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THE

CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.

Vol. III.

JANUARY, 1826.

No. 1.

one

inaku SERMON.

This declaration of Christ instanMARK, X. 22.- And he was sad at taneously stripped the young man that saying, and went away griev- of all his fond hopes of future

happiness; for he was conscious ed: for he had great possessions. , that he never had, and thought

Our Saviour taught as that he never could, exercise that having authority. His preaching disinierested love, which Christ raised the admiration of some, required as an indispensable conand the curiosity of many. Mul- dition of salvation. He was grievtitudes of all denominations and ed, that he could not obtain heave classes of men followed him from enly treasures, without giving up place to place; some scribes who his worldly possessions. He supwere teachers, some Pharisees posed, that he could never be who were sober and strict in their saved on the condition which lives, some Sadducees who were Christ proposed. The spirit of lax in their sentiments, some pub- the text, therefore, leads us to licans and sinners who were open- conclude, ly vicious in their practice, and

That sinners think it is impossome rulers who were the prin- sible for them to be saved on the cipal men in the nation. Of the condition of disinterested love. I class last mentioned, a young shall, ruler of an amiable appearance

I. Show that disinterested love and deportment, came to him with this serious and important

is the condition of salvation. question, “Good master, What

II. Show that sinners think it is shall I do that I may inherit eter- impossible for them to be saved nal life ?” Jesus having directed

on this condition. him to keep the commandments, 1. I am to show that disinterhe promptly replied, “ Master, ested love is the condition, upon all these have I observed from which salvation is offered to sinmy youth. Then Jesus beholding ners in the word of God. If we him, loved him, and said unto him, look into the Old Testament we one thing thou lackest: go thy shall find, that God requires pure, way, sell whatsoever thou hast, supreme, disinterested love, as and give to the poor, and thou the condition of his peculiar fashalt have treasure in heaven : vour both in this life and in that and come, take up the cross and which is to come.

Moses having And he was sad at called all the people of God tothat saying, and went away griev- gether, says, “ Hear, O Israel, ed: for be had great possessions." the Lord our God is one Lord :

1

follow me.

VOL. III.

até 3 cabelose the Lord thy brought forth plentifully: and he Got mis ai tine Leari, ai thought within himseli, saying,

32. Chat with all thy What shall I do because I have

L 4.1 it works which dot where to besiok my fruits ? Icoan. ibeer's day ball be And he said. This will I do: 1 360 bezza" The love wbich will pull down my barrs, and G here terres as the condi- build greater: and there will tusa of temporar as} spiritual fa. I bestow all my fruiis and my Toint, it the age disinterested goods. And I will say to my soul, loss, 30 5 Christ says all soul thou hast much goeds laid the law and propbet: do hang. op for many years : take thine Oor 12518ce asndasiy incalcat ease, eat, drink, and he merry. et disiramenter love as the condi. But God said unto him, Thou tino ostrvation, la his sermon fool, this night shall thy soul be on the moont. he insisted largely required of thee: then whose op so the nature and decessity of shall all those things be which duinterested lose. in cpposition to thou has prorided? So is he that the se! 4th principles and practi-layeth up treasure for himself, ces of the cribes and Pharisees. and is not rich toward God." It 4 Bat I say goto yoo, Love your was one of Christ's common sayenemies, do good to them that ings, “ If any man will come afhate yoo. bless them that curse ter me, let him deny himself, and you, and pray for them that de- take up his cross, and follow me. spitefully use you. And as ye For whosoever will save his life wools that men should do unto shall lose it; and whosoever you, do ye also go to them like- loseth his life for my sake, shall wisé. For if ye love them that find it.” This was saying in the love you, what thank have ye? plainest and strongest terms, that for ginners also love those that disinterested love is the only conlove them. And if ye do good to dition of salvation. He said, “He thers which do good to you, that loveth father or mother what thank have ye? for sinners more than me, is not worthy of also do even the same. And if me: and he that loveth son or ye lend to those of whom ye daughter more than me, is not hope to receive, what thank have worthy of me.” When a certain ye? for sinners also lend to sin- lawyer stood up, and tempted ners, to receive as much again. him, saying, “ Master, what shall But love your enemies, and do I do to inherit eternal life? He good, and lend, hoping for nothing said unto him, What is written in again ; and your reward shall be the law ? how readest thou? And great, and ye shall be the chil- he answering said, Thou shalt dren of the highest: for he is love the Lord thy God with all kind unto the unthankful and to thy heart, and with all thy soul, the evil. Be ye therefore mer- and with all thy strengih, and ciful, as your Father also is mer- and with all thy mind, and thy ciful.” Our Lord also spake a neighbour as thyself. And lie parable, on purpose to show, that said unto him, Thou hast answer. no man can be saved upon selfish ed right: this do and thou shalt principles, and consequently, that live. But he, willing to justify disinterested love is the only condi- himself, said unto Jesus, And tion of salvation. “ The ground,” who is my neighbour?” In adsays he, 5 of a certain rich man swer to this, Christ spake the

parable of the good Samaritan, way to heaven. But as soon as and said to the querist, 6 Go and Christ mentioned disinterested love do thou likewise ;" that is, Go as the condition of eternal life, and exercise the same disinterest. his heart and his hopes failed ed benevolence, and thou shalt be him, he went away grieved and saved. But that nothing short desponding, and supposing it to of disinterested love is the condi- be impracticable to comply with tion of salvation, the Apostle the terins of salvation which Paul plainly asserts and strikingly Christ proposed. Nor was he illustrates in the thirteenth chap- alone in this opinion ; for those ter of his first epistle to the Co- who stood by and heard the rinthians. “Though, says he, I condition, expressed the same speak with the tongues of men sentiment, and with astonishment and of angels, and have not exclaimed, “Who then can be charity, I am become as sounding saved ?” When Christ reproved brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And those who followed him for the though I have the gift of prophe- sake of the loaves, and implicitly cy, and understand all mysteries told them, that they must exercise and all knowledge; and though I disinterested love in order to obhave all faith, so that I could tain his favour, 6 They said, this remove mountains, and have not is a hard saying, who can hear it? charity, I am nothing. And though And from that time, many of his I bestow all my goods to feed disciples went back and followed the poor, and though I give my him no more.” They felt as body to be burned, and have though they never could be sanot charity, it profiteth me noth- ved upon the condition of dising." By charity the Apostle interested love. While Paul supmeans that charity which seeketh posed the divine law required not her own, or that disinterested nothing but selfishness, he felt love, which stands directly oppo- blameless, and entertained high sed to all selfish affections, exer- hopes of heaven; but when his cises, and actions. It is true in- mind was enlightened and his deed, both Christ and the apostles conscience awakened to under. represent either faith, or repen- stand the true meaning of the tance, or submission, as entitling law, he saw his selfishness conany one to salvation. But it is demned by it, and despaired of to be remembered, that all those mercy upon the condition of disexercises are only so many differ- interested love. The single proent modifications and expresstois bibition, which says, 6 Thou shalt of that love, which is disinterest- not covet,” that is, thou shalt not ed. So that if we search through be selfish, carried death to his the Bible, we shall find that dis- hope; because he supposed it interested benevolence, in some was impossible for such a selfish form or other, is the only crcature as he found himself condition, upon which eternal to be, to exercise that disinterest. life is offered to sinners.

ed love to which the promise of proceed to show,

salvation is made. Such have II. That sinners are ready to been the views of all sinners in think it is impossible for them to the same situation. They have be saved on this condition. So found it easy to love themselves the young man supposed. At supremely, but to love God more first he thought he was in a fair than themselves, and to prefer

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his glory to their own eternal If there were any thing inconhappiness, they have found to be sistent, improper, or absurd in extremely difficult, even as diffic sinners exercising disinterested cult as for a camel to go through benevolence, they might well the eye of a needle. They suppose it is impossible for them have really supposed it to be to be saved on this condition. absolutely impossible for them But this is not the case, nor can to exercise that pure, disinterest- they consistently pretend this to ed love, to which the promise of be the case, for they always apsalvation is made to them in the prove of others for acting from gospel.

disinterested motives. But here it may be proper to Nor again, do sinoers suppose inquire, why they think it is im- it is impossible for them to be possible to be saved on the con- saved on the condition of disindition of disinterested benevolence. terested benevolence, because They must see something in dis- there is no need of their having interested love, which is totally such benevolent affections, in difierent from all selfish affections; order to be completely and eterotherwise they could not imagine nally happy. They know the it to be so extremely difficult to nature of selfishness, which tends exercise it. But it is certain, in to make rational beings miserable, the first place, that their difficulty And sometimes they are convincin exercising disinterested love, ed by their own experience, that does not arise from its being un- with their present feelings it is reasonable. God is as worthy to impossible for them to be happy be loved as themselves. Christ in this life, or the next. And this is as worthy to be loved as them- is the real truth. No individual, selves. And their fellow-men are or number of individuals, can be as worthy to be loved as them- in a state of solid, permanent hapselves. It is, therefore, altogeth- piness, without that pure, disiner reasonable, that they should terested love, which the gospel love God supremely, and their requires. It appears absolutely fellow-men as themselves. And necessary, therefore, that God they always approve of disinter- should require disinterested love ested love, wherever they think from all the subjects of his holy, they see it acted out. Nor do happy kingdom.

If God means they ever fail of blaming them- to make his rational creatures selves as well as others, for feel happy, he must do it on the prin. ing and expressing selfishness in cime of disinterested benevolence, any form whatever. The young This sinners are capable of seeruler did not presume to object ing; and of course they cannot against disinterested affections and suppose, that God unnecessarily actions as unreasonable or absurd. imposes on them the hard condiIndeed, it is not in the power of tion of disinterested love in order the human mind to discover any to escape the wrath to come, and thing improper or absurd in uni- enjoy the blessedness of heaven. versal, impartial, and disinterest- Though the young ruler was ed benevolence. Reason dictates, grieved when he heard the conthat this is the only proper and dition of salvation, yet Christ was virtuous affection, that rational not severe, but kind and compascreatures can exercise towards signate, in pointing out to him their Creator and one another. the only possible way of inherit

66 He was

ing eternal life. And he does not tive, satisfactory answer to be appear to blame Christ on this given to this question. Sinners account. Nor can any sinners think, it is impossible for them to justiy view this condition of sal- be saved on the condition of disvation, as an unnecessary hard- interested love, because of the ship. Their reason and con- total depravity and selfishness of science, notwithstanding the de- their hearts.

This the young pravity of their hearts, tell them, man most sensibly felt. that disinterested love is not only very much grieved, because he a reasonable, but a necessary was very rich, and supremely condition of their being freed attached to the world.” He from all misery, and put into the could not bear to give up his enjoyment of all good. No other great possessions for the sake of qualification can possibly prepare Christ, or for the sake of the them for the inheritance of the gospel, or for the sake of the salsaints in light.

vation of his own soul. It is as Nor again, do sinners suppose

hard to the selfish heart of one it is impossible for them to be sinner as to the selfish heart of saved on the condition of disin- another; to give up all his earthterested love, because they know ly treasure, for the sake of bavthemselves to be incapable of ex- ing treasure in heaven. Every ercising such a holy affection. sinner has a carnal mind, which They are conscious of being able no motives taken from time or to love and hate, choose and re- eternity can reconcile to God and fuse; and to exercise benevolent to the terms of salvation proposed as well as malevolent affections. in the gospel. For while he The amiable young man was pos- loves himself supremely, be capsessed of all the rational powers, not be willing to give up his which were necessary to perform present and future happiness, fur the most benevolent actions. This the glory of God and the good of appears from his own declaration, the universe; he cannot be wilthat he had externally obeyed all ling to lose his life, that he may the divine commands from his find it, or to leave it to the wise, youth. It was completely in his holy, and sovereign will of God, power to comply with the condi- to save or destroy him, though tions of salvation which Christ he knows this is his duty, and proposed. He was able to sell would secure his salvation, if he all he had, and convert it to be would only exercise such pure, nevolent purposes, and to take supreme, disinterested love to up his cross and follow him. For God. The entire selfishness of this was soon after actually done, sinners, therefore,convinces them, by the primitive christians; and that it is morally impossible for the most worldly-minded, selfish them to be saved on the condition sipners are equally capable of of disinterested love. exercising pure, disinterested benevolence.

IMPROVEMENT. The question still returns, why 1. If it be entirely owing to do sinners think it is impossible the selfishness of sinners, that for them to be saved on the con- they suppose they cannot be dition of disinterested love? Af- saved on the condition of disinter what has been said, there terested love ; then their inabili, seems to be but one plain, posity to embrace the gospel is alto

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