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son to cause any more Vexation to me; for I have already felt those Affićtions in my Body, whích in some measure resemble the Sufferings of Christ, and are fo many Marks and Tokens of my Sincerity and Constancy to him.
And then he closes all with this Salutation, Brethren, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit. Amen. With this Prayer he begins and ends most of his Epistles, which contains his hearty Wish for the Prosperity both of Body and Soul, and that all the Favours and Blessings of Heaven, both temporal and spiritual, may be multiply'd upon them : which Wish we ought all to have for all our Fellow-Christians.
This is the Sum of the Epistle for this Day, from whence we may learn the following Lessons : And,
1. From St. Paul's writing so large a Letter with his own Hand, we may learn to spare no pains for the Satisfaction of doubting Christians, and to rescue them from the evil Arts and Designs of Deceivers. We see what pains the Apostle here takes with these Galatians, to keep them steddy to the Truths of the Gospel, and to arm them against those Judaizing Teachers, that would urge Circumcision upon them, and introduce other abolish'd Rites of Moses's Law. With the like Care and Diligence ought we to instruct ignorant and deluded People in the Faith of Christ, to reduce those to the Unity of the Christian Church that have stray'd from it, and to preserve them from the Errors and Infinuations of false Teachers, that labour to seduce then.
2. Front St. Paul's Discourse here, we may learn to stand faf in the Liberty wherewith Chrift hath made us free, and not to be intangled again in the Yoke of Bondage. St. Luke tells us, that the Church sometime groan'd under a heavy and burdensom Yoke of carnal Ordinances, such as neither they nor their forefathers were able to bear : from this Yoke Jesus Christ hath happily deliver'd his Church, having blotted out the Hand-writing of Ordinances that was against us, and rescu'd us froni the beggarly Rites and Rudiments of the Ceremonial Law, and particularly the painful Rite of Circumcision. Let us not then suffer our felves to be again brought in Bondage to these things; Christ being the fole Master of our Faith, let us not become the Servants of Men. This Advice St. Paul frequently gave in most of his Epistles ; which yet we must not strain So far, as to think all comely Ceremonies relating to Time, Place, and Gesture, to be now forbidden in the Service of God for without some of these, it cannot be performi'd in that D-cency and Order that is requird : but that we are not to return again to the Mosaical Ceremonies and Sacrifices, which being Types and Shadows of good things to come, must vanish and cease at the coming of them. Insomuch that we are now callid to no other Circumcision, fave that of the Heart, nor to offer up any other Calves than those of the Lips: for we are the Circumcision (faith the Apostle) tbizt worji.ip God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jefusa and have no Confidence in the Flesh. Phil. 3. 3.
3. From what hath been said, we may learn 'not to fhrink fro in the Faith for fear of Persecution, but rather with vur i posle to glory in the Cross of Christ, by whichi we shall bt crucify'd to the World, and the World to us, We read in this Epistle of some that press’d Circuncifion, for fear oi displeasing the Jews, and suffering by them : but St. Paul stood his, ground, and fear'd nothing; he would not forsake the Truths of the Gospel for all their Threats, but rather courted than fear'd the Cross in Christ's Cause : 'I am ready (faith he) not only to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jefus ; Acts 21. 13. He prefer'd his Sufferings at Jerusalem, before all their Triumphs at Rome; and valu'd the Cross of Christ above all the 'Trophies of the greatest Conqueror : which should teach us all Courage and Constancy in his Cause, and to be above the Frowns and Menaces of the greatest Enemies; knowing that the Cross is set in the way to a Crown, and if we suffer with him, we shall also be glorify'd together,
4. We learn here, that no external Privileges or Advantages are sufficient of themselves to bring us to Heaven; for in Christ Jesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Uncircumcision, but a new Creature ; nor will Baptism, or any other Gospel-Privileges, do us any service, without a true Faith, and the Answer of a good Conscience.
5. They that walk by the Rules of the Gospel, shall find Peace and Mercy heap'd upon them ; and fo shall the whole Israel of God, both Jew and Gentile, for there is no difference.
Lastly, Since the Gospel of Christ is attended with Trouble and Persecution, let us make the Yoke as easy as we can to one another: and since the best suffer much by
the profess’d Enemies of Christianity, let them not find any additional Troubles 'from its Friends and Professors. This is St. Paul's Request in his own and others behalf, From henceforth, let no Man trouble me, for I bear in my Body the Marks of the Lord Jesus ; which honourable Scars I esteem higher than the greatest Marks and Badges of worldly Glory : And if we can do fo, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will be with our Spirits. Amen.
The Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday after
Trinity. St. Matthew vi. 24, to the end. No Man can serve two Masters; for either he will
bate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other : ye cannot serve God and Mammon. Therefore 1 say unto you, take no thought for your Life, &c.
HE Design of this Gospel, is to take off Mens
perishing things of this World, and to place them upon a more lasting and fubftantial Treasure in Heaven. But because some may be apt to say, that they consist of a Body as well as a Soul, and they must provide for both, and they have a want of good things for the one in this Life, as well as for the other in the next, and so must divide their Care and Affections between them :
To these our Saviour here replies, No Man can serve two Mafters, &c. Which he here proves, because the loving of the one, will be the hating of the other, and the holding to the one, will be the despising of the other. And then applies it to the present Cafe, Te cannot serve God and Manmon. The rest of the Chapter is an Inference from this, and an Enlargement upon it : of which in their order.
First, Of the Proposition here laid down ; No Man can serve tmo Mafters. This will be evident to any, that conliders the Properties and Duties of a good Servant.
The first whereof is Obedience, which is the doing the Master's Will, which cannot be done to two; especially, if they interfere as to Tinie, and the Matter of their Com mands. If both lay their Commands at the same time, or if one commands one thing, and the other another, 'twill be impoflible to observe both.
Again, Diligence is another Duty of a Servant, which is the minding and doing his Master's Business ; Not with Eye-service, as Men-pleafers, but with Sincerity and Singleness of Heart: being as well employ'd out of the Master's fight, as when his Eye is upon him. Now this cannot be to two Mafters; for if one behold him doing his Work, the other must necessarily see him neglecting his, it being impoflible to be doing both at the same time.
Moreover, Fidelity is another Duty and Property of a good Servant, which cannot be to two Masters, for a Servant owes his whole Service to his Master; and none can give his whole Service to two, for what is given to the one, must be taken from the other; and if one hath all, the other can have none; and consequently none can truly serve or be faithful to two Masters.
But our Saviour's Arguments here are both of them irrefragable.
IA, Because no Man can love two Masters as he ought, for if he love the one, he will hate the other. Love is of an uniting Nature; if it be center'd in one Object, 'tis commonly true and lasting; but if it be divided among more, it becomes weak, and soon turns into Hatred. And therefore the Apostle wills us neither to be, nor to have many Masters; for that will divide the Affections, and instead of Love and Kindness, will breed Enmity and Dislike.
2dly, No Man can be constant to two Masters; for to hold to the one, will be to despise the other. T
The Mind cannot equally incline to two Objects, but like the Scales of a Ballance, the railing of one will be the lowering of the other. In this case, there is no holding the Scales even ; the more the one rises in Esteem, the more the other sinks, and the sticking to the one will be unavoidably acconipanied with the falling off from the other. This is evi. dent both in the Theory and the Practice. From whence I proceed to
The Application that Christ here makes of it, Te cannot serve God and Mammon, that is, God and the World ; and that for all the foremention'd Reasons, As,
(1.) Ye cannot be true and faithful to God and Mam mon; for we owe unto God our whole Service both of Body, Soul, and Spirit, which are all his, and must be intirely devoted to his Service : and indeed all the Service we can pay hin, falls vastly, short of what is due to hina. And if all our Service be his, we must be unfaithful in giv. ing any to another; and consequently we rob God of all that which is given to Mammon. Again,
2dly, Ye cannot love God and Mammon : fo St. John expresly tells us, If any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him ; 1 John 2. 15. These two are as inconsistent as Light and Darkness, and can no more agree together than Christ and Belial. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our Heart, and with all our Soul, and with all our Strength. And if God must have all, there can be none left for Mammon.
3dly, Ye cannot fear and honour God and Mannion ; for all our Fear and all our Honour is to be directed and fix'd on God only, and none is to be fear'd and honour'd but in relation to him. This we find him challenging from us, If I am a Father, where is my Honour ? if a Mafter, where is my Fear? saith the Lord of Hosts : Mał. 1. 6. We are bid to fear God, and none beside him; and he is so jealous of his Honour, that he will not share it with Mammon, nor give his Glory to any other.
Lastly, Ye cannot obey God and Mammon; for their Commands are directly contrary and inconsistent with each other, and therefore ʼtisiinpossible to serve both. God calls for our whole Heart; Mammon is for dividing itz, and would be content with a part, knowing that thereby he shall have all: for God will have all or none, he loves a broken, but hates a divided Heart, God calls to Holiness and all Purity of Conversation, Mammon to Uncleanness and all Superfluity of Naughtiness. God calls to Truth and Honesty in all our Words and Actions, Mammon to Fraud and Double-dealing. God calls to Acts of Mercy and Charity, Manmon to Cruelty and Oppression. God calls to Patience and Contentment in all Conditions, Mammon to Marmuring and Parloining. Lastly, God calls to Peace and Unity in his Church, Mammop to Discord and