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ence of opinion, where is our religion, if we cannot think and: let think? What hinders but you may forgive me as casily as I may forgive you? How much more, when there is only a difference of expression ? Nay, hardly so much as that? All the dispute being only, Whether a particular mode of expression shall be used more or less frequently? Surely we must carnestly desire to contend with one another, before we can make this a bone of contention! ( let us not any more,
for such very trifles as these, give our common enemies room to blaspheme! Rather let us at length cut off occasion from them that seek occasion! Let us at length, (0 why was it not done before?) join hearts and hands in the service of our great Master. As we have “One Lord, one Faith, one Hope of our calling," let us all strengthen each other's hands in God, and with one heart and one mouth declare to all mankind, “The LORD OUR RigiTEOUSNESS."
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and
when he was set, his disciples came unto him; “ And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven. “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted."
Matt. v. 1-4. 1. Our Lord had now “gone about all Galilee,” (Matt. iv. 23,) beginning at the time“ when John was cast into prison,” (ver. 12,) not only“ teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom,” but likewise “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.' It was a natural consequence of this, that “ there followed him great multitudes from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from the region beyond Jordan. (Ver. 25.) “And seeing the multitudes," whom no synagogue could contain, even had there been any at hand," he went up into a mountain,” where there was room for all that came unto him, from every quarter. “And when he was set,” as the manner of the Jews was, “his disciples came unto him. And be opened his mouth,” (an expression denoting the beginning of a solemn discourse,] “and taught them, saying.”
2. Let us observe, Who it is that is here speaking, that we may take heed bow we hear. It is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of all; who, as such, has a right to dispose of all his creatures; the Lord our Governor, whose kingdom is from everlasting, and ruleth over all; the great
Lawgiver, who can well enforce all bis laws, being “able to save and to destroy,” yea, to punish with “ercrlasting destruction from his presence and from the glory of his power." It is the eternal Wisdom of the Father, who knoweth whereof we are made, and understands our inmost frame; who knows how re stand related to God, to one another, to every creature which God liath made, and, consequently, how to adapt every law le prescribes, to all the circumstances wherein he hath placed us. It is He who is "loviny unto cvery man, whose mercy is over all his works;" the God of love, who, having emptied himself of his eternal glory, is come forth from his Father to declare his will to the children of men, and then goeth again to the Father; who is sent of God “to open the eyes of the blind, and to give light to them that sit in darkness.” It is the great Prophet of the Lord, concerning whom God had solemnly declared long ago, “Whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him;” (Deut. xviii. 19;) or, as the Apostle expresses it, “Every soul which will not bear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts ji. 23.)
3. And What is it which He is teaching? The Son of God, who came from heaven, is here showing us the way to heaven; to the place which he hath prepared for us; the glory he had before the world began. He is teaching us the true way to life cverlasting; the royal way which leads to the kingdom ; and the only true way,--for there is none besides; all other paths lead to destruction. From the character of the Speaker, we are well assured that he hath declared the full and perfect will of God. He hath uttered not one tittle too much,nothing more than he had received of the Father ; nor too little-he hath not shumed to declare the whole counsel of God; much less hath he uttered any thing wrong, any thing contrary to the will of him that sent him. All his words are true and right concerning all things, and shall stand fast for ever and ever.
And we may easily remark, That in explaining and confirming these faithful and true sayings, he takes care to refute pot only the mistakes of the Scribes and Pharisces, which then were the false comments whereby the Jewish Teachers of that age had perverted the Word of God, but ail the practical mistakes that are inconsistent with salvation, which should ever arise in the Christian Church; all the comments whereby
the Christian Teachers (so called) of any age or nation should pervert the Word of God, and teach unwary souls to seek death in the error of their life.
4. And hence we are naturally led to observe, Whom it is that he is here teaching ? Not the Apostles alone; if so, he had no need to have gone up into the mountain. A room in the house of Matthew, or any of his disciples, would have contained the Twelve. Nor does it in any wise appear, that the disciples who came unto him were the Twelve only. Os uabntar AUTou, without any force put upon the expression, may be understood of all who desired to learn of him. But to put this out of all question, to make it undeniably plain that where it is said, “ He opened his mouth and taught them," the word them includes all the multitudes, who went up with him into the mountain, we need only observe the concluding verses of the seventh chapter : “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the multitudes, 01 oxãos, were astonished at his doctrine;” (or teaching ;] “ for he taught them” (the multitudes] “ as one having authority, and not as the Scribes.”
Nor was it only those multitudes who were with him on the mount, to whom he now taught the way of salvation ; but all the children of men; the whole race of mankind; the children that were yet unborn; all the generations to come, even to the end of the world, who should ever hear the words of this life.
5. And this all men allow, with regard to some parts of the ensuing discourse. No man, for instance, denies that what is said of poverty of spirit relates to all mankind. But many have supposed, that other parts concerned only the Apostles, or the first Christians, or the Ministers of Christ; and were never designed for the generality of men, who, consequently, have nothing at all to do with them.
But may we not justly inquire, Who told them this, that some parts of this discourse concerned only the Apostles, or the Christians of the apostolic age, or the ministers of Christ ? Bare assertions are not a sufficient proof to establish a point of so great importance. Has then our Lord himself taught us, that some parts of his discourse do not concern all mankind ? Without doubt had it been so he would have told us; he could not bave omitted so necessary an information. But has he told us so? Where? In the discourse itself ? No: here is not the least intimation of it. Has he said so elsewhere? In any other of his discourses? Not one word so much as glancing this way, can we find in any thing he ever spoke, either to the multitudes, or to his disciples. Has any one of the Apostles, or other inspired writers, left such an instruction upon record ? No such thing. No assertion of this kind is to be found in all the Oracles of God. Who then are the men who are so much wiser thali God ?-wise so far above that is written ?
6. Perhaps they will say, “That the reason of the thing requires such a restriction to be made." If it does, it must be on one of these two accounts ; Because, without such a restriction, the discourse would either be apparently absurd, or would contradict some other scripture. But this is not the case. It will plainly appear, when we come to examine the several particulars, that there is no absurdity at all in applying all whichi our Lord hath here delivered to all mankind. Neithier will it iufer any contradiction to any thing else he has delivered, nor Lo any other scripture whatever. Nay, it will farther appear, that cither all the parts of this discourse are to be applied to men in general, or po part; seeing they are all connected together, all joined as the stones in an arch, of which you candiot take one away, without destroying the whole fabric.
7. We may, lastly, observe, Ilow our Lord teaches here. And surely, is at all times, so particularly at this, he speaks “as never man spake.” Not as the holy men of old ; although they also spoke " 25 they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Vot as Peter, or James, or John, or Paul: they were indeed vise master-builders in his Church; but still in this, in the derecs of beavenly wisdom, the servant is not as his Lord. No, nor even as himself at any other time, or on any other occasion. It does not appear, that it was erer his design, at any other time or place, to lay down at once the whole plan of his Religion; to give us a full prospect of Christianity; to describe at large the nature of that Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Particular branches of this he has indeed sicscribed, on a thousand different occasions; but never, besides liere, vid begire, of set purpose, a general view of the whole. Vay, we have nothing else of this kind in all the Bible; unless ohle should except that short sketch of Holiness, delivered by God in those Teu Words or Commandments to Moses, on Mount Sinai. Bet eren lere bow wide a difference is there between one and the other! “Even that which was made gloriolis had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory Theilen." Cor. iii. 10.)