Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Christmas Meditation

He loved us first when we had no love to him and shall not we follow when he loves us and courts our hearts? He loved us that never did anything for him. Shall we not love him who became poor that we might be rich? ...

If it be so that Christ became poor that we might be rich, then these are exceedingly to blame who mind earthly things and don't seek the true riches. How much soever Christ has laid out himself to make us spiritual[ly] rich and rich in another world there are many men that don't regard it. Christ thought it worth the becoming poor for men's sakes, but many men don't think it worth their troubling themselves about.

They neglect these riches that Christ bought at so dear a rate and they are pursuing of earthly riches. All or most of their concern is what they shall eat, and what they shall drink and wherewith all they shall be clothed. Christ might have kept in heaven where he was for all them, and spared all that cost. Truly, if you choose earthly possessions, money and land, and meat and drink, or houses and clothing, rather than the righteousness and sanctification, and God's love and heavenly glory, the riches which Christ by his poverty has procured, you are like to go without 'em. You must have your house and lands, and meat and drink, and clothing and nothing else. You must "have your portion in this life" [as in]Psalms 17:14.

IV. The doctrine reproves those who are, upon occasion, afraid of becoming poor for Christ's sake when they are called to part with something for the relief of the poor, or for the maintaining the gospel, or to help their brethren and neighbours. They are exceeding careful least they should hurt themselves. They think with themselves that they are forced to labour a great while to get so much, and to part in a minute with what they get by many a hard blow, and have no profit by it. They grudge at it. They think they shall at that rate become poor and run themselves into hardship. They hope to have benefit by Christ poverty. They hope he became poor that they might be rich. But they [are] exceeding cautious that they don't endanger their own being poor for Christ. The blood run free from Christ's veins and out of his heart. He freely shed it for sinners, but anything of theirs' comes hard from them as their blood. There is abundance of this more or less in multitudes of men. It is a common thing to be too grudging, too apt to think about the difficulty and about the danger.

From a 1728 sermon on II Cor 8.9.

With the disclaimer that JE would never have celebrated anything as pagan as Christmas!


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