Matthew 10:32-33

Jonathan Livermore
Congregational Walpole, New Hampshire 1774-11-27


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November 27 1774


Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in Heaven. — but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in Heaven (Matthew 10:32-33) .


It is so common a Thing for a person or people to make public profession of the Religion they acknowledged and held in the Patriarchal Age. – that one and the same Word answered for Language a Profession & Religion.


it is said Genesis 11 and beginning that all the whole Earth was of one Language and of one Speech, ie. say some of one Religion, one lip or Profession. — using the Word which Signifies Lip for Language [*illeg.] Religion, and Profession as it is found to be used in the old Testament in other Places.


because we profess with the mouth the Religion which we believe and embrace in the Heart.


as st Paul says to the Romans with the Heart man believeth unto Righteousness — with the mouth confession is made [unto salvation] (Romans 10:10)


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and it is a most Reasonable Thing that Christ Requires in the Texts. viz. that his Disciples should own him, and make public Profession of his Religion.


in the chapter which contains the Text we have Christ commissioning his Disciples to go and preach the gospel—and to work Miracles in confirmation of their Doctrine


in which commission he directs them where to go viz. to the lost Sheep of the house of Israel—forewarning them of what they must expect to meet with viz. Persecution and opposition, & directs charges them not to fear Man—but God—and assures them of the Protection of Heaven—


and then he in the Words of the Text shows them who he should own and accept viz. such as would own him, —embrace his Gospel—and engage publicly and openly in his Cause


whosoever therefore shall confess me before men him will I confess also before my Father who is in Heaven: —but whosoever shall deny me before men him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33) .


thus he declares he will own none before God but such as will own and confess [him] before men—and publicly [* illeg.]


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The Text will naturally lead us to the [* illeg.] following Propositions viz.


I. it is the Duty of all christ’s Disciples yea of all that hear the Gospel to make public profession of their Faith in him, dependence on him & submission to him.


II. that it is not only a Duty but a great Privilege thus to profess our Faith and confidence in Christ and publicly to own our dependence on him—and Relation to him.


III. that it is a dangerous Thing to deny Christ before men or while we are in this probationary State.


first it is the Duty of all Christ's Disciples to yea of all that hear the gospel—to make public profession of their Faith in him, dependence on him & submission to him.


this is implied in the Texts whosoever shall confess me before men.—this confessing of him before men is making a public Profession of Faith etc.


and it may be argued from other Scripture consequences.


(1) we may argue the truth of this Supposition viz. that it is the Duty of all that hear the Gospel to make public Profession etc.—


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from the commands of Christ and from the Example which he set. —the gospel comes with a Commanding Power and Authority the sum and Substance of the Doctrine which John baptist preached and which Christ ordered the twelve to preach when he sent them forth as we are informed in our Contexts was Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. — and agreeable to this St Paul tells the Athenians that the Ignorance of the times of Idolatry before the Propagation of the gospel God winked at—but now says he he commandeth all men everywhere to Repent because he hath appointed a Day in which he will judge the World in Righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained hereof he hath given assurance to all men in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31) . — thus the gospel commands all men everywhere, where it comes to repent believe its Doctrines—and accepts its blessings and Christ requires all that embrace his gospel to imitate him, to tread in his Steps, and follow his Examples—so Peter says when he was reviled he reviled not again—when he was threat persecuted he threatened not but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously (1 Peter 2:23) . leaving us an Example that we should heed in his Steps.— now [*] also [engaged] in his Cause in opposition to the World engaged in it openly and publicly so he requires we should do—


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it was his asserting his Authority and demanding Submission to him as the Messiah that brought the Malice and vengeance of the Jews and the Romans upon him, —he exercised his Authority among the Jews in purging the Temple of Merchandise—and when he was brought before Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor he confessed that he was the King of the Jews that he was so born — accordingly St Paul says to Timothy I give thee charge before in the Sight of God who quickeneth all Things before Christ I who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good Confession (1 Timothy 6:13) . thus Christ witnessed a good Confession before the Jewish Sanhedrim when he declared unto them that they should hereafter see the son of man sitting on the right hand of Power and coming in the clouds of Heaven (Matthew 26:64) notwithstanding he knew that they would on this confession condemn him to die—he also Witnessed a good Confession when he said unto Pontius Pilate demanding of him whether he was a King thou sayest I am a King to this End was I born and for this Cause came I into the World that I should bear Witness unto the Truth (John 18:37) . — notwithstanding he knew that this would give umbrage to his Condemnation as a Traitor to Caesar and thus he requires his Disciples to Confess him notwithstanding all the Hazards and Difficulties to which it may expose them. hereby says Saint John perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his Life for us: and we out to lay down our Lives for the Brethren (1 John 3:16) . — [if] Christ confessed up Truth against his own Life for us then we ought to confess the Truth in his Cause


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it should cost us our Life our present Temporal Life—he publicly and openly espoused our Cause in the World—undertook our Salvation and Redemption—and we in like manner are required to avow openly and Publicly his Cause.


(2) we may argue this Duty, of Professing Christ publicly from the Instructions Christ has given that he disapproves the declining and neglecting this Profession. — in the Text he says he will disown those that disown him him etc. (Matthew 10:33)


and we read of some [*] many of the chief Rulers who believed on Christ but did not profess or Confess him because they feared being cast out of the Synagogue—for they loved the Praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43) . now from the Reason here assigned why they did not confess Christ it appears that it was displeasing to him that they did not.


the Reason why they did not confess Christ was because they loved the Praise of men more than the Praise of god —were therefore evidently of corrupt and wicked Disposition. — if they had loved God and been more concerned for his glory than to procure and enjoy the Praise of Men they would have confessed Christ owned him to be the Messiah and they would have [*] embraced and espoused his cause


and our blessed Lord says expressly he that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad— (Matthew 12:30)


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indeed some may Query how does this Passage agree with Luke 9:49-50. And John answered and said Master we saw one casting out Devils in thy Name and we forbad him because he followeth not with us — and Jesus said forbid him not — for he that is not against us is for us (Luke 9:49-50) .


at first View there seems to be a Contrariety in one of the Passages — Christ says he that is not with me is against me — this seems to condemn the Apostles in forbidding the man to profess Christ because he followeth not with him was not with him etc.


Christ says nay forbid him not etc.


the truth therefore is this — though this man did not follow Christ with the Apostles, yet he professed him and cast out Devils in his Name — and was with Christ in a true sense engaged in the same cause opposing the Devil's Kingdom —


The man whom Christ condemns in the other Passage as being against him is one who not only follows not with the Apostles — but neglects to espouse Christ's cause stands as Nature — neither openly joining with his Enemies in opposing his cause nor yet opposing them in their opposition to him.


upon these [**] two Texts compared mr H says thus "it is been intimated that this holy War which Christ was carrying on with vigor against the Devil & Kingdom would admit of No neutrality —


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in the little Differences that may arise between the Disciples of Christ among them selves; — we are taught to lessen the Matters in variance and to seek Peace by accounting those that are not against us to be for us — but in the great Quarrel between Christ and the Devil, no Peace Is to be sought, nor any such favorable Construction to be made, of an Indifferency in the Matter — he that is not hearty for Christ will be reckoned with as really against — he that is cold in the cause is looked upon as an enemy; — when the Dispute is between God and Baal there is no halting between two (1 Kings 18:21) . There is no Harmony between Christ and Belial for the Kingdom of Christ as it is eternally opposite to — So it will be eternally victorious over the Devil's Kingdom. 1 and therefore in this Cause there is not sitting still. —


and that christ requires all that hear of him to make public profession of him and his Religion is intimated or implied in this Saying of his whosoever will save his Life shall lose it, — and whosoever will lose his Life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 16:25) —thus Christ requires his Disciples to abide by him, and their Profession of him though it should cost them Life.


He is not ashamed to call them Brethren (Hebrews 2:11)


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so he will have them abide by it that he is their Lord and Master.—


(3) we may argue that Duty of Professing Christ publicly. —from St Paul's exhortation and examples hold fight the good fight of Faith (says he to Timothy) lay hold on eternal Life where unto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many Witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12) . —and to the Hebrews he Says seeing then that we have a great high Priest that is entered unto the Heavens Jesus the Son of God let us hold fast our Profession (Hebrews 4:14) again let us hold fast the Profession of our faith without waver ing for he is faithful without who hath Promised (Hebrews 10:23) — thus he exhorts not merely to continue in the faith but to hold fast the Profession of Faith. —


and we find that he more than once even gloried in his being a Professor of the Gospel of Christ. —and he tells the Romans I am not a shamed of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16) — & to the Galatians he saith God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14) —and he exhorts Timothy not to be a- shamed of the Testimony of the Lord (2 Timothy 1:8) —and St Peter says if any suffer as a christian let him not be ashamed (1 Peter 4:16) .


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and to St Paul's we may add the Testimony of St John — hereby (says he) we know ye the Spirit of God every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the Flesh is of God — and every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus christ is come in the Flesh is not of God and this is that Spirit of Antichrist — whereof you have heard that it should come, and even now already is in the World (1 John 4:2-3) . again for many Deceivers are entered into the World, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, —this is a Deceiver and an Antichrist (2 John 1:7) .


Thus in the Apostolic Age none was to be acknowledged and treat as Christians but such as made Profession of Christ and his Religion.


perhaps some may say that it was of more importance then to profess Christ than it is now because of the opposition his Cause met with and if some did not Profess him and abide by their Profession, his cause must have fallen to the ground. —


True there was grievous and Violent Persecutions against the Christians in the Infant State of the Christian Church. — and there was danger of Professions being beat out and flinching and so the cause of Christ suffering if not being extinguished — and for this Reason Christ insisted the more upon his Disciples


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abiding by him even to the shedding their blood in his Cause — and for this cause the Apostles labored the more industriously to animate Christians to abide by their Profession.


but does this argue that believers are not under as strong obligations now to make a public Profession of Christ and his Religion as they were then? far be it.


this is so far from an Argument why Persons should be excused now from professing Christ that on the other Hand it is a weighty and Conclusive argument why they should — if Christ would not excuse any who would be saved by him from publicly owning him and his Cause when it was so dangerous a thing to do it — as to endanger a many Life — shall we imagine he is indifferent about it now it may be done with all safety? — by no means —


the maintaining and upholding his Cause in the World depends as much now upon making a public Profession of his Religion as ever it did.


for suppose it were matter of Indifferency whether one made a Profession. — for the same Reason another — and all might be excused. — and supposing none made a Profession — a public Profession of the Christian Religion, — there would soon be no churches — and if there were no churches there would be no Ministers — no public Worship — and no Ordinances none included


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into the Church by Baptism — and — and the Lord Day not commemorated by the Sacrament of the Supper — by which our Lord told St Paul expressly that his Death was to be shown forth till his Coming.


and where in this Case would Christ's Cause be? — what woud become of the Christian Religion? — do you think that men with their Bibles in their own Private houses would maintain Christ Cause and, and uphold his religion in the World? —this is a grand mistake. —the ministry — Public Worship outward ordinances — and Religion will certainly stand or fall together.


and thus it is plain that all such as do neglect to profess Christ live in a criminal neglect of Duty — must in a Sense be denominated Antichrists —are implicitly opposing Christ and his Cause — they do not profess themselves for Christ, and therefore must be considered as against him, — and if all should follow their bad example Christ's cause must fall and Vanish out of the World.


Such therefore as live among Professing Christians would do well to take this matter into serious Consideration.


and especially such as have been dedicated to Christ in baptism — they which thus neglect to profess Christ do verbally declare that they disapprove what their Parents have done for them etc.


and they in a sense reject Christ and his Religion.— the benefit that such forgo — and they to the hazard they run — will appear under the two following Propositions which must be left etc. —


Footnotes

1. Matthew Henry, An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, vol. 5 (Edinburgh, 1791), 149.