« VorigeDoorgaan »
depend upon such a hope, as is grounded on God's law and provision; and that they might not be left to the wills and allowances of those men, against whose sins they were sent. And this the apostle proveth by an argument, drawn from a most answerable equity :-“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things ?" If ye do rightly judge of those heavenly treasures which we bring in abundance unto you, impossible it is that ye should judge our pains and service towards your immortal and precious souls, sufficiently rewarded with a narrow and hungry proportion of earthly and perishable things. “ Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar ?" To note that they receive their maintenance from the hand of God himself, whose only the things of the altar are, aud not from
“Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel, should live by the gospel 9.". And what is it to live? First, They must live as men: they must have for necessity and for delight. Secondly, They must live as believers : “He that provideth not for his own, is worse than an infidel "." They must therefore have, by the gospel, sufficient to lay up for those, whom the law of common humauity, much more of faith, commands them to provide for. Thirdly, They must live as ministers. They must have wherewith to maintain the duties of their calling, a good example of piety and charity and hospitality, that they may confirm by practice, what in doctrine they teach”. And the instruments of their calling, which is a profession of so vast and unlimited a compass of learning (for there is no part of learning in the whole circle thereof which is not helpful, and may not contribute to the understanding of holy Scriptures, and to some part or other of a divine employment), cannot but be very chargeable. And alas, how many men preach the gospel, and yet scarce find the first and meanest of all these supplies! This is the great ingratitude of the world, and withal the malice and policy of Satan,-by the poverty and contempt of the ministers, to bring the gospel itself into contempt, and to deter able men from adventuring on so unrewarded a calling, as Calvin 'justly complains. All that can, with colour or countenance, be pretended by those who are guilty of this neglect, is poverty and disability to maintain the gospel. And it were well, if there were not places to be found, wherein dogs and horses, hawks and hounds, grow fat with God's portion ; and the mercenary preacher, when he grows lean with want, is accused of too much study. But suppose that poverty be truly alleged : do we think poverty a just pretext for the neglect of a moral duty ? May a man spend the Lord's day on his shopboard, because he is poor and wants means ? And if I may not rob God of his time, upon pretence of poverty, neither then is the same any argument to rob him of his portion. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked;" namely, with pretence of poverty and necessity, as Calvin expounds that place". St. Paul bears witness unto some men, that “ they did good beyond their power,” that they were richly liberal, though they were deeply poor*: And yet those were but contributions out of mercy; whereas, double honour is due to the ministers of the gospel by a law of justice. It is a wrong and foolish apology, to pretend the punishment for the continuance of the fault. The poverty of many men is, doubtless, a just recompense for their neglect of the honour of the gospel :-for God hath ever severely punished the contempt and dishonour done to his messengers. Whereas, on the other side, do thou deal faithfully with God; fulfil to thy power his appointment and decree, that they which preach the gospel, may live by the gospel, and then hearken unto God: “Honour the Lord with thy substance and the first-fruits of all thine increase ; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses burst out with new wine ?." — “ Consider now from this day and upward, from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? From this day I will bless you *.?
9 1 Cor. ix. 7, 13.
rl Tim. v. S.
* I Tim. iii. 2.
* Hic est actus Satanæ, alimentis fraudare pios Ministros, ut Ecclesia talibus destituatur, &c. Calvin.in Gal. vi. 6. Satan hac arte tentat doctrinâ privare Ecclesiam, dum, inopiæ et famis metu, plurimos absterret, ne id oneris suscipiant. Idem in I Tim. v. 17.–Vid. Muscul. in Gal. vi. 6. et in 1 Tim. iii. 2.-Bishop Jewel's Sermons on Hag. i, 2, 3, 4, page 181, 182, on Psalm xcix. 9, page 191, 194.Perkins in his Sermon of “The Duties and Dignities of the Ministry.'-Hooker's Eccl. policy, lib. 5. Num. 79.-Hildersham on Johniv. page 300, 301, 319, 323.Bolton in his epistle dedicatory to his discourse of True Happiness.-Greg. Tholos. de Repub. lib. 13, cap. 17. u Gal. vi. 7. * 2 Cor. viii. 2, 3. » 2 Chron. xvi. 10, 12. xxiv. 11, 25. xxvi. 19, 20. xxxvi. 16, 17. z Prov. iii. 9. 10.
“ Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts” (if ye will not do it out of duty, yet do it out of experiment),“ if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it b." There was never any man lost by paying God his dues; there was never any man thrived by grudging, or pittancing the Almighty. I will conclude this point with the apostle. It is his doctrine; “ Faithful ministers are worthy of double honour.” And it is his exhortation; “Render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honourc.”
Note, Lastly“, The priesthood of Christ is an everlasting priesthood. He also was without father, and without mother, without beginning of days, or end of life. As man, without a father; as God, without a mother ; “The same, yesterday and to-day, and, for ever e. His name was “Everlasting Father f.” His gospel an “Everlasting gospels.” He was “a Lamb, slain from the beginning of the world h." The virtue of his blood goes backward, as high as Adam. He was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world'. The redemption of those, that trausgressed under the first testament, the remission of sins that were past, were procured by this sacrificek It goeth downward to the end of the world; he must reign, till all be put under his feet, and he must raise up all by the power and virtue of his victory over death'; and lastly, It goeth onward to all immortality: for though the acts and administration of his priesthood shall cease, when he shall have delivered the kingdom to his father, and have brought the whole church into God's presence; yet the virtue and fruits of those acts shall be absolutely eternal : for so long as the saints shall be in Heaven, so long they shall enjoy the benefit of that sacrifice, which did purchase not a lease, or expiring term; but two oxatá autov, " an endless life," an everlasting glory, an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the Heaven for them.
a Hag. ii. 18, 19. b Mal. iii. 9, 12. c Rom. xiii. 3. d Greg. Naz. Orat. 36. de Folio. • Heb. xii. 8. f Isai. ix. 6. & Rev. xiv. 6.
h 1 Pet. i. 19. i 2 Tim. i.9. k Heh.ix. 15. Rom. iii. 25. I John v. 26, 29.
VERSES V. AND VI.
The Lord, at thy right hand, shall strike through kings in the
day of his wrath. He skall judge amongst the heathen; he shall fill the places with dend bodies ; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
In the former part of the Psalm, we have had the description of Christ's offices, of king and priest, together with the effects thereof in gathering a willing people unto himself. Now here the prophet showeth another effect of the powerful administration of these offices, containing his victories over all his enemies, allegorically expressed in an hypoty. posis, or lively allusion unto the manner of human victories: wherein, First, I shall, in a few words, labour to clear the sense; and then the observations which are natural, will the more evidently arise.
“ The Lord at thy right hand." To lay aside their exposition who understand these words of God the Father,-the words are an apostrophe of the prophet to those, at whose right hand the Lord Jesus is. Some make it an apostrophe to God the Father, a triumphal and thankful prediction of that power and judgement, which he hath given to this his Benjamin, the Son at his right hand; because that thereby the phrase retaineth the same signification and sense, which it had in the first verse. As if David had said, O God, the Father of all power and majesty, worthy art thou of all praise, thanksgiving, and honour, who hast given such power to thy son in the behalf of thy church, as to smite through kings, and judge heathen, and pull down the chief of his enemies, and to subdue all things to himself:' and these read it thus, “ O Lord. he that is at thy right hand, shall strike through kings, » &c. Others make it to be an apostrophe to the church, and so to be a phrase not expressing Christ's exaltation, as verse I. but his care and protection over his church, his readiness to assist and defend his own people against all the injuries and assaults of
Solomon saith, “A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart is at his left :” That is, his heart is ready and prepared to execute any wise counsels or godly resolutions; as the prophet David saith, “My heart is prepared, O God, my heart is prepared ; I will sing and give thanks.” But a fool's heart, when he should do any thing, is like his left hand, to seek of skill, inactive, and unprepared ; when he walketh by the way, “his heart faileth him b.” And this readiness and present help of God, to defend and guide his church, is expressed frequently by his being at the right hand thereof ;-" Because the Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be moved "_"He shall stand at the right hand of the poor to save him d.”—“I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee €.” As if David had said, · Be not dismayed nor cast down, O ye subjects of this king ; as if, being exalted to God's right hand, he had given over the care and protection of his people : for as he is at the right hand of his Father in glory and majesty ; so is he at your right hand too, standing to execute judgement on your enemies, and to reveal the power of his arm towards you in your protection.'
Now the reasons of this phrase and expression, as I conceive, are these two:-First, To note that Christ's power, providence, and protection, do not exclude, but only strengthen, assist, and prosper the ordinary and just endeavours of the church for themselves. The Lord is not at our left hand to succour us in our idleness and negligence, but at our working hand, to give success to our honest endeavours. The sword of the Lord doth not fight without the sword of Gideon'. In the miracles of Christ, when he fed and feasted men, he never created wine or bread of nothing ; but blessed, and so changed, or multiplied that which was, by human industry, prepared before. Our Saviour had fish and bread of his own; and yet he would have his disciples put in their net and catch, and bring of their own ;-to note unto us, that God's power and providence must not exclude but encourage man's industry. He protecteth us •in viis nostris, non in præcipitiis,' in our own ways, not in our
d Psalm cix, 31.
a Eccles. x. 2. e Jsai. xxxi. 13.
b Eccles. X. 3. f Judg. vii. 18.
c Psalm xvi. 8.
John xxi. 9, 10.