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same time are totally deficient in charity; are covetous, unjust, rapacious, and proud, and consequently, destitute of all love for their Creator. But none can assume the
appearance of charity, but by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, relieving the distressed, and
performing other benevolent offices to their brethren. The works of charity may indeed, in some particular cases, flow from other principles than that of a pious and be. nevolent disposition, as from vanity, or even views of interest; but then it should be remembered, that a common degree of hypocrisy will hardly engage men to undertake them : they are by far too weighty duties to be sustained by those false principles, and therefore are seldom counterfeited. Consequently, we may conclude, thist the love of God, reigns in perfection wherever a genuine, extensive, and permanent charity is found.
Therefore, this parable teaches us in the plainest manner, that however loud pretentions we make to piety they will stand us in no stead at the awful tribunal of the Son of God, if we are deficient in works of charity. At the same time, if we consider it in its true light, it will give us no reason to hope well of ourselves, if we are wanting in our duty to God; and will shew us, that we should not only be charitable, but grateful; also just, temperate, and blameless in all our dealings with mankind, for we should remember, that the duty we owe to the Almighty is no other than what is due from all men in all circumstances, and which it would be unjust in us to neglect. It consists in dispositions and actions, the same in kind, but different in degree, proportionate to the perfection of the object. He who loves and admires holiness, justice, and truth in men, cannot but love these perfections in God, that is, he must love God: so likewise, he that is truly grateful to an earthly benefactor, cannot be ungrateful to one from whose bounty he receives all the good things he enjoys: and since ingratitude in men is nothing more than forgetting the benefit received, and the benefactor who
conferred the favour; how can we acquit ourselves front the charge of ingratitude to God, if we forget the ob. ligations we lie under to him, and are at no pains to return him thanks; that is, if we wholly neglect the external and internal exercises of devotion. Since there. fore, the duty we owe to God is the same in kind with that we owe to man, it will undeniably follow, that true morality can never exist where piety is wanting; and that a person renders himself ridiculous, who pretends to morality, and is destitute of piety.
Thus having endeavoured to shew that justice and piety cannot subsist separately from each other, I shall now return to the remaining part of the parable, which exhibits a scene, enough to terrify the most hardened sinner. The awful judge himself has told us, that af. ter he has passed the happy sentence on the righteous, he will pronounce the following sentence of condemnation upon the wicked; Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hugered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink : I was a strangrer and ye took me not in: naked and "ye clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or a thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer tiem, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matt. xxv. 41-46..
Our blessed Saviour has told us, that the fire of hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels, as well as for the wicked; and that the kingdom of heaven was prepared for the righteous. Perhaps he intended to ieach us, that the original design of omnipotence was to render man happy; not miserable: a state of consummate felicity was formed for the human race, at the time they were created: but the fire of hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels immediately after their fall.
And as wicked men join with devils in their sin of rebellion against the Almighty, they are doomed to share with them in their punishments; a punishment of the heaviest kind, a punishment of devils.
Our Saviour having represented the sentences that are to be passed on the righteous and the wicked, closed the parable in the following manner: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal. An expression short indeed, but awful beyond expression! And were it fully understood, it must surely make an impression on the most hardened sinner; as it indicates, that, when the sentence is passed, the scene is closed forever, and everlasting pun. ishment, or life eternal, must be the lot of eyery indi. vidual of the human race.
Christ again foretelleth his own Death: The Rulers
conspire against him: A Woman poureth precious Ointment upon his Head: Judas covenanteth with the Council to betray his Master for thirty pieces of Silver: Peter and John sent to prepare the Passover: CHRIST eateth it with them, and washeth his Disciples' Feet: He comforteth them with the Promise of a heavenly Mansion : He professeth himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life: He foretelleth the Treachery of Judas, and pointeth him out to John
by a Token. AFTER our blessed Saviour had finished the before mentioned parables, he added a short account of his own death, in order to fortify the disciples against the greatest trial they had yet met with; namely, the sufferings of their Master; And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Matt. xxvi. 85.
Our blessed Saviour, with his disciples, repaired to Bethany in the evening, and entered the house of Si'mon the leper, probably one who had experienced the healing efficacy of his power. But while he sat at meat, a woman who had also doubtless been an objectof his mer. cy, poured a box of precious ointment upon his head. This action displeased the disciples, who knew their Master was not delighted with luxuries of any kind; and therefore they rebuked the woman, imagining it
would have been more acceptable to the Son of God, if the ointment had been sold, and the money distributed amongst the sons and daughters of poverty and affliction. But their benevolent Master, said, that it had pleased the Divine Providence to order, that there should always be persons in necessitous circumstances, that the virtuous might never want occasions for exercising their charity; but those who did not now testify their love to him, would never more have an opportunity of doing it, as the time of his ministry was near its period, when the king of terrors should enjoy a short triumph over his body; and therefore this woman had seasonably anointed him for his burial. And to make them sensible of their folly, in blaming the wo. man for this her token of love to him, he assured them, that her memory should live to the latest period of time, and that she should be highly celebrated for this action in every part of the world.
But Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, having been more forward than the rest, in condemning the woman, thought the rebuke was peculiarly directed to him. Stung with the guilt of his own conscience, he rose from table, went immediately into the city, to the highpriest's palace, where he found the whole council assembled. His passion would not suffer him to reflect on the horrid deed he was going to commit; he immediately promised to betray into their hands, his Lord and Master, for the paltry reward of thirty pieces of silver,
Thus having engaged with the rulers of Israel, to put into their hands, a person who had been long labouring for their salvation, and had often invited them in the most pathetic manner, to embrace the benevolent terms of the gospel offered by the Almighty,' he sought an opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude. Ye monsters in the human form, how could you plot so detestable a crime? Surely you have forgot how mercy, with her charming voice, spake in