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SERM. calumniate, and revile others: XVI. deceive men by their speeches, fhall in the end fuffer the like evils, which they bring upon others.
Good words then are virtuous, and evil words are unrighteous: and oftentimes, even in this world, meet with fuitable recompenfes of peace, comfort, and credit, on the one hand of trouble, vexation, reproch and difgrace, on the other.
But there is another thing ftill more material, which may fully fhew the juftneffe of our Lord's declaration, and the reasonableneffe of men being hereafter justified, or condemned by their words. For, as mens words are, fo are their hearts. Their speeches fhew the real, habitual frame of the mind. Our Lord fays as much in this context. And therefore he himself leads us to this true ground and reafon of his declaration,
Either make the tree good, and it's fruit will be good or else make the tree corrupt, and it's fruit will be corrupt. For the tree is known by it's fruit. The evident defign of which inftance is to teach those to whom our Lord was speaking, that mens words, as well
as their actions, fhewed their real temper. SERM.
an inftance of it. The evil affections of covet-
SERM. ing in a man's dealings declare him to be coXVI. vetous and unrighteous. Detraction and calumnie demonftrate a man to be deftitute of true love for his neighbour. Arrogant and vain-glorious expreffions flow from pride in the heart. And frequently mens words, as well as actions, fhew, that they have in them neither the fear of God, nor a love for
Several things in the preceding context, if reviewed, will confirm this point.
The first is that of the Pharifees reflecting upon the difciples for gathering, when hungrie, fome ears of corn on the Sabbath day. Wherein they fhew a malicious difpofition: the law difpenfing with the bodily reft of the Sabbath upon divers occafions: and they themselves approving of it in many cafes. By thofe reflections they fhewed a greater regard to fome pofitive appointments, than to the eternal laws of equity and righteoufneffe. Therefore our Lord fays to them: If ye had known what that meant, I will have mercie, and not facrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
The reflections upon our Lord's perfon and character were of a like kind: when
they fpake evil of the Son of man, and repre- SERM.
Their reviling our Lord's miracles, and afcribing them to the power of Satan, and a combination between him and the kingdom of darkneffe, fhewed an inveterate, malicious difpofition. For our Lord's doctrine was pure and holy. And it was impoffible, that
SERM. evil spirits fhould encourage it. Miracles XVI. they allowed, in other cafes, to be a proof of the divine approbation and concurrence. It was therefore owing to prevailing pride, ambition, covetoufneffe, envie and malice, that such words proceeded out of their mouths.
In a word, their many hard fpeeches, and false reflections upon Jefus, and his difciples, fhewed, that they had not the love of God in their hearts, and that they were deftitute of all religious difpofitions of mind. Our bleffed Lord fays at ver. 30. He that is not with me is against me, and he that is not with me Scatters abroad. The tendence of my doctrine is fuch, fo holy, fo reafonable, fo directly for the glorie of God, fo manifeftly fuited to promote and strengthen the interefts of true religion in the world. And the works I do are fo great and confpicuous, that every one who fees them, or hears of them, muft heartily approve of my defigns, if he loves religion and virtue. And if any man, acquainted with my teaching and conduct, afperfe me, and revile my works, with a view to difparage the doctrine, and hinder men from receiving it; he manifefts,