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SERM.
LXIII.

at this time and place. And I heartily wish we could all for the future take all occasions we can get of doing it: and of doing it so, as He Himself hath prescribed in His Holy Word. We should then experience the truth of what we have now heard, even, that He never fails them who seek Him: and how happily should we then live, in the midst of

this troublesome and naughty world! Whilst others are [Ps.112.7.] tossed to and fro, as in a tempestuous ocean, our hearts will

be always fixed, trusting in the Lord. When His judgments

are in the world, we need not fear; for the Lord of Hosts is (Ps.46.11.) with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. For He that

governs the world hath promised to take care of them that seek Him. And therefore whatsoever happens, they may rest fully satisfied in their minds, that no real evil shall befal them, nothing but what some way or other shall do them good. And although they cannot always see it here, they shall hereafter; when He shall unveil Himself, and lay open His wonderful works before them, that they may see how, by the power of His Word, all things concurred to the setting forth His glory, in fulfilling the promises He hath made. Then we shall clearly see what infinite cause we have to admire and praise His infinite love, and goodness, and truth, and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, that Lamb of God which was once slain to take away the sins of the world, and by virtue of the blood which He then shed, is now and always making atonement and intercession for all that come unto God by Him. And then we shall join with Angels, and Archangels, and with all the company of Heaven, in

singing forth the praises of the Most High God, according [Rev.5.13.) as St. John heard them, saying, “ Blessing, and honour, and

glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Amen, Amen.

SERMON LXIV.

THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF RESTITUTION.

Luke xix. 8.

And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord,

the half of my goods I give to the poor ; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him four-fold.

Repentance being so absolutely necessary to Salvation, that no man can be saved without it, it hath pleased God in His Holy Word, not only to call upon us and command us to repent, but He hath given us likewise several examples of it, that so understanding how the Saints of old set upon this great work, we may the better know how to do it too. But one of the most remarkable instances that we have of this kind, either in the Old or New Testament, is that of Zaccheus, who having lived many years in a great and notorious sin, and coming afterwards, upon the sight of Christ, to a sight and sense of his sin too, he immediately became so true a penitent, so sincere a convert, that his example is left upon record for all generations to know and imitate.

To understand the story aright, it will be necessary to consider the several circumstances of it. For which, we must know, that in the several countries and places belonging to the Roman emperor, he had a certain toll, tribute, or custom paid him, which was let out at a certain rate to some that lived thereabouts, which were therefore called, teāvas, the farmers or purchasers of the customs, as the word signi- (Ulpian,lib

. fies. Omnes qui quid a fisco conducunt, recte appellantur 4. de Pub. publicani.

leg. 1.)

et Vect.

canis.

SERM. These employed others under them to collect the customs, LXIV.

who were therefore called by the Romans, “ Portitores,because they went to the ports and other places to gather and receive them, and then to bring them to the farmers,

which used to sit at a place appointed for the receipt of Matt. 9.9. them, therefore called mecávrov, 'the receipt of custom,' where

our Lord found St. Matthew sitting, when He called him to Him. Now they who thus farmed the customs, or any public revenues, were therefore called “Publicani,” by the

Romans; as we learn from Ulpian, the old Roman lawyer, L. 12, &c., and the famous civilian : Publicani dicuntur, qui publica de publi

vectigalia habent conducta. •They,' saith he, “are called publicans, who have the public revenues farmed out to them. Which I therefore mention, that ye may know who or what these publicans were, which you read of so often in the New Testament; for they were not, as they are commonly thought to be, such as gathered the customs themselves, but such as hired them at a certain rate, which they paid yearly into the exchequer, or by order from thence. And usually many joined together in taking all the public revenues in such a place, and are therefore in the civil law called Socii vectigalium, “the partners or companions of the customs,' which they managed either jointly or separately, as they could

agree among themselves. And that is the reason that you often meet with many of them together, as Matt. 9. 10; Luke 3. 12; 15. 1., because they that managed the business jointly, or in common, were usually together.

Sometimes one man might take all the customs that should grow due in such a place, especially if the place was but small, and he could give such security as the public liked of; and he would either take care of the whole himself, or else let either all or some part to others under him, and therefore was called AgXITEDávis,'chief among the publicans ;' such a one there was at Jericho, called Zaccheus, and he was "rich," as it is here said. And he must needs be rich, who could farm so considerable a part of the public revenues, and give such security as would be required of him in that case.

Now this rich publican, having heard much of the fame of Jesus, and understanding that He was to pass through Jericho, in His way to Jerusalem, he had a great mind to

ver. 2.

see Him; but being a man of a low stature, he could not possibly set his eyes upon Him, by reason of the crowd that was about Him; and therefore “ he ran before, and got up into a sycamore tree” that was in the

way.

“ When Jesus Luke 19. 5. was come to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, Zaccheus, make haste and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house.” The man could not but be very much surprised to hear one whom he had never seen before, calling him by his name, and inviting Himself to his house, as if He had been an old acquaintance, especially seeing He did not only desire, but bid him come down, and that quickly ; from whence he could not but think there was something more than ordinary in it; and so certainly there was : for though he had never seen Jesus, Jesus had seen him before he was got into the sycamore, as He had seen Nathanael when he was under the fig-tree. Even by His John 1. 48. all-seeing eye from which nothing could be hid, and by which He knew his very heart too, how desirous he was to see Him in the way, and what He would do at home, better than he himself knew it: for it is more than probable, that he had no thoughts as yet of saying, or doing, what he afterwards did.

Christ had no sooner spoken to Zaccheus to make haste and come down, but he presently obeyed : for “he made Luke 19.6. haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.” Where we may observe by the way, how punctually he observed Christ's command, and hearkened to His call: Christ bid him come down, and he came down; Christ bid him make haste, and he did make haste to do it; Christ told him, that he must go to his house, and he did not only receive Him, but did it joyfully; and all this in a matter which might seem very indifferent. Howsoever, Zaccheus made no scruple of that; he had Christ's command, and that was enough for him, for he presently and cheerfully obeyed it: and so hath set all Christians an example what to do in the like case; what Christ commands us to do, we must not dispute about it, but do it in obedience to His command, and we shall soon find the happy effect of it, as Zaccheus did.

But behold the malice and wickedness of men, even of those also who had the happiness to converse with Christ

P

SERM. Himself; for Zaccheus had no sooner received this Divine LXIV.

guest into his house, but they who came along with Him, instead of commending Christ for condescending so far as to go into Zaccheus's house, and Zaccheus for his kind entertainment of Christ, they presently fall a railing at both; at Zaccheus, for having been a great sinner: and at Christ

Himself, for accepting of an entertainment from him! For Luke 19. 7. it is said, “ When they saw it, they all murmured, saying,

that He was gone to be a guest with a man that is a sinner.” For the Jews looked upon all publicans as great sinners, not only because they usually exacted more than their due, but because they were publicans to the heathen emperors, and farmed their revenues; which they, esteeming themselves the only people of God, were mightily offended at, insomuch that they would never come near them, nor have any conversation with them: and if any one offered to sit down and eat with them, they were presently scandalised at it, and therefore murmured against Christ Himself and His Disciples for doing it, not only at this, but any other time, as Luke v.30.

But see here the wisdom and power of God, in bringing good out of evil. Zaccheus hearing himself called a sinner, and Christ upbraided for only coming into his house, was presently pricked in the heart, and called his sins to remembrance, and was struck with so quick a sense of them, with so great a sorrow for them, and with so strong an aversion to them, and resolution against them for the future, that he was not able to bear it any longer, nor so much as to keep it in ; but up he gets, and in the midst of them all addresseth himself to our Lord in this humble and penitent manner, saying, " Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” As if he had said, I perceive, Lord, that the people who attend Thee are very much offended at Thy coming into my house, who am a sinner. I confess I am so, a very great sinner: but I beseech Thee not to disdain to stay a little with me and to be my guest, upon that account; for whatsoever sins I have hitherto committed, I now heartily repent of them, and resolve and promise before Thee and them, that I will never commit them any more. And to testify my sincerity herein, behold,

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