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of justice, and purchased a full and everlasting indemni. ty to every penitent and believing sinner: so that “ now I there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." No sooner doth a soul come to him in the man ner I described, than it "passeth from death to life." He spreads his righteousness over it, and, under that covering, presents it to his heavenly Father; from that sh happy moment it is no longer under the law, but under bill grace;
6 For Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, by his being made a curse for us." And what z a plentiful source of consolation is this! Well may the sinner “be of good cheer,” to whom Christ hath said, “ Thy sins are forgiven thee." Do you feel a law in your members warring against the law of your mind? Are you harassed with temptations, and so environed ! with “ a body of death,” that you are made to cry out, as Paul once did, “0 wretched man, who shall deliver me!" Look up to that Prince and Saviour, whom God hath exalted, not only to give remission of sins, but likewise to bestow repentance upon bis people, and grace to help them in every time of need. Christ hath obtain- B ed the Holy Spirit, by whose almighty aid the Christian can do all things. He will plant that immortal seed in your hearts, which shall gradually kill the weeds of corruption : so that, according to his faithful word of promise, though sin may lodge and fight within you, yet it shall not be able to get" dominion over you."
Do you fear that some unforeseen cause may provoke him to forsake you, to withdraw his love, and the communications of his grace? Know that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance." Christ is the “good shepherd, who carries the lambs in his bosom;" and therefore they cannot perishi, because none is strong enougla to pluck them out of his hand. The believer is
not left to stand by himself, he who is the author, is likewise the finisher of his people's faith. Omnipotence is their guardian; and they are “kept," not by their own strength, but “ by the power of God, through faith unto salvation."
These three are surely the heaviest burdens with which the soul of man can be oppressed; and you see that the Lord Jesus is able to remove them all. There are no doubt, many other causes of discouragement to which we are liable so long as we sojourn in this valley of tears; but as none of them are equal to those I have already named, we may certainly conclude, that he who performs the greater work, can, with infinite ease, perform the lesser also. And indeed, if I might stay upon this branch of the subject, it would be no difficult task to show, that in all other respects believers “are complete in Christ," and may by faith derive from him whatever is necessary either for their safety or comfort in this world: “ For it hath pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell," as it is written, Coloss. i. 19.
But if we would behold the rest here spoken of in its utmost extent, and highest perfection, we must look above us to that heavenly world, from which sin, and all the painful effects of it, are eternally excluded. “ There remaineth a rest," said the apostle, “ for the people of God." Great and manifold are their privileges even in this world; but beyond all these, are still more glorious and enriching blessings that await them in the next, which our « ears have not yet heard, neither ean our hearts conceive.” When we attempt to think of that exalted happiness, we can do little more than remove from it in our minds all those afflicting evils and grounds of discouragement which we presently feel ; only we must conclude, that whatever the particular in. gredients are, the happiness itself must be, in all re. spects, worthy of its glorious Author, and proportioned to the infinite price that was paid for it, Our Lord himself calls it a “ kingdom," nay, a "kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world;" and the apostle Peter hath recorded three of its distinguishing properties, (1 Peter i. 4.) where lie styles it an “inheritance incor. ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
Such, my brethren, is that rest which Christ will finally bestow upon his people. They shall “enter into the joy of their Lord.” All their burdens shall drop with their natural bodies; none of them can pass beyond the grave. Then faith and hope shall become sight and enjoyment; then love grown perfect shall cast out fear; and nothing shall remain of all their former trials, but the grateful remembrance of that friendly band which supported them, and hath at lengh crowned their " light and momentary afflictions" with a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
And now, in the review of all that has been said, me. thinks every sinner who hears me should be ready to answer the call of my text in the language of Peter, “ Lord, to whom shall we go but unto thee? for thou hast the words of eternal life." O that there were such bearts in us! But perhaps some humble soul may say, Gladly would I go to this Saviour, willingly would I throw myself at his feet and implore his protection; but such, alas! is my vileness and unworthiness, so long have I slighted his offers, and abused his grace, that I fear this call, kind as it is, doth not extend to me: my case is singularly bad, and my sins have been aggravated to such a degree, that my desponding heart hath already pronounced the sentence of condemnation; and the doom appears so jost, so righteous, that I can see no ground to hope that ever it shall be reversed. For removing this obstacle, which seems to lie in the way of your return to Christ, let me beg your attention to the following particulars.
Consider the great condescension of this Redeemer. While he was upon earth, he never rejected any who sought relief from him; like a sanctuary whose gates stand continưally open, he gave free, andebarred access to all, insomuch that his enemies, by way of reproach, styled him the friend of publicans and sinners. Neither did our Lord disown the character; on the contrary, he
; gloried in it, and proclaimed it openly to the world; declaring, upon all proper occasions, “ that he was come to seek and to save that which was lost." For this end he assumed our nature; for this end he suffered and died; and upon the same benevolent design, he is now gone up to heaven, “ where he appears in the presence of God for us ;'-_ that if any man sin, he may have an Advocate with the Father" to solicit his pardon, and to plead his cause. And may not these discoveries of his merciful nature expel your fears, and revive your hope ? Has he in a manner laid aside the majesty of a sovereign, and put on the mild and amiable aspect of a tender-hearted, sympathising friend? and may not this by itself encourage you to draw near to him, and to claim the blessings of that rest he hath obtained for his people ?
But, lo! he bath prevented you even in this; for to all the proofs of his good-will to men, he superadds the most warm and pressing invitations, to come to him for relief from all their burdens. “ In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let bim come unto me and drink.” “ Behold,” said he to the degenerated church of the Laodiceans, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” And in the concluding chapter of the Revelation, it is written, “ The Spirit and the bride say, Come: and let him that is a-thirst, come: and whosoerer will, let him come, and let him take the wa. ter of life freely.” So that you see my text is not a singular instance of condescension; the Scriptures are replenished with invitations of the same kind; and they are all expressed in the most extensive and absolute terms, on purpose, as it were, to obviate every possible objection, and to remove all jealousy from the most desponding sinners, who might otherwise have suspected that the call did not reach so far as them.
But lest the offer of a Saviour, when viewed as a privilege, might still appear in the eyes of some a privilege too high for them to aspire to, therefore it hath pleased the Father to interpose his authority, and to make it our duty to embrace the offer: as we learn from that remarkable passage, (1 John iii. 23.) “ This is the command of God, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." So that faith in Christ becomes an act of obedience; the law of the Supreme Governor is the sinner's warrant to come to the Saviour; and therefore it can be no presumption in any, however guilty they have been, to flee to this city of refuge, seeing he who hath appointed it, not only permits, but perempto, rily commands them to repair to it.
And to crown all, our Lord himself hath declared in the most solemn manner, that none shall be rejected who come to him for salvation. These are bis words, (John vi. 37.) 6 Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out." I will receive bim with outstretched arms; I will tenderly embrace and cherish bim, and so unite him la