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church from her seat and her glory in the temple and city of Jerusalem; for that, while the others are the subversion of kingdoms and empires, this is the subversion of a church, of a true church. The destruction of Egypt and the downfall of Babylon, are two events well fitted to express the downfall of the Roman kingdoms, bound together by the spiritual domination of the see of Rome; but for the subversion of a true church these are not the proper symbols, because they had no right worship of God nor discipline of the church set up in the midst of them. In like manner, for the downfall of an apostate church, like the Papacy, the proper symbol is the casting out of the Ten Tribes after they had become apostate—always making allowance for this distinction, that, the Ten Tribes being of Abraham's natural seed, had a covenant of restoration and recovery, which no Gentile apostasy can possess ;- but for the downfall of a true church, such as we possess in this land, I can find no right symbol, save the downfall of the Jewish church; of which our Lord himself testified that it was a true church, when he observed its ordinances, and commanded the people to listen to those which sat in Moses' seat, and to do the things which they required of them. Now that the churches of God established in this nation, though differing somewhat in form, yet essentially one in spirit, are a true church of God I believe, both because of their accordance with the Scriptures, and their protestation against the apostasy: and that the nationality is considered as included in the church I likewise believe, from the minute study and observation of all our civil constitutions, and from the execution of every act, either overtly or implicitly, in the name of the blessed Trinity. But all this is put beyond a doubt in the minds of those who believe, with me, that the nation which in the Apocalypse is sealed from the judgments and destruction of the other nations is this nation of Great Britain : for that sealed nation is presented both under the emblem of a nation (twelve tribes) preserved from the ravage of the four winds which lay waste the earth (ch. vii.); and it is represented as a church, standing on mount Zion, and following the Lamb, and redeemed from the earth. (ch. xiv.) And, the more to confirm the parallelism of that nation with the Jewish nation, it is denominated by the very symbols thereof, named by its twelve tribes, and abiding at mount Zion in Jerusalem. For these reasons, while I look for the symbol of the destruction of the apostate Papacy in the downfall of Babylon, which hath never arisen, and never shall arise again ; I look for the symbol of the judgment of this nation, and of this national church, in the visitation of Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and still more particularly in the days of our Lord. I have no doubt that much light might be cast upon God's purpose towards ournation and national church, by
the study of those prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, which have respect to the first visitation of wrath upon Jerusalem. Into this, however, I am not prepared at present to go; but I do purpose, after these introductory remarks, to set before the church the wonderful similarity which there is between the state of the Jewish church as depictured by our Lord, and the state of the church as we now behold it amongst ourselves. And for this purpose I desire to fix my attention specially upon the xxiiid chapter of Matthew, which contains an enumeration of those offences for which God was about to judge that church and nation.
This chapter consisteth of two parts: the first being addressed to the multitude and to his disciples; the second, to the scribes and the Pharisees. To the multitude and to his disciples he spoke thus ; “ The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do: but do not ye after their works, for they say and do not." These words give us the key to the whole chapter; shewing us, first, that the authorities, the guides, the ministers of the church, who had a right to require the observation and obedience of the people, and who sat in Moses' seat, are distinguished from the multitude given by God into their hands for instruction, for correction, and for edification in the ways of God. The parallel, therefore, to the Scribes and Pharisees, must be found in the ministers and rulers and authorities in the church: not the clergy merely, but the magistrate also, who giveth execution by his authority to the decisions of the church. Secondly, This verse shews us that the parallel must be taken between them and a true church, not between them and an apostate church. For of an apostate church it could by no means be said, “ All therefore whatsover they bid you observe, that observe and do;" for the apostate priests command the people to bow down to stocks and stones, to trust in their own works, to purchase with money the abomination of Mass, to worship the communion elements as God, and much more, of which we need not speak particularly. They do not sit in Moses' seat, but in Satan's seat: the people ought not to observe and do whatsoever they bid them observe. The parallel, if a parallel there be, must be between the spiritual and temporal rulers of the Jewish church and the spiritual and temporal rulers of a church of which it is set forth in Scripture as the type. And if, as I have said, the antitype of the Jewish church and kingdom be this sealed nation and church, and all other parts of the prophetic earth be in a state of apostasy, then between us and them must the parallel be found. And whether there be an actual parallel intended, or not; as the forms of wickedness, like the forms of righteousness, though in distant ages they may appear different, are yet in fact the very same; we shall no doubt derive much instruction
from the careful examination of the whole chapter, which thus proceeds: (Ver. 4) “ For they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. This is the characteristic of a church preaching unto the people a multitude of works and observances, and requiring of them a load of duties, instead of preaching to them faith, as the only ground of justification and the only root of sanctification. Now, how universally this prevails in the church, it requireth some explanation and reflection to perceive : for the very distinction taken by the self-named Evangelicals is, that they preach justification by faith only: and so they do, in words; but observe how it turns out in fact. They will not allow the poor sinner to take immediate assurance of his salvation, but expect of him a probation of doubt and uncertainty, of difficulty and perplexity, before they will permit him to have confidence before God: which, I maintain, is as truly the doctrine of works, as if they were to require alms and offerings to the church. The people who listen to such discourse as permitteth not assurance of faith from the very first and onwards, are put upon the rack and torture of inward uncertainty and fear, and led to count and rest upon the number of their inward spiritualities, much as the others are led to count and rest upon the number of their outward moralities : and the state of the Christian church at this time, between these two sects, of Scribes upon hand, and Pharisees, or separatists, upon the other, is exceedingly to be deplored. And when a man riseth up to give the people liberty from such bondage, and to preach instant and immediate comfort and liberty through Jesus Christ, straightway they are offended. And who is the most offended ? Not the Scribes, who preach the Law outright; but the Pharisees, who do the same under this fallacious spirituality. Now I warn all men to give no heed to such unsafe, uncertain, and false teaching; but to receive, through faith, the grace of God, which hath appeared unto you, bringing salvation. Look at Christ crucified, and let these loads and burdens drop from your shoulders. Enter at once into peace with God, through Jesus Christ; and when tribulations come, ye shall rejoice.
Then comes (ver, 5) another feature of the rulers and governors of the church : “All their works they do for to be seen of men.... they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” These phylacteries were pieces of cloth, or parchment, on which were engraved texts of Scripture ; and their breadth was supposed to denote special sanctity and devotion. So also of the borders or fringes of their garments, which they were required to
wear by the Law of Moses, that they might “look upon them, and remember and do all his commandments, and be holy unto their God.”. These fringes, also, the Scribes and Pharisees were wont to enlarge, in order to draw the observation of the people unto themselves. So, also, they loved the seat of honour at a feast and in the synagogue, and reverential greetings in the market-place, indicating ostentation; and love of approbation and notoriety in the performance of every religious office. How much men do now consult for the public opinion, and how much the church transacteth her works in the sight of men, and blazons them abroad in the corners of the streets and in all public places, needeth not to be told. And who abound the most in this endeavour to fill their sails with the applause of the people? Even those who consider themselves as most spiritual : they have introduced this obnoxious feature into the government of the church, whose charities and alms-deeds were wont to be given in secret, and to be administered in privacy; but now they must be blazoned unto the world with all possible advantages, even often, it is shrewdly suspected, at the sacrifice of truth and honesty. But, into this I will not enter further at present, than to admonish all men in the Lord's words (ver. 8), “But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.” Beware then, ye Christian people, of giving any authority to the name of any man living or dead. Call no man master; and be ye the disciples of no man, but of Christ only. How much the tendency of the church is to do so, I know well, and have deeply felt, by the resistance which they make to any truth which the favourite doctors or ministers of the church have not received. I believe this base and wicked disposition to call man master, to call men good and holy, as the world goes, is at this day hindering the Gospel of the kingdom more than any other invention of Satan. The slavish bondage, the extreme debility, into which it hath brought men's faculty of judging, is an evil greatly to be deplored. I tell you, oh ye people, again, call not any one master; otherwise both
and he-he if he permit it, you if you practise it-shall be forsaken of God. Again (ver. 9); “ Call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Would that Christ's disciples had given heed to this warning voice! then would there have been no popes or padrés in the church, which words signify father. Base man-worship, arising out of man's disposition to create an idol unto himself: “ Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ....for he that is greatest among you shall be your servant....whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." -Having thus exhorted his disciples, he proceeds to speak more at large, and in detail, concerning the peculiarities
VOL. 1.-NO. IV.
of the Scribes and Pharisees; that is, concerning the ruling authorities in the church. These characteristics are our proper subject: we shall take them up in order, and apply them to the state of the church in our own time.
1. First,“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men ; for you neither
go in yourselves, neither suffer ye those that are entering to go in.” John the Baptist began to preach that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and prepared the people for its immediate arrival by baptizing them with water, to signify that, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. His preaching and his ordinance were gladly received by the common people, yea, even by the publicans and sinners, but the Scribes and the Pharisees turned a deaf ear unto him: and when our Lord put the
ques: tion to them, whether he was a true prophet or not, they durst not answer him a word, yea or nay'; for if they should have said yea, then why believed they not on him? but if they should şay nay, they feared the people, for all the people held John to be a prophet. And thus did they throw all the weight of their influence with the people into the scale against the preaching of the kingdom. In like manner resisted they the preaching of the Lord ; whom the common people gladly heard, as he went about teaching in the synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom ; but the Scribes and Pharisees, which were the rulers of the church, withstood him, at all hands
waylaid him, perverted the people with their vain traditions, and in every other way did their utmost endeavour to prevent the people from receiving the Gospel of the kingdom; so that it was like storming a city for any one to enter into it, the opposition and the strife was so great: as it is written, “ From the time of John the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” To this obstinate resistance, alas ! and effectual also, which the men of name and influence and reputed piety offered to the preachers and to the preaching of the kingdom, our Lord referreth in the words now under consideration : « Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye
the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Now, how perfectly parallel is this with the conduct of the Scribes and Pharisees of our own time, the leading authorities in the church ; who, however divided among themselves they may be, are well agreed in this, to oppose with all their might us who preach the kingdom of heaven to be at hand. For themselves, they utterly spurn the subject away from them unexamined, as an abominable thing ; and the people, who hear it gladly, they resist and repudiate, and with all their might hinder