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with the amazing greatness of his love to sinners ? And do you think these the only happy persons who are interested in him, even while you cannot claim this privilege as your own? Though you cannot say in express terms that you love Christ, is it the desire of your hearts that others may love him, and especially your friends and relations ? Little love as you may think you have to him, could you easily part with it? Do you feel yourselves careless and unconcerned when his name is dishonoured, his day profaned, his ordinances neglected, and his people undervalued or persecuted? While you cannot satisfy yourselves about the reality of your love to Christ, do you often look into your hearts, and examine and prove if that principle be in them? Are you absolutely sure that you think much about, and tremble at the danger of not loving Christ? And do these words sound like thunder in your ears, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha ?”
But still the poor believer says, “I cannot find that powerful principle working in my heart as I would desire.” Recollect, O believer, that love to Christ is the fruit of the Holy Ghost; that he produces it by means; and that the supper is an eminent mean; and go forward to his table pleading the accomplishment of that precious promise, Zech. xii. 10, “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications ; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as
one that is in bitterness for his first born." That kindly sorrow will fill your soul with love to Christ. You must also set forward fixing the eye of faith on that most full, absolute, and suitable promise, Deut. XXX. 6, “ The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."
We cannot conclude without beseeching and entreating all in this assembly, to love that glorious Person who laid down his life for sinners. He calls you himself and says, “ My son, give me thine heart.” Many motives might be used to bring you to comply. Passing others, we shall only mention, that you are called to love, not a poor mortal like yourselves, not one who is unworthy of your love, or has not deserved it; but you are called to love the Lord of glory, who hung on the cross for sinners, and in his exalted state still invites and beseeches you, and who has the power of your life and death in his hand.
Recollect also, that you are called only to love him, that is, to think well of him, to receive salvation from him, and to desire communion with him, to take complacency in him, and breathe after the eternal enjoyment of him.
You are not called to great hazard and danger, but only to love him. When he loved you, his love cost him his life-he had to love and die ; but when you love him, you love and never die. A pleasing question which he himself asked, “Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?”
If possible, to prevail with you, and bring you to love him, meditate much on what he will do for you.
All your sins shall be blotted out; you will be blessed here, and have what is good: hereafter, you will be happy beyond conception to all eternity. But if you will not love him, you must be miserable. He will say at the last day, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire;” and he now warns you plainly, while he assures you that, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus, he will be Anathema, Maran-atha."
LUKE XI. 13.
If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?
FAITH holds a distinguished place among the Christian graces, and
prayer among the duties. Without faith no other grace can be exercised, and without prayer
other duties are performed in vain. A proper acquaintance with the nature of prayer would tend to remove our backwardness to that duty, and incline us to engage in it. Suitably performed, it is most advantageous to the Christian; and like a wellfitted key, opens the rich storehouse of divine mercy, It confers the highest honour and dignity, as it introduces us into the presence of God, and admits to immediate intercourse with him. A believing application to the throne of grace, is the source of great sweetness and consolation to the Christian. It mitigates his sorrows, delivers from distraction, and quiets the mind.
This great duty was often the subject of discourse, both when Christ spake publicly to the multitude, and privately to his disciples. With a view to engage them in this duty, he opened up the nature of
it, pointed out the advantages, and directed us to the manner of performing it. Above all things, it was his aim to bring them to faith and importunity. He spake a parable to this end, that men should pray always and not faint. While, with authority, he enjoined them to pray, he encouraged them by his example. If that duty was so necessary and useful to him in his humbled and tried state, it could not but be necessary and profitable to them. At this time he had been praying, and his disciples enjoyed the amazing privilege of hearing the eternal Son of God applying to his Father in their behalf, and joining with him. Listening to such gracious supplications, their hearts could scarcely fail to be affected, and filled with a desire for the spirit of prayer, that they also might have such intercourse with God. They entreated him to teach them to pray; and, where no motive was necessary, urged the example of John. That gracious heart, which inclined the Redeemer to be the great Prophet of his church without any solicitation, and made him improve every opportunity of being beneficial, led him to comply with the request; and he taught them to pray. Having, with wonderful propriety and precision, pointed out the amount of all the petitions which they needed to send up to God, and the proper order in which their addresses should be presented; he proceeds to open up the vast encouragement. That this might make a proper impression, he adapts it to their apprehension, and argues from a double similitude.
The first is that of friendship awakened by importunity, and pressed on by necessity, which admits of