Imatges de pÓgina
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the distinction to be made. In this world, we find God to be good unto all; we find that his tender mercies are over all his works; we find him doing what the blessed Jesus taught his disciples to imitate, sending his rain on the just and on the unjust, and causing his sun to shine upon the evil and the good. What then has the envious spirit of the Pharisee got to feed upon? Answer: Its glorious prospects in anticipating a difference in the world to come, which will comport with a just retribution. Says the Pharisee, is not God a God of justice? Will he not reward his creatures according to their works? Yes, Pharisee, God is a God of justice, and therefore he will give unto this last even as unto thee:' Perfectly just, and therefore the last shall be first and the first last :' Just and equal in all things, and therefore, 'publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you.'

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If we may indulge the thoughts of the mind a moment, let us contemplate the vast diversity of laborers who are making great calculations on the high approbation they are to receive in the world to come, above others. Jews, Pagans, Mahometans, Christians of a vast many denominations, all right in their own eyes, all expect the preference. So sure are they of this, that they already sing their songs of joy in anticipating their own exaltation over their neighbors, are daily breathing out everlasting vengeance against one another, turning their envious eyes towards heaven to secure a verdict in their favor. So they go on challenging each other to meet at the tribunal of heaven, exulting in anticipating the distinctions which will there be made, to their everlasting joy, and to the eternal confusion and torment of each other. The

long looked for day comes, and all are summoned to judgment. With anxious expectation they wait, each expecting to receive the approbation of the judge, each expecting that all the rest must receive one everlasting frown, and feel the arrows of condemnation forever fastened in their hearts of fruitless sorrow. From the throne, now veiled in thick darkness, is heard a voice calling to the angel of the first covenant, first to read the characters of this vast multitude, and then pronounce the sentence of law; The angel reads, All have sinned and come short of the glory of God! There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes. Whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God! As if a seraph, on wings of lightning, passing through the immense hosts sealed every lip, all is profound silence. Now is the time for men to think; heretofore they talked. Let us just notice the thoughts of some in particular. Here stands in the front of all, those whose labors have been in the ministry, from the highest prelate down to the lay preacher. Not one opens his mouth; but all reflect and query as follows. The learned, the reverend doctor of divinity queries within himself, How does that reading,

which I heard from the mouth of the angel of the first covenant, apply to me? Has my mouth been full of cursing and bitterness? Surely I have cursed none but reprobates, I have cursed none but the ungodly sinner; this I did with a zeal, but I thought it was a holy zeal. With my tongue did I ever use deceit ? Only when I thought it would benefit my church, or the order in general to which I was attached. In such cases, besure, I have misrepresented other denominations whom I viewed as heretics. But now rises the great question: Did I love my neighbors, in these instances, as I did myself? O that I could hide my heart! But here it is all spread open. Had I loved them thus, I should as soon have cursed myself.

Here are popes, cardinals and bishops, pondering on the anathemas pronounced by them against their brethren of different orders. These words, their feet are swift to shed blood, sound dreadfully in their ears! Nor is there one of this whole multitude who can open his mouth to accuse his neighbor, not one to thank God that he is not like other men. These words, all have sinned, are responded by every heart in the following language, Father I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. A voice, the second time, from the throne, orders the angel of the first covenant to read the sentence of the law on the transgressors. He reads, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them! A trembling seizes every guilty heart, and one desire now breathes forth from every soul: God be merciful to me a sinner! A gladdening

voice is now heard to say, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore, amen: and have the keys of hell and of death; I gave myself a ransom for all; I was delivered for their offences, and rose again for their justification; I bore their iniquities, and by my stripes they shall be healed; I will now finish sin, now shall there be an end of transgression; now will I see of the travail of my soul and be satisfied. A bleeding Lamb is seen in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, from which there proceeds a river of blood, which deluges all the mighty hosts. Then is there a voice heard, saying, These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and

ever.

If in the foregoing remarks, the reader should meet with any just admonitions against the indulgence of envy, cursing and bitterness, which are so contrary to the pure religion of Christ, it is hoped that profit may be obtained to the furtherance of the christian charities, which forbid our judging or condemning one another; and above all, they forbid our feeling envious at the prosperity or happiness of our fellow-crea

tures.

How vain is that self-confidence, by which a worm of the dust is moved to claim higher favors of his Maker than he is willing should be bestowed on others! This vanity, incorporated into what passes in the world

for religion, has spread its poison through all the vitals of the church, and its doctrines are become as the blood of a dead man.

PARABLE XXI.

and he came to the He answered and And he came to

'But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; first, and said, Son, go to work to-day in my vineyard. said, I will not; but afterwards he repented, and went. the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.'-Matt. xxi. 28, 29, 30, 31.

went not.

The reader will easily discover a similarity between this parable and the former.

1. Publicans and harlots are intended by the first son, who first said that he would not go, when he was commanded, but repented, and went.

2. The Scribes and Pharisees are intended by the son who professed to go according to the commandment, but went not.

3. Christ reduces the Pharisees to the necessity of giving judgment against themselves, by asking them, Whether of the twain did the will of his father?' To which they answered, the first.'

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4. Christ then applies the parable to his meaning, saying, 'Verily, I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you'

5. As it was shown in the former parable that the scribes and Pharisees would at last be accepted, by the murmuring servants receiving as much as others, so here the same idea is also conveyed; for it could not

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