« PreviousContinue »
presence and glory, and your eternal habitation will be with unclean spirits in the regions of torment and despair.
But bad though your present state be, yet the gospel sets before you perfect deliverance. You are invited to come and be made clean. The fountain is open, and if you now find it in your heart to make use of it, you may be washed in it without money and without price. All is free. Your sins shall be freely pardoned and your pollutions freely cleansed. Free grace shall do all for you, and all in you. And this day you have an offer of all its blessings. Close in with it, and they are all yours. But if you now reject them, you cannot pretend that you never heard of your danger: for you have now been warned of it. You cannot plead your ignorance of the merits of Christ's blood : for you have now heard what great things the scripture says of it. From it are received all the graces of time and all the blessings of eternity; and you have been invited to come and to be cleansed freely in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. If then you still refuse to be washed in this fountain, you are without excuse: for if you reject this wilfully, and harden your hearts against it, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Meditate upon this scripture. Think seriously what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God. And may the eternal Spirit set in with this consideration, and so effectually convince you of the pollution and guilt of your sins, that you may seek to be made clean, and may find the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing you from all sin !
2. Are there any of you, my brethren, who are now desiring to be made clean, and to be washed from all your sins ? For you the fountain stands open, and what should hinder you from making use of it? Do you doubt of its power to cleanse you Remember it is the blood of the everlasting covenant. It cleanses in virtue of the covenant of the ever bles sed Trinity, and consequently by the power of the Godhead." Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have agreed to make it almighty to do away sin; so that it can cleanse not only in time, but it can cleanse also for ever and ever. This is the plain doctrine of seripture, and if you believe it why do you not find great joy and peace in believing it?
Perhaps you think it can cleanse, but you are afraid it is not appointed for your cleansing. Nay, my brethren, reason not against your own comforts. For whom was it appointed, if not for you who see your want of it, and who are desirous of experiencing its divine power? You have the warrant of God's word, authorizing you to wash and be clean. The text says the fountain was for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for the professing members of the visible church, that whenever any of them were convinced of their uncleanness they might make use of this fountain, and have their hearts cleansed from an evil conscience. O reject not then the offered blessing ! Take it upon the warrant and authority of God's word, and doubt not but the fountain is open for you.
Why then are you not cleansed in it? Are you afraid that your sins are so many and so great that you cannot be made clean ? As to their number it can cleanse from all sin, and as to their greatness it can take out the guilt of scarlet-crimson sins, the greatest that possibly can be; therefore this is no ob. jection. You may conie with all your sins and be washed freely from all in the fountain of Christ's blood.
Come then-But you draw back, you fear it would be presumption in such a sinner as you are. Whit! is it presumption to believe in the word of God, which cannot be broken, and to rely upon the promises of God, which are as unchangeable as himself? No: it is glorifying God, and honouring his word. Whereas you make God a liar by your false modesty, as if he could break his word to you, and as if you
might be disappointed when you claimed the fulfilling of his promises. My brethren, these things cannot be. God's word and promises are, like himself, without any variableness or shadow of turning, and whatever they offer you is yours, if you rely upon him for the receiving of it from the free grace. And since you have the authority of God's word and promises to silence your doubts and fears, are you resolved in the strength of grace to rely upon them? If you be, then they shall be made good to you. Heaven and earth shall pass away rather than one tittle of them shall fail. Your robes shall be washed in the blood of the Lamb, and whatever graces and blessings Jesus purchased for his people shall be yours in time and in eternity.
3. Perhaps some persons may inquire, of what use is this fountain to believers ? The uses of it are many and great. All their graces flow from it, all their duties are to be washed in it, and all their comforts are maintained by it. Surely then it is of great and infinite service to believers. Under the third head of this discourse I considered the high character given in scripture of this fountain. From it are received redemption, forgiveness of sins, justification, peace with God, sanctification, freedom of access to God as a reconciled Father, eternal redemption, and the robe of everlasting righteousness, in which the saints stand confirmed in bliss. All these graces and blessings flow from the fountain of Christ's blood, and flow freely. They cost nothing. They are the free gifts of our loving Saviour, which, of his abundant mercy, he bestows upon his people; and this makes his blood very precious to them, that the gifts, which are inestimable, they receive from it freely; and by their repeated trials of its worth and value they grow in the knowledge and love of its preciousness; for they find it not only necessary for their sins, but also for their duties.' The holiest duty which was ever done by a mere man wanted washing in this fountain. The ceremonial law taught this doctrine in a very clear manner : for upon the holy crown of the high-priest there was a plate of pure gold with this inscription, “ Holiness to the Lord.” “ And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.”—Exod. xxviii. 38. Herein he represented the office of the high-priest of our profession, who bears the iniquity of our holy things: for there is imperfection in every duty, in every act of obedience some short-coming, which requires the atoning blood of Christ, that it may be accepted before the Lord. There is no believer who loves God in that perfect manner which the spirituality of the law requires. This appears very evidently from their failings in the services which they pay him. When do they pray without some wandering thoughts? When do they bear the word as in the presence of God, and receive it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God ? Do they not sometimes hear with great dulness, and at other times are not able to mix faith with what they hear? Are they not negligent in searching the scriptures, and in praying for a blessing when they do search them? How little do they treasure up in their memories, and how little fruit does the engrafted word bring forth in their lives ? When they go to the Lord's table, how often do they complain of their want of devotion and gratitude ? And therefore their services, yea, the very best of them, because of these imperfections and short-comings, would not be acceptable, unless they were washed in the fountain of Christ's blood. Sensible of this, they live by faith upon fresh applications of it, suing for its merit and hoping for its efficacy in every thing they do. And as the acceptance of their duties, so their comforts are derived from the blood of Christ. Their love, their peace, their joy, flow from this fountain. This is their continual matter of rejoicing, that the blood of Christ was freely shed for them, and that be who gave his blood for them will with it give them all things. This bears them up under trials, strengthens them against temptations, supports them in sickness, and arms them against death. They know that all these things are working together under God for their good. Yea, they experience it, and that makes them happy, happy in time and happy in eternity. What is now their crown of rejoicing below will be much more so above. Then their joy will be full, when they shall join that innumerable company whom no man can number, and with them give honour and glory, and blessing and praise, to him that was slain and hath redeemed them unto God by his blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hath made them kings and priests unto God and his Father. Then they will know how to value that blood which brought them to such perfect and eternal blessedness. O Lord, help us to set a greater value upon it than we commonly do! Teach us more our want of it, and of its worth. Supply us more abundantly with the graces and blessings purchased by its merit and freely bestowed by its efficacy. And may the dear Lamb of God give his blessing to what has been now spoken, although it has been in much weakness, that if it be his holy will, all who hear me this day may be brought to see and to lament their spiritual uncleanness, and to apply for cleansing to the blood of Jesus ! O that the Lord would direct you all to the fountain which he has opened for sin and for uncleanness, and may he give you faith to wash in it, and to be cleansed from all sin, according to what we have been asking this day in the excellent words of our church !