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fade, but increase. You will find his beauty and excellency greater than you conceived, and that the one half was not

You shall exist in the bloom and vigor of eternal youth. Your taste for love and friendship shall not die, but increase, and be a thousand times as high and keen as that of the most passionate, doting, earthly lover; and this shall be completely satisfied in the enjoyment of your beloved under all imaginable advantages, and with every desirable circumstance, while his beauties shall sparkle in your eyes, and more and more charm and fill you with unutterable transports of the most solid and lasting joy, and he will give himself wholly to you forever.

0, let them who have a high relish for earthly love and friendship improve this to help their conceptions of the happiness, of the love and friendship, now recommended; and let them hence be excited to seek after this enjoyment, by choosing Jesus Christ as their friend! Let them know that it is only because their taste is vitiated and perverted that they are not pursuing this love with as much eagerness and high expectation as the fond youth is hurried on in earthly amours.

And let the youth, in particular, be invited into this friendship. It is pity the morning of your days, the bloom and vigor of life, should be spent in the eager pursuit of that which will not profit, but end in disappointment and misery. It is pity you should not give yourselves up to Jesus Christ, the heavenly friend, in your early days, and let him have your first love. He is calling upon you to give your hearts to bim in this noble and exalted friendship. You shall find all the sweetness in this that you expect, and are pursuing elsewhere, and ten thousand times more. And this shall sweeten all other friendships to you that are worthy to be desired and pursued. This will lay a foundation for a virtuous, noble friendship with others, which shall grow more and more refined and sweet, and shall end in something happy and glorious, beyond all our present conceptions.

Again: consider the base ingratitude and wickedness there is in slighting and rejecting the offers of this friendship with Jesus Christ, and the dreadful consequence of it. If you do not enjoy all the blessings of this friendship, it will be wholly your own fault, and the consequence will be unutterable misery. You must answer for the wickedness you are guilty of in rejecting Christ, which is in proportion to his greatness, worthiness, and excellence, his kindness and love, and the happiness you hereby refuse. You are spurning at, and trampling upon, the most tender love of the most worthy and excellent personage, who offers to receive you into the embraces of the

dearest love. And 0, what will be the consequence of this? Why, Christ, the great and celebrated friend, who now offers to take you into a dear and everlasting friendship, and become your most loving friend forever, if you will consent to it, will become your peculiar and greatest enemy; yea, your implacable enemy forever. He will hate you, and heap mischiefs on your head, without the least degree of pity or regard to your interest. He will cast you into outer darkness, and tread you down in his wrath and trample you in his fury. His hatred, wrath, and vengeance towards you will be great and dreadful in proportion to his love and kindness to his friends. And all his friends will most heartily join with him in this; and not one of them will exercise the least love and pity towards you. All your friendships you are entering into and pursuing now will wholly cease soon, and turn into the most tormenting hatred and enmity. The higher your love and friendship with others rises, which is consistent with your being enemies to Christ, and the more connections you have with such, the greater enemies and plagues will you be to one another forever. And the time will soon come when you shall know you have not a friend in the universe, and that you yourself know not, nor ever will know, what true friendship means; being justly cursed, and given up to an unfriendly heart, full of pride, hatred, envy, malice, revenge, cursing, and bitterness, in consequence of your refusal to enter into a friendship with Jesus Christ. Consider how hard and cutting it is now to be hated and have the ill will of others, and find yourself friendless when in calamity and distress, and you stand in need of help; and let this teach you a little what you must feel if you ever come to the case just described. And as you would avoid all this evil, of which we can have but a faint idea now, be persuaded to attend to the most kind offer which Christ makes to you. O, run, fly into his arms, which are now stretched out to you, and he will embrace you

forever. Are you in the utmost danger of sinking into hell; his almighty, everlasting arms shall be underneath you, to hold you up, and raise you to the highest heavens. Are you most miserable and wretched; run to Christ, and he will deliver you out of all trouble, and effectually secure you from all evil; yea, he will turn evil into good, and bring the greatest good to you out of the greatest calamity and evil. He is, in the most eminent sense, the friend and brother who was born for adversity. He is able and ready to help in the most adverse, evil case, where no other friend can help and deliver. This is his peculiar work, and which is his glory. He is anointed to preach the gospel to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to preach



deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those that are bruised, to comfort all that mourn, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

O, how much do you want such a friend as this! How miserable must you be without him! What a comfort will such a friend be in the various calamities in this life! His name is as a strong tower; the righteous, his true friends, run into it, and are safe. How much will you want such a friend, when you come to die! one who has conquered death, and taken away his sting, and turned him into a friend to his people; and over such the second death shall have no power. What have you to object against entering into this friendship without delay? Have you any objections against Christ, as not being such a one as you want and desire ? O, let not one of you say so! How shall we bear to have our dearest and most excellent friend thus spoken against, and set at nought! Oye friends of Christ, do not your hearts bleed when your best-beloved friend is thus contemned and wounded? And do you not pity these poor, deluded creatures, who are thus abusing the kindest friend of sinners, to their own eternal ruin? Surely this is the language of your hearts, O sinners! You have a thousand objections against him. He has, in your eyes, no form nor comeliness, no beauty, that you should desire hinn ; therefore he is despised and rejected by you.

Or do you object against yourselves, as too mean, guilty, and unworthy to be received and loved by such a friend, so that it would be presumption in you to think of entering into such a near union and friendship with him? This objection is altogether groundless; was it not so, he never would have admitted one of the fallen race into this happy, high, and noble friendship; for this objection, if it were one, lies with infinite weight and strength against them all. Do you find that Christ has any where made this objection against any, in his word ? Surely no; so far from this, that he has done and said every thing he possibly could, to show that this is not the least objection with him, and never did, nor ever will, make it against the most vile, guilty wretch among mankind, who is willing to be his friend, and chooses him for his Friend and Redeemer. Your guilt, vileness, and misery will be many ways an advantage to this peculiar friendship, as has been shown; and will be so far from being a dishonor to this glorious Friend of sinners, though he take you into the nearest and dearest relation and friendship with himself, that it will turn greatly to his honor and glory. Let this, then, rather be an argument with you to give yourselves up to him without delay, as your almighty, wonderful, excellent Friend.

V. Let the professed friends of Jesus Christ be hence led seriously to consider their distinguishing privileges and high and peculiar obligations. Your profession and calling is a holy, high, and heavenly one indeed. How amazingly dreadful to be found at last, after all your profession and hopes, those to whom Christ will say, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of iniquity!”. O, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure! Cleave to this infinitely excellent and glorious Friend with your whole hearts, and in all your ways. O, love him, and he will love you; he will manifest himself unto you, in all the wonders of his love and grace; he will come unto you, and take up his abode with you. Shall the friends of Christ suffer themselves to get at a distance from him, and let their hearts sink down into a great degree of indifference and coldness towards him? Shall they cleave and bow down to some other friend which courts their affections ? Shall they turn away from him, and seek to make friendship with this world, which is enmity against Christ? If there are any such, they may, with great propriety, be addressed in the words of Absalom to Hushai : “Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Why wentest thou not with thy friend?" What fault have you found in him, that you treat him so? Are you not, in a sense, betraying him into the hands of his enemies ? Shall he be thus wounded in the house of his professed friends?

O, hearken to his sweet and charming voice, while he calls to you in such melting language as this : “ Look unto me, my spouse, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. Return unto me, for I am married unto you. Hearken, O daughter, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.” you have a spark of true love and friendship for him, how can you forbear saying, and resolving with your whole heart," I will

and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now”? Take with you these words, and turn to the Lord, your Friend and Redeemer; say unto him, " Take away all our iniquity, and receive us graciously into thy favor and the most kind embraces of thy love; so will we render thee our whole souls in the most ardent love, gratitude, and praise." He will then heal your backslidings, and love you freely.

Let the dear friends of Christ hold fast their profession without wavering, and follow on to know the Lord. Cleave

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to him, let it cost you what it will; and hold yourselves in readiness to part with all, even your own lives, for him. If ye suffer in his cause as his friends and followers, happy are ye. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute


all manner of evil against you, falsely, for his sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven. If there be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if

any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love to Christ and to one another. If ye be indeed risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth; and when Christ, the chief Shepherd and your Friend, shall appear, you shall appear with him in glory; and ye shall receive a crown of everlasting glory, and reign with him in his kingdom forever. AMEN.

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