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wait fo long at your door, as you have made Christ wait upon you. *. Exhort. 7. Lastly, Let us all bless and admire the Lord Jesus - for the continuation of his patience, not to ourselves only, but to that whole liaful Dation in 'which we live.. We thought the treaty of peace had been ended with us; many good men look. iog upon the iniquities and abominations of these times, confi. dering the vanities and backsiding of professors, the heaven-darjog provocations of this atheistical age, concluded in their own hearts, that God would make England another Shiloh. Many faithful ministers of Christ said within themselves, God hath no more work for us to do, and we shall have no more opportubiries to work for God: when lo, beyond the thoughts of all hearts, the merciful and long-suffering Redeemer makes one return more to thefe nations, renews the treaty, and with com, paflion rolled together, speaks to us this day, as to Ephraim of old, how hall i deliver thee? look upon this day, this unex. pected day of mercy, as the fruit and acquisition of the intercefsion of your great advocate in heaven, answerable to that, Luke xiii. 7, 8, 9. Well, God hath put us upon one trial more : if now we bring forth fruit, well; if not, the ax lies at
the root of the tree, Ouce more Christ knocks at our doors, 1. the voice of the bridegroom is heard; those sweet voices, Come
unto me, open to me : your opening to Christ now, will be tito you as the valley of Achor, for a door of hope. But what if all this should be turned into wantonness and formality ? What if your obstinacy and infidelity should wear out the remains of that little strength and time left you, and that former Jabours and forrows have left your ministers? Then aftum est de
nobis, we are gone for ever; then farewel gospel, ministers, rei formation, and all, because we knew not the time of oer visita
tion. What was the dismal doom of God, upon the fruitless vineyard ? Ifa. v. 5. “I will take away the hedge thereof, and ” it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and " it shall be troddeu down: I will also command the clonds, “ that they rain not upon it.” The hedge and the wall are the fpiritual and providential presence of God; these are the defence and safety of his people ; the clouds and the rain are the sweet influences of gospel-ordinances. If the hedge be broken down, God's pleasant plants will soon be eaten up; and if the clouds rain not upon them, their roor will be rorteness, aod their bloffom go up as dust; our churches will soon become as the mountains of Gilbon : therefore see that you know and improve the time of your visitation, i'ii
III. Use of confolation. I shall wind up this fourth doctrine, in two or three words of consolation, to thote that have answered, and are now preparing to aolwer the design and end of Jesus Christ in all his patieoce towards them, by their compliance with bis great de: design and end therein. O blessed bs God, and let his high prailes be for ever in our mouths, that at laft Chrift is like to obtain his end upon fome of us, and that all do not receive the grace of God in vain. And there be three considerations able to wiod up your hearts to the height of praise, if the Lord hath pow made them iodeed willing to open to the Lord Jelus.
Confideration 1. The faith and obedience of your hearts makes it evident, that the Lord's waiting upon you hitherto bath been in porluance of his design of electiog love. What was the reafon God would not take you away by death, though you passed so often upoo the very brink of it, in the days of your unregede racy? And what, think you, was the very reason of the revoçation of your golpel-liberties when they were quite out of sight, and almost out of hope? why surely this was the reason, that you, and such as you are, might be brought to Chrift at last. Therefore though the Lord let you run on so long in fio, yet Still he continued your life, and the means of your salvation, because he had a design of mercy and grace upon you. And now the time of mercy, even the set time is come, Praise ye the Lord.
Consid. 2. You may also see the sovereignty and freeness of divine grace in your vocation : your hearts refifted all along the most powerful means, and importunate calls of Chrift; and would have resisted still, had not free and fovereigo grace overpowered them when the time of love was come. Ah, it was pot the tractableness of thise owo will, the easy temper of thy heart to be wrought upon ; the Lord let thee ftaod loog enough in the state of nature to discover that, there was nothing in na: ture but obftinacy and enmity. Thou did it hear as many powerful sermons, melting prayers, and didst see as many awakening providences before thy heart was opened to Christ, as thou haft Since: get thy heart never opened till now; and why did it o. pen now? Because now the spirit of God joined himself to the word; victorious grace went forth in the word to break the hardness, and conquer the rebellions of thy heart. The gospel was now preached (as the apostle fpeaks, i Pet. i. 12.) « with “ the Holy Ghost fent down from heaven, which things, (faith “ he) the angels desire to look into.” Ah friends, it is a gla. gious sight, worthy of aogelical observation and admiration, tg
behold the effets of the gospel preached, with the Holy Ghost seot dowo from heaven; to fee, when the Spirit comes along with the word, the bliad eyes of finders opened, and they brought into a new world of ravishing objects; to behold fountains of tears flowing for sin, out of hearts lately as bard as the rocks; to see all the bars of ignorance, prejudice, custom, and pobelief, fly open at the voice of the gospel; to see rebels agaioft Christ laying down their arms at his feet, come upon the knee of submission, crying, “ Lord, I will rebel no more; " to see the proud heart ceptered and wrapt up in its own righteousness, now strippiog itself naked, loading itself with all shame and reproach, and made williog that its owo shame should go to the Redeemer's glory, Thele, I say, are fights which angels desire to look ipto. . Certainly your hearts were more tender, and your wills more apt to yield and bend in the days of your youth, than they were now, when fin had so hardened them, and long-contioued cus tom riveted and fixed them, yet then they did not, and now they do yield to the calls and invitations of the gospel. Ascribe all co fovereigo grace, and say, “ Not uoto us, not unto us, but so to thy name give the glory." The observation and experience of our own hearts will furnish us with arguments enough to resist all temptations of self-glorifying and conceit.'
Certainly you were borp not of Aesh, por of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God. · Confid. 3. Lastly, This is a comfortable consideration, that he that waited upon you so long, and won your hearts at last; that hath gained you at the expence of so much pains and patience, will not now forsake you. Poor souls, I quellion not but there are many fears and jealousies within you, that all this will come to nothing, and you shall perish at last. Divers things fomeot these jealousies within your hearts : The weakDess of your own graçes, which alas, are but in their infancy; the fense you have of your own corruptions, and the great strength they still retain : The subtilty of Satan, who employs all his policies to reduce you ; fometimes roaring after his escaped prey with hideous injections, which make your souls to tremble; fometimes the discouragiog apprehensions of the difficulties of religion, how far the spirituality of active obedience, aod the difficulty of passive obedience is above your strength; sometimes feeling within yourfelves fad alterations, by the hid. ing of God's face, and withdrawment of sweet and sepsible communion with him. There, and such like things as these, cause many a qualm to come over your hearts ; but chear up, Christ will not lofe at last what he pursued fo long; he that waited so many years for thy soul, will never cait it away now he hath feated himself in the possession of it.
SE R M O N V. Rev. ïïi. 20. Behold I stand at the dour, [and knock] &c.
Hure of the Lord his action, Pon Of kapokea
TN the former point we have seen the Redeemer's postare, ia I posture of condescending humility, rather the polture of a servant than the Lord of all; Behold I fand at the door. We now come to consider his action, or motion for entrance, I ftaad and knock : This metaphorical action of knocking, signifies 90thing else but the motions made by Christ for entrance into the fouls of singers; and affords us this fifth observation.
Doctrine 5. That every conviction of conscience, and motion ; upon the affeftions of sinners, is a knock of Christ from hea
ven for entrance into their souls. This action of knocking is ascribed sometimes to the soul, and is expressive of its desires to come into the gracious presence and communion of God; fo Mat, vii. 7.“ To him that knocks “ it shall be opened," i. e, to him that seeks by importugate prayer, fellowship and communion with the Lord : But here it is applied to Christ, and is expressive of his importunate de fire to come into union and communion with the souls of fioners. Here I shall open to you the following particulars:
1. What are the doors of the soul at which Cbrift knocks.
4. In what manner he performs this action. Fir/, What are the doors of the soul at which Chrill knocks. You all know that term, Christ here useth, cannot be proper but meraphorical ; it is a figurative speech, the door is that part which is introductive into the house, aod whatever is introduc. tive into the soul, that is the door of the foul. Now in the foul of inan there are many powers and faculties that have this use, and are of an introductive nature, to let things into the foul of man. Some are more outward, as we may speak comparatively; and some more inward, as the doors of our houses are.
Christ knocks orderly at them all, one after another, for the operations of the Spirit disturb not the order of nature..
1. The first door that opens and lets in to the soul is the underftanding : nothing passes into the foul, but it must first come through this door of the understanding; nothing can touch the heart, or move the affections, but what hach first touched the understanding. Hence we read so often in scripture of the openiog of the understandiog, that being, as it were, the fore-door of the foul..
2. Within this is the royal gate of the foul, viz. The will of man, that noble and imperial power. Many things may pass into the mind, or understanding of a man, and yet be able to get no further; the door of the will may be shut against them. There were many precious truths of God let into the underftandings of the Heathens, by the light of nature, but could never get further, their hearts and wil's were locked, and shut up agaiost them; as you may see, Rom. i. 18. “ They held “ the truths of God io unrighteousaess; ” that is, they bound and imprisoned those common notices the law of pature impressed upon their minds, concerning the being and nature of God, and the duties of both tables. These truths could get no further into their souls, and, which is of fad and dreadful consideration, Christ himself stands betwixt these two doors, in the souls of many perfons; he is got into their' understandings, and consciences, they are convinced of the possibility, and necefsity of obtaining Jefus Christ, but still the door of their will is barred agaiost him, which drew from him that sad complaiot, Joho V. 40. “ You will not come unto me that you might have life.” When this door of the will is once effectually opened, then all the inner doors of the affections are quickly set open to receive, aod welcome him ; desire, joy, delight, and all the rest, Nand opeo to him: Thele are the doors at which the Redeemer knocks.
Secondly, Next we must consider what is meant by Christ's knocking at these doors, and what that action implies. In the general, knocking is nothing else but an action significative of the desires of one that is without, to come io ; it is a lign apa, pointed to that eod: And what is Christ's knocking, but a fig. nification to the soul of his earnest desires to come into it; a notice given to the soul of Christ's willingness to possess it for his own habitation ? And it is as much as if Christ should say, foul, thou art the house that was built by my hand, purchased, and redeerned by my blood; I have an unquestionable right to it, and now demand entrance. More particularly, there are divers great things implied in this gracious act of Chris's knocking at the door of the soul.