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fery. No wonder, then, we be dead, that we can do no good while in this state of separation from God. God also is departed from us, Jer. vi. 7. Will not this end in eternal separation, if we return not ? --The invitation imports,
2. That if you have a mind to meet and unite with God again, you must meet with him in Christ, and unite with God in him. “ All things (lays Jesus) are delivered unto me of my Father. Come therefore unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Would you have peace, pardon, and every blessing ? you must come to him for it. God has condescended so far to forward the meeting, that he has come down, and dwelt in the flesh of Christ, there to wait finners, to promote their meeting with him : 2 Cor. v. 19. “ God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” He needed not to have come so far, but of his own free grace he has done it; but he will never come farther. There, then, and only there, finners may meet him ; God is in him, and is there to make up the peace through him; and if you will not come to him, and meet God there, you shall never fee his face in peace. Here it may be proper to shew, that this is God's contrivance for re-uniting with sinners that are by fin far from him ; and that there is no other way. This appears,
(1.) From plain scripture-testimony : John, xiv. 6. “ I (said Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” He is the great Secretary of heaven, by whom alone you can be brought into the King's presence : Eph. ii. 18. “ For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” The keys of the house of David hang at his girdle. *. (2:) If there were any other way of coming to Ee 3
God again, it behoved to be one of these two: ether, it, By satisfying the law according to the first covenant ; but that is impossible for us, seeing we cannot give perfect obedience, nor satisfy jultice for the fins we are guilty of, Gal. iii. 10. often quoted : Or, 2dly, in a way of mere mercy, for mercy's fake. But this cannot be : for, ---The justice of God necessarily requires satisfaction, and God will not dispense his mercy in prejudice of his justice : Psal. v. 5. " The foolish shall not stand in thy light, and thou hateft all the workers of iniquity.” One part of the character of God is, that “ he will by no means clear the guilty,” namely, without fatisfaction. The law is already made, fenced with threatenings of eternal wrath, and it is broken ; God's justice and truth are both, in confequence, engaged to see the threatening accomplished.--Again, God's last will and testament is already made, and sealed by the death of his Son, but there is no such way proposed in it; no mercy but in Chrift; yea, God has declared they shall have no mercy that come not to Christ : Matth. xvi. 16. ^ He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be faved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”--Moreover, the very providing of this way niakes it evident that there is no other. Were there another way of bringing finners to God, would not an infinitely wise God, and a loving Father, have fetched a compass, and dispensed with the blood of his own Son? If any could have been spared, it might have been expected that He would; but, Rom. viii. 32. “ God fpared not his own Son, but delivered him up to the death for us all.”-Finally, ever since Adam was driven out of paradise, this has been held forth as the only way, as in the first promise. Abel's acceptance was by it, Heb. xi. 4.
Let us more particularly consider this contrivance of the sinner's coming to, and uniting with God, by coming to Christ. With this view, we observe,
1. That Christ is a substantial Mediator, partaking of both natures. He is the Father's fellow, yet bone of our bone. The worst of men are libber * to heaven than the fallen angels; for “ Jesus took not upon him the nature of angels, but the feed of Abraham.” Here is the true ladder, the foot of which, his humanity, is set on the earth, the top of
which, * More nearly related.
which, his divinity, reaching to heaven, Gen.xxviii. above which the Lord stands making the covenant. If it confifted with the honour of God, for the divine nature to take into personal union with itself. the human nature, it is equally confitent to take men into myftical union with the divine person of our Immanuel, upon this foundation. And when finners fee the first, they are encouraged to look for the second in Christ.
2. In Christ justice is satisfied: He said, “ It is finished.” In him God has had presented to him a sacrifice to offended justice, a satisfaction to his law. God exacted, and he answered, till the utmost farthing was paid : Gal. iii. 13. 66 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us ;” and he got up the discharge. The finner has in him a defence against justice, an everlasting righteousness, in which God may behold the finner, and be well. pleased with him, and the finner may fee God, and yet live. Mercy has a free vent in him, and pardons run freely through his blood. We observe,
3. That the covenant is made with him in his blood; and all the promises of the covenant, all the benefits of it, finners have at the second hand, Gal. iii. 16. God has laid up all in him :12 Cor. i. 20. « For all the promises of God in him, are yea, and in him amen, to the glory of God by us.” Sinners are to come to him for saving blessings, and to take them from him as the purchase of his blood : John, v. 22. Our righteousness, pardon, peace, are all in him, “ who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, fanctification, and redemption,” i Cor. i. 30. Grace is in him, “ for of his fulness have all we received, and grace for gráce," John, i. 16. Glory is from him : « The Lord will give grace and glory;"
4. By this means, the grace of God is cxalted. It is to the praise of the glory of his grace. This is necessary for the glory of God in the second covenant, and for the finner's comfort, which could not be promoted nor secured except in this way. . 5. Here the matter is made sure; God is fure of the finner, and the finner sure of his union with God : such as are built upon this foundation, made members of him, Jesus will lose none of them. From what has been stated, I would infer, .
(1.) That all who come to Christ shall come back to the state of union and communion with God, through him who knits heaven and earth, rent asunder by Adam's fin. Let your fins be never so great, these shall not stop it, for the cry of his blood is. louder in God's ears, than that of our fins.-- Infer,
(2.) That they that never come to Christ, shall never see God in mercy. Meet they may, but it will be a fad meeting, a meeting as of a malefactor with an inexorable judge, dry subble with consuming fire, where our leaf will be as rottenness, and the blossoms of Christless duties go up as dust.
Thus you see there is but one door to God; but what if it be shut ? No; it is open. For the invitation imports,
3. That sinners are welcome to come to Christ, that they may unite with God by him ; Christ is ready to receive you on your coming.--As to this, consider,
(1.) Christ has made a long journey to meet with sinners. What brought him out of the Father's bosom into the world, but to bring finners to himself, and so back to God again? What was the errand of the great Shepherd, but to seek them, even them that were ftraying on the moun