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My worthy reader, thou canst here see that love consists in keeping the commandments of God, and all who walk not in his commandments, nor submit themselves to Christ, even as he was subject and obedient to his Father, are not in the love, neither do they know the love of God; though they may speak much and boast highly of it, yet it is but an imagined love which a man in a false light arrogates to himself to the betraying of his own soul. For a servant that loves his master from his heart, cannot be otherwise than obedient to him in all he commands; a faithful subject who loves his king, cannot do otherwise than keep his commands and be obedient even unto death; a child that sincerely loves and fears his father, cannot but show himself faithful and obedient; even so, a child of God and a disciple of Christ, who loves and fears God in his heart, cannot but exhibit himself faithful and obedient, keeping his commandments even unto death, not for the recompense of the reward but for this that the love of God abideth in him; therefore Christ declares, Not every one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matt. 7: 21.
God, the heavenly Father, has manifested his will through Jesus Christ, as Christ himself says: I have not spoken of myself; but the Father, who sent me, he gave me a com
mandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John 12: 49, 50.
Since now Christ has manifested unto us in his gospel the will of his Father, and has given his commandments which are eternal life to all who by grace keep and do them.
Therefore did Moses, the first lawgiver, direct us from himself unto Christ, and say, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken, (Deut. 18); And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people. Acts. 3: 22, 23.
Reflect upon this, ye men, who, according to the Mosaic law, demand vengeance, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; that is, if a man injures you, you endeavor to retaliate, if any person smites you on the cheek you smite him in turn, and if a man sues you and goes to law about a little of this world's goods, you are immediately willing to carry on the suit, and bring one another before the court, oftentimes more out of ill will and hatred than on account of the damage; in such cases men do not look to money, though the cost should exceed the sum in dispute; for they contend merely to gain the cause; when
that is done all is well, the gainer thinks he has done something great.
But, dear man, who boastest thyself a christian, where abides the doctrine of Christ? where are thy imitation and obedience? If thou wilt walk according to the law, why dost thou glory in a christian's name? For if thou wast, in truth, a christian, Christ would be to thee an end of the law; the vengeance of the law must be changed into the love of the gospel; thy envy and impatience must be converted into meekness and forbearance, so that thou mayest hate thy enemy no longer according to the law, but mayest be enabled, agreeably to the commandment of Christ, to love him, to bless them that curse thee, to do good to them that hate thee, and pray for them which despitefully use thee, and perse cute thee; and mayest evidence by thy fruits that thou art a child of thy Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just, and on the unjust. Verses 43: 44, 45.
Now, dear man, inasmuch as thou art not in possession of these fruits, art yet revengeful, recompensest evil with evil, hatest thy enemy and triest to injure him, suest and goest to law, returnest force for force, and the like, which Christ has expressly forbidden in his gospel, and wo be to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus; for they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from
the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. 1 Thess. 1: 8, 9.
Learn from this, that as long as thou, in accordance with the law, takest revenge upon thy enemy or adversary, and renderest evil for evil, thou art no christian. Thou mayest be a christian in the eyes of the world, but not in the sight of God; for thou hast not the disposition of Christ, thou hast not the mind that was in Christ, (Phil. 2: 5,) thou obeyest not his doctrine; and whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. 2 John, verse 9. But if thou wilt console thyself with Moses, appealing to him, like the pharisees, that he permitted and approved such things, then will be applicable to you what Christ said to the pharisees, Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust; for had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? John 5. Gen. 3: 15, and 22: 18, and 49: 10. For Moses said, A prophet will the Lord raise up unto you like unto me, him shall ye hear. Now how is it possible for you to exculpate yourselves by appealing to Moses, who refers you so faithfully to Christ, the perfect lawgiver, that ye shall hear him?
O miserable men, who boast yourselves christians, and receive neither the counsel of
Moses nor the word of Christ, what will be your end and eternal destiny! Think ye that his word is but a fable and an indifferent history? Ah no, no. Ye will find it quite different when it shall stand as your judge. For though you may have prophesied, cast out devils, and done many mighty wonders in his name, yet he will not know you. For those only, who hear and do these sayings, are the wise men who have built upon the rock, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. Matt. 16: 18. Those only, who abide in the doctrine of Christ, have both the Father and the Son. 2 John, verse 9. With those only who love Christ and keep his word, will the eternal Divinity make his abode. John 14: 23.
Therefore, dear man, contend no longer with thy God, for he is a consuming fire, and it is a fearful thing to fall into his hands. Behold, against him thou canst accomplish nothing; therefore humble thyself before him; lay down thy weapons, and take hold of the sceptre of his mercy, and follow Christ in all that he commandeth thee, and thou shalt live, and live forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Now some will grant that brethren of the same persuasion ought not to go to law with one another, inasmuch as Paul reproved the