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coin, and by consenting to receive it as the current coin of their country, they in sact acknowledged their subjection to his government. For the right of coinage, and of issuing the coin, and giving value and currency to it, is one of the highest prerogatives, and most decisive marks of sovereignty; and it was a tradition of their own rabbins, that to admit the impression and the inscription of any prince on their current coin, was an acknowledgment of their subjection to him. And it was more particularly so in the present instance, because we are told that the denarius paid by the Jews as tribute-money had an inscription round the head of Cæsar, to this effect; Cefar Augustus, Judea being fubdued*. To pay this coin with this inscription, was the completest acknowledgment of subjection, and of course of their obligation to pay the tribute demanded of them, that could be imagined. Our Lord's decision therefore was a necessary consequence of their own concession. "Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, (which you yourselves acknowledge to be Cæsar's,) and unto God the things that are God's." And when they heard these words, they marvelled; they were astonished at his prudence and address; and left him, and went their way.
But in this answer of our Saviour is contained a much stronger proof of his consummate wisdom and discretion than has yet been mentioned. He not only disengaged himself from the dissiculties in which the question was meant to involve him, but without entering into any political discussions, he laid down two doctrines of the very last importance to the peace and happiness of mankind, and the stability of civil government. He made a clear • distinction between the duties we owe to God and the duties we owe to our earthly rulers. He showed that they did not, in the smallest degree, intersere or clash with each other; and that we ought never to refuse what is justly due to Cæsar, under pretence of its being inconsistent with what we owe to our Maker
On the contrary, he lays down this as a general sundamental rule of his resigion, that we ought to pay obedi
* See Hammond in Ice.
Here then we see the whole weight of the Gofpel, and of its divine Author, thrown into the scale of lawsul authority. Here we see that the Christian religion comes in as a most powersul auxiliary to the civil magistrate, and lends the entire force of its sanctions to the established government of every country; an advantage of insinite importance to the peace and welsare of society. And happy had it been for mankind, if in this, as in every other instance, they had consormed^ the directions of the Gofpel, instead of indulging their own wild projects and destructive theories of resistance to civil government, and the subversion of the most ancient and venerable institutions. Happy had it been for the Jews in particular, if they had adopted our Saviour's advice; for by acting contrary to it, by breaking out as they. did soon aster into open rebellion-against the Romans, they plunged themselves into a most cruel and sanguinary war, which ended in the entire overthrow of their city, their temple, and their government, and the destruction of vast multitudes of the people themselves. Similar calamities, have, we know, in other countries, arisen from similar causes; from a contempt of all legitimate authority, and a direct opposition to thofe sage and salutary precepts of the Gofpel, which are no less calculated to preserve the peace, tranquility, security, and good order of civil society, than to promote the individual happiness of every human being, here and for ever.
The Pharisees having been thus completely foiled in their attempt to ensnare and entangle our Saviour in his talk, the next attempt made upon him was by a disserent set of men, the Sadducees, who disbelieved a resurrection, a suture state, and the existence of the soul after death. And their object was to shew the absurdity and the salsehood of these doctrines, by stating a disssiculty respecting them, which they conceived to be insuperable. The disficulty was this: "The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Mofes said, if a man die having no children, his brother shall marry his wise, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the sirst, when he had married a wise, deceased, and having no issue, lest his wise unto his brother t likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh: and last of all the woman died also: therefore in the resurrection, whofe wise shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God; for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God> saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob I God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
This answer of our Saviour's has by some been thougit to be obscure, and not to go directly to the point of proving a resurrection, which the Sadducees denied, and which their objection was meant to overthrow. In our Lord's reply, no argument seems to be advanced, nor any plain text of scripture produced to establish the doctrine of a resurrection of the body, and its re-animation by the foul. It is only contended, that as God declares himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the souls of thofe persons must still be in existence in a separate state; because God could not be said to be the God of thofe who were no longer in being. This is undeniable. But how (it is said) does this prove a resurrection? To explain this, it must be observed, that Christ's answer consists of two parts: in the sirst, he solves the disssiculty started by the sadducees respecting a resurrection, by telling them that it arofe eutirely from their not attending to the power of God, which could effect with the utmost ease what to them appeared impossible; and from their ignorance of the state of human beings in heaven, which resembled that of angels and required not a constant succession to be kept «p by marriage. The case therefore they had stated respecting the marriage of the seven brethren with one woman was a very unsortunate one, because it happened that in heaven there would be no such thing as marriage; which destroyed at once the whole of that objection which they deemed so formidable. In the second part he completely subverts the false principle on which their disbelief of a
resurrection and a suture state was entirely founded. This principle was, that the foul had no separate existence, but fell into nothing at the dissolution of its union with the body. This we learn from the Acts of the Apostles*, where it is said, "that the Sadducees believe neither angel nor spirit:" and from Jofephus, who tells us, that the Sadducees held that the foul vanishes (as he expresses it) with the body, and rejected the doctrine of its duration after deathf. It was this principle therefore, which our Saviour undertook to overthrow, which he does effectually in the 31st and 32d verses, by shewing it to be a clear inserence from the words of scriptures, that although the bodies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had long been in their graves, yet their fouls had survived, and were at that moment in existence. From hence it necessarily followed that the soul did not perish with the body, as the> Sadducees believed, but that it continued in being after death; and at the general resurrection would be again united with the body, and live for ever in a suture state of happiness or of misery.
But though arguments may be consuted, and absurdities expofed, the thorough-paced caviller is not easily silenced. One should have thought that the disgracesul sailure of so many attempts to surprize and ensnare Jesus, would have taught his adversaries a little modesty and a little prudence: but these are qualities with which prosessed difputers and sophists do not usually much abound. When therefore, the Pharisees had heard that Jesus had put the Sadducees to silence, instead of being discouraged from making any more experiments of that nature, they tvere gathered together, probably to consult how they might renew their attacks upon him with more success. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the sirst and great commandment. And the second is like unto it,
* Chap. xxiii. 8.
f Sunafhanizei his somaii. Antiq. 1 xviii. C. A, p. 793" Huds. $ Ex. iii. 6.