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nothing but to make and propagate Herefies. For, as I take it, it is not so much the Liberty of venting a singular Opinion or Interpretation, which makes new Sects and Heresies; for indeed that is often necessary for finding out the Truth, that Men shake off the Yoke of Opinions which they fucked in only through the Prejudices of Education; but the Thing which makes Heresies is, that when once Men have published their Opinion, they are Proof against Conviction; and will right or wrong tenaciously adhere to it, and propagate it against the most convincing Arguments, and will by no Means fuffer themselves to be brought off or undeceived. It was from the same Spirit that they put on such a mighty Affectation of Sanctity with their long Prayers, down Looks, disfigured Faces, broad Phylacteries, imposing on the weaker Sex, and preying on their Estates, to carry on the Designs of their Godly Party. Finally, it was from this Spirit of Party and Spiritual Pride, that they raged with Envy against all that were not of their Faction, and set themselves first by all the Arts of Calumny to vilifie and defame them, and then by all their Power and Interest to ruin and destroy them for no other Reason, but left their growing Fame should eclipse their Own. This was visibly the Part they acted towards our Blessed Lord. They had their Spies out continually to watch all Advantages against him ; they came like Men that were desirous to learn of him ; and proposed their ensnaring Questions; they brought him
difficult, dangerous Subjects, on Purpose that they might trepan and accuse him. They suborned false Witnesses to pervert his Words, and with
their own Additions and Glosses at least, to make them Criminal. They defamed him with all manner of Calumnies, of Heresie, Treason, and Immorality. When his Miracles were so publick that they could not be hid, they had the Wickedness to suggest, that he wrought them by the Power of Magick, and cast out Devils by Beelzebub the Prince of the Devils, Mark üi. 22. and at last, when, notwithstanding all their wicked Arts, his Fame increased, such Things having been wrought by him as were sufficient to convinæ all Mankind, and them too, if their Pride and Envy had not made them Proof against Conviction; when, notwithstanding all their Calumnies, the World was like to go after him, upon his raising of Lazarus from the dead, they then combined under a Form of Justice to cut him off. This is a true Picture of that Spirit of Pride and Party, which daily produces so many Tragedies in the World, and which had so great a Hand in framing this bloated Pharifaical Righteousness; which therefore we should by all means study to decline and avoid.
Inf. §. 3. I shall make but one Inference more from the Words, and have done; and it shall be to confute an Error of some of the Popish Writers on this Sermon, as if several of these severe Injunctions had not been designed by our Saviour as necessary Precepts, but only as Counsels of Perfection. And of Affinity with this, is another Error of some of that Church, as if they were not fitted for the ordinary Christians of the World, but for those who have taken
them strict Monaftick Vows or Sacred Orders: And there are really some among our selves, who have laid down such Principles, as help private Christians to creep VOL. II.
out from the Obligation of these Duties; by interpreting several Parts of them to relate peculiarly to the Apostles, when I think it very certain there were no such Officers as Apostles appointed at the Time when this Sermon was preached, as I have proved in another Discourse. But there is one Thing in my Text, which at once confutes all these Opinions; and that is, that our Saviour makes this Evangelical Righteousness, which is here set opposite to the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and is more particularly described in the subsequent Parts of this Sermon, to be a necessary Condition of Salvation, without which we shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Let this for ever stop the Mouth of all such bold Afferters. And therefore let Us with the utmost Application and Diligence, as a Thing of that infinite Consequence requires, fet about the Study of this Gospel-Righteousness, as ever we expect to avoid Hell, and to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. For which God of his infinite Mercy in due Time prepare us all, through the Mediation of Jesus Christ, our Blessed Saviour and Redeemer: To whom, &c.
M ÁTT. V. 21. re have heard that it was said by them of old Time,
Thou shalt not kill : and whosoever fall kill, shall be in danger of the Judgment. Ver. 22. But I say unto you, that whosoever is
angry with his Brother without a Cause, shall be in danger of the Judgment: and whosoever shall say to his Brother, Raca, mall be in danger of the Council: but whosoever shall say, thou Fool, shall be in danger of Hell-fire.
The First Sermon on this Text.
Words with what goes before, we need but look back to the 17th Verse, where our Saviour acquaints his Hearers, that he was not come to destroy, but to fulfil the Law and the Prophets. In Pursuance of which Affertion, after he had at the 18th and 19th Verses guarded them against the Destruction of the Law; securing the very
Leaft of it's Precepts from being encroached upon by the Doctrine or Example of their Teachers; he proceeds at the 20th Verse to the making good the other part of the Assertion, of his Design of Fulfilling or Perfecting the Law; where after having laid down in general, that unless their
Righteousness should exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, (who were reckoned the best Teachers of the Law at that Time) they should in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven ; he goes on next to some particular Instances of this Truth; in which it was necessary that they should proceed to higher Degrees of Duty, than were required by the Scribes and Pharisees. And the first he instances in, is this of my Text: Ye have beard that it was said by them of old Time, Thou Malt not kill: and whosoever Mall kill, shall be in dan ger of the Judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his Brother without aCause, fall be în danger of the Judgment: and whosoever shall say to bis Brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the Council: but whosoever fall
say, thou Fool, shall be in danger of Hell-fire. He says not, Ye have read; but, Ye Have heard : that is, ye have been thus taught by the Jewish Doctors, the Scribes and Pharisees, that it was said by them of old time; or rather, as it is in the Margin of our Bibles, to them of old time; that is, that Mofes gave this Precept to our Forefathers in the Sixth Commandment, Thou Malt not kill : And whosoever
shall kill, &c. i. e. This Commandment these Doctors taught you to look upon as no other than a Judicial or Political Precept, prohibiting only the external Act of
Pain of being tried by the Criminal Court for your Life; thus confounding it with that other Precept of the Judicial Law of Moses, Num. xxxv. 30. W boso killeth any Perfon, the Murderer shall be put to death by the Mouth of Witnesses; without extending it to any farther Obligation on the Conscience ; or considering any farther Penalty in the World to come. But 1