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for tho' Hypocrites may get into the Visible Church, as the Man without the Wedding Garment, in the Parable, got in to the Marriage-supper, Matt. xxii
. 11. yet they cannot, no more than he, be said to be admitted ; for he was prefently detected, and disgracefully thrust out; and so shall they. By the not entring into the Kingdom of Heaven then, is not meant that they should never take upon them the Christian Profession but that they shall be shut out as no true Members of Christ's Church, and so shall never partake of the Glory and Happiness of Heaven.
From the Words thus explained, we may gather our Saviour's Sense in this one Proposition : That if we do not take care to observe the Moral Law more exactly than the Scribes and Pharisees required in their Interpretations of it, we shall be judged unworthy to be Members of Christ's Church here, or to go to Heaven hereafter. In handling which Proposition, I intend to do these Four or Five Things.
1. To enquire into the Defects of this Pharifaical Righteousness, by Thewing what Sort of Obedience it was which they required to the Law.
2. To shew what farther Degrees of Perfection Christ requires of his Disciples.
3. To consider the Penalty upon which this Higher Degree of Duty is enjoined, Exclusion from the Kingdom of Heaven,
4. I shall endeavour to shew the Equity of this Sentence, why the Duty of a Christian should be carried higher than the learnedest Doctors among the Jews carried it.
5. Lastly, I shall draw some practical Inferences from the whole.
1. First, In Order to the finding out the Meaning of our Saviour in this place, it is necessary that we enquire into the Defects of the Righteoulness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Now in doing of this, I shall not think myself at Liberty, as I told you, to rake into all the Personal Faults of the Scribes and Pharisees; for I think their Faults and their Righteousness are to be distinguished ; by their Righteousness I mean that Rule of Duties which they set ; or the Law with their Interpretations of it, called here the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Their Faults, like other Men's, might be personal Transgressions of good Rules; and we have nothing to do with them in this place.
The only Thing then we are here to enquire is, what Sort of Righteoufness the Scribes and Pharisees approved of; and where the Defects of it lay. I shall be but brief upon this, because it is more fully treated by our Saviour in the following Parts of the Sermon, which seem to me to be so many particular Proofs of this General Assertion. But some brief Heads of this their Righteousness it will be necessary to produce, that we may the better understand the Nature of that Evangelical Righteousness which our Saviour here requires, and sets in Opposition to it.
1. First then, the Scribes and Pharisees, in their Interpretations of the Law, contented themselves with the External Part of Duty, without minding the full Latitude of the spiritual Sense, which obliges us in all Sins to clean se our Hearts of those inward bad Dispositions, which are Violations of the Law, and defile the Man; and in all Duties, to join the inward Sincerity and Hear
be clean also
tiness to the outward doing of the good Work. Thus our Lord doth several Times represent them as having only a fair Outside, but being rotten at Heart; as Matt. xxiii. 25. Wo unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites; for ye make clean the outside of the Gup and of the Platter, but within they are full of Extortion and Excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the Cup and Platter, that the outside of them may And so he goes on there to compare them to wbited Sepulchres, which appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead Mens Bones, and of all Uncleanness. And that this fạir Outside doth not relate only to a fair outward Profession, while secretly they lived wicked Lives; but that it has reference to their opinion, that they were only tied to the external Part of Duty; I am convinced from what follows immediately after my Text; where our Saviour teacheth his Disciples, that the sixth Commandment prohibits all Rancour and Malice in the Heart, as well as the outward Act of Murder; and that the Seventh Commandment prohibits the Lust of the Heart, as well as the gross Act of Adultery
2. Another Part of the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees consisted in a Strictness concerning the Ceremonials and Circumstantials of Religion, with a Neglect of the greater and more fubftantial Duties. In this Respect our Saviour calls them Blind Guides, which strain at a Gnat and swallow a Camel; paying Tythe of Mint, Anifé and Cummin, but omitting the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy and Fidelity.
3. A Third Part of the Righteoufness of the Scribes and Pharisees confisted in a Zeal for Tra. ditions, which they observed with an equal Veneration with the Precepts of Almighty God; nay, sometimes
them the Preference. As our Saviour Objects to them, Mark vii. 9. Full well, says he, ye reject, or as it is in the Margin of our Bibles, ye frustrate the Commandment of God, that ye may keep your own Tradition ; for Moses said, Honour thy Father and Mother : and whojo curseth Father or Mother, let him die the Death. But ye say, If a Man fhall say to his Father or Mother, it is Corban, that is to say, a Gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, be shall be free; and ye fuffer bim no more to do ought for bis Father or Mother : making the Word of God of none Effect through your Tradition ; and many such like Things
4. A Fourth Part of the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, was, when they were pinched between Duty and Interest, to stock themselves with Evasions and Distinctions, whereby they satisfied their Confciences in several Things, wherein they would have been bound by the Law. Our Saviour gives an Instance of this in the Matter of Oaths, Matt. xxiii. 16. Wo unto you ye blind Guides, which say, whosoever shall fwear by the Temple, it is nothing : but whosoever foall fwear by the Gold of the Temple, he is a Debtor. ré Fools and blind: for whether is greater, the Gold, or ibe Temple that fanctifieth the Gold? And whoJoever fall swear by the Altar, it is nothing : but whasoever fweareth by the Gift that is upon it, be is guilty. Ve Fools and blind : for whether is greater, the Gift, or the Altar that fanctifieth the
Gift? and concludes that all these Oaths are bind-
5. A Fifth Part of the Righteousness of the
6. I shall name but one Part more of their Righteousness, which is, that they valued themselves exceedingly upon their External Privileges, as being descended from Abraham; as if they had been the only elect People of God, and all the rest of the World Caft-aways. This great Privilege beyond the rest of Mankind they expected would atone for all their other Faults and Infirmi. ties, and secure them of God's Favour, notwithstanding the many Defects of their Lives. And therefore John the Baptist thought it necessary to undeceive them in this point, Matt. iii.
For when he saw them come to his Baptism without Repentance and Amendment of Life, he thus accosted them: 0 Generation of Vipers, who hath