תמונות בעמוד

did not, nor do not, speak against outward holiness, so as the inside be the same for a living man hath both inside and out; so has living righteousness an inward and outward purity, which is manifest by its fruit; and those fruits are fruits of the spirit, which are, “Love, meek. ness, temperance, patience, experience, hope, and charity or brotherly love ;” of which those people shewed very little to Christ; he was very sensible of their envy and malice, which were very contrary fruits to holiness; and therefore he tells them that hear him, that their " Righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and pharisees, or they in no case shall enter the kingdom of heaven."

“ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgement:" Verse 21.

“ But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judge. ment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Verse 22.

Here we may learn that the law provided nothing against anger, only in this case, against shedding of blood; and many times if anger is too much kindled, it sets the soul on fire of hell, if it be not timely quenched. People, as it grows hotter, call one another out of their names, and take the name of the Lord in vain, break the third commandment, swearing by him, and cursing of men: we may plainly see by Christ's doctrine, that the first degree of anger (without cause) is dangerous; but the second is very dangerous. Soft words from a sedate mind will wonderfully help in this case : it is not easily conceived what a mighty advantage satan hath upon one that is angry without a cause: and we are often apt to think we have cause when we have none at all, and then we make work for repentance, without which we are in danger of hell fire. Wherefore every true christian ought to watch against the evil of anger; and yet there may be anger (where there is real cause) without sin.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee." Verse 23.

“ Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Verse 24. .

The christian religion admits of no malice nor guile; the worship of it is in spirit and truth, and love, without hypocrisy, without deceit or hatred : if we come to the altar, this will hinder our acceptance. Though we may indeed have a gift, we are to seek reconciliation, and not say, let him come to me, I will not go to him ; but Christ tells us we must go to him; and if thou go to the offended, in a meek and christian spirit, and seek

reconciliation, if thy brother will not be reconciled, if the - fault be in him, thou hast done thy duty, and thy gift will be received, and Christ will manifest himself to thee by his grace and spirit. But yet art thou to seek for peace, he having ordained it, and laid it as a duty incumbent

on thee.

“ Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him : lest at any time the adversary de. liver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Verse 25. “ Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." Verse 26.

It is plain from hence, that Jesus is for a quick and speedy end to differences; says he “Agree with him quickly;" for it is of dangerous consequence to let dis. agreements lay long, it eats like a canker, and it destroys the very nature of religion. Personal differences are a great hurt to families, to churches, and to nations, and countries, especially when espoused by parties; then what rending, tearing, and devouring work it makes : wherefore take Christ's council, and agree quickly; and if the difference be on the account of debt, as is often likely, if the debt be just, it is better to offer up one's self and all that he has in the world, than to stand out with one's adversary, till it come to the utmost extremity; and for christians to go to law one with another, is contrary to the apostle's advice; and oftentimes the gainer of the cause, loses by going to law; so that it is good to agree quickly; it being profitable so to do, both spiritually and naturally.

“ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery :” Verse 27.

“But I say unto you, whosoever looketh on a woman to lust aster her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Verse 28.

The law was against adultery; but the gospel is against lust; and where there is no lust, there can be no adultery; for then the occasion of adultery is taken away; and the cause being taken away, the effect of course ceaseth. Behold the chaste and pure doctrine of Christ, and his holy dispensation, greatly excelling the law, or Mosaic dispensation! Our blessed Saviour doth not admit of an unchaste or lustful looking upon women; much less of immodest salutations, touches, embraces, or discourses, which all tend to beget lust in the hearts of men; and lust conceived, brings forth sin; and sin when finished, brings forth death to the soul.

“And if thine right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Verse 29.

“ And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Verse 30.

Christ compares the sinful lusts and inclinations, which are the cause of men's destruction, and their being cast into hell, to a right eye, or a right hand (two of the most useful and serviceable members of the body), not that he intended that we should cut off our natural members, but that we should cut off these sinful lusts, and cast them from us, though they were as a right eye, or hand. Now, observe, it is very much against nature, and very painful to pull out an eye, or cut off a hand; so sin, of many kinds, is very agreeable to nature, or the natural man,

[ocr errors]

and it is very hard for him to part with it; he pleads the use of it, and when Christ, the physician of the soul, comes to put his incision knife to it (which is his word) poor man is too apt to fly from it, and to shrink from under its holy stroke : the holy baptist, John, understanding our Lord's doctrine, and being sensible of the powerful working of Christ's word and spirit, says, “Now is the ax laid to the root of the trees, therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewnı down and cast into the fire ;" which fire is nothing less than hell, which, without repentance, and amendment of life, will be our portion.

“ It hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.” Verse 31.

“ But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.” Verse 32.

The great husband of souls here plainly sheweth that husbands should be tender to their wives; and his apos

“ Be not bitter against them.” Men.and their wives ought to live together in love, and be good examples to their children and servants; and not part one from another, except for the cause of fornication; and that should be proved; for some men are only jealous of their wives, and some without a cause; and where there is cause, as a man may think, it ought to be clearly proved before they part from one another: a man ought to be tender of his wife, as of his own body; " for they two are one flesh.” Men and their wives are often too apt to magnify one another's faults, and to put the worst construction upon each other's words and actions, when they differ, which widens breaches, instead of healing them: whereas love and true charity, and putting the best, and not the worst construction on things, wouid chase away wrath, strife, and hatred; and though Moses gave the Jews that permission of divorcement, for the hardness of their hearts; yet christians ought to live so, that there should be no need of it amongst them.


tle says,

And if christians do part upon the account of fornica. tion (for they are not permitted to part on any other account by Christ, as above) they are to marry no more, while each other live; for if they do, they are pronounced by Christ, to be adulterers and adulteresses.

“ Again ye have heard, that it hath been said by them of old time, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.” Verse 33.

“ But I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by hea. ven, for it is God's throne :” Verse 34.

“ Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool : neither by Je. rusalem, for it is the city of the great king.” Verse 35.

“ Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black."

Verse 36. “But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.” Verse 37.

It was allowed to the Jews to vow to the Lord, and swear by his name, provided they perform their vows and oaths. But here our Lord prohibits and disallows, or abolishes all swearing, with an “ I say unto you, swear not at all.” Though our swearing christians will have it, that he here prohibits only vain swearing, or common swearing, which cannot be, because the oaths he here speaks of were solemn, and to the Lord. tle James tells us, “We must not swear by any oath." Neither did the primitive christians swear at all; and christians ought to be so just in their conversations, as that their solemn words or promises would give them credit without any need of oaths. If occasion or need be, thou hast liberty to add yea to thy yea, and nay to thy nay, or solemn words equivalent to it; and if more be evil, it must also be evil to require more, and that it is evil if it be more (as all vows and oaths are) we have Christ for our author, a good foundation to build upon.

“ Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Verse 38.

“But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil : but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” Verse 39.

And the apos

« הקודםהמשך »