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St. Paul ascribes their declension to the subtlety of their false teachers
[Sin has an astonishingly fascinating poweroError, whether in faith or practice, soon insinuates itself into our hearts
Whenever people are drawn from the truth, they are first beguiled by the specious appearances of false principles
Apostates therefore may be justly considered as deluded creatures
And if at any time they be recovered, they wonder at them-' selves how they ever could have been so“ bewitched," so blinded, so befooled-]
Nevertheless he deservedly censures their compliance with them
[He was far from indulging a contemptuous or vindictive spirit
Yet he judged it his duty to “rebuke them sharply"-
He expressed his wonder that they could be so soon turned from the truthP
He seems at a loss to represent their folly in terms suf,ficiently humiliating
Yet his question evidently imports also a mixture of pity-
He therefore expostulated with them in order to reclaim them--] INFERENCES
1. How great is the evil and danger of self-righteous. ness!
[The Galatians intended to honour God's own institutions
But by laying an undue stress upon them they endangered their own salvation
How careful then should we be not to trust in any righteousness of our own!
Let us remember in what light our own righteousness should be viewed -
Let us bear in mind our Saviour's direction
2. What need have even the most eminent Christians to watch against apostasy!
[The attainments of the Galatians seemed to be very emiYet they were soon seduced from the simplicity of the gospel
• This seems the exact import of the original.
r Isai. Ixiv. 6. s Luke xyii. 10.
t Phil. iii. 9.
Who then are we, that we should be over-confident ?-
Let us attend then to the advice which he gives us!
3. What cause of thankfulness have they who are kept stedfast in the truth !
[They who know their own instability will wonder that they are kept at all
Surely such will adopt the grateful acknowledgment of Davida —
And these are the persons in whom that declaration shall be verified
We conclude with that suitable doxologyb-]
a 2 Cor. xi. 3.
Ps. xxvi. 12.
* 1 Cor. x. 12.
y 2 Pet. iii. 17. b Jude 24, 25.
LVI. THE WHOLE AND THE SICK, THE RIGHTEOUS
AND SINNERS, DESCRIBED. Mark ii. 17. They that are whole, have no need of the physi
cian, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
THERE is no action, however benevolent, which cavillers may not censure
Ęvery part of our Lord's conduct was worthy of his divine character
Yet was he constantly “enduring the contradiction of sinners,” &c.
He was now conversing familiarly with publicans for their good
This was condemned by the scribes as unbecoming an holy person, if not also as giving countenance to sin
Our Lord vindicated himself on principles acknowledged by them,
His words contain 1. A generally established maxim
Persons desire not a physician unless they be sickThis is true according to its literal import
[A person in health wishes not for any medical assistance He would refuse it if it were tendered to him
He would not submit to any regimen that should be prescribed
But they who are diseased are glad to hear of a skilful phy. sician
They will cheerfully put themselves under his direction
And they will follow his prescriptions, that they may obtain a cureIt is more particularly so.in a figurative sense
[There is an analogy between sickness and sinThis is a disorder of
the soul as that is of the bodyA person unconscious of his sinfulness desires not a saviour
Nor will he comply with the self-denying directions given him
But one who feels his lost state longs earnestly for a cure
He delights to hear of Christ, and to make application to him
Nor does he esteem any injunction too severe]
This being acknowledged, our Lord proceeds to make II. An application of it to his own conduct
The physician's office leads him to converse with the sick
Our Lord's work required him to maintain an intercourse with sinners
There are many who conceive themselves to be “ righteous”
[None are absolutely and perfectly righteous — But many suppose that their sins are neither great nor numerous
Such were the Scribes and Pharisees whom our Lord ad. dressed
And there are many of this description in every aged]
Such persons were not so much the objects of our Lord's attention
[He “ willed indeed that all should come to repentance"
But he knew that they would not receive his offers
They saw no need of the salvation which he came to accomplish
Their pride and prejudice unfitted them for receiving it
a 1 John v. 3.
b None by nature, Job xiv. 4. and xv. 14. None by practice, Rom. iii. 10, 12, 23. c Luke xviii. 9, 1l. d Prov. xxx. 12.
• 2 Pet. iii. 9.
He therefore bestowed less labour in calling them to repentance—] But there are niany of more ingenuous disposition
[They are not really more heinous “ sinners” than others But they are made sensible of their guilt and dangerSuch was the publican at whose house our Lord wasAnd such are to be found in every place]
To call these to repentance was the great object of Christ's ministry
[These were prepared, like thirsty ground for the rainTo them he was a welcome messengerThey rejoiced to hear that repentance could profit them And our Lord delighted to encourage their hopes —]
Thus did his conduct accord with the dictates of reason, and with the great ends of his mission INFER 1. The danger of self-righteousness
[Men feel of themselves the danger of gross sinBut they cannot be persuaded that they will suffer any thing by self-righteousness
But a person who, under dying circumstances, denies his need of help, as effectually destroys himself, as if he drank poison or plunged a dagger to his heart
Deny not then your need of the heavenly Physician-
You must reseinble the publican, if ever you would enjoy his lots-] 2. The folly of unbelief
[We are apt to make the depth of our misery a reason for despondency
But the doubting of the Physician's power will be as destructive to the soul, as the denying of our need of him
Obehold the remedy! are you sick ?h-sinners ?-lost? Christ suits his promises to your state
He addresses himself to each, nor shall any suppliant be disappointedm-]
f Luke iv. 18, 19.
8 Luke xviii. 13, 14.
I Jer. viii. 22. 1 John v. 6.
LVII. THE REST THAT REMAINS FOR GOD'S PEOPLE. Heb. iv. 9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people
THE servants of God possess many distinguished pri. vileges
Their state in this world is far happier than that of the ungodly
But there is an infinitely richer portion reserved for them hereafter
To this David had respect in that awful denunciation
Whence it appears, that though prefigured by other rests, it remains yet to be enjoyed I. Who are the people of God This title cannot belong to all indiscriminately
[The greater part of the world are idolatrous heathensThe generality of those who are called Christians are ignorant of God
Impiety and profaneness abound in every place
The sinful works of men plainly shew whose people they ared
Nor do all who “profess godliness" really belong to GodeThere are many who deceive both themselves and others)
Those who alone have a right to it are described by God himself They "worship God in the Spirit”
[It is the characteristic of God's enemies that they neg. lect prayer
Nor will formal services prove us to be God's people
#Ps. xcv. 11. • The apostle's argument seems to be this: God instituted a day of rest in commemoration of his having ceased from his works of creation. And many centuries afterwards he promised a rest to his people in the land of Canaan. But that rest was only typical of a more glorious sabbath, of which David spake a long time after the other had been enjoyed. From hence the apostle concludes that there must yet be a rest, or Eaßßatiquos (for he changes the word which he had before used, in order more strongly to intimate the analogy between the different rests there spoken of,) remaining for the people of God.
c Rom. ix. 6. di John iii. 8. John viii, 44. e Rom. ii. 28, 29. Tit. i. 16. f Rev. ii. 1. Jam. i. 26,
& Phil. iii. 3. h Ps. liii. 4.
i Matt. xv. 8, 9,