Page images

men, that they may see your good works, and glorify

your Father which is in heaven,” Matt. v. 15. And that they might know what he came for, and what he expected of them, he tells them, ver. 17–20, “ Think “ not that I am come to dissolve,” or loosen, " the law,

or the prophets : I am not come to dissolve,” or loosen, “ but to make it full,” or complete; by giving it you in its true and strict sense. Here we see he confirms, and at once re-inforces all the moral precepts in the Old Testament. “ For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth

pass, one jot or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from “ the law, till all be done. Whosoever therefore shall “ break one of these least commandments, and shall “ teach men so, he shall be called the least (i, e. as it “ is interpreted, shall not be at all) in the kingdom of • heaven.” Ver. 21, “ I say unto you, That except

your righteousness," i. e. your performance of the eternal law of right, “ shall exceed the righteousness “ of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter “ into the kingdom of heaven.” And then he goes on to make good what he said, ver. 17, viz. “ That he was

come to complete the law," viz. by giving its full and clear sense, free from the corrupt and loosening glosses of the scribes and pharisees, ver. 22-26. He tells them, That not only murder, but causeless anger, and so much as words of contempt, were forbidden. He commands them to be reconciled and kind towards their adversaries; and that upon pain of condemnation. In the following part of his sermon, which is to be read Luke vi, and more at large, Matt. v. vi. vii. he not only forbids actual uncleanness, but all irregular desires, upon pain of hell-fire; causeless divorces ; swearing in conversation, as well as forswearing in judgment; revenge; retaliation; ostentation of charity, of devotion, and of fasting; repetitions in prayer, covetousness, worldly care, censoriousness: and on the other side commands loving our enemies, doing good to those that hate us, blessing those that curse us, praying for those that despitefully use us; patience and meekness under injuries, forgiveness, liberality, compassion : and closes all his particular injunctions, with this general

golden rule, Matt. vii. 12, “ All things whatsoever ye « would that men should do to you, do you even so to " them, for this is the law and the prophets.” And to show how much he is in earnest, and expects obedience to these laws, he tells them, Luke vi. 35, That if they obey, “ great shall be their REWARD;" they

6 shall be “ called the sons of the Highest.” And to all this, in the conclusion, he adds the solemn sanction; “ Why “ call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that “

I say?" It is in vain for you to take me for the Messiah your King, unless you obey me. “ Not every one “ who calls me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the king“ dom of heaven," or be the Sons of God; “but he “ that doth the will of my father which is in heaven." To such disobedient subjects, though they have prophesied and done miracles in my name, I shall say at the day of judgment, “ Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity; “ I know you not.”

When, Matt. xii. he was told, that his mother and brethren sought to speak with him, ver. 49, “ Stretch

ing out his hands to his disciples, he said, Behold my “ mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the “ will of my Father, who is in heaven, he is my bro" ther, and sister, and mother.” They could not be children of the adoption, and fellow heirs with him of eternal life, who did not do the will of his heavenly Father.

Matt. xv. and Mark vi. the pharisees finding fault, that his disciples eat with unclean hands, he makes this declaration to his apostles : “Do not ye perceive, that 6 whatsoever from without entereth into a man cannot " defile him, because it entereth not into his heart, but “ his belly ? That which cometh out of the man, that " defileth the man; for from within, out of the heart of

men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, false witnesses, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy,

pride, foolishness. All these ill things come from “ within, and defile a man."

He commands self-denial, and the exposing ourselves to suffering and danger, rather than to deny or disown

him: and this upon pain of losing our souls; which are of more worth than all the world. This we may read, Matt. xvi. 24–27, and the parallel places, Mark viii. and Luke ix.

The apostles disputing among them, who should be greatest in the kingdom of the Messiah, Matt. xviii. 1, he thus determines the controversy, Mark ix. 35, “ If

any one will be first, let him be last of all, and servant " of all:" and setting a child before them adds, Matt. xviii. 3, “ Verily I say unto you, Unless ye turn, and “ become as children, ye shall not enter into the king“ dom of heaven."

Matth. xviii. 15, “ If thy brother shall trespass

against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee 6 and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained

thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take " with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two

or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the “ church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him “ be unto thee, as an heathen and publican.” Ver. 21, “ Peter said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against “ me and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus said “ unto him, I say not unto thee, till seven times; but “ until seventy times seven.” And then ends the parable of the servant, who being himself forgiven, was rigorous to his fellow-servant, with these words, ver. 34, “ and his Lord was wroth, and delivered him to the “ tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him. “ So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts forgive not every one his bro. “ ther their trespasses."

Luke x. 25, to the lawyer, asking him, “ What shall " I do to inherit eternal life? He said, What is written 66 in the law? How readest thou ?” He answered, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 5 and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and “ with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus said, “ This do, and thou shalt live.” And when the lawyer, upon our Saviour's parable of the good Samaritan, was forced to confess, that he that showed


mercy was his neighbour; Jesus dismissed him with this charge, ver. 37, “Go, and do thou likewise.'

Luke xi. 41, “ Give alms, of such things as ye have; “ behold all things are clean unto you.”

Luke xii. 15, “ Take heed, and beware of covetous

ness." Ver. 22, “ Be not solicitous what ye shall " eat, or what ye shall drink, nor what ye shall put

on;" be not fearful, or apprehensive of want; “ for “ it is your Father's pleasure to give you a kingdom. “ Sell that you have, and give alms: and provide your“ selves bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens, “ that faileth not: for where your treasure is, there will

your heart be also. Let your loins be girded, and

your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men " that wait for the Lord when he will return. Blessed

are those servants, whom the Lord, when he cometh, “ shall find watching. Blessed is that servant, whom “ the Lord having made ruler of his househould, to give “ them their portion of meat in due season, the Lord, “ when he cometh, shall find so doing. Of a truth I

say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all " that he hath. But if that servant say in his heart,

my Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to "“ beat the men servants, and maidens, and to eat and 66 drink, and to be drunken ; the Lord of that servant “ will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and

at an hour when he is not aware; and will cut him “ in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with un66 believers. And that servant who knew his lord's “ will, and prepared not himself, neither did according « to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But “ he that knew not and did commit things worthy of “ stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto “ whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be “ required : and to whom men have committed much, “ of him they will ask the more.”

Luke xiv. 11, “ Whosoever exalteth himself shall be “ abased : and he that humbleth himself shall be ex“ alted." Ver. 12, “ When thou makest a dinner, or supper,

call “ not thy friends, or thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen,


[ocr errors]

6 nor thy neighbours ; lest they also bid thee again, and

a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest

a feast, call the poor, and maimed, the lame and the “ blind; and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the

resurrection of the just.

Ver. 33, “ So likewise, whosoever he be of you, that “ is not ready to forego all that he hath, he cannot be

my disciple.”

Luke xiv. 9, “ I say unto you, make to yourselves “ friends of the mammon of unrighteousness : that when

ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habi“ tations. If ye have not been faithful in the unrighte" ous mammon, who will commit to your trust the “ true riches ? And if ye have not been faithful in that “ which is another man's, who shall give you that “ which is your own ?”

Luke xvii. 3, “ If thy brother trespass against thee, “ rebuke him; and if he repent forgive him. And “ if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and “ seven times in a day turn again unto thee, saying, I

repent, thou shalt forgive him.”

Lukexviii. 1, " He spoke a parable to them to this end, “ that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

Ver. 18, “ One comes to him and asks him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus “ said unto him, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the “ commandments. He says, Which ? Jesus said, Thou “ knowest the commandments. Thou shalt not kill; “ thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; " thou shalt not bear false witness ; defraud not; ho

nour thy father and thy mother; and thou shalt love

thy neighbour as thyself. He said, all these have I “ observed from my youth. Jesus hearing this, loved

him, and said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing : “ sell all that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and " thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow

To understand this right, we must take notice, that this young man asks our Saviour, what he must do to be admitted effectually into the kingdom of the Messiah? The jews believed, that when the Mes.


« PreviousContinue »