Imágenes de páginas

children, repeated a forgiveness of offences, and such
a love of our enemies as to return blessings, prayers
and acts of goodness for their execrations, hatred and
injuries. He thus begins his public preaching :
'Repent ye, and believe the gospel. He declares
that, ' acting towards others as we might reasonably
expect, in like circumstances, that they should act
towards us, was the substance and end of the law and
the prophets. He teaches us to judge of actions by.
the goodness of the intention: and by the ability
and opportunities of those who perform them. The
weightier matters of his law are " the love of God,
justice, mercy, and fidelity: he will have * mercy
rather than sacrifice : and the moral precepts of the
Mosaic law are as carefully extended by him as its
numerous positive ones are reduced. He strongly
cautions againts , hypocrisy, o censoriousness, and

covetousness. He allows of oaths on solemn occasions only, and not in common discourse: he condemns polygamy, and restrains a divorce to the case of adultery. He forbids not only murder, but hatred, reviling, and causeless anger; not only fadul. tery, but the unrestrained eye and desire. He teaches that his disciples are not 8 defiled by eating with unwashen hands; but by evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, theft, false witness, covetous.

[ocr errors]

P Matt. xviii. 4. xix. 14.

9 Matt. v. 44, vi. 14. xviii. 22. • Mark i. 15. $ Matt. vii. 12. • Mark xii. 41-44. • Luke xii. 47, 8. w Luke xi, 42, Matt. xxiii. 23.

* Matt. ix. 13. xii. 7. y Luke xii. 1. 2 Matt. vii. 1, 2. • Luke xii. 15. > Matt. v. 34, 37. Mark viii. 12. Matt. xxvi. 63, 4.

• Matt. xix. 5. and p. po

d Matt. v. 32. xix. 9. • Matt. v. 21, 2. xix. 18. fib. v. 27, 8. .: Mark vii. 21, 22. and p. p.

ness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye [of envy and malignity,] blasphemy, pride, [and the] foolishness (of mad and ungoverned passions.] He imposes no b burdensome and enslaving yoke on his disciples. His positive precepts and ordinances are few, simple, significant, and of great practical influence. Believe in God: * BELIEVE ALSO IN ME. Whatsoever you ask the Father IN MY' NAME, he will give it you.

He that believeth, AND IS BAPTIZED, shall be in a state of salvation. PAR

BREAD AND wine solemnly and jointly, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME, your lawgiver, your redeemer from the guilt of sin and the power of death, and your benefactor even to dying for you on the cross, and to bestowing on you the gift of everlast


ing life.

h Acts .sv. 10. i Gal. v. 1.

k John xiv. 1. 1 John xiv. 13, 14. xvi. 23, 4. m Mark xvi. 16. n Luke xxii. 19, 20. and p. p. Lord Bolingbroke speaks thus of baptism and the Lord's supper. “No institutions can be imagined more simple, nor more void of all those pompous rites and theatrical representations that abounded in the religious worship of the heathen and the Jews, than tbese two were in their origin. They were 110t only innocent but profitable ceremonies, because they were extremely proper to keep up the spirit of true natural religion, by keeping up that of Christianity, and to promote the observation of moral duties, by maintaining a respect for the revelation that confirmed them. Works, 4to. v. iv. 302.



THERE are excellent passages in the heathen writers with respect to the existence, unity, provi. dence, and perfections of God, and to our leading religious duties; though they must be selected from a strange mixture of inconsistency and error: and it has not been proved that any of our Lord's moral precepts, which oblige his followers at all times, are new as to their general subject matter; though some are manifestly so in degree, and all in the motives by which they are enforced. Thus mutual love was taught by a Moses, and by the heathen moralists ; but the disciples of Jesus are commanded to love one another as he loved them, in expectation of an · eternal reward at the resurrection of the just : I should add, and in dimitation of the divine goodness ; but for that excellent precept of the law, - The Lord loveth the stranger : love ye therefore the stranger. And this coincidence of the evangelical law with the law of reason proves that they are derived from a common origin ; as the uniformity in the works of creation shews the unity of the Creator.

* Julian thought that he disparaged the decalogue when he asked, What nation is there which does not think that its other precepts ought to be observed,

34, 5.

· Lev, xix. 18, 34. • John xiii. 34.

Matt. XXV & Matt. v, 45, 48. Luke vi. 36.

e Deut. x. 17-19. See also Plato de leg. l. y. p. 729. ed. Serr. Cyril contra. Jul. L. v. p. 152,

except, Thou shalt not worship other Gods, and, Remember the Sabbath? whereas in fact he passed an encomium on it.



SOME of our Lord's precepts have been objected to as harsh, and inconsistent with the good of indi. viduals and of society. , I shall begin with making remarks on such of this kind as occur in the sermon on the mount.

“ I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council : but who. soever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

The denunciation is addressed to all Christ's dis, ciples. If the restriction, “ without a cause,” were omitted on the authority of a few manuscripts, Fath, ers, and ancient versions ; still the context shews that the anger condemned must be implacable. The b injurious person, when reconciled to his brother, might offer an acceptable sacrifice.

And there are vices which all naturally abhor; and which it may be the duty of some to reprehend with sharpness. Nay, we read that o indignation and d anger are attri

* Matt. v. 22.

bib. v. 23, 4.

Mark x. 14.

ib. iii. 5.


buted to our Lord himself. It is plain therefore that anger improper in its cause, its object, its manner, its season, or its duration, must here be censured. There are degrees of anger mentioned ; and proportionable punishments are annexed. A disciple of Christ, guilty of sinful anger, is subject to a future punishment, corresponding to the temporal one which among the Jews was inflicted by the Judgment. The Elders and Levites, who composed these municipal courts of judicature, punished the murderer with death probably by slaying him with the sword, or by

hanging him on a tree. But anger bursting forth into words of i derision and contempt, into charges of emptiness and wickedness, exposes to a sentence like that awarded by the Great * Council at Jerusalem, which took cognizance of higher matters, such as

blasphemy against God and the law; ultimately * decided causes too difficult for the judges appointed in the several cities; and inflicted the more terrible death of " stoning. And anger still more unrestrainçd, so as to charge men with extreme o infatuation,

e Deut. xvi. 18. xvii. 2. xxi. 2, 19. 2 Chron. xix. 5. The number of judges was seven. Jos. Ant. iv. viii. 4. B. J. xx. V. f Numb. xxxv. 30, 31. 8 1 Kings xix. 10. b Deut. xxi. 22. Some derive Raca from pon to be empty or vain : and Castel translates the adjective fronı this verb by vanus, otiosus, d'zgés, nequam. See 2 Sam. vi. 20. Others think that its root is from ppo lo spit : and then the adjective sig. nifies, according to Castel, sputatilis, levis, abjectus, vilis, contemptus. Thus it exactly answers to zararlusos. * Luke xxii. 66. Acts vi. 12, 15. · Matt. xxvi. 65, 6. Acts vi. 13. + Deut. xvii. 8. • Acts vii. 58. The municipal courts inflicted this punishment in case of idolatry. Deut, svii. 2-7. •Syr. translates uugi by a word

« AnteriorContinuar »