« PreviousContinue »
359 mise, nor any witness or feal of the Spirit, his propriety in Chrift; for he never teals,
helves fanctifies. So that it is beyond all contradictie and none but believers, are partakers of the are in Christ Jesus.
Fourthly, and lastly, There is one inquiry tisfied; namely, seeing Jelus Christ is confolati
crets, how it comes to pass, that fo many believers in the world should walk so dejectedly as they do, without any fpiritual confolation?
First, This need not be wonder'd at, if we consider, that the confolations of Christ are of two forts ; seminal and in preparation, or actual in present poffeffion. Every believer in the world hath the root and feed of comfort planted and fown for him, Psal. xcvii. 11. “Light is fown for the righteous, and
gladness for the upright in heart." They have Christ and the promises, which are the feeds of confolation, and will bring forth joy at last, though at present they have have no actual confolation; the feed of all joy is town, and in due time they shall reap the full ripe fruit thereof,
Secondly, It must be remembered, that interest and evidence are distinct blefings, every believer bath interest in Chrift; but every believer hath not the evidence thereof, lfa. 1. 10. " Who “ is among you, that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice “ of his fervant; that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?” Every child of God is not of fufficient age to know his father, or take comfort in that blessed inheritance whereunto he is be. gotten again, I Pet. j. 3, 4.
Thirdly, Every believer doth not walk with like Itrictness, and exact holiness: all do not exercise faith in a like degree. Among Christians fome are strong in grace, rich in faith, frict ia obedience, tender of lin to an eminent degree; chese usually are owners of much confolation : but others are weak in grace, poor in faith, comparatively careless of their hearts and ways, frequently grieving the good spirit of God, and wounding their own consciences (the vessel into which spiritual consolation is poured); and these are usually denied the joy and comfort which others abound withal.
Fourthly, The confolations of Christ are arbitrarily dispensed by the Spirit, who is the Comforter, and giveth to every man in such proportions, and at such seafoos, as plealeth him : whence it comes to pass, that he that is rich in comfort to day, may be poor to morrow; and, contrarily, the heart that is quite full of sorrow one hour, is filled with peace and joy in believing the
, ygs that are necessary to the being of a Christian, are. foul tha Itable; but things belonging only to the well-being purchristian, come and go, according to the good pleasure and ppointment of the Spirit. The ule of all follows.
Infer. i. Hence it follows, That the state of unbelivers is the mift fied and uncomfortable state in the world, having no interest in Chrift, the confolation of Israel. It is true, they abound in creature-comforts; they live in pleasure upon earth: joy displays its colours in their faces; but for all this, there is not the Icalt drop of true confolation in any of their hearts; they have fume comfort in the creature, but none in Chrift: that little they gather from the creature now, is all their portion of joy, Luke vi. 24. “Ye have received
consolation ;" as this is all they have, fo they shall enjoy it but a little while, Job xxi. 13, 17. And while they do enjoy it, it is mixed with mapy gripes of conscience, Job xiv. 13. “ Even in laughter the heart is for
rowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” Whatever consolation any unbeliever speaks of besides this, is but by yote; for when the day of his diltress cometh, and the terrors of conscience thall awake him out of his pleasant dreams, all bis feótual joys wilt vanish from him, and the doors of true confolation will be shut against him. Let him go to Jesus Christ
, knock at that door, and say, Lord Jesus, thy name is conlo. lation : my heart is ready to burst within me; halt thou no confolation for me? O Lord, for one drop of spiritual comfort now; but alas there is none, no pot in Christ himself, for any unbeliever. It is childrens bread, the faints privilege; comfort and grace are undivided. Let him return into hiinself, search his own conscience for comfort, and say, O conscience! thou 'art more than a thousand witnesses, and thousands have been comforted by thee; where thou speakest comfort, none can fpeak trouble; halt thou no consolation for me in my deepest diftress ? Alas, no; if God condemn thee, wherewithal fhail I comfort ihee? I can speak neither more nor less than the scriptures put into my mouth, and I find not one word in all the book of God, warranting me to be thy comforter. Believe it as an undoubted truth (though the sense of the bewitched world o. ver-rules it) that the state of unbelievers, even at the best, is a fad and dismal state.
lufer. 2. Let all believers fetch all their comfort out of Chrift, who is the consolation of his people : “ We rejoice (faith the apoşi ftle) in Christ Jesus, and have no contidepce in the Hesh.” That is the true temper of a believing foul : take beed you live pot partly upon Christ
, and partly upon the creature for your
comfort; much rather beware, that you forsake not Christ, the fountain of living waters, and hew out cilterns for yourselves which can hold no waters Jer. iii 13. If you make any creature the spring and fountain of your comfort, assuredly God will dry up that spring. If your souls draw their comfort from any creature, you know they must out-live that creature, and what then will you do for comfort ? Besides, as your comforts are, fo are you. The food of every creature is suitable to its nature. You see divers creatures feeding upon several parts of the fame herb, the bee upon the flower, the bird upon the feeds, the sheep upon the stalk, and the swine upon the root, according to their nature so is their food. Sensual men feed upon fenfual things, spiritual men upon spiritual things; as your food is, to are you.
If carnal comforts can content thy heart, fure thy heart must then be a very carnal heart. Yea, and let Christian's themselves take heed, that they fetch not their consolations out of themselves instead of Christ. Your graces and duties are excellent means and instruments, but not the ground-work and foundation of your comfort, they are useful buckers to draw, but not the well itself in which the springs of confolation riie. If you put your duties in the room of Christ, Christ will put your comforts out of the reach of your duties.
lofer: 3. Yf Christ be the conflation of believers, what a comfortable life should all believers live in the world? Certainly, if the fault be not your own, you might live the happiest and comfortablest lives of all men in the world. If you wonld not be a discomfort to Christ, he would be a comfort to you és very day, and in every condition, to the end of your lives. Your condition abounds with all the helps and advantages of consolation. You have the command of Christ to warrant your comforts, Phil. iv. 4. You have the Spirit of Christ for a spring of comfort ; you have the scriptures of Christ for the rules of comfort; you have the duties of religion for the means of
com. fort: Why is it then that you go comfortless? If your afflicti. ons be many in the world, yet your encouragements be more in Christ. Your troubles in the world may be turned into joy, but your comforts in Christ can never be turned into trouble. Why Thould troubles obstruct your comfort, when the blesling of Christ upon your troubles makes them subfervient to promote your happinefs ? Rom. viii. 28. Shake off the despondency then, and live up to the principles of religion. Your dejected life is uncomfortable to yourselves, and of very ill use to others.
lofer. 4. If Christ be the confolation of believers, then let all
that defire comfort in this world, or in that to come, embrace fe-
* * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
S E R M ON
Enforcing the general Exhortation, by a seventh Motive
drawn from the first Benefit purchased by CHRIST.
EPH. i. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his gruce.
are now to be offered from the benefits redouidiag to believers
in which words we have, first, a singular benefit, or choice
Secondly, You have the price of this mercy, an account what it cost, even the blood of Christ, in whom we have redemption (through his blood :] precious things are of great price; the blood of Christ is the meritorious cause of remission.
Thirdly, You have here also the impulsive cause, moving God
to grant pardons at this rate to finners, and that is said to be the riches of his grace : where, by the way, you see, that the freeness of the grace of God, and the fulness of the fatisfaction of Christ, meet together without the least jar in the remission of fin, contrary to the vain cavil of the Socinian adversaries: “In " whom we have redemption, even the remission of sins, ac“ 'cording to the riches of his grace."
Fourthly, You have the qualified subjects of this blessed privilege, viz. Believers, in whose name he here speaks, [we] have remifion; (i. e.) We the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus, Yer. 1. We whom he hath chorea in Christ before the founa dation of the world, and predestinated unto the adoption of children, ver. 4, 5. We that are made accepted in the beloved, ver. 6. It is we, and we only, who have redemption through his blood. Hence observe, Doct. That all believers, and none but believers, receive the
remission of their fins, through the riches of grace, by the
blood of Jesus Christ.
1. That all that are in Christ, are in a pardoned state.
3. That the riches of grace are manifested in remission.
Secondly, That this is the privilege of none but believers.
First, Now remission of sin is the gracious act of God, in and through Christ, discharging a believing finner from all the guilt and punishment of his fin, both temporal and eternal.
It is the act of God; he is the author of remission ; none can forgive sins but God only, Mark ii. 7. Against him only, (i.e.) principally and especially, the offence is committed, Pfal. li. 4. To his judgment guilt binds over the foul ; and who can remit the debt, but the creditor ? Mat. vi. 12.
It is an act of God, discharging the finner ; it is God's loosing of one that stood bound, the cancelling of his bond or obligation, called therefore remission, or releasing in the text; the blotting out of our iniquiries, or the removing of our fins from us, as it is called in other scriptures; see Psal. ciii. 11. Micah
vii. 18, 19.
It is a gracious act of God, the effect of pure grace, done for his own name's fake, Ifa. xliii. 25. discharging us without any satisfaction at all by us : there is much grace in that; and pro.
A a a