Matthew 19:16
Just then a man came up to Jesus and inquired, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?"
The Requirements of the KingAlexander MaclarenMatthew 19:16
The Ruler's MistakesR. Tuck Matthew 19:16
A New Year's Personal InquiryJ. Burns, LL. D.Matthew 19:16-22
A Sorrowful DepartureJ. Vaughan, M. A.Matthew 19:16-22
But How is This Spiritual Lack to be SuppliedW. G. T. Shedd, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Christ and Good PeopleE. Dryander, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Coming to JesusThe HiveMatthew 19:16-22
Deteriorating Influence of RichesF. W. Robertson, M. A.Matthew 19:16-22
Estimate of the RulerA. L. R. Foote.Matthew 19:16-22
Formal Obedience InsufficientW. Rudder, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Giving Up All for ChristJ. B. Brown.Matthew 19:16-22
Good Things to DoMatthew 19:16-22
Great Possessions a Hindrance in the Way to HeavenSalter.Matthew 19:16-22
Heaven Won by Being, not DoingF. W. Farrar, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Human PerfectibilityA. L. R. Foote.Matthew 19:16-22
Jesus' Answer to the Young Ruler's AddressThomas Twining.Matthew 19:16-22
Man not Left in Doubt as to the GoodF. W. Farrar, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Man Ruled by His AffectionsR. South, D. D., R. South, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Men's Persuasions of Their Own ObedienceAnthony Burgess.Matthew 19:16-22
Morality Made a SnareGurnall.Matthew 19:16-22
Morality not to be DespisedH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
Nobility Worthy of the Highest CultureJ. W. Thew.Matthew 19:16-22
Not Wise to Go from GodDr. Dotage.Matthew 19:16-22
Obedience to This Command not Necessarily LiteralBishop H. C. Potter.Matthew 19:16-22
On Being Right in the MainJ. Parker, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Possessions that PossessDr. Dotage.Matthew 19:16-22
Refined SelfishnessH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
Religion More than an Outward AdditionH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
Religious Impressions Soon Shaken OffH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
Selfishness May be Associated with Many VirtuesH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
Self-RighteousnessJ. P. Lange, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Self-SatisfactionJohn Trapp.Matthew 19:16-22
Sincerity TestedR. South, D. D., R. South, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Sins as Great PossessionsJ. Donate.Matthew 19:16-22
Sins of OmissionDr. Shedd.Matthew 19:16-22
The Centred Principle of CharacterH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
The Christian's Life-Long Work After ConfirmationJ. H. Norton, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Commandment Regarded as OrdinaryF. W. Farrar, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Danger and Misery of Self-DeceptionE. Cooper.Matthew 19:16-22
The Evil Temper VariedR. South, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The First Step Towards RighteousnessF. W. Farrar, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Great Question AnsweredJ. W. Holt.Matthew 19:16-22
The Great RefusalW.F. Adeney Matthew 19:16-22
The Lack of One Thing the Lack of AllJ. Parker, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Need of an Inner Spiritual ChangeH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
The Perfection of GoodnessJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 19:16-22
The Price of a Great AmbitionJ. W. Thew.Matthew 19:16-22
The Regulation of ConductDr. Parker.Matthew 19:16-22
The Remorse Occasioned by Enlightened Reason on the RejecR. South, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Rich Young RulerG. Brooks., M. Dods, D.D.Matthew 19:16-22
The Rich Youth's Application to ChristJ. Thorp.Matthew 19:16-22
The Spiritual Must Supplant the Physical LifeMatthew 19:16-22
The True Spirit of RenunciationBishop H. C. Potter.Matthew 19:16-22
The Way to HappinessSamuel Johnson.Matthew 19:16-22
The Whole SurrenderW. I. Keay.Matthew 19:16-22
The Worth of HeavenJohn Trapp.Matthew 19:16-22
The Young RulerD. Macmillan.Matthew 19:16-22
What He LackedAnon.Matthew 19:16-22
What Lack I YetH. W. Beecher.Matthew 19:16-22
What Lack I?Pulpit Germs., J. P. Lange, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
Why Wealth is to be RenouncedW. Rudder, D. D.Matthew 19:16-22
WMr are the Senses in Which None is Good But God?Dr. Shedd.Matthew 19:16-22
Youth's Obstructions in Their Way to Christ and Eternal LifeJohn Guyse, D.D.Matthew 19:16-22

The young man who won the love of Christ by his ardour and enthusiasm, and who grieved our Lord by his refusal to make an unexpected sacrifice, stands before us in vivid portraiture - an example, and yet a warning. Let us consider the successive traits of his character revealed by his conduct.

I. HIS WISE QUESTION. It is much for a man to have a definite object before him; it is more for him to choose a worthy pursuit. Of all personal things the young ruler chose the very best. He had wealth, but that did not satisfy him. He had the means of acquiring pleasure; but he rose above the idea of making worldly amusement the end and aim of existence. He craved the life of God, which is eternal. Surely we may imitate him in this. Moreover, he did well in inquiring of Christ. Jesus is the Way to life, and we can find its source in him, as he told the woman of Samaria (John 4:14). It is right to come to Christ for this boon.

II. HIS MISTAKEN ADDRESS. He called our Lord "Good Master." Jesus takes up the phrase at once, and asks what it means. This was no act of captious criticism. The young man did not really know the deep signification of the word "good." He used language conventionally. There is a great danger for those who are brought up among religious associations that they will employ the greatest words without entering into their true meaning.

III. HIS MORAL CONDUCT. Christ began with the first elements of morality. We cannot go on to perfection until we have mastered these elements. It is impossible to be a thief in the world and a saint in the Church. Yet there is a subtle temptation that dogs the footsteps of those who aspire after superior spiritual attainments - a temptation to fall away from common morality. The young man had avoided this temptation. He was no hollow sentimentalist. His virtue was solid. Yet it was not enough.

IV. HIS NEW DUTY. He is told to renounce his wealth - a hard, a startling requirement. Jesus does not give this commandment to all rich men, though he never encourages the acquisition of wealth. But he saw that the young ruler's snare was his riches. It was necessary, therefore, that the riches should be given up. Now, although it was not his duty before this thus to renounce all he possessed, the word of Christ - if he would become a disciple - made it his duty. Whenever Christ tells any man to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor, that man is under an obligation to obey if he would own the Lordship of Christ. The essential duty is not poverty, but obedience. The duty may take the same form with any of us if we are convinced on good grounds that Christ desires us to make the same sacrifice. But whether absolute poverty be required or not, whatever we own is only ours subject to the bidding of Christ to use it as he directs - and he is not altogether an easy Master to serve.

V. HIS SAD FAILURE. The young ruler could not rise up to the sacrifice. His wealth was his undoing. It was not a golden key opening the kingdom of heaven, but a golden bar holding the gate shut. The young ruler might have become a great Christian leader, saint, or martyr. His refusal dropped him into obscurity. We cannot but pity him, for his was a hard test. Could we stand it? Have we shrunk back from even a milder test? - W.F.A.

And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do?
It is certainly the doctrine of Scripture that moral integrity alone can never benefit us with God; that even the offering of our prayers is accounted worthless except as it is perfumed with love. Evidently, then, his confidence is false and dangerous indeed who, because he keeps unbroken the great laws of social morality, imagines his claim to mercy and salvation secure. Besides being unscriptural, such a theory is not rational.

I. IT IGNORES THE VERY DESIGN OF MAN'S CREATION, viz., the glory of God. Social morality is at best a very inferior virtue. It is only the submission of one part of man's nature to an inferior series of God's laws. If this world were all, that might be enough. Man is endowed with faculties which can only be exercised toward the unseen world. As well might the planet, obeying the one law of its propulsion around the earth, break away from the other which binds it to the sun, and yet hope to escape, as he who, fulfilling his duty to man, neglects his duty to God.

II. IT IS FOUNDED ON A FALSE IDEA OF RELIGION. God seeks not mere abject obedience, but the devotion of the heart. Without a distinct movement of the will and affections towards Him, all religious observances are worse than naught. They are the casket without the diamond — the body without the sustaining, invigorating, glorifying life.

III. IT MAKES THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST AN UNNECESSARY THING. If man by being honest and upright and humane and gentle could merit heaven, no need for Calvary. Yet Jesus laid aside the robes of His Deity and came to earth, and offered Himself a sacrifice on the cross. To rely for salvation on natural morality is, then, to mock Christ in His sufferings; it is to go up, as it were, upon the blood-stained slopes of Calvary, and, beholding Him in His agony, to cry aloud, "We need not Thy blood, we despise Thine aid!"

(W. Rudder, D. D.)

The Hive.
A right thing to come to Jesus, in a right way, for a right thing, in a right spirit. This last element of coming rightly was here left out.

I. How he came.

1. Publicly.

2. Eagerly — "running."

3. Humbly — "kneeling."

4. Respectfully — "good Master."

II. Why he came: "inherit eternal life."

1. Belief in a future state.

2. Concern to obtain it; in this he differed from many.

3. Thought something must be done; many think not of this, and consequently do nothing.

4. Thought he was willing and able to do anything needful; but did not know himself; had not counted the cost.


1. Salvation not by works.

2. Works an evidence, not a cause of grace.

(The Hive.)

I. THE CHARACTER AND PRETENSIONS OF THE YOUTHFUL APPLICANT WHO APPROACHED OUR LORD. Something in his character exceedingly favourable, interesting external appearance, air of sweetness about his address, correct in morals, of ample means, fair reputation, he entertained proper views of our Lord; he had serious regard for religion. But —

1. He was ignorant of his moral inability.

2. He displays an ignorance of his actual guilt.

3. He was ignorant of the prevailing disposition of his heart.


1. Our Lord repels his adulatory address.

2. Our Lord shows the imperfection of his obedience.

3. The youth went away sorrowful.


1. Learn the danger and prevalence of self-deception.

2. The great responsibility which the ministerial office involves.

3. The dangerous situation which the rich occupy. The subject guards us against the following: Low thoughts of God, high thoughts of ourselves, slight thoughts of sin, and mean thoughts of Christ.

(J. Thorp.)

Whence this ariseth.

1. Ignorance of the total, deep, and universal pollution of our natures.

2. Ignorance of the spiritual exactness and obligation of the law.

3. Attention only to the negative commandments.

4. Not understanding either positive or negative precepts in their comprehensive sense.

5. Neglecting self-reflection and self-examination.

6. From the abominable self-love, and self-flattery, which cleaveth to every man.

7. Fear of guilt makes men hoodwink their eyes that they may neither look into the law, nor into their hearts.

8. Ignorance of regeneration and the necessity for being born again.

9. The devil hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.

10. Every man is naturally destitute of the Spirit, without which we are all devoid of light and life.

(Anthony Burgess.)

I. EXAMINE THE YOUNG MAN'S ROAST. He boasted that his obedience was:

1. Extensive.

2. Exact.

3. Constant.


1. A new heart.

2. A sense of guilt and sin.

3. Faith in Christ.

4. Spirituality and self-denial.

(G. Brooks.)

I. How entirely even an intelligent man may misapprehend his own spiritual attainment.

II. And his willingness to attain.

III. Between our present attainment and perfection there may be a sacrifice equivalent to cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye.

IV. The one thing essential, if we are to attain perfection, is the following of Christ.

V. Other things may also be lacking, as, for example, determination to be holy. Conclusion: The lack of one thing may make all other attainments useless.

(M. Dods, D.D.)


1. A young man — special promises to the young.

2. A meeting with Christ — patient and physician.

3. One who was in earnest. Mark says, "he came running."

4. One who had many rare qualities. "Jesus loved him."

5. One who was bold (compare Nicodemus); yet reverent, for he "kneeled."


1. Our simpleness — unable to keep the law.

2. Our pride — trusting to our own works.

3. Our idolatry — loving other things better than Christ.

4. Our only hope of salvation — willing to leave all, take the cross and follow Christ.


1. It was parting with Christ, therefore no hope.

2. It was a deliberate parting — not a sudden step.

3. It was a final parting.

IV. IMPORTANT LESSONS. HOW far some may advance and yet not be saved. Abandon at once that which keeps us from Christ.

(D. Macmillan.)

Take heed that thy morality be not thy snare. The young man in the gospel might have been a better man if he had not been so good.


I. SELF-CONCEIT, This young man thought that he had kept all the law. Young people with a smattering of knowledge soon imagine themselves competent judges of all truth and conduct. They have righteousness to recommend themselves to God's favour.

II. THE PLEASURES AND VANITIES OF YOUTH; especially when they are fed by great possessions. These unreasonable sordid pleasures are not to be compared with the exalted substantial delights that are to be found in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

III. A FALSE PREJUDICE, as if the ways of Christ were nought and melancholy. Thus the young man thought when Christ told him to take up his cross and follow Him. Grace would give new tastes and make the burden easy. Christ will never let you be a loser by Him.

IV. AN INCONSIDERATE, HEEDLESS TEMPER. To be heedless about small matters is a blemish; about essential, a reproach without excuse.

V. A PRESUMPTUOUS, DARING RASHNESS OF SPIRIT. Young persons are most sanguine, even to foolhardiness.


VII. AN APPREHENSION OF LONG LIFE, They have a long day before them and can put away the thought of death.

(John Guyse, D.D.)

1. He was sorry at the thought of giving up those large possessions of which he was naturally proud.

2. He was also grieved at the idea of losing heaven.

3. Thus opened to the young man's mind some of the difficulty which there always is in the attainment of everything which is really worth having.

4. Part of his sorrow was the discovery which he was making at that moment of his own heart.

5. But he was most sorrowful of all in the wretched sense he had of his own guilty hesitation and inexcusable weakness. Many worldly people are sorrowful in the midst of their worldliness; it indicates life and struggle. In any state of life the characteristic of the Christian is self-renunciation.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)


1. That our Master was not fond of flattering titles.

2. The language affords a remarkable instance of our Lord's modesty and humility.

3. Our Lord's question contains a proof of His reverence for His Father.


1. There is none good in comparison of God; and consequently, our sentiments of regard and devotion should not stop short of Him.

2. God alone is absolutely good. His goodness is from Himself, independently of all others.Application —

1. Our Lord hath set us an example for our imitation.

2. Our Lord will not finally approve of any pretended reverence and respect paid to Himself which in the least lessens the glory due to His Father.

(Thomas Twining.)

I. We have the example of one who was solicitous and inquisitive after his future condition, and desirous to know upon what terms he might hope for happiness,

II. We have the ordinary way to happiness marked out to us.

III. In some extraordinary cases God does require some extraordinary things of particular men, which are not generally necessary to the salvation of all men.

IV. We have the sad example of one that went far towards happiness, and yet fell short.

(Samuel Johnson.)

I. God is the only necessarily good being.

II. God is the only originally good being.

III. God is the only self-subsistently good being.

IV. God is the only immutably good being.

1. If God is alone supremely good, He alone is to be glorified and adored.

2. If He alone is supremely good, it is sin, and the very essence of it, not to glorify Him.

(Dr. Shedd.)

1. A sense of guilt. He was self-complacent. He had obedience, self-respect, morality. He rested in these and boasted of them. He did not know the estimate which heaven places upon the righteousness which is of the law. He was under condemnation, and thought himself justified.

2. Faith in Christ. As the only Saviour. He did not know that Christ was the end of the law for righteousness.

3. A new heart. An essential. He loved the world, etc. This shows the old heart.

4. Self-denial. He loved ease and riches. He had no heart to give these up for Christ. He had much to give up, and the surrender would be hard; but a Christian spirit is willing to give up all; even life if needs be for Christ, and the "needs be" is Christ's word.


I. THERE MAY BE MANY EXCELLENCES, AND MUCH THAT IS AMIABLE IN MAN, WITHOUT TRUE RELIGION. Morality, benevolent and social virtues, orthodoxy, reverence for Divine ordinances, etc.

II. THERE ARE VARIOUS EVILS WHICH KEEP MEN FROM BEING ENTIRELY THE SAVIOUR'S. Self-complacency, favour of the world, attachment to riches, unwillingness to deny self, etc.

III. THE INQUIRY OF THE TEXT IS ONE WHICH IS WORTHY OF PERSONAL CONSIDERATION. Ask the question as in Christ's presence, with all possible seriousness, with perfect deference to God's word, in the spirit of prayer and with a resolution to obey the answer.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

Sidney Smith tells us that he cut the following from a newspaper, and preserved it for himself: "When you rise in the morning, say that you will make the day blessed to a fellow-creature. It is easily done; a left-off garment to the man who needs it; a kind word to the sorrowful; an encouraging expression to the starving — trifles as light as air — will do at least for the twenty-four hours. And if you are young, depend upon it, it will tell when you are old; and, if you are old, rest assured it will send you gently and happily down the stream of tiptoe to eternity. By the most simple arithmetical sum, look at the result. If you send one person away happily through the day, that is three hundred and sixty-five in the course of a year. And, suppose you live forty years only after you commence that course of medicine, you have made fourteen thousand six hundred persons happy — at all events, for a time."

Very likely the question involved a mass of confusions. The young man thought, perhaps, that heaven was to be won by external actions and quantitative merit. He did not understand that we must enter into heaven by being, not by doing. He held perhaps the vulgar notion that eternal only means endless, so that eternity becomes the infinitude of time instead of its antithesis. He very likely did not know that every holy soul has entered already into eternal life; that to all who are in Christ it is now as the invisible bright air they breathe. He certainly did not realize that "this is life eternal, to know Thee, the only God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." But yet, because the question was sincere and noble, and did not spring from Pharisaism — the one thing which the Lord detested most — but from the Divine dissatisfaction of a struggling soul which God alone can fill, Christ answered it.

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

"Why dost thou ask Me about the good?" that seems to have been our Lord's answer, not "Why askest thou Me?" as it is often read — for whom else should the young man ask? but "Why dost thou ask Me about the good?" Has God left you in any doubt as to what is good? Have you in your heart no voice of conscience? Has duty never uplifted within you that naked law of right, so imperial in its majesty, so eternal in its origin, which you know that you ought to follow even unto death? If not, and if experience has had no lessons for you, and history no teaching, was there no Sinai? Do not the cherubim of your temple veil with their golden wings the tablets — alas! the shattered tablets of your moral law? And there Jesus might have stopped. But, being unlike us, being infinitely patient with man's irritating spiritual stupidity, not loving, as we do, to be cautious and reticent, and "to steer through the channel of no meaning between the Scylla and Charybdis of yes and no," He added," but, if thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments."

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

Christ did not begin with the injunction, "Go, sell all that thou hast." He began very much lower; He said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Let us learn to flutter as sparrows, before it is worth considering whether we ought also to soar as eagles. Let us cease to be very guilty before we can be righteous. Let us be righteous before we can attain to the greatness of good men. Let us be but ordinary good men before we ask Christ for His counsels of perfection, or attempt to attain to the stature of His saints. Christ knew this well. We come to Him, and say, "O Saviour, whom I love, tell me what I must do to inherit eternal life." And so long as we are all standing ankle-deep, chin-deep, in the world's mire, would it be of any use for Him to point to some shining cloud in the deep blue, and say, "You must stand there"? Ah, no! He says to you, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Until you have learnt to plant firm feet on the green lower slopes, how can you breathe the difficult and eager air, or stand in the glory of the sunrise on the splendour of the snowy heights?

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

The young ruler, not being so familiar as we are with those accumulated cobwebs of two thousand years which priests, and churches, and sects, and theologians, and theorists, and system-mongers, and schoolmen, have spun over wellnigh every simple word of Christ; the young ruler, whose natural instincts were not crushed under hundreds of ponderous folios of human doctrines and commandments of men, which, with inconceivable arrogance and a bitterness which has become universally proverbial, would fain palm themselves off as infallible theology; the young ruler, hearing the answer from the lips of Jesus, in all its bare, naked, unqualified, unmistakable simplicity, was quite frankly amazed. He was like the child Charoba in the poem, who, having been talked to about the majestic glory of the sea, and being led to the shore, innocently exclaimed, "Is that the mighty ocean? Is that all?" "Keep the commandments." Is that all that Jesus has to tell him? Surely there must be some mistake! It did not need a prophet to tell us that! This youth had gone to Christ seeking for some great thing to do, and secret thing to know. The great Teacher could not mean anything so commonplace, so elementary, so extremely ordinary, as those old ten words which He had learned to lisp, ever so many years ago, when He was a little child, at His mother's knee?

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

This young man thought himself somewhat beforehand, and that God, perchance, was in his debt. Truly, many nowadays grow crooked and aged with over-good opinions of themselves, and can hardly ever be set right again. They stand upon their comparisons — "I am as good as thou; " nay, upon their disparisons, "I am not as this publican." No, for thou art worse; yea, for this, because thou thinkest thyself better. This arrogant youth makes good that of Aristotle, who, differencing between age and youth, makes it a property of young men to think they know all things, and to affirm lustily their own placits.

(John Trapp.)

I. EXAMINE HIS BOAST. His obedience was:

1. Exact.

2. Extensive.

3. Constant.


1. A sense of guilt.

2. Faith in Christ.

3. A new heart.

4. Self-denial.

(Pulpit Germs.)This query must not be regarded as an expression of satisfied self-righteousness, as if it implied, "In that case I lack nothing." It is, indeed, true that the young man was still self-righteous. He had no conception of the spirituality, the depth, or the height of the commandments of God. Taking only the letter of the law, he considered himself blameless, and perhaps even righteous, before God. Yet his heart misgave him, and he felt that he still lacked something. Under this sense of want, he put the question to the Saviour, as if he would have said, "What is it then that I yet lack? All these things have not given me peace of mind."

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

The various forms of self-righteousness.

1. Of the head and of the heart (of doctrine and of sentiment); or, Pharisees in the strictest sense.

2. Self-righteousness of the heart with orthodoxy of the head, as in the case of some in the Church who seem to be zealous for soundness of doctrine.

3. Self-righteousness of the head, combined with a deep sense of spiritual need, although its grounds may not be fully understood, as in the case of this young man and of many Christian legalists.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

What did our Lord mean by this reply? Did he mean that the mere giving up his wealth to the poor would make this man acceptable with God? Certainly not. The cattle on a thousand hills are His. He asks no sacrifice from human hands. Man can give Him nothing that is not His already. This, therefore, could not have been His meaning. Did He, then, mean that the voluntary poverty caused by this distribution of his wealth would render him meritorious with God? Poverty in itself is no more a merit than riches. To this question, therefore, we must say, as to the other, certainly not. Well, then, what did He mean? Evidently this: that whatever may be our moral excellence; however exactly we may fulfil the law toward our neighbour; unless there is, besides this and behind all this and originating all this, an ardent love of God — a love fulfilling the first and great commandment, and fastening upon God with all the heart and soul and mind; a love born of faith, and yet increasing faith — unless there is such a love as this seated on the very throne of our being, originating all our motives and our acts; making our purpose not expediency, but the glory of God; causing us to be ready if need be to sell all that we have — unless there is such a love ruling in our hearts, our moral excellences, however great, are, in the sight of God, of no account. This unquestionably was His meaning; this was the doctrine which He designed to teach.

(W. Rudder, D. D.)

To the question "What lack I yet?" Christ answers in substance, "This: the temper that counts property worthless beside true life. You come to me with your money, with)'our sense of complacency, of consequence, of power, and you want to bring these with you into the kingdom of God. You are not indeed satisfied with things as they are. How can you be, so long as you are vainly striving to feed your immortal nature upon husks and chaff? You want to be enlarged into a life nobler, fuller, worthier of your better self. But you would come as Dives, not as Lazarus. What you have, you think, ought to be reckoned in with what you are. You and your estate are in your own conception too entirely identified to be separated. Believe me, my young brother, the kingdom of Jesus can not know you upon any such terms. It is not necessary that you should be stripped bare of all your belongings in order to enter it. But you should be willing to be stripped bare. You must come to look upon what you call yours as though it mattered not, when you set your face toward the kingdom of God, whether it were yours or no. The spirit of renunciation must be so deep in you that you must be ready to give up all for Christ. And this not from any arbitrary reason, but simply because a human heart is not large enough to hold two thrones. If Christ is to be in it at all, He must be king of the whole domain; and if He is to be king, the money power, the sense power, the brain power must go to the rear. There will be a place for each of these in every sanctified life, but it must be a subordinate place. "Go," or at least, if it be a question between your securities and your Saviour, be ready to go, "and sell all that thou hast, and follow Me!"

(Bishop H. C. Potter.)

It is not to be hastily concluded from this, that the rich man is to give all that he has to the poor. If, in deference to any narrow and superficial interpretation of Christ's language, a man should take his wealth and distribute the whole of it in largesses to the poor to-morrow, he would be doing the poor an incalculable evil and not a benefit. Men ask, "Why do not you, as a believer in Jesus Christ and the Sermon on the Mount, make common cause in the things of this world with the destitute around you, and trust for the needful food and raiment to Him who feeds the birds and clothes the lillies?" Why not, indeed! Is it merely because such an act would be fanatical and enthusiastic, or because political economy forbids it? Or, because, whatever else I ought or ought not to do, I ought not to do my brother man a wrong? Is anybody ignorant of the fact that every human life needs the discipline of forethought and self. denial, of responsibility and self-help; and that if I by my ill-judged kindness enable another to escape things, I am degrading and hurting him as well as abusing my own power? What would be the effect of the announcement that half a dozen rich men had disinherited themselves, and that to-morrow morning fifty millions of dollars would be distributed to the poor? Does anybody care to contemplate the pandemonium that New York would become — the idleness, the licentiousness, the fierce hatreds, the bitter discords, the mad license that would be engendered: and ought a Christian man to do an act that would make his brother men incalculably worse instead of better?

(Bishop H. C. Potter.)

How nimbly does that little lark mount up, singing, towards heaven in a right line! whereas the hawk, which is stronger of body and swifter of wing, towers up by many gradual compasses to his highest pitch. That bulk of body and length of wing hinder a direct ascent, and require the help both of air and scope to advance his flight; while the small bird cuts the air without resistance, and needs no outward furtherance of her motion. It is no otherwise with the souls of men in flying up to their heaven. Some are hindered by those powers which would seem helps to their soaring up thither: great wit, deep judgment, quick apprehension, send about men with no small labour, for the recovery of their own incumbrance; while the good affections of plain and simple souls raise them up immediately to the fruition of God. Why should we be proud of that which may slacken our way to glory? Why should we be disheartened with the small measure of that, the very want whereof may (as the heart may be affected) facilitate our way to happiness?


Far beyond the treasures of Egypt, which yet is called Rahab because of the riches, power, and pride thereof. Oh! get a patriarch's eye to see the wealth and worth of heaven, and then we shall soon make Moses's choice. In the year of grace 759, certain Persian magicians fell into that madness, that they persuaded themselves and sundry, others that if they sold all they had and gave it to the poor, and then afterwards threw themselves naked from off the walls into the river, they should presently be admitted into heaven. Many were cast away by this mad enterprise. How much better (if without superstition and opinion of merit) Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, who being asked by certain ambassadors that came to his court what hounds he had, for they desired to see them, showed them next day a pack of poor people feeding at his table, and said, "These are the hounds wherewith I hunt after heaven."

(John Trapp.)

Many a Christian do you find among the rich and the titled, who, as a less encumbered man, might have been a resolute soldier of the cross; but he is now only a realization of the old Pagan fable — a spiritual giant buried under a mountain of gold. Oh! many, many such we meet in our higher classes, pining with a nameless want, pressed by a heavy sense of the weariness of existence, strengthless in the midst of affluence, and incapable even of tasting the profusion of comfort which is heaped around them.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)


1. We discover many circumstances which are calculated at first sight to impress us with very favourable sentiments of his state and character. He was young; engaging manners; amiable disposition. He exhibits a pleasing combination of many attractive qualities.

2. How inadequate his conception of the corruption of his own heart. What "good" thing can he do?

3. The defective views which he entertains of his own guilt.

4. He is not better acquainted with the secret bias of his affections than with his depravity and guilt.


1. He does not promote the self-deception and thus augment the danger. He does not compliment the young man on his moral attainments. He acts the part of a true Physician and Friend; palliatives will only increase the disorder.

2. Compassionate regard.

3. Admirably suited to the peculiar circumstances of his case. Christ mentions the law as a corrective to his pride and self-sufficiency.

4. Eminently calculated to prove in the highest degree beneficial to his most important interests.

(1)The misery of a state of self-deception.

(2)That in removing the specious covering which self-deceit imposes, and in disclosing the sinner to himself, consists one important part of the duty of a minister.

(3)Reflect on that disposition of heart which Christ requires of His people. Follow Me.

(E. Cooper.)

"What lack I yet?"

1. A thorough devotion to God's service.

2. A spirit of prayer.

3. A due appreciation of the work that God has appointed you to do.

4. You may lack patience.

5. You require to be incited to perseverance.

(J. H. Norton, D. D.)

The path a soul treads when it comes to Christ is one of beauty. To come to Jesus is a noble and manly act. It is a soul drawn by the good; rising above sinful forces which have enslaved it; of special interest to see the young come to Christ. The conditions necessary to such an approach are illustrated in the young man —

1. He believed that the character of this life determines that to come.

2. He believed that obedience to God was the first principle of religion.

3. He desired to exhaust his powers in perfecting his character.

4. He had faith that Christ would show him the way of salvation. "What lack I yet?"

I. SELF-RENUNCIATION. "Sell that thou hast." This embraces a recognition of the supreme right of God over the soul. God gave all; this leads to an abandonment of selfish pursuits. Why religion makes this demand.

1. Selfishness is deceitful and delusive; it does not see man's real interests; it does not comprehend the Divine relations of man;it looks only at things seen.

2. Selfishness and self-love dwarf manhood; narrow the thought and corrupt the affections; they shut out noble sentiment which leads men to deeds of daring.

3. There must be this self-abandonment to allow a higher ideal of life to possess the soul. That man who is full of himself can contain nothing beside. He must forget himself who would live after the pattern shown him on the mount.


1. Supreme affection for Christ. The heart must be first given to Him.

2. The purposes of the heart must be turned to Christ's cause.

3. The influence must be for God.

4. Human passions must be at God's disposal. Is the demand too rigorous, and does it embrace too much?It may encourage us to yield full submission to call to mind a few precious facts.

1. It assimilates us to a likeness of Christ. His soul exceeded all bounds and barriers, and poured out its life an immortal benediction upon His enemies. The widowed mother, whose midnight toil earns bread and raiment for her darling ones, is embalmed in poetry and song; the artist weaves a crown of glory" about her brow. But such labour and consecration is yet only that of a true heart and human impulses. But he who is consecrated to Christ is Godlike.

2. It brings peace to the heart. Men who are vacillating are unhappy. No soul rests so perfectly at ease as that one which has its home on God's altar.

3. It centralizes and makes the man strong. Scattered men are weak. A consecrated man is a felt man.

4. It enlivens and sets the life on fire. Men go to sleep and are frozen, as the fairy city celebrated in story. God breathes on the powers of the man consecrated; he is set on fire by the breath of Jehovah. Such a life will have given back to it from God, in its new realm, a better being. The curtains are now withdrawing. See, yonder the field is fairer and the sward is all green! There that life runs on and on and on for ever! It gathers to itself all that was of possible value on earth in the years of its pilgrimage, and, having yielded obedience to the conditions of its noble being, enters upon that higher life of love and joy for which it has been fitted by a faithful stewardship.

(J. W. Holt.)

The gospel indicates three particulars in regard to their mutual relations.

I. THERE IS A POINT WHICH ATTRACTS THEM TO EACH OTHER. A noble young man; although surrounded by great wealth, he has not yielded himself to youthful frivolities, but has kept his spirit intent on higher aims than earthly qualifications. He is modest enough to be conscious of imperfection, and to make inquiry where there is an opportunity to learn. He retains enthusiasm, and the object of his enthusiasm is no inferior one. Such people must feel the attraction of the person of Jesus Christ. They love the good, and Christ is the good One. All their ideals are realized in Jesus. The rich young man felt this. But this attraction was mutual. Jesus came to seek the lost and to save the sinner; much more would the purity of this naturally noble heart receive His recognition. Neither is this mutual attraction for a moment merely; the attraction remains, though the discipline required is hard to understand; an inner impulse draws us to Him.

II. THERE IS A POINT WHICH SEPARATES THEM FROM EACH OTHER. At the very point where the Lord exerts the strongest power of attraction upon the naturally noble, their separation begins. It is a necessity of the case. Our Lord's word about the "good," and the mention of the commandments, had been designed to awaken distrust of self. Then comes the unheard-of demand, "Sell all," etc. He was touched in his heart's core. Christ exposes the point in which this good person was not good. Christ wants complete persons for His followers; it takes a complete person to win the prize of eternal life. If you want to be perfect you must renounce the secret reservations you oppose to the rigour of the Divine commands, put away the lusts which hamper the inner man. Renew your heart; put a new object in its centre. But for the sake of one thing you will turn away from your Saviour, in spite of all your noble efforts and ideal endowments.

III. THIS SEPARATION MUST BE REALIZED IN ORDER TRULY TO FIND THE LORD. When the physician performs an operation, it is because he wants to heal; and when our Lord seems to discourage nearer approach it is because He wants to deepen the reason for it, so that after they unite nothing shall be able to separate them. Hence we believe this young man's separation was not final. He will return, no longer fiery and with a surplus of power; for with God all things are possible. It was necessary that he should be impressed with the requirements of Christ, for as long as he can say, "All these things have I kept," a Redeemer is superfluous — a Moses or a Socrates would suffice. But when he learns to despair of his own strength, then he arrives before the gate of salvation and stretches imploring hands for a Redeemer. Therefore Christ first destroys this young man's merit; and this is the more difficult from his high virtue. In the light of Jesus little sins becomes great. To sacrifice for Him for love is to lose nothing. His yoke is easy.

(E. Dryander, D. D.)

This young man was hungry for improvement; that was all right. But there were other things for which he had a stronger hunger. Morality is the endeavour according to a man's power to obey laws, and I will divide moralities into five different kinds.

1. We call that physical morality which consists in the knowledge of men, and of those physical laws which surround them. Thus a man is immoral who violates law in eating and drinking and sleeping.

2. Next is social morality. Men are obliged to obey those laws which connect them with their fellow men; also as members of the household; as neighbours.

3. Next comes civil morality. Men are organized into states and nations.

4. Business morality.What is the relation of obedience in these different spheres to the nature and character of men?

1. All these observances are external. They are not in their nature internal at all. They leave out entirely the vital question of character. A man may be obedient to physical law, and yet be proud. Man is a creature of two worlds; so that when he is called to the other sphere the physical elements which he has accumulated here drop off. The spiritual only he carries with him.

2. This lower morality leaves out of view the higher human relations to God. A man may be an atheist and yet good in lower respects; but it is not fair to measure his genial qualities by his atheism as he has been brought up amidst Christian influences. A man has an immortal self as distinguished from his physical, social, and civil self; what about that part of him which is to live for ever? Are there no laws higher than those which belong to secular affairs, which apply to the higher reason and the moral sense. Are there no laws for faith, imagination in its dealings with religion, which connect a man with the invisible, universal, and infinite? Is there no morality which reaches beyond the earthly sphere? Morality is not complete without religion. There are practical uses in the inferior forms of morality; from them we learn the typical forms of the higher religion. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar," etc. The lower moralities are schools, as it were; it is a great preparation for religion. Generally speaking the higher you go the more difficult is the achievement. Few men are competent to be eminent artists. In realizing the higher conceptions of religion there are inherent difficulties: but some make it harder than they need. The sun may shine on a slate roof for ever, and yet the garret beneath it may be dark; but make the roof of glass and the sun Will shine through. Let your higher life have the best care.

(H. W. Beecher.)

There are multitudes of men who live moral lives, generous lives, lives that are good in a thousand respects; but it does not come to this, that their whole being is centred in God and spiritual things. It is centred, rather, in the possession of wealth.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I remember watching, last summer, spiders that burrowed in the crevicess of a trellis where the wind had borne much dust. I noticed that the hole where they lay lurking looked dark and ugly. I also noticed, as I sat one day watching, a vagrant spider taking a morning glory, in full blossom, and spin his web over the mouth of it. And there never was a prettier nest in this world — a nest more richly gemmed with beauty — than this was. But, after all, it was the same spider, whether he lay in the dark hole at the corner of the trellis, or in the blossom of that exquisite flower. Now, selfishness may weave its web in the dusky places, or in the hideous-looking recesses of a man's disposition, or about the mouths and graces of sweet affections; but it is the same selfishness after all. The place is changed, and the appearance of the surroundings is changed, but the spider is not changed. So, the point to be remembered is. that in every man there is a centre around about which his life really swings. There is a balance-point, and it preponderates one way or the other. The great influences of life weigh down toward the flesh, or else they go toward the spiritual. You may change the circumstances of a man's life, and it may be modified one way or the other; but after all there is a predominant force in his character, and that controls all the minor forces.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Again, a selfish-centred man, clothing himself with all manner of Christian graces and aspirations, is not to be condemned as if these graces and aspirations were of no account. Here is a point where ministers have trouble in preaching to men. When we see men embowered under external moralities, and attempt to teach that morality is not enough, the impression arises that we undervalue morals. I do not undervalue morals any more than the taxcollector undervalues a hundred dollars, when I go to pay my taxes, and offer him that amount, when my bill is five hundred. He says: "I will not take it. It is not enough." He does not despise the hundred dollars. He merely says: "You must put more with it." And I do net despise morality because I say that it does not rise high enough. It is good as far up as it goes. So is a grape-vine good as far up as it goes, when it is two or three feet high: but it does not arrive at what it was planted for until it reaches that point where it has blossoms and clusters. It is the cluster that determines its value.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A man may love poetry and music, and have generous impulses which draw him toward a higher range of life; but after all, it is only a polished form of selfishness, or selfness that is manifesting itself in him. It is self that is at the bottom. I do not say that it is not better that a man should be refinedly selfish than coarsely selfish. It is a great deal better. It is better that man should be intellectually selfish than coarsely selfish. It makes social intercourse easier. It makes it easier for men to get along with each other. And if the centre of a man's disposition is selfish, and at the same time he has aspirations and refinements, and generosities and kindnesses, I do not say that he is no better for having these things: I say that as a member of society he is a great deal better. He energizes society. He adds something to those elements which take away attrition and harshness and rudeness from society. But he is not inwardly better; for nothing makes a man better within until the centre of his life and character are changed. Every blossom that you put upon a man who is radically selfish, and is going to be selfish, the worse you make it for him. The prettier you make a man's selfishness, the more music there is that accompanies it, the more flowers there are that decorate it, the more balm there is along with it, the more sunlight there is shed upon it, the more it is painted with glowing colours, the better is it for society; but the worse it is for him, because these things delude; because they are satisfying; because they bide the mischief; because they do not let him see what an unforgiveable and what a demoralizing quality selfishness is.

(H. W. Beecher.)

What is that change? It does not consist in doing a few more things, or in adding a few more excellences, as the young man thought it did. "Good Master, what new thing shall I do? What new prayer shall I say? What extra morality shall I take on? What other charities and bounties shall I bestow for man's relief? I should be glad to add to my stock of excellences." That was the purport of the young man's inquiry. The Master said to him, in substance: "Your whole character is wrapped up in your position. You are rich, you have large estates, and you know it. and you stand centred in them. And now, with this centre, you want to add various excellences. Go sell all these, give them away, and take up)our cross and follow Me." That brought him to a decision instantly. Choosing between the higher and the lower, he took the lower, and went away sad and grieved. And Christ everywhere brought men to this choice. If you are to be Christians, Christianity does not mean having some few things on a selfish basis. You must change the foundation of your life. You must pass over from the animal, up from the lower, away from the predominantly self-seeking life that is in all of us by nature. You must come into the kingdom of God, which is the kingdom of love. Beneficent love, love for others, and not for yourself, must be the predominant, the governing tendency.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Being possessed of all that could gratify his senses, he did not mean to be over-indulgent in it, but he did not want to give it up. Being in this position, he wanted, not to exchange it for anything else, but simply to have sprouting up around about him, over-arching him, and embowering him, flowers of spiritual and poetical aspirations, and all manner of Divine feelings, so that he should have both things — his feet rooted in this earth, and his head placed in the other life. He wanted to take this world first, and then superadd the kingdom of God as a polish to it. He wanted all spiritual excellence to sit, as it were, in the clouds above him, like an orchestra, and play sweet music to him, while he sat below, on a level with the earth, sensuous, and indulging himself selfishly.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Men have wanted, in every age, to have both worlds — a thing which Christ said was impossible. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Our Saviour taught this young man that the spiritual life must supplant the physical life. The two can co-exist; but the spiritual life must be in the ascendency, and must control the lower physical life. Our Saviour taught all the way through His life that spirituality cannot be simply the complement of secularity. It cannot be a parasite growing on the boughs of worldly prosperity. If a man is to have the kingdom of God, he must make that first, and that must be supreme. Or, to change it to a more psychological statement, if a man is to be truly a Christian, his spiritual nature must predominate and bear rule over everything else that is in him. You cannot have the temporal, lower nature strongest, and then expect the spiritual nature to please it and play down to it. And yet, that is what men are attempting to bring about everywhere. Every person has some dominant point. There is no uncentred character anywhere. There is a point in every man's character which rules, and to which everything is brought for comparison and settlement. This point often seems to shift and change; but, after all, there is some point in a man's character which you may say is the dominant point, and before which all things above it and below it have to come into judgment. It is this that gives character to a man, and determines whether he is high or low, good or bad.

After a shower in the night, if you go out in the morning, it is scarcely safe for you to go near a bush or a tree, because if you touch it, there will rain down such multitudes of drops on you. I sometimes think this church is like a tree that has stood out in the open air, and collected the dew. Every leaf is covered with it. If you shake the tree, down comes a shower of drops. I see you moved to tears every Sunday. I know that you follow and enjoy the service of prayer and of song and of preaching. You have much deep religious feeling, and a great deal of thought. The pews are full of young men and young women who are going to Christ and saying: "Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" And Christ says, by me, to-day, to every one of you, "It is not adding one good thing to another that you need. but that you should rise from the centre of selfishness, and go over to the centre of true Divine benevolence, by the power of the Holy Ghost, without which power no man can rise to the higher level."

(H. W. Beecher.)

Yours is a great ambition, and, withal, a very noble ambition: are you prepared to pay the price for your great ambition? You are a man of the very finest impulses, but you live in a fine house and know nothing of hardship, and while these things may do for your old life, the new to which you aspire demands sacrifice and surrender. Sell up all, and let us know how much is due to an impulsive temperament and how much to inherent nobility. If it be due to that no change of circumstances will matter. It was a Spartan-like call to duty, but did he not look, like a Spartan youth, equal to it?

(J. W. Thew.)

I apprehend that here lay the chief reason of our Saviour's great demand upon him. Is it not precisely because he is so good that that demand is so great? Is it venturesome to say the Master would not have made such a demand upon an inferior mind to his? That was not simply because, being a young man, he was better able to bear it: it was because, standing already, as he does, so high, occupying such a vantage ground — shall I put it this way — the Master's ambitions are fired, He sees him on such a level, and He would have him, at one grand stride, take the highest level of all. As when you have a lad at school of more than ordinary promise, you keep him longer there, you say the lad shows signs of genius, and the opportunity of becoming a genius shall not be wanting. Here are signs of uncommon goodness and greatness, and the opportunity should be afforded for accomplishing good. This view is borne out by the story. "Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor," is not given in answer to the question, "What good thing shall I do?" but in answer to the question, "What lack I yet?" It is not, "If thou wouldst be saved, sell all that thou hast;" it is, "If thou wouldst be perfect." It is not merely a question of eternal life, but of eternal distinction. It is not a mere matter of getting through the curriculum, but of getting through it with honours.

(J. W. Thew.)

I. THERE IS A CERTAIN SPURIOUS SORT OF RELIGION WHICH BECAUSE IT IS NOT COMPLETE (OR PERFECT) IS USELESS. A vessel may look very well, but if it have a hole in the bottom, it will hold nothing — useless for want of being perfect.

II. THE WHOLE SURRENDER. The decisive act which consecrates all to the kingdom: — MUST BE DONE BY THE MAN HIMSELF. Not even God can do it for you. It was useless for Christ to say "Follow Me" as He was, for his body only could have followed, his anxieties would still have been with his possessions. It was also a prudent provision against approaching persecution.

III. How CAN I GO AND SELL? By a full consecration to God. Like the whole burnt-offering, every portion must be consumed on the altar.


(W. I. Keay.)

1. He displayed a degree of moral earnestness.

2. He employed the language of veneration.

3. He was well instructed in Biblical ethics.

4. He was inordinately attached to worldly possessions.Christ's conduct showed:

1. That He compels men to look at the logical consequences of their own admissions.

2. That personal regard may be entertained where full moral approbation cannot be expressed.



1. That Christ-following involves self-abnegation.

2. That Christ-following must be the expression of the soul's supreme love.

3. That Christ-following means self-giving.


IV. THAT THE SINCERITY OF MEN MUST BE TESTED ACCORDING TO THEIR PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES. What is a test to one man may be no test to another. A man must be prepared to surrender what he values most.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The garden is beautifully laid out: the straight lines and the curves are exact; the terraces are arranged with artistic taste; but no seed is sown, — and the summer says, "One thing thou lackest." The machinery is perfect: cylinder, piston, valve, are in excellent order; no flaw is in the wheel, no obstruction in the flue; finer engine never stood on the iron way; everything is there but steam, — and the intending traveller says, "One thing thou lackest." The watch has a golden case, the dial is exquisitely traced and figured, the hands are delicate and well-fixed; everything is there but the mainspring — and he who inquires the time says, "One thing thou lackest."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

There are sins so rooted, so riveted in men, so incorporated, so consubstantiated in the soul, by habitual custom, as that those sins have contracted the nature of ancient possessions. As men call manners by their names, so sins have taken names from men, and from places; Simon Magus gave the name to a sin, so did Gehazi, and Sodom did so. There are sins that run in names, in families, in blood; hereditary sins, entailed sins; and men do almost prove their " gentry " by those sins, and are scarcely believed to be rightly borne, if they have not those sins. These are great possessions, and men do much more easily part with Christ than with these sins. But then there are less sins, light sins, vanities; and yet even these come to possess us, and separate us from Christ. How many men neglect this ordinary means of their salvation, the coming to these exercises, not because their undoing lies on it, or their discountenancing, but merely out of levity, of vanity, of nothing, they know not what to do else, and yet do not this. You hear of one man that was drowned in a vessel of wine, but how many thousands ill ordinary water! And he was no more drowned in that precious liquor than the)-in that common water. A gad of steel does no more choke a man than a feather or a hair. Men perish with whispering sins, nay with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience they are sins, as often as with crying sins. And in hell there shall meet as many men that never thought what was sin, as that spent all their thoughts in compassing sin; as many who, in a slack inconsideration, never cast a thought upon that place, as that by searing their conscience, overcame the sense and fear of that place. Great sins are great possessions, but levities and vanities possess us too; and men had rather part with Christ than with any possessions.

(J. Donate.)

He was not a spiritual man; there was really nothing spiritually good and loveable in him: nothing truly gracious, as a Puritan divine would call it. He was but a natural man after all — a beautiful specimen of the natural man, as Dr. Chalmers said of some one, but still only a natural man. Nature had indeed done much for him, all it could for him; it had endowed him with riches, power, a high moral nature, an amiable, warm, frank. loving, loveable disposition. See here what nature can do; she can raise her favourites very high in the scale of humanity, so as to compel the homage even of the Saviour's love and admiration. See here what nature cannot do; she cannot carry any one across the boundary that separates the kingdom of God from the world; she can bring him to the very threshold, but there she leaves him; there she is powerless; there her weakness is made known.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

The words are terribly clear, sharp, and stern. heard them once. Straying into a church, they were in the lesson for the day which was read. The words seized on his conscience; they haunted him, they tormented him. He sold everything but the bare garment which clothed him. Still the obedience seemed to fall short of the Saviour's command. So he stripped himself even of his poor raiment; and they clothed him there in the church, for very shame, in a peasant's tunic, which he wore on till death.

(J. B. Brown.)

It is as if our Lord had said, "Thou aimest at perfection. and on the footing of this thou art looking for eternal life; thou indulgest the dream of human perfectibility. Well, I will put thee here to the test: sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor. What! dost thou hesitate? What, then, becomes of thy favourite doctrine of perfectionism? Ah! thy fond idol is dashed to pieces, and by thine own hand, too; and wilt thou still indulge in such a golden dream? Is this all the length thy doctrine of human perfectibility can carry thee?" If — an important qualification this — if thou wouldst be perfect! Who can fail to see a delicate yet severe irony here? The Saviour is not teaching the doctrine of perfection in any sense, but is trying to wean him from a theory which was deeply rooted in his mind, and which was exercising so prejudicial an influence over him.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

Jesus, Peter
Galilee, Jordan River, Judea
Age-during, Ages, Behold, Deed, Eternal, Master, Obtain, Order, Saying, Someone, Teacher, Win
1. Jesus heals the sick;
3. answers the Pharisees concerning divorce;
10. shows when marriage is necessary;
13. receives the little children;
16. instructs the young man how to attain eternal life;
20. and how to be perfect;
23. tells his disciples how hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God;
27. and promises reward to those who forsake all to follow him.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 19:16

     2369   Christ, responses to
     5840   eagerness
     6644   eternal life

Matthew 19:13-30

     5554   status

Matthew 19:16-19

     5731   parents

Matthew 19:16-21

     5310   exploitation
     8116   discipleship, cost
     8142   religion

Matthew 19:16-22

     2426   gospel, responses
     5503   rich, the
     6701   peace, search for
     8131   guidance, results
     8822   self-justification

Matthew 19:16-24

     8812   riches, ungodly use

Matthew 19:16-30

     5381   law, letter and spirit

The Requirements of the King
'And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18. He saith unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 17, "If Thou Wouldest Enter into Life, Keep the Commandments. "
1. The Lord said to a certain young man, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." [2792] He did not say, "If thou wilt enter into life eternal," but "If thou wilt enter into life;" laying down that as life, which is to be life eternal. Let us first then set forth the value of the love of this life. For even this present life, under whatever circumstances, is loved; and men fear and dread to end it of whatever kind it be; however full of trouble and misery. Hence may we see, hence consider,
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 21,"Go, Sell that Thou Hast, and Give to the Poor," Etc.
1. The Gospel by the present lesson has reminded me to speak to you, Beloved, of the heavenly treasure. For our God hath not, as unbelieving covetous men suppose, wished us to lose what we have: if what hath been enjoined us be properly understood, and piously believed, and devoutly received; He hath not enjoined us to lose, but rather shown a place where we may lay up. For no man can help thinking of his treasure, and following his riches in a kind of journeying of the heart. If then they are buried
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 28, "Come unto Me, all Ye that Labour and are Heavy Laden," Etc.
1. We heard in the Gospel that the Lord, rejoicing greatly in Spirit, said unto God the Father, "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." [2306] I have
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On Riches
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24. 1. In the preceding verses we have an account of a young man who came running to our Lord, and kneeling down, not in hypocrisy, but in deep earnestness of soul, and said unto him, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" "All the commandments," saith he, "I have kept from my youth: What lack I yet?" Probably he had kept them in the literal
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Love Thy Neighbour
I shall notice, first of all, the command; secondly, I shall try and bring some reasons for your obedience to it; and afterwards, I shall draw some suggestions from the law itself. I. First, then, THE COMMAND. It is the second great commandment. The first is, "Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God," and there, the proper standard is, thou shalt love thy God more than thyself. The second commandment is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour," and the standard there is a little lower, but still preeminently high,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

The First Last, and the Last First
"But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."--Matthew 19:30. "So the last shall be first, and the first last."--Matthew 20:16. WE MUST BE SAVED if we would serve the Lord. We cannot serve God in an unsaved condition. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." It is vain for them to attempt service while they are still at enmity against God. The Lord wants not enemies to wait upon him, nor slaves to grace his throne. We must be saved first; and salvation is all of grace.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

The Way.
If thou wouldest be perfect.'--ST. MATTHEW xix 21. For reasons many and profound, amongst the least because of the fragmentary nature of the records, he who would read them without the candle of the Lord--that is, the light of truth in his inward parts-- must not merely fall into a thousand errors--a thing for such a one of less moment--but must fail utterly of perceiving and understanding the life therein struggling to reveal itself--the life, that is, of the Son of Man, the thought, the feeling,
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

A Treatise on Good Works
I. We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden. Therefore whoever wishes to know and to do good works needs nothing else than to know God's commandments. Thus Christ says, Matthew xix, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." And when the young man asks Him, Matthew xix, what he shall do that he may inherit eternal life, Christ sets before him naught else but the Ten Commandments.
Dr. Martin Luther—A Treatise on Good Works

Journey to Jerusalem. Concerning Divorce.
^A Matt. XIX. 1-12; ^B Mark X. 1-12. ^a 1 And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words [the words contained in Matt. xviii., which are the last teachings in Galilee recorded by any of the Evangelists, p. 435 and p. 439 he departed from Galilee [Having come into the borders of it again from Ephraim. It seems likely that Matthew takes in at one view both departures from Galilee, viz.: that mentioned on p. 441 and that at [4]Sec. XCV., for Matthew records none of the intervening events and
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Blessing Children. Concerning Childlikeness.
(in Peræa.) ^A Matt. XIX. 13-15; ^B Mark X. 13-16; ^C Luke XVIII. 15-17. ^a 13 Then were there brought ^b 13 And they were bringing ^a unto him little children, { ^c also their babes,} that he should touch them: ^a that he should lay his hands on them, and pray [According to Buxtorf, children were often brought to the presidents of the synagogue in order that they might pray over them. The prayers of a good man in our behalf have always been regarded as a blessing; no wonder, then, that the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

On the Journey to Jerusalem - Departure from Ephraim by Way of Samaria and Galilee - Healing of Ten Lepers - Prophetic Discourse of the Coming
The brief time of rest and quiet converse with His disciples in the retirement of Ephraim was past, and the Saviour of men prepared for His last journey to Jerusalem. All the three Synoptic Gospels mark this, although with varying details. [4875] From the mention of Galilee by St. Matthew, and by St. Luke of Samaria and Galilee - or more correctly, between (along the frontiers of) Samaria and Galilee,' we may conjecture that, on leaving Ephraim, Christ made a very brief detour along the northern
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Last Incidents in Peræa - the Young Ruler who Went Away Sorrowful - to Leave all for Christ - Prophecy of his Passion - The
As we near the goal, the wondrous story seems to grow in tenderness and pathos. It is as if all the loving condescension of the Master were to be crowded into these days; all the pressing need also, and the human weaknesses of His disciples. And with equal compassion does He look upon the difficulties of them who truly seek to come to Him, and on those which, springing from without, or even from self and sin, beset them who have already come. Let us try reverently to follow His steps, and learn of
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Third Day in Pasion-Week - the Last Series of Parables: to the Pharisees and to the People - on the Way to Jerusalem: the Parable
(ST. Matt. xix. 30, xx. 16; St. Matt. xxi. 28-32; St. Mark xii. 1-12; St. Luke xx. 9-19; St. Matt. xxii. 1-14.) ALTHOUGH it may not be possible to mark their exact succession, it will be convenient here to group together the last series of Parables. Most, if not all of them, were spoken on that third day in Passion week: the first four to a more general audience; the last three (to be treated in another chapter) to the disciples, when, on the evening of that third day, on the Mount of Olives, [5286]
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Journey through Perea to Jerusalem
166. The fourth gospel says that after the visit to Jerusalem at the feast of Dedication Jesus withdrew beyond Jordan to the place where John at the first was baptizing (x. 40). Matthew and Mark also say that at the close of the ministry in Galilee Jesus departed and came into the borders of Judea and beyond Jordan, and that in this new region the multitudes again flocked to him, and he resumed his ministry of teaching (Matt. xix. 1f.; Mark x. 1). What he did and taught at this time is not shown
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

On the Words of the Gospel, "When Jesus had Finished These Sayings," Etc. --S. Matt. xix. 1
On the Words of the Gospel, "When Jesus Had Finished These Sayings," Etc.--S. Matt. xix. 1 I. Jesus Who Chose The Fishermen, Himself also useth a net, and changeth place for place. Why? Not only that He may gain more of those who love God by His visitation; but also, as it seems to me, that He may hallow more places. To the Jews He becomes as a Jew that He may gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law as under the Law, that He may redeem them that are under the Law; to the weak as weak, that
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

Eligius, Bishop of Noyon.
THE life of this pious bishop is so much the more worthy our consideration, on account of his having passed many years in the position of an ordinary citizen, before he entered on the clerical office; because his life may thus afford us a picture of the pious citizens of his time. Eligius was born at Chatelàt, a mile from Limoges, A. D. 588. His family had been Christian for many generations, and he received a pious education, [8] the result of which extended throughout his life. In his youth,
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Therefore no Fruitfulness of the Flesh Can be Compared to Holy virginity Even Of...
8. Therefore no fruitfulness of the flesh can be compared to holy virginity even of the flesh. For neither is itself also honored because it is virginity, but because it hath been dedicated to God, and, although it be kept in the flesh, yet is it kept by religion and devotion of the Spirit. And by this means even virginity of body is spiritual, which continence of piety vows and keeps. For, even as no one makes an immodest use of the body, unless the sin have been before conceived in the spirit,
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Ye Also who have not yet Made this Vow...
30. Ye also who have not yet made this vow, who are able to receive it, receive it. [2093] Run with perseverance, that ye may obtain. [2094] Take ye each his sacrifices, and enter ye into the courts [2095] of the Lord, not of necessity, having power over your own will. [2096] For not as, "Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill," [2097] can it so be said, Thou shalt not wed. The former are demanded, the latter are offered. If the latter are done, they are praised: unless the former are
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Lastly, Let us Hear the Lord Himself Delivering Most Plain Judgment on this Matter. ...
23. Lastly, let us hear the Lord Himself delivering most plain judgment on this matter. For, upon His speaking after a divine and fearful manner concerning husband and wife not separating, save on account of fornication, His disciples said to Him, "If the case be such with a wife, it is not good to marry." [2066] To whom He saith, "Not all receive this saying. For there are eunuchs who were so born: but there are others who were made by men: and there are eunuchs, who made themselves eunuchs for
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Some Man Will Say: "What Then Does it Profit a Servant of God...
32. Some man will say: "What then does it profit a servant of God, that, having left the former doings which he had in the world he is converted unto the spiritual life and warfare, if it still behove him to do business as of a common workman?" As if truly it could be easily unfolded in words, how greatly profiteth what the Lord, in answer to that rich man who was seeking counsel of laying hold on eternal life, told him to do if he would fain be perfect: sell that he had, distribute all to the indigence
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

It is Difficult to Treat of the virtue of the Soul...
1. It is difficult to treat of the virtue of the soul, which is called Continence, in a manner fully suitable and worthy; but He, whose great gift this virtue is, will help our littleness under the burden of so great a weight. For He, who bestows it upon His faithful ones when they are continent, Himself gives discourse of it to His ministers when they speak. Lastly, of so great a matter purposing to speak what Himself shall grant, in the first place we say and prove that Continence is the gift of
St. Augustine—On Continence

This we Now Say, That, According to this Condition of Being Born and Dying...
3. This we now say, that, according to this condition of being born and dying, which we know, and in which we have been created, the marriage of male and female is some good; the compact whereof divine Scripture so commends, as that neither is it allowed one put away by her husband to marry, so long as her husband lives: nor is it allowed one put away by his wife to marry another, unless she who have separated from him be dead. Therefore, concerning the good of marriage, which the Lord also confirmed
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

But Since, as the Lord Saith, "Not all Receive this Word...
12. But since, as the Lord saith, "Not all receive this word;" [2249] therefore let her who can receive it, receive it; and let her, who containeth not, marry; let her, who hath not begun, deliberate; let her, who hath undertaken it, persevere; let there be no occasion given unto the adversary, let there be no oblation withdrawn from Christ. Forsooth in the marriage bond if chastity be preserved, condemnation is not feared; but in widowed and virginal continence, the excellence of a greater gift
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

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