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way ? yea, irons on the prisoner's legs? He breaks the bars of iron, and brings out the prisoner.— Once more, he gets a sight of the willingness and readiness of Christ to communicate of his sulness: Heb. iv. 15. 16. " For we have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the seeling of our insirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and sind grace to help in time of need." He now sees the truth and reality of gospel-invitations and promises, that they are not only sair words, as he sometime thought them, but sure and tried words: Psal. xii. 6. " The words of the Lord are pure words; 36 silver tried in a furnace ef earth, purisied seven times." This revives the fainting heart, is the great cordial for a foul ready to perish; so that the prisoner resolves to venture IrimMf, and lay his whole weight on the glorious Deliverer.
Before leaving this head, it may be of importance to inquire, what ground the blinded prisoner has to rest upon and embrace this offer in the proclamation of the gospel ?—As to this we observe,
l. That there is nothing offered but what our Lord can perform and make good: Numb, xxiii. 19. "God is not a man that he should lie; neithe son of man that he should repent: hath he said, and shall not he do it ? or hath he spoken, and stiaH he not make it good?" Jesus is the true light, the iight of the world; the star that came out of Ja■cob, Num. xxiv. 17.; the bright and morning star, which puts an end to the dark night in the foul, Rev. xxii. 16.\ the fun of righteousness, Mai. iv. z. He has a sulness of the spirit of light
ia ill him, to communicate to dark souls, Rev. iii. 1. —We observe,
2. That there is nothing offered but what he has already performed in the experience of thousands, who have been Satan's close prisoners as well a$> you: Isa. xxxv. 4. 5. 6. "He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deas shall be unstopped: Then the lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the cV.mb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desart." Paul was a blind Pharisee, but O how wonderfully were his eyes opened! There have been many who were as stupid, secure, and blind as any, whom the day-spring from on high hath visited; who sat in darkness, but are now turned from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.—We observe,
3. That there is nothing proposed to us but what he has his Father's commission to ofser and make good: Isa. xlix. 6. " And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the tribes ot Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth." Ver. 9. "That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall seed in their ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places." Again, to the same purport, sec Isa. xlii. 6. 7. And therefore his coming into the world is compared to the day-spring, Luke, i. 78. which comes at its appointed time.—We observe,
4. That what is offered is ofsered to you. Ye are all comprehended in the proclamation: Isa. lv. 1. " Ho ! every one that thirtieth, come ye to the
waters." waters." Whatever be your case, though you be in the innermost room of Satan's prison in the world, ye are men, ye are sons of men: Prov. viii. 4. "Unto you, O men! do I call, and my voice is to the sons of men." And the offer is very particular, Eph. v. 14. " Awake, thou that steepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."—We observe,
5. That there is the greatest reality, truth, and sincerity in the offer: ReV. iii. 14. "These things saith the Amen, the saithsul and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God." Never one embraced this offer who was resused. It grieves his Spirit that sinners do not sall in with it. He wept over Jerusalem for this; and he has lost no bowels of compassion by going to heaven.
This part of the subject we would improve, by urging you to embrace the offered light, the saving illumination proclaimed in the gospel; and to come to Christ with this errand, That your eyes may be opened. And here I would exhort you to the following things.
Be convinced of your natural darkness and blindness in the things of God. Say not, with the Pharisees, Are we blind also? The less thou seest of this darkness about thee, the greater is the darkness upon thee. The best see but in part, and most men see none at all in a saving manner. —Love not darkness: John, iii. 19. " And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." As the owl loves . not the shining sun, so men wedded to their lusts hate the light, and loves to be in darkness. They do not know God, nor his law, nor his Son, nor themselves, and they care not for the knowledge of them: Job, xxi. 14 '« Therefore they say unto
God, Depart from us: for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." They are at little pains with their Bibles, and sar less with their hearts and lives, to make them agreeable to the light of the word. Do not resist and rebel against the light, Job, xxiv. 13. " They are of those who rebel 'against the light; they know not the way thereof, nor abide in 'the paths thereof." Let not your lusts carry you over the belly of what light you have, lest ye be judicially blinded. What light God offers you by his word, by providences, or by inward motions and convictions within your breasts, beware of sighting against it, beware of resisting and putting it out. Sometimes the Spirit of the'Lord begins to throw in beams of light into the foul, at a sermon, under a rod, or some rebuke of providence. But the sinner cannot be- easy till this be again darkened.—Be satissied with no light, which has not a sanctifying and purifying heat with it. The true light is called the light of lise, John, viii. 12. When the Spirit of the Lord sell on the disciples, Acts, ii. there appeared tongues of sire, enlightening and warming. Dangerous is the case of men who keep truth a prisoner: Rom. l. 18. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."—Lajlly, Go to the Lord for the Spirit of illumination. Pray, search for the same as for hid treasures, and believe for it in the Lord Jesus. Look to him that ye may he enlightened with this saving illumination of his word and Spirit.—To prevail with you in all these points, I would mention the following MoTives.
Mot. 1. This illumination is absolutely necessary for salvation. A Gnner will never prize Christ, nor come to him, till his eyes are opened to see his
Vol. Ill, Q sin -fin and misery, what ^ just God and a strict law he has to deal with, what a precious and suitable Saviour Christ is: John, iv. 10. "Jesus answered, and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that faith unto thee, give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." While Satan keeps his prisoner bound, he will hold him sast. That which the eye sees not, the heart receives not. The danger may be very great, but when unknown the sinner is secure.
Mot. 2. Blindness under the gospel is most inexcuseable: John, ix. 41. " Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see: therefore your sin remaineth." It is wilsul blindness. Those who live in the dark corners of the earth, where the light of the gospel is not known, what wonder is it that they walk on in darkness? But the light of the gospel shines about us. Christ offers to enlighten us by his Spirit, Eph. v. 14. If we chuse darkness rather than light, we must lay our account with our choice being our ruin, John, iii. 1.,.
Mot. 3. Saving illumination is the only way to true comfort, and the want of it the way to utter misery: Col. i. 12. 13. "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." At the blinding of the soul, Satan completes the security of the prisoner; and at the enlightening of him, Christ begins his deliverance. In them who are saved, the light is • carried on to the light of glory. In them who are lost, the darkness is continued, till they come to endless and utter darkness.—We are now,