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hears not sinners, yet in Christ he is well pleased j and through him they may sind access to, and acceptance with him. He is our peace: He is the Mediator between God aud man.—Repent, and turn from your sins. There is no concord between Christ and belial. To enjoy both God and your lusts is impossible; ye shall as soon bring together the two poles. However some make a mock of sin now, yet it has separated, and will separate them from God eternally, if they separate not from it.
THE THE FOLLY OF RESISTING, THE WISDOM
OF COMPLYING WITH THE
Matth. xxi. 29.—He answered and said, I will not; but afterwards he repented, and went.
THE scope of this parable is to shew, that many who have been the vilest of sinners repent, and go to heaven, when others, who, though they have a prosession of religion, never go farther than a mere prosession, and so fall short; partly, also, to shew that many who had been publicans and harlots are now in a better case than the Chief Priests and Scribes. To convince of this, Christ spoke the parable before us.—For understanding of which, I would notice, that the man in the parp.ble represents God; the two sons, two different forts of people among the Jews. Both had the gospel-call by John the baptist. The sirst of the sons points out the publicans and harlots, who, E 2 though
* Delivered on Saturday, 31st July 1714.
though they were formerly most vile and hopeless creatures, yet, on their hearing of John, repented, and became disciples indeed. The second represents the Priests and Pharisees, who, notwithstanding of their high pretences to religion, yet were indeed strangers to it, their practices did not correspond with their prosession.
In the text, which concerns the sirst son, pointing out the penitent publicans and harlots* we have two things.
i. The sinner's sirst answer to the gospel-call; and it is a short one: 1 iiill mt. Like Israel, Psal. lxxxi. I1." But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me." The limier so lpvcs his sinful ease, that he cannot think of the work in God's vineyard. Observe in this answer, (1.) The rudeness of it. The son remembered not that he was speaking to a father, so has not so much as a fair word to bestow on him. O the rude treatment Christ meets with at sinners hands! They remember not his authority over t-iem, nor do they regard it; but they will be their cwn; who is Lord over them? (2.) The plainness of it. He tells the matter plainly; fays not, he cannot, but he ivill tut. It is want of will to the work of religion that is the great stop. Sinners hearts cannot relish the work of religion: The bent of their hearts lies another way. (3.) The peremptoriness of it. He is at a point. The hearing of the word raises his heart against it. Let sinners hear of . the work. of religion, and that is enough, they desire no more of it. It is a plain case to them, they must not, they will not, engage in such a talk.
2. The second answer, in which the former bad answer is happily retracted: But after-wards he repented, and went. He complies with the call he
had Ead before resused. The spring of this was, his heart was touched; he took second thoughts of the business, and charged his mind. He sell under aster grief, anxiety, and solicitude, as the word signisies. Conscience, that was silent before, now begins to speak, and his blood begins to cool; he calmly considers what he had answered, and he calls himself beast and fool, that should have adventured so to treat his Father; and hence he takes up the work of religion, which he had before rejected. From this subject there arises this
Doctrine, That resusing the work of religion is not to be stood to, but retracted, and the sinner will see cause for it, if ever he comes to himself. They who have resused to comply with the gospel-call, to engage in the work of the Lord, should take their word again, and heartily comply with it;. and if ever they be wise, they will do it..
In illustrating this point,' I propose to shew,
I. What is that work to which the gospel calls and with which sinners will not comply?
II. Why is it that sinners will not comply with this work ?.
III. Why this resusal should be retracted.
IV. Make some practical improvement.
I. I Am to shew, What is that work to which . •the gospel calls, and with which sinners will not comply? It is the work of practical godliness, to which most men are strangers. It is a large work, as extensive as the commandment, which is exceeding broad. I shall take it up in these two.
i. The gospel calls you to fall to your salvation-. work, PbiL ii 12* "Work out your own salvation E 3 with. with sear and trembling." Sinners, you are in a ruined condition; your fouls are pining away in your iniquities; there is a burden of guilt on you that will sink you; there is a swarm os living lusts preying on you, that will devour you. O guilty creature! knowest thou not, that thou art God's enemy, justice's debtor, the law's criminal, and that the avenger of blood is at your heels? The gospel is calling you to consider your ways, and fall to the work of your salvation, before it be too late. This work has two parts: (1.) The work of faith, John vi. 29. "Jesus answered, and said, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Acts xvi. 31. " And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." It is not that faith wherewith ye have lived in a good belief all your bypast days, so that you had never power to believe an ill tale of your own state; that is a faith of the devil's planting, and the gospel will have it rooted up. It is not that faith which consists in your going on in sin without sear. The devils' faith goes beyond this, for they believe and tremble, Jam. ii. 19. But the work of faith to which the gospel calls you, is that whereby a sinner, sensible of his undone state, flees out of himself to the Lord Jesus, to unite with him for righteousness and sanctisication, 1 Cor. i. 30. It is that faith, which, when the house, in which the presumptuous hoped, wherein the secure sinner tested in his sins, is overturned as by an earthquake, makes the sin* ner, naked and destitute, to flee to Jesus Christ, as the only rock and shelter. It is that whereby the sinner, sensible that he has lost his two eyes, and therefore cannot guide himself through the wilderness to Canaan, gives up himself wholly to Christas his leader, prophet, and healer y and, seeing