The teachings of Christ in the soule. Opened in a sermon before the Right Honble House of Peers, in Covent-garden-Church, upon the solemne day of their monthly fast, March 29. 1648.
Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672.

THE CONTEXT.

OUr blessed Saviour directs his discourse in this Chapter against the Scribes, and Pharisees, men of principall esteem among the Jewes for piety, and learning: for Exactnesse in the letter of the Scriptures: Eminency of skill to Interpret, and Comment upon the letter; Austerity of Life. Thus much they arrogated to them∣selves, and had ascrib'd to them by the people.

Precious things these are, where they are true, and no more to be undervalued, because they have their Counter∣feits; than Jesus Christ is, because there are Anti-Christs.

Page  2 The Lord notes Three things in these men:

  • 1. Their Practice.
  • 2. Their Principle.
  • 3. Their End.

1. Their Practice. This is Two-fold.

1. Practice. Imposalls upon men. They require Vni∣versall Obedience. Men must Believe all, that they Say; though Themselves Believe it not. Men must Observe their Rules; though themselves neglect, and break them: v. 4. They bind heavy burthens, and grievous to be borne, on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Thus it is for the most part: They are such, as have too little in them, who take too much upon them.

2. Practice: Industry among men, v. 15. Wo unto you Scribes, and Pharisees, Hypocrites; for ye compasse Sea, and Land, to make one Proselyte, and when he is made, you make him two-fold more the Child of Hell, than your selves. They spare no Care, Cost, or Pains to make a Convert; but it is to themselves; by a Blind obedience, and Implicite Faith. While they promise to bring a man to Heaven, they make his heart like Hell; full of bitter zeale, a violent heat, with∣out any light at all. This was their Practice.

2. Their Principle, which is Hypocrisie. Wo unto you Scribes, and Pharisees, Hypocrites! v. 13. They pretended to come in the Name of God, as sent forth from God: yet they had nothing of the Divine Presence resting on them, working in them, or going forth by them: but were, as o∣ther men.

It is a vain thing to hope to put Life into the Dead child by the Staffe, without the Person of Elisha; or to divide the Waters with the Mantle, without the God of Elijah.

Page  3 Whoever attempts to conjure down any Devill by the sound of Christ's name, without his Spirit, and Presence; let him take heed, lest the Devil flie in his face more enraged.

This is the second thing, which our Saviour notes in these men.

3. Their End. This is Two-fold:

1. Vainglory, v. 5. All their Works they doe to be seen of men.

2. Covetousnesse, v. 14. Ye devoure Widows houses, and for a pretence make long Prayers.

Gold, and Glory are the baites, which the Devill layes for men. He hath escaped the hooke of the Devill, who cares not for these.

He that cares not to have any Possession, or to make any Appearance in this World; he is already in Heaven, and dwells with God.

This is the Way of these men, whom the Lord reproves, and condemns.

He warns his own Disciples to take heed, that they follow not their Examples. He gives them two Cautions to this pur∣pose.

The first Caution is in the Verse before my Text: And call no man your Father upon the Earth; for one is your Father, which is in Heaven.

The second Caution is my Text: Neither be ye called Ma∣sters: for ye have one Master, which is Christ.

You see the Context.