Page images
PDF
EPUB

where is the light in my understanding, the rectitude of my will, the regularity of my affections? Where is the tenderness of my conscience, the tenacity of my memory, and the victory over my inferior unruly passions? Lord, where am I, and what will become of me, except free grace interpose for my deliverance?

7. Think, oh think much upon the stupendous work of man's redemption. Here the ransomed of the Lord may and must expatiate in heart-melting meditations on the way of their recovery, thus: Here stand and ruminate, my soul, upon the sweet, transcendent contrivance to save lost man. Oh why, wherefore was it, that the heart of God was working for men, and not for devils? they were as near and dear to God, when standing, and as perfect in their natures. Was it because man had a tempter, and they had none? No, certainly; though that may be a truth, yet no reason for chusing man, and leaving devils to be reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day. No, no; free grace alone made the difference; but, what was the way of man's redemption? Why, truly, the Son of God, the second Person of the glorious trinity must become man, and put himself into the sinners' stead, to do and endure, be and bear what man must have gone through and undergone. Oh stupendous mystery! oh transcendent mercy! who could have devised such a way y? who durst have desired such a thing, that God should part with his only begotten Son for such an end? Oh the manifold wisdom of God! Oh the inconceivable love of the Father, to send his Son, and of his Son to come on such an errand! Great is the mercy of God, "great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh." O the wonders in his strange hypostatical union, the completeness of his person, the usefulness of his offices! Oh the bitterness of his

temptations, travels, trials, reproaches, agonies, desertions and death, sharp to him, sweet to us. These will be the subject of saints' thoughts, and praises in heaven, to all eternity.

8. Think upon the terms and tenor of the gospel, how, and upon what conditions, Christ and all his benefits may be made over to you; and that is, on a cordial accepting of Christ in his mediatorial offices, as he is tendered in the gospel, to justify, sanctify, and save. Thus then, conceive thereof: Oh strange mercy, boundless love; God might have appointed the conditions of salvation to have been travelling tedious journeys, conquering kingdoms, or lying so many years in misery. He might have said, thou must either keep the moral law exactly or die eternally; but he saith believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, nor hath he left thee, O my soul, to do this by thine own strength, which had been as impossible as the former, but he that requires faith of thee, promiseth to give faith to thee. Faith is in the covenant as well as forgiveness; Jesus Christ hath purchased strength to believe, as well as salvation for believers. Oh blessed contrivance, all is laid upon our gracious and all-sufficient surety; he is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, he is the way, the truth, and the life, the author and finisher of our faith, he saves to the uttermost, all the elect who have faith, and none of them shall miscarry. This, this is the kernel and marrow of the gospel, that Christ is the surety for all believers and hath undertaken to bear them all to heaven by the power of his Spirit, and by virtue of his atonement, and he wants neither ability nor fidelity to bring about this glorious enterprise for poor souls.

9. Think, and think again, what interest you have in this Redeemer and redemption, for all are not sharers

in it, all will not be saved by it, nay, but few of those that hear the tidings of it. Think thus, oh my soul: What is thy state? where is thy standing? what interest hast thou in Christ? what title to the promises of the covenant? hast thou a sound and saving faith, a thorough heart-shaking, heart-breaking repentance? I hear in the word that Christ becomes the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. Oh my soul! hast thou given up thyself to him in the obedience of faith? What operations of the Spirit hast thou felt for thy effectual vocation? what regenerating work hath passed upon thee? art thou translated from death to life, from darkness to light? art thou, indeed, transplanted out of the old stock into the new and living vine? what particular application hast thou made of this general redemption? hast thou viewed a bleeding Christ with a bleeding heart? and looked on him whom thy sins have pierced with a repenting, believing frame of spirit? hast thou accepted of Jesus Christ in his mediatorial latitude, as Prophet, Priest, and King, to subdue thy lusts, to guide thee by his sceptre, and save thee in his own way? Oh my soul, be serious in this inquiry, it is no trifling matter-it is as much as thy soul is worth it is of great concernment to all eternity! The way is strait and narrow-thousands are deceived and spend no thoughts upon it, till they be past hope or remedy. The stroke of death will suddenly determine the business. Oh look to it, before that blow be given, lest it be too late.

10. When thou hast cleared thy state, then think with comfort on the rich privileges of believers. Here thou mayest have a spacious field of contemplation; God allows thee to solace thy soul in such thoughts as these: O the inestimable, incomparable, invaluable advantages of the saints! What sayest thou, oh my guilty,

weary soul, is it nothing to have sin pardoned, thy debts paid, the bond cancelled? Certainly, to a soul heavy laden, under a sense of guilt, an assurance of pardon is the most joyful tidings in the world, and shall my filthy, naked soul be clothed with this blessed robe of Christ's perfect righteousness? Oh the riches of free grace! Shall such a base and bankrupt beggar become the beautiful spouse of the King of heaven? It was infinite mercy that kept me thus long out of hell, but will the Lord also make this polluted soul an heir of heaven? shall Jesus Christ be my elder brother, the Spirit my comforter, and God himself my Father? Oh boundless and bottomless riches of free grace! moreover, O my soul, thou hast interest in all the promises, the assistance of the Spirit in prayer, and free access to the throne of grace. The providences of God are working for thy good, the protection of heaven shall be over thy person, and the blessing of the Almighty shall be upon thy undertakings. Thou hast, O my soul, sweet fellowship with God, the benefit of communion of saints, and the presence and service of the holy angels; he will guide thee with his counsel, and at last receive thee to glory. And is not this a ne plus ultra of preferment? Can thy covetous or ambitious thoughts reach any further? No, no, my soul, God hath done for thee beyond thy expectation, even to admiration.

11. Now then, my soul, let thy thoughts be working upon some returns. What doth God require of thee in lieu of all these rich and royal favours? Oh set thy heart to study duty, lie under a sense of the law of thankfulness, desire the Lord to write that blessed law upon the table of thy heart, consider what thou hast to do, but here my soul is non-plussed. Alas, what returns can I make unto my God for all these benefits? what can a poor, worthless worm do, in requiting infi

VOL. II.

S

nite kindness? Myself, and all I am, or can do, are the Lord's due, and here I offer up all to thee, O Lord, as a whole burnt sacrifice, which is most reasonable. Oh that it may be acceptable through Jesus Christ! my heart, my lips, my life shall praise thee,-bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name! Oh that my heart were well-tuned to sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb! alas, my soul, how low and dull art thou! how short and shallow in thy poor returns for these rich receipts! surely my soul will sing a new, and another kind of song amongst the heavenly choir of blessed saints and angels in eternal mansions. In the mean time, O my soul, be winding up thy heart, screwing up thy faint affections; be much in the work of thankfulness, lay out thyself for the glory of thy Redeemer, sin no more, serve him better; walk with God, wait upon him, worship him with all thy heart; do all the good thou canst in thy place, hie apace towards heaven, and lift up thy head with expectation, desire, and exultation, for the day of redemption draweth near.

12. Think much, and seriously on the evil of sin, how offensive it is to God! how destructive to the soul! that so you may eschew and abhor the very risings and appearance thereof. Thus let your thoughts be employed: What a monstrous, shocking, venemous thing is sin! it is the very epitome of all evil, worse than the devil himself, the most loathsome creature that crawls is very good if compared with sin. It is a heart-plague, more evil than all the plagues and diseases that are incident to the body of man,-it is worse than hell itself. O sin, what hast thou done? was it not sin that cast the angels out of heaven, Adam out of paradise, and thousands, yea, tens of thousands of souls headlong into hell? was it not sin

« PreviousContinue »