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as to think all comely Ceremonies relating to Time, Place, and Gefture, to be now forbidden in the Service of God; for without fome of thefe, it cannot be perform'd in that Decency and Order that is requir'd: but that we are not to return again to the Mofaical Ceremonies and Sacrifices, which being Types and Shadows of good things to come, maft vanish and ceafe at the coming of them. Infomuch that we are now call'd to no other Circumcifion, fave that of the Heart, nor to offer up any other Calves than those of the Lips: for we are the Circumcifion (faith the Apostle) that worp God in the Spirit, and rejoices in Chrift Jesus, and have no Confidence in the Flesh. Phil. 3. 3.
3. From what hath been faid, we may learn not to fhrink from the Faith for fear of Perfecution, but rather with our poftle to glory in the Cross of Chrift, by which we fhall be crucify'd to the World, and the World to us, We read in this Epiftle of fome that prefs'd Circumcifion, for fear of difpleafing the Jews, and fuffering by them: but St. Paul flood his ground, and fear'd nothing; he would not forfake the Truths of the Gofpel for all their Threats, but rather courted than fear'd the Cross in Chrift's Caufe: I am ready (faith he) not only to be bound, but to die at Jerufalem for the Name of the Lord Jefus; Acts 21. 13. He prefer'd his Sufferings at Jerufalem, before all their Triumphs at Rome; and valu'd the Crofs of Christ above all the Trophies of the greateft Conqueror: which should teach us all Courage and Conftancy in his Caufe, and to be above the Frowns and Menaces of the greatest Enemies; knowing that the Crofs is fet in the way to a Crown, and if we fuffer with him, we fhall also be glorify'd together.
4. We learn here, that no external Privileges or Advantages are fufficient of themfelves to bring us to Heaven; for in Chrift Jefus neither Circumcifion availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcifion, but a new Creature; nor will Baptifm, or any other Gofpel-Privileges, do us any fervice, without a true Faith, and the Anfwer of a good Confcience.
5. They that walk by the Rules of the Gofpel, fhall find Peace and Mercy heap'd upon them; and fo fhall the whole Ifrael of God, both Jew and Gentile, for there is no difference.
Laftly, Since the Gospel of Chrift is attended with Trouble and Perfecution, let us make the Yoke as easy as we can to one another: and fince the best fuffer much by
the profefs'd Enemies of Christianity, let them not find any additional Troubles from its Friends and Profeffors. This is St. Paul's Request in his own and others behalf, From henceforth, let no Man trouble me, for I bear in my Body the Marks of the Lord fefus; which honourable Scars I elteem higher than the greatest Marks and Badges of worldly Glory: And if we can do fo, the Grace of our Lord Jefus Chrift will be with our Spirits. Amen.
The GOSPEL for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.
St. Matthew vi. 24, to the end.
No Man can ferve two Masters; for either he will bate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and defpife the other: ye cannot ferve God and Mammon. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your Life, &c.
HE Defign of this Gofpel, is to take off Mens Hearts from an inordinate Love and Purfuit of the perishing things of this World, and to place them upon a more lafting and fubftantial Treasure in Heaven. But because fome may be apt to fay, that they confift of a Body as well as a Soul, and they muft provide for both, and they have a want of good things for the one in this Life, as well as for the other in the next, and fo must divide their Care and Affections between them:
To these our Saviour here replies, No Man can ferve two Mafters, &c. Which he here proves, because the loving of the one, will be the hating of the other; and the holding to the one, will be the defpifing of the other. And then applies it to the prefent Cafe, Ye cannot ferve God and Mammon. The reft of the Chapter is an Inference from this, and an Enlargement upon it: of which in their order. And,
First, Of the Propofition here laid down; No Man can Serve two Mafters. This will be evident to any, that confiders the Properties and Duties of a good Servant.
The firft whereof is Obedience, which is the doing the Mafter's Will, which cannot be done to two; especially, if they interfere as to Time, and the Matter of their Com mands. If both lay their Commands at the fame time, or if one commands one thing, and the other another, 'twill be impoflible to observe both.
Again, Diligence is another Duty of a Servant, which is the minding and doing his Mafter's Bufinefs; Not with Eye-fervice, as Men-pleafers, but with Sincerity and Singlenefs of Heart: being as well employ'd out of the Master's fight, as when his Eye is upon him. Now this cannot be to two Masters; for if one behold him doing his Work, the other must neceffarily fee him neglecting his, it being impoflible to be doing both at the fame time.
Moreover, Fidelity is another Duty and Property of a good Servant, which cannot be to two Mafters, for a Servant owes his whole Service to his Mafter; and none can give his whole Service to two, for what is given to the one, must be taken from the other; and if one hath all, the other can have none; and confequently none can truly ferve or be faithful to two Mafters.
But our Saviour's Arguments here are both of them irrefragable.
ift, Because no Man can love two Masters as he ought, for if he love the one, he will hate the other. Love is of an uniting Nature; if it be center'd in one Object, 'tis commonly true and lafting; but if it be divided among more, it becomes weak, and foon turns into Hatred. And therefore the Apostle wills us neither to be, nor to have many Masters; for that will divide the Affections, and instead of Love and Kindness, will breed Enmity and Dislike.
2dly, No Man can be conftant to two Mafters; for to hold to the one, will be to defpife the other. The Mind cannot equally incline to two Objects, but like the Scales of a Ballance, the railing of one will be the lowering of the other. In this Cafe, there is no holding the Scales even; the more the one rifes in Efteem, the more the other finks, and the sticking to the one will be unavoidably accompanied with the falling off from the other. This is evident both in the Theory and the Practice. From whence I proceed to
The Application that Chrift here makes of it, Te cannot ferve God and Mammon, that is, God and the World; and that for all the foremention'd Reafons, As,
(1.) Ye cannot be true and faithful to God and Man mon; for we owe unto God our whole Service both of Body, Soul, and Spirit, which are all his, and must be intirely devoted to his Service: and indeed all the Service we can pay him, falls vaftly fhort of what is due to him. And if all our Service be his, we must be unfaithful in giv ing any to another; and confequently we rob God of all that which is given to Mammon. Again,
2dly, Ye cannot love God and Mammon: fo St. John exprefly tells us, If any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him; 1 John 2. 15. These two are as inconfiftent as Light and Darkness, and can no more agree together than Chrift and Belial. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our Heart, and with all our Soul, and with all our Strength. And if God must have all, there can be none left for Mammon.
3dly, Ye cannot fear and honour God and Mammon; for all our Fear and all our Honour is to be directed and fix'd on God only, and none is to be fear'd and honour'd but in relation to him. This we find him challenging from us, If I am a Father, where is my Honour? if a Master, where is my Fear? faith the Lord of Hofts: Mal. 1. 6. We are bid to fear God, and none befide him; and he is fo jealous of his Honour, that he will not share it with Mammon, nor give his Glory to any other.
Laftly, Ye cannot obey God and Mammon; for their Commands are directly contrary and inconfiftent with each other, and therefore 'tis impoffible to ferve both. God calls for our whole Heart; Mammon is for dividing it, and would be content with a part, knowing that thereby he fhall have all for God will have all or none, he loves a broken, but hates a divided Heart. God calls to Holiness and all Purity of Converfation, Mammon to Uncleanness and all Superfluity of Naughtiness. God calls to Truth and Honesty in all our Words and Actions, Mammon to Fraud and Double-dealing. God calls to Acts of Mercy and Charity, Mammon to Cruelty and Oppreffion. God calls to Patience and Contentment in all Conditions, Mammon to Murmuring and Parloining. Laftly, God calls to Peace and Unity in his Church, Mammon to Difcord and
Divifions. And who can obey fuch opposite and irreconcila ble Commands? Thefe, and many more Inconfiftencies, that may be found in these two Mafters, render it altoge ther impoffible to ferve both; which plainly fhews the Truth of what is here affirm'd, Te cannot ferve God and Mammon. From whence I proceed, in the next place,
To the Inference our Saviour here draws from it, in thefe words: Therefore I fay unto you, Take no thought for your Life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your Body, what ye shall put on. Therefore, that is, fince you cannot ferve two Mafters, God and Mammon, I give you this Caution, not to divide your Thoughts between them, but to take off your Thoughts from the World, and to fix them wholly upon God. The word here render'd, Take no thought, in the Original fignifies to divide the Mind; and fo 'tis a Caution against Dubioufness and Perplexity of Mind. Be not divided or distracted in your Thoughts between these two, but take no thought for the World, or the Concerns of it, and let all your Thoughts and Defires be plac'd on God and the things of Heaven; faying with David, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none upon Earth that I defire in comparison of thee.
But muft we then caft off all Thoughts about the World? What then will become of our Lives and our Bodies? How fhall we feed the one, and clothe the other, which cannot be without fome Care and Thoughts about thefe worldly Matters? In answer to this, our Saviour does not bid us to caft off all Thoughts of these things, but only to think and labour for them in the way of God's Appointment. Our Thoughts are chiefly to dwell upon God and the things above, and on earthly things only in Subordination to him, and according to his Order and Direction: and this is not forfaking God, and revolting to the World; but we ferve God in thus ferving Mammon and our felves, when we do it fo as he hath allow'd and directed in his Word. So that the taking no thought about Food and Rayment is to be meant,
ift, Of taking no difquieting or perplexing Thoughts about them, fuch as rack the Mind, and in a manner eat out the Heart; thereby wafting and weakning the Body, to get the Means of preferving it. Again,
2dly, Here are forbidden all doubting and diftrusting Thoughts about Food and Rayment, fuch as cause Men to queftion the Truth and Faithfulness of God's Promises, and