How to Study the New Testament.

1869 269 MATTHEW. It is pleasant to observe an improvement in tone as to the writer of this Gospel, and that the Dean no longer labours under the indecision of the earliest issue of his larger work, as if there could be any doubt that Matthew and Levi are but two names of the same person. He who had been a publican till called to follow Jesus, was just the man, if the Spirit inspired him, to write the account of the Messiah rejected of the Jew, and then God's salvation to the ends of the earth. Here of course the failure to seize the design enfeebles the view of this Gospel. Nevertheless, it was impossible to overlook the fact that THE KINGDOM of HEAVEN — a phrase found here only — is a characteristic theme of this Evangelist; as also his presentation of the longer discourses of the Lord in His general ministry, as well as his fuller parabolic and prophetic teaching.

The Messianic character of the Gospel is, spite of theory, briefly described in the pages that follow. But is it correct to say that by the "Forerunner, the Elias of the new dispensation, it is necessary that the Messiah be anointed" (pp. 57, 58), seeing that the manifest fact is that to anoint others with the Spirit was the peculiar distinctive privilege of the Lord, in express contrast with John the Baptist (John 1, Acts 1), and that God, not man, anointed Jesus Himself as man? Nor is there the least warrant for treating His victory in the temptation or His ministry with its miraculous seals as the king going forth "to his work of saving his people from their sins." This may be poetic, but is certainly vague and loose.

He says rightly, however, that in several of his groupings Matthew does not regard historic sequence; and this is as true of some discourses as of facts brought together for a special end. But it is untrue that this is a question of laxity; or that one who thus arranges for a dispensational object like Matthew or for a moral design like Luke departs from the strictest truth any more than Mark, who adheres to the mere succession of time. Both plans are excellent and both are given of God, which is the best of all, though obviously the style of "chronological annals" is the more elementary, and that of groupings the profounder of the two. In neither case is a Christian to be "a slave of letter" (p. 60); in every case both the words and the spirit are of God and addressed to the faith of man.

There is nothing in the sketch of Matthew which follows that calls particularly for praise or blame, save to notice that the closing scene of the prophecy on Mount Olivet (Matt. 25) is quite misunderstood. The gathering of the nations before the Son of man is not "the great final judgment." It is the judgment of the quick, not of the dead — of a part of mankind, namely all the Gentiles, but not the Jews, and on a single issue suited to a single generation, not an appraisal of works in general. The question was, Did they (the Gentiles) honour the King in the person of His messengers who bore witness of His coming kingdom (the "gospel of the kingdom" — Matt. 24:14)? Hence "THE KING" is as suitable here as it would be out of place in the great white throne judgment of the dead (Rev. 20:11-15), where none but wicked appear, whether Jews or Gentiles, and are all alike judged according of their works, and all alike consigned to the lake of fire, for no blessed are there spoken of but only the lost.

The following is his list of correct readings in this Gospel, though I am far from accepting them all:

In Matt. 1:25, "a son" instead of "her firstborn son." In Matt. 5:22 "without cause" probably to be omitted; verse 27, omit "by them of old time;" in verse 44 omit "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you," and the words, "despitefully use you and" to be omitted; and in verse 47 for "publicans so" read "Gentiles the same." In Matt. 6:1 "alms" should be "righteousness;" in verse 12 "we have forgiven;" in verse 13 the prayer should end with "evil;" in verse 18 omit "openly." In Matt. 8:15 it should be "unto him;" in verse 28 most probably "Gadarenes." In Matt. 9:13 omit "to repentance;" in verse 36 for "fainted" read "were harassed." In chapter 10:4 for "Canaanite" read "Canaanean," i.e., a zealot. In Matt. 11:2 for "two" read "by means of." In Matt. 12:6 for "one greater" read "that which is greater." In Matt. 13:55 for "Joses," read "Joseph" (some read "John"). In Matt. 17:4 read "I will make." In Matt. 19:17 read "Why askest thou me concerning good? There is One good;" in verse 20 "from my youth up" should in all probability be left out. In Matt. 20:7 omit "and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive," as also "and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with" (inserted from Mark). In Matt. 21:13 read "are making." In Matt. 22:7 read, "but the king was wroth;" in verse 23 for "which say" read "saying." Matt. 23:14 to be omitted (inserted from Mark and Luke). In Matt. 24:7 omit "and pestilence; in verse 42 for "hour" read "day." In Matt. 25:3 read "for the foolish, when they took their lamps, took" In Matt. 26:3 omit "and the scribes;" in verse 42 read, "if this may not pass away except I drink it;" in verse 60, "but found none; even though many false witnesses came." In Matt. 27:64, "by night" should disappear. In Matt. 28:9, "as they went to tell his disciples" should be probably omitted.

This is the list of wrong renderings corrected:

In Matt. 2:16, "borders" for "coasts" (and so in Matt. 15:21-22; Matt. 19:1). In Matt. 3:7 "generation" should be "offspring" (as in Matt. 12:34; 23:33). In Matt. 4 5, "the pinnacle;" in verse 12 "delivered up." In Matt. 5:9 and 45, "sons." In Matt. 6:23, "how dark is the darkness;" in verses 25, 27, 28, 31, 34 (and Matt. 10:19), "thought" should be "anxious thought." In Matt. 8:12 "sons" (and so chapter 9:15, 12:27, 13:38, and 23:15, 31); in verse 16 "a word;" and in verse 24 "was being covered." In chapter 10:39 read "hath found," and "hath lost." In Matt. 11:7 "see" should be "gaze upon" (not the same as "see" in verses 8 and 9); in verse 14, "shall come;" in verse 19 "was justified;" and in verse 27 "will (or 'is minded to') reveal him." In chapter 12:21, "hope;" verse 24, "this man" (so in Matt. 26:67, Matt. 27:47); in verse 31, "of the Spirit;" in verse 41, 42, "more than," twice. In Matt. 13:19 "this is he which was sown by the wayside;" in verse 20, "he that was sown upon the stony places; in verse 22, 23, "was sown upon" or "among." In Matt. 14:26, "apparition." In Matt. 15:5, "that wherein thou mightest have been benefited by me is a gift [to God]; [he is free] and shall not honour his father or his mother;" in verse 27 "yet" should be "for ever;" in verse 32, "will not," "am not willing to." In Matt. 16:22, "God be gracious to thee;" in verse 26, "soul" twice is taken as "life." In Matt. 18:12, "Doth he not leave the ninety and nine upon the mountain and goeth and seeketh." In Matt. 19:10, "expedient;" in verse 23, "with difficulty." In Matt. 20:14, "it is my will to give." In Matt. 21:33, "left his house," (as in Matt. 25:14 also). In Matt. 23:6 "uppermost place;" in verse 10, "neither be ye called leaders; for one is your leader;" in verse 24, "straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel;" in verse 26, "the inside of." In Matt. 24:12-13, "because iniquity hath abounded, the love of the many shall wax cold. But he that endured," etc.; in verse 32, "Now learn the parable from the fig-tree; when now his branch becometh tender;" in verse 36, "none." In Matt. 25:8, "going out;" in verse 46, both "everlasting. In Matt. 26:5, "during the feast;" in verse 35, "though I must die;" in verse 64, "henceforth." In Matt. 27:9, "set a price on;" in verse 10, "commanded me;" in verse 44, "cast the same in his teeth" has nothing corresponding in the original, but "reviled him;" in verse 45," all the earth;" in verse 50, "yielded up his spirit;" in verse 56, "the sons of Zebedee;" in verse 66, "sealing the stone, besides posting the guard." In Matt. 28:3, "appearance;" in verse 19, "make disciples of;" and in verse 20, "all the days."

Most of these are familiarly known and just. Some in both lists are questionable. It not my purpose to discuss minutiae now, but only to add that the Dean of Canterbury confounds, as do most, the relation of Christ to the Church with that in which He stands toward Israel. It is unscriptural to say, "the King and Head over all to His Church." (p. 77.) So to the soul individually, in the following page, "Seek ever this thy King and Saviour." For never does God's word so speak. It is to Judaize unwittingly. He is my Saviour and Lord; He is Head to the Church; but He is King of Israel. There is no error more widely and profoundly injurious to the Christian than this, trifling as the ignorant might account it.