« הקודםהמשך »
Let there be no guile found in your mouth: let your words be the genuine picture of your heart. Let there be un darkness or reservedness in your conversation, no disguise in your behaviour. Leave this to those who have other designs in view; designs which will not bear the light. Be ye artless and simple to all mankind; that all may see the grace of God which is in you. And although some will harden their hearts, yet others will take knowledge that ye have been with Jesus, and, by returning theinselves to the great Bishop of their souls, “glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
4. With this one design, that men may glorify God in you, go on in luis name, and in the power of his mighi. Be 105 ashamed even to stand alone, so it be in the ways of God. Let the light, which is in your heart, shine in all good works, both works of piets and works of mercy. And in order to enlarge your ability of doing good, renounce all supertiuities. Cut oil all unnecessary expense in food, in furniture, in apparel. Be a good steward of every gift of God, eren of these his lowest gift3. Cut off all unnecessary expense of time, all needless or useless employments; and “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” In a word, be thou full of faith and love; do good: suffer evil. And herein he thou“ steadfast, unmoveable ; [yea,) alvat's abounding in the work of ihe Lord; förasinuch as thou know'est that thy labour is not in vain ils tbe Lord."
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
“ Think not that I am come io destroy the law, or the prophets :
I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. “ For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all
be fulfilled. "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least command
ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven : but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom
of heaven. “ For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall
exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case entor into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. v. 17-20. .
1. Among the multitude of reproaches which fell upon Him who " was despised and rejected of men,” it could not fail to be one, that he was a Teacher of novelties, an Introducer of a new Religion. This might be affirmed with the more colour, because many of the expressions he had used were not common among the Jews: either they did not use them at all, or not in the same sense, not in so full and strong a meaning. Add to this, that the worshipping God “in spirit and in truth" must always appear a new religion to those who have hitherto kuown nothing but outside worship, nothing but the " form of godliness.”
2. And it is not improbable, some might hope it was so; that he was abolishing the old religion, and bringing in another,--one which, they might flatter themselves, would be
an easier way to heaven. But our Lord refutes, in these words, both the raiu hopes of the one, and the groundless calumnicu of the other.
I shall consider them in the same order as they lie, taking each verse for a distinct lead of discourse.
I. 1. And, first, « Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Propliets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
The Ritual or Ceremonial Law, delivered by Moses to the children of Israel, containing all the injunctions and ordinances which related to the old sacrifices and service of the temple, our Lord did indeed come to destroy, to dissolve, and utterly abolish. To this bear all the Apostles witness; not only Barnabas anı! Paul, vrho vehemently withstood those who taught that Christians “ought to keep the law of Moses;”(Acts xv. 6 ;) not only St. Peter, who termed the insisting on this, on the observance of the ritual law, a “tempting God,” and“ putting a yoke upon the rieck of the disciples, which neither our fathers," saith he, “nor we were able to bear;"_but « all the Apostles, elders, and brethren, being assembled with one accord),” (ver. 10,) declared, that to command them to keep this luit, was to “subvert their souls ;” and that “it soome good to the Holy Glost” and to them, “to lay ilo such burden upon them.” This “hand-writing of ordinances our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to his cross." (Ver. 21.)
2. But the Vloral Law, contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, he did not take away. It was not the design of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken, which " stands fast as the faithful witness in hicaven.” The moral stauds on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law, which was only designed for a temporary restraint upon a disobedient and stillnecked people; whereas this was from the beginning of the world, being “ written not on tables of stone,” but on the hearts of all the children of men, when they came out of the bands of the Creator. And, however the lottcrs ouce wrote by the finger of God are now in a great ineasure defaced by sin, yet can they not wholly be blotted out, while we hare any consciousness of good and evil. Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to changc, but on the nature of
God, and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.
3. “ I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Some have conceived our Lord to mean,-I am come to fulfil this, by my entire and perfect obedience to it. And it cannot be doubted but he did, in this sense, fulfil every part of it. But this does not appear to be what he intends here, being foreign to the scope of his present discourse. Without question, his meaning in this place is, (consistently with all that goes before and follows after,)-I am come to establish it in its fulness, in spite of all the glosses of men : I am come to place in a full and clear view whatsoever was dark or obscure therein : I am come to declare the true and full import of every part of it; to show the length and breadth, the entire extent, of every commandment contained therein, and the height and depth, the inconceivable purity and spirituality of it in all its branches.
4. And this our Lord bas abundantly performed in the preceding and subsequent parts of the discourse before us ; in which he has not introduced a new religion into the world, but the same which was from the beginning ;-a religion, the substance of which is, without question, as old as the creation, .. being coeval with man, and having proceeded from God at the very time when “man became a living soul;” (the substance, I say; for some circumstances of it now relate to man as a fallen creature;)-a religion witnessed to both by the Law and by the Prophets, in all succeeding generations. Yet was it never so fully explained, nor so thoroughly understood, till the great Author of it himself condescended to give mankind this, authentic comment on all the essential branches of it; at the same time declaring it should never be changed, but remain in force to the end of the world.
JI. 1. “ For verily I say unto you,” (a solemn preface, which denotes both the importance and certainty of what is spoken,) "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
« One jot:"—it is literally, not one iota, not the most inconsiderable vowel : “or one tittle,” usa neglia, -one corner or point of a consonant. It is a proverbial expression, which signifies that no one commandment contained in the moral law, nor the least part of any one, however inconsiderable it might seem, should ever be disannulled.
“ Shall in no wise pass from the law :" y un magazalon TO TY you. The double negative, here used, strengthens the sense,
so as to admit of no contradiction : and the word 72c7.6, it may be observed, is not barely future, declaring what will be ; but has likewise the force of an imperative, ordering what shall be. It is a lord of authority, expressing the sovereign will and power of him that spake; of Him whose word is the law of heaven and earth, and stands fast for ever and ever.
" Que jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass, till beaven and carth pass ; ” or, as it is expressed immediately after, Ews my Toxita yürnta, -till all (or rather all things) be fulfilled, till the consummation of all things. Here is therefore no room for that poor cvasion, (with which some bave delighted thensclves greatly,) that “ No part of the law was to pass away, till all the law was fuitilled: but it has been fulfilled by Christ; and therefore pow must pass, for the Gospel to be established.” Not so ; the word all does not mean all the law, but all things in the universe; as veither has the term fulfilleil any reference to the law, but to all things in heaven and earth.
2. From all this we may learn, that there is no contrariety at all between the Law and the liespel; that there is no need for the Law to pass away, in order to the establishing the Gospel. Indeed neither of them supersedes the other, but they agree perfectly well together. Yea, the very same words, considered in different respects, are parts both of the law and of the gospel : if they are considered as cominandments, they are parts of the law; if as promises, of the gospel. Thus, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," when considered as a commandment, is a branch of the law; when regarded as a promise, is an essential part of the gospel ;-the gospel being no other than the commands of the law, proposed by way of promise. Accordingly, poverty of spirit, purity of heart, and whatever else is cujoined in the holy law of God, are no other, when viewed in a gospel light, than so many great and precious promises.
3. There is, therefore, the closest connexion that can be conceived, between the law and the gospel. On the one hand, the law continually makes way for, and points us to, the gospel; on the other, the gospel continually leads us to a more exact fulfilling of the law. The law, for instance, requires us to love God, to love our neighbour, to be meek, humble, or holy: We feel that we are not sufficient for these things; yea, that “ with man this is impossible :” But we see it promise of God, to give us that love, and to make us humble, ineek, and holy: M'c lay hold of this gospel, of these glad tidings; it is done