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we did eat yesterday will fuftain our bodies to day. No, lievers must look for fresh influences of divine grace, and b of the LORD to water them every moment. The parab therefore speaks to faints as well as finners. Come ye to th marriage-feaft; you are as welcome now as ever. And may GOD fet your fouls a longing for that time when we shall fit down and eat bread in the kingdom of heaven! There we fhall have full draughts of divine love, and enjoy the glorious Emmanuel for ever more. Even fo, LORD JESUS, Amen.
SERMO N. XXXIV.
The Pharifee and Publican.
LUKE Xviii. 14.
I tell you, this man went down to his houfe juftified rather. than the other: For every one that exalteth himself, fhall be abafed; and be that bumbleth himself, fhall be exalted.
HOUGH there be fome who dare to deny the LORD JESUS, and disbelieve the revelation he has been pleased to give us, and thereby bring upon themselves swift deftruction; yet I would charitably hope there are but few if any such among you, to whom I am now to preach the kingdom of GOD. Was I to ask you, how you expect to be justified in the fight of an offended GOD? I fuppofe you would answer, only for the fake of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. But, was I to come more home to your confciences, I fear that most would make the LORD JESUS but in part their Saviour, and go about, as it were, to establish a righteousness of their own. And this is not thinking contrary to the rules of christian charity for we are all felf-righteous by nature; it is as natural for us to turn to a covenant of works, as for the sparks to fly upwards. We have had fo many legal and fo few free-grace preachers, for these many years, that most profeffors now seem to be fettled upon their lees, and rather deserve the title of Pharifees than christians.
Thus it was with the generality of the people during the time of our LORD's public miniftration: and therefore, in almoft all his difcourfes, he preached the gospel to poor finners, and denounced terrible woes against proud felf-jufticiaries. The parable, to which the words of the text belong, looks
both thefe ways: For the evangelift informs us (ver. 9.) that our LORD "fpake it unto certain who trufted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." And a notable parable it is; a parable worthy of your moft ferious attention. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," what JESUS CHRIST fpeaks to all vifible profeffors in it.
Ver. 10. "Two men went up to the temple to pray (and never two men of more oppofite characters) the one a Pharifee and the other a Publican." The Pharifees were the ftricteft fect among the Jews. "I was of the ftricteft fect, of the Pharifees," fays Paul. They prayed often; not only fo, but they made long prayers; and, that they might appear extraordinary devout, they would pray at the corners of the ftreet, where two ways met, that people going or coming, both ways, might fee them. "They made broad (as our LORD informs us) the borders of their phylacteries," they had" pieces of parchment fown to their long robes, on which fome parts of the Scripture were written, that people might from thence infer, that they were lovers of the law of GOD. They were fo very punctual and exact in outward purifications, that they washed at their going out and coming in. They held the washing of pots, brazen veffels and tables, and many other fuch-like things they did. They were very zealous for the traditions of the fathers, and for the obfervation of the rites and ceremonies of the church, notwithstanding they frequently made void the law of GOD by their traditions. And they were fo exceedingly exact in the outward obfervation of the fabbath, that they condemned our LORD for making a little clay with his spittle; and called him a finner, and faid, he was not of GOD, because he had given fight to a man born blind, on the fabbath-day. For thefe reafens they were had in high veneration among the people, who were fadly milled by these blind guides they had the uppermoft places in the fynagogues, and' greetings in the market-places (which they loved dearly) and were called of men, Rabbi; in fhort, they had fuch a reputation for piety, that it became a proverb among the fetus, that, if there were but two men faved, the one of them muft be a Pharifee.
As for the Publicans, it was not fo with them. It feems they were fometimes Jews, or at leaft profelytes of the gate;' C 3
for we find one here coming up to the temple; but for the generality, I am apt to think they were Gentiles; for they were gatherers of the Roman taxes, and used to amass much wealth (as appears by the confeffion of Zaccheus, one of the chief of them) by wronging men with falfe accufations. They were fo univerfally infamous, that our LORD himself tells his difciples, "the excommunicated man should be to them as a heathen man, or a Publican." And the Pharifees thought it a fufficient impeachment of our LORD's character, that he was a friend to Publicans and finners, and went to fit down with them at meat.
But, however they disagreed in other things, they agreed in this, that public worship is a duty incumbent upon all: for they both came up to the temple. The very heathens were obfervers of temple-worship. We have very early notice of mens facrificing to, and calling upon the name of the LORD, in the Old Teftament; and I find it no where contradicted in the New. Our LORD, and his apoftles, went up to the temple; and we are commanded by the apostle, " not to forfake. the affembling ourselves together," as the manner of too many is in our days; and fuch too, as would have us think well of them, though they feldom or never tread the courts of the LORD's house. But, though our devotions begin in our closets, they must not end there. And, if people never shew their devotions abroad, I must fufpect they have little or none at home. "Two men went up to the temple." And what went they thither for Not (as multitudes amongst us do) to make the house of GOD a house of merchandize, or turn it into a den of thieves; much lefs to ridicule the preacher, or disturb the con gregation; no, they came to the temple, fays our LORD, “to pray." Thither fhould the tribes of God's fpiritual Ifrael go up, to talk with, and pour out their hearts before the mighty GOD of Jacob.
"Two men went up to the temple to pray." I fear one of them forgot his errand. I have often been at a loss what to call the Pharifee's addrefs; it certainly does not deferve the name of a prayer: he may rather be faid to come to the temple to beast, than to pray; for I do not find one word of confeffion of his original guilt, not one fingle petition for pardon of his paft actual fins, or for grace to help and affift him for the
time to come: he only brings to GOD, as it were, a reckoning of his performances; and does that, which no flesh can justly do, I mean, glory in his prefence.
Ver. 11. "The Pharifee ftood, and prayed thus with himfelf; GOD, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjuft, adulterers, or even as this Publican." Our LORD first takes notice of his posture; "the Pharisee flood," he is not to be condemned for that; for standing, as well as kneeling, is a proper posture for prayer. "When you ftand praying," fays our LORD; though sometimes our LORD. kneeled, nay, lay flat on his face upon the ground; his apoftles alfo kneeled, as we read in the Acts, which has made me wonder at fome, who are so bigotted to standing in family, as well as public prayer, that they will not kneel, notwithstanding all kneel that are around them. I fear there is fomething of the Pharifee in this conduct. Kneeling and ftanding are indifferent, if the knee of the foul be bent, and the heart upright towards GOD. We should study not to be particular in indifferent things, left we offend weak minds. What the Pharifee is remarked for, is his "standing by himself:” for the words may be rendered, he ftood by himself, upon some eminent place, at the upper part of the temple, near the Holy of holies, that the congregation might fee what a devout man he was: or it may be understood as we read it, he prayed by himfelf, or of himself, out of his own heart; he did not pray by form; it was an extempore prayer: for there are many Pharifees that pray and preach too, extempore. I do not fee why thefe, may not be acquired, as well as other arts and fciences. A man, with a good elocution, ready turn of thought, and good memory, may repeat his own or other mens fermons, and, by the help of a Wilkins or Henry, may pray feemingly excellently well, and yet not have the least grain of true grace in his heart; I fpeak this, not to cry down extempore prayer, or to difcourage thofe dear fouls who really pray by the spirit; I only would hereby give a word of reproof to those who are fo bigotted to extempore prayer, that they condemn, at least judge, all that ufe forms, as though not fo holy and heavenly, as others who pray without them. Alas! this is wrong. Not every one that prays extempore is a fpiritual, nor every one that prays with a form, a formal man. Let us not judge one another; let not him that uses a form, judge him C 4