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and your heart. • No man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or he will cleave to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Now, on such an occasion, when the world draws one way, and Christ invites you another, which do you generally follow? Can you, and do you say, repeatedly and resolutely, " What is all the world to me, if I offend Christ? No; blessed Jesus, let me possess thy favour, though I lose the friendship of all besides.' In such an age as tlie present, when all seek their own, do you seek the things that are Christ's ? Is it, in comparison, indifferent to you, whether you be rich or poor, whether your circumstances prosper or decline, if you can but see his kingdom flourish and advance? Or are you so intent upon buying and selling, and getting gain, that you neither think nor care, whether his interest be rising or sinking?
Now then, let conscience do its office; and it will easily tell you whether you love Christ or not. Some there are ---the Lord increase the number !---but some I know there are, who can boldly appeal to Christ,
Lord, thou kyowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” If my subject had led me to speak to. them, most gladly would I have staid to congratulate them on the honour and happiness to which they are advanced, by being included among the lovers of Christ: and I should call upon them to adore that grace which wrought the happy change in their character and condition: for to grace you owe it, that the dreadful Anathema in the text no longer lies. upon you. Your minds were once at enmity w Christ; and if he had not loved you first, and called,
and drawn you to himself, and made you anew, you had been to this day in the number of his enemies. If, therefore, you be now among those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, be thankful. But at the same time, be humbled for the imperfection of your love. Considering the excellency of the object and your great obligations, it might have been expected, that
should love him with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. But is this really your experience? O Christians, to hear how you should love Christ, and to see how you do, may well fill your faces with shame, and your hearts with distress.
But I must not now stay, either to rejoice with you on the sincerity of your love, or to weep with you over its lamentable deficiencies. My text leads me to pity and plead with those who, upon the trial just now proposed, have a verdict given against them upon the fullest evidence by. conscience, that they do not love the Lord Jesus Christ; and the number of such is greater than is commonly imagined. Few care to own themselves guilty; though they take little pains to conceal it. But disaffection to Christ discovers itself in various ways, in different persons. In some, it is discovered in an opposition to his truths. In others, it appears in a dislike to his precepts; they cannot bear so much strictness: to be required to deny themselves, to cut off a right hand, and pluck out a right eye, and to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts are hard sayings, to which they will not submit. In others, it is seen in their dislike of his ordinances : 'so much reading, and hearing, and praying, are burdensome: they avoid them when they
can : and if they must attend to them, you soon hear them complain, “ Behold, what a weariness is it; when will the sermon and the sabbath be over?" In others, it appears in their disregard to his people. Look round then on this congregation, look abroad into the world, and if you can point to any particular persons, who give the plainest proofs that they are averse to the truths, or the precepts, or the ordinances, or the disciples of Christ, you may be assured that they love not the Saviour himself; and of such our text says, “ Let them be Anathema Maranatha.” But methinks I am loth to say any thing so harsh to those whom I love. I hardly know whether it be more your unhappiness, or your sin, to be thus disaffected to Christ. But of this I am certain, that it is both to a dreadful extreme. A greater infelicity cannot befal you than to be strangers to Christ. You deprive yourselves by it, of'a friend, who would stand by you in life and in death: and who, indeed, would never leave nor forsake you: a friend whom you could always look to, and lean upon, and converse with; and in whom you might ever confide. Yes, with Christ you would have all, and abound. Christ without the world is enough: but the world without Christ is nothing; not merely vanity, but vexation of spirit; for the curse of God imbitters all your enjoyments. “ Anathema Maranatha" are not words without a meaning. It is, as if God should say, “ If any man of you love not the Lord Jesus Christ, cursed shalt thou be in the city; and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket, and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body; and cursed shall be the fruit of thy land. Cursed shalt thou be
when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send unto thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand, unto.” If any thing may be added to this, it is what Christ himself said: “ He that believeth on the Son, hath'everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Can you hear this without emotion ? But what I want is, to convince you of the sin, the exceeding sinfulness, of your disaffection to Christ. It is by no means a matter of indifference; but a crime of tremendous guilt, which is attended with dreadful aggravations; for
It is a sin without cause.
It adınits of no reason or excuse. If Christ should plead with you, as God does with the Jews, “What iniquity have you or your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me; and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” Qr, as he himself reasoned with the Jews: “Many good works have I showed you
Father; for which of these works do ye stone me?” What reply would you
be able to give him ? Suppose him to say, “ I have done many things for others, with which you are not unacquainted. You have seen among your own relations, or friends, how I have opened blind eyes, healed broken hearts, pacified troubled consciences, blotted out crimes rèd as scarlet, and washed out stains deeper than crimson. I have healed the sick; and quickened those that were dead in trespasses and sins. All this I have done for others; and much have I done for you. I have placed you under the sound of my gospel; I have sent you my ambassadors
sabbath after sabbath, with the most faithful warnings, and the most affectionate invitations. I have bidden them tell you, (and I know that they have told
you repeatedly,) how ready I am to receive, and forgive, and bless you ; and now I ask, for which of all these works do you hate me ? In such a case, what could you say for yourselves? In others, you might plead want of ability. You could not, for example, lead the public services of the church, because you have not the gifts and qualifications of a minister. You could not cure disorders, because you have not the skill and experience of a physician. But you cannot plead, that you have not the affection of love. There is some object that you all desire or'delight in; and to be able to take pleasure in a creature, but to have no heart to love God, or feel affection for a Saviour; to rejoice in your houses and lands, and not to be able to love him whose favour is life, and whose loving-kindness is better than life, will admit of no vindication. But this is not only a sin without cause, but
It is also a sin against many causes.
There is not only no reason for it, but there are a thousand reasons against it. Christ himself is the most perfect pattern and example of love, and has acted the most astonishing part to procure our salvation. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, (beyond all computation or conception,) yet, for our sakes, became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich."
When, therefore, he, who was holy, harmless, and undefiled, loves guilty and polluted worms; when the Lord of glory fixes his regard on dust and ashes, and the Lord of life on souls