In the poor and oppressed classes, in the huge mass of want and evil, amongst the multitude of people for whom the word “misery” is often only another expression for the word “life,” nay, is life itself—in this multitude there were groups of people at that time, as we can surely see, who, with fervent and steadfast hope, were hanging upon the promises and consoling words of their God, waiting in humility and patience for the day when their deliverance was to come. Often too poor to pay even for the barest advantages and privileges of public worship, oppressed, thrust aside, and unjustly treated, they could not raise their eyes to the temple; but they looked to the God of Israel, and fervent prayers went up to him: “Watchman, what of the night?” Thus their hearts were opened to God and ready to receive him, and in many of the Psalms, and in the later Jewish literature which was akin to them, the word “poor” directly denotes those who have their hearts open and are waiting for the consolation of Israel. Jesus found this usage of speech in existence and adopted it. Therefore when we come across the expression “the poor” in the Gospels we must not think, without further ceremony, of the poor in the economic sense. As a matter of fact, poverty in the economic sense coincided to a large extent in those days with religious humility and an openness of the heart towards God, in contrast with the elevated “practice of virtue” of the Pharisees and its routine observance in “righteousness.” But if this were the prevailing condition of affairs, then it is clear that our modern categories of “poor “and “rich” cannot be unreservedly transferred to that age. Yet we must not forget that in those days the economical sense was also, as a rule, included in the word “poor.” We shall, therefore, have to examine in our next lecture the direction in which a distinction can be made, or perhaps to ask, whether it is possible to fix the inner sense of Jesus’ words in spite of the peculiar difficulty attaching to the conception of “poverty.” We can have some confidence, however, that we shall not have to remain in obscurity on this point; for in its fundamental features the Gospel also throws a bright light upon the field covered by this question.