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endure to the end jhall be saved, and to them 5 B R M. atone who remain faithful unto death, "the ^. crown of life is promised. Now, the only V"""v*"'*' possible security of this stedfastnefs, is love to Christ, and to religion and virtue above a& Without it j whenever the interest of any prevailing object of affection comes ia competition with our duty, we shall defeft it, and cleave to the more beloved idol. St. Paul tells us, 2 Tim. iy. 10. That "Demas "forsook him, having loved this present ** world." And, indeed, according to the account which the apostle John gives us of the love of the world, * that it comprehend* the •* lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and "the pride of Use," or the pleasures of the external senses, riches, and honour, to it must be attributed the numerous heresies and apostacies of the primitive times; especially if we add to it, cowardice, which is an undue love of life, or loving it more than Christ and our duty.

I shall only add, that a stedfast, and universal obedience to him, is imported in out being worthy of Christ, or his sincere disciples. The very notion of a christian is one who keeps the commandments of Christ,

Without.

. ^ ... . * ~

• 1 Johaif. 16,

SErM.Without that, the name is a meer insigniIX. ficancy j or rather, it is hypocrisy. Now **""v~"-'this obedience is the genuine inseparable fruit of prevailing love to him; it is the test, to which our professed affectionate regards to him, are to be brought, that we may judge with certainty, whether they are sincere, or not. "If ye love me, fays our Saviour himself, jsohnxiv. 15. keep my com"mandments." And verse 21. " He that "hath my commandments, and keepeth them, "he it is that lovcth me." Nor is there any thing else, which in reason can be supposed, to preserve us in a steddy, and universal obedience to his laws. Other principles and motives may produce a temporary and external conformity, or rather appearance of conformity to them: But in many instances, and those of the greatest moment, their influence will fail. If the demands of a person, or object, more beloved than Christ, interfere with his precepts, the stronger affection will carry the mind, and thereby govern the practice. And the deliberate offence in that one point is an essen*tial breach, forfeiting the christian character and hopes: So that the keeping of -the whole law, that is, all the rest of it, passes 4 for fbr nothing, according to St. James's ac- Serm. count, chap. ii. :i<& .. :v EC

... Thus it appears, that a superior love \Q{~*y~wJ Christ-, loving him more than father, ..pf; mother, brethren or sisters, any worldly • interest, and even life itself; that this, I lay, is absolutely necessary to our being worthy of Christ, or his sincere and accepted disciples.

. It remains now that we make some application of this subject: Which may be the better done, because our Saviour himself has gone before us, in applying it, to one of the highest and most difficult points, in the practice of religion, that is, to the cafe of suffering persecution, It must be acknowleged a very severe trial to be in a state of enmity with one's nearest relations, and for a man to have his foes, those of his own house, continually treating him ill, and ready to betray him, and deliver him up to the most grievous sufferings. This is the cafe supposed: And how shall a christian support himself in it? There is no principle that will bear him out, but a superior affection to Christ: And this, if it be strong enough, will do it effectually. It is true,. the friendship of relations is very desirable;

as

SERM.as sufferings by their hands are peculiarly IX. bitter. But that friendship is not to be L -k-1v^jurchased, nor the sufferings avoided at so great an expence, as abandoning the cause of religion: And whosoever will act that part, let him not pretend, that he lovesChrist. His practice is an irrefragable demonstration of the contrary. If the frowns of a father, the hatred of a brother, and the danger of his life, are prevented at the-v expence of an indignity to Christ, carl deny, that he loves them more than hiitt Men may attribute their fainting in the time of trial, and relinquishing their duty through fear of persecution t© a pitiable weakness, while they flatter themselves they have still a sincere affection to the good cause they desert : But according to the judgment of our Saviour, it must be otherwise. And we may every one be convinced of it, if we deliberately attend to the reason of the case. For can there be any sincere affection to God;, to our Saviour, and to his cause of pure religion and virtues if it be not a prevailing affection, stronger than any other, which opposes k in the heart? But that it is not so, by the stippoi s fition is manifest. Who can Jay he has a .: A greater

greater regard to Christ, than to his Use, S E R M.-' and to men, if to save it, he denies him KC; before them? - >r-v-—

But, we may apply this also to other, and more ordinary purposes in the practice of' religion. If the commanding love of Christ be a sufficient defence against the strongest temptations, it may well support the mind against lesser ones. And indeed tho' the greatest things in religion may be effected by the force of this principle, the least and the easiest cannot be done without it. There are other trials of integrity and virtue, besides persecution, arising from the common relations, and affairs in life : And the friendship of this world too commonly betrays men into enmity against God. Our affection to our friends and worldly interests may mistead us, by flattery, as well as terror: and their insinuating smiles may prove a snare as well as their frowns. If a christian then shall be in such an unhappy situation even in his own house, as to be sollicited to sin, by his most intimate friends; if their example, or persuasions allure him to that which is evil; let him remember that first and most indispensable law of his religion, . to love his God, and his Saviour, more than-"

Voi.'J* Q_ "Father

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