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even through the wounds of our Redeemer. If this do not kindle in you a desire to draw near, what can we say to kindle it?

I told you last Sabbath, that you may draw near to God in Christ, and that you ought to draw near, &c. Is there

any

here who so love their outcast condition, that they will not come back, nor draw near to God, though they are invited ? Then I must leave you, to speak to others. But, before we part, consider,

1. What a miserable state you are in while far from God. As God said to Adam, Gen. iii. 9. we may say to you, « Where art thou ?” Like the prodigal, Luke, xv. 13. thou art in a far country, far from God, his covenant, his grace, his Christ, Eph. ii. 12. And while

you

will not come back, you are far out of your senses. Tell me, sinner, in sober earnest, (if you be capable of a sober thought), Are you not in want? Is there not a principle of restlessness in that soul of thine, which thou canft find no way to quiet, but sometimes by the fulsome breasts of lusts which may surfeit, but at no time can fatisfy? The dry breafts of the world, squeeze them as you will, can never give full content, still there is some thorn of uneasiness in your bed, make it where you will. Thou dost hunger after happiness, but shalt never find it till thou come near to God in Chrift.--Consider,

2. If thou art able to hold on to the end without coming near to God. Though thou canst live this way, wilt thou be able to die in this state, and continue so for ever ? Art thou still able to make thy part good without him, yea, against him, so that thou art resolved never to knock at his door? If not, thou art wretchedly foolish, to flight a kind invilation from him, to whom at length thou must bow. Therefore, Ifa. lv. 6. “ Seek ye the Lord,

ever, draw

while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” —Consider,

3. If thou wilt not draw near now, the time will come, when God will drive thee from him with a vengeance, and will give thee thy heart's fill of distance from him for ever : Matth. xxv. 41. “ Then shall he say to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now he bids thee draw near, and thou wilt not ; this voice will draw to an end with thee, and thou wilt hear that other voice, Depart from me; and thou must go, though thou wouldft gladly stay. As, then, you would not be forced to depart

for near to God now, while he is drawing near to you.-Consider,

Lastly, That the access to God, now in your offer, will make your departure from him to hell the more dreadful : Matth. xi24. “ It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgement, than for you.” Ye are guilty of a sin of which heathens are not capable, nay, which devils cannot commit it. They departed, but they never got a call to come back again. It was never said to them, Let us draw near.

There is a way opened at the expence of the blood of Christ, for you to come back to God, and therefore your neglecting to improve it must be inexcuseable. But now, as for you

who desire to draw near to God, ye have a fair occasion at all times for it, there is a ready way from earth to heaven, through Christ, wherever you are. You have a special occasion at this time in the holy facrament, an ordinance in which the Lord comes very near to his people, in which the greatest nearness may be enjoyed. . The facraments and death resemble one another. In the former, the Lord comes to us,

in

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in death we go to him. We should labour fo to manage the former, as that a sure foundation may be laid for safety and comfort in the latter. Here God appears on a throne of grace in Christ, the vail of Christ's flesh appears facramentally rent, that you through it may draw near to God.' And you must by faith pass through the vail this day, that you may get forward even to his seat, drawing near him as rebels accepting the King's peace, the offered indemnity through the blood of his Son, drawing near as fupplicants, as servants of the house, to serve our Lord, to wait upon him, and behold his glory.

In these circumstances, your queftion, I prefume, will now be, How shall we so manage this approach, as that it may be successful for the honour of God, our soul's good for time and eternity ? If you manage right, you are made up for. ever, and therefore your mismanagement will be an unspeakable loss. I shall farther explain unto you the apostle's directions in the text. I fear the hints already given to you as to the nature of drawing near to God, may not be sufficient to clear you in this matter; therefore, that ye may not walk in the dark, know plainly, in a word, that we draw near to God by faith, and our believing in God is our drawing near to him. Hence the apostle's advice in the text is not, Come in by faith, for this is the very coming itself, but, says he,“ in full afsurance of faith.” So the scripture explains it, while it shews that that coming to the Lord, which is so much pressed on sinners in the Old and New Testament, is believing : John, vi. 35. “ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life ; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, he that believeth on me shall never thirst." How does the finner depart from God, but by unbelief? Heb. iii. 12. “ Take heed, brethren, left there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Therefore it is by believing we draw near (Greek, come) to God. This is the great uniting grace which joins a sinner to the Lord while in this world. How can we come to God, but by believing ? for this drawing near is a spiritual motion of the foul. Our fouls indeed move towards God in spiritual desires ; but if these be not completed by faith, which is the comprehensive motion, the foul still stands off from God. So also in love, this is set a-going by faith, and its motion is towards God, when the soul is brought near to God by faith : i John, iv. 16. “ And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love ; he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and. God in him.”

Now, the object of faith is Jesus Christ held forth in the word of the gospel, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, that is to say, God in Christ. See the sum of the gospel, 2 Cor. v. 18. 19. “ And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God: was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Faith does not stand still in the vail, that is, his flesh, but goes through the vail, Heb. x. 20. to the Godhead, that is, within it, and there, only there, it rests, or can rest. Now, the persons of the Trinity being one, he who believeth in Christ the Son, believeth in the Father and the Holy Ghoft: John, xiv. 9. " He that hath seen me,” said Jesus, “ hath seen the Father.” More particularly, that you inay,

take. Y 3

your

I.

your aim right in this matter, I think drawing near by faith lies in three things, namely,

It lies in accepting God for our God in Chrift. I say in Chrift, for no other way have we him offered to us, nor can a soul in

any

other way accept him; out of Christ, he is a consaming fire. Thus, from the mercy-seat in Chrift he offers the covenant, which faith accepts : Heb. viii. 10.

" For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after thofe days, faith the Lord : I will put my laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." And there, even in Chrift, the foul takes him for its God, and gives itself away to him: Ifa. xliv. 5. * One shall fay, I am the Lord's, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” Thus the finner is joined to God in Christ by a marriage-union : Ísa. liv. 5. “ For thy Maker is thy Husband.” (Heb. thy Makers is thy husband). 2 Cor. vi. 16. “ For ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people;" and then we are near indeed.Drawing near by faith lies,

2. In claiming God for our God in Christ. This is the very proper work of faith : Psal. xvi. 2. “ O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord,” at all times, but especially at a communion-table. What says the Lord to the foul then, but as he did to Thomas ? John, xx. 27. “Be not faithless, but believing." Let us draw near, then, by faith, and answer, ver. 28. “ My Lord, and my

God.” Faith has the word of the everlasting covenant to bear it out in its claim ; it has

the

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