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enter in themselves, nor suffer those who would to enter. Like Elymas the forcerer, they seek to turn away men from the faith, Acts, xiij. 8. They no sooner discern any beginning seriousness in others, but they set themselves to crush it in the bud by their wicked advices, mockings, taunts, and licentious ensnaring examples. To these I may say, as in Acts, xiii. 10. “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ?” The blood of the souls of such as perish by these means will lie at the door of such persons, and be required of them. :
Lastly, Those are reproved, who, as their duty. is, dare not go to these physicians of no value, yet do not come to Christ, which is their fin: Pfal. lxxvii. 2. « My soul refused to be comfort. ed.” It is unbelief which makes it so, and Satan will do what he can to carry it on, to deter the finner from the great Physician. But has the Father accepted Christ a physician for brokenhearted sinners ? Surely, then, they may come, and welcome ; nay, they must cone, or elfe they will never be healed.- We ihall now improve the subject, a
Í birdly, In an use of comfort to these who are truly broken-hearted for sin in a gospel-fense. You - have an able Phyfician, who both can and will
cure you, even though Satan may be ready to tell you that your case is past cure. There is great ground of comfort for such. (1.) Your name is in Christ's commission. (2.) You know your difease, and this is a considerable step to the cure. (3.) Never any died of your disease : Psal. cxlvii. 3. “ He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth
up their wounds.”—Here, however, may be proposed this
Objection, My heart has been long broken for sin, and yet there is no appearance of being healed : Jer, xiv. 19. “ Hast thou utterly rejected Judah ? hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we have looked for peace, and there is no good, and for the time of healing, and behold trouble."--To this I ..Answer, Thy foul may be healed of the disease of sin, and thy guilt removed, even the power of fin may be broken, though thy trouble does remain. David's sin was put away, 2 Sam. xii. 13. yet he cries out of broken bones, Pfal. li. 8.-I would advise you to wait patiently on the great Physician, and in due time he will bind thee up. Limit him not to times and seasons, which are in his own hand; he best knows how to manage his patients. Some he keeps long in trouble, to prevent pride and security, into which they are apt to fall : others he soon cures, to prevent despair or utter despondency, to which they are most liable. It only remains that this subject be improved,
Lastly, In an use of exhortation.-This shall be addressed to three forts of persons.
I would exhort whole and hard hearted finners to labour to get broken hearts, hearts kindly broken for Gn.-To prevail with you in complying with this exhortation, I offer the following Motives.
· Mot. 1. Consider the evil that there is in hardness of heart.-It is very displeasing in the sight of God: Jesus was grieved with the hardness of men's hearts, Mark, iii. 5. It grieves his Spirit, and highly provokes him, so that God is ever angry with the hard-hearted sinner. Suppose a man to be under never so great guilt, but his heart is broVOL. III.
ken on account of it, God is not fo displeased with him as with those who, whatever their guilt be, are hard-hearted under it.--It fences the heart against receiving any benefit by the means of falivation. Till this hardness be removed, it makes the heart proof against ordinances and providences: Psal. xcv. 8. « Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” Confider, as it is with the dead tree, even in the spring, all labour is loft upon it; fo is it with the hard-hearted finner. God speaks by his word and Spirit, by mercies and judgements ; but nothing makes impression on the hard heart, yea, the most softening means leave it as they found it, or most probably in a worse state. - It binds up the heart from all gracious motions : Rom. ii. 4: 5. “ Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasureft up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgement of God.” This hardness is an iron band on the will, a stoniness in the heart, a hard freeze on the affections, so that the finner cannot repent, mourn, or turn from his evil courses. It so nails him down in his wicked way, that he can. not move God-ward, cannot relent of his folly, though his danger be clearly before his eyes. -In a word, it is the highway to be given up of God. Natural and acquired hardness lead the way to judicial hardness: Rom. xi. . « The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blind. ed.” When men harden their hearts against reproofs and warnings, God many a time visits them with a curse, To that they fhall never after
the foul.' and it is the set good Others, pi. He is
have power to relent and yield : Hof. iv.. 17. * Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone.”
Mot. 2. Consider the excellence of a broken heart. It is very pleasing in the fight of God, and precious : Plal.li. 17. “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” He looks to such, while he overlooks others, Ifa. lxvi. 2. He is near to them, while far from others, Pfal. xxxiv. 18. It is the way to get good of all the means of salvation; and it is the root of gracious motions in the soul. However low they lie, God will take them up, and take them in : Psal. cxlvii. 3. “ He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
Mot. 3. The hardest heart will break at length, if 11ot in a way of mercy, yet in a way of judgement: Prov. xxix. 1. “ He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be dea stroyed, and that without remedy.” (Heb. broken, and no healing). Thy fins are breaking to the Spirit of God, Ezek. vi. 9. Afure thyself that the stone will roll back on thyself sooner or later ; if it do not kindly break theer in a way of repentance, it will grind thee to powder in the way of wrath.–To such we would give the following directions briefly.
Believe the threatenings against sin, and apply them : Jonah, iii. 5. « So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” This belief worketh fear, and fear worketh forrow. And though this be but legal humiliation, yet this is ordinarily a mean fanctified of God to bring forward the elect finner to Christ, as it was when Noah builded the ark, Heb. xi. 7.--Ponder thy manifold fins, on the one K2
hand, hand, and the rich mercies with which thou hast been visited on the other. This is a proper mean to bring the heart into a broken disposition : Rom. ii. 4. “ The goodness of God leadeth to repentance." Believe and meditate on the sufferings of Christ for sin. Look how he was broken for it in a way of suffering, till thy heart be broken for it in a way of repentance : Zech. xii. 10. (quoted above).
We address ourselves, in the next place, to broken-hearted finners. To suchwe say, Come to Christ as a Physician for binding up and healing your broken hearts. You have sufficient encouragement to put your cases in his hand. It is a part of the work expressly put upon him by the Father, to bind up your wounds. He has a most
tender sympathy for such broken-hearted ones : · Ifa. Ixiii. 9.“ In all their affliction, he was af- :
fiicted, and the angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them and carried them all the days of old.” Therefore let us improve this sympathy: Heb. iv. 15. 16. “ For we have not an highpriest, who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without fin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”—He is very near to such, even as dwelling under one roof with them for their welfare : Ifa. lxvii. 15. “ For thus faith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble fpirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”_There is a particular relation betwixt him as the Physician,