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Unfaithfulness would cost him; for Peter Ssrm.i. must be deeply sorry for that Fear, and a-'^^'\ shamed of that Shame, and also suffer for his Master at last. It is probable, that Nicodemus, the Ruler, and the rich Joseph of Arimatbea, thought it sufficient for them to be Disciples of Jesus in secret j but this would not serve their turn, and they who were ashamed to own him publickly in his Life-time, (for Fear of the Jews) must be brought to own him, in his Death, under the additional reputed Disgrace of a crucified Malefactor. Thus every Christian, after the Example of Jonahs pays dear for his Unfaithfulness, and after all his Reluctance must do the Work which his Lord has appointed for him; but then he loses the Satisfaction and Praise that would attend a willing and chearful Obedience, and suffers more from being dragged to the Cross than he would from a patient enduring of its Weight.
It is easy to foresee, that this and every other Representation of Christianity in the View of a suffering and self-denying Religion, will be ill received by many; but those Words of our Lord, If any Man will come after me, let him deny Himself, and take up C its
:.8ete«»v I. his Cross and follow me, contain the indispensable Condition of our Discipleship in every Age of the Church, whilst it continues in a militant State. Sit down then, Professors, and count the Cost of being a . Christian; for you must not think of sacrificing to the Lord your God, of that which costs you nothing, and perhaps this will cost you more than you are willing to pay: As first it will cost you the Love of the . World, for, If any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him ; secondly, it will cost you the World's Love for you, If ye were of the World the World would love its own, but because ye are not of the World, but I have chosen you out of the World, therefore the World hateth you. The Christian cannot take Pleasure in the Company of vicious, and disorderly, nor yet of vain Persons j however he may have had his Conversation with such in Times past, he has now neither Time nor Inclination for Vanity, and therefore to all these he faith, "What have I to do with you, get ye behind me; my Delight is henceforth in them that excel in Virtue, Men fearing God and working Righteousness." And, thirdly, This will cost him much of Character with those
whose whose Ways are not as his Ways. TheySerm- r* will fay of him, this Fellow is a Judge, to condemn us and our Doings; or, perhaps, that he is beside himself; and thus he must bear the Reproach of Christ. And, lastly, it will cost you the Love of Self, For even Cbrisi pleased not himself, and therefore all Self-will, Self-seeking, and Self-pleasing must be offered up in Sacrifice to God, that hi$ Will may be done in us, and by us, without any Resistance on our Part. In this total surrender of Self the Christian walks at Liberty, and finds Peace and Rest to his Soul; for it may be affirmed of a Truth, that his most slavish Fears, and tormenting Bondage, are occasioned by some Idol not yet cast out, some Opposition in his own Will to that of God, and therefore our Lord faith, Unless a Man forsake all that he hath, he cannot be my Disciple.
Thus we find that it will cost much to be a Christian, and that if we mean to purchase this goodly Pearl of Gospel Salvation, we must keep back no Part of the Price, but sell all that we have, to give in Exchange for it. But how hard is this Doctrine ! how few can bear it! what Pleadings of Nature, what Torturing of the ScripC 2 tures,
Serm. I. tures, what ingenious Pretences, what learned Evasions in Favour of the Sin that most easily besets us, and to reconcile Duty with Inclination! How great is thy Patience, O loving Lord! towards Sinners, whilst we refuse to hear and accept thy loud Calls, and gracious Invitations to come unto thee, that we may have Life. Behold, I Jland at the Door, fays Christ, and knock, if any Man hear my Voice and open the Door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. But alas! my Brethren, how do we lock and bar the Door against him, and will neither go to him, nor suffer him to come to us, but serve him as the Men of Bethlehem did of old ? Insomuch that it is to be feared, as to many, that if the Language of their Hearts were put into plain Speech, it would be on this wife: My carnal Acquaintance, and worldly Friends, those Partakers with me in the Lusts and Pleasures which my Soul loveth, are come to lodge and abide with me ; and the Company of a poor despised Jesus would disgrace me in their Sight, blast my Character, give a Check to good Fellowship, and moreover ruin my Hopes and Interest in the World; depart therefore, for there is no
Room for thee in the Inn of my Soui.skrm. 1. However, I will not utterly disown thee, nay, I will speak of thee as respectfully as I decently can; but as to receiving thee for my Guest, or professing any Intimacy with thee, in this Thing I pray thee have me excused. But what is the Reply that such a false ungrateful Wretch has to expect? what but this? Know, O Sinner, that as thou hast rejected the Counsel of God against thyself, and shuttest the Door against the Visits of my Grace and Salvation now, behold the Time cometh, when thou shalt knock at the Door of Mercy and find no Admittance thyself, but receive for Answer, Depart from me, I know you notj for, whosoever Jhall be ashamed of me, and of my Words, in this adulterous and sinful Generation, of him also jhall the Son of Man be a/hamed, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father with the Holy Angels. But God forbid, that as some Men glory in their Shame, so we should be ashamed of that which is our highest Glory, ashamed of owning and living to him, who was not ashamed of dying for us. Brethren, the Time is short, and the Day of the Lord is nigh at Hand; let us, with the Eye of Faith, behold it as. C 3 preT