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deareșt delights. Is it thus with you, and the Lord Jesus Christ? Do your thoughts turn freely, naturally, and delightfully, to him? If Christ have his deserved interest in your souls, he is the subject of your frequent and chosen contemplation. You will love to be alone; and getting away from the business apd the pleasures of the world, you will gladly retire to your closets; and shutting the door to keep out intruders, will set yourselves to think upon Jesus. Is it so with you? If not; if you be strangers to such sensations, and hardly ever think of Christ, but when others mention his name ; if
you find a continual reluctance to fix your thoughts upon him; and if when you have done it, the least trifle will take
, them off again; if you can apply your minds intensely to business or pleasure all the day long, without being tired, and find it irksome and unpleasant to be confined to hear or think about Christ for a few moments only; surely if you love the Lord Jesus Christ at all, it is very, very faintly indeed.
Your love to Christ will also be manifested by the care of your lives.
Can you say with truth, and can others say it of you, that to you, to live is Christ: that the
governing scope of all, is to please, to honour, or to enjoy Christ? If one person have a particular friendship for another, he will exert himself upon all occasions to serve him; he will grudge no pains, he will spare no expense, he will suffer any inconveniences, to be helpful to the man whom he loves. Do you feel it thus with respect to the Saviour? You have frequent opportunities of showing your preference of him. The world and sin are perpetually soliciting your time and your heart. "No man can serve two masters : -for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Now, on such an occasion, when the world draws one way, and Christ invites you another, which do you generally follow? Can you, and do you say, repeatedly and resolutely,
" What is all the world to me, if I offend Christ? No; blessed Jesus, let me possess thy favour, though I lose the friendship of all besides," In such an age as the present, when all seek their own, do you seek the things that are Christ's ? Is it, in comparison, indifferent to you, whether you be rich or poor, whether your circumstances prosper or decline, if you can but see his kingdom flourish and advance ? Or are you so intent upon buying, and selling, and getting gain, that you neither think nor care, whether his interest be rising or sinking ?
Now then, let conscience do its office; and it will easily tell you whether you love Christ or not, Some there are ---the Lord increase the number !---but some I know there are, who can boldly appeal to Christ, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." If my subject had led me to speak to them, most gladly would I have staid to congratulate them on the honour and happiness to which they are advanced, by being included among the lovers of Cbrist : and I should call upon them to adore that grace which wrought the happy change in their character and condition: for to grace you owe it, that the dreadful Anathema in the text no longer lies upon you. Your minds were once at enmity with Christ; and if he had not loved you first, and called,
and drawn you to himself, and made you anew, you had been to this day in the number of his enemies.. If, therefore, you be now among those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, be thankful. But at the same time, be humbled for the imperfection of your love. Considering the excellency of the object and your great obligations, it might have been expected, that you should love him with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. But is this really your experience? O Christians, to hear how you should love Christ, and to see how you. . do, may well fill your faces with shame, and your. hearts with distress.
But I must not now stay, either to rejoice with you, on the sincerity of your love, or to weep with you, over its lamentable deficiencies. My text leads me. to pity and plead with those who, upon the trial just pow proposed, have a verdict given against them upon the fullest evidence by conscience, that they do not love the Lord Jesus Christ; and the number of such is greater than is commonly imagined. Few care to own themselves guilty; though they take little pains to conceal it. But disaffection to Christ discovers itself in various ways, in different persons. In some, it is discovered in an opposition to his truths. In others, it appears in a dislike to his precepts; they çannot bear so much strictness: to be required to deny themselves, to cut off a right hand, and pluck, out a right eye, and to crucify the flesh with its affec. tions and lusts are hard sayings, to which they will not submit. In others, it is seen in their dislike of his ordinances : so much reading, and hearing, and praying, are burdensome: they avoid them when they
can : and if they must attend to them, you soon hear them complain, “ Behold, what a weariness is it ; when will the sermon and the sabbath be over?”. In others, it appears in their disregard to his people. Look round then on this congregation, look abroad into the world, and if you can point to any particular persons, who give the plainest proofs that they are averse to the truths, or the precepts, or the ordinances, or the disciples of Christ, you may be assured that they love not the Saviour himself; and of such our text says, “ Let them be Anathema Maranatha.” But methinks I am loth to say any thing so harsh to those whom I love. I hardly know whether it be more your unhappiness, or your sin, to be thus disaffected to Christ. But of this I am certain, that it is both to a dreadful extreme. A greater infelicity cannot befal you than to be strangers to Christ. You deprive yourselves by it, of a friend, who would stand by you in life and in death: and who, indeed, would never leave nor forsake you: a friend whom you could always look to, and lean upon, and converse with; and in whom you might ever confide. Yes, with Christ you would have all, and abound. Christ without the world is enough: but the world without Christ is nothing; not merely vanity, but vexation of spirit; for the curse of God imbitters all your enjoyments. « Anathema Maranatha” are not words without a meaning. It is, as if God should say, " If any man of you love not the Lord Jesus Christ, cursed shalt thou be in the city; and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket, and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body; and cursed shall be the fruit of thy land. Cursed shalt thou be
when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send unto thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto.” If any thing may be added to this, it is what Christ himself said: “ He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Can you hear this without emotion? But what I want is, to convince you of the sin, the exceeding sinfulness, of your disaffection to Christ. It is by no means a matter of indifference; but a crime of tremendous guilt, which is attended with dreadful aggravations; for
It is a sin without cause.
It adinits of no reason or excuse. If Christ should plead with you, as God does with the Jews, “What iniquity have you or your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me; and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” Or, as he bimself reasoned with the Jews: “Many good works have I showed you
Father; for which of these works do ye stone me?” What reply would you be able to give him ? Suppose him to say, “ I have done many things for others, with which you are not unacquainted. You have seen among your own relations, or friends, how I have opened blind eyes, healed broken hearts, pacified troubled consciences, blotted out crimes red as scarlet, and washed out stains deeper than crimson. I have healed the sick; and quickened those that were dead in trespasses and sins. All this I have done for others ; and much have I done for you. I have placed you under the sound of my gospel;. I have sent you my ambassadors