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make any other use of them, I conceive, that in so doing, they walk pfter the imaginations of their own hearts.
I am the truth, says our divine Master. The Holy Ghost which I will send, shall take of mine and show it unto you, and as many as are thus taught by the Holy Spirit, are made acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus, they are drawn together in one spirit, to celebrate his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy word, and experiencing no inclination to follow the voice of a stranger, they follow the good Shepherd whithersoever he goeth. Persons, thus associated, should love one another; but as they are of the earth, earthy, and have in them hearts of unbelief, ever ready to turn aside into the path of corrupt nature, they love only them by whom they are beloved. Our Saviour directs his followers to love one another, as he loved them. But how did our Saviour love his disciples? Herein was his love made manifest, not that we loved him, but that he loved us and gave himself for us. For a good man one would even dare to die, but God commended his love toward us, that even while we were yet sinners he died for us. Now if our love be of this sort, we may be said to walk after his commandments, but if it be of any other sort, I think we may be said to walk after the imaginations of our own hearts.
Love of any description, is, I am persuaded, free as light and air: the love of God is certainly free, and if we love him because he first loved us, it is in consequence of the Son making us free. Indeed the Apostle speaks of the love of Christ constraining; but it is a blessed constraint, with which our will sweetly coincides, and that from a full persuasion of the excellency of the plan, of which we are constrained to judge. But, if instead of being drawn by the softening influence of divine love, and feeling inexpressible delight in the service to which we are thus drawn, we attend upon any regular discipline, purely as a duty to which we are compelled to submit in order to please God, or because others did or do so, then I think we may be said to walk after the imaginations of our own hearts.
Love linketh no evil, love worketh no evil; the nature of love is to endeavour to promote the real happiness of the beloved object. This is the nature of divine love; but when we are said to love God, can we be said to lay ourselves out to promote his happiness? No, assuredly; our righteousness cannot profit God. Therefore, when Christians are said to have the love of God shed
abroad in their hearts, it is that they desire to do good and to distribute, with which sacrifices God is well pleased. But multitudes of modern Christians walk in a vain show, imagining they have manifested their love to God, as the Jews of old manifested theirs, viz. By submission to ordinances; and thus, like those Jews, walk after the imaginations of their own hearts.
But it is my design to attend to the scriptures you have pointed
And first, Luke xii. 1, "In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." This exhortation is often repeated to the disciples. Matthew, xvi. 6, "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the Sadduces." And again, Mark viii. 15, "And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod." Hypocrisy counterfeits religion and virtue; it hath the form of godliness, while it denieth the power. A hypocrite appears to be what he is not. Among the Jews he was a hypocrite, who professing to keep the law of God, that is, to walk blameless and to keep all God's commandments, was nevertheless a law breaker. A number of these hypocrites assembling together to keep one another in countenance, said, The temple of the Lord are we. Those who know not the law are accursed, and to all such they said, Stand off, come not near unto us, we are more righteous than thou.
Our Saviour knew the human heart to be what his prophet declared it was, "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah xvii. 9. And that his disciples were men of like passions with others. Such were the sentiments of the Apostle Paul, Romans iii. 22, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference." And again, x. 12, "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." And 1 Corinthians iv. 7, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" The human heart laying open to the searching eye of our Emmanuel, and to the teaching Spirit
which dictated to our Apostle. The primitive Christians were cautioned against that natural propensity, which leadeth to undue self-exaltation, lest they should think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, and so in their hearts say, when they drew near unto God, in whatever place they set apart for public or private devotion, I thank thee, O God, I am not like other men, To attend, therefore, properly to this divine admonition, is to save ourselves from this untoward generation, Acts iii. 40. And if we cannot bring them with whom we converse, to see and believe the truth of God, respecting the creature and the Creator; if our representations harden their hearts, if they speak evil of the way of peace, and publish their defamatory accusations, the best thing we can do is to follow the example of the Apostle, and depart from them, associating ourselves with as many as prove themselves disciples of our Saviour by believing with their heart, and making confession with their mouth unto salvation, Romans x. 10.
But, we shall not only come out from among them who believe not, but if we follow the direction of the unerring Spirit, we shall not touch the unclean thing, 2 Corinthians vi, 17:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
Here, however, we are in great danger of falling into the error of the wicked; for, should we look upon those from whom we have separated as the unclean thing, and not the leaven against which our Saviour so often cautioned his disciples, we shall immediately commence the very character we are exhorted to avoid; for although, in the former dispensation, it was deemed an unlawful thing for a man that was a Jew, to keep company with, or to come unto one of another nation. Yet, saith the Apostle, God hath shewed me, that I should not call any man common or unclean, Acts x. 28. The Apostle refers to the vision of the sheet, verse fifteenth of this tenth chapter, what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
But, if there were any individual among the children of men, that God had not cleansed by the blood-shedding of Christ Jesus, then he would not have shown Peter, that he should not call any man common or unclean. It is then the leaven, that constitutes the character of the Pharisee, and not the man in whose heart it ferments; it is the leaven which we are to consider as the unclean thing, that we are exhorted not to touch or to join in spirit with.
When the Apostle told the congregation to which he was preaching, Acts ii. 39, "That the promise was to them, and to their children, and to all that were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God should call. Some gladly received his word and were baptized, and they continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer." See verse forty-second of this chapter.
They continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine, and in fellowship. What was the Apostle's doctrine? The sermon in the second chapter informs us, particularly verse 39. And we are further taught 2 Corinthians, v. 19, "To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
Again, Romans iii. 22, 23, 24, 25, "Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference :
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
"Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."
Again, Acts iii. 21, “Whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
But what was the fellowship? Let the beloved disciple answer. 1 John i. 3:
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
And saith Paul, Ephesians iii. 9, "To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
Again, in Philippians i. 5, "For your fellowship in the gospel, from the first day until now."
Again, Philippians ii. 1, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies."
And iii. 10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
But they who continued steadfast in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship, continued also in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts xx. 7.
Of the breaking of bread, we have an account in the passage to which you refer, 1 Corinthians, xi. 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread : 1.
"And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
"Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
In the twenty-second verse of this chapter, the Apostle declares, he will not praise the communicants of Corinth. Why? Because they come together not for the better, but for the worse. But wherein did it appear that they came together for the worse? The eighteenth verse informs us, "When ye come together, in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you, and I partly be lieve it. For there must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
The conduct of this people, as delineated in the twenty-first and twenty-second verses, was not, as the Apostle observes, praiseworthy. Indeed it was highly reprehensible. And the use they made of what was given for a very good purpose, was very unworthy the Christian character. Who could imagine, if they had not previously been so informed, that Paul was describing an assem