Matthew 25:37-40. Then shall the righteous answer, &c. The righteous, with great surprise, ask, with reverence and humility, when all this happened, since they never had seen him in want of their assistance, nor could remember that they had ever bestowed aught upon him. It cannot be supposed, however, that either the righteous or the wicked should answer in the very words here mentioned. But what we learn here from is, That neither of them have the same estimation of their own works which the Judge hath. And the King shall answer Inasmuch as, &c. “This is unspeakably astonishing! The united wisdom of men and angels could not have thought of any thing more proper to convey an idea of the warmth and strength of the divine benevolence to men, or offer a more constraining motive to charity, than that the Son of God should declare from the judgment-seat, in presence of the whole universe assembled, that such good offices as are done to the afflicted are done to him. Having in the days of his flesh suffered injuries and afflictions unspeakable, he considers all the virtuous distressed as members of his body, loves them tenderly, and is so much interested in their welfare, that when they are happy he rejoices; when they are distressed he is grieved: Ye have done it unto me O wonderful condescension of the Son of God! O astonishing stupidity of men, who neglect altogether, or are persuaded with difficulty to do good to Christ! That Jesus should call the poor, even among the heathen, his brethren, is a great honour to the human nature, and shows the divine benignity in an amiable light. This happy relation arises from the manhood which he still possesses in common with men, and from the poverty, affliction, and other miseries of mankind, that he was exposed to while he lived in the world. He calls good men, more especially, his brethren, because they are children of the same Father, (namely, God,) after whose image they are formed by the influence of his Spirit. It is this conformity of natures, human and divine, which makes men Christ’s brethren; for which reason, in whatever person it is found, he will acknowledge the relation, without regard to any circumstance whatever that is out of the person’s power.” Macknight.
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