Matthew 10:39-42. He that findeth his life shall lose it He that saves his life by denying me shall lose it eternally; and he that loses his life by confessing me shall save it eternally. Or, as Macknight expresses it, “He that makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience to save his life, shall lose that which is really his life his everlasting happiness; whereas, he that maintaineth integrity at the expense of life, and all its enjoyments, shall find what is infinitely better a blessed immortality.” It is justly observed by Campbell, that there is a kind of a paronomasia in the sentence, whereby the same word is used in different senses, in such a manner as to convey the sentiment with greater energy to the attentive. “He who, by making a sacrifice of his duty, preserves temporal life, shall lose eternal life; and contrariwise.” The trope has a beauty in the original which we cannot give it in a version: the word ψυχη being equivocal, and signifying both life and soul, and consequently being much better fitted for exhibiting, with entire perspicuity, the two meanings, than the English word life. The Syro- Chaldaic, which was the language then spoken in Palestine, had, in this respect, the same advantage with the Greek. He that receiveth you receiveth me And as you shall be thus rewarded, so, in proportion, shall they who entertain you for my sake. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet That is, because he is such, shall receive a prophet’s reward Shall have a reward like that conferred on a prophet. It is evident, that by a prophet here is meant, not merely one that foretels future events, but a minister of God in general. And the word δεχομαι , rendered receive, plainly signifies here to entertain in an hospitable way, as it does also Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25, &c. Nor can the gradation, in the following words, be understood without such an interpretation, for Jesus descends here from a prophet to a righteous man, and from a righteous man to a disciple, termed a little one, that is, any believer, however poor, mean, and contemptible in the world. It must be observed, that what renders the good works here mentioned valuable in the sight of God, and procures them a recompense from him, is their being done out of regard for him and his blessed Son. By the rewards here promised, Le Clerc understands the happiness of heaven, paraphrasing the worsts thus: “He that showeth kindness to a prophet, on account of his mission and doctrine, or to a righteous man, on account of his righteousness, especially if by so doing he exposes himself to persecution, shall be as highly rewarded as that righteous man or prophet shall be; nay, he who doth any good office whatever to the meanest of my disciples, though it should be but the small service of handing a cup of cold water to them, shall not go unrewarded,” that is, if he shall give it to him in the name of a disciple, or with a real affection to him, on account of his relation to me. This seems to be the true interpretation of the passage. Thus also Dr. Hammond, “How great soever your persecutions are, and how dangerous soever it be to profess to be a follower of Christ, yet shall no man have reason to fear the entertaining of you; for the same protection which awaits you, and the same reward that attends you, shall await them that receive you. It shall be as if they had entertained, not only angels, but Christ and God himself. He that doth support, and enable a prophet to do His work that sent him, shall receive the same reward that he should if himself had been sent to prophesy.” This, “as it is a great incitement to others to express their kindness to Christ’s ministers and faithful servants, so is it also to his ministers to apply themselves to his service with a ready mind, and with the utmost diligence in the execution of their pastoral office.” Whitby.
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