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Bible Commentaries

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
Leviticus 20



Verse 26

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"I...have severed you from other people."Leviticus 20:26

It is useless to cavil about such separations, because there they are, as a matter of indisputable fact in human history. Whoever made the differences, we have to acknowledge their existence, and to consider how best to treat them.—There are highly-civilised nations, and there are nations absolutely without formal language or written records. There are nations living upon land which brings forth abundantly, and seems to be but too eager to respond to the efforts of the cultivator: there are other people living, as it were, in barren wildernesses, to whose toil the inhospitable earth makes no reply. There are nations distinguished by the most brilliant intellectual genius, and other peoples who have scarcely the faintest notions of rational life. These differences must have had some origin. The shallowest of all ways of accounting for them is to refer them to mere chance.—It requires more faith to believe in chance than to believe in God,—that is to say, faith in the sense of mere credulity.—Whatever may be the differences in mere ethnology—that Isaiah , differences as between one race and another,—it is certain that in the Biblical conception of society a very broad distinction is made between the people of God and all other people.—This again is not arbitrary; it comes out of the very nature of the separating God himself.—It is only because God is different from all other gods that his people are different from all other people.—This gives a new and elevated view to the whole conception of human differences.—When the nations accept God as revealed in Jesus Christ, they invariably approximate to the same level.—Christianity does not drag down its believers to the level of other nations, it lifts up other nations to the level of its own elevation.—There is no encouragement to moral pedantry in such separations.—The difference is to be one of quality, and the higher the quality the less disposition there is to exult in it in the sense of feeling contempt for other people.—When the mind of Christ is fully in the minds of those who believe in him they will make themselves of no reputation and take upon themselves the form of servants that they may do good to others.—The morality of Christ is different from all other morality. It is not mere morality in the sense of calculation and adjustment to times and circumstances, it is spiritual morality, it is inspired conduct, it is full of divine passion as well as solid with divine righteousness.—Whatever might be the limitations imposed upon the Jews for temporary and local purposes, it is certain that no restrictions are placed upon Christians for the evangelising of the world.—The express command of Christ is that the Gospel should be preached to every creature.—The grand revelation made to the narrow mind of Peter was that in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.—Christianity would separate itself from other peoples, in order that it might raise other peoples to a higher platform.—Its elevation increases its leverage.—The withdrawment of Christians from other people is so conducted, when rightly conducted, as to show the other people that no contempt is involved in the severance, but rather a profound and unquenchable desire to turn the whole world into a Church of the living God.—The separation is not to be one of merely outward conduct; it is to be a severance of spirit, of moral sympathy, of the very essence of life. It would be quite possible to draw up a programme of conduct which should be marked by mere eccentricity; but such a programme would never commend itself to the judgment of fair-dealing men: we do not want a nicely balanced programme, but a new heart, a purified conscience, and a spirit charged with the passionateness of Christ.—Christ was in the world, yet not of the world.—Christ could eat with publicans and sinners, and yet not be defiled by the association.—Monasticism is not taught by this text.—Men are to move up and down in the world, transacting all its usual business, and yet so to do the work of life as to exert a benign influence, and fill other men with encouragement to move in an upward direction.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 20:4". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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