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WHOSOEVER THEREFORE SHALL BREAK One of these LEAST COMMANDMENTS, AND SHALL TEACH MEN SO, HE SHALL be CALLED THE LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
AMONGST those many points, that our Saviour handles in this his Sermon on the Mount, one is the stability and permanency of the Moral Law; the obligation of which, he affirms to be as perpetual as heaven and earth: v. 18. Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one pot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.d id tore ma ni tud??
This assertion Christ lays down, in opposition to the common and corrupt doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish teachers; who, by their traditions sought to make void the Law of God. Now, says Christ, unless they can remove the earth, and roll up the heavens, and carry the world without the world, it is but a vain attempt; for it is decreed in heaven, that till heaven and earth pass, not a tittle of the Law shall fail; but all shall be fulfilled, wel oli 55
As it is in this lower world ? notwithstanding it is maintained by a continual flux and vicissitude, by the perpetual change of one being into another; one corrupting, and another rising up in a new form and shape out of its ruins; and yet not the least dust of matter is or can be consumed, but the same matter and the same quantity still continue which were at first created: so is it with the Law of God: let Scribes and Pharisees corrupt it by their erroneous glosses and false interpretations, putting what forms and shapes they please upon it; yet, as it is in the cor ruption of earthly bodies, not the least piece of matter can perish or be annihilated, so neither in their corrupting of the Law, shall one jot or tittle of it fail. Not but that the Law did fail of its observation: never yet was it exactly and punctually fulfilled by any, except by our Lord Jesus Christ; but, yet, the
obligation and binding power of it is everlasting, and shall continue while there is an earth and men upon it, yea while there is a heaven and glorified saints in it. For the Moral Law is of an eternal validity: on earth, it is a perfect rule, set down in the word: in heaven, it is a perfect nature, implanted in the blessed; from which all their actions shall flow, and by which they shall all be guided to eternity.
This assertion being laid down, our Saviour proceeds to draw an inference from it. And that he doth in the words of the text. If every jot and tittle of the Law be of such a permanent and everlasting obligation; then, whosever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called, that is, he shall be, or he deserves to be, the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
I. And, here, before we can arrive at the full and practical sense of the words, we must ENQUIRE INTO TWO THINGS...
What is here meant by the Least Commandment.
What is meant by being least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
i. For the FISRT of these dite? odo lo 9.55 2
v. I. When Christ speaks here of the Least Commandment, it must not be so understood, as if one Commandment were less necessary to be observed than another bas grott
God's Commands are all alike necessary: and that, with a twofold necessity; necessitate præcepti, and necessitate medii. The one ariseth from the authority of the Lawgiver: the other, from the requisiteness of obedience to eternal life. mai ti as One Command, therefore, is not less than another:moo (1) In respect of the Authority enjoining them. aid s The same holy and just God, who hath commanded us to love and fear him with all our souls, and with all our might, hath also commanded us to abstain from every vain thought, and from every idle and superfluous word. The Least Command hath power to bind the conscience to obedience, as well as the greatest; because the least is enacted by that Sovereign God, to whom all souls and consciences are subject, as well as the greatest. It is not the greatness or smallness of the coin, but the image of the king stamped upon it, that authorizes it,wand makes it current: so, truly, the holiness and purity of God's nature once imprinted upon the Least Command, make it fully