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pieces of pageantry. Without this, of each man's proper duties. By doing Religion is not itself. A continuance the proper duty in the proper place, a in well-doing is as it were the body of man may make the world his debtor. it; and therein a seeking glory, honour, The results of patient continuance in and immortality, the soul and spirit. well-doing' are never to be measured -Ibid.
by the weakness of the instrument, No man has a right to say he can do but by the Omnipotence of Him who. nothing for the benefit of mankind, blesseth the sincere efforts of obedient who are less benefited by ambitious faith alike in the prince and in the projects than by the sober fulfilment cottager.-H. Thompson.
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile: 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. The all-seeing Father,—He in whom How abasing and humbling to huwe live and move,
man pride is it to conceive that all He, the impartial Judge of ail,- have sinned, and, in the sight of God, regards
are hell-deserving! • What!' says the Nations, and hues, and dialects honourable man, 'must I take mercy alike.
upon no higher consideration than the According to their works shall they thief on the cross?' Or, the highly be judged,
virtuous dame, • Must I sue for mercy When even-handed Justice, in the upon the same terms as the prostitute?' scale,
The faithful answer to both is, Yes, Their good and evil weighs.
or you must perish.—Geo. Offor.
Southey. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
The principle here is evident, viz., like case with that of the soldier's that all men, Pagans, and Jews, and excuse to the commander Pericles, Christians, are bound to avail them- the Athenian general, when he charged selves of the light they enjoy; and are him with a fault, and asked him how responsible in exact proportion to the he came to do it: 'I did it unwillingly;' degree of that light; for responsibility * And you shall,' said he, therefore, rests not upon knowledge, but means suffer unwillingly!'-Howe. of knowledge.—Dr. Payne.
A clergyman once travelling in a Those who live in the remotest stage coach, was abruptly asked by one: parts of the world, without the Gospel, of the passengers if any of the heawill not have it imputed to them as then would go to heaven: 'Sir,' replied their sin that they had it not; but the clergyman, 'I am not appointed none of them will be excused from Judge of the world,' and consequently punishment if they have violated and I cannot tell; but if ever you get to resisted that law and light which heaven, you shall either find some of they had. If any of them should go them there, or a good reason why they about to excuse themselves, · We had are not there. A reply well fitted to not an express written law;' if they answer an impertinent question, dichave sinned without law, they shall tated, at best, by an idle curiosity.suffer without law. It will be but a Anecdotes.
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the
doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
There is a natural morality—if I follow. This moral faculty implies may so call it-as well as a natural also a presentiment and apprehension, theology; that is, there is a knowledge that the judgment which it passes on of right and wrong, to which all men, our actions, considered as of good or left to the unaided efforts of their own ill desert, will hereafter be confirmed faculties, may attain, and to which, in by the unerring judgment of God.some degree, they do attain.-Dr. Bp. Butler. Payne.
Far be it from me to dispute the À prophet may reveal the secrets of reality of a moral principle in the heaven, and of futurity, but in his human heart. I feel its existence: I moral precepts he can only repeat the clearly discern its use and importance. lessons of our own hearts.-Mavor. But in no respect is it more important,
We can no more say, that because than as it suggests the idea of a moral some men walk by a false rule, there Governor.--Dr. Balguy. is no such thing as conscience, than Sink the Bible to the bottom of the we can say that because men have ocean, and man's obligations to God errors in their minds, therefore they would be unchanged. He would have have no such faculty as an understand- the same path to tread, only his lamp ing; or because men will what is evil, and his guide would be gone; he they have no such faculty as a will.— would have the same voyage to make, Charnock.
only his compass and chart would be Every man has the rule of right overboard.—H. W. Beecher. within him; a rule attended in the If every time conscience very notion of it with authority, and wronged, it sighed, and every time such as has the force of a direction reason was perverted, it uttered comand command from Him who made plaints, no one could live for the us what we are, what course of beha- moaning which would fill his soul.viour is suited to our nature, and Ibid. which He expects that we should
16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel. 17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal ? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
V. 17-22. It is easier to chide at text once; but how many have read it sin, than to overcome it. A profane as well as he, who never trembled at minister was converted by reading this the consideration of it as he did !
Sometimes when I have been going Let no man presume to give advice to preach upon some smart and to others, that has not first given good searching portion of the Word, I have counsel to himself.-Seneca.
found the tempter suggest, What!
will you preach this ? this condemns Do not, as some ungracious pastors
yourself; of this your own soul is do,
guilty; wherefore preach not of it at Show me the steep and thorny way
all; or if you do, yet so mince it as to to heaven:
make way for your own escape; lest, Whilst, like a puff’d and reckless
instead of awakening others, you lay libertine,
that guilt upon your own soul which Himself the primrose path of dal
you will never get quit of.' But, I liance treads,
thank the Lord, I have been kept And recks not his own rede.
from consenting to these horrid sug
gestions, and have rather, as Samson, Examples will govern more than bowed myself with all my might, to rules. The greatest obstructors of the condemn sin and transgression whersuccess of the Word are those whose
ever I found it, yea, though therein bad lives contradict their good doc. also I did bring guilt upon my own trine ;—who in the pulpit preach so conscience. 'Let me die,' thought I, well, that it is a pity they should ever with the Philistines, rather than come out: and out of the pulpit live deal corruptly with the blessed Word so ill, that it is a pity they should of God!'-Bunyan. ever come in.-M. Henry.
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
V. 25. As to the main purposes of count, is worse. Thy baptism profits, Religion, it is plainly no great matter if thou keep the Gospel; but if thou what religion a wicked man is of. It observe it not, thy baptism shall sigis all one whether he be of a false nify nothing. Though a man cannot religion, or falsely of the true; except be saved under any religion, yet heonly that his case, on this latter ac- may perish under any one.—Howe.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision ? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh : 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The ritual of the Jews, indeed, pre- posed of the same elements, and issued scribed a multitude of perpetually-re- in the same result—the production of curring observances. But, though bur- spiritual men. For this the legal ecodened with ceremonies, it was highly nomy may be said to have travailed significant of all that is spiritual and and been in birth. Yet, however laboessential in the present economy.
rious the process,
and elementary the Piety, indeed, has always been com- character it produced, it could be satisfied with nothing less. Disowning and hath put on
cloak of Christianity. rejecting the formalist as a reproach, it If he finds that any prejudice is likely acknowledged for its offspring none to accrue to him upon this account, it who bore not its spiritual impress; and, is, I say, the easiest thing in the world equally with the Gospel, reserved its for him to throw off his cloak. But ultimate rewards for the Israelite in- one who is a Christian indeed cannot deed.'—Dr. J. Harris.
do so. His religion is not a cloak, but What a difference is there between it is a piece of himself, and therefore the religion of one who is not thorough, he must be exposed. What will diand in good earnest, in the business of rectly strike at such a man as he is, Christianity, and one who is a Chris- cannot be helped; for he cannot cease tian indeed! To the former Religion is to be what he is; he must therefore but as a sort of cloak. A man can take what comes.—Howe. easily lay aside his cloak if he finds it To be called Christians by fellowinconvenient, or a burden to him. It men,—to be addressed indiscriminhas no living union with himself, ately as Christians from the pulpit, is therefore it puts him to no pain or nothing:- it will not make you what trouble at all to throw it away, if he you are called. The question is not finds thereby any inconvenience. But what you are called, but what you are : the religion of one that is truly and —the touchstone by which this must sincerely a Christian is a vital thing, be determined is the Word of God; and part of himself. And though a and on the answer to the inquiry deman can easily part with his cloak, yet pends, as to each of us, our happiness he cannot so easily part with his skin. for eternity.—Dr. Wardlaw. One that is only an outside professor
CHAP. III. THAT advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of
circumcision ? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
The Bible is the most betrashed authenticity from the pillar it hangs on book in the world. Coming to it in the market-cross; or that the candle through commentaries is much like hath its light from the candlestick ? looking at a landscape through garret The office of the Church is ministerial, windows, over which generations of to publish and make known the Word unmolested spiders have spun their of God; but not magisterial and absowebs. Our real commentators are our lute, to make it Scripture or unmake strongest traits of character; and we it, as she is pleased.—Gurnall. usually come out of the Bible with all The very silence of the Divine Orthose texts sticking to us which our acles is instructive to us.
It was said idiosyncrasies attract.-H. W. Beecher. by one wise man of another, that more
The testimony of the Church is might be learned from his questions highly to be reverenced, because to it than from another man's answers. are these Oracles of God delivered, to With yet higher truth might it be said be kept as a sacred deposit; yea, it is that the silence of Scripture is oftencalled .The pillar and ground of the times more instructive than the speech Truth' (1 Tim. iii. 15); and the can- of other books; so that it has been dlestick (Rev. i. 12), from whence the likened to "a dial in which the shadow light of the Scriptures shines forth as well as the light informs us.' into the world. But who will say, that Anon. the proclamation of a prince hath its
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the 7 For
faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
The notion of the goodness and ing, and motive power, or what not righteousness of God, methinks, should besides disputed, or even torn away stick so close to our minds, and create from us, than ever suffer ourselves to such a sense in our souls, as should be be disputed into a belief that the holy infinitely dearer to us than all our and blessed God should be unfaithful senses and powers; and we should or unjust.—Howe. rather choose to have our sight, hear
5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) o God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner ? * And not rather, as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirun that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
• Whatever is,' says Mr. Pope, ‘is the direction of Divine wisdom, proved right. Let the sentiment be restrained in the event to be the most beneficial to the disposals of heaven, and I most to mankind, in procuring their Rereadily subscribe to it. But if it be demption. How admirable is this! extended to the conduct of men, and God makes the greatest wickedness the effects of their folly, I feel obliged that man could possibly commit the to enter my protest against it. For means of obtaining the greatest happiwhatever kindles the Divine indigna- ness which he is capable of enjoying. tionis cause of final ruin to the au- -Despagne. thor, is strictly forbidden by God's In this passage we are commanded holy Word, is contrary to the whole to keep rectitude, not expediency, in design of His revealed will, and the view-a command directly at variance very reverse of His essential attributes, with the theory which founds virtue on —this cannot possibly be right, this is utility:-Dr. Payne. most undoubtedly wrong. Omnipo- A Christian looks so much to his tence, indeed, can over-rule it, and rule, as well as to his end, that he dare educe good from it. But the very no- not say of heaven itself, that every tion of over-ruling supposes it to be means is lawful which seems to conabsolutely wrong in itself.-Hervey. duce to it. But some men think that
The most heinous sin ever commit- anything is lawful that brings them ted by men was to crucify the Lord of gain, or makes them great.–Baxter. glory. Nevertheless this crime, under
9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
V. 13. Because an open sepulchre Psalmist uses that figure to represent sends forth a noisome stench, the the rotten infectious discourse which