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invitation, your heart may grow harder in sin. Begin now to pray and seek the Lord. He now is near to you, and may be found of you. If you should die in your sins, you will be banished from His presence for ever. You will find no mercy in that place, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But you are now on praying ground. Come then, immediately, to Jesus, casting the burden of your sins on Him, and seeking grace to amend your life according to His holy word. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
O, our God, we have indeed cause to bless thee, that thy thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways thy ways! Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is thy mercy toward them that fear thee. As far as the east is from the west, so far canst thou remove our transgressions from us. Thou, O Lord, art good, and doest good. Thou hast remembered us in our low estate; and thy mercy endureth for ever.
Deliver us, O our Heavenly Father, from the power and dominion of sin; and bestow on us the spirit of adoption, that we may be enabled to enter into thy presence, as loving children, brought nigh unto thee by the blood of Jesus! Let our prayer come up before thee, now, in an acceptable time.
Now, while mercy may be had, we cry for mercy.' O, cast not out our prayer! Let no love of sin
remain in us, to hinder our of thy favour towards us. pardon and peace, and the
enjoying the assurance Grant to us, O Lord, gracious witness of thy
Spirit within us; witnessing with our spirits, that we are thy children, accepted in thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour!
CHRIST INVITING THE WEARY.
MATTHEW xi. 28-30.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
THIS is a general invitation, made by Jesus Christ to all sinners. He offers them the blessings of the Gospel of Peace.
None but Jesus could have invited them. None but Jesus has power to give pardon and peace. The ministers of the Gospel cannot say, Come to us; but they are bid to speak in His name. We invite you, saying, "Come unto Christ."
Who is this Saviour that invites? He is the Son of God. He was in the beginning with God, and He is God. But he took upon him the likeness of sinful flesh; and being himself without sin, he died for us sinners, that he might bring us unto
God. His name was Emmanuel, God with us.' And he now sends his ministers with this message, "We pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled unto God."
While he was on earth, he continually went about doing good, healing all manner of diseases, and preaching the Gospel. We cannot, like him, heal diseases. But it is a delightful work, still to say to weary and sinful souls, "Come unto Christ." Though he is in heaven unseen by us, he is still mighty to save. He hears and answers every prayer, every sigh. He sits at the right hand of his Father, and there pleads for praying sinners, being the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. And we are assured that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.
But who are the weary and heavy-laden? This means, all the sick and afflicted; all the children of men, that groan and weep under the burdens of life; provided only that their troubles lead them to mourn for their sins, and come to Christ.
All things are full of labour, and the misery of man is great upon him. When we are young and healthy and gay, we feel this too little; we abuse the gifts of God; and often we sin against him with a high hand. But sooner or later sorrow comes upon us. We ought to have repented of our sins before; but in the day of calamity it is not too late. Even then Christ says, "Come unto me."
Some also are brought to grieve for their sins," without much outward sorrow. The Spirit of God
works inwardly upon them; and, by careful self-examination, they find that they are altogether sinful. The remembrance of sin takes such hold of them, that they are not able to look up. Conscience flashes in their face. Sins committed in youth or in riper years, sins of the heart as well as of the life, are set in order before them; and they can have no peace, till they have fled to Jesus, to deliver them from the wrath to come.
Jesus promises, "I will give you rest." When he pardons the sinner, he cleanses and quiets his conscience. And there is no other way of having a quiet conscience. But he who believes in Christ, though he was before laden with sins and full of fears, may now walk upright, and go on his way rejoicing. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Jesus also bids us take his yoke upon us. Pardoned sinners should walk humbly and holily, to the end of their days. There is no comfort without holiness; and " without holiness, no man shall see the Lord." The closer we fit on this yoke, and the longer we wear it, the easier and lighter it will be. It is only when we wish to throw it off, or to slacken it, that this yoke galls our neck.
Satan is a hard master: sin is a bitter service; and "the wages of sin is death." Jesus is the kind Master his service is perfect freedom; and "the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."-Come, then, to Jesus!
O Lord, our Heavenly Father, who hast so loved the world as to give thine only begotten Son to die for us; open our eyes to behold the grace revealed to us in the person of this Divine Redeemer ! Cause us to feel our own guilt and helplessness; and whenever any sorrow is sent to us, let it bring our sins to our remembrance, that we may turn our weary souls to Christ, and seek pardon, and peace, and rest in Him.
O Lord! other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: we have served divers lusts and pleasures; and we can have no other fruit from them, in the end, but shame, and grief, and fear. O help us now to take upon us the yoke of Jesus, which is easy; and his burden, which is light! Teach us to walk humbly with thee: let us not covet the praise of men, nor rest in the delights of this world; but let thy peace, O God! rule in our hearts; and let our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We ask these things in the name of Him, who loved us, and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.