Imatges de pÓgina

forward, even to his seat; but if otherwise, you will never get near to him.

(2.) Draw near in the “ full assurance of faith.” Faith's special object is the blood of Christ. Come leaning and depending on the merit and efficacy of this blood. Would you be wafted over to the presence of God, come swimming through that river which makes glad the city of our God. Cast all your weight upon it. It bears the weight of the Father's glory, and will bear the weight of your salvation. If your assurance of welcome depends on any thing in yourselves, God will cast the door of access in your face, as presumptuous insensible creatures. Labour to get your souls wrought up to a full assurance of faith, not doubting of your welcome to, and acceptance with him through Christ. Fix on the promise, he is faithful who made it. Though a trembling hand may reach a pardon, and God will not quench a smoking flax, yet it is more to the honour of God, the honour of the precious blood of Christ, and more to the sanctification, as well as comfort of the soul, confidently, without hesitation, to lay hold upon the promise, and apply it, with all that is in it: Matth. xxi. 22, “ All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

(3.) Get your hearts beforehand “sprinkled from an evil conscience.” Are you to come to his table ? pray that all controversies be done away between you and him. If you are to appear before the Lord, go, dip, wash, bathe in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1, that you may be clean. Take a backlook of your ways, and be not superficial in it, lest some unremoved guilt stare you in the face when you are coming forward, and drive you back. Do not think your repentance, reformation, vows, tears, (though of blood), will purge the conscience : only Christ's blood will do it; for this only can satisfy the demands of justice and of the law. Now, lay the weight of your remission on this blood, apply it to yourselves by faith, and this will purge your conscience. The sea of Christ's blood stands between us and the throne for that effect, Rev. iv. 6.

Lastly, Let your outward conversatiou be blameless, free from scandalous sins: Psalm xxiv. 4, “He that hath clean hands, and a pare heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully,” is the person who shall ascend into the hill of God. Wash your hands in innocence, if you would encompass God's altar. Repent and mourn over the sins of the outward man, and apply to the same blood for pardon. Forsake and give up with those sins, whether against the first or second table ; resolve, and endeavour sincerely to perform. Amen.



HEB. X. 22, Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having

our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

It will afford a beam of surprising and heart-reviving light upon this text, to sensible sinners, if we compare it with that in Gen, iii. 22—24. Behold in these verses the fruits of the first Adam's sinning. Adam sinned, and we in his loins, as well as himself, were driven out from the presence of the Lord. Christ suffered, and we are drawu in again, and farther in than ever Adam was. Hear the sentence from Heaven casting us out : “Behold the man !" see what he has brought himself to, “he is become as one of us, to know good and evil." A holy taunt ! And


lest he pat forth bis hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever." There is a deficiency in this speech, which is easily supplied from what follows: " Let us drive him out." But hear the voice from heaven calling in again the wretched outcasts. The apostle here, as one of the outcasts, manages the voice in effect thos, “Behold God, the second Person ! he is become as one of us, has taken upon him our nature, to know by his own feeling, in some sort, the good we lost, the evil in which we are involved ; and now, “ let us draw near,” let us come back, come in, come forward, nay, come near ; let us not only put forth, but freely stretch forth our hand, grasp, and take of the tree of life; eat freely, abundantly, and live for ever."

O that the reverse may be carried yet farther! God sent forth the man, bade him go, but he would not: “So God drove him out." Now, God bids as draw near, but we will not come. May the Lord put forth his hand, and draw us in !

But here an inquiry occurs, How near may sinners come to Jesus Christ?

I. They may come into the house of God, ver. 21, “ Having an High-Priest over the house of God.” When Adam sinned, he was driven out of the house, as a divorced woman. The first covenant was broken ; but now, that the new covenant is made, the divorced sinner, who is new-married to his Maker in Christ, may come in

* Delivered immediately before the dispensation of the sacrament.

again to the house. They may come to the lower house in ordinances; it is their own house ; by that title, they may sit down at the table as in their own house : Isa. lvii. 13, “ He that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain.” They may come to the higher house, even heaven, this is the house in the context. They will come there at death, but the text aims at a coming to it before death; and therefore, this drawing near is a spiritual motion upon the wings of faith, carrying the soul out of the body to heaven as its own house, because it is Christ's house.

2. They come far forward in the house : ver. 19, “Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” The temple stood east and west, the porch, or entry, being in the east. Without the house were the courts of the temple, in one of which stood the altar, before the porch of the house, in the open air. In the temple was a vail, which divided the east end, called “the holy place,” (into which ordinary priests might go), from the west end, called "the holiest of all," into which only the HighPriest might enter once a-year. There was the ark, with the mercyseat and cloud of glory on it: and it was a special type of the highest heavens, the high and holy place which is the glorious dwelling of God.

Now, I say, singers may through Christ come far forward in the house, they may have Job's wish to come to God, even to his seat, Job xxiii. 3. Sinners, we have an altar, a crucified Saviour; if you desire to come into the house of God, come by that altar, and welcome, there is no other way; come into the holy place ; nay, come forward into the holiest of all. Stand by no means only gazing on the vail, the vail of Christ's flesh, bat come through the vail unto God, God in Christ; come even to his seat. God is in Christ as the cloud of glory on the mercy-seat in the holiest of all; come forward through the vail of Christ's flesh, sufficiently rent and torn in his sufferings, to afford you access through it to God, sitting on his mercy-seat in Christ, that you may be refreshed and comforted, your souls satisfied and sanctified with breathings of his love, with peace, and good-will from thence even through the wounds of our Redeemer. If this do not kindle in you a desire to draw near, what can we say to kindle it?

I told you last Sabbath that you may draw near to God in Christ, and that you ought to draw near, &c. Are there any here who so love their outcast condition, that they will not come back, nor draw near to God, though they are invited ? Then I must leave you, to speak to others. But, before we part, consider,


2 D

while you

1. What a miserable state you are in while far from God. As God said to Adam, Gen. iii. 9, we may say to you,

" Where art thou ?" Like the prodigal, Luke xv. 13, thou art in a far country, far from God, his covenant, his grace, his Christ, Eph. ii. 12. And

will not come back, you are far out of your senses. Tell me, sinner, in sober earnest, (if you bə capable of a sober thought,) Are you not in want? Is there not a principle of restlessness in that soul of thine, which thou canst find no way to quiet, but sometimes by the fulsome breasts of lusts which may surfeit, but at no time can satisfy? The dry breasts of the world, squeeze them as you will, can never give full content, still there is some thorn of uneasiness in your bed, make it where you will. Thou dost hunger after happiness, but shalt never find it till thou come near to God in Christ. - Consider,

2. If thou art able to hold on to the end without coming near to God. Though thou canst live this way, wilt thou be able to die in this state, and continue so for ever? Art thou still able to make tly part good without him, yea, against him, so that thou art resolved never to knock at his door? If not, thou art wretchedly foolish, to slight a kind invitation from him to whom at length thou must bow. Therefore, Isa. lv. 6," Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.”—Consider,

3. If thou wilt not draw near now, the time will come, when God will drive thee from him with a vengeance, and will give thee thy heart's fill of distance from him for ever: Matth. xxv. 41, “ Then shall he say to them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now he bids thee draw near, and thou wilt not; this voice will draw to an end with thee, and thou wilt hear that other voice, Depart from me; and thou must go, though thou wouldst gladly stay. As, then, you would not be forced to depart for ever, draw near to God now, while he is drawing near to you.-Consider,

Lastly, That the access to God, now in your offer, will make your departure from him to hell the more dreadful : Matth. xi. 24, “ It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” Ye are guilty of a sin of which heathens are not capable, nay, which devils cannot commit. They departed, but they never got a call to come back again. It was never said to them, “Let us draw near." There is a way opened, at the expense of the blood of Christ, for you to come back to God, and therefore your neglecting to improve it must be inexcuseable.

But now, as for you who desire to draw near to God, ye have a fair occasion at all times for it, there is a ready way from earth to

heaven, through Christ, wherever you are. You have a special occasion at this time in the holy sacrament, an ordinance in which the Lord comes very near to his people, in which the greatest nearness may be enjoyed. The sacraments and death resemble one another. In the former, the Lord comes to us, in death we may go to him. We should labour so to manage the former, as that a sure foundation may be laid for safety and comfort in the latter. Here God appears on a throne of grace in Christ, the vail of Christ's flesh appears sacramentally rent, that you through it may draw near to God. And you must by faith pass through the vail this day, that you may get forward even to his seat, drawing near him as rebels accepting the King's peace, the offered indemnity through the blood of his Son, drawing near as supplicants, as servants of the house, to serve our Lord, to wait upon him, and behold his glory.

In these circumstances, your question, I presume, will now be, How shall we so manage this approach, as that it may be successful for the honour of God, our soul's good for time and eternity? If you manage right, you are made up for ever, and therefore your mismanagement will be an unspeakable loss. I shall farther explain unto you the apostle's directions in the text. I fear the hints already given to you as to the nature of drawing near to God, may not be sufficient to clear you in this matter; therefore, that ye may not walk in the dark, know plainly, in a word, that we draw near to God by faith, and our believing in God is our drawing near to him. Hence the apostle's advice in the text is not, Come in by faith, for this is the very coming itself, but, says he," in full assurance of faith.” So the scripture explains it, while it sliews that that coming to the Lord, which is so much pressed on sinners in the Old and New Testament, is believing: John vi. 35," And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of lifo ; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” How does the sinner depart from God, but by unbelief ? Heb. iii. 12, “ Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Therefore it is by believing we draw near (Greek, come) to God. This is the great unit. ing grace which joins a sinner to the Lord while in this world. How can we come to God, but by believing? for this drawing near is a spiritual motion of the soul. Our souls indeed move towards God in spiritual desires; but if these be not completed by faith, which is the comprehensive motion, the soul still stands off from God. So also in love, this is set a-going by faith, and its motion is towards God, when the soul is brought near to God by faith : 1 John iv. 16, “ And we have known and believed the love that God

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