« VorigeDoorgaan »
them, that they had been with Jesus. The expression imports, that they, who had been formed by his example, and under his instructions, differed from the men of the world ; and discovered such tempers and manners, as were, in some degree, peculiar to themselves.
It was Peter's earnest advice to those who professed their faith in Christ, that they should keep themselves from that untoward generation. It was Paul's exhortation to such, that they should not be conformed to this world, nor walk as the Gentiles walked ; but should prove what was the acceptable will of God. It is said of those, who had felt the transforming power of the gospel, that the Gentiles with whom they had formerly walked, thought it strange, that they ran not with them still, to the same excess of riot. Christ signifies to his disci. ples, that they should do more than others--should be as the salt of the earth-as a city, set on a hill as lights, to guide others in the way of truth.
You may then justly enquire, In what respects christians ought to be distinguished ?
1. If you have been with Jesus, be watchful a. gainst all sin. You have seen him, who suffered death to redeem you from iniquity : How can you continue any longer therein ? You have beheld him wounded for your transgressions, and bruised for your iniquities : Surely you will not dare to wound him again. If he has been crucified for you, you will not crucify him afresh, and put him to open shame ; but you will crucify your vile affections, put on his character, and walk in his spirit.
2. If you have been with Christ, and trained up under his instructions, it may justly be expected, that you should excel in religious knowledge.
It his first disciples had come forth from under his tuition, as ignorant of his religion, as when he called them, Who would not have condemned their
stupidity ? You enjoy his gospel which is able to make you wise unto salvation, and furnish you for every good work. If when, for the time, you might have been teachers of others, you have still need to be taught what are the first principles of the oracles of God, you are criminally dull of hearing.
3. If you have been with Jesus, then shew yourselves to be like him.
Learn of him to be meek and lowly, patient and contented, pious and heavenly. If the disciples, who lived with him, and were daily in his company, had caught nothing of his temper and manners, they would have discovered a stubborn and intractable mind. You have seen his amiable example drawn in his gospel-you have heard it described in the publick dispensation of his word-you have beheld him exhibited in the ordinance of the supper : And have you not learned to be like him? - Are you still like the men of the world-vain and haugh. iy, covetous and ambitious, passionate and contentious ?-Who would think, that you had been with Jesus? He was meek and gentle, peaceable and con. descending, contented in poverty, and patient in adversity.
4. Set your affections on things in heaven, for Jesus is there.
He came to deliver you from this evil world. He submitted to poverty, to teach you the vanity of worldly wealth and honour. He died and rose a. gain to point your thoughts, and draw your affec. tions toward a superiour world.
If you have been conversant with him, it may be expected, that you should be dead to this world, and that your conversation should be in heaven. Your interest is there ; let your hearts be there also. The apostle says to the Colossians, “ You, being dead in your sins, God hath quickened with Christ; and, being baptised into his death, ye are risen with
him by the faith of the operation of God. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
5. It is observed of these apostles, that they discovered a marvellous zeal and fortitude in the cause of Christ. This w.is the effect of their acquaintance with him.
The spirit of his religion is a spirit of power and of a sound mind. It inspires with resolution and courage in times of opposition and danger. If we have seen Christ's example-his zeal for God his contempt of the world—his perseverance in his work: If we have learned his doctrines, heari his promises and contemplated the glorious rewards which he has prepared for the faithful; we may be strong in the power of his might. If then we faint in the day of adversity, yield to temptations, or dissemble our religion in the presence of scoffers, we act as those, who have never been with Jesus.
6. The religion of Jesus breathes a spirit of love.
A pattern of the most exalted benevolence he himself has exhibited ; and the same benevolence he has inculcated on his disciples. He has taught them to love one another--to love enemies--to love all men. It may then be expected of those, who are formed under his example and instructions, that " they should put away all bitterness, wrath, malice, envy, clamour and evil speaking; and put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness, meekness and long suffering, forgiving one another, as Christ forgiveth them; and that, above all things, they put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”_"By this,” says our Lord, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” If then we have nothing of his love, Shall we say, we have been with him? No : We have Vol. II.
not seen him, nor known him; or we have companied with him in vain. Let us seriously apply these thoughts.
If we find not in ourselves the temper which was in Christ, let us humbly lament our neglect of the privileges which we enjoy, and more wisely improve them in future.
We see, when we may be said to make a proper use of ordinances, and to attend upon them acceptably. It is when we have so been with Christ as to learn his religion, and become conformed to it.
We have, this day, been near to Christ in his house, and at his table: Let us not walk according to the course of the world, but according to the pattern and precepts of our divine master. Let us, who have been so highly honoured of God, as to be called to the fellowship of his Son, depart from all iniquity, be zealous of good works, live above the world, and maintain a humble, contented, benevo. lent and peaceable spirit; thus men will be constrained to confess, that Jesus is among us of a truth.
Phe Impotent Man at the Pool of Bethesda.
JOHN v, 1-9
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jeru. salem. Now there is al Jerusalem, by the sheepmarkci, a pool, which is called, in the Hebrew longue, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain scason into the pool, and troubled the woler. Whosocder then, first after the Iroubling of the water, slepped in, was inade whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity, thirty and eight years. When Jesus suw him lic, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he said unto him, Wilt thou be made phole? The impotent man answered him; Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into che pool; but while I an coming, another steppeth in before me. Jesus saith unto him, Arise, lake up thy bed and walk. And imonediațely he was made wkole, and cook up his bed and walked. And on the samo day was the sabbath.
THE feast here mentioned, on account of which Jesus went up to Jerusalem, was brobably the passover; for at this, all the males were required to appear before God in the temple.
Though the Jewish church, in that day, hack greatly degenerated from its ancient purity, and in