Imatges de pÓgina
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his sins; and the ruler, who first came to Jesus with no other view than to obtain the life of his son*, obtained much more than he asked or expected. The Lord afforded such an affecting sense of his power and goodness upon that occasion, that he from thenceforth believed, with all his house.

2. These things are applicable to us. Jesus is no longer visible upon earth, but he has promised his spiritual presence to abide with his word, ordinances, and people, to the end of time. Weary and heavey laden souls have now no need to take a long journey to seek him ; for he is always near them, and in a spiritual manner, where his Gospel is preached. Poor and inconsiderable as we are in the judgment of the world, I trust we have a right to claim his promises, and to believe that he is even now in the midst of us. Therefore, come unto him; that is, First, Raise your hearts, and breathe forth

, your complaints to him. Do you see your need of him? Be persuaded, and pray to him to assure you more strongly of his power and goodness. He is just such a Saviour as your circumstances require, as you yourself could wish for, and he is able to convince you in a moment that he is so. If he is pleased to cause a ray of his glory to break in upon your mind, your fears, and doubts, and griefs, would instantly give place.

Secondly, Persevere in this application to him. Set a high value upon these his public ordinances, and be constant in attending them. His

eye

is fixed upon us; his arm is revealed amongst us. I trust it is a time of his grace, and that every day we meet, he does something for one or another in the assembly. He has a fixed

John iv. 53.

Matth. xvüi. 20.

time for every one whom he relieves. He knew how long the poor man had waited at the pool side*; and when his hour came, he spake and relieved him. So do you endeavour to be found in his way; and not here only, but in whatever he has made your duty. Read his word; be frequent in secret prayer. You will find many things arising from within and without to discourage and weary you in this course; but persist in 1 it, and in good time you shall find rest for your souls. These are the means which the Lord has appointed you. * Converse likewise at proper opportunities with his people; perhaps he may unexpectedly join you, as he did the two disciples when walking to Emmaus†, and cause your hearts to burn within you. Further,

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Thirdly, You are to follow him, to take up his cross, to make a profession of his name and Gospel, to bear contentedly a share in the reproach and scorn which is the usual lot of those who will live godly in Christ Jesus, in the midst of an unbelieving and perverse generation. You are not only to trust in him as a priest to atone for 1 your sins, but to receive and obey him as your teacher and your Lord. If you are truly weary and heavy laden, you will be glad to do this, and are crying to him to enable you: and you are likewise willing to forsake every thing that is inconsistent with his will and service. If you are desirous to come to Christ, it is not grievous to 8 you to think of parting with your sinful pleasures and vain companions. Rather these are a part of the burEden from which you long to be freed. Come in this way, shall find rest for your and you souls. Are of any you thinking, O that I could!surely if I had seen him and heard him, I should have

*John v. 6.

VOL. II.

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ventured; but now unbelief and fear keeps me back. I observe, therefore,

3. That as we have no less need of Jesus than those of old who saw and conversed with bim; so we have at least equal encouragement to come unto him. This I think will appear, if we consider that,

On the one hand, the bodily presence of Christ, considered in itself, had no peculiar or extraordinary influence upon those who saw him, but all was wrought by the power of his Spirit; the same Spirit which is promised to abide with his church for ever.

Ist, Multitudes who saw and heard him were unmoved and unconvinced by all the wonders of his love. Though he spoke as never man spoke, and went about doing good, he was slighted, opposed, and hated, even to the death. And those who know the heart of man, and believe that the carnal mind is enmity against God, will allow it highly probable, that upon a supposition he should appear again in the same circumstance of humiliation, and to use the same authoritative freedom in vindicating the commands of God from the vain figments, traditions, and customs of men, he would meet with little better treatment, even in those countries which are called by his name, than he did from the proud, self-righteous, unbelieving Jews. We may warrantably suppose there were many more lepers, blind, &c. in the places where he resorted, than those who came to him to be healed.

2dly, Many of his professed disciples, even after they had followed him for a while, turned back and forsook him*. We have therefore the less reason to wonder when we see any give up the profession of the Gospel, and return to the world again. It was thus from the

John vi. 66,

beginning; and those who do so now, would have done so if they had lived then. His looks, his voice, his gesture, and even his discourses and miracles, could not engage a single person to cleave to him with full purpose of heart, unless he was likewise spiritually revealed to the eye of their faith, as the image of the invisible God, the brightness of the Father's glory, full of grace and truth.

3dly, Even his true disciples, who were constantly with him, to whom he had personally made the most express and endearing promises, and who sometimes thought themselves assured beyond the power of a doubt, yet could not maintain their confidence longer than his spirit upheld them. To them expressly, though not to them exclusively, Jesus had said, "I go to pre

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pare a place for you*," and I will come again to receive you to myself, that "where I am, there ye may "be alsof." When he had concluded that affectionate discourse, their doubts and fears were dissipated, and they could confidently say, "Now we believe‡;" yet it was not long before they found his reply fulfilled : Jesus said unto them, "Do you now believe! The hour "is coming, when you shall be scattered every man "to his own, and shall leave me alone." Will not this instance convince you of your mistake, when you think you could depend more on a voice from heaven, than on the written word? The apostles had the strongest of assurance imaginable, the word of the Lord Jesus himself, face to face; and yet this would not support them, without renewed supplies of strength.

* John xiv. 2.

John xvi. 30.

† John xiv. 3.

§ John xvi. 32,

On the other hand, consider if the loss of his bodily presence is not more than made up to us.

Ist, By the fuller manifestation of the Holy Spirit than was afforded before his ascension. The Holy Ghost was not then given in that clear and abundant measure as afterwards*, because Jesus was not yet glorified. While he was with them, he was their Comforter and Teacher; but he told them, When I de

part, I will send you another Comfortert,” whose office and abode with you will be in many respects so much more advantageous, that on this account it is expedient for

you

that I go away. 2dly, By the greater number and variety of promises which we enjoy. We have not only the Scriptures of the Old Testament in common with them, but to us the ancient revelations of the will and love of God are enlarged, explained, applied, and confirmed by the superaddition of the newI.

Sdly, By the experience of multitudes of all ages, people, and languages, who have gone before us, since their time : the cloud of witnesses to the truth and grace of God, the reality of eternal things, and the victorious power of faith, is now increased by the concurrent evidence of thousands and millions, who have overcome all opposition by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of his testimony..

4thly, By the proofs and living witnesses of his power and grace amongst ourselves. Are there not many, with whom you worship and converse from day to day, who can tell you, they were even dead in trespasses and sins, but he has quickened them. They were once,

• John vii. 39. t John xiv. 16. and xvi. 7. Eph. iii. 5.

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