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Hlow grossly do you delude yourselves, that make your

hearts dens of pride, filthy lust, malice and envy, and thousands of vanities, and yet think to find a corner in them to lodge Christ too? Truly, you would both straiten him in room, and give him very bad neighbours. No, they that think not a whole heart too little for him, shall never enjoy him.

The Virgins love thee.] Grace destroys not the natural passions of the soul, but corrects them only, by destroying their corruption, and so they become not only not contrary to grace, but are made the subject and seat of grace. This of love, which is the chief of them, we see it abolisheth not, but rectifies it, recalling it to its due object, and turning it into the right channel, by which it may empty itself into the ocean of goodness.

And this love may well consist with the purity of virgins; yea, it is this love that purifies and makes them such. The Virgins love, but whom? Thee. And it is as reasonable a love as it is pure; therefore they love thee, because thou hast made them, in some measure, apprehensive of thy worth, which commands the love of all that know it; not a cold and indifferent affection, but a superlative ardent love, far over-topping all their other desires. And good reason, since Christ doth infinitely, and be yond all comparison, surpass all other things desirable. Ask your own hearts, if you love Christ thus; for if not thus, you love him not at all. The apostle St. Paul's love was of this size'. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ. This love will not only undergo difficulties and sufferings for Christ, without either repining or fainting, but it will even be glad to meet with them, as opportunity is, to exercise and testify itself. Hard

· Phil, iii. 7, 8.

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things will seem most easy for his sake, and bitter things exceeding sweet, In a word, to him that loves, scarce any thing is impossible. Love is the leading passion of the soul, all the rest conform themselves to it, desire and hope, and fear, joy and sorrow. If then you love Christ, the desires and breathings of your soul after him are strong and earnest, if he withdraw himself, or appear angry. If either him not, or see him look discontented, your grief will be so deep that it cannot be allayed by any worldly employments; yet upon some former tokens of his love, which is known to be unchangeable, hope will uphold the soul, till the beams of his grace scatter the cloud, and break through. Though our Joseph seem strange, and speak roughly for a while, he cannot long refrain discovering his affection. Again, love you him, unspeakable will be your joy when he smiles upon you? As great will be your delight in possession as your desire is in pursuit; and while you have his presence, it will be too hard a task for any affliction to dismay you. Have you indeed heard Christ speak comfortably to you this day at his holy table? How will this enable the soul, and arm it against dangers, and distracting distrustful fears? Perfect love casteth out fear, saith St. John, that is, aíl base and servile fear: But there is one fear that is in no heart but where love begets it, feur to offend. You know how wary and loth men are naturally to displease those they love; therefore it is, that love to Christ, and a careful observing of his commandments, are inseparable companions: . yea, love itself is the fulfilling of the law, for it gives up the heart to God, and consequently the whole man.

Then there is no return of duty which your receiving of Christ calls for, (and what doth it not call for?) there is none, I say, but is comprised under this one of love. Do you owe bim praises? Yes, surely; then love him, that will stir you up.to praise him. You never knew, but where much love was in the heart, it made the tongue ready and ac

tive upon all occasions to praise the party loved. Love will entertain small courtesies with great thanks, much more where the benefit so far exceeds all possible thankfulness. Ought you to serve and obey him? Doubtless he hath for that purpose redeemed you with his precious blood. And truly there is no obedience nor service, so full and so chearful, as that which flows from love. Should you study conformity to Christ, and labour to be like him? Yes, for this is to walk worthy of Christ; then there is nothing assimilates so much as love. Men delight in their society whom they love, and by their society they do insensibly contract their customs, and become like them. These virgins that love Christ for his

graces, they love to converse with him, and by conversing with him, they receive of his graces, and

, have a smell of his perfumes. Not only do they by the smell of his garments, or such imposed rites, obtain the blessing, but likewise smell like him by the participation of sanctifying grace, of his wisdom and holiness, in a pure and godly conversation, (abstaining from the impure lusts and pollutions of the world) of his meekness and humility. Never think that one and the same soul can have much pride and much of Christ; ever the more grace a man hath, the more sense hath he likewise of his own unworthiness, and God's free mercy, and consequently, the more humility. If you love Christ, you cannot chuse but be like him in love to your brethren. This is expressly compared, by the Psalmist, to the precious ointinent poured upon Aaron's head, that ran down to the very skirts of his garments. Our head, and high priest, the Lord Jesus, hath incomparably testified his love to believers, whom he is pleased to call his brethren; they are far from equalling him, either in love to hiin, or one to another, but they do imitate him in both. This is his great commandment, that we love one another, eren as he loved us, which is exprest both as a strung motive and a high example: It is not possible that a spirit of inalice and implacable hatred can consit with the love of Christ. Finally, Should you be ready to suffer for Christ? Yes: then love is that which will enable you; and if you were inflamed with this fire, then, though burned for him, that fire would only consume your dross, and be soon extinguished, but this would endure for ever.

By.these and the like evidences, try whether you indeed love the Lord Jesus Christ. And by these fruits, you that profess to love him, testify the sincerity of your love; and be assured, that if

you

be now found amongst these virgins that love him, you shall one day be of the number of those virgins that are spoken of“, that sing a new song before the throne of God.

If you hate the defilements of the world, and be not polluted with inordinate affection to the creature, it shall never repent you to have made choice of Christ, he shall fill your hearts with peace and joy in believing. When you come to his house and table, he shall send you home with joy and sweet consolation, such as you would not exchange for crowns and scepters. And after some few of these running banquets here below, you shall enter into the great marriage supper of the Lamb, where faith shall end in sight, and hope in possession, and love continue in perpetual and full enjoyment; where you shall be never weary, but for ever happy, in beholding the face of the Blessed Trinity, to whom be glory. Amen.

a Rev. xiv. 3, 4.

SERMON IX.

PREFACE.

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OW true is that word of our Saviour, who is

truth itself, Without me ye can do nothing, severed from me, as that branch that is not in me. They that are altogether out of Christ, in spiritual exercises do nothing at ail. 'Tis true, they may pray

and hear the word, yea, and preach it too, and yet in so doing they do nothing, nothing in effect. They have the matter of good actions, but it is the internal form gives being to things. They are but a number of empty words, and a dead service to a living God. For all our outward performances and worship of the body is nothing but the body of worship, and therefore nothing but a carcase, except the Lord Jesus, by his Spirit, breathe upon it the breath of life. Yea, the worshipper himself is spiritually dead, till he receive life from Jesus, and be quickned by his Spirit. If this be true, then it will follow necessarily, that where numbers are met together, (as here) pretending to serve and worship God, yet he hath very few that do so indeed, the greatest part being out of Christ; and such being without him, they can do nothing in his service.

Rom. viii. 7.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it

is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The ordinary workings and actions of creatures are suitable to their nature, as the ascending of light things, and the moving of heavy things downwards;

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