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when he can find none ; an effectual plaifter, applied to heal our wound, when his own must bleed to eternity : And he obtains his end fully, if he can but keep off fouls from Christ. Look, therefore, upon all those objections, and discouragements, raised in your hearts against coming to Christ, as so many artifices, and cunning devices of the devil, to destroy and ruin your souls. 'Tis true, they have a very specious and colourable appearance; they are gilded over with pretences of the Juftice of God, the heinous nature of sin, the want of due and befitting qualifications for fo holy and pure a God, the lap og of the feaion of mercy, and an hundred others, of like nature : but, I beseech you, lay down this as a sure conclusion, and hold it fast; that whatever it be that discourages and hinders you from coming to Christ, is directly against the interest of your souls, and the hand of the devil is certainly in it.
Infer. 2. Hence, also, it follows, that unbelief is the true reason of all that difquietness, and trouble, by which the minds of poor finners are so rack'd and tortur'd.
If you will not believe, you cannot be established; till you come to Christ, peace cannot come to you : Christ and peace are undivided. Good souls, consider this; you have tried all other ways, you have tried duties, and no rest comes; you have tried reformation, restitution, and a stricter course of life; yet your wounds are still opeo, and fresh bleeding : these things, I grant, are, in their places, both good, and necessary; but, of themselves, without Christ, utterly insufficient to give what you expect from them : why will you not try the way of faith? Why will you not carry your burthen to Chrift? Or that you would be perfuaded to it, how foon would you find, what so long you have been seeking in vain! How long will you thus oppose your own good ? How long will you keep yourselves upon the rack of conscience? Is it easy to ge under the throbs and wounds of an accusing and condemning conseience; You know it is not : you look for peace, but no good comes ; for a time of healing, and behold trouble. Alas! it mult, and will be fo, still, until you are in the way of faith, which is the true and only method to obtain rest,
Jofer. ż. What cause have we all to admire the goodness of God, in providing for us a Christ, in whom we may find rest to our fouls !
How hath the Lord filled and furnished Jesus Christ with all that is suitable to a believer's wants ! Doth the guilt of fin tere rify his conscience ? Lo, in him is perfect righteousness, to remove that guilt, so that it shall peither be imputed to his per:
fon, nor reflected by his conscience, in the way of condemnation, as it was before. Jo him, also, is a fountain opened, for washing and for cleansing the filth of fin from our souls; in bim is the fulness both of merit, and of Spirit, two sweet springs ot peace to the souls of men : well might the apostle say, “Christ, “ the wisdom of God,” i Cor. i. 30. and well might the Church say, “ He is altogether lovely," Cant. v. 16. Had not God provided Jesus Christ for us, we had never knowo one hour's rest to all eternity.
Infer. 4. How unreasonable, and wholly inexcufable, in believers, is the fin of backsliding from Chrift! Have you found rest in him, when you could not find it in any other ! Did he receive, and ease your fouls, when all other persons and things were physicians of no value? And will you, after this, backside from him again? O what madness is this! “ Will a mán " leave the foow of Lebanon, which cometh from the rock of “ the field ? Or shall the cold, flowing waters, that come from " another place, be forsaken?” No man, that is in his wits, would leave the pure, cold, refreshing stream, of a crystal fountain, to go to a filthy puddle, lake, or an empty cistern; such the best enjoyments of this world are, in comparison with Jesus Christ.
That was a melting expostulation of Christ's with the disciples, Joho vi. 67, 68. when some had forsaken him, “will yé, also,
go away?" And it was a very suitable return, they made, Lord, whither away from thee should we go! q.d. From thee, Lord! No, no; where can we mend ourselves? be sure of it, when ever you go from Christ, ye go from rest to trouble. Had Judas rest? Had Spira rest? and do you think you shall have reft? No, no,
“ The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways,” Prov. xiv. 14. “ Cursed be the man that depart. " eth from him, he shall be as the heath in the defart, that “ seeth not when good cometh, and shall inhabit the parched “ places of the wilderness,” Jer. xvii. 5. If fear of sufferings, and worldly temptations, ever draw you off from Christ, you may come to those straits, and terrors of conscience, that will make you wish yourselves back again with Christ in a prison, with Christ at a stake.
Infer. 5. Let all that come to Chrift, learn to improve him, to the rest and peace of their own fouls, in the midp of all the troubles, and outward distresses, they meet with in the world.
Surely rest may be found in Christ, in any condition ; he is able to give you peace in the midst of all your troubles here. So he tells you in Joho xvi. 33: " These things have I spoken to “ you, that io me you might have peace; in the world ye shall “ have tribulation.” By peace, he means not a deliverance from troubles, by taking off affliction from them, or taking them a. way, by death, from all afflictions; but it is something they enjoy from Christ, in the very midst of troubles, and amidit all their afflictions, that quiets, and gives them rest, so that trou. bles cannot hurt them. Certainly, believers, you have peace in Christ, when there is little in your own hearts; and your hearts might be filled with peace, too, if you would exercise faith upon Christ for that end. 'Tis your own fault, if you be without rest, in any condition, in this world. Set yourselves to study the fulness of Christ, and to clear your interest in him; believe what the scriptures reveal of him, and live as you believe, and you will quickly find the peace of God filling your hearts and sojads.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ. is
nanananana ninananana S E R M ON
Wherein the general Exhortation is enforced, by one
Motive drawn from the first Title of CHRIST.
Matth. ix. 12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them,
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are fick.
AVING opened, in the former discourses, the nature, and
method, of the application of Chrift to finners; it remains, now, that I press it upon every soul, as it expects peace, and pardon from God, to apply and put on Jesus Christ; (i.c.) to get union with him, by faith, whilst he is yet held forth in the free, and gracious tenders of the gospel. To which purpose, I shall now labour, in this general use of exhortation in which my laft subject engaged me; wherein divers arguments will be further urged, both from
1. The titles, and
The titles of Christ are fo many motives, or arguments, fitted to persuade men to come unto him. Amongst which, Chris, as the physician of fouls, comes under our first consideration, in the text before us.
The occasion of these words of Christ, was the call of Mato thew the publican, who having first opened his heart, next, a.
pened his house tò Christ, and entertaias him there. This 1trange and unexpected change, wrought upon Matthew, quickly brings in all the neighbourhood, and many Publicans and fingers reforted thither; at which the stomachs of the proud Pharisees began to swell. From this occafion, they took offence at Christ, and, in this verfe, Christ takes off the offence, by fuch an answer as was fitted, both for their conviction, and his own vindication. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, The whole have no need of a physician, but they that are fick."
He gives it, faith one, as a reason why he conversed so much with Publicans and fingers, and so little among the Pharisees, because there was more work for him ; Christ came to be a physician to fick souls ; Pharifees were so well, in their own conceit, thar Christ saw they would have little to do with him ; and so he applied himself to those who were more fenfible of their fickoess.
In the words, we have an account of the temper, and state, both of,
1. The fecure and unconvinced sinner. 2. The humbled and convinced finner. And, 3. Of the carriage of Christ, and his different respect to both.
Firft, The secure finner is here described, both with respect to his own apprehenfions of himself, as one that is whole, and al. so by his low value and esteem for Christ, he fees no need of him; “ The whole have no need of the physician.”
Secondly, the convinced and humbled finner, is here, also, described, and that both by his state and condition, he is fick; and by his valuation of Jesus Chrift, he greatly needs him: they that are fick need the physician.
Thirdly, We have here Christ's carriage, and different respect to both; the former he rejects, and passeth by, as those with whom he hath no concernment; the latter he convertes with, in order to their cure.
The words, thus opened, are fruitful in obfervations. I fall neithér note, nor infilt upon any, beside this one, which suits the scope of my discourse, viz. Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the only physician for fick
fouls. The world is a great hospital, full of sick and dying fouls, all wounded by one and the fame mortal weapon, fin. Some are senseless of their mifery, feel pot their pains, value not a physician; others are full of seafe, as well as danger; mouro under the apprehension of their condition, and fadly bewail it. The merciful God hath, in his abundant compassion to the perishing world, fent a physician from heaven, and given him his orders, under the great seal of heaven, for his office; Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. which he opened, and read, in the audience of the people. Luke iv. 18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he “ hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he “ hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted," @c. He is the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the natioos : he is Jehovah Rophe, the Lord that healeth us; and that as he is Jehovah Tzidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. The brazen ferpent that healed the Israelites in the wilderness, was an excellent type of our great physician Christ, and is exprefly applied to him, John ïïi. 14. He rejects none that come, and heals all whom he under takes ; but, more particularly, I will,
First, Point at those diseases which Christ heals ia fick souls, and by what means he heals them.
Secondly, The excellency of this physician above all others : there is none like Christ, he is the only physician for wounded fouls.
First, We will enquire into the diseases which Christ, the physician, cures; and they are reducible to two heads, viz.
1. Sin; and, 2. Sorrow.
First, The disease of fin; in which three things are found ex., ceeding burdensome to sick souls.
1. The guilt, 2. The dominion, 3. The inherence of fin; all cured by this physieian, and how,
First, The guilt of fin; this is a mortal wound, a slab in the very heart of a poor finner. It is a fond, and groundless distinction, that Papists make of sins mortal and venial; all sin, in its own nature, is mortal; Rom. vi. 23. “ fin is death." Yet though it be so in its owo nature, Cbrist can, and doch cure it, by the sovereign balfam of his own precious blood; Eph. i. 7." In whom we have redemption, through " bis blood, the forgiveness of fins, according to the riches of “ his grace.” This is the deepest, and deadliest wound, the foul of man feels in this world : What is guilt, but the obligation of the soul to everlasting punishment and misery? It puts the soul under the sentence of God to eternal wrath; the condemning fentence of the great and terrible God; than which, nothing is found more dreadful, and iosupportable: put all pains, all poverty, all afflictions, all miseries, in one scale, and God's condemnation in the other, and you weigh but so many feathers, against a talent of lead.
16 The wages