« PreviousContinue »
clean under the law were cleansed by the sprinkling of blood.-We are to draw near,
(4.) Having our bodies washed with pure water ; that is, our outward man also purged; that so, having clean hands, and a pure heart, we may ascend to the hill of God, and stand in his holy place, Psal. xxiv. "A blameless outward conversation. Sin fo curbed and borne down within, that it do not seandalously break out into the life; and this must be done with the pure water of the Spirit of fanctification, not with the muddy water of Christless endeavours, as in painted hypocrites. -From this subject, I would take the following
DOCTRINE, That Christians may, and ought to
draw near to God.
Let us draw near. This is the voice of the gospel founding in the ears of the visible church through our Lord Jesus Christ; and it is sounding in our ears more particularly this day, while he gives us the hope of his coming so near us in the facrament of the supper next Lord's day.
In this discourse, I shall attend shortly to the following things.
I. SHow what is implied in this, Let us draw
II. Shew that we niay draw near.
IV. Add the practical improvement of the subject. We are then,
I. To shew what is implied in this, Let us draw near. There are two things in it.
1. Sin has fet us at a distance from God: Ifa. lix. 2. “ But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your fins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Sin indeed could not remove us out of the place where God is, for he is every where; but it has set us out of his favour, out of his friendship, and that is a sad outcast. In Adam, while he stood, we lived in the land of light, the light of God's countenance; but he sinned, and was banished from the presence of the Lord, after he had run away from him with is in his loins; and so we come into the world estranged from God: Pral. lviii. 3. • The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
2. Sinners stand at a distance from God, till they be called, and that powerfully : John,
vi. 44. “ No man can come unto me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him.” They keep their ground where their first father left them. The breach began on our side, we left our father's house, and ran away from it without all just ground, but we never come back again till worthlefs we be sent for and fetched; like the Levite's concubine, Jude, xix. 2.3.-And here lies the cafe : Insensible sinners will not : John, v. 40.
" And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” They are away, and they will not come back, They have no eye upon the privileges of them that are near; they can do well enough without it. They love the devil's common, where they can ramble up and down at their own liber, ty, better than God's inclosure, where they think a man cannot get elbow-room. Hence they are running away farther and farther from him, till, I believe, not a few are so far from him, that they hardly ever hear from him ; nor is there one left with them to disturb them in their wandering.
Sensible finners dare not: Luke, v. 8. “ When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' feet,
saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." They fee his glory and his feat, they admire the happiness of those that stand before him, as the queen of Sheba did the attendants of Solomon, 1 Kings, x. 8. But they dare not draw near, but stand afar off, under a deep sense of unworthinefs. Like the Publican, they cannot lift up their eyes to heaven, but smite upon their breasts, saying, God be merciful to us finners, Luke, xviii. 13. Theycannot conceive how such vile malefactors can face the Judge, how such prodigals can set their foot again in their Father's house, how such filthy, loathsome, beggarly creatures, can presume to come forward to the throne. If at any time they break forward, it is like offering violence to themselves. They take their life in . their hand, and, like Esther, go in to the king, chap. iv. 16. And then the legs of their confidence tremble, the hands of faith shake, and they are ready to start back : But let us draw mear. This brings us,
II. To fhew, that we may draw near to God. Glad news this to poor sensible finners! Come in, ye bleffed of the Lord; why do you stand back? you may draw near to God. For,
1. God is on a throne of grace in Jesus Christ : 2 Cor. V. 19.
“ To wit, that God was in Chrift reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespaffes unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” God has in Christ laid aside his red garments, being to pursue the war no longer against those that come to him through Christ. He wears the white garment of peace, and breathes nothing from hence, but peace, love, and good-will. To look on an abfolute God out of Christ, is enough to make a devil VOL. II.
tremble. You are not called to draw near to him as such. Indeed some presumptuous finners will, like beasts, touch the mountain ; but darts of wrath will strike through their consciences, and drive them back at length. But you are to draw near to God, as on his throne of grace, in Christ.
2. There is way to the throne never trede, nor designed to be trode, by any but finners fuch as you, and the like of
This is no back entry, but the most glorious way to the throne. Adam had a way to it, but that is blocked up; there is a new and living way consecrated for us, Heb. X. 20.
And may we not draw near by it? It lies through the yail of Christ's flesh, and leads into the holiest, the seat of God! It is a way paved with glory to God, peace on earth, and good. will to men. It will vail all your weaknesses, wants, and blemishes ; yea, it vails the fiery law, wraps it up out of sight; it vails the sword of justice. The smiles of a reconciled God shine through it, to revive and refresh the hearts of the guilty.
3. He is a friend of ours who is set over the house of God: Heb. x. 21. “ And having an High-Priest over the house of God,” that is, Jesus Christ. He was taken out from among us, being “ bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.” Pfal. lxxxix. 19. “ Thou fpakeft in vision to thy Holy One, and saidīt, I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” He is for us, in things pertaining to God, to employ his power and interest for us in the court of heaven. He bears the keys of the house, and admits whom he will, gives them what he will, brings as far forward as he will : John, v. 22. “ For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement to the Son.” And he is a Priest, a High-Priest, who will take all our fer
vices, wash away all their pollution, and offer them for us with the much incense of his merits tercession.We now proceed,
III. To shew, that we ought to draw near : Let us draw near.--For,
1. It is the command of God: James, iv. 8. “ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” God commands run-aways to return, and draw near to him. He commands returning finners to come forward, and come near him. He gives them no thanks for standing afar off. Though he can bear with them long, yet he is not pleased when a sense of fin makes poor fenfible finners stand off from him as affrighted at him. His fatherly bowels yearn toward them : Luke, XV. 20. « And he arose, and came to his father; but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compållion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
2. If we do not draw near to God, we dishonour his Son, and so dishonour himself, in so far as we frustrate the great design of the mystery of Christ : John, v. 23. " That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent him.” Eph. ii. 13. 14. “ But now in Christ Jefus, ye who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle-wall of partition between us." So far as we stand afar off from God, we dishonour the friendship of God, the blood of the Son of God in its efficacy and virtue, while we dare not trust ourselves in the new and living way, and under the covert of the Redeemer's blood. We now proceed,