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You hear, brethren, what will not serve the turn; will you now hear what persons you must be, if you • would not be condemned as slighters of Christ ? O search whether it be thus with your souls, or not.
1. Your esteem of Christ and salvation must be greater than your esteem of all the honours, profits, or pleasures of this world, or else you slight him; no less will be accounted sincere, nor accepted to your salvation. Think not this hard,. when there is no comparison in the matters esteemed. To esteem the greatest glory on earth before Christ and everlasting glory, is a greater folly and wrong to Christ, than to esteem a dog before your prince, would be folly in you, and a wrong to him. Scripture is plain in this : “ He that loveth fatber or mother, wife, children, house, land, or his own life, more than me, is not worthy of me, and cannot be
2. You inust manifest this esteem of Christ and salvation, in your daily endeavours and seeking after him, and in parting with any thing that he shall require of you, God is a Spirit, and will not take a hypocritical profession instead of the heart and spiritual service wbich he commandeth. He will have the heart or nothing; and the chief room in the heart too. These must be had.
If you say that you do not make light of Christ, or will not hereafter ; let me try you in these few particulars, whether indeed you mean as you say, and do not dissemble.
1. Will you, for the time to come, make Christ and salvațion the chiefest matter of your care and study? Thrust them not out of your thoughts as
as these ?
a needless or unprofitable subject; not allow it only some running, slight thoughts, which will not affect you.
But will you 'make it your business, once a day, to bethink you soberly, when you are alone, what Christ hath done for you, and what he will do, if you do not make light of it; and what it is to be everlastingly happy or miserable ? And what all things in this world are in comparison of your salvation; and how they will shortly leave you; and what mind
will be then of, and how you will esteern them? Will you promise me, now and then, to make it your business to withdraw yourselves from the world, and set yourselves to such considerations
If you will not, are not you slighters of Christ and salvation, that will not be persuaded soberly to think on them? This is my first question to put you to the trial, whether you will value Christ, or not.
2. Will you, for the time to come, set more by the word of God, which contains the discovery of these excellent things, and is your charter for salvation, and your guide thereunto ? You cannot set by Christ, but you must set by his word: therefore the despisers of it are threatened with destruction. . Will you, therefore, attend to the public preaching
, of his word; will you read it daily; will you resolve to obey it, whatever it may cost you ? If you will not do this, but make light of the word of God, you shall be judged as such as make light of Christ and salvation, whatever you may fondly promise to yourselves. 3. Will
for the time to come, esteem more of the officers of Christ, whom he hath purposely appointed to guide you to salvation; and will you make use of them for that end? Alas, it is not to give the minister a good word, and speak well of him, that will serve the turu: it is for the necessity of your souls that God hath set them in his church; that they may be as physicians under Christ, to apply his remedies to your spiritual diseases, not only in public, but also in private: that you may have some to go to for the resolving of your doubts, and for your instruction where you are ignorant, and for the help of their exhortations and prayers. Will you hereafter go to your ministers privately, and solicit them for advice? And if
have not such of your own as are fit, get advice from others; and ask them, What you shall do to be saved ? How to prepare for death and judgment? And will
you obey the word of God in their mouths ? If you will not do this much, nor so much as inquire of those that should teach you, nor use the means which Christ hath established in his church for your help, your own consciences shall one day witness that you were such as made light of Christ and salvation. If any of you doubt whether it be your duty thus to ask counsel of your teachers, as sick men do of their physicians, let your own necessities resolve you, let God's express word resolve you ; see what is said of the priests of the Lord, even before Christ's coming, when much of their work did lie in cereinonials: My covenant was with him of life and
peace: and I
gave them to bim (to Levi) for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and
equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priests' lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth : for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts."
Nay, you must not only inquire, and submit to their advice, but also to their just reprehensions, and church censures : and, without proud repiving, submit to the discipline of Christ in their hands, if it shall be used in the congregations whereof you are members.
4. Will you, for the time to come, make conscience of daily and earnest prayer to God, that you may have a part in Christ and salvation? Do not go out of doors till you have breathed out these desires to God; do not lie down to rest till
you have breathed out these desires; say not, God knoweth
my necessity without so often praying; for though he do, yet he will have you to know them, and feel them, and exercise your desires and all the graces of his Spirit in these duties: it is he that hath commanded to pray continually, though he know your needs without it. Christ himself spent whole nights in prayer, and encourageth us to this course. If
will not be persuaded to this much, how can you say that you make not light of Christ and salvation ?
5. Will you, for the time to come, resolvedly cast away your known sins at the command of Christ ? If you have been proud, or contentious, or malicious, and revengeful, be so no more.
you have been adulterers, or swearers, be so no more. You cannot hold these, and yet obtain Christ and salvation. What say you? Are
Are you resolved to let them go? If not, when you know it is the will of Christ, and
he bath told you such shall not enter into his kingdom, do not you make light of him ? 6. Will you, for the time to come, serve God in
, the dearest as well as in the cheapest part of his service ? Not only with your tongues, but with your purses
deeds? Shall the poor find that you set more by Christ than this world? Shall it appear in any good uses that God calls you to be liberal in, according to your abilities? .. Pure religion, and undefiled, before God, is this, To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction." Will you resolve to stick to Christ, and make sure this work of salvation, though it cost you all that you have in the world ? If
think these terms too dear, you make light of Christ, and will be judged accordingly. ry. Will
you, for the time to come, make much of all things that tend to your salvation; and take every help that God offereth you, and gladly make use of all his ordinances ? Attend upon his strengthening sacraments, spend the Lord's own day in these holy employments; instruct your children and servants in these things; get into good company that set their faces heavenward, and will teach you the way, and help you thither: and take heed of the company of wicked scorners, or foolish, voluptuous fleshly men, or any that would hinder you in this work.
Will you do these things? Or will you show that you are slighters of Christ by neglecting them?
8. Will you do all this with delight; not as your toil, but as your pleasure ? And take it for your highest honour that you may be Christ's disciples, and may be admitted to serve and worship him; and