« PoprzedniaDalej »
did so for this very reason, because you thought you was accountable for the event, which no man is, nor indeed can be ; -or perhaps, because you was off your guard; you was not watchful over your own spirit. But this is no reason for disobeying God. Try again; but try more warily than before. Do good (as you forgive) “not seven times only; but until seventy times seven.” Only be wiser by experience: attempt it every time more cautiously than before. Be more humbled before God, more deeply convinced that of yourself you can do nothing. Be more jealous over your own spirit; more gentle, and watchful unto prayer. Thus “cast your bread upon the waters, and you shall find it again after many days. "
IV. ). Notwithstanding all these plausible pretences for hiding it, “Let your ligbt so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This is the practical Application which our Lord himself makes of the foregoing Considerations.
“Let your light so shine:"_Your lowliness of heart; your gentleness, and meekness of wisdom; your serious, weighty concern for the things of eternity, and sorrow for the sins and miseries of men; your earnest desire of universal holiness, and full lappiness in God; your tender good will to all mankind, and fervent love to your supreme Benefactor. Endeavour not to conceal this light, wherewith God hath enlightened your soul; but let it shine before men, before all with whom you are, in the whole tenor of your conversation. Let it shine still more eminently in your actions, in your doing all possible good to all men; and in your suffering for righteousness' sake, while you“ rejoice and are exceeding glad, knowing that great is
your reward in heaven.”
2. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works :”-So far let a Christian bc from ever designing, or desiring to conceal his religion ! On the contrary, let it be your desire, not to conceal.it; not to put the light under a busbel. Let it be your care to place it “on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house." Only take heed, not to seek your own praise herein, not to desire any honour to yourselves. But let it be your sole aim, that all who see your good works, may “glorify your Father which is in heaven."
3. Be this your one ultimate end in all things. With this view, be plain, open, undisguised. Let your love be without dissimulation : why should you hide fair, disinterested love? Let there be no guile found in your mouth: let your words be the genuine picture of your heart. Let there be no darkness or reservedness in your conversation, no disguise in your behaviour. Leave this to those who have other designs in view; designs which will not bear the light. Be ye artless and simple to all mankind; that all may see the grace of God which is in you. Aud although some will harden their hearts, yet others will take knowledge that ye have been with Jesus, and, by returning themselves to the great Bishop of their souls, "glorify your Father which is in heaven."
4. With this one design, that men may glorify God in you, go on in his name, and in the power of his might. Be 110 ashamed even to stand alone, so it be in the ways of God. Let the light, which is in your heart, shine in ali good works, both works of picty and worhs of mercy. And in order to enlarge your ability of doing good, renounce all supertivities. Cut viť all unnecessary expense in food, in furniture, in apparel. Be a good steward of every gift of God, eren of these his lowest gifts. Cut off all unecessary expense of time, all needless or Useless employments; and “ whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." In a word, be thou full of faith and love; do good: suffer evil. And herein be thon“ steadfast, unmoveable ; (yea,) always abounding in the work of the Lord; forastuch as thou know'est that thy labour is not in vain il ibe Lord."
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
“ Think not that I am come io destroy the law, or the prophets :
I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. " 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 command
ments, 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 entor into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. v. 17-20.
1. Among the multitude of reproaches which fell upon Him who “ was despised and rejected of men,” it could not fail to be one, that he was a Teacher of novelties, an Introducer of a new Religion. This might be affirmed with the more colour, because many of the expressions he had used were not common among the Jews: either they did not use them at all, or not in the same sense, not in so full and strong a meaning. Add to this, that the worshipping God “in spirit and in truth " must always appear a new religion to those who have bitherto known nothing but outside worship, nothing but the "form of godliness.”
2. And it is not improbable, some inight hope it was so; that he was abolishing the old religion, and bringing in another',--one which, they might flatter themselves, would be an easier way to heaven. But our Lord refutes, in these words, both the rain hopes of the one, and the groundless calumnicu of the other.
I shall consider them in the same order as they lie, taking each verse for a distinct head of discourse.
1. 1. And, first, “ Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulól."
The Ritual or Ceremonial Law, delivered by Moses to the children of Israel, containing all the injunctions and ordinances wbich related to the old sacritices and service of the temple, our Lord did indeed come to destroy, to dissolve, and utterly abolish. To this bear all the Apostles witness; not only Barnabas anı! Paul, who vehemently withstood those who taught that Cliristians “ ought to keep the law of Moses;”. (Acts xv. 6;) not only St. Peter, who termed the insisting on this, on the observance of the ritual law, a “tempting God,” and “putting a yoke upon the rieck of the disciples, which neither our fathers," saith he, “nor we were able to bear;”—but “ all the Apostles, elders, and brethren, being assembled with one accord," (ver. 10,) declared, that to command them to keep this lüli, was to “subvert their souls ;” and that “it seemed good to the Holy Glost” and to them, “to lay ijo such burden upon them.” This “hand-writing of ordinances our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to his cross.” (Ver. 24.)
2. But the Moral Law, contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, he did not take away. It was not thic design of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken, which “stands fast as the faithful witness in licaven.” The moral stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law, which was only designed for a temporary restraint upon a disobedient and stilinecked people; whercas this was from the beginning of the world, being “ written not on tables of stone,” but on the hearts of all the children of mer), when they came out of the bands of the Creator. And, however the lettcrs ouce wrote by the finger of God are now in a great measure defaced by sin, yet can they not wholly be blotted out, while we have any consciousness of good and evil. Every pari of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to changc, but on the nature of God, and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.
3. “ I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Some have conceived our Lord to mean,-I am come to fulfil this, by my entire and perfect obedience to it. And it cannot be doubted but he did, in this sense, fulfil every part of it. But this does not appear to be what he intends here, being foreign to the scope of his present discourse. Without question, his meaning in this place is, (consistently with all that goes before and follows after,)-I am come to establish it in its fulness, in spite of all the glosses of men : I am come to place in a full and clear view whatsoever was dark or obscure therein: I am come to declare the true and full import of every part of it ; to show the length and breadth, the entire extent, of every commandment contained therein, and the height and depth, the inconceivable purity and spirituality of it in all its branches.
4. And this our Lord has abundantly performed in the preceding and subsequent parts of the discourse before us ; in which he has not introduced a new religion into the world, but the same which was from the beginning ;-a religion, the substance of which is, without question, as old as the creation, being coeval with man, and having proceeded from God at the very time when“ man became a living soul;” (the substance, I say; for some circumstances of it now relate to man as a fallen creature;)-a religion witnessed to both by the Law and by the Prophets, in all succeeding generations. Yet was it never so fully explained, nor so thoroughly understood, till the great Author of it himself condescended to give mankind this authentic comment on all the essential branches of it; at the same time declaring it should never be changed, but remain in force to the end of the world.
II. 1. “ For verily I say unto you,” (a solemn preface, which denotes both the importance and certainty of what is spoken,) "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
“ One jot:”-it is literally, not one iota, not the most inconsiderable vowel : or one tittle,” ula vegu14,-one corner or point of a consonant. It is a proverbial expression, which signifies that no one commandment contained in the moral law, nor the least part of any one, however inconsiderable it might seem, should ever be disannulled.
“ Shall in no wise pass from the law :" y un Fugean an0 T8 vous. The double negative, here used, strengthens the sense,