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GOD'S GRACIOUS CALL AND PRECIOUS PROMISE, CONSIDERED.

SERMON XLIII.

Psalm Ixxxi. 10,
Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

The great design of the gospel, and of all gospel-ordinances, is to make souls happy, and for this end to bring them to God through Christ, in whom they may find solid and complete satisfaction. All men desire to be happy; they are conscious to themselves of wants, which the natural desire of happiness influence them to get supplied. But, alas ! they apply to improper quarters, and suck at those breasts which can never fill them, even those of their lusts. Since Adam forsook God for the creature, mankind have been so intoxicated with creature-sweetness, that they stand as it were chained at the creature's door, begging satisfaction, even after a thousand denials. They cannot lift their eyes to the Lord, they cannot move their feet towards him, till grace break the bands of iron and brass with which they are held.

In the text, the Lord comes to sinners as thus situated, and outbids all others which they in their hearts and lives are following after ; and he does this even while they will not look over their shoulder to him, from their madness on their idols. This is the scope of the text: for in this verse the Lord pleads the grand purpose of love laid down, ver. 9, which is, that they should renounce all others for him, give up with their idols, and take him for and instead of all. And to enforce this, he thus reasons with them : 1. I have done for you what all your idols never did, and never could have done,“ I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” Where were all your strange gods, when Pharaoh refused to let you go ? Deut. xxxii. 11, “So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Look to all the real good that over you met with, and say, Was it the Lord or your idols that did it for you ?—2. I will do and can do for you, what they cannot all do for you : “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it abundantly." Many a time you have opened your mouths, and wide enough, to your idols; so wide that it has been no small pain to get them shut again; and yet they remain still empty for them, they were never

Delivered at Wamphray, Saturday, June 30, 1711, immediately before the dispensation of the Lord's supper there.

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filled. But says the Lord, “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Where more particularly observe,

1. That there is an emptiness supposed in poor sinners, which needs to be filled. They have lost God, and a thousand worlds cannot fill up bis room. That man who has Christ in his heart, has enough to satisfy him, want what he will. And let a man have what he will, if he has not Christ in him, he has not what can satisfy him. All the devil's trash can never fill the heart; many an empty space is in that heart where Christ is not; which plagues them with a dog-like appetite, which is never satisfied.

2. There is a fill proposed and offered to empty sinners. This is a soul-fill; a filling with all the fulness of God. This is the only thing which can fill the mouth of the soul, which is the mouth meant in the text; for it is an easy thing to find among the creatures a fill to the mouth of the body, which can hold but little; but the whole creation cannot fill the mouth of the soul. The Lord only can fill it, he only can satisfy and still the restless soul, and so make it, after many years, disappear, and fall asleep in the bosom of God; and after the most pinching straits to say, “ I have all, and abound." - We have,

3. The party communicating this soul-fill to the sinner: I, more generally, “I the Lord,” in opposition to strange gods. That fill you could never get from your idols, you shall have from me. More particularly, it is Jesus Christ, the second person, the great treasurer of heaven, and steward of the fulness of God. It is plain that it is the same Lord who brought the Israelites out of Egypt; and this was no other but Christ, who was known under the Old Testament by the God of Israel, Exod. iii. 2–8. It was he who wrought that deliverance, as a type and pledge of the great redemption. It was he whom the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire did represent, even God vailed with flesh. He who brought them out of the land of Egypt, he whom they tempted in the wilderness, and this was Christ; 1 Cor. x. 19, “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents."— We have,

4. The sinner's duty in order to this communication : "Open thy mouth wide.” The word here used is, in Gen. xxvi. 22, rendered “making room.” O the freedom of grace ! only make room for a fill, and ye shall have it. Let the soul only, as an hungry infant, lay its mouth by faith on the breasts of Christ's consolations, and they shall flow abundantly. If the spiritual appetite be not wanting, ye shall have a fill; and what can be desired more? unless we would have him to force it upon us. Open thy mouth, do not keep it close, and say you will have none of him. Open to receive, and he will give. Open it wide, the wider you open, the more that your souls desire of him, you shall get the more. I cannot think the wideness in the text is intended to straiten the offer, but rather informs us that there is a fulness in Christ, sufficient to satisfy the most extended desires of the soul.--From this subject, I take the following

DOCTRINE, That Christ Jesus can and will fill the soul whose mouth is opened wide to receive of and from him.-For illustrating this doctrine, I shall,

I. Shew what it is to open the mouth of the soul wide to Christ. II. How Christ fills the soul, so as no other can do. And then, III. Conclude with some improvement.-We are then,

I. To shew what it is to open the mouth of the soul wide to Christ.—This opened month consists,

1. In a sight of wants. The soul must be brought to a sight of its own emptiness, ere it will open its mouth for a fill from the Lord: Prov. xxvii. 7, “ The fall soul loatheth an honey-comb: bnt to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." The want of this was Laodicea's ruin. She thought herself rich, and increased in goods, and having need of nothing, and knew not that she was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. When Christ comes to the soul, he says to it, as he did to the blind man, “ What will ye that I should do unto you?” He makes persons sensible of their diseases, before he applies the remedy, that his free grace may thus be glorified. Jesus, by his word and Spirit, gives the soul a view of God in his glory; and then the soul cries, I want peace with God: a Mediator, a Christ to stand betwixt me and his consuming fire. He gives the soul a view of the tribunal of God, before which it must soon appear: and then it cries, Ah! I want a righteousness, a better righteousvess than my own, a complete and everlasting righteousness, without which I can never appear with acceptance before this tribunal.—A view of his sins: and then he cries, Where shall I find pardon ?-A view of what the law requires, and of what the sinner is in himself: and then he cries, Ah! I am all wants. I have nothing of myself good, and can do nothing. -This opened mouth consists,

2. In a sense of need. Persons may see their want of those things who are not pinched with felt need, but reign as kings without Christ, and say unto God, Job xxi. 14, 15, “ Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit should we have if we pray unto him?" But the soul whose mouth is opened wide, says,

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with the prodigal, “How many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with bunger !” Luke xv. 17. They find that they are undone without Christ. The soul is pressed with that question, What sliall I do to be saved ? No happiness to the soul without the enjoyment of God, and no enjoyment of him, but through Christ the Mediator between God and man. This opened mouth consists,

3. In a holy dissatisfaction with all things besides Christ. Clothe a starving man with scarlet, and fill his pockets with gold, and advance him to the highest honours; all this is not meat, and therefore he cannot be satisfied. And to the hungry soul there is none, nothing but Christ, which can give satisfaction. They loathe their lusts, which they loved before. A thousand worlds will not satisfy the soul which sees its need of Christ. When the soul comes to it. self again, after it has gone the round of the whole creation for satisfaction, it returns with the report, Eccl. i. 2," Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanites, all is vanity.” It finds at length that the bed is shorter than that one can stretch himself upon it. This opened mouth consists,

4. In the soul's removing its desires from off vanities, and fixing them on Christ for satisfaction. Like the hungry infant, which has been sucking in vain at this and the other object which was nearest it, and could never rest; when the breast is put in its mouth, it opens its mouth, and fixes there to suck. The soul gives over the pursuit of happiness in lusts, he finds that gall and wormwood are now on these breasts. It ceases from hammering its happiness out of the law, and finds that there is no pleasing that rigorous husband; the ladder of their duties has so often broken with them, that they despair of ever climbing to heaven this way. And so, like men out of breath, in seeking their happiness from other things than Christ, they lie down before the Lord, turning their eyes towards him, that he may take them up, and give them what in vain they have been looking for elsewhere. Their language is, Jer. iii. 23, “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel." -This opened mouth consists,

5. In an assured expectation of salvation from Christ: Hos. xiv. 3," Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses : neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” Matth. xxi. 22, “ And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” The soul believes that Christ can do it: and so far believes he will do it, as that it ventures on him. Without this, the soul cannot

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open its mouth to Christ, but shuts it without hope. Though the hopes may be very faint, yet the trembling hand may receive Christ, and the quivering mouth may be filled.—This opened mouth consists,

Lastly, In a hearty willingness to receive Christ as he offers himself in the gospel. Christ says, “I am the bread of life;" the soul is well content to receive him as such, for all and instead of all. They fed on the husks before, and loathed the manna; now nothing relishes so well with them as the bread which came down from hea

They are brought over all their objections against him, and are well content to venture their souls on him, as it is he alone who can fill them with all the fulness of God.-We now proceed,

II. To shew how Christ fills the soul so as no other can do: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” This promise imports four things.-It imports,

1. Such a suitableness in him to the necessities of the soul, as is to be found in no other. Sinners seeking a fill of the creatures, are but feeding on wind, which can never satisfy. There is no suitableness betwixt the desires of an immortal soul, and the produce of this earth : Isa. lv. 2, " Wherefore do yo 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." What avail riches, honours, and pleasures, to a soul pressed with guilt! But Christ is suited to all the wants of the soul. Speaking of the excellence, suitableness, and fulness of his salvation, he says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich ; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear: and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see,” Rev. iii. 18. His blood and Spirit will answer all cases which the soul can be in.—The words import,

2. That there is a sufficiency in Christ for all their needs : Col. i. 19, "It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell." There is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of the soul. Persons may travel through the whole creation, ere they find an object commensurable to the desires of their souls; but when the soul comes to Christ, it then and there finds an object, than which the soul, when extending its desires to the utmost, cannot crave more. Here, though our boundless desires should launch forth into this ocean, they shall never be able to reach the bottom, or and the shore.-The words import,

3. That there is a communication of this suitable sufficiency unto that soul which opens its mouth wide to receive it. Thus,

(1.) Christ gives himself to that soul, so that such an one might

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