Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
God’s judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace.
The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers.
Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer.
The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.
The scribes and Pharisees were enemies to the gospel of Christ, and therefore to the salvation of the souls of men.
It is bad to keep away from Christ ourselves, but worse also to keep others from him. Yet it is no new thing for the show and form of godliness to be made a cloak to the greatest enormities.
But dissembled piety will be reckoned double iniquity. They were very busy to turn souls to be of their party.
Not for the glory of God and the good of souls, but that they might have the credit and advantage of making converts.
Gain being their godliness, by a thousand devices they made religion give way to their worldly interests.
They were very strict and precise in smaller matters of the law, but careless and loose in weightier matters.
It is not the scrupling a little sin that Christ here reproves; if it be a sin, though but a gnat, it must be strained out; but the doing that, and then swallowing a camel, or, committing a greater sin.
While they would seem to be godly, they were neither sober nor righteous. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy; but if the heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with ourselves.
The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show.
The deceitfulness of sinners’ hearts appears in that they go down the streams of the sins of their own day, while they fancy that they should have opposed the sins of former days.
We sometimes think, if we had lived when Christ was upon earth, that we should not have despised and rejected him, as men then did; yet Christ in his Spirit, in his word, in his ministers, is still no better treated.
And it is just with God to give those up to their hearts’ lusts, who obstinately persist in gratifying them. Christ gives men their true characters.