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Religion must be undertaken with serious consideration.

SECT. CXXI.

Our Lord urges upon his disciples the necessity of considering the

difficulties of religion before they take up a profession of it. Luke XIV. 25. to the end.

LUKE XIV. 25.

LUKE XIV. 25. AND there went great AND as grcat multitudes attended Christ, SECT. * multitudes with 1 and went with him in this bis journey to. c

cxxi. him: and he turned, and said unto them, ward Jerusalem, he turned about and said to

uke them, You now attend me froin place to place XIV.25, with some tokens of regard; but seriously consider how much it will cost you to approve

yourselves my faithful followers. 26 If any man come If any one comes to me to be instructed in my 26 to me, and hate not his reliction and tomhrain +

bis religion, and to obtain the blessings of my king-
father and mother, and
wife, and children, and dom, and does not prepare himself, on a proper
brethren, and sisters, occasion, to act as if he did even hate his father
yea, and his own lite and mother, and his very wife and children, and
also, he cannot be my I
disciple.

brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life too,
that is, if he be not willing to abandon all these

rather than to forsake me, he cannot really be my
27 And whosoever disciple, whatever he may pretend. And who-27
doth not bear his cross, soever does not stedfastly resolve even to bear his
and come after me,
cannot be my disciple, cross, and to come after me, whenever he is call-

ed to tread the painful steps that I am taking in
the way to crucifixion and death, he cannot be
my disciple : and therefore, as I gave these things
in charge to my apostles (Mat. x. 38. Vol. VI.
p. 401), I repeat them to you as matters of
universal concern, which require your most at-

tentive consideration.
28 For which of you And it is necessary to dwell on the thought ; 28
intending to build a for

À for which of you, if he be a person of common tower, sitteth not down Jor which you, if he first, prudence, and intend to build a tower', or any

other

a Great multitudes attended Christ.] Per- the genius of the gospel. But it is well haps the cure of the man who had the dron. known that one thing is said to hc lored sy, and some expectations as to the event and another hated in scripture, when the of Christ's cisit to this Pharisee, might former is much prejerred; and especially cause a croad near his house; and what when, out of regard to it, the latter is negfollows might be spoken the sane sabbath, lected and forsaken. Compare Gen. XXIX. on our Lord's coming out from thence: 31. Deut. xxi. 15-17. Mal. i. 3. Rom. ix. bat as the evangelist does not so expressly 13 and Mat. vi. 24. Connect the passages, I was not willing to cIf he intend to build a lower.) This assert it in the paraphrase.

pbrase naturally suggests i us the idea of a b To act as if he even did hate his father more inagniticeni edinice than our Lord's end mother, &c.] Strictly speaking, lo hate lurrers mixbt pr bably think of ou this ocour nearest relatives, and our own lices, casion. It is plain tht to cers were frewould be unnatural wickeriness, aod equally quently run up, probably of some slight contrary to the dictates of humanity and materials, to lodge chose who had the care

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The insignificance of an outward profession. SECT: other edifice, does not first deliberately sit down, first, and counteth the cxxi. an and compute the erpence it will require, and com- cost, whether he have

" sufficient to finish it? Luke pare it with his own circumstances, that he may XIV.28. judge whether he has a stock of wealth (sufficient 29 to finish it? Lest when he hath laid a founda- , 29 Lest haply after tion, and is not able to complete [the work] he tion, and is not able to

m he hath laid the foundahad begun, for want of money to go through finish it, all that be

with it, all who see it, as they pass by, should bold it begin to mock 30 begin to deride him, Saying, in contempt, This

must be surely a wise man, who thus began to began to build, and was build, and was not able to finish bis plan; and not able to finish. here bis imperfect work stands a lasting monu

ment of his great discretion ! 31 Or what wise king, if he was marching out to 31 Or what king encounter another king in ward, does not first sit

retot going to make war

against another king, down and consider whether he has any such ad- sitteth not down first, vantage, as to arms, strength or situation, as and consulteth whete him to conclude that he is able with ther he be able with

ten thousand to meet no greater force than ten thousand men to meet him that cometh a

and oppose him that cometh against him with gainst him with twenty 32 twenty thousand? And if he find he has not,

thousand ?

by 32 Or else, while while he that comes with this superior force the other is yet a great against him is yet at a distance, he sends an em- way off, he sendeth bassy, and desires terms of peace”, acknowledging a deres tesofinence knowledging an ambassage, and de

of peace, acknowieOg sireth conditions of his readiness to submit to some things which peace. may be disagreeable, for the preservation of his

dominions, and perhaps of his life. 33 So then do you consider, whether you think it 33 So likewise, who

ms. soever he be of you that worth your while to adhere to me on these terms;

Clo , forsaketh not all that for I assure you, I will admit you on no other;

he and whosoever he be of you that does not stedfast

ly

of keeping vineyards or focks ; and they the case supposed here) merely double, but were built pretty high in proportion to infinitely superior to ours.—The pious and their basis, that they might command the amiable author of a late valuable piece larger prospect. Compare 2 Chron. xxvi. called Orthodoxy and Charity (whoever be 10. Mic. iv. 8. Isa. v. 2. Mat, xxi. 33. and be) has given a quite different interpretaMark xü. 1.

tion of this passage, which, so far as I can d Or what king marching out to encoun- recollect, I have not yet seen, and which ter another king, &c.] According to Sir I am sure deserves consideration. He exIsaac Newton's chronology, these words plains it (p. 43) as referring to those who were spoken at our Lord's last passover, have not courage to fight with their spiri. and might refer to Herod's leading his ar- tual enemies, the world, the flesh, and the my through Judea against Aretaz king of devil, and therefore make the best terms Arabia. But as Herod did not then ap- they can with them, and sit still neglecting pear to be the weaker, I cannot see that Christ and religion. But if the passage be (even supposing the premises to be true) taken in this sense, our Lord, hy declarthere would be any certainty of such an ing in the next verse that he will make no intended allusion.

abalement in his own demands, plainly in. e Desires terms of peace: spula ta upostimates how necessary it is to break through Elpany. ] This represents the feebler person all opposition, and to determine to face all as begging a peace: a proper emblem of the difficulties in our way, which it will the humility and resignation with which be our wisdom to view and consider, that peace is to be sought from an offended God, we may be prepared with proportionable who is possessed of a strength, not (as in resolution.

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Reflections on a readiness to suffer for Christ. he bath, he cannot be ly resolve to give up all his possessions, whenever SECT. my disciple.

he is called to it on my account, he cannot be ca

owned by me as my disciple indeed. 34 Salt is good: but And if you are not my disciples indeed, your XIV.34. if the salt have lost its m

outward profesion will be very insignificant;

odd nrofesion will be very insi
savour, wherewith shall
it be seasoned ? for though salt in general is a very good thing,

and my servants, as I formerly intimated (Mat.
v. 13. Vol. VI. p. 203), are the salt of the earth;
yet I must again add, if the salt be grown insipid,
with what can it be seasoned ? or what can re-

cover those whom my gospel will not influence

e.ther fit and reclaim? And as insipid salt is such a vile 35 for the land, nor yet

achill: Wut and worthless thing, that it is neither fit to be men cast it out. He used of itself as a manure for the land, nor even that hath ears to hear, so much as fit for a place on the dung-hill to be let him hear.

there mised with other dung; [but] it is thrown
out of doors, and trampled under foot like mire
in the streets: you also will be no less useless and
contemptible, if, under the advantages and obli-
gations of a Christian profession, you are desti-
tute of a sincere principle of integrity and piety,
and will be utterly abandoned and rejected as un-
profitable servants. He therefore that hath ears
to hear, let him hear it attentively; for it is a
point in wbich not only the honour of my king-
dom, but the salvation of your own souls is con-
cerned.

IMPROVEMENT.

May our most serious attention be fixed on so important a Ver. truth ; and may this plain and candid declaration of our Lord be 35 duly regarded by us, as ever we desire to find the advantage of that relation to him in which we are so ready to glory! If we 34, 35 would not be cast out with disdain, and trampled under foot as worthless and vile, let us be solicitous that there may be the salt of Divine grace in our hearts; and let us undertake a religious profession with that deliberate consideration, which becomes a matter 28, 32 of such great importance. A hasty purpose will never bear us through the disficulties we must expect to encounter; and rash vows and thoughtless adventures, in this case, will only expose us to the derision of others, and the keener remorse of our own minds.

Nor is the nature and evidence of religion such, as to have any reason to fear the severest examination. The demands of Christ 26 are indeed high; that the nearest relatives should be abandoned, and even life itself sacrificed for his sake; that we be at least mar

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The parable of the lost sheep. SECT. tyrs in resolution, and have so much of a reciprocal affection for

him, as shall, like his love to us, be stronger than death. Yet how 33 reasonable is the demand ! Did he leave his Father's bosom for us,

and shall we scruple to abandon our houses and our kindred for 27 him ? Did he expire on the cross for us, and shall not we be ready

to take up our crosses and follow him ? Shall it not be delightful to us to trace his most painful steps, and by the most costly sacrifices to approve our gratitude and our duty ?

Blessed Jesus, lead us! and by thy grace we will follow thee, whatever be the path, whatever be the burden, whatever the terror of the way ; knowing that if we partake with thee in thy sufferings, we shall at length share with thee in thy consolation and thy glory! (2 Tim. ii. 12.)

SECT. CXXII.
Publicans and sinners flock round our Lord, and he vindicates his

readiness to receive them by the parables of the lost sheep and piece
of money. Luke XV. 1--10.

LUKE XV. 1.

LUXE XV.1. SECT. THUS our Lord addressed himself to the mul- THEN drew near un*ake titude, and especially to his disciples, on the ima

be * to him all the pub

o
Luke sabbath-day, as he came out from the house of to hear him.
XV. 1. the noble Pharisee with whom he had dined :

now as it was then a season of leisure, and he
appeared in public teaching the people, all the
publicans in that place, and some other notorious
sinners, who might not easily have been ad-
mitted into the Pharisee's house, drew near to
hear him preach, being charmed with the con-
descension which allowed of their access.
2 And Jesus, moved with compassion for them 2 And the Phari.
uttered some remarkable discourses, admirably sees

mured, calculated for their encouragement, and that of

sees and scribes mar

others,

a All the publicans and sinners drew near what reason) that this happened in Galilee to hear him.] Some suppose they came of the Gentiles beyond Jordan, from by a particular appointment from all the whence, they say, Christ went up to Jeneighbouring parts. But as Luke goes rusalem (Luke xvii. 11.) But that the on in the story, without any intimation chief part of this assembly were Gentile of a change either in the time or the scene idolators, cau uever be proved; and if it of it, I am inclined to think these dis- could, it would be no sufficient proof of courses might be delivered the same day Christ's being now on the other side of that Christ dined with the Pharisee, (sect. Jordan. Yet I acknowledge it highly procxix.) which being the sabbath-day, would bable, that some idolatrous Gentiles might give the publicans, who on other days were join with the muliitude, who, if they unemployed in their office, a more conveni- derstood these parables, might justly draw ent opportunity of attending.--Some have great encouragement from them, concluded (I could never conjecture for

until he find it?

The parable of the lost piece of mony. mured, saying, This others, who had lain under the most aggravated Sect. man receiveth sinners,

m. guilt. But the proud Pharisees and scribes, who, cxxil and eateth with them.

were present, murmured when they saw such a Luke
crowd around him, and said, This man, while he xv. 2.
sets up for a religious Teacher, unaccountably
gives access to the most profligate sinners, and
sometimes eats with them, and makes no scruple
to accept of invitations to their houses. (Com-

pare Mark ii. 16. Vol. VI. p. 372.)
3 And he spake this But [Jesus] for the encouragement of these 3
pårable unto them, poor penitents, as well as to rebuke the censori-
saying,

ous and uncharitable Pharisees, spake to them 4 What man of you this parable, and said, IV hat man is there of you 4. having an hundred that has a flock of an hundred sheep, who will sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave not, upon loosing one of them, immediately leave the ninety and nine in the ninety-nine that were feeding together in the the wilderness, and go pastures of the desert b, and go from place to after that which is lost,

ostplace in search after that which was lost, till he 5 And when he fird it? And having at length found it, he lays 5 hath found il, he layo it on his shoulders, greatly rejoicing, as a man in eth it on his shoulders, .. rejoicing :

such a circumstance naturally would : (compare

Mat. xviii. 12, 13, sect, xciv. Vol. VI. p. 494.) 6 And when he com- And when he cometh home, he calls together his 6 eth home, he calieth friends and neighbours, and says unto them with together his friends and Rishbours saving unto the greatest pleasure, My frienus, you may now them, Rejoice with rejoice with me ; for my labour and search have me, for I have found not been in vain, but I have found my sheep my sheep which was

- which was lost. And as he thus is more delight7 I say unto you, ed with the recovery of the sheep which he bad that likewise joy shall lost, than with the safety of the rest, which had 7 be in beaven over one sinner that repent- not wandered ; 50, vento not wandered ; so, I say unto you, that greater

su eth, more than over and more sensible joy will be in heaven, among ninetv aad nine just the blessed and benevolent spirits that dwell persons which need no

o there “, over one penitent sinner, than over ninerepentance.

ty-nine righteous persons who do not need such
deep ropentance , or such an universal change
of mind and character,

Or,

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b In the pastures of the desert.] Uncul. asserting a thing merely because the Jews tivated ground, used merely as common of used thus to represent and conceive of pasture, was called wilderness, or desert, it.-We may rather conclude from ver. by the Jews, in distinction from arable, 10), that, at least in some extraordinary or inciosed land. Compare Josh. xv. 61. cases, the angels are, cither by immediate 1 Kings u. 34. 2 Kings i. 8. Mat. iii. 1. revelation, or othcrwise, informed of the and Mark vi, 31. (Compare also note c, conversion of sinners, which must to those on Mat. xviii. 12. sect. xciv.)

benevolent spirits be an occasion of joy ; cGrealer joy will be in heaven, &c.] por could any thing have been suggested Alluding, says Mons. L'Enfant (a little more proper, to encourage the humble too coldly,) to the style of the Jews, with penitent, to expose the repining Pharisce, whom it was usual to represent the angel's or to animate all to zeal in so good a weeping, for the corruption of men, and work, as endeavouring to promote the rejoicing at their conversion. But it seems repentance of others. very unwarrantable to suppose Christ thus d Than over ninety-nine righteous per

sors,

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