« PreviousContinue »
Why hath he registrate it in his word, but that the dead fi. ner may lay his finger on that name, and carry it to a ihrone of grace, saying, O let him be the refurreétin and the lite tv me? O let the spirit of him that is the refurrection and the life quicken me, and make me free from the law of fin and deat' !
2dl, Consider he who is the refurrelion and the life is given unto you in the dispensation and grant of the everlasting gof. pel; the life that is in him is yours. Now I scarce think you will believe me; I atlirm it, he is yours in the revelation; he is yours as he is held out in the Bible, the book of God; he is yours as he stands in this gospel; and he is yours in the gist and grant made by himself in the word. There is an authentic grant made by the Father of Chrift, in this Bible; and this is the ground of the commision we have to preach to every creature. All mankind, every creature come of Adam, are dead in tin; and yet we are commissioned to go and preach and prophesy unto these dead and dry bones. Now, upon wbat ground does this commission go? Why, you will fee, 1 John v. 11. that it goes upon a gift or grant of life that God has made to mankind sinners, in a second Adam, a new cove. nant head : “ This is the record of God, that God hath given to us (finners of Adam's race) eternal life, and this life is in his Son:” and our preaching the gospel is just a publication of this authentic grant of lite to the dead, made by God in the word, when the dead hear this, their fouls live, If. ly. 3. I remember, in John vi. Christ there the resurrection, and the life, is preaching unto dead sinners; because he had fed them with loaves, they had a hankering after him ; they all forsook him when he began to preach faith in his blood to them ; yet what fays he, ver. 32.--"My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." The manna was given to Israel in the wilderness; every man in the camp of Israel had a right to it, because God gave it to them, and brought it down from heaven to their tent-doors. Well, says Christ, “I am the bread of life,” the true manna, I am given by my Father, that " whosoever eateih me, may live by me.” The gift or grant of Christ in the word is just the very foundation that faith goes upon. Why, we durft not bid you meddle with him unleis he were given. It is theft and robbery to meddle with that which duch not belong to us. Our offer of Christ, and the call to receive him, it certainly supposes he is given, or else we durst not bid you meddle with him. Unbelief is the great fin of the learers of the gospel, that the Lord threatens moft to resent; but unbelief would not be your fin, if Christ were not given. Now, believe this, that Christ is given, offered, and
presented in this gospel, even to you who are rotting in the grave of lin, that he may, through faith of God's operation, be the resurrection and the life to your souls in particular. Then,
3dly, Consider that Christ, the resurrection and the life, he is willing to give the life that is in him to you ; he willingly died, he willingly came into this world, and he willingly went about the work his Father sent him to do. What way does that appear? say you. Answ. It appears from his solemn and repeated calls, “ Hear, and your souls shall live ;” and he offers and bodes himself upon the dead, and complains that the dead will not come to him for life, John v. 40.“ And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. How often would I have gathered you (says Chrift), as a hen gathers her chická ens under her wings, but ye would not !” So then, remember Sirs, it is not your impotency that will excuse you; fome people fancy, that it will excuse them, because they are dead; remember, Sirs, that God will not condemn you so much for your impotency, as for your unwillingness to come to Chrift: if ye had willingness, ye would find the Spirit of life entering into you, and quickening you; he is so willing, that he complains of the folly and distraction of sinners, he appeals to the heavens and the earth to judge betwixt him and them for their madness, Jer. ii. 12. 13. “ Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be very defolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Nou, let these things be pondered by you that are dead; the Lord is willing to give life to you, and will you not be willing to take such an unipeakable biesling off his hand ? For the Lord's fake consider what will follow if you do not embrace the Son of God, out of one death you will go to another, out of the grave of f1:1 you will be tumbled into the grave of heil ere it be long; it is only theie that hear the voice of the Son of God that shall live. O, tay you, will you give the dead your best advice wnat to do!
(1.) Be convinced that you are dead in trespasses and finis, Alas! there lies the great dilliculty, finners cannot be perfuaded bur they have lite already, at least as much of it as will bring them into heaven. We cannot get people beat off this delusion. . : (2.) Another advice I would give you is, Be persuaded there is no life in and by the works of the law for you: " By the works of the law shall no fleih be juitified.” And then ye must be perluaded, that there is life in Christ for you,
and that you in particular are warranted to come to kim ici lit.
(3) Hearken unto the words tha: core from hin, liten to his words cf lie, for in hearing you find live. I would advif you to pray meikle. Let the dead go to a living Cbruit; cry, Sring up, O weii of living water, and enter into my ijul. Then let those that are dead haunt the company of living Christians; for this is one way to ge. He, 2nd to keep it in when got: as you know, when dead coals are pur in amoat the living coals, they will soon be kindied by them; fo, by converting with lively Chritians, the Spirit of life may enitt into you.
1. The lat inforence I make is unto the living. Is it lo, that Christ is the refurrection and the life? Then you that are raised by his death and resurrection, take there advices fole lowing, and so I have done. (I fear i have indited too long already.) , ut, My advice to you that are partakers of the life of Chriit, is, to bless the Lord that ever he crowned you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Admire the freedom of the grace of God, in quickering you then “ dead in trcfpanics and fins," wben he leít others dead in the grave of lin. The Lord comes to the quarry of nature, he fees so many ftones lying there, and he pitches on whom he pleases: have you not reason then, to bless the Lord, that he picked you out, and lest many of brighter natural qualifications than you? O man, what is the disturence between them and you? It is nothing but sovereign, frce, and victorious grace. Let grace have all the glory. But then,
2diy, Another advice I would give you that have shared of life from him that is the resurrection and the life, is this, Has he quickened you? let the life you live, be “ 'by faith upon the Son of God, who loved you, and gave himself for you.” Rea member what I faid before, ye are not to live on grace received, but the life that is in him: “ The life I live (saith the apoftle) is by faith upon the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” And then as you live upon him, and by him, so study to live to his glory:“ Let your light so thine before men, that others seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven.” And then, · 3dly, Another advice I would give to the living, is, Study not only to believe in him with the heart, but to confess him with the niouth unto salvation, as the expresion is, Rom. X. 10. 6 With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto fulvation." It is not enough to believe in Chrift, unless we likewise own and avow
him, unless we honour and glorify him before the world : “ Him that confeffech me before men (faith Christ), him will I confess before my Father and his holy angels ; but he that denieth me before men, him will I also deny before my Father and his holy angels." I remember in ls. xliii. 10. and xliv. 8. Christians are called the Lord's witnesses. Why do they get that name? Because they confess his truths, they confels his cause, they confess his members, they confess his ministers, and every thing that belongs to him. It is not a private owning of him that will do in such a day as this; he is publicly affronted, the crown is publicly taken off his head ; he is injured by civil and ecclefiaitic courts; he is injured in his doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; he is injured in his members; he is injured in his fupreme Deity; he is injured in his headship and sovereignty over his church. Now, I say, ' when he is thus publicly injured, he ought also to be publicly confessed. A public teftimony hath been emitted, in a judicial way, by a handful of ministers, who, by the peculiar providence of God, have been brought to a particular situation; that testimony has come abroad, and it torments the men that dwell upon the earth, who attempt to bury his testimony, and to bury his witnefies. A cry is come abroad, of a dangerous fchism in the church, and of schismatics renting the seamless coat of Christ. That is just the old cant of the Papists, when the Protestants came off from them, saying, O, by your doing so, you cause divisions in the church, and rent Christ's seamleis coat. I would ask fuch, Who are the causes of it? whether they that endeavour to maintain, and contend for the truths of Christ; or there that tread his truths under their feet? whether these that endeavour to maintain the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, or these that are trampling the sacred privileges of the church of Christ under their feet? All that is demanded by us is, that they return to the Lord, and that they rectify these things that are wrong in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; this is what God requires, he « commands all men every where to repent.” What is the reason that men, in a judicative capacity', do not purge out the leaven of error or scandals in the church? what is the reason? It is either because they will not, or they cannot. If they will not, by this they proclaim to the world, that they are a set of wicked men : or it is because they cannot, and it says the Master hath taken away the keys from them; and what a ridiculous thing would it be to accede to then, from whom the keys of the house are taken away by the Master of the house? It is easy then to know what course to Neer. If the rights of Chrift, as King in his lioly hill of
Zion, be maintained in the judicatories of the establishment, then it is a fin to withdraw from them : but if they be trampling under foot the authority of the Son of God, by enacting laws in his house which are inconfiftent with his laws, and with the liberties wherewith he hath made his people free; if they be worming out a fai:hful ministry, screening the er. roneous, cafting minifters out of their communion for faithful witneffing against errors and corruptions; then we ought not to continue with them, especially when a public teftimony is lifted up. Wherever his cause is displayed, and his truths are maintained, by doctrine, worship, or discipline, there ihould the acceflion be; for the “ gathering of the people" should be there. If it be within the camp, stand there ; if it be found in the fields, and city of the wood, it concerns us to follow him there, though reproach and persecution should follow ; says the apostle, Heb. xiii. 13. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." When the Christian church was first erected by the apostles, and the Jewish church was unhinged, a cry was raised after them, that they were schismatics, and renting the true and only church of God; says the apostle, He has been reproached for us, and it is good our common to go without the camp to him, bearing his reproach. However ye may scar at reproach for Christ, Moses was of another opinion, for he “ accounted the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.” What is the hazard though reproach should follow? Cleave to hiin. Let us ftudy to confess him, and follow him on all hazards : “ He that loftth his life for my fake (lays Christ) shall find it;" he that loseth a good name for Christ, he will iind it again ; there will be a resurrection of names, as well as of persons, ere all be done. And then,
Athlı, Another advice is, I would have you beware of these things that are a prejudice to the life of your souls. (1.) Beware of an indolent life. Nothing does more hurt a person's life than this; it is very prejudicial to the body. But I beware of spiritual floth; be “ diligent in business, fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord.” (2.) Beware of surfeiting and glutting yourlelves with the pleasures of sense; that also is a prejudice to the life of the foul: “ Take heed (says our Saviour) left at any time ye be overcharged with surfeiting and drunk. enness, and that day come upon you unawares." No sooner did Samson ilcop into the lap of Delilah, than his locks were cut. Then, (3.) Beware of unwholesome food; why, it is pernicious to the life. O beware of unsound doctrines; many errors are abounding in our day. And I beware of dead ministers; for dead minifters make a dead people and dead hearers. Where there is nothing but dead hearing, O will