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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 should 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 con-
sequence from the first conditions of their
inlisting in his service. For what do we
mean by taking upon us the christian pro-
fefsion, and calling ourselves the disciples of
the Lord Jesus ? Certainly, that we prefer
his approbation, and the favour of God up-
on his terms, to all considerations in this
world, and are ready to part with every
thing for it. Therefore, if the most esteem-
ed 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
either be will hate the one, and love the
other ; or else he will hold to the one,

and despise the other. re cannot serve God and Mammon *." One of the plainest leffons in christianity is, seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness t.” But this it

self, € Matth. vi. 24.

:

+ Matth. vi. 33

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felf, pursued through all its just consequences, Serm. will lead us up through all the degrees of IX. religious perfection : And to act the

part 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 see what a consistency and connection there is in the whole frame of religion. And to rise to the greatest heights which can be attained in it, no more is required than a firm adherence to its eafieft and plainest rudiments, and to build regularly on the first principles we have learned.

If it be fo, we had need to see that the foundation be well laid ; that is, that we rightly understand the terms upon which we enter into the chriftian profession, and dedicate ourselves to the fervice of our Lord.

One effential 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; and, by parity of reason, to whatever else in this world

may come in competition with him for our affection and efteem. None of us can be ignorant, that this is what our Saviour indifpensably requires. It is yet more strongly

expressid

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SerM.express’d in the xivth of St. Luke and the IX: 26th verse, but the meaning is the same as

If any man come to me, and bate not his father, and mother, and wife, and « children, and brethren, and hifters, 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 be worthy of him

upon

other terms than preferring him to every thing else." ;

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 rew ferred to by this expression, be cannot be my disciple; 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

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heart and in truth. This manner of speak-S ER M.
ing is very usual in the New Testament. At IX.
the 11th verse of this chapter, our Saviour
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. Sin-
cerity is the sum of moral worth ; and the
whole value depends upon it, when a reli-
gious profession is the point to be estimated.
The apostles, after their master, speak in
the same strain. St. Paul exhorts christians
to walk worthy of God, which he explains,
* by walking worthy of the vocation,
woberewith they are called."

That is,
fuitably to the hopes, the privileges, and the
rules of it. God has called us to his king-
dom and glory, and he has called us to
holiness. To be worthy of him, therefore,
and of his calling, is to fulfil the obligati-
ons of our religious character, as his pro-
felled servants and followers and to be qua-
lified upon his own terms for the recom-
pence 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
VOL. I,

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were * Eph. iv. I,

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SERM. were altogether unworthy, and our falvas. IX. tion by the gospel is wholly of grace. And

when we persevere in our obedience to it with all the worthiness we can attain to, for it-is ftill imperfect, we must at last look for the mercy of the Lord Jesus unto eternal life. But, when we reccive the word of bis kingdom into good and honest hearts, and bring forth fruit with patience ; when we fincerely. comply with the conditions of acceptance: which he has established, and continue in them, then does “ our God count us worthy of his calling, as the apostle speaks, 2 Theff. j. 11, 12. that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us, and we in him. 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 neceffary qualification, without which we are not worthy of him, or his approved disciples, 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 love of friends, and all other woțldly

interests.

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