Imágenes de páginas

feed could not penetrate—there is, fecondly, the stony soil-there is, thirdly, the soil choked with weeds--and, fourthly, there is the good soil; that is, in plain language, there are three parts in four of mankind, that make little use of the knowledge they receive. And then their knowledge only arises in witness against them.-What avails it to know you are loft, and fallen creatures, if you still suffer your natural corruption to continue ?- if you never strive, nor pray to remove it? What avails it to know, you can expect salvation only through Christ; if you do not, by holy lives, make his death efficacious in taking away your fins ? Will the knowledge, think you, of these things fave you ?-Are the truths of the Gospel intended to enlighten the understanding, or to improve the heart? -The goodness of the tree is known by the fruit it bears-And so is the goodness of a Christian. We must know our duty, it is true, before we can practise Cit: but if our knowledge do not lead to practice--if it do not produce in us good lives, we are fruitless trees, and only cumber the ground. You remember what was said of him, who knew his master's will, and did it not: his sentence was defervedly severe

[blocks in formation]

Let me then conclude as I began. I can add nothing stronger; and let it be deeply imprinted in your minds. They are your Saviour's own words—if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them: and may the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, impress them upon you!


John, vii. 46.


THE chief priests and Pharisees being deter

mined, if possible, to destroy our bleffed Saviour; and having gotten, as they supposed, some handle against him, fent their officers to apprehend him. The officers were so struck with what Jesus said to them, that they returned without him. “ Never man,” said they, “ spake like this man.” What our Saviour faid to these officers does not appear; but we may be sure, from his answering on other occasions, it was something, which they thought extremely uncommon and affecting

As we are often apt to pass over things slightly which deserve great attention, many of us, in the present case, may not consider in so strong a light as we ought, the extraordinary power with which our Saviour always spoke. In the following difcourse therefore, I shall endeavour to explain the text, by shewing you, first, the great wisdom with which he opposed his adversaries-fecondly, the divine precepts he gave his disciples-and, thirdly, the grand scheme of redemption which he opened'; in all which he spake as never man spake.

7. :


We first admire the great wisdom with which he opposed his adverfaries. Thus when they asked him, whether it were, lawful to give tribute to Cæsar? they wanted only a handle against him. -If he had said, it was lawful, he would have offended the Jews, who thought themselves naturally free from all tribute. If he had said, it was not lawful, he would have offended the Romans, who had imposed the tribute. An ordinary man might have held his peace; or have answered, he was no judge of the case: the wife dom of Jesus meant to confound there malicious enquirers. He asked for a piece of money with which the tribute was paid. Whose image, said he, does this coin bear? On their answering



Cæsar's, he bade them give it then to Cæfar, if it was Cæsar's. But, as his manner was, always to introduce some ingral instruction, he bade them remember, they had a heavenly power to serve, still superior to Cæsar. His enemies, astonished at his wisdom, left him in confusion.

The same snare was laid for him, when the woman taken in adultery was brought before him. If he had said, they ought not to put her to death, he opposed the law of Moses; and if he had advised the contrary, he laid himself open to the Ronians, who forbade the Jews'the power of life and death*.. Here again he might have avoided the difficulty by filence; but he chose rather to confound his wicked adversaries, by setting their consciences and their practice at variance. Let him, said he, among you, who hath never been guilty of this crime himself ni, throw the first stone. This roused the conscience of each, especially as they were probably conscious of each other's guilt, and they retired in confusion. He then told the woman, it

• See John, xviii. 3!.

+ This appears rather to be the meaning of our Saviour's expression, than our transation of it; for fin of some kind shey had all undoubtedly committed.


« AnteriorContinuar »