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590 Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel. SECT. to the rage, with which the enemy is endeavouring their destruc
tion. May we be animated in it by the example of the blessed Luke Jesus, who, with a view to this, even longed for those sufferings, XII. 50. which innocent nature could not but regard as the object of strong
aversion ! 54, 56 May we at all times be so wise as to discern the evidences,
and to comply with the purposes, of the gospel, else our knowledge in natural thing's, should it extend not only to the most common, but the most curious appearances on the face of the earth or the heavens, will turn to no other account but to shame and con
demn us ! 58
If we have any reason to fear that, through obstinate impenitence, the blessed God is still an adversary to us, let us make it our first and greatest care, that, by an humble submission of soul to him in the methods of his gospel grace, that strict scrutiny of his justice may be prevented, and that sentence of his wrath averted, which would otherwise plunge us into endless ruin and misery; for when could we pretend to have paid the last farthing of the debt of ten thousand talents, which we have been daily contracting, and which is charged to our account in the book of his remembrance.
Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel. 589 he hale thee to the on the way; lest he force thee before the judge, SECT. jude, and the judge and the judge, having found thee to be indeed cer, and the officer cast accountable, deliver thee to the custody of the thee into prison.
serjeant, and the serjeant throw thee into prison. XII. 58. 59 I tell thee, thou It will not then be in thy power to compound 59 till thou hast paid the the matter upon gentler terms, or to get free very last mite. from thy confinement; but I tell thee that, when
he has thee at such an advantage, thou shalt not be able to come out from thence till thou hast paid the very last mite of the debt thou owest h. And thus if you are regardless of the proposals of God's mercy while the day of life and grace is continued, nothing is to be expected from the tribunal of bis justice, but a severe sentence, which will end in everlasting confinement and punishment.
To what a lamentable degree is human nature corrupted, that Ver. so noble a remedy as the gospel, so well adapted to the cure of a 49 malevolent and contentious disposition, should in so many instances only irritate the disease! and that a scheme so full of love and goodness, and so well suited to promote peace and harmony in those, who cordially embrace it, should be opposed with all the violence of persecution, and be the means of introducing strife and division !
How monstrous is it, that any should hate their neighbours, 51, 53 yea, and their nearest relatives, for that disinterested piety, and regard to conscience, which might recommend strangers to their esteem and affection! Yet let not those, who meet with such injurious treatment, be discouraged ; knowing they have a Father and a Saviour in heaven, whose love is ten thousand times more than all: nor let others be offended, as if Christianity had been the occasion of more evil than good; for such is the nature of eternity, that the salvation of one immortal soul will be more than an equivalent for the greatest and most lasting temporal evils, which the greatest number of persons can suffer for conscience sake.
Let this awaken our zeal to save souls, however great and ter- 50 rible the sufferings are, to which it may expose us, in proportion
h The very last mite of the debt thou part of the as, or assapov, or of the larger owest.] The mite [astlov,) was the least farthing, mentioned Mat. 8. 29. and Luke valuable of their coins (see Mark xii. 42), xii. 6 ; so that the mite was but little more containing no more than half of their least than the third part of an English farthing, kind of farthing, or of their xodpaxlns, or and a sparrow was reckoned worth four of quadrans; which was itself but the fourth them.
59 1 shalt a
$83 They are inexcusable in not discerning him to be the Messiah. SECT: ly say, A heavy shower is comingo; and it is so. straightway ye say, And when [you find) the south-wind blowing from There cometh a shon
er; and so it is. the desert of Arabia, and other hot climates, you 55 And when ye see XII. 55. say, There will be sultry heat; and so according the south wind blow, 56 ly it comes to pass. Ye hypocrites, that pretend ye say, There will be
heat; and it cometh to to ask for farther signs, as if you were really de
pass. sirous to know, whether I be or be not a Divine * 56 Ye hypocrites, Teacher ; you know how by such remarks as ye can discern the face these to distinguish the face of the earth and of earth: but how is it the heavens, so as to foretell the changes in the that you do not discern weather before they come ; but how is it that this time ? you do not discern and judge of the much more evident signs of this time, which are attended with such manifest and unparalleled tokens of
the Messiah's coming ? (Compare Mat. xvi. 2, 3, 57 p. 456.) Yea, why is it you do not even
54 Yea, and why
of yourselves of yourselves judge what is fit and right', and judge ye not what is gather from such obvious premises, how you right? ought in reason and conscience to treat so extraordinary a Person as I appear to be from the whole series of my doctrine and conduct, instead of disregarding all the proofs that shew mę
to be sent from God? 58 This, however you may thoughtlessly neglect
58 When thou goest it, is a matter of the utmost importance: I must
with thine adversary
to the magistrate, as therefore enforcethe exbortation I formerly gave thou art in the way, you (Mat. v. 25, 26. p. 209), and press give diligence that you to endeavour, with the greatest diligence, vered from him ; Test that the controversy may immediately be made up between God and your souls. For you count ita rule of human prudence, when you go to the magistrate with your adversary, who has a suit against you, to use your utmost endeavour to make up the affair with him & while you are yet
To what a so noble a ren malerolent a stances only i love and good monr in those, all the violence strife and ditzsios
How monstrou Fea,
and their ne regard to conscier esteem and affect iniurious treatmen and a Saviour in he than all: nor let o the occasion of mo eternity, that the sa. an equivalent for th
e A heavy shower is coming.) oucas pro- Use your utmost endeavour to make perly signifies a heavy shower; and maitwy, the affair with him.] Theophylact inti in the next verse, sultry or scorching heat. mates, and Salmasius, and after him, La
f Why is it you do not even of your- Cene, largely insist upon it, that des
ther, whether in a civil or criminal case,
which the greatest sale.
Let this awaken ou rible the sufferings are