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found in those who are destitute of faith; but where there is a lively, a steadfast, and a strong faith, such a life cannot be wanting; for such a faith sleepeth not, neither is wearied with well doing. But in order that we may continue in this faith, we must be frequently reminded of these things; lest we be overcome by our carnal propensities, the pleasures of the world, and the subtlety of satan. Therefore, it is no less necessary to preach to them who have received the doctrine of faith, and to exhort and encourage them to persevere in the good cause they have embraced, than it is to preach the doctrine of repentance to those that are as yet ignorant of Christ.
Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. Here the apostle enumerates the works of darkness, six in number; these, with the one before mentioned, namely, sleep or unbelief, include or give rise to all the evil deeds which men are guilty of. Many others are indeed spoken of in different parts of the scriptures, as in Gal. v. and Col. iii. But they all proceed from, or are connected with, those here mentioned. Under the denominations of rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, are included lusts, lasciviousness, and excesses of different kinds. From strife and envying, proceed hatred, debates, emulations, seditions, murders, and other vices and crimes without- number. Thus we see, that under these six general heads, nearly all the works of darkness are comprehended, which men fall into through the want of a true and steadfast faith.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. In these words the apostle summeth up, as it were, all the armour of light; for whosoever putteth on Christ receiveth faith, and therefore casteth off the works of darkness. Now we may put on Christ in two ways: first, when through faith we believe that he died to make atonement for us, we become clothed with his righteousness, and thus are reconciled to the Father; for it is not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ, which reconcileth to "the Father. In this sense, the putting on of Christ, pertaineth to the doctrine of faith and repentance; for Paul saith, Gal. iii. "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ."
In the second place, those who have received faith, may be said to put on Christ, when they take him for an example, and endeavour to regulate their lives as much as possible by his; and it is in this sense that we are to understand the apostle in the passage under consideration. Paul also speaketh to the same effect, 1 Cor. xv. when he saith, "As we have borne the image of the earthly, we should also bear the image of the heavenly." And again, Eph. iv. "Put ye oif concerniug the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Now in the life of Christ, we see no rioting, no drunkenness, no wantonness; but an uncommon sobriety, abstemiousness, and chastity. In him was found neither strife nor envying, but a remarkable meekness, patience, and forbearance. He spent his time in travelling, preaching, praying, healing the sick, and doing good to all men. He did not indulge in superfluous sleep, nor in luxurious living, but accustomed himself to watch, to arise early, tolie on the ground, and to partake of the most homely fare.
If, then, we would put on the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sense of the text, we must take him for our example, and endeavour to imitate him in all things as much as in us lieth; we must be meek, patient, forbearing, forgiving, and above all we must have charity one towards another. This doctrine Paul also inculcates at some length in the epistle to the Colossians: "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." In short, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, implieth the same things as to put on the armour of light; to do the works of faith, and to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit; for Paul saith, Gal. v. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
And make not provisions for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. The apostle doth not here forbid us to provide food and clothing, and such things as are necessary to the sustenance and preservation of our bodies. It is indeed expedient and lawful, that we make such provision, provided we do not suffer our minds to be engrossed therewith, to the exclusion of spiritual things. But what the apostle here forbiddeth is, the making provision to gratify the lusts of the body; such provision is always connected with sin, and engendereth the works of darkness. Our bodies are to be sustained—not pampered, but rather chastened and kept in subjection, that they may be obedient to the spirit.
But so prone are we to indulge our sensual appetites, that many, professing to be christians, do, under a pretence of necessity, pamper their bodies, and gratify every inordinate craving thereof, to the manifest injury of both their temporal and spiritual welfare. We cannot therefore, be too much upon our guard against yielding to the dictates of our carnal propensities.
There is, however, another class of men, who as ■widely err on the contrary extreme. These are those blind devotees, who, as if the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, consisted in meat and drink, do often fast until their bodies become infirm and emaciated ; and then they think they have been marvellously holy, and have wrought exceeding good works. But Paul saith, "Meat commendeth us not to God: for neither if we eat are we the better; neither if we eat not are we the worse." And again, Col. ii. he saith; "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy-day, or of the new-moon, or of the sabbathdays: which are a shadow of things to come."
Thus we see that the popish ordinances, which forbid the eating of flesh, and enjoin the observance of certain days wherein to fast to certain saints, are quite contrary to the Gospel. But that such things should come, Paul hath plainly foretold in 1 Tim. iv. "Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter' times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." It is sufficiently evident, that the doctrine which Paul taught, is in direct opposition to that of the order of monks and sacrificing priests, who command the abstaining from meats, the observance of particular days of fasting, and prohibit marriage to certain orders of men. True religion has no respect to meats and days: but the whole life of a christian, should be a life of temperance, sobriety, and Godliness. But these doting holy ones, eat one day nothing but bread and water, and for three whole months afterwards they will eat to excess, and drink every day until they be drunken. Now the cause of these abominations is, that men have regard to the work, and not to the use of the work. Hence they are like unto him who carried a sword, merely to look upon it, without knowing how to use it when he was assaulted. Thus much may suffice for the exposition of this text.
Lcke, Chap. vi From the 36th to the 42d verses, inclusive.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete, withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind 1 shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye 1
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye 7 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
In this text, we have described the works of forgiveness, charity, and forbearance ; which we should exercise one toward another. To this point the Lord hath also spoken before, in the same chapter: "Love your enemies, do good unto them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you:" all of which he hath briefly comprehended in these words: "Be ye herefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Here we have set before us, in a very brief manner,