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of heart have you in endearedness of soul to him? Can
you truly pronounce that sweet doxology, Eph. i. “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenlies, ¿v rois étoupavious, in Christ;" that is, places or things, more properly. Are your hearts more endeared to Christ for every mercy you receive from God, as being the fruit either of Christ's purchase or intercession ?
10. Hath the grace of God kept thee humble and vile in thine own eyes? You will never prize Christ, till you despise yourselves : our Lord will not be all in all with you, till you be nothing at all in your own eyes : you must go out of yourselves in every performance, or you will not appear in Christ. That is a notable character of a thorough-paced Christian, Phil. iii. 3, “ For we are the circumcision," there is heart sanctification
_" which worship God in the spirit,” there is scriptural adoration—“ and rejoice in Christ Jesus,” there is well-grounded exultation—" and have no confidence in the flesh,” there is the bottom and top grace of selfdenial. Indeed, let a Christian's accomplishments be angelical, his enlargements seraphical, his obedience exact and universal, yet he mars all if he boast of them, trust to them, and do not go out of himself to Christ for justification and acceptance : our Lord will say of such a one, he is resolved to stand upon his own bottom, he needs none of my satisfaction or intercession, see what he will make of it, his best righteousness is but finite, and will not answer the demands of infinite justice. Surely the self-condemning publican will speed better than the vapouring Pharisee: he that is of least account in his own eyes, is of highest account in God's. The apostle Paul knew how to stand upon his punctilios whilst he was a Pharisee, and was ready
to say with the proud papist-cælum gratis non accipiam, I will not have pardon and heaven at free cost, I will give my merits, my penny shall be in exchange as a valuable consideration for what I expect from God, or else I will have none of it; nay, I can do more than God requires, and have some works of supererogation to spare for others that are defective. Well, thou proud beggar, thou needest none of my alms, go to another door, thou shalt go without from me: I will reserve my gifts for them that are poor in spirit, and will be beholden to me. But Saul became another man, when divested by conviction and conversion of all his towering imaginations, and made a Paul, that is, little in his own eyes; yea, nothing at all, though not behind the chief apostles : yea, less than the least of all saints, the chief of sinners : yea, he even at present accounts his best accomplishments and attainments but as dung and dross. * Yet mistake not, as though graces and duties, issuing from the Spirit of God, and practised by the believer in the state of grace, are such contemptible things in the eyes of either God or man; but if set in Christ's room, they are put out of their place, and to be disowned. Alas, saith the believing soul, what are my best duties without Christ, but as a cipher without a figure, a body, without a soul, a sacrifice without fire ? I despair of access to God, or acceptance with God without Christ: he hath said it, and I feel it, “ without me you can do nothing :” and I am only accepted in the beloved : in myself I am as an unclean thing, and all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags : God may justly cast me off, and spread dung upon my face, even the dung of my solemn feasts. † When I have even fasted, prayed, obeyed,
* 2 Cor. xii. 11. Eph. iii. 8. 1 Tim. i. 15. Phil. iii. 8. + John xv. 5. Eph. i. 6. Isa. Ixiv. 6. Mal. ii. 3.
and done my best in acts of religion ; yet my Lord hath taught me, and I see need to comply, “when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants.”—Luke xvii. 10. Our best works are not available to justification, nor to take off the guilt of one sin: my only confidence is in Christ, his merits and atonement must satisfy for my guilt, his intercession must make way for my approach to God: in this new and living way must I draw nigh to him. O for a true heart, and full assurance of
DIRECTIONS OF A GENERAL NATURE RELATIVE
TO THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
THESE directions are, in the first place, intended to urge careless sinners to look after a saving interest in Jesus Christ, that their guilty souls may have some protection from the flaming sword of justice.
Secondly, To instruct pious persons
2. How we must conduct ourselves under this glorious privilege.
I. This is a certain and solemn truth, that some souls are without Christ, † that is, without a saving interest in him. Ah poor sinners, how can you live, how dare you die, and how think you to appear before the tremendous tribunal at the great day without an advocate ? Can you defend your conduct ? No, no, * Heb. x. 20, 22.
+ Eph. ii. 12.
how can man be just with God? If he contend with you, you cannot answer for one of a thousand. He is too wise to be deceived by cunning hypocrites, he is too strong to be conquered by the world's daring champions. Either you must take this Benjamin along with you, or you cannot see your sovereign's face with comfort. What shall I say? What words shall I use to persuade you to accept of Christ as your advocate ? I have discovered your dangerous state in what has been advanced ; loth I am to leave you in this naked, condemned state : how can you escape if you neglect so great salvation ? † I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, as you love your own souls, and would come off at the great day with comfort, look after a title to this blessed advocate.
I shall urge, first, some arguments; and secondly, give some directions in this case.
1. Consider that not one drop of saving mercy can descend to your souls but through Christ; you are ready to cry, Mercy, good Lord, mercy—that is the thing you want, but as Jehu said to Ahab, “ What hast thou to do with peace ?” | So, poor sinner, what hast thou to do with mercy till thou be engrafted in Christ, through whom all saving mercy flows ? God will not cast a propitious eye upon thee, but through a mediator. It is very observable in the time of the law, that,
(1.) None might come into the holy of holies, where the mercy-seat stood, but the high priest, which signifies, we have nothing to do with mercy but through Christ our High Priest.
(2.) The high priest must not come near the mercyseat without blood, || to show that we have no right to * Job ix. 2-4.
+ Heb. ii. 3. # 2 Kings ix. 18.
|| Lev. xvi. 14.
mercy but through the expiatory sacrifice of Christ's blood.
(3.) The high priest inight not upon pain of death, come near the mercy-seat without incense ; * for there is no mercy to be expected from God without the incense of Christ's intercession; mercy swims to us only through the blood of Christ. You may cry, and crave, and be loudly importunate for mercy, but you will be nonsuited unless you have a title to Christ. Consider this, sinner, and haste to the city of refuge, lest the avenger of blood overtake you.
2. You are in daily need of supplies of mercy, you cannot live a moment without some help from heaven. “ In God we live, move, and have our being :”+ we need common mercies, meat to nourish us, clothes to keep us warm, beds for lodging, houses to shelter us from the heat of summer and the cold of winter; we need seasonable weather for seed-time and harvest : and we are daily forfeiting these mercies into the hands of justice, yea, and our lives also. It is worth observing, that when Noah had offered his sacrifice, and God is said to smell a sweet savour, that is, only through Christ the mediator; it is added, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake:" he also promiseth seed-time and harvest.-Gen. viii. 21, 22. Alas, sirs, without Christ your very blessings are cursed ; † though they be materially blessings, yet they are formally and eventually curses, unless perfumed with Christ's intercession: the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, let it be never so sumptuously furnished. || Nay, you are indebted to Christ's intercession (in some sort) for the sparing of your lives, else you had been in hell before this day, but this is * Lev. xvi. 13.
+ Acts xvi. 28. # Mal. ii. 2.
|| Prov. iii. 33. VOL. III.