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2. We are to confider from whence it proceeds. And this proceeds from their being ranfomed by him, entrusted with him, his fpecial love for them, his knowledge of the misery to which apoftacy tends, and of the greatness of the falvation they are capable of, and, by adhering to him, fhall affuredly reach.
(1.) Chrift is concerned for his followers, as they are ranfomed by him, and at the dearest rate. As the purchase of his blood, they are the objects of his care. He was incarnate for their fakes, and died for their fins and being redeemed not with corruptible things, as filver and gold; but with the precious blood of Chrift, as of a lamb without blemish, and without fpot, no wonder he has their fafety at heart, 1 Pet. i. 18.
It may feem ftrange that the Lord of glory should speak, and often, with so much refpect of any of Adam's apoftate race; that his eye fhould be upon them, his providence engaged for them, his Spirit fent forth to dwell in them, and the holy angels charged to attend them that fo many calls and counfels, warnings and helps should be given them, to prevent their mifcarrying in their way to heaven, &c. But this is one ground of all, His blood was fhed for those about whom he fhews this concern, and it was too precious to be shed in vain. Chrift loved the church, and gave himfelf for it, Ephef. v. 25. He did fo who was the eternal Son of God, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the exprefs image of his perfon: he ftooped to this, who was in the form of God, and
and thought it no robbery to be equal with him: he that was rich, became poor, to the enriching of fouls that were ready to perifh, but whom he would thus recover and fave. He laid down his life for the sheep, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, to redeem them from wrath who were liable to it, and bring them to everlasting glory. This he underwent in the freeft manner, and with the greatest willingness; and having proclaimed the worth of fouls by dying for them, he hath the tendereft regard to them.
(2.) Chrift is tenderly concerned for his real difciples, as being intrufted with them by his Father, and accountable to him. Our Lord often speaks of a number given him by the Father. And it was, as commiffioned by him, that he came into the world to ranfom them by his blood, recover them by his grace, keep them from falling back, and falling away, till, as the captain of their falvation, he had brought them fafe to glory. John vi. 38, 39. I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that fent me. And this is the Father's will which hath fent me, that of all which he bath given me I fhould lofe nothing, but should raife it up again at the last day. Faithfulness to his Father engages Chrift's concern for every be
When he was going to leave this world, he appeals to his Father, as to his faithfulness in discharging the mighty truft about every one given him to be faved, While I was with them
in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is loft, but the fon of perdition. And now when he is in heaven, he is able to fave to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make interceffion for them.
Under a fenfe of the truft committed to him, he declares, Him that cometh to me, I will in no wife caft out, nor fuffer to perish, nor to be plucked out of my hand, John vi. 37. x. 28. His faithfulnefs will never fail, nor his power be overcome. Having readily obeyed his Father's will, in laying down his life for the recovery of thofe that were defigned for heaven, he cannot be unconcerned about the prefervation of any of them, when they are actually brought into his kingdom.
(3.) Chrift's real difciples ftand in a peculiar relation to him, not only as fervants and friends, but, by a myftical union, as members of his body and fo, he being their head for government and influence, they can never be forgotten or neglected by him. Upon the revolt of nominal difciples from him, he cannot but turn and fhew his regard to his real ones, as ftanding thus nearly related to him.
(4.) He has moreover a fpecial love for them : a love that brought him from heaven to earth, to feek and to fave them when loft; a love that led him calmly as a lamb to the flaughter, to lay down his life for them; a love that washed them in his blood, fanctified them by his Spirit,, covered them with his righteousness, took them into his family, and made them heirs of his kingdom,
dom, and put them in the way to it. And, as this his gracious love is unchangeable and everlafting, he will never suffer any of the happy objects of it totally and finally to go away from him.
(5.) Chrift is concerned for the fafety of fuch, as knowing the mifery to which apoftacy tends. He fees the burning lake in which fuch as draw back will justly have the deepest place, where there is nothing but weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
(6.) On the other hand, falvation they are capable of, up and prepared for them; only arrive by abiding in him.
They are fome of the grounds of our Lord's concern for his fincere followers.
he knows the great the bleffedness laid to which they can
There was a
IIId Obfervation, viz. That how many foever go away from Chrift, true believers fee and own they have the greatest reason to cleave to him, as having the words of eternal life.
Here I might fhew,
1. That believers are fenfible, they have none but Chrift to whom to go. This they learnt when firft taught of God to come to him, and the conviction will never wear off.
2. That they dread the thoughts of going away; confidering the fin and folly involved in it, the aggravated mifery it would draw after it, the injuftice of going away after the dedication they have made of themfelves to Chrift, the ingratitude of doing fo, after all the experience they have had of him, and that they can ne
ver answer it to him, but must be filled with the greatest confufion in the day of his appearing.
3. How many foever revolt from Chrift, fincere believers will, and ought to cleave to him ftill and they own they have the greatest reafon to do fo:
(1.) To repair, as much as in them lies, the dishonour caft upon him, and his ways, by fuch as leave him, and to witnefs for him, that he never gave any a just occasion to do fo.
(2.) To fhew that their choice of Christ and faith in him, is not built on what others fay of him, but upon what they have seen and found in him, and heard and received from him. This is the reafon Peter gives in the name of the reft, why they could not admit the thought of a change, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou haft the words of eternal life.
1. How defireable is a fpecial relation to Chrift, as all fuch fhall be kept by him thro' faith unto falvation !
2. Let fuch as make a fair profeffion of Christ in fuch a day of defection as ours, look upon themselves concerned to double their watch. And let me fay to you all,
1. Look to the ground on which your profeffion is taken up.
2. Confider the danger and mifery of going away, and tremble at the thought.