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THE LIFE OF CHRIST.
Almighty God, who shewest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain : and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are ye that hunger now : Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day,
For great is your reward : and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets -- so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. But, woe unto you that are rich ! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full ! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now ! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.*
Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set . * Here is a woe unto those who seek after, and put their trust in, only this world's riches, and lay not up for themselves treasure in heaven. Here is a woe to those who are full of themselves, without God and Christ. Here is a woe to those who are content to eat and drink and laugh, the vain and thoughtless laughter of the fool, instead of cultivating cheerful godliness and earnest piety. And, finally, here is a woe to those who set their hearts upon the praise and approbation of men, regardless of the approval of God, and of the secret testimony of their own conscience.
on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men,
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven : but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 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.
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
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. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee ; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother,
and then come, and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery : But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.* It
# These precepts are hedges about the law of heart-purity. The flesh with the lusts thereof must be crucified, not indeed by outward injury of the body, but by bringing every thought into captivity to the will of Christ. His grace is granted to save us from our sins, not in them. Still, it is not to be denied that the requirements of our Lord throughout his Sermon on the Mount are hard sayings to flesh and blood; but flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. This mystery of godliness is in part cleared up by the counsels of perfection with which our Saviour sums up this part of his discourse. The solemn injunction, “ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” evidently shows that Christ's spiritual exposition of the law is meant to be not only the rule of duty, to which all who hunger and thirst after righteousness must both strive and pray to conform, but also a proof of the necessity of His Atonement for our justification. Every shortcoming, every deviation, from perfect holiness, even in thought, is sin; and needs true repentance and continual forgiveness through the redemption purchased for us by His blood. But the very gladness of the tidings which the Gospel brings, consists
hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement : But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery : and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths : But I say unto you, Swear not at all ; neither by heaven ; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth ; for it is his footstool : neither by Jerusalem ; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea ; Nay, nay : for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil : but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any one will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou
in this, that whereas all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, it yet proclaims a way of escape, a means of reconcilement. For the better understanding of the peculiar manner of conveying moral instruction in the Gospel, the introduction to this little book may be again consulted, but it cannot be too frequently repeated, that it is the cultivation of dispositions of purity and gentleness, of habits of goodness and devotedness to Christ, that is inculcated throughout the Sermon on the Mount, and not at all the mere literal performance of the specific acts enumerated.