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œise, nor any witness or seal of the Spirit, ft '^%rist "th* his propriety in Christ; for he never seals, x. ^ crkselv'" sanctifies. So that it is beyond all contradicti* "'' /e
and none but believers, are partakers of the are in Christ Jesus. „_"_ \
Fourthly, and lastly, There is one inquiry r\ tibficd; namely, seeing Jesus Christ is cunsolati\ ..-is, how it comes to pass, that so many believers in the world should jvalk sq dejectedly as they do, without any spiritual consolation?
First, This need not be wonder'd at, if we consider, that the consolations of Christ are of two forts ; seminal and in preparation, or ailual in present possession. Every believer in the world hath the root and seed of comfort planted and sown for him, Psal. xcvii. 11. "Light is sown for the righteous, and "gladness for the upright in heart." They have Christ and the promises, which are the feeds of consolation, and will bring forth joy at last, though at present they have have no actual consolation; the feed of all joy is sown, and in due time they shall reap the full ripe frnit thereof.
Secondly, It must be remembered, that interest and evidence are distinct blcffings, every believer hath interest in Christ; but every believer hath not the evidence thereof, Isa. 1. 10. " Who
is among you, that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice "of his servant; that walkeih in darkness, and hath no light?" Every child of God is not of sufficient age to know his sather, or take comfort in that blessed inheritance whereunto he is begotten again, i Pet, i. 3, 4.
Thirdly, Every believer doth not walk with like strictness, and exact holiness: all do not exercise saith in a like degree. Among Christiaus some are strong in grace, rich in saith, strict >n obedience, tender of sin to an eminent degree; these usually are owners of much consolation: but others are weak in grace, poor in saith, comparatively careless of their hearts and ways, frequently grieving the good spirit of God, and wounding their own consciences (the vessel into which spiritual consolation is poured); and these are usually denied the joy and comfort which others abound withal.
Fourthly, The consolations of Christ are arbitrarily dispensed by the Spirit, who is the Comforter, and qiveth to every man in such proportions, and at such seasons, as plea set h him: whence it comes to pass, that he that is rich in comfort to day, may be poor to morrow; and, contrarily, the heart that is quite full p/ sorrow o«e hour, is filled with peace and joy ia believing the p
First *'lat are ntCl-Tary 10 tne being of a Christian, are. soul t>"< »able; but things belonging ouly to the well-being pu^nristian, come and go, according to the good pleasure and ,/pointment of the Spirit. The ule of all follows. 'Infer, i. Hence it follows, That the state of vnbelivers is the mist fid and uncomfortalde state in the world, having no interest in Christ, the consolation of Israel. It is true, they abound in peatiHc-comforts; they live in pleasure upon earth: joy dislays its colouri in their saces; but for all this, there is not the call drop of true cousolation in any of their hearts; they have fume comfort in the creature, but none in Christ: that little they gather from the creature now, is all their portion of joy, Luke vi. 24. "Ye have received your consolation:" as this is all they have, 16 they shall enjoy it but a little while, Job xxi. 13, 1 7. And while they do enjoy it, it is mixed with many gripes or conscience, Job xiv. 13. " Even in laughter the heart is sor'* rowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness." Whatever consolaiiou any unbeliever speaks of besides this, is but by iote; for when the day of .his distress cometh, and the terrors of conscience shall awake him out of his pleasant dreams, al| his sensual joys will vanish from him, and the doors of true consolation will be shut against him. Let him go to Jesus Christ, knock at that door, and say, Lord Jtsus, thy name is consolation: my heart is ready to burst 'within me; hast thou no .consolation for me? O Lord, for one drop of spiritual comfort now; but alas there is none, no not in Christ himlelf, for any unbeliever. It is childrens bread, the saints privilege; comfort sod grace are undivided. Let him return into himself, search his own conscience for comfort, and say, O conscience! thon 'art more than a thousand witnesses, and thousands have been comforted by thee; where thou speakest comfort, none can s.ieak trouble; hast thou no consolatiou for me in my deepest distress \ Alas, no; if God condemn thee, wherewithal shall [ 'comfort thee? I can speak neither more nor less than the scriptures put into my mouth, and I sind not one word in all the book of God, warranting me to be thy comforter. Believe it as an undoubted truth (though the fense of the bewitched world over-!u!es it) that the Hate of unbelievers, even at the best, is a £id and dismal state.
infer. 2. Let ail believers fetch all their comfort out of Christ, 'who is the conflation of his people: " We rejoice (saith the apostle) in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." That is the true temper of a believing foul: take heed )Ou live pof. partly- upon Christ, and partly;upon the creature ser your comfort; much rather beware, that you forsake not Christ, the . fountain of living waters, and hew oat cilterns for yourselves which can hold no water, Jer. ii; 13. If you make any creature the spring and fountain of your comfort, assuredly God will dry up that spring. If your souls draw their comfort from any creature, you know they must out-live that creature, and what then will you do for comfort? Besides, as your comforts are, so are you. The food of every creature is suitable to its nature. You fee divers creatures feeding upon several parts of the same herb, the bee upon the flower, the bird upon the feeds, thesheep upon the stalk, and the swine upon the root, according t& their nature so is their food. Sensual men feed upon sensual things, lpiritua) men upon spiritual things; as your food is, to are you. If carnal comforts can content thy heart, sure thy heart must then be a very carnal heart. Tea, and let Christiaris themselves take heed, that they fetch not their consolations ont of themselves instead of Christ. Your graces and duties are excellent means and instruments, but not the ground-work and foundation of your comfort, they are useful buckets to draw, but not the well itself in which the springs of consolation rife. If you put your duties in the room of Christ, Christ will put your comforts ont of the reach of your duties.
_ loser* 3. If Chrijl be the consolation of believers, -what a comfortable life should all believers live in the -world? Certainly, if the sault be not your own, you might live the happiest and comfortablest lives of all men in the world. If you wonld not be a discomfort to Christ, he would be a comfort to you every day, and in every condition, to the end of your lives. Your condition abounds with all the hdps and advantages <bf consolation. You have the command of Christ to warrant your comforts, Phil, iv, 4. You have the Spirit of Christ for a spring of comfort; you have the scriptures of Christ for the rules of comfort; you have the duties of religion for the means of comfort: Why is it then that you go comfortless? If your afflictions be many in the world, yet your encouragements- be more in Christ. Your troubles in the world may be turned into joV, but your comforts in Christ can never be turned into trouble. Why should troubles obstruct your comfort, when the blessing of Christ upon your troubles makes them subservient to promote your happiness? Rom. viii. 28. Shake off the despondency then, aud live up to the principles of religion. Your dejected life is uncomfortable to youiselves, and of very ill use to others. '.
Iufer. 4. If Christ be the consolation of believers, then let aU' that desire comfort in this world, or in that to come, embrace Jesus- Christ, and get real union 'with him. The same hour you shall be in Christ, you shall also be at tbe fountain-head of all consolations: thy foul shall be then a pardoned soul, and a pardoned soul hath all reason in the world to be a joyful soul: in that day the conscience shall be sprinkled with the blood of Christ; and a sprinkled conscience hath all the reason, io the world to be a comforting conscience: in that day you become the children of your Father in heaven, and he that hath a Father in heaven, hath all reason to be the joyfullest man upon earth; in that day you are delivered from the sting and hurt of death; and he that is delivered from the sting of death, hath the best realbo to take in the comfort of life. O come to Christ! come to Christtill you come to Christ, no true comfort can come to you.
"^ flC J^C "^ ^fc 5^ 3jc 4c
Enforcing the general Exhortation, by a seventh Motive drawn from the first Benefit purchased by Christ.
Eph. i. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of fins, according to the riches of his grace.
SI X great motives have been presented already from the titles of Christ, to draw the hearts of sinners to him; more are now to be offered from the benefits redounding to believers by Chi ist; essaying, by all means, to win the hearts of men to Christ. To this end I shall, in the first place, open that glorious privilege of gospel-f emission, freely and fully conferred upon all that come to Christ by saith, "in whom we have-redemption bf "saith," d?c
In which words we have, first, a singular benefit, or choice mercy bestowed, viz. redemption, interpreted by way of appofition, the remission of. fins: this is a privilege of the first rank, a mercy by itself; none sweeter, none more desirable among all the benefits that come by Christ. And therefore,
Secondly, You have the price of this mercy, an account what it cost, even the blood of Christ, in whom we have redemption [ through his blood :] precious things are of great price; the blood of Christ is the meritorious cause of remission.
Thirdly, You have here also the impufive cause, moving God to grant pardons at this rate to sinners, and that is said to be the riches of his grace: where, by the way, you see, that the freeness of the grace of God, and the fulness of the satissaction of Christ, meet together without the least jar in the remission of fin, contrary to the vain cavil of the Socinian adversaries-: "In «* whom we have redemption, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace.''
Fourthly, You have the qualified subjetls of this blessed privilege, viz. Believers, in whose name he here speaks, [w] have remission, (i e.) We the saints and saithful in Christ -Jesus, ver. 1. We whom he hath chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and predestinated unto the adoption of children, ver. 4, 5. We that are made accepted in the beloved, ver. 6. It is we, and we only, who have redemption through his blood. Hence observe,
Doct. That all believers, and none but believers, recilve the remission of their sms, through the riches of grace, by the blood of Jesus Christ.
In the explication of this point, three things must be spoken to.
1. That all that are in Ghrist, are in a pardoned slate.
2. That their pardon is the purchase of the blood of Christ. '3. That the riches of grace are manifested in remission.
- First, That all that are in Christ, are in a pardoned state: where I will first shew you what pardon or remission of sin is.
Secondly, That this is the privilege of none but believers.
First, Now remission of sin is the gracious act of God, in and through Christ,"discharging a believing sinner from all the guilt and punishment of his sin, both temporal and eternal.
11 is the act of God; he is the author of remission; none can forgive sins but God only, Mark ii. 7. Against him only, (i. e.) principally and especially, the offence is committed, Psal. li. 4. To his judgment guilt binds over the foul; and who can remit the debt, but the creditor? Mat. vi. 12.
It is an act of God, discharging the sinner; it is God's loosing of one that stood bound, the cancelling of his bond or obligation, called therefore remission, or releasing in the text; the blotting out of our iniquities, or the removing of our sins from us, as it is called in other scriptures; fee Psal. ciii. 11. Micah vii. 18, 19.
It is a gracious act of God, the effect of pure grace, done for his own name's sake, Isa. xliii. 25. discharging us without any - satissaction at all by us: there is much grace in that; and pto' Vol.11. A a a