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SERMON XX.

JOHN VI. 37.

Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

save.

TWO vwo things are necessary to encourage a con

vinced sinner to come to Christ for salvation : the one is, a persuasion of his ability to save; the other, of his willingness. Of his ability few comparatively doubt; and who can doubt at all, if he believe that Christ is the great Creator of the world ? for sis any thing too hard for the Lord ?” Nor is there the least reason to doubt of his good-will to

And yet how many are distressed with fear on this account ! There are few who say, “If thou canst do any thing, help us !" But there are many who cry—“ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Happy the soul that comes thus far. Jesus will answer, as he did of old,—“I will, Be thou clean." This assurance he gives us in many parts of the Scripture, but in none so fully as in the text. Our Lord is here speaking to a multitude of the Jews, who, having seen the miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves, followed him a great way, in hope of seeing such another miracle, and perhaps of living upon his bounty. But he exhorts them to seek the bread of life for their souls; laments their unbelief; but comforts himself in this, that all who were given him by the Father should certainly come to him; and declares his perfect readiness to receive every coming soul. This, my friends, is indeed good

VOL. II.

H

you who

news; glad tidings of great joy to those of
are seeking salvation, and who know that it is to be
had only in Jesus; especially if your fearful hearts
have been tempted to think he will not receive you.
Be no longer faithless, but believing; he says, that if
you come, he will in no wise cast you out—he will
on no account whatever reject or refuse you, but rea-
dily embrace you in the arms of his mercy, and give
you pardon, peace, holiness, and heaven. Now, that
we may clearly understand this, and get the full com-
fort of it; let us consider,

1. What is meant by coming to Christ; and,
II. The encouragement held out in the text to all

comers.

1. What is meant by coming to Christ. None can suppose it is coming to him with our bodies: this is now impossible ; for the heavens have received him out of our sight; and, though his divine presence is everywhere, his glorified body is only in heaven. And were he on earth, as he once was, coming to him with our bodies only would be of no use, as appears

from this chapter, ver. 36, where he says to the people who were round about him, “ Ye also have seen me, and believed not." Nor is it merely coming to his house, where he is preached; nor to his table, where he is set forth. Many do all these, who are none the nearer to Christ

. Ezek. xxxiii. 31. But this coming is to be understood spiritually; it is the coming of the heart; it is the motion of the mind; it is “the flight of the soul to Christ.” It is, therefore, the same as believing in Christ ; see verse 35. 6 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst;" the same person is intended, and the same act of the mind. But

you will observe, that such a comer to Christ is convinced of his sin and danger, and comes to

;

Christ for help; just as it is said by the prophet Isaiah, (xxvii. 13.) 56 The great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish.No man will go and beg for bread till he is pinched with want.

The prodigal son never said, “I will arise and go to my father," till he was ready to perish with hunger. It is a sense of sin, and a fear of hell, together with a hope of mercy, that puts a man upon coming to Chrift: for he himself declares, when speaking to the Jews, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Life, you see, is what a sinner must come for the life of his soul : for he now sees that he is exposed by sin to eternal death. Now, “ All that a man hath will he give for his life.”. When this is in danger, he will be in earnest; he will be in haste; and the language of the coming sinner is— What shall I do to be saved ?”—“ Lord, save, or I perish.”

This coming of the soul to Christ supposes faith. No man can come to him till he has heard of him; and no man can hear of him but by the gospel. Now, the Gospel means good news-glad tidings. The Gospel tells us that “ Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners;" that “ he is come to seek and to save that which is lost;" that “his blood cleanseth from all sin.” The Gospel also calls and invites poor sinners to apply to Jesus, that they may have life. For instance, Jesus says, Matt. xi. 28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Now the sinner hears these gracious words. The Holy Spirit gives him light to understand them. He mixes faith with them. He believes them to be true. Now he cannot believe these things without being affected by them; without having desire to be interested in them. If he is persuaded of the freeness, fulness, and suitableness of the salvation that is in Christ, his thoughts must and will be much engaged about it; his affections will be moved ;

cure.

in other words, he comes to Christ, his mind flies to him for refuge, and there it rests.

Now this application of the soul to Jesus has a respect to the various offices and characters which he sustains for our salvation. For instance :--Is he called a Saviour ? (that is, a deliverer :) the soul desires and hopes for deliverance from sin and hell by him alone. Is he a Prophet? the soul, sensible of its woeful ignorance, comes to him with a humble, teachable spirit, to be taught and made wise to salvation. Is he a Physician ? the convinced sinner, sick to death of sin, eagerly applies to him for health and

Is he a Priest? the sinner, longing for pardoning mercy, depends alone upon the merit of his sacrifice. Is he a King ? the soul, heartily weary of Satan's tyranny, willingly submits to his mild government, and relies on his heavenly protection. In a word, he 6 receives Christ Jesus the Lord,” as offered to him in the Gospel.

Here let us stop a moment, and put a question ; We have been told what believing is; what coming to Christ is; now, my friends, the question is, Do we thus come to Christ? He that cometh shall be saved; but he that cometh not shall not be saved. Oh, let us not neglect this great concern!

6 How shall we escape if we neglect this great salvation ?” Think of a dying hour. Think of the judgment-day. And oh ! how dreadful would it be if Christ should say to any one of us, “ Wretched creature, ruined sinner, your destruction lies at your own door ! You were told of your danger; you were invited to believe in me; you were assured that, if you came to me, I would save you;

but
you
refused :

you

would not come to me, that you might have life. Perish, therefore. Perish without pity. Perish without remedy !” God forbid that we should hear such dreadful words !-rather let us, one and all, this very moment, fly, in the wishes

and desires of our hearts, to this compassionate Friend of sinners.

But perhaps there are some here who earnestly desire to be saved, yet their hearts are full of fear, lest they should be rejected. They have such a sight of the greatness of their sins-of their ignorance-of their unworthiness of the wickedness of their hearts, that they are afraid to come, lest the Lord should cast them out. This is a very common case.

You must not think that scarcely any one feels and fears as you do. Were you to talk with serious persons in general, you would find that almost all of them, especially at first, have had the very same fears, and have been so much distressed at times, that they were almost in despair. Jesus Christ knew before hand that it would be thus ; and he therefore graciously spoke these kind encouraging words on purpose to comfort poor, doubting, trembling, coming sinners—“ Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” That we may take the comfort of these precious words,

II. Consider the encouragement held out in the text to all comers : I say, to all comers—" him that cometh;” let him be who he may; high or low; rich or poor; young or old; learned or ignorant; yea, even great sinners; the chief of sinners: all who come shall be welcoine. Great sinners need great encouragement; and here they have it. What words could have been spoken more consoling to the distressed sinner? Many are afraid that there is something peculiar in their case ; something on account of which they shall certainly be cast out: but our gracious Lord, who well knew what timid creatures his people would be, has provided in these words an effectual antidote to their fears. This word, Him, takes in all sorts of persons, in all ages and places : all sort

and places : all sorts of sinners, even the greatest: it includes liars, drunkards, harlots,

let us,

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