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Yes, my dear reader, if thou considerest these things aright in faith, and subjectest thy will unto God, then wilt thou bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, (2 Cor. 10, 5.) and with Moses and Paul wilt esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of the earth. Heb. 11, 26. Phil. 3, 8.
But here it is necessary for a person to become a partaker of the benedictions in the introduction to this sermon on the mount, and be born, through the eight grades of blessings, a peaceable child of God, that he may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of his boundless love, (Eph. 3, 18.) and the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus: and all, who are made partakers of this, will not consider it as a burden to receive these christian precepts in a spirit of patience and obedience, and follow their head; for they know in themselves that they have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Heb. 10, 34.
O how few such christians are to be found at this day! How few that are not engaged in contention and lawsuits! How
few that do not defend their coat, to say nothing of giving the cloak also! How few that follow Christ and observe this injunction, Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. Luke 6, 30.
The holy and amiable apostle John says, Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby we know that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2, 3 to 6.
Since the so named christians do not keep or do the commandments of Christ, it is an easy matter to prove that they do not know him; now, that they say they know him, while they do not keep his commandments, they speak lies and the truth is not in them.
Moreover, because they do not keep his words, the love of God is not in them; for this is the love of God that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous, 1 John 5, 2. 3. Therefore Christ also says: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask
what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15, 7 to 10.
My worthy reader, thou canst here see that love consists in keeping the commandments of God, and all who walk not in his commandments, nor submit themselves to Christ, even as he was subject and obedient to his Father, are not in the love, neither do they know the love of God; though they may speak much and boast highly of it, yet it is but an imagined love which a man in a false light arrogates to himself to the betraying of his own soul. For a servant that loves his master from his heart, cannot be otherwise than obedient to him in all he commands: a faithful subject who loves his king, cannot do otherwise than keep his commands and be obedient even unto death; a child that sincerely loves and fears his father, cannot but show himself faithful and obedient: even so, a child of God and a disciple of Christ, who loves
and fears God in his heart, cannot but exhibit himself faithful and obedient, keeping his commandments even unto death, not for the recompense of the reward but for this that the love of God abideth in him; therefore Christ declares, Not every one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matt. 7, 21.
God, the heavenly Father, has manifested his will through Jesus Christ, as Christ himself says: I have not spoken of myself; but the Father, who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever, I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak, John 12, 49. 50.
Since now Christ has manifested unto us in his gospel the will of his Father, and has given his commandments which are eternal life to all who by grace keep and do them.
Therefore did Moses, the first lawgiver, direct us from himself unto Christ, and say, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of
thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken, (Deut. 18.); And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people, Acts 3, 22. 23.
Reflect upon this, ye men, who, according to the Mosaic law, demand vengeance, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; that is, if a man injures you, you endeavor to retaliate, if any person smites you on the cheek you smite him in turn, and if a man sues you and goes to law about a little of this world's goods, you are immediately willing to carry on the suit, and bring one another before the court, oftentimes more out of ill will and hatred than on account of the damage; in such cases men do not look to money, though the cost should exceed the sum in dispute; for they contend merely to gain the cause; when that is done all is well, the gainer thinks he has done something great.
But, dear man, who boastest thyself a christian, where abides the doctrine of Christ? where are thy imitation and obedience? If thou wilt walk according to the law, why dost thou glory in a christian's name? For if thou wast, in truth, a christian, Christ would be to thee an end