FREE-GRACE, Maintained & Improved.

OR, The GENERAL OFFER OF THE GOSPEL, Managed with Considerations of the GREAT THINGS done by Special Grace, IN THE ELECTION and REDEMPTION and VOCATION Of those who Embrace that OFFER. AND The Illustrious DOCTRINES of Divine PREDESTINATION and Humane IMPOTENCY, Rescued from the Abuses, which they too frequently meet withal; And rendered (as they are) highly Useful to the Designs of Practical Piety.

In Two brief Discourses; Published at the Desire of Some, who have been greatly Apprehensive of Growing Occasions for such Treatises.

BOSTON: Printed by B. Green. 1706.

[Page 1]

FREE-GRACE at Work For them that are Chosen to GLORY.

Joh VI. 37.

All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me.

THE ESSAY which I am going upon, is, To Rescue some Glorious Truths of GOD and of GRACE, from the Abuse, which I See they commonly meet withal. Truths, I am sure, they are, which the Service of our Holy Religion mightily requires us to Explain and Propound in such a manner, as that they may be Serviceable. O Eternal Spirit of Truth, Who Leadest thy Servants into all Truth, Assist and Prosper my Undertaking▪

The Illustrious Doctrine of Predestination, Some that Profess the Belief of it, very Sinfully Pervert it, as if it were a Doctrine Calculated either for the Security, or the Discouragement, of them who should be brought unto Repentance; to make Sinful Men, either Presumptuous or Desperate, [Page 2] Whereupon the Doctrine is decried by the Sons of Pride and Profaneness, as if it were an Useless, yea, and an Hurtful Doctrine, and as if it were best of all never at all to meddle with it.

A Glorious Doctrine of Christianity, has been Crucifyed between Two Thieves: It must be Deliver­ed from the Sword; the dear Truth must be Deli­vered from the Power of the Dog: A Crown of Glory must be set upon the Head thereof.

Indeed the Doctrine of Predestination hath its Mysteries, its Abstruse Difficulties, and Soaring Sublimities. But, for men to pretend therefore, that it should be Silenced and Smothered & Shut out of Sermons, is for them to be, as the Profes­sors of Leyden justly Expressed it, Praepostere Cauti, more Nice than Wise, more Cautious than they need to be; and there is usually, A Snake in the Grass, when such a Doctrine of Godliness is much hissed at. We find, the Doctrine of Predesti­nation Proposed by our LORD, and His A­postles, with a very frequent Inculcation; We find, that it hath a wondrous Tendency to the Edification of the Faithful in their most Holy Faith, and the Ignorance of it mutilates the Praise of God, and cherishes the Vice of man, in very con­siderable Instances. Briefly, Tis no little part of the Gospel; and we do not fully Preach the Gos­pel, Declaring the whole Counsel of God, if there be nothing of this Declared.

This is a thing to be set before you, in the most advantageous Terms that I can meet with­al. [Page 3] And where can any be met withal compa­rable to those in the Seventeenth among those Fa­mous Articles of the Church of England, which are Subscribed by all the Allowed Clergy of the Nation!

PREDESTINATION to Life, is the E­verlasting Purpose of God, whereby before the Foundations of the World were laid, He hath constantly Decreed by His Counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation, those whom He hath Chosen in Christ Iesus out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ to Everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honour.

It Proceeds.

As the Godly Confideration of PRE­DESTINATION and our Election in Christ, is full of Sweet, Pleasant and Vnspeakable Comfort to Godly Per­sons, and such as feel in themseves the workings of the Spirit of Christ, — as well because it doth Establish and Confirm their Faith of Eternal Sal­vation, to be Enjoy'd thro' Christ, as because it doth frequently kindle their Love towards God; so for curious and carnal Persons lacking the Spi­rit of Christ, to have continually before their Eyes, the Sentence of Gods Pre­destination, is a most dangerous Down fall.

[Page 4]The Doctrine so Plainly Asserted by the Church of England, is every Day so Unaccountably De­cried, and Reproached, by many from whom One could not with any Reason have Expected it, many, who boast themselves the Sons of the Church; that it is high Time for us, to do what we may, to Magnify it and make it Honourable.

Our Lord-Redeemer is now Preaching of the Doctrine. He had a very sorrowful Sight before Him; the Unbelief, the General and the Horri­ble Unbelief of the People to whom He had been Exhibited. That our Lord might Comfort Him­self under the Unsuccessfulness of His Ministry, and that He might preserve others from the Tempta­tion and Stumbling-block therein Laid before them, He Propounds, the Decree of God in His Eternal Predestination.

What else can we have, in any measure to allay the Discomposure of our Minds, when we see the Gospel hitherto so little Crown'd with Success in the World! All that the Father gives to me, saith our Lord, shall come to me.

Tis plainly Asserted, That every one, who is given to the Lord Jesus Christ by God the Father, shall at one Time or other by Faith come unto Him. Tis plainly Asserted, That these Persons are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, before they do by Faith come unto Him. Hence it follows, That the giv­ing of any to the Lord Jesus Christ by God the Father, is not His Bringing them to Believe on Him. If it be Before their Believing, we shall [Page 5] soon find it to be, as other of the Divine Oracles have told us, From all Eternity.

This then is the DOCTRINE to be insisted on.

There are Some, whom God the Fa­ther, has from all Eternity given unto our Lord-Redeemer, to be brought by Him unto Eternal Bles­sedness; and all that are so Given unto our Lord, shall in Time come unto Him.

Do not imagine, That I am going to Enter­tain you with Unprofitable Speculations. No; Your Entertainment shall be a Great Mystery of Godliness; I shall use my best contrivance, that every Stroke of it may be most sensibly Sub­servient unto the Designs of Godliness.

I. Shall we prove, That there are Some, whom God has from all Eternity Chosen, to be brought unto Eternal Blessedness? They who Dispute this, do Err, not knowing the Scripture, nor the Nature of God. Indeed, the Christian Fathers did not so often and so clearly Express themselves about our Eternal Election, before the Pelagian Heresy made much Disturbance, as Austin and Others did afterwards. But the Word of God is very Positive; [Rom. 8.29.] That there are Some, Whom God did Fore-know, and whom He did Fore-know, He also did Pre­destinate, [Page 6] to be conformed unto the Image of His Son. And, [2 Thess. 2.13.] That there are Some, Whom God has from the Beginning Chosen to Salvation. And, [1 Pet. 1.2.] That there are Some, Elect according to the Fore knowledge of God the Father. Do we not read, [Rev. 13.8.] Of, Names Written in the Book of Life of the Slain Lamb, from the Foun­dation of the World? In the Word of God, we find a Remarkable Distinction, [1 Thess. 5.9.] Between Some Appointed unto Wrath, and Others Appointed to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Import of these passages, will soon be per­ceived, if you will but lay together a few Incon­testable Conclusions.

There is an Eternal Blessedness; or, a Rest which remains for the People of God, yea, a State wherein God shall become All in All unto His People. No body doubts of this.

There are Some who do arrive to Eternal Bles­sedness; And they are but Some; Some there are who fall short of Entering into Rest. No body doubts of this.

The Eternal Blessedness is the gift of God; None ever come to Eternal Blessedness, but such as are by the Blessed GOD Himself brought unto it. No body doubts of this.

God from all Eternity does infallibly Fore know whom He will bring unto Eternal Blessedness. It can't be said of any Person in the Eternal Blessed­ness, That God once did not infallibly Fore know whether this Person should ever come unto it. [Page 7] Can any body doubt of this?

Once more; The Eternal Certainty of the E­ternal Blessedness to be granted unto these and those Persons, cannot arise from the Persons themselves, who are not yet in Being; It can arise from nothing but God Himself Determining of it; from nothing but the Determination of God.

The Sum of the Argument is this.

If it be Certainly and Exactly Fore known by God from all Eternity, Who shall be brought by Him to Eternal Blessedness, then it is Decreed by God; there is in the Will of God a Determination of it. But there is a most Certain Fore knowledge of God, (unto whom all His Works are known from the Beginning,) even from all Eternity, Assuring Him, who shall be brought by Him to Eternal Blessedness. God forbid, We should so derogate from His Infinite Majesty, as if He did not from all Eternity most certainly Know what shall come to pass in Time: Lord, Thy Understanding is Infinite! Therefore, it remains, That there are Some Cho­sen by a Decree of God, from all Eternity, to E­ternal Blessedness.

Upon this Argument, our Twiss openly chal­lenged the whole Nation of Jesuites and Armini­ans; he truly sayes of it, It is, Nullo humano acu­mine Solubile; It is unanswerable.

But now, My Hearers, Let us make a Pause. This admirable Truth shall not go out of our Hands, until we feel it make a most Heart-melting Impression on our Hearts.

[Page 8]§. We will Enquire, first; Whether they whom God has from all Eternity Chosen to Eternal Blessed­ness, may come to Know that they are so Chosen to it, while they are yet but in the way loading to it?

Yes; They may. They may Know it, by their being in the way leading to it; For it is, The Way Everlasting. There are some, whose Priviledge is that, 1 Thess. 1.4. Knowing your Election of God.

But how shall we attain to this Priviledge?

O Child of God; Say not in thy Heart, who shall ascend into Heaven, to see whether I have my Name Written in Heaven? Who shall bring down to me the Book of Life, to see whe­ther I am Enroll'd in that Book or no? The Proof of all this matter is Nigh unto thee; Tis in thy own Heart, in thy own Life; There it may be met withal. Oh! Give a Great Atten­tion!

You have not forgotten the Exhortation, that so speaks unto you; 2 Pet. 1.10. Give Diligence to make your Calling and Election Sure. If you are Sure, That you are Effectually Called, you may be Sure, That you are Eternally Chosen of God. The matter may at this Moment be brought unto a wondrous Issue. The Call of our Great Saviour is at this Moment made from Heaven unto every one of us; Look unto me, and be Saved; come unto me, that I may make you Wise, and Righteous and Holy and Happy. May the Spirit of Grace now fall upon us; may our Conquered Souls comply with the Call, and Reply to it; Lord, I Look! [Page 9] Lord, I come! Lord; Thou hast made me willing to take thee for my Saviour, my Leader, my Ruler for ever more! From this Moment, O Regenerated Souls, you may take for granted your Election of God; you may take it for granted; My God will now give me to see the Good of His Chosen, and rejoyce with the gladness of His Nation, and Glory with His Inheritance.

We read, Act. 13.48. As many as were ordained unto Eternal Life believed. Examine then; ‘Do I Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Is my whole Reliance upon Him, as my Sacrifice and my Ad­vocate, for my Peace with God? Am I heartily Resign'd unto Him, for Him to Guide me by Counsil, and bring me to Glory? If it be so, then be of Good Comfort; Thou art most certainly Ordained unto Eternal Life.

We read, Eph. 1.4. He has Chosen us, that we should be Holy. Examine then; ‘Am I Holy? Do I follow nothing so much as Holiness? Do I La­ment nothing so much as my want of Holiness? Do I Sincerely Dedicate my self unto God? Would I fain be entirely Possessed by God, and have my All employ'd in Serving of Him?’ If it be so, then be of Good Comfort; God who knows who are His, has Chosen thee for one of His.

Go on, and bring the Matter to this Touch­stone. We read; 1 Joh. 4.19. We Love Him, be­cause He first Loved us. Even so; We chuse God, because He first chose us. Bring it under an impar­tial Examination. Do you make Choice of GOD? [Page 10] There is a Twofold Satisfaction Profered unto you; A Satisfaction in Creatures, and, A Satis­faction in God. You have once Chosen a Satisfacti­on in Creatures. Do you Bewayl, Disclaim, Re­voke that Choice? Do you now Chuse over again? Tis Religion, (Perhaps in the very Etymology of the Word) so to do. Is the Language of your Souls now that? Lam. 3.24. The Lord is my Portion, saith my Soul; therefore I will hope in Him? And, Psal. 119.57. Thou art my Portion, O Lord; I have said, that I would keep thy Words. Do you Chuse rather to have the knowledge of GOD, and the Image, of GOD, and the Favour of GOD, than to have all the Good Things of a Flatter­ing World? Is this the Choice and the Voice of your Minds; Lord, There is nothing that I desire in comparison of thee! Then, Rejoyce, O Chosen Soul, Rejoyce with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory; God has Chosen thee to Joy unspeakable and full of Glory.

§. We will, next, Enquire; With what Ac­knowledgments ought they to Glorify God, who thus know themselves to be Chosen of Him?

Truly, With Acknowledgments and Admira­tions of Sovereign Grace; The Grace that shines forth in our Election with a most astonishing So­vereignty! Here, Here, are Thanksgivings of the most Elevated Strain in Christianity. They are, Words to lift up the Horn! they Sound High in our Devotions. A Thankful Christian does Raise His Thanksgivings to the Rarest and Highest [Page 11] Notes imaginable, when he comes hereabouts. Tis a Melody peculiarly acceptable to Heaven; Tis the very Beginning of Heaven!

First. Will you not Admire, O Chosen of God, Admire the Absolute Sovereignty of God in His Chusing of you! Vast is the Difference which the Choice of God puts between One Man and Ano­ther. But what is the cause of His putting such a Difference? Tis even so, Lord, Meerly because it pleases thee. Thus we are advised; Rom. 9.16, 18. It is not of him that Willeth, nor of him that Runneth, but of God that sheweth Mercy: He hath Mercy on whom He well. Why has our God Elected One, and Rejected Another? Tis that First Cause of all things, that is the Sole Cause of this; namely, The Will of the Glorious One. The Royal Pre­rogative of God is wonderfully Exerted in this matter; and He will give none Account of the matter. Is the Fore-sight of our Faith and Obedience, the Cause why God has Chosen us? Then say, We first choose God before He chooses us! Not at all. It was a Text often quoted by Austin, to confute this Fancy; Joh. 15.16. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. We are chosen TO Faith and Obedience; not chosen FOR our Foreseen Faith and Obedience. They are the Effects of our Election; they cannot be the Causes of it. Our Gods Fore­sight of our Faith and Obedience, presupposes His purpose to bestow Faith and Obedience upon us; For these are alwayes the Gifts of God. Now this very purpose is our Election it self; And hence, [Page 12] the Fore-sight of those Gifts cannot be the cause of our Election. What sayes our Apostle? Rom. 9.11. The Purpose of God, according to Election, tis not of Works. Our Election is indeed Absolute. No Decree of God is Conditional, tho God may decree a Condition. It were derogatory to the Perfection of God, for His Decree, to depend on any Conditi­on; tho' the Things Decreed, may in the Execu­tion thereof, do so. The Decree of Election is not, That if we will Believe we shall be Saved, but it is, That we shall be Saved, and that in order to it we shall believe. So Absolute our Election. And how Gratuitous! Altogether Free. The Great God is Blessed for ever in and of Himself. He has no Need of Us. He was under no Ne­cessity to Chuse any of us unto Eternal Blessedness. If He would chuse any, He was under no Necessi­ty to pitch upon Such or Such, Make thy Re­flection, O Chosen Vessel. ‘Oh! why am I a Chosen Vessel of Mercy, and not a Vessel of Wrath! Why would God set His Love upon me, rather than upon another! Lord, Thou Lovest, Because thou Lovest! Be Satisfied, O my Soul, Be Satis­fied, in the uncontroleable, the unaccountable Will of God, as the only Cause of His Chusing me for His own.’

Secondly; Will you not Admire, O Chosen of God, Admire the Eternity from which He has Chosen you, the Eternity to which he has Chosen you.

Look Backwards. When was it that our God first made His Choice of us? We read, Eph. 1.4. [Page 13] He has chosen us before the Foundation of the World. Then, it was before the very First Dawn of Time; For, Time is but the Duration of the World. And thus, we are told, That God has a Gracious Purpose concerning us, before the World began. A Ridiculous Absurdity it is, to imagine, That a Man is not Elected, until God has waited all the Time of a Mans Life, to see whether he will Persevere in a Course of Well-doing, or no. Far from it! Before the Mountains were settled, while God had not yet made the Earth, nor the Highest part of the Dust of the World, Even then were we Chosen of God. How does the Anci­ent of Dayes comfort us! Jer. 31.3. I have Loved thee with an Everlasting Love. Think, O most undeserving Object of Love: ‘When did the Lord Begin to Think of bestowing His Love and His Life upon me! Truly, His Thoughts of Love to me never did Begin: but they have been from Everlasting; and Ever of Old; Tho' I am one of the poorest and vilest, and most Worthless Things in the World, yet my God has been Thinking upon me, and had His Kind purposes concerning me, infinitely before the Foundation of the World.’

Look Forwards. Will the Lord Repent of His Choice? Never; Never. 'Tis unaltarable. We read, 1 Sam. 15.29. He is not a man, that he should Repent. The Choice made of us, 'tis an Act of Him, whose Name is, I am that I am; and, The God who changes not. There is nothing wanting [Page 14] in His Wisdom, or His Power; What can there be to Dispose Him to a Change? He abides firm to His Intentions. The purpose of the Lord shall Stand, and, I will do all my pleasure, saith the Lord. We have such Tidings from Heaven to fortify us; Rom. 8.39. Nothing shall be able to Separate us from the Love of God. If Elected, then how Esta­blished? The Earth may be Removed, Moun­tains may be overturned, the Pillars of Heaven may tremble; but our Hope of Heaven is laid on a Foundation that cannot be Shaken! Think, O Son of well-founded Hope: ‘The God who is Resolved, That He will surely do me Good, will never alter His Resolution. I am a poor, feeble, fickle creature; & I should soon Cast off God, if I were left unto my self; But He has purposed that He will not Cast off me; and therefore He will not Leave me unto my self. I shall be kept by the mighty power of God, thro' Faith unto Salvation.

II. We must proceed now to Observe; That there is an Eternal Covenant of Redempti­on, wherein God the Father Gave His Chosen Peo­ple, unto our Lord-Redeemer, for Him to bring us unto Eternal Blessedness. The Chosen of God, are such as the Father has Given unto our Lord Je­sus Christ. We read, Eph. 1.4. He has Chosen us in Him. Our LORD Himself is the First Chosen, and the Head of all the Chosen; and all the Cho­sen are committed into His Glorious Hands.

[Page 15]Let us take in the Evangelical Idea of the Matter.

First; In the Eternal Election of God, it is De­creed, That Such and Such, [The Persons are De­termined, and the Number of those Persons is with God!] They are to be Heirs of God, and Joint-Heirs with His Messiah, in the Eternal Blessedness. But the Decree also Permitted these Heirs of Life, to Fall into wretched circumstances, that should render it Necessary for the Messiah to take upon Him, the Character of a REDEEMER for them. Wherefore, in the Eternal Election of God, the Son of God was Ordained the Redeemer of His Chosen, and Appointed to do all that was to be done in the Redemption that must bring us, to the Eter­nal Blessedness. But now, the Son of God, was wholly Free, about His own coming into the Decree of a Redeemer; He most Freely came into it; It was with his Free, and Fair and Full con­sent; It was without any Compulsion that He un­dertook the Redemption of Man. Hence it is, that the Transaction between God the Father, and out Lord-Redeemer, in the Decree for the Re­demption of Man, is most fitly represented in the Form of a Covenant; which we call, The Co­venant of Redemption. With an Eye to this wonderful Transaction, we find that passage in our Lively Oracles; Psal. 89.3. I have made a Covenant with my chosen, I have Sworn unto Da­vid my Servant.

It is very Surprising to find, in the Writings [Page 16] of the ancient Jews themselves, a confession of this Mystery. A Book of theirs, called Pesikta, recites this, as a Dialogue between the Almighty and the Messiah.

GOD, beginning to make a Covenant with the Messiah, Spake thus to Him.

‘They whose Sins are unknown to thee, would impose a Yoke of Iron upon thee, by which they will make thee, like to a Young Heifer, almost Blind with Labour, and they will destroy thee; Because of their Iniquity, thy Tongue shall cleave unto the Roof of thy Mouth. Art thou willing to suffer all this?’

The Messiah answered;

‘It may be, these Pains and Afflictions, shall endure but for a Short time.’

‘GOD.] I am Resolved, thou shalt Suffer it for a whole Week of Years; But if thou wilt not Consent unto it, I will not Impose these Sufferings upon thee.’

‘MESSIAH.] I willingly Submit to it, on Condition that no Israelite Perish, but that they shall all be Saved; those that are born after my Time, and those that are already Dead, since Adam.’

O ye Modern Jews, that cannot bear to hear of a Suffering Messiah, what can you say to this Quotation?

To go on; In this Covenant of Redemp­tion, the Great GOD commits the care of His Chosen, unto the Charge of our Lord-Redeemer. [Page 17] Tis because of this Covenant, that our Lord could say; Joh. 17.2. Thou hast given Him Power over all Flesh, that He should give Eternal Life unto as many as thou hast given Him. God the Father then propounded unto the Son; ‘There are such and such, whom I Chuse, to be brought unto a Glorious and Intimate Communion with thee, in thy Blessedness. I put these my Chosen into thy Hands, for thee to Redeem them out of all the Wretchedness, from whence they must be Raised, before they can come to that Blessedness. Do Thou, O Mine Elect, in whom my Soul de­lights, Do Thou undertake the Work of a Re­deemer, for these my Chosen; I will do all that belongs to Me, for thy Encouragement in this Excellent Undertaking.’ [See, Psal. 40.8. and, Isa. 42.1, 4. and, Isa. 49.6, 8. and, Isa. 53.10, 12. and, Tit. 1.2, 3. and, Heb. 12.2. The Joy set before Him.]

Our Lord-Redeemer then Accepted the Charge thus Committed unto Him. He took the very Names of those, for whom He would become an Atonement and an Advocate. He Promised unto His Eternal Father, That He would not only be­come a Man, but also be Born of a Woman, and be Made under the Law, and Appear in the Form of a Servant, and become Obedient unto the Death of the Cross, and thoroughly discharge the part of a Surety for His Chosen, and Save them unto the utter­most. [See, Heb. 10.5, 7. and, Joh. 14.31.]

Hence it is, That the Chosen of God, even [Page 18] while they are yet in their Sins, are called, Joh. 10.16. The Sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yea, He vouchsafes to call them; Heb. 2.13. The Children which God has given me.

Finally. There is a Special Intent in the Heart of God, and of our Lord Redeemer, that they who are Chosen by God, and Given to the Lord-Redeemer, shall have a Distinguished and Peculiar Share in His Redemption. Our Lord-Redeemer has Engaged, and Obeyed, and Suffered, with a Distinguishing and a Peculiar Eye, to those whom the Father has Given unto Him. The Vertue and Success, of our Lords Engagement in the Work of Redemption, depends not meerly upon the Un­certainties, of what Respect the Free-Will of Man, may happen in Time to show unto it. For so, it might happen, That no man at all should ever be the better for that Redemption: which must by no means be imagined! Our Lord, in the work of Redemption, has bought Faith for Some; He has bought this Favour for some, That they shall by Faith be brought actually to Enjoy the Benefits of His Redemption. Oh! Let none of the Faithful be so Ungrateful, as to say, My Faith is a Grace, which the Blood of my Redeemer never bought for me! If this Grace be Bought for any; the Grace, to Re­ceive, and by Receiving to Enjoy, the Redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ; Then it must be Bought for a Special Number, who are known unto the Lord. Surely, The Great God never so fully Intended the Redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, [Page 19] for those, who He from Eternity Fore-knew, would never come to partake in the Advantage of it, as for those whom, He Gave to the Lord-Re­deemer. Never say, Sirs, Never say, That Peter was no more beholden to his Lord-Redeemer, than Judas!

Well; But, my Hearers, Let us again make a Pause. We have before us a Truth, with which we are Singularly Illuminated: You shall see, what Incomparable Good, what Honey of the Rock, will presently be Dropping from it.

§. We will Enquire, first; Whether a Man may come to know, that he is from all Eternity in the Covenant of Redemption given by God the Father to our Lord-Redeemer?

Yes; He may. And you that are now before the Lord, may immediately come to know, That God has Given you unto the Lord Jesus Christ. You may know it by this Unquestionable Symp­tom. Do you give your selves unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST? One whom the Father had given to our Lord, came to know it, by his being Able to Say; 2 Tim. 1.12. I know whom I have believed, and I am perswaded that He is able to keep that which I have Committed unto Him. I will Say; Do you know, that you have so Believed the Lord JESUS CHRIST, as to Commit your selves unto Him? The Lord-Redeemer says, My Son, Give me thy Heart. Is this now your Answer to the Lord-Redeemer? Lord, I would fain Give thee my Heart! [Page 20] Oh! Give me the Grace to give thee my Heart, and my All! Distressed Soul; Dost thou Give up thy self unto the Conduct of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, as thy Shepherd, thy Great Shepherd, and thy Good Shepherd, wishing to be led by Him in the Pathes of Righteousness? Dost thou Give up thy self unto Him, with that Supplication, that Expectation; Lord, I am thine; Save me! It is then beyond all Question, That God from all Eternity has Given thee to thy Lord-Redeemer: Thy Name is in the List of those, for whom He did become a Lord-Redeemer.

Or, We will so express it. If a Man come into the Covenant of Grace, he may be sure, that he is in the Covenant of Redemption. There is a Covenant of Grace, wherein the Great GOD offers to be Our God. All the Sure Mercies of our Love­ly JESUS are offered unto us, in this Everlasting Covenant. Have you Really and Heartily come into this Covenant? Have you Embraced God the Father, as your Father; God the Son, as your Sa­viour; God the Spirit, as your Leader? And have you Resolved, That you will with His Help Live to Him, and Walk with Him, to the End of your Lives? Is this your wish: O Great God, be thou my God; O my God, make me thy Servant ac­cording to thy Covenant. We read, Ezek. 16.8. I Entred into Covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine. This I will say; The Covenant of Redemption did first make us the Lords, if in the Covenant of Grace we are become the Lords.

[Page 21]§. But we will next Enquire; Whether there be no Special Duties, wherein they that know them­selves Given to the Lord-Redeemer in the Covenant of Redemption, should be thereby drawn to Glorify God?

Many Duties, many Duties, become now in­cumbent on you, O you whom the Lord has thus wonderfully comforted.

Methinks▪ The first of them should be, To Wonder at the Goodness of God unto us, and even unto us who are Sinners of the Gentiles, that we are admitted into the Knowledge of the most Glorious Transaction that ever was. We have an Admis­sion to an Acquaintance, with that Secret and Glorious Transaction, The Covenant of Redemption. We have Learnt the very Words, as I may say, of the Consultation that Passed between God the Father and the Son, at the Council-Table of Hea­ven, when there was none else present, but that Principal Secretary of State, the Holy Spirit of God, who has Revealed it. The Fifty Third Chapter of Isaiah, has a Copy of them. Oh! Wondrous Condescension of Him, who Humbles Himself to be­hold the things that are done in Heaven, to tell us, pittiful Worms upon the Earth, what He Himself did in Heaven from all Eternity! Will any Pro­testant call that, A Fiction, which is indeed the very Marrow and Substance of the Glorious Gos­pel of the Blessed God; the very Fountain of all our Eternal Blessedness! O Sinful Ingratitude, unto Him, that has even Lifted us up to Heaven, by communicating unto us, these Deep things of the Spirit of God!

[Page 22]But then, there Ensues another point of Practice for us, which is indeed the Sum of all Practical Christianity: Tis that; Heb. 12.2. Looking unto JESUS. Whither shall we now Look for every thing, but unto Him, unto whom the Father has Given us, that He may Give all unto us; that is to say, Our Lord JESUS CHRIST. This, This must be the continual Sentiment of our Minds; ‘If ever I come to Eternal Blessedness, it is my Lord-Redeemer that must bring me to it; Why has God the Father given me to the Lord-Re­deemer? Tis because my Lord-Redeemer is to do all for me. Unto thee then, O Lord-Redeemer, I Look for all.

III. What remains is; That all that are from Eternity Chosen by God, and given to the Lord-Re­deemer, shall in due Time come unto Him.

This is a Link in the Golden Chain of Salvation; Rom. 8.30. Whom He did Predestinate, them He also called. It is a Chain that shall never be broken: It lies not at the Arbitrary Determination of a Sin­ners Free-Will, whether it shall be broken or no. God will so move by His Powerful Grace upon the Will, of such as are Chosen for Himself, and Given to His Christ, that it shall not be broken. Tho' we do not know the Way of the Spirit, in this illustrious part of the Divine Providence over the World, nor After what manner, the God who forms the Spirit of Man within him, does Effectually move His People by His Verticordious Influences, and yet [Page 23] not Extinguish or Overwhelm the Free-Will of the Rational Creature: Yet this we know, The Determination of this point, Who Will, and, Who Will not, be brought unto the Faith of Gods Elect, is not left unto such a Contingency, as what the Free-Will of a Fallen and Corrupt Man, only address'd with a Moral Swasion, shall please to do concerning it. The God of all Grace, will with his own Peculiar Influences, infallibly bring about the Effectual Vocation, of all those whom He has Chosen for Himself, and Given to His Christ; and, what tho' the Manner of His Working upon the Minds of His People, be not fully to be Compre­hended? It is no little part of the Homage, which we owe unto the Glorious GOD, Humbly to admire and adore His Conduct, and acknowledge it Incomprehensible!

But in this Wilderness I find Giants to be En­countred with.

There is a very Numerous party of men, in the World, who hold no Grace necessary to bring a Sinner into a State of Salvation, but only that which they call Moral Grace, or, Moral Swa­sion; and which amounts to no more than a Rational Proposal of our Duty, To turn from Sin to God in Christ, with Reasonable Considerations, to Excite men unto the doing of this their Duty. They Deny, any purpose of Mercy in God, for any, but what may be obliged by a Fore-sight of the Good Use, which a Sinner may make of his own Free-will. They Deny, all Gracious Qualities, created [Page 24] in the Heart, or Will of a Repenting Sinner by the Spirit of God, and reject the Notion of In­fused Habits. They Deny, all such Sanctifying O­perations of the Almighty Spirit, on the Will of a Sinner, as will or can Certainly incline it to act, or incline it any more to act, than not to act. All that they will allow Grace to do, is to Pro­pose unto the Will, and leave the Will Indifferent, and leave it wholly unto the Determination of the Free-Will in the Sinner, whether the Proposal shall have any Effect or no. Tis no Special Grace, which they allow; there is in it, no more done by the Spirit of Faith, for them that are Saved, than for them that are Damned. In the mean time, they ascribe such a Vast Power unto the Will of Sinful Man, that they Expressly assert, The Will of man cannot be determined unto its Acts by any Irresistible motion, [Ne ab ipso Deo quidem!] no, not from the Great God Himself. They main­tain, That when all the Works of Grace in order to the Conversion of a Sinner are past upon the Will, it still remains in the Free Power of the Will, to Convert, or not Convert it self. The Lord shall not have His Will▪ the Predestination of GOD, and the Undertaking of CHRIST, and the Appli­cation of the SPIRIT; shall all come to nothing, if the Will of Sinful Man, will please to Resist it all; The Great GOD can do nothing to over­come the Resistance! Thus is there an Idol Set up, which has more People, and Nations, and Languages, falling down before it, than there did [Page 25] before that in the Plain of Dura of old. What if the Disposition of a carnal Mind, so generally, to Dethrone the Grace of God; and Set up the Will of Man in the Throne of God, should be found, but a Refined Idolatry after all?

It is of Great Consequence to the Interests of our Holy Religion, that we should set before you the Dangerous Tendency of these Opinions.

And, first, Can it be any other than a thing full of Danger unto the Souls of Men, to be so In­sensible of the Wounds which Original Sin has given unto all the Faculties of our Souls, and par­ticularly unto our Wills? While men say, [as the Successors of the ancient Enemies of Grace, do expressly say, and therein indeed wax worse and worse than the Old Pelagians,] That no immediate Operation of the Spirit upon the Mind or Will, is need­ful for any one, that he may believe: they proclame, that they have little Sense of any Corruption in the Will of Sinful Man. If the Will of a Sinner, needs nothing but the Setting of an Object before it, wherein is it more Corrupt or Feeble, than the Will of an Angel? Certainly, very Defective is that Repentance, in which the Corruption of the Will, is no more Considered!

These men say, That the Preaching of the Gospel is granted mostly unto those whose Vertues deserve it; and all other Grace is granted still unto the worthy Hearers of the Gospel. Any good Act which a man did of himself, on the account whereof Grace is vouchsafed, was counted Merit, in the Sense of [Page 26] the Primitive Church, who branded all pretences to it, with an Anathematizing Detestation. Ac­cording to these men, all Grace is given accor­ding to Merit. Wretched Inconsistency! Sirs, If it be of Merit, it is no more of Grace? Accor­ding to them, The Great God can from all Eter­nity Chuse none, but those, who He foresees, that by the Good Use of their Free-Will they will Merit the Election of Grace. Yea, All the Promises in the Covenant of Grace also, are Suspended on a Condition, of something to be performed by the Power of our Free-Will, assisted by no Grace at all but only a Perswasion, or Proposal, which does no­thing to Enable it. And how destructive will such a Proud conceit of our own Merit be, un­to that Humility, which is the peculiar Spirit and Glory of Christianity!

He that only Advises another to do a thing, does not the Thing himself, but Expects it from A­nother. So then, the Sinner does, according to these Opinions, Convert himself, and Quicken him­self! O Converts, Be not so Unthankful, as to say concerning your own Conversion, Tis owing to my self! I am no more beholden to the Grace of God, than they that are yet in their Sins! Tis to be fear­ed, You are yet Unholy, if so Unthankful. The True Strain of Christianity, was long ago dictated unto us; Not unto us, O Lord, Not unto us; But unto thy Name give all the Glory! The Church in its Childhood was trained up in this way; Now we are Old, Let us not, Let us never depart from it.

[Page 27]Inded, for a man to be in a meer Indifferency, whether to Believe on a Glorious Christ, or not, is to be in a Wicked posture. If the uttermost that the Grace of God has to do, for the Will of the Sinner, is to make it and leave it Indifferent in this Grand point,—Oh! do not so Reproach the Grace, whereof all Heaven is fill'd with E­ternal Adorations!

What? Shall the Image of God in the Will of man, want no Reparation? Man, Thy Will must be the Chief Receptacle of that Lovely Image. But at present, it is Desperately Wicked. Why should men render a work of Regeneration so needless? 'Tis, The One thing that is Needful. Doubtless, the Doctrine of Regeneration comes to be so much Neglected, and then more than so, Denied, and at length more than so, Derided, from the prevailing of these Horrible Opinions in our Dayes.

These Opinions lead men to take up with a very common work upon their Souls; with such a Conversion as may be accomplished meerly by the Rational proposals of the Gospel. Alas, if men look after no more, their Souls are in won­derful Hazard. Sirs. As you love your Souls, beware of such Hazardous and Venemous Errors! These men slander us, when they say, we do not Preach Morality. But we also Preach, That you must not be satisfied with meer Morality. We say, By Supernatural Grace, the Tree must first be made Good, or else there will be no Good Fruits upon it.

Shall the Children of God say, That God had [Page 28] no more Thoughts of Love to them from Eter­nity, than to those that are under His Everlast­ing Hatred? That Christ purchased no more for them, than for those that are gone to the Place of Dragons? That the Spirit has done no more, to bring them unto Holiness and Happiness, than for those that wallow for ever in their Fil­thiness? Oh! do not so go to stifle your Love to God! The Transcendent Love, which you owe to God! Nor take such a way to render your selves Lovers of your selves more than Lovers of God! Abhor those Opinions which will put by your Praises to God, for the Greatest of His Mer­cies; the Praises wherewith God is to be most of all Glorified for Eternal Ages! Tell us, O ye Adversaries of Grace, and of Christian Gratitude; According to you, what has God done more for Simon Peter, than for Simon Magus? What more for John than for Judas? What more for Paul the Apostle, than for Alexander the Copper­smith?

What will become of our Faith in God, about those concerns, wherein the Wills of men, are concerned? If men are the Masters of their own Wills? If God may not Determine the Wills of men, without Destroying the Nature, the Free­dom, of them? Why should we thus render it unnecessary, yea, unreasonable, to Pray for our selves, or others. What? Shall we not Ask of the God of all Grace, that He would Convert us? That He would Incline our Wills to the Things that are [Page 29] Holy, and Just, and Good? That He would Ef­fectually bring Home to Himself, all those that are about us? If it be in our own power, why do we put it into our Prayer? If it be not God, who does this for us, by His Grace, but we do it for our selves, why do we go to God for it? Whenever these people Pray, That their own, or other wills may be Subdued unto that which is Right, their Prayers contradict their Principles. Let none of our Hearers Entertain Principles, that have such a Tendency, to confound their Pray­ers.

They are Principles which Rob the Great God of the Glory which is for ever due unto Him. We Thunderstrike them, we Annihilate them, if we do but insist on that Holy Demand; give unto the Lord the Glory due unto His Name. What will become of the Divine Praescience? If, as they say, All turns upon the Free-will of man, and no Act of God can Ascertain what is to be done by the will of man, without Abolishing the very Nature of it, how can the Eternal God Certainly Foreknow from all Eternity, those things which are of the greatest consequence! and which are left unto the Determination of our Will? To know that as Certain, which God has not made Certain, is not to Know, but to Err. Where is the Divine Faithfulness? If there be no Certainty, That the things foretold in the Word of God shall be Fulfill'd? What Certainty can there be of their Fulfilment, if it be Uncertain what the Will of [Page 30] man may do? Tis Uncertain, if it be not Determin'd by God. What an Eclipse is there brought on the Mercy of God, if there be no Certain Object fixed for the Mercy? If it be a Mercy only unto Vertues, and not unto Persons? If it be a Mercy, that has not Ensured the Salvation of any one man upon Earth? They tell us, That we strait­en the Mercy of God; tho' we show a vast Num­ber of Subjects upon which it infallibly operates. The Universal Mercy which they talk of, has not Secured the Salvation of any one person in the World. And it is a Mercy, which cannot ex­press it self, but where it finds a Merit or a Mo­tive in the Creature. A Mercy without Grace! O Mercy! How art thou Disgraced!

What an Abridgment is there come upon the Dominion of God, if the Will of man cannot be Ruled by him? Why should we so rise up a­gainst the Government of God, as to maintain, that our Will must not be Touch'd, but be such an Exempted, and Self-Governing thing, that a Touch from God must violate it? Yea, What a Limitation do we go to put upon Omnipo­tency?

By these Principles the Redemption of a Glo­rious CHRIST, has unsufferable Indignities cast upon it. Upon them, No Regenerate per­son may say, ‘My Lord Jesus Christ has pur­chased for me, that Faith, that Repentance, that Holiness, which are the greatest Bles­sings that ever Heaven bestow'd upon me!’ [Page 31] Christian, Thy Soul upon due Delibration, can­not but abhor the Thoughts of this; That when Spiritual Blessings have Enriched thee, there should nothing be ascribed unto the Purchase of the Lord JESUS CHRIST on that occasion? That such Spiritual Blessings, must be no more than meer Contingencies! Yea, if it must be, as these would have it, The Blood of the Lord JESUS CHRIST hath not certainly purchased the Salvation, of any one Person in the World. Tho' the Blood of the Lord have been offered up, yet, it seems, there is no certainty, that any One Person shall ever have any Saving Advantage by it. The Uncertain Will of Man alone, must have the Honour to Deter­mine it.

What an Affront is given by these Principles, to the Holy SPIRIT? They allow Him to do no­thing for us, but only to dispense unto us a Com­mon Light, such as is enjoy'd even by the Children of Darkness; And that Light so ineffectual, that the Will is not Effectually Inclined by it. No more for Him to do but this! Oh! Do not so Dis­parage the Holy Spirit, unto whom our Obliga­tions are Infinite!

But there is no End. The mischiefs, cannot be Numbred. There is no Enumeration of all the Evils, in these Crooked Principles. Yet I must make an End; and I do it, with telling you, That one great Reason, why you are now warned with so much Vehemency against these Principles, is, The Strong Temptation which they lay before you, [Page 32] to Neglect the Great Salvation, and persist in the course of Sin, which will bring upon you a ter­rible Destruction from God. If Conversion be in your own Power, you will think, that you may take your own Time for it; and that you may go on in a course of Sin, till you may see your own Time to break it off. If no Darkness, and no Hardness can be contracted, but what your own Will may shake off at pleasure, and there be no Hazard of a Peradventure, whether God may give you Repentance, What Encouragement will this give unto Sinful Men, to go on still in their Trespasses, till they see themselves likely to breathe no longer among their Fellow-Sinners in the World?

I apprehended if High Time, that my Country, should be call'd upon, to watch against the Growth of these Tares, or I had not now so much insist­ed on it. We will go on to clear our Proposition.

§. Let it be asked, First; Why shall all that are Chosen by God, and given to Christ, come unto Him?

Why? Because the Honour of God and of Christ, make it requisite, that it should be so; and there is nothing to hinder, or to render why it should not be so. Should they that are Chosen of God, miss of Eternal Blessedness, the Counsels of God would be defeated. Should they that are Given to Christ, miss of Eternal Blessedness, the Fidelity or Ability of Christ would be blemished. The glorious LORD will never come under such Im­putations. [Page 33] But if men do not Come unto the Lord, they cannot but miss of Eternal Blessedness, Tis a Faithful Saying, and worthy to be trembled at; Joh. 3.36. He that Believeth not the Son, shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God abideth on him.

Let it be, Next, asked; How shall they that are Chosen by God, and Given to Christ, come unto Him?

How? Their Coming to the Lord, is by Be­lieving on Him. Our Lord sayes as much as this comes to; Joh. 6.35. He that cometh to me, is he that Believeth on me. They that are Chosen of God, and Given to Christ, shall come unto the Lord JE­SUS CHRIST, as unto their Priest, their Pro­phet, their King; They shall come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, with Petition to Him, and with Dependence on Him, for His Precious Benefits; They shall come unto Him, with such Dispositions; Lord, I Repair to thee, Lord, I Rely on thee, for Grace, for Glory, for Every Good Thing. I Re­solve to Obey thee, and Look for that Eternal Salvation, whereof thou art the Author, to as ma­ny as Obey thee!

Tis what will come to pass, most Assuredly, most Undoubtedly.

§. But now there is a DEHORTATION to be managed against an Error and a Folly, fre­quently committed among us. It is a Folly, which we daily see Raging among us; it Stabs the Souls of Multitudes. Multitudes accuse the Predestination of God, as the cause of their [Page 34] Impenitent Unbelief; Or at Least, from this Predestination they go to Excuse themselves in their Impenitency. They Argue, [Argue, did I say? I should rather say, They Cavil:] at his rate;

‘I don't know, Whether I am Chosen of God, or no. None but the Elect shall be Saved. If I am not Elect, unto what purpose is it for me to seek to be Saved? If I am Elect, what need I trouble my self? I cannot miss of being Saved. I don't know, whether I am Given to Christ, or no. It may be, the Death of Christ was never Design'd for me. How can I plead the Death of Christ, when, it may be, I am none of those for whom it was Design'd. If I perish, how can I help it? It is but what the Lord has Ordered.’

These are the Idle Words, for which men will be greatly Condemned in the Day of Judgment; the Idle Ratiociations, which have a Tendency to make men Idle, in their Preparations for the Day of Judgment.

It would be a Vast Benefit unto the Souls of Multitudes, to destroy these Idle Ratiocinations, these perverse Imaginations. I will therefore send in among them certain Maxims of Piety, which, I hope, will do some good Ex­ecution upon them.

I. It would be a very Great Sin, in the Greatest Sin­ner among us all, to conclude himself a Reprobate.

We read, Deut. 29.29. The Secret things belong unto the Lord, but those things which are Re­vealed, [Page 35] belong unto us. Reprobation is One of the Secret Things; You have no Direction to meddle with it. It is not Revealed, who is, and who is not, a Reprobate. But I am sure, it is Re­vealed, That every One of us ought to come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, with as much Ala­crity, as if we were already Assured, that the Fa­ther has Given us unto Him. A man may, by the Sanctification of the Spirit, and the Belief of the Truth, know himself to belong unto the Election of Grace. But a man cannot ordinarily by his Unsanctified Life, know himself to be a Reprobate. Should a Man be never so Wicked, it would be a further Wickedness in him, to define himself a Rebrobate. No; Let the Chief of Sinners among us, be Quickened in Seeking and Pressing after Conversion to God, from this Consideration. Sin­ner, Thou dost not know, but that there are Thoughts of Mercy, yet in the Heart of the Blessed GOD concerning thee. Many, Many of the E­lect of God, have been left unto all the horrid Abominations, that have made thy Soul so Desolate. But they have after all been brought unto the Faith of Gods Elect, and been Called and Justified and Sanctified, and fetch'd away to Eternal Bles­sedness. Who can tell? No man alive can tell, but Thou, O Black Sinner, O worst in all the Black Tribe of Sinners, Thou mayest be One of These.

The Charms that I would lay upon my Temp­ted Neighbours are these; I Pray you, I Charge you, Let not One of you all Pronounce himself [Page 36] a Reprobate. But let every One of you fly away to God in the Lord Jesus Christ; Accept His Mercy; Resolve His Service; Do it as cheerfully as if it were from Heaven Revealed unto you; Thy Name, O man, Thy very Name is Written in Heaven. Oh! Let none be Deaf, while we Charm never so Truly!

II. Men do not urge the Decree of God, so Injudi­ciously, so Impertinently, so Irreverently, in any Inferiour Matters, as they often do in the Matters of their Salvation.

Ungodly People plead This, for their leaving Undone what every man must Do to be Saved; They don't know what may be the Decree of God about their Salvation. Sinner, The Lord will not hold thee Guiltless, if thou go on thus to Sin a­gainst the Third Commandment. Will any man in his Wits proceed after this fashion: I don't know, whether God has Decreed my Life, therefore I will do nothing to preserve my Life. If men see a Rational, and probable way to get Money, they Run into that way, without ever making this Demur; We don't know, whether the Decree of God will allow us to prosper, or no. I have read of an Eminent Physician; That he had heard of a Gentleman who often made this frothy Apology for his noto­rious carelessness about his Everlasting Interests; If I am Elected, I shall be Saved; If I am not Elected, no care of mine will signify any thing to Save me; why should I imploy my care any further about it? The Gentleman at length became his Patient, [Page 37] in a Sickness that came upon him; when the Physician saw cause to put him off after this manner: Sir, If it be Decreed, that you shall Recover your Health, you shall do so; but if it be not so De­creed, no Counsils, or Methods of mine will recover you; why should I trouble my self any further about you? This brought the Patient unto a Sense of his for­mer Error; A Double, and therefore, an Happy cure, was wrought upon him!

You may rest Satisfied; There is no such De­cree as This; That the Elect shall be Saved, whe­ther they Work about their own Salvation, or no: Or, That the Elect may continue Unconverted, & Unconcerned about Eternal Blessedness, and yet get Safe unto it, at the Last. I say, There never was any such Decree of the Glorious GOD. No; The Decree of the End, always includes a Decree of the Means. Tho' they are not Propositions, but Persons, that are the Object of the Divine Election; The Decree is not meerly, That if men do come unto the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall come unto Eternal Blessedness; but it is Decreed, That such & such among the Children of men shall come un­to Eternal Blessedness, and therefore they shall come unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet these always go together; Man, If there be a Decree, that thou shalt Enter into Life, it is also Decreed, that thou shalt part with Sin, and close with Christ, and walk with God, and be in an Holy Agony, lest thou fall short of Entring into Life.

Act Reasonably, O Children of Men; Show your [Page 38] selves Men. The most common Wisdom of a Rea­sonable Creature, crys unto the foolish Disputers of this World; Prov. 1.22. How long ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?

III. If any Man continue in his Unreasonable Rebel­lion against God, his true Reason for it, is not what he Pretends, if his Pretence for it, be the Predestination of God.

When a Sinner does an ill Thing, his Reason for it is, not because he thinks, That God has Decreed, he shall be left unto such a Thing. He has no Reason to think so. Nor can he dream of Gratifying the Holy God, by doing what He has Forbidden, because He has yet Intended that it shall be done. The True Reason why a man does Evil, is that; Psal. 52.3. Thou Lovest Evil more than Good. But, Sinner, why dost thou not Return to God? Thy Reason is not, Because the Lord has Decreed, He will not have Mercy on thee, nor a­bundantly Pardon thee. Thy True Reason is, Be­cause the Wayes of Sin, are so Pleasant unto thee, thou art lothe to leave them. Why doest thou not Believe on Christ? Thy Reason is not, Because the Lord never so Loved thee, as to have Decreed His Christ for thee. Thy Reason is, Because thy Heart is full of Prejudice against a Precious Christ, and thou art lothe to have Such an One Rule over thee. Do not go to make Predestination an Apology for thy Impiety. The fittest words, that I can use to batter it, are those; Neh. 6.8. [Page 39] There are no such things as thou sayest, but thou feigne [...] them out of thine own Heart. Thy True Reason for all thy Impiety, is not in such things as thou sayest; It is in the Criminal Inclination of thy own Im­pious Heart unto it. But, what a Miserable A­pology will this be, O Sinner, what a Miserable A­pology in the Day of the Lords pleading with thee?

IV. A Reprovation by God, Enforces no man to be a Sinner: A Damnation overtakes no man; but because he is a Sinner.

What tho' there are some, whom the Election of God has passed by? Indeed there can be no E­lection except some are passed by. We must grant a Decree of God, according whereunto He leaves men unto the Sinfulness of their own Hearts and Lives, out of which He is under no Obligation to Recover them, & then inflicts upon them the Woes, the Deaths, which are the due Wages of their Sinful­ness. But they that are thus Pass'd by, and Left out, from the Election of God, have no Force there­by put upon them, to Sin against Him. It is true; They shall Sin; but it is because they will Sin; their Sin is always voluntary; they act Freely whenever they Sin. It seems, men will Quarrel with God, until they can Reconcile the Divine Praescience with Humane Liberty. But, vain man, Thy Heart is now Haughty, and thou dost Exercise thy self in things too High for thee! The [Page 40] Matter of Fact is most certain. 'Tis most Certain, That the All-wise God, who knows all things, does most perfectly know, who will be a Sinner. 'Tis most Certain, That the Sinner does of his own Ac­cord become so; God infuses not any Sinfulness into him. How can this be? We all see, That so it is. It may be, it would puzzle Angels to tell, How it is! Poor Potsherds of the Earth, Why will you not Allow your Maker certainly to Foreknow, what Evil you will do, and what Good He will bring out of this Evil, without your making Him the Blameable Cause of all your Evil?

When a Reprobate comes to be Damned at the last, it is not Because he was a Reprobate. No, he is Damned, only Because he Sinned; and Because he Sinned willingly, he Sinned heartily, he Sinned with Delight; Because he Loved Death, and he Chose Damnation. Sinner; Do not keep the Chains of Death upon thy Soul, by insisting on the Tre­mendous Reprobation of God. Thou shalt not be Lost, if thou doest not Love thy Chains. When thou standest before the Judgment-Seat of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, thou shalt not be able to say, Lord, I would have come unto thee, but thy Decree fetter'd me, and forced me to neglect thy Great Salvation. The Glorious JUDGE will cause the Sinner to hear that Thunder of His Wrath; Hos. 13.9. Thou hast destroyed thy self. That the Sin­ner may be Saved from then being so Thunder-struck, we must now so call upon him; Oh! Do thy self no Harm, and the Decree of God will do thee none!

[Page 41]

V. Salvation by the Blood of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, is tendered unto every one of us all; and time of us will miss of Salvation by that Blood, but such as wilfully Refuse it.

How Limited soever the Efficacy of our Lords Blood may be, in the Secret Purpose of God; This we are sure of; There is in the Blood of our Lord Redeemer, such a Sufficiency, as to Cleanse every one of us all from all our Sin, if we come unto it. This we are sure of; We are Every one of us all, Invited; and Commanded, and Obliged, to Take the Blood of our Lord-Redeemer, and plead it, for our Deliverance from our Sin. Instead of all Evil-surmising, whom the Blood of our Lord may be for, and whom not, it is the Duty of E­very one presently and Thankfully to Accept of it. The Invitation unto Every one of us all is This; ‘Thou art a Sinner; A Sinner wants a Sacrifice; The Sacrifice provided for thee, is that of a Crucified JESUS. Come, and cast the Load of thy Soul, and place the Hope of thy Soul, on that Sacrifice; and plead it with God, That thou mayest for the sake thereof be Saved from all thy Sins.’ It may very truly be said, Nothing shall hinder thy Salvation by the Blood of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, O Sinner, but thy wilful Refusing of it. Whenever thou dost become really Willing to be Sprinkled with the Blood of the Lumb, and thereby to have all the [Page 42] Enmity between God and thy Soul, taken away, it shall be Done; there shall be Nothing to hin­der it. We have a Commission to represent the Blood of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, under that most agreeable Fygure; Zech. 13.1. A Fountain Opened. Come, O perishng Souls, come every one of you, unto that Fountain; Tis in the Gos­pel Opened for you: Tis proclaimed in the Gos­pel, that you shall be Welcome unto it. Let eve­ry one of you fall down before the Lord-Re­deemer, and sincerely say, ‘O Glorious Lord; The Benefits of thy precious Blood, I know, thou hast offered them unto me. I do there­fore at thy offer, and by the Help of thy Spi­rit, humbly receive thy Blood. Let the Effica­cy of it upon me, be not only to Save me from thy Wrath, but also to Cleanse me from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, and to cure all the Maladies of my Soul, I pray thee, I pray thee!’ Do thus; The Consequence will be, Salvation, Salvation World without End.

Your Way to the City of Refuge, I hope, is a little cleared by these Meditations.

[Page 43]

FREE-GRACE Exhibited In the Gracious Offer of the GOSPEL.

Joh. VI. 37.

Him that Cometh to Me I will in no Wise cast out.

AND is this Thy Voice, O our Lord RE­DEEMER? It is verily so. And the sweetest voice that ever was heard a­mong the Sinful Children of Men. Why do not we Lift up our Voice, and weep; and with a weeping Faith give that Echo to it; Lord, I come unto thee: I will in no wise cast off thy Favour!

That short and sweet Sentence, which we are now taking from the Gracious Lips of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, has been Employ'd by His Almighty Spirit, for the Conversion of many Thousands. There are Holy Myriads, who have upon a Quickening from this very Word, come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, and found Him as Good as His Word. There are Bright [Page 44] Constellations of Saints in the Heavenly World, who were, by this very Call brought Home un­to the Lord JESUS CHRIST, and at last into that World. Oh! that this Faithful Saying may find the same worthy Acceptation with you, My Hearers, which it has had with Multitudes that have gone before you!

Our Glorious Lord-REDEEMER, having first comforted Himself under the sad sight, which He had in the general, and criminal and obsti­nate Unbelief of His Hearers; first comforted Himself with the Assurance which He had, That all His Chosen should come unto Him: He proceeds unto the comforting of His Chosen, who do Come unto Him; Comforting of them with an As­surance, That He will make them welcome.

Shall I observe, That the First Thing before us, is, The Duty of a Sinner? I hope, you take this for granted. Certainly, a Duty of greater Importance, a Duty of better Consequence, was never set before a Sinner. To come unto the Lord Iesus Christ. This is the Duty, which must be done, by every Sinner that will be Saved; the Duty, which the Eternal Happi­ness or Misery of us all does most of all turn upon.

But we will then Observe; That the Next Thing is, A Promise to the Sinner who does this Duty. The Expression is Negative. I will in no wise cast him out. In the Original, the Negative is Doubled; q. d. I will not cast [Page 45] him out; No, will I not. But the Intention is posi­tive. Yea, there is more in the Intention than can be cloathed with any Expression. Our LORD will not Cast us cut. Lord, What wilt thou then do unto us! Why, He will do all that needs to be done, that we may be brought unto Everlast­ing Happiness; He will do beyond all that we can Ask or Think; He will Save us unto the uttermost.

The Doctrine of God our Saviour which now calls for our Attention, is This.

Our Great SAVIOUR, will not Reject any Sinner that comes unto Him; No, tho' the Sin of that Sinner be never so great; But He will bestow His Great Salvation, upon all who diligently Seek Him.

My Hearers, What, what is the Turning point, of our Everlasting Blessedness? Hearken Dili­gently; For I am going to tell you.

I. All that would be Saved, must Come unto the Great SAVIOUR; Yea, all that shall be Sa­ved, will do so.

This will presently be determined, by but knowing, What it is to come unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Who can Interpret it so well, as our LORD Himself? His interpretation, which is infinitely to be Rely'd upon, was, That a Coming [Page 46] to Him, is a Belief in Him. As it was said, He that cometh to God must believe; so we may say, To Believe, is to Come unto our Lord. Is it indeed so? Then see what will come of it: We are told by Truth it self, Mark 16.16. He that Belie­veth shall be Saved; but he that Believeth not, shall he Damned.

We have all the Reason imaginable to pro­ceed upon this Action. We will briefly De­scribe the Action, of, Coming unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST. And we will Beseech the God of all Grace, to Dispose and Assist us all, unto the Doing of this Action, while we are Hearing of it. O Spirit of Grace, come down upon us, with thy Gracious Influences!

The Phrase, To Come unto the Lord Jesus Christ, we are sensible, it is Metaphorical; We are sen­sible, that FAITH is the thing meant in the Me­taphor: The most Precious Grace that a Sinner can be inspired withal!

The Action of a True FAITH, has more than one Resemblance, in the Oracles of God. It is Resembled unto the Action of the Eye, and called, A Looking to the Lord; unto the Action of the Ear, and called, An Hearing, that the Soul may Live; unto the Action of the Mouth, and called, A Feeding on the Lord; And unto the Acti­on of the Hand, for which it is called, A Receiv­ing of Him. Consider, O Soul, consider what Action of the Soul, can answer to every one of these Terms; Fall into such a Full Action; and [Page 47] Lift up thy Cry unto thy Saviour; O Glorious Lord; I Desire to See thy Beauties; I desire to Hear thy Counsils; I desire to Feed and Feast on thine Excellencies; And I desire to Take all thy Benefits!’

But now, the Foot also must afford an Action, by which a Saving FAITH shall be set forth un­to us. Tis a Coming to the Lord JESUS CHRIST. And many Motions of the Soul are contained in it. Yea, Awake my whole Soul, and All that is within me, to do this Noble Action!

To Come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, is, with a Lively FAITH to ADDRESS Him, as the CHRIST of God, and for such Blessings as are to be Desired and Expected from the CHRIST of God. More Particularly,

First; The Address with which our Faith must Come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, is to Ac­knowledge Him as the CHRIST of God. We do not come aright unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST if we do not come with that Acknowledgment; Joh. 6.69. We believe and are sure, That thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. When we come to the Lord JESUS CHRIST, it is necessary, that we have some Knowledge of His Admirable Person; yea, that we Admire Him as a Person Altogether Lovely. In coming to the Lord JESUS CHRIST, we must Behold Him, as God and Man in One Person; we must Behold Him as the Only Mediator between God and Man; we must Be­hold Him, and make that Confession of Him, [Page 48] Joh. 4.42. This is indeed the CHRIST, the Saviour of the World▪ And that Confession; Act. 4.12. There is no other Name given among men, whereby we must be Saved: And that Confession; Heb. 5.9. He becomes the Author of Eternal Salvation, unto all them that Obey Him. We do not come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, if we do not Confess Him to be, The Son of God Assuming our Nature, and with a Commission from God becoming our Sa­viour: An Offering and a Sacrifice to God for us, and now our Advocate in the Heavens, and Sitting at the Right Hand of God as the Governour of the World.

The Language of our Souls, in coming to our Lord JESUS CHRIST, must be of this Tenour.

‘O Glorious JESUS; Thou art the CHRIST, the Son of the Living GOD. Thou art the Priest, whose Blood cleanses from all Sin. Thou art the Prophet, who doest Make us Wise unto Salvation. Thou art the King, who doest make us Victori­ous over the Powers of Darkness. Thou art the Wonder of the Heavens, and Worthy to be the De­sire of all Nations upon Earth. Oh! There is None to be Compared with thee! There is no Blessedness comparable to that of an interest in thee.’

Secondly. The Address with which our Faith must come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, is to Desire and Expect from Him, such Blessings, as the CHRIST of God bestows upon His People.

We cannot come unto the Lord JESUS [Page 49] CHRIST, Except we see our selves Fallen from God; Fallen and Plunged into horrible Circum­stances: Except we see our selves utterly unable to Recover our selves out of our Sinful and Wo­ful Circumstances. In our coming unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, we must have that Anguish on our Minds; Rom. 7.24. O Wretched One that I am? Such, even such must be our Soliloquies; These must be our Thoughts, and our Griefs before the Lord.

‘I have Sinned, I have Sinned! And by Sin I am now become, how very Miserable! I am De­prived of the Favour of GOD, and of the Know­ledge of GOD, and of the Image of GOD. O Dreadful Miseries! I am Exposed unto the Do­minion of Lust, and unto the Tyranny of Satan, and unto an Everlasting Banishment from God, into Outer Darkness, among the forlorn Vessels of Wrath. O Fearful Miseries! O wretched One that I am! who shall Deliver me!

Our Lord JESUS CHRIST is our Deliverer. Our Design in coming to our Lord JESUS CHRIST, must be, to obtain Deliverance.

What? May we be so Selfish, as to aim at our own Salvation in coming to our Lord Jesus Christ? Yes; Tis a Laudable Selfishness. A Salvation▪ that rescues a Sinner from his Enmity to GOD; A Sal­vation, that restores a Sinner to the Enjoyment of GOD; A Salvation▪ whereby GOD shall have Re­venues of Eternal Glory from the Sinner: Oh, be not Afraid of Seeking such a Salvation: It will be [Page 50] no Faulty Self-seeking, you may be Satisfyed.

But then, What are the Blessings to be sought from our Saviour, in His Great Salvation?

When we come unto our Lord JESUS CHRIST, He puts this Demand unto us; Matt. 1 [...].32. What will ye that I shall do unto you? We must render a fit Answer to this Demand. Our Answer must be; to this Purpose.

‘Glorious REDEEMER; I come unto thee for Atonement. Oh! Let me stand before God in thy Spotless and Perfect Righteousness! Oh! Let thy Intercession Save me to the Uttermost!

Our Answer must be more than so; It must have this in it.

Lord, I come unto thee for Instruction. Oh! Guide me in the Way of Peace! Oh! cause me to know the Things of my Everlasting Peace!

And there must be yet more in our Answer▪ It must go thus far.

Lord, I come unto thee for Government. Oh! Conquer my Rebellious Heart, and Incline me to Love and Keep thy Laws; Oh! make me a Conqueror over all my Spiritual Adversaries!

These and such as these Blessings, are we to Propound, in our coming unto our Lord.

That our Address in our coming may not mis­carry, there are Two Qualifications of it, that are to be Endeavoured.

First. We may not Separate the Blessings of our Saviour, for which we come unto Him. God has Joyn'd them; God will not own the Man that [Page 51] Parts them. We must be for a whole CHRIST, and for Every Article of the Salvation which a CHRIST has to confer upon us. We must be for a CHRIST, that will give us Repentance as well as Remission of Sins; and for being Sanctified as well as Justified. We read, Col. 1.19. In Him there does all Fulness dwell. And we must come for All, if we would not be put off with None. A Genuine Faith has many Errands upon which it comes to the Lord JESUS CHRIST. It is not a Genuine Faith, which does Neglect any of them, Despise any of them. It is not enough, to come unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, only that we may be brought into His Righteousness▪ we must also Ponder on all the Maladies of our Souls, and Specify them All, and Mention them All, and Long for the Relief of them All; very Particularly. Lord, my Mind is Ignorant; Oh, Do thou En­lighten it. My Heart is Depraved; Oh, Do thou Rectify it. I have a Slothful Soul; Oh, Do thou make me Lively. I have a Barren Soul; Oh, Do thou make me Fruitful. I have a Soul inordi­nately set upon the World; Oh! Do thou make me Heavenly. It is Proud; Extinguish, and Nul­lify the Pride in my Soul. There is great Im­purity in my Soul; Do thou Purify me, and make me Meet for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light. God will hear this Cry of the Humble!

And then, Secondly; When we come to our Saviour for His Blessings, we are both to Desire them, and to Expect them. Our Faith must carry [Page 52] us to a CHRIST for Salvation, on the Two Wings, of Prayer, and of Hope. In our coming to the Lord JESUS CHRIST, there must be a Petition to Him for Salvation; such a Petition as that; Psal. 116.4. I beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver my Soul. And there must be a Dependence on Him for Salvation; such a Dependence as that; Psal. 25.2. O my God, I Trust in thee. First, We are to Beg of our Lord Iesus Christ, That He would undertake for us, and Guide us by Counsil and Bring us to Glory; And then, we are to Trust in Him, that He will do so. First we are to Commit our selves unto our Lord; Saying, ‘Lord, I am Thine, Save me, Lead me, Rule me! And then we are to Com­pose our selves, with some Degree of Confidence or Affiance, in the Lord; Saying, Return to thy Rest, O my Soul, for the Lord will deal bounti­fully with me!’

You now Apprehend, What it is, To come unto the Lord Iesus Christ. Souls, When, when will you come Experimentially to Apprehend, what it is! Know, for your Excitation;

II. There is a Great SALVATION to be be­stow'd upon all who thus Come unto the Saviour.

Our Lord JESUS CHRIST Will in no wise cast out those that come unto Him. He will then Take them under His Conduct: But, Oh! Bles­sed Conduct! Oh! Thrice and Four times Blessed they that are under such a Conduct! O Lord, How Great is thy Goodness, which thou hast [Page 53] Laid up for them, who put their Trust in thee! Be­liever, Thy Great SAVIOUR has those Things to Do for thee, which will cause thee to Sing; [Psal. 126.3.] The Lord has done Great Things for me, whereof I am Glad!

What will our Saviour do for them that Come unto Him? The Answer in short is, He will do all that for which they Come unto Him?

SALVATION is That, SALVATION is the End of our Faith. We are told; Act. 16.31. Be­lieve on the Lord JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be SAVED. But all that is Comprehended in that Salvation, 'tis inexpressible, 'tis inconceiva­ble! Imagine, if you can, all that is compre­hended in that Incomprehensible Catalogue of Blessings; 1 Cor. 1.30. Wisdom, Righteousness, Ho­liness, and Redemption. Believer, These are all Thine, from the first moment of thy Believing.

Yet we will make a feeble Essay, to tell some­thing of what our Great SAVIOUR, will do for them, whom He will not Cast out, but will Take in under the Shadow of His Wings.

O Comers to the Lord; ADOPTION will be one point of your Salvation. We read; Joh. 1.12. As many as Received Him, to them He gave pow­er to become the Sons of God. This, This is the Engagement of our Lord JESUS CHRIST; Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise Leave in the sad and black Family of Satan; I will make him a Child of God; an Heir of God. I will give him a Title to a matchless Inheritance; [Page 54] He shall be a Joint-Heir with me; He shall In­herit all things. My Father shall be His Father, and Bless Him wonderfully!’

Another point of your Salvation shall be your JUSTIFICATION. We read, Rom. 3.22. The Righteousness of God, is by the Faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that Believe. This is the Engagement of our Lord JESUS CHRIST; Him that Cometh unto me, I will in no wise Leave under the Wrath of God. God shall be Reconci­led unto him. Tho' God has been Angry with him, the Anger shall be turned away. All Sin shall be Forgiven him. He shall stand in the Favour of God; be highly Favoured of the Lord. He shall have a claim to all the Blessedness of the Righteous. I will put my Righteousness upon him; A Robe outshining the Splendor of the brightest Angels in Heaven!’

Another point of your Salvation shall be your SANCTIFICATION. We read, Act. 26.18. We are Sanctified by Faith. There is the En­gagement of our Lord JESUS CHRIST: Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise Leave un­der the Power of Sin. I will make him a Tem­ple of God, and Sin shall not have Dominion over him. I will knock off the Chains of Hell from his Mind; and Enlarge his Heart so that he shall Run the way of my Commandments. I will give him a New Heart, a Soft Heart, a Clean Heart; and I will incline his Heart unto all the Things that are Holy, and Just, and Good.

[Page 55]This is not All. Your Salvation must have a Consummation, in Heavenly Glory; in the Riches of the Glory of the Inheritance reserved for the Saints in another World. We read, Joh. 6.47. Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that Believeth on me, hath Everlasting Life. Thus does our Lord JESUS CHRIST Engage Himself; Him that cometh un­to me, I will in no wise cast out, into the Outer Darkness, where the Ungodly shall be for ever Exiled from God. No; At the close of his Earthly Pilgrimage I will take his Immortal Spi­rit into an Heavenly Paradise, where it shall be Cloathed with Garments of Light. At the Last Day, I will Restore his Body to his Spirit, no longer subject unto Corruption; and I will take him into the Holy City, where he shall be Filled with all the Fulness of God for ever and ever.’

And are they such Things as these, that our Saviour will do for them that Come unto Him? Verily, They are. Oh! Great Salvation! Oh! Saviour, Oh! Saviour; Before whom the great­est that ever was, must vanish as a Shadow! Why do we not All immediately Come unto Him!

It may be, our extream Sinfulness and Wick­edness, and Filthiness, and Unworthiness is our Discouragement. Indeed, we all have cause humbly to Declare with him; Luk. 7.7. Lord, I do not think my self worthy to come unto thee. Ne­vertheless we have before us a marvellous Con­solation.

[Page 56] III. Our Great SAVIOUR will not Reject a­ny Sinner, that Comes unto Him; no, tho' the Sin of that Sinner be never so Great. He has given His Word; Be he who, or what he will, I will in no wise cast him out. Sinner, Let not thy Sin­fulness discourage thee, from Coming to thy Saviour!

I will first, Argue thus. Did our Lord Iesus Christ ever cast out any of those, that came un­to Him, in the Days of His Flesh, for any of His Favours! No, He Received All, He Relieved All; Yea, it was cast as a Reproach upon Him; Luk. 15.2. He receiveth Sinners. What was this, but a most obliging Intimation, That our Lord Iesus Christ will still give a Kind Entertainment un­to All that come unto Him? Come unto thy SAVIOUR, O Soul, so Blind as to see nothing of the Things which are Invisible; O Soul, so Lame as to be unable to take a step in the Way of Holi­ness; O Soul, Grievously Vexed with Devils, which throw thee into the Fire of Passion, and into the Water of Company, and make thee Cut and Wound thy self among the Monuments of the Dead. Come unto thy Great Saviour: He will do as Illustri­ous Things for thee, as any that were done in His Miracles of old.

I will go on, and Argue thus. How is it possi­ble, How is it possible, for such infinite Grace as fills the Heart of the Lord Iesus Christ, ever to Reject the Sinner that comes unto Him? There came unto the Lord a Great Sinner, who made a [Page 57] Trial of Him; and upon the Trial he Published this Report unto all the World; [1 Tim. 1.14.] The Grace of our Lord, Oh! tis Exceeding Abundant! A Man that has but a Little Grace, yet if there be, Any thing of CHRIST, in him, he will cast out None that come unto him for Help; he will treat all that come unto him, with Compassion, with Be­nignity; he will Help them all, and Serve them all, and rejoyce to do them all the Good that e­ver he can, All this Grace is but a very Little Picture, and Scarce That; of what is in our Lord Iesus Christ. It is unto His, not so much as a Drop unto the Ocean. It was of old said; Joel 2.13. Turn unto the Lord your God, for He is Gracious and Merciful and of Great Kindness. And we will now say, Come unto the Lord your Saviour, in whom it is that God becomes your God, for He is a Gracious and a Merciful Saviour; None can ut­ter the Greatness of His Kindness!

I will not yet cease to Argue; But Oh, Hear, what I have yet to speak, on the behalf of our dear­est Saviour; I will ascribe a Peerless and Endless Goodness unto Him. Certainly He that never did Reject any Sinner that came unto Him, ne­ver will Reject any Sinner that comes unto Him. Now this, this may be asserted concerning our Saviour. The Worst Sinners in the World have come to Him; Did He ever cast out any of them? No, in no wise; not One of them all. We read of such as were Emphatically, Sinners, among them who came unto our Lord Jesus [Page 58] Christ: And what became of them? What, but this, Their sins, which were many, were Forgiven them. Yea, The very Murderers of our Lord Iesus Christ Himself; the Wretches that with Wicked Hands Crucified Him and Murdered Him: The Sin of those Monsters, was the Greatest Sin, that e­ver was Committed under the Cope of Heaven; The Earth trembled, the Rocks rent; the Sun turn'd black; the whole Frame of Nature was in a Convulsion at it. It may not without Hor­ror be thought upon. And yet! Some of these very Murderers, Repented, and Repairing unto the Lord Iesus Christ, obtained the Remission of all their Sin. There were horrid Sinners a­mong the Corinthians; [1 Cor. 6.9, 10.] Fornica­tors, Idolaters, Adulterers, Effeminate, Sodomites, Theeves, Coveteous, Drunkards, Revilers, Extortioners. What a Black List is here! Can the Bottom of Hell show a blacker! Ah! Holy JESUS! wouldest thou not cast out such as these, when they came unto thee? No; Read on. Such were some of you; BUT, Ye are Washed; BUT ye are San­ctified; BUT ye are Justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, & by the Spirit of our God. Oh! Grace! Grace! that cannot be Parallel'd! Now, we were long ago thus called upon; O Give Thanks to the God of Heaven, For His Mercy Endureth for ever. The Mercy of our Saviour, which of old Received the Greatest Sinners that came unto Him, still Endures, ever Endures; come to Him, O Sinner, Thou shall find the Like Mercy in Him, that was found in the former Ages.

[Page 59]My Quiver is not yet Empty; The Argu­ments are not all spent; There is another of them now to be set before you. The Invitati­on of the Lord Iesus Christ unto Sinners to Come unto Him, is, An Universal Invitation. What is the Gospel, but, An Invitation unto Sinners to Come unto their Saviour? Now, the Commission runs large enough; Mark 16.15. Go into all the World, and Preach the Gospel to every Creature.— There is no Creature among the Children of men, but, tho' never such a Sinful Creature, the most Sinful, and Forlorn Creature in the World, there is this Gospel to be Preached unto him; Sinner, Be­lieve in the Great Saviour, and thou shalt be Saved. The CALL of our Lord Iesus Christ, How Universally it Extends! Look unto me and be ye Sa­ved, ALL ye Ends of the Earth: And, Ho, EVERY ONE come to the Sure Mercies: And, Come unto me ALL ye that Labour and are heavy Laden: And, WHOSOEVER WILL, Let him come. The great­est Sinner upon Earth may lay hold on such an Invitation. Sinner, Why shouldest thou Exclude thy self? The Glorious LORD has not Excluded thee: Thy Name is not Excepted in the Invi­tation? What will this Arguing prove? This; If Invited, to Come, then surely, not Rejected when thou shalt come.

Nor is there yet an End of our Arguments. I will not Reason with unprofitable Talk, nor, I hope, with Speeches that will do no Good. Let no man be such a Prodigy of Impiety and Ingrati­tude, [Page 60] as to Abound in Sin the more, on the pre­tence that Grace may Abound. But have you not heard of such an amazing thing, as that? Rom. 5.20. Where Sin abounded, Grace did much more A­bound. The Greater the Sinner that comes unto the Lord Iesus Christ, the more will the Lord and His Grace, be Glorified in the Salvation of such a Sinner. When a Great Sinner comes to be Saved, our Lord has a marvellous oppor­tunity, to accomplish the Great Intent upon which any Sinner is ever Saved. The Glory, the radiant Glory of the Lord, will be display'd in such a Salvation, more than on any other Occasion whatsoever. It must be a Great Salvation indeed▪ that shall help such a Sinner! It is pleaded; Ps. 25.11. For thy Names sake, O Lord, Pardon mine Iniquity; for it is Great. A Great Sinner may make this plea; Lord, It will be seen, that thy Name is Great, if so Great a Sinner as I, may be Saved from all my Iniquity! Men and Angels will upon the Salvation of such a Sinner conspire in Everlast­ing Doxologies to the Glorious LORD. ‘Oh! the Glory of that Grace, that would give a Glo­rious CHRIST for such a Sinner! Oh! the Glory of that Blood, that would wash away all the Guilt of such a Sinner! Oh! the Glory of that Spirit, who could bring to Rights, all that was amiss in the Soul of such a Sinner! The prospect of such a Glory accruing to the Lord, will be an Argument, for the Salvation of the Greatest Sinner, that shall come unto Him to be [Page 61] Saved. And, Sinner, I am sure, thou mayest make this an Argument for thee, in thy Suppli­cations to the Lord: Lord! Where can thy Glorious Grace find a fitter Object for its Precious and Eternal Triumphs, than in so great a Sinner!

I know not how to dismiss this Lovely Theme. —And yet I will now add no more than this upon it. There cannot be Greater Sinners on Earth, than some were, who are now in Heaven, and Stand there, not only without Guilt, but also without Fault, before the Throme of God. Sinner, Be thy Sins never so horrible, never so horribly E­normous; there are some now in Heaven, that once were Guilty of the very same Sins. A Bloody Robber had this from our Saviour, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise. And she that was Rahab the Harlot is there too! There are some in Para­dise, who were once, The Chief of Sinners. Paul was caught up thither; Paul is now gone to stay there; And yet this Paul could say, I was a Blas­phemer, and a Persecutor, and the Chief of Sinners. Oh! could we overhear the Fraises, that are the Melody of the Heavenly World! One who dy'd among us, after fifty years rolled away in Wick­edness, out of which he was Effectually Recover­ed a few Weeks before he dyed; when his Friends thought him gone, & in a manner Dead, he Revived so far, as to Surprise them, with these Expressions; O my Friends, Heaven rings all over at this! They Wonder at this; A Great and an Old Sin­ner coming to Heaven! O the Riches of Grace! O Glo­rify [Page 62] Free-Grace for ever more! And so he dy'd quite away. Were Heaven Open to us, we should o­verhear Strange Acclamations! One that had been a very Oven of Unchastity, Crying out; ‘Oh! Praises to that Saviour, that has rescued me from the Fiery Furnace, and Purified me, Sanctified me, brought me to the Inheritance of the Saints in Light! Another that had been many a Time, as Drunk as a Beast, Crying out; ‘Oh! Praises to that Saviour, that has fetch'd me from among the Bruits, and first infused the Holy Principles of Angels into me, and now placed me with His Angels, with the Princes of His People! Another that had Sworn many a Profane Oath, and Spoke many a Lying Word, Crying out; ‘Oh! Praises to that Saviour, who has kept out of Hell, a Tongue that had been Set on Fire of Hell; that will imploy one, who once belch'd out the Language of Friends, to Sing Hallelujahs with His Holy Ones! Many, many more such strange Sights there are to be seen in Heaven. Say, O Encouraged Sinner, say, Why 'may not I make One of them!

¶ And now, Upon the Astonishing Encou­ragement, and, The Hope set before us, what shall we do? I had almost said, What can we do? But come to an agreeable Resolution?

Rosolve, O Perishing Souls, Resolve immedi­ately, To come unto a Glorious CHRIST for His Great Salvation. Yea, tho' you see your selves to be very Great Sinners, and even the Chief of Sinners, [Page 63] yet come unto Him, who came into the World, that He might Save Sinners, and even Such Sinners, from all their Sins.

It is a Thing that must Immediately be Resol­ved upon. There is indeed no Room left for any Deliberation before you come unto a Resolution.

HE that Commands you to come unto Him; Oh! who is HE? I am to tell you; HE is the Son of God; HE is the King of Glory; HE is the Lord of Angels! It is HE, to whom all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth yield Obedience. Lord, All are thy Servants! Art thou Unresolved, O Sinner, Whether thou shalt yield Obedience to the Com­mandment of such a LORD? Instead of thy Say­ing, May I Dare to come unto Him? I will Say, How dost thou dare to do any other than come unto Him?

It has always been beyond all Dispute, with all that are not with Madness in their Hearts going down unto the Dead; That, Psal. 73.28. It is Good for me to Draw near unto God. Certainly, It will be Good for you to come unto a Great SAVIOUR. But are you Unresolved, Whether you should come into a Friendship and a Fellowship with the Blessed GOD? Unresolved, Whether you should become the Sons and the Daughters of the Almighty? Unresolved, Whether you should Accept a claim to all the very Great and Precious Promises of the New Covenant? Oh! how can you continue so? Tis to continue Unresolved, Whether you had not best ly under the Fearful Curse of God, and have the Dreadful Wrath of God abiding on [Page 64] you? But is this possible? Can you continue Un­resolved, Whether you shall Chuse your Portion with Unbelievers, and Weep and Wail in the Outer Darkness of an Eternal Banishment from the Bliss­ful Mansions of the Righteous? Whether you shall Chuse to do the part of Devils, and have a part with Devils, and be held in the Chains of End­less Darkness laid upon you? O unaccountable Indifferency! O inexcusable Stupidity!

Briefly; The Doom will pass upon you, from the Mouth of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, either, Come ye Blessed; or, Go, ye Cursed: This Doom will pass, according to your Coming to, or Keeping from, the Glorious LORD. Oh! No longer then con­tinue Unresolved; But, as we read; Joh. 11.28, 29. She called Mary her Sister secretly, Saying, The Master calleth for thee: Assoon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him. I do here Openly declare unto you, The Saviour calleth you; Oh! That Now, Assoon as you hear that, you would arise quickly, and come unto Him!

I will bring the Matter to an Issue. Try, Try, Whether you cannot with a Quickened Soul, Address your Great SAVIOUR. O Great Sin­ners, Greatest, Vilest, Saddest of Sinners, Make the Trial. Take with you Words. You shall have Words put into your Mouths; Words which your most Gracious LORD has Himself Prepared for you; Words which if you do with your Hearts bring before the Lord, He will receive you graciously.

Unto your Great SAVIOUR, Let your First [Page 65] Address be in those Words; Psal. 4.1. Hear me when I call, and be thou the God of my Righteousness.

Let your Next Address be in those Words; Psal. 25.4. Shew me thy ways, O Lord, Teach me thy Pathes.

Let your Third Address be in those Words; Psal. 119.133. Order my steps in thy Word, and let not any Iniquity have Dominion over me.

It is for these Intents and Purposes, that you are to come unto your Saviour. And, Believe Him; He will cast out none that so come unto Him!

I may not Conclude the Discourse, without Some Endeavours to deliver the Minds of my Hearers, from some Difficulties, which I find often Encumbring of them.

One thing that Supplies much Objection to them that are Invited by a Great SAVIOUR, to come unto Him, is This;

I cannot come. I am not Able to Believe. Tis not in me to do it of my self. I cannot do it, until the Lord please to Enable me!

That this Objection may not hold any People in their Impenitency, there are these things to be said upon it.

First. The Impotency of a Sinner to do it, must not be used as any Apology, for his Not coming to a Saviour. Where is the Seat of this Impotency? Tis in the Will; Tis in a Depraved Will. Tis Will­ful, and therefore tis very Sinful. When a Sinner says, I cannot come to the Saviour, and own Him for my Saviour; the plain Truth is, He will not come. So tis charged upon Unbelievers; Joh. 5.40. Ye [Page 66] will not come unto me, that ye might have life. I Pray, What Excuse is it, for any other Crime, to Say, My Will stands that way! The most Vicious People in the World, have an Excuse for their not Re­forming of their Vices, if the want of a Will to do it, may go for one. As little will this Excuse our Neglect of the Great Salvation; to plead, I have no Will to Look after it! When the Exhortations are made unto the Sinner, to Come unto a Saviour, and receive the Unsearcheable Riches of Christ, Why does he not Come? What is the Reason? Sinner, the Reason! Speak out plainly; Say, I will not come unto the Lord: My Mind is no way disposed, my Heart is very much Averse, unto it! Oh! Scandalous Excuse for the worst Wickedness imaginable! To Say, I am Wicked, because I am not willing to be otherwise!

I may Venture to Assert This; That never any man in the World, could Say, I am willing to come unto my Saviour, but He does not make me Able to come. The Sin­ner does Really Begin to Believe on a Glorious CHRIST, if once he do Sincerely Desire to do it, or Desire that God would Enable Him to do it. Faith is actually Be­gun, in the Soul, that is made Sincerely Willing to Be­lieve. One Sincerely Willing to come unto the Saviour, had rather be gratified in this Point, than in any World­ly Interest; He Prefers a Glorious CHRIST, above all the Things of this World; He Neglects no Means, he Omits no Cryes, that he may obtain the Grace to Lay Hold on Him, & on Eternal Life in Him. Unbeliever, Thou art not, Willing to be any other than what thou art. And, This, This, will be thy Condemnation.

Secondly. This Impotency must be confessd and Be­wayled in our Coming to our Saviour; & our Sensible [Page 67] Confession of it, is a notable step of our Coming unto Him. It is not likely, that the Spirit of Grace will Enable us to Come unto our Saviour, till we feel and own that we are Ʋnable to Come. When we become Sensible that we are Ʋnable, and become Desirous to be Enabled, then we are indeed Beginning to come. When the Grace to Be­lieve on a Glorious CHRIST, is to be wrought in a Soul, the God of all Grace, will have the Glory of work­ing it. See, O Sinner, That thou art Justly Damned, if thou dost not come to thy Saviour. See this; and Say it before the Lord. But at the same time also humbly say; Lord, I shall not come to my Saviour, if thy Sovereign Grace do not help me to come! 'Tis true, Such a Corrup­tion there is upon the Will of Ʋnregenerate Man, that he will not come unto a Glorious CHRIST, but indeed have a greater Enmity to this, than to any one thing in all Religion; till there be an Efficacious and Superna­tural Operation of God upon the Will, not only to lay Moral Suasions before it, but also to infuse a New Frame into it, and Effectually Incline it unto the Faith where­to it is an Enemy. So far is the Sinner, from an Abi­lity to change his own Will, and bring it unto the Faith of a Glorious CHRIST, that whatever he does from his own meer Natural Ability, cannot oblige the God of Heaven, to make a Saving Change upon it. Let us keep to that famous Tenth Article of the Church of England. ‘The Condition of man is such, after the Fall, that he cannot turn, nor prepare himself by his own Natural Strength, to Faith and Calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do Good Works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the Grace of God preventing us, that we may have a Good Will, and working with us, when we have that Good Will.’

But then, how is this Good Confession to be prosecu­ted? Not now to Ly down like a Stag in a Net, with des­pair [Page 68] ever to escape the Fury of the Lord. No; but from thy Sinful Grave, O Sinner, send up thy Sighs un­to the Lord. Tho' Lying in the Belly of Hell, yet give a Look towards the Holy Temple. Make that Acknow­ledgment; Joh. 6.44. No man can come, except the Father Draw him. But then beg it of the Father; Oh! Draw me, Draw me to my Saviour! Acknowledge that; Eph. 2.8. Faith, is not of your selves, 'tis the Gift of God. But, then, beg it of God; Oh! Give me, Give me, a true Faith in my Saviour! Acknowledge that; Phil 2.13. It is God, who worketh in you, both to Will and to Do, of His Good pleasure But then, beg it of God; Oh! Work in me the Will, and help me to do this thing, to Come unto my Saviour.

After this praeface unto it, Now come! Now see whe­ther thou canst not, with a New Life infused into thee from Heaven, say, Lord! I come unto thee!

Another thing, that causes much Confusion, to them that are invited by a Great SAVIOUR, to Come unto Him, is This.

‘Does it not Look like Double Dealing? What Re­ality can there be, in the Lords bidding all men to come unto Him, when He knows He will not help them all to do it. If the Lord has not Really purpo­sed, that He will Enable any but His Elect Effectu­ally to come unto Him, what Sincerity can there be in His calling them to come?’

Sinner, Let none of these Cavils retard thy Coming to thy Saviour. It's a meer piece of Confusion to insist upon them. 'Tis Enough, That He calls Thee to Come, and He will not cost thee out, if thou Come. Do but Come, and thou shalt find He has been most Sin­cere in His Call unto thee.

'Tis true; The Lord knows, that Reprobates will not Come unto Him; And, He knows, that He will [Page 69] not give them a Will to Come. Yet He Delude no man, when He says to all men, Him that comes unto [...] I will in no wise cast out. Where is the Reprobate, who can say, That the Lord has dealt falsely with him? It must be a man, who knows himself to be a Reprobate. This no man Living does. O man, As 'tis thy Duty to come unto thy Saviour, so 'tis thy Duty to reckon it probable, that thou art one whom the Lord intends to bring unto thy Saviour. To doom thy self a Reprobate, would be a Criminal Impiety: Oh! Do it not!

Had the Call to come unto a Saviour, been directed unto the Elect, exclusive of the Reprobate, or been any other than unto All the Children of man in general, the Ends of the Call had utterly been defeated. On the one side; No man would have Obey'd the Call; For no man can know himself to be one of the Elect, until he has Obey'd the Call. Every Individual man, would have been at a Loss; whether he might have come un­to the Saviour, or no. On the other side; The Repro­bate now Enjoy many Priviledges, many Advantages by the Call. It Restrains them from very much Disorder: It proves an Instrument that furnishes them with ma­ny Ornaments. And, It prevents their passing away their Time, in such a doleful Desperation, as would o­therwise make very Devils of them.

Reprobation is not the Immediate Cause, why the Re­probate will not Come unto the Saviour. No; Their own Sinful, Corrupt, Wicked Nature is the Cause. If God should Lay Chains upon a Sinner, against his Will, and then Bid him to Come unto a Saviour, this indeed would look like a Mockery. But the Cause why a Sin­ner does not Come unto a Saviour, is not because God will not Enable him; 'Tis because he has Disabled himself; he has cast himself into the Snares of Death, and keeps the Chains of Hell upon his own Soul.

[Page 70]The Grace of God that should Restore the Depraved [...] the Sinner, and Quicken him to come unto a [...] Convey'd in the Means of Grace. The [...] sight those means, and use them not. God makes a Tender of His Grace. They will not so much as Accept the Tender; They will not so much as Request His Help to Accept it; They will not,—they ne­ver Do, what they can, towards the Renovation of their Will; that which, tho' God has not bound Himself by promise, to Renew them, upon their doing of it, yet their doing of it, would render it most highly probable, that He would with Saving Influences look upon them. Such is the Antipathy of the Sinner, to Believing on a Glorious CHRIST, that if he had more strength, he would still Do just as he does. And where lies the Im­propriety of it, if the Great GOD, will many ways Glori­fy Himself, by calling upon such a Sinner, to come unto a Saviour? Where Lies the Dissimulation, (as 'tis Blas­phemed,) if the Great GOD now declare in the Hear­ing of such a Sinner, That for men to Come unto a Saviour, is a thing that will be Approved by Him?

In fine; The Elect and the Reprobate they Live toge­ther in this World. The Call of the Gospel must come to Both together. 'Tis for the same Reason, that when the Corn and the Stones in the same Field, Ly together, the Rain must fall upon Both together. God will see that the Call stall be Efficacious to the Elect; and there shall be enough to leave the Reprobate Inexcusable.

Wherefore, O Sinner, Talk no more exceeding vainly, nor let any more of this Cavilling proceed out of thy mouth. Try, Strive, Beg, that thou mayst Come unto thy Saviour; Come to Him, as well as thou canst. It may be, that He will help thee to Come. Then thy Labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.


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