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creatures, he created us, and it is but our reasona- . ble duty that we should serve him, and answer his requirings in this world. This might be a great motive and inducement to us, that great advantage which we are like to reap thereby, eternal life for our souls.
And let us consider what a loss it will be, to any of us, to slight the day of the Lord's visitation to 16. We have many instances in the holy Scriptures of the sad case of them that slighted the day of the Lord, that neglected and rejected so great salvation, that was offered to them through Christ; yet it happened so, that some did reject it, and slighted the day of their visitation.. Christ saith He would have gathered tbem, and they would not; and not only once or twice, but • How often would I have gathered thee (speaking to Jerusalem,) how often would I have gathered thee, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but you would not; therefore your house is left unto you desolate. This was the miserable consequence of rejecting the love of Christ; and the same fate will befal any of us, or any of the children of men, tbat thus slight the day of their visitation, and will not be gathered.
These are words that are quickly run over in people's minds, they may read them in the holy Scriptures; but till men and women come seriously to consider of them, and weigh them in their minds, that their salvation depends upon it, their eternal peace and welfare depend upon it; for if men will reject the way which the Lord takes, which the Lord hath ordained, they cannot find out another to themselves; God hath sent his Son into the world, to be a Saviour, and if men and women will.. reject him, there is no other; 'Besides me there is no Saviour," saith the Lord. This may be ap- . plied to the Lord Jesus Christ, for he was and is the Saviour of mankind; he saved the people of
old; it was 'said in all the days of old, he saved them, and he redeemed them. - Now Friends, that which is in my mind, is, to speak a little concerning the way of the Lord which he hath ordained and afforded to us, to obtain this salvation : It is through Jesus Christ; but the great matter is, that all are to make a right application of it unto their souls; for this way is Christ, he is sent into the world and yet many may perish notwithstanding; if they reject bim, if they slight him, if they will not be governed by him. Therefore it is necessary that every one of us do consider the nature and the manner of it, that so it may be effectual unto our souls. ;
Now man's natural state, separated (as one may say) from the Lord, came upon them by an inward depravity, an inward decay and pollution upon their minds and souls, going from the commandment of God in their hearts, and the law of God, and the Spirit of God there. This is the way whereby men went into a degenerated state in the beginning. Now the way by which man should be recovered and restored again, it must be by a power, such a power as can reach to men's hearts and souls; such a power is the Lord Jesus Christ, he is called "The mighty power of God, the power of God to salvation.'' David, that kingly prophet, Psal. Ixxxix. 19, speaks of him on this wise «Then thou speakest in vision to thy Holy One, and saidst I have laid help upon one that is mighty.' And Heb, vii. 25, saith the apostle, Wherefore, he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by bim :' Observe, it is by him. So that here the foundation of man's redemption is laid upon a right bottom, an effectual foundation, a sure rock, a rock of ages, and the foundation of all the righteous generations, the Lord Jesus Christ; but now it hath so happened in the world that men and women have been at a mighty loss, in making a right application of this unto their souls; people
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have looked for salvation outwardly many times more tban inwardly. Salvation is an inward work upon their souls, by the Spirit and power of the Lord God.
You may remember when the old world was degenerated and gone from the Lord, in their imaginations, and in the wickedness of the thoughts of their hearts, which were only evil, and that continually; the Lord's Spirit did strive with them, to reform them and reduce them again, to bring .hem back again, from that state which they were plunged into, but it did not take effect upon many, because they slighted it; but they that were obedient to the Lord, to his Spirit, counsel, and wisdom, and instruction, the Lord always preserved them, and kept them and delivered them, as the prophet said in the days of old, he was their Saviour, he was their Redeemer, 'In all their afflictions he was afflicted, the angel of his presence saved them.' ** So that, my Friends, it is a wonderful thing for mankind to consider the way of the Lord, the way that the Lord bath taken, appointed, and, ordained, for the redemption of the cbildren of men, which · if the Lord had not done, we had all been miserable, we had all been undone, we had all been out of hope of recovery; for none of us could help ourselves; there was none of us could deliver our
selves, or redeem ourselves ; 'But mine own arm " brought salvation,' saith the Lord by the prophet,
speaking of Christ. And saith the prophet Isaiah, speaking of Christ, in the 53d chapter, 'Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?' You see, Friends, that the prophet did open the matter upon a right foundation, and in a right manner, when he speaks of its being revealed: it must be an inward opening and a making known of Christ to the children of men, not taking things by bare hearsay: He doth not say only, Who hath believed our report ?' but he
proceeds further, and says, To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?' And then proceeds to give an account how the wicked did look upon Christ, this arm of the Lord, he that was to be their Saviour; "He was rejected and despised, (saith the prophet ;) for he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He hath no forın or comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty tbat we should desire him; he is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.' Christ Jesus was a man of sorrows, but when they say he was not beautiful, and had no form or comeliness, they give a wrong account of him. .
Observe the prophet personates the wicked as well as the righteous, thereby to make a discovery to the children of men, and that there might be a right understanding. The prophet did not believe there was no beauty in him, But that he was altogether lovely, and beautiful, and to be desired.' He was the only means wbereby salvation could be procured to mankind, he was the most excellent One, "mighty to save;' yet the wicked despised bim, rejected him, and hid their faces from hiin :' and so they do now. If I should speak after the manner of men, the Lord Jesus Christ hath no beauty in him, no form or comeliness, why they should desire him; but this is the pride and arrogance of man, the wickedness of man, that doth so despise Christ, for you may remember the apostle John, and those in his day, looked upon Christ in another manner, they saw bis beauty, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.' There was beauty and excellency in him, and you may observe how the church of old, sets Cbrist
forth as ` Altogether lovely, and the chiefest of ten thousands. Those that were the true church, and the spouse of Christ, they made inquiry and diligent search after him; such open the door of their hearts to him, and earnestly seek after him, as most beautiful and desirable: It is intimated there by the wise man of old, when he represents the church seeking after Christ: "I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone, my soul failed when he spake; I sought him but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me,they wounded me, the keepers of the walls took away my vail from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us ? My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousands, his head is as the most fine gold, his eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, his cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers, his lips like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh, &c. bis mouth is most sweet, yea, he is altogether lovely : This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. This she speaks of him. Thus now there might be some hopes if there was such a willingness to seek after Christ amongst us, and to be mindful of him, in this the day of our visitation, in which he is calling to us, in which time and season he is wooing of us, and would gather us, that 50 we might be saved · Now my Friends, the way to obtain Christ to be the beloved of our souls, it must be from an inward inclination in our souls, we must mind it there, there he stirs, there his power reaches, there his Spirit comes, there he is revealed, as the propbet said of old. Let us ask this question, with the prophet, “To whom is the arm of the Lord