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FROM DE COETLOGON'S THEOLOGICAL MISCELLANY.
REMARKS ON THE EQUITY OF
1 Cor. xvi. 92.
If any man lore dot the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, Maran-atha.
A Sense of the excellence of Christ, or of his worthiness of being loved, is of great importance in religion. Without this, we ean never truly love him, nor prize any thing which pertains to him. Destitute of this, we shall see his name degraded without indignation, and hear it exalted without delight. Without this, we shall esteem his salvation itself no otherwise than a happy expedient to escape eternal misery. In short, without this, we shall be mere statues in Christianity, bring no glory to its Author, and enjoy none of its refined pleasures.
A spirit very different from this possessed the great apostle, when he uttered the above passage. Twenty years ago, if a soldier, who had fought under the late Marquis of Granby, bad heard the language of detraction against his noble commander, deeply impressed with a sense of the hero's worth, he would have been ready to exclaim, 'If any man love not the Marquis of Granby, let him be banished the British dominions !•' Probably, some sucb
feelings might possess the heart of Paul, who had long served under the Lord Jesus Christ, and was deeply impressed with an idea of bis innate worth.
Indeed the sentence is awful. Let him be accursed when the Lordcometh! It probably alludes to the Jewish excommunications, which they tell us were of three sorts, or degrees. In the first, the offender was put out of the synagogue, or merely excommunicated; in the second, he was not only excommunicated, but anathematized, or cursed; in the third (which was only for the worst, and most incorrigible,) he was not only anathematized, but consigned over to the judgment of the great day! The meaning of the word here seems to be, 'Let him be excommunicated from the presence of God, and all holy beings; and as he did not love the Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour, let him fall before him as a Judge!' This sentence, however awful, is strictly equitable. The truth of this will appear by the joint consideration ofthree things.
1. He that loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, must be an enemy to God, to Virtue, and to all Moral Excellence.—Such a oneness is there between God as a Lawgiver, and Christ as a Saviour, that what is done to the one is done to the other. The Jews, in our Saviour's time, wished to be thought friends to God, while they were enemies to Christ; but, If God were your Father, saith he, ye would love me. And again, Iknow you, that ye have not the love of God in you—lam come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not. The same thing is observable now, umongthe Deists, who would be thought friends to the one Supreme Being, but enemies to Christianity. And indeed this deistical spirit seems greatly to prevail in multitudes that are not professed Deists, especially among some in the higher ranks, who, though they can now and then assume so much fortitude, as to speak respectfully of the Supreme Being, yet would be ashamed that a word should be heard from their lips in defence of Christ or Christianity. It were to be wished too, that none of those who sustain the character of Christian ministers had ever discovered the same spirit. This is very awful! But, whatever we may think • here, and whatever character we may sustain, it will be found at last, that, whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father!
If any man lore not the Lord Jesus Christ, he can have no regard to the authority of God as a Lawgiver, seeing it was this that he came into the world to maintain. When devils had cast off God's joke as grievous, and practically declared him a tyrant; and men had followed their example, judging it too mean a thing, it seems, for ever to be so kept under rule ; then the Son of God came down, and in the presence of these revolters, was subject to the very law which they had discarded Though he was under no natural obligation to come under the law, yet, that he might show how worthy he thought it of being obeyed, and thus wipe off the foul reproach, he learned obedience. Yea, that it might be seen how easy a yoke it was, and thence the unreasonableness and wickedness of their revolt, he declared, whatever others might think, it was his meat to do the will of his Father! If any man, therefore, love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he cannot love the law of God, but must be of Satan's mind, accounting it a severe law, and that obedienct'Mo it is slavery; and thus he must be an enemy to God.
Again: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he can have no regard to the honour of God's justice being secured. If we had a proper regard to the justice of God, we could not bear the thought of salvation itself being erected upon its ruins. To desire such a thing would be nothing less than desiring to depose the King of the universe ; for justice and judgment are the basis of his throne. If a fallen creature loved God, and could see no way for his own salvation but what must be at the expense of truth and equity, hit soul must be filled with inexpressible distress. If the way of salvation by Jesus Christ were then to be preached to him, a way wherein, through bis glorious sacri6ce, God could be just and the justifier of him that believed in Jesus, how would his spirit revive within him! With what joy of heart would he acquiesce in a plan wherein mercy and truth could meet together. The more he loved God, the more he would love Him who out of love to equity invited the sword of vengeance to plunge itself in his heart, saying, Father, Glorify Thy Name! But if Christ and his way of salvation have no charms in our eyes; if we would barely like to be justified, (that is, freed from condemnation,) but care not howj and think, as to God being just therein, he must see to that; is it not evident that we have no love to God, truth, or righteousness?
Further: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he gives proof that God's grand enemy being defeated and alt his counsels turned into foolishness, affords him no pleasure; and consequently he can be no friend of God, but an enemy. If we love our prince, we shall rejoice at his enemies being overthrown, and admire that noble commander, who, by hazarding his life in the high places of the field, should put them to confusion. If any monster had been ao unfeeling, in the day when David slew Goliath and saved Israeli as to have bad no love to the young hero, would he not have been deemed an enemy to his king and country, and suspected of being on the side of the Philistines? Now, as the Lord Jesus Christ entered the field, and with his own arm spoiled principalities and powers, brake the serpent's head, routed his forces, and ruined his scheme; if we love not him, whatever we may pretend, we must be enemies to God, and on the side of Satan.
In short: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he must bo an enemy to all moral excellence; for of this he was a perfect model, both living and dying. God himself hath borne witness of him, that he loved righteousness, and hated iniquity. He lived to get forth the amiableness of the one, and died that God in him might «how his abhorrence of the other. He lived and died that God's character in saving sinners might be untainted with moral turpitude. It may well therefore be said of him, The Uprioht love thee I Christ is the sum and centre of all excellence. Perhaps we cannot form a better idea of him, than as an assemblage of all goodness, a being in whom all excellencies meet. To have no love to him, then, is to have no love to moral excellence, and so to be an enemy to all good. Such a character surely deserves to be anathematized from God and all holy beings I
II. He that loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, must be an enemy to Mankind. Perhaps it might be asked, Cannot people be possessed of humanity without being the subjects of Christianity? It is answered, No, not in the full extent of that term. It is not denied but that people may wish vvell'to one another's temporal interests, may wish to promote their health and wealth and reputation, may live in friendship with mankind and be of a compassionate spirit to the poor, and may have no design in what they do to destroy their souls. But all this is no more than an over indulgent parent may feel, who yet interpretively, by sparing the rod, is said to hate his Sod ; and it is common to say in such cases, the parent was the child's enemy. Yea, it is very little, if any thing, more than thieves and robbers may exercise towards their comrades. Here is one of that character, for instance, draws a young man into hit practices: he has no intention to bring him to the gallows, nor himself either; and he may wish his health and prosperity, and pity and relieve him in distress. All this is good; but could it appear from hence that he was not his enemy, in setting him against his own interests, and seducing him away from his best friends? Is he not his enemy? But to come nearer to the point—
The Lord Jesus Christ is the best friend to mankind that ever existed : if therefore any man bears true love to the souls of men and seeks their real welfare, it is impossible but that he should love the Lord Jesus Christ. We should deem him an enemy to mankind, who, if a skilful and generous physician came into oar parts, and healed all gratis who applied to him, should endeavour to prejudice the minds of people against him. An enemy to Joseph, who was the saviour of Egypt and the adjacent countries, would have been deemed an! enemy to mankind. But what were these? Christ has healed the tremendous breach between God and man, has rescued millions and millions from eternal ruin, and is still able and willing to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by kin. It' any man therefore love not the Lord Jesus Christ, surely he deserves, as an enemy to the public good, to he excommunicated from the society of the blessed.
'But may there not be a neutrality exercised in this affair? If some do not love Christ, does it follow that such are his enemies?' Yes, il does. This is a cause wherein the idea of neutrality is inadmissible and impossible. They that are not with him, are declared to be against him.
III. He that loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, must be an enemy to Himself.—To be an enemy to Christ, is to be guilty of the most awful kind of suicide. All they that hate him, are said to lose