Imatges de pÓgina


“ And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Rely on the word of grace, the covenant in his blood, that for as poor and mean as you may appear this day, ye shall be pillars in the temple of God, seeing he hath said it; for as black and deformed as you are this day, ye shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. Is there a lust or lusts you would have subdued ; believe, with full assurance of faith, the promise suited to that case, as in Mic. vii. 19, “ He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” And so in other cases.

What way can one imagine we should suck the sap of these promises, but by believing them, and so relying and trusting on the Lord according to his word? The leavenly treasures contained in them are unseen things, they are known to us only by the testimony of the word, and the inward sensation which they experience upon believing them. How, then, can we think to get the benefit of them, but in the way of believing them ? Suppose some rich prince beyond seas, who can, nevertheless, at any time convey his treasures hither, should find means to get proclaimed among a company poor people here, that whosoever will take him, and him only, for their provider, shall be seasonably and suitably supplied out of his treasures. They never saw the prince, they know nothing of his treasures, but by the testimony of his word sent to them. The heralds commend the prince, they aver it is the surest way of supply to those who are poor. Some of these poor count these things idle tales, and go their way, one to his day-labour, to earn a penny, another to the begging through the country. When the supply comes to the country, have these any ground to expect a share ? No; they did not believe his proclamation. But as for those who were so foolish in the eyes of their neighbours, but so truly wise, as to believe the proclamation, and venture their supply upon an unseen provider, and an unseen treasure, it lies on his truth and honour to see them abundantly supplied. I shall no further apply this, than to say, that God's truth and honour is most undoubted security; Rom. ix. 33, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone, and rock of offence; and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

To conclude, think not that I have been teaching you to presume, day, but to “ draw near with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith ;" not to lay aside bumility, for the greatest humility is to deny ourselves, and obey the call of God, though it be an high calling. It is not humility, but unbelief, which is the spring of the true heart's doubtings in drawing near to God. They are but warts and moles in the face of Christ's bride, and so far mar her beauty; though he does not cast her off for them, if faith do but peep, as it were, out among the crowd of these deformities, as if she could see only with one eye : Song iv. 9, “ Thou has ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse ; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” Matth. xiv. 31, " And immediately Jesus stretched forth his band, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith! wherefore didst thou doubt?” The rule is, “According to thy faith, so be it unto thee.” So, little faith, little comfort; but, what is worse, little faith, little sanctification. 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 is by no means only at a communion-table that we are to draw near to God, but also in all other parts of his worship; yea, in the whole of our conversation we must be drawing near, and keeping near to God, till we at length appear before him in heaven : I say keeping near : for certainly, the text points not merely to a drawing near, just for a start, and away again; but it is to draw near to the house over which Christ is set, as a house where we are to abide ; and it is such a drawing near, so as not to draw back. You may reme

member, I told you, drawing near to God is by faith, and that this lies principally in three things. 1. Accepting God as our God in Christ. 2. Claiming God for our God in Christ. 3. Improving, according to our necessities, for time and eternity, the interest in God thus claimed. Ye have had two directions offered for the right managing of this : 1. That you should draw near with a true heart; 2. With full assurance of faith ; which I explain to consist in, (1.) Taking God for your God in Christ, without doubting of your welcome ; (2.) Claiming God in Christ as your God, without doubting of your title ; (3.) Improving your interest claimed, without doubting of success. I spoke upon the first of these three largely, namely, the taking God for your God in Christ, without doubting of your title. Upon the other two, little was said.

* Delivered, June, 1715.

I shall now speak to a case which I shall propose, and so proceed.

Case. How shall I know that I have drawn near to God in Christ with a true heart, and sincerely taken him for my God in Christ ! Answ. The difference between the true and false heart in this point, may be discerned in the following particulars, viz:

1. The false heart draws near to God, as a neighbour only, as it were, to pay a visit, stays a little, and then goes its way again : Isa. xxii. 16, “Lord, in trouble have they visited thee; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.” The hypocrite never takes up his everlasting rest in God. Though he leaves his own house to come to the house of God, yet he leaves his heart behind him; and so he cannot stay. With the mixed multitude who came out of Egypt, Num. xi. 5, “ They remember the fish which they did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick;" and they found the retreat to go back from whence they came.

2. The true heart draws near to God in heaven, as the new-married wife comes home to her husband's house to dwell there all her days, never to go back again to her father's house : Psalm cxvi. 7, “ Return to thy rest, O my soul ! for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” It was a custom amung the ancient Greeks, to burn, at the bridegroom's door, the axle-tree of the coach in which the bride came home, to shew she was never again to go away; and if ye

have drawn near to God with a true heart, taking him for your God in Christ, I will not say that the axle-tree of the chariot in which you came to God is as yet burnt to ashes, but sure I am, there is a fire set to it; and if it is once set in a flame at the door of the house of your new Husband, it is so because you had no mind to go again back. And whether this be so or not, you will know,

(1.) By the smoke which will be rising there. There will be a threefold smoke rising at the door of the house you have come to, if the axle-tree be on fire, and you have determined not to go back again to your former house.

[1.] There will be the smoke of fear as to drawing back. I mean not a faithless fear, which seizes those who look to the duties to which they are bound, but not to the strong God, whose strength is engaged by covenant to his people, for the performance of them. This is the fear which takes heart and hand from people, making the heart quiver, like a candle burnt to the socket, till at last it expires with a stench. This is the smoke of a fire from hell, blown up with hard thoughts of God, and of the sweet yoke of Christ, Matth.

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xxv. 24, 25; Rev. xxi. 28. It is the forerunner of apostasy; but there is a fear of circumspection in the true heart, in opposition to that self-confidence with which hypocrites are blown up: Prov. xxviii. 14, “ Happy is the man that feareth alway, but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” He trembles to think of going back from God, has a horror at the thought. He walks softly and warily, as one afraid to be taken off his feet; and he holds the faster, the more he sees his hazard.—There is,

[2.] The smoke of self-loathing, for former sins and departures from God: Ezek. xxxvi. 31, “Then shall ye reinember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations.” They that are near will remember with self-loathing what they were when they were far off : Psalm lxxiii. 22, “ So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before him." They who have not seen their wretched case while at a distance from God, they go back again quickly; for the sore that is not sufficiently probed, though scurfed over, will break out again. There is,

[3.] The smoke of dissatisfaction with the corrupt nature, in that there should be so much as a principle of back-drawing, the least inclination in them to go away: Rom. vii. 24, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" They will be looking with an evil eye on the corruption of nature, which makes them capable of departing, and will be longing to be beyond the reach of temptations to depart from the Lord.

(2.) You will know by the flame that will be rising there. There being a live coal from the altar, there will be a threefold flame.

[1.] A flame of love to the house they have come to for the Master's sake, Luke xxiv. 29, 32. The glory of that house cast open by the blood of Christ, darkens all created excellency with them, so that their hearts say, This is my rest.” Psalm lxxiii. 25, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on the earth that I desire beside thee.” They are like the servant, Exod. xxi. 5, who, from love to his master, would not go out free. They have made choice of God in Christ for their God ; and when they reflect on the bargain, they do not repent their choice. If they had it to make a thousand times, they would not alter. There is,

(2.) A flame of desires, desires to stay: Psalm cxix. 10, “ With my whole heart have I sought thee : 0 let me not wander from thy commandments!" They see Satan and a corrupt heart standing ready to yoke, to carry them back to their father's house again; but they are persuaded in their hearts, while they are with God, they are where they are better, yea, where they are best; and they Vol. IX.

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desire not to go back, they desire to stay, and therefore are denying the suits of ungodliness and worldly lasts, which would carry them back, Tit. ii. 12.-There is,

(3.) A flame of hatred against the fashion of their father's house : Psalm ci. 3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes ; I hate the work of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave to me." They loathed them, they therefore left them, and came away from them. They do not love them, and therefore hate to go back to them. They have abardoned the sweet morsel, and abhor to take it up again : Psalm xcvii. 10, “ Ye that love the Lord, hate evil; he preserveth the souls of his saints, he delivereth them out of the hands of the wicked." Those fashions wounded their consciences, defiled their sonls, grieved the Holy Spirit, contradicted the law of righteousness; therefore they hate them.

Thus, you see, those who have drawn near to God in heaven, have determined to abide there. They have taken God as their God, to abide by, and with him for ever. And hence we may conclude two things in regard to them. 1. That they are no more people of this world.

Heaven was cast open to them by Jesus Christ, a way was made for them into the holiest of all, and they have drawn near by this way to God in Christ, to abide there. It is indeed true, they are yet in the world, but they are not any more of it, they are chosen out of the world, John xv. 19. Though their bodies be still in this world, their souls have by faith taken wing, have left this for that world, which is not seen, and have got in within the vail. Thus it is, for the god of this world is not their God. They have renounced the devil, no more to serve and obey him to their ruin, but to resist him as their enemy, and the enemy of their God. They are to have an irreconcileable war with him, till he be bruised under their feet.— The world's portion is not their portion, 1 John ii. 15, 16. They look beyond things that are seen, which may fill the hand but can never fill the heart. They seek after profits more solid, pleasures more pure and sweet, than the world can afford. They will not, like the men of the world, cry, “ Who will shew us any good ?" Psalm iv. 6: but as answering Christ's call, Song iv. 8, “ Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse.” Wbat others take upon their back, yea, place in the chief room of the heart, they put under their feet, and are fighting with it, that they may overcome it. The way of the world is not their way : Rom. xii. 2, “ And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” To be only neighbour-like, is not their religion. They are pilgrims and strangers in the world,

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