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facraments cannot do it, the loudest knocks or call will not do it: Thou, Lord, must put to thy helping hand, or it cannot be done, for it is a work peculiar to thy almighty arm. I have been looking to all airths for help, but, Lord, there is none in heaven or earth but thee alone : Every one of the creatures, means, and or. dinances say, it is not in me: Every one of the saints and angels say, as the king of Israel did to that poor ftarving woman, 2 King vi. 27. “ If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee?” So if thou, Lord, help me not, I must perish.
(3.) In a deep sense of your own impotency, flee to God's power, and plead it. Do you feel the Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir of your own corruptions swelling within you ? Say with Jeholhaphat, 2 Chron. XX. 12. “ We have no might against this great company, neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee.” If you could win this length, then were there good ground of hope ; for, when we see that we are wholly helplefs and shiftlefs in ourselves, then God's help is neareft : “ When I am weak (faith the apostle, 2 Cor. xii. 10.) then am I strong.” Renounce, then, all help in the creature, and look to the Creator : Say, Lord, though it be impossible with man, yet thou hart told me, Mark X. 17. " That with thee all things are pofsible :" Though I may despair of all help in myself and others, yet thou hast forbid me to despair of help in thee, therefore I flee to thee alone. “ Lord, give what thou commandest, and then command what thou wilt."
(4.) Plead thy extreme need of Christ, and of faith to give thee an interest in him. The world cannot tell thee, O finner, how great thy need is : There is not a
tarving man that needs meat, a wounded man that needs a physician, a shipwrecked man that needs a plank, a dying man with the hive-rattling in his throat, that needs breath so much as thou needest Christ. What wilt thou do on a death-bed, or at a tribunal, without an interest in him ? And, what will become of thee to all eternity ? Go to him, then, and seek faith in Chrift, as a malefactor going to die would do his life : Fall
down at his feet and cry, Give me faith and strength to carry me to Christ's blood, or else I die. I may live without friends, wealth, honours, and pleasures; but I cannot live without faith. I am loft, undone, a dead man, and I perish for ever without it. Lord, deny me what thou wilt, but deny me not faith. It had been better for me never to have been born, than to live without Christ, and an interest in him : If I win not to the fountain of Christ's blood, I will ank eternally in that scalding lake of fire and brimstone : If I go to Christ's table without faith, I will shed his blood, and eat and drink my own damnation.
(5.) Plead with God, how easy it is for him to help thee; cry with the Pfalmist, Pfal. lxxx, 1. “O thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth :" It will cost thee no more pains to work faith in me, and do all that I desire, than doth the sun to pine forth : Yea, thou canst more easily put forth thy power and grace, than the sun can dart out its beams. It is no trouble or loss to the sun to shine forth; so neither will it be to thee to thew thy power and mercy: A look or touch from thee would do it; a little thing will save a drowning man : Lord, suffer me not to perish, when it is so easy for thee to prevent it. Were it any loss or trouble for God to help us, we might well doubt of it; but, since it is none, we may cry with hope, Lord, grant such an hungry beggar an alms out of the ocean of thy bounty; for ihou wilt never miss it. As the sun, the more it shines, displays its glory the more ; so thou wilt gain glory by putting forth thy power to help such a helpless creature as I am.
Obje£7. “ But I have often looked and cried to him for help, but alas, I am such a grievous finner, he doth not answer me, unless it be with a frown.”
Anf. 1. It may be there is some idol or fin still harboured, that thou art not willing to part with. This may be the Achan in the camp, that caused the Lord to hide his face : Search for it, and cast out the accursed thing : “ Let not thine eye picy it, neither do thou spare it." If thou canst not find it, go humbly to God and
cry,“ Shew me, Lord, wherefore thou contendest with me."
2. It may be thou art not fervent enough; God keeps the door bolted, that you may be provoked to knock the harder, Mat. vii. 3. “ Alk, and it shall be given you : seek, and you shall find : knock, and it shall be opened to you." In which one verse, Christ gives you three calls to fervency and importunity in prayer, each stronger than another; ask, seek, knock. The woman of Canaan readily took up the meaning of Christ's refufing to answer her; she turns the more fervent and importunate, and so gets all her will.'
3. Resolve, whatever discouragement you meet with, you will never quit the throne of grace, but you will always lay yourself in Christ's way, and never look to another for help; yea, that you will die waiting on him. Remember the Psalmist's experience, Pfal. xl. 1. « I waited patiently for the Lord, and at length he inclined his ear, and heard my cry." There was never any yet that waited on him, had cause to be ashamed. You may meet with many discouragements and temp. tations, and be put to very sad thoughts ; but you must be resolute in looking to Christ for help, come what will: And, in imitation of the four lepers at the fiege of Samaria, reason with yourself, if I live at a distance from Christ, I'll infallibly perish, there is no hope for me : If Christ pity me not when I am waiting on him, I shall but perilh ; but yet there is hope, he will have pity at length: Therefore, if I perish, I'll perish at Christ's footstool, looking up to him, where never one yet perished, and I hope he will not let me be the first.
4. Make use of arguments in pleading with him,
(1.) Plead the freeness of his mercy. It needs no motive, and expects no worth ; but, “ whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely." It runs freely, so that mountains cannot stop the current of it, more than rocks can stop the ebbing and flowing of the sea. Indeed, Lord, if fin and unworthiness could stop mercy, I might despair, for I am as unworthy a creature as ever the sun shined upon ; but, blessed be God, grace is free.
(2.) Plead Christ's commission, Isa. Ixi. 1. He was fent « to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prisondoors to them that are bound.” Lord, here is a poor prisoner, a frozen, locked, boundup heart: Here is employment for thee : Loose me, knock off my fetters, and “ bring my soul out of prison. Thou haft all fulness dwelling in thee, and thou thou hast it given thee to bestow on such miserable objects as I am ; Lord, here is a naked back for thee to cover, and an empty stomach for thee to fill, a wounded soul for thee to cure. « Lord, thou camest to seek and to save that which was lost ;" and, wilt thou not be found of a loft sinner that is seeking thee?
(3.) Plead the communicativeness of his mercy to da thers. He had compassion upon mens bodies while he was on earth, even the bodies of wicked men, such as the unthankful lepers; he let none of them go without healing, that came to him. Say, Lord, didst thou thew so much compassion to diseased bodies, and wilt thou not have some pity on my dying foul, that is far more precious than carcases of clay? Plead his compassion that he hath shewed to the worst of Ginners, such as Manaffeh, Mary Magdalene, Paul, and those who murdered him.- Plead his compassion towards the finally obftinate and impenitent, such as Jerusalem, over which he wepe, Luke xix. Lord, did thy heart melt with pity to such, and wilt thou not pity a humbled finner, that confefTeth his sin, and would fain be reconciled to God? Is not mercy the work thou delightest in? Mic. vii. 18.
Lastly, Labour for a sense of the misery of a Christ. less staie, of your great need of Christ, and of the happiness of being found in him: And, in a sense thereof, look to Christ, and make a mint to take hold of him. Stir up yourself to it, and rest your soul on him as you can, and God will help you, and communicate strength. He will not fail to notice and encourage an honest mint, Jer. xxx. 21. “ Who is this that engageth his heart to approach to me?” He will pity and help such. Try, O poor soul, if you can get a grip of Christ, especially upin a fucrament occasion, when you are nearer him Vol. I.
than than at other times; If you cannot apply Christ to yourself, and say, he is mine; yet apply yourself to Christ, and say, I would fain be thine, yea, I am resolved to be thine. Go forth to Christ with all the faith you can win at; say, with the poor man, “ Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” You must not fit still and do nothing, but use all means in your power ; for it is in the use of those that God works faith: Hoise up the fails, and wait for the gales.
Direct. XI. Come and join yourselves unto the Lord,
in a perpetual and personal Covenant, before you go to his Table.
UNLESS you be within the covenant of grace, you have no right to the seal of the covenant; now, if ye would be found within the covenant, you must, by faith, take hold of the covenant, and heartily go in with the gracious terms and contrivance of it. And this is what we commonly call personal covenanting with God. And the more express and distinct we are in this mat. ter, we will have the more comfort.
As for the nature, necessity, and manner of personal covenanting, I refer the reader to my Sacramental Catechism, from p. 118. to 136. (first Edit) where this subject is largely handled.
Personal covenanting is the communicant's best token, and without it you cannot warrantably come to the Lord's table. You will mock God, and deceive your own souls, if you take the great seal of heaven, and append it to a blank, or a sheet of clean paper : And this you do, when you communicate without previous covenanting with God. O beware of appending hea. ven's seal to a blank, left the King of heaven te wroth, and fill up the blank with a curse.
O communicant, come then, take hold of the covenant of grace, and give a hearty and fiducial consent to its gracious offers and terms. You are miserable while under a covenant of works; be convinced of it, and speedily betake yourselves to the new covenant, and the