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love of God in him ?" We might as well ask, how can fire burn in a rock of ice? Such a glaring deficiency in the practical part of religion shows, that its essential principles have neither power nor place in the heart. If there be no love to true Christians, there is none to their Master; and, “ If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” The conclusion, however awful, is inevitable ; for Christ aecounts injuries or kindnesses, done to his people, as done to himself. No tear of tenderness, poured out in the chamber of affliction, is overlooked ; no instance of self-denial to assist the needy shall be forgotten by him. “ Whosoever shall give even a cup of cold water to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward.” Many tender expressions of good will, and noble acts of liberality towards the 'poor, despised, afflicted followers of Jesus, which are unknown to the world, are well known to him, and will be honourably distinguished by his approbation in the last day. “ Then shall the King say to those on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; thirsty, and ye gave me drink ;'a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me;
I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in ? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matt. xxv, 34_40.
As it is by this evidence of love to each other that the world will judge us, so by the same test we may judge of our own state. “ If & man say I love Gud, and hate his brother, he is a liar; for if he love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”. Let us examine ourselves, and see whether we can abide this test. Can we say, " we know that we are passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren ?” If, which is not unlikely, we feel some kind of attachment to Christians, is it from a proper principle? Does it produce its natural and lovely fruits? Is it daily growing in strength and vigour? Do we affectionately regard them, not on account of their affluent circumstances, or the influence which
they possess, and willingly exert, to advance our temporal interests, but for all the lovely graces and virtues of undissembled piety? Do we esteem them in proportion as they resemble Jesus, in all his imitable excellencies? Do we in various ways study to show the love we bear to the true disciples of Jesus? Occasions will not be long wanting, if earnestly sought. There are brethren weak in faith, who need to be strengthened, wanderers to be reclaimed, and mourners to be comforted.
Now, reader, let conscience faithfully apply the subject. Do you seek or shun the society of the saints ? Would you prefer a humble, obscure station with the people of God, to the most magnificent splendour of the wicked ? Do you, as one says, account the midnight of the saint better than the mid-day of the sinner? Perhaps, when every other evidence of an interest in Christ appears to fail, you still feel this attachment to believers, and therefore take encouragement to hope that you shall reign with them for ever? Perhaps you answer, “ Yes ; my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. Oh thou who hast said, “ All my churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts,'I appeal to thee, thou knowest I desire to cleave to thee as my Redeemer, my portion, and my all. I esteem it an unspeakable privilege to have a name and a place among thy people. I love them that love thee ; yea, I love them and will own them, when they are most cruelly hated and vilified by an injurious world. Should I meet an utter stranger, from the remotest regions of the earth, in the lowest circumstances of poverty and wretchedness, who loves and follows the Lamb, I could welcome him to my arms, and press him to my heart as a friend and a brother, and shed over him tears of sympathy and joy.” Such a tender, holy, fervent affection to the saints, is a pregnant proof that you have experienced the preciousness of Christ. Seek a larger measure of that divine influence, which refines every social principle, and gives brotherly love its life and energy. Hence Peter says, “ Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
5. Another evidence that Christ is precious to us, is an earnest desire, and constant endeavour to bring others acquainted with his preciousness.
You cannot enjoy the blessedness which there is in Jesus, without longing to see others made
partakers of it. Have you ungodly relations ? your bowels of compassion will yearn over them, and your fervent supplications be poured forth on their behalf; you will wish with far more solicitude to promote their spiritual welfare than to advance their worldly interests. This solicitude will prompt you to study a thousand ways, and gladly use every probable means to impress their minds, and affect their hearts with the necessity of repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Are you a husband ? you will try by counsel and persuasion, by kind treatment and chaste, discreet conversation, to win the unbelieving wife. Or are you a wife ? you will endeavour, by the most wise and gentle means, to win the husband, Are you a parent ? methinks I hear the devout and affectionate prayers which you breathe out at a throne of grace for your offspring. " Oh that my children might live; live to God here, and reign with Jesus hereafter ! Oh that all the family, which God hath graciously given me, may belong to the household of faith! Father of mercies ! let them be as olive-plants around my table, as trees of righteousness in the courts of thy house, to be at last transferred to the fair paradise above, there to flourish in eterpal bloom !” If you have an