Imatges de pÓgina

Therefore he declared to the people, (who no doubt looked upon the scribes and pharisees as being the particular favorites of God, for they kept the outside clean, fasted oft, made long prayers, were acquainted with the law, (Matt

. 23. Rom. 2): appeared righteous before men and gave tithes. Luke 18. I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5: 20.

From this I would have thee to learn, that with all thy morality, formal prayers, almsgiving, apparent piety, and with all thy carnal faith, outward confession and worship of God, thou shalt be finally lost, unless thou shalt have something to exceed all this.

II. Thou must first become poor in spirit and filled with godly sorrow; thou must become meek, must hunger and thirst in thy soul af ter the righteousness of Christ, which alone is accepted of God; thou must become merciful and compassionate towards thy friends and thy enemies; thou must, through the blood of Christ, obtain a pure heart in which thou mayest see God, and perceive that God is reconciled unto thee through the death of his son, by whom we have access by faith into this grace. Rom. 5: 2.

Therefore Paul says, Where is boasting

then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Rom. 3:27. Here then is an end to boasting; here a person liveth no longer himself, but Christ by his righteousness liveth in him (Gal. 2: 20): therefore he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, (2. Cor. 10: 17. i Cor. 1: 31, ) and live by faith; for he hath attained, in the gospel, the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Rom. 1: 17. Habak. 2: 4.

This faith, nevertheless, cannot exist without works; for without them it is dead; as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, (James 2: 26,) but with this difference: we must do the works not of ourselves, but by faith, that the honor may not be unto us, but unto God; for to this effect is the saying of Paul, We are his workmanship created unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2: 10.

Now, that we are created by grace as a work of God, we can not discontinue the same; for faith is constantly bringing forth its fruits in us; as a productive tree cannot conceal its fruit, neither can faith, which is constantly bringing forth its fruits in us, which are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, chastity, truth, righteousness, humility, godliness, modesty

and temperance. Gal. 5: 22. Eph. 3: 12. 2 Pet. 1: 5, 6, 7.

Faith always looks unto Christ, and receives of his fullness grace for grace (John 1: 16); and all these works, which true faith works in us by love, a person does not ascribe to himself, but to God, who worketh all things in him by the spirit of Christ; thus a man offers again by faith all things unto God. As all the water comes from the sea and flows back thither again, (Eccl. 40: 11. Prov. 1: 7,) so all the virtue and fruits of the Spirit proceed from God to our souls, and flow thither again through the spirit of faith, constituting a complete spiritual engine, kept always in motion by faith through love, as living members of the body of Christ, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Therefore they are not strong in themselves; that is, of themselves they can do nothing, but they can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth them. Phil. 4: 13. And being members of their Head, Christ Jesus, they are obedient and submissive, and follow their Head, who preserves them alive by the influx of his heavenly love, and gives them power to become the children of God (John 1); and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Rom. 8: 17.

This, then, is the true righteousness of Christ; this is the real wedding garment, which a man puts on after he has in humil


ity of spirit put off the old garment, and laid aside his own righteousness. This is, as it is called, to put on Christ, (Rom. 12): and be rooted and built up in him (Col. 2: 7): this is the kingdom of God within us, (Luke 17: 21,) and the righteousness which exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees.

0 Jesus, the true righteousness,
Which, ours destroyed, doth us possess,
The Lord doth for our souls provide,
What by the law was ne'er supplied.
Whereby we are with God made one,
Receiving the triumphal crown,
Both death and hell to overcome,
O blessed God, through thy dear son !
But this no pharisees possess,
Because they do not seek thy grace,
And hence they will as outcasts be,

In satan's power eternally. From this thou canst conclude that it behooves thee to remain, as a sucking child, at the breast of Jesus and his righteousness, and learn of him, following his pattern and example, and confessing that without him thou canst not do any thing; that thou mayest abide in humility; for what hast thou that thou didst not receive ? Now if thou receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 1 Cor. 4: 7.

Now, my beloved fellow man, examine thyself by the above criterion, and see whether though hast become such a disciple of Jesus: whether thou hast assumed the nature of Christ, attained his righteousness by faith, and, as a productive tree, bringest forth the

fruits of godliness, that henceforth thou mayest not live unto thyself, but unto him who died for thee and rose again. 2 Cor. 5: 15. If thou hast attained these things, the exactions of Christ in his sermon, or in his whole gospel, will not be oppressive; for thy heart and will are in his possession, so that thou canst with him undergo all kinds of sufferings, and through faith in him, always come forth conqueror, as St. Paul says, In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Rom. 8: 37.

If thou hast not attained to this; if thou remainest yet in thy nature, not subject to Christ Jesus, thou wilt perhaps be astonished and say, Who then can be saved? Why so? Because thou knowest not the power of God, neither considerest that what is impossible with thee, is possible with God. Mark 10:

24, 26,

III. Now Christ proceeds, saying, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, (as the perfect lawgiver) that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Verses 21, 22.

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