« ПредишнаНапред »
cannot taste his redeeming love. In such a temper of mind, how natural is it to say, "Oh how will I praise God, when the light of his countenance shall be again lifted up upon my soul! How will I exhort others to praise him, when his love is again shed abroad in my heart ! Then I will do thus and thus : I will speak for God in all places: I will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Then I will redeem the time. I will use to the uttermost every talent I have received." Do not believe thyself. Thou wilt not do it then, unless thou doest it now. “ He that is faithful in that which is little," of whatsoever kind it be, whether it be worldly substance, or the fear or love of God, “will be faithful in that which is much.” But if thou now hidest one talent in the earth, thou wilt then hide five : that is, if ever they are given ; but there is small reason to expect they ever will
. Indeed“ unto him that hath,' that is, uses what he liath," shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly. But from him that hath not,” that is, uses not the grace which he hath already received, whether in a larger or smaller degree, "shall be taken away even that which he hath."
27. And take no thought for the temptations of to morrow. This also is a dangerous snare.
Think not, " When such a temptation comes, what shall I do? how shall I stand ? I feel I have not power to resist: I am not able to conquer that
enemy. Most true : you have not now the power which you do not now stand in need of.
You are not able at this time to conquer that enemy; and at this time he does not assault you. With the grace you have now, you could not with stand the temptations which you have not. But when the temptation comes, the grace will come. In greater trials you will have greater strength. When sufferings abound, the consolations of God will, in the same proportion, abound also. So that in every situation, the
grace of God will be sufficient for you.
He doth not suffer you
to be tempted” to day, “above that ye are able to bear:” and “in every temptation he will make a way to escape.” “As thy days, so thy strength shall be.”
28. “Let the morrow," therefore, “take thought for the things of itself;" that is, when the morrow comes, then think of it. Live thou to day. Be it thy earnest care to improve the present hour. This is your own; and it is your all. The past is as notliing, as though it had never been. The future is nothing to you: it is not yours; perhaps it never will be. There is no depending on what is yet to come; for you “know not what a day may bring forth.” Therefore, live to day: lose not an hour : use this moment; for it is your portion.
66 Who knoweth the things which have been before him, or which shall be after him under the cun?” The generations that were from the beginning of the world, where are they now ? Fled away : forgotten. They were; they lived their day; they were shook off the earth, as leaves off their trees: they mouldered away into common dust! Another and another race succeeded; then they “ followed the generation of their fathers, and shall never more see the light. Now is thy turn upon the earth. “Rejoice, oh young man, in the days of thy youth !" Enjoy the very, very now, by enjoying Him, “ whose years fail not." Now let thine eye be singly fixed on him, " with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning !" Now give him thy heart; now stay thyself on him : now be thou holy, as he is holy! Now lay hold on the blessed
opportunity of doing his acceptable and perfect will ! Now “rejoice to suffer the loss of all things, so thou mayest win Christ !"
29. Gladly suffer to day, for his name's sake, whatsoever he permits this day to come upon thee. But look not at 'the sufferings of to morrow. • Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Evil it is, speaking after the manner of men ; whether it be reproach or want, pain or sickness ; but in the language of God, all is a blessing: it is a precious balm, prepared by the wisdom of God, and variously dispensed among his children, according to the various sicknesses of their souls. And he gives in one day, sufficient for that day; proportioned to the want and strength of the patient. If, therefore, thou snatchest to day, what belongs to thee to morrow; if thou addest this to what is given thee already, it will be more than thou canst bear: this is the way not to heal, but to destroy thy own soul. Take, therefore, just as much as he gives thee to day: to day, do and suffer his will ! To day, give up thyself, thy body, soul, and spirit to God, through Christ Jesus; desiring nothing, but that God may be glorified in all thou art, all thou doest, all thou sufferest; seeking noth ng, but to know God, and his Son Jesus Christ, through the eternal Spirit; pursuing nothing, but to love him, 10 serve him, and to enjoy him at this hour, and to all eternity!
Now unto God the Father, who hath made me and all the world ; unto God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind ; unto God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God; be honour and praise, majesty and dominion, for ever and ever! Amen
SERMON XXX,-Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount,
“ Judge not, that ye be not judged.
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged : and with what mea sure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
“ And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
“Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye ; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast qut the mote out of thy brother's eye.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone ?
. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent ?
“ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ?
“ Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye éven so to them: for this is the law and the prophets,” Matt. vii, 1-12.
1. Our blessed Lord, having now finished his main design, having first delivered the sum of true religion, carefully guarded against those glosses of men, whereby they would make the word of God of none effect; and having next laid down rules touching that right intention,
which we are to preserve in all outward actions; now proceeds to point out the main hinderances of this religion, and concludes all with a suitable application.
2. In the fifth chapter, our great teacher has fully described inward religion in its various branches. He has there laid before us those dispositions of soul, which constitute real Christianity; the tempers contained in that holiness, “ without which no man shall see the Lord;" the affections, which, when flowing from their proper fountain, from a living faith in God through Christ Jesus, are intrinsically and essentially good, and acceptable to God. In the sixth he hath shown how all our actions, likewise, even those that are indifferent in their own nature, may be made holy, and good, and acceptable to God, by a pure and holy intention. Whatever is done withoui this, he declares is of no value with God: whereas, whatever outward works are thus consecrated to God, are, in his sight, of great price.
3. In the former part of this chapter, he points out the most common and most fatal hinderances of this holiness : in the latter, he exhorts us, by various motives, to break through all, and secure thar, prize of our high calling
4. The first hinderance he cautions us against is judging. “ Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Judge not others, that ye be not judged of the Lord ; that ye bring not vengeance on your own heads. with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again :”-a plain and equitable rule, whereby God permits you to determine for yourselves, in what manner he shall deal with you in the judgment of the great day.
5. There is no station of life, nor any period of time, from the hour of our first repenting and believing the gospel, till we are made perfect in love, wherein this caution is not needful for every child of God. For occasions of judging can never be wanting ; and the temptations to it are innumerable, many whereof are so artfully disguised, that we fall into the sin, before we suspect any danger. And unspeakable are the mischiefs produced hereby, always to him that judges another ; thus wounding his own soul, and exposing himself to the righteous judgment of God ;—and frequently to those who are judged, whose hands hang down, who are weakened and hindered in their course, if not wholly turned out of the way, and caused to draw back even to perdition. Yea, how often, when this “ root of bitterness springs up, are many defiled thereby ;" by reason whereof the way of truth itself is evil spoken of, and that worthy name blasphemed whereby we are called.
6. Yet it does not appear that our Lord designed this caution only, or chiefly, for the children of God; but rather for the children of the world, for the men who know not God. These cannot but hear of those who are not of the world; who follow after the religion above described ; who endeavour to be humble, serious, gentle, merciful, and pure in heart; who earnestly desire such measures of these holy tempers as they have not yet attained, and wait for them in doing all good to all man, and patiently suffering evil. Whoever go but thus far, cannot be hid, no more than " a city set upon a hill.” And why do not those who
see their good works, glorify their Father which is in heaven ?” What excuse have they for not treading in their steps ?-?or not imitating their
example, and bring followers of them, as they are also of Christ ? Why, in order to provide an excuse for themselves, they condemn those whom they ought to imitate. They spend their time in finding out their neighbours' faults, instead of amending their own. They are so busied about others going out of the way, that themselves never come into it at all; at least, never get forward ; never go beyond a poor dead form of godliness, without the power.
7. It is to these more especially that our Lord says, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye;"—the infirmities, the mistakes, the imprudence, the weakness of the children of God;"but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Thou considerest pot the damnable impenitence, the Satanic pride, the accursed self will, the idolatrous love of the world, which are in thyself, and which make thy whole life an abomination to the Lord. Above all, with what supine carelessness and indifference art thou dancing over the mouth of hell! And “how then,” with what grace, with what decency or modesty, so wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye;" the excess of zeal for God, the extreme of self denial, the too great disengagement from worldly cares and employments, the desire to be day and night in prayer, or hearing the words of eternal life ?—"And behold a beam is in thine own eye!" Not a mote like one of these."Thou hypocrite!” who pretendest to care for others, and hast no care for thy own soul; who makest a show of zeal for the cause of God, when in truth thou neither lovest nor fearest him! “First cast out the beam put of thine own eye:" cast out the beam of impenitence! Know thyself! See and feel thyself a sinner! Feel that thy inward parts are very wickedness, that thou art altogether corrupt and abominable, and that the wrath of God abideth on thee! Cast out the beam of pride; abhor thyself; sink down as in dust and ashes; be more and more little, and mean, and base, and yile in thine own eyes! Cast out the beam of self will! Learn what thạt meaneth, “If any man will come after me, let him renounce himself.” Deny thyself, and take up thy cross daily. Let thy whole soul cry out, “ I came down from heaven,” [for so thou didst, thou never dying spirit, whether thou knowest it or no,]“ not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me." Cast out the beam of love of the world! Love not the world, neither the things of the world. Be thou crucified unto the world, and the world crucified unto thee. Only use the world, but enjoy God. Seek all thy happiness in him! Above all, cast out the grand beam, that supine carelessness and indifference! Deeply consider, that “one thing is needful;" the one thing which thou last scarce ever thought of. Know and feel, that thou art a poor, vile, guilty worm, quivering over the great gulf! What art thou ? A sinner born to die; a leaf driven before the wind; a yapour ready to vanish away; just appearing, and then scattered into air, to be no more seen! See this! “ And then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Then, if thou hast leisure from the concerns of thy own soul, thou shalt know how to correct thy brother also.
8. But what is properly the meaning of this word, "Judge not ?" What is the judging which is here forbidden? It is not the same as evil speaking, although it is frequently joined therewith. Evil speaking is the relating any thing that is evil concerning an absent person; whereas judging may indifferently refer either to the absent or the present. Neither does it necessarily imply the speaking at all, but only the thinking evil of another. Not that all kind of thinking evil of others, is that judging which our Lord condemns. If I see one commit robbery or murder, or hear him blaspheme the name of God, I cannot refrain from thinking ill of the robber or murderer. Yet this is not evil judging: there is no sin in this, nor any thing contrary to tender affection.
9. The thinking of another in a manner that is contrary to love, is that judging which is here condemned; and this may be of various kinds. For, first, we may think another to blame when he is not. We may lay to his charge (at least in our own mind) the things of which he is not guilty; the words which he has never spoke, or the actions which he has never done. Or we may think his manner of acting was wrong, although in reality it was not. And even where nothing can justly be blamed, either in the thing itself, or in the manner of doing it, we may suppose his intention was not good, and so condemn him on that ground; at the same time that He who searches the heart, sees his simplicity and godly sincerity.
10. But we may not only fall into the sin of judging, by condemning the innocent; but also, secondly, by condemning the guilty in a higher degree than he deserves. This species of judging is likewise an offence against justice, as well as mercy; and yet such an offence as nothing can secure us from, but the strongest and tenderest affection. Without this, we readily suppose one, who is acknowledged to be in fault, to be more in fault than he really is. We undervalue whatever good is found in him. Nay, we are not easily induced to believe, that any thing good can remain in him, in whom we have found any thing that is evil.
11. All this shows a manifest want of that love, which ou Roy SETA! xaxov,-thinketh no evil; which never draws an unjust or unkind conclusion from any premises whatsoever. Love will not infer, from a person's falling once into an act of open sin, that he is accustomed so to do, that he is habitually guilty of it: and if he was habitually guilty once, love does not conclude he is so still; much less, that if he is now guilty of this, therefore he is guilty of other sins also.
These evil reasonings all pertain to that sinful judging which our Lord here guards us against; and which we are in the highest degree concerned to avoid, if we love either God or our own souls.
12. But supposing we do not condemn the innocent, neither the guilty any farther than they deserve; still we may not be altogether clear of the snare: for there is a third sort of sinful judging, which is the condemning any person at all, where there is not sufficient evidence. And be the facts we suppose ever so true, yet that does not acquit us. For they ought not to have been supposed, but proved; and till they were, we ought to have formed no judgment;-I say, till they were; for neither are we excused, although the facts admit of ever so strong a proof, unless that proof be produced before we pass sentence, and compared with the evidence on the other side. Nor can we be excused, if ever we pass a full sentence, before the accused has spoken for himself. Even a Jew might teach us this, as a mere lesson of justice abstracted from mercy and brotherly love: “ Doth our law,” says Nicodemus,“ judge any man before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”'