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whom I am well pleased." So that whatsoever word there is in all this speech, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; whatsoever word there is in that sentence concerning Christ, it is given also unto the saints, unto believers; so greatly does he improve his own favour and acceptance for our acceptance, and so great acceptance have we through Christ.
Yea, as the Lord Jesus Christ is said to be made sin for us, in the abstract; so are we said to be made righteousness by him; in the abstract too: as we have it in the ist of the Canticles, and the 3rd verse. “ Therefore do the virgins love thee:” so we read it in our English translation; but in the Hebrew it is, “ Therefore do the righteousnesses love thee." The saints and believers through Christ, are called, righteousnesses, in the abstract. So that here is the great acceptance, that the saints, and believers do find through this acceptation of Jesus Christ our High Priest.
But, suppose a man be very poor, and lives in some mean cottage; which hath but one room to lie, dine, and sup in ; and that a smoky, dark room too: and this poor creature comes and prays unto God : will the great and glorious God of heaven and earth take notice of such a prayer, from such a worm as this ? and shall be find acceptance with God the Father?
For answer to that, look into the iind of the Canticles, and the 14th verse. “O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance,” (they are the words of Christ) “ let me hear thy voice:" why? " for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." But I pray, where now is the church? In the clefts of the rock, and in the secret places of the stairs : in a hole under the stairs (as it were) in a poor distressed place, an hidden place; now (says he) here thy voice is sweet, and thy countenance comely.
Well, but suppose that a duty, or service be performed by one that is weak; weak in grace, or weak in parts and gifts : for that is my case, (will some say) I am one of very weak parts and gifts, and I have little memory, or ability of speech; there are some men indeed, that are of great parts, and graces, and when they pray, I make no question but their prayers do find acceptance; but as for me, I am one of very
mean abilities; Oh! can there be any acceptance of such prayers as mine are through Jesus Christ ? Will God answer such stammerings, lispings, half words, broken imperfect petitions ?
Yes, we know that the pair of turtles were accepted in the time of the law, by those that could offer no more. Surely much more now, will a poor turtle be accepted in the time of the gospel, and those that could but bring goats-hair towards the making of the tabernacle, they were welcome: and shall it not be so now, much more in the times of the gospel ? That which is little in regard of quantity, it may be great in regard of proportion; as the widow's mite was. The sun falls (we know) with a common influence upon all the herbs, and plants : but there is a several sweetness, and flowers that are of a several, and different growth : there is the rose, and there is the violet : the violet is not so tall as the rose, the violet lies on the ground; but though the violet be not so tall
the violet hath its sweetness: and it may say to the rose, though I be not so tall, yet I have my sweetness as well as thou hast. So now, there is a common influence from Jesus Christ upon all the saints, and they have their several sweetness; one as the rose, and the other as the violet: it may be, here lies a poor christian upon the ground like the violet, and is not so tall in gifts and parts as the other is; but yet notwithstanding, he hath his sweetness. Christ takes that lovingly that comes from love, whatever it be, though it be never so weak. Well, but suppose that a man's duty, or service be
performed with many failings, infirmities, hardness of heart, straitness of spirit, distracting thoughts ; this is my case: Oh! is there any acceptance for such a duty as this is ? will the Lord Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, take such a duty as this is, and carry it in unto God the Father, and is there any acceptance for such a duty as this?
We know how it was with Nicodemus, and the woman that came trembling, and touched the hem of Christ's garment. And we must know that in every duty, that we do perform, there are two things : there is the sacrifice; and there is the obedience in offering the sacrifice. Though the sacrifice may be imperfect, yet your obedience in offering the sacrifice, may be perfect, with gospel-perfection. It is in re
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But how doth all this make for our comfort, or for our grace?
Surely, we cannot but see already how it doth make for our comfort.
Is it not a comfortable thing, for a man to know, that his
duties are not lost? that his prayer is not lost? that his
fore there is not a hair of your duty lost, not one grain of your duty lost: is not this an unspeakable comfort unto a poor soul, that knows that nothing is lost of all the prayers it hath made unto God, that there is no loss at all? The very pantings of our hearts at the throne of grace, are received into the bosom of our heavenly Father.
Further, is it not a comfort for a man to have liberty to go unto the mercy-seat, and there for to meet with God? It is said of wicked men, “ That they sit in the seat of the scornful." There is (it seems then the seat of the scornful; and there is a mercy-seat: a drunkard, when he is with his drunken company, and sits upon the ale bench (it may be) scorning, and jeering at some of the godly, making songs on them, he is set upon the seat of the scornful; that is a cursed seat. Aye, but there is another seat, there is a mercy-seat; and there is never a poor saint and child of God, but he may go in to the mercy-seat of the Lord Jesus Christ that hath all the favour and acceptance in heaven; he carries him in to the mercy-seat, and God the Father will never put him by: what comfort is here!
Besides, is it not a great comfort to a man; for to know how it shall go with him at the great day of judgment? When there shall be hundred thousands at the right hand of Christ; and hundred thousands at the left hand of Christ; when all faces shall gather paleness? Oh! (says one) that I did but know, how it shall go with me at that day! This doctrine tells us, That the Lord Jesus Christ is our judge at that day, and he that shall judge us then, he takes our prayers and all our duties now, and carries them in unto the presence of God the Father, and by him we have acceptance, and according to these we shall be judged. Surely then, if he takes our duties and carries them in for acceptance, unto God the Father, he will never judge you for them, and condemn you for them at that day. Here is comfort!
Once more; is it not a comfort, for a poor beggar to be relieved at a rich man's door? We are all beggars in regard of heaven : and the Lord Jesus Christ, he does not only come forth and serve us, but he takes us (poor beggars) by the hand, and leads us in to his Father. Oh! what comfort is here! what comfort is here!
Indeed if I were able to say, that the Lord did accept my