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less world, in order to be instrumental in turning some of them from the evil of their ways; and" to lay down, if need be, even our own lives for the brethren." This was the way in which St. Paul manifested his love; and in which we also, after the example of our Lord, are called to manifest ours."]
This being the way in which our love may resemble his, we shall shew you,
III. The obligation we are under to follow that pattern
Our blessed Lord has enjoined a conformity to him in these respects,
1. As an act of obedience to him
[He does not recommend such love as decorous and beneficial, but commands it as a duty which he will on no account dispense with. He stamps his own authority upon it; intimating thereby, that he will make it a subject of particular inquiry in the day of judgment. Indeed the decision at the last day is represented as turning principally upon this point; they who for his sake have abounded in offices of love being made exclusively the objects of his favour, while they who have neglected them are marked as objects of his indignation and abhorrence. If therefore we have any regard to his authority, or any dread of his everlasting displeasure, we must see the importance of following the example of his love.]
2. As an evidence of our love to him
[Having in another place enforced this duty in terms similar to the text, he adds, that the exercise of brotherly love is the distinctive badge of our profession, the habit whereby all his followers must be known!." To the same effect his loving and beloved Disciple also speaks, declaring that our profession of love to God is mere hypocrisy without this m; and that without this we can have no assurance, no evidence, that we have passed from death unto life". Shall we then at once write Hypocrite' upon our foreheads? Shall we be contented to be ranked with "murderers, who certainly have not eternal life abiding in them "?" If not, we must see the necessity of imitating Christ, who " has left us an example that we should follow his steps."]
1. How little of true religion is there in the world!
i Phil. ii. 17, 18. m 1 John iv. 20.
k 1 John iii. 16.
n 1 John iii. 14, 17, 19.
1 John xiii. 34, 35,
• 1 John iii. 15.
[So far is love to the saints from being the common disposition of mankind, that almost all are rather filled with hatred against them: and where candour prevails over the enmity of the human heart so as to subdue its workings, there yet is a total want of that disinterested, sympathizing, beneficent, and self-denying love, which characterizes a true Christian -]
2. What reason have even the saints themselves to be ashamed before God!
[Let the most zealous and active Christian compare his love with that of Christ; how poor and defective will his best efforts appear! Alas! alas! how often are things found among professing Christians that are not only defective, but directly contrary to love! Beloved brethren, let us study more carefully St. Paul's description of love P: and above all, let us contemplate more the love of Christ to us: so shall we feel its constraining influence, and be stimulated to the exercise of this delightful duty.]
P 1 Cor. xiii.
CHRIST'S FOLLOWERS HIS FRIENDS.
John xv. 15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you".
KNOWLEDGE of every kind is excellent and useful; but that of religion far transcends all other. Hence we are commanded to pay a peculiar respect to those who labour in the word and doctrine". Hence also our Lord himself, having revealed to his Disciples the whole will of God, adduces his fidelity in this respect as one of the strongest tokens of his affection for them.
I. In what light Christ regards his followers
The state of believers under the Gospel differs widely from that of those under the Mosaic dispensa
a See another Discourse on this text, made to illustrate a part of Claude's Essay. Claude, p. 43, in the fifth and improved edition. b 1 Thess. v. 12.
tion. They were in the condition of servants, but we of friends. Christ assures us that from "henceforth" his people should be regarded by him in that light. He has taken away from us the yoke of the ceremonial law
[This was an exceedingly heavy burthen; but Christ has delivered his people from itd. He has imposed only two rites, and those easy and instructive: his service is perfect freedom1.]
He has delivered us from a sense of guilt
[The offerings of a Jew afforded no assurance that God had accepted him; they were rather so many remembrances of his sinh: but Christ has freed us from the pains of a guilty conscience1.]
He has set us at liberty also from a servile spirit—
[The Jews could not enter into the most holy place; none could go there but the high-priest, and he only on one day in the year, and then not without blood: but now all believers are priests'. The vail which separated the most holy place was rent at the death of Christm: all therefore may enter thither without fear".]
He has put us into the state of adult sons
[Believers under the law were like minors, or children under age; but we are brought to the full possession of our privileges P.]
Our Lord proceeds to prove his assertion:
II. What evidence we have that he does so regard
He still carries on the comparison between servants and friends. He points out one particular wherein he has eminently distinguished us, and exalted us above all the Jewish saints.
He has revealed to us the perfections of God[These were but little known to the Jews; but Christ has
c Acts xv. 10.
f 1 John v. 3.
i Heb. x. 14.
d Gal. v. 1. Matt. xi. 30.
k Heb. ix. 7.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Heb. ix. 9. h Heb. x. 1—3. 1 Rev. i. 6.
m It was rent in twain from the top to the bottom at the very time of the evening sacrifice, by means of which it was opened to the view of all the worshippers in the temple.
n Heb. x. 19-22.
。 Gal. iv. 1--3.
P Gal. iv. 6, 7.
more clearly revealed them. He has declared them to us in his discourses: he has exhibited them in his life'.]
He has shewn us the way of acceptance with him—
[This was but obscurely shadowed under the law. Many even rested in the ceremonies themselves; but Christ has plainly declared himself to be the way to the Fathers. He has expressly told us that we have acceptance through his blood1.] He has unfolded to us the privileges of God's people
[The Jews were encouraged by temporal promises; but "life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel." Christ has fully opened to us our present privileges", and our future prospects.]
He has "made known all which he himself had heard of the Father"
[At that time he had not absolutely revealed ally: but he had declared all which he had been commissioned to reveal, or was necessary for them to know; and he completed his revelation soon afterwards.]
This was a most undeniable evidence of his friendship
[Servants are not admitted to the secret views and designs of their masters; but Christ has made known to us all the mysteries of his Father's counsels2. What abundant evidence
of his friendship does this afford!]
1. How should we esteem the Holy Scriptures! [It is by the Scriptures that Christ declares to us the Father's will. In them therefore we see the strongest testimony of his love. The written memorials even of a creature's love are dear to us. Of what inestimable value then should we account the word of Christ! Let us regard it with the same affection as David did3: let it "dwell richly in us in all wisdom"."]
2. What love and honour should we shew to Christ! [We should not consider him merely as a lord and master: we should rather view him as our dearest friend. Let us then delight ourselves in communion with him: let us open to him all our cares, wants, fears, &c.: let us give him that best proof of our regard, a willing and unreserved obedience.]
THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION EXPLAINED.
John xv. 16. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.
IT is of great importance to have a just view of the doctrines contained in Scripture. There are many passages which at first sight appear to contradict each other; but they are all true and consistent when properly explained. The assertions respecting the freedom of our will, and our proneness to apostasy, are true, and necessary to excite us to care and watchfulness: nor are those that respect our election. of God, and our assured perseverance in his ways, less true, or less conducive to our spiritual welfare. They have a strong tendency to produce in us humility and a dependence on God. All these passages therefore ought to be insisted on in their season. That which now demands our attention is a part of our Lord's farewell address to his Disciples. naturally leads us to consider,
I. The doctrine of election
This being frequently misrepresented, it will be proper to state what we mean by the doctrine of election
[It imports, that "that we have not chosen God." No man by nature does choose him. The carnal mind is enmity against him, and prefers the vanities of time and sense before him nor is any man ever brought to choose him without having discovered much reluctance, and been overcome by the constraining influence of Divine grace. It imports, moreover, that "God has chosen us." He from eternity chose some to life. This choice of his was free and sovereign, without any respect whatever to works either done, or to be done, by us. In due time, God manifests his election, by sending his grace into our hearts: nor does any man differ from another, but in consequence of grace thus derived from God. Hence every saint on earth or in heaven must say, "By the grace of God I am what I am"."]
a Rom. viii. 7.
b Ps. cx. 3. c 1 Cor. iv. 7. d 1 Cor. xv. 10.