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and so at last, in the day of wicked men's visitation, they are forced to say, These are the people of God, and these are blessed and shall be blessed. We know what is said in the Scripture, “ The blessing of the Lord maketh rich: and he addeth no sorrow therewithal.” Is it not a good thing then to be blessed by Christ? If a man be blessed by Jesus Christ he may bless himself in the Lord, and he may comfort himself in every condition, and he may say thus, Well, though I be a poor man, yet I am blessed by Christ : and though my estate be sunk, and decayed, yet I am blessed by Christ: and though I be reproached, and hated by men, yet I am blessed hy Jesus Christ; a man may comfort himself in every condition. But you
indeed if a man be assured that Christ hath blessed him, he may do thus; but I am afraid that Christ hath not blessed me, or that he is not willing to bless me: if I could be assured that this great High Priest, had once laid his hand, his blessing-hand upon me, I should have comfort in all conditions.
Give me leave to lay two or three things before you cerning this.
First, When the Lord blessed Abraham, he said unto him, “ In thee and thy seed shall all nations be blessed. It is a sign unto Abraham, that he was blessed, because others were blessed by him. So now, when a man's parts, gifts, graces, and comforts are blessings to others, it is an argument that that man is blessed himself.
Further, when a man is blessed by God, or Christ; he is drawn nearer to God by all outward things, by all things; “Come ye blessed, go ye cursed.” Blessing hath an attractive nature, “ Come ye blessed :" when the Lord Christ does bless a man, he does draw him, “ Come ye blessed.” When a man is brought nearer to God by affliction, he is blessed : when a man is brought nearer to God by his estate, by any comfort, by any sorrow, here is blessing, “ Come ye blessed.” Blessings draw one nearer to God with a cord of love.
Thirdly where the Lord does bless, he does cause a man to increase and multiply, in that thing wherein he is blessed. Increasing and multiplying, is so natural unto blessing, that in the original tongues of the Old and New Testament,
plenty is put for blessing. I will give you but one clear place for it in the New Testament, the 2 Corinthians ixth chapter, 5th verse. “ Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto ye, and make up before-hand your bounty.” The word is your blesing. Whereof you had notice before; that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty. The word is, a matter of blessing. But especially in the next verse. But this I say, “ He which soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap bountifully." And he which soweth with blessing (as it is in the original) shall reap with blessing: and here it is opposed to sparingly, and translated bountifully. Where the Lord does bless, he does always cause a man to increase and multiply.
Now, beloved in the Lord, I appeal unto all your souls, you that make this objection, that are afraid the Lord Christ hath not blessed you as your High Priest, hath not laid his hand upon you, and blessed you: yet do not ye know more of Christ than ye have known before ? hath not the hidden truths of the gospel been increased and multiplied upon your hearts ? hath not your hearts been brought nearer to God by affliction? hath not your souls been drawn nearer to God by his outward dealings with you? And as Abraham was therefore blessed, because he was made a blessing to others : so I appeal to ye, have not your parts, gifts, and graces, in some measure been blessings unto others, even unto your poor family, and unto others also ? Then be of good comfort (man or woman) wherever thou standest, the Lord Christ hath blessed thee, and thou shalt be blessed, hold up thy head poor blessed soul, the Lord Jesus hath blessed thee: when the Lord did lay this blessing upon thee,
I not tell thee, but I find thee a blessed man, stay thyself upon the Lord, cheer up thy drooping heart, thou art a blessed soul. But you will say,
How does this make unto our holiness? I confess this is a very comfortable cordial, that the Lord Jesus Christ is in office to bless poor sinners; but how does this conduce unto our holiness ?
Very much : this holds forth great encouragement, unto all poor sinners for to come to Christ, and to come without delay. Why? once come to Christ and blessed; but without
Christ and cursed: an enemy to Jesus Christ and a cursed man: cursed in thy store-house: cursed in thy basket; and cursed in all things that thou puttest thine hand unto. Oh! then, will you not come to Christ that you may be blessed: that day that a poor soul comes unto Christ, whatever he hath been he is blessed: that day may be called Gilgal, for then the curse is rolled away from him.
66 Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, and whose sin is pardoned." The first day, the first minute, that he comes to Christ, his sin is pardoned, and he is blessed. Who would not then come unto Christ presently, that he may be blessed for ever? When as Esau had sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, the Lord looked upon him as a profane man, and he stands upon record in Scripture for a profane man unto this day, because he sold his birthright. And says the text, Though he sought the blessing (it was a blessing) with tears, he never recovered it. The Lord Jesus Christ, he is now among us, and offering to bless us; and if I will rather keep my sins than come unto Jesus Christ, the Lord will look upon me as a profane man; and I may go and seek the blessing with tears, and never recover it again.
Oh! here is that, methinks, that should make every wicked man; if there be ever a drunkard, swearer, or unclean wanton that reads this book, mind what is said for your everlasting peace : I say, here is that, methinks, that should make every wicked man, to look upon the godly, as David did upon the sparrows, and upon the swallows : says David, “ These birds full nigh thine altar, may have place to sit and sing :" as ye have it in your singing psalms. These birds can come and make their nests; but as for me I am kept at a distance: he was provoked by the sparrows and swallows making their nests near the altar. wicked man say, There is a godly man indeed, he may go to Jesus Christ he may go to prayer, and he may offer up his gift to God the Father by the hands of Christ, he can come near to God by Christ : but as for me, I am yet without Christ, I am not yet gone to Jesus Christ; I am such a cursed swearer, I am such a profane drunkard, I am such a vile, wretched wanton, such a notorious, scandalous sinner! Oh! these people are blessed, but I am cursed, but now through the Lord's grace I will go unto the Lord Christ that I may be blessed.
So may a
Yea, my beloved, here is, methinks, a strong invitation, unto all those that are young people for to come unto Jesus Christ: even those that are very young. Hear the word of the Lord, ye children. The Lord Jesus Christ received children into his arms and he blessed them. You that are nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen years old; you can be solicitous for your father's blessing, and have gone down upon your knees often unto your father, and you have said, Pray father, pray to God to bless me. Oh! will ye go to your outward father for his blessing? and will ye not go unto Jesus Christ? He is an everlasting Father, this your earthly father will be dead ere long; he is an everlasting Father,children, and he is able to bless ye, and willing to bless ye. Have ye gone down upon your knees to your outward father? Oh! children, down, down upon your knees before the Lord Jesus Christ, and go to him for his blessing. Some of you, it may be, never went yet to Christ for his blessing; ye have lived so many years, ten, eleven or twelve years, and never went to Christ as High Priest, for his blessing all this while. Oh! what a mighty encouragement is here unto all men to come to Christ, that they may be blessed by him.
But yet further, As there is an encouragement for to come unto Christ : so this argument does also encourage us to go on in the good ways of Christ, notwithstanding all opposition that we meet withal : I say, it does speak encouragement to go on in the face of all opposition. For when Abraham had been at battle, then came Melchisedec the high priest to bless him: and when a poor soul goes out to battle for Christ, then comes our great Melchisedec, our High Priest, and blesses that soul. The time of opposition, it is the time of Christ's blessing. Therefore, why should I be discouraged, or beaten out of the way of Christ, by reason of any opposition, though it be never so great ? Times of opposition are Christ's blessing time.
Again, This argument does not only speak encouragement against all opposition : but it does also encourage us to go on in the good ways of God when we are called unto it, though we have but little strength and weak parts. Though there be but little oil in the cruse, though there be but little meal in the barrel, if Christ call to the work, he will bless a
man in it: and when Christ. blesses, he does multiply and increase a man's parts in the using of them. As when he commanded them to sit down and eat, he did multiply and increase the bread in their eating : so now, does Christ call me to any work or service ? well then, though I am weak, though I have not oil enough, though I have not meal enough, though I have not strength enough; yet the Lord Christ will bless, and when he blesses, he does increase and multiply : and therefore, why should not I go on upon his work, if he do call me thereunto, though I have never so little strength.
And yet further, If all this be true: why should not a man be contented with his condition, though he be never so mean? Beloved in the Lord ! is there not enough in Christ's blessing? Truly, he is too covetous, whom the blessing of Christ will not satisfy. Well, whatever my condition be, yet I may be blessed by Jesus Christ; and hath the Lord blessed me? then will I be contented with my condition, though it be never so mean, I have all, as Jacob once said, I have all.
Yea, in the fifth and last place: Here is that, which if well studied and considered; will provoke us all for to bless the Lord, and continually to bless the Lord! What is the life of a Christian here, but continual blessing of God ? it is heaven begun: and in heaven, they do nothing else but bless and praise the Lord; and I say our life here is heaven begun and therefore a christian should be always blessing and praising the Lord.
Well, But what will make a man to be always blessing, and praising of God in Christ?
The knowledge that a man is blessed by Christ, will make a man bless God for Christ. And therefore consider how the apostle reasons, in the ist of Ephesians, and the 3rd verse, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:" Why? “who hath blessed us." When once a man can come to this, for to say, That the Lord Christ hath blessed him ; then he will break forth into blessing and praising of the Lord; O! Blessed be the Lord : bless the Lord, O my soul; and bless the Lord all that is within me: for the Lord hath blessed me with spiritual blessings. Do you therefore desire to be always in this work of blessing the Lord ? think much of this.
To conclude all; give me leave to call upon you to remem