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was no impostor, and that his historians were candid and impartial recorders of the events which they relate, we have an argument before us which might be applied with considerable effect. But even in a practical point of view, the remarkable address of Jesus to the multitude is worthy deep attention.

“ 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.'

Now this surely is one of those hard sayings, after the delivery of which many must necessarily turn back, and walk no more with him. Why then deliver it at all ?—The avowed object of Christ, was to make converts, why then speak in language so calculated to drive numbers away for ever ?—Why, for this very reason, because his object was to make converts—honest and earnest, yet cool and calculating converts. It was no part of his design or wish, that his progress should be attended, and his triumph swelled by a crowd of mere wonderers.

It was their conviction that he aimed at on their own account, and unless this were produced, it afforded him no gratification to hear them exclaim, “ It was never so seen in Israel ?,” and “ Never man spake like this man?” The address therefore, of which the text forms a part, was intended to show the multitude that he was not deceived by their accompanying him, and to warn them not to deceive themselves. It was intended to show that mere followers would not be looked upon as disciples, and to point out the cost to be encountered before the latter title could be earned.

And after the same manner our Lord still speaks to all who are about to take his yoke upon them. I offer you, he says, (to employ a paraphrase of the passage), I freely offer you eternal life. But be not deceived. It is necessary in order to your attaining this happiness, that you prepare yourselves with resolution and constancy, to perform the conditions required of you, and to persevere in the way you have chosen. No man can be a worthy disciple of mine, who is not able to bear affliction, self-denial, and

1 Matt. ix. 33.

2 John vii. 46.

persecution, and has not resolution enough to prefer his duty before all temporal considerations and advantages, before all the ties of natural relationship and affection, and even before the enjoyment of life itself. “ Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple !.”

Thus speaks the Gospel to the new convert. In the next place, let us see whether any of the same severity be discernible in the language addressed to those who have already embraced it. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven." “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed,

1 Luke xiv. 33.

? Matt. vii. 21.

The ser

rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire !." “ For whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall save it." vant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you *." “ In the world

ye

shall have tribulation 4.”

Here again, the Gospel assures those who have received it, that mere profession will be of no avail. It threatens exclusion from the kingdom of heaven. It exclaims, “ Depart, I know you not,” to all save those who not only embrace its doctrines, but render also the fullest and most unreserved obedience in their power to its precepts. It calls for the abandonment of every thing that offends, however painful the sacrifice may be. The eye may be precious; but, if need be, it must be plucked out for Christ. The limbs and members may be a costly offering, but they must be cheerfully rendered, if demanded by the service of God. Nay, the life itself must not be thought too much to give, by those who look for an eternal life hereafter. Christ himself while upon earth, was exposed to the bitterest persecutions; and we are taught to expect that every faithful servant of his shall encounter many a struggle, arising some from the world without, and others from the violence of his own evil passions. .“ In the world they shall have tribulation."

*Matt. xviii. 8.

2 Matt. xvi. 25.

If the yoke of Christ then, be thus heavy-if it bid us do such great things, as well on the score of active exertion, as on that of patient endurance ; would it not be well to tear it off, and cast it from us? If the commandments of Jesus be so grievous, would it not be well to turn back and walk no more with him ? Let us see whether the Gospel has any thing to address to those who do so. _"No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God'."-" He that denieth

1 Luke ix. 62.

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