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the mind, which salt produces on flesh-preserving it from corruption.' Com. in loc.

I only add that we may judge what these writers intend by being offered a sacrifice to God, by examining the passage to which I suppose Macknight particularly refers, i. e. Rom. xii. 1, 'I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.' Comp. Hebrews. x. 19.-23.


For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'-MATT. v. 20.

FOR a tolerably full exposition of the phrase kingdom of heaven, see Hammond's note on Matt. iii. 2: see also Lightfoot's note on Matt. iv. 17. It seems to have been used, not precisely as the word church is now used, but in a sense somewhat similar. It denoted that state of things in the world, which was produced by the ministry of Jesus Christ; a state of things existing, not in the next life, but in the present. Hence Jesus said to the Jews,' the kingdom of God is within you,' Luke xvii. 19, 20. And again, 'the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,' Matt. xxi. 43. Hence, to enter the kingdom of heaven, is to become a disciples of Jesus; to believe his gospel; to submit to his laws; to conform to his requirements; and thus to become entitled to all the privileges and immunities of discipleship. See the notes on John iii. 3, 5. It may not be improper to add, that kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God, (and certain others,) are used by the Evangelists as convertible terms;

what one expresses by one phrase, another describes by the other. Comp. Matt. iv. 17, with Mark i. 15: Matt. v. 3, with Luke vi. 20, &c.

The righteousness of the Pharisees was external, consisting in ceremonies and observances, which did not purify the heart: see Matt. xxiii. the whole chapter. The kingdom of heaven, which Jesus came to establish, was designed to operate on the heart; and its laws required not only propriety in external behaviour, but purity of intention. See this point very fully illustrated in that compendium of all christian duty, the Sermon on the mount, recorded in Matt. v, vi, and vii. It was with reference to this feature in its character, and to the blessed effects, which conformity to its spirit produces, that the apostle said,"The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Rom. xiv. 17.

To be unable to enter the kingdom of heaven, then, as the phrase is here used, does not imply the impossibility of salvation in the future life; but the inability of becoming true disciples, in the present life. Doubtless, the blessed in the future life will be holy. But with this subject, the text under consideration has no immediate concern. I proceed to quote a few authorities, in agreement with this exposition:

1. GILPIN. In his paraphrase of this verse, Gilpin retains the phrase kingdom of heaven; but he elsewhere gives his opinion of its import as follows:

'Jesus told him, that his doctrine lay in a very short compass. A man, said he, must be born again, before he can be a member of my kingdom. Nicodemus not comprehending the expression, Jesus explained himself, by saying, that no body could be his disciple, who, after professing himself such by baptism,' &c. (See the place.) Expos. in John iii. 3—5.

2. HENRY. This writer gives the phrase, kingdom of heaven, both significations, the gospel kingdom on earth, and the kingdom of glory, in the life to come; but prefers

the former, as may appear from the following remark on ver. 19,

He that doth so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, in the kingdom of glory: he shall never come thither, but be eternally excluded: or rather, in the kingdom of the gospel church. He is so far from deserving the dignity of a teacher in it, that he shall not so much as be accounted a member of it. The prophet that teacheth these lies, he shall be the tail in that kingdom. Isa. ix. 15. &c.' Com. in loc.

3. BEZA. • Ye shall in no case enter: That is, ye shall be unworthy to teach in the church: for this is said, not of the pious indiscriminately, but of the teachers alone: and by the phrase kingdom of heaven is intended, not the church triumphant, (as is vulgarly said) but the church militant; and as yet needing the service of teachers.' Annot. in loc.

4. JONES. (19) Observe he is speaking of persons • who shall be called the least,' who shall be held in the lowest esteem, in the kingdom of heaven, i. e. under the christian dispensation.'

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(20) He therefore informs his hearers that, unless their moral conduct exceeds that of the Pharisees, they shall by no means be considered as members of the new dispensation, nor entitled to the blessed fruits of it.' Illustrations, &c. sect. xi.


Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.' MATT. v. 21, 22.

THIS is a passage, which orthodox commentators, generally, understand to imply the doctrine of endless misery. Yet it is to be observed, that nearly all of them

allow that the doctrine is here taught by implication only. And before quoting their remarks, it may be well to point out what they consider to be matter of fact, and what they themselves allow to be matter of mere inference from the language of Jesus. As this has been done very plainly and fairly by the gentleman who I have already said, formerly commenced a work, similar to this in which I am now engaged, I avail myself of his words:

'Let the reader observe, in the first place, that these authors all agree on the following, as matter of fact, viz. that the Hell-fire or, the Gehenna of fire, mentioned in this verse, was really the fire of the valley of Hinnom, just as the council, here mentioned, was the great Jewish Sanhedrin, composed of seventy two elders, and just as the judgment, in this place, was the decision of the inferior court of twenty three. So much they lay down as matter of fact. But if, as is probable, our Saviour here used all these terms, judgment, council and hell-fire, as metaphors, then he of course meant by them, something else than what they literally express, and intended to teach that he who is angry with his brother without a cause should be in danger, not actually of the judgment, nor that he who should say to his brother, Raca, should be in danger of the council, nor that he who should say, thou fool, should literally be in danger of hell-fire; but that they should be in danger of some punishment corresponding with these several corporeal penalties. Let the reader now, observe, in the second place, that the way in which those critics infer the threatening of future punishment from this text, is, by taking it for granted, according to their general system of doctrine, not from the passage itself, that the retributions alluded to in the several metaphors, were to be reserved for eternity. This is their opinion, unsupported by a single word in the text, according to their own explanation of it. For all that I can discover, the judgment of the inferior court, the sentence of the great Sanhedrin, and the burning alive in the valley of Hinnom, when used as metaphors, may quite as naturally denote sufferings in this world, as in the next.' Trumpet ii. 81.

The reader will do well to keep the preceding observations in view, while he attends to the following ex


1. CLARKE.Shall be in danger of the judgment; shall be liable to the judgment. That is, to have the matter brought before a senate, composed of twenty three magistrates, whose business it was to judge in cases of murder and other capital crimes. It punished criminals by strangling, or beheading,' &c.

The council; the famous council, known among the Jews by the name of Sanhedrin. It was composed of seventy two elders, six chosen out of each tribe. This grand Sanhedrin not only received appeals from the inferior Sanhedrins, or court of twenty three, mentioned above; but could alone take cognizance, in the first instance, of the highest crimes, and alone inflict the punishment of stoning.

Shall be in danger of hell-fire; shall be liable to the hell of fire. Our Lord here alludes to the valley of the son of Hinnom. This place was near Jerusalem, and had been formerly used for those abominable sacrifices in which the idolatrous Jews had caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch. A particular place in this valley was called Tophet, from (Hebrew) tophet, the fire stove, in which some suppose they burnt their children alive to the above idol. See 2d Kings xxiii, 10. 2d Chron. xxvii. 3. Jer. vii. 31, 32. From the circumstance of this valley_having been the scene of those infernal sacrifices, the Jews, in our Saviour's time, used the word for hell, the place of the damned, See the word applied in this sense in the Targum* on Ruth ii. 12. cxl. 12. Gen. iii. 24. and xv. 17. It is very probable that our Lord means no more here than this; if a man charge another with apostacy from the Jewish religion, or rebellion against God, and cannot prove his charge, then he is exposed to that punishment, (burning alive,) which the other must have suffered, if the charge had been substantiated. There are three offences here, which


*The reader should recollect that it is disputed whether any Targum now in existence was written so early as the days of Christ.

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