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titude, " Except your righteousness shall exceed the “ righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall « in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."u
1. He taught, not only that killing, but anger, without a very just cause, is unlawful to his disciples, his 'followers."
2. He prefers concord above devotion; mercy before sacrifice : he that will not use his utmost endeavour to be reconciled to his brother, shall find no place for his prayers with him that can only make them effectual. And every man is this brother.
3. He not only forbids adultery, which the law forbids, but luft. The axe of his do Erine is laid to the root of the tree;' it reaches to the first feeds of things, to the innermost and most hidden conceptions of the mind, because he has brought his light near, and searches the innermost parts of the belly with his divine candle.
4. From keeping and performing legal vows, to not Twearing at all. And indeed, what use can there be of any swearing, where mens yea is yea, and their nay, nay?? There their speech, their answers, on all occasions, should be, at the most, but yea, yea; or nay, nay.
5. He taught, not to resist evil, but to suffer loss, rather than enter into contention : his divine wisdom did foresee how much easier it would be to overcome the violent passions of men by patience, than controversy. And he that justly considers the unruliness of some mens dispositions, their heats and prejudices, will find, that it is not always a real injury or loss, but some passion, revenge, or base interest, that puts them upon clamours, and suits of law. . 6. He taught us the highest complacency and cha. rity: “ If any man compel thee to go a mile, go with « him twain.” Be of an easy and ready mind to do good; to all friendly offices be easily persuaded; and
Mat. v. 20. ~ Verse 22. – Verse 23, 24, 25. Verse 28, 29, 30. - Verse 33, 34..Verse 39, 40. Verse 14.
therein rather exceed, than fall short of, any one's intreaty or neceffity.
7. He taught as great liberality and bounty, « To “ give to him that afks, and from him that would " borrow, not to turn away." In short, to be stewards of our external substance for the good of mankind, according to our respective abilities; not grudging, knowing whose it is; nor disbelieving, as knowing him who is both able and bountiful.
8. He advances the doctrine of loving friends, to the degree of loving enemies. « Ye have heard,” said Jesus, " that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy « neighbour, and hate thine enemy;d but I say unto " you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, « do good to them that hate you, and pray for them is that despitefully use you, and persecute you." Surely, then, where no anger dwells, no revenge can grow; and if we must love enemies, there is no man left to be bated. This is the doctrine of that Jesus that laid down his life for all; and this is the end for which he preached it. « That,” says he “ ye may be ! children of your Father which is in heaven; for he « maketh his fun to rise on the evil and the good, « and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. It is as much as if Christ had said, “No man can be I like God, who does not love his enemies, and cannot
do good to all.' Consequently, he that does love enemies, and is ready to do good unto all, he is like . God the Father that is in heaven, who is love.'
9. Christ teaches us to avoid oftentation in our charity: « Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to « be seen of them.”
10. He teaches us the duty of prayer, and what : « not in the corners of the street, nor in the fynago « gues to be seen of men : buc in the closet, in the « fecret of the heart, betwixt God and the soul.”f O heavenly precepts ! he knew our natures, our weak.
• Mat. V. 42. • Verse 43, 44, 45 , John iv. 8, Mat. vi. 1;
f Verse 5, 6.
i na nafs,
ness, and how to meet with it, and mend it. • A blef« sed physician indeed! Let us receive him, for he is sure, and he is free.
II. He forbids boarding, and laying up of money in bank ; but « presses our treasuring up wealth in heacc ven;" & and the reason is this, " That the one is “ corruptible, and the other is incorruptible.” .
12. He teaches dependance upon the providence of God; calling the distrustful, «O ye of little faith! os which of you,” says he, “ by taking thought, can « addı' one cubit to his stature? Therefore take no " thought, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall " we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed ? For «s after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your « heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all o these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God " and his righteousness, and all these things shall be os added to you.”
13. He sets up a discrimination or distinction between false and true prophets; those that are his disci. ples, from counterfeits. " Ye shall know them,” said Christ, « by their fruits : do men gather .grapes cc of thorns, or figs of thistles 2 Even so every good " tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree « bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring « forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring rc forth good fruit: wherefore by their fruits ye shall o know them.” This was the distinction given by Christ to his followers; the tree was not accounted a good tree by the leaves, but the fruits; not by a meer opinion, but holy living. The faith in that day, was an intire resignation and dependance upon God, and not a subscription to verbal propositions and articles, though ever so true: that was the work of after-times, more corrupt and superstitious ages, that laid more stress upon consent, aye, the very show of it, than
holiness, without which no man shall ever see the Lord. But. .
14. Lastly, Christ preaches the general judgment. « Many will say to me in that day,” [What day? The last day, or day of account, and final reckoning with mankind :] “ Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in " thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, * and «. done many wonderful works? And then will I pro“ fess unto them, I never knew you : depart from me " ye that work iniquity. Not every one that saith, « Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, “ but he that doth the will of my Father which is in « heaven. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings « of mine, and doth them, I will liken him unto a « wise man, which built his house upon a rock, and « the rain descended, and the floods came, and the " winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell « not, for it was builded upon a rock. And every r one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doth " them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which
built his house upon the sand : and the rain descend« ed, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and « beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the « fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had « ended these sayings, the people were astonished at « his doctrine; for he taught them as one having au" thority, and not as the Scribes.”
By all which it is most plain, that as Christ is the rock, on which true Christians build, so none can be faid truly to build upon this rock, but those that keep his sayings, that do his commandments, that obey his doctrine. Wherefore that faith of Jesus to be the Son and Christ of God, must be such a faith as does the will of the heavenly Father, and keepeth these sayings of Christ.
There are two places, in which Chrift seems to sum up his blessed doctrine : one is this,' « Therefore all
things, whatsoever ye would that men should do
Mat. vii. 21. to the end. . ! Mat. vii. 12.
th all thy all thy hear. Thou
« to you, do ye even so to them ; for this is the law rs and the prophets;" which, by the way, Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil. But the other passage seems to be more full; the first relating only to our dealings with men, this second passage comprehend. ing our duty both to God and men, viz. m « Thou «s Thalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and « with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; this is the « first and great commandment: and the second is " like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy« self. On these two commandments hang all the law " and the prophets.”
This is the lum and perfection of the Christian religion, the great commandment of Christ, and the certain token of discipleship." " A new commandment," said Christ, “ I give unto you, that ye love one another; " as I have loved you, that ye also love one another: « by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, " if ye have love one to another.” Again Christ speaks to his disciples;' “ If ye keep my commandi ments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have « kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his « love: and this is my coinmandment, that ye love « one another as I have loved you." Yea, once more: " Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command « you, that you love one another. He that hath my « commandments and keepeth them, he it is that lo
veth me;p and he that loveth me shall be loved of « my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest " myself to him: but he that loveth me not, keepeth “ not my sayings,” So that only those are friends and disciples of Christ Jesus that do his sayings and keep his commandments; and the great commandment of all is love ; for upon this one cominandment do all the rest depend.
And indeed the reason is very obvious, since he that loves God above all, will leave all for God: not one
ni Mat. xxii. 37, 38, 39. * John xiii. 34, 35.
12, 14, 17. John xiv, 21.
• John xv. 10,