Encouragements to faith Drawn from severall engagements both of Gods Christs heart to receive pardon sinners. By Tho: Goodwin, B.D.
Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.

Demonstrations from the disposition of Christs heart, and his car∣riage upon earth. As also some engagements since his death.

IN the second place, when Christ had assumed our nature, and whilst he remained upon earth, how did this disposition of his abound in him? It were endlesse to give all the instances that his story and Sermons do afford hereof. See but how welcome all sorts of sinners were at all times unto him: He cast out none that acknowledged him for the Messiah: he turned none away that gave up their soules unto him to be saved his own way. He was indeed most reserved unto that rich young man of any other, yet he used him courteously, the Text saith he loved him; Christ tur∣ned him not away, but directed him the right way to follow him: And he went away of himself, undervaluing Christ to his possessions. And another time Christ indeed seems to discourage Page  27 the Canaanitish woman, and put her away, calling her dog: But it was only in words; for underhand he strongly drawes her heart to him by his Spirit, and suggests thereby to her heart by way of answer, a consideration of the highest Faith towards him, that dogs might partake of the crums that fall from their Masters table. I instance in these, because I would prevent and remove any exception which might be taken from them. For otherwise Christs professed entertainment of all sinners was so open and notorious, as it was turned into his disgrace and opprobry, That he was a friend to Publicans and Sinners; which yet he ownes and glories in, professing that he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And how glad he was when any such came in unto him, he sufficiently expresseth by those parables on purpose taken up, of the joy of the Prodigals father for his re∣turne, and of the rejoycing for the finding of the lost groat, and likewise of the lost sheep more then of the 99.

We read of Christs joy but seldome, and when it is at any time recorded, it is at the conversion of Soules. He had little else to comfort himself in, being a man of sorrows: and he had no∣thing else on earth which he took delight or pleasure in. When he was converting the poor woman of Samaria, (which he doth as a pleasure and recreation to him) he forgets his meat, (although before he had been very hungry) and tels his Disciples that he had meat which they knew not of, which was indeed the saving that poor womans soul. In Luke 10. 21. we read that Jesus re∣joyced in his spirit; but observe the occasion: He had sent out his Disciples to preach the Gospel, and they had in his Name and through his Power cast out Devils: He bids them not rejoyce in that, ver. 20. but shews them what they should rejoyce in, by his own example, and by what most comforted him. Father (sayes he) I thank thee, that thou hast revealed these things unto Babes. This in in the next words following recorded to be the matter of his rejoycing, he saw now an handsell, and an experiment of the fruit of his Disciples ministery, and comforted himselfe before∣hand, in that as their souls had, so others of the poorer and meaner sort should thus come in unto him.

We finde him at another time in like manner rejoycing, name∣ly in the story of his raising Lazarus, Iohn 11. 15. And what was Page  28 it for? Not that himself should be glorified by so great a miracle, (even the greatest that ever he wrought) but (sayes he) I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the end that you might be∣leeve. He rejoyced if any of his got a little more or further de∣gree of faith. And on the other side, as sorry was he when men came not in. Witnesse his tears over Jerusalem, and those speeches of his, Iohn 5. 34. These things I speake, that you might be saved. And thereupon in the ensuing verse he complainingly utters him∣self, You will not (sayes he) come to me, that you may have life. He speaks as one greedy of winning soules, and as sorry that any cu∣stomers or hearers of his should passe by, and not turne in; (You will not come to me, &c.) And he relieves himself with this, that there w••e others that would, though they would not. So here in this place, when in the verse before my Text he had complain∣ed of them, that they would not beleeve, he comforts himself with this in the words of the Text, All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me. And the like you have, Ioh 5. 25, 26. You beleeve not; but my sheep, they heare my voice, &c.

And then at his death, when he was upon the Crosse, he then converts a thiefe that was crucified with him, and prayes for those that crucified him. And after his Resurrection his last words recorded in Luke 24. 47. are [That remission of sins should be preached in his name, beginning at Ierusalem,] that so those whom he had prayed for (though they had crucified him) might be converted and saved. Thus stood his heart all the while he was on earth, both before and after his death.

And then (in the third place) now that he hath dyed and laid down that price which was to purchase the salvation of sinners, he must needs be much more willing (if it were possible he should be) then ever. Many Demonstrations there are from those ob∣ligations, which Christs sufferings and death do put upon him, which I have already given in a Treatise upon this very argu∣ment, The heart of Christ in Heaven, Part 2. onely I have reserved one or two for this place. As,

1. It was the aim and utmost intent of Christs soul, in his be∣ing crucified to have sinners saved, and saved effectually. It was that travaile which his heart was then big with. And certainly, Christ would not that so many and so great sufferings, now that Page  29 they are past and over, should be in vaine. The Apostle makes a motive of it unto the Galatians, Gal. 3. 34. Are ye so foolish,—have ye suffered so many things in vain? To be sure Christs death shall not be in vain: He will not lose the end of his sufferings, (as the same Apostle intimates but 4. verses before Chap. 2. ult.) A businesse that a man hath praied for much, how doth he long to see it accomplished and fulfilled? and how glad is he when it falls out as he hath prayed? and why, but because it is the fruit of his Pray∣ers? Now much more glad is Christ to see the fruit of his death, The travaile of his soul, and thereby is satisfied, Isai. 53. 10. (a place I often quote to this purpose.) I will add but this to it. When a woman hath been in travaile, she forgets all her paines for joy that a man-childe is borne, (which is the fruit of that her travail) and so doth Christ. And then again, for that other word, that Christ is said to be satisfied. Satisfaction is the accomplish∣ment of desire, or the fulfilling of ones longing. So in that speech of Christ, Blessed are those that hunger for they shall be satisfied. So that this doth argue and presuppose the most vehement desires and longings in Christ for the salvation of souls, and his having dyed must needs encrease them.

And 2. Adde this engagement unto that former, That his death can be put to no other use then for the pardon of sinners. So as if he should not expend it that way, he should utterly lose the fruit of it, or let it lye uselesse by him. For divert it to any other use he cannot. And yet if he knew how to improve it to any o∣ther purpose; yet his love (he having intended it for the sons of men) would not suffer him to do it. But besides, if it be not im∣ployed and bestowed this way, it will be wholly in vaine; for the good Angels, though they stand in need of his Personall mediati∣on, to confirme them in grace; yet his blood was not requisite thereunto. And for the bad Angels, they are utterly excluded the benefit of it. And then Christ himself he stands in no need of it, nor can he have any benefit by it; all that Personall glory which now he hath in Heaven being due unto him by that Hypo∣staticall union. So that his death serves for no end, if not for this. Christ indeed hath an honour in Heaven, besides the glory of the personall union: but then it ariseth to him from the salva∣tion of sinners through his death, which salvation is the purchase Page  30 of his blood; as you have it. Ephes. 1. which might afford a third engagement, In that Christ should not only lose the fruit of his death, but that glory that is ordained him by the salvation of men. So that he should be a loser not only of his sufferings by∣past, but of all that glory that is to come from the salvation of be∣lievers; which is no small thing unto him. As Officers in Courts of Law, or in Universities, get the more fees, the more Clients, and the more Commercers there are: so it is the more for Jesus Christs gain, that many sinners get out, and are received to grace and mercy.