תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Serm. friends are his most violent enemies: Eveti IX. this must be submitted to, and the fury of domestic adversaries borne by the followers of Christ, rather than they mould relinquish the truth, and make shipwreck of a good conscience. Which, after all, amounts to no more than what is essentially imported in their religious profession, and a just consequence from the first conditions of their inlisting in his service. For what do we mean by taking upon us the christian pro^ session, and calling ourselves the disciples of the Lord Jesus? Certainly, that we prefer his approbation, and the favour of God up©n his terms, to all considerations in this world, and are ready to part with every thing for it. Therefore, if the most esteemed friendship stand in the way, and we cannot hold it at less expence than forsaking our duty as christians, it must be abandoned: "For no man can serve two masters: For u either he will hate the one, and love the "other; or else he will hold to the one, and "despise the other. Te cannot serve God and "Mammon*." One of the plainest lessons in christianity is, "seek firfl the kingdom os "God, and his righteousness -J-.M But this it

self,

• Matth. vi. 24. f Matth. vi, 33,

self, pursued through all its just consequences, Se R M. will lead us up through all the degrees of IX. religious perfection: And to act the part1-,"v""^ that is necessary for obtaining the crown of martyrdom itself, there needs no more than to apply that general rule to a particular case fairly comprehended in it. Thus you fee what a consistency and connection there is in the whole frame of religion. And to rife to the greatest heights which can be attained in it, no more is required than a firm adherence to its easiest and plainest rudiments, and to build regularly on the first: principles we have learned.

If it be so, we had need to fee that the foundation be well laid; that is, that we rightly understand the terms upon which we enter into the christian profession, and dedicate ourselves to the service of our Lord.

One essential condition is contained in the text, that is, love to Christ above all others, and a deliberate preference of him to our nearest earthly friends j and, by parity of reason, to whatever else in this world may come in competition with him for our affection and esteem. None of us can be ignorant, that this is what our Saviour indit-" penfobly requires. It is yet more strongly

exprefs'fit

S E R M. cxpress'd in the xivth of St. Luke and the J-X- 26th verse, but the meaning is the fame a$j .here. "If any man come to me, and hate. "&j father, and mother, and wife, afi£ tf children, and brethren, andfjlers,yea and *{ his own life also, he cannot be my disciple ".:

'In discoursing on these words, I will First, consider, what it is to be worthy of Christ.

Secondly, I will shew, what is meant by the Love of him, as in comparison' with, and opposition to the love of friends, and all other worldly interests; from which the truth of this declaration will appear, that we cannot bes worthy of him upon other terms thaa preferring him to every thing else. ;-co

First, Let us consider what it is, to be worthy of Christ. And this we find is very well explained in the passage just now referred to by this expression, he cannot be my disciple j that is, . he cannot be a sincere christian; he may call himself by that name: But whosoever doth not come up to the terms here required, is not a christian in

heart heart and in truth. This manner of speak*S Er M. ing is very usual in the New Testament. At IX. the nth verse of this chapter, our Saviour'k~~v~mJ orders the apostles, when they went into any city or town, first to inquire, who in it were worthy $ that is, as far as can be judged, men of probity and candor. Sincerity is the sum of moral worth j and the whole value depends upon it, when a religious profession is the point to be estimated. The apostles, after their master, speak in the fame strain. St. Paul exhorts christians to walk worthy of God, which he explains, *' * by walking worthy of the vocation, "wherewith they are called." That is, suitably to the hopes, the privileges, and the rules of it. God has called us to his kingdofti and glory, and he has called us to hdlinesSi To be worthy of him, therefore, and of his calling, is to fulfil the obligations of our religious character, as his professed servants and followers} and to be qualisted upon his own terms for the recoftipence he has promised. It is never to be imagined that men could lay any previous obligation on God, or our Lord Jesus Christ. The divine mercy prevented us, when we yoL. I. P were

* Eph. iv. i.;

S E R Nt. were altogether unworthy, and our ialva*. IX. tion by the gospel is wholly of grace. And

'——' when we persevere in our obedience toit with all the worthiness we can attain to, for it is still imperfect,' we must at last look for the mercy of the Lord Jesus unto eternal life. But, when we receive the word of his kingdom into good and honest hearts^ and bring forth fruit with patience; when we sincerely, comply with the conditions of acceptance, which he has established, and continue ia them3 then does " our God count us worthy of his calling, as the apostle speaks, 2 Thcssi. 11, 12. that the name of our Lord fejta Christ may be glorified in us, and we in bint. This, I hope, will dispose us the more diligently to attend to the particular doctrine of this text, namely, the love of Christ above all, declared by himself, to be one essentially necessary qualification, without which we are not worthy of him, or his approved disciptes, intitled to his acceptance, and the reward of his kingdom. I come therefore,

Secondly, To consider. the love of Christ as in comparison with, and opposition to the bye of friends, and all other worldly

interests.

« הקודםהמשך »