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put upon thee. He is her watchman by night, and her guardian by day, and never slumbers nor sleeps; he refreshes her every moment, and keeps her by his power: she is indebted to him for both her food and her physic; and he makes all her bed in her sickness; he supports her on the bed of languishing, and he attends her both in the furnace and in the bath, to keep the flame from kindling, and the waters from overflowing; nor will he relinquish his endearing attention till the solemnization of the eternal nuptials takes place. "Let your loins be girded, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them," Luke xii. 37. Oh, unparalleled condescension! He will gird himself with all the power, glory, and majesty, of infinite deity, raise his church from the dead, form it and fashion it like unto his own glorious body, present her to himself without spot, wipe all tears from her eyes, lead her to living fountains, feed her with his own fulness, and set her down amidst all the realities and dainties of paradise. A despised one, that hath such a servant, is better than
"He that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread." Are we blind also? say the Pharisees. O no; burning and shining lights. They shine
in the counterfeited rays of Satan, and burn in rage against Christ as he did. They do the works of their father.
"Stand by thyself, come not near unto me, for I am holier than thou," said another. "These many years do I serve thee," said the elder son in the parable, "and never at any time transgressed I thy commandments." "All these have I kept from my youth up," said the young man; young man; "What lack I yet?" All these honoured themselves, and received honour one from another. And we have
plenty of such in our days. The papist, whose obedience exceeds the demands of the law; the perfectionist, who is complete in the flesh; the self-righteous, with all his stock of natural power and inherent grace; and those who boast of all. their light within, but have none without: these all honour themselves, and are therefore in unbelief; for, "How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour which cometh from God only?" These must want bread, because they cannot believe. "I am the bread of life," says Christ; and "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." But how can you believe? And, if they have no faith, they have no bread.
Their pride will attend them out of the world, for they will honour themselves at the great day. "When saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, and did not minister unto thee?" And again, "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy
name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?"
The grand contest between God and all graceless professors is, who shall have the glory of a sinner's salvation. This glory God claims, and will never give to another; nor will the self-righteous ever give it to him. Hence the Saviour, who stood in the gap and made up the breach, is rejected, and any thing substituted in his room. Free agency is opposed to his sovereignty; the workings of a natural conscience are called inherent grace, and are set up in opposition to the Lord's fulness; dead works stand as a rival to his spotless obedience; and sinless perfection in competition with his sanctification: while, on the other hand, the Lord seeks the lost, shines upon the blind, quickens the dead, gives power to the faint, saves the vilest, heals the sick, and justifies the ungodly. And this is the glory of God's elect, while all others labour in vain. It is going about to establish their own righteousness, being too blind to see, and too proud to submit to the righteousness of God. Such shall stumble, and fall, and be snared, and be broken, and be taken. They stumble and take offence at the Son of God; they are broken off from both covenants, and taken in their own craftiness; for what can men hang upon who reject Christ? And this is now the case with the Jews; they are driven to such shifts as to pray on their death-bed that their own death may atone for their sins. These are the men who honour themselves,
and yet lack the bread of life, and will perish to all eternity in their wants. It is intolerable to them to have their honour laid in the dust, and therefore it must lie in the flames; for, "He that exalteth himself shall be abased." At the great day it will be seen, and shall be acknowledged by all, that "He that is despised and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread."
He that is despised is better than he that honoureth himself, &c. Blessed are they that are reviled and persecuted for Christ's sake, for great is their reward in heaven. But the Lord pronounces his wo upon professors when all men speak well of them.
But a member of the Laodicean church, who is rich, increased with goods, and in need of nothing, thinks it strange to be invited to buy wine and milk without money and without price; and, even if at any time conscience pinch him, he turns a deaf ear to the voice of divine bounty. "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." All such kind invitations are lost upon a free-willer. "The full soul loatheth an honeycomb." And therefore wo unto them that are full, for they shall hunger. All that come to the feast must be brought; a bare invitation brings no guest. "None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper;" therefore bring in the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind,