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24 Sect. 93.

Mark IX. 50.

Mat.xviii. I.

Mark ix. 36.

Reflections on the Need of Self-denial and Mortification.

you, you

Vol. i. pag. 223.) and as Salt is a very good Thing,
fo will if anfwer that Character, be in-
eftimable Bleffings to the World: But remember
what I then added, if the Salt itself be grown in-
fipid, with what will you feafon it? or what can
reftore you, if you are corrupted, who should
restore others? See to it therefore, that you have
this excellent Salt in yourselves; and as one In-
ftance of it, be careful to maintain Peace with
each other, and do not give Way to those very
unbecoming Difputes and Emulations, which have
been the Occafion of my prefent Discourse.

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the Salt have loft his Saltnefs, it? Have Salt in yourselves, wherewith will ye feafon and have Peace one with another.


OW deeply is Pride rooted in the Heart of fallen Man; when neither the daily Inftructions, nor edifying Example of the humble Jefus, could prevent it from appearing, even among the Apostles themfelves, in fo mean and unworthy a Manner! Still did Worldly Interest and Grandeur fo intoxicate their Minds, that they feemed even against Hope to have hoped for it, and to have found out a ftrange Kind of Method, of grafting thefe Expectations, even on the very Cross of Christ, which was intended to deftroy them.

How edifying and affecting are these Leffons, which the meek and lowly Redeemer gave us, with this little Child in his Arms, whofe Example we are required to copy! Lord, give us of thy regenerating Grace, that Mat.xviii.3. we may do it; that we may be converted, and become as little Children, free from Avarice and Ambition, Malice and Prejudice! How melancholy is it to think, that many, who have by their Office been employed to read and explain this Leffon to others, and who have not been Children in Understanding, feem to have learnt fo little of it themselves; as if it had never been at all intended for that Order of Men, to whom indeed it was immediately addreffed! If there be any fuch yet remaining in the Chriftian Miniftry, let them feriously weigh the Woe, denounced on that Man by whom the Offence cometh. May the infinite Mercies of GoD be extended to all profeffing Chriftians, who give themselves up to Worldly Pursuits and Projects; and efpecially to thofe, who make the Church of Chrift only a Kind of Porch to the Temple of Mammon, and the Sacred Office itself merely a convenient Vehicle, for swallowing down Riches and Honours! May Divine Grace deliver us from fuch fatal Snares, and form us to that Self-denial and Mortification, without which we cannot be the true Difciples of Chrift; but after having pierced ourselves thro' with many unneceffary Sorrows here, fhall plunge ourselves deep into Eternal Perdition!

Ver. 7.


CHRIST will not have his Little Ones defpifed:



May these repeated, and dreadful Reprefentations of future Mifery, Sect. 93. which we have now been reading, imprefs our Souls in a becoming Mark ix. Manner! Bleffed Jefus! thou bringeft good Tidings; yet which of the Prophets under the Legal Difpenfation ever reprefented the Terrors of the Lord in fo awful a Light, as that in which thou haft placed them! Let none of thy Minifters be afraid to imitate thee herein! nor let any of thy Followers prefume to cenfure them for it! May we all be effectually warned to flee from the Wrath to come; and as we would not another Day be falted Ver. 49. with Fire, may our Hearts now be feafoned with thy Grace! and may we Ver. 50. by a modeft and peaceful, a benevolent and useful Life, be daily bearing a Testimony to it, and as the Salt of the Earth may we be labouring to cure the growing Corruption of the World about us!


Our LORD farther inforces Condefcenfion and Humility,
and gives Rules for the Accommodation of Difputes and
Offences among Christians.
Mat. XVIII. 10,---20.

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MA T. XVIII. 10.




ARTHER to promote the Humility and Sect. 94. Moderation of his Difciples, our Lord ceeded in the Difcourfe, which he had begun (as in the former Section,) with the little Child in his Arms, and faid, Take fpecial beed that you defpife not one of thefe Little Ones, or that you do not caft Contempt on the weakest and meanest of my Servants, nor flight even the Soul of a Child; for I fay unto you, that their attendant Angels, while in Heaven, do incessantly behold the Face of my Heavenly Father (a); and if the highest Courtiers


(a) Their attendant Angels, while in Heaven, &c.] The Fathers looked on this as an Argument, that each good Man had his particular Guardian Angel: (See Suicer. Thefaur. vol. i. pag. 43.) And Grotius alfo feems to allow the Force of it. I apprehend this Paffage rather intimates, that the Angels, who fometimes attend the Little Ones fpoken of, at other Times ftand in GoD's immediate Prefence; and consequently that different Angels are at different Times employed in this kind Office, if it be inceffantly performed. The general Sense is plain, that the higheft Angels do not difdain, on proper Occafions, to perform Services of Protection and Friendship for the meaneft Chriftian; but, as St. Paul fays, they are all miniftring Spirits fent forth to minifter to the Heirs of Salvation. Heb. i. 14. I fay, the higheft; because to behold the Face of GOD, may fignify waiting near his Throne, and be an Allufion to the Office of Chief Minifters in Earthly Courts, who daily converfe with their Princes. See Grotius; and compare 2 Sam. xvi. 19. 1 Kings xii. 6. Efth. i. 14. and Luke i. 19.



(b) For


Nor will the Father fuffer one of them to perish.

Sect. 94. in the World above do not difdain, on proper Occafions, to minifter unto them, much lefs fhould you difdain it.




II For the Son of Man is

Efpecially when you confider,
how much greater an Inftance of Condefcenfion come to fave that which was
you have continually before you, than it is poffible
even the Angels fhould give; for the Son of Man
himself (b), that great and illuftrious Perfonage,
came, not, as many have imagined, to reign and
triumph upon Earth, but by all the Offices of
Humility and Endearment to fave that which was
loft and undone; and he takes a gracious and con-
stant Oversight of the leaft, as well as the greatest
of his Redeemed ones. (Compare Luke xix. 10.
12 Sect. 143.) What do you think would be the Con-
duct of a faithful Shepherd? If a Man had an
Hundred Sheep, and but one of them should wander,
would be not leave the Ninety-nine in their Pafture
or Fold on the Mountains (c), and go out with the
most solicitous Care and Labour to feek that which is

13 gone aftray? And if he happen to find it, I affur-
edly fay unto you, that he will bring it back with grea-
ter Pleasure, and it will give him a more fenfible
Joy, than the Ninety-nine which had not wandered at
14 all. (Compare Luke xv. 4, 5. Sect. 122.) Even
fo, it is not the Will of GOD your Heavenly Father,
that any one of thefe Little Ones fhould be loft, for
Want of your Care in attending it, or thro' your
Negligence in feeking its Recovery.


12 How think ye? If a Man have an hundred Sheep,

and one of them be gone
aftray, doth he not leave the
ninety and nine, and goeth
feeketh that which is gone
find it, verily I fay unto
you, he rejoiceth more of
that Sheep, than of the nine-
ty and nine which went not

into the Mountains, and

13 And if fo be that he

14 Even fo it is not the

Will of your Father which is in Heaven, that one of

thefe Little ones fhould perifh.

15 Moreover, if thy Brother fhall trefpafs against thee,


And as in order to the Recovery of your weaker Brethren, Admonition will frequently be neceffary, let me lay down a Rule, which, when go and tell him his Fault belarger Societies are formed among you, it will be of great Importance to attend to with the utmost Care: If thou fhalt know thy Brother to be guilty of a Fault, and he fhall fin against thee, go and reprove him in the most convincing, yet the most


(b) For the Son of Man himself.] The Particle For here introduces another Reafon, to inforce the Caution not to defpife thefe Little ones, and not a Proof of their Angels beholding GOD's Face. See Note (d) on Luke xi. 36. Vol. i. pag. 390.

(c) Leave the Ninety-nine on the Mountains.] The Original will bear, either this Construction, or that which is given in our common Tranflation; but I have rather chosen to exprefs it thus, as moft agreeable to what we find in Luke, chap. xv. 4. Sect, 122.

(d) Re

How they should deal with an offending Brother.

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gentle Manner that thou canft (d); and that he Sect. 94. take it the better, let it be done between thee



and him alone: If he will hear thee with due Re- 15.
gard, it is well; for by this Means thou haft gained
thy Brother; he will return to the Way of his
Duty, and the Friendship between you will thus
be established on firmer Foundations than ever,
in Confequence of this fubftantial Token of thy
impartial Sincerity, and Franknefs of Temper.
(Compare Prov. xxviii. 23.) But if he will 16
not hearken [to
not hearken [to thee,] take with thee One or Two
more, who are Perfons of Character and Reputa-
tion in the Society, that their Prefence may add
greater Weight to the Admonition given, and may
be of Service, either to filence his Objections, and
bring him to a Senfe of his Fault, or to prevent
Difputes, and juftify thy Conduct, if the Matter
should be carried farther; as in the Mouth of Two
or Three Witneffes every Word may be established
more effectually, than it could otherwise have
been. (See Deut. xix. 15.) But if he fhall 17
be ftill incorrigible in his Fault, and difregard
them in the Advice they offer him for Peace,
then tell it to the whole Church (e), or Society


(d) Reprove him in the most convincing-Manner that thou canft.] The Word exe fignifies to convince, as well as to admonish. Compare John viii. 9, 46. xvi. 8. 1 Cor. xiv. 24. Tit. i. 9. and Jam. ii. 9.-The Reader will obferve, I often chufe to give the full Force of a Word in the Paraphrafe, rather than greatly to increase the Number of Words in the Verfion, tho' fo increased they might exprefs no more, than is expreffed in a fingle Word or two in the Greek.

(e) Tell it to the whole Church.] This is one of those many Scriptures, which would have been very intelligible, if they had not been learnedly obfcured by ingenious Men, whose Interest it has been to spread a Cloud over them. I am more and more convinced, that the vulgar Senfe of the New Teftament, i. e. the Senfe in which an honeft Man of plain Sense would take it on his first reading the Original, or any good Tranflation, is almost every where the true general Senfe of any Paffage; tho' an Acquaintance with Language and Antiquity, with an attentive Meditation on the Text and Context, may illuftrate the Spirit and Energy of a Multitude of Places, in a Manner which could not otherwise be learnt. The old English Editions of 1539. and 1541. render it, Tell it to the Congregation; and I think properly enough. The Word Church is unhappily grown into a Term of Art, and has by different Perfons a Variety of fecondary Ideas annexed to it; as Dr. Watts has beautifully fhewn, in his Efay on Uncharitableness, pag. 7,-10. But it fignifies in general, an Affembly, or Number of People, called together on whatever Occafion; as is well known. (Compare Acts xix. 32, 39.) It is in the New Testament generally used, as here, for a particular Affembly; (Acts xiv. 23. 1 Cor. iv. 17. xiv. 23. xvi. 19.) but fometimes it is used for the whole Body of Chriftians, because they are now called out from the World, and are at last to be gathered together in the Prefence of Chrift their Head, (2 Thef. ii. 1.) and to dwell for ever with each other, and with him. (1 Thef. iv. 17.) Compare Mat. xvi. 18. Eph. i. 22. iii. 10. v. 24. D 2



Sect, 94.

Mat. XVIII. 17.


Whatever they bind on Earth, fhall be bound in Heaven.

of worshipping Chriftians to which he belongs,
and among whom he has immediate Commu-
nion in Gospel Ordinances; and if they con-
cur in any Admonition to the Offender, and he
be fo far hardened as to difregard the whole
Church, or Society of Chriftians, you have then
done your utmost to reclaim him; and while
he continues in this obftinate Temper, you will
do well to enter your Protest against it, by for-
bearing any intimate Friendship with such a Per-
fon; and let him therefore in this Cafe be to thee
even as a Heathen, and a Publican, or other most
notorious Sinner (ƒ), to whom you would perform
only the common Offices of Humanity, but
would avoid his intimate Society as fcandalous,
and to whom you are not under those peculiar
Obligations, whereby Chriftian Brethren are
bound to each other.

Thefe are the Maxims, which you, my
Apoftles, are to inculcate on my other Followers,
and let them fee to it, that they duly regard you;
for verily I fay unto you, You fhall be furnished
with fuch Divine Illumination and Affiftance, as
fhall abundantly confirm the Authority of your
Decifions, on every Cafe and Question which
may occur; and fully prove, (as I formerly told
you,) that whatsoever you shall bind even in this
Course of your humble Ministry on Earth, fhall
be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose

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neglect to hear the Church let him be unto thee as an Heathen Man, and a Publi


Whatfoever ye fhall bind on Earth, fhall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye fhall loofe on Earth, fhall be loosed in Heaven.

18 Verily I fay unto you,

and Col. i. 18, 24.According to Bishop Stilling fleet's Interpretation of this Text, (fet his Irenicum, Book ii. chap. 5. §. 8.) it fhould be rendered, Tell it to an Affembly, or a select Company. But it is certain, the Force of the Article is better preferved by our Verfion; and as undoubtedly it must be an Affembly of Chriftians, (compare 1 Cor. vi. 1.) fo no Interpretation feems fo natural, as that it fhould be that Affembly which was under a peculiar Obligation to watch over the Perfon in Queftion, (compare I Cor. v. 12, 13. and 2 Thef. iii. 14, 15.) and that, whofe Advices and Remonftrances he was peculiarly obliged to hear. And this was likewife conformable to the Ufage of the Jews, who admonished Offenders in their Synagogues, and to many of their Maxims, which Commentators mention on this Text. See Lightfoot's Hor. Hebr. in loc. and Selden de Syned, lib. i. cap. 9.

(f) As a Heathen, and a Publican, or other most notorious Sinner.] If I am not much miftaken, that celebrated Text in Titus, relating to Hereticks, (chap. iii. 10.) which requires, that a Man who difturbs the Peace, or fubverts the Faith of his Chriftian Brethren, fhould be trvice admonished, and then difcarded by the Society, may be much illuftrated by this Paffage. When fuch a Cafe occurs, (as well as when an offended Brother has just Cause of Complaint,) each particular Perfon concerned muft judge as well as he can; remembering he is anfwerable to Chrift for the Impartiality of fuch Judgment.

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