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LECTURE XXXVII,

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. AGAINST UNCHARI

TABLE JUDGMENTS. THE CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN COMPARED TO A HOUSE ON A ROCK.

LUKE vi. 39-49.

39. “ And He spake a parable unto them, Can the blind

lead the blind ? 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.” It is a melancholy truth, that blindness perpetuates blindness.

The disciple se

seldom rises above his master. Ignorance is easily led : and a corrupt heart, averse from spiritual things, lends itself to error. If the priest will give ready absolution, the disciple is ready to be absolved. If the master is satisfied with a Christian name, and formal observances, and a death-bed sacrament, the disciple is willing to be lulled into a false security. If the watchmen “ are blind,” are “ignorant,

“ dumb,” Satan will gain his advantage over the heart, for it is not warned of his devices; and both they and the people

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< shall fall : in the time of their visitation they shall not stand, saith the Lord :" “ the wicked man shall die in his iniquity :"

;" and the watchman has not “ delivered his own soul.” 1

1 Ezek. xxxiii. 1-5.

“ Charity

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. 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? 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.”

A censorious habit of harsh judgment is here forbidden. Censoriousness puts the worst construction upon doubtful actions. . hopeth all things.” Censoriousness often ascribes even good actions to wrong or interested motives. Charity, on the contrary, “believeth all things.” Charity will rather be deceived, through an unwillingness to suspect, than injure a fellow-creature even in thought.

Observe too, how one spirit pervades the whole of our Lord's discourses. We are instructed to look within. The same feeling which obliges us to forgive, also obliges us to charitable judgment;—a sense of our own deficiencies. Who has not a beam to cast out of his own eye? “ He shall have judgment without mercy, who has showed no mercy."

At the same time, it is often our duty to judge. We must discriminate between good and evil. We are told to “ prove all things, to hold *? This was a proverb among the Jews. " Those who say to others, Take out the small piece of wood from between thy teeth, are answered, Take out of thine eyes the beam."

fast that which is good:” to “ believe not every spirit, but to try the spirits, whether they are of God." This is quite consistent with the truest charity.

47. “ Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings,

and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like. 48. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged

deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a

rock. 49. “But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man

that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."

In the preceding discourse, Jesus had been giving rules of life and conduct, which showed, that they who were “ His disciples indeed” must be “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” He well foreknew, how many masters in his school would mislead their scholars : how many hypocrites would be more ready to correct others than themselves : how many trees in His vineyard would bring no fruit to perfection: how many would call Him, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which He said. Therefore He concludes with a solemn contrast between the end of faith merely nominal, and of faith which influences the heart. He declares of the man who calls Him, Lord, and does not the things which He says, that great will be the ruin of his soul :

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but that whosoever cometh unto Him, and heareth His sayings, and doeth them, has built his house upon a rock which shall never fall.

This conclusion of such a discourse is too important to be passed over. It brings religion to à test : and fixes salvation upon these points

a -coming to Christhearing His sayings-and doing them.

Many probably came to Him at that time out of curiosity. Many heard Him for a while, and then i walked no more with Him.” So, many now profess His religion, merely as belonging to a Christian land. But that coming to Christ, which really lays a sure foundation for the soul, is a deliberate, solemn act, proceeding from a movement of our heart, and induced by a sense that we have spiritual wants which He alone can supply. And whosoever thinks at all, must feel that this is the case with himself. He has need of knowledge: he has need of pardon he has need of assistance. Without these all beyond the present world is a dreary blank.

These obvious wants the gospel meets and relieves. It testifies that “ God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son, hath life: and that he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

Therefore, whoever cometh to Christ, that is, whoever studies His gospel with a desire to learn from it, heareth these sayings. And many stop there: many hear, and do not. The state

of numbers in a Christian land, is a state of knowledge and belief, that “ God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself;” but a belief which is vague, and a knowledge which is unprofitable, because it never proceeds to a vital application of that truth. We must hear the

sayings, and do them. We must close with the offer which they convey, and personally accept Christ Jesus in all His offices ;-as the prophet who declares the will of God ;-as the priest who has made the atoning sacrifice; as the Lord who issues statutes, by which His people must be governed: by their observance of which they are known here, and will be judged hereafter.

This is to lay our foundation on a rock. Not to be content that by baptism we were made members of Christ, without being assured of such membership by the testimony of our hearts. Not to be content even with the testimony of the heart, unless our lives agree with it: for the heart is deceitful, and must be tried by the standard of outward and visible obedience : that

“ be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves.”

And the end of this, says our Lord, is a good hope against the time when the floods shall arise, and the stream beat vehemently against the house. It is hope which is built upon a rock, and cannot be shaken. It may indeed be assaulted; assaulted by temptations of Satan, assaulted by natural fears. But when your hope is thus threatened, examine and see that all is right

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