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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 you and he-hé 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 hiinself. Neither be


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


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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


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 question 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

, say 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

I 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 bands 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 shut up 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 from believing. In the absence of right knowledge of the subject, and of sound argument, they mock, misrepresent, falsify, and by all modes of injustice seek to depreciate us with the people. Take heed, ye people, lest they prevail

. To a great extent they are prevailing: and as those Pharisees brought Jerusalem low, by hindering her from knowing the day of her visitation; so believe I that the ruling and influential men in the church will bring Britain low, by preventing her from knowing the day of her visitation. But I trust ye will not be deceived by such hypocrisy ; for hypocrisy it is, for any man to take upon him to judge and condemn that whereof he is ignorant. Now, observe how these same men are shewn to be hypocrites in that very thing upon which they pride themselves. They pride themselves upon what they call their spiritual-mindedness; and they accuse us of preaching a temporal and an outward kingdom merely. Well, God, to prove how false they are in their pretensions to spiritual-mindedness, hath raised up men who preach fully and freely unto every sinner justification by faith, and the consolations of the blessed Spirit; and straightway they have flamed up against these men as violently as against us: so that the assurance of faith, the peace and joy in believing, are at present as much the objects of their insolent and ignorant attacks, as are the coming and the kingdom of the Lord. I call upon you, oh people, to beware of such calumniators of the truth. This is the day of your visitation : take heed unto it, lest it be for ever hid from your eyes.-It may be asked, whence doth this opposition to the kingdom of God, and to the preaching of it, prevail so much in men who are otherwise reputed honourable and pious men? I answer, in our Lord's words, Because they love the honour which cometh from men. believe,” saith he, “who receive honour one of another, but seek not the honour which cometh from God only.” They love the uppermost rooms in the feasts, and the most honourable places in the synagogues. They are wedded to some form of this world's good ; they are wedded to some form of the church's preferment or reputation ; and cannot bear to hear of the removal of these things. They accuse us of saying, Destroy the temple; and by their accusations they will prevail, and the temple will be destroyed ; yet, as I trust, to be raised up again. I know that, even of those who hear it, many love not the subject of the kingdom. They endure that it should be preached, but they would rather that we should take up and handle matters of a more common kind. Ye would have the house patched up: I tell you to flee out of the house ; for it is a ruin, and ready to fall. Ye would rather not endure the scoffings and the violent oppositions of men directed against this subject : but I would have you to stand up stoutly to it, like men storming a walled

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city; and take it by force, through the opposition of fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters; at the risk or loss of your life also, according to that word of the Lord, “He that loseth his life shall find it.'

II. The second characteristic. Verse 14, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers ; therefore ye shall receive greater damnation.” This marks covetousness as a feature of those who sat in Moses' seat;-covetousness under the covert of sanctity, or rather sanctimoniousness ;-covetousness exercising itself upon the more helpless and defenceless, even the widow and the orphan, whom it is the special end both of the church to comfort and of the state to protect. Therein they had changed the ordinance of God, and, instead of being for a husband to the widow

а and a father to the fatherless, they had become the rapacious plunderers of both : yet with artifice, with most damnable artifice-through the instrumentality of religion, through the instrumentality of prayer. Now, whether or not covetousness be not a characteristic of the priesthood in these times, be ye the judges. Witness within these few years bishops.of the church dying with hundreds of thousands in their chest: witness the incessant hunt after preferment—the responsibility of so many more souls being easily covered by the addition of so many more pounds to our annual income : witness the office-bearers of charitable and religious societies, who heretofore discharged their offices without any fee or reward, how within these few years they have all been endowed with salaries, in reward, as it is said, for their time and trouble; without remembering, that by solemn ordination their time and trouble is sacredly and solemnly devoted to the cure of souls : witness also how every sermon, every journey, every meal, is paid for; every lectureship made a matter of regular traffic; and, in short, our noble office, so well endowed by the state, or, where not, which should be cheerfully upborne by the people, is made a matter of merchandize, and all things are saleable. So much for the covetousness which reigneth over the rulers of the church. Doubtless it was very evil in the times of our Lord ; doubtless, without instituting a particular comparison, it is very evil in our own times. Whether it shews itself after the hateful way to which our Lord refers, I am not enough in the secret of those things to declare yea or nay; but this I know, that never, in the history of the church, did the priesthood so apply themselves unto women for raising pecuniary contributions from the great body of the people. Our Lord sanctified the services of women: he shewed, by his receiving of the substance of Joanna and Susanna and many others, that their free-will offerings of love and of devotion might well be received by the ministers of his church. Let it not be understood, therefore, that I either discountenance or undervalue such gratuitous benefactions, when I blame that use which is now so frequently made of woman's influence in order to raise contributions from the body of the people. For it savours too much of insinuation, and of smooth flatteries, to proceed chiefly by female mediation, and to come at the people through their persuasion. More seemly were it, more like unto Christ and his Apostles, to speak unto the people directly and immediately, and explain to them their obligations, and expostulate with them for their neglect of the same. But into this I enter not further at present, save to exhort every one of those who visit the habitations of the poor, of the widows, and the fatherless, to open their mouths wide, and make known unto them the Gospel of the kingdom ; to shew them the interests of their immortal souls; to comfort them with the fatherly love and grace of God; and, when necessity requireth, to open the hand liberally, and minister to their wants. Go unto them “with the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of peace;” and rest well assured that the Lord will bless you.

III. The third cause for which our Lord denounceth woe upon the Scribes and Pharisees, is written in the 15th verse : “ Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” În the time at which our Lord spoke the Jewish church was divided into sects, of which the two chief were the Sadducees, or freethinkers, and the Pharisees; which latter believed in the traditions of the fathers more than in the law of the Lord ; for they said, the tradition is necessary to explain the law. To this sect, the scribes and the lawyers and the doctors chiefly adhered, because it was their office to explain the Law, and the traditions of the fathers. These Pharisees were men of great outward decency, respectability, and sanctity; the most religious, grave, and severe part of the community. They, being built up in their own self-sufficiency, and in the righteousness of their sect, and in the sure salvation which awaited them, were exceedingly anxious to gain a proselyte from amongst the Sadducees, the publicans, and the sinners: and to gain him they would compass sea and land, undergo all pains and troubles : and, having gained him, would make him twofold more the child of hell than themselves; keeping him in ignorance, binding him up in prejudice, subjecting him to authority, and otherwise wrapping around him the covering of darkness. They had "the key of knowledge,” but they took care to keep it from him : they used him for their tool, and bound him up unto the servitude of man for his master. Now at this present time we have the Christian church exactly divided, in like manner, into

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