תמונות בעמוד

another’s ignorance or necessity,--having filled every corner of the land ;) “nor even as this publican ;” not guilty of any open or presumptuous sin; not an outward sinner; but a fair, honest man, of blameless life and conversation.

4. “I fast twice in the week." There is more implied in this, than we may at first be sensible of. All the stricter Pharisees observed the weckly fasts; namely, every Monday and Thursday. On the former day, they fasted in memory of Moses receiving on that day (as their tradition taught) the two tables of stone written by the finger of God; on the latter, in memory of his casting them out of his hand, when he saw the people dancing round the golden calf. On these days, they took no sustenance at all, till three in the afternoon; the hour at which they began to offer up the evening sacrifice in the temple. Till that hour, it was their custom to remain in the temple, in some of the corners, apartments, or courts thereof; that they might be ready to assist at all the sacrifices, and to join in all the public prayers. The time between they were accustomed to employ, partly in private addresses to God, partly in searching the Scriptures, in reading. the Law and the Prophets, and in meditating thereon. Thus much is implied in, “I fast twice in the week;” the second branch of the righteousness of a Pharisee.

5“I give tithes of all that I possess.” This the Pharisces did with the utmost exactness. They would not except the most inconsiderable thing; no, not mint, anise, and cummin. They would not keep back the least part of what they believed properly to belong to God; but gave a full tenth of their whole substance yearly, and of all their increase, whatsoever

it was.

Yea, the stricter Pharisees, (as has been often observed by those who are versed in the ancient Jewish writings,) not content with giving one tenth of their substance to God, in his Priests and Levites, gave another tenth to God in the poor, and that continually. They gave the same proportion of all they had in alms, as they were accustomed to give in tithes. And this likewise they adjusted with the utmost exactness; that they might not keep back any part, but might fully render unto God the things which were God's, as they accounted this to be. So that, upon the whole, they gave away, from year to year, an entire fifth of all that they possessed.

6. This was “the Righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ;” a righteousness which, in many respects, went far


beyond the conception which many bavo been accustoned in cntertain concerning it. But perhaps it will be said, “It was all falsc and feigned; for they were all a company of hypocrites.” Some of them doubiless were ; men who hai really no religion at all, no fear of God, or desire to please him ; who had no concern for the honour that cometh of God, but only for the praise of men. And these are they whom var Lord so severely condemus, so sharply reproves on many ociitsions. But we must not suppose', because many Pharisees were hypocrites, therefore all were so. Nor indeed is hypocrisy by any means essential to the character of a l'barisee. This is uot the distinguishing mark of their scct. It is rather this, (according to our Lord's account,) “They trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." This is their genuine badge. But the Pharisee of this kind cannot be an hypocrite. He must be, in the common sense, sincerc; otherwise be could not “trust in himself that he is righteous." The man who was here commending himself to God, unquestionably thought himself righteous. Consequently he was no hypo.

he was not conscious to himself of any insincerity: He now spoke to God just what he thought, that he was abundantly better than other men.

But the example of St. Paul, were there no other, is sufficient to put this out of all question. He could not only say, when he was a Christian), “ Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence, toward God, and toward men ; (Acts xxiv. 16;) but even concerning the time when he was a Pharisee, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts xxiii. 1.) He was therefore sincere when he was a Pharisee, as well as when he was a Christian. He was no more an hypocrite when he persecuted the church, than when he preached the faith whicii once he persecuted. Let this then be added to “the rightcousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, å sincerc belief that they are righteous, and in all things “doing God service.”

7. And yet, “ Except your righteousness," saith our Lord, « shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of hicaren." A solemn and weighty declaration, and one which it behoves all, who are called by the name of Christ, seriously and deeply to consider. But before we inquire, How our righteousness may exceed theirs, let us examine, whether at present we come up to it ?

First. A Parisee vas “not as other men are.” In externals

be was singularly good. Are we so? Do we dare to be singular at all? Do we not rather swim with the stream ? Do we not many times dispense with religion and reason together, because we would not look particular? Are we not often more afraid of being out of the fashion, than being out of the way of salvation ? Have we courage to stem the tide? To run counter to the world? “ To obey God rather than man?” Otherwise the Pharisee leaves us behind at the very first step. It is well if we overtake him

any more. But to come closer: (an we use his first plca with God? which is, in substance, “I do no harm : I live in po outward sin: I do nothing for which my own heart condemns me." Do you not ? Are you sure of that? Do you live in no practice for which your own heart condemns you? If you are not an adulterer, if you are not unchaste, either in word or deed, are you not unjust? The grand measure of justice, as well as of mercy, is, 'Do unto others as thou wouldest they should do unto thee.' Do you walk by this rule? Do you never do unto any what you would not they should do unto you? Nay, are you not grossly unjust ? Are you not an extortioner? Do you not make a gain of any one's ignorance, or necessity ? Neither in buying nor selling? Suppose you were engaged in trade: do you demand, do you receive, no more than the real value of what you sell? Do you demand, do you receive, no more of the ignorant than of the knowing,-of a little child, than of an experienced trader? If you do, why does not your heart condemn you? You are a barefaced extortioner! Do you demand no more than the usual price of goods, of any who is in pressing want,-who must have, and that without delay, the things which you only can furnish him with ? If you do, this also is flat extortion. Indeed you do not come up to the righteousness of a Pharisee.

8. A Pharisee, secondly, (to express his sense in our common way,) used all the means of grace. As he fasted often and much, twice in every week, so he attended all the sacrifices. He was constant in public and private prayer, and in reading and hearing the Scriptures. Do you go as far as this ? Do you fast much and often ? Twice in the week? I fear not. Once at least, -" on all Fridays in the year? ” (So our Church clearly and peremptorily enjoins all her members to do; to obserre all these, as well as the vigils and the forty days of Lent, as days of fasting or abstinence.) Do you fast twice in the year? I am afraid some among us cannot plead even this !-Do you VOL. I. No. 7.


neglect no opportunity of attending and partaking of the Christian Sacrifice? How many are they who call themselves Christians, and yet are utterly regardless of it, -yet do not cat of that bread, or drink of that cup, for monilis, perhaps yeary together! Do you, every day, either hear the Scriptures, or read them and meditate thereon? Do you join in prayer with the great congregation, daily, if you hare opportunity; it mot, whenever you can; particularly on that day which you “ remember to keep it holy?” Do you strive to make opportunities? Are you glad when they say unto you,

"We will into the house of the Lord ? Are you zealous of, and diligent in, private prayer? Do you suffer no day to pass withont it? Rather, are at some of you so far from spending therein (irith the Pharisee) sereral liours in one day, that you think one hour in enough, if sot too much? Do yon spend an hour in a day, or in a week, in praying to your Father which is in secret? Yea, an hour in a month? Have you spent one pour together in prima prayer ever since you was born An poor Christian' Shall not the Pharisee rise up in the judgment againsi thee and condanna thee? Ilis riglicousness is its fur above thiur', as the heaven is above the earth!

9. The Pharisie, thirdly, paid tithes and gave alms of all that he possessed. And in lowample a manner! So that he was (ils ne phrase i:) il mar that did much good.” conie np tolim here? Which of us is so abimant, as he was, in ye works? Which of us gives a fifth of all his substance to God, both of the principal, and of the increase ? Who of us, out of (suppose) il hundred pounds a year, gives twenty to ciod and the poor; oni of titty,--1611; und so in a larger or a smaller proportion? When skall our righteousness, in using all the means of grace, in attending all the ordinances of God, in avoiding eril, amiloins good, equal at least the righteousIless of the Scribes and Pharisees?

10. Although if it only caualleri theirs, what would that profit? “Tor Verily I say m.to you, Except your righteousness shal! Xiced the righteousness of the Scribe's and Pharisees, vi shall in no case enter insis) the kingdom of heaven." But how can it exceed thciis? Therein does the righteousness of : Christian exceed that of a Serite or larisce? Christian right cousness exceeds theirs, tirst, in the Extent of it. Most of the Pharisees, though they were rigorously exact in many things, yet were emboldened, by the traditions of the Elders, to dispense with others of equal importance. Thus they were extremely


punctual in keeping the fourth commandment,they would not even rub an ear of corn on the Sabbath-day; but not at all in keeping the third ; making little account of light, or even false, swearing. So that their righteousness was partial ; whereas the righteousness of a real Christian is universal. He does not observe one, or some parts of the law of God, and neglect the rest ; but keeps all his commandments, loves them all, values them above gold or precious stones.

11. It may be, indeed, that some of the Scribes and Pharisees endeavoured to keep all the commandments, and consequently were, as touching the righteousness of the law, that is, according to the letter of it, blameless. But still the righteousness of a Christian exceeds all this righteousness of a Scribe or Pharisee, by fulớilling the spirit as well as the letter of the law; by inward as well as outward obedience. In this, in the Spirituality of it, it admits of no comparison. This is the point which our Lord has so largely proved, in the whole tenor of this discourse. Their righteousness was external only; Christian righteousness is in the inner man. The Pharisee « cleansed the outside of the cup and the platter;" the Christian is clean within. The Pharisee laboured to present God with a good life; the Christian with a holy heart. The one shook off the leaves, perhaps the fruits of sin ; the other “lays the axe to the root; as not being content with the outward form of godliness, how exact soever it be, unless the life, the spirit, the power of God unto salvation, be felt in the inmost soul.

Thus, to do no harm, to do good, to attend the ordinances of God, (the righteousness of a Pharisee,) are all external; whereas, on the contrary, poverty of spirit, mourning, mcekhess, hunger and thirst after righteousness, the love of our neighbour, and purity of heart, (the righteousness of a Christian,) are all internal. And even peace-making, (or doing good,) and suffering for righteousness' sake, stand entitled to the blessings annexed to them, only as they imply these inward dispositions, as they spring from, exercise, and confirm them. So that whereas the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees was external only, it may be said, in some sense, that the righteousness of a Christian is internal only: all his actions and sufferings being as nothing in themselves, being estimated before God only by the tempers from which they spring.

12. Whosoever therefore thou art, who bearest the holy and venerable name of a Christian, see, first, that thy 1:;hteous

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