« FöregåendeFortsätt »
law; and because they were usually of the sect of the Pharisees, therefore the Scribes and Pharisees are so frequently joined together in scripture: And because they did all their works to be seen of men, because they
honor'd God with their lips while their Mat.xv. 8. hearts were far from him, therefore
our Saviour calleth them bypocrites. Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees,
bypocrites. He observes that they V. 2, 3. fit in Moses seat, but then they say
and do not : As persons in authority they might be obey'd, but as examples they were by no means to be follow'd. He denounces eight fevere woes against them; and I wish among Christians there may not be some sitting in cathedra too, to whom these woes as properly appertain, as ever they did to the Scribes and Pharisees themselves. Let us take a view of them in the order, wherein they lie in the chapter, and see whether the vices of those times are
not to be paralleld now. At least it will be of some use and service to point out the rocks and shelves upon which the Scribes and Pharisees made, Tim. i. shipwrack of faith and a good con-19. science, that so we may the more cautiously avoid them. For these things were written not for their fakes; but for our admonition upon whom the. Cor. x. ends of the world are come.
1. The first woe denounced against them is for their shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men, neither ver. 13. going in themselves, nor suffering them that were entering to go
in. They fout up the kingdom of heaven against men, they did all they could to debar men from the true religion, neither embracing it themselves, nor suffering others, who would have embraced it, to embrace it. St. Luke expresseth it more particularly by their taking away the key of know- Luke xi. ledge: they entered not in themselves, and them that were entering in they C 3
hinder d. We must understand, that at the admission of a Jewish doctor a book and a key were given him, importing that he should unlock and open, that he should interpret and explain the law of God to the people. It is in allusion to this ceremony, that our Saviour faith, that the Scribes and Pharisees had taken away the key of knowledge, that they had not duly opened and explained the law of God to the people, particularly with relation to the Messiah. They had corrupted the true and genuin sense of things by their false glofses' and interpretations; and in numberless instances had made the word of God of none effeEt by their traditions. And now if there be any called Christians, who thus take away the key of knowledge, and sout up the kingdom of beaven against men, neither holding the truth themselves, nor permitting others, who would examin things, to examin them, who would profess
Mar. vii. 13.
the truth, to profess it; will not this woe as properly belong to them, as ever it did to the Scribes and Pharisees? Every body, who heareth me, must immediately reflect upon the bishops and clergy of the church of Rome, whose practise this is, of not permitting their members, who would examin things, to examin them a practise notorious to all, and de nied by none. They not only perform their public prayers and the service of God in an unknown tongue; but will not even allow the people fo' much as to read the scripture without a license from their superiors, the bishops or inquisitors. And this license they grant as a particular favor, and never but at the recom; mendation of the priest or confeffor, and when they are pretty secure of the person to whom they grant it. And then, when they allow the fcripture to be read, they will allow it to be read only in their own
translations, and guarded and fenced with their own annotations. Here in England perhaps they may be a little more indulgent, where they are only upon fufferance, and have not their people in fuch fubjection; But where their's is the establish'd religion, and they have the power in their hands, there whosoever presumes to read the scripture without leave is denied absolution, and in some countries it is well if he be not thrown into the prison of the Inquifition. It would make the people some amends for such a manifeft abuse, if they instructed them in their duty by other means; but they have nothing of the body and substance of morality or divinity in their sermons and discourses : They build
them (if I may thus, apply a meta1 Cor. iii. phor from. St. Paul) with the bay and
stubble of their legends and schoolmen, and not with the filver and gold of Moses and the Prophets or