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What therefore has been said of Zaccheus, may serve as a rule, whereby all may judge whether they have faith or not. You say you have faith ; but how do you prove it? Did you ever hear the Lord Jesus call you by name? Were you ever made to obey that call ?. Did you ever, like Zaccheus, receive Jesus Christ joyfully into your hearts ? Are you influenced, by the faith you say you have, to stand up and confess the Lord Jesus before men ? Were you ever made willing to own, and humble yourselves for, your past offenses? Does your faith work by love, so that you conscientiously lay up, according as God has prospered you, for the support of the poor? Do you give alms of all things that you possess ? Have you made due restitution to those you have wronged? If so, happy are ye; salvation is come to your souls; you are sons, you are daughters of, you shall shortly be everlastingly blessed with faithful Abraham. But, if you are not thus minded, do not deceive your own souls; though you may talk of justification by faith, like angels, it will do you no good; it will only increase your damnation. You hold the truth, but it is in unrighteousness. Your faith being without works, is dead; you have the devil, not Abraham, for your father. Unless you have a faith of the heart, a faith working by love, with devils and damned spirits shall you dwell for evermore.
But it is time now to enforce the latter part of the text. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” These words are spoken by our Savior, in answer to some self-righteous pharisees, who instead of rejoicing with the angels in heaven, at the conversion of such a sinner, murmured, “ that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner.” To vindicate his conduct, he tells them, that this was an act agreeable to the design of his coming; "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." He might have said, the "Son of God." But O the wonderful condescension of our Redeemer! He delights to style himself the Son of man. He came not only to save, “but to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came to Jericho to seek and save Zaccheus; for otherwise Zaccheus would never have been saved by him. But whence came he? Even from heaven, his dwelling place, to this lower earth, this vale of tears, " to seek and save that which was lost;" or all that feel themselves lost, and are willing, like Zaccheus, to receive him into their hearts to save them; with how great a salvation ? even from the guilt, and also from the power of their sins; to make them heirs of God, and joint-heirs with himself, and partakers of that glory which he enjoyed with the Father before the world began. Thus will the Son of man save that which is lost.
He was made the Son of man, on purpose that he might save them. He had no other end but this in leaving his Father's throne, in obeying the moral law, and hanging upon the cross. All that was done and suffered, merely to satisfy, and procure a righteousness for poor, lost undone sinners, and that too without respect of persons." That which was lost.” All of every nation and language, that feel, bewail, and are truly desirous of being delivered from their lost state, did the Son of man come down to seek and to save ; for he is mighty, not only so, but willing, to save to the uttermost all that come to God through him; he will in no wise cast them out. For he is the same to-day, as he was yesterday. He comes now to sinners, as well as formerly; and, I hope, hath sent me out this day to seek, and, under him, to bring home some of you, the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
What say you ? Shall I go home rejoicing, saying, that many like sheep, have gone astray, but they have now believed on Jesus Christ, and so returned home to the great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls? If the Lord would be pleased thus to prosper my handy work, I care not how many legalists and self-righteous pharisees murmur against me, for offering salvation to the worst sinners. For I know the Son of man came to seek and to save them; and the Lord Jesus will now be a guest to the worst publican, the vilest sinner that is among you, if he does but believe on him. Make haste then, O sinners, make haste, and come by faith to Christ. Then, this day, even this hour, nay this moment, if you believe, Jesus Christ shall come and make his eternal abode in your hearts. Which of you is made willing to receive the King of glory? Which of you obeys the call, as Zaccheus did ? Alas! why do you stand still ? How know you, whether Jesus Christ may ever call you again ? Come then, poor, guilty sinners; come away, poor, lost, undone publicans ; make haste, I say, and come away to Jesus Christ. The Lord condescends to invite himself to come under the filthy roofs of the houses of your souls. Do not be afraid of entertaining him; he will fill you with all peace and joy in believing. Do not be ashamed to run before the multitude, and to have all manner of evil spoken against you falsely for his sake. One sight of Christ will make amends for all. Zaccheus was laughed at; and “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." But what of that? Zaccheus is now crowned in glory; as you also shall shortly be, if you believe on, and are reproached for Christ's sake. Do not, therefore, put me off with frivolous excuses ; there is no excuse that can be given for your not coming to Christ. You are lost, undone, without him; and if he is not
glorified in your salvation, he will be glorified in your destruction; if he does not come and make his abode in your hearts, you must take up an eternal abode with the devil and his angels. O that the Lord would be pleased to pass by some of you at this time! O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my calling will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in. O that you once felt what it is to receive Jesus Christ into your hearts !
You would soon, like Zaccheus, give him every thing. You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him; you are whole and not broken-hearted; you are not sick, at least not sensible of your sickness; and, therefore, no wonder you do not apply to Jesus Christ, that great, that almighty physician. You do not feel yourselves lost, and therefore do not seek to be found in Christ. O that God would wound you with the sword of his Spirit, and cause his arrows of conviction to stick deep in your hearts ! O that he would dart a ray of divine light into your souls! For if you do not feel yourselves lost without Christ, you are of all men most miserable : your souls are dead; you are not only an image of hell, but in some degree hell itself: you carry hell about with you, and you know it not. O that I could see some of you sensible of this, and hear you cry out, “Lord, break this hard heart; Lord deliver me from the body of this death ; draw me, Lord make me willing to come after thee; I am lost; Lord, save me, or I perish !” Were this your case, how soon would the Lord stretch forth his almighty hand, and say, be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid ? What a wonderful calm would then possess your troubled souls ! Your fellowship would then be with the Father and the Son. Your life would be hid with Christ in God.
Some of you, I hope, have experienced this, and can say, I was lost, but I am found; I was dead, but am alive again, The son of man came and sought me in the day of his power, and saved my sinful soul. And do you repent that you came to Christ? Has he not been a good Master? Is not his presence sweet to your souls? Has he not been faithful to his promise? And have you not found, that even in doing and suffering for him, there is an exceeding present great reward ? I am persuaded you will answer, Yes. O then, ye saints, recommend and talk of the love of Christ to others, and tell them, what great things the Lord has done for you! This may encourage others to come unto him. And who knows but the Lord may make you fishers of men ? The story of Zaccheus was left on record for this purpose. No truly convicted soul,
after such an instance of divine grace has been laid before him, need despair of mercy. What if you are publicans ? Was not Zaccheus a publican? What if you are chief among the publicans ? Was not Zaccheus likewise ? What if you are rich? Was not Zaccheus rich also ? And yet almighty grace made him more than conqueror over all these hindrances. All things are possible to Jesus Christ; nothing is too hard for him: he is the Lord almighty. Our mountains of sins must all fall before this great Zerubabel. On him God the Father has laid the iniquities of all that shall truly believe ; in his own body he bare them on the tree. There, there, by faith, O mourners in Sion, may you see your Savior hanging with arms stretched out, and hear him, as it were, thus speaking to your souls; “Behold how I have loved you ! Behold my hands and my feet! Look, look into my wounded side, and see a heart flaming with love: love stronger than death. Come into my arms, O sinners, come wash your spotted souls in my heart's blood. See, here is a fountain opened for all sin and all uncleanness! See, O guilty souls, how the wrath of God is now abiding upon you. Come, haste away, and hide yourselves in the clefts of my wounds; for I am wounded for your transgressions; I am dying that you may live for evermore. Behold, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so I am here lifted up upon a tree. See how I have become a curse for you. The chastisement of your peace is upon me. I am thus scourged, thus wounded, thus crucified, that you by my stripes may be healed. O look unto me all ye trembling sinners, even to the ends of the earth ! Look unto me by faith, and you
shall be saved : for I came thus to be obedient even unto death, that I might save that which was lost."
And what say you to this, O sinners ? Suppose you saw the King of glory dying, and thus speaking to you ; would you believe on him ? No, you would not, unless you believe on him now. For though he is dead, he yet speaketh all this in the scripture; nay, in effect, says all this in the words of the text, “ The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Do not therefore any longer crucify the Lord of glory. Bring those rebels, your sins, which will not have him to reign over them, bring them out to him. Though you cannot slay them yourselves, yet he will slay them for you. The power
of his death and resurrection is as great now as formerly. Make haste, therefore, make haste, O ye publicans and sinners, and give the dear Lord Jesus your hearts, your whole hearts. If you refuse to hearken to this call of the Lord, remember your damnation will be just. I am free from the blood of you all. You must acquit my Master and me at the
terrible day of judgment. O that you may know the things that belong to your everlasting peace, before they are eternally hid from your eyes ! Let all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity say, Amen.
THE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION.
PHILIPPIANS, iii. 10.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.
The apostle, in the verses before the text, had been cautioning the Philippians to beware of the concision, Judaizing teachers who endeavored to subvert them from the simplicity of the gospel, by telling them they still ought to be subject to circumcision and all the other ordinances of Moses. And that they might not think he spoke out of prejudice, and condemned their tenets because he himself was a stranger to the Jewish dispensation, he acquaints them, that if any other man thought he had whereof he might trust in the flesh, or seek to be justified by the outward privileges of the Jews, he had more ; for he was circumcised the eighth day; of the stock of Israel, (not a proselyte, but a native Israelite ;) of the tribe of Benjamin, (the tribe which adhered to Judah when the others revolted ;) an Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Jew, both of the father's and mother's side ;) and as touching the law, a pharisee, the strictest sect among all Israel, To show that he was no Gallio in religion, through his great, though misguided zeal, he had persecuted the church of Christ ; and as touching the righteousness of the law (as far as the pharisees' exposition of it went) was blameless, and had kept it from his youth. But, when it pleased God, who separated him from his mother's womb, to reveal his Son in him, What things were gain to me, (he says) those privileges I boasted myself in, and sought to be justified by, I counted loss for Christ. And that they might not think he repented that he had done so, he tells them he was now more confirmed than ever in his judgment. For, says he, "yea, doubtless, (the expression in the original rises with a holy triumph) and I do count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." And that they might not object that he said, and did not, he ac