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MATTHEW xii. 30. He that IS not "with me, is against me ; and he that gatheretk not with me, scattereth abroad. The occasion of these words was this. There was brought unto Christ a man possessed of a devil, who Was both bli.'id and dumb : and he healed him, in so much that i^e blirsd and dumb both spake and saw. Though th Dsracle excited the admiration of the people in ge..erai ; vet it raised the enmity and opposition of tiiC Pharisees, who maliciously charged him with casting out details by Belzebub the prince of devils. Christ completely refutes this charge, by showing the absurdity of supposing, that Satan should cast out Satan, and act against the interest of his own kingdom, for the sake of joining with him in building up the kingdom of God; and by showing the still greater absurdity of supposing, that he should act in concert with Satan, whom he knew to be his most malignant and powerful enemy. For says he, " He that is not with me, is against me ; and he that gatherth not with me, scattereth abroad." To be with Christ, or against him, naturally signifies to be with him, or against him in some design. Merely loving, or hating a person is not commonly considered as being with him, or against him. But this phrase generally signifies being united with, or opposed to a person in some design he has formed and is pursuing. And in this sense Christ evidently meant to be understood in the text. For he was then actually carrying on that great and important design, which al-
190 SERMO XII. ways has employed his thoughts, and always will employ them, until it is finally accomplished. In reference to this design he said, " He, that is not with me, is against me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad." We may, therefore, justly conclude. That no man can be indifferent towards the design which Christ is carrying on. I shall, I. Show what design Christ is carrying on ; and II. Show that no man can be indifferent towards it. I. I am to show what design Christ is carrying on. He never had, and never will have but one design ; and this design was concerted in the council of heaven, from the early days of eternity. Though all the persons in the sacred Trinity are united and engaged in this design : yet the most conspicuous and important part of it belongs to the office of Christ to fulfil. He has engaged in the work, and done much to accomplish it. He has come from heaven to earth, assumed human nature, suffered and died, risen from the dead, ascended up to heaven, taken the government of the world into his hands, and continues to act the part of a prince and saviour. But still the question recurs. What has he done, and is still doing all these things for ? or what end or design is he carrying on ? I answer, the great design of saving sinners. The work of redemption comprises all the works of creation and providence. Christ engaged from eternity, to accomplish the work of man's redemption. This is the scriptural representation of Chrisfs design. As soon as the great deceiver had brought about the apostacy of our first parents, God graciously promised them, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, destroy the works of the devil, and save all who were predestinated to eternal life. Accordingly, when he
appeared on earth, he declared that he was the son of God and saviour of the world ; that he came to give his life a ransom for many; and that whosoever believed in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. After his resurrection from the dead, he said to his disciples, " All power is given unto me in heaven and
SERMO XII. 191 eaitii. Go ye tiierefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever 1 have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world." And the apostle declares, "God hath raised Christ from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the Church." Thus it appears, that the supreme and ultimate design, which Christ has undertaken, which he is carrying on, and which he will finally accomplish, is the promotion of the ojlorv of God and the holiness and blessedness of his eternal kingdom, in the salvation of all penitent and believing sinners. And this must be allowed to be the greatest and best design, and the most interesting to all intelligent beings, that ever could be formed and executed. Therefore I go on to show, 11. That no man can be indifferent towards it. Christ expressly declares, " He that is not with me, is against me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad ;" which plainly implies, that every man either approves, or disapproves his design, and inwardly desires to promote, or obstruct it. And that no man can be indifferent towards it, will appear, if we consider
the following things. 1. The design, which Christ is pursuing, is the greatest of all possible designs in every point of view. It is great in its origin. It was concerted in the early days of eternity, by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and is as great a design as their united and infinite wisdom could form. It is great in extent. It reaches to and comprises all beings and objects in the universe. It is great in its duration. It began to operate from the beginning of the world, and it will continue to operate to the end of the world, and from that period to all eternity, and produce effects the most interestins" to
192 SERMO XII. every intelligent being, who will always be a spectator of them. ow, it is not conceivable, that any man should be indifferent towards this great and comprehensive design, which Christ is carrying on, and wliich will deeply and eternally affect the minds of the whole intelligent miiverse. 2. The great design, which Christ is pursuing, is totally opposed to all the selfish designs of mankind. Every man is naturally disposed to seek his own things and pursue his own interests, independently of, and in opposition to, the interests of others. This selfish spirit reigns more or less in the hearts of all the children of men, and leads them to form ten thousand selfish and sinful designs, which they regard as very important to themselves. But the perfectly wise and benevolent design, which Christ is pursuing, opposes and counteracts all the selfish desigrns of mankind. Their selfish designs respect their own good; but his design respects the glory of God. Their selfish designs respect temporal things ; but liis benevolent design respects eternal things. Their selfish designs
respect nothing but happiness ; but his benevolent design respects holiness as well as happiness, through all the periods of time and all the ages of eternity. So long as Christ lived in obscurity and concealed his great and benevolent design in coming into the world, he grew in favour with God and man. But as soon as he made known his design, and pursued it in open opposition to the views, the purposes, and selfish interests of the Jews, they hated him, reviled him, and opposed him, with the utmost virulence, till they finally imlDrued their hands in his blood. And wherever the gospel has made known his design, it has never failed of exciting the enmity and opposition of the wise and unwise, of the learned and unlearned, of kin^s and of kingrdoms. It was foretold, that Christ in pursuing his great design, should raise the general resentment and opposition of mankind. '• Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing ? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together
SERMO XII. 193 against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying. Let us break their hands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." Mankind never feel indifferent towards any person, or object, that counteracts and defeats their desires, designs, or pursuits. o man, therefore, who is not indiiferent to his own temporal, or eternal interests, can be indifferent towards the design, which Christ is pursuing, and which will deeply affect his interests both for time and eternity. Every individual of the human race will be just such as Christ's design requires, either rich or poor, either bond or free, either great or small, either high or low, either good or bad, either happy or miserable, through every period of his existence. " Think not," said Christ, ^' that I am come to send peace on the earth : I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set
a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." And Jesus said again, " For judgment I am come into this world , that they who see not, might see ; and that they who see, might be made blind." Christ in pursuing his great and benevolent design, bends the characters, the conduct, the conditions, and the interests of the whole world in subserviency to the interests of his own kingdom, and in opposition to the selfish characters, conduct, conditions, and interests of all who are against him. And will any selfish heart be indifferent to such a person, pursuing such a design ? Will not every holy heart be for him, and every unholy heart be against him ? 3. Christ, in carrying on his great, comprehensive, and benevolent design, employs all mankind as instruments in promoting it. Christ has all power in heaven and earth, and is able to subdue all things to himself, and to cause every creature and object in this world, to be instrumental, some way or other, in afTecting the great design he has constantly in view. He employed the winds and waves in his service. He made a fish iurnish him with property. He claimed the right to take 25
J 94 BERRiO Xh. from its owner a colt, to ride in triumph into Jerusa-^ lem. He employed twelve men at lirst, and seventy more afterwards, to preach the gospel, before his death. And after his resurrection, he commanded and commissioned the apostles and all their regular successors, to preach the gospel to all nations, to the end of the world. And he still employs the hearts and hands and influence of all other men in his service. He governs supremely and absolutely in the moral, as well as in the
natural world, and makes his enemies, as well as his friends the active and voluntary agents in doing whatever he sees necessary for them to do, to advance his cause and interest in the world. This was predicted of Christ under the type of Solomon, inthe72d psalm. " He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the v/ilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents ; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall bow down before him ; a7id all nations shall serve kim^ Men are natu* rally very unwilling to serve any cause, or promote any interest, which appears hostile to their own. But the cause which Christ is pursuing is totally opposed to all the sinister views and selfish interests of mankind. They cannot, therefore, feel indifferent whether Christ shall succeed or not, in his great design, or whether he shall employ them, in acting^or him against themselves. Had the builders of the ark known the design of building it was to prepare the way for their own destruction, they would never have struck a stroke to prepare it for the safety of some and the ruin of themselves. o sinner, who understands the design of Christ in the government of the world, can feel indifferent whether the design shall succeed, or whether he shall be an agent in eflfecting it. Accordingly, we find, that whenever and wherever Christ visibly succeeds in building up and enlarging his kingdom, none appear indiflferent ; but all that are not with him are against him ; and generally not only feel, but speak
SERMO XII. 195 and act against him. evertheless, Christ causes them all to promote the very design they hate and mean to oppose. He makes the wrath of man praise him, and the remainder of wrath he always restrains. Christ has
made all nations to serve him from the beginning of the world to this day, and will make all nations serve him from this day to the end of the world, whether they are willing or unwilling to serve him. And in the view and belief of this truth, no man is, or can be indifferent to his great design. 1 may add, 4. one of the inhabitants of the invisible world are indifferent towards the great and interesting design, which Christ has undertaken, and is determined to accomplish. They have all been acquainted with it, and understood the origin, nature, extent, and consequences of it, for nearly six thousand years, though it was not so early, or so generally known in this world. " Unto me," says the apostle, " who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he proposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." The execution and accomplishment of Christ's eternal purpose will deeply and eternally affect all good and all bad beings in the invisible world. The happiness of the holy, and the misery of the unholy angels will be vastly augmented by the accomplishment of the great work of man's redemption, through the mediation and government of Christ. He has employed, and will employ them all in the great work in which he is engaged. He has employed unholy angels in introducing and spreading sin and misery among all the nations of the earth. And he has employed holy angels in promoting holiness and happiness in the world, and in counteracting and defeating the designs of satan
196 SERMO xn. and wicked men. While the holy angels have been with Christ, and acted with him and for him, and rejoiced in every instance of success and accession to his cause, and in every instance of his victory and triumph dver his enemies ; the unholy angels have been against him, and endeavoured to scatter abroad and ruin his church and kingdom. All the inhabitants of the invisible world are full of zeal for, and against Christ's design, and will never cease in their opposite and powerful exertions, until it is finally and fully accomplished. While all heaven and hell are not indifferent toward the design of Christ, can it be supposed, that any of mankind should be indifferent towards it, who are infinitely more interested in it, having all their eternal interests suspended upon it ? o ; far from it. The apostle John tells us, that he saw in vision men, angels and devils, all fiercely engaged in contending for it, and against it. " And there was war in heaven ; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and satan, who deeeiveth the whole world. And I heard a loud voice, saying in heaven, ow is^ come salvation, and strength, aad the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ : for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore, rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them." The great design of Christ is becoming more and more interesting and affecting to the whole intelligent universe, and they are all more and more engaged, either to promote it, or to obstruct it ; nor is there a single individual, who understands it, indifferent towards it. He that is not with Christ, is again&t him and his great and glorious design.
aERMO XII. 197 IMPROVEME T. ' 1. If none can be indifferent towards the design which Christ is carrying on, then none have any ground to imagine that they are neuters in religion. It is to be feared, that many, who live under the light of the gospel, wish to persuade themselves, that they are neither friendly nor unfriendly to Christ. They do not desire to profess any love to Christ and his cause ; nor, on the other hand, do they desire to appear opposed to him or the design he is pursuing. They mean to be neuters in respect to religion, and neither promote it, nor oppose it. They see some very sensible and respectable persons professing to be with Christ, and to be engaged to promote his cause ; and therefore, they wish not to counteract them. And they see some very vile and worthless persons openly professing to despise and , oppose the cause of Christ, and they choose not to appear as belonging to their class. They endeavour to feel and appear to feel indifferent towards that cause, which some are so much fors and others are so much against. They determine to steer a middle course, and to act a neutral part. They choose to let religion alone, and pay no more regard to it than they find it necessary, in order to pursue their own business to the best advantage. If their character or interest requires them to attend publick worship, they will attend ; or if custom requires them to pay an external respect to the sabbath, they will pay that respect ; or if circumstances require them to read the bible, or even to pray in their families, they will do these things ; or if they think it will be for their profit to support religion, they will support it. They are also resolved never to speak against religion, nor to appear to act against it. Is this a mere imaginary character? Is it not actually exhibited by many, who esteem themselves, and are es-
teemed very amiable, excellent, valuable persons? euters of this character are very numerous, and are w illing to be considered as such by others. But though ^hey may really think themselves to be neuters, and
.198 SERMO XII. may be thought to be so by their fellow-men ; yet they are not neuters, and do not appear to be neuters in the heart-searching eye of Christ. He knows what is in man, and he knows that no man can be indifferent towards him and the great design he is pursuing. He declares the truth when he says, " He that is not m ith me, is against me ; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad." There is no design with respect to which men are so fond of appearing neuters, as the design which Christ is engaged in ; but there is no design to which they can be less neutral. It is extremely absurd and dangerous for any to imagine that they are really neuters to the most important cause that was ever pursued, and upon which their own interest, and the interest of the whole intelligent universe is suspended. They must be happy or miserable to all eternity, accordingly as they are with or against Christ, in his great and glorious design. For if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, God says, " Let him be anathema, maran-atha." 2. If none can be indifferent towards the design which Christ is carrying on, then all who do not act^br him, act against him. As all must be for him or against him in their hearts ; so all must be for him or against him in their conduct. So Christ plainly declares in the text. He says, " He that is not for mc, is against me ;" that is, he that is not for me in his heart, is against me in his heart. Again he says, '• He that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad ;*' that is, he that is not for me in his heart, is against me in his con-
duct; "he scattereth abroad," and really opposes my design. Thus Christ viewed, represented and treated such as pretended to be with him, but were destitute of true love to him. " It came to pass, that as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, foxes have holes, and birds have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." This was an implicit rejection of him for his insincerity. *• When he was in Jerusalem at the passover. in the feast day,
SERMO XI£. 199 iiiany believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man : for he knew what was in man." He knew that those who professed to love and believe in him, were totally destitute of both love and fai!b, and rejected them Jiccordingly. When those whom he had miraculously fed, followed him over the sea of Tiberias, he said unto them, " Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." This was a severe reproof for their following him externally, while their hearts were far from him. Though those who are destitute of love to Christ, may profess to love him, to be with him. to act for him, and to be workers together with him in building up his kingdom ; still they are against him, and scatter abroad. Paul acknowledges, that though he should preach like an angel, and suffer like a martyr, without love to Christ and his cause, it would not be acting for him, but against him. He says, " Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge ; and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." It is more than possible, that not a few who live under the light of the gospel, who profess to love the gospel, who attend all the ordinances of the gospel, and who do a great many things, which under the government of Christ tend to promote the design of the gospel, that nevertheless in his view, are against him, and scatter abroad. Men must be inwardly with Christ, in order to be externally for him. While men ultimately seek their own things, they cannot seek the things of Christ. So long as they are internally against him, they are
200 SERMO XU. externally against him, let them say, and do or suffer ever so much for him. 3. If all who are with Christ are united to him in his great and glorious design ; then all who are united to him are more firmly united to one another, than any other persons in the world. There is nothing that unites the men of the world so strongly together, as their union in their worldly designs. Union of design will often bind those together who are disunited in affection. Worldly designs, however, are liable to fail, or change, and consequently the unions formed by them are often dissolved. But the great design of Christ is immutable and eternal, and all who are united to him in his design are immutably and eternally united to him and one another. Christians are united to each other, not only in affection, but in a design that cannot be defeated, or change. Hence Paul triumphantly asks, " Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? ay, in all
these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor <iepth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." The sincere and ardent brotherly love of the primitive christians excited the admiration of the world. The heathens exclaimed, " How these christians love one another!" The union of christians to one another is founded in their union to Christ in his great and glorious design, and can no more fail, than Christ can ifail in finishing the work which his Father has giv" en him to do. 4. If all who are not for Christ, are against him, then the most regular and amiable sinners may be as much against him, as any other sinners. They are as unwilling to have their desires, their hopes, their interests and selfish designs counteracted and defeated, as the most stupid and abandoned sinners. But if Christ pur-
Sermon xii 201 fsues and accomplishes his great and benevolent de» sign, he will entirely disappoint and destroy all the selfish hopes, desires, and designs of the most regular and amiable sinners, which cannot fail to raise their enmity and opposition to him in the most lively and sensible manner. Accordingly, we find that this has always been the case. Sinners of the fairest character and of the highest estimation in their own view, and in the view of the world, were the bitterest enemies that Christ had while on earth. These were the scribes and pharisees, whose character and conduct Christ most pointedly condemned, and whose condition he represented as the most dangerous and deplorable. They saw that Christ's design was diametrically oppos-
ed to theirs, and would completely destroy their eternal hopes and interests. Sinners of the fairest charaC" ters and highest hopes at this day, view the design of Christ in the same light, and are of all others the most opposed to that eternal purpose, which God purposed in Christ Jesus, and sent him into the world to accomplish. What persons are generally more opposed to the doctrine of election and reprobation, than the most intelligent and inquisitive sinners? They generally know more about the character and design of Christy and the scheme of salvation revealed in the gospel, than thoughtless and careless sinners; and of course they are generally the most understandingly and heartsily opposed to the gospel, and raise the strongest objections against it. And this holds true with respect to awakened sinners, who externally reform, and most ardently inquire what they must do to be saved. When they are told, that they must believe in Christ, love his character, and cordially approve of his carrying into execution his eternal purpose of saving those whom his Father has given him, and no others, their hearts rise in total enmity, and they invariably say, this man shall not reign over us. 5. We learn from what has been said, the great criminality of sinners. They are all against Christ in their hearts and in their conduct, without a single exception. 26
202 SERMO XII. They both see, and hate, and oppose that eternal purpose, which Christ is constantly carrying into execution. And by opposing this great and glorious purpose, they oppose the glory of God, and all the holiness and happiness in the universe. Is this a small errour; or a mere venial fault ? Is it not a sin of the first magrnitude ? Can they be guilty of a greater ? It is criminal
to destroy the property of an individual. It is more criminal to destroy the life of an individual. It is more criminal still to destroy the lives of millions. And it is the highest possible degree of criminality to destroy the holiness and happiness of the w^hole universe. And this sin can be committed in the heart, and is committed in the heart of every one who is against Christ, and gathersnot with him, but scatters abroad, and does all in his power to prevent the infinite good which will eternally flow from the accomplishment of Christ's design. Is this true ? some sinner may be ready to ask. Let me ask that person, whether he would not choose that the good of the universe should be destroyed, rather than to be eternally miserable ? And if he would choose this, he would destroy the good of the universe were it in his power, to prevent his own eternal destruction. The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; and he wishes that there might be none, rather than suffer his eternal wrath. The carnal mind therefore, is enmity against God, not subject to his law or government ; neither indeed can be. This, every person knows to be true, who has seen the plague of his own heart. Unbelief, or opposition to the person and design of Christ, is the greatest of all sins, and will draw after it the greatest of all punishments. It shall be more tolerable for the men of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for sinners who die im-. penitent and unbelieving under the gospel. 6. This subject shows the imminent danger of all who are against Christ and opposing his great and glorious design. They reject the counsel of God against themselves ; but that counsel will stand ; and if it does stand, it will necessarily destroy all the coimsels, and
SERMO xn. 203 designs, and desires, and hopes, and happiness of sin-
ners. Christ himself possesses omnipotent power, and has all created objects and created beings under his absolute control ; and can employ them all as instruments to accomplish his eternal purpose. How is it possible then, that he should be counteracted and defeated in his design ? Sinners may misconstrue and misunderstand particular passages of scripture; but they cannot misconstrue and misunderstand the great design which Christ is pursuing and will certainly accomplish. And if he accomplishes his design, the hopes of the finally impenitent to escape with impuniiy, must perish. If Christ continues to reign, he will make all his incorrigible enemies his footstool, and sink them in endless perdition. Christ has commanded it to be proclaimed throughout the world, that " he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved ; and he that believeth not shall be damned." All delaying sinners are constantly liable to be cut off, and lie down in eternal sorrow. Their feet stand on slippery places, and all that Christ is doing to carry on his design, is ripening and preparing them for a more aggravated,.^ doom. And all that they are doing while against Christ, is increasing their guilt, and the wrath of the Lamb. So long as they delay to act for Christ, they act against him, and by acting against him, they act against themselves and all the good of the universe. Unless they turn to Christ and beome cordially reconciled to him, they will draw down the displeasure of Christ, and the displeasure of all holy beings in the universe, which will sink them in the depth of eternal despair. Finally, this subject affords a solid ground of peace and safety to those who are united to Christ in his great and good design. If he succeeds, they are safe. If he promotes his own interests, he will promote theirs. If he is accepted of the Father, they will be accepted in him. If he is rewarded for all his labours and sufferings, they shall be rewarded for all their labours and sufferings in his cause. If he sits down with the Father on his throne, they shall sit down with him on his throne.
204 ' SERMO XIL If his glory and blessedness shall be eternally rising, they shall eternally rise in glory and blessedness with him. The gospel which unfolds the nature, extent and eternal consequences of the accomplishment of Christ's design, opens the most glorious prospects to all the friends and followers of the divine Redeemer. They shall rejoice while others mourn. They shall be completely holy and blessed, while all the enemies of Christ are completely sinful and wretched. Be not then weary in well doing, but be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the service of Christ, knowing that your labour shall not b^ vain in the Lor^,
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