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cumcised. Very well, says our apostle, I am not a deputy from them; I had an 66 immediate revelation" as well as they, and when I told them, I was sent to the Gentiles, “ they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” But, they said, Paul had changed his opinion, and had circumcised Timothy; But, replies our apostle, Titus, a Greek, also was with me, and he was “not compelled to be circumcised ;" and " I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution ?? They added, The promises were made to Abraham and his seed: True, said the apostle, but you have mistaken the word, 6 he saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ;" the promises were made to Abraham, and to one of his posterity, not to all his descendants, and that son of Abraham is Christ; it is in him, and not in your teachers of circumcision, that “all nations shall be blessed." Their fourth argument was taken from the Prophecy of Isaiah, that children should be born from among the heathen to Jerusalem : Another mistake, says our apostle; the prophet doth not speak of the Jewish Jerusalem, but of the ancient Jerusalem, in the hands of the Jebusites, “ Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.” Weary with these trilling arguments, destructive of the genius and spirit of the Christian religion, the apostle observes in the text, that in the religion of “ Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love :" as if he had said, I preach to you a revealed religion of truth and love: do not tell me of authority, I respect Peter, but Peter was blamed, and what authority is equal to that of Christ, under which I act? 6 When it pleased God to reveal his Son in me, I conferred not with flesh and blood.” Do not plead my example, and from an occasional action of mine, infer a general rule of conduct to bind all people in different circumstances. Scripture: read it again, the text is right, but your exposition is wrong : you have not understood the Scriptures;, it is impossible to pervert them so as to banish
love from religion, to make room for dry ceremonies, party zeal, and false teachers, who “ constrain you to be circumcised, only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ,” who sacrifice truth, virtue, and the happiness of a whole world to their own servile fear of man and worldly interest. Christians, apply these truths to yourselves, as far as circumstances require, and remember that no authority, no examples, no not those of inspired apostles, no texts of Scripture about Abraham and Jerusalem, ought to prevail for a moment to darken a religion of truth, and faith, and universal love. Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, let him be accursed. În Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature : and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God !!! God grant us this grace! To him be honour and glory forever. Amen.
INCORRIGIBLE SINNERS WILL BE WITHOUT EXCUSE AT THE
MATTHEW xxii, 12.
And he was speechless.
UNDER the similitude of an entertainment given by a king to his subjects on the marriage of his son, our Lord sets forth the blessings of the Gospel, and, in the text, that degree of guilt beyond excuse, under which they who perish in Gospel times must lie. It is in this view that we are going to consider the text: but before we come immediately to the subject, we will make one remark on the context, and one on the manner of expounding parables.
In this and the foregoing chapter there are three parables, which contain the history of three periods of time. That of the “householder,” who “let out a vineyard to husbandmen," is a true history of the Jews from the time of Moses to forty years after the death of Christ; all that time was employed either in cultivating and adorning the country, enjoying the produce of it, hearing and disobeying the prophets, crucifying Christ, or in suffering an entire destruction for that and for all other crimes. In the days of Joshua, David, Solomon, and such princes, they were “ hedging in” the vineyard, “ digging" wine-presses, “ building towers, and
so on. When the prophets came, they were “ killing" one,
and stoning” another. When Christ the Son came, they “slew” him. When the Jews were driven out of their country by the Romans, and the land left to other inhabitants, the Lord was “ destroying these wicked men," and " letting out his vineyard to others.” The second parable of the man who had “ two sons," whom he ordered to go work in his vineyard, is a history of the time of John the baptist. The third parable of the marriage of the king's son, out of which we have taken the text, is a history of the times of the Gos pel from its being first preached by Jesus Christ to the Jews, to the time of his second coming to judge the world. In this plain and comprehensive manner did Jesus Christ draw great events into a narrow point of view, omitting the fate of empires to lay before us the destiny of religion, in which we are more interested than in that of learning, or commerce, or any thing else in the world.
Our Lord usually taught by parables ; that is, by continued similitudes or likenesses, and the best rule for interpreting a parable is not to interpret it too much, if I may speak so, but to take the general likeness, or one doctrine from the chief figures. A parable is a kind of history-painting, and should we see a picture of Abraham offering up Isaac, we should trifle, and receive no instruction, were we to fix our attention on the 5 thicket behind,” the order of the wood, the knife, and so on, for the picture was not drawn for the sake of representing these things, so much as the principal object, which was, the patriarch in an exercise of the noblest confidence in God, in earnest to slay his son at the command of God, and accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead," though there had never then been in the world an example of one rising from the dead. Thus in parables, if I could allow myself willingly to teach you to trifle with the Scriptures, and to think yourself wiser than others for knowing better than they how to play the fool, I would show you the conformities between God and a king,” a certain king, for we must not lose a word, Christ and a “ son,"
conversion and a “ wedding," preaching the Gospel and 6 bidding" to a marriage. I might tell you the likeness
and fatlings” to the doctrines of the Gospel ;. of the “ wedding garment to the righteousness of Christ; and thus we might go through all the parable, and crumble it into as many doctrines as there are words in the twelve verses. Having done this, I might compare the parable in Matthew with the same parable in Luke, and reconcile seeming contradictions. I might show you that if Matthew calls the feast dinner,”
" it was because the Gospel was preached in the middle age of the world, and if Luke calls it a “supper,” it is because the Gospel is preached in the last ages of the world. This is what I meant just now by interpreting too much; for by making every thing out of a parable, we teach the parable to say nothing. It is evident, by this parable our Lord chiefly intends to show the levity with which the Jews treated the Gospel, and consequently the justice as well as the goodness of God in sending it to the Gentiles. The first 5 would not come :) the last furnished the table - with guests both bad and good ;" but, that we might thoroughly understand the purity of Christianity, he informs us that bad Gentiles as well as wicked Jews would be inexcusable, if they “ turned the grace of God into lasciviousness." This is the sense of the text, “ And he was speechless."
However bold men may be in denying, or however ingenious they may be in deceiving themselves by keeping the subject out of sight, certain it is the text speaks of a very serious and sad event, which must come to pass, and to which we are hastening as fast as time can carry us.
How rapid is life! How far are some of you down a stream, which none of you can stop; a little longer and you will be lost in the ocean, and heard of no more till the sea shall “give up the dead.' Then, should you be found 6 speechless,” we should forget all your pleasant days of prosperity in this life, and one thing would strike us dumb with astonishment: there he stands : stands before his judge : and stands exactly as the Gospel foretold : "speechless !" How comes it to pass that a subject so true and so terrible is