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vation, Hab. iii. 18. If father and mother fhould leave them, they can fatisfy themselves in the Lord's taking them up. If they fhould lofe all relations for him, his relation to them is, in their eyes, more than fufficient to make up the lofs. If they should not know where to hide their heads, or how to get food in a hiding-place, he is to them, not only a refuge for protection, but a portion for maintenance, Pfal. cxlii. 4. 5. If all their fubftance should be taken from them, the Almighty fhall be the gold and filver of their ftrength, Job, xxii. 25. Yea, though natural life should go in his caufe, himself is their life, a life which cannot be taken from them; for, Col. iii. 4. "When Chrift, who is our life, fhall appear, then shall we appear with him in glory.”. We now proceed,
II. To confirm the doctrine of the text, or fhew, that no man can be a true disciple of Chrift, to whom Chrift is not dearer than what is deareft to him in the world. For this purpose, confider,
1. That the foul cannot truly lay hold on Christ, but it must of neceffity part with the world. The embracing of Chrift infers naturally the loofing our hold of the world: Matth. vi. 24. “ No man can serve two mafters. Ye cannot ferve God and mammon." We may as foon grafp heaven and earth at once in our arms, as fix on Chrift, and not loose our hold from all things befides him. If you would look up to the heavens, you must look away from the earth. The world is the term from which Chrift calls us: Song, iv. 8. " Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon." Men may keep his company, with the world under their feet, but not with the world in their heart.-Confider,
2. It is impoffible that the love of God, and the love of the world, (the perfons and things of the world), can at the fame time be predominant in the heart. One of them muft of neceffity be uppermost. If the love of God be predominant, then it will command the love of all worldly things to yield; and these things will be difpofed of, fo as may best please him that has the chief room in our hearts. All the ftreams of our love to things below, will be fwallowed up in the depth of our love to Chrift: but this will be swallowed up by none; for this love is strong as death. Many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it. If a man fhould give all the fubftance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned; fee Heb. xi. 25. 26. If the love of the world predominate, then it leaves no love to the Lord, because no predominant love of the world is consistent with the true love of God: 1 John, ii. 15. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." This proves the man no disciple of Christ, Matth. vi. 24. James, iv. 4. 2 Tim. iii. 4. 5.— Confider,
3. That if Chrift be not dearer to us than the world, there is no univerfal refignation, which is neceffary to prove the fincerity of the heart: Acts, ix. 6. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" 2 Cor. viii. 5.-"But first gave their ownselves to the Lord."-If this be wanting, there is nothing done; we give not to the Lord what he feeks, namely, that we be all his. If we deal thus in this folemn tranfaction, we do but lie to the Holy Spirit, as Ananias and Sapphira, keeping back part of the price. This is a fure evidence that grace is not effectually at work with us, else VOL. II. R
we would have been a willing people; we would have made no reserves in clofing with Chrift.Confider,
4. That if Chrift is not loved fupremely, there is a root wanting, the fruit of which is neceffary to evidence fincerity. (1.) There is no root of univerfal obedience, the want of which will leave us afhamed, Pfal. cxix. 6. There will always be, in this cafe, one thing lacking, that will marr all other good things about us. There will always be fome idol of jealoufy that gets Chrift's room; fome offending right hand spared, that will bring the whole body to hell at length. (2.) There is no root for Chriftian fuffering, bearing the cross of Chrift, which is a cross of Christ's chufing, not of our own. Our part is, to take up the crofs that Chrift lays down to us; and without this we cannot be his difciples. And when Christ lays on his crofs, it is found, that readily he will have the man tried in that which of all things lies nearest his heart, and bids faireft for Chrift's room; fo that, if any thing be dearer than Christ, the cross readily difcovers it, and the man's hypocrify with it.
You, then, that are to fit down at the Lord's table, may fee how you are to manage this folemn tranfaction, so as that it may be ratified in heaven. If you take Chrift, let these go their way. Lay down your all at Chrift's feet, with all folemn ferioufnefs; if there be ought kept back, you do but ruin your own fouls. The laws of Christ's fchool are read before you. Examine yourselves this night, whether ye be content with Chrift on these terms or not. If you be not, it will be unneceffary, and even criminal, for you to come to his table; you cannot be his disciples. If you be content,
content, then give up your all to him, and lay down your all at his feet. Because of the deceitfulness of your heart, it will be good to be very diftinct and particular in this point, on which eternity depends. In confequence, I would advise you,
1. To give up with all your lufts. You have held the grip long, let it now go: "Ephraim shall fay, What have I to do any more with idols?" Hof. xiv. 8. Let none efcape, let there be no referved morfel, as you would not quit your lot and portion in Chrift. Let every man give up with "the iniquity he knoweth," as the phrafe is, 1 Sam. iii. 13. If there be any bofom-luft, which has been a fignal competitor for the heart with the Lord, let it be given up with in a particular manner. Sure, if lawful things must be laid at the Lord's feet, unlawful must much more be laid down. I would advise you,
2. To lay down at the Lord's feet your nearest and dearest relations, fo as that you may never break with Chrift for them; his favour, truths, and ways, muft be dearer to you than them. And fure I am, if thou meetest with Chrift at his table, thou wilt say, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh." I will love my father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and fifters; but my Lord Jefus more than all.'
3. Lay down at the Lord's feet your substance in the world, be it great or fmall, houses and lands, goods, &c. that he may difpofe of them as he may fee meet. Times have been, and they are like to return, wherein the Lord has fent for these things from profeffors, even by wicked meffengers, as he fent for the afs and colt, Matth. xxi. 3. " Saying, The Lord hath need of them." And they that had before fairly given them, with themselves, to the Lord, did not stand to deliver him his own: "Go thou, and do likewife."
4. Lay down at the Lord's feet, your credit and efteem in the world. This is often a great idol, and goes betwixt many a man and Christ. There are few that ever have it, but suffer an eclipse in it some time or other. God even fends for his people's credit, to be a stepping-stone for his glory. But if thou makest sure work in this tranfaction, thou wilt even be content at his call to creep down, and lie among the pots, till he himself bring thee out again. Thou wilt be content to commence a fool to the world, that thou mayeft be wise to God.
5. Lay down at the Lord's feet, your ease and liberty: Acts, xxi. 13. "I am ready," faid Paul, "not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerufalem, for the name of the Lord Jefus." The flefh will cry, Man, fpare thyfelf;' but the spirit muft offer all to the Lord. Thou wilt not break with Chrift, though thou shouldst never get an eafy hour, but be hunted as partridges, till in heaven. He to whom his ease and liberty is dearer than Christ, is a flave to the devil, and cannot be Chrift's difciple.
6. Lay down at Chrift's feet, your defires. Your defires fhall be to your fpiritual Hufband, who fhall chufe for you your inheritance, Pf. xlvii. 4. If he fhall grant your lawful defires, it is well; if he fee meet to refuse them, it must even be well alfo in your eye; you are to take himself, and give up with your own will, and fay, Thy will be done.
Laftly, Lay down at the Lord's feet, your life. Let your bodies be given now to the Lord, not only for fervice, but also for a facrifice, if he ́requires it. The text makes it plain, none go to heaven but martyrs, either in action or in affection. It may be the Lord may have ufe for your ftrength, for your health, it may be for your blood.