Page images

ness to be found about our Father's business, improving the talents he has committed to our charge. Again, Christ was ever obedient to all the commands of his Father; he was obedient even unto death. To walk as he walked, therefore, is to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded us to observe all the ordinances, precepts, and duties of the gospel, both internally and externally. Again, if we take Christ for our example in our Christian walk, or race-if we look to him, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, and despised the shame, we shall suffer afflictions and crosses with patience; and shall despise the shame, and rise superior to all the ridicule and opposition of a wicked world. In a word, to walk as Christ walked, implies that we live in such a manner as to honor our profession, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and manifest to the world that we are the subjects of the wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. I come now in the

IV. Place, to mention briefly some of the reasons, why those who say they abide in Christ, or profess to be Christians, ought thus to walk. And

1. It is highly incumbent upon them, because God the Saviour has most absolutely commanded it, and that in many ways and instances. He directed his disciples, and through them all the ministers of the gospel, to teach those, who profess to believe in him, to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded them, all the ordinances, duties, and principles of the gospel. If any man serve me says Christ, that is, profess to serve me, let him follow me, let him walk as I have walked, and thereby manifest that he is really my servant. Again,

2. It is important that those, who say they abide in Christ, should walk as he walked, because it is impossible they should receive salvation, or be truly happy in any other way. Without holiness no man can see the Lord. That faith only is genuine, which works by love and purifies the heart and that profession only will be approved, which is accompanied with a holy walk. Again, those who, in any way, profess to be Christians, and yet walk not as Christ walked, act a most false, absurd, and inconsistent part. There is no truth nor consistency in them. Says the apostle, "He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." And the Saviour himself intimates, that it implies the greatest absurdity, to call him Lord, Lord, and yet not do the things which he says. I add

3. That the conduct of those who say they abide in Christ, and yet do not maintain a Christian walk, is not only inconsistent and absurd, but to the highest degree criminal, and displeasing to God. It is pretending friendship to the cause of Christ, while at the same time, they are walking on, hand in hand, with Satan the grand adversary. It is disgracing and injuring the cause of religion, in a way, in which open enemies cannot do it; and therefore must be exceedingly provoking to God. Such partial and hypocritical professions of religion, are reprobated by Christ in the strongest terms. In the xxiii of Matthew, Christ several times in succession, accuses the pharisees of it, pronounces a woe upon them, and declares, that, for such conduct, they shall receive the greater damnation.

But not to enlarge. As I have endeavored to show what it is to abide in Christ; and what to say we abide in him; also what it is to walk as Christ walked; and the importance of so walking, I shall now close with a brief


And, in the first place, our subject naturally applies, itself to such as, in some sense, say theyfabide in Christ, by praying in his name, and observing some external duties, and yet neglect to walk as he walked, or yield any cordial or true obedience. We have observed that to pray in the name of Christ, attend public worship &c. is implicitly to say, we believe in Christ, acknowledge his divinity, and submit to him. But is it not to be feared, that there are many who do this, who yet declare, by their walk, that they do not submit to him, and that they desire not the knowledge of his ways? But what absurd and inconsistent conduct is this? You pray in his name, perhaps, and acknowledge his divinity; and yet, by the general course of your conduct actually rise in rebellion against him. You verbally pray for the influences of his Spirit, yet constantly resist and strive against them, and are willingly subject to the spirit and influence of Satan, the God of this world. You ask to be delivered from temptation to sin, and yet constantly and voluntarily expose yourselves to temptation. You ask to be conformed to the holy character of Christ, and that you may have God for your portion; and that while you are at the same time greedily heaping up the things of the world to consume upon your lusts; thereby manifesting that you prefer sinful and worldly gratifications, to the favor of God, and that you choose this world for your portion, in preference to a portion in Christ. Now such inconsistent conduct needs only to be stated in order to expose the absurdity of it. But here let it not be thought, that by endeavoring to expose the absurdity of such conduct, we would recommend to any, in order to be consistent, to cast off fear and restrain prayer, and neglect the external observance of duties. This, at best, would be but stepping from one inconsistency to another. We would recommend a better, and indeed the only way to be consistent, namely, to see to it that your hearts con

cur with your petitions-that, with exteral obedíence, you give that also which is internal; in a word, that you have penitent and believing hearts, and actually place your supreme affection on God. These, in the words of scripture, ought ye to do, and not leave the other undone. Indeed, were they once done, the other would not be long left undone. Those who have penitent, believing hearts, and love to walk as Christ walked, will not fail to express their love and their dependence, in all proper external ways. Let not such, therefore, as do not say, they abide in Christ, but the contrary, think that they are free from inconsistence. It is probable there are not a few, who acknowledge the divinity of Christ and the scriptures, and call themselves Christians, in distinction from Deists, Jews, Mahometans, &c. and yet make no dedication of themselves to Christ, refuse to pray in his name, and constantly and professedly neglect all submission to him, both internal and external.


But let us see whether such are free from absurdity. You acknowledge, by the supposition, that Christ is the Son of God, consequently you must grant that his words are divine truth; and that all his threatenings against sinners, and those who refuse to have him reign over them, will be fulfilled. must acknowledge (for the scriptures declare it) that God is most amiable, and a being infinitely worthy of our constant, cordial obedience and supreme affection, and that we are absolutely dependent upon him; and yet by casting off fear and restraining prayer, and by all your conduct, you declare that he is unworthy of your service, and that you are independent of him, or wish to be independent. You acknowledge that nothing separates those who do not abide in Christ, (of which number you profess to be) from eternal burning, but the brittle thread of life; and yet you are at ease-you despise the Saviour, and neglect the gospel; and go on from day to

day, indulging in sin, saying to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. What is this but absurdity? Yea is it not madness? We see, therefore, that there is no way to be consistent, short of cordially embracing the gospel, and walking as Christ walked. I say there is no way to be consistent short of this, except we plunge into the absurdity of supposing, what is impossible, namely that the bible which condemns sin and Satan throughout, and is directly calculated to destroy both-was yet forged by Satan himself, or wickedness under his influence, and is imposed upon the world by him, in order to destroy his own kingdom. But

2. Our subject addresses itself to such as do, in express words, declare that they have hope in Christ, and do humbly trust, that they abide in him, and have received a heart to love God, religion, and holiness -and yet neglect to confess Christ, in the congregation of God's people, and commemorate his dying love. He that saith he abideth in Christ ought so to walk, as Christ walked. But how did Christ walk? Truly by observing all the commands of his Father, and he has explicitly directed all those who profess to be his followers, to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded-there is, therefore, no excuse which can be made for those who, after a serious, thorough, and deliberate self-examination, find reason to conclude, and do really exercise a hope, that they have become new creatures, and have chosen God for their portion, and who nevertheless neglect the ordinance of the Lord's supper. Satan sometimes suggests that assurance, full, undoubting assurance, is necessary to an attendance on this ordinance. But how, my friends, shall we obtain this assurance? If you will just turn to the 3d verse of our context you will see. Says the apostle," hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." We are here, as well as in many other places, plainly taught, that

« PreviousContinue »