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Expositions and sermons upon the ten first chapters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to Matthew. Written by Christopher Blackwood, preacher to a Church of Christ in the city of Dublin in Ireland.
Wing B3098; ESTC R207680
Lord to remember his kindnesses he had done for the house of the Lord and the offices thereof Neh. 13.14 and for the consecration of the Sabbath he concludes Remember mee O my God concerning this also and spare me according to the multitude of thy mercy See he begs sparing from God in his best services Psal 143.2 Enter not into judgement with thy Servant The very servants of God cannot stand in judgement by their own righteousness 4 Paul after conversion desires to be found Having Christs righteousness upon him and not his own at the day of judgement Phil. 3.9 The dangers of those who seek to be righteous by their own righteousness are 1 So long as thou stablishes thy own righteousness thou wilt not submit to Christs righteousness Rom. 10.3 4. They being ignorant of Gods righteousness and going about to stablish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God In the world the Law and works are so to be urged as if there were no promise but Christians are so to be taught to live as if there were no Law Luth. By grace we are made heirs the works which follow do not make us heirs or sons but are done of heirs and sons to testifie thanksgiving and obedience Luth. in Psal 130. A person will not seek out for a Phisician till he feel himself sick Matth. 9.13 If thou puttest thy deliverance from sin and wrath upon the performance of that righteousness the Law commands as any cause thereof thou makes thine own righteousness as great an idol as can be because thou makes thy righteousness to be that which Gods righteousness onely is and as thy righteousness will speak thou wilt have peace or bitterness this is in effect to make our own righteousness our Mediator Suppose your righteousness were a fullfilling of the whole Law one point excepted that very failing makes you guilty of the breach of all the rest and when men stand guilty before God Jam. 2.10.11 shall they plead that which is guilty to finde acceptation In the business of justification no man can enough remove the Law out of his sight and behold the promise alone Luth. Tom. 4.103 Bernard and other Doctors when they are out of disputation teach Christ purely but when they go into the field of the Law they so dispute as if there were no Christ at all Luth. in Psalm 130. The best righteousness we ever performed is not able as a deserving cause to turn away the least sin or wrath or to procure the least favour from God Gen. 32.10 I am less then the least of thy mercies said Jacob onely God having promised these mercies of his free grace we are in the use of means to seek hope for and expect a conveyance of them Quest But doth not our righteousness move and melt the Lord and prevail with him to do this or that good for his people Answ No It was not Hezekiahs prayers and tears Cornelius his prayers and alms Daniel his prayer and fasting Dan. 9.17 That melted and moved God but his own son hence Daniel prayes Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary which is desolate for the Lords sake vers 17. Obj. But if we get nothing by our righteousness then we had as good sit still and do nothing Answ I overthrow it onely in point of satisfaction to divine justice in point of merit If works alone be taught as it happens in the Papacy faith is lost if faith alone be taught presently carnal men dream works are not necessary without the cause of justification No man can enough commend good works Who can enough declare the profit of one good work which a Christian doth from and in faith It 's more pretious then heaven and earth therefore the whole world in this life cannot give a worthy reward for such a good work Luth. Tom. 4. fol. 109. But for righteousness as it is one with uprighness I establish it Psalm 32.11 Rejoyce in the Lord ye righteous and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart See whom he calls righteous even them whom he calls upright Psalm 125.4 Do good to them that are good who are they even them who are upright in heart yea further God will crown the righteousness of his servants 2 Tim. 4.8 henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness and not to me onely but to them also who love his appearing yea the righteous shall shine in the Kingdom of their father Matth. 13.43 And God hath a special eye of providence over such 1 Pet. 3.12 The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ear is open to their cry See Gods care of righteous Noah Gen. 6.8 9. and of Lot 2 Pet. 7.8 9. 2 Moreover we ought to look upon our performances of prayer fasting baptisme supper c. as the ordinances of God wherein the Lord hath appointed us to meet with him and wherein he will make good the things he hath promised therein Esa 64.5 Thou meetest him that rejoyceth and worketh righteousness He comes with his handfull and poures out that which his own freeness hath engaged him to do for us Good works are no other thing then thanksgiving they are not done for righteousness but for witness they please not God simply for themselves but for the person believing Luth. We do confess our sins to him but what is the ground of forgiveness not our confessions prayers or tears but his own free grace because he delights in mercy Mic. 7.19 3 It 's base selfishness when thou wilt do no righteousness but for thy own sake who if thou shouldest know before hand thy righteousness would get thee nothing wouldest sit still and do nothing quere whether such a man had not indeed as good sit still and do nothing 4 Righteousness of sanctification and uprightness is evidential in point of assurance 2 Pet. 1.6 7 8 9 10. 1 Tim. 6.17 18. 5 To testifie our thankfulness Rom. 12.1 2 Danger by establishing thy own righteousness thou unthrones Christ of the principal part of his Office which is to be the righteousness of his people Jer. 23.6 Rom. 5.17 18. By the obedience of one shall many be placed righteous It s Christs Office to place persons at his Judgement seat righteous hence some read it constituentur This mistery was shadowed Exod. 25.17 18 19. The Law or Testimony was to be put in the Ark and the Mercy-seat was to be set upon the Ark v. 21. Christ is this Propitiatory or Mercy-seat Rom 3.25 1 John 2.2 Let us not take the Law out of the Ark as our righteousness but cast our eye upon the Mercy-seat which covers the Ark and Testimony 2 Use Consolation to the Saints that though made infamous by the world God counts them righteous our Principal comfort is that Christ takes away our filthy garments and gives us the righteousness of his Son Zach. 3.4 That all accusations that Satan can put
but not to worship them Gal. 1.23 Neither that divine benefits may descend upon us through their mediation nor as helpers together or workers together with Christ in the work of our salvation or that they plead our cause with God by offering their merits for to obtain our salvation or that they obtain pardon of sin or the grace of God to us which Popish Writers make the ends of invocation of Saints All which ends are blasphemously derogatory to the glory of Christs merits and intercession Thus are men more ready to do all things which either themselves chuse or men have ordained then those things which God hath commanded because in the commands of men the old man is untoucht yea is nourished by the commands of men but in the commands of God it is mortified It were endless to set down the multiplication of this superstition to show all the ends Papists give of calling upon Saints as because Christ is a more hard and just Judge therefore we must have mediators to come to him and because we want deserts that therefore the Saints would apply the deserts which they have more then enough for themselves unto us to interpose them betwixt Gods justice and our unworthiness that so we may be made worthy of the promises of God Moreover they teach that all the benefits we want are bestowed of God upon the blessed in heaven that they being implored may give all things which belong to this life and the life to come Men are taught in their necessities to flye to the grace mercy and help of Saints and to place their faith and hope in them also they think the blessed in heaven know every mans vows and the thoughts of their mindes Now this invocation of Saints 1 is no where in Scripture Hence Christ brands the Samaritans they worshipped they knew not what Now Scripture tells us that God onely in the name of Christ is to be called upon Joh. 14.6 Heb. 4.15 188.8.131.52.15 Now it must needs be dangerous to go from the rule of the word for prayer 2 They invest the Saints departed with those things which are proper to God as to be a refuge a deliverer to give good things which God onely gives Jam. 1.17 to flye to them in prayer for grace and mercy 3 Papists derogate from Christs intercession which is one part of his Priesthood for whereas we for our sins are unworthy to come into the presence of God with our prayers or persons God hath given Christ as a mediator to appear in our behalf Heb. 184.108.40.206.9.24 Papists call upon Saints directly that they would interpose their merits betwixt Gods justice and our unworthiness For 200 years after Christ there was no news of invocation of Saints Justin Apol. 2. Tert. Apol. c 30. Iren. l. 2. c. 58. About the year 240 Origen was the first that began to sow the seeds of invocation of Saints who as Hierom observes brought in many poysonous opinions into the Church of Christ and in that age it began onely to be disputed and Origen from some Apocryphical Scriptures began to think it might be so and after manifestly to affirm it but he affirms these assertions were onely private opinions but not the received opinions of the Church Orig. l. 2. in Roman and in his disputation against Celsus he doth in effect deny it In Cyprians time invocation of Saints about the year 250 took another step for Cyprian and others spoke to the living Saints before they departed out of this life that after death they would be mindfull of them with God Cypr. l. 1. ep 1. ad Cornel. l. 2. de habitu Virg. All this while they were not called upon after death but about the year 370 by occasion of Panegyrical Orations that were made at the decease of friends c. it began to be brought into the Church by Basil Nyssen and Nazianzen bringing it from the private devotions of Monks into open assemblies And in their Panegyrical orations they cald up the souls of them whose memory they celebrated and so Nazianzen calls up the soul of Constantine Yet must we know that these opinions were not received every where and of all for true opinions yea the very Authors hereof in their strains of Rhetorick do not dissemble their doubts that the Saints in heaven pray'd for those here Hence they use these words As I think and As I perswade my self and If it be not a rash thing to say it and so that phrase here Thou soul of Constantine if thou hast any understanding Yea this opinion in that time was strongly opposed by Epiphanius and put into the Catalogue of Heresies and he inveighs against it in his book against the Collyridians And Chrysostome in many places inveighs against the perswasions of the common people who neglecting repentance and godliness cast all the business of hearing their prayers and salvation upon the intercession of others Hom. 44. in Gen. Hom. 5. in Matth c. Moreover the Synod of Laodicca about the year 368 saith It behoves not Christians the Church being left to go away and to make Congregations of Idolatry to Angels all which are forbid whosoever shall be found at this hidden Idolatry let him be accursed because leaving our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God he goes to Idols Cyril answering the Emperor Julian telling the Christians they worshipped many miserable men that were used by a hard Law meaning Martyrdome Cyril saith I confess the memory and honour of the Martyrs but deny the worship of them For the Latin Church passing by Ambrose who is sometimes for it and sometimes against it Vigilaââus as appears ãâã of Hâerâm maintained these three propositions 1 That the Martyâs or Saints which departed out of this lââe are not to be worshipped 2 That while we live we may pray one for another but after death no man prayes for another 3 That the souls of the blessed are not present at their graves nor come not betwixt God nor the affairs of the living which first position Hierom doth not deny to the second he saith The Church in another world prayes for the Church of believers in this world from whence it follows not that Saints are to be called upon when dead To conclude Augustine falling into those times wherein all persons were full of presumptions was forced to give way to the times yet did he endeavour to call persons back to call upon the name of God when he durst not freely reprehend the commonly received presumptions l. cont Faustin This presumption then prevail'd that the souls of the blessed heard prayers and brought them to God and bestowed benefits and therefore they came together to their graves to pray to them but he concludes against this that souls departed know not things done here and he was sure that if it were so his mother would no night forsake him which he found otherwise In a word generally Augustine was against invocation of Saints setting aside
thing and limit the satisfaction to his sufferings then not mentioning any other 2 Suppose it were granted that all the sufferings of Christ should concur in point of satisfaction which I suppose is difficult if at all possible to prove yet it follows not that because all his sufferings through the course of his life as well as those in death did concur in point of satisfaction therefore his observation and fulfilling of the Law should also concur as a part of that price Obj. But is it not dangerous to leave out Christ his fullfilling of the Law And is it not safe to joyn it to Christ his death Answ It 's dangerous to add any thing when the Scripture fixeth the Redemption on the death and sufferings of Christ in and about death He gave his own son the price of redemption for us the holy for them who had transgressed the Law the just for the unjust for what other thing could cover our sins then his righteousness In whom other can we unjust and wicked men be counted just then in the alone Son of God O sweet change that the iniquity of many should be hid in one righteous but that the righteousness of one should cause that many unjust should be counted righteous Justin Mart. ad Diognetum p. 386. The conscience may as well scruple what if I add as what if I leave out for additions are dangerous in this case especially where the Scripture speaks so plainly and positively Gal. 5.4 3 The third cause of our justification is the formal cause whereby Christ his satisfaction and merit is imputed to us as our sin is imputed to him Isai 53.6 Rom. 8.3 4. 2 Cor. 5.21 Christ being our surety Heb. 7.22 and paying our debt he rose out of the prison of the grave and manifested his discharge thereof Acts 2.22 So that as on the cross Christ blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances and took them out of the way and nail'd them to his cross Col. 2. so doth the Lord behold the travel of his soul and rests satisfied therewith Isai 53.11 4 The final cause of a souls justification in respect of God it was the declaration of his severe justice against sin that though in himself he could yet he decreed that he would not pass by sin without satisfaction Rom. 3.25 26. to declare his righteousness that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth on Jesus There are many other ends as for the shewing forth his free grace to a sinner which I shall pass by Obj. But how are we said to be justified by God and Christ seeing the Scripture saith we are justified by faith Rom. 3.28 Answ The Lord justifies judicially as a Judge justifies an innocent person or a person when sued for debt the paiment of the debt appearing 2 Christ justifies meritoriously Acts 13.39 Heb. 9.26 Faith justifies instrumentally 1 Not professional faith for then all hypocrites should be justified against whom James disputes Jam. 2.24 2 Nor doth the ãâã ãâã ãâã ãâã ãâã credere the act of believing justifie us as if that were imputed unto us for righteousness not for its own merit but for Gods favourable acceptance as if God did accept the act of believing for the perfect obedience of the Law as some have held The act of believing doth not justifie 1 Because no man is saved and justified by an act of his own Tit. 3.6 7. Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us Being justified by his grace Eph. 2.9 not of works Now to believe is an act of our own taking denomination from the next agent 2 From absurdity then we should be justified by two righteousnesses to wit the righteousness of Christ and the righteousness of faith if one be sufficient what needs another it tends to thrust Christ out and all his merits Faith justifies us objectively as it terminates upon the redemption in Christ Joh. 3.14 15. as it is the eye to look up to him typified by the brazen Serpent Thou holds divers sorts of seeds in thy hand I ask not what the seeds are with which they are joyned but what the virtue of every one of them is Here speak plainly what faith alone doth not with what graces it is conjoyned it takes hold of the promise love and hope have other business Luth. in Gen. 15. This righteousness is called the righteousness of God because he âound it out the righteousness of Christ because Christ offers that which was equivalent to righteousness the righteousness of faith because faith is the instrument by which we apprehend it It 's called our righteousness Jer. 23.6 because it 's given us of God to be ours by imputation on Gods part by acceptation on our part First Use for information 1 For information 1 See how thou becomes righteous not by working but by believing Acts 13.38 39. Rom. 3 22. Gal. 2.16 Rom. 4.4 5. A man may work long enough and yet in fine work himself into hell if he have not faith in Christ Paul had a righteousness even to blamelesness Phil. 3.6 before conversion after conversion he disclaims it v. 7. The Law of works saith Do what I command the Law of faith Give what thou commands August The commands are sweet when we understand them not onely in books but in the wounds of a most sweet Savior Luth. Tom. 1. ad Stanpic If a good life have not been led do not therefore despair if a good life have been led do not therefore hope that is as to justification 2 See the danger of thousands of ignorant persons who if you ask them how they hope to be saved they will tell you by their good prayers and well meanings and because they deal justly Many fast pray deny themselves mourn deal justly that God may speak peace to their spirits this is the righteousness of the Law this is a working for life not from life so they refrain from evil that they may not be under the curse In order to satisfaction of Divine justice there must be a full righteousness of an infinite person these two things must be because an infinite Majesty is offended this can be no other then the righteousness of God in Christ Obj. But though the works we do in our natural state do not make us righteous yet the works of our regenerate estate do for they are the works of Christ which he works in us by his Word and Spirit Answ The personal works of Christ in making atonement for our sins justifie us 1 Pet. 2.24 but for his other virtual works they do not justifie us 2 The works of regenerate men are so wrought by Christ that they are also wrought by us Rom. 8.13 If ye mortifie the deeds of the body by the Spirit ye shall live Hence because of our imperfection they cannot be perfect 3 Regenerate men in their best actions stand need of sparing When Nehemiah had desired the