Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

not obey him? Or, canst thou be his servant, and never serve him ?

" Be not deceived, such as thou sowest shalt thou reap :" he is none of thy Saviour, whilst thou rejectest his grace in thy heart, by which he should save thee. Come, what has he saved thee from? Has he saved thee from thy sinful lusts, thy worldly affections and vain conversations? If not, then he is none of thy Saviour. For though he be offered a Saviour to all, yet he is actually a Saviour to those only, that are saved by him; and none are saved by him, that live in those evils, by which they are lost from God, and which he came to save them from.

It is sin that Christ is come to save man from, and death and wrath, as the wages of it: but those that are not saved, that is, delivered by the power of Christ in their souls, from the power that sin has had over them, can never be saved from the death and wrath, that are the assured wages of the sin they live in.

So that, look how far people obtain victory over those evil dispositions and fleshly lusts they have been addict. ed to, so far they are truly saved, and are witnesses of the redemption that comes by Jesus Christ. His name shews this work : " and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." " And lo (said John of Christ) the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world !»c that is, behold him, whom God hath given to enlighten people, and for salvation to as many as receive him, and his light and grace in their hearts, and take up their daily cross, and follow him : such as rather deny themselves the pleasure of fulfilling their lusts, than sin against the knowledge he has given them of his will; or do that they know they ought not to do.

a Gal. vi. 7.

b Matt. i. 21.

© John i. 29.

CHAP. II.

Sect. 1. By this Christendom may see her lapse, how foul it

is; and next, the worse for her pretence of christianity. 2. But there is mercy with God upon repentance, and propitiation in the blood of Jesus. 3. He is the light of the world, that reproves the darkness, that is, the evil of the world; and he is to be known within. 4. Christendom, like the inn of old, is full of other guests : she is advised to believe in, receive and apply to Christ. 5. Of the nature of true faith; it brings power to overcome every appearance of evil: this leads to consider the cross of Christ, which has been so much wanted. 6. The apostolic ministry, and end of it ; its blessed effect; the character of apostolic times. 7. The glory of the cross, and its triumph over the heathen world. A measure to Christendom, what she is not, and should be. 8. Her declension, and cause of it. 9. The miserable effects that followed. 10. From the consideration of the cause, the cure may be more easily known, viz. not faithfully taking up the daily cross; then faithfully taking it daily up, must be the remedy.

Sect. 1. By all which has been said, O Christendom! and by that better help, if thou wouldst use it, the lamp the Lord has lighted in thee, not utterly extinct, it may evidently appear, first, how great and foul thy backsliding has been, who, from the temple of the Lord, art become a cage of unclean birds; and of an house of prayer, a den of thieves, a synagogue of Satan, and the receptacle of every defiled spirit. Next that, under all this manifest defection, thou hast nevertheless valued thy corrupt self upon thy profession of christianity and fearfully deluded thyself with the hopes of salvation. The first makes thy disease dangerous, but the last almost incurable.

Sect. 2. Yet because there is mercy with the God of bowels, that he may be feared, and that he takes no de. light in the eternal death of poor sinners, no, though backsliders themselves, but is willing all should come to the knowledge and obedience of the truth, and be saved. He has sent forth his son a propitiation, and given him a Saviour to take away the sins of the whole world, that those that believe and follow him may feel the righteousness of God in the remission of their sins, and blotting out their transgressions for ever. Now, behold the remedy! an infallible cure, one of God's appointing ; a precious elixir indeed, that never failed; and that universal medicine which no malady could ever escape.

Sect. 3. But thou wilt say, what is Christ, and where is he to be found? And how received and applied in order to this mighty cure? I tell thee then : first, he is the great spiritual light of the world, that enlightens every one that comes into the world; by which he manifests to them their deeds of darkness and wickedness, and reproves them for committing them. Secondly, he is not far away from thee, as the apostle Paul said of God to the Athenians : behold (says Christ himself) “ I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." What door can this be, but that of the heart of man?

Sect. 4. Thou, like the inn of old, hast been full of other guests : thy affections have entertained other lovers: there has been no room for thy Saviour in thy soul. Wherefore salvation is not yet come into thy house, though.it is come to thy door, and thou hast been often proffered it, and hast professed it long. But if he calls, if he knocks still, that is, if his light yet shines, if it reproves thee still, there is hopes thy day is not over ; and that repentance is not hid from thine eyes; but his love is after thee still, and his holy invitation continues to save ihee.

Luke i. 77.

Rom, iii. 25. Heb.is,

a Ezek. xviii. 20, 23, 24. Matt. i. 21. 24 to 28. 1 John ii. 1, 2.

b Acts xvii. 27. Rey. ii. 20.

Wherefore, o Christendom! believe, receive, and apply him rightly; this is of absolute necessity, that thy soul may live for ever with him. He told the Jews, “ If you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins; and whither I go ye cannot come.” And because they believed him not, they did not receive him nor any benefit by him: but they that believed him, received him: " and as many as received him,” his own beloved disciple tells us, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, which are born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." That is, who are not children of God after the fashions, prescriptions, and traditions of men, that call themselves his church and people (which is not after the will of flesh and blood, and the invention of carnal man, unacquainted with the regeneration and power of the Holy Ghost) but of God; that is, according to his will, and the working and sanctification of his spirit and word of life in them. And such were ever well versed in the right application of Christ, for he was made to them indeed propitiation, reconciliation, salvation, righteousness, redemption and justification.

So I say to thee, unless thou believest, that he that stands at the door of thy heart and knocks, and sets thy sins in order before thee, and calls thee to repentance, be the Saviour of the world, thou wilt die in thy sins, and where he is gone, thou wilt never come. For if thou believest not in him, it is impossible that he should do thee good, or effect thy salvation : Christ works not against faith but by it. It is said of old, he did not many mighty works in some places, because the people believed not in him. So that if thou truly believest in him, thine ear will be attentive to his voice in thee, and the door of thine heart open to his knocks. Thou wilt yield to the discoveries of his light, and the teachings of his

grace will be very dear to thee. .

John riü. 22, 24.

d John i. 12, 13.

e Mark vi. 5.

Sect. 5. It is the nature of true faith to beget an holy fear of offending God, a deep reverence to his precepts, and a most tender regard to the inward testimony of his spirit, as that, by which his children, in all ages, have been safely led to glory. For as they that truly believe, receive Christ in all his tenders to the soul, so, as true it is, that those who receive him thus, with him, receive power to become the sons of God: that is, an inward force and ability to do whatever he requires : strength to mortify their lusts, controul their affections, resist evil motions, deny themselves, and overcome the world in its most enticing appearances. This is the life of the blessed Cross of Christ, which is the subject of the following discourse, and what thou, O man, must take up, if thou intendest to be the disciple of Jesus. Nor canst thou be said to receive Christ, or believe in him, whilst thou rejectest his cross. For as receiving of Christ is the means appointed of God to salvation, so bearing thy daily cross after him is the only true testimony of receiving him ; and therefore it is enjoined by him, as the great token of discipleship, " Whosoever will be my disciple, let him take up his daily cross, and follow me."

This, Christendom, is that thou hast so much wanted, and the want of which has proved the only cause of thy miserable declension from pure christianity. To consider which well, as it is thy duty, so it is of great use to thy restoration.

For as the knowledge of the cause of any distemper guides the physician to make a right and safe judgment in the application of his medicine, so it will much enlighten thee in the way of thy recovery, to know and weigh the first cause of thy spiritual lapse and malady that has befallen thee. To do which, a general view of thy primitive estate, and consequently of their work that first laboured in the christian vineyard, will be needful; and if therein something be repeated, the weight and dignity of the subject will bear it without the need of an apology

f Mat. xvi. 24.

« ZurückWeiter »