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wisdom. The manner in which he called them was also wonderful. He offered no explanations, no inducements, but gave them the brief command, "Follow me." The Saviour now makes this demand of every man. What is implied in it?
I. That we should forsake every thing else.
The disciples were to forsake their homes, friends, and occupations, and lead the lives of wanderers. Why? They were to be the witnesses of the life and works of Christ, to learn their divinity from his lips, and to be sent forth as his apostles. We are to forsake every thing as the principal object of pursuit, or means of pleasure, and to seek our happiness in serving and loving Christ. "Follow me" implies all this.
1. Worldly business. Unconverted men make this a principal object of pursuit, independent of God's claims and laws. They do so solely for their own good, and that of their families. The gospel requires us to make business a minor object. We are to labour to support ourselves and those dependant on us, because God commands it. "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." We are to consider ourselves not as owners, but as stewards. Mark x, 21.
2. Worldly pleasures. Men make these the objects of pursuit and principal means of happiness. We are to abstain entirely from those which are sinful. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord." We are to indulge in those which are innocent as means of happiness in a subordinate degree only. Our highest and chief pleasure must be from Christ. Hence we are to live as 66 strangers and pilgrims on the earth." We are to mortify our members, crucify our affections.
3. Our friends. Many live for the happiness of their friends, and love them above all other objects. But "he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy
of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Our supreme affections must not be placed on our friends. Our love for them must not interfere with our duties; we must not go with them into sin, must not gratify their sinful desires.
We are to live for Christ alone. Our apparent worldly interests must be opposed, our inclinations denied, if they contravene the will of God. Hence we must follow the Saviour through evil report, through persecution, through martyrdom: "Yea, and his own life also!" Our interests are in another world. "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Yes, if we are the real followers of Christ we have no interests in this world, for they are transferred to another; we have no treasures on earth, for they are laid up in heaven. Our all is in an ark which is afloat upon the troubled waters of the sea of life; if it founder, our all is lost for ever; if it ride triumphantly through the storms and over the billows, and land at last upon the mount of God, our all is saved eternally.
II. That we should imitate his example.
This, in part, is included in the foregoing, but it deserves more consideration. Christ is our perfect exemplar, and as such we must follow him,
1. In patient suffering. To how much suffering was he exposed, and no murmur escaped his lips. You may suffer in your person by disease, in your character by calumny, in your family by death, in your property by fraud; but you are never to complain. He permits suffering for your highest good.
2. In cheerful forgiveness. How many occasions had the Saviour for the exercise of forgiveness, and how.
cheerfully did he forgive! You will have many, and will be required to imitate him, if you would follow him.
3. In active benevolence. Thus Christ came. down from heaven, suffered, and died. Active benevolence was th characteristic of his whole life. You must imitate him in relieving men's temporal wants by charity, advice, and instruction. "Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Remember the stress which is laid on this point in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, and the Epistle of James. You must administer to men's spiritual wants by praying for them, and exhorting them to embrace religion. What a field for action among your friends and in the world! All of you, in a certain sense, are to be preachers, if you would follow Christ.
In conclusion, there is a brighter side to this subject. You are to follow the Saviour,
Through death. Painful as death is to sinners, it is sweet to Christians. Christ has taken away its sting. It is the gate to Paradise. He hath gone through it. I bless God, I may follow him.
Through the grave. Christ hath taken away its victory. His resurrection is a pledge of ours. He rose with a spiritual body, and we may follow him. Praised be God.
To heaven. The Saviour calls on us to follow him not only in his sufferings, but also in his joys. When on earth he said, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord." We, my brethren, have been accustomed to consider this statement as referring only to our sufferings for his sake, and have, perhaps, reluctantly assented to its truth. But we should extend our view over a wider field, and contemplate its bearing on eternity. O! if we shall ever reach heaven, and see the glory which our Saviour "had with the Father before the
world was," our full hearts shall cry out in transport, "Yea, Lord, it is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord." Heaven he has prepared for us by his death. He will be our leader there, and we shall, if we follow him here, follow him there through its paths of bliss. No wonder Paul could say, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." God help us to follow Christ.
MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN.-Matt. xxii, 14.
THUS ends the parable of the wedding feast. The feast of the gospel is now provided for us. How pleasing to know that many are called to be guests! Yet how painful the thought that so few are chosen-that so many will finally be shut out of heaven!
I. Let us prove the assertion of the text.
How many of this congregation have been called during the past year? How many before? Compute the number. Now consider how few have been converted. Is not the comparative number small? How many have been called in this city, (Salem,) containing fifteen thousand inhabitants? Almost all these have heard the gospel. How many Christians are there here? Count for yourselves. Is one-seventh part chosen?
The gospel has been preached throughout this wide country, and millions have been called; but the compara tive number of Christians is very small. So it is with Christendom at large. Saints are far from being the majority. Thus has it always been. Christ called many, but chose few. The apostles preached all over the then known world; but read the history of their lives, and you will find that their followers were comparatively few.
II. Let us show the reason why so few of the called are chosen.
If we take the parable for our guide, the answer is obvious. Those invited would not come; the one cast out would not wear the wedding garment which had been provided. The fault was theirs alone. Aside from the parable let us consider the question, Why are so many of the called not chosen? What more interesting or important question can be asked? We must look for the answer in the unwillingness of God, or in the inability or unwillingness of man. Nowhere else can the reason be
1. Is God unwilling to choose them? If so, why does he call them? To mock them? Would this be consistent with benevolence? Speak not of irresistible calls, for the Bible never does. On the contrary, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; "Look but that the wicked turn from his way and live." unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." "The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." No passages can be found opposed to these.
"God Again, God has made an atonement for all men. so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by all men the righteousness of one the free gift came upon unto justification of life." God hath provided a remedy