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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 19 - Verse 24

Verse 24. It is easier for a camel, etc. This was a proverb in common use among the Jews, and still common among the Arabians. To denote that a thing was impossible, or exceedingly difficult, they said camel or an elephant might as soon walk through a needle's eye. In the use of such proverbs, it is not necessary to understand them literally, but only to denote the extreme difficulty of the case.

A camel. A beast of burden, much used in eastern countries. It is about the size of the largest ox, with one or two bunches on his back, with long neck and legs, no horns, and with feet adapted to the hot and dry sand. They are capable of carrying heavy burdens; will travel sometimes faster than the fleetest horse; and are provided with a stomach which they fill with water, by means of which they can live four or five days without drink. They are very mild and tame, and kneel down to receive and unload their burden. They are chiefly used in deserts and hot climates, where other beasts of burden are with difficulty kept alive.

A rich man. This rather means one who loves his riches, and makes an idol of them; or one who supremely desires to be rich. Mark says, "them that trust in riches." While he has this feeling, it is literally impossible that he should be a Christian. For religion is the love of God, rather than the world; the love of Jesus and his cause, more than gold. Still a man may have much property, and not have this feeling. He may have great wealth, and love God more; as a poor man may have little, and love that little more than God. The difficulties in the way of salvation for a rich man are,

1st. that riches engross the affections.

2nd. Men consider wealth as the chief good; and when this is obtained, think they have gained all.

3rd. They are proud of their wealth, and unwilling to be numbered with the poor and despised followers of Jesus.

4th. Riches engross the time, and fill the mind with cares and anxieties, and leave little for God.

5th. They often produce luxury, dissipation, and vice.

6th. It is difficult to obtain wealth without sin, or without avarice, and covetousness, and fraud, and oppression, 1 Ti 6:9,10,17; Jas 5:1-6; Lu 12:16-21; 16:19-31.

Still Jesus says, Mt 19:26 all these may be overcome. God can give grace to do it. Though to men it may appear impossible, yet it is easy for God.

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