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PART IV.

MATTHEW XV. XXVII. MARK VII. XV LUKE IX. 18. XXIII. JOHN VII. XIX.

CONTAINING THE PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS, FROM THE END OF THE SECOND YEAR'S PREACHING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR TWENTYNINE, TO THE END OF THE THIRD YEAR IN THE BEGINNING OF THIRTY.

SECTION I.

MATT. XV. 1-19. MARK VII. 1—13.

THEN came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem, And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, and of brazen vessels, and tables. Then the Pharisees and Scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to, but transgress, the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For, laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For God commanded by Moses, saying, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to honour,

or to do aught for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect by your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Ye hypocrites, well hath Esaias prophesied of you, as it is written, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

How miserable is the case of those who, while they earnestly contend for the forms of Divine worship, are losing both the improvement and reward, which might be expected from a regular attendance upon it! This is the case of all, who draw near to God with their lips, while their hearts are far from him. May we abhor the vanity of such hypocritical behaviour in the presence of Him, who searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men.

Let us learn from this just and severe sentence which our Lord passes on these superstitious Pharisees, to avoid the temper he condemns in them. It much less becomes us as Christians, and especially as protestants. to impose on our brethren with rigorous severity those doctrinal decisions, or those ritual observances, which have not their express foundation in the word of God, to which we so constantly appeal as to our common rule. Happy had it been for the church in all ages and nations, had men exerted that zeal for the truths and the institutions of God in the beauty and glory of their native simplicity, which has carried them on to defend and propagate their own inventions, till religion itself has almost sunk under the weight of the ornaments in which they have dressed it, and the unwieldy armour which they have hung about it!

Let children learn from the command which Christ has vindicated, to honour their parents by a tender care of them in their declining days; remembering, that as no filial duty and gratitude can ever fully repay our obligations to such friends, so an affectionate regard to them is a proper and necessary expression of our filial piety to the great Father of our spirits. Justly may he esteem his temples profaned, rather than adorned, by the most costly gifts, which are the spoils of nature, and the trophies of inhumanity.

SECTION II.

MATT. XV. 10-20. MARK VII. 14-23. AND when he had called all the people, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but the things which come out of him: that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said unto them, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth at the mouth into the man, it cannot defile him, because it entereth not into his heart, but goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, But that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man: for those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, false witness, blasphemies, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and these are the things that defile the man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

May we be all taught of God to maintain a constant watch over our own hearts, as remembering that from thence are the

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