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membrance of an absent Friend, whom your souls love, who has endeared himself to you by many and vast obligations, and who is in himself “ the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.” Methinks I hear you cry out, in raptures of grateful love and joy, · Yes, dearest, dearest Saviour! we well, we do remember thy love more than wine, or any, the most valued or entertaining, among creature enjoyments. If we do not remember thee, blessed Jesus, let our right hand forget its cunning, and our tongue cleave to the roof of our mouth, if we prefer not Christ crucified above our chiefest joy.---- We will remember thy love more than
, From these words I shall take occasion to inquire,
I. On what accounts the love of Christ is so highly preferable.
II. How our preference of it must be discovered.
We inquire, then, I. On what accounts the love of Christ is so highly preferable.
On many accounts---on all accounts. Two reasons are especially obvious, which I shall briefly
1. His worth.
“ To them that believe, he is precious." Those whose senses are spiritually exercised, so as to distinguish between things which differ, will tell you, that the love of Christ is ten thousand times sweeter than the smiles of the whole creation. Creature comforts are in their place desirable, and to be received with thankfulness; but the best of thein are
but as the small drop of a bucket: they are as the smaller dust of the balance; they are nothing, they are less than nothing, and vanity, in comparison with the substantial and satisfying love of Immanuel. What are barns filled with plenty, and presses bursting out with new wine; what are mountains of gold, or seas of carnal pleasure ; what are they, any of them, or all of them, to the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush ?-To be thought of, to be thought well of, to be loved by the eternal Son of God; to stand high in the affections of a personage so wise, so good, so powerful, and so true: to be marked out for mercy in that great design of redemption, which was laid before the foundation of the world; to be written down in the Lamb's book of life; to be preserved, as the jewels of Jehovah ; to be considered as the care of providence, and the peculiar charge of Love omnipotent and everlasting; are privileges of which your own hearts must tell you the value-and that can be but imperfectly as yet ; for "eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for them that love him.” 2. Our wants.
The smiles of the world, however agreeable they may be, are not necessary: we can live without them: we may rub on to the end of life's journey with slender and coarse accommodations. But the love of Christ is absolutely necessary, and nothing will compensate for the want of it. His “ favour is life, and his loving-kindness is better than life.” We are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;" and no where, but of Christ, can we "buy gold tried in the fire,” that will make us truly
rich; and eye salve,” that will open the eyes of our minds, and enable us to see the deformity of sin and the beauty of holiness; and " white raiment,” to hide our shame. We were sold under sin, debtors to the law, and under the curse of God; and none but Christ could open “ the prison doors to them that were bound,” cancel our bond, and declare us free indeed. In short, “ there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we may be saved:” and, therefore, as Abraham said, “ Lord, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless ?” (Gen. xv. 2); so we may say, with infinitely greater propriety, Lord, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go Christless? What good will it do.me to have houses and lands, possessions and friends, and all that heart could wish, in this world, if I can
My Lord and my God ?" My..outward circumstances may prosper, and the world may, envy me a situation so apparently advantageous and happy; but what is it to me, while my soul.is not secure, and I am not out of the reach of the sword of justice and the flames of hell? If the fig-tree do not blossom, or the labour of the olive' fail; if there be no fruit in the vine, and the herd be cut off from the stall; and all my schemes of worldly felicity be blasted; yet I can rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation :but if God hide his face; if my Saviour frown; it is not in the power of this world, with all its gaiety and grandeur, to make up my loss.
On these two accounts (namely, bis worth and our want), we should prefer the love of Christ above wine or anything else, the worldcalls
Ning noisy 7188:1:1 hiss
r. IIHow should our preference of the love of Christ discover itself? or, what sort of a preference
should it be? :(!.. I.answer: V.:-1. Judicious.
I'mean, it must not be a rash and unthinking declaration, but a deliberate and rational conclusion, upon mature and serious consideration. Many foolish builders have begun to build without counting the cost; which proving greater than they expected, they were obliged to leave their designs unfinished, and to publish to the world their folly : and many forward professors, having had their passions' moved by some affecting discourse, or some alarming providence, have run hastily to Christ, and said, “Lord, we will follow thee whithersoever thou goest;" who yet, when they came to find whither he was leading them, and what difficulties and dangers they should be exposed to, turned back as hastily, and “ walked no more with Jesus.” Therefore I said, that the judgment should be well informed, and well fixed : and if, after weigbing all things in the balances of the sanctuary, we esteem the love of Christ better in itself, and better for us; then our preference may be depended on. "This was the method the Apostle took : “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Ohrist: .yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I , may win: Christ.” (Philip. iii. 7, 8.) He had considered all' the good things of the world-noble birth, high titles, a grand appearance, great riches,
many valuable relations and friends, and health to enjoy all ;--he had considered all the evil things of the world--a mean extraction, narrow circumstances, general contempt, and constant affliction ; --and after he had carefully compared them, singly and collectively, he could say, and did say, "“I count them but dung, that I may win Christ:" [ despise them all, for the love of Christ: I had rather be born a beggar, and live and die a beggar ; - I had rather be all my life treated as the offscouring of all things, and be denied the common privileges of society; I had rather bury all my relations and friends, and be left, like Job, upon a dunghill, destitute, afflicted, and tormented; I had rather part with all my possessions, and all my prospects in this world ; than give up my interests in the love of Christ :--that one thing is worth them all. I know I should be an infinite gainer, if I should sacrifice health, and wealth, and ease, and pleasure, and every thing the world calls great and good, to obtain never so small a share in that love.
Let me only add, under this head, that this preference must not be delayed to some distant period, when we have had our fill of worldly joy. Many, indeed most, will declare for Christ upon a deathbed: when worldly comforts have lost their lustre and relish, and their own heart and flesh fail, they will cry out in the agonies of their distress, None but Christ! all the world for an interest in Christ !" But our preference must be sooner discovered ; our judgment must vote for him now, this very day, this very instant. The languagë. of our hearts should-nów bez. Lord, whom have. I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire