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24 Refleations on the Need of Self-denial and Mortification. Sect. 9;. Vol. i. pag. 223.) and as Salt is a very good Thing, the Salt have lost his Saltness, u so will you, if you answer that Character, be in

wherewith will ye season Mark IX.

.

!

it? Have Salt in yourselves, d. eftimable Blessings to the World: But remember and have Peace one with 50.

what I then added, if the Salt itself be grown in- another.
fipid, with what will you feason it ? or what can
restore you, if you are corrupted, who should
restore others ? See to it therefore, that you have
this excellent Salt in yourselves; and as one In-
stance of it, be careful to maintain Peace with
each other, and do not give Way to those very
unbecoming Disputes and Emulations, which have
been the Occasion of my present Discourse.

I M P R O V E M E N T. Nat. xviii... L O W deeply is Pride rooted in the Heart of fallen Man; when

11 neither the daily Instructions, nor edifying Example of the humble Jefus, could prevent it from appearing, even among the Apostles themfelves, in so mean and unworthy a Manner ! Still did Worldly Interest and Grandeur fo intoxicate their 'Minds, that they seemed even against Hope to have hoped for it, and to have found out a strange Kind of Method, of grafting these Expectations, even on the very Cross of Chrift,

which was intended to destroy them. Mark ix. 36. How edifying and affecting are these Lessons, which the meek and

lowly Redeemer gave us, with this little Child in his Arms, whose Example

we are required to copy ! Lord, give us of thy regenerating Grace, that Mat.xviii.3. we may do it ; that we may be converted, and become as

free from Avarice and Ambition, Malice and Prejudice ! How melancholy is it to think, that many, who have by their Office been employed to read and explain this Lesson to others, and who have not been Children in Understanding, seem to have learnt so little of it themselves; as if it had never been at all intended for that Order of Men, to whom indeed it was immediately addressed ! If there be any such yet remaining in the Christian Miniftry, let them seriously weigh 'the Woe, denounced on that Man by whom the Offence cometb. May the infinite Mercies of God be extended to all professing Christians, who give themselves up to Worldly Pursuits and Projects; and especially to those, who make the Church of Christ only a kind of Porch to the Temple of Mammon, and the Sacred Office itself merely a convenient Vehicle, for swallowing down Riches and Honours ! May Divine Grace deliver us from such fatal Snares, and form us to that Self-denial and Mortification, without which we cannot be the true Disciples of Chrift; but after having pierced ourselves thro' with many unnecessary Sorrows here, shall plunge ourselves deep into Eternal Perdition !

May

Ver. 7.

25

CHRIST will not have his Little Ones despised: May these repeated, and dreadful Representations of future Misery, Sect. 93. which we have now been reading, impress our Souls in a becoming

Mark ix. Manner! Blessed Jesus! thou bringest good Tidings; yet which of the ma

9 43,48. Prophets under the Legal Dispensation ever represented the Terrors of the Lord in so awful a Light, as that in which thou hast placed them! Let none of thy Ministers be afraid to imitate thee herein! nor let any of thy Followers presume to censure them for it! May we all be effectually warned to flee from the Wrath to come ; and as we would not another Day be salted Ver. 49. with Fire, may our Hearts now be seasoned with thy Grace! and may we Ver. 50. by a modest and peaceful, a benevolent and useful Life, be daily bearing a Testimony to it, and as the Salt of the Earth may we be labouring to cure the growing Corruption of the World about us!

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S E C T. XCIV.
Our Lord farther inforces Condescension and Humility,

and gives Rules for the Accommodation of Disputes and
Offences among Christians. Mat. XVIII. 10,---20.
MAT, XVII. 10.

MAT. XVIII. 10.
TAKE heed that ye de- L ARTHER to promote the Humility and Sect. 94.

spise not one of these F Moderation of his Disciples, our Lord pro- w Little Ones; for I say unto you, that in Heaven their

ceeded in the Discourse which he had b
Angels do always behold the in the former Section, with the little Child in his
Face of my Father which is Arms, and said, Také special beed that you despise
in Heaven.

not one of these Little Ones, or that you do not cast
Contempt on the weakest and meanest of my
Servants, nor slight even the Soul of a Child; for
I say unto you, that their attendant Angels, while
in Heaven, do incessantly behold the Face of my
Heavenly Father (a); and if the highest Courtiers

in (a) Their attendant Angels, while in Heaven, &c.] The Fathers looked on this as an Argument, that each good Man had his particular Guardian Angel : (See Suicer. Thesaur. vol. i. pag. 43.) And Grotius also seems to allow the Force of it. I apprehend this Passage rather intimates, that the Angels, who sometimes attend the Little Ones spoken of, at other Times stand in God's immediate Presence; and consequently that different Angels are at different Times employed in this kind Office, if it be incessantly performed. The general Sense is plain, that the highest Angels do not disdain, on proper Occasions, to perform Services of Protection and Friendship for the meanest Christian; but, as St. Paul says, they are all ministring Spirits sent forth to minister to the Heirs of Salvation. Heb. i. 14. I say, the highest; because to behold the Face of GOD, may signify waiting near his Throne, and be an ÅHúfron to the Office of Chief Ministers in Earthly Courts, who daily converse with their Princes. See Grotius ; and compare 2 Sam. xvi. 19. 1 Kings xii. 6. ' Esth. i. 14. and Luke i. 19.. Vol. II.

(6) For

26

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II,

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Nor will the Father suffer one of them to perish. Sect. 94. in the World above do not disdain, on proper Oc

c asions, to minister unto them, much less should Mar. XV

you disdain it. Especially when you consider, i For the Son of Man is
how much greater an Instance of Condescension come to save that which was
you have continually before you, than it is possible
even the Angels should give; for the Son of Man
himself (6), that great and illustrious Personage,
came, not, as many have imagined, to reign and
triumph upon Earth, but by all the Offices of
Humility and Endearment to save that which was
lost and undone ; and he takes a gracious and con-
ftant Overlight of the least, as well as the greatest

of his Redeemed ones. (Compare Luke xix. 10.
12 Sect. 143.) What do you think would be the Con-

12 How think ye? If a

Man have an hundred Sheep, duct of a faithful Shepherd ? If a Man had an and one of them be gone Hundred Sheep, and but one of them should wander, aftray, doth he not leave the would be not leave the Ninety-nine in their Pasture ninety and nine, and goeth or Fold on the Mountains (c), and go out with the seeketh that which is gone

into the Mountains, and most solicitous Care and Labour to seek that which is aftray? 13 gone astray? And if be happen to find it, I allur- 13. And if fo be that he edly say unto you, that he will bring it back with grea- vou. Ze rejoiceth more of

find it, verily I say unto ter Pleasure, and it will give him a more sensible that Sheep, than of the nine

Yoy, than the Ninety-nine which had not wandered at ty and nine which went not
all. (Compare Luke xv. 4
compare Luke xv. 4, 5. Sect. 122.) Even Ways

14 Even so it is not the fo, it is not the Will of GOD your Heavenly Father, will of your Father which that any one of these Little Ones fhould be loft, for is in Heaven, that one of Want of your Care in attending it, or thro' your tim.

these Little ones should peNegligence in seeking its Recovery.

And as in order to the Recovery of your weak. 15 Moreover, if thy Broer Brethren, Admonition will frequently be ne- ther shall trespass against thee,

go and tell him his Fault be. cessary, let me lay down a Rule, which, when

tween larger Societies are formed among you, it will be of great Importance to attend to with the utmost Care: If thou shalt know thy Brother to be guilty of a Fault, and he shall fin against thee, go and reprove him in the most convincing, yet the most

gentle

(6) For the Son of Man himself. 7 The Particle For here introduces another Reafon, to inforce the Caution not to despise these Little ones, and not a Proof of their Angels bebolding GOD's Face. See Note (d) on Luke xi. 36. Vol. i. pag. 390.

(C) Leave the Ninety-nine on the Mountains. ] The Original will bear, either this Construcrion, or that which is given in our common Transation; but I have rather chosen to exprels it thus, as most agreeable to what we find in Luké, chap. xv. 4. Sect. 122.

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How they fould deal with an offending Brother. tween thee and him alone: gentle Manner that thou canst (d); and that he Sect. 94. if he thah hear thee, thou may take it the better, let it be done between thee w haft gained thy Brother, and him alone : If he will bear thee with due Re-M

Mat.XVIII. gard, it is well ; for by this Means thou hast gained thy Brother; he will return to the Way of his Duty, and the Friendship between you will thus be established on firmer Foundations than ever, in Confequence of this substantial Token of thy

impartial Sincerity, and Frankness of Temper. 16 But if he will not hear (Compare Prov. xxviii. 23.) But if be will 16 thee, then take with thee one not bearken sto ti take with thee One or two or two more, that in the

e more, who are Persons of Character and Reputa-
Mouth of two or three Wit-.
Delles every word may be tion in the Society, that their Presence may add
establidhed.

greater Weight to the Admonition given, and may
be of Service, either to silence his Objections, and
bring him to a Sense of his Fault, or to prevent
Disputes, and justify thy Conduct, if the Matter
should be carried farther ; as in the Mouth of Two
or Three Witnesses every word may be established

more effectually, than it could otherwise have
19 And if he shall neg- been. (See Deut. xix. 15.) But if he shall 17
led to hear them, tell it un- be still incorrigible in his Fault, and disregard
to the Church: but if he them in the Advice they offer him for Peace,

neglect

then tell it to the whole Church (e), or Society

(d) Reprove him in the most convincing -- Manner that thou canst.] The Word eney Ecu signifies to convince, as well as to admonish. Compare John viii. 9, 46. xvi. 8. 1 Cor. xiv. 24. Tit. i. 9. and Jam. ii. 9.- The Reader will observe, I often chuse to give the full Force of a Word in the Paraphrase, rather than greatly to increase the Number of Words in the Verfion, tho’ so increased they might express no more, than is expressed in a single Word or two in the Greek.

(e) Tell it to the whole Church.] This is one of those many Scriptures, which would have been very intelligible, if they had not been learnedly obscured by ingenious Men, whose Interest it has been to spread a Cloud over them. I am more and more convinced, that the vulgar Sense of the New Testament, i. e. the Sense in which an honest Man of plain Sense would take it on his first reading the Original, or any good Translation, is almost every where the true general Sense of any Passage; thoʻ an Acquaintance with Language and Antiquity, with an attentive Meditation on the Text and Context, may illustrate the Spirit and Energy of a Multitude of Places, in a Manner which could not otherwise be learnt. The old English Editions of 1539. and 1541. render it, Tell it to the Congregation; and I think properly enough. The Word Church is unhappily grown into a Term of Art, and has by different Persons a Variety of secondary Ideas annexed to it; as Dr. Watts has beautifully shewn, in his Elay on Uncharitableness, pag. 7-10. But it signifies in general, an Assembly, or Num. ber of People, called together on whatever Occasion; as is well known. (Compare Aets xix. 32, 39.) It is in the New Testament generally used, as here, for a particular Asembly; (Acts xiv. 23. i Cor. iv, 17. xiv, 23. xvi. 19.) but sometimes it is used for the whole Body of Christians, because they are now called out from the World, and are at last to be gathered together in the Presence of Chrift their Head, (2 Thef. ii. 1.) and to dwell for ever with each other, and with him. (1 Thef. iv, 17.) Compare Mat, xvi, 18. Eph. i. 22. iii: 10. V. 24.

D 2

and

28 Whatever they bind on Earth, fhall be bound in Heaven. Sect. 94. of worshipping Christians to which he belongs, neglect to hear the Church

let him be unto thee as an w and among whom he has immediate Commu- leath Mat, XVIII.

Heathen Man, and a Public nion in Gospel Ordinances; and if they con- can. 17.

cur in any Admonition to the Offender, and be
be so far hardened as to disregard the whole
Church, or Society of Christians, you have then
done your utmost to reclaim him; and while
he continues in this obstinate Temper, you will
do well to enter your Protest against it, by for-
bearing any intimate Friendship with such a Per-
son; and let him therefore in this Cale be to thee
even as a Heathen, and a Publican, or other most
notorious Sinner (f), to whom you would perform
only the common Offices of Humanity, but
would avoid his intimate Society as scandalous,
and to whom you are not under those peculiar
Obligations, whereby Christian Brethren are

bound to each other. .
38 These are the Maxims, which you, my 18 Verily I say unto you,
Apostles, are to inculcate on my other Followers, Earth

Whatsoever ye shall bind on

Thall be bound in and let them see to it, that they duly regard you; Heaven : and whatsoever ye for verily I say unto you, You shall be furnished thall loose on Earth, shall be with such Divine Ilumination and Affistance, as loosed in Heaven. Ihall abundantly confirm the Authority of your Decisions, on every Case and Question which may occur ; and fully prove, (as I formerly told you,) that whatsoever you shall bind even in this Course of your humble Ministry on Earth, Mall be bound in Heaven ; and whatsoever you mall loose

оп

and Col. i. 18, 24.— According to Bishop Stilling fleet's Interpretation of this Text, (let his Irenicum, Book ii, chap. 5. $. 8.) it should be rendered, Tell it to an Assembly, or a select Company. But it is certain, the Force of the Article is better preserved by our Version; and as undoubtedly it must be an Assembly of Chriftians, (compare i Cor. vi. 1.) so no Interpretation seems so natural, as that it should be that Assembly which was under a peculiar Obligation to watch over the Person in Question, (compare i Cor. v. 12, 13. and 2 Thel. iii. 14, 15.) and that, whose Advices and Remonstrances he was peculiarly obliged to hear. And this was likewise conformable to the Usage of the Jews, who admonished Offenders in their Synagogues, and to many of their Maxims, which Commentators mention on this Text. See Lightfoot's Hor. Hebr. in loco and Selden de Syned. lib. i. cap. 9.

(f) As a Heathen, and a Publican, or other most notorious Sinner.) If I am not much mistaken, that celebrated Text in Titus, relating to Hereticks, (chap. iii. 10.) which requires, that a Man who disturbs the Peace, or subverts the Faith of his Christian Brethren, should be twice admonished, and then discarded by the Society, may be much illustrated by this Passage. When such a Case occurs, as well as when an offended Brother has just Cause of Complaint,) each particular Person concerned must judge as well as he can; remembering he is answerable to Christ for the Impartiality of such Judgment.

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