in the law, to love our neighbour as ourselves, does not contradict this here, but speaks out what was implied there, that we must neither love our neighbour nor ourselves as our God. It is not an abfolute, but a comparative hatred, which is here. meant; that is, a lefs love: Gen. xxix. 31. "And when the Lord faw that Leah was hated;" that is, lefs loved than Rachel. Similar inftances occur, as in Deut. xxi. 15. John, xii. 25. And thus it is explained, Matth. x, 37. " He that loveth, father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." A man must leave father and mother to cleave to his wife; but he must leave his wife, yea, and his life alfo, to cleave to Chrift. Levi gave a practical commentary on this text, Deut. xxxiii. 9. "Who faid unto his father, and to his mother, I have not feen, neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children; for they obferved thy word, and kept thy covenant." And fo did that difciple-like refolution of Jerom If my father fhould ftand before me,' fays he, my mother hang upon me, my brethren prefs about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, tread under feet my mother, to cleave to Jefus Chrift.' So faid a certain Dutch schoolmaster, being asked, if he loved not his wife and children? Yes,' fays he, if all the world were gold, and mine to difpofe of, I would give it all to live with them, though but in a prifon; yet is my foul and my Lord Chrift dearer than all.' But perhaps this is only the attainment of few. Miftake it not, but hear, ML


2. Chrift's verdict upon the cafe, and venture not to distinguish where the law makes no diftinction: "If any man come to me, and hate not, &c. he cannot be my disciple." Be he or she who


they will, they cannot be Chrift's difciples, Christ be not dearer than what is deareft te them in a world. Nominal difciples they may be indeed, but real they cannot be, they cannot bear afflictions for Chrift, because they want fuch affections to him as are necessary to make them go in the ftrait and narrow way which leads unto life. From this fubject I would take this

DOCTRINE, That no man can be a true disciple of Christ, to whom Chrift is not dearer than what is dearest to him in the world.

FOR illuftrating this fubject, I fhall,

I. Speak to the nature of this neceffary qualification of a true disciple of Chrift.

II. Confirm the doctrine of the text.

III. Offer some reasons why Chrift is dearer to his true difciples, than what is deareft to them in the world.

IV. Conclude with fome improvement.

WE are then,

I. To speak to the nature of this neceffary qualification of a true difciple of Chrift.-There are in it,

1. An efteem of Christ above all: Pfal. xlv. 2. "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into thy lips; therefore God hath bleffed thee for ever." Chrift is the highest and most glorious object in the practical judgement of all his true difciples: Pfal. Ixxiii. 25. "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I defire befide thee." They do not only think him the best portion, confidering things in the general, in which fenfe he has even the commendation of those who flight him; but they look upon

upon him as beft for them, in whatever circumftances they may be; this is the character of a true difciple: Matth. xi. vi. " And bleiled is he, whofoever shall not be offended in me." As the fparkling ftars hide their heads when the fun arifeth, fo all things in the world lofe their luftre when the glory of God appeareth to them, flining in the face of Jefus; though to others there is in him no beauty.

2. The heart renounceth its property in all things of the world, in the day of its clofing with Jefus Chrift. As a rebellious fon, turned out of his father's houfe into an uninhabited land, takes that as his property which he falls upon by the right of first-finding; but when he has access to return, he quits it, that he may enjoy his father's eftate: fo Adam and his children being driven out of paradise, and banished from the prefence and enjoyment of the Lord himself, they take up with what created comforts they ftumble upon in their blind rambling through the wilderness of this world, as their own portion; but returning and taking Chrift, they part with thefe, their fouls returning into their quiet reft. The natural man, being alienated from the life of God, takes a dead hold of created things, as fuited to his corrupt state, and therefore his own by choice; hence fo many carnal my's, but not a word of my God amongst them: Hof. ii. 5. "She faid, I will go after my lovers that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink." This is very unlike to Pfal. xviii. 1. 2. "I will love thee, O Lord, my ftrength. The Lord is my rock and my fortrefs, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will fruft; my buckler, and the horn of my falvation, and my high tower." Now, when the foul be


gins to live, it quits that greedy grip of carnal things, and begins to fall off from the world; that bond of iniquity which bound the heart and the world together being broken; so that the disciple of Chrift looks on all he has as no more his own.

3. The foul refigns all to the Lord, lays all down at the Lord's feet, to be disposed of as he will: 1 Sam. iii. 18. “ Eli said, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." 2 Sam. xv. 26. "David faid, Behold, here am I, let the Lord do with me as feemeth good unto him.” If the Lord have ufe for his comforts in the world, he, and all that are his, are for his part at his fervice. Though they were his before, he now makes a free-will offering of them all to the Lord; fo that, in very deed, all that a true difciple of Chrift has, are dedicated things, confecrated to God. He may not, he dare not, revoke the grant; they must be used, as God who is the proprietor doth direct, whofe will must not be difputed in the difpofal of his own; they can be no more for profane, but holy ufes. And if, through the prevalence of corruption, he has put his hand to that which is not holy, Chrift's difcipline will make him bring it back with the tear in his eye. Never a foul clofes with Christ aright, that layeth not all its enjoyments, even life itself, at his feet.

4. The foul accepts of Chrift for, and instead of the things refigned. God does not require us, nor will the heart ever part with these, but for a better: Matth. xiii. 45. 46. " Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man feeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and fold all that he had, and bought it." The man takes Chrift instead of father, mother, and all things; for it is impoffible that man can be felf-fufficient. The heart


of man is an empty, hungry thing, that muft needs have fomething to feed upon; and let men ply their hearts with the utmost diligence, they will ftill find it impoffible to draw the hufks of the world out of their hearts, unless something better is fet before them. They muft fee heaven, before they will be drawn from earth; therefore, the great tranfaction between Chrift and the foul is held out under the notion of buying, in which a man does indeed in one fenfe, namely, as to his portion, give away his money; but he obtains fomething instead of it, which is better to him than his money. He gets Chrift, the pearl of great price, the one thing needful.

5. The foul is difpofed to part with them, when the Lord calls for them; has an habitual readiness to part with them for Chrift. It is true, indwelling corruption is ready to hold the grip too faft, even when the Lord calls for a delivery; yet every foul clofing with Chrift has an honeft refolution to part with all for him actually, when he shall please to put them to this trial. The grace of God. looseth them at the root, when it first comes into the foul, rooting and grounding them in love to Chrift; which root of the righteous fhall never be moved.

6. There is in the foul a new power of living, without them, on Jefus Chrift; a life which is an abfolute mystery to every Christless foul: John, vị. 57. "As the living Father hath fent me, and I live by the Father, fo he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." If in this fpiritual bargain they have quit with their money, on the purchase made, they can live without it, elfe would they never have quit with it. Though all temporal things fail them, yet can they rejoice in the Lord as their portion, and joy in the God of their fal


« ForrigeFortsett »