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I now acknowledge my folly; my sins press heavily upon me; they overwhelm me; as an oppressive burden they are too grievous to be borne: I thought at first I would recompense thee with service and satisfy thee with worship; but I now see that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth any thing, but a new creature, or the faith that worketh by love. O poor sinner that I am! I find I am destitute of all things; I have consumed thy substance which was divided unto me. I have nothing in which my soul taketh delight. I am poor and miserable; I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; therefore I beseech thee with Manasseh, Pardon my sins, O Lord ! pardon me and let me find grace in thy sight. Hasten, 0 Jesus, and carry on thy work within me: save me, not for the sake of my own righteousness, which is but an unclean and filthy rag, but for thy great mercy through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus! with a broken spirit and a contrite heart I prostrate myself before thee. I am sensible of thy clemency, patience and long suffering towards me.
I find I can enjoy no consolation but in thee; I discover salvation in no other name but thine; therefore my soul hungerethi and thirsteth after thee, O fill me with good things that my soul may revel in spiritual
enjoyments; permit me to taste thy mercy; O grant me a pure heart, that I may see God and discern and realize how gracious thou art; that I may be able with thee to bear thy cross with all patience and meekness. Instruct me in the way of thy knowledge, and write thy law in my heart, and let it sink deep in my mind, that I may walk uprightly before thee all the days of my life. This I ask of thee, O Jesus! be merciful unto me for thy promise sake; be merciful, O my Jesus! be merciful unto me for thy great name's sake, and let me know thy will, Amen. Amen, O Jesus, Amen.
Beloved reader, humble thyself in this manner, and Jesus will exalt thee; come unto him thus, and he will in no wise cast thee out.
O poorness of spirit, despised condition,
Wherein thou a pure heart obtainest from God,
Embraces a portion from the 20th to the 26th verse. 1. Of the
righteousness of the pharisees." 2. Of the righteousness which exceeds that of the pharisees. 3. Of the manner in which a person should conduct himself towards his brethren or fellow men. 4. Of the prison of hell. 5. A well-grounded exhortation to all men.
I. Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer, has shown us the way which leads to his Gospel through the eight different blessings, and his doctrine was quite a different one from that of the scribes and pharisees; for the scribes preached up the law, and sought righteousness as it were by the works of the law. Rom. 9: 31, 32. But Christ rejected in his doctrine all the righteousness and meritoriousness of the law, as was shown in the first chapter in treating of the eight blessings.
Nevertheless, he declared to the people, that he was not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it; for he has brought to light a complete spiritual dispensation which lay concealed under the shadow of the law; this new dispensation, which lay concealed in the law, the pharisees did not perceive nor observe; they looked entirely to the works of the law, and consequently did not attain to the law of righteousness. Rom. 9; 31.
For we know, says Paul, that the law is spiritual, (Rom. 7: 14,) and being spiritual it must be understood in a spiritual manner; that is to say, all the ordinances of the ceremonial law were but types of Christ, and the accomplishment; for in him they are all fulfilled; he was the body itself, he hath abolished the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (namely the Jews and Gentiles) one new man, so making peace, (Eph. 2); yea he hath blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross, (Col. 2); for he hath brought in a better hope, by which we draw nigh unto God. Heb. 7: 19. Notwithstanding, the righteousness of the law is not destroyed, but fulfilled in them that are partakers with Christ; and all the types and shadows of the law are perpetual evidence of Christ, always pointing unto him; as Christ himself declares, saying, Search the scriptures, (namely the law and the prophets, for the gospel was not yet written); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which'testify of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John 5: 39, 40.
This was the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, that they thought they had eter. nal life in the works of the law, which, notwithstanding, only bore testimony of Christ