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than Christum

endure to the end shall be faved, and to them SER M.
alone wbo remain faithful unto death, the IX,
crown of life is promised. Now, the only
poffible fecurity of this stedfastness, is love
to Chrift, and to religion and virtue above
al). Without it; whenever the interest of
any prevailing object of affection comes in
competition with our duty, we shall defert
it, and cleave to the more beloved idol. St.
Paul tells us, 2 Tim. iv. 10. That “Demas

for fook him, having loved this present ESE

« world.'*. And, indeed, according to the
account which the apostle John gives us of
the love of the world, * that it comprehends
the" luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes,

and
the pride of life," or the pleasures of the
external senses, riches, and honour, to it
muft be attributed the numerous heresies
and apostacies of the primitive times; espew
cially if we add to it, cowardice, which is

an undue love of life, or loving it more E I shall' only add, that a stedfaft, and uni

verfal obedience to him, is imported in our
being worthy of Christ, or his fincere disa
ciples. The very notion of a christian is
one who keeps the commandments of Chrift,

Without
* John ij 16

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Serm. Without that, the name is a meer infigniIX. ficancy; or rather, it is hypocrify. Now

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 fincere, or not.

If ye love me, says our Saviour himself, John xiv. 15. keep my commandments.And verfe 21. “ He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, « be it is that loveth me." Nor is there any thing else, which in reason can be supposed, to preserve us in a steddy, and univerfal 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 effential breach, forfeiting the christian character and hopes : So that the keeping of the whole law, that is, all the reft of it, passes

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for nothing, according to St. James's ac- SERM. count, chap. ii. 10..

IX.
Thus it appears, that a superior love to
Christ, loving him more than father, or
mother, brethren or sisters, any worldly
interest, and even life itself; that this, I
say, is absolutely necessary to our being
worthy of Christ, or his sincere and accept-
ed disciples.
It remains now that we make some

ap-
plication of this subject: Which may be
the better done, because our Saviour him-
self 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
case 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
the most grievous sufferings. This is the
case supposed: And how shall, a christian
support himself in it? There is no principle
that will bear him out, but a superior af-
fection to Christ: And this, if it be strong
enough, will do it effectually. It is true,
the friendship of relations is

very

desirable;

up to

!

as

IX. bitter:

Serm. as sufferings by their hands are peculiarly

But that friendship is not to be purchased, nor the sufferings avoided at foi great

, an expence, as abandoning the cause of religion: And whosoever will act that part, let him not pretend, that he loves Christ. His practice is an irrefragable de monstration of the contrary. If the frowns: of a father, the hatred of a brother, and the danger of his life, are prevented at the expence of an indignity to Christ, can he deny, that he loves them more than him?! Men may attribute their fainting in the time of trial, and relinquishing their duty ? through fear of persecution to 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 other wise. And we may every one be convinced of it, if we deliberately attend to : the reason of the case. For can there be to any fincere affection to God, to our Saviour, and to his cause of pure religion and virtue, if it be not a prevailing affection, stronger than any other, which opposes it in the heart? But that it is not so, by the suppo fition is manifeft. Who can fay he has a

greater

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greater regard to Christ, than to his life, SERMO and to men, if to save it, he denies him - IX. before them?

* 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 31 against lefser ones. And indeed tho' the 1 greatest things in religion may be effected

by the force of this principle, the least and

the easiest cannot be done without it. There 1

are other trials of integrity and virtue, be-
fides persecution, arising from the common

relations, and affairs in life : And the friend* ship of this world too commonly betrays

men into enmity against God. Our' affec-
tion to our friends and worldly interests may
mislead us, by flattery, as well as terror :
and their infinuating 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 follicited
to fin, 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 Savicur, more than
VOL. I.

Q

5 Fatber

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