The Application, Now the Practical Use I would make of what hath beep discoursed, is, that we would seriously reflect upon the Wifdom, and Goodness of our Saviour Chrift, in delivering this Precept to Mankind, which so apparently contributes to their presentHappiness in this World.

Indeed the whole System of Christianity, the Mysteries, the Doctrines, the Duties, the Promises, the Miracles, and all those uncontestable Proofs, which attended its first Delivery and Conveyance, downward to this very Age, were designed, and they do effectually secure our Future, and eternal Salvation. But this Commandment was delivered by our Saviour Christ, to establish our present Peace and Happiness in this World.

And was it conscientiously observed by Chriftians, what a convenient Habitation would this World be, for a few Years Travel through it ; and after the Expiration of them, what a plain and direct, what an easy, and pleasant Passage would lie open before us, from an imperfect State of Peace and Charity, to those blissful Mansions of pure and unmixt Love; where Joy, and Praife, and Glory, Triumph, in their utmost Perfe&ion, to eternal Ages ? If this Precept had its full Weight and Force, then would the Antient Prophecies be in a very good Sense fulfilled; and the Mouths of Infidels stopped. When Ephraim shall not envy Fudab, nor Judab Ila. 11.15 vex Ephraim; when they shall fit, cuery Man under bis Vine, and Fig-tree, and none Hall make Lev. 26. tkem afraid.


F 3

Then would the Spirit of the Lord cause Publick Wars to cease in all the World ; Nation would not rise up against Nation, but Peace would be within their Walls, and Prosperity within their Palaces ; Then would the Spirit of Charity revive, and lift up its drooping Head; and by its natural Loveliness, and Primitive Energy, put an End to those Intestine Quarrels and Animofities; those Religious Heats and Discords, which exasperate the Tempers of Friend against Friend, Neighbour against Neighbour, Christian against Christian, to the great Dishonour of our Holy Religion, and the apparent Disadvantage of Christian Peace and Piety.

And do thou, O God, who haft taught us, that all our Doings, without Charity, are nothing worth; send thy Holy Gboji, and

pour into our Hearts, thirt most excellent Gift of Charity; That we may love thee, the Lord our God, with all our Heart, with all our Soul, ard with all our Mind, and our Neighbour as our selves; to the Honour of thy Son's Religion, and the eternal Comfort, and Salvation of our own Souls. Amen.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

St. MATTH. CHAP. v. Verses 23. 24.
Therefore; if thou bring thy Gift to the

Altar, and there remembrest that thy

Brother hath ought against thee.
Leave there thy Gift before the Altar,

and go thy way, first be reconciled to
thy Brother, and then come and offer
thy Gift.


HIS, and the two following Chapters,

contain that excellent Discourse of our Blessed Saviour, commonly called his Sermon upon the Mount, which he spoke to his Disciples in the Audience of the People; wherein he pursues the Method observed by the Phi




losophers in the Heathen World; and begins with the Nature and Description of Blessedness, the great End of all Philosophy and Religion, only with this Difference; that whereas they placed Blessedness mostly in the Conveniency and Suitableness of Things to this present Life, in a Freedom from Care, Sorrow, and Want; he contrariwise, makes it to confist in Meekness and Poverty of Spirit, in Pu. rity, Humility, and Mourning, in Mercifulness, Peace-making, and Persecution for Righteoul- o ness Sake.

From thence, by particular Application, he addresses himself to the Disciples, who were di to be the Preachers of these new Doctrines; and the visible Examples of them to others. Ab Ye are the Salt of the Earth. The Light of ou the World: A City set upon a Hill: A Candle bit put into a Candlestick, that giveth Light unto be all that are in the House, and so on to the si 21st Verse, where 'tis easy to observe, that from thence he directs his Discourse, not to the Disciples only, but to all that were prefent, and defirous to embrace his Religion,

The first Precept he delivers unto them, is levelled against those very prevailing and customary Vices of Men, viz. Causeless Anger, and Immoderate Passion; deriding and Insulting over one another's Infirmities; Scornful, Abusive, and provoking Language. Ye have heard, that it was frid by them of Old Time, Thou shalt not kill. But I say unto you,

that mulsofoever is angry with his Brother without

a Cause,

a Cause, shall be in danger of the Judgment. And whosoever shall say to his Brother; Raça, i. e. Empty or Witless, ball be in danger of the Council. But whosoever fall say, thou Fool, shall be in danger of Hell Fire. And then as a very proper and cautionary Inference, he subjoins the Text. Therefore if thou bring thy Gift to the Altar, &c.

If thou bring thy Gift to the Altar] by which Expression, some understand those free and voluntary Oblations, which Devout and Welldisposed Men dedicate to the Honour of God, out of a very Sincere and Religious Intention. Such for Instance are, fervent Prayers, folemn Fasting, serious Vows, Alms-deeds, Works of publick Beneficence, and Liberality, Sacrifices, doubtless very acceptable unto, and wherewith God is well pleased. Others interpret them by way of Prolepsis, and Anticipation ; as if our Saviour referred therein to the Holy Sacrament (the great Christian Propitiation) afterwards to be instituted by him, in Remembrance of the Virtues of his Life, and the Merit of his Death, of which this solemn Agreement and Reconciliation of Christians, was to be a péculiar and sacred Rite.

Leave there thy Gift before tbe Altar, and go thy Way ; first be reconciled to thy Brother,] i.e. if at any time thou haft resolved to bring thy Offering, and Attonement to God's Altar, and findest within thee some secret Indisposition ; in such a Case, defer thy Oblation a while, rather suspend the Performance of that


« ElőzőTovább »