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ready to leave all and follow thee; Lord, I would cheerfully consent, and hope that through grace I can say, None of these things move me, neither should I, in such a cause, count my life dear unto met."

4. Coming to God does farther import, a willing subjection to his service."

"Lord," does the christian say, "I would come to thee, not to sit down under thy shadow, indolent and unactive. My faculties were made for employment; and it is my joy to think, that they shall be employed for thee. I love thee With all my heart, and with all my soul; and therefore, by the aids of thy grace, I will serve thee with all my might, and with all my strength. I would gladly yield myself to thee, as alive from the dead, and use my members as instruments of righteousness§. Thy promises are my delight, as I trust they are my portion; but, Lord, they are not the only part of thy word that I love; for I Delight myself in thy statutes, and love thy commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold. I account thy service, mine honour, and my happiness; I desire always to keep the eye of my soul directed towards thee, to wait the intimations of thy gracious pleasure; and if I am distinguished from others by any advantages of nature, or of circumstances, I would chiefly rejoice in them, as they are capable of being improved for thee."

5. Coming unto God does also imply," the keeping up a constant correspondence with him."

I before observed, that this phrase, in the present connexion, seems particularly to refer to our approaching him in the solemnities of religious worship: And when it is spoken of as a part of the christian's character, it plainly intimates a frequent and constant care in these duties. Thus good men under the old law are described, as a Generation of them that seek God, "Lord," does every child of God often think and say, "It is indeed good for me to draw near unto thee**. What is my great final hope, but to dwell in a state of everlasting nearness? In the mean time, the nearer I am to thee, the more of heaven is brought down to earth; the more I enjoy of thee, the more do I enjoy myself, and relish my being. I make my visits to thy throne, not merely to pay an homage which thou requirest, but to seek an entertainment which I prefer to any

Luke xviii. 28.
Psal exix. 16-127.

+ Acts xx. 24.
Psal. xxiv. 6.

Luke x. 27.
** Psal. lxxiii. 29.

§ Rom. vi. 13.

other. Far from looking upon it as a disagreeable condition, with which my expectations from thee are clogged, I count the opportunities of such converse, and my inclinations towards it, in the number of my greatest obligations to thy goodness." Should God say to the christian, "I will for the future dispense with thine attendance; thou shalt retain thine interest in me, though thou shouldest call upon me no more; and shall meet me as thy friend at death, though thou forgettest me in life;" the good man would not be able to bear such a dismission. He would rather say, "Lord, if I were to live only on these terms, it were much better for me to die. I should with Moses, in

another case, Pray thee to kill me out of hand*, rather than leave me here under such a burden as life would seem, if it might not be sweetened by communion with thee, in the closet, in the family, and in public ordinances."

These, my brethren, are important parts of the christian's character, yet they are far from being the whole of it. With this temper he comes to God; but how should he be encouraged to such an approach, if the great Redeemer were forgot? Wę add therefore,

II. That all, to whom salvation is promised in the gospel, "make their approach to God through Christ," or, as the text expresses it, they come unto God by him.

You will no doubt be willing, that I should open this important article pretty largely ; and I shall do it under the following particulars. Coming to God by Christ implies,-a deep sense of our need of a Mediator, in order to our comfortable intercourse with God;-a persuasion of the power of Christ,— and a confidence in his grace;-a cordial approbation of the method in which he bestows salvation ;-and a constant care to maintain proper regards to Christ, in the whole course of our walking with God. This is that evangelical faith, to which the promises of gospel salvation are appropriated, by the text before us, and the whole tenour of scripture.

1. Coming to God by Christ implies, " a deep sense of our need of a Mediator, in order to a comfortable intercourse with God."

Christianity is the religion of sinners; and it will never be really welcome to a soul, that is not sensible of the evil, and

*Numb. xi. 15.

malignity of sin. The natural pride of our hearts would first lead us to forget God, and not to seek after him at all: But if conscience be in any measure awakened to see, what it is strange every rational creature should not always see, our dependance on him, and our need of an interest in his favour, pride finds a second refuge, in a fond conceit of bringing something of our own to recommend us to it. And if at length men are sensible, they have nothing of this kind, which they can call their own, they are ready to think of casting themselves immediately on the mercies of an offended God, rather than of multiplying their obligations, and their dependance, by coming to him through a Mediator. If we must own ourselves sinners, we are prone to extenuate our guilt; and if we cannot look upon it as indifferent, would at least represent it, as an excusable thing, which is worthy of compassion, rather than of indignation. How difficult is it to view it in a true light! To see what insolence and baseness it carries in it, and what danger and ruin it exposes us to! But divine grace makes way for the gospel into our hearts, by displaying the justice and the holiness of God, as equally essential to his nature, with his wisdom and goodness: And then, when we consider ourselves as appearing in his presence, convicted of ten thousand aggravated offences, we cry out from a deep and inward sense, "Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God* ! Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God+ ? Surely I need some perfectly righteous Mediator, high in his favour, to introduce me to him, and to render my access safe and comfortable, by appearing as a Days-man betwixt us, to lay his hand upon us both."

2. Coming to God by Christ farther implies, "a full persuasion of his saving power."

We have been endeavouring to prove it at large; and the conviction of it enters deep into the believing soul. He assents to this most concerning truth with full satisfaction, though there be something in the foundation of it which feeble reason cannot fully comprehend. Important as he sees his everlasting concerns to be, he can courageously venture them here; he can cry out, Lord, I believe, though a mixture of unbelief may cost him many a tears. "Lord," does he often say, "I am sure, that If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean||. Though jew and gentile may reject thee, I humbly own thee, as the

* 1 Sam. vi. 20. † Micah vi. 6. Job ix. 33. Mark ix. 24.

Matt. viii. 2.

Head stone of the corner. Oh! that I were but as sure of an interest in thee, as I might be of finding my security and my happiness in it!"

3. It farther implies, "Cheerful confidence in the "Grace of Christ," as well as a persuasion of his saving power.

Without this, he would appear the object of terror, rather than of hope; or in the mildest view, but as a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed, to a traveller languishing, and dying with thirst: But faith teaches the christian firmly to rely on that kind and gracious invitation, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink*. "Yes," says the believer, "it is indeed so. The compassions of his heart are proportionable to the power of his hand; and I will cast my soul upon them. Blessed Jesus, I would throw myself at thy feet, though it were a supposeable case that I might perish there, and but an uncertain peradventure, that thou mightest pity and save me; for if thou shouldest not, I could but die; and I had rather die an humble penitent, than an obstinate rebel: But forgive that unworthy thought,—that thou shouldest leave an humble penitent to die before thee! Neither thy grace, nor thy truth, will permit it. Him that cometh to thee, thou wilt in no wise cast outt: And though I am a poor, weak, worthless creature, thou camest Not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance‡; and thou callest them in so compassionate a manner, as to engage that thou wilt Not break the bruised reed, nor quench even the smoaking flar§. Let Christ be true, whoever is a liar." Thus do his doubts gradually disperse; thus does he rise to a joy and peace in believing. But it is always to be remembered,

4. That coming to God by Christ includes, "a cordial approbation, and acceptance of the methods of his saving grace."

This is of the highest importance, if we would not deceive ourselves to our eternal ruin. Men may dress up an idol in their own minds, and call it by the name of Christ; and they may be as fond of it, as pagans are of the works of their own hands : But can this save them, if it be found that the true Christ, as exhibited in the gospel, has been overlooked and rejected by them? A true believer impartially enquires after the way in which salvation is proposed in the word of God; and when he has discovered it, he entirely approves it, as a faithful saying,

John vii. 37. † John vi. 37.

Mat. ix. 13. § Mat. xii. 20.

worthy of God to appoint, and most fit for him to accept. More particularly he views it, and acquiesces in it, as the way of faith, and the way of holiness. Each of these views of it will deserve our farther attention.

The good man heartily desires to receive the gospel-salvation, in "the way of faith, or humble believing."

It is thus the word of God always exhibits it: The just shall live by faith; nor Shall any flesh glory in his presencet. And so entirely is every high thought reduced to the obedience of this blessed principle, in the heart of him that comes to God by Christ, that he is willing to do, what, to so corrupt a nature, as ours, seems most expensive, to Buy wine and milk without money and without price; willing to part with the very dearest of his idols, to renounce all dependance on himself, as to what is past, or what is yet to come; to trust no more in his own righteousness, or his own strength; and to say with the most joyful consent of soul, In the Lord have I both righteousness and strength§. "Blessed Jesus, it is hard to my proud heart "to say it; but it is therefore so much the more reasonable and necessary For this cursed dependance on self has spoiled the best of my duties, and would betray me to guilt and ruin in many future instances, shouldest thou forsake me. How imperfect and sinful are my best days, and my holiest hours! How feeble and ineffectual my most vigorous and solemn resolutions, against so much inward corruption, and so many outward enemies and temptations! Lord, I am distressed, but I hope, thou hast undertaken for me. I hope, I may look on thee as my great surety and covenant-head, who didst, before the foundation of the world, engage to satisfy for my breaches of thy Father's law, to work out for me a perfect righteousness, and by thy always victorious power and grace, to conduct me to glory in the midst of all opposition. Eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord¶; from his hand would I most thankfully receive this crown, and at his feet would I humbly lay it!" On the other hand,

It is to be remembered, That as Christ saves his people, "in the way of holiness," the true believer most cordially falls in with this part of the scheme.

Indeed he could not otherwise be a believer in the gospel

Rom. i. 17.
Isa. xxxviii. 14.

+ 1 Cor. i. 29.
¶ Rom. vi. 23.

Isa, lv. 1.

§ Isa. xlv. 24.

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