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were poffefsed of the substance. When a more perfect rule was come, the more partial rule might reasonably be done away. · But on the observance of the whole Moral Law he constantly and strongly insisted, as the indispensable and unchangeable duty of man. He gave it greater energy, and spread it into a wider compass, than had ever been conceived before. He constantly taught mankind to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; having given himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works & Not satisfied with the form, he required the power of godliness. This might be instanced in that purity of worship, which he taught in reference to God, and that law of equity and charity, which he enjoined in relation to men. But this is moft especially to be seen in the obligation which he imposed of personal purity. The spirit of his law undoubtedly struck at the root of those two prevailing indulgences in the ancient world, concubinage and polygamy. And the liberty of divorce, which the Law of Moses had permitted to the
Jews, because of the hardness of their hearts, he expressly disallowed, except in the case of adultery on one part; in which it is granted on a principle of reason and justice, that the chaste may be separated from the unchaste. On the whole he reduced the law in this important article of social life to the original design of God in creating male and female h. But in order to purify the whole man from every moral taint, he did not account it fufficient to enjoin the purity of the body, he insisted on the purity of the heart. Not fatiffied with forbidding adultery in act, he forbade it even in imagination and defign; “ Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.” He therefore taught men to supprefs. every loose and licentious thought, and to diveft themselves of every pafsion or desire, though incorporated so much into the nature and habit, as a right hand or a right eye, which might incite them to transgression. On the whole he required them to consider themselves ás consecrated both in body and soul to God, and on that principle to keep themselves entirely pure to his honour and service. . .
h Mat. xix. 3—9.
i Mat. v. 27–32.
- And hence we may collect the characters of those, whom our holy Teacher here diftinguishes by the title of the Pure in heart. Allifted and encouraged by divine grace they have made such proficiency in Christian holiness, as to have brought the body in subjection to the spirit, and to have furrendered the will of man to the will of God. Animated by faith in his merits, who hath made a perfect expiation for the truly penitènt, they have washed away their sins by the baptism of repentance, and have purified their hearts by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost : they have stedfastly purposed, not only to forego the actual indulgence of unlawful appetite, but also, as far as human infirmity will allow, to keep their hearts with all diligence from entertaining any licentious thought or affection. Sensible that God is a fpiritual Essence, they are solicitous to yield him á spiritual service. Conscious of his continual presence and inspection, they are cautious not to commit any thing, which may tempt him to withdraw his countenance and withhold his approbation from them. Fully estimating the price, that has been paid for their redemption and fanctification by the blood of Christ, they are assiduous to present themselves both body and soul a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice to God.
To persons thus disposed our Lord afsigns a special Blessedness, that they shall see God.
To see God is a privilege, of which the children of this world do not seriously think. It could seldom enter into the minds or engage the contemplations of the Heathens ; for so far were they corrupted in their understandings, that they retained no knowledge of God, and therefore they could not estimate the happiness of seeing him.
To see God under the ancient economy of the Hebrews was a privilege imparted but very rarely and occasionally to some few Favourites of Heaven. With the Patriarchs and the Prophets he conversed at fundry times and in diverse manners, by vision, by dream, by. Urim, by the message of an angel. To the most distinguished among them he displayed himself in a visible form. Thus he conversed with Abraham as with a friend; hence he was called the Friend of Godk He conversed with Mofes face to face! And Isaiah testifies, that he saw the Lord in his temple encompassed by the Seraphim, who
* James ii. 23.
1 Exod. xxxiii. 11.
fung his holiness and glory m. But with these rare exceptions, he had not personally divulged himself of old. And from the terrors which invested him, though veiled from public view, when he delivered the Law from Mount Sinai, an opinion had prevailed in Israel, that none could see God and live. · Under the Christian Revelation God is represented, as divested of all those terrors in which he gave the Law, and is arrayed to our conceptions in the most endearing attributes of paternal grace and goodness. And hence to fee God is proposed to our desires and hopes as the fulness of happiness. To see God in the literal sense is not indeed indulged to us yet, while we remain under the veil of mortality. Yet in the spiritual dispensation of the Gospel he is manifested to us more freely and fully, than under the carnal economy of the Law; “ For the only begotten Son, who is in the bofom of the Father, he hath revealed him "." He hath manifested the Father to the eyes of the faithful in the faireft and brightest attributes of grace and truth, as continually present with them in his holy Spirit, defending them against all the assaults and seductions of the Tempter, supporting
n John i. 18.
m Isa. vi. 1, 2, 3.