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Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Or while he reads that gracious declaration, Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out; I say, while he reads this can he doubt? Let earth and hell muster up all their objections against a vile sinner, and this blessed word shall answer them all. The believing soul does not say, Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down. Or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring him up from thence. No, he knows he is nigh to all that call upon him; he therefore calls, believes, and is saved. He beholds the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. He looks unto him and is not confounded.
3. To this great end, that he may see and feel this blessed cure, he uses every means of grace; he knows that he who hath ordained the end hath ordained the means which lead to that end. As a throne of grace is erected, it is highly necessary that we should come with humble boldness to that throne, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. As the scriptures are written for our instruction, it is necessary that we should read them ; they testify of Jesus; and therefore direct us to him in whom all fulnes dwells, that we may receive out of that fulness and grace to help in every time of need. As some men are called to preach the
gospel, others are called to hear them; seeing faith comes by hearing; yea, and is increased by hearing also. It is the general engine which God makes use of to pull down the strong holds of Satan, and which gives him the most uneasiness, and against which he seems to have the greatest indignation. It is the preaching of the cross, though foolishness to the unbeliever, which is the power of God to an endless life. We have reason to lament that it has so little influence even where it is preached in simplicity and power; but where it is not preached the people perish for lack of knowledge.
THE Supper of the Lord is another mean which is appointed, and this mean is positively intended to set forth our Saviour's death, till he shall come in glory to judge the world.
THESE are the appointed means, which like so many windows, through which we must look unto him whom we have pierced, and I do not see how we can look unto him if we neglect them. :
4. This looking implies faith working by love. Indeed, if the ordinances are the windows, faith is the eye of the soul, which looks through those windows. The window is of small use to the blind; and if there is no light, neither the eye nor the window avail much. Now Christ is the light of the world, and the lively object which is set before us in the text, and the gospel looks directly at this object, and a glorious object he is; and viewing him by faith creates love to bim, love to his ways, to his people, and to his commands; they are not grievous; they are ways of pleasantness and all his paths are peace. While this faith is in exercise love will abound, and sin will be abhorred. Sin shall not have dominion over the lover of Jesus, he is not under the law, he is under grace. This faith will shew itself by its works; for it is an active principle in the believer's soul, stretching forward, ascending to its source like fire to the sun; or the river, which receives all its waters from the ocean, and in perpetual streams flows into the ocean again. Such is the nature of faith working by love..
5. This looking implies a rejoicing in Christ alone. The wise man does not glory in his wisdom, nor the rich man in his riches, nor the strong man in his strength; but the believer glories in the God of his salvation. Neither his rank nor pedigree weigh any thing with him, seeing he counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. All such can say, We are the circumcision, which worship God in spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
This blessed object is unchangeable, being the same yesterday, to-day, and for
ever; and therefore the joy of grace here is heaven begun on earth; it is glory in the bud; and will dilate and expand, it will shed its heavenly fragrance in the realms of eternal bliss in a growing sweetness ages. without end.
But here is no honey without sting, in this vale of tears; nor is there a rose without its thorn. So our sweets must have some bitters; neither must our joys be without some sorrows; and therefore the text says, they shall look upon him whom they have pierced and shall mourn.
ON THE CRUCIFIXION.
Zech. xii. 10.
THEY HAVE PIERCED, AND THEY
THE THIRD thing proposed, which is to consider the effect of this looking, they shall mourn.
THERE are two kinds of mourning, or sorrow; there is a godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of: and there is a sorrow of the world which worketh death. (a) of this latter, kind we find several instances daily occurring, as also in the scriptures. It is sometimes occasioned by the loss of property in trade or otherwise, when schemes have not succeeded, or through failures ;
(a) 2 Cor. vij. 10.