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xv. 7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John xvi. 23, "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." Hebrews iv. 16, "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." James i. 5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."
First, Every one is admonished to ask of God. Secondly, To ask in faith, he must believe; and believing presupposes a promise, something to be believed, a promise made by one who is able and willing to perform. Whoever comes unto God, must believe that he is. Thirdly, Every one must seek for what God has given, only where it is; and there he shall assuredly find it. Fourthly, There is but one door at which we must knock; but this will unquestionably be opened. I am the door, said the Redeemer; this door the Spirit openeth. Fifthly, As every one who asketh receiveth, then Jesus asketh and shall also receive. Sixthly, He came to seek that which was lost, and verily he found it. He knocked, and the everlasting doors were opened unto him. He, this king of glory entered, entered into life. And he said, I go to prepare a place for you; where I am, there shall ye be also.
MATTHEW vii. 9-12.
First, OR what man is there of you, whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Luke xi. 11, 12, "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he, for a fish, give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?"
Secondly, Our Saviour considers the people as evil. There are two descriptions of evil, sin and suffering. The former de
scription must be intended in this place; there is no medium between good and evil, and there is none good but one. Genesis vi. 5, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Nor, if we accept the testimony of the apostle Paul, were succeeding generations less reprehensible. Romans iii. 9, "What then, are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”
Thirdly, Although confessedly evil, yet they knew how to give good gifts unto their children.
Fourthly, The Redeemer pertinently asks, How much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him? God is, truly, the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Fifthly, Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
Sixthly, For this is the law and the prophets. Matthew xxii. 39, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Luke vi. 31, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them." Galatians v. 14, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
First, We are all the offspring of God; and he loves us infinitely better than we, who are evil, love our children. Secondly, Every one of God's gifts are good; a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Thirdly, For these good gifts, it becometh us to ask. Fourthly, We are to do unto men whatsoever we would that men should do unto us; and if we thus do, neither the law nor the prophets require more. Fifthly, Mankind have never, individually, kept this law, and, therefore, by their deeds, can never be justified. But sixthly, Jesus Christ was made under the law, and the prophets do all testify of him. I come not, said the Sayiour, to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil them. Seventhly, In order to fulfil the law and the prophets, Jesus must do to every man, not what every man does to him, but what he would that every man should do. We are commanded to love! our neighbour as ourselves. The Redeemer was made under this law, and he fulfilled it to the uttermost; and his fulfilling this law
is our life, our eternal life. It is, therefore, that the Saviour saith, Because I live, ye shall live also. Without Emmanuel, God with us, we can do nothing with the volume of inspiration, for indeed and in truth, it testifieth of him. Christ Jesus hath fulfilled the law, and he inheriteth the promises, and in him the promises are all yea and amen to the glory of God the Father.
MATTHEW Vii. 13, 14.
First, THE HE Redeemer invites, nay, commands us to enter in at the strait gate. This gate is the entrance into the way of life. What doth this figure exhibit? Undoubtedly Jesus Christ himself. John x. 1, 2, 7, 9, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. Then said Jesus unto them again, verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and shall find pasture.”
Secondly, Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. What are we to understand by this way? Our Saviour himself has answered this question. John xiv. 6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by me." But few there are who find this way: the fact is there are none; there are few who be perfect; But are there any perfect except Deity, except the God-man? Blind by nature, we cannot find the way. But Jesus came to seek and to save those who were out of the way, those who were wildered and lost. of God, but by the Spirit. But when the Spirit takes of the things of Jesus, and shows them to us, when he witnesseth with our spirits; in other words, when he takes us by the hand, and saith, this is the way, walk ye in it; we then go on, not only safely, but rejoicing.
No man can know the things
(Thirdly, This way leads unto life. What life? Undoubtedly
life spiritual, life eternal, because in this way is life, and this life is the light of the world.
Fourthly, What are we to understand by the way of destruction? Isaiah lix. 7, "Their feet run to evil, they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths." The way of peace they know not; in other words, they have not found Jesus, but he hath sought and found them, and he will bring them by a way that they did not know. Romans iii. 16, "Destruction and misery are in their paths." Philippians iii. 19, "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."
Fifthly, Who are they that walk therein? Pharisees and Publicans.
Sixthly, Is this way of destruction eternal? I answer No, assuredly No; and I produce my evidences. Psalm ix. 5, 6, "Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end." Psalm cvii. 20, "He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." Hosea xiii. 14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." Pain shall not be eternal; it had a beginning, and shall therefore have an end; but the soul of man is eternal, it is an emanation from the Deity, who is self existent. Yet, Romans viii. 22, "The whole creation now travaileth in pain." Revelations xvi. 10, "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain." Again, chapter xxi. 4, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.
First, As there are but two ways, and we are at liberty to choose the best, it would be wisdom thus to do. O that men were wise. Secondly, If Jesus were not the new and the living way, if he were not the Omega, as well as the Alpha. Misery and destruction would be the eternal portion of the whole race of man.
MATTHEW vii. 15-20.
First, OUR blessed Master teaches his hearers to beware of false prophets. Many false prophets had arisen in Israel; no less than eight hundred and fifty at one time. Many also were predicted. Mark xiii. 22, "For false christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." 2 Peter ii. 1, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the LORD that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
Secondly, These false prophets were well spoken of by the people. Luke vi. 26, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
Thirdly, One reason why they were well spoken of and greatly admired, was their appearance in sheep's clothing, while inwardly they were ravening wolves. Thus did they conceal the ferocity of their dispositions under a cloak of gentleness, piety, and be
Fourthly, Our divine Master gives us infallible marks and evidences, whereby we may distinguish these false prophets, viz. their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? But the false prophet, although highly estimated by the people, were no better than a thorn. Micah vii. 4, "The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge." A good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth, evil fruit. Men are considered as corrupt trees. Genesis vi. 11, "The earth also was corrupt before God." Psalm xiv. 1, “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; there is none that doeth good." To teach for doctrines the traditions of men, is bringing forth corrupt fruit. Hence, saith the Apostle, 2 Corinthians, iv. 5, "We preach not ourselves