« הקודםהמשך »
that saith, Lord, Lord, only ; but he that doth his will also, shall enter the kingdom.
Now the will of God, and Christ his son, is, that we should love him above all, and in loving him, we shall love one another; for Christ saw the great need there was of loving God above all, and also of loving one another; therefore he answered thus to him that asked him, which was the greatest commandment, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Mat. xxii. 37. . “ This (says Christ) is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself : on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” verses 38, 39, and 40.
Now if these two great commandments were obeyed, it would answer God's great love to us, in sending his Son to bless us. Oh! the glory of God, how it would shine! it would make the young men as valiants of Israel, and the old men às captains of thousands ; then Christ would reign gloriously indeed, in the hearts of the children of men; here the Lamb and his followers (that walk in the light, and in that commandment, that burns as a lamp), would get the victory over the devil and his followers; but, on the contrary, this is the great error of mankind, they talk of God, and Christ, in words; but deny him in works : nay, some will not stick to say, it is impossible to keep the commands of Christ. It is too commonly spoken, and also believed, that there is no perfection on this side the grave, contrary to the saying of Christ, “ Be ye perfect, even as your Father, which is in heaven, is perfect.” Mat. v. 48. Yet, say they, it is impossible ; which is as much as to say, Christ is a hard master, in commanding what cannot be done ; consequently, out of their own mouths they will be condemned; for Christ is not a hard master.
I testify against all such unholy and imperfect believers, in solid fear before the Lord; but according to such people's faith and belief, he must needs be hard. Oh! that people would but so love God, and his dear Son, as to strive
to do his commands; for it is impossible they should obey, if they do neither believe nor endeavour: but let such know, that “ Many shall strive, and shall not enter;" much less enter if they do not strive : but we must, of necessity, strive, in obedience to his will, and by his assistance, (not in our own natural will) “ to enter in at the strait gate :" man would enter in with all his pleasant things, and in all his bravery and gallantry; but God's will is, that he should be brought low, that he might exalt him. Oh! this self, it is a great enemy to mankind.
My intention is, to awaken people out of the sleep of sin, which is death ; and to stir them up to righteousness, and love to the Lord, and their neighbour, even with their whole heart; this is what my heart breathes to, and supplicates, the Lord of heaven for; then would the end
my labour, in his love, be answered; for great is the love of God, in sending his Son, and, also, in sending his servants, and stirring them up, to rouze people out of the sleep of security, that they might see the danger they are in, and how near they lie to the brink of the pit of burning. Oh! that people would but seriously consider that which is shewed and told them in the love of the Lord. Oh! that it might be laid to heart. However, whether they will hear, or forbear, God will be clear, and his servants also will be clear. But if we not only hear, but also obey, that peace, which passeth the understanding of men (that our Lord giveth to his followers) will be our portion, and the lot of our inheritance forever: but this is on condition of our obedience, and keeping the commands of God; “ If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John xiv. 15.) saith the Lord. So, if people live in saying, and not in doing, in professing, and confessing, yet still living in pride and high-mindedness, and in sin, it is apparent, they do not love Christ Jesus (according to his own words) neither doth he justify them ; it is only the doers that he will justify. The apostle John says, “ If a man says, he loves God; and yet hateth his brother, he is a liar.” ] John, iv. 20. and, by plain scripture testimony, such are not of God. Moreover, if he says, he loves Christ, yet doth not his sayings, he is also a liar, and the truth is not in him, or, Christ is not in him ; who said, “I am the truth ;” and thus man becomes reprobated; for Paul, writing to the brethren, saith, “ Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith, prove your own selves; know ye not, your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?” 2 Cor. xii. 5. Which in-dwelling of Christ is a great mystery to many; although Christ within (which the apostles preached) was the hope of the saints' glory. Col. i. 27. And, Oh! how earnest was Christ in prayer to his Father, that his followers may be one in him, and that they may be united together in one. John xvii. Such was the love of Christ to his church 1; now, what remains on the church's part, since Christ has done his part, surely it is, that we love him again ; for, saith John, 6. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John, iv. 8. They that dwell in enmity, are not the children of God, but the children of satan, who always hated the appearance of Christ, the light of the world ; and yet stirreth up those that are led by his dark spirit, to war against him, and his seed, in his children; who said, “ I am the light of the world.”
But indeed it is as Christ hath said, “Men love dark. ness rather than light';" and how strange is it, seeing the one is so glorious, and the other so miserable ? But the reason is, as Christ hath showed, “ because their deeds are evil.” John üi. 19. That is indeed the very cause ; for if their deeds were good, they would love the light, which is Christ Jesus, the Lord of life and glory; and bring their deeds to him, that he might judge them ; who will give righteous judgment to every man according to his works, John v. 29. The righteous will have their portion in the resurrection of life, joy, and peace, in the Holy Ghost; but the wicked in the resurrection of damnation. Oh! that I might be instrumental in the hand of the Lord, to open the some that are spiritually blind, that they might see the splendour, the beauty, and the great glory of the dear Son of God, that most excellent light which God hath
prepared, according to good old Simeon's testimony of him. “ Thou hast (says
he) prepared him a light to enlighten the gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.” Luke iii. 32. A glorious light indeed! Truly, methinks every body should be in love with him. For my part, he is my chiefest joy. I would not part with him for all the pomp and vain glory of the world; neither would I have the shining beams, and glorious rays, (which comfort me for well doing, and reprove me for, and discover, the contrary) clouded from my sight and understanding, for the finest gold, or choicest rubies. Such is my love to Christ, the bridegroom of souls; but, by the way, it hath cost me many a tear, and many groanings in my spirit, before I came thus to enjoy Christ, who is the beloved of all the redeemed. Oh! may I never give him cause to withdraw himself from dwelling in me. Oh! the universal love of Christ : it is everlasting to them that are open-hearted unto him, and to all that will hear his voice, so as to obey it; for, says he, “ I stand at the door and knock,” (that is the door of the heart of man)“ if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. iii. 20. And John says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us: God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John iv. 16. A heavenly habitation, and glorious dwelling-place! Who would but endeav. our to dwell in love, and forsake enmity, that they might attain unto such eternal happiness, as to have their abode with the Lord.
This fulfilleth the words of Christ. " For he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John xiv. 17. How was he to be in them? A comforter for well-doing, that they might have the hope of glory, and a reprover for sin, self-righteousness, and wrong judgment. Indeed it was the great love of God in thus sending his beloved Son, a light into this dark world, to shew people their evil deeds, and to condemn sin in the flesh: for he is the sinful world's condemnation, as well as a sav. iour and justifier of the righteous and holy believer. The Jews of old hated him, and many of them did in
tend to darken his bright and shining light; but some of the Jews believed on him, and, after they came truly to believe on his name, spread his gospel of truth and glad tidings amongst the children of men, and also suffered for his name's sake. It is also said, “ He came unto his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John i. 11, 12. But what say such to him as account themselves spiritual Jews (seeing the apostle
“ He is not a Jew that is one outwardly." Rom. ii. 28.) I mean those that call themselves by his name; why many of them trample upon his light and appearance, and despise the spirit of his grace, which is a swift witness against evil, and lets men see what is good, and what is bad, comforts for the one, and brings judgment and condemnation for the other. I can truly say, I would with my whole heart, that God did dwell a comforter in all (or Christ, or the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, which are all one) but this can never be, while sin remains and has an evil root in mankind. “ An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit." By this we may know christians from anti-christians, and lovers of Christ from them that love him not : if we love him we become subjects to him, subject to do his will. Oh! it is a brave station to be subjects of the King of heaven, and if we love him unfeignedly, with all our might and mind, and our neighbours (or them that are already his subjects) as ourselves, and with the sword of the spirit valiantly encounter with the devil and satan ; Oh! then shall we be his subjects, and he will receive us into his warfare, and through him we shall be victorious, for the Lamb and his followers will have the victory. I would press people in love into this warfare, having commission from my master and Lord (I mean spiritual) by shewing them what anxiety of soul, and distress of mind, they will procure to themselves, by living in enmity to the Lord and his saints. Oh! my soul, I charge thee, with all those that have any regard to the holy Jesus, obey the commands of the Lord, and love his followers,