Sayfadaki görseller
[ocr errors]

thus they proceeded till they crucified their Saviour, fell into misery and confusion amongst themselves, and were at last extirpated or dispersed. When we see a Jew, we see one of these poor objects, who having rejected, and rejecting the light, is made blind, and goes wandering darkly about the world : the light of the Gospel shining around him, and himself groping like the blind at noon-day.

View the Christian world at this time ; you will see that we are living, to our danger and sorrow, within sight of a country once enlightened, but now lying in darkness and the shadow of death. Take the character which these men give of themselves, and they are illuminated ; they can see every thing, whiļe poor superstitious Christians see nothing : but their works are the works of infernal darkness and diabolical infatuation ; such as rebellions, rapine, murder ! barbarity, more than heathenish; idolatry, more than savage. What further proof do we require, that these new seers are of the number of those whom the God of this world hath blinded? But enough of these examples : the tendency of them all is to teach us, that there iş no wisdom against God; that truth alone (religious truth) can preserve the mind in a sound state; in short, that if we keep the Gospel, we may keep our wits. What shall we do then, but pray God, as our Church wisely directs, to lighten our darkness ; knowing and confessing, that like the poor man in the Gospel, we are born blind : that the light of all true knowledge is wanțing, till the God that made the Sun sends it down upon us from Heaven ; and that even when light is come, the organ of sight is distempered and must be cured. This world too is so much before the eyes of men, that it will not permit them to view better things : let us arise then at the cominand of Jesus, and wash away that clay:

[ocr errors]

From what we have seen in the Pharisees, let us beware the judgment of men, who would bear us down with their own false opinions, the fashionable errors of the time; and never have recourse to such judges to know what the Gospel is, and how far Jesus is to be received by us.

When we see into what excesses of absurdity and envy they were carried through a conceit of false learning, let us put up the following petition, which in few words comprehends the whole moral of the subject.-Give us, O Lord, the sight of that man who had been blind from birth, and deliver us from the blindness of his judges, who had been learning all their lives and knew nothing: and if the world should cast us out, let us be found of Thee whom the world crucified; and having followed the Light of thy Truth in this world, we may, through thine own merits and mediation, have with Thee the Light of Life in the everlasting glory of the world to come. Amen.




No man wishes to bestow labour in vain : and if the fruit of labour is nothing but danger, that is worst of all. Such must be the labour of those who undertake to feed dogs with holy things; or cast what is valuable before swine : for dogs may be fed with common things ; and it is an act of profaneness to give them holy things; for which the dogs are no better; and the giver is inuch worse. Swine have no knowledge of any thing valuable; if it is not eatable (which is all they think of) they despise and tread it under their feet. Instead of being obliged, they’are disappointed and provoked ; instead of thanking the person who treats them so much out of their own way, they will turn again upon him and rend him.

Any wise man would so little wish to be thus employed, that the precept, in the letter of it, is scarcely necessary; but in the spirit of it there is great sense and reason. For these dogs and swine are unholy men ; who are so called, because they are like the. dogs and swine, in their manners and disposition. The holy thing, here meant, is the Gospel; and its value is expressed by pearls, things rare and precious. Therefore we will first consider the nature of this holy thing : then the persons to whom it will do no good, and ought not to be given. The reason is, because the attempt will be unsuccessful and dangerous. When this is made to appear, some admonition proper to the case may arise, as a conclusion from the whole.

The holy thing here spoken of is first to be considered. This is the Gospel; and a holy thing it is in its nature, because it comes from God, who is the fountain of holiness, and must, as such, partake of his nature. But it is chiefly so, when we consider that the end of it is to communicate holiness to man, and lead bim to holiness and purity of life. It calls men to be separated from this world, which lieth in wickedness, and to become members of the kingdom of God. From thenceforth it sets new objects before them, new good and new evil, and inspires then with new affections, with love for the one, and hatred for the other. Its objects being all of an high and spiritual kind, the precepts which are intended to lead us to them are all pure and holy, and the sum total of them all is expressed in that one precept of the law, "Be yeholy, for I am holy." Man is to be made fit for the presence of God; but that cannot be, unless he becomes such as God is. Therefore the Gospel.saith, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall sce God:” no other

persons will be fit for it'; it is therefore the design of the Gospel to make them such. And this it doth, not by restraining men from sin, as the laws of the land and the terror of punishment do; but by inspiring them with an admiration of purity, and a love towards it; for the sake of God who is purity itself. The Gospel, as an introduction to the kingdom of heaven, must be a lesson of holiness: it cannot be otherwise : and

poor blind mistaken men, who would make it consistent with. unholiness, know nothing about it, and can have no share in it. How precious then is the Gospel, if it can lead man to the glorions presence of God! It is therefore represented to us by something more precious than gold itself, even by pearls : “cast not your pearls," saith the text. And in another text, the kingdom of heaven, which is still no other than the Gospel, is like unto a merchant, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. So apposite is this comparison, that even the history of the pearl will afford us moral instruction. Pearls do not lie in the


of every common observer; they lie deep in the ocean; he that would obtain them must seek for them; and he that would purchase the best of them all must give a great price. So also must be who would purchase the Gospel; he must seek it-he must give--the whole world for it; nothing less will buy it; and he who would have it for less, shews that he is not worthy of it. The world, as men commonly understand and use it, is one great lie: he that would have the truth, must give it up. “We have left all,” said the disciples; and they did right: they were merchants that knew how to reckon, and how to estimate : they were therefore assured what they should have in return: this pearl would make them amends for ali they had given up.

But this pure, this holy, this inestimable treasure, is not to be thrown away upon those who are incapable of possessing it. It is not to be given to dogs or swine. A dog is incapable of that which is holy:

« ÖncekiDevam »