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Refolute cleaving to the Lord recommended. man unto God. The news of this success of the ! gospel coming to the church at Jerusalem, Barnabas is sent from thence to them, to hold hand to the work. And in the words of the text, we may obferve,
1. How he was affected when he came among. them. Discerning the grace of God among them shining forth in their way and walk, he was glad. He rejoiced in spirit, to see the hopeful case they were in as to their souls, they having embraced Christ. The reason is remarkable, ver. 24. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith. And a good man will rejoice in the success of the gospel, whoever be the instruments God makes use of and honours therein; though selfish men are apt to grudge in such a case.
2. What he did, when he came among them. He bent his endeavours towards their confirmation, in exhorting them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Those whom he exhorted were all, viz. those who appeared to have embraced Christ. The duty he exhorted them to, is to cleave ta the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was preach. ed to them, ver. 20. and whom they had received.. The words properly signify to abide by the Lord, much akin to that, John xv. 4. Abide in me. The manner of the duty is, with purpose of heart, i.es resolutely, laying it down aforehand for a fure conclusion, that come what would, they must not part with him, but abide by him. · The following doctrine seems native from the words.
: Doct. Resolute cleaving to, and abiding by Chrift, is the great duty, which all that appear to have received him, are to be exhorted to.
In discoursing from this doctrine, I will fhew,
be re. I. In
· I. In the general, what is implied in this resolute cleaving to, and abiding by Christ.
II. Why those that have received Christ, are to be exhorted to cleave resolutely to, and abide by him.
III. Make fome practical improvement.
1. I shall shew you in the general, what is implied in this resolute cleaving to, and abiding by Christ. It implies,
1. The soul's taking hold of Christ offered in the gospel, John i. 12. being once joined to the Lord by faith, i Cor. vi. 17. They that are not joined to the Lord, and so not disjoined from their former lovers, cannot cleave to the Lord; they that are not yet come to Chrift, cannot abide by him. The foundation must be laid in the soul's closing with Christ, before there can be place for the superstructure, viz. cleaving to him.
2: That the separation of the foul from Christ will be effayed; while we are here, we must lay our account with it, Rom. viii. 35. The devil, the world, and the flesh will make the essay. People had need to
hold; for afsuredly these enemies will draw. (1.) E! They will try to seduce you by soft methods, to draw - you to destruction with filken cords of temptation. - (2.) To drive you away by violence, and force you
from Chriít by hard methods, as with iron rods, Cant. viii. 7. There are two ways to rob one of their
love to Christ, smothering it with earth, and quencha, !ing it with floods of water. 1. 3. Keeping hold of Christ over the belly of all the
efsays made to part us from him, Cant. viii. 7. We must keep the hold we have got, and not quit it come what will. We must stand our ground, however hot the battle be, for separating us from him. We must abide by him, (i.). Without intermission, Psal. cxix. 112. I have inclined mine heart, says David, to perform thy.
Statutes alway, even unto the end. We must not be 1 hereaway thercaway in our religion; one day for Kį
God, and another day for the devil; taking our religion by fits and starts : but remember, that our ears are bored to Christ's door-pofts to be for him for ever. (2.) Without defection, Heb. x. 38. If any man draw back, my foul shall have no pleasure in him. Pfal. cxix. 112. forecited. We must not forsake our Cap. tain, and go over to the enemies camp; else it had been better for us we had never known the way of righteousness, Luke ix. ult. No man having put his band to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the king. dom of God.
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II. I shall shew why those that appear to have received Christ, are to be exhorted to cleave resolutely to, and abide by him. : 1. Because fome such may fall away, as not being really what they appear to be, i Cor. x. 72. Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed left he fall. There are branches in Chrift, which being bound up with the stock, by the external bond of sacraments, bc. yet never truly knit with it by faith, that come at length to be taken away, John xv. 2. Some there are, who, if they get not a faler grip of Christ than yet they have got, will surely part with him, by some temptation like a fet wedge driven betwixt the Lord and them. But if they would press forward, they may come to get such a grip of him yet, as may secure them against total apoftafy.
2. Because exhortations of that nature are means appointed of God, to keep the faints upon their guard against temptations to apoftasy, to cause them more resolutely to hold on their way, and to labour to grow up more into Christ, by which they may stand more firm, as in the case of the disciples, John vi. 67. 68. who when Jesus said unto them, Will ye also go away? replied by the mouth of Peter, Lord, to whom fall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. God has joined together the end and the means of his own appointment; therefore though the perseverance of the
faints is put beyond all doubt, from their being members of Christ, yet such exhortations are not in vain. • 3. They are of use to others too, to keep them from open and barefaced apoftafy. So Joash was kept back from grofs extravagancies, while good Jehoiada lived, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2. and xvii. 18. Exhortations from the Lord's word may have a moral influence on men as rational creatures, to keep them back from being so bad as otherwise they would be.
4. Because cleaving to Christ is the comprehensive duty of the Christian life. To believe in him, and cleave to him, is the whole duty of man, as it is fummed up by the apostle, Col. ii. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jefus the Lord, Fa walk ye in him. And we know no other holiness of life competent to fallen man, but what is a cleaving to Chrift, and walking in him. What is of another stamp among men, is but mere morality, not holiness; John xv. 5. I am the vine, ye are the branches : he that an bideth in me, and I in him, the fame bringeth forth much fruit : for without me yé can do nothing.
I shall now make some practical improvement of this subject. · I exhort you then with purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord Jesus Christ. There has been a hopeful appearance among you this day, and some of you have with the most awful folemnity declared your having received him. While ye are in the world, means will be used to withdraw you from him. But I exhort you with purpose of heart to cleave to him, as your all, and in all.
First, Cleave to him as your all. Say with the pfalmist, Whom have I in heaven but thee and there is none upon earth that I defire besides thee, Pfal. lxxit. 25. One throne admits not two kings, nor one heart two masters, viz. Christ and the world, John vi. 44. If ye have received him aright, ye have received him for your all; cleave to him as such; ye need no more, ye may fay, as Phil. iv. 18. I have all, and abound. I allude to Gen. xx. 16. and say, Behold, he is to the 4 covering of the eyes. And particularly cleave to him,
1. As your God, your Lord, Head and Husband, Psal. xlv. 11. He is thy Lordand worship thou him. Hang by the marriage-tie, o believer, plead it, Cant. ii. 16. My beloved is mine, and I am his; and quit it not at any time, no not in your lowest case, Job xiii. 15. Though he say me, yet will I trust in him. But what thail I do when guilt lies on my conscience ? Why, quit it not then neither, Jer. iii. 14. Turn, a: backsliding children, for I am married unto you. Pfal. Ixv. 3. Iniquities prevail against me : as for our tranf.. grelions, thou falt purge them away. To do other. wise, is as if one that is fallen should put his hands in his bosom till he wrestle up. Faith is the hand of the soul, and the use of it in its full strength is never unseasonable. Deal not with an absolute God, a God. out of Chrift; that is not for a guilty, creature. Chrift: is thy Lord and Husband, nay, through the vail of the flefh of Christ, thy Makers are thine Husbands, If.. liv. 5. one God in three perfons. God was in Chrift, that thou mightst be joined to him there : fo look thou ftill to a God in Christ, and receive the law at his mouth, and direct thy obedience to him. " Often:
and willingly,” faith Luther, “ do I inculcate this, " that you should shut your eyes and your ears, and. 66 say, you know no God out of Christ.”
2. As your light through this dark world, John viii, 12. I am the light of the world, says Christ. Shut your own eyes, and let him direct your way by his word and Spirit, and ye will walk fafest. Con. sulting fin and duty with flesh and blood, is drawing back from Christ. Cleave to him as your oracle: and depend on him for light to mark out your way, Prov. iri. 5. 6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways: acknowledge him, and he ball direct thy paths. And