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of pleasure, or substance, or friends, is preferable to the loss of thy soul.
Two steps only it may not be improper to take, before such an absolute and final separation. First, Try whether the unclean spirit may not be driven out by fasting and prayer, and by carefully abstaining from every action, and word, and look, which thou hast found to be an occasion of evil. Secondly, If thou art not by this means delivered, ask counsel of him that watcheth over thy soul, or, at least, of some who have cxperience in the ways of God, touching the time and manner of that separation ; but confer not with flesh and blood, lest thou be“ given up to a strong delusion to believe a lic.”
5. Nor may marriage itself, holy and honourable as it is, be used as a pretence for giving a loose to our desires. Indeed, “It hath been said, whosoever will put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:" and then all was well; though he alleged no cause, but that he did not like her, or liked another better. “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the causc of fornication,” (that is, adultery; the word topverz signifying unchastity in general, cither in the married or unmarried state,) “ causcth her to commit adultery," if she marry again: “and whosocver shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.” (Ver. 31, 32.)
All polygamy is clearly forbidden in these words, wherein our Lord expressly declares, that for any woman, who has a husband alive, to marry again is adultery. By parity of reason, it is adultery for any man to marry again, so long as he has a wife alive, yca, although they were divorced; unless that divorce had been for the cause of adultery: in that only case there is no scripture which forbids the innocent person to marry again,
Such is the purity of hcart which God requires, and works in those who believe on the Son of his Love. And “ blessed are ” they who are thus “pure in heart, for they shall see God.” He will “manifest himself unto them,” not only “ as he doth not into the world,” but as he doth not always to his own children. He will bless them with the clearest communications of his Spirit, the most intimate “fellowship with the Father and with the Son." He will cause his presence to go continually before them, and the light of his countenance to shine upon them. It is the ceaseless prayer of their heart, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory ;” and they have the petition they ask of him. They now see Him by faith, (the veil of flesh being made, as it were, transparent,) even in these his lowest Works, in all that surrounds them, in all that God has created and made. They see Him in the height above, and in the depth beneath; they see Him filling all in all. The pure in heart see all things full of God. They see Him in the firmament of heaven; in the moon, walking in brightness; in the sun, when he rejoiceth as a giant to run his course. They see Him “making the clouds his chariots, and walking upon the wings of the wind.” They see Him“ preparing rain for the earth, and blessing the increase of it; giving grass for the cattle, and green herb for the use of man.” They see the Creator of all, wisely governing all, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” “O Lord, our Governor, 'how excellent is thy name in all the world !”
7. In all bis Providences relating to themselves, to their souls or bodies, the pure in heart do more particularly see God. They see his hand ever over them for good; giving them all things in weight and measure, numbering the hairs of their head, making a hedge round about them, and all that they have, and disposing all the circumstances of their life, aecording to the depth both of his wisdom and mercy.
8. But in a more especial manner they see God in his Ordipances. Whether they appear in the great congregation, to “ pay him the honour due unto his name,” “and worship him in the beauty of holiness ; ”' or“enter into their closets,' and there pour out their souls before their “Father which is in secret;" whether they search the Oracles of God, or hear the Ambassadors of Christ proclaiming glad tidings of salvation; or by eating of that Bread, and drinking of that Cup, “shew forth his death till he come” in the clouds of heaven ;-in all these his appointed ways, they find such a near approach as cannot be expressed. They see him, as it were, face to face, and “talk with him, as a man talketh with his friend;”-a fit preparation for those mansions above, wherein they shall see him as he is.
9. But how far were they from seeing God, who having heard, “ that it had been said by them of old time, (ver. 33,) Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thive oaths ;” interpreted it thus, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, when thou swearest by the Lord Jehovah. Thou “shalt perform unto the Lord [these] thine oaths ; ” but as to other oaths, he regardeth them not.
So the Pharisees taught. They not only allowed all manner of swearing in common conversation ; but accounted even forswearing a little thing, so they had not sworn by the peculiar name of God.
But our Lord here absolutely forbids all common swearing, as well as all false swearing; and shows the heinousness of both, by the same awful consideration, That every creature is God's, and he is every where present, in all, and over all. “ I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;” (ver. 34 ;) and therefore this is the same as to swear by Him who sitteth upon the circle of the heavens : “ Nor by the carth ; for it is his footstool ;” (ver. 35;) and he is as intimately present in earth as heaven : “ Neither by Jerusalem ; for it is the city of the great King ;” and God is well known in her palaces. “Neither shalt thou swear by thy head; because thou canst not make onc hair white or black;" (ver. 36 ;) because even this, it is plain, is not thine, but God's, the sole Disposer of all in heaven and carth. “But let your communication," (ver. 37,) your conversation, your discourse with each other, “be yea, rea; nay, nay ;” a bare, serious affirming or denying; “ for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil:”ex TB TOUn peu Esiv-is of the evil one; procecdeth from the Devil, and is a mark of his children.
10. That onr Lord does not here forbid the “swearing in judgment and truti," when we are required so to do by a Magistrate, may appear, by From the occasion of this part of his Discourse,-the abuse he was here reproving, which was false swearing, and common swearing ; the swearing before a Magistrate being quite ont of the question.—2, From the very words wherein he forms the general conclusion : “Let your communication,” or discourse, “ be yea, yea; nay, nay.”—3, From his own example ; for he answered himself upon oath, when required by a Magistrate. When the High Priest said unto him, “ I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us, whe ther thou be the Christ, the Son of God ; ” Jesus immediately answered in the affirmative, “ Thou hast said ;” (i.e. the truth ;) “wevertheless,” (or rather, morcover,) “I say unto vou. Hercafter shall ve see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in tlic clouds of heaven." (Matt.
xxvi. 63, 64.)-4, From the example of God, even the Father, who, “ willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” (Heb. vi. 17.) -5, From the example of St. Paul, who we think had the Spirit of God, and well understood the mind of his Master, “God is my witness,” saith he, to the Romans, “ that without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers :” (Rom. i. 9:) to the Corinthians, “I call God to record upon my soul, that to spare you, I came not as yet unto Corinth :” (2 Cor. i. 23 :) and to the Philippians, “ God is my record, how greatly I long after you, in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. i.8.) Hence it undeniably appears, that if the Apostle knew the meaning of his Lord's words, they do not forbid swearing on weighty occasions, even to one another : how much less before a Magistrate!-And, lastly, from that assertion of the great Apostle, concerning solemn swearing in general: (which it is impossible he could have mentioned without any touch of blame, if his Lord had totally forbidden it :) “ Men verily swear by the greater: [by one greater than themselves :) and an oath for confirmation is to them the end of all strife.” (Heb. vi. 16.)
11. But the great lesson which our blessed Lord inculcates here, and which he illustrates by this example, is, that God is in all things, and that we are to see the Creator in the glass of every creature; that we should use and look upon nothing as separate from God, which indeed is a kind of practical Atheism; but, with a true magnificence of thought, survey heaven and earth, and all that is therein, as contained by God in the hollow of his hand, who by his intimate presence holds them all in being, who pervades and actuates the whole created frame, and is, is a true sense, the soul of the universe.
II, 1. Thus far our Lord has been more directly employed in teaching the Religion of the Heart. He has shown what Christians are to be. He proceeds to show, what they are to do also ;-how inward Holiness is to exert itself in our outward conversation. « Blessed,” saith he, “ are the peace-makers : for they shall be called the children of God.” • 2. “ The Peace-makers :" the word in the original is ol EignVOTOLO. It is well known that Eignun, in the sacred Writings, implies all manner of good ; every blessing that relates either to the soul or the body, to time or eternity. Accordingly when St. Paul, in the titles of his epistles, wishes grace and peace to Thic Roules of the Corinthians, it is as if he tela." 4:1 fruit of the free, unreserved jore and favour of Go, Coz ail bleasing, spiritual and temporal; aliibe : which God hath prepared for them that lovelin."
3. Hence we may easily learn, in how vide a seoseite term Peace-malers is to be urderstood. In its literal 6.2321.1: implics, those lovers of God and man, who utrer.y zos: a abhor ail strite and debate, all variance and collection: 2:1 accordingly labour with all their might, either to prever: this fire of heil from being hindled, or, when it is kidev, icon breaking out, or, when it is broke out, from spreading a..! farther. They endeavour to calm the stormy spirits ci un. to quict their turbulent passions, to soften the minds of cultenrlins parties, and, if possible, reconcile them to cach other. They use all innocent arts, and employ all their strength, all ile talents which God has given them, as well to preserve peace where it is, as to restore it where it is not. It is the joy of their heart to promotc, to confirm, to increase, mutual good will among men, but more especially among the children of God, however distinguished by things of smaller importance; that as they have all “one Lord, one faith,”' as they are all “ called in one hope of their calling," so they may all " walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called ; with all lowliness and meckness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
4. But, in the full extent of the word, a Peace-maker is one that, as he hath opportunity,“ docth good unto all men;" one that, being filled with the love of God and of all mankind, canmot confine the expressions of it to his own family, or friends, or acquaintance, or party, or to those of his own opinions,
no, nor those who are partakers of like precious faith ; but steps over all these narrow bounds, that he may do good to every man, that he may, some way or other, manifest his love to neighbours and strangers, friends and enemies. He doeth good to them all, as he hath opportunity, that is, on every possible occasion ; “redeeming the time,” in order thereto ; buying up cvery opportunity, improving every hour, losing no moment wherein he may profit another. He does good, not of one particular kind, but good in general, in every possible way; employing herein all his talents of every kind, all his polers and taculties of body and soul, all his fortune, his