Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

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thy heart ; " and for everlasting dignity and happiness the imper-
ishable affections must be fixed on imperishable things.


That his disciples might learn the importance of preserving
clear-sightedness in spiritual things, he brings an illustration from
a bodily member, and this he does not scientifically, but, as
always in such cases, popularly, as the people understood it.
Sight is simple. A healthy eye is needed. An eye that sees



double is an evil eye, and utterly confusing. So, when the soul's
eye begins to flicker, becoming uncontrollable, seeing double,
commingling and confusing objects, it is a bad The lamp of the body
time for the man who depends upon it. His light is thc eyc: ^ thittee y«

. • ° be clear, thy whole

is darkness — the greatest darkness — worse than body shaii ue bright:
total blindness, to which a man may adapt him- but tf thine cye ** bad «

' ... thy whole body shall be

self. It is uncertain, unreliable, yet inducing the dark, it then the
man to rely upon it because it seems to be right. ' igh * '*■' ** in thee

^ L ° be darkness, how great

If the light be darkness, how great the darkness ! thcdarknessi

Jesus continues to dissuade his disciples from the double-mind-

edness of the Pharisees hy a second illustration, taken from social

life. The word employed in Greek can be trans-

. ., ill ^° man can bc R i ave

latcd onl} 7 by "slave, one who belongs to an- to two masters; for

other. A hired servant may in some sense serve cither hc wU1 hate one

^ „ and love the other, or

two men equally well, but a slave is a member of he win ciing to the
a family. As a son cannot be son of two parents formcr * a " d despise

" L the latter, ic cannot

at once, so a servant that belongs to a master is be slaves to God and
devoted to his master utterly. His only comfort Mammon -
is in undivided affection and service. So as to the claims of God
and Mammon. You cannot serve both at the same time. The
Pharisees have tried it and failed. They are kept from the full
enjoyment of their gains by their religious pretences ; they lose
the pleasure of undivided religious service by their base worldli-
ness. A man must be single-hearted to be good, and great,
and happy. Mammon seems merely to be a Chaldee word for
" riches." There is no evidence that the Syrians, as has been as-
serted, ever worshipped a god of that name.


In this passage the Teacher enlarges the idea of single-mind-
edness in a direction which excludes distracting care, lie has
been speaking of clear-sightedness : he now speaks of directness
of living. A man's full powers are needed for each day's living.

* In the common version it stands,
" either he will hate the one and love
the other, or else he will hold to the one
and despise the other," the latter clause
being merely a repetition of thc former.
But this certainly is not the meaning.
Meyer expresses it; "He will either
hute A and love B, or cling to A and de-

spise B," which is certainly the sense,
and such I have given it by using
"former" and "latter" so that iu
both members of the sense the 6 tu
shall refer to one person, and 6 trtpoi
shall refer to another. Dean Alford
sanctions this translation.



lie cannot afford to have his forces scattered. Double-minded

ness does this. Loving God and hating Mammon, hating God

On this account i say and loving Mammon, in perpetual alternation, is

nnto you, Be not execs- , i • e i o 1 t

siveiy anxious for your tlie rum of character. So he proceeds very ear-
nestly and eloquently to strip his disciples of the
encumbrance of all worldly cares, that they may

inner man,* what ye
are to out, nor for your
outer man, what ye arc
to wear. Is not the
soul more than food
nncl the body than

mve themselves to the loftiest self-culture.

Perhaps almost no teaching of Jesus has been
clothing? Look upon so varionsly understood and so wretchedly misin-

the birds of the nir, , . , ,

for they sow not, nor terpretcd as this particular passage. It is quite
«,n), nor gather into necessar y that we do it the iustice to apply a lit-

storehouses, nml your * J g - 1 * "

heav.niy Father feed- tie common sense to its interpretation.

It certainly docs not teach idleness, sloth, list-
lessness, neglect of ordinary affairs, or any volun-
tary impoverishment. It does not teach starvation
and nakedness. It does not encourage the fanati-
cism of sitting down and " letting the Lord take
care of " a man. It teaches precisely the opposite
of all these things. It teaches that a man is to
employ all his faculties and time in doing what
his place in the kingdom of God plainly demands

ami i say unto you That f him, and satisfying whatever righteous claim

not even Solomon in all . . . y\ • • 1 i 1

his giory was arrayed any one has upon him. On principle, and as the
like one of these. p r i nc ip a l thing, the kingdom of God is to be

Wherefore, if God thus * *\ f » ° .

clothe the grass of the sought, the rule or the Jaw or (jrod m the lire.

cth them. Do yon not
differ from them, and
is not the difference
much in your favor ?t
But who of you by be-
ing excessively anxious
has the power to add
to his life one single
cubit ? % And about
clothing, why are ye
overanxious ? Consid-
er the lilies of the field
how they grow : they
neither toil imr spin:

* The word may be translated ' ' life "
or "soul." The soul's continuance in
the body does depend upon food, and
yet it seems somewhat harsh to translate
the word by '' soul " in this case, and
bring it so abruptly close to food. As
the outer man is in the connection
named x fy* 6 ' 1 uaWov 5iaeTe
avTuv. The common version, "Are ye
not much better than they ? " conveys
only part of the meaning. In the ver-
sion above I think I have given the
whole meaning.

% A cubit is two spans. In the com-
mon version the translation is ' ' stat-
ure." The word signifies either " age "
or " height." The objection to the lat-
ter is that Jesus is showing that they
cannot do the least thing, and therefore
it is useless to be anxious about the
greatest ; but to add eighteen inches to
any man's height were a very great
thing, hence it is inappropriate here.
Moreover, Jesus is talking of the life,
and hence " age " is appropriate. Th«
objection to this rendering is that span
is a measure of space and not of time.
In reply, life is often represented as a
journey, and we have the common
phrase, " length of life." See Pa. xxxix.


the knowledge of that law, and perfect and joyful fieM i which t0 - J »y ^

, . . . n-,, , .. . and to- morrow is cast

submission to it. lliat surely and necessarily in- into the oven, wm he
eludes the discharge of all duties towards God, not much more you, yc

° 'of little faith ?

towards our fellows, and towards ourselves. No Therefore do not be
grander life than that has yet been conceived. ovcranxi « s . that
we shall be judged with the judgment which we apply t others.

God is judge. To judge one's fellow-men is to assume his
prerogative. Our judgments will be reviewed by the Searcher of
nil hearts. The Great Teacher does not mean that if we are
lenient to the faults of others God will therefore be lenient to us
— that if we lor' the distinction of right and wrong towards our
fellow-men, God will therefore obliterate thai grand distinction
in Ilia own mind. But he docs mean that our judgments of


others arc to be the materials upon which man may, and God will,
make up judgment in our own cases ; not that the only test of our
characters will be the judgment we have of the character of others,
but that it will be one of the surest of such tests. Our decisions
are not final. They do not touch our fellow-men as that from
which there is no appeal; but if they have been unjust and mine-"
cessarily severe they come back in condemnation on our own souls.

And still there is this other reason: Severity of judgment has
a tendency to make such judges hypocrites.

A man will pretend to have kind motives, whereas no man who
utters an unnecessarily severe judgment of his fellow-man can
feel kindly towards him. The most ruinous things are said in
society in the softest tones and surrounded by phrases of great com-
passion. But it is all a pretence. " Poor fellow ! " "I am sorry
it is so ! " But you do not pity him, and do not know that it is so.
Jesus presents a satirical picture of such a man. lie describes
him as going to a brother who has a splinter in his eye, and say-
ing tenderly, " Let me : I'll pull out the mote out of thine eye."
But he is a hypocrite. There is a rafter in his own eye. lie is
foolish. How can he with a log of wood in his own eye see how
to perform the surgical operation of extracting the splinter from his
brother's eye? And this shows the uselessness of all such judgments.
If charity begins at home, so should judgment. Wash your own
hands before you point out the soiled hands of your fellows.

The Teacher guards against the opposite extreme of laxity.

While we are to be careful not to pronounce any harsh judgment

upon any man, we are to discriminate among men,

Do not give the holy L J \ . ?

thing to dogs, nor cast or else we shall always be blundering m dealing
your pearls before w j tn t i iem- There are distinctions in character.

swine, lest they tram- „ _

pie them in their feet, Some men are like dogs for tcrocious oppugnance
and turning might tear to tue truth, others like swine for their impuritv.

you.* . .

To give them sacred and precious things were a sad
mistake. In the East, the dog and the hog are the most despised
of animals. Jesus, by this strong language, taught that absolute
abandonment of moral distinction is a mental vice which stands
over against uncharitable judgments.

* Dickinson's translation is, " Give
not that which is consecrated to the
dogs, lest they turn and tear yon ; nor
cast your pearls before swine, lest they

trample them under their feet," which
probably is the Baese, but the transla-
tion given above follows the order of th«
original text.



The connection seems to be this : lie had urged freedom from
sxcessive carefulness as necessary to dignity and strength of char-
acter. That men may be free from carking care
he directs. them to go to their heavenly Father in . Askl and 5t s * a " *

~ « given you ; seek, and

prayer, and gives the assurance that every truly ye shaii find; knock,
persevering soul shall have success. lie lays j™ " "'' '" bc " l "'" l ' a

r » J to yon. For every on8

down as a universal proposition, that every true who asks receives, and

. -. Tin , who seeks finds, and to

prayer is answered. When any man comes to him that knock8 it
God and sincerely prays that his sins may be sh;lU be opened, or

« . . i i j i • i what man is there oi

forgiven, he may go away absolutely certain and yon> whom his son ask .
sure that his prayer has been answered, and that ed for brcad ? he win

... ... . , . , not give him a stone !

his sins are forgiven. And so whatever the pe- or even asks for a fish?
titioner needs God gives in answer to his prayer. he wiu not give him a

-~ ,, i t • i i . . serpent! If you, being

Gods gifts are good, and suited to the recipient, evu, know to give good
If a human father adapts his gifts to his child, gifts to your children,

10 by how much mora

not offering a stone when he should present bread, B hnii your Father in the
much more the good Father in the heavens, lifted heavena give g0 ° a

D t , ___, things to them that

above all human infirmities, will give to all His askhimi ah things,
children, if not what they ask, certainly what they t, - r " rc - *■* *™

•> * * wish men to do to yon,

need. His gifts would not be good if not adapted the same also do ye to

, i ' I'll them. For this is the

to his children. , ... , .

law and the prophets.

There seems also this connection with what im-
mediately precedes. You know what you would have your heav-
enly Father do to your fellow-men. Do so to them, not judging
harshly, not giving inappropriately. What you would have God
do to you, that do to your neighbor ; for manifestly that is what
you desire your neighbor to do to you. Our petitions to God are
the expressions of our highest and best self-love.

Thus this Teacher has shown that he taught nothing which was
to invalidate the law and the prophets, but miicli that was to ful-
fil them, and that the demands of the moral law are not met by a
rigorous observance of the outward letter, but by the building up
of a character in accordance with the spirit of the law.


As compared with an earnest culture of the character, the mere
Pharisaic observance of outward Pharisaic rites is quite an easy
tinner. It is the broad road. The other is the narrow. It is not



of itself so difficult a thing that men may abandon the attempt to

enter it. The fewness of those who do enter is not due so much

Enter through the to its difficulty, which is admitted, as to the faet

narrow Kate; for broad t j iat SQ manv are drawn away into the broader

and Bpaclous is the " ^

road leading away into road. Bllt that the UaiTOW Way rather thai) tllfl

destruction, and many Bpftc j nB road 6 \ 10xl \d be SOUght, 18 Urged, and a
are those entering A o J o ?

through «, because nor- powerful reason suggested by the very verb that

rtric^nSroad^hTt is nsed > " leads aw

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 30 of 77)