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neglect no opportunity of attending and partaking of the Christian Sacrifice? How many are they who call themselves Christians, and yet are utterly regardless of it, -yet do not cat of that bread, or drink of that cup, for months, perhaps years together! Do you, every day, cither fear the Scriptures, or read them and meditate thercon? Do you join in prayer with the great congregation, daily, if you have opportunity; it not, whenever you can; particularly on that day which you “ remember to keep it holy?” Do you strive to make opportunities? Are you glad when they say unto you, “We will go into the house of the Lord?” Are you zealous of, and diligent in, private prayer? Do you suiter no day to pass withont it? Ruther, are not some of you so far from spending therein (with the Pharisee) several lours in one day, that you think one hour full enough, if root too much? Do you spend an hour in a day, or in a week, in prying to your Father which is in secret? Yea, an hour in a month? Have you spent one iour togeilier in private prayer ever since you was born! An poor Christian' Shall not the Pharisee rise up in the judgment against thee and condemna thee? llis right colisness is its far above thiuc, as the heaven is above the earth!
9. The Pharisee, thirdly, paid tithes and save alms of all that he possessed. And in bow ample a manner! So that lie was (as we phrase i:) “ ima that did much good." Do we come up to liim here? Which of us is so abundant, as he wan, in geon works? Which of us gives a fifth of all his substance to Guil, both of the principal, and of ihe increase? Who of 15, 0nt of (suppose) an hundred? pounds a year, gives twenty to God and the poor; out of fitty,--1011; and so in a larger or a smaller proportion? When shall our righteousness, in using all the means of grace, in attending all the ordinances of God, in avoiding eril, and doing good, equal at least the righteousDess of the Scribes and Pharisees?
10. Although if it only equaller theirs, what would that profit? “ for verily Lay to you, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, la shailin no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” But how can it exceed thciis? Wherein does the righteousness of a Christian exceed that of a Scribe or Pharisee? Christian rightcousness exceeds theirs, tirst, in the Extent of it. Most of the Pharisees, though they were rigorously exact in many things. yet were emboldened, by the traditions of the Elders, to dispense with others of equal importance. Thus they were extremely punctual in keeping the fourth commandment,-they would not even rub an ear of corn on the Sabbath-day; but not at all in keeping the third; making little account of light, or even false, swearing. So that their righteousness was partial ; whereas the righteousness of a real Christian is universal. He does not observe one, or some parts of the law of God, and neglect the rest; but keeps all his commandments, loves them all, values them above gold or precious stones.
11. It may be, indeed, that some of the Scribes and Pharisees endeavoured to keep all the commandments, and consequently were, as touching the righteousness of the law, that is, according to the letter of it, blameless. But still the righteousness of a Christian exceeds all this righteousness of a Scribe or Pharisee, by fulfilling the spirit as well as the letter of the law; by inward as well as outward obedience. In this, in the Spirituality of it, it admits of no comparison. This is the point which our Lord has so largely proved, in the whole tenor of this discourse. Their righteousness was external only; Christian righteousness is in the inner man. The Pharisee « cleansed the outside of the cup and the platter;” the Christian is clean within. The Pharisee laboured to present God with a good life; the Christian with a holy heart. The one shook off the leaves, perhaps the fruits of sin ; the other “lays the axe to the root; as not being content with the outward form of godliness, how exact soever it be, unless the life, the spirit, the power of God unto salvation, be felt in the inmost soul.
Thus, to do no harm, to do good, to attend the ordinances of God, (the righteousness of a Pharisee,) are all external; whereas, on the contrary, poverty of spirit, mourning, mcekhess, hunger and thirst after righteousness, the love of our neighbour, and purity of heart, (the righteousness of a Christian,) are all internal. And even peace-making, (or doing good,) and suffering for righteousness' sake, stand entitled to the blessings annexed to them, only as they imply these inward dispositions, as they spring from, exercise, and coufirm them. So that whereas the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees was external only, it may be said, in some sense, that the righteousness of a Christian is internal only: all his actions and sufferings being as nothing in themselves, being estimated before God only by the tempers from which they spring.
12. Whosoever therefore thou art, who bearest the holy and Venerable name of a Christian, see, first, that thy 1ghteous
ness fall not short of the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Be not thou as other men are! Dare to stand alone; to be, “ against example, singularly good.” If thou follow a multitude at all, it must be to do evil. Let not custom or fasbion be thiy guide ; but reason, and religion. The practice of others is nothing to thee: “ every man must give an account of himself to God.” Indeed if thou canst save the soul of another, do : but at least, save one; thy own. Walki uot in the path of deatlı, because it is broad, and many walk therein. Nay, by this very token thou mayest know it. Is the way wherein tirou now walkest, a broad, well-frequented, fashionable way? Then it infallibly leads to destruction. O be not thou "damned for company!” Cease from evil; fly from sin as from the face of a serpent! At least, do no barm. that committeth sin is of the Deril." Be not thou found in that number. Touching outwardi sins, surely the grace of God is even now suficient for thee. “Herein," at least, “exercise thyself to have a conscience void of offence, toward God and iolrard man."
Secopily: Let not thy righteousness fall short of theirs, with regard to the ordinances of God. If thy labour or bodily strength will not allow of thy fasting twice in the week, lowever deal faithfully with thy own soul, and fast as often as thy strength will permit. Omit no public, t:o private opportunity of pouring out thy soul iu prayer. Neglect 10 occasion of eating that bread and drinking that cup, which is the communion of the body and blood of Chrisi. Be diligent in scarching the Scriptures ; read, as thon mayest, and meditate thercin day and night. Rejoice to embrace every opportunity of bearing " the word of reconciliation” declared by the " Ambassadors of Christ,'' the “Stewards of the mysteries of God.” In using all the means of grace, in a constant and careful attendance on every ordinance of God, live up to (at least till thou canst go beyond) “the righteousness of the Scribes and Puarisees."
Thirdly: Fall et stort of a Pharisec in doing good. Give alms of all thou dont possess. is any hmgry? Feed him. Is lie athirst? Give him drink. Naked ? Cover him with a garment. If thou hast this world's goods, do not limit thy beneficence to a scauty proportion. Be merciful to the utterniost of thy power. Why not even as this Pharisee? Now “ make thyself friends," while the time is, “ of the mammon of uurigli:eousness, that when thou failest," when earthly
tabernacle is dissolved, they" may receive thee into everlasting habitations."
13. But rest not here. Let thy righteousness “exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees.” Br not thou content to “keep the whole law, and offend in one point.” Hold thou fast all his commandments, and "all false ways do thou utterly abhor," Do all the things,whatsoever he hath commanded, and that with all thy might. Thou canst do all things through Christ strengthening thee; though without him thou canst do nothing.
Above all, let thy righteousness exceed theirs in the purity and spirituality of it. What is the exactest form of religion to thee? The most perfect outside righteousness? Go thou higher and deeper than all this! Let thy religion be the religion of the heart. Be thou poor in spirit; little, and base, and mean, and vile in thy own eyes; amazed and humbled to the dust at the love of God which is in Christ Jesus thy Lord ! Be serious : let the whole stream of thy thoughts, words, and works be such as flows from the decpest conviction that thou standest on the edge of the great gulf, thou and all the children of men, just ready to drop in, either into everlasting glory or everlasting burnings ! Be meek ; let thy soul be filled with mildness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering toward all men; at the same time that all which is in thee is athirst for God, the living God, longing to awake up after his likeness, and to be satisfied with it. Be thou a lover of God, and of all mankind. In this spirit, do and suffer all things. Thus “ exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees," and thou shalt be “called great in the kingdom of heaven,"
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