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whither the Forerunner is for us entered," seeing you mind earthly things, and take up with present gratifications. But if, in this point also, you have a comfortable answer from your own conscience, I have only to suggest this farther inquiry.
Thirdly, You are come to Christ for the direction of his word and Spirit. And from the one, by the operation of the other of these, do you this day know assuredly, and rest satisfied therein, that "there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? Consequently, do you make Christ's words (the holy Scriptures) the guide of your feet? Do you not dispute, either to believe, or to do any thing which you find in them? Do you bring your principles and your conduct "to the law and to the testimony," to be sifted and proved? And is this done with a certain singleness of eye, meekly desiring to know what the will of the Lord is, without regarding your own reasonings, interests, or inclinations? Also, do you use a becoming diligence in hearing and searching the Scriptures; and in prayer, that Christ would open your understanding, that you may understand them? And is your diligence herein such as may reasonably convince you, that you believe the Scriptures only can make you wise unto salvation, and that you desire to learn from them all the counsel of God concerning you?—If otherwise, you cannot be a disciple of Christ; and whatever knowledge you may have picked up, your religion is of your own making; nor, however exactly you may think of Jesus Christ,
have you ever found in yourself a real want of the saving merit of his death and righteousness, and of the sanctifying influences of his grace and Spirit.
You may see now, that faith in Jesus Christ is no notional thing, that it doth not consist in your merely giving your assent to any, or all of the truths concerning him. If you are a real believer in him, there is a daily communication and intercourse between the Saviour and you. Continually sensible of your wants, your sinfulness, your weakness, your ignorance, you come to him; not as to one, concerning whom you believe that he lived and died, and went away into heaven, so many years ago, and with whom you have no immediate business to transact: but as to a living Mediator and Intercessor; "under whose feet God hath put all things, and given him to be head over all things to the church.” And he on his part as continually, with a provident care, and ready hand, ministers to you the supply of your needs; so that you may truly say, you live by him. Thus you come to him; thus you receive out of his fulness. This your coming to him, is the faith in him he expects; this your receiving, is the proof that it is so. O labour to enlarge the blessed fellowship! And to this end, let the foundation upon which this intercourse stands, be laid yet deeper in you. Be sensible of the blessings which attend you
First, See that the foundation upon which this intercourse stands, be laid yet deeper in you. In this view,
1. Labour to discover more evidently, how lost
and undone you are in yourself. Remember and search out more effectually your old iniquities, and see how a perverted heart turned you aside. Consider more attentively, how imperfect you now are, and far from that righteousness of heart and life, which the unspotted law of God requires at your hands; how little you could say for yourself, were God to try you upon your own deservings. Though no sin hath dominion, yet see how much of it remains within you: how "the flesh lusteth against the spirit, so that you cannot do the things that you would." Consider also the worthlessness of your holy things, your best performances. In a word, be casting up daily the sum of your unworthiness and vileness; and see what reasonable cause you have to add to the account, as you reflect upon your past, and even present state, and conduct. It is a growing discovery of the sickness of your soul, that must keep you in a more lively state and desire after the relief which Christ hath to give you.
2. Be more sensible of your insufficiency. Guard against self-dependence, a leaning to your own righteousness or strength. Labour to discover, with stronger evidence, the unavailableness of your present and future good conduct, to have justified you with God; and how, if left to yourself, you shall not be able to will or do contrary to the will of the flesh, but must quickly "make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience."
The adversary will be assailing you upon this side, and endeavouring to puff you up with high-minded conceits, "as though you had already attained." Your business must be to coun
terplot his devices, by sitting down in the lowest room, more experimentally persuaded that "without Christ you can do nothing."
3. Endeavour to gain more enlarged views of the sufficiency and fulness of Christ. Get yourself more acquainted with his dignity, "as the only begotten of the Father;" his fitness, the word made flesh; his majestic loveliness, full of grace and truth. Be more acquainted with his condescensions, his victories and triumphs. Consider him frequently as gone up to his glory, invested with "all power both in heaven and earth," the covenant-head of his church; a Lord mighty to defend, and gracious to govern; an advocate available to plead; a great and merciful high priest to bless; a forerunner; a surety. Consider him again and again, as the Judge of the dead and the living; and confirm upon your heart, how he will assuredly come again, with what power, with what glory, with what vengeance, with what deliverance. Be more acquainted with his eternal kingdom, his throne, which is for ever and ever. Labour, in a word, to make a full discovery, how mighty he is to save you. And,
4. Seek that your persuasion of his love and willinguess, do grow in proportion with the assurance you have of his power. Review the gospel continually as a dispensation of mercy and grace; searching deeper into the depths of these expressions. Consider, how love was the only cause of what our Redeemer hath done for us; how love only constrained him, how freely he was sent, how freely he came into the world; how "he gave his life a ran
som for many."
Endeavour not only that you may have no suspicion of his love, but that you may have the utmost confidence in it: verily believing there is nothing he would take so ill at your hands as to suspect his kindness, after the proofs he hath given, and the assurances he hath made you,
of his love.
In this way, feeling your wants, and sensible of your helplessness, assured of the Redeemer's power, and persuaded of his love, you shall find the fellowship, so happily for you commenced between him and your soul, to be enlarged, to the abundant establishment of your ways and your peace, and to the honour and praise of his saving grace.
Secondly, And to quicken you in all these things; also, be sensible of the blessings that attend you, in this intercourse and fellowship with the Son of God.
And these are no less than a certain part in all thepromises of God, which in Christ Jesus are yea and amen;" and all of them yours, seeing you are Christ's, not only by purchase, but also by that vital surrender you have made of your whole self unto him;-forgiveness of sins-the adoption of a child-a new and child-like disposition of soul-the daily care of the Redeemer-a delightful fellowship with the faithful-a thankful enjoyment of God's creatures and a hope, full of immortality-are the blessings which you enjoy in this new state to which you are admitted.
1. Forgiveness of sins. "I write to you, little children," saith the beloved disciple, because "your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake."