Imatges de pÓgina
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light into your souls, cherish it, though it may be painful by discovering your sin and misery; make much of it; after little, more may come, Hos. vi. 3.

Secondly, Seek to find Christ and life in him, by getting an interest in him. The soul then finds Christ, and has life, when it has got an interest in him. If you enquire how that interest is got? It is throngh faith. God hath given to us eternal life in the free offer of the gospel, and that life is in his Son, 1 John v. 11. Believe the word of the gospel with particular application to yourselves, receive and rest on him siducially for life, the life of grace and glory, and ye have it. Wherefore come to Christ, that ye may have life. To press this, consider,

MOTIVE 1. Ye are to come to Christ, that ye may get life in and by him, Isa. lv. 1, 2, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Rev. iii. 20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Here is an invitation to life, let not that complaint be made of you, John v. 40, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Consider,

1st, It is an offer the fallen angels never got. When Christ was born there was good-will towards men, but no sign of it towards fallen angels. Yet they are in themselves a rank of beings superior to mankind, and he owed no more to us than to them. Only his sovereign pleasure made the difference. "How then shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?"

2dly, It is an invitation not given to millions in the world, who are the sons of Adam as well as we. Many kingdoms and empires in the world lie in darkness and the shadow of death, and no offer of life is made to them; but it is made to you.

3dly, It is the greatest offer that ever was or shall be, that heaven can give and earth receive, admired by angels, and grudged by devils; and shall it be slighted by men? even an offer of the son of God, and eternal life in him.

4thly, It is an offer frequently repeated. boding himself and eternal life upon you. many refusals, but he will not yet take your the offer.

Now sinner, Christ is

You have given him refusal, but continues

MOTIVE 2. Christ is very willing to give himself, and eternal life in himself to you, John vi. 37. Consider,

1st, How ample and large the gospel offer is, excluding none that will come, Isa. Iv. 1, forecited. Rev. xxii. 17, "Whosoever wil, let him take the water of life freely."

2dly, There is no case a sinner can be in, that shall mar his recep tion with Christ, and partaking of life, if he will come to Christ; Isa. i. 18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Manasseh's bloodshed and witchcraft, Paul's blasphemy and persecution, and Mary Mag dalene's lewdness, hindered not their getting life in and by Christ. When he was in the world, he raised Lazarus when sinking in the grave, as well as the ruler's daughter newly dead.

3dly, He takes kindly notice of the sinner's first steps towards him; the father met the prodigal son while yet a great way of See Jer. xxxi. 18-20. He surprises souls with looks of kindness preventing them, Is. lxv. 1, as he did Paul, Zaccheus, and others.

4thly, He is at great pains with sinners to bring them to himself for life. He stands and knocks; by convictions, surprising mercies rods, and crosses, he says in effect," Why will ye die ?”

MOTIVE 3. Ye are commanded to come to him, that ye may have life; 1 John iii. 23, "This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." All the gospel invita tions are commands; so that it is not left to you whether to come or not; but ye are peremptorily enjoined. Consider,

1st, Ye are creatures owing obedience to the commands of your sovereign Lord; and therefore trample not on his gospel command.

2dly, How highly merciful and reasonable this command is. All God's commandments are most righteous, Psalm exix. 128. But be hold this is an eminently merciful and reasonable one, that the creature should seek the favour of its Creator; that man should be at peace with God; that the poor sinner should go to the rich Saviour, the sick to the Physician, the guilty flee to the city of refuge live, and the dying soul have recourse to the fountain of life. And all this under the pain of God's displeasure.

and

3dly, What a mercy it is that there is not a countermand; that when Adam and his offspring fell, God did not forbid them ever to hope for the least grain of mercy; but graciously invites and intreats, yea, and commands them to come and partake of his favour!

4thly, It is such a command, that if it be not obeyed, God has no value for all other obedience, 1 John iii. 23, John vi. 29.

Mor. 4. Ye need Christ, and ye need life; ye have an absolute need of both. Do ye not need grace, the favour of God, pardon of sin, the light of his countenance, the influences of his Spirit, the

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manifestations of his love? Without these ye can never be happy, but eternally miserable. O then seek to find Christ, and life in him. USE. Ult. Hereby ye may try whether ye have found Christ or not. The soul yet dead in sin hath not found him; but where there is spiritual life, Christ is found by that soul. How shall one know whether he be spiritually dead or alive? I will offer but three marks.

MARK 1. Spiritual light, not only let the heart, 2 Cor. iv. 6, John viii. 12. these two things.

into the conscience, but into And that may be known by

(1.) The discovery it makes. The light of life shews a man his former darkness, making him say, "Once was I blind, but now I It discovers sin in its sinfulness, not only as dangerous, but as loathsome and abominable; the sinfulness of heart-sins as well as of life-sins; the first movings of sin, as well as of sin ripened by consent or action; the man's own utter inability to help himself, and the need of Christ both for justification, and sanctification; Christ's preciousness, and perfect suitableness to the sinner's case. This is the discovery made by the light of life, or saving illumination, Luke xv. 17, 1 Pet. ii. 17.

(2.) The efficacy it hath on the soul, Matth. iii. 11. There are many who have a great deal of light; but it has no more efficacy on them to bring them from sin to holiness, than painted fire has to burn. But the light of life humbles the soul before God; causes grief for sin and hatred of of it, as contrary to God's holy nature and will; a holy despairing of help by ourselves or any other creature; and a betaking one's self to Christ for all, for pardon, and favour with God, for holiness and happiness, Phil. iii. 3.

MARK 2. Where there is spiritual life there is spiritual sense and feeling. In spiritual death all the senses of the soul, so to speak, are locked up; and they may be at some times very dull in those who are spiritually alive. But it is evident, that in the quickening of the soul they are restored, and never lost again altogether. The eyes of the soul are opened to see God, Christ, sin, the world, and all things that concern the soul, in other colours than formerly. They hear his voice in his word and in his rod, and they discern it from all others, Cant. v. 2, so that their great business is to answer his call. They have tasted that the Lord is gracious; they have the witness in themselves, that there is something in religion more desirable than all the profits and pleasures of the world, John v. 10. They can say from their experience, that all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, Psalm xlv. 8, that everything about Christ is lovely and desirable. The fulness of grace lodged in him, is sa

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voury to them, Cant. i. 3. Their sense of feeling is awakened; the burden of sin they sometime went lightly under, makes them groan now, and long to be rid of it, as ever a poor prisoner was of his chains; Rev. vii. 24, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Every limb of that body is a weight to them. And they are sensible of Christ's goings and comings, his hidings and manifestations of himself, and the power of his grace; Psalm xxx. 7, "Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong; thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled."

MARK 3. Where there is spiritual life, there is a kindly heat and warmth of the same kind. There is a threefold flame kindled in the believer in the day of his being restored to life, though it acts not alike vigorously in all, nor in the same person alike at all times.

(1.) There is a flame of holy desires; Isa. xxvi. 9. They have longing desires after righteousness, both imputed and implanted; Matth. v. 6, they are set for the one as well as the other. They have ardent desires after communion with God in Christ; Psalm xlii. 1. Hence the secret cries of the soul, O that I knew where! might find him! O when wilt thou come unto me!

(2.) There is a flame of love to Christ; Rom. v. 5. They love him above all persons and things; Luke xiv. 26. They love his truths, his whole word; his commands, though striking against their corruptions; Rom. vii. 22, his promises, as the sweetest cordials to a soul fainting under the apprehensions of wrath, or prevailing of corruption; the threatening of his word approving them heartily as most just; Rom. vii. 12. Their hearts warm to any in whom God's image appears, and that because of that image; 1 John iii. 14. They love his ordinances; Psalm lxxxiv. 1, because they are his institutions, and the appointed means of communion with him.

(3.) There is a flame of zeal for Christ; Psalm lxix. 9. They are concerned for his honour in the world, the thriving of his kingdom. It vents itself in indignation against sin in themselves and others, because of the dishonour it reflects on Christ; 2 Cor. vii. 11, in endeavouring to be active for God in their station, and grieving for the ills which they cannot help, saying with David, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law," Psalm exix.

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SINNERS INTERESTED IN CHRIST, &c.

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SINNERS INTERESTED IN CHRIST, OBTAINING FAVOUR OF THE

LORD.

PROVERBS Viii. 35,

Whoso findeth me,-shall obtain favour of the Lord.

By the favour of the Lord is not meant reconciliation, or a state
of favour with God, for that is comprehended in the life found; but
the benefits, fruit, and effects of God's favour, all along from the
time the sinner is taken into favour. The word rendered obtained,
signifies to bring forth as out of a treasure or storehouse. This trea-
sure is open to the sinner, and access to it granted him, upon his
union with Christ, so that from thence he may afterwards bring forth
as he needs.

The doctrine deducible from the words is,

DOCTRINE. A sinner once interested in Christ, shall obtain favour of the Lord, bringing it forth as out of a treasure to which he is allowed access.

In handling this point, I shall,

1. Shew some things supposed in this truth, tending to clear the meaning of it.

II. Wherein the soul once interested in Christ shall obtain favour of the Lord.

III. Confirm the doctrine.

IV. Apply.

I. I will shew some things supposed in this truth, tending to clear the meaning of it.

1. There is a treasure of favour for poor sinners with the Lord;
Matth. xiii. 44, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid
in a field," &c. A treasure speaks preciousness, variety, and abun-
dance. God's favours are precious, because of his infinite excel-
lency; there is a variety of them, suited to all the cases the sinner
can be in; and there is abundance of them, an inexhaustible stock,
sufficient to supply them all, and that at all times.

2. This treasure is locked on sinners out of Christ, they have no
access to it, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and with-
out God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. There is favour with God, but it
is not for such sinners; the treasure of wrath is their treasure,
Rom. ii. 5. They have no saving interest in the Mediator, therefore
no saving interest in the treasure of favour. It is hid in the field
of the gospel; but the field is not theirs, so not the treasure neither.
VOL. X.
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