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Chapter Verle Matthew : he tells us the Pharisees, displeased xxii
15 at these parables, retired to consult how they might entangle him in his talk. To effect this, they sent some of their disciples with the Herodians, to him. They artfully, first flattered him concerning his truth, the truth of his doctrine, his independence, as fearing no man, (in course, not Cæsar himself) and then asked himnIs it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? (Mark adds--Shall we give, or shall we not give ?) If he had answered in the negative, they would have accused him to the civil officers, as a fomenter of rebellion. His method of evading this insnaring question, viewing it in a political light, is admirable. He asked them to thew him the tribute-money, and demanding whose image it bore, they replied Cæsar's. Then said he Render unto Cæsar, the things which are Cæsar's: and unto God, the things that are God's. (Here it may be remarked, that previous to this (ch. xvii. V. 27.) Jesus had, at the expence of a miracle, complied with this custom to avoid giving offence to the civil power.) Having in this manner foiled, or disappointed the Pharisees and Herodians, by an artful evasion, he was next attacked by the Sadducees, which say, there is no resurrection, they endeavoured to puzzle him, upon that subject, by stating the case of a woman, who, in succession (conforınable to the Jewish law) had been the barren wife of reven brethren. The
Chapter Verse question was; to which of those men the woman
would be assigned at the resurrection. The an
swer here, is un-evasive, plain, and full of inxxii. 29 formation—Ye do err, not knowing the scrip
tures, nor the power of God. For in the res
surrection, they neither marry, nor are given ' in marriage : but are as the angels of God in - Heaven. But as touching the resurrection of
the dead : have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God
of Abraham, and the God of Ifaac, and the * God of Jacob ? God is not the God of the · dead, but of the living.' Mark records nearly the same answer. John is filent. Luke's account of this answer differs exceedingly from that of Matthew and Mark, and is not so easily under: stood-The children of this world marry and
are given in marriage: but they which shall be ' accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the
resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more : for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the childrex
of the resurrection. Now that the dead are « raised, even Moses shewed at the Bush, when • he calleth the Lord, the God of Abraham, and 'the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (it was
not Mofes, but the Lord himself who said it) for he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.' By they which
'fhall be accounted worthy to obtain that world,' I understand those whose good works (for without them, I will have nothing to do with election) have obtained for them the kingdom of Heaven : but the addition- and the resurrec' tion from the dead, seems to imply, that those only should rise from the dead, who were accounted worthy to obtain the kingdom of Heaven: and of such he says-'Neither can they die
any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children
of the refurrection. This paffage gives some support to the doctrine of pre-existence: the good, who were favoured with a resurrection to enjoy the kingdom of Heaven, could die no more: but the bad, might again and again be sent into the world, to expiate their former crimes. The story of Elias *, may appear to run counter to this hypothesis, and I know not how to reconcile them, but by supposing the soul of Elias (whose history will certainly warrant the supposition) was not perfected but in the body of John the Baptist : after which, we are told, he was seen with Moses and Jesus; by the saints Peter, James, and John. We will now return to St. Matthew. Jesus having thus fatisfied, or filenced the Sadducees likewise; he was again attacked by the Pharisees : one of their party, a lawyer or fcribe,
Chapter Verse asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, xxii. 36“ Master, which is the great commandment in
the law ? The answer is admirable Thou my, vi. s.
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
386 This is the first and great commandment. And Leviticus, ' the second is like unto it : Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. On these two command40 ments, hang all the law, and the Prophets.'
This short comment, according to St. Mark, drew this acknowledgment from the scribe,- Well master, thou hast said the truth, for
there is one God, and there is none other but 'he; and to love him with all the heart, &c.
and to love his neighbour as himself, is more • than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.' Upon which Jesus said to him— Thou art not ' far from the kingdom of God.' Mark, c. xii. Matthew doth not mention this circumstance; nor doth the lawyer's being in the end 'Not far ' from the kingdom of God,' agree with the beginning, in which his question did not arise from want of information but as tempting Jesus. Luke, in the order of time or place, doth not record this question of the lawyer ; it should, to correspond with Matthew and Mark, have been introduced ch. xx. v. 39, instead of which we find it recorded, with some variation and a beautiful illustration, ch. x. v. 25 to 37:- And be' hold a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted
* him saying, Master, what shall I do to inheric S eternal life? Jesus asked him What is written " in the law? How readest thou ? he answered • Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, &c.—And thy neighbour, as thyself.' To this Jesus replied - Thou hast answered
right: this do, and thou shalt live.' The lawyer, willing to screen or justify himself, asked
And who is my neighbour ?' Jesus, in reply, states a case stimulating the lawyer to answer his own question. A man journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho, was attacked by thieves; who wounded, stripped, and left him half dead. Two of his countrymen (one a priest) saw him without compassion, and left him to his fate without remorse. Not so the Samaritan; he notwithstanding the prejudice of education, and the force of example; beheld the sufferer with pity ; administered such relief as the immediate exigency required, or at least all that he had in his power ; fat him upon his own beast, conveyed him to an inn, and provided every necessary for his present support, and future cure. Which now of these three, says Jesus to the lawyer, was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves ? The reply could not be other than--He that shewed mercy.-- Go thou and do likewise,' was the concluding sentence. Jesus having convinced, or filenced his opponents, attacked them in his turn, saying—'What think ye of Christ? Whose