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by our blessed Lord, him will my Father
And yet such
was the treatment experienced by the disciples of the Lord Jesus. They counted it all joy when they fell into tribulation. They rejoiced in that day, and were exceeding glad. And St. Paul, who had forsaken every worldly advantage for the sake of the Gospel, says, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." There was an honour then in thus following Christ, which the world knew not of. Upon these disciples the Holy Spirit was poured forth, they were sealed unto the day of redemption, and were to rejoice because their names were written in heaven. " They that honour me, saith the Lord, I will honour, but they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” The trial of our faith is this: Do we sit down and count the cost, whether we are willing to follow Christ at the expense of many sacrifices? The Lord Jehovah does not, like the fancied gods of the heathen, demand unmeaning ceremonies, painful journeys, bodily tortures, and the throwing away of that life which has been given to us for purposes of good. But he does require us to
mortify our corrupt inclinations which are in this world; to die to sin, and to live to newness of life, to know ourselves as utterly lost and corrupted by nature and by practice, and to fly to that refuge which God in his mercy hath provided for sinners. It is the word of God again. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." To be humble, we must be made like unto the Son of God; and if we walk as he walked, we shall not be left destitute of his support in the hour of death. The Lord God will put honour upon those who have faithfully, though imperfectly, laboured to serve him. "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
In conclusion, let us consider the sad mistake of those persons who take up with the mere name and profession of religion, without the inward spiritual grace. In a christian country all are born and educated in the christian faith. Generally speaking, they take up with the religion of their fathers. The multitude give themselves no concern upon the subject, they see that there are differences of opinion, and they
let the matter rest; satisfied with no thought at all, they live and die ignorant of that faith by which alone they can be saved. Satisfied with doing just as others do, they ask for no true standard of right and wrong. They are perfectly indifferent to the most important of all subjects. But is it not a melancholy consideration, that with all the rich dainties of a feast before them, men should have no appetite? That with a treasure hid in a field, men should not wish to dig for it? That with the pearl of great price within their reach, men should not stretch forth a hand to take it? That with God as a Father, men should not care to be his children? What a cold, death-like indifference pervaded the Jews, when our Lord said of them, Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life." The dread of punishment is the lowest principle in religion; the love of God shed abroad in the heart of the regenerate is the highest, and should be the moving spring to action. "We love him, because he first loved us." But the mere professor of religion knows nothing of this principle. He rather fears and dreads the presence of his God than
seeks any communion with him; and well he may, for our God is a consuming fire, if not reconciled to us in Jesus Christ. Well he may, for who can dwell with everlasting burnings? But let the But let the grace of God once influence the heart, and the whole face of things is changed. Then, instead of the thorn and the thistle, and the barren figtree with leaves only, we behold the myrtle, and the olive, and the vine, and fig-tree, bearing much fruit. We shall see a garden of the Lord. Good trees bringing forth good fruit. Perfect love has cast out fear. There is, indeed, a fear, and it is the only fear in the breast of the Christian, of sinning against and displeasing our God, and of grieving his Holy Spirit. Then, the commandments of the Lord are no longer grievous. They become delightful. There is no wish to serve Jesus Christ without following him; but there is an unceasing desire to be where he is, and that desire is accomplishing, and shall be finally completed in heaven. For even now the presence of the Lord Jesus is with his servants; he manifests himself to them, as he does not unto the world. He blesses their as