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brought to light by the gospel, which we preach, would, I believe, make us very peremptory in our resolutions of diligence and faithfulness in our work, over the belly of all opposition in the world.
(3.) Our Lord's work will never lie for want of hands; he will have a church and a ministry to the end of the world. If we lay it by, others will take it up, and write death on our faces, by yoking us to it even in the heat of the day.
(4.) Our Lord and his people shall stand the last upon the earth, his enemies will drop off after one another, he will outlive them all, and stand a conqueror, when they are all routed, and made to quit the field, “Lo, I am with you to the end." His cause will always be victorious at length, and bear down all before it. Who knows but the wheels of providence may be in motion towards the total overthrow of Prelacy, and ceremonies in Britain and Ireland ? Providence has often gone to work in as unlikely a way.
III. Has Christ promised to be with us in his own work? O! then, let us not divide among ourselves, let us endeavour unity in the Lord with all our might, and cleave to the work of God in this land, as one man, against Popery, Prelacy, superstition, error, and profanity, and whatsoever is contrary to sound godliness, seeing it is the work laid on us by our Lord in his sacred word, the book of our instructions, and seeing the land has been engaged thereto by solemn covenants with God. If anything ruin this work of the Lord amongst us, it will be our divisions. No doubt there will be means used by our enemies to divide us, knowing well, that if we once break, we are in danger of being broken more and more. Therefore let us pray and act for unity in the Lord; though, like the builders of the wall of Jerusalem, we be separated upon the wall, yet being upon the wall, all at our work, the work will go on. But that which will be our ruin, will be one party throwing down what the other builds up; which will be the case, if in the anger
of the Lord we be divided. If the mountain of the ministry fall a burning with the fire of division, all will quickly fall into the sea ; but our unity will be our strength: and yet as contemptible as the ministry of this church is at this day in the eyes of many, their unity will make them beautiful as Tizrah, and terrible as an arny with banners; yea, even in our evil time, would afford us a glimmering prospect that the Lord would yet fill his house with his glory, Isa. lii. 8, “ Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;" Matth. xviii. 19, “ Again, I say unto you that if two of you shall agree upon earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which
is in heaven.” “Agree," or, or as the word is, synpathize, sound to-
III. Has Christ promised to be with us in his work? Then let
To conclude : As to you, the people, whether ye be in the Lord's interests or not, ye have heard what ye may apply to yourselves. I think, upon the whole, if ye be wise, ye will say with these, Zech. viii. “ We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."
." The profane world will be ready to laugh at this, but both ministers and people must lay their account to be fools in the world's eyes, if they will be wise in the sight of God.
Let none think from what I have said, that I have proposed myself as an example, or that I have forgot myself in this matter. God knows, I look on myself as the weakest and most unit, for a time of trial, of all the servants of my Lord. But let truth stand and take place, come of the speaker what will. I desire, with you, to fix mine eyes on the promise of His presence, who hath said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
CHRIST'S INVITATION TO THE LABOURING AND HEAVY LADEN..
MATTH. xi. 28,
The great and main object of the gospel preaching and gospel practice, is a coming to Christ. It is the first article in Christianity, according to John v. 40, “ Yo will not come to me, that ye might have life." It is the connecting chain, 1 Pet. ii. 4, “ To whom coming as unto a living stone, ye also as lively stones are built up,” &c. And it is the last exercise of the Christian ; for when fiuishing his warfare, the invitation is, Matth. xxv. 34,“ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” It is virtually the all which God requireth of us : John vi. 29, “ This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The words of the text are a most solemn and ample invitation which Christ gives to sinners. In them I shall consider,
I. The connection. For which look to verses 25 and 26, compare Luke x. 21, “ Jesus rejoiced in spirit.” It was a joyful time to him when he made this invitation. He rejoiced in the account of the good news, the success with which the message of the disciples was attended; and in the wise and sovereign dispensation of grace by the Father, which he here celebrates, as also upon the view of his own power; where he shows that all power was lodged in him. The keys of the Father's treasures of grace are in his hand, yea, and whatsoever is the Father's. He also shews, that none could know the Father, but by him, for that is given to him only. He, as were, opens the treasure door to sinners in the text.–From the connection of this verse, as just now stated, I would observe, that the solemnity of this invitation is most observable. There seems something to be about it more than ordinary. As,
1. It was given in the day of Christ's gladness. He was a man of sorrows, all made up of sorrows. Sorrow, sighing, weeping, groaning, were his ordinary fare. Once indeed we read of his being glad, John xi. 15; and once of his rejoicing, Luke x. 21. And, again, on this occasion, here that thread of sorrow was interrupted,
This and the following discourses on this subject, were delivered in January and February, 1711.
the sun of joy broke out for a little from under the cloud. His heart was touched, and, as it were, leaped for joy, as the word signifies; compare Matth v. 12, with Luke vi. 23. In the Greek, “he was exceeding joyful.” At this extraordinary time and frame, he gives the invitation in the text. Hence infer,
1st, That Christ invites sinners with an enlarged heart. Joy enlarges it. His heart is open to you, his arms are stretched wide. You often see him with sorrow and anger in his face, and this works with you that you will not come. Behold him smiling and inviting you now to himself, sending love-looks to lost sinners, from a joyful heart within! Infer,
2dly, May I say, the Mediator's joy is not complete, till you come and take a share? The scriptures will warrant the expression, Isa. liii. 11, “ He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." He rejoiceth, but resteth not; but invites sinners to a share, as if all could not satisfy while he goes childless, as to some he has yet an eye upon. Infer,
3dly, That nothing can make Christ forget poor sinners, or be unconcerned for them. Sorrow could not do it, joy could not do it; either of these will drive a narrow-spirited man so into himself, as to forget all others. But never was his heart so filled either with sorrow or joy, but there was always room for poor sinners there. When he was entering the ocean of wrath, he remembered them, John svii; and as our forerunner, bo went into the ocean of joy, Heb. vi. 20. Like Aaron, he carried our names on his heart, when he went in to appear before the Lord in heaven, Exod. xxviii. 29.
2. The invitation was given at a time when there was a great breach made in the devil's kingdom, compare Luke x. 17, 18. Christ was now beginning to set up a new kingdom, and he sends out seventy disciples, which was the number of the Sanhedrim at first. He was to bring the people out of the spiritual Egypt, compare Gen. xlvi. 27. The success of the disciples was a fair pledge of the devil's kingdom coming down, and the delivery of sinners. And when the news of it comes, his heart rejoices, and his tongue breaks out in this invitation to the devil's captives, to come away upon this glorious signal. As he had begun to perform this part of the covenant, the Father had begun to perform his, which made his heart leap for joy, and sets him on to cry, that they would all come away, as disciples, vigorously to pursue the advantage which was got, Psalm cx. 7,“ He shall drink of the brook in the way, therefore shall he lift up the head. Hence infer,
1st, That Christ's heart is set upon the work of sinners' salvation. Yo see no undue haste, but he would have no delays. He holds hands to the work, calling, “ Come unto me.” He preferred it to the eating of his bread; and what else is the meaning of all the ordinances and providences ye meet with ? Infer,
2dly, That Christ would have you to come, taking encouragement from the example of others that have come before you. There is a gap made in the devil's prison ; some have made their escape by it already, 0! will not ye follow? The Lord has set examples for us, both of judgment and of mercy. In the beginnirgs of the Jewish church, there was an example of God's sovereignty, in the destruction of Nadab and Abihu, Lev. x. 1, 2; and of the Christian church, in the death of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts v; of mercy, in the Jewish church, Rahab the harlot, besides Abraham the father of them all, an idolater, Josh. xxix. 15, compare Isa. li. 2. Then in the Christian church, Paul the blasphemous persecutor, 1 Tim. i. 16. Infer,
3dly, That however full Christ's house be, there is always room for more; he wearies not of welcoming sinners; the more that come the better. Christ's harvest is not all cut down at once, nor his house built in a day; if the last stone were laid in the building, the scaffolding of ordinances would be taken down, and the world be at an end. But none of these has hitherto taken place; therefore yet there is room : Joel iii. 21, “For I will cleanse their blood that I have not yet cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion."
3. This invitation is given on a solemn review of that fulness, of that all wbich the Father hath lodged in the hand of the Mediator, and that solely. The Father, as it were, no sooner leads him'into these treasures, but he says, “This and this is for you, sinners; here is a treasure of mercies and blessings for you; pardon, life, peace, &c. is all for you. Come, therefore, unto me, the Father has delivered them into my hand, I long to deliver them over to you. Come, therefore, to me, and hence I shall draw my fulness out to you.' Christ had got a kingdom from the Father; it was as yet thinly peopled, and so he calls you to come to him, that ye may be happy in him. He has no will to enjoy these things alone, but because he has them, he would have you to take a share.— I would draw this
Doct. That as the fulness lodged in the Mediator hath a free vent in his heart, so it seeks to diffuse itself into the souls of needy sin
Jesus Christ longs to make sinners the better of that all-fulness that is lodged in him by the Father. Christ speaks here to us as