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plain from the Consideration of the Particulars, in which the new Covenant is more favourable to us, than the old. I shall briefly mention the chief of them, from which this Advantage will be manifest, and so have done.
1. First then, whereas by the new Covenant there is a larger Measure of Grace bestowed. whereby God's Laws are written in our Hearts, it is plain this Privilege facilitates Duty, and makes the Yoke of the Law lighter, without abolishing it.
2. Whereas God is willing, for the all-sufficient Merits of Christ, to make an Offer of Pardon and Indemnity, upon very gracious Terms, tothose that stood condemned by the Law, provided they will return to their Buty ; it is plain, this has a further Tendency to the better Obfera vance of the Law; in that it brings Men off from the Despair they were in, on Account of past Tranfgreffions, and encourages them to begin their Endeavours afresh, upon the foot of this Act of Indemnity, procured for Mankind by Christ's meritorious Obedience and Sufferings.
3. Whereas on Account of the same Mediation of Christ, the old impossible Condition of Perfect Obedience to the Law in all Points, which brought Condemnation to All Men, is dispensed with; and instead thereof, a-New Gofpel Obedience is accepted; such an Obedience as consists in the Sincerity of the Endeavour, tho' far Short of Perfection; yet even This has a great Tendency to the better Obseryation of the Law; because this is an Obedience, which, by the Help of the Grace of God, is feisible and possible; · whereas the other Sinless Obedience was only fit
ted for the State of Man before his Fall and Corruption; and in the present Circumstances could never be complied with. · 4. Lastly, Whereas it is one Part of this gracious New Covenant, not to take the Advantage of our Lapses, provided we quickly repent and amend; and, for that Reason among others, we have an Advocate at the Father's Right Hand, continually interceding for us ; it is plain, that This likewise tends to the better Obfervance of the Law; for if there were no Place for Repentance, no Flesh could be saved, it being morally impossible, but that after the utmost Measure of Grace allowed by the Gospel, and our utmost Care to use it well, we shall sometimes be overcome through the Force of Temptations ; and if in all such Cases we had no Remedy, but were in the Hands of a rigorous Judge, who would hear of no Intercession in our Behalf, we should certainly abandon our felves to all manner of Wickedness, being out of Hope of Mercy, and consequently having no Encouragement to Repentance or Amendment: But now, knowing that we have to do with a reconciled God and a merciful Father in Christ, we are encouraged quickly to return to our Duty, and in so doing, are sure of Acceptance ; and so go on in Amendment of Life. From all which it is very plain, that tho’ the New Gospel-Covenant is a much lighter Yoke and easier Burden; yet it is so far from abolishing the Law, that it facilitates and encourages Obedience to it. If ye ask me, what could be the Use of the Law, under the Covenant of Works, since by it all Men in this corrupt State must have been condemned? I answer, the Law had
many Uses; such as, the shewing Men their Duty; the convincing them of Sin; the awakening their Fear; the humbling them under a Sense of their loft State and Condition. But the chief Use of all, and that to which all these other Uses have a direct Tendency, was to bring Men to Christ ; and so to fit them for that higher Degree, both of Holiness and Happiness, which is offered by the New Covenant.**
From the whole, the Perpetuity of the Law doth appear, and therefore we can never be too much exhorted to the Obedience of it; or to a Caution that by our Doctrine or Example we do not evacuate any the Least of it's Duties. But this is the Subject of what follows in the next Verse.
Now God bless what ye have heard, that it may not be as Water spilt on the Ground, but as Seed springing up to eternal Life, for Jesus Christ his Sake. To whom, &c.
M ATT. V. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least
Commandments, and mall teach Men so, be shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven ; but whosoever all do and teach them, the Same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven,
The Fourth Sermon on this Text. THESE Words are brought in by way
1 of Consequence from the Doctrine of the Perpetuity of the Law, which our Saviour had asserted in the foregoing Verse. Before we can find out the Meaning of them, it will be necessary to explain the Terms or Forms of Expression here used, which are not altogether free from Difficulty.
The Terms to be explained are these ; what we are to understand by Breaking one of these least Commandments, and Teaching Men fo : And what by Doing and Teaching them? What by being called Least in the Kingdom of Heaven? And what by being called Great in that Kingdom? Or, in short, there is a Sin, and the Punishment, and a Virtue, and the Reward of it, which are here to be explained.
I. First, We are to explain what is to be understood by the Sin here described, of breaking one of these least Commandments; or rather one of the least of these Commandments, and teaching Men fo. For Brevity's and Perspicuity's Sake, I shall join this with the contrary Virtue of doing and teaching them. The Sin 'here described I take to be in general, the teaching of Immorality, both by Example and Doctrine; as the opposite Virtue is the teaching of good Morals both by Word and Example. This Expression then of the least of these Commandments, was as much as to say, any of these Commandments; not with a Dcsign to lay the Emphasis on the Word LEAST, but to shew the universal Regard which we ought to have for all the Precepts of the Moral Law; for that is the Subject our Saviour was treating of; and that is the opposite Virtue here described ; doing and teaching them. When he says then, whosoever shall break one of the least of these Commandments, it is only, as I take it, a more Vehement and Emphatical way of speaking; but signifies no more, than whosoever mall break any of these commandments, and teach Men fo. There might perhaps be several good Reasons for this Way of Expression ; as first, it shews our Saviour's greater Zeal for this Doctrine ; like the one yot or Tittle in the foregoing Verse; tho' upon the Matter the Sense is the same ; as if a Man should say, I will observe all my Father's Will, he means the very fame thing, tho not so zealousy expressed, as if he had said, I will obferve every the least Word in my Father's Will. 2. This manner of Expression might perhaps be more exactly levelled against some of the Jewish Doctors,