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Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel.

SECT. to the rage, with which the enemy is endeavouring their destruction. May we be animated in it by the example of the blessed Luke Jesus, who, with a view to this, even longed for those sufferings,

XII. 50.

which aversion!


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54, 56 May we at all times be so wise as to discern the evidences, and to comply with the purposes, of the gospel, else our knowledge




natural things, should it extend not only to most common, but the most curious appearances on the face of the earth or the heavens, will turn to no other account but to shame and condemn us!

If we have any reason to fear that, through obstinate impenitence, the blessed God is still an adversary to us, let us make it our first and greatest care, that, by an humble submission of soul

to him

in the methods of his gospel grace, that strict scrutiny of his justice may be prevented, and that sentence of his wrath averted, which would otherwise plunge us into endless ruin and misery; for when could we pretend to have paid the last farthing of the debt of ten thousand talents, which we have been daily contracting, and which is charged to our account in the book of his remembrance.




Reflections on the regard we should shew to the gospel.

he hale thee to the on the way; lest he force thee before the judge, judge, and the judge and the judge, having found thee to be indeed

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and the officer cast accountable, deliver thee to of the serjeant, and the serjeant throw thee into prison. XII. 58. shalt not depart thence 59 I tell thee, thou It will not then be in thy power to compound 59 till thou hast paid the the matter upon gentler terms, or to get free very last mite. from thy confinement; but I tell thee that, when he has thee at such an advantage, thou shalt not be able to come out from thence till thou hast paid the very last mite of the debt thou owest h. And thus if you are regardless of the proposals of God's mercy while the day of life and grace is continued, nothing is to be expected from the tribunal of his justice, but a severe sentence, which will end in everlasting confinement and punishment.


To what a lamentable degree is human nature corrupted, that Ver. so noble a remedy as the gospel, so well adapted to the cure of a 49

malevolent and contentious disposition, should in so many instances only irritate the disease! and that a scheme so full of love and goodness, and so well suited to promote peace and harmony in those, who cordially embrace it, should be opposed with all the violence of persecution, and be the means of introducing strife and division!

How monstrous is it, that any should hate their neighbours, 51, 53 yea, and their nearest relatives, for that disinterested piety, and regard to conscience, which might recommend strangers to their esteem and affection! Yet let not those, who meet with such injurious treatment, be discouraged; knowing they have a Father and a Saviour in heaven, whose love is ten thousand times more than all nor let others be offended, as if Christianity had been the occasion of more evil than good; for such is the nature of eternity, that the salvation of one immortal soul will be more than an equivalent for the greatest and most lasting temporal evils, which the greatest number of persons can suffer for conscience sake.

Let this awaken our zeal to save souls, however great and ter- 50 rible the sufferings are, to which it may expose us, in proportion

h The very last mite of the debt thou owest.] The mite [lov,] was the least valuable of their coins (see Mark xii. 42), containing no more than half of their least kind of farthing, or of their xogavins, or quadrans; which was itself but the fourth


· to

part of the as, or accapsov, or of the larger farthing, mentioned Mat. x. 29. and Luke xii. 6; so that the mite was but little more than the third part of an English farthing, and a sparrow was reckoned worth four of them.

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Messiah's coming? 57 p. 456.) Yea, why it you do even of yourselves judge what is fit and right, and judge ye not what is gather from such obvious premises, you right? ought in reason and conscience to treat so extraordinary a Person as I appear to be from the whole series of my doctrine and conduct, instead of disregarding all the proofs that shew me to be sent from God?



This, however you may thoughtlessly neglect it, is a matter of the utmost importance: I therefore enforce the exhortation I formerly gave you (Mat. v. 25, 26. p. 209), and press you to endeavour, with the greatest diligence, that the controversy may immediately be made up between God and your souls. For you count it a rule of human prudence, when you go to the magistrate with your adversary, who has a suit against you, to use your utmost endeavour to make up the affair with him while you are yet

e A heavy shower is coming.] Ouffes properly signifies a heavy shower; and xnuswv, in the next verse, sultry or scorching heat. i Why is it you do not even of yourselves, &c.] The phrase a'ra:Awy does not seem here to signify, "From the like principles of good sense which you use in common affairs, or in matters relating to yourselves;" but it seems an advance on that thought, as if our Lord had said,

"Even though I had not so expressly drawn the consequence, yet, from the tenor of my doctrine and character, as well as from my miracles, you might have discerned, your selves, that it must be a very wrong and very dangerous thing to reject and slight me."-Castalio and Grotius connect this verse with the two following, I think, without any reason.


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Use your utmost endeavour to make the affair with him.] Theophylact intimates, and Salmasius, and after him, La Cene, largely insist upon it, that das Eyadav signifies "Pay the interest, as well as the principal of thy debt, in order to procure deliverance." But Luke make use of another word [7:✪] for usury (Luke xix. 23), which I think a considerable ar gument for the common rendering, which is also more extensive.-Annλhaxdaι sig. nifies, not merely any kind of deliverance, but such an agreement as secures the defendant from any farther danger of prose cution; as Elsner accurately shews, Observ. Vol. I. p. 237.-It is well known that a properly signifies a prosecutor, or one who has a suit at law against another, whether in a civil or criminal case,


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