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interests, their own natural desires, and comforts : compare a life of charity like this, with the selfwill, self-preference, self-indulgence, which too commonly prevails; and see how truly amiable and excellent it appears. Let us only suppose Let us only suppose all persons as earnest to promote the happpiness of others, as they are studious of their own; let us suppose them as kind, as candid, as forbearing, as forgiving towards others, as they would wish others to be towards themselves: how different a scene would the world present!
If charity is such in itself, and such in its effects, we cannot wonder that "the end of the commandment is charity."
The love of our neighbour is also like the love of God, as part of the character which must be formed in us as proof of a heart "renewed after the image of God." "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" If we love the Father, we shall love his children, the creatures of his power, and the objects of his care. By this we know that we love God, because we love the brethren."
We see, then, how these two commandments are the test and touchstone, to which our hearts must be brought. Yet, alas! how ill will they bear the trial? Who would dare to risk his eternal portion upon the proof that he had loved the Lord his God with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his mind?
31 John iv. 20, &c.
Who, again, in the different relations of life, as neighbour, or master, or servant, or parent, or child; or in the transactions of business, and use of property, whether much or little; who has done exactly as he would be done by? who has fulfilled in all points, "the royal law, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself?"*
And if so, what follows? what except that which is written, "Let every mouth be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God:" for that "all have sinned, and come short of his requirements.
So vain would it be to come before God as claimants, and not as suppliants. Poor is the support which we can derive from our own works, when they are tried in the balance which God has set up. We must strive so to love God, and so to love our
either duty would But let our hope
neighbour, as if every failure in prove the failure of all our hope. itself be fixed upon firmer ground, than any thing which we have done, or can do: and let us bless God, who offers us eternal life, not as the reward of our merits, but as purchased by the blood of Him, who gave his life a ransom for many."
4 Gal. iii. 22.
THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.
MATT. xxii. 41-46.
41. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42. Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son. is he? They say unto him, the Son of David.
The Lord takes this opportunity of showing the Pharisees how little they really knew of the Messiah whom they professed to be expecting: how much they mistook the nature of his kingdom. What think ye of Christ? What think ye of him, whose coming ye look for, and of whom ye hope that he "will redeem Israel?" Whose son is he?
All the prophets had spoken of the Christ, as of the house and lineage of David. Isaiah wrote, "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall be upon him.' Jeremiah says, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper." And so Ezekiel: "I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them; even my servant David." 3 As 2 Jerem. xxiii. 5, 6.
1 xi. 1.
3 Ezek. xxxiv. 23.
therefore when Herod inquired where Christ should be born, the scribes and chief priests were at no loss to reply," In Bethlehem of Judah :" so now the Pharisees had a ready answer: The Son of David. "Hath not the scripture said, that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was." 5
Such was the prophecy. And the Evangelists are careful to inform us, how unexpectedly, yet how exactly, it was fulfilled, when Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David: to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6
Thus far, then, the Pharisees, and the Jewish nation, had rightly interpreted the prophecy. Christ was to come as the Son of David. But was he nothing more?
43. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,"
44. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
45. If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46. And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
These words were well suited to awaken the minds of the Jews, and to show them that more was intended in scripture than they at first perceived. They had thought of Christ, of the Messiah who was 5 John vii. 42.
See ch. ii. 4-6. 6 Luke ii. 4, 5.
7 Ps. cx. 1.
to come, as the Son of David: probably as one like David: victorious over his earthly enemies, and delivering their country from a foreign yoke. But David in spirit, writing his Psalms under the influence of the Holy Ghost, has this passage prophetic of the Messiah. The Lord said unto my Lord, i. e. God said unto my Lord, who is the Christ, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. David, therefore, speaks of Christ as a superior; gives him a title of honour; of divine honour; how is he then no more than David's son, a child of Adam? A man is not wont to give a title to his son higher than his own. There was reason, therefore, why they should search the Scriptures, which they acknowledged, and supposed that they understood: but these testified of Jesus as the Christ. 8
The question here put to the Pharisees may properly suggest an inquiry to ourselves. What think WE of Christ? "For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man: God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world; and man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God, and perfect Man; of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood." 9 When this faith hath been wrought within the heart of any man as an abiding conviction, we may say as the Lord himself said concerning his apostle Peter, "Blessed" is that man. 1