Sidor som bilder

him, and continued in unbelief! Not only denied him before Pilate, but notwithstanding the teaching and miracles of the apoftles, perfevered in their denial of him, and perifhed in it! This was foretold. Chrift warned them of the event of their infidelity-" If ye believe not that I am he, ye fhall perish in your fins." But they would not


By the Gentiles the gospel was more kindly received. Though devoid of that knowledge of God and true religion which might have prepared them for the reception of it, when they witneffed the mighty works, wrought by thofe who preached it, they believed. Miracles are appeals to the fenfes of mankind. And when those who had worshipped dumb idols, beheld the wonders wrought by the minifters of Chrift, they perceived that they were fent of God, and became obedient to the faith. Then did "many come from the eaft and weft, and fet down in the kingdom of God; while the children of the kingdom were caft out." Chriftianity spread abroad. "The heathen were given to the Son for an inheritance, and the uttermoft parts of the earth for a poffeffion." For feveral ages, most who were educated in Chriftian lands, and blessed with revelation, profeffed to believe the gospel. But in later ages there hath been a falling away, agreeably to the predictions which went before, and many deny the truth of the gofpel, and reject it as fabulous.

II. CHRIST may be denied in works. He is fo by fome who in words confess him.

THOSE who enroll themselves among Chrift's disciples, thereby engage to be his followers. This is enjoined and made a term of acceptance. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himfelf and take up his crofs and follow me-whofoever doth not bear his crofs, and come after me, cannot be my difciple."

To follow Chift is to cultivate his temper, and tread in his fteps. "Chrift was meek and lowly in heart." He did God's commandments. It was his meat to do the will of him that fent him." Thole who are his difciples have learnt of him. The fame mind is in them, which is in him. When this divine temper is wrought into the foul, it appears in the life. Those who have

his fpirit, walk as he walked.

SOME call themselves Chriftians, who do not follow Chuft. But he doth not acknowledge them to be his. He ranks them among those who deny him. Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I fay? Then are ye my friends, when ye do all things, whatfoever I have commanded you."



CHRIST'S name is blafphemed, when those who call themselves after him live in allowed wickednefs. Sore are the wounds which he hath received in the house of his friends." No other have been fo deep and deadly.

BUT those who while they call themselves Chrift's friends, live like the wicked world, difcover their hypocrify that they are not of Chrift's flock"His flock hear his voice and follow him." Oth

[ocr errors]

ers may creep in unawares, but they are not of his fold. The apoftle fpeaks of thefe falfe profeffors in his epiftle to Titus.* "Ihey profefs that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and difobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."†

OTHERS deny Chrift by refusing to confefs him: "For the refusal is in works to deny him

UNDER the former difpenfation certain duties were enjoined as tokens of subjection to the divine Sovereign. To neglect them, was confidered as breaking the covenant of God. "And God faid to Abram, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou and thy feed after thee. This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy feed after thee: Every man child among you fhali be circumcifed. The uncircumcifed man child fhall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant." An attendance on the paffover was enjoined under the fame penalty. The person who fhould neglect it, was ordered to be cut off from Ifrael. Every rite and ceremony enjoined in the law was obligatory. To neglect them was to fet up the ftandard of rebellion against God-deny his fovereignty-his right to give law. Those who perfevered in neglects, after warnings, were no more to be confidered as his people.

UNDER the gospel difpenfation, duties of like import are enjoined, and under the fame penal y. The tokens of belonging to Chrift are commanded. To neglect them is to reject the Savior, and for

*Titus i. 16.

+ Titus i. 16.

Genefis xvii. 9-14.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

feit the benefits of an intereft in him. Among these an open profeffion of faith in Chrift, is one of the chief. So it was confidered by the apostles, and primitive Chriftians. They dared not neglec it when it cost every worldly comfort, and even life. Neither was it a groundlefs fear which excited them to fo coftly a duty. Their Lord, had exprefsly declared, that "whoever should be afhamed of him, before an evil and adulterous generation, he would be afhamed of them before his Father, and before his angels."

If we attend to our context we shall fee that the apostle has here a special reference to denying Chrift in this way-"Remember that Jefus Chrift, of the feed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gofpel: Wherein I fuffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's fake, that they may obtain falvation, which is in Chrift Jefus, with eternal glory. It is a faithful faying, for if we be dead with him, we shall alfo live with him: If we suffer, we fhall also reign with him: If we deny him, he alfo will deny us: If we believe not; yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.”

THE apostle perfevered though he suffered the lofs of all things, and incurred every indignity and forrow; and even when he forefaw the lofs of -life, in confequence of adhering to the Chriftian cause and continuing to preach the gospel. When fome who were concerned for him, would have diffuaded him from adventuring among the enemies of

Christianity, especially as his dangers and sufferings among them, were foretold by a prophet, he refused their counfel and adhered to his purpose, though tenderly affected with their concern for him. "What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerufalem for the name of the Lord Jefus.” and when his laft conflict approached, apprized of what was before him, he advanced without difmay-"I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand."

ST. PAUL might have avoided all the evils which he endured because he belonged to Christ, by only pra&ically denying him: But he dared not deny him. He knew the confequences which would follow the part he acted. "If we fuffer we fhall also reign with him; if we deny him, he alfo will deny us. Having refpect to the recompence of reward," he preffed on, exulting in the prospect before him-"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my courfe, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteouf. ness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, fhall give me in that day."

"IF to neglect profeffing Chrift, when it expofed to fuch fufferings, was confidered as denying him, and incurred the forfeiture of an interest in him, will it now be difpenfed with? Now, when it exposeth to no fuffering, or lofs? When it both became the moft cheap and eafy of all duties?

ARE the terms of acceptance with God in Chrift changed? Are they not the fame as formerly?

« FöregåendeFortsätt »