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in, let us come lower : if you care not to be a reprover or rebuker of this iniquity, yet surely there is no neceffity for you to be an admirer or en courager of it: it is no great facrifice

you

make to Christ, when you resign your share of the applause, which belongs to those who persecute and blaspheme him." In a word, consider with yourselves that religion is, of all others, the most serious concern. If its pretensions are founded in truth, it is life to embrace them, it is death to despise them. We cannot in this case stand neuter : we cannot serve two masters; we must hold to the one, and despise the other. If we confess Christ before men, he will also confess us before God and his holy angels: if we deny him before men, he will dený ús at the last day, when he shall come in the glory of his Father to judge the world.

Had our Lord been merely a teacher of good things, without any special commission or authority from the great Creator and Governor of the world, it would have been highly absurd to assume to him . self this great prerogative of being owned and acknowledged before men. Several have from the light of reason taught many good lessons' to the world : but are we bound to take every reasonable man, who recommends the practice of virtue, for our master? to own his authority at the peril of our lives? No man ever thought so. Socrates taught many great things to the Greeks before Christ came into the world. If he followed reason, he did well; and we shall do well to follow it too, and farther we have no concern with him. But, if there be any truth at all in the Gospel, the case is far otherwise

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with respect to our bleffed Redeemer; we must own his authority, we must confess him before the world, be the danger of so doing ever so great or extreme. Whence arises this obligation? It cannot rest merely upon this, that he was a teacher of reason and good morality; for in that case it would be sufficient to submit to the reason and the rules of morality which he taught, without :concerning ourselves with his authority, which was no more than what reason and virtue give every man. But the case with us is otherwise : our Lord requires of us, that we should confess him before men; and has declared, that if we deny him before the world, he will deny us in the presence of God and his holy angels, when he comes to judge the quick and the dead. Confider what manner of person is this, who requires so much at our hands. If he is indeed the Son of God; if all power in heaven and earth is given him by the Father ; if he is constituted by God judge of all men, there is a clear reason to justify his demand, and our obedience: but if he was only a mere teacher of morality and religion, how is he to be justified in pretending to be the only Son of God, in pretending to have all power given him in heaven and earth, and to be appointed judge of all men ? You must either own him under these characters, or you must condemn him as an impostor for claiming them. How far those who are willing to admit Christ to be a good teacher, but refuse to acknowledge him in any other character, are chargeable with seeing this consequence, I know not; nor can I see, if they consider it, how they can avoid it.

When therefore we read that our Lord require's of us to confess him before men, the true way to know what we are to confess, is to reflect what he confessed himself; for it cannot be fupposed that he thought it reasonable for himself to make one confeffion, and for his disciples and servants to make another. Look then into the Gospel, and see his own confeffion : he confessed himself to be the only Son of God; to come from the bofom of the Father to die for the fins of the world; to have all power given to him in heaven and earth; to be the judge of the world. When

When you have weighed these things, read his words, and judge what your duty is: Whosoever fhall be ashamed of me and of my

me and of my words in this adulterous and finful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.

DISCOURSE XLIX.

2 CORINTHIANS v. 10, II.

We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that

every one may receive the things done in his body, accord

ing to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, we persuade

men.

It is the privilege and distinguishing character of à rational being to be able to look forward into futurity, and to consider his actions, not only with respect to the present advantage or disadvantage arising from them, but to view them in their consequences through all the parts of time in which him, self may possibly exist. If therefore we value the privilege of being reasonable creatures, the only way to preserve it is to make use of it; and, by extending our views into all the scenes of futurity, in which we ourselves must bear a part, to lay the foundation of solid and durable happiness.

By the exercise of this power of reason, the wiseft among the heathens discovered, that there was ground for men to have expectations beyond this life. They saw plainly that themselves, and all things that fell under their observation, were de

other part,

pendent beings on the will and power of him who formed them ; and when they fought to find him, they were led by a necessary chain of reasoning to the acknowledgment of a supreme, independent, intelligent Being. They faw in every part of the creation evident marks of his power, wisdom, and goodness: they discerned that all the inanimate parts

of the world acted perpetually in submission to the law of their creation; the sun and all the host of heaven were constant to their courses; and, in every

the

powers of nature were duly and regularly exerted for the preservation of the present system: among men only they found disorder and confusion. That they had reason, was plain ; that they were intended to live according to reason, could not be doubted; and yet they saw virtue often distressed and abandoned to all the evils of life, vice triumphant, and the world every where subject to the violence of pride and ambition. How to account for this they knew not : this only they could observe, that man was endowed with a freedom in acting, which the other beings of the lower world wanted; and to this they rightly ascribed the disorders to be found in this part of the creation. But though this accounted for the growth of evil, yet it rendered no account of the justice or goodness of God in permitting vice oftentimes to reign here in glory, whilft virtue suffered in distress. Upon these considerations they concluded, that there must be another state after this, in which all the present inequalities in the administration of providence should be set right, and every man receive according to his works.

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