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Like Herod that heard John the vain man, that faith without works Baptist gladly—The Jews were is dead.” Jam, ïi. 20. With their “ willing for a season to rejoice in mouth they inight shew much love, his light,” John v. 35. There are Ezek. xxxiii. 31. but how could some“ who only taste of the word they love God whilst they did not of God,” Heb. vi. 5. The stony keep his commandments ? John ground hearers “received the word xiv. 15. “ For this is the love of with joy.” Luke viii. 13.
God, that we keep his commandThey are also described as ex- ments: and bis commandments pressing their confidence of interest are not grievous.” 1 John v. 3. in Christ, appropriating him to Mere verbal professions are but themselves, for they call him Lord, empty sounds which cost men Lord. They seem to be very con. nothing. On the contrary they are fident that he was their Lord. often subservient to the worldly Jesus intimates that this presump- | interest, character, and pride of tuous confidence will continue with men. But practical Cbristianity some until the last. “ Many shall requires that a man renounce this say unto me in that day, Lord, earthly life, deny himself, and take Lörd, have we not prophesied in up the cross and follow Christ. thy name? and in thy name have Whatever, therefore, men may procast out devils ? and in thy name fess, it is all vain without the real done many wonderful works?” But self-denied obedience of the goshe repels their presumptuous pel; for it is not the hearer of the claims, “I never knew you: depart word, Jam. i. 22–26.-por the from me ye that work iniquity.” | knower of God's will, that is proMatt. vii. 22, 23. “ Not every nounced happy or blessed, but the one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, doer of it, John xiii, 17. Matt. vii. shall enter into the kingdom of 24-28. heaven; but he that doeth the will · 2. Our Lord in blaming them of my Father which is in heaven." for not doing the things that he ver. 21. Such presumptuous, proud says, means to convince them that boasters of their interest in Christ, they were also destitute of the inare, of all others, the least suscep- ward principles of obedience, viz. tible of a conviction of danger; be- faith and love. The best works cause they have fortified themselves without proper principles are of no on every side against the fear of estimation in the sight of God. God, and steeled their consciences " Without faith it is impossible to against all apprehension of danger, please God.” Heb. ii. 6. and this by perverted views of divine grace. may shew us the falsity of the
The fault which our Lord finds common saying, that it is of no with such professors therefore is consequence what a man believes not-the heterodoxy of their specu- if he acts well. Though a man lations—nor the want of verbal should give all his goods to feed professions of love and attachment the poor, and his body to be burnto Christ. Neither is it their wanted, yet without love it would profit of fearless confidence of the safety bim nothing, 1 Cor. xiii. 3. Yet of their state--nor yet their defi when good works are connected ciency of talk about the gospel. with a scriptural profession of the But he blames them,
faith, they are the highest proof to 1. Fornot doing the things which men of the sincerity of that prohe says. Notwithstanding their fession. But when a man's prohigh professions, they were alto-fession is not attended with doing gether deficient in practice. They what Christ says, there is no reamight boast of their faith; but son to think that he either really James says, “ Wilt thou know, O believes or loves what he professes,
and the Scripture absolutely denies 'heart. Let professors judge themthat he does: “He that saith he selves by this rule. knoweth God, and keepeth not his 3. When Christ puts the quescommandments is a liar, and the tion, "Why call ye me Lord, truth is not in him." 1 John ii. 4. Lord, &c.” he evidently blames “He that saith he is in the light them for their inconsistency and and hateth his brother, is in dark- hypocrisy-Inconsistency, in acness even until now.” ver. 9. knowledging him to be their Lord “Whoso hath this world's good, and Master, whilst they did not act and seeth his brother bave need, suitably to this relation, by yieldand shutteth up his bowels of coming that obedience which was due passion from him, how dwelleth to him. They owned their oblithe love of God in him ?" 1 John gation, but did not discharge it, iii. 17. This question implies a and so were condemned out of strong negation, however unchari- their own mouth. Like Israel who table it may appear to some, who owned God to be their father and have connected a profession of master. “If I then be a father Christianity with the love of this (saith the Lord), where is mine present world. When therefore honour? and if I be a master, our Lord says, “Why call ye me where is my fear?” Mal. i. 6. He Lord, Lord, and do not the things blames their hypocrisy, because that I say?” he means to show, their tongue and heart did not that men of this stamp are desti- agree, as was also the case with tute of the inward principles of Israel, “ This people draweth nigh true faith and love. We may here unto me with their mouth, and observe the striking manner in honoureth me with their lips, but which our Lord distinguishes the their heart is far from me.” Isa. false professor from the true. | xxix. 13. Matt. xv. 8. Though he could discern the hearts 4. He blames them in such cirof men, and discriminate a true cumstances for professing his name and false faith in the soul without at all: “ Why call ye me Lord, any regard to the outward con- Lord," which amounts to a prohi. duct; yet he does not go to work bition, as in Psal. I. 16. “What in this manner; nor distinguish a hast thou to do to declare my true from a false faith in its essence statutes, or that thou shouldst take or nature; but by its visible fruits my covenant in thy mouth ? seeing and effects. The rule he lays down thou hatest instruction, and castest in this case is “By their fruits ye my words behind thee.” He also shall know them.” Matt. vii. 20. says to the church of Laodicea, “Every tree is known by its fruit." “ I would thou wert cold or hot." Luke vi. 44. In vain then would we Rev. iii. 15. i. e. either so cold as labour to reach conviction to false to give up the profession altogether, professors by pointing out some, or so hot as to hold it in a proper thing wrong in their faith. Per- | manner. So here, he would rather haps we cannot mention one article that such persons would make no of true faith which they do not profession of his name at all, whilst profess to believe; but the question they do not the things which he is, are they doing the things which says. Their hypocrisy is an agChrist says ? if not, then, by our gravation of their guilt, and more Lord's rule, let them profess what hateful to him than if they made no they will, here is a visible demon- pretensions. Their conduct gives stration that they have not true a false representation of the reli. faith; so that there is no occasion gion of Jesus, and so becomes a for any nice distinctions upon the stumbling block to others—a rehature of faith às subsisting in the proach upon the holy profession
and a dishonour to Christ, by lead-site to the leading sentiments, dising the world to blaspheme his positions and course of this world, worthy name. Rom. ii. 23, 24. as light is to darkness. Therefore Such professors are the worst the world in general, whatever enemies of the cross of Christ, religious form it may assume, must notwithstanding all their boast in always hate. genuine Christianity, it; for a treacherous friend is worse as our Lord hath foretold. If we than an open enemy. The world look into Christ's Sermon on the in general do not judge of Chist- mount, we shall see how opposite ianity by it own merits as exhibited its precepts are to the natural disin the New Testament, but by the positions of men. Hence the lives of its professors; and if they generality of professors pay little see men professing to know Christ regard to them, notwithstanding whilst by their works they deny all their speculations about points him, they will conclude that it is a of faith. Some of them they exfalse religion, when they ought only plain away, and take great pains to infer that such are false proto shew that our Lord cannot fessors of it. Christ therefore, mean what he says, otherwise such would rather have such to give up and such an absurdity would foltheir pretensions altogether than low Others have taken a shorter thus to dishonour his name. Hence method to get rid of them altowe may see what account Christ gether, and tell us, they were never makes of an empty profession of given as precepts to be obeyed, religion which many have been so but only to convince of sin, and to zealously propagating in the na- set forth the perfection of Christ's tions of this world; a religion righteousness; though Christ in which consists in a form of godli- every verse strongly urges the pracness without the power, and which tice of them upon his disciples, admits of a decent conformity to and tells them that it is not the the course of this world in pur- professor of his dame, or the suing its pleasures, &c.
hearer of these sayings, but the 5. But probably some are ready doer of them that shall enter into to say, “ We not only call Christ the kingdom of heaven-But to be Lord, but also do the things that a little more particular, on his subhe says. We are no drunkards or ject, let us specify some of our whoremongers-We wrong no man Lord's sayings, to shew the genius in his person or property, but are of his religion, and to reach confair and honest in our dealings- viction to speculative professors. we are true to our word, and bene- Remark then, volent to our neighbours; and 6. Christ hath said, Luke xiv. also regularly attend divine service | 26, 27, 33. “ If any man come to like other good Christians.” So “me, and hate not his father and far you do well; but is this all“ mother, and sister and brother, that genuine Christianity requires “and wife and children, and breof you? Could not a true Mus “thren and sisters, yea and his sulman say as much for himself," own life also, he cannot be my and a strict Pharisee much more ? " disciple." And again, “WhoYet our Lord says, “ Except your" soever doth not bear his cross righteousness shall exceed the righ " and come after me, cannot be teousness of the Scribes and Pha “ my disciple.”—To hate here risees, ye shall in no case enter inte must not be understood in an abthe kingdom of heaven.”Matt. v. 20. solute but comparative sense, as True Christianity is as far above 10 Mat. x, 37, 38. It imports at all other religions as the heaven: least that we should love him su. are above the earth, and as oppo premely, above every thing that
we hold most dear in life-above 1“ know that ye are my disciples," all the nearest and dearest relations &c. Johın xiii. 34, 35.--This com. to whom we have the strongest pa. | mand is given to Christ's disciples tural attachment--and even above in distinction from the world-By life itself, for which a man will their obeying it the world are to give all that he hath.-True love distinguish them as his disciples. to Christ commences just at that --The rule and motive of it is point where it turns the the scale Christ's love to them. This love of every other object. All short therefore is not to be in word and of this goes for nothing in Christ's in tongue only, but in deed and in esteem, however men may flatter truth, 1 John, iii.-Fervent, undisthemselves. It is the object of a sembled, active, beneficial love, not man's predominant affection that merely prayers and good wishes forms and marks a man's charac- for them, Jam. ii. 16, but in the ter, whether that be Christ or the self-denied labour of it, even to the things of this world. The Scrip. laying down of our lives for the ture admits of no equivocal cha- brethren, 1 John ii. 15, after the racters. We must either be Christ's example of Christ, and that be. disciples or not. Here he tells us cause they belong to him. See it we cannot be his disciples if we do described, 1 Cor. xii.--" If a man not hate every thing the most dear “ say, I love God, and hateth his in the world in comparison of him; “ brother, he is a liar; for he that and surely he knew best how to “ loveth not his brother whom he describe his disciples. Do we be- | “ hath seen, how can he love God lieve him in this saying ? and are “ whom he hath not seen ?" 1 John we doing it? If not, why call we liv. 20. How will this agree with him Lord ? he tells us that without that hatred, envy, emulation, strife, this we are not his disciples.- evil speaking, &c. which so much Here he also declares, that " who- | abound among professors? Yet "soever doth not bear his cross persons presume to call Christ "and come after him, cannot be Lord, whilst they do the very op" his disciple.” What say you to posite of what he says! The lathis ? have you never suffered any bour of this love in ministering to reproach or inconvenience for the saints, is preferred to the highyour attachment to Christ? Do est experiences men can boast of. not delude yourselves by confining Heb. vi. 4-12, and those who this to the infancy of Christianity. pay no regard to it, but content The world in general will ever hate themselves with faith without these the true followers of Christ, and works, (Jam. ii. 14—18.) will be they will show this in some shape Igreatly disappointed in the great or other. “ All that will live godly day of account, Matt. xxv. 41in Christ Jesus must suffer perse. 144. cution.” If then you suffer nothing 8. Christ says, Matt. vii. 12, for your profession, it is because “ All things whatsoever ye would you are conformed to this world. " that men should do to you, do Christ's disciples, if really conform- " ye even so to them; for this is ed to him in holiness and self-de-“ the law and the prophets." Here nial, must be conformed to him is a rule of justice and humanity also in his patience and sufferings. laid down in for our correspondBut further:
Jence with mankind, founded on 7. Christ says, “A new com- the love of ourselves, and to which “ mandment I give unto you, that the conscience of every man must ' " ye love one another; as I have subscribe. Do we always consult " loved you, that ye also love one our own breasts what we would "another. By this shall all men / wish others to do to us, in such and
circumstances, and do we act to himself laid down; and remember wards them accordingly? If we that by this standard we must all make no conscience of this, why be judged in that day, when it will do we call Christ Lord ?
be of little avail to us to have been 9. Christ says, “Ye have heard numbered among Christ's people, “ it hath been said, An eye for an if we have not been doing the “ eye, and a tooth for a tooth. things which he bath enjoined “ But I say unto you that ye resist upon us. “ not evil; but whosoever shall “ smite thee on the right cheek, I ON THE NATURE, IMPORTANCE, “ turn to him the other also," &c. AND REASONABLENESS OF REMatt. v. 31, 39.-If these words I LIGION. mean any thing at all they forbid TRUE religion consists in a deus to retaliate injuries and affronts, votedness of the heart and life to or to render evil for evil, Rom. xii. God, as our Creator, Benefactor 17. The apostle explains it, “Dear- and Father, through the Lord “ ly beloved, avenge not yourselves, Jesus Christ, as our Mediator and “ but rather give place unto wrath; Saviour, springing from true faith “ for it is written, vengeance is in him, and vital union with him, “ mine; I will repay, saith the and the enjoyment of pardon and “ Lord,” ver. 19. And of this reconciliation with God through Christ is set forth as an example, him; proceeding from the energe" Who when he was reviled, reviled tic influence, and constant indwell“ not again; when he suffered, he ing of the Holy Spirit. threatened not," 1 Pet. ii. 23.---To Such is the corruption and recompence evil for evil is to take deadness of the human heart, its it out of God's hand to whom it be- proneness to sin, and to an imlongs, instead of committing our moderate attachment to the precause to him that judgeth righte- sent evil world ; and so many are ously, as Christ did, and resting the obstacles to our salvation; that, satisfied in bis promise to redress without a clear perception and all our grievances. Now how do cordial belief of the pardoning we observe this saying, and follow mercy of God, the atoning sacrithis example of Christ? Once fice of Christ, and the enjoyment · more.
of reconciliation, the divine favour, 10. Christ says, Matt. vi. 14, 15, and a renewed heart, the duties « If ye forgive men their trespas- which we owe to a merciful and “ ses, your heavenly Father will gracious God, are utterly imprac“ also forgive you : But if ye for- ticable. But when these invalu“ give not men, neither will your able blessings are secured, and a “heavenly Father forgive you."- pleasing consciousness of them is To forgive is not only not to retali- preserved in the mind, grateful ate, but to have no desire of revenge love becomes so influential and or any ill will in our hearts, but ou permanent a principle, that the serthe contrary, heartily to wish the vice of God will be both practigood of those who have injured us, I cable, easy and delightful; and after the example of Christ.–This | afford the soul a satisfaction, which we must do speedily, before we ap- no earthly enjoyments can yield. proach unto God, Matt. v. 23, 24, that the vast importance of reliMark xi. 25, and fully and freely gion were but more seriously and as we expect forgiveness, Matt. v. impartially considered, and the 12, Eph. iv. 32. Let every reader great reasonableness of it, with the who names the name of Christ, im exquisite pleasure it affords, both partially examine his pretensions in sickness and health, in life and by those rules, which the Lord has in death, were more clearly and