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LECTURE V.

Matt. xix. 27.

“ THEN ANSWERED PETER, AND SAID UNTO HIM, BE,

HOLD, WE HAVE FORSAKEN ALL, AND FOLLOWED THEE; WHAT SHALL WE HAVE THEREFORE?"

An abundance of this world's goods has been in all ages among the greatest impediments to a consistent following of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seldom in the days of his earthly sojourn, do we read that the rich, or the mighty, or the noble, were called into his kingdom. “ Have any of the rulers believed in him?” was the triumphant inquiry by which, in the earliest infancy of the Gospel, its followers were shamed into silence. It was to the poor especially that the Gospel was preached; it was from the ranks of the poor and the destitute, that many were chosen,

“ rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom ;” and while the

; Saviour of the world was despised by the great and rejected by the wealthy, he daily partook of the poor man's fare, lodged in the poor man's dwelling, and selected from the poor man's kindred, the companions of his ministry, and the promulgators of his Gospel.

In the 19th chapter of St. Matthew, we have an interesting account of our Lord's conversation with a young and wealthy ruler, who appeared desirous of embracing the new religion ; he was contented patiently to listen to our Lord's injunction, “Keep the commandments,” because he vainly flattered himself that his character was unimpeachable; but no sooner did he hear the words, “ Sell what thou hast, and follow me,” than we are told, sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

" he went away

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“ Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” You who are labouring unremittingly to “join house to house, and lay field to field,” without a thought or a desire beyond the attainment of these perishable possessions, learn from the lips of your Redeemer the true nature of the work in which you are engaged. You are merely assisting the great enemy of your souls, in forging those golden chains, with which he binds

you to his cruel service. Difficult as the work of salvation unquestionably is, to every fallen child of Adam ; to the rich, and to the man “ hastening to be rich," the difficulty is infinitely increased : with a profusion of the gifts of God, the ungrateful heart of man becomes, in general, strangely alienated from the heavenly Giver: with an earnest desire after wealth, comes an increasing indifference to spiritual duties and spiritual privileges; with an attain

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ment of wealth, comes frequently a sordid selfishness, deadness of heart to God, coldness to the brethren. Few Christians perish from the cutting winds of adversity, many wither and fall away beneath the burning sun of prosperity. Intimately was he acquainted with the human heart, who looking around upon the splendid mansion of his friend, and remarking the exulting expression of his countenance, exclaimed,

Aye, these are the things that make a death-bed terrible!”

Simon Peter, who was present at the interview, upon which we have been commenting, no sooner witnessed the departure of the young man, and heard our Lord's instructive warning, than, as we read, he answered and said unto

“ Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have

e therefore ?"*

If it be, and who will deny it? a most difficult achievement to forsake all

Jesus,

for Christ, this inquiry of Peter will convince us, that it is even yet more difficult to do it, with simplicity of pur- . pose, and singleness of heart-to suffer no intermingling of unworthy motives, to influence us, in the great work of dedicating ourselves to God. In reference to this, watch over yourselves, my brethren, with a most jealous eye, upon every step of the Christian course; analyze carefully your motives, scrutinize your intentions, see that “the recompense of the reward,” especially of the temporal reward, hold not too prominent a station in your hearts ; if you be poor, see that your religious duties be not to recommend you to the rich ; if young, that they be not to attract the notice, or the praise of men. Whatever be your station, whatever be your age,

let
your prayer

effort be, to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, in all godly sincerity, with a single eye to his glory, and an utter disregard of

and your

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