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BY REV. JOSEPH JOWETT, M.A.
Matthew v. 25, 26. — Agree with thine adversary
quickly y whiles thou art in the way with him ; lest
at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge,
and the judge deliver thee to the officer^ and thok
be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee. Thou
shalt by no means come out thence^ till thou hast
paid the uttermost farthing ,
Our Lord had been urging the duty of prompt and
immediate reconciliation with an injured brother ; but
these solemn words allude to another and a more
dangerous quarrel. — Let us consider,
I. The Admonition here enforced. *• Agree
with thine Adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the
way with him."
Adversaries of various kinds are spoken of in the
Bible. Of some, we are exhorted to have no fear ;
for *' the adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to
pieces." ^ Against others, we are directed to pour
out fervent prayers: hence David says, ** For my
love they are my adversaries, but I give myself unto
prayer." * With one, in particular, we are to make
no terms whatsoever : ^* Your adversary the devil, as
a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may
devour; whom resist, stedfast in the faith;"' and
shortly he shall be " bruised under your feet."*
1 1 Sam. ij. 10. ^ Pa. cix. 4. » 1 Pet. v. %, 9. ^ Uom.xrw.l'^i.
8 SERMO II.
There can be no doubt respecting tbe Adversary
with whom we are here admonished to come to an
agreement. It is Grod— our Creator, Owner, and
Sovereign. By ten thousand ties are we bound to
obey, glorify, and please him. Refusing to do this,
we have made Him (who should have been our best
Friend) our most dangerous Enemy. '' If ye will not
hearken unto me, but walk contrary to me, then I will
walk contrary unto you also in fury ; and I will chas-
tise you seven times for your sins."^ Such is his
awful declaration — such his threatening against those
who, by wicked works, set themselves up as his
Have you never thus " walked contrary *' to God ?
Yes, times without number ! — Oh that you would
now bethink you of your ways, and turn your
feet unto his testimonies ! For behold, O Sinner, how
the Divine Adversary is here represented as already
prosecuting thee, for the injury which he has received
at thy hand. ** Thou art in the way with himJ*^ He has
already pronounced thy sentence —he hath his hand upon
thee — and every moment brings thee nearer to thy
deserved fate. Do not think that he has forgotten
thine offence, or is neglecting thy punishment. It
may be more or less distant ; but it approacheth — and
the way thou art taking is the way to it. As it may
daily be said to the true Christian, " ow is thy
salvation nearer than when thou believedst ; " ^ so to the
unreconciled sinner — ow is thy course nearer ; " thy
judgment lingereth not, thy damnation slumbereth
This Adversary is in the way with thee^ however,
in a far different sense. While he draws thee towards
thy deserved punishment, he is also tenderly entreat-
* Lev. xxvi. 21—28. * Rom. xiii. 11. » 2 Peter il. 3.
Prodigal, ** T have sinned," you will be in a hopeful
way for meeting with the Prodigal's welcome to a
2. By faithfully accepting the free Reconciliation
which he offers. Dream not of making satisfaction
thyself ! Say not, '* Have patience with me, and J will
pay thee all ! ** Do you know what that all amourits to ?
It must be something equal in value to Jesus Christ —
with all his holy obedience, all his atoning agonies, all
his meritorious work. All these were required, for the
salvation of even a single sinner : and, therefore, if thou
must needs make amends for thy own offences, thus
much must be done, suffered, and merited by thee.
Who does not at once perceive, that the redemption of
his soul, on these terms, is impossible ? ''it ceaseth
for ever." ^ Be content, then, to accept freely what is
freely offered by thy Lord. *' Let him take hold of my
strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall
make peace with me."< Thsi strength of the Lord
is Christ — ** Christ, the power of God and the
wisdom of God."' " Believe in him, and thou
shalt be saved. "^ Believe that he is able, and thou
shalt find that he is willing, " to save even to the
uttermost them that come unto God by him." ^ Take
Christ in thine hand, " whiles thou art in the way "
with thine adversary ; and for his sake God will
*' receive thee graciously, will love thee freely, and his
anger will at once be turned away firom thee." ^ The
Keconciliation will be complete : and from that blessed
hour thou wilt walk with him as a friend, cordially
consenting to his service, and delighting in his ways.
Do you hesitate ? Are you too proud — too unbeliev-
ing — too much in love with sin ? Then hear, ^condly,
1 Psalm xlix. 8. = jg^jah ixvii. 5. » 1 Cor. i. 2, 4.
^ Acta xvL 31. » Hebrews nu. 25 . • Rosea xiv. 2. 4.
THE FRIEDLY ADVERSARY. 11
II. The fearful consequences of refusing
A immediate compliance. Even if.no explicit
declaration of those consequences had been made, yet>
knowing the Adversary to be our offended Creator,
we miist have trembled at the thought of rejecting
this agreement : for ** It is a fearful thing to fall into
the hands of the living God ! '' ^ — But in fact, we are
not left to form our own anticipations. He here
The Adversary will deliver thee to the Judge, —
When God knows that the mercy of his gospel is
finally rejected, he puts his warrant into the hands of
Death, to bring the criminal before his bar ; and the
warrant is instantly executed. With that man, the
day of grace is at an end. He must now answer for
his offences, before a Judge, whom none can deceive
or escape. Do you ask his name ? It is He, who
once appeared as a Saviour, and for whose sake God
was desirous of being reconciled : but now, " He
hath given him authority to execute judgment also." ^
And he ** will render unto every man according to his
deeds.*' « Do you ask, ' When ? ' It will be at
some time, certainly ; and the text says, that it may
be a^ any time ; this week — this night— this moment !
The Judge will deliver thee to the officer. For, at
his command, '' the Angels shall come forth, and
shall sever the wicked from among the just.*' ^ Equally
prompt are they, whether as heralds of mercy, or
ministers of wrath. o hesitation will be found on
their part ; no reluctance, no pity ; — and such power !
Remember that, in a single night, one of these officers
*' went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians
an hundred fourscore and five thousand " men ! ^
^ Hebrews x. 31. ^ John v. 27. ^ Romans ii. 6.
< Matt. juu. 49. * 2 K\ii%^ ^U. ^^ .
12 SERMO II.
Thou shall be cast into prison —the prison of hell —
a place of woe and torment unknown ; '* where their
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."^
— Hopeless bondage I for
Thou shalt not come out thence, till thou hast paid
the uttermost farthing : which is all one with saying,
ever ! for the penalty of sin is eternal ; and will
therefore be always paying, never paid off. Our state
even on earth would be equally desperate, but for the
mercy set before us in the gospel. There however,
his mercy will be " clean gone for ever." ' o more
invitations, to those who slight the present warnings !
no more sermons— convictions — strivings of the Spirit !
only ** blackness of darkness for ever ! " *
And remember —
He is faithful, who speaketh this word : it is
the Son of God himself ; and he enforces it with his
own solemn " Verily ! "
He is strong, who executeth this word : for
*' who may abide the day of his coming ? and who
shall stand when he appeareth ? " * Yet once more.
He is merciful, who delayeth this word: not
" slack," indeed, " concerning his promises " or his
threatenings, ^' as some men count slackness ; but he
is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance."^
'^ Therefore also, now saith the Lord, turn ye even to
me with all your heart ! " ^
1 Mark ix. 44. » Psalm Ixxxvii. 8 » Jude 13.
< Mal.iii. 2. « 2 Peter iii. 9. « Joel u. 12^14.
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