In our Christian course we are not to trouble ourselves with what men say of us, and do unto us, but only to attend to our duty of holiness, and an exemplary life, which is what our Saviour presseth plainly, Mat_5:16, and leads his hearers to it by four comparisons, which he institutes between them and four other things. The first we have in this verse,
Ye are the salt of the earth: the doctrine which you profess is so, a thing as opposite as can be to the putrefaction of the world, both in respect to corrupt doctrine and corrupt manners (therefore, by the way, it will be no wonder if they resist it by reviling and persecuting you).
You are the salt of the earth: through the grace of God bestowed upon you, Mar_9:50Col_4:6. If it were not for the number of sound and painful ministers, and holy and gracious persons, the earth would be but a stinking dunghill of drunkards, unclean persons, thieves, murderers, unrighteous persons, that would be a stench in the nostrils of a pure and holy God. Look as it is in the world,
if the salt hath lost its savour, its acrimony, by which it opposeth putrefaction in fish and flesh, not the fish or flesh only will be good for nothing, but the salt itself, so infatuated, (as it is in the Greek), will be
good for nothing, but to be cast upon a dunghill and trodden under foot. So it is with ministers of the gospel, so with the professors of it; if they have lost their soundness in the faith, and holiness of life, they are of no value, nay, they are worse than other men. Money, if it be clipped in pieces, and hath lost its usefulness as coin, yet is of use for a goldsmith; meat corrupted, if it will not serve for men, yet will feed dogs; salt is good for nothing. No more are pretended ministers or Christians; their excellency lies in their savour; if that be lost, wherewith shall they be salted? Of what use are they, unless to cause the name of God and religion to be blasphemed? Such another similitude the prophet useth, Eze_15:2,3.