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Let no sincere but weak Christian be dismayed by the king's narrow observance of the guests, from coming, and through fear leave his place vacant. The famie doctrine that speaks terror to the hypocrite, may, and ought to be improved as a ground of comfort to you. As the one will be asked, why he came in hither, and be speech
will have no excuse for staying away.
Christians, God, even your own God will come to view the guests; and he can discern the grace in you that
you may not be able to discern yourselves.
He will meet you at his table, who is witness to all your preparations, to what requests you have put up, to what defires have been at work to get the wedding garment, and have it on. He will also take notice of your wants and weaknesses, burdens and complaints, and bid what you will, and it shall be granted to the end that souls
may be satisfied, and say, It is good to draw nigh unto God.
LUKE VII. 41, 42, 43. There was a certain creditor, which had two
debtors : the one owed five hundred pence, and
the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly for
gave them both. Tell me therefore, which of
them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that be to
whom be forgave moft. And he said urto bim, Thou hast rightly judged.
HESE words are a parable proposed by
our Lord, to display the riches of forgiving grace, and the love it raises in the hearts of those that pbtain it ; the greater degree of love, the larger and greater the debt is, which is forgiven and cancelled by it.
The creditor spoken of, represents the great God.
By the debtors are set forth offending finners, among men.
Among these there is a difference, as some owe more than others. Some may be said to owe five hundred pence to God, others, comparatively,
but fifty: but they agree in this, that they are equally insolvent, and have nothing wherewith to pay.
The creditor's dealing with them, is represented as most kind and endearing: He frankly forgave them both. But his eminent and abounding grace shewn forth by discharging such as'are by far the greatest debtors, calleth and leadeth them to thew greater love to him, than can ordinarily be expected to be shewn by fuch as are besser debtors, for their gracious discharge.
From the whole, we may observe these fix things.
1. That sinners are in debt to God, as having violated his law, and fo laid themselves
open to the punishment threatened : The wages of fire is death.
2. Some have contracted greater guilt, and so are more in debt to God than others, as having laid themselves
open to greater punishment : front the greater advantages they have enjoyed, and abused, they have more to answer for, and more to fear. 3.
It is the common condition of sinners indebted to God, that they have nothing to pay, nothing to satisfy divine justice, or redeem themselves from deserved wrath. The redemption of the soul is precious, and for any thing that we can do, must cease for ever. 4
God is able and ready to forgive the greatest debt and debtors, as well as the least, those that owe five hundred pence, as well as those that owe fifty. The bible is full of this doctrine : "tis a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save finners.
5. Whom God forgives, he forgives freely : not excluding the fatisfaction of Christ, but upon the account of it; which is so far from lefsening the freeness of that grace that forgives us, that it greatly exalts it : for, it was God himself that found the ransom, and gave his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, wherein he commendeth his love to us.
6. Such as God has freely forgiven are bound to love him, and to love him the more, the greater the debt is which is forgiven them.
Under this our work will be to shew,
have been forgiven.
argument for love in those to whom it is
er debts, should lead the forgiven soul to love
I. Some who have ran far in debt to God, have been forgiven.
Manaseb in the Old Testament, and Paul, and Mary Magdalene, and some of the Corintbians in the New, are instances of this. And the order and invitation is still in force, Isaiah lv. 7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. It may seem strange that a holy God should bear so long with provoking finners, who so many ways de
clare their enmity against him by their wicked works : but,
1. Thus he magnifies his patience, and proves it divine, the patience of God, and not of a creature, much less of a man. After God had reckoned up Ephraim's fins, and read the charge, when it might have been expected that sentence should follow, he declares, Hof. xi. 9. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man.
None but God, who is one of infinite patience, could bear with the multiplied injuries done in the world. But the more sin is multiplied, the more the patience and long-suffering of God is magnified.
The apostle Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, and then adds, as to the patience exercised towards him, I Tim. i. 16. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering for a pattern, &c.
What adorable patience is God able and vouchsafes to exercise towards provoking sinners.
2. Some whose iniquities have abounded have been forgiven, for the greater exaltation of grace. It is the glory of man to pass by a transgression, Prov. xix. II. And it is the name God proclaims himself by, as his glory, that He is the Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, longJuffering and abundant in goodness and truth. He fardoneth iniquity, transgression and fin,
Grace is thus exalted and glorified,
(1.) In its fulness; that to where sin hath abounded, grace may much more abound. From Vol. II.