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peculiar to them, granted for a while only for the Confirmation and Propagation of the Gospel ^ which being now well confirm'd and propagated, there can be no farther need or use of them, and therefore are not to be pray'd for or pretended to by us. Nor yet are we to be Followers of the Apostles in their Failings and Infirmities, some whereof were very great j as St. Peter's denying his Master, St. Paul's persecuting the Church, and the like, which are recorded in Scripture, not that we should follow, but forfake them: But that which we are call'd upon to imitate in them, is their Vertues, to follow their good Works, to have them before us as a Rule to govern our Actions, or as a Copy to transcribe in our Lives and Converfations, and to walk even as they walked. And indeed what better Precedents can we follow, than they who have not only chalk'd out our way for us by their Precepts, but likewise trod every Step of it before us by their Examples? To both which let us all learn to conform our Lives, and labour not to swerve from either in the whole Course of our Conversation. To which end,
2. Let us abandon the Ways and Works of all loose, profane, and profligate Persons; and such disorderly Walkers, as the Apostle could not speak of without weeping, let us not think of without abhorring and avoiding, for their End is Destruction, to which they lead themselves and all their Followers: we have seen their Description, being such, whose God is their Belly, whose Glory is in their Shame, and who mind only earthly things. In opposition whereunto, let us,
3. Especially imitate the Apostles in their holy and heavenly Converfation: for tho they liv'd upon the Earth, yet they declar'd that they belong'd to another Country, they were but Pilgrims and Strangers here, their Citizenship and Converfation was in Heaven they were dead and crucify'd to this World, their Hearts were there, where their Treasure was, even in Heaven, from whence they expected their Saviour to come and take them to himself. And since we also look for the fame, let us learn to do and to demean our selves likewise, especially considering the great and glorious Change that will then befal both our Body and Soul, from the many Miseries and Infirmities of this Earth, to all the Glories and Felicities of Heaven; To which God of his Mercy bring us all.
The Gospel for the Three and Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.
St. Mat. xxii. 15 23.
Then went the Pharisees, and, took Counsel how they might intxngle him in his Talk: and, they sent unto him their Disciples, with the Herodians, faying, &c.
THESE Words begin the Gospel for this Day, in which we may observe the spiteful and malicious Designs of the "Pharisees and others against our Saviour. The occasion of it was from a Parable related by him in the foregoing words, which so stung and nettled the Pharisees and others that were too plainly concern'd in it, that they went and consulted together how they might take some advantage against him, and draw him into their Snare •, for so the first words tell us, They took Counsel feorp they might int angle him in hisTalk. The Parties sent to him upon this Errand to set upon him, were the Disciples of the Phtrisees, with some of the Herodians, who began with him in this glozing and insinuating Language, faying, Afaster, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in Truth, neither carest thou for any Man; meaning, that he was a free Speaker of his Mind, and would not disguise his Thoughts for the Fear or Flattery of any Man: which words they utter'd, not out of any Honour to him, but merely to encourage him to such a Freedom of Talk, that they might the better catch at something to make a Matter of Accufation against him. To which end they came to him with an earnest Desire to know his Mind freely and impartially, concerning the Matter of Tribute, a Point much debated among them at that time •, Tell m therefore (fay they) what thinkest thou, is it lawful to give Tribute to Cæsu" or not? Which Question proceeded not from any honest Desire of Satisfaction, or of doing their Duty in it, but only from a crafty Design of intrapping him; hoping for such an Answer, as might expose him either to the Rage of the Jews, or the Fury of the Romans: for the Persons that came to him with this ensnaring Question, were the Pharisees on the one hand, who were the chief Rulers among the Jews., and were against paying of Tribute, as thinking it a Token of Slavery to an usurp'd Power •, and the Herodions on the other, who favour'd the Domination of the Romans to the Oppression of the People. So that the Snare they had laid for him was this, If he had faid, that 'twas lawful to pay Tribute, he had disgusted the Jews, and enrag'd the People against him, as one that approv'd the Yoke of the Roman Tyranny; if he had faid, twas not lawful to pay Tribute, they would have accus'd him as a Raiser of Sedition, and deliver'd him into the hands of the Roman Governor, to be us'd accordingly: by which they set upon him, as it were, with a two-edg'd Sword, that cut both ways, and wounded on every side.
But what Answer did our Saviour give them? and how did he evade the Danger of their intended Treachery? Why, he gave them not presently any direct Answer, but first upbraided their Malice and Hypocrisy •, so the next words tell us, But Jesus perceivd their Wickedness, and said, why tempt ye me, ye Hypocrites? Why harbour ye such evil Thoughts in your Breasts, and hide your Malice under a Mask of Flattery and Friendship? However, he that knew their Hearts, was able to discover and defeat their Designs. To which end,
He call'd for a Piece of the Coin, in which they were wont to pay the Tax, faying, Shew me the Tribute-Many. Upon which, they brought unto him a fenny; which was the fourth part of the Shekel of the Sanctuary, and half of an ordinary Shekel, the Tribute which God himself requir'd to be paid of every Jew yearly, for the use of the Temple, as we read Exod. 30.13. which Tribute the Romans after facrilegiously transfer'd to the Capitol. However that be, Christ looking upon the Penny, and observing the Image stamp'd upon it, ask'd them, Whose is this Image and Superscription? they say unto him, CæfarV; then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Ccefar the things that are Cæfar'J, and unto Cod the things that are Cods i intimating to them, that their Coin would answer their Question j for if Ctsar's Image be upon your current Coin, 'tis an Acknowledgment of his Supremacy ., and your paying and receiving of it in Commerce, is a Token of Subjection to him as your Prince.
And since Tribute is ever due to the Supreme Power, you ought to own it to be his: Render therefore unto Cæfar the things that are Cæfar'/. When they heard these Words, 'tis laid that they marvelled it the Wisdom of his Answer, and left him, and went their way, admiring of him, and despairing of gaining any Advantage against him. This is the Sum of the Gospel for this Day -, in which we learn,
First, The Treachery of the Pharisees and others in thus laying Designs of entrapping and intangling our Saviour, together with his great Prudence in confounding their Devices, and eluding all their Snares: of these enough hath been spoken already in the Gospel for the 17th Sunday after Trinity.
But the principal Lesson intended and taught us in this Gospel, is from our Saviour's Answer to those insidious Enquirers; which requires us to render unto Cæfar the things that are Cæfar'/, and unto God the things that are Gods: which being Matters of daily Use and Importance to us, must be a little insisted on, and inculcated upon us, as containing in them our Duty both to God and the King. For the better knowing and doing whereof, the words teach us,
First, That there are some particular Rights and Privileges belonging to Casar, or Sovereign Princes, which are call'd here, The things that are Cæfar'/.
Secondly, That there are some peculiar Rights and Prerogatives that belong to God only, stil'd here, The things that are God's.
Thirdly, The Duty of all Christians with reference to both, and that is, to render the respective Rights and Dues to each.
First, As for the Rights and Privileges that belong to Crfar, or Sovereign Princes, they are chiefly these three; Honour to their Persons, Obedience to their Laws, and Tribute for their necessary Occasions.
1st, Honour to their Persons is a plain Right belonging to Sovereign Princes, and is due to them by the Laws of God and Man. St. Peter hath coupled together the fearing of God, and honouring of the King; the one as the Cause and Motive of the other, and therefore both must go together: gether: He that fears God will honour the King, and he that honours not the King hath cast off the Fear of God, whose Minister and Vicegerent he is- , for God hath stamp'd his own Image and Superscription upon them, that all People may know to whom they belong: yea, God hath given them his own Name, / have said ye are Gods7 to procure them the Reverence and Veneration of Mankind. He hath ftil'd them his own Anointed, that Men may honour and demean themselves towards them accordingly, forbidding any to touch his Anointed with the Hand of Violence; for none can stretch out their Hand against the Lord's Anointed, and be guiltless. But beside this,
*idly, Obedience to their Laws is a plain Right of Sovereign Princes- , for God hath stamp'd them too with his own. Authority, to make them current, and to oblige all their Subjects. Hence St. Paul makes it necessary to be subject not only for Wraths or Fear of Punishment, but for Conscience sake: And St. Peter wills us to submit to every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the King as Supreme, or to Governours that are sent by him.
idly, Tribute is another Right belonging to Sovereign Princes; and this is the main thing refer'd to here in our Text, of which our Saviour here convinc'd the Pharisees and Herodians by the Image and Superscription upon their Mony, where they faw Cesar's Face, and after that had not the Face to deny his Right, but own'd it to be his. The coining of Mony is the Prerogative of Sovereignty, and that requires both Homage and Tribute: the Image upon the Coin shews who is our Prince, and to whom these things are due; 'tis his Stamp that makes it current, and so to become the Regulation of our Contracts, and the Standard of our Civil Commerce; which cannot continue without Laws and Arms, to which Taxes and Tribute are sometimes necessary: for both the Dignity of the Prince, and the Safety of the People require Tribute, neither o1 which are to be upheld or preserv'd without it. And therefore our Saviour here and elsewhere makes it a Debt to Cesar, which may and ought to be discharg'd: and to this his Precept he added also his own Example; for he wrought a Miracle to pay Tribute for himself and Peter, when it was demanded of them, lest peradventure (faith he) we should offend; as we read, Mat. 17.27,28. So tender was he in this point of Tribute, though some unjustly accus'd him for forbidding to pay it, Luke 23.2. St. Paul