Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

Firft Commandment. part of his moft excellent Sermon upon the Mount, to deaf..an d vindicate the Moral Law from the corrupt Gloffes and Interpretations of the Scribe s and Pharifces; and to lhew, that the Authority of the Law reached, not only to prohibit fin ful AC\i- ons, as that corrupt Generation thought.; but finful AffeCtions too; con!blt Verfe 21. Ye 1 1ave heard, th'ar it W41 [aid by them of old timr, 71Jou jhalt not ldll: and whofoever jl.a/1 kill, ~,.rt be in danger of the 'J.drment. Here they fl:opt, in the veyy batk and rind of the Command; and thought tt no Offence, tho' they fuffe red thetr Hearts tq burn with Wrath, ·,and Malice,. and Revenge, fo long as they pe nt it up there, and did not fttffer it to br!"'k forth into )lloody Murther. But what faith our Saviour, Verfc 22? But I fay un.to you, that whofiuver is angry with hi! brother without acnufo, foall be in danter;f{ the ;judgment : and whofoeverfoaH jay u_nto hU brother, Rl!cba, flJa!i•be in dan~tr of the Onmcil: but whofoever (IJal/ fay_, Thou fool, _{hall be in danger of hell:Jire. You fee J1cre, that not only the horrid Sin of Murther is ·(orbiddcn by the Law, but all the Incentives to it, and Degrees of it, as Anger conceived i nwardly in the H eart, ot exprefs'd outwardly in words. , ·. . 1 cannot pafs this place without giving you fome Light for the right underfl:an- din~ of it: Here are three Degrees of Sin, fhort of Murther, yet all .forbid den by the fame Precept which forbids that: Caufelefs Anger againfl: thy Brother ; calling him IIAch<, and c:tlling him, thou Fool; whereOf the one ftill exceeds the other in guilt; Racha fig~ nifics a fimple witlefs Fellow,. commonly :\]fed to upbraid fuch as were .weak and ig~ norant: M'"'ei. or thou Fool, fi gnifies one t"hat is not only ignorant, but wicked and ungodly; as the Scripture frequently ufeth the word in that fenfe, which is a far grCater Reproach, . than meerty to can him weak or fill y. Now according to thefe three degrees of Sins, our Savi"our proportions three degrees of Punifhmen't to he infliCted on thofe that are guilty of them, each feverer than o ther: caufelefs Anger fhall bring them in danger of the Judgment; Rach11, in danger of the Cound1; and rhou Fool, in danger of Hellpfire ; that is, they fhall make them liable to the Puniih~ ments infii<led by thefe . But now to underftand the fi.1ll fcopc and meani ng of our Saviour in thefe Allufi.- ons, we muft haV'e recourfe to the Hiftory of the 1rroijh Commonwealth : and there 1vc find that they had two Courts of Judicature cfrablilh'd among them, the leffer and the greater Sanhedrim; the lefl"er confifted of twenty th ree Pcrfons, and was ercfred not ouly in :ferufalem, but in every confiderablc City among tllC 'Jcwt, where there wc~·c fixfcore Houfholdcrs; thefe had Authority to infliCt Clpital Pu n ifhments upon Malef:1dors : but yet as the highcft Crimes fel1 not under their Cognizance, fo neither their fevcteft 1>unifhments under their Award. An d t his Confiftory our S1v iour CJHs hc"rethe Jtl<Jgment; and tells, That whofoever is angry with his Bro- ther without a c.:mfe, fhall be liable to a Punifument correfpondcnt to that which this Slnhedrim was impower'd to infliCt; Jl:iii applying T emporals to Spirituals, that is, he fl11ll beliahlc to Eternal Death, though not fo feverely executed, as it would he for Crimes of .1 rri0re heinous nature. Their gre:I.t~r Sanhedrim was their Supreme Court of Jlldicature, and con fifl:cd of feventy Elders, befides their chief Speaker or Moderator . You will find their V~tlt span· firft Inftitution to have been by Divine Authority, Numb. 1 1. 16. They fat. only htm d~b . in 'Jerufalem; their Sentence was decifi ve and determining, from which th ere lay F..1Jc,g. no Appeal: they were to Judge of all hll·der Matters, whi ch cou ld not be deter- dlfb. •19• min'd by other COurts, as Cau fes concerning a whole Trihe, or the wh()l e Nation ; Caufes of War and Pe..1ce ; Caufes concerning the High-Prieft , and the Million and Authority of Prophets that fpake unto them in the Name of th e Lord : And this may be the occafion of that Speech of our Saviour, It canniJt be that a Prophet perijiJ out IAkt 11 • of ]erufalem ; becaufe in 1erufalem alone was the S:1nhedrim conftituted, which was 13 • to judge of the Prophets, whether they were true or falfe: th is S1nhedrim our Sa- viour here calls the Council. And they had Power not only of Life and Death, (ls the other had) but likcwife of inflitring Death in a more fevere and tormentin~ man-- ner than the other. And thcrefot:e our Saviour faith, Whofoever fhall call hts Bra.. t h7r Ra{ha, a vain witlefs Fellow, lhall be in danger of the Council; wher ein he frill h:mgs the Degrees of Pnnifhments among the "JeWs, to a11ude tO the Punirhment of S!ns tn Hell; and fo the meaning is, that as he who fhall cau felefiy be angry with hts Brother, expofeth- himfclf to the danger of eternal Ueath · fo he that !hall fuffer hts anger to break forth into any reproachful or reviling La~guage, although . hi•