MATTHEW, in speaking of the Sermon on the Mount, says: "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set, his disciples came unto him," etc. Luke in describing the same scene says: "And he came down with them and stood in the plain, and he lifted up his eyes on his disciples," etc. Now, to some, here may appear to be a contradiction; but we think that by a little study of the country, it may all be satisfactorily explained.

On the west of the Sea of Galilee, running down toward the sea between Tiberias and Magdala, is a wild and rugged glen, with perpendicular walls, abounding in calcareous caverns. The valley bears the name of Wady-el-Haman it, that is, Pigeon-glen, from the immense flocks of pigeons that nestle among its cliffs. 

This glen is a wild and desolate place, and has from time immemorable formed a hiding-place for robbers and refugees. Following along this valley, which forms the dry bed of a winter torrent, the road leads across an irregular plateau to the base of a mountain, which is called by the Arabs Kurun Hattin, 'the Horns of Hattin," because of its fancied resemblance to the horns of a camel's saddle. The following, from Dr. Fish, in "Bible Lands Illustrated," explains the view taken by him and several other travelers: 

"Emerging upon a fertile tableland, we have before us the spot where Christ is supposed to have delivered his memorable Sermon on the Mount. The two-horned elevation is called the Mount of Beatitudes, or Kurun Hattin.  Kurun means 'horns,' and by a close look at the view of Hattin here given [reference is made to an accompanying engraving], the two horns, or mounds, will be seen, resembling, as the Arabs fancy, the shape of a camel's saddle, with its two knobs, or horns. The hill (it is scarcely a mountain) is some two and a half miles in a straight line from the lake, and rises 1178 feet above the level of the sea, and about 60 feet above the surrounding plain. It is a third of a mile in length." We rode up and down its sides, and surveyed its configuration. . There are two considerable elevations on the mount (the horns), and it seems likely that the Saviour, from his prayer-place on one of these, stepped down into the open space (the 'plain' of Luke 6:17) a natural amphitheater between the mounds, capable of seating the hundreds that may have been present and there delivered the wonderful sermon, and made his final and special call and choice of his apostles. As to this being the true site of the scene referred to, the tradition is not clear beyond the time of the Crusaders [which virtually closed with the famous battle of Hattin, or Tiberias, A. D. 1187]. But none of the other mountains in the neighborhood could answer equally well to the descriptions, inasmuch as they are merged into the uniform barrier of hills around the lake; whereas this stands separate. It is 'the mountain' which alone uninhabited) could lay claim to a distinct name; with the exception of the one height of Tabor, which is too distant to answer the requirements." Although the view given above may not be correct in every particular, it seems fully to harmonize the passages referred to.


"YE are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council : but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out hence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath commited adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that the whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement; but I say unto you; 

That whosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever: shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.

"Again, ye have heard that it hath been: said by them of old times, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but I say unto you Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for, it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for: it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King: neither: shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."



"YE have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. 

But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them, which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them, which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? 

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father, which is in Heaven is perfect.

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him. After this manner, therefore pray ye, Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither, will your Father forgive your trespasses."



How often it happens that, when the human preacher becomes so popular as to call crowds of people to hear him, he gives ear to flattery, grows giddy with praise, takes honor to himself, lets in pride, forsakes God, and is left to his own weakness. But when Christ's fame had spread abroad, and multitudes from all the surrounding countries flocked about him, he remained quiet and modest, charging the unclean spirits not to make him known, and withdrawing, first into a boat, and afterward to a mountain, where he "continued all night" in prayer to God. Yet he was not indifferent to the wants of the people, for the next day he chose twelve apostles to go forth, and preach his gospel.

Having chosen the twelve, he proceeded at once to instruct them in the great fundamental principles of truth, the principles which they were, in turn, to teach the people. Before giving this instruction, he seems to have come down from the secluded spot where he had prayed, and had chosen his disciples, to a little plateau, or elevated plain, where the people could assemble, and hear the words that were spoken directly to the disciples.  Knowing the universal desire of mankind for happiness, our Lord begins by telling the conditions of happiness. How different are some of these conditions from those commonly supposed to confer happiness! Nearly all the world are striving for riches; but Christ says, "Blessed [happy] be ye poor!" Many call the proud happy; but Christ says, "Blessed are the meek!" How we shrink from persecution! And how we love to be well spoken of by every one! Yet Christ says, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

Then Jesus calls his disciples the "salt of the earth" and "the light of the world," to show what a power and influence they ought to possess. He exalts the law of God; corrects erroneous views and practices in regard to its observance, and explains the spirit and manner in which many of its precepts should be kept. He shows that outward conformity will not meet the demand of the law, that it must be obeyed from the heart. He teaches gentleness, patience, meekness, kindness and forbearance toward our enemies, and modesty in regard to our own good deeds. 

Next he gives instruction in regard to prayer and fasting, tells where to lay up treasures, warns against judging others harshly or trying to correct their faults to the neglect of our own.  He then urges care and watchfulness, tells how false prophets may be detected, and admonishes all to bear the fruit of righteousness. He says: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord! Shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord! Lord! Have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will 'I profess unto them, I never knew you;’ depart from me, ye that work iniquity! Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it. 

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one having authority."