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the net. But what was answered in the one case, applies equally to the other; “ Nay, lest while ye gather out the bad, ye cast out also the good with them.” That both should remain together within the net, agrees with the purpose of the heavenly king. The bad "prove what is in the heart” of the good, by their example, their persuasion, their arts and means of temptation ; sometimes by the persecution which they employ. And the good, by their better ways, by their advice, by their reproofs, may be made useful to the bad ; who when they witness their integrity,

1 their charity, their chaste and holy conversation, their preference of things eternal to things temporal, may be won over to a like practice; may

repent and be converted,” and “turn from dead works" to serve their Father which is in heaven,

At length the time arrives, when the net is drawn to shore: and all that is within it, of whatever kind, must be brought to light and view. “ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of God, to receive according to the things done in the body, whether it be good or bad.” 6 “ The sea gives up her dead.”?

The net surrenders all that it contains.

- The


of is set upon the throne of His glory, and before Him are assembled all nations.” 8 And in many

. passages of scripture, we are admitted, as it were, to the disclosure which takes place. The net is emptied before us, and we are made witnesses of the transaction.

6 2 Cor. v. 10. 7 Rev. xx. 13. Matt. xxv. 2.

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In one of these passages the judgment is likened to a royal banquet, and the “ king comes in to see the guests,” and finds there a man “ who has not on a wedding garment.' If Ananias had not appeared before a “discerner of spirits,” like the Apostle Peter, his sin might have remained undiscovered till the net was drawn at the last: he might even have passed for a devoted, self-denying man, who had sacrificed his all for the gospel's sake.

And this may be the case with many, who make a fair appearance to the 'world." How many falsehoods succeed, and gain their object! How many frauds and deceitful tricks are practised every day, undetected by the eyes of men! How many offences of thought and deed are witnessed by God alone! How many actions pass for liberal and praiseworthy, and ought to pass so in the judgment of charity, which He who knows the heart sees to have no better motive than the hypocrisy of Ananias! There are many sins of which the world knows nothing; some of which it thinks nothing: but of which we are expressly told that they which do them are thrust out from the presence of the King, “ not having a wedding garment.” Here in this world the net gathers of every kind ; but into " that world ” “ nothing shall enter that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.”í Yet many whose life is stained with these transgressions, profess and call themselves Christians : Matt. xxii. 11.

" Rev. xxii. 27.


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are found at public worship: and perhaps, when death approaches, desire to partake of that holy Sacrament which commemorates the death of Christ, but who died, not that men might" live to themselves" here on earth, and then at last “ enter into the joy of their Lord,” but that they might become “à peculiar people, redeemed

a from all iniquity, and zealous of good works,” 2 “dead unto sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ."

The doom of those who “ professing that they know God, in works deny Him,” is expressly

“ Then shall the King say unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of


Father which is in heaven."

told us.

" 3


49. “So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels

shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the

just. 50. “ And shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Thus by a figure which expresses whatever is most shocking to the feelings, and dreadful to the thoughts of men, the Lord has given His warning. He assures us, concerning the unworthy guest, who had not " washed his robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;' concerning the “ unprofitable servant,” who had

. Tit. ii. 14. 8 Matt. xxv. 41 ; vii. 23, 21.

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“ buried in the earth” the talent which the Lord required him to improve: concerning the unmerciful servant, who did not forgive as he hoped to be forgiven :—that the angels shall sever them from amongst the just, and cast them out for ever, “ from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power.” But the good they gather into vessels. "God has prepared a place for them, “ where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.” And now their Lord acknowledges them as “good and faithful servants :" as blessed children of His Father, who “ inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.”

May we “ die the death of the righteous, and our last end be like theirs !” 51. “ Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these

things ? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. 52. “ Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe

which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an housholder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

The Apostles were to be Scribes or Teachers of the Law : commissioned to instruct others unto the kingdom of heaven ; They needed therefore to be instructed, and to understand all these things themselves. The householder who is well provided, has the store of former days added to his own.

So should the Apostles. They had “ the law and the prophets;" all that holy men of old had written for their learning. And the truths which Jesus was now teaching


them, showing how the law and the prophets were fulfilled in himself, would make them scribes well instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, bringing forth out of their treasure things new and old.



MATT. xviii. 21–35.

21. “ Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall

my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ? 22. “ Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven

times; but, Until seventy times seven.” Our Lord had been recommending great forbearance towards an offending brother. This was “a new commandment" to those who had been accustomed to the maxim, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy." And its novelty leads Peter to ask how far this forbearance and forgiveness is to extend ? How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times ?

His question opens the way to a precept which should be written on every Christian's heart. I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven. If he trespass against thee seven times a day, and seven times a day turn again to thee, saying, “I repent—thou shalt

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