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these days incumbent on us, have; we,, like Sts Matthew, fulfilled the duty? To these questions, let our mediations be directed,
I. We are to leave all our evil practices* that we may follow Christ, There appears no breach of charity in the assumption thaJS St. Matthew, in his business as a publican, had borne some resemblance to his brethren. He was every hour exposed to the temptations, by which they were so gene-; rally overcome. He was every hour assail«d by the influence of their pernicious example. And the Scriptures do not furnish any intimation that he had distinguished himself from others in his Own line of life: or that it was on account of any conspicuous merit that he was selected to become an Apostle of our Lord. Bee this circumstance, however, as it may, St. Matthew was a child of Adam; by nature corrupt, in practice sinful. But he listened to the command of Jesus. His original employments in itself so ensnaring, he forsook at once. And he seems anxious to shew his fense of the memorable goodness tif* Christ: in calling him from so guilty a ^session to be his disciple, by still denoI'atih^ Ijirnsejf, in a,subsequent part of
bis Gospel, where he recounts the names of the twelve Apostles, Matthew the Pub-, lican: an appellation never assigned to him subsequently to his conversion by any other of the sacred writers. He continued stedfastly with his heavenly Master'; gradually improving in grace and holiness, as he grew in the knowledge of his Lord and Saviour. Conformably to his example, we are to relinquish all habits and deeds of wickedness to which we have heretofore been addicted. This is the first step in re. pentance. Until this step be taken, to speak of repentance is hypocrisy. We must relinquish our former iniquities altogether, /and without reserve. Suppose that $t. . Matthew, when Christ commanded him to become his follower, had answered, that :,he would attend upon Christ occasionally, when his occupation afforded him leisure: and that for the future, when employed in /collecting tribute, he would commit acts . of extortion only seldom. Would Christ c have regarded him? Would he have accepted such service? You must surrender yourselves entirely to Christ. You must follow Him wholly. You must follow Him alone. In all his actions Christ was .pure from sin, and a pattern of every good :'/:' "i J: ..;; ''? , work.
-'work. When you wilfully indulge in wickedness; is that to follow Christ ?. When you reserve some favourite sin for your occasional.gratification; is that to leave aLjl for the fake of Christ?.,No man can servfi two masters. Choose between the works of God, and the works of the devil; between the deeds of light, and those of darkness; between Heaven and hell.
'II. We must renounce, for the fake of Christ, all our evil inclinations. This step/is necessary to make repentance complete. . St. , Matthew not only relinquished his occupation, but abandoned it with gladness. You do not fee him taking leave of his home with reluctance and sorrow. He was not ashamed to let it be known to the world that he was going to resign his antecedent habits of life; his domestic comforts; his ease; his former associates; his settled pursuits, for the fake of religion. He prepared a great feast to welcome his,Saviour to his house, before ne should himself quit it: and invited a numerous' company of publicans and sinners, that they also might be blessed with the opportunitypf listening to the words of eternal lifei * Afterwards, when you hear him 'nientioning his former profession; it is not
with desire to return to it, but with gratitude for having been called away from it to take up his' cross and follow Christ. In. conformity to this example every Christian is not merely to abstain, as by constraint, J&om sinful actions; but to glorify his God by cheerful obedience, and to 'bring his will under thankful subjection tohis Redeemer. He is to be holy In thought, holy in heart, .holy in his designs, holy in his wishes. jHe is to abhor sin as odious to God, repugnant |, 'to his laws, hostile to his plans, destructive ^ Jto his creation. He is to cultivate righteous}.. ness as that which God hasappointed : that R which God loves: that which is the distinguishing and pre-eminent attribute of God: .that which shone with unclouded lustre in .the human nature of the glorious Redeemer: that which the glorious Redeemer Jived and died to plant and establish among men. He is to labour to crucify the bid man, the original corruption of which he is a partaker, with the affections and lusts, which it produces. He is to be renewed through the operation of the Holy Ghost in t-hj^spifjt/pf his mind; to be conformed -.in heart to the image of Christ: to' put on . the new man, which after God, according s:tft the image of God, is created ia righteous-* iz aess.
ness and true holiness. He is to serve God not in the spirit of bondage, but of love: not as the Israelites submitted to ^their Egyptian taskmasters, bowing to the yoke
'whixA. they could not escape: but with the ''affectionate acquiescence which breathed
in the words of Christ, when he exclaimett;
.Father! Not my will but thine be done.
III. We, like St. Matthew, are to renounce private interest, whenever it interferes with our obedience to Jesus Christ. St. Matthew forsook his possessions, and relinquished the employment which furnished him with subsistence, which disclosed the prospect of wealth; that he might be a faithful follower of the Master who commanded his service. Behold a decisive 'proof of sincerity! He does not hoHour his Saviour with his lips only. He glorifies the Son of God by making large sacrifices for his fake; by immediately making every sacrifice which is required. He hears of the pearl of great price; and 'he . parts with every thing that he may obtain it. He crirints all things but loss that he may win thejapprobation of his Redeemer. He casts away his treasures on..earth that he ..may be admitted to an enduring.inherit..' .3 . '';''.,..' . :i.' ,• , ance