Sidor som bilder

mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up ; what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” The conversation here related between the young ruler (for so he is called by St. Luke) and our blessed Lord, cannot but be extremely interesting to every sincere Christian, who is anxious about his own salvation. A young man of high rank, and of large possessions, came with great haste and eagerness; came running, as St. Mark expresses it, to Jesus; and throwing himself at his feet, proposed to him this most important question: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” This was not a question of mere curiosity, or an insidious one, 4. - aS as the questions put to our Lord (especially by the rulers) frequently were, but appears to have been dictated by a sincere and anxious wish to be instructed in the way to that everlasting life, which he found Jesus held out to his disciples. His conduct had been conformable to the precepts of that religion in which he was born and educated, the religion of Moses; for when our Lord pointed out to him the commandments he was to keep, his answer was, “All these things have I kept from my youth up ;” and his disposition, also, we must conclude to have been an amiable one; for we are told that Jesus Joved him, beheld him with a certain degree of regard and affection. In this state of mind then he came to Jesus, and asked the question already stated ; “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life P” Our Lord's answer was, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. The young man saith unto him, Which 2 Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou Vol. II. I shalt shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” In this enumeration, it is observable that our Lord does not recite all the ten commandments, but only five out of those that compose what is called the second table. Now we cannot imagine that Jesus meant to say that the observation of a few of God's commands would put the young man in possession of eternal life. His intention unquestionably was, by a very common figure of speech, to make a part stand for the whole; and instead of enumerating all the commandments, to specify only a few, which were to represent the rest. “Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, and so of all the other commandments, to which my reasoning equally applies.” Nor does he only include in his injunction the ten commandments, but all the moral commandments of God contained in the law of Moses; for he mentions one which

S is

is not to be found in the ten commandments; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This therefore points out to the young man his obligation to observe all the other moral precepts of the law. “The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet f" The probability is, that he flattered himself he lacked nothing; that his obedience to the moral law rendered him perfect, qualified him to become a disciple and follower of Christ here, and gave him a claim to a superior degree of felicity hereafter. It was to repress these imaginations, which Jesus saw rising in his mind, that he gave him the following answer; an answer which struck the young man with astonishment and grief, and which some have represented as more harsh and severe than his conduct merited. “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.” In the parallel place of St. Mark,

it is, “Come and take up the cross and follow me.” The meaning is, although God is pleased to accept graciously your obedience to the moral law, yet you must not flatter yourself that your obedience is perfect; and that this perfect obedience gives you a right or claim to eternal life; much less to a superior degree of reward in heaven; far from it. To convince you how far you fall short of perfection, I will put your obedience to the test, in a trying instance, and you shall then judge whether you are so perfect as you suppose yourself. You say that you have from your youth kept the moral laws delivered to you by Moses. Now one of those laws. is this, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” If therefore you. pretend to perfection, you must observe this law as well as all the rest, and consequently you must prefer his favour to every thing else; you must be ready to sacrifice to his commands every thing that is most valuable to you in this world. I. now,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »