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have are called not our own, but another

man's: If -we have not been faithful in that -which is another man's; Because God hath not made us proprietors, but dispensers; not owners, but stewards of these things; we have them for others, and must leave them to others; we are only trustees for the poor; if much be put into our hands, it is to dispense to others according to our Master's orders; let us be faithful then in that which is another man's; that a, with what God puts into our hand for the benefit of others. Note, 2. That though our gifts are not our own; yet grace or spiritual goods are our own: others may have all the benefit of our gifts, but we shall have the benefit and comfort of our own grace; this treasure we cannot leave to others, and it shall never be taken away from ourselves. Note, 3. That God is just, and will be eternally justified in denying his special grace to those, who do not make use of his common gifts: Would men be faithful in improving a little, God would entrust them with more; did they not abuse the trust of his common gifts, he would not deny them the treasure of his saving grace, called here, The true riches.

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and

Observe here, A two-fold master spoken of, God and the world. God is our Master by creation, preservation, and redemption; he has appointed us our work, and secured us our wages: the world is become our master by intrusion, usurpation, andMh general estimation; too many esteeming it as their chief good, and delighting in it as their chief joy. Observe, 2. That no man can serve these two masters, who are of contrary interests, and issue out contrary commands: When two masters are subordinate, and in their commands subservient to each other, the difficulty of serving both is not great; but where commands interfere, and interests clash, it is impossible: no man can serve God and the world, but he may serve God with the world; we may be served of riches, and yet serve God; but we cannot serve riches, but we must disserve God; we cannot serve God and the world both, and seek them as our chief good and ultimate end, because no man

can divide his heart betwixt God and the world. Learn hence, That to love the world as our chief good, to seek it as our highest interest, and to serve it as our chief commander, cannot stand with the love and service which we bear and owe to God our Maker. The world's slaves, while such, can be none of God's freemen.

14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

The Pharisees were notoriously addicted to the sin of covetousness, accounting no man happy but them that were rich , and because the promises made to the Jews were generally (though not only) of temporal blessings, they looked upon poverty as a curse, and esteemed the poor accursed, John vii. 49. The Pharisees hearing their covetousness reproved, and the doctrine of charity and alms preached and enforced by our Saviour, they derided him in the shamefullest manner, with the highest degree of contempt and scorn, wringing the nose, and making mouths at him, as the original word seems to import. Leam hence,

1. That sinners grow very angry and impatient under the ministry of the word, when they hear their darling sin, their beloved lust, struck at, and sharply reproved.

2. That covetous men who make wealth their idol, when they hear the doctrine of an holy contempt of the world preached, and the great duty of alms-giving urged and enforced, they make it the matter of their contempt and derision: The Pharisees heard and derided him.

15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before (men ; but God knoweth your hearts:

for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Here our Saviour sharply reproves the Pharisees for their horrible pride, their selfjustification, and vain affectation of the opinion and esteem of others; as if Christ had said, "You bear up yourselves, and take a pride in this, that men know no ill by you, that no man can say, Black is your eye; but God can see that black is your heart. You think that because you glory in your own excellences, God glories in you too; but whoever is highly esteemed by you, is abominated by God.'' Learn, That no man ought to think himself approved of God barely because he is approved by himself; for all who justify themselves upon the goodness of their works are not good.

, 16 The law and the prophets toere until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, comrnitteth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committcth adultery.

Our Saviour in these words gives the Pharisees to understand that their contempt of his person and doctrine was the more inexcusable, because they lived in and under the clearest light of the gospel: the preaching of the law and the prophets continued but till John the Baptist came among you; since which time the gospel has been clearly preached both by him and myself unto you; and it hath pleased God to give my doctrine great acceptation in the world. Though you Pharisees reject it; yet every one, that is, very many, press into it; so that the doctrine which you mock, the holy doctrine of the gospel, others will embrace. Yet lest, while Christ spake thus highly of the gospel, the Pharisees should reproach him as a destroyer of the law, he shows that the obligation of the moral law was of eternal force, and that heaven and earth should sooner pass, than the obligation of the law cease; which yet the Pharisees most shamefully violated, particularly the seventh commandment, which they brake by permitting and practising divorces, upon unjustifiable grounds. Learn hence, That the moral law, in all the branches of it, which is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, is an eternal rule of life and manners, which is to stand in force as long as the world stands, and the frame of heaven and earth endures.

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the

crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.

Our Saviour in his parabolical history of Dives and Lazarus, instructs us concerning the right use of riches, which is to capacitate us to do good to others; declaring that in the life to come, the pious poor man shall be eternally happy, whilst the uomerciful rich man shall be intolerably miserable. Here observe, 1, The different state and condition of good and bad men in the other world, from what they are in this; here the wicked prosper, grow rich and great, and the good and virtuous ire in calamity, suffer poverty and distress, which has staggered many men, yea, the best of men, in the belief of a divine providence. Observe, 2. That our Saviour did not censure the rich men for being rich, but for being sensual; not for wearing costly apparel, and keeping a plentiful table, (which, if managed according to men's qualities and estates, is a commendable virtue,) but his sensuality and luxury, and forgetting to feed the hungry with the superfluities at his table; these are the things for which he is censured. From whence we may learn, that pride and luxury, intemperance and sensuality, are such abuses of worldly riches, as worldly men are very prone and incident to. Rich men too often make their back and their belly their god; sacrificing and devoting all they have to the service ol those idols. Observe, 3. That a poor and mean condition is the lot of many good men, nay, perhaps of the most in this world. That a man may be poor and miserable in ths world, and yet be very dear to God: the ice of sanclification is sometimes bestowmost eminently, where the gifts of proRjence have been dispensed most sparing, ly ; consequently from the present state of men in this world, we can make no judgment of their future condition in the world to come.

22 And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:

Observe here, 1. That our Saviour represents all men, both good and bad, passing immediately out of this life into a state of happiness or misery; Lazarus died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom. Thence note, 1. That the souls of men survive in sensihility and activity, after the dissolution of their bodies, and do not sleep with the body till the day of the resurrection. 2. That all holy souls , and Amongst the rest the godly poor, are instantly, after death, conveyed by angels to their place of rest and blessedness. The rich man also died: this is added to let us know that riches, for all men's confidence in them, will not deliver from death; the rich man might be surfeited by faring deItciously every day, while Lazarus was famished. And -was buried: here is no mention of Lazarus's burial, probably he had none, but was flung out ol the way into sonic bole or pit; or if he bad a burial, a very mean one, which is past over in silence: all the advantage which a rich man has by a great estate after be is dead, is only to have a pompous funeral, which yet signifies nothing to him, because he is not sensible of it. And in hell he lift up his eyes, Src. He feels at once both his own misery, and sensibly perceives Lazarus's happiness. Thence note, That the souls of wicked men, whilst their bodies lie in the grave, are in the state of the greatest misery, which is aggravated by the sense they have at the same time of the saints' happiness. For probably the blessed shall see the torments of the damned, and the damned probably shall see the glory of the blessed.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on ine, :ind send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and' cool my tongue; for I am tormented hi this flame.

Observe here, 1. The place where the rich man suffers, it is in hell: the souls of wicked men, when they leave their bodies, do certainly go into a place of torment, which is not only beyond expression, but our apprehension also; Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, those dreadful things which God hath prepared for them that hate him. Observe, 2. The sin for which be suffers: it is the sin of unmercifulness. Thence learn, That uncharitableoess and unmercifulness to the poor, is a very great sin, and such a sin as

alone, and without any other guilt, is sufficient to ruin a man for ever; there is found in this sin great impiety towards God, and great inhumanity towards our own nature. Observe, 3. The nature and quality of his sufferings: they are exquisitely painful, and void of the least degree of comfort; not a drop of water is granted to cool an inflamed tongue. Learn thence, That the least refreshments are impatiently desired by the damned souls in hell, but righteously denied and withheld from them: a drop of water was desired, but not granted. No cup of water, no bowls of wine, in hell: there is but one full cup in hell, and that is the cup of God's wrath, without any mixture of mercy or pity. That throat will be for ever parched with thirst then, which is drenched and drowned with excess now: the songs of the drunkard here, will be turned into howliugs and lamentations there.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Observe, 1. The title given to the rich man by father Abraham, Son. lie doth not revile hiin, though a very bad man: if we revile the good, we are unjust, they deserve it not; if we revile the bad, we are unwise, we shall get nothing by it: a wise man knows not what it is to give bad language. Observe, 2. The admonition given, Remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things: thy good things in which thou placedst all thy nap.|>iness; thy good things which thou lookedst upon thyself as the proprietor, and not as the dispenser of; now remember what thou hadst, and what thou abusest. Learn hence, That the outward blessings which are afforded to wicked men on earth, will be sadly remembered in hell: Son, remember that thou in thy lifi-time receivedst thy good things. 2. That no man ought to measure his happiness hereafter by his temporal felicity here: we may receive our good things here, and yet be tormented hereafter. 3. That no man ought to be excessively troubled if be meets with hardship here, because those for whom God designs good things hereafter, may have their evil things here: Son, thou hadst thy good things, and also Lazarus evil things. 4. The word {remember) implies that human souls, in their state of separation, do exercise memory, thought, and reflection on the past occurrences and actions of their lives; and, consequently, that they do not sleep or fall into a state of insensihility and inactivity at death till the resurrection.

26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither ran they pass to us that would come from thence.

The meaning is, That there neither is, nor can be, any commerce or intercourse betwixt glorified saints and damned sinners; but the state of souls at death is unalterably fixed and stated. Learn, That the miserable condition of damned souls in the next world, and the blessed condition of glorified souls, is unchangeably and unalterably such: the power of God is irresistible, and the will of God is invariable, the oath of God is immutable; / have sworn that they shall never enter into my rest.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house; 28 For I have five brethren ; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Here the rich man is represented as retaining even in hell some tenderness for his relations on earth; yet others think, that the kindness intended, was rather to himself than to his relations; fearing that their sinning by his example should be an aggravation of his own torments. Note thence, That the presence of sinful relations and coinpan ions in hell, may be supposed to make a considerable addition to the miseries of the damned: the sight of those whom they have sinned with, is a fresh revival of their own guilt; all the circumstances of their past and profligate lives are upon this occasion continually in their remembrance. Note farther, This miserable wretch is convinced tliat he could not get out of hell, therefore desires that no friend of his might come in. He knew well enough, that if they were once there, they would come out no more. Indeed, God will at the great day send forth his writ to the graves to bring out the bodies of the wicked that are shut up there; and will send out his writ to hell, to bring forth the spirits that

are shut in there; but i t is in order to this, that both soul and body together may receive an eternal sentence for an everlasting imprisonment with the devil and his angels, and there will be no more opening for ever.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

That is, they have the inspired writings of Moses and the prophets, which sufficiently declare the mind and will of God to mankind, and therefore it is unreasonable to expect any farther revelation. Learn thence, That a standing revelation of God is evidence sufficient for divine things, it s a more certain way of conveyance, and more secured from imposture. Secondly, That there is a sufficient evidence that Moses and the pmphets, or the writings of the holy scriptures, are of divine authority, and therefore to be read and heard, to be believed and assented to: They hase Motes, Arc.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent.

As if he had said, they have alway* had Moses and the pmphets in their hands, but yet their hearts remain impenitent; but if a special messenger be sent to them from the dead, this will not fail to awaken them, and bring them to repentance. Learn hence, How prone we are to dislike God's method and means which he has appointed for reclaiming us from our sins, and imagine some methods of our own would be more successful. The scriptures read, the word preached, the sacraments administered; -these are the ordinary means which the wisdom of God has appointed for men's conviction; and if we think a messenger from the dead would be a more conducible means, the next verse will confute us, and thoroughly satisfy us, that whom the scripture convmces not, probably nothing will; for thus it follows:

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

A very awakening text this is, which speaks dreadfully to persons sitting all their days under the ministry of the gospel, and yet find not their understandings enlightened, their judgments convinced, their »iH* subdued, and their lives reformed by it. Were it possible for such persons to see one come from the dead, yea, from the damned, with the flames of hell about his cars, wringing his hands, and gnashing his teeth, bewailing his misery, and beseeching them to take warning by his example, and in time to acquaint themselves with God, and be at peace; all this would have no farther effect upon them, than to move their passions a little for the present, whilst the dreadful sound is in their ears: the ordinances of God and not his providences, arc the instituted and appointed means for men's conversion and salvation. Note then, 1. That no visions or apparitions, no new revelations concerning eternal rewards and punishments, are to be expected from the other world, in order to men's conversion and salvation. Note, 2. That the word of God dispensed to us, and the ordinary means of grace enjoyed by us, are more conducible and effectual means to persuade men lo repentance, than if one should arise from the dead, and preach unto us. A messenger from the dead cannot bring with him either a more necessary doctrine, or a more certain and infallible doctrine, nor bring with him better arguments for our conviction, than what the scriptures do propound for our consideration; nor can we expect a greatcr co-operation of the Holy Spirit, or a greater concurrence of divine power, to render a message from the dead more effectual, than doth ordinarily attend the ministry of the word. Henceforward then, let us not wonder, if when a drunkard drops down dead upon the spot, the companions say one to another, Drink on; if sinners daily tumble one another into the grave, without considering the operation of God's hand; this, to those that consider this text, will not seem strange; For if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither vill they be converted, though hundreds of sinners before their eyes drop down dead: nay, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither -will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

CHAP. XVII.

npHEN said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come : but woe unto him through whom they come! 2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, ami he cast into

the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Two things are here observable, t. The necessity of scandalous offences: It mutt needs be that offences come, if we consider men's corruptions, Satan's malice, God's permission and just judgment. Observe, 2. The misery and mischief which come by these scandals: Woe unto the world because of offences; woe to such as give the scandal: this is Vie indignantis, the woe of one denouncing: and woe to such as stumble at offences given ; this avwdolentis, the woe of one lamenting. From the whole, note, 1. That scandals or offensive actions in the church of Christ will certainly happen, and frequently fall out among those that profess religion and the name of Christ: // is impossible but that offences will come. Secondly, That scandalous and offensive actions from such as profess religion and the name of Christ, are baneful and fatal stumbling-blocks to wicked and worldly men. Thirdly, That the offences which wicked men take at the falls of the professors of religion, for the hardening of themselves in their wicked and sinful practices, is matter of just and great lamentation: Woe unto the world because of offences, Matt, xviii. 7.

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

The doctrine of forgiving an offending brother, is pressed upon us with many forcible arguments in the New Testament, which speaks it to be a duty of indispensable necessity. This place is to be understood of private offences, and personal wrongs and injuries done by one man to another; which we must first reprove, and then remit ; and although it be said, If he repent, forgive him; that is not to be understood, as if we needed not to pardon our brother, if he neglects to repent and ask forgiveness; but whether he acknowledges his offence or not to us, our hearts must stand ready to forgive the wrong done to us, and to pray for forgiveness on his behalf at the hands of God; laying aside all thoughts and desires of revenge in our own cause, and standing ready to any office of love and

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