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gard Him with reverence and godly fear.
It is not those who can deprive us of our present life that we should so much dread. It is not the loaded musket levelled at our breasts; it is not the axe of the executioner suspended over our heads; it is not the naked sword ready to be plunged into our vitals, that should alarm us. The sight of the instruments of death has, it is true, unnerved the stoutest heart; even the frowns of a fellow-worm have often caused the most reckless to tremble. Limited, however, and of brief duration, is the power of all mortal foes at best. They can kill the body, and then have no more that they can do.
“But,” says the faithful witness, “I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
John xiv. 15.
The The Saviour was accustomed Evidence
often to state the same truth
in His addresses to the peoof
ple, and in His more private Lone.
conversations with His disciples. It was not because of any lack of matter that He did so, for He might have kept His hearers in rapt astonishment at the perpetual freshness of His ideas, and the endless changes of His language. But He chose to harp again and again on the same string, for the purpose of impressing the truth upon the minds of His hearers.
We have a striking example of this in the last discourse which He delivered. He had but a short time to remain with the disciples, and he had much to say to them on various subjects; but, notwithstanding, we find Him frequently reiterating the same lesson,
giving them line upon line, and precept upon precept. In the fourteenth verse of the chapter before us, He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments." A little further on he adds, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” Again, He declares, “If any man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not ny sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” It is evident that there must be something specially important in this subject, or He would not have thought it necessary to advert to it so repeatedly.
And what topic can have higher claims upon our attention than that which is here set forth ? The question “Lovest thou me?” is of all others the most momentous; and hence, to ascertain whether the Saviour's love has been shed abroad in our hearts, is a matter that demands our most serious consideration. It is a point on which our present state and our future destiny depends. Without love to Christ, we cannot be the friends of Christ; and if we are not His friends, we are enemies to Him, by wicked works, and as such, we are exposed to His everlasting displeasure.
There are various ways in which we may evidence the sincerity of our love to Him, but the chief is compliance with His commands. “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" It is not by the leaves of an empty profession, nor by any Llossoms or buds however full of promise, which, after all, frequently prove abortive, that we are to be known, but by the actual fruits of holy, sincere, constant, and universal obedience. Such is the practical test by which we should now examine ourselves, inasmuch as our acceptance or rejection will turn upon it in the great day of final reckoning
The commands which the Saviour enjoins are not grievous. He does not require us to offer thousands of rams or ten thousands of rivers of oil; to make long and painful pilgrimages, to inflict tortures upon our bodies, or cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes forin no part of His demands. The rigours of superstition are altogether alien to the spirit of that gracious system which he came to establish. His yoke is easy and His burden is light; and all His injunctions are intended to promote our happiness, both here and hereafter. Let our language, then, be,“O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments."