Salt and Its Savor

In his wonderful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his followers, for all time, "Ye are the salt of the earth;" but immediately thereafter gave warning that this saltness must be preserved, for continuing, he said: "But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to the trodden under foot of men." Now, salt to the Hebrew had a symbolical, spiritual signification. At first used as a preservative, it would naturally stand as an antidote to decay, and so become a symbol of permanence and of life, as opposed to dissolution and death. It has even been said that salt "seems to stand for life in many a form of primitive speech and in the world's symbolism."

The Hebrews rubbed with salt the newborn infant, a practice which was probably religious and symbolical of purification. Presumably Jesus had this in thought when he said, "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." That salt was much in use by the Jews in their Temple worship is proved by the fact that the salt chamber adjoined the Priests' Court, which Herod built in the restoration of the Temple.

Remembering its symbolic spiritual signification, one can understand the covenant of salt between God and the children of Israel as denoting a covenant inviolable and lasting in perpetuity. May not Jesus have meant this when he further said, "Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another"?

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June 28, 1924

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