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particular branch of it, to which purpose SERM.
the apostle here improves it. It is the II.
strongest reason why men should be careful
to obey all the commandments of God, and
so order all their words and actions as they
may hope that they shall be approv’d by him,
fince all our works shall be brought into judg-
ment, and every secret thing, whether it be
good or bad*; and fince, as our Saviour has
taught us, by our words we shall be justified,
and by our words we Mall be condemned to
This is a consideration which must strike the
mind of every one who seriously attends to it,
persuading him to govern his tongue, and
to govern his life religiously ; to watch over
his whole behaviour with the utmost cir-
cumspection, that so he may not be ashamed
before the great Judge at his appearing, but
may have confidence towards him. But,

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Şecondly, It would seem by the connexion of the apostle's discourse, that he defign'd this particularly as a motive to candor and charity in all our deportment towards men. He blames the Christian Jews for carrying it so partially as they did towards their Fellows. The rich who came into their assem blies, were treated with great civility, but

the * Ecclef. xii. Matth. xii. 37.

SERM. the poor were despised. This was a very II. faulty respect of persons, unbecoming re

ligious fimplicity, and contrary to that royal law, as he calls it, ver. 8. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Certainly no one can imagine, that the outward distinctions of condition in this world should direct the measures of our regard to our neighbours : according to that law in which our whole duty to them is comprehended, fince the poor, as well as the rich, partake of the same human nature, and the same gospel grace, are united, by the same bonds, in fine, are in every respect equally our neighbours, how are we justified in making a difference ? Charity is an undistinguishing principle of good offices to all men, and brotherly kindnefs the principle of the same good offices to all our fellow servants, and children of God our father, and fellow members of the body of Christ. Indeed, according to the religion of the Jews, it was otherwise, efpecially according to the sentiments which

prevail'd among them in the last age of that difpenfation. The ceremonial law made an inclosure which appropriated many of their kind offices, and their intimate fellowship, to those of their own nation. But, especially, their teachers carried this much far

ther

ther than ever the divine institution intended, Serm.
for they pronounced men of other nations, II.
and religious professions, hated and accursed
of God; therefore, worthy not of their
friendly regard, but of their aversion and
contempt. But, christianity has taken away
all such distinctions, and those restraints of
charity, which must be disagreeable to a kind
and generous temper ; it gives full scope to
the principle of benevolence, which may
now exert itself with an unconfin'd free-
dom, not narrow'd by kindreds, particular
denominations, and outward badges of di-
stinction. Christ died as a propitiation, not
for the Jews only, but the whole world,
and gathered together into one, the children of
God who were scattered abroad. The gospel
being, therefore, in this respect, a law of
liberty, the spirit becoming it is a large and
generous one, an extensive charity, not li-
mited by these outward and partial conside-
rations whereby men straiten the best dispo-
fitions of their own nature. According to
the law by which we expect to be judged,
so should our tempers and our actions be.
If then, the royal law of charity which re-
quires good-will and the proper expressions
of it to all men, and a hearty love, with a
peaceable affectionate behaviour towards all

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SERM. men, who in every place call on the name of
II. the Lord Jesus, of whatever tongue, kindred,

or nation they be, or whatever outward con-
dition in this world ; if this be the rule of
judgment, what hope can profess'd christians
have, what confidence towards their supreme,
righteous judge, in a partial and unmerciful
disposition ? Will the law of liberty acquit
us in confining our charity, in appropriating
our respect to the rich, while we despise the
poor, or in making any such distinction, in-
deed, any distinction which does not affect
the true foundations of mutual love. Nay,
the apostle adds, in the words immediately
following the text, and as a sequel of it, for
be shall have judgment without mercy, who
bath jewed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth
against judgment; that is, the man whose
conscience approves him as impartially cha-
ritable and merciful in his disposition, and
his whole conversation, shall assure his heart
before God, having confidence in the ex-
pectation of the future judgment and good
hope that he shall not be condemned.

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Thirdly, There is in the exhortation of the text a designed reference to the univerfality of our obedience, as that only which can give us hape of being acquitted in judg

ment,

ment. In the verses immediately preceding,SERM. the apostle states the case of a partial obe

II. dience to God's law, and shews the insufficiency of it to our acceptance. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one. point, is guilty of all. For be that said da not commit adultery, said also do not kill. - Now, if thou commitest no adultery, yet if thou killeft thou art become a transgressor of the law. The reason and the justness of this decision is very plain, since it is the same supreme authority which has enjoin'd all the commandments of the law, and forbidden all the transgressions of it, that authority is affronted, and its right violated, by disobeying any of the commandments, and by commiting one transgression as well as another ; for example, by murder as well as adultery; for 'tis evident, that if a respect to the will of God governs the mind of a man in any case, it ought to govern him in all cases where the will of God is equally known ; and even where the substance of an action seems to be conformable to a divine precept, yet the principle cannot be avialable to a man's acceptance with God, unless there be a conformity in the whole tenor of his life to all the divine precepts. The fame temptation, or an equally strong

one,

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