions of the law, of church discipline, and of repentance. He throws pearls, as if they were acorns,91 before swine; before the most brutish, the most stupid men, sunk in sensuality, he casts the most precious pearls—perhaps the honourable distinctions of orthodoxy, good churchmanship, and a title to heaven, or the communication of the most glorious mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and of Christian experience; he distributes, therefore, Christ’s noble treasures without protecting these goods by the instrumentality of the Spirit, of instruction, and of consecration.92

But when the adherents of pharisaical righteousness have gone such lengths, they have made the whole descent from the pure heights of the law to the very abyss of corrupt injunctions. And now judgment begins to break forth fearfully. The impure spirits and profligates, as scoffers at religion, tread the wasted treasures under their feet; at last they turn round malignantly upon their unspiritual and unintelligent leaders, they make a revolution (στραφέντες), and in the fanaticism of unbelief they tear in pieces the depraved servants of the sanctuary. Just as the disciples of Jesus, in their mountain-ascent along the path of true righteousness, come at last by the inner ways of the spirit to the bright height of Christ, to the company of the prophets, to the vision of God; so these, in their descent to the valley along the way of false righteousness, in dead outward observances, at last reach the abyss among brutalized men, where the ruin of their disordered nature is completed.

After the Lord in these two divisions of His discourse had pointed out the great equalization which takes place in His kingdom, in the third part He gives instructions how to avoid the false way, and to proceed in the true way.

The first condition is a most decided striving of the spirit after true righteousness, especially in prayer. His disciples were to attain the right mark by asking, by seeking, by knocking; that is, by a progressive, continually more distinct, more urgent, and more humble craving for eternal righteousness with God. They could not possibly seek this righteousness with God in vain. Christ so expresses Himself on this subject, that we feel He could not sufficiently inculcate it on His disciples. It is invariably so, He means to say: he who asks receives, he who seeks finds, to him that knocks it will be opened, as a rule, because these strivers follow an internal motive; but how much more does this hold good in the striving of human souls upwards! This certainty the Lord illustrates by a comparison. No father would meet the request of his child with trickery, and hand him a stone for bread, a serpent for a fish; he gives him the good thing that he needs. So fatherhood does credit to itself among sinful men. How much more must the child on earth be certain that his Father in heaven will not disregard his holy importunity!

Then follows the exhortation: ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’93 These words appear not to stand in the right connection with the following. But this appearance is deceptive. It arises from this, that the exhortation forms a section by itself, and that its relation to the rest is so little developed. But it sketches the second means of attaining true righteousness, that it consists in right conduct towards men; while the first section represented the first means, in right conduct towards God. Hence the form of transition is explained, ‘All things therefore’ (πάντα οὖν). What man seeks with God, that He finds with Him. And so he will at last find with men what he expects from them, if he trusts them, and therefore attests and proves it. He trusts God for divine things, and seeks them with Him in a divine life through religion as a petitioner. He is to trust men for human things, and must accordingly seek them with them by evincing to them the pure human of humanity. He is to seek the peace of God by praying, and the peace of his neighbour by bringing his peace to his neighbour. In the former case he must feel himself within the heart of God by the feeling of his own need; in the latter, within the heart of his neighbour, by the feeling of his own wishes. If a man makes it the law of his life to hold himself in living unity with his fellow-men, to transport himself everywhere into their situation, to feel and advocate their interests in his heart, then he is under the attraction and on the path of that love in which the law and the prophets have originated on their human side, from which they set out, and in which they meet.

True human noble-mindedness of this kind always stands in intimate communion with that thirsting after holiness which is manifested in importunate prayer. This is Christian endeavour constituted in its polarity.

We are next taught the polarity of Christian avoidance, the two means of right negative conduct, of right precaution against the destructive path of error.

The first rule is, that we do not allow ourselves to be carried away by the immense sympathetic attraction of the erring multitude, who are running to destruction through the wide gate and on the broad way, but that we keep ourselves free from that demoniac sympathy, and, sober-minded, free, and independent, proceed to life with the comparatively small company through the strait gate on the narrow way. The figurative exhortation of the Lord is founded on the spectacle of the egress from a city. The main body of the people go out by the principal gate on the broad highway, and bear away with them whatever is not independent. The wise, the independent man, finds a very small door in the wall which leads him by a difficult steep path to the heights where he finds the true enjoyment of life.94 As we are here first of all put on our guard against the mighty seductive influence which proceeds from the great crowds of the erring, so also by the second rule we are put on our guard against the company of false prophets, small, but operating with demoniacal powers. We may be easily deceived by them, since they come in sheep’s clothing; since they present themselves with the appearance of a correct creed and Christian zeal as members of the Church, while inwardly they are ravening wolves, actuated by a selfishness (Egoismus) which could sacrifice the whole Church to its interests, and propagate principles which must destroy it, as the irruption of wolves destroys the flock. But the Lord gives a palpable mark by which they may be known, namely, their fruits. Men do not gather grapes off thorns, nor figs95 off thistles; but as the plant, as the tree, so is the fruit. Thus, therefore, were the disciples to judge of the tree by the fruits, by the practice; that is, in this case especially, by the pretensions, doctrines, projects, and institutions of the false prophets, they were to judge of their character as well as of the purity of their knowledge. They were to judge by the sour, biting fruit of the sloe, by the unrefreshing, harsh dogma of the thorn; by the tenaciously, bur-like clinging, the obtrusive proselyte-making of the thistle. But deceptive marks might be confounded with the undeceptive. On this point Christ lays down the distinction: ‘Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.’ Only the most prejudiced aversion to the genuine confession of Christ can adopt the interpretation, that Christ Himself intended here to depreciate such a confession. But the mere confession is not an infallible sign; and if it becomes formal and garrulous, if a man is lavish with his expressions of homage, Lord! Lord! he makes himself suspected, and forces observers to examine more narrowly how far the will of the Father in heaven is fulfilled by him. In truth, it is possible for a man to prophesy formally or with reference to the cause of Christ, to express in glowing language Christian sentiments and feelings, or on the other hand to cast out demons, to correct morbid states of mind in individual cases, or in numbers, by impassioned energetic words, and to perform other works of power, without his having really entered into communion with Christ’s life, or made a decided surrender of himself to Him. And many such ardent but impure operations will in the day of retribution be placed in the right light; Christ will declare to pretentious prophets and wonder-workers of this sort, ‘I know you not! Depart from Me, ye who are prompted by lawlessness as your calling.’

The discourse delivered on the mountain-summit closes with a parabolic address, which depicts the decided opposition that exists between the true hearers of Christ’s sayings who fulfil them, and the light-minded who let them slip. This practical declaration, suited to the popular intelligence, formed probably the close of the plateau-discourse which Jesus addressed to the assembled multitude, and which we now have to consider.

The Lord now quitted with His disciples the lofty mountain solitude where He had communicated to them the first principles of His doctrine and of His kingdom, and returned to the multitude who were waiting for Him on a plateau of the mountain-slope. In this circle also He wished to announce the equalizing principles of the kingdom of heaven, and for that reason delivered an address which repeated the former discourse in a modified form, adapted to a popular audience. The fundamental thought of the spiritual jubilee stands out in this discourse more forcibly than in the former. His auditory represents to Him the ancient community, with its inversion of all the eternal relations of right in temporal as well as in spiritual things. But in the spiritual foreground He finds His disciples in the poor, the hungry, the mourning, the despised, as they form the contrast to the rich, the full, those that laugh, those that men speak well of, who might also be then present. But of the outwardly afflicted as such He does not speak, but of men who, for His name’s sake, were hated, reviled, and excommunicated, specially for the Son of man’s sake, after whom they called themselves (Luk 6:22). In this one suffering for Christ’s sake, that threefold suffering has its climax which the Lord pronounces blessed, as in the Sermon on the Mount. The seven beatitudes find their unity in the eighth, which is identical with the ninth. That Christ could not bless the outwardly poor abstractly considered, even not in the apprehension of our Evangelists, must of itself be understood as reasonable. Or, ought He then to have seen the weeping in those that were actually defiling their faces with tears, and given them the consolation that a future hearty laughing in a literal sense would be their blessedness? There are, to be sure, critics who are on the look-out for such absurdities. But, on the other hand, Christ did not mean exclusively and simply, spiritually poor, hungry, and mourning. There are, indeed, spiritually poor persons who are outwardly rich and temporally poor, who stand before God in the self-deception of internal riches: both classes at once find themselves placed here, if we attribute a divine spirit to the discourse of Jesus, or to the account of the Evangelists; namely, the outwardly rich find themselves among the poor, and the outwardly poor among the rich of the Gospel. But there is also a region where this dualism vanishes, where the inward want coincides with the outward, the inward sorrow with the outward unhappiness, a region of holy unhappiness that will lead to the highest salvation, and this is the preparatory school—the seminary of Christianity. To this seminary of His disciples, in which the earlier agency of the unsearchable God, who breaks the hearts of His chosen ones, had prepared the way for the new work of the compassionate Redeemer, who was to heal just such hearts, Jesus turns Himself; and He knew that they immediately understood Him, since they had already eaten their bread in the tears of divine mourning, and were ripe for the Gospel. An Ebionitish poor man, who fancies that his poverty in this world gives him a right to the riches of the future world, is a spiritually proud beggar; such an one cannot be here intended. Nor the carnally-minded poor of any kind whatever, who are rich in resentment, envy, covetousness, and generally in the indulgence of their passions. But where distress of whatever kind is transformed into calm, gentle, pure longing before the throne of the divine fulness; where want does not produce rapacity, but has for its effect pure hunger, the painful feeling of destitution, inward and outward; where the weeper drops a true, genuine human tear, in which the eternal Sun is reflected and transforms it into a pearl,—there is Christ ready with the Gospel: and that such sufferers are ripe for Him is shown by this, that they willingly receive Him, adhere firmly to Him, and allow all men to hate, cast out, and reject them, for His name’s sake. They are blessed together, and are now to know, experience, and enjoy it from the lips of Christ. And as their distress was greatly hallowed, so also is their blessedness: to these poor is promised the kingdom of God,—to these hungry ones, fulness or satisfaction,—to those that weep, laughter.96 In truth, although isolated, they are driven out from the world, under the heaviest burdens of the cross, into the night of shame and death for Christ’s sake: it is they who immediately exult with heavenly delight, who already begin here the choral dance of a blessed community enclosed in God, and yonder, in the new world, celebrate the great jubilee with their associates, the prophets of the kingdom of God, who before them had experienced the same destiny. But opposite to them stand the fortunate ones of ancient time, who occupy a lower place by the equalization of the spiritual jubilee;—obtuse rich men, outwardly and inwardly at ease, comfortable in their superabundance, who enjoyed their comfort, and have changed it into discomfort; the overfilled, whose hunger reappears in a demoniacal surfeit; laughers, from whose merry jubilee already sounds forth the woe of an endless discord. These men form the class of those who are praised by all the world, the celebrities of the day, who are at once conceivable to the extremest superficiality of the worldly mind, and are intelligible from a distance; they are the heroes of the hour, celebrated as were formerly the false prophets, whose names are known no longer.

In these men Christ does not find His seminary, and the woe which He pronounces upon them is the authentication of a fact; it is one with their situation itself, a progressive inward and outward world of endless woe.

Yet His disciples are not to stand proudly aloof from that circle. In these relations they must rather show that they are Christians. Hence the Lord now proceeds to deliver exhortations which express the high demonstrations of love, particularly in the love of enemies, which the Christian spirit can render, and ought to render.

These exhortations the Lord has not here connected with an express criticism on the pharisaic maxims, for the people at large were not yet ripe to bear such an exposure. But a tacit criticism lies in the very words themselves. First of all, the Lord gives directions for right conduct in love. Love conquers all enmity, since it encounters its evil weapons with the weapons of light. It meets enmity in general as energetic love; and in particular, deeds of hatred with deeds of beneficence, and so on. Then follow directions how men are to endure, to exercise patience in love. The fundamental law is this: in the Christian spirit of glory a divine power of endurance is to be unfolded, which rises above and puts to shame all the persecuting power of hatred. The two first directions we are also taught in the former discourse; the third, ‘Of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again,’ will indeed establish a Christian law of superannuation which must put an end to the innumerable contentions which proceed from lawful protestations against inveterate and ancient wrongs in political, ecclesiastical, and civil relations. Then follows the establishment of lofty precepts by the canon, ‘As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.’ But if a man knows himself, he must find that, after all, he expects and requires from his neighbour those high proofs of Christian love; consequently he ought to render them. In this way, he must prove himself to be a child of the Divine Spirit. For the canon, that we love those that love us, already exists in the natural constitution of man. ‘What thank have ye?’ the Lord asks,-what gain, what spiritual victory, what blessing of God, is there in such a love which is to be found even among sinners, the servants of sin? He does not here hold up the publicans as an example; perhaps less out of regard to the presence of publicans among His hearers, than to the popular odium against them. Sinners also, He says, do good to those who do good to them, and lend to those who return the loan. On such grounds, therefore, they would always find themselves in the kingdom of natural selfishness, not in that kingdom of love in which man overcomes himself.

When a man enters this kingdom, when his love begins to embrace his enemy, and his lending begins to change itself into a free gift, into a permanent benefit, then he becomes like God, who evinces His goodness even to the unthankful and to the evil, and his reward is great. It is his satisfaction that he has favour (χάρις) from God. He will then find the highest blessedness in being one with God in His world-embracing love. His chief characteristic is mercy, as the Father is merciful. He judges not: he judges not the individual; and judges not absolutely. He condemns not: he establishes no tribunal of condemnation in his zeal for what is holy. He leaves judging to the judges and tribunals appointed by God, and condemnation to the Judge of the world, whose justice is ever identical with His mercy. But not only in what he avoids, but in what he does, he evinces this mercy. He forgives, he cheerfully absolves, when he is injured in his personality, and has anything to absolve. He gives: he gives to his neighbour whenever he has something to bestow, cheerfully in the most abundant measure; and so everything comes back to him marvellously,—the absolution as well as the gift; and full measured returns fall into his bosom, ‘pressed down, shaken together, and running over.’

Upon this the Lord closes His plateau-discourse with corresponding parables. The first shows so plainly with what caution He treated the people on account of their submissive relation to the Pharisees: ‘Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?’ That befell the Jews under the guidance of the Pharisees and scribes, and the latter with the former. At the destruction of Jerusalem, they fell together into the ditch of an unheard-of ignominy and misery, into the foulest, deepest quagmire of the world. Without doubt Christ had these blind ones in His eye. For ‘the disciple is not above his master,’ He adds. If he is perfect, he is exactly as his master; the disciples of the Pharisees are Pharisees themselves. The same subject is continued in the second parable. The pharisaic spirit is precisely that judicial spirit which always busies itself with the splinter in his brother’s eye, while he never detects the beam in his own eye. The third parable treats of the tree, how it must be known by its fruit. As the tree bears the fruit which is peculiar to it from its own sap and pith, so man brings forth the fruit of his life from his heart; it comes forth in the words of his mouth from the overflow (περίσσευμα), the over-pressure or spiritual productiveness, of his heart. And these ever acrid words of the Pharisees and scribes0151these fault-findings, and provisoes, and maxims, and conditions, and curses-are they not as distasteful as the sloes on the thorn-bush? Who would take these fruits for the proper life-fruit of the theocracy-for the figs, the choice traveller’s food0151for the grapes that cheer the heart of man in the kingdom of love? The Lord now impresses on the people, that if they would call Him Lord! Lord! they must also keep His words; in this way they must decide for Him.

This is enforced in the parabolic words with which Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount is concluded, which exhibit the contrast of the wise man who built his house upon a rock, and of the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.

This prophetic parable is fulfilled everywhere in individual life, in the contrast between the true believer and the pseudo-believer or unbeliever. But it is fulfilled on the large scale in the contrast between the carnal and the spiritual Church, into which Israel was divided in reference to the words of Jesus; and without doubt Jesus consciously pointed here to the unfolding of this world-historical contrast. The true disciples of Jesus are represented by the wise man. They have dug deep, in order to lay the foundation of their house. They have laid it in the depths of bearing the cross and renunciation of the world, on the solid rock of God’s faithfulness and Christ’s conflict and victory. And the great world-storm has come with winds and torrents of rain, and in beating on the house has proved its stability: it is firmly fixed, a strong fortress. On the contrary, the foolish man built his house on a loose unstable soil, on sand. Thus built the carnal community in Israel: they also heard the sayings of Christ, but kept them not. It was rendered evident by the critical storm that their house had no foundation. When the great world-storm beat upon it, and shook its foundation, immediately it fell; and the fall of that house was great, a world-appalling event.

Just as this similitude was fulfilled in the contrast of the spiritual and the carnal Israel, so must its fulfilment everywhere be repeated, where the contrast of a spiritual and a secularized church comes to maturity. But the similitude is fulfilled generally by individuals, either on its joyful or its dreadful side.

It is perhaps difficult to ascertain how far, by evangelical tradition, shorter passages have been transferred from the discourse in Matthew’s Gospel to that in Luke’s or inversely. The possibility of such transferences is shown by the passages in which the second discourse agrees verbally with the first. But it is not to be overlooked, that not only has the second the peculiar colouring of Luke’s mode of compiling and exhibiting the Gospel history, but that it also forms a complete unity—the unity, too, of a discourse which perfectly corresponds with its object. It is evidently a discourse to the people, in which the references to the Pharisees and publicans, as they are found in the former discourse, are with the highest wisdom couched in more general terms, as was suited to the spiritual stand-point of the people, without giving up a particle of the truth. The disciples of Jesus, therefore, received with the twofold discourse of the Lord at the same time a living specimen of His heavenly wisdom in teaching, which is one with the highest courage of the preacher, and which they so much needed in after times.

The discourse of Jesus also here again made a powerful impression on the people; for He taught them as one who had authority (the living power of teaching), and not as the scribes.

Having ended His discourse, He quitted the last declivity of the mountain, and the people streamed after Him. We cast a glance back at the consecrated height, and inquire what point it might have been which the Lord thus rendered illustrious. The Latin tradition has designated the ‘Horns of Hattin, between Mount Tabor and Tiberias, as the Mount of Beatitudes.’ In respect of its position and configuration, this mountain may well represent the site of both discourses. It lies in a south-westerly direction about two German miles from Capernaum. As Jesus was now engaged in travelling through Galilee, He might easily come to this precise point on His way back to Capernaum. In its form, the mountain is a low ridge or saddle with two points or horns. The mental contemplation of that evangelical mountain-scene might easily transfer the confidential discourse of Jesus to one of those points, and the public discourse to a grassy spot on the mountain-ridge.97 But Robinson has plainly shown that there is no evidence to support this tradition, which is found only in the Latin Church. The first written notice of it is by Brocardus, in the thirteenth century, who also mentions the same mountain as the scene of the feeding of the five thousand; which only renders it more obscure. Yet there are no positive reasons against the supposition that this mountain was the hallowed site where the two discourses were delivered. It would, indeed, be remarkable in the highest degree, if exactly on this spot Jesus had uttered the words, Jesus had uttered the words, ‘ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (or land),’—the same spot, namely, where the power of the Christian Crusaders was broken by a terrible defeat inflicted upon them by the Sultan Saladin, in the battle of Hattin, on the fifth of July, av. 1187, so that in consequence of it they lost the Holy Land. Exactly at the last moment the combatants retreated to the summit of Mount Hattin; and here they were overpowered by the Saracens, after they had a short time before assembled round the cross.98

At all events, in this very district so many great battles, renowned in the history of the world, were fought, where Christ pronounced His true disciples blessed, as the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers.

Neander supposes, without sufficient reason, that Jesus delivered this discourse on His return from one of His journeys to the feasts. And even then it is not sufficiently accounted for, when he supposes that the mountain was in the vicinity of Capernaum, and that Jesus, after passing a night on the mountain, and had given another discourse in the morning, returned thence to Capernaum. We might suppose this, according to Matthew's representation, though even Matthew places the healing of a leper between the Sermon on the Mount and the entrance of Jesus into Capernaum. But this incident is fully narrated by the other Evangelists, in a manner which we cannot fail to perceive is a complementary representation.

On the way back from that Galilean mountain, Jesus (according to Luke 5:12) came to one of the cities which He intended to visit, and, though in its immediate vicinity, was solicited by a leper that He would heal him. ‘The man was full of leprosy (πλήρης λέπρας), and according to the law dare not come near Him; he therefore cried to Him for relief from a distance, but then ran and fell on His knees before Him, exclaiming, ‘ Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean!’ And Jesus had compassion upon him, and His compassion impelled Him to put out His hand and touch him with the kingly word, ‘T will,—be thou clean!’ And as He spoke, the leprosy was seen to depart from him. The white appearance of the leprosy broke out upon him, the sign of healing (Lev. 13, 14.) The man was cleansed; but Jesus in the fervour of His compassion had touched him, before he was cleansed ; and this might be interpreted, according to the Levitical statute, as having defiled Himself.

He ventured to take upon Himself this appearance; for thus He appeared to defile Himself on the great scale with sinful humanity by coming into the most intimate contact with it until it brought Him to death, while in fact He sanctified humanity by this communion.

But because it might appear that he had become unclean according to the statute, while the leper had become pure, He must withdraw from Tim. He sent him away from Himself with a strong emotion,99 since He charged him to take care that he told no man100

how he had been healed, but to go and show himself to the priest, and bring the offering of purification ordained by Moses, in order to obtain the legal attestation to his restored purity.101 But the man violated the command when he left Him, and announced in the city what had happened to him. He proclaimed it far and wide ; probably he also mentioned his having been touched by Jesus. The consequence of this publication of the cure was, that the Lord could no longer carry out His intention of going freely and publicly into that102 city, since He felt Himself bound to spare the legal spirit of the people. In order, therefore, to occasion no disturbance in the social relations of the city by the Levitical scruples which the law of purification brought with it, He turned back and sought a desert place, perhaps in order to perform a sort of Levitical quarantine, not according to the spirit of the law, but according to the interpretation which might be put upon it by Levitical casuists. He devoted this time to solitary prayer. But while He on His part paid respect to the morbid legal spirit of the people, the spirit of His evangelical freedom continued to operate among them, among whom the narrative of the leper, of the miraculous cure he had experienced, was spread abroad. This was shown by the result, that the sufferers did not trouble themselves about the circumstance of His having touched the leper, but thronged to Him from all quarters to seek His aid.

Thus the period of the retirement of Jesus passed away, and He returned back to Capernaum.



1. In the above representation I believe that I have satisfactorily explained the original difference of the two Sermons on the Mount in connection with their remarkable affinity. This affinity is accounted for, (1.) from the fact, that the announcement of the year of the spiritual jubilee is at the basis of the two discourses ; (2.) from the inducement Jesus had to communicate to His disciples in a more restricted sense, as well as to the wider circle of disciples, the main outlines of His kingdom in a similar form as far as possible ; (3.) from the blending of some elements of the second discourse, particularly the conclusion, with the first, which takes place in Matthew's account. That original difference, on the other hand, is explained from the necessity which influenced the Lord, in the discourse to the people, to have regard not only to the pharisaic element in the larger circle of disciples, but also to the judaizing hearers who were more estranged from His own spirit ; and it is proved on this supposition by the fact, that the discourses, as pure, compact, organic structures, exactly correspond to these definite different objects. We see, therefore, in this relation of the affinity and diversity of the two discourses, not the repetitions of a ‘povertystruck’ speaker, but the management of the most richly furnished and skilful master-spirit, to whom it might appear quite suitable to pour forth the fulness of His spirit in reiterated allied forms of speech, since he could not have the interest of a common speaker, to veil the proper measure of the actual amount of thought in its contractedness by the act of rhetorical transformation.

2. That a view of the world so inadequate, paltry, and external as the Ebionitish—of which the leading tenet was, that whoever had his position in this life would go destitute into the next, but whoever renounced earthly riches would thereby acquire heavenly treasures—must be foreign not only to Christianity, but to Judaism, and therefore likewise to the transition from Judaism to Christianity, ought to occur at once to every one who possesses some familiarity with the New and Old Testaments. ‘The true Israelite could not adopt this tenet, since he regarded himself as the son of Abraham, his opulent and yet pious ancestor, not only in a bodily but in a spiritual respect, and since he held sacred the promises of temporal blessings which were given so abundantly to the pious in the Old Testament. But Christianity could still less begin its course with so paltry and preposterous a maxim, since from the first it came forward in diametric opposition to all sanctimonious performances, penances, monkish austerities, and misanthropic renunciation of the world, as meritorious in God's sight, and immediately numbered not only the poor but the rich among its professors. How an element so heterogencous, originating in a totally different view of the world, could find its way into the centre of the transition of one religion into the other, is simply inconceivable. But, from the first, Ebionitism showed itself to be a barren border-land of expiring Judaism and Jewish Christianity, in which the theocratic religious feeling was mingled, as in the kindred Exsenism, with the elements of a dualistic and pantheistic heathenish view of the world and asceticism. It has been also attempted to find in the Apostle James traces of that supposed Ebionitism which some have fancied they have discovered in the second Sermon on the Mount especially. But this supposition is contradicted by the passage in Jas. 1:10. Here the fact is recognized, that the same person may be a Christian and a rich man; and such an one is not exhorted to throw away his riches, but to humble himself in spirit, and to be rightly conscious of the transitoriness of these outward possessions. It is evident, moreover, from the passage in chap. 2:1, &c., that in the Christian societies to which James wrote, there was danger of giving preference to the non-professing rich men who entered their assembly, and of slighting the poor, which would not have been the case had these societies adopted Ebionitish views. Or would any one suppose James agreed in this view of the world with those societies whom yet he corrected? But when he inveighs against that sinful preference of the rich to the poor, it is throughout in an ethical, never in a superstitious tone. He never reproaches the rich for being rich, but that they are in general opposers of Christianity (ii. 7)—that they placed their trust in riches—that they defrauded the labourers—that they wasted in luxury what belonged to the poor, but oppressed and despised the pious (v. 1). A similar ‘Ebionitism’ to this of James often lets its voice be heard again in our times, though in general it does not appear with a religious and moral purity of spirit like that of James; and very soon the second Sermon on the Mount, like the Epistle of James, might easily come into special honour, although grievously misinterpreted and abused. But this is evident, that the criticism in question, with the protection with which it has favoured the rich man in the parable, as generally with its hunting out Ebionitism in the New Testament, has already perceptibly fallen behind the progress of the spirit of the age. Compare on this point the admirable remarks of Schliemann, die Clementinen, &c., p. 377. Also the general proof, that it has been charged most unjustly on the ancient Church, and from the beginning was regarded in the Church as heresy, p. 409, &c.

3. As to the relation of the parallel passages which occur to the first Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, in the second in Luke, and here and there in the latter, as well as in Mark, the apparent confusion in which, to some, they are involved (see Strauss, i. 614), is in part explained by the foregoing remarks, and indeed (i.) by the difference pointed out in the two discourses, to which (ii.) the circumstance is owing, that Luke could introduce in other places those exhortations of Jesus which belonged especially to the disciples. This is particularly the case with the Lord’s Prayer, Luke xi. 1-4; with the exhortation to prayer, 9-13 ; with the parable, vers, 34-36; as well as with the warning against heathenish anxiety, xii. 22-31. It is, indeed, very conceivable that several of the sentences of the first Sermon on the Mount which recur in the other Evangelists, were repeated by the Lord in other connections ; as, for example, the sayings in Mark 9:50; Luke 12:34, 13:24, 16:13, 17, and 18. But single passages might also be first brought by the Evangelist into another connection; as, for example, Luke xii. 58. As to the passages in question, particularly in relation to Strauss (i. 606) and Schneckenburger (Bettrage, p. 58), it will be seen how far this connection, even in a spiritual relation, can be marked as insufficient, or be placed partially under the category of ‘lexical connection.’

4. The Sermon on the Mount, as the pure, spiritual, fundamental law of the New Testament kingdom of God, may be compared with other forms of religious and moral legislation. The comparison of this new form of the eternal law with the Mosaic, as well as with the pharisaic maxims, lies in the representation of it, therefore in the sermon itself. It appears, namely, as a harmonious development of the former (not as a correction of it, which would be altogether against Christ’s express declaration) ; as a cutting, decided antagonism against the latter. On the relation of the statements of the Sermon on the Mount to heathen morals, Tholuck has adduced many illustrations in his excellent Commentary. Stier, in his Words of the Lord Jesus, i. 172, has made some striking remarks on the false application of the Sermon on the Mount to political relations ; as, for example, by the Quakers and other sects, and more lately in the evangelical Church, in reference to the political law of marriage.

5. It has been a controversy of long standing, how far the Lord’s Prayer is an original creation of Jesus, or a composition from materials already known. 'Tholuck has discussed this question at length in his Commentary, under the title of ‘Sources from which the Lord's Prayer may have been derived, p. 322. According to Herder, Richter, Rhode, and others, the prayer must have been taken from the Zendavesta. This hypothesis is regarded by Tholuck as exploded. It belongs, indeed, originally to the category of those hypotheses in which the difference of- national mental character in the ancient world, and especially the characteristic differences of the religious systems, was utterly misunderstood, The case is different as to the derivation of this prayer from the old Jewish and rabbinical prayers of the synagogue. Tholuck himself remarks that the collections of prayers, of which the Jews still make use (called מַחְזוֹר), contain striking prayers, borrowed both in thought and expression from the Old Testament. ‘And why might not the Saviour have collected and combined the best petitions of those well-known prayers ?’ (p. 323). But he finds, in conclusion, that only similarities can be pointed out, which give no ground for supposing ‘that the Lord’s Prayer originated from the rabbinical prayers.” Von Ammon, in his History of the Life of Jesus (Geschichte des Lebens Jesu, ii. 76), reverts to these similarities very fully, The address, Father in Heaven, he says, is frequently found in the Mishna. But it has been justly remarked that Christ needed not to take this address from the Mishna. As to the first petition, it is noticed that in the Kaddish, one of the oldest morning prayers of the ancient synagogue, it is said, May Thy name be highly exalted and honoured (hallowed). As to the second petition, the Kaddish has again ימליד מלכותיה regnare fueiat regnum suum, followed by the words, May His redemption bloom; may the Messiah appear. Maniiestly the first petition in the Lord's Prayer is reduced from an indefinite feeling to a clearly defined thought, and the second is essentially altered. This represents the kingdom of God as one still coming; the Jew, in his prayer, assumes that it is one already existing. ‘he sentences adduced in reference to the third petition—Let is name be glorified on earth as it is glorified in heaven; and fulfill Thy will above in heaven, and give Thy worshippers rest of spirit on earth—are manifestly very different from the third petition. The analogy to the fourth petition taken from the Gemara is very interesting. Thy people Israel need much, but their insight is little. Therefore, may it please Thee, O God, to give to every individual what he needs for life, and as much to every body as is necessary for it. These words may certainly be applied to the exposition of the fourth petition. Had the Lord already found this formula, it might be said that the fourth petition bore the same relation to it as a finished creation to a world in process of formation. For the fifth petition the author has only quoted this sentence from the Mishna: May God blot the sins against his neighbour only when the transgressor has reconciled himself with his neighbour ; also the petition from a Jewish liturgy of an undetermined date, Forgive us, O Father, for all have sinned. As to the sixth and seventh petitions it is said, ‘In the seventh and tenth petitions of the eighteen blessings, the subject spoken of is expressly the many afflictions and scatterings of the Jews in their dispersion, and then the hope of their near redemption, when the trumpet shall sound to bring them back to their own land? This manifestly presents no definite analogy. Also an ascription of praise similar to the doxology is found, according to the author, ‘not only in other Jewish prayers, but also in the eighteen blessings.’ He looks upon this as a reason why the critical examination respecting the doxology in Matthew should not be considered as finally settled. In the relation of the prayer of Jesus to the rabbinical similarities adduced, we see at least the common participation of the two forms in a theocratic religion. Moreover, the Lord’s Prayer is related to these similarities, in their scattered state, as a piece of pure gold to a piece of ore containing gold but in very small quantities. We cannot here speak of a mere collection, nor of a mere composition, nor indeed of a mere reproduction. For, apart from the scattered state of these similarities, definite parallels are altogether wanting to some petitions, and even the more definite analogies are here found in a new form. But we see from the comparison that the fundamental thoughts of the ancient Jewish devotion are concentrated in the purest gold form in the devotions of Jesus, while in the rabbinical synagogues they are lost in discursive expressions, so that the Lord's Prayer is as exactly related to these similarities as Christianity itself in general is related to Talmudism.

6. ‘Legally, fasting among the Jews on the great festival of Atonement was from evening to evening (Lev. 16:29), and traditionally (Taanit. iii. § 8) in autumn, when the rainy season had not begun and the sowing seemed in danger. But since the conservatives (Stabilitatsmanner) or rigorists held it to be meritorious, they fasted twice (Luke 18:12), or even four times in the week (Taanit. iv. § 3); they appeared in the synagogue negligently dressed, pale, and gloomy, in order to make the meritoriousness of their maceration visible to every one.—Von Ammon, p. 81.

7. On the disease of leprosy, compare the article relating to it in Winer’s R. W. B. 8. Since the bad tree, δενδρον σαπρον (ver. 17), had been already characterized by thorns and thistles as plants which belong to that class, we cannot understand by it either a tree that bears no fruit, or an old half-dead tree which often bears good fruit, but rather a degenerate or wild-growing tree. See V. Ammon, ii. 103. According to this, the expression is significant, and testifies that Christ recognized a depravation in nature (corresponding to the ethical evil in the world) which showed itself specially in the nature of thorns and thistles.



1) See Tholuck's Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, p. 1 (Clark's Tr., 1860).

2) Olshausen, i. 181.

3) Tholuck, 17.

4) Strauss, i. 614.

5) This is, at all events, the meaning of the passage Matt. v. 1 . Compare Weisse, ii. 27.

6) Tholuck, 17.

7) We return, on good grounds, to the hypothesis of Augustin (see Tholuck, p. 1).

8) Lev. xxv. 5 ; Deut. xv.; Isa. lxi. 2

9) שַֹבַּת שַֹבָּתוֹן Every seventh year was to be a Sabbath of rest to the land. Lev. xxv. 4.

10) ʻשְֺנַת הַיּוֹבֵל, Te has this name from the rams’ horns by which it was announced.’—Winer, R. W, B., art. Jubeljahr, The year of jubilee would accordingly be designated the year of trumpets. But if, according to the Chaldee and Hebrew expositors (see Gesenius, Lexicon), the word יוֹבֵל is interpreted a ram, hence rams’ horns, trumpets made of rams’ horns, the choice of these horns, would mark a return to the poetic, glorified state of nature, The jubilee horn was the festive horn of the theocratic Arcadia, and to be regarded in a distinct relation to similar institutions which have for their basis the idea of a theocratic festal nature-life, particularly the feast of Tabernacles and the Nazarite’s vow.

11) “The voluntary seller of his estate certainly could gain nothing by that appointment, since, on account of the reference to the year of jubilee (and the right of reselling), the real purchase-price was reduced, and literally would only be turned into a rent.’—Winer,

12) The legal time of service of a Hebrew slave was six years. He became, therefore, free in the seventh year, according to Exod. xxi. 2, unless the exception in ver. 5 should occur. The seventh year, or year of release (Deut. xv.), is not to be identified with the sabbatical year of the land. The latter was a universal fixed period, contemporaneous for all the people; the year of release, on the contrary, dated from the time when a Hebrew became the bondsman of another. He must, therefore, us a rule, serve six years, But when the year of jubilee came, it made all the Hebrew slaves free.

13) According to the fundamental idea of this right, in the future, at the expiration of a greater period of debt, Canaan must revert to Israel. The nations, in their calling to the kingdom of heaven, are the heirs of Jehovah on the great scale.

14) Perhaps the passage in Josephus, Antiq. iii. 12, § 3, according to which, debts generally were remitted at the jubilee, is so to be understood as meaning that there was also a cancelling of money-debts. See Winer.

15) Exod, xxi 20,26. The twenty-first verse certainly appears to contradict this, since here the slave is spoken of as property (‘for he is his money’): but from the connection it may be inferred that this is to be understood only in a limited sense.

16) Stier has clearly marked the idea of the kingdom of heaven in distinction from the idea of the kingdom of God. The phrase contains ‘an indication of real consummation in the future. Hence this idea was developed in the calamitous times of the Jewish theocracy (Dan. if, 41), when the antagonism between the profane kingdoms of the world and the heavenly kingdom of God, which was hereafter to be realized on earth, was fully grasped by the consciousness of the theocrat.’

17) According to Wieseler, the year from. the autumn of 779 to the autumn of 780 was a sabbatical year.

18) In this way may be most easily explained the difficulty which Gfrérer (h. Sage, 138) and Bruno Bauer (Kritik, p. 288) have found in the standing expression τὸ ὄρος in the Gospels. Our explanation, vol. i. p. 174, is accordingly to be supplemented, that the sea-shore, which in John vi. 2 forms the contrast to the mountain, is to be regarded as the place where the people assembled, from which Jesus retired. This is apparent particularly from the words ἀνεχώρησε πάλιν εἰς τὸ ὄρος (ver. 15). Ebrard explains the use of the definite article from a contrast which resulted front the formation of the Jewish land. It might, indeed, be difficult to consider the high table-land of Canaan as one mountain—the mountain; yet thus much results from this notice of the character of the Palestinian high table-land, that we see how the going of Jesus to the mountain is favoured by it. Since the multitude followed the Lord on the beaten roads of the country, so it was easy in a mountainous district for Him, in withdrawing from their place of assembling, to go to the mountain, as in every Louse where there is a battlement one goes not to a battlement, but to the battlement.

19) That the going to the mountain always here means withdrawing from the people, besides the connection here and in Luke, is supported by Mark iii. 13 and John vi. 15,

20) The Evangelist Mark here relates inaccurately (iii. 18), inasmuch as he confounds together two occasions on which the people thronged around the Lord. But it is an inaccuracy easily explained, if Matthew allow the discourse to the people to be identified with that to the disciples, so that it appears as if the assembled multitude were the auditory who heard the Lord's first discourse.

21) ʻThe first word of His mouth is Blessed!—and again and again, Blessed!’—Stier, i. WS.

22) ʻTo translate πτωχοὶ with perfect exactness, we should use cgeni and mendici, to which it corresponds, as πένης to pauper.ʼ—Tholuck, 67. [See Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament (First Series), pp. 141-144. TB.]

23) ʻThen shall the lambs feed after their manner upon their pasture;’ Isa, v. 17.Stier, i, 106.

24) [ʻThe dross of the earth the meek do not inherit; the damnosa hæreditas of the earth’s pomps and vanities descends to others ; but all the true enjoyments, the wisdom, love, peace, and independence, which earth can bestow, are assured to the meek as in their meckness inherent.’—Henry Taylor, Notes from Life, 29.—ED.]

25) On the reciprocal relation of seeing God, and likeness to God, compare the admirable remarks of Tholuck, p. 95.

26) Ps. xiv. 1. When people are foolish, they are foolish in their heart.

27) The origin of the spiritual promise of seeing God proceeds from Eastern customs. Eastern kings kept themselves aloof from the view of their subjects ; hence beholding the countenance of the king was regarded by them as a peculiar favour and distinction. See Tholuck, p. 91, where what is essential in the spiritual application of this expression is admirably pointed out.

28) John x. 34; compare Ps. lxxxii. 6.

29) Rev. i. 6

30) Matt. xix. 23.

31) Without doubt Christians in this more definite sense are here called viol Οεοῦ.

32) On the great value attached to salt by the ancients, see Tholuck, 106.

33) Compare the quotation in Tholuck from Maundrell’s Travels, ‘In the valley of salt at Dschebal, some 16 miles from Aleppo, there is a declivity of twelve feet high which has been’ formed by the continual removal of the salt. I broke off a piece where the surface is exposed to the action of the rain, air, and sun ; and found that, although it contained the mica and particles of the salt, it had entirely lost the taste of salt. The inner portion, however, which was more joined to the rock, still retained the peculiar taste,ʼ

34) It has been often supposed that in these words Jesus alluded to the town of Safed ; but, according to Robinson, it is doubtful whether Safed was in existence in the time of Jesus. See Biblical Rescarehes, ii, 425.

35) See Tholuck, p. 114.

36) ἢ τούς προφήτας, The ἢ here is not to be taken as equivalent to ca, Among the Jews there were different ways of annulling the Old Covenant. The Sadducees annulled the prophets, the Essenes the law, the Pharisees in reality both the legal and prophetical portions, The ‘or’ refers to such contrarieties. Christ held the whole development sacred, and exhibited it complete on His higher standpoint.

37) See Tholuck, p. 121. Stier (i 136) explains this passage in a very beautiful and striking manner.

38) See Tholuck, p. 122.

39) The iota denotes the smallest Hebrew letter, י; but the little point or tittle, κεραῖαι, denotes a smaller stroke which distinguishes similar letters from one another, as ד from ר. And so figuratively the smallest part of the law. See ‘Tholuck, 132.

40) ʻἙως ἂν πάντα γένηται. The law has therefore two termini; one negative, and the other positive. The negative is the destruction of the old world form ; the positive is its realization in the new world form,

41) Tholuck says: ‘There is a fulfilling of the law which, because it is only a fulfilment of the letter, is really a transgression, according to the profound truth of the saying, Summum jus summa injuria ; and, on the other hand, there is a transgression of the letter which is essentially a fulfilment of the law.’

42) We are here reminded of the contrast between the Peasant War and the Reformation ; between the Revolution and the Christian renovation of the world which is still to come.

43) It will be understood that, in taking a correct view of Christ's words, we are not to think of finding in thein a rectification of the Mosaic law. Christ certainly comes forward in contrast to Moses, but in that harmonious contrast which has for its base an organic connection, not in contradiction to him. See Olshausen, i, 199.

44) We read ό ὀργίζομενος with the addition εἰκῆ, not only because the authorities, according to Griesbach, are stronger for this reading than those which are against it, but especially because the connection appears to require this addition. ‘The εἰκῆ, must, at all events, denote a peculiar form, an outbreak of anger, by which it is characterized as being angry for a trifle, extravagantly, at random, “It has often been remarked in connection with this passage, that anger in itself may be a holy feeling, as we read of the wrath of God and of the anger of Christ.

45) ’Ἑνοχος ἔσται. He will be subject to that tribunal. The choice of expressions indicates that he is to be considered as one doomed to the sentence mentioned according to justice, not as really so to be sentenced,

46) As in ver. 21 mention is made in a definite sense of the Jewish inferior courts or district courts in criminal cases (which was preceded by a smaller court for civil causes), the expression here must refer to the same tribunal.

47) Racha is probably not to be derived from רֵיק ,רִיק in the sense of stupid. This word of reproach would probably stand highest in the first category : it describes the brother who belongs as a malefactor to the Sanhedrim, We would rather consider as correct the derivation from רָקַק, to spit upon, since it appears to have been a symbolical act to spit on persons who were condemned as heretics, Racha, according to the analogy of the lengthened imperative (see Ewald’s Grammar of the Hebrew Language, translated by Nicholson, p. 164), may be an interjection (Spit!), which might express the sentence of the judge condemning the heretic, which permitted the accuser to spit on the condemned,

48) The Jewish hell (Gehenna, from גֵּיא הִנּוֹם) is quite different from Sheol, or the kingdom of the dead. It was first of all the place of the execution which would be inflicted on a malefactor when his corpse was thrown into the valley of the sons of Hinnom, where from time to time the proscribed corpses were burnt. ‘This punishment marked a rejection continued in the other world, and hence was an image of damnation. In that valley the Hebrews once practised the horrible Moloch-worship (1 Kings xi. 7); hence King Josiah defiled it by causing corpses to be thrown there (2 Kings xxiii. 13, 14). See Tholuck. It is remarkable that the symbolical place of hell proceeded mediately from the Moloch-worship—the place of horror from the place of abomination.

49) We must regard it as decided that πρός designates the inward aim. Tholuck, p. 208. Therefore it is not the unpremeditated feeling that is here spoken of, but the intentional and conscious desire. Although the former is a sin, yet, as Luther expresses himself, it is like an evil thought without consent, not a deadly sin. Nevertheless it is a sin, but comprehended in the general forgiveness. See Tholuck, p. 209. According to the exact grammatical construction of the sentence, the desecration of marriage in conjugal intercourse by the designed excitement of sensual desire might be intended.

50) Hardly does the eye denote merely ʻthe organ of ἀκολάστως βλέπειν and the hand that of ἀναισχύντως ἄπτεσθει;ʼ for if so, why should the right eye and the right hand be specified?

51) Compare Dent. xxiv. 1 ; Matt. xix. 8.

52) Compare Matt, xxiii. 16.

53) Num. xxx. 3.

54) Num. xxx. 3.

55) Deut. vi. 10.

56) Exod. xxi. 24; Lev. xxiv. 20

57) Μὴ κολύσῃς, says Luke. He inverts the relation between cloak (ἱμάτιον) and coat (χιτών), because he had in his eye the violence of the robbery which must begin first of all with the cloak, while the litigious man would begin with the least valuable, and therefore lays claim to the coat.

58) On the meaning of the word ἀγγαρεύειν, see Tholuck, p. 273 [De Wette, Exeg. Handbuch].

59) Lev. xix. 18.

60) That more private and contemptible persecution which ia carried on by threats and slander is probably intended by ἐπηρεάζειν, and the more violent and public by διωκειν.

61) See Stier, vol. i. p. 194

62) Tholuck, 293.

63) According to the reading δικαιοσύνη, vil. 1. In the Old Testament, almsgiving, ἐλεημοσύνη, proceeds from justice; in the New Testament it proceeds from love, the practical charité, from the believing charitas.

64) Tholuck, 305.

65) Although this is said of a chamber in a general sense, yet there may be a special reference to the upper apartment in a Hebrew house, the Alijah. See Tholuck, 306.

66) See Schleiennacher, Lukas, 172 ; Olshausen, Commentary, i. 217. Tholuck, p. 815, and Stier, i. 214, in an ingenious manner, give a twofold origin to the prayer, that Christ the first time exhibited the prayer to the people as an example how men should pray without vain repetitions; and at another time gave it to the disciples, at their request, as a form of prayer. That the disciples, before the Sermon on the Mount, requested the Lord to give them a form of prayer, other expositors also have supposed.

67) ʻAll the cries of the human heart, which ascend from earth to heaven, meet here in their fundamental notes.’—Stier, i. 213.

68) Comp. Stier, i. 227.

69) So probably may the obscure word έπιούσιος be explained : what corresponds to our nature, with a special reference to the super-substantial, therefore to the subjective, to the ideal bread of heaven; au exposition which, after the example of Jerome, is plainly given by Zwingli in his comment on Matthew, p. 236: Dum vero corpora nostra alimeuto quotidiauo cibat, non satis esse putemus; sedanimum intendamus altius et epiusion, hoc est super-substantialein petamus, plus de aniinoc cibo quam corporis solliciti. On the various interpretations, see Tholuck, p. 341.

70) Stier, 231.

71) If it is remarked that Christ could only communicate this petition to His disciples didactically, but could not offer it Himself (compare Tholuck, p. 353), yet it must not be overlooked that no one could feel as He did the sins of humanity, by means of the human sympathy in his heart, and pray for their forgiveness as the debt of the universal family of man.

72) Μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς has at all events this meaning, as not only the expression and the thonght in itself leads to it, but also the antithetical clause ἄλλά ῥῦέαι ἡμᾶς.

73) The greatness and clearness of this antithesis is decisive for regarding the two clauses as distinct petitions, though in the winged course of the prayer they are joined by the ἄλλά into a living unity. We reckon therefore, with Augustin, Seven petitions, The reckoning of six petitions, which has been customary, after Chrysostom, in the Reformed Church, and among the Arminians and Socinians (see Tholuck, pp. 827 and 363), overlooks the great difference and progress which exist between the thought of the sixth and that of the seventh petition.

74) Ῥύομαι, ‘properly, to draw a person, namely, out of danger; hence, in the current use of the word, to draw or snatch out of danger, i.e. to rescue, to save.’—Passow.

75) According to the whole connection of the petition, the expression ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ can in fact refer only to the whole sphere of πειρασμοί, of temptations, as Tholuck remarks, p, 364; so that the word is here construed as neuter, and denotes the sum-total of all evil, moral and physical. See Stier, i. 235.

76) The doxology is not only wanting in the parallel passage in Luke, but also in the principal Greek manuscripts as well as in the tradition of the oldest Latin fathers, See Tholuck, p. 365, It is no doubt of later origin, and added for liturgical use. In the Const. Apos. vii. 24, it appears in its first form, ὅτι σου ἔστιν ὴ βασιλεία εἰς αἰῶνας· Ἀμήν.. Olshansen, i. 217, For its biblical materials a reference has been made to 1 Chron, xxix. 11, We may find the germ of this liturgical amplification in 2 Tim. iv. 18, which Stier considers as a sign of the originality of the words.

77) See Stier, i. 240. ‘Whenever the Amen of the prayer is uttered, it anticipates the great universal Amen of all creation.’

78) Compare Stier, i. 243. The Lord unsparingly condemns all affectation in its minutest form, and counsels His disciples, in order that they may more securely avoid this danger, to adopt as defence against it, where they have only to do with themselves in the sight of their Father m secret, a certain directly opposite dissimulation of face.

79) Strauss, i. 601; Tholuck, p. 376.

80) Matt, xxiii. 1 4.

81) Manns mortua The freedom from taxes, &c.

82) It is doubtful whether the word βρῶσις is not to be taken in the more general sense of eating, gnawing; although gold and silver in a literal sense do not rust, yet in a higher sense they may rust for their possessors.

83) Tholuck, p. 377.

84) Ἀπλοῦς. The opposite, πονηρός, appears to me to correspond to this word and ita meaning, and to denote a condition in which the eye deceives by seeing double.

85) On the meaning of this word, see vol. i. p. 504.

86) ʻAs the etymology of μεριμνᾶν expresses it. Tholuck, p. 384,

87) ’Πλικία probably here denotes neither age nor stature, but the full unfolding in the nature of the individual in every relation; his matured temporal appearance in general

88) The connection also here is by no means wanting.

89) In God s moral government, the unrighteous blow which I aim at another falls back upon myself. Compare Tholuck, 397.

90) So Tholuck (p. 405) explains ἅγιον after Herm. von der Hardt.

91) Tholuck has ingeniously remarked on the external resemblance between pearls and acorns.

92) ʻDogs and swine were often classed together in antiquity as unclean beasts.ʼ Tholuck, p. 401. Dogs and swine taken together may represent what is savage and wild in common human nature—the dogs, more especially the untrustworthy servile, the swine, the stupidly obstinate and savage.

93) On the relation of this maxim to similar expressions in heathen and philosophical writings, compare Tholuck, p. 412. Moreover, this precept of Christ is not so merely formal that every one can bring into it whatever he likes, and consequently the meaning would depend on the character of the person addressed. Whoever is induced to regulate his expectations on the part of mankind by his performances towards it, will be induced to abjure selfishness (Egoismus), and to live for mankind.

94) The door certainly stands at the head of the way, and marks the decision, while the way marks the carrying out the decision.

95) ʻἈκανθαι or ἄκανθα is the generic term for all thorn-plants, the best of which is the buckthorn אָטָד, which bears small blackberries similar to those of the vine; the τρίβολοι have a flower which might be likened to a fig. Tholuck, 426.

96) Compare Ps. cxxvi.

97) ʻThe road passes down to Hattin on the west of the Tell; as we approached, we turned off from the path towards the right, in order to ascend the eastern horn, As seen on this side, the Tell or mountain is merely a low ridge some 30 or 40 feet in height, and not 10 minutes in length from E. to W. At its eastern end is an elevated point or horn, perhaps 60 feet above the plain, and at the western end another, not so high; these give to the ridge at a distance the appearance of a saddle, and are called Kurûn Hattin, “Horns of Hatin.” But the singularity of this ridge is, that on reaching the top, you find that it lies along the very border of the great southern plain, where this latter sinks off at once by a precipitous offset to the lower plain of Hattin, from which the northern side of the Tell rises very steeply, not much less than 400 feet. . . . The summit of the eastern horn is a little circular plain, and the top of the lower ridge between the two horns is also flattened to a plain, The whole mountain is of limestone,’—Robinson, ii. 370.

98) ‘What a battlefield round about this mountain of Beatitudes and about Nazareth!’ —K. v. Raumer, Palest. pp. 87,41. 1n 1799 Bonaparte with 3000 men defeated 25,000 Turks in the plain of Jezreel.

99) Ἔμβριμησάμειός αὐτῷ εὐθέως ἐξέβαλεν αὐτόν.

100) Μηδενὶ μηδὲν, Mark 1:44. On the different occasions of similar prohibitions, see Olshausen, Olshausen thinks that in this instance the injunction had merely a pedagogical significance for the cured leper, “since the healing was wrought in the presence of many. But the connection seems rather to indicate that the act of healing was not wrought in the presence of many.

101) See Lev. xiii, ‘The expression εἰς μαρτύριον αι’τοῖς is so to be understood that the purified person, by the offering which he brought after his recognition on the part of the priest, obtained from the priesthood a legal attestation of his purity.

102) Ὥστε μηκέι·ι αὐτὸν δύνασθαι φανερῶς εἰς πόλιν εἰσελθεῖν.