תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

as Antinomians. But is not this bending the bow too much the other way? Why should you condemn all who do not speak just as you do? Why should you quarrel with them, for using the phrases they like, any more than they with you, for taking the same liberty ? Or, if they do quarrel with you upon that account, do not imitate the bigotry which you blame. At least, allow them the liberty which they ought to allow. you. And why should you be angry at an expression ? “O, it has been abused.” And what expression has not ? However, the abuse may be removed, and at the same time the use remain. Above all, be sure to retain the important sense which is couched under that expression. All the blessings I enjoy, all I hope for in time and in eternity, are given wholly and solely for the sake of what Christ has done and suffered for me.

I would, secondly, add a few words to you who are fond of these expressions. And permit me to ask, Do not I allow enough? What can any reasonable man desire more ? I allow the whole sense which you contend for; that we have every blessing through the righteousness of God our Saviour. I allow you to use whatever expressions you choose, and that a thousand times over; only guarding them against that dreadful abuse, which you are as deeply concerned to prevent as I am. I myself frequently use the expression in question, Imputed Righteousness; and often put this and the like expressions into the mouth of a whole congregation. But allow me liberty of conscience herein : allow me the right of private judgment. Allow me to use it just as often as I judge it preferable to any other expression; and be not angry with me if I cannot judge it proper to use any one expression every two minutes. You may, if you please ; but do not condemn me because I do not. Do not, for this, represent me as a Papist, or “an enemy to the Righteousness of Christ.” Bear with me, as I do with you; else how shall we “fulfil the law of Christ ?” Do not inake tragical outcries, as though I were “subverting the very foundations of Christianity.” Whoever does this, does me much wrong: the Lord lay it not to his charge! I lay, and have done for many years, the very same foundation with you. And indeed “Other foundation' can no man lay than that which is laid, even Jesus Christ.” I build inward and outward holiness thereon, as you do, even by faith. Do not, therefore, suffer any distaste, or unkindness, no, nor any shyness or coldness of your heart. If there were a difference of opinion, where is our religion, if we cannot think and let think? What hinders but you may forgive me as easily as I may forgive you ? How much more, when there is only a difference of expression ? Nay, hardly so much as that ? All the dispute being only, Whether a particular mode of expression shall be used more or less frequently ? Surely we must carnestly desire to contend with one another, before we can make this a bone of contention! O let us not any more, for such very trifles as these, give our common enemies room to blaspheme! Rather let us at length cut off occasion from them that seck occasion! Let us at length, (0 why was it not done before?) join hearts and hands in the service of our great Master. As we have “One Lord, one Faith, one Hope of our calling," let us all strengthen each other's hands in God, anel with one heart and one mouth declare to all mankind, “The LORD OUR RigitEOUSNESS."

[blocks in formation]

UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE

MOUNT.

DISCOURSE J.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain ; and

when he was set, his disciples came unto him; And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,, Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of

heaven. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.

Matt, v. 1-4. 1. Our Lord had now “gone about all Galilee,” (Matt. iv. 23,) beginning at the time “when John was cast into prison,” (ver. 12,) not only“ teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom,” but likewise “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” It was a natural consequence of this, that “there followed him great multitudes from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from the region beyond Jordan. (Ver. 25.) “And seeing the multitudes," whom no synagogue could contain, even had there been any at hand, “he went up into a mountain,” where there was room for all that came unto him, from every quarter. “And when he was set,” as the manner of the Jews was, “ his disciples came unto him. And be opened his mouth,” (an expression denoting the beginning of a solemn discourse,] “and taught them, saying.”

2. Let us observe, Who it is that is here speaking, that we may take heed how we hear. It is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of all; who, as such, has a right to dispose of all his creatures; the Lord our Governor, whose kingdom is from everlasting, and ruleth over all; the great

Lawgiver, who can well enforce all his laws, being “able to save and to destroy,” yca, to punish with “ercrlasting destruction from his presence and from the glory of his power.” It is the eternal ll'isdoin of the Father, who knoweth whereof We are made, and understands our inmost frame; who knows how we stand related to God, to one another, to every creature which God hath made, and, conscquently, how to adapt every law he prescribes, to all the circumstances wherein he hath placed us. It is He who is “loving unto every man, whose mercy is over all his works;” the God of love, who, having emptied himself of his eternal glory, is come forth from his father to dcclare his will to the children of men, and then goeth again to the Father; who is sent of God “to open the eyes of the blind, and to give light to them that sit in darkness.” It is the great Prophet of the Lord, concerning whom God had solemnly declared long ago, “Whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him ;” (Deut. xviii. 19;) or, as the Apostle expresses it, “Every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts ji. 23.)

3. And What is it which He is teaching ? The Son of God, who came from heaven, is here showing is the way to heaven ; to the place which he hath prepared for us; the glory he had before the world began. He is teaching us the true way to life everlasting; the royal way which leads to the kingdom; and the only true way,—for there is none besides; all other paths lead to destruction. From the character of the Speaker, we are well assured that he hath declared the full and perfect will of God. He hath uttered not one tittle too much,nothing more than he had received of the Father ; nor too little,-he hath not shumed to declare the whole counsel of God; much less hath he uttered any thing wrong, any thing contrary to the will of him that sent him. All his words are true and right concerning all things, and shall stand fast for ever and ever.

And we may easily remark, That in explaining and confirming these faithful and truc sayings, he takes care to refute pot only the mistakes of the Scribes and Pharisees, which then were the false comments whereby the Jewish Teachers of that age had perverted the Word of God, but ail the practical mistakes that are inconsistent with salvation, which should ever arise in the Christian Church; all the comments whereby the Christian Teachers (so called) of any age or nation should pervert the Word of God, and teach unwary souls to seek death in the error of their life.

4. And hence we are naturally led to observe, W'hom it is that he is bere teaching ? Not the Apostles alone; if so, he had no need to have gone up into the mountain. A room in the house of Matthew, or any of his disciples, would have contained the Twelve. Nor does it in any wise appear, that the disciples who came unto him were the Twelve only. Oi waontai AUTOU, without any force put upon the expression, may be understood of all who desired to learn of him. But to put this out of all question, to make it undeniably plain that where it is said, “ He opened his mouth and taught them,” the word them includes all the multitudes, who went up with him into the mountain, we need only observe the concluding verses of the seventh chapter: “ And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the multitudes, Os oxhol, were astonished at his doctrine;” (or teaching ;] “ for he taught them” (the multitudes] “ as one having authority, and not as the Scribes.”

Nor was it only those multitudes who were with him on the mount, to whom he now taught the way of salvation ; but all the children of men; the whole race of mankind; the children, that were yet unborn; all the generations to come, even to the end of the world, who should ever hear the words of this life.

5. And this all men allow, with regard to some parts of the ensuing discourse. No man, for instance, denies that what is said of poverty of spirit relates to all mankind. But many have supposed, that other parts concerned only the Apostles, or the first Christians, or the Ministers of Christ; and were never designed for the generality of men, who, consequently, have nothing at all to do with them.

But may we not justly inquire, Who told them this, that some parts of this discourse concerned only the Apostles, or the Christians of the apostolic age, or the ministers of Christ ? Bare assertions are not a sufficient proof to establish a point of so great importance. Has then our Lord himself taught iis, that some parts of his discourse do not concern all mankind ? Without doubt had it been so he would have told us; he could not bave omitted so necessary an information. But has he told us so? Where? In the discourse itself ? No: here is not the least intimation of it. Has he said so elsewhere? In any other of his discourses ? Not one word so much as glancing this way,

« הקודםהמשך »