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deem it “ my meat and drink to do the will of my Father !' May I be filled with the fruits of righteousness, to the praise of God.”
Love to Jesus will produce universal obedience to his commands. · There were some Jews, of old, whom God by the prophet charged as “ partial in his laws." They performed that part which suited their fancies or interest. But the Psalmist could say, so I have esteemed thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way." Every injunction in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is stamped with the same divine authority, and consequently demands submission and obedience. " Whosoever, therefore, shall break the least of the commandments, and teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” When we open the Gospel, we find there enjoined duties which regard ourselves, our fellow creatures, and our God. We are required “ to cast down imaginations and high thoughts ; to erucify the flesh with its affections and lusts ; and to exercise ourselves daily unto godliness.” We are exhorted to render to all our fellow-men their due; to be respectful and submissive to superiors ; affable and unassuming with equals ; kind and condescending to inferiors ; just, bene. volent, and, as far as possible, useful to all. We are commanded “ to yield ourselves up to God, as those who are alive from the dead, and to do all things to promote his glory.” Where a sincere and lively affection to Christ rules in the heart, there will not be a wish, that one of these commands should be blotted out, or made void by wilful negligence.
The Christian's practical obedience must not only extend to all the precepts of Christ, but also run through every period of his life. Having his heart enlarged by the grace of God, his chief concern is “ to run in the way of his commands." But this race requires perseverance. Too many begin, and “ for a time run well,” who afterward fall away. “ Be not weary in welldoing,” is therefore, at all times, a very needful admonition. The more uniformly, consistent, and exemplary, is the conduct of a believer, the clearer will his evidence be of an interest in the precious Saviour. - Where there is fruit unto holiness, the end must be everlasting life.” Think, my reader, whether you have this evidence : do you, without endeavouring to cramp or mangle it by narrow and violent modes of interpretation, receive the whole body of revealed truth, embracing with equal readiness the precepts and the promises ? « Do you exercise yourself daily, to keep a conscience void of offence towards God
and towards man." A good servant watches his master's eye, attentively listens to his call, and dies on the wings of promptitude and zeal to execute his orders. Now, when Paul speaks of the Saviour, he says, “ Whose I am, and whom I serve ;" the latter is the proof of the former. Do you feel it a duty and an honour " to serye the Lord Christ?” Are you persuaded, that the Christian's life must be a life of activity and usefulness ? Are you filled with grief and shame at the remembrance of your negligence and unpro. fitableness? Do you look back with deep regret, not only on the blots, but also on the blanks of your past life? Do you set before you the fairest examples of cheerful, active piety, and tread in their steps, according to the injunction, " Be ye followers of them who inherit the promises ?” Then to you Christ is certainly precious. The ancient pharisees wore the precepts of the law in broad phylacteries ; but the commands of the Gospel, that they may evidence our adoption, and ornament our character, must be reduced into practice, and interwoven in the whole texture of life.
4. Another evidence that Christ is precious to us, is an ardent, undissembled love to his people.
Our views of the Redeemer will, in a considerable measuré, influence our regard to his true followers. This criterion cannot fail, for it is expressly said, “ Whosoever loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him." The various privileges, the severe trials, and the tender relations of Christians, have a tendency to endear them to each other. Are not all equally purchased with the precious blood of Christ? Oh, what a price was paid for their redemption ! Are not all equally “ accepted in the Beloved, in whose perfect righteousness they will be presented at last without spot and blemish ?” Are not all equally partakers of the same rich saving grace? Would you then intentionally offend one of those for whom Christ died, and who shall for ever reign with him? The various trials of Christians have a tendency to endear them to each other. Have not all good men frequent reason to exclaim, " Without are fightings, with in are fears ?” Their circumstances widely differ, but in regard to the bitterness of sin, struggles with temptation, and opposition from the world, their experience bears a strong resemblance. And surely, the consideration that we are passing together through the same changing scenes, exposed alike to the same difficulties and dangers, should feed the springs of sympathy, and foster those meltings of fellow-feeling, and those senti
ments of mutual kindness, which lighten the load of affliction, and blunt the edge of calamity. Do not all true Christians stand in the same tender and endearing relations ? 6. There is but one faith, one Lord, one baptism.” They are servants of one master, children of one father, members of one body. They all travel the same way, fight the same good fight, look to the same source of supply, and the same object of hope. “ They do all eat the same spiritual meat, and all drink the same spiritual drink.” Are not all these motives to reciprocal affection ?
It is by this even the world are able to form a judgment of us. Hence the Saviour says, “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” Are the proofs of our regard to the members of Christ made strikingly manifest ? Do we relieve them in poverty, and succour them in distress ?” - Do.we weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that do rejoice ?” The man who goes no farther than verbal professions of esteem and affection to the saints ; who futters round them in the sunshine of prosperity, but flies off when the stormy blasts of trouble come, may have the name, but has “not the spirit of Christ.” “Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the