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Verse 45. Inasmuch as ye did it not, etc. By not doing good to the followers of Christ, they showed that they had no real love to him. By not doing good to the poor and needy, to the stranger and the prisoner, they show that they have not his Spirit, and are not like him, and are unfit for his kingdom. Let it be observed here, that the public ground of their condemnation is the neglect of duty, or because they did it not. We are not to suppose that they will not also be condemned for their open and positive sins. See Ro 2:9; Ep 5:5; Co 3:5,6; 1 Co 6:9,10; Re 21:8; Ps 9:17, but their neglect of charity, or of doing good to him and his people, may be the public reason of condemning them:

(1.) Because he wished to give pre-eminence to those virtues, to excite his followers to do them.

(2.) Men should be punished for neglect as well as positive sin. Sin is a violation of the law, or refusing to do what God commands.

(3.) Nothing better shows the true state of the heart than those duties, and the true character can be as well tested by them as by open crimes.

If it be asked how the heathen, who never heard of the name of Christ, can be justly condemned in this manner, it may be answered:

1st. That Christ acknowledges all the poor, and needy, and strangers of every land, as his brethren. See Mt 25:40.

2nd. That by neglecting the duties of charity they show that they have not his Spirit—are not like him.

3rd. That these duties are clearly made known by conscience, and the light of nature, as well as by revelation; and men may therefore be condemned for the neglect of them.

4th. That they are not condemned for not believing in Christ, of whom they have not heard, but for a wrong spirit, neglect of duty, open crime; for being unlike Christ, and therefore unfit for heaven.

One of the least of these. These on my right hand. My brethren. Those who are saved.

{p} "Inasmuch" Zec 2:8; Ac 9:5

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