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them, “ and learn of me, who am meek and lowly; << and find my yoke to be easy, and my burden light. “ The Law and the Prophets were until Jobn, Luke " xvi. Yea, all the Propbets and the Law propbefied « until John, Matt. xi. 13. Since that time, the " Kingdom of Heaven is preached, and every man " presseth into it.” Luke, xvi. 16. And none shall enter into that kingdom that do not receive it as a little child. The subjects of my kingdom shall be kept by my power; none shall pluck them out of my hand, nor shall the gates of hell prevail against them. I will deliver them from that anger that rests in the bosom of fools, and from that envy that says the silly one. The murderer shall not reign and rule in their hearts. “I will give them power to tread " on serpents, scorpions, and over all the power of " the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt " them.”
Whosoever therefore Mall break one of the least of these commandments. ' The Saviour having said this, he goes on to Thew what his meaning is.
1. That whosoever is angry with his brother with. out cause, Mall be in danger of the judgment, Ver. 22. He Mall be in danger of the judgment of Zion, who should judge him unworthy of communion; or rather, in danger of being arraigned at the bar of the Law, and left in bondage to it, and to the buffet. ings of Satan.
2. Whosoever shall say unto his brother, “ Raca,” or, "Vain, empty fellow,” fhall be in danger of the Council. By the Jewish laws, and by the counsel of God, it is deemed an offence or scandal, and woe be to him through whom the scandal cometh! Or, Whosoever faith unto his brother, “Thou fool,” shall be in danger of bell-fire. It doth not mean an idiot, but calling him a wicked reprobate, judging his inmost soul, and fixing his final doom. And he that thus judges, shall doubtless be judged; for it is the judgment of a child of the devil. For, first, he is angry with his brother without a cause, which is murder. Secondly, his malice breaks out into words: he calls him empty and vain fellow; and then proceeds to try his reins, and at last to fix him in hell. “ If thou bring thy gift before the altar, and thy « brother hath aught against thee; go and reconcile " thyself first to him, and then offer thy gift.-The * facrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how “ much more when he bringeth it with a wicked “ mind!"
It is easy to see that the Lord, in this discourse, strikes hard at the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees. This appears plain, by the gift, or free-will offering, being left at the altar, till the offerer bad reconciled bimself to bis brother; which altar and offerings the saints are delivered from. And terribly must this discourse have cut those who were so desperately angry and envious at Christ and his followers, who,
according to the Aesh, were their brethren. And they were angry without a cause; and had not only called them Raca, and Fools, but they judged them. They called the Lord a Fellow, and a Deceiver; yea, Beelzebub. And curfed all his followers: This people, that know not the Law, are accursed. Yea, they cast them out, excommunicated them, reprobated them, and passed the curse of the Law on them.
2dly, The Lord here handles the Law lawfully; and shews the spiritual meaning of it, it's unfathomable reach to the inmort soul, and it's unlimited demands; so as to make every sensible finner for ever despair of help from it, or any salvation by it. He doth not dress it up as an evangelized Covenant, por call it the believer's only Rule of Life; but tells che sinner, that a mouthful of malice spit at a fellowcreature, does by this Law expose a man to the danger of hell-fire.
3dly, The Saviour strikes hard, in this discourse, at the hypocrite also, who gets into the church before his first husband be dead. This appears from the breakers of these commandments being called least in the kingdom of heaven. If they were not in the church, they could not be said to be in the kingdom of beaven at all. These tares getting among the wheat, are the children of the wicked one getting among the children of the king dum; and being in bondage to the Law, which worketh wrath, and destitute of saving grace, they are the most desperate at
the grace, gifts, happiness, usefulness, and pure doctrine, of God's faithful ones. And that these men are destitute of the Spirit, is plain from their causeless anger, hatred, and unrighteous judgment. And that they are under the Law, and not under Grace, appears plain also, by their being in danger of bell-fire: which a justified soul, in a state of grace, is not; for Christ says, he shall never come into con=" demnation; yea, be shall never die; he hath everlasting life. There is no bell-fire nor condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus: nor is it sin in a man of God to call a hypocrite, a wicked man, or an opposer of the Gospel, a fool: “Thou fool, (lays Paul)
that which thou sowest is not quickened except it “ die.” The Lord goes on-..
Ye bave heard that it was faid, Thou Malt not commit adultery, &c. but I say unto you, ihet whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in bis heart. Here the Lord enforces the spirituality of the Law: that it reaches the soul and spirit of a man; yea, the inmost thoughts and desires of the heart, as well as words and actions; and that all above yea, yea, and nay, nay, cometh of evil; and for every idle word, the finner that dies in his sin, and under this Law, must give an account at the day of judgment. The Lord here shews the need of salt in the corrupt Spring of the human heart; for the Law is fo far from destroying luft, that it works the more vigo
rously by it: “ For fin taking occafion by the come « mandment, wrought in me all manner of concu. " piscence; for without the Law sin was dead,” Rom. vii. 8.-" Yea, when we were in the hesh, the mo« tions of sin, which are by the Law, did work in « our members to bring forth fruit unto death.« Therefore the finner must become dead to the « Law by the body of Christ, and be married to an« other, before he can bring forth fruit unto God.” Rom. vii. 4, 5. Terrible as this Law is, the Saviour fent every self-sufficient enquirer to it, as his only Rule of Life; but he never fent one humble suppliant, or sensible sinner, to it, during the whole of his ministry. However, the soul that is espoused to Christ sees his old man, yea, the whole body of the Sins of the Aesh, condemned in his Surety, and crucified in his death; and he feels the old man put off when Christ takes possession of the heart. A new creature is formed, and the old man is dethroned. The will, mind, heart, and affections, are made loyal to Christ, and take part with the new man; while the old man, like a rebel in alliance with Satan, wars against both the believer and his grace: “But " it is no more I that do it,” says Paul, “but sin, " that dwelleth in ine."- But my blessed Master goes on to preach, and his own servant follows him, to catch what he can. . Whosoever shall put away his wife, Saving for the cause of fornication, caufeth ber to commit adultery;