Page:Great duty of confessing Christ before men, stated and recommended.pdf/5

This page has been validated.


cause patronised by names whose reputation we envy. We should rejoice at all that is good in every denomination of Christians, and bewail what is bad, and testify against them with moderation and candour. They who separate themselves from any society, (Jude 19.) for the sake of separation, are sensual, not having the Spirit: They went out from us, (says John, Ist Epist. ii. 19.) because they were not of us; and, no doubt, were determined to form a party: for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us. Neither are we to confess Christ from ostentation, or love of applause. To borrow Christ’s name, to aggrandize or set off our own, is a forgery of the worst kind, and infinitely dishonouring to Christ and his religion. We are to profess him when it exposes us to the loss of every thing, and even of our good name, and consequently cannot, without the greatest iniquity, wear his name merely to take away our reproach. We are to be willing, like John Baptist, to decrease, or grow little, if Christ increase in the world, and rejoice the work is done, though we had no hand in it. To follow Christ for loaves and fishes, or for temporal rewards, in religion, is a prostitution of the best of things to the worst of purposes; this is loving him for his clothes, and not for his divide beauty. This is a meritorious regard, or the love of an harlot, but not of a haste and loving spouse. When worldly emoluments are attached to a profession of Christ before men, multitudes appear on his side, and seem zealously affected to himself and his truths; but when persecution arises because of the word, when the tide turns in opposition to genuine Christianity, many are offended, go back, and walk no more with Jesus. John vi. There are still many in the church, whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame, and who mind earthly things; who measure their diligence by their emoluments, or by