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commandments are not grievous. His yoke is easy, , and his burden is light; though if it were never so heavy, I would readily take it up. For what is the little that I can do for him, who has done and suffered so much for me? Did he say, I delight to do thy will, O my God, when that will called himn to labour and sufferings which would have discouraged any but himself, and shall I be backward to do what I can? Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." —But they are not content with following
" ”. Christ themselves: but they say to one and another as they meet them, “ Come, and see the glory and the grace of our Immanuel. His ways are ways of plea
. santness, and all his paths are peace. Come, cast in your lot among us, and enter yourselves among his disciples. You cannot serve a better Master. Come, declare yourselves on the Lord's side. He deserves
love and homage, and in keeping his commandments, you will find great reward.” In this manner they plead for the honour of their Master; and in this way they steadily persevere in their duty, even though bonds and afflictions abide them.
If we consider Christ as offended with our sins, and having suffered for them, love manifests itself in grief and sympathy.
The ingenuous soul would partake of the agonies of a dying Jesus. “ I am crucified with Christ,” says the Apostle, “ and I could not do less. He was
, wounded for my transgressions, and bruised for my iniquities; and he shall not suffer alone. I am determined to take revenge upon myself, for having been so base in my conduct towards bim. I will deny myVOL. I.
self, take up my cross, and follow him ; and have fellowship with him in his sufferings. I hate myself for having loaded him with my iniquities. I lament that I should ever have made light of those sins which drew blood from the heart of my blessed Redeemer. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee: and am I not grieved with those who rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred. I count them my enemies. I abhor them the more, for being bred in my own guilty bosom ; and by thy grace I will never cease to oppose them."
If we consider Christ as glorified in Heaven, love expresses itself in joy and triumph.
“ If ye loved me,” says Christ,“ ye would rejoice, because I go unto the Father.” “I do, gracious Lord,” replies the believer. “ I do rejoice in every instance of thy exaltation and glory. With painful pleasure I looked at thee during thy sufferings; for I knew that it was expedient for me that thou shouldst suffer as thou didst. If thou hadst not trodden the wizepress of thy Father's wrath, and died, and been made a curse, I should have been exposed to certain and eternal destruction. So that I could not but look at thee with grateful astonishment and joy, mingled with anguish of spirit, as thou wast stretched upon the cross for effecting my redemption. But I was glad when the dreadful scene was over; and I rejoiced to hear thee say, “ It is finished.”
" It is finished.” With delight I followed thy mangled body to that silent and safe repository, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. But no words can express the joy I felt, when an angel came, and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre; and
I again beheld my Lord and my God. lexulted when I saw thee ascending up on high, to receive gifts for men, and glory for thyself; and when I knew the honourable reception which awaited thee, at thy return from our inhospitable world. I rejoiced when the Eternal smiled, and embraced thee: and giving thee a name above every name, seated theė at his own right hand; while nothing was heard in heaven, but the voice of much people, saying, Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honoar, and glory, and blessing. But when I knew that in the midst of all these honours thou rememberedst thy poor disciples on earth, and heard thee kindly saying, Father, I will that those also whon thou hast given me, bé with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, I was filled with gratitude and joy inconceivable."
Thus love adapts itself to Christ in all his states and concerns. If he be absent, it follows him ; if he be present, it reposes in him ; if he command, it obeys; if he suffer, it condoles ; if he be glorified, it triumphs.
II. Observe that, notwithstanding all this amiablea ness in Christ, there may be some who do not love him.
The Apostle supposes that such a thing is possible, when he says, “ If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” But it is not barely possible: it is so very common, that wecease to wonder at it; and it is rather a matter of astonishment to meet with any who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. How many of those who are now present have no real regard for Christ! I pretend not
to point out the very persons; but I will give such a description of them, that conscience will readily say, “ Thou art the man."
Such persons have no real esteem for the Saviour, Unto you that believe, he is precious : yea, doubt. less, and you count all things but loss, for the excel. lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord. But it is not so with all. Many can hear much of his divine glory, and not feel the least emotion, or the least desire of being more intimately connected with him. If they are bidden to choose their portion, they say not, “Let me have Christ, and I have all, and abound.” No; they say to gold, “ Thou art my hope;" and to fine gold, “ Thou art my confidence. Let me have as much of the world as I wish, and I care not about any spiritual blessings." How dwells then the love of Christ in such characters? In others this is still more glaring. Instead of possessing a high regard for Christ, they lightly esteem this rock of their salvation. They think meanly of him, and treat him contemptuously. Thus “ he is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
They have no true faith in Christ.
Christ came into the world to save sinners; and “ He that believeth in me,” says Christ, “ hath everlasting life.” In consequence of this gracious decla. ration, “ Lord, I believe,” cries one: “ Lord, I believe," says another; and they have, such an opinion of his power and grace, that they readily venture their all with him. When outward prospects are discouraging, you may hear them sometimes exclaim, “ Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, nor afraid; for I
know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him against that day.” But the greater part of mankind will not trust him, nor yield themselves to him, and therefore expose themselves to the doom contained in these words: “ He that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God: and this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.”
There is no obedience and subjection to Christ in such characters.
“ If a man love me,” says he," he will keep my words.” To the friends of Christ, his testimonies are their delight and their counsellors. Whatever he bids them do, they endeavour to perform. Let it be difficult or self-denying, it is the orders of Christ, and they will obey. But what shall we say of those who disregard his commands? He says to them, “ Go, work to day in my vineyard :" but they will rather stand all the day idle. He bids them take his yoke upon them: but they reply, “ We were born free, and were never in bondage to any. Our lips are our own: who is Lord over us?" And so they walk'after the ways of their hearts, and the sight of their eyes, without thinking or caring whether Christ be pleased or offended. Far from endeavouring ta please him, some of them do all they can to oppose him; and are like those of old, whom our Lord thus describes: 6 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Did you never know any persons