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Beware, therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the Prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work in which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.—ACTS xiii. 40, 41.
INTRODUCTION.-Coming of the Chaldeans against Jerusalem.-(Hab. i. 5.)
I. God works a wonderful work in a gospel day. 1. A work of conviction.
Woman of Samaria.-Pharisees. (John viii. 3, 9.) 2. A work of justification.
Mary, the Paralytic, the Thief, the Publican. 3. A work of sanctification.
St. Paul, New Birth.-(1 Cor. vi. 11.)
11. Many will not believe it to be the work of God. Conviction they call despair; Justification they call presumption, enthusiasm ; Sanctification they call being righteous over-much, hypocrisy: Though a man declare it unto them,' as God's promise, and his own experience; though that man be Christ, or Paul, a dying man, a disinterested person.
III. They despise, and yet cannot help wondering. 1. They despise,' the place, the instruments, the great instrument, the Holy Ghost, Christ crucified, and faith.
2. They wonder,' why so much ado, why the loss of reputation, preferment, ease, pleasure, property.
APPLICATION.-Unbelievers !-Does God work?'Behold,' consider your need of this work. 'Ye despisers' and unbelievers; wonder at the patience and
goodness, power, and mercy of God! Wonder and glory in his cross! Wonder aright, and you shall not perish! The world is for you, Prophets against you. Despise not as the world did Noah, as Sodom did Lot. Christ and Moses were despised in their day. Wonder, or perish as they did, as Dives, the rich man.
You that believe.-God does work; and does He work on you? How far? Be not offended by counterfeits. God is here the workman. The blood is shed. The Word and Spirit present. A work on your part, believe and pray. Careless ones, awake! Mourners, rejoice! Believers, abound in praise and good works! Christ's reward is with Him, and His work before Him. What wouldest thou have me to do?-A word from Christ does the work: Saul Saul,' &c.-(Acts.) 'Go in peace.' 'Martha, Martha.' 'A new heart,' Anointing-King, Priest. Behold! Wonder! Believe, and be saved!
You that are in earnest, but fearful.
'He that has begun,'-He that is the Alpha and Omega, 'will finish.' Pray for a deeper work in your hearts, in your days. Christ, an angel, an apostle, ministers, witnesses, God from heaven, all declare.' The work of death, and judgment, will come: Then despise, and wonder, and perish! Wonder at your infatuation, obstinacy, contradiction!
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.-JOHN vii. 37, 38.
I. Persons invited.
1. (Subject.) If any man,' whether rich or poor, righteous or unrighteous, little or great sinners.
2. (Qualification.) Thirsts' after grace, pardon, righteousness, happiness, God.
1. Let him come to ME.'-believe in ME. I am a fountain, a brook, a river, a sea, and all that can quench this thirst.-Blood, water, sweat.
2. And let him drink.' (Application, appropriation.) Let him be satisfied, refreshed, nourished. strengthened, healed, delighted, ravished.
'Out of his belly,'-inmost soul, shall flow, not drops or dews, but 'rivers,' abundance of living water, of all the fruits, graces, comforts of the Spirit.
The Scripture says so.-(Joel ii. 28; Isa. xii. 3, and xxxv. 6, and xliv. 28; and lviii. 11. Zech. xiii. 1; John iv. 14; Rev. xxii. 17.)
Shall flow to his own comfort, and the benefit of others. His words and actions refreshing.
APPLICATION.-Jesus cries still.-Do you hear? 1. Worldlings, your thirst is of a wrong kind; you hew out to yourselves cisterns that can hold no water, but poison. Ye who begin to thirst, beware of the broken cisterns of duties, self-righteousness, &c. Come ye to Jesus Christ, to ME.
Comers. Drink; always coming, never drinking.
2. Believers: How is it with you? Is Jesus glorified? Do living waters spring up in you? Is Jesus Christ in you the source? Do they flow out to the benefit of all around you?
Jesus the true Siloam. He thirsted and had gall, that you may have living water. Double stream.Thirst as for pleasure; as Dives, or you will thirst with him..
And Esau said unto his Father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father! And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.GEN. xxvii. 38.
INTRODUCTION.-Our Lord wants us to learn of the Unjust Steward; Solomon, of the Ant. Profane Esau.Esau sold his birth-right, and the blessing annexed. He wept, prayed, and carried another blessing. A pattern, not as he was sensual, wedded to the daughters of Heth, angry, a murderer; but as he prayed, wept, obtained.
1. God our heavenly Father hath not one, but many blessings. We are to seek them carefully with tears, and we shall obtain them.
1. The blessing of awakening.-St. Paul.-Careless. 2. That of calling.-Worldling.-Zaccheus.
4. Pardon of Sin.-Hezekiah.-Parable.
5. Healing of Backsliders.-David, Peter.
6. Righteousness.-One that suits all, the best robe. 7. Spirit.-One that can baptise all.
8. Kingdom. One set up in all.
9. New Heart.-And victory over all.
10. Kingdom of Heaven in glory.—' Come, ye blessed.'
II. How are we to seek those blessings?
1. Early.-Esau.-Foolish Virgins.
2. Carefully, earnestly, with tears, lifting up the voice. 3. Pleading our relation,-by creation, redemption, 'My Father,' and
4. With importunity, aud expostulation, Hast thou but one blessing? bless me, even me.'
5. Refusing to go without application. Me, me ! desiring spiritual blessings above all.
III. Examples.-Jacob, Jesus.
IV. Motives to make you seek the blessing.
1. If you get it not, the curse remains yours.-The curse of the Law-the curse of Christ. All the curses in the book of God. No dew of heaven.
(1.) Negatively. No kiss of peace. No bread.— No wine. No dominion over sin, &c., breaking its yoke. No living by the sword of the Spirit.
(2.) Positively. You will feed on dust with the serpent. You will be the servant and slave of Sin and Satan. You will inherit his fearful curse, 'Depart!! 2. You are made for ever, if God bless you. (1.) All things will work for your good.
(2.) You will be sustained with corn and wine. (3.) You will have dominion over all your enemies, in the end.-Jacob and Esau.
(4.) You will have the blessing of Christ, the gracious and glorious kingdom.-Noue shall reverse it.— Cursers ashamed.
APPLICATION.-Careless souls.-Shall Esau weep, &c., for the loss of a temporal blessing? Shall some mourn for loss of friends, money, reputation, health? Oh! How should you for the loss of Paradise, of God, of a Kingdom! The curse hunts you. You lose the blessing, by roving, hunting pleasure! O! lift up your voice!
Seeking souls.-Thousands of blessings purchased, by thousands of Jesus's prayers, tears, blood; secured by thousands of promises, by oath. (Heb. vi. 13.) Christ hath got them all first: But it is for you.
Blessed souls.-Bless in your turn.-Sell not your blessing, as profane Esau, covetous Judas, worldly Demas. Use your blessing; be a blessing to all.
Claiming them, not by birthright; for we are born in sin. Not by purchase of works; for we have sold