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be fo, even in hell itself. Whereas, this nearness of God to sinners, mentioned in the text, is only for a limited season. God's being near to finners means here, his being near to them by his gracious presence, making to them the offers of mercy, grace and lalvation. In this sense, God will not always be near.
3. The encouragement unto reasonable setking and calling upon the Lord ; He may be found. If finners do duly seek the Lord in the season of it, they thall find the Lord. A promise of that, is included in the text. The note from the words may be this.
Doct. Sinners, 'under the gospel, should be concerned co seek the Lord, in the time wberein be may be found.
PROP. I. 'Tis the duty of sinners, under the gospel, to seek the Lord. This is the common duty of singers ; what they are all called to. Here two questions.
Quett. 1. What is implied in cheir seeking the Lord ?
Ànsw. 1. That they should see themselves, in their natural estate, to be wit bout God. Man in in his first estate of innocence, bad an interest in God, and enjoyed communion with God. But by his aportacy, he loft God, lost his image and favour, loft union to him, and fellowship with him. And hence all men, while they continue in this apostate estate, are destitute of God. Eph. ii. 12. At that time, ye were without God in the world. This is one thing intimated in the call given to sinners to seek God. No one seeks for thai which he has already, but for that which he has not. Seeking is of that which is lost, and not in actual porfefion has an de and agreeable hereunio, the seeking God has annexed to it the promise of finding God, which fuppofes the tops of God. For chai which may be found, was loft. Of chis finners should be sensible.
Ar/w. 2. That sinners should see their need of God. Gd is the only roul fatisfying and blessed-making good. To enjoy him, is true happiness. Psal. cxliv. 15. Happy is that people whose God is the Lord. On the other hand, *to be separated from God, and deprived of God, is the greatest unhappiness. Psal. Ixxiii. 27. They that are far from thee, shall perish. Sinners then do stand in abTulute need of God, in order to their being happy. This their need of God, and their being sensible hereof, is implied in the command given to them, to feek God.' Men do not seek and search for needless things, which they think they can do as well without, as with. When God therefore requires finners to seek himself, he would have them to fee and consider their great need of him, in order to their well-being and blessedness. Thus the prodigal, far from God, saw himself in a perising stare. Luk. xv. 17.
Answ. 3. That finders should earnestly desire God. Seeking for a thing, carries in it a' with to find : ic im. plies a desire of oblaining the thing fought for. Thus the souls of sinners should pant after God, should thirst for the living God, and long co find him. Their desires of obtaining God, his special presence, grace and favour, should be most fervenr and restless. Nothing but God, can content and satisfy the desires of men : and therefore their desires should earnestly go out after God. Thus the prodigal resolved to go to his father. Lok. XV. 18.
Answ. 4. That sinners should pray to God. Their desires should be offered up unto God in the way of prayer to him. Seeking God, is sometimes put for all divine worship; but most frequently for praying to God. So in the texć it is expreffed by calling upon the Lord. To feek God, is to invocate God by prayer. Psal. xxxiv. 4. I fought the Lord, i. e. I prayed to the Lord; as, the next words Thew, and be heard me. Hence a generation of praying souls, are called the generation of them ihat seek God, that seek bis face. Pral. xxiv. 6. Sinners then should seek God by praying co him..--And in this present cafe, there are these following things, which in the way of prayer they should seek unto God for.
1. That he would be unto them a reconciled God. Though God was at first man's friend, yet by reason of fin, he is become man's enemy. Sinners are enemies to God, and God is (in some respects) an enemy to them. The most holy God is alienated from finners, and is angry with the wicked every day. While they conripue in a state of sin, God loaths their persons, and hates their ways, and denounces wrath against them.... Nevertheless, though God be thus an enemy to fioners, yet he is not an irreconcilable enemy to them, as he is to the angels that fell. There is a possibility of liqful men's reconciliation to God; yea, God has provi, ded a peace-maker between himself and finners, even, his Son Jesus Christ. And through this Son of his love, he is willing to be at peace with us, offers peace to us, and even beseeches us to be reconciled to him. 2 Cor. v. 20. Now it is the great duly of sinners to seek unto God, that this reconciliation may be actually effected. They Ihould be concerned to recover the lost favour and friendship of God, and get his anger corned away from ihem. Psal. xxvii. 8, Wben thou Jaidst, Seek ye my face, my beari faid unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. It is our duty to seek peace with men, and to pursue it ; much more, to seek peace with God, and to pursue it, What is there, or what can there be, that we should more seek after, than that the enmity between God and us may cease, and that we may haye him to be our friend? What will become of us, if God abide our enemy ? Who can stand our friend, if he be our foe ? ?f God be against us, every thing will be against us. But if God be for us, wbo can be against us? Rom. viii. 31, If God be fur us, it matters not who is or may be against us.
2. That God would be unto them a fin pardoning God. There are no adult finners, but what (besides that dif obedience of one man, whereby many were inade finners) are Builty of numberless sins. An heavy burden of guilc is kving upon them, which is sufficient to link them down into the bottom of hell. Yet, though their fins be ex
ceeding many and great, they are however through rich grace pardonable. They may be all forgiven. God has declared to us, that ibere is forgiveness with him for us, though there be none for Devils. He has provided a Saviour, to fave us from oor lips. And through this Saviour, he freely offers to os the pardon of all our fins. He is a God ready, for Christ's fake, to forgive. iniquity, tranfgreffion, and fin.--Now, it is the great duty of finners, to seek to God for the pardon of their fios: as did the penitent publican, Luk. xviii. 13. God, be merciful to me a finner. The Lord Jefus Christ directs us to ask this of God in prayer. Mattb. vi. 12. Forgive us our debts. So great a mercy as forgiveness of fin, is worth a seeking to God for. Blessed is the man; whose transgression is forgiven, whofe An is covered, and to qphom obe Lord in puterb not iniquity. Pfal. xxxii. 1, 2.
3. That God would be unto them a foul.converting God. All men are by nature over.spread with sin and filthiness. In our flefb dwelletb no good thing, but only evil. Rom. vii. 18. By the fall our first parents lost the holy image of God, and fo could not propagare it to their porterity ; but instead thereof, conveyed to them the image of Satan. --- Yet however, the holy image of God may be restored to us ; we may be created again, after ibe image of God in righteousoess and frue holiness. God has sent his son into the world to purchase fanctifying grace for us ; and in the gospel, it is freely offered to us..-.Now, it is the great duty of finners to seek anio God by prayer for renewing grace. This will make them like the holy God; this will fit them to glorify God pow, and to enjoy him forever in the other world. This therefore is a thing which they should importu. nately seek to God for. Their earnest prayer to God, should be that of David, Pfal. li. 10. Create in ane a clean beart, O God,' renew a rigbe Spirit within me. And that of Ephraim, Jer. xxxi. 18. Turn thou me, and l.fball be turned. We should go to the throne of grace, that we may find grace.
4. They should seek unto God, that he would be to them an all-fufficient God, and their portion for ever. Man by his sin, lost communion with God; this Separated between bim and his God : and God might have left it as a wall of eternal separation from himself. lo such a state of distance from himself, he has lefc che fal, len angels; and he might have dealt alike by fallen
But God, of his infinice grace, has found out a way for our coming to the re-enjoyment of himself, as the fountain of all good and blessedness. By Jesus Christ, we that are afar off from God, may be made nigh to God. (Eph. ii. 13:) By his sufferings and death, we may be brought to God, to the full and everlasting enjoyment of God. (1 Pet. iii. 18.). -Now, this enjoyment of God, is whär finners should seek after. Their desires should go out after God, with the Pfalmift, Pfal. Ixxiii. 25. Whom bave I in heaven, but there ? And there is none on earth, that I defire besides thee. This is what. Christ Jesus exhorts us to, when he bids us to seek the kingdom of God, i. e, to seek God in the king. dom of heaven. (Matth. vi. 33.) This is also what the apostle exhoris us to, when he bids us to seek those things which are above. (Col. iii. I.) God is above; there he dwells, and there he is to be enjoyed : and, the fruition of him chere, is what we should seek after..... Thus for the first enquiry, viz. What is im. plied in seeking God ?
Quest. 2. How is God to be fought by lipners ? Ansa. I. Speedily. God is to be fought immediately, without any delay. His call to sinners is, to hearken to his voice so day; and, not puci it off ?cill:co-morrow. (Ideb. jji. 7.) The seeking God is a work that requires hafte. We cannot possibly set about this work too luon. The sooner we engage in this work, the better. The present time, is the best time: : Whalsoever therefore we have to do in this case, we thould do it quickly. Should we not leek to agree quickly with God, who is our adversary ? Should we not make haste to escape his wrath, and recover his favour? Surely we should.