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so sensibly, as shall force us all to cry out, with faith and grateful admiration, “My Lord and my God.”
His wounds are laid open, that you may see into his bleeding heart; that you may be prevailed upon to quit all other shelters, and flee into the cleft of the rock here opened, saying, “ This is my rest, and here will I dwell.”
O! reach hither thy finger, and behold his hands, &c. Would to God thy repentance was as real as his sufferings.
What art thou made of, O my soul, that thou art not all on fire at the sight of such amazing love.
If thou canst doubt of any thing now, it must be the sincerity of thy own love, not of his.
Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.
O thou who hearest the ravens when they cry, do not give us stone when we ask for bread; and when we beg for fish, do not, as we have provoked thee to do, give us a scorpion.
Open our mouths wide, and then fill and satisfy the desires of our souls.
Come, and see the wells of salvation opened, the stone rolled away, and the water of life flowing freely and plentifully.
In the last, that great day of the feast, Jesus
stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."
I will drink and forget my poverty, and remember my misery no more; for if I have Christ, I have all and abound: if I am Christ's, all things are mine.
And now, my fellow-christians, I need not say, “ Blessed are ye that have seen, and have believed.” The cheerfulness of your countenances declares the cheerfulness of your hearts. With such sights as those you have now had, you could not but believe ; and with such endearments, you could not but be blessed. And is this the happy condition of all? Is there no soul that thinks itself forgotten and passed by ? Are there no humble, waiting, weeping christians that want to see Jesus ; but, being little of stature, and weak in faith, could not get near enough for the crowd, and who are ready to rise from this table, without having tasted of the cup of consolation, and with nothing but the remembrance of the years of ancient times to support their sinking spirits ? To them it may not be unseasonable to urge, what the only wise God and Saviour has added, “ Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
December 7, 1760.
I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU.
Ah ! dearest Saviour, is it to thee we are indebted for a seat in heavenly places? We have been wondering at the delightful description that was given of that elevated spot, the centre of all joy and glory, the sum of all felicity and honour ; and, at every new discovery, we could not help saying to ourselves, “Can all this be designed for me? Is it possible, even for the bounty and compassion of God, to raise such a contemptible worm as I to such exalted dignity and bliss ?" But now we come to find that heaven is a place of thy preparing, our wonder ceaseth, or rather takes a new turn; and whereas we wondered before at the grandeur of the place, and the riches of the glory to be there possessed, now we wonder at the price which purchased it, and the love that bestows it so freely on creatures so mean and unworthy.
We were outcasts and aliens, sold under sin, and bond-slaves
to Satan; and, therefore, before one of our apostate and condemned race could have any hope of heaven, our debts must be discharged, our sins forgiven, our sentence of condemnation reversed, our ransom paid, our enemies subdued, and our God reconciled. More than this : we had not only no right, but we had no meetness for such an elevated station. Our carnal minds were full of enmity against God and goodness, and there was much to be done in us, as well as for us.
Our hearts must be softened, our understandings enlightened, our affections spiritualized, and our whole natures sanctified and renewed. And O! what humiliation, what pains, what extreme agonies of body and mind did it cost the blessed Jesus to redeem us from sin and Satan, and bring us to desire and relish the services and pleasures of holiness and heaven! And yet all this he readily submitted to. He became flesh, and dwelt among us.
He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was made a sin-offering for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He was made a curse for us, to redeem us from the curse of the law, and entitle us to the blessing. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life. All this he did and suffered, to procure a place for us in the kingdom of his Father. If he had not acted and suffered in this manner, O christians, think what a very different place we had now been in: a place of torments, a dark and doleful dungeon, a lake that burns with fire and brimstone, a place prepared for the devil and his angels! There had we every one of us been confined for ever, if the Lord had not plucked us as brands out of the burning. The law was haling us to the judge, and the judge would have delivered us to the officer, and we should have been cast into the prison, from whence we should never, never have escaped, if our Divine Friend had not stood forth and said, “ Deliver them from going down into the pit, for I have found a ransom."
This was enough to excite our warmest and most devout acknowledgments; that he should free us from condemnation, that he should throw a covering over destruction, and deliver us from the wrath to come. O how thankful would fallen angels be, to be only released from these galling chains, by which they are kept in expectation of more dreadful and confirmed misery!
But this is not all : having procured our liberty, he provides for our happiness; having finished that part of his undertaking which was to be transacted on earth, he goes back again to heaven, to put all things in order for our reception and entertainment. See how seasonably and tenderly he arms his disciples against the sinkings of sorrow,