Imatges de pÓgina
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(1.) In it. Under what fhame and contempt will apoftates fall! as convicted,

[1.] Of vile hypocrify. Their revolting from from Chrift is proof fufficient that they never were his difciples indeed, but in their hearts preferred fomething elfe before him, all the while they pretended devotedness to him: And fo their profeffion was no other than a folemn lie, a faying, they were chriftians, when they were not, but of the fynagogue of fatan.

[2.] Of bafe ingratitude; in that they turned their backs on one that never deferved it, but deferved the contrary, as their great bencfactor and best friend, doing them good and not evil all their days: One who fhewed fo tender a concern for their preservation in this world, and so earnest a defire of their bleffedness in another; and all to win them to him, and engage them to abide with him, but they would not.

[3] Of the greateft treachery and unfaithfulness; in that after they had entered themselves among the difciples of Chrift, and engaged to follow and cleave to him, living and dying, they break the most folemn bonds they have brought their fouls under, and against all that they have faid, vowed, and fworn to the contrary, they totally and finally forfake him and go away. Now what fhame must be the attendant of fuch complicated wickedness when brought to light?

[4] Of the most unaccountable folly; in that they forfake Chrift and his ways, which were ways of peace, and would have led to heaven; and turn to the ways of fin, though plainly told X 3 that

that they were all deceit in the beginning, and death in the end. When become fad witneffes themselves of the truth of this, they cannot hear or think of their undoing choice, but with tormentful fhame. And how will their confufion be increased, as at the fame time they will fall under the contempt of Chrift! This is his juft and awful threatning, Mark viii. 38. Whofoever therefore fhall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and finful generation, of him alfo fhall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels. When feated on his high tribunal to render unto every man according to his works, how terrible muft it be to fall under his frowns and difpleafed eye! Their cafe will be fad in that day.

(2.) How will it be after it?

They cannot expect an injured Saviour should take them with him to heaven, who were weary of him upon earth; and there remaineth no other place but hell: And the hottest place there, is prepared for apoftates, as it is deserved by them. These are trees that are twice dead: and when they are plucked up by the roots, and caft into the fire, no wonder if their punishment be proportionable to their guilt. Wilful for fakers of Chrift, after they have received the knowledge of the truth, are plainly told, There remaineth no more facrifice for fin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adverfaries, Heb. x. 26, 27.

The wrath that awaits all fuch is inexpreffibly dreadful, and yet moft juft; and that it is fo,

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fo, appeal is made to all that duly confider the crying provocation that leads it on, Heb. x. 28, 29. He that defpifed Mofes's law died without mercy, &c. Of how much forer punishment, fuppofe ye, Jhall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, &c? Thus, if any man draws back, he does it to his own perdition.

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So much for the first observation, viz. Their cafe is fad who after a fair profeffion of their being the followers of Chrift, at length forsake him and go away ?

I now go on to the

Ild Thing obferved, viz. That Chrift is tenderly concerned for the fafety of his real disciples in their abiding with him.

When many nominal difciples revolt and walk no more with him, with what compaffion and regard doth he befpeak thefe, Will ye alfo go away? He is folicitous for their fafety, and hath their happiness at heart.

Here it will be neceffary to fhew,

1. How Chrift's concern for his real followers appears.

2. From whence it proceeds.

1. How our bleffed Lord difcovers his concern for the fafety of his real followers.

The Apostle fuppofes all chriftians acquainted with this, as what is, and ought to be their delightful meditation, For ye know the grace of our Lord Jefus Chrift, &c. 2 Cor. viii. 9. He pitied us in our fallen ftate, and came from heaven to earth, to feek and to fave fuch as were loft: He freely affumed our nature to become

a fuitable and all-fufficient Saviour: He takes fuch as the Father hath given him into a fpecial union and relation to him; and then is not afhamed to call them brethren, but loves, and cares, and provides for them as fuch. Whilft he was on earth, how many kind expreffions do we meet with of his affection for them, which continued to the death? And his love is not abated now fince he is gone to heaven. As the time drew nigh that he was to depart from hence, how much foever he had to mind, it is recorded for their comfort, John xiii. 1. Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, and had his thoughts taken up about the fafety and comfort of their state below, more than about the glory he was going to. Indeed, having finished the work that was given him to do, he takes a view of the glory that was to be his reward, and puts in his claim to it, And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine owenfelf, with the glory which I had before the world was: But yet does not make fo much hafte to remove, as to be unmindful of them whom he should leave behind; John xvii. 11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own Name, thofe whom thou haft given me. i. e. Though I am about to remove, and shall not be any more in the world as before; yet whilft they are in the world, I cannot but pity and pray for them, and with compaffion commit them into thy hand.

Nor

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Nor was he fatisfied in putting up this fingle requeft for them, but farther strengthens and repeats it, that their prefervation may be fure: ver. 12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy Name, i. e. and I am fecure of thy power and grace to do it ftill, and know their need of it. As there are valuable defigns to be ferved by their continuance on earth, be that longer or fhorter as thou pleafeft, I pray, not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil. These things our bleffed Lord fpake in the world, that his difciples might have their joy fulfilled in themfelves, from affurance of the concern he had for them. And the fame affection that he discovered to the death, being rifen and afcended, he hath carried with him to the throne above, and shewed it by appearing in the presence of God for them.

Many are the fnares and temptations, dangers and difficulties to which believers are here expofed, but their cafe is well known and regarded by their compaffionate Lord: For we have not, faith the Apoftle, an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb. iv. 15. How far foever he is above us, he has not caft off the care of us: He wears the names of his friends, of every .one of them, on his heart, and is the fame as to tenderness and compaffion, both in his state of humiliation, and of glory. His love, like his life, is for ever: His concern for his people will never be over, till they are brought to be with him, above all danger, and fear, and complaint for ever.

This being the concern Chrift discovers for his fincere followers,

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