By Clarence Bauman
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Additional resources for The Sermon on the Mount: The Modern Quest for its Meaning
He noticed how the Czarist government oppressed the people and discerned that redemption could come only through the abolition of its misrule. 66 He studied the Gospels and con63To one such critic Tolstoy replied: "The Christian world has been waiting for eighteen hundred years to hear why it should not obey the commandments of Christ. " Cited by Aylmer Maude, "Editor's Note," A Confession and The Gospel in Brief (Oxford & London, 1933) xviii. ) 64For example, Thomas Mann, "Goethe and Tolstoy," Three Essays (London, 1932) 11.
His apocalyptic Weltanschauung made him quite indifferent to the concerns of the future of society because, in his opinion, "society had no future at all, only an imminent end. Jesus saw that the beginning of world catastrophe had come and lived in the imminence of the final judgment. " 15 Consequently, Jesus freed himself from what continues to bind us. Demanding the same detachment of those whom he sought to prepare for the new glory, he prohibited all accumulation of earthly treasure and in quiet resignation allowed cultural life and its social responsibilities bypass him.
This standard [referring to Matthew 5:48] is not one to which we cannot attain. In every command or injunction that God gives there is a promise, the most positive, underlying the command. God has made provision that we may become like unto Him, and He will accomplish this for all who do not interpose a perverse will and thus frustrate His grace" (76). George A. ~ignatcs "the Royal Law" of Matthew 5:2148 to consist essentially in Oriental hyperbole characteristic of the Levant whose forms of speech are "much more graphic, picturesque, and exaggerated" than our own (JBL 37 : 54-65).