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“ and authorities, take no thought in any wise either how ye “ should defend yourselves, or what ye should say: 12 for the
Holy Ghost shall teach you, at the hour itself, what things it or behoveth to say.”
13 And one from the multitude said unto him, Master, tell
my brother to divide with me the inheritance.” 14 And he said unto him, “ Man, who hath appointed me a judge or di“ vider for
15 And he said unto them, “See (to it) and “ beware of undue desire ; for at the time when all things “ abound to a man, his life is not of his possessions.”
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, “ The estate of “ a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. 17 And he be
gan to consider within himself, saying, What shall I do? for “ I have not where I must gather together my fruits.
18 And “ he said, This will I do. I will take down
storehouses, “ and build others larger: and there will I gather together my "productions, and my good things. 19 And I will say to my “soul, Soul, thou hast many good things lying in store for “many years to come :) take rest, eat, drink, enjoy thyself. “ 20 And God said unto him, O fool, this night do they require “ of thee thy soul again : and the things which thou hast pre“ pared, for what shall they be? 21 So shall be he that treasureth
for himself, and is not rich unto God.”
PRELIMINARY MATTER. THE notices of time, supplied by the twelfth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, and calculated to furnish any probable argument respecting its true place in the order of the Gospel narrative, were pointed out and illustrated in the twelfth Dissertation of the second volume of my former work : to which I beg to refer the reader, if he is desirous of satisfaction on this subject, before we enter upon the consideration of the chapter, and its contents, at present. He will also find it there shewn, that various as are the particulars related in this chapter, they form the ac
count of what actually transpired at one and the same time, and on one and the same occasion.
The chapter, though containing on the whole nothing but what was said by our Saviour, either of his own accord or in consequence of something which had just before transpired, gives an account not of one discourse upon any one topic; but of a series of discourses, and on a variety of topics. Perhaps, as it is said at the commencement, that he began to speak to his disciples first; and it appears from verse 54. that he spoke also to the multitudes afterwards— both of his own accord—the most general division of the whole discourse from first to last, is into the part contained between ver. 1 and 53; and between 54, and 59, respectively: the former principally, if not exclusively, concerning the disciples; the latter exclusively relating to the people.
It is true, that we find at verse 13, in the midst of the first of these divisions, the mention of a request put to our Lord, by one of the multitude present at the time; the answer to which (extending from ver. 14—21.) gave occasion to, and included the first of the parables proposed for our consideration, as related in this chapter. This request itself must doubtless be regarded as an interruption, accidentally produced; the business of answering which would require our Lord to suspend the thread of his previous discourse. And as that discourse before was properly addressed to his disciples, so did the new subject of discussion casually introduced, not only in the circumstance of its origin but in the nature and drift of the reflections founded upon it, concern the people in general, or the concourse of hearers at the time, as much or even more than the disciples. It is found, however, that if our Lord was engaged on a train of ideas and a series of practical admonitions, especially relating to his disciples, before he was interrupted—he resumes the former topic as soon as he had disposed of the new one; and takes advantage of the interruption itself, to apply the particular moral inference, founded at the time upon it and addressed to the people at large, to a similar but more peculiar doctrine, in which the disciples alone were properly interested.
The comprehensive or leading divisions, however, into which I propose to distribute the contents of the chapter, as far down as we shall have occasion to consider them, are these four; first, from 1–12: secondly, from 13_21: thirdly, from 22—40 : fourthly, from 41–48. The rest of the chapter, from 49-53, and from 54 to the end, I except from our proposed examination at present, for two reasons; first, because it makes no part of the matter preliminary to the parables delivered on this occasion, not even to the last of them; which terminates apparently at verse 46, and really at verse 48; and secondly, because a sufficiently minute explanation of the remaining portion of the chapter, was given in the Dissertation of iny former work, before referred to; where the reader, who desires to see it,
inay find it.
These leading divisions are each pointed out and defined by perceptible changes either in the topics insisted on before and after, or in the persons addressed, or in both. Each of them too is capable of subdivisions; the various limits of which are not more difficult of discovery-at least, if a change in
the subject of discourse, a new status quæstionis as affecting the conduct, the mention of a new instance or principle of duty, the appearance of a new class of arguments, bearing on a distinct point and directed to a distinct conviction-be made the criterion of their several component parts. Whether there is also a connexion in the subject-matter of such subdivisions, and whether the order of thought by which the speaker passes from one topic to another, is regulated by the usual principles of association; as I observed upon a former occasion , is a circumstance of very little importance to the consideration of our Saviour's discourses; the characteristic properties of which we should expect to be, not their attention to order and method, system and regularity, either in structure or argument; but the variety of topics brought together within the same compass; the rapidity of transition from one point to another; the weight and importance of each particular dictum; the sententious brevity, the condensed fulness, the pregnant conciseness, of every part. The style of a legislator not of a moralist, was that which a teacher like our Saviour, would most fitly assume.
The true description of a collection of his sayings or precepts, is that of a code or body of laws, of such and such a kind—because the sayings, decisions, and directions of one, whose will was sufficient to define the instance of duty, and to lay the foundation of a moral obligation to obey it.
The existence, however, of some common end and purpose, to which the whole of the discourse, or so much of it as may be considered premeditated, in having been originally intended for the disciples as well as at first addressed to them—is perhaps subservient-can any such be discovered; will give a degree of connectedness not only to its general divisions, but also to their subordinate members and component parts. It is not improbable that some such end was contemplated by the address from the first; vary, as it might, in its particulars during its course.
a Vol. ii. 273.
If there is any ground for this conjecture, the design of the discourse in general must be collected from the concurrent tendency of the parts to some result, more or less the same. The proof of this sameness will be sufficiently established, if that result in each instance is found to be of a practical nature, and specially concerning the disciples of our Lord at the time, regarded in some peculiar point of view. I propose, therefore, by the analysis of the details, to determine whether a principle of connexion like this, may not possibly pervade the whole-- whether there be not some leading idea, some unity of scope and purpose, practically concerning the hearers of our Lord, considered as his disciples in particular, to which all that he said to them on this occasion, (or at least the greater part of it,) not excepting the parabolic matter, any more than the rest—-may appear to have been subservient.
The first of our divisions extended from verse 1–12. Its subordinate members are these three, 1-3: 4410: 11, 12.
With regard to the first of these subdivisions—it is clearly resolvable into two parts, and these parts are necessarily connected together; a certain prohibition or caution, on the one hand, and the reasons