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taken in adultery?" He that is with | even according to the decision of the out sin among you, let him first cast merciful Saviour himself. But the a stone at her.” “ And,” it is added, verse before us is plain and explicit “ they which heard it, being con- | on this subject. And, in order to victed by their own conscience, went set the matter in as clear a light as out one by one, beginning at the possible, I will read the explanation eldest, even unto the last;” John of our Saviour's precept, as given viii. 7-9.
by several judicious commentators. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the “Dogs' signify men who spurn, beam out of thine own eye. Let it be oppose, and abuse the doctrine of the our first and principal employment, Gospel; men of peculiar sourness in dependence on divine grace, to and malignity of temper, who meet remove the defects and blemishes of it like growling and quarrelsome our own character, and to make our dogs; 2 Pet. ii. 22; Rev. xxii. 15. own lives harmless and free from Swine' denotes those who would blame. Let it be the object of our trample the precepts under feet; great ambition, and our earnest en men of impure lives; corrupt and deavour, to fulfil the injunction of polluted, profane, obscene, and senthe Apostle, “ Do all things without sual, who would not know the value murmurings or disputings; that ye of the Gospel, and who would tread may be blameless and harmless, the it down as swine would pearls; sons of God, without rebuke, in the 2 Pet. ï. 22; Prov. xi. 22.”—“ By midst of a crooked and perverse na- | | that which is holy,' understand the tion, among whom ye shine as lights word and ordinances in general, but in the world; holding forth the word admonition and reproof in particular; of life;" Phil. ii. 14-16.
by dogs' and 'swine,' incorrigible Give not that which is holy unto the and unreclaimable sinners, hardened dogs. — In this verse our Saviour scorners of holy things. It is a progives us a caution concerning the verbial speech, expressing how sure promulgation of religious truth, and charitable reprehensions are to be the use of holy ordinances. By cast away upon incorrigible sinners. " that which is holy," and "pearls," Learn, first, that it is possible for he denotes the doctrine of the Gos- sinners to arrive at such a height and pel, religious instruction, and the pitch in wickedness and sin that it means of grace. By “dogs” and may be a Christian's duty not to ad“swine,” he designates evil and un monish or reprove them. And obgodly men; men of perverse or ma serve, secondly, how Christ provides, lignant tempers, and corrupt minds. as for the honour of his word, so for
It is a solemn and very painful the safety of those who publish it." thought, that there are some profli- | -" As it is not every one that is fit gate, hardened, and abandoned sin- | to reprove, so it is not every one that ners, who place themselves beyond is fit to be reproved. Though to the reach of religious ordinances, seek men's salvation by teaching and
reproof be a work of great moment,
HYMN. when used in season, to them that How sweet, how heavenly, is the sight, are capable of it; yet, take this rule,
When those who love the Lord
In one another's peace delight, -pretend not duty to teach and re
And so fulfil his word. prove when it is likely to do more
O may we feel each brother's sigh, hurt than good. Some men are
And with him bear a part; hardened scorners—and some hateful May sorrows flow from eye to eye, persecutors. To such as those, holy And joy from heart to heart ! counsel, doctrine, and reproof, is but Free us from envy, scorn, and pride, like casting sacramental or conse
Our wishes fix above; crated bread to the dogs, or pearls
May each his brother's failing hide,
And show a brother's love! before swine."
Let love, in one delightful stream, Awful indeed is the fact that there
Through every bosom flow; are dogs who are ready to bite even
And union sweet, and fond esteem, those who should offer them the In every action glow. bread of life, and swine who would Love is the golden chain that binds trample under feet the pearl of great The happy souls above ;
And he's an heir of heaven that finds These solemn words of our merci
His bosom glow with love. ful Redeemer deserve to be often and deeply considered in many points of
§ XXIV. view.–Well may they lead us to unite with increasing fervour in that CHAP. VII. 7-11. wise and humble petition, “From
Christ exhorteth to prayer. hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word and commandment, good
7 qoAsk, and it shall be Lord, deliver us!” And great is the given you; seek, and ye shall encouragement which may be hence find; knock, and it shall be derived by all those who are engaged opened unto you: in imparting religious instruction to
8 For every one that asketh the young. Theirs is indeed a good,
receiveth; and he that seeketh and hopeful, undertaking. They are
findeth; and to him that knockemployed in sowing heavenly seed in hearts which, by God's blessing, may
| eth it shall be opened. now receive it to their eternal profit, 9 9Or what man is there of but, if neglected a few years longer, you, whom if his son ask bread, would perhaps be involved in the
will he give him a stone ? ruin and condemnation implied in
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he that precept, give not that which is
give him a serpent ? holy to the dogs, cast not your pearls
11 If ye then, "being evil, before swine !
know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more
shall your Father which is in | mility of mind. A man may feel his heaven give good things to them need, but at the same time he may that ask him ?
be too proud to confess it, and to
ask for relief. “I cannot dig,” said ech. xxi. 22. Mark xi. 24. Luke xi. 9, 10; & xviii.
| the unjust steward in the parable, 12, 13.-9 Luke xi. 11, 12, 13.-h Gen. vi. 5; & viji. 21. “to beg I am ashamed.” So it is
with the proud heart in the presence READER. In these “ gracious of God. It endeavours to stifle and words" of our blessed Saviour the keep out of sight a consciousness of nature and benefits of prayer are deficiency, misery, and want, rather most strikingly set forth.—The state than to acknowledge its helplessness, of mind in which a true suppliant and cast itself in deep humility before approaches the throne of grace, and him who alone can administer relief. the merciful reception which he finds But the man who asks, as a child of at the hands of his heavenly Father, his parent, as a beggar at the hands are brought before our minds in a of a rich man, and in that temper manner capable of affording at once mind to which the promise is andirection and encouragement. nexed, is one of those concerning
Ask.—This implies a sense of whom it has been declared, “Blessed want. It is the man who practically are the poor in spirit, for theirs is feels his need of anything that is the kingdom of heaven.” disposed to ask for it,—to prefer a | Seek.—This implies earnestness suit or petition to another who may be and diligence ;—a sense of the value able to confer the desired benefit. of that which is desired, and a fixed It is the child who feels hunger that determination to lose no opportunity asks his parent for a piece of bread. of obtaining it. “We must not only And so, before there can be real ask, but seek; we must second our prayer there must be a sense of our prayers with our endeavours; we want of the bounty which God is must, in the use of appointed means, able to bestow. How deep was this seek for that which we ask for, else we consciousness of need in Bartimæus, tempt God. When the dresser of when he said, “Lord, that I may re- the vineyard asked for a year's receive my sight;"—in the woman of spite for the barren fig-tree, he added, Canaan, when she cried, “Lord, help / 'I will dig about it;' Luke xiii. 7, 8. me;"—and in the lame man at the God gives knowledge and grace to gate of the temple, when he "gave those that search the Scriptures, and heed unto" Peter and John, “ex- wait at Wisdom's gate ; and power pecting to receive something from against sin to those that avoid the them!” Such a sense of want, spi- occasions of it." ritual and temporal, mingles in the Knock.—This denotes perseverfervent and effectual prayer of a ance and importunity. Humble, righteous man.
earnest, importunate prayer is indeed And asking implies, moreover, hu- a knocking at the gate of heaven.
And they who feel that they are which is in heaven give good things to making application at their Father's them that ask him!-How powerful house, will knock again and again, the argument, how consolatory and and not be easily repulsed. It was cheering the assurance, which our thus with the widow of Canaan in Lord conveys to us by placing beher supplications to the Lord Jesus fore our minds the tenderness and Christ. It was thus, in earlier times, compassion of an earthly parent towith the patriarch Jacob.—“ Jacob wards his children, and then declarwas left alone; and there wrestled a ing that the goodness and lovingman with him until the breaking of kindness of God towards those that the day ..... And he said, Let fear him, and his readiness and abime go, for the day breaketh. And lity to answer their petitions, are far he said, I will not let thee go, except greater! How much more! God is, thou bless me. And he said unto in the highest sense, the Father of him, What is thy name? And he those who believe in the Lord Jesus said Jacob. And he said, Thy name Christ, through whom they have reshall be no more called Jacob, but ceived the adoption. And with the Israel : for as a prince hast thou much more of this place we may well power with God and men, and hast connect that of the Apostle St. Paul prevailed;" Gen. xxxii. 24, 26–28. in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to -In like manner our blessed Saviour the Romans,—“If, when we were assures us that true prayer shall not enemies, we were reconciled to God be unsuccessful ; He says,
by the death of his Son, much more, It shall be given you ;-ye shall being reconciled, we shall be saved find;-it shall be opened to you. by his life.” How plain and positive is this precious word of promise! And lest any individual should find room to doubt “ The effectual fervent prayer of a of the success of his petitions on ac righteous man availeth much." Jas. count of his peculiar circumstances v. 16.—"By the infallible testimony or trials, our Lord adds, Every one of Heaven we are authorised to affirm that asketh receiveth.—No one that constantly that there is an efficacy in truly prays, in a manner consistent the prayer of faith, which, though with the word of God, can pray in inexplicable by our feeble undervain. The words of the Lord Jesus standings, must, throughout all ages, recorded in this passage “are as continue to avail as much as it did strongly binding on the side of God in the days of those patriarchs, proas 'Thou shalt do no murder' is on phets, and righteous men who, as the side of man. Bring Christ's word, princes, had power with God, when, and Christ's sacrifice, with thee; and receiving a kingdom which cannot not one of heaven's blessings can be be moved, they had grace to serve denied thee."
him acceptably with reverence and Horo much more shall your Father godly fear. The Lord is ever nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, harvest springing up in the fields and saveth such as be of a contrite which he has neither planted nor spirit, when, taking with them the watered, or than the merchant has words which inspired wisdom has | to calculate on receiving his own taught them to utter, they lift up with usury for the talent which has their desires at his footstool, not been tied up in a napkin, or buried seeking great things for themselves, / in the earth." or panting after the dust of the earth, or sighing for the vain de
HYMN. lights of the sons of men, but thirst
What shall we ask of God in prayer ? ing and longing for the blessedness
Whatever good we want; of the man whose transgression is Whatever man may seek to share, forgiven, and who, being justified by Or God in mercy grant. faith, has peace with God, through
Father of all our mercies ;—Thou our Lord Jesus Christ. We have In whom we move and live, no encouragement to hope that by Hear us in heaven, thy dwelling now, taking thought for temporal satisfac
And answer, and forgive. tions we shall find grace in the sight
When bound with sins and trespasses of the Lord; but if we aspire after From wrath we fain would flee, the best gifts which are the heritage
Lord, cancel our unrighteousness,
And set the captives free. of the faithful, seeking first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, When harass'd by ten thousand foes we believe, and are sure, that his Our helplessness we feel ;
O give the weary soul repose, Divine power will give us all things
The wounded spirit heal. that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that
When dire temptations gather round,
And threaten or allure, hath called us unto glory and virtue.
By storm or calm, in Thee be found Though our Father in the heavens
A refuge strong and sure. knoweth what things we have need
When age advances, may we grow of before we ask him, and though
In faith, and hope, and love : the purposes of his everlasting kind
And walk in holiness below ness are often fulfilled more substan
To holiness above. tially by withholding than by grant
When earthly joys and cares depart, ing the desires which we naturally
Desire and envy cease, cherish, it is only to them who wor Be thou the portion of my heart, ship Him in spirit and in truth that In Thee may we have peace. He has promised to do exceeding
When flames these elements destroy abundantly above all that they ask
And worlds in judgment stand, or think; and we have no more solid May we lift up our heads with joy ground to expect that we shall re
And meet at thy right hand. ceive without asking, or that we shall
MONTGOMERY. find without seeking, than the husbandman has to look for an abundant