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was not in them. But the apostle, ers enemies to God-far from rightwe think, is to be understood as eousness. Between these are many saying that there were many, of others, distinguished by shades of whom he might expect better evi difference, who put various and opdence of their attachment to the posite constructions upon the truths cause of Christ, who were grossly of God's word. The things which deficient in zeal and devotedness. the apostle calls our own, are doubtThe text is rather a complaint less our secular interests, our ease, against them,than a judgement pass- honour, and profit; which are usued upon them; nor against them ally styled worldly concerns." alone is this complaint urged, but the things of Jesus Christ are whatagainst Christians and teachers of ever relates to his kingdom and the present day also. It is a truth glory, particularly the welfare of that has too many applications, the church. now, that all seek their own, not A man seeks his own interest in the things which are Jesus Christ's. preference to the things of Christ

The terms used by the apostle are when he gives it the first place in his often misunderstood; they need to affections. Take no thought for be explained. The declaration is your life, says Jesus Christ, what general, an requires to be proved; ye shall eat,nor what ye shall drink, the complaint is a serious one, and nor yet for your body, what shall must be exposed. These are our put on : i. e. take no anxious, distopics of discussion.

tressing thought, so as to occupy 1. We are to explain the mean- your whole attention, and absorb all ing of the apostle. There are your desires—but seek first the those who take the words of Jesus kingdom of God and his righteousChrist literally, where he says, If nessfirst in point of importance, any man would be his disciple, he and first in point of affection—and must forsake houses and lands, father all these things shall be added unto and mother, wife and children, give you. Those therefore who feel a up every wordly and personal in- deeper interest in what concerns terest ; and therefore they cast their personal benefit, the prospethemselves entirely upon the pro- rity of their family, or any secular vidence of God; in the strictest object, than in the enlargement of sense, they know no man after the Zion--the success of the gospel, flesh; they desire to speak of no- seek their own, not the things of thing, to be interested in nothing, Christ. connected with this world. Such A man seeks his own interest in have been termed mystics, and preference to the things of Christ, were all to follow their example, when he neglects religion to attend to it. civil institutions would languish, There are those who devote their the light of science would be ex- whole time to the world. The tinguished, civil government and sabbath sometimes suspends their rational liberty would expire. Oth- labour, but not their worldliness. ers again strip religion of all its spi. They have but one object: to that rituality; reduce it to a mere name; they are entirely given up. This confound and explain away the ve- is self-aggrandizement. Concernry terms by which it is designated. ing such it may be justly said, they Such would make no distinction be- seek their own : self is the idol tween the things of Christ and the they worship. There are others, things of this world. Between who divide their time between the these two classes there is a wide world and God, but who make their difference: the latter would term spiritual concerns subordinate to the former enthusiasts and madmen; their temporal. All men are not the former would account the oth- alike situated. Some have no reasonable excuse for neglecting a because ye did eat of the loaves single duty: others feel that their and were filled. All this appearcallings and circumstances in life ance of friendship originated in plead an apology for their want of mercenary motives. While a rer punctuality in attending to all the membrance of past favours is fresh concerns of the church. But God in the mind, or while the tide of has placed none of his children in popular feeling sets strong in fasituations where the world can vour of Christ, many may use the claim superiority to the interests of language of one who had neither his kingdom; where they are at li- principle nor love : Lord I will fok berty to reverse the command low thee whithersoever thou goest; of Christ, and seek their own but when a season of trial arrives, profit first, and then the king- and the love of many waxes cold, dom of God. There are many they will shrink from duty, and who arrange all their secular con- seek their own, not the things of cerns, and then, if the claims of the Christ. Much of the outward rechurch do not interfere with these gard for religion that is manifested, arrangements, they will attend to many of the efforts that are made them; but if they clash, Christ and for the spread of the gospel, spring

; the soul are dispensed with. Such from selfishness. What was said evidently seek their own.

of the Pharisees concerning their II. We remarked that the decla- zeal and attendance upon duty, may ration of the apostle was general, with equal truth be said of many and required to be proved.

who wear the appearance of rellPerhaps the apostle referred to gion--they do it to be seen of meil. some Christians and ministers at But if selfishness prompts many to Rome, who, through a regard to attend to religion, it leads others their own ease and convenience, to neglect it. Alas! if the apostle refused to visit the Philippians; or

were to search for those among us to those teachers mentioned in the who would make sacrifice of life first chapter of this epistle, who and property for Christ, he might preached Christ from envy and say with still greater propriety, all

, strife; but from the manner in seek their own, not the things of which these words are introduced, God. Where are those who were it is evident they are designed for once loud in the praises of Immauniversal application. Of their nuel ; who considered no labour of truth, as applied to the unregene- love too great to be performrate, there can be no doubt. The ed for Him who laid down his testimony of Jesus Christ is abun- life for sinners; who suffered. po dant proof: For if ye love them impediments to keep them from which love you,what thank have ye? paying their vows in the sanctuary? for sinners also love those that love À ! humbling proof of our mercer them ; that is, they are governed nary spirit-our engagedness has altogether by a regard for them- fled like the morning cloud, and selves. And there is reason to fear the early dew that goeth away. If that too much of this spirit leavens you will visit them once a week, the great body of professed Chris- lavish praises upon them, gratify tians. To a great multitude who their pride by distinctions, or their

a sought the Saviour with every tes- curiosity by novelty, they will contimony of respect, during the days descend to visit the sanctuary and of his flesh, he said, Ye scek me other places of worship. Well not because ye saw the miracles might Jesus Christ address such, as not because ye were convinced of he did the multitude in the days of the divinity of my mission, and fill- his humiliation, Ye seek me, not ed with love for my character; but because of your regard for my glo1826. No. 2.

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ry, your obedience to my com- he said and did was to effect our salmands, but because of the loaves vation. God commendeth his love and fishes--the favours you expect, toward us, that while we were yet or the gratification you anticipate. sinners Christ died for us.

His Facts written in the tears of the whole life was but one series of righteous, in the blood of perishing holy and benevolent acts, and it souls, prove too plainly the truth closed with a prayer for his murof the declaration, that all seek derers. For ye know the grace of their own.

The languishing state our Lord Jesus Christ, says an of Zion, the general indifference apostle, that though he was rich, that prevails in relation to the re- yet for our sakes he became poor, alities of eternity, the feeble hold that we through his poverty might which institutions of benevolence be rich. All the offers of the goshave upon the church, the apathy pel are made in the purest spirit of of Christians, the stupidity of the benevolence. The light of the impenitent,—tell too plainly of the gospel, like the natural sun, visits melancholy truth announced in the the evil and unthankful; its blesstext.

ings, like the showers of heaven, III. The complaint urged by the fall on the unjust and disobedient. apostle is a serious one, and must be The whole effect of the gospel, in exposed.

the spirit it inspires, the principles Those against whom this it inculcates, the character it forms, charge is brought, should remem- the laws it publishes, and the good ber that it lies against an essential it accomplishes, proves its benevoevidence of Christian character. lence. Those who early promul. For every man to seek his own in gated it were actuated by the most preference to the things of Christ, disinterested motives. Taking their is contrary to the spirit and design of lives in their hand, and with the the gospel : which is benevolence. surrendry of ease, and ho ur, and Its whole scope is beautifully ex- wealth, they went forth in opposipressed in that song wbich was sung tion to every selfish principle, by the angels at the birth of Christ, preaching the gospel of the kingGlory to God in the highest, peace dom; their zeal, and self-denial, on earth, and good will to men. It their labours, and prayers, and is the gospel of the grace of God, tears, evinced that they had caught and therefore brings favour and the spirit of their message, which life to those that are ill-deserving. published peace and good will to God, the author of it, is love; and he has manifested his benevolence Now, if those who are admitted in the most unequivocal manner, into the visible church of Christ by acts, which have excited the are said to be partakers of the diwonder and admiration of heaven. vine nature, are styled followers Herein is love, says St. John, in its of God as dear children, are dehighest exercise, in its fairest cha- scribed as putting on Christ, walkracter, not that we loved God, but ing even as he walked, partakers of that he loved us, and gave his Son his spirit, and are represented as to die for us. Jesus Christ, the having his law written upon their publisher of it, the object of its hearts, what are we to think of prophecies, the truth of its sha- those who live only to themselves ; dows, the substance of its promises, who, though they profess to receive the author and exemplar of its the gospel, whose spirit is mercy, doctrines, was actuated solely by whose design is benevolence, are benevolence. He had no object of yet governed by a principle wholly his own to accomplish; he laid selfish? Surely, when they behold down his life for his enemies; all themselves in this pure mirror. they must perceive a palpable in- his heart most devoted, te bis consistency, and acknowledge an secular concerns. important deficiency. If the great Thirdly: Forevery man to seek principle of love to God be not his own in preference to the things predominant in the heart, we are as of Christ, is contrary to the vows sounding brass and tinkling cym- made in our dedication to God. bals.

men.

Those who join themselves to the Again: For any man to seek his Lord in a perpetual covenant, preown in preference to the things of fess to esteem it both a privilege Christ, is contrary to the nature of and a duty, and they would be contrue religion. The great require- sidered as doing it from a principle ment which is a summary of the of supreme attachment to God and decalogue, you well know: Thou his cause. In this solemn and inshalt love the Lord thy God with all teresting transaction, of which heathy heart, and thy neighbour as ven, earth, and hell are witnesses, thyself. This principle of love is they avouch the Lord Jehovah tó one, that is, it is the same : the be their God for ever, to the excludifference of its exercise springs sion of all idols; and they conseonly from the difference of its ob- crate to him all that they have, and jects. Love is the fulfilling of the are, or may possess, without any rewhole law. He who loves God servation to the abandonment of will, froin the same affection, love all selfish ends. Of the duties and his neighbour. The nature of true sacrifices required of them, they, religion, as described in the Bible, in consequence of this decision, is benevolence. Witness those are not the constituted judges: the striking words of Jesus Christ, He will of God is the measure and stanthat loveth father or mother more dard, and it is to be ascertained than me, is not worthy of me, and from his word and providence. he that taketh not his cross and How, then, shall we justify a followeth after me, is not worthy narrow, selfish course of conduct of me. Whosoever forsaketh not in those who have taken these all that he hath, he cannot be my vows upon them ; who, when God disciple. For if ye love them that demands of them for the spread of love you, what thank have ye? for his gospel, for the support of his sinners also love those that love cause, for the advancement of his them. But love ye your enemies; kingdom, a portion of the substance and do good, and lend, hoping for which they have laid at the foot of nothing again: and your reward his altar, and upon which they have shall be great, and ye shall be the inscribed his name, not only withchildren of the Highest, for he is hold it, but convert it to a use that kind to the unthankful, and to the must be considered detrimental evil Observe, also, that declara- to his interests; who, when God retion of the apostle, Charity seeketh quires of them for the enlargement not her own; that is, is wholly of his church, the good of sindestitute of any selfish charac- ners, and the salvation of men, a ter.

portion of that time which they Now, if true religion consists in devoted to him, and for which they loving God supremely, in denying must render a strict account, not ourselves, in seeking the general only refuse the claim, but spend good, it must be a serious charge, their time in a way that is calcubrought against one of its professed lated to strengthen the prejudices friends, that he makes all his duties of the world against the gospel. subserve his own interest; that he is not such a spirit and course of loves most, and is most anxious to conduct in the face of every covepromote, his own purposes; that nant engagement ? his feelings are most awake, and Fourthly: It is contrary to the

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uifluence which the gospel exerts. Sixthly: It is to resemble the world. religion of benevolence, it imparts Self-interest is the great spring that the same spirit to all that come sets in motion the thousand wheels within its influence: it effects an in society. All who are in a state entire revolution in the whole of nature professedly seek their man; it operates both by means of That is the character given gratitude and obligation. The in scripture of impenitent sinners. whole tendency of the gospel is to The conduct mentioned by the lead us away from ourselves to God. apostle in the text, annihilates all For the love of Christ constraineth distinction between the church and 115, because we thus judge; that if the world. The strong features one died for all, then were all dead; that designate the subjects of the and that he died for all that they kingdoms of darkness and light, which live should not henceforth live would entirely be lost, and the glounto themselves, but unto Him wbich ry and heavenly character of the died for them, and rose again. Ye religion of Christ be effectually obare not your own; ye are bought scured. The terms used in the vith a price; therefore glorify Bible to distinguish the church and God in your body, and in your spin the world, are terms of contrariety uit, which are God's. Those, then, and opposition. The one is called who live unto themselves,—who the kingdom of light; the other are governed principally by a re- the kingdom of darkness; the one is gard for their own interest, are denominated wheat,the other tares; strangers to the motives of the gos- the one is termed the precious, the pel; they have never felt the love other the vile; the one the serof Christ, nor appreciated the price vants of God, the other the serof redemption.

vants of sin. And the ruling temFifthly : It is contrary to the per is represented as equally diprayers we offer to God. Prayers verse : the one seek their own, are offered, not merely for our- the other the things of Jesus Christ; selves, but for others: not only for the one are wholly selfish, the othtemporal, but for spiritual blessings. er are benevolent. To cherish a Christians pray that God would re- spirit, exhibit a character, and purvive his work, awaken sinners, in- sue a course, which would render crease his church ; that the gospel the distinction merely nominal may be sent to the heathen, and which has its foundation in the elethat Jesus may see of the travail ments of the moral constitution, of his soul and be satisfied. But must be an attempt alike subverprayer will do none of these, with- sive of principle, and dangerous out the intervention of means. to the interests of the church. Prayer is not only the language of My Brethren,-We have here a vant, but of benevolence. It de- test of the character of our relisires the good of all. But how gion. That which is common to shall we reconcile the conduct of the church and the world can be those who pray so earnestly for no certain evidence of religion. the salvation of souls, and seldom Correctness of sentiment, exemappear in those assemblies where plariness of deportment, public spiGod's saving power is known; who rit, generosity, and alms-giving, desire a revival of religion, and though in themselves of unspeakalift not a finger to promote it; who ble value, and even essential to the pray for the spread of the gospel, validity of any claim to vital godliand the conversion of the world, ness, may not be satisfactory eviand give nothing to send forth the dence of true piety; because they Bible, and the living preacher to may be possessed in a high degree expound it!

by those who have not the love

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