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God will treat with you Oo more, when a gulph Jhall be fixed betwixt him and you for ever, Luke xvi. 26. O what will you do when the season of mercy, and all hopes of mercy, shall end together! Wheu God shall become inaccessible, inexorable, and unreconcilable to you for evermore.
O what wilt thou do, when thou shalt sind thyself shut up under eternal wrath I when thou shalt feel that misery thou art warned of! Is this the place where I must be! Are these the torments I must endure! What, forever! yea, forever: Will pot God be satisfied with the sufferings of a thousand years \ no, nor millions of years! Ah sinners, did you but clearly fee the present and futpre milery of unreconciled ones, and what that wrath of the great and terrible God is, which is coming as sart as the wings of time can bring it upon you, it would certainly drive you to Christ, or drive you out of your wits. O it is a dreadful thing to have God for your eternal enemy: to have the great and terrible God causing his infinite power to avenge ihe abuse of his grace and mercy.'
Believe it, friends, it is a fearful thing to sall into the hands of the living God: knowing the terrors of the Lord we persuade men: an eternal weight hangs upon an inch of time. O that you did but know the time of your visitation! That you would not dare^to adventure, and tun the hazard of one day more ia an unreconciled state.
Thirdly, and lastly, This point speaks to those who have believed our report, who have taken hold of God's strength, and made peace with him: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy: who once were asar off, but now are made nigh by the blood of Christ : with you I would leave a few words of exhortation, and I have done. .'
First, Admire and stand amazed at this mercy. "T will "praile thee, O Lord, (faith the church, lla. xii. 1.) Though "thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and "thou comfortest me." O how overwhelming a mercy is here before you! God is at peace, at peace with you that were *' enemies in your minds by wicked works," Col. i. 21. Ae peace with you, and at enmity with millions as good by nature as you: at peace with you that fought it not: at peace for ever; no dissolving this friendship for evermore. O let this Cob/idoration melt your hearts before the Lead, and make you cryr "What^am 1, Lord, that mercy should take in me, and (hut out sallen angels, and millions of men and women as capable of mercy as my<elf! O the riches! O the depths of the mercy and goodness of God I, "i-yj
Secondly, Beware of new breaches -with Cod: God will fpea* "peace to his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn "again to folly," Psal. lxxxv. 8. What tho' this state of friendship can never be dissolved, yet it is a dreadful thing to have it clouded: yon may lose the sense of peace, and with it all th« joy of your hearts, and comforts of your lives, in this world.
Thirdly, Labour to reconcile others to God: especially those that are endeared to you by the bonds of natural relation: When Paul was reconciled to God himself, his heart was full of heaviness for others that were not reconciled; for his " fare"thren and kinsmen according to the flesh," Rom. ix. 2, 3, When Abraham was become God's friend himself, then, "Q ** that Ishmael might live before thee I" Gen, xvii. 18.
Fourthly and lastly, "Let your reconciliation with God re"lieve you under all burdens of affliction you shall meet with "in your way to heaven:" Let them that are at enmity with God droop under crosses and afflictions; but do not you do so. Tranqutllus Deus tranquitlat omnia, Rom. v. 1,2, 3. Let the peace of God keep your hearts and minds. As nothing can comfort a man that must go to hell at last, so nothing should deject a nun that shall, through many troubles, at last, reach heaven.
Explaining the Work of the Spirit, as the internal, and most effectual Means of the Application of Christ.
John vi. 44. No man can come to me, except the Father -which hath sent me, draw him.
OUR last discourse informed you of the usefulness and influence of the preaching of the gospel, in order to the ap* plication of Christ to the souls of men. There must be (in God's ordinary way) the external ministerial offer of Christ, before men can have union with him.
But y«t, all the preaching in the world can never effect this 'union with Christ in itself, and in its own virtue, except a supernatural, and mighty power, go forth with it, for that end and purpose- Lu Boanerges and Barnabas try their strength, let the angels of heaven be the preachers; till God draw, the soul .cannot come to Christ.
No;saving benefit is to be had by Christ, without union with his person, no union with his person without saith, no saith, ordinary wrought, without the preaching of the golpel by Christ's ambassadors, their preaching hath no saving efficacy, without God's drawings, as will evidently appear, by considering these words, and the occasion of them.
The occasion of these words is found (as learned * Cameron 'well observes) in the 42d verse. "And they said, is not this Jesus "the son of Joseph, whose sather and mother we know? " Christ had been pressing upon them in his ministry, the great and necessary duty of saith; but notwithstanding the authority of the preacher; the holiness of his life; the miracles by which he confirmed his dotlrine; they still objected against him, "is not this "the carpenter's Son ?" From whence Christ takes occasion for these words; " No man can come unto me, except my Father "which hath sent me, draw him," q. d. In vain is the authority of my person urged; in vain are all the miracles wrought in your light, to confirm the doctrine preached to you; till that secret, almighty power of the Spirit be put forth upon your hearts, you will not, you cannot, come unto me.
The words are a negative proposition.
In which the author, and powerful manner of divine operatU on in working saith, asre contained: there must be drawing before believing, and that drawing must be the drawing of God: every word hath its weight: we will consider them in the order they lie in the text.
OwSeis—— No Man] not one, let his natural qualifications be what they will, let his external advantages, in respect of means and helps, be never so great: it is not in the power of any man: all persons, in all ages, need the same power of God, one as well as another; every man is alike dead, impotent, and averse to faith in his natural capacity. No man, or—not one, among all the sons of men.
&vixrai, Can] or is able : he speaks of impotency to special
and saving actions, such as believing iu Christ is: no act that is saving, can be done without the concurrence of special grace.Other acts that have a remote tendency to it, are performed by a more general concourse and common assistance; so men may come to the word, and attend to what is spoken, remember, and consider what the word tells then); but as to believing or co,p>
* Cameronis Myrothcc. p. T59.
iog to Christ, that no man can do of himself, dr by a general and common assistance. No man can.
Ey$»» srp's fti, Come unto me] si. e.J believe in me unto
salvation. Coming to Christ, and believing in him, are terms aequipollent, and are indifferently used to express the nature of saving saith, as is plain ver. 35. "He that cometh lo me, shall "never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst:" it notes the terms from which, and to which the foul moves, and the voluntariness of the motion, notwithstanding that divina power, by which the will is drawn to Christ.
Ex» ftuD n«Tnp, Except my Father] not excluding the other.
two persons; for every work of God relating to the creatures, is common to all the three persons: nor only to note that the Father is the first in order of working: but the reason is hinted in the next words.
O wtfi^x; «t, who hath sent me,] God hath entered into.
covenant with the Son, and sent him, stands obliged thereby, to bring the promised seed to hira, and that he doth by drawing them to Christ by saith: so the next words tells us the Father doth. .
Eakuoti cevrn. -Draw him.] That is powerfully and effectually incline his will to come to Christ: "f Not by a violent "coaction, but by a benevolent bending of the will which was' ** averse ;" and as it is not in the way of force and compulsion, so neither is it by a Ample moral suafion, by the bare proposal of an object to the will, and so leaving the sinner to his own election; but it is such a persuasion, as hath a mighty overcoming efficacy accompanying it: of which more anon,
The words thus opened, the observation will be this s
Doct. That it is utterly impossible for any man to come to Jesus Christ, unless he be drawn unto him by the special and mighty power of God. .'
No man is compelled to come to Christ against his will, he that cometh, comes willingly, but even that will, and desire to come, is the effect of grace, Phil. ii. 13. "It is^God that work"eth in you, both to will, and to do, of his own good pleasure.'*
"if we desire the help and assistance of grace, (laith % Ful'
f Nott violenta coattio immediata, fed voluntatis a Deo averse benevola fleftio. Glas. Rhet. Sacra p. 236.
% Ut ergo defideremus adjutoriuvi, hoc quoque est gratia; ipsa XaMjue incipit effundi, ut incipiatpofci. Fulgen. Epist. 6. ad Theod.
"gentius) even the defire is of grace; grace must first be sbed u forth upon us, before we can begin to desire it:" "By grace
are ye laved through saith, and that not of yourselves* it is "the gift of God," Eph. ii. 8. suppose the utmost degree of natural ability; let a man be as much disposed and prepared, as nature can dispose or prepare him, and to all this, add the pro-: posal of the greatest arguments, and motives, to induce him to come; let all these have the advantage of the fittest season to work upon his heart; yet no man can come till God draw him: we move as we are moved; as Christ's coming to us, so our coming to him are the pure effects of grace.
Three things require explication in this pofnt before us*
First, What the drawing as the Father imports.
Secondly, In what manner he draws men to Christ.
Thirdly, How it appears that none can come till they be so drawn.
First, What the drawing of the Father imports.
To open this, let it be considered, that drawing is usually distinguished into phyfical and moral. The former is, either by co-action, force, and compulsion: or, by a sweet, congruous efficacy upon the will. As to violence and compulsion, it is none of God's way and method, it being both against the nature of the will of man, which cannot be forced, and against the will of Jesus Christ, who loves to reign over a free and willing people, Psal. ex. 5. "Thy people shall be willing in "the day of rhy power." Or, as that word may be rendered, they shall be voluntarinesses, as willing as willingness itself. It is pot then by a forcible co-atlion, but in a moral way of persuasion, that God the Father draws men to Jesus Chiist: He draws with the bands of a man, as they are called, Hos. xi. 14, (i. e.) in a way of rational conviction of the mind and conscience, and effectual persuasion of the will.
But yet by moral persuafion, we must not understand a simple and bare proposal, or tender of Christ and grace, leaving it still at the sinner's choice, whether he will comply with it or no. || For though God does not force the will contrary to its nature, yet there is a real internal efficacy implied in this draw
\ We do not fee Gnd preaching, writing-, and teaching, yet we believe as if we saw thus; for all truth hath a power of inclining the pnind to assent; the greater truth, the greater power, and the greatest truth, the greatest power of all; But why then do not ail believe she gospel ? I answer, because all are are not drawn by God, Bafr tist Mantuanus depatieutia, lib- 3. cap. 2,