« EdellinenJatka »
Your wondering at them argues that you are strangers to yourselves, to conviction for sin, and to hearty desires to be saved; as also to coming to Jesus Christ.
Object. “But how shall we know that such men are coming to Jesus Christ ?'
Answ. Who can make them see, that Christ has made blind? John ix. 39. Nevertheless, because I endeavor thy conviction, conversion, and salvation, consider,
1. Do they cry out of sin, being burdened with it, as an exceeding bitter thing?
2. Do they fly from it, as from the face of a deadly serpent?
3. Do they cry out of the insufficiency of their own righteousness, as to justification in the sight of God?
4. Do they cry out after the Lord Jesus to save them?
5. Do they see more worth and merit in one drop of Christ's blood to save them, than in all the sins of the world to damn them?
6. Are they tender of sinning against Jesus Christ?
7. Is his name, person, and undertakings, more precious to them, than is the glory of the world?
8. Is his word more dear to them?
9. Is faith in Christ (of the want of which they are convinced by God's Spirit, and that without it they can never close with Christ) precious to them?
10. Do they favor Christ in this world, and do they leave all the world for his sake? And are they willing (God helping them to run hazards for his name, for the love they bear to him?
11. Are his saints precious to them?
If these things be so, whether thou seest them or no, these men are coming to Jesus Christ. Rom. vii. 9–14; Psalm xxxviii. 3–8; Heb. vi. 18–20; Isa. lxiv. 6; Phil. iii. 7, 8; Psalm liv. 1; cix. 26; Acts xvi. 30; Psalm li. 7, 8; 1 Pet. i. 18, 19; Rom. vii. 24; 2 Cor. v. 2; Acts v. 41;
James ii. 7; Phil. iii. 7, 8; Song v. 10–16; Psalm cxix; John xiii. 35; 1 John iv. 7; iii. 14; John xvi. 9; Rom. viii. 15; Heb. xi. 6; Psalm xix. 10, 11; Jer. xv. 16; Heb. xi. 24-27; Acts xx. 22–24; xxi. 14; Tit. iii. 15; 2 John 1; Eph. iv. 16; Philemon 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 24.
FEARS OF COMING SOULS EXPLAINED.
I COME now to the second observation propounded to be spoken to, namely, That they that are coming to Jesus Christ, are ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them.
I told you that this observation is implied in the text; and I gather it from the largeness and openness of the promise, “I will in no wise cast out.” For had there not been a proneness in us to fear casting out, Christ needed not to have, as it were, waylaid our fear, as he doth by this great and strange expression, "in no wise." "And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” There needed not, as I may say, such a promise to be invented by the wisdom of heaven, and worded at such a rate, as it were in purpose to dash in pieces at one blow, all the objections of coming sinners, if they were not prone to admit of such objections, to the discouraging of their own souls. For this word, “in no wise,” cutteth the throat of all objections; and it was dropped by the Lord Jesus for that very end; and to help the faith that is mixed with unbelief.
And it is, as it were, the sum of all promises; neither can any objection be made upon the unworthiness that thou findest in thee, that this promise will not assoil. But I
a great sinner,' sayest thou. “I will in no wise cast out,” says
Christ. "But I am an old sinner,' sayest thou. "I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ. “But I am a hard-hearted sinner,' sayest thou. so I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
THE SUM OF ALL PROMISES.
But I am a backsliding sinner,' sayest thou. “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ. But I have served Satan all my days,' sayest thou. “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ. • But I have sinned against light,' sayest thou. “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ. "But I have sinned against mercy,' sayest thou. "I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ. But I have no good thing to bring with me,' sayest thou. “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
Thus I might go on to the end of things, and show you, that still this promise was provided to answer all objections, and doth answer them. But I say, what need of it, if they that are coming to Jesus Christ are not sometimes, yea, oftentimes, heartily afraid, that Jesus Christ will cast them out?
I will give you now two instances that seem also to imply the truth of this observation.
In the 9th of Matthew at the 2d verse, you read of a man that was sick of the palsy; and he was coming to Jesus Christ, being borne upon a bed by his friends. He also was coming himself, and that upon another account than any
of his friends were aware of, even for the pardon of sins, and the salvation of his soul. Now, so soon as ever he was come into the presence of Christ, Christ bids him “be of good cheer.'
It seems then his heart was fainting; but what was the cause of his fainting ? Not his bodily infirmity, for the cure of which his friends did bring him to Christ; but the guilt and burden of his sins, for the pardon of which himself did come to him; therefore are the words, “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." I say, Christ saw him sinking in his mind, about how it would go with his most noble part; and therefore, first, he applies himself to him on that account. For though his friends had faith enough as to the cure of the body, yet he himself had little enough as to the cure of his soul: therefore Christ takes him up as a man falling down, saying, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
That about the prodigal seems pertinent also to this matter. “When he was come to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish for hunger! I will arise and go to my father.” Heartily spoken; but how did he perform his promise ? I think not so well as he promised to do; and my ground for my thought is, because his father, so soon as he was come to him, fell upon his neck, and kissed him; implying, methinks, as if the prodigal by this time was dejected in his mind; and therefore his father gives him the most sudden and familiar token of reconciliation.
And kisses were of old time often used to remove doubts and fears. Thus Laban and Esau kissed Jacob: thus Joseph kissed his brethren; and thus also David kissed Absalom. Gen. xxxi. 55; xxxiii. 1-7; xlvii. 9, 10; 2 Sam. xiv. 33.
It is true, as I said, at first setting out to return, the prodigal spake heartily, as sometimes sinners also do in their beginning to come to Jesus Christ. But might not he have, yea, in all probability he had (between the first step he took, and the last, by which he accomplished that journey) many a thought, both this way and that; whether his father would receive him or no? As thus: 'I said, I would go to my father: but how, if when I come at him he should ask me where I have been all this while? What shall I say then? Also if he ask me what is become of the portion of goods that he gave me, what shall I say then? If he ask me who have been my companions, what shall I say then? If he also should ask me what hath been my preferment in all the time of my absence from him, what shall I say
then? Yea, and if he ask me why I came home no sooner, what shall I say then?' Thus, I say, might he rea