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neglect no opportunity of attending ami partaking of t1i<» Christian Sacrifice? How many arc they who c all themselves Christians, and yet arc utterly regardless of it,—yet do not cat of that bread, or drink of that cup, for months, perhaps yearn together! Do you, every day, cither hear the Scriptures, or read them and meditate thereon? Do you join in prayer with the great congregation, daily, if you have opportunity; if not, whenever you can; particularly on that clay which you "remember to keep it holy?" Do you strive to make opportunities? Are you glad when they say unto you, " We will go into the house of the Lord?" Are you zealous of, and diligent in, private prayer? Do you suffer no day to pass without it? Rather, are not some of you so far from spending therein (with the Pharisee) several hours in one day, that you think one hour full enough, if not too much? Do you spend tin hour in a day, or in a week, in praying to your Father which is in secret? Yea, an hour in a month? Have you spent one hour together in private prayer ever since you was born'.' All poor Christian' Shall not the Pharisee rise up in the judgment against thee and condemn thee? His righteousness i-. as fur above thine, as the heaven is above the earth!
!). The Pharisee, thirdly, paid tithes and gave alms of al! that he possessed. A ml in how ample a manner! So that he was (as we phrase i!) "a man that did much good." Do we come up to him here? Which of us is so abundant, as he was, in good works? Which of us gives a fifth oi all his substance to Cod, both of the piincipal, and of the increase'.' Who of us, out of (suppose) an hundred pounds a year, gives twenty to Cod and the poor: out of lil'ty,—ten; and so in a larger or a smaller proportion? When shall our righteousness, in Using all the means of grace, in attending all the ordinances of Cod, in avoiding evil, and doing good, equal at least the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees?
10. Although if it only equalled theirs, what would that profit ?" For verily I say unto you, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, vc shall in no case enter imo the kingdom of heaven." Hut how can h exceed theirs? Wherein does the righteousness of a Christian exceed that of a Scribe or Pharisee? Christian right eousuess exceeds theirs, first, in the Extent of it. Most of the Pharisees, though they were rigorously exact in many things, yet were emboldened, by the traditions of the Elders, to dispense with others of equal importance. Thus they were extremely punctual in keeping the fourth commandment,—they would not even rub an ear of corn on the Sabbath-day; but not at all in keeping the third ; making little account of light, or even false, swearing. So that their righteousness was partial; whereas the righteousness of a real Christian is universal. He does not observe one, or some parts of the law of God, and neglect the rest; but keeps all his commandments, loves theni all, values them above gold or precious stones.
11. It may be, indeed, that some of the Scribes and Pharisees endeavoured to keep all the commandments, and consequently were, as touching the righteousness of the law, that is; according to the letter of it, blameless. But still the righteousness of a Christian exceeds all this righteousness of a Scribe or Pharisee, by fulfilling the spirit as well as the letter of the law; by inward as well as outward obedience. In this, in the Spirituality of it, it admits of no comparison. This is the point which our Lord has so largely proved, in the whole tenor of this discourse. Their righteousness was external only; Christian righteousness is in the inner man. The Pharisee "cleansed the outside of the cup and the platter;" the Christian is clean within. The Pharisee laboured to preseiit God with a good life; the Christian \vith a holy heart. The one shook off the leaves, perhaps the fruits of sin; the other " lays the axe to the root j" as not being content with the outward form of godliness, how exact soever it be, unless the life, the spirit, the power of God unto salvation, be felt in the inmost soul.
Thus, to do ho harm, to do good, to attend the ordinances of God, (the righteousness of a Pharisee,) are all external; whereas, on the contrary, poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst after righteousness, the love of our neighbour, and purity of heart, (the righteousness of a Christian,) are all internal. And even peace-making, (or doing good,) and suffering for righteousness' sake, stand entitled to the blessings annexed to them, only as they imply these inward dispositions, as they spring from, exercise, and confirm them. So that whereas the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees was external only, it may be said; in .some sense, that the righteousness of a Christian is internal only: alt his actions and sufferings being as nothing in themselves, being estimated before God only by the tempers from which they spring.
12. Whosoever therefore thou art, who bearest the holy and Venerable name of a Christian, see, first, that thy iMiteeas
tabernacle is dissolved, they " may receive thee into everlasting habitations."
13. But rest not here. Let thy righteousness "exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees." B<- not thou content to "keep the whole law, and offend in one point." Hold thou fast all his commandments, and "all false ways do thou utterly abhor," Do all the things,whatsoever he hath commanded, and that with all thy might. Thou canst do all things through Christ strengthening thee; though without him thou canst do nothing.
Above all, let thy righteousness exceed theirs in the purity and spirituality of it. What is the exactest form of religion to thee? The most perfect outside righteousness? Go thou higher and deeper than all this! Let thy religion be the religion pf the heart. J}e thou poor in spirit; little, and base, and mean, and vile in thy own eyes; amazed and humbled to the dust at the love of God which is in Christ Jesus thy Lord! Be serious: let the whole stream of thy thoughts, words, and works be such as flows from the deepest conviction that thou standest on the edge of the great gulf, thou and all (he children of men, just ready to drop in, cither into everlasting glory or everlasting burnings! Be meek: let thy soul be filled with mildness, gentjeness, patience, longsuffering toward all men; at the same time that all which is in thee is athirst for God, the living God, longing to awake up after his likeness, and to be satisfied with it. Be thou a lover of God, and of all mankind. In this spirit, do and suffer all things. Thus " exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees," and thou shalt be " called great in the kingdom of heaven,"