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and Peace, He assuredly gives Holiness also. These things are never separated. And where Christ gives these, He will as assuredly give more, He will give also Eternal Life: for all these Blessings are the steps to Heaven, and the earnest of it.
Upon the whole, what Encouragement is there to obey the Call in the Text! Since Christ is ready, and has promised to give such great and glorious blessings to those who obey His call, why should any of you continue in a state of sleep and death ? May His grace accompany the Call to your hearts ! May His Spirit rouse and quickeni you! So shall you awake indeed, and be roused to newness of life. So shall you die unto sin and live unto righteousness. Be warned. Be admonished. Sleep not till you awake in another world, and find too late that a Death in sin here will surely end in Death Eternal hereafter.
CHRIST'S INVITATION TO THE HEAVY-LADEN.
MATTHEW, xi. 28.
Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest.
One reason why men esteem Religion so little is, that they so little understand it. They know not its worth and excellence. They are not aware of the consolation and delight which it would yield, if they would but heartily embrace it. They look upon it as a dull, and an unprofitable thing. They think, that it would make them gloomy, would spoil their enjoyments, and destroy their peace.
But how great is their mistake! Did they see the matter aright, they would know, that to be truly religious, is in fact another expression for being truly happy, Would they but make trial of the ways of God, they would find in them that real enjoyment, that practical satisfaction, which they are vainly seeking in other ways. There is no passage more likely to fix this truth
read to you.
upon our minds, than the one which I have
“ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." - May God vouchsafe his blessing to us, while I endeavour to explain and apply these gracious words !
I shall with this view lead you to consider,
I. The Person speaking, and the Persons spoken to.
II. The Words addressed to them.
I. The Person speaking. —This is a point of the greatest moment: a point on which the whole depends. When any one makes an offer, gives a promise, or enjoins a com. mand, the first thing which we are concerned to know is this, By what authority doeth he these things? Is he one whom we may credit? Is he able to make good his offers ? Is he willing to fulfil his promises ? Has he a right to enjoin these things ? Till we are satisfied on these points, we cannot be fully persuaded to believe and to do all that he says; we cannot perfectly repose in him our confidence, nor implicitly follow his commands. Who then is the person speaking in the text? What is his authority? What are his claims to our faith and obedience? He is One, whom we have the strongest reasons to believe and obey : for the Father,
by a voice from heaven, has said of Him, “ This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” He is
One, whose Word we cannot distrust; for He is the Truth itself, the Faithful Witness, who cannot lie nor be deceived. He is One, whose Power we cannot question ; for He has all power in heaven and in earth, according to what He Himself declares in the verse before the text, “ All things are delivered unto me of my Father." He is One, whose Willingness to fulfil His offers we cannot doubt: for He came into the world to save Sinners. He, who was willing to lay down His life for our souls, cannot but be willing to do for us all that He has promised. On every ground, therefore, He has the strongest claim to our attention, and our confidence. We may rely on what He says with full as surance. He has not said more than He is authorised to say, or than He is able and willing to fulfil. He tells us nothing but what is most certainly true. He directs us to nothing but what is absolutely for our good. He promises nothing but what He will surely perform. How greatly ought we to value the words of such a Friend ! How diligently should we listen to them! How readily obey them! May we be more thankful for them than we have been! May we -regard them more attentively, love them better, and try to fix them deeper in our hearts !
Such is the Person who is here speaking.
We consider, in the next place, the Persons to whom he speaks. And who are these ? Who are the Persons, to whom the compassionate Friend of Sinners should speak, but the miserable and the distressed; but those, who claim his pity and stand in need of his advice? Such were the persons whom He came from heaven to save, and to such He speaks in the text, “ All ye that labour and are heavy-laden.” Here are two words employed to describe their state; both of which convey the same description of it. They agree in representing it to be hard, and painful, and afflicting. The Persons spoken of are described as labouring, toiling hard, spending their strength, and wasting their spirits. They are also said to be heavy-laden, groaning under a burden, which they can with difficulty bear, encumbered with a load, which they can scarcely drag along. Such are the Persons, to whom the Saviour speaks. He speaks to all who answer this description; to sufferers of every kind; to all, whatever the cause, whatever the nature of their toil may be, “who labour and are heavy-laden.” May they attend to the point which is now to be considered, namely,
II. The Words addressed to them.
It was foretold of Christ, that one part of His work would be, to “ comfort all that mourn." We here find Him tenderly ful