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who died for us, and rose again. In particular we may consider,
1. The yoke of his profession. This is very pleasing to a gracious soul, so far as faith is in exercise.
Far from being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, he is ready and willing to tell to all who will hear, what God has done for his soul. Many young converts, in the first warmth of their affection, have more need of a bridle than of a spur in this concern. For want of prudence to time things rightly, and perhaps for want of more tenderness mixed with their zeal, they are apt to increase their own troubles, and sometimes, by pushing things too far, to obstruct the success of their wellmeant endeavours to convince others. But, though this is a fault, it is a fault on the right side, which time, experience, and observation, will correct. And though we are hasty enough to condemn the irregular overflowings of a heart deeply impressed with a sense of eternal things, I doubt not but the Lord, who owns and approves the main principle from whence they spring, beholds them with a far more favourable eye, than he does the cold, cautious, temporizing conduct of some others, who value themselves
prudence. We should judge thus, if we had servants of
If we had one who was heartily and affectionately devoted to our interests, always ready to run by night or by day, refusing no danger or difficulty from a desire to please us, though sometimes through ignorance or inattention he should make a mistake, we should prefer him to another of greater knowledge and abilities, who was always slow and backward, and discovered at least as much care to save himself from inconveniences, as to promote our service. However, this warm zeal usually suffers abatement; we are flesh,
as well as spirit: and there are some circumstances attending a profession of the Gospel, on the account of which it may be with propriety termed a yoke to us, who have so many remaining evils within us, and so many outward temptations to call them forth. It will certainly stir up opposition from the world, and may probably break * in upon our dearest connections, and threaten our most necessary temporal interests.
2. The yoke of his precepts. These the gracious soul approves and delights in; but still we are renewed but in part. And when the commands of Christ stand in direct opposition to the will of man, or call upon us to sacrifice a right hand or a right eye; though the Lord will surely make those who depend upon him victorious at the last, yet it will cost them a struggle ; so that when they are sensible how much they owe to his power working in them, and enabling them to overcome, they will at the same time have a lively conviction of their own weakness. Abraham believed in God, and delighted to obey; yet when he was commanded to sacrifice his only son, this was no easy trial of his sincerity and obedience: and all who are par. takers of his faith are exposed to meet, sooner or later, with some call of duty, little less contrary to the dictates of flesh and blood.
3. The yoke of his dispensations. This none can bear as they ought, but those who come to him. It is natural to us to repine, to frut and toss like a wild bull in a net t, when we are under afflictions. Believers likewise find their flesh weak, when their spirits are willing; yet they see sufficient reasons for submission,
* 2 Tim. iii. 12.; Matth. x. 36.
+ Isa. li. 20.
and they know where to apply for grace. Affliction is a touchstone that discovers what spirit a man is of. The hypocrite may keep up a fair semblance of true piety, while all things go smooth and to his wish, but in sharp /troubles the mask will drop off. ceeded upon this maxim in his contest with Job; and the maxim is a truth, though Satan was mistaken in the application.
II. The appointed means by which sinners are enabled to bear this threefold yoke, is suggested in the words, “ Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly.” However amiable and desirable the disposition I have described may appear, you will never acquire it by any strength, wisdom, 'or diligence of your own. Our Lord, to prevent you wearying yourselves with unsuccessful efforts and needless disappointments, has assured you before-hand, “ Without me you can do nothing *." But here he graciously offers you the assistance you need. As if he had' said, I know you are unable of yourselves, but I will help you. Be not afraid of the prospect, but consider what I can do. To my power all things are easy; I can make the crooked strait, and the rough smooth; I can sweetly engage your affections, subdue your wills, influence your practice, and deliver you from your sinful fears. Consider likewise what I have done ; thousands, who, by nature, were as unskilful and impatient as yourselves, have been made willing in the day of my power.
Therefore, Learn of me. Be not afraid to come to me, for I am meek and lowly of heart. Great and mighty as I am, you may freely apply to me in every doubt and difficulty. Awakened souls, through a sense
* John, xv. 5.
of guilt, and the power of unbelief, are backward and unwilling to come to Christ. They think, surely he will take no notice of such a one as I am, But observe how kind and condescending is his invitation ; how graciously suited to engage our confidence. It was said of a Roman emperor, that those who durst speak to him, were ignorant of his greatness; but those who durst not, were still more ignorant of his goodness. This was a false and impious compliment when applied to a sinful mortal; but it is justly applicable to Jesus, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. His glorious majesty may well fill our hearts with awe, and humble us into the dust before him; but his immense compassions, tenderness, and love, are revealed to over balance our fears, to give us confidence to draw nigh to him, and an encouraging hope that he will draw nigh
Again, Learn of me.. I know the cause why these things appear so hard. It is owing to the pride and impatience of your hearts. To remedy this, take me for your example; I require nothing of you
but what I have performed before you, and on your account: in the path I mark out for you, you may perceive my own footsteps all the way. This is a powerful argument, a sweet recommendation of the yoke of Christ, to those who love hini, that he bore it himself. He is not like the Pharisees, whom he censured * on this very account, who bound heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and laid them on men's shoulders, but they themselves would not mave them with one of their fingers.
1. Are you terrified with the difficulties attending your profession, disheartened by hard usage, or too ready to show resentment against those who oppose you? Learn of Jesus, imitate and admire his constancy: 6 consider him who endured the contradiction “ of sinners against himself*." Make a comparison (so the word imports) between yourself and him, between the contradiction which he endured, and that which you are called to struggle with, then surely you will be ashamed to complain. Admire and imitate his meekness; when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; he wept for his enemies, and prayed for his murderers. Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
* Matth. xxiii. 4.
2. Do you find it hard to walk stedfastly in his precepts, especially in some particular instances, when the maxims of worldly prudence, and the pleadings of flesh and blood are strongly against you? Learn of Jesus. He pleased not himselft; he considered not what was safe and easy, but what was the will of his heavenly Father. Entreat him to strengthen you with strength in your soul, that, as you bear the name of his disciples, you may resemble him in every part of your conduct, and shine as lights in a dark and selfish world, to the glory of bis grace.
3. Are you tempted to repine at the dispensations of Divine Providence? Take Jesus for your pattern. Did he say, when the unspeakable sufferings he was to endure for sinners were just coming upon him, “The сир which
my Father has put into my hands, shall I " not drink it I?” and shall we presume to have a will of our own? especially when we further reflect, that
+ Rom. xv, 3.
• Ηeb. xii, 3. αναλογισασθε.