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blood. Refign all to him now. If you hate not your life, you cannot be his difciple. Be not deterred from the facrament by this, for, by the word of God, the way to heaven is no easier. But when the time comes, that the faints are to be carried to the table above, they will not be supposed to stand and look on, as when they present themselves before the lower table; the fearful and unbelieving fhall be excluded from that table, Rev. xxi. 8. It is neceffary at all times that people should manage matters thus when they fit down at the Lord's table, but especially at this time, when the cloud of the church's trouble is gathering so fast, and our peace is flying from us. That party has now got the afcendant, whofe temper always has been to breathe out threatenings, cruelty, and blood, and furiously to drive their plough over the back of the church, and to make their furrows deep, till the righteous. Lord do cut the cords of the ungodly crew. They have brought in their fuperftitions already, by the favour of a toleration which reflects fhame on themfelves before the world, as if they were men of no faith, but as to one article. By their means we are threatened with idolatry, and with a French government. But God fits in heaven, and can bring order out of confufion. Let us prepare for whatsoever may come, honeftly committing all to. the Lord, and he will raise the fincere foul above itself, and give the back to bear its own burden, if we be but willing to ftoop, and take it on for his fake. He left all for us, and fhall we account any thing too much for him? However, this is the fettled law of heaven, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and fifters, yea, and his own life alfo, be cannot be my difciple. Amen.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
LUKE, xvi. 26. If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and chil dren, and brethren, and fifters, yea, and his own life alfo, he cannot be my difciple.
AVING, in the preceding discourse, attended to what was proposed as the first and second heads of method, I now proceed,
III. To offer fome reafons why Chrift is dearer to his true difciples than what is deareft to them in the world. Among other reafons, the following are mentioned.
1. Because to every true difciple, fin, of all bitter things, is the bittereft. A man will get a clearer view of the ftars from the bottom of a deep pit, than from the top of a high mountain; and the lower that a man is laid in humiliation for fin, Christ will be the dearer to him. Many
* Delivered at Selkirk, Monday, Oct. 12, 1712.
things, nay, almost any thing, is dearer to moft perfons than Chrift. Why fo? Because any bitter thing is more bitter to their depraved taste than fin. As when God intended to endear the promised land to the Ifraelites, and make them content to leave the flesh-pots of Egypt, Exod. i. 14. their lives then were made bitter to them; so God gives his people deep wounds for fin, till their confciences be made to dread it, and their hearts to loathe it ; "he makes them fick at the heart with it, and puts more and more bitterness in the cup to them, till it be of all things the bittereft, to this very end, that Christ may be the dearest to them, and that whatever they may afterwards meet with in his way, they may embrace it rather than fin. Sin has been bitter to many, but not extremely bitter; therefore they fay, as the drunkard, Prov. xxiii. 35. "When fhall I awake? I will feek it yet again." But the experience of fin duly embittered quickly determines the Chriftian which fide to chufe, when they are brought to this alternative, to fuffer or fin.-Another reafon is,
2. That God is man's chief end; and when he made him, he made him pointing towards himfelf as his chief end: Ecclef. vii. 29. "God made man upright." But man finning, turned off from, God, turned his intention, his love, and defire, befide the mark fet before him, turned these in to himself, made himself his chief end. So that the whole of every natural man's religion, however refined, refolves itself into that curfed principle, Mafter, fpare thyself. Hence they chufe new gods, father, mother, &c. fetting their heart on them more than on God. Hence is their war in the gates against heaven, thofe things which were to be fubordinate to God are fet in oppofition to him; those
those which were to be below him in their love and
efteem, are fet above him. If the grace of God rectify not this diforder, it does nothing; for it is impoffible, while the foul is perverted as to its chief end, that any thing can be right with that perfon; as a watch that is once wrong fet, though it go.never fo regularly, it is ftill wrong, for it never points right. But grace truly, though not perfectly while here, brings back the Chriftian to God as his chief end. It makes him fay, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon the earth that I defire befides thee?" Pfal. lxxiii. 25.; and again, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," Phil. i. 21. It makes him holy in all manner of conversation; so that whatever way the Chriftian turns, he points habitually towards God.-Another reason is,
3. That as there unquestionably is, fo they have feen, a vanity and emptiness in all things of the world, even the things that are dearest to them: Pfal. cxix. 96. "I have feen an end of all perfection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” God has hung the fign of vanity at the door of all the creatures, yet do men throng into the house, every one calling and looking for a fill, and promifing it to themselves after a thousand disappointments Ifa. lvii. 1o. "Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet faidft thou not, There is no hope thou haft found the life of thine hand; therefore thou waft not grieved." They fee not the fign by the light of grace, though they may have a rational conviction of it, which will be as far from producing a true weaning of the heart from the world, as painted fire is from burning off a man's bands. But Christians are made to fee it with the light of grace, which is the light of life, which makes them go by the creatures. door
door to him, in whom "it hath pleased the Father that all fulness fhould dwell," Col. i. 19. The Lord fqueezes the fap out of all things, befides himself, to his own, fo as that when the heart is seeking its reft, they are tasteless to them as the white of an egg: Phil. iii. 7. 8. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted lofs for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but lofs for the excellency of the knowledge of Jefus Chrift my Lord; for whom I have fuffered the lofs of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Chrift."-Another reason is,
4. Because they find Christ of all objects the most suitable to them, and therefore he cannot but be dearer to them than the dearest thing in the world. The foul which has long gone through the dry places of the world, seeking reft, and finding none, when it comes to Chrift, finds reft to the confcience under the covert of his blood, and reft to his heart in that all-fulness dwelling in Christ, which is commenfurate to the unbounded defires of the heart, defires which can never be fatisfied but by an infinite good; and therefore of neceffity, and from choice, fettles here, faying, "This is my reft ;" and that foul is not to be drawn away from Christ by any means whatever : Rom. viii. 35. 38. "Who fhall feparate us from the love of Chrift? For I am perfuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things prefent, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Chrift Jesus our Lord." He is fully fuited to their cafe; and, what is more, he is fuited to their mind, they have no fault whatever to him: Song, v. 16. "His mouth is most sweet, yea, he is altogether lovely; this is my beloved,