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pare ver. 2. If you had ever any experience of this relish, dare you say but that these were your golden days, even the best time ever you had in your life, and that all the world could never make
your loss since you wanted them ? You who never tasted of it believe others, since you are not capable of judging in the matter : Psal. lxxxiv. 10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.” Believe those who have got that at ordinances, which has made them joyfully embrace persecution, banishment, a scaffold, and a fire.
3. This would readily hang about you all the week, in a holy, savoury, tender disposition, and make you rejoice at the return of the Sabbath : Psalm cxxii. 1, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” It is good being in Christ's company in his sanctuary; wherever they go afterwards, they smell of his good ointments : knowledge is taken of them that they have been with Jesus, Acts iv. 13. Remember what is said of the Gospel, 2 Cor. ii. 16,“ To the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life.” Alas ! how rank and unsavoury are the conversations of most, because they never get a relish for the word.
4. This would make you useful Christians. The woman of Samaria, as soon as she relished the Gospel, she got another spirit. As she had been formerly a prop of the devil's kingdom, and an agent for him in the place where she lived; she now, when converted by grace, turns useful for others. This would make you naturally commend the way of God to others, would make you useful in your families, in the congregation, and in the country-side.
Lastly, This would be a heaven on earth. What is the happiness of the saints in glory? They enjoy God, and this is in the utmost perfection. You should relish that enjoyment of him, which in your measure you have for the present, as a prelude, an earnest of what shall be your privilege hereafter.
I shall have done with a word to all in general, and in particular to meek poor ones. To all in general, I would say, Entertain the good tidings of the Gospel, slight them not, give them a suitable entertainment. Believe them as undoubted truths. When God speaks, it is reasonable we believe ; for he is Truth, he is the faithful and true Witness, Rev. iii, 14. The carnal mind is apt to fall into unbelief of the Gospel, which reflects great dishonour upon God: 1 John v. 10, “ He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” And this also makes the Gospel unprofitable to ourselves : “ The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with 1
faith in them that heard it,” Heb. iv. 2. Embrace these tidings joyfully and thankfully; they are tidings of great joy, and should be received with the greatest joy and cheerfulness: as a malefactor on the scaffold should receive the tidings of a pardon, or as an indemnity would be received by those who have forfeited their lives by their treason. And the greater the danger is from which the Gospel proclaims deliverance, the more welcome should the tidings be. Finally, lay the weight of your souls on these tidings for time and eternity, fall in with the Gospel-contrivance, and embrace the covenant as well ordered in all things, and sure, Matth. xiii. 44. Embrace the salvation ; come away with the Redeemer, accept the ransom, accept the indemnity, put your case in the hand of the great physician, and all shall be well. To prevail with you as to this, consider, for MOTIVES,
From whence the tidings come. It is from a far country, from heaven, the throne of God, yea, the depths of the counsel of God, John i. 18. Behold tidings of love and good-will from heaven, of a mercy-seat set up there for poor sinners, from whence they could have looked for nothing but wrath! Consider,
Who brings the tidings,—the Son of God. 0! glorious messenger, who left the Father's bosom, and came down into this earth, to proclaim the glad tidings. And now that he is ascended into heaven, he has sent his ministers in his name to proclaim them, with his certification, That he who heareth you, heareth me; and he who despiseth you, despiseth me; and he who despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. Consider,
What are the tidings. Tidings of a salvation, a redemption, &c. They are good tidings, the best of tidings that ever came into the world. Good to refresh and revive the spirits of those whom nothing else can comfort, even sinners depressed under apprehensions of wrath; and the more to be esteemed that they are peculiar to sinful men, . not fallen angels. “ Unto you, O men! I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.” Consider,
The need there was of these tidings in the world. Never did tidings come so seasonably to any, as those of the Gospel to the world ruined by sin. We were as Isaac, with the knife at our throat, when the tidings came of Jesus Christ, as the ram caught in the thicket. Let us but suppose the world without the Gospel, we will then have a fiery law, flaming on our faces, and no way whatever to escape. Thus will we see the seasonableness of Gospel tidings.
To meek poor ones, in particular, I would say, 0! sensible sinners, pressed with the sense of your spiritual wants, your sinfulness,
misery, inability to help yourselves, you who see your absolute need of Christ, and withal your unworthiness of his help, who are longing for supply, and content with Christ on any terms, to you is the word of this salvation sent particularly; come away, and joyfully embrace these good tidings. To influence you to this, consider,
That your names are particularly in Christ's commission. He was sent to preach good tidings to the meek. The Lord knows that the poor convinced sinner will have many doubts and fears, which will be hard for him to overcome, so as to get the tidings believed. Therefore, as in Mark xyi. 7, the angel said unto the woman, “Go your way, tell his disciples, and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee, there shall yə see him, as he said unto you.” So here particular notice is taken of the meek. God has a special eye on the outcasts of Israel to bring them in to himself, Isa. ly. 1. Again, consider,
That the grand end for which the Lord discovers to you your spiritual poverty is, that you may come to Christ for supply; Gal. iii. 24, “ Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” God brought a famine on Jacob's household in Canaan, when there was corn in Egypt, that Joseph's brethren might have an errand to him. Therefore reject not the counsel of God against yourselves. Consider farther,
That Christ is able to supply all your wants : “ Open thy mouth wide,” says he," and I will fill it,” Psalm lxxxi. 10. Were your wants as great as Paul's, as Mary Magdalene's, as Manasseh's were, he has enough to supply them all, a fulness of merit and of spirit. If all the world were so poor in spirit, there is enough for them all, and to spare; there is an infinite value in his blood, and an infinite efficacy in his spirit. Consider,
That you cannot get the supply of your wants anywhere else ; Acts iv. 12, “ Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven, given amoug men, whereby we must be saved.” Alas! poor sinners are ready to go to wrong doors for supply, and to seek to have their wants supplied by themselves. But all your duties, prayers, watchings, mournings, will do no good, unless you believe; John vi. 29, “ This is the work of God, that yo believe on him whom he hath sent.” Consider, lastly,
That our Lord makes you welcome to him and his fulness, and that freely, Isa. lv. l. I dare not come to Christ, says one. Why so ? Christ is a gist, even the gift of God, John iv. 10; and what is freer than a gift? Nothing is required of you but to receive it. Incline, then, your ear, and come unto him; hear, and your souls shall live. Amen.
JESUS BINDS UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED.
Isaiah Ixi. 1,
To bind up the broken-hearted. In these words, we have another piece of work which the Father has put in Christ's hand. He hath sent him “ to bind up the broken-hearted.” In the words there is, 1. The work itself, to bind up ; Luke hath it to heal, chapter iv. 18. He is employed by the Father as the great Physician to bind up sinners, as a surgeon does a broken bone or any other wound, and to heal them. This belongs to his priestly office. We have, 2, The objects of it; "the brokenhearted,” such as are sick of sin, who have their hearts broken and cast down within them, on account of sin, and its consequences. This is a sickness which Christ is sent to cure.
From this subject, you may observe the following
DOCTRINE, Oar Lord Jesus is appointed of his Father, to be the Physician of broken-hearted sinners, to bind them up, and heal them.
For illustrating this doctrine, we shall consider,
II. What is it in and about sin which breaks the man's heart, who is thus evangelically broken-hearted. ·
III. What sort of a heart a broken heart is.
1. To inquire what is that brokenness of heart which is here meant, and of which the Lord takes so much notice. The brokenhearted is of two kinds.
1. There is a natural one, arising from natural and carnal causes merely, which worketh death, 2. Cor. vii. 10. Thus many who are very whole-hearted in respect of sin, complain that their hearts and spirits are broken by their crosses, afflictions, and ill usage which they meet with in the world. Thus Abab, Haman, and Nabal, their hearts were broken with their respective crosses. This is nothing but the crack which a proud heart gets by God's providence, when it will not bow, and is very displeasing in God's sight. This Christ will not heal, till it is broken at another rate. There is,
2. A religious broken heart, which arises from religious causes, namely, sin and its consequences. Sin has sunk into the souls of
all Adam's posterity, like a deadly poison. But most men are whole-hearted, though they carry their death about with them, because the poison has not yet begun to work. The thorn of guilt is sticking in their conscience, but they are easy, for it has not yet begun to fester. But when the poison begins to work, the heart is broken with it. Every such breaking of heart is not the sickness unto life which Christ is sent to heal. There is a twofold religious breaking of heart.- First, A mere legal one ; Jer, xxiii. 29, " Is not my word like as a fire ? saith the Lord, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ?” When the heart is broken by the mere force of the law, it is broken as a rock in pieces by a hammer, each part remaining hard and rocky still. As it breaks tho heart of a malefactor, to hear his doom pronounced that he must be hanged for his crime ; so does the law break the heart of a sinner. This breaks the heart for sin, but not from it. Thus the hearts of Cain and Judas were broken, and thus the hearts of the damned shall be broken for ever. Men may die of these wounds, and never be healed. But there is,-Secondly, An evangelical one. When not only the law does its part, but the gospel also breaks the sinner's heart; Zech. xii. 10, “ And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." This is that kindly heart-breaking for sin, which is an effect of gospel-grace, a sickness of which never one shall die, it is the very malady which in the text Christ is sent to cure. Sin in an upgracious soul, is like poison in a serpent, it is agreeable to their nature, it does not make them sick at all. Though it be indeed with them as a kind of serpent, from whose killing looks men defend themselves, by holding a glass betwixt them and the serpent, which reflects the poison on the serpent himself, and so kills him. Thus, Psalm vii. 16, “ The wicked man's mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealings shall return upon his own pate.” But in those in whom God has a gracious work, sin is like poison in a man, contrary to his nature, and so makes him heartsick. Thus the true broken-hearted sinner is as sick of sin as ever a man was of poison, which he had unwarily swallowed down, and would by all means be quit of it. We now come,
II. To inquire what it is in and about sin which breaks the man's heart, who is thus evangelically broken-hearted. There is,
1. The guilt of sin, by which he is bound over to the wrath of God. This, which cannot be taken away but by a free pardon, sick