Sivut kuvina

sanctification, there is no place for repentance, in him who believes there is no sin either in his life or heart. Consequently, there is no place for his being "perfected in love," to which that repentance is indispensably necessary.

12. Hence it may likewise appear, that there is no possible danger in thus expecting full salvation. For, suppose we were mistaken, suppose no such blessing ever was, or can be attained, yet we lose nothing nay, that very expectation quickens us, in using all the talents which God has given us; yea, in improving them all, so that when our Lord cometh he will receive his own with increase.

13. But to return. Though it be allowed that both repentance and its fruits are necessary to full salvation; yet they are not necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in the same degree; not in the same degree; for these fruits are necessary conditionally, if there be time and opportunity for them, otherwise a man may be sanctified without them. But he cannot be sanctified without faith. Likewise, let a man have ever so much of this repentance, or ever so many good works, yet all this does not at all avail: he is not sanctified till he believe. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less of this repentance, he is sanctified. Not in the same sense; for this repentance and these fruits are only remotely necessary, necessary in order to the continuance of his faith, as well as the increase of it: whereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to sanctification. It remains, that faith is the only condition, which is immediately and proximately necessary to sanctification.

14. "But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, saved from sin, and perfected in love?" It is a divine evidence and conviction, 1, That God hath promised it in the Holy Scripture. Till we are thoroughly satisfied of this, there is no moving one step further. And one would imagine there needed not one word more to satisfy a reasonable man of this than the ancient promise, "Then will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." How clearly does this express the being perfected in love! How strongly-imply the being saved from all sin! For, as long as love takes up the whole heart, what room is there for sin therein?

15. It is a divine evidence and conviction, Secondly, that what God hath promised he is able to perform. Admitting therefore that "with men it is impossible," to bring a clean thing out of an unclean, to purify the heart from all sin, and to fill it with all holiness; yet this creates no difficulty in the case, seeing "with God all things are possible." And surely no one ever imagined it was possible to any power less than that of the Almighty! But, if God speak, it shall be done. God said, "Let there be light! and there was light."

16. It is, Thirdly, a divine evidence and conviction that he is able and willing to do it now. And why not? Is not a moment to him the same as a thousand years? He cannot want more time to accomplish whatever is his will. And he cannot want or stay for any more worthiness or fitness in the persons he is pleased to honour. We may

therefore boldly say, at any point of time, "Now is the day of salvation." "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Behold! all things are now ready, come unto the marriage.”

17. To this confidence, that God is both able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more, a divine evi dence and conviction, that he doth it. In that hour it is done. says to the inmost soul, "According to thy faith be it unto thee!" Then the soul is pure from every spot of sin; "it is clean from all unrighteousness." The believer then experiences the deep meaning of those solemn words, "If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."


18. "But, does God work this great work in the soul, gradually or instantaneously?" Perhaps it may be gradually wrought in some, I mean, in this sense, they do not avert to the particular moment, wherein sin ceases to be. But it is infinitely desirable, were it the will of God, that it should be done instantaneously; that the Lord should destroy sin "by the breath of his mouth," in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And so he generally does, a plain fact, of which there is evidence enough to satisfy any unprejudiced person. Thou therefore look for it every moment. Look for it in the way above described; in all those good works whereunto thou art "created anew in Christ Jesus." There is then no danger: you can be no worse, if you are no better for that expectation. For, were you to be disappointed of your hope, still you lose nothing. But you shall not be disappointed of your hope: it will come, and will not tarry. Look for it then every day, every hour, every moment. Why not this hour, this moment? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or works. If by works, you want something to be done first, before you are sanctified. You think, "I must first be or do thus or thus." Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are then expect it now. It is of importance to observe, that there is an inseparable connexion between these three points, expect it by faith, expect it as you are, and expect it now! To deny one of them is to deny them all. To allow one, is to allow them all. Do you believe we are sanctified by faith? Be true then to your principle; and look for this blessing just as you are, neither better nor worse; as a poor sinner that has nothing to pay, nothing to plead, but Christ died. And if you look for it as you are, then expect it now. Stay for nothing: why should you? Christ is ready; and he is all you want. He is waiting for you: he is at the door! Let your inmost soul cry out,

"Come in, come in, thou heavenly Guest!
Nor hence again remove;

But sup with me, and let the feast
'Be everlasting love."

[ocr errors]




"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." MATTHEW

V. 1-4.

1. OUR Lord had now "gone about all Galilee," (Mat. 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 he 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;" yea, to punish with everlasting destruction from his presence and from the glory of his power. It is the eternal wisdom 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 consequently 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 declare his will to the children of

[ocr errors]

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 ii. 23.

3. And what is it which he is teaching? The Son of God, who came from heaven, is here showing us 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 shunned 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 true sayings, he takes care to refute not 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 all 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, whom it is that he is here 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. O μadntal avrov, 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, or oxo, 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 un

born; 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 us, 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 have 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, can we find in any thing he ever spoke, either to the multitude or to his disciples. Has any one of the Apostles, or other Inspired Writers, left such an instruction upon record? No such thing. No assertion of this kind is to be found in all the Oracles of God. Who then are the men who are so much wiser than God? Wise, so far above that is written?

6. Perhaps they will say, "That the reason of the thing requires such a restriction to be made." If it do, it must be on one of these two accounts; because, without such a restriction, the discourse would either be apparently absurd, or would contradict some other Scripture. But this is not the case. It will plainly appear, when we come to examine the several particulars, that there is no absurdity at all in applying all which our Lord hath here delivered, to all mankind. Neither will it infer any contradiction to any thing else he has delivered, nor to any other Scripture whatever. Nay, it will farther appear, that either all the parts of this discourse are to be applied to men in general; or no part; seeing they are all connected together, all joined as the stones in an arch, of which you cannot take one away, without destroying the whole fabric.


7. We may, lastly, observe, How our Lord teaches here. And surely, as at all times, so particularly at this, he speaks, "as never man spake." Not as the holy men of old; although they also spoke they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Not as Peter or James, or John, or Paul. They were indeed wise master-builders in his church. But still in this, in the degrees of heavenly wisdom, the servant is not as his Lord. No, nor even as himself at any other time, or on any other occasion. It does not appear, that it was ever his design, at any other time or place, to lay down at once the whole plan of his Religion, to give us a full prospect of Christianity, to describe at large the nature of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Particular branches of this be has indeed deVOL. 5.-Dd

« EdellinenJatka »