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waters, and a boat should be offered to carry to land them that would come into it, it were an absurd thing to dispute whether it be for us. If a pardon come from the king for a company of condemned prisoners, and they shall all have benefit by it, if they will but accept of it, what madman would refuse it, and question whether the prince intend him particularly, when his name is included in the general grant. Surely men would not so fondly cast away themselves in temporal things, and who would be such a fool in the everlasting concernments of his precious soul? The way here is not to dispute, but believe. Is not Jesus Christ our souls' physician, and are not we sick? Is not the gospeldesign of grace a plank after shipwreck, and are not we drowning? Are not we condemned malefactors at the bar of God's justice? and doth not God graciously tender to us the redemption so dearly purchased by our precious Saviour? and why then should we forsake our own mercies-why will you be cruel to your own souls? If it were in temporal things, you would put out the hand and be very ready for receiving: if you sit at a feast, and there stand a dish upon the table that is agreeable to your palate, though all the company be free to make use of it, yet you say, Here is a dish for me, and you think it good manners to feed heartily upon it, without scruples and disputes of being welcome, since you were freely invited by your generous friend.-Our Lord Jesus hath made "a feast of fat things," and hath bidden his guests; he invites you to eat and drink abundantly: O do not you make apologies for your absence from this gospel feast;
* Isa. xxv. 6. Prov. ix. 1, 2. Cant. v. 1, 2. The porch of the Temple was open and without doors on all sides, to shew the open heartedness of God's grace under the Gospel.-See Mr. Lee on Solomon's Temple, cap. 9. p. 210.
when he invites, do not you question whether he means as he speaks, but fall to, and make a long arm, and take your share of this provision; I can assure you, he hath not an evil eye, he doth not grudge you this heavenly manna; nay, rather than your souls shall famish, he freely gives you his flesh and blood, to nourish your poor immortal souls. Oh, you that have torn his flesh with the teeth of cruel persecution of himself and his members-you, that have trampled upon his blood with the feet of an odious and abominable conversation-you, he calls to "eat his flesh and drink his blood," by faith in him, and improvement of him, that your souls may live-you that have despised riches of grace, treasures of grace are opened for you -you that have fought against Jesus Christ all your days, with all your might, he invites you to be his soldiers, and he will graciously entertain you as if you had never been in rebellion against the King of kings! Will not this melt aud move you to yield yourselves unto your dear and loving Lord? I beseech you, take these things into your serious thoughts, and accept of Jesus Christ; only presume not by dreaming of application of Christ, without separation from sin. Take a whole Christ, to sanctify thy heart as well as justify thy person, to purify conscience as well as pacify wrath -take Christ aright, mistake him not, lest you be wofully mistaken to your eternal undoing. You need a whole Christ, and a broken heart will not be content with a divided Saviour; it is the whorish heart that will divide; a sincere soul must have all, he needs grace as well as peace. Indeed, there is nothing of Christ useless; every part of this Lamb of God is of absolute necessity to the indigent soul, and true faith takes him in all his mediatory latitude; it is as dangerous to divide Christ believed on, as the heart be
lieving; therefore stir up yourselves to a due consideration of free grace, and application of it in the right gospel way of believing.
7. Be humble petitioners at the throne of grace; beg hard at the gates of mercy, for a large dole of heavenly riches. Ask; if that will not do, seek; if seeking avail not, knock, and you shall be sure to prevail. The choicest riches of heaven may be had for asking, and if they be not worth that, they are worth nothing. God loves importunate beggars; there is liberty of petitioning in the court of heaven; it is no bad manners there to heap suit upon suit; the oftener you come the welcomer you are: "He will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ;"* and that is a good thing in God's account, and should be in ours, for it enricheth the soul with an abundant treasure. O beg the Spirit of God! "open your mouths wide, and he will fill them." We should think ourselves made for ever, if we might but nave what we can ask : but the truth is, we cannot ask so much as God is able and. willing to give us, Ephes. iii. 19, 20. Therefore, sirs, stir up your hearts to desire grace; open these windows of your souls; lift up yourselves to God upon these wings of desires, and fetch a treasure from heaven into your hearts. Strong desires are real prayers,† and shall prevail; for they not only capacitate the soul for grace, but lay it directly under the promise, Matt. v. 6. Desire forms the soul's pullies, that wind it up to heaven; and it is the soul's stomach that receives heaven into the Christian: therefore, pray hard. Do not you see and hear the pathetical cries of poor beggars, backed with rhetorical arguments of sores and nakedness, at your doors and in the road?
* Compare Matt. vii. 11, with Luke xi. 13.
and do likewise; fill the ears of God with mighty cries; take no denial, give God no rest, till you have your share in spiritual blessings. Tell God you will not be put off with the transient good things of this wicked world; tell him he hath better things than these to bestow upon children; crowns and golden mines are but crumbs cast to dogs-tell him thou comest to him for a child's portion; and if he will but give thee a treasure of grace in thy heart, and reserve a treasure of glory for thee in heaven, thou wilt refer matters of the world to him, and he shall do with those things as he sees good, whether he give thee less or more of the ... Mammon of unrighteousness," any thing or nothing. Tell the Lord, he hath entrusted these talents of grace with unworthy creatures and great sinners, and if thou be worse than any that ever yet partook thereof, yet tell him, he doth not sell these precious commodities to men deserving, but give them to necessitous sinners, and thou art one that needs as much as any-tell him, thou never yet heardest that he refused to give them to any that sought them for Christ's sake, with a broken heart, above worldly treasures-tell him, that himself hath promised, his Son hath purchased, his Spirit will freely convey these gospel riches into thy heart, and if he "will but speak the word," the thing shall be quickly done. Tell the Lord, yet once again, what a monument he will thereby raise to his own glory; if he will fill thy soul with this treasure, he will thereby "make known the riches of his glory on a poor vessel of mercy."* And whereas now thou art a useless vessel, wherein the Lord can have no pleasure, by whom he can have no profit nor honour; yet if he will be pleased to own and crown thy soul with saving grace, he may then take delight in thee and rest in his
*Rom. ix. 23.
love towards thee; and when he "hath blessed thee with spiritual blessings in heavenly things," then thou wilt be "to the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph. i. 3, 6. Thus come, thus pour out your hearts like water before the Lord, lie day and night at the throne of grace; it is worth all this pains in seeking. Will not you do as much as Esau for his blessing? He took pains to hunt for venison, that Isaac's soul might bless him, and missing of it, he lift up his voice, and "cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry," redoubling his request with an affectionate echo, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!"* The words are very remarkable, and have as notable an emphasis as almost is to be found in Scripture; and will you be worse than profane Esau? O sirs, if O sirs, if you knew your soul's want, and the worth of divine things, your prayers would have another accent, and be put up with more fervency than usually they are, and you might have hopes to speed. So saith the wise man-" If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hidden treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God," Prov. ii. 3-5.
Before I break off this subject, let me press a little upon you the wholesome counsel of our dear Saviour. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich," &c. Rev. iii. 18. Consider
First, What is your estate naturally, and without Christ; you may imagine great things, but God knows there is no such matter, as he saith to this self-conceited church of Laodicea, "Thou sayest I am rich—and knowest not that thou art wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked," verse 17. He heaps up many words to
.ויצעק צעק גדלה ומרה עד-מאד .34,3 .Gen. xxvii *